Thursday, January 31, 2008

Molly and a little bit of the everyday

Word comes that I have not been talking or writing about Molly much lately. She is growing and progressing well. She is pulling herself up on her haunches and moves around wherever she wants to go. She just needs a little more speed. She is eating baby cereal and baby food. Mostly you'll see her sporting her favorite pj's. Sometimes we get around to putting her in a little outfit, but mostly only on the weekends. She is a strong willed little person and only sleeps when she wants. Usually that is one nap in the morning and one in the afternoon, but not always. She sleeps pretty well at night and usually only gets up to feed once or twice and then goes back to sleep (at least that is what Amanda tells me.) She is very sweet and has a lot of smiles for everyone. The boys love her and love to pull on her arms.

I'll also include some random pictures from the past week that let you into our every day lives. Thanks for reading.---------------
Now playing:
Billy Bragg & Wilco - California Stars
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chaplain Dale Cooper

If you have spent any time at Calvin College over the past thirty years, you have run across a small man with a large smile and an even larger heart. This past year Dale Cooper completed his thirtieth year at Calvin and retired. The contact that I had with "Coop" was mostly formal. I sat under a number of his messages, devotionals and conversations. I especially appreciated his often emotion-filled devotionals that would start off our year. He would end each by asking us to stand and join him in singing a hymn that he had printed out, all of the verses, of course. As I read an article from the Calvin Spark about his retirement, I could hear him speaking the many words of gratitude. I am grateful for the time that I spent with Dale Cooper. I am also grateful of this reminder that God is continually bringing people into my life that he uses to shape me, both my heart and my thinking. Congratulations Coop, on your retirement and on a life of willing service.

Now playing: Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands - Graffiti Girl
via FoxyTunes

Will Chuck Norris blend?

I came across these videos today and thought that I would pass them along. They are all advertisements for the Blendtec Total Blender. And for $400 you can have one of your very own. It is a very ingenious ad campaign though. It is all over the web. My favorite video is the Chuck Norris versus the bad guys video. Very funny! I like it even better because Chuck Norris is for Mike Huckabee. I have really enjoyed the way that NPR and has covered Chuck and Mike. Its been fun to listen to and follow.

Accident update

Thanks to all those who have called and written while I have been recovering from my injuries. Actually, all I had were a few scrapes from the "falling through the ceiling incident". We got the ceiling fixed and have decided that it wasn't the insulation that was making our microwave smoke. We just need a new microwave. So we're waiting for those huge checks from the Federal Government and then we're going to do our part to support the economy and buy a new microwave!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


One Saturday when I was growing up, my dad was in the bathroom working on the bath faucet. All of a sudden, we heard the sound of water shooting out of a large hole. The faucet had come off and water was spraying everywhere. My dad rushed downstairs to find the water shutoff in the crawl space. Unable to find it, he called the previous owner. I can still see him on the phone, "Uh, Leon. This is Don Gammons . . .," his hand shaking and his voice wavering with frustration.

I was home today at lunch. We had insulation sprayed in our attic last week. This past weekend when we used the microwave, smoke started coming out and it smelled like burning plastic. We decided that I should go up into the attic and check out the vent. Instead of venting the microwave and to the outside, I think they just vented it up into the attic. The only I can figure out about the smell is that the insulation people covered the vent or blew insulation into the vent. When I went into the attic to check I couldn't really see anything. On my way back to the ladder I was walking and then . . . aaahh. I fell right through the ceiling into Matthew's room. My arms were outstretched and my legs were dangling. I finally just jumped down through the hole.

After I cleaned all the insulation and the drywall up, called a handyman to come and fix the hole, and called the insulation place to get out here and look at the problem, I felt a lot better. I am a bit bruised and scraped, but I'm all right. I think I swallowed about an R30 rating of insulation. Benjamin was very nervous and scared. He has a pretty tender heart. I think he needed a nap too. I sure wasn't earlier, but I'm ready to laugh about this if you'd like to call or make any disparaging comments. You can see all of the photos here.

Now playing: Feist - Past In Present
via FoxyTunes

Jacob update

Here are the latest pictures from Tricia and Alex of little Jacob Falder. He sure looks sweet. I don't know when we are going to get down to Indiana, but Amanda and I sure have the itch to get down there while he is still this sweet looking.

Now playing: Feist - My Moon My Man
via FoxyTunes

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jacob Alexander Falder

We welcome our newest nephew Jacob Alexander Falder. We celebrate with Tricia, Alex and Davy. It is a miracle each time God invites us into the creation process like this. Below is an e-mail that we just got from Alex.

Hello everyone! Jacob Alexander Falder arrived
Thursday at 5:59pm. He is 6lb 11oz and 20in long.
Tricia did an awesome job delivering Jacob. The
doctor said she should write a book about it. Dr.
Moore let me help with the delivery! Once the head
and 1st shoulder were out, he let me do the rest. It
was amazing! Davy loves her baby brother. I hope you
enjoy the pics.
Alex & Tricia

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This little piggy . . .

All of our children have some idiosyncrasies, as do their parents. This little boy has some interesting ones, none more interesting than the one pictured above. Most people would throw away these socks, but Caleb loves them. He loves to stick his big toes up through the holes and let them breath. He's also got a pair of pajamas with footies that have the same holes. He rolls the same way in those. He's a character.

Now playing: Chicago Public Radio - #84: Harold
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A few great live shows

Lately I have found some really great live shows on-line. They are from artists that I really like. Downloading these free live shows is legal and it is a great way to check out artists that are new or that you might just be getting into. The links will take you to the original pages where the mp3's can be found. Most of them have zip files where you can download the whole show too. Let me know if you like any of this.

David Gray
KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic, 8/18/05
This is a great live studio performance on the Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show. I'm not a huge David Gray fan but Amanda likes him. And hey, its free.

Jason Harrod
Zoka Coffee, Seattle, WA, 7/26/03 (This page is a little slow.)
Jason Harrod, of Harrod and Funck does a great show in a coffee house in Seattle. He does some H&F stuff as well as some of his newer material. Check this out especially if you haven't listened to him since H&F.

Vigilantes of Love
7th Street Loft, Lincoln, NE, 9/1/00
Bill Mallonee and VOL are in prime form on this show. They do some of their best songs and some that you have probably not heard. VOL is no longer touring so a chance to hear them live like this is a treat.

Ryan Adams
Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, 11/28/02
On a solo tour, Ryan Adams does a great show and the recorder catches it in great quality. He is fowl mouthed as always, but the songs are all right there.

Troutdale, OR, 8/22/07 (part one)
Troutdale, OR, 8/22/07 (part two)
This show is from Wilco's latest tour. It is a very good one. If you've not heard Wilco before, begin here.

Pink Floyd
Dark Soundboard of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 3/15/73
Here Pink Floyd plays their Dark Side of the Moon album live in its entirety. I played this for Benjamin and Caleb last night. They thought it was pretty cool, but it also freaked them out a little. Matthew was in the tub and heard it from the back of the house. He got so freaked out, he said, "I want to see Papa." He got out of the tub, soaking wet and came out to see what was going on.

Thanks to all of the original tapers and to those who post this great stuff. Keep it up. Keep it free!

Now playing: The Weepies - How Will He Find Me
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Indiana to Belize

I just got off the phone with my friend Jared who is currently driving from Indiana to Belize, Central America. With him are two new staff people that he hired to work with him in Belize. This will be their best staff retreat ever. He invited me to go with him on what would have been the road trip of a lifetime. Leaving my family and using a ton of vacation time just didn't seem like the right thing to do. I am completely jealous of his trip though.

I can't wait to hear more about his trip. God bless, Jared! Be safe and have a great time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun with Dad's camera

We were hanging out at Shube's house this weekend and needed to get some fresh air, so the boys and I headed out for a walk. I brought along my camera and got some really fun shots. The best one is this one of Matthew. He sure is a fun little boy right now. Thanks Uncle Brad for lending him your hat!----------------
Now playing: Pink Floyd - Brain Damage
via FoxyTunes

Our big girl: Molly at six months

Molly is really growing. She was six months old this weekend. She is sitting in her high chair, eating some rice cereal and even some first foods. She rolls over really easily and is doing a little sitting up. She can roll and shimmy her way around the floor when left alone. She sure is sweet.

Amanda got together with Sarah (Brad's wife) this weekend and made baby food. They did squash, prunes, peas, beans, peaches and mango. They froze them all in ice cube trays.

Now playing: Pink Floyd - Us And Them
via FoxyTunes

Caleb washed

Caleb decided he wanted to wash the dishes last night instead of rinse. What a hoot!

Now playing: Amos Lee - Give It Up
via FoxyTunes

Wayzata hockey stars

I got some really fun pictures of Brad and Dave playing hockey last weekend. Check them out here.

Now playing: Amos Lee - Arms Of A Woman
via FoxyTunes

Friday, January 11, 2008

Is Christianity funny?

Is Christianity funny? It sure is, but not half as funny as Christians. That's the take away that I get from spending a little bit of time at a new Christian satire site I first found out about this site when reading an article about it in Christianity Today. The funniest headline that I read on the site was about California pastor Rick Warren, Warren to buy Saints, build Purpose-Driven Field. While I thought the site was funny, it didn't seem to be quite a good as it's predecessor The Wittenburg Door. I loved the article entitled 2008 Resolutions of the Televangelists. I don't even know who Randy and Paula White are but this resolution cracked me up.

"Randy and Paula White: We resolve to remember to pay for private jets we say we're going to purchase, instead of coughing up $112,000 in damages for cancelling the deal. And we resolve to place in our bio only those doctorates we actually earned, and to claim only doctorates at schools that actually exist. Oh, and we resolve to make sure there are no pesky lawyers around when we scam an old lady out of her life savings. Amen."

The CT article tackled the tough question behind publications like this. Is it all right to make fun of Christianity and Christians? I say, "Yes. Especially when they are doing ridiculous things!" Satire has always been a sincere form of criticism. As long as the criticism/satire is aimed at people or institutions and not at God, I think its great. Check out the above sites. You'll get a good laugh at your own expense.

Now playing: Ryan Adams - Oh My Sweet Carolina
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This week at Gammons Montessori

We were talking about the potential of us homeschooling the boys and Brad said that maybe Sarah should just bring James up to "Gammons Montessori". I thought it was pretty funny.

We have been talking to the boys a little about the primaries and caucuses. We've got our US map puzzle together and each time a candidate wins we put a little picture of them on the state. The boys favorite candidates right now are John McCain and Barack Obama. Ben said he likes their names. I think that is how most voters make their decisions. We'll start talking policy differences in a few weeks. Amanda said that Ben was pretty pumped this morning when he learned that McCain had won in New Hampshire.

What's up with the RIAA?

Do you know what the RIAA is? It is the Record Industry Association of America, a trade group that represents almost everyone in the Recording Industry. They are also the biggest opponents of music piracy, file sharing and it appears now, even making digital copies of your own music. In a few recent articles, the RIAA has said that it is illegal for consumers to put digital copies (MP3's) of legal CD's that they own on to their computers. While I am slow to take the side of people who are blatantly stealing music, i.e. file sharing, getting digital copies or burned CD's from friends, or ripping CD's from the library, this isn't what I am talking about. I just read in the Star Tribune this weekend about the slumping CD sales. Doesn't the RIAA get it that the business that they are in is in trouble? It seems they want to make criminals of people like me who are working hard to keep only music that they own on their iPods. I think that the RIAA should pull it's head out from where the sun doesn't shine and worry about trying to give people good music in a convenient and fair legal way. And that's my two cents.

Read more here and here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A blast from the past

When Amanda was a little girl (and up until the first year of our marriage) she slept with a pink quilt. I believe the story goes that they found it on the road in California. It was a huge part of Amanda's growing up.

Yesterday in the mail, Molly received an almost identical quilt as a gift from our church. Amanda was SO excited. It was made by the White Cross group at our church. Not to be spooky, but it seemed like yet another providential confirmation that we have found our church home.

Now playing: WILCO - Side With The Seeds
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, January 3, 2008

And so it begins . . .

When I was growing up, every night was the same. We would finish dinner, clear the table and then pull chairs over to the sink. Tricia would wash, Joe would rinse and I would dry and put away. While I grew up dreading this, it was part of my learning to work.

Last night, as they have been most nights lately, the boys were fairly high strung. I decided that their time had come. After dinner they cleared the table (They have been doing this for a while.), pulled chairs to the sink and began doing the dishes. I had to do some supervision to make sure that the rice was off of the pot and that Caleb didn't scald himself, but it went quite well

Talking after the boys went to bed, Amanda and I marveled at how nice it was to not have to do the dishes and looked forward to the passing on of many other household duties. I think this summer might be Ben's first date with a lawn mower.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Brad, Sarah and James joined us as we rang in the new year at Shube's house with a dance party around 8:00 pm. The boys thought it was fun. Amanda and I followed them to bed soon after. We are party animals! You can see all of the photos here.

Now playing: Bruce Springsteen - Johnny 99
via FoxyTunes