Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gary Cooper, Bob Hope and Homer

I sent Christmas cards to a handful of authors that I feel especially close to this week.

Ellie had the job of licking the envelopes and putting the stamps on.

She must have dug through my office to find this little gem.

I'm not sure what my dear friend Lena is going to think...


Monday, November 16, 2009

Black and Blue

I learned something today.

Dads who have sons in treatment for Leukemia with poor blood clotting qualities, should not sword-fight, karate chop, wrestle, or allow any other kind of roughhousing the night before a doctor's appointment...even if their son begs for another round or duel.

They should put these things on the instruction manual or something. Somebody should have said something.

Fresh tests today showed Von's platelet counts are really low. Platelets are the blood cells that help your blood clot. You can tell they are low when you get bruises all over your body after a minor blow from a Nerf sword.

A healthy platelet count is 150 to 450. Von's are down to 31 and at 30 they do a mandatory blood transfusion.

So after a few rounds of wrestling and running karate moves and a punch or two to the face last night, Von is looking pretty colorful today.

And yet he still runs around the house and wants to wrestle. Even as I type, he wields a sword and taunts me to an engagement.

Tonight, he has dropped his pants with pride and is showing his sisters all of his many shaped and sized bruises. To each one, the girls respond with a 'ewwww' and gasping air through their teeth in amazement. He loves it!

It looks like we will have to teach this kid how to knit or something.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's all in the eyes

Von is home from the hospital.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

He will go in on Monday for some more tests to make sure he is progressing properly, and if so, will get back on the normal chemo and steroids.

When they draw spinal fluid, they don't put him under for safety reasons. We've learned a trick after doing this a few times that has made all the difference in Von's ability to navigate the procedure.

The trick? Eye contact.

I used to sit in a chair or at the foot of his bed and talk during the procedure to let him know we were there for him. He would grunt, and writhe in paint through the laughing gas mask.

Now, using the eye contact trick, I get right near his face, look him deep in the eyes and I talk to him. I tell him stories of my childhood which he asks for every time. I tell him about my pet monkey, trips to the jungle as a missionary kid, and even though the mask covers his face, his narrowed eyes betray a huge smile anytime I tell about the events that lead to a spanking from Opa.

It amazes me with God-quality goosebumps...something as simple as Von being able to look into my eyes helps him gather strength. He quits squirming, grunting and stiffening, and just relaxes.

Think about that...eye contact, not just the passing glance but a deep draw of acceptance, understanding, compassion, affirmation, and care.

It sounds silly, but if you've ever experienced it, you know what I'm talking about.

I'd love to hear about your eye contact story.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thank You, O-Positive

O-Positive blood donors, I am eternally grateful!

You have saved a little boy's life.

In the old days, before blood transfusions, today would have been the last day.

I never fully appreciated the blood mobile people or the power of donating blood until today. I've donated blood in the past for the free snacks they gave afterwards. And besides, I didn't want my co-workers thinking I was soft and afraid of needles.

But today, seeing a donor's blood trickle into Von's body, and knowing that would save his life, gave me a deep reverence and appreciation for everyone who makes that possible.

O-Positives, thank you!

The hospital has some very tight limitations on who they allow to visit. Evidently, pirates who ride in on motorcycles, wielding Nerf swords, and speak with an Amish-Piratey accent are on the 'May Visit' list.

If you want to pray specifically for Von, his liver is in distress. We need some good news tomorrow morning when they do tests again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Bravest Kid I know

Meet the bravest kid on the face of the earth. His name is Von. I think I shall call him "Von, the Brave".

This week has been a rough one for him. He has had fever for nine days and has been to the emergency room twice in the past week and today was admitted to the hospital because he has the H1N1 flu. His infection fighting cells are at an all time low, and he may need a blood transfusion in the morning. Although his body is still not certain of how to fight sickness in the way it should, his spirit and smile are strong and lasting.

Even though the photo looks like he undergoing some Nazi scientific experiments, underneath his mask there is a smile that says, "Hey everyone, relax, it will all turn out just fine."

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Von the Brave!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What my wife doesn't want you to know...

We have a winner. Dennis Crider, from Clevaland, OH, gave the best and most oppulant suggestions for a family reunion location. We have a meeting of the minds tomorrow and will put all of the great suggestions to good use. Thank you!

What did Dennis win?

Last week, while unpacking boxes fresh from the move, I ran across a dirty little secret my wife has been keeping from me all these years. I found a treasure-trove of shot glasses. How did these get into our house? Did we accidently pick up a box from a neighboring storage unit in the move?

My wife confessed to a childhood obsession with them. It's funny, I don't think she has been to a party or even knew what they were. I'm pretty sure she has never even used a shot glass in her whole life...but she has a collection of them. But I'm really thankful she did because decades later, I have something really cool to give to Dennis. I'm sure he is thrilled.

I have a few more of these bad boys, so holler if you need to add to your collection.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crazy Uncle Earl

I have a beautiful family...not a problem in the world. But there is this one issue....

I am one of the chosen cousins who has been assigned the job of planning our extended family reunion that happens once every four years or so.

The problem? It's my family. We have a trillion of them at last count.

I'm not exaggerating.

And we're not one of those low-maintenance families that can agree on stuff. You've heard of those families that all like to camp or all enjoy Disney type vacations? That's not us. You've seen the ones that all agree to wearing the same t-shirt and posing for the photo? We will be lucky to get Uncle Earl to wear a shirt at all.

I need your help. You most likely have a family and have attended a family reunion. Tell me about it. What did you do? Where did you go? How affordable was it? What was your favorite part about it?

Where do you go to have one of these things and how do you make it affordable so that everyone can participate? I'm looking for a specific suggestion on location or a type of event or activity.

My wife will judge the best comment and the winner will get...a new hula girl air freshener or something else mostly new that will be a delightful surprise to you.

Please help!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Pile of Cash, Some Bald Kids, and a Medal

Thank You! You did it.

The Walkathon raised over $50,000. And you made something extra special happen. Because of your very generous response, Von raised over $3,000, more than any other team at this very large event.

He was called to the front to be recognized for it and he thought this was his cue to unpack his bag full of money andhand it over. He eagerly kept pulling dollar bills by the handfulls out of his bag and shoving them in the Director's hands while bills were being blown around in the wind. It was fun to watch Von get the concept of giving back and taking so much delight in it.

The starting line looked curiously like my high school prom decorations.

Von got to walk with Olivia, who is battling the same kind of Cancer he has and is just a few months behind him in treatment protocol.
Michelle, Lacey, Angel and Deanna raised their own funds on Von's behalf without ever having met him. Amazing people!
Vienna poured her heart into the fun run. (I like to think she gets her legs from her dad.)

Elle was still going strong at the finish line and could have run a few more laps.

And Sofie ran with the grace and the strides of a gazelle. She also beat a boy, I might add.

The the most significant part of the day for me personally was seeing Von run in the fun run for the 4 and 5 year olds.

I thought the little kids were running fifty yards to the orange cones as the finish line. The kids took off and I could see Von hobbling with his shoulders tucked and his elbows thrust out side to side trying to keep up. Because the drugs have affected his legs, he has to wear braces and...well...I just couldn't wait for him cross the orange cones not too far from the start line and be done with it.

As the kids kept running past the orange cones, it dawned on me that Von was going to have to run the entire way around this half-mile lap. I saw kid after kid passing him and as each one did, he would look over his left shoulder and watch the person pass. I knew he would never make it.

As a dad, I wished I could run for him and then without realizing it found my feet moving in a mad sprint to catch up with him before he got discouraged and turned back. I saw him ahead, still getting passed and slowing each time he saw someone overtake.

I caught up to him and pulled up on his left in silence. He looked over to see who was passing him, almost at a walk now, and then raised a tired and discouraged face.

His eyes met mine and a smile of recognition exploded on his face. And he said something profound that made me feel like a million dollars. He just said, "Dad!".

We ran together, me encouraging him and him throwing is elbows out in a renewed effort to go fast. I even had him dangle from my hand as I jogged and helped him get caught up to the group.

He crossed the finish line pretty spent from the long run but got a participants medal. You could say I'm a proud dad.

Why was that the highlight of my day? It made me think of this past year and the many who have given generously, have come alongside our family, who have prayed, extended grace, communicated, and cheered us on. It made me think that we, like Von, sometimes needed to be carried a little...and you were there.

Thank You!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tomorrow's Big Day

Tomorrow is the HopeKids Fundraiser and you have made it a success by some very generous giving. I have not been able to keep up with the personal thanks, but will be in the next few days. We are so overwhelmed with your kindness and support. Thanks to your generosity, Von has raised more than any other fundraising team by several hundred dollars.

We will stuff a briefcase full of some one dollar bills and hand these to Josh tomorrow to help Von connect with the concept of passing on your generosity as a way of saying 'thanks'.

Permit me to look back one more time this week before we wrap up the HopeKids week. This clip was taken when Von emerged from a dangerous and life-threatening fever. Some of you remember my desperate request for prayer. The next day the fever left and doctors (and us) breathed a big sigh of relief.

How do I know it was a miracle? The video shows all this energy and life in him, that was missing just the day before.

Thank you for your prayers, support, and for giving to HopeKids on Von's behalf. If you missed out and still want to give before 10am Central on Sunday, you can do so by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Darth Vader to attend the big giving event 5...two more days until the big giving occasion.

I found this video tonight and remembered the past year. But there is a family downtown Minneapolis tonight that is taking a video just like this of their kid getting his first chemo treatment and looking at the year ahead and wondering what to expect. We're going to do something to help that family through HopeKids!

I was again shocked today when I checked in on the donation summary for the HopeKids event. I thought there was a type-o. You have given on Von's behalf and he is the second highest giver (thanks to you) in the whole fundraiser. Thank you! (You can see the log on his contribution by clicking here.

This day reminds me about a story in the world's best-selling book about a man named Jesus who bumped into ten pathetic looking men with some awful disease, probably much like cancer.

In the story, the men were made whole and sent off along their merry way. But one man comes back to Jesus and does something contrary to human nature-he thanks him!

My heart wells with gratitude tonight because of your participation with us in exercising a grateful heart. Together, we're like the one guy that came back to Jesus to thank him.

If you're just now joining us, we are two days away from the event and can read about why we are doing that by clicking here.

If you still want to donate something small, you can do so here.

I'm working on a way to have a whole heap of dollar bills for Von to unload from his backpack and give the HopeKids director on Sunday as a symbolic way of saying thanks to Jesus, you, and HopeKids for this past year.

And if I know Von, he is going to ask us if Darth Vader can show up to the ceremony and do the honors in a deep voice.

Disco Bowling and Fake Tornadoes 3 of 6 till Von's big giving day...

Von is in Mexico tonight and is getting updates about the large sum of cash he will get to hand over to Josh on Sunday. Thank you all for the love and support. I was completely knocked off balance today with your generosity.

Von remembers this past year's doctor's visits, the early morning drives for an emergency hospital visit with fever and shakes. He can tell you how to vomit without crying and how to hold still and breathe into the Darth Vader mask while they do a spinal tap.

He remembers the blue mask he wore everywhere, the leg pain and braces, the medicines, the shots and the embarrassment of the curious stares as people realize eyebrows AND hair are missing. (He still asks me about the girl in the church nursery who said she didn't want to play with him because he was missing hair.)

Von remembers Ellie Willeart his peer in age and cancer battling buddy and remembers her funeral. She and her family are amazing examples of grace and Von will remember Ellie forever.

But Von also remembers bowling in blue disco lights. He can tell you how to make a tornado on stage from seeing the Wizard of Oz play. And he knows from shaking the scarecrow's hand afterwards that stage makeup is creepy up close.

He remembers being the reason HopeKids was sending him and his family to see the movie Up and can tell you it felt special. He can also show you how to yell at the ball game to get the noise meter on the scoreboard to go up.

He knows what it feels like to wear a 'free pass' wristband from HopeKids to the mall of America and the joy of handing these out to your sisters.

Now that we are through the rough part, we want to exercise a grateful heart and help make it possible for HopeKids to keep sending other little boys and girls and their families on normal little outings. You can make a small or large tax deductible gift here.

We are humbled by your overwhelming response. Thank you! We will be sending you a little special gift from Von. (Sorry, no fake dog poo!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Malaria Healer and Tool Belt King

Continued from yesterday...

Think of this, if you had to be told today your child is going to have to battle cancer for the next three years, and this first year would be a real doozie, the last kind of things you think about are planning a fun escape to the bowling alley, or making time for some important family photos, or springing for tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters to celebrate the little successes in the treatment plan.

HopeKids did just that for us. They helped us be a normal family through some abnormal circumstances. In fact, without them, this past year would have been spent thinking a whole lot more about cancer than about being a family and getting through.

This coming Sunday, Von and family are walking a 5K to help raise some money so that HopeKids can keep on doing what the do best. Von is looking forward to handing Josh the money he raised this coming Sunday.

Von got excited tonight when I told him that two very cool people have donated some money that he will be able to give to HopeKids.

Mary Kauffman, the Malaria Healer and second mom to me, made a very nice donation. She is the one who before nursing me back to health had picked me up off the floor during youth group and told the kids it was a malaria fever that made me pass out and that they didn't need to start a prayer chain for a drinking habit. Her mothering instincts came through and sensibly came a dollar short of the 'Affirming Weggie' donation amount. Thanks Mary!

Jamey Clayberg, the only man who appreciates construction tool-belts as a fashion accessory, gave the 'Knuckle Bump' amount. He is cool enough to know the real name of that move where cool guys hit their fists together without any fight erupting. Thanks Claybs!

You can also give Von a $5 "High Five" and it is pretty easy by going here.

Von is sending a special gift to Mary and Jamey. I'll post what that is tomorrow.

Fair Warning-Smiles Ahead!

I'll be blogging every day for the next week in a shameless attempt to ask you for a small amount of spare change.
Yes, I'm sharing the photo of Von at his worst (and I think his best because of his smile) to get you thinking that direction.

The reason?

Von and our family want to give back to the people that have helped us be normal and get through our first year of battling childhood Leukemia. One year down, two and a half to go!

HopeKids is a small organization that focuses on doing small, ongoing, and thoroughly helpful things for families like ours.

If you've ever read our blog and thought, 'they need to quit having so much fun and get busy battling cancer', then blame HopeKids. They are the ones who provide all these opportunities for us to be normal instead of 'the family with the bald kid.'

I'll post more about HopeKids and what they do in the coming days.

For now, think about giving $5 to Von to give to HopeKids at the next HopeKids event. We set up a donation site to make it easy here.

Don't do anything quite yet. Tomorrow, you may have an incentive to do better than $5 and one can't live with regrets especially with a smile like this!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hot Tub Rules

Conversation in the car last week while Von and I drove to the hardware store to buy sandpaper and guy things:

Me: Terry at Make-a-Wish called and said they are working on your hot-tub. How does it feel to soon be the owner of a hot tub?

Von: Good.

(long pause)

Von: Dad, if I take my medicine and they wash the cancer away and it is all gone, do I still get to keep the hot tub?

Me: Yes, yes, yes!!!

It makes me happy to tears to think that Von is through the roughest part of his treatments and that the generous people at Make-a-Wish granted him a hot tub. It's perfect! Our whole family will get to enjoy this with Von over and over.

It is his hot tub and he is making up the rules. When asked what the first rule of the hot tub is, he says, "You have to wear a swimsuit."

That's a great start.

Thanks Make-a-Wish!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And the wish is...

Grab your suit! Von is the proud owner of a hot tub, thanks to the fine folks at Make-a-Wish!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A little bit of screaming and jumping tonight

Today is the day. The big day. I bet it will look a little like that big lady running down the isle on The Price is Right!

For the past 10 months, we have been using any incentive to get Von to do his best to fight cancer. In this photo, fake dog poop was the best carrot we could muster.

We've been telling Von that if he is a big boy, and takes his medicine, and cooperates nicely in his treatments, he gets to make a wish and it will be granted.

So tonight we will meet the Make-A-Wish folks and they will announce to Von that they will grant one of his three wishes.

1) Trip to Africa
2) Hot Tub
3) Motorcycle Sidecar

I can't tell you how handy this wish granting business has been to us as parents these past months. There will be some noise and celebrating tonight.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Big Sissy Cries at Family Photo Day

I'm a big sissy. I cry a lot more these days. I'm still a big tough guy and will ride motorcycles, use duct tape instead of Band-Aids and will even let my wife iron my shirts while I'm wearing them, but still, I find myself more tender and aware of other people's pain these days. That's a good thing.

We had a family photo taken recently, generously arranged by HopeKids and donated by CT Ryan Studios.

HopeKids is an amazing and very generous organization that focuses on families with kids who are battling life-threatening illness. They host these ongoing events and create environments where families can have fun, be a family, and take a break from a disease.

At a recent HopeKids event, they arranged for family photos to be provided free of charge, knowing it is especially difficult for families with sick kids to find time or the emotional strength to go and arrange a photo session.

Several photographers donated their time and the families poured in to wait their turn and capture a little moment in life. I wish I could share with you some of the photos that were taken that day. You would see a few silly families, like ours, that were past the critical point of their treatment and were expecting great things ahead.

But most of the families you would see would be gathered around a wheelchair with a little life hanging on. Some families had a near-confident look in their eyes as they bravely posed with their terminally ill child.

I realized that for a few there that day, this would be their last family photo with their child on this side of eternity. And that is when I cried a little.

If you are someone's rich aunt or even if you just have been looking for a way to bring some comfort, laughter, or hope to someone's life, please consider a financial gift to HopeKids. I can guarantee you will make a difference in someone's life, but I can't promise you won't cry a little in the process.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Odd, Odd Names

You know you are on some pretty stringent medical protocol when you are laying in bed and your four year old calls from the other room reminding you that you didn't give him his nightly medicine.

After the guilt pangs of being an awful parent, I take him downstairs to grind his chemo pill and put it in some applesauce for him.

"Which one is it?", I call to my wife in the other room as I try to choose between four different bottles of medicines with his name on them.

Before she can answer, Von says from the barstool, "Mercaptopurine" and pronounces it with perfection of a medical student with something to prove.

I smirk to myself that he knows how to pronounce this drug name. And as I look through the other bottles, I see drug names that look foreign to my reading eye but that sound familiar as I hear my wife reference them with Von all the time. Odd names. Names starving for vowels and attention.

Doxcyclene. Methotrexate. Dexamethasone.

Names that confuse and leave spell checker suggestion-less.

I think it's funny. Von can't say the word 'lemonade' without messing it up. But he can rattle off 'mercaptopurine' like nobody's business.

Big boy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marshmallows in the Beer Section

Want proof that stores need to put the marshmallows in the beer section and I.D. for buying them?

Pull out a bag of marshmallows in plain view for anyone to see. Fish some matches out of your pocket and say, "Hey, look at this? How did these get in here?"

Then watch what happens next.

First, the in-laws will probably show up unannounced with free food.

Then as the marshmallows are consumed, the laughs will begin and things will go downhill and out of control.

It won't stop there. Somebody will probably get some smore components stuck in their hair.

Meanwhile, the dog will be the only one maintaining his composure in the hopes of getting a nibble or two.

And before you know it, someone will probably get kissed!

Matches anyone?

Monday, August 10, 2009

And the Wish is...

Yes, I should have shared days ago about Von's wish.

We've just been so happy in our new home unpacking and marking our territory, who has time to blog?

The Make-a-Wish folks came out to our house and interviewed Von to see what his wish is. They are amazing people and they volunteer because they want to make a difference in young people's lives. Their hearts are in it and they are the kind of people that you just love from the first moment you meet them.

So Von's three wishes (because you're supposed to have three wishes just in case one doesn't work out)...drum roll please...

1) A trip to Africa

2) A hot tub with special lights

3) A motorcycle side car

Yes, I know, all of these sound like MY wishes, but I promise they are Von's and are un-coached.

I cant' help it if Von has seen photos of my trips to Africa and heard stories. It's not my fault we spent the last 8 months at Papa Rolf's house and got to utilize his hot tub for excellent family times. Don't blame me for the coffee table book that was sitting out and had photos of a vintage BMW sidecar.

It just amazes me that people spend their valuable time and resources to give kids like Von a reason to keep on fighting things like cancer. It's a tough job. They lose some of the kids they are trying to serve.

I tip my hat to Make-a-Wish! They are truly making a difference!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Today is the big day.

Von has been told for several months that he will have to make a wish for anything he wants that he thinks will help him fight the cancer bad guys in his body.

His answer has been everything from a HappyMeal to a wife to traveling in space.

I'll let you know tomorrow what he officially wished for behind closed doors in his interview with the Make-a-Wish people.

What would YOU wish for? (You can't say 'world peace').

Monday, August 3, 2009

Image management in our new house

We're buying a new house today. At 2:30 precisely.

Then we move in. At 3:00 precisely.

They say first impressions are everything. I think I'm going to speak with a sexy Dutch accent when my new neighbors come over to meet us. That way, when they see Moses humping something, the accent will offset it all and we're good in the neighborhood for the next few years.

Don't you wish you were our neighbors?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Curl on Top

If you breathe air and have some sort of influence over a person who has less experience at it than you, get them and yourself to a local small town ice-cream place FAST and enjoy a messy and unhealthy dairy concoction that gets pooped out of a metal machine.

Summer is fading fast, and if you don't do this soon, another warm night and season will slip through your hands and you will be in a rest-home some day complaining about not enjoying life more. And while your at it, smile at the kid with acne behind the counter and tell him nobody puts the curl on top quite as good as he does.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Poetic Meter and Root Beer Gas

It's been a busy couple of weeks. So for Saturday morning inspiration, I pulled open iPhoto to see what has happened recently.

We sauntered down to the lake for a boat ride with a pastor to a rock band. (I know, needs explaining). Von and Vienna shared an apple and my jacket. Life is good.

I enjoyed an afternoon bike ride with the kids to the local library to get poetry books. Then we sat in the sun and read poetry to each other, pretending to be literary snobs while drinking root beer. The pause for burps worked out great and helped the poetic meter of the readings.

The Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods have nothing on the kissing Lisa. Don't get me started...

I met Jesus this week at the trade show but didn't get his business card or his photo. I did, however, get a snap of the Roman Centurion as he cleared up my 'Dude, is that a skirt?' comment I made. Now that I see the photo, I need an image coach or stunt man so I don't look so motherly in my fighting posture.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our New Car

This is the new car we bought today. (Not really. It's our old car that we fixed.)

We only paid $3,500 for it! (Not really, we paid for it long ago but recently paid the transmission shop to fix it).

We are so excited about it. (Not really, it feels like the same old car but with a bunch less cash in my wallet to have to sit on while driving).

Tonight I tried to trick our family into taking a ride in our new car instead of lamenting the fact that we didn't spring for a new one. We pretended and zipped the family out to Target to buy some toilet paper and almonds.

It sure was fun looking for our new car in the parking lot when we came out of the store.

With a wife this stunning, who needs a really nice vintage Mercedes Benz?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2 Inches

Von is growing. No, I really mean it, he is growing.

For the past 7 months while Von has been on chemotherapy he has not grown one teeny centimeter. Chemo attacks fast growing cells like cancer cells, hair follicles and immune systems.

Von still has three years of chemo, but the really intense treatments were finished a month ago. His hair has started coming in and his body is gaining strength, but we have still been praying for Von's long-term health. His stunted growth was one of those things that we were willing to accept, but still we asked friends to pray.

Last week's checkup marked a month since he has blood or vitals measured. The nurse noted the measurements for weight/height/blood pressure etc. on her clipboard and proceeded to the routine blood and spinal tap stuff (which is always pleasant to watch).

The doctor came in to look at Von's chart and she noted a mistake on his height measurement. After sending the nurse back to re-measure and then checking it herself to make sure he was barefoot, she was utterly amazed.

In the last 30 days, Von has grown a little more than two full inches. I don't know how that is even humanly possible but I've got to believe God has heard our prayers and cheated things along for Von a little.

Getting this news was a great encouragement to us as parents, but you can't imagine the delight it brought to a 4 year old who has been two inches too short to ride a roller-coaster at the amusement park for what seemed like forever.

So to celebrate, we went to Mall of America today where Von was finally able to ride a roller-coaster.

Thanks God, for roller-coasters and little things like inches!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


If you're ever in an Elder Beerman's store in New Philadelphia, Ohio, and they are doing a remodel and have their posters lying around, and your kids are with you and you have your camera handy, you too can have one of these photos.

Sorry, this one's mine, I'm keeping it!