Monday, February 26, 2007

Minnesota Blizzard

We got dumped with snow this weekend as you can tell from the post below. The boys and I finally got to do our quinzee. It turned out really cool and was a lot of fun. Matty wanted to be outside so bad. Once he got out, he couldn't keep his mittens on so headed in pretty quickly.

Shube was over Saturday night and got snowed in until this morning. She "slung hash" and we got some great meals. Thanks, Shube. It was a good weekend of being with family and hard work (my whole upper body is so sore.)


I have been thinking about work a lot lately. I have been thinking about how I was raised and how my father taught me about the importance of work. I have been thinking about how I will teach my boys to work. Growing up, I was not always the first to jump in when there was a job to do. Joe, on the other hand, seemed to even like work. This made for some difficult comparisons growing up. My dad was always nervous that I might turn out to be a couch potato that couldn't hold down a job. As I seek to work with my boys, it appears that I have a Joe and an Andy. (We'll see what Matty ends up like.)

Yesterday I shoveled the driveway (twice). It seems as if I am 12 years old again. I thought of my dad as I worked to make sure the walls on each side of the driveway were uniform. Caleb was out with me, dying to get his hands on the shovel and give it a go. Ben was in hanging out inside in his PJ's.

I think one thing that I want to avoid with my boys, is the fact that I always felt a little tinge of "If you would only be more like your brother," around the issue of work. We'll see how that all turns out. It is difficult because the two boys need different kinds of teaching in this area.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A fun time in FL

I think I am almost recovered from our trip to FL. If any of you are thinking about taking three little boys on an airplane when they are supposed to be in bed, give me an call and we'll talk. Here are some of our highlights from what was a great trip.

-Some quiet in the house while the boys were gone
-Lunches at the Turtle Club and Buzz's Lighthouse
-Being outside
-Walk with Amanda
-Ben & Caleb loved the park with the sand place
-The boys' new goggles from Gigi
-Playing at Drew's house
-Joe coming home early for dinner
-Being outside (did I mention that?)
-I always love swimming with the boys
-Mom, Joe, Carrie, Drew

Thanks FL family for a great week. We love you. Here are some pics. Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kensington support

It has been one year since my beautiful wife gave me my first iPod. Soon after I got it I decided I wanted to listen to it in the car. This meant that I needed an FM transmitter. I scoured the web for reviews on the best one to buy. The one that I came up with was the Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Car Charger for iPod. I have been thoroughly satisfied with it but about a month ago it began to come apart a little. Last week it finally gave up the ghost and stopped working. I decided I needed to write the company (ala Jeff Cutler and his Nike shoes.)

Yesterday I got an e-mail back from my new friend,
Venkata Satish Kumar from Kensington Tech Support. She (or he) told me that she (or he) would be happy to send me a new one in replacement. I was THRILLED. This is the way that the world should be. Then today I got an e-mail from Venkata's supervisor, Lakshmi Narayana.

Dear Andy: Thank you for providing the required information. I am glad to inform you that, I have placed an order for the replacement of the product with the model number 33185 and you will be receiving the product with in next 10 to 12 business days from now for absolutely free of cost. You do not need to send us back the defective product. Just as soon as you receive the product mark the old one as a defective product and trash it if you wish. Our primary concern is to make our Customers COMPLETELY SATISFIED with Email support. We strive for this and go to any extent to make our customers happy with Kensington products. You may receive an e-mail survey regarding your e-mail support experience. I request you to participate and encourage us. We appreciate your feedback. It has been my pleasure to assist you. Regards, Lakshmi Narayana Kensington Technical Support.

So, thank you to my new friends at Kensington Technical Support. If you, reader, are ever in need of computer peripherals, be sure to check first.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Benny's first blog post--update

Gregg has been prodding me to get Ben to post to the blog. Since he has been in FL this week, we have been e-mailing. I thought this would be a good chance to take Gregg up on his challenge. The following is our e-mail conversation from this week.

Dear Benny, Caleb and Matt-t-ty,

Thanks so much for my very cool Charlotte's Web e-card. I love all of you so much and miss playing legos and Lincoln Logs with you. I miss wrestling with you, especially Matty. I can't wait to see you all on Saturday. I hope to call and talk to you tonight. I love you all.


I love you Daddyo! I miss you. We went to the sand place yester night and we brought our toys. We found a deer head and jewelry buried in the sand. They are called artifacts. Today we're going over to Drewski's because it's rainy and cold. I look like a raccoon with my sunburn. Caleb is being a storm trooper on the linai and Matty is playing with Caleb. I'm Hans Salo.
Benny, Caleb, and Matty

Dear Benny, Caleb and Matty,
It is so much for to get an e-mail from you. I love you and miss you so much too. I have been going to the gym a lot this week. I swam on Tuesday night and went into the steam room last night. I think of you a lot when I am there. I sure love going to the pool with all of you. I love to watch you jump into the pool and have you ride on my back. I heard that Matty is jumping into the pool. So cool!

I am going over to Grandpa and Joni's house tonight for dinner. They invited me, so I am going. They want to begin to talk about our trip this summer to Michigan. That sure will be fun. God sure has blessed us with so many good gifts. The best gifts in my life are my family. I love you boys and your mom so much. I can't wait to see you. Only two more days.


Dear Daddy-o,
We're going to go to the library tonight. I'm scared to go because I don't know what it looks like but I'm sure it will be fun. I can hardly wait for you to get here. We went to Chick fil a today for lunch and played 20 questions at home with Mom. Got to go now. Dinner's almost ready. I LOVE YOU!!

Oh Ben,
It is so much fun to e-mail with you. I think about the time when someday you will leave home and I will be sitting at my desk e-mailing you at college. It won't be long.

I sure loved talking to you on the phone yesterday. I know that sometimes it is hard to say how you are feeling. Mr. Rogers talks a lot about feelings and how important it is for us to talk about them. Sometimes it is hard for me to talk about my feelings. I love you Ben. God loves you even more than I do. Whenever you are having a hard day like yesterday, you can stop and tell God about it. He will always be there for you.

I will be at Gigi's tomorrow when you wake up. I will hug and kiss you and then I will hug and kiss Caleb and then I will hug and kiss Matty. I will have already kissed your mom when I see her at the airport. I hope you have a fun day today. See you soon.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Comment to Tricia's Recent Post

I began to write all of this in a comment to Tricia's most recent post. It got too long, so I thought I would throw it up here. Tell me what you think, what you're learning.

From Tricia's blog: "I Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

The verses that you quoted hit me hard. As we talked about yesterday things are often difficult. We have to own that and lament it. But we also have to live a life that realizes that there is something even more REAL than the sufferings (which are relative. We are all suffering.) This thing that is more REAL is the life that we are able to live with (and through) Christ, what Peter in these verses calls faith. We have been talking about this in my Bible study. Do we really believe that the life with Christ is better than anything that this world could offer us? Is the life with Christ better than the love that I have for my family? Is the relationship with Christ that comes often through refinement and suffering better than success, accolades, a beautiful baby in my arms, the soft kiss of my wife? I don't like to think about these things very often. I don't like to think that it is an either/or case. I don't think it is. I think that sometimes, often it is both. This obviously reveals my theology as a pessimistic and often dark one. I trust God to make me good (more like His son.) I think that I am scared that He'll do just that. I often hold too tightly to the good gifts that He has given me.

Romans 8:18-21
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that[i] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A busy weekend, but oh so good

We had a busy weekend.

Friday: Amanda and I had one of our first dates in a long time (thanks D&J). We went to Big Bowl. It is one of Amanda's favorite Chinese restaurants. (WARNING: Grandma Gammons menu report ahead!) I had the sichuan cashew shrimp. It was very HOT and very good. Amanda had the kung pao chicken. Its her favorite. When we got home we enjoyed a game of Boggle with Dave and Joni.

Saturday: We went over to Shube's to hang out with her and have dinner with Brad and Sarah. It is always good to hang with them. It was a nice relaxing time.

Sunday: We didn't go to church because we didn't want the boys to get sick before their big trip to FL (stay tuned). After a fun dinner at McDonald's, where it was once again confirmed that teenagers should not be trusted with a business, we went to our gym to swim. I love doing this and so do the boys. They are all so funny in the water. Ben is a fish and would have stayed all night. Caleb is a little timid at first, but by the end of the night he is splashing and really having a great time. Matthew regularly falls backward in the kiddy pool and goes completely underwater. When we pull him out he has a huge smile on his face. It is a great place for making memories!

Today we are finalizing things for our trip to FL. Amanda and the boys fly out tomorrow morning.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Podrunner and John Piper

I went and worked out last night. It was so enjoyable. I didn't think I'd ever say that. The thing that has been making a big difference for me lately has been this podcast that I have been listening to. It is called Podrunner. It is all electronic dance music, which I would normally not be into at all. But the DJ that does it, DJ Steveboy, really puts the music together well. He tells you how many beats per minute which lets you know just how fast of a workout it will be. It helps me keep my pace up and keep my focus. You can check out the website here. If you would like to check out Podrunner on iTunes, click on the Podrunner icon above.

I have also been watching and listening to the last two weeks of John Piper's sermons. He is focusing on marriage right now. He is a good preacher but maybe an even better teacher. The crux of his sermons has been that the main reason for marriage is to demonstrate to us and to the world God's covenant love for us. Through showing undeserved grace and mercy to our spouse, we demonstrate God's undeserved grace and mercy. They are great messages. Check them out here or in iTunes here. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 5, 2007


First, a huge congrats to Gregg and the Co'ts. What a good game last night! I do feel a little sorry for G&A about the terrible weather in Miami last night. I am sure though that it was still an awesome experience. Can't wait to see the pics and read about your time.

On a very non-Miami note, on my way into work this morning it said -16° F on the sign. Growing up in Northern Michigan, I am fairly used to the cold, but this is a totally different thing. The expected high today is 1° F. Tomorrow it will warm up to a balmy 9° F. We should get some snow tomorrow too. That will be great because the boys and I have been working on a quinzhee in the back yard. Ben just doesn't understand why I don't want to get in it. It is about three feet too small. We watched a show on PBS about a month ago where some kids spent the night in the quinzhee that they had built. I don't think were ready for that, but maybe someday. Thanks for the warm wishes from our folks in FL. I thought how great it would be if I could just bottle this up and send it to you. I would be a millionaire. Have a great week. Stay warm.

For some really cool quinzhee camping pictures, click here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Happy Groundhog Day

Inspired by Gregg and Allison, I thought I would post the official Groundhog Day forecast. It looks like Phil says that spring is on its way. It doesn't feel like it in Minnesota. It is -6 F. Brrrrrr. Have a great weekend! Go Co'ts!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Sweet mullet!

Last night we went ahead and did it. We cut off all of Caleb's sweet locks. He looks about 13 years younger. He went from our sullen little sixteen-year-old to our sweet little three-year-old. It was a needed fix. The first three pics are at the mid point and the last one is the finished product. What do you think?