Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And the walls came tumblin' down

7:00 AM: Get to work early, so I can leave early to fly to South Dakota with Ella.

9:30 AM: Get a panicked call from Paige in the parking lot of Walmart, saying she has another kidney stone, and can't drive anywhere.

9:37 AM: I arrive in the Walmart parking lot, having shaved approximately 5 minutes off my previous "drive home" record time.

9:45 AM: Back the direction I came from, we arrive at the ER with three boys in tow.

Couldn't keep track of the exact time: I wait while Paige gets checked in at the ER, then drive the kids to our friend's house (thanks Denese and Eric!), then drive back to Walmart to swap cars, then home to pack all the luggage in the car, then to another friend's house (thanks Dilcia!) to pick up Ella, who was at VBS, then back to the hospital to say goodbye to Paige, my mom having now arrived at the hospital (thanks mom!), then off to the airport to catch our flight to South Dakota.

And yes, I felt like a lousy husband for leaving my wife in the hospital, but she told me to get Ella to South Dakota, no matter what.

1:30 PM: Arrive at the airport. Check in, find out the plane is delayed, so we leave for Target to pick out a coloring book (for Ella, not me.)

2:30 PM: Arrive back at the airport, head through security.

2:35 PM: Get paged on the overhead speakers back to the ticket counter. Apparently my pepper spray is giving the baggage screeners a coronary. Explain that it does indeed lock, and I have flown with it multiple times. They finally let it pass.

2:36 PM: Realize that in the five minutes since I went through security last, I lost our boarding passes. Crud. Get a new boarding pass printed.

2:40 PM: Back through security...

Sometime in here: Paige calls to let me know that she was discharged from the ER, with pain meds, and is headed to pick up the boys and go home, with the help of my mom.

Now I don't feel like such a lousy husband, since Paige seems to have passed the stone and is headed home.

5:30 PM: We finally take off, 2 hours late.

10:00-ish PM (SD Time): We land. First message on my phone is from Paige... "Back in ER"


After that eventful start to the trip, it was a little hard to relax. But Ella and I tried to enjoy ourselves. The purpose of the trip was two-fold. To get Ella to Grandpa, so she could ride back with him to Michigan. And to shoot down a silo.

That's right. Shoot. Down. A silo.

(the one on the left)

Hooked the top of the silo to a cable, and the cable to a dozer, just for a little extra assurance...

We cut a few of the steel bands so there was a nice crumple zone...

Paige's grandpa took a whack at it with the sledgehammer. We then proceeded to hammer out about a quarter of the blocks around the diameter on the side we wanted it to fall towards...

Took a short break for a traditional Meyer game of marbles...

Then the fun began. There were three of us with rifles and shotguns. Three or four rifle shots, or two shotgun slugs would generally take out one block. We just kept firing, and worked our way around. After the last shot, gave it a little tug with the dozer, and that put it over the edge (skip to 1:09 if you just want to see it fall)...

All that is left is a pile of rubble...

The next day we were off to the family reunion. Ella and her three second cousins provided plenty of entertainment. Given that there was an American Legion display on the wall, the girls thought it was fun to march around the room...

And salute...

We took a break at the Volga city park...

And then settled in for a movie...

The four second cousins spent the majority of their time at the farm chasing around this kitten. That poor little thing will probably be terrified of little blonde girls for the rest of it's life. Although it did come and find them every time it heard them outdoors...

I think Ella is trying to convince Grandpa to bring it home with them. She just might succeed.

Finally, a picture of Ella with her great-grandpa Meyer...

I left a very sad little Ella with Grandpa (ok, ok, I was a little teary eyed too) to play on the farm a few more days and then road trip to Michigan. I headed home with Paige's mom (who moved her flight up a few days.)

Back in Phoenix, my mom had watched our kids all weekend, while Paige was in the hospital trying to figure out what to do about the kidney stone, with her friends from church taking care of her and assuring me that I should stay in South Dakota and try to relax. Paige didn't get out of the hospital until just before we got home on Sunday.

Other than a kidney stone or two... a great little trip!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The "something" we are just doing...

You might want to check out the top banner for a “minor” announcement. No details yet, as we are still in the application phase. We’ll post more later. But you should get the general idea… ;)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

from Mark Driscoll (link to a free e-book...)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Walk this way

The rock version...

The hillbilly version (yes, I actually own this CD...)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The luchadores!

Seriously, what do you do when your kids want to wrestle with you, and the three little maniacs come charging at you looking like this?

I could barely defend myself, I was laughing so hard...
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

South of the border

We got back yesterday from a six day "vacation" in Rocky Point, Mexico. The Walcott clan has been going there for something like 30 years. The last 10 years or so we have stayed in the lovely Madre del Mar. That's right... 30 people all crammed into one house. It's a good thing we all get along.

The Tucson and Phoenix folks met up in the booming metropolis of Why, AZ (population 113)...

...and then the convoy rolled out south towards the border. Thankfully our kids got a good nap in on the way down (unlike our last Rocky Point trip, which involved projectile vomit the entire car ride down... and the whole time we were there.)

Once in Rocky Point, we passed under the famous giant road sign. How long does it take you to find which direction to "Las Conchas?"

Rocky Point vacations involve pretty much the same routine that has occurred for the past 30 years...

We sit around and eat too much junk food all day.

We discuss pretty much every current event in politics and religion. Even though most of us are on the same side of the political and religious spectrum, we can still find plenty to argue about. This is pretty much a standard activity at any Walcott gathering, and has to be one of my favorite activities in Rocky Point.

We scour the beach for pieces of any dead animal that happen to wash up on shore. By the end of the trip there were crab shells, a bird skeleton, a fish head, and various feathers gathered in Ella's "treasure" bucket. Luckily the seal carcass up the beach was too heavy to haul to the house...

We play in the ocean. (Paige commented that she would like everyone to pretend those are her skinny legs behind Luke... and not my cousin's...)

I didn't get any pictures of Levi and Noah in the ocean. But they were fearless. Swimming lessons definitely reduced their fear of water, but not in proportion with an increase in swimming ability. They would strap on their life jackets and arm floaties, go crashing chest deep into the water, and promptly get pummeled by the next big wave. Then come up spraying seawater from their nose... and loving every minute of it.

We watch awesome sunsets...

We play in the ocean some more (usually the waves in Rocky Point are fairly anemic. This year there was a pretty good wind howling most days, and the waves were actually a little bigger...)

We rented some kayaks this year as well. We took them out the first day... and got beaten up by the waves (or at least I did.) Got flipped over several times, worked way to hard to paddle out, and lost my only pair of glasses to a wave. Luckily my cousin had a spare pair that was a close enough match that I wasn't blind the rest of the weekend (thanks J!)

We also managed to get really close to a dolphin. We see them every year swimming off shore, but I don't think we have ever managed to get very close (although I do recall a few times trying to swim out far enough and never making it.) This year one curious dolphin got close enough to the kayaks for us to get a good look. Close enough that I could have poked it with the paddle a few times. It swam around the kayaks, under the kayaks, between the kayaks, and surfaced within about 30 feet. We paddled around with it for a good 20-30 minutes before it got bored and left. Very cool.

We beat each other with sticks (or at least the younger cousins did. Apparently I am becoming an old fart...)

We scour the beach for crabs. Now we just catch them, but when I was a kid we would generally blow them up with cheap Mexican fireworks...

Ella tried a new activity this year... tatooing pretty much anyone who would let her. I think she spent a good 2 hours applying temporary tatoos to all the aunts and cousins and coloring them in...

Even her baby brother got all tatted up...

We drive around without seatbelts. You would think that when visiting a third world country with a marginal health care system, you would use more caution than normal. Apparently not. Luke wasn't sure what to make of it...

But Levi and Noah thought bouncing around the back seat unrestrained was pretty much the highlight of their short lives...

We visit smelly semi-maintained aquariums. Like Sea World... only cheaper!

We let our children stick their heads and appendages (holding tasty fish bits) through a rusty chain link fence...

...while a large, very noisy, untrained and probably dangerous sea lion launches himself out of the murky water to grab said tasty fish bits (and hopefully not heads or appendages...)

And we launch fireworks from the beach, while trying to keep all of our fingers attached. Now we go for the bigger (and more expensive) ones. But when I was a kid I would buy bags of these cheap Mexican fireworks, with fuses that lasted anywhere from 18 seconds to half a blink of an eye (and you never knew which it was going to be.) These would be used to explode any sea creature we could find on the beach (living or dead) as well as lit at any random time for no apparent reason. This year I believe someone asked me if I was going with for the fireworks so that they knew there would be "at least one adult there." Apparently I have now become the voice of caution at the fireworks show. Not sure exactly how that happened...

We made the long drive home on Tuesday, and collapsed back into the house around 3 PM. Vacations with four kids are far more exhausting than not-vacations. But if our kids have the same good memories from Mexico that I have... so worth it.

And as if our kids didn't get enough sand in strange places and seawater up their snouts... by approximately 4 PM they were already playing in the backyard... in the sandbox and water table. Sheesh...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just do something!

Via a review on Pyromaniacs, I found this book and bought it before our trip to Mexico.

All I can say is that you should buy it too, and read it. There were so many good parts of this book, from an explaination of God's will, to why people are obsessed with "discovering it", to addressing the most common ways Christians attempt to divine God's will (open doors, fleeces, random Bible verses, and impressions.)

Some sample quotes, that I think briefly sumarize the thesis of the book:

Trusting in God's will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God's will of direction is a mess. It is bad for your life, harmful to your sanctification, and allows too many Christians to be passive tinkerers who strangely feel more spiritual the less they actually do.

God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him.

Because we have confidence in God's will of decree, we can radically commit ourselves to His will of desire, without fretting over a hidden will of direction.

In other words, God doesn't take risks, so we can.

And this, after a single page summary of the Biblical criteria for choosing a spouse that would answer 90% of the questions (if only they would listen) of those wondering if they had found "the one", made me chuckle:

Gentlemen, there are wonderful Christian girls waiting for you to act, well, like a man. Stop waiting for romantic lighting to strike. Stop waiting for the umpteenth green light. Stop "hanging out" every night without making your intentions clear... Men, if you want to be married, find a godly gal, treat her right, talk to her parents, pop the question, tie the knot, and start making babies.

So why am I reading a book on determining God's will? Because, I am trying to determine it, of course. How's that for irony? Did I find it? You could say it was God's will that I read that book. It was obviously a sign. Of course, you would only say that if you didn't pay attention at all to the book.

So we will probably just do something, knowing that God doesn't take risks, so we can...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



I took the three older kids to the grocery store on Monday. We were in the checkout line, waiting for the man in front of us to finish loading his groceries onto the conveyor.

Says Noah, excitedly, and a little too loudly...

"Dad! That man in front of us is almost ready to have his baby!"

I'm not sure if the pregnant man heard him. I was laughing too hard to tell...


Ella was playing with her Little People yesterday. As usual, they were carrying on a rather involved imaginary conversation. I was working on the computer, not really paying attention to what the plastic people were saying, until a horrifying phrase caught my ear, in a sing-songy voice that makes it obvious someone made up a little jingle just to get it to stick...

"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!"

You try as a parent to keep them innocent. But no matter what you do...

I'll probably spend the rest of my life trying to get that one not to stick in her brain.

Paige just smiled sweetly at me, with the look that says "Don't blow a gasket..."


My mom and sister came over last night because they wanted to take the kids to see "Up." So I went with, because it looked like a funny movie.

If you haven't seen the previews, the basic story is about this kind of crusty old curmudgeon who floats his house away with a bunch of helium balloons. At one point in the movie, the balloons have begun popping and his house will no longer stay afloat. The old codger begins tossing items out of the house to lighten the load.

Levi is snuggled on my lap, blankie at the ready to cover himself in case there is a scary part. As soon as the old guy tosses the first piece of furniture, Levi whispers to me...

"He's got the right idea Dad..."

"What do you mean buddy?" I ask.

"He's going to throw the heavy stuff out so his house will float again."

What the? My almost 4 year old understands bouyancy? Bouyancy?!? He knew immediately what the old guy was doing. In fact, I think he knew before the old guy started, and was just waiting for him to get to it.

He and his brother scare me a little. Between the two of them, the next 20 years could be, ummmmm... interesting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maybe the "heavy duty" version will shred those?

Ella and I picked up a new paper shredder at Office Max today, after the old one kicked the bucket. The "light duty" version was on sale.

On the top is a line of picture warning labels, warning you not to shred paper clips, your hand, your necktie, or your ponytail.

Or, apparently, your baby...

Maybe you need one with more than an 8 sheet capacity to shred babies?
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