david’s done gone and got hisself graduated: the party!

so here are the rest of the awesome pics from david’s graduation! i am too exhausted (from events to be detailed in a post coming soon!) to write too much about it, but i will just say: this was the best freaking party ever. of course i will write first about the food…it was unreal. it was burger joint food: chocolate malts, burgers, and fresh fried french fries. it. was. to. DIE. for! tompkins do such a great job hosting parties in their home. they are so welcoming and inviting, and it was just such a great time to celebrate david! i hope you enjoy these pics as much as i enjoyed the french fries!

the food. i mean, just take in the awesome-ness of this picture...

the food. i mean, just take in the awesome-ness of this picture…we have french fries! we have burgers! we have hotdogs! we have cheese sauce! plus an entire table cascading with decadent desserts….can you tell i like food……

i just...i can't....this picture....he's just so....*sigh...adorable david.

i just…i can’t….this picture….he’s just so….*sigh…adorable david.

some of the boy cousins. joey is hardcore. like a boss.

some of the boy cousins. joey is hardcore. like a boss.

pauly and reverend rodney. they are so hip.

pauly and reverend rodney…always deep in thought….

me and my cousin mandie and her ADORABLE daughter katelynn. also: i am a giant.

me and my cousin mandie and her ADORABLE daughter katelynn. also: i am a giant.

her parents told her she could have a sucker. this is what she came upstairs with! hahah! i just love her! a girl after my own heart...
her parents told her she could have a sucker. this is what she came upstairs with! hahah! i just love her! a girl after my own heart…

my mom playing bean bag war with the kiddos. she is so amazing. and this picture cracks me up!
my mom playing bean bag war with the kiddos. she is so amazing. and this picture cracks me up!

jett and ari in the bean bag war fort. TAKE COVER!!

jett and ari in the bean bag war fort. TAKE COVER!!

 

tompkins family!

tompkins family!

if we have to share bethany and david with "other cousins" i'm glad it's these guys. they are awesome.

if we have to share bethany and david with “other cousins” i’m glad it’s these guys. they are awesome.

trying to get our side cousins to take a picture....not quite there...lol i look less than amused.....

trying to get our side cousins to take a picture….not quite there…lol i look less than amused…..

still trying....

still trying….

boom!

boom!

and some silly ones! this is more fitting to who we really are...

and some silly ones! this is more fitting to who we really are…

one more. i love these people.

one more. i love these people.

blue pants girls! didn't even plan it. we must be related.

blue pants girls! didn’t even plan it. we must be related.

artsy shoe picture is mandatory.

artsy shoe picture is mandatory.

 

 

david’s done gone and got hisself graduated: the ceremony.

how’s that for a title? :)

well, it’s happened: the last of the cousins on my mom’s side has graduated. i really can’t believe it. (not so) little david graduated on sunday from park christian school.  we were all SO proud of him and all his hard work!

like i said, i really can’t believe it. when paul and i got married, david was 10 years old!! 10!! times just goes by so fast–i can’t stand it! but with that time has come amazing adventures in our life, and we are so excited for the new adventures in david’s future. he is a strong Godly man (it makes me giggle a little to say man, because in my head he is still 10…or younger….), but he really is so faithful and steadfast in his walk with the Lord, and we really admire that about him. he is one of the funniest guys we know…hands down…and we always ALWAYS have a blast with him whenever we are together. as you will see by all our pictures…

i think this will be at least a two part-er..there were just too many fun things happening for this to be just one blerg posting!

so…drumroll please……part one of ‘david graduates’ ( i have the graduation march stuck in my head right now, so please feel free to click here for some appropriate background music):

the graduate!! what a stud. and do you see those GOLD CORDS?! yep. honors. like a boss.

the graduate!! what a stud. and do you see those GOLD CORDS?! yep. honors. like a boss.

my dad and my uncle. bros before hoes. oh wait..that would be my mom and my aunt...sorry gals...
my dad and my uncle. bros before hoes. oh wait..

stevie-boy and jetty. waiting for the ceremony to start.

stevie-boy and jetty. waiting for the ceremony to start.

we tried to take a cute one while we waited, but....i just couldn't...

we tried to take a cute one while we waited, but….i just couldn’t…

i was a little obsessed with picture taking...

i was a little obsessed with picture taking…(also: i can’t go very long without being self-deprecating so: how HUGE do my cheeks look in this?! is it the horizontal stripes of my phone case?! i look like i am squirreling away nuts for a long winter….)

and so did my uncle austen. schauer. of fox news. yeah. he's a big deal.

my uncle austen. schauer. of fox news. yeah. he’s a big deal. and great at taking pictures, so ….win win.

me, sissiebear, bro in law, and cousin joey. so precious.

me, sissiebear, bro in law, and cousin joey. so precious.

ugh...little ari..i just am so addicted to her...

ugh…little ari..i just am so addicted to her…

me and pauly...back at the school where we met...11 years later...still livin' and lovin'....

me and pauly…back at the school where we met…11 years later…still livin’ la vida loca….

sissiebear and her      man-dan

sissiebear and her man-dan

here he is! these are a little blurry....lo siento..

here he is! these are a little blurry….lo siento..

....and the handshake makes it official!

….and the handshake makes it official!

action shot: pre hug. love my dad. and david.

action shot: pre hug. love my dad. and david.

such a special hug...and head pat....

such a special hug…and head pat….

david and hope (his ADORABLE girlfriend) were next to each other in the program.  T N T . that's what i am going to refer to them as...

david and hope (his ADORABLE girlfriend) were next to each other in the program. T N T . that’s what i am going to refer to them as…

hugging hope. she's so awesome.

hugging hope. she’s so awesome.

pauly's parents were there to! such a great family affair!

pauly’s parents were there too! such a great family affair!

Mitch-ee-gen

this last weekend we took a trip with our friends cory and summer to the U.P. in michigan to visit her family/the boys had a golf extravaganza. i mean that completely literally too…they golfed 36 holes a day for 3 straight days. we didn’t see them at all. but they had fun, so that’s all that matters :)

while the boys were away, summer, her sisters, mom, brother, and all the little kiddos (her sister has 3 kids and one on the way! friday!!) hung out at the house, cooked food (well, they cooked. i watched. and ate….it rocked.), and spent time outdoors. it. was. SO. relaxing and i miss them all already.

here are a few pics from our weekend….

also, this next weekend we are headed to fargo for memorial day and my cousin david’s graduation! whoop! lots more pics coming soon!!

so, thank you vukes for an AMAZING time! we love you guys so much! come and visit us soon!!

 

we are ready! 10 hour trip...here we go!! the babies did AMAZING though!

we are ready! 10 hour trip…here we go!! the babies did AMAZING though!

sleepy baby....

sleepy baby….

on the road....total blowout....too mosquito-y to get out of the car...this is what you do...mother of the year... (the car was not moving..i feel like i need to say that.. :) )

on the road….total blowout….too mosquito-y to get out of the car…this is what you do…mother of the year… (the car was not moving..i feel like i need to say that.. :) )

cory printed out a full itinerary for their golf weekend. it's very serious business! paul said these days he got to golf felt like christmas morning!

cory printed out a full itinerary for their golf weekend. it’s very serious business! paul said these days he got to golf felt like christmas morning!

how tyson slept for part of the 10 hour trip!

how tyson slept for part of the 10 hour trip!

ready to go! 'i ready, yaya!' (that's what he calls me, yaya..i love it.)

ready to go! ‘i ready, yaya!’ (that’s what he calls me, yaya..i love it.)

 

ashur and cousin isla eating lunch! they are SUCH GOOD buddies. it's adorable.

ashur and cousin isla eating lunch! they are SUCH GOOD buddies. it’s adorable.

summer's parents have the best set up for grand kids: HUGE yard, sheep, cats, chickens, sandbox, playhouse, swingset, climbing wall. it's amazing. here is our little buddy playing on the 'pirate ship' swingset. LAND HO!

summer’s parents have the best set up for grand kids: HUGE yard, sheep, cats, chickens, sandbox, playhouse, swingset, climbing wall. it’s amazing. here is our little buddy playing on the ‘pirate ship’ swingset. LAND HO!

sweet little sofia and me climbing her 'thinking tree'

sweet little sofia and me climbing her ‘thinking tree’

sof in her 'thinking tree.' she said she likes to climb up here and look all around and think about the world. how adorable is that?!

sof in her ‘thinking tree.’ she said she likes to climb up here and look all around and think about the world. how adorable is that?!

ashur stole my phone and i wound up with 153 pics of this. had to post just one

ashur stole my phone and i wound up with 153 pics of this. had to post just one

summ's parents are incredible hosts. amazing meals prepared each day for us...SUPER healthy too...here is pauly with an all fruit smoothie. amazing.

summ’s parents are incredible hosts. they made amazing meals for us each day…..SUPER healthy too…here is pauly with an all fruit smoothie. amazing.

trying to get a couple cute ones before me steals my phone for the afternoon...

trying to get a couple cute ones before he steals my phone for the afternoon…

one more!

one more!

so...yes...they have sheep..and they decided to let them run loose for a bit one afternoon. listen: i am from the city. this.....this scared the crap out of me....but the kids had fun, so that's all that matters....lol

so…yes…they have sheep..and they decided to let them run loose for a bit one afternoon. listen: i am from the city. this…..this scared the crap out of me….but the kids had fun, so that’s all that matters….lol

 

flowers for sale!

summer’s niece sofia. flowers for sale!

 

summer's niece, sofia, picked these 'flowers' for me. she was selling them to us all. these puppies only cost me a cool $12...in pretend money, please.

 sofia, picked these ‘flowers’ for me. she was selling them to us all. these puppies only cost me a cool $12…in pretend money, please.

 

sofia with 'mulan' hair. hahah! and 3D glasses...like a rockstar..

sofia with ‘mulan’ hair. hahah! and 3D glasses…like a rockstar.. also, summer’s brother, tyler. 

 

part of their backyard....we laid out one day here...it was SO peaceful...and i burned...whoops!

part of their backyard….we laid out one day here…it was SO peaceful…and i burned…whoops!

some of the courses where they golfed. i couldn't tell you anything about this other than: hey. here's a part of a golf course.

part of a course where they golfed. i couldn’t tell you anything about this other than: hey. here’s part of a golf course.

pauly's favorite course they golfed at!

pauly’s favorite course they golfed at!

summer's dad tony, paul, and cory on the course!

summer’s dad tony, paul, and cory on the course!

hey. here is another shot of a golf course.

hey. here is another shot of a golf course.

i don't know ANYone who loves golf as much as these two..

i don’t know ANYone who loves golf as much as these two..

 

life according to fargo

here are some of the highlights from our trip to fargo last weekend! boom-shaka-laka.

 

we got to see sweet little austin! he is the nephew of our friends caleb and libby from small group. and man, he is ADORABLE.

we got to see sweet little austin! he is the nephew of our friends caleb and libby from small group. and man, he is ADORABLE.

speaking of cute babies: we also got to see our friends arika and cole and their ADORABLE baby gavin! he is so precious.

speaking of cute babies: we also got to see our friends arika and cole and their ADORABLE baby gavin! he is so precious.

pauly and gavin. buds.

pauly and gavin. buds.

me and some of my favorite people.

me and some of my favorite people.

coolest people ever. i just want to take as many pics with and of them as possible to prove i know cool kids. it makes me feel cooler.

coolest people ever. i just want to take as many pics with and of them as possible to prove i know cool kids. it makes me feel cooler.

so we were hanging at the mall and i tried on pauly's hat. see how it barely fits my head...then sissiebear tried it on.....
so we were hanging at the mall and i tried on pauly’s hat. see how it barely fits my bulbous head…then sissiebear tried it on…..

........hahahahahah! way too big for her normal person sized head!

……..hahahahahah! way too big for her normal person sized head!

bethany had these awesome looking sunglasses...until i tried them on....old, greasy, mom....

bethany had these awesome looking sunglasses…until i tried them on….old, greasy, mom….

cool, side braid, girl...

cool, side braid, girl…

awesome, young, hipster.

awesome, young, hipster.

 

rosie graduates!

this last weekend we traveled to fargo to visit family and celebrate mother’s day, as well as our aunt rosie graduating with her masters degree! it was so fun to be in fargo again..we hadn’t been since christmas! crazy…. and it was really special to be there to celebrate these moments with family. when we lived in AZ all we wanted was to be able to pop up to fargo and not miss these family gatherings. it means so much to us now to be able to attend, and we don’t take that for granted. we really want our families to be close, and for our (future!) children to know not only their grandparents well, but also their cousins, and aunts and uncles. thank you family for being so awesome! we love you!

and congratulations to rosie on her graduate degree in library and media sciences! it was a BRUTAL program to get through, but you are very inspiring the way you persevered through it all.

oh, and did i mention she helped plan TWO weddings during, and worked full time, and raised two kids–among many MANY other things!

we love you rosie! it was such a blessing to be there to support you like you have supported and blessed us so many times over!

here are the highlights!

the graduate program (and president of the college!) asked rosie to speak that the graduation. SHE. ROCKED. IT. her speech was so well written, spoken with clarity and humor, and kept everyone's attention. it was BY FAR the best speech that day. no lie.

the graduate program (and president of the college!) asked rosie to speak that the graduation. SHE. ROCKED. IT. her speech was so well written, spoken with clarity and humor, and kept everyone’s attention. it was BY FAR the best speech that day. no lie. not a dry eye by the end.

OFFICIALLY GRADUATED!! we are SO SO PROUD of all your hard work rosie!!

OFFICIALLY GRADUATED!! we are SO SO PROUD of all your hard work rosie!!

her name in the program! after her speech the president of the college said, "now that's what graduation is all about." we were all in tears by the end and could not be prouder!

her name in the program! after her speech the president of the college said, “now that’s what graduation is all about.” we were all in tears by the end and could not be prouder!

the graduate and her family. best. people. ever.

the graduate and her family. best. people. ever.

we love you rosie!! i love my family.

we love you rosie!! and. i love my family.

photo bombed. my cousin david is cooler than your cousin david. i guarantee it.

photo bombed. my cousin david is cooler than your cousin david. i guarantee it.

no grad party is complete until you have cake with an ungodly amount of sugar frosting.

no grad party is complete until you have cake with an ungodly amount of sugar frosting.

again. this kid. and his awesome sister (white shirt) and adorable gf hope (gray). they are so much cooler than i will ever hope to be.

again. this kid. and his awesome sister, my cousin bethany (white shirt) and adorable gf hope (gray). they are so much cooler than i will ever hope to be.

happy mother’s day!

i forgot to bring my computer to fargo to post new blergs…so….sorry mama! this is a day late!

i know we are all totally bombarded through facebook, twitter, and instagram, of everyone’s little notes and pictures to their moms…but really i think that is so great. each person has a special and unique connection with their mom, and such a strong sense of love and thankfulness that they want to share it with us all. i know when i have kids i will feel so blessed and honored by my kids if they do that for me. i hope my mom feels the same about this! i love you mom and i am so blessed by you everyday.

so…there are SO many reasons why i adore my mom, here are a few:

…..her dedication to her faith is unmatched. in EVERY instance she continually draws back into the Lord for perspective and guidance. she is true prayer warrior for her family and friends, and is continually showing us what it means to desire a deep relationship with Jesus

…she has a way of offering perspective without sounding pushy or nagging

….she truly has my best interest at heart so i know her advice is solid

…..she is beyond generous to us with time, money, prayer, advice, etc

….she is still the first person i call when i feel sick or sad. even from a distance she can make me feel so much better.

…..she has taught me what it really means to be sacrificial as a spouse and mother

my  mom is truly my best friend. i think i call her (no joke) at LEAST twice a day if not more. i just like to bounce things off her, catch up on our days, and generally hear her voice. it soothes me :)

so, thank you mom for showing me how to (someday) be a great mom too. i hope to raise my kids with as much love, grace and patience as you did for us. i love you so much!!

happy mother’s day to my  mom and to my mother-in-law, too! two of the best women i know! i hope yesterday was filled with extra love and gratitude for you…you do so much to take care of us all, even in adulthood! i love you both so much!

 

yesterday we celebrated my mom's retirement from her at home daycare. she has faithfully served our friends and family and loving helped raise so many of us! we all love you, suzie (and stevie-boy..he helps too!)

yesterday we celebrated my mom’s retirement from her at-home daycare. she has faithfully served our friends and family for almost 3 decades now, and helped lovingly raise so many of us! we all love you, suzie (and steve-y-boy..he helps too!)

this is why i love my job

yesterday we started working on mother’s day cards with our first grade kiddos.

adorable-ness ensued:

that Tim is one lucky dude. also i think he meant: love william...

that Tim is one lucky dude. also i think he meant: love william…

ahahah! i mean..there are just no words needed for how adorable this is...

ahahah! i mean..there are just no words needed for how adorable this is…

....you give me my coat. like a true mother.

….you give me my coat. like a true mother.

i think we lost direction for this little poem....so cute nonetheless!

i think we lost direction for this little poem….so cute nonetheless!

run. or. dye.

okay, so i agreed to do the g-d 5k (quote from ‘the office’, fyi)…a few months ago. it’s called run or dye and it’s a 5k where you get covered in paint while you run…just for fun :)

i thought it would be the motivation i needed to get me back into consistent running. guess what? it didn’t. if anything, i had so much anxiety leading up to running it, that every night when i thought, ‘you better go run’ i would get so anxious about how many days till the race or how few days i had trained so far, that my next thought would be “i need to go talk to some food about this.” cut to me hardly ever running.

SO. night before the race, our friends caleb and libby came to sleep over because, well, it’s fun to have sleepovers still, and the race was close to our house so we could just walk there in the morning. so we made a HUGE pasta dinner, to carbo load before the big day, and had fun watching episodes of ‘arrested development.’ (side note: omg. THIS SHOW. i cannot get enough of it!! it’s so funny and if you haven’t seen it, watch it as soon as freaking possible.)

well, this sounds fun, right? well it was, but i was also filled with anxiety about the next days running…. okay, so let’s also be clear: this a FUN run. not timed, no medals, just lots of people having fun, running a little, and covering each other in colored powder all the while. and music. and cookies. so just remember that as i tell you about my anxiety. (you can now have more sympathy for paul. i give you permission.)

okay….where was i…oh yeah…morning of the race. i had diarrhea twice. could have been the pasta…but i think it was anxiety. too much info…sorry… :) anyway we get to the race and….IT WAS SO FUN. while we waited to run, dj’s played fun dance music, people threw colored paint powder at each other and i calmed down when i saw how many kids were running this. also, there were like 1.5 billion people there (exaggeration), so i figured we wouldn’t be running that fast…. always the optimist….

we finally started our run and GUESS WHAT?! i RAN THE WHOLE TIME!! didn’t stop once. granted we were running at basically a fast walking pace (details, details…) but STILL. booyah!! i was proud. it was my first race ever people! and after they give you cookies! best. day. ever.

honestly, i HIGHLY recommend this race for people and families. i want to do it for sure again next year.  it’s just a super fun way to get out and live life in a new way. we all need a little of that in our lives…at least i know i do!

pre-race meal. pauly made AWESOME lemon garlic pasta with shrimp and caleb and libby brought AMAZING bread from cosetta's.

pre-race meal. pauly made AWESOME lemon garlic pasta with shrimp and caleb and libby brought AMAZING bread from cosetta’s.

pre-race. i HATE my glasses....i think i look like a middle age mom. i can already hear my kids saying "oh my gosh mom! you were such a NERD."

pre-race. i HATE my glasses….i think i look like a middle age mom. i can already hear my kids saying “oh my gosh mom! you were such a NERD.”

again, pre-race. post diarrhea.

again, pre-race. post diarrhea.

it was SO COLD the morning of the race, so we took the shuttle bus there.

it was SO COLD the morning of the race, so we took the shuttle bus there. they are so cute. 

you can't tell, but i'm GRIPPING paul's arm out of anxiety....for this fun run...with kids and the elderly....how terrifying.

you can’t tell, but i’m GRIPPING paul’s arm out of anxiety….for this fun run…with kids and the elderly….how terrifying.

pearly white before the race!
pearly white before the race!

the first powder starts to fly!

the first powder starts to fly!

we've been hit!

we’ve been hit!

i thought i would make my look a little sexier by adding head squeezing ear muffs. ya welcome.

i thought i would make my look a little sexier by adding head squeezing ear muffs. ya welcome.

not too messy...yet!

not too messy…yet!

WE DID IT!

post race! WE DID IT!

luecke finishers! thank you to these dear friends for pushing us to do something new and fun! just. love. them.
luecke finishers! thank you to these dear friends for pushing us to do something new and fun! just. love. them.

done! whoop!

done! whoop!

after the race the put on a little dance for all the finishers and everyone opened their dye packs at the same time. so cool!

after the race , there was music for all the finishers and everyone opened their dye packs at the same time. so cool!

 

the boys were having so much fun they decided to do cartwheels. like a boss.

the boys were having so much fun they decided to do cartwheels. like a boss.

cookies post race! best. idea. ever.

cookies post race! best. idea. ever.

love her.

love her.

luecke love. they are such great friends.

luecke love. they are such great friends.

ahhh yeah....covered!

ahhh yeah….covered!
lol this was where caleb was standing!

lol this was where caleb was standing!