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This Week at the Brennans’

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lady sitting on porch

A nice big huge recap! I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with everything that I’ve seriously slacked on probably one of my favorite things to do: This Week at the Brennans’. I love looking back through the archives to see what we did when. It’s certainly a busy time for our family right now, but I’m hoping to prioritize this again. Here we gooooo:

June

As my kids were finishing school, I made the decision to stop posting to social media, especially instagram stories, for the entire summer. I didn’t want to feel tethered to my phone and actually be present with my kids. The stats were also starting to weigh on me and effect me and my mental health negatively. I thought it was best to cut it out completely for a time and I’m so grateful I did! I was able to enjoy the time off and really feel refreshed and ready to come back.

Aunt Shayna and Uncle Tony came to visit! Like I mentioned in my last post, we welcomed my sister and her family in our home in Oregon. They drove here from Arizona and enjoyed the much cooler weather! My brother-in-law is originally from Oregon and has really fond memories of this beautiful state, so they were so happy to hear that we moved back. Excuses to come visit! Since we are only an hour from the coast, they took full advantage of the proximity and went nearly every day! Gordon had to work the week they were here, so it was mostly just me and the kids with them, hanging out and having fun.

Shayna, my older sister, and I haven’t seen each other since November 2019 when I went to Arizona for Thanksgiving when Porter was just two months old. Gordon was scheduled to work the whole Thanksgiving weekend (what else was new in New York…lol!) so I took my four little ones and we went to Arizona. It was so enjoyable and such a fun visit. Lots of extra hands to help take care of little ones and hold a baby so I could rest and cook a turkey for Thanksgiving.

two boys far away on beach

Fast forward to now, you forget how much you love and miss someone until you’re able to see them. Man oh man was it so good for my soul to have a full house with people you just love so much.

A lot of our kids line up in age, so it was so fun for everyone to have someone to play with. Porter is obviously the youngest and is a big time mama’s boy, but he came to LOVE my sister, his Aunty. I think it helps that we look similar. Initially, he was hesitant, but she won him over day by day. And funnily enough, some of Shayna’s kids thought I was her a few times, too. So fun!

lady and little boy on beach

While they were here, we wanted to channel our Grandma Ernhofer and make some of her recipes. Well, we were pretty darn ambitious and decided to make some strudel…homemade fillings and dough. Considering we have few memories of this recipe and the actual recipe card says things like “stir until it’s ready” or “a little less than 1/2 cup”, yeah, it gets a little tricky. We called our Aunt back in Canada to get a little guidance, but it was only until we made the recipe that we had even more questions. Ha! Overall, it turned out better than expected. We certainly tried and we were really happy with our results, but know exactly what we need to change the next time we make it.

sisters smiling showing streudel

One evening right before our visitors left, the parents were able to go out for dinner and grab a little treat. Copper River is our tried and true restaurant we always go to for date night, so we brought them there and after that even though we were truly so stuffed, we finally *finally* tried Crumbl. It smelled so good there that it convinced me to get a whole dozen. Ha! Man oh man are the cookies over the top delicious. I made the mistake of looking up the nutrition. Learn from my foolish mistake. Don’t bother looking at the nutrition. Lol!

two couples smiling with box of cookies

July

Brooke somehow convinced me to let her get a bunny! She is a holland lop doe named Daisy. While I am currently morally against all animals, I knew Brooke would be a responsible animal owner. Plus, a bunny isn’t too big of a commitment like a dog or cat and much cuter than a goldfish. So we came up with a deal: she pays for half of everything we needed for a bunny (cage, food, etc..) plus half the cost of the actual bunny. Once we got Daisy home, Brooke would be responsible for earning all the money needed for the food. So far, so good! She is a really sweet little bunny. Porter even starts every morning running into Brooke’s room to say good morning to Daisy! So cute.

Gordon and I were able to take Brooke to the Portland, Oregon temple for our church. Once kids in our church turn 12, they are able to participate in worship services in the temple, as long as they meet certain criteria-spiritually. It really was so lovely to go with her and Gordon. I truly do love this little family of mine.

We also had a fun block party with friends for the 4th of July. Since it fell on a Sunday, we went to church in our red, white and blue. It’s still a little weird for me to be patriotic when I’m still Canadian (at least I feel weird about it) but I am grateful to be able to live where I live. The freedoms we enjoy here and in Canada are truly incredible.

four friends smiling

August

At the beginning of the month, I was able to go with Brooke and a group of teenage girls to a girl’s camp for our church. I was the cook for all 25 people and I must say, it was such fun! It was so nice to do something I love uninterrupted without kids at my legs, asking to be picked up every few minutes. It also helped that we were in a beautiful, secluded campground.

We were able to go camping at the Oregon coast with all of Gordon’s siblings (there are 8 kids in his family all together!) so it was really so nice being able to be all together again. So many cousins, Aunts and Uncles to play with. It’s been YEARS. We stayed at Cape Lookout which is the tradition for the Brennan family, and we stayed all together nearly a week!

I looked up what the weather was going to be and packed accordingly. Well, to my surprise, it was about 20 degrees cooler than what I had planned for. I double checked my app and I was looking at Oceanside California, not Oceanside Oregon! Ahh! I froze nearly the entire time. I tried to spend all my time by the fire or in my sleeping bag. We got new, super comfy and warm sleeping bags plus a new tent and used them a lot! It was really so fun, besides feeling cold all the time (the worst feeling!)

By the end of August, knowing I was going to be ‘back to work’, I knew I had to seriously reexamine my blog and what it was actually worth. Yes, it earns money, but is my time best spent this way? What would I rather be doing? What do I enjoy doing? By the time September was rolling around, I knew I had to get rid of my meal plan service and scale back the work I was doing. Not only to free up some mental space, but to also make room and time for my kids. They need a full time Mom right now and me working on a blog as much as I am isn’t cutting it.

It actually took me a long time (at least 4 months) of going back and forth with this decision and what exactly would I do and what wouldn’t I do when it came to the blog. I still am working out some of those details of what it all will mean or look like. But I know I can’t spend as much time on the blog as I previously once did. I know the money doesn’t matter to me like it once used to. And I know that I’ll be 100% present with my kids until Porter goes to school. I still will blog and still will post recipes, but with what capacity? I’m not sure yet.

family photo in front of sign

September

My kids went back to school! WHAT!! Real life school! Brooke started 7th grade, Blake is in 3rd and Eddie is in Kindergarten. What a mind trip. These kiddos of mine are truly just flying through their lives. I have to keep reminding myself that these are the good old days that I will look back on. Really trying hard to enjoy it!

All our kids love school and have fantastic teachers. Brooke is sailing through all her classes with straight A’s and Blake and Eddie are at the top of their respective classes as well. I’m so grateful for this tender mercy. Some school years were definitely more challenging for me than others, so I’m glad that so far so good for my kids. I’m sure we’ll get there, though.

We celebrated Porter’s birthday which is a little ridiculous because I have a hard time believing he is two already. Doesn’t it just seem like he was just born? We certainly enjoyed lots of chocolate cake and ice cream. Yum yum.

Brooke was also able to sign up for volleyball in her school and be on the volleyball team. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday she had games and then after school practices on Tuesday and Thursday. Her team went the whole season undefeated!! Yay! Plus we are trying to find her an actual volleyball team that won’t eat up too much of her social or family life. Easier said then done.

Blake and Eddie played Soccer for September and October which made for a busy week. One boy had practice Monday and Wednesday, the other had practice Tuesday and Thursday. Both had games on Saturday, sometimes multiple games! It was really exhausting. Gordon was also one of the coaches for Blake’s team, so he was gone a good chunk of the time as well. Eddie gets distracted easily and isn’t always aware of where the soccer ball is. He also will sometimes pretend to be sonic the hedgehog and make sound effects while he plays. It’s the funniest thing to watch. He is mostly just dazed and happy to be alive, running and galloping up and down the field.

Blake is a really good soccer player and enjoys playing midfield and defense. His team has only lost 2 games out of 14 (I think?!) and he has scored a couple of goals and been the assist quite a bit, too. I usually always take Eddie to his soccer games and Gordon takes Blake to his, but occasionally I was able to watch Blake play and it’s such a delight.

man with crutches

At some point, Gordon was playing sports and fell, injuring his knee pretty badly. We were thinking he was going to need surgery but after getting an X-ray, an MRI and talking with an Orthopedic surgeon, he is in the clear! It’s going to take about 3 months for his knee to fully heal, but it will heal with time and patience and thankfully no surgery! That man has to start realizing his body isn’t 18 anymore! Getting older sometimes sucks. But all things considered, we’re pretty thankful. He’s not on crutches anymore and can walk normally. He can’t kneel very well, but is able to sit and stand as normal.

Our kitchen remodel FINALLY started the end of September. Hallelujah! It was super fun trying to clear out our whole bottom floor with a husband on crutches, but sweet friends came to the rescue and helped us so much! It took a while to get our cabinet install scheduled because our cabinet makers are really busy. Buuuut, we got a date on the calendar and things were gutted pretty darn quickly! Yay!

Also in September, we started touring (and trying to buy!!) some beach houses at the coast. Since Brooke was a baby, before we ever could afford a first house, we were dreaming of being able to get a vacation home in Oceanside, Netarts or a nearby coastal home. After getting into bidding wars on the first two homes, we found a small fixer upper in Pacific City. Gordon and I were able to go for a long weekend just us and we fell in love with it! It has features that other coastal cities don’t have, like a river, the ocean, restaurants and some smaller shops. Plus we felt like we got a great deal. Another reason I need to pull back on the blog. We have another house to renovate! Yes we are crazy.

family halloween costume idea

October

Since our whole bottom floor is basically unusable, I’ve gotten pretty good as using my make-shift kitchen in the laundry room! I figured since it had a big sink, it made the most sense to set up shop there. Things take twice as long to cook, but at least we’re working it out. I know I feel terrible after eating too much takeout and I certainly didn’t want to go that route. But, we’re making due and making good use of all of Costco’s ready made meals.

Eddie came home off the bus one day with a fever, feeling cold and tired 🙁 My immediate thought was “oh no, its probably covid”. He was so tired, he couldn’t even walk the 0.1 mile home from the bus stop! I put him in the stroller and had Porter walk home. Once we were home, I laid him on the couch in his room, got him medicine and a blanket, then went to get a covid test. By the time I got back to him, he was dead asleep. I swabbed his nose while he was sleeping (didn’t even wake up!! Howwwwww) and it was immediately positive. So we had to quarantine for 10 days and any work on our house and the kitchen remodel had to be halted. Gordon and I really hesitated to tell the construction workers because we knew it would push EVERYTHING back by an undisclosed amount of time. But we were good citizens and told everyone and quarantined.

Thankfully, Eddie was the only one to test positive and everyone else was fine. I was worried about Porter especially, but he never tested positive even though he had the sniffles. Lots of prayers and good thoughts were sent our way, so thank you so much for that!

While we were in quarantine, I had the bright idea to try to potty train Porter since we were stuck inside anyways. Ha! Ya’ll, I lasted 6 hours. Then I was over it. Can I hire a subcontractor to do this for me? Pretty please? Ugh. Not my favorite thing. I know eventually we’ll get around to it, but for the time being, I’m just going to keep on buying those diapers.

We got out of quarantine just in time for Halloween and my kids had such a great time with their friends! We were able to go with some neighbors and have an enjoyable, sugar-filled holiday. Porter was Captain America, Eddie was a Fireman, Blake was a Dinosaur and Brooke was a frog. For the trunk or treat the day before, we went as Target employees!

demolished kitchen

November

Even though we’re only a few days into one of my favorite months of the year, the work has commenced again on the kitchen, everyone is healthy and back to school, Porter is at Daycare 2-3 days per week and we closed on that beach house! WHAAATT!!?? Never a dull moment.

Later this week, we’re going to take our kids to go see it, get some measurements for some things and take some pictures to hopefully share soon! It’s not much to look at right now, but it will be soon! We are going to write out our list of the priorities of everything that needs to happen at that property in order to get it just how we’d like. To say we are excited is an understatement. We’re excited to spend most of our summers at the beach, enjoying the mild coastal weather. We might even go for Christmas or New Years! I think eventually we will rent it out, but not until it’s just how we’d like it. We’re excited to share progress once we have progress to share 🙂

Anyways, that is the latest and greatest of everything happening at our house. Thank you so much for sticking around and supporting my family. We love and appreciate you!

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16 Responses
  1. Courtney

    Glad you took some time to recharge and reflect. Sounds like you had an enjoyable time with ALL the family! Can’t get over how grown up all the kids look! Crazy that Brooke is in middle school and glad that she & the boys found sports they enjoy. I think all kids in our area played soccer when they were Eddie’s age and they all did pretty much the same thing he does. Those cookies looked amazing? should we expect any recreations? LOL Can’t wait to see the beach house renovation come to life. Maybe like your own HGTV special, in blog form? Sounds like you have enough to keep yourself fully employed, even without the blog 🙂 Glad to see your back to posting these. They are truly one of my favorite posts to read. You are honest and sincere and it shows!

  2. Margi

    Your hubby, kids and family always comes first. We are maybe somewhere close to the bottom. I have a lot of recipes sites that only post once a week. Not a fan of Facebook ever nor do I use Instagram. Kids grow up so fast and yours look happy and healthy. That comes from caring and attentive parents. So we’ll always be here whenever you post. As to the bunny I read another blog and he volunteers at a bunny shelter. Domestic rabbits are one of the most abandoned pets in the United States. I’m one who has always gotten a pet knowing that when you get it you get it for it’s life. Out of the dozen of animals I’ve rescued (no breeder ever) one of my cats lasted 22 years and my final dog (too old now to take on a puppy) in July was 16. I’m sure your kids will love the beach house and great memories will be made. Have fun. It’s more important than this.

  3. Joyce

    I am so sorry that eddie got covid he is just the sweetest child has been since he was little glad he is fine now. I hope no one else gets it . I am glad that you got your beach house too . I am not a beach ocean person at all I lived in California for a couple of years and saw a girl jump in the water from the pier we were in the water my daughter was 2 and we were playing I was waist high in the water when the girl jumped in she screamed and as she came up the guys who were on the pier with her grabbed her and she was missing her leg we with luck got out of the water that shark was coming for us and she jumped in and it got her instead in seconds there were at least 50 sharks due to the blood in the water they tied her leg area off with their shirts and went running with her I sure often wonder what happened to her it was just awful I made a promise I would never go in the ocean again and I never have that was 50 years ago.. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas. and that all will be well.

  4. Barb Heersink

    Yeah you look so much like your sister. I too look like my older sis and as a result got a little pinch from my brother in law in a dim hallway. We were both horrified but then laughed.

    1. Judy Egger

      I am so excited about you two getting a place at the coast. What a great time to get it for your family to enjoy!
      How fast time flys anymore for you and me too.
      Looking forward for your kitchen Remodel to be finished. Another wonderful milestone for the Brennan’s!
      👌🏻👌🏻🤗🤗

  5. Sara

    Glad to hear update on your family. I enjoy your recipes and family update. I am sure your life schedule will work out fine. You have your priorities right! One day at a time!

  6. Anne DiGiacomo

    Sounds like a wonderful summer. Don’t know how you do all that you do. Love reading your blog and seeing your pictures. Thank you for sharing

  7. Kathy

    This was great!! Missed these posts catching up on your family!! Glad all is well now. Thanks for getting us up to date. 😉 Also, loved your Target costumes. 🙂

  8. Karen Heasley

    Lauren, that’s so fun!! Good for you for setting limits for yourself, and figuring out what to prioritize for you and your family.

    I love living in Idaho, but I definitely miss the Oregon coast. I’m excited to see how your vacation home turns out. You’ve got a great eye—I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

  9. Aunt Donna

    Wow. Good for you guys!!!! I know all about cooking in a house with no kitchen!!! We cooked on the barbque. . Scrambled eggs on the barbque !!!! Also bought a house in Paso Robles!!!! Enjoy and have fun. You will always be able to blog but your kids are only this age once!!! Love you all see you in June

  10. Kathy Burkhart

    Great post of you and your family and all of the happening things in your busy life! Reminds me of when our three sons were young (30 years ago) and the days went by so quickly. How nice that you bought a beach house – your family will create so many wonderful memories there! And I hope that Brooke continues with volleyball – our nine-year-old granddaughter loved volleyball camp this summer. Can’t wait to watch her (hopefully) play more in the future. All the best to you!

  11. Kelly

    WOW!!! Never a dull moment for sure!!! So excited for you & family!! ❤️❤️❤️ Luv your posts. Blogs & Instagram stories!

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