Montana Trip

Story told by: Brody

We went to Marion, Montana this weekend to see the Strickler family! It was a blast!

It’s a 5 1/2 hour drive, but with bathroom stops (like this one at a familiar rest area of ours) and food stops, it took us about seven hours.

Another stop involved bribing Henry with candy if he went poop in a gas station bathroom. He did it (and Lainey and I got to benefit as well from his victory)!

Once we arrived we were instantly out riding bikes to stretch our legs.

The really special thing about the day we arrived is that it was Oliver’s fourth birthday!

We got to sing to him, and then dig in to some delicious cake! (And because Oliver’s mom is the nicest person ever, she made an egg-free cake so even Henry could enjoy a piece.)

We’ve been loving non-fiction books lately, so we thought Oliver might like them too. We got him a book all about bugs for his birthday present.

There is a fun play set in their backyard, so we went out to play way past our bedtime.

I slept in a room with Mommy and Daddy (because they’re no fun and won’t let me join the big kids), but Lainey, Oliver, and Henry got to sleep together. Until the boys wouldn’t stop messing around. And then everyone got separated.

Oliver got a new drum set for his birthday, so the next morning, Lainey and Oliver performed a concert for everyone.

After the concert, we went to a lake that is just a couple of minutes from the Strickler’s house.

We spent some time throwing rocks.

Daddy and I had a snack.

The adults took pictures.

And then we got out the canoe!

Henry went first!

Lainey went next.

And then, after begging and begging, it was my turn. I thought I’d love it, but turns out that’s not the case.

After heading home for lunch, we all had naps and rest time.

I eventually went to sleep, and everyone else continued to have fun without me. Not cool.

After naps, we got out the water stuff.

Otter Pops!

Otis loved his cold treat on a hot day!

After baths and a delicious dinner of ribs, we went outside to do some fireworks.

I was okay with Pop-its, but once the louder stuff started, I wanted to be with Daddy.

Then we went into the backyard to try out sparklers.

Unfortunately our sparklers were duds, but we were persistent, and were able to still have fun with them.

I was a little nervous around them, but after seeing how much the other kids liked them, I decided to give it a try on my own.

After fireworks, we roasted marshmallow for s’mores!

I dug right in and had chocolate everywhere.

After the kids went to bed, the adults stayed up to sit by the fire and play the Lolz game.

So much laughing!

Today we had breakfast with our friends, and then had to say goodbye. We will miss them a lot! Our drive home was VERY successful, and we only made two stops. One of those stops was to take this picture of Henry’s Restaurant. It wasn’t meal time when we passed it, but next time we’re going to stop and see if they’ll let Henry eat for free (because how could you refuse the namesake of the restaurant?!). Thank you, Stricklers, for hosting our crazy crew, and we’ll see you in September!

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Weekend in Tacoma

Story told by: Lainey

We went to Tacoma this weekend!

We left on Friday morning. While filling up with gas, Mommy caught a picture of our very handsome window washer.

Unfortunately EVERYONE IN THE WORLD was also traveling this weekend. There was so. much. traffic.

Barely moving on I-90. The total trip (including a stop for lunch) took us ten hours. TEN LONG HOURS. Fortunately we were pretty well behaved, and it wasn’t too miserable. But we were sure glad when we finally arrived in Tacoma.

Na Na had ice cream waiting for us when we arrived, so that cures any I’ve-been-in-the-car-too-long blues.

Brody went to bed, but Henry and I got about 20 minutes of pool play time before we headed to bed.

Right as we were heading to bed, Aunt Tiffany and Uncle Jaron arrived, and we got to say goodnight to baby Vern.

On Saturday morning we woke up to special cereal from Na Na.

We were happy to see Vern when he woke up.

After getting ready, we went with Mommy and Na Na to the Tacoma Children’s Museum. (Saturday was Ham Radio Field Day, so everyone else went to set up for that in Olympia.)

Brody found a hill (his favorite!) and spent a good ten minutes here.

While we were at the museum, the radio contest was happening.

After the children’s museum, we came home for lunch. While Brody took a nap, Na Na played board games with us.

We also got some time in the pool (while Mommy sipped an iced coffee).

After baths and dinner, it was time for more ice cream!

After we went to bed, Mommy got to meet up with Victoria for drinks down by the water. A seriously perfect evening together.

On Sunday morning, I got some time with Vern before we had to leave.

Before we drove home, we met up with some of Mommy’s college friends for brunch at Danielle’s house. (In this picture are Michelle, Danielle, and Haley.) There are some yummy mimosas in their hands!

All of the kids got to play in the backyard.

Danielle made some delicious food!

Brody doesn’t let anyone pour water on his hair (or at least not without screaming), but he happily let Claire do it.

And then he let her pull his hair without much of a peep. He must have a thing for blondes.

The whole crew! (Garris is also five, so he and I will both be going to kindergarten in the fall.)

The moms had such a fun time catching up! Mommy hadn’t been able to meet the newest babies, so it was such a treat to get to see them.

Then it was time for the drive home. And lots of coffee. We’re thankful for another fun weekend!

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Swim with Dede, 2017

Story told by: Henry AND Lainey

**First part told by Henry**

Summer means time for swimming with Dede! And better yet! It was my first year to do it! After watching Lainey swim with Dede for the past two years, I was so excited for my turn.

I could barely contain my excitement on the first day.

This is what Lainey did during my lesson.

Once I get in, though, I wasn’t super comfortable bobbing in the water. So I spent the first day half in, half out of the pool. Don’t worry, though, Dede straightened me out (as she does with everyone).

On day one, everyone goes off the diving board, and Dede goes off with each of us to start.

By day two, I was ready to go on my own! No fear!

At the end of each lesson, we have 15 minutes of free time, and we get to do the slide!

Mommy and Lainey got in with me for quite a few of the free times.

Nora was in my class, so Mommy and Natalie had lots of fun time together.

I was also very confident that I could do everything by myself. And I voiced that opinion CONSTANTLY. Thank goodness Dede is a very patient woman.

Na Na was with us for the entire first week of swim so she could stay with Brody while he napped (thank you, Na Na!!). But one day they both got to come watch me swim!

And we all got to swim during free time.

Dede watched Brody jumping in and said he will be more than ready for his turn at lessons next summer!

As we started the second week, I became much more confident at swimming across the pool.

On our second to last day, we took a few minutes to read a book about the importance of water safety.

On our last day of class, Dede turned the water on the slide. It was fast!

Dede always gives away suckers on the last day! Thank you, Dede, for a great two weeks of swimming!

 

**Second part told by Lainey**

Henry’s lesson was every day from 12:30 – 1:30, but my lesson didn’t start until 2:30, so we had an hour to kill in between lessons. So after watching Henry each day, we went back to the car where our pillow beds, snacks, coloring activities, games, and movies awaited us.

And then it was finally time for my lessons! I loved being with Evan, Ivy, and Brock again.

On the first day, we started working with kickboards.

The diving board is my favorite!

Henry got in for some free swim time with me.

But while sitting during my lesson, he was pretty content with the iPad.

We got right into swimming the length of the pool.

We also started working on diving.

We really focused on long, slow strokes.

There were some cold, rainy days where the mommies weren’t thrilled about getting in, so Ivy and I entertained each other.

We are allowed to use goggles during free time, so Henry and I took full advantage of that.

Mommy, Christy, and Samm all enjoyed their time together during my lesson.

Mommy took this picture to show that Dede’s pool is on their farm in the middle of gorgeous wheat fields. That’s hard to beat!

And my final picture of swimming!

Looking forward to next summer when all three of us are taking lessons!

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Father’s Day Weekend Camping Trip, 2017

Story told by: Lainey

Over the weekend we went to Farragut State Park in Athol, Idaho with the Davis family for a fun weekend of camping!

It’s about a 2 1/2-hour drive, so as soon as we arrived, Henry had to get right down to business.

It started to rain a tiny bit when we arrived, so I was helping Daddy quickly put up the tent.

We didn’t quite have the rain fly on yet when it really started pouring rain. Daddy quickly finished the tent, while the boys and I hung out in the dry car.

Our first night was a loooooooong night. It was really cold, and Brody wasn’t loving the tent. He kept asking to get out. And he screamed a lot because he was nervous. He ended up in Mommy and Daddy’s bed just so he wouldn’t wake the rest of the campground up at 1 a.m. We were all up by 4:55 a.m., and had an early breakfast of sugary cereal (as well as a campfire to thaw us out).

We also checked out the playground.

After a bit, the Davis family joined us.

Daddy made a delicious breakfast, and then we started up a baseball game.

Mommy and Brody hung out to watch the baseball game (and it had the added bonus of keeping Brody from getting hit in the head with a bat).

We went on a walk, and I really wanted to help push the boys in the double stroller. Turns out it’s a bit heavy for me.

Daddy and I then did the pushing together.

Heading down to Lake Pend Oreille.

Bathing suits weren’t really on Mommy’s radar for this camping trip, so we made do with underwear, diapers, and rolled-up pants.

I took this picture of Mommy and Daddy relaxing on the beach.

The whole crew.

We came back to the campsite to have lunch and relax for a bit.

Once Keziah and Brody were asleep, us big kids got to go on a picture scavenger hunt with our daddies.

We found lots of cool things on our hunt!

Henry has been doing pretty well in underwear lately, but he did have a small poopy accident on our trip. His underwear went in the trash because Mommy wasn’t bringing that home in the car.

Brody and Elliot went for a walk around the campground. (On a side note, Brody got completely and utterly lost earlier in the day. We’re talking down several hills, FAR away from Mommy. That kid is quiet and just wanders away. Mommy’s heart was racing while all of the adults were looking for him. Fortunately some nice campers were hanging out with him, and heard Mommy calling for him. He’s a quiet ninja who easily slips away.)

We had tacos for dinner!

Delicious!

And, finally, S’MORES!!! I’ve been waiting for this since our last camping trip of last summer.

Hard to eat, but so. darn. good.

Brody’s first s’more!

The adults!

After the little kids went to bed, we requested some spooky stories.

I even told a story of my own.

After all of us went to bed (and conked out immediately), the adults played Ticket to Ride. It was Mommy’s first time, and she was HORRIBLE at this game. We’re talking the-worst-they’ve-ever-seen bad. But it was still fun!

The next morning was Father’s Day! As a special treat for the daddies, we cooked cinnamon rolls over the fire. (Just in case you’re wondering, we all slept MUCH better! Thank goodness for some sleep!)

We even brought egg-free cinnamon rolls so Henry could enjoy a yummy breakfast as well!

Then it was time to start packing up the campsites. We played some games to pass the time.

Mommy also took all of us to the playground for awhile. Brody had a few happy moments….

….but he was mostly feeling the exhaustion of camping.

After packing up, we drove down to the water for a picnic.

And for some play time in the extremely cold water.

After playing for a bit, it was time for the drive home. And giant coffees! (We passed out within minutes of leaving the coffee stand.)

Once we arrived home, it was almost dinner time. So we quickly unpacked the car, took baths, and then ate a yummy dinner. Daddy wanted to grill, and since it’s his special day, he got what he wanted!

After dinner it was time for presents and cards.

A special card I made with a picture of me and Daddy.

Our present to Daddy. He really liked it! After presents we had some apple pie, and then we happily went to bed. What a great weekend! Can’t wait for more camping this summer!

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Lainey’s T-Ball and Dance Pictures

Lainey R WEB-1

Tuesday 4 30 WEB

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Busy Summer Days

Story told by: Lainey

Na Na and Ba Ba came from Tacoma to visit us last weekend!

As soon as they arrived, Na Na pulled presents out of her bag and we got to work.

On Saturday, we went to the Farmer’s Market.

Ba Ba’s story may differ, but he practically begged us to share his hot chocolate, so we happily obliged.

Our traditional cookies!

I looked at Na Na with my cute, little eyes, and she couldn’t resist buying me this fairy. I named her “Dreamy.”

And Na Na bought the boys some fun cars.

After the market, we went to a BBQ at Pullman Building Supply (because who doesn’t love free food?!).

We started swimming with Dede last week, so Na Na stayed for the first week of swimming to help with Brody at home so he could nap while we were gone. (I’ll post more on swimming later. We’ve got lots of great videos!)

One morning we went to Stratton’s Cutting Garden with Na Na to pick some flowers.

The boys loved running through these rows of peonies. Mommy asked them to stop. They didn’t. Then they got talked to by an employee. Oops. Mommy just might know what she’s talking about.

Na Na put together a great bouquet when we got home!

We also got Ferdinand’s ice cream. Delicious!

On Thursday and Friday mornings last week, I got to go to Kindergarten Experience! This is a couple of days where the incoming kindergarteners get to experience class with the current kindergarteners.

My friend, Joseph, hung out with us early in the morning until it was time to go to kindergarten. We couldn’t wait!

I got my name tag on at the classroom, and then I barely glanced back at Mommy as I ran to the playground. I loved every minute of kindergarten, and I can’t wait until the fall!

Brody was fascinated with the words on the street by my school. He kept yelling, “What this say? What this say?”

Na Na did SO much with us last week. Lots of outside time, and lots of hugs and kisses. Before she flew home, we went to Cougar Country for a delicious dinner.

The best part of Cougar Country is the ice cream that comes with the kids’ meal!

After ice cream, we took Na Na to the Pullman airport. Thanks for everything, Na Na! We’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

Mommy and Daddy’s nine-year anniversary is next week, so they got away to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for a kid-free overnight getaway! They started with an amazing dinner at Satay.

Wine flight!

The next morning included breakfast in bed…

….coffee…

…and reading by the lake. Mommy was LOVING it!

They even got to hold hands while walking (instead of keeping the boys from running into the street or eating food off the sidewalk).

The best part was that they had no plans! They just strolled and explored.

They stumbled across a boat and RV show, so they had fun pretending to be prospective buyers.

And even though they’re on an adult-only trip, they couldn’t resist buying a little present for us.

Their final stop for the day was at the Dockside restaurant in the Coeur d’Alene Resort. They had lunch, but mostly went there for this ice cream sundae (called a “Gooey”). There were many flavors, but Mommy and Daddy chose the “Anniversary Gooey.”

It. Was. Delicious.

But Mommy and Daddy were STUFFED. After this, they grabbed some coffee, and drove home to pick us up.

While Mommy and Daddy thought they were away for a fun night, it was really us that had the best time. Henry stayed overnight with the Smart family, and even got to have a sleepover in Evan and Brendan’s room.

Brody and I went to stay at the Griffin’s house. Once Mac and Brody went to bed, Ivy and I got to stay up to watch “Trolls” and eat cookies.

We were so excited for our first sleepover!

Ivy’s mommy, Christy, said we giggled until 10 p.m. We had a blast!

Picture proof that we finally fell asleep.

We got to go to the park early in the morning!

And do a craft while the boys took naps.

After spending the night with the Smarts, Henry got to spend the day with the Schmidts. He played in the pool.

And then relaxed on the bouncy house with a drink. (And then took a quick nap before Mommy and Daddy arrived.)

Thanks to all of our friends who watched us this weekend. We had a blast!

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Dance Recital, 2017

Story told by: Lainey

I had my dance recital last night! It’s one of my favorite nights because I love performing!

First up was my tap dance.

Na Na and Ba Ba came to town for my recital, and I loved having them there!

Ivy and I backstage waiting for our turn to go on!

My second dance was a lyrical dance.

Almost time to go on!

Our final song was a disco dance.

This was easily my favorite dance!

We were the closing number for the recital, which was a blast!

Each class took a turn to come out for a bow.

Then we each got called up for our trophies. I got my fourth year trophy (and I loved how big it was)!

Mommy and Daddy had a flower for me at the end of the recital.

Thank you, Miss Brooke, for such a wonderful year of dancing. It’s my favorite thing!!

The boys were at Mac’s house with a babysitter during the performance, so after we picked them up, we went to get some food and ice cream.

I got a delicious cone!

I saw lots of dance friends at Dairy Queen. It was fun to end the night with Nora.

Such a great dance recital! I’ll sure miss dancing over the summer, and I can’t wait until the fall!

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The Perfect Long Weekend!

Story told by: Lainey

The warm weather arrived this weekend! And so did Matt and Courtney! They flew in from Denver late on Friday night, so we were thrilled to wake up to them on Saturday morning!

We quickly put them to work with books.

And with dog piling.

After Daddy made a delicious pancake breakfast, we headed to Moscow for the Farmers Market.

Mommy and Courtney’s friend, Anjie, joined us for the morning.

The first booth we always visit is the cookie booth because these cookies are delicious!

The boys had a great ride around the market.

Courtney made sure I wasn’t left out of the fun.

Brody mean muggin’ it with Matt.

After the market we went to Martin’s Smokehouse/Slice and Biscuit. While we waited for the food to arrive, we played in the restaurant’s outdoor playground.

Delicious food!

We hadn’t even realized there was also an ice cream shop in this complex, but after Courtney mentioned it, we just HAD to have some!

After lunch, we skipped nap time and headed to the WSU baseball game.

We spent lots of time running around and playing in the bouncy house, but we would occasionally come back to scarf down some popcorn.

Brody spent LOTS of time searching for Butch. He would find him, give him a high five, and then a hug. Brody has somehow convinced us that Butch isn’t actually that bad.

After the game, we had quick baths, and then a babysitter arrived so the adults could go out to dinner.

The weather was perfect, the food was perfect, the drinks were perfect, and the company was even perfecter. Such a fun night!

On Sunday morning, Matt and Courtney went on a run and met a friend for breakfast while we went to church and met other friends for lunch. The Grunenfelders were also in town this weekend, so we’re grateful that we could see them for a picnic.

There was a birthday party happening, so we sat for quite awhile to watch the party fun.

We got a picture of the entire group of kids. It’s amazing how this crew keeps growing each year!

Mommy with her sweet friends Molly, Chelsea, and Jenny.

Brody got a quick two-minute nap on the way home, and then we were outside again for popsicles and water fights.

Cheers!

Brody isn’t the biggest fan of popsicles (so he got a sucker), but he did want to finish off Courtney’s popsicle

Then the water fights started!

This was moments after Matt dumped a bucket of water on my head.

The sprinkler was a big hit!

Matt and Courtney had to leave on Sunday night, and we are going to miss them SO. DARN. MUCH. We’re trying to convince Matt to move here (Courtney’s already convinced), but until then, we’ll see you on your next visit (or maybe on our next visit to you if we figure out how to stop screaming for an entire road trip).

Matt and Courtney are amazing and bought a bike for Henry! He woke up to this surprise this morning.

He practiced for about 15 minutes…

…and then did this! Amazing!

After riding bikes and having lunch, we headed down to Pioneer Park in Lewiston to cool off in the splash pad.

Mommy and Daddy got to relax in the shade while we ran through the water. A win-win for everyone!

After playing in the water for an hour, we changed clothes and played on the playground for another 30 minutes.

Brody and Henry took some quick naps on the way home (it was day three of skipping naps), Daddy grilled burgers for dinner, and then we were all in bed by 6:45 because we. were. EXHAUSTED. What a perfect weekend!!

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Last Day of Preschool!

Story told by: Lainey

After two FANTASTIC years at Concordia Lutheran Preschool, today was my last day!

This picture was taken of my class a few days ago.

We had such a great year together!

Last night I had my preschool graduation. The boys stayed with a babysitter so Mommy and Daddy could focus on my big night!

We got to sing a couple of songs.

We had a great costume for our last song!

After each class sang their songs, it was time for graduation.

Those are my two wonderful teachers, Mrs. O’Loughlin and Miss Stahlecker.

As I stood up front with my teachers, they read the four words they had picked to best describe me. The words were: Leader, Joyful, Gentle, and Dependable.

After graduation was over, we got some pictures.

One of my very sweet babysitters, Ashley, came to support me at my graduation (as well as Evan and Noah because she watches them quite a bit).

After pictures, we went downstairs to enjoy some delicious food!

Me and Ivy

I’m excited for kindergarten! But also very sad to leave my preschool teachers. There were quite a few tears when going to bed last night because I am really going to miss my teachers.

When I woke up this morning I worked hard to pick out the perfect last-day-of-school outfit.

I was especially excited about my black, sparkly boots.

Here is the comparison picture between now and my first day of school for the 2016/2017 school year.

And here’s when I first started at the preschool.

I went to school this morning and we did a little cleaning up of the classroom, and then ended the day with a big camping party! Nora’s daddy offered to watch Henry and Brody (on his day off!) so Mommy could attend the party without having to chase them all around. Thank you, Justin!

Making binoculars.

Photo booth!

Mommy, Kindel (Hazel’s mom), and Whittney (Niki and Cece’s mom) got in on the photo booth fun!

Me and Hazel

Me and Dot

We were missing a few mommies, but this is a picture of some great women!

At the end of each day, our teachers sing us a blessing song. Here I am getting my final blessing song (Mommy may have been quite teary at this moment). I stayed strong through the song, but needed to leave quickly so I wouldn’t start crying again.

On our way out, we got to take a delicious s’more cupcake!

My final preschool picture! We have absolutely loved this preschool, and we’re so glad that Henry and Brody still get to attend in the coming years. Kindergarten, here I come!!

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Church Musical – “Let’s Rock”

Story told by: Lainey

We had our church musical today! I’ve been practicing every Sunday after church since February, and the big day is finally here!

We had some wonderful church members create some fantastic props!

The musical is set in a park.

I was the only kid entering kindergarten in the fall (everyone else was already in kindergarten or older), but I didn’t care. I rocked it!

During the musical, Henry got to come watch me perform. Since we’ve been listening to these songs on repeat in the car, he knew most of the songs as well. During the last song, we had a rock concert where the audience got to have glow sticks, and we threw shirts into the audience.

Henry and Mommy caught one of the shirts. This should last him for the next ten years.

At the end of the musical, we had a cookie fellowship time, and got some cool plants to take home. Thank you SO much to our wonderful directors who worked so hard over the past few months. It was a great success!

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