Brian & Laura Go to Camp 2012

Summer Camps 2012

Although summer camps are a ton of work to prepare and a great deal of stress to execute, Laura and I consider going on these trips a perk of our life. Each summer we get to spend time on the Elk River in Missouri with High School students at RiverRanch. We also get to spend time on a lake in Oklahoma with Junior High students at our camp Clearwater.

So here are some pictures of our summer camp adventures. Above Laura is driving the boat on Grand Lake of the Cherokee. She pulled kids at Camp Balcones Springs during college so she has some mad skills at tossing kids off tubes.

Below is Jon Dunning and I. Dunning along with Tim Rackley (who won’t smile for a photo) make this camp happen.

Summer Camps 2012

Here Laura is munching on a Smore at Clearwater
Summer Camps 2012

Enjoying the lake

Summer Camps 2012

Look mom, no hands!

Summer Camps 2012

The Lake is an Outhouse. 
Summer Camps 2012

Here is Timmy going for a ride. Laura’s Shirt says, “Wholesome Midwestern Girl”

Summer Camps 2012

We convinced Tim to ride on the tube at the end, he quickly regretted this as I sang “I should have been a cowboy” by Toby Keith until our ride ended when Chris “The Intern” Earnshaw and I flipping the tube while trying to throw Tim off.

Summer Camps 2012

Summer Camps 2012

This is the Junior High Group photo. Laura took it and we photoshopped her in later. 
Summer Camps 2012

That’s my girl!

Summer Camps 2012

The Dock

Summer Camps 2012

Sam Ba-Sham and I pushing people in.

Summer Camps 2012

Dr. Tony “The Worst Sicilian Life Guard Ever” Felich, the Intern and me watching boats be constructed out of duct tape and cardboard boxes.

Summer Camps 2012

Group photo of High School Camp, RiverRanch

Summer Camps 2012

On Thursday night we do a Karaoke and Dance thing. Sam and I did Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice (with a few changes to the lyrics). Worst part was Brookie Reymond throwing her hat, which I put on without looking at. Can’t believe I’m wearing a disgraceful Yankee hat.

Summer Camps 2012

Summer Camps 2012

Chill-axing at RiverRanch

Summer Camps 2012

We do Volleyball and Basketbal tournaments at RiverRanch and this year the students decide to sing our National Anthem before the finals of Volleyball.

Summer Camps 2012

Laura and I played on a team that unexpectedly won our first round match, but was disqualified due to too many players on the team.

Summer Camps 2012

We tried out a few trick plays, most of which worked. In this one we are doing Yoga poses until Sam serves.

Summer Camps 2012

Here we are Tebowing during the serve.

Summer Camps 2012

Team Photo. Only 7 players per team according to The Intern’s rules.

Hat, Laura, Emily C, Andria, Sophie, Morgan, Brian, Sam Ba-Sham

Summer Camps 2012

Discussing the greatest Rapper of all time with Sam. He says Lecrae, I’m still thinking Beastie Boys

Summer Camps 2012

Teaching Timmy a few things.

Summer Camps 2012

Kayaking on the Elk River

Summer Camps 2012

Caught a turtle with a nub instead of a foot.

Summer Camps 2012
Summer Camps 2012

Here is how you catch a turtle.

Step One: Smile for camera girl, then see a turtle pop it’s head up.

Summer Camps 2012

Step Two: Flip Kayak and chase turtle. Goggles help

Summer Camps 2012

Step Three: Hold up turtle for camera girl to see.

Summer Camps 2012

Step Four: Think of plausible reason there is a Wiffle Ball bat next to you in water.

Summer Camps 2012

I asked Laura to pick up some goggles, she brought this Pirate Snorkel Kit

Summer Camps 2012

I was Sam’s caddy in the Mini-Golf Tournament. He did eventually win.

Summer Camps 2012

Summer Camps 2012
 It was a great summer at camp this year!


“Lost and Found” or “Stolen and Hidden”?

Moms pick up a lot. A lot of toys, a lot of trash, a lot of random “treasures” that have been left on the floor. It’s not that our kids don’t pick up after themselves, but they don’t pick up after themselves, but there are always stragglers. I’m not complaining, just prefacing.

So I got a basket for the living room, so I can gather all the stragglers and then kids can grab them out and make another mess put them where they belong.

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Brian mentioned that he had lost some of his baseballs. I excitedly told him I knew where they were: in the white basket! I thought he would be pumped to find them! However, he got hung up on this “basket idea” instead. In his boy mind, I was stealing the stuff he left laying around and “hiding” it from him!

So the next thing I know, I find this in the basket. He “found” it in the silverware drawer.

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Funny Book

Sadie Piper sings the song, “my God, my God, has ransomed me” like this “I’ve been set free, my God my God has wrestled me”

Berks: Mimi say I’m a good dog
(Mimi had said “good job“)

Little One be crazy

This is the amount of toilet paper Berkley uses when she’s not handed it…

This is the amount of toilet paper Boo used to wipe. I may have spaced on handing her tp, but I did NOT space on helping her wash her hands this time!!

SP: My tummy needs a refill

SP: How do police pull you over, do they use a hook?

SP: Who was it?

Brian: Noneya. (as in none ya business)

SP: There’s no one named noneya there

My kind of garden, no water, no dirt

Sadie Piper tucked Boo in one night. The next morning, Berkley told me, “When SP put me to bed, I watched a movie in my bed.” She must have had a dream! She cried some that night and told me there were monsters in her room!

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SP: I’m going to get a grey car without a top and paint it pink and purple


And then there were two Hough kids

SP: “My favorite seasons are Pool, Fall and Winter”

Sure missed these crazies

SP wanted someone to feed her, Brian told her, “You are too big to be acting like a child!”

I had to leave the room to giggle. The kids caught onto what he said being a tad irrational. Berkley thinks and then says, “I’m little, and I act like a child, so someone can feed me, right?”

Softball With…ahh…Against Redeemer

At church today Jon Meyers was telling me about the first game of the season for the T.U.L.I.Ps Softball team, this is the Redeemer Softball team playing this fall. I told him I would stop by on my ride home after soccer practice to watch a little bit.

When I arrive there were a few people still not there, namely the Intern so they asked if I would play. I was pumped to get the chance, but then Chris Earnshaw showed up and I was relegated back to being a fan. About 3 seconds later the other team ask if we had a spare player and like a good Benedict Arnold Third born child I volunteered.

That team asked if I would bat first and I was pumped cause now I get to try and hit the first pitch in Redeemer softball history. Turns out to be an inside the park Home Run. For a split second I felt bad, but that went away pretty quick. All in all I went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI, 3 Runs and 1 HR.

It’s a really fun game, so glad the Warners put this team together and that Jon caught this fun moment on video. Now if we can just get Meyers to upgrade from his Blackberry the video might be a little clearer. 🙂

Catching up on Summer Fun!

Brian was riding home from church Saturday when he ran across a house giving a super cute Big Wheel away.

The fact that he was, like I said, riding a bike didn’t deter him from bringing it home! We both grew up riding Big Wheels and Brian didn’t want them to miss out on that!

He got busted by Chris and Rudy when they drove by and documented it!

Chris Earnshaw and Rudy Prins found me on this white trash journey home after some guy gave me this big wheel. #whitetrash #surly #crosscheck

Totally worth it!

Totally worth it

Made egg-less cookie dough! Not sure why I didn’t do this sooner, easy and of course yummers!

Got smart and made egg-less cookie dough with no intention to bake cookies

Sadie Piper lives in this outfit. She dances and spins everywhere!

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I finally got smart and traded the girls for Becks on bike rides!

Hot, popped a tire today, thought it was gunshots and took off

 My mom bought the girls sparkly shoes!

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We played “Pet Store” one day and Beckham made us a sign. With a picture!

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Girls had a “Boots Ball”

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God’s blessings are new every day to us! We wanted to make Berkley a sand box for her birthday. When I was looking for sand online, I came across a Craigslist posting for a free one, exactly like we wanted to make! Problem was that we were heading to camp. Enter our amazing neighbors who went and picked it up for us!! Seriously…who gets neighbors like that?

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Brian got good at duct-tape-making.

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Again, same neighbors brought us yummmmmmy tomatoes. Becks still likes to eat them like apples. This one he asked for parmesan cheese on it.

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Just passin’ through…

Went back through Dallas again on our way home to Kansas, this time so excited to get to see Scott and Laura!

Scott took Beckham out to see the bees. He tried to get a kid bee suit, but when he couldn’t, we improvised. With adult clothes and masking tape!

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Scott had a very interested audience!

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Brian drew the short straw at had to be the outside picture taker! I was safely behind the window!

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Scott looks like Marty McFly when he crashes into the barn in the time machine in Back to the Future. Best trilogy ever.

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Curiosity got the best of Brian…

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Love Little Dude’s face!

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The smoker thing that you see in cartoons, that’s a real thing. It’s laughing gas for bees. Every once in a while Becks would tell Uncle Scott, “I think they need more smoke!” Scott always agreed!

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Spent the night with Scott and Laura, then up early to drive the rest of the way home!

Found some Texas-sized fruit

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Oh, the Krispy Kreme sucked us in too before we made it out of town

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Nothing like pictures on a gas station stuffed tiger!

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Goodbye Texas…

Our last days in Texas were just as eventful as the rest of the week!

My mom is crazy and wanted to take the girls to all get pedicures.


I tired to convince her this was unnecessary, but apparently the word “unnecessary” isn’t in a Grandma’s vocabulary!


SP went with hot pink and Boo picked blue.


They had these great bears, this is actually what sold my mom when she saw them a few weeks before!





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And then, as if we hadn’t been spoiled enough, we hit up Chick-fil-a.

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While the girls were off being girly, Brian and Becks were off being…boyey?

They met Tricki Vicki for lunch for…yep, Tex Mex! Yay for fresh tortillas!!

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Becks stayed entertained the entire time with this tortilla dough ball and a knife!

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Then they went by to see the house Brian grew up in. Beckham loves hearing stories of when we were little, so seeing the house that so many stories happened at was cool!
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 It was too early to get some when they were there, but second best ice cream on earth!
And some hat trying on!
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Good bye Houston! (This is the duck my mom dresses up!)
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Hello Dallas!

Go ‘Stros!

My brother Todd and his wife Ashley came down from Dallas for the day. First order of business was to fix the freezer.

I’m not gonna lie. It takes 4 Aggies to fix an ice maker.

And one spatula. And one flash light. And one steak knife.


All to find out that all we had to do was change the ice from “cube” to “crush” to change the direction of the spinner thingy…well, that’s not important. But it was to us then cause we had spent 45 min trying every other possible solution (thus the spatula and steak knife…).

How many Aggies does it take to fix an ice maker? Must be more than four because we failed.

Then Astros time!!

Girls ready for Astros game

Lunch at a fun hole in the wall burger place

Soon to be famous JAX Burgers


Mimi and SP

Mimi and SP #astros

My parents best friends Loma and Leonard joined us for the day!

This picture makes me giggle. The guy that took it was super sweet…and also he cut Brian out!

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We got to the park super duper early to get Mike Scott bobble heads! My dad took us to an Astros game when we were little before we lived in Houston and I remember him being excited that Mike Scott was pitching. He took us to tons of games after we moved to Houston, but my biggest memories are from that game!

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We took advantage (here’s a shocker…) of every photo op there is at Minute Maid Park!


Me and Craig Biggio…we are buds.


This guy is a cut out, he doesn’t look this real in real life! Brian shared his hat!


We had a great time with this fake fly ball! There was a real ball attached to the wall, and a life-sized picture of fans.








There was a fun kid section where everything was free! Yay!

Kids got to run their crazies out pretending to run the bases


Did I say “kids?”…

Safe! #astros

 This was a fun game where they try to hit a squirt of water. Beckham was super into this! He’s been practicing all summer long for this moment…



Sadie Piper was thrilled about this too! This girl has the BEST faces!



And then, Berkley.

Keep in mind she has spent the last 2 minutes of her life watching Beckham and SP play this.

She steps up to the plate, and grabs the bat.

Upside down.


And uses it to hit the water popping up.




She had a blast though!


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Stopped to watch batting practice

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Oh, and I’m a lame wife who didn’t pack Brian an Astros shirt. He was a good sport and fixed this

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Then we went up a few escalators! This is the view from our frugal $5 adult and $1 kid tickets! I’m not a fan of heights, but this view was really fun!

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We let the kids each pick one treat. Berkley picked cotton candy!

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I was thankful for the inventor of wippees!

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The Bigs picked Blue Bell in cute little Astros hats! (my dad bought us these when we came to watch Mike Scott)

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Todd and Ashley!

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My favorite part of Astros games is the 7th inning stretch and singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas!”

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We went down and joined my mom, Loma and Leonard at their seats…a little closer to the field!

They started the wave and Beckham thought this was the best thing since…Blue Bell? Dr Pepper? Faux-hawks?

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Time to go home. Sooooo tired.

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Going, going, gone…

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Such a fun day with friends and family!

Being cheap in Houston!

When we planned out our days in Houston, we knew we wanted to take Beckham to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. His “thing” is animals. But when I researched it, it’s $15 for adults and $1o for kids. That’s a hefty $60. Even the Children’s Museum was $9 a person. I know myself well enough to know after paying that much, I was going to want to stay all day to try to get our money’s worth. I also know our kids well enough to know that would be impossible. So more research uncovered free Thursday nights at both the Science Museum and the Children’s Museum! Now we are talking!

We hit up a bike store while we were down there! Of course!

Boone, Oldest bike shop in Houston, more like a house, hard to find.

Everywhere else, this is a snow bike. The only way they have a chance to sell this in Houston though is to tell people “it’s for sand.”

I think it looks like a Batman bike.

That would make Brian Batman. I don’t think he would object.

Texas bike wheels, actually for riding on sand.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do. I’m half crazy, all for the love of you! It’s a bicycle built for two!!

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do...

Then to museum!

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Took Beckham and SP a while to warm up enough to pet this. It was dead, but boy did it look alive!

Pet armadillo



That’s a big fish!

Jonah anyone?

Giant Shark!!

We live in a bubble. It was surprising to us that they were presenting evolution as fact. I know, I admitted we live in a bubble.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”

Hmm... What is being implied here?


Genesis 1:20-22

“And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”


The “official” reason for T-Rex’s little arms? To tickle their babies. We aren’t opposed to that, but presenting it as fact just made me question everything else. Well, that and the evolution they claimed…:)




We were actually not super impressed with the museum. I was expecting to see real bones. Only a few of the animals had real bones, all the rest were replicas. And a lot of them were “guesses.” It was fun to attribute to God all of these amazing creations though, whether we have it right or not, that doesn’t change that our God is stinkin’ amazing!


We also started collecting pressed pennies on this trip!!

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This is seconds after Brian pulled SP out of the fountain. But before you assume she fell in, this was also just a few more seconds before he had put her in to get a coin!

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No worries, she threw the “wish” back!

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It went something like this (but once she reached down, she was almost completely soaked. It was like 100 that day. I was jealous):

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Stopped between museums for dinner at a Taco Shop! Yay for Tex-Mex!!

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Mimi and the girls

Mimi’s purse is full of entertainment! What more does a girl need than lip stick?

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And Brad and his boys met us to head to the Children’s Museum!

My big brother Brad

This place was PACKED. Everyone else in Houston was taking advantage of free night too! We can’t complain…it was free!

There were crafts there. We may have improvised.

I believe in unicorns

That’s Brian’s head!

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There were a ga-zillion stations. One of our favorite things to do was face painting!

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SP asked me to make her Hello Kitty.

I tried my hardest, that’s the best I can do…

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Yay for more pressed pennies!


I’m so glad one of us remembered to get a group shot! Our adult:child ratio was an awesome 1:1! So we pretty much split up the entire time and all knew we had to have one kid with us, no more, no less!


We wored her out!

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Summer Lovin: My Man Crush On R.A. Dickey

My obsession with the knuckleball (and making sure it doesn’t go extinct) has been fueled this summer by the amazing year New York Mets’ pitcher R.A. Dickey is having. I admit, I have a man crush on him, but really it all began when I was in fifth grade. At that point I was obsessed with baseball and eventually learned about Charlie Hough and the strange pitch he threw called a knuckleball. The knuckleball is actually held by the fingernails, knuckles never touch the ball, but they do stick up in the air when the ball is gripped.

While most pitches in the majors are about speed and getting the ball to spin fast in one direction causing the ball to move, the knuckleball is the exact opposite. It spins less than a single rotation over the 60 feet and 6 inches it travels to the plate. The pitch tends to be around 60 to 70 mph as opposed to the 90s, which is a good fastball. The result of this odd pitch is that no one knows where it will go. Not the batter, not the pitcher, not the catcher. Bob Ueckler once famous stated, “The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then to pick it up.”


So when I was a child I was both intrigued by this quirky pitch and further intrigued that a guy with my odd last name was throwing this pitch. I have spent many afternoons trying to throw this difficult pitch.

Since then the baseball strike happened and I quit following baseball with the exception that I have always checked in on knuckleballers. The last worthwhile guy in the bigs was Tim Wakefield in Boston who retired a few years back.

As I’ve gotten into this summer sport again in recent years I’ve been following the career of a guy named R.A. Dickey. He started in Texas and traveled around until landing with the Mets. He’s done well for them until this year when he began playing unbelievably well. He is 14-2 with an ERA under 3. That means for every 9 innings he pitches he gives up less than three runs. He’s also striking people out swinging at an amazing rate.

So all this is great, but my intrigue with him goes further after reading his autobiography earlier this year. In it he shares his troubled past, his difficult family life, his being sexually molested by a female babysitter and eventually how God brought him to faith in Christ. God used a Christian family that invited him into their home and who answered his questions. He sees their love for God and eventually sees their God as his eyes are opened to see reality.

R.A. (Robert Alan) was drafted by the Texas Rangers as a normal pitcher and was about to sign a contract with a nearly million dollar signing bonus. However, the results of his physical showed he didn’t have a UCL, some ligament in the arm that was needed for pitching. His bonus after that was about $75k as the wondered how he was even able to pitch without the ligament.

It wasn’t until after his career stalled out that he began learning the knuckleball in 2006.


As the narrative goes on he struggles in baseball and life before he nearly kills himself trying to swim across the Missouri River. He makes mistakes in his marriage and owns up to it all repenting and getting back on track. This book is foremost a personal and baseball story, but throughout the book is seen the redemptive work of the Gospel in his life. I highly recommend it for anyone remotely interested in baseball or biography in general or just wish to read an honest (and not cheesy) story of how the gospel is constantly transforming sinners washed in the blood of Christ. I greatly appreciated how open he was about his life whether it made him look good or look like a jerk.

Dickey is a member of West End Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. This church is a member of the PCA, the same denomination of Redeemer (our church). Dickey pitches again tonight at 9 pm when I hope he will be the first pitcher to reach 15 wins this season.

Here’s how you throw one in case you want t go out into the backyard and give it a try.