Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We have begun to reap the bounty of the season. Our first tomatoes came a few weeks back. Today I had the first of our heirloom tomatoes. It was delicious. It was very ugly with a lot of black rough spots on the outside but he inside was meaty, bi-colored and flavorful. As you can see above I had it for lunch with some cottage cheese and chives (from the garden.)

This weekend we got a bushel of Michigan peaches from a local orchard. They were spread on our dining room table on beach towels to ripen. Last night Amanda and Shube worked like beavers to put freeze them. We had some last night and again today at lunch. Delicious! I love this time of year because of the reaping of the work that we and others have put in.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Outdoor Kids Games

Here is a great list of 30 outdoor kids games. Anyone for a game of kick the can?

Quotes: Great Shape

We were at James' birthday last weekend and all of Sarah's grandparents were there.  (She has all four or her grandparents! It's amazing.) Early on in the event I asked Ben if he knew who all of the other people there were. He said he didn't. I told him that they were James' great-grandparents. His response:
I would have guessed they were his grandparents.  They are all in such great shape.
When relayed to the great-grandparents, they got quite a kick out of this. I told them that the next time they go to their doctors let them know that a six-year-old to them they were in "great shape."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Yesterday we had our ultrasound and found out that we will get another little girl in December. We couldn't be more pleased and grateful. Amanda was especially excited. She is thankful that Molly will have a little sister. We can't wait until "Sis" gets here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gammons Wordle

Jamsco encouraged us to make a family wordle. This was more fun than I thought it would be. What do you think? If you know us well, what words were you surprised about or what words did we miss? Give it a shot. You can make your own at wordle.net. If you do one, check out Jamsco's tips. See the comments for the list of words that we used.

Image used with permission from http://www.wordle.net/.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's the best thing that parents can do for their kids?

What's the best thing that a parent can do for their kids? This is the question that I got to thinking about after reading Jamsco's post on The Responsible Puppet. His post was mostly a critique of a book review in the Star Tribune of the book "Bad Mother" by Ayelet Waldman. I had heard an interview on NPR's Fresh Air (Don't stop reading, Gregg.) It was a very interesting interview. On the Fresh Air page, they link to an article that Waldman wrote for the NY Times about how she felt guilty, she felt she was a bad mom, because she loved her husband more than she love her kids.

What do you think? Is it bad to love your spouse more than your kids? I would say, "certainly not." Furthermore, I would say that the best thing that you can do for your kids is to love your spouse more than anyone. Isn't this a common opinion and even conventioal wisdom among Christians? One of my goals in relating to my kids is to let them know that God is my Lord, Jesus my Savior and their mother is my best friend in the world. If I could accomplish this, I don't think it would make me a bad parent. It would help my kids to feel secure that their home is a stable place, that they are not the center of my universe or the universe in general and it would set a presedent that they could follow in their marriage. It seems that many marriages that fail, fail for just that reason. One of the people loves the something more than he/she loves his/her spouse. If you want to talk about being a bad parent, then setting up a situation where there is not a stable marriage at the center of the family would certainly be one way to do it.

I hope my kids when they are able to articulate something like this would say that dad's priorities look something like this.
  1. God
  2. Church
  3. Mom
  4. Kids
  5. Work
These are high hopes and ones that daily fall flat. My list most often looks like this.
  1. Andy
This is something that I pray for God's grace to my wife, children and me. I am in need of his cross for forgiveness and for the strength to get my list right.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

V--A return to the 80's

I can't be the only one who, growing up, totally enjoyed the miniseries and then eventual series entitled "V". Well, obviously I wasn't because ABC has decided to "reboot" the concept this fall. ABC says that it will be on Tuesday night so that I can at least give it a chance. It doesn't start though until half way through the fall season in November. Watch the preview below.

Read Alouds--The Magician's Nephew

The Magician's Nephew is my favorite of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. (At least it was when I read them all in college. That may have changed.) I have always imagined sharing some of my favorite books with the boys and having them love them just as much as I do. Of course like many of my relational fantasies, this one didn't quite work out.

For the past few years the boys have been listening on and off to the cd's of the Chronicles. They have enjoyed these, but haven't "loved" them. I have also read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to the prior to this. So when I suggested that we read the TMN, Caleb said, "That's boewing (boring). I already know what's going to happen next." They have humored me though. Ben seems to really enjoy it and Caleb at least lays quietly. I love these books and look forward to continuing with the others at a later point. If you're thinking about buying the CD's, I might recommend not. There are some books that should be shared with your kids. The CD's seem to not have enough "weight", if that makes sense.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Read Alouds--Skylark

Mom recently sent us Skylark, by Patricia MacLachlan. This is the sequel to my recently mentioned Sarah, Plain and Tall. It is just as lovely and profound. She writes about a very difficult time for the family. The fields are brown, the dust is thick and they are waiting for rain. There is more than fear and misery though. There is hope.

Anna, the narrator is a young girl who is trying to figure out how to go navigate these difficult times. Her companions are her new mother Sarah, her brother Caleb and her father Jacob. It is another gift from the author and one that I would highly recommend. The boys would certainly echo that. I asked last night if they wanted me to keep reading. Ben said, "Yes." Caleb said, "Yes." Matthew said, "No." Thanks for sending it mom.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hymn of the Week--Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

I just looked at my usual hymn website and found out that there is a verse to this hymn. In our hymnal, it didn't have it, but I think it's a good one. Maybe we'll have to try and learn the verse too. The recording below is from Alan Jackson and includes the verses. Give it a listen.

Hymn of the Week

 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Words and music by Helen H. Lemmel

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.