Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk

My mom, with Kiddo...about 2 years ago.

In my almost 2 years of blogging, I think this is the first time I will have used the blog for an appeal. But there's always a first time for everything, right? And this is for a cause that especially hits home for me.

This is where the "confession" part of my blog title comes in, because there's something that's been a big part of my life for the last three years that I haven't mentioned in this little online forum up to this point. Most of you probably don't know that my mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's 3 years ago, at age 55. She's a lifelong nurse, a former caseworker for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, a Stephen Minister at her church, a smart, loving, and caring woman, and the best mom (and grandmother!) a person could ask for. I want to do my part to help end this disease not only for her, but for the millions of others who have been and will be affected by Alzheimer's.

To that end, I'll be walking in the 2008 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk, which raises money for Alzheimer's research and treatment. The walk here in Lincoln will be on September 21st at 1 PM.

I had originally set a goal of raising $500 for walking, but here's where I ran into a most wonderful problem. The generosity of folks, many of whom I've never met, has been more than I ever could have imagined! 2 days ago was when I first started soliciting donations...and in less than 48 hours, I've raised more than $600!!!!

SO...I've set a NEW goal of raising $1500. A couple of days ago, I would have figured that would be impossible, but now...I think we can not only meet that, but exceed it.

Together, I know we can do this!

Here's a link where you can make a donation. They have buttons for specific donation amounts, but if you click "other" you can make a donation for any amount. Even a dollar will help!!! (btw...if you're not comfortable making an online donation, or would rather just not use a credit card, there's a donation form that you can print out and send in with a check. The link for the form is on the donation page, right underneath the little donation thermometer thingy.)

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email: lutheranhusker at yahoo dot com (thanks to spambots, I can't type out the full address). Also, if you know of anyone who you think might be willing to help out, don't hesitate to send them a link to either this page or my donation page.

And thanks. From the bottom of my heart, thanks. I promise not to turn my blog into a "cause of the month" type of thing, but this is so incredibly important...and personal.

God be with you.


Friday, July 18, 2008

"We're walking, we're walking...we're stopping."

A couple of days ago, Kiddo and I had the chance to go on a guided tour of Memorial Stadium, where the University of Nebraska Cornhusker football team plays. A former colleague of my father-in-law had set up a tour for his family and friends, and had invited my father-in-law, who had then invited us. (Thanks, Bruce!!!)

So of course we went. I wouldn't want to let my son down, right?

Had to do it for my child. Uh, yeah. I really didn't want to go, but I had to do it for him. I mean...the chance to be on the field, to go into the pressbox, to see the new weight room, the training table, the wall of fame with the portraits of the academic all-Americans...I wished I didn't have to be there, in all of these awesome places, in the home of my favorite college football team...but in the end, I decided I'd make the sacrifice.

For Kiddo.

Oh, the things we do for our children. =)

There were about 10-12 adults and about 10-12 kids of varying ages on the tour, which lasted about an hour. Kiddo just took it all in, even asking me a couple of questions about things he saw along the way.

It was a phenomenal afternoon, one that I'll never forget with my son, and perhaps one described better through pictures than words:

Grandpa points out the championship trophies

Kiddo: "I remember that these are important trophies, but I can't remember why."

Kiddo: "Hey! Those look like real footballs, except they're shiny!"

The pillars have the names of every player to ever earn a football letter at Nebraska.
The portraits on the wall are of all the Academic All-Americans.

Kiddo and I in the south endzone

"Daddy! I'm gonna make a touchdown!"

The horseshoe that the players hit on their way out to the field

In the pressbox: "Look, Daddy...I can see the State Capitol!" (Just not in this picture...) =)

"Yes, I'm proud to have been named the Huskers' starting QB for the 2022 season. Next question?"


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Up, Up, and Away!!!

This is the sight that greeted me upon my return home from work yesterday evening.

No, the trampoline doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to the folks who live behind us.

That’s right…the ones on the other side of the 6 foot privacy fence.

I had left work at about 4:35…by about 4:40, I had driven into some light sprinkles. By the time I reached downtown Lincoln, it was raining pretty steadily and the wind had started to come up. Heading up I-180 past Memorial Stadium, the rain became torrential and the wind whipped so hard I had trouble driving in a straight line. Traffic slowed down to 25 MPH or so (the speed limit is 60) as wave after wave of water fell sideways.

1 ½ miles later, when I got to my exit, it had all died into a light sprinkle.

And by the time I got home…nothing. (It started up again a little bit later, but this time just a good steady rain…nothing like it had been before.)

Except there was this monstrosity of a trampoline in our backyard. With a little piece of our fence missing. And our barbeque grill had tipped over and slid halfway across the deck. And all the deck furniture was crumpled in a corner.

It was a quick, wicked storm.

Our backyard neighbors were home last night. We kept waiting for the inevitable ring of the doorbell or phone call with the apology for the broken fence slat and an offer to help fix it and take the trampoline back.

It never happened.

So, being the passive-aggressive Midwesterner that I am, I decided to wait. I had just mowed the lawn the day before, I was busy and tired and frankly had better things to do than worry about what to do with a broken, upside-down trampoline that didn’t belong to me.

It was still there this morning. And when I got home after work this afternoon.

I had a Bible study to lead this evening, and Sweetie stayed home with the kids. When I got back, the trampoline was gone. No phone call, no knock on the door, no asking to come into our backyard to retrieve their stuff.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not really all that big of a deal. But I’m still mildly annoyed.

On a less annoying note…cool quote from Bible Study tonight. One of the kids was talking about those folks who claim being a Christian made their lives all happy and rainbows and puppies and such. She didn’t put much stock in such claims, saying, “if nothing bad ever happens to you, then you don’t need faith. Your life is just one big pile of yay.”

One big pile of yay. I love it.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Parenthood In Any Language

A couple of days ago, my family was walking into IHOP to meet some friends for brunch. As we made our way through the parking lot, we passed a family of four on their way out. As they approached their car, the mother said something in Spanish to the kids, who were probably about eight and five years old. The kids replied, opened the back door to the car and the five year old climbed in.

The eight year old remained outside. By this time, I was at an angle where I couldn’t really see what he was up to…but I knew he hadn’t yet gotten in the car.

The mom said something else in Spanish, this time a bit more sharply. Then, in a tone of warning that every parent knows and I suspect just about every child has heard, she began counting. Slowly.



(with a bit more emphasis) “DOS…….

And, as most children do, the child waited until about "dos and a half" to jump in the car, just in the nick of time.

Just goes to show—no matter the culture, no matter the language, parents will be parents…and kids will be kids.


Saturday, July 05, 2008


Yesterday, I was granted a glimpse of what friendship means.

Kiddo was playing with his best friend Z and Z's younger cousin A (RevScott's daughter).

They were playing with rakes. Yes, that's right, rakes. There's an empty patch of land in the yard at Z's house that in previous years has been home to a garden, but since the house is on the market this summer, they decided not to plant anything.

Kiddo and Z wanted to rake it. and generally make a lot of noise and a little bit of a mess.

The moms were inside talking, so we dads put our heads together and figured, sure--why not. Rake away, kids.

They were having a grand time of it, when A decided to toddle over and ask to play with one of the rakes:

Z's dad asked Z if he would give the rake he was using to A so she could play with it for a few minutes. Z dutifully listened to dad and handed it over without a complaint.

Then he watched Kiddo and A happily raking away, and decided he didn't like the situation after all. Running a few feet away, he flopped on the ground and held his chin in his hands, pouting. (Which actually showed a good deal of maturity on his behalf...not many 5 year-olds immediately agree to something they know they don't want to giving up his "toy.")

Kiddo noticed this, dropped his rake, and came over to ask Z what was wrong:

Z didn't answer.

Kiddo looked at Z, looked back at his rake, looked at Z again, and decided to lay there with Z:

And there they lay for about two minutes...which was about the time it took A to decide she was bored with the rake.

Sometimes the greatest act of friendship (or love) consists of just making the decision to be come alongside another person, lay down in the grass, and hold your chin in your hands next to them until things get better.

There's a lot to be learned from watching our kids.


Thursday, July 03, 2008


Kiddo had a haircut appointment this evening at 6, which meant I picked him and Pumpkin up from daycare, I stuffed a bottle in Pumpkin's mouth so she'd have a little something to tide her over, we all loaded up in the van and headed out.

I told Kiddo that if he was a really good boy at his haircut and sat really still, we could stop at McDonalds afterwards for supper. In reality, we just didn't have time for supper ahead of time so we would've been stopping at Mickey-D's anyway, but when one has the chance to dangle perceived rewards in front of a 4 year-old, one always takes advantage of the opportunity.

So one did.

Sweetie had a long day at work, so she wasn't able to join us until after we had arrived at McDonalds. True to his word, Kiddo had been great at his haircut, so we all ordered, then Sweetie took the kids to find a table while I brought the food over.

I got back up to get ketchup and napkins, and apparently Kiddo wouldn't let Sweetie start eating until I got back so we could all say prayers together. So we said our usual mealtime prayer ("come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen."), and Kiddo added his usual postscript petitions concerning Pumpkin and the world and rocketships and Ellie and Aunt C.

And then we ate.

While we were in the middle of our meal, the two ladies in the booth behind me got up to leave. Before they did, they came over to fawn over Pumpkin (I mean, who wouldn't?). =) They asked how old she was, and Kiddo offered them the information that he was four and she was four months.

The older of the two ladies said "you are so blessed. God has blessed your family, and it's wonderful to see."

We agreed, of course.

She continued, "I'm 96 years old and get around just fine. God has blessed me, too. God is good."

The other woman (who HAD to be her daughter...she looked like a clone who was 25 or so years younger) helped her up and complimented our kids. They both said their goodbyes and left.

I looked at Kiddo, Pumpkin and Sweetie, and just thought, "ma'am, you don't even know the half of it."

God has blessed our family so richly. I don't know why...we certainly haven't done anything to deserve it. But we are blessed. That doesn't mean life's a big ol' bowl of cherries or that nothing ever goes wrong or that we live in this happy la-la land. But because of the strength we have as a family, because of the mutual love and support, because God has placed himself at the center of who we are and what we're about, when the bad times do come we can remain joyful and thankful.

That is the true blessing of my family.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Because I KNOW you haven't seen enough pics of the kids!

I've had this tension in my life the last month or so...I've been in an extremely creative mood, but at the same time I've felt extremely tired.

And based on my posting, you can guess which has won out pretty much every time. Yup. That's right, I haven't exactly displayed a whole lot of creative writing in my posts.

And tonight, that's not gonna change one bit.

Pumpkin is 4 months old now...she's 14 lbs 4 oz. and 24 3/4 inches long, and still cute as a button (which thankfully comes from her mother). And Kiddo's still the proud big brother. It's fun to see the bond the two kids are developing--Kiddo can make Pumpkin smile like nobody else can, and he just loves her to pieces.

I'm just a lucky guy. No two ways about it.

Here's some updated pics:

Happy little girl!!!

Smiling at Big Brother

Kiddo as the Hungry Caterpillar

Sure wish I knew where my kids got their silly streak from... =)


The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

Saw this elsewhere. Made me laugh hysterically. Decided to share. =)

The Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat's Diary

Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously mentally challenged. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now ...