Monday, July 30, 2007

A few more pics

While Gigi (Mom) was here, she taught Benjamin how to stand on his head. Check this out!

He thought this was pretty cool. Whenever Ben gets a new trick he can't wait to share it with me, Shube, Grandpa, just about anyone. Its fun to celebrate him. Here are some more pictures of Molly. You can find the originals in our Picasa album. I love her in the little dress. It was her first dress.

Sweet, sweet Molly

I wanted to try and get some more pictures of little Molly out for those of your who are not close. Molly is doing really well. She is beginning to have a little bit of trouble with her poop. No blood in her stool yet. We are hoping that it clears up. Amanda is doing well too. She is feeling great as long as she doesn't push herself too much. Today is her first day totally on her own. Mom left last Wednesday and I was off on Thursday and Friday.

Tricia and Alex are coming into town tonight. Alex is looking at Bethel as a possibility for a Master's in counseling degree. It would be great to have them in Minnesota, but we'll see. I also do a post of some more pics from the last few days.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The end of an era

I called Tricia on Saturday and she said that they had put Polson to sleep that morning. This was also some what sad for Amanda and me. We like Polson a lot. He was a great dog and he definitely pointed to a time of our lives that we really loved. We have lots of memories of hanging out with Tricia and Polson: Amanda living with them for a summer at the Madison St. apartment, stopping at Tricia's apartment in Vicksburg on my way back home from TU, eating Hungry Howie's and Polson recognizing the yellow box.

I thought I would post her recent e-mail about his "going to be with the Lord."

I have enclosed our final picture with Polson. He went to be with the Lord this morning. After a day of processing, I've landed on that terminology rather than "putting him to sleep" because that is what I wish for him. I know dogs don't have souls, but I think maybe this one did. Thank you Polson for being the best dog I will ever have. Alex and I spent the ride home remembering fond memories with him.

Polson riding in the front seat of my Tacoma and sharing my burger king french fries with me on a weekly basis.
Our cross country trip from Montana to Michigan.
The first year of his life following me around without a collar or leash.
Getting hit by a van after jumping out of my moving vehicle to chase a poodle.
The ocassional moment when he appeared to enjoy Annie.
And many more...

For those who don't know the details, Polson's knees had arthritis and it was difficult for him to do anything besides lay on his bed. He had growled at Davy three different times this week (only because he was in pain and didn't want her touching him) so we felt the time had come. Alex went in with Polson when they gave him the drug. He said it was very peaceful and the whole thing was over in 30 seconds.

Thanks for reading and being sad with us. Polson will be 11 years old next month.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who does Molly look like?

I made some of my feelings on who I hoped Molly looked like in an earlier post. I think that I might have gotten my wish. See what you think. The photo below is the earliest picture of Caleb that I have electronically. If anyone has an earlier one. I'd love to have it.

Wendell Berry reading audio

On June 29, I went to a reading by Wendell Berry. You can read my earlier post about it here. It was a great night, sponsored by the Land Stewardship Project, an amazing organization here in the Twin Cities. I received a letter yesterday that said that the audio from that evening is now available. So, take a few minutes and listen to Mr. Berry read a great poem and a new story about Burly Coulter. Go here and listen to episode 35. If you're interested in issues of land stewardship and the family farm, you can also listen to episodes 38 and 39. They are the panel discussion from that night. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


One thing that I wanted to write about when Molly was born but didn't get a chance to was her middle name. With all of our kids, we looked for names that we liked that also honored people that we love: Benjamin Donald (my dad), Caleb Joseph (my brother), Matthew Bradley (Amanda's brother), and now Molly Pearl (Amanda's grandma.) I've gotten to know Amanda's grandma through many stop-overs at her house. We've enjoyed her snacks and tea before bed and crashing on her floor. Pearl Wendt is a very kind woman who loves Jesus. That is how I hope that Molly is described one day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

X-games Ben

A few weeks ago iTunes was giving away bmx and skate videos. As the boys and I watched these together, I saw the wheels turning in Ben's head. Yesterday I went out to the garage, Ben was strapping on his knee pads, elbow pads and his helmet. He wanted to know if I knew any tricks. I taught him how to jump the curb. He's pretty hardcore. Enjoy!

"I sure am glad Molly's here."

"I sure am glad Molly's here." That's what Caleb said this morning just before I went to work. Many people have asked what the boys think of her. There is a spectrum of reactions. On one end, Caleb is thrilled to have her here. It is very funny because during the whole pregnancy Caleb wanted very little to do with the topic. The funniest part about Caleb is that he keeps calling Molly either "he" or "him". For instance, "Can I take him back to my room?" or "He sure is soft." We'll work on gender pronoun agreement in a few weeks. On the other end of the spectrum is Ben. He didn't really want to come to the hospital and since Molly came home he has not really wanted much to do with her. This has very little to do with whether Ben likes her or not. Ben, being the cautious first born, I think is more worried about things at the hospital, hurting her, her being new, her being different. He wanted to know the other day, "When is Molly going to be 5?" Once things settle down a little bit and Molly is able to interact with him, she'll be his little charge. Matthew lies somewhere in the middle. He thinks she is fun and wants to be near her, but mostly he is glad that his mommy is back.

Amanda update: Amanda is feeling better. We were able to come home on Sunday (our scheduled day) which was a huge blessing. We didn't want to stay at the hospital any more. We went to get her hematobin level checked this morning. We're hoping it is going up. She is still pretty laid up. My mom is here though and is being a hugely indispensable help. I am back at work for the rest of the week. I will take a couple more days off once my mom leaves next week. Thanks for reading and thanks for continuing to pray for us.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Molly Pearl Gammons

Yesterday at about 8:00 am, we welcomed Molly Pearl Gammons into the world and into our lives. She was an amazingly beautiful 8 pounds and 8 ounces and 21 inches long. Both she and Amanda are doing well. Amanda lost quite a bit of blood during the surgery so is a little worried about that. They have said transfusion a couple of times, but I am praying that we don't need to do that. Molly is feeding well and looking very cute with her little mohawk. She looks similar to the boys, but with a look all her own.

Thanks so each of you who have been praying for us. We are once again AMAZED at God's many mercies to us. God has again invited us into the creation process. We know that these are the many gifts that Christ bought for us on the Cross and we give Him praise! Those are the feelings and prayers that I am gripped with. "Praise to the Lord the Almighty, the King of Creation." Please join us in thanks to God.

Check back here for more Molly updates. Also, if you would like to see more pictures, check out this gallery (Gregg, there might be some that you will need to skip through.) Click on the video below to see the actual moment Molly entered the world. (Its not that gross. It is actually pretty amazing.) You can also see more video here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big design change

So, I have made the switch to the new design. I got a little antsy. I've never been one for waiting. Let me know what you think. Any feedback is good.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Prepping for a big change

We spent Saturday morning cleaning the house, washing all of Molly's clothes and generally getting ready for our big day Thursday. I think we are prepped. After three, it is more like packing for a trip that you have been on before. Amanda is great with all of it. We are excited, but also cautiously anticipating.

On a more technical note, we here at AAbcm are also prepping for the big change. We are planning on a name change as well as a design change. Gregg (our graphic design specialist) has also been hard at work on our new banner image (see below.) I am planning on doing the redesign next week. I don't think I'll have time for it this weekend . . .


In an attempt to squeeze every last drop out of our time before Molly comes, we decided to make a run to the "Norwegian Riviera" (Duluth, MN) this weekend for a quick over quick over-night. I'm not sure what it was about this place, maybe just a break from the everyday, maybe the cool atmosphere, maybe swimming in the Holiday Inn pool with the boys, or more probably the beautiful lake, but it was a huge emotional relief.

We drove over the lift bridge a number of times. The boys thought that was great. It was 95 degrees in the shade on Saturday so we spend time near the lake trying to keep cool. The boys played and threw rocks in the lake for an hour or so. Benjamin decided to throw his flip flop in the lake. I was content to have him be without a shoe for the rest of our time, but that wouldn't have been a good thing, so Dad went swimmin'. I jumped into the frigged Lake Superior and swam out about 20 feet to get the flip flop. It is fun to think that the boys are into their "rememberable" time now. Someday they'll think back about some of their first memories and these will be them.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A trip down the St. Croix

When Dave, Joni, Brad and Sarah all came out last night, we had planned to go to Stillwater (a great small town about 15 minutes from us on the St. Croix River) for dinner and a little time near the river. When we got there we walked to the marina to look at the boats. We saw a sign for boat rentals and thirty minutes later the nine of us were on a pontoon cruising down the beautiful St. Croix. It couldn't have been a more desirable night. The sun was warm on our necks, the bluffs on the Wisconsin side were tree covered and the water was like diamonds. Brad, Ben, Caleb and I stripped to our skivvies and went for a dip. It was a good night.

Wendell Berry reading recap

The Story of a Wendell Berry fanboy

Having been a fanboy of lesser people and having had a chance to meet some of them, I was somewhat prepared for my evening on Friday. What can one expect from a short encounter with someone who one has put on a pedestal and even sought to emulate? One can expect disappointment. So I tried to go into the Wendell Berry reading working to keep my expectations in check. I got there a little early and was able to get a seat right on Mr. Berry's left shoulder. There were two other author/poets that shared the bill with him. He read first though. He read an amazing poem about hope that left me with tears. He then read a new story of Burley Coulter. Burley is one of the central characters in his Port William fiction series. Hearing Mr. Berry read the story in Burley's slow southern drawl made me feel as if I were with him around the fire, hearing a story, while sipping "White Lightning" after a coon hunt. This was the highlight of the evening.

After Mr. Berry read, the two other guests read from their work. It was good, but paled in an
unfair comparison. After the these readings there was a short break during which, I reached to touch Mr. Berry's arm to thank him for coming. His arm was old. It felt like the arms of other old men I'd known, Grandpa, men I grew up with. He was thin and his skin was loose. This was not what I expected from the long-time farmer. His age continued to show during the subsequent question and answer session. He needed to have each question repeated and frustration with the microphone was ongoing.

After the reading ended, around 9:45 pm, there was a reception with all locally grown food. (The food was delicious. It really is different.) During this time, many people lined up to have Mr. Berry sign their books. After my food, the line had died down and I took my copy of Hannah Coulter out for his signature. I told him my name was "Andy" and he seemed to think that was a good name (His most recent book is entitled Andy Coulter: Early Travels.) While he was signing I asked him "Is it difficult for you to talk about these issues outside of a relationship with Jesus?" He didn't hear me, but answered, "I've been talking about these issues for years. Its not hard. The problem is I'm going deaf. I can hardly hear."

The evening was great. I do not get many opportunities like this. My reading of his work will be different for the time that I was able to spend there.