Old School Roller Skating!

A friend had a party at the roller rink! Brilliant!

Daisy Skate Party

Brian went rollerskating every Friday night in Jr High, and he hasn’t lost his mad skating skills! Daisy Skate Party

Only Berkley skates in a fancy dress…(it was that or footies and she was already in this from church!)Daisy Skate Party

LIMBO!! Daisy Skate Party

They played REO Speedwagon, that was all I wanted out of this!! woohoo!  Daisy Skate Party

Halloween: take one

Manhattan loves Halloween! There are about 5 different public events that you can show up in costume and fit right in.

Homecoming Parade is the first!

The businesses in Aggieville all hand out candy, so you come early and trick or treat at the stores, then camp out for the K-State Homecoming Parade!

Becks dressed as Link from the video game Zelda this year. He and Brian made the sword and shield this summer (not for a costume, just cause. Nerds.) and I found this great hoodie! Costume hoodies are my favorite!! Functional AND fun! Look at me being so fun!!

I guess Link had somewhere to be…


So since Becks was Link, I was Zelda, and Brian was Navi (the little fairy who follows Link around saying “Hey! LISTEN!”) Brian had multiple people stop him to ask to take a picture with him! Nailed it!


Sadie Piper went as a cat!


She did her own face paint! Super cute!!

KSU homecoming parade 2017

And Berkley as, shocking: a penguin!


The floats at this parade and the best! That’s Annie waving in the cutest picture ever!!    KSU homecoming parade 2017

Here’s what happens when you take two pictures. Berkley does really well…

But then she does a face fast change…

 KSU homecoming parade 2017

This guy dressed as Macho Man! He stayed in character the WHOLE time!! KSU homecoming parade 2017

Girls: “Dad, we ALWAYS take this picture!!” Brian: “SAY CHEESE!!!!”

KSU homecoming parade 2017

Varsity’s “candy” was basically fresh funnel cake bits. We didn’t get a picture cause we wolfed them down! Berkley wanted every last grain of sugar. Literally.

KSU homecoming parade 2017

KSU homecoming parade 2017

Astros in the Playoffs!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

We bleed orange around here, so while the Astros are in the Playoffs, it becomes a holiday!

We did stadium food on days they played in the first round. But of course, food at the stadium costs money. Insert Brian’s job: make money!!

Astros money

Everything we sold always cost $100, but isn’t that about right for stadium prices? 🙂 Just teaching the kids real world lessons!

I made pretzel hot dog buns. They were delish, but I hate when I do that to myself cause now I set the bar too high…on stinking HOT DOG night, aka “Mom’s not cooking night!” Ugh!

We also did nachos…with JUST those round chips and that gross non-cheese that everyone in my house loves. Ew. They thought it was the greatest ever.

And orange popcorn in Astros cup hats:

They didn’t love it. Said it was too sugary. WHAT???

And then tequila sunrise cookies (instead of the annual candy corn ones these are supposed to be!)

‘Stros are moving on, so it’s back to the drawing board for more Astros ideas!

Best “no” we’ve ever said…

We aren’t anti-video games. (Case in point: Brian has owned literally every device Nintendo has ever made. Every. Single. One.) But we try to reserve them for winter. You know, when it’s too stinking cold to do anything but be on the couch with a blanket.

More background: we just finished reading the first Harry Potter aloud as a family.

But the kids still ask if they can play video games, and we still tell them “no” on pretty days. Last week was an especially pretty weekend. So, 20 minutes after we said no, they came out and started “suiting up.”

Narnia and Harry Potter

They went and found Brian’s oldest looking baseball hat, for the “sorting hat” of course, and got into houses.

Then they came outside for…

Quidditch Tryouts!

Narnia and Harry Potter

Beckham was using this card to run try outs! 🙂

Harry Potter

First was hitting a bludger!

Narnia and Harry Potter

Narnia and Harry Potter

But you also had a shot at becoming a Chaser!   Narnia and Harry Potter

And of course, they had to try to get the Snitch (a very small bouncy ball!) to try out for Seeker!

Harry PotterHarry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

They they disappeared inside for a while. But that was just to find out what positions they got (I found out later!).

And then back out for the real game!

Harry Potter

The BEST part was the noises they were all making. You know, broomstick flying noises!!

Harry Potter   Harry Potter  Harry Potter

Then Brian goes and finds himself a broom…

Harry Potter

It was not lost on me that my entire family is the front yard. On broomsticks….Harry Potter

Also, why do I have so many brooms??

   Harry Potter

Brian caught the snitch…in his mouth. You know, like Harry did? (If you haven’t read the books, stop now and do it!)

Harry Potter

There were also classes inside the house. I didn’t see them all, but “Potions” was in our room:

Harry potter

I’m glad God gave us these three!

Summer Vacation: Indianapolis and Detroit

We stick our heads in any funny pics we see!

Vacation 2017 - 99

And yes, Berkley is in her pajamas. And yes, they are fleece footies. And yes, it’s July. She would live in them all day everyday year round if I let her.

Vacation 2017 - 98

Also, we ride statues.

Vacation 2017 - 97

We spent an afternoon in Indianapolis just passing though. I can’t remember why the kids were upset at Brian for some silly reason, but they were all walking with me and I was pumped!

Vacation 2017 - 31 Vacation 2017 - 32

Yelp has been our friend on this trip. We found a crepe place for lunch!

Vacation 2017 - 19

Vacation 2017 - 22 Vacation 2017 - 21

Vacation 2017 - 24

Also found a unique ice cream shop

Vacation 2017 - 30

They freeze your ice cream in front of you!

Vacation 2017 - 29

Then we saw a sign on the highway advertising the world’s largest rocking chair. We are so in for this!

It didn’t disappoint:

Vacation 2017 - 5

Buuuut then we realized this was a whole TOWN of “World’s Largest”

Wooden Shoes:

Vacation 2017 - 17

Wind chime:

Vacation 2017 - 6


   Vacation 2017 - 18

Mailbox (with working flag!)

Vacation 2017 - 15


Vacation 2017 - 8


Vacation 2017 - 9

Bird cage:

Vacation 2017 - 10

Not world’s largest, but still cool! It’s made from an old gas tank

Vacation 2017 - 14

Also a night in Detroit cause the ASTROS were there!

Vacation 2017 - Caught a Carlos Beltran foul ball

Vacation 2017 - Detroit

We actually blended in here cause the Tigers are the same colors!

Vacation 2017 - 119   Vacation 2017 - 120

Summer Vacation 2017- Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls wasn’t as impressive as we thought it was gonna be:

Vacation 2017 - Thought falls would be bigger

Kidding, it was awesome!

Niagara Falls

I love these people

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Her stinking head fit in the bars. Made me anxious.

Niagara Falls

His wife is one lucky girl…

Niagara Falls

Berkley is so weird.

Niagara Falls

In this one Boo is licking my arm…why??

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

We watched from the top, then went down and did the boat tour, cause I think it’s a law you have to go on the boat ride at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Brian laughed at me and took my pic. Less for the memory and more to mock my hoodie tied so tight, but good golly it was misty!

Vacation 2017 - 105

Vacation 2017 - 104

However, it IS true that he looks cooler than me without his on…

Vacation 2017 - 108

Niagara Falls

I realized recently that Brian spends a lot of time like this: helping all of us climb off stuff!

Niagara Falls Niagara Falls

Annnd I think that’s all the pictures they have in them for the day! To be fair, it was well after dinner time and we ran out of snacks…:)

Vacation 2017 - 113




Sailing away

Brian found this super fun sailing camp and it was a highlight of our summer for sure!

Sailing Summer 2017

Sailing 2017

It’s on Tuttle Creek Lake, the cost is $5 (PER FAMILY!) and now our kids are all expert sailors!

Sailing Summer 2017

Summer 2017 - 21

They don’t just hop in boats, they put them to work! They have to assemble them each time! The kids all know all the parts of a sailboat and how to put it together.

  Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

And how to tie it off at the dock.

Sailing Summer 2017

Day one they threw them in the water, capsized them and taught them how to right the boat. Brilliant if you ask me, no one was scared at all of tipping the rest of the week!

Summer 2017 - 15

 Summer 2017 - 10

Actually, Berkley should have been! Her few pounds definitely didn’t get that boat back up again! She just doesn’t have the weight!

Summer 2017 - 4

Day two they towed their boat behind a safety boat so they could learn how to steer.
Summer 2017 - 28

Then the rest of the week is sailing on their own!

Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing Summer 2017

She may have been stuck with no wind, but it made for a very peaceful picture! 🙂

Sailing Summer 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing Summer 2017

  Sailing Summer 2017  Sailing 2017  Sailing 2017

 Sailing 2017

Brian took a few rides in the safety boat. Until they kicked him off! 🙂

  Sailing 2017

On the last day, parents got to sail too! And after that we were even more impressed with our little sailors…it takes skill and knowledge…neither of which I had. But the instructors talked me though it and I made it

Summer 2017 - 76

St Patty’s Day Shenanigans

If we learn that green food coloring is harmful, the Hough house is in trouble. We had A LOT during St Patty’s week. “Green everything!” was the motto! So if it wasn’t green naturally, I dyed it. Problem solved.

Real St Paddy's Day Cupcakes for Small Group tonight.

First stop on real St Patrick’s day: Varsity for green donuts. Except Berkley the party pooper who doesn’t like raised donuts or icing.

Next stop: Library, where they had a fun craft!

They also had a Beauty and the Beast craft time. This pic weirds me out.

And Beckham climbed the wall. Random. Yet impressive.

Then some other random stops for photo ops.

We wish they would cut that tree down! It’s such a cool painting and it’s half covered. Sad story.

Welded welder welding a welded mailbox…

Then rode bikes to the parade!

Berkley packed a BOOK to read. Nerd.

We saw lots of friends in the parade! That’s always our favorite part!!     

T-Rex on a bike gets me every time!

Yet so does anything in a parade with a toilet in it…

Beckham climbed more walls…


I can’t take these guys anywhere…


New (old) strategy

Parenting has been hard these past few months. Hard in that we feel like we are trying so hard, yet failing every day. Failing to get to the hearts of our kids, failing to help them see and repent of their sin, failing to show them the joy in obedience.

It’s not that we weren’t trying. We were. We were trying with our loud words. And with our threats. And using our ability to manipulate. You know, all the things that when kids grow up, they look back and think “Wow, my turning point in life was that time my mom yelled at me. It really changed my heart.” Said no one ever.

Praise God He frustrated us. Praise God He knew what we were doing wasn’t working to shepherd their hearts. So we thought and prayed and talked long and hard about what was going wrong. The conversations started with what was “wrong” with each of the kids. We know their weaknesses and struggles. We know what pushes their buttons. Our conclusion: They are the problem.

Yet God didn’t stop there. He graciously showed us, sure, we have sinful kids, but that’s not the problem. Every kid is sinful. And we are called to disciple that sinful heart and show it the joyful blessings in repentance and obedience.

The problem was us.

Our kids have horribly sinful parents. That’s the bigger problem.

We’d let selfishness rule our parenting: I just want y’all to stop fighting cause the yelling is driving me nuts. What do I need to do to just make it stop?

We’d let laziness rule our parenting: I don’t want to get up to help you. I want to sit here and read my book. How can I solve this problem from the couch?

We’d let hurriedness rule our parenting: We are running out the door, I don’t have time to stop and deal with this right now. How can I yell so you just hurry up so we aren’t late?

And we were expecting our children to react differently than we did. See, we flew off the handle when something didn’t go our way, but I expect them to stay calm and cheerful when something doesn’t go their way. Shocker this wasn’t working!

In short, without meaning to, we wanted kids whose hearts who had be shepherded well, but we were tired of doing the shepherding. We’ve been at this for 11 years now. Yet there’s no sabbatical in parenting, no summer break; Where’s the rest?

We were running on our own strength, our own initiative. And that runs out. We weren’t leaning on Christ for our strength. We weren’t loving sacrificially. We weren’t discipling our kids.

The “obsolete” definition of discipling is “to teach; train.” Well, that’s not obsolete in our world.

This clicked with Brian. We aren’t teaching. We are expecting them to do things we’ve told them once (“load the dishwasher” “treat your sister how you want to be treated”), but that’s not how people work. They need us to SLOW DOWN. To teach them. To get up and engage the argument they are in and work through it patiently.  To show them how to clean the sink well. To show them what we mean when we ask them to vacuum. Again. And again. And then again.

Everything is an opportunity to engage them.

Even shower time.

We told Becks to take a quick shower. I even told him “Set your watch timer for 5 minutes. Be out in 5 minutes.” I made the expectations very clear (so I was pretty proud of myself). But I missed something. Yes, he knows how to take a shower, but does he know how to take a quick one? (this is where I get frustrated, so does Becks and the whole thing escalates to us both being mad.)

That’s where Brian saw my deficiency and stepped in.

To teach.

He patiently walked him through each step in being an efficient shower-taker (for instance, skip the step where you stand under hot water for 10 minutes).

And the boy was out in a minute and half! 🙂


We’ve slowed down. We’ve moved our own entertainment down the priority list. If we need to stop everything and deal with something, we will. A broken relationship with any of our kids isn’t worth the 10 minutes I “gained” in my day by rushing something that could have been an opportunity to grow with them.

I’m thankful to God for showing us our sin. It stung. It’s hard to be the problem when you want to be the solution. It’s hard to know in a few months we may (we will…) fall back into our selfish and lazy parenting.


But God will again call us out in His loving kindness, we will repent and He will restore our energy and patience and kindness and faithfulness…for His glory!