Friday, June 29, 2007


We've all enjoyed going to Will's T-ball games on Thursday nights. These pics were from his first game a few weeks ago. It's amazing how much improvement we've seen in his skills since then! At this first game he was most concerned about kicking, playing, and looking at the dirt. He also ended up batting off the tee each time he was up to bat. But last night he got two hits, (and batted from the tee once) one of his hits he made to home, the other he got out at 2nd! It's fun to see him advancing as he learns the rules of the game - most of which are taught through trial and error! (He now knows you can overrun 1st, but not 2nd - two lessons learned the hard way.) He's such a good sport and just likes to have fun and be with the other kids, which is the way it should be! They are very team-spirited. We can often hear Will's voice from the bench yelling, "Let's go Cardinals, Let's go!!!" At this stage in Will's sports career, it's all about the drink and snack that you get afterwards. That is the real highlight!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nursing Questions

Will saw my "new" borrowed nursing pump and all the extra paraphenalia laying on the table this morning and asked me what it was all for. I told him that it was to pump milk for the baby and I kind of patted my chest. He looked very confused, so I told him that when the baby is very little, I'm the only one that can feed it, unless I pump out milk into a bottle, for Dad to give. His response was, "I thought only cows could do that." I said, no, people can do it too. Later on when he heard me telling my mom the story, he said, "so does that mean I can do it too?" I had to clarify that only girls could do it. He's evidently forgotten that he got to witness all of this once before, with Sam. I'm sure I'll be fielding all kinds of interesting questions! It'll be old news before long I'm sure.

5 Little Monkeys, Sitting in a Tree...

You can barely see Jack peeking through the branches in the back, and Lily is down on the ground on the right, trying to get up on a step stool to join the boys. This lasted only a brief moment before people started complaining that their hands were getting stepped on.

Sprinkler Fun

Last night Damon got out the sprinkler and the kids had fun riding various vehicles through it.

This is how Damon spent some of his time: making phone calls, and doing work on the laptop. He was also kind enough to cut some boards for me for some art projects, and after the kids went to bed, he worked on the boys' new room. Such a good guy! (Notice the new flip-flops? He's against anything you have to put between your toes, but I got these for him for his birthday, and he actually put them on last night!)

It was pretty hot yesterday, so this was the perfect way to get rid of some extra energy! Sam looks like he's conquered the sprinkler.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Cookie Era Has Ended

Much to my children's regret, and much to my glee, the Cookie Era has ended in our household. Joe and Laura's small yet surprisingly annoying dog went home this morning, (since she had an appointment at the grooomers, Joe thought they'd just keep her.) Woo Hoo! Sam was quite distraught. He said, "But I NEED Cookie!!!" and I just had to reassure him that we could still go visit her. He was not at all impressed when I reminded him that we still had Lucy and he could play with her. I even tried to tell him that Lucy was going to get her feelings hurt if he didn't want to play with her. He could have cared less. He was very dramatic. He went downstairs, realized yes, she really was gone, and said, "gone....FOREVER!!!!" Will, ever helpful, tried to reassure Sam by saying, "Don't worry, we'll just get another dog for Lucy to play with." Yeah, right, buddy. Keep dreaming.

I'm not real certain where Cookie is spending her next few nights, since McCarragher's don't officially move in until Sunday. So despite my celebratory post here, we are still willing to keep her until then if need be. She's not really that big of a deal to take care of. Just don't go accusing me of being secretly in love with her or anything.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Successful Night!

I could be jinxing myself by saying this, but hey, I'm not superstitious. The boys did great their 2nd night sharing a room! They only came out twice, once to say that Sam wouldn't be quiet, and once to get drinks of water, then all was quiet! I didn't hear anything after 9:30 - still an hour past their normal bedtime - but a whole hour earlier than last night! So we're getting there. The greatest part is that no one woke up until 8am! Will said Sam woke him up this morning because he was singing in his bed - not a bad way to wake up! No one should be grumpy today! Well, at least not because of lack of sleep anyway. (I'm giving myself an out, because I'm just so all around uncomfortable these days. I can usually find something to be grumpy about.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there! Especially our favorite Dad: Damon! We love you and think you're the greatest!! You take care of us, make us laugh, and love us unconditionally!!
We started out the day in a very special way this morning at the early hour of 5:30! Last night was the first night that Will and Sam shared a room. (Will's bed is temporarily in Sam's room while Damon redoes Will's room. Eventually they'll both move into Will's room, and into the bunkbeds.) Not only did they get up early, they didn't fall asleep until after 10:30 last night - an unheard of bedtime for our boys. They goofed off and laughed and got irritated with each other, and came out with some excuse at least 10 tens. The "talking to" we'd given them ahead of time did very little. We'd told them how important it was to stay in their beds, because if they got up, the other one would get up. Well, that didn't last. It was cute only the first time:
Will: Mom?
Sam: (repeating) Mom?
Will: I can't sleep.
Sam: I can't sleep eiver.
Me: I thought I told you to stay in your bed because you know who would follow you out.
Will: I told him to stay in his bed, but he didn't listen to me.
Me: Huh.
Sam: I told Will we were big boys now but he didn't wisten to me.
Imagine similar scenarios repeated until it's just not cute anymore.
They slept all through the night, then when Will woke up at 5:30, and not knowing what time it was, he got up to check his alarm clock, which was still in his room. After very noisily opening the door, we were all awake, and some of us were not going back to sleep. After multiple threats to be quiet and go back to sleep, and various punishments interspersed every 20 or so minutes when the noise level increased, the boys were allowed to come out at 7am, having never gone back to sleep, and Damon and I went back to bed until a much more civilized hour, leaving the boys to fend for themselves in front of the TV. By the time we made it to church at 10:30, Sam was sound asleep, and not too happy to be woken up. He recovered, made it through Sunday school and lunch and fell asleep on the way home, for 2 hours. Will on the other hand, will go on fumes until an EARLY bedtime. Hopefully Sam will be ready for that too, even with a nap. Will's clock is now by his bed, so he'll always know what time it is. (We have a rule that if he wakes up early, he can come out at 7am.) So maybe that will help, although how tempting is it, to wake up your brother when you're bored and waiting for it to be 7?! So I'm not holding my breath on that one. It's got to go better than last night. IT'S JUST GOT TO!!!!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

VBS is Over!

Whew! What a busy week! We finished VBS this morning and both the boys were bummed for it to be over, they had so much fun. Yesterday I spent the morning prepping, cutting ribbons and cutting hundreds of 1 inch strips for an origami-type folding project that the older kids did today. They made them into bookmarks. Will's class made rocket bookmarks with ribbons for the fire.

Sam and Noah's grades made gadget belts, with 3 paper gadgets to decorate: a phone, binoculars, and a flashlight.

Jack's class made the complicated folded bookmark. After helping kids make them over and over I finally know how to do it myself! So I brought home the supplies to make one with Will. At the end of the morning they had a little closing program where they all sang some of the songs they'd worked on during the week. The kids didn't have to get up and perform per se, but they did have the younger ones come up to do one of their songs, because there weren't so many of them. I was so surprised to see Sam actually participating! Everytime I've seen him this week, he's just sat quietly and watched the music, like he's too overwhelmed to acually participate. It was really the first time I'd seen him do anything like this, and I almost started crying for a second! He's getting so big! (Will, of course, has no problem getting up and shaking his booty.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The "Noah Look"

Look who's got the "Noah" look goin' on! I bet Noah didn't know he was starting the newest popular trend. Will INSISTED he wanted his hair cut like his cousin Noah's. (Who actually got his butch quite by accident. Read the rest of the story here and here.) So both my boys got butched - not quite as short as Noah's was, but much shorter than their usual styles. Now you can totally see Sam's scar on his scalp where he had a staple, because no hair grows there! They were both so proud when they got back. They both kept saying, "Feel my head! Feel my head, it's just like Noah's!!"

VBS - Day 2-3

Yesterday at VBS was fun. The theme of the day was Unity. They talked about Esther. This is what Sam came home looking like. Not sure if he's going to have a disguise for every day, or what! We only have the kids on MWF, so T,TH are our prep days. So yesterday we spent the whole morning cutting out the spaces in between letters on these fish and crosses that said "Love" with X-acto knives. We had to do quite a few of them. It took us all morning.
Today, the kids used our cut outs to put together these cards to give to missionaries. This one was Will's. They glued colored paper behind the letters, then glued the whole thing to a card. They wrote a note inside and attached one of their bible verses for the week. This is what Will wrote:

Dear Missionary, Thanks for helping people! And don't forget to read the verse above. From Will

He's always short and sweet and to the point! On the way home, Will said, "next time we do a craft project, can we do something that we can keep and take home?" Our craft leader had thought ahead that she might get some reactions like that, so she had rubber Jesus bracelets and candy for the kids to take, so they'd come away with something.

Noah and Sam's groups decorated paddle balls and made macaroni necklaces. Not sure why Sam is coloring with his left hand, since he's right-handed!

Today's theme was Training and they talked about Daniel. The oldest kids made praying hands by using a mold and thin metal sheets. They had to rub the metal with an etching tool and their fingers to mold the metal onto the outside of the mold, so that the image appeared on the metal. It took a lot of patience, but they did great. They put the metal in a cardboard frame, then decorated the frame. Jack wrote around the edges, "Pray to the Lord God."

My Dad

Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary since my dad passed away. My sister Emily wrote a tear jerking post with some very nice pictures. Laura wrote a very cute story about Noah talking about his Grandpa Bill. I guess I don't have much to say.

Monday, June 11, 2007

VBS- Day One

We had a very fun first day at Vacation Bible School. The theme is called SonForce Kids. It's all about being courageous special agents, and all kinds of cool spy stuff. It's worth clicking on the link just to hear the theme music! Today the kids were Level 1 Agents and they talked about Trust. -Trusting in God's plan. They talked about baby Moses. Will was very excited and is very into this. He's excited to advance to being a Level 2 agent tomorrow. I'm helping out with Arts and Crafts again this year, which is so much fun! It's basically because the women are so great, funny and silly! This year is the first year that Sam really gets to participate in the full program. Up til this point it's been more like he's hangin' in the nursury. But now he gets to go to music time and craft time and be in the chapel during opening when they do their skits. His group made disguise kits. I couldn't even recognize him with his secret identity. And boy did he blend right in:

When Damon got home from work I quick had Sam put his disguise on. Damon came in and was like, who is this stranger?! Sam said, "It's me!"

Will's group made secret laptop computers. They used CD jewel cases to make their "computers," complete with thumbprint identification scan. Inside are all their verses for the week.

I didn't even try to take Jack's picture. Didn't want to embarass him in front of his friends! It was a good, tiring first day!

It's an IKEA Miracle!

I can't believe it all fit! Any guesses as to how much stuff this actually is?!

Damon and I spent a fun, KID-FREE weekend in Schaumburg, Illinois at the IKEA store! Yes, it is possible to spend a whole weekend there! (It's amazing how much you can get accomplished without the kids.) A great big thank-you goes out to my mom and Don, for taking care of our kiddos for a whole weekend! Did I mention we were KIDLESS??!!! Not sure who was more tired, grandma and grandpa, or the kids. They had a great time going to Jack's game, swimming, a trip to CR, movies, playing outside, going to church, out to eat, and two visits to great grand-parents Quint and Berends. Whew!

We arrived at IKEA right after lunch on Saturday and set to work doing our shopping. We had done a lot of research online ahead of time, and had some good ideas of what we were looking for, but needed to see things in person to really know what we were interested in. Can I just reiterate how relaxing it was to look and shop without any kids?! Usually Damon and I end up on each other's last nerve when we try to shop together with the kids, but this was totally different! We stayed there all day until almost 8 o'clock, then purchased the items we'd picked up along the way. This first pass mostly just consisted of the accessory-type things we had encountered, that you can't live without because they're so cheap. Did you know that lots and lots of really cheap stuff adds up?!

Then we had a really nice dinner at the Weber Grill Restaurant. It was great - a bit on the pricey side - but worth it if you have no kids with you! They serve burgers, BBQ, chicken, steaks, and other special dinners. They cook all the food on HUGE weber kettle grills in an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs at work. Outside was a huge charcoal grill statue that could cook 2000 burgers at once, if it really worked. I had the Beer-Can Chicken - a half chicken grilled over a beer can, with a garlic spice rub, and their special loaded baked potato that had bacon, broccoli, butter, sour cream, and cheese sauce. SO YUMMY! Damon had ribs and beef brisket, baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. To start out with they give you these yummy rolls with smoked cheddar butter and regular butter. At the end of the meal, they send you home with a small packet of their signature spice rub. It was a fun experience. The light shades were all grill lids and there was a statue of the typical dad in a hawaiian shirt with his grill. The restaurant even offers grilling classes. Anyone who is a fan of grilling would like this restaurant.

During dinner and then later on back at the hotel we were able to make our final decisions, and checked a few more things on the website so that we could make our big heavy purchases the next day. We stayed at a very nice Quality Inn very close to IKEA. We were ready and waiting with our list, waiting for IKEA to open at 10am. By 1:30 we had made all of our purchases. This was the scary part: finding all of our parts and pieces and boxes in the self-serve warehouse. All the big items have tickets on them in the showroom, directing which aisle and bin to find your parts down in the warehouse. You had to make sure all your numbers were matching up, and some of the dressers and beds came in more than one box, so we just hoped and prayed, and double-checked that we had everything we needed. Luckily everything we wanted was in stock - another thing you don't really know until you get down to the warehouse. Although we checked stock availability online ahead of time for that store, we weren't sure how much to trust it. Our back-up plan was to drive to the newly opened store in the Chicago suburb Bolingbrook (which is smaller) if something was out of stock in Schaumburg.

To celebrate, we had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory across the street at Woodfield Mall. Another yummy experience! We even spent a few minutes walking around inside the mall, which was huge.

I'm sure we'll be posting before-and-after pics of the boys and our bedroom, as projects get finished. I'm sure it'll take us all summer! The plan for the boys room is to first paint, (blue and green and maybe some red accent?) then put up their new IKEA bunk beds. Damon is going to build a desk, built into the length of their closet, using table legs from IKEA and add shelves above. We got some cool accessories for their desk like some magnet boards, these plastic chairs and these "drawer" trays that attach to the table legs and then swivel underneath the desk when not being used. I hope no one tries to sit or stand on them! The chairs will match their new bedspreads. We also got them each these cool reading lamps that give Will his little taste of the Spiderman room he so desperately wanted, but is not getting. If you enlarge the image, you can see the plastic spider web grill and plastic spider, designed to keep little fingers away from the hot bulb. We are so excited, and so are the boys. As a special surprise, we brought them back stuffed dragons that I fell in love with on my last quick trip to IKEA in Minneapolis, on a Women of Faith weekend. They are quite long and already have been tied in knots, and dragged around the neighborhood. My hope was that they we can wind them around the bunk bed rails, but the boys may have a different idea. Sam says his dragon has a leaf tongue. Will named his Dragon "Fire."
The answer to how much stuff you can fit into a van:
1 set of bunkbeds, 1 twin mattress, 3 six-drawer dressers, 1 wardrobe, 1 queen headboard, 5 kitchen chairs, 2 desk chairs, 6 table legs, 2 laundry stands, don't forget 2 dragons, and other little miscellanous accessories. -All packaged flat and with room to spare!!! The packaged flat part means you put it all together yourself. Or I should say Damon does. He's in heaven.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Successful Weekend

Here's a glimpse into how our Iowa Arts Fest Weekend went:

This actually may give you the wrong impression. The boys were not bored and we were not bored. We did not have too much time on our hands, we were just being silly and decided to pose the dolls the same way the boys were sitting. We actually were very busy - Sunday more than Saturday. The rain did not keep people away. The kids had fun hanging out and doing some of the kid art stuff they had set up. Here are few more pics of some of my new things (I pretty much already showed you the rest of my new stuff in a previous post) I think you can double click on the images to see them closer, then you'll be able to read them and see the details:

and here are some of my mom's new things:

The rings - Ringy-Thingies - in the basket above, my mom made from vintage jewelry and buttons. Very cool. My very favorite new thing that my mom did were her Art Dollies - for girls of all ages. They are in the process of being christened with their own names.

My very favorite one is the purple girl in the last picture on the left. You've got to love her bikini top with the two buttons. These dolls were a big success. We posed them out and about, and had a pile sitting in a painted cradle. Some of them had pockets with removable hearts in them. Even Lily got one for her birthday:

One of the boys, I think it was Noah, said it looks likes a frog, so Laura said maybe they'll call her Ribberta. Way to go mom! Your crazy creativity never ceases to amaze me!!!

Camp Out

After the arts fest weekend, we had to hang some of the tent sides in the garage to finish drying. (We had some rain, but nothing that affected us too much.) Sam and our neighbor Samantha found it fun to "camp out." It was fun until it all fell down. (They were only being held up by the velcro straps.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Little Holy Rollers

We went to Noah's t-ball game last night and Will spent his time rolling down the hill. It eventually evolved into Will doing somersaults. It reminded us of The Princess Bride. "As yooou wiiiiiish!!!!!!!" Lily tried to do it too. She tended to go more sideways than down the hill! I don't know what's up with the new You Tube format, but all those pop-ups are interfering with my viewing pleasure. It's just annoying.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lucy and Cookie "playing"

I know that Laura and Joe have been curious to know whether their dog Cookie has been getting along with our dog Lucy while their dog is staying with us. I know it weighs heavily on their minds and they lie awake worrying about it at night. Their dog is just so little and our's is so big, it's bound to make them worried for everyone's safety. So just to put their minds at ease, I've taken some video. I've edited out the bloody parts, because I don't want them to feel bad. I'm sure that Lucy will learn to walk on 3 legs just fine . . . eventually. (Just kidding! hee hee!)

Well this video shows you what it is really like when they get together. I've been trying my best to keep them apart - which is not an easy feat in our household, because Cookie doesn't seem to like Lucy all that much. Basically it goes like this: Lucy would like to be friends and play, or just be left alone, and Cookie is a little hyper snot about it. I think Cookie likes being in charge, she realizes her size doesn't matter. Cookie basically spazzes out, when all Lucy'd really like to do is lay down, and then once Cookie does get Lucy all riled up along with her, she growls and yaps and runs Lucy off.

At Least Someone is Enjoying this Dog

Since Laura and Joe are "homeless" for a few weeks, their dog Cookie has been staying with us. Let's just say, she's not the kind of dog we are used to. The kids LOVE her, because she is just their size. They can't wait to take her for walks and play with her. Sam says that Cookie and Lucy are having a sleep over. I am used to Lucy - who listens, who stays off our furniture and beds, and who doesn't roll over and wet herself when Damon just looks at her. Sam gets such a kick out of playing with her because he's actually stronger than her (unlike our dog!) My favorite part of this video is when Sam says, "You want a piece of me?!" Not sure where he learned that!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Kent Park Day

Today all the 1st and 2nd graders spent the day at Kent Park. The plan was that they were going to go, rain or shine. Well, it rained. The kids were so disappointed. They'd planned to go fishing and hiking on nature trails. But none of that happened. Instead, they spent the day in the lodge, first listening to a nature expert talk about some of the wildlife, then had their picnic lunches, then watched the movie "Open Season." They ended up coming back early. Good news is that they get another chance at good weather next year, when Will goes again as a 2nd grader. Mrs. Hackbarth had told everyone to bring a hat and so Will insisted on wearing his (what he calls) "lucky fishing hat." Evidently it helps him catch fish. It was a birthday gift from McCarragher's (along with his own fishing gear.) It has his name painted on it, and was rimmed with fishing lures that Laura had attached. Will started out the day with only 2 of the lures left, and when he got home from school, they were all gone. I knew this would probably happen! In fact I didn't really want to let him take the hat in the first place, not because I cared about the lures, but because I knew it would be a distraction to him, and to others. But I finally gave in since it was the 2nd to last day of school, and it was going to be crazy anyway! When I asked what happened to the other lures, he said the other kids kept touching them and they fell off. He didn't seem too concerned about it. Oh well!

Animal Underwear

The other night Will was supposed to be in bed asleep when he came out like this:

He had taken his stuffed snake and tied it around his waist, and then taken all the rest of his stuffed animals and tucked them into his "belt." So there were about 15 animals hanging from him in front and back. I should have taken a video, because he looked really funny when he walked - all the animals swayed with him. I even called Damon in from the garage, saying, "Dad, you might want to come and see this." I'm not sure what posessed Will to do this, other than he was bored and couldn't get to sleep. He reminds me of something, but I can't think what it is. Tarzan?

Character Counts

At Lemme on Wednesday the whole school gathered together outside to have their chain-link celebration. (Click on the highlighted words to go to the links.) I like the picture at the bottom best because it gives you a good idea of how big their circle was. It would have gone around the entire building! It was about a mile long. Throughout the year teachers have been awarding kids a strip of paper each time they display one of the 6 pillars of character. They get their name written on that strip and the strips are color coded to match the 6 pillars. Wednesday was the big day when they connected all the strips together. they recited the Lemme Pledge all together, then they all had a picnic lunch outside. The Press Citizen did an article as well. Everyone was so excited! This is a new tradition that our new principal, Mr. Bacon, started this year. He said something like, "we're going to be literally connected by all of our good deeds!" (He's such a neat guy!) It was a great way to increase school spirit and emphasize the importance of character. It makes me feel like Lemme is a safe place to be!