Monday, March 28, 2011

RUN FOR CONGO - Raising money for a great cause

If you're anything like me, you grew up with a great family, plenty of food, a closet full of clothes, and a warm bed to sleep in. That isn't the case throughout the world, and from what I have experienced in Ethiopia and read about from the Congo, a life like that there may be the exception rather than the norm.

I am running in a 5K on Saturday in Indianapolis that is raising money for women and children of the Congo.  What a fantastic cause that I am excited to support.  If you feel so inclined, please visit this website and donate.  Just a few dollars can go a very long way to towards improving lives of those living in the Congo.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Future Butler Bulldogs

What better way to prepare for the big game that is about to tipoff than by breaking in the new goal.

Parker's best Matt Howard impersonation...

Lleyton showing off his Shelvin Mack-like form....

Addy getting into the act flying high above the rim...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cheap labor.

We decided to invest in a basketball goal for the kids and the boys asked if they could help me dig the hole where the goal will go.  

Who am I to say no?

While they wanted to get outside and help me pour the concrete this morning, Sara convinced them that it would be more fun to stay inside where it was dry and turn themselves into dogs.  From the perspective of the person that was outside mixing and pouring all of the concrete, I agree with Sara. 

Here are our little dogs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We hope you had as nice of a St. Patrick's Day as these kids did.

On the way to school this morning Parker told me that today was the best day of his life.  Why?  Because the leprechaun that he tried to trap last night in our house left him gold chocolate coins and green necklaces (all of which he graciously shared with his siblings).

Details on how to attempt to trap a leprechaun to come...

Bracketology (through the mind of a 4 year old)

With March always comes such great anticipation around our house (at least it used to before Duke potentially ruined Sara’s future enjoyment of this annual extravaganza by narrowly beating her alma mater last year in an epic championship game…I digress).

That being said, the excitement may be a tad bit tapered this year, but there is excitement nonetheless.

I have filled out a bracket for as many years as I can remember. I vividly recall begging and pleading my parents to take us out of school so we could go watch the opening rounds wherever they may be. Our attempts were mostly for not, but we were successful a couple of times and for that I am grateful to mom and dad. I’m looking forward to the day I can do the same for our little ones.

I also look forward to the time when I get to talk the kids out of making silly/dumb/ridiculous decisions like the one I made in the early 90’s. That is when I passed up the opportunity to go with my dad and brother to the Final Four in Minneapolis. Why would I do something so unthinkable? Because I couldn’t bear the thought of missing my class’ overnight field trip to the Cincinnati Zoo (I was young and stupid).

Ladies and gentlemen, that wasn’t just any Final Four, that was the 1992 version which featured my two favorite teams, the Calbert Cheaney led Indiana Hoosiers and a much more svelte Bob Huggins’ led Cincinnati Bearcats (the other two teams weren’t bad either as Duke ended up prevailing over the Fab 5 for Coach K’s second consecutive national championship…not that I remember and am still upset with myself). Oh well, I have been to a few Final Fours since then so that makes up for a little bit.

Back to the topic at hand…

Along with filling out my own bracket each year, I get a real kick out of the kids getting into the action as well. Parker’s bracket this year is pretty legit. Although I would have bet $100 he would have picked UK to win it all, instead he went away from his heart and picked Ohio State.

Lleyton, on the other hand, picked solely with his heart. Who might you think that a 4 year that is less interested in watching sports on TV than his mommy would pick? If you guessed San Diego State you would be correct. Not out of respect for Steve Fisher’s tournament resume. Not because he really enjoyed watching them play this year and is uber-impressed with their 32-2 record. Rather, he picked them because that is where he thinks Diego lives. If you think that is funny, would you believe that his cousin and fellow budding bi-lingual cartoon lover Nick picked the exact same thing…for the same reason. Hilarious.

If there could be National Championship game featuring San Diego State vs. San Dora State, these two wouldn’t know how to contain their excitement. I’m pretty sure Lleyton would pick Dora b/c she has Swiper, who could be a lock down defender.

Let the madness begin!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New favorite website!

I recieved this great email from a family that is trying to make a huge difference in the lives of children in Kamashi, Ethiopia, which is where Parker grew up.

Dear Friends of Kamashi,

As you may have heard by now, our family is starting a Non-Profit Organization called Rivers of Living Water ~ Helping Orphans and Widows in Need ~ James 1:27. It is our desire to be used by God to bring a hope and a future to orphans and widows in Ethiopia. It is the deep desire of our hearts to bring clean water to orphans that have none, but more than that, to bring Living Water to empty and hopeless hearts.

Our first project is the Kamashi Orphanage. We have been in contact with the director via his son and we are working together to help them install a clean water well for the orphanage. As you may know, there are 168 boys, ages 10-20 who live at the orphanage. Most of them, unless adopted, will live out their entire childhood there. There is no clean water available. There was a shallow well put in at one time, but it has run dry. The boys go down to the river to collect dirty water in jugs, then transfer it to large barrels and bring that back to the orphanage. This is their drinking water.

Some have said in unbelief, that this is an impossible dream, but with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

We are asking for your help.

We know that you have a special place in your hearts for the children and people of Kamashi.

Can you commit to PRAY for this project? Pray that no weapon formed against us will prosper.

Right now partnerships are being formed in order to get this job done.

Pray for the Lord to continue to open doors that can not be shut.

We are starting an online campaign to raise awareness and the funds needed to install the well. We have a website and a page on Facebook. If you get a chance, please visit them. Our pre-bid estimate for the well is between US $5000 – $10,000. All monies raised will go into a project fund. As a safeguard, no money will be paid to the orphanage, but will be used to pay the well engineers directly.

Our hope is to organize a mission trip. We would LOVE to have the families of children adopted from Kamashi and those who have served there in the past, to join us in returning to bless the remaining children and people from the village. They are also in need of shoes and clothes. We are hoping to organize a trip at the same time the well will be installed, or shortly after it is completed. This way we can check up on the project and share in the joy of clean water for the children! At that time we would be bringing donated items, shoes, clothes, blankets etc. and hopefully a copy of “The Jesus Movie” in their language. We want to have a church worship service where we worship the Lord, watch the film, and pray for the sick.

Can you please help us?

Can you pray? Pray? Pray? Pray? We need this the most.

Can you help us spread the word? Share our website and LIKE our Facebook page.

Can you help us financially? A tax deductible fund will be available shortly to send donations to on our website.

Can you pray about doing a fundraiser in your area? A 5K run, yard sale, benefit dinner, concert, silent auction?

Can you pray about coming with us to Kamashi later in the year or the beginning of next year?

If you know of other families that have adopted from Kamashi, please SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Thanks so much for your time. I am looking forward to hearing your responses.

Are you in? 
We are. 

Parker in Kamashi

Saturday, March 12, 2011


With the help of quite a cheering section, I completed my first 5K this morning.  After nine weeks of training through subzero temperatures, more than my fair share of snow and ice and very few nice days, wouldn't you know that today was beautiful.  The perfect weather for my first go round with a 3.1 mile race.

Pre-race pictures...

Part of the cheering section.

C25K squad (Beckey, Caitlin and myself)

Post-race picture...

C25K squad back together again.

Next up:  Run for Congo in Indianapolis on April 2.  Dare I say that I am looking forward to it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

World's Best Cake

Today is my 32nd birthday.  We celebrated with dinner at a local pizza place and then we dug into the most delicious cake I have ever eaten.  Sara made an unbelievably decadent chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (all from scratch).

If there is cake in heaven, this is the cake.

Sara and the kids gave me some new running gear which I can't wait to put to good use tomorrow morning during my first 5K.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The millions of kids just like Addy and Parker in Ethiopia need your help. 

If you haven't heard, beginning today, Ethiopia is planning on reducing foreign adoptions by 90%. 

Please take a moment to click on this link and help to hopefully give other children just like Parker and Addy a chance be welcomed into loving families.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

C25K Graduate.

I ran 3.16 miles today!

It was a fight with myself for the approximately 34 minutes it took, but I did it.  Just like all of the other workouts over the past nine weeks, I didn't cheat for a second, I followed the plan, and low and behold I am now able to run 5 kilometers. 

I would be remiss if I didn't again thank Sara's friend/coworker Beckey for motivating me to do this. 

Thank you Beckey.

I am proud to say that C25K is now behind me, but that doesn't mean I am stopping now.  I am pondering which program to tackle next.  I am leaning towards the Bridge to 10K plan, or what the heck, maybe I'll just start a marathon training program (not going to this point).

I am a runner.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sayonara "Februany"

I am happy to report that Matt 2.0 is still going strong, and I don’t expect that change. I am starting to enjoy this exercising thing. Do I enjoy the act of running? No...not yet. I think that day will come.

I have completed 8 weeks of the C25K program and Week 9 should start tonight. When I began this journey two months ago, I struggled through running for 90 seconds. This past week called for three 28 minute runs, and I made it through each one. It wasn’t easy by any stretch, but I made it nonetheless.

What a difference 8 weeks makes.

My weight loss has slowed quite a bit over the last month.  I lost 17 pounds in January and 3 in February…or should I say “Februany”. In January I was very disciplined when it came to what I ate for lunch. The same can’t be said for February. Thanks to my boss’ son-in-law (Jared from Subway) and his employer's month long special where every sub was $5, I found myself eating at Subway far too much. Now you might think based on Jared’s extreme weight loss from eating the sometimes delicious, most of the time not-so-satisfying subs, that Subway would have been a good option for me (much better than the Taco Bell I had eaten most of the time prior to my decision to change my habits a couple of months ago). That may be true if I had been disciplined enough to stick to the 6” subs, but I wasn’t. The foot long buffalo chicken all but reached out and grabbed me each time I walked into the restaurant.

I worked out just as much in February as the month before, but that didn’t translate on the scale (the delicious strawberry cake the kids and I made for Sara probably didn't help either). I guess I could be in the position where I gained weight, so I am happy that 3 more pounds came off last month.

But now March is here. And you know what that brings, my first 5K. As a matter of full disclosure, I do not-so-vividly remember running a 5k when I was a teenager, but that was a long time ago, so please allow me to consider this to be my first.

I haven’t registered for the race yet. I am having a hard to getting myself to pay someone so that I can run 3.1 miles. That is unheard of.  But I am going to do it.

If you happen to be around downtown Cincinnati or Newport on the Levee on the morning of March 12, don’t blink or you might miss me as my blazing speed is carrying me across the Purple People Bridge towards the finish line. Joking of course, as I am just looking to finish, worrying about time will come later.