Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Will Never Forget Korea Because of Who It Gave Us

I love, love, love South Korea. The people, the city of Seoul, the history, the architecture, SOME of the food, the traditions, the sights and sounds, and most importantly the Eastern Welfare Society which took care of our son and his birthmom nearly 7 years ago.

This time 7 years ago Julie and I were on a plane headed home with Quinny in our hands having just traveled around the world to experience his homeland and meet him for the first time. He needed a family and we needed a son.

Can you say God!

Words cannot express how proud we are of him and all he represents to us. God was beyond good. Adoption rocks and so does South Korea.

Thanks to all of you who supported and helped us along the way. You too were a part of bringing Mr. Smiley into our world and we celebrate that on this his Forever Family Day!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Parents, Take Your Kids Somewhere...They Will Never Forget It


I am a huge believer in creating a childhood of memories for my kids. Nothing in life will last more than the things you DO with them. And few things can rival jumping in a car or getting on a plane and heading somewhere neat and fun.

 

Sadly, more and more parents put work and busyness on the top of their list. Suddenly, the years fly by and you’ve basically gone nowhere with the family other than a trip to the grandparents. That’s better than nothing, but there is a world out there to see and your kids should experience it…with you! I know it’s tough and I get money can be tight, but nothing is a better investment than finding a way, any way, to get away as a family and see and do new things together. It will last a lifetime. Maybe a trip to Enchanted Rock, or a weekend at the lake, or a few days on the beach. It’s our job as parents to be creative and fun. Making money and just paying the bills is certainly top priority, but most of us in America can find a way, if we truly want to, to get a way with the littles.

 

Here are my suggestions:

 

  1. Draw a circle of out from your home of places you can go within a 1 days drive, say 10 hours or so. You will be surprised at what’s close enough to go see.
  2. Look for special hotel or online offers to save on hotels or attractions.
  3. Consider going on quick, long weekend trips if you can’t afford to be gone long or the costs are too much. A lot can be done in just a few days!
  4. Find friends in those areas and bunk up and enjoy time all together.
  5. Save money and put it on the calendar a year in advance. This will build the excitement in the family and ensure that the trip gets done!
  6. Ask for suggestions with others you know. You’d be amazed at all the connections and ideas you likely have!
  7. Take the kids out of school a few days and go when places are slow. We love this. Kids can miss a few days and it maximizes your time and dollars spent…plus it makes the kids feel even more special to get out when everyone else is going to class.

 

Toys, games, and stuff never last. Time with each other, on the road headed somewhere will last forever. It can be frustrating and at times tempers may flare, but one thing is certain. They will jump up and down the next time you say you’re headed somewhere.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Colorado Trip Proves to Be Huge Fun

Two big things have been accomplished in our kids lives the last year. One, and most important, they got saved last fall and are now all Christians. Two, and just behind that, they love Colorado and love to ski!

We headed to the mountains for a visit with our friends Clint and Alisa Locks last weekend for our first ever winter-time visit to the Rockies. It had been 7 years since we last skied and I missed it. Julie tore her knees real bad and was somewhat timid about the whole thing. I have always loved being in God's country and seeing His creation. It's always been one of my favorite things to do. We had no idea if the kids would truly dig the cold and snow and love skiing. After all, learning to ski can be a total pain in the rear.

Julie and I both learned to ski later in life as teenagers. I have always hoped that my kids would learn and love it as kids. Seeing these other littles fly down the mountain without poles in reckless abandon has always been a hope for me.

Years later, I am now the dad with three of them! Holy cow. After one day of lessons by the amazing people at Copper Mountain all three of them were hooked like a Boulder hippie loves the legal weed! We spent Sunday skiing with the Locks and their two littles, Bree and Addi, and now they can't wait to go back!

I guess the only problem now is I just better prepare to make that 14 hour drive once a year!

I am so excited...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Kids Earn Another Belt In Tae Kwon Do

It's been fun to watch, and yes they do complain about it at times, but the kids are learning the Korean martial art. This last week they earned their Orange belt to go along with their White and Yellow belts.

Kids these days need activities that are wholesome and full of values. Their Master Mr. Yang is so great. He teaches them about family values while teaching them how to protect themselves if ever need be. It's like he's a modern day Mr. Miyagi.

Proud!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Was One of the Best, But Ready for 2014

This year was full of hospital visits, a 10 year anniversary, lots of good business, fun trips (Atlanta, Vegas, Galveston, Disney World), and numerous family events. Kids are good - Quinn started elementary this year, business is good and life itself has marched on with some ups and downs. Dad had a stroke but is doing very well and all three kids got saved this fall, so those are more important than anything!

I am excited about 2014. My two main goals are to lose 40lbs and to get my series 65 license. Other than that we hope to stay healthy, serve God as best we can, enjoy more time with friends, have a few trips again this year, pay off a few more smaller debts and save for the future.

God is good! Bring on 2014!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Trip to Disney Was..Well, What Else?...Magical

God willing this won't be the last time we go as a family to Disney, but it might certainly be our best. I love nothing more than traveling with my wife and kiddos. Creating memories which other in neat places is the greatest of investments in their lives in my view. My parents did it for me so I am honored to be able to pass that tradition on.

We spent the week before Thanksgiving in the magical world of Disney. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). It was unreal.

We walked into the Contemporary Resort on property and won the Family of the Day upgrade and ended up spending the week in the Penthouse on the top floor. That about says it all. It was insane. So much to write, I just can't get it all in.

But in summary, here is how we spent our days.

Day One:
Arrived around 12 and took Disney Magic Bus to Resort
Won Contemporary "family of day" upgrade - ended up in 14th floor penthouse for the week (worth about $5,000!)
Magic Kingdom for the afternoon:
Barnstormer,  Stitch's Great Escape, Dumbo, Mermaid Under the Sea (new Fantasyland),  dance party in Futurama,  tons of character signatures,  took boat over to Hoop Dee Doo review dinner in Wilderness Resort

Day Two:
Breakfast at Contemporary Cafe
Disney Bus to Hollywood Studios for day:
Star Tours 3D ride (twice), Muppet 3D show,  Honey Shrunk Kids amazing playground,  Julie rode Rocking Roller Coaster,  finally found Mickey for signature, Toy Story Mania ride (wow!), characters, Disney Jr. (Doc McStuffins) stage show, dinner at Giordano's in town

Back to Magic Kingdom for Light parade, Wishes light show and fireworks
Travel fiasco getting back to resort (we learned that taxi is way to go if staying late or rent a car)

Day Three:
Breakfast at Floridian - saw Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins
Magic Kingdom all day:
Aladdin carpet ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain (twice), Bell's Castle show, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Light Year ride, It's a Small World, Astro Orbiter, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Tea Cups, met Talking Mickey

Taxi to Downtown Disney: saw Santa, ate at Wolfgang, shopped World of Disney

Day Four:
Disney bus to Animal Kingdom: rode Primeval Whirl, Dinosaur ride, Kilimanjaro Safari (unreal cool), Flying Dino, Tusker House lunch with Donald, Goofy, Daisy, and Mickey, It's a Bug Life show

Then to Magic Kingdom again:
Disney train, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain again

Taxi back to Hollywood Studios for Christmas light show
Taxi to Epcot: Nemo ride,  Turtle Talk show,  Illuminations light show

Taxi back to resort, watched Wishes from Lounge then Water Show Parade from our balcony
*** all four parks in one day (did this because we had matching shirts and wanted photos from each entrance to each park)


Day Five:
packed up to leave, breakfast at Wave restaurant in hotel
Disney Monorail to Epcot for the day:
found our Legacy stone etchings from 2003, Test Track ride (way cool), Soarin' (OMG), Nemo one more time, took boat over to Germany and Italy, had lunch at Tutto Italia, more character signatures, rode Gran Fiesta boat ride, Figment ride, monorial back to hotel.
Taxi to Airport, then home. :(
Our favorite things this time:
- Star Tours
- Test Track
- Talking Mickey visit
- Fireworks from lounge at hotel
- Safari Tour
- Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster
- Soarin' ride
- Splash Mountain log ride
- Toy Story Mania
- Barnstormer kids coaster
- Character meals (Grand Floridian, Tusker House at Animal Kingdom)
- Hoop Dee Do Revue dinner show
- Downtown Disney (saw Santa)
- Lounge at our Resort
- Primeval Whirl
- Dinosaur
- Winnie the Pooh ride
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Astro Orbitor ride
- Dinner at Giordanos
- "Dreams" Castle light show
- Christmas light show at Hollywood
- Christmas d├ęcor everywhere
- Our amazing penthouse hotel room @ the Contemporary Resort

Vacations in general are important to us. I gotta have them. We gotta have them. We have been fortunate to have been to many places but many more must be visited as far as I am concerned. But in light of all the places and trips we have taken this one tops them all. Disney is just over the top perfect.

What makes it Magical?

Location - 80s in late November, really?
Rides - for all ages each with a Disney story to make it special
Perfection - no one does it better than Disney
Characters - is anything cooler than Mickey?
Fun - if you can have more fun as a family somewhere else I need to know about it
Cleanliness - you can eat in the bathrooms there it's so clean
Shows - fireworks, parades, stage shows, music, dance clubs, lasers, you name it
Variety - four different parks make each day special

If you haven't been to Disney World....go. Save, steal, borrow, do what you must. You will thank me. As for me, I've been twice as a kid and three times as an adult; twice now as a family. I certainly plan and hope we go at least once more before the kids won't think it's cool anymore.

We already miss it.


 ,

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kids Are Saved and Baptised

For years now our kids have been learning about Christ and what it means to be saved from our sins. We all screw up every day and we all want to spend eternity heaven. However, unrighteousness cannot coexist in heaven with holiness. Therefore, we remain separated from a holy God because of our screw ups (sin). Our kids - all three of them - totally get this.

Monday, October 7th Quinn, Sidney and Chloe all decided they wanted Jesus in their hearts. They prayed the prayer of faith and all three got saved that night as we led them to Christ right in our own home.

We had talked about it intently for days and I made sure they all three understood what it would mean. Quinn as little as 6 years old almost seemed to get it more than the girls. "We are separated from God because of our sin, dad, and to get back to God we have to believe in Jesus" he told me one night. Chloe was adamant about getting it done right away. She wanted Jesus in her heart to help her not be scared about things, to save her and to be close to her. Since then she hasn't dealt with one nightmare either. Just a side note. :) Sidney wanted to make sure she got to go to heaven and wanted Jesus to live in her as well.

Sunday they joined their cousin Kelsey and got baptized by our amazing Pastor, Randy Weeaks. Our church has played a huge role in their lives and in their understanding of who God is and how He loves us all. What a glorious time for my family and the day before my birthday too!

I made my confession of faith in Jesus when I was just 11 in the town of Pearland, Texas. I don't know the exact day and frankly I don't recall my baptism much either. I struggled with it for years and ended up recommitting my walk to Christ when I was 14 at Super Summer in Denton, Texas. That I clearly remember. However, my original salvation experience is foggy not because it wasn't real, but mainly because there isn't much around to remind me of it or to recall it all by. Times were different. Few cameras, no video, no Facebook, etc. I have a Bible somewhere with the date. I knew then that I needed Jesus to save me.

Christ only asks us to have a child like faith. As we get older we tend to think we know it all, don't need God and have a handle on it all. How sad.

Jesus died for you as well as for me. My kids get it and now Julie and I can rest at night knowing we will spend eternity with those we love the most - Chloe, Sidney and Quinn.

Thank you God for keeping it simple enough for a 6 year old child to understand.

#salvationdayoctober07