Finally February

Well, after many attempts to download, organize, edit and then post pictures – and having things go fooey at all different places in that process – we are finally back and getting to the love! Whew!

Arthur feels about eating chocolate cake batter, suspiciously how his mom feels about it. Must be genetic…

And of course the cake was for this guy! Matt had another one of those birthday things, and got a little bit of “big boy” gifts…and then some others. Love this man and glad he was born!

Elliot was thrilled to go to her second annual Daddy-Daughter dance…
Arthur also needed to get in on the photos…
…but ultimately these two set off for a magical night…

…so magical!

Mom got a date in too. Sushi with her Bean (or rice and soy beans for Elliot, sushi for Mom…either way, it was super fun)!

Valentine’s Day!

We went to Taylor, Aubree and Sam’s house again. It has become quite the tradition. They made a delicious meal for us…

…and everyone had a blast decorating cookies!

Mom and Dad celebrated the next night, but the wait was worth it.

Arthur adamantly told Mom that he needed his pen his pocket…

…just as Melissa happened to be talking to Grampy. Grampy was more than thrilled to realize his genetics have been passed down, and sent Arthur a congratulatory selfie… now we are trying to decide if we should start Arthur in engineering now, or let him discover his knack all on his own…
Finally getting some of the rooms in our house all put together! (Well, they stay put together for about five minutes. But hey!)

Pizza night with the kiddies!

Melissa got to got to the LDS Temple in Redlands, with one of her good friends. When they got hungry afterwards, they discovered the town’s largest breakfast quesadilla…nothing like a light snack before bed!

And the next day we were joined by family, friends and teepees! Alina and Elliot have been planning a sleepover since they met last summer. Alina’s mom, Lindsey, is Melissa’s amazing friend she has known since BYU Hawaii, and they came along with David to visit with us for a week!

Thankfully, that first Saturday and Sunday Grammy and Danny were able to come hang out too! So so fun to have everyone together at our home. And of course, with Grammy came Boo Bear. Jude is still not too sure about the reaching in from the behind regions to pull out his prize…

…but things can always get crazier! ūüėČ

Grammy tried out the gadget Matt borrowed from school…a virtual reality gaming system. She was a great sport as we taught her how to draw in 3D. This ended up being a great diversion for all throughout the week.

Before Grammy and Danny had to head home, we went up to a neat little area, just 15 minutes away or so, with a gorgeous walking trail. Arthur was loving his uncle time!

A real grove of redwoods, with real awesome people in them!

Explorer boy!

Poor Jude did not have a jacket in the car like we thought. Here he is, trying to warm up once Mom figured out a solution using her jacket.

Cute girl!

The whole gang at the duck pond!

The next day, David had to work (and Grammy and Danny were back to their homes), but the rest of us went to check out desert of the most awesome kind. Jude approved! (And we had his jacket this time.)

Mountain goat-kids…

Such a good Daddy!

Lindsey rocked some yoga at an awesome overlook.

The last couple of years this girl has discovered her inner adventurer.

Sweet Alina!

Arthur is good if he has a stick.

Something to explore, climb or see at every turn.

Mom was there too!

When Matt goes up high…

…he finds the best views.

Just a narrow passage back to the car.

Our last stop might have been the last straw for poor Arty. (Note: close your mouth if you fall on sand. Poor baby.)

Jude has always been a little more at-one with the sand.

After our desert adventures, we were glad to have a quiet day at home, then the next day we had a wonderful visit with Grandma and Grandpa. Alina and Elliot were loving the animal toys.

Arthur just loves his Grandpa.

So fun to have Lindsey meet our family. Her and Grandma have lots of common interests!

Saturday we all headed to the wedding reception of Matt’s coworker. It was a kid friendly affair…

…complete with a bounce house…

…the scenic overlook of their own backyard…

…soda and smiles for everyone…

…the ability to bring as many family members that you want (and yay for cousins coming into town!)…

…and a mechanical bull! Doesn’t get much better than that!

In those chilly moments we were sure glad to have everyone there.

And some of us were pretty thrilled with the wedding dessert!

Don’t be fooled…the kids were not the only ones having fun. Sadly, David, Lindsey, Alina and our fun cousins were all taking off the next day. At least we all got to have one last wild ride.

Sunday night we were sad that Melissa’s family were gone, but at least we could do dinner with Matt’s side! Billy was thrilled to be there…

Our gorgeous family.

Love this cutie boy!

Grandpa all rock’n’roll.

Sibling love.

Chris the Goof.

Our sweet, beautiful aunt.

And well, we all need someone to hold us when the week catches up.

We have such great people in our lives. What a great month!

Rest of December and January

Elliot earned 100 points (doing good things; helping her brothers; listening well; etc), in order to earn a pet. She wanted a rat, but (oddly enough) they don’t seem to be a popular item. So she got Remmy, the guinea pig.

Time to make a little-animal home…

…to put one furry little addition to the family.

Jude learned how to take selfies (of course with Mike Wasowski).

We got to enjoy all sorts of Christmas gifts for awhile. Like snowman soup, from Grammy…

And then suddenly, it was 2017…

…we all toasted in our own style…

…or slumbered…

…such cute little people to bring in the New Year with.

The New Year’s After Party

Matt has taken to the hobby of propagating plants. He is hoping to be able to grow us lots of¬†fruit without having to buy too many starts…we shall see what makes it!

In the meantime, we will munch on sushi…

The time had come to get some organizing done. Thank goodness Costco sales seemed to reflect New Year’s resolutions, as all their storage items were discounted. We were excited…the boys just wanted a hot dog.

While we did get quite a bit of rain over our Christmas break, but for ice and snow scenes, we relied on photographs from Grandy and Grampy. Glad they shared with us!

Once Elliot and Matt were back at school/work, the rest of us found ways to have fun while it rained. McDonald’s play place with a cute friend is always a good idea! (Arthur loves his Alyssa…they look so much like siblings!)

Sometimes a funny little guy won’t let you in your house…

…and on other days, he is in your house, throwing a temper tantrum. What are you going to do?

Since we are not used to cold weather, we kept ourselves warm with “glorified ramen.” Homemade broth, veggies (including brussels sprouts, which ended up being a great idea), and egg – so much better than a seasoning packet!

Still getting beautiful photos from our favorite people up north. So much snow!

Arthur likes to bring Mommy treats while she works on his photos…

One day Melissa asked the boys to take a photo in their cute plaid, on the way out the door…

…later that day, Arthur demanded another photo the next time we went out. But both boys had their own version of an “accessory change-up.”

We have leaves! Our first little pomegranate giving us hope for free trees…

One day in January we looked out our back window, and could at least see blue skies and some sun…

…but out the front windows was a different story. Strange winter!

And those gray clouds we saw from the front window, delivered rain…a lot of rain…this is a street Dad and Elliot had to go around to get home one day.

The clouds subsided, and with the sun came Uncle Danny! The kids were so excited! He only got to stay for one night and a morning, but he played with, tickled, and generally entertained our little brood.

Sibling love…and Arthur.

Elliot and Arthur started a game of making towers…

…which of course led to…

…knocking them down…

…rather forcefully.

Elliot also taught the boys how to use marbles on their car track before she went to school one day…

…led to lots of fun for Jude…

…thought Arthur soon sought out other toys. Busy one, this Arty.

Daddy got us Chinese take-out to mark the Year of the Rooster.

The man behind the meal…

…and his little chopstick prodigy.

Breakfast on a Saturday morning, with Matt’s side of the family. Good times!

Arthur also figured out how to take a selfie…no stopping these boys now!

Our Itty Bitty Kitties are fully immersed outside nowadays. Arthur and Alice have a particularly good bond (she doesn’t even mind his outfit choices).

Sully is still a little lover-boy.

Bellatrix tends to avoid the kids, but loves to get attention from Melissa.

And well, for this we have no explanation.

Our little superhero.

We finished January with a boy-filled bubble bath…

…you could say we have entered 2017 with a splash!

Most of December

Nothing like back-tracking to December, in February. But Harvey, our Elf on the Shelf, is always a welcome treat in our home!

Christmas brought all sorts of brotherly love. Little composers.

We went a little Christmas crazy, but it sure was fun…

Marshmallows and chocolate chips…explains the glossed-over, sugary look to his eyes.

Grammy brought us three little itty-bitties… …who promptly hid under our couch and were not seen again for awhile.

Eventually though, Sully (the only boy of what we call the “Itty Bitty Kitties”), couldn’t resist a lure to play. And Bellatrix and Alice ended up making appearances as well. Welcome kitties!

Harvey…always bringing that cheer…we made sure to use his gift as instructed, and made cookies…

…with lots of cute help.

Elliot got to accompany Dad to a “Yule Ball” (based on the Harry Potter event), at Barnes and Noble. Turned out to be more of a “craft night,” but Elliot had fun making her owl and Snitch…

…and perked right up at the follow-up ice cream.

Santa at our church party…this is the closest we have been able to get all three, at one time, to good ol’ Santa.

A trip to Manning Street (a local place that does a super impressive display, synced to their own radio station) is always a must…

…so fun to drive and listen to the music with the lights, then walk around and enjoy the beautiful homes!

Melissa made gifts for the grandparents… each kid’s handprint at 8 months.

Jude kept up his drawing. That is a “y” (and you can tell he is criticizing his work..each round got better and better).

Just a sister reading to her brother. So sweet.

Melissa was so “happy” (or scared/angry/panicked/insanely creeped out) to find this guy in our bathroom. But she couldn’t resist snapping a photo. If one spider is disgusting, spider + his/her reflection is just disturbing.

For size reference, this was not a tiny spider…

Not as creepy, but also kind of scary… Arthur wants to do whatever the big kids do. Both nerve-wracking, and adorable.

Elliot loves gingerbread men. When we were receiving “12 Days of Christmas” gifts, from an anonymous awesome, family, this was an exciting one for Elli!

Love any time we get to go spend with Annie, Edgar, Mateo and Grandma and Grandpa Koch! Such a great day with them.

We kept up the “village” tradition…

…and had lots of fun people come join with us for the making of the houses/structures.

One epic village!

Elliot did a great job conceptualizing and decorating her house!

Sometimes movie days are just so cute with these three…

Making cookies for Santa!

…and more just for fun!

Christmas Eve pajamas. Love those cheesy grins!

Mom and Dad get some too!

Christmas Eve dinner with Grandma and Grandpa…

…good times!

Elliot left all sorts of adorable notes for Santa. Like the one that told him cookies were on the kitchen table (because she was concerned, without a fireplace, he wouldn’t know where to look)…

…and the Thank You note in her stocking. So sweet!

All set for Christmas morning!

Except that, it was the one morning Arthur came into our room and actually fell back asleep. The one morning Mom and Dad are excited to get up early, of course, Arthur sleeps in!

That’s ok. We had time to get all set up…

…and then finally the kids got to jump into Christmas morning!


Everyone was very happy with their stocking spoils.

Then Santa gifts…

…and a yummy breakfast…

…and the rest of the gifts!

Time for church! Love these cuties!!

Elliot’s capture.

Time for the pets to get their Santa gifts!

Family fun at Uncle David and Aunt Becky’s!

Tic Tac’s were a HUGE hit for the three McKids…

A really fun game involving a lot a cellophane ensued…

…always a good time! We had such a fun, crazy, and very Merry Christmas!!

November is Here (at Last)!


We have had a bit of a lag…life went a little sideways there for a minute…but don’t worry, we are sorting it out, and enjoying the ride!

Anyway, November was fun. Arthur was cleverly self-entertaining…

…Jude kept up his adorable streak…

…and Elliot, as always, provided comic relief!

Pakora chicken-stache.

Melissa got older again. Seems it can’t be stopped. But she loved her birthday company (including the man behind the camera)!

Always keep your monsters safe…

…and your olives close by.

Elliot is so thoughtful and sweet!

We were the lucky eaters of two Thanksgiving feasts. The first was an early Thanksgiving with our fun family on Melissa’s side.

The next day we left the kiddies with our gracious cousins, and went to Detroit.

Our hotel was very cool. These first floors are the original marble and used to be a department store. So many of the buildings in the city were just gorgeous.

This was our favorite eating experience…

…graham cracker crusted french toast, and Monte Cristo french toast…amazing!

Every city needs a puppet museum, right?

So sad to see so many buildings just vacant, and to meet people who have seen the devastation of corrupt, corporate greed. But if Detroit can pull itself back together again, it will be a charming city. We hope that for Detroit!

Our hotel from the outside, with the People Mover stopped right in front. So genius to build tracks OVER the roads so that it does not congest the streets!

Once we got home we signed Jude up for gymnastics. His first day went pretty well, but he was possibly more excited to get his book back and eat his treat (cookies, fittingly). Happy to say, he has started enjoying gymnastics a whole lot more since his first time.

Matt’s coworker and his family have become great friends. They¬†invited us to a day at the wildlife park.

Even moms can enjoy the interactive animals.

Elliot LOVES Sage, her new friend (and babysitter…yay for Mom and Dad).

All sorts of fun…

…and adventure!

She’ll be soaring any day!

Such a fun place!

The girls’ room is starting to come along. Missing some details, but it is fun to see progress.

We hosted Thanksgiving for Matt’s side of the family, in our house this year. Melissa made a turkey for the first time! (It actually turned out really good…thank goodness!)

We had the cutest little people…

…and fun big people!

So nice to have a home where we can fit our loved ones!

And grateful for these three cuties!!

Jude started his drawing career in November and went straight to numbers. Not bad for a kid who took a two-year drawing hiatus.

Since it was the day after Thanksgiving, we of course needed to decorate for Christmas. (Ok…first year ever that we got to it that quick.) Arthur was ready to record the experience!

Somehow this happened while we were adorning the tree. Our goofy, cute kids!

Jude is missing some of his foam letters and numbers. He likes to lay them out in sequence, but sometimes he has to improvise for things like “10.”

Elliot is just always drawing. We love it!

Matt had a conference out in the desert…

…and we just HAD to join him at the resort where he was staying…

…oh darn!

Sunset from the hot tub, anyone?

The kids were pretty stoked about their rice crispy treat-sicles at dinner that night…

The next day, this is how we all felt about not having to make the bed, or make breakfast!

Swim time!

All the kids liked the tree in the lobby, but Arthur had the best, “Whoooooaaaaaa!!” reaction.

Back at home we tried to keep festivities going. The kids enjoyed a tree they could decorate and un-decorate as many times as they wanted.

And Jude finished off the month by moving onto letters!December will be coming soon!

October Festivities!


Somehow the thought of it being November already seems so bizarre…but here we are! That¬†means… post time!

October proved to be much more relaxing than September. Mostly because we gave up on finishing getting the house organized, and focused on enjoying our new home and yard. We will take the trade-off any day!img_8601

Arthur continues to entertain us with his clothing choices (and with his ridiculously cute personality).img_8602

Our view is pretty awesome. Such a great time of year to enjoy the sunsets!img_8611

And every once in awhile, Melissa tries to be a “real photographer.” With only a 200mm zoom…this is as real as it gets…good enough!img_8627

Melissa had the chance of going up to visit Grandy in Oregon. Before she left, she bribed the kids to still love her by taking them out for a delicious treat…img_8628

…everyone seemed to accept the offer.

Being in Oregon, with just her mom and dad, was super fun for Melissa! Such a treat to be able to spend some one-on-one time with Mom! Both ladies very much enjoyed their Lebanese cuisine during lunch one day…img_8629


…while back at home, Daddy treated the kids to root beer floats! Win for everyone!img_8631

Once Melissa got back, life with kids seemed even more adorable. Like Arthur wanting to sleep with a toy lawn mower…img_8632

…or Elliot getting “Superestrella” at school!…img_8632b

…or little grins right before haircut time!

Because, well, both Jude and Arthur really needed a trim. Here are the before’s…img_8633


…and after. all trimmed up and ready to go!img_8648

Always fun in a bounce house!img_8654

Not as “fun” is potty training. We gave it a good go one day…then Mom got tired…so…we’ll try again another time. But this boy sure was cute while we gave it an attempt!img_8657

Elliot loves her new school shirt…and it actually is a true statement! She has become quite the good little reader, and we are kind of fond of her new habit… really fond of her!!img_8669

This little plant was the first thing Melissa trimmed when we first moved in. Already new branches and flowers have sprung up! Yay!img_8670

All the yard work tends to exhaust our cute little guy.img_8671

As happens every October, Halloween was coming along. Elliot has been loving spending time at Daddy’s work place, and she made these for Matt’s coworker. Sweet girl! (The banana was her snack-on-the-go that morning, just for clarification.)img_8806

The boys love park day, and we are so lucky to have this gorgeous park right down the street from us!img_8807

So…the trial run in their monster costumes was – so cute!img_8815

We finally got to a pumpkin patch, the Friday before Halloween. Arthur was very into the animals…img_8868

…like his mommy!img_8878

Jude was totally enamored with the pumpkins!img_8881






One of Arthur’s new loves: “Thack-uh!” (Tractor!)img_8971

We just love our little goobies!img_8972

Straight from the pumpkin patch to our friends’ house for a little party. We can only hope that the witch Jude stole this hat from does not hold a grudge.img_8996

Melissa and Heather rarely ever get a picture together, but Melissa is sure grateful for her good buddy!img_8997

Next day was time for Trunk-or-Treat for church. The kids were feeling the costumes!img_9006

Elliot made the same face every time…she knows how to kitty!img_9064

Sunday we¬†finally made a few decorations. The kids loved making ghosts…img_9074

…and “carving” (Mom and Dad carved a lot, let’s just put it that way) pumpkins.img_9084


Watching their jack-o-lanterns outside was a big hit!img_9087

On Halloween night, this was as festive as we got, but hey…the kids loved it!img_9089

And then we were in costumes…again…ready to trick-or-treat!img_9095

Good times and lots of candy for all!


This post is from the beginning of September, until the end, so it might overlap with the last post, but some of these moments were just too cute not to share!

Like Arthur, who decided to pull on his sister’s shorts, over his other clothes. You wouldn’t have wanted to miss that!20160901_142819

Or Elliot’s go-to pose when we wait for gymnastics to start! That’s a keeper!20160909

Jude has been loving our return to park days!20160916_1104010

Back before we moved in, Arthur liked the “furnishings” of our new home.img_7930

Jude was very happy to rediscover toys that had been put away for awhile.img_7933

As was Elliot!img_7935

Our kids discovered so many fun features while we got ready to move in.img_7940

And Matt was pretty happy to work in a yard again…while the kids were happy to play!img_7964

This girl just cracks us up!img_7975

She also helps out a lot! She has been willingly cleaning up the playroom for us, even going so far as to vacuum.img_8019

Arthur always wants to help too, in any way he can!img_8020

We already showed off Arthur’s cute birthday photos…img_8170

…but you did not see that later that day it started to rain. Only some intense bribery could convince Jude to come inside…he has a hill with dirt…who cares about rain?img_8420

A rainy day calls for a trip to check out a nearby Mexican place…always need to know where the closest, good food is when you have relocated!img_8420b

Jude has just been in heaven since acquiring our new yard.img_8421

Here is a view of the terrace below our main patio, where Matt is working hard to add stairs and make this area into a beautiful, second hangout. Looking forward to resting down here someday soon!img_8425

Lest anyone think that Jude is one-dimensional, we often find him, in his room, like this.img_8432

Come on…that is just too cute!img_8434

Here are a couple of shots of our playroom/family room, after Elliot cleaned it up, and arranged the couch pillows herself (Grandy’s cute gifts to the kids sure fit right in!)…img_8440


All our rooms are still lacking photos and wall-art, but they are starting to get to their finished state, slowly but surely.img_8444

Grammy was one of our first, family visitors to our new home. We always love having her…and the kids love seeing Boo Bear and Ling Ling (I mean, they do bring gifts)!img_8449

We had a really lovely visit with our Grammy.img_8457

Some days a mom just needs a photo with her cute kids, just because she is so in love with them.img_8461

Our cousin is now taking over our uncle’s (her dad’s) hay and feed store. He is not quite ready to retire yet, but she is working on upgrading their Facebook page and website. So we were honored to take some photos for them. Kind of fun that we will get to keep a record of what our awesome family has worked so hard to make a successful, local business!img_8462




Here is what our playroom USUALLY looks like. Hard to be too concerned about it when our kiddies play together so well, practice new skills, and are just plain cute.img_8601What a couple months we (survived) lived through! Hard to believe October is here, but we are grateful to be going into it feeling slightly more settled. Always more work and organization to do, but we are getting there!

September – The Move Edition

Since we kind of did this big thing of, move to a new house, we thought that maybe it deserved its own post. Then we can wrap up September once it is over!

So, like any good moving story, we started by packing the old place. Thank goodness we had a good little helper! (Notice again, the hair tie…he insists!)1

While packing, we were having the floors done, but we also took some time to paint the walls, while the floors were out and it was not as big a deal to drip paint. Here you can see the gray going up in the living area…1s2

…and the dining area, which was sporting its new laminate already!2

We did two accent walls in the soon-to-be playroom/family room.3

The next day, floors went in. So we took some more photos…4nd


…and the kids started enjoying the soft, plushy, new carpet!6

Starting to look like we hoped!7

You have to test carpet by laying down on it…and if you are Arthur, you have to point at the camera!8

The next day we just kept moving…and our helper had not quit yet!8s5

We were starting to run out of things to sit on (that kids were allowed to eat on anyway), so picnic-style lunch at the rental house was in progress!9

By the end of that Monday, almost all the big furniture (minus beds) was at the new place, thanks to our Uncle David, Aunt Becky and Grandpa. Not only did David let us use his trailer, but he, Bill and Matt lifted and moved a whole lot! We were VERY grateful for their time and help!!10

Melissa wanted to just set it up, just to see. Not bad for a start!11

The kids had no problem playing in their new yard while the adults moved everything.12

Arthur even learned the joys of drinking from the hose…might as well start on the first day!13

Back at the rental, we still had packing to do. Wanted to preserve some of Elliot’s art again!14

The next day was move day #2, and we needed some easy, mostly furniture-free entertainment. So the computer played shows while we bribed our poor boys with peanut M&Ms.14s6

Finally, we got almost everything over by Tuesday night. Again we had help from David and Becky and their trailer, along with our cousin Shauna, her boyfriend, the missionaries from our ward at church, and our friends Chico and Taylor! Man were we SO SO thankful to have all those people to lend a hand (or a whole bunch of hands)! By the next morning, Arthur may have ended up off his mattress, and we were probably all feeling a bit fatigued. But we had spent our first night in the new house! So Wednesday, we woke up (eventually), in the new McHome!17s7

Then it was time to move the final, last-minute things over…like kids…18


….and cats (in the box, poor guys). And all the other random stuff that just hadn’t made it to the trailer the day before. By Wednesday night, the rental house was clean and clear, ready for the walkthrough in the morning!20

Wednesday morning, Arthur “helped” Mom get ready to meet our landlord and turn in keys.¬†(By help we mean he dipped his finger in her makeup before she could stop him, and applied it, as he¬†thinks Mom does).21s8

Just like that, we were no longer renting, and officially homeowners, with no looking back! Jude was not upset…as a matter of fact, he was very, very happy with our change of scenery!

Arthur liked taking advantage of Mom and Dad’s temporary bed arrangement.23

And as soon as Elliot was out of school, she was out in the yard too! Just one of our favorite things about our home!!24

Some nights, you just have to let the kids relax, after everyone has been running around like chickens with their heads cut off. As a matter of fact, we all got a little breather this second evening in our house. Thank goodness!25

The cats ditto that!26

And well, things just keep coming together, with additions and subtractions (like those curtains) being needed. But we can start to see the end-game!28

We had a little plumbing issue, but thank goodness Bill came to the rescue, again!29

And pretty soon, we were getting more and more set-up…20160913_083226



… Everything is not complete, but it is functioning, and starting to get there!20160913_140840

For now, we are just taking it all in!20160915_191532

August Part 2

Back at home, we only had a short time left at this home! But, we had some fun stuff to do in our rental yet, like celebrate Arthur’s second birthday!

Sweet Elliot made Arthur a card!

And Arthur got to try frosting, straight off the spoon.img_7804

Later that night we had a feast, worthy of our big eater!img_7823

Gifts were next!img_7826

This cute boy just loved every present he opened. Such a ham!img_7855

He definitely liked his cake.img_7864

Such an adorable boy. The energy and the laughter he brings to our home is contagiously fun. We just love him so much!img_7879

As we got ready to pack for the big move, we tried to preserve some of Elliot’s artwork before needing to clean out our storage. Such a creative girl…she came up with this all on her own after watching Tarzan!img_7892

In honor of Arthur, and his cousin, Sophie’s birthdays, (they were born the same day!), we did a picnic with Matt’s side of the family. Grandma and Grandpa brought suckers…img_9794



…big hit! We all had a great time at our get together!img_9800

This boy!img_9801

And this boy! He was very excited to receive his first Loot Crate. If there is a way to get nerdier, we will find it!img_9802

Arthur got to move to the back of the van with his brother…very exciting to a two year old!img_9816

The kids were very patient as we went around, quite a few times, looking at flooring for the new house.img_9817

We made sure to take breaks and get outside though!img_9818




So proud of his artwork, and he found the perfect place to display it!img_9820d

And well, that is just cute.img_9820e

These two really started to bond over making messes!img_9820f

Finally, we had chosen and were picking up our laminate! Just a tiny bit!img_9820g

Mom got a new phone, so Elliot took over the old phone’s camera. This is a very dramatic self-portrait…img_9821

…and her “Pony in the Raw” series.img_9821b

“Life of the Suburban Mouse”…?img_9836

Sometimes you just gotta yell!img_9836b

And sometimes you just gotta…well…actually not sure about this one…img_9836c

…or this one! We let our boy choose his look…img_9837

…even if it includes hair accessories. (He saw Mom doing Elliot’s hair and insisted. Wants to be just like his siblings!)img_9837b

It just gets better and better!img_9837c

Has anyone seen the coconut milk?img_9845

One of Elliot’s shots of Arthur and his dinner.img_9846

And Elliot’s drawing from our Family Home Evening lesson!img_9846b

Daddy and Elliot came up with an appropriate place for her new “pet” mouse to eat her breakfast.img_9847

On the 30th, flooring commenced!

And on the 31st, we became official owners of a new home! (Well, new to us!)img_9849

While we waited for the inside to be ready, we started right away enjoying the outside!img_9850To Be Continued…

August Part 1

What better way to start off a month than with breakfast and hot chocolate, courtesy of the best dad ever?img_6962



Add to that adorable movie-watching…

…or tent movie-watching…img_6973

…or ice cream? Man! August was definitely looking good!img_6974

In the bittersweet category, we let Steve, our pet praying mantis, go back into the wild. He was a great little friend for a few weeks. (Did we ever mention that Elliot learned to kill flies during this time? That was a strange side effect…we are still not sure how she did it, but Steve definitely did not go hungry!)img_6975

Our big girl started first grade!img_6982

On the way into the school, that first day, we caught sight of a BIG moth (about two and a half inches across). Who needs to step foot into the classroom to learn something new? (As in…there are ginormous bugs here that we had never seen before!)img_6988

This year Elliot gets to have a good friend of hers, Sam, in her class. These two are second generation best buddies, as Matt grew up with Sam’s dad, Taylor. Fun!img_6991

We did our second annual “Back to School Feast,” where those returning to school get to choose the menu. Elliot chose mac’n’cheese and squash, while dad chose breakfast. Melissa made it happen!img_6993



Only a couple evenings later, we were heading up to Oregon. Arthur’s first flight, and he was not having the whole “lap” thing…thanks to a partially empty flight, he got to sit all by himself with Elliot! Arthur was more than thrilled during his first take-off and landing.img_6995b

Jude was not sure at first, but ended up loving the flight.img_6995c

All three kids did great during our travels, especially once they all fell asleep.img_6995d

Despite a late arrival the night before, the kids were very happy to be at Grandy and Grampy’s. And thank goodness they have kept some of Melissa’s childhood favorite toys around…the love keeps going!img_6996

This kid gets photographed a lot, but he is always so busy doing something cute, like wearing sister’s shoes around.img_6996b

Uncle Danny had arrived before us, and he jumped right in to being one great uncle…he helped Elliot create a delicious, and healthy, treat for everybody! (Seriously…homegrown strawberries on top of an apple slice, on top of cinnamon/sugar whole wheat toast…yummy!)img_6998

That first day in Oregon, while only two days before Natalie and Andrew’s wedding, (which was why we were there), was also our anniversary! Happy Tenth to Us!img_7003

Ten years later we went back to the first Oregon restaurant Melissa ever took Matt to, back when we were engaged: Tad’s Chicken and Dumplings. If anything, the food and the view has gotten even better. And you know what…so has our marriage! We sure love this whole “being married” thing!img_7004

The next day¬†the ladies remembered to photograph their gorgeous nails…wedding preparations were wrapping up…the big day was coming!img_7009

And the happy couple were looking thrilled about it!img_7010

Finally, Natalie and Andrew’s special day arrived! Let the makeup and hair commence! Melissa was so happy to be able to be there for her sister, and to help her get all ready.img_7011-2

But mostly we were just really happy for these two. Such a great couple, and we were thankful we had a few days to get to know Andrew…look forward to lots of years of getting to know Andrew and Natalie as Mr. and Mrs. Smith!img_7062

After the beautiful temple ceremony, the reception went off without a hitch.img_7346

Everything looked so nice…img_7363


…and people had so much fun! A truly wonderful celebration for a wonderful, new couple!img_7440

The next day, the lovebirds were off on their honeymoon, but the rest of us went to church and then had a lovely BBQ in Grandy and Grampy’s backyard. Uncle Jared was getting a workout…img_7659

…Jude was enjoying what Jude enjoys…img_7663

…Uncle David learned how to yell and laugh at the same time from a pro…img_7682

…and we all had a wonderful evening together!img_7687

Quick…caption contest! Go!img_7691

Our last day had come, but we made the most of it. We met Grammy and the Gullivers (all the respective daughters with their husbands), at Blue Lake Park. What a gorgeous place! Melissa had not been for a long time, and she forgot how beautiful it was!

Arthur has always gravitated towards his Grammy…who could ask for a better buddy?

Lots of intense competitions commenced…img_7710



And LOTS of snacking…img_7713




A Grammy with all of her great-grankids. It does not get better than this!!img_7739

So many cute cousins around!img_7774

Has anyone seen Danny?img_9724

And then again, once¬†Danny found his way down, did he see David in that tree above him? No…no he did not…but this happened! (Don’t get any ideas Arthur…you can tell he is thinking about it! Jude is most likely hoping nobody drops onto his shoulders…)img_9725

Then, sadly, it was time to fly home. Arthur, once again, loved the takeoff. And once again our kids were amazing little travelers. And well…there was a lot more of August still coming!img_9727

Arthur’s Post

Still working on an August post…it’s like something big and routine-interrupting happened or something. ūüėČ But, since we are a little behind, we offer photos that reveal the most adorable side of our little two-year-old, as recompense. Enjoy!








He picked this bench all on his own.img_8217









Distracted by a “tuck!” (Truck for those who don’t speak Arthurian.)img_8377



img_8413Goodness we just love this boy! He is a cutie-pa-tootie and so much fun…love every moment of watching him grow!