Farewell to Friends

Good Friends

Yesterday we had the difficult job of saying goodbye to dear friends.  Nate and Monica are now driving across the country as they relocate to Philadelphia.  I have been friends with Nate for the better half of my life even though at one point he dated my little sister-in-law.  In fact, the other day, Karissa and I were watching our wedding video on our anniversary and I saw a picture of Nate and I that brought back many wonderful memories.  It was the two of us getting baptized together.  We both had recently made a commitment to follow Jesus the remainder of our life.  This was not any decision made as a result of some established organized church, for both of this, this was a direct result of an initial and ongoing encounters with the Jesus Christ.  Nate, it was a privilege to be baptized with you and have you stand up for me as my best man and I can not think of a better match for you than Monica (even though she is taking you to the East Coast).  As with all of our friends, Nate and Monica are considered family and will always be family.  We are grateful that Audrey had the opportunity to meet Nate and Monica before they left.  Here’s to a successful trip from coast to coast, fulfillment found in new jobs, and joy for a new community of family and friends.  Our hats go off to Philadelphia…you scored a great couple.



The Boardwalk Revisited

Call me a glutton for punishment or just stubborn, but I decided this morning to head out to the wetlands for another go at the boardwalk with the boys.  Alright, that is not quite the truth…what really happened was that the boys were going ballistic after being cooped up insdide for so many days with Audrey so Karissa looks at me and tells me to take the boys outside to the park.  So off I went, fully aware of what happened the last time the boys went to the boardwalk.  If you did not yet read about this adventure, you can read about what happened here.  So Caleb, Kyler, Maggie and I decided to tackle the boardwalk again.  This time  was not as adventurous and the only one to get wet was Maggie.  We even managed to grab a few pictures.


Diggin' in the wetlands
The boys and Maggie
A self portrait attempt



What about the Boys?

Rylee is so excited to have Audrey as her baby sister.  In fact, many of the pictures we have of her involve Rylee in one way or another.  Yesterday, I sat down on the couch next to her as she was holding Audrey and just watched in awe of my beautiful daughters.  Rylee looked up at me and said “Daddy, out of all the things that I have gotten since the new baby came, the baby is my favorite.”  This just melted my heart.  We had put a bag together full of new toys for each of our kids in celebration of the new addition to our family.

The real question, though, was how were the boys going to react to Audrey when she showed up.  Before she was born, Caleb was asked several times what he thought about the whole deal and his standard answer was “I don’t think about it.”  Kyler of course did not have much to say.

Since she has been home, Caleb has looked at Audrey from time to time, but is kind of pressing on with life knowing she is now a part of it.  Twice now he has asked to hold her, but for the most part he has kept to his usual stuff, baseball, monster trucks, digging in the yard, and throwing balls.

Kyler has probably felt the most change in his status.  He, of course, is no longer the baby and has done his best to demand a bit more attention.  Often this is seen in trying to be funny to get everyone to look at him.  He did this before (he is quite the comedian) but I feel like he has amped it up a bit.  Of course, this morning, he got Dad to himself by virtue of a 5:20 wake up.  Coffee anyone?  The most affection he gives to Audrey is a lick on the head.  I am not sure where he learned that one, maybe from Maggie…

I am anticipating both boys connecting on a deeper level with their  Daddy as Mom needs to spend time bonding with Audrey.  It will be an interesting journey as we watch these two little men grow up in this family of six.  Yesterday Karissa and I looked across the dinner table at each other and just took it in that we really did have a table for six.  We love it and look forward to watching each of these four children grow up learning to love God, love each other, and to serve others generously.


Birth on 405 Southbound? Almost!

Well, we didn’t actually have Audrey on the side of 405, but it was close.  Karissa woke up on the 18th, two days past her due date, with contractions that would not allow her to sleep.  This of course is the day after her 30th birthday where we stayed up way too late with our dear friends.  Karissa and I went to bed hoping that everyone would sleep in, but of course little Kyler was up and ready to go by his usual 7am.  One way or another she was entering a long day without much reserve.


When we didn’t show up for church the rumor mill was out in full force so the text messages started coming fast and furious but we had nothing to report.  The kids all woke up from their naps and it was back to letting mom rest by getting the kids outside.  We played with the neighbor kids, and filled out the evening with more scooters, bikes, and bubbles.  On a side note, we live next to some of the best neighbors.  Their three boys (6, 12, and 14) love to play with our kids and seem to actually enjoy it!  I would continue to check in with Karissa throughout the evening but although the contractions were growing in their intensity, they were still not rapid enough to warrant a call to the midwife. 


A few hours later the kids were put to bed and Karissa and I knew that it was going to be that night sometime so we decided to pass the time with a movie.  At about 10:30pm the contractions really started kicking in hard and fast so we called the midwife.  She told us to meet her in an hour so we began to get things ready.  We woke up Rylee, put her in the car (she was so groggy she couldn’t do it herself) and headed down the freeway to the midwife. 


This is where things got interesting.  Between Karissa adjusting the temperature in the van from full bore AC to heat and back about 20 times, her squeezing my hand until I thought it might fall off, and the very specific driving remarks coming from her it was one of the more interesting drives of my life.  However, at one point I looked over and thought, this would not be good if we did not make it in time.

The love that Rylee has in her heart for Audrey is so precious.


We finally made it to the birth center around 11:50 pm.  We got Karissa into a beautiful room with lit candles and a pre-drawn tub.  She immediately got into the tub and just about three minutes later we met Audrey Rose at 12:02AM on May 19th.  It made for a long day but we could not have asked for a greater gift from God.  Audrey was in great shape, completely beautiful, and the most perfect little head.


Three hours later we were heading North on 405 praising God for this gift and that the freeway was not the location of the birth now knowing just how close it was.



30 and Beautiful

It was a day that started off with the kids riding scooters and bikes out in the front yard even before breakfast.  That’s because it was already 70 degrees by 8am.  After riding a bit, the kids ate pancakes in the driveway as the day heated up.  Not a bad way to start Karissa’s 30th birthday.


Kim and Sean blessed Karissa

Kim, one of Karissa’s dear friends, drove a couple of hours to wish her a happy birthday.  Kim is always welcome, but she was especially welcome as she came with coffee, fruit, gifts, and best of all the most tasty homemade scones to bake in the oven.  Thanks Kim!


After Kim’s visit, the day was closing in on 90 degrees so the kids enjoyed the pool, the sprinkler, and the hose.  Soon it was time for lunch and nap time.  What better way for a “one day past due” Mommy to spend her afternoon resting in her bed while Dad got the kiddos finished with their lunch and in bed.


Party Hats

That evening, Buzz, Dee Dee, Papa and Nana came over and brought dinner.  Dinner consisted of steak, potatoes, yummy strawberry lemonade, peanut butter pie, and lots of fruit.  Thank you everyone!  With the house so hot, we decided to eat outside, the only problem was that the picnic table in the back was still in winter conditions and needed to be cleaned off.  We got the hose out and did our best to clean it up.  However, we did not think about the fact that the wood benches would then be too wet to sit on.  With some quick thinking, we put a table cloth on and then laid out 8 towels on the benches and had everyone sit down on the mostly dry seats.   The food was delicious but it really was the party hats worn by all that made it so fun!  The quote of the dinner was from Caleb – “You don’t have very many friends at your party Mom.”  We all had a big laugh.  Karissa would not have wanted it any other way given all the circumstances.


After dinner, we had a great dessert but before that was served, somehow Rylee managed to get her finger smashed in the baby seat.  Papa, although 60+, moved with some serious speed and was her hero.  Once free of the seat she sat in her Daddy’s lap with some ice and water combo in a zip lock bag which she proceeded to accidentally spil into his lap.  Let me tell you even though it was 90 degrees, I would not sign up for that again.


Later, our friends Kris, Bekki, Jake, and Tommy came over.  It was wonderful to catch up with them and have our kids play together.  They always have such a great time with those two boys.  After a wonderful time staying up way too late with them the day was over.


Karissa and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful community.  We know there have been many times in life that God has used our family and friends in remarkable ways to bring comfort, joy, encouragement, and truth to us throughout the years.  We praise God and thank Him regularly for the people in our life.  Thanks to all of you who made the day so special for Karissa.


I love that I am married to a 30 year old hot mama.



A Walk to Remember

As you all know, the Pizza and Root Beer myth has been busted, but that has not stopped us from trying to get this labor kick started. Walking has usually been effective for bringing on contractions, so while I was at church with the young adult ministry on Thursday night, Karissa decided to go for a walk at a local park with the three kids and Nana (her mom).

Nana had come over to help out while I was at church and they had gone to Burgermaster to grab some grub and took it to the park. After finishing their food, everyone headed out to the boardwalk for a nice leisurely stroll through the wetlands. Little did they know what they were about to get themselves into. They walked much too far before deciding that they should really turn back. At that point, Karissa was already worn out, but so was Kyler. Upon realizing that he was tired, what else was a 1 year old to do but start to cry. Kyler wanted his mommy to pick him up, but the poor little guy had no idea why she couldn’t carry him all the way back to the car so he began to cry his little heart out while being scooped up by Nana.

This is not the first time this scenario has played out before. It is quite sad, but not worthy of a blogging, however, what happened next is what made the evening. Caleb and Rylee were having a great time running up and down this boardwalk that sits about 4inches above the muck/mire/bog/pond or whatever you call the “water” of the wetlands. All of a sudden Karissa and Nana see Caleb trip and fall off the boardwalk and plunge his head right into the wetlands. As you can imagine, this did not go over too well with Caleb. With his hair full of muck and stinky water Karissa did her best to clean him up after assessing that there were no injuries. When she noticed that his sweats were pretty well soaked with the stench, she figured he would be better off walking the rest of the way in his undies. The only problem with that was apparently after the kids had been playing in the sprinkler, Caleb had decided to go “commando” to the park instead of putting a pair of underroos on. After working extra hard to get down to Caleb’s level to get his pants off she realized real quick that he was going to have to keep those stinky sweats on.

To top it off, only a few minutes later, Rylee found herself flat on her back square in the middle of a large puddle (several parts of the floating boardwalk were submerged underwater) that had caused her to lose her footing and fall right on her tush. So, for the remainder of the walk back to the car, Nana is holding a crying Kyler, Caleb and Rylee have stinky wet pants and hair, and Karissa – one day before her due date, is doing her best just to keep her body moving.

It was a walk to remember, and just about as effective as Pizza and Root Beer for bringing on labor.

– Chris

Pizza and Root Beer

Baby Bump

We are still waiting for the sixth member of our family to arrive. Her due date is not until May 16th, but we are definitely ready, especially Karissa. We just can’t wait to meet this little girl. A number of people have given us ideas, tips, or tried and true methods for bringing about labor, but so far, all has been done in vain. We thought Mother’s Day would be a great day to meet this little gift from God, so we tried a few of these tricks of the trade. The first was spicy food – Karissa went out to lunch with her Mom and sister for some Thai food and ordered extra stars to increase the spice factor. Nothing happened. That evening, following the advice of a “never fail” method, I picked up some peperoni pizzas and Karissa had Root Beer and Pizza. Again…nothing. Actually in an odd way we were grateful for nothing after realizing what all that in one day might do to one’s digestive system. So now we wait. And my beautiful wife and her baby “bump” hopes today is the day.


The Kiddos

Here are some of the different faces of our kids.  Caleb tends to be a bit tricky to track down with the camera, but every once in a while you can capture those beautiful blues.  Kyler is always up for a picture, and Rylee, now that she has her very own digital camera phone, prefers to be the one snapping the pictures.

Our Family

We, Christopher and Karissa, were married in 1999 after dating as high school sweethearts for a few years.  Now that we have almost reached our 9th year anniversary we can look back on how the Lord has blessed us richly.  Specifically God has given us the greatest gifts in Rylee (5), Caleb (4), Kyler (1), and in a few days #4…

Here is a picture of us in front of beautiful Mt. Shuksan during our last trip to Snowater, another blessing and our favorite vacation getaway on the Nooksack River near Mt. Baker.