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!

My First Day of Kindergarten

Story told by: Brody

I’ve been so excited all summer for my first day of kindergarten! That day arrived yesterday! It was distance learning, but I was still excited to get to meet my teacher and classmates online.

My first-day-of-school cereal!

My special jammies that I picked out for the first day.

I just decided that I’d like to be a barber when I grow up.

My very own work station!

Kindergarteners Zoom right away at 8:30, so I got to meet my teacher, Miss Carrier, first thing!

In between my assignments, I did some coloring.

My teacher is in for a treat with lots of these video assignments coming her way.

Miss Carrier sent bubbles in our take-home packets.

Lunch with my siblings!

Mommy is about on maximum overload with managing our schedules, getting us into the right platforms at the correct time, and helping us with assignments. Daddy showed up with the most beautiful flowers for her at lunch time. He’s the best!

Another good friend dropped off coffee. Mommy is so grateful for her support team!

We ended the day doing P.E. I don’t love P.E. as much as Henry does, but I gave it a good try!

I really, really like my teacher! And I hope to start to get to know some kids on our class Zoom calls. Here’s to a strange, but good year of kindergarten!

First Day of School – Distance Learning

Story told by: Lainey

Henry and I had our first day of school yesterday! Henry is in first grade and I’m in third grade. (And Brody starts kindergarten in just a few days.) We’re going to be online until it’s safe to return to school, so it was  bit of a different day, but we still made the best of it!

Mommy made us little treats that she placed on our works stations for the  first morning of school.

We always get to pick out our very own cereal for the first day of school. But this time we went with Daddy to shop for our cereal, and he had no objections to us each getting a GIANT bag of cereal.

We were quite happy with this!

I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up!

To make things fun, Mommy let us pick out new PJs for the first day of school.

Henry wants to be a scientist when he grows up!

We started our day by starting a new read-aloud book. We are loving it so far!!

Mommy created different work stations for us, so at 8:30 we logged on and got ready to go!

Brody stayed busy with some online learning games while we listened to videos from our teacher and did Zoom meetings with our classes.

Mommy’s coffee cup remained full all day as she ran back and forth between all of us.

Henry read this story and thought it was quite hilarious. He said he wished that he could run the school.

Ava is going to a different school this year, but since they don’t start for a few more days, she got to come over to play once all of my schoolwork was done.

Mommy’s good friend, Liz, brightened Mommy’s day with a coffee delivery!

And here are our annual first-day-of-school interviews!

We can do this!!

Fourth of July, 2020

Story told by: Lainey

We had a great Fourth of July! We didn’t get to do our usual things like the Johnson Parade or the fireworks at Sunnyside Park, but we made the best of it with other really fun events!

We did get to start with our usual American flag waffles!

The O’Loughlins were hosting a lunchtime BBQ! They were hosting a “Most Patriotic Outfit” contest, so we definitely wanted to participate. Each of us kids came up with our own outfit!

I also used my eye shadow to paint on our faces.

Once we arrived at the O’Loughlin’s house, they knew how much we were missing the parade, so they put one on for us!

We love them! (Although, would it have killed them to throw candy at us?!)

The whole crew!

The guys!

The ladies!

Grandpa sent us a video of their Fourth of July, so we made this to send back!

Then the water gun and water balloon fight started!

The kids decided to attack the adults, so the adults started getting revenge.

Time for lunch!

Then Kan Jam started!

When it was time for the ladies to play, Sean captured Mommy’s intense effort to win.

And Mommy is very proud to announce they DID win!

We came home to rest, then grilled for dinner, and then did our own fireworks!

We sat and watched Daddy light off some fun firework fountains.

Then we got ready on our deck for the fireworks that were being shot from an “undisclosed location” in order to prevent groups from gathering. We had no idea if we’d be able to see them or not!

Then once they started and we found out we couldn’t see them from our main deck, we ran upstairs to the deck off of Mommy and Daddy’s room. We could see them just the tiniest bit through these bushes.

Henry and I watched the entire time and saw whatever we could.

Daddy and Brody gave up (and I’m pretty sure Daddy just went to sleep). It was a bit of a strange year, but still SUPER fun! However, we won’t complain if things are back to normal next year!