A Big Thank You!

I owe my beautiful bride a HUGE thank you for a wonderful Father’s Day. She gave me a wonderful day from the beginning to the end. I woke up and soon found a new pair of jeans and a couple nice short sleeve shirts waiting for me. It was sunny, we went to church for worship, we fed the whole family at Ivar’s for only $18, and spent the rest of the day playing outside with our family (and toss in a little Tiger Woods every now and then).  All in all I could not have asked for a better Father’s Day.  Here are some attempts at a family picture, some seriously fun ring around the posey, and Audrey’s gift to her Daddy…falling asleep on his chest at the end of a beautiful day.  Thank you Jesus.


A Season of New

A new decade of life, a new year of marriage and a new member of our family-all in 6 days. No wonder I’ve been just a tad emotional these past 3 weeks. The day Audrey was born, we all sat down to dinner and quiet tears started streaming down my face. I looked at Christopher holding Audrey and the rest of our brood and he said, “Here we are, our first night with a table for six”. I cried some more, then as always one of the kids asked “What kind of tears are those mama?”. I replied, “Happy ones, very happy ones.” I went on to explain to them that I was overwhelmed, in the best way, with the treasures around my dinner table.

There has been this inexplicable sense of expectation and anticipation for me as I approached my 30th birthday, Audrey’s birth and our wedding anniversary. The past year or so has been a challenging one for sure and we’ve had a lot to work on. As we have persevered and struggled our way through, we are emerging into a beautiful place together that we’ve never known before. Not a perfect place, but a place where I think twice before I criticize or tear down with my words, a place where I don’t complain about things around the house that aren’t done, a place where we make an effort to show tenderness even when we’re exhausted-a place where we are stepping forward holding hands instead of holding back.

From the moment we found out we were expecting another little person, I had such a strong sense that her coming would be part of our re-birth and renewal. God impressed on my heart dozens of times that her entrance into our family was symbolic of the new work He was doing in our life together. As He breathed new life into ‘us’, He gave a new life that would become a part of us.

For some people turning 30 or any year older for that matter, is the beginning of the downhill slide to old age. To me, it feels like the beginning of a new era, a fresh start. A chance to enjoy the journey more and to worry less about the small things that don’t really matter. A new season where each day, each moment is a gift.


(The photos are new blooms in our yard-isn’t springtime wonderful?)

Projects for Everyone

If you have young kids you need to know about the kids programs that they have at Home Depot. I have been truly impressed each week at the Everett location. Each Saturday morning from 8-9 the store provides an employee (a wonderful lady named Chris in Everett) and free material to build a project. The first Saturday of each month they provide a new project. I am not sure that every store does this, but the one in Everett allows you to come and bring the kids every week and work on a project that they have done in the past if you have already built the current month’s project. Here is the catamaran they built Saturday. In addition they have also built planter box’s, pencil holders, football stools, Nascar racing cars and a castle. So far I just take Rylee and Caleb, however last week we brought two of our neighbors. The kids get their own personalized Home Depot apron to wear and receive a coordinating pin for each project they complete. We usually finish up around 8:40 and head off to our favorite coffee shop – The Spotted Cow – for some hot cocoa. This is becoming a wonderful Saturday morning tradition. 

Daddy’s project this last weekend was fencing in our side yard. Thanks to Nana and Papa, our friends Erik and Kris, and my neighbor Brian, here is what went up on Saturday. I still need to finish off the top of the lattice with a decorative arbor.  The project continues as we are hoping to put down weed barrier and pea gravel and finally finish the play fort with slide and climbing wall. Ambitious, but necessary for our sanity this summer.

Our school project involves teaching Rylee to read. She is chomping at the bit and last night was demanding to read some books by sounding the letters out. She did great. She is a great learner and excited to be able to read. She is doing great already reading 3 or 4 four pages of “mat sat.” and “sam sat.”

On the Audrey front we have two more members of the AFC: our friends Kris and Bekki.  It was so great to see you guys on Saturday!  By the way, make sure you note the big smile Kris is getting from Audrey. All in all it was a great weekend.


Audrey’s Firsts

Isn’t it fun to keep track of all those wonderful milestones for our children?  I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time remembering what month this or that happened in the life of our children.  Luckily, I have a beautiful wife who has a steel trap for that type of information.

Audrey experienced a few firsts this week.  We are not talking about the first smile, step, word, or even the first rollover.  I wish we would be celebrating the first night she slept all the way through.  Unfortunately, none of those milestones have been reached.  We will keep you posted on all of that.

This week Audrey outgrew her newborn diapers, got her first stuffy nose, and recieved her first boo-boo.  Who do you think was responsible for giving Audrey her first owie?  It was…(insert drum roll here)…me.  I know, very sad…how coudl you do this Dad?.  I got home from work and saw that she had made some red spots on her face from her fingernails getting a bit long so I thought it was time for another manly moment for Daddy – a little trim for her nails.  So I began to trim her nails as she was sleeping peacefully in my arms.  The next thing I know I hear a little whimper and my heart sank…sure enough there was the tiniest bit of blood as I had just barely got her skin.  I am sure that in our large family of six this will not ber her last boo-boo, but I also know that those boo boos are going to be inconsequential to the amount of love she gets from her Daddy, Mommy, brothers, and sister.

Audrey is growing up and we are cherishing each moment along the way…even the little boo-boos.  I am enjoying the use of this blog to celebrate these little moments in our kids lives.  Those of you with kids, have you discovered a good way to cherish and remember all of the precious moments you share with your children? 


A Surprise Visit

A few days ago, Karissa’s sister had her baby shower.  We can’t wait to meet this little one!  Karissa got a call from her mother saying that things were not ready at the house and that she could really use her help to get things set before the shower.  After throwing it into high gear as only a mother of four can, Karissa, Rylee, and Audrey piled in the car and headed down quite early to the shower.  Little did Karissa know that the house was all set and that her mother had fibbed just a bit to hide the fact that Karissa’s other sister Stephanie was home on a whirlwind surprise visit from college for the shower.  It was a great gift for Danielle and the rest of the family.  We didn’t think we were going to get to see her until July sometime.

On Monday, Stephanie came over to spend the day with our little crew.  It was a nice day so they decided to break out the sidewalk chalk that Caleb got from his Auntie in Alabama (Thanks Auntie Carissa!).  At one point during the bedlam, Caleb poured several different colors of sidewalk paint into one jar to make some brownish goo and said “I think it looks like poop…or melted ice cream.”  I am pretty sure that we have never eaten any ice cream that looked like poop, but you know, it’s fun to say poop whenever you get the chance.


Bugs, Bath, and Back to Work

I am back to work today but wishing I was at home.  We gave Audrey her first bath today, she was a champ.  Rylee of course has been a huge help with everything Audrey.


Here is the team



A little helping hand from her sister
The finished product...a clean Audrey!






Rylee words

Even with all of her efforts at taking care of Audrey, she still has time to learn to write.  Here are a few of her recent words: 


He has had better days...


Unfortunately Kyler got some bug the other day and woke up with a nose full of the junk.  Here he is looking a bit out of sorts.



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.