To Our Little Buddy Olan

Hey Olio!

It’s time for you to turn two! My, oh my, it’s been a wonderful year of progress for you. You’ve always been an observer, and this year, I have seen you observe, learn from what you see, and then put into action your observations, and that is pretty fun to watch. Whether that be always saying “Olie try!”, taking your first steps, going “big boy style” down the stairs, or climbing into your chair at the table, you are gaining your own independent spirit rapidly. I see you observing Evie, and wow, you copy literally everything that she does! She sure loves you fiercely, even if she squeezes you too tight. I understand how she feels… it’s hard not to hug you as hard as I can!

You are swiftly growing from my baby to my boy. I’m lucky you still love to cuddle and rock at night. You still toddle around like you’re just learning to walk and run. Watching you try and climb things like a noob makes me smile (sticking your leg straight up onto an object isn’t real effective most times, ha ha!). The way you try and say every word that is uttered in our home is so sweet and I love to see you learn our language. These little baby things will soon be a thing of the past, so I am relishing in your littleness for as long as time allows. I do look forward to seeing what you love now expand into your interests and gifts! You are a big question mark right now, what with all of the things you love: dancing, music, baseball, football, water, cars, farm equipment, getting dirty, being clean, motorcycles, big trucks, food, snuggling with your blanket. What will you be like? I’m so glad to have a front row seat in watching your story unfold, Olan.

The Lord has been forming you into a gentle, cautious, willful boy this year. You are quick to apologize, eager to try new things (but not at the expense of you feeling in control), and anxious to do the tasks you set your heart on. I love these three traits I see in you. I am praying this year that God will shape these traits into your character as you grow. I would love to see you become a gentleman as you grow into a young man. It’s my desire to watch you take such care and caution in your decision-making to think about how those choices affect you and others around you. My heart would be so full to witness you seeking after Jesus with your whole heart, letting nothing get in your way. The enemy may see your gentleness as weakness, cautiousness as easily frightened, and your willfulness as self-seeking, but oh, what the Lord can do to turn those same traits into Godly character! We have much to anticipate for your life, sweet one.

Happy birthday, baby boy! I love you to bits!



Evie at Year Five

Evie Lynn. What a ball of wilderness this girl is! Anyone who knows her can testify that she is passionate about life. As she turns five, I am reflecting on who she is right now, what her interests are, and what makes her tick. And honestly, I don’t think I even know what makes this one tick quite yet, but her flame for life sure is bright!

  • Evie has exploded in her literacy. She can sight read just about anything, and her word attack is better than mine, I think. She loves to read. As I type, I hear her turning pages in her room during quiet time. She is a phenomenon! This summer, Logan had the brilliant idea to introduce “The Book of the Day,” so we have been checking out a million books at the library this summer, keeping them hidden, and pulling out one new book each day (keeping all the previous ones out, of course), and she is gaga for it. I think we’ll keep that one going… except I’m already thinking that Olan needs to start this tradition… so two million books… eek. Ha!
  • Along with reading, she has graduated from tracing letters to forming them herself (although her form is pretty cavemanlike still, sorry future Kindergarten teacher, but she is unstoppable). She loves to make notes and cards for people.
  • Evie has forgone the nap this last year. She does have quiet time for about 1.5 hours in the afternoon, but I am loving the freedom that no nap is bringing to our schedule! Now for Olan. Just kidding. I am still soaking in the glory of 2.5+ hour nap times for him. I’m sure I’ll miss it when it’s gone. Both kids sleep (or at least are in their rooms and quiet) from 8pm-7am. Beautiful.
  • I am so impressed with Evie’s awareness of numbers and time. She is so proud of her “mental math” she can do by counting on her fingers. She counts to 100 easily, and skip counts by 10s and 5s all the way to 100 too. Where does this genius even come from? I cannot take any credit for this, for real people. I’m just a lame mom whom God is somehow choosing to bless.
  • Evie loves to bake. Mostly for the beater licking duty, but hey, whatever works! She cracks eggs, pours, stirs, and is finally not afraid of the KitchenAid. Hallelujah.
  • I love growing a garden with the lively Evie in tow. She loves picking and watering, and to watch her excitement when we find a giant cucumber we missed is priceless… “Oh my LIVER!”
  • Television. Nuff said. She’s into PJ Masks, and… well yeah, just PJ Masks. Ha ha. She’s occasionally into Umizoomi (chicks in the city), Wild Kratts, Cat in the Hat, and Clifford.
  • She has this game she likes to play right now. It goes something like this: “Mom, do you wanna pretend that you’re poor and have no money, and you say you need help, and then a little girl passes by and gives you some money and you say, ‘Oh thank you!’?” It is played daily, and she wants to repeat the scene over and over again. The scene will change from money to raisins or balloons or whatever, but it is a favorite.
  • Spiritual brag: She has taken a liking to rolling down her window in the car when we are listening to “Jesus music” so that “everyone can hear it and worship God.”
  • Evie’s been able to get really comfortable on her bike this summer! She’s got training wheels, but we’ve been able to get out on bike rides as a family and she does pretty dang good. She likes to gradually swerve into the middle of the road, but we are steadily getting better at roping that in. So fun!
  • Eating is still a favorite pastime.
  • Evie is still struggling with bathroom accidents. This is driving her mother and father crazy. Although, she has made some great gains the last few weeks, and whenever she has to go, she says, “Time me for something!” (meaning she’s going to go the bathroom as fast as she can and she wants to surprise you with her speed). Hallelujah for breakthroughs! Seriously, Jesus, thank you so much for this gift.
  • Music. Anything music. She wants to listen to songs over and over and over and over. I can tell her musical interest is growing from little kiddie to more adult music lately. She asks to listen to our music a lot! Yessssss. The other day she heard “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)” on the radio. Aaannd now we listen to that song on repeat for eternity.
  • Evie has quite a temper. When she is learning a new task and fails, she gets extremely bent out of shape. But I’m learning that her fit doesn’t mean she’s giving up. She rarely wants advice, but she wants to keep trying! She just really needs to work on that poker face in the process. Whew.
  • I played Go Fish with Evie the other day and won. And she said, “Good job, mom!” This is a Christmas miracle, folks. I was so proud of her for not fureaking out because she lost. It was actually enjoyable to play a game with her.
  • This has been a challenging summer with obedience. Every day, every hour, every minute, the highs are high and the lows bottom out. [Liz Hansen] But Evie has really great days. In fact, this week she has been amazingly sweet. I am looking forward to more of these days!


  • Color: Purple
  • Animal: Owl, Duck, and Chick
  • Food: Applesauce and Brownies and Desserts
  • Drink: Lemonade
  • Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (same as last year)
  • TV Show: Cat in the Hat
  • Game: Pictureka
  • Bible Story: David and Goliath (same as last year)
  • Season: Winter (I like playing in the snow and making snow angels) and Fall (I like jumping in the leaves)
  • Toy: Momma-doo
  • Outfit: Purple Rocky Mountain National Park shirt
  • Book: The Bible and The Lima Bean Monster
  • Friend: Ava Elliott and Silas
  • Thing to do outside: play in the sprinkler and get in the water
  • Future Career: a mommy and a follower of Jesus. I asked her what her job would be and she said, “I’m going to go share the good news with people!” Proud mama right there!

Saint Louis Spontaneity

Well. I hadn’t left this city all summer. July was ending. We needed to do something outlandish… like get out of this land! So we did! Much to Logan’s dismay (my Mr. Homebody is a real travel-stick-in-the-mud whose favorite part of a vacation is getting home), we found ourselves mapping out a four day trip to STL! Not long, not far, not expensive. Just a change of scenery! Luckily, Logan’s Uncle Steve was a huge aid in our knowing whereabouts to go when we got there. All the places we went came highly recommended from him. Thanks for being our Trip Advisor, Steve! You were spot on!

Day 1: Travel. I must say, my kids travel well. Although they are terribly annoying at times and have way too many snacks along the way, they are great sports. Evie is really liking audiobooks, and so we completed the first Boxcar Children from Hoopla whilst wheeling down the way. (Side note: Boxcar Children. Classic, right? But kind of horrible, I must admit. Maybe it was the goofy reader? Gawsh, the voice she had for Benny was something I needed to strangle. Although, I am certain that Henry taught me how to use a spoon as a knife. Ha!) Anyway, we got to and fro without a single movie or “gimme-your-phone” incident. Success! We stopped at OP for some Dave and Buster’s (which I had no idea what this place was. It was actually fun, and the food was really great. Lucky for us, it was half-price game day too, yee haw!) We stayed with Logan’s Aunt Marty and Uncle Randy in Washington that night. It was lovely, as always! They cooked gigantico pork chops and sautéed green beans and cabbage and chocolate pie and pink lemonade. Topped the evening off with a lovely chat after bedtime, and off to bed we went.

Day 2: Blueberry pancakes. Maybe we should’ve just stayed with the Hoermans the whole time. For real! 🙂 Thank you so much for the hospitality! After saying good-bye to Marty and Randy, we made our way to St. Louis and stopped in at The Magic House (STL’s Children’s Museum). Fan-freakin’-tastic. Evie had the time of her life. Olan had things to do and places to go. It was a great stop. If you’ve been to the City Museum, this place is like that, only for kids. They had the whole “million-kids-everywhere-omg-what-if-I-lose-one” thing down to an art. I didn’t have a heart attack the whole time. After spending the whole morning and most of the afternoon at The Magic House, we checked in at Hotel Hampton (using up some HHonor points, ooh la la). After an unsuccessful attempt at nap time, we hit the pool, because pools are every kid’s dream come true, and every parent’s eye roll. When we finally pried our chillins away from the pool, we drove over to The Mellow Mushroom for some pizza. Calzones for dayz people. Top notch. At our hotel, they had a cookie party every night at 8pm. Thass what I’m talkin’ bout, folks.

Day 3: Free breakfast! Whoop! We went over to Flying Tiger Moto to check out some interesting bikes. Logan ended up getting a new motorcycle…. helmet. Har har! Definitely needed. Evie was asking to “do something fun” so we hopped over to a chocolate shop and watched them make some confections and then, of course, had to eat them too. Yum. Off to Southwest Diner where I had the best fried egg sandwich eva. Although I felt like a snood in a hipster joint and was definitely the one without a tattoo in the place, this was my favorite restaurant! Wow! Just so stinking good. We were worn out from the day already, but we went about an hour south of STL to Hawn State Park and did a >1 mile hike down Pickle Creek. Logan is a hater for hiking, but I ate it up! Evie liked it at first, but she was so worn out, she was a little downtrodden by the trail’s end. We got to wade in the creek, and Olan loved his Poco Plus ride! Thanks Logan for tugging 50 extra pounds on your back for me. I love hiking! I’m afraid I might be the lone Henry, however. Sad face. We had a picnic dinner, and then exhaustedly headed back for our hotel room. Thank the Lord we convinced Evie to give up her dream of swimming when we got back, and we watched TV and ate cookies instead. The last thing I wanted to do was slink into my swimsuit and go splash around. Whew! We all slept well that night.

Day 4: Heading west! We got in a quick swim (BTW the whirlpool with the jets was a Henry kid pleaser!) and free breakfast before we left the hotel, and then off we went, back to Kansas. Uneventful all the way back. We got back at around 5pm.

Glad we got to make a small trip work this summer. Thanks to Logan for putting up with my crazy hair-brained idea to get in the car and take little babies 7 hours away, and thanks to Uncle Steve for so many wonderful suggestions. Mission accomplished!

Dave and Buster’s was stimulation overload… but the kids had a great time! Olan did a lot of pretend playing. Ha ha!

Our little automobile junky.

Evie with her insanely expensive prizes. We earned 598 tickets with our arcade skills and got two finger puppets and a laser pop. Trip entertainment!

Having fun in mama’s arms.

Randy and Marty’s house! Thank you again!

The Magic House! Tons of “marble runs” with big wooden balls. A little guy’s delight.

The giant bubble maker. Oh Evie and her bubbles! We could’ve stayed in the bubble room for-ev-er.

The TapeScape… an obstacle course and slide made out of 300 rolls of packing tape.

The Beanstalk… Life size, three-story high “Jack and the Beanstalk” you can climb!

The sand tables… Olan’s jam.

Mellow Mushroom… wish we’d taken pictures of our enormous calzones!

The prettiest helmet ever! You can see in the background the wall of helmets. Evie brought over each and every one for me to feel how soft and smooth it was.

Here’s Logan’s new helmet!

Lookin’ good, girl.

Scoot dat boot!

Kakao Chocolate shop! Evie got a chocolate spoon, and we ate some toasted pistachio dark chocolate bark!

Olan loves chocolate too!

Southwest Diner!

Street corn… just like Nacho Libre! My face is nothing like Jack Black’s, but I tried. Ha ha. And for the record, it’s not mayo. It’s something else that is really good. I should’ve written it down. Cilantro aioli or something. Way good.

The start of our Pickle Creek adventure!

Olan stripped a few pieces of clothing by the end.

Evie and her hiking stick, which slowed her down and made her trip more than it helped her keep her balance. She’s got a little bit of Grandma Baldwin hiking (tripping lots) in her genes.

The trail ran right along the creek the whole time. Very rocky, but fun!

Little dipper!

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