Christmas in the ‘Couve

Adam here- I meant to have this up a few weeks ago but better late than never.

It was an odd numbered year so that means Christmas on the west coast, and it as a White Christmas too boot!

Making snow angels with Ellie
Goofy faces with Molly

It was a fun year, with the two Kiddos. Sloane was so smart and really got into the fun of the season. Soren started to be a smiley little guy, so he channeled the Santa spirit.  Sloane loved singing Christmas carols (Frosty and Rudolph were her favorite to sing, but she enjoyed listening to all of them and giggled to Dominic the Donkey whenever it was on).  Since her birthday was just a week before she was primed for present opening.

Sloane picked Christmas morning to sleep in, so the cousins were all ready to get started, but she made up for it with her happy little elf smiles and cute glee at the presents. She enjoyed helping to bring people their presents.

Molly gave Sloane her old cabbage patch doll Violet, it was a big hit!
Christmas morning hair… how lovely

Darby and the Zips came into town for over a week, which was great as the cousins are great with each other and it gave Soren a chance to warm up and smile with each of them. The older cousins were great with Sloane and with Soren.

Sloane and Ellie helped to make gingerbread cake, great bakers in training
Matching jammies thanks to Nini!
it is easy to focus when cookies are to be made for Santa

My Parents got us a session at JC Penny for some portraits… it was fun to get all dressed up and the kids liked that afterwards they got to have bubble tea. Here are some of the shots.

I may be silly but I love her little curls and the the face she made, she really didn’t know what to make of the photographer, who kept putting a stuffed animal literally into her face.
I love this shot! I am blessed with very adorable family
the whole clan, I’m actually surprised we are all looking straight ahead, let alone most of us are smiling

Sloane had fun with the food that we got to eat over Christmas. She tried crab on christmas eve, had shrimp, ate prime rib, and despite the fact that there were a number of treats and her tooth was still loose she did really well.

Sloane thought it was fun to eat the prime rib right off the bone.

See some more pictures below of people holding Soren. He did great on his first Christmas.

We get to have a New Hampshire Christmas in 2018, which will be great (I just hope we make it through the flight in one piece with two kiddos)

Bramble Beach Trip 2017

Adam here-

The past 3 years we have gone to Lincoln City on the Oregon coast, and this year my parents rented us a place right on the water, thanks Nini and Papa 2! There were plenty of places for everyone to sleep and a nice deck to look out at the water.

I had been a little apprehensive as this was the first multi-hour trip we had taken with Sloane facing forward. The drive went pretty smooth as Sloane took a nap (and even had a little drool going), I guess I shouldn’t have been worried.

check out that crossed leg style… so tired

The three of us got a room with an amazing view, and Sloane enjoyed looking down at the beach from the windows, but mostly in the mornings she was eager to go and find her cousins. Then it was time to get down to the beach. Sloane is great at playing with her cousins! Despite the age gap, the cousins had a good time playing with her. All of Sloane’s cousins are wonderful to her… Molly and I are blessed with wonderful families.

Ellie agreed to pretend to be Sloane’s baby, Max was her puppy and Zander was her kitty. It was pretty fun to have the four of them laughing through the house and on the beach. Sloane got a kick out of digging and rolling in the sand, and didn’t eat as much sand as she did last year.

Sloane is not above some cheesy shots
Just a great shot of Sloane being silly, stick in one hand and shovel in the other
Sand is fun! Later some ended up in her face
I’m ready to get down to the sand guys!
She was good at holding onto a bucket when needed

Sloane was a very happy presence at the beach and everyone got to have a turn with her in their lap or next to her digging. Nini got her down and into the water on the first morning, and Sloane loved it! I didn’t get a shot of it but when the wind would pick up Sloane would run to Molly and ask to go into her “hidey-hole”, and Molly would wrap Sloane up in her fleece, it was adorable.

Going to the water with Nini. As you can tell by Nini’s jacket it wasn’t warm out
Sloane enjoyed jumping over the waves

Unfortunately, it was very, very windy. So windy, we couldn’t fly the kites for the kids, as the wind just grounded the kites after about 30 seconds. Sloane was a trooper, but there is only so much sand in the eye a little girl can take in a day… so we would spend some time in the hot tub to warm up and then play inside. Before dinner the kids got to watch some movies. It was fun to see the pile of cousins enthralled.

Hot tubbing was very fun for Sloane, especially with her cousins
A little movie time, and cousin cuddles
different movie similar cuddle pile. In the background you can see Papa 2 with a fleece coat on…. it was that cold.

Sloane got in a little Auntie time, and it was great. Somehow all of Sloane’s Aunts are super patient, and that makes it easy for Sloane to hang out with each of them.

Sloane telling Darby a little story, I think

Have I told you Sloane is a little silly sometimes? This was a little cheese while getting dressed.

What a goof!

We even had some chances for a little Mom, Dad and Sloane time, here and there. Also despite it being a vacation Sloane did some hard work of continuing her potty training. She woke up from naps with dry diapers, wore undies most of the time and didn’t have any accidents!!!

Most likely Sloane was asking for a story… “tell me a story about Lonnie the lion going to school”


Go Timbers!


What a cute family! Like I said it was a gorgeous view from the deck.

It was a fun time and we can’t wait for another trip with family. Hopefully the next beach trip is less windy.


Adam here-

This year the whole Bramble crew was together. The Zipfel clan came out to Vancouver for a week. Aunt Morgan only made it for about 16 hours, but we had a blast while she was in town. The Thanksgiving meal was a group effort and Sloane enjoyed running through the kitchen while everyone was helping out. If you ask her what the turkey did before going into the oven she will say “take bath!” because she watched my mom rinse off the brine. Sloane tried her best to help too, and her little voice rang out with “Sloane do!” many times.


As my nephews say’ “OMG!” everyone looking at the camera and most of them are smiling, it was a thanksgiving miracle. This was right before we ate.

Sloane has made such big strides in her language and processing that it was really fun to watch her interact with everyone.

She enjoyed reading books with her cousins, taking walks, and all the long weekend with family. I think everyone enjoyed the good food.


It wasn’t all happy times, but Sloane made it through pretty well.
What a cute family, if I do say so myself.
While on a walk. Sloane walked over a mile on this walk!
Two books for 4 kids… pretty good odds
Aunt Darby got the cousins all matching storm trooper PJs. Sloane thought this was fun… Even better was the group booty shake that happened after this shot.

Every time we hang out with family we are excited for the next time.

4th of July

Adam here-

The 4th of July was the Bramble beach bonanza! My parent’s rented the same house as last year and it was full of Brambles (and Zipfels). Sloane had a lot more fun at the beach than last year, as she can walk and run (well, she can walk pretty fast)

Back row : Jason, Morgan, Zach, Darby, Bill, Paula, Sloane, Adam, Molly. Front row : Zander, Ellie, Max

We got some good beach time in, despite the cooler temps. Sloane wanted to run out and become a mermaid, and the cold Pacific ocean didn’t bother her at all.

Hey mom, look what you can do with sand! This was right before she happily plunged her face into the sand.
We made her hold a hand when she went into the water. The water was cold!
The waves just made her giggle and she wanted more of them.

We had to warm up in the hot tub after trips to the beach!

She was a goose in the hot tub.
Mom, my hair is wet!
Oh, I cant wait to get back in the ocean!

My family likes to dig at the beach and this year’s project became known as the grand canyon as it was very long a down to the water table.

Sloane had a lot of fun walking down the grand canyon of Lincoln City

We had lots of good food, and got to hang out. We had a deer that came by every morning, and Sloane was the first one to say that the deer “ran ran” away. Sloane even got to watch her first movie: The Good Dinosaur (this movie is about a young dinosaur and a caveboy- who Sloane referred to as the “baby”. She was very concerned about this baby for the duration of the movie).

Dad, I like watching movies with my cousins!

There were fireworks and pop-its, though pictures of those are not too fun to look at so we left them out. Each kid made a crafty mask and there were bubbles to be blown. Also, anyone who has hung out with Sloane knows she eventually needs to read a book, so there were books to read.

each kid did a good job for their level, I think.
Aunt Morgan spent a lot of time with Sloane and the bubbles.
This is one way to see how long Sloane’s hair is (it is also a decent workout, as she isn’t the lightest 18 month old)
A very odd thing for all the grand kids to be still at once (it only lasted for about 2 pages)

Sloane even got in a little time with Nini. She got to spend a little one-on-one time with most people. And, she eventually warmed up enough to Jason to boop his nose.

Nini, you are funny!
this is Sloane saying no to booping Jason’s nose
Morgan, are you sure that Jason’s beard is real? It is pretty big!
Hi uncle Zach!

It was sad to have the weekend some to an end. But, we will all get to hangout again at Thanskgiving.

Sloane’s sad face

Nini and Papa 2

Adam here-

Sloane really enjoys any time she gets to spend with Family. It is great! My parents (Nini and Papa 2) have fun with her too!  She likes to sing songs with them, and I happened to catch this one on my phone and it was very sweet.

She goes for walks with them and really enjoys her time with them.


Nini got Sloane a new swimsuit with a sun top, but when she thought the bottoms made a really good hat.


Sloane is getting much better at saying names and two names she is really good at saying are: Nini and Papa (she needs to work on saying the “2” portion)

Nini! you are funny!
Papa is a character!

Walking for real!

Adam here-

Sloane decided to actually put together some steps this weekend. It is fun to watch her decide when to walk. We are excited and proud, though I don’t think the cats will be too excited about her increase of mobility.


Sloane melts our hearts all the time, so Valentines was a fun day to have her around. Her cousins Max and Zander were able to make special valentines for someone and they both wanted to make one for Sloane, which is so sweet.

Hey dad, what are these? They are nice!
They are from my cousins? I have the best family!

Sloane also received her first musical card, a Valentine from G. Given her reaction, we think it won’t be her last.



Sloane begins to walk

Adam here-

This video is about 2 weeks old, but I still need to post it. Sloane has begun to find her feet and she is using them! She seems to be waiting until she is over her “sea legs”. She is able to stand on her own now and can stand in the middle of a room. She mostly only walks with “walkers”, but it is very cute.

Aunt Morgan

Adam here-

My sister Morgan came to visit over Thanksgiving and Sloane got to play with her. It was fun to watch them play, as Sloane is now much more fun, and can interact better

Sloane – “Aunt Morgan and my dad seem to make that same face, though not at the same time”

Both Sloane and Morgan love to watch the cats, though Sloane is less excited about the idea of holding the cats (to the cats firm pleasure, as they don’t think she is up to it yet). I didn’t get a shot of this, but maybe at Christmas.

Morgan said that maybe sometime I can visit her cats!

Sloane also helped to pick out the Christmas tree for my parent’s house. She touched a bunch of trees and seemed to enjoy the one that we picked.

Good job cutting on the tree Papa two!

Yesterday was the 20th MLS cup, and the Portland Timbers were playing. They were the first soccer team from the PNW to make it. Sloane “watched” the last 30 minutes, and was a bit scared by the cheers from me and my dad when they won. But here is a shot of three generations of Brambles rooting for the Timbers.

2015-12-06 17.32.14
I don’t know why everyone is being so happy?!? I don’t understand how to keep score yet.

San Francisco!!

Adam here-

At the beginning of the month we went to San Francisco for a good friend’s wedding. It was a fun adventure with Sloane! My parents came too, as we needed some help with Sloane, and Frisco is a great place to visit. The weekend began on Thursday night when we caught a 9:30 flight down to SFO. Sloane really enjoyed the evening (even though she should have been a sleep for hours).

I know it is the floor, but she is having such a good time, I couldn’t prevent it.

We stayed at a hotel near the airport that night since we didn’t arrive until after 11:00pm. It was a fun place to stay, Molly and Sloane had their own bed and cuddled the rest of the night away.

Dad, can I have some more sandwich?

In the morning Sloane got to have her first Breakfast sandwich! We got an egg white, spinach and avocado one for her and she ate it up with relish (though only one part at a time, we even let her have some of the bread!).

When do we get to do this again guys?

Then we headed into the city on the BART and transferred to a bus, which was fun for Sloane, but took a little too long for her.


We got ready and headed to Golden Gate park for the wedding. My parents went and got some dumplings for a pre-wedding snack and watched Sloane (Thanks Nini and Papa2).

I forgot to take a picture in SFO with the grandparents, but this is about what it looked like. Smiles on everyone!
This is very old, but such a good shot of how well Sloane gets along with my dad.

We had great night at the wedding! It was very fun to be able to be a part of it. To see pics of this look at #ryanloveswhitneytoo on social media.

The next morning cousin Dominic and Hannah (who both live down near San Fran) came over to visit. We went for a walk in the park and down to the ocean.

You look like my Pa from New Hampshire!
Hannah is fun!
I’m about 98.5% sure Sloane had a better time than her face seems to imply.

We had another night. We woke up and had some more dumplings, then it was time to head back home. Despite some standby problems and Sloane coming down with a cold the trip back was pretty good.

Little hands that are getting less little every day.
Tired girl from such a fun trip

Thanks to my parents for getting us to SFO, watching Sloane and for all the yummy dumplings. Thanks to Ryan and Whitney for getting hitched. Thanks to Dominic and Hannah for coming to see us!