A Quote to Start Things Off

Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pictures from captivity

Some pictures from our recent illness.

The past week the kids and I have been sick. Even though I hear some coughing in the background. We all seem to be for the most part well.
I thought I would just share a few pictures of the week that was.

Emma and Lucy baked cookies over the weekend. Lucy wanted one at bedtime. She fell asleep with it.

Here is a closeup.

On Wednesday the kids called me into Charlie's room. Here is what Charlie had picked out to wear.

Here is how I looked after being basically locked up with 3 sick kids for a week.

Here is how I felt.

So that's our week. I am glad we are all finally well and that I lived to tell the tale. I showed my face again this week. Now it's time for you to head over to Show my face dot com for more 6 word Saturday.

Next Time: Celebrating Charlie and Keith

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Most Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

Fits me to a T.

My Life in T-Shirts

When I was in college, my sister bought me a real cool Tigger shirt. I won't describe the front as you should be looking right at it. But the back had the Tigger song printed on the back: You know the one . . .

The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers

Is Tiggers are wonderful Things

Their Tops are made out of Rubber

Their Bottoms are made out of Springs

They're Bouncy, Trouncy, Flouncy, Pouncy Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun!

But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is, I'm the only one.

It continues (although I'm not sure it continues on the shirt)

Tiggers are wonderful fellas

Tiggers are awfully sweet

Everyone ellis is jealous! That's why I repeat repeat

I loved that shirt. That shirt got through college, made it through 2 years in Russia. There's a picture of me wearing it in my yearbook from seminary. My wife wore it on a missions trip to Turkey in 2000. Sometime after that it came up missing. It had a long and storied life so I didn't grieve too much for it, but I sure do miss it. It would have made quite the adult t-shirt turned kid's pajamas.

This post is one in a series of remembrances of t-shirts past. Some people may wonder why I'm so nostalgic about t-shirts. The truth is, I'm nostalgic about everything. I'm nostalgic about the future. Here is a quick ditty I just composed to the Tigger tune that may explain my love for t-shirts.

The most wonderful thing about t-shirts

Is t-shirts are quite fun to wear

They're great to roll up your sleeves in

They help you let down your hair

They're cool, they're stylish, some think they're childish and while I will not bicker

the most wonderful thing about t-shirts is they're frontwards bumper stickers!

Well that's it for me for today. I like t-shirts. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Head on over to Half Past Kissin' time for more fragmented Friday fun.

Next Time: Pictures

3 Things This Thursday

Thursday is here again. It is so punctual. Here are 3 Things . . .

1. We've had sickness here for about a week. Amy has been well and working. But the rest of us have had flu like symptoms. I don't think it's H1N1 but we've missed church, Awana, dental appointments (scheduled for 3 months and rescheduled in 3 months) and our weekly home school co-op just to be sure. Charlie is still sick and his birthday party is this Sunday. Friday we'll decide if we need to reschedule. By now we are having some pretty good cabin fever. Hopefully, everybody will feel better soon.

2. White Collar (USA)

My wife told me about a show that premiered last week called White Collar. She said it was kind of like Numb3rs without the math. Like Numb3rs and the Mentalist the show revolves around a government agency and an unusual type of analyst they bring in. The analyst in this case is a convicted fraudster played by Matt Bomer. I was familiar with Bomer's boyish good looks, charm and charisma and realized I've been watching him for the past 2 years on Chuck as he played Super Spy Bryce Larkin.

I like this show. I like the chemistry between Bomer and his FBI associate. Their chemistry reminds me of a similar show I used to watch with my Dad in the mid 70's called Switch starring Eddie Albert as the cop, Robert Wagner as the con, and a young Sharon Gless as their secretary.

3. What's wrong with the Church?

A few months ago I got a great title for a blog feature. The problem has been I have not really been able to blog about it successfully. I am having a little trouble fleshing it out. I'm not in my 20's or early 30's anymore so I am no longer trying to describe and solve all the worlds problems. I hope this segment despite it's title is more cure and less diagnosis.

For today let's just say that I'm what's wrong with the church. As a result of the fall there is only one thing that I can do really well. Sin. Anger. Pride. False humility. Jealousy. That's what I bring to the table. Now, the triune God I serve can cover all those things, easy. But when "I" go to church and not "a little Christ" as Christian can be defined, that's when we've got trouble. I know I'm not the only one who can screw up the church but I'm the one I can do the most about.

Let me ruminate more on this and I'll be back again to tell you what else is wrong with the church and what I think can be done about it. Until then, that's 3. I have to go check on the troops.

If you'd like to join in this week please do. Just click on Mr. Linky.

Next Time: The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

Friday, October 23, 2009

Facial Hair Survey

Beard or no beard. You decide.

I have been growing beards much of my adult life. 15 years ago at 30 I noticed a little grey in my beard and I thought it was distinguished. This may have been because the grey was limited to my beard and was about 5-10 strands in total.

After Amy and I got married and we started having kids I developed a beard system. I would generally stay clean shaven during the pregnancy and would stop shaving once the baby was born. I would then keep the beard until the child's first birthday and shave it off. When my oldest turned one, she was asleep when I shaved my beard and left for work. When I came home she literally did not know who I was. When I spoke, her expression changed from "who is that strange man in my house? (Do expressions come in quotes?) to "Ah, that strange man in my house is Daddy.".

My youngest turned 1 almost 3 years ago and I have gone pretty much beardless since. This year since by birthday was a multiple of 5 (Hint: in paragraph 1, I said 15 years ago I was 30.) I decided to try out the old beard again.

Have you ever noticed that in before after photographs the subject is always better dressed, better groomed more spruced up then in the before pictures? Sure, you have.Not here at Home School Dad. We don't play that way.

Here I am a few weeks ago right before I started growing the beard.

And here I am a few weeks later with the beard.

So what do you think beard or no beard? Let me know.

I literally showed my face today. You don't have to show your face to participate in Six Word Saturday. Just shoot on over to Show My Face Dot Com.

Next Time: What's wrong with the Church?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three Things Thursday

Thursday again? That means it's time for Three Thing This Thursday!

1. Thank You! Thank You Thank You!

Thanks for the encouraging words regarding last weeks themed edition. I really appreciated it. I was thematically obligated to share 3 fears, and while the ones I expressed were true, the degree I feel them is rather small. I am glad that those reading this enjoy it. I will keep it up.

2. The Good Wife (CBS)

Of all the new shows this fall, this was the one receiving much of the early acclaim. It stars Julianna Marguiles as said wife. BTW Julianna, Terri Hatcher called, she wants her hairstyle back. That aside, I quite like the show. It has a good supporting cast, and plays well as part procedural part human drama. (I don't have cable or tv reception, so I watch it at cbs.com)

3. Blogoversary Contest

Kristen at We Are That Family is celebrating 2 years of Bloggy Goodness. You can celebrate with her by joining her contest. Simply blog about how your family is That Family and link to hers before midnight tonight. I went ahead and shared my story: A Purple Present with Lucy Inside. Show her what youv'e got!

That's it for me. Now it's your turn.

Next time: Facial Hair Considered

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WFMW not workin' for me

Word Count Wednesday :
100 Words or Les

Works For Me Wednesday is among my favorite blog features. I have been a frequent contributor in my first 9 months of blogging.

WFMW hasn't been working for me lately. As they say in break-up parlance, It isn't them it's me.

My usual WFMW routine had me up past midnight on Tuesday nights. I have a men’s group that meets at 6 a.m Wednesdays. Something had to give. Sleep won.

I’ll still contribute to WFMW but today I am starting a new Wednesday tradition. Tell me what you think.

Next Time: 3TTT

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Purple Present With Lucy Inside

Kristen at We Are That Family is celebrating her 2nd Blogoversary by letting other families share how They are "that" Family. We are That Family because we have 5 crazy people who love each other. This story I posted about earlier this week illustrates that point beautifully.

Last year about this time, in preparation for her third birthday, Lucy began announcing what she wanted as a gift. Her wish: A purple present with cookies inside. That is all she would talk about when the subject of birthdays came up. This was one of her first Lucyisms even before I had a blog to feature them. So on her birthday she certainly did receive a purple present with cookies inside. (She was upset with other people who gave her other gifts, but she quickly got over that.)

A few weeks ago Amy bought a beautiful outfit that Lucy is wearing in the pictures below. When she wears it I have taken to calling the ensemble, a purple present with Lucy inside.
Today at our Home School Co-op, just prior to me taking these pictures, Lucy and I had the following
conversation. . .
Me: It's a purple present with Lucy inside. Lucy: Daddy, I do not like that name. Me: But, Lucy I love you.
Lucy: I love you too, Dad. But, I still don't like that name. It was a very mature conversation especially since the one with the best lines is NOT YET FOUR!
So, congratulations Kristen on being that family and blogging that family for two whole years! Next Time: WFMW

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Praise of Out Walking

Out Walking is probably the first blog I ever read. When exactly I began reading it, I am not quite sure. It was a few years before I took up blogging myself. I discovered it by looking up some Christian Artist on Google. I think it was John Fischer but it may have been Randy Stonehill. The blogs author, Steve West has years of involvement in Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and he is a gifted communicator. His blog topics include movies, books, music, and culture just to name a few.

Mr. West makes many recommendations at his blog. He writes so eloquently and persuasively that I have found myself that I have found myself acting on many of his recommendations. To date I have been genuinely pleased with the results.

First, it was the movie Once. He described so glowingly that I found myself looking for it through our local library system. Once I found Once I discovered a thoroughly engaging film about an unusual musical collaboration.

Once was filmed on a much smaller budget than the similar themed Hugh Grant Drew Barrymore vehicle Music and Lyrics. In actuality, Music and Lyrics is a poor man's Once. The story is less engaging, more predictable and the music is far inferior.

The word vehicle I used to describe the Barrymore-Grant coupling ,may be one reason. Once is story and song driven not star driven. Sorry! I didn't mean to shift into review mode. Click here to see the original review that caused me to watch Once and ultimately buy the soundtrack.

The next piece of advice I followed in Out Walking had to do with an Album called Making God Smile. It is one of those artist tribute anthology compilations that the CCM industry tends to produce with reckless abandon.

The tribute is to Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson. It turns out that West was the executive producer of the album. I purchased it through his amazon store. When I received it I only recognized a few of the artist and less of the songs. But, I enjoyed what I heard.

What I appreciated most was the artist liner notes that spoke so powerfully of Wilson's influence on the musicians covering his work. Much focus was on an album, Pet Sounds, that was being hailed as a seminal work of not only the Beach Boys but of Pop music as a whole.

I was so intrigued by the music and the noted that I again went to my public library (I don't buy much) and procured it.

Pet Sounds, given high praise at Out Walking as well, is worthy of all the accolades it has received. I hope to review it soon in these very pages.

There has been so much that I have enjoyed of what Steve produces at Out Walking. Here are links to two fairly recent posts that I highly recommend. One is about his travels and the other is a story he wrote.

I dig this blog because of it's eclectic style and highly personal nature. The personal fuels the eclectic, and vice-versa. These are also 2 major goals of my blog. I hope that my readers enjoy my work even a fraction of how much I enjoy his.

Next Time: A Purple Present with Lucy Inside.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What happened in school today

Charlie Reads, Emma Writes, Lucy Abstains.

Teaching is not all about breakthroughs. Some days are just ordinary days where, if you measure progress with graphs and charts, nothing changes. I have many days like that.

In many ways, today started like that. Charlie and Emma worked on their Bible, Math, and Art with the same strengths and weaknesses they exhibited yesterday.

Then Lucy bought me a pile of books she wanted me to read to her and I got an idea. I called Charlie to join Lucy and me at the couch. He thought that I was just inviting him to listen to the stories, which I often do. But I had other plans.

Charlie is not reading to his second grade level. One could almost say he didn't read at all. In fact, early this summer we were afraid if he didn't start reading soon, at some point we would need to enroll him in public school for special education. This summer we engaged a teacher friend of Amy's to tutor Charlie twice a week.

At first it seemed like he wasn't gaining any ground. By the end of the summer we could see him making a steady progress. Once the school year began, he seemed to reach a wall and the progress ended. About 2 weeks into the school year, I tried a new approach and he began reading better every day. It was so exciting to see him progress. Last week with some help from a very kind librarian I found a website that suggested books based on your child's reading level. I checked out some of those books and Charlie has been reading to me from them this week.

The bunch of books Lucy gave me included a title that was a favorite of Charlie's at Lucy's age: Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman. I asked Charlie to read it to her. He did awesome! Now, Go Dog Go is not hardest of books to read, but for a kids' book it is rather long:64 pages. He just barrelled right through it. Now as part of our Friday schedule Charlie is going to read to Lucy. I am so proud of him!

My daughter Emma, is a reading machine. She read two of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books in less than 1 week. She is always reading. Writing is a different story. She is taking a Chronicles of Narnia class I am teaching at our home school co-op. The assignment this week was to write a 5 paragraph essay on the Magician's Nephew. She finished it yesterday and typed it up today. It is the story of the Magician's Nephew from the perspective of Polly, a young girl from late 19th century England. It is not the best paper in the world and it is certainly not the breakthrough that Charlie is having, but it may well be an early step on a path to a breakthrough that is yet to come.

Before I share that story with you, let me tell you about my youngest's achievements. She went a whole day without drawing on the walls. This is an achievement in itself. She loves drawing and is prolific in how much much art work she can put out in one day. The problem is the world is literally her canvas. She draws on paper, sure. But she also draws on tables, walls, computer screens, floors, books and herself. I fear for our bunny. We hide all the markers and crayons and yet she finds them. I have included a picture of the masterpiece Lucy colored on her wall last week and another of her washing off said masterpiece. Last Saturday she lost all coloring privileges (among other things) for a week. This week, since coloring seems to be her love language, I have eased the coloring restrictions to crayons only as long as she was supervised. Today, she did get a hold of a marker, but chose to use it on paper rather than on her usual victims.

So that is how my day went reading, writing, and no vandalism. Before you head back to Six Word Saturday at Show My Face Dot Com or just go on with your day, I invite you to enjoy my Daughters Essay:

Polly's Adventures

By Emma Roller

My name is Polly. My friend, Digory and I had many adventures together. These are some of them: We got into other worlds. We found the witch. We found Narnia and had adventures inside.

One day, Digory and I were in the rafters when we found a door. We walked into the room and the big chair moved. Digory’s uncle stepped out and he offered me a yellow ring. I vanished when I touched it. Digory came after me. Then, we realized we could get into other worlds.

We found ourselves in a ruin of sorts that I did not like. In another room, we saw lots of people. Digory liked this lady so much, that he called her a queen! I called her a witch. She was a witch and a queen!

Later we found ourselves in a empty world. Then a singing began that seemed to create the world. We liked the song until we knew the singer was a lion named Aslan. After he made the animals, he sent us to get a special apple. When we came back, he took us home.

That is my story. We got into other worlds. We met a witch. We found Narnia. I learned a lesson: Do not take yellow rings from old men! The End.
Today's post is part of a special 200th anniversary of the Carnival of Homeschooling hosted at Consent of the Governed.

Next Time: In Praise of Out Walking.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

3 Fears This Thursday

Have no fear 3 Things This Thursday is here.

This is a special themed edition being the third Thursday of the month.

This week I'd like you to blog about any 3 things that you are concerned or scared about. They can be serious, somber or silly. When you have click on Mr. Linky below and add it there.

My 3 fears this Thursday are in no particular order:

1) I am afraid that when Chuck returns to the NBC Line-Up after the Olympics this winter that it won't be as good as it was the past two years. I have shared previously how in order to keep certain regulars on the show that I am afraid they will have no choice but to have Chuck return to the Buy-More a gig he is obviously grown out of. When a show is not doing great in the ratings there is often a tendency to tweak it to help it catch on. I think the word of mouth campaign that kept Chuck from being cut last year shows that what it needs is not wholesale changes but better backing by the brass at NBC.

2) I am afraid of what my wife and children would become if and when I do not stand up and lead them in the ways of God. I want to have a wife who knows how much I love her and who can trust me to lead our family. I want my children to know my by involvement in their life, that they are special, loved and that I am proud of them.

3) I am afraid that I am completely ruining this excellent meme that Michelle at Psalm 104:24 began. Here is an example of one of her previous editions of 3TTT. My manifestations hardly ever get comments or links. I don't really mind as I just love this 3 thing format. But in truth, I would much rather be a participant than a host. At least that way I'd be assured that there would be at least one link a week.

So those are my 3 fears TV wise, blog wise and real life wise. If you have fears : shout shout let them all out, these are the things that we blog about! Come on, I'm talking to you!

Next Time: In Praise of Out Walking

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apple Butter Day

Fall is a busy but fantastic time in our family. We usually visit an apple orchard and generally have many family related fall outings. One that we do every year when possible is called Apple Butter Day. Apple Butter Day is hosted by Gerald & Mary Jane White of Tennessee, IL. Gerald is a retired math professor at Western Illinois University where Amy and I went to college. Mary Jane is related to almost everyone in Mcdonough County. They are also the parents of one of my closest friend and the PIL's of one of Amy's closest friends.

In 1976 the White's celebrated the bicentennial by making Apple Butter in the same cauldron that according to Gerald's grandmother was used by her grandmother for the same purpose. This became an annual event on the White's farm each fall. The Whites would invite family, neighbors, church friends, WIU associates and students, and assorted others to a pot luck dinner and especially to take turns stirring the apple butter throughout the day. As the afternoon progressed the apple butter is put into glass containers and distributed to the guests. I have attended about a dozen times in the last 20 years. The above picture is of Amy and I from an AB day in the early 90's.

There are many distinctives about Apple Butter Day and these distinctives have evolved with the event, and as Amy and I have made the transition from college students to family friends. The highlight during my student days was playing football and volleyball and getting off campus. After we graduated, going was more of an opportunity to catch up with old friends. The past few years as our family has grown, the focus has also included keeping tabs on 3 kids and making sure they enjoy themselves. Our friends (Gerald's son & daughter in law) has 10 children and AB day gives Amy and I a chance to hang out with their family. The main highlights for our children besides hanging with the other kids, are eating funnel cakes, going on a hay rack ride through prairie land that Gerald is developing on his property and hunting for geodes.

Geodes are a type of geological formation common in volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The geodes that we find at the White Farm are part of a creek bed. The geodes have crystal formations that have developed within rocks. At first glance it is difficult to know whether you have found a geode or just a rock. A geode will break much easier than a rock and the crystalline formations are a give-away. Here is a picture of a geode found at Wikpedia. Here is a picture of a geode we found this past Saturday . . .

Apple Butter Day is generally held the first or second weekend in October and the weather is usually unusually gorgeous for the event. This year, according to Gerald the weather was the worst in the history of the event. It was actually below freezing when we left our house 5:45 Saturday morning. It warmed up to about 50 degrees and sunny but much chillier than we have been blessed with in the past.

Geodes aren't the only precious commodity that is easier for our family to get their hands on in Mcdonough County. Each year we stop my Macomb's Hy-Vee super market on our way in or out of AB Day and snag the following essentials: Caffeine free Mountain Dew and Sterzing Potato Chips. Now not everyone agrees with my gastronomical choices. Many people, including my dear sister, wonder why you would ever want to put up with Mountain Dew if not for the caffeine. I actually enjoy mountain Dew for the taste and there is little discernible difference in my opinion between the caffeine free and regular variety. For whatever reason caffeine free Mountain Dew has not been available in the Chicago area since the late 80's early 90's.

Sterzing's Potato Chips (click on the chip bag for more product information)are made in Burlington Iowa and are are in my opinion one of the seven wonders of the snack food world. They are a kettle cooked variety of chip that people either love or hate. Amy hates them I love them. They developed a less fat variety a few years back which are okay but since I am 4 hours away from being able to eat them on a regular basis, I don't mind at all getting the not-so-good variety once every year.

Apple Butter Day is a fantastic day for our family. Enjoyable day outings anchored in family traditions certainly work for us. Going down memory lane for junk food is just a perk. Special thanks to, Katherine at No Fighting, No Biting, for featuring this at the Carnival of Home Schooling; to see what works for others head on over to We Are That Family.

Next Time: Three Fears Thursday

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What to do With Half a Bagel.

It's Thursday and that means it's time for another edition of 3 Things This Thursday. It's been a good week so far. I hope it has been for you as well!

1. Bagels were on special at the grocery store on Sunday so I bought 2 5 packs and we had them for breakfast on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday evening we had 1 bagel left so I told the oldest 2 kids (the bagel eating 2) that they could split the last bagel for breakfast on Wednesday morning. Well come lunch time Wednesday I was whipping up lunches for everyone and when it came to my turn I was going to make a toasted triple decker chicken sandwich with cottage cheese on the side. I noticed there was still 1/2 a bagel left. So here's what I came up with. . .

2 pieces of toasted wheat topped with a sesame bagel top. It was delicious.

2. Office Merger.
I will skip reviewing a new fall t.v. show this week and instead point out the special Jim and Pam wedding episode of the office tonight.

I did not always love the office. The year it first came out I caught a couple episodes and it took me a while to pick up on the humor of it. But somewhere in the second season, everything clicked for me. I worked in an office at the time and a lot of the stuff really resonated with me.

Also, I am not sure if I am the first one to observe this but Michael Scott is the Archie Bunker of the 21st century. An iconic bumbler rather than bigot. I have loved watching the developing relationship of Jim and Pam and am looking forward to catching the wedding.

3. Three Things Third Thursday

Next week we are going to have a themed edition of Three Things This Thursday. Same drill more defined. What you do is this. . . Blog any time between now and next Thursday about 3 things you are or have been scared about and then link up next Thursday as part of a special 3 Fears Thursday.

The third Thursday of each month I will have a special themed edition. October 15th it's fear. November 19th: 3 Thanks Thursday where you blog about 3 things you are thankful for. Then to end the year off we will have 3 gifts Thursday where you blog about 3 gifts you have given or received over the years. I will post reminders in advance at my blog. Participation especially on these themed weeks will help me gauge how this meme is doing at it's new home. So I encourage you to participate every week but especially on the third Thursday of each month.

That's it for this week. Now it's your turn. Blog about 3 things that are on your mind this Thursday and link your blog below. Have a great week and I will catch up with all of you soon.

Next Time: Apple Butter Day

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Penny Winners

A couple of months ago, I had a crazy idea. I would give away 200 pennies to celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth year. 100 pennies to a commenter on my original post and 100 pennies to a follower of my blog. The contest was supposed to end on 9/23/09 I picked winners and emailed them to get their addresses so I could send the pennies and now a fortnight later I have still not heard from either of them.

I have decided to change course a little. I have picked new winners will announce they're names now as well as e-mail them. I also picked a third winner from all my post comments from the original announcement to 9/23/09. Confused? So am I.

Without any more hoopla here are the winners. The first winner is Georgie. The winner from my commenter's is Lizze and the third winner is Jennayouknow that blog. Hopefully they will all contact me so I can give these pennies away. Otherwise my life seems so incomplete.

Next Time: What to do with half a bagel

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cycling Update

On Saturday, I participated in International Teams ride for refugees. I wrote last week about my preparations here. Riding 30 miles was actually much easier than I had anticipated. Easy and worthwhile as I raised a total of $325.00 towards refugee work around the globe. I rode past many beautiful sights of Lake County, IL, including seeing some gorgeous horses. Incidentally I biked past a llama farm without noticing (we drove by them on Sunday, when I did notice.)

I was hoping to post some pictures of my trip, but in my hurry to bring my family, my bike, my helmet and my pledges to the starting point in time for registration at 8:00 am, I neglected to bring my camera.

On the way there I was reading to Charlie and the rest of the family a story about an inquisitive boy who constantly peppered his parents with loads of questions. This boy so reminded me of Charlie that I am interested to hear whatever became of him. The boy's name was Thomas Edison.

I was reading about how Thomas Edison had a job selling newspapers on a train. Since we were on the way to a bike ride, the story reminded me of my first bike trip almost 30 years ago.

It was Memorial Day Weekend 1980. My youth group along with several other local youth groups boarded a train headed for Wisconsin. Our bikes were packed in special boxes and handled as luggage. I think it may have actually been my first time ever riding a train. Once we arrived we stayed at a local church and biked 60 miles each day until we arrived back in the NW suburbs of Chicago on Monday.

I realized while I was riding that I was biking on some of the same roads as I had back in 1980. Some of the area has changed in 30 years but much of the countryside remained the same. Biking next to a teenager for some of my early miles, I realized the same could not be said of me.

I was glad that my family accompanied me on the ride. They're cheered really pumped me up as I embarked upon my journey. At the post ride lunch I saw several kids, my kids age who participated in the ride. While I feel I could have easily completed the 60 mile course this year and would like to do so next year, I think we will instead ride the 5 mile trek as a family.

After we got home I was not at all tired. Emma and I decided to go cycling on the bike trail before it started storming. We biked about 6 miles through Dundee and parts of Elgin. This is my favorite section of the trail as there is an underground bridge over the fox river as well as a castle. This time I remembered my camera and snapped some good shots of Emma.

The only disappointing part of the day was when I read on facebook shortly after returning home with Emma that a friend from my high school bike trip days who I haven't seen since Reagan was president had stopped by at the ride location at noon to see me. By noon we were already on our way back home. So, Joel and any more of my old bike riding buddies: let's all get together same next year and do the ride for refugees next year. We can even train together. I know this great spot with a bridge and a castle.
Next Time: Penny Winners

Friday, October 2, 2009


Martians are from Mars; Venusians, Venus.

Women are different than men, no duh! But men are different than men and women are different than women. So if I want to understand Amy, I don't need to understand all women and then branch out to Amy. I need to understand Amy, her needs, strengths, and intricacies.

Not sure exactly where I am going with this, except to say that interpersonal relationships are best explored individually rather than holistically. I think I have observed this more keenly because both Amy and I are more atypical than typical representatives of our respective genders.

Example: 12 years ago I bought Amy her engagement ring. I had been friends with Amy for about 7 years and we had discussed rings as friends. I knew she liked Emeralds and wanted an emerald engagement ring rather than a diamond. So I brought her an emerald engagement ring. I then went about telling friends and co-workers of my purchase. They were all sure that I had made a dreadful mistake in not buying her a diamond, or in just not letting her choose the ring she wanted. The only dreadful mistake was bringing the subject up with any of them. It turns out that while Amy's taste in engagement rings was atypical, my knowledge of her preferences was accurate. She loves that ring and I am confident that if I would have succumbed to pressure and purchased a diamond ring for her rather than an emerald all I would have communicated to her is that I did not "get" her as much as I thought I did.

So those are my Six words for this Saturday. To see what other word sextets are sweeping the cybernation head over to Show My Face dot com.

Next Time: Cycling Update

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Three Things This Thursday

Hi! Welcome to another edition of 3 Things This Thursday. I'm Dave I'll be your host.
Welcome also to October. Which brings me to my first item which I have titled
#1 (catchy huh?)

Our family does not celebrate Halloween. Other families do and that's just fine with us. What really bothers me is that there have been Halloween displays up since late August early September. I mean early September. The kids and I were shopping for Amy's birthday (which is 9/10) and Walgreen's already had a full display of Halloween candy up. That was at least 52 days before Halloween! I mean how in the world are you going to keep Halloween candy around 52 days without indulging? Or perhaps that is the point of putting it out so early. I think that October first should be the first official day for Halloween displays. 30 days to sell costumes, candy and other finery should be enough!

2. Glee
I watched the premiere of Glee this week (The premiere was about 3 weeks ago, but I've been busy.) Glee is a new show on Fox this year about a high school show choir. It is supposed to have biting humor and good musical numbers. I liked the first episode although I am not sure I liked it enough to watch a second. It did not surprise me that the meanest and nastiest of the high school girls was portrayed as a hypocritical Christian girl. The musical numbers were good but unlike Fame I'm not sure that this show will live forever.

3. This year has been cycling intensive at our house and we have had some difficulty getting our oldest on the bicycle bandwagon. Emma was never that much into biking when she had training wheels. It was always like pulling teeth to get her on her bike. This year however she showed a little more interest especially when Charlie's training wheels came off before hers did. Within a week she was biking training wheel on free on Charlie's bike.

Emma has grown a lot in the past year and the bike she's had since she was 6 just wasn't cutting it. So we bought her a new bike that was just a tad too big for her. It was possible for her to ride it but she was so scared of falling off that it was becoming too difficult to coax her to ride it and put up with all the angst. So we tried this: we let her use her take turns using Charlie's bike and she took a real shine to it. She has been riding it almost everyday for the last two weeks.

So today with about 20 minutes left of daylight, I told her it was time to give her bike a try. She was far less than thrilled. What I expected to happen, happened. Over the past few weeks she has been learning how to balance herself, and when she tried her bike today, she was mastering it within seconds. Before we started biking, she insisted that she only have to ride once around the parking lot. We biked until dusk and even then she wanted to stay longer. On the way home she actually thanked me for insisting that she try her bike again.

As parents we often have a plan for the well being of our child. This plan is not always embraced by the child at the time. It is very rewarding when occasionally the child can get a glimpse that the parent has a pretty good grasp on what's best.

Those are my Three Things for This Thursday. Now it's your turn just link up below.

Next Time: Penny Winners Revealed

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip