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!

Dance Recital, 2020

Story told by: Lainey

I had my dress rehearsal yesterday and was gearing up for my dance recital next weekend! They were going to let just one dance class into the auditorium at a time, and the immediate families could watch while spread far apart. Unfortunately new COVID regulations means that we just found out today that my in-person recital can’t happen. I was VERY disappointed. But Mommy talked with Chloe and Ani’s mom, and we decided we could do our very own recital! So while watching church we got to work!

Henry and Brody got to work on cutting out snowflakes for my background.
Just five hours later we had transformed our dining room into a winter wonderland!
My mommy’s friend, Kyndell, saw that my recital was cancelled, so she stopped by with balloons to add to the decorations. She’s the best!
These two reindeer helped to hand out tickets!
Sarah and Sean were our first guests to arrive!
Des and his family arrived next. We had special coloring activities for the boys to do during the performance.
The dancers getting ready in the green room (a.k.a my bedroom)!
The stage is set!
Chloe went first, and then I went second!
Ani was next!
And then Chloe finished the show with her second dance!
Ani and I were happily watching. The boys were happily coloring.
The final bow (that we hadn’t really practiced)!
Liz brought some yummy treats to enjoy after the performance!
Enjoying our treats!
Then some much-needed giggles!
It wasn’t the recital we had hoped for, but I’m still so grateful to have had the chance to perform and do what I love!
Such a fun and unexpected day!

Halloween, 2020

Story told by: Brody

We weren’t sure what Halloween was going to look like this year, but I’ve got to tell you…it ended up being awesome!!

We decided on doing an animal theme, so we each got to pick out exactly which animal we wanted!
I was a hamster, Henry a chameleon, and Lainey a fox.
The tails were one of our favorite parts!
Mommy also had a fun shirt to wear!
Our first stop of the day was the O’Loughlin’s house for outside Halloween games.
I couldn’t stop giggling at Chloe’s costume.
Mommy and her friends all had matching shirts!
These are their faces when they have to count past three.
And this is how they feel inside.
The dads!
Mrs. O’Loughlin was amazing and had goodie bags for all of us once we finished the games!
We ended with a yummy lunch!
Thank you so much to the O’Loughlins for a fantastic afternoon party!
We took a break for a few hours, and then walked to the Knight’s house for a fun escape room. On the way there, we stopped at just a few houses that allowed for socially-distanced trick-or-treating. This is a fun video from our neighbor’s, Scott and Betsy!
Another neighbor’s house, the Conleys!
Henry’s teacher, Mrs. Nelson, lives close to us and gave out her address to her class so they could stop by. So special!
While walking I told Mom, “I’m just like a hamster. Short legs, but also very fast.”
People were SO creative with how they handed out candy this year!
After trick-or-treating at ten houses, we had full buckets and ended at the Knight’s house for a fun escape room!
The escape room they made was amazing!!
We had to solve clues in order to unlock all of the locks!
Once we figured out the clues, we were lead to the final big prize of tons of candy!
Sorting through all of our candy! Thank you to the Knights for a great party!
The final stop of the night was our house for a haunted flashlight egg hunt!
Emptying all of the candy out of the eggs once they’d been found!
After the egg hunt was done, us kids went downstairs to eat snacks and watch “Hocus Pocus” while the adults stayed upstairs to play a Halloween edition of Family Fued.
After six grueling rounds, these three were declared the winners!
The next morning we enjoyed our usual pancakes with Halloween candy!
And then sorted through all of the candy from the night before! It was a pretty great Halloween, and we didn’t care one bit that it was different this year!

October Catch-Up

Story told by: Lainey

Distance learning started, and we’ve now been MIA! I know you’re used to much more regular updates, but the boys and I are very busy with school. And Mommy seems to be either running around between us or drinking lots of coffee! I’ll get you caught on what we’ve been doing in October (and some of September)!

Bike rides!
I found a new book series that I LOVE! I’m currently on the last of these four books.
Na Na and Ba Ba came to visit!
Na Na and I can now wear the same size shoe!
We are finding small ways to have fun, so this Friday our goal was to be in pajamas eating cookies by 3 p.m. We accomplished our goal!
Brody got a new bike because he left his old bike in the path of Mommy’s car. But this is a bigger bike, so it should last him through next summer!
I’m loving fall clothes and fall weather!
On Wednesday afternoons we’ve been taking turns at friend’s houses doing fun crafts and activities!
We are loving fall walks!
Henry has learned to tie his shoe!
We’ve been enjoying watching the Seahawks this year!
While outside writing his sight words in chalk, Brody wrote a special “I love you, Mom” message.
I’m taking dance breaks in between class meetings.
Henry was able to play soccer for the first time this year!
Henry has become very tenacious in soccer.
He scored a goal in his last game of the season!
Henry was chosen by his coaches as the MVP of his team and earned a soccer ball for the award.
We had our first-ever milkshakes after one of his games. Now we’re hooked!
Pumpkin ice cream from Ferdinand’s on one of our recess breaks.
Dance has started again for me!
Henry got to create a family tree for an assignment one day!
Brody uses his binoculars to watch his Zoom meetings.
There was a Friday we didn’t have school, so we booked a cabin for three nights at Wallowa Lake. When we knew we would be doing distance learning, we decided to build in a couple of these getaways.
The first day was beautiful, so we got out and about. Mini-golf was closed for the season, so we pretended to golf all 18 holes since it’s Brody’s all-time favorite activity.
We went on a beautiful three-mile hike!
After the hike we went on the go-karts. Brody went first with Daddy, and then I went next with Mommy while Daddy went with Henry.
Lots of games were played!
And snuggles on the rainy day!
We also had a m&m blind taste test, as well as voted on our family favorite.
Daddy and I won the blind taste test with the most correct guesses.
Pretzel ended up being our family favorite!
On their way home from soccer one night, Henry and Mommy heard on the radio that it was National Dessert Day. So they surprised all of us by baking pumpkin cookies!
Mommy found a coupon code for Kiwi Crates, so we got our first shipment of those last month. The boys got the Kiwi Crates that relate to building and engineering.
I got the Kiwi Crate that relates to learning about the world and atlases.
One of our local tree farms turns into a pumpkin patch for a couple of weekends, so we went to join the fun!
Mommy and I were very excited to wear boots and cute sweaters!
We’re baking tons of yummy fall treats! This was a pumpkin coffee cake!
Daddy wrote a Battleship computer game for us to play.
Henry has a new favorite book series that he asks to read each morning with Mommy.
Focus for a kindergartener during distance learning is lacking.
This is what recess looks like right now!
We had one of the earliest snows we can remember on 10/23!
As soon as school was done, we ran out to enjoy it!
We carved pumpkins last weekend, and started with the pumpkin pizza for lunch!
We all worked really hard and did most of the work on our own!
Snuggles during football!
Henry worked for hours on this Perler Bead creation.
As we near Halloween, this is what the kindergarten costume party looks like.
Brody was very excited to be a hamster!
Mommy had to step in and give the boys some insight during this recess break.
And I get to dance (with Ivy) in my fox costume!

Okay, there you go! Phew! You’re caught up! It’s been an interesting, different, and fun fall so far!