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16 June 2013


Posted by Jenny Hoelter | File under Holidays, Milestones

Bellies full of pancakes and bacon, a new Lego kit and Dad on the living room floor=happiness at our house!20130616-083804.jpg

A look back to where it began–


And some other favorites–





20 January 2013


Posted by Peter Hoelter | File under Milestones, Owen

Ten years.

It’s hard to believe Owen has been running/crawling/hugging his way around this world for that long. I suppose when you look back on it quite a lot has happened in the last decade. But to have this kid turn double-digits, that’s pretty darn cool.

We needed to celebrate, big time. First on the list—take four of his closest friends (and little siblings) to Wings and Waves, the only water park with 747 on top of it.

We all had a great time, with very short lines, NFL games on the giant screen, and four hours of swimming, interrupted only by five orders of french frys and an order of cheesy nachos. Awesome.

Next up was pizza at a local joint in McMinnville, where arcade and pinball games were played, pizza devoured, and gifts opened.


In the end, I’m not sure what was more fun: the water park or the 40 minute car ride home with the buddies in dense fog. The laughter from the back of car (not to mention the pre-teen but clearly getting older jokes) brought a smile to my face the entire drive back.

That ended Day One. Whew.

Day Two (the actual birthday) was much more calm, with just the family hanging out at home, opening gifts and playing games.

The day ended with a nice birthday dinner with dear friends and a candle in an apple turnover.

Happy birthday, Owen. We’re proud of you…


7 October 2012

Double Your Pleasure

Posted by Peter Hoelter | File under Activities, Kids, Milestones

For the first time ever we had two kids running in the school’s annual Fun Run. The weather was unusually perfect, as this year Summer has (thankfully) decided to hang on well into October.

This year Sara got to participate for the very first time, and her class kicked-off the morning’s events. As you would expect, she was a fierce competitor, and managed 13 laps around the playground – pretty good for a Kindergartener!

Owen, always a big fan of the Fun Run, managed one more lap than Sara, and just as many smiles.

He even had his biggest fan out on the field cheering for him, though to keep everyone honest Mom wasn’t recording Owen’s laps. High-fives, however, were allowed.

And what about Drew? Well, he still has two years before it’s his turn. However, he insisted on being photographed at the event.


11 September 2012

First Days of School

Posted by Peter Hoelter | File under Kids, Milestones

There were not one but three first days of school for us this year. Owen was first, with his 4th grade year looking very similar to his 3rd grade (he has the same teacher, who we think is awesome).

Next up was Drew, taking the place of Sara at Montessori (and assuming all of her boy friends).

Finally, a week after her open house, Sara began Kindergarten today, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

With all three now in school, we attempted to get one group shot … as you can see we were moderately successful.

All in all, everyone is happy to be back in school. Our summer was incredible (we still owe this blog a summer wrap-up post), but we welcome the predictability and rhythm the school year schedule brings.

Happy school year, everybody!

30 March 2012

Drew Turned Three

Posted by Peter Hoelter | File under Drew, Milestones

Before too much time passes, here are just a few photos from Drew’s 3rd birthday…

And just to prove he’s still our little boy, here he is, enjoying a little, um, freedom (click on the image for a view of the full moon)…

Happy Birthday, Drew!

13 September 2011

Summer Ends and School Begins

Posted by Peter Hoelter | File under Kids, Milestones

Last week was First Day of School week.

Drew was up first, heading off to his very first day of school with his Mom-made lunch bag.

He was so proud. And cute.

While Drew was at school, I took the big kids to the coast for our annual back-to-school beach trip. It was 95° with blazing sun back home, but on the coast we had 59° and fog.

(The ocean is somewhere in the fog behind these two ninjas)

We did, however, find sun a bit further north.

The next day it was Sara and Owen’s turn. Sara wasn’t much into the photo shoot.

Owen is getting too tall for our standard front-porch portrait. Perhaps next year I’ll bring out a step stool.

We did get a few shots of all three of them, but I think the little ones put on their Daddy-wants-me-to-smile-so-I’m-going-to-smile smiles.

All had a great first week, including Mom and Dad who are glad to be back in the school routine.

2 July 2011

Carson Walter

Posted by Jenny Hoelter | File under Hoelters, Milestones

We helped to celebrate cousin Carson’s baptism last Sunday! The kids were uncharacteristically cooperative with the camera, and Peter took some great pictures of these 5 cousins.

No babies were dropped, I promise!

27 March 2011

Andrew turns two (about a week ago)

Posted by Jenny Hoelter | File under Drew, Milestones

It’s a little hard to believe that my youngest child is two years old.

He talks. “MEEEEE!” with an emphatic point to chest and foot stomp either means “I’ll do it myself” or “I WANT THAT!!!.

He walks. All the way to the park today, stomping in puddles in his new red boots.

He has opinions. One monkey sock and one train sock were worn to sunday school today.

He plays. More and more, he is Sara’s companion, “cooking” for the “babies” today, though there was screeching because Sara wouldn’t let him touch the pretend stove because “it’s too hot”.

And he still fits (just right!) in my lap with his blankie. Thank goodness for that.

Here are some scenes from his birthday (just before we left on our big spring break trip…)

If it has candles, it counts as cake!

A dolphin “pillow-pet” from Owen and Sara.

Present-opening assistance from Sis.

We love you, Drew.

16 January 2011

8 is Great!

Posted by Jenny Hoelter | File under Milestones, Owen

Owen’s Birthday was duly celebrated!

We started with a birthday dinner of steak, potatoes and peas, as requested, with ketchup on top. Grandparents were present, making it a “real celebration”. (No, Miriam and I aren’t cleaning off the kids plates…)

Then we really had a party: picture 9 7-8 year olds, a computer running Photobooth and 1/2 of a package of photo paper worth of goofy pictures. We appealed to the inherent hamminess of the age, and I think they had a good time. They took over 600 pictures of themselves and we turned some of them into buttons (Thanks Chemeketa!!) and Peter make a video (see below). We also had cake, opened presents and had a scavenger hunt. And then we still had another hour to go. 2 hours is a very long time when one is shepherding 9 8-year-olds. Luckily they still like to play “Simon Says”, and Cranium Hullaballoo filled in a few minutes.

Owen had a good time, but I think he found it a little overwhelming as well, and has retreated to his books–Chronicles of Narnia this week. Oh, to be able to read children’s fiction for hours and hours!!

12 September 2010

First Day!

Posted by Jenny Hoelter | File under Milestones, Owen, Sara

We are back to school too!

Owen started 2nd Grade last Wednesday where he’s gone for K and 1st grade. He knows most of the kids in his class and seems to have fallen into the routine pretty quickly. He gives thumbs up to chocolate milk for lunch and being able to bring his own book for “free reading”. He chose a book of Calvin and Hobbs comics and is learning about sarcasm.

We are SO big!

Sara started preschool last Thursday and has her second day tomorrow (she goes M, T, Th). She did great and had a good day, despite a really short nap. She has been squealing about going to school ALL summer long, and it’s fun to see her finally reach this point. I absolutely love this picture of her! Peter captured her smile and that hint of big-girlness that we see more and more of.