Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pancakes with Dad

Our family has developed a new tradition lately. We've begun to have Pancakes on Saturday morning. Saturday morning's this summer were a time when we could catch our breath and be together. Charlotte enjoyed the chance to sleep in and the kids enjoyed the chance to spend some time with Dad.

As with any tradition there is a pattern to the course of events. Laura (normally the first child to wake up at our house) wakes me up as she sticks her face right in front of mine and tickles me with her curls as she asks "can we have pancakes Dad?" Laura and I enjoy some quiet time together as she sits on a stool in the kitchen and I fire up the pancake griddle. I find this time with her to be very peaceful. We normally are not in a rush to get somewhere and can move at whatever pace suits us. As I begin my work sometimes Laura will color and sometimes she'll talk. Emma and Andrew normally come down stairs not too much later. They either join the conversation or watch some Saturday morning TV.

It's only been a few months since this ritual began, but I already have many fond memories of the three kiddos line-up on stools chowing on pancakes as we talk about "stuff". Charlotte seems to arrive about the time the pancakes are finished and we make sure her morning starts off right by having a Diet Coke chilled and ready. The kids favorite pancakes are our own invention, we call them "P.D.s" for Pancake Dots. They love PDs. To make PDs I drizzle batter on the griddle with a fork to form small "pancake dots." They're a fun crunchy pancake treat for the kids.

So if you happen to be visiting us on a Saturday morning you'll probably get to enjoy some pancakes with us.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sadie Hawkins

This is one of Emma's new favorite songs, "Sadie Hawkins Dance" by Relient K.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Now that things have gotten a bit more routine with school starting, we might have time to fill you in on many of the things that happened this summer that we never had the chance to say. This week we will post a few highlights from our trip to Colorado.

One of the activities we enjoyed while in Colorado was fishing. When Andrew heard about fishing he didn't stop asking "When can we go fishing, Dad?" The children's program at Spring Canyon had a day later in the week scheduled for fishing but Andrew was worried it may rain and be canceled and he would miss his opportunity to fish.

Spring Canyon stocks one of the ponds with trout. their goal is to make it easy for kids to catch fish. They succeeded in achieving their goal and therefore set a three fish per family limit. I am thankful that they make it easy to catch fish AND that they put a limit on our catch.

Andrew's hope to fish early in the week came as Andrew, Emma, Laura and I walked down to the pond armed with fishing poles, some bread, and a leftover peanut butter sandwich. We arrived to our chosen spot on the end of the dock. All three kids were excited to get a hook in the water. Andrew's hook was the first one in the water and it didn't take long until he got a bite. He was so excited . He bobber disappeared and his pole bent so far over the fish just about pulled the pole out of his hands. He was so cute. I'll never forget the look in his eyes when he had a fish on his line. He looked up at me with eyes as big as saucers with a look of excitement and yet uncertainty. He did not know what to do.

He looked at me, "Dad...HELP!" I said "You can do it Andrew, reel him in." He was smiling from ear to ear, every muscle in his body was flexed holding onto that pole with all he had in him. He tried to reel and couldn't at first, then he slowly started to bring his fish in. His pole zigged and zagged back and forth but Andrew stuck with it. I was worried the line would break. I wanted to get the fish in our hands before he got away. Andrew did it and we caught the fish, it was a big rainbow trout. Andrew was so proud to have landed such a beast, it was great.

My next problem was...he wanted to eat his catch. Eating it wasn't the problem, cleaning it was. I am NOT a fisherman and I had NO idea how to clean a fish. To make a long story short, I asked around, got the gouge and figured it out. It wasn't pretty but this city slicker got the job done done so so my boy could eat his catch. As it turns out Andrew prefers catching trout to eating them so I got to eat a lot of trout the night the camp cooked our fish for us. And I mean A LOT because we caught our limit the first day. The girls found other stuff they were interested in so Andrew landed all three of our fish.

When the day came for the kids to fish during the children's program Emma caught a huge brown trout, she had fun. Andrew did not catch anything that day, so he convinced his counselor to take him again that night. While they were fishing that night he caught the biggest brown trout the camp has ever seen.

This fishing experience was huge for Andrew. He's a different young boy now. He's ruled over the earth or at least four fish. My boy can land a fish (and I can now clean one) and I'm proud of him.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

From Auction to Fame

I like to think when you check in at 50 toes you never know what you will find. Sometimes you will find cute pictures of the kids, other times you will find reflective posts normally written by the largest toes, but many times you will just find some totally random story that we want to share with you that many times involves carbonated beverages. We like to leave you is no different

Well today's post was inspired by none other than Scrappy Mom, I love this girl, she is one hip chick. She posted this link to a real life eBay auction. It is hilarious. You have to check it out.

In brief, a mom goes to the grocery store with her six kids and ends up buying some Pokemon cards. She doesn't realize this until she gets home and they have already been opened on the way home. She decides to sell them on eBay here is the Dave Barryesque piece she wrote about how she acquired the undesired trading cards. This mother is one funny lady and knows how to sell anything on eBay, check out what they sold for. I don't think she had any idea how popular she would become, she was just having some fun and blowing off some creative steam. This auction had ended but apparently she is getting over 14,000 hits on it a day. She also has a blog and is getting over 77,000 hits in one day. That will rock any blogger's stat meter.

Thanks Scrappy Mom for your endless source of inspiration. I am so dying to meet you one day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to School

Well, it is that time of year again. I am sad that summer is over, it went so fast. I guess it is time for spelling words, lunch boxes and carpools.

Here are my three eager to start the year.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ice Cream and Cake

Emma and Andrew came home from Kamp and taught us this song, it has dance moves too.

I am going to warn you. DO NOT watch this if you are prone to have songs played involuntarily in your mind over and over and over, you get the picture. There is no escaping this one...

Blogging First

This morning I had a special blogging church.

I was walking across "The Gathering" our church's quaintly named lobby area and saw someone that I recognized, yet had never met. I told Emma there is "the Nomad". I ran up to Justin to tell him that I have been following his blog and was glad to see that he was back to attend his sister's wedding. I told him that I was 50 toes and that we loved living vicariously through him and reading of his adventures.

It was funny because afterwards a few a friends said that they saw him too, but I guess I was the only one crazy enough to run up to him and introduce myself. I feel like I know I was so anxious to meet someone I had "met" through blogging. I am hopeful to meet more of my blogging buddies in time.

I have so much to fill you all in on, it had been busy around here getting 40 toes ready to start school tomorrow. Even Adam is starting school tomorrow, a Navy school, none the less school. We still have many details to report from the summer, but I will have more time when soon.

Check back tomorrow for a totally fun tune for our Music Monday.

On a different note, if you are reading Jon Graves blog you will know Jeseca, his beloved wife of 11 years, lost her battle with cancer last Wednesday. Please keep Jon and the boys in your prayers during this time. I am amazed at their attitude and encouraged by their faith.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


When it was time to pick the kids up from Kanakuk, I was thrilled that Adam would be able to make the return trip with me. He returned home from a big military exercise on Friday and then we left first thing on Saturday morning. The kids were not done with kamp until early on Sunday morning, but we needed to spend the night close to camp so we could be there for the 7:30 AM pick up.

In the past we have partnered financially with a ministry called Kids Across America, an urban youth camping ministry. We had been there twice to visit but had not been able to visit while we were living on the East Coast. They have a guest lodge they use to house donors, prospective donors, friends, etc. to come see what KAA is all about. So Laura, Adam and I got our own day at kamp.

This kamp was started by people from Kanakuk that wanted to give the kamp experience to those who could not otherwise afford it. It is so amazing to see kids that are pulled out of the concrete jungle for a week and come to kamp and thier lives are changed eternally. These kids are going back to their neighborhoods and becoming leaders and making HUGE positive impacts. It is an amazing place. It was was neat to see how much it had grown since we had been there. The energy and excitement put the Kanakuk kamps to shame, and that is saying something. This one girl was carrying around some type of scepter that was obviously some type of award. I had heard this was some type of spirit award. I asked her if her locker(cabin) had won it for being the loudest at cheers, she told me it was for being the most HYPE.

That sums it up in one word, that place is HYPE!

Katie and Megan, I could totally see both of you having a blast, shooting hoops(or golf for KT, they have that too) and lovin' on those kids. You are both hype.:)

Here is a glimpse of what happens there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bird Party

The girls and I were driving home from the mall tonight. At one point in the drive we drove under some power lines that had hundreds of birds perched upon them. Laura noticed this...she looked up and said, "WOW look at all of those birds, it looks like a bird party!" Emma replied, "You're cute, Laura"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Music Monday

It is hard to believe that this is the last Monday before the kid's go back to school.

This is a song called "Marvelous Light" by Charlie Hall. Emma LOVES this song. This was the theme song for her week at kid's kamp.

By the way, the kids are back from Kanakuk and had a great time. We were making great time on the way home until we ran into this. We literally sat on the highway in park for over three hours, it was NOT fun. We may post more about that tomorrow...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pike's Peak

We're going to die....
Not so close to the edge...
This is scary.
Don't look out my side, Emma.
That's a beautiful view.
We're going to die....
We're going to die....
Adam, are you scared? (of course I was)

These are a few of the phrases you'd have heard in our car as we drove the winding 19 mile drive to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado. It took us about an hour and a half to drive to the top. It was a scary beautiful drive.

When we got to the top we found a bumper sticker we had to buy. It said "Real me don't need guardrails," and they aren't kidding. Parts of the drive, where there should be guardrails, only a thin line white line (no shoulder) separated our tires from a a steep (and I mean straight down) drop of probably 1000 feet. I played it cool as we drove up so as not to alarm my beautiful bride and kids, but let me tell you I had a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel. I was going so slow people were ten cars deep behind me. Cars would pass me when they found the opportunity. I didn't care, they were crazy.

The kids were cute. They found themselves caught between the beauty of the drive and the threat of death. Isn't that what makes an adventure? The feeling of wanting to do something but having to risk to do it. What is it within us that compels us to do something like drive up Pike's Peak? It was scary but I think all five of us were glad we did it. Even Emma who's afraid of heights. Emma enjoyed the view but I think she enjoyed the love her brother and sister gave her as they comforted her.

Emma didn't want to go. She didn't want to go at all and if I'd have let her sit and wait for us (the round trip took us four hours) at the bottom of the mountain she would have have taken my offer. But mean Dad made her go. She was on the verge of tears but I still made her go. I felt bad and actually uncertain about my decision. I thought to myself "What kind of Dad am I to scare my daughter so much? Why are you doing this?" But I still felt she would work through her fear and enjoy the adventure eventually.
Andrew and Laura were on the outside of the row and Emma was in the middle. They each held one of her hands and comforted her as we made our ascent. If the precipice was on Andrew's side, he'd tell her "don't look out my side." As we switched back to the other direction Laura's say "look out Andrew's side." It was so cute to see them tackling the adventure as a a team. The views were beautiful but the kids loving on each other is what I'll most remember about Pike's Peak.
Emma did eventually enjoy the adventure. I don't think she would go again but I think she's glad she 's been once. I think she's happy to know how much Andrew and Laura love her.

As for other notables during the trip. Charlotte was the one saying "we're going to die." And it's no exaggeration to say she said it hundreds of times, normally in rapid groups of two, "we're gonna die, we're gonna die." "No we're not, honey, it's fine" I'd reassure her as I thought to myself we will die if I sneeze and jerk the wheel the wrong direction. I can't believe people race to the top and back. They must have a death wish, there are no guardrails, after all.

It was so cool to be on top of Pike's Peak. It was a beautiful day. there was great visibility and we could see for miles. The kids thought it was neat to see snow on the ground in July as we drove up. They also thought it was cool when it snowed when we were at the top. At the summit we enjoyed their "world famous donuts" bought a few souvenirs and then began our adventure to get down the mountain.
The scary part about the drive down is overheating your brakes which leads to a brake failure. Have you ever wondered when you'd use the low gear on your automatic transmission? If you drive down Pike's Peak, you'll use it. The kind Park Rangers check the temperature of your brakes half way down the mountain. Our brakes were fine but there were may cars who had to pull over and let their brakes cool before there were allowed to continue down. Makes you wonder how many people's brakes failed before they started checking the temperature. I didn't mention this to Charlotte at the time but I had a plan if our brakes failed. (I'm a pilot. I'm trained and I train people to think of what to do in emergencies.) I planned to grind our car to a stop against the side of the mountain if the emergency brake didn't work. See why I didn't brief the plan to Charlotte? :)

All in all we had a great day. It is one of the highlights of a great and adventurous week. We enjoyed part of God's creation together as a family. And we did it safely.

Mission accomplished...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fire and Water

A few months ago my mom and I were chatting and realized she would be in Eureka Springs, Arkansas the same weekend I would be driving the kids to Kanakuk ....hence the road trip was planned.

Last Sunday the kids and I loaded up in the minivan, set the GPS, put in a DVD and hit the road. We got to Eureka Springs to pick up Ceci and then we were off to Branson. We had one day until the kids needed to be at kamp so this gave us one day to explore and hang out all together. We were staying at a newly developed area called Branson Landing. It is a stark contrast to "the strip". If you have never been to "the strip" in Branson picture a wholesome Las Vegas with many Country Music shows and all you can eat buffets.

We checked into our rooms and the Hilton and were thrilled when we saw them. We had a HUGE balcony overlooking the outdoor shopping area and fountains. These were not just any fountains, they are quite extensive fountains that are choreographed to music and there is a fire element to the show also, similar to those at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. At the top of every hour crowds would gather to watch the show, they were different every hour. We did not even have to leave our room to watch the shows, but of course we did. The kids enjoyed walking around, shopping, yummy Mexican food, swimming and just hanging out. Ceci was generous and treated them all to a new Webkinz and some back to school duds.

We stayed up late and watched the final show at 11PM.

We had a great time in Branson, the only thing missing was Adam. The kids even mentioned a couple of time how much they wish he was there. Adam LOVES fountains and the kids knew how much he would enjoy these. It wasn't the same without him. :(

Here are some pictures from our trip.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Full Circle

The past few days have brought me full circle in many ways.

For one thing I have driven over 600 miles in one big circle from Oklahoma to Arkansas then on to Missouri and back to Oklahoma.

Why did I make this road trip? I am glad you asked. :)

Well, that brings me to the figurative full circle I have made. When I was eleven years old living in Dallas, Texas I attended Kanakuk Kamp in Branson, Missouri. I fell in love with this place. I attended most of my childhood summers even after we moved to the East Coast. After my freshman year I worked at Kanakuk as a counselor and continued working there for the following three summers, even the year after I graduated. I was in love with this place as much when I was 22 as I had been 11 years earlier as a bright eyed camper. Well, here's where it comes full circle. Now I am the parent on the other side that gets to pack the footlocker and wash all of the smelly clothes when they come home and receive the occasional letter. I drove to Missouri to drop Emma and Andrew off at Kanakuk. I am so excited for them and can't wait to hear all about it.

We had a fun adventure on the way there and back. It is late and I am pooped, so I will update you on our adventures tomorrow.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Colored People

It isn't Monday yet but I foresee that the next few days will I am really excited about getting this song out there this week.

This week's musical selection is more like a long distance dedication to my dear blog friend Scrappy Mom. She had a rough week last week and I want her to know I have been thinking about her. This is a song by dc Talk about racial diversity, Colored People.

Have I ever treated someone different because they are different than I am? I am sad to say that I probably have more than I would like to admit or even realize.

Let this song be a reminder to us all that God made ALL of us and we are all precious in His eyes.

Scrappy Mom, I am sorry that you have been discriminated against. You are one special lady and I want you to know that. Hugs!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Seventeen kids?

Can you even image having 17 children?

Yesterday Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar gave birth to their 17th baby, a little girl, Jennifer. Here is a link to their family site, but I have had a hard time logging on today, I think it is overloaded with all of the inquiring minds out there.

My first introduction to this family was on a Discovery Channel episode about large families. If you have never seen the Duggar family tune in on Monday night, August 6 8PM EST the Discovery Channel will be re-airing a couple of episodes about the Duggar family. One of the episodes follows them as they go on an RV vacation, it is quite the expedition. It is truly amazing to see how the family functions... like a well oiled machine. I forgot to mention that the Michelle homeschools the crew too. The kids range in age from 19 to newborn, and there are 2 sets of twins. Michelle is 41 years old and has been pregnant for over ten and a half years....whoa!

After watching this family I wonder why in the world three kids seems so difficult at times.

Just think they have 190 toes in their family and they said they would love to have more, especially girls. They are a truly amazing family, hats off to them. Welcome to the world Jennifer Danielle Duggar.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Perfect Fit

It is hard to believe we have been in Oklahoma for a year already. My how time flies...the fact that Adam has been gone for almost 6 of the the last twelve months has a lot to do with it.

We are really settling into our life here in Oklahoma. The house feels like home, the kids have all acclimated to their new lives here, we have a great network of friends, but by far the thing we love most about the past year has been our church, Henderson Hills. In the last 12 years we have been actively involved in many churches and some have been better than others but Henderson Hills is the reason we are so happy here in Oklahoma. I know the day will come when we have to move, but it will be hard to leave HHBC.

You may wonder why we love it so much, let me share.

1. First and foremost, they have Diet Coke on tap and FREE REFILLS! That would be enough to convince me to attend.

2. They Blog about events as they happen, how great is that. Emma is at Kid's Kamp and I can log on and see what is happening.

3. They produce their own YouTube videos. This is a funny one for the recent high school camp.

4. They have thier own version of Extreme Home Makeover.

OK, I realize the above are cool and all, but are they really reasons to join a church?

5. The teaching is Biblical and Relevant.

6. The body is vibrant and reaches out to serve others. When we were new and Adam was deployed to the Middle East they stepped in to serve us and meet our needs although we were virtually unknown. Watch our story here, Easter Sunday April 8th and see how the church reached out to us.

7. The Children's Ministry is amazing and the kids are learning soo much!

I could go on and on but I won't.

It is just such a blessing to us to be involved in such an amazing place. We are so thankful to have such a wonderful place to worship. If you ever make it out to Oklahoma please come with us and see for yourself what a great place it is.