A Year with the Cousins

Family is important. I love my family, my extended family, my siblings, cousins, mom and so on.  I remember that after Dad died lots of people would comment on the Wilken Family.  They would mention how lucky we were or comment about our closeness. My response in my head is always, “it’s all about choices!” People have lots of choices.  We have choices on how to spend our time and who to spend it with.  That year after my dad died the Wilkens were together a lot.  We gathered together for almost all major holidays, including a trip to the Wisconson Dells, birthday gatherings, 1st birthdays parties, July 24th, and weekends to Fairmont to help around the farm.  We choose to spend that time together, loving, and helping each other.

I think during that year my sister Molly and I realized how important it was to make sure that our little kids had “cousin time”.  We saw how much our little ones ( ages: 3, 1 1/2, 8 months) remembered and knew each other because we had spent the time to get together. They would call them on their pretend phone. They would recognize them from pictures.  They would want to skype with them.  They did these things because we spent the love language of little ones: TIME.

I wanted to take time and reflect on the past year, as Molly and I got the children together every month to see each other.  I was going to try to just put one picture of all the cousins from each month. However, they are never all in the same picture and they are just so dang cute it was hard to pick just one picture.  So without further delay here is our Year with the Grimmius cousins –with lots and lots of pictures!

A visit to Albert Lea to go to Molly’s Sing and Sprout Class. First we stayed in Fairmont with Grandma and then we drove over to Albert Lea to let the kids go to the music class she teaches. The girls loved to join in and Leeland and Peter both napped through the class.  Then we went to Molly’s house for an indoor picnic, and playtime. They played dress up with all the fun clothes, read books in Anne’s room and had a ball!

Christmas With the Wilkens and Anne turns 2! That was a very fun Christmas.  Lots of little ones. We did a cousin gift exchange, we went bowling with everyone. we took a tour of Uncle Larry’s Bike Shoppe. Anne turned the big TWO!

Molly come with Anne and Peter and stayed at our house from Monday Naptime to Wednesday Naptime. Big highlight was going swimming at night in the LuVerne pool! Blog Post Here!


Girls Weekend in Fairmont. We met for a day in Fairmont and my sisters, mom and sister-in-law , and Peter made our own silver bracelets.  It was something that I’ll never forget. Chris and Ryan watched our kiddos for us while we were gone!


A meet up with Molly and I and the kids at Grandmas House.  Usually March tends to get long. We all are itching for Spring and Summer and lot so gross motor play.  Grandma also pays for us to go and swim in the Holiday Inn Pool.  This year Uncle Bryan came and we celebrated his birthday. It was Bryan and the five little kiddos five and under. We also noticed that Anne was starting to want to play with the big girls and Leeland noticed that Peter was sort of interesting to play with.

Molly and the kids and Mom came over to see Ashley in her musical.  We got to babysit Peter while they went to the show.  We had a great time.  Molly and the kids slept downstairs and Lillian gave Grandma her bed to sleep in.  On the way home we went swimming in LuVerne.


This month the Wilken Family gathered at the Hawkin’s house to celebrate cousin Logan’s graduation from High School.  The kids enjoyed a big bowl of M&M’s and Peanuts (minus the peanuts) . There was even a Soft ball game and cute little cheerleaders! Then the next day we went swimming in the LuVerne Pool swimming with the Grimmius Family.



Peter’s Birthday Party and Dedication in Albert Lea.  I took the kids with me and went to Fairmont for the weekend.  Then early on Sunday morning we left the house to go to Church to see Peter Dedicated and have his birthday party.

Wilken Weekend in Fairmont .  This year some fun memories was seeing all the little kids in the kiddy pool that mom bought, watching Leeland show his cousin Peter how to put rocks in a bucket of water, and  watching trying to watch the fireworks with 5 little kids on the edge of a lake embankment. Blog post here


This month was back to back weeks of Fun in Fairmont.   The week of the 14th I went to Fairmont with the kids and helped mom while Molly and Ryan moved.  I met Molly on the interstate and picked up Anne and Peter. It was a funny exchange.  Peter slept. Anne and I listened to music.  We did Rhino rides and played with cousin Ross.  Then Ross met both of our families at the beach so the kids could go jet skiing with him. It was just one of those perfect days. It was beautiful out and your twenty something nephew wanted to hang out and play with his little cousins. It made this momma’s heart proud!



The Martin County Fair was amazing this year. The kids did tons of rides.  Spent endless hours in the Agricultural Learning Building, where they played in a huge pit of corn.  Lillian and Norah drove Anne and Leeland in a little ATV haybale race.  Leeland even made it into the Newspaper.  Lots of memories this year from the Fair.  Read Molly’s fun Fair post here.

Lillian turned 6 years old.  We met in LuVerne to celebrate at a park.  The Grimmius family also made the journey over.  Favorite memories from this day were: watching Leeland and Anne play. They would go up the play equipment and then wait for each other at the top and then slide at the same time.  If one of them got their first they waited for the other, the kids also worked their way through the vast play equipment in the park. We started the day at one side and then ended at the other. Leeland, Anne and Peter loved the little horse merry-go-round.

We went to Fairmont to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday.  The only present she requested was to have a picture of all of her grandkids all together! Mission accomplished.



The kids and I went over to Albert Lea to stay at the Grimmius house.  We hadn’t gotten a chance to see their new house yet and we were all excited to celebrate a whole year of cousin time.  We stayed from 1:00 on Monday to 1:00 on Wednesday.  Some of of the highlights included: Making celebration cousin crowns, going to Library story time, poetry tea party with Grandma, walks, parks, and going to Molly’s Sing-n-Sprout class. (Blog post here)