Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Enjoy this video of Jars of Clay singing their version of "Little Drummer Boy".  This is the most viewed video I've posted to youtube.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Polar Express

At school, Cami and Griffin had a Polar Express day.  They wore their pj's, had to color their golden ticket, rode The Polar Express (aka School Bus), met the Conductor, and watched the movie at the North Pole (aka "It's just the computer lab" - Griffin).  They had a great time.

Cami (blonde head) about to get her ticket punched

Griffin (back of head) getting his ticket punched

Awesome Christmas Light Display

Tuesday, Trisha and I took the kids to Christmas on Victory for the third year.  It is a really cool, 50 minute synchronized light display.  They also accept donations for the Make A Wish Foundation.  All-in-all, it's a good time.  Two years ago, I took the kids by myself because Trisha was at work.  They were in their pj's and had blankets and slippers.  We enjoyed the show, and then Cami said she had to go potty.  It was a 30 minute drive home, so we had to stop.  We lucked into a Family Christian store and I raced my under-dressed kids into the store and the bathroom.  All the people worked oohhh'd and ahhh'd because the kids looked so cute in their jammies and slippers.  Anyway, enjoy the videos below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls by Scott Snyder - Book Review

Last year, DC Comics ended approximately 70+ years of comics continuity to reboot their titles.  Many heroes and villains stayed very close to how they've always been, while others were drastically changed.  Additionally, many years of back story was thrown out in a lot of cases.  Fortunately (since I'm a huge Batman fan), that was not really the case with the Bat titles.  Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls wraps up (for the most part) the storyline begun in the Batman reboot.  Batman has to finish squaring off against the secret society of Owls and their assassins, the Talons.  This story has roots in Batman's creation, and even farther back to the founding of Gotham City.  Scott Synder writes an exciting, deep, and quick-moving story.  Many of Batman's group of "helpers" play a role.  Additionally, there is insight into Bruce Wayne's trusty butler, Alfred, and his past.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel collection.  Having the issues (Batman 8-12, and Batman Annual 1) all together made the read more enjoyable.  I'm glad I did not have to wait a month between each installment.

I highly recommend this for any comic fan, and especially Batman fans.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I recently discovered, and joined, NetGalley.  This is a large book review site with access to multiple publishers.  The key is that everything is delivered digitally.  So far, it seems like there are a lot of pretty cool selections, so expect to start seeing a wider variety of reviews than the Christian-type that I've been doing so far.  I'm most excited about getting some graphic novels, although they are not nearly as easy to read on my tablet.  Oh, well, this should be a fun experience.

The Cape:1969 by Joe Hill - Book Review

I enjoy reading comics of all types, so I jumped at the chance to review The Cape: 1969 by Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella. I was unfamiliar with the subject, and I think that affected my view of the story.  The Cape: 1969 takes place in Vietnam during the War.  Captain Chase and his helicopter crew are shot down, and all but Chase are killed by the Vietcong.  Over the course of four issues, a battle of wills ensues between Chase and the man in charge of the VC.  During the course of this battle, Chase comes in contact with a local witch doctor, who bestows some type of flying ability on him.  Apparently this story serves as a prequel to the ongoing series The Cape.  Overall, I thought this was just an okay story.  Maybe if I was familiar with the regular series I would have enjoyed it more.  I would definitely recommend reading The Cape first, as this story might have more meaning and emotional impact.

I received a complimentary copy of the story from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finding God in the Hobbit by Jim Ware - Book Review

With the release of the new Hobbit movie, many Hobbit tie-ins are appearing. Finding God in the Hobbit by Jim Ware is a book that appeared shortly after The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films was released, but it now pertinent again.  In this short book, Ware examines the many places God can be discovered in the story of Bilbo Baggins and his quest. 
First, this book is not a devotional.  It uses as its premise the fact that stories are a reflection of The Story, God’s ultimate plan of salvation for mankind.  While Tolkein himself was a Christian, he has said that The Hobbit was not intended as an allegory, and Ware respects that.  He simply points out how many elements of the story are echoes of God’s story.  Ware has used each chapter to explain one theme or idea, beginning with a passage from The Hobbit, then explaining the context and supplying scripture or life examples to support his point.  He wraps up with a reflection on the truth that is revealed (ex: Trust God, be yourself and watch the sparks fly; God’s grace is the narrow strand on which all our hopes depend).  Some of my favorite chapters include On Eagles’ Wings; Reluctant Leader; and Grim but True (this is particularly cool for anyone who has a pessimistic life view and gets tired of being told to look on the Brightside).
This was an interesting book, and I would recommend it to fans of Tolkein, or other fantasy authors.  It is not heavy-handed in its approach to Christianity, which lends it to being a good book for both Christians and non-believers.  For more of the idea of all stories reflecting God, I would recommend Epic by John Eldredge.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Long November...

Not much posting going on.  We spent several Saturdays attending ONU football games and hanging out with the Fish family.  I introduced the kids to Ivanhoe's milkshakes when we visited Taylor University.  We spent a nice Thanksgiving at Tom and Donna's, after taking the kids to see Wreck It Ralph the night before.  And, we've all been sick and on medicine at some point.  Anyway, a good November, but looking forward to December.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thought for the Day

In my quest to enjoy books, movies, tv shows, and music, I sometimes discover a favorite by accident.  Conversely, I also run into some duds.  What I'm learning, though, is that sometimes I just wasn't ready for whatever it was.  I may come back to a book years later and really enjoy it.  I may re-watch a movie, only to have it become a favorite (at one point, I actually like Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School better than Ferris Buehler's Day Off, which is now in my top five favorite movies).  This happens with music as well.  I remember having Hootie and the Blowfish's first album and not really listening it to it much, until it was everywhere on the radio.  This brings me to Switchfoot.

About 3 years ago, I bought Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot.  It was a special Thanksgiving sale at Family Christian and I thought I'd give it a try.  ABC was playing some of the album while going in and out of commercial breaks during college football games, and I liked what I'd heard.  Only, I had tried to like Switchfoot several years earlier and never really found myself listening to the CD's.  Hello Hurricane changed that.  I'm not sure what changed, really, but that album was like a sucker punch in a good way.  Nearly every song grabbed ahold of me.  The lyrics challenged me and the music moved me.  I've since seen them in concert and tried to obtain all their albums.  I find myself listening to the songs I dismissed earlier, and really connecting this time.  In fact, some seem to be even more applicable.  And this brings me to the thought, or lyric, of the day.  It's the chorus of the song "This Is Your Life", which from The Beautiful Letdown.

                                This is your life, are you who you want to be?
                                This is your life, are you who you want to be?
                                This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be?
                                When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

As I've passed 40, this seems more and more applicable.  It's a great check on my values and priorities.  Anyway, I encourage you to check them out.  You won't be sorry, and you may find a new favorite.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grace by Max Lucado - Book Review

Grace is another in a long line of great books by Max Lucado that provide spiritual insight.  The focus of this one is on grace, as per the name.  It is a simple concept - God provides us grace and all we have to do is ask forgiveness and accept it.  In theory, however, it can be a tough concept to grasp.  Lucado does a good job of explaining grace in its many forms and providing multiple illustrations from both the Bible and real life to support his ideas.  This book is a quick and easy read; Lucado does a nice job simplifying spiritual truths in his writing style. 

My two favorite quotes from the book:
1.  God's grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it.  Grace comes after you.
2.  In the Chinese language the word for righteousness is a combination of two characters, the figure of a lamb and a person.  The lamb is on top, covering the person.  Whenever God looks down at you, this is what he sees: the perfect Lamb of God covering you.

In addition to the text, the book also contains a Reader's Guide, which is pretty thorough.  Therefore, the book can also be used for Bible Studies and Small Group studies.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the concept of grace, or anyone in need of grace.

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Rewards Program from Tyndale House

You can join Tyndale House's new free rewards program at and earn points towards free books and Bibles.  Check it out here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Switchfoot Concert Footage

This first video is the song "Stars".  I love the first verse.
The second video is "Hello Hurricane".
This last video is "Mess of Me".

Fall Break, Week 1

So we pretty much hung out at home for the first week of our new and improved Fall Break.  It provided much needed rest.  The kids even let Trisha and I sleep in a little.  There has been a lot of reading, watching, and trampoline jumping.  Last night, Trisha and I attended the Switchfoot concert with Dianna and David.  It was awesome.  Best of all, after the show, we were given special passes that allowed us to "meet and greet" the band.  They were very kind and gracious, even putting up with my rambling.  The coolest part was when Jon Foreman (lead singer) saw my Red Sox shirt and mentioned he was a fan.  We chatted for a few minutes as Trisha and I were leaving. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Seasons' Ends

So, this past week, Lexi's team finished their season, so cheering is done.  Griffin's team lost in the 2nd round, so his and Cami's seasons are done.  Last night, we ventured to Eastern Hancock for Youth League Recognition Night.  The kids and I braved the rain so they could hear their name called and run out during halftime of the varsity game.  It was cold and wet, but fun.

Today marked the beginning of our two week fall break, and we celebrated by attending the Riley Festival and watching the parade with Dianna, David, and his sister's family.  The kids went nuts anytime anyone with candy came by.  We also saw some really cool crafts.

Now its time to settle down for some tv and reading time.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Post-Season Update

Griffin's team won their first playoff game with a some late scoring and timely defense.  Griffin nearly pulled a flag a couple of times.  Afterwards, I mentioned how close he came, and he responded, "It's not like they're zombies coming to eat you."  I never thought of it that way.  He plays round two on Wednesday.

Lexi finished up her 8 game fall softball season 6-2.  She got another double and scored a run.  She also played a variety of positions, including catcher and pitcher's helper.  This season was a great one for her.  I could see her confidence growing with every game and practice.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday (and Birthday) Wrap-Up

Yesterday was the last regular season game for Griffin (and Cami).  Griffin's team tied.  He has made a ton of improvement and is starting to find the ball quicker.  He has been able to pursue the ball carrier and nearly grabbed a flag.  They are now in a single elimination tournament that will end some time this week.

Lexi's team won their first playoff game, so she will have another to cheer for this week.  She also has her last two softball games of the fall season today.

Yesterday, the twins had their "friend" birthday party, which got moved from Friday to Saturday due to Cami getting strep throat for the second time this month.  The kids had friends over for pizza and cupcakes after the football games, and then we went bowling.  It was a fun time, and it was entertaining watching the little ones throw the ball (or gently nudge it and hope the laws of physics kept working, in Cami's case).  Enjoy the videos of the twins.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I Can't Believe They're Six!

Cami and Griffin turned six today.  I can not believe how fast time goes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur - Book Review

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is the third book in a group that puts the spotlight on Biblical people.  The theme of this particular book was focusing on unlikely people that qualify as heroes.  The group of twelve includes the following: Enoch, Joseph, Miriam, Gideon, Samson, Jonathan, Jonah, Esther, John the Baptist, James (the brother of Jesus), Mark, and Onesimus.  Obviously, some of these names and stories are more well-known than others, but according to MacArthur, all qualify as “unlikely”.
I think this is just an average book.  While I did learn some interesting facts about several of the people, often from historical or non-Biblical accounts, many of the stories were just rehashing information I’ve already heard a number of times.  Also, at times there was a condescending attitude in the writing.  I’m not sure that it was intended, but it gave me a negative view of what was being presented.  I would also argue whether of these people were “heroes” in regards to our modern use of the word. 
After reading this book straight through, I believe it would be better digested a chapter at a time.  It may also be good to use in a Bible Study or Small Group setting.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about people from the Bible.
I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sports Update

Griffin's team "won" their game this week on a controversial TD call that looked to me like apulled flag on the goalline. Griffin gets better at finding the ball while on defense every game. He nearly got a flag this week. The girls cheered well as usual.

Lexi had another good pair of games. She played pitcher's helper and first base for the first time, getting an out in the process. She put a couple more balls in play, scoring a run while helping her team win both games. She has one more double header for the fall season. Her growth as a player has been great.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Portrait

How one student sees me.

International Talk like a Pirate Day

My pirate name is:
Dirty Tom Kidd
You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lexi's Big Softball Day

Lexi had her best day as a softball player today.  She made several good plays in the field(stopping and throwing the ball), had two hits (including a double), scored two runs, and had an RBI.  Her second hit was part of a last inning rally that helped her team win.  It was pretty cool.

Lexi's first double!

A game rallying single!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Flag Football Update

Coming off several good games, Griffin's team struggled against probably the best team in the league (lots of 2nd graders; hadn't had a touchdown scored against them).  The boys played hard, but were not able to win.  They did score a touchdown, but the running back only had one flag on so it was called back.  Griffin nearly had the QB's flag once, but the guy pitched it (the option in flag?).  He also played guard and teamed with the center to put an Oreo block (Griffin and his teammate were the cookie, the defender was the cream) on one little boy, who proceeded to take off running on each snap after that play.  The Oreo thing was my brilliant coaching move; little boys and cookies :).  We are hoping for better results next week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rudy by Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger - Book Review

When the opportunity to read and review Rudy initially presented itself, I was hesitant.  I love the movie, and felt like I already knew the story pretty well.  Then I thought about it, and decided it might be interesting to learn more about Rudy's experience playing for Notre Dame.  I was wrong about both things.  I barely knew the story at all, mostly just the essence.  I also didn't learn much more about Rudy's playing days.  In fact, being on the team wasn't much more than a chapter or two.  Instead, I discovered a lot about Daniel Ruettiger's life.  And let me tell you, it's an interesting life.

This book can be boiled down to two things: Rudy's life and Rudy's message.  Rudy's message is very simple - Dream Big, and Follow Your Dreams.  I can't begin to count how many times Rudy mentions some variation of this.  It is his inspiration to this day.  It is a worthy message, particularly when dealing with naysayers.  Rudy had to constantly overcome people's negativity and telling him no, and not just about his Notre Dame dream, either.

Rudy's life is something else entirely.  For anyone not familiar with the movie, he begins with his childhood, as the third of fourteen(!) children born to working class parents in Joliet, Illinois.  He begins to dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the football team.  But that is only part of the adventure.  As details and specifics about the movie are clarified, we are also privy to Rudy's time in the Navy, his trials in trying to have his story turned into a movie, and his present trials and speaking opportunities.  He also struggles with whether his message is still relevant to today's teens.

What I found interesting, and somewhat hard to believe, was his constant encounters with greatness and celebrity.  I constantly pictured a real life Forrest Gump.  Rudy has an uncanny knack for being in the right place to brush shoulders with the famous and powerful. 

My only complaint is that there is a "golly, gee" attitude throughout the book.  It may be genuine, but it got to be a little much.

All in all, I'm glad I read this book.  It was entertaining and informative.  I really feel like I added depth to a movie I enjoy so much.  I would recommend it to fans of the movie, and anyone who likes inspirational stories.

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

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Softball Season (fall version)

Today was Lexi's first day of fall softball double-headers.  For the next several Sundays, she'll be working on improving her skills (we've already noticed some improvements just in practice).  She has some great coaches and a team of girls, nearly all of whom she did not know.  It's fun to watch her interact when there are no preconceived ideas about her or girls she wants to impress.  Anyway, she had a good start, getting a hit in the first game and eventually scoring a run.  She also shocked us by asking to play catcher one inning.  She then played shortstop, second base, and outfield.  She had a great time pitching "invisible" softballs to her teammates and then chasing them down during the break in-between games, as well.  She was also very involved in the dugout chants that seem to be so much a part of softball games.  She is number 6.  Her first comment was, "That's what my brother and sister are going to be turning".  I had to remind her it was her daddy's number, too.  She said, "Oh, yeah."  Oh, well.

The Tools of Ignorance

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday's Games

Another Saturday and more games.  Cami's squad was AWOL today, other than one other girl.  The game was moved due to weather, a rescheduled varsity game, and other etc-ish stuff.  Anyway, Lexi jumped in to help.  Griffin's team scored all 4 times they had the ball, to crush the other team.  He had a few plays at tailback, but the QB was shocked at the ball being snapped and forgot to hand off the ball.  Griffin nearly pulled flags on two separate plays, and assisted in getting one kid down.  Lexi cheered wildly for her game, but her big moment comes tomorrow as she plays her first double-header of the fall softball season.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thought for the Day

No games this weekend, but I picked up a new CD, Phoenix by The Classic Crime.  The following lyrics come from the song "You and Me Both".

And you wonder why my eyes don't leave my phone
(Oh whoa oh oh)
It's no wonder that you feel like you're alone, alone
I think I need a new story
One where I take on the world
The one I'm living is boring
It's killing you and me both

How is your story?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week 2 Action

Griffin's team won by scoring an extra point on the last play of the game.  Cami cheered hard.  Enjoy the videos of the kids in action.

I tried to center it on Griffin but its a little hard to tell.  Look for the glasses or the number 2.

Cami is excited to cheer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Men of Sunday by Curtis Eichelberger - Book Review

Curtis Eichelberger's Men of Sunday is not what I thought it was going to be.  That's not to say its bad; its just not what I expected.  Typically, the sports/Christianity books I've read tell the story of an athlete/coach/team and their faith may be mentioned to varying degrees.  Reading the names of the NFL players and coaches associated with this book, I expected much of the same.

Instead, I ended up with something completely new, at least in my opinion.  Men of Sunday isn't simply how various people in the NFL are Christians.  It deals much more with the role of faith in the NFL, using the people as examples.  As I read, I kept trying to figure out how I would describe Men of Sunday to someone and I was continually stumped.  What I've come up with is this: Men of Sunday is a book for people involved with, or soon to be involved with, professional football.  It reads almost like a blueprint or workshop wherein the role of faith in all aspects of NFL life is described.  Eichelberger interviewed hundreds of current and former players, coaches, and the wives of players.

Chapters include discussions about how a Christian can play such a violent game; how players (and their wives) use faith as a guard against groupies and other poor lifestyle choices; how wives use Bible studies to strengthen their families; the role faith plays in the transition from player to civilian; and how faith helps players deal with unexpected tragedy in their lives.

I found myself liking some of the chapters more than others, simply because of my interest level in the topics discussed.  One highlight for me was reading about Ray Lewis's view on servant leadership.  Also, Trent Dilfer's heartbreaking story about the loss of his son is worth the price of the book.  Rarely do you see an athlete open up so completely about something so personal.

Overall, Men of Sunday was an interesting read.  I would recommend it to people involved with the NFL, or people who are really curious about how faith works in professional football.

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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bike Riding skills

Since Cami and Griffin learned to ride without training wheels and I got a new bike (Cami - "YOU can ride a bike?), we've been going on family bike rides around the neighborhood.  Griffin now rides like he was born to it, which is strange because he was the most resistant to learning how.  Cami, on the other hand, prefers to ride as short a distance as possible before stopping.  She has no desire to practice and build endurance.  I guess she figures she knows how to do it, and that is good enough.  Enjoy the video.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Football, Week 1

Lexi was the only one of the kids with a game yesterday.  Cami and Griffin had a bye.  Enjoy the video below. (Mom, you have to visit the blog to see the video.  It won't show up in the email update.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Impact Player by Bobby Richardson and David Thomas - Book Review

Impact Player is a memoir by Bobby Richardson, the former 2nd baseman for the New York Yankees.  Richardson played from the late-50's through the mid-60's, during the heyday of the Mantle, Ford, and Maris teams.

Aside from knowing his name, I knew nothing about Richardson prior to reading this book.  I wouldn't say I was fascinated, but his insider's view into the Yankees was pretty cool.  After giving a brief background of his life prior to playing pro baseball, including his early commitment to Christ, Richardson gives an overview of each season he spent in the minors or with the Yankees.  He is a humble man, so his stories seem very toned-down compared to what a more ego-driven player might write.  He also is very careful to paint his teammates and competitors in a good light.  I often found myself wondering if he was sugar-coating his words, because I'm so used to people trying to place blame on others and build themselves up.  But, having finished the book, I believe that this is just representative of who Bobby is as a man of God.

The last several chapters detail Richardson's life after baseball, with the most interesting chapters containing his memories and friendships with his former teammates, including Tony Koubek, Roger Maris, Clete Boyer, Moose Skowron, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Mickey Mantle.  In fact, it is his friendship with Mantle that forms the frame for Richardson's story.  Opening with Richardson about to speak at Mantle's funeral, the final chapters bring home the fact that Mantle became a Christian shortly before he passed away and Bobby's witness was instrumental in that.  Richardson emphasizes how his platform of baseball (and ours in whatever we do) can and should be used to spread the message of Christ.

This book isn't the story of the Yankees' inner-workings amid a very successful run in baseball.  It is the story of one man trying to live for God while playing the game he loves.  It is definitely worth a read for sports fans, and maybe for the casual Yankee fan.

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

Early Kindergarten Update

Last night, the kids and I attended Meet the Teacher Night at the elementary school.  Lexi proudly showed us her room (her teacher is the wife of a former player of mine).  Then we trekked to see Cami and Griffin's room.  They gave us the grand tour, and explained many words and stations to me.  While we were there, a little girl waved and said, "Hi, Griffin."  I could barely get him to respond, and he said he didn't know her name (Cami did).  Today he told me, "A girl from my class kissed me, but not on the cheek."  I started to get nervous.  "Where did she kiss you?" I asked.  "Like this," he said, and motioned blowing a kiss.  I asked who it was and he said, "Remember the girl who said hi to me?  She did it on the second day."  We talked about being nice to everyone, but not kissing people who aren't related to you.  Then Griffin stated, "The Bible says to love everyone."  I couldn't argue with that.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

From the Perspective of a Kindergartener (or 2)

Apparently, Kindergarten is really all about Specials (library, music, P.E., art, etc.) and recess.  The first things I hear from the twins are usually concerning one of those items.  Griffin refers to most people as "that guy who..." ex: that guy who had to pull his behavior card.  Cami knows the names of several little girls.  Griffin talks about "The Chaser", a boy who chases kids at recess.  I asked Griffin why he was being chased, and he answered, "I said, 'Well, well, well, what do we have here' to him, and he chased me."  As of yesterday, the Chaser had kicked Griffin, gotten threatened with loss of recess, and has joined the "good team" according to Griffin.  Griffin now counts him as a friend, to which I cautioned, "If he starts to get in trouble, don't hang around him."  Griffin sang in music class and was given a small award thanking him for performing.  Cami just likes school.  If only they would tell me what they are learning.  Or maybe they are.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Day of School!

Today was the first day of the school year, and the first day ever for Cami and Griffin.  They were so cute and so big with their backpacks and lunch boxes.  It was very exciting for me to have them come to my room after school was over.  The twins had a good day, telling me about new friends (names have been forgotten) and how they did not have their behavior cards pulled.  Lexi is settling in with a group of kids she really hasn't been in class with before.  We are all exhausted.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thought for the Day

From "Stars" by Switchfoot:

Maybe I've been the problem, maybe I'm the one to blame
But even when I turn it off and blame myself, the outcome feels the same
I've been thinkin maybe I've been partly cloudy, maybe I'm the chance of rain
Maybe I'm overcast, and maybe all my lucks washed down the drain

 But when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars I see someone else

When I look at the stars,
the stars, I feel like myself

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No Training Wheels

Apparently, Lexi is the master at teaching people to ride bikes with no training wheels.  Cami and Griffin had little-to-no interest in even attempting it, until something happened this morning.  Enjoy the videos.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thought for the Day

The following is the chorus from Hawk Nelson's "Your Love Is A Mystery":

I'm never always right and it's plain to see
You love me Jesus, It's a mystery
You know my faults, You know my wrongs
And You still love me

Pretty cool and reassuring.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The End of Summer Break Nears

Last night, Griffin and I attended the Father-Son basketball camp at Eastern Hancock.  We had a good time going through drills involving dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense.  He did a good job for his very first time doing anything basketball related.  Plus, he nailed the block out drill, slamming his body into mine to keep me from the rebound.

We are now officially one week from the start of school and we are in back-to-school shopping mode. The kids have supplies, new backpacks and lunch boxes, and some clothes.  They still need new gym shoes, but otherwise they are prepared.  Now we are just trying to enjoy the last few days before football, cheerleading, and classes start.  There has been a lot of pool time over the past couple of days, and hopefully there will be a little more in the next few days.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Week That Was

Last Tuesday, we jumped in the car and picked Lexi up from her first ever Church Camp experience.  It was 3 days and 2 nights, a little more than an hour north of us.  She was a little tentative, but loved it.  On the drive home, she couldn't stop telling us about all the things she did.  Now Cami and Griffin can't wait for their turn.

On the 4th, we spent the day hanging out at Tom and Donna's with most of the family.  Thank goodness for the pool, as we've been experiencing all-time record highs nearly every day (100+ without the heat index).

On Thursday, we went to a community pool with a water slide.  Lexi didn't get an "official" birthday party, so this is what she wanted to do.  Two of her friends came with us, and the Parsons met us there as well.  It was a good time.

Now, we're just trying to ride out the heat wave by staying cool and/or wet.

Anyone interested in a cool Christian music site should check out  There is a link near the top of the blog. 

Stay cool.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


We just wrapped up a fun week of VBS.  Cami and Griffin finished their last summer of "pre" activities and will be joining the big kid groups next year.  Lexi finished her last official VBS, but will be a helper with Trisha next year (possibly slide in to a group because her parents are volunteering).  Trisha was the craft organizer, and I was her able-bodied assistant.  We did a bunch of neat experiments this year, rather than actually make things.  The theme was "Sky" and trusting God, so all the projects linked in.  My favorite was mixing fizzy tablets with hot water in a small, lidded container.  The fizz created a gas and popped the lids off, some close to 15 feet high.  The week ended with a balloon drop from the ceiling of the gym.  It was pretty cool to see around 1000 balloons falling to the floor at once.  All in all, it was a good week and many kids were taught about God, his sacrifice for them, and his love and grace.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

God on the Streets of Gotham by Paul Asay - Book Review

Several years ago, I read a book by John Eldredge in which he stated (I'm paraphrasing) that the reason we enjoy stories so much is that they are all a reflection of the Big Story (Jesus dying for our sins and God's plan for us).  God on the Streets of Gotham is written in that vein. 

God on the Streets of Gotham takes a look at Batman, focusing on the movies but referencing other media as well.  Asay attempts to draw parallels between Batman and the life of a Christian.  He does not claim that Batman is an analogy for Christ or Christians, merely that there are reflections of the Christian life contained in the Batman mythos.  It is an interesting take on Batman, and on Eldredge's idea about stories.

The book contains ten chapters: Masked, Marked, Nemeses, Submission, Code, Tools, Partners, Struggle, Sacrifice, and Hero.  My favorite chapter was Nemeses.  This focused on the villains Batman faces and described each of them as representing an emotion or characteristics: for example, Catwoman represents amorality and Bane represents addiction.

Overall, this was a decent book.  It did not get bogged down in philosophy or rhetoric.  It was obvious that Asay is a Batman fan and knows much of his story and history.  I enjoyed reading it.  I would really recommend it to Batman fans, as opposed to the general population.

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Griffin in

I submitted a picture of Griffin and I to the Pop Candy blog at and today we were part of it.  Griffin has now gone national.

Click here to see it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vacation Wrap-Up

So this year, we took a family vacation to Orlando and my parents met us down there.  We stayed in a great hotel, visited multiple theme parks, went to Cocoa Beach, and pretty much had an exhausting, all-around fun time.  The following are pictures or videos from our days at Epcot, Legoland, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom.  Enjoy.

Lexi on Air Guitar video

Griffin battles Darth Vader video

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Glorious End to the Softball Season

Cami played her last game of the season, getting one hit and hitting another, although she was out at first.  She had a good first season and seemed to have fun playing and making new friends.

Lexi finished with two games this weekend.  Friday night, she got a hit and foul tipped a pitch in her next at bat.  But Saturday was awesome.  She got a hit and drove in a run, the fifth of the inning, which means the inning is over.  It was very cool.  I think the end of the season (4 hits in the last few games) may be enough to keep her playing next year.  Lexi made a lot of progress and I could see the improvement she made.

Both girls had fantastic coaches; men who were very patient and willing to go the extra mile to make sure the girls learned the basic fundamentals, no matter what their skill level was.  Griffin's soccer coach was outstanding as well.  We were very blessed this year.

Now we are on to summer vacation!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Graduation and the Start of Summer

Cami and Griffin officially graduated from Pre-School and will start Kindergarten in the fall.

Lexi also received her certificate of completion for 2nd grade.  Man, I'm getting old.
The girls had softball games, and continued the status quo; no big hits or spectacular plays this week.  Griffin had a make-up soccer game that neither Trisha nor I were able to attend (he went with his friend), so of course he scored a goal.  He was pretty excited.

We are well on our way into summer vacation and have already spent a bunch of time swimming at Tom and Donna's.  Griffin can touch the bottom when diving for toys, Cami swam the length of the pool, and Lexi acts like she was born in the water.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rank my Fearless review

If you have the time, please rank my review for Fearless.  The link is here, or you can use the widget below.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sports and Us

So, Griffin wrapped up his soccer season this past Saturday.  While he didn't score any goals, he did improve in passing and dribbling.  His coach did a really good job of coaching the kids up on spreading out and sharing the ball.  Unfortunately for Griffin, some of his teammates still struggled, always flocking to and fighting for the ball.  He is very proud of his soccer medal, though.

Cami had a game Saturday, and had her second hit.  She knocked it between 1st and 2nd base.  She also played tonight, and hit a couple more off the tee.  She hasn't really had a lot of action in the field lately.

Lexi nearly had another hit on Saturday, going just foul.  Monday night she took a few good swings and didn't swing at any bad pitches, but went hitless.  Still, those two from last week might be good enough to keep her going.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Careers (According to my students)

My students recently completed research papers about careers.  But, I'm learning that research is a term be used loosely.  I'm going to list some of their findings. (All typos and misunderstandings belong to them)

Harrison Ford invented the Ford automobile.
Pre-school teachers need to get alone with parents.
A philanthropist is a type of doctor.
One step in becoming a veterinarian is anathesia.  This is when you clean the animal's teeth.
To be an auto mechanic, you can't be scared of getting greasy or being in awkward positions.
The history of video game design started in 1889 with Nintendo.
One required skill to be a video game designer is rowing.
One important job for a police officer, other than catching bad guys, is delivering babies for mothers that can't.
If you are a vet, your moral convections cannot be at war with your work.
One educational program for nurses is nursing ethnic.
Aerospace engineers make under water vassals.
To be an anesthesiologist, you will defiantly need math and science skills.

Knight-Center Game Highlight

Last night, Lexi got not one, but two hits, her first of the season and her young career.  Her first hit actually left her on second, as the throw to first got away and Lexi advanced a base.  She later scored a run in that inning.  Her second hit was a single.  More to come on the weekend edition of...Knight-Center.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

WKNI Sports Round-Up

This was a week that started with a torrential downpour, washing out Lexi's Monday night game and half of Griffin's soccer practice.  By Thursday, though, we were back on track.

Highlight of the Week: Cami got her first hit off a pitched ball.  It was a medium roller down the first base line that started fair, rolled foul, and finally ended up fair again by the time it reached 3rd base.  Everyone thought  it was foul, until the 3rd base coach hollered for Cami and the other girls to run.  She was so excited, she gave me a kiss before taking the field the next inning.

Lexi: Lex is still looking for her first hit, but her swings are getting closer and closer.  Thursday, she made two good plays at 3rd, and on one she even ran to the base for the force out.  She started jumping up and down in excitement.

Griffin: The boy (as reported by his mother) ran around having fun, but didn't display his typical drive.  Maybe his mind was on something else, like philosophy or Star Wars Lego (he only has one more character to unlock and he is a little preoccupied with that currently).  For more of The World According to Griffin, you can follow me on Twitter @bigsandwich6 where I'm trying to tweet his random thoughts on Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Finally, WKNI wants to wish a Happy Mudda's to all you moms out there.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sportscenter, Knight-Style

Cami - This week, Cami had two games.  She had several hits off the tee, scoring a few runs in the process.  She also fielded several ground balls.  She even played an inning as pitcher's helper, but her cat-like reflexes were not in evidence, as she often was mesmerized by short hits and forgot to move at all.  Maybe she was visualizing what she should do.

Lexi - Lexi had one game and took a few good swings, but didn't connect.  She is really working on her timing right now.  The fielding is coming along, and she loves chanting, "Hey batter, look at me, I'm a monkey in a, oooo-aahh.

Griffin - Griffin had one make-up game rained out (now we have to make up a make-up?) and one game played.  He really started coming on in the second half of today's game.  He had one field-length dash and scoring chance that looked like it just might roll in, but an opponent stopped it inside the "no-touch" zone.  He had a chance at a free kick but left it a little short.  He also had a few more really aggressive and coordinated rushes with the ball.  You can almost see him developing his skills from week to week.

Finally, the Knights attended what is becoming a family tradition on the 1st Saturday in May: Free Comic Book Day!  We visited the local comic shop and were allowed to choose two comics each from a select group as comic shops across the country celebrated this fabulous day.  If only it had been around when I was a teen.  Sigh.

Fearless by Eric Blehm - Book Review

Fearless, by Eric Blehm, is a moving and amazing true story.  It chronicles the life of Adam Brown, a member of Seal Team SIX, from his youth, through his addiction to crack and a stay in jail, into his training as a Seal, and concluding with his death on a mission in Afghanistan .  I don’t quite know how to summarize this book.  Adam was a fearless, determined kid who exhibited tremendous kindness towards others.  After high school, he began making poor decisions that resulted in an almost overwhelming drug addiction that finally landed him in jail.  While living at a rehab facility, Adam accepted Christ as his savior.  Following rehab, Adam met his eventual wife, Kelley, and made the decision to become a Navy Seal.  This is a very general description, but I can’t do justice to the experiences portrayed in the book.  Blehm interviewed a number of people who knew Adam, including his fellow Seals and commanding officers.  A pretty complete picture of Adam Brown is presented, and he is a tremendous example of a man, husband, father, friend, and warrior.  This is a fascinating story, but the last few chapters are hard to read, due to the emotional content, particularly for this father of young children. 
I highly recommend this encouraging story of redemption and courage, and the saving power of Christ.  A warning though, that there is a little bit of “salty” language due to the nature of the men interviewed.  It is never inappropriate, but it is in there.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kids' Games (or the lack thereof)

Yesterdays sporting contests were a washout (literally).  Cami had a game Thursday night, and put a ball in play off a pitch and not just the tee.  She was very excited.  Also, for the second game in a row, the first thing she said when she saw me was, "I've got gum."  Apparently, her coach provides a bucket of bubble gum for the team.  I mean, why else would you play softball if not to chew gum?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sports Update

Griffin had two shots on goal that just missed, and played a pretty good game.  Lexi had one at bat and took three good swings, but unfortunately didn't make contact.  She made a nice play in the field, fielding a hit and throwing it back to the pitcher.  Cami hit two balls off the tee (the girls her age get six pitches, then the tee).  She also gets in a great stance as an infielder, but hasn't quite gotten in the habit of moving out of the stance when the ball is hit.  All in all, a fun day celebrating the kids.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Easter, Art Shows, Horsey Rides, and Sports (lots of pictures)

So, over Easter weekend Trisha and I went to Pittsburgh to celebrate the wedding of Trisha's (and mine) good friend Mandy (the former) Hamilton.  Our hotel was beautiful and was right across the Allegheny River from PNC Park (the Pirates) and upriver from Heinz Field (the Steelers).  We went on a dinner cruise up the Allegheny and the Monongahela (the Mon) on Friday, the walked the city Saturday morning and early afternoon, finishing with a trip up the Mon Incline (a tram-type vehicle).  When the wedding reception ended, fireworks from the Pirates game went off just outside our window.  It was a cool time.  Plus, I got to see Trisha interact with four of her good friends from college who I had only met briefly before.  I enjoyed seeing her in this new light.

PNC Park (Pirates)

Toni, Bethany, Shannon, and Trisha

We were this close!
Heinz Field (Steelers)
A Sub moored outside the Carnegie Science Center

The view from the Mon Incline
Over the next two weeks, the kids all had art fairs at their schools.  I can't believe I had a part in creating such creative kids.  They must be recessive genes.
Lexi's Weaving
Griffin's flowers
Griffin's Great Pumpkin
Cami's Snowman

Cami's Flowers

The twins also went on a field trip where they got to ride on a horse.
All business
Finally, tomorrow the girls have their first softball games and Griffin gets to play soccer game number 2 (last week we were thunderstormed out).