Dance Recital, Parks & Rec, 2021

Story told by: Lainey

I had my second recital of the year today! This is for my parks & rec dance studio. I’ve danced with most of the girls in my class since I was two years old.

This was my costume for our jazz dance.
My favorite girls! We had to wear masks unless we were performing, but we took them off super quick for this picture.
I was most nervous for this dance, but I was really happy with how I did! I start as the third from the right, and then move all over the place.
My tap costume!
Me and one of my best buddies, Ivy.
Tap is still my favorite style of dance (although jazz is gaining ground). I’m in the front row, on the far left in this dance!
Mommy and Daddy got me a flower/candy bouquet for my great performance.
The boys got a bit wiggly, but they sat through the entire two-hour recital. They rocked it!
My favorite part…the giant trophy! This is my eighth year of dance with Parks & Rec.
And finally, a picture with my wonderful teacher, Ms. Brooke. I have made the very difficult decision to switch over to my other dance studio full time in order to compete in more dances on their competition team (which is something Ms. Brooke doesn’t offer). Tonight tears were shed by both myself and Ms. Brooke. I am going to miss her SO much. I am very grateful to how much she helped to foster my love of dance. I love her, and I can’t wait to make her proud with more dancing!

Sanctuary Dance Recital, 2021

Story told by: Lainey

I started at a new dance studio in the fall of 2020 because I wanted to join their competition dance team. The studio I’ve been with since I was two years old doesn’t do a competition team, so for this year, I did dances at both studios. My first recital of the year was with my new dance studio, Sanctuary.

I got to be Mary Poppins for my competition team! We traveled to a few competitions this spring with this dance. We took second place and third place at two of the competitions! We performed our competition dance first!
The recital was broken up into five different mini-recitals, so more people could attend due to COVID restrictions. This dance was performed at the 10:00 recital.
The theme of the recital was “Dancing Through the Decades,” so the rest of my songs were from various decades.
This is my second costume for my Tap 2 performance for the 11:30 recital.
I had lots of friends in different performances. Analiese had the cutest dress!
Mom and Liz helped each other through learning competition season for the first time together! They were SO glad they had one another.
Sarah saved the day for the moms with a coffee run!
I am on the far left for most of this dance.
My third (and favorite) costume for the 12:30 recital. This is also my favorite dance!
Leilani is in my class at school, so it was fun to see her!
I ate a quick lunch before my third performance!
I am third from the left in most of this dance.
Daddy and the boys came to watch my third dance. It was such a long day of dances, so I picked my one favorite for them to attend.
My fourth costume for the 2:00 recital!
I was all done posing.
Sarah is such a good support person!
Jagger was my duet partner for this last dance!
After I went home to change, we went out for ice cream to celebrate a successful recital! I love, love, love dancing! I can’t wait for my next recital in a couple of weeks with my other dance studio!

I’m Six!

Story told by: Brody

I turned six yesterday! I am the last in my family to have a birthday, so I’ve been counting down the days since the first family birthday in February. It is FINALLY my turn!!

I was up by 5:15 a.m. because I was too excited. The first thing I asked Daddy was, “Can you lift me up to see if I’m heavier today?”
Then I asked Mommy if she would like to pick me up. She gave an emphatic, “Nope!” I am getting pretttty big.
Lainey made a note for me, and left it with a new shirt that I got to wear for the day.
Before I left for school, Daddy took me out to get a doughnut, and Mommy made bacon for me. My favorite things!
Chloe and I have the same birthday! She turned 14. She surprised me with an early-morning present drop off. Thank you, Chloe!
I’m not too heavy for her to lift either.
The early-morning picture of the tired moms!
Henry made a nice card for me.
And after this picture in my new shirt, I walked out the door for school!
Daddy took the day off to help celebrate my special day. While I was at school, Mommy and Daddy got the deck ready for my birthday party. (The wind was blowing quite a bit and it was raining off and on…but they were determined!)
I’m loving Mario right now, so I requested this for my theme!
Ella and Nathanael, my two best kindergarten buddies, walked home from school with me for my party. We got to first pick out a Mario-themed mask.
The Bowser mask was my favorite!
Bananas, string cheese, and Kool-Aid for snack. It was my first time trying Kool-Aid, and I later declared this as one of my favorite parts of my party!
Mommy and Daddy also got in on the fun.
Our first activity was Mario Bingo!
Then we were blindfolded and had to pin the nose on Mario, as well as the “M” on his hat!
Next we had an egg hunt to find all of Yoshi’s eggs! (Lainey and Henry had a bit of a collision, but everyone was fine.)
We successfully found all of Yoshi’s eggs!
Time for presents!
Cupcakes were next!
Making my wish.
Ella made sure that her mask and her cupcake matched.
After cupcakes, we had about 45 minutes to run around and play. We wrapped up just in time for it to start pouring rain. I love these two buddies and I’m so happy they could come over!
I originally wanted giant pancakes from Zoe’s for dinner, but when we called, they were closing early. So I happily opted for my next dinner choice…McDonald’s!
Next up…family presents!
Lainey and Brody bought this book for me. I love it!
Grandma and Grandpa got me a new Nintendo Switch game!
Mommy and Daddy also got me a new game. I only get to play Switch on the weekends, so you know what I’ll be doing this weekend!
NaNa and BaBa got me a cool science kit. I can’t wait to grow some crystals!
Gma and Gpa are going to give me a night in a hotel as my present. I LOVE HOTELS!!!
I requested that Mommy make lava cake for my birthday dessert. It’s just so warm and gooey and yummy!
After we played one of my new Switch games as a family, I requested that we end the night by reading a couple of chapters of my new book. It was such a great birthday! I can’t wait for my next one!

Spring Break and Easter, 2021

Story told by: Lainey

We have this week off for Spring Break, so we took the first few days of the week to head to the Oregon Coast for a fun getaway!

It’s almost an eight-hour drive, so we got on the road by 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and drove all day. Daddy’s watch kept giving him notices that he was in an area where the decibels were too loud and that exposure to this volume for a long period of time could cause damage. I guess we were laughing too much and playing the music too loud on the way!
We arrived in Lincoln City, Oregon at 3 p.m., which was an hour earlier than our condo opened, so we went straight to the beach!

After checking into our condo, we came back down to keep playing!

Henry was on a mission to find as many seashells as he could!
Brody and I were on a mission to go fully clothed into the ocean. Success!
The next morning was Easter! We were very relieved to find out that the Easter Bunny still found us in our vacation spot!
I bought these yummy treats for the boys and made them a Perler bead bunny.
We all got started on the candy right away!
The view off of our balcony!
We tried to go to a local church, but it was a bit too crowded with no masks for us, so we left after a few minutes and went sightseeing instead.
We loved watching the waves crash over these rocks.
This is my “I’m a vacation girl” pose.
Next up was our egg hunt on the beach! It was incredibly windy down by the water, though, so that made hiding plastic eggs a bit challenging.
We went exploring while Mommy hid the eggs.
Once the egg hunt started, Daddy stood down wind to catch the eggs. Mommy got quite a kick out of it!
Brody’s favorite part of the ocean was when the tide was low and he could hop on all of these rocks.
We all enjoyed reading books on our balcony. I got this one in my Easter basket.
We ended Easter night in our hot tub. Not too shabby!
On our last full day of vacation, we drove down to Newport to see the sights. Our first stop was a must on the coast….salt water taffy!
And then another necessary stop…Mo’s for clam chowder!
I wouldn’t even touch the chowder, but the boys (and Mommy) all dug right in. They loved it!
Next we wandered down to see all of the sea lions.
I lost a tooth in my salt water taffy! I started biting on something hard, and was very surprise (and quite panicked) because I didn’t even know it was loose. Because I was pretty worried, Mommy took some pictures and emailed them to our dentist just to help me feel better that all looked good, and wasn’t a broken tooth and sure enough, it’s normal! I was much happier after hear that.
We stopped at Rogue Brewery to eat on their outdoor patio and to enjoy the GLORIOUS sunshine!
We had root beer floats and shared a couple of appetizers for our lunch!
Mommy spilled her entire drink before even taking a sip. So the waiter was awesome and brought her replacement drink in a mug with a handle so she could hold on extra tight.
Grandma and Grandpa gave us a puzzle for Easter, so we finished putting that together!
And then back to the beach for our last evening! It was only 50 degrees, but I was bound and determined to be in my bathing suit and go in the ocean!
Henry’s goal was to build a sand castle fort.
And Brody was back on these rocks. He didn’t care that they were covered in seaweed…he could have been here all day!
On our last morning, Henry cozied right up to me to watch some cartoons.
Then before heading home, we drove an hour north to go to the Tillamook Cheese and Ice Cream Factory!
It was really neat to see how the cheese was made!
Mommy wanted cheese curds, and we wanted ice cream. So yummy!
After this we started the long drive home with lots of stops for food, Target to make some returns (since we don’t have a Target where we live), breaks to stretch our legs, and most importantly…coffee for Mommy and Daddy!

We couldn’t have had a better Spring Break! It was the perfect weather, great family time, and the relaxation we all needed!

I’m Nine!

Story told by: Lainey

It’s my birthday! One of the first things I said when I woke up today was, “It’s my last year in the single digits!”

I woke up at 6 a.m. Here’s my first picture as a nine-year-old!
Since I was up so early, Mommy wasn’t done with her workout yet, so I joined her to finish the last half together!
And just as we finished, Brody came up to wish me a happy birthday.
My requested breakfast from my favorite chef was bacon and eggs.
My favorite meal!
When we were in the store last week, I saw this “Birthday Girl” badge that I just had to have.
Mommy asked me to strike a birthday pose. This is my “birthday hat” pose.
Then it was time for school! I have a new appreciation for actually being able to go to school, so I was thrilled to get to celebrate with my class.
Mommy had friends and teachers sending me pictures of my school day.
When I got home, my best friend, Ava got to come over for a bit. We first checked out the new American Girl magazine.
Allison also got to come over to have a cookie picnic together. Allison turns 18 today. She was in Mommy’s third grade class when I was born, and got to meet me in the hospital on our first birthday we shared together. It’s crazy that I’m now the age that Allison was when she first met me!
Then it was time to open presents!
A fun game from Grandma and Grandpa!
Two different latch hook kits!
A Little House on the Prairie cookbook from the Spotanskis!
My new favorite sweatshirt!
Na Na made me a beautiful quilt! She’s the best seamstress I know!
A fun LOL doll camper from Gma and Gpa!
Then I had awhile to play with my new toys!
Tacos and cheesy chips were my requested dinner!
Mommy made me a lemon cake while I was at school today. It was absolutely delicious!
After cake, it was time for dance class! Over the weekend Mommy and I made salted chocolate chunk cookies to share as treats with my dance friends.
My dance class surprised me when I walked in!
And then the big girls came to sing to me!

It was such a fun day! I felt special, and got to spend it with lots of friends and family that I love!

I’m Seven!

Story told by: Henry

I’m seven years old today!

I always snuggle with my mom first thing every morning. It’s about the only time I am willing to snuggle.
My first picture as a seven-year-old!
I wanted to pick out fresh doughnuts for my birthday breakfast, so before I started online school for the day, Daddy and I got to run out to the store!
I specifically wanted to be able to put a doughnut hole in the middle of my doughnut so it looked like a UFO.
Then since I was having a couple of friends over for lunch and video games, Mommy and Daddy let me open one present early. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!
After I hurried through my schoolwork, Des and Elijah came over to join us for lunch!
They were so sweet to bring a couple of great gifts!
Then we got to play my new video game. It was such a fun afternoon!
Once Daddy was done with work, I requested Taco Bell for dinner. I love their burritos!
Then it was time to open presents! Lainey and Brody bought this present for me. It is a Splatoon character that I’ve been wanting!
I really loved this “make your own” comic book that Mommy and Daddy gave me.
A hoverboard from Gma and Gpa!
I got lots of books! This set is from the Campbells!
I found a s’mores cake online last week, and I just knew that’s what I wanted for my birthday. It almost did Mommy in as it was the most complicated cake she’s ever made, but my reaction when I saw it was pure joy!
This cake was INCREDIBLE!! Seriously the best cake we’ve ever had!
We ended the night with Daddy reading “Chronicle of Narnia” to us while I worked on one of my new LEGO sets.

It was such a great day, and I’m so excited to be seven!

Valentine’s Day, 2021

Story told by: Brody

We love, love, love Valentine’s Day!

We started the day with heart-shaped muffins (that I helped Mommy bake yesterday) and heart-shaped bacon!
I wanted to look “very handsome” for Valentine’s Day. But since we haven’t been to church since last March and only watch online, I have no dress pants that fit me. So I put gel in my hair, found a dress shirt that fits, and tucked it into my nicest sweatpants.
Mommy made a cake that had a bit of a hard time coming out of the pan.
But lots of frosting and sprinkles fixed it right up!
While Mommy was baking, Daddy came home with two sweet gifts for her. He’s a good guy!
Mommy caught Daddy and Lainey dancing. We had “love” music going all day!
Yesterday Henry made a kind card for Mommy.
And finally our favorite part of the day…our special dinner!
Heart-shaped meatloaf and pink mashed potatoes!
We all got kicked out of the dining room until it was time for the big reveal!
We decided that since we never dress up anymore, it would be fun to have a fancy dinner!
We surprised Mommy and Daddy with cards we made the day before. Mommy and Daddy opened their cards while we ate dinner.
Lainey wrote the SWEETEST cards to each of us!
Lainey also made Mommy a necklace with a wine cork from her favorite winery. Mommy got a kick out of this!
Time for our presents!
I got a book I’d been BEGGING for, so while everyone else continued to open presents, I paused everything to start reading.

And because Mommy forgot to take any pictures after dinner, I’ll let you know that we had cake for dessert, and then snuggled up to watch a movie and eat our Valentine’s Day treats. It was a wonderful day!

Christmas, 2020

Story told by: Lainey

We were supposed to fly to visit our family in Illinois for Christmas this year, but due to COVID, we decided to be extra safe and stay home!

We were excited to wake up on Christmas Eve to find that Santa had brought us an early present! (He normally brings us a present while we’re at church on Christmas Eve, but since we are doing church from home, we were curious to see how he’d do it!)
We love our new jammies and book he brought us!
Elf also surprised us with treats!
We had baked sugar cookies the day before, so we spent time on Christmas Eve decorating them.
The weather was beautiful, so we went out for a long walk!
Since we were watching church from home, we took the most casual Christmas Eve pictures ever!
These are what 90% of our pictures looked like.
Our church sent out nativities for us to open during the service.
The one bonus about church from home was that as soon as it was done, we turned on a Christmas show and ate peppermint ice cream from Ferdinand’s. Yum!
We read our new book with Daddy.
And each picked out our favorite cookie to leave out for Santa.
I also wrote a note for Santa. And then we went to bed where both Henry and I couldn’t fall asleep until well past 11 p.m.
The next morning Mommy and Daddy got up to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a quiet moment before the fun began.
We were ready to go by 5:58 a.m.
Our big present from Santa is always unwrapped. We were thrilled to find that I got my number one request of a giant box of LOL Dolls, and the boys got their requests of new Nintendo Switches.
Daddy got right to work as tech support.
And Mommy watched me unbox a few dolls.
Next we moved onto stockings!
And then the chaos and fun really started!
Mommy’s favorite moments of the morning were when we opened presents we gave to one another. We used our allowance to carefully choose and purchase what we thought each other would like the most. We had the most genuine and heartfelt thank you’s for one another.
The boys got a LEGO set for me to add to our LEGO city.
I bought a Pokemon set for Henry.
We all bought a Cougar sweatshirt for Daddy.
And we bought a new Cougar mug for Mommy.
My teacher also gave me a new book to open on Christmas!
Brody got a new apron for all of his baking with Mommy!
Grandma and Grandpa got Mommy a new Magnolia vase from when they visited the Magnolia store in Texas!
Daddy got an assortment of beer!
And then tested it in his new chair. He’s ready for summer!
I also got a Magic 8 ball. I really want to meet dolphins, so I asked my Magic 8 ball. Twice. I didn’t like its answer.
The afternoon was spent playing with our toys! The boys did video games.
Mommy and I put together one of my new LEGO sets.
And Daddy was knee-deep in recycling and trash, which he clearly loves sooooo much!
Since it was just us this year, we decided to do whatever we want. We love Costco lasagna, so that’s what we had for dinner. Mommy LOVED not cooking all day. She said that she may keep this tradition!
But she did make a delicious peppermint cheesecake. Yum!
Right as the lasagna came out of the oven we realized it had finally snowed enough to go sledding (the snow didn’t really start until the sun was going down)! So we left the lasagna sitting on the counter, put on our snow stuff, and ran out the door for flashlight sledding!

It was such a fun way to end our day! We came home to eat our easy Christmas dinner, played some video games, and then went to bed. It was much different than normal, but also such a fun day! Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanksgiving, 2020

Story told by: Brody

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have made the choice to spend the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with just us this year due to COVID, and while we miss family, we’re determined to make the best of it and make fun memories!

We had the whole week off from school, and it has been a MUCH-NEEDED break from distance learning! Henry and I helped Mommy make the pumpkin cake this week.
When Mommy asked us who would like to whisk, I replied, “Me. It would be my honor to whisp for you my lady.” Mommy laughed quite a bit about this one.
Later that night Mommy and Lainey made a homemade salted caramel sauce to add to the cream cheese frosting for the cake. Yum!
We’ve already been listening to lots of Christmas music. One evening we called Mommy and Daddy in to Lainey’s room to show them this act. Lainey said to them, “You’re welcome to record this.”
On Thanksgiving morning we woke up to watch the parade on TV!
Daddy helped with peeling potatoes! (Mommy was cooking an easy turkey breast this year, and Lainey and Mommy had already made the stuffing and the cranberry sauce the day before, so there was minimal prep needed this day.)
While the turkey cooked in the oven and the mashed potatoes cooked in the crockpot, we played Farkle.
Every time I got a good roll, I had to do a victory dance.
The girls!
Time to start setting the table. We had some yummy drinks!
Since we couldn’t all be together, Na Na mailed us a festive centerpiece that she made. We love it!
The food is ready!
It was an absolutely delicious dinner! We all had different favorite things. Henry liked the green bean casserole, Lainey liked the rolls, I liked the “fuzzy” (a.k.a. carbonated) drink, Daddy liked the cranberry sauce, and Mommy liked the stuffing! We all took turns going around the table saying what we were thankful for this year. We are especially grateful to all be safe, healthy, and happy in our wonderful home!
After dinner we went outside to play while Mommy and Daddy cleaned up. Before we came back inside, we found this waiting on the front porch! (Lainey knows the secret about Elf this year. I have no idea what secret they might be talking about.)
We love our new PJs!
Since we can’t visit Santa this year, we took turns telling Elf what we would like. (Although we did also mail letters to the North Pole this year. We’re covering all of our bases.)
Thankfully we had an early dinner so we could fit in two desserts that night. We started with the pumpkin cake!
And later had pumpkin ice cream!
And ended the night with watching “A Christmas Story!”

We had a fun, relaxing day with lots of laughs and good family time together! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!