Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Competition Was Neck and Neck...

Today, Taylor won first place for his Headless Man costume at the roller rink! He stayed in character the entire time (which means holding his disembodied head in his palm, and looking quite forlorn about his unfortunate and disgusting predicament):

Of course, he acts all unimpressed with winning and everything, but I know he's excited. He wanted this to be his costume so bad; he's been talking about it for weeks! I wasn't sure how to pull it off (I certainly wasn't going to buy what is basically a daddy-sized shirt for $30), but I'm glad we could whip up an award-winner at the last second! I love this kid so much...he's hilarious (the playing characters part, not the bloody stump part) and has such an imagination!

Y'all: what have been your best, homemade kids Halloween or dress-up costumes?

Update: hello?!?! Does anyone read my blog? I asked a question there, in the hopes of some interaction, and some cool ideas. Sheesh. Anyway, I just wanted to brag further that Taylor won another costume contest at the Jr Hi church game night...and he's not even in Jr Hi!!  Ha! The ironies...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Beautiful and gothically creepy in a good fog, our little neck of the woods is sometimes host to some movie and TV-making. The movie The Music Within was filmed in a friend's house down the street and we actually got to tour the set! It was really cool to see how they transformed her living room to another era. And in one of the shots, you can see the corner of our roof and the tree in our backyard! We're famous!

Grimm is a new police crime drama set in Portland, taking "Keep Portland Weird" to a whole new level. Personally, I think it's kind of a cheezy drama, and the acting is meh, but we can't stop watching it for all P-town cameos! We are glad that the show has been renewed for a second season, bringing a lot of business to local shops, and exciting neighborhood moments! Noble and I went to check out the filming of season 1, episode 9, "Of Mouse and Man" and we stood chatting with a guy guarding the steps up to the street. I was a little surprised when this scene in the episode was so short. It took them half the day to shoot. I guess that's the way it goes. The water truck (that sprays the streets to make the scene consistent with the rest of the episode) parked in front of our house. That makes us cool, I'm sure of it. So cool, in fact, that one of the key grips bought the house across the street!
Between Grimm and Portlandia, we're dodging film crews everywhere!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mushroom Hunt

One of the perks of being a parent is occasionally driving for a field trip: I get to go to all these cool places for free, and learn cool stuff like... who ignores the teacher and who throws the banana peels from their lunch into the bushes and....wait, that was my kid. I can't remember anything I learned about mushrooms, but now I can't go on a hike without seeing them everywhere.

 Aww...all these friends and being a brother comes first.

Noble Turns FREE!

It's kinda funny to me how parenting has changed over the years. I really could care less about having the most crafty kid's party to blog about anymore (although I enjoy the eye candy in a good Martha Stewart magazine once in a while). I just love this jibber-jabbering little squirt and think he should have whatever he wants for a couple of hours, one day of the year (more than that would kill him, I'm sure). So a bunch of colorful cupcakes, all the friends he talks about, a fun game starring "Woody", and his favorite movie... simply made this happy little guy's day.

I can't believe it's been three whole years since his speedy arrival! It feels like he just jumped into this family and started running with the crowd, like he was just meant to be. We still kinda look at him like the "new guy" but he doesn't know any different. He's obsessed with Star Wars along with his brothers, he knows all the rules and the daily schedule. He's pretty flexible, but won't stand for not being communicated with: "Where we going, mama? Who is dat [on the phone]? Is dis guten-free, mama? Is it?" He's full of inquiries and pleases and thank-yous. And if all that high-pitched verbosity isn't enough, his soft, pudgy little body is still killin' us with cuteness.
THREE. Three is always more challenging for the Vondermom than Two ever was. But I know that Three is also So. Dang. Precious. And not to be it's zooming by so disappear into the schoolyears. We shout it from the rooftops, over the Vonder-din:

He's not asking if he can have one, he's just reiterating what and who they are for.

One, two, THREE!

Noble LOVES Woody from Toy Story.
Korah drew this picture and created a "Pin-the-Hat on Woody" game!
Noble proudly displays her artwork above his bed now.


Look at all this help from his sisters and brothers.
This is the luckiest kid to be loved so much, I'd say.

Way to go, Micah! Right on target!

All of Noble's little friends: he loves them, he prays for them, he remembers them often.
It's so sweet that friendships are important to such a young person, whose life is already so full of people.

I am also so glad that Noble has such awesome big buddies in his life.
He really loves his sibling's friends, too!

If I'm going to get materialistic and consumeristic at all it's going to be about this: I wish I could've gotten him a "real" Woody, with a pull-string and everything, but this squeezy version will have to do for now. Noble loves repeating Woody's little sayings, like, "You've got a date with justice, one-eyed Bart!"

Noble's favorite gift of the day was given to him by his siblings, who pooled their allowance money to get him this Toy Story birthday card that sings, "You've Got a Friend in Me!"

He walked around dancing and singing along with those two lines until that card was in shreds.


(The inevitable crowd of "helpers)

I just think this is funny: all these zombie-kids staring at the boob-tube, eating cupcakes and pizza like a bunch of teenagers, when we're supposed to be media-deprived, organics-only Portlandians. (Yeah, right.) Well, all Noble ever wants is to watch a movie, and it was so fun to let him sit down with all his friends, his special gluten-free birthday foods and watch the much-asked-for Toy Story 3.
What a treat!

Thank you to all of Noble's friends and their parents for loving him and helping us celebrate such a fun and wonderful little guy.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Korah is a budding photographer now that she's got her own camera. She babysat all summer, dividing up her earnings between giving, savings and spending jars. Her grammy, who's a bookkeeper, showed her how to keep records, and I'm proud to say that Korah kept them! Every time she earned some babysitting money, she came home and divvied it out, taking note of her employer, her hours, her pay. I could take a lesson!

By the end of summer, her goal was reached (although the specific amount kept changing as we shopped around online) and she bought her very own iPod Touch! We are very proud of her achievement...and now, of her photography!

I love shots like this, illustrating the inherent magic of adolescence.

photo credit, edited by korah

photo credit, edited by korah

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eight, By the Sea

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wanted to see the ocean for her eighth birthday. So she got on a bus with her friends, paid the fare (one sand dollar) and took off.

 BEEP! BEEP! "Next stop: Oysterville," said the bus driver.
Unfortunately, the bus couldn't take them all the way to the water. "Schools of fish are always trying to get on for a field trip," the bus driver explained, "and they are far too soggy.

So the friends had to walk the rest of the way to the beach.
"But where IS it? We must explore!"

Finally, through the tall grass, they saw some seagulls and heard the crashing of waves.
"There it is!" cried Taylor. "The OCEAN!"

 Morgen was delighted!

 She immediately waded into the ocean's shore...

...only to find it FREEZING cold, so she jumped right out and into the air!

 Micah was still trying to find his way through the tall grass....

(...he thought it tickled his nose...)

 ...until Taylor found him and showed him the way out!

Feeling the cold water, Micah exclaimed, "I'm going to be BRAVE!" He hiked up his shorts and ran straight into the oncoming surf. What a brave little boy, indeed!

 Their big sister apprehensively watched from up in the tall grass. She wasn't sure she wanted to venture into that cold, cold water with her siblings.

 But the salty ocean air, the sound of seagulls and the water crashing onto the sand exhilarated her senses until she couldn't help but to come out of hiding.

She paused momentarily, as if to unknowingly reflect the Birth of Venus itself...

 ...and lept for joy into the frigid surf!

Korah was very pleased to be at the ocean's edge.

 Back and forth, back and forth, they ran with the tide....

...until it was time to line up and travel back from whence they came.
It was time for some birthday cake!


(Editor's note: it's amazing to me that I can lay down the strangest-looking cakes, so far from my cake-decorating fantasies, and all the children ooo and ahhh, salivating with forks poised at the ready. Maybe it's because cake is such a novely around here, or maybe it's because children have simple, joyful hearts and I ought to take a lesson. Either way... they heal my perfectionist spirit with their cheerful ones.)

 Two things to notice here: one, that Noble is apparently trying to put cake directly into his stomach, thereby fitting his entire fist into his mouth. And secondly, notice the little friend in the foreground. Morgen and her school pal she brought along, found these fuzzy little guys and invited them to the party!

"We're here!"
Hmph. Party crashers.

 Taylor always writes the funniest cards.

Then... how do you burn off a sugar high when it's dark and rainy outside and you're stuck inside a beach house? STAIR SURFING!

 This is where mommy turns a blind eye. It looks like someone's ankle is about to break here.

 This is a laughing face, believe it or not.
They've never had so much fun smooshing into each other!

 One last family photo around the birthday girl before we leave.

You are so loved, Morgen-girl! May God bless you big, this ninth year of life!