Saturday, November 4, 2017

Avengers Assemble!

This year I knew that I would not have the usual amounts of time to dedicate to costumes, thank you eight credits of graduate coursework, so I told the boys they could finally choose one of those pricey superhero costumes. Still wanting them to be a group, I asked if they could each choose an Avenger. So, here they are- the mighty Avengers!

That's Iron Man (complete with Tony Stark goatee), Hulk (I think I reapplied that green paint like ten times because he kept touching his face, Captain America (that shield was dropped ten times in the first ten minutes of trick-or-treating), Thor (Gabe is super into Norse mythology right now) and Hawkeye (I have since regretted the purchase of that bow and arrow- also he insisted on wearing those sunglasses in the dark).

After a few attempts at a "nice" picture, I let them loose and got these somewhat amazing action shots. I could totally direct superhero movies.

Marc and I got SHIELD shirts because this group of Avengers definitely needs a couple of SHIELD agents looking out for them.

As for the pumpkins, we struggled a bit with those this year. When the Flinders were in town visiting us we went to Papa's Pumpkin Patch only to find that they were out of pumpkins. We then went to Sam's club where we literally scraped the bottom of the barrel to get six pumpkins. I totally forgot to take a "before" picture with each boy and his pumpkin so we settled on a group photo after we carved them. The photo session didn't exactly yield postcard-worthy results.

Carving the pumpkins was interesting. Several of them were a little soft and Gabe's was full of mold. Like the pro mom that I am, I scraped it out and carved that sucker anyway. Here are all of the carved pumpkins lit up. Gabe's really struggled to show up on camera but you can see it in the individual shots that follow.

This one is Kaleb's pumpkin pi. Get it?

Here's Gabe's tribute to the latest Magic the Gathering set, Ixalan, with a symbol that looks like a ship's helm.

This is Elijah's pirate pumpkin. He tried using one of the patterns this year and carved it himself. There were some finer details inside the skull that broke off and I was so proud of him for adjusting the design and rolling with it. Way to go Bug!

David John drew and carved his own pumpkin this year. I love the angry eyebrows.

Benjamin drew a very elaborate design for me to cut out. There is a bomb, a spiky ball with a happy face, many blades of grass, a flock of birds, a sunshine and a giant hand unleashing a tornado. He was in love with the results so I guess I did a good job executing his vision.

I am kind of in love with this little creature that Tobias drew. My favorite thing he said while drawing was, "And now I will give him koala bear ears!"

The pumpkins didn't quite make it in one piece until Halloween night. The boys had a great attitude and just said they looked extra spooky.

Trick-or-treating was chilly, for me- the boys were fine, but a lot of fun. At one point, Benjamin got jostled a bit in the scrum at the door of one of the houses. He came back a little tearful to complain that he bonked his head. Marc said, "Good thing you are Iron Man and hitting your head doesn't hurt!" Benjamin said, "Oh yeah, I am made of iron. Iron doesn't get hurt." Tobias chimed in "I'm Captain America! I'm made of captain!" I was even a very brave mom and let the three older boys go around our neighborhood together without an adult after the two littles got tired. They came back home weighed down with bags of candy and feeling very grown up. And they should. The Avengers would never have their moms with them to go trick-or-treating.

p.s. The boys love this studio C music video about the Avengers. It has all of their characters featured. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Several months ago, a kind woman at church gave us a large bag of snacks that she thought our boys might enjoy. Among these snacks were packages of Randoms. The boys loved Randoms. They are fruit snacks in completely random shapes and flavors. I'm not sure if these are the belly-flops of the fruit snack world but it was always exciting to open a package. You just weren't sure what you would get. This post is full of Randoms from our lives in the past eight months. A few random pictures, a few random sayings, things that just don't fit nicely into other posts. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

One-Armed Bandit

Tobias is one of what Marc and his colleagues call, "the 10%". The theory is that 10% of kids have 90% of the problems. Tobias is our problem child.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Tobias got hurt today. He fell off the monkey bars and now his wrist is hurting. It's either a sprain or a buckle fracture so we're just trying to keep it iced and immobile until Daddy comes home to take a look. David John wanted Tobias to feel better so he used the money the Tooth Fairy brought him, walked to the gas station and bought Tobias a special ice cream sandwich. It made my heart melt. Moments like these are so validating. Our kids are good people. They aren't always fighting even though it feels that way sometimes. They love each other.
David John's gift definitely lifted Tobias' spirits. I think it was more than just emotional help. I'm pretty sure that Tobias's blood delivers sugar instead of oxygen to all parts of his body. I think this because he says things like, "I need more sugar to get more power". He also, apparently, keeps an inventory of all sugar in the house at all times. He informed me of this the other day when I opened a cabinet to get something down and he said, "I know there are m&ms up there. There are jelly beans in Daddy's night stand. There's chocolate in the fridge. I know where all the candy is all the time because I look everywhere!" My final piece of evidence for Tobias having sugar-blood is the fact that at the park this spring he picked up a cupcake off of the ground, picked the wood chips out of the icing and was attempting to eat it when I got to him. I wasn't sure whether to feel proud or ashamed. I'm happy he's not fussy and that he can make the best of a situation. I'm ashamed that he would feel the need to eat that as if we aren't meeting his nutritional needs. The point is- Tobias needs sugar. Who knows? Maybe that ice cream sandwich will heal his wrist before Marc gets home. That would be sweet.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


We spent a lovely week in Utah this month which included a family reunion for the Stephen and Shirley Ricks clan. I also got to see three of my dearest friends from Cleveland for two wonderful days. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with my inlaws but Marc's family is just fantastic. I love these people and wish we could see them more often. Here are some random pictures from our time in Utah and, of course, there will be one or two more posts with pictures from our adventures.

You have to love the family reunion t-shirts made designed by Lora. They are super Ricks-y. 

We had a private chocolate and balsamic vinegar tasting at my friend's house. It was amazing. I came away with a much greater appreciation for dark chocolates and had my mind blown by the balsamic vinegars. Now we want to do the incredibly ridiculous and nichey thing of touring the great balsamic vinegar houses of Italy. Goals.

At the family gathering in the park, Elijah and David John ran off with my phone and took a million pictures. I have included the ones that turned out in this post. Many were blurry or had fingers covering the lens but I really like some of the shots they got.

Did you notice my t-rex earrings and necklace?

We went to a cool park with this awesome climbing structure. Unfortunately, it was super hot so we didn't stay very long.

We also went to a cool aquarium. Kaleb was our expert guide.

This is a binturong aka bearcat. It is my new favorite animal. It smells like popcorn!

The expression on this leopard's face says, "Please just go away."

Swimming with the cousins was another big favorite during our trip.


David John turned 8 today. It's hard to believe that our mediumest child will be getting baptized next month. Normally, we would have a big birthday party with friends for an 8th birthday but David John requested a family day in Bismarck instead. I was happy to oblige him. I guess he remembered that last time he had a big birthday party with friends he felt overwhelmed. Smart boy. So, we went to Bismarck yesterday to do whatever David John wanted to do.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Are You Game?

My boys spent many hours recently creating board games to play. They are all creative and all very male. Let me take you through some of the finer points of these games. I promise they won't disappoint.