Billings Trip (Part One)

Story told by: Lainey

We got to meet Grandma and Grandpa in Billings, Montana for a week! What a blast!

We left last Friday after Daddy got done with work, and drove a few hours to camp in St. Regis, Montana. We got up early the next morning, had a quick breakfast of muffins and bananas, and got back on the road.

A couple hours into our drive on Saturday, Henry threw up everywhere. I got some on me, it went over the seat onto Mommy’s back, covered Henry, and filled Mommy’s diaper bag that was sitting below Henry’s feet. He had been complaining about his tummy hurting since the previous night, but Mommy and Daddy thought he just ate something with egg in it. Turns out the poor guy wasn’t feeling well. After a side-of-the-highway clean-up, we continued on our way, and thank goodness, no more throwing up for Henry!

After a long day of driving, we arrived at the KOA campground in Billings. First order of business was to take apart Henry’s car seat so we could wash it. Unfortunately while doing this, Daddy threw out his back, and had trouble moving for the next couple of days.

Soon after we arrived, Grandma and Grandpa arrived!! And Grandma quickly pulled out her grandma bag!

Snuggles with Grandpa!

After a good night of sleep in our tent, we were ready for another day! We pretty much just used our tent for sleeping, but spent most of our time at Grandma and Grandpa’s campsite.

Brody is helping Daddy while he stretches out his back.

The KOA we’re staying at is the first ever KOA! Pretty cool!

We hit up the pool right away that morning!

Unfortunately Grandpa wasn’t feeling very well on Sunday morning, so he spent lots of time resting, and I kept him company as often as I could.

While Daddy remained immobile, and Brody and Grandpa took a nap, we went mini-golfing with Mommy and Grandma.

It was our first time mini-golfing, and we really loved it!

Grandpa came out to enjoy an ice cream treat with us.

On our first night there, the adults sat outside to play games while we went to bed in the tent. And the BUGS. WERE. NUTS. Unlike anything we’ve ever seen! So Grandma and Grandpa purchased this netted canopy to use for the rest of the trip.

Easily the best purchase of the trip!!

The KOA has bikes for rent, so Grandma and Grandpa rented them for us several times this trip. They were a little tricky at first, but before long, we were zooming around the park.

The KOA serves ice cream in the evenings, so after riding bikes we got a treat!

On Monday morning we went to Pictograph Cave State Park! We started in the visitor center, but after being in there for five minutes, the boys were about to break everything, so we quickly went outside.

Before hiking up to the caves, Grandma gave us some fun bug catchers.

Henry caught a bug right away!

Grandpa was starting to feel worse, so he waited in the car while we went on our hike.

When we got to the caves, Grandma pulled out some flashlights we used to investigate the pictographs.

As usual, Brody didn’t want to cooperate with anything. Daddy was trying to take a picture, and here is Brody being oh-so-helpful.

As you can tell, Brody LOVED the hike.

Mommy ended up carrying him for the last half of the hike.

After the hike, Grandpa really wasn’t feeling well, so Grandma took him to the hospital to get checked out. We went to a delicious cider house to grab some lunch.

The weather was extremely hot all week, so after lunch we took some time to cool off in the camper AC. We watched a movie while Brody napped.

Meanwhile, after lots of waiting and tests in the hospital, Grandpa eventually found out he had an E. coli infection. Oh, boy! Based on the timeline, he somehow picked it up in Illinois before leaving on this trip. Grandpa had to spend three days/two nights in the hospital to recover from the infection. It can be very serious if left untreated, so we’re really glad for good care in the hospital, but we were bummed to miss out on time with him!

Grandma spent the day with Grandpa while he got checked into the hospital, so we got in some pool time.

Then we found a pizza place for dinner, and Daddy had a uniquely-named beer.

Daddy took a picture of Mommy and Henry. Henry chose to make his “princess face.”

The next day Grandma gave us our giant bug nets, and we went on hunts for butterflies.

Mommy took time one day to do some laundry, and Brody was her helper (and brought his net to catch any laundry bugs).

I came running in to show Mommy the moth I caught!

While Brody took a nap, I went with Grandma to visit Grandpa at the hospital, Henry watched a movie, and Mommy and Daddy got to sit outside and read their books. Perfect!

Daddy’s back started feeling better, so he was able to work with Henry on improving his bike-riding skills. Henry is now doing great!!

The Yellowstone River runs right by the KOA, so we went to check it out.

I found this awesome “L” rock!

We ended our night with some more bike riding!

Summer Hodgepodge

Story told by: Lainey

Although we’ve been out of town a lot lately, we have managed to sneak some other things into our summer!

Most importantly…WE GOT AIR CONDITIONING! These 90- and 100-degree days don’t phase us anymore. We love it!

Mommy has been enjoying nights on the Foundry patio with sweet friends.

One of Mommy’s best friends (Hilary) from high school came to town, so we got together at the park for a couple of hours.

Hilary has a daughter named Anna, and is pregnant with another baby due in the late fall. We had fun playing with her!

We haven’t had much time to do crafts because we’ve been outside so much, but we did sneak in a patriotic craft.

We left Brody and Kezi with a babysitter while all of us big kids went to see “Cars 3.” We loved it!

Mommy has become a little obsessed with the cold brew coffee at the Co-Op, and since they have egg-free muffins/cookies for Henry, it has become a frequent summer stop.

We did a bike ride/picnic with Nora, Lucy, and Brooke one evening. I’m still working on being confident on my bike, but Nora and Lucy were pretty patient with me.

We’ve been doing lots of park dates. This was a particularly fun day because we had lots of friends!

Brody gets pretty dirty at the park.

Summer also calls for Costco ice cream. Henry doesn’t want to miss a drop.

We had Vacation Bible School (VBS) last week! Hazel and I were in the Entering Kindergarten class.

Walter and Henry were in the Preschool class together. Brody was in the nursery with his buddies.

It was a space theme, which was lots of fun!

Mommy was the M.C., and managed to get Henry and I on stage to help with the prize drawings one mornings. (She may have shown just a wee bit of favoritism in that moment.)

We made cookies to thank all of our VBS teachers for their hard work.

Yum!

Henry also started t-ball last week, and boy oh boy, this kid was EXCITED!

He’s been asking to play since he was ten months old, and it’s finally his turn!

Even though getting AC in our house is pretty big news, even bigger news is that HENRY IS POTTY TRAINED!! He picked out this dinosaur months ago as a potty training incentive, and it’s been sitting on top of our kitchen cabinet until he’s good to go. And guess what?! He’s good to go! He also got some cool new Ninja Turtle underwear! Good job, Henry!

I’ve been working with Mommy to pick my backpack for kindergarten. I’ve circled the backpacks I would like. (Hey, give me a break. This is a very tough choice!)

Since I couldn’t decide, I made my own backpack.

This should work for kindergarten, right?

We’ve been good siblings by cheering Henry on at his t-ball games.

Turns out that being gone six weekends in a row is Mommy’s limit. She’s exhausted. (In fact, we’re all exhausted.) She couldn’t fathom packing another picnic dinner, so before t-ball on Wednesday, we got pizza!

Henry had his first t-ball game on Wednesday. When Mommy asked him for a picture, Henry said, “Okay, I’ll do my beautiful pose.” Perfect, Henry.

Henry LOVES t-ball. He is smiling almost the entire time!

I have art camp every morning this week, so while driving to art camp one morning, I said to Mommy, “I hope I never get kidnapped by a Spanish person because then I wouldn’t be able to understand them. Hopefully I’m taken by someone who speaks my language.” I know it’s a strange thing to think about, but you must admit that I have a good point.

The boys got to play with Kylee and Evan while I was at art camp.

They also got to hang out at the park with our fantastic babysitter, Taylor, while I was at art camp and Mommy went to massage therapy. Taylor didn’t know that Brody has a bit of a sensitive stomach, so she kept spinning him and spinning him on the merry-go-round. Moments before Mommy arrived, Brody had thrown up everywhere. EV. ERY. WHERE. Mommy took Brody’s clothes off, and then proceeded to wipe down the merry-go-round with his clothes. Taylor felt horrible, but Mommy wasn’t mad. She did have to find clothes for Brody, though, because they had errands to run. (She did consider taking naked Brody into Wal-Mart to get some clothes, but decided that she couldn’t lower herself to that. But they probably would have blended right in.) Fortunately they went to a friend’s house to borrow these clothes, changed in the Wal-Mart parking lot, and continued on their way. Taylor also now knows that kids are gross.

We went to Malachi’s house earlier this week for a fun BBQ and water play. We quickly turned the dirt into mud, and had a grand time with it!

Elijah and Henry were quite the pair.

After dropping me off at art camp yesterday, Mommy and the boys got the oil changed in the car, and then went to the Co-Op with Micah, Riley, Elliot, and Keziah for cookies and coffee (and play time on the nearby playground).

The Davis family is about to head back to California for the school year. We had them over for a BBQ last night. We are sure going to miss them. See you guys next summer!

After the BBQ last night, we had a very cute escapee from the bath tub.

Our garden is starting to go crazy with zucchini!

Daddy dropped me off at art camp this morning, so Mommy and the boys got to work on making double chocolate chip zucchini bread.

They made a batch of regular bread, and a batch of egg-free bread. Yum! Can’t wait to dig in!

Robinson Campout – Sun Lakes State Park

Story told by: Lainey

We had the annual Robinson family camping trip this weekend in Sun Lakes State Park near Coulee City! (Na Na and Ba Ba weren’t here because they’re in France right now. We missed them!)

When we arrived, Uncle Larry (who came all the way from Oklahoma) helped Daddy set up the tent.

We hadn’t even unpacked the car yet before we declared our undying hunger. Molly and Sadie joined us for some trail mix on a blanket because the plates hadn’t been found yet.

After a quick snack we went on a scavenger hunt. Hannah took the younger kids.

Molly and I were our own scavenger hunt team.

Brody spent the scavenger hunt time hiding in the trees and running down hills. Mommy especially loved seeing him do this after seeing the huge sign warning about rattlesnakes.

Brody and Sadie were quite the two-year-old pair this weekend.

We had our own little camping cul-de-sac. It was perfect!

We had brats for dinner! Yum!

Elaine brought a giant can of chocolate pudding, which was the highlight of the meal!

Henry especially loved it!

Henry and Jackson made sure to lick their bowls clean.

Elaine also brought washable tattoo pens, which kept us occupied for a long time.

I tattooed my stomach and legs.

Henry went for the full sleeve on his arm.

Henry also spent lots of time making sure Olive had just the right tattoo on her arm.

We sure love these two cute guys.

Before bed we really wanted a fire, but it was still way too hot, so Mommy and Daddy let us eat the s’more components without roasting the marshmallow.

Henry was quite disappointed when he put his unroasted s’more together and tried to squash the marshmallow.

It was a little hard to do with a big, unroasted marshmallow, but I was up for the challenge.

After we went to bed Mommy and Daddy tried to go for a stroll, but it ended quickly when they heard me hollering, “Henry is running around the tent.” Oh, boy. Sleeping together in a tent sure has its adventures.

After a rough night of sleep for Brody (and thus Mommy and Daddy), we had breakfast while Mommy and Daddy had some strong coffee.

I did lots of bike riding around the loop while waiting for everyone else to wake up.

Once everyone was ready, we did a rock painting craft.

Everyone got pretty messy, but that’s what camping is for, right?

Henry wanted to paint an outer space rock. He did a pretty good job of it!

Sadie wins the award for the messiest painter!

After craft time, we sang some really fun songs with Dan.

We got a picture of the whole group. We’re missing about 15 people, so we’re hoping they can make it next year!

We next drove up the hill to check out Dry Falls and the visitor center.

All that separated the boys from a giant drop-off was this metal chain. They SO badly wanted to jump off the edge, but mean, mean Mommy wouldn’t let them. They weren’t happy about it.

We watched a really interesting movie in the visitor center about how a flood created Dry Falls. Henry loved it so much that he asked to have the movie for Christmas.

After buckling us into the car (where we couldn’t launch ourselves over the edge), Mommy and Daddy walked out to the overlook for a picture.

After Brody walked around during lunch screaming at us, Mommy and Daddy decided his lack of sleep last night called for an early nap. It got up to 100 degrees that day, so he didn’t sleep for long because of the heat in the tent, but a quick 30-minute nap helped him a lot.

While Brody took a nap (and Uncle Larry hung out with him at the site) we went to cool off in the lake.

Mommy and Daddy enjoyed spending some relaxing time both in and out of the water.

Aunt Cretia took a bunch of us out for a ride in the shallow water.

Henry and Stevie spent hours on guard with the squirt guns shooting dragonflies. Henry took his job very seriously.

Great Grandma Jackie came down to join us, and got Henry good with the water gun!

Daddy went back to get Brody, and he spent the rest of the afternoon with us.

Staying true to form, Brody ran up and down the small hill on the beach.

Steve took Henry and I out in the boat as well.

In order to beat the heat, we stayed in the water until dinner time.

After dinner we attempted a picture with Great Grandma Jackie and her great grandchildren, but after not great sleep and spending all day in the water, we weren’t as cooperative as the adults had hoped.

This picture is of Olive, Brody, Lyle, and Sadie in 2015.

We did manage to recreate that picture with these adorable two-year-olds.

Brody and Olive got in some t-ball with Great Grandma Jackie and Uncle Larry.

Next up was an Oreo eating contest. We had to place the Oreo on our forehead and get it into our mouth without using our hands.

Some of the older kids understood the challenge.

Some of the younger kids did not.

Brody was torn as to what he should do. He would take a bite of the cookie…

…but then would place it back on his face for awhile. After a minute or so, he’d take another bite. This continued for quite awhile until the cookie was gone.

Before bed we made a fire (in spite of the hot weather) just so we could have s’mores!

I have been dreaming all summer of making a banana s’more, so Mommy made sure to bring bananas for this trip. I thought it might be best with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

My first bite! Mommy asked me if it was everything I had been hoping for. I told her, “No, but it was still good.” I guess my expectations might have been a little too high, but it was still a good treat!

**We had quite a crazy night. The wind was unlike anything we’ve ever had while camping. This caused a wildfire to start up near our campground. The park ranger reassured us that the wind was blowing the fire away from us, and that they would give us plenty of notice if we needed to evacuate. This made most of us a little nervous, though, and about half of our party decided to leave (as did about 60% of the campground). There were lots of people leaving at midnight. By the time Mommy decided to stay, the fire had really died down, so she felt better about staying. But the wind made for some restless sleep, especially since it made Brody very nervous and he ended up in bed with Mommy and Daddy. It makes for a good camping story, though!**

Cretia came around with whipped cream to top our cereal this morning. Nothing beats sugar on top of sugar!

We had a secret hideout all weekend, and we decided to show it to Great Grandma Jackie this morning.

While Daddy packed up the tent, we played Memory.

Then Uncle Larry came over to let us draw on his arm, but we decided his neck was much better.

I drew a boat with chocolate waves.

Uncle Larry drew whiskers on my nose.

This is what our car looks like for camping (plus a rooftop carrier filled with our sleeping bags and pillows). Daddy does a great job with getting everything to fit. Brody was asleep before we’d driven ten minutes. Another fun camping weekend!

Heyburn State Park

Story told by: Brody

We had a fantastic weekend camping at Heyburn State Park in Idaho with the Dobbins and Griffins!

When we arrived, Lainey and Henry helped Daddy with the tent, while I checked out the hills of the campground.

Lainey named our site “Camp Minnie.” She said it was inspired by the Minnie Mouse bucket we brought for the beach.

Sometimes you dig with pants on, and sometimes you don’t.

Exploring the campground with Claire and Nora.

Lainey took this picture of me and Mommy while I was stuffing my face full of my favorite camping food – Cheetos.

After dinner, Henry helped Daddy build a fire by collecting kindling.

Time for s’mores!

Henry and Mac

There were some great paths we liked exploring through the bushes (or as Mommy called them, “tick-infested trenches”).

I went for a personal record of dirtiness this weekend.

After slipping on a hill, I took a huge bite of my s’more, only to have Mommy stop me…

…because it looked like this. I tried to convince her it was fine, but she wasn’t having it.

After we went to bed (we finally fell asleep around 11:30), the adults pulled out yummy food and games. Of course our favorite hippy brought organic Doritos.

Mommy and Daddy taught everyone how to play Mexican Train.

The next morning we woke up before everyone else and had breakfast (and lots of coffee for Mommy and Daddy).

While the other families were waking up and having breakfast, we went on a morning hike.

We walked for about 30 minutes, and a lot of it was a steep climb that I did all on my own.

That girl has some muscles.

I collected lots of pine cones along the way.

On our way back down, my legs were a little tired, so Mommy and Daddy took turns carrying me down the steep parts.

While we were getting our stuff together for the lake, Lainey went on a quick hike with her friends.

It was going to be 95 degrees on Saturday, so we knew we wanted most of our day to be spent at the lake.

Jeremy took Henry and Mac out for a ride in their floaties.

Nora, Ivy, and Lainey went out for a ride in the inflatable boat.

Christy, Natalie, and Mommy managed to get a picture!

After lunch time, the mommies came in to join us.

Mommy and I floated around like this for about 30 minutes. It was Mommy’s favorite part of the day!

The mommies even had a few moments to float together.

Henry and I took a break for a bit to play on the playground with Daddy.

Daisy and Mirabel were staying at their cabin on the lake, so they boated over to join us for some swimming.

Dede is their grandma, so she came with them, and convinced all of us to swim out to the logs. Thank goodness we all take swimming lessons with her!

We spent over five hours swimming, and we loved every second!

The adults were really impressed about how happy we were all day.

While I remained fairly happy, there was only so much I could do while skipping my nap and only getting six hours of sleep the night before. In the middle of my graham cracker snack, I passed out.

After we packed up our stuff, we went to get ice cream from the marina store.

We all got push-up pops! The perfect summer treat. Except I wasn’t really feelin’ it.

How dare you get me a delicious ice cream treat and make me eat it on a hot day?!

After getting dressed once we got back to camp, Nora and I discovered that we’d brought the same shirt.

Making up fun games together.

Daddy grilled up some delicious burgers (and a hot dog for me because those are more my style).

If you’ve ever camped with young kids, you understand the importance of baby wipes. We use them for sticky hands, dirty faces, and for “baths” at the end of the day.

Lainey wanted to take a selfie with Mommy, but forgot that she had to smile while pressing the camera button.

Now she’s smiling!

Campfire time!

S’mores!

Lainey burned her first marshmallow, so Daddy worked with her to perfect her second one.

The Dobbins family had to head home after s’mores (they had to serve at church this morning), but we’re glad they could stay for such a full day!

After not much sleep, and a full day at the lake, we barely made a peep as we fell asleep by 8:15.

The adults played Mexican Train again. Mommy took this picture to document her taking first place, but there’s so many other amazing faces happening.

We slept until 7:00 this morning, so the Griffins beat us to wake up! They were happy to see us emerge from our tent.

Lainey made up some imaginary rules for Mexican Train and taught them to us.

The Griffins were out of there pretty early, so once we said our goodbyes, we helped Daddy pack up the tent.

Well, Lainey and Henry helped, while I ran up and down more hills.

While Daddy loaded up the big things in the car, we went on a scavenger hunt.

Time to head home!

We hadn’t even been driving for five minutes before I was out. This camping stuff is exhausting.

We’ve been wanting to try the Palouse Caboose in Palouse for quite awhile, so we decided to stop there for lunch. It was a perfect ending to a great weekend!

4th of July, 2017

Story told by: Lainey

We’ve had a great long weekend for 4th of July! Daddy took yesterday off, so we skipped naps and went to the water park!

Unfortunately, shortly after getting in, some kid pooped in the pool (thank goodness it wasn’t one of us!), so we had to wait for 45 minutes to get back in. Try getting Brody to understand this, especially when he is supposed to be napping at this time.

After a long wait, we were able to get back in. Mommy and Daddy took this picture to commemorate the fact that they were at the park and didn’t have any kids touching them. Not a one. We’re getting independent enough that Mommy and Daddy can stand in the shallow water and simply watch us splash around. They LOVED it!

After a few hours at the park, we got some shaved ice to end the day.

Today we woke up to our traditional 4th of July waffles.

Henry wanted to keep his flag intact, so he just picked it up to eat it whole.

After breakfast we went to Johnson for the parade! Our favorite part of the whole day!

We always get there early to get a good spot, so we brought some games to play while we waited.

Brody’s shirt says “Mr. Independent,” which describes him to a T right now.

Henry demonstrated his “hat stand” to us.

As always, we ran into lots of friends. Our sweet neighbor, Karen, and I couldn’t help but notice each other’s fabulous shoes.

The Grahams found us and got to sit right next to us!

The Evanoffs came in the best 4th of July outfits ever!

Family picture!

And finally it was time for the parade to start! We waited with anticipation for candy to come our way.

Before long, the candy started filling our bags.

Brody is giving a big “Go Cougs” to the Cougar car.

The last entry in the parade was the train, and Brody loved it!

After the parade, we went to our neighbor’s house for a delicious 4th of July BBQ.

Our favorite part was this jeep!

We even took turns giving Eleanor rides.

Henry was a crazy driver, and ended this video by ramming into my car.

We didn’t bring our suits, but instead jumped into the pool fully clothed. After the BBQ, Brody and I walked home soaking wet, while Henry walked home in his underwear. Thank goodness we were only two houses away. Thanks for a good BBQ, TJ and Heather!

For dinner tonight we had American flag pizza!

And red, white, and blue yogurt parfaits.

It was a delicious dinner!

Mommy also made patriotic popcorn!

We enjoyed that popcorn while watching “Pete’s Dragon” tonight. Such a relaxing day enjoying one of our favorite holidays! (We’re hoping Brody is old enough to stay up late for fireworks next year!)

Montana Trip

Story told by: Brody

We went to Marion, Montana this weekend to see the Strickler family! It was a blast!

It’s a 5 1/2 hour drive, but with bathroom stops (like this one at a familiar rest area of ours) and food stops, it took us about seven hours.

Another stop involved bribing Henry with candy if he went poop in a gas station bathroom. He did it (and Lainey and I got to benefit as well from his victory)!

Once we arrived we were instantly out riding bikes to stretch our legs.

The really special thing about the day we arrived is that it was Oliver’s fourth birthday!

We got to sing to him, and then dig in to some delicious cake! (And because Oliver’s mom is the nicest person ever, she made an egg-free cake so even Henry could enjoy a piece.)

We’ve been loving non-fiction books lately, so we thought Oliver might like them too. We got him a book all about bugs for his birthday present.

There is a fun play set in their backyard, so we went out to play way past our bedtime.

I slept in a room with Mommy and Daddy (because they’re no fun and won’t let me join the big kids), but Lainey, Oliver, and Henry got to sleep together. Until the boys wouldn’t stop messing around. And then everyone got separated.

Oliver got a new drum set for his birthday, so the next morning, Lainey and Oliver performed a concert for everyone.

After the concert, we went to a lake that is just a couple of minutes from the Strickler’s house.

We spent some time throwing rocks.

Daddy and I had a snack.

The adults took pictures.

And then we got out the canoe!

Henry went first!

Lainey went next.

And then, after begging and begging, it was my turn. I thought I’d love it, but turns out that’s not the case.

After heading home for lunch, we all had naps and rest time.

I eventually went to sleep, and everyone else continued to have fun without me. Not cool.

After naps, we got out the water stuff.

Otter Pops!

Otis loved his cold treat on a hot day!

After baths and a delicious dinner of ribs, we went outside to do some fireworks.

I was okay with Pop-its, but once the louder stuff started, I wanted to be with Daddy.

Then we went into the backyard to try out sparklers.

Unfortunately our sparklers were duds, but we were persistent, and were able to still have fun with them.

I was a little nervous around them, but after seeing how much the other kids liked them, I decided to give it a try on my own.

After fireworks, we roasted marshmallow for s’mores!

I dug right in and had chocolate everywhere.

After the kids went to bed, the adults stayed up to sit by the fire and play the Lolz game.

So much laughing!

Today we had breakfast with our friends, and then had to say goodbye. We will miss them a lot! Our drive home was VERY successful, and we only made two stops. One of those stops was to take this picture of Henry’s Restaurant. It wasn’t meal time when we passed it, but next time we’re going to stop and see if they’ll let Henry eat for free (because how could you refuse the namesake of the restaurant?!). Thank you, Stricklers, for hosting our crazy crew, and we’ll see you in September!