Happy 13th Birthday Chloe!

Dear Chloe,

Happy 13th birthday sweetie pie!

Wow, a teenager!  Who would have thought we would have made it this far, especially after this insane year of 2020 we had to put up with.

We really didn’t go anywhere or do anything because of the whole corona nonsense. You did manage to go to Bible camp in South Dakota though and  you were pretty happy about it. Also I guess I should mention you joined the church teens which has been a bit different.  I am sure it will get better for you as you get more used to the group of teens there.

One thing you did do was redo your bedroom. You even painted, not bad for the first time. You also drove Lumpy for the first time at church. That was fun, can’t wait to do more of that… actually not really that kinda scares me!

You did manage to learn some new stuff on piano. You can now play the first part of Fur Elise, a portion of Linus and Lucy and a smaller portion of that stupid Mariah song.  I won’t mention what you’re working on now for this year, but I will tell you you will continue to do well if you put the time in to practicing.  Someday you’ll look back and wish you would have spent more time doing that.

Since you’re in the seventh grade, your school work has gotten a bit more challenging.  I do enjoy helping you with math, however you need to understand that there are multiple ways to get to the right answer as well as ways to check to ensure the answer is right.  Always remember to show your work, its easier to learn that way!

We’re quite proud of you Chloe, and we love you so much. 

Happy Thirteenth Birthday Chloe,

Love Dad, Mom, Sam

And others too!

Happy 9th Birthday Samuel!

Dear Samuel,

Happy 9th Birthday Samwich!

Well, this year has been something!  You just started the fourth grade and we’ll see how long that lasts with the covid-19 restrictions.

We haven’t really been able to get to do much of anything this year because of the covid lockdowns.

You’re two front teeth finally came in, albeit they are kinda weird.  Don’t worry, we’ll get braces someday for that. Hey don’t worry I didn’t get braces till I was like 15.

I did feel bad for you that the Derecho we had destroyed the trampoline.  Thankfully you still have the pool, although it has been tough to keep clean this year.ock.

I still owe you Great Wolf Lodge from a few patches ago.  I don’t know when that will happen now with the pandemic stuff happening.  I was hoping I could “buy” you out of it with buying you something.  I’ll keep working on that one.

You do like playing games, computer, phone, board, card, whatever.  You like them all. You have taken a big liking to Risk which has been exciting for me.  I haven’t enjoyed playing Risk since I was a teen, so I am hoping we can keep that going.

Keep up the good work, and don’t be scared to try new things!

We are very proud of you Sam!

Happy Eighth Birthday Samuel, we all love you very much!

Love Dad, Mom, Chloe

and a bunch of other people too!

Happy 12th Chloe!

Dear Chloe,

Happy 12th birthday sweetie pie!

Congrats on your dozenth time around the sun! Sixth grade and you’re doing well. This time last year, you were not liking fifth grade a whole lot. But where did this last year go?

Well, you might recall you started out by getting sick after your birthday.  I don’t recall what you had but it seemed it stuck with you for about two months.  We even went to Minnesota during that blizzard, which was a great time for you and Sam but no so much for me and mom!

You did a pretty good job doing some train spotting for me when the Big Boy UP 4014 came through Boone.  You did some picture taking as well when we went to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train again this year in Mason City.  It was a bit neater because it was darker when we saw it, but the magic wasn’t the same this year because, well, you and Sam didn’t seem to be into as much.  Maybe it was because it was cold, maybe it was because we had to hustle back.  It might have been also because they brought the train in backwards (so the engine wasn’t lit up).  We’ll see if next year is better.

You are still a leader in Patch, and this year you had the Sailor Scripture down in the first month.  I think you had it down on week one, but I think you wanted to make sure before you tried.  Nothing wrong with that, however sadly this will be your last year in Patch.

We didn’t do a lot of traveling, mostly because that blizzard early kind of soured us on things.  Hopefully this year we can take a small trip someplace.

Keep working on the piano and all the crafty stuff you make!  You really do like making holiday themed crafted items.

We’re quite proud of you Chloe, and we love you so much. 

Happy Twelfth Birthday Chloe,

Love Dad, Mom, Sam

And others too!

Happy 8th Birthday Samuel!

Dear Samuel,

Happy 8th birthday bud!

Happy Friday the 13th! I believe this is the first time your birthday has been on a Friday. Don’t believe the hype around this though, you’ll find that it is more of a fun thing than a “scary/unlucky” thing.

And since it is a Friday, that would put you in school today at Franklin Elementary in Mrs. Bakers third grade class. After school, you have plans to go to a nerf war at Marcus’s church. That should be fun!

We didn’t do much for traveling this year, but the one trip we did go on was quite memorable. You thoroughly enjoyed being stranded in Minnesota during a blizzard as you got to go the Mall of America a couple times during this period. You rode a bunch of rides with uncle Tyler, but your favorite by far was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock.

I still owe you Great Wolf Lodge since you managed to get your sailor scripture down in Patch. Not only that, you were the only boy to memorize it too! Speaking of Patch, it kicked off again and you are off to a solid start to the new sailor scripture. This year it is Psalms 51:1-17, keep working on it!

You’re still into geography and everything theme park related as those are your favorite videos to watch. You have recently grown fond of Shot of the Yeagers or SOTY. You have even gotten them to respond to some of your comments as well.

You lost some more teeth and currently you’re still waiting for your two front teeth to come in. Since you didn’t get them for your birthday, perhaps you’ll get them for Christmas (ha ha).

You did enjoy your swimming pool that Nana and Papi got you last year for your birthday. You were quite tan as you spent a lot of time out there. You also took a bit of interest in helping me some with smoking and grilling. We’ll work on developing that.

Keep up the good work, and don’t be scared to try new things!

We are very proud of you Samwich!

Happy Eighth Birthday Samuel, we all love you very much!

Love Dad, Mom, Chloe

and a bunch of other people too!

Happy 11th Birthday Chloe!

Dear Chloe,

Happy 11th birthday sweetie pie!

What a year this has been for you! Today, you’ll be going to 5th grade which you have gotten more comfortable with over these last few months.  At the beginning, the middle school and 5th grade was hard. To the point that you went from loving school to hating it. It was tough, you were split up from your friends, there were “upper classmen,” new challenges and responsibilities.  It was a lot.

Before the school year started, you were signed up for band.  Something that you changed your mind about, wanting to focus on piano and maybe sports.  It was a little sad that you had a change of heart over this, but I think it was for the wisest of decisions.

A bunch of neat things happened this year for you and us! First, we made the trip to see the Reds beat the Royals in Kansas City. In extra Innings no doubt! If you recall, I was a bit negative about it.  The two worst teams in the league fighting for second to last place.  But you were positive and said the Reds would win. In fact, I think you even called one of the two grand slams the Reds did!  Sure enough, they did win in a very exciting fashion!

And what is a stay in Kansas City without Sleep Inn and Waffle House?

Then a few months later we went to Holiday Inn in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Both you and Sam enjoyed that water park. I think you enjoyed playing with Lois at the park we met some church friends at as well. I do know that you enjoyed the Original Pancake House, going as far as to say their hash browns were better than Waffle House’s!

While up there, we managed to spend a day at the Mall of America and even meet up with your favorite Minnesota cousin L L Cool Ray. Speaking of Minnesota, we returned a few months later to get pictures of the Canadian Pacific Holiday train. It was a fun and neat trip, even if it was just a quick event.

One of the things, I know we are very proud of is you have become a bit of a leader in Patch club and was first (technically tied but I’m giving you the edge because…) as getting the Sailor Scripture down. I think you even had it a week or two before it was official (that reason…) but none the less we are proud. Of course, because you did this, we owe you Great Wolf Lodge. Still waiting on Sam…

Something you realized this year is that there is an end to everything. This was ever so evident on Good Friday when we put our friend Gary the Bengal down. It was a very sad event, and it is getting to me know typing this up. I am sorry we had to do this, and in some ways, I am sorry you and Sam witnessed it.

On a more positive note, something you discovered this year was Starbucks, which you tend to get your favorite drink, a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. It must be a hot drink, as you did not like the cold version.

As I close here, you may have noticed that this one is a bit longer than those of the past.  That is partly due to me still not finding your 10-year-old one. Hopefully, no future ones go missing either!

We’re proud of you and know you’ll do great things this year!

Happy Eleventh Birthday Chloe, we all love you very much!

Love Dad, Mom, Samuel.

And a bunch of other people too!

Happy 7th Birthday Samuel!

Dear Samuel,

Happy 7th birthday bud!

Today you are in Second Grade at Franklin Elementary. Hopefully those small cupcakes we bought from HyVee and sent with you are a win with your class!

This last year went fast for you and us!  You spent a lot of time on the trampoline, riding your bike, watching any and every video about Minecraft, the Mall of America, and Disney World/Land.

This year you went to your first Major League Baseball game.  Remember, in Kansas City?  We of course stayed at your favorite (Sleep Inn) and of course we ate at Waffle House.  But even better yet, the Reds beat the Royals in a two grand slam game! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Chloe called it (that they would win). That game was hot though!

Then, for fun we managed to go to the Twin Cities for a small little vacation.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Maple Grove. You liked it because of the water park. You also met some new church friends up there at the other park and played for hours with them. Of course nothing compared to going to the Original Pancake House, followed up by your favorite… the Mall of America. Since we took you there and you rode rides (to sorta pay you for Adventureland we promised that didn’t happen), you are now all about theme parks and their rides.

Patch started again at church and you’re doing OK at it, you don’t know the Sailor Scripture yet, but I’m sure you’ll hammer it out soon! It was quite impressive last year during patch that you were the only boy who memorized it.  Just for reference it was Philippians 2:1-11.

You also started playing piano this year!  We are hoping that you continue with this, right now the “newness” has worn off and you are treating it as a chore.  We’ll keep working on that.

Something of note as well, you lost your first tooth!  It became “wiggly” sometime at the end of school for you.  You ended up pulling it yourself and bringing it to me!  Then in the summer you were playing with your friend Ryder, and he lost a tooth too!

We are both proud that you read very well and how much you have accomplished in this past year. We hope you continue to learn and grow till your next birthday!

We are very proud of you Samwich!

Happy Seventh Birthday Samuel, we all love you very much!

Love Dad, Mom, Chloe, Gary.

and a bunch of other people too!

Happy 6th Birthday Samuel!

Dear Samuel,

Happy 6th birthday bud!

Today you are in First Grade and probably enjoying some of the cupcakes mom sent with you.

This was big year for you, as you finally learned to ride your bike without training wheels! Now you’re zoom up and down the street, sidewalk, driveway, and anywhere else you can ride.

We promised that if you could ride your bike we’d go to Sleep Inn and Adventureland.  Sadly, we couldn’t do Adventureland because Dad had surgery, but remember Sleep Inn?

It was during the Solar Eclipse! It rained all morning and we got a break in the rain so we could see the start of it. Unfortunately, it was cloudy during the actual totality (when it got dark), but it was neat to watch it on a gravel road in Missouri! As if that wasn’t fun enough, we also had Waffle House!

Right before school started we took a trip to the Zoo, that was fun!  Remember the giraffe feeding?

Like last year, we went to an Iowa Hawkeye football game in Iowa City and road the Hawkeye Express again! This time you got to show I in the I-O-W-A chant!

At church, you started patch club and are starting to memorize verses for that. I know you have lapsed some on the verses you have learned, but that is mostly Mom and Dad’s fault for not keeping you up with that. We’ll work on that!

We are both proud that you read very well and how much you have accomplished in this past year. We hope you continue to learn and grow till your next birthday!

We are very proud of you Samwich!

Happy Sixth Birthday Samuel, we all love you very much!

Love Dad, Mom, Chloe, Gary.

and a bunch of other people too!

Happy 9th Birthday Chloe!

Dear Chloe,

Happy Birthday! I will admit, I was a bit late in getting this up, mostly because we had to go to church, Mima’s and Nana’s to celebrate your birthday! It is hard to imagine that ten years ago this time, we still had no idea we’d be expecting you nine years ago this time.

You’re in Mrs Dighton’s third grade class at Franklin school this year, with quite a few of your friends. Unfortunately this will be your last year in Boone since my new job will move us to Grinnell or somewhere in that area.  Just yesterday, you had your first sleep over which was pretty exciting for you!

I have no doubt, it will be tough for you to move away from  your friends. However with your personality, I know you will make new friends and thankfully with technology, you can keep in touch with friends from here in Boone!

I turned you into a hockey fan this year!  Remember that Iowa Wild game where we sat up by the glass? It was fun, it was also fun afterwards we were going to look at the Jolly Holiday lights but it was super cold. So instead we went to A&W where you and Sam had root beer in a frosty mug.

Or how about that trip to Adventureland. Boy was that hot! Next year will be more fun!

You have continued playing the piano and you are improving. However I feel that you can be a lot better than you are if you just practice some more.

You’ve also become a bit more reliable and independent. You do things like helping out, getting dressed, taking showers, taking care of messes, getting ready in the morning all on your own. You even helped mom pick out some clothes to buy with her birthday money.

You did try to start mowing, but the grass was really tall and I had to help you a bit.

Both Sam and you are still in patch club. You have learned the sailor scripture which made both of us very proud of you.

Even though this is your last single digit year, we want you to remember that we are proud of you and we love you very much! Don’t stop learning, don’t stop doing!

Happy Birthday Chloe, we love you very much!

Daddy, Mommy, Samwich, Gary…

Happy 5th Birthday Samuel!

Dear Samuel,

Happy 5th birthday buddy! Just like last year, you made sure to let everyone know that your birthday was coming and it is on September 13th!

Today, you are in Kindergarten!  Right now, you are in Kindergarten, possibly getting your picture taken as it is picture day. Last night, you showed us what you did at school. It was “red” day so you colored a bunch of things that were red and drew some things that were red.

I don’t think I need to remind you about Adventureland, you keep reminding us!  You seem to be the expert about all things Adventureland while only having visited once! Nevertheless, you and Chloe had a great time that day at Adventureland despite it being really hot and really, really busy.

How about that Hawkeye game you went to?  Dad went with you to see the Hawkeyes with your cousins David, Rachel, Daniel, Matt, and Joey.  Uncle Gene was there too! The Hawk’s won too! You had a great time doing the gesture and shouting “A” in the I-O-W-A chant!

You did work on riding your bike this year, but you didn’t quite get the hang of it.  That’s ok, there is this year.  But you have done really well with your Bible verses.  You have almost 30 memorized not including Psalms 23! This makes both Mom and Dad proud of you!

Last year, you made Dad really proud by being a “computer worker” for job day in preschool! You like to help Mom when she makes chocolate chip muffins, and she loves it when you help too! You also do a pretty good job by carrying the dirty laundry downstairs, taking the recycling items outside, picking up sticks in the yard, and by putting the silverware away.

You love playing outside, either jumping on the trampoline, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, or swinging on the swing set… especially since you can do that by your self now! You especially like bonfires with hot dogs.

You have made some new friends. Lily, who you went to school with. Calvin, who lives next door. Pete, the dog who lives down the street. Of course you’re still good pals with Gary the Bengal and Chloe as well!

We hope you continue to grow and learn this coming year.  We are very proud of you Samwich!


Happy Fifth Birthday Samuel, we all love you very much!

Love Dad, Mom, Chloe, Gary.

and a bunch of other people too!