The Magic of Christmas

Story told by: Lainey

We are LOVING everything to do with the Christmas season these past few days!

We had a last-minute Christmas party last Thursday! All of us kids got to eat lots of junk food and watch a Christmas movie in our pajamas.

Mommy bought two of the biggest pizzas we’ve ever seen.

The adults mostly ignored us all night long while they ate junk food and drank slightly too much.

Laughing until you cry feels so good. What an amazing group of friends we have!

Henry’s class was excited to celebrate the first snow during preschool hours!

They got to examine the snowflakes as they fell.

Because Mrs. O’Loughlin is amazing she let all of the preschoolers have hot cocoa after coming inside.

We were bummed last Friday when there wasn’t enough snow for a snowman, so we did a fun snowman craft instead.

But we woke up on Saturday to surprise snow that wasn’t in the forecast! So we were outside by 6:45 a.m.

And the best part for Mommy and Daddy? For the first time EVER!! they got to stay warm inside, drinking coffee while we played in the backyard. A win-win for everyone!

Brody has been playing “Santa Baby” nonstop in our house.

The boys’ preschool had a Parent Night Out on Saturday evening, so Mommy and Daddy got to spend some great one-on-one time together while we had pizza, played games, and did crafts.

Easily my most favorite thing of the past few days is when Santa came to our house so I could interview him for my podcast.

Mommy knows Mrs. Claus, so she arranged for me to call him last weekend to invite him to my house. I’m aware that the Santas you might see in the mall are helper Santas, but while talking to this Santa last weekend, I asked him if he knew where I lived. When he responded with, “Of course,” I immediately said, “HE’S THE REAL ONE!!!”

The boys went downstairs with Daddy while I asked Santa questions about reindeer (which is the topic of this bonus episode).

This episode of “Learning with Lainey” will be released later this month!

What I was most curious about was how he would get to and from my house. And now I know!

On Sunday evening, we had Advent Craft Night at our church. The boys were hesitant to craft at first, but eventually got in to it.

I was really excited to make matching jingle bell necklaces for me and Mommy.

On Monday we woke up to Elf announcing that night would be Grinch Night. We were so excited!!

While we had no snow in Colton, Henry and his buddy, Rowan, were thrilled to find snow in Pullman at preschool!

For Grinch Night, Mommy made Grinch kabobs.

We also got green milk, who hash, and roast beast.

We had mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.

And had a yummy Grinch mix for dessert number two while we watched the original Grinch cartoon.

This is one of our favorite traditions!

Brody got to enjoy hot chocolate in preschool today!

And then this evening was “Bring a Friend to Dance Night” where we got to wear Christmas jammies. Paige got to join me for this fun event!

My whole class and their buddies.

After a quick dinner of Happy Meals, we changed our clothes and went up to WSU to meet Santa and Santa Butch.

While we waited for them to arrive, we wrote letters to Santa.

We were at the front of the line to meet Santa. Brody told him that he wanted a “loopy loop” Hot Wheels track, Henry wants a Hot Wheels car wash, and I told Santa that I would like a watch.

Then we got to go see Santa Butch.

Paige brought her football for Butch and Santa to sign!

Then we went upstairs to decorate cookies and do crafts.

Mommy dug a Kit Kat bar out of her purse for Henry to decorate.

Such a fun night!

Thanksgiving 2018

Story told by: Lainey

We had a wonderful time with family over the past few days for Thanksgiving!

Our biggest surprise was the arrival of Elf in the morning! He normally comes in the evening, so this year I was prepared to stake things out to determine who delivers him. But he must have known I was onto him, so he decided to come in the middle of the night before Thanksgiving. That’s one smart elf.

We read his note and found out that he had hidden a new book for us somewhere in the house.

After a quick, yet frantic hunt, we found our new Christmas book!

I asked the boys to sit down around Elf so we could all read this book together.

I started the morning by assisting Daddy in potato peeling.

Daddy wanted to look nice for Thanksgiving, but finds it hard to wear pants after his ACL surgery, so this is the outfit on which he settled.

Next up, watching the Thanksgiving parade on TV!

Snuggles with Mommy.

About 45 minutes into the parade, Na Na and Ba Ba arrived!

Shortly after that, Vern, Matthew, Aunt Tiffany, and Uncle Jaron arrived!

Matthew helped Mommy with dishes for a bit.

Vern was our little buddy for the day.

Next we made some fun turkey hats! Matthew had to nap when we took this picture.

But when both boys woke up, we got a picture with all of the cousins!

Na Na is the turkey preparation champ!

We got in lots of games.

Vern enjoyed Sneaky Squirrel with Brody.

Henry and I worked on a very involved craft with Na Na and Aunt Tiffany.

Success!

All bundled up to walk to the park with Na Na before dinner!

Turkey carver!

Mommy took this picture to document that she slaved in the kitchen all day so Brody could eat a roll and cranberry sauce.

We are so thankful that our family could be together for this special day!

The next day was Apple Cup!! Brody chose only the most important Cougar clothing (and didn’t worry too much about things like underwear and pants).

Vern especially enjoyed Hungry, Hungry Hippos this morning.

After Vern and Matthew went home to Spokane, we all went to see the new Grinch movie. It was really cute!

In honor of Apple Cup and the Cougar quarterback’s mustache, Kylan shaved to have his very own Minshew Mustache.

Aunt Tiffany brought some fun things for us to make turkeys out of cookies. Unfortunately she had to leave before we could make them, so we did our best guessing on what they should look like.

Brody’s favorite part was definitely eating the turkeys.

Ba Ba worked on perfecting one turkey and one peacock.

On Friday night the adults went to Apple Cup to cheer on the Cougs!

They had special disability seating at the top of the stadium for Daddy’s knee, so when it started dumping snow, they all stayed nice and warm.

Mommy loved getting to see Taylor at the game!

Unfortunately the game did not go as we wanted. Those darn Huskies ruin everything (like our Rose Bowl hopes). But it was still a much better season than we ever expected. A record of 10-2 is nothing to be upset about. Here’s to a good bowl game! Go Cougs!

Halloween Extravaganza!

Story told by: Brody

We’ve had a fun few days with all of the Halloween festivities!

Monday morning was my first-ever preschool pumpkin party (and Henry’s second (and last!!) pumpkin party)!

Henry and I did our first few activities together.

Decorating cookies! Mrs. O’Loughlin even made Henry his very own egg-free cookies because she’s the BEST EVER!

After that, Henry wanted to move at a much faster pace, so he did his own games, while I requested that Mommy come around with me.

We did run into Henry at one point.

He was all about collecting the snap bracelet prizes!

My wonderful teacher, Mrs. King.

We joined back up with Henry at the face/hand painting booth.

Henry opted for a bat!

I asked for a purple Santa Claus (that’s season appropriate, right?). Unfortunately before it dried, I accidentally wiped it all over Henry’s crayon costume. But neither of us were too upset about it, so Mommy took that as a win.

Henry’s wonderful teacher, Mrs. O’Loughlin.

On Monday afternoon, I made some Oreo bats for my class for Nocturnal Day.

And on Tuesday morning, I got to go to Nocturnal Day! Everything was very dark, and we got to wear PJs and bring a stuffed animal, a blanket, and a flashlight.

We got to make shadow puppets on the ceiling.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lainey and Henry made treats for their classes. Bats again for Henry’s Nocturnal Day (which was happening a day later than mine).

And spiders for Lainey’s class because they’ve been learning about spiders.

Today we woke up very excited for Halloween! Lainey and Daddy got to start the day with Doughnuts with Dad at Lainey’s school.

Henry got to go to Nocturnal Day and had a blast!

Henry and I both were very proud to wear our raccoon pajamas to Nocturnal Day because raccoons are nocturnal!

And after waiting alllll day, it was finally time for trick-or-treating!!

Mommy had a friend tell her about a house that gave out big candy bars, so we went there first.

And we were not disappointed!

We took our crayon box with us to each house!

Then we met up with Rowan’s family for more trick-or-treating.

The rain held off until the last ten minutes of the night. Daddy wasn’t bothered by it, though, because he had our crayon box to use for cover.

When we got home we dug into our candy.

There were quite a few houses with full-size candy. Lainey got six big candies! Colton residents, you treated us well!

Pumpkin Carving, Wrestling, and Trunk or Treat!

Story told by: Henry

We had a great fall weekend!

On Friday, we carved pumpkins! Brody got to do his with Mommy while Lainey and I were at school.

Brody helped clean out the pumpkin for a few minutes, but then proceeded to “help” Mommy like this for the rest of the time. I’m sure this climbing and bumping helped Mommy with the fine lines on the Butch carving she was trying to do for him.

Once I got home from preschool and Brody took a nap, I got to work on my pumpkin with Mommy.

Once Lainey got home from school, we got to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and eat candy corn M&Ms. The best!

Daddy brought home jack o’lantern pizza for dinner!

And then the last two pumpkins were carved.

I’ve been loving learning about bats in preschool, so I knew that’s what I wanted. But I couldn’t resist making it a vampire bat.

Brody wanted a Butch T. Cougar pumpkin. Go Cougs!

And Lainey chose a unicorn!

Since we all chose things we loved, Mommy wanted to do a coffee cup (because her love runs deep for coffee), but it ended up looking a bit like a genie in a bottle. Oh, well. Mommy also loves magic wishes, so this works.

Daddy wanted to only carve one hole. He was pretty proud of himself when he realized that it looked like a pumpkin birdhouse. He’s hoping to find a family of birds in it by Halloween.

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early for my wrestling tournament in Moscow. Since I have to check in early, I went first with Daddy when it was still dark outside, but Lainey captured this picture of the sunrise as everyone else came to meet us.

It was another full gym!

Unfortunately there were only two other kids in my age group/weight group, so I only had two matches. That meant a lot of waiting around. But I stayed pretty happy about it!

Brody wasn’t as happy about all of this waiting, but he hung in there.

Both of my opponents were kids I wrestled last weekend. I won this first match fairly easily.

But this second match against Gabriel, I BARELY won. Neither of us pinned each other, so it came down to points, and I won by two points. My coach says I’m doing some strange things on the mat (like rolling myself on my back), so I’ve got some work to do if I want to beat Gabriel next weekend.

I loved getting to stay for the award ceremony this time. First place!

Lainey was so excited about my win that she made me a box full of presents, one of which was this note. It was kind of nice. But kind of not.

The Coug game started at 4 p.m., so we recorded it, ignored all texts/social media, and started it as soon as we got home at 5:30.

Lainey and I were keeping careful track of the score.

After a nail biter, #14 Cougs beat #24 Standford 41-38. Yes!!!! Go Cougs! (And we woke up on Sunday to find out that we’re now #10! Top ten!!!!!)

After church today we got to go to Zoe’s for a yummy lunch.

After lunch we headed back to church to start getting things ready for the trunk or treat. Here’s our Frankenstein!

We all decided we wanted to be crayons this year, so Mommy and Daddy made us a crayon box.

There were a lot of fun trunks!

Trunk or treating with friends!

Miss Kassidy snuck into the background of this picture. She’s silly!

After going around the lot, we sat down to dig into our goodies.

Otto came around dressed as the cutest giraffe.

After trunk or treating, we came inside for some fun crafts.

A Tootsie Pop ghost!

I started working on making some bats.

Here’s the example Mommy made.

Brody didn’t care about the crafts very much. He was more interested in couch climbing.

After the crafts, we got to watch the Charlie Brown movie (second time this weekend!!).

Then it was time to feed everyone with a yummy hot dog dinner!

Brody was glued to Chloe’s side tonight. He loves her!

Eating with our friends.

Two of Mommy’s closest friends.

There was a fun photo booth that we enjoyed!

It was such a fun, eventful day, that we had one very tired crayon on the way home. Time to rest after a great weekend!

The Best Day of Best Days!! (ESPN College GameDay, First Wrestling Tournament, and Beating the Ducks!!)

Story told by: Henry

For the first time ever, ESPN College GameDay announced they were coming to Pullman for the WSU vs. Oregon game! And there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY we were going to miss this!!!

Mommy and Daddy woke up at 4 a.m.

Lainey and the rest of us were up shortly after that.

Lainey announced that this was “the biggest day of our life.” Not an exaggeration.

As we got closer to campus at 5:30 a.m., we could hear the rumbling of the crowd. ESPN predicted there were close to 30,000 people there. AMAZING!!

I enjoyed waving the flag. Ol’ Crimson (the Cougar flag) has been waved for the past 15 years at every ESPN College GameDay across the country. So you’d better believe that there was hundreds upon hundreds of Cougar flags this morning.

Lainey loved waving her sign that she made.

And Brody loved whining/crying while laying face down on the ground. You can tell he especially loved this experience.

We found the Evanoffs in the midst of the crowd!

There are no words to explain what it’s like to be a Cougar fan. The crowd is the biggest College GameDay has ever had. Several of the announcers said this might be their most favorite show yet. LOVE IT!! Cougar nation is so proud.

We could only stay at GameDay until 7 a.m. because I had my first wrestling tournament in Potlatch! Go Pullman Hornets!

After I weighed in, we hung out in the bleachers until it was my turn.

I was in group one, which is the youngest group.

Lainey and Brody got in a lot of Kindle time today. There were 287 kids in this tournament, so it was a loooooong day.

Here is match one. There are typically three rounds in a match, unless you get pinned. Then you automatically win. (However in my group with the little guys, even if you get pinned, they let us go through the full three rounds so we can experience it.) I pinned my opponent in rounds two and three. I won this match!

Hanging out with Daddy in between matches.

Don’t all great wrestlers color to unwind?

Match two. You can hear my coaches helping me out. I never pinned him, but I ended up with the most points at the end of round three, so I won this round!

The cutest wrestler there ever could be. (Or at least that’s what Mommy thinks.)

My third and final match! I pinned my opponent in the third round (and also had the most points), so I won. This means I got first place in my age group!!!

Signing my paper with one of my coaches after my last match. Mommy had to leave at 2:15 to get Brody back home to the babysitter. Daddy waited with me until 3:45 with the hopes I’d get to claim my first place medal at the award ceremony, but the tournament still wasn’t over, and the Cougar game was starting soon. So my coach said he’d grab it for me, and we jetted off to meet Mommy and Lainey in Pullman. This was a GREAT first tournament!!

We were hustling, and managed to only miss the first minute of the Cougar game. (Mommy and Daddy gave each other big high fives when we made it to our seats. Phew!)

The Oregon Ducks were ranked #12 and the Cougs were #25. This game got INTENSE, so we helped by making lots of noise.

We were up 27-0 at halftime, but we really thought about letting the Ducks win in the third quarter. So by the fourth quarter, the Cougs needed us!

My intense yelling face. I mean business.

And guess what?!?! We did it!!!! Cougs win!!!!!

Everyone rushed the field, so we didn’t want to miss out!!

We even got a picture with running back, Max Borghi, who is one of the most talented true freshman we’ve had in a long time! We woke up today to find out that we’re now #14. GO COUGS!!!!

This was easily one of the most exciting days Pullman has ever seen. And one of our favorite days. ESPN College GameDay, winning my wrestling tournament, and watching the Cougs beat the Ducks for the fourth year in a row! Doesn’t get much better than this!!!!