Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Ramblings by Andy

Well well, another Sunday and today is a very nice one! The weather lately has been very cold but today it seems to have warmed up a bit to a balmy 65 or so. We're about to head to the square for a bit but I wanted to make a post talking about the past week and what we've found enjoyable in our lives.

Paul is really starting to roll around now, as a matter of fact I just now while typing this noticed him trying to roll under my chair. He seems surprised he pulled it off! :D He's so funny and he has this ring of hair around the back of his head that didn't get rubbed off or fell out with the rest and I tell Lea I can get the clippers to trim it to match the rest, but I don't think she's up for that.

Andrew is just as crazy as always but we're so proud of him for being potty trained for the most part nowadays. He's doing very well for a 2 year old, wearing but underwear and pants during the day and a diaper at night in case he wets the bed. He's doing very well in many aspects and we're working one on one with him on the places he could use assistance in his growth.

We got our van back out of the shop and it was something relatively minor. We also found a reputable mechanic we can trust here in Denton which is good. They did a great job at a very fair price over at Tommy's Auto Shop so if you're looking for someone good, check them out. The van runs like a champ now which is good as we find ourselves driving quite a bit with the kids. Thank you for all of your kind words and positive thoughts with that.

Business wise, we've updated our website for the business with some of our most recent clients and we have about 4 new ones to add now and we're working on wrapping up about 4 more. We're in a good place with our business as it's not only something we enjoy doing, but it keeps us close to each other and happens to pay well enough to allow us to live with a focus on each other. The recession in the current economy hasn't affected us that much really as we've had plenty of clients that have recently started their own small businesses which is great. We keep our pricing very affordable for our clients so if you ever need a small business website.. ;)

As far as family goes, we've had Lea's mother Sarah over this past week which was very nice. She brought food for us to enjoy with her and it was just a good, positive experience like always. She's very peaceful and continues to be a guiding light for us in many areas in life. Andrew also loves her very much so they get some good time together.

We also got to see our cousin Lori who came over with our other cousin Matt. We cooked a whole chicken and got to enjoy that and their company. We have a few things in common including tinkering with electronics and computers and we enjoyed watching a few videos on how to build antennas and such.

If you've seen the past post with videos from Lea, you'd also notice we got to spend time with my Dad recently which has been long overdue. He's someone that I never spent much time and energy being close to and it's good that we are getting the opportunity now. Our transportation was a hindrance before as he lives about 20 miles out on a gravel road, but our minivan can handle it now. We plan on going camping on his farm very soon as I think it's important for Andrew and Paul to get a taste of the outdoors and natural settings and Lea and I will enjoy the environments as well. I will also be helping my Dad with some farm hand areas if he'll have me like building fences, armadillo hunting, working cattle and more. I used to do this when I stayed with him in the past and it taught me alot about many subjects. Hunting armadillo may sound like something cruel, but the fact is they run wild in the fields and dig holes in them big enough for a horse or other livestock to get their hoofs stuck in. Which isn't a problem if they are just moseying around, but you can imagine the damage that can be inflicted on a 2000lb cow running through a field and suddenly gets his leg caught in such a hole. It can break it quite easily and you can also probably imagine what would happen if you're on a horse running through a field and this occurs. It's just dangerous all around to have those holes being dug and one thing you need to manage.

As for friends, we've recently seen our friends Ken and Angie, Samika and Patrick, and even met some new ones through our parenting groups. It's always great to be around them and enjoy their presence and we can't wait to meet more and spend time with them. We're also making new acquaintances through our new church we attend. We just got back from church a bit ago and today's "sermon" revolved around Martin Luther King and how he relates to our new President Obama who will be taking office in what.. 2 days? We live in exciting times for sure and it will be interesting to see how things go with fresh faces and outlooks in the White House.

Ok, I've probably rambled on long enough, I think I can hear the "wrap it up" music like they play at the award shows on TV so I will wish you all the best and if you've read this far, I give it to you. Much love always,

- Andy, Lea, Paul, and Andrew

Visit to the farm

This is Lea but it will show up as Andy writing because I have to be logged in as him to do the videos now.

We went to visit Andy's dad, Paul, one day this past week. It has finally occurred to us that this will be a visit we need to make much more often for the sake of our son. He adores it out there. Andrew has so much safe space to run and play. He has dubbed Paul Pa Pa because he couldn't say Grandpa the last time we saw him and Pa Pa is very happy with this I think! Andrew does his usual, grabbing him by the hand to coax him to come play and calls for his Pa Pa from another room. Andrew also has a thing about going potty when he is with another family member where he prefers them to help him over me or Daddy so Pa Pa got the honors of helping get pants down and wiping a bottom when the time came! Poor Pa Pa! lol He handled it well, and we thought it was super cute. **Side story - Andrew did the same thing to cousin Lori when she came over for dinner a couple of nights ago! Poor Lori! :D

The visit was far too short for Andrew's tastes. He would have rather us stayed a week I think! Paul T did OK out there too. He was able to nap in his bouncy and in the wrap next to mommy. He can't always sleep well when we are out and about. i think he is sensitive to stress and distraction and though there was some distraction, there is a lot of peace on the farm. It made me long to live in the country! We'll have to see about that, I am not quite organized enough i think! lol

Pa Pa took Andrew out for a ride in the tractor. We have a few videos but you can't get a good enough look at Andrew's face. Let me assure you it was an ear to ear grin!

Here's one of general running around and playing outside. You can see Paul T asleep in the wrap, he missed most of the visit!

Here is Pa Pa helping Andrew to pet one of their horses. Andrew had much more confidence around the horse with Pa Pa holding him.

Lorna, Ner is what Andrew calls her, also took Andrew and I out to feed the horses later. i didn't get any video of that but Andrew wasn't as confident but thought it was very cool.

We think that next time we need to stay over night. Andrew did not want to leave when we left! He slept all the way home and then woke up when we got here and couldn't get to sleep for hours. he wasn't wound up and running around, he was relaxing and kind of processing it all. It was a lot to take in. We had gone for a ride around the farm in the big truck to see all the cows and crops and the shooting range. They have some fascinating old, super old cemeteries out there that when the weather is better I want to spend a few hours checking out. They have some great spots for camping and someday this spring we will take the boys and a tent and camp out! Maybe even get some of the other Goin cousins to join us, we've been talking about a family camp out for years!

Pa Pa and Ner were doing well also. They have lost some crops on the farm due to lack of rain and that is a major bummer but they are looking at getting some more cattle to make up the difference. Ner is a teacher and things are as usual for her. Pa Pa's railroad job is going OK but they are over working him - 11 days on and 4 days off instead of the usual 8 on 7 off. It will make timing visits difficult if they don't go back to the 8 and 7 that's for sure! He has a lot of work to do around their land, but Andy has volunteered to help with some things, like fence building when the time comes.

It was such a wonderful day! And like I said it really makes me want to consider getting a small plot of land and moving out of the city again! I lack the organization for that at this time. But I feel it is calling us. Andy feels it too. Andrew was totally in his element out there and if we don't go too far we can still be close to our new church and new friends we have here in town. This year a goal of ours is to start looking at what we need to do and get in line for a house situation and that is one of the options. So we shall see!

Hope this finds you all well and happy this beautiful Sunday. Get out there and enjoy some weather today people!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Boring Day at Home

OK, it's never a boring day around here! The van is officially fixed and well but in the interim we had to vehicle and were stuck here all day. It's so funny how staying home all day is fun until you HAVE to do it. We did get out and take a looong walk that wore Andrew out to the point he was asleep by 6pm that night. But I took a few videos of our ordinary day at home. Hope you enjoy!


Daddy playing with Paul T, usually Paul gets to laughing so hard but of course he didn't for the camera! I'll catch it someday...

Just a small example of the fun we have around here!

Hope you have such wonderful 'boring' days as we do!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Ramblings by Andy

Nothing major to discuss, but there are a few interesting things I wanted to talk about and thought maybe I could do this once a week. A sort of "Sunday Ramblings" type of thing!

First off, the church we attend. The church we attend is called a Unitarian Universalist church and is different than a non-denominational church in the sense that denominations refer to branches of Christianity and this church not only encompasses Christianity, but any religion out there. Pagans, Buddhists, Christians, Mormons, Muslims, Scientologists even, they are all welcome to join on Sundays and share with the learning experience within. It's less about preaching one way to live and more about embracing life itself and enjoying the variety life has to offer. Each week has a different "topic" of sorts and it's essentially what most have come to know as a "sermon". Last week, the 1st Sunday of 2009, they discussed what went right in 2008 for everyone and had each of the members that attended pondering their lives from 2008 and what they enjoyed. Everyone can come up with things that went wrong and to varying degrees, but nonetheless there still had to be *something* positive. Our 2008 was full of positive times ranging from becoming closer to family and friends to having a baby, moving, a successful year for our business, health, and much more.

This week (today) was a special event as we had a member of the Asian segment of the church give a talk about why there are so few non-whites that join the UU church. The majority of UU members at any given UU church in America are white by a ratio of 25 to 1. Our congregation has around 50-60 members attending each week and sure enough, there's not but around 5 or so non-white members. His conclusion to the question revolved around the fact that most white people follow a more mainstream line of thought and are members of a more mainstream church. In turn, given the fact that white people are the most prominent and most successful people in America, it only makes sense that that is what people would want to emulate down to the church they attend and beliefs they carry. This isn't meant to put white people on a pedestal at all, it's just based on the facts. Sure, we're about to have a black president, but after how many white ones? And how many Hispanic ones? Or Indian or Asian ones?

It was very interesting overall and this is the type of thing that is discussed or could be discussed. There's songs that we sing, there are times of reflection where we share the most positive or negative things that have happened to us in the past week, but there is no focus on preaching one way of thought or any strict belief system. Like I said earlier, it's just focused on enjoying life and knowing that while we may have our own thoughts on what we were before we were born and what happens to us when we pass and all of the in-between, we very well could be wrong. Not alot of folks like to entertain that idea, and especially not in most mainstream congregations. It's not about being righteous. It's about being grateful that we can live even one more day and respecting others while constantly learning from them with our open minds and souls.

Another thing that goes on (and this is the funny, less mundane part, I promise) is there is a time when the children are asked to come to the front and sit on a rug while they are told a story much like at other churches. This is tough for Andrew as he is used to having us around at all times, or at least within eye sight but for the past two times we've been, he's been a big boy and gone ahead on up there without us. Today, he hopped off mommies lap and went on up and sat by a friend of ours from the church and I could see just around a pole at him. I noticed he was looking back into the congregation as if he was looking for something. Then he'd look down at his book or at the speaker. Then back towards the rows of faces for a bit; eyes seeking. Then back down or forward. Then he twisted his body slightly and looked again into the unfamiliar. And more twisting. And more until his body was all the way around, facing the rows and searching for us with his eyes. No panic shown, just nonchalantly gazing, seeing if he could see us but I know inside he *was* panicking in his own way. I was waiting for him to call out "Mommy?" over the story being told, but just as this thought passed, his eyes caught mine. Then Lea's and we were already smiling so big at him and his discomfort of not being able to have us in his sight. It made us feel so special honestly in a way and he slowly started smiling back then turning to look at the reader. Then back at us, locking on this time, no searching. Then he starts to kinda.. Crawl on his knees, inching his way back around 10 rows to us. He was so brave for going up and he put up with his braveness for all he could stand. He had to be back on mommies lap now and he was back up not even 3 minutes after the story had begun. A couple of minutes later, it was over and then time for the children to head to the back for play time while the adults listened to the boring sermon (in their minds - I remember being a kid) and tithed and whatnot. He went back to play on his own and while Lea did check on him once or twice, he seemed VERY into his playing and she was able to enjoy the guest speaker. It was a great Sunday.

In a bid of sad news, our van has started acting up. It's nothing major, perhaps just normal wear and tear on a valve, or a filter, maybe a plug, who knows. No check engine light or anything, just some sputtering and sluggishness on takeoff which leads my unprofessional and uneducated mind to think it's probably out of window washer fluid. In all seriousness, we think it may be a clogged PCV valve which I've read could cause such things in our model of minivan. We're taking it in tomorrow to have it looked at.

Other minor goings ons:

- We got a new chair thanks to the ever wonderful Mema Tressie. Our old, beloved chair that has served us so well is on it's last legs and near unable to rock our children to sleep anymore and she immediately donated one of hers to us and it is even more comfortable than our old one. We LOVE it. Thank you so much Mema, you've saved our nights of lost sleep and we love you!

- PAUL T! He is *SO* funny! He's starting to giggle and laugh now and he and I have this thing we do, especially when I wake up and come say good morning to him where I lightly pat his chest and belly, then hold his arm and give him gootchies on his sides. He loves it and starts to just laugh and laugh at me and it's so funny to see. He's really starting to come into his own and recognize us. He's also started to begin rolling around so no doubt, he'll be asking for the car keys soon.

- Ken and Angie came over for hot dogs and wine tonight and we once again enjoyed their company. Their kids are too sweet and they had a blast playing the Wii while we had a blast listening to Ken talk about the great sci-fi shows we've missed out on. He's a really interesting guy that knows alot about many topics and I never get tired of listening to him no matter the subject. I don't know if I show it based on my repeated "Uh-huh!"'s or "Oh, wows!" but it's always so very interesting. Angie was also very entertaining for us and recommended a local mechanic for our minivan.

- I got in touch with an old friend in the past few days named Derek that I lived with for a couple of years. He's a good guy with a good heart and it's great to hear from him and hopefully we'll get to catch up with what's been going on since we last talked around 9 years ago since Lea and I met. It was happenstance that he and I parted ways when Lea and I met and it will be interesting to hear what he's been up to. I was in a VERY different place back then in life so it is also a shock for him to see me married with two (wonderful) children now.

- We may have a new client or two I'm trying to get an OK from as far as beginning work on websites for them and that will be great. It's sometimes scary owning your own business as there is that whole feast or famine thing you have to deal with. We're in no famine right now by any means, but it's always at the back of your mind. You'd think I'd be over it after being self-employed for almost 6 years, but eh. I don't know if that will ever go away.

Ok, I think that's about it, I hope I didn't put you to sleep. Either way, thank you for reading, and if it did bore you to sleep think of it this way: If you ever need a free, legal way of getting to sleep, you can always come back or check in next week. :D

Love you all and I wish you the best in your lives,

-Andy Goin

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dog Poop Happens

We had such a great time at my mother's yesterday. Our day with Grandma started at Christina's for lunch, where she met us so we didn't have to get the boys in and out of the carseats. We sat there and ate and talked and played for almost an hour, it was a blast! Then Andrew was ready to go and play! So we headed to a park near Grandma's home. Andrew spent most of the time being pushed in a swing but he also climbed and jumped from very high ledges, and even went on a nature walk with Daddy through some woodsy areas. I really wanted to go but my back was sore from carrying Paul T! That child is getting so big! That reminds me I need to weigh him...

Anyway, after playing at the park for a good long time, we headed back to Grandma's. She needed Andy to take care of some things around the place for her, which he loves doing, and I wanted to get her mixer to borrow for bread making. And Andrew has special toys over there. One is a 3 car garage with keys for each garage shaped differently. it is so neat to see him get better and better at opening the doors to get the cars out every time we are there, this time he almost did it himself!

It was so beautiful outside that i took Andrew out to play on Grandma's ramp. She uses a walker and has a huge ramp taking up most of her yard that goes around. So we took out a big car and pushed it down the ramp. That is until I had to go and get Paul! Then Andy came out and took Andrew for a short walk to find stick guns. lol Well when he got back to Grandma's Andrew was in no way ready to come in. So Grandma came out and watched him while he played in her rock path and dried leaves that surround the ramp on the ground. Andrew is such a strong thrower and he was marveling his Grandma with his skills. He would throw rocks at her ramp and could throw from almost one end to the other!

While he was doing that I started packing up the van. My mom had several things for us and I was carrying around Paul, and Andy was finishing up changing some light bulbs. On about my 3rd trip with both hands and arms full, as I was coming out the door, Andrew starts whining for me. I headed out to see, asking if he was OK. He was holding up his hand and saying "hand" and it looked like he had a piece of pine needle sticking out of it! But he wasn't crying in pain. And then he started saying "yucky" and "wipe it." My hands were completely full but I walked closer to inspect him. I didn't have to get too close...

He had found a bit of fresh dog poop amongst the leaves! I smelled it before I even got to him! I was gagging and hollering for Andy to come quick. Andrew had it squished all around his fingers and smeared across the front of one shoe. I had Paul T in my arms along with many other miscellaneous things so I wasn't getting any closer. Andy came out and grabbed him up and carried him to the bathroom where they washed up in the tub.

It was quite funny actually, and quite a bit more stinky. He disturbed some dogs buried treasure and now my poor mom's whole front walkway stunk like it even from a distance! Ew.

Well, with all the commotion and all the trips I made to the van, I forgot to get the darned mixer! Ah well, like I said, dog poop happens. :D

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Family, Friends, and the Importance of Them

Heyoooooo Andy here. How are ya? Long time no post, I know, but I normally leave the posting up to Lea as she's much more eloquent when it comes to making a point and sticking with it. Things have been going very well for us over the past few months since Paul's birth and really for a good long time, but I feel like I must start to share my view on things a bit and maybe talk a little about what I am grateful for in life and what I see as to be the meaning of it all. I must warn in advance this post may come off as preachy but I in no way insist you follow my path or words, but to instead take them as an explanation as to how we live our life and why we choose certain paths when easier ones could be chosen.

We've started to attend a local church, one that accepts all beliefs and less about preaching one singular system. It's more focused on the want to learn more and expand your horizons by respecting others' beliefs and while you in no way have to take them as your own, the same goes both ways and your own beliefs will be heard and respected. It's a great, positive thing for us so far and we look forward to visiting again.

Another thing we've been enjoying is our new friends we've met through our parenting groups including Ken and Angie who have invited us into their homes for dinner and great conversations. They also have two children around the same ages as our children and they themselves are more our age and thoroughly enjoyable to be around. There are others in the group we have come close to, but so with time being short for us in our lives, we've hardly been able to get close to any of them as we have with Ken and Angie and we're grateful to have them as friends.

Business for us is going well also. We've been working on our own small business web development services for almost 5 years now and we've not only made a good living doing it, but it's also afforded us things in life like time with each other. We enjoy material items to an extent but nothing in life can compare to the time I get to spend with my family and friends. It is something money cannot buy and I wouldn't trade for anything. I actually traded a very high paying job that was set to send us traveling all over for the opportunity to be home with my family at all times. I would like to quote Luke 12:15 from the bible here:

Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

This should be nothing new, but it is a timeless message that gets lost in today's society. It seems more and more people are trading their one time, their one chance at life for material items, sometimes losing focus on what is truly important in this existence. I'm not saying we do not have some fine items, we have a good TV, 2 computers, and other nice items we are blessed to have, but it's important not to sacrifice yourself or time with loved ones to an over extension that leads to the loss of what is truly important. Our widescreen TV won't be coming with us when we pass and we won't be judged on the size of our home. We will hopefully be judged by higher ones and loved ones for our ability to control our wants and greedy tendencies and keeping family and loved ones as the most important thing.

One more quote, this time from II Corinthians 4:18:
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Before passing away in 1603, Queen Elizabeth uttered her final words: “All my possessions for a moment of time.” She had reigned over England, but as death was knocking on her door, absolutely nothing from the temporal world had any relevance. We gnat strain over all of the dramas that the world holds in high esteem, but when it comes to the real issues, many of us are hardened.

I really don't mean to come off as preachy and in no way do I wish for anyone to take what I am saying as a way I wish them to live their lives. It would be nice, but I will love those that live in other ways just as much as if they lived with mine. I think life presents opportunities to not only learn from situations, but to also teach or maybe remind is a better word those that may be lost what might be important in life. You can easily dismiss any of my beliefs and continue on your path and I will love you the same. My words are less for debating and hopefully more for simple thought.

We love you all, and wish you all the best for 2009!