Sunday, December 21, 2008

kids live nativity

Our church has a live nativity every year at Christmas time. This year Abby was an angel and Luke was a lion. They did great and looked very good!

In this video, it does not show up very well but, Abby and Luke just look at each other and smile. Luke has a very cute little smile. I love my kids! There are some pictures that my parents took that captured the moment very well. I'll get them and post them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

our family

Abby, Corey, Miriam, Luke

Corey, Cam (my brother) holding Kaden, Brycen, Dad, Mom holding Luke, Abby, Miriam. This picture was taken at our annual Wright-Oligmueller-Crandall family Christmas/Thanksgiving bash. We rent out a gym, eat, play and be merry. Good food, good family, good play, good time.
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our beautiful and silly little girl

These pictures of Abby are just beautiful. She is growing up very fast and I am loving being her daddy. Miriam took these pictures and it just captures Abby's playfulness and beauty ... she takes after her mom in both areas.

The silly shot ... now imagine trying to discipline Abby when she looks at you like this. This is her desperation face. The one she makes when I have some important piece of wisdom, correction, or lesson to impart to her and I say ,"Abby look at my face." She whips out this face and it is really hard not to laugh. I am getting better but it is a struggle not to laugh at this.
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the red chair

We got some good pictures of the kids. Luke is wearing a suit outfit given to us by a dear friend, EB and it looks great on Luke.

Abby wearing her "reindeer ears"

cut little faces laughing

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kids in the snow

Miriam took the kids to a little hill right by our house after a recent snow. Luke was not as big a fan as Abby was. Miriam pulled the kids in the sled and Abby apparently loved going down the hill in the sled.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

travelling with kids to aftrica, being the "other guy"

So this post is not about me but about Scott Hanselman. I don't know the guy but just read his blog, which is mostly about computer technology and programming.

But his wife is from Africa and so they travel there somewhat often. He has some interesting posts about this lately.
Here are a couple.
South Africa 2008 - Travelling Long Distances with Kids and Babies
South Africa 2008 - Being The White (or Black) Guy in the Family
South Africa 2008 - Fence Culture
South Africa 2008 – My Passport is Full

Interesting and funny stuff, especially if you have traveled abroad and seen different cultures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dan's ATV accident

My brother-in-law (miriam's brother) was in a bad ATV accident. You can see some of the details on the Block Family Blog.

thoughts by jesse and shanee on election

Jesse and Shanee (missionaries in Nepal) that we know from Truman State had something to say about the election. If you are interested go here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

too cool

The morning of luke's surgery, the kids with my mom and dad (pa, lukie boy, abby, mimi)
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luke surgery - done and coming home

We are now home. Luke is recovering pretty well. He is a cute little guy. Because the doc did a good job and lukey boy is recovering well, we didn't have to stay at the hospital overnight. This is definitely a good thing because Miriam and Luke will both sleep better at home than at the hospital. Luke took a bottle of milk and ate some food, so he is doing pretty well.

Children's Mercy is a good hospital. There are parts of it that aren't the greatest but overall, I think they do a good job. Our nurses were helpful and attentive. We were also in a relatively new area of the hospital and it was nice. They have a play area with an Xbox 360, a nintendo wii, and a pinball machine (and some other toys for the babies to play with). Yeah, it is probably a good thing we didn't stay overnight in the hospital.

This is just after first seeing Luke after he woke up. He sat up like that the whole time he was wheeled to his room.

Pa and Luke taking a walk to the play area. Thanks for the help Dad!

Luke driving his truck around in the play area. He really enjoyed this.

Getting the "mandatory" wagon ride out to the parking lot. Abby was very concerned about making sure Luke got to ride in the wagon. She told Miriam this over the phone.
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luke surgery - out of surgery

We have had this doc before for Abby's tonsils and adenoids removal and she is great. She is very friendly and super helpful. She was kind enough to get some pictures for us. We are waiting to see Luke. He hasn't fully awakened yet.

The before picture. In the upper left corner of the picture you can see the yellowish white area (just to the left of the uvula and just to the right of the blood spot).

The after picture (it is oriented a little goofy, sorry my fault). You can see the incision just to the left of the uvula. They removed the cyst without any problem.
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what they don't say about your money

A good article about what obama and mccain won't tell you about money

I don't know much about this author. What I do know is that in the above article he hits some pretty good points. And it highlights some of my frustrations with the way both Obama and McCain campaign's are talking about this.

I have to admit, I was extremely excited when in the VP debate Sarah Palin said this

"Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. It's not the American peoples fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of."
This is a complex issue and there is a lot of fault to go around but it is not just greed on Wall Street ... there is plenty of greed on main street to go around. I myself had started down the path of financing my life with debt. Then I LEARNED DEBT IS DUMB!! Check out Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, you'll be glad (or you will be angry at me and hate Dave Ramsey).

Anyway, this is just an example of an issue that I feel like the candidates for president are just saying what sounds good instead of just saying it like it is. At least Palin mentioned that we all have some responsibility for how we choose to spend our money.

luke surgery - in surgery

Luke is now in surgery. He went int at about 1:50pm and should be done in about 45 minutes.

luke surgery - prep

Luke in his gown getting ready to go to surgery. He loves playing with his cars and of course he has his blanket with him.

Luke and his mommy sitting on the hippo (it's the table).

All in all Luke is doing pretty well. My dad (Curt) is here with us and Luke is enjoying him being here. Luke is obviously hungry as he hasn't eaten since 7am and hasn't had anything to drink since 9:30am. He should be heading to surgery soon.
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Luke Surgery - Cyst Removal

Luke has a cyst in the back of his throat and will be going to surgery on this Wednesday. It is not an immediate danger but the doc said we should get it taken out sometime. So This Wednesday it is. We will update as things happen.
He will probably have to be in overnight and so Miriam will probably be staying the night while I come home with Abby. The procedure will take place at Children's Mercy Hospital. It is a great hospital.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Congressman Sam Graves, good job

Both of the Senators that represent me voted to pass the bail out bill.
Senator Kit Bond said this and Senator Caire McCaskill said this. I am disappointed that my senators felt there were only two solutions: pass the bill or suffer economic ruin. This will certainly be a factor for me in their elections in 2010 and 2012.

I choose the third option ... discuss some alternatives. It is hard for me to believe that in what folks like Bond and McCaskill are calling the greatest economic meltdown since the great depression, that we are rushing such rescue (or bailout) bill through. You would think something this serious might require a little more thought and discussion. I don't advocate doing nothing but I am not convinced this bill was the only other alternative to stabilizing the financial markets.

Congressman Sam Graves who represents me in the house voted twice against the bill and had this to say. Thank you congressman Sam Graves.

One particular thing that McCaskill said really annoyed me ...

This bill stinks but the alternative is much worse. While many Missourians may not feel it yet, with no action most of the people that live in my state will be harmed, many significantly, in a matter of months. I’m proud at least that we said no to the ridiculous proposal of the Bush administration.
Yeah, you did Senator McCaskill, way to stand up to the Bush administration (sarcasm here). I would be very interested in what is so different from the Bush proposal and the bill she voted to pass. I am calling BULL. And what a terribly low and ridiculously partisan attack to try and make her bad choice seem a little better.

My Political Disclaimer: I am a registered republican and voted for George Bush in 2000 and 2004. I have also already filled out my absentee ballot and have chosen to vote for McCain Palin and for Sam Graves in 2008.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

still our baby

Abby is still our baby! She is lying in her baby's pack and play.

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So Abby likes it when I throw her baby doll up in the air like I sometimes do with Abby. She is very insistent that her baby gets good play time. I was lying down on the floor of our living room and Abby was laughing so much and telling me that her baby was having a great time until I accidentally got baby stuck ... on top of the fan. Abby immediately cried, "BABY!!!! AHHH!!! GET MY BABY!!!" and she was fighting back tears. Unfortunately I thought it was hilarious. What are the chances. It was truly amazing to watch and I can replay that throw in my head in slow motion. Abby was glad to have her baby back.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

corey's little secret

I have a small confession to make ... even though I disagree with Barack Obama's views on many issues I had high hopes he would deliver on his "Campaign for Change" promises. I was really looking forward to a Presidential Campaign that didn't deliberately micharacterize the other campaign, distort the truth, and could actually say something good about the other candidate when credit was due. Unfortunately, today I have realized it just isn't so. To be fair I had hoped McCain's campaign would play better too but didn't really have as much hope as I did for Obama's campaign. Politics as usual are alive and well and it is disheartening.

Is it just impossible for a leader to say something like "You know, I was wrong on the surge and I learned ..." or to say "Economic issues aren't my strong point which is why I plan to make sure I assemble a ver talented team of people who understand the issues. While I don't understand all the of the detailed complexities of the economy, here are my guiding principles for my economic approach ..."

I missed almost all of the presidential campaign ads because Miriam and I were in Romania for the last elections (we did vote via absentee ballot). I am not inundated with the political banter now because we don't watch TV and miss alot of the repeat ads. I do check the campaigns' websites and try to do a modest level of checking on facts.

I am just really disappointed because even though I disagree with Obama on lots of stuff, I was hoping to be able to give him a lot of respect for running an honorable campaign. Unfortunately I just don't see it happening. It is disillusioning and disheartening.

Kind of like the Financial Disclosures that finance article writers must disclose about what stocks they own I think it is appropriate that I disclose my political stance. I am a registered republican who voted Bush in 2000 (the first presidential election I could participate in) and Bush in 2004. I plan on voting McCain Palin in 2008.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're Debt Free!

... except for the house (don't worry, we're working on it).

Miriam and I paid off our 2005 Toyota Sienna mini van tonight. Miriam and I took a 13 week course called Financial Peace University taught by Dave Ramsey. It really changed our lives. It was and IS a big deal. I have been relatively quiet on this blog about the impact of this stuff but no longer friends.
I could type A LOT about how much the principles taught in this class (it is not difficult stuff) changed our lives but the results are pretty obvious. We bought our mini van used in August of 2007 borrowing $22,000 to help pay for it. In February we owed $19,000. We started FPU (Financial Peace University) in late February and today in late September we owe $0 .... ZERO! That is $19,000 paid off in 7 months.
When we first started I had a goal of getting the van paid off by march of 2009 with a stretch goal of october 2008. We hit it one month early. We tracked our progress and kept our focus by attaching a "Van Debt Is DUMB" countdown sheet to a main door in our house (see picture above). Many times I would walk by that sign and get MAD about our debt and get pumped to pay it off. Debt is dumb!
We had to make some sacrifices and we will have to continue to make some sacrifices but one of the mantras of the class is "Live like no one else now, so you can live like no else later".
Last thing ... these principles, FPU, and the things Dave Ramsey teaches aren't about getting rich. It is about living within one's means, budgeting, working as a team, and making smart financial decisions so that we can give like no one else! I highly recommend this stuff for anyone ... rich, poor, or anyone in between.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

a girl and her mom and dad

I just thought I would post these pictures of me with my parents.
I sure do love them both very much!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - Baby Sign Language 2.0

Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - Baby Sign Language 2.0
Here is an interesting article on teaching a baby sign language and a foreign language. This is something that I have wanted to do but just haven't yet. We have taught Abby and Luke some sign language but not to the degree that I would like. Now is the perfect time for them to learn a foreign language as well but I just haven't got the ball rolling yet.

Anyway interesting stuff (for me at least).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

the kids

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

taking care of baby

Abby is turning out to be quite the "mommy" and in general does a great job of taking care of baby doll crandall.
And yes ... she is SO stinkin cute!!

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