Sunday, June 29, 2008

Guess What Wii Got?!

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Walking Boy

This is one of Max's favorite new activities. It won't be long before he's taking off on his own!

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Nothing much deters him. I put the coffee table across the kitchen doorway to keep him out while I was cleaning (because for some reason he doesn't like to go underneath it) and he simply went up to it and pushed it into the kitchen, walking behind it like it was no big deal. Determined to get through, later on he decided he would crawl underneath it, so so much for that! Life is certainly getting more and more interesting.

The Best Artwork

Earlier this week we had a little family get together to celebrate Damon's birthday. Our nephew Noah made his Uncle Damon this awesome piece of artwork. Can you see his mother's, aunt's and grandmother's influence?!

My husband really is the best.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Robot

Will made this fine robot for his friend's birthday. He has 1oo watt lightbulb eyes and a speaker phone in his mouth. He's saying "I am a robot! I am a robot!"

Log Your Flood Volunteer Hours

Iowa City will get reimbursed by the federal government for volunteer hours put in sandbagging and/or post-flood cleanup. To enter your hours, go here. Pass the word along to anyone you know who has volunteered.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Clean-Up Continues

Parkview Church is in the process of gutting out and cleaning up after the flood. Scott Sterner's blog and the church's website offer lots of information about how to help (there's a major workday scheduled for Saturday) and provide some stirring pictures of the massive efforts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy B-day, hubby!

Here are 34 things I love about you, Damon:

  1. You love God and Jesus is your Savior
  2. You are an AWESOME Dad
  3. You are an excellent provider
  4. You let me take your picture (albeit reluctantly)
  5. You play "get Daddy" with the boys
  6. Your smarts
  7. Your graying temples only make you look sexier and more distinguished
  8. Your willingness and even eagerness to help others in need
  9. You are good at maintaining balance in your life and we are always one of your top priorities
  10. You are UNBELIEVABLY patient (with me, with the kids, with me...)
  11. You let me go downstairs to paint and take care of the kids so I can
  12. You always bring home surprises when you go on work trips
  13. Your love of all things orange
  14. You let me buy your clothes and almost always wear what I buy you
  15. Your ability to take the lead
  16. You're not afraid to tell me what you think
  17. You are dependable
  18. You love my family and your family so much
  19. I know you pray for me and the kids
  20. Your ability to turn the kids' behavior into a spiritual lesson
  21. You are tender and affectionate with me and the boys
  22. You are aware of the importance of teaching the boys how to treat a woman
  23. Your laugh, especially when you start crying
  24. You are humble
  25. You make me feel safe
  26. You can fix anything (or at least you think you can, and you're usually right.)
  27. You always kiss me when you leave for work and when you get home
  28. You are compassionate
  29. You are such a good teacher
  30. You are strong in all the areas I'm weak in
  31. You help me whenever and wherever you can, I don't even have to ask
  32. You don't take things too seriously and you help me to lighten up
  33. You took me to prom on our second date after I kind of halfway invited myself
  34. You love me unconditionally

These are just some of the many things I love about you. Happy Birthday, honey!

Quad Cities Air Show

We had a fun day this past Saturday at the Quad Cities Air Show. It was an all day event. There was lots to see and do. If you look closely, there's a crazy fella standing out on top of this plane with a neon orange jacket and his arms spread open wide. Max hung out underneath the umbrellas and tried to stay out of the sun.
It always helps to have a shoulder seat when you can't see the action.
As you can see, there was a little bit of action going on in the back:
Sharing a frozen lemonade that Grandpa Larry bought them:
Oops. Frozen lemonade to the head:Jeep had a big section set up where you could rock climb:
...or not:
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And take a test drive through an obstacle course:
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This may appear random to some of you, but if you're a mother, you'll understand why I had to take a picture of Sam. His forehead, eye lids and bridge of his nose were swollen from a mosquito bite he'd acquired on Thursday night. It was more than a bit disturbing. We gave him Benadryl everynight and topical cream throughout the days, but he didn't start looking normal until Monday.
Ok. Back to the airshow. The highlight of the day was the Blue Angels. The videos don't do anything to capture the intensity of seeing them in person. It is so unbelievably loud and fast and there's so much power and precision in what they do. You feel the noise through your whole body. It was impressive. Plus it just made me proud to be an American. I so appreciate what the military does for us each and every day.
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Really, we had a good time, I promise. The Blue Angels just got a little intense.


Once home, I was treated to this spectacularly life-like re-enactment of the Blue Angels show. video

T-Ball

It's that time of year again, folks: T-Ball. This year Noah and Will are on the same team - the Pirates - and guess who their coach is?! Uncle Joe.



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Here's what Sam and Lily like to do at the games:
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Lily hasn't quite got it figured out. She tends to go across the hill instead of down it! Or just scoot. Laura may have some grass stains on some undies to deal with there. It's pretty cute.


Oh. And this is pretty cute too. This is what my mom likes to do at ball games:


Lily looks a little worried when Max comes around:but she really does love him:I mean what's not to love?!

"Is this double-header ever going to end?!"

Caterpillar

Lily was kind enough to let Max borrow her caterpillar. It seems to be a popular item around our house right now, even though I keep reminding certain someones that they are too big to be riding on it.

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Max really thinks he'd like a Twizzler.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Visit From Cowboy Sam

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Max's New Toy

With all of Max's fussing and restlessness, we decided maybe he could do with a new toy. So we got him this little convertible walker/ride-on. So far he's hesitant to stand up to it - he's no dummy. He knows it's going to roll away from him. But he will "walk" on his knees with it! When it's in ride-on "mode" he wiggles because he knows it goes - but doesn't know how to make it go by himself yet. Still, the camera apears to be more interesting. I just can't win. video

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Artwork

With all of the end-of-the-year stuff that comes home in tons, we had been accumulating piles of papers on our dining room table for the last month. Everytime I'd walk by it, I'd lament its ability to magically multiply and then I'd keep right on going. This past weekend we finally got around to sorting and here's some of the stuff we came across:

clown, by Will:
Alphabet fish, by Will (supposedly the letters of his full name are hidden in it):
caterpillar, by Will:
Handprint flower for Mother's Day, and leopard mask for circus day, by Sam:

(Don't you like how he writes his name?!) Tissue paper butterfly and silly hair by Sam:
bees and a caterpiller by Sam
decorated "S":
swat the flies (with a painted fly swatter!) and a race car by Sam:


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Most Annoying Noise Ever

Max has started making arguably the most annoying fake fussy noise ever. How do I know it's fake? Because once you look at him, or give him any kind of attention or even just aim the camera at him, it magically stops. So capturing the elusive noise on camera proved to be a bit difficult, but you get the idea. He'll go on and on without ever actually crying, because nothing's really wrong. He's usually just bored. It's a total attention getter and really getting on my nerves. Go ahead, you can call me heartless, but after you've heard it for the 50th time that day, you'd start to see my point.

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Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Damon! I am so blessed that you are the father of my children. No one but you has the patience, the dedication and the love that you do. Hope you have lots of great bike rides with your boys.

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Our Life, From the View of an 8 yr. Old

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Just keepin' it real.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

INSIDE the Church Pictures

If you go to Scott Sterner's blog, he has recently added pictures of what the INSIDE of Parkview church looks like today. There are a TON of images - all are disturbing. The ones that especially hit me hard were the pictures of the hand-lettered walls that my mother created in the sunday school/preschool hallways, the nursury toys, and the playground. Scott also mentioned that CNN was along for the tour and will be broadcasting a story at 10pm tonight.

More Flood Info

One of the best resources I've found for up-to-date road closings and evacuations, an actual READABLE Iowa City flood plain map, emergency phone numbers for various agencies and other important flood related information is the city of Iowa City's official website. It's been a bit frustrating to hear the television stations go on and on about Cedar Rapids, (who I recognize still have it really bad) but show us so little of what's going on in Iowa City. I think the anticipation is starting to get to me!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Parkview Flooded

Despite all of our best efforts, we are losing our church to the flood. This picture was taken by a Parkview member at 3pm today. We had built sandbag walls to withstand flood heights of 30 feet, but the predictions are at 38 feet. As of this morning there was about 3 feet of water INSIDE the building. Water will eventually reach the roof line. It is very sad and discouraging. There are so many memories and connections I have to this place. It's where we said good-bye to my dad (until we are re-united in heaven.) It is where we came to know Jesus. It is where we got married. It is where our kids have been dedicated, educated, and have grown spiritually. It is where so many people have put in so much time and effort. There are so many unknowns. Where will Sam and Lily go to preschool in the fall?! But yet through all of this, there is now more than ever a sense of family and community in our church. People have been through so much together. We are constantly reminded that our church is NOT a building; our church is the PEOPLE! Even with all of the uncertainty, we continued to have and finished out VBS. On Wednesday we moved everything to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (over by us, luckily!) It was challenging to make do with the space and resources we had, but everything went surprisingly well! Many of the bridges in Iowa City are closed today and travel around the city is interesting, to say the least. Predictions are that all bridges will eventually close. We have not seen the worst flooding yet - that will come early next week. If you're interested, Scott, our worship pastor, has done an amazing job of chronicling the efforts at the church on his blog. He has pictures of the removal of "meaningful artwork" (a piece my mom helped create! I can only hope mine was removed too!),and evacuation of all of the furniture, electronics, and pianos on forklifts through the water! Also, keep checking Parkview's website. They have been adding more pictures and videos and have the latest updates on the building's status.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Flood Pictures

I found these pictures on Press Citizen.com today. They have quite the photo gallery of flood pictures, so check it out. This first picture was taken Monday night at dusk. Damon took 'off' the day and was at the church from 9am-9pm! Evidently there was a complete rainbow. Everyone just kind of stopped and took it in. Is God trying to tell us something?! As if this picture isn't awesome enough, (that's Scott Sterner - our pastor of worship - in the green vest) it is also a "Where's Damon" picture. Can you find him?!

This next picture is for Emily. Her good friends Greg and Andy are pictured here preparing some of the drainspouts. Andy was quoted as saying, "I just hope it stays down for when I get married here in about 30 days." This would be the same wedding that Emily is coming home to sing in!
It looks like the water officially went over the spillway at the Coralville Reservoir earlier at 8:30 this evening. Although Damon went to work today, he and Will spent the evening at church. Even though the sandbagging efforts are done there, Parkview has become the hub for efforts to save the surrounding neighborhoods. So Parkview is now helping in that effort. Damon said it was neat to see several of our brother-in-law's Scott's extended family out there helping out. "They," whoever "THEY" is, are predicting that this will be worse than the '93 flood. In '93 the water was literally at Parkview's doorstep, but no water came inside. We'll see what happens this time around...

Monday, June 09, 2008

VBS

The kids had a fun day at Vacation Bible School. Sam's group made and decorated pinwheels.

Will and Noah's groups made layered sand crosses. Each color represents a different aspect of God. They got to use tiny funnels to pour the sand in. It seemed to be a hit.


Jack is helping us this year in the craft room. He was an awesome youth worker. Very helpful and great with the kids - even his own brother!

Grandma Connie is being an awesome helper too - by watching Max and Lily this week!

More Sandbagging Efforts

Damon decided to take the day "off" from work and help out at the church again. Today he was wearing a very official looking neon green vest and directing people and traffic in and out of the parking lot. He had no response when I asked him how he got such a cushy job. Maybe it had to something to do with how hard he worked yesterday. (Not only did he load me up from the cancelled art festival, he then went and helped a co-worker who lives next to the English River move the first floor of his house to higher ground, then sandbagged at Parkview for 4 1/2 hours!) He's been there since 9am, with no plans to come home anytime soon!

In the midst of all of the sandbagging efforts, we are having Vacation Bible School this week! Talk about chaos! Not sure what's going to happen tomorrow, as the entire parking lot is predicted to be underwater by tomorrow. We may either postpone or cancel the rest of VBS, or move to another church.

Damon's dad Larry is an awesome hardworking man. He's always ready to help. (I think that's where Damon gets it from!) Here's Larry tying sandbags and piling them up. I just hope he knows when to quit. I don't want him to overdo it and hurt himself.


An overall view of the efforts:
Last night Damon and Will were at church from 4:30-9. Will was an awesome helper. He was truly a great worker, had fun and didn't want to leave! I think the helping legacy is living on.... And he had lots of good ideas about what we could do all do to help. He went up to the deacon leader as he was speaking on his bullhorn and waited patiently for him to be done so that he could offer him this advice:


"I know how we can save our church. When we use electricity we give off household gasses which pollute the air. The household gasses are hot and it pollutes the air which is making the ice 'capsules' (caps) melt and the sea levels are rising. So if we use less electricity every day then the ice 'capsules' won't melt and the sea levels won't rise as much. That's how we can save our church."



Consequently, my little environmentalist had me getting ready this morning in the dark because everytime I turned around he was shutting lights off - no matter if it was the room I was in or not. He didn't have much to say this afternoon when I pointed out that the TV, the computer, and the video games were all using electricity.


They have an awesome system set up to fill sandbags quickly using orange traffic cones as funnels.
Here was the view out the back of the church this morning. The water is getting much higher and closer and is continuing to do so. People said that you can see huge carp swimming out there and jumping out of the water! How strange is that?!


If you want to see more pictures and videos, go here. I couldn't get the videos to work, but maybe you can.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Coralville Reservoir

Just like everyone else and his brother, (I even saw my grandma and grandpa Quint tootling along out there!) we made a trip out to the Coralville Res to see the water in danger of flooding over the spillway. It was bumper to bumper traffic.
The boys couldn't resist taking these half-finished stairs down to the fossil area. Normally there isn't water here. This fossil bed was uncovered in the flood of '93.

This road curves over to the left and leads to where that there big water comes gushing out of the dam. (That's the technical term for it.)

Lots of people were climbing the spillway and the boys begged to be able to join them, but we both felt it was too dangerous and too much effort!
View from the top of the dam, looking down at where the beach used to be, you can just see the flat tops of the bathrooms:
There's an orange triangular top of a shelter through the trees. Looking the other way, down at the campgrounds and "where all that there big water comes gushing out." Why is there always one idiot who can't seem to follow the rules like everybody else?! His dog was trying to put on the brakes; he obviously had more sense than his owner. And just in case some of you were wondering, (and I know some of you were,) yes, Max was there too. Just in case you were curious.