My Third Birthday Party – Minions!

Story told by: Brody

I’m going to be three on Monday! My birthday party was today, and since I love everything to do with minions, that was the theme!

Mommy worked hard on decorating the house in minion colors.

We had a friendly minion greet my guests as they arrived.

We also had party hats for each of my guests.

And of course tons of yummy food for lunch!

A wonderful lady Mommy knows made these adorable cupcakes for my party!

Mommy got me a special shirt for my party.

I was one excited boy!

Lainey was also very excited, and made sure to pick a dress that matched the colors of my party.

Party prep is done! Time for guests to arrive!

Mommy thought she had everything she needed, but she realized at 9:30 last night that she forgot plates! Sarah came to the rescue!!

Chloe and I have the same birthday, so we made sure to get a picture together. I ADORE her!

All of my minions have arrived!

Time to eat!

Kylee just liked taking candy by the handful.

After lunch, we came inside to play “Pin the Goggle on the Minion.”

I got to put the blindfold on first.

Mommy found it pretty funny.

I did amazing at placing the goggle. There is a slight chance that I could see right through the blindfold, but there’s no questioning it! I’m the birthday boy!

All the other kids got a turn. Here goes Henry!

While the game was happening, Mrs. O’Loughlin took Mommy’s phone to get some pictures of the adults.

Next up, presents!

I received some great minion-related presents!

And some presents that were bigger than me!

Also, some great outdoor presents. Thank you to everyone for thinking of me!

And my favorite part! Cupcakes!!

We went outside to eat cupcakes, and I naturally chose the top of the slide to enjoy mine.

After cupcakes, we all just got to hang out and play, which was so much fun!

A rare picture of Mommy and Daddy without any children.

Some of the adults started a cornhole game, but us kids didn’t let them play alone for long!

Mommy and Jamie showing off their game faces. These faces definitely need some work.

The whole cornhole crew! It ended up being a tie between the teams.

I’m so grateful to have wonderful people in my life. Thanks for coming to celebrate me today!

Week in Illinois

Story told by: Brody

After we left St. Louis, we spent the rest of our trip in Illinois with family!

On Tuesday, Grandma and Grandpa took us to Jumping Jax! The coolest place with tons of bouncy houses!

The sun came out that afternoon, so we got out to enjoy the nicer weather.

Grandma helped to build a backyard tent for us.

Henry and I enjoyed knocking it down!

That evening, we went to Chuck E. Cheese! We met mommy’s cousin, Brittney, and her boyfriend there. The pizza was delicious!

We each had an adult assigned to help us with games. Grandpa helped Henry. Henry spent at least 30 minutes playing this game. He loved it!

Mommy was with me! I spent a lot of time riding rides like this one.

But I also spent some time demonstrating my impeccable form on Skee-Ball.

Grandma went with Lainey while she played games.

Lainey also got to meet Chuck E. Cheese! (Henry and I were too busy with our games to bother with this guy.)

We got amazing amounts of TV time on this trip, and we loved every minute of it!

Grandpa went out to buy us Play-Doh, which kept us entertained for quite awhile.

On Wednesday afternoon, we traveled to Quincy to see Gma and Gpa! Before we left, Mommy and Grandma were convinced that there was no way Grandpa could get everything in the car, but this picture shows him smugly proving them wrong.

On our way to Quincy!

Right when we arrived, Gma told us that the Easter Bunny had delivered some treats to Quincy because he knew we would be there. So nice of him!

Henry loves the game Trouble right now, so Mommy’s cousin, Ryan, played a lot of games of this with him! (And Grandma and Grandma joined in on their fair share as well.)

I threw approximately 3,500 fits on this trip. This fit was over healthy breakfast choices that Mommy wanted me to make.

But don’t worry. Gma made sure that I didn’t have to eat anything too healthy. I got a delicious chocolate rice krispie treat instead.

More Trouble!

Gma treated us to a fun morning at Bonkers!

And delicious pizza for lunch!

The weather was getting much better than earlier in the week, so we loved getting outside! We got a picture with four generations.

Gma and Mommy had a fun trip out to the store.

Ryan, Mommy, and Lainey worked on a puzzle, but were very bummed to find out that a piece was missing!

And the very same thing happened to the adults that night! Darn!

The adults discovered, though, that their missing puzzle piece was likely due to Gma’s new puppy.

Some early-morning bike riding with Ryan!

We all went to IHOP for breakfast on Friday! (And that means that by the time the adults were finally ready to roll at 10 a.m., we had already had pre-breakfast at 6 a.m., and were ready for real breakfast with everyone else!)

Lainey got cupcake pancakes!

And I got a smiley face pancake! My favorite part were the chocolate chips!

Grandma and Grandpa took us to the store to get a new toy, so we came home to play with them.

While everyone else was playing, I was supposed to be napping.

But I just wasn’t feeling it.

So we packed everyone up to get to the park. And I promptly fell asleep 20 seconds before we reached the park.

Thankfully Mommy had a coffee, so she sat in the car with me for my quick nap, while Lainey and Henry went to play with Grandma and Grandpa.

After I woke up, we went to join everyone at the playground.

Then back to Gma and Gpa’s house for more outside time.

Since we didn’t have our helmets, Grandma went very slowly.

Grandpa and Lainey have been working on a dance. It was finally time for them to perform!

We did a craft with Grandma on Friday evening. Can you guess which one is my masterpiece? (You can’t make a true artist follow directions. He just feels his art.)

On Saturday morning, we woke up to find that Gpa had arrived late the night before from his business trip! It was a bummer that he had to be away (he really wished he could have been with us), but we’re glad we got a few hours with him!

Then it was time to drive to St. Louis so we could get on a plane to head home. We are sure going to miss Grandma and Grandpa a lot!

The return trip was not as great as the way to St. Louis, mostly because I was much more tired.

In and amongst my many temper tantrums and Henry acting like an insane monkey, we watched slot machines on our layover in Las Vegas. They helped! And on the last leg into Spokane, I passed out for the last hour of the flight (even slept through the landing). Hallelujah! It wasn’t pretty, but we made it home!

Wedding Weekend in St. Louis (Part Two)

Story told by: Lainey

After a late night at the wedding, we woke up for another fun-filled day in St. Louis!

We headed down to Ballpark Village, which is right outside of Busch Stadium.

There are some fun restaurants in Ballpark Village!

We chose the restaurant with a giant TV so we could watch the Cardinals play in their away game.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to watch any of the game because of a rain delay, but we did get to meet Fredbird for the first time!

After lunch, we went on a tour of Busch Stadium.

Our tour guide took us up into some of the cool stadium suites.

There was a lot of Cardinals’ history given during the tour. I did a pretty good job of listening, but the boys were not entertained. Mommy and Grandma took turns keeping them quiet and entertained.

The best part of the tour is getting to go on the field and into the dugout. Except WE COULDN’T! When booking the tour, we didn’t know that a little league game would be going on, so the main part that Grandma and Grandpa thought would entertain us, we didn’t even get to do. Big bummer!

Mommy’s cousin, Michael, and his girlfriend were in town from San Francisco, so they joined us for the tour as well. We didn’t get a great tour, but Grandma and Grandpa did buy us some cool new t-shirts at the Cardinals’ store!

Uncle Jeff has his 27th birthday coming up, so we did an early birthday celebration for him at Red Robin.

And then we had a cookie cake waiting for him back at the hotel.

On Monday, we went to the St. Louis Zoo. It’s a phenomenal zoo, but everyone gently tried to convince me to go to the warm science center because it was 35 degrees!!! But the boys and I were set on the zoo, so my incredible family came along for the freezing cold fun

We first stopped by the polar exhibit.

The neat thing about coming on such a cold day is that the animals were so much more active than in the hot summer months!

Nothing numbs your fingers more quickly than wind on a carousel ride on a 35-degree day!

Brody was insistent that he just wanted to sit on a bench.

Mommy took this picture to document the ice on the tail of the elephant.

When we just couldn’t stand it anymore, we would find inside exhibits to thaw out.

In the butterfly dome, Henry stood here for three minutes because he really wanted a butterfly to land on his finger.

Around 1:00, the sun started coming out, and it was glorious!

The elephants were the loudest we’ve ever heard!

After lunch, it warmed up to 40 degrees, and with the sun out, it felt like a heat wave!

I was most excited to see the zebras!

Brody wanted to be carried a lot, so the adults took turns carrying this dainty kid around the zoo.

Our last stop was to see the monkeys! After this, we had to say bye to Uncle Jar Jar and Uncle Jeff. Thank you for being so fun this weekend! After saying goodbye to them, we drove back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Illinois for some fun days with them!

Wedding Weekend in St. Louis (Part One)

Story told by: Henry

Lainey and I were invited to be in a wedding in St. Louis for Mommy’s cousin, Jennifer. Daddy needed to save his vacation time, so he stayed in Washington, and for the first time ever, Mommy flew alone with all three of us!

Daddy drove us to the airport, helped get our bags checked, and then we were on our own with Mommy! Here we go!

Watching for our first plane to arrive.

Our first flight to Denver went really well. This happened with Henry about two minutes into our time in Denver.

When we got to Denver, we had a four-hour layover. After discovering the Denver airport had done away with their play area, Mommy got us ice cream.

Around hour two of our layover, things started to go downhill. Brody was tired and just wasn’t having anymore of it. We found an empty area, and played for awhile.

Mommy was trying to save our screen time for the plane, but with an hour left in the layover, she gave in. Thanks, Brody. Mission accomplished.

Our second flight into St. Louis was really late, but went really well. This is the first time on a plane where Brody has some attention span to watch a show. Between shows and lots of apple juice and snacks, it was a success!

We made it!

Brody didn’t nap one wink all day. We didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight, and this kid was practically comatose.

On Friday morning, Brody was the first to wake up, so he and Grandpa had a breakfast date.

Then we all left to head to the Gateway Arch. We rode the MetroLink downtown, and got to go over the Mississippi River.

Touching the Arch!

Waiting in line for the Arch like any normal person.

Time to head up to the top of the Arch in the teeny, tiny trams.

We managed to fit all six of us in the tram!

In spite of playing downtown all day, we were still wide awake at 10 p.m. when Uncle Jeff and Uncle Jar Jar flew in from Phoenix.

But, don’t worry…even with a late bedtime, we were still up bright and early for breakfast with Grandpa. No time for sleep on this trip!

Grandma had to run some errands on Saturday morning, so we had pool time with Grandpa and Mommy.

After swimming, it was wedding time! I was the ring bearer and Lainey was the flower girl. When Mommy asked me to stand up straight in this picture, I insisted on laying my head on Lainey “…because it’s so lovely.” Mommy couldn’t argue with that.

Entertaining ourselves in the back while waiting for the wedding to start.

Uncle Jeff and Uncle Jar Jar hung with Brody.

A pre-wedding picture with the beautiful bride!

Mommy with the beautiful bride, Jennifer, and her twin sister, Lauren. Cousins!

Ready to walk down the aisle with my pillow! I went first, and did a great job!

Next up, Lainey. She also did great, and was followed by the bride!

Wedding time!

Snacks kept us nice and quiet during the wedding.

After the wedding, we had some time to kill while the wedding party took pictures. We snuggled up and watched some shows together.

Reception time! Since Daddy wasn’t there, everyone helped Mommy out with us crazy hooligans.

Uncle Jar Jar had everyone making silly faces.

Uncle Jeff is pretty silly.

After dinner, we took some funny pictures.

Grandma and Grandpa!

And we ended the night with some REALLY fun dancing. (Please note my awesome moves.)

Congratulations, Jennifer and Drew! Thanks for letting us be part of your special day!

Montana Spring Break Trip

Story told by: Lainey

We went to visit the Strickler family in Montana for a few days over Spring Break this week! Daddy had to work, so it was just us and Mommy.

It is close to a six-hour drive, so we got to watch our Kindles in the car. Mommy used a high-tech baggie to attach them to the seat in front of us.

We were going a little stir crazy by the time we reached Sandpoint, Idaho, so Mommy gave us ten minutes to play on a playground.

As usual, Henry took no time at all to find something tall to climb.

He took about ten seconds to conquer it.

When we arrived at the Strickler’s house, we were thrilled to find lots of snow!

We had our snow pants on before Mommy had even finished unloading the car.

After going to sleep, we were all up bright and early (Mommy wants me to be sure to tell you that it was SUPER DUPER early) to play with toys! Oliver and Henry had a blast with these nerf guns.

Darcee made a delicious pancake breakfast!

And then we were outside by 8:30 a.m. for more playing in the snow!

I worked hard on fine-tuning the snow fort.

You’ll hear over-tired Brody in this video. Ignore that, and pay attention to the fun we’re having.

Otis was a lot of fun this trip!

We would have loved to stay outside all day long, but we did come in a couple of times to thaw out.

Mommy wanted a picture of her and Darcee to document that they did exist on this trip.

We brought some fun games to play with their family.

We drove home today. Brody stayed awake the entire drive, but after stopping at Safeway in Pullman for a few groceries, he fell asleep for the final ten minutes of the drive home. Thank you, Stricklers, for a great few days in Montana! Can’t wait to see you guys again!

Easter Weekend, 2018

Story told by: Henry

We had such a wonderful Easter weekend!

Brody and I started the weekend by making Easter treats with Mommy on Friday.

We made bird nest cookies (no-bake cookies with Cadbury eggs in them)! Yum!

After Lainey got home from the school (it’s the start of Spring Break!!!), we dyed eggs.

After coloring them, we decorated a few with stickers.

On Saturday morning, we headed to Pullman for the annual egg hunt!

Lainey found Ivy!

And we found Mac!

Jeremy and Daddy found free Mountain Dew that they don’t even drink. But had to get because it was free.

We found the Easter Bunny! And none of us were scared of him!

The younger kids started their hunt right at 10:00. Brody was in the two-year-old section.

Chloe and Lainey cheered him on.

I was in the four-year-old section!

Daddy cheered me on!

Desmond and I were rebels by being on the other side of the rope.

Time to get some eggs!

Brody did really well!

Daddy got a cool video of my egg hunt! I had a blast!

After our egg hunt, we met up with Ivy and Evan for the big kid egg hunt.

Mommy was feeling nostalgic and found this picture of these three from four years ago. Evan and his ladies!

And she’s off!

Success!

After the egg hunt, we went to Mirabel’s house for her annual Easter brunch. Always delicious food!

While Mommy talked with friends and ate her meal, Daddy brought us outside to run around and play.

Later that afternoon, Lainey had her first soccer game!

Coach Daddy helped the team warm up.

Brody and I cheered the team on for awhile, but then spent most of the game covering ourselves in the dirt behind us.

Lainey would much rather skip and dance around the field, so at halftime, Mommy reminded Lainey to put on her game face and be aggressive. Lainey’s team lost, but she still had a fun time playing!

After the game, Lainey was a little concerned that the Easter Bunny wouldn’t be able to find our house tomorrow, so she wrote a note for him on the sidewalk. “Welcome, Easter Bunny!”

For dinner on Saturday night, we had friends over from church. This is our Supper for Six group.

Before going to bed, Lainey and I made sure to leave a note for the Easter Bunny.

We were thrilled to wake up today to find that the Easter Bunny had indeed found our house.

And he left us a note!

Easter basket time!

Fun candy!

And movies!

Fun cookies from Grandma and Grandpa!

After eating way too much candy, we got ready for church and took some pictures before leaving.

Lainey took a decent picture of Mommy and Daddy!

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Time to head to church to celebrate that Christ is risen!!

When we got to church, there was a delicious Easter breakfast! So much good food!

Kid tables! (And Brody is obviously by Chloe because he adores her.)

Then all of the kids got to go out for an egg hunt!

Brody found a special golden egg, so he got to trade it in for a little lamb.

Mommy with her sweet friends Carla, Sarah, Natalie, and Liz.

Church was next. And Brody had a lot to offer during the song.

After a great church service where I complained of my tummy hurting (probably from too much candy), Brody threw lots of fits, and Lainey forgot how to sit with her legs closed and showed her underwear to the whole church, we came home and figured out how much more candy we got from the egg hunt. We are good to go for a long time!

We next went to the O’Loughlin’s house for Easter dinner. First up, mimosas!

We all piled into a room to watch a movie.

It was good peace and quiet for the adults.

After awhile, the dads went out to hide eggs for the third egg hunt of the weekend!

Before heading out, we lined up youngest to oldest.

Time to find eggs!

Checking out our goods.

Next up, beer hunt for the dads. The moms went out to hide the beer.

And then the dads lined up youngest to oldest.

Time to find beer!

They each ended up with a variety of a six pack.

Desmond and I pulled out Zingo and played for awhile! My favorite game!

Time for a delicious dinner! I mostly ate rolls, but the adults dined on ham, potatoes, broccoli, rolls, and deviled eggs. Yum!

Followed by dessert. Most of us got a little bit of each!

To end our time there, Mrs. O’Loughlin got us all kites, so we went out in the rain and freezing winds to fly some kites.

The adults stayed out there to help with any technical difficulties that arose.

It was such an incredible weekend! We are blessed with some amazing people in our lives!

Mommy’s Trip to Denver/Kid Weekend with Daddy

Story told by: Lainey

Mommy got to go see Courtney and Matt in Denver the past few days! And we got a super duper fun weekend with Daddy!

Mommy was thrilled with how easy the flight was. She took one tiny bag onto the plane, got to read a book, drink and eat without kids knocking things over, and didn’t even break a sweat (which is common when we’re with her on flights). She soaked it all up because in just two weeks she’s flying alone with all three of us kids, and that flight is going to look very different!

While Mommy was flying, Daddy took us to the science center.

In the past, when Mommy has taken just Brody to the science center, he wouldn’t go near the human body exhibit. But some sibling peer pressure made him excited to give it a try!

Mommy landed in Denver! And was greeted by Matt, Courtney, and her adorable six-month baby belly (that’s a baby boy in there!)!

Matt and Courtney took Mommy right away to a delicious dinner.

But some pre-picture face/teeth checking needed to happen first.

We got in some good dancing time with Daddy.

On Sunday morning, we went to church, and Daddy demonstrated his great hair styling skills!

Sunday was Palm Sunday, so we got to march into church with palms. Love it!

Mommy and Courtney went on an awesome hike on Sunday morning! You can see Denver in the distance behind them.

Mommy did not stretch her calves well enough after this hike because as of now, they still hurt. A lot. Lesson learned.

After church, we got to go through the car wash. That’s always a blast!

Then we got to get ice cream for lunch. Even better!

After the hike, Mommy and Courtney met up with Matt for coffee and lunch on a beautiful day!

Then they went to a candy store to get treats for us. Mommy was pleasantly surprised to find these Zero bars. Not only are they one of Daddy’s favorite candy bars, but Mommy had looked in at least 20 stores to find them for Ba Ba’s birthday candy board for last weekend, but no luck! Although it’s too late for Ba Ba, it’s nice to know they at least exist!

And Mommy found candy for us that made us laugh.

Mommy had to bring a bigger bag than originally planned because she couldn’t fit everything in the smaller suitcase. Daddy questioned Mommy’s need for these boots, so Courtney made sure to capture that Mommy clearly needed them for an outing to Redbox.

While Mommy watched a movie, Daddy introduced us to Mario Kart. We weren’t very good at it yet, but we LOVED it!

On Monday morning, Daddy got us ready and walked me to school. (He took Monday and Tuesday off of work.) He got to come volunteer in my classroom, and then took the boys to McDonald’s for lunch.

Mommy and Courtney spent Monday morning getting coffee and shopping. (And of course buying clothes for us because that’s what Mommy does when she’s not with us…thinks and talks about us all the time.)

And they had to document that for the first time in their 15 years of friendship, Mommy (the gulper) finished a drink AFTER Courtney! Unheard of!

Courtney and Mommy wrapped up the day with pedicures and manicures.

Before Mommy left, she made sure to get an adorable picture of Courtney and that no-name-yet baby boy.

On Monday, Daddy broke our no-TV-on-a-school-night rule and let us watch a movie while eating dinner. We couldn’t believe it! But definitely didn’t question it either!

On Tuesday morning, Daddy dropped Henry and I off at school, went on a coffee date with Brody, and then Mommy was home shortly after this. Mommy is so grateful to Daddy for watching us for four days! Daddy loved his time with us! And she is also so grateful to Matt and Courtney for a wonderful weekend. She’ll be back in September to snuggle that baby boy!!!