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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 2017

Summer is here!  Not officially of course, but the summer weather has arrived anyway.  And what fun we have had. The family made the first of two trips to the cabin, and had a lot of fun.  We couldn't have asked for better weather.  5/7 days it was perfect: 75-85 and sunny.  We had one windy day, and one stormy day.  Here are the highlights.

Everything at the Cabin was in ship-shape.  Including our new ship (pontoon boat)!  Grandma Letty is getting a new double-decker this summer, and so her old double-decker has been re-purposed for us.  It started right up without a hitch, and ran great the whole time.

My preferred mode of transportation.

The Kid Wonder got behind the wheel for a while.  We did a few circles and got to know the north end of our lake pretty well.  Gotta start them early!

View from the captain's chair.  

The Kid drying off next to mommy after taking a jump off the side.  It was a bit chilly I think, for him.  He didn't repeat the jump.  Probably more swimming come July.

Letty Bean is never one to let her older brother have all of the fun.  She wanted to get behind the wheel as well and help Daddy steer the ship!

Managed to catch the full moon while we were up there - looked amazing over the lake!

Our lake house is fun and all, but Grandma Letty has more toys and a beach at her lake.  Not to mention chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast!  So we headed a few miles over to her spot for fun.  Letty Bean and Grandma Letty enjoyed spending some time together on the beach :D

The waters of Grandma's lake are just as clear as ours (same watershed).  Grandma's lake is a bit smaller, which meant warmer water.

Pretty amazing to think of the Kid being about the same age I was when I first started playing on that beach.  My mother has a few pictures of me like this.

Not our best picture, but hey, its tradition!

We made a trip to Duluth as well!  Always fun to see Lake Superior.  We also visited the Fresh-Water Aquarium which was neat.  They had an Otter exhibit that was fun to see.  We have otters in our lake occasionally (though haven't seen any yet) and it was cool to show the kids what the animals look like up close.

For our shopping walk Letty Bean got to ride on my back.  She seemed to enjoy it, pointing at various things she would like to have.  She was a pro!

Before we knew it, we were saying goodbye to the lake again.  No worries, we will be back up in July, and then the Kid and I will return with Grandma Polly in August.  Shaping up to be a great summer!

On the way home we hit downtown Eau Claire and the Children's Museum.  A fun stop for the kids and a great way to break up the trip a little bit.  That is all for now. Should have a chance for more pictures later in June.

"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