Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Two for the Price of One

Timothy (a younger and bulkier version of Rob … what Rob should have looked like if he hadn’t inherited his mother’s skinny Irish genes) wed the beautiful and vivacious Sara over an already full Thanksgiving holiday. Sort of a wham-bam wedding, nevertheless it was wonderful. It was the first time in five years that the entire “Bob and Carol” clan of 25-odd people assembled in the same place. Grandparents, Ratzlaffs, Lusks, and Mardocks enjoyed four days of food, fun, fellowship, and festivities in Springville, CA.

Major players:
A couple of months ago, Bob and Carol saw the light and moved from the sprawling, over-developed mass that is “LA-SD-Riverside/San Bernardino” to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. (It would have been better if they moved into a townhouse in the foothills of the mountains, but such is the appeal of the American Dream!). Fun fact: Bob and Carol were recently awarded Azusa Pacific University’s “Alumni of the Year” award for their indefatigable non-profit and humanitarian aid efforts – including helping to place over 3,500 orphans in loving homes across the 50-states (and Americans living overseas).

About four years ago, Matt and Jen were asked to be executive director(s) of the famous 67-year old Quaker Meadow Christian Camp – nestled 7,000+ ft in the heart of the Sequoia National Forest. Thankfully the entire forest burned down all around the camp two years ago, so the camp itself should be safe for another 60 years. (I’m such a pessimist; I don’t know how my family puts up with me). I can’t imagine a more fairy-tale job than being the boss of a summer / winter camp. Fun fact: Matt, a singer and songwriter in his spare time, was recently asked to be part of a MAJOR contemporary Christian music band until the original members decided to retire early.

Mitch & Kel live in Dallas, OR where Mitch operates his own
State Farm agency. He is nearing the end of the tortuous start-up phase of his business and continues to be a top-rated agent. He founded the Dallas (Oregon) chapter of Le Tip, and still has time for his other passion: bird watching and sportsman-stuff. Fun fact: Mitch is an avid ornithologist with articles published in birding periodicles, and leads university ornithology trips to eastern Oregon. He has also been assistant coach of the George Fox men’s basketball team.

Grandpa and Grandma had the financial foresight not to count on social security and had a portfolio of fixer-upper homes in the LA area. Today Grandpa spends his autumns growing "giant pumpkins" and eviscerating his church denomination's political-correctness. He's a giant among men. Fun fact: in addition to being a PhD and former professor
of English, Marvin Mardock was also honored as NAIA's track and field coach of the year in 1980. Don't believe it? Check here. At Azusa Pacific University, he trained Dave (of 1992 Barcelona Olympics' Dan and Dave) and personally brought the Kansas City Chief's Christian Okoye from Nigeria to California to throw the hammer on APU's track and field team (Marvin was also director of international student admissions).

Of course, there's the rest of the family ... but I'll give them a couple more years to start making the world a better place. In the meantime, Tim, Sara, Nick, and Angela are leaders in their own circles and I know they all will go far in life.

Hannah and Christina sporting their chic Urban Outfitter t-shirts; each representative of their unique personalities

Mitch and Matt carving two of the three birds (Dad in background)

Monster table at Matt and Jen's house

Even our photogenic Uncle Richard and Aunt Linda came up from Hollywood!

"The Clan"

Tim and Sara: no longer "living in sin," or, final picture as virgins. Whichever.

Monday, November 20, 2006

4 Tests Down

Rachel is almost a CPA! Congratulations!

My brilliant wife is amazing. She passed all four exams on the very first try - each well above the minimum score required. That's not normal. Rachel's smarts and leadership skills will certainly serve her well as she becomes CFO of some big company. All of her hard work is finally beginning to pay off. Diligence and determination. Go Rachel! The sky's the limit!

Okay, just to clarify - this post originally said Rachel was a CPA, but technically passing your CPA exams is the main hurdle, but small tedious steps still remain - getting documentation, passing another two silly ethics quizzes, and paying more money for the actual certificate. As soon as Rachel gets her darn CPA certificate, then she'll be a CPA. I'll post when she gets it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

'Tis the Season

...for Egg Nog Lattes from Starbucks!

We live in Highland Village: home of several upscale chain stores, Central Market, and Houston's first Starbucks. HV hung the Christmas lights in mid-October. At first we were annoyed by the flagrant implication of holiday binge buying so far before the holidays. But we quickly forgot our annoyance and learned to love our wonderful commercial home.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ben Folds Live

Our apologies for the poor quality picture below. It's the only one we have from a fabulous Ben Folds concert with the Houston Symphony (from Rob's trusty camera phone). Rachel and Rob were amazed that it sounded so great. The symphony created a solid wall of sound that's often lacking in live performances. Rachel described it as, "crazy good. So awesome," and "the best concert I've ever been to." Rob says, "ditto, it's a lot like his Austin City Limits concert but with a rockin' 90-member symphony behind him!" Ben Folds was hilarious: "These musicians behind me are trained to make difficult music sound easy. We rock stars try to make easy music sound hard." BF is the white blob in the middle.