American Girl Store and Ba Ba’s 60th Birthday

Story told by: Lainey

We planned a trip this past weekend to visit Ba Ba for his 60th birthday! But this weekend also involved my belated birthday trip to the American Girl Store!

Daddy and I got to leave work/school a little early on Friday to drive over to Tacoma. Henry traveled like one cool guy.

As soon as we arrived, Na Na gave us ice cream (as any good grandma would do)

We got out the Legos Daddy had when he was a boy, and they were a big hit!

Saturday was the day for the American Girl Store in Seattle! Aunt Tiffany (and Uncle Jaron and Vern) was also here this weekend, and she brought her doll to join us for our girls’ day.

I was so excited that I could barely stand still for this picture!!!!

I brought Gabriela for a much-needed hair salon visit.

I walked around the store just taking it all in.

I took a picture by this Airstream to show to Gma and Gpa. It’s just like your camper!

I had money from Mommy, Gma, and Aunt Tiffany to spend, and I pooled it all to buy a new Hawaiian doll, Nanea.

After making my purchase, I had fun being silly in the store.

Then it was time for Gabriela’s hair appointment.

They recurled her hair.

Aunt Janet and Carly met us at the store! It was fun to have them there!

I picked this hair style for Gabriela, and it turned out perfectly!

And they also pierced her ears!

This was such a perfect trip!!!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible!

I also got to pick our lunch spot. I wanted pizza, so we went to MOD pizza. Yum!

Aunt Janet got me a fun book about Nanea, and Na Na got me a cool astronaut suit for Nanea. Thank you!! (And Carly is the only one in this picture who managed to keep her eyes open.)

I had enough extra money to also buy her this adorable pineapple outfit. The cutest!

Saturday evening was our birthday celebration for Mommy and Ba Ba!

We gave Ba Ba a fun birthday candy message!

We also did birthday presents for all of us kids (Henry’s birthday is February, mine is March, Vern’s is April, and Brody’s is May).

On Sunday, Grandma Jackie came to church with us, and then came back to Na Na and Ba Ba’s house for lunch.

You can see how excited Brody was to be part of this picture.

On Sunday afternoon, Na Na watched us while the adults got to go to Ba Ba’s Choral Union concert at Pacific Lutheran University.

It was absolutely incredible!

After the adults got home, we burned some energy off in the yard.

Vern (and Aunt Tiffany and Uncle Jaron) had to leave on Sunday afternoon, but we first had some outside fun with Vern!

Today was Ba Ba’s actual birthday, so we woke up early and went to breakfast with him before he went to work (and before we drove home)!

Happy Birthday, Ba Ba! We had such a fun time celebrating you!

And before we left the west side of the state, we visited Victoria for a couple hours. Such a fun weekend!!!

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My Sixth Birthday Party – Sheep!

Story told by: Lainey

For the past three years, I’ve wanted to be a sheep farmer! This year I decided that my love for sheep was enough to warrant it being the theme for my sixth birthday party.

We went for a theme of mostly white snacks.

We had grazing sheep as the centerpiece of the table.

The other food was yogurt-covered pretzels, white doughnuts, white cheddar popcorn, white cheddar crackers, and yogurt-covered raisins. Yum!

Mommy made sheep decorations to hang around the room. (If you’ll believe it, there aren’t a lot of pre-made sheep decorations out there.)

Let’s party!

My first friend to arrive was Ani, so we got right to work on the first craft. (This was a girls-only party, but I decided to let Henry join in on the fun while Brody napped.)

Sheep masks done!

As my other friends arrived, they made their sheep masks.

After that craft, we played Pin the Tail on the Sheep.

Mommy spun us around two times.

And then we had to find the board. I was a little off at first, but ended up pretty close to the actual tail.

Next we worked on another fun sheep craft that involved paint and our fingerprints.

The adults that stayed at the party were great helpers! They manned different stations to help with the various parts of the sheep craft.

My finished sheep!

Lainey pile!

Next up was the sheep hunt game. We had to hunt through wool to find eight tiny sheep. The first team to find all eight had to shout, “Baaaa!” Pictured here is team one!

And team two!

And team three!

And then it was go time!

Once we found our sheep, things got really fun!

The final event was a sheep race! We had to use our shepherd’s crook (a pink candy cane) to race our sheep (a cotton ball) around the track. Dez and I went first!

After our race, we cheered my friends on. Henry got to race against Paige.

Next up, presents!

When Brody was done napping (a.k.a. destroying his room), Priscilla was amazing and took him on a walk. He came back to watch the opening of presents, but was very happy to stick by her side.

I got some great presents, and I’m very grateful to all of my friends for thinking of me!

Finally, time for dessert! I told Mommy that instead of cupcakes I wanted vanilla ice cream with white toppings. Yum!

My friends all sang “Happy Birthday” to me!

Then my friends all got their ice cream.

Before everyone left, we got a picture with our sheep masks!

And our sheep art!

On their way out, everyone got some delicious sheep poop (chocolate-covered raisins) as a party favor.

I’m so grateful for a special day celebrating with my best friends!

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I’m Six!!

Story told by: Lainey

I’m six! I’m six! I’m six! I’ve been so excited for my birthday to arrive!

We typically do presents after dinner, but right when I woke up this morning, Mommy let me open just one present.

An Ariel sweatshirt! Mommy wanted me to open it so I could wear it today. I love it!

This is the cereal I picked out for my birthday breakfast, so I couldn’t wait to give it a try!

I took a few bites, and even though I thought it was good, I told Mommy it was too sweet for me and asked for Rice Chex instead. (Mommy suspects I was switched at birth and that I’m actually not her child.)

I asked to share with my brothers, and they devoured the cereal! (They are definitely related to Mommy.)

While everyone got ready, I sat down next to the speaker and had Alexa play my new favorite podcast for kids, “Story Pirates.” I love listening to these funny stories!

Before school, Mommy got some fun six-year-old pictures.

Then it was time for school! Mommy asked if she could bake cupcakes or something else for my treats at school, and I insisted that I just wanted to bring in lemon-lime jello cups! (Mommy definitely didn’t complain about the ease of this.)

I had a fun morning making tie-dye eggs at school with Holly, the Colton librarian.

Then just as I was sitting down for lunch, I was shocked to see Mommy and Brody walk in with Happy Meals!

Such a fun surprise to have them eat lunch with me! (Henry was spending the afternoon with the Smarts. They couldn’t make it to his birthday party, so they wanted to take him out to ice cream. We were all having a fun afternoon.)

At the end of lunch, the whole elementary school sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I loved this part!

At the end of the day, I got to wear the class birthday hat and share my treats with my friends!

When Mommy picked me up from school, she offered to take me to Ferdinand’s to get ice cream. I told her that I had just had jello, and that much sugar didn’t sound good. (Okay, that’s it. Mommy knows I’m definitely not her child.) So instead we went home, and Mommy let me open another early present…this time from Grandma and Grandpa.

A new movie!

It was a perfect afternoon spent cuddled up on the couch watching “Aladdin.”

For dinner tonight, Mommy gave me the choice of going out to eat or making something I wanted at home. I didn’t hesitate to say that I wanted homemade Egg McMuffins. (Again, I’m making this day super easy on Mommy.)

Then it was present time!! I’ve been waiting all day for this!

I was very surprised by my first present.

Lincoln Logs! I’ve been asking for these since the start of kindergarten.

Grandma and Grandpa got me some awesome Think It Through Learning Tiles from Discovery Toys (and multiple accompanying sets). I can’t wait to use these!

I got some cute slippers from Na Na and Ba Ba!

The Campbells sent me a perfect outfit for my Bitty Baby!

And my big present from Mommy, Daddy, Gma, and Gpa is a trip to the American Girl Store! The note informed me that we’re headed to Tacoma next weekend (yay!), and while we’re there, we get a girls’ day at the Seattle American Girl Store to get my doll’s hair done, buy some fun things, and have lunch. I can’t wait!

And the finale…cake! I asked Mommy to make a lemon cake, so she made this lemon buttermilk cake with cream cheese frosting. I loved it!

After a quick shower, I made sure to put on my cozy slippers. I love them!

We ended the night with a quick recap of my day. (Be sure to pay attention to the parts where I use what I call my “cowboy voice.”) I had such a great sixth birthday!

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Preschool Art Show

Story told by: Henry

Tonight was my first preschool art show!

I was very excited to show off my art to Mommy and Daddy!

I got to pick my own titles for my masterpieces.

I’ve come to this art show for the past two years to support Lainey, so it was fun to have tonight’s art show be all about me.

Our art this year was based around different books.

My self-portrait.

I named one of my pieces of art after my best friend, Weston.

After I showed Mommy and Daddy all of my art, we went downstairs for some delicious snacks. Mrs. O’Loughlin is THE. BEST. TEACHER. EVER. because she baked egg-free cookies for me to eat. I love her!

Mommy and Daddy wanted to get a picture with just me, and Mr. Levi managed to capture the difficulty of making that happen.

We finally got a good one! I was very proud of my art, and I had a great night showing off my talents!

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Missoula Children’s Theater

Story told by: Lainey

Last week we had the Missoula Children’s Theater come to our school! They spent all week at our school rehearsing for “Beauty Lou and the Country Beast.” We had auditions on Monday, and I was one of five kindergarteners given a part! After a big week of practice, we had two shows on Friday. Mommy and the boys came to watch my 1:00 performance, and Daddy came to my 7:00 performance.

And the best part….I WAS A SHEEP!!!! My dream role!

The set was great!

Cole and I were sheep together.

I had a few moments throughout the show, but this song was my biggest contribution. And if you watch all the way to the end, you will see where I had a solo! I told Mommy I was a little nervous, but I was mostly excited to sing all by myself!

Daddy brought me a flower to celebrate my performance. Such a fun week!

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My Fourth Birthday

Story told by: Henry

I’m four today!!

I woke up right at 5:00 because I was so excited! I picked out a special cereal a few days ago, and I grabbed it right away for an early breakfast. The first thing I asked was, “Can I please share this cereal with Lainey and Brody?”

I didn’t want to miss an ounce of that sugary goodness.

I spent the rest of the morning building a cage for the new transformer I got at my party yesterday.

Daddy joined me for some play time as well.

Before we left for church, Mommy took me out to get a few four-year-old pictures.

During Sunday School at church, I got to put four pennies in the church bank because it’s my birthday!

And then it was time for my birthday song!

After Sunday School, I got to help Daddy hand out bulletins as people came in for church.

After church, Mommy and Daddy surprised me with ice cream for lunch! The best!

Once we got home, Brody ran around in his room destroying things (a.k.a. not napping) while I requested to watch a race car race on TV.

Then it was time for presents!!

I got an awesome Ninja Turtle house from Gma and Gpa!

A car track from Grandma and Grandpa!

Legos from Mommy and Daddy!

Mommy and Daddy got me some Nike shirts. When my preschool visited the WSU Football Complex a few months ago, I noticed all of the Cougar clothes were Nike. Ever since then, I’ve wanted some Nike clothes so I can be just like the Cougars, and now I get that chance!

Na Na and Ba Ba got me Bumblee!

I now have FIVE transformers! I love them! (The Campbells sent me the one on the far right!)

While I loved all of my presents, my all-time favorite present was a Scotch tape dispenser!! Lainey has her own tape for craft/quiet time, but Mommy said I wasn’t old enough to have my own until I turned four. And now I have my own!!!

I kissed it. (Please also note that my jeans are on backwards. I don’t have time to care about that kind of stuff on my birthday.)

And then I hugged it. I’m thrilled!

While Daddy helped me open presents, Mommy worked on my cake. I requested a strawberry cake with strawberries on top. But frosting this egg-free cake proved quite the challenge.

It wasn’t Mommy’s favorite cake, but because I’m the sweetest boy in the world (and will eat practically anything), I loved it!

We continued playing with new toys for the rest of the afternoon.

Before we brought Brody down from his room, I asked Daddy to help me finish opening all of my toys so I could share them with him.

After playing with toys, my choice for my birthday dinner was Zany Graze in Lewiston!

My reason for choosing this restaurant was the train! The waitress showed us where the button was to get the train moving, and it kept us busy for most of the night!

I chose some delicious spaghetti for my dinner.

We all chose fruit cups for our sides, and they didn’t disappoint!

I devoured my dinner.

Then I was surprised with an ice cream sundae and a song!

My favorite part was the “sour cream” they put on the sundae.

Then we came home for ANOTHER dessert!

I loved my cake! And my day was PERFECT! I went to bed a very happy four-year-old.

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Henry’s TMNT 4th Birthday Party

Story told by: Henry

Today was my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s birthday party!

As you’ll see in this picture, I had an accident one minute before leaving our house. I fell and hit my head on the corner of the piano bench, and it was deep. Mommy rushed me to urgent care, while Daddy came to the Pioneer Center to start setting up for my party. Urgent care wanted Mommy to go to the ER because I was so young, so Mommy called the pediatrician’s office who has Saturday morning hours. They couldn’t get me in until after the party, but they said I would be okay to wait. So Mommy and Daddy did their best to patch me up, and then we got to work on the party!

Party decorating!

Mommy called her good friends, Sarah and Liz (who is taking this picture), and with the craziness of the morning, they rushed over to help set up.

The finished set up!

Mommy made fun Ninja Turtle cupcakes!

Ready for our friends to arrive!

The main reason I wanted my party here was so we could use the gym to play Ninja Turtle games.

Daddy explained to us that we were training to be Ninja Turtles, so we set out for our training stations.

After the stations, we worked on our strength with the parachute.

And then we ended with my all-time favorite game – Sharks and Minnows!!

After all of that training, we had earned the right to become Ninja Turtles.

I loved playing games with some of my best buddies!

Next up, cupcakes!!

And then presents! I got some great presents, and I’m very grateful to my friends for thinking of fun ideas!

We ended with coloring! Thank you to all of my great friends for coming to celebrate me today!

After the party, Mommy quickly whisked me away to the doctor’s office.

We’re so grateful Dr. Mike was there! He said this cut was borderline on needing stitches, but he thought we could get away with gluing it. Yes!

Good as new! Now I’m excited for my actual birthday tomorrow!

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Valentine’s Week

Story told by: Brody

We have had fun celebrating Valentine’s Day all week long!

On Monday, we had our annual Valentine’s Day dinner. We had to do it early because we have AWANA on the actual night of Valentine’s Day.

Heart-shaped meatloaf and pink mashed potatoes are a must (although there’s obviously no way I’m eating either of those)!

Mommy made Shirley Temples for our drinks, but I didn’t like it because it was “spicy” in my mouth.

Lainey didn’t care for her drink either.

Henry gulped his down, though, and asked if he could have our drinks. He is the least pickiest eater we know! (He also requested chicken nuggets for his dinner since he can’t have the meatloaf due to the eggs in it.)

Time to eat!

Next up, presents! Lainey was thrilled to find a Shopkins toy in her bag.

I love my new slippers! (Henry got a matching pair, too!)

And Henry was in love with his new Ninja Turtle!

Mommy gave Daddy some new books.

Mommy’s yoga mat has been falling apart, so she was excited to get a new one from Daddy!

We finished the night with a raspberry yogurt cake.

So darn good that even Mommy had to have a piece!

Henry and I in our matching slippers!

On Tuesday morning, Mommy and I had to make some Valentine’s cookie bars to send with Lainey for her kindergarten party.

Waiting for the bars to come out of the oven.

They turned out great! (And don’t worry, Mommy let me have one before sending them to school with Lainey.)

On Tuesday afternoon, Lainey got to leave school early to get her cast off!!

Everyone was incredibly impressed with how calm Lainey was about it. The doctor said he wished all his young patients were like this!

The x-ray showed that her bones are healed, so she’s done with the cast! Hurray! She is still pretty sore and stiff, but the doctor said that’s normal for the next couple of weeks. She’ll be able to resume P.E. and dance in two weeks!

On Valentine’s Day, we woke up to find that Mommy was letting us have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Heart with breakfast. We were pretty sure she’d lost her mind.

Before Lainey went to school, Mommy put a couple of hearts in her hair.

Mommy asked for a picture of her outfit, and Lainey showed that she knows exactly how to pose.

And, surprise! We have only had one snow so far this winter, so we were thrilled to wake up to this on Valentine’s Day!

While Lainey was at school, Henry and I requested that we make a snowman.

Henry and Mommy tried to build it, while I tried to push it over (as any good two-year-old would do).


We picked Lainey up from school, and she was excited to dig through her bag of Valentines.

There were some fun treats in there!

These are the Valentines that Lainey gave to her friends. She was insistent she wanted to do a mouse, so this is what they ended up with.

Lainey also came home with a special Valentine for Mommy and Daddy.

She wrote this with her left hand, which is not too shabby. (But she is excited to get back to using her right hand!)

Wednesday dinner before AWANA is always crazy, but Mommy pulled together a quick heart-shaped pancake dinner.

A festive, easy dinner, and then we ran out the door to AWANA where we enjoyed even more fun treats!

Today we woke up and went to the Heart Cafe at Henry’s Preschool. This is one of Mommy’s favorite preschool traditions.

Mrs. O’Loughlin was our waitress. We ordered from a menu, and she delivered our delicious food.

We got to sit with Mac and his family!

Henry worked hard to cut up his sausage. (Side note…the preschool is amazing and made sure to have egg-free waffles for Henry!)

Henry’s first Heart Cafe! I can’t wait until I get to have my first Heart Cafe next year!

After the cafe, Henry went to preschool to exchange Valentines with his class. Henry didn’t hesitate when he told Mommy he wanted to make Ninja Turtle Valentines.

He also had fun gifts for his teachers.

Henry’s birthday is in three days! So after his Valentines exchange, Mommy and I came back for his birthday celebration with his class.

Mommy offered to bake something or buy doughnuts, but he was positive he wanted to bring gummy candy hearts for his friends. So that’s exactly what he got! (And that’s why Mrs. O’Loughlin had to hold the candle in the above video.)

Henry was most excited to pick something from the birthday box!

He picked a snake (and then broke it as soon as he got home).

Oh, boy! At the end of the week, we have now restocked our dwindling candy cupboard. We’ll be good to go for quite some time!

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Adventures, Field Trips, and Dates

Story told by: Henry

We’ve had an incredibly mild winter, so we’ve been getting outside whenever we can!

Brody and I are getting in lots of bike riding.

I’m doing well on riding my bike, but I’m still working on learning how to start by myself.

Lainey had a half day of school last week, so we requested to go on a stick hunt around town.

This stick/tree branch was the clear winner. Mommy wouldn’t let us bring it home, though. She’s no fun.

On another day, Brody, Mommy, and I went on a walk on the Chipman Trail in Pullman.

We watched the water under the bridge for quite awhile.

“Look, a rocket!”

Mommy stopped by McDonald’s to get us lunch. Here is our conversation:

Me: Mommy, is there a toy with this?

Mommy: No, I didn’t get you a Happy Meal.

Me: So, this is just a Sad Meal?

Mommy laughed for quite awhile over that comment.

While we’re on the topic of funny things kids say…. Daddy recently hurt himself playing soccer. Doctors think he may have torn his ACL, but we’re waiting on MRI results. Here is a conversation between Lainey and Daddy:

Lainey: Daddy, those crutches don’t make you look very handsome.

Daddy: What do they make me look like?

Lainey: Like a boss who’s about to die.

Mommy and Daddy got quite a chuckle over this as well.

On one of our recent walks, I modeled how Daddy walks.

We found out Brody has an ear infection, but after a sticker from the doctor and some antibiotics, he’s good to go!

We’ve had some epic castle building lately. Brody loves knocking it down, so most days he ends up locked in his room while we finish building.

We like describing our castle work.

I’ve always loved gymnastics, but over the last two weeks, Brody decided he really wants to get in to it. Here he lowered himself down the ladder by using only his hands.

Brody and Mac get to have class together, and it’s fun when we all get to warm up together (before I head to my own class).

Lainey hasn’t been able to dance, but she did go to class one day to watch. Her friends got to sign her cast!

Preschool is great as always! The last two weeks have been all about the ocean. We had a beach day, and this is the outfit I picked out (notice I’m wearing my shark bathing suit)!

Fish face!

We finished our ocean unit with a field trip to the pet store. Mommy and Brody got to join us!

Fish face!

Brody was a little nervous seeing some of the animals, so I made sure to hold his hand.

I touched a snake!

The ferret was cool!

My favorite was the bearded dragon.

Brody was obviously not impressed.

Such a fun field trip!

We’ve had lots of special time with Mommy and Daddy lately. Mommy and I love spending afternoons making Perler Bead crafts.

Mommy and Lainey went on a breakfast date last weekend. Lainey suggested they bring a game to play, and it was a blast!

Mommy and I went on a date yesterday. I have been asking and asking to get a second transformer for Daddy so we can play transformers together. So that was the first thing we did on our date! (Although Daddy let me have the transformer and said he can just borrow it when we play.)

And then we went to get ice cream!

Last night Lainey and Daddy got to go to a special daddy-daughter dance in Moscow.

In the midst of trying to get Lainey ready, she lost her third tooth!

Daddy and Lainey had a special night together!

There was delicious cake!

And lots of dancing (mostly by Lainey because Daddy can’t move very well)!

Lainey found a train of girls to dance with, and stayed there for the rest of the night! She had a blast!

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Monster Jam

Story told by: Henry

We drove up to Spokane yesterday for a fun day at Monster Jam! Mommy and Daddy didn’t initially tell us what we were doing, though. We just knew we were headed up for a fun surprise.

We stopped by Whiz Kids to get some fun new educational games.

Next we went to Red Robin for a delicious lunch. This place is always a hit!

Brody managed to purchase a game to play while waiting at the table. Sneaky boy. (Fortunately our server took it off our bill.)

And then the big surprise! Monster Jam! I couldn’t believe it!!!

I barely moved from my seat the entire show because I was so entranced.

Brody enjoyed the show for awhile.

Lainey was initially a little nervous, so she wanted to hold Mommy’s hand.

But she soon perked right up!

It wasn’t long before Brody got antsy and started moving all around.

Then he spent quite some time sucking on a water bottle. (Whatever floats your boat, Brody. Just don’t ruin this show for us.)

We were surprised to see several trucks flip over (but the drivers were okay).

We don’t know a single thing about Monster Jam, so we were surprised by the amazing freestyle tricks at the end of the show.

By this point in the show, Brody was sick of sitting still, he REALLY wanted to kick the guys in front of us, and he was done with his headphones. Rough life.

This was such a blast! And a really fun family day!

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