Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Staying with the theme that has dominated most of the past few years at our house, the boys decided on being Star Wars characters for Halloween. Molly didn't have much of a choice, so she became Pricess Leia. This "costume" was Amanda's and my craft project for about an hour last night. (Notice the duct tape.) Benjamin is Anakin Skywalker. (That's Darth Vader before he went bad for those of you non-Star Wars freaks.) Caleb is a clone trooper (the storm troopers before they went bad). Matthew is Darth Vader. He does a great "Luke, I am your father."

I was able to go into Ben's class this morning and help with the Halloween party. It was a fun morning. I spent much of the time praying for one of the boys that did not come with a costume, the blind girl, the handicapped children and the boy who wanted to wait for his mom to put his costume on. He eventually put it on with about twenty minutes left of class. I was once again so thankful for the ways that God has blessed me. I was once again gripped by how much I need to offer to His groaning world. I hope all of you will have a fun night with your family, whether you decided to celebrate Halloween or not.

Don't ever buy a Sony camera. We are on our second one in four years and it is a hunk of junk. I am hoping to enter the digital SLR world before Christmas.

Now playing: Pierce Pettis - Desire
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our birthday girls

October is a busy month. It seems to get even busier when everyone in your house is coughing, wheezing and their eyes are bleeding. I didn't do a very good job of celebrating two of my best friends in the world this year. Tricia's birthday was on the 25th and Mom's birthday was on the 27th. I sure hope my large bouquet of flowers got there on time. You can hardly rely on the postal service these days. They seem to lose all of the really great birthday presents that I send (or mean to send.) I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. I am hoping for a long walk on the beach with just Mom and at least a cup of coffee alone Tricia. These are coveted treats and ones where the distance between is too great. Happy birthday Tricia! Happy birthday Mom! Sorry that these blog sentiments are late.

Now playing: Neko Case - That Teenage Feeling
via FoxyTunes

Loss of faith in humanity

Not that I had much faith in humanity, but any that I had has been lost. I came out to my car this morning to discover that my ipod fm transmitter and a cable had been stolen. Now, I did grow up in Alpena, Michigan so I don't always (ever) lock the car doors. Apparently, this was just too much temptation for some sticky fingered adolescent in our neighborhood. I guess it is back to listening to my tunes over my head phones for a while. If you know the culprit, tell them that they can drop off the lute at my house, no questions asked.

Now playing: Bruce Springsteen - From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)
via FoxyTunes


After a weekend of hunkering down and not leaving the house, most of the Gammons family is on the mend. The picture below is of Caleb's eye (sorry Gregg.) On Friday I noticed that his eye looked REALLY bloodshot. I don't know what the deal is but he can still see out of both of his eyes and says they don't hurt.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for us while we were sick. This week we are memorizing I Peter 5:9-10. I don't have it by memory yet but it is about the suffering church and how after we suffer for a time, God will confirm, establish and pretty much solidify our faith. When I explained to the guys that people all over the world were sick, just like were, that helped them get the verse. I said that God uses things like sickness and suffering to draw us closer to himself and to confirm our faith. I think that kind of made sense to them.

1 Peter 5:9-10 (English Standard Version)

9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Now playing:
David Wilcox - Grateful For Her Beauty
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 26, 2007


How does Amanda do it? She has been sick all this week and has been dealing with a household of other sickies. But last night I came home to a full turkey dinner. It was amazing! The bird was absolutely perfect, potatoes, gravy and broccoli. She was obviously worn out and thought that none of the boys would even eat because of how sick everyone is. Boy, was she wrong. The boys and I devoured almost the whole 9 pound turkey. Both Benjamin and Caleb wanted the drumsticks. They think it is really fun to hold on to the leg and eat them. Matthew of course wanted a drumstick too once he saw his brothers with one. I gave him a wing and he was none the wiser. I think there is just enough turkey left over for some hot turkey sandwiches. MMMM. It made me really look forward to the holidays coming up.

I just wanted to celebrate Amanda publicly. She is an amazing wife and mother and works so hard for all of us. She is our gift from God! Thanks, Amanda.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Still sick, but back to work

I came to work yesterday after taking some Dayquil. I don't know what went wrong, but at about 9:00, I was in the rest room throwing up. If you've ever been around me when I am sick, you know what that sounded like. I am a bit of a loud vomiter. I don't know where that came from because when I got home my stomach was fine. Matthew was the last of us to be sick and he woke up during the night with the scratchy cough and the stuffed up nose.

Yesterday afternoon we built a fire in the backyard and enjoyed one of the last 60+ degree days. I just wrapped myself up in a big blanket. Building fires is a great thing for me and the boys. Yesterday I told Molly how when she is 16, she and I will sit out by the fire just the two of us. Amanda doesn't really like to be out by the fire and her brothers will all be out of the house (maybe.) It is fun to think down the road like that.

I hope all of you are able to dodge the change of season sickness. Pray for Amanda that she can make it through these days.

Photos by Ben. He thought it was a pretty cool deal!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Neti pots, hot tea, Vicks vapor rub

Everyone at the Gammons' house is sick. This brings many memories of my dad's favorite home remedies. I remember him with a towel over his head breathing in the steam from boiling water and vinegar; Vicks on his chest at bed time; two aspirin and a hot bath. If one of these didn't help, we knew he was really sick. I have inherited his desire for something to cure what ails me. If there's a pill for it, I'll take it. For a long time, I was on the cocktail of Dayquil/Nyquil. (We all know some Nyquil addicts.) Recently my mom has introduced me to the neti pot. This looks like a tea pot that you shove in one nostril and then let the water drain out of the other nostril. Sharon is a believer and she sent me one in the mail when I complained of my head being stuffed up. I asked Amanda to take a video of me doing mine, but she refused. I have been using it whenever I have sinus problems. It really does clean it out.

So pray for all of our little kids. Molly sounded like she was suffocating while she was nursing this morning and Caleb looks like death-warmed-over. I hope all of you are dodging the change of season ills.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This old house

Amanda had been talking for a while about tearing up the carpet in the living room and refinishing the wood floor underneath. Last weekend we decided the time had come. We invited Dave and Brad over for a work and pizza party. (Thanks guys!) When we pulled up the carpet in the hallway there was 12"x12" tile. When the refinishing guy came over he asked, "Do you have a circular saw?" If he knew the men in my family, he would have known just how ridiculous that question was. He went on to tell me how to rip up the subfloor under the tile. I went to Sears, bought a saw, Amanda and the kids spent the night at her mom's and I got to work. Hours later, the floor was ready for them to install the new wood floor in the entry way.

I thought of Joe and my dad a lot while I was working. Projects like this were not something attempted while I was growing up. There is a great story about my dad trying to fix the bath faucet in our house in Alpena. When the water started shooting out of the hole in the wall, we knew we were in trouble. This is the mechanical background that I inherited. I did learn a lot from such mechanical masters as Tim Pollard and Don Liske growing up though. Now, projects like this seem like a challenge and even a little fun.

We have been living at Shirley's this week while the floors get finished. I stopped by there this morning before work and they look great. I am excited to have this project done and get back to normal. We are supposed to be able to put the furniture back tomorrow evening. I can't wait.

Now playing:
Tom Waits - Alice
via FoxyTunes

Molly at 3 months

Molly was three months old last week on the 12th. Amanda shot these photos outside when they were walking Ben to school. We've had quite the busy week and so I am just getting these up.

Now playing: Birdie Busch - Tombstone Store
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ben's first day

Yesterday when I got home from work, Amanda said that Ben had been preoccupied all day. She said that she had asked him a number of times what he was thinking about and he said, "Nothing." When I got home I asked him if he was nervous about starting school. He said that he was a little and then he started to cry (which of course made Amanda cry.) I took him to his room and talked about how when I went to school, my brother and sister had already done and I knew what it was going to be like. I told him that he is the first one to go from our family so he didn't know what it was like. Then I told him that God doesn't want us to worry. We read some from Matthew 6 about worrying.

When we went out to dinner Amanda said that there was a program at school for kindergarteners. Ben said that he didn't want to go. I told him that I thought it would be good if we went. In God's providence, it was a great opportunity for us to see the school more and to calm his nerves. It was also fun.

This morning he woke up ready to roll. Amanda said that things went off without a hitch. I was there at noon to pick him up with the rest of the family and Ben gave us the the "thumbs up". We found out that he will be able to walk to school with the crossing guards and even ride the bus home. He thinks that's very cool! Thanks to all of you who prayed for him this morning. Mom, thanks for continuing to pray for him and his teacher. You're a blessing!

The above picture was completely unprompted. I had to work hard to keep from falling down laughing. He is a hilarious little boy.

How sweet!

One thing that is hard about being an uncle when you have kids of your own is that it takes a lot longer to get to know your new niece or nephew. One of my favorite times was when we went to Pittsburgh without our kids to see Davy for the first time. Joe and Carrie were there too. I got hold Davy and play a lot with Drew. I actually felt like I got to know Drew well. When my kids are around, they are my first priority, of course. I am slowly getting to know the newest addition to the Nagel family, James Crawford Nagel. He sure is sweet and it is fun to watch Brad and Sarah be so excited about him. Who wouldn't be excited about a face like this? We can't wait to get to know you even better, James.

Now playing: Joe Strummer - Tony Adams
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ben goes to school

To make a very long story short, tomorrow Benjamin starts kindergarten.

A bit of elaboration: Around the beginning of September, Amanda said that she thought Ben needed to have more outside intellectual stimulation. When it was just three at home, we were able to spend a lot of time working with Ben academically. Since Molly has come, that time has diminished. Ben at times has seemed really bored at home. After exploring a lot of different options, we landed on him starting kindergarten. Unfortunately, his birthday was a little over two weeks past the cut-off date. At first, this seemed like not a big deal at all. The principal that we talked to said he would just have to do some screening and then if he was ready, we'd be good to go. The principal didn't know though, that the district policy said that for early entrance to kindergarten, there had to be a lot of testing: intelligence, psychological, social.

Ben passed all the tests and so tomorrow he starts his first day of school. He went in an met his new teacher this morning. (Side note: Mom found the teacher's e-mail address on-line and wrote to tell her that she would be praying for her this year.) We are very excited for him and also a bit sad. Take a minute today and join me in praying that Benjamin will love the other kids in his class and his teacher and that he might be a light for Jesus.

Now playing: Duke Chapel Choir - In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin'
via FoxyTunes

In that great gettin' up morning

My dad's aunt Evelyn died earlier this month. I didn't know her well. I knew her only through the words that my Grandma Ruth spoke of her and as simply a part of our family. Mom sent me a link to a video that they played at her funeral. The part that was so important to me was when they recounted all of the people that had gone before her. My dad and my grandparents were on that list. October 6, 1995: My dad has been gone for more than 12 years. My grandparents followed in 1999 and 2000. It made me think again of the covenant relationship that I am a part of. My family, through Dad's mother and father and their families, has had deep relationship with God through Jesus for generations. They were tender relationships that shaped these people's lives. They knew Jesus; it made them love the church; it helped them love people; it carried them through lives that often were difficult.

This is my longing, that one day my kids will be able to look back and see how God has guided their paths through the covenant that he has kept with their mother and father and their mother's and father's families. (The covenant is a deep one on Amanda's side as well.) I thank God for this and trust him, that He will walk along side of us as he has walked along side of our families before us. I trust that, after I meet Jesus and spend much time with him, he will say to me, "Andy, there are a some other people that have been waiting for you." Then I will have a long line of Gammonses and Windquists to hug, thank and laugh with..

Now playing:
Duke Chapel Choir - In That Great Gettin' Up Mornin'
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I had to add these

Check out these pictures of Molly. How sweet is she? She's becoming more and more human everyday. I just said to Amanda yesterday that I can't wait to get to know her more. I am excited to see just the person that God will make her to be.

Now playing: Bruce Springsteen - Mansion On The Hill
via FoxyTunes


Yesterday, Bruce Springsteen put out his newest album "Magic". It is his first album with the E Street band in about five years. We have been anticipating its arrival at our house for a week or so. A few days ago at breakfast, Caleb said to me, "How many days until the new Bruce Springsteen album?" What a great moment! So yesterday all of the boys and I loaded up in the van and went to Circuit City and bought the new album. See the video below for our first listening. If you're dying to see more Gammons kids' video, check out our youtube channel.

No more doughnuts?

"No more doughnuts?" That's what Caleb said after his second warm doughnut at the apple orchard last weekend. With all the blog talk about honeycrisp apples I thought I should post a few pics from our latest apple trip with Dave and Joni. This orchard, Minnetonka Orchards, was by far the best one that we have been to. The doughnuts were freshly fried; the caramel apples were right out of the warm caramel; and there were lots of things to do. The $4 cover charge was extremely bogus, but I think it ended up being worth it. The weather was rainy but we had a great time. If you're dying to see more Gammons kids' video, check out our youtube channel.

Now playing: Derek Webb - In God We Trust
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 1, 2007

Benjamin: The Return

After a weekend of absence, Little Ben's returned! It sure was nice to get a big Benjamin hug from him when he got home on Sunday. He said that he had a great time. Grandma Shube said he did great. He got a little home sick on the last night, but for a five-year-old, that's pretty amazing. Welcome back Ben!
Now playing: Wilco - What light
via FoxyTunes