Sunday, December 8, 2013

A few more pics...

The boys each wanted a different cake this year. I didn't have the heart to say no.

Joel wanted Batman

Caleb wanted a dirt bike cake



Birthday party with cousins

Friday, December 6, 2013

Time Flies!!!

Where has the time gone? I can't believe it's been 5 months since I've updated this blog. Life has definitely been crazy. Here's a little overview of why:

-After our WA vacation in July, we took it upon ourselves to paint the exterior of our ourselves. We planned on this being a weekend project. Well, it ended up taking us at least a month. We spent hours and hour and hours (did I say hours???) scraping every square inch due to the previous owners using cheap paint. Then we had to caulk, patch, replace, prime, paint, and do the trim. I will NEVER paint this house again (or any house for that matter). I told Ryan we should have had a bonfire to burn the brushes. Ugh. At least it's done, looks great, and our neighbors got quite the entertainment watching us for days on end. Our yard was definitely the social place around 5:30 every day.

-During this painting fiasco, I was going through a major decision. The school that Kiera attends was searching frantically for a part time music teacher. After much prayer I went in to see if they would be interested in me helping out temporarily or to just test the waters. They ended up being very willing to work with me and around the first week of August I was hired! This meant I had 2 weeks to prepare 6 preps, get my classroom ready, and figure out how life was going to change! It was a bit hectic to say the least, but I survived and am loving it! It has been such an incredible blessing to have another income, a wonderful work environment, a different challenge that has every day a little different, and the perks of being at the same school as your kids. I am now working on getting my credits up to date so that I meet the 2 year requirement for a ongoing certificate. The boys took a little bit to adjust to the daycare, but now they love it. Every morning they ask numerous times if it's time for school yet. They would be happy to go all the time. We still enjoy preschool together at home some mornings and they get the social interaction afternoons which has been good for their twin development. The first week they both ended up with hurt arms. Caleb fractured his left wrist and Joel broke his left wrist...same bone...same place...same piece of equipment. I am pretty sure we have been flagged at the orthopedist office! Ah, the joys of twins!

-Throughout all this my dad's health has been failing. In October I flew out to WA to be with my family and say my good-bye's to him. This was extremely difficult, but such a blessing to see him. He is now on hospice and his health continues to decline daily. We are very thankful that he is still with us and we love seeing his smile on Skype! We are looking forward to spending Christmas together but definitely covet your prayers as we walk through this valley together as a family. What a blessing it is to know, though, that my dad loves the Lord and is ready to meet his Savior!

-We continue to do life together; Kiera started 2nd grade, practicing piano, giving piano lessons (I now have 4 students), homework, wrestling matches with daddy, meetings, church activities (Kiera is now in GEMS which she LOVES), and  spending time with my sister and her family over Thanksgiving. Today we celebrated Caleb & Joel's 5th birthday! It's hard to believe how fast they have grown. I would definitely say they had a Super Hero birthday. Batman and Superman are the theme around here. They wanted to go bowling tonight which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I couldn't beat Ryan this time, so I guess we better get the Wii bowl out again where I am guaranteed a win! :)

Hopefully these pictures will give you a snapshot of the past 5 months. Thanks for sticking with this long post! I promise to try to be more faithful in my updates!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Washington Vacation

On June 14, the kids and I (Sheri) left for St. Paul, MN. We spent the evening at the Mall of America. The kids didn't know until the night before that I was planning to do this. To say they had fun was an understatement! We walked around the entire mall and they were just in awe of everything. We spent quite a bit of time at the American Girl store for Kiera. She was in heaven and just drooled over everything! Next we headed to Legoland for the boys. They had so much fun looking over all the sets and then we spent some time building things out of legos. We ended the night at the Nickelodeon fun park. I let the kids choose 2 rides to go on and they picked the Ferris Wheel and the Balloon Ride. It was so fun to see their joy and excitement and I loved the time we spent together. Once our evening was over, we headed to the Amtrak station to catch the 11:30 pm train to Washington. The kids did great on the train trip there and back. Unfortunately Joel got altitude sickness both times we went through the mountains in Western Montana and Washington. Other than that, they did amazing and handled everything very well. They slept great each night but I must admit that it was very stressful for me and I don't think it will be our choice of transportation in the future. It was an experience that we can say we've done! Overall we spent over 70 hours on the train. Whew!

When we were in WA we had a super fun time as always. The weather was GORGEOUS the entire time! I am always overwhelmed by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I feel like I just can't soak it in fast enough when I am there. It was great to see my family and see the kids enjoy being with their cousins. Our time consisted of fun at the beach, swimming in the backyard, going to the Children's Museum, Jungle Playland, swimming at the lake, slumber parties, bonfires with s'mores, hiking in the woods, holding little cousin Kaiya, Target runs, Red Robin, swimming at the pool, playing school (because that's what you do in the summer), reading stories with Opa, fireworks, parades, horseback riding, running in a track meet, visiting with Great Grandma DeGroot, at least 10 games of Settlers, and lots and lots and lots of laughing! We made some great memories and it was never a dull moment when you went anywhere with 8 kids!

Personally it is always such a refreshing time for me. I love spending late nights talking with my mom and being spoiled by her. I love the endless chatting I get to have with my sisters and enjoyed all the Diet Cokes we enjoyed together! I love all the great meals my mom makes and the yummy goodies always available. Going in June is always a bonus as it is the peak of fruit season. Every meal we had a huge bowl of assorted fresh fruit and I thought we would turn into strawberries after all the fruit we ate! My favorites were the fresh strawberry pie, fresh blueberry muffins, and strawberry shortcake. We already miss all the yummy fruit!

Another special experience was being there for my niece Kaiya's dedication. My sister asked if I would sing for it and it was fun to be a part of this special occasion! 

Most of all, I was blessed to spend time with my Dad. A few weeks before we were to leave for WA (God's plan for us to already have had a trip planned was amazing, wasn't it?), we received news that my Dad's cancer had returned. He was diagnosed 6 years ago with Stage 4 colon cancer and had already beat it several times. Over a year ago he suffered a stroke and by God' grace and strength was able to make almost a full comeback from that. To hear the news that his cancer was back was particularly difficult for all of us. I was anxious to go out and spend time with him. I was able to be there for his first treatment. I will never forget praying with him the morning he left for the cancer center. It was difficult for both of us, but we placed the treatment in God's capable hands and continue to trust Him for healing and strength in the coming months. It was hard to see my dad so rundown and sick, but I was thankful that we still were able to create some great memories together and enjoy each other's company. I spent a lot of time working in his yard as he has not had the energy to do that. It seemed like the one thing I could do to help him and encourage him in his battle. It was fun one day when some of his siblings and spouses came to help us. We had a fun yard work party and it was very rewarding for all of us. If you would like to keep up on his health situation he has a Caring Bridge site at We would appreciate your prayers for all of us in the coming months!

As you can see we had a great vacation! Ryan was unable to join us this time as he is very busy getting ready for a week long SERVE project at our church starting this Saturday. We missed him a ton, but were very happy to Skype together quite a bit. The kids definitely haven't left his side since we've been home. I must say that it was WONDERFUL to come home to a clean house and a fridge full of food! Ryan is so incredibly helpful and I appreciate all that he does for us! We celebrated our 11th anniversary on the 6th and I am so thankful for the wonderful father and husband God has given me. It's been a fun ride thus far and I am excited to see what else God has planned for us!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures...I decided to put them in a slide show as there were just too many!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Black Hills Vacation

Over Memorial Day weekend, Ryan's folks rented a gorgeous cabin up by Terry Peak in the Black Hills. It was beautiful weather and we had a fun weekend there with Ryan's whole family. The cabin was big enough for all of us and had a hot tub (which the kids LOVED), a pool table, foosball, darts, and lots of hiking spots around it. We spent a lot of time relaxing, playing Catan and Phase 10, and being with family. On Saturday we spent the day seeing Homestake Mine (a gold mine that was in operation until 2000 and is now used for cutting edge medical research), Mt. Rushmore, Custer state park, and Crazy Horse. It was fun to get some hikes in and spend time in the beautiful mountains. We did decide that we live on the wrong side of the state. There is so much to do over there! We will definitely have to go back for more sightseeing (if only the part from here to there wasn't so boring).  On our way home we took the Badlands loop and enjoyed some more hiking and enjoying the incredible scenery. It was a relaxing weekend and thank Dad & Mom Link for giving us a gorgeous place to stay! Enjoy these pics from our weekend...there were just too many to post one by one!

Monday, May 20, 2013

No more training wheels!!!!

Let me begin by saying I never thought it would be this easy. I think my mom said it best when she stated, "It's about time something went your way!"  About a month ago we purchased the boys new bikes. They were getting too tall for the little 12" bikes and needed bigger ones. Because they were so excited to get new bikes, we left the training wheels on them so they could enjoy them awhile. (We were also waiting for the weather to improve). They had a ton of fun riding up and down the street. Finally the weather got consistently warm and I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get those training wheels off. We packed up the little 12" bike minus the training wheels and headed to a BIG parking lot. Joel hopped on the bike and took off. I about fell over. I couldn't believe he did it just like that. I thought to myself, "what are the odds Caleb will do the same?", and so Caleb hopped on and promptly took off. After roughly 3 minutes of being at the park, both boys knew how to ride a two wheeler without tipping over. They were pretty proud of themselves.

The next hurdle was to try their bigger bikes. A few days later we took them back to the parking lot to try their big bikes. They were a little more nervous. Because they had done so well on the little bike, I figured that once they got going they would be fine. So the plan was for the boys to ride their bikes in the parking lot while I ran (and got my workout done too). Ha ha ha. Not so. I would get one started then go help the other start and the other one would have stopped already. I could never get both going at once. Finally I got everyone going and I started running between them. Let's just say the utopian bliss I had imagined quickly fell apart. Caleb started veering toward Joel with me in the middle. Eventually I was hurdling boys and bikes while trying to rescue whomever and whatever without falling on a child. To anyone who happened to witness this catastrophe: I hope you laughed! I then decided that we would just practice one at a time. Whew. For all the mom's of twins out there: TAKE ANOTHER ADULT WITH!!!

After this little jaunt, we tried again a few days later. I was a little nervous that they wouldn't be very excited. But the 3rd time was a charm! They learned very quickly how to start, stop, and make turns. After 5 days of practicing, they are now riding up and down our street confidently and with as much gusto and excitement as when they first got the bikes. YEAH!!!! What a joy it is to see their excitement and pride at knowing how to ride. Hopefully this will mean lots of family bike rides in the future! Allow me a moment of pure pride at reaching another dreaded milestone with twins! Whew!

Joel and his Shark bike

Caleb and his Rocket bike

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Program

This past Wednesday, Kiera's class had a special Mother's Day program for us. When we arrived, each mother received a corsage to wear. When the kids came in, they gave us a gift bag saying it was for all the presents we would receive. For the program, they would do a poem or a song and after each one would bring us something that had to do with that poem. We received flowers, bubble bath, a ceramic tile with their hand print, special projects made specifically for mom, Hershey Kisses, and a hug box. After the program they had refreshments for us...cupcakes, ice cream, mints, and punch. When we were all finished we went outside to release balloons signifying the release of 1st grade! It was such a special time to share with Kiera and we had fun together!

All the gifts we received

Releasing Balloons

The treats table

"Here's your hug box mom!"

One proud mama!

Silly Boys

The boys are at a wonderful age right now. They are mostly independent and love playing together. Just today I heard Caleb tell Joel "wait for your best buddy!" They get along great (most of the time) and are loving being outside (FINALLY). We graduated them to bigger bikes which they are SO proud of and are hoping to get training wheels off soon. One of their favorite things to do is hang out at the neighbors when they are outside. As soon as they see them come out, they are over there helping with various yard work. They love helping pick up sticks and mainly chatter to "Grandpa and Grandma Neighbor". I think the neighbors love it and it keeps up a good relationship with them.

The boys singing at their Story Hour program
Joel fixing his lawn mower

Caleb fixing his lawn mower

Helping daddy with some leverage issues...

Helping the neighbors pick up sticks

Fine Arts Night

A few weeks ago Kiera had her fine arts night at school. Grandma Link happened to be in town helping us with our garage sale so she was able to join us! We got to see lots of projects Kiera had worked on all year, walk through the classrooms, and ended with a music program. It was a fun night and we enjoyed watching Kiera run around with her friends and enjoying showing off all her hard work!

Some of the various projects she worked on this year.

The kite she made with her kite poem.

Kiera and her good friend Brinley

Their Lego city they made...Kiera made the big car front and center.

Waiting for everyone to get situated...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Here are some pictures from Easter. We went to Ryan's folks for the weekend and had a very relaxing time. Now we are starting to enjoy the warmer spring weather we are FINALLY getting! So long winter!

Decorating Easter Eggs



The dyed eggs and plastic eggs the kids decorated

Checking out their loot

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Kiera!

At the end of February, Kiera was able to celebrate her 7th birthday. Back in the Fall, we had purchased a Groupon for 2 nights at the local Ramkota hotel that has a water park with it. We decided to save this and use it for Kiera's birthday. Since we were swimming for her birthday, she wanted a swimming pool cake. It was actually a very easy cake and I was happy with how it turned out. Kiera invited some friends to swim one of the evenings and then the second day she had her cousin Eli come and spend the day swimming with her. All the kids had a blast swimming and there were always tears when it was time to quit. We had an enjoyable weekend as a family and all had a great time swimming! Enjoy the pictures!

All 3 kids LOVED the slide!

Taking a break to refuel (with cousin Eli)

Cool dude Joel

Crazy Caleb

Kiera's school party

Opening gifts at the family party with Grandpa and Grandma.