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Probation Officer and Adult Volunteer Leader for the High School Ministry of Granger Community Church.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Life This Side of the Border

It's weird trying to get back into the swing of things after spending 7 days in Mexico. I can actually read all of the road signs, I don't have to take a bus everywhere(and if I did, I wouldn't have to worry about not being able to speak the language very well in order to tell the driver where I needed to go), I don't have to use part spanish and part shirades to communicate to people, I can drink the water, and I can flush the toilet paper down the toilet(in the city of Monterrey, you can't flush the toilet paper down the toilet... eeeewwwww). I love my bed and I totally missed my son Carter. But I can't help but feel like a part of me is still in Mexico. I wanted to give a recap of my week, so here it is. I'll try to keep it short.

Saturday, July 23: We arrived in Monterrey and met Back to Back at the airport. At the last checkpoint you have to push a button on what looks like a stoplight. If you get a green light, you can pass. If you get a red light, they make you step to the side and open up your luggage. Not that I have anything to hide, but I find this little game a little nerve racking. At least they didn't have the Mexican army standing there like they did last year. Didn't really do anything that night but hang out and get situated.

Sunday, July 24: First off to church. It was cool to see what heaven might be like. Sang mostly in Spanish and then wore headphones to listen to a tranlation of the pastor speaking. Went to Casa Hogar Douglas. The kids that were there were the kids who nobody wants. They usually have over 100 children there, roughly 60 something went home for the summer. So the children who were there, were pretty hard at first... wouldn't you be? We served them pizza for lunch and hung out with them for a while. Then I got to take a mallet and chisel to a concrete wall and chisel out holes for shower water handles and shower head. Josh Sargent joined me and was a beast. Went back to the compound for dinner and worship.

Monday, July 25: Off to Manantial de Amor children's home. These kids are freakin awesome. They met us at the gate with such joy... hand shakes, high fives and hugs all around. After two years, I'm still amazed at the joy these kids have even though they aren't with their families and have so little. It poured today. Later we learned that we worked through tropical storm Gert... what a name. We poured cement for their new play area, at lunch with the kids, threw them around afterward (nobody threw up), hung out with them in their rooms and just loved on them. Then it was back to the compound to hang out with the group and have worship in the palapa.

Tuesday, July 26: Back to Casa Hogar Douglas for more. This time Jami, Tammy, Jeff, Amber, John and myself backfilled mud to make the ground level to lay cement for the children't new sports area. This job was the hardest. I hit my wall several times, prayed for glory strength and moved on. It seemed like we made little progress, but by the end of the day with the help of other team members we accomplished a lot. Jami, Tammy, Amber, Jeff and John did an awesome job. All hit walls but kept going. It was fun to watch. Then lunch with the kids. This is one of my favorite daily activities. It was like having communion. I think that this is where Jesus would have been if He was physically here. Wait, He was, through 49 people and the children. How cool is that. Then back to the compound to hang with the group for dinner and worship at the palapa.

Wednesday, July 27: Back to Manantial de Amor for a couple of hours. We laid pebbles for about 45 minutes. We really pushed through that job and finished the new play area. It was really cool to see the children actually having fun on something we built and finished. Then we threw a birthday party for the kids who had July birthdays. It was so awesome to see their faces light up. They really don't have hardly anything. Everything they get means a tremendous amount to them. This was really cool to experience. Then we loaded up the kids and took them and the entire team to Plaza Sesamo (Sesame Street Water Park). I got to hang out with Ernesto, Alan and Andreas. These kids ran me ragged between water slides and then we headed to the kids pool where they wanted me to dunk them and throw them under the water. These kids were so much fun. Then we had lunch together. And like last year, when it was time to go there were no complaints... that to me is amazing. And then we headed to Tacos Fede, the best place to eat in Monterrey. Your tacos are huge and you drink pop from a bottle. It was awesome! Then we headed back to the compound for late night worship under the palapa.

Thursday, July 28: Probably the hardest day emotionally. We left the compound around 10 a.m. and arrived at El Rio around 11:45ish. These people live in total poverty... the poorest section of Monterrey. They actually live on a landfill and make their houses out of trash. We went their to hand out fresh eggs, cold water, gifts for the children, candy, clothes for adults, children and babies. Each mom received a bag of 10 diapers that had to last a week. At least one mother brought their baby up with nothing on. They also received formula, of which one teenage mother sells to by coca cola because it's cheaper to feed to her baby. The baby's teeth were already rotted out. We also painted faces and passed out balloons in 100 degree heat. There were other people there who looked sad, then there were other people who were filled with joy. How could you be filled with joy and live in trash... literally. And then, before we passed out items that were going to literally help these people survive, their pastor stood up to help lead a time of testimonies given by August, one of our teens and Wendy, an adult leader. That amazes me. A man and his wife called to pastor a group of people who live in trash. That is amazing. That man is Jesus in the flesh. That man truely wants nothing in return. Not that pastors in the states don't give their lives away, and not that there may not be the same type of person here, but this man gives himself to people who can't give back to him. It is amazing that the contribution we made actually helped people survive. And Back to Back does this twice a week. What a priviledge to be able to do this for one day. As soon as we got back to the compound we changed into our swimming gear and headed out to play with the kids from the children's home. We literally swam for four hours with these kids. When we got out the pool was a strange color of brownish green. Then we had dinner with them. I think it was something like a spongy hotdog. My wife ate one... I'm so proud of her for that. I ate three. I'm still good. No revenge. Then we said goodbye to the kids of Douglas. That was hard. But we had to keep it together because the kids of Manantial wanted to sing to us and give a couple of testimonies. To open up, they thanked God for the Americans coming to them... I lost it. With tears already flowing they began to sing worship in Spanish... more tears. Then a testimonial from a 15 year old girl who told us not to worry about our problems because God is good and He will take care of us... more tears... then another testimony from a girl who's dad ran away and mother had died of cancer two years ago. She also has a four year old brother who is so cute and fragile. She talked of God's care... more tears. These two kids have more spiritual maturity than most people I know, including myself. Then we had the chance to pray for the children. And then for the moment I knew was coming a year ago... time to say goodbye. Matt tells us to hold it in the best we could. Who would think that you would make such a connection in seven days. But I love those kids, and a part of my heart is still in Monterrey. It was a hard goodbye. Harder than last year. But God has placed a stellar group of loving, Jesus-walking individuals from Back to Back and it's comforting to know that these kids are being loved on by some of the Godliest, awesome people to walk the face of the planet. After we gathered ourselves up, we went down to the palapa for our last night of worship. I love worship in Mexico. It takes on a whole new connection with God after you give your life away in work and relationship. Worship in Mexico is special... but it's not and shouldn't be bottled up down there. It can continue here. After worship, I hung out some more and then stayed up until 1 a.m. where Judy (middle school pastor) and I beat Matt and Julie two straight Euchre games... I fully expect them to expect a re-match when they come up here. And I fully expect to beat them again!

Friday, July 29: Woke up already packed and ready to go. But first we helped clean the compound for their summer wrap up. It was fun to help them tear down and give everything a good clean. It's an honor to close down the summer schedule with them. Then we had our last lunch there and waited for our bus to arrive. We said our goodbyes and headed off to Cola de Caballo, or Horsetail Falls. This place was awesome. We got to see God's majesty in many ways over this trip, and this was one of them. There really aren't words to describe the waterfall and the walk up to it. It was a great time to spend with friends and my wife. Then we headed to our hotel for the night... that was a long bus ride. Midstream we dropped off our only person who truely spoke spanish. So we were flying by the seat of our pants praying that the bus driver remember where he was told to go. We were in the bus so long that I thought he had gotten lost, but a solid hour and a half later we arrived at our destination. Unpacked, took a shower and then headed to cool restaurant, Las Aliatas (I think). The menus were in english but the wait staff barely spoke any... that was fun trying to order. The food was great though. Then back to the hotel to hang out with some of our team and at 12 a.m. on the button, I put my head on my pillow and was out.

Saturday, July 30: Drove to the airport. Waited for our flight. Was informed that it was going to be only a 2 hour and 50 minute flight... YESSSS. Arrived at O'hare. No hiccups. Took a school bus to Granger Community Church. Hugged people, said our goodbyes and then drove, no, our car grew wings and spit fire as we sped to pick up our six month old baby. Ya, he started to pucker his bottle lip and cried when he saw us... I'm sure it just hit him that we were gone for seven days.

I just want to add that I am proud of Jami on so many levels... leaving her sixth month old son to be a mom to children who don't have one... working hard for six straight days in the rain and sunny heat... eating food that she probably wouldn't eat here... her great attitude and her encouraging words to our students... you are awesome and I look up to you. I love you.

So that's Mexico in one long, long blog entry. Thank you for those who supported me, financially and prayer wise. You all made a difference.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

We backfilled dirt, I mean mud, up against the walls so they could begin to lay cement for the children's sports area.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

We threw a birthday party for the kids who's birthday fell in July.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Look, we're drinking pop from bottles... do they make these anywhere besides Monterrey?

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Wheelbarrowing cement 100 yards, filling two buckets at a time to fill a wall for the kids' sports area.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Delivery man. This is the best place to eat in Monterrey.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Look, we're wearing shades.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

It's a Todd sandwich.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Our team at Plaza Sesamo

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Who's on my back?

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Joel. Father ran away. Mom died of cancer two years ago. He's now four and lives at the same children's home as his 15 year old sister.

We're Home!!!!

We're back after seven awesome days with 48 other awesome people. I'll write more about the trip tomorrow. But now, here come the pictures...

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

We brought face paints for the kids. But the kids wanted to paint some of our team members, including their hair. This is August and Alli... they called August a Crazy Monkey in spanish.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

This is a playground we help build, poor cement and lay pebbles. It's awesome to be able to see something finished and the kids actually playing on.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

One of the locals giving some of our group a ride over a flooded street. When they told him gracias, he responded "you're welcome".

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

The pastor who ministers to the people of El Rio.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Erin Meyer handing out water. Each person got a cup of cold water.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

These are bags of diapers to mothers. Each bag contained 10 diapers to last for a week.

El Rio

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Two girls standing outside of their home at the poorest part of Monterrey called El Rio (The River).

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Cascada. Cola de Caballo... Horsetail Falls in Monterrey.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

There's Patrick... just got his underwear ripped out of his pants... ouch!

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Jami, Tammy and Debbie loving on one of the girls.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

These are three of the kids I got to hang out with for the day. Andreas (front orange), Ernesto (back orange) and Alan (green). Oh ya, that's Kevin in the back showing his sweat-catcher shirt.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

These are kids from Manantial de Amor. Just a few we took to a water park for the day.

What a view

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

The Saddle Back Mountain. Just awesome.


Originally uploaded by toddruth.

This is the road we walked down a couple of days. Because of all the rain they had gotten, it was like a river.


Originally uploaded by toddruth.

As we were walking down the road, Jami noticed trash hanging hi from a telephone poll. There are dogs everywhere, which is why they do this.

Hot, hot, hot

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Yes, that's a slurpee in a 7-11 in Mexico. And yes, that's hot sauce to add in your slurpee.

Viva Mexico

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

A couple of the days we walked from our compound to Casa Hogar Douglas, one of the children's homes. This guy wanted to remind some Americans that Mexico lives.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

And we're off

Hasta luego!

Where on our way!

Wait. No we're not.Blew A tire literally 5 minutes to O'hare. Be back on the road soon! Viva Mexico.

Out On A Mission

In seven hours I will be meeting up with 48 other awesome high school students and adult leaders to begin our journey to Monterrey, Mexico. We'll be doing a ton of things in unbelievable heat. I won't bore you with the details now. Instead, I'll let the pictures I take do the talking later. There's a 90, no, 99 percent chance that I won't be blogging for the next seven days. But I will have plenty of photos to show and I'll keep a paper blog to share later... I think they call it a journal (do people still use this caveman approach?). But I may try to snap a couple of shots from my camera phone (I love mobile blogging!), so don't be surprised if you see a couple more entries before we hit the skies. Alright then, I should be packing instead of trying to come up with clever words to tell you why I will be absent... so let the blog withdrawl begin.

Friday, July 22, 2005

You're Fired

No, this has nothing to do with Donald Trump. It has everything to do with blogging. CNN's Showbiz Tonight ran the story Editor Fired For Blogging. It's an interesting read – although you have to look for the copy in a transcript of the show. Here's a hint, it's about a quarter of the way into the transcript. Enjoy.

Does your boss have the right to fire you over your blog?
No... no matter what you blog about


Free polls from

Balls everywhere

Can you believe how big this ball is!

Welcome to Walmart

Carter's first ride in a cart.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Velvet Elvis

Right now as I type, I'm finishing up the introduction to this book with my son in my lap. It's awesome. He's yelling and screaming. Pulling at the pages. Smacking me in the face. I'm already loving this book. My heart is racing fast, and I'm only on page 014... that's right 014. You'll have to get the book to understand. My little boy loves the book because of the bright orange every now and then. Again, you'll have to get the book to understand. I actually didn't buy this book. My good friend Corey Mann got it for me. I cannot begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to diving in to read it, mark it up and then read it again... oh wait, I think I just did.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I Want A Buzz

One of the books I'm currently reading is Brand Hijack, written by Alex Wipperfurth, partner at his San Francisco marketing firm Plan B. In it, he discusses the difference between Buzz and Hype. Buzz, according to David Lewis, is the infectious chatter that spreads from consumer to consumer about something of genuine interest to them. Because it's genuine, it's trusted. Hype, Alex tells us, is paid for by the brand owner through media and advertising and is "targeted at consumers" which invites skepticism and distrust. He goes on to mention that Buzz starts with a social idea. With Hype, the message is primarily about the product or a "borrowed interest," not the product's meaning. Check out more differences between the two:


Is Genuine

Is co-created with the market

Travels through grassroots, peer-to-peer communication

Carries an authentic social message; it’s news

Is seductive and speaks exponentially

Is trustworthy

Is a long-term learning model


Is fabricated

Is autocratic, leaked by the brand owner; the market is an audience, not a participant

Uses mass media and staged events

Carries a biased product message; it’s publicity

Is loud and aggressive

Can easily be distrusted

Creates short-term awareness

What do you think about the two? Where do you stand... more Buzz or more Hype? I'm still processing between the two... the good and the not-so-good.

Monday, July 18, 2005


So one of my brothers is getting married the second week of August. It's awesome. He's marrying a great girl and from what I hear her family is great too. And everything that happens before a normal wedding is happening. It's all good. So Saturday after church Jami asks me if I want to help her go shopping to buy a gift for my sister-in-law-to-be's shower. I'm not that enthused to go shopping for a shower, but I go. It's a chance for Carter, Jami and I to hang out, go to the mall and see if we know any of the "mall rats". Anyway, we pull up to Sears (you can usually find a good parking spot there... we did) and the first thing we do is go to the bra and panty section (that's right, I just said panty in my blog). So I'm 29 and mature enough to handle this. If I was younger – say 6 or 7 years old, I might have squeezed all of the bras. But I'm older now... although I did think about it. So we're in the bra and panty section and my Jami asks me if I see where the Lingerie section is. I say, "No", but I'm thinking what any husband would think if his wife asks him that. But I ask why anyways and she says, "Because I have that lingerie shower for Katie (my brother's fiance)." (Insert high pitch voice) "Awkward!) I had totally forgot about that. So for the next hour and a half we went from store to store looking for a lingerie gift for my new sister-in-law. "Do you like this? Is this cute? What about the color on this one? Is this too old fashioned looking? Is this too wild?" All I kept saying in my head was, "You can't go wrong with black", and "There's no place like home, there's no place like home." Needless to say that we saw one of our high school students walking through the mall, and needless to say that he and his girlfriend saw us and decided to come up and talk. And needless to say he asked us what we were doing there. I really should have said that we were looking for puppies, but I told him the truth... (Insert high pitch voice) Awkward! He understood though. We did, after what seemed like an eternity, find a gift for my soon to be sister-in-law. And yes Jami went to the shower on Sunday. And no, she did not tell her that I helped pick it out for her because that would have been (Insert high pitch voice) AWKWARD!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I want the Truth

It's exactly the same no matter what a person's religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. "Everyone who calls, "Help, God!' gets help."
But how can people call for help if they don't know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven't heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That's why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!

Romans 10:12-14

Saturday, July 16, 2005

You Said What!?

"A leader is a dealer in hope."
Napoleon Bonaparte

What are you selling?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Feed the IT Guy

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Here's a fun time-waster... happy Friday!

Feed the IT Guy

Pet Peeve

If you read the morning paper as you drive in to work, please don't drive 10 mph under the speed limit. At least have the courtesy to drive the speed limit or over.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Five Ways to Engage Your Volunteers

I know there are more. These are just a few I wanted to pass along.
5. Give recognition in an open and publicized way. If not made public, recognition loses much of its impact and defeats much of the purpose for which it provided. Do not however, think that public recognition will substitute for private, personal thank yous and respect.

4. Know that volunteers are affected by the people with whom they will work. It is essential that a new volunteer be made to quickly feel as though they are one of the group. If your volunteer does not feel as though they belong, your volunteer will begin to disappear.

3. Work around your volunteers' schedule, don't make them work around yours. These people work 40-50 hours a week, if not more. So when you schedule a meeting, make it a time that's convenient for them.

2. Transfer ownership. Your volunteers will be more engaged in what they do when they are able to take ownership of what they do.

1. People matter more than projects. Relationships matter more than tasks.
Numbers five and four are values taken from CASAnet.
For a more in-depth look at volunteers, get a copy of Simply Strategic Volunteers: Empowering People For Ministry by Tony Morgan & Tim Stevens.

Mmmmm Tasty

Overheard: "I love to eat paper." A response to the question, "Are you hungry?" when it was observed that this teen ate one quarter of a page of paper. Are they making flavored paper now????

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Five Ways to Alienate Your Volunteers

Here are a few leader bytes NOT to do in no particular order:
5. Don't return their phone calls or emails.
4. Talk about them to other volunteers. Tell other volunteers how someone's made you upset or how they aren't following through.
3. Whenever you have a meeting, only focus on what needs to be improved.
2. Complain about how busy you are and how much you have on your plate.
1. Give them something to do that's outside their gifting.
Tomorrow's post... Five Ways to Engage Your Volunteers

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Messy Masterpiece

This is Carter's first finger-painting he's created. We don't have it at home yet because it's being featured this month at the school he attends two days a week. The staff there said that he was the only baby who actually loved doing it... actually I think they said he dove into the paint and then smacked the canvas. If I know my son, he was probably doing his happy scream while flailing his hands and throwing paint everywhere. I'm sure what you see here is just where some of the paint landed. I wonder if God is that happy or if that's what God does when He creates His messy masterpieces... Ephesians 2:10

Monday, July 11, 2005

Shot through the heart... and the arm... and the neck... and the leg... and the head

In case you're wondering, this is how I spent my Friday afternoon... firing over 150 rounds from my recently purchased 40 caliber Taurus PT 140 Millenium Pro semi-auto handgun. No, I didn't stand two feet from this target. And no, I wasn't thinking of anyone as I was shooting... this time. And if there are any Bon Jovi fans that are reading this, I apologize for the title of this post. And finally, I know what you have to be asking yourself... is it really safe for Todd to own a gun!? I can't answer that last question, but hopefully my week turns out better than this guy's. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I Want the Truth

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLV)

Fleshing Out Crap

Holy Crap follow-up. Check out Free Flying Soul's blog. He actually fleshed out the Holy Crap post and did a great job at it. Oh ya, if you ever wrestle with him, look out... Two words... Nipple Twister. Great job Soul!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Seriously, we're too serious!

Saturday's thought...

Often, music that's the most eloquent is the least serious. That's the thing that intellectuals don't like. Think of the music of the seventies. It's become a kind of folk music now. The music in the seventies that lasted was a lot of the pop and the dance and disco music. And the supposed serious music of the seventies, fusion, progressive rock, et cetera, played by so-called great musicians, has dated so badly. You are right, Michka. The soul will be described, but God might not use the people that you expect.
Quote taken from, Bono: in coversation with Michka Assayas page 27.

Hmmm, so what does that say about the church?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Relationships Suck

Maybe I'm being too honest here. But that's the way I feel sometimes. I mean, wouldn't it be great if your relationships with your kids, wife/husband, brothers/sisters, moms/dads, friends, co-workers and boss were just like you have with your dog? Then they would just do what you want them to do, go where you want them to go (maybe that's not a good thing if you're thinking... hell), not talk back and just lay by your feet thinking you're the greatest. But that just doesn't happen. Obviously our most valuable relationships are with people, and people suck sometimes (that's right, even you), which means relationships suck sometimes. It takes hard work, commitment and a God-style design to make them successful. With all of that said, we just started our new midweek series entitled "L.A.S.T. – Building relationships that last a lifetime." Here are the highlights from last night taken from Ephesians 4:25-32...

1. Be Real... nobody likes a fake. Be transparent – the real you. Vers 25
2. Learn to reveal... speak the truth in love. Develop Matthew 18:15
relationships. Verse 25
3. Seal the deal... verses 26 & 27. Try to settle and resolve conflict.
4. Let God heal... verses 29-32. Practice the art of forgiving and accept
the forgiveness of God and others.

This was a great start to a great new midweek series. Relationships do suck sometimes, but they also matter to God – because people matter to God. Now, is there a series on how to keep your dog from running away...?

50 Coolest Websites 2005

If you'd like to find out the 50 coolest websites of 2005 according to Time Magazine's online edition, click on the link below. Have fun!

Time Magazine's Coolest Websites of 2005

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Surf Someone Else's Wi-Fi? You Could Go To Jail

So you like to drive around neighborhoods looking for Wi-Fi services to surf on while you're at conferences? (Um, I'm thinking of at least one pastor I know and I'm willing to sell his name.) You'll want to check out the below article. Here's a clipping...

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Police have arrested a man for using someone else's wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice.

Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon's house using a laptop computer.
To view the complete story, you can follow the below link.
Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi
Practice is fairly common, but arrests are unusual

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Holy Crap!

This is Carter playing in his Jumperoo as daddy reads his daily bloggs and checks his email. Just as I was about to begin to type my blog entry for the day, I hear one of the most horrifing sounds coming Carter. The sound... his "pooping" grunt. The reason it's horrifing – because he's in his Jumperoo. The last time we heard this grunt coming from him there, he pooped through his clothes. This time was no different. The joyful photo above was taken as he was dancing in his poop. So instead of pooping on just his clothes, the poop shot all over his clothes and on the floor below him. What's weird is that it didn't even touch the Jumperoo!So instead of writing what would have been an all to serious post, I've decided to lighten it up a bit and write about "Holy" crap. There's just something spiritual about a father cleaning up his child who is covered in crap. Maybe this can be connected to something deeper.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Two Days Of 4th Of July Fun

The 4th of July weekend kicked off for the Ruth family on July 3. Lindsey, her son Dawson, her mom and two more of their friends met us at our house so they could follow us up to our usual fireworks location, Silver Beach in Michigan. We were going to meet some other friends up there, but instead of looking for the giant "Chopsticks" I looked for the giant "Chapstick". I love cell phones. Needless to say, we never found the chapstick and decided to just find a spot on the beach. One of my favorite things to do is people watch. It's really fun at the beach. There are all types of people doing all types of things. I'm pretty sure I saw Santa Claus in a red Speedo. I saw people playing volleyball, kids eating sand and couples making out. Note to guys: if you're wearing a swim suit while you make out, don't get up to get a drink for yourself or your lady... nobody needs to see that. This was Carter's first 4th of July and his first time at the beach. Other than getting crabby because of the heat (just like daddy), he did really well. He loves the sand and water. And after getting dirty looks from a number of people when we told them we were going to bring him to a fireworks show, I'm happy to say that he loved all the colors and sounds. (You can check out the photos at the end of this post) I on the other hand thought they were just ok... but that's only part of the reason we go up there.
Day Two
Day two took us to Tammy's Dad's lake cottage in Syracuse, Indiana. Whenever you get Tammy, Daryl, Adam, Becky, Becky's sister and ALL of the kids together in one place it's always a good time. In the middle of talking and eating, and relaxing I got the chance to take the jetski out. I'm always nervous when I'm operating someone else's stuff, especially when it costs more money than I have in the bank. But it was fun. The view was great, the company was better. It was a good time to just sit back, relax and get away. The fireworks this time were better, and longer than at Silver Beach. They really did a good job. Thanks Tammy, Daryl and Tammy's dad for inviting us up. We loved it. As promised, check out the photos below

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Our friends Lindsay and Dawson.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Ok daddy. I'm ready to jetski!

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

My first fireworks.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Our friends Joy and Mia

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

I can see myself in his sunglasses.

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

I'm going under!

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Really, do I have to pose for another picture.