Fair Kissed Weekend

We love the Clay County Fair. It may not be in our town, but it is definitely the fair we cherish and never miss. This fair is the epitome of small town fair fun. From the animals, tractors, food, and the midway, it all makes it worth the trip. And of course, I can go into full momarazzi mode.IMG_1802-2

This picture says it all. Mac: legit smile. Yay, I’m at the fair! Carter: Cheese, the cows are waiting in the very NEXT building! Cooper: What is even going on right now? I’m extremely cool. IMG_1834-2

Our first stop is always those germ infested critters. IMG_1808-2

What’s up, Kernel Sanders.IMG_1826-2


Whatever this is, it’s fantastic. I want chicken strips like this one…IMG_1827-2

Keep up, Mac Daddy.IMG_1848-2

Do you mind? I’m trying to be on display here. Take it easy, sheep. You didn’t get a ribbon.IMG_1867-2

This one even bosses around sheep. I love how the sheep looks annoyed, but willing to listen just the same. IMG_1874-2


This little piggy went to the market. IMG_1886-2

Hairy piggies. IMG_1885-2

Hey, Mr. EdIMG_1900-2

The tractor parade is a must see for this guy. Carter’s favorite part of the fair is the tractors. We stop whatever we’re doing and head over for this annual event. IMG_2021

We grabbed ice cream prior to the tractor parade. Since these are some giant ice cream shakes, we all share a couple of them. The face below is what happens when your turn is over and it’s time to share. The dramatics of two three year olds could probably win an Emmy. IMG_2044

But this face was so happy to get his turn. Don’t feel bad for Mac, he got the ice cream back real soon. No Mac Daddies were too sad for this post. IMG_2038

Tractor nut. He asked for pictures in front of the tractors he liked best.IMG_2076

Good choice, buddy. IMG_2070

Flying high, like a big big boy.IMG_1998

We sent our kids in the crazy house. They came out just as crazy, so that didn’t work.IMG_1983


They were a pretty big fan of this ride. IMG_1959IMG_1952IMG_1947

Carter made a new friend and got a little squished on the scrambler. Good times. Everyone must get squished on the scrambler at least once in their life. IMG_2134

I forgot to mention Saturday was a scorcher, so the sprinkler was a must.IMG_2150

We had a blast. We made some great memories and I’m excited to take these little house monkeys back again next year.IMG_2154




The Weekend.

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Below is our memorial day weekend family story.

IMG_0635On Friday, Carter and dad planted his 3rd annual pumpkin patch. Watch for more on that soon.

IMG_0661On Saturday, the house monkeys ate a healthy-ish Cherrioh breakfast and we packed up our stuff, Grandma included, for a trip to the beach.

IMG_0681We found a place to dig at Glendalough State Park which is near Battle Lake, Minnesota. This beautiful park is non-motorized and has a huge, beautiful clean beach we love to frequent. This hidden gem is perfect for families and super affordable. For just $25 (plus gas and snacks) you can make this your beach spot all summer. Plus, the money supports Minnesota State Parks, which is a win-win, in my opinion.

IMG_0705We pulled the sand toys from storage for the little house monkeys. I use this bag to carry them all. It’s mesh so it let’s most of the sand out before I get to the van. Which is nice since we don’t like to bring the beach home with us. At least I don’t.

IMG_0712Cooper was watching his toy float away. He has no time for going after his own things. He’s pretty sure that’s Mac’s job.

IMG_0730These green seeds became a topic of conversation. Mac loves to ask what everything is and expects a complete report about it’s overall existence. I’m starting to make things up. I don’t know why this tree has green seeds or why there are so many. It just does. Grow up and study trees! Just kidding, I’m not losing my patience. I’ve got this. 

IMG_0743IMG_0823Carter’s favorite thing to do at the lake is sift for hours through the sand and find the best rocks. When it’s time to go, he has a stash of the very best finds. Admittedly, one or two does come home from time-to-time. I guess we are taking the beach home, after all.

IMG_0716Cooper has no strategic thinking to his play. He explores, sees something and explores that. When you’re 3, it’s as it should be. Squirrel!

IMG_0726Look, fishies momma! More like, fishies food, but still fishies.

IMG_0801Mac’s my name and sand slingin’s my game. Watch out, I’m workin’ here.


WARNING: If you’re grossed out by dragonflies, keep scrolling.

The dragonflies were plentiful on Saturday so catching one wasn’t too hard. In fact, this one came right to my blanket and sat down. This is one bug I don’t really mind touching, so long as I can pass it off quickly to Carter to inspect. Carter enjoys watching their wings flap. If the wings stop flapping, he blows on them until they start up again. That is exactly what he is doing in the photo above. This could go on for a half hour or so. Usually, until the dragonfly goes to a better place. 

IMG_0920Time to eat and fight over food. Yay!

IMG_0733IMG_0933Grandma was thinking when she packed treats, but the popsicle was a little melty. Kids don’t care.

IMG_0875We found snails and shells. We packed them in the bag because obviously they are amazing.IMG_0947Whoops. Son a gun.

IMG_0835See snails!

IMG_0965Finding dragonflies. There were probably a hundred in the tree above them.

IMG_0990You can’t see them in this picture, but it’s too pretty not to share.

IMG_1010Post-Cheetohs, you’re welcome. Seriously, undoubtedly the happiest kid in the world.

IMG_0984The last Glendalough beach picture to share is the best one and here’s why. Getting up this little hill is a somewhat challenging for the boys. It’s much easier with a helping hand. Cooper got up from the blanket with Grandma and went to help Mac. Cooper is stubborn as the day is long, but he’s also 100% sweetheart and loves his brothers.

IMG_1079This is how crazy our Saturday night was. Mackie loves to cut paper. We have a pile of construction paper just for cutting. He makes confetti if anyone needs some. It’s a $1 per bag. Kidding, kind of.

IMG_1082Waldo glasses and all. The adorableness is extra.

IMG_1109On Sunday we went to church and afterwards they were starving. Which helps them actually eat lunch. Pancakes are a fave for these little house monkeys so I whipped some up. This one was so full and happy that he let out a howl afterwards. I’ll take that as a compliment. I can combine the mix and water in my KitchenAid mixer like it’s nobody’s business… I poured the syrup too!

IMG_1113Seriously, he licked the plate… and this one normally eats like a bird. I don’t even know how he weighs anything.

IMG_1200Dad decided to help the boys work on their whiffle ball skills. Yes, he’s using a fishing pole in lieu of a tee. It worked pretty well!

IMG_1216This is actual footage of the ‘Mac Attack’. If looks could kill, he would have had a home run. But there’s a good chance he missed. I don’t actually remember.

IMG_1238Monday was Memorial Day, a beautiful day to remember those who proudly served for our freedom. We celebrated with family and food on Jewett Lake. We bought a pontoon recently and we were looking forward to taking the kids on a lake day adventure.

IMG_1229Someone had the opportunity to spend some time with his Grandpa. Carter can’t get enough of this guy.

IMG_1246While learning what all the buttons do and what some don’t do, we found a place to explore for a little while.



IMG_1292IMG_1297This photo was taken just prior to a complete meltdown. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful smile and innocent gesture. Shortly after this incident, Cooper crashed hard on the pontoon. Too many gummy bears and grapes maybe.

IMG_1320Grandma made sloppy joes and potato salad. It was a great way to end a day of sunshine. What did you do for Memorial Day weekend? Comment below!

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The weekend.

We packed up our little house monkeys and traveled to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to participate in the annual Walk for Williams Syndrome Awareness in Shoreview, Minnesota. It was particularly chilly for May, even in Minnesota standards, but at least there wasn’t snow.

IMG_0030The boys got a little restless so we found a place for them to run and climb.

IMG_0035They ran up and down this hill and I swear that just gave them more energy.

IMG_0028Mackie isn’t so sure about this one. Slight face of concern.

IMG_0059Mom’s fatal attempt at a group photo with a nice hilly background. Mackie’s angry cheese, refusing to smile… For those of you photo enthusiasts. I hill is an awesome green background, assuming your kiddos will cooperate.

IMG_6941However, I will smile if you give me a cheeseburger. Cheese-burger… – Mac                      No, it’s not a Big Mac.

IMG_6490-2We made it to the walk in time. This is the logo symbol for the Williams Syndrome Association (WSA).

IMG_0080Carter was a happy guy. Each year on this day, he feels very special and celebrated, as he should. He’s an incredible little person.

IMG_0103Once the walk was over, the boys played at the park. They were happy about this adventure.

IMG_0117He was real proud he climbed the chain ladder.

IMG_0120Hey ladies, look what I can do.

IMG_0133We decided to play ‘Hide and Seek’ and Mac told me where to hide. Somehow, he was still THIS shocked to find me.

IMG_0151Happy to run and play.

IMG_0156They got so dirty running up the hill at the first park by the time we got to the walk we probably should have changed them, but we just rolled with it. Dirty pants, kids don’t care.

IMG_0208Face painting! Make me a puppy! He was so inpatient waiting for Mac to get his face painted that I never thought he would settle down for his to be done. But once he was in the seat, he was happy as a clam. He knows what he wants and he fights for it. That’s not such a bad thing. Maybe he’ll be President someday.

IMG_0214Marshall and Chase from Paw Patrol made an appearance.

IMG_7057Paw Patrol is on a patrol!

IMG_6979Tongue and everything. You’re welcome.IMG_7063Before they put the hat part on he looks like a little brown bear.

IMG_0387We made it to our hotel, which I would not stay at again, so it remains nameless, but the pool was fun (when it was open).

IMG_0265It opened at 9 a.m. the next day, what hotel does that?

IMG_0347The house monkeys (err hotel monkeys) were going wild by 6 a.m. Finally – they are let out of their hotel room cage.

IMG_0397Even this one was chomping at the bit to get out of the room. I think we’re growing out of the one room hotel rooms.




IMG_0460Mackie is definitely braver than the rest. That’s probably why he’s already had a broken bone before the age of 3. He didn’t want dad to catch him. He says that he’s a big boy.

IMG_0524On Sunday, after some much needed food and energy release, we made our way to Elaina’s house. Together, with the rest of the WSA Regional Committee Members, we discussed upcoming events and activities for individuals living with WS and family members who live with someone who has WS. Someone had spent a great deal of time chalking their driveway. It was quite impressive.

IMG_9374We enjoyed some pizza and Carter found Elaina’s stash of bouncy balls. He never fails to find the bouncy balls. He has over 700 himself.

IMG_3494Elaina’s mom, Andrea, had this neat antique Schwinn bike in front of their home. It looks like it is missing some flowers, which she will no doubt have time for now that the 2018 WS Walk is behind her.

IMG_2290Now, full of pizza and all played out. The house monkey’s found some rest. After I took this photo, I too, may have drifted off for a few minutes. Luckily, Paul stayed awake for the drive home. Yes, that green thing in the photo is a portable potty chair. The boys are not above a van poo if necessary!

IMG_7350Did she really just say van poo? You bet I did. Mom’s deal with a whole lot of poo, literally and figuratively. Real poo, fake poo, stories about poo, questions about poo, shapes of poo, poo that should never be seen by the human eye ever and the most dreaded, poo that got on a finger somehow. I’ve seen it all, at least I think I have. (Insert a nervous face here)

It’s just one of those things. We try not to sweat it. Just like the candy necklaces we bought for the boys on the way home. I helped Mac put his on, no problem. Coopers’s necklace wouldn’t stretch over his sweet watermelon head. We bought him another one, Oh yes we did, don’t judge us until you’ve met Cooper’s strong will personality! Remember, President!

Since I’m a planner, I bought a backup. Two more broken candy necklaces later, I have come to the conclusion that Coopers head is too big for candy necklaces. Either that, or they don’t make them as big as they used to.

Regardless, there was no shortage of candy. They enjoyed some Curious George the whole way home, the house monkey they truly aspire to become. Another great weekend in the books.

If you’re interested in learning more about Williams Syndrome, please visit: http://www.williams-syndrome.org

If you have any questions for me, please contact Kerri Kava at 1MinnesotaMom@gmail.com or on social media at:

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It’s okay if I look tired, if I look happy too.

You look tired. (5)

I actually hear this often. If doesn’t offend me. It’s just that I actually AM real tired. That’s just a side effect of motherhood, accompanied by the occasional boogers found on my clothes.

As a mom, we make sacrifices. Ones that we typically lovingly and willfully commit to. And some that we, like our toddlers, kick and scream usually on the inside, yelling noooooo! I feel this way when my sleep is interrupted. I know this is expected, but I still scream it on the inside every time I’m woke up at 2 a.m. (or anytime between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. honestly). 

It’s okay if I look tired, if I look happy too.

If I’m living my life inspired.

If I’m extending the grace instilled in me to others.

If I speak the truth and spread goodness where I go.

If it means I’m teaching my children a solid work ethic.

If I’m modeling what a true friend is.

If it means, I’m fulfilled creatively.

If it means I’m growing and learning.

If it means I’ve found something that matters to me.

If it means I’m free to live the life I choose and the negative judgement of others holds no weight.

That’s okay. I’m okay with tired then, because I know I’ve truly living an authentic life and my days are filled with laughter, joy, inspiration and unique challenges. I am energized by creative living and the solid foundation in the relationships I’ve developed with my friends and family.

Today and everyday, I challenge myself and you (if this is you) to choose to live your authentic self. The life you aspire for. The happiness that can truly be yours. The work for what you want.

After all, the dream is free. The hustle is sold separately. 



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10 Tips for Taking Amazing Photos of Your Kids

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I’m no perfect mom, but one of things I have had plenty of practice at is photographing my kids. I love it. Not only because I selfishly want to freeze time and lock these memories away to remember them forever, but also because I love the creativity of capturing emotion and storytelling through photography.

I’ve been interested in and enhancing my photography skills for over 10 years now, but it honestly, it doesn’t take much to learn. But like any interest, it takes practice. So a few tips along the way can be quite helpful.

Assuming you’re ready to get started, here are a few tips to help you out:

  1. Invest in a quality, but affordable camera. You don’t need a top of the line cameras to obtain great results. A basic DSLR (or mirrorless if you prefer) will do. Whatever you choose, it should be a quality camera that you are committed to learning how to use. The camera is simply a tool to bring out your vision. If you’re looking for a recommendation for a camera. This is a great starter Canon DSLR and affordable for most. If you prefer Nikon, this would be it’s counterpart. I don’t plan to get involved in the Canon and Nikon debate because in my opinion they are both equally as great in quality, however in my opinion Canon is just easier to learn to use. Some people fall in love with the idea of owning a Nikon, without really understanding the first thing about them.                                                                                 IMG_1536
  2. Learn to shoot in manual mode. You can learn photography on your own, after all the camera comes with a manual. You can learn from YouTube or even in college. I’m mostly self-taught, but after years of persistence, I finally became a lifetime member to ClickinMoms. This was the best decision in enhancing my photography skills. They have a basic course on understanding the exposure triangle. This is when photography finally really ‘clicked’ for me (pun intended). I cannot recommend it enough.                                                                                                                     IMG_1259-2
  3. Keep the camera handy. A lot of people keep them hidden away and are afraid of damaging them so away it sits (gathering dust albeit). Here’s the thing, the camera only produces amazing quality photos if you exercise it!                                                       IMG_2947
  4. Get down to their level. Stop hovering over your kiddos and asking them to look up at you. Get down to where they are and be a goofball.                                                     IMG_3220-2
  5. Be ready. Keep the camera on. Saving battery is something you need to do on a long day trip or if you’re already low on batteries, but typically, just keep it on so you’re ready to go for a funny moment. Many cameras will have an auto shut off too, so don’t stress it.                                                                                                                                    IMG_0292
  6. Plan to wait. Your kids will do something silly and funny. It’s just a matter of time. Wait for them. Listen to them. Heck encourage them. Talk about farting or (gasp) even poo maybe! Hey, whatever works! I have boys – so this works for me!                       IMG_8201-2.jpg
  7. Use the viewfinder. Some of the best photos come from keeping my eye up to the shutter. Most cameras have the bigger screen to look at, but I’m old school because looking up to the shutter gives me a better view of the shot. It closes me out to the shot around it. I feel, I receive better results by looking directly into the viewfinder.   IMG_8627-2.jpg
  8. Overshoot. You can always delete photos you don’t like. Typically when I’m editing pictures, 90% of the time I wish I had more.                                                                                IMG_0298-2.jpg
  9. Make shooting a priority. Eventually your family will get on board. My kids actually enjoy it now. Certainly, there may be a day that they don’t, but right now cheese it up and I’ll take it! Talk to your family how important it is to you to have these memories captured.                                                                                                              IMG_5152
  10. Find the color. Bright outdoor spaces, colorful clothes and/or color can even come in the form of props or activities. (A red wagon, sidewalk chalk, finger paint, bubble sticks, books and even food. Watermelon anyone?                                                                                          IMG_4387



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The weekend [Mothers Day]

This was a mother’s day for the books, er blog. Excited to share our weekend through photos. It started with a picnic of hot dogs and pineapple. My kids can eat an entire pineapple. No, I didn’t let them, but it was amazing so I can understand why they wanted to.


IMG_9240As an NDSU Bison Alum, we love to ‘Go Bison’ with our fingers.

IMG_9290Cooper is still having a hard time with it, so instead he’s spreading world peace.

IMG_9279And sharing his beautiful smile with his mom all weekend.

IMG_9283I hope they’re best friends forever.

IMG_9286My liquid gold, (ahem) energy.

IMG_9395No, puppy you can’t eat my cookie!

IMG_9426Best fur friend cousins.

IMG_9380This is Murphy’s dog show pose. Just don’t ask him to do it again.

IMG_9370Because nature.

IMG_9449 Chubby slimy phalanges.

IMG_9455A green blob.

IMG_9461I only like blue…. ‘Bwooo’ as Coop says.

IMG_9468Give me all the chalk!

IMG_9486Our Mom art.

IMG_9326Sometimes, life knocks you down… Sometimes it’s a little tiny white doggie that drags you to the ground. You’re tool cool to stay down, Coop.

IMG_9532I met this beautiful gentle giant on Saturday afternoon. Sybil, Sadie is a teddy bear.

IMG_9512My first visit to the water this year. Oh how I missed you so.

IMG_9582On Mother’s Day, the kids just might consider a mini photo session on the sidewalk before church.

IMG_9613Let’s jump and be nuts.

IMG_9603Let’s be cute.

IMG_9619Let’s run again.

IMG_9611Starting to get sick of it. It’s been a full 2 minutes.

IMG_9629Tickle him, Cooper. (It didn’t work. 3 minutes later, it’s time to go.) Mom needs coffee.

IMG_9637But first, smile!



Time to play.

IMG_9704Family get together.

IMG_9669Let’s play house!

IMG_9670Coop says he’s calling, ‘Pa Pa’. He’ll probably never actually use a phone like that in his life, honestly.


Great-Grandma turned 85. Let’s celebrate.

IMG_9729Like most kids, frosting first.

IMG_9759They even had a chance to meet their cousins prize bunnies.

It was an awesome weekend of outdoor adventure with my boys.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be their mom and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Someday’s I question if I’m doing it right. After all, you don’t really know until it’s all over, right?

Overall, my efforts are focused on attention. They don’t have the nicest clothes. They aren’t in expensive activities. They ride in a minivan. But what they do receive is a lot of love and a concerted effort to give them my time. They are worth my time and attention and so much more. They are lifted up when I’m proud of them and see what they have accomplished. They aren’t afraid to talk to me because I choose to listen. And they even say cheese when I bribe them with fruit snacks. No, I am not above that. That’s just smart parenting.

Happy Mothers Day, friends!



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