Friday, December 28, 2007


Here's Max's latest accomplishment: the Excersaucer!

At first he didn't like the excersaucer too much. He'd get his arms down inside, and end up sucking on the rim of the seat fabric, then the boys would come along and spin the spinny thing with the balls inside - which is REALLY LOUD, and he'd get scared. But lately, he seems to be enjoying it a bit more - he's able to be upright, which he loves - and he can push with his feet - also something he loves to do. He's also getting better about keeping his arms out, or getting them unstuck if he tucks them back inside. The excersaucer is a thing that I wouldn't want to live without. The other two boys really enjoyed them as well. Nowadays, (do I sound like an old fart, or what) I'm told that the item to not live without is the Bumbo. I'm undecided whether I need this for the third and last child. I've lived just fine up 'til now without one. So, we'll see. As you can tell from the videos, he knows he's BIG STUFF!! Just look at those legs:

Ok, well that video ended in typical fashion!

Here's Max checking out one of his Christmas presents - a crib aquarium:

He really does like it, he'd just rather look at his dear old mom at the moment, 'cause she's so much more interesting, especially when she's holding a camera.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

On Christmas Eve we got together with my side of the family for a little pre-Christmas celebrating. (We won't do our regular gift exchange until my sis Emily comes home on Jan 11.) We got some "little somethings" for the kids, including these balls that the boys are attacking Damon with. They are soft balls on elastic strings that you attach to your wrist so that they bounce back to you.

My mom and Don received a present from his son and his wife of this bear that tells the "Night Before Christmas" story. They brought it along because they knew that the littler kids would be intrigued by it. They were right: Sam and Lily were especially captivated!

On Christmas Day, we spent the first part of the day watching the kids with their new toys. Later on in the day we had Damon's parents over for dinner and presents. I expected this year to be quieter than normal - no Cole family to visit with, and no Emily making her usual ruckus - but what noise and excitement they all usually make, we seemed to make up for with the plethera of electronic toys the kids received! It now appears that we subconsciously centered our gifts for the boys around the theme, "Things with Triggers." Maybe next year's theme should be, "Things That Don't Take Batteries." Here's a video from first thing Christmas morning:

At the time we couldn't figure out why the gun was going off by itself, but later realized that Will's remote control was interfering! (This also happens when the new laser guns come out! See what I mean about 'things with triggers?!' We also got them a game where you shoot marbles at each others targets in an arena, and Sam got a Planet Heroes spaceship that also has a trigger! Lots of shoot ups going on around here.) Sam's favorite gift seemed to be the Western gun that shoots the cans off the log - he even blows on the end of the gun when he's finished! Will likes the remote control helicopter and the "I Can Play Guitar" game he got.

Another serious favorite of the boys are their new robes, courtesy of the Cole Family: Thanks, Coles - it was a great idea! They had to go put them on immediately, and wanted to sleep in them, but I was afraid they'd get too hot, so they hung them on the end of their beds and put them back on first thing this morning. It is now 3:30 pm, and since we're not going anywhere today they are still wearing them!!

Max missed out on all the initial present-opening, but when he woke up he got to enjoy some of his new presents too:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Austin, We've Got Snow

We've got some serious snow action going on here! Damon was giddy with excitement because he finally got his snow blower working, and was able to use it for the first time this season. He said he had to pick it up and put it on top of the snow because the snow was so deep. This is where I cleverly pointed out that a shovel would have been a lot lighter.

Lucy loves the snow! She was a bit hesitant at first to veer off of the plowed areas, since it was so deep. She wanted to get to Damon on the other side, but couldn't figure out how to.

Did you catch that weather forecast?! Once Lucy figured out she could get in the snow she pranced around and stuck her whole head down in the snow. She had lots of fun!

The boys went out later and had fun playing in the big piles, but I didn't get any pics or videos. Maybe next time.

Will's Loose Tooth

Will has a tooth that is really bothering me! It is so incredibly loose that it's not funny. He is desperately trying to hang on to it for as long as possible. Damon thinks that this may be because Will mentioned to him that if you lose a tooth at school, they give you a special tooth box to put it in. But what Will doesn't realize is that it's going to be a long time before he's back in school! Meanwhile, I can't hardly stand watching him push it all the way sideways with his tongue. You can even see the adult tooth peeking out underneath. We tried to get it out tonight, but he only let us have one turn apiece, and we blew it. So, it's up to Grandma Berends tomorrow. She always seems to have the "magic touch."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Cookie Time!

We had a cookie making day at my sister Laura's house on Thursday. Will's favorite part seemed to be using the rolling pin - he was actually really good at it:

Sam seemed to like decorating the cookies best:

Notice Lily is in the background, trying to sneak bites every once in awhile! We kept finding cookies with one bite out of them. Each time she came back to the table she sampled a new one! Maybe she figured that each color tasted different. Here's what Sam looked like when he was done:A mysterious hand print appeared on Laura's couch:The finished products: (the moon was actually made with YELLOW frosting - not that you can tell!)

Sam's creation: (with a finger print in the center):Sombody seemed to have missed the cookie altogether:

Max can "Talk!"

Evidently right before I turned the camera on Will says he got Max to say all kinds of things. Supposedly he can say all of our names! He must be camera shy, because we couldn't get him to do it whenever I was around. Huh.

Sam is a Wise Man

At preschool, the kids have been acting out the Christmas story. One time Sam got to be a shepherd, and a classmate was a sheep who "wouldn't listen." On this day, Sam got to be a wiseman, so he was pretty excited. The whole reason I took this video was because I thought it was so cute how he was saying "A-le-lu-LA!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Growing Boy

Max turned 4 months today! He celebrated by going to the doctor and getting his shots. He is 15 pounds, 4 oz, which is the 55th percentile. He is in the 75th percentile for length and head circumference, so he's doing well! He started on rice cereal recently and seems to be doing good with that. He sleeps about 10 hours at night and 2-3 hours for his long afternoon nap, plus some catnaps here and there in between. He's starting to grab at things a bit more, and laughs and smiles and coos all the time. No rolling over yet, but since he sleeps on his tummy, he's content to be there!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Barry Gibb Talk Show

After a recent art show road trip, and a heavy dosage of The Bee Gees Greatest Hits, I asked my sister if she had ever seen the SNL skit where Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake play the Gibb brothers in the Barry Gibb Talk Show. Since she's never seen it, and she's really missing out, I did a little investigating and now you can all view it here. There have been several more skits done since then, but I think this is the funniest one, because of how Justin Timberlake has a hard time keeping a straight face. HA-larious!!!!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Something Strange Is Going On Here

Can you find the real baby? Recently we got together with my side of the family to celebrate some December birthdays and Max conked out on us, so I laid him on the floor. Just to see what my 2 year old niece Lily would do, I lined some of her dolls up in similiar positions. I think she was a little wierded out by it, as we all were! So, I had to take a picture.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Preschool Program

Sam had his Christmas preschool program on Thursday. They were all mighty cute! (Sam is in the back row, with the striped sweater on.) Despite the teachers' efforts to seperate several specific boys in line, (ahem) somehow Sam and John gravitated back to each other. They obviously are quite a distraction to each other and can't seem to keep their hands off of each other!

These videos were the entire program - short and sweet - just what we like!! And here are Sam's goofy teachers - we love them all!!

Ice Storm

Here are some pictures from the ice storm that we had on Tuesday. School was cancelled and Damon decided to work from home. We lost power three times between 11am and 7 pm. The longest period of time was from about 3-7:15. We ended up leaving the house to go get some dinner, and stopped at Paul's where Damon bought everyone their own flashlights, which of course we ended up not needing because the power was back on when we returned!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Laugh, and Max Laughs With You

I finally succeded in getting Max's laughing on video! He's been laughing and smiling for a long time, but as soon as I'd get the camera on him, what had once been hilarious, suddenly became very serious, due to the mesmerizing qualities of the red light on the camera. Usually the things that make him laugh are if you laugh or if you talk in a low voice, but he has to be in the right mood. So here it is! Enjoy, hope it makes you laugh!

(I think he got all red around the eyes from all the effort, either that, or he did something in his pants at the same time. The color on the camera is a little different than real life. I don't remember him looking that red-eyed in real life.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Here Are Some More Elves

The annual wearing of the Christmas stockings: a Brown family tradition. Click here for last year's pictures.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lemme Sports Night

Friday night was a Lemme Sports Night. They had different games and activities set up for families to do at Scanlon Gym. The big hit of the night was the jumping inflatable. It was actually supposed to be a jousting game, but no one played with it that way, instead it was a free-for-all of jumping. The kids wore themselves out and only got hurt a few times!

They also got to do some floor hockey with giant padded sticks and a rubber gym ball.

Here's what Max did for part of the time. That kid has thankfully learned to sleep through just about anything!

Jingle Bells

Sam loves to sing and is excited about his upcoming preschool Christmas program. There have been a lot of bells being 'jingled' around our house lately, I'm not sure if this is one he'll be doing for the program, or not, but he sure likes to sing it!

The Elves are Back!

In the mood for a great laugh? WARNING, if you haven't recently emptied your bladder, view at your own risk. Click here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Toe Mistle

We decided to 'surprise' Dad with our newly purchased "toe-mistle." (On sale at K-Mart this week for $3.99) K-Mart actually calls them "kissing balls" but I like "toe-mistle" much better. Even Will, who normally doesn't care too much for kissing and physical affection got in to it. (He shows his love by wrestling and chasing, which this is on its way to turning into!) Lucy is being her normal annoying self. She knows that when Damon comes home from work she'll get fed.

I just barely missed filming Damon pretending to run into the mistletoe - very dramatic!

The pictures that will NOT be in our Christmas cards

So I'm starting to rethink the whole idea of taking the kids' picture myself for our annual Christmas cards, because this is what I'm getting: assorted zombie looks (and this is actually one of the better ones, because at least no one is blurry in this one): Here's another great one. In this one Will very craftily has his brother in a head lock, making it appear that Sam's big ole' noggin has no body:
We're leaning, we're falling, here we go:

I know I have no patience for this kind of thing. And my kids certainly know first hand that I don't have patience for their shenanigans. And my husband is only too quick to remind me that I don't, when I've started to yell at the kids to sit still, yet expect them to give me natural smiles. Why do I do this to myself and my family?! Because it's Christmas gosh darnit, and we're going to show everyone how bloomin' happy we are!

So...which picture do you think is going to show up in your Christmas card this year? You'll just have to wait and see....

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Our Weekend

Well, the weekend wasn't a total bust. We got a big ice storm, and only a handful of people were able to make it to our art open house. All that work! (oh, well...we're telling ourselves that we're building anticipation for next year's show, which will be a huge success!!!) We did however get the house fairly cleaned up (the upstairs anyways, although the bedrooms and downstairs are still feeling the aftermath) and now the house is all decorated for Christmas. We put all of our family decorations on the tree Saturday night after removing all of the sale ornaments. The boys were way excited to put up their special ones from years past. Of course we have the usual high concentration of ornaments at the base of the tree, where they can reach! Every year I buy Will a star:

Sam a ball: and now Max will get a snowflake: Then someday they'll have a collection of ornaments for their own tree. Will grumbles about the fact that he has no choice in the matter, but I think he secretly likes it! One of the funnier moments of the night was when Sam heard me say, "The lights are on, but nobody's home" about this ornament: Now every time he enters the room, he heads straight for that house ornament and says, 'The lights are on, but nobody's home' which just sounds hilarious coming from a 4 year old's innocent mouth. He of course has no clue of the sarcastic meaning of the phrase. He also is extremely intrigued by the idea of "toe mistle" as he calls it. I made the mistake of explaining the concept before I remembered that I'd actually thrown our mistletoe out last year because it was falling apart. So he was disappointed to not get to try it out. Many of you know and have experienced first hand Sam's deep love of kissing, so the idea of mistletoe is like a dream come true. So I'll definitely need to get some this week. Will decided to decorate some trash and turn it into an ornament, which he then gave to Sam as a gift. I tried to throw it away, because I didn't know, but no one would let me, so it's still on the tree:

Here are each boys' versions of Feliz Navidad and a special bonus duet, which unfortunately and not surprisingly ends in tears. (Will's version is sung in what he calls his 'rock n' roll voice' which we think sounds more twangy than anything else!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


We like pirates around here. We talk like pirates, we play pirates, we dress up like pirates, we draw pirates, we like treasure, and anything pirate-y. Will drew these pictures on a magna-doodle the other day and even gave them all names.
Long John Steve:
Al Coward:
Captain Something, and his parrot, the Jolly Roger 2
the treasure map:the ship, with two Jolly Rogers - on the flag, and on the boat:

Sam found this 'treasure' the other day lying on the ground under the bleachers at the rec center - a foreign coin - and claims that it's pirate gold. This is his pirate voice:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mego Lego

Will has been working on a major lego project.
According to Will, it is actually 4 battleships connected together to make a super mega battleship. There are 6 guns, 8 guys, and over 38 bombs.


Here is your daily dosage of cuteness.

(She is getting a little distracted by my oldest, who won't stop his usual pestering.)

Will's Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving, Will decorated the dining room with some wonderful pictures (which he decided needed his initials, WPB:)
a turkey: a pilgrim:
the mayflower:
an indian:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Annual Tradition

It has become a Brown tradition to take an annual Thanksgiving picture. And this year was no different! Aren't we a handsome bunch?! Left to right in the back: Our nephew Dillon, brother-in-law Scott, niece Madison, nephew Jared, Damon, his Dad Larry. On the couch: Damon's mom Vicki, his sister Shelly, me, and Max. And of course on the floor: Will and Sam. This year we are especially thankful for my mother-in-law's continued improving health, and that we got to spend time with the Cole's who recently moved to Texas. And of course we are thankful for Max's first Thanksgiving!

Story Time on the Second Story

The other night I came into the boys' room to find story time happening in an unusual place. Yes, somehow Damon managed to get himself and the baby up into the top bunkbed! Getting down required a little mom help. I couldn't help but take a picture first. (notice the peace symbol lives on...)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Turkey Day! I have lots to be thankful for: all the boys in my house who keep me smiling, a hubby who loves me, family who are amazing, good health, a warm, safe place to live, art, a Jesus who I love and who loves me, and much, much more.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Silly Times with Two Silly Girls

(The title is a spin -off of a book that Will has: Silly Times with Two Silly Trolls. Since I dare not call my sister and mother 'trolls,' I opted for 'girls' instead. You can thank me later.) Tomorrow Laura, Mom, Don and I head back up to the Des Moines area for our second craft show of the holiday season. Two weeks ago, we headed to Ankeny for the North Pole Village craft show. (See this post on our art blog.) Also, to find out where we'll be this weekend click here. I'm looking forward to some more silly times like these taken 2 weeks ago:

Laura, modeling the tiny carts we found at a Hy-Vee - just the right size for donuts and milk. How come our Hy-Vee's don't have these?!

The princess and the pea:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Getting to Know Will

Here are Will's answers: (See an earlier post for Sam's answers)
name: Will
Where do you live: Westminster Street. What about "what day you were born?"
Ok, What day were you born: November 3rd, 1999
So that makes you how old?: 8, why do I need to do all these questions?
For fun. Your favorite thing to do: I can't decide. Go to Jack and Noah's house and play with them, play Lego Star Wars 2
Favorite food: pepperoni pizza
what's your favorite subject: Math, I'm also good at it too.
least favorite: reading
who do you play with: Jack D, Jack A, Witt, Quenton, and sometimes Jonathon
Favorite teacher: every teacher at Lemme
Favorite thing about Lemme: the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated and that it's a bully-free zone. NO BULLIES!!
favorite sport: football, soccer, swimming
favorite animal: pokemon!
No really, what's your favorite real animal: dragon
What do you like to do outside: a game, it doesn't really have a name. You know Max's little pumpkin? Someone hides the pumpkin and then we try to find it. And we made up a game named Spies. (Looking at the computer screen.) A sentence doesn't start with 'and' - our teacher told us that. Why are you writing that? No, really, why are you writing that?! MOM?!
Me: You're right. A sentence doesn't start with "and" but sometimes when you're doing something really creative you can break the rules. When you're in school, you should follow the rules of "and" for now. First you have to follow the rules before you know how to break them.
Who are your brothers: Sam and Maxwell, that spits up a lot.
What's your favorite thing about Sam: that he loves me. Plus, sometimes he's pretty silly. Sentences don't start with "plus" either....aren't you going to write that? (So I did.)
me: Just let me worry about that. What's your favorite thing about Max: he's cute.
Favorite thing about Dad: he plays with me
Favorite thing about Mom: that you're really nice.
Favorite book: Pirate Mom, Curious George books, Magic Tree House books, Pee Weed books
Favorite TV show: Pokemon
Favorite movie: Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
What do you want to be when you grow up: engineer, like my dad
If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go: Wisconsin Dells
So if you could go anywhere in the whole wide world, that's where you'd go?: Yep. I wish I could be there forever.
If you had a million dollars what would you buy or what would you do with it: I'd give some of it to the church, then I'd buy a gameboy and 5 games to go with it. What did Sam say he would do?
Me: I didn't ask him that question.
What do like the best about yourself: that I'm lucky to get a dog and two brothers
If you could change one thing about yourself: having glasses, because I hate having glasses. Can we go now? I just want to stop asking these coo-coo questions and get a crazy snack.
Me: oooh-kaaay.

Peace and Leaves

One of the things that our boys (and the neighbor kids) look forward to most about autumn is all of the leaves. We have alot of mature trees in our neighborhood, and behind our house there is a cul-de-sac that makes the perfect place for the neighbors to put their leaf piles. (They are not crazy about our kids playing in the piles, since they're the ones doing all the work, and one neighbor actually told them they couldn't. But it's not their property, and as long as they stay out of the neighbor's yards, and clean up any mess they make in the street when they're done, we've told them they can do it. Some of our neighbors have obviously forgotten what it's like to have children. These leaf piles are like a dream come true!) The piles get so big that they are taller than the boys! They make forts and pretend that the leaves are water, go diving and play 'squid.' The fire hydrant makes a great jumping off point.

It seems Will has to do something with his glasses every year:

Evidently this is the newest coolest way to pose, because I had to discourage the "peace sign" (or some form of it) from showing up in almost EVERY picture:

See what I mean?!