Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The snow tunnel

I've been trying to make good memories with the boys and girl, emphasis on trying. And I'm documenting my efforts so that when they grow up, I will have proof that I at least tried regardless of what they remember!So after it snowed some 8 inches and drifted into a pile of about 2-3 feet, I attempted to make a snow cave.I did not have the equipment (I'm not sure what equipment you really need to build a good snow cave, but I didn't have it) nor the know how. But eventually, we ended up with a fairly long snow tunnel...long enough to for a grown man to slide through. This is a picture of the tunnel the next day after it melted a bit.I swear I'm trying to build the snow tunnel and not committing snow suicide.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fun in the snow

I thought today would be a sort of kick back day. But when Andrew got invited to go sledding by a friend, we decided to make it a family event.Matt and Emery were a little bit excited to be tagging along, can you tell?
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Andrew turned into a brave boy this past year. I'm proud of him.
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The whole family got into the act. I think Matt really liked it, maybe.
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The double luge...priceless.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas morning

Like most families, we open up our presents in the morning. I'm trying my best to take the focus off of presents and keep them on the Savior's birth. But when you're 3, 4 and 7, that's a tall order. We try not to overdo it with the gifts while still allowing grandparents to enjoy being able to spoil (to some degree) their grandkids.
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Thanks grandma and grandpa! Andrew is really loving the truck and car. video
Thanks halmuhnee and harabagee! Matt said that the Legos were his favorite. video
Thanks Cancun! Emery really did love the markers...really, she did.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A white Christmas

God blessed us with a white Christmas this year! A blizzard came in last night on Christmas Eve. It canceled our Christmas Eve service and pretty much shut down the town.So we built a nice warm fire and played a little Junior Scrabble.Then we ate some Korean food. Sandy can make awesome kim-chee now! This might become our Christmas Eve tradition.We managed to get the boys and girl to calm down and get to sleep although Andrew was working every angle to figure out how he could stay up all night in order to open presents sooner (according to his logic it would be sooner). Then we woke up to this!The actual snowfall amount wasn't that much. But Kansas style wind (gusts up to 50 mph) blew that snow around to make some pretty big drifts.The kids were dying to go outside even though it was -11 degrees wind chill outside. So we bundled them up. The glasses were their idea. Can you guess how long they lasted? Not too long. The minute snow got down their boots, they were crying to come back inside and play with their presents! More on that tomorrow!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Cozumel!

I mean Cancun (our nickname for Uncle Sam).
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The boys and girl just love their Cancun...
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chestnuts roasting...

on an open fire...or marshmallows in this case. The kids had fun with the marshmallows while dad had fun with the fire.Don't worry - we were VERY careful roasting indoors. No marshmallow flambes...this time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas cookies

The other day, Sandy decided to bake some Christmas cookies with the boys and girl.Matt was up for it!Andrew took a small break from playing nerf basketball to help too.Emery jumped in and got her hands dirty.Matt mostly just got his shirt dirty.Mmmmm...frosting.What a yummy day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fancy!

Emery dressed up the other day by herself, presented herself and then announced - I'm fancy!Today, Sandy dressed her up with a hand me down dress from some friends and a hand me down suit for Matt. No fancy hand me downs for Andrew but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
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The kids sang for "big church" today. They did WAY better than last year! (click here to see that) Well, Emery did way better than last year. Matt's performance is eerily similar to last time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

God at Work #18

I recently finished book #18 for the year - God at Work by Gene Veith. I am teaching a series on employment in a Sunday School class and had heard that this was a good book that explained Martin Luther's view on employment. Unfortunately, this book was not a translation or summarization of Martin Luther's view but more how Martin Luther influenced the author who is not a pastor or theologian, but according to the back cover a "culture expert" - whatever that means.
While it was a helpful book which contained many biblical concepts, it could have been better. I had hoped that Veith would spend more time explaining the relevant biblical texts on employment and bring insight into how that works out in the life of a Christian through the lens of Martin Luther. But nonetheless, here are some good biblical thoughts from the book:
  • "When we pray the Lord's Prayer, observed Luther, we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. And He does give us our daily bread. He does it by means of the farmer who planted and harvested the grain, the baker who made the flour into bread, the person who prepared our meal."
  • "Most people seek God in mystical experiences, spectacular mysteries, and extraordinary acts they have to do. To find Him in vocation brings Him, literally, down to earth, makes us see how close He really is to us, and transfigures everyday life."
  • "This is why all vocations are equal before God. Pastors, monks, nuns, and popes are no holier than farmers, shopkeepers, dairy maids, or latrine diggers. In the spiritual kingdom, in a divine egalitarianism (which would also come to have cultural implications) peasants are equal to kings. All are sinful beings who have been loved and redeemed by Christ."

I thought Veith did a very good job explaining how God uses people as His agents when we work for others. We are the means that God uses to give others their daily bread. We are also the means that God uses to serve others, lead others, teach others, etc. in the church.

But the best book I have read on employment is Business for the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daddy, I'm scared...

Normally, that phrase engenders my fatherly protective instincts for my sweet, precious, one and only baby girl but NOT AT 4AM! This morning, I woke up to a concerned and worried little 3 year-old who was afraid of the dark. It was a great opportunity to point her to Christ, to review Isa 41:10, to apply the wonderful doctrine of God's omnipresence, omnipotence to protect her and His gracious love to care for her in this scary time and to pray with her. I just wished it wasn't at 4am.

Unfortunately, after taking advantage of this teachable moment, I couldn't get back to sleep. Before I had kids, I didn't sleep that well. My sleeping (or lack thereof) became worse with each child. If we have any more kids, I may never sleep again! When I talk to parents with older children, they don't seem to remember these days. I hope that someday I too will forget how tired I am. It is a joy and blessing to have these precious children, but with feedings, nightmares, sickness, random crying, bloody noses, potty training, and my own small bladder, it sure is tiring to be getting up at least once or twice a night for the last 7 years!Although her strength is not sleeping, Emery does say the funniest things. I was working on a small project with the toilet which finished with surprising ease when she stopped by to watch. I told her it was a piece of cake to which she peered intently into the toilet bowl and said, "There's cake inside there?"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh the weather outside is...

FRIGHTFUL! The high today was 13 degrees. That's right, the HIGH was 13. Right now, the temperature is 6 with a wind chill factor of -6. The low tonight is going to be around -1. It makes me feel better that tonight's low is a near record low temperature so this is not normal.

This morning, Matt busted into our room with a very urgent tone in his voice, "Dad!"
Me: Yes. (wondering if someone was bleeding or if possibly the house was on fire)
Matt: Dad, come look! Look at all the snow! It's covering the ground!
It snowed last night a couple of inches. To me, it was just snow. But to this 4 year-old boy, God had done a miracle. Despite the temperature, the kids HAD to go out into the snow. Does that snow suit on Emery look familiar? Well, it's because it originally debuted on the blog on Matt - see this post almost exactly a year ago.Here's Matt in action.Look what the kid can do...he's got potential.
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Sandy wasn't about to go outside with those temperatures. But she managed to be a part of the fun...sort of.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stairs

When I was a little kid, the house I grew up in didn't really have stairs. But I remember going to my uncle's house who had a long, straight stairway. I remember playing on them - sliding down - and loving it! I guess some things are universally fun from generation to generation.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

12 Days of Sickness

On the first day of sickness, my neighbors gave to me, a hacking cough with a sore throat.

On the fifth day of sickness, my neighbors gave to me:
  • Con-ges-tion!
  • four coughing fits
  • three headaches
  • two sleepless nights
  • and a hacking co-ugh with a sore throat!

I'll spare you the full 12 days. But by the grace of God, I am well! Last winter, I was sick for approximately 50 days. So 12 isn't so bad this year. Although I know, winter is just starting. But it's funny how being sick for a while and being forced to change your daily routine can really change your perspective on life.

Do you feel like you're a pretty good person overall? I generally do. It's not something I would vocalize to others, but deep down in my heart, I have a tendency to think better of myself than I really am. But sickness has a way of bringing out my true self...and it's not pretty. The first few days, I had things in perspective and was trying to pray regularly and seek the Lord's grace. But by day 5 or so, the selfish, self-absorbed, petty, grouchy, depressive, dramatic Pete came out. My wife deserves a lot of praise for being forgiving, kind, gracious and for taking care of the family for 12 days straight!

So one good thing that came out of my sickness is that God reminded me of what a truly wretched, wicked, selfish, arrogant, foolish and sinful man that I am. This obviously leads to what an amazing, kind, compassionate, merciful God I have who forgives my sin through the death of His one and only Son. God's mercies are truly new every morning and His lovingkindness never ends. I experienced that again! It never gets old.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The last few days

In between Nyquil shots and Vitamin C (over)doses, I have managed to be a part of the family events the last few days.Emery and Addison almost had a sleep over.We watched the annual Emporia Christmas parade for the first time. It was a "warm" night (only in the 40's). The last time we watched a parade was the Rose Parade. We had way better seats for this parade, and the kids liked it a lot more too!Emery went to the mall today for her first princess tea party. She was supposed to take a picture with the real live actual Miss Kansas.But Miss Kansas flaked so she got a picture with Santa instead. At first, Emery wouldn't do it, but he bribed her with a candy cane. Santa KNOWS kids.And this is what we do all night during the Christmas season - just lounge around and calmly read books. Ha!Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas is coming!

At our house, we really look forward to Christmas. Usually, we get the house set up the weekend after Thanksgiving.So we pulled out the boxes from storage.Set up lots of shiny things.Put up some ornaments on our little tree.Got our big tree.And we're ready to go!
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There's always lots of singing and dancing in our Christmas decorating!