We wish you an outstanding 2016!

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!

We wish you a very happy holiday season! 2015 has been a wonderful year for all of us. As the tradition goes for us, we’re emailing our annual e-holiday card and providing a rundown of the highlights!

As a family, we had a few great trips this year. We had our first family backpacking trip last August. We hiked 7 miles round trip to a wonderful spot on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. We’re already planning our 2016 trip which will be 2-3 nights somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. We took our second visit to Washington, DC in October. We had the opportunity to visit Mt Vernon, Washington Monument, and the many Smithsonians. In early June, we joined Laura’s family in Sunriver, Oregon for a nice time relaxing and floating down the Deschutes River. Eastern Oregon is a beautiful place to visit!

Ethan is 8 years old and in third grade. He has a pretty good nack for math. At home you’ll catch him playing Legos, reading books, creating new tricks on his bike, or enjoying a good Lego or Star Wars show. He loves Tae Kwon Do. He has been training almost 2 years and just earned his blue belt. Ethan also continues to play the piano and doing very well. Brett’s plot to start a family band is all working out.

Autumn is 5 years old and in kindergarten. She loves her teacher and she is full of stories from school each evening at the dinner table. She performed in her dance school’s Nutcracker performance. She loved being in the performance as a Bon Bon. She is now on her 3rd year of dance. She started to teach herself piano in the past few months. While this is great for her, Brett would prefer her to play guitar as it fits better with the family band.

Laura started working in the classroom again. After taking a break from teaching to be at home with the kids, she is now substitute teaching in the Edmonds School District. She loves the opportunity to teach again. In her free time (ha ha…what’s that?), she continues to excel at baking and working around the kitchen. She succeeded in doing her own canning this year with tomatoes from our garden.

Brett is loving life at FEMA. He had the opportunity to work in Washington, DC for 7 weeks helping to implement FEMA’s SharePoint Program Management Office. In addition, he stayed busy this past fall helping the state of Washington recover from this year’s wildfires. At home, projects consume his time as our house is always in need of repairs or updating.

Thanks for being part of our life. Have an outstanding 2016!

Brett, Laura, Ethan, and Autumn Holt

Happy Holidays from The Holts

2013 Holiday Card
Happy Holiday from The Holts

Dear Family and Friends,

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We hope your year has been full of successes, but a few challenges just to keep you on your toes.

2013 has been good to us. It’s been a year of opportunity and new experiences. We are all in good health, full of happiness, and loving life in the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading Happy Holidays from The Holts

Ethan’s 1st Backpacking Trip [Video]

Barclay Lake
Barclay Lake

I took Ethan on his first backpacking trip this week. It was a 2-day 1-night trip to Barclay Lake. It was the perfect introduction as it was only 4.2 miles round trip and a few hundred feet elevation gain. The weather was perfect, conversation delightful, and experience memorable. I look forward to our next father-son backpacking trip. Continue reading Ethan’s 1st Backpacking Trip [Video]

1st Time Homeowners

Home Sweet Home! We are standing in our future garden spot.
Home Sweet Home! We are standing on our future garden spot.

We’ll close on our first house next week. We’re full of excitement and stress, of course, as we enter the world of home ownership. Having lived in a rental homes for years and taking extremely good care of them we know it takes a lot to maintain a home. It’s just now we can’t call up our awesome landlords when something breaks. Continue reading 1st Time Homeowners


Brett's front drumhead
Brett’s front drumhead

I pulled my bass drum away from the wall this evening to see what my son had done. He had added own sticker to my collection. He had stuck his Cars sticker from the dentist over a sheriff sticker I’ve had. My BKG sticker that use to fill the blank spot in the middle was no longer there. One of my kids must of pulled that off at some time. It wasn’t a big deal that this happened. Continue reading Stickers

2012 in Review by Numbers and Pictures

Autumn 2012

We thought we’d present a review of 2012 through numbers and photos that tell part of the story. It was an exciting year for all of us as we had two great road trips to California and enjoyed all the new experiences of having a kindergartner. We hope you’ve had a terrific 2012 and 2013 is full of new opportunities!

The Numbers

  • 16,344 miles driven last year (mostly Laura)
  • 3,483 photos taken (and kept)
  • 76 books read by Laura
  • 63 pages scrapbooked by Laura
  • 54 nights away from home for work (Brett)
  • 52 nights away from home for the entire or partial family (non-work)
  • 31 posts on this website
  • 28 nights of hosting family and friends at our house
  • 16 gymnastic lessons
  • 9 years of marriage
  • 8 years of owning www.brettandlaura.com
  • 7 nights camping outdoors
  • 7 live concerts (Van Halen, Flogging Molly, Steve Earle & Los Lobos, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Folk Life Festival, Caspar Babypants, Recess Monkey, Youth Rescue Mission)
  • 5 visits to the Pacific Science Center
  • 3 books read by Brett
  • 3 IMAX movies
  • 2 National Parks visited by family (Lassen Volcanic and Mt. Rainier)
  • 2 pairs of prescription glasses purchased
  • 2 visits to California
  • 1 new nephew
  • 1 new kindergartner Continue reading 2012 in Review by Numbers and Pictures

Honorable Mention in the 2012 Washington Trails Northwest Exposure Photo Contest

coverAfter entering our family photo in the 2012 Washington Trail Northwest Exposure Photo Contest last October, we were excited to hear that our photo of Laura and Ethan hiking on Boardman Trail was selected as honorable mention.

There were 13 winning selections and 10 honorable mentions and editor’s picks. You can view all the selected photos in the January 2013 Washington Trails Magazine or on the Washington Trail Association site. More of our outdoor hiking and camping adventures can be found over here on our site. We look forward to an outstanding year of new and old hikes.

Thanks to the Washington Trails Association for the excellent work they provide to our State, natural environment, and us.

Boardman Trail
Laura and Ethan hike up to Boardman Lake

Continue reading Honorable Mention in the 2012 Washington Trails Northwest Exposure Photo Contest

Thanks for Everything Grandma!

Hanging out with my Grandma (September 28, 2012)

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.  ~Marcy DeMaree

My Grandma died this evening. She was 87 years old and lived a full life. I know that she loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren with all her heart and we loved her. She worked hard and loved life.

Grandma and Grandpa at Big Bear (1998)

She was born in 1925 in  Hawthorne, California, married my Grandpa in 1943 in South Gate, California, and together the two of them had three children (Uncle Raymond, my mom, and Uncle Ken). My Grandparents lived around the United States and traveled the world instilling the sense of traveling on their children.

My Grandma’s death is sad, not just because of her passing, but because she was the last of my grandparents to die. I’m out. 4 for 4. My dad’s parents died in 1982/1983 and I don’t have many memories of them. My Grandpa (Mom’s Dad) passed away in 2003 and between the two of them I have most of my memories. Actually, when I think of all the times with Grandma and Grandpa it’s difficult to think of one without the other. Continue reading Thanks for Everything Grandma!

A Perfect Day for 38 Years

Ethan splashes in the ocean

It was my 38th birthday last Friday and we kicked it off with donuts. Donuts and special events go hand in hand in this family. Actually, donuts seem to go well with anything in our family. I even brought in a dozen to work Friday morning to celebrate my birthday. Our Branch has a practice of staff bringing in treats when something good happens. Another great reason my work is awesome! Continue reading A Perfect Day for 38 Years

Day 19: Welcome Back Home!

Day 19: Lassen Volcanic National Park to Seattle, WA | Total Drive Time: 13 hours | Total Distance: 700 miles

I’ll be the first to admit that it was an insane drive home. But after being on the road for 19 days and over 3,000 miles there is an urge to return back home when you’re already heading that way. It was a long drive, but we pulled into our drive way around 9pm and to the first trickle of rain we had experienced since leaving.

The 19 days on the road were awesome! We explored wonderful parts of California. Enjoyed countless hours with my mom, brother Mark and brother Mike and his family, as well as many friends along the way. We showed our children some of our life before they were part of it. There were many memories made that will be talked about for years. Continue reading Day 19: Welcome Back Home!

Days 17, 18: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Days 17, 18: Lassen Volcanic National Park | Total Drive Time: 7 hours | Total Distance: 375 miles

Lassen Volcanic National Park

We’re back ‘home’! We called this wonderful area home from 2002 to 2004 when we lived at the park headquarters in Mineral. I worked for the Park as a wildland firefighter and Laura taught at the local elementary schools. Since 2004 we visited once in late 2005 and hadn’t been back since.

We were excited to bring our kids to this wonderful National Park. It’s a hidden gem in the National Park System, and we like it that way. Less crowds means more opportunity to explore the park in solitude. Continue reading Days 17, 18: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Days 14, 15, 16: Family Camping at South Lake Tahoe

Days 14, 15, 16: San Jose to South Lake Tahoe | Total Drive Time: 4 hours | Total Distance: 190 miles

Holt Family 2012 Camping Trip

The last time the Holt brothers camped together was May 2006. There were no kids at the time and we spent Memorial Day weekend at Yosemite National Park. This trip had the addition of four children, which always kept us on our toes.

Our short three days at South Lake Tahoe’s Camp Richardson were filled with family time, s’mores, bike riding, beach time, fishing, watching bats in the evening, riding the trolley, and lots of imaginary play around the campground. Continue reading Days 14, 15, 16: Family Camping at South Lake Tahoe

Days 12, 13: Birthday Celebrations in San Jose

Days 12, 13: San Jose, CA | Total Drive Time: 0 hours | Total Distance: 0 miles

Ethan celebrates!

Our couple days in San Jose were spent celebrating birthdays and relaxing.

Ethan celebrated his 5th Birthday and Laura her 33rd Birthday with my family. We BBQ’d, swam, ate cake and finished off with the pinata. To Ethan’s surprise he received his first bicycle and loved it! All the kids rode their bikes before the evening was over. Continue reading Days 12, 13: Birthday Celebrations in San Jose