Monday, November 28, 2011

Cami is growing up (I'm still trying to convince Griffin he's a robot)

This morning, Cami lost her first tooth.  She discovered it was loose about a week ago and has been working it ever since.  We could have taken it out last night, but she wanted Mommy to do it, and she was at work.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving and After

We had a fun Thanksgiving at the Dufeks', with all but the Reddys in attendance.  The kids were kids, goofing around and painting Christmas ornaments.  The food was delicious.  The football was entertaining.  Eli Dufek (age 3 1/2) has become my new buddy.  He also likes wearing purses as hats, apparently.
Eli is a cowboy.

Our kids spent the night with Tom and Donna, so Trisha and I could enjoy some Black Friday shopping.  I hit Walmart at 10 p.m. and other than the crowds around the movies and video games, everything was relatively easy.  Friday morning, we picked up Dianna and headed out to find deals (although we weren't looking for any big ticket items).  We found good deals on some movies, cd's, clothes, and games.  I also participated in my now annual wait in line for a gift card at Half Price Books.  By noon, we were done, having laughed and shopped for around 7 hours.  We ate lunch with the kids and then brought them home so we could nap.  Friday evening we broke out the Christmas decorations and started our official Christmas decorating.  I even strung up new icicle lights on the house.  The kids are very excited (understatement of the year) about putting the ornaments on the tree.
This is the house lights version of Charlie Brown's sad little Christmas tree.
Enjoy the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Griffin decided to spell his name out of railroad tracks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please Vote

Please vote for my review of For Men Only by clicking here or using the voting bar below.


For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn - Book Review

For Men Only, by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn,  is another in the line of books directed at helping men understand women better.  It is actually a companion to For Women Only (which Shaunti wrote and presents at conferences), and arose out a response to that book.  That being said, it is a fairly informed read.  It is short and concise, choosing to focus on six main ideas: Reassurance, Emotions, Security, Listening, Sex, and Beauty.
While much of this was not new to me, I did appreciate the fact that there was research, both anecdotal and statistical to support what the authors were saying.  The topics also stayed focused on the main ideas, several times suggesting other resources for anyone interested in a deeper examination of the ideas.  Additionally, it is helpful to have reminders of the differences in make up between men and women, and to have suggestions on how to bridge the gap without putting the entire burden on my wife.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to men in any stage of a relationship, from serious dating to married for a long time.

I received a copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pamper Party

Lexi earned her way into a Pampering Pary (not the official name) with Girls' Club by memorizing five Bible verses.  There may have been some other qualifications, but I'm not sure.  She had her hair styled, her nails done, and make-up put on.  Then she and the other girls walked the catwalk and posed.  I guess it was a mini fashion show.  I really like the Girls' Club concept, because Lexi is being affirmed as a female and learning about her value to God from other women.  It never hurts to have other Godly women and girls encouraging each other and teaching about the Bible.

My Beautiful Lexi

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 21-Day Dad's Challenge by Carey Casey, ed. - Book Review

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering.  His book The 21-Day Dad's Challenge is a collection of 21 (+ 2 bonus) readings by multiple authors, speakers, etc.  Each reading is designed to focus on one aspect of being a better father.  The readings also include a challenge and planning section to help dads follow through on their commitment. 

The book was a quick and easy read, and could function well as a book study for dads.  While there was not a lot of new material or ideas discussed, I did pick up a few things from my read.  I particularly liked the chapters "Do The Things Your Kids Want To Do" by Tony Dungy, "Where's Daddy?" by Dr. Gary Rosberg, "What's in a Name" by Shaun Alexander, and "Buy A Unicycle" by Jay Payleitner.  Sometimes we dads know what to do, but don't always remember or make time to do it.  This book is a nice reminder that our kids need us now more than ever.

I would recommend this to any dad, old, new, or soon-to-be.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homecoming at ONU

Yesterday, we took the kids to Homecoming at ONU.  We drove up for the football game and got to see the Tigers rally for their 5th win of the season.  It was an exciting game, and a great victory for a team that had seen no success over the past two seasons.  Congrats to my buddy Brian and his staff on a great season.  I was also able to visit with some friends and former teammates, which was nice.  The kids were a little worried about Toby the Tiger (the mascot) but were excited when the cheerleaders handed them little ONU footballs that doubled as shaking noisemakers.  All in all, it was a successful and fun time.  This fall, I've also realized that while I love coaching football, I don't really have the desire to do it for the foreseeable future.  In the right spot and with the right people, I would be open to it again, but I've had too much fun with Trisha and my kids this fall to jump back into coaching just to coach.  We've taken multiple short roadtrips, seen several football games and concerts, watched Lexi cheer, played a lot of Batman Lego the Video Game.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"Seriously, I have one year of eligibility left..."

Go Tigers!

Lexi and her see-through cheerleading trophy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis - Book Review

As an 8th grade language arts teacher, I'm always looking for good Young Adult books, particularly ones that will appeal to the boys.  Invasion, the first in the C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy, hits the mark.  The book is about a 16 year old named Colt McAlister, who's parents die in mysterious circumstances.  He is sent to live with his grandfather, who may or may not be the famous Phantom Flyer, a real-life comic book hero from World War II.  Along the way, Colt joins up with Oz, Danielle, and romances Lily, all while trying to uncover an alien conspiracy.  It's an exciting and fast-paced introduction to the series.

The story combines all the best elements of sci-fi movies, superhero comics, pop culture, and the "hero's journey" story.  I kept envisioning Colt's adventures as a tv show, possibly a cartoon.  The writing is crisp and the characters begin to show some depth as the story moves along.  There is an ending to this story, but you'll want to pick up the next book as soon as it comes out.  Colt's quest and purpose is far from over.

Finally, this book is published by Thomas Nelson.  It has some subtle Christian themes, perfect to support the morals it's heroes try to adhere to. 

I recommend this book to sci-fi, action, superhero fans of all ages, but particulary middle school boys.  I look forward to it's sequels.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Please vote for my review

Please vote for my review by clicking here.  You can also vote using the option below.

Decision Points by George W. Bush - Book Review

When I had the opportunity to select Decision Points as a book to review, I jumped at the chance.  I was curious to get President Bush's thoughts on September 11 and the war in Iraq.  I wasn't disappointed.

First off, Decision Points is not an autobiographical chronology of Bush's life.  It centers around important ideas (decision points), particularly during his presidency.  There are a couple of chapters about Bush's life before becoming president, and then it jumps right in.

I liked the fact that each chapter focused on a central idea.  All of President Bush's thoughts about 9/11, for instance, were together in one chapter and not spread throughout the book.  I think this helped focus the book and make it easier to digest.  The book is very conversational in tone.  It seems like the President is sitting in the same room, telling you about his experiences.  I also found him to be very respectful of the people he talked about, Democrat or Republican, opponent or ally (for the most part).  Bush owned his mistakes, gave credit to his advisers, and explained his thought processes as he discussed the various topics.

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting.  I reminded me a little of the tv show The West Wing with it's insider view on politics.  I recommend it to anyone interested in this time period or in President Bush.

I was given a copy of this book as part of Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Rock and Worship Roadshow

Last night, Trisha and I took the kids to Ft. Wayne to see The Rock and Worship Roadshow.  Dianna came along to experience the kids' first concert (and jam a little herself).  The Roadshow is a cost effective ($10 a ticket) concert experience run by MercyMe, and included Jars of Clay, Hawk Nelson, Group 1 Crew (a favorite of Cami and Lexi), Rush of Fools, Trip Lee, Matt Maher, and Attaboy (we missed Trip Lee and Attaboy because they went on before the official start time).  After a 1 1/2 hr. drive, we grabbed some Taco Bell and got ready to rock.

Group 1 Crew was first (each of the first few bands played a 4-8 song set).  Lexi wanted to go home about one minute into the show (she was a little intimidated by the noise and lights) but eventually settled down, eventually dancing and not wanting to leave.  The kids and Trisha met Group 1 Crew at their merchandise table after their set.  Check out the picture and the video.

Cami loves this song.

We also enjoyed Hawk Nelson, who were very energetic.  They have a punk/pop sound and finished their set with a cover of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.  They all wore long, mullet hair band wigs.  The kids thought it was hilarious.

I was anxious to see Jars of Clay, one of my all time favorites.  They opened with a song called "Work".  I bought this CD when the twins were born, and Trisha and I listened to this song in particular many times when we were driving to visit Griffin in the NICU.

They also played "Little Drummer Boy".  I love their version of this song.  The last verse always chokes me up. "I played my best for him. Then he smiled at and my drum."

MercyMe finished up. I really enjoyed their songs (I didn't have any familiarity with most of them). We left during their set because the twins had fallen asleep and we had a long drive home (thankfully we could set our clocks back and recover an hour of sleep).  Everybody was happy with the show, and excited to see more concerts.  I highly recommend all of these bands and this show.