I’m Five!!!

Story told by: Henry

It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday!

We started my birthday with a slumber party last night. We spread out our pillow beds on the floor and stayed up way too late. But it was awesome!

I was beyond excited to wake up to two things that five-year-olds get in this house – allowance and gum!!

By the end of the day, I’d had at least 20 pieces of gum. In fact, Mommy barely has any pictures of me today without a big wad of gum in my mouth.

Lainey made me a fun birthday crown.

I had my requested birthday breakfast of a muffin and bacon.

Then I wanted to play Chutes and Ladders.

And then outside to play in the snow and the beautiful sunshine!

I really wanted Mommy to capture this snow angel video.

There’s my snow angel!

Inside to warm up with hot chocolate.

While talking to Na Na and Ba Ba this morning, I opened their present – some awesome building straws. We made this fun space ship. Thank you!

My lunch of choice was McDonald’s.

And we never knew this until today…apparently the Happy Meals come with mini ice cream cones. Mind blown!

Next was my birthday party at Planet 3 (a trampoline park) with my friends!

Since today was President’s Day, none of us had school, so we could all enjoy jumping in the middle of the day!

Des and I requested this slo-mo video.

My favorite area was the dodgeball area.

Daniel and I battled. “We both winned and we both losed.”

After we jumped for an hour, it was time for presents and cupcakes.

Our amazing cupcake lady made these cupcakes (with my favorite color, green, of course)!

They were delicious!

We were originally going to decorate with a bunch of helium-filled balloons, but when we stopped at the store on our way to the party, they only had enough helium for one balloon. So I got one helium-filled football balloon, and then we got some random decorations to throw up on the walls. With our input, decorations got a little haphazard, but I loved it!

Time for presents!

And we ended our time by playing games. It was such a great party, and I’m so grateful to my sweet friends who came to join!

After stopping for strong coffee for Mommy and Daddy, we came home for me to open presents from my family. I wore my shark blanket that Weston gave me for most of opening presents.

Mommy and Daddy got me a Tooth Fairy pillow!

The Spotanskis got me some new Perler beads. Thank you!

The Campbells gave me a great wrestling picture frame. Thank you!

Legos from Gma and Gpa.

Gma and Gpa also got me an awesome new bag for wrestling!

And they also got me my own wrestling head gear. Thank you!

A common theme for today is wrestling…a new shirt from Mommy and Daddy.

Aunt Elisa and Uncle Matt got me another great wrestling shirt. Thank you!

We spent the afternoon playing with all of my new toys!

Then Mommy made my favorite dinner – spaghetti and garlic bread!

And another cupcake for dessert!

I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. I had such a fantastic day. Mommy is so proud of the kind, caring boy that I am. Here’s to a great year as a five-year-old!

Valentine’s Day, 2019

Story told by: Henry

We have had a great Valentine’s week!

The snow just keeps coming down! We helped Mommy shovel for approximately 30 seconds before we abandoned her to play in the snow.

Lainey had two days completely canceled this week, and we only had one day of actual preschool this week. The snow has made this pile huge. And we’re loving it!

Brody loves baking with Mommy, so he helped her make chocolate chip heart-shaped muffins.

Wednesday morning was my Heart Cafe at preschool. Unfortunately preschool was canceled because of a Pullman schools two-hour delay, but because of all the hard work of my teachers, they pushed the Heart Cafe back by two hours and made it happen! We drove slooooooooow to get there, but we made it!

Colton was completely canceled that day, so Lainey got to join us!

We had fun sitting with the Olsen family.

With the time change, Daddy couldn’t make it, but we still had quite a bit of fun!

We got to sit right next to the Knights.

Me and my wonderful teacher, Mrs. O’Loughlin.

She made me my very own set of egg-free muffins. I love her.

We played Bingo for quite awhile with Sarah.

We stayed afterwards to help with cleanup, and we managed to get a picture of all of the Concordia kids! This is one fun crew!

When we came home, we were right back out in the snow. Brody stayed out for a couple of hours, and Lainey and I stayed out for 3 1/2 hours.

Rowan came to play with us for awhile.

I made some awesome sledding paths out of the giant hill.

Lainey and I spent a long time working on our igloos. We made this one bigger so it could be for both me and Brody.

And Lainey’s igloo is smaller, so it’s perfect for just her.

Today for Valentine’s Day we woke up to heart-shaped muffins and bacon hearts for breakfast!

I was the smart one and slept in until 7:15.

Mommy put some fun hearts in Lainey’s hair.

Brody and I also made sure to carefully pick out red, festive clothes.

Today was the day for Brody’s class at the Heart Cafe (while I went to preschool).

Daddy got to join in on this day!

Bingo together!

Eliana came over to play with Brody for awhile.

And then Brody decorated Daddy’s face.

After Lainey got home from school, we dumped out our loot from the day.

Mommy got the heart-shaped meatloaf in the oven and got the table ready for our annual dinner.

We had fun little gifts from Mommy and Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, and Na Na and Ba Ba.

We had our heart-shaped meatloaf, pink mashed potatoes, asparagus, and heart-shaped strawberries (Lainey said they also looked like “V” for Valentine’s Day).

The first thing we got was a photo book from Grandma and Grandpa with tons of pictures of us throughout the years. We loved this!!

Lainey got each of us a new Hot Wheels car.

We each got a new shirt (or two)!

Daddy got Mommy some new coasters she’s really been wanting. Beautiful views of the Palouse!

Lainey got Mommy a coffee card.

And Lainey made Daddy a card.

We ended the night with a delicious strawberry jello fluff dessert.

Brody was not impressed by this dessert, though.

I, however, gobbled it all up (and then Daddy and I ran out the door to wrestling). Such a great week of love!

Snow Days/Snow Ball

Story told by: Lainey

We had a great weekend filled with lots of snow!

On Saturday morning, we picked up Ani and went to WSU to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day. They had lots of female athletes there. Before things got going, I went straight for the dance team, The Crimson Girls. I want to be a Crimson Girl when I’m in college.

We rotated stations with each team. Volleyball, rowing, soccer, swimming, cheer, and dance team were all there!

Ani is a year older than me, so we didn’t get to be in the same group, but I did get to have Mirabel in my group!

On Saturday night, Daddy and I got dressed up in our finest clothes to go to the father-daughter dance, The Snow Ball.

Before we left, I thought it would be hilarious to pose this picture. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Our first stop was dinner at McDonald’s.

Then it was Snow Ball time!

Daddy says that once I found this mirror, all I wanted to do was dance and look at myself. What can I say? I’m quite entertaining to watch.

We had such a fun night together! Thanks for taking me, Daddy.

While I was dancing, Mommy was at home with this monkey.

On Sunday morning, we woke up to lots of snow. Mommy and Brody got in some snuggles before making the trek to church.

Chloe sat with Brody for the entire church service and entertained him. She’s the best!

While Mommy got to listen to the sermon, Brody messed with Chloe’s hair, climbed all over her, and read books with her. She’s one impressive middle schooler.

Our Supper for Six group was supposed to come to our house on Sunday night, but the snow was getting really bad. So instead, everyone went to lunch at Southfork after church. Mommy told Henry he could have one more bite of ice cream before heading home, and this video captures Henry’s one giant bite.

When we got home, we went immediately out to enjoy the snow.

We got in at least an hour and a half of sledding!

We haven’t had any good sledding snow all winter, so we were thrilled!

That afternoon I pulled out two teeth within five minutes of each other.

Big money is coming from the Tooth Fairy!

I left a note for the Tooth Fairy. I didn’t give her much space to write, but I knew it would be okay because she’s tiny.

Here I told her that my brother is going to lose teeth soon, and she wrote that she can’t wait to visit Henry.

Today we woke up to a very rare snow day! School was canceled! So we first started on a window art craft.

We decided to make Valentine’s Day cookies, so we started by getting the dough ready so it could chill in the fridge.

While the dough chilled, we went outside. We’d been outside for about 20 minutes when our neighbor Rick came over to build us a giant snow pile. He’s the best!!

This entertained us for hours.

We got to color the snow, which was really fun.

After we warmed up with hot chocolate and grilled cheese for lunch, we took turns rolling the cookie dough in sprinkles.

They turned out great! And they’re sooo yummy!

While the snow continued to fall, we watched a movie and Mommy read a book and drank coffee. We were all extremely happy with this afternoon.

Our art was dry enough this evening to hang them on the window. It was a fantastic snow day! We’re supposed to get even more snow this week, so here’s to hoping for at least a two-hour delay!

Boys’ Day, Girls’ Day (Lion King), and Super Bowl!

Story told by: Lainey

We had a fantastic weekend!! The boys had a special day and the girls had a special day!

Mommy and I left early to drive to Spokane, and if it’s just us, our tradition is to stop for coffee!

I had a peach smoothie with lots of whipped cream on top. Yum!

The boys started their day with Henry’s wrestling practice.

Brody put on his shorts because he thought he might want to play dodge ball with the wrestlers when it came to game time, but then he decided he was too scared and wanted to watch his show.

After wrestling, the boys went to the science center.

Mommy and I got to Spokane earlier than expected, so we naturally had to stop at Target.

We initially planned on just browsing, so we didn’t grab a cart.

But then we found games for Brody’s birthday, clothes for me, clothes for Henry, and L.O.L. dolls I bought with my allowance. We quickly regretted having no cart.

In October, Henry and Daddy swung by this pizza place in Moscow to grab dinner after one of his wrestling tournaments. Henry loved the one video game in there, so he’s been asking to go back ever since. Today was the day!

Doesn’t get much better than pizza and video games! After this the boys went home to watch a movie and play even more video games. Sounds like a perfect boys’ day!

I also requested pizza for lunch, so we ended up at MacKenzie River Pizza. I drew the perfect sign for our day.

Then it was time to head to the First Interstate Center for the Arts for our big event (and my delayed Christmas present)…LION KING!! We were a little early, so we had time for me to request a picture with this beautiful ballerina.

We also had time to buy an overpriced Simba, and we didn’t regret the purchase one bit!

And finally at 2:00, it was show time! There are no words to describe how much we loved this show. Mommy cried happy tears in the beginning, a huge smile was on my face most of the time, and I was laughing really hard multiple times. It was INCREDIBLE!!! I said it was the best date I’ve ever had! And Mommy agrees! We want to bring the boys back to see it in a few years. After this we grabbed a quick dinner, and then drove home. Such a great day!

After church on Sunday, we made hats to support our chosen Super Bowl team. (We don’t have a huge preference between the teams, so us kids made our choice on which team sounded the coolest and the adults made their choice on who the underdog was.) I chose the Patriots.

Henry also chose the Patriots. And is modeling his new skill of crossing his eyes.

Daddy chose the Rams. And is copying Henry’s new eye-crossing skills.

Brody chose the Patriots.

And Mommy chose the Rams.

A house divided!

We had lots of yummy snacks for the game.

In between snacks, we made it really easy for Mommy and Daddy to watch the game.

Getting comfy for the last quarter to cheer on the Patriots.

The game didn’t turn out how Mommy and Daddy wanted it to, but we were thrilled with the Patriots win!

End of Illinois Trip and New Year’s Eve

Story told by: Brody

The days after Christmas were filled with lots more fun!

One of Henry’s new games he received was “Rhino Hero Super Battle.” We love it!

By noon on the day after Christmas, I’d already played my new game, “Yeti in My Spaghetti,” at least 30 times. Here I talked Gpa into playing it with me.

Everyone gathered in the kitchen for pie before we had to head back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Thanks to Gma and Gpa for hosting this busy, loud crew for Christmas!!

On our trip back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we had a bathroom break where Henry found a head warmer.

Graham (and the rest of his family) came back with us for an extra day!

Before we left for Illinois, our neighbor gave us some fun “Elfie Selfie” items, so the adults made sure to put them to use after the kids went to bed.

The adults also played Heads Up.

After Graham and Hazel had to leave the next morning, I did some coloring with Uncle Jar Jar.

But I was a little opinionated on which crayon he would get.

It was a really rainy day, so we went to Jumping Jax to burn off some energy.

Next we came home to watch “Prancer” together. Henry and I wanted to watch a different movie, but Lainey enjoyed it.

Lainey especially enjoyed Grandma and Grandpa’s pets.

We had been requesting Chuck E. Cheese all trip, and it was finally time! Uncle Jar Jar and Aunt Ericka got to join us. (This face is my “it’s almost show time” face. No one understood it. I didn’t really either.)

After we ate our pizza, it was time for games! We each picked game helpers. Lainey picked Uncle Jar Jar and Aunt Ericka.

I picked Grandpa.

And Henry picked Daddy. It was a successful night!

On Friday morning, it was BOWL GAME DAY for the Cougs!!

We made sure to represent!

That morning Mommy and Grandma got to slip away for coffee and a Yankee Candle shopping date.

Then everyone went to a Chinese buffet for lunch. Henry said, “I just want to stay here all day and eat until it’s dark.” He and Daddy are definitely cut from the same cloth.

Mommy couldn’t stop laughing at my fortune. “You constantly struggle for self improvement – and it shows.” She thinks it’s pretty perfect for a three-year-old.

Hand-in-hand with Uncle Jar Jar.

After lunch we all went bowling.

I was insistent that I wasn’t going to roll the ball down the ramp. I wanted to be a big boy.

After a close competition, Uncle Jar Jar won and Grandpa came in second place.

Grandma and Grandpa have the best big bath tub, so we had a bubble bath in it on Friday night.

The bowl game started after our bed time. And the Cougs won!!!!! That gives the Cougs an 11-2 record, which is the best in school history. Such a fun, memorable season. Go Cougs!!

On Saturday, we sadly had to head home. It was such a fun vacation!! We can’t wait to see Grandma and Grandpa again in April!

We flew from Chicago to Salt Lake. This layover was three hours, and it didn’t start until 7:30 p.m. So we all got giant ice cream cones simply for something to do and keep us happy!

Then our plane was delayed from a departure of 10:15 p.m. to a departure of 11:30 p.m. This was the face of every single parent in the airport that late at night.

While waiting to board  in Salt Lake, Mommy and Daddy came up with the Freeze game. But I lost immediately.

We arrived in Spokane at 12:30 a.m. I was sound asleep, so Mommy had to carry me. Lainey and Henry weren’t far off.

Fortunately we had already booked a hotel room near the airport, so we crashed there for the night, and woke up to swim in the pool the next morning.

Then we checked out a yummy restaurant for breakfast!

Grandma and Grandpa bought Mommy a new ottoman for Christmas, but they had it shipped to some local friends. They delivered it to Mommy on Sunday evening, and she loves it!

Daddy went to work on Monday (New Year’s Eve), but the rest of us stayed in pajamas all day. We did a hot cocoa craft, and naturally had to have real hot cocoa with it.

We played some of our new games during the day.

One of Lainey’s new favorite games is “Sleeping Queens.” It’s really fun!

Once Daddy got home, we started our New Year’s Eve tradition of games!

At the top of each hour, we would play a new game. Our 5:00 game was “Sleeping Queens.”

Then we ate a yummy dinner of snack food/appetizers!

Our 6:00 games was “Sequence for Kids.”

After that, we had a tower-building competition.

It was declared that Lainey was the winner, but we later realized that Henry and Lainey had actuallly tied!

Our 7:00 game was “Rhino Hero Super Battle.”

Daddy and I were on a team together.

Next up, some intense dance parties.

Our 8:00 game was “Yeti in My Spaghetti.”

After that, we went downstairs to get ready for our countdown to the new year (which for us was going to be 9:00 p.m.). I couldn’t quite make it.

But Lainey and Henry did!!

After we went to bed, Mommy and Daddy poured themselves some wine and played games!

“Ticket to Ride” is one of their favorites! Happy New Year!!

Christmas, 2018

Story told by: Henry

Christmas was fantastic!! We woke up at 5:30 and immediately said, “Happy Birthday, Jesus! Did Santa come?”

Santa did come, and he brought some great presents!

As is tradition in Quincy, we had to wait on the stairs until everyone was ready. (Mommy and Daddy made us wait until 6:30 before we woke all the adults.)

When we came down, we first checked out the letter Santa had written to us thanking us for the cookies. He loved them!

Then we were allowed down to see the big-wish item Santa had brought for us.

EXACTLY what we wanted!! A car wash car track for me, a “loopty-loop” car track for Brody, and a watch for Lainey.

So cool that Santa took a selfie on Lainey’s watch!

Next up, stockings!

Mommy was pleasantly surprised to find these in her stocking!

And now the kids got to take turns opening presents.

This was one of my favorite presents from Mommy and Daddy!

Brody got multiple games for Christmas because he loves them so much!

I got a couple of awesome LEGO sets. I can’t wait to put them together!

Brody and I got some awesome St. Louis Cardinals robots from Grandma and Grandpa.

Gift cards from Uncle Juncle!

Lainey explaining her new toy to Gma and Gpa.

Perler Bead Batman!

Lots of LEGOs this Christmas.

We took a break once the breakfast casserole was ready. I can’t eat it because of the eggs, and Brody doesn’t like it, so we got some yummy sugary cereal. We were very happy with this choice.

This is Lainey’s favorite breakfast ever (and Mommy has to agree)!

Lainey took a break to make her magical LOL SURPRISE dolls appear in water.

Gpa helped me to transform my transformer. Mommy didn’t know that she bought the advanced transformer for me, and it requires 21 steps to transform. (After four adults had a hand in transforming it, they finally figured out how to transform it long after I went to bed on Christmas night.)

We opened one last present from Grandma and Grandpa. New scooters!! We were all SO excited!

Time for adult presents. Lainey used her allowance money to buy all of us presents. That was really sweet of her.

Uncle Juncle got an awesome Coug sign for Mommy and Daddy!

Mommy surprised Daddy with tickets to see his favorite band, Switchfoot, in April.

After present opening was done, we got outside to enjoy the great weather! Brody used his new walkie talkies.

We spent a lot of time racing our scooters. To Mommy, it looked much easier than it was.

In the afternoon, Uncle Matt and his family arrived. Here is Mommy with all three of her younger brothers.

We loved having cousins there. Hazel (age two) and I were good buddies immediately.

Henry and Graham (age six) were good buddies as well!

Gpa took everyone on a tractor ride again!

Then it was time for the Steck family to open presents.

Back outside for more scooter races!

Cousin picture!

Next up, Lainey had a fantastic idea for an afternoon variety show. She roped Grandpa in as MC and lined up seating for everyone. We all ended up loving this so much!

I provided the intermission entertainment.

And we ended with a finale! This variety show was easily Mommy’s favorite part of the day.

Then Lainey and Hazel had some nail painting time with Grandma.

Brody got to try one of his new games, Yeti in My Spaghetti.

And we ended the night with a flashlight tractor ride.

Such a fantastic Christmas!!