Kindergarten!! Finally!!!

Story told by: Lainey

I have been counting down the days until kindergarten!! I had such a hard time going to sleep last night because of excitement, but when I woke up today….IT’S KINDERGARTEN TIME!!!!

I told Mommy that when I first woke up, the first number on the clock was a “5.” I laid in bed until it turned to a “6,” and then I decided it was okay to come downstairs. I immediately grabbed my own special box of first-day-of-school cereal I had previously picked out.

Mommy also made me eat an egg so I would have some form of protein with breakfast.

This is the outfit I picked out all on my own. The tu-tu was a no brainer, and once the tu-tu was picked out, I knew the tassles on the butterfly matched it perfectly.

Silly face!

I still want to be a sheep farmer when I grow up.

I don’t have all of the details of sheep farming ironed out yet, but I know two things…1) Either my husband is going to have to stay home to watch the kids, or I’m going to need a babysitter for them, because the sheep need my attention all day; and 2) I don’t want poop on the ground, so I’ve informed Daddy that his job will be to walk around to catch the poop in a bowl.

Heading into kindergarten with two missing teeth!

Before we left for school, we read this book.

And I got a picture with the boys. Henry is holding the rocket that I made for him just in case he misses me too much today.

Although I struggled with my backpack choice at first, anyone who knows me shouldn’t be surprised by my final princess backpack decision.

Time to walk to school! Daddy got to go in to work late so he could come with me for my first day.

Each morning I walk to school, one of our favorite neighbors, Kim, gets to help us safely cross the highway.

We’ve arrived!

It’s a K-12 school, so there’s a big age range coming into school.

I got a picture with Mrs. Schlee, who comes to teach us math for the last part of the day. Her daughter, Paige, also gets to be in my class.

Then I got to go into my classroom to give Mrs. Kinzer a big hug and get a picture with her. She’ll teach us until the early afternoon each day.

Mrs. Kinzer took my picture to use for a variety of things around the classroom.

Then I took the boys outside to play with me for a few minutes before school started.

The boys started climbing the play structure.

And I immediately started running around with some girls from my class.

I’m so excited to have Niki and Cece in my class!

This was my final wave to Mom.

And then we lined up with our class, and I walked in without even glancing back. I am so ready for this!

Sometime during the day, Mrs. Kinzer sent the pictures she took at the beginning of the day to Mommy.

And then after the best day ever, Mommy and the boys came back to pick me up. Here I come!

The whole way home I talked about all of the fun things I got to do today (like P.E. and recess), and I told Mommy that I wish I didn’t have to go home because I want to stay at kindergarten all of the time. One of my favorite things of the day was getting to color and draw.

I especially liked drawing this elephant. I told Mommy that “I really loved kindergarten because it was time away from the boys. It was just so peaceful.” And my point was proven as soon as I came home to some loud, whining boys.

I’m looking a little tired tonight, so I’m sure I’ll have an early bedtime. But I can’t wait to get up for another fun day tomorrow!

Combines and Wheat

Story told by: Brody

The fantastic Lenssen family offered to have us join them for the last day of harvesting wheat! We happily jumped at the chance!

I’ve been working pretty hard on potty training the last week, so as soon as I arrived, out comes the potty. A man has to do what a man has to do.

Henry was the first one to get to ride in the combine, and he really wanted to go with Grant.

There they go, hand in hand.

While Henry was driving in the combine, we got to play in the truck filled with wheat!

Allison and Lainey had lots of fun together in the wheat!

I wasn’t so sure about it at first, though. I mean, come on. It’s kind of like a sand box, but it’s super high off the ground, it can drive, and it randomly gets filled by a giant combine. It’s a little suspicious.

Here’s Henry! Back from harvesting!

Next up – Lainey and Allison!

Henry got to have a turn in the wheat!

Here come Lainey and Allison!

Filling up the truck with their hard work.

Nora and Lana were there as well, so while they went out in the combine, we continued to explore all parts of the truck.

And I even got brave enough to enjoy playing in the wheat.

Then Mommy and I got to go in the combine! I was super excited about it!

Dwayne was a pretty good combine driver, but if you ask me, he didn’t give me quite as much control of it as I’d hoped.

A family picture on the combine! Thanks to Dwayne for taking us all on rides!

And thanks to Angela for inviting us! We adore your family!

Daddy got to go out on one last ride with Lainey and Henry again. Here they come over the hill.

Once we got home, Mommy and Daddy discovered the stash I’d tried to hide in my diaper. Darn. Oh, well! It was still such a fun morning!

August Bucket List

Story told by: Lainey

On August 1st we realized we were in our last month of summer! Wow! We sat down with Mommy to make a bucket list of our top eight things we wanted to do to maximize the fun for our last month.

We just completed our list last night, so here’s pictures from our activities!

1. Ferdinand’s for Ice Cream

Nothing beats this ice cream!

2. Splash Pad/Pool

We got to go to the splash pad with Cleopatra and Anastasia!

3. Family Bike Ride

Daddy carried the boys in the bike carrier. Henry is a champ at riding his bike, but if we ever stop, he has trouble starting again, so we figured we’d get a better ride in this way.

I rode eight miles all by myself!

Water break!

Mommy and I (the “Mommy Team” as I named us) spent most of the time racing the boys.

It was dollar cup night at our local frozen yogurt place, so after our bike ride, Mommy and Daddy let us fill up our cups with frozen yogurt and toppings! AND THEN THEY LET US EAT IT FOR DINNER!!! We couldn’t believe it!

4. Play Date at Kreugel Park

We met several friends at Kreugel Park!

Hazel, Cleopatra, and I all lost our first tooth within a week of each other. (And as I’m typing this, I’ve already lost my second tooth!)

We had a picnic lunch with the crew of friends.

And then I ended our time there by getting stuck in a tree. Oops. I may have been a little overconfident about my climbing abilities.

5. Play Date at Reaney Park

After church one day, we met the Dobbins family at the park. This is the only picture Mommy got because she was too busy talking, but we had a fun picnic and fun play time!

6. Water Balloon Fight

This bucket list item is probably the one for which we were most excited! Mommy ordered these cool balloons that fill up and seal in 60 seconds. Genius!

Then we decided we wanted to surprise Daddy when he got home from work.

Here we are….armed and ready.

We got Daddy pretty soaked!

Mission complete!

7. Moscow Water Park (but ended up being the Clarkston water park)

We were going to do the Moscow water park, but the weather was hotter in Clarkston, so we thought it made better water park weather!

This is my “I’m a shark swimming through the water” face. And if you look closely, you can see my two missing teeth!

And you’ll never believe it!! I was just barely tall enough to ride the big slide! I couldn’t believe it!!

I went all by myself and I LOVED it!

After the slides, we spent the rest of our time in the wave pool. I ended up loving the wave pool even more than the slide!

8. Pizza/Concert in the Park

We met Daddy after work to eat pizza and listen to music in the park!

Mommy was thrilled she didn’t have to cook, and we were thrilled to be eating pizza!

We finished our bucket list! Now there’s only one day until my back-to-school night, six days until my kindergarten assessment, and eight days until my first day of school! Bring on kindergarten!!!

Wallowa Lake Camping, 2017

Story told by: Brody

We had our final camping trip of the summer at Wallowa Lake State Park in eastern Oregon this past weekend! The Campbells drove over seven hours to join us!

When we first arrived, Daddy worked on putting up the tent while we got to work on exploring the site.

Once the Campbells arrived, Addie and Lainey jumped on their bikes right away!

Mommy got to hold Baylen while the Campbells got their car unloaded. Such a cute kid!

Lainey and Henry enjoyed walking Baylen up and down the street.

Karl made delicious steak and hot dogs for dinner!

I ate my hot dog in no time at all!

I quickly showed Mommy and Daddy that it was going to be one dirty weekend.

We were THRILLED to find out that we could have a fire the first night (when we didn’t think we’d be able to have any fires at all). A burn ban was going into effect at 12:01 a.m., so we made sure to use up most of our s’more supplies on the first night.

My favorite s’more was one with a peanut butter cup!

The adults stayed up way too late talking around the campfire the night before, so when I woke them up at 5:10 a.m., they first made coffee, and then Daddy got to work on bacon and eggs!

Sleepy-eyed Mommy got in some snuggles with Henry over breakfast.

After breakfast Lainey found some sticks to build a house.

We went to check out the playground, and Baylen loved the swing!

Checking out a large deer that walked into the playground. I had no fear and was ready to walk up to ride on the deer, but Daddy wouldn’t let me. He’s no fun.

Ready to walk into town to explore!

We ADORE this family!

Turns out these two can occasionally get along.

Our first stop was for some giant ice cream cones!

But first I had to throw a loud (and very public) temper tantrum.

Okay, now we can eat.

Mommy and Victoria got their coffee, and all is right with the world.

The Campbells found a place for Addie to take a short pony ride. She loved it!

While she did that, Daddy and Henry went on a go kart ride!

Henry was very serious the whole time, but he LOVED it!

I REALLY wanted to go, so Mommy and I went together while Daddy and Lainey went together. As soon as I got buckled in, I threw a fit because I wasn’t with Daddy (even though I was previously given a choice). I should be able to change my mind at a moment’s notice, but Mommy didn’t seem to agree.

As soon as we started going, though, I loved it!!

There go Daddy and Lainey in the Wonder Woman car (which is exactly the car Lainey wanted)! I had fun waving to Daddy and Lainey when we’d see them on the track. They passed us once, but Mommy vowed to speed up after that.

After go karts, we walked back to the campsite.

Baylen didn’t make it for the walk home.

Baylen, Addie, and I took naps while Lainey and Henry got to play for a bit.

The adults really wanted to play Mexican Train, so they let Lainey and Henry do quiet time in the car.

They partially destroyed the car, but the adults were able to play five rounds, so it was totally worth it!

After naps, we put sunscreen on to head down to the lake. And then I immediately rolled in dirt.

It was pretty cold water!

Lainey and Addie were the craziest of the crew! They went pretty far out in the water.

We played for about 20 minutes, and then it started raining just a tiny bit, so we started packing up to head back to the site. Big bummer!

Daddy ran ahead of us to put up the canopy, and thank goodness he did, because by the time we arrived, it was pouring! Then, as we went inside our tent to get dressed, it started hailing!

We stayed under the canopy playing games and coloring through the worst of the storm.

Once the rain slowed to a drizzle, we put on our rain coats and went exploring.

Henry was one dangerous kid with this giant stick.

Daddy and Mommy made tacos for dinner. Yum!

We went on a rainy hike to get out some energy before bed.

Henry hurt his back on that log, but still tried to pose for the “I’m so strong I made it to the top” picture.

After we went to bed, the adults finished their game of Mexican Train.

Mommy was the winner! And, after an initial surge, Daddy fell behind into his yearly Mexican Train place.

On Sunday morning, we woke up to lots of rain. And mud. We were getting so wet, and limiting Mommy’s ability to help Daddy pack up quickly, that we got strapped into our car seats and got to watch a couple of shows on the iPad.

Karl helped Daddy pack up the tent. Since everything was soaking wet, Daddy was going to have to unpack everything once we go home so it could dry. That means they just rolled the tent up in a tarp, and shoved it in the car. Good to go!

One final picture before heading home! Such a fun weekend with some of our favorite people!

The Tooth Fairy Visits My House!

Story told by: Lainey

My two bottom teeth have been wiggly for awhile now! But in the last few days, one of them has gotten especially wiggly.

We tried to get it out with floss tied to a door yesterday, but it didn’t work.

After we got home from the grocery store, I convinced Mommy to give it a try with a rubber band. We hooked it around my tooth, Mommy pulled on it, and out came my tooth!!

I was SO excited I could barely stand it! I had to call Daddy, Na Na, Grandma, Grandpa, and Gma to tell them the big news!

I ran upstairs as soon as the phone calls were done so I could put the tooth in my tooth fairy pillow.

I love that my pillow has a strap I can use to hang it on the corner of my bed. This means the tooth fairy won’t have to disturb me in the middle of the night! I was very excited when I went to bed last night! (I did struggle a little with not being able to suck my thumb, though. Daddy told me that now that I have adult teeth on the way, sucking my thumb at night has to stop so my adult teeth will be healthy. I listened to him, but I had a bit of a rough night with this.)

I was up extra early to check my pillow! The tooth fairy came!!!!

She gave me two very special dollar coins, and the teeniest tiniest note I’ve ever seen. It makes sense that her writing was so small since she’s a tiny fairy.

During breakfast this morning I asked Daddy to help me find some information about the tooth fairy. We looked on the internet and found out that the tooth fairy is from France, and that her name is Angelika Green Leaf. Hopefully Angelika gets to come back soon when I lose my other loose tooth!

Our Irregular Regular Weekend

Story told by: Lainey

I wouldn’t normally write a blog about a regular ol’ weekend, but what made it so amazing was that we weren’t traveling for the first time in eight weekends!! It was a regular weekend, which is what made it so irregular!

On Friday afternoon we went with Mommy to meet some friends at the pool.

After playing with them for awhile, we had a picnic in the park. Then Mommy and Daddy had a date night at home with Chinese food and a movie. Perfect!

On Saturday morning Mommy and I got to have a girls’ trip to Spokane for school shopping! We started with drinks from Daily Grind for the trip.

Our first store was Target!

I got goofy when trying on some clothes.

Mommy knows that the best pencils are Ticonderogas.

Red Robin for lunch (mostly because I wanted the free balloon at the end of the meal)!

Then the mall for even more shopping! (I was a little miffed when we also had to get some clothes for the boys, but I guess they deserve clothes as well.)

I got to take a spin on the quarter rides.

Mommy let me pick whatever I wanted for my snack, so this cinnamon roll was an easy choice!

I had never been into Claire’s before, so I was in awe when we walked in.

I got a unicorn wand and a little stuffed unicorn. On our way home, I told Mommy that it was such a special day. (And Mommy may have enjoyed our one-on-one time quite a bit since she’s been a little emotional over me going to kindergarten in just a few weeks.)

While we were having our fun day, the boys were having their own special day. Daddy took the boys out on a bike ride in the morning.

Then they played boxing on the Wii.

The boys went to get pizza for lunch, and then went to watch the Cougar football practice in Lewiston. We’re all getting excited for football season!

Daddy said the boys were content to watch football practice for over an hour, but since it was 100 degrees, they needed a cool treat afterwards.

It was a perfect day for the boys!

On Sunday we went to the park for a picnic after church with the Dobbins family.

On Sunday late afternoon, Mommy and Daddy poured a glass of sangria and let us run around naked.

We were happy, and Mommy and Daddy were happy! Doesn’t get much better than that.

Then we pulled out the sled, and since Mommy and Daddy couldn’t possibly imagine anything going wrong with it, they let us go down the slide.

Daddy made a beautiful beer can chicken for dinner. Such a perfect irregular regular weekend!

Billings Trip (Part Three)

Story told by: Lainey

On Thursday evening we went to check out a local chocolate shop recommended by a friend, but unfortunately they were closed.

Fortunately right across the street was a fun Children’s Museum, so we were able to make the best of our trip downtown.

Mommy, Grandma, and Daddy challenged each other to build the arch without any help.

It’s actually fairly tricky.

Daddy did it first!

Next up was Grandma.

Not sure her arch would stand up in a wind storm, but we’ll give it to her.

Mommy went next, and just as she was about to fit in the final piece, in comes Brody.

Brody eventually brought it back to Mommy, so Mommy was able to complete the arch as well!

We went to dinner, and Daddy had his typical restaurant experience: beer and a whining Brody.

Daddy also had a GIANT sandwich, and he loved it!

Since the chocolate shop was closed, we checked out another recommended candy store after dinner. Look at this place!! It was insane!

Mommy let us pick out five different kinds of candy. Henry picked his out right away!

After purchasing their candy, Henry and Brody sat down to enjoy it while I continued my careful selection.

My all-time favorite candies at the store were these gummy lambs. It fits perfectly with my dream of being a lamb farmer!

Enjoying my treats!

I took this picture of Mommy and the awesome candle Grandma bought for her.

Henry didn’t want to be left out, so here’s his picture he took of Mommy.

The adults played games every night. Mommy was reminded of how much she despises Phase 10 (mostly just the impossible round with two sets of four), but they enjoyed Euchre and Rummikub on the other nights.

We loved the sugary cereal we got from Grandma and Grandpa each morning! Cookie cereal for breakfast?! Yes, please!

On our last full day in Billings, we went fishing. Grandma and Grandpa bought some fun fishing poles for us!

Brody told Daddy that he wanted to do it on his own.

So Daddy turned his back on Brody. And then Brody threw his fishing pole into the lake.

Grandpa asked me if I wanted to put a worm on my own hook, but I most definitely passed on that.

But I was happy once the worm was in the water.

Henry was surprisingly patient with sitting and waiting.

After only about ten minutes, I caught a fish!!

I later declared this one of my favorite moments of the whole trip, but you can tell from the look on my face that I was NOT touching that fish (and I didn’t really even want to be near it).

We fished for another hour, but that was the only fish I caught. Henry didn’t catch any fish, but he still really enjoyed it, though!

During Brody’s nap time we went golfing with Grandma and Grandpa.

Then we took Grandpa down to show him the river.

We had one last dinner out at the Montana Brewing Company. Lainey colored with Grandpa.

Henry colored with Grandma.

Meanwhile Brody was fascinated with the TV, and he wasn’t screaming, so everyone just let him be.

Check out this amazing pretzel appetizer!

When you’re out with Grandma and Grandpa, you get dessert! So good!

Henry licked his plate clean.

Once we got home from the restaurant, we rode the campground bikes, and then went to the KOA store to pick out a toy. Such a perfect last night!

After saying sad goodbyes to Grandma and Grandpa on Saturday morning we started the 10-hour drive home (it ended up taking us about 13 hours). About two hours into the drive, Henry got gum stuck in his hair. We didn’t get it out until the next day when Mommy used peanut butter and a comb.

At our lunch stop, I drew some princesses.

This was one of multiple coffee stops.

The highlight of the trip home was finding this Rwandan coffee at a coffee shop. It brings Daddy back to when he spent a summer in Rwanda during college. So fun!

Overall, it was such a great week! Mommy and Daddy are still recovering from the exhaustion, but all of us kids have bounced right back. Can’t wait to see Grandma and Grandpa at Thanksgiving!