Good Day to You!

Mid-year family update? Why? Unheard of! Blasphemy. I know, I know. Usually we do this around Christmas time, but honestly, the past few years we’ve just emailed a photo with a quick “Happy Holidays” or “Have a wonderful holiday season”. Then you wouldn’t hear from us until the next holidays. We thought we’d mix it up this year with a mid-year update on how the family is doing and, hopefully, spark a few replies from you to see how you’re doing. This time of year is so much more relaxing that it seems like I have more time to write and reflect then during the holiday season.

We’re all doing very well and excited to be outside as much as possible. These past few weeks we’ve seen hopes of summer as the temperature has reached the mid-60s (shorts and tanktop weather!) and sometimes 70 (we’re going swimming!!!). Truly the winter and spring seasons were long this year so we’re really excited to get some sun. Our evenings and weekends are filled with bike rides, hiking, gardening, swinging, and whatever else keeps us active and alive in the outdoors. Actually, the BBQs are really the best part of the warm evenings!

Mr. Bubbles
Mr. Bubbles

Ethan finished his first year of preschool today. When he first started last September he was apprehensive about going. He has grown to love his preschool and teachers. He learned to enjoy learning his letters and bringing something that represented the letter of the week. He made lots of new friends whom we’re pretty sure taught him how to shoot guns. We’re going to have to watch the crowd he hangs with a bit more closely. ; )  On July 30th he’s turning 4. We’re still in the birthday party planning stages but think we’re going to do some sort of race car theme. He just loves speeding around the speedway in our house. He doing a great job at being a big brother. He is learning to play and share with Autumn, though there is always the occasional wrestling smackdown. We understand this will happen for many years.

Autumn the drumming ballerina
Autumn the Drumming Ballerina

Autumn is rockin’! From the get go she has followed the beat of a different drummer. Whether it’s sleeping, eating, sleeping, walking, talking, sleeping, she just goes at her own pace. We’re kind of hoping she nails the sleeping thing soon. That would actually be awesome! She is a walking yapping machine all day long. Such a busy little girl. She says the most adorable “Good bye” every time one of us leaves the house. She has found her place to be outside playing. Outside is where she loves to explore, play in the dirt, watch the leaves blow in the wind, and swing. She also loves, loves, loves her baths. As soon as you say, “Time for a bath” she is cruising down the hall trying to get her clothes off just to be the first one in. She is developing like a champ and is just an all around awesome little girl.

Laura and Autumn
Laura and Autumn goofing around

Laura continues to inspire and provide the best opportunities for our children. As many of you know being a parent is a very busy and rewarding job. She has done a great job to get the kids out to a park, zoo, or meet friends a couple times a week. She isn’t teaching a classroom of children like she use to do before Ethan was born, but she is teaching the two most important children in our life. Her creativity shines when teaching Ethan his ABCs, singing songs to Autumn, or providing the framework for the kids to explore and learn in a safe environment. There is no doubt of the importance to be at home with your children at such a young age and we’re happy she’s been able to be there every step of the way to guide, teach, and love our kids. Occasionally, she bakes some delicious cookies and cakes to give them the energy to carry on. The kids never complain about Mom’s baking. She also continues her love of reading, now at 28 books this year. I mention this because of the importance of reading, not just to your kids, but around your kids. This wonderful activity has rubbed off on both kids.

Ethan and Dad
Ethan and Dad hiking

I’m enjoying my life as a husband and father. New experiences have always been a driving force in developing Laura and my relationship. We continue that today as we find new opportunities for us and the kids to explore and learn a bit about ourselves and the world at large. The kids provide me opportunities to look at life in ways I hadn’t thought of. They challenge me to understand and teach them “How Things Work” and if I don’t know the answer, I continue to fine tune my storytelling skills. My FEMA job is going well and I truly do look forward to work every single day. I’ve traveled to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Alabama, and Illinois this past year with a busy summer planned.

Speaking about traveling, the Holt family will be hitting the road this summer for two weeks! We’re visiting some of America’s most beautiful national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier. We’ll also camp in northeastern Oregon at Wallowa Lake. It will be filled with 9 days of camping, a few nights in hotels (with a swimming pool for the kids, of course), and a couple nights with Laura’s cousin Scottie and his family. We’ve been teaching Ethan about the places we’re going to visit by reading books and watching National Geographic DVDs about the parks. He’s pretty excited about the trip and is already prepared with his hiking backpack, binoculars, compass, and magnifying glass. A month or so ago, we did a trial run to see if Autumn will sleep in the tent. Success! The entire family had a great night of backyard camping. I believe we’re ready to hit the road!

I’ve been super busy lately with updating our family website at www.brettandlaura.com. If you haven’t visited lately then stop on by. I continue to challenge myself to make the website appealing, functional, and relevant. Along with Laura’s awesome scrapbooks, we see the website as a way to capture, reflect, archive, and share our life with others and provide the kids a written and photographic history of their lives. I’ve added some nice mapping and photo sharing features to help highlight where we visit.

One feature I want to highlight is the ability to subscribe by email to our postings. We post about our family activities and photos every week or two. You may use a RSS feed (e.g., Google Reader) to receive the posts but I know many of you just stick to good ‘ol email. You’ll find a place subscribe to posts via email on the bottom right side of the site where is says “Follow Us”.

Have a terrific summer everyone!