Happy Snake Attack Day!
Happy Snake Attack Day!

It’s that time of year again, as we flip the calendar and look towards April and all things spring, it’s the time of year when our little house celebrates one of our favorite holidays.  I’m talking of course about Snake Attack Day.

7 years ago while sitting at my desk working I heard Danielle let out a blood curdling scream.  Being someone who likes to document events I grabbed my camera and headed her way.  The following video is the result.

So now each year we celebrate our victory over the slithery beast.  We partake in gummy worms and crushed oreos to remind us of how close we came to defeat.  We tell tells of battles won against the serpents of yesteryear.  We share theses stories to remind the young that one day their time will come.  They will have a family and house of their own to defend.  And just when all hope seams lost they will think back on April 5,  2006 and remember how their father conquered the carnivorous reptile and protected his legacy and linage.

Happy Snake Attack Day everyone.

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Merry Christmas 2013
Merry Christmas 2013

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Just wanted to say a little thank you to all my couples for making this past year so great.  Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.

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M Family Fun
M Family Fun

I just realized it’s been forever since I posted anything about my family.  And let’s be honest… it’s really the only reason you come to this site.
Wedding-schmeddings.  You really only care about my family photos.  Here is a little peek into what we’ve been up to.

Some of these you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram. (Which of course you do right?)

Right when Jo & I got back from Haiti we kicked things off with our annual vow renewal.  Each year Danille & I renew our vows in our back yard with just the kids.  They each get to play different parts and Danielle and I put on the clothes we got married in.  Most of these images came from Jo.  He was the photographer we booked.

(While we are on the topic… does anyone else think wedding photographers charge WAY too much money?)

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Sara is and has always been our nature lover.  She is all about anything that is the great outdoors.

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My favorite part of summertime is having piles and piles of friends over and listing to our kids run and play in the backyard till late into the night.
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This was the year Luke & Eli both conquered their fear of the water.  I was so so proud to see them just jump in and paddle away for their life.
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We kicked off another year of homeschooling.  This is Danielle’s 1st year teaching 4 kids.  She’s kind of amazing.  We also started a new tradition.
Field trip on the first week of school!  The Children’s Museum of Houston was a winner!
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My wife adores sunsets.  My daughter adores making leaf art.

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This one is too good not to share.  We were at a random rest stop and one of the kids saw a bug which prompted Danielle to jump up and start screaming.
(Have I mentioned how much I love my wife?)
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Sometimes when Eli goes to the dentist he leaves his pants unzipped.  (Like a boss.)
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Zoo time!  The shot of Jo with the map in the cave is one of my most favorites ever.
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Sara enjoyed feeing the giraffes so much she made a doodle about it later that night.

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I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve look over and seen my wife with a pile of kids around her.

Sometimes she’s teaching them.

Sometimes she’s reading to them.

Sometimes she’s comforting them.

I never grow tired of seeing her.  Every time I catch her “mothering” I fall deeper in love with her.

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Before I know it these two boys will stop being 4 and 6 and be 14 & 16.  That’s why they are already saving up to buy their first car.

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Speaking of how time flies… About 1 week after Jo was born a new video game came out that I wanted to play.  I was a dumb husband and “forced” Danielle and Jo to ride up to Tyler with me to buy it.  She was such a fan of the moment that I commemorated it with a photo.

Fast forward 10 years and they just rereleased that game and Jo just played it and beat it.  Time for another commemorative photo. :)

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October was the month that I decided I would become a runner.  Happy times!  It was also the month Blockbuster closed.  Sad times.

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This family is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.  I love the trips, laughter, learning, and growing that we all do together.

There are always piles and piles of dishes to wash and put away but I always try to remind myself that the dishes were put there by those tiny humans that I’m crazy about.

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I love wedding days.  I love seeing a couple begin their life together.  I love how they totally are giddy about each other.

I also love knowing a little secret.  A secret they can’t even comprehend.

The secret is…

If you play your cards right

If you work and struggle

If you fight for your marriage

If you parent your hardest

If you love your kids when you are most tired

If you date and continue to fall in love with your spouse…

One day you will look back on your wedding day and think….

I had no idea how blessed my life could be.

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Haiti 2013: Video
Haiti 2013: Video

I can’t believe I’ve been back in the states for almost a month. I’m so ready to go back to Haiti. While there I made a little video to share with our team at the end of the week. I thought you all would enjoy it as well. Thanks again for your prayers and support. You all were as much a part of this trip as Jo & I were.

Kings & Queens song by Audio Adrenaline (iTunes / Amazon)

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Haiti 2013
Haiti 2013

Jo & I both had an amazing week in Haiti.  Thank you so much to all of you who helped get us there.  This post in no way can capture what it was like to experience Haiti first hand, but I’ll do my best.

Ever since I told Jo that he *might* be able to go, he had been looking forward to the trip.  I was a bit nervous about how he would do, but he went above and beyond impressing me.

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This is the church we stay at while we are there and also the church we attended.   That’s my preacher on the front row.  In a room with over 1,000 Haitians he kinda sticks out.

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The church is also a school/community center and has a little basketball court attached to it.  Even though he was the youngest one on the trip and didn’t speak the language, he held his own on the court.  He even earned the nickname J-Money.

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By far my favorite part of the trip was watching Jo as he experienced a new culture and people group.  There were times he teared up crying, others where he laughed and could not stop.  He played hard and worked harder and came home more of a man than when he left.

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One night while I was editing, I look over the balcony and see a group of people playing charades.  But, rather than having different people take turns, Jo was the only one acting things out.  People would think of a movie title and he would act it out.  This lasted for about an hour.

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These were our sleeping arrangements.  Danielle packed the sheets.   Thank you, wife.

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The only way to describe the people of Haiti would be joyful.  There is so, so much love.  They have been dealt a hard hand yet their spirit is not broken.

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The kids would play a coin game to earn rubber bands.  Next year I’m bringing a bag full and cashing in.

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We spent about 3 days solid doing construction work on a church.  This involves moving buckets full of rocks, cement, or cinderblocks.  It’s hard work.  It’s work that I’m not used to doing.  It made me thankful for my job.

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When we did get a break, we would spend it playing with kids from the neighborhood.

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And when the break ended…. back to the buckets.

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These are some of the Haitian workers that we worked along side.  We had some big dudes from the states on our trip.  The Haitian men put them to shame with how hard they worked.  These guys are men.  Men that work.  Men that do a job.  They do it everyday, year after year.  They don’t work because I’m there photographing. They work because there is work to be done.

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The thing I came away with this year is just how similar we are.  There are advantages and benefits we have here in America, but at our core we are so much the same.

Haitians want to learn.

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Haitians want to pimp their ride.

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Haitians have a beautiful country.

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Haitians have a feminine hygiene section in their store.

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In Haiti they have the trucks everywhere called “tap taps”.  They are like taxies only super crowded.  Jo was giddy to be able to ride in one.

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I can’t say enough about how much I loved having Jo on the trip.  It was great to share the experience with him.  Last year I went to Haiti, and then the following week  he & I both went to pre-teen camp.  I told him that if we go to Haiti together we are not doing pre-teen camp.  At first he was a bit nervous, but by the time the trip ended, he could not wait to go back next year.  He told me after the trip that he liked it “way more” than camp. :)

Like I said, I am so proud of him.
Proud of how hard he played.
Proud of how he stepped out of his comfort zone.
Proud of how hard he worked.

They were hard days; days that leave you exhausted.  Days that make you wanna fall asleep on the bus ride back to the room.

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My other most favorite memory was seeing so many of the kids from last year.  I brought back a big pile of photos that I took last year and passed them out.  The kids were so, so excited to have a photo of themselves.  (Apparently they heard that AlexM is kinda a big deal.)

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I don’t go to Haiti to change Haiti.

I go to change myself.

I like the person Haiti helps me become.   I want to be more of that type of person here.

This is Cati.  On the left is a photo I took of us last year.  The right one was taken this year.  I could go back every year and take a cute photo of us, but that would not change much.

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But the more I think of her, the more I remember her; the more I make decisions with her in mind.  Little by little change happens.

 

That is why I go.
That is why I wanted Jo to go.
That is why you should go.

 

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