Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our car history

With the arrival of our new van, I was thinking back over our vehicle history.

1986 or so Oldsmobile Delta 88

The first car I drove was our family's Olds Delta 88.  It was the same color as the one above.  My dad bought this car new and was very proud of it.  The interior was a plush velvet.  During high school, my mom would often to take the Dial-a-Ride to work so that I could use the car after school.  When my dad died, I got to bring this car back to college.  It finally gave up the ghost when I was working at a camp for the summer in Paw Paw, Michigan.  I think I eventually got $500 and a free tow from a junk yard for it.

1994 or so Ford Escort wagon
When the Olds died, we went to Kadrich Auto and bought this Ford Escort wagon.  This is the car in which Amanda and I dated.  It had a CD player and I remember listening to a very specific David Wilcox disc on the way back from Marion.  When I got a job and Amanda and I were engaged, we sold it to Joe for $1000.  When he wasn't riding his bike to work, he drove this for a while.

1994 Toyota Corolla
Amanda's first car was a green Corolla that her parents got her when she turned 16.  She drove it to school every day with Brad.  It began Amanda's Toyota loyalty.  When I started working at Calvin and Amanda began staying home, we decided we only needed one car.  We sold it to some pretty shady characters.  It was our first try at used car sales.  We should have kept it.  It is probably still on the road somewhere.

2000 Volkwagen Jetta

Amanda and I felt like we had hit the jackpot when we were both getting a paycheck every other week.  What else were we going to do with all that money?  Save it?  No.  We decided to go out and buy a brand new VW Jetta.  Did we get the low end one to save some money?  Heck no!  We got the V6 with leather and the CD changer.  It was a lot of fun.  We thought we were pretty cool.  But when Caleb came along we couldn't even fit a second car seat in it.  So we sold it to Tricia and Alex.  We lost our proverbial shirts.  Lesson learned, kind of.

2004 Toyota Sienna

With two kids, we decided to get a minivan.  The Toyota Sienna had just gone through a redesign and was getting rave reviews.  So we looked all over Grand Rapids and west Michigan to try and find one.  We finally called a friend from college Joel Gates, whose family owns a dealership in South Bend, Indiana.  He got us into this van.  It was a great van for our family for 8 years.  We drove it to Michigan many times, Colorado, Indiana, Chicago and made lots of great memories in it.

2012 Ford E-350

And now the Silver Bullet has taken the place of our Sienna.  We're looking forward to the many miles that, God willing, we will put on this thing.  It will be the vehicle that most of our kids think of when they think of growing up.  It will be their "Olds Delta 88".  

I'm thankful for material things that God brings into our lives like vehicles that become touchstones to anchor memories to.  I remember my family's Rambler and green bean colored Dodge and the silver Chevette.  My kids will remember some of these and tie many memories to them as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Silver Bullet

We finally got the new van yesterday.  It was a long story.  We had decided that we wanted to go with a Dodge Sprinter, but the only one that we could find was in East Moline, Illinois.  It was also a Lemon Law buy-back.  We decided that was too much of a risk, so we went with the Ford E-350.  As you can see we are not going to have to worry about space.  We are thankful that God has provided this vehicle for our family.  The kids haven't even gotten a chance to ride in it yet, so are looking forward to their first trip this morning.

Tom, who has a song for everything, suggested an anthem for our new van.  It was a Chevy van song though.  Listen to the Nanci Griffith song that we've embraced below.

Monday, June 25, 2012


This weekend we sold our minivan.  We're so thankful.  We had gotten so many nibbles (mostly scams from Craigslist.)  On Friday though, we probably got five calls from people who were serious.  We met one of them to test drive and a half hour later they called and bought the van.  We did so much better than we would have on a trade-in, so we are thrilled.  More to come on our van search later this week.

Dirt Track

Per the suggestion of Brad and Gregg, the kids have taken to building a BMX track in our back area.  Last night was the maiden run.  They've only got one jump built with a couple of obstacles in the works.  Here's a quick video of Ben giving it a try.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Singing in the shower

Last night I walked up stairs and Caleb was singing in the shower.  I asked him if he could give me another rendition.  He didn't know I was recording it.  I chopped the end off because Ben threw the door open and things got a little PG-13.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012


For Amanda's birthday today we went to Minnesota's only Chick Fil-a. It's at the University of Minnesota. It was a great time.


Amanda at age 21 (the picture on my desk since then)
I met Amanda at Taylor more than 15 years ago.  We became friends my senior year.  As I watched her and got to know her more, I knew that she was the type of woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  I was attracted to her desire to be more like Christ, her mind, her soft strength, and her beauty.  I figured, what have I got to lose.  She'll probably say no, but why not.  At the Grist Mill in Marion, Indiana (now burned down), I asked her if she would date me in order to find out if we might be able to be married.  I can still remember the smell of urine in the bathroom as I prayed for God to stop me if I wasn't supposed to go through with it.

I asked her to marry me six months later on the rocks of Mackinac Island.  She knew I was going to.  She could see the ring box in my pocket.  We were married in my mom's backyard overlooking Lake Huron.

We have walked for almost twelve years together as husband and wife.  Amanda is my best friend and has become such a partner to me that I can truly understand why God said to Adam, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”(Genesis 2:18 ESV)  As we have added children, I have seen in Amanda God's equipping grace and have come to admire her, trust her and depend on her more and more.  As she draws closer to God, God uses her to push me closer to him.  I have never been a part of something that is more sanctifying than my relationship to her.

Today is her birthday.  On the 24th we will celebrate our 12th anniversary.  I praise God for my wife.  I praise God for how he has give me just exactly what he knew I needed in her.  I look forward to as many days, months and years that God wills for us to be together.  I love you, Amanda.  Happy Birthday!


Amanda may not like this.  Some of you know how she is averse to having all the attention on her.  In writing this and going through these photos, I am reminded again who you are and why I love you so much.  Take a deep breath.  "Didn't we have the fun?!"  Can't wait to see what God has for us next.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Speaking of vans . . .

As we await the imminent expansion of our family, we are looking for a new vehicle.  We need seating for 9.  This limits the options VERY quickly.  Our four options are the following.

Nissan NV Passenger Van
Pros: The coolest van in the category.  Nice fit and finish on the interior.
Cons: Only available new.  High price tag.

Dodge Sprinter
Pros: Best gas mileage of the bunch.  Fit and finish.
Cons: Very hard to find a used one.  The one pictured is in Texas. Mercedes makes the newer ones, but their way to pricey.

 Chevy Express

Pros: Not many that I can think of.
Cons:  We drove one of these last weekend.  They are really only available in a 15 passenger.  They'll pull the back seat out and call it a 12 passenger, but then you have a huge cavernous space in the back.  It felt like driving a bus.

Ford E-Series

Pros: Readily available.  Lots of colors.  We drove one last weekend too and it drives pretty nice, for a truck.  The price is right.
Cons:  Drives pretty nice, for a truck.

LET'S HEAR FROM YOU!  What do you think?  Please vote and give us your opinion in the comments.

Buy our van

Are you a growing family?  Do you drive a little car and need to upgrade?  Then have we got a deal for you.  You can check out the ad on craigslist here.  If you know anyone who's interested, please pass it along.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Molly and the boys

Our friend Abigail sent us these pics today.  They all made me smile.
Molly likes to have her picture taken.

Give these two a couple of sticks and they're happier than pigs in slop.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Matthew the Fisherman

I love this picture of Matthew.  He caught this bass when we were down in Indiana visiting Tricia and Alex and their family.  Matt was very proud.  He had to man-up and grab the bass by the lip for the picture.  He did a great job.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Daddy and his girl

Lucy has become such a sweetheart.  Whenever I come home, she is one of the first to run, grab my neck and give me a huge hug.  She loves to hug her daddy, but refuses to give me even the smallest kiss.  Girl's got opinion, okay!  I always love how my relationship with each individual kid grows and changes as they get older.  Right now, Lucy is definitely Daddy's girl.

Easter Recap

What?  Is it too late to celebrate Easter?  I loved looking through these pictures.  All of us were out sitting in front of a roaring campfire in our coats as the kids did an Easter egg hunt.

Amanda had the kids dressed adorably.

It was a wonderful time celebrating our risen Lord.