The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

September 7, 2008

An Exercise in Cat- er, I Mean, Kid Herding

Filed under: Family — Brian Lutz @ 11:55 pm


Within my immediate and extended family, there has been something of a baby boom going on over the past two or three years as several of my siblings and cousins who have gotten married in that time have begun having children.  Within that time period, my sister Jacki and her husband Terence have become the parents of my two nephews Connor and Cory, my cousin Linda and her husband Mario have two boys of their own (Adam and Tyler), and Jeff and Valerie also have a one year old son named Benjamin, as well as another boy expected to arrive any day now.  And just this month, my cousin Chris and his wife Catbrought the latest addition to the family with their first son, named Logan Dean Sirrine.  My other sister Heather has one on the way as well, although that one is still quite a ways off at this point.  For those of you keeping score, this means that once Jeff and Valerie’s new son arrives, that will be eight straight boys born into the family.  I’m not sure if someone forgot to stock the Vanderhoeven Machine with X chromosomes at some point or something like that, but I can’t recall the last time a girl was born into the family.  Not that I am currently doing much to remedy the situation, but that’s another post for another time.  (Note: Apparently I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping track of the far-flung portions of the family, as noted in the comments below.) 

As today was the first Fast Sunday since Logan was born, the family gathered down in Federal Way for his baby blessing, followed by a family gathering at Opa’s house afterward.  Since Labor Day, the weather has been quite nice around here, and the afternoon provided a clear sky with temperatures in the upper seventies to lower eighties, making for perfect weather to gather on the back porch for a big family dinner.  After the jump, some photos from the afternoon, showing some of the less-than-successful attempts at taking photos of the recent additions to the family.

 Dinner, as usual, involved large quantites of food, and plenty of conversation.  The baked poratoes in particular were quite good, as was the smoked pork my Mom brought.


My Mom loves having grandkids around, and Cory loves hanging around with her.  Given the fact that she managed to raise five of us and had us turn out reasonably well, I suspect she probably knows a few things about child rearing.  In my case, I’m lucky if I can manage to hold Cory for more than five minutes or so without him starting to cry. 

Meanwhile, it seems that someone just couldn’t wait for dessert to be served.  I wonder who that could have been?

Looks like someone got caught red- er, I mean, white handed. 

Once proper serving and eating utensils were provided, it appeared that dessert was well enjoyed though.

After dinner, the mothers among us decided that it would be a good time to get some pictures.  With Linda and her two sons in town from Oregon where they live, this also meant that all of the recent additions to the family were present, so someone decided to be a good idea to try to get a picture of all of them at once.

Given the difficulty of getting a single toddler to sit still long enough to take a good picture, you can probably imagine how the attempt to get seven toddlers and infants to cooperate long enough for a picture turned out.  Combine this with the fact that there were three energetic Labradors (these two, plus Ady’s older chocolate Lab Mocha) running around the yard, and the degree of difficulty goes straight through the roof.  Here are some of the attempts, such as they are:

I think this one was about as close as we got.

From there, things started going downhill.  Adam and Tyler seemed to do pretty well with sitting still though.

Soon, the attempt at getting everyone to sit still at once met up with the notoriously short attention span of toddlers…

…And eventually they just started wandering off.

After trying to get everyone to sit down for one more shot, we came close one more time…

…But the lure of the big tree full of somewhat ripe apples overhead proved to be too much for some.  I’m just glad that I’m not the one who’s going to be responsible for changing those diapers…

Finally, with a change of scenery, a reduction in the number of children, the addition of a couple of mothers and about three seconds worth of sheer luck, we were able to get a reasonably good photo.  If any of the mothers of the kids involved here would like larger versions of any of these for some reason, let me know and I’ll send copies.





  1. Found your blog from your comment post on the bellevue downtown blog. That’s a big family you have there. Oh, what kind of apples are those…haven’t seen so many on a tree. Cheers.

    Comment by Tom — September 8, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  2. I love your pictures Brian! That’s a lot of little boys!

    Comment by Mom — September 8, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  3. You forgot to mention the other babies. Aaron VanderHoeven has had two little girls 3 and 1, Aubri VanderHoeven has had a boy, Melissa Toves has had a girl and Andrea Toves has had a girl just this last weekend. In total that make 11 babies in the last 3 years. 4 girls, 6 boys and one TBD.

    Comment by Jacki — September 8, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  4. Oh this is so much fun I love it! Good call trying to get them all together Brian! So CUTE!

    Comment by Heather Lively — September 9, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  5. Hi Brian,
    Two of your cusins in Guam have had baby girls this summer. Perhaps it takes warm weather and sandy beaches to make a girl. Love ya lots

    Comment by diana toves — September 10, 2008 @ 7:12 am

  6. Hi there Brian! Beautiful pics, but how rude to say there is no VanderHoeven girls! Aaron, who is one of the only remaining VanderHoeven’s by name has 2! and just because we don’t see you day to day doesn’t mean we are not blood!! please be respectful. Love you tonz, Aubri.

    Comment by Aubri — December 16, 2008 @ 11:40 pm

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