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This Week at the Brennans’

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mom holding baby at the beach
This is probably the best photo of Porter we got at the beach. He was skeptical of every part of the beach experience: the water, the sand, the wind, all of it.

We had fun with a Daddy at the beach!

Here’s what happened this past week:

Gordon flew in was able to come visit for a week! Considering the kids haven’t seen him for 2 1/2 months, I think this was a very good thing for all of us ๐Ÿ™‚ The first few days, we were able to hang out just as a family and have some fun.

One of the first things on Gordon’s to-do list was to sleep on the trampoline with the boys. They definitely got eaten alive by mosquitos but seemed to be well worth it (according to them, not me…haha!) We were also able to go to church in person here for the first time in five months. It was so nice even though we were all in masks with a very small congregation, well spaced apart. Not quite church like we once knew it, but still nice to be able to go and worship. Last I checked, they aren’t allowing church services in New York yet, so we felt really lucky that we got to go here in Gordon’s home town.

After a few days staying local, we got a vacation rental at the coast and headed out to be just our family. While we only stayed three days, it was much needed. Since all of our vacations were cancelled this year, we have been wondering when and where we’d be able to go on vacation and even though we decided on “just the coast”, it was just what we needed. A simple, easy, relaxing vacation. We’ve been there plenty of times and are familiar with the area. (Favorite restaurants, favorite beaches and things to do).

three kids posing on rocks
Eddie’s face in this photo cracks me up. Brooke has mastered that natural, beautiful smile though! And Blake is just happy to be there.

The wind really got us this year and definitely took Porter by surprise (his first time to any beach!) but of course it was windy! It’s the Oregon coast. He seemed to have a love-hate relationship with the sand. Haha! Also, being there into nap time really made for a cranky cranky baby. Sweet Porter loves and thrives off of his schedule and when we don’t follow it, it shows. He slept in my arms for about 20 minutes and was cranky the rest of the day. Oh well. We tried!

Gordon took the older three on a little excursion while I was dealing with a sleepy and cranky Porter. At the end of the beach in Oceanside, there is a cool rocky tunnel that connects one beach to another. So off they went and had a grand old time. Dad is the fun parent.

Our vacation rental was a dream. A huge home on lots of property with a game room, basketball hoop, swing set, pond, fire pit, hot tub and more! It was fabulous. A few of you have asked for the address of the property, but I’ll do you one better and give you the link to the vacation rental home. It was a great spot for our family and would highly recommend.

mom cooking breakfast with star wars mask on
Partying hard at the vacation rental!

As tradition goes, we had to stop at the Tillamook cheese factory on our way our of town and get some ice cream. I looked it up a few weeks prior and was so glad I did! We had to make reservations in advance for the tour. So, I made them and we showed up and all was well! It was like we had the whole place to ourselves. New York has taught me to hate crowds, so I was thrilled to see no one inside and…best part…no lines for ice cream either! I think Tillamook should do this all the time. It was so much more enjoyable.

Before Gordon went back to New York, we were able to sneak in a fun date night at a local restaurant with lovely outdoor seating. We haven’t had ANY time to go on dates since March because of the pandemic and, oh yeah, we currently live in different states. So, it was a really nice evening to just focus on each other and dream about our futures for ourselves and our kids. Do you do that? I LOVE thinking about the different what if’s in our future because it gives me something positive to work towards. Call it silly, but it’s what has propelled us forward these last few years in New York.

husband and wife selfie in a car

Speaking of New York, Gordon flew back to JFK and we WERE supposed to go back with him, but decided at the last minute to stay a little longer in Oregon. There is no reason for us to head back to NYC *quite yet*. None of our friends are back, many of them have left for good and current events are making us reevaluate our living situation. Since my husband is in law enforcement, he sees first hand just how much crime there is in the city. It used to be held at bay, but with the pandemic and other events, that crime is coming closer and closer to home (literally) and it’s making us reevaluate our priorities. Will keep you posted what we decide. Haha! Gotta love last minute decisions.

But until then, we will be blissfully enjoying our country living here in small town USA. We did decide to homeschool our kids this year which is a decision I thought I’d NEVER make, but handling three kids in three different schools with three different in-person school schedules plus the online learning was something I didn’t want to deal with. So, we’re just not dealing with it and trying our best to homeschool. Fingers crossed! Eek!ย  I’ll be eating my feelings and nervous laughing until September.

Here’s what is coming up this next week:

Not a whole lot?! I’m ordering all the homeschool materials and hoping its all going to be ok. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.

I’m hopefully going to head to Portland in the near future and get my kids some back to school clothes even though we’re technically not going to school anymore. So, that’s fun. Haha. My kids still grow and there are some great outlets nearby so you bet I’m heading there for all the deals I can find.

And, blog related: I’m going to be working on some back to school recipes. I have gotten all sorts of requests from school lunches to easy dinners to meal prepping to low carb. I can’t do it all, so I’m going to do my best to do what we do and hope you all do something similar.

three kids with ice cream
We love tillamook ice cream!
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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21 Responses
  1. Mari

    Love seeing posts about your adorable family! Iโ€™m doing the Abeka academy homeschooling program and itโ€™s been a sanity saver to say the least! ๐Ÿ˜†

  2. Carol

    I admire me to do this apart from Gordon but totally understand. I love to follow you and your experiences. Will you stay with your in laws? So nice if you can!! Stay well! You will do well with Home School!

  3. Donna

    I hope you can belong to to a spouce/partner group with those folks in your husbands LEA.Its really helpful for the family and support members.

  4. Susan Crawford

    Love that you got away to the beach. I have been to that exact tunnel, so fun. Oh and Tilimook ice cream…of course, got to! Your daughters smile is gorgeous! Glad you all got to be together again! Good luck With all your school adventures.

  5. Jordi

    Always love your updates. Here is something you should know. I thought of you today. I had a craving. No let me say I have a craving for pumpkin cheesecake. Your pumpkin cheesecake recipe is my favorite. Iโ€™m been holding off on this pumpkin spice nonsense but I just canโ€™t. Iโ€™m a fall girl and I donโ€™t care if it is 95 degrees here in Hershey PA Iโ€™m craving pumpkin. Canโ€™t wait for more posts and recipes.

  6. Shanna

    Massive respect to your husband for being in law enforcement. I donโ€™t blame you for reconsidering New York either! Portland has its own set of crazy going on right now, but at least we have the small towns and suburbs to escape to! ๐Ÿ™‚ My sister switched to homeschooling two years ago…thereโ€™s a learning curve but once you get it down, totally manageable. She went with abeka and seems happy with it ๐Ÿ‘ praying for you and your family!

  7. Autumn Wallace

    What a crazy year 2020 has been ! So glad Gordon could visit and you could get some much needed family time . We love tillamonk ice cream, and we live treating ourselves to their special small batches โค๏ธ

  8. Peggy

    You mentioned no church services in NY. I wonder if itโ€™s primarily NYC. We moved from Indiana to Buffalo in the fall… I know, what timing right? Especially since we are now officially empty nesters. Ok back to church… here in Western NY we have had in person services since mid June. Itโ€™s with masks, social distancing, and reduced capacity but still in person. It is really nice! We will keep Gordon (and you) in prayer as the life of a LEO is even more stressful these days. I hope you have a lovely week!

  9. Lynn Bocek

    Oh Lauren, give yourself a BIG pat on the back. I feel you are doing a brilliant job with your family considering the current situation in this country.
    Also, even though home schooling will be a challenge for sure, I know you will handle it.
    I so enjoy all your updates and admire both you and Gordon. You both are TERRIFIC .
    Bighugs to all. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  10. Gina B.

    So love you blogs. Happy to hear that Gordon could spend time with you and the family. The picture with you and Porter is so cute. Also, great picture of you and Gordon,. I envy you going to the beach. My family went to Cape Code. It was so hot that they were not able to go to the beach. They did however go to the ponds which had some shade. Because of the pandemic I could not go with them. I like the picture of you in the great kitchen and your mask and pajamas. I am sure it well be a challenge to home school the kids. But I think you can handle it. Best wishes for your future living situations. Take care and be safe.

  11. Mary T Morris

    I’m so glad you and your family got to spend time with Gordon. Praying for his safety. LEO’S don’t get the respect that they deserve anymore. It’s a little frightening, what’s going on in our nation right now. God bless you and your family!

  12. Cindy

    Oregon is a beautiful state and thanks to Gov. Tom McCall, back in the late 60โ€™s early 70โ€™s, our beaches are public. I am glad you have enjoyed your time here.

  13. Karen

    Beautiful family! Your week sounded so calm and normal! Glad you got to see your husband! Hopefully, it won’t be that long between visits again.

  14. Marcha Rawson

    We homeschool (always have). You may find that you love the freedom it gives you for travelling and spur of the moment plans. I love having my son for the best parts of his day: well rested and happy. Good luck!

  15. Trsttoriadoofus

    Precious Lauren and dear family. We are also Believers so my heart has been touched by your blogs. I have been paying very close attention to what is happening in New York. if I were your family, I would get out.. I thank your husband and you for the sacrifice of serving us as a law enforcement officer. My daughter has also chosen to homeschool her 3 children this year due to their Christian values and the unsettling situation of school atmosphere. Rich blessings to you as God leads you each step of the way in these dark times.

  16. Rebecca Layfield

    Hello sweet Lauren!! I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog!! I am a 59 yr old Mimi of three kiddos two daughter/son in loves, 5 grands and a husband/best friend that I have been blessed to be married to for 39 almost 40 yrs on Nov 26 !! I live in north east Alabama , nothing like country living, we have a small garden I love to can and preserve even though this year supplies have been like none, lol, thank God me and my daughter have learned to buy ahead so we are good. I love the Lord and know He is in control and will see us through every season. So that being said I just wanted to let you know I sooo enjoy and look forward to your post. You and your family are an encouragement and a joy to know!! I have and will be praying for yall every day~!! So excited for your new journey and where God is taking yall!! Thank you for your husband and his service and you too. Hope I didint bother you just wanted to share and say thanks. I have tried so many of your recipes and love all of them. God Bless you and your family!! Blessings from Bama!!!! Also I love that yall plan and dream so do me and my husband!! I believe there is a scripture in the word that says , basically if you do not have vision then we will fail!! I know that is not word for word. But I love this because it is great to plan and then see how God unfolds the plans He has for us when we let him order our footsteps!! So you go girl !! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Lorraine McGeough

    I enjoy reading about your family and you all have such a great time together. Thank you for your delicious recipes. I try them out on my 3 granddaughters and always gets a thumbs up. Sorry to hear that your hubby can’t be with you and the children but I understand the circumstances and he is watching out for his family. My son is a cop and it is a daily worry. Take care and let us know what you decide on moving or not.. Stay well