Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

What a wonderful time of the year. We got Sorin a little chair for him to sit in, which he liked right away.

Katie and I spent the 23rd and 24th at my mom and dad's in McFarland. We decorated some Christmas cookies and ate really good food.

Christmas Eve we left for Cedarburg to see the Robertson side. Sorin was as big of a hit there as he was in McFarland. It's a lot of fun to have Sorin be so warmly welcomed. And he's changing every day. New expressions and new gestures - he's grabbing objects better now.

For me, it's fun to have new experiences with Katie. Getting Sorin ready is in a nice way very meaningful - it's our family now! Our discussions are different, our days are different. But it's all so good.

Christmas this year has been interesting b/c of our focus on the Advent Conspiracy (see Oct. 26th post). Blackhawk took an offering last week for AC in which the money went to three organizations for global, missional causes. We gathered $140,000!!!

And now the day is winding down. I know it's supposed to be a Christmas season, but it always ends around 7pm Christmas day. Kind of sad.

But we're still with family and I'm still thinking about Jesus coming to Earth - Christmas Spirit.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow Day!!

It was fun last night to go to bed knowing there was a good chance I'd be off work today. Normally it's no big deal, but on Tuesdays Katie stays home with Sorin - so we both had all day together.

It started off with sleeping in - 'til 6:30. I needed the sleep but I love my mornings, so I'm a little upset that I slept past 5:30. Nonetheless, the morning started off great with coffee and a good book. I'm reading two right now - Momentary Marriage by John Piper and How People Grow by Dr. Henry Cloud. Only two chapters into each, I have to recommend both. It feels good to get back into deeper books - and Piper gets deep! Katie and I are reading it together, so it will make for good discussion.

Days off can't be all about relaxation - it feels good to catch up on some housework. Being the model husband that I am (read: "husband in training") I did the floors and a load of laundry. Before returning to my book, I went outside to start shoveling and clearing off the cars.

Lunch: There was no question what was on the menu for lunch -- grilled cheese and tomato soup. It's been my favorite meal the last two winters. And as much as I wish I could claim Campbell's tomato soup, I'm going with Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper Tomato soup - dynamite.

The afternoon included a lively discussion about theology and the Holy Spirit as it relates to our church. I know - random. I continued in my chapter on Cloud's book. Then we went to the gym together. I kept a little cardio going in preparation for the Jingle Bell run this Saturday and also got to lift a little. I'm trying to reestablish a lifting routine with core exercises, too. I have a physical job, but the weights really add a nice element to my workouts.

For dinner we reheated Katie's wonderful spaghetti and watched an episode of West Wing - "Gone Quiet."

It was a good day. I wish snow days were 48 hours long. There's so much to do and I never get to it all. Back to reality...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christkindl Market

Katie and I have a started a tradition of going to Chicago for Christkindl Market with our cousins, Matt and Amanda, Justin and Kelly. What is Christkindle Market?

It's a German festival at Daley plaza where they serve brats, potato pancakes, and Glühwein (a traditional hot spiced wine). Let me set the stage for you. First - Chicago. It's certainly called the Windy City for a reason. The elements are nothing to take lightly. I was decked out in my Mountain Hardwear coat and I had three sweaters on. On this particular year, the snow was in that frozen state on the top of some of the vendors' tents. But when the wind gusted, it ripped the snow off and blew it right over the top of the market.

At the market, lines are long for the food. We had six in our party - plus Sorin, but he wasn't standing in line. Matt went to get the brats: everyone was getting to the front of the line asking for one or two - Matt gets up there and asks for 7 regular and three with kraut. They had to give him a box to carry the load - $41 worth of sausage. Justin went for the potato pancakes. These are the hardest to fully describe - crusty on the outside and perfectly fluffy in the inside, a delicious component to the meal. We had 3 plates each with 3 cakes and applesauce on the side. Finally the Glühwein: Katie and Amanda went for the hot spiced wine and 2 hot chocolates. The best moment of Christkindl Market is that point where it feels like all your body heat has been sucked off your body and the cold air is inescapable. But the mug of Glühwein is on it's way over to the table and set before you. We toast to friends and drink back that first sip of the warm wine as it seeps down your throat and warms your insides.

Traditions are fun. Katie and I started this in 2006 with Matt and Amanda. In 2007 we invited Justin and Kelly. And this year we decided to bring Sorin which was a great experience. We had him completely bundled up in a snowsuit and then in the Snugli all day. We wrapped a blanket around his head to block some wind and he handled the elements as well as we did.