Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Be sure to back up and look at a few earlier posts. I just published an entry that I started yesterday about the pumpkins that we carved last night and there are some cute videos there as well. The deal is that even though I just posted them tonight, I started writing it yesterday, so it posts back on yesterdays. So you may think you've seen all the new stuff, and meanwhile I've posted some other things you may have seen, but yet there's now something new a ways back. Does that make sense?! Kind of confusing. Does anyone know if there's a way to change the post date so that it shows up as the most recent? I don't think there's a way to do that, but you never know.

I just like to keep you all on your toes!

Happy Halloween!

A pirate:

Anakin Skywalker (complete with yarn braid):
Trick-or-treating with the neighbor kids:The cutest pumpkin you ever did see:

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "My it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air!"
The third one said, "We don't care!"
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run!"
The fifth one said, "Isn't Halloween fun?!"
Then "WOOO! went the wind and OUT went the lights,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sneak Peak

There is a certain accessory that I needed to make for Will's costume tomorrow night. Can you figure out what it is, or what it's for? I'll give you some helpful clues: Damon is NOT wearing it correctly and Will is not going to be a Hasidic Jew or Goldilocks for Halloween.

Pumpkin Time

When carving pumpkins, it is essential that you have the proper equipment, what's more, that you use it correctly. It's a little known fact that not only does this device keep pumpkin goo off of your forehead, it also protects you from becoming overwhelmed by pumpkin fumes.

We had Larry, my father-in-law, over for spaghetti, then got to work carving pumpkins. This year both the boys actually touched the pumpkin 'innards' - a huge improvement over previous years! Sam kept saying, "this is buhcusting (disgusting)!"

Even though it had been awhile since Larry had carved a pumpkin, his years of experience proved very valuable, although we never knew you were supposed to eat the slimy stuff :)

Of course the seeds were instantly put to good use as ammunition of some sort.

Will designed his pumpkin himself, and Grandpa Larry helped him execute it. Damon helped Sam do his. And yes, you heard right on the earlier video. Will managed to stab a hole all they way through the bottom of pumpkin with a spoon while scooping out seeds. It's a good thing that Halloween is tomorrow! Max missed out on the whole thing because he was sleeping off his rough day of shots, but his pumpkin managed to get into the picture.

And now for something really spooky...

I made the mistake of commenting on Sam's laugh by saying, "Spooky things are happening in this house." Then Sam kept going around the house repeating me, in a bit of a worried voice. So I found myself doing damage control and reminding him that I was just teasing.

There IS something spooky going on at our house; pumpkins rock all by themselves when you turn out the lights, but it's all just pretend.


Yesterday afternoon and today have gone better for my mother-in-law Vicki. She's no longer so anxious and nauseous. They have readjusted her epideral (which is making her numb in just her torso). They think that's what was causing alot of her dizziness and nausea. She has been able to get up and walk several times each day. They started her on some liquids yesterday, and removed the tube in her nose that was draining stuff from her stomach out through her nose. Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night were not so good. She was so anxious and nauseous that she didn't sleep for those first two nights. Various medicines they tried weren't relieving her of her anxiety. Finally they found something that worked and she's been much more comfortable and has been able to rest yesterday and today. They think she'll be in the hospital for 10-14 days. Keep praying!

Poor Baby

I just overheard Sam sitting on the stairs praying. He said, "God, help Max feel better from his shots. Amen." So I had to go give him a big hug. We talked about how neat it is that God is with you always and that you can pray anytime you want.
Sam: When God gets out of my head, I'm going to see him.
me: ok
Sam: (looking around) God? Are you there?
me: sometimes it's a feeling you have in your heart.
Sam: Now you pray and I'll be God.
me: ( thinking, should we be doing this?) Ok. God?
Sam: Yes....
me: Help Max to feel better. He got his shots today and he has ouchies on his legs. Amen.
Sam: Ok. Bye.

Max went to the doctor for his 2 month check up today. The poor baby was all happy laying on the changing table, smiling and cooing, and then BAM! : 3 shots in the legs! He's all tylenoled up and sleeping it off now. The interesting thing about his growth is that when we went in 2 weeks ago he was in the 25th percentile for his weight and 45th for his height. In the past two weeks I've gradually switched him over from nursing to soy formula and he is now in the 45th percentile for weight, and the 75th percentile for length! We had still been having issues with gassiness, fussiness, spit-up-iness, plus not being sure that he was even getting enough breast milk to satisfy. We were having these issues despite trying two different kinds of medicine (Zantac and Prevacid), and eliminating dairy from my diet, so I decided to try formula as a last resort. He seems to be doing a bit better fussiness wise, and is obviously growing better! I think he can just keep it down a bit better - plus there's more of it than he was getting from me. It makes me feel less guilty for stopping nursing, to know that he's growing so much better. I am starting to get used to the stinky soy smell, and Max is trying to get used to all the effort it takes to do his job in his pants. Other than that, we're good.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Damon's mom, Vicki is recovering today from major surgery. She had a tennis ball sized tumor removed from her abdomen yesterday at the University. Along with the tumor they removed 1/3 of her stomach, 1/2 of her pancreas, part of her small intestines, and her gall bladder. The surgery was scheduled to take 8 hours, but ended up being 12 hours due to the complications they ran into. We are very thankful that they think the tumor is not pancreatic cancer. It is however a type of cancer of the gastro-intestinal system. We are still waiting to hear from pathology exactly what we're dealing with. The doctors are throwing around a lot of big words, and Damon can't remember exactly what things are called - and I just hear things through him, so this is all I really know. This type of tumor does not have a test for its detection. It's miraculous that she was even diagnosed at all, considering her only symptoms were a little bit of acid reflux. She has a long recovery and undecided treatment ahead of her yet. I will keep you all updated as we learn more about where we go from here. Please pray for her recovery and healing. She is a great mother -in-law, and a super grandma!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Birthday Boys

Just in case you were under the false impression that we were done celebrating birthdays, here's proof that we've only really just reached the halfway mark. Last night we celebrated both Sam and Will's birthdays with the extended family. Will has lots more celebrating to do as his actual birthday gets closer (Nov 3). I made the world's ugliest looking cake. I don't know quite what I was thinking. Well, yes I do. I had bought strawberry mist frosting because it sounded good to me, but then once home, realized that it was going to look like a pink girly cake. So to combat the pinkness, I sprinkled black, purple, green and orange Halloween sprinkles on it, thinking that would "man" it up. That didn't really work. Then when you add in the clashing (not to mention awful tasting) candy letters what you end up with is one ugly looking cake. Oh, well. It tasted good.

Damon's comment about the walking sticks that the Berend grandparents got for the boys was this: "6 ft long walking sticks?! REALLY??!! What were they thinking?! Don't they know they're just going to end up in the garage?!" And I was like, "Well, yeah! I'm sure that's where the McCarragher boys are too!" You only need to touch them when you're actually going on a hike, and maybe then you only take one boy at a time, otherwise they're just weapons. Can you imagine Grandpa Don taking all 4 boys, each with their own walking stick on a hike?! (Watch him take up the challenge and prove me wrong! Which, by the way, you can do at 7:00 Saturday night, 'cause that's when the movie starts. You don't mind hiking in the dark, do you?! Just kidding!) Love ya, Mom and Don! Sam got pirate costume stuff from the McCarragher's, including this molting parrot that Sam named Garby. He also got a stars wars flying ship thing, I don't know what it's called, from the Brown grandparents.

Will got the Simon Remix electronic game from McC's and a really cool erector set from the Brown's. He's already started putting it together, and although it looks way complicated to me, I'm sure he'll get it figured out, 'cause he always does! (Takes after his Dad, that way!)

Monday, October 22, 2007


Here are some cute pictures we've taken recently.

Pouty Face:

This one's for Emmy: He looks like he's thinking hard about something.

Snuggy time:

Party Time

On Saturday Sam had his first ever friend birthday party. We invited 2 boys and 2 girls and one of the boys ended up being sick, so we had 4 kids all together - a nice number. It was a beautiful day so we made a maze out of different colored yarn and the kids had to follow their color of string all the way around the yard, until they found their treasure: a bag of candy. We worked right up to the last minute putting it all together, and then once we stood back to admire or 'handywork' I was a bit worried that all we'd done was create a big tangled mess. The different colors criss-crossed and wound over and back and stretched clear from one side of the yard to the other and even up into the front yard. It was kind of tricky for the kids, but they seemed to enjoy having to weave over and under the strings and nobody got hurt! I tried to get several maze pictures, but none of them turned out. You can't tell how complicated and far stretching it really was, so you'll just have to take my word for it!
Since we've accumulated a fair number of costumes throughout the years and because Halloween is right around the corner, we thought that the kids would enjoy dressing up. We borrowed some girl costumes from Lily but Samantha spent 2 minutes in the princess outfit before deciding to be Spidergirl. I had them come around the house and ring the doorbell for their "trick:" confetti party poppers. Only about half of them ended up working so it was a good thing I'd bought extras. The kids had fun with them anyway. Four year olds are easy to entertain! I know that you'll find it hard to believe, but the kids really liked Cookie. (We were dogsitting her for the weekend.)I think a good time was had by all!


A few months ago, Damon's work, CIVCO had a visit from Senator Chuck Grassley and over 100 ambassadors from all over the world. I was just cleaning up my email and ran across a link Damon sent me to a newspaper article that was written up about it. So I thought I'd share it with all of you, here. Damon's job was to help lead tours around the facility, answer questions and visit with people.

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Blog!

Check out the new link that I have added over to the right. It's called Things With Wings Art Journal and it's a collaborative blog that me, my mom and sisters are going to start contributing a variety of artistic things to. We're just getting it up and running so check back with us periodically!

Crazy Cake

Yesterday at preschool, the class put together a Happy Birthday book for Sam. Here's Mrs. Grandma's page. She made Sam a 'Crazy Cake' because she knows that in our house the boys like to have what we call 'crazy snacks' - which basically involves throwing a little bit of this and a little bit of that into a bowl - whatever I happen to have on hand: cereal, crackers, marshmallows, fruit snacks, chocolate chips, etc. Since receiving the book, he's carried it around with him (like he used to carry around his adventureland map) and goes straight for Grandma's page. He always asks me to read off the labels of the different layers of the cake, even though he knows darn well what they are. This particular cake has marshmallows, teddy grahams, goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, chocolate chips, and m&m's. He can be heard saying to himself, "Now that's what I call a crazy cake!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pretend Pancakes

Since Sam stayed home from preschool on Tuesday (fever and ear infection) Mrs. Grandma (in art teacher mode) sent home a project for Sam to do at home: pretend paper pancakes. Tonight we decided to "trick" Daddy into thinking it was his dinner when he came home from work. We had the table all set up, and Sam announced to Dad that his dinner was ready, and led him to the table. He was so tickled to "fool" his Dad and Damon (always the good sport) played it up beautifully.

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy Sam! He's 4 years old today! He was so excited to go to pre-school this morning. We made some scary looking mini-cupcakes for his birthday treats to bring to school. We were still responsible to bring a regular approved snack, so we also brought grapes and milk. Since it was his special sharing day, he decided to bring his AWANA's vest, book and bag to talk about.

My favorite part of the above video is when his teacher tells him that she used to do AWANA's too, and Sam says, "When you were a boy?" I also like the use of the fake microphone with the tinfoil top. His class sang Happy Birthday to him, and the whole time Sam blinked his eyes really fast, because he was a little embarassed. When they were done, he asked if he could be done now! He just wanted to sit with everyone else in the circle, instead of being singled out. He also had to hold the flag while they did the Pledge of Allegiance, check the weather and put the appropriate weather picture on the chart, put today's date on the calendar, and put 4 candles on the birthday cake poster. Whew! So much to do! It was a lot of pressure! He also wore a birthday crown all morning and got to be the line leader (You can kind of tell that he is the tallest one in his class!) His teachers gave him a cup full of little birthday goodies and the class made him a Happy Birthday book that each student drew a picture in. This afternoon a package came in the mail for Sam from his Aunt Emmy. This video is for you, Em...

The boys had fun all afternoon playing with the goodies she sent. Sam was very good about sharing. Will kept asking, "When am I going to get some presents?!" It may be a long couple of weeks until Nov 3rd!

After AWANA's tonight, the boys had quick cupcakes and we sang to Sam. Will did a very thorough job licking the frosting out of his ring spider's "armpits" (as he called them.)

Happy Birthday, my sweet Sam!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Farm

On Saturday we spent the day at Carroll's Pumpkin Farm outside of Grinell. Everyone had lots of fun. We took a wagon ride out to the fields and the kids got to pick out their own pumpkins. Here are a few (ok, a lot of) pictures.

My mom, looking out o'er yonder dale and fields:

Don was kind enough to trudge around in the mud with Max while we searched for the perfect pumpkins. Well, I took pictures. He evidently needed a kiss . . . Max that is:
Nice pumpkin!
Way in the distance you can see the catapult that launches rotten pumpkins into the pond - always a highlight.Little Men: Washin' the mud off:My little pumpkin:"Poor Man's Trampolines"

Cow train:
Miss Lily:

The boys were most intrigued by the various stages of decay. It was a score when they found worms or leaches on the pumpkins.
Hay stack slide:
Trike barn:
Wheelbarrow obstacle course:
Ok, so this was staged:
One of the highlights of the day were these tubes that the kids crammed themselves into in order to be rolled around until they got dizzy, or fell out, or felt sick, or whatever came first. (Sounds like a blast, right?! It is if you're a little boy.) Lily acts like she'd like to get in on the fun, but not really.

It was a good day - despite the mud and drizzle. We wore ourselves out!