Monday, December 29, 2008

First Christmas

Thought I'd throw up (maybe I should just say "post") some video of Adrian's first Christmas with us. Enjoy! Time to pack my bags!

Christmas 08 from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Video

Yep, just in time for the New Year, it's a video of Adrian from Thanksgiving weekend.
He has, of course, changed a lot in the last month. But I still get a kick out of watching his little tricks (it could be that I haven't seen him in a few days--be still my beating heart). My favorite is the way he chases his toy, Daisy, and us in his walker. He's much better at it now than a month ago--but still running into walls a lot.

Thanksgiving Weekend from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Keep Yer Nose Clean

It's occurred to me recently that I'm getting older.

Of course, that's true for all of us. Time, like an ever rolling stream, bears all its sons away--and all that. Most days, we overlook it. Yet there are certain moments in a person's life when the truth--I am no longer as young as I once was--becomes inescapably evident. Consider some examples:
  • I've gotten into the habit of ordering Diet Coke whenever Jill and I go out to eat (which isn't often).
  • I can no longer eat Starbucks Cappuccino Chip ice cream after, say, 7pm* and expect a decent night of sleep. (Although I've had to cut back on ice cream in general lately--for the same reason I've taken to ordering Diet Coke--I'm old, but not quite old enough for comfort fit pants.)
  • This morning, when I had the chance to sleep in, I had the coffee pot going at 6:03--a half hour after I woke up.
  • While writing a sermon a while back, I wanted to make a pop culture reference to a movie that came out just a few years ago (Enemy of the State)--you know, back when I was in high school (or was it the beginning of college?). When I looked up the release date for the movie, I was rather shocked to discover that it was over ten years old. Needless to say, the reference was completely lost on my high school students (They are equally clueless about any reference to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Bueller? Bueller?) and Seinfeld. I tell you--kids these days).
  • Speaking of high school kids--I've also caught myself saying the following to them: When I was your age (insert story of hardship and suffering here)...These anecdotes are, without fail, met with blank looks and eye rolls.
  • Last week when I got my haircut, I noticed that the woman who was to do the deed is no longer shy about asking if I need my eyebrows trimmed. (The answer, of course, is yes.)
  • Did I mention I have a child of my own?

I think my case is already quiet solid. I am getting old. But in case there's any doubt, I submit one more piece of evidence--Christmas.

The youngsters these days are asking for all sorts of fun toys. Wiis. Wizbangers. Watchyamakallits. And who knows what else. Of course, when I was a boy I only got sticks and dirt for Christmas. But never mind that. This year, I got a nose hair trimmer.

That's not what it's called on the package, of course. On the package, it's called a "personal groomer" and there's a picture of a man trimming his sideburns. Nothing old about that. But we all know the truth. It's not just for sideburns. It's for nose hair. Okay, and ear hair. And neck hair. And maybe upper back hair. But mainly nose hair.

I suppose there might be some who would be offended to receive such a gift from their spouse. After all, it could be argued that it's not a lot different than a man who gives his wife a Thigh Master. Here you go, honey--I just want to make sure you're not letting yourself go. And while I'm at it, here's some Fen Phen and a six pack of Slim Fast. Yes, some might try to read in a not-so-subtle critique into such a gift. But not me.

I ripped open the package, went straight to the bathroom, and declared war on those nose hairs. And it was even better than I had hoped. There were no cries of agony or tears of anguish (as I experienced when I would try to pull out my those pesky nose hairs with a tweezers--something I'm pretty sure they don't even allow in Gitmo). Instead, there were only shrieks of delight, tears of joy. I was thrilled. Absolutely elated. Because I had gotten exactly what I asked for.

You see, I know that I'm getting older. I realize that my hair is migrating to strange (and useless!) places. But hey--I'm not that old. I have not yet let go of all my vanity. I have not quite accepted fuzzy ears and sprouting nostrils as inevitable. I'm still young enough that I want to keep my nose clean.** And now--thanks to Jill--I can!

*This is further proof that I'm old--but not that old. Certain parents of mine can't eat it after noon.

**I've found this to be especially important for taller folks like myself. You never know who is looking up there!

***PS: That is not a picture of my nose. It was bad, but not that bad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adrian UnCut

I've been meaning to get some Adrian vidoe up for the past three weeks but editing has been a little slow (I really need to retire). So to appease the Grandmas, here's some video of Adrian eating (and not eating) his supper. Note the tongue action--a new discovery it seems. Feel free to skip ahead as you desire.

Adrian Uncut from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Sioux Falls Airport

Sitting here in the Sioux Falls Airport, waiting for our delayed plane to take us “home” to Denver, my mind drifts back to my first time here. It must have been some twenty-two (or so) years ago. I was standing on a window ledge at the end of a long, abandoned hallway (probably the same window ledge I sit near now--near gate 8). I stared out at the tarmac and the runway lights and craned my neck, trying in vain to catch one last glimpse of my Grandpa and Grandma as they boarded their plane. When I began to feel the tears creep up from somewhere deep inside and threaten to spill over my eyelids and down my cheeks, I must have reached up for my father's hand.

On the way home that night, Dad stopped at a truckstop just off I-29 and bought me some Rolos. He handed them to me with a promise that we would see Grandpa and Grandma soon enough.


Less than a half hour ago, I removed my contented son from his Grandfather’s (my father's)arms. His little hands made one last exploratory grasp for Grandpa’s earlobes and cheeks and then, with a quick hug, we said our good-byes and headed for airport security. Deep in my gut, it feels a lot like that day some twenty-two years ago. Only this time, we’re the ones leaving. Grandpa and Grandma are the ones staying. And this time, there are no Rolos.

We’re grateful for a good week in Iowa. A good week with Adrian’s Grandpa and Grandma and the rest of the family. But sometimes, it’s hard to be reminded of what we (and Adrian) are missing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Big Mouth

Back in Jr. High, when older brother Micah was qualifying for state track meets in high school and brother John was shattering the records in grade school, I decided I wanted to be a runner too. So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a showed up in the grade school gym with a few dozen of my classmates for track practice. We'd slog out a couple of miles together and then return to the gym, wheezing, to do sit-ups and push ups under the watchful gaze of (my then hero)Coach Landstra . And then, every other week or so (or maybe more often, I've tried hard to blot this time of my life out of my memory) we'd climb on the bus and drive to Orange City or Hull or Rock Valley for a meet.

The meets did not go well for me. Mr. Landstra always put me in the mile (which is not to say I was an actual "miler"). Back then I liked to think it was because my coach/hero saw some potential seeded deep within me--a gift that would blossom at any moment and result in a beautiful bouquet of ribbons and trophies. In retrospect, I've realized that it was most likely because the mile race always had a fountain start. This meant that Mr. Landstra could enter as many runners in the event as he desired--which is really a way of saying that he could have me "participate" in the meet without having to worry about my liability to the team.

I'm not bitter.

At any rate, I donned my blue "SCCS" t-shirt and lined up with the other slow guys (and a few fast guys) for every mile race for two years. As you might have guessed, I did not win any of them. There were, however, personal victories. One of the greatest came that cool spring day in eighth grade when I not only managed to finish without getting lapped (a first)but also came home with a fourth place ribbon. Never mind that there were only three other participants that day. It was still a victory for me.

Some day, I may write about my brief foray into high school track. (Being the brawny fella that I am, I naturally signed up to throw the discus, which really means that I signed up to ride around in the van and hang around in the weight room with my pal, Dave). This lasted for three weeks, until the coaches threatened to make me run. Then I heard other duties calling my name and quit.) But suffice it to say, running and I don't get along well. We never have. Probably never will.

All of which might make you wonder why I'm considering running a marathon.

That's right. I'm considering running a marathon. There are probably a lot of reasons for this (Dealing with my demons? Being white?). I'll leave those for the professionals and say that the the main one is that I told Jill that I would. To be more precise: I told her I would if she would.

This, of course, was a foolish thing to do. Jill has a much better history with running than I do. Not only does she voluntarily run on a regular basis, she's actually finished a marathon, and a half marathon (trail!), and several 25k races. She's reallly quite something.

But back last March, when I heard this sentence coming out of my big mouth, all that seemed like a distant memory. Jill was eight months pregnant and, um, not exactly in peak running form (though she was actually very fit--for a pregnant lady.)In fact, she was wondering if she would ever get back to running again. So, being the loving/encouraging husband that I am (and going through my annual three week flirtation with running, where I pick it up, try to convince myself that I like it, and then drop it again), and being a man with little or no ability to think before I talk, I told her that, if she wanted to get back in shape and needed a training partner, I'd be that guy. I would run a marathon with her. (I don't know why I didn't offer to do something more pleasant with her--like make a practice of climbing mountains on our knees with our hands tied behind our backs, but I digress).

So, long story short, Jill is looking at doing the Ft. Collins Marathon in six and a half months. The question is, should I be true to my word? What if I ran with her for four hours--but only covered a mile or two? Would that honor the sprit of the thing? Is it even physically possible for me to cover marathon distance in less than, say, nine hours?? Or should I say to my beloved wife, in the indelible words of the great Meatloaf, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that?"

Please tell me what you think. And then go and conduct my pants experiment and report back (you bums).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Adrian Update

More video of our little boy. I'm impressed that I managed to cut thirty plus minutes down to five. You should be too. This is all from October, which was full of "firsts." He now sits, is working on eating solid foods, went in the jumper. Oh yeah, he's also huge.

The six month stats are:

  • Height: 28.5". 95th percentile
  • Weight: 19 lbs. 75th Percentile

In other words, my sixth month old can beat up your six month old. Probably.

A few other notes on the video:

  • For some reason, I'm in most of the shots and Jill is not. This is not because I'm a more active parent (Jill is probably caring for Adrian over 90% of the time). Its so that when he's nineteen, full of resentment, and in therapy, we'll have at least some proof that his father was around.
  • We do talk to our son. Quite a bit, actually. However, I hate the sound of my voice, so I've managed to cut nearly all of the adult chatter out.

    Adrian, Oct 08 from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Photos

I'm a little concerned that these pictures are going to cause you all ot overlook my last post. That wouldn't be so bad, but I really need your participation in my "Pantastic" experiment. So please, look at the pictures, get your fill of Adian, and move on.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pantastic (A Public Service Announcement)

Author's note: Yes, this post is long. As I've noted before,
brevity is not my strong suit. But even if you choose not to read it all
(thats your choice), please catch the last full paragraph and participate in my
little experiment.

I hate shopping. Especially for clothing.

Of course nearly every guy says that. It's one of the requirements for getting your man card.* In fact,I'm told they'll take it away if you don't scratch yourself, spit a lot, and say things like this: Oh, the wife wants to go down to the mall again. You know those broads, always spendin' the money on shoes and fancy purses. Not me. I'd rather hang out in front of the big screen with my Buddy Weiser. I'm just a fine wearin' my blue jeans and an old Metallica t-shirt. That's all I need to work on the truck anyway. At least that's what I've been told (so I do say something like this, at least quarterly.)

So yes, my Y chromosome compels me to declare my disdain for shopping. But it's not just that. I really hate shopping. And not for all the regular reasons (what are the regular reasons?). I hate shopping because I'm tall. As a tall person living in a ground-huggers' world, I can't walk into a store and expect to find, say, a pair of pants that will fit me. Inevitably, I'll end up standing under the florescent dressing room lights in something that resemble Capri's, wondering if I can pull it off in the name of faux Euro styling. (I can't.) Or I'll stand in front of the mirror tugging down some other extra baggy pair as low as I can around my waist to get an extra inch or two (or three or four) of length, all the while wondering what the old ladies will say about this young buck they now have for a pastor.

All that is to say that I don't shop much. At least not in stores. Shopping for me usually involves a half hour in front of the computer (give or take an hour) , clicking through the sale pages of a few select stores that I know stock tall sizes, guessing what I think will fit. It's still not my favorite--but it's a lot better than going through the mall and striking out for three hours.

That's my regular routine. But a couple of weeks ago I decided to depart from it and risk a trip to the mall. A local store was advertising a 40% of sale and I figured it was worth a shot. I wasn't optimistic, but I needed a new pair of jeans and I'll do most anything to save a few bucks.

Upon arrival at said store, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was elated. I found not one, not two, not three, but four pairs of pants (jeans, actually) in my regular size. Giddy as a school girl, a loaded them into my arms and headed to the dressing rooms. I figured the only question for me that day was How many will I take home?

Well, it took about two minutes for it all to come crashing down. Not one, not two, not three, but four pairs of jeans failed to fit correctly. And this time, they weren't too small. They were too big. I nearly crumpled into a ball in the dressing room with a wail. The humanity of it all! How could it possibly be!

As a shuffled back to the shelves cursing the cruelty of it all and wondering, once again, about size inflation** in the U.S, I was caught by a sales guy in an argyle sweater. Clearly, he read my emotions well. I hate trying on pants, he confided in a hushed tone. But I've found a secret. You don't need to try them on. You simply take a pair of pants and you wrap them around your neck like this. If the two sides meet at the back of your neck with little or no overlap, they'll fit just right. Trust me on this. I never try on pants in the store. And they always fit.

I couldn't help but stare at the sales guy. Then I couldn't help but check out his pants. They did look good. But I was pretty sure he was just screwing with me--that he had some bet with his buddies in the back room about how many people the could get to perform this ridiculous stunt. But nevertheless, I grabbed another pair of the shelf (things were looking up again--they had some a size smaller) and headed back to the dressing room. And, of course, I didn't try them on right away. Instead, I ducked my head low (to make sure no body could see me over the dressing room door--another problem tall folks run into in this short world), held the jeans to my neck, and tested them out. Things looked good (and I felt like a fool). So I whipped off the jeans I was wearing and tugged them on. One leg, then the other. Perfection!***

This is where I need some audience participation. Was the sales guy putting me on? Was this just a fluke? Please, go find your best fitting pair of jeans or pants, wrap them around your neck (see photo), and report back in the comments section. What is the correlation between how they fit around your waist and how they fit around your neck? Please do it! This could be a pants-fitting revolution!

*Along with having propane and propane accessories in your garage

**This is my theory that retailers are catering to the fattening up of America by making their sizes bigger (so a XL today is more like an XXL of fifteen years ago).

*** Or near perfection. They were actually a little long, but since they were only twenty bucks, I figured I could put up with it. Of course, there was a time when I'd have been thrilled to find jeans that were too long (the sheer novelty of it all!). But now I'm not so sure. As I noted to an old friend, while the extra length is clearly deemed fashionable right now, people in my position aren't supposed to be fashionable. We're supposed to sport what I've heard referred to as "Pastor's Pants"--best seen in people in my profession who cross their legs and have their pants pulled up to about mid-calf, exposing their milky white legs and grey socks. With the right length pant, I can pull this off with astounding flare.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Sitter

It was a Friday night back in the fall of 1993. I was slumped awkwardly in the front seat of an old Buick Century that belonged to a man name Mike. Mike drummed his fingers on the steering wheel as he explained bedtime routines and emergency contact information. He rolled through a stop sign and added, "There's pizza in the fridge."

Normally, that news alone would be enough to make me ecstatic. But I hardly heard. I was too busy worrying about what the night would bring.

I was to be the babysitter for the evening. I liked kids, but I had never done any babysitting before (at least not officially). So as we drove down Sioux Center's Main Street--past the recently erected Centre Mall--questions raced through my mind. How was I going to entertain a ten month old child for more than, say, four minutes? And when was the last time I'd ever changed a diaper (if ever)? More importantly, did I really know how to do it?

I was pretty sure I didn't. But I figured I'd try almost anything for a $1.75 an hour.

Things ended up going just fine that night. I put the diaper on frontwards (At leas I assume that I did. The Pooh Bears go in front, right?). I got little Justin to bed on time and without too much crying. And I was extra vigilant. I made sure to stay awake until Mike and Michelle returned home--even if it meant fighting off sleep all the way through Letterman and halfway through O'Brien. Then, sometime before midnight, my eyes heavy with sleep, the couple returned and Mike drove me back home. As I prepared to leave the car, he shook my hand, thanked me, and gave me my paycheck for the night. Seven dollars and fifty cents.

I thought about Mike and Michelle last night while we were doing our last minute search for a babysitter. At first I thought, "Wow, I wish I could find a babysitter for that cheap!" Then I thought, "Wow, what kind of parents were they?! I can't believe they actually allowed me--at the ripe old age of thirteen--to assume responsibility for their child?! Someone should have called social services!"

Needless to say, we have yet to enlist the services of the local jr. high students. And it's not only because they charge much more than $1.75 an hour--though that probably has a little to do with it (we're far too cheap to go out for dinner and pay someone 8+ dollars an hour to watch our child). It has more to do with our own fears and paranoia. Jill's doesn't make a habit of saying things like: "Over my dead body." But I expect she would if I suggested we leave Adrian under the watchful (or not so watchful eye) of a seventh grader.

But that does leave us in something of a bind. Lots of folks from church offer to babysit, of course. But it's one thing for them to offer on a Sunday morning. It's another for us to ask for a Saturday night. If they were family--or family family--we wouldn't hesitate. But they're not. So we do.

Thus far, Jill and I have come up with a fairly simple solution: we don't get out much. At least not together. When we do, it tends to be some church event that we really can't avoid (such was the case last night). But most nights, we end up sitting quietly in our living room. Maybe watching Law and Order (or The Office if it's a good night). Maybe reading a book or writing blog posts. It's a far cry from the wild night life we once new and loved.

Okay, it's really not that at all. But still, it would be nice to have the option from time to time. So--anybody (preferably anybody related) want to move to Denver and be on standby Adrian duty? The pay is not great--but I'm sure the rewards are.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Role Model

Sunday morning, a couple of little boys from church were riding home with their Mom. They were chatting away in the back seat of the minivan when she heard one say to the other: "My dad is really tall, but when I grow up I want to be tall like Pastor Joel, because did you know he is the tallest guy in the world."

You heard it here first.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote a fourteen page book report on George Washington Carver. Title page not included.

I'm not sure what I wrote about for all those fourteen pages (Any chance you still have this Mom? I'm sure it's gold.) Maybe I pontificated a bit about what it would be like to share a name with a president. Or what I would have done with the money Mr. Carver could have made. But I expect it was mostly about peanuts.

I recall thinking that my teacher, Mrs. Andringa, would be delighted to read those fourteen pages--all written out in my careful but cramped cursive. In retrospect, I was probably wrong about that. And wrong abut the teachers who followed in her footsteps--those poor souls who were forced to endure the pages and pages (and pages) of my rambling. Somehow, I doubt my 1.5 spacing, 10.5 font, and .8" margins succeeded in convincing them that my papers were within their assigned page limits.

All that is to say: brevity is not my strong suit. Of course, if you regularly read this blog, or if you took Comm 110 with me in college, or if you've ever heard me preach, you probably know that already. So I was rather impressed with myself for condensing our latest collection of Adrian videos down to a mere five and a half minutes (one minute of which is him sleeping--and I'll understand if you skip that part). I know it's still a little long--unless you are one of his grandparents or a parents--and some of you might want to skip to one of the high point at 4.15 (I won't blame you). But it's the best I could do.*

Adrian, Late Sept 08 from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

*I really don't feel that bad because (a) It's my blog and I'll post what I want to (b) my last Adrian video had twice as many hits as the moose video--which was short, and not about Adrian.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


As Jill and I pulled off the highway onto the side road leading up to the cabin we stayed at last weekend (what can I say, we know how to pick our friends) we saw this fella and his family. We saw five more throughout the rest of the weekend--which makes the natives who have yet to see their first jealous. "Beautiful" may not be the right word, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Untitled from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Make the Big Bucks

I think I've figured out away to make the big bucks. Maybe pay for a new bike, and/or Adrian's college, and/or a mountain home.
I'm going to spend my evenings creating/editing videos of my son--like the one below--and refuse to release them until his grandparents pay up. If Brad and Angelina can get a few million just for a couple snapshots, there's no telling what I could get for these videos.
First one is free. Next time, I'm sending a bill.

Untitled from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

PS: Yes, I posted two days in a row (in case you failed to realize that the post below is also new).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grays and Torreys

Yep. It's been a while. That happens.
I really haven't done much in the last month. The big highlight was hiking "Grays and Torreys" (two 14ers* in the Front Range) with pal Pico last Monday. I also got to try out the new camcorder and my video editing skills--which are elementary, at best. One moment I wish I'd managed to capture came from a woman who must have been around 45-50 at the top of Torreys. We were talking about how nice the day had turned out (despite rain in Denver in the morning) and she said, "Well, I heard the weather report during my workout this morning..." It was one of those: "You-know-you're-in-Colorado-when" moments.

At any rate, here's my travelogue for the day. I had hoped to get a kickin' 80s soundtrack (featuring Boston's "Walkin' at Night", of course) but Movie-Making skills aren't quite there yet. Just imagine the power riffs as you watch...

Untitled from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

*A "14er" is a mountain peak that reaches over fourteen thousand feet.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I transferred a bunch of old pictures from our old computer--and thus "old" life--to our new computer this week. Jill and I had a fun time flipping through them and remembering bike trips, backpacking trips, seminary apartments and family visits. It occurs to me that there are still a few significant moments that aren't depicted (like our bike ride around Lake Erie and the thousands of hours studying in seminary), but I thought someone out there might also enjoy them (especially siblings with growing children!).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nicaragua Vacation

Earlier this month, Jill, Adrian and I flew down to Nicaragua to spend a week with Jill's family (her brother works there as the director of Nicaragua Christian Academy). Since I've included more photos than anyone really cares to see, I'll just give a brief overview by answering the FAQs about our trip.

1. How did Adrian do on the plane?
Just fine. He slept more or less the whole way. He was actually kind of fun--people's faces would light up when they saw him, and then their smiles would get even bigger when they saw our seats were not by them. And of course, we got plenty of helpful childcare tips from complete strangers (including a flight attendant who had strong opinions about where babies should and should not be changed.)

2. Did you stay at Liam's house?
We love each other--but not that much. While Liam's two bedroom home serves its function for him and his family, it would have been a bit snug for all of us. Instead, we rented a three bedroom, three bath home just outside of San Jaun del Sur--a small village on the Pacific. Among the homes many perks were plumbing that allowed us to flush our toilet paper and showers that provided hot water without the threat of severe electrical shock.

3. What did you do?
As the pictures suggest, we sat around and read, splashed in the pool, played board games (I even let my in-laws win a game or two of Ticket to Ride), sweat, and stared at babies most of the day. San Jaun del Sur is known for its surfing--and I had brief visions of taking a few lessons--but that never materialized. I'm sure I would have dazzled them all with my sweet farmer/biker tan and cat-like agility.

4. Did you stay healthy?
Yes. Thankfully. Last time we were in Nicaragua that was not the case. All that needs to be said about that is that there are better ways to spend your vacation. Oh, while we stayed healthy, we had a close encounter with a scorpion (found one on a car seat, inches away from baby Judah's elbow) and I may have feared for my life when I was forced to drive on Nicaraguan roads while trying to keep up with my Nascar inspired brother-in-law.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Trail Ridge Road

Jill and I spent a few days at the beginning of this week (what we consider our "weekend) in Grand Lake, Colorado. We were at a friend's cabin just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park--not a bad location, if I don't say so myself. While we were there, I decided to take a morning to accomplish something I've wanted to do for a long time (okay, a year, not really that long)--ride my bike up (and down!) Trail Ridge Road, which is the highest continuous paved road in North America, topping out at (approximately) 12,138 feet. Great weather, great scenery, great time. Maybe this will become an annual event...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to Give the Perfect Man Hug

If any of my friends want to give me a hug for my birthday, I'm now prepared.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Power of Logic

It was going to be a two hour affair. No more.

I'd get up early with Adrian. Slug some coffee in the car. Ride my heart out. And be back mid-morning.

That's what Jill and I decided last night while we sat on the front porch, discussing what to do today (before we got interrupted by the fire department, who were called over by a neighbor who hit a gas line while digging in his front yard. He was embarrassed (or should have been) because it was his second offense in six months. I was grateful because it turned out to be an excellent opportunity to meet half the people on our block who came out to gawk. Maybe I should do more digging in the name of evangelism...). We had initially talked about me cashing in my Father's Day present and riding the "Peak to Peak Highway"--a 70 mile jaunt through the mountains from Blackhawk (were Jill could spend the morning gambling and eating at casino buffets) to Estes Park (were Jill could eat Carmel apples and find lots of delightful souvenir t-shirts, mugs, and "collectibles). However, we didn't want to take the time today. So we decided on the previously mentioned two hour ride, which was to be up a little (13 mile) climb south of town.

And then I got to thinking. Why spend an hour driving (round trip) when with just a bit more time (okay, another hour), I could ride my bike to the beginning of the climb ? I'd save gas, be a half a step closer to fitness, and get an extra thirty miles in my mileage log. It made perfect sense. So (with Jill's blessing) that's what I decided to do.

And then I got to thinking. Once I'd already ridden the thirty miles to the top of Deer Creek Canyon, why turn around there? With just another hour of riding, I could loop through Conifer and Evergreen--perhaps stop for a good cup of coffee--and get another fifteen miles in the mountains. It sounded like too good of a plan to pass up.

And then I got to thinking. If I was already going to be spending the time to ride 75 miles, why wouldn't I just spend another hour and a half and log a full century? It'd be nice to roll through Red Rocks and maybe check out Golden and say "Hi" to the folks at Coors. I had to admit--it sounded like a most reasonable idea.

Apparently, I can rationalize anything.* Because as I rolled out the door this morning (an hour later than expected, of course) I had half an intention to do all that. It just seemed to make so much sense. It's hard to trump the power of logic.

But not impossible, of course.

When I got to the top of Deer Creek Canyon, I just had to turn around. And though I blamed the looming thunderheads (looks like rain, tut tut), the real reason I decided to head home was that I knew my little boy and my lovely wife were waiting for me. How could I stay away from a face like this?

*I think I'm understanding credit card debt--and sin--a little better from this experience!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ride Around Town

CL and I took a ride around Denver this morning. All said and done, he put in 52 miles, I put in 58. It was CL's second longest ride ever--the only one longer being a ride around Lake Okoboji we did in Jr. High (A day we both remember for different reasons as well. It was the day Chris got his beloved cat, Buddy. Also the first (and I think last) time that I experienced the unpleasant surprise of sour milk on my Raisin Bran. And I just thought it was frozen...). To commemorate the big day, I decided to take my camera and snap a few random shots from the bike.

Also a shot of the local wildlife...regrettably, I missed the other notable bit of wildlife--a man riding bike with a parrot on his shoulder.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Anything for Love

I like Mexican food--a lot. However, I have long been of the opinion that many of the restaurant varieties taste more or less the same. There's not a lot of exceptional Mexican food, no really bad Mexican food. You get some hot sauce, some sour cream and guac, some cheese and you're good to go.

I had this in mind last week as we ventured to one of Denver's classic tourist destination (a favorite for 36 years!)--Casa Bonita. I had heard that the food wasn't great (after I mentioned it in a sermon once, a pimple-faced seventh grader came up and said You'd be better off staying home and eating re fried beans from a can). But I figured, "How bad can it be? It's Mexican!"

It turns out I was wrong. It wasn't just bad. It was really, really, bad.

I thought for a moment that I was being taped on a Fear Factor episode. Or that I had fallen asleep and woken up in, say, Guantanamo Bay (although I think forcing someone to eat this food may violate the Geneva Conventions, so they clearly wouldn't do that there). The tortillas? Slimy. The "cheese"? Fake (generic Velveeta?). Everything else? Unidentifiable. It was an all you can eat affair, but none of us had seconds. Given the heritage and usual "thrifty" behavior of those adults gathered (me and Jill plus both sets of parents) that alone should speak volumes. Oh, the depths of human depravity that could produce such an abomination!

At the end of the meal, Jill said, "Well, on the bright side now we can say we've done it and never have to do it again." (She said something remarkably similar after finishing her Marathon a few years ago.) I heartily agreed.

But today, I realized we probably will do it again. Today, we got a wonderful postcard from my niece and nephew (the guests of honor and our excuse for going) thanking us. "We had a lot of fun", they said. And I suppose that made it all worthwhile. If another niece or nephew comes to visit--or if my own child(ren) just have to go--I suppose I'd do it again.

It's an amazing thing, I'm realizing, the lengths we will go to for those little people that we love!

Happy Father's Day to Me

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Happy Father's Day to me. I got it started right with a little smile from my boy (I'm going to assume it was for me--not just the gas factor). Ended with a guilt free long-ish bike ride (or at least as guilt free as they get for me these days.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Refuse to Apologize.

Somewhere around 83.7% of the blogs I come across have "Sorry I haven't written for so long..." in the first line of their latest entry. I won't go there. That's right. I refuse to apologize. Instead, I'll simply post the pictures I know Grandmas and Grandpas are pining for (the rest of you--well, you'll have to put up with it. It's my blog and I'll post all the pictures of my son that I want...). Oh, and I'll offer a few lines of defense--I have a job, I have other hobbies, I have a new son, I have to go to bed....

PS: We now have computer/internet at home (as of this week). I'm hoping to have more regular updates in the future. And with some text, if anybody cares about text...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008


You have to listen closely...but this was our lunch time entertainment today.

First Bath

Here's me, "bonding" with Adrian by giving him a bath. He seems to enjoy Jill's form of bonding a little more.


  • I got peed on for the first time yesterday. Golden arches.
  • Adrian got his first "bath". More or less.
  • He also got licked by the dog for the first time. Don't tell his mother (or his grandmother.)
  • He also went to church for the first time this morning. There was much ooohing and aaahing. (Over him, not the sermon.)

Friday, May 2, 2008


The boy has some lungs....

Adrian, a day and a half

Here we are this morning...typing while holding a baby is not easy...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Adrian Addict

More pictures of our little boy. Amazing to see him changing already--some natural (head reshaping), some not so much (we didn't wait for the eighth day to perform the sign of the old covenant).
We're still giddy with it all. And happy to have Grandpa and Grandma Starkenburg here.

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Adrian Paul was born Wed night at 10 pm. 7 lbs 12 ounces. 21 inches long (the cone head adds some, but he wasn't standing up straight, so I figure it more or less evens out). Everyone involved is doing well...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Going for a trip

With Baby Schreurs apparenlty taking her/his sweet time to enter the world, we've been trying to think of ways to speed things along. People at church have (seriously) offered offroad jeep rides, herbal teas, and advice on a certain "other" method (wink wink, nudge nudge. I'll write a nice thank you note to anyone who convinces Jill "it" actually works).

Those are all fine, but I'm thinking the best way to bring it about is to tell Jill that it's not going to happen anytime soon, scoot off on some adventure that takes me deep into the mountains (or perhaps to Moab--there is a group from church going this weekend) and find myself well out of cell-phone range and hours (days?) from home. I predict that if I did that, Baby wold be here within moments of my falling off the grid.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Ol' Ball Game

I gave up baseball in the fifth grade. I don't remember all my reasons (I'm sure my motives were complicated) but I know it had something to do with (a.) my fear of hard, spherical objects being hurled at me by wild-armed eleven-year-olds and (b.) the fact that baseball is boring. Very boring. Standing out there in right field*, I wanted little more than to take my glove of, lie down, and take a nap.

All that's to say that I'm not Denver's biggest Rockies fan. True, I had a mild case of "Rockies Fever"--just like all the other fair weather fans in Denver last fall (sorry for the mixed metaphor). But that passed fairly quickly (about half way through game three of the World Series). It's also true that we've gone to a few games--but that was primarily about (a.) the food and (b.) the culture up in the cheap ($4) seats. In addition to being mooned several times one pleasant evening last spring, we also got to listen in on some "interesting" conversations. My personal favorite was the twenty-something sitting ahead of us--a guywe'd seen spend at least fifty bucks on Coors Light--attemptinig to pick up a girl by giving her several innings worth of free financial advice. I think that's called irony.

Well, pal Pico (actually pal Pico's wife) had an extra ticket Tuesday night--so I went along. By most counts, they were great seats. Okay, they were phenomenal seats. Not only was the food as good as ever, we were also seated three rows behind the home dug out, meaning that we could hear Clint Hurdle yell at the umps and see Matt Holiday's glistening dome, and yes, the streaker in the 7th inning (Hey, I'm just reporting the facts.)

*Okay, reason (c.) I wasn't good at baseball. Everyone knows the worst players get stuck in right field, except when lefties are up to bat...

**Yes, this post means no baby news. We'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

39.5 Weeks

If I'm counting correctly, Jill is at 39.5 weeks--the due date is Friday, but our Doc has suggested that may be a false hope.

Here is Jill this morning, dressed for her work as a pregnant ninja.

She's smiling for the picture, but really, she'd just been yelling Come out of there already!

I like it when Jill laughs and the whole belly shakes.

I think this is around or before Christmas. We were so proud--thinking that Jill looked so very pregnant. Silly us.

In other news: signs of spring include the bird nest on our back porch. I thought it was cool at first, but Momma bird has taken to dive bombing my head whenever I walk out the back door. Now I'm considering the purchase of a bb gun. (Not really.)

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