We hope this finds you well!  We love hearing from you and keeping up with our friends and family near and far.  Watching our kids’ generous gift-giving spirits we are so blessed and challenged.  We have been thinking about how Christmas is God’s undeserved gift of Jesus to the world.  

Do we love like God so loved?

In a lot of ways, this year has been a simple year.  Fewer trips, no vacations, no big changes with Ben’s work.  Our main focus has been making progress on the house, and then in the latter half of the year, some attention shifted to pregnancy with baby on the way.  The major milestones on the house include Ben wiring the whole house - from start to finish - and it passing the electrical inspection (I am one very proud wife!!!), spray foam insulation, and installing an entire new septic system outside in November, with our unseasonably warm weather.  You can keep up with the house progress (and baby updates) on our family blog at

To fill out the picture of our year without getting boring, here is the Sahlstrom Family’s 2016 Quiz!

In his first year of Preschool, Ole is a very busy boy!  He can write his name, and we are reading Charlotte’s Web as his first chapter book.  So far this semester we have done unit studies on:

  1. Diggers, tractors and big machines
  2. Medical, with a real-life hospital ER visit
  3. Electricity, electrical wiring, tools, and safety
  4. Septic installation with lots of outdoor sensory “work” with clearing trees and rock piles
  5. Seasons and weather, especially apple picking and waiting excitedly for snow
  6. All the above

The days of a quiet house are over!  At least *most* of the time it is joyous sounds… except for the occasional sibling squabble.  Or hollering.  Or singing.  Or banging.  We are in the stage of parenting where...

  1. Naptimes are Mom’s sanity hour
  2. Toddlers don’t need naps anymore
  3. The 3-year-old can hear the clink of bowls and crinkle of cereal when mom and dad have a midnight snack - we can’t get away with anything!
  4. Both A and C
  5. We are considering getting a nanny for 3 kids age three and under

More big eaters usually means more expensive… or you have to be more creative!  To have fun eating out while not increasing our $40/month eating out budget, we implemented the following strategies:

  1. If there’s not an app with a coupon or deal, it’s not an option...
  2. Stayed up all night in line at a new Caribou coffee store to get free coffee and a bagel each week for the year
  3. Bring snacks and some food in the car (especially for the kids) so we can get by with a treat item
  4. A free breakfast sandwich under golden arches every time certain MN sports teams win
  5. Pizza Ranch buffet all the way; it’s our favorite!
  6. All the above

Since many of you are asking if we really are going to fit 3 carseats in the back of our Honda Fit, and the joke has been made that we’ll outgrow our house before we move in, let’s answer that with this multiple choice.  To accommodate our growing family (baby due late Feb.) we plan to…

  1. Get a bigger car/van
  2. Add on to our new 2-bedroom house
  3. Increase our grocery budget
  4. Welcome baby with smiles and joy
  5. All the above

Due to being in the middle of a house rebuild, the store we frequent the most is the home improvement store Menards.  It’s a love-hate relationship:  mostly Ben loving the deals in the sales flyers, and Naomi hating that they don’t have shoes, or baby clothes, or SOMETHING else of interest to look at!


  1. You know it’s bad when you start recognizing store associates and they remember you by name.
  2. When Naomi gets asked, “Can I help you?” while waiting, answering, “My husband is shopping gathering supplies…” says it all.
  3. Rules for date night had to be made:  going to Menards does not count as a date!!
  4. The yellow car cart lives at Menards.  There is only one.  All eyes are peeled for it as we pull in the parking lot, and we hope we get to use it as bad as the kids do!
  5. Naomi went shopping here on Black Friday.

Get to know Ole and Maple!  Of his own accord out of the blue one day Ole (3.5 years) said he wanted to accept Jesus in his life, and he prayed to do so!  He is Mr. Social, and his dream day has about 3 social events/parties with ALL his friends!  The selfless cheerful giving he displayed when packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child was humbling.  Maple (almost 2) can hold her own, and is becoming verbal, so this will be interesting to see how she makes herself heard over big brother.  She doesn’t like to leave hair things in, and prefers to have it wild and free, which drives her momma crazy!


  1. Maple’s favorite words are “Poppy” and “Opie” - Grandpa Sam’s new puppies.
  2. Ole won’t tolerate being called “cute” because in his mind boys can only be “handsome,” and girls are cute, pretty, beautiful, etc., haha!
  3. Maple finally has a doll stroller; previously she pushed her babies in Tonka dump trucks.
  4. Sleepovers at Grandpa and Grandma’s house are a thing.  What have we started?!
  5. They are both so excited for their new brother/sister!

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!


Ben, Naomi, Olaf, Maple and baby on the way

Answers:  F, D, F, D, all true, all true