Monday, September 17, 2012

Head on over.. you'll be glad you did!

There is still SO much happening with the Kalman Crew.

However... this blog will not be the place to read about it anymore.

Please head over to where you can keep up on our daily adventures in life, homeschooling, being a family of 6 living for Jesus.

Thanks friends!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kalman Family Rules

Sometimes things get a little out of control at our house.  I know- hard to believe- right?

Well... with two VERY active boys and two VERY mobile babies, sometimes things seem like a whirlwind of growing and learning and testing and failing and laughing and crying.  Which is all good and a part of life. But lately I've been feeling like our family could use a little more direction.  So after some prayers, researching and tailbone soreness (from sitting on my buns!!) I've come up with a very tangible way to keep track of how we should act in our family (inside and outside the home) and what that looks like as a contributor to the family.  I think I've even figured out how to work an allowance in there -  score! - with the potential for teaching about saving, spending and giving money - double score!! (adding another craft project to my ever growing list- thank you very much self!)

I love the wording.. "contributing to the family", as opposed to chores.  Sure.. they are chores. But beyond that- they are a way to feel a sense of belonging in our family as someone who contributes to its running smoothly.  A chore is defined as a small, odd task or daily routine.  Sure I want this to be part of their daily routine.  Sure sometimes it might seem odd.  But really I want my boys to learn what it means to stick with and accomplish these simple 'chores'.  Like....
- the rewards of hard work
- following through with directions
- that it doesn't matter how small or young you are.. you can help in a big way
- God wants us to be responsible with the big things and the little things
and so on!

The plan is to laminate these sheets and hang them in the kitchen. Then they can mark each day with a dry erase marker and clear it off for the next week.  I found the dry erase idea from a blog on Pinterest (where else??).  I think this is a great way to get the boys really involved... and mommy and daddy for that matter (help with the reading and follow through!).
I would totally recommend reading Erin's advice about how to make it age appropriate. I'd also recommend the entire post because it's brilliant.  And she even gave me the foresight to keep one circle blank in case we think of something to add that day. 

The best part ... it's a learning process. Just like life.  We are on a journey where some things work out great and some things totally crash and burn.  But God wants us to continue moving forward, and learning and growing.  And that happens to be something the Kalman family is quite good at.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Can you keep up??

I'll be honest- sometimes I can't keep up.
These guys are (all) growing up too fast and I just want everything to slow down. Some days are great, some days can't end fast enough but we are all in love with our journey.

Here's what we've been up to!

Playing with toys and smiling every time mommy walks by. Love these guys.  Yup.. Landon has Urkel pants happening.  Blame it on the cloth diapers. But don't they look SO grown up in their blue jeans? Don't answer that.
Celebrated Tanner's birthday (again) with the Kalman family.

Met beautiful Aubrey Lynn.  Oh and this is what happens when my five year old takes a picture- showcases my cute boots beautifully and cuts off my large forehead! Way to go bud.

Field Trip!  Grant's Pre-K class went to the children's museum and Daddy got to go along!
:) good times.

Yo! Just chillin' at my pad with my bro.

Went through a NASTY bout of yeast. 

And last but not least: Landon is attempting REAL crawling!
(apparently I'm computer illiterate as well.. how do I rotate this???)

Friday, February 17, 2012

That kind of love...

On February 3 (yes, Superbowl Sunday!) we had our dedication service for Lucas and Landon.

Before you read our letter, you must listen to this song :
(click on the word song, or the song title to listen)
Can't be bought or sold or faked -That kind of love
Always gives itself away-That kind of love
Wiser than the wisest sage
It's innocence makes me ashamed
Til I'm not sure I can take-That kind of love
Pride and hatred cannot stand - That kind of love
Greater love hath no man - Than that kind of love
Won't be kept unto itself
Spreads it's charm, casts it's spell
No one's safe this side of hell-
From that kind of love

Love rejected and ignored
Held in chains, behind closed doors
Stuff of legend and of songs
Deep down everybody longs (for)
That kind of love . . . oh, that kind of love

Some people never know-That kind of love
Though it only takes a child to show- That kind of love
Widows smile and strong men weep
Little ones play at it's feet
Deaf can hear and blind can see-
That kind of love

Love triumphant, love on fire
Love that humbles and inspires
No conditions, no restraints
That kind of love . . . oh, that kind of love

How could anyone deny-That kind of love
Every heart is measured by -That kind of love
Even stars fall from the sky
Everything will fall in time
Except those things that cannot die-
That kind of love
Oh, may you be remembered by- that kind of love
We sang this song at Mars a while back and IMMEDIATELY the lyrics struck a chord in my heart.  I knew right then and there that I wanted to include it some how in the twins' dedication.  We had the lyrics printed out for every one to read and we played the song before reading this letter:

To our precious, miraculous, ‘surprise it’s twins!’, little guys-
Writing our 3rd (and 4th) dedication letter has proven a little tricky as we feel like we are repeating ourselves a bit.  However, we want you to know how important it is for us to stand in front of our family, our friends, our community here today and dedicate you as two beautiful, unique children of God.   It is our prayer that you will understand that kind of love; the love of our family, through all our ups and downs, joy and fear, and that kind of love of a Heavenly Father with no conditions, no restraints.  

We want you to see that kind of love in our home; the way Daddy and Mommy love each other and stand by the vows we made years ago.  The way we teach, train and encourage your big brothers and the way we will do so for you.  The way it’s a safe place for you to be honest, be real and be forgiven.  We promise to fill our home with that kind of love.
Lucas David-
We promise to love you for you and to celebrate your individuality. We want to challenge you to use the gifts God has given only to you, for his glory.  We commit to teaching you -with the help of the Bible and the community that surrounds us- about that kind of love.

Landon Jonathan-
We promise we will love you as you are and encourage you to grow into a godly man unlike anyone else. We want to challenge you to use the gifts he has given only to you, for his glory.  We commit to teaching you- with the help of the Bible and the community that surrounds us- about that kind of love.

Our promises to you may sound the same (and a bit like your brothers’ as well) but we realize how unique and different you are.  We understand how blessed we are to be called your parents and we thank God for that privilege. We also thank God for showing us that kind of love and pray that you both will share it with this world.

Sometimes I am STILL shocked and amazed that we are the parents of twin boys.  These little guys are so precious to us that sometimes it's hard to put into words.  We are incredibly blessed.  Being called daddy and mommy by these four handsome, healthy, energetic boys has given us a life changing glimpse into that kind of love.
Landon - Grant - Lucas - Tanner

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Epic Celebrating :: GWL Edition

After a yummy breakfast buffet (whoever invented the waffle iron is a genius!) and more swimming at Sugar Beach, we packed up our rooms and headed out.
We had a little time to waste between hotels so we stopped at Toys R Us to pick something out for Tanner.  We had the brilliant  ridiculous idea to let Tanner PICK something out. Whoops.  Combine an indecisive 3 year old and a HUGE toy store and you can plan on a lengthy trip.
In the end he chose (with some big brother pressure) an airplane from the Cars 2 movie.  It still gets played with so in our standards- that's a hit. 

Pumba!! at Toys-R-Us

Give this kid a balloon and he is seriously entertained for hours.
Tanner even got a balloon and birthday crown- SCORE!

We walked around PetSmart, ate lunch at Fazoli's and then headed to Great Wolf Lodge.

Our rooms weren't ready so we changed in the locker rooms and 'dove in'.  The older two were off in no time.  Lucas and Landon even put on their swim trunks (can you say adorable?) and splashed around for a bit. Then it was nap time for Laura's boys and the twins and one of our 3 rooms was available so Laura and I headed up for nap time.
I told you they were cute.

For supper the entire group headed to Culver's.  All 19 of us! I am so bummed I didn't get a picture.  We get lots of gawks and smiles and stares when we go anywhere.  Thirteen kids from 9 years old to 6 months!!  Love it.  The best part? They were all well behaved!  Love it even more!

When we got back we sang "Happy Birthday" to Tanner and had some cake.  We took Grant, Tanner and Bryce down to the arcade room.  Stimulation overload!  They had fun though.

I almost beat the high score for the day. For real. I don't mess around.
So did Mommy.  Whenever I go to an arcade place, I MUST play this game.  There is just something about smashing those little guys on the head as hard as I can that I find so theraputic (does this mean I need therapy!?).  :)

Bed time for the kids, game time for the adults.  We played a few rounds of Apples to Apples (with Mom, Laura, Ben, Robb and myself).  Then Doug & Kate joined us and we played  The Game of Things.  This game is really hilarious.  I am seeing a purchase and game night in our future.  The jist : Tons of cards that say "things that...." like "things that would get you fired", "things that you never see in the country", "things that you keep hidden".  Everyone writes an answer down on a piece of paper, folds it and puts it in a pile.  Each player takes a turn reading what everyone wrote.  You go around the circle and try to guess what other people wrote.  Serious good times.  Even Dad was intriuged for a while (which is saying a lot!).  Adults headed to bed around midnight.

(left to right) Bryce, Auntie Laura, Trevor, Abraham,Pop-pop, Sofi, Abby, Gina, Kelly, Daddy and T-man!

Next morning was more swimming, more splashing, more fun fun fun!  One of the bonuses of our Groupon deal was late check out which was GREAT.  It also included a meal deal: pizza, breadsticks and salad so after a morning at the park (twins included) we went back to our room to eat lunch and pack.
Naptime for the twinkies!! They actually napped great in the park.
Look at Luke's cute little piggies peaking out.
Grant was big enough to do ALL the slides. He even went down the green one by himself! 
He LOVES the water. 

We had a great weekend. Great Wolf Lodge (although expensive) is a really fun place for a family vacation. I anticipate more trips there for our future!
The closest we got to a whole group picture (fail!).
Left to right: :Robb, Tanner, Laura, Kelly, Cody, Kate, Abraham, Gina, Sofi, Grammy, Austin, Grant

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Epic Celebrating :: Sugar Beach Edition

This weekend we went to Traverse City with my family.  Usually in lieu of buying unnecessary Christmas gifts for eachother - we put that money towards a family trip.  We have done a variety of things- from staying close and hitting up Holland Aquatic Center to crashing at Grace Adventures (where my brother-in-law works) or heading to Shipshewana, Indiana. 
This year my thrifty mom found a Groupon deal for Great Wolf Lodge.  If you have kids and have never been there- go.  Right now.  It is SOOO fun.  Unfortunately you will pay a pretty penny for this fun but if you do like we did.. its not terribly outrageous and totally worth it.

Our first night was spent at Sugar Beach Resort.  We really love staying at this hotel.  First off- it's right on the beach overlooking the bay.  Gorgeous.  Even in blustery winter weather (I especially enjoy being able to stand INSIDE the warmth and look out at the beauty:)). 
Second- it's so family friendly.   No obnoxious TVs blaring in every common room.  They have this room used for their continental breakfast (also included in your stay) that is not in the lobby and it works so great for our family. We can put the kiddos to bed and be just down the hall where we can play games and paint toe nails and consume large quantites of coffee (even tried a new concoction- Candy Cane Kisses in melted into coffee. Dynamite!).
Third- their nice big pool and hot tub. I know most hotels have pools and tubs.  No big thing but when you add it with the other attractive qualities of this hotel and you have a winner winner chicken dinner.
Its a decent sized pool and a nice big hot tub sepereated only by a little wall so the kids can slide right from one to the other (which is a really, really big deal to a 3 & 5 year old).  And they don't have any crazy rules about kids not being allowed in the tub.  Love that. 
Did I mention it's a good deal? If you stay on the weekend right now you can get a Val-Pak coupon for $59 a night. If you go on a week day? Only $49! That's a steal.

After supper (found some tasty Chinese carry-out) the kids wound down watching Cars 2. 
Captivating for all ages!

Tanner Jaycob celebrated his 3rd birthday in Traverse City. 
This little boy brings so much love and laughter to our home.
And a few sighs of frustration :)

Lucas in the green, content to lay on his back and look around.  Landon in the blue, squirming all over and trying to smack Lucas in the head with a book.  Just a regular day in their lives.

For our family- the drive to Traverse City is a pretty long for only one night but like I said- GWL is pricey. 
Thank you Sugar Beach Hotel/Resort for making our trip to TC a little bit longer, a lot more affordable and way more enjoyable.

Stay tuned for more

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 : the year of intention

I have taken a brief blogging hiatus. I think, at first, it was because I just wasn't sure how to make a profound 'new year' post.  I wasn't sure what direction I wanted this blog to take. I started this post WEEKS ago.  I would sit down and type a few thoughts, save it and leave it indefinitely.  Then a few wise ladies (and gifted writers) that I know worked on their 'new year blogs'.  And the inspiration hit.  
Before I even read their blogs, or learned of this idea,  this one, specific word has been bouncing around in my head.  This one, specific word had been written and defined in the post I'm currently 'editing'.
 I knew immediately what my 2012 focus word needed to be. 



[in-ten-shuhn] noun
an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.

determining mentally. setting your mind to it. believing in yourself enough to
I can intentionally be a better friend
I can intentionally be a better parent
I can intentionally be a better spouse
I can intentionally be a better follower of Jesus

I can intentionally be.

And the best way to start?  Examining my intentions. 
By making sure the things I do- I'm doing intentionally.
  Even in the 'little' things, I need to examine my intentions
:: blogging ::
:: clothes I wear (and how much time it takes me to DECIDE on them) ::
:: TV ::
:: books I read (or books I start and fail to complete) ::
:: taking pictures ::

and especially in the bigger things
:: use of free time ::
:: how I care for my body ::
:: budgeting ::
:: prayer ::
:: being real in my real community ::
:: teaching and training my precious boys ::

In these different aspects of life, I want to put myself all in. I want to be fully present, fully commited, fully intentional.

So my hope, my goal, my intention is that it won't be quite so long til you hear from me again.  And in the meantime.. I hope you will think of some amazing ways you can make 2012 a year of intention and maybe spend a little time contemplating what ONE WORD can change YOUR year.
Titus 2:11-15

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.