Sunday, 29 April 2012


My mom's house is one of my most favorite places in the world to be.  I just love the feeling that overwhelms me when I walk through the door - especially if it has been some time since I've been there.  Her house is so unique and it is so her.  Everything in her home is intensely her, and I think that is part of why I love to be there so much.  

When I was there last week, she had this quote written on her chalkboard wall that is heading out her back door:

"What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever-leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss, success, not failure, good, not evil.  For I do not want to regret the price that I have paid."

Friday, 27 April 2012

buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks

Tuesday night we were able to take Breck to his first Cubs game, thanks to $5 tickets from SA.  It was great.  Who doesn't love a ball game?

The afternoon started off with the unveiling of a new Cubs hat for the boy I found at Marshalls.  :)

And leaving this crazy little beast at home with Maria.  (Thanks Maria! You're the greatest.)  The game didn't start until 7 so we thought best to just let this little one get her beauty sleep.

Taking it all in. Cubs scarfs for the first however many fans in the door.  An added bonus.

The boy's first National Anthem 

And a hot dog.  
It was a great night.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

la mama

Today is my mommy's birthday.  She's truly one of the most fantastic people on this planet and I am blown away with gratitude that she is mine.  I could go on and on and on about how amazing she is.  I won't fill your hours with a long list of reasons why today, but if you have the privilege of knowing her, you already know why.

Happy Birthday Mom!  I love you!

Monday, 23 April 2012


The kids and I packed it up this weekend and headed to Omaha while Chris was busy at a retreat and being buried in books.  Finals are just around the corner.  Whoa.  We had a great weekend and the kids did AWESOME in the car.  I didn't know if I was a little mental to take on a 8+ hour road trip on my own with two little ones in tow, but they were great and it was well worth the trip.  I didn't get my camera out as much as I would have liked, but here are a few highlights:

Friday morning we headed out to play with "baby" Blythe (and of course Ryan and Sarah too).  I realize we need to ditch calling her that now that she is nearly 2 years old - it just has such a nice ring to it though.

My kids love Blythe's awesome play room.  And Breck will find anything and everything to use to play dress up, i.e. an art smock.

And then outside for more fun.

Elsa has perfected the "cheese".

Hanging at Grandma Kris' house.

Trip to the big slides - downtown Omaha.  It was Breck and Elsa's first trip to this lovely little Omaha landmark.  I spent many an hour here as a child.

Often when the weather is nice, the slides are packed and you have to wait in long lines.  But as a kid growing up I have fond memories of those days when it would be just a bit chilly and you would show up and you were the only ones there.  Fantastic.  

And if you ever find yourself in the Omaha area and want to head to the big slides, bring wax paper or a paper bag to sit on to majorly help increase your speed.  Just a little insider tip 

We celebrated Great Grandma Bug's birthday (also known as Grandma Pat) on Sunday afternoon.  Breck made her a fabulous birthday banner.  Here he is admiring his work.

The boy continues to be an awesome artist.  It's very fun.

Other highlights not photoed:
-Seeing my best friend's baby bump and spending all day together Thursday
-Lunch at the Howell's
-Dinner at the VP's.  
-Joe changing our oil and giving our car the royal treatment.
-Playing outside with Brady and Mallory.
-Cost-co run
-Kite flying
-Running some errands on my own while my mom hung out with my kids.
-Sunday morning at FCC.
-King Kong gyros with Grandpa Kurt
-Relaxing evenings with the greatest mama in all the world.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Solitary Week

As you read on Jenny's last post she and the kids have headed to Omaha as I stay behind for a retreat and work on research.  So in my procrastination I am writing this post.  I have made a few realizations this week.  One is that I can still survive without Jenny here.  It is a bit frightening to realize I will have to heat a can of soup on my own, which I did, and come up with gross scramble egg concoctions, which I also did.  Last night's dinner was scrambled eggs with salami, mozzarella, mixed with red onion, hot sauce and A-1 steak sauce.  Standing over the skillet with apron on I roared, "I am man!  I am not completely dependent on my wife to survive!  I can heat food with fire!"  I often imagine myself as a chef on some PBS cooking show explaining all the steps to make the "Sea-side Scrambler."  I would be the soft spoken chef on PBS, not one of these angry chef's I see commercials for.  Food for me is joy, not anger.

Not sure if it was procrastination or a brain-washing method Jenny has me on, but I even found myself sweeping and washing the dishes this morning.  It has been an arduous road to bring me to civility and sanitation.  As I finished sweeping and began reading I thought, "Huh...That was strange."  A memory came to mind.  The apartment that I shared with my friend Darryl our final year as undergraduates was disgusting.  We never cleaned it.  I mean never.  The white linoleum in the kitchen was black from the slush and asphalt brought in during the winter.  Across the wood floor were thousands of black rubber pellets fell off our cleats from the stadium turf.  The bathroom was dangerous to one's health.

I recall that one weekend Darryll and I were both out-of-town, maybe at a soccer tournament or visiting our hometowns or girlfriends.  Anyhow, a friend of Darryl's was passing through Chicago on her way out East and asked to stay the night in our apartment.  We agreed, without telling her the dire situation of our home.  I recall that she had called Darryll and scolded him for the unsanitary situation in which we resided.  She had to use the bathroom upon arrival, but could not bring herself to do it; so went to the dollar store, bought cleaner, cleaned the bathroom, then used it.  Shameful, on our part really.  The apartment was spotless when we returned.  Here was a woman, someone I never met (and would be embarrassed to do so now), cleaning our filth.  In a subconscious retaliatory way however, she did forget about a can in the freezer, which exploded.  I do not think we cleaned it out until final inspection day.  Darryl was the inspector as the RA.  Ironic.  

So those are my deep thoughts as I begin research on Erasmus and Thomas More.  Very enlightening stuff really.  I do feel a little smug and a sense of pride in the fact that I have really grown in domestic life over the last 6 years.  I will keep telling myself too, that I am not entirely dependent on Jenny for sustenance.  After all, I can scramble eggs.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


The beginning of our summer is shaping up to be jam-packed with all sort of amazingness.  There are so many things happening that I am looking forward to that I feel like my son counting down the days until Christmas.  The anticipation almost kills you it's so exciting.

In 90 days, we'll be headed to my grandparent's cabin in Minnesota.  It's the place we always vacationed growing up.  I had been there every summer since my birth until we moved to Ecuador.  Looking forward to a sweet reunion.

In 67 days, we will be hoping on an airplane down to Florida to go to Disney World with Chris' ENTIRE extended family thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Kay.  How crazy fun is that?  I've never been, so I'm sure my eyes will be just as wide as my kids when we step into the magic that awaits us there.

In 57 days, our dear, dear friends from Ecuador, Henry, Olga and Caleb, are coming to visit us.  I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE THEM!!  When they first started talking about coming to visit, I couldn't let myself believe that it could be true.  But then when I heard that the plane tickets had been purchased, I nearly peed my pants.

Also in 57 days, Amy and Kris will return to Chicago from their India adventure.  Super, super excited to spend time with them and for them to be here the same time as Henry and Olga so they can meet.

In 50 days, our fabulous friend and fellow missionary, Kim, will be coming up to Chicago to take a class at North Park and is going to stay with us while she is here.  Can't wait to catch up!

In 48 days, we will be celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary and Grandma Kathy is coming to town to babysit so we can go out and celebrate.

In 27 days, Kris and Amy will arrive in Chicago to spend a few days before their great India adventure.  Love my sister.  Love her man.  Love when we are all together.

In 25 days, our friend April, who was on our Merge summer staff last year, will be coming to visit.  Can't wait to catch up with her either.

In 24 days, Chris will be done with classes for the semester.  How this is possible, I don't know - it's gone by so fast!  We have nearly survived our first semester of seminary.

In 17 days, we will be kicking off a weekend celebrating Breck's fourth birthday.  How can he be that old?!?!?!?!  Grandma Kris is coming to town.  Dance Party birthday bash.  Enough said.

In 9 days, our friend Liz, who was also on our Merge summer staff, is coming to Chicago to hangout and laugh with us.  Yeah!

In 7 days, Breck, Chris and I are headed to our first Cubs game.  Thanks SA!

In 11 hours, the kids and I will be road trippin' it to Omaha to hangout with friends and family there.  Chris is super busy with end of the year stuff and also has a retreat to go to this weekend so the kiddos and I decided to do some adventuring of our own.

In 30 seconds, Chris will be done with his homework and we get to hangout.  I see ice cream and sweatpants in our future.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Hey Sue!

Ch-ching!  Hit the jackpot last Wednesday when we were at the library.  The extremely rare pass to the Field Museum was being checked in just as we were checking out our books.  It remained on the board for about .084 seconds before we grabbed it.  And the librarian said that is about how long it usually remains there before someone grabs it again.  Lucky us that we were in the right place at the right time.  So, Saturday we packed it up and headed downtown for some adventures.   

Completely awesome totem poles.

The fam with Sue!

Heading to Africa

"But Auntie Amy will be scared!"

Hanging out in ancient Egypt.  Waiting to be turned into a mummy.

Trying to move some blocks to build a pyramid.

I thought for a moment that it would be magical to have some sort of padded barrier like this in our house to coral this little girl.  Chris quickly pointed out it would just prompt her to further her skills in climbing.


Little drummer girl

And little drummer boy.

Bulls fan.

Sitting in a T-Rex foot print. 

Blackhawks fan.

Historic gear from the Kotzebue sound.

Breck resting in the Native American Indian Lodge.

I would say it was a successful trip!