My mom made another fantastic set of costumes for these lucky kids. Liv enjoyed a moment of fame when hers was featured on the online version of the local paper.

Thanks, Gramma!

First days (several months later)

Well, this is a bit awkward, but I might as well start somewhere…

The kids had three separate first days of school (which meant pancakes on three separate weekdays and therefore not nearly enough sleep).

Owen started kindergarten, which is still going remarkably well, thankfully. He was so happy to have his sweet preschool friend Reese in his class. (“We’re going to be married,” he said. “How do you know?” I asked. “Because she says so.”)

Our long suffering middle child had her fourth grade photos interrupted by a photobomber. This will go down in our permanent records.

Ava Kate ever so cooly headed off to seventh grade. She still lives at home, though we really only see her at dinner (and at the 7:20 am carpool departure).

If there’s a benefit to reporting this event several weeks late, it’s that I can tell you everyone is doing well!


It’s a big summer for Owen – he turned five in July (celebrating with a celebration at the cabin, a gathering of friends at home and a party with his Smith cousins), and in a few days he will start Kindergarten. 

We love this rambunctious, impulsive and funny little guy so much. He’s recently taken to combing his hair perfectly after his bath…”just like Liam,” our third-grade neighbor. (Owen calls the style a “mohawk,” though he actually looks rather conservative—sort of like a small, naked investment banker.)

Owen tells me that he has a girlfriend at preschool: Reese. “We are going to be married,” he says. “How do you know?” I asked. “Because she said so!” (Seems about right…) As luck would have it, Reese and Owen will be in the same class. 

Owen loves playing outside, hassling the dog and ignoring any and all household rules. He can’t wait to start his new school, though I think he’s going to miss his friends more than he realizes. 

Happy birthday, Bry!

Bryan celebrated 39 a few weeks ago with the traditional breakfast sandwich and hugs from the kids (at least the ones we had in Kansas). His parents came town, too. 

June must just be the best month for Bryan. His birthday, Father’s Day, and–his favorite–our anniversary all fall within about two weeks. This year, we got him what he has always wanted: Nothing. Literally! No gifts. Not even a bottle of bourbon. (This took tremendous restraint on my part.)

The kids did make him some pretty sweet cards, and we put together a little collection at the 39 things we love about him most (Owen’s entries all mentioned Legos…). But otherwise, we abided by his request (this year only). 

I love this guy. 

PS – That’s not our baby. That’s Phoebe, our perfect niece. Bry looks so handsome here, though, doesn’t he?

PPS – Phoebe makes Bryan think we should have another baby, but he’s clearly too old. 

Owen Fix 

Every 20 minutes, Owen asks, “How many days until my birthday?”

We finally decided to take a page from Gramma Great’s play book and create a paper chain. As of today, only nine links left!

Summer sessions 

Ava took part in the KU regional band camp a couple of weeks ago. She and her best friend stayed overnight in the KU dorms all week, participating in practices and classes during the day. She played first trumpet in the concert held in the Lied Center on Thursday afternoon. (All of this makes her mother so proud!)

Ava started summer with four days in Washington DC, and then spent a week in Nebraska for fashion camp. So, three weeks in a row away from home… she’s just beginning to reacclimate to parenting. (Just kidding. She’s fighting us tooth and nail and probably planning a semester abroad.)

The Tooth Fairy’s last first visit 

Our tooth fairy Ember Windwand (…what??) visited Owen for the first time Friday night! He was so excited to find dollar coins nestled in the pillow my mom made him, but he was less than thrilled by the copious amount of silver glitter left behind in his bed. And on his PJs. And in his hair. (Fairies are GLITTERY, kid. Deal with it.) 

Owen had our resident professional by his side the entire time. Olivia helped craft a super cute letter (which included a collection of four leaf clovers, of course). 

One more last “first” for our family…

Lucky Liv

Our yard has (or had…) an abundance of four leaf clovers this spring. Olivia has found them all. 

Loose tooth

Owen has his first loose tooth, and not a moment too soon…

Last day! 

Sixth grade and third grade came to a close last week, and summer set forth with a trip to Gramma’s house.