Friday, May 28, 2010

Adoption...Reality? Dream?

I remember when Jeanne-Ann found out that the pink line showed up on her home pregnancy test and we were going to have Kynzi. I was super excited! It was a strange period of time though for the nesxt 9 months. As excited as I was, it just didn't seem very real. I didn't know what to do with that other than to just live everyday out. We would go for checkups and ultrasounds and hear the babies' heartbeat and see the moving around and my heart would beat a little faster. We went in to find out the sex and it turns out Kynzi was being very modest and we couldn't really see. I thought it was so cool to look at all that. I was filled with eager anticipation. BUT it wasn't real. It didn't change my daily routine. Nothing about it did until the moment she was ushered out into the world.

At that moment EVERYTHING changed. It was IMMEDIATELY real! I could not have been more excited. I remember feeling the same thing before Karston was born. I must say that it was more difficult to imagine though because I was worried that I would not be able to love him as much as I loved Kynzi. I would even joke with Jeanne-Ann that I would love Kynzi and she could love this next one. The moment he joined us on this side of the womb "my heart grew three sizes" and all of a sudden God gave me this crazy capacity to love him like I loved his sister. I can't explain it other than that is how God has designed it.

As I think about my next 2 children I feel very much the same. The biggest differences? I can not see Jeanne-Ann's body changing because there is no baby inside. She has no strange cravings. She is not going in for any appointments. We are filling out tons of paperwork. We are raising support as it costs a ton. So in some sense we think about it more. But paperwork does not make a baby real. Checks we write just make the process real. It is a pretty strange process. This takes a lot of effort. There are classes online to take. I blog about it. My heart longs for my kids. I look forward to the day we get on the list. I look forward to the day we get the call to go to Ethiopia for the court appointment and I look forward to the day we bring our kids home.

I love dreaming. We are coming kids!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm a DVR Snob

 I remember going into the Eide's home and hanging out. We were watching an NBA game. They wanted to show me this really cool thing called "TiVo." I had never heard of it. We saw a play and then they paused it! LIVE!! Can you believe it? They paused live television. Then they rewound it and we watched the play over and over. We even watched it in slow motion. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. It was unbelievable! My mind was really having a hard time wrapping round the concept of this technology. Fast forward a whole bunch of years...

As far as being a DVR snob...I admit it. I am. I didn't realize it until today. I was thinking about a comment someone made and I thought they were a snob (I'll get to that in a minute) but then I thought about my DVR and how I react to people at times. Here is what I am talking about. When someone asks me if I have seen such and such commercial I usually respond with, "Oh, I don't watch commercials. I skip right through them." I don't mean to come off snobbish, but I wonder if I do. I love having a DVR and part of the reason is that I don't have to watch the commercials. I suppose I would answer the same way if I watched everything on Hulu as well. Although they have commercials, it's usually just one and it's repeated.

What made me think of this and wonder if I come off that way was when I asked if someone watched a certain show and they responded by saying that they don't watch TV. I felt as if I were suddenly being looked down upon. I didn't like it. We all have different convictions and all that, I get that totally. I am quite happy with the fact that I love story, I enjoy being entertained and I am fascinated with people's abilities to write good scripts. I know that there are certain things I refrain from viewing, but I certainly don't put that on anyone else. his time I felt like it was being put on me. I think I was catching that for two reasons. 1) I sensed a, "Really? You waste your time with that drivel they call entertainment?" and 2) I gathered there was a, "Do you have any idea how much money we save by not watching TV?"

That in itself is a little irritating, but then I got the, "Besides, we can watch it on Hulu or rent the DVDs." I'm sorry, but didn't you just say that you didn't have time to waste on all that drivel? So I come back to my original pondering. Am I a DVR snob or a commercial snob? I hope not. I just really want to get back to the story. I really am not flaunting that I own a DVR or anything like that. I understand that the commercials make it possible for the story to happen. I would rather hear about one that really piques my interest and check it out on youtube. I also love the fact that I can watch an hour show in less than 45 minutes and that I can choose when I watch something rather than something choosing when I watch it.

Now, as to what I watch and all that...I have a post coming next week that is part of an annual tradition now that hits on TV deaths.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Trip to Cali

I am involved in our denomination's tri-annual high school conference called LIFE this summer. There will be about 7,000 people in attendance and I am on the program team. What that means is I have been part of the planning stuff for anything that goes on the main stage at each of our main sessions. My key part is actually the pre-session part. I get to do the upfront, get everyone up and involved, make them enjoy themselves portion before the session actually starts. This will include funny videos, games, dancing, etc. I don't know why they picked me to do this, I don't like the stage, being upfront, having my face on camera, or...wait...oops, yes I do. Haha.

Anyhow, we have some videos that need to be done before the conference actually starts so I flew into L.A. for the weekend to shoot some music videos. It was pretty funny to tell the guy who I was sitting next to on the plane that that's what I was doing. I had to confess that it was just for a conference and not MTV, but it was still fun to say. I met up with Kate, my partner for the pre-session stuff and John, our video guy and grand master of media at the conference.

We got together and planned a bunch of shoots and then spent all day Saturday shooting. It was a blast. It was really cool to see the film school where John works and shoot in their studio and then do fun crazy stuff outside. When shooting was done we went back and I was getting ready to get on the plane. I was really bummed because John thought I was staying another night and he had gotten us tickets to go see David spade and friends at the L.A. Improv that was a benefit deal for the Nashville flood victims. I was REALLY bummed. I love that kind of stuff. (the Hollywood, see famous people I "know" from TV, etc.) We had seen a few celebs we recognized, but weren't sure from where when we saw them at the movie theater restaurant the night before, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

When it was time for me to head home, I was dropped off at the airport and went to the counter. I was going to ask if they needed any volunteers, but was informed theflight was delayed and they needed to check if I would make my connecting flight in San Francisco (Frrrancisssco - Buddy the Elf). I asked if they had any later flights and they had none that night but first thing in the morning! I said, "I'll take it." I was told that normally it would be $150 change fee plus whatever the difference of the ticket was (another $758) but that he would just do it!!! Can you believe it? He never told me if I would make my flight, so I assume it would not. John had told someone they could not have the ticket because he was believing that I wold be able to go! Kate had prayed for it! haha.

We went to the show after a quick drive to the Grove (this amazing outdoor mall and farmer's market place where I met Danney Gokey and Michael Sarver from American Idol last year). When we got there Sarah Silverman was outside getting her picture taken with an old high school friend. (not a fan). We went inside and had a great meal. As we were sitting there David Spade walked outside to talk to some friends and was about 2 feet from where I was sitting. I was not star struck in the way that some people make others idols of sorts, it was just a ton of fun. These people are just like you and me, they just live COMPLETELY different lives than we do. After dinner we were ushered to our seats where we literally were touching the center of the stage the comedians would be on. It's the same Improv I have seen MANY comics on TV from. It was pretty surreal.

Daniel Kinnow was the host for the evening and was pretty funny; Jeff Ross was on, he is the Roast Master for those Roasts they do of celebrities and has been on Last Comic Standing as a judge; Todd Glass went on; Kevin Nealon was next and then David Spade wrapped it up. I have to tell you, there was plenty of crassness throughout the evening and that was hard on my ears. There was also LOTS of funny stuff. I laughed until my jaw, throat and stomach hurt and had tears pouring down my face several times throughout the night. A few of the comics joked about having medicinal marijuana cards and I am pretty sure most if not all had partaken before they got on stage. What a totally different life than I live. Pretty weird. David Spade went on for the shortest amount of time (he may have had to because they were going late) and he also read most of his jokes, or at least looked at his list to remember which ones to do. I am not sure if it was because he is a "big star" and doesn't have time to memorize all his jokes or if it was the fact that it was a benefit and he wasn't getting paid that he wanted to try out some new material.

After the show we hung around for a little while and someone came up behind me and said, "Excuse me." I apologized and turned around to see Craig Robinson who plays Darrell on The Office and is hosting Last Comic Standing this summer. He was really cool and took some pictures with us as you can see below.

We headed back and hit the hay. Then it was off to the airport early in the morning. A flight to San Fransssssisssscoooo, then a quick stop at the Eugene airport (that was a first) and then back to Portland. I got home in time to hang with my family, go for a bike ride and host a Survivor Party Finale!

PS. I am working on putting together my next 90 second day in review video from that last day. I may include some of the day before as I thought about doing it part way through the day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 17th...Norwegian Independence Day (Norwegian Constitution Day) Syttende Mai

I was born in Germany, but my mom is from Norway and I lived there when I was 5-7 years old and went back every summer through high school. My grandparents bought the place that we lived in so we always had all our old friends there when we would come back. I love Norway. I dream of one day going back to live there for a short while so my wife and kids can fully experience what I did so many years ago. Who knows.

May 17th (syttende mai)...Norwegian Independence day or Constitution Day. (a bit like our 4th of July). This day is all about celebration. Parades in local communities filled with kids and their families from a school district wearing a very traditional outfit called bunad. The bunads are very different according to the area of the country and even the part of town you are from.

As I reflect on this day I usually begin to think of so many wonderful memories I have from my time in Norway.  I lived in Bergen, which is right on the coast of Norway (the land of the midnight sun) and it is absolutely gorgeous! We typically did four things as kids: went fishing, swam in one of the MANY lakes, played soccer or climbed Lydahorn (a mountain in walking distance from home). You can see in the picture below the view from the top. The yellow arrow points out where we lived. Stunning, isn't it?

This is a shot from my neighborhood towards Lydahorn.

Because my grandparents moved into our place we kept up with our friends over the years. There are a few that I still keep in contact with from time to time. That is one of the great things technology like the internet and twitter have opened up for me. From time to time we will get together and play cards online and chat about the old days and what could be the future days.

It's crazy the amounts of memories that are flooding my mind right now as I type this. Climbing Lydahorn we would go off the path and pick wild blueberries and drink out of the stream coming down the mountain. After making it all the way to the top we would run as fast as we could down the mountain. We were pretty young too. I can't imagine allowing my kids to walk all the way up there and back on their own, yet we did it. It was part of life. I remember walking through the woods that were so thick and moss laden that I would imagine we were in a fairytale. Suddenly we would pop out at a lake/pond and decide it was time to cool off and jump in. Being that it was Europe, we would laugh and giggle at the women who were quite comfortable with only wearing bikini bottoms.

I remember going on vacation to Voss (you can get cool bottled water from there now) with my grandparents, Bestemor og Bestefar, and staying in a cabin eating shrimp and crabs until we were sick. We had a boat that we would take out and go fishing in.  One day we were trolling (letting out a line from a spool that had 15-20 lures on it) and we kept seeing some sort of fish jumping up in the air. It was the coolest thing ever. Suddenly we would feel fish tugging at our lines. As we pulled the lines in we were pulling in a ton of these fish (horngel...not sure how to spell it, but in English it is a needlefish or gar) that looked like eels with bird beaks and sharp little teeth. They would flop all over the boat and get all the lines tangled and made a huge mess that my grandfather spent most of the day untangling.It was such a strange fish and my grandfather remembered being served it when he was a prisoner of the Nazis in WWII. He said he remembered them to not be very good. So we tossed them back in the water. When we got back to the house he read a book that said it was supposed to be a really good tasting fish. We all had a good laugh.

When the day was done we would go inside and play cards until our eyes were too heavy to stay open any longer. There was always laughter. Lots of laughter.

I guess what prompted all this was that It was syttende mai on Monday and we proudly put up our Norwegian flag to celebrate. We don't really do anything else on this day, bu I think we may start to next year. We do have a lot of Norwegian traditions added to our birthday celebrations and Christmas. That is very fun. Yes, I speak Norwegian fluently. Yes, my kids are learning it, but I am bad at keeping up with it. It is a lot of work. I need to practice it more with my kids. Time to up the ante!

Thanx walking down memory lane with me. This is one of the longer blog posts I have done. heart is

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Day in 90 Seconds

The other day I tweeted about an experiment that Carlos Whittaker did as part of a Flickr group called "My Day Yesterday." Basically you take short clips of your entire day and put them together with no editing except trimming. It was a super fun experiment and I am sure I will do it again. It was hard to keep it to 90 seconds and I know it is actually a couple seconds longer than that, but I didn't count the text at the front. ;-)

Want to try it? I used a Flip camera, but you can use any kind of camera that shoots video. You can even use your phone camera. Go ahead, try it. If you do, I will embed yours in another post in the future. I was going to embed Michelle's, but it's fun to read what she says in her blog so just click on her name to take you there.

So here you go...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Should Middle Schoolers be on Social Networking Sites?

I just posted this on our Alliance Youth blog, but wanted to hear what your thoughts are too.

Is it a good idea? Are your middle schoolers/jr. highers on a social networking site? Most likely. I just got done reading a blog post by Dr. Laura It is a letter from a principal to the parents saying they should absolutely NOT have an account. The biggest reason he sites is the damage even just one mean comment has caused on so many students. One of the things I read was alarming.

5 of the last 8 parents who we have informed that their child was posting inappropriate things on Facebook said their child did not have an account.  Every single one of the students had an account.

It really has caused me to think about this. I think that for the reasons stated I may agree. I think about my daughter, who is about to enter middle school, and know that I definitely do not want her fragile heart to be wrecked because some other girl posts some mean thing on a picture or posting she has uploaded. It is hard enough in school, imagine how hard it is online when kids can be "bolder" in their words and actions because somehow they feel it's OK because they are not face to face. I love social networking, I'm a huge fan, an early adopter, but this really has me thinking about age appropriateness.

I would love to hear what you think. Click the link below and the poll will pop up. Speak more into this conversation in the comment area.
Is it a good idea?

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