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

Continue reading

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.”


My Identifiers

In the Summer of 2013 I found myself in a position where for so long I had been working towards finding funding from a donor for the church plant and when God gave us that, everything went public. The 48 hours afterwards were exciting, but then I felt between two worlds. I was still a youth pastor for Redeemer and I was now laboring as a Church Planter for Manhattan. I was torn between these two mentalities and identities. What was hard to keep in focus was that neither of these identities were my true identity. That as a Child of God.

I am a damned sinner destined for glory because of  my gracious savior. If I can know that in my heart moment by moment then life can be lived well. If not, I’ll waste it.

So as I thought about my primary identifier I also thought about what else identifies me, this is my list of identities I recognize in myself:
Christian: I wasn’t born with this identity, I was reborn with it.  This is my primary and most important identifier. The rest could disappear and so long as I had this one still I’m ok. This is the one that will last through eternity, the one that assures the forgiveness of my sin and my place in the family of God forever. It means most basically that Jesus bought me with his own life. He has given me faith to believe that Jesus is my savior and I am now a follower of Jesus, who is my king.

Man: I have male anatomy and I was made by God to show forth masculine characteristics as God, and not culture, defines them. This provides me a role in marriage, in society, in the church, in relation to women and other men. It’s an identity my culture wants to erase and one which my culture leads me to often feel shame for, but it is a God given identity that goes beyond mere anatomy. It means I must lead in places God has placed me, it means I must protect those who can’t protect themselves and offer care and compassion to those who need it.

Son: I am the son of Henry Harrison Hough from Charleston, Missouri. I am also the son of Vicki Sue Anderson from Toledo, Ohio. My dad is a traveling speaker who uses labradors as a visual illustration for obedience. My mother has been a sixth grade English teacher since I myself was in the sixth grade.

Brother: I have two older brothers who I love deeply. I am often saddened by the distance between us both physically and relationally. I am a brother which ties me to these guys for the rest of our lives no matter how alike or different we are. They are both medical doctors making me the least educated child with my M.Div. Truth is I’m secretly (not so secret anymore) really impressed by them being doctors.

Step Brother: I also have a fantastic step brother named Matt. He’s a gifted musician and uses his gifts to assist the people of God with worship in Houston. He challenged my next identity at first and I resented him for it, but quickly came around to consider him a true brother despite my placing him in a separate identifier.

Youngest: I am the youngest of three boys. I grew up the youngest which gave me the nurturing experience of being the youngest. That means I couldn’t tie my shoe until like 3rd grade, wet the bed way too long, learned about sex before my peers and basically everyone did everything for me most of my life leaving me forever less capable of functioning like an adult. My job as the youngest was very simple: Be funny and tattle on people.

Husband: This is one my favorite identifiers. I am the husband of Laura Elaine Hough, the most amazing girl I’ve ever met. We aren’t big on public expression of affection for each other cause that sort of thing makes people gag and if I’m honest when people gush about their spouse on Facebook I question how real the words are. Now to break my own rule, I love Laura soooo much, I love being her husband because she is everything I dreamed a wife could be and I really mean that. As a husband I am called to care for my wife, to lead her and nourish her, to protect her and provide for her. She makes all my husband responsibilities an absolute joy to fulfill. One of the best bits of advice I can give is marry well. Marry a sibling in Christ (the “in Christ” distinction is important unless you’re in Arkansas) and walk through life together.

Father: We have three children. Beckham, Sadie Piper and Berkley Boo. Being a father is hard. It means playing games that just aren’t fun (and some which are), it means disciplining and nurturing when already tired. It means discipleship of a child whose ability to think and interact is changing nearly every day. Being a father is fulfilling though, I love to talk with them and care for them and laugh at them; and hugs from a child are pretty much the greatest thing ever. I remember the joy of being a father when I come home and the crazies run to me with huge hugs.

Hough – Family name means something. With it come positives and negatives, it’s a shared identity that, people assume I’m like others who also are identified as Houghs. My own life also serves to redefine the name going forward. I like the name, I liked in sports being called exclusively Hough, even most of the girls I knew used to call me just Hough. It connected me to Charlie Hough which gave me a love for the Knuckleball and it now connects us to Julianne Hough and Derek Hough who are dancers and actors.

Ex Youth Pastor: This identifier is often one of a cheesy guy with too much caffeine. It doesn’t garner much respect from anyone and seen by some as the bane of the church today. I however found it was a fantastic role to serve the Kingdom of God. Though it Laura and I have made so many great relationships with students and families and seen them grow and mature. There is such joy in this that though I’ve never loved the title and prefer the role we serve in today I do miss the opportunity to have this role in the lives of students and families at Redeemer. As time has gone by I’ve also found this to be one of the more heartbreaking identifiers as we see students we care about grow up and struggle.

Teacher: I only half own up to this title. On our second day in Kansas I was given two different classes to teach, that year it was 7th and 8th grade Bible. I taught every year since then. My last year I only taught four days a week, two 75 minute classes, two 50 minute classes. Teaching is both miserable and fantastic. Trying to teach students who don’t care at all because of apathy or only care about their grade is depressing. But seeing some of those same students come alive and care or teaching those who wish to learn is an absolute rush. It’s been one of the more time consuming parts of my life for seven years, but I was glad to have the experience and I think it put my seminary training to good use.

Astros Fan: This is one of the dumber identifiers. I am a fan of the Houston Astros. In fact my earliest memories include cheering for the bright rainbow version of the Astros. It is a memory of mine connected to my grandfather who like the Astros as well. Currently being an astros fan is a bit embarrassing with how bad they are, but they are my team and I love to root for them. They have a number of Christians on the team which make me all the more excited to see these guys mature as players and people.

Soccer Fan: This used to put me in a tiny little sub group of people, but each year the number of soccer fans seems to grow. I follow and support the Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City, Manchester United and still have a soft spot for FC Dallas. I miss playing the game.

Bicyclist: I grew up riding bikes, but I’m really in the seventh year since rediscovering the joy of bicycling. I like to ride for adventure, not sport which is why I call myself a bicyclist and not a cyclist. I also refer to my Bicycle as a Country Cross Bike and it has a name. You will never find spandex on me, that’s my way of showing love for neighbor. I love bicycling and find it to be like therapy to just get out and ride.

Counting Crows Fan: This one honestly doesn’t seem to fit me. I don’t really like rock music, but I can sing along to nearly every song the Counting Crows have ever performed. I discovered them in High School and then rediscovered them in college and have been obsessed ever since.

Obsessive: I tend to get obsessive about subjects or products or teams or food and then learn everything there is to learn about them before moving on to something else. I wish this wasn’t how I functioned, but it is. I used to think everyone functioned this way until Tony Felich helped me understand I’m messed up.

Texan: This is my nationality. Some claim their Irish or Italian or Russian ancestry, ours is Texan. I’m not sure my children realize it isn’t really a nation. Seriously.  To be fair, it was a country from 1836 to 1845 and it has functioned like a country to this day with it’s own electric grid and general autonomy so I feel quite justified in this. I am one of those people who loves America, but really I am a Texan first and foremost. However, we love being missionaries to the United States and have no intentions of every returning to the homeland.

Weird: I think most people are weird and like the title of being such. So the question isn’t so much are you weird, but how are you weird? You learn this from what people comment about you. Wearing soccer socks on Sundays under my nice pants I’ve been told is weird. Putting half and half with sweetener in my tea is apparently not a normal practice. Wandering around town at times in a Monk Robe is apparently not normal. Also the joy I get from awkward situations I’ve been told is a little strange. So that’s that.

Church Planter: This is a new identifier, like youth pastor it has a bunch of cheesy associations with it that I’ll try to avoid. Like I won’t call you “buddy” or tell you how we need to “just love on people” or  explain how we need to “live incarnational lives” because let’s be honest, unless you start as God you can’t come down as a man.  I do like the title though, the work it points to is one of amazing purpose and value for the town of Manhattan and the kingdom of God. I love it because it puts us in a place of utter dependence on God to provide in every way. It’s scary and I often feel unskilled for this role and ill equipped for this role, but it is an identification I’m excited to continue to grow into.

Pastor: This is the day to day function of a church planter. It’s administration, and serving, it’s praying for the congregation and those we hope God will work salvation in. It’s making bulletins and preparing sermons. It’s lonely at times, it comes with a weight that I never understood as an assistant pastor, although I used to think I understood. It’s constant second guessing, it’s depressing when people under our care struggle. It’s sweet fellowship with those who minister along side us.

I love to know other people’s identifiers, if you have put them down in writing let me know, I’d love to read them.

Halloween 2014

Have we mentioned before how much we love our town? If you are sick of hearing about it, bail now! And if you aren’t, come visit us and we will take you to some city event cause there’s bound to be one that weekend!

Recently it was Homecoming/Halloween week here. It’s one of our favorite weeks here by far!

First up, K-state carnival! Also, our kids dress up as something different for every Halloween event they attend (they dig on our dress up clothes!)

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

The Greeks put on an awesome kids carnival!

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

Anna and Olaf!

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

These college students are all so great with kids. And patient. (Our children may grow up not knowing how to lose and NOT get the candy! They are a little “candy entitled”) :) K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

Cute aviator goggles!!

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

Willie, of course! K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

And snow cones!!

K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

Found a Chris!K-State Fall Fair at Homecoming Week 2014

The next day was the Homecoming parade, our favorite one all year here! And that’s saying a lot cause this town loves its parades! But first, the kids trick or treat in Aggieville beforehand!

Parade and carnival 2014
Parade and carnival 2014

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

K-State played tu for their homecoming game…so we approve of this float!!

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

Sophie was in the parade!

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

We love finding Sadie the cow! :)

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

Found Chris again! 
K-State Homecoming Parade 2014K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

These floats are stinking amazing!! K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

Parade and carnival 2014

Parade and carnival 2014

I was a pinata. Brian was a mexican.

Parade and carnival 2014

We couldn’t NOT take this picture:

Parade and carnival 2014

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

Some behind the scenes of how I got up that high. I had to do some cheerleader stunting! Damian walked me through each step…while Brian looked pretty!

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014
And then there’s Brian…already ready to hit me! :)

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

Played a little Wiffle-cone (with pine cones instead of balls!) with Josiah

K-State Homecoming Parade 2014

Snap Shots: newspaper style

The Manhattan Mercury has a section on Wednesdays called “SnapShots” that displays reader submitted photos. So one day a few months ago Brian sent in this:


The next week he sent in this:

NewspaperThen this:


What has followed is his weekly submission and subsequent publishing.

These were from Purple Power Play:

Purple power play #manhattanpres
Purple power play #manhattanpres


Here’s Heidi and I who also ended up on the front page! Newspaper


Sadie and Willie!


World Series Royals fun!

October 2014

Star Wars Day at the library using green screen! It’s Helen and George!

October 2014

Color Run!


Sarah’s wedding shower


Cute Isaac with chickens! (also made the front page too!)



MPC fall party game courtesy of Matt!


Aggieville 125th Anniversary


Then one day Brian ends up on the front page randomly too!!


That’s Brian at the trash can…look closely!


Here’s a closer picture of Katie in that picture too!!! Newspaper

The moral of the story: don’t let Brian take your picture unless you are ok with being in the newspaper next week! :)

And then there was the broken bone…

When I tell people how SP broke her arm, I describe this:


Then I usually hear ” they still have those on playgrounds?” :) Yes, and it’s Sadie Piper’s favorite thing to play on! This particular day she was a recess and had her gloves on…and slipped and fell off the top. Her teacher saw it and sent her to the nurse, despite Sadie saying she was fine. When I talked to SP on the phone, she said she wanted to stay at school for Friday Fun event. The sweet nurse got on the phone next and told me I should probably come get her! It was a Friday afternoon, but we got in to see her Dr., praise God!

SP broken arm 2014

They x-rayed, saw the break and splinted it until we could go to orthopedics Monday. “Cast” #1:
SP broken arm 2014

Orthopedics gave her a hard split to watch the break for a week to make sure it wasn’t swelling or needed adjustment. Cast #2:SP broken arm 2014Ice cream as her consolation prize for having to sit out from the bounce house fun. (Notice her ice cream “art” below her!)

aNext was a long arm cast, in pink, of course! Cast #3:

SP broken arm 2014

This hasn’t slowed her down any, except where we make her! She’s been amazing about it and made it a breeze on everyone!

SP broken arm

SP broken armFull of signatures! This girl kept a Sharpie handy at all times and remembered to ask almost everyone she knows to sign it!

SP broken arm 2014

Two weeks later she was healing great and got the long arm cast off…
SP broken arm 2014

…and got on Cast #4!


Why yes, that is Willie the Wildcat’s signature she has on there!

Willie signing Dorothy's cast. Doesn't get more Kansas than that. #willie #kstate #ksu #mhk #kansas #oz #wizzardofoz

Why yes, that picture DID make the newspaper!

More than anything, we are thankful and in awe that God made our body’s to heal. What a mercy to us and our fragile bodies!!

PS- we learned a few things worth sharing. 1. Do not mix gloves and money bars. 2. Press n Seal for bath time is the way to go (thank you Christine!!) 3. Wiping with your left arm is harder than wiping with your right. 4. Casts are actually really hard to sign because of the texture. Sadie said everyone who signed it told her that!