December 5, 2005


Dear Friends & Family 


This year, we've decided to write about the 12 "Daze" of our family events in 2005 that helped contribute to the "crazed & dazed" life we live. After writing this, I realized that much of the craziness has been caused, not by our kids, but by cats! We never thought we'd have cats, since neither of us really like them much (they poop too much)... but, when you live on a farm, you gotta have cats - they're better than rats & mice!


Most of the stories we are sharing with you this year are stories you may not have known about - so brace yourself! Be sure to click on the pictures to view them larger and click on the links to see more pictures


In no particular order...



Feline Fatalities - Archie, our 2-year old Collie, witnessed the death of at least one farm cat this year. One poor kitten was smooshed under the weight of Joe's tire in a garage accident. Archie freaked out and ran away while the driver, horrified, disposed of the carcass into the burning barrel. Another cat was mercilessly run over by our van (driver's name withheld), but you would've thought it put up a fight from all the blood splattered in the driveway and the other cat parts found on the wall. (Sorry...gross!) And yet another kitten was put out of it's misery by the same van & driver, but with none of the post-traumatic death flip-flopping.


Speaking of cats... Muffy, our adopted cat, helped our family overcome the loss of that poor kitten. She is an odd cat, to say the least. When we first got her, she went into hiding for about a week after we first put her into the barn. We figured a tom cat took care of her, but surprisingly, she reappeared and has been around the house ever since. She's a strange calico cat with an unpredictable temper... once displaying the bite of a rottweiler while trying to eat through a tuna can, piercing the skin of its fearless hand-feeder, who shall remain nameless.


Why stop there? White Sox, a.k.a. "nubs", is another addition to the cat family at our place. He appeared at our house one day out of thin air. He was a friendly cat... but then... a few weeks later he mysteriously had only 1/2 of his original tail. The vet guessed that a lawnmower sliced it off, leaving the bloody tip and a furless remainder of a tail. Poor little guy was freaked out for a couple months, but has recently come around to be quite friendly again. We almost cut off the rest of his tail when we found out he got into our van and crapped on the floor... twice. But he survived. 


Hubert H. Humphrey - those were the names of our three orange cats that our neighbors donated to the farm. Only H. is left now... Hubert & Humphrey both met their demise on the bridge down the road... in pretty much the same place... within a week’s time. Dumb cats, really... thinking they can play chicken with a milk truck or something. Hopefully H. is the smartest of the three.


Possum. Coming home from Sioux Falls one night, Anders & Joe saw a possum lying in the driveway... playing "possum". Sure enough, the thing was breathing... so, we backed up the pickup, stepped on the throttle, and proceeded to run over the dumb thing’s head. Flipping and flopping behind us, we were sort of grossed out by the whole thing. But hey, it was a possum. And possum's eat our dog food. So now we have more dog food.


Isaiah has really started developing his own personality this year. He loves to eat. Especially candy. I think his first words were "I want candy", but it was mumbled and hard to decipher... but then we'd realize whenever he saw candy, he'd say "iyant awny" and point towards it.


He is a very happy little boy most of the time. But he's also very good at whining and screaming and always wants to be a part of the action. Everyone tells us how much he looks like Anders, but he definitely has Sedric's personality. Do you recall how Sedric chose to redecorate the walls when we first moved in? Well, Isaiah hasn't grabbed the permanent marker yet, but he certainly prefers green and graphite colored walls (what would we do without the Magic Eraser?).


Isaiah also loves playing with his older brothers, the phone and remote controls! Speaking of the phone... one morning Isaiah woke up early, and we were too tired to get out of bed, so we let him walk around our bedroom destroying things as we tried to salvage some sleep. 20 minutes later, the doorbell rang frantically, so I jumped up out of bed in my undies, only to find the SHERIFF!!! Doh!!! Apparently "someone" had called 911 from our home... ISAIAH!!!! So I eventually found the phone buried under some clothes in our bedroom, and sure enough it was off the hook, connected to the authorities. The sheriff said the dispatcher heard someone singing lullabies or something. What good parents we are! And that wasn't the whole story - the sheriff went next door and harassed our neighbors before realizing he had the wrong house! Sorry Jared & Tara!


Carson has been the typical two-year-old, asking "Why" all the time, and is all boy... most of the time, anyway. Uncle Mike Nelson predicted that Carson is going to be the starting linebacker for the football team in high school. He loves to run around with his arms flexed, ready to hit anyone in his path. He often gets in trouble for hitting his brothers... and his brothers often get in trouble for hitting him after he makes them so mad. But there's a softer side to Carson... his favorite TV show is Dora the Explorer. He loves that show so much, he had a Dora birthday party this year! He turns 3 on December 11.


Carson is also a Bible scholar. I regularly read the boys Bible stories at the kitchen table before meals, and then I "quiz" them afterwards. Anders and Sedric both have the right answers most of the time... but Carson always raises his hand and says "Jesus" as the answer to every question. Every once in awhile I'll ask one just for him, so he gets it right... but when I ask "how many times did Daniel pray every day", it's hard for me to say "ding ding ding, yes, Carson, you're right!". But ultimately, Carson is right about Jesus... He is our answer for all of life's problems, especially our biggest problem - sin... and we all know we all have a sin problem. If you don't know that, just look at our kids! ;)


Sedric has become our lovem-or-hatem cowboy. For awhile, all he wanted to do was wear cowboy boots and cowboy dress-up stuff. Then he went about 6 months "hating cowboys". Around harvest time, he put his boots back on, along with his cowboy hat, belt, and cowboy shirt, jean jacket... and he was back in the saddle again. But then Batman entered the scene. Although he’s never seen a Batman show or movie, everything on his birthday and Christmas lists had Batman: Batmobile, Batman laptop, Batman bike helmet and pads, Batman pogo stick, etc (you’ve gotta love marketing).


Sedric turns 5 years old on December 13! Next year he'll start kindergarten and join his big brother in school. He's very smart and never ceases to amaze me with his answers to questions. Baseball is his favorite sport. As long as the ball is within swinging distance, he’ll hit it. He can’t wait to start T-ball this summer.


Sedric also loves outdoor activities. Whenever he sees dirt it reminds him of fishing and he gets out his shovel and pail and starts digging for worms. This usually involves a request to Grandpa Jerry or me to go fishing. He was also excited this year to be able to wear his new hunting clothes out deer hunting with Grandpa Jerry. Speaking of clothes, Sedric is great at picking out clothes that he knows goes together, but if he’s trying to put together random pieces, it’s just that . . . random.  He tries to dress like Anders (who has a natural knack for style); however Sedric just looks at the type of clothing and how many shirts Anders has on, not necessarily color or pattern. . . .and his pants have to be jeans or jean shorts (shorts that go at least to his knees.)


We're still so thankful to the Lord that Sed is healthy now, after the cancer scare of 2004. He's back to pretty much perfect health now. Praise the Lord! 


Anders had his bedroom painted in a color combination unlike any other. One wall is black, with fire painted on the bottom. Another wall is white, one is red, the other is gold. His Star Wars posters blend in with the black/fire wall... and everyone who sees it is rather bothered by the fact it looks like what they imagine hell looks like. We like to think of it as a teaching tool.


Anders also finished up kindergarten and started first grade this year! He is one of the best handwriters I've ever seen under the age of 18 - and he's only 7! He is good at math and is becoming a good reader. He loves playing with his friends, playing soccer, playing with his brothers (he even misses his brothers when he's at school), and playing catch outside with his old man. Anders loves the outdoors too; more in line with hiking, rock climbing or exploring.


The most exciting thing about Anders this year is that he's decided to get baptized! On December 11, he will be joining 5 others at church in believer's baptism. He shared his testimony with Pastor Greg and the deacons, which was neat to hear. He remembers God talking to him when he was about 4 1/2 years old – which is hard to believe how exactly he heard Him. We were visiting a church and during a reading from Isaiah, Anders told Amanda, “Mom, God told me something.” When she asked him what He said, he said, “Follow me and I will be your light.” Turns out, that’s what the day’s message was on; however nothing related to that had been said, just the scripture from Isaiah 60:1-6.


When we asked Anders when he believed in Jesus, Anders said it was when he was six and he and Amanda were at the supper table talking about it and he prayed to God to forgive his sins and told Him he wants to love and obey Him. This was pretty cool to us as parents since we never really made a big deal of it at the time, not sure if he was doing it to please us or in sincerity and true belief. As the scripture says, “But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” God is awesome and it brings joy to our hearts to see how he reveals Himself more and more to us through our children and their desire to follow and obey Him. We can’t wait to see more of the plans He has for them.


Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Oh... you knew that already? Well, I bet you didn't know that Joe is a dead-ringer for Anakin, before he turned to the dark side, of course! Joe had a chance to visit Hollywood with Jim Kang, former pastor of FBC Luverne. After looking at the footprints in front of the Chinese Mann Theater, they were succumbed by the tractor beam of a crafty salesman with a digital camera. He convinced us to pose like tough guys, and then he put our mugs on a cool picture of Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. We couldn't resist the force, and each paid $37 for an 8x10 of the fearless Jedi Knights named Jim & Joe.


Ever been fishing with a Jamaican named Winston? Well, I have. No, I didn't catch any fish, but I had a memorable experience... We were in Jamaica for Amanda's brother Brian's wedding (that was pretty cool... on the beach). One morning, while Amanda was getting her hair braided by a lady on the beach, I had an hour to kill... so, when Winston came up and offered to take me fishing, I said "Sure!". Turns out that wasn't the only thing Winston had to offer. Like many other Jamaicans on the beach, Winston had some "connections" with some people who sold Ganja... a.k.a. Weed... a.k.a. Marijuana. I politely refused his offer and told him I don't smoke or do drugs. Then I told him about the Holy Spirit, but he wasn't really paying attention as he just wanted more money from an American traveler. He also offered to drive me by Hedonism Resort, which had a bunch of naked old people walking around. Again, "no thanks". So, after trolling for about 45 minutes pulling a big lure and getting no action, finally... I snagged a big one! Winston said it must've been a huge barracuda. I'm convinced it was a rock. I guess we'll never know. Whatever it was broke my line, took his lure, and cost me another $5 for feeling sorry for Winston losing another lure to the Atlantic Ocean.


What's that hole doing in our front yard? Was Joe digging his own grave? Were they digging for treasure? Actually, it was a big hole from that guy on the left - the tree spade guy. We moved about 30 trees from our front yard grove to various spots around the property. This was one of the final steps of our little landscaping project. Well, I shouldn't say little... Chris Hood, our landscaper, doesn't do "little projects". After all was said and done, we had over 70 TON of quartzite boulders surrounding our house. It's actually called buffalo rub rock - at least the rocks that have the shiny, glazed look from where Bison of old would rub up on the rocks to scratch themselves, and their coarse fur would, over time, polish the rock to a glistening shine. We had a lot of fun with the guys who did all the work. Amanda considered it art - in a big scale - in our own yard instead of hanging on our wall.


So that wraps up part of the list of our unusual occurrences for 2005. We can’t wait to see what’s ahead in 2006.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.