Sunday, December 23, 2007

Have a Merry Unsantatized Christmas

Our singles / college pastor, Bryan Finley, did our Christmas service today at our church. Eventually, you should be able to hear it here. It was a great sermon and talked about how many of our rituals and traditions have us sanitizing Christmas to become something other than what it is about. When he said sanitizing, I at first thought he said "Santa-tizing" thanks to that wonderful southern accent I am still getting used to. Santa-tizing is also a very applicable word, since its making Christmas about Santa and gifts instead of about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Santa-tizing is exactly what happened in Vegie Tales movie entitled "The Toy that Saved Christmas." But, its far worse than just making Christmas about gifts or even giving, but making Christmas about families and as Bryan quoted one radio host, "Christmas is what makes our nation great." Christmas is not any of that, but about what makes our God great. He came into this world humbly and humbly offered Himself to all of us. And we celebrate Christmas as the day He came to earth for us.

So, I say have a Merry unsanitized and unsantatized Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Heather, Anna, and I just got back from visiting with my father and step-mom at Myrtle Beach, staying at the South Beach Resort at Myrtle Beach. My father used RCI to trade in some of his timeshare to go to another. Here Heather, Anna, and I are at the South Beach Resort:

This past trip, combined with memories from my last Myrtle Beach trip, had me thinking about timeshares. Two years ago Heather and I went to Myrtle Beach with our close friends Aaron and Suzanne in December. We had decided to go to the Dixie Stampede for their Christmas show. (Very good show incidentally. Everywhere in Myrtle Beach seems geared to sell you a timeshare, from Malls to restaurants, and unfortunately Dixie Stampede was not different. We were offered a free drink and appetizer during the preshow for filling out an information card. It wasn't surprising to us that Heather and I, being young DINKs (dual income no kids), hit their target market for anything they wanted to sell us. Well, they offered us a couple hundred dollars and breakfast if we spent a couple of hours the next day at the Sheraton Broadway Plantation timeshares. We didn't have any plans, so we said sure its worth a couple hundred dollars to us to check it out. So, we took the tour and enjoyed the place. Since I was familiar with Hilton Grand Vacation Club, I knew much of what this was all about. We enjoyed it and seriously liked the place. A 2 bedroom unit at the time would cost $18,000 and also need $750 maintenance per year. To Heather and I, that is not something we can make a quick decision on, and things then started to get bad.

The sales guy who was previously very nice to us, turned very rude when we said we were not interested in making a decision that day. Apparently, he thought we really were wasting his time. He badgered us a bit and we told him we definitely were not going to buy. Another person came over who we complained to (complaints on deaf ears) and we walked away with our couple hundred dollars, but very angry.

Since then, we have had other offers for free weekends or other things if we sit through timeshare pitches. I think that the experience was so bad, unless we were really interested we would never do it.

Incidentally, I loved the Starwood Vacation Ownership, even though I don't think I could ever buy into it because of that sales guy. I think Heather and I will just scrimp and save and hope we someday can buy a lakehouse. We may be turned off from timeshares forever...but we can still enjoy our parents like we did this weekend :-)

We liked the South Beach Resort, things seemed in good repair although the amenities were the bare minimum. They had cheap linens and an unimpressive workout facility and lazy "river" as well as some poor customer service. Maybe I will blog another day about the problems with many of these places as I have been to enough. Starwood solves many of these problems, too bad that bad taste will never get out of my mouth!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brrrrr... It worked

To follow up from my last story, about the tramatic night Anna and I had with her big ouchy. She woke up the next morning with no mark and no bruise. I guess the ice worked! Or maybe I overreacted. Let's just say the ice worked!

Here is Anna from yesterday night with her pink Harris Teeter baloon and playing with her favorite toy, Cassie...

It was so warm yesterday (in the 80s) that she was bare-legged. It had been so long that she didn't have on tights or pants on, her legs were extremely ticklish. That made for a fun night because every time I grabbed her she would giggle.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Big Ouchy

Tonight something happened that never happened on my guard alone, Anna fell and had a big ouchy. It started with her really enjoying her big pink chair. Mommy had sat on it with her before she left, and she continued to play with the chair.

Eventually, she start moving the chair. She moved it in the middle of the floor, pure hardwoods and no rug. Well she stood and leaned on the back as she had done many times, but this time it didn't hold her. She did a face-plant on the hardwoods having tipped the big pink chair over.

Typically when something tragic like this had happened when it was Heather and I, I'd call in the calvary. Heather and I would double team her with love and all would be well. Well, Daddy didn't do too bad himself. I wisked Anna away and changed her perspectives, went to a different room altogether to get her thinking about something else. We went upstairs and read a book. All was well, the tears had stopped and Daddy's little girl just got more cuddly.

However, the trama was not over. I noticed Anna got a big red spot. And not wanting Anna to end up with a big black and blue mark from one of her few times with Daddy alone, I decided to ice it. Well, this was worse than getting hurt to begin with. After 10 minutes of holding ice on my little girl's head and her crying the whole time, I let her go and prayed that she didn't get a big bruise. All that crying wore her out, and she was acting pretty sleepy early...leaving me to write this blog entry ;-)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dad alone? Play with the baby!

As I wrote last week, Anna and I have been having Tuesday night date nights. Two of the nights I went out shopping with Anna and noticed that as I walked around with Anna people tended to come up close to Anna more so than normal. Is a Dad all alone a reason to approach the baby? When Heather and I are out, Anna gets comments but not approached and touched. When its just me, people have a tendency to get close to Anna and do things like grab her feet. This seems really odd to me, and I don't think this happens to Heather when she is alone.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Merry Christmas Lights!

We aren't the types to spend too much time on the Christmas lights, but I put up the decor of the year outside. This year we went with icicles in addition to our normal lights on the big evergreens, garland and bows on the posts, wreath on the door, and the candles in the window. Here is a picture of our house:

New rooms

Much of this weekend has been spent redoing two of our bedrooms for new usage. Prior to this weekend, we had a nursery, office, and guest bedroom beyond our master bedroom. With another sweet baby girl on the way, we decided to reorganize into a nursery, Anna's room, and a guest bedroom/office combo. So, my mother-in-law and I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning painting the two rooms and Saturday afternoon rearranging furniture. My mother-in-law is the real skill when it comes to painting, no tape I just do the rolling and she does all the edging. We painted Anna's room a green to match her new linens, Banana Fish Bubble Gum. Anna seemed to love her room!

The guest room/office was a dark green on the blueish is now more of a warm milk chocolate or mocha.

Still have to hang art and curtains, but you get the picture :-)