Friday, July 27, 2012

Dancing at VBS

I spent this week at our church's Vacation Bible School.  Nearly 700 kids and 300 volunteers helped to transform our sanctuary into a giant playroom where we learned we could trust in our God no matter what.  A similar scene is being repeated all over the country as parents look to keep their kids engaged over the summer respite.  One mom was overheard saying this was the 6th VBS she had sent her kids to this summer (that is a whole different topic for a different day)!  While each church puts their own little spin on their VBS, couldn't you argue that for the most part they are all pretty much the same?

Sure.  Especially in one glaring area: the lack of dads in the room.  While there were a handful of men running around as volunteers, the crowd definitely took on a more lady-like appearance.  Dad's are busy.  Lots of dads work during the day and that makes it extremely difficult to get to church during business hours.  Truthfully, we don't get but so much time off and doesn't it make more sense to save that for the family vacation?  I could keep going on and on with other reasons why its more of a Mommy-style gig.  I know most of them by heart because I have used them as excuses in the past myself.

To be honest though, the reason we don't want to help out with things like nursery, VBS & other family life events is that we often don't see it as our job.  We don't want to do it.  Dancing silly dances, working at craft stations & talking to puppets doesn't seem to fit neatly into our job description.  Aren't we better off providing for our families at work, fixing the running toilet in the hall and changing the oil in  the minivan?  Without question our wives and kids need us for all those things.

But more than that they need us to be the spiritual head of the home.  I have failed so often at that, the most important of all the things on my honey-do list.  Leading the home doesn't just mean saying a prayer before dinner or making sure the family gets to church every Sunday morning.  It could mean dancing an embarrassing jig.  It could mean making yourself vulnerable in front of a sanctuary full of kids.  It could mean taking a day of vacation so you can laugh at corny jokes told by a puppet.  

I was amazed this week at the number of kids who opened up and reached out to the dads who were volunteering.  They wanted to sit next to us & tell us stories.  They wanted to hold our hands & have us explain Bible stories to them.  They wanted to laugh at our antics.  Our kids are desperate for men to step up.  Nearly begging us to let our guard down and show them in a tangible and sometimes crazy way that we love our God.

The point isn't that you have to volunteer at VBS to be a good dad.  If that was the case I would have failed the past 8 years of fatherhood.   All I ask is that we take a chance and do something that the rest of the world doesn't consider to be our job.  Maybe something out of our comfort zone.  Lets dance at VBS.  Change a diaper.  Rock a baby in the nursery.  Lead a group of 6 year olds in prayer.  Lets be silly for Jesus.  I know our kids, our church and God will all be smiling.

The running toilet can wait.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Kick in the Pants

Life around here has been a little loosey-goosey for a while.

No 2 days are the same. No 2 weeks look alike. Rush's schedule constantly changes, and thus mine does as well.

Rylie has a million appointments.....GI, plastic surgery, ENT, dental, speech. Jude is starting in now too. There's been baseball, soccer, swim lessons, church, choir, preschool, elementary school. It makes me tired thinking of it.

So.....some things have suffered. Namely, any semblance of a schedule, routine, structure....yada, yada, yada.

And Rush and I are slightly Type A. Well, we used to be, anyway...before 4 kids made us chill out on a lot of fronts.

But recently we've felt the need to get things whipped into shape a little more.

So, we came up with a daily schedule. I was worried the kids would hate it. That they would protest all day long. That I wouldn't want to stick with it.



Someone tell me why we didn't start this earlier. Like 5 years ago. Sheesh.

It's not crazy scheduled. But it does set up a few things like learning time, chore time, a bible lesson, book time, etc. There's plenty of free time in there too.

The kids get a list of chores to do every day during chore time, but also are expected to help out at mealtimes, and then do a general clean up in the evening before bed.

They love it.

They are begging to do chores. They know what to expect each day, even when things are a little flexible and get changed up due to appointments or playdates. I cannot believe how easily the implementation has gone. They are fighting less, cooperating more, and in general have better attitudes.

It's made our summer break really enjoyable...even on those days here and there when we don't really have much scheduled or planned. I haven't even heard the dreaded "I'm bored!" mantra but a couple of times.

Heck, I even get some free time every now and then during the day. Gotta love that!

Flexibility for the craziness? Check! Appeasement for my long lost Type A self? Check!

What's not to love?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Glasses (Sunday Snapshot)

It's amazing how little it takes (sometimes) to entertain my kiddos.

I love my little goofballs.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, July 6, 2012

We Are Grafted In

Before we brought Rylie home, I came across an AWESOME blog. Filled with posts from other families who have adopted and were actively pursuing adoption, it was a big help emotionally, both as we waited, and then brought home Rylie from China and endured a difficult transition. I love hearing what other parents have to say about their experiences and feelings. Mostly, I love hearing the truth...the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Well, you can imagine how honored and flattered I was to get a message about one of my little ol' posts being featured on the blog! Yep...and today's the day!

Go check it out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Miss, Mr, Mr, and Miss Independent

Thankful for our freedom!

Especially hers....


...and his.

So thankful they get to grow up in the land of the free!
Happy Independence y'all!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sleeping Like a Baby (Sunday Snapshot)

If you know Rylie, then you know she's our wild woman. She doesn't tow the line. She doesn't follow the rules. She's one of a kind, for sure.

The other night, I put the kids to bed and about an hour later, I went up to peek in on them.

I found this. 

Books in her bed. A "display" set up on her bedside table. Pillows in a basket behind her. Perched on her box of bows. And she completed her look with mismatched pj's, sunglasses (oh yes, they're under there) and a hat.

Girlfriend is straight up nuts. Love her creative little mind!

Ni Hao Yall

This pic was taken with my 18-55mm lens. It was dark in their room aside from the little light on the table. My settings were ISO 6400, f 4.5, shutter 1/8.