Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to the love of my life.

Today is Matt's birthday. And so, today, we celebrate Matt.
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Although some (Cali Payne Follett) question his very existence, I am so glad to have this guy as my partner in this life. I could not think of anyone better.
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Matt - Happy Birthday. Below is a photo chronology of all the things we loved about you this year. Enjoy!



You have mad dune "bogie" skillz.

You are the best dad, and you readily play with the boys.


You are a considerate son and grandson

You are passionate about your beliefs.
(Did I really just put passionate on a caption of a picture of you and another woman? I must be feeling secure today :)


You make gift giving and receiving very fun.


You stay connected. "I love technology . . . ."


You are a dedicated professional.


And a great camp cook.

You automatically take on many responsibilities in our family, and teach the boys to do so as well.



You rock.


You're dadgum handsome.


You are a hard worker.


You are the boys' hero.



You appreciate the little things, and know sometimes they are the biggest things.


You are a great partner in crime.


You gracefully acknowledge your son's superior fishing skillz.


You are involved and interested in the boys' endeavors.



Your vision and abilities on any project you take on are unsurpassed.


You rock.


You know my love language.



You are my dream come true.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

'Cept we called it a Flutaphone

Oh, the days of "Enrichment" in grade school. It was the accelerated program that you got to do for a few hours each week, as long as your work was caught up and your grades were maintained.


In Enrichment, we learned things like Calligraphy, State Capitols (on a nifty, lit, wooden map of the United States - when you touched matched the state with the correct capital, it would light up), Computers, and the Flutaphone.


I vividly remember squeaking out the Marines' Hymn and America (My Country 'Tis of Thee). . . . .from the halls of Montezuma . . . .SQUEAK!!!!


Oh, those were the good times. They led to some great musical achievements, including clarinets, flutes, trumpets, and the like. We were some gifted musicians, mainly, I think, because of our humble flutaphone beginnings.


Fast forward a few (ish) years. It's now officially called a Recorder. Let me tell you, though, the fancy name doesn't make it squeak any less! But Chance is ready to master it. In fact, he's going to use this very official Recorder device to "Rock The House"!


Just ask him . . .


You go, Master Recorder Player, you go.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The best excuse I could imagine

It went something like this . . .


There had been minor skirmishes and scuffling all night. So far, harmless.


Then, I hear Chance crying in the living room.


I hear Colton saying, over and over, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!"


I walk in to find Chance on the ground, and Colton crying, still saying "I'm sorry" with a hockey stick in his hand.


I tell Colton to put away the stick and head for the stairs. Then I ask what happened.


No one will answer.


I ask again, a bit more forcefully.


"We were playing Batman and Joker!" says Colton.


Is this true?


Chance confirms.


Did you go into this game knowing he had a hockey stick?


Again, Chance confirms.


If you are going to make poor decisions like that, Colton's not the only one in trouble. What a ridiculous idea! Both of you to the couches - it will be nothing more adventurous than a book for the rest of the night.


I head back to the kitchen to finish the dishes.


Colton comes out crying.


What's the matter now, buddy?


"I'm just sad for all the people who got robbed!"


Really? And what possible train of thought could have brought you off the couch, where you are supposed to be reading, to offer your sad story of robbers here in the kitchen? Aren't you getting a bit off track?


"No! I chose to read my bible, and that's where I saw the robbers, and they DID make me sad!"
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Well, there you go.

More Dinner Conversation

Last night's dinner question:

They say you are what you eat. With that in mind, what is your favorite food in the world? What is your favorite thing your mom makes? How about your grandma?


So, the following people got nods for their cooking skillz:




Matt (I know, he's not a mom or a grandma, but he's Colton's favorite, and the other main chef in our household) - Creme Brulee, Cinnamon/Apple dessert, World Famous Nachos




Me - Nachos, even though they're not World Famous like daddy's (thanks, Colt), Lasagna, Baked Potatoes




Grandma D - Lasagna, Scalloped Potatoes, Pecan Pie, Ham


Papa Chuck - Flapjacks (World Famous), Ham



Grandmother - Vanilla Custard Ice Cream, Eggs in a Nest, Cookie Platters at Christmas, and Cherry Cream Cheese Pie


Granny - Bubble Cake




Grandma Grace - German Chocolate Cake (that I admit was probably from a box, but it's truly the only thing I remember eating there)


Grandma Laura - Cheez Whiz and Schwan's Push-Ups (don't make me tell the push-up story!)


Favorite Food In The WHOLE WIDE WORLD - Nachos, Baked Potatoes, Ice Cream, Cheesecake

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's so much friendlier with two (or three, or four, etc)

This is the best group of friends, ever!





Jane and Cali - thanks for the opportunity to get together.





Girls - thanks for all the fun!




Isn't this a good lookin' bunch??

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I do love those good, Christian school parents!


I'm lazy today. Mostly because I can't write anything that stirs me more than this article did.


My hat(s) is off to the Grapevine Faith Lions. You're the bomb . . .


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My backyard



This is what my "backyard" looks like lately.




About 200 head or so, wandering approximately a 10-mile radius.




What's in your backyard these days?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The next leg of the great race has begun


The reins have been passed.


Power has shifted.


And, once again, as ever before, it is time to pray. Please join me in answering Max Lucado's call to prayer for Barack Obama. As he says below "good things happen when people pray."


A Letter from Max Lucado


Dear Friends,


I am a pastor, not a politician, so I can only speculate as to what awaits President Barack Obama. The long-lasting benefits of good choices…the fearful consequences of poor ones…complicated social issues and relentless international problems.


He needs our prayers. And it’s our privilege to pray for him.


The Bible says: Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. (1 Timothy 2:2)


For that reason, I invite you to set aside a few minutes on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20, and ask God to bless Barack Obama and his family. Join me and urge as many people as possible to speak to God on behalf on our incoming president.


Good things happen when people pray.


A few years ago I attended a meeting in the White House. While standing in the State Dining Room, I noticed some words engraved on the fireplace: a message from John Adams to his wife Abigail. “I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”


Here’s hoping that same prayer is offered and answered again.

Max Lucado

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you.

I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end,
when I come to lay down the reins of power,
I have lost every other friend on earth,
I shall at least have one friend left,
and that friend shall be down inside me.”
—Abraham Lincoln

On this inauguration eve, I am inclined to take a look backward for just a moment, before charging forward into all the hope and change that awaits.



George W. Bush

President #43 of the United States of America

Likely, the name above produced a completely visceral response of either anger or poignancy. Probably not a lot of in between.

"W" is kind of a love him or hate him kind of a guy. Likely because he relies on his heart and conviction to guide his decisions rather than opinion polls or text messages. And, while I'm the first to admit his instincts weren't always right, I probably say that because I was on the love him side of the equation more often than not.

I love that he is prayerful and not afraid to admit it.

I love that my family has been safe for the last seven years, and that our country has not suffered another terrorist attack since 9/11. No one, even his most ardent supporters, gave him a snowball's chance at that.

I love that he has a marriage that has weathered some tough, tough times and still prevailed.

I love that he supports Israel. The bible is clear that we won't always support Israel, and I'm glad that we stood strong beside them during W's watch.

I love that Mr. Bush knows Africa is important--many don't know that he knows that, but his spending proves it--more than any other US President in history. One of my sponsored kids is from Africa, which makes me love that even more.

I love his directness. Not eloquence. There's no mistaking that there wasn't much eloquence. But directness - you always knew where we stood.

I love that he has taken the brunt of 8 long years of hate and discontent humbly and quietly. I wish he wasn't so quiet, but then maybe he wouldn't be so humble. I don't know.

I love that those who were his friends on the other side of the aisle (Tony Blair, Joe Lieberman), were there even when it hurt their own popularity.

I love that he gave up his life for 8 years to try and lead this country and make it a better place. I think he gave it his best shot every. single. day.

No doubt I did not love every decision he made. There were many that made me scream at the TV or computer screen. Heck, I doubt even his mom loved every decision he made. But, I'm thankful that he made them. Most of the time using information that I won't know or realize until this earth is long gone. I have the privilege of cheering or dissenting without all the facts. Because I'm an American. And I love being an American,.

So, today, I exercise my privilege to thank the man who has been my President for the last 8 years. Opposite of current popular opinion, I will choose to remember the highlights of those 8 years, knowing that to tear him down today serves neither him nor this country any purpose.

And, if I remember nothing else of his presidency, I hope I never forget this:



If America does not lead the cause of freedom,
that cause will not be led.
George W. Bush

These are a few of my favorite things . . .


Dinner Question: Name Three Things That Make You Happy


Chance - Hockey, Family, and Video Games


Colton - Video Games, Video Games, and Video Games


Colton (corrected) - Video Games, Christmas, and Daddy


Mom - Daddy, my Boys, and Water (oceans, rivers, streams, lakes, etc)

...*Chance comments - what about scrapbooking?

...*I reply, I like it, but not enough to make the top 3. Especially not ahead of you!

...*He smiles that really cute, I'm so glad I'm loved, kind of smile.

...*My heart melts just a little.


Dad - Family, Camping, and Puttering (he is the most famous and successful putterer of our house hold!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Train Up A Child . . .

Pro 22:6
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.



The other day, Chance asks from the back seat.



"Mom, did you know there are some people that actually think the world is millions of years old?"



Yes, I told him, I'm aware that there are many.



"Don't they read the bible?"



Some of them do.



"Then how can they think that?"



We got into a brief explanation of taking the bible literally in places versus figuratively. And, I basically ended with the thought that some people trust human science more than biblical assertions.



"That's just crazy. Where do they get this stuff?!!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Dinner Question(s)

This weekend's dinner questions were pretty fun. The boys answers are even more fun!


1. If you could go back in history, what famous person would you meet, and what 1 question would you ask them?


Chance - I would ask Jesus what it was like to have two very different parents.

Colton - I would ask Napoleon Dynamite what kind of skillz he had.

Colton - I would ask Diego if animals could really talk.

Heather - I would ask Abraham Lincoln how he knew he was doing God's will (with his life) after so many trials and failures. I would have questioned whether I was even on the right track.

Matt - I would ask President Reagan where he got the courage to go against all his advisers and confront Mr. Gorbachev.

Matt - for the finale - I would ask Sponge Bob a one word question . . . . . REALLY???????


2. Tell each family member their best trait or what you like best about them.


Mom - Chance - She's a really good cook and baker; Colton - She's really good at just staring at a book; Matt - She keeps our schedule on track, organizes the house, and manages the family.


Dad - Chance - He works really hard and he knows how to make stuff; Colton - He has a really good imagination with Legos; Mom - He provides for our family, and he works hard to let each of us know that he loves us, even if he has to show it a different way to each one.


Chance - Colton - He's good at shooting games and wrestling; Dad - I love how Chance really thinks things through, is very thorough, and knows all about what he's going to say; Mom - I love that Chance tries really hard at whatever he decides to attempt, from hockey to school to video games, he always gives 100%.


Colton - Chance - He's a really good indoor hockey player; Mom - I love Colton's laugh, that he likes to laugh, and that he wants to make other people happy; Dad - I love Colton's spontaneity, he jumps right in and does something, isn't shy, without thinking twice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Then There's This Guy . . .


Can't say I love this one any less. What a kid!


Here's a synopsis of our last two significant conversations:


1. After hockey

Mom, can I use my Starbucks card and get some hot cocoa?

(Insert Colt) - Yeah! I want some too!

We can get some, but if we're all going to get something, I'll just pay and we can use your cards another time.

Can I still get a Grande?

Why don't we compromise, and I'll get you a Tall instead of the kid size?

(Short pause)

Mom, I'd rather use my own card so I can get a Venti.

A Venti!! That's crazy, Chance! I thought you said you wanted a Grande?!?

Well, I didn't know we were negotiating, or I would have started higher . . .


2. On the way home

Dad slows way down ahead of us for a herd of deer to cross the road.

Everyone is excited to check them out.

One pretty good size buck, and 9 does.

I stop and get the camera out to take a couple pictures

Chance - Man, I wish I had a 12-gauge, my hunting license, 9 doe tags, and a handicapped hunting permit - I'd shoot 'em right from my seat!

I guess I should be glad he knew all the facets of that scenario which might actually make it legal . . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's Going On In Your World?

It's sure been busy in mine!


As I think over the last few weeks, it can only be recapped with a handy, chronologically organized list, with photos interspersed. Or maybe a chronologically organized sampling of photos, with a list interspersed. I'll let you know at the end which one it is.


A Christmas Program


Gingerbread Houses


Hockey practice, in which Matt has to pull the boys off the ice before their toes freeze off at the -10^ outdoor hockey rink!


My company Christmas party


Matt's dad's family's Christmas gathering (that's an awful lot of apostrophes!)


More hockey.


Sleeping under the Christmas Tree


A day at mom & dad's for a Christmas Eve family gathering


Carolling


A fun, relaxing Christmas Day at home


Christmas with Matt's mom & Dennis
Bean bags and Lion King tickets - they were both kings!


The Hull family gathering


Skipped hockey for some snowmobiling fun


Church nursery


The big bedroom and closet clean-out


The boys play Legos at my work while I try to get some things done
The cleaning lady only finds one stray - great job, boys!

More hockey


A family New Year's Eve at Michael's, then the movies (Storyteller)


A fairly lazy New Year's Day, sleeping off the apple cider induced coma


More hockey


Housework and sledding - not necessarily in that order


A fun evening at Cali's wedding reception. Jane and Cali, you did a most fabulous job! It was great to see everyone.


More hockey


A meeting to present candidates to fill the open Prosecutor position in our county


Church and Sunday School


The great bathroom clean-out


First day of school - no, wait - SNOW DAY! Much fighting and whining from spoiled brats who are ready for Christmas break to be done already. Then I woke the boys up. A bit of Christmas undecorating, some more sledding, and an Animal Crossing marathon.


Finally, back to "normal". Work and school resume on schedule. And, you guessed it - more hockey.


So, what do you think, was it a list?


I'll tell you what I think - I had a real list. Of things I wanted to do during those 10 days off. Not many things got crossed off. Except for the fun. We definitely accomplished that one.