Sunday, April 1, 2012


I've been ambushed by a variety of inspirations, new relationships are starting to take root and opportunities are offering themselves like so many Costco samples (I couldn't think of a better that a bad sign?) and I'm getting to the place where it's quickly becoming apparent that I have no idea what I'm going to feed all these kids this week and the sink is full of dirty dishes and it's just about bedtime and we haven't eaten dinner (these longer days are fooling us!). My big dreams and inspirations are hitting the ceiling of this little houseful of hungry children who look at me to direct their own bursting imaginations.

But before I realized the impending conclusion of spring break leisureliness, I found inspiration in a conversation with my dad. I promised my dad that I would sketch something and mail it to him immediately. I told him he should, too...but it might take getting mine in the mail to push him to actually do it. He's an amazing artist, but he's been undercover for a long time. Just takin' care of business I guess. There is value in always making art, if that is what you were made to do, like I was (I am forcing myself to believe that). Like he was. Like his mother before him was. I don't want to let art become a stranger to me.

So I held up my end of the sketchbook... now it's his turn.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Buggy Bouncy Birthday Boy

It's a good thing Noble is in the high-maintenance toddler stage right now, or I'd be totally distraught at the fact that my "Original Baby" is a whole seven years old already!

Ahh, yes...when Micah doubled as Nicholas from Eight is Enough.
Look at those clothes! Micah's now wearing Taylor's clothes and Noble wears that yellow jacket!
Yeah, I know, it happens. My job requires that I get sentimental about it.

But he's the same-ole Micah in most ways. Less teeth, maybe.




 Okay, okay...I know this looks like something out of CakeWrecks,
but it's exactly what Micah asked for and even I couldn't believe the approval I got from the kids on this one.

 I am horrible at frosting cakes anyway (I was awesome at Baskin Robbins back in the day, but non-frozen cake decorating eludes me entirely), and the rest of it is seriously just a pile of candy rocks and gummy worms. But dirt and bugs, that's what he wanted. Seems about right for my rough-and-tumble boy!

 SO stoked to get some video game action, since Noble chewed up all our other games.
Even though it doesn't follow my "it has to make you exercise" rule for Wii games, I'm pretty stoked, too. Let's just say chores are getting done much quicker thanks to the "Mario Motivator".

 Micah loves to play/watch video games with his big brother, but most of the time he's making up imaginary stories and games with Morgen and they love these dolls. Morgen was so excited to give this one to Micah. Even Noble has a "dolly" like this and sometimes they all play's the cutest thing. It's funny to me because the older two weren't really into dolls.
(Please ignore any and all reality in the background.)

Often the different dynamics of our family get lost in the crowd, so to speak. Sometimes I capture a picture or notice a moment that isolates one of these dynamics, and I realize that we have three boys --boy howdy!-- and that they have each other for brothers. This is crazy and wonderful all at the same time.

THEN...I was so glad I bought a Groupon for J.J.Jump last summer. This was the perfect place to take Micah and a friend for a birthday treat. Afterwards we went to Baskin Robbins for a realy special treat!

Micah invited one of his best school friends to come jump with us!

Micah was so brave to try this bungee thingy. They hook you up....

....then you get pulled up to a high point.... pull the chord and ZOOOOOOMMMM!
"Look ma, no hands!"

 Then Micah got all Project Bandaloop on us.

 Taylor tried this thing where you strap in, run as fast as you can to put a beanbag through the hoop. You have to jump up and forward to do it, then the bungee snaps you back. It's pretty hilarious.

What you can't tell from those bungee photos is that this room is totally lit with blacklight and neon grafitti. Morgen liked being all glow-y.

Noble had a soon as we got there (of course) and the only thing I had in the car was a cloth diaper cover and some socks. In this black-lit room, it was easy to keep track of him going up and down a big blow-up slide, socks and undies glowing bright!

Fun times!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dance of the Dead!

 That's what they were calling it: The Dance of the Dead.

Tonight Korah had her first middle school dance and the kids all had a blast! The key to getting kids to dance, I've decided: strobe lights. Goofing off in a strobe light is endless fun, and makes super-cool shadows on the wall.

I didn't get any pictures of my Little Miss Independent in her awesome costume on Halloween (she was running around haunted houses with friends), so I had to snap a few photos at the end of the dance tonight. She didn't have her full wig and zombie make-up on, but what luck to capture such a great action shot with my silly little camera! Look at her cutting a rug there-- she's such a fun girl.

And so pretty! What the day-of-the-dead is going on? Yes, despite the white face paint, a light and life shines through her expression. I am excited for and proud of the young woman she is becoming.

Now, because it's not a half-bad picture of me (note to self: left arm takes better self-portraits), I have to brag a little on Korah's awesome teacher who allowed these social butterflies to pull off a really fun evening. She's really giving them "wings", and I'm glad she's ours! :) I have to admit, I kind of adore her.

Is the spookiness over yet? Because I have some birthdays to share about!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Nope, no live bodies here. I think that's what the candy is for, because they definitely come alive later. 

Noble caught on fast, "trick-or-treat"ing like a champ.  And I know it's obvious, but...
SO. FREAKIN. CUTE! Oh my goodness...

We traveled to a friend's neighborhood because 1) They were making donuts from scratch (!!) and 2) Morgen's classmate Iva, and Noble's best friend Ada Gene live there. Noble is in L-O-V-E with Ada Gene and whaddya know, she was a cowgirl to his cowboy. So sweet!

See, Vampires aren't that scary. Just give 'em a sucker and a book about Halloween, that calms 'em right down.

Oh. No.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Caramel Apples & Catan

Riddle: What do you get when you combine 6 little boys, two girls in potential halloween costumes, a dozen apples, chocolate chips, a bag of caramels and chopsticks?

Riddle-culous answer: Loud noises, top-bunk highdives, half-eaten-carpet-fuzzed caramel apples, tickles, sword fights, laughing, crying, and a WHOLE LOTTA FUN!! Not to mention adult Vonderahes getting smoked in Settlers. Only the suspense of caramel-apple creating provided room for photography, but the rest of it stuck to our memories, as good times do.

We heart Vondermonahizzle nights!

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.