Susan’s 40th Birthday!

Today we celebrated Susan’s 40th birthday! It was a little different, being on the road.

The day started with opening a few gifts – from us and from Erin.
The kids had fun playing with Susan’s new neck pillow.
We ate breakfast at Cinnamon Twisp, a bakery in Twisp, which is a nearby town. They specialize in something called the Cinnamon Twisp, which is some sort of amazing cinnamon roll.
After breakfast we went for a hike outside of Twisp, to Lookout Mountain.
It took us a minute to find the hike and at first we accidentally went on the wrong trail to an abandoned mine operation that had since collapsed in a landslide. That was at least interesting.
It was a long hike up to the lookout tower.
Inside of the lookout tower.
The Cascades are back there somewhere. It wasn’t the smokiest day, but there was definitely a haze blocking most of the views.
We were a little behind schedule, so Rose took her nap on the hike.
She was so tired she even stayed asleep when I took the back carrier off.
After the hike we had a short break back at the RV and then we headed in to town. On the way we stopped at the office to pick up our mail. Susan had 17 cards and a package waiting for her.

In town, Withrop, we walked around a little and stopped by an old-time photo parlor.
We went out for pizza for dinner and Susan opened all of her cards while we waited for our food.
Pizza Party
After pizza we headed home for birthday cake.
That’s a wrap.

Happy Birthday, Mari!

Happy Birthday, Mari!

Mari turned twelve yesterday! She is definitely looking and acting more “grown up” lately.  We were in Cincinnati for her birthday, so we had the opportunity to do some different things. On Friday, the day before her birthday we headed to Sunlite Pool in the afternoon and then the Reds game in the evening. My cousin Kelly was married on Saturday, her actual birthday, so after a day of wedding we had the Hyland clan over to Mar-Mar and Be-Bob’s for dinner, cake, and presents. 

Mari continues to be a multi-faceted individual, who enjoys reading, soccer, and playing with friends. This past year she learned how to play the tuba and was one of the top tuba players in her 5th grade band. She is sad to take the year off as we hit the road. 

She is still an early riser, usually getting up around 7 or 8, before the others. She enjoys toast and cereal for breakfast. Ham and mustard continue to be staple ingredients for her lunch. I would say that pizza is her favorite food, but we are Skyline for her birthday dinner with the Reagens. 

Favorite song: Superhero by Coldplay
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite band: Coldplay
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: Ghostbusters (the remake)

Rose’s 2nd Birthday!

Today we celebrated Rose’s 2nd birthday. We celebrated a day early because we have big plans for tomorrow (more to come on that). We had a birthday party at lunch time with the Reagens and Mimi & Papa. Susan made a nice chicken salad lunch and the perfect cake for Rose’s summer birthday. 

Rose at 2 continues to be a sweet, snuggly kid. She is up at around 8, with the other kids, takes a very consistent nap from 1-3, and then goes to bed between 9 and 10, with the other kids. She loves to sing, dance, and play outside. Her favorite song is the O’Reilly’s Autoparts jingle (O-O-O-O’Reilly’s. . . Autoparts). She also loves to sing all of the songs from Bean Sprouts and Hallelujah, and the modified version not to be named. She eats eggs and sausage with me every morning for breakfast and also enjoys yogurt and all varieties of berries. Mari tells me that strawberries are her favorite food.

Rose opening her presents
Rose’s new baby
Rose and her cake

Happy Birthday, Elliot!

Today we celebrated Elliot’s 10th birthday. He opened his gift from us, Mimi & Papa, and Mar-Mar & Be-Bob earlier in the day and then we had the Reagens and Mimi & Papa over for dinner. For dinner we had a sandwich bar. His cake was a mint chocolate cake. 

Elliot at age 10 continues to be a sweet, caring boy. He has been staying up later with Mari and Andrew, reading Harry Potter before bed with Susan. He spends a lot of time outside and loves riding his skateboard, bike, and he has been getting in some good runs on the unicycle. He is still taking piano lessons and spring soccer will start again in about a month.

Favorite song: A Million Reasons
Favorite color: Red
Favorite food: Skyline
Favorite band: 21 Pilots
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The Birthday Boy


Happy Birthday, Lucia!

Dinosaur cake! This is what she asked for and this is what she got. It was a yellow cake, with vanilla frosting. It was good, but she only picked out the chocolate chips for consumption.
Dinosaur cake! This is what she asked for and this is what she got. It was a yellow cake, with vanilla frosting. It was good, but she only picked out the chocolate chips for consumption.

Today, and this weekend, we celebrate Lucia’s 4th birthday! She came so long after our other kids that I often think of her as our little girl, but as she turns 4 I am often reminded that she is not as young as she used to be.

Lucia at 4 is super-cute and excited about life. She loves to play with others and has many friends. She is very social once he gets to know someone and loves to connect with people of all ages. She still loves to be read to and lately has been doing some more ‘reading’ on her own. She is very familiar with some stories and will flip through the books on her own, telling the story.

This year she start the Playgarden class at Bean Sprouts, Susan’s school. She loves having her friends come to her on a weekly basis and still likes to drop in on the Parents & Tots class when she is not at the library with Mimi.

Lucia still shares a room with Mari. She is up between 7:30 and 8:30 and stumbles down the stairs, looking for someone to hang out with. She likes cereal for breakfast, with almond milk. She will also share egg whites with me and Rose. After breakfast she is off to school, or life. She likes noodles & cheese for lunch, the occasional grilled cheese, and pizza. She is still rather picky about what she eats and almost never eats meat. We head to bed at around 9. She brushes her teeth mostly by herself and then plays in her room while I read to Mari and Elliot and get Rose to sleep. She is in bed by 9:30 and insists on a proper goodnight, with a hug and a kiss when possible.

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Today we celebrated Andrew’s birthday! It is hard to believe it has been 13 years. We celebrated Andrew’s birthday after soccer with the Liesses and the Reagens, and Will. I think Andrew had a fun day, with school work in the morning, piano, hanging out with Will in the afternoon and dinner, and then everyone came over to celebrate with us.

At the age of 13, and continues to be a young man who is happy and excited about life. He is passionate about and open to many things. He still loves to read, listen to music, and play sports. He continues to excel in school, open to learning about each subject and taking pride in his work.

Favorite song: Heathens
Favorite color: Orange
Favorite food: Chicken Noodle Soup
Favorite band: Coldplay
Favorite book: Harry Potter 7
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: Jurassic Park

Andrew at age one (day).
Andrew at age one (day).
Andrew at age 13.
Andrew at age 13.

Photos from Andrew’s first year or so.

Elliot’s 9th Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated Elliot’s 9th birthday! Elliot always wants snow on his birthday, but today he go 60 degrees and sunny. In the morning we hung out at home, playing basketball and kicking around a new soccer ball. At noon some friends met us for soccer at the field near our house. We had about 18 kids show up and fun was had by all.

In the afternoon he went to the Reagens to play. The Reagens & Liesses came over for dinner – sandwich bar. The evening ended with presents, playing with presents, and singing.

Elliot at the age of 9 is a really fun kid. He loves to be outside – doing anything! His favorite activities are basketball, soccer, and bike riding. He likes to explore the woods and go for walks with us. He generally wakes in the morning at around 7:00 or 7:30 and goes to bed at 8:30 or 9:00. His favorite food is Skyline. Favorite color: red. Favorite song: Hello. Favorite sport: soccer.




Andrew’s 12th Birthday

Today we celebrated Andrew’s 12th birthday! The oldest of our kids, it is almost the hardest to believe how old he is. I imagine that could change as Rose gets older.

Mar-Mar and Be-Bob made it to town this weekend to catch some soccer games, celebrate some birthdays, and we also managed to squeeze in Rose’s baptism. Overall if was a very busy, fun weekend.

Andrew at 12 continues to love life. He has had a new friend, Will, move in down the street and they have been having a lot of fun together. For his birthday he also received a hatchet and an archery set and he has been enjoying taking advantage of the outdoors. His typical day has him waking around 8 (usually with my help). He reads, stumbles around, eats breakfast, and gets ready for the day. He does a good job with his school work, attacking anything I can put in front of him. He still enjoys Harry Potter, Rick Riordan, and many graphic novels and comics. This fall he is playing on a Northwest Soccer team again and he is loving it (all the kids are, in fact). He is on the same team as Ian, with his old coach, Drew. He still tends to stay up late, going to bed later than me and Susan with some frequency.

Favorite Song: Bohemian Rhapsody
Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Food: Skyline
Favorite Band: ColdPlay
Favorite Book: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows


Mari’s 9th Birthday

Today we celebrated Mari’s 9th birthday! It was a fun day, with swimming in the afternoon and then the Reagens and Liesses over for some Skyline for dinner.

I was looking back at Mari’s bio from her 8th birthday¬†and not much has changed. She continues to be on a very consistent schedule, waking around 7:30 or 8 and going to bed at 9. Of course, as she gets older there is more variability here. Her favorite food is “I don’t know.” Her favorite color is blue. Her favorite song is Royals.

Mari is going into 3rd grade next year and she likes language arts, which for us means reading stories and then drawing a picture from the story and writing a short summary.

The Revelers
The Revelers, waiting to open presents.
Mari Blowing Out Her Candles
Mari Blowing Out Her Candles

Mari’s 8th Birthday

Mari's 8th Birthday
Mari’s 8th Birthday

Today we celebrated Mari’s 8th birthday. After spending the day at the zoo we met at Skyline for dinner and then headed back to Mar-Mar & B-Bob’s for some cake and ice cream.

Mari continues to blossom into a wonderful young lady. She is a great help around the house and is very helpful with Lucia. She usually wakes up for the day at around 7:30 or 8 and heads to bed around 9. She is usually a little more tired than the others. She is headed into 2nd grade next year and participates well in school. She is always up for any activity. her favorite color is pink. Her favorite food is Skyline. She does not have a favorite song, but she does like the song Firework by Katy Perry.

Elliot’s Second Birthday

We celebrated Elliot’s second birthday tonight. It was our first birthday party living in Des Moines, which was a little different. We were joined by the Reagens and the Lewandowskis. Holly tells me that she and Alex, Jill and Will, and my parents had a nice dinner, and at the end wished Elliot a happy birthday.

Leading up to 2 Elliot has really seemed a lot older. He doesn’t nap all the time now and he has been sleeping great at night. I am even thinking about moving him out of our bed, which would be the first time in over 5 years that Susan and I have had the bed to ourselves. I don’t think that he is there quite yet, but he is getting there.

At the age of 2, Elliot is a lot like Andrew, with some of Mari’s spunk. He likes to play games, and play with balls. Like all of our kids he likes to play outside. He still needs to be held a lot, and since we don’t have a baby this isn’t really a problem. He does great at meals but once Susan or I sits down he wants to come site on our lap, which we also tolerate. He is a fun kid.

For his birthday Susan made him a doll. This was a follow-up to the doll that she made Mari at Christmas. For Christmas she made Mari a ‘Little Sister Doll’, from Joyce’s Waldorf Dolls. It was basically your standard doll. She made Elliot is ‘Heavy Baby’, which is basically a doll head and arms, with a body that is filled with millet. There are no legs. Because it is a little heavy it feels a little more real than most babies. Because it is filled with millet we have to make sure that mice don’t find it.