|Yep, 8 kids! - Pipestone, MN|
Paul....decided it was totally within the realm of sanity to take his family of 10 on their first international vacation to a narco-infested country, Mexico. That's right! We all got our passports renewed or for the first time, boarded a plane, and flew to Puerto Vallarta for spring break. We found a house to rent in Gringo Gulch through VRBO. It was an amazing trip full of fun, relaxation, and family bonding. Because we just can't get enough of each other, it was a great way to bicker and get frustrated with one another on foreign soil! Also, he was able to persuade Monica to get her hunting license for deer season. Paul spent a lot of time with Monica, Lucas, and Gabe setting up the deer stand, checking for tracks, and watching deer habits out on property near Marine on St. Croix. Although, he didn't get a license or a deer this year, he had a lot of fun with the kids. Paul also took another small international trip to CANADA! for work. He drank a Molson and had a lot of fun comparing Toronto to US cities which he confirmed is pretty much the same.
|Our view of Puerto Vallarta from the palapa|
|Tequila Tasting at a plantation before reaching San Sebastian.|
|Always time for a kiss for the baby!!|
|Pirate Ship Adventure and beach time at Mahuitas|
Grace....decided it was totally within the realm of sanity to go back to school at the U of M. That's right! She was checking out PSEO classes for Monica when she stumbled upon a Certificate Program in Interpretation and Translation through the College of Continuing Ed. She's taken 3 classes now and will take 2 more next spring. She's also been taking on more interpreting jobs working with a colleague from the parish. She likes the work which is middle ground between medical and legal interpreting in Spanish. In addition, she's been knitting, managing the kids schedules, and continues to bake cookies every once in a while. Her side kick, Elizabeth, is always up for a spontaneous lunch and/or shopping date. Mom also continues to do her book club with the Well Read Mom group. She debated quitting because of the classes. However, it's great to have an outlet for reading good books and getting together with her friends!
|After landscaping part of the backyard with Lucas. Yikes! We were dirty|
|We clean up well! Track & Field Day with Gabe last spring.|
|High School Sisters|
|Monica, Maria, and Milah worked at the State Fair this summer.|
Molly....is at St. Charles for her 2nd year in a row as a 7th grader. She finally has come into her own with a nice group of girlfriends that she loves to hang out with. She also really took to baking this year when she became too bored and needed something to do. Now she bakes all the dough for cookie making and keeps everyone's sweet tooth in check with homemade treats. Molly is constantly checking Cornerstone for her grades and is determined to make the honor roll all year. So far, so good! Because the older girls' social calendar is usually jam packed with events, Molly has become mom's shopping buddy in the evenings, after school, and on the weekends!
|Molly and Monica on a hike at Lake Shetek State Park near Pipestone, MN.|
Lucas....mom's sweet loving angel, the apple of her eye, and dad's go to handy partner turned 11 and is in his last year as a 5th grader at Woodcrest Spanish Immersion. Next year, he will join Molly at St. Charles which he is excited about. For now, he is a star student and gets along with all his classmates. Lucas loves to write so he entered one of his essays in a local contest for Flag Day. He won 1st in the school, 1st in the district, and his essay will now be submitted to state! For his efforts he won $30 which he added to his coffers after mowing lawns for Grandma all summer landed him a hearty sum. He is a very hard worker so he decided to take his soccer reffing courses next year so he can ref with the older girls. He joined dad for hunting this year and is looking forward to taking hunter's safety next year with Gabe.
|Soccer Star - Lucas|
|Gabe is such an old soul. He was waxing philosophical on this hike at Pipestone, MN.|
Jane....continues to flit around curling her eyelashes and making sure she's always looking on point! Mom thought it a good idea to focus Jane's energy on doing service in the community by running for Little Miss Columbia Heights. To all of our surprise, Jane won! She, of course, thought that was a natural for her. How could she not win!? This summer, we attended more parades than we ever care to again and got to know what a "sparkle section" is at the local coronations. Jane has won the hearts of all the people she has met. She has also grown considerably in height. After thoughtful discussion with Jane's endocrinologist, we decided to begin growth hormone injections. Jane now takes them daily. We have seen marked growth not only in stature, but also in maturity. Jane's hands have even grown enabling her to play the violin more easily. Next January, she will make her first Reconciliation and her First Communion in April. She's super excited about these huge milestones!
She has grown so much in so many ways.
|These two.....Nick and Jane.|
|Photo Shoot with Maria at Kordiak Park|
Nick....started Kindergarten at Woodcrest this fall. He now joins Jane, Gabe, and Lucas in the drop off and pick up line. The line helper always marvels at how we efficiently unload and load 4 kids everyday with the largest van in the lot. We get in and out faster than the smallest cars. That's efficiency, my friends! Lucas was reluctant to go to the Spanish school because he didn't speak Spanish. We all told him he would learn, but he wasn't convinced. Now, however, he counts, knows his letters and sounds, and sings in Spanish! He loves his teacher, her assistant, and going to school everyday. He played soccer this summer but was frustrated at how other kids would try to get the ball away from him. He would tell his coaches that he would score if those kids would just let him have the ball!
|Nick getting suited up at Gabe's Fencing Birthday Party - MN Fencing Club.|
|Baby Sweetness - Lizzie!|
|Love this man!|
|All the Girls|