Friday, November 28, 2008

video of Z at picture day

This video was put up of Z's platoon. His platoon took Honor Platoon, which means they scored the most out of all the various testing, drill and physical fitness competitions. Very cool. Zach is 2nd from the left in the 2nd row from the top. This video was taken actually about 6 weeks ago but it only goes up the friday of week 10. He should look even meaner by now. His best friend ricky is 6th from the right in the 3rd row. His other good friend Steve is in the top row 5th from the right.

got a call from Z on tuesday and Wednesday. He sounded pretty much the same except for a scratchy voice from constantly yelling. he was sucking on a cough drop as it seems everyone does there. All we did was talk travel arrangements as we only got 4 minutes each call.

Getting excited for the trip. Z starts the crucible on Monday. Thats all for now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

You Can Do Anything....When You're Awesome

So the weeks are quickly slipping by until we go to San Diego. Two weeks from today we will be sitting enjoying ourselves. Three weeks and Zach will be home having already emptied the fridge. This week is his "finals" week. He has finals in Drill (today), Martial Arts Tuesday, Physical fitness Wednesday, written test on Marine history and orders on Thursday, Friday they do repelling from a 6 stroy tower and on Saturday the company Cmmdr's inspection. Sunday they head back to camp pendleton for the Crucible. Their ultmiate test. Well we bought our tickets so everything better go as planned. Amazingly enough we got tickets still for $185 a person. Basically Friday will be the last letter I write to boot camp. That letter will be there for him when he is done with the Crucible and is actually called a Marine.

Here are the Graduation events they have:

Here's a small photogallery that shows pics of a few of the events

So Karen has been swamped this week at work and worked late every night. That stresses her out of course, particularly as it heads into the busy time and she wants everything cleaned up before we leave on vacation. She might be working late for the next couple of weeks. Karen got her promotion....again. I'm very proud of her. Her rise has been phenominal if you consider the "standard" career path here at NM. I'm sure it will continue. However Karen is a perfectionsist and can remember nearly everything she sees and hears. Her work ethic is beyond extreme. So naturally she'll succeed in any work environment. Of course being that kind of person there can be a certain amount of frustration that comes when she doesn't achieve perfection but she is the only one who notices. I now consider myself one step closer to the time I can retire and just be a staff minister. I just need Karen to get that promotion to director and we're good to go.

Ike had his lil crew of folk over Friday night again. At least they went to a movie with a slightly larger crew of girls. I think 4 to 7 ratio probably was ideal. That kept them out of the way for a bit. I bought a big Kerosene heater for the garage. It needs a few hours to get the place heated up but once it does it works ok. I think a couple of electric heaters with fans as assists will make the Garage inhabitable for the teenagers. It has just become so much more pleasant not having their music and spills and stickyness and loudness in the house.

Katie headed to Madison on Friday night to hang out with her cousin. She went with him to the Badger game on Saturday which was her first one. Although the Badgers really didn't deserve to win, they did and the game was exciting.

Karen went to her family cookie day at Kelly's. They made lots of cookies. I just came later with Ike and snitched some cookie dough, some lunch, and then went with all the manly men to watch Bond. Nothing perks up a Saturday afternoon than some random violence. Good movie though. I like the edgier Bond. We returned to Kelly's to check in on that cookie baking and yes indeed the cookie dough was still good...yet the evil looks from Karen indicated that it would soon go bad. I played with emma and lilly for a bit and watched the badger game. Then I had to take Ike to work. Then I went home to do my homework. I had a couple hours of peace and then Kt got home from the game, Karen got home from cookies and then I had to go get Ike from work.
Sunday we had a thanksgiving Potluck at church. OMG the food was so awesome. Too bad we couldn't stay because Kt had her CC banquet where we had a brunch. It was not the same as the food our people put out at Victory. It was another full Sunday too. I hope we can find some place soon to move to soon.

Look at the Turkey Marines..ok they're not Marines but hey did look like they were in formation.

After all that food I tackled some long overdue chores. The garage door has been being opened manually for awhile now because the bracket that the door opener connects to broke. Additionally a roller broke making the manual opening difficult as well. The weather strip at the bottom was dried out and almost gone. So I found a new reinforced bracket for heavy garage doors, I got a new roller and weatherstripping. Now the door opens all nice and smooth and quiet and seals up nice when its closed.

This week on the agenda is the dismantling of the old Big screen. It is pretty much unusable and is just taking space. So I'm going to take it out of the basement but it won't go up the stairs whole. It barely made it in. After that is out of the basement I will rearrange the furniture a bit to create more room. I am also adding a 6 foot wall by my computers and isolating my "office" from the main room a bit. That way my computers are protected from shenanigans in the basement. After some deep cleaning of the floors and basement and a couple layers of wax life should be nice down there.

Last night we saw Bolt. Funny movie. Its redonculous.

I know you are all awaiting news of the Fruit fly percentage. I would say its now at 92% removed. It would seem like they were mounting an offensive buildup of troops again but I fought back in a series of attacks they were not expecting. The battle wages on for total domination.

So happy Thanksgiving everyone. I can't think of a better way to say it than with cake.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Week of Ups and Downs

Probably the biggest downer was that Wisco lost its semi-final game to Reedsberg. Our defense needed to be on their game from play one and they took awhile to warm up. before things got under control again we were down 3 touchdowns. Also too many mistakes and turnovers. Oh well...12 and 1 is still a good record and hey...its better than the packers. Well the packers won. Thats a good thing. The badgers won...thats a good thing.

Oh I was a touch peaved that Ike miscalculated when he worked Saturday and it turned out I had to leave the game early to get him to work on time. grrr.

Friday night while our children were working, Karen and I went to a Casino Night function for her division. Together we won $5200 starting with $500 each. Not a bad haul. If only the cash were real. I have to admit it was a LOT of fun. Although I don't think I have ever drunk 3 vodka gimlets in the course of 3 hours and not been able to notice such a thing, that was certainly the case Friday. Perhaps since the money wasn't real for the gambling the real money I paid for the drinks was used for fake vodka.

So we have nearly conquered the fruit fly problem with an idea from a website submitted by one of the 3 readers of this blog. I put a mashed up banana in a pan in the oven. Let it sit for awhile and eventually a whole lot of fruit flies gravitate to it. Then I close the door and pre heat for a bit. I usually get 2-3 heats per banana pile. I also went and cleaned everything really well with cleaner and bleach etc.. even behind the stove. So for now our house is clean and sterile smelling as well as has 80-85% of the fruit flies gone. I want them entirely gone before we head out to San Diego.

So after a bit of a break there we finally got a letter from Zach. I had been awaiting his Rifle qualification scores as that is a pretty big event in MC Boot Camp. Last week he was a snot and wouldn't tell us his score until it was final but told us his friend's preliminary scores. Well he told us that he qualified as "expert" which is the top ranking. It goes marksman, Sharpshooter, and expert. So that was pretty cool.

He sounds a lot more pumped and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He also sounds proud of his accomplishments so far. He also wanted to hear more/go into more detail on some of the things they did during field training. He said that it really was "basic" training. I guess thats part of it...being trained to know you don't know enough. He wants "The Crucible" to arrive so he can tackle that. That is like a 54 hour "final exam" where they get 4 hours of sleep and like 2 rations of food. They hike about 40 miles throughout the course of it and hit 35 stations where they have to accomplish various tasks whether it be in combat skills, teamwork skills, physical endurance ability, obstacle courses, climbing towers, crawling in mud and all that great stuff. While they are doing these things they blast mortar fire and shouting and sirens over speakers and any other thing to make it stressful. for me that would be Whitney Houston. So the combination of physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and stressers make it quite the ordeal. Two weeks from tonight he will begin that. When he completes it he becomes a "Marine" Up through then he is a recruit. From that point forward all they do is prepare to move on and get ready for the details of graduation.

That also means 3 weeks from now we will be in San Diego for his graduation. I'm pretty excited and proud. This is the first committment that Zach has tackled and will succeed at. I can't think of a better time to start succeeding although I would have settled for at least a little in High school...

Katie managed to get rid of two boyfriends this week. This is excellent. The first was Chris who she broke up with awhile ago but he is like bi-polar and goes from a suicidal person and desperately pleading for Kt to take him back and being sooo sorry to being a nasty bitter person bent on humiliating Kt. This is usually not a good way to get your girlfriend back however. It took Kt awhile to finally just say "go away" once and for all but she finally did. He flipped a little and was going to do whatever he could to embarass her because she wouldn't take him back. He started his little campaign but stopped a little bit later I think because all the people he tried to bad-mouth kt too either didn't care, already knew her dirty laundry, think he is insane or all of the above. If you read his rants you can see that he lacks stability. Of course it was the election that set him off and his newly found liberal radicalism already learned in two months at UW in the Poli Sci program. as an example...calling the girl you hope to get back as your girlfriend a "racist republican nazi..." is generally regarded as the improper way to woo her back.

The other "boyfriend" was Dexter. he was the boyfriend who was before Chris last spring. After a lil bit he sorta disappeared and faded away and thats when Kt moved on to Chris. However when Kt broke up with Chris she started talking to dexter who came by for a few visits but his resolve was soon broken and he disappeared again (he's the type who in the Navy they'd say he had a girl in every port...each one special in their own way...whenever he might show up). So its not like she really lost anything but at least those two are history...hopefully. Kt does take awhile to take a hint...but who wants to admit you picked two losers in a row. They start out charming but soon change. I'd say that I'd worry about Kt becoming bitter but she is already talking to new boys. She is really looking hard for some guys with integrity though. 7th to 10th times a charm.

I think that covers the week well enough.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Update

Just when I thought the weekend would be quiet and boring it turned out to be filled with little tidbits to keep me busy.

I took Friday off to attend Ike's parent-teacher conference. Ike is doing pretty well and definitely improving. As I have mentioned this school has been like educational boot camp and it is taking Ike some time to catch up and get with the program but it is happening.
After the conference I went to my mother's to fix her new Vonage phone setup. Silly me should have realized that leaving it in a Static IP address setting when her IP address is only leased on a daily basis was not a good idea and I needed to set it for DHCP. Well I changed that setting and it worked perfectly (although I swear the first time it did not work like that). Then we went through all the neat settings.

When I got home Ike's peeps were already showing up for what we seems to be shaping up as a weekly gathering. It will be a long 6 years if that is the case. Ike definitely is changing his social scene. He has sort of left his St. Paul, Muskego class in the dust. Those kids were all good kids but I can see that Ike is a lot less frustrated and quite a bit happier with his new crowd. They are mostly freshmen either at Wisco or one from New Berlin Eisenhower so they are all his age. He also hangs out with two other separate groups of friends at different times. There is a group of girls and some guys from the 8th grade at Greenfield Middle School and there is most of the 8th grade class at St. Paul's, Franklin. He is getting pretty handy at getting around town on his bike to visit them all. They all serve different purposes. The Franklin crowd is his crowd for hanging out at the Wisco football games and during football season. The Greenfield crowd are for going to Southridge with or hanging out in summer. The freshmen are the core group and they are for hanging out on weekends. I think that Ike is happy with this crowd because they share a common interest in the same music, girls, myspace, video games,the mall, and preening themselves. Additionally the kids all have a certain amount of independence and are not so limited on their activities. They can spontaneously go to the mall when they want, sleep over at each others houses, stay up till all hours of the night, ride their bikes around the city, take the bus, etc..

My job is to drive them around when they are not all on bikes apparently. This cold rainy weekend was such a time. I took Nick home saturday morning . I took Ike and Joey to joey's house (they went to the mall). then I picked Ike and joey up to go to the Wisco game. Then I took them back to joey's. Then Karen and I actually got a chance to eat dinner and were going to go to the mall but then Ike called and wanted to go to the mall with joey so they could talk to Rosa (the cashier at hot topic that joey was flirting with on the first trip to the mall that day) So Karen and I picked them up and brought them to the mall. Of course they were too cool to leave with us, so they went to Rosa's house just down the road from the mall and I went and picked them up an hour and a half later and took joey home. That was Saturday.

While at the mall Karen and I walked around JCPenney looking at clothes for Karen with their uber big sale. We were coming up with ways to make Kt's life more interesting at cleanup time like putting all the hangers opposite each other every other one or tying all the sleeves of the shirts together in a long chain. Instead we went to Juniors and found Kt and then pointed out all the messed up stuff which she appreciated soooo much. When I finally did get home I worked on some homework. I think Karen set up a facebook for herself.

Sunday I was the big man in charge for church. Pastor and Sarah were jetting off to Phoenix to study the inner workings of Crosswalk Church in AZ. They are a chruch that started off much like ours and is about 3 years older than us. They have 350 members already and have already provided a lot of guidance. Pastor and Sarah were doing lots of research on outreach programs and worship styles. So I opened up church and set up things. I briefed the Sem student who was filling in for Pastor. He did very well and seemed very comfortable. Seemed pretty natural at the whole leading a service thing and it went as smooth as if he had been doing it forever. I did notice his hand shaking at times though at the beginning of the service. We had another large crowd. We had better find a new worship home soon. It would be interesting to be a church in a rented facility that had to go to two services.

Sunday afternoon I took a little nap to make my nagging headache go away but after that I finished up an 8 page paper that was due. I also typed up a project proposal. a fun day of typing for sure. I also managed to make dinner in there and do some laundry and wash the dishes. We have this darn fruit fly problem that is annoying and I don't know how to get rid of them. It started out with one lonely banana but now they are all over the house and they are multiplying. Maybe I need a bug bomb or something.

Oo I forgot to mention that Wisco won round 3 for the state playoffs against Greendale. It was a close back and forth game and either team could've won but Wisco stepped up when they needed to and won 33-27. I don't think the next game willbe as competitive. It was a verycold and wet game with it being about 35 degrees and misting/raining. I had blankets and such. Ike seemed rather clothed with girls that I think he stayed pretty warm. I never had a coat like that when I was 14.

I guess that covers it. Have a good week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Good Perspective

Pastor Ben forwarded this Quiz. Take a minute to complete the following “True/False” test…

  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.
  • True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God Help Us All!!!

I would say there is hardly one thing Greg Jackson and I agree on but this one topic. I think this picture he had on his blog just about says it all.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend 11/2/2008

It was a busy little weekend. Ike had off all last week and Kt has off last Thursday and Friday as well as Monday. Kt left on Thursday after lunching with a Dr. friend from NML who was kindly sharing advice for medical school and such. She went to Madison to stay with her grandparents and get a haircut, pester her Grandfather, eat good food, etc.. On saturday she headed up to Wisconsin Rapids for the State Cross Country meet. Wisco girls took 5th. Not as good as last year but still a great finish. After the meet she followed the team down to the WI Dells to stay at the Wilderness and squeal I imagine. She finally got back home a few hours ago after snagging another good meal off Gpa and gma on the way back through Madison. She traveled almost 300 miles without smashing the car or anything.

Ike had friends over Friday night. Good lord were they loud for just 3 other guys. they really are a diverse group of odd ducks. All very different yet they all hang out together.

Saturday Karen went on an outing with her Mom, Sister-in-law, and Aunt to Ten Chimneys. Its an old estate that was home to some ancient actors/directors. Then they went out for dinner. Ike and I went to the Wisco game where in a reformation spirit we kicked Catholic Memorial's butt. Ike went off to hang out with girls and I'm not sure he saw much of the game. It was good though. They will play Greendale this next weekend at Greendale. Rematch of last year. After the game I took Ike to work. Of course that still sounds very strange but so far it works out well. About 10 hours only on Saturdays and Sundays. The clientele can sometimes be "interesting" and he is definitely learning those important customer service skills.

Today was church, podcast preparation, and homework day. I turned in all my homework for week one. As cynical as I am, it was actually interesting.

Well this week Ike is back at school and its back to the routine. Next week his Basketball team starts.

Got a letter from Zach. He is doing a lot better. He still focuses on food and what he would like to eat and rating all the food he does get. He cracks me up. He feels he is doing well. He thinks he can achieve the sharpshooter designation. Well if he made it, it already happened on Friday. We just won't get a letter until the middle of the week if we're lucky to tell us the results. His platoon is doing well too which is good but he noted that they get a lot of scrutiny because of it. Well it only makes him stronger.

Reformation Sunday

Today in Bible study we studied Acts 17 where Paul preaches in Athens. After reading this it is apparent that Paul was the first "Church Growther". He went to Athens and:

Went to the market place and talked to anyone who would listen.
  • That my folks is evangelism. He was teaching the Word outside of church the unbelievers. A crusader would have no part in this. The Word is only present in a church, with a traditional service and communion offered.
He went to the Ariopagus (sp?) to speak to the intellectual leaders of the day.
  • That is like a WELS pastor walking giving a talk to UC Berkely or UW Madison. A hot bed of stoicism and epicureanism so we learned. Funny but those two philosophies are alive and well today. Its pretty shameful that Paul would ever give a talk outside his Lutheran church, hey?

He was contemporary:

  • When he spoke, as usual, he used a style that spoke to the people in that community and that appealed to their intellectual interests. He noted that they had an altar to an unknown God and indicated he had the answers as to whom that God was. Without ever once mentioning the name of Jesus he told them the gospel. He appealed to their natural knowledge of the law to establish the creator God's existence. He quoted two famous poets of the day to show that even their own poets and philosophers spoke of an Almighty God.
  • So far in Paul's travels he adjusts his approach and message based on whether he was addressing jews or greeks. This is just an exemplary case.

He created an opportunity to speak the Word again.

  • Paul was invited back to discuss more about what he had said. He did not fully reveal all of God's truths yet some believed and started following him right away. It was baby steps in a bastian of humanism.

Last week we talked about his travels in Thessalonica and Berea. Before that his mission in Philippi with Lydia and crew. Everything was non-traditional. Even the messages he spoke when he went to the traditional Synagogue was not like they had heard before which is evidenced by how the traditional jews often tried to stone paul, arrest Paul, etc...

You cannot study Acts and ephesians and believe the legalism that falls out of the mouths of crusaders. Although their intentions are good they simply lost true Lutheranism in an attempt to create a Lutheran canon church. The more I study both the Bible and the confessions my pity for them increases.