Great family devotional book

We’ve loved this book for our family to read together, and just wanted to share!

After we’d been through the Jesus Storybook Bible a few times, we moved on to The Gospel Story Bible:

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It’s a lot like the Storybook Bible in that every story ends with and points to Jesus. But the stories are shorter, so it has more of the bible in it, and it has three questions at the end of each story. Brian reads it to the kids at breakfast, and all of our kids track.

Soccer is back!

 

Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

There are few things more embarrassing that yelling your kid’s name at their soccer game.

If you named him “Beckham.”

Impact Soccer Spring 2015
Cause then you are automatically those parents that are OBSESSED with soccer so much so that you name you kid after the most famous player and force him to play (probably against his will!)

Impact Soccer Spring 2015

So then I stop calling his name. It’s just better that way! :) 
Impact Soccer Spring 2015

Beckham and Berkley are both playing soccer this spring. Beckham cause he loves it (so, not against his will! :) ) and Berkley cause she’s the youngest and has watched her siblings get to play and couldn’t wait to be old enough! Impact Soccer Spring 2015

Josh is helping Brian coach, the kids love him!

Impact Soccer Spring 2015

Then there’s Berkley, who is a pretty good little player! Who also makes some great faces when she’s playing! 
Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

Plus, what could be cuter than watching six year old girls play soccer for the first time!?

Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

Gotta take a break to pick her nail…
Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

The big kids disappeared and were playing kick ball together! From where we sat we couldn’t hear them, so if they argued, ignorance was bliss and we just enjoyed them playing together! Berkley Soccer Spring 2015In true herd ball form, Berkley does a lot of running!

Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

She was “captain” the first game! She looks so little out there! Berkley Soccer Spring 2015

Brian the Builder? Who knew!!

When Brian and I got married in 2002, the only thing I could cook was box Mac & Cheese and Brian didn’t own a hammer…or know how to use any tool at all.

No joke: starting this process Brian called the drill an “automatic screwdriver” and a nail gun a “electric hammer.” That’s what we’re working with here, y’all.

We’ve come a long way, baby!

When we looked at houses to purchase in Manhattan 2 years ago, we didn’t have a ton of options. But there was one house that stood out as having potential.

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How in the world I saw past the bar (yep, that’s a homemade bar on the left there) or the 2×4 kitchen table, I can attribute only to God’s grace.

2300 Chris, manhattan ks

The book shelf didn’t have one book on it. Just empty liquor bottles.

2300 Chris, manhattan ks

This is what was our bedroom looked like. Yep. Those are tires.

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2300 Chris, manhattan ks

Living room. For some strange reason I wasn’t scared off by the magnitude of what needed to be done to make it home-y. (For the record though, you should have seen some of the other houses we looked at! :)

2300 Chris, manhattan ks

The house was perfect. We loved it. Also, there was this bonus room. It wasn’t insulated and with all the windows got super toasty. We knew it wouldn’t be super useful, but were still excited about the space!

(That is in fact a car hood. And bags of empty alcohol containers)

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The “sunroom” proved to be marginally useful, but only in the summer. It could be cooled down, but it was impossible to heat. The windows are just storm windows and it was just as cold as it was outside in the winter.

Brian decided in December that he was going to seal it up and make it his office. But although he had come a long way and now owned a hammer (which was my dad’s old one! I remember that handle so well from growing up!), that was about all he owned or could use.

Enter Rich.

Rich knows what he’s doing. And he has a generous heart and came to help.

Demolition first:

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Then rebuilding the frame. (It’s literally freezing out side most days when they are working)IMG_0705

Rich walked Brian through every step, teaching him basically how to build a house!

Oh wait, did I forget to mention that RIGHT as they started “Brian’s office” I looked in and decided to hijack it as our bedroom instead! It’s a little bigger, across the house from the kids’ rooms and there’s already a bathroom almost attached! It was a no brainer to steal this room! :)

They worked like crazy, and a month later, we were insulated and had new door and windows!

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Here’s one reason why this whole project took just a little over a month:

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That was Brian’s (not so) sneaky way of lighting a fire under me. Cause after I stole his office, I promised him our room as his “consolation prize” office! :) But we wanted to refinish the floors in there first, which meant everything from that room was now in the rest of the house.

I don’t like this. At all.

FEB 2015

Once my house looked like this, I was all in on helping. This is our closet…on the couch in the kitchen.

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So while we are building a whole new room, we are also refinishing floors. Go big or go home I guess. FEB 2015

FEB 2015

Tada!!

FEB 2015

Back in the bedroom, the one thing we considered getting professionally done was the taping and mudding. Full disclosure: neither Brian nor I had any idea what that meant. But we had heard grown ups talking about how you needed a good “mudder.” So I did call to get quotes on that. But no one called me back, so again, enter Rich, who came over, gave us a tutorial and we went at it: we taped and mudded and although it was hard and maybe not perfect, we did it!

FEB 2015
We put rustic wood as the ceiling, I stressed way to much over the paint color (it’s just cause there are way too many options, thus making me sure I’ll pick the wrong one), we got a full piece of remnant carpet that fit perfectly and padding for the floor and it’s coming together!
FEB 2015

Brian even put up the siding on the outside! Here’s Chris helping with that part

Today I'm thankful for this guy helping me put up sodding on the new room this evening. Thanks @christopherearnshaw

It’s my absolute favorite room in the house! And I like saying that Brian BUILT ME A HOUSE!

He borrowed Rich’s tools (thanks Rich!) but by the end had bought a saw and a level and there’s no stopping him now!
New room

Oh, and these aren’t new, but here’s how the first room looks sans the bar:
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And the living room cleaned up nice too! a

Earning the Wine

Laura and I take a spinning class every Monday and Friday. Our instructor is fantastic, pushes us beyond what we would ever do on our own. One thing I’ve noticed recently is that on Fridays she motivates us by telling us to earn the wine were going to drink this weekend.
This week I thought the only wine I’m planning to drink this week is on Sunday at the Lord’s table, I’m riding way too much to earn that tiny cup of wine. But then it occurred to me that we often come to the table either feeling we’ve had a great week and do deserve this cup or we’ve had a terrible week with lust, anger, gossip or just neglect of God’s Word or prayer and we think “I didn’t earn the right to partake in this cup.” When we come to the sacrament with either mentality we are being fools. We are rejecting what we know to be true from God’s Word.
See, we don’t earn the cup and we don’t earn the bread. It was earned for us by Christ on the cross. In fact our confession that we are unworthy, undeserving is part of participation. When we are served the bread we are saying, “I am a sinner and Jesus alone is my righteousness.” And that’s why this is so nourishing to our souls, it’s a sensible sign pointing us not to what we’ve earned from God, but what Jesus earned for us.

St Louis (part 3)

Last one on St Louis! Everyone told us we had to hit City Museum. Everyone is right.

St Louis

Here’s the deal with this place: it’s kind of indescribable. It’s everything I would have wanted as a child. Free reign to climb and hang and jump and slide on whatever you find.

St Louis

It’s also every artists dream job. It blew me away the creativity that went into making this. Everything was up-cycled, but not in a thrown together way, in a perfectly coherent and brilliant way!

St Louis

Tons of tunnels and ladders, just really cool. Brian’s favorite part: it wasn’t perfectly safe and padded like most things today. It let kids be kids.

Really fun whirly chairs!
St Louis

Train rides are always fun!

St Louis

St Louis
Here’s a fun funnel slide. They had been going down one at a time, then Brian wanted to all go together…
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It was all fun and games…St Louis

Until the middle (you can see Berkley’s face isn’t pure joy…).St Louis

Berkley got a “concrete burn” on her elbow and between sobs told me “I KNEW that was a bad idea! We should only go one at a time!!”

St Louis

And if three stories inside of rooms to play in isn’t enough, come on outside for the same thing! St Louis

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That is my family. Up too high for me to be comfortable with it. St Louis

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Huge ball pit! St Louis

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A real airplane up there!
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Outside of lunch we met this guy. After putting money in his hat, SP asked if he knew any Taylor Swift. No such luck. Brian asked about “Johnnie B Goode”…every. single. word. Awesome!
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St Louis, we had a great time! At some hipster joint

Fitz is favorite thing about St Louis so far.

St Louis (part 2)

We are big stoppers. We like to explore as we go, so we stopped a few times on they way to St Louis.

This is at the winery that makes the wine Manhattan Pres uses for the Lord’s Supper each week! They have a great lookout spot, but we found it was fun to pretend we were hanging off the edge…

Spring Break 2015

Or jumping off (it goes down a foot…!)

Spring Break 2015

This girl and her poses!

Spring Break 2015

The very first thing we did when we got to St Louis was tour the Budweiser factory. The kids were less than impressed, but Brian and I thought it was fascinating!

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Becks found Becks beer. Now he wants a t-shirt. Good grief I can’t have our 9 year old in a beer shirt! (I draw the line at taking him to tour beer factories!) :)

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They take you to the horses stalls, really cool to see!

Spring Break 2015

The grounds are breathtaking

Spring Break 2015

Spring Break 2015

It smells like yeast, Berkley doesn’t do smells…Spring Break 2015

Best part? At the end you get to pick a beer! (This whole thing is free too!)Spring Break 2015

Second best? The Clydesdales. They are beautiful horses. I mentioned to the girl how clean they were and she said “yes, that’s what we spend most of the day doing!” Congrats on a job well done!

Spring Break 2015Spring Break 2015

Stopped by for some Mexican on the Hill…which apparently is wrong (we aren’t Italian food fans), but let’s be honest, we should have guessed Mexican in St Louis probably isn’t famous for a good reason.

Then hit up Ted Drewes, famous custard!

Spring Break 2015

And gave our children head locks. Spring Break 2015

Ted Drewes made everyone happy!Spring Break 2015

We have never stayed in a hotel as a family before…they loved it! Brian and I didn’t get any sleep, but chalked it up to making good memories!
Spring Break 2015

St Louis (part 1)

Ever since we moved to KC 9 years ago we’ve heard what a great family trip destination St Louis is. So we finally took a few days over Spring Break this year to check it out!

Their zoo is free!! Woohoo!! First stop: carousel (cause it’s free the first hour the zoo is open too!)

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Brian and I took turns, it was all fun and games at first…

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Then I wanted off! I don’t do dizzy anymore!

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“Hey Mom! Come take a picture of us in the hippo’s mouth!” They don’t have to ask me twice!

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Their faces!

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“I’m Harry Potter and that owl is Hedwig”

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Then there was some chicken chasingSt Louis

Followed by some chicken catching

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St Louis

St Louis

And we “rode” everything we could. It’s what we do.

St Louis

St Louis

St Louis

Oh, and these things! We love these things!

St Louis

Huge moth (butterfly?) landed on SP, she was thrilled!

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Berkley’s very favorite animal is the penguin. KC zoo got penguins the summer we moved, so we haven’t gotten to see them. Lucky for her, they have PENGUINS!

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Wouldn’t be a family vay-kay without some breakdowns

St Louis

Then we headed to Fitz restaurant. On the weekends they bottle their drinks there and you can watch, but we missed that during the week. This was probably top three things we did!

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Root Beer Floats were a hit!

St Louis

St Louis

This isn’t our first rodeo…

…just our first without Brooks and Dunn, or Taylor Swift, or George Strait, or Chicago…

Growing up up in Houston, March meant Rodeo.  Which really just meant a lot of really great concerts came to town! The actual “rodeo” part was just the pre-show if you got there early. Not saying it wasn’t great to watch the bull riding, calf roping and barrel races but it’s not why we went to the rodeo.

So when we saw the K-State rodeo was coming to Manhattan, we were in!

I suggested we get there about 2 hours early…to look at all the booths, do the petting zoo, all that stuff. Enter Brian: realizing he needed to lower my expectations. “There will be no booths, or petting zoo. Or any other stuff Laura. There will only be what you would call ‘pre-show’.”

Well then, now that we are clear.

We put on our plaid shirts and boots and rode our bikes to the arena

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We still got there a little early…

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But eventually saw people we knew!! The Arnetts, Durretts and Thompsons had the same Saturday afternoon plan as us!

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It was super fun to be sitting so close!

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The most impressive part is that these were COLLEGE students!! They were incredible!

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Feb 2015I also learned a ton from Meredith, who did this in college. Here’s the guy who pushes the calfs out of the pin, honestly never thought about that…

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The girls (obviously) loved the Rodeo Queens

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Berkley’s preschool friend’s mom is the Rodeo queens’ sponsor, so we got to meet them! This is the KSU Queen and Junction Cities’. Super sweet girls who were so patient with the long line of girls! 
Feb 2015

Feb 2015

After any event, our kids “play” what it was for days. So we saw it coming when they got on their bikes and immediately told us they were horses. And then used the signs and trash cans as barrels to play “barrel racing”
Feb 2015

Sarah and David’s wedding!

Seriously, they are adorable right?

Sarah and David asked these two to be their flower girls, and they were pumped!

They also got to spend the day with these gorgeous girls, bonus!

sarah and davids wedding

SP was excited about the rehearsal, because although she’s been a flower girl, she said she didn’t remember how to do it, so she was glad she got to practice!

Brian helped with the ceremony, but did NOT do this on day of! :)

sarah and davids wedding

sarah and davids wedding

This is what Berkley “practiced”…tipping her basket over. She did this during the ceremony as well. sarah and davids wedding

sarah and davids wedding

The kid table at the rehearsal dinner, they hung with Dunning kids and loved it!

sarah and davids wedding

Pretty pumped about her name tag! sarah and davids wedding
Wedding day!! Could Sarah be any prettier?! She was stunning!!

sarah and davids wedding

Sarah and David are so perfectly matched! We are so excited for these two!!

SPandBoo Tompkins Wedding

Nicola curled their hair, Morgan did their make-up. These girls thought they were princesses!

sarah and davids wedding

Top it off with a “crown!”sarah and davids wedding

sarah and davids wedding

sarah and davids wedding

sarah and davids wedding

 

Berkley’s already a little hippy, this crown put her over the edge!! sarah and davids wedding

sarah and davids wedding

 

After the ceremony they had a sparkler send off. Which Berkley was so excited about. Until she realized sparklers are fire. Which she hates. So she became the screaming flower girl in the flower beds trying to get away from all the beautifulness!

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Also, proof that our kids at least have one parent with a heart, here’s Brian going to get her…while I take her picture! a

 

The other two loved it! a

Thanks for letting all of us share in your special day Sarah and David!!