AMEN! ! ! ! ! !

Susan, Andrew, Mari and I tried to go to church last night. We usually hang out in the back of church, where Andrew can run around and be crazy without causing too much trouble, but last night we decided to try to sit in the actual church, near the back, of course, where we could escape if need be. Things started well with the opening song, as Andrew likes to sing and watch musicians. After the song Andrew began to clap and screamed “Yea!”, he was smart enough to stop quickly when he realized he was the only one cheering.

After that Fr. B led everyone in a short prayer, throughout which Andrew kept yelling “Amen!” We tried to get him to whisper, but it did not work. We decided to head back to our normal spot in the back of the church, where Andrew could express himself more freely. The problem was that there was a display set up for Habitat for Humanity that Andrew really wanted to play with, so Susan and I decided that maybe it was time that we sent him over to the childcare.

Susan offered to take him, but she was holding a sleeping Mari, so I took him over. We got to the room where the childcare is and there were about eight kids playing with various toys. I introduced Andrew to the two ladies watching the kids and Andrew headed over to play. I stayed there for a few minutes while he played and he appeared to be doing well, so I decided to head out. I said bye to Andrew and explained that we would be right across the street at church and he could stay here and play. He said “bye” (like he usually does), but as soon as I stepped out the door I could hear him screaming. So I went back in to help calm him down. We stayed and played for a while, but it was obvious that he was not going to let me leave, so I took him back over to church.

When we got back to church, he behaved much better, for about five minutes. Then it was back to running around. The biggest challenge was trying to explain the difference between the baptismal pool and the swimming pool that he played in last weekend. He wanted to sit on the side of the baptismal pool with his feet in the water.

Anyway, that was church. Sleep was also an adventure last night, as Andrew was wide awake at 3:30 in the morning and spent the second half of the night with his head half-buried under my pillow.

Mari is doing well. Her thighs continue to develop very well. She is sleeping and nursing a little less, which is nice. She is also getting to the point where she likes some company in the car, so Susan or I usually sit in the back with her and Andrew. I remember that we did this with Andrew for a while. Like all things parenting, this too shall pass.

  • B.Y.O.P. this weekend.
  • We are expanding the garden in our back yard to add some flowers.
  • Andrew likes to play the harmonica.
  • Mari is four months old today, and sees the doc tomorrow.
  • Andrew weighed in at 24 lbs last week at the Dr, three pounds less than one-year-old Andrew Kinne, whose 1st birthday party we attended last weekend.    

Andrew is TWO! ! ! ! !

Andrew turns two today, which is exciting. His birthday is a lot different this year, as he is able to understand a little more. He is excited about singing, presents, cake. . . all those good things.

We just got back from a great trip to Champaign, IL with the Des Moines extension of our family. We met at a hotel on Friday night and spent the weekend hanging out. Susan’s favorite times were in the morning when everyone was just hanging out (and synchronized swimming). I really enjoyed the birthday party that everyone put together for Andrew. Click here for some pics.

Andrew and Mari have been doing great and did very well on the trip. Mari slept well in the car, and they both slept well at the hotel.

Mari is getting more and more fun every day. She is interacting a lot now and loves to smile, when she is in a good mood. She still spends a lot of time sleeping, but I bet that will change over the next few months.

The next few weeks bring some fun times, but nothing major. We’ll keep you updated.

Click here to view some updated pics of Andrew and Mari.

We Love to Rock

In order to keep pace with our rocking chair needs, Susan and I just purchased two collapsible rocking chairs from They will hopefully arrive in the next few days, so that we can try them out and see how we like them. Assuming that we keep these two, we will then own seven rockers. Not too shabby.

Anyway, life is good: hanging out, walking, growing, getting out of bed too early, whining, washing diapers, planning our new front yard. The usual.

Waiting ’til the Last Minute

Well, after flip-flopping for a few days, and finally coming to a decision, I changed my mind one last time, loaded myself and Andrew into Simon and Rachel’s car, and headed to Cleveland for Steve and Tricia’s wedding. Susan hung back in Cincy with Mari, who has recently come down with an annoying cold.

Our trip to Cleveland went well. Andrew had a great car trip (mostly because Rachel has an incredible ability to entertain him). Andrew, Simon, Ben and I grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Friendly’s in Cleveland (which was incredible). Then, we headed to the wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, and luckily, it was also quick. It was over just in time for Andrew to run outside and stretch his legs. Steve and Tricia did a tremendous job designing a ceremony that accurately represents their relationship. Andrew lasted until about ten at the reception, then we headed West to Mike Roman’s parents’ house, where Andrew slept, and I got to enjoy getting to know Mike’s family. We headed home the next morning. Overall, the trip was a success.

The next few weeks bring Susan’s parents to town, Susan’s birthday, Mari’s baptism, and hopefully, some great walking weather.

We’ll keep you updated.

The Real World

As many of you know, Susan and I met at Camp Andrew Jackson (a little over four years ago). When I worked at camp, and when I would go down to help out with retreats. I would always think of the drive back to Cincinnati as returning to the real world. Being down at camp was always like a great retreat, where I would be able to focus in on the things that really matter. Now I have two kids, a 9-5 job, and a mortgage. The real world is more real than ever.

This past weekend was a great way for me to bring the real world with me, as Susan, Andrew, Mari, and I headed south, for the Clear Creek Music Festival. If you missed it in earlier posts, the Clear Creek Music Festival is organized by one of our favorite bands: Zoe Speaks. They host the festival on land that they own, about fifteen minutes outside of Berea. It is a fairly small festival, where most people camp (we stayed in a hotel in Berea, but we hope to be able to camp next year) and the only running water comes from a spring.

We went down on Saturday and attended the festival all day Saturday. Sunday we stopped by the festival early, for one last visit, then we went to camp, just to walk around and finally introduce Andrew to his namesake. We stopped at Papaleno’s for some pizza, and then came back north.

Looking back on this past weekend. It hardly seems real. As I sit in my cubicle and type this, I can only imagine the experience: driving down KY highways, then onto KY backroads, then down a gravel/dirt road, parking in a makeshift parking lot, walking down the trail into an open expanse of terraced hillside. The seating area in front of me, focusing on a homemade stage composed of rough-cut trees, powered by a generator. Pottery, tamales, lemonade, jewelry. Leftovers from the pot-luck the night before. Kids running everywhere. Pick-up trucks. Tents. All set against a beautiful backdrop of folk and bluegrass music, against an even bigger backdrop of wooded hillside. Open-mic contrasts Scooter, the beer-bellied, jolly man, who spent the night sleeping next to the fire, with a log for a pillow, with a four-year-old girl, singing Que Sera Sera. Andrew running, exploring, learning. Mari along for the ride, refusing to sleep for fear of missing something. As night falls Mitch & Carla finally take the stage. Susan and I are exhausted, Andrew is whiney, Mari still won’t sleep. As they take the stage the magic begins to settle in. It takes them a while to get tuned. Mitch breaks a guitar string. Carla can’t find her pick. Finally, they start with some new stuff, and some covers. The moment I remember most is standing, holding Andrew, next to Susan, who was holding Mari. Mitch & Carla played my favorite song: “Money’s Our God.”

We work hard for what we’ve got,
Seems like we just need a lot.
Debts keep risin’ ‘bove our heads,
I wish that we could save instead.

Say money’s our God, makes our decisions,
But if money’s our God, I want a new religion.

Daycare, carpool, traffic jam.
Daddy’s workin’ late again.
Our kids are raised by someone else,
I’d rather be with them myself.

Say money’s our God, makes our decisions,
But if money’s our God, I want a new religion.

I fall down on my bills and pray,
We’ll get out of this debt some day.

How much stuff do we think we need?
Grandma would have called it greed.
Tell me what we’re workin’ for.
I never see you anymore.

Say money’s our God, makes our decisions,
But if money’s our God, I want a new religion.

After a great set, Mitch and Carla vacated the stage for the next act; we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

As I rocked Andrew to sleep last night, I thought about what an amazing time it was, and what an amazing life I have. People always ask me, and I sometimes ask myself, “Five years ago, is this where you would have pictured yourself?” The answer is always “no.” I never could have dreamed things would be this great.

I posted some pics from the trip, which you can see here: Clear Creek & Camp AJ.

The next few weeks have more adventures for us: from the daily challenge of getting Andrew to take a nap, to a trip to Cleveland.

As always (though not very well in the past month), we’ll keep you updated.

Zoe Speaks dot Com
Clear Creek & Camp AJ Pics

The Heat Wave

The past week has been the most challenging we have had since Mari was born. Aside from the fact that it has been incredibly hot out, Mari and Andrew have been keeping things interesting for us.

Mari has been a little fussy, but not too bad. She still likes to sleep a lot, and usually if she is awake, she would rather be sleeping. She has brief periods where she is awake and just taking in the world around her. She is smiling a lot more. We just had her one month check-up (even though she is 5 1/2 weeks) and she weighed in at 10.12, which is not too shabby.

Andrew has been doing very well lately. He is learning more and more about Mari, and the rest of the world, every day. He has even been able to take some good naps, as Susan has been able to get him down while Mari is napping.

Susan and I have been doing well. Mari has had a few rough nights, which have added some stress to our lives, but we are dealing.

I just put some new pics up on the picture website.

Next few weeks should be fun, as there will be many visitors. We’ll keep you updated!

Alone at Last

After me being home for two weeks, and then her mom being in town for two weeks, Susan is finally spending her first full day with two kids. I was scared to call home and ask how things were doing, so when Susan called me in the mid-afternoon to tell me that things were not only going ok, but Andrew even got a nap in, I was delighted.

I guess it has been a few weeks, and a lot has happened. Susan’s Mom has come and gone, as she and Gary, who came in last Thursday, left this morning to head back to Des Moines. Their visit was certainly a great help, as it allowed us a longer adjustment period.

Andrew is doing well. I would say that he is slowly learning how to treat Mari. He still doesn’t understand that he can’t just pull, grab, and press where he likes, but he is learning. More than anything, he likes to give her kisses. His vocabulary is exploding, and he is talking more than ever.

Mari is also doing well. She has a little cold right now, and her baby acne is hopefully going to be going away soon. She is beginning to understand that there is a world around her. She follows things with her eyes and even flashes the occassional smile. Her eyes are definitely open a lot more now. She has been spending most nights in the downstairs bedroom with Susan, as she goes to bed later than Andrew, and needs to get up sometimes in the middle of the night. Hopefully Susan and Mari will be back upstairs in the big bed soon.

The upcoming months have some fun events for us, as Susan’s sisters Mary and Erin (with their kids, Nate included) will be coming on separate visits. As fall approaches we have some trips on our calendar, as we head down to Berea, KY for the Zoe Speaks Clear Creek Music Festival. We tried to go down last year, but Andrew was sick, so we didn’t make it. Hopefully we won’t waste our money again this year. After that we have a couple weddings up North: One in September, in Cleveland, and one in Wisconsin. These trips should be interesting, as we try to get everyone to sleep in the same hotel room.

Wow, I think that is all I have to say for now. Drop us a line with any questions/comments.

College Balloons Gone Wild

Well, my return to work has certainly been interesting. Along with the normal work requirements, I was greeted on Thursday with my cubicle filled with balloons, well I thought it was filled. I came back Friday to find even more balloons, this time up to my chest. Along with the balloons came a few other random decorations, that I think you will be able to figure out for yourself. Here’s the pics.

Aside my my return to work, things at home are going fairly well. I have been doing half-days this week, so the real fun starts next week. Luckily, Susan’s mom is coming to town to help us out.

Mari is doing well. She is starting to develop a fussy period, but it is not too bad.

Andrew appears to be adjusting to the recent changes. He is sleeping a little less, and nursing a little more, and with his new haircut, he is really cute.

I will try to get some updated pics of Andrew and Mari up this afternoon when I get home.

Keep it real.