Happy 6th Birthday, Connor!

We just can’t believe the ways you have grown this past year! You are such a clever little boy with so much enthusiasm and zest for life. There is never a dull moment in our house! You still love Legos like crazy, but you also love playing with your little sister. I think you have found your partner in crime!

Kindergarten has been lots of fun for you, and we absolutely love hearing you read. We hope that you will always continue to find as much joy in books as you do now! You have made many friends this year, and I know it will be difficult to start first grade in a new school next year with new faces. Your outgoing and friendly spirit will help you make new friends.

This year, we had a party at the playground near our house. Several friends from school came, as well as two friends from last year’s class, and a few Army friends as well. It was a sunny and hot day. Everyone had a great time!

Lego Ninjago cupcakes, and Lego head marshmallow pop favors

Your birthday was on a Monday this year.  Daddy came downstairs early before work so that you could open your last two gifts, which were Lego sets, of course.  I had to setup for a MOPS meeting before school, and you always help me.  Since it was your birthday, I offered for you to have a Chick-fil-a breakfast while I setup, and you gladly accepted.  (But you still helped me setup anyway!)  Pretty much all of your time outside of school today was spent building your new Lego sets.

We love you to the moon and back! We are so lucky to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Here is a look back at Connor’s previous birthday photos:


2012 (Colorado Springs)


2013 (Germany)


2014 (Germany)


2015 (Germany)


2016 (Virginia Beach)


2017 (Virginia Beach)


Spring update

We kicked off spring break by spending Easter weekend with Aunt Michelle, Uncle Brock, and Eric. Thankfully it was warm enough to play outside! We also had an early birthday “celebration” for Connor while we were together. Connor enjoyed eating breakfast on Aunt Michelle’s special birthday plate, followed by cupcakes and opening two new LEGO sets. Connor loved having some LEGO-building time with his cousin Eric. The highlight of the weekend for Morgan was exploring outside and constantly searching for the cat. She “told” me over and over, through a combination of signs and sounds, that the “orange cat was sleeping under the truck.” After a nice Easter lunch, we drove home and the kids found their Easter baskets.

Connor helped Uncle Brock spread mulch.  Morgan “helped” load the wheelbarrow, and couldn’t get enough of the cat!

The kids and I enjoyed a beautiful and peaceful walk around Aunt Michelle’s property on Easter morning.

On Monday of spring break, Connor, Morgan, and I met his friend Willow at Cloud9, an indoor trampoline park. We all had a blast jumping for an hour, and then Connor went with Willow to Chuck E. Cheese to play and have lunch, followed by more playing at her house. Meanwhile, Morgan and I enjoyed some quiet time at home, followed by a much-needed trip to the grocery store. Connor had a blast spending time with Willow all day, and he was exhausted!

The rest of spring break was much more low-key. We played at a few playgrounds, relaxed at home, and went to an opera performance of The Three Billy Goats Gruff at the library.

What’s new with Morgan?

-21 months old

-Canine teeth are cutting through

-Uses the potty sometimes

-Says Mama, Dada, and uh-oh

-Uses many, many signs to communicate with us

-Echoes lots of vocal sounds

-Can’t get enough of her brother, and copies EVERYTHING he does

-Climbs all over the house and playground

-Loves dogs, books, playing outside, coloring, and helping to empty the dishwasher

-Starting to get a stubborn streak and wants to do things herself, like buckling her car seat or high chair, or putting on clothes

Here are a few more pictures from the past two months:


A young Charlie being held by his older brother, Jeff. I love seeing how much Morgan looks like Charlie!

Top:  Can you tell she put on her own shirt?

Bottom:  Loading up her basket at the Children’s Museum, and feeding her animals as we empty the dishwasher

Lining up her monster trucks, and coloring the Paw Patrol pups

And here are the two sweet siblings who can’t get enough of each other!  I sure hope it lasts!

February 2018

Where has the time gone? It has been about two months since my last update on the kiddos, and it’s unbelievable to look back and see how much they have both grown and developed in that short amount of time! They both keep us busy and there is certainly never a dull moment.

We enjoyed the Christmas holiday in Virginia with Charlie’s parents, sister, and her family. After a few days at his sister’s house, Charlie’s parents spent a week with us as well. That week was stretched out even further after we got slammed with a foot of snow and their flight home was cancelled! Connor loved playing in the snow, but poor Morgan couldn’t even walk in it because it was so deep. It stayed below freezing for several days, which meant nothing melted and we didn’t go to school for almost a week!

Reading with Granddad

Coloring with Grandma


Connor loves kindergarten and I am blown away by his developing reading and math skills. His teachers are wonderful and we are so happy with his school. It will be bittersweet to attend a different school next year. Connor and his class hosted a sweet Valentine’s Breakfast for families on Friday, and he is looking forward to his class party and card exchange next week.

Connor loved having Morgan in his classroom for his Valentine’s Breakfast!

Our little man is still as active as ever, and can be found creating obstacle courses with the couch cushions or playing tag daily! Thankfully he has a slower mode as well, and loves to read with us. His current favorite book series are Captain Underpants, Dog Man, and Magic Tree House.

Speaking of active…Miss Morgan is 18 months old and full of energy and personality! She is still quite the little climber, and cannot be easily deterred from scaling any obstacles in the house. She officially “runs” now, and Connor loves to try and play tag with her. At the playground, she loves to climb on the equipment and swing on her belly.

Morgan has her own “secret lab,” as Connor likes to call it. There is an end table and chair by the window where she brings all her new and exciting objects to further investigate and play with. I usually lose a cup or Tupperware container every morning as she “helps” empty the dishwasher and I find it later on her table, filled with small animal figures or play food.

Our little lady has been learning and developing like crazy. Her latest trick is peeing on the potty! I decided to get out the small potty just to use before bath time, but her interest took off from there. For about two days I felt like I couldn’t get her OFF the potty because she was so interested. Thankfully the novelty has worn off, so when she asks to go (by using the sign for “pee”), she just sits for a minute and does her business (or doesn’t), and then she’s ready to get down and move on with our day.

My favorite moments these days are hearing Connor constantly talk about his sister to other people when we are out, and hearing Morgan’s shrieks of delight when she sees Connor. I hope these two continue their close bond as they grow!

Here are a few more pictures from the last two months:


Morgan wearing a dress that my mom smocked for me when I was almost 2 years old!

My little exercise buddy

Enjoying the beautiful weather!

Does she look guilty?  She pulled a bag of bread off the kitchen counter and brought it to her “secret lab.”

Enjoying the beautiful weather!

These kids can’t get enough of their Daddy

I love when I catch her reading on her own!

We enjoyed a family day at the Aquarium


Getting ready to head to school for the Valentine’s Breakfast

Happy Holidays from Virginia Beach!

Happy Holidays from Virginia Beach!

What a blessed year it has been in our household. Life is certainly busier these days with two active kiddos in the house, but we wouldn’t change a thing. Watching the relationship blossom between Connor and Morgan has been such a joy! We can hardly go anywhere without Connor announcing, “This is my little sister! Her name is Morgan!” She reciprocates his excitement by shrieking with delight whenever Connor enters the room.

Connor turned 5 in April and is thriving in Kindergarten. I’m so pleased that we decided to keep him at Bayside Presbyterian, where he has been for the past two years. He goes everyday from 9:30-1:00. His teachers are fantastic, and he is learning so much! Connor loves trying to read everything he sees. We stay after school for about an hour each day to play on the playground with friends. (Morgan looks forward to this playtime as much as Connor does!) When we aren’t at school, Connor enjoys reading Captain Underpants with Mommy or Daddy, building/playing with all the couch cushions, pillows, and blankets, and of course he still loves building LEGOs. Connor participated in both a Spring and Fall soccer league this year, which was a fun experience for him.

Morgan is growing too quickly! She is approaching 17 months old and has quite the little personality. Morgan loves to put on shoes and clothes, enjoys looking at books (especially with animals), dances anytime she hears music, mimics many sounds, and uses around 50 signs to communicate. Her new favorite activity (besides climbing on everything) is helping Connor and Mommy empty the dishwasher every morning. She carries handfuls of silverware to the drawer and dumps them in, and hands plates to Connor. To celebrate this holiday season, Morgan enthusiastically sings “La la la!” anytime she hears Deck the Halls.

Charlie enjoys his teaching position at the Army School of Music. He was promoted to Sergeant First Class earlier this year, earned his Senior Instructor badge, and also attended the Army Senior Leadership Course. Charlie was fortunate to have several travel and performance opportunities this past year as well. He traveled to Wisconsin to perform at a national convention with his faculty woodwind quintet, assisted Army band liaisons with recruiting at ClarinetFest in Florida, and also filled in with the TRADOC Band from Fort Eustis for their holiday performances. A highlight of Charlie’s year was spending Homecoming weekend at the University of South Carolina and participating in the alumni band.

I am grateful that I have the privilege of staying home with the kids. When I’m not busy playing tag with Connor or pulling Morgan down from her latest climbing feat, I keep busy with a few other tasks as well. I volunteer as the Family Readiness Group leader for Charlie’s unit, and I am also working a few hours as the childcare coordinator for two different groups that meet at the church where Connor goes to school.  In May, Morgan and I flew to Buffalo to spend a short weekend with four of my friends from college.  It was amazing to catch up after all these years, and introduce our little ones to each other.

We wish you health and happiness during this holiday season. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Charlie, Ashley, Connor, & Morgan


​What happened to summer? It’s hard to believe we are already into October. The weather has cooled off a bit and Connor had a field trip to the pumpkin patch last week…so it must be Fall! The kids have been keeping our hands and minds busy and our hearts full. Here is the latest from the Brokovich household, from September until now:

Connor started Kindergarten on September 6th. He was pretty anxious about starting, but has had fun each and every day. Charlie and I have been blown away by how quickly Connor is learning to read! He has learned many sight words already and is able to put them together into sentences. He is so proud of himself when he can point out words he knows as we read books together. His teachers are wonderful, and he seems to have made new friends easily. We stay after school for about an hour each day to play on the playground with other students and enjoy the nice weather. When Connor is not in school, he loves to build LEGOs, play tag, look at his LEGO catalog, relax with a favorite show, and create crazy contraptions around the living room with blankets, pillows, and ropes.


Connor is ready for his first day!

More first day of school photos


Connor is ready for his field trip at Taylor Farm!


Connor’s Kindergarten class at Taylor Farm

Choosing the perfect pumpkins


Connor loves all the trucks at the farm


Connor’s favorite activity at home is still building LEGOs!

Morgan’s two favorite things this month are Daddy and dogs. She shrieks, woofs, and signs “dog” anytime she sees or hears one, and loves to look out the window to catch a glimpse of our neighbors’ dogs. As soon as Morgan hears someone at the door in the late afternoon, she immediately signs “Daddy.” I absolutely love to watch her face light up when Charlie walks in! Morgan also enjoys flipping light switches, climbing on stools and chairs, and looking at pictures of our family.

Our little lady has added many new signs this month: Connor, brush teeth, airplane, book, hat, glasses, music, playground, loud, fan, rain, cold, exercise, sit, open, poop, brush teeth, tomato, avocado, fruit, strawberry, egg, and banana. She mimics a few sounds, such as the frustrated grunt each of us tends to make. She also gets pretty close to a true “Uh-oh!”

Morgan is sleeping pretty well. Her bedtime has crept closer to 8:00pm, and over the last two weeks she’s had a few days where she wouldn’t take her afternoon nap. She still wakes up once or sometimes twice during the night, but she also sleeps straight through every once in a while!

My dad and stepmom came to visit for a few days. They had their 2-year-old foster daughter with them, and we had an interesting time managing the kids’ interactions. Connor was thrilled to show Gram and Grandpa his school, and have them here for his soccer game. We look forward to seeing them again at Thanksgiving!

Here are a few more photos from September:


Finding ways to entertain ourselves while Connor is at school…


This silly girl still loves pilfering from the clean laundry basket!

Morgan fell on the sidewalk and scraped her nose and forehead.  Thankfully it healed quickly!


She thinks she’s a grown-up girl now!

My two little yogis!

August 30, 2017

Where oh where has my baby gone?? I look at 13-month-old Morgan and just can’t believe that we have this precious little lady in our lives. Morgan’s personality is bursting through and we are in awe of how much she learns each day.


Morgan is generally happy and full of smiles, and Connor is still the master at instigating her true “belly laughs.” She dances anytime she hears music, can lean in for a hug and a (very wet) kiss if asked, and will hold up her hand for a high five. She also still loves to play dress up with the clean laundry!

After reading to her every night, Morgan is finally at the stage where she is interested in books! Her current favorites are Pat the Bunny, Little Lion, and Doggies. It’s so cute to see her bring a book to me, sign the animal that’s in it, and plop down in my lap to read together.

Morgan loves to pull on Connor’s clothes!

Morgan’s signing has really taken off! I can’t even explain how much fun it is to see. We endured a week or so of madness when she was constantly holding out her arm and shrieking for things, but now she holds her arm out and then signs “please.” How can you say no to that?? The signs we see most often these days are “Daddy” and “water.” Boy does this little girl love those two things! To top it all off, we even witnessed her first 2-sign request recently: “Water, please!” Other signs Morgan uses include dog, lion, dinosaur, outside, diaper, and get dressed. We see “outside” all the time because she loves to beg to go out!


Signing “Daddy” while watching him mow the grass

Over the past month, Morgan has been waking up usually just once during the night! Her nighttime is generally 7:30pm-6:30/7:00am, and she takes two naps. When she wakes up in the morning or from a nap, I usually snuggle with her in the glider for a few minutes.  Sometimes she is ready to climb right off the glider and walk out the door!  She always stops and grins at me as she’s halfway off the chair because she knows I’m going to laugh, wave, and say, “Bye, Morgan!”

I used to have a little baby who only needed to breastfeed, and the next thing I know, I have a little girl who eats three square meals a day, plus a snack! She still nurses to sleep, and sometimes asks for milk during the infamous pre-dinner hour (during which all children seem to have a rough time handling life).

Although Morgan often plays well in the living room (with or without Connor), she is frequently a bit clingy while I’m trying to work in the kitchen, and I often end up preparing meals with her on my hip.  I think she’s mostly just curious to see what’s going on, and she wants to make sure she can sample a bite of everything!

Earlier this month, I thought I was going to need to add an eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy brother’s water bottle.” It started in the car, when I would give Connor his CamelBak bottle and Morgan her sippy cup. That crazy girl would throw her cup down and scream for Connor’s bottle! Being the generous brother that he is, he would give it to her once he was done drinking. This madness spread to the cups at the table as well. Deciding to leave nothing to chance, I bought two new CamelBak water bottles with the EXACT SAME design, and new sets of plastic cups with two of each color. This definitely goes on the list of “Problems I never had when I only had one child.” (But let’s be honest…I feel blessed beyond belief to be Mommy to these TWO kiddos.)

Big Brother
I can’t believe summer is almost over! Connor took a second session of swim lessons and further developed his skills. He’s still not swimming on his own, but he has gained a huge amount of comfort and confidence in the water, and is putting his head under like a little fish!

We have kept busy with trips to the playground or various parks, library activities, and of course, lots of LEGO building. Connor starts kindergarten on September 6th! He has been a little nervous, but he’s feeling much better after meeting his teachers and classmates at Open House.


Enjoying a morning at Mt. Trashmore Park


Chef Connor preparing “ice cream sundaes” at the library’s Restaurant Play event

Both kids had a blast another library event, Construction Play!


My two peas in a pod love riding in the wagon together!

Charlie’s sister and her family drove down from the Richmond area to spend a Saturday with us!  The guys (minus Connor) had plans to do the high ropes course at the Adventure Park.  The weather forecast was terrible, but they managed to squeeze in most of their reserved time before it stormed, and came home with vouchers to go back another time.  Meanwhile, the kids, Michelle, and I enjoyed a relaxing day playing at home.  Once the guys returned and got cleaned up, we all went to The Leaping Lizard for dinner.  It’s one of my favorite restaurants in town!  It was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Everything is so fresh and made from scratch.  Morgan enjoyed hearing the sound of her shrieks echo around the small restaurant, and we tried to spend as much time as possible walking outside and looking at the chickens before it was time to sit down and eat.


Connor and Morgan enjoyed lots of playtime with Aunt Michelle

Another Saturday in August was spent in Yorktown with my Aunt Jackie and her family. Jackie is my mom’s sister. She came to visit us after Morgan was born, but I can’t remember the last time I had seen her before then. She has four sons and several grandchildren, and I hadn’t ever met any of them before. Three of her sons were able to come with their wives, and two of the grandkids were there as well. We all enjoyed spending time with everyone, and hopefully we will see them again!


The Lohr Family!  From the left:  my cousin Greg and his wife Alison; my cousin Tom (very back) and his wife Carolyn (in front of him); my Aunt Jackie; Bryan’s son Kevin, my cousin Bryan, and his wife Suzanne (in front of them); Kathryn (Tom and Carolyn’s daughter), and us!

Charlie took a week of leave at the end of August, and we all enjoyed having Daddy home for a “staycation.”  Connor had lots of fun outings with Charlie, like going to the indoor trampoline park, building Legos, and doing the high ropes course at the Adventure Park!

Connor and Charlie loved their morning at the indoor trampoline park!  Connor’s favorite part is the foam pit and “Ninja Warrior” course.

Connor was so excited to finally tackle the ropes course!

Morgan is One Year Old! (July 30, 2017)

I can’t believe our sweet Morgan Louise is 1 year old! This year has flown by, and we have enjoyed every moment. It has been such a blessing to have Morgan in our lives. It has also been incredible to watch the sibling bond form between Connor and Morgan.

(Click here to read about Morgan’s birth.)

Morgan loves to play with balls, carries around as much as she can hold in her hands at a time, and is also known to start dancing anytime she hears music. She loves a cubby full of toys to dump out and/or climb into, and is still my little laundry fanatic. Morgan hasn’t given up her obsession with (clean) underwear, and can be seen most days with Connor’s underwear in her hands or on her head, or my underwear or sports bra draped around her neck. Morgan is growing into quite the sensitive little lady, and often cries if, for example, we tell her not to play in the trash can. (I know, we are such mean parents.)

The underwear thief in action!

20 lb 4 oz (37th percentile)
29.5 in (63rd percentile)

8 teeth total (2 new on top this month)

Morgan usually sleeps from 7/7:30pm until 6:30/7:00am, waking twice most nights, and takes two naps during the day.

Morgan’s current favorite food is fresh tomato from Charlie’s garden. She can’t get enough! She has been using the sign for “more” when we prompt her, but the first time she used it unprompted was while eating tomato. No time to beat around the bush – she needed more tomato ASAP! She gobbles it up every night, and I hope she will like “regular” tomatoes once the garden is done for the season.

Morgan still nurses to sleep, but she doesn’t nurse much outside of sleep times. She is quite the busy little girl, and doesn’t “need” to nurse nearly as often as Connor did at this age. I have started offering her water from a regular cup and she shrieks with delight when she sees the cup coming. Sippy cups, however, are still toys in her mind and she doesn’t get much water out of them yet.

While Morgan doesn’t consistently use all of these signs yet, we have seen her sign milk, bath, more, all done, ball, up, Daddy, water, bless you, and waving hi/bye. She also puts her arm up in an adorable “What?” gesture, and claps anytime someone says, “Yay!” or “Hooray!” Morgan loves to mimic sticking out her tongue, blowing raspberries (particularly with her brother), or leaning her head from side to side (one of her favorite dinnertime games with Daddy). “Bath” is my favorite sign that she uses right now. Instead of rubbing her hands on her own chest, she does it on me as I carry her upstairs to the tub! It’s so fun to see her initiate using a sign, such as going into the bathroom at a friend’s house and seeing her sign “bath” when she sees the tub!

Morgan signing “bath”

Morgan claps anytime she hears “Yay!” (Yes, the chair cushion is missing.  Connor loves to take them all off and “build” with them…)

Big Brother
There are certainly difficult moments in their sibling relationship, but the love and admiration that Connor and Morgan have for each other is overflowing! Nothing beats watching her face light up when she sees him first thing in the morning, or hearing her belly laugh when he does something funny. Most of the “problems” we encounter with their interactions are a result of Connor’s wildly energetic personality. He bounces around the living room with such vigor that Morgan often gets knocked over, etc. She usually doesn’t complain too much, and unfortunately for us she often laughs when Connor does something we have asked him not to do to her, which doesn’t help our case!

Summer is flying by, and it has been a miserably hot month. We have tried to keep busy and cool with a few trips to the pool and water park on base, a morning at the splash pad, some backyard fun, a family beach day, and lots of indoor library activities. Connor enjoyed two weeks of swim lessons, and progressed much more than I had anticipated. I felt like it would be a successful summer if he would willingly put his head underwater by the end…but he did it on the first day! That was a huge step for him, and it allowed him much more opportunity to progress throughout the rest of his lessons.

During the last week of July, Connor attended Vacation Bible School at the church where he goes to school. It was a fun week for him, and I didn’t realize what a nice opportunity it would be for me to have some quiet playtime with Morgan. She is a completely different “baby” than she was a few short months ago when he was in school, so it felt like a brand new experience to be home alone with her while Connor was away.

Singing on the last day of Vacation Bible School

Connor seems to have hit a developmental growth spurt. He has begun to acknowledge his wrongdoings on his own (most of the time!) and often takes it upon himself to apologize. He still has plenty of outbursts, but we are grateful that he is more aware of how his actions and choices lead to that point. It’s definitely still a work in progress!! We love our little bundle of energy!

Celebrations and Adventures
Charlie and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on July 7th! We enjoyed a quiet dinner at a great restaurant on the oceanfront. Meanwhile, our good friends Jes and Derek took wonderful care of our kids, along with their own four. It was the first time leaving Morgan with anyone besides family, but she did great! Phew, that means we might be able to go out again sometime!

We walked to the beach after our anniversary dinner

Charlie’s birthday was on July 15th. We went out to dinner as a family, and quickly realized that we have reached the phase of Morgan’s life where we will NOT willingly go to a restaurant again anytime soon! She will sit to eat (although restaurant high chairs can’t contain her the way her chair at home can), but it was almost impossible to wrangle her while waiting to eat. I can’t blame her – she just wants to explore everything – but next time we will just get takeout!!

July brought another work trip for Charlie. He flew to Orlando to spend 4 days at ClarinetFest, representing the Army and speaking to college professors about career opportunities for their students. He had a blast reconnecting with many old friends, colleagues, and students.

Meanwhile, the kids and I kept busy at home. Luckily, Connor had Vacation Bible School three of the mornings Charlie was gone, and we found activities to keep us entertained in the afternoons. I discovered the secret: stay out of the house as long as possible, and when we are at home, have a new LEGO project for Connor to work on. Otherwise, he creates his own fun with the couch cushions and literally bounces off everything around him, including his sister. Our friend Dae was in town for the weekend, so we got together with him and two other families on Saturday evening. We talked to Charlie on FaceTime one afternoon, and poor Morgan was distraught. She heard Daddy’s voice and saw his face and kept crying while trying to grab the phone. We were all happy to pick him up at the airport on Sunday, July 30th, which also happened to be…

Morgan’s First Birthday!!

To cap off the month of July, we celebrated Morgan’s birthday with friends. (The Eskanders hosted the Bannasches, our family, and Dae. It was the youngest Bannasch boy’s second birthday, and Dae’s birthday was a few days prior, so we had lots to celebrate. I think it’s worth mentioning that the Bannasch and Eskander families also celebrated Connor’s first birthday with us in Germany! We are all thrilled to be stationed together again.) Between the kiddie pool, sprinkler, hamburgers and hot dogs, and three birthday cakes, everyone had a good time. Connor was more than happy to “help” Morgan blow out her candle and open her gifts. He also built a LEGO cake topper for her cake! Morgan loved eating her cake. The next day we opened all of her cards from our relatives. I still can’t believe it has been a year since she came into our lives! We couldn’t imagine life any other way!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

We love you to the moon and back, and we are so lucky to call you ours!

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