Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 2017 - Its been a busy 3 months!

Hello again everyone.  Wow has it been a busy three months!  Sorry for the long wait between blog posts, but the arrival of Baby J has kept us hard at the parenting game.  Not as much time for blogging with a newborn.  Finally found a minute to take a breather and get a post up, so here we go!

Have to start with the biggest news first, of course! Chinch and I welcomed our third kiddo into the world.  Sweet little Baby J.  He came in September, just a few days after his due date. He was our heavy-weight champion child.  Biggest yet!  Topped 8lbs :D

The newborn phase is necessarily tough.  Babies are demanding, and they only have so many ways to communicate.  That said, Baby J has been pretty great.  He's sleeping in his bed (some) and took to breast feeding like a champ!  That was a fun change of pace.  Though, it makes me fairly useless.  That said I get my snuggles in, and give Chinch a break from 24/7 baby time.

Grandpa Butch stopped in to see his newest Grandkiddo.  Fun for him to spend some time.  He's out in California now working with a greenhouse facility there.  Its a long way to Santa Barbara, so we cherish every moment we get.  He was awful smitten with Letty Bean!

Thanksgiving dinner at Gigi's gave Grandma G a great chance to see Baby J.

Now that we have three kiddos we have to play Zone-Defense.  That means sometimes I am taking Letty Bean out for the same kind of adventures the Kid and I used to have.  He's in school now, too busy for dear old Dad.  That's okay, Letty Bean and I had a good time at the Bass Pro Shop!  She loves to see the "bish".  While the weather held we would take walks down to the creek in our neighborhood.  She loves to toss "Ocks" into the "Coll wawa".

Letty Bean couldn't resist stopping at the "Bahtsy" bench (her word for Fox).  She has a few stuffed foxes that are on loan from the Kid Genius that she cherishes.  This girl loves her stuffed animals.

Christmas time is here.  The garland is hung with the stockings.  LB is real keen on which stocking is hers.

The Kid Genius and I aren't without a few adventures.  One rainy Saturday we headed up to Utica to Grizzly Jacks.  We were originally intending to hike around Starved Rock but the weather was just too rainy and gloomy.  Too bad, because it was the warmest November day we had.  But we made the most of it.  We met our friends Nate and Sarah-Eva there.  Before they arrived the Kid made a new friend, Tinley (pictured above).  Within minutes of meeting they were running around and having a blast.  He was so sad when she had to leave.

The Kid Genius is living up to his nickname.  He continues to crush academic standards for his age.  He's 5years and 4 months.  Already he can read almost anything, is writing well, doing basic addition and subtraction reliably - and learning Chess.  He can set up the pieces correctly every time, and knows the basic rules.  Strategy is still not there, but that is to be expected.  He loves to do puzzles and play a game or two.  Love watching his gears turn!

Here's the crew!  Love these kiddos.

Celebrated a small personal milestone as well.  I finished up my first "Arcannan" campaign.  For those who don't know I am a huge nerd. I am the Dungeon Master for this rowdy bunch, in a homebrew world called "Arcannan".  We run Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.  Pictured above from left to right are "Sir Arthur Drake" Ascendant-Paladin of Helios (played by Neighbor Mark), "Danica Chase" Rogue Extraordinaire (played by Suzanna) and "Graham Aleson" *deceased* Warrior Bard (played by Wes).  They defeated the villainous Fire Giant "King Zalto, Wielder of the Sword of Kings Reforged" in what was almost a 2 year campaign.   It was quite the accomplishment, and a fun time!

That is about it for me. I'll try to post more regularly going forward now that we are settling into a routine.  For more info/pictures you can always check out:

Stay Healthy!

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August 2017

August seems to have come and gone faster than a Lamborghini going down the highway at 150mph.  That reference will have meaning by the end of this post :P  Here is my recap!

First up is the Kid Genius and I's trip up North!  This was our second Father/Son trip, this time accompanied by "Uncle" Mark - one of my best friends and business partners.  As always, the Kid did great.  Even giving the thumbs up during the long car ride there (and back).  We had great weather, and had a ton of fun:

The water was perfect!  The Kid even had fun jumping off of Great-Grandma's new pontoon boat.  No worries, we were in the shallows where he could (barely) touch.  

The days were busy, so often we had to take evening rides.  The air was just starting to get a little chill, but the water was warm enough to make it worthwhile.  And oh man, those sunsets on Whitefish!

"The Boys" toweling off before heading back to the house.

As we often do, we headed to Hayward on our Rainy Day.  The Kid had never seen the "big fish", so that was a thrill.  He wanted to take a picture next to every big fish we could find... I'll stick to the highlights here.

A trip to the Scoop!  Every year I fear that when we come back next year that this place will be closed.  The Scoop has been in Minong for as long as I can remember.  Literally since I was a little boy and first started coming up.  And it was there long before that.  Cedar Crest ice cream is awesome, and to enjoy it in a place that holds so many memories?  Priceless.  I miss the old wood-paneled decor, but I understand that everything changes.

We managed to make it out to Pattison State Park this trip.  WI's tallest water fall!  The Kid was a champion, hiking up and down those hills with nary a complaint.  He's getting so big!

Last on the agenda for August was the Kid's 5th Birthday!  Which just so happened to coincide with the Total Solar Eclipse.  He and I picked up "Uncle" Luke and "Aunt" Rachel - and off to St. Claire MO for a fun filled day of driving, splash pad, and star-gazing (heh heh).  We had clear skies and a great view of Totality.  The shadows were super cool, and the whole event was pretty awe inspiring.  Thanks God for planning this on my Son's 5th Birthday.  Super cool of you.  It was also great to see Luke, Rachel and their daughter.

The Kid also got to have a Donut Party!  Yum.  Wrangling these 8 kiddos for 2 hours was fun too :P

See!  I told you it would make sense.   Though I didn't drive it.  That car has a higher net worth than I do, I was nervous just sitting in it!  But a special shout out to J. Lee - a good man who let this broke chump gaze on the awesome for a few minutes ;)  You're the man J!

Lovie also got to get behind the wheel!  She was pretty thrilled.  The pedestrians scrambling out of her way, not so much ;)

Stay Healthy!
"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 2017

July has come, and is nearly gone.  But what a great 5 weeks since my last Blog Post.  I am most definitely a child of summer. There have definitely been a few downs over the past 5 weeks (chronic disease diagnosis, starting new meds, and quitting alcohol) but for now at least the ups out-number the downs :D

Here are some of the highlights!

The Kid and I continue to have our various adventures.  Its fun that the Kid is old enough now to appreciate this.  We go on walks, cruise to various parts of Peoria.  Sometimes stop and grab a treat.  Here we hit up Grandview Drive on a gorgeous day for a walk with a view.

We hit up the Heights as well, for a walk down the business district.

We felt particularly adventurous one Sunday, heading over to Champaign and Monticello.  A stop at Papa Dels was in order.

Terrible picture, but a fun moment hitting up the carousel at the mall in Champaign.  The Kid has a memory like mine, and still talks about this place from before he turned 3.

The new "Nick's Park" in Monticello is very nice.  The Kid Wonder was especially excited to climb on the faux rock formations.  Aunt Sarah was in town and joined in on the fun.

The heart of our trip was visiting Grandma and Grandpa, both of whom joined us at the park.  Always good to see them!

A landmark from my childhood - the old Allerton Library horse.  The Library has since moved, but the old brick building and statue remain.

As you might have noticed, the Kid has taken to refusing to smile for pictures.  Not sure where he gets all this orneriness from, I assume its from his mother's side.

Kid Sister!  Always fun to see the Monkey herself.  She's a little too old to climb around on my back anymore (earning her that nickname) but we're still buddies.  Wish I got to see her more.

I don't remember where this was taken, but he was happy and I wanted to capture that.

The Kid was dead set on seeing the fireworks - even if it meant staying up until Midnight (by the time we got home).  It was fun time and I am glad I stuck it out with him.  We learned about freedom, and pride in what is still the greatest nation on Earth.

A generous do-gooder even donated some sparklers for the Kid.  He was THRILLED.  I will say, to my likely everlasting regret we cut the show short.  Peoria has an awesome fireworks show, but it is LONG.  It was almost 10:30 when they ended.  The Kid and I were fading fast.  The show was going strong so I asked him if he wanted to watch while we headed for the car.  He said yes - but I think he agreed because he thought it was what I wanted (it was).  Not 5 minutes into our walk the Big Finale started... and from where we were in our walk back there was a big tree in the way.  My impatience cost the Kid that moment.  I learned a lesson then - stick it out.  I feel bad for cutting his first fireworks show short.  Won't make that mistake again, and hopefully we will make up for it next year.

After the Kid and I "discovered" the Grandview Dr walk, we decided to do it as a family.  Gorgeous day and a gorgeous walk!

On a sad note, my good friend Ben is leaving central Illinois for a new job in Cleveland.  He's a great dude that I already don't get to see often enough (when he lives 40 minutes away).  The boys decided to have a going away get together.   We met in Bloomington for dinner and a Cornbelter's game.  Weather was perfect, company was great.

I can't believe it, but it had been over a year since I had spent some time with my buddy Squeege.  This guy here is one of my best and oldest friends.  It was great to reconnect - and we planned a trip to see the Eclipse in August!

Godspeed Ben!  We're rooting for you in your new position.  I know you'll be awesome and make the most of it.  Cleveland is up and coming, take advantage.

This guy...  Another one of my oldest and bet friends: Hart.  Probably the biggest baseball fan among us.

We also took our second family trip Up North!  Our first stop is in Lacon IL for some ice cream and a walk.  Taking a moment to stretch our legs, we visited the memorial park.  Pardon the Kid's lack of reverence.

Lovie (new nickname) was a water-baby this trip.  She had a blast in the sand.  We were on vacation at the same time as my cousin and his family.  Lovie was the youngest (besides a newborn) and thought she could do everything the older kiddos could do - often to hilarious results.  She loved jumping into the lake, wading in the lake, and throwing sand.  But to be fair, who doesn't!?

Fun in Duluth!

My cousin Nick, his wife Nicole and their kiddos.  This is a busy crew, with four children, all around the Kid's age.  He made good friends and had good fun.   This was during our trip to Duluth on a rainy day.

Another trip out to the Lighthouse.

I couldn't believe it as it was happening, but the Kid Wonder braved the inner-tube!

Nick and I watching the kiddos on the inner-tube.

Lovie was absolutely fascinated by Nick and Nicole's newest little one.  "Beebee!" she would exclaim :)

Oh Kid Wonder - again with the faces.  Gotta kick that habit.  This was our traditional good-bye picture with Grandma. Grandma Letty is the hostess with the mostest for sure.  What a treasure to spend time with her.  We love you Grandma.

And with that, our trip was done.  We stopped off at Pirate Cove in the Dells for a chance to do some mini-golf and stretching of our legs.  Couldn't resist a pirate selfie!

Until next time, stay healthy :)

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26