Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Irene Walking

It's a short video, but you have be quick with this kid. It seems like now that she's figured it out, she's on the go everywhere.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bathtime Fun

Is there anything cuter than little ones in the bath? I don't think so..
They were so cute playing with the bubbles and talking to each other. This was Irene's first experience with bubbles and she was fascinated.

 These two just love to splash and play in the bath. They will stay for a long time. And unlike the boys, the bathroom floor won't be covered in water when they finish.  

But the fun isn't restricted to the bath.... if there's something around that Irene can climb into or onto, she'll be there.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Hanukkah!

It's the time of year again when we celebrate for 8 days just how great God is and the wondrous things he does for us! The festival itself is to celebrate the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks around 165 B.C. We also use it as a reminder that we are to a light to the world and the light that shines through us is our Messiah Yeshua. It's a joyful time that we try to fill with as much fun and laughter as we can. To celebrate, we have a tradition of doing a different activity each night/day of the festival. 
 We started off the holiday with a Hanukkah game night at VoB
 The kids decorated big cookies
 Played foosball
 and the Dreidel Game. 

 Another day, we made donuts.  


 (seriously, that's the sound she makes. just like in the movie. :)
 On another day, we played games like Latke Bingo, Go Fish and Quirkle
And on yet another day, they made crafts.

For Shabbat, I tried my hand at making a Hannukiah (Menorah) Challah, Not too bad for a first attempt. :) 
It certainly made for a beautiful Shabbat Dinner.

We also got to go play at Hagan Stone Park, have a visit from both my and Rebecca's parents, ride through the neighborhoods looking at lights and the kids got a quite a few fun presents from us as well as both sets of Grandparents. There's no question that if you ask the kids what their favorite holiday is, they'll tell you Hanukkah!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Olivia's Holiday Recital

Olivia had another recital today and she did wonderfully! As a dad, I'm anxious for her whenever these things come around. I really want her to do well because I know how hard she's practiced. This time, we picked a version of My Dreidel that was pretty tough for her. It was fairly long and had a key change in it that took her a while to master. I really can't express how proud I am of her and how well she's been doing with her lessons and practicing. 

Afterwards, There were the usual collection of cookies and since it was a nice day, we took them outside to eat. Nana and Pop-pop came to support Olivia and gave her some beautiful flowers and a candy cane. :)

  After their cookies, they burned off some of that excess energy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Women's Only 5K 2014

Rebecca stepped up again this year to run the Women's Only 5K. She signed up for the Women's Running School and trained hard every week for 4 months. She did it two years ago and finished it in 34:46.

 This year they ran the race much later in the year and the weather was FREEZING! Still, she ran it in 35:07  and came in 371st overall and 57th in her age class. We are so proud of the hard work she put in and seeing it through!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Goodbye, Keith. You will be missed.

A few weeks back, I got word that a close family friend had died. In truth, Keith Collins was more than a friend; he was family. I was, and still am, proud to call him "Uncle Keith". I was blessed to spend a summer with him and my Aunt Kathi in Mississippi between my junior and senior years in high school. At that time, Keith ran a roofing business and he put myself and my cousin, Matt, to work. Let me tell you: putting a tin roof on a house in Mississippi in the summer is no picnic. It gave me a healthy respect for the job Keith and others like him do. But he wasn't all about working. He was quick to make a joke, loved to have a good time with friends and family. He loved gardening and was fiercely protective of his bird feeders. He used to keep a pellet gun by the back door to pick off squirrels that were foolish enough to try pilfering from them. 

About 16 years ago, Keith suffered a massive stroke and heart attack. They left him mostly paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. While he was physically incapacitated, the times that we were able to get together left me no doubt that he had retained his sharp wit and good humor.

I am grateful that Olivia had the chance to meet him. She was only 3, but she was instantly fascinated by Keith. 

When I heard that there was going to be a gathering in Mississippi to honor Keith and his memory, I, of course, wanted to go, but with Rebecca's work schedule, it was  (I thought) impossible in the time frame necessary. Well, as usual, I underestimated my wife. In a matter of days, she managed to arrange for other folks to watch the kids so I could go. While I knew I was only going to have about 12 hours, I also knew it would be worth it to be able to be there with Kathi and the rest of the family.  I dropped the boys off at her parents' house in Waxhaw on Friday and left from there at 3am Saturday morning. I drove straight through to Brandon, MS and got there right at noon, which was earlier than I expected. I realized as I pulled in that it had been 23 years since I'd been there. It brought back so many good memories. I remembered Keith putting me to work on the very first full day I was there digging a stump out of the back yard. I remembered Matt and I trying to burn a nest of fire ants out of the front yard with a can of gas and nearly setting the entire lawn on fire. I was suddenly very glad I had come.

The real gathering didn't start until 6 or 7 that evening, so there were a few hours for the family to catch up on things. My Aunt Mary Jane and Uncle Joe from MD had made the drive down. My sister came down from Nashville and Kathi's children, John and Amy, were there, too. We spent the afternoon watching college football and sharing memories of Keith. 

Later that evening, friends started arriving. There were quite a lot of people there, which was a wonderful testimony to the lives Keith had touched in his too-short time here. 

Everyone had a wonderful time and I know that Aunt Kathi was greatly blessed by all the people who showed up. I am very grateful to my fabulous wife for her hard work in arranging things so I could be there on such short notice.