Monday, February 28, 2011

Sports Saturday

This past Saturday is still a blur to me. Good thing the Badger men's basketball team didn't play until Sunday. That would've been a travesty - to miss senior day at the Kohl.

Anyway, it all started with the youth baseball clinic that I run every year at the school where I coach. Two ninety-minute sessions with pizza for the clinicians in between sessions. My son came along and brought a friend. Still trying to figure out why they weren't exhausted after both sessions. After cleaning up and putting things away, we made it home to relax ... for about an hour.

Then, we headed out to basketball. My son played his last game of 1st and 2nd grade hoops. He's had a blast and really loved this season. My mom made the trip up for the weekend, so it was neat to have her come along and watch the game. This particular game even saw my son score quite a few hoops. And my wife had a neat little story to relay after we got home. Seems that the mom sitting next to my wife had a son on the other team. Every time my son got the ball in some space or on a breakaway, the mom would just say, "Oh, that's two." (every time!) Now, think. This is 1st and 2nd grade hoops. So, nothing's a given. But I do have to admit that he made a few shots :)

Proud daddy.

Pictures to follow? Hopefully. Still working on getting videos to load again, too.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tidbits from today's gospel

"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6:27

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6:34: "

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
- Matthew 6:24

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Successfull Youth Baseball Clinic

Ever wonder what it's like to entertain 20-40 six- to thirteen-year-olds for 90 minutes ... while they throw balls and swing bats? Well, that's what we did today ... and it actually went pretty well.

My assistant coaches and I ran a youth baseball clinic for the third year in a row (that I've been head coach, anyway). I had nine of our high school ball players help out - and I couldn't have been more happy with their efforts.

Now, as for the six- to thirteen-year-olds ... well, they did pretty good, too. Between fielding pop-flies and ground balls in a gym, and swinging at balls on tees, it wasn't too hectic and yet everybody seemed to get enough activity ... and maybe they even learned a little bit more about baseball? Who knows.

No matter what, a good time was had by all, and in the end we raised a little money for our baseball program, too.

Side note: Somebody needs to remind me to bring my camera next time. Watching a particular seven-year-old fit right in with the ten- to thirteen-year-old group makes a particular dad pretty proud. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Denver, Dancing, and Squirrels

So, my son and daughter both danced on the side of the room by the tables (and yes, that's me trying to figure out how to "Tweet" something about how much fun we're having). They had a blast. Too bad I didn't get pictures of my wife and I trying to waltz. Apparently the kids (especially my son) were very interested in our dancing.

On the ride back to Gramma's house, we got the evaluation of our efforts: Our Son, "You guys were good. I'd give you an 'A'!!" (With no question from us - just pure injection of feelings.) Our daughter, "You guys just danced in circles." (Which needed a bit more prodding, so ...) My wife, "So, what would you give us, honey?" My daughter, "I'd give you a zero." (Laughter from my wife and I.)

It was all about my wife and her Gramma, and we got a lot of time to spend with Gramma, since we stayed with her at her house. Grass was fun to see, as I've said. And when I got to downloading pictures, I realized that squirrels are apparently a good source for pictures as well. Especially when they're not from LaCrosse [sorry, inside joke ... I think :) ]

Monday, February 21, 2011

We're back, there's snow. This stinks. But weekend was awesome :)

When we got out to Denver on Friday, we landed and headed to the rental car company to pick up our car for the weekend. It was a pretty slick trip out to Denver because the snow was melting in Minnesota, there was hardly any snow in Denver (really "none" but I guess I did see some on the Mountains), and we left on a Friday morning - so very little travel traffic with which to deal.

Once inside the rental car (a  nice Toyota Camry), we set out for Gramma's house. My wife pointing out the HUGE mountains to my kids. My son was a bit interested, but was also just excited to get off the plane and be able to DO anything. My daughter didn't seem to hear. So my wife pointed out again, "Look at the big mountains out your window! Neat, huh?" To which my daughter replied, "Look, Mommy, grass!" Yes, that's right, seeing grass for the first time since November or December sometime trumped the entire concept of the Rocky Mountains.

Oh well. The weather was gorgeous and we even got to play at the park with all the cousins and second- and third-cousins ... or whatever - it's all FAMILY. There were a number of "friends" (family) our kids' age to play with on Sunday when Gramma had everyone over, so it made for an enjoyable day for the kids (and of course, for the rest of us, too). Seeing everyone was great and spending time with Gramma, especially.

Coming back wasn't as fun. But at least we made it on time. Not liking the snow I had to shovel at the end of the driveway from the plow this morning. But LOVING my neighbors for snow-blowing the driveway ... twice! After this weekend, SO THANKFULL for family and friends!

More to come later ... with pictures ... I promise :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

American Legion Post 1

No, really. The Leyden-Chiles-Wickersham is "Post 1" - I couldn't believe it. I mean, growing up, our post was always easy to remember as "Post 333", but to be number 1?! Wow!

We had a great night on Friday as we came into Denver to see my wife's gramma. We ended up taking the kids and Gramma's friend Heinz out to dance after dinner - at Post 1. But, while we were at the Legion dancing with my kids and Gramma, some "crabby old guy" (as my wife put it) decided to talk to my wife while she was at the bar getting pop and drinks for the kids and the rest of us. "Crabby Old Guy" had to tell my wife that "kids need to be out of the American Legion by 9 o'clock." As my wife told me, I had to wonder, "Does that include us?" Needless to say, we were on the low end of the age range with our kids. Not that any of the four of us were going to be there past 9pm - since getting the kids to bed would probably be a two-person job for the night.

The kids enjoyed the music - even danced off to the side of the dance floor. And I've been told that my son really liked watching my wife and I waltz the one time that we got on the dance floor. Social butterfly that he is, my son even found some new friends in Gramma's age bracket :)

Pictures will follow ... I promise.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dancing ... well, okay, spring with a smile instead

Dance videos are easy to take - or so my wife says. I didn't make it to my daughter's Valentine's Day dance class, but I saw the videos - and they are pretty cool. She danced to "If You're Happy and You Know It", "Rock'a'bye a Bear" and some other song that I didn't recognize. All so cute, though :) Problem is, the videos won't upload to my blog. Perturbed = me. Hence, no new blog yet this week ... until now.

Okay, not as perturbed anymore. I just took a picture of my daughter and she was smiling ... see? - well, okay, she was in a good mood. Maybe I didn't capture the smile perfectly, but she was cozy on the couch with her favorite blankets - and yes, she DOES need ALL four of them at the same time.

I think Jimmy the Groundhog (Sun Prairie, WI) knows what he's talking about, too, by the way. And that may be helping my mood, as well. You can even see parts of our deckboards. Woo-hoo! That means I don't get "badgered" by my wife to shovel the deck again. Ok, I probably should've shoveled for a second time about a week or two ago (and my wife doesn't really "badger" me - she just recommends), but, like Jimmy, I KNEW the warm weather was coming - I just didn't know when :)

Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!
I know I did!
Love my wife. Love my kids. 'nough said :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let the light shine upon us and guide us

"Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another." - Romans 14:19

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ever feel like ...

your life is going TOO well? :) Okay, since 2011 has begun, I've watched Wisconsin play a Rose Bowl, the Wisconsin Women's Hockey team stay at #1 in the nation, the Green Bay Packers win a Super Bowl, and the Wisconsin Men's Hoops team take down #1 Ohio State.

My son's parent-teacher-conference went Awe-Some! And he's doing well in hoops. My daughter is doing really well in gymnastics and dance. And Jimmy the Groundhog decided that spring is almost here - almost 40 degrees today!

Yeah, I know - don't count my chickens. Anyway, feeling good. Feeling proud.

On Wisconsin!
Go Pack Go!

Have a day!
God bless!

Love ya'all :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

My cubs :)

No, not THOSE Cubs - my children. :) You know, I haven't been as patient with them as I would've liked to be over the past year or so. So ... I decided to make a plan to stop yelling - ever - and, basically, it has worked. Now, you may look at the kids in the pictures I post and think, "Why would he ever NEED to yell at them?" Ok, you got me. My kids are perfect :) Ok, not really. But they are pretty darn good. I've recently been taking 'snapshots' in my mind when they do things that really make me smile.  
And then, when I need to, I think about those 'snapshots' when they make me want to scream. It's no "Calgon, take me away!" moment or anything. It just gives me a chance to reflect on how good my kids really are. Since the Christmas season, I can count on one hand the number of times I've yelled. If you look at my kids, you'll see that they appreciate it. See ...
Ok, so maybe they just appreciate Daddy being 'happier' and more 'well-adjusted' (that second one is my phrase, I guess). But it seems to be working out for the best. Good thing, because things will get a little harrier (more harry?) as spring baseball gets here. Guess my patience will be tested some more - but hey, it's not like I've won a trophy for 'Best Dad' or anything yet, so I'll keep working. Wait, do I see that 'Best Dad' trophy somewhere on my son's bed-bookshelf .... ?
Nope. I guess not. That's just Digby posing with a bunch of my son's favorite tokens.

Thank God for kids!

PS - If you can guess what any of those tokens are, let me know. Especially WHO signed the baseball. (I know that some of them are easier than others, but go for it - tell me what you think.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aaron Rodgers, other Packers, looking to "follow Jesus' example"

By Art Stricklin (a Dallas-based sports correspondent)
With reporting by Jerry Price, managing editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN
(, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas

Feb 2, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas (BP) -- NFL experts and newspaper headline writers have been quick to label Green Bay starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers the "Leader of the Pack."

Something about 4,712 yards passing and 34 touchdowns, and leading the Packers to the verge of their first Super Bowl title in more than a decade will do that for you.

But Rodgers made it clear in Tuesday's jam-packed Super Bowl XLV Media Day he only wants to be a leader of God's pack when it comes to influencing others to see his faith in Jesus Christ.

"We all have a platform, we all have a message in our lives," Rodgers told Baptist Press and a worldwide media turnout, which ringed his individual interview area. "I just try to follow Jesus' example, leading by example."

During his six years with the Packers, his career has seen enough twists and turns, dead ends and detours to test anyone's faith. An expected top 10 draft choice, he lasted until the end of the first round for reasons he never understood. He stood on the sidelines for three seasons while Packers quarterback Brett Favre went through his yearly will-he-or-won't-he retirement routine as Packers QB.

Finally given a chance to start three years ago, he has matured into one of the top quarterbacks int he league, but not forgetting his past, present and future in Christ.

"God always has a plan for us, a path. Sometimes we wish we knew it sooner," Rodgers said with a bit of a laugh, "but He always shows up His way."

[Rodgers] credits his parents, Ed and Darla Rodgers, who still live in Northern California where he was raised, for showing him a loving and Christ-centered household. He also remains close to his two longtime accountability partners, Pastors Andrew Burchett of the Neighborhood Church in Chico, CA and Young Life Christian youth group leader Matt Hock.

Even in the midst of the craziness of Super Bowl week and Tuesday's Media Day at Cowboys Stadium, Rodgers had already checked in with his accountability team.

"They won't be here Sunday, but they've been calling and texting me," [Rodgers] said. "Matt sent me a photo of his entire Young Life group decked out in Packers' gear."

Rodgers' quiet and humble testimony has been enough to inspire Christian NFL fans everywhere and his own teammates as well.

Rookie defensive end C.J. Wilson, whose father is a Pentecostal minister in Mt. Olive, NC, said he really didn't know what to expect when he showed up for his first NFL season this year. But when he saw the experience of his star quarterback and his witness, Wilson felt encouraged with his own professional football faith.

"I think it does help when your superstar quarterback is walking with God. I've been blessed to be around him and see how God makes all things possible in our lives," Wilson said.

Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings is one of Rodgers' receivers and teammates on the field, but more importantly, a spiritual brother on and off the field. He said he's determined to let Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers be his platform for God.

"I just want to let people know what it's all about. One of the Scriptures I refer to a lot is, 'to whom much is given, much is required,' and I'm required to have a voice because I have a stage and a platform," Jennings said.

"Number one, all glory goes to God. That's where it starts and that's where it finishes."

His father, Greg, Sr., is the pastor of Progressive Deliverance Ministries in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett has been inspired to join an anti-pornography campaign in the NFL this year to help rid the destructive influence among his friends and teammates. He said he had to turn down the invitations of his teammates this week and other times who wanted him to go places he knew was not right.

"I value my family and my wife. I try to stay away from that," Pickett said.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby doesn't have to be reminded about the number of Super Bowl games which have come down to a final touchdown or field goal, including the last Super Bowl held in Texas when the New England Patriots won on a last-second kick in Houston.

But he said his faith in Christ won't allow him to be defined by a single kick.

"I think He helps me knowing that kicking is what I do, not who I am. It's not everything that I am. I can escape knowing that my relationship with Christ is what carries me."

Crosby has also noticed his quarterback's faith and his example to his teammates and the sports world.

"Aaron has a great relationship with the Lord," Crosby said. "He's the face of the franchise and it helps to see he's living the message all of the time.

"I'm always reading in the Proverbs and Psalms to relax my mind before we play," Crosby added. "I know that God cares for me all the time regardless of any outcome here."

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615.244.2355
Fax: 615.782.8736

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The American Badger is a fossorial carnivore, preying predominantly on gophers ...

... and other small animals, such as squirrels, moles, rats, and some ground-walking hawks. Badgers will eat carrion from wild cats and mountain (or nittany) lions. They will also eat plant foods, such as maize (and blue), and nuts (sometimes from a buckeye tree), beans, and sunflower seeds. If backed into a corner, they will protect themselves against native humans, such as Spartans, Hoosiers, Illini, and even those that make boilers and those that husk corn.

(thanks, wikipedia)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Really, USPS?!?! Really?!?!

I'm going back to school this fall - or at least I HOPE to go back to school. I checked out a few grad schools in the cities and decided that Concordia-St Paul would be the best fit. Online classes that meet what I want to learn. Least expensive option, plus, the advisor I met with was really accomodating and made me feel like things would work out. Anyway ...

I printed out all the application material, requested transcripts sent, and filled everything out, including the writing of check for the application fee. Went to the post office on Monday to mail it. Had a nice manilla envelope sealed and addressed - ready to go - except the postage. Always like using the automated machine at the local USPS, so I waited for the one person using it to finish up, then proceeded to weigh the envelope and answer all the questions about what the "package" looked like, what was inside, where it was going, and how I wanted to send it. After which, the machine printed the postage, I placed it on the envelope, and then I put the envelope in the drop box (making sure it went down into the drop bin).

... I got the envelope back today. Nice!

Not enough postage. "Please add additional postage (44 cents), remove this label, and place back in mail."

Thanks. Thank goodness that this wasn't a time-sensitive thing. But ...

Really, USPS?!?! Really?!?!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Basketball, Football, and Champions ...

My son played basketball again this weekend. He had a blast. I know that I posted that on Saturday, but it's still in my mind. I really am quite impressed with his ability to have a good time, do his best, learn, and improve. Very proud!

My daguhter told me this morning, "Three plus three is six ... Six plus six is .... What is six plus six, Daddy?" Well, I gotta admit honey, that's more than I expect out of a four-year-old. Love you, too!

And, of course, yesterday was a blast. I think my wife thought that I was dillusional all day. Had a lot of pent up nerves. Helped to have the Badger basketball game on mid-day ... and to have them blow out Michigan State. Also helped to be going somewhere for the Super Bowl.

Our friends on the lake did a wonderful job of hosting - again! And God bless them for having everybody over - including all the kids. Very fun. Very successfull. Thank you, Packers for your 13th NFL Title!

Deep breath ... and another week begins. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Gotcha, with my 'goofy face'!" :)
And now for something completely different ...
 Yes, basketball. Some actual skill competition and game footage ... from LAST week :)
My son's team has done really well these first two scrimmages. They've hit 48 chest passes in one minute each of the last two weeks during skill competition, and they have won the dribble realy event each week, too. The scrimmages have been fun, as well. My son hit three shots last week and one more this week, while adding some deft passing this week for an assist or two. Proud parents, to say the least (of BOTH the kids - even if my daughter decides her 'goofy face' is her best skill ... which she won't. Hope to have dance or gymnastics pics up sometime soon !

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weekend sleepover with a friend ...

... ok, so it was a "stuffed" friend - a striped lion named Digby, but still :) My son brought home the classroom stuffed animal for the weekend and they had a blast doing a bunch of my son's "usual" activities around the house and over the three day weekend.
First, they played Wii NCAA Football ...
... seriously, they did. Digby won the Rose Bowl for the Badgers!
Then, Digby challenged our house "pet", Pappy, to a game of air hockey ...
... this says that Pappy won. (Only my son would actually take this picture.)
I don't know if Digby lost the bet on air hockey, but he and my son selected "Hotel for Dogs" as the movie they wanted to rent. It was fun to watch. Everyone liked it ... even Digby.

We also had a big party to put a puzzle together. Everybody chipped in - Digby, Papy, Bunny, and Ellie (the elephant). Oh, and my son and daughter put some of the pieces in, too.

Apparently, this was one of Pappy and Digby's favorite books. My son read a few books to his "friends" over the weekend. I guess he's getting pretty good at reading ...

... but maybe you should ask Digby or Pappy about that sometime :)
My son had a basketball scrimmage on Saturday. Digby came along. Maybe it helped my son. He scored a few baskets and even complained about some "floor burns" on his knees. Yes, he was diving for loose balls already. Digby reminded my son that "floor burns" are trophies :)
It seemed like Digby (and my son) had a great weekend. They sure had a lot of fun. So, it was easy to see why they might not want to part when Monday morning came along. Good thing that Pappy let Digby have just a little more time alone with my son by letting him take his spot in bed for one night (but only for ONE night!).