Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fall Changes

I tried to get Picasa to save some of the lighting effects so that this was a little more even, but I didn't win that battle.

These pictures were taken over a period of about a month starting mid-October. This is me trying to stand in exactly the same place on our deck and take the same angle.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Austin's 8th Birthday

One of Austin's recent math assignments was to bake a cake. I think it had something to do with learning measurements, or a practical approach to dividing the cake into fractions, I don't know, but he sure did enjoy it. So when it came time for his birthday, he announced that he wanted to make his own birthday cake so he did. Here are some pictures from that event.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Up in the sky!

Back in October (I know, I have some catching up to do), Austin came running inside from the back yard exclaiming that there were letters in the sky. He was right. Unfortunately, it wasn't anything too interesting. These were made by planes flying together turning on and off their smoke to make "digital" letters. They were intended to be read by fair goers at the NC state fair. Kinda cool. I wonder if all that is automated or if they have to manually turn the smoke on and off.

And BTW, the image isn't inverted, I guess it's supposed to be ready by people further south, looking north.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Our Back Yard

I finally got our patio furniture together. This was the time to year to buy it too, even though it's Wal-mart furniture, it seems to be solid and it was about $100 off the original price. I see that I didn't yet get the cushions on the chairs either.
After getting the pieces out and up onto the deck, it was a no-brainer that we should have dinner out there. So here we are, enjoing a meal overlooking our lush back yard. We feel fortunate to have no houses behind us (yet) and we have such a peaceful view with nothing but trees behind us. We've even seen a few deer wondering around our neighborhood! We are gradually getting out of all our boxes and we've sold some things that we can't use in this house through Craigslist, including getting rid of most of our boxes through the "free" category. We are almost to where we can get one of our cars in the garage. After tomorrow, we hope to have gotten rid of a couple of large items: A computer desk and two twin box spring matresses.

Before and after pictures of the newly painted rooms are coming soon! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We have a house

We closed on this house on Monday, the 11th and since then we've been over there every spare minute painting just about every room in the house! Not that they needed to be painted-- We just decided to add some color. Mike and Travis were a HUGE help Wednesday night as they painted the family room in one shot. Very steady hand on the trim work, Travis!

My mother also came for the week and painted the boy's room and Lindsey's room and then did a lot of nice stenciling in Lindsey's room as well. We hope to be finished with the painting this weekend so that we can concerntrate on packing next week before our move on the 23rd.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lindsey Loves Soccer

Today was Lindsey's first day of organized soccer. It's just a six week instructional league for five-year-olds, and she had a great time, playing with other girls and trying to kick the ball to who-knows-where! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bumper Bowling

It was great to have Miss Emily visit over the long Labor Day weekend. One of the many things we did was bumper bowling. This is bowling in a regular bowling alley, but they pull these little fences up on the sides of the lanes so that the ball doesn't fall into the gutter. Kind of a cool idea! Unfortunately, it's only intended for kids so the fifteen or so balls I pushed right into the gutter (and the one time I fell into the gutter) did not benefit from having those up on our lane!

Here are some pictures of the kids giving it a try.

One of the funniest things was watching Reece, who always wants to do everything all by himself, pick up the six pound ball, carry it to the front of the lane and push it while we wait, and wait, and wait for the ball to knock over a few pins.

Here is a audio-less video of just such an event:

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sense of Humor

Where do we learn a sense of humor? How does it develop? Austin's visual attempt seen here is pretty funny. In case it's not abundantly clear, this is the sun, complete with shades, cooling himself with a fan.

Good stuff. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Reece Turns 3

We have a three-year-old. Reece is now three and hasn't skipped a beat. I was video taping when he blew out candles on his cake. Dad, did you get pictures of that? Here Austin is enjoying Reece's gift. Reece is getting to where his birthday gifts are ones that Austin will enjoy also.

Reece is in a sling. It's not on his arm right in this picture, it's supposed to be holding his arm close to his chest, but it always slides back. Reece broke his collar bone jumping or falling off Lindsey's bed July 31st. He seems to be getting better as he is using his arm more and more. He'll get an X-ray this Friday and we'll know how it's healing then. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Three Weddings and a Funeral

It's been a crazy couple of months for our family. We did a lot of traveling and saw a lot of friends and family, mostly as a result of planned events but one, unfortunately, unplanned.

Wedding Number 1
We began Memorial Day weekend, which seems so long ago. I guess it was! Austin and Lindsey were asked to be a part of a wedding for a family friend long before we moved. Heidi was Austin and later Lindsey's first baby sitter and Janet and Heidi's mother used to work together in our "before kids" days at Mogadore Christian Academy. So it was great to have the kids be a part of her day.

They both did a great job. Austin pulled a wagon down the isle as a ring bearer. The wagon had two < style="font-style: italic;">and exiting the church. Upon reaching the front, they did a good job of smiling and standing still--for the most part.

Wedding Number 2
Megan mostly exists in my mind as a 12 year old young lady, who, along with her three sisters were a part of our wedding in Iowa in 1995. Well, she's all grown up now and called over a year ago to "book" me to play for her wedding. We thought it would be great fun since we often make a summer trip to Iowa to see Janet's family anyway.

The second weekend of June we made the long drive out there and had a great time. Her sisters were part of the bridal party and it's amazing how they've all grown up into beautiful young women! (My wife's words, honest!)

The best picture I took of the bride and groom are of them "escaping" after the ceremony.

The Funueral
Brian's maternal grandmother went to be with the Lord early in July. This forced an unexpected trip to the Philadelphia area. It is still so sad that my grandmother is no longer with us. My grandfather had died almost 20 years ago. I was 16 at the time. Grandmother had kept busy all these years, staying as active as her health would allow until just the last couple of weeks when she no longer had the strength to carry on.

One of the things about funerals, like weddings, is that it brings families together. This is a picture of my mother's siblings. I hadn't seen a couple of them in years. I mean since 1985 or so. It's a shame that it takes some one dying to get the family motivated to come together.

Wedding Number 3
It was great to be a part of my good friend Matt Laun's wedding in mid-July. Matt and Jessica had been dating for a long time. A really long time--and finally decided it was about time for them to get married. It was great to see his family again (I did the music for one of his sister's wedding). It was a quick trip. Got on a plane, flew up for about 48 hours and flew home. I got to see a few Chapel friends while I was there, but not many. The purpose of the trip was Matt's wedding and I wanted to be available for that.

Well, the traveling should be done--at least for a few months. We're looking forward to not loading up the van and driving and driving. We have enjoyed what awaits us (or who awaits us) at the end of our trips, but how about you drive down here and visit us for a change?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Austin and Soccer

TODAY was Austin's last soccer game. It's hard to say how much he enjoyed it. He had about ten games or so and I think he did actually begin to learn how the game was played a little. He has not shown a great deal of aggression in the game, as the video shows, he'll get to the ball eventually. Reece, on the other hand can't wait to play. He loves to kick the ball and doesn't want anyone else to get to the ball before he does when it's kicked in his general vicinity.

Another great attraction during game time (besides kicking the ball with Reece and Janet) was the ladybug found under Lindsey's chair, which provided several minutes of quality entertainment.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cast off Party

We were so relieved that Lindsey began walking again after her cast came off. It did take her a little while, but she finally got the confidence to start walking and now she's doing pretty well. While she had her cast on, we asked her what she would like to do to celebrate when it comes off. She wanted to have a little party with her new little friend Elliana. So they had a fun adventuresome day. They played so hard, they could hardly stand it.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Carolina Beach

We finally made it to the ocean. We were trying to remember when the kids were last at the beach (besides Lake Erie). Austin was almost three, Lindsey was a little over two and a half months, and Reece? No one ever heard of Reece the last time we were at the ocean. I remember the occasion pretty well. We were with my parents at Sea Isle City, NJ when the infamous events of 9/11 happened. Kinda put a damper on the whole vacation.

This trip, however was a day trip to Carolina Beach, just beyond Wilmington. It is a straight shot down I-40 (take it till it ends) and then look for some parking. Here are some pictures of our fun day in the sun.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Before & After

BEFORE...(photo by Austin Megilligan)
Four weeks is a long time to live with a four-year-old with a cast on her ankle. I know many people have it much worse, but it was still an adjustment to make--especially as spring showed up and we were ready to do a lot of outside things. We were able to borrow some strollers and get around a lot easier that way, and that was very helpful, but we just couldn't WAIT to get that cast off Lindsey's leg.

Finally the day came. Last Tuesday, Lindsey went to the doctor and had her cast removed. The initial excitement was short-lived as she could not bring herself to walk on her healing foot. Probably her tendons were still tight and a little sore and so she feared she wasn't all better--so for the next five long days she refused to walk. She wouldn't even put any weight on her foot. We tried every bribe we could think of, tried to help her by holding her hands, moving her feet ourselves, etc., etc.

Nothing worked.

We took the kids to the beach (future post coming on that), and still she would not try to walk a bit in the sand. We took the kids to the Y pool and she kicked and swam normally, just "walked" on her knees in the water. Then I stuck her on her bicycle. She loved it. Peddled and peddled. Clearly her leg/foot was fine--everything was mental.

Then Sunday morning, something happened between when she went to Sunday School and came home. She got the courage to try to take some steps. She held on to me or Janet or the wall or something, and limped gingerly on her little toes.

We were all ready to make an appointment with her on Monday for physical therapy. But now she's making sudden and real progress! So here we are, with Lindsey limping, but walking without holding on to anything, looking a bit like a pirate as she limps along, but happy and excited to be off the floor. So are mommy and daddy.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Easter Weekend

What a spread--the kids had a lot of fun decorating and coloring easter eggs. Lots of pictures here.

Later, a quick Easter egg hunt and look at what's inside the Easter Eggs!

And here are some spoiled kids with their Sunday Easter baskets.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

It is so hard... get all three kids to cooperate for their Easter egg coloring pictures!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Austin Singing

A couple of weeks ago, Austin participated in a kids musical. First the kindergarteners sang, then the first graders (Austin's group), then the 2nd-6th graders gave they musical presentation, which was really quite good.

The rules were fairly simple. We weren't allowed to take any flash photography during the singing, as it might distract the kids. Yeah. Plus they did have a crew in videotaping the whole thing, which actually seemed like a more legit reason not to have flash photography. Anyway, Austin's group sang their two songs, at which point we as parents were permitted to take pictures. I got this one of Austin just before they started filing off. The arrow may help.

Friday, March 31, 2006

"A Story About Me"

As part of his on-going history lessons, Austin had to write (dictate) his own story. The "History of Austin," as it were. It frightens me how much his whole world relies on various video game markers.

"Once upon a time it was my first time playing with Nintendo. I liked playing Mario. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it. Then Logan got me into Mario Kart and I also liked Tigger's Huney Hunt. Stankiewicz's gave me Mario Kart for Christmas. I also like Ms. Pac Man.
I did Phonics for a while then I got Toy Story 2.
When we moved we learned that milk made me feel bad at night. [not really true]
Then with Toy Story 2 I got bored with that. I watched ho Jesse got over to the slime time. Indeed he did.
Logan is my Nintendo buddy.
Then I was still sick at night and I didn't know why. My mommy and daddy didn't either.
We moved into a townhouse. I got Donkey Kong. It was kind of hard to move and I made friends even though I didn't want to. I miss Logan most of all. But I made friends with Benjamin and Jameson.
I wanted Mario Party 7 but Daddy said it was on GameCube.
Grandmom and Granddad came and gave me a game boy. I play Nemo and Mario Kart.
The I got Donkey Kong. I didn't like school and now I like school. I also learned how to do a digital camera. The end.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Breaking News (pun intended)

We're not sure how--and we're not even sure when, but sometime on Saturday, Lindsey suffered a broken ankle. Specifically the tibia just above the growth plate. We took her to the ER on Saturday night where her x-ray revealed a slight anomaly. She had bruising and swelling, plus she couldn't put any weight (all 34 lbs of her) on her leg.

She was a great patient, dutifully answering the doctors and nurses as they questioned her. Some real interesting answers and hypotheses came out of this little squirt. She's loving the attention and care that she's getting--totally eating it all up.

She got a splint at the hospital on Saturday and a cast today. Isn't that cool? She even got to pick the color of her cast. She's not allowed to get it wet or put any weight on it for four weeks. It is going to make our lives very interesting for a while. Janet is not looking forward to the next month!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Keels weekend visit

It was great to have some Ohio friends visit last weekend. We enjoyed having Brian and Pam and their girls all down for a quick weekend trip. Well, it was quick for us, their weekend was book-ended by long drives.

When they got into town late Friday, Brian and I tried to hook up to go hear some live jazz at Bogart's. Janet and I were just there the previous weekend with some new friends from the worship ministry at Providence and had a great time. I thought it would be a good place for Brian and I to hear some good tunes. I think they had a quartet called the "Lounge Lizards" playing that night. Who could turn that down?

We went down town at about 10:00 or so, got there at about 10:30 and found out that Bogart's had transformed itself from a high-end restaurant with dinner music to a hip bar/dance club/ pretty-people-social-place. We clearly didn't belong. When I saw the sign on the door outside that said something about "dress to impress," I knew we were in the wrong place! It was loud and packed--and oh yeah, the NCAA tournatment had started. What were we thinking? That restaurant and all the restaurants on that corner were PACKED with NC State, UNC, or Duke fans. There wasn't a seat anywhere, and we just weren't hip enough to belly up to a bar!

So, after overpaying a coverchage only to leave (the music and atmosphere was way too loud for a conversation) we walked down the street to the Armadillo Grill, which was perfect. Ordered Nachos and Wings. What could be better?

Saturday we found took the kids to Krispy Kreme, not far from where Brian and I went the night before. This was a fun place for the kids (and us) because you know you'll find something yummy to eat. They make the doughnuts right there as you can see with the conveyor belt in the background. There's a couple more pictures of the kids here.

It was only later in the week that I found out we did it all wrong. We were supposed to order the glazed doughnuts fresh, right off the conveyor. They're supposed to be amazing. The good thing (or bad thing) is that this place is only about a 20 minute drive downtown--I'm sure we'll have opportunities in the future to get it right.

Sunday the college band led so we took our time and went to one service--my responsibilities were only to close the third service with Eric. Sunday afternoon we went up to the Y and took the kids swimming. Somehow Janet and Pam got away with only sitting and watching while Brian and I sat in the kids pool and tried to keep them from drowning eachother. If you think you're going to see pictures of us in the pool with the kids, you're sadly mistaken. Instead, here's a picture of Reece, waiting in anticipation of a large bucket to dump water all over him. He loved it. It's one of the play area toys that they have in this pool that just keeps on filling and dumping, filling and dumping all day.

Sunday night, Brian and I got pizza for us and the kids while Janet and Pam disappeared for a while to the Cheesecake Factory. A good time was had by all.

Who's coming to visit us next weekend?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Uncle Kevin and Aunt "Nar"

It's been a while since we've updated our happeneings so here we go with some new stuff.

Janet's sister, Lynette and her husband Kevin drove from Waterloo, IA all the way out here over two days. (They got an intentional late start when the left). It was so great to have them here over a long weekend. It had to be the nicest weekend we've had since we've been here too. We enjoyed 80 degree weather on both the Sunday and Monday they were here and that allowed us to do some nice outdoor things. The kids had a great time riding in the go-carts (sorry about the dark pictures!), and we had a lot of fun at Shelley Lake at an after church Kentucky Fried picnic, and then on Tuesday we had a little lunch play-time at Chuck-E-Cheese.

I couldn't believe it, but when it was time for them to leave, they woke up early on Wednesday morning and left around 5:15am or so, drove the whole way back to Waterloo in one day--got in at 11:00 pm local time. Now THAT's impressive! It was great to have them visit and we all had a lot of fun!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Grandmom and Granddad visit

Wow--it's already been a couple of weekends since my parents drove down from PA to see us--I mean the kids. We were fortunate to have some pretty nice weather while they were here. We took full advantage of them being here--even though it was a short visit. We were able to squeeze a lot in. They were even brave enough to take the kids to Chuck-E-Cheese without Janet and me so we could go out with Jeff and Suzanne. That was a real treat!

We're excited to have Janet's sister and her husband here for a couple of days from Iowa (exptected to arrive any minute) and some other good friends from Ohio come next weekend. The weather has been great (sorry, Ohio friends!), in the upper 70's and 80's this weekend--we almost made a trip to the beach. We haven't gone yet, but we'll be sure to let you know when we do. Stay tuned for more!

Dad had these little feathers in his hat. After Austin noticed that, he started calling him "Peter Granddad" because it reminded him of Peter Pan. He kinda has his granddad's sense of humor!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Kitchen Sink

It's hard to view the rent money as anything other than lost money. No equity, no tax benefit, just a bill paid every month that gives us the right to live where we're living. Very little benefits come your way from rent. Unless the kitchen sink stops working.

How does a sink stop working? Well, it stops taking water. This all happened while I was at work today, but early on, apparently the drain just had enough and stopped allowing water to drain. Our maintenance crew was great--they were right on it--but even THEY had to call for reinforcements. It was quite an ordeal. A black, sludgey, messy ordeal. But by the time I came home, everything was back to normal. Oh, and rent was due today too. (As well as the mortgage payment!)

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Trip to the Museum

Last weekend we took the kids to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This museum is downtown Raleigh, about a 20 minute drive for us on Saturday morning. The best part of the whole excursion was that it was free. There were some interesting things for the kids, like live animals (just a few), but most of the things to see were large displays. One of the things Austin and Lindsey enjoyed the most were the many dinosaur skeletons.

Lindsey sticks her head inside the head of a T-rex.

Here are the kids in a bat cave--looking up at stuffed bats.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


As a four-year-old, Lindsey is at the place in life where she's starting to put things together. The byproduct of greater understanding must be broader assertions and questions. At least I hope that is the measuring stick of learning. If it is, she's doing really well. Here are some recent questions and sayings over the last couple of weeks that have made us laugh.

  • We have a tradition of replacing a lost tooth under the pillow with a dollar. I use the term "tradition" lightly because only Austin of our three kids has lost any teeth yet. However, very recently when he lost another tooth, he woke up in the morning to find a dollar under his pillow. (I believe he really thinks there is a tooth fairy). We generally let him spend his dollar(s, over the last few months) at the dollar store. That is a place that is pretty easy to understand for a kid. We decided this time around to let Lindsey have a dollar from her bank too so she wouldn't feel left out. As we were pulling away from our townhouse in the van Lindsey shouts out, "Wait! Mommy, I forgot my ticket!" "Ticket?" "Yes, my ticket for the dollar store." "You mean your dollar?" "Yeah, my ticket."
  • Recently I was explaining to Austin why it's important to brush your teeth in front down below and above the gum line. When he asked why it was important I said (hope I was right) that sometimes little pieces of food get down in between your teeth and gums and it's important to brush them out before bacteria begins to grow. Lindsey, with the most serious look on her face asked "You mean little pieces of food like sprinkles?"
  • Janet was reading her a book one day and Lindsey had to go to the bathroom. She asked, "Mommy, could you pause it so I can go potty?"
  • Last night as we had the Olympics on, she watched with interest as the long ski jumpers were doing their thing. "Daddy," she asked, "Do you think sometime I could try that?" "Sure," I said.
  • One more-- and I don't know how I forgot this one, but I'm adding it now after my original post. One evening we were watching the evening news and the weather forecaster was giving his predictions. When the segment was over, Lindsey said to me, "Daddy, that man kinda looked like you!" "He did?" I asked. He was African-American. "Yeah," she said. "He has that little hair around his mouth like you do--except his skin is brown."
Here is Lindsey all dressed up for a princess birthday party. She was so excited she could hardly stand it. She talked about it all week. I'll put some more Lindsey dress pictures on Flickr.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Happy Birthday!

(Today is Janet's __st/th birthday!) (Any guesses?)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A day in the park

The locals tell us not to get too used to this. This has been an unusually mild January for this area and many people have been taking advantage of it! Just up the road from where we live is one of Raleigh's metro parks. It features a nice little playground area and a 2 or 3 mile walking trail around Lake Shelly. It was a Friday off from work (not that I've worked hard enough to have earned it yet!) and so we took the kids to explore this area.

There were geese, ducks, and sea gulls. Just like at the beach the gulls would swarm overhead and look for treats that might be thrown up for them to eat. We had been there the week before (also on a very warm day) and knew to bring a little bread. Reece and Lindsey liked dropping whole chunks of a loaf into the water and watch, in true survival-of-the-fittest fashion, the geese and ducks fight over a half a slice.

Austin and I like throwing the bread up in the air and hoped for the best. I tried to bean a bird with my piece. They usually ended up catching the bread anyway. The birds seemed to enjoy the game!

I the process of getting acclimated to the area, we've found the best route to the church, found this park, got our library card (and discovered a branch about a mile away) and signed up for a Y membership. Just today, in fact, Austin and Lindsey and daddy went to the Y to swim!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

We Made It!

It's hard to believe that a week ago we were busily packing up our stuff in Hartville, taking things apart, and polishing details for our move. Now, a week later, we sit in our townhouse in North Carolina, completely unpacked and, with the exception of the three kids, mostly cleaned up. The following post chronicles our past week or so.

As I mentioned, there was a ton of stuff to pack. It wore us out! We were so grateful for the help we got. Several friends helped with the kids, and even Aunt Sharla flew up from Texas to help entertain the kids and help pack. We couldn't have done it without everyone's help!

On the 10th, the truck came. Somehow, the driver was able to back it in to our driveway and still allow for cars to get by on the road. There were three guys that came and did the packing and loading. We tried to have everything ready for them by labeling each piece of furniture as "apt" or "storage." They loaded all the storage stuff first (including our piano, couch, refrigerator, and a ton of boxes!). We were grateful too for decent weather. It didn't even sprinkle until later that night. It was in the 40s that day--not bad for a NE Ohio January!

The kids and Janet were with the Wachtel's in the morning and at Paul and Dena's the rest of the day, but it was important for me that they come and see what was happening to their things so they had an understanding of the move. The only question I got from them later was from Austin, who wondered (while we were somewhere in WV just where the truck was and why it wasn't following us.)
After staying over night at Dena and Paul's we left on Wednesday, the 11th. We drove as far as Wytheville, VA. Janet drove the car and I had the kids with me in the van. They travel really well, especially with the help of the TV/VCR, Monsters, Inc., Peter Pan, and a couple other long favorites! We left for Raleigh on the 12th, Thursday, and got in at 2:00 where we met the manager here and signed the lease for the townhouse. We then went to a different hotel and the kids napped while I reserved a 10X20 storage space close to where we now live.

The truck and the movers came on Friday morning the 12th with just two guys. They arrived at 8:30 and had unloaded the "Apt." portion of the load by 12:30pm. From there, they followed me to the storage facility and began to unload while I went to get Janet and the kids and took them back to the apt. The weather that day was perfect! It was nearly 70 degrees and sunny on both Friday and Saturday. Great days to unpack and unload.

The boxes never end! Now we began unpacking everything and setting up shop. It went well and here we are Sunday night with all the boxes unpacked, and we're ready to start our week with school for the kids and (hopefully) a YMCA trip or two, and of course, I have my first day on the job on Tuesday (17th).

We thank all of you so much for your prayers and for the help and encouragement so many of you have been as we endured (and continue to endure) the most stressful time of our family's life. So many of you helped in so many little ways (thanks, Julie for letting us borrow your vacuum cleaner!), and we appreciate it so much! Thanks, too for the phone calls from many of you just checking in! We love to hear from you!

Our biggest concern now is that our house will sell. Once it sells, we will feel released to really begin working on looking for a house in the Raleigh area. (Can't wait to move again!) Beyond that, we pray for great friends and connections for everyone in the family. We know they're here, we just have to meet them!

Communication has never been so easy or affordable! Please keep in touch with us! We miss you all already!