It’s been a while since we’ve written anything substantial in this space, so this post may turn into a lengthy “here’s what we did” type of writing. Feel free to read until you have something better to do, like work.
Last week we went up to Indiana on vacation, this time staying at casa Erickson. The most notable part of the trip was the timing regarding changes in Sophie. The day before we made the trip up, Sophie entered the world of crawling. At the same time, she also sprouted her first tooth. And she learned to stand up without pulling up on anything (sometimes). And she became a world class sprinter when holding on to your fingers. And she decided that she would now like to wave to everyone she sees. Sufficed to say, she was on stimulation overload for 9 days. She hasn’t slowed down since either. We have begun babyproofing the house now, but I fear I may have already trained her too well to be sneaky. So, she has now started hearing a new word, “No.” Furthermore, she has developed a strange fascination with eating my nose. Nancy thinks this is her way of giving kisses, but I think she is just mimicking the fact that I pretend to eat her all the time. In any event, these changes are, in large part, why we have not had time to update blog posts, but also why we haven’t had time to do anything else either. She has only one gear, “GO!!,” which means that for the time being, we are stuck in the same gear. She also turned 9 months old on Wednesday, so we took our now traditional every three month pictures to memorialize the occasion. Here are a few:
On our first vacation day in Indiana, we found out by accident that our former youth pastor Jim Merillat was in Granger for just that weekend. Nancy & I were very close to Jim & Pam and hadn’t seen either of them since our wedding. So, we gave Jim a call to see if we could see him, if only for a little while. He was actually available almost right away and came over to the house for an hour or so. He’s still the same Jim (well, maybe more salt and less pepper in the hair), a man who loves those he serves and is passionate about reaching the lost and helping people grow in their faith. We really enjoyed the short time we were able to spend with him and were blessed by it. We have one picture- please keep in mind that I hadn’t showered yet, because, well, seriously…My brother Mike got a puppy while we were in town, a Vizsla. He wanted to give it a foreign language name that was disc-golf related, so he turned to our resident linguist, Nancy. She scoured Hebrew, Akkadian, Egyptian, Sumerian, French & Greek for any variation of “disc” or “basket,” but none of the names were any good. Finally, we grabbed a German dictionary and the name jumped out, Scheibe (pronounced Shi-ba), which means disc. Vizslas are naturally pointer-style hunting dogs, so Mike plans to train Sheibe to track the discs he throws and go point them. What he doesn’t understand is that he needs to train Sheibe to find my discs, not his.
I also had the pleasure of again seeing Dan Weiss on my visit and then also having lunch with Mark Troyer. I am dismayed to say that Dan may never play disc golf again after his visit to Safetyville, but I hope that he had as much fun as I did. Dan is as solid of a guy as I know, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Plus, he’s about the only person I’ve ever actually beat in disc golf… I found my lunch with Mark to be somewhat cathartic for both of us. We are at a place in life that is almost completely different, yet also strangely the same. That was quite rewarding- Thanks Mark!
After spending several days in Granger, we packed up and went camping with the Dayton clan. This was the first time in several years that we had the whole family together, and the first time that we had met Audrey or that Brian & Boualoy met Sophie. Sufficed to say, we were all properly introduced. As with our other camping trip, Sophie seems to be a natural. I get the distinct impression that she is going to be the type of girl that is into adventure activities. I get the sneaking suspicion that I am going to have to do something crazy like go skydiving with her on her 18th birthday. Anyway, we really enjoyed having everyone together. It only seems natural for Dayton family activities to be in the woods or on a boat and generally outdoors. Timothy & Audrey are two of the cutest future Cub fans I have ever seen.
I did manage to squeeze 2 books in on vacation. My Mom picked up “Why My Wife Thinks I’m an Idiot” by Mike Greenburg at a garage sale. This is exactly what I think of as summer vacation reading in the sense that it requires no real thought or emotional investment of any kind. OK, that’s never my idea of great writing, but I enjoy him on the radio every morning and got pretty much the same shtick here, only in book length (and not about sports). The closest equivalent I can think of is Paul Reiser’s “Couplehood,” both in terms of writing style, subject matter, and general neurosis. The other book I read was from my reading list, and was my “popcorn” selection, recommended by my Mom. “The Devil in the White City” is a history book, as well sourced and cited as the best of text books, yet written in a style that almost makes you think you’re reading a novel. It tells two contemporaneous stories, both involving the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The first story is of the lead architect of the project, Daniel Burnham, and generally describes the amazing process of building an entire city in about 2 years. As someone who has done construction project management, I was absolutely blown away by what they accomplished there. Furthermore, it was a great pleasure to discover that some of my favorite buildings in Chicago are either remnants of this event or were designed by the same architects. The story is interlaced with that of H.H. Holmes, who is considered by some the first serial killer in the United States and the first documented sociopath. He performed his evil deeds at the time of that same World’s Fair, taking advantage of the chaos provided by that event. Why Erik Larson chose to tell these stories together is anybody’s guess, but they do provide a fascinating counterpoint to one another. I enjoyed this book on a lot of levels, but mostly I enjoyed learning about the history of one of my favorite cities and look forward to visiting Chicago again soon with a new-found appreciation.
So, if you’re still reading (don’t you have a job?), let us close by saying we really enjoyed our time with our family & friends and anxiously await our next opportunity to see you all again.