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Welcome Grandma, Down from the Great White North…

But just for a week. Which I can tell you, her dog Gypsy did not approve of. I heard tell of a minor hunger strike when cookies were snitched from meals but the actual dog chow left untouched! It was a lovely week full of a good balance of activity and rest.20170404_134102

Grandma started off smart – she hooked the kids on some puzzle game apps so they could all play together. Always a good plan, especially since they were FREE. Couple that with watching dog rescue videos together and much time was spent in quiet enjoyment.IMG_20170404_152623_521

20170407_112120We took Grandma to the YMCA twice this visit. Once to watch Trinity and Emanuel in karate and meet their Sensei.IMG_20170413_222319_460

The other time to come for our Sunday night swim. Mommy got in her exercise class, and the rest got quality pool time with Grandma letting Daddy off the hook!IMG_20170409_182842_996

20170409_18390720170409_193406Our big field trip was to the Mill City Museum. A family favourite and fun for Grandma to see some Minnesota history first hand. She and Ken took the twins up in the big elevator that walks you through the history of the mill as well as its partial destruction.20170407_130947

20170407_13183120170407_13243220170407_135035IMG_20170407_135840_62920170407_14142220170407_13384720170407_132037Grandma asked to go to two specific places to eat – Culver’s, which we went to the night she came. She had never been, we simply could not let that stand!IMG_20170404_182631_533

The second place was a brunch with adults only to Perkin’s. This was followed up by a lovely stash of bakery goods purchased by Grandma that came home for the kids to enjoy. We snuck over to Joann’s while we were out. Good food AND good shopping (with coupons of course).

It was a decadent brownie.

It was a decadent brownie.

Grandma also COOKED a couple times – we got to taste her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. With meat in it! AND she made taco soup. A new one for all of us, but one that everyone but the girls (no surprise) enjoyed. It was beyond delicious. So of course, I must share the recipe! HERE20170406_130918

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

She came bearing gifts… Canadian snacks… well lots of Canadian things. Including a colouring book for the 150th birthday. She also brought us some Gypsy puppies to add to our teddy collection. We had some small tokens for her.IMG_20170404_155142_971

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

We had hair braiding parties.IMG_20170410_220135

And Grandma spent special quality time with all the kids. It was so lovely for them to have one on one (though the twins opted to go together) time with Grandma and fully get her hooked on Caribou coffee.

Mix in a couple nippy spring walks to the park and Grandma got a taste of early spring in Minnesota.20170405_104230

We also pulled out movies and popcorn to make sure we had some quality cinema time. Kubo was well enjoyed.IMG_20170405_010349_384

Grandma took special care braiding up Emanuel’s hair. It was nice to have a week of no hair in the eyes. Though friends said it was very… basketball player! IMG_20170405_210629_766

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Since Easter was right around the corner we also did some egg decorating.IMG_20170409_145459_677

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Ken and I snuck away for some quality YMCA time… well he sat, and I went to class.IMG_20170407_180036_180

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It was a terrific visit. Sit back and enjoy the excessive, but happy images! Thanks for the visit Grandma!20170410_125226

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Happy Birthday My 3 Sons

February is ALWAYS a crazy month for us. But never so crazy as it was in 2004 and 2006. It is hard to believe that 13yrs ago on the 5th of February Zander and Gavin were born… 10 weeks early and tiny little peanuts. Here we are, the parents of TEENAGERS! When did I blink and miss that one happening?20170205_114101

11yrs ago and at a much calmer pace we welcomed Emanuel into our family on February 3rd. He was my chubby eternally napping and happy baby. He still loves a good nap and has definitely thinned out! But still, where did the time go?IMG_20170203_091819

We have done the larger parties in the past, but this year we decided to go small. On the 3rd we had a mini celebration just for Emanuel. He got to open the small gifts from us, what Aunty Holly sent him from Canada, and any cards that came in the mail.20170203_164610

A bag for his fossil collection!

A bag for his fossil collection!

We had the dinner he requested – potato soup and dumplings, hung out together and had cupcakes for desert.20170203_204707

On the 5th we did the same for the twins. They chose sausage-strata. A breakfast casserole.20170205_114149

A bag for any metal detector finds (left Zander) and a holder for art supplies.

A bag for any metal detector finds (left Zander) and a holder for art supplies.

As an added gift we took the whole family to McDonald’s for breakfast after Sunday School. A very rare occurrence for this family of 7, eating out at a restaurant, fast food or no.20170205_104542

20170205_105529We also opened the bigger gifts which we the same for each of the boys.20170205_114528

Emanuel had an additional outing he requested – Aidan joined him and Ken to go see the new Lego Batman movie. And to go to McDonald’s for their appropriately themed Happy Meals. I am told it was all great amounts of fun.IMAG0616

IMAG0618IMAG0622image000000And then after when Darcy and Andy came to get him we had MORE presents (so sweet) and hung out for a while.20170211_215425

20170211_215314Nothing hugely fancy, but I think we really felt like we celebrated properly. I love these 3 so much, watching them grow and change has been a great privilege, even with all the ups and downs.20170205_113912

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More December Festivities

So much to share… so here are the remaining images. The original blog post is HERE. First the gingerbread houses we made with the Schwartz family:20161229_174547

Gavin

Gavin

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Zander

Zander

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Ken's

Ken’s

IMG_20161222_004808_471Novak’s party… so much fun!FB_IMG_148265000490220161224_220645

I made these first 3 stockings. The 4th (Aidan's is permanently on display in his room!)

I made these first 3 stockings. The 4th (Aidan’s is permanently on display in his room!)

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IMG_20161224_220334_322IMG_20161224_214850_314Sunday School pageant.IMG_20161211_094834

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Lovely moments of snow.IMG_20161211_094706

IMG_20161214_013222IMG_20161216_143757Themed fun in school.IMG_20161219_123954IMG_20161214_160327

IMG_20161212_131635Not sure what happened here!IMG_20161215_124308

Santa!IMG_20161212_014336

So much cooking.IMG_20161223_173328_967IMG_20161223_193444_693

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A final peek at Christmas fun.IMG_20161225_171025_628

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