September 30, 2009

Never trust someone reading a book called "Cutting hair for dummies"

Tony and Marco took a leap of faith today . . . they got their hair cut by these two fine ladies from Wittlingen (a girls dorm)

I am tired, but I love this job

We are worn out! In the past week I went to the doctor with one of our students everyday except one. Last night Titus got up at midnight and 3 and at 3 he soaked his entire pajamas and bed in pee, so I spent the last 3 hours of my night with a 2 year olds knee in my ribs (but it's kind of nice to have him snuggle with me, I won't lie). This morning Danielle said that she feels like we have a new born all over again. Now we are doing all of the final things that any parent would do right before their kid goes on an overnighter, or in our case a week long overnighter. Our seniors leave in 24 hours for a week in Rome on the senior class trip and in 24 hours our juniors leave for 4 days in Normandy. I am actually somewhat dreading this time. The house will be quiet, 17 of our guys will be gone. I am surprised that in a months time I have come to enjoy and appreciate each of them so much. They make me laugh, they frustrate me, they ask me questions, they forget their chores, they are loud, they are cranky, they are my friends and I care more for them every day! Today I sat down and wrote a note to the each of the seniors that I am going to hide in their luggage along with a candy bar, it felt like something a parent would do. I enjoyed my time thinking about this first month and putting on paper how much each of them means to me. I am tired, but I love this job!

September 27, 2009


On Friday night we enjoyed HBR coffee house/café. We invited the girls from Wittlingen dorm over from 8-10pm. For about an hour before they came, it was madness and chaos. Right after dinner we quickly removed all the tables and chairs and moved in some comfortable couches and rugs. We lit some tea lights, brewed some coffee, put out some hot cocoa, and put on some relaxing music. We basically created a really cool place and tried to pretend we were Starbucks! The guys were really excited and were all gentlemen when the ladies got here. For about 2 hours everyone enjoyed cards, jenga, catch phrase, etc. People were free to hang out with whomever and play whatever board games we had available. Although I will report that at 9:45 one of the guys said this to me, “This has been great . . . .but can they leave already!” He’ll remain nameless!

September 24, 2009


Brandon (one of our Awesome RA's who is hilarious) wrote this on his blog and I thought it was really good. I could just attach the blog link, but i thought it would be easier to post it here for you all to read. I wasn't at this event, because we had our weekend off, but I thought it perfectly captured the seriousness and humor that is HBR:

Sad Goodbye

Don't worry, the sad goodbye was not for a student, a staff member, or even a human for that matter. The goodbye I'm referring to was for our beloved van SY 50.

We usually refer to our vans according to their license plates, which is why this van was known as SY 50. The LO at the beginning designates the district where the vehicle is from, which in this case is Lörrach, a larger town not far from here where almost all of our vans are from. This van belonged to HBR last year and actually has been here at this dorm for roughly the last twelve years. That's not a joke. So you can see how a strong connection has been made between the van and the dorm.

Let me describe the character of this van. It had no power steering. It had no power windows. It had no power locks. It had no power, period. It could barely get up a hill sometimes. It had no radio. The transmission was on its last legs. We had to double clutch in and out of second gear. After the engine was started, the key could be taken out of the ignition with no repercussions, and it often fell out on accident. In the winter, students were supposed to sit in the back of the van to help give it more weight and better grip. It made weird noises. The interior had torn upholstery, ripped up flooring, chunks missing from seats, and random pieces and handles missing. The outside of the van had various dents, scratches, scrapes, and rust spots. Don't get me wrong, the van was completely safe to drive, we never had any huge problems with it, and I loved driving the heck out of it. Everyone loved it.

Well, the van was sold this year and no longer resides anywhere at BFA. I felt like it was my duty to our guys and to anyone who has lived at HBR for the last decade to hold a memorial service for the van. If you are understanding me so far, then you know what I mean when I say I'm not sure if the service was supposed to be a joke or serious. It was a little of both. We definitely did not intend to mock the passing of people in our lives who have meant much to us. But we invited the students, especially the returning ones to meet outside at 7 o'clock in the evening on Sunday yesterday for this service and to dress nicely.

We met outside on the basketball court next to this tree.

I put together these pictures of the van from the past years. Some of the pictures were from years ago, and the guys really enjoyed looking at them.

I shared a little bit about SY 50's past and delivered a "eulogy," if you will. I shared some of my favorite memories. One time I was riding in the passenger seat last year as Andrew drove, and all of a sudden my right foot was soaking wet. I looked down and found that a puddle was forming after a hose had come undone and was spilling windshield fluid all over me. I couldn't believe it. Another time, I was taking a student to school, and it had just started snowing. I compared it to if you had just bought a brand new pair of the fuzziest socks you could find and then sprinted around on a freshly waxed floor. It was a little scary.

A lot of the students chipped in with memories of their own as well.

We took all of the pictures of the van and put them in this pot and burned them.

Then we headed down to the creek and spread the ashes and sang songs.

This time with the students remembering this van will be one of favorite memories I take from BFA when I leave. I'm glad that we did it.

Things continue to get a little easier in the dorm although it is nonstop busyness all the time. Greg and Danielle were off this weekend so it was just Anna and I, and we also had a couple come in as dorm subs. It felt like every day presented its own new crisis over the weekend. But everything is fine! Please pray as we continue to learn and take care of our responsibilities.

Please pray for Timmy, an RA at Maugenhard dorm who is here in his second year. His support is very low right now. At this point, it's not looking good for him to return for the second semester, and he might not even be able to make it through this semester. This would be really terrible if he had to leave. Please pray for the people who know him and his ministry, that their hearts would be softened and they would be willing to take hold of the opportunity to use the resources God has given them to support Timmy and his ministry. Thank you for praying! God bless!

In His Service,

Addie helping with laundry

Addison crawled into the washer!

September 23, 2009

A Day in the Life at HBR

Laundry and lots of it!

Brandon making the afterschool snack

The bus is home!

Here come the guys!!

Welcoming the guys home from school
Smore's Rice Krispies snack gone in seconds

Informal Staff Meeting

Josh helping put together Titus and Addie's new kitchen. Thanks Josh!!

September 19, 2009

I wish I was Rick Steve's . . . . at least I used to think so!

If you have ever read any books about traveling through Europe then you have probably heard of Rick Steves. He has written all kinds of books about traveling in Europe and has written a ton about Gimmelwald Switzerland . . .the place we just were! He has kind of put the place on the map. Anyway, last night I was talking to one of the innkeepers at Hotel Mittaghorn, Tim from England, and I was talking about how it must be nice to be Rick Steves. I mean to get paid to travel the world and write about it. He laughed. He told me how last year he came and stayed at the Hotel, he was there for 3 days and had 60 appointments from inn keepers to restaurant owners to bus companies that he had to meet with. He told me that he would leave at 6 in the morning and return at midnight, talk to the staff for a half hour and then stay up till 3 in the morning writing on his laptop and making notes. And then do it all again the next day, and then after a few days travel to another "hot spot" and do it all again! He is so busy he doesn't have time to enjoy the travel.
The pictures yesterday were great and the sun was shining and the kids were relatively happy. . . Today it rained and we went up to local sports center to swim indoors. We got there at 10 and they told us it didn't open till 1. This kind of threw us and the kids for a loop and we weren't sure what to do. After a quality marital discussion (read: Dee and I fought), we decided to head back home where things are predictable and reliable. You see last night, Titus got up at 2 and cried, we got him to bed and then Addison chimed in at 5:45! We were exhausted we were all staying in one room it was raining and the pool was closed. On the way home the kids slept and we went to Toys R Us and finally bought Addison her birthday gifts (Only 3 months late!). Today we left Switzerland a day early . . . because we realized it's a lot of work having a 2 and 1 year old in the Alps. You see our life has been a bit like Rick Steves lately! From the pictures and blog it can look like a lot of fun. But on the way home I told Danielle that I was jealous of friends in Morton and our siblings, Ed and Lori and Kyle and Krista. They have Grandparents (our parents) 10 minutes away and if they need a break they can call on Grandma and Grandpa. They also have predictability and a language and culture that they understand. They aren't learning a new job, or making new friends, or learning where things are in the grocery store! Danielle reminded me that the grass is always greener, that we get to have great adventures and get to be involved in the lives of 24 awesome young men, and they get to have normalcy and family around! Both have trade offs, both have struggles and I don't know about you but I can always look at my struggles and wish I was somewhere else or someone else. The truth is: I am blessed we have a good life, we have a great ministry/job and we have 2 pretty good kids, but I love to look at everyone else's life and complain to God that mines not good enough. Deep down I secretly wish I was a travel writer and I could have all kinds of exotic European adventures . . . but if I had that life . . . if I was that guy. . . I'd complain about it!

September 18, 2009

Addie Walking

I know many of you in the States have not seen Addison walking . . . . . well here she is! She has been doing this for about 6 weeks!

a few more videos . . . .SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE POSTS!

sorry I put so many of these up on here, but our parents want to see what we do! Here are 2 more


More videos from switzerland!

We officially love having a weekend off. We spent 11 Swiss franc's today (about 11 us dollars) to ride up to a restaurant and then walk down, it was tough but we are having fun and this should make the my mom and mother-in-law happy! Here is us in the Swiss Alps. Good thing the camera broke and I took videos instead of pictures. Dee and the kids are sleeping and I am loading all of the video's up on the blog from today!

Some video's from Switzerland

Here is Titus and I going down a slide in paradise!!!! The video is a little shaky, but stick with it and it's pretty good!!!

HI Mom

I am currently talking to my mom via skype, and she can't access skype video so I am taking this pic so she can picture me as I talk to her!

Are you Jealous?

It is our weekend off and we are staying in Gimmelwald Switzerland at basically a hostel for adults and families. The accommodations aren't five star but the view is I took this picture from the balcony of our room with my laptop camera while I drank my morning coffee. One other thing, and all of you parents of HBR guys will get a kick out of this . . . .THE INTERNET CONNECTION HERE IS BETTER! I am able to upload and browse the web quicker from the side of a mountain than I am in HBR. Oh well, no complaining just laughing. One other thing, you may be wondering why I took this picture with my laptop camera . . . .because yesterday I fell and messed up my lens on my Digital SLR. If you know any stories about me and this camera (and buying it twice) than you know I am an idiot. What's new, I'll learn someday. Today we are hiking around and tomorrow it's supposed to be crummy weather so we are going swimming up in Murren. One final thing, we are all sharing a room so when the kids go to bed at 8 we join pretty soon after, because we don't want to keep them up. So we are getting almost 9 hours of sleep. IT'S NICE!

September 16, 2009


All of the major soccer teams in Europe have serious sponsors who pay big bucks to put their logo on the team jersey! Man U has AIG . . . . and I can't think of any others right now! Well it is official a MAJOR CORPORATION has decided to sponsor HBR this year. We would like to announce that we will be sponsored for the 09-10 school year by FJT OFFICE SUPPLIES!!! (The crowd goes wild!!). HA!
Special thanks to my friend Chad Zobrist in Morton IL, for sending me these shirts for free. I know some of you who read this are in Croatia or Russia, but if you are ever in Morton IL this is the only place for office supplies. Thanks again Chad and enjoy the pics, we didn't get one with all of the guys in them, but here is a shot before they all wore them to school and a close up of the T-shirt being modeled by Michael.
One last thing, Yes you are correct if you think the T-shirt says "Fighting Paper Clips". What a catchy mascot for a major office supply store . . . . . and a really cool dorm in Germany!

A good day

Today was good day. Actually last night was a GREAT night. If you have been following along then you know that sleep around our apartment is a rare commodity. Last night we went to bed at 11 expecting to be woken up by a screaming child by 1 or 2 in the morning, whom we would gently put back to bed and then would shock us awake again at about 5:45 or 6 am. But this morning I woke up on my own at 7 . . . . 8 FULL HOURS OF SLEEP, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THING! The rest of the day the kids were up and down, but Titus seemed more aware and able to communicate today. It was like he understood more and understood consequences for getting out of bed and why he needed to be good. Nothing changed overnight, but he just seemed older to me today and more able to obey/do the right thing. Who knows tomorrow may be a disaster but for one day we'll enjoy it. Here is a pic of him and his mom at the end of the day today watching an old black and white movie on our computer. Also I threw in some pics from the other day when they got pumpkins and when he helped with laundry!

September 13, 2009

Budenfescht: P-Fest in Germany

Today we took the guys to Budenfescht, on I believe the same weekend as Pumpkin Fest in Morton. Although we don't have the carnival rides here, Budenfescht is filled with lots of good eating. I saw raclette, bratwurst, sauerkraut w/pasta, chinese, calamari, chicken fingers and fries, schnitzel, ice cream, waffles with chocolate, coffee, spaghetti. The town square turns into garden eateries from all establishments. I had the sauerkraut pasta and Greg had the bratwurst. Titus and Addie had the chicken fingers and fries. We bought the kids a pretzel necklace which was the perfect snack for bored kids in carseats. Titus also picked out a really cool mylar airplane balloon which he loved. It was a fun few hours of eating!!

Faces of HBR