Thursday, August 28, 2008

Story of a Basketball Father's Failure

So we sat down for dinner tonight after a big day.  The biggest news of the day is that after much work the kids are finally registered for school!  Each child had to see an Illinois doctor (which took three hours yesterday), had to have their transcripts sent, and had to get a very official birth certificate sent.  The birth certificate we still do not have, but that is a story in itself.  The point is they are registered!

Luke's teacher is Mrs. McFarland (trying to convince him that she has to be at least some kind of relation to Mr. [Ronald] McDonald but he isn't buying it).  Alise's teacher is Mrs. Chung, and Emily's teacher is Mrs. Jordan.  

So at supper I said to Emily that maybe her teacher is Michael Jordon's wife and her response stung me and made me realize that I have truly failed as a basketball father.  :(  Emily said, "Who is Michael Jordan?"  Now you have to understand that we are a basketball family.  We have spent a lot of time at the gym, and we talk about it some around the house - okay a lot.  Michael Jordan is basketball - how could I have failed and not educated them about this great man whose town I now reside in?  It was a blow.

Then Luke saved the day, or so I thought.  His blue eyes got huge and even though I was a mere 20 inches from him he loudly and enthusiatically (Luke is enthusiatic about everything even seeing dogs and a squirrel running around while at a zoo - true story) proclaimed that he knew Michael Jordan!  Instantly I was proud of my son.   Of course the girls might not know of Michael but my son - he does.  I was relieved that I was not a total failure. 

Right behind the feeling of pride though, came a feeling of doubt as Luke does have a history of being enthusiatically wrong at times.  So with some trepidation I asked him how he knew about the great Michael Jordan.  Luke now was feeling pride in his own expertise as he could see in my eyes  how proud I was of him.  With equal enthusiasm he yelled, "He plays for the Willmar Basketball team!"  

Suddenly I realized that I had truly failed.  Luke does not have any idea of who Michael Jordan is.  I'm sure Jordan Smith who does play for the Willmar Cardinals would appreciate being compared to MJ but I'll be the first to tell him that although he is very good, he is not the next coming of Air Jordan.  

No, I have to come to grips with the fact that my children truly have not seen Michael Jordan play, nor do they even know of his existence.  Wouldn't it be sad if at the end of your life your kids didn't know, not about MJ, but about Jesus?  That you as a parent never introduced them to their Savior?  Thank goodness it was only MJ we forgot to tell them about.

Anyway, did you see Luke's form in that picture?  Michael Jordan move out of the way... 

Blessings,

Dave 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fun In Chicago











Well good evening to you all.  Greek class went quickly from 1st grade to 5th grade.  I think we will be in High School in the next day or so. Things move rapidly but so far so good. The best news about that class is that I can take it pass/fail so I do not have to worry about it messing with the GPA.  

The professors at North Park seem very enjoyable.  All of them have made a good first impression on me and I very much look forward to learning from them.

I figure everyone likes pictures so I included a lot of them with this post.  Twice we have taken the family on the El Train.  The kids get a big kick out of it as do the big kids.  Natalie likes it when it "goes really fast" (said with a Natalie lisp). She likes to stand and ride the train without touching anything, which shouldn't surprise many of you.  Of course as it stops and starts, she gets thrown into many different people.  Her light weight, contagious laugh, cute looks, and million dollar smile makes even the tattooed, multi-pierced people smile at her.

The pictures are of us taking the train to a Cold Stone Creamery, then down to Millennium park where this stainless steel bean makes everyone look weird.  Then we took the kids out for Chicago pizza at a famous Chicago eatery called Gino's East.  It is also infamous because in 2004 I made the youth group walk about six miles to find a restaurant right next to it.  We got lost this time but probably only logged 5,294 feet this time.  

Well I better go read some books - I have a few I need to peruse. (working on my seminary vocabulary :)  )

Blessings,

Dave


Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day Of School!


So the first day of school finally arrived today!  I donned my new clothes, grabbed my new backpack, gobbled up the eggs, bacon, and pancakes Anita made for me, took my first day of school picture and then headed to class!

Anita threatened most of those things but thankfully the only one that happened was the new backpack.  That was purchased on a somewhat humbling trip to Target as I got in line right behind a couple of 5th graders.  The eggs, bacon, and pancakes would have been nice but totally out of character.  It was good to keep everything somewhat "normal" on this day. :)  Anita thought I should wear a blue shirt and brown tie to look like truly seminary material.  As tempting as that was I resisted.

Appropriately my first seminary class was Greek at 10:45 in the morning.  The professor was very engaging but suddenly I began having flash backs to first grade.  We learned all the letters of the alphabet, we learned the alphabet song, said what each letter sounds like out loud after the professor and then wrote each letter about twenty times.  I included a picture of the worksheet for you so you would believe me.

I told my kids about it and they laughed.  I think they now think less of me.  They were surprised that seminary sounds so cool and important but is actually just like first grade.  The biggest disappointment for me however was that there was no rest time, snack time, or recess time after all our alphabet work!  My how the times have changed, I would hate to be a kid now. 

Hopefully my three classes tomorrow will help me regain some respect around the apartment! 

Blessings,

Dave

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Raw Talent

videoI have now quit saving any money for my kids college education.  As soon as you see this video it should immediately be as clear to you as it was to me that we are looking at four full ride scholarships!  All in one family can you believe it!!  Just think how good this would be if they actually knew the words to the song - incomprehensible I know.  Too much talent for one Chicago apartment to handle - don't you think?  Looks like my musical talent has been directly inherited - aren't they lucky?

Uncle Matt came over for a visit one night and we were treated to this performance of a lifetime.  Enjoy!

Lake Michigan

videoFrom what I can tell about Illinois it seems to have about one lake in the whole state.  Thankfully it is fairly large and we are only 3 or 4 miles from it.  The beaches are huge and the sand is amazing.  When the wind is up the waves can be rather large which the kids really get a kick out of.  It is some great free entertainment.  The only downside is that it takes 20 to 25 minutes to navigate those 4 miles.  Here is a little video of the Ostercamp's @ the one lake in Illinois.  Notice how Alise and the music are in perfect synchronization - a stroke of editing genius some might call it, 0r just blind luck.  Enjoy    

Disclaimer:  This video does not endorse any political candidate and no monies were received for the making of this video.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Apartment!












Here are some snapshots of where we now reside.  Finally on Saturday night it was basically ready to go.  

For your added entertainment we have hidden a Cardinal (For Willmar of course) in each snapshot.  See if you can locate it!!  Isn't that fun, it's like a high tech cereal box.  

We were pleasantly surprised with our space.  It is bigger than we thought, everything fit, and Anita's ideas worked!  (I should not have been surprised by this last one, but what good husband isn't just a little skeptical some of the time?)  She made a bench out of a church pew so our dining room table would fit comfortably in a corner of the dining room, giving us much more space.  We also got a table from the youth room, which we love, and she fit it in the kitchen somehow!  It is great - enjoy the pics!   ~ Dave

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Move In




Besides experiencing a good 'ol Chicago traffic jam and then getting the Chicago Police called to arrest me in the first ten minutes of being at our apartment the move went GREAT!

Of course we were finally about 20 minutes from our new home when the traffic went from flowing nicely to stop and go.  It probably delayed us an hour - welcome to Chicago!

I was excited to find an open spot for our big moving van right in front of our apartment  for us when we arrived.  

My parents were there, my sister from Milwaukee, and my sister-in-law Unity from Chicago.  Shortly my brother Matt (married to Unity) arrived as well.  The first person I met however was Lisa Peterson, who I had last seen in Ecuador.  In 2005 her husband Kurt had been one of our translators on our Churches missions trip to Ecuador.  They are living right below us for the next few months as Kurt is now working at North Park.

After we arrived we went into the apartment to check it out and then came back out to the truck to find out that our neighbor was not in a good mood!  I guess my budget truck was blocking his driveway.  He chewed us out, we moved the truck, and I guess he called the police.  He neglected to tell us about his little phone call but 20 minutes later or so a cruiser came to visit.  The police officer was very nice, (more frustrated with my neighbor than anything), we chatted and he welcomed me to Chicago.  Thankfully without the handcuffs, billy clubs, mace, tazer, and anything else one of Chicago's finest might carry! 

The bad news is Mr. Grumpy (Our affectionate term for our new neighbor) has two large and equally grumpy German Shepards.  The good news is that he will allow me to live out some Scripture.  You know the ones like love thy neighbor, and do good to those who curse you... etc.  We'll be friends, we will just have to see how long that takes, I have three years. :)  

The other good news is that my neighbors in the building to the south of us are an extremely nice couple in their 60's.  They will hopefully allow us to live out Scriptures like send your kids to thy neighbors house so you can catch a nap...etc.  I'll get the reference for you on that one a little later. :)  

Seriously they are very nice and I look forward to getting to know them better.

We arrived to our apartment around 4:30 on Tuesday and had everything moved in by 7:30pm.  This happened thanks to my brother and his wife. (Matt and Unity).  Their friends came and helped us move in, as did some fellow seminary students.  That was wonderful!  After everything was in we wrapped up the day with some Chicago pizza!  Nothing like Chicago pizza!  We were very thankful for the help and for the great food.  Thanks to all!

The last few days have been consumed with trying to get settled in the apartment.  We hope to wrap that up today, Friday.  We haven't really done anything "fun" in Chicago yet.  The plan is to wrap up the apartment today and then see the city a little bit over the weekend.  

In the next couple days we will be able to post much better pictures of our apartment.  It seems bigger than we thought so that is good!  

In Christ,

Dave

The Farewell




Our farewell was very humbling, fun, happy, and sad.  

The next day was Ecuador Sunday, it all made for quite a wrap up to our time in Willmar.  

Thanks to all who helped to organize the night and to everyone who took the time to be there with us!

















The Move Out






Monday Morning was the big moving day!  

As you can see we had a lot of great help getting our budget truck loaded.  

It was a little surreal but by 2pm or so we were on the road to Chicago.