Archive for March, 2008

Hopefully GTB will learn to love basketball as he grows older because his birthday will always fall right at the beginning of March Madness.  This year the great University of Kansas played over lunch on the day of GTB’s birthday, and since OTown’s family (all KU fans) was able to be in town to help GTB celebrate his birthday, the celebration began with a game watch at Plucker’s!  Surely, every one-year-old should start their birthday with a platter of wings. 


While GTB loved watching the game, the real highlight of the afternoon was riding the car at the grocery store


and, of course, GTB wouldn’t want to spend his special day doing anything but pushing his cars around the driveway!



Stay tuned for Birthday Blast:  Part 3 of many…. the birthday dinner celebration and presents!

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GTB drinking Dr. Pepper for the first time.  It appears to be a love hate relationship…

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GTB IS ONE!!!!!  That’s right, he’s currently one year, one week, two days, and counting.  We’re amazed and thankful that GTB has survived an entire year…in tact…and proud that our parenting skills haven’t seemed to damage or scar him..too much…yet.  He is one of the craziest, most fun kids I’ve ever met, although, in true Engstrom fashion, he is stubborn to the core.  He’s 20% in both height and weight, but our tank is absolutely as solid as a rock, and we’re pretty convinced that if we haven’t broken him by now, he’s probably unbreakable.  His front middle teeth finally grew in and now he looks like a toddler with a big toothy grin…although his snaggle teeth aren’t much to look at 🙂    His hair is getting thicker, and the mullet that he sported for the better part of the last year is finally gone.  He is virtually fearless, and loves all things fast, messy, violent, destructive, and loud.  He loves to be thrown across the room (literally) or from one person to another.  He’s ticklish everywhere, laughs at everything (or more accurately, he chuckles/cackles in his low gravelly voice), he smiles at strangers, woos crowds wherever we go, and loves to cuddle.  He flirts with all the little girls he sees out and about and even tries to hug them while they’re chillin’ in their carseats (ask Lanie…).  In contrast, he tries to tackle all the little boys he sees.  He makes the most realistic animal sounds I’ve ever heard from a kid (you should hear his lion…its incredible).  He says most things in a loud, low gutteral voice, but he says “hi” and “dog” in a sweet cute voice.  He loves to sit in his new giraffe chair and watch tv, he loves to read books, he loves to play in his new sandbox, he loves to push his cars.  He’s figuring out how to build with legos and blocks although he would much rather throw them (his favorite activity is throwing everything he can pick up).  He loves to grab people’s noses, stick his fingers in people’s mouths, and pull on the dog’s eyelashes (poor Sari).  He loves all things dog.  He loves cell phones and telephones and has been known to call his grandma, a Spanish speaking lady, a man at 233-3332, Noah’s friend Mike, and once a guy named Chris returned GTB’s call.  He likes cheese, bananas, yogurt, grapes, pizza, french fries, and everything else one-year-olds probably shouldn’t have.  He knows that he wants to drink whatever is in the aluminum can even though he’s never tried it (although he did try DP out of cup once…I’ll post that video soon).  He has made his artistic debut, and we have several original GTB’s hanging in our kitchen, including the noteworthy drawing, “Rainbow Spaghetti.”  He plays on playscapes all by himself and has figured out he can climb up the ladder and go down the slide without help…its a little unnerving when he lands head first in the sand at the bottom but he always laughs and does it again.  He melts our hearts, wears us out, makes us laugh, occasionally causes tears of frustration and exhaustion (well, mostly OTown), livens our spirits, stirs us to love,  keeps us on our toes, sharpens our minds, quickens our wit, and brings us deep, incredible joy.  He is a blessing we cherish from the Lord, and we pray that he grows into a boy who loves Jesus and then into a man who fears the Lord. 

 At this point, you’re probably thinking that I should stop rambling on about GTB and finally post a few pictures.  After all, you’ve been reading our blog for over a year…what more could OTown possibly have to say about GTB you ask???  Just post some pictures already!!  Well, I have good news for you.  This is part one of many birthday blast posts that will be debuting in the coming week, and there will be pictures, pictures, and more pictures.  If you’ve ever read the blog Stuff White People Like (see our blogroll), you’ll appreciate the fact that there is a similar blog entitled Stuff White Parents Like (incidentally, there is also Stuff Stick Figure People Like and Stuff Educated Black People Like).  Anyway, entry #6 on Stuff White Parents Like:  Ridiculous 1st Birthday Parties.  I found I fit the mold. 






Stay tuned for the adventures of one-year-old GTB….



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Here are some more pictures of GTB at the St. John’s daycamp we went to a few weeks ago.

All of the girls at the camp loved playing with the “miho bonito.”  GTB did not enjoy being called a pretty little boy. 


GTB figured out how to open the plastic easter eggs we hid for the Easter egg hunt and proceeded to eat some of the candy, foil and all (note:  its not a good idea to stuff plastic eggs with chocolate when its going to be 95 degrees outside.  note:  it should not be 95 degrees in march).


 GTB wiped out at the end of the camp. 


GTB came home from camp with sunscreen in his hair (yes, OTown made him sport the baby hawk for the day), chocolate on his face, Dr. Pepper on his shirt, dirt all over his legs, and dripping with sweat.  Even though he was exhausted, OTown was not about to let him sleep without first getting a bath.

Pictured here with the whistle Kyle gave him at camp.  He now wears the whistle almost daily.


At the end of the week, there was a celebration dinner for all the campers and their families.  GTB loved the snowcones…


..the basketball and the other kids…


…but he was not so sure about the clown.  Can you blame him?


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Happy St. Pat’s Day


(GTB sure looks happy about it…)

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Over the past three years, our family has fallen in love with the city we live in.  We love Austin for the diverse people who live here, the awesome landscape of the hill country, the uniquely “weird” culture.  We love Austin for its growth and vibrance.  We love the university, the capitol, the music scene, the tech industry, the clash of people and purposes who inhabit this city.  We love it because so many other people who live here are love it.  Its hard not to love what everyone around you loves.  

Over three years, we have come to learn that, not only is Austin an incredible city, but it’s a city that God’s heart seems to be broken for.  A city in which God seems to be moving.  A city where people are stirred to see transformation and revival.  Over three years, we have run into so many people who have been brought to Austin with a burden for seeing the kingdom of God spread to the people of this city.  Our church represents a small segment of the people who have a passion for the transformation of this city, but we are blessed every day by the faithfulness of our church body who believe that God is moving in Austin.  We are blessed by a church body who desires to exalt the supremacy of the name and purpose of Jesus Christ, to proclaim Christ crucified to a city in need of a Savior, and to trust that God’s hand is mighty to save the city we have all come to love.

 This week was spring break in Austin.  Being a university town, Austin is accustomed to seeing a mass exodus of its population during spring break, winter break, and definitely during summer break.  When 55,000 people leave the city at once, it’s noticeable.  By the time spring break rolls around, most college kids are ready to peace out for fun and relaxation…who can blame them?  I was certainly bummed when I finished school last year and realized that I was no longer entitled to a “spring break” week of fun anymore.  Or so I thought.  Turns out–thanks to a group of college kids who decided to spend spring break in this city instead of elsewhere–this week was the most amazing spring break I’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing. 

This week GTB and I witnessed God’s mighty hand moving through a small (small?  is 100 people small?) group of faithful people in the city of Austin.  It started with one college student who saw a need in Austin–a city she, too, loves.  She saw that the children in the St. John’s neighborhood–an impoverished neighborhood in East Austin–would have nothing to do during their week of spring break.  They would be sitting at home, hanging out on the streets, likely to either be bored or getting into trouble.  She saw a need, and the Spirit prompted her to meet it.  What if she could provide a day camp for the kids of the neighborhood during Spring Break?  She shared her vision, and before long, she had assembled a team of college kids willing to sacrifice their spring break–their week of fun and relaxation–to provide the kids of the St. John’s neighborhood with a day camp.  As this group spent time planning–and more importantly, passionately praying–the vision became a reality, and this week, I had the privilege of watching as over 100 volunteers – college kids, high school and middle school kids, and adults – labored side by side to love the children of St. John’s and to tell and show them of the love their Savior has for them.

God has humbled my heart as I have watched him humble the hearts of the volunteers this week.  We are all learning that we are nothing but servants–slaves–to Our King, and it is a privilege to serve Him.  We are feeling the joys of proclaiming Christ crucified and the satisfaction of being a people who are merciful.  We are becoming a people who desire to see the kingdom of God on earth, and we are experiencing the power of the Church body and the community of belieivers.  We are finding that God has instilled in each of us a love for this city, but he does not intend to let us simply sit in our love.  He intends to use us to reap His harvest.  We are confessing that it is God and God alone who is mighty to save, and we are trusting that He is the God of this city. 

You’re the God of this city,
You’re the King of these people,
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are
You’re the light in this darkness,
You’re the hope to the hopeless,
You’re the peace to the restless
You are
For there is no-one like our God
There is no-one like You, God
(Copyright Bluetree 2007)
These are a few clips of the camp this week. 
Chili Baby wins “Best Song at Camp” award:
Eli sharing the Gospel:
There’s a fun video of the kids starting their easter egg hunt.  As soon as it finishes processing in YouTube, I’ll post it here:

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Duck ponds and Dirt Piles

Last week, OTown and Amber took GTB and Eli to play at the duck pond on the huge pile of dirt that they bring in every spring for apparently no other reason than to let little boys go crazy in it….  It was 92 degrees (I know..insane for the month of February) and the boys were beat red and sweaty after 10 minutes, but they had a blast. 

GTB chasing the hideous looking (and really quite frightening…) turkey duck things… 


Playing on the dirt pile


Notice the huge dirt pile in the background…


Eli with both of his sandtoys…


GTB staring longingly at Eli’s sandtoys….


GTB trying to steal Eli’s sandtoys….


GTB with one of Eli’s sandtoys!  It might be time to get GTB his own sandtoys…


Watching the ducks…




Quacking like a duck for the first time (and caught on tape for your viewing pleasure!)…

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