Posted by: multicrazy | August 29, 2011

Summer 2011

Summer 2011 was a busy one for us, with lots of great travel opportunities, from our annual Tybee trip…to a few days for the two of us in San Francisco…followed by a family trip to the North American Christian Convention in Cincinnati…then a trip for the kids and me to Tennessee so that I could speak at a conference and they could hang out with Grandma and Grandpa…then a family reunion in Indianapolis…and ending with a trip to Ohio for the amazing Josh Boone’s wedding.  (Tiring just to type it all.)

And somewhere in there, Lisa FINALLY got her freedom when all four of our kids started going to full-day school together!!!  Who would have ever thought that day would come?

Posted by: multicrazy | May 31, 2011

No Ordinary Disney Trip

Last fall, we were blessed to win a contest from ABC-TV promoting their new show No Ordinary Family.  The prize was a trip to Disney that included a night’s stay in a special suite within Cinderella’s Castle, which was originally designed for Walt’s family to stay in, but which wasn’t completed until a few years ago, when it was opened exclusively to contest winners and only celebrities who have a special invite from ABC or Disney (i.e. no amount of money or celebrity status can gain you access into it).  We were able to arrange our stay there during the night before Ashley’s 7th birthday, so that she woke up as a 7-year-old princess inside Cinderella’s castle.  What we didn’t really realize or fully understand until we got there was that part of the package (a HUGE part of the package) was our own 8-hour-a-day tour guide for each of the 5 days that we were there.  David, a super-nice tour guide who had previously shown Jenna Elfman’s family around for a week, picked us up every morning in a big white van, transported us on back roads from park to park, to back entrances in which he walked us right to the front of the line to every ride that we wanted to ride.  (Essentially, it ruined every future trip that would undoubtedly include the normal lines, waits, and regular people’s transportation [okay, actually, we would never turn down even an extremely low-budget trip to Disney, but this was truly unbelievably extravagant from start to finish].)  When it was all said and done, we had an unforgettable and memorable trip, and celebrated in style our little princess turning 7!!!

A couple of weeks after returning, Benjamin, Casey and Danielle reached their own milestone by graduating from pre-school!!!

2011 started out nicely, with a cold enough winter and even a bout of pinkeye and strep for me that took me out of work for a week.  In March, to celebrate our 12th anniversary, my parents came up to watch the kids while Lisa and I got to visit Hawaii–the Big Island and Maui–compliments of Ladies’ Home Journal and OPI Nail Polish.

In April during Spring Break week, compliments of Porch Step Media and the book 5 Simple Things by John Tolsma (which is quite excellent, by the way), we had a chance to take the whole family for a quick trip out to Phoenix, a long-awaited reunion trip that we had hoped to do when the little guys were five years old (which they are!).  While there, we got to stay in the same Mission House that we stayed in during 2005-6, compliments of the amazing folks at First Christian Church in Phoenix.  We had the chance to visit the hospital where the kids were born and visit many of the nurses and specialists in the very awesomely renovated NICU there; then we had a special reunion with about a dozen of the very special folks from First Christian Church who had helped us so much then (and of course they went overboard once again and threw a really great potluck dinner for us at Kenyon and Teresa Ackeberg’s home, where we had spent Christmas Day in 2005); and then we had breakfast with three of the kids’ primary nurses the next day before heading up to see the Grand Canyon together.  It was cold and wet the first day, and on the second day just cool, but clear.  Very beautiful work of God–we’re not sure why people sometimes say it’s just a ‘big hole in the ground.’  Truly amazing, and the kids loved getting their Junior Ranger badges there.

Enjoy the pictures.  We know that we are very very very blessed to do the kind of traveling that we’ve done, and we have never taken it for granted.

Posted by: multicrazy | December 31, 2010

2010 Comes to a Quiet End

October 2010 held an element of sadness, as Lisa’s aunt Anne Hair from Texas passed away during heart valve surgery at the Mayo Clinic, where we hoped and prayed that her heart and livelihood would be restored to her.  Anne had visited us and helped with Ashley when we were in Phoenix before the babies came, and then she also came to Georgia to see us the following Christmas, and Lisa and the kids were able to see her at Lisa’s mom’s house during a visit in the last couple of years.

In October, Lisa and the kids went down to Tennessee during the kids’ fall break, then the whole family went to Tennessee for Milligan’s homecoming weekend, from which I drove directly to Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, where I preached a four-day revival at our friends Dave and Cindy Chapman’s church East Tenth Street Church of Christ.  East Tenth Street had prayed for us during our trials with the little ones, and had previously given Project Seahorse a sizable donation when my Dad preached a revival there in 2006.  While there, I had a chance to give the testimony of our experiences with the kids, and they again gave a sizable donation to Project Seahorse.  Great week!

In November, the little guys turned 5 :) and I turned 40 :( on the same day–a day which, ironically, had been chosen for Lisa’s Aunt Anne’s memorial service out in New Braunfels, Texas.  So Lisa flew out there and got back in time to celebrate the birthday, which we did fairly quietly.  My cousin Dennis, his wife Amy, and their kids came over for a little celebration (we also celebrated Thanksgiving with them) and we had a nice quiet November.

December brought the inauguration of a new indoor-outdoor outreach drama at our church called, simply, Bethlehem.  The timing of it–on the weekend that school let out–coincided with the worst December weather in memory.  Schools were closed most of the last week of school before Christmas (our pre-schoolers never even got to have their big Christmas party and program), and the ice and temperatures were unbelievable.  So we pressed on, with very small crowds, but it still went very well.  Christmas Eve service went well, and so did Sunday service the day after Christmas, after which we departed on a whirlwind post-Christmas tour of Georgia with Lisa’s mom and family, and then Tennessee with my parents and family.  The New Year was ushered in for us in Tennessee, and we BARELY stayed awake to see the ball drop.

Another blessed year.

Posted by: multicrazy | September 30, 2010

School in Kentucky and Vacation in French Polynesia

In August and September 2010 Ashley started the first grade and Benjamin, Casey and Danielle began their ‘senior year’ at Little Elks Preschool.  Very exciting stuff…and no tears shed on either first day. 

Compliments of Land o’ Frost lunchmeat company, I got to leave town for a couple days in August to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio with three friends of mine.  (Funny that I never visited the Hall during my seven years of living within an hour.)  While there, we got to visit my two Ohio places of employment/ministry, the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio in Wooster and Northside Christian Church in Wadsworth.  Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice were inducted into the Hall, causing some to declare it the best group to ever be inducted.

Cool.

But September held for Lisa and me (and maybe the kids too?) the highlight of our year.  My parents came up and watched our kids for nine days while Lisa and I spent a week in Tahiti.  AMAZING in every way.  God has done beautiful things in French Polynesia, and we believe there is no more amazing vacation.  The trip was a contest sponsored by the Tahiti Department of Tourism, and so we really had the best of everything in terms of amenities and excursions.  We stayed in two overwater bungalows on two different islands, both of which allowed us to walk out onto the back patio and go snorkeling in the reef.  On our final full day there, we had scheduled a “wedding ceremony on the beach,” which we assumed would be a 5-minute renewal of vows by a local clergyperson.  Instead, it was a full-blown Tahitian wedding ceremony, in which we dressed in Tahitian costumes, had Tahitian singers and dancers, coconuts, paparazzi, and exotic drinks (which we turned in for the virgin versions, thank you).  Because it was rainy, it was moved indoors to the main lobby area of the hotel, which attracted even more attention to us in our craziness.  Wild, great week with my beautiful bride (no matter what culture it is).

We are still coming down to earth.