A Special Birthday Video for My Wife

My wife was having dinner with a friend, and while the kids and I ate supper without her, I had an idea for a birthday video for my wife. The only problem: her birthday was the next day.

I explained the premise to my children, and once we cleaned the table, my two oldest kids began illustrating the characters, and I sat down to formulate a script. 15 minutes later, the script was finished. Ten minutes after that, the illustrations were complete. Next, we recorded the vocals on my iPhone (mostly in the utility room – lots of sound dampening clothes hanging up to block the noise of the twins). Everything was going exceptionally well – my six year old’s monster drawing was a perfect fit, my nine year old daughter nailed the script after just one read through, and the twins were contentedly coloring.

After just a few minutes, we had all the major pieces we need to pull the video together.

We took a break to play before putting the twins in bed, and afterwards I started “cutting out” each of the illustrations in Photoshop. Another break to tuck in the big kids, then I took a minute to do vocal sound effects. I wasn’t sure how the sound effects would work, but I think they add a lot of fun to the piece. I have exactly zero experience with layering sounds, but the audio came together nicely.

After that, hours of animating video in After Effects. By 5:45 am, I was ready to render the video and pick up some milk for breakfast.

I love how the project turned out – almost exactly like what I had in my mind.

But the best part was Keri and the kids’ laughter when they saw the the video later that morning.

We’re Silly, & We Like it That Way

P.S.  – This is my 300th blog post.  Hurray!

Nine Ways to Wreck Your Kids

It seems that our nation has this one figured out pretty well already, but just in case you’ve missed it, here are nine ways to ruin your kids:

  1. Always expect the worst from your kids.  You’ll eventually find out you’re right.
  2. Give them everything they want.  If you’re consistent with this, you’ll trick your children into thinking that the stuff of this world can buy their happiness.
  3. Don’t discipline your kids.  I’m not just talking about spanking here; I’m talking about time out, grounding, and all other forms of discipline.
  4. Be very cautious about praising your children.  You don’t want them to become proud or feel special about themselves.  Slowly erode their confidence.
  5. Show your kids through your words and actions that they are an inconvenience to your life.  Dwell on the ways that your life would be different – even better – without them.
  6. Use guilt and shame to motivate your children to do what you want them to do.
  7. If you have more than one child, let the kids treat each other with rudeness and disrespect.
  8. Place the responsibility of socializing your kids on either a) the school system, or b) television.  Don’t consider this a personal responsibility.
  9. Place the responsibility of their spiritual development on either a) the church, or b) let them figure this out on their own.  If you’re going to wreck your kids, it’s critical that you not take responsibility here.

Just in case you missed the related posts:

Leading My Kids Toward Jesus

Oh, I love my kids! I love how they are growing and learning, and I love that I get to help direct their lives to Jesus and living for Him without reservations.

One thing that I’ve discovered is that it’s a little bit hard to come by resources that are really great for helping my kids learn about the Bible. Either the stories tend to be poorly written, miss the point, or have lame illustrations. Fortunately, Keri has a collection of books that she and her siblings grew up reading, and they’re fantastic. I don’t personally know about newer editions, but these 1966 Arch Books are my favorite. I read one with the kids every night.

Anybody else have kid resources that you’d recommend for teaching about Jesus and the Bible?

Real-Deal Snowman

Yesterday we had a great day in the snow with the kids. We built a seriously big snowman (almost as tall as me), and we had a great snowball fight.

Field Trip

Yesterday I woke up feeling pretty terrible, and I spent most of the day shivering while wrapped up in a fleece blanket.  But before that, we managed to take a visit to see some newborn lambs at the farm where Keri’s sister works.

Just for the record, baby lambs are even more cute than you might think.