Sunday, November 30, 2008

The old alma mater

Saturday I met up with my old roommate Joel. I went to lunch, saw their kids, their house, just sat around and caught up. Afterwards we walked around Dordt to see what had changed, and then I wandered around Sioux Center.

When I used to come back to college, I always got that sinking feeling in my stomach. This time, I think I was a little bit nostalgic. If anyone had told me 9 years ago that I would actually miss Dordt someday, I would have said they were on crack. Guess not though...

Building B, the site of many good times. And a garbage man that comes way too early in the morning (our room was the bottom right, right next to the cans.)

The Fareway grocery store, where Todd worked...

Pat's Jewelry is still around. Maybe I should have taken Paige's ring back this trip to have them look at the diamond that cracked...

Bamboo Garden! I'm amazed this place is still in business. We always called it Bamboo Louie's. To this day, any Chinese restaurant around our house is referred to as Bamboo Louie's.

The Dordt Chapel still looks like it always did. Although the view from the roof is probably different, given all the changes on campus. Not that we were ever on the chapel roof or anything...

The water tower north of town. Nice view from there... not that we were ever on top of the water tower either...

The Sioux Center grain elevator. I am sure the view from there is nice as well... not that I would know how winded you can get climbing that ladder as fast as you possibly can so as not to be spotted...
Good times were had there. I do kind of miss it...

Congratulations Dale and Alyona!

My Uncle Dale got married on Friday to Alyona. The wedding was beautiful, and everything went smoothly, at least from my view. Except for the minister who pronounced Alyona's name differently every single time he said it. ;)

Grandpa practicing walking Alyona down the aisle.


Uncle Roger got hungry. Aunt Alice and I ran to Hardee's and got him a burger. He was literally taking bites between ushering people in. Hilarious!

The bride and groom

Congratulations Dale and Alyona!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Poetry Thursday

So I missed poetry Wednesday, because I was flying to Iowa. Now that I am here, my Aunt Alice gives me a hard time about posting poetry, something about me being more well rounded than she thought (in more ways than one), but that she wanted something more up beat, not so gloomy, and that she was starting to wonder if I needed help...

So for Aunt Alice, an appropriate poem of a man giving thanks for his circumstances...

The Galley-Slave
- By Rudyard Kipling

Oh, gallant was our galley from her carven steering-wheel
To her figurehead of silver and her beak of hammered steel.
The leg-bar chafed the ankle and we gasped for cooler air,
But no galley on the waters with our galley could compare!

Our bulkheads bulged with cotton and our masts were stepped in gold --
We ran a mighty merchandise of niggers in the hold;
The white foam spun behind us, and the black shark swam below,
As we gripped the kicking sweep-head and we made the galley go.

It was merry in the galley, for we revelled now and then --
If they wore us down like cattle, faith, we fought and loved like men!
As we snatched her through the water, so we snatched a minute's bliss,
And the mutter of the dying never spoiled the lover's kiss.

Our women and our children toiled beside us in the dark --
They died, we filed their fetters, and we heaved them to the shark --
We heaved them to the fishes, but so fast the galley sped
We had only time to envy, for we could not mourn our dead.

Bear witness, once my comrades, what a hard-bit gang were we --
The servants of the sweep-head, but the masters of the sea!
By the hands that drove her forward as she plunged and yawed and sheered,
Woman, Man, or God or Devil, was there anything we feared?

Was it storm? Our fathers faced it and a wilder never blew.
Earth that waited for the wreckage watched the galley struggle through.
Burning noon or choking midnight, Sickness, Sorrow, Parting, Death?
Nay, our very babes would mock you had they time for idle breath.

But to-day I leave the galley and another takes my place;
There's my name upon the deck-beam -- let it stand a little space.
I am free -- to watch my messmates beating out to open main,
Free of all that Life can offer -- save to handle sweep again.

By the brand upon my shoulder, by the gall of clinging steel,
By the welts the whips have left me, by the scars that never heal;
By eyes grown old with staring through the sunwash on the brine,
I am paid in full for service. Would that service still were mine!

Yet they talk of times and seasons and of woe the years bring forth,
Of our galley swamped and shattered in the rollers of the North;
When the niggers break the hatches and the decks are gay with gore,
And a craven-hearted pilot crams her crashing on the shore,

She will need no half-mast signal, minute-gun, or rocket-flare.
When the cry for help goes seaward, she will find her servants there.
Battered chain-gangs of the orlop, grizzled drafts of years gone by,
To the bench that broke their manhood, they shall lash themselves and die.

Hale and crippled, young and aged, paid, deserted, shipped away --
Palace, cot, and lazaretto shall make up the tale that day,
When the skies are black above them, and the decks ablaze beneath,
And the top-men clear the raffle with their clasp-knives in their teeth.

It may be that Fate will give me life and leave to row once more --
Set some strong man free for fighting as I take awhile his oar.
But to-day I leave the galley. Shall I curse her service then?
God be thanked! Whate'er comes after, I have lived and toiled with Men!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Family picture practice

For my mom's Christmas gift, instead of going to JC Pennys, we've hired a professional photographer to take a family picture. And by professional, I mean one of the engineers at work who takes portraits on the side. I know what you are thinking... an engineer is taking your family picture? Yup. And he is actually pretty good at it.

Anyways, we thought we would have a nice picture taken. You know the ones... where the families are all smiling, look all trendy and hip, like they are a walking commercial for Eddie Bauer or The Gap, probably just drove up in their Lexus SUV, and have Mary Poppins for a nanny back home? Yeah, we want to look like that...

We picked a location at Arizona Falls. Our photographer said that it was kind of loud there. Since our kids all have noise issues, we thought we should try it out first, just to make sure this would work. Get a little practice in, so our kids know what to expect on photo day...

You've seen the Dove Evolution video, right?

I'm hoping our photographer works like that. Because that might be what it takes for us to look like a magazine ad. Let's just say our photographer has his work cut out for him...

"Everybody sit still and smile at the camera!"

"We caaaaaan't look at you. The sun is in our eyes!"

Noah: "I want to start at the bottom of the stairs!"
Levi: "Waaaaaaaahhh!"

"I don't want to be in the picture!"

Can Photshop fix "grumpy and ill-tempered?"

"Levi, you need to behave right now!"

Our poor photographer has no idea what he is in for...

Oh my... we actually managed to get all three smiling.

The location is actually pretty cool. If everyone manages to cooperate, we might actually be able to get some cool pictures.

So in a few weeks, when (if?) I post a nice family photo of us looking like we just walked off the pages of GQ... just know that it's all an illusion...

A nice warm Lego

While I was out mowing the lawn, Paige came outside carrying a Lego in her hand. Everyone was playing upstairs. Paige was off in some other room. As she walked into the playroom, Levi came walking down the hall with a Lego in his hand...

"Mom, what do I do with this?"

"What's in it? Water? Why did you pour water in it?"

"It's not water mom."

Let's just say that it was warm. And matched the color of the Lego.

I'm not sure if I should be appalled at his behavior, or impressed by his, ummm, creativity.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dancing queen

I took Ella to JC Pennys tonight to pick out a princess dress for a birthday party of a preschool friend. Apparently they are dressing as princesses and having tea.

When we got home, three seemingly unrelated events conspired to create great hilarity:
- Ella tried on the dress to show Paige when we got home. Apparently the dress, unbeknownst to me... came with rhythm.
- I was fiddling around on youtube, listening to my usual oddball choices of music.
- We had the video camera out, because while Ella has 352 hours of footage from the first month of her life... we haven't taken any video of Luke since he was six days old. The irony is that Ella ended up the star of the video... again.

(if you get bored, skip to 2:00 for the best moves)

She did not get this from us. She has nearly 100% Dutch genes, and was baptized in the Christian Reformed Church. She should have absolutely no "dance" in her. The dancing gene has been selectively bred out of Dutch CRC'ers for generations, such that we can't even clap in rythym with a hymn anymore. So where she learned that hip waggle, I don't know...

You would think we let the kid watch MTV or something. We don't even have cable! I'm going with the theory that her Aunt Gina taught her all of this...

Seriously though... Paige and I were both crying we were laughing so hard...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poetry Wednesday

Why poetry Wednesdays? And how come the poems I seem to like are so depressing? Glad you asked...

Terence, this is stupid stuff
- A. E. Housman

"Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can't be much amiss, 'tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head:
We poor lads, 'tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship 'tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad."

Why, if 'tis dancing you would be
There's brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh, many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world's not.
And faith, 'tis pleasant till 'tis past:
The mischief is that 'twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie god knows where,
And carried half-way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I've lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.

Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure,
I'd face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
'Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul's stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white's their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt
- I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bike ride

We loaded up the kids and took them for a bike ride tonight. Ella was a great big sister and kept an eye on her little brother for his first bike ride. He fell asleep just as we pulled up to the house. I ran in to get the camera, but he woke up as soon as the wheels stopped turning. Not a good sign for the Michigan road trip this summer...

Levi and Noah spent the whole time yelling that the scruffy varmit was chasing them, and for me to pedal faster to get away.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 16, 2008

First hike up the mountain

We spent the whole day at Grandma's today, just hanging out around the house. At some point during the afternoon, I was roused from my Sunday afternoon nap and told that we were going for a hike. So we loaded up into Grandma's Camry and drove over the the base on the little mountain behind her house.

I was amazed that Ella, Levi, and Noah all climbed to the top of the first hill under their own power. Levi and Noah not only didn't get out of breath... both of them talked non-stop the entire way up the hill. Obviously that trait does not come from their father...

Enjoying the view...

Looking to the north-east. Grandma's house is circled in red. When I was a kid, the area outlined in green was all a big desert lot. I think we spent virtually every spare moment we had out there, riding bikes, digging forts, shooting gophers with pellet guns. It makes me a little sad that my boys don't have a big empty lot at the end of our street where they can do the same things I did as a kid. Of course, wandering the neighborhood with pellet guns will probably get you arrested these days...

Now instead of a desert lot, people are building these absolutely ginormous houses right up at the border of the mountain preserve. It's a little sad, even for a total free market private property guy, to see his childhood playground become an expensive housing development.

Then we headed back down the hill...

I think the hike wore them out completely. Noah couldn't keep his eyes open by 7 PM. All three of them cashed out on the drive home, and were transferred to their beds without a peep. It was a good day...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The four horseman of the...

...Addink clan. No... not Strife, War, Famine, and Death. Although some days when I get home from work, it sure appears that Strife and War have been galloping full bore through the house. And I am sure Famine will visit us when the boys all hit about 13 and start eating us out of house and home.

But Ella, Levi, and Noah got to ride horses at the PCS fall festival today. They were thrilled...

Luke just rode in his jumper when we got home...

Levi has his moments too

Levi, just now, talking about his baby brother:

"He's so cute he's like a little smakerel of honey!"

Merry Christmas!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lines of the day

Noah provides lots of entertainment around our house. He is always saying something crazy. Just today...


Upon discovering that ants were crawling all over the back porch:

"Mom, this is serious! There are ants marching in a row right into our house! This calls for firepower!"

Ahhhhhh, now that is what I like to hear...


Lately we are discovering bones in our house. We often get questions about whether there is a bone in your arm, or in you ear, or in your eye. And when they fall down or run into something, we typically hear some version of "It's ok, I didn't break any of my bones."

But today, while reading stories before naps, Noah topped any previous discovery of bone locations...

"Mommy, I guess that little ball in my privates is just a bone."


Tonight, after he used the facilities, the door flew open like there was a fire in there, his head popped out, and he screamed down the hallway...

"Ella, you gotta come see this!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stick it to the man!

Ok, not really. But instead of letting some government bureaucrat decide how to use your tax dollars, you can actually decide how to spend some of it yourself. And we would greatly appreciate it if you would direct some of those tax dollars to Ella's tuition for school next year. If you are an Arizona resident, please click on the post title to keep reading...

Dear friends and family,

It’s hard to believe that Ella will be starting Kindergarten in the fall of 2009! Seems like a long ways off yet, but it is already time to start planning. Ella will be going to Bethany Learning Center next year. Christian education is a huge priority for Paige and me. We both attended Christian schools from Kindergarten through college, at great expense to our parents. We plan to do everything we can to give our kids the same blessing. But obviously we will need to pay for tuition, and it doesn’t come cheap. Although we pay state taxes to support the public schools, we are not able to direct this tax money to educating our own kids at the school of our choice. This is where we are asking for your help.

Arizona provides a method that people can help pay for someone’s private school tuition through a tax credit. Basically, you send money to a tuition organization, the tuition organization grants the money to the student you indicate, and then you claim a dollar-for-dollar tax credit when you file your return. If you file jointly (married), you can donate up to $1000. Single filers can donate up to $500. You should also be able to take the donation as a deduction on your federal income taxes (previous statement not to be construed as tax preparation advice, consult your tax preparer, blah, blah, etc.) The Arizona tax forms to claim the credit are very simple (I do them myself every year.) The only real work you have to do is fill out the attached paperwork and send in a check (or you can even donate online.) The only issue is that you have to make sure that you do not donate more than the total Arizona income taxes that you owe (you can carry the credit forward for 5 years if this happens.)

As an example, if your AZ tax bill for the year was $1200, and you donated $1000 to the tuition organization, your tax bill would be reduced to $200 after applying the credit. If your tax bill was $800 and you donated $1000, your tax bill would be reduced to $0 (and you could claim a credit for the additional $200 next year.) If not much has changed in your tax situation from last year, you can look at your previous return to get an idea of the maximum you could donate without reducing your taxes past $0.

We have set Ella up with ACTSO. We have been donating through them to various students for about 9 years now. Unfortunately, we cannot donate to our own children (by law.) Feel free to take a look at their website for more information. The Q&A section should be able to answer any question you have. If you can’t find the answer there, please feel free to contact me and I will try to answer your questions. If you decide to donate, the check must be postmarked by December 31, 2008 in order to claim a credit on your 2008 taxes. You can either fill out the attached form and donate by check or credit card, or you can donate online at the ACSTO website.

We realize that the Christmas season isn’t typically the best time for people to spend $1000, even if you will get it back in a few months. Unfortunately that is how the program is set up due to the tax year.

We would greatly appreciate your help in paying for our children’s tuition through your tax dollars.

Jason and Paige Addink

PS: If you feel comfortable, please send us a note to let us know if you decide to donate. We would just like to have some idea of what to expect for tuition next year.

Poetry Wednesday

I'm posting a day early this week, in order to post a collection of poems related to Armistice Day and the end of WWI...

Here Dead We Lie
- A E Housman

Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

In Flanders Fields
- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The Immortals
- Isaac Rosenberg

I killed them, but they would not die.
Yea! all the day and all the night
For them I could not rest or sleep,
Nor guard from them nor hide in flight.

Then in my agony I turned
And made my hands red in their gore.
In vain - for faster than I slew
They rose more cruel than before.

I killed and killed with slaughter mad;
I killed till all my strength was gone.
And still they rose to torture me,
For Devils only die in fun.

I used to think the Devil hid
In women’s smiles and wine’s carouse.
I called him Satan, Balzebub.
But now I call him, dirty louse.

For the Fallen
- Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is a music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncountered:
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.

Dulce et Decorum Est
- Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

I think the last one is my favorite...

Mamas, don't let your babies...

Paige emailed me the following anecdote at work today:

So at lunch the kids were having an in-depth conversation about their ages. They were explaining to one another that they were three and then would be four and then five and then six and so on. Ella was using her limited basic math skills to inform "the boys" that when they were four, she would then be six. I was at the kitchen sink doing dishes and they were discussing on and on how they were going to progress in age.

Finally I chimed in and said "Well don't grow up too fast because I want to keep you my babies for longer!"

Noah hops down from his chair, comes over to me, and with a very serious face tells me:

"Mommies don't want their babies to grow up to be cowboys."

Hmmmmmm, wonder where he got that. :)

Then back at the table he shares a chicken tender with Levi:

"Leev, you know why I shared this with you?"

"Why Noah?"

"Because I love you Leev."

Awwwwwwwwww. I really don't want my babies to grow up too fast.

We often sing to our kids when we tuck them into bed. Paige usually sings good old fashioned hymns, or Sunday school songs. I do sometimes as well, but usually they request one of these two...

And Ella's all time favorite, Seven Spanish Angels (have to link to it, cause it doesn't let me embed it.) Ella knows pretty much all the words to this one...

This makes me chuckle...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mister four eyes

Levi came wandering out of our bedroom tonight wearing my glasses.

I asked him if he could see out of them.

"No! Everything looks craaaaaaaathy!"

Well, at least we know his vision isn't too bad yet. Although, judging from the rest of his bedtime ensemble, he might have to have his eyes checked after all...
Posted by Picasa