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.

taylor funnies

Taylor has hit a new level of vocabulary and verbal proficiency that is just cracking us up daily. It’s like she’s 2 going on 10. I wish I had a voice-activated recorder lying around because very often she comes up with something or we have a conversation that is just TOO MUCH. And I really wish I could capture her inflection in writing, because she has this adorable up-talk in her speech that I can’t explain. It sounds like she’s inquisitive, but she’s not.

Here’s a meager sampling, since we’re dependent on my memory…

Recently, Grandma Char had plans to come visit, but the day she was going to come turned out to be a day of snow. The drive is an hour and a half in good weather, so she very wisely stayed home and rescheduled. Taylor asked me, “When Namma tuming?” I explained that she couldn’t come because of the snow. Taylor replied, ever the problem solver, “Her tood put her boots on and walk here!” Well… 🙂

Trying to open the fridge: “I’m BIG! I’m OLD!” Unsuccessful: “I’m too wittle.”

In conversation with me: “Merember that, Mom?”

The other day, Kyle was at a meeting when Taylor woke up from her nap. It seems we have a bona fide Daddy’s girl on our hands. “Where my dad dough (go)?” “He’s at a meeting.” “OH! I YOST (lost) him?! Well, I miss him.”

“I ALWAYS yike to wear dose doves (those gloves).” (Always is a new qualifier of the week.)

“Mom, mom, mom, Johanna!” (I didn’t even know she knew my name. Then when I asked her if she knew that was my name she said, “Your name Mommy.”)

Me: Taylor, here’s your banana. Taylor: Thanks, honey!

Her version of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”:
Who let the dogs out? Wuff, wuff, wuff.
I don’t knoooow!


two years with taylor


at two years old, Taylor:

  • weighs 28 lbs. (70th percentile)
  • is 2 ft. 11 inches tall (80th percentile)
  • has almost all her teeth – those two year molars are still coming through…sigh.
  • runs and jumps and loves to walk or ride her plasma car.
  • talks up one wall and down the other – her vocabulary and communication skills surprise me every day.
  • is a total fashionista. She frequently tells me exactly what she’d like to wear and loves shoes and tutus. 🙂
  • still loves her Pooh lovey and her “blankek” (blanket).
  • adores her daddy, her “Namas” (Grandmas) and Granpa and Papa.
  • thinks Jack hung the moon, except when he is touching her stuff.
  • enjoys “Boos Coos” (Blues Clues) and Georgie (Curious George) and Dannel Tider (Daniel Tiger) for TVand
  • her favorite songs to sing are “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “You are my Sunshine”.
  • loves Sandra Boynton books, especially “The Belly Button Book” and “Pajama Time”.
  • loves to play “Ring Around the Rosie”
  • points out “trators” and “big trucks” when we’re on the road.
  • we still call her Tay or Tay-Tay for nicknames.

Taylor is my sunshine. 🙂 She makes me smile and at the same time, boggles my mind with her smart little self and so much personality. I feel like I know less about parenting her than I did about Jack, because his personality is more similar to mine and her’s is not. Where he likes to follow the rules, she would like them not to exist. 🙂 But oh I love her. She is a treasure.

I can’t wait to see what her response to her baby brother or sister will be and if she’ll love being a little mommy. She likes babies a LOT, so i think that will be in our favor.

She recently started singing along when we have family worship time – its so precious to hear her little voice singing “Bwess the Yord” and other sweet words of praise to our Jesus.

Jesus, Taylor is your girl. I pray for her to know you and love you. Please help Kyle and I parent her well. May she know your love because of our love for her. May she know your heart is for her. Amen.

Happy 2nd birthday, Tay-tay! We love you.

taylor lately

From my baby girl:

  • hork! = fork
  • airpape! = airplane (always said with much enthusiasm)
  • blankek = blanket
  • no, pease = no way, no thank you, i don’t want it. (unfortunately a favorite phrase at the moment)
  • happy, happy, happy and more happy = please sing to me: “You are My Sunshine” and other songs.
  • shoooo = shoe. This girl loves her shoes. 🙂
  • go, go, go = what I hear from the backseat when I slow down for traffic or stop at a stop sign or traffic light. My girl likes to be on the move!
  • She wants to do whatever Jack does and be wherever Jack is. She really missed him this past weekend when he was fishing with Kyle. It was sweet to see.

trying to ride her brother’s bike

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!


one year with taylor charlotte

a year ago today I met my daughter for the first time. Now an entire year has passed – I cannot imagine our lives without her cheerful heart and brilliant smile. Taylor joined our family on her due date, bursting on to the scene at 11:56am. Since she was a whole pound and an ounce lighter than her bruiser of a brother was at birth, I felt like I had a “tiny” newborn. 🙂

she quickly found her place in our hearts and home. Jack became a big brother (and he’s pretty good at it!) and we became parents of two. This year passed with remarkable speed and here we are with a busy, ambulatory, beautiful and curious big girl named Taylor Charlotte. I love her with all of my heart and never would have imagined the extent of the multiplied joy she adds to my life.

she’s the second born. the next one. 🙂 so of course, we compared her first year to her brother’s, since its easy to think that a baby is a baby. But oh no. She is her own person for sure and for certain. An individual, cut from the same DNA, but sewn together by a Master Designer off a pattern all her own. 🙂 I love her. Her smile is electric – she just lights up a room and my heart when I see her grin. Her excitement for life and her tenacious spirit will serve her well as life goes on.  Her obvious passion and enthusiasm will be assets, I hope – she’s a pretty determined little lady. I look forward to getting to know her better and better as she grows – first into a little girl, then a young woman.

this year of being a mother of two has been a challenge for me. Not so much of me to spare between two people that need much from me. 🙂 More tiredness. More moments of thinking I’m not cut out for this. But more grace. Always more grace. And cups of coffee. And naptime, oh blessed naptime. He who has called me (to motherhood) is faithful.

at one year old, Taylor:

  • weighs 22 lbs.
  • is 30 inches long
  • has seven teeth
  • has been walking for over a month
  • doesn’t crawl anymore
  • still likes to wake at night 😦
  • loves her Pooh blankie and her paci
  • adores her daddy and has a BIG smile just for him
  • lights up when she sees me
  • thinks Jack hung the moon, except when he knocks her down
  • can almost navigate the stairs properly – loves to climb, but is a little unsteady going down
  • eats lots of table food, but still loves to nurse
  • is nicknamed Tay or Tay-Tay

Yes, our Taylor girl has brought lots of joy into our lives. So much joy.

Taylor Charlotte, we pray that you would KNOW the love of Christ and be His beloved. Your daddy and I thank God for your life and ask Him to grant you the beauty of salvation, the wonder of His love and the exceeding greatness of His power at work in your life. Keep living life at full tilt, Taylor girl. Don’t let anyone stop you from running hard after God and in the direction of the dreams He gives you. We will love you and support you all the way, sweet girl. Love you forever. Happy First Birthday, Tay-tay!