Dad Gift 2017

This is a little tradition I started a few years ago. Every year, I give my kids one "dad gift" which comes directly from me. With the move and the wedding this year, I made it very easy on myself and took everyone on a quick trip to the happiest place on earth.

The idea of Disneyland is a simple one. It will be a place for people to find happiness and knowledge. It will be a place for parents and children to share pleasant times in one another’s company; a place for teachers and pupils to discover greater ways of understanding and education. Here the older generation can recapture the nostalgia of days gone by, and the younger generation can savor the challenge of the future. - Walt Disney

We had a great day climbing through both parks and building great memories together! I love this crazy bunch.

Thanks Walt!

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

Independence Day Traditions

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"The 2007 cake"

For the last half dozen years, we have maintained the tradition of getting together with my best friend (he has a blog, but I refuse to link to it anymore, because he doesn't update it anymore...so I keep linking to this funny picture of him) and his family to celebrate the Fourth of July.  We do the same thing most people do:

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We eat watermelon

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"Up, up and away!"

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"To infinity...and beyond!"

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"Waiting for the water balloon to arrive"

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"Houston...we have a problem..."

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My best friend setting up the fireworks

Then of course we have a tradition that is somewhat unique to our family...one that has kids preparing for weeks prior to the event, with much off-season training/strategizing/and discussion...of course I am speaking of...

"The Annual 4th of July Obstacle Course"

...  This is a unique land, sea and air event that includes every kid trying to achieve the best time.  It includes the following items, all important to be qualified for the race:

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Running around the house!

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Doing a goofy jump

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Climbing the waterslide

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the 2007 champion Crossing the finish line

This year was an even better year, because two sets of grandparents were included and participated in the day (well...not the obstacle course...but the hanging out and eating the food part).

Actually it was yet another of those multigenerational opportunities we have around here for kids to live life in the shadow of their grandparents.  The little ones build constant memories of whole family events while at the same time treating their grandparents to smiles and laughs.

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Grandfathers 2007

Quietly making noise,

Fletch

Man...That's a Lot of Kids!

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The Saturday Morning Crew

On Saturday, the ladies from our church hosted a "Homeschool Mom Encouragement Day."  It was complete with fun discussions/seminars about homeschooling, a curriculum swap, a great catered lunch, free lattes at mid-morning, and just a bunch of good fellowship with other moms.  The intent of the day was to encourage newer homeschooling moms by having seasoned moms share their joys, trials, struggles and successes (without having to feed kids/husbands for the day). 

My best friend Eric (

I've mentioned him before

) and I helped our wives to get the church set-up and ready for the event with the famous "conquer and divide" technique.  Early Saturday morning he drove over with the big boys to get tables up and sound/lights turned on, while I stayed home with the younger kids to feed them breakfast and watch reruns of Columbo.

Do the math with me here...we have 14 children between us...he took the top two boys...that left 12 (but the baby goes everywhere with mom, so that actually left 11) between the ages of twelve and one.  The photo at the top are all of them waiting to eat breakfast...and the photo at the bottom is how I chose to feed the hungry mob.

Had you told me sixteen years ago that I would be feeding breakfast on a Saturday morning to nearly a dozen kids, I probably would have laughed (or ran away...).  I also understand that caring and feeding for a herd of kids is not the highlight for most men's Saturday morning...but in and amongst the donut swapping, juice spilling and funny discussions around our kitchen table, I clearly recognized God's calling on my life.

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Nothing fancy - donuts, fruit, Sunny D

P.s.  Ek and Smidge...please watch what you eat and continue to take care of yourselves...I am not ready to do this every Saturday yet...

Quietly making noise,

Fletch

Go on...You can do it...It's easy

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The other day, a friend wrote about a dinner party they held this weekend for two families with seven kids each (and a few sets of grandparents).  It took a long time to get it on the calendar and when we finally got together the entire bash was 22 guests (excluding the four in her family) that she and her husband provided for.  This event was complete with BBQ, drinks, killer salsa and dessert.

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Here's the point...as she wrote in her blog, they don't have a huge place and they are the parents of two little girls themselves, but that did not keep them from hosting a great time at their house with a ton of busy little people...and I know...my family was nine of them.  But, too often people are unwilling to show hospitality to anyone...let alone two families with fourteen kids between the ages of 3mos and 14. 

We had a great time.  The Howards were welcoming hosts and made it a very comfortable evening.  The food and drinks were ready when we got there and we sat down to the meal almost immediately. 

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So many people think they lack the means or ability to show hospitality.  Somehow we've communicated in our society that this requires the perfect house or the perfect cook, but  we need to realize that it takes neither of those and it just takes a little effort! (Thank you Howards for great food and fellowship!).

Quietly making noise,

Fletch