Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Buck's BBQ

Every Friday morning at 6 a.m., I get together with a group of guys at Jason & Julie's house. But this afternoon, they opened up their new home to us, our wives and our kids. And Craig's homemade margarita machine.

This beauty shot doesn't even include the four racks of ribs in Jason's smoker. You should see what he makes us Friday mornings for breakfast!

Landon stayed in the kiddie pool for a couple of hours; practically the whole time we were there.

He LOVED going down the slide...

Then would pop back up and do it all over, and over and over again!

We figure that he went down that little slide — literally — a hundred times. At least.

Dueling cameras...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Boys of summer

Jack, Preston, Brody and Landon splashin' around in our backyard this afternoon. It was a sultry 88 degrees when the two oldest ones got off the school bus, so — for the first time this year — we dug out the swim trunks, water shoes, sunscreen, goggles, some pool toys and the wacky water sprinkler for them to play in.

Then the wind picked up, a typical Midwestern storm blew in and the temperature dropped 10 degrees in 10 minutes. "Everyone out of the pool!"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Furaha ya maisha ni upendo

"The joy of life is love"

After baseball practice Saturday morning, Jackson and I ran home to shower, get dressed up and drive up to Nebraska for a dear friend's wedding. I've known Brenda Lou for 20 years now, and she got married at Camp Carol Joy Holling where we first met in 1990.

Thankfully, we arrived a little early and I got to give Jack a quick tour of Camp before the outdoor ceremony began. Here, he's chasing a butterfly on the hillside.

He was especially interested in the two big challenge courses, so we walked over to one where a group was "rock climbing." After being a camper there for six years when I was young, going through the Counselor-In-Training program for a couple of years in high school and being on staff one summer in college, I haven't been back in 13 years. It's changed a lot!

Brenda's new husband, Kakasii, is a native of Tanzania where he owns his own safari company. They first met when she was on a mission trip there in 2001 with Lutheran World Relief (where she's worked as a director at its corporate headquarters in Baltimore, Md., ever since).

Kelvin, another longtime friend, playing the guitar, was even one of my counselors way back when.

They're definitely in love.

This picture kinda reminds me of Shel Silverstein's book, The Giving Tree. I think it also was the first time I've ever had to say, "No, you can't climb the tree 'til after the wedding."

When the ceremony was over, the two of us ventured off to explore some trails, check out the tents, find the Honker Howser stumps and see the ol' arts-and-crafts pavillion.

The reception was a great blend of cultures, sharing lots of traditions and merriment.

We learned that goats hold special value in Tanzania. Luckily, the only kind of goat we had to eat was cake.

After dinner, showing Jack the bunkhouses at ranch camp. I remember helping lay that stone walkway!

The retreat center, where the reception was.

And Crystal Springs Lake ... with the moon overhead.

It was after 10 p.m. when we finally left and we both had a blast. It was great to go back and visit a place where I had such life-shaping experiences — but to introduce Jack to such a special place and special friends, made it even more memorable.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Team Cason

Leslie and Landon were out the door by 7:30 this morning to participate in the American Heart Association's annual Heart Walk, down near the Plaza.

This is the first year she's gotten to be there in person to support Missy's youngest son Cason, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When you care enough to accompany the very best

Leslie joined Jackson's class this morning on the kindergarten field trip to Kaleidoscope — Hallmark's headquarters of kid creativity.

I recently heard it said that every child who's grown up in Kansas City did this:

Drew and colored on the white cardboard square, fed it through the die-cutting machine, and made their own personalized puzzle!

Brody, our next-door neighbor, and Onyah, who lives just a couple of houses away.

Jack being silly.

Looks like they all had fun!

A parting shot with Jack's teacher, Mrs. Benner.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

After church yesterday morning, Leslie chose to go to Corner Cafe for brunch ... and plenty of comfort food.

Our queen with one of her adoring subjects.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Becoming Hephaestus

It was so chilly Saturday evening that we finally used the fire pit we'd been given for Christmas, for the first time.

Leslie's cousin Lyndsey came over for dinner (homemade fish tacos), drinks and s'mores. Yum!

Several neighbors joined us throughout the evening; here's Aleena blowing out her marshies.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


We chartered the latest Northwest Alumni Association chapter Thursday evening — in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Here are some pics from the event.

The man on the right, a Ph.D., graduated from Northwest 60 years ago.

Steve speaking to the group during the program.

One couple brought their college yearbook (from 1965).

Mike Johnson's sister was even there!