Monday, July 30, 2012

The finishing touch

The other day I posted about the new bunk bed.Well Sandy put the finishing touch on it.
This is a first for us. We've never painted the bunk beds.
I must say - much improved.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Psalm 103:8-14

I didn't mean to leave Andrew out. Here's his latest - Psalm 103:8-14. It's a mouthful!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bunk beds part 2

I made bunk beds (really a loft) for the boys a while ago. I have done this in almost every house we've lived in actually. This is my 4th version. The last one was just 2 years ago - here.
It was a busy day. Because I was using the same basic platform, I thought I could finish it before lunch. As usual with home projects, they go about twice as long as I think they will.
At least I didn't have to make a second trip to Home Depot this time. Because we have high ceilings here, I decided to utilize the room and build this one 6 feet high. No one is banging their head on these beams.
Everything is solid and secure. Wa-hoo! Hopefully, this will help everyone get more excited about going to bed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Colossians 3:12-14

Wow. I just realized it's been 2 months since I last posted a new memory verse for the boys and girl. I guess with packing and moving and 2 trips, we've been busy. But we've still managed to keep working on memorization even if it's been a bit of a slower pace.
Emery's got this one down. Hopefully, the kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness and patience will come out of her heart as easily as the words come out of her mouth.
It's still considered passing with 2 helps. Good job Emz and Matt.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I promise this is the last post about Flagstaff. The boys and girl were fishes - we went swimming just about every day.
Matt and Emz in particular loved going to the pool.
Emery learned how to "dive" into the pool. Check out her form.
She also got her backstroke down...sort of. She is actually swimming pretty well. She just hasn't figured out how to breathe while continuing to swim.

Friday, July 20, 2012

More Flagstaff pics

It's funny how a vacation can seem so far away once you get back home. It was only last week that we were relaxing and enjoying the beautiful God created scenery, but it feels months ago. That went fast.
Sandy and I looked like we had a good time, eh?
The boys and girl played out in the forest and chased deer.
I love big tall trees. I think it's my Massachusetts roots.
And after playing outside, the boys and girl enjoyed the big old bath tub. I'm not sure what they could see with their goggles.
We even got a huge surprise. My old college roommate was in Flagstaff one night, and we got to meet up for dinner. It was the first time we got to see the Hoke's in about 17 years! We were 2 single guys back in 1995, but now we're married with 6 kids between the 2 of us! It was great to catch up.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Emery!

We're 8 days late on the party as her 6th birthday was 7/11, but she didn't mind. She was happy to have a party! Every year, one of the 3 gets to have a party with friends invited. This was Emz's year.
Mom was as creative and cool as usual with the set-up.
Here's the table before all the kiddos ransacked it.
And Emery requested a pinata. We got this one post-Easter on sale. Seems kind of sad to whack a cute bunny hanging from a tree, eh?
But the kids are blindfolded so they don't mind!
Emery's got a good swing to her. Watch out boys, the girl can hit you with a stick! We changed from a tennis racket to a big stick mid pinata round.
She blew out her candles successfully.
And had fun with her friends. In her words, "This was the best party ever!"
It was so much fun that Matt crashed later on in the day. It's a tough job being "security" for such a rocking party!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Road side stops

We've done a lot of driving across I-40 the past couple of years. Like most interstates, it has those little road side stops that we've always wondered about. Have you? Usually, I'm trying to go 12 hours a day so we barely have time to go to the bathroom, let alone stop at one of these places.
But this trip we decided to stop at a few and check them out. The first one was SCARY. It was not the one above, but it had tons of odd mannequins and dinosaurs out front. And why do so many of these places have dinosaurs? They don't sell dinosaurs. There's nothing about dinosaurs inside. There is no relationship with dinosaurs and the SW. Strange. In any case, we stopped and saw some crazy looking ostriches penned up outside. They seemed like they could be featured in the next Mad Max movie. We lost our nerve and moved on.
The second place was actually quite nice inside. Lots of trinkets. If I was single, I probably would have spent $10 on some worthless souvenir like my boys wanted to do. Andrew was dying to buy a wood gun that shoots rubber bands by pushing on a clothes pin. High quality engineering. You know what else is surprising? These places are very busy. There were quite a few people stopping by and looking. I guess we're all a little bit curious.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Grand Canyon

I went to the Grand Canyon when I was a kid. I can't remember it, but I have a picture before the days when you could photoshop it in the background so I know it's legitimate.
I'm not sure how you could forget this, but somehow I did. The one thing that struck me was how the Canyon looked like a picture. It was odd. We were there. It was real life. But it looked like a picture.
I wasn't sure how the boys and girl would react to it. Andrew and Emery were quite impressed. My favorite response was Matt's - he was following us to the first lookout point. As is typically of a 7 year-old boy, all he could focus on was the path about 5 feet around him. Then all of a sudden, he looked up and saw the canyon and said, "Whoa!" God's creation amazed him.
We even did a little hiking down into the canyon. It was just a few minutes, but little kids and the edge of the canyon were not a good mix so we didn't go far.
It was a fabulous day. And it was Emery's birthday when we went. She turned 6 at the Grand Canyon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


After barely getting settled into our new house, we went on a little trip to Flagstaff, AZ. We planned this trip months ago, before we knew we were buying a house. It was kind of odd timing. But in God's sovereignty, He knew we could use a week in the mountains.
The elevation of Flagstaff is close to 7,000 feet. But unlike Albuquerque, it's forest not desert. This was the view out of our hotel balcony. Not too shabby, eh?
On top of the lovely forest, we also had high mountain peaks - the San Francisco peaks going up to 12,000 feet. I spent every morning out here, eating breakfast and reading my Bible. It was a great place for my quiet time.
The boys and girl liked eating outside too. We ate quite a few meals out here.
We even got to catch a few sunsets. You can practically see the peace and relaxation, can't you?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The boys and girl are really into fitness for some reason. Sandy and I workout some, but nothing like they pretend to workout.
Unsolicited, they started with some pushups.
Then they did warm-ups.
Phew! What a workout!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

Today was a low key 4th of July. Nothing like the festivities last year at the Van Gundy's - we miss you guys! We just did some sparklers in the backyard.
Andrew definitely enjoyed the smoke and sparkle.
Matt was trying to kill ants. And Emery was scared as usual. But even though it was such a super low key evening, the boys and girl still had fun. I really am so thankful that they enjoy whatever we do together as a family.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Why is Emery so funny? Her laughter, smile and joyous spirit are so infectious.
She dresses up all the time.
She love to do her hair in so many different ways. I swear we are not trying to make her into the next Punky Brewster. I don't even like Punky Brewster. I never watched Punky Brewster. Really, I didn't.
She does the funniest things, like sleeping with her own eye mask.
And she loves candy and everything candy can do for you.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Our move would definitely not have been possible but for the service and help we received from many in our new church family. I am very thankful and appreciative of their kindness to us in our time of need.
I am also thankful for Sandy's parents who flew out to help in so many ways as well. From packing to unpacking to fixing things, they were instrumental to getting us settled so quickly.
They also had a lot of fun with the boys and girl. Emery had a ton of fun with grandma.
She was treated like a queen too. What a princess!
Andrew showed off his skills to grandpa.
More photos of our new place are coming soon, I think. But we are very thankful to God for our new place!