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LaCrosse is Cool

Over the weekend we participated in a Hilden family extravaganza in LaCrosse, WI. The festivities were bookended by a train trip. That's right, we took a train to Wisconsin. People still take trains, you know. Lots of people. The train was actually pretty packed on our way there. There was a big youth group going to Chicago and a large boy scout trip going who knows where. We chose not to sit by them though because they were all pre-pubescent boys who didn't know how to use deodorant yet. But we agreed that by train is a fantastic way to travel.

It was fun hanging out with family that we usually only see about once a year. One of the big family activites was mini golf and let me tell you, it was quite the competition. There were categories and prizes (made by the ever creative Chloe) to keep the game interesting.

The weekend also included a Mississippi River bruch on a paddle boat!

LaCrosse has a fantastic little old fashioned ice cream shop called Pearls. Their malted milk ball ice cream was delicious!

LaCrosse is a beautiful little river town. Hopefully this is become an annual event! The only thing that would have made it better is if Justin and Autumn could have been there. We miss you guys!

More book stuff.

Here are my latest reads...I picked these up for cheap, and I'm ready to have my mind blown! Justin and I are going to start reading the Peaceable Kingdom. Anybody else? What are YOU reading?

Books of 2009 so far....

This year I wanted to blog about the books I am reading as the year went on. At first it was going to be quarterly, then it turned to twice a year, and now it's July. I was going to post all the books I have read so far, in a list sort of fashion and that was going to be it, BUT our friend Jeff came over this week and challenged me to write reviews of the books in twitter format: only 140 characters. I decided not to include the titles of the books in the 140 count. Get ready.....

1. The Series of Unfortunate Events: Lemony Snicket: Wide Window #3, The Mill #4, The Austere Academy #5:story line seems to be the same, bad guy disguise, adults don't believe, bad guy found out, gets away. book 5 had hopes of an ongoing story

2. Pagan Christianity: Frank Viola and George Barna: interesting history of how Christianity started. One author burnt out on traditional church. Too bitter. one factual.

3. Born Standing Up: Steve Martin: great writer. Interesting story of him growing up. Recommended

4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll: One drug trip that I don't want to go on again.

5. Tales of Beetle the Bard : J.K. Rowling: Nice little background. Loved Dumbledore's notes. Very quick read.

6. The Giver: Lois Lowry: Blew my mind. Will definitely read again. Reminded me of 1984.

7. Neverwhere: Neil Gaiman: Not Gaiman's best, that would be The Graveyard Book.
Still pretty good story. Liked it.

8. In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash: Jean Shepherd: I think I would like to hear his voice tell me the stories more, BUT the fireworks story about his dad made me laugh out loud on the bus.

9. I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!: Bob Newhart: Great book! Story about having his first child is priceless.

10. Angels & Demons: Dan Brown: Sucked me in once again. Best part is that Robert Langdon had a Mickey Mouse watch that glowed in the dark.

11. IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas: Chuck Klosterman: Essays were funny. Interviews with celebrities were the best. Skip the fiction stories, I did.

12. Fail-Safe: Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler: Tense! I even knew the ending and it was still good. Recommended.

13. Myth of a Christian Nation: Gregory Boyd: Great read. Challenged my ideas, solidified others. Read it!

14. The Hobbit: J.R. Tolkien: Finally got around to reading this classic. On to the trilogy!

15. Pride and Prejudice and Zombie: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame: Zombie were funny, but just an added backdrop. They did not get their own storyline. Disappointed.

16. Jesus Wants To Save Christians: Rob Bell: Good quick read. Stirring the soul kind of book. Resonated with it quite a bit.

That's all the books for now. Maybe I should do this more often so the list isn't so long next time...

Love ya,

Hosing Around

Olive used to hate the hose.

Olive now loves the hose.

Now if only she would stop trying to attack the hose for two seconds so I could give our plants some much needed watering! Especially the raspberry bush transplanted from my grandmother's garden. Hang in there little guy! You can make it!


New things are sprouting up all the time in the Hilden garden! Every day is like a surprise party of the dirt and foliage kind. Here are a few of our newcomers.

Dear Minnesota Weather,
Please start raining more so I don't have to water every day because it's really cramping my style.

Bus Essay #2: Yes we can.

I kind of feel like Obama has stolen the word "change" from I should get some things out of the way. I am not a republican or a democrat. I voted for neither party is this last election & will probably continue that streak for a long time to come. I do think we needed some sort of change in the offices of our elected officials, but I don't think it was just a party change. I think we need an overhaul of structure - end political speech -

I recently saw a t-shirt that said "I will be change" - BUT it had this giant silhouette of Barack Obama in the background. I don't think political change was on Gandhi's heart when he said "Be the change you want to see in the world." I don't think he meant "Be the change you want to see in the office of the president." Don't get me wrong, I think President Obama is a genius. He had a viral campaign like none other. His campaign will go down in history as one of the best. I just think change is a heart issue and not a voting issue. To me change has a lot more to do with our interactions with people and recognizing things we could do in order to better our lives and theirs.

Here's a few things that I'm going to try to do this week in order to "Be the Change"

-Help my co-workers with work without complaining in my mind.

-Help my wife clean the kitchen.

- Pray More.

-Enjoy the things that God has blessed me with and not just want more things!

-Give some money to a homeless person and not think "they are just going to drink this away".

-Praise God for life.

-Not watch as much TV.

-Say "Thank you" more.

Yes we can.

Pet Peeve

Monica Geller and I have something in common. "Animals dressed as humans" is one of our biggest pet peeves. Honestly. I hate it.

Disclaimer: If you are someone who dresses your pet, I don't judge you. Really. Whatever floats your boat.

So you may be wondering why on Earth I would be not only be admitting that I have done the unthinkable, but providing evidence of it right here on our blog.

Please let me explain. Olive had a vet visit the other night and whenever we take her anywhere she is treated like a celebrity. Seriously, it's kind of sick. The vet is a prime example. All the vet assistants (or whatever their title is) where all oohing and awing over Olive when one lady out shined all the others. She kept saying things like,"oooooh look at her, little low rider..." and, "her name is Olive and she has an olive green collar, work it girl! work it!" and of course all this being said in a high pitched baby voice. She was pretty funny. We let this go on and on for a few minutes and then said our goodbyes and quickly exited.

Just when we thought we were in the clear, we were in the parking lot for goodness sake, we heard a commotion behind us. It was that lady! She had followed us outside to give Olive a hot pink shirt that said, "surfs pup" on the back. I kid you not.

Ok, those of you who know me, know I'm not even a pet person, let alone someone who would dress my pet. But what could I do? Refuse this nice (albeit a little crazy) woman's gift? We took it graciously and swore to throw it away. But then....

We couldn't resist a one time wearing and picture taking opportunity. Dave suggested taking the picture into the vet the next time we are in. That lady is going to FREAK OUT! In a good way.

We interrupt this program

To bring you some breaking news:

We have a new "nephew" and godson!

Elijah Richard

Born June 29th to Becky and Nick!

We are praising God for this little guy.

Head on over to his mama's blog to see another picture of our little buddy!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Time for a hair cut??


Wordless Wednesday