Saturday, May 31, 2014

Our Deck is Finished!

I am so excited that our deck is finally done! We (I really mean Shawn and Kolsen) even finished it before a whole year passed by. We've already been eating most of our meals outside and the kids love to do school there too.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Where did May go?

Shawn's parents left on Tuesday morning with Karolyn and about four hours later my mom called to tell us my dad was going to have open heart surgery. We packed up the kids, dropped the dog off at the kennel and headed south. The kids did a great job visiting Papa in the hospital and my dad is finally back home after 19 days in the hospital. We are so thankful for any chance we get to spend time with our families, but I'm hoping the next visit will be with everyone feeling their best.

My best friend from Wisconsin also discovered that her 14 year old son, David has leukemia while my dad was having heart surgery. It was a rough, emotional week.

My parents went to Alaska last year and I narrowed down their 2,000 photos into a photo book that I had printed at I love how it turned out! I was thinking this would be a Christmas gift, but as usual I couldn't wait that long!

My parents with all the kids.

Some day we are going to have to get more than one hotel room, but so far we can still fit our three girls in one bed. Kolsen even had a comfy couch and ottoman.

Karolyn's trip to KS didn't go quite as planned, but she managed to find plenty of time to ride Cheyenne and play with cousins.

All the K-kids.
 Karolyn, Katie, Kaylee, Kelton, Kassidy, Konnor and Kolsen.

When we got back home, Shawn and Kolsen both spent quite a bit of time finishing up the stairs on the deck.

I LOVE the finished deck and we plan to spend many hours on it this summer!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fishing and Deck Building

So with everything that has happened this month, Bruce and Yvette's visit feels like it was a life time ago. We did enjoy their visit and kept pretty busy with lots of fun and some home improvement.

Shawn took us fishing at James Lake at Maplewood State Park. They caught quite a few pike and determined that we needed a net to get the really big ones in the boat.

 Since Shawn had to drag his boat 100 yards to the lake, we brought his little jon boat. While we weren't in the boat fishing we explored the shoreline.

After fishing all morning we all got spruced up and went to the girls' dance show.

 The girls all had a blast in dance class this year and will all be switching to a different class next year. Luckily, I think we can reuse Karolyn's and Kaylee's uniform for a younger sister. Whew! I'm glad they try to use these uniforms for two years because they are spendy!

 Nana arrived just in time to help us with planting the garden and she helped us start a succulent garden which the kids love!

 I love how it turned out and we've been enjoyed having it on our kitchen table.

 Shawn put Papa to work on finishing our deck project. I'm so blessed with a husband who was willing to build me a deck exactly like I wanted with wraparound stairs. Of course this required a LOT of quick crete and fun angled cuts. Papa helped put in all the cement, Thanks Papa!

 We had a little extra cement so we found everyone (neighbor kids included) an ice cream bucket and beads to make stepping stones.

 My new extended gardening area. I planted pole beans to climb up the railings.

 We dug up all the old plants, except my chives and replanted this area. I'm trying out zucchini, spaghetti squash and cucumbers on the trellis. The kids helped me plant celery and green pepper plants and cabbage too.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Watery Days

I know our families in Kansas are dry and hoping for rainy weather and believe me when I say I wish we could share. 

 The yard across the street from our house. Of course my kids are all excited about the Wetland and all the ducks they've seen swimming in it.

The weather is finally warming up and Shawn got the boat out for a fishing day. He and a friend took the two oldest kids on Saturday and they had endless amounts of fish they caught, so we went back to the same location on Sunday with all the kids. The fish weren't biting quite as much as the day before, but we still caught LOTS of fish. It's going to be a great summer!

Shawn got to toss a hook in every once in a while when he wasn't busy taking fish off the hook for the kids or fixing the lures because we had so many fish biting, but I didn't get a picture of him. Next time, which I'm sure will be sooner than I think.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Biologist of the Year!

I'm so excited for my husband. He just found out last week that he received an award for his work restoring wetlands. I'm glad that he loves what he does everyday and he is really good at it too. Way to go Shawn!

Here are some details about what he does and the award he won.

It is my pleasure to announce that Shawn Papon, Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Partners Program at Fergus Falls Wetland Management District has been selected by his peers as the 2013 NWRS Region 3 Biologist of the Year.

Shawn holds a B.S. from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas and a M.S. from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Shawn has been with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Region 3 for the past 11 years, working at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and the Wisconsin Private Lands Office before landing in Fergus Falls in 2009. Shawn was selected for the 2013 Biologist of the Year award in part for his success in leading the region’s adaptive management project aimed at improving the effectiveness of wetland restorations. In addition to his work on the wetland restoration project, Shawn averages a completion rate of approximately 25-30 private land habitat restoration projects each year. Shawn is excellent at forming and maintaining partnerships always seeking new ways to accomplish the Service mission. Over the past year Shawn has worked closely with USDA, Minnesota DNR, Soil and Water Conservation District staffs, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and local sport clubs to restore and conserve several hundred acres of grasslands and wetlands. Shawn’s dedication to the Service mission, his teamwork,  his professional interaction with his peers, the public, other agencies and organizations, his conservation ethic along with his passion for the wildlife and habitat resources we strive to restore and protect make him a worthy recipient of the Biologist of the Year Award for 2013. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

AWANA Awards Night

We love the AWANA program and all it teaches our kids! The kids enjoyed participating again this year and Shawn and I volunteered.

 The kids all finished their books and came home with lots of awards! Next year we'll have two kids in Truth and Training and two Sparks. I can't believe my baby girl will be in Sparks next year!

 Kolsen finished his third T&T book which is no easy feat! I think only 3 boys in his group were able to complete their books. Plus, he went through and said all the Silver Sections which is 8 additional sections with 8-12 verses each!

Karolyn completed her first T&T book and was so excited for her medal. She was the only girl to finish her book which required a lot of memorizing!

Kaylee worked super hard and finished her Sparks book, went back through and did all the reviews (which is saying all the verses again!) and she also worked on her extra credit packet.

Kassidy completed her second Cubbies book and will be moving up to Sparks next year. She had a blast going to the Cubbies room each week and always amazed me by memorizing her verses! She was pretty proud of the ribbon she got to pin to her vest.

 The whole Papon crew.

After the awards ceremony there was a carnival where the kids could spend all the tickets they earned by learning verses! I was following Kassidy and Karolyn around so I didn't get pictures of the other two.