Birthday Bashes

We — or should I say I — are behind on blogging by a couple years, probably. But, that’s OK. I can catch up someday when the kids are grown. 😉 LOL!

The kids keep growing, and we’ve had some birthday parties over the years. Here are some from this year:

Morgan had a Piplup (Pokemon) party back in January to celebrate her 8th birthday, which was in December. At least we aren’t years behind on the actual parties.  Just one month. 😉

001So thankful for sweet friends!

003Always a silly picture. Always. 🙂


008Andrew had a Minecraft party for his 10th birthday. (10!!!) And can I get an, “Amen!” for having three boys over to play video games. Best. Birthday. Party. Ever. For. Moms. 😉


029And he kinda loves his new Cyclone hat given to him at the party.

030Last, but not least, Paige had a beach party with some sweet girls for her 6th birthday. After we hosted her party, we officially put our house on the market and had to have pictures taken of our house. Not a stressful day at all. 😉




079Yep, little girls can be crazy, too. Maybe even more hyper than little boys. At least that’s my birthday party experience.

081Happy Birthday, Kiddos! Now, STOP GROWING UP! (Not really.)



Sunday Hike #6

Date: July 13, 2014

Location: Walmart

Distance: 0.7 mile

Critters Spotted: Um, I better be careful on this one! 😉 Morgan spotted a Lego Creator set with a kitty and a $50 Fur Real cat she would really like. (Mom said, how bout you just get a FREE cat that is REAL when we move to our new house?!?) Andrew spotted a jug of red liquid and pretended to drink it. After looking at the label, it was actually hummingbird food.

So, today we decided we all just needed a day spent mostly resting at home. We went to church and then did something we rarely do on a Sunday: we went shopping. We took the Birthday Boy first to Game Stop and then to Walmart to spend some of his birthday money. Dad turned on his mileage tracker, and we walked about 0.7 of a mile from the parking lot and all around Walmart! Crazy!

The big purchase:


Cause you can never have enough Legos. Apparently. (Although, they are one of my more favorite things for the kids to play with.)

We should be back to a regularly scheduled hike next week, but I can’t guarantee that, because we’ll have a Birthday Girl who might get to call the shots for that day.

A Poem

I’m clearing some piles from our dining room table this morning, and thought I should share this poem written by Andrew. Each student in his class wrote a poem about a body part. We saw them when visiting his classroom one day. Most kids wrote about their eyes or arms. Andrew, fittingly, wrote about his brain.

My Brain

By Andrew

The best part of me is my brain.

My brain speaks to my body.

My brain sends messages like a computer.

My brain cells zap and zip.

No nick, no trick, and no need to click.

Crooked, light, and goes ummm when it thinks, also as smart as a whip.

Brains bring bubbly things to bodies.

It is thoughtful and imagines a lot.

Now my poem is almost done.

So now my brain will dream about itself, my body’s number one.

Summer Fun List Check-In

School starts two weeks from today! I started writing this post when there was still three weeks left, but adding pictures made it wonky. Hopefully attempt two will work better.

I’m not sure how summer has flown by so quickly, but alas, it has. I thought I better check-in on the old Summer Fun List to see what we need to accomplish in the next few days. (And, technically only two kids start on Aug. 20. Paige starts on Aug. 21, because half of her class will start the 20th and half on the 21st. They alternate days the first week and all go together on the following Monday. We will have to re-visit Goof-Off Day! <—–You can click on “Goof Off Day” over there and it will take you to an old post that just possibly made the author of this post shed a few tears. Sigh. They grow up so fast.)

Our list:

  • Go to a hotel. (Paige)

Completed! We spent a weekend in St. Louis and stayed at a hotel we’ve stayed at before. We loved a couple morning swims where we had the pool to ourselves.


  • Go to the park in Ottumwa. (Paige)

Check! We went to Ottumwa one day to help our friend from Rwanda obtain a Social Security card. Unfortunately, the office closed early that day. [Insert snarky comment about government hours here.] Fortunately, we still went to the park Paige wanted to go to for a little bit. Unfortunately, the park did not have restroom facilities, so we didn’t get to stay long.

014 020

 Looks can be deceiving. The kids aren’t that tall, as proven when Mom steps up. She’s only 5′ 3″.

016 017

  • Get a pool pass. (Morgan)

Check. Check. We really need to get to the pool a couple more times this summer to make it worth our money, so here’s hoping that it warms up again! It has been well worth the money to see the kids’ swimming skills improve! I don’t bring a camera to the pool, but here’s the kiddos in their goggles. 🙂


  • Get SnoBiz at least 3 times. (Morgan)

Hmmm. I think we’ve gotten SnoBiz twice, so we better go one more time. I know one time was after we did Relay for Life on a super hot day. And I’m positive we went one other time, but I cannot remember when.

  • Go on a hike somewhere not in Iowa. (Andrew)

This was also fulfilled on our St. Louis trip. We ventured into Illinois to Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville. It was a fascinating place that was home to an estimated 20,000 people in 1250 A.D., making it larger than London at the time. There are several mounds in the area, all constructed by the people for various reasons. We hiked up Monks  Mound, which is the largest man-made earthen mound in North America. It was very hot, and our kids were great hikers!

Ready to hike up the mound … This angle makes it look a lot shorter than it is.

Ready to hike up the mound.



At the top of the mound! You can barely see the St. Louis skyline to the left of Ben’s head. 🙂024

Go to the Fun Factory on a rainy day. (Andrew)

This one has not happened. We had lots of rainy days early in the summer, but we never made it to the Fun Factory (an indoor play area). I suspect this will not happen.

  • Play in the sprinkler. (Paige)

There have been a couple sprinkler fun times, but I did not take any pictures. I’m pretty sure we broke out the sprinkler early this summer and Paige had a couple friends over for her birthday, and they played in the sprinkler.

  • Go to Paige’s preschool playground. (Paige)

Oh my. We have not done this. We better get a move on!

  • Go to every park in Oskaloosa and surrounding “suburbs” of University Park and Beacon. (Mom)

This one has not happened either. Wow. We have just been too busy to go to many parks in town.

  • Go to Adventureland.

We had a perfect day at Adventureland. There were NO LINES the entire day, and we often could just stay on rides if we wanted to! The kids are getting braver on their ride choices. Morgan rode all the roller coasters, even the upside down one! Mom forgets every year that she is too old for all those rides and did not feel well on the drive home. She must make note next year. 😉

Waiting with cousins for the gates to open:


Andrew and Will went on the “Log Ride” 18 times, or something. They love making funny poses and faces on the way down the big hill so they can get captured by the camera that snaps pictures.



The girls on their motorcycles:


Mom and some kids on the Raging River:


  • Go to the Zoo.

We made it to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines with some Drost cousins and then again for a Musco family picnic.



  • Go to St. Louis.

This was accomplished! And we had such a fun weekend!!

Pictured: Baseball, City Museum and The Magic House:


  • Go to Chicago.

Coming soon!

  • Go to McDonald’s. (Paige)

We don’t go to McDonald’s very often, which is why I suppose it made our Summer Fun List. We have gone enough times to get a few Minions. We did not win $1 million (or anything but a free fry) in the Monopoly game.


  • Perform a circus. (Kids)

I think the kids gave up on this one. They wanted to include several friends and create this elaborate circus, but I think their ideas were bigger than reality. I’m not sure their performance from last year can be topped. 😉

  • Go to Frosty Udder at least 5 times (Andrew, Morgan)

We have not been to Frosty Udder much since the kids were done with baseball and softball in June. Yikes! I don’t think we’re even close to five times.

  • Participate in the Summer Reading Program at the Library.

We did a ton with the Summer Reading Program in June, but since then … uh … hello? We’ve been busy having too much other fun! Maybe that’s why the program in the past didn’t last all summer like it does this year. ha!

  • Visit the Science Center. (Mom)

We did this on Andrew’s birthday with Grandma & Grandpa Baumer! It was a fun time!

Can you guess whose face that is?



Playing with the green screen in the weather lab:



Morgan’s floating head doing the weather:



Andrew was proud of his arch building skills:


  • Do half of the activities on the Library “activity sheet.” (Mom)

I will first have to find one of the library activity sheets and get back to you. (Ahem. Cough. Cough.) I think we’ve inadvertently done half of them, probably. We’ll see. 🙂

  • Do some of the craft kids collecting dust in the closet. (Mom)

Nope. Nada. Not at all. Maybe that’s a good idea for a WINTER fun list when we need to stay inside more. 😉

Well, that is a little peak into our summer, the Summer Fun List, anyway. Maybe, since all three kids will soon be in school, Mom will have gobs of free time to blog. And maybe she should get a job so we can pay for all these fun things to continue. 😉 ha ha! Time will tell.

Budding Artists

It is always fun to see the kids’ artwork that comes home from school. It is especially exciting to hear that their art was chosen for a special award!

Last summer, Morgan had a piece selected for the Up and Coming Artist Show. We were on vacation when the show was going on, and we didn’t know until we got home and got caught up on our mail, that she was actually one of the winners at the show! We tried finding out about her award, but we never heard back from anyone. Just recently, she got her prize: a third place ribbon and a sketch book! Go Morgan! We love you!


003Also recently, Andrew had some art entered in an art show and his artwork was selected as a winner also! His picture will be featured MidWestOne Bank’s 2014 Kids’ Art Calendar. We were glad we were around and available to attend a small recognition reception.

002All the winners are pictured above. Can you find Andrew? His head is about in the middle of the picture. You can see his ear. 😉

005His picture is to the right of the top of his head.

004Good job, Andrew! We love you, too!




Practical Joker

We seem to have a practical joker on our hands. This was found in the kitchen one day, after watching several videos showing similar pranks on the show America’s Funniest Videos.

007_1It didn’t quite work, as the rubber band is too low. But, I sure got a kick out of it. 🙂

Any guesses who the prankster is? I’ll give you a clue: it’s the shorter boy in our house. 😉


I Have a Dream

My most favorite thing to find in the kids backpacks is something they have written, such as a journal or story. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Andrew was supposed to write about a dream that would make the world a better place. Here you go:

I have a dream that every body would have a robot. The robot will clean your room, be your friend, do your homework, and tell you all the ansers to your Math test. They will have a computer in it and will log you on then change the password. They will chase away bad guys to the police staion. There will also be a buton to take you anywhere you want to go, even a made up place. They will turn sergrets (cigarettes) to food. They will turn litter into more robots! They will make food for you too. Robots are awesome!

I really must share more of these, because they are so worth sharing. Here’s to robots! I could use one to clean my room, too. 🙂