Every year at this time when we lived in KC we took the youth to the Good Samaritan Retirement Home and sang carols and read the Christmas story to them. So our kids have been going since they can remember. Case in point:

Baby Sadie Piper and Emily and Meredith


A year earlier SP hanging out!


Beckham LOVED this cat. He checked for him every year! (HAT! You were so young!)3105350252_4f7592570b_z

Little Katie too! Don’t mind the Crazies…4178813117_d2eb85d687_z

Even as they grew, they didn’t respect personal piano space…


Baby Berkley was lulled to sleep by our great voices!


They were always captivated with the fish tanks!



Add two more kids and still obsessed.


Becks found a sweet friend


The girls and Harriet!


After the “program” part we would walk the halls singing.


All that to say, when Josiah invited us to come with some of the RUF college kids to the local retirement home to carol and Beckham overheard him, we were in. It’s not Christmas to that kid without caroling at the retirement home.


No surprise, they still stopped at the fish tanks!



One of our “guides” who walked us around held Berkley’s hand as they walked. SP was so bold and asked if she could hold the others’ hand! Girl knows how to make ya feel loved.


They stayed buddies the whole evening





Why yes, that is a monkey on his shoulder.


Great time with great students!! 



Spring in the Fall

One of the things we love about living in the Midwest is the seasons. We get four very distinct ones, and while they aren’t “mild” they also aren’t what I would call “harsh.” They are just real seasons, which we appreciate even more being from Houston where there is one season: hot.

So while Fall is full force, for two days over Thanksgiving break it was in the 60s. Perfect. We went on a hike!

November 2014

November 2014

This pic turned out super arty. But in reality, she was pouting about her legs being tired!

November 2014

How quickly she perked back up when she found a “walking stick”

November 2014

We just wandered the paths! It was perfect!

November 2014

Traded off with the bike too!

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November 2014

This is where the Blue River and the Kansas River meet and become one. It’s pretty cool!!

November 2014

SP wasn’t convinced he was really going to throw her in apparently!

November 2014

Berkley’s face however is a different story!

November 2014


Boo found a pole and said it looked like a honey stick and pretended to drink it!

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November 2014

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November 2014

Dads are so cool! 
November 2014

Then we went to a Christmas Tree farm to get a tree! The owners had tickets to the K-State- KU football game, so they closed early, can’t blame them!

Sadie picked out this aptly mid-sized one, being our mid-sized one and all…I love Becks’ head peeking out!

November 2014

Berkley picked out this tree. Ok, Charlie Brown…

November 2014

And Becks picked out weeds…

November 2014

November 2014

Pictures like this make me wish I was 5 years old

November 2014

So, we ended up at Home Depot as “those people with a tree on their minivan.”

November 2014



Strange Facts: The Peace Sign

Peace Sign

Last week I preached a sermon entitled Advent: Peace. While doing some research I became interested in whether the peace sign was really an upside down cross as I’ve heard so many times before. As you might expect, it’s not.

An English artist named Gerald Holtom designed it in 1958. He was against WWII and made this logo as a sign for that. It’s really the combination of the two hand held flag symbols. The symbol for N for Nuclear and the symbol for D for disarmament. The letter N is made by someone holding two flags in an upside down “v”. The sign for D is made by holding one flag straight over your head.


Ironically, the original plan was for a right side up cross in the circle, but various clergy dissuaded him using that. So there you have it, it’s not an upside down cross, it’s not a pagan symbol or any sort.



Basketball is Interesting?


I played basketball for one season in elementary at the YMCA. There was a giant girl on our team named Sarah who scored all the points and really I was pleased with this because that last thing I wanted to do was take a shot and miss.

During holidays one of my favorite things to do was play my brother Greg in basketball with predictable results of him winning, or me cheating. In late junior high David Waindel and I played every sport, but basketball was one of them. We had teams with people in the neighborhood, kept stats and mimicked Jordan and Hakeem and Vernon Maxwell.

Laura sporting Rockets gear in college

Laura sporting Rockets gear in college

I was also a really big Duke & Bobby Hurley fan. In the mid 90s the Rockets won two championships and I loved how joyfully stressful those games were. The way it brought the whole city together. I tried out for the basketball team in High School on a bet, but was kicked out of tryouts after taking my second half court shot in the scrimmage. I guess if I had made those shots it would be a different story.

I’m terrible at the game. I’ve often mocked it questioning “why they don’t just skip to the last two minutes and save us an hour of boredom?” In 2010 I tried to get into basketball by following the Dallas Mavericks. That didn’t last very long.

In recent years I’ve grown to love baseball, it’s been an adult return to what I believe is the greatest sport ever invented.  After baseball ended this year I found myself missing the ritual of checking the box score to see how the Astros were doing or playing a game in the background in the evening.

I noticed the Rockets would be playing on ESPN3, so I watched some of the game and found it really enjoyable. Watching James Harden and Dwight Howard and really some scrappy guy named Beaverly was intriguing. I remembered the joy of backyard basketball and the Rockets’ golden years. So for two whole weeks now I’ve followed the Rockets. I’d love to get league pass if the price ever drops to an affordable place so I could watch some games.

Anyway, this year I didn’t try to become a fan of basketball, but I think I may be becoming one. I’m excited about watching the Rockets. I can name a few players. There are guys in the league that drive me nuts. Kobe, LeBron, The Miami Heat. There are teams that I like for no reason. Charlotte Hornets and Sacramento Kings. I have an opinion about the Seattle Sonics returning. I feel sorry for Bulls fans who think Derrick Rose may actually play half the games in a season. I actually care if the Rockets win which makes watching a game a totally different experience. I’m annoyed that San Francisco calls themselves Golden State. I keep hoping the Rockets will add the yellow back to their main colors. Kinda like Astros did with orange and navy. Not only that, I want to watch K-State, The Aggies and Duke play basketball as well.

I am aware no one cares about any of this and write it more for my own thinking than anything else. So if you wanna play a little one-on-one or two-on-two, let me know.


Elf on the Shelf (week 1)

We have the stuffed one…cause when I bought it I didn’t know what it was…but it’s worked for us!

November 2014


This would have been cuter with green food coloring, but I didn’t have any. The kids INSISTED it tasted like strawberry milk. It didn’t.





Berkley puts the Elf to bed with her baby every day!



We just go for the photo ops…

We ride bikes. But we really go for the photo ops. #katytrail

I can’t believe I never posted this. It’s a throw back, but I think well worth documenting!

The last two Katy Trail trips that Tony and Brian took, Shari and I tagged along on the last two days. (They try to play it off as being super sweet and taking us to a bed and breakfast for a night, but we all know they just need a ride home! But they let us stop at the Gap outlet on the way home, so it’s a win-win!) The guys go to ride bikes. Obviously Shari and I go to take pictures. And for some reason, this year we were super into jumping pictures.

Shari started by claiming her vertical jump wasn’t high.

Katy Trail 2013

After we all laughed that she was right, I demonstrated that if we bend our legs, we would look like we had more air:

Katy Trail 2013

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Where Do Children’s Names Come From?

Laura and I both have very common names. Our brothers also have common names. Brad, Greg, Todd, Scott, Matthew. We like the idea of somewhat unique names so that you don’t end up being Brian H in life and can be just your name. We also didn’t want names so unique that no one could pronounce them. Anyway I thought I would write down where our kids’ names came from so that they’ll have record of it.

Beckham Alexander Hough

November 2014


We didn’t know if Beckham would be a boy or a girl so we also had a girl name ready, Hannah Piper Hough. Hannah because of a girl we knew from youth ministry who is the sweetest girl we’ve ever met and Piper we did end up using so I’ll explain that later.

But God gave us a wonderful boy and we named him Beckham which is an English last name. Being soccer fans and Manchester United fans we knew the name for some time via English soccer player David Beckham. When Laura was pregnant with Beckham we read through tons of name books. One day I was reading in a soccer magazine listing off crazy names like Kaka or Ronaldo. When I said “Beckham”, Laura stopped me and said, “I actually really like the name Beckham.” During the rest of the pregnancy we got a little nervous that it was too strange a name. But we went with and are glad we did.

6 months after Beckham was born it was announced that David Beckham would be playing in the United States for the L.A. Galaxy. What was a name only known by soccer fans was suddenly known by everyone. It’s only strange now when I’m in a soccer store or yelling “Go Beckham!” when he plays soccer. It makes me look like a soccer freak fan! Side note: Laura worked at the radio station 1310 The Ticket in Dallas at the time of his birth and they announced it on the air as “Sheckham,” then later corrected it. When I told my Dad his name, he told me, “You know it’s not too late to change it to something else.” We love the name still, he’s totally a Beckham.

Alexander isn’t a name we love. But it needed to happen. My middle name is Alexander and I received it because my Grandfather’s name was Alexander (Anderson – Scottish). Laura’s Dad’s name is Alexander, as was his dad’s name. Since it went back two generations in both directions we knew we had to use it.

Sadie Piper Hough

November 2014

We assumed she would be Hannah Piper Hough, but thought Hannah might be a little too common of a name. We knew we were having a girl and at the time we were watching the show The Bachelor. There was a girl on there named Sadie who was sweet and chaste (which was her demise in the contest). We loved the name and went with it.

Piper is because of the influence Pastor John Piper has had on our lives. We never intended to use that as a verbal name, but early on Beckham called her “Baby Sadie Piper” and her full name more or less stuck. So we actually call her Sadie Piper or Sadie Pipers. Turns out there are a lot of cows and horses named Sadie also, which our Sadie thinks is awesome. Going with the soccer theme we (by that I mean “I/Brian”) were very close to adding Mia as in Mia Hamm as a second middle name. I wish we had.

Berkley Anastasia Hough 

November 2014

We again didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl with child number 3. If she had been born a boy he would have been named Berkley Mathis Hough. Mathis after another soccer player who played for the US National team, Clint Mathis, or Cleatus as many call him. This would have cemented the crazy soccer fan to the point that we couldn’t have denied it…

Berkley was from a name book, Laura liked the sound of it and I liked it because my favorite band The Counting Crows was established in Berkeley, California (however, I waited until after the birth certificate was filled out to tell Laura about that one…:) ). It’s a great name and fits her well. She is most often called Berkley Boo, Boo, or Little One. For years she even thought her middle name was “little one”

Anastasia is a Greek word that means “resurrection.” We chose this because that’s what Jesus did and what he will do for us. (That’s the reason the name of the princess in the Russian fairy tale is Anastasia: she disappears and then comes back. It describes the story with her name.) Rarely do we use this name, but I love it. It may take her a while to learn to spell it though!

Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka

Christine introduced us to this gem: The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center!!

TONS of hands on stuff for the kids to do!

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

Painting on glass…brilliant!

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

There was a Dr station, and SP loved the crutches. Funny how those would get old after a day if you really needed them, but she thought they were super fun!

Nov 2014


After so many trips to the orthopedic doctor for her arm, SP was a pro at this!!

Nov 2014


We are starting them young at the grain bin in Kansas! (you move “grain” around…basically in a circle. No, not “basically”…actually in a circle. Kids were obsessed with this!)

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

So you could easily play inside all day. Easy. But wait…there’s a whole outside part too!!

Nov 2014
They have a huge paved path for the huge shed of ride toys! 

Nov 2014
Nov 2014
We didn’t see nearly all there was to see in one morning there. Well worth the trip many times over!!

Funny Book


Boo: “Remember when Junie b got runned over by a dog?” (she was attacked by a dog, but was fine)

Berkley was playing pretend with the other kids. They were being dogs and cats and she purposely hurt someone by scratching right after being told not to do that. As a result she was being disciplined. 

On the way to her room she asked, “Can we pause the game?”
When I told Berkley we needed to clip her nails, she insisted on pretending to be asleep because she said that’s what they did to Junie B when they clipped her’s (she was actually declawed). I didn’t mind this game: a kid being extra still while you clip nails? Score!
Laura: Sadie you don’t even know what a record is

Sadie: Yes I do, it a little thing that you put a CD on and it plays music.
Berkley: When I watch tv, sometimes my eyes get slushy
Berkley: I don’t think I’m beautiful.

Me: WHAT?!
Berkley: and that’s what MAKES me beautiful.
(We need to cut her off of all the One Direction)

Found this gem at a thrift store for $5!! Brian hung it in the playhouse in the back yard. When Beckham saw it, he said “Um, that has a death phone. If you called it you would die!” 


For some reason we were naming something:

Becks “I would name it “firsty””

Boo “I would name it “yellow and orange””

Laura “how about a real name?”
Sp: “how about Namey?”
Looking at picture of family before her, Berkley asks “Is that the picture of the time when you wanted one more?”
Brian: “I had a crush on a girl when I was your age Becks whose name was Deana Holmse.”

Beckham: “She sounds good.  Did she believe in God?”
Keep those priorities Beckham!!
Brian: We are going to baskin Robbins. They have 31 different flavors of ice cream!

SP: Ohhhhhh!! Do they have vanilla!??
Laura: Berkley, what’s all over your mouth?
Berkley: Snot

Funny Book

SP: look! Another cheez-it that’s two stuck together! 

Becks: well, it is mating season.
Sp: what’s mating season
*Laura holds her breath*
Becks: it’s when people get married.

"Voter assistants" also got stickers!

Laura: Berkley, what book do you have out from the library?
Berkley: I don’t remember! I forgot to take a picture of it in my head!

Took this boy to McDonalds. And his bag came pre-colored… (eww.)

Oct 2014

Beckham wasn’t wanting to go to school the last week last year.

Laura: You probably won’t do work. 

Becks: we have been doing work. We are giving compliments.
Me: that’s not work
Becks: mom, I got (insert name). He’s the worst kid in the class. It IS work!

Brian was putting his pinky up when drinking.
Becks: Dad, that’s not a tea cup. You don’t have to do that. Do it the man way.

Oct 2014

Berkley: “I’m famous”

Brian asks, “why are you famous?”
Berkley “because I’m on a lot of things”
Brian asks, “What are you on?”
Berkley: “the bench”
(She is actually sitting on a bench)
Berkley upset that something wasn’t fair

SP: berkley, do you want death and hell?
Boo: no
SP: well then life’s not fair
Boo: then I do want death and hell

Oct 2014

Berkley, while looking at the outside garden of Chick-fil-a. “Dad those flowers are like moms flowers, they’re dying” 

Didn’t realize til we were walking into the grocery store that Berkley just didn’t put on shoes when we left the house, and Becks was in his jammies from Jammie day at school. That can’t stop me from getting food for these Crazy People. We figured it out!

Took them into grocery store: Becks is in jammies cause it was Pj day at school, and Berkley just got in the car with no shoes. Just another day to not sweat the small stuff!


Found this snake. I don’t like this.

October 2014

Who decided it was a good idea to let the Little One hold the snake IN THE HOUSE?!!? (After throwing Brian under the bus just now, I realized someone (aka: her mom) should consider brushing her hair…)

October 2014

Brian sent me this picture and said they adopted a cat who needed a home. He was mocking me and my Junie B stunt, but I was excited to have a farm cat…take 2? (He didn’t bring it home :(  )

October 2014

“Dad, how come you scare so good and I scare so…bad.” – Berkley 

“Beckham, can I see your underwear cause I forgot what ninjas look like” -Berkley

I'm rollin' to pre-school

Berkley very upset: 

“I am not a little swimmer.”
Me: Why not?
“Cause I don’t have the blue fish towel”
OK then.


Super Sized Chairs

Sadie: Beckham, did you hear Berkley crying last night? I didn’t hear her. 

Berkley: I didn’t even hear me crying last night.


“Daddy, are you strong enough to lift our play house? Cause Beckham and I really want a tree house.”