Puelston Family News 2016

2016 Highlights, Month by Month

January – we stayed warm and close to home. We also finished up 3.5 months of a little foster love being in our home 24/7 and started doing day care for her twice a week. Jack was in 1st grade at Art and Science Academy and crushed math and reading scores in his winter and spring semesters.

February – Kyle swept me away for a much anticipated 30ish hour trip to downtown Minneapolis for a performance of Newsies!, dinner at Fogo de Chao, and an overnight hotel stay. We had a great time! We enjoyed Valentines Day as a family too – always a fun time celebrating our love for each other.

March – by the end of this fifth cold month of winter, we’re always a little stir crazy and this March was no exception. The kids and I got out of Dodge over Jackson’s spring break from school (Kyle had to work, boohoo). It was our first mom plus kids road trip to Tennessee! The kids did awesome and we had a really great time visiting friends and family. We hiked in the Smokies, ate apple fritters at the Apple Barn, stayed with Johanna’s aunt and uncle and cousins, just enjoyed sunshine and warmer weather. Hope to do it again sometime! March also brought the celebration of Christ’s victory over the grave: Easter! The kids loved being in our church’s little Easter play too.

April – Spring came, and we got outside more again! Kyle took a trip to KY for the Together for the Gospel conference with some guys from church, and kept training for Grandma’s Marathon. Kyle and I enjoyed an evening with other law enforcement officers and their spouses at the Backing the Blue Line Ball. Super fun to have a great reason to dress up in a formal and hit the town. Jackson started Track and Field for kids and quickly fell in love with running fast on a track and high jumping and hurdles.

May – We had LOTS of family birthdays and events to celebrate! Birthdays and graduations and Mothers Day and more. Kyle joined our church softball league, I became a soccer coach for Jack’s team, and Jack took home a pile of 1st and 2nd place ribbons from his end of season track meet. Jack also wrapped up his first grade year at ASA. It was great to have him there this year and great to be done and on summer break.

June – my friend Heidi came to visit for several days, and I had my 34th birthday. Kyle ran his second marathon, and in spite of ridiculously hot temperatures, bested his last time! PR for the win. Super proud of him. We also camped in tents overnight with the kids for the first time in our married life (what?!) and it went as well as we expected! The oldest two took  swimming lessons and did great – its so nice to have swimmers. Grant was miffed he wasn’t quite old enough, but he’s excited to do it next summer.

July – Kyle and I ran a 5K in downtown Minneapolis on the Fourth of July – my first chip timed one and I almost reached my 30 min. goal. We got to enjoy a Twins game with Kyle’s family on a lovely evening, and Jackson turned SEVEN on the 17th. He had an Olympics party, which was a ton of fun. July wrapped up with our annual trip to Grand Marais with the Puelston family and we had an amazing time hiking/eating/swimming/being together up on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

August – As usual, we went to parks and lakes and had lots of outside adventures all summer long. Kyle’s birthday was crammed in to a full week of summer fun and parties for other people, and he and I spear-headed a week of missions focus at our church. I took the kiddos to Como Town with a friend and her kids and then we spent the last week of the month getting ready for our EPIC ROAD TRIP WEST.

September – the first two weeks of September were consumed by our western adventure! We road-tripped to Oregon via South Dakota (yay Badlands & Mt. Rushmore!), Wyoming (THE GRAND TETONS, OH MY WORD), and Idaho, with a long stop in Boise to visit our dear friends, the Hulsons. Once in Oregon, we prepped for and celebrated my brother Josh’s marriage to his beautiful bride, Taylor. The kids were ringbearers and a flower girl, and we had so much fun getting to know Taylor’s family, and touring the area Josh and Taylor live. Oregon is fantastic. Portland is weird and awesome. The mountains have our love. We headed back to MN via Washington, northern Idaho, Montana (huge!), and North Dakota. We were blown away by the beauty, variety, and grandeur all along our route. God is creative!

Once home, we started our school year with a second grader, almost-kindergartner, and a busy almost-three year old. Jack started piano lessons. Kyle and I celebrated ten years of marriage with a quick getaway to Duluth. Ten years. Wow, that went quick!

October – kicked off this crazy month by celebrating our Taylor girl’s FIFTH birthday! We had fun creating a Pinkalicious party for our pink loving girl. And then…weird medical crises hit the proverbial fan. Kyle had an infected toe turn into crazy cellulitis which resulted in a five day hospital stay and a week long recovery back at home. Grant took an ambulance ride to Children’s for a scary croup flare-up. We were thankful for insurance, doctors, and antibiotics over these weeks. The rest of the month was less eventful, praise the Lord. A little guy in foster care joined our family just before Halloween.

November – Every day life was the norm in November, with field trips to the MN Zoo and the Bell Museum, and adjusting to life with a baby in the house once again. I took an epic trip of a lifetime to Morocco for nine days – a friend and I went to visit a mutual friend and her family in the coastal town where they live. We had an amazing time and I want to go back with our whole family some day. It’s a beautiful country. Kyle held the fort down with all three kids while I was gone and did an amazing job at it too. We celebrated Thanksgiving the day after I returned from Morocco and truly had so much TO be thankful for in this year.

December – the whirlwind month of celebrations, joy, sugar, and Jesus! We filmed our adoption story for Adopt a Love Story (update on that whole saga coming soon), and celebrated Grant turning THREE! He wanted a superhero party and we hero’d it up. So fun. Kyle was given a Lifesaving Award at his department’s annual awards ceremony – we’re so proud of his hard and dedicated work in our county. We enjoyed lots of time with family and friends, and the kids were all in our church Nativity Play (Zechariah, a sheep, and a cute tot choir member). The celebrations of our Savior’s birth were joyous and we rang in 2017 as we reflected on a full, blessed, and busy year.

chocolate    jo-with-a-hat



When my kids’ say something sweet or cute, I try to jot it down on my phone instantly. I keep a running note with these little sound bytes and then a few months later, like to record them all here. I’ve got quite the collection now, so it must be time to dump them out and save them. 🙂



This morning I thanked Jackson for being so helpful. He looked thoughtful and then said, “Having three children is hard. And we’re going to have FOUR and that will be even harder. I like to help.”

“Can I vacuum for you, Mom?” Um, let me think about it, okay. 🙂

Kyle was painting the swingset this summer, and the neighbor girl asked: “Can your dad do that (paint)? Jack said: My dad can do everything! Anything!

Taylor, aka The Princess of Sass

Crunes = prunes.

As she looked at herself in the mirror: “Ta-da!!!”

In the car while driving to the North Shore: “How much longer?” Half an hour. “I don’t yike half an hour!”

“Why does daddy cut his hair?” ‘Cause he likes it short and doesn’t have much hair. BIG SIGH. “I wish him had hair!”

About school: “Can you teach me how to talk words?” (She meant teach me how to read.)

“I need to go vacuum my teeth ‘cause they aren’t so sparkly.”

She overheard me saying that some days it’s just hard to be a mom. “Do you want to be something else today? Like a…grandma? You could be a grandma instead.”

To Jack: “Don’t tell me what to do. Are you the mom??!” (do you think maybe she hears me say that to her and her brother a few times a day, or what?)

She and Jack were arguing about something petty. “Don’t argue with me!”

Newest word added to her vocabulary: “Literally”. What??

Far past her bedtime because she had taken a long nap: “I can’t go to sleep. My eyelids are GLUED open!”


He just says a few words: mom, da, amen (complete with a sign/clap), and signs more and all done. He has also started giving kisses and high fives, which is pretty darn cute.

Grant Joins the Crew

In a week, Grant will be three months old. I’ve had his birth story waiting in the wings, but its been a busy three months, with the holidays, friends visiting from out of state in January and a plaguing stretch of illness that has beaten us all for the better part of six weeks. 😦

So here, finally, is the story of Grant making his grand appearance.


Our third child was due on Thanksgiving day, but a week past that date, I was ready to get this show on the road. I wasn’t miserable, but I was tired of waiting. So that meant talking about inducing. My awesome doctor and I had made a plan together that I was mostly comfortable with, but still, I had my reservations about being induced.

So the plan was: go to the hospital Thursday night the 5th, check to see how far progressed things were. If they were favorable enough, go home and sleep and then return in the morning to start pitocin. If not, try Cervadil to prepare for induction with pitocin in the morning.

We got to the Birthplace around 6:15pm, and got all checked in. I needed Cervadil – all the contractions I’d felt over the past week only had me dilated to a TWO. So we settled in to watch the live Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood. My friend Kelsey came to hang out and take pictures, hoping baby came that night. My mom came a little later. The Cervadil did its job and contractions ramped up and by 11pm I was having steady, firm contractions. But by an hour or two later, they totally petered out. Kelsey went home, and Mom, Kyle and I tried to get some sleep here and there.

In the morning, my wonderful Dr. Barrett stopped by on her way to the clinic and broke my water, hoping to kick things back into gear. My contractions had never quit, but they had gotten much weaker and further apart – certainly nothing I had to work through. I could walk and talk and smile…it was definitely not active labor.

Breaking my water helped – things started getting more real again. But in an hour or so, it wasn’t progressing, and contractions had dipped down to Easyville again. At this point, I was bored and slightly frustrated. I was ready to have this baby! I wasn’t totally exhausted – I was just ready to get this show on the road and finally meet this little person who seemed far too comfortable in their watery, warm nest. :-)

Thankfully, all along the way, the baby’s heartbeat was steady and happy as could be. Around 10am, I made the call: it was time for the “get the baby out cocktail”. “Dear nurse, just juice my IV with pitocin, please and thank you.” They “gave me a whiff” (their words) of pitocin at 10:30am and it was onward ho!

FINALLY things started getting real. I was so relieved to actually feel like I had to concentrate on relaxing through the contractions. They got hard and fast in a hurry, and by 1pm I was feeling like the end was near. My doctor arrived for the delivery – it was finally time to push this kiddo out!

Once again, Dr. Barrett coached me so well. I probably pushed for 15-20 minutes, and at the halfway point I asked, “Why isn’t he coming out?!” because of how quickly Taylor had come. I thought maybe this time would be even shorter, but as it turned out, this Incredible Hulk child was quite a bit bigger than Taylor had been, so that could account for the “slower” pace of pushing. :-)

Anyway, our baby came into the world at 1:59pm and Dr. Barrett and Kyle announced in tandem, “It’s a BOY!” as his wet, sweet, beautiful self was placed on my flushed chest. Grant Richard, our sweet surprise, our second son and third child, was finally here. My first thought was “Jack is going to be so excited to have a brother!” :-) We were overjoyed.


Looking back, I cannot believe how in control, calm, covered with grace, and able to concentrate I was during his labor. It was really awesome. I was so present, so able to focus, and was a lot more verbal – i think that helped me push through the pain in a better way. A lot of people were praying for me – I could feel it. Kyle and Mom were so helpful to get me through the most challenging points. And Char, my mother-in-law, ended up arriving to cheer me on for the last half an hour! Love my labor team. :-)

From the point when my labor REALLY started to his arrival was only 3.5 hours. Grant was easy on me, and he nursed right away like he was born a pro – latched perfectly and settled in for almost an hour before we finally weighed and measured him. We were all slightly shocked to learn he was 9 lbs. 9 oz. and 21 inches long with a 15 inch head. My little beefcake baby. He wins the prize for biggest at birth, coming in at 3 ounces heavier than Jack was.

We had such fun introducing Grant to his brother and sister and the rest of our family and friends that stopped by the hospital. He was doing so well that we were able to get home the next evening and continue to rest up in our own beds.


Grant has the most sweet, cheerful and happy-go-lucky personality! I cannot imagine our lives without his sunshine, so I’m ridiculously glad that God surprised us with his beautiful life. Welcome to our family, Granters. Mama, Daddy, Jack and Taylor love you SO much.

Grant (2 of 49)photo by Sarah Smith – Grant, one week old