Happy Birthday, Elliot!

Over the past couple of days we have been celebrating Elliot’s 11th birthday. It has been a rainy, but fun couple of days in Austin, TX. Last night we ate cake and today he opened presents and we went bowling. Mary and Hope were supposed to arrive today, but due to some flight issues they are slated to arrive very late. 

Elliot at 11 is a nice, helpful guy. He likes to help around the RV, especially with the outdoor tasks around setting up and tearing down. His daily rhythm follows that of the other kids. He usually wakes up around 8 or 8:30 and reads in bed for a little while. By the time he stumbles out of bed he is ready for breakfast and his schoolwork. During his free time he likes to read and ride scooters & bikes outside. 

At night he has been helping get Rose to sleep, snuggling with her until she falls asleep, and then moving to his bed.

Favorite song: None
Favorite color: Red
Favorite food: Skyline
Favorite band: None
Favorite book: Harry Potter 7
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: None

Lucia’s 5th Birthday!

Lucia turned 5 over the weekend. It was a bit of a crazy time because on her actual birthday we spent most of the day in San Francisco with the Liess clan. We still tried to make it a special day and then on Monday night we had cake and ice cream. 

Lucia at 5 continues to be an angel. She is smart, sweet, and enthusiastic. She loves life and socializing with other people. She is showing an interest in learning her letters this year, even though it is not something we encourage. She shares a bed with Rose in the RV and helps out when Rose needs it, either helping her find her pacifier or cuddling in the morning. 

She loves to bike with all of the kids and she is a master with her two-wheeler. It would be awesome to be back in Des Moines to try out some of the single track trails. 

Favorite song: Victor Vito
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite food: Noodles
Favorite book: Thumbelina

Lucky Charms for her breakfast cereal
Aunt Mary made sure Lucia got a piece of cake at lunch on Pier 39.
This girl knows how to pose!
Mac & Cheese for her birthday dinner.
Playing her new game with Cameron.

Andrew’s 14th Birthday

Today we celebrated Andrew’s 14th birthday. This morning he opened our present, a new camera. He has been excited about taking pictures on our trip and we found a nice point & shoot camera for him to use. 

In the afternoon we went to Trees a Mystery, a big-tree park about 30 minutes south of where we are staying. Andrew was really torn between that and bowling. I think he made the right choice. 

For dinner we had Skyline. That was followed by a carmel-explosion cake that he and Susan concocted. It was really good. 

Andrew at 14 continues to be a pleasant, positive presence in our lives. He is enthusiastic about life and embraces new opportunities openly. His hobbies and interests remain largely the same: music, sports, games, reading. On the trip he has been maintaining his own blog, which is interesting and I think has him thinking about things a little differently. 

Favorite song: heavydirtysoul by Twenty-One Pilots
Favorite color: Orange
Favorite food: Skyline
Favorite band:Twenty-One Pilots
Favorite book: Harry Potter 7
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: Jurassic Park

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.