Thanksgiving Week, 2019

Story told by: Lainey

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving Break!

I got to kick it off on Friday night by having Mirabel over for a sleepover. We tried to make bath bombs, but it turned into sludge.

So we took our sludge, some pre-made bath bombs, and chocolate right into the tub. It was perfect!

Early on Saturday morning, Daddy and Henry went up to Spokane for Henry’s last tournament of the season. It was Henry’s biggest tournament yet – the Bigfoot Tournament. They rent out the Spokane Convention center for it. Here are Henry and his buddy, Pierce.

Henry wrestled three times. He pinned his first two guys right away, but the third guy was a real fight. Henry ended up beating him, though, and came away with a gold medal! We’re so proud of him!

Soon after Henry and Daddy got home, the babysitter came over so Mommy and Daddy could go to the football game. They got there early enough to get a Mike Leach talking head.

After quite a game against Oregon State, the Cougs had four seconds to get a touch down to win…and THEY DID IT!! Such a fun ending! Cougs are now bowl eligible!

After church on Sunday, we put up the tree! Lots of Christmas music, yummy food, and children fighting over ornaments.

Our new ornament for the tree.

Mommy came into the room to find that Henry had attached a hook to our Christmas tree timer and had placed it on the tree.

While we worked inside, Daddy got the outside ready! He did a great job!

On Monday we met the Straders at Planet 3. Ava and I had a blast.

After Planet 3, I asked Mommy to take us to Wal-Mart so I could use all of my allowance to buy a tree (and ornaments) for my room. Ava and I had a blast decorating it.

Next up was lunch at McDonald’s!

On Tuesday Mac and Ivy came over to play. We got to make some fun turkey treats for snack.

Later that night Ava’s family picked me up to head to the last home Cougar volleyball game.

We got to go down to the gym floor after the game to meet the players.

We even got matching shirts with one of the players on it!

On Wednesday morning Brody helped Mommy make cranberry sauce. So yummy!

Mommy lost a bet to Daddy, so she owed him coffee at work. We all delivered it!

We met the O’Loughlins and the Kings at the science center on Wednesday morning.

And then met everyone to see “Frozen II” that afternoon.

We all REALLY enjoyed it!

Elf normally comes sometime on Thanksgiving, so I wrapped a present for him and left it out on Wednesday night.

He surprised us by coming right away on Thanksgiving morning. He was wearing the super hero outfit we got for him!

Elf brought us a fun LEGO advent calendar.

This is the first time in many years that Mommy hasn’t had to think about putting in a turkey, so we got to have a lazy morning watching the parade!

Around noon Mommy had to pull it together to make this super tough side for Thanksgiving. (Mommy offered to make baked mac and cheese, but no way! We want Kraft!)

We all headed over to the Knight’s house around 1 to get the festivities going.

Mommy sure has some sweet friends.


Dinner prep.

Dinner time! Since we don’t have family close to us, we are so grateful to friends who have become family!

After a great time at the Knight’s house, we came home to watch “Elf,” and we had to make sure that Elf joined us.

Friday was Apple Cup!! But before Apple Cup, I did some shopping and a coffee (hot chocolate for me) date with Mommy.

Next Brody got to go on a date with Daddy.

While they were gone, we got started on our Christmas puzzle.

300 pieces! Done!

And finally it was Apple Cup time! Sadly, though, the Cougs lost. For the seventh year in a row. The boys have yet to see a Cougar Apple Cup win in their lifetime. Hopefully we’ll get ’em next year!

On Saturday morning we woke up to this message from Elf. It’s our night for “Polar Express!”

Henry ran some errands with Mommy, and then it was time for his date. He requested picking out a new LEGO set and then building it with Mommy over lunch at Southfork.

That night we started getting things ready for Polar Express. Brody helped to make the train track.

Henry helped to put wheels on the train, and I helped to add snow to the scene.

After a yummy dinner, we had our tickets punched by Conductor Daddy.

Then when the snacks came out on the train, we ran upstairs to get our own treats.

A normal moment of annoyance between these two.

We took our treats and hot chocolate back downstairs to enjoy the rest of the movie. We love our Polar Express night!

We ended the fun-filled week with a fun Advent Craft Night at church!

The snow globes were our favorite crafts.

Sean helped me for quite awhile on making a pillow.

And LeeAnn helped Henry.

It was a great night! We had such a fantastic week off from school. We can’t wait for more time together in just a few weeks!

My First Lost Tooth

Story told by: Henry

I’ve had two wiggly teeth for awhile now, and I just lost the first one a few days ago!

Here’s Daddy helping me get it out. You can see by my reaction that I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it.

Once Mommy washed the tooth off, I was happier to hold it.

I put my tooth in my pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

And to make things easier for the Tooth Fairy, we hung the pillow on the door.

Right before getting into bed I realized that I needed to write a note to the Tooth Fairy, so I ran back upstairs and wrote this message.

And I woke up EXTRA early the next morning because I was so excited to see if the Tooth Fairy came. And she did! She brought me two gold coins and a note in teeny, tiny handwriting.

I love my gold coins! Can’t wait to have her visit again for my next tooth!

Halloween, 2019

Story told by: Brody

We had a great Halloween week! We started with our church trunk or treat on Sunday.

All of us came up with the theme of “Toy Story,” so we decorated the back of our car like the claw and the aliens from the movie.

We had a table by our car where kids could make a Forky craft.

And I was dressed up as the real life Forky!

Our whole family!

Mommy and Daddy stayed up waaaaay too late making these, but they couldn’t let us down!

The claw in action!

Lainey got vampire teeth during the trunk or treat.

Going through our trunk or treat loot.

There were crafts afterwards.

And a short movie.

Followed by a yummy dinner! Such a fun event!

On Monday my preschool had our pumpkin party. Here is my class and our wonderful costumes.

Silly faces. (My face oddly stayed the same.)

Mommy was able to come be part of the party.

Sprinkles with a side of cupcake.

On Wednesday we had Nocturnal Day. We got to dress up in our PJs and bring a stuffed animal. I chose the tiniest stuffed animal, and Mommy warned me it could be lost easily in the dark, but I insisted on it.

And here’s the video my teacher sent to Mommy. What are we doing you ask? We’re searching for my stuffed animal that Mommy warned me wasn’t a great idea! Thank goodness my friend, Orrin, found it.

On the same day as my Nocturnal Day, Lainey and Henry had their big costume parade at school. Mommy couldn’t attend, but one of Mommy’s friends managed to catch a picture of Lainey!

Lainey had a half day on Wednesday due to parent-teacher conferences (and no school on Halloween and Friday for the same reason), so we came home to have a very spooky lunch.

Ava came home with us after school on Wednesday and played at our house all day. She got to come to our church event that night. We painted pumpkins!

And played fun games!

On Halloween morning I had an asthma check-up with Dr. Mike, so we thought dressing up in costumes would be fun!

After my appointment we went to Papa Murphy’s because they were giving away free personal size pizzas to kids in costume. Win!

We also got a pumpkin pizza for dinner!

And after waiting all day long, it was FINALLY time for trick or treating!

We kept our coats off as long as we could possibly stand the 30-degree weather.

Lainey was pumped that not only did she get to trick or treat at her teacher’s house, but that he was also handing out full-size candy bars!

We met up with the Knights and the O’Loughlins for more trick or treating!

The whole crew of freezing adults!

Henry and I were ready to go home way before Lainey, so Mommy and Daddy brought us home while Lainey kept trick or treating with our friends. We turned on our lights and got to help hand out candy. Trick or treaters were greeted by this sign that Lainey made on our door.

When we weren’t handing out candy, we were eating our own candy.

Lainey went back to the Knight’s house to count her loot.

And eat bags of candy and Cheetos. Perfect way to end the night!

Uncle Jar Jar Gets Married!

Story told by: Lainey

We had a great trip to Illinois to see Uncle Jar Jar and Aunt Ericka get married!

We stayed in a hotel in Spokane because we had a super early flight the next morning.

Layover in Las Vegas where we found a yummy treat.

Arrived in St. Louis!

A yummy dinner at Pasta House with Grandma and Grandpa.

We love that Grandma and Grandpa have pets, so as soon as we woke up, we were playing with the dogs and cats.

This moment captured by Grandpa.

We started with a fun trip to Rader Farms! This place is amazing!

Mommy and Daddy raced. Daddy won…barely!

Then all of us kids. I won!

Since we had moved two days prior to this trip, our lives were a little chaotic. Daddy forgot to bring a sweatshirt or jacket or long sleeves of any kind, so thank goodness Grandma and Grandpa have plenty of warm clothes to share!

Grandma and Grandpa let us each pick out a pumpkin.

And they also bought pumpkin spice donuts. Yummmmm!

Henry helped get the pumpkins to the car.

The next day we drove up to Chicago for the wedding rehearsal. After the rehearsal, we went out for the rehearsal dinner. Here is Mommy with two of her brothers, Jeff (Uncle Juncle) and Jared (Uncle Jar jar).

We started wedding day by going out for breakfast and playing at the park with Mommy’s cousin, Ryan.

We also got to ride in the convertible!

After the park, we went to the hotel pool with Daddy while Mommy and Grandma went to get ready with Aunt Ericka and the bridesmaids.

Time for the wedding!

Mommy and Ryan got to walk down the aisle together.

They’re married!! The rest of the night was a big party.

Mommy with her cousins, Lauren, Ellen, and Jennifer.

Dancing with Aunt Mary Ellen.

Such a fun night! Congratulations to Uncle Jar Jar and Aunt Ericka!


The cousins got a cousin picture early the next morning before we all went our separate ways. Mommy had fun seeing everyone.

We realllly love Uncle Jar Jar because we missed a Cougar home game to be in Illinois for his wedding. But we made sure to wear our Coug gear loud and proud!

A trip the candy store!

We found friends to sit with. Then we went to breakfast with Sue and Greg…but Mommy failed to take a picture. They had sweet gifts for us, and lots of laughs. It was fun to spend time together.

Next up…Brookfield Zoo with Aunt Lori and Ryan.

We happened to be there on Boo! at the Zoo day, so it was fun to trick or treat for candy while walking around the zoo.

My favorite animals to see were the dolphins.

Brody was our tour guide.

The monkeys were pretty neat to see.

But the coolest part was the gorillas during feeding time. This was Henry’s favorite animal to see.

The rhinoceros was Brody’s favorite animal we saw.

When we get tired, we get Mommy and Daddy rides.

A successful day!

Then we rushed home to watch the Cougs have a great game!

The next morning Brody got to help Grandma make pancakes for breakfast.

But I had to do homework. Boo. (But I suppose that’s what happens when you miss school to go on vacation.)

We spent the rest of the day hanging out and enjoying the awesome weather.

Carving pumpkins!

Brody wanted nothing to do with it, so Mommy carved his pumpkin for him.

But I did my pumpkin all on my own, and Henry did a lot of his on his own.

Check out my bunny, Brody’s butterfly, and Henry’s Batman!

We were there for Grandma and Grandpa’s 35th wedding anniversary, so the adults got to have a special night out while we stayed with a babysitter.

They went to a neat Speakeasy. There’s no sign outside the restaurant, you need a password to get in, and the door is hidden.

They did “The Experience,” which is a five-course meal. Delicious!


It was a fun night out!

On our last full day in Illinois, we started with a donut run by Grandpa.

Then the park.

And then the American Ninja Warrior place. This place was incredible!

Henry must have tried this at least 50 times. He finally made it up once with a little of this guy’s help, and a second time all on his own!

The next day we were up early to drive to St. Louis for our flight. The boys were already fighting and whining before we even entered the airport. Oh joy. We are sure going to miss Grandma and Grandpa!

Moving walkways always stop the whining!

After a long flight to San Diego, a long layover in San Diego, a late flight to Spokane, and then the drive home, we got in just a little past midnight. Feels good to be home!

We Moved!

Story told by: Lainey

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past month. We moved to a new house in Pullman, which is about 15 minutes from our old house. We’ve been super busy packing, packing, and packing. We’re only 10% unpacked, but now that we’re moved in, I thought I’d share some pictures with you!

This first picture is when we moved into our Colton house seven years ago.

And here we are seven years later. SO many fantastic memories in this house. We are excited about our new house, but it was definitely emotional leaving our first home.

We recreated the first picture. I’m just a little bigger than in the original picture.

The most difficult part of this move was getting the box spring out of the basement. We remembered having to break a small part of it to get it down the stairs and around the tight corner, but we could not figure out how we did that, so we had to completely rip this thing apart to get it out of the house. Needless to say, this went to the dump and we bought a new box spring for the guest room.

We don’t have nearly enough pictures of all of the incredible helpers who helped us during this move. We had friends moving, cleaning, watching kids, unpacking, and bringing us meals. We can’t thank them enough! These guys loaded up one load of the U-Haul on Thursday night.

Our first meal in the new house on Friday night. After eating, we went to a friend’s house to watch a movie while the ladies cleaned like crazy and the guys unloaded the first U-Haul load.

Mommy took very few pictures on moving day. We had many snacks out on our new deck. The adults tag teamed it and kept us kids busy with soccer games and dance camps throughout the day.

After the U-Haul was unloaded by amazing people, some of those amazing people were able to stay even longer to help start putting our kitchen together and our beds together. Here is just a fraction of the packing paper that came out of boxes.

The new house!

We’ve never had a garage in which we can park the cars. We’re excited! (We can currently only fit one car in there due to boxes piled in there, but we’re hoping to get the other side cleaned out before the snow hits.)

Our view that we can’t get enough of!

Most of our house looks like this.

But those good friends who unpacked the kitchen also unpacked decorations and made the family room a calm place for Mommy. So when the chaos becomes too much, Mommy can turn on the fire, drink some coffee, and ignore everything else.

Coffee on this deck is one of Mommy’s and Daddy’s favorite things. We are so excited to be in this new house!

My First Day of Kindergarten

Story told by: Henry

I have been SO excited to go to the big kid school! Today was finally the day!

I got to start the day with my special cereal. It tasted exactly like Sour Patch kids!

Breakfast with everyone!

Our traditional picture before we left the house. I found these fox ears at a store a few days ago, and since my school’s mascot is a fox, I insisted that I wear these for my pictures!

A picture with Brody who had his first day of preschool today as well.

Showing off my new backpack. I chose Hot Wheels.

In front of my new school!

Grandma and Grandpa had to fly home while I was in school, but it was really fun to have them come to drop me off.

A picture with my wonderful teacher, Mrs. Strader. We adore her!

We had a few minutes to play out on the playground before school started.

Desmond, Elijah, and I are all in different kindergarten classes, but we are excited to get to see each other at recess.

Daddy had a meeting canceled, so he was able to surprise me at the school.

And there I go into my classroom! I don’t know anyone in my class, but I don’t mind one bit. When Mommy asked what I was most looking forward to about kindergarten, I said, “Making new friends.”

Mrs. Strader sent Mommy this picture of me using Play-Doh to make letters.

She also sent Mommy a picture of Ava (Mrs. Strader’s daughter) and Lainey who came to check on me at recess. Lainey looked out for me all day.

A picture of my class!

And at the end of the day, out we come! I had tired eyes, but a big smile.

Elijah had a good day as well.

But check out these hot and tired kindergarteners. These long days will be an adjustment.

We got to get some yummy cookies at the Co-Op after school!

An overview of my day (as told by a very tired boy)!

My First Day of Preschool

Story told by: Brody

I had my first day of my last year of preschool today!

I was so excited to eat the delicious cereal I picked out for this very morning.

Breakfast with everyone!

Before we left the house, we took our annual picture. I want to be a race car driver, but I also decided I might like to be a chef when I’m not driving cars.

This is the pose I attempted for most of the pictures.

Henry had his first day of kindergarten today, so we got a couple of pictures together.

Showing off our backpacks.

In front of my preschool! I am so excited that I get to be in the upstairs classroom this year.

My wonderful assistant teacher, Ms. Tietjen.

My wonderful teacher, Mrs. O’Loughlin.

I was quite nervous about going to a new classroom, but I still sat down right away and got to work.

My nervousness quickly went away, though, and my teachers captured pictures of the fun we had.

My favorite part of the day was playing Candy Land with my friend, Shay.

Once my day was over, I exclaimed to Mommy, “I didn’t need to be nervous at all. It was great!” After preschool it was fun to get to have lunch with just me and Mommy.

Then we got to play games.

After we picked up the big kids from school, we went to get yummy cookies at the Co-Op. A perfect first-day-of-school treat!