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


a seed of faith

Jackson, tonight I had the incomparable joy of hearing you ask Jesus to save you.

Who knew that a conversation about wildcats in South Carolina would turn into a redemptive conversation that would lead to you wanting to follow Jesus? I sure didn’t anticipate it as I painted the swing set and you sallied back and forth on the red swing below. But Jesus knew. He knew you’d want to know if bears lived in North Carolina and if wildcats lived in South Caroline. He knew I’d tell you about my Pop-pop’s stuffed wild cat that was mounted on his wall when I was a girl. He knew you’d ask if my grandpa was in heaven…Jesus knew it would go like this:

You asked me if I was going to heaven and I said yes. You asked what heaven is like and I told you it was the best thing you can imagine, but better than that because God was there. Then you wondered what hell was like and I explained it’s the worst thing you can imagine, and worse, because God isn’t there. You asked what was in hell I said fire and darkness.

You asked again I was going to heaven and why I was. I answered, “Because I have asked Jesus to save me from my sins and I was sorry and repentant for my sins. I asked Jesus to save me because I knew I wanted to follow him all the days my life.” And then Jack, you said, “Mom, could you help me do that too?” I said, “I would love to.”

So later in the evening you and I prayed together and you asked Jesus to save you. I’m so glad Jack! So glad that God takes conversations about Wildcats and turns them into redemption. So glad that you want to follow Jesus. Dad asked you why you wanted to go to heaven and you said “to be with God.” I can’t think of a better reason, because He wants you to be with Him forever. He made the way for you to be with Him forever!

I love you, Jackson and my deepest prayer is that you will follow Jesus all the days of your life. God has begun a good work in your heart and I know that he will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. I pray that this seed of faith that God has planted in your heart will grow to be a mighty, strong oak with deep roots. Sink yourself deep into Jesus, Jack. He loves you and promises to be with you all along this journey of life. He is FOR you. Chase after Him with every bit of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Love, Mom

Photo by jomegs - Google Chrome 7292014 114601 PM.bmp

Jackson is Five!



What day is today, Jackson?: My birthday!

How old are you? Five.

Who made you? God did.

Where do you live? in North Branch

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?  Go play at the playground.

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Go to the store.

What is your favorite thing to do with Taylor? Play babies.

Who is your best friend? Reegan.

What is your favorite book? Trusty the Train

What character in a book do you like best? Thomas the Train

What is your favorite Bible Story? David and Goliath

What is your favorite thing to build? Towers

What is your favorite food to eat? Apples

What is your favorite thing to play? Hide and seek

Where do you love to visit? North Carolina

What song do you like to sing the most? Glory to God

If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? Spiderman

What is your favorite animal? Horses

If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? I would buy a toy house for Reegan.

What would you like to be when you grow up? A police officer.

What do you enjoy doing outside? Playing football.

What holiday do you love celebrating? Fourth of July

What is your favorite work to do at school? Painting

What is your favorite restaurant? McDonalds

What is your favorite special treat? Popsicles

What do you love most about being a big brother? Taking care of Taylor and my brother

What do you want to do today on your birthday? Play mini-golf and eat at the Drive-In!

What was your favorite thing about being four? Going to the beach

What are you most excited about in turning five?! Playing with my friends.

out of the mouth of jack 2.0

on Saturday we put up our Christmas tree and Jackson put the star on top. We asked him, “what does the star on the Christmas tree represent?” He look a bit puzzled and then said, “Mitt Raw-men-ee?” (Say, WHAT?) I have no idea. I tried to follow his mind track and got nowhere. We corrected this little misunderstanding, of course.

lately in the motherhood

The kids are in a fun stage that usually leaves me laughing during the day and exhausted by the time they go to bed. I’m quite certain I’m biased as can be, but they sure seem like clever, adorable, sweet and sassy little people that I’m so glad belong to us.


  • started saying “peas” while signing “please” in the last 2 weeks.
  • will say “bah-bye” and kind of wave/open/close her hand when people leave.
  • cuddles her baby doll in her little rocking chair and says “bay-bee, bay-bee”.
  • discovered a love for climbing. On the furniture short enough for her, up and down the steps, over toys, etc.  (wonk-wonk. :-/)
  • all of the sudden loves books and has stopped pulling forbidden books off the shelf in favor of her own board books.
  • is very much enamored with the very small ride-on, motorized Jeep toy. She figured out how to push the button to make it go and wants to be on it all the time if we’re playing outside.
  • bawls her eyes out if she sees her daddy leave without her.
  • finally has more hair coming in! And I think, praise be, that Kyle’s genes are coming through for me! Her hair definitely has a reddish cast to it and some curls are appearing. I’ve always wanted curly, red haired kids. And since Kyle had red curls from infancy to his late teens, when it started getting darker (and started disappearing altogether), I figured marrying him was a good bet for that. 🙂


  • “what you got-for?” = What did you forget? Anytime he means to say forgot or forget, he says “got for”. I love it.
  • At a stoplight, we observed a man next to us who had a very long (like ZZ Top long) beard. Jack’s sincere comment? “That’s a vewy nice beard.”
  • After a bath, he was cleaning his ears out with a q-tip and declared, “I’m getting the boogers out.”
  • “Mom, I’m finding for my toy gun.” Finding for = looking for. 🙂 We’re working on that one.
  • He really likes the soccer gold (goal) Uncle Nate and Aunt Kar-yah (Karla) gave him for his birthday this summer.
  • Kyle got a cut on his hand and Jack asked if he was “blooding”.
  • When he sneezes he announces, “OH! I gah-bwess-you’d.” Is that similar to turning Google into a verb? I think so. 🙂
  • “Last night” is his measure of time for anything we did in the past. A few weeks ago we took a harbor cruise of Lake Superior in Duluth. About a week later Jackson said, “Mom! We went on that boat yast night…and we went around the barber. Yet’s do that again!”
  • loves “Blues Clues”, “Dinosaur Train” and “Mr. Rogers” these days.

We’ve reached a stage where Jackson is more aware of things and pays pretty close attention to things that are said/overheard and simple explanations are not enough anymore for this big boy.  The other day on the NPR were talking about the girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head, Malala. I hear his little voice pipe up, “MOM! THEY SHOT A GIRL?!!” I’m thinking: “Great. Now I get to explain the Taliban and their oppression of women to a 3 year old.” Needless to say, we’ve been a little more vigilant about what he hears/sees now.

Or another example – last week we had an appointment with an adoption agency to talk about their programs and interview their director. Enter “explain adoption to Jackson”. 🙂 He got it pretty well I think. Later that day I was looking at adoption programs for various countries online and Jack saw the pictures of kids and said, “So, which kid we gonna adopt?” I hope we can help him understand this crazy process for his little brain. He seems cool with the idea of having a chocolate colored brother, so that’s a bonus!

And of course, a recent picture. 🙂 That’s all the news that’s fit to print!


from the mouth of Jackson

“Mom! The asquitos are eating me all gone!”

(coming in from the hot, humid outdoors into the air conditioning after a water gun fight) “Oh brrr – can we make it hot in here?”

This morning I was serenaded quite often. I heard strains of You are My Sunshine, Tell Me Who I Am, 10,000 Reasons, How He Loves Us and Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be. I love that our kids love music. Makes my heart sing.

Jack is a very helpful boy. Often we hear, “Mom, what I can help you with?” or “Dad, what can I help you for?”

Nikon (our golden lab) is notorious for injuring himself while playing catch. The other day was no exception, when he jumped into Kyle’s throw to quickly. Kyle checked his mouth to see if there was any damage done and Jack asked, “He is blooding?” (Translation – Is he bleeding?)

And the most common word out of his mouth at this time: “WHY?” Yes, its driving me absolutely crazy. Yes, I’ve used “BECAUSE I SAID SO” to answer. 🙂

jackson is three.

three years ago, at 2:52am on July 17, we welcomed Jackson Keith into our lives and our world was forever changed. Meeting him for the first time was amazing. Getting to know him and helping to shape his little life these three years has been a privilege, a challenge, and a gift.

To my son, at three:

Dear Jackson,

Today, three years ago, you burst onto the scene. The nurses told me I was a rock star for the two hours of pushing it took to get you out of your cozy home and into this crazy world. Your dad kissed me so sweetly, in triumph and appreciation, as the doctor weighed you – I knew he thought you were amazing already. These three years have been just plain great. Hard at times, sleep deprived a lot of the time, but full of those incredible moments that take away your breath. The ones that make me want to forever remember them. To tuck them into my heart and keep them always. Thank goodness for cameras and iPods and video footage of your life – because I feel like its passing in a blur and I can only remember what you did yesterday. 🙂

Your tender heart and praise filled mouth make me so very happy. My day is riddled with choruses of “the sun comes up, its a new day gawning, its time to sing Your gongs again…bwess the Yord, oh my soul, ohhhh my sowl…” and “how He YOVES US, OH HOW He YOVES US” and I couldn’t love it more. The incessant question of “why” could very well be stricked from your vocabulary, but I know it comes with the territory of a three year old. I’d rather have your inquisitive self than any number of quiet hours to think uninterrupted thoughts. 🙂

Your delight for life and your grateful heart are really incredible. You aren’t without selfishness of course, but you often thank us for taking you places and doing things with you without being reminded or prompted. Most recently, you thanked me for your birthday party (which I loved throwing for you!) and for getting you lollipops.

You love to play sports. Baseball, golf, soccer…you do it all with gusto and intensity. Intense would be a good adjective for you at this age, little man. You feel, speak, play, interact, and just do life intensely. You love music. It’s super fun to see you get out your pretend guitar and “play” with the music on the “way-dio”. Current favorite songs? Tractor, Tractor by Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame and Dynamite by Taio Cruz. You like books. You will sit for quite a while and look at books, and of course you love being read to. Some of your favorites right now are “Halfway Herbert” by Francis Chan and anything by Richard Scarry.

The biggest change in your life so far happened in October when you became a big brother to Taylor! And what a great one you are too. You love her so much (sometimes a little TOO much, poor girl) and she thinks you hung the moon. Her face lights up like a Christmas tree when you walk in the room. Your cheerful, “Good MOWNING, Tayer!” is the sweetest thing. I hope you’ll always be good friends. Even when you’re 16 and 14, and 28 and 26. And 87 and 85. 🙂

Jack, your dad and I pray that the Lord would be the blazing center of your joy, intensity and passion. That you would TASTE and SEE that He is so, so, so Good. And that His love and grace would shape you into a boy and a man that follows Him no matter what.

I thank God for your life and how it is shaping my own. I thank Him that YOU are my son. Your dad and I love you so much. Happy Birthday, Jack-boy!

Your Mommy