Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Summer Vacation is the best!

Lately, the blog posts seem to only come every few months so it means we have to go back a ways to where we left off. Our last post brings us to our Spring Break! We were fortunate enough that both Delaney's and Kyle's break coincided this year, so everyone was home together. We didn't have any big travel plans this time around. Instead we had some much needed rest, relaxation and down time. There was definitely a lot of sleeping in and laziness (at least for the kids and I -- Kenny, not as much). We also started the LEGO Superheroes 2 game, celebrated Kyle's 15th birthday, and watched Ready Player One. Everyone (yes, including Kenny) had read the book, and we were all anxious to go check out the movie adaption. We all enjoyed it; it was fun catching all the little references throughout. Also, one of Kyle's birthday gifts was a co-op video game called Overcooked. It is a hilarious game that we all had a lot of fun playing together. We quickly discovered that Kenny and I were always the liabilities -- and we had to be spread out to keep the teams balanced.

The latest Marvel movie, Infinity War came out just at the end of April. Everyone was excited to go see it, Delaney ended up seeing it with a friend up in Wisconsin the same time we saw it here. I even put on a Marvel shirt myself! This was me, happy and excited before the movie...

And this was all of us emotionally compromised after the movie. :-(

Delaney had a handful of soccer of soccer games left with Parkside, then finals to study for, and then she was home the second Friday of May! It seems as if she came home with way more stuff than she left, but we somehow made everything work. We stayed up very late getting things organized and then had a bridal shower to attend that Saturday after she got home. Believe it or not, the ring bearer at our wedding is getting married! (Yes, we are old!) They had a beautiful shower at Theo's Steak and Seafood, and their wedding is coming up very soon.

Delaney has been pretty busy this summer with a part-time job and playing with the Chicago City soccer team. She is enjoying playing with the team a lot, not quite so much dealing with the Chicago traffic getting there back and forth. Kyle had to get through a few more weeks of school before his summer break started at the end of May. Kyle's last day as a freshman in high school:


Now that school stuff is over for both kiddos, it feels more like summertime! Yeah!!! It is really nice to have all the studying and deadlines done for a while. Kyle and his buddies are playing a ridiculous amount of video games until the wee hours of the morning with lots of sleeping in. Some more LEGO Superheroes 2 has been accomplished, we are currently at 99.2% or something absurd like that. We just have a bunch of little things to finish up everywhere as well as the achievements to tackle. Kyle does have a class he's taking online this summer (at least it isn't summer gym like last summer); he just started up his Health class this week. So it can't all be fun and games all the time, but working on one online class isn't too big of a deal.

We also have lots of house and organizational projects we are trying to tackle this summer, not sure how many we can actually get to -- but anything is better than nothing. First, the house got a good spring cleaning (it was overdue, so a definite improvement right there). Then we are working on organizing our photos (both digital and printed), with organizing our office and garage high on the list as well. While it may not be your standard fun summer activities, it is so nice to actually get some of that stuff accomplished.

And just this past weekend, we finally made it out to see the movie Solo! It was an enjoyable origin story for Han Solo; Alden Ehrenreich made a great young Han Solo -- the relationship with Han and Chewie was the best.

I'm sure we'll blink and summertime will be over, but we'll definitely make the most of it while we can.

Luv, Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Another post, finally!

Wow, has it really been like 5 months since the last post? Geez! There really never is enough time to do everything you want to do. So... looking back to right after the last post, Kyle went to his first high school dance with Madison; they attended the Homecoming dance. I'm not sure either one of them were exactly thrilled with the whole "dance experience," but hopefully it won't be their last one.

Kyle seems to have adjusted to high school pretty well. He still has a big gang of buddies that he is always playing online video games with on the X-Box (including Madison). And while Kyle is getting through his first year of high school, Delaney is getting through her first year at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. Skipping over a mild case of homesickness at the beginning, Delaney is really enjoying her college experience and doing very well in her school too.

And, of course, still playing soccer! She got the #22 (like someone else that we know), so that is pretty neat. She was able to play in every game this season. They didn't have a great record, but have something to build on for next year! They are moving into a new conference next season which includes playing Purdue Northwest. She even has a spring game in Hammond if anyone wants to come on out and see the Rangers play -- Saturday, April 7th.

In October, we had a family wedding to attend on Kenny's side of the family. They had a beautiful outdoor wedding at the same location where the reception was. It was a gorgeous old barn, renovated for events. They had lovely weather; everything was so pretty!

Then of course, Christmas was coming up. It was time to start getting things ready. Literally, my most stressful/exhausting/overwhelming time of the year. We tried to keep our shopping to a minimum, and we handmade a lot of gifts this year: ornaments, sewing projects, etc. It was a lot of work, but we were able to get everything done with a big sigh at the end when it was all over.

Also in December, it was time for the new Star Wars movie: The Last Jedi. A friend of Kenny's got us tickets to go see it right when it opened on the IMax. Sooooo awesome! Kyle invited Madison to come as well. Everyone thought the show was great, and the audience participation was pretty intense. :-)

Kenny's work had a dress-up Christmas lunch. His department's theme was National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. They were the hit of the event!  

Then it was time for all the Christmas get-togethers!!! Family and friends!!! Lots of food and presents and good times!!!

While it is always nice to get together with everyone, it is just as nice to have it all behind you and enjoy the rest of the Christmas vacation. Delaney's break was very long too! We read a lot, watched movies, played games and finished up several LEGO games to 100% as well: LEGO Dimensions, LEGO Undercover City and LEGO Ninjago. It was nice to have some down time and just have fun. Looking forward to more down time and LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 for Spring Break!!!

Delaney has been making some beautiful string art projects too. Here are a few she has made recently. (Thor REALLY wanted to help with the strings, but he was thwarted.)

February 28th was Rare Disease Day; a day that has become important to our family. Without awareness and fund raising for LAM, I wouldn't have my medication to slow down my illness. A huge, heartfelt thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever donated to the LAM Foundation. We can't thank you enough!

We've also had birthdays!!! First Loki turned a big 4 in October; it's hard to believe that we have had the little guy for four years. Delaney was at school for his birthday, so they were both missing each other a lot.

Then Delaney had her 19th birthday (* gasp *) in January, and Kenny and I both had our birthdays in February as well. My friend RuthAnn came up to celebrate with me on my birthday, and we had a great time just hanging out and making some projects. I made my first mini quilt!

Later this summer, my favorite singer Dierks Bentley will be releasing his ninth studio album: The Mountain. With the preorder, I received this cool necklace.

On a much sadder note, my grandmother Imogene just passed away. It wasn't a shocking event, she was a little over 96 -- she enjoyed a long and full life. She had been slipping away the last few years and didn't even remember who we were anymore. Instead of confusing her, when we visited her with my mom we didn't try to keep explaining to her who we were... rather we just enjoyed her company. In a way, I felt the grandmother I remember had been gone a while now. The grandmother I remember was so full of life -- always busy cooking, cleaning or working on her yard. Her house was always immaculate; from the basement to the attic, to every cabinet and pantry -- always spick and span! Family meals there always left you way too full, and there was always food left over. After both of my children's births, she came up and helped us out. Not all that much with cooking and cleaning (although I am sure she wanted to!), but instead with just holding my babies, rocking them to sleep, taking them for walks in their stroller -- just giving them love and attention so I could get things done and have a little break. It was such a blessing. My father's parents passed away when I was very young, and her husband Cecil passed away a little before Delaney was born. It's somber to think that all my grandparents are no longer with us.

 Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle

Monday, September 25, 2017

Summer Over and School in Full Swing!

As always, our summer seemed to go by way too fast. This summer, Kyle participated in Summer Gym, too -- that certainly cut into our summer free time. He had it from 7am to noon every day from June 12th to July 19th. Now that he is done, he has all his gym credits he needs for high school! So while it was definitely an inconvenience and really screwed up our summertime sleeping in, it is so nice for him to not have to deal with daily PE at school and be done with it.

Then right after Summer Gym, Kyle had no time to celebrate before having to go to the orthodontist and get his braces. He's been doing very well with them, he should get them off as his sophomore year is about over. So while this hasn't been the most fun summer for Kyle, he accomplished a lot.

Delaney had a fun opportunity to intern in Chicago through her new UWP Soccer team for a week at the end of July/beginning of August. She was assisting the company that provided the transportation for the MLS All Star Game. She got to stay at the downtown Hyatt, meet a lot of MLS players, drive Audis around, and really enjoyed her experience. She told them that whenever they need help again, to give her a call.

Then it was time for Delaney to move in to UWP for college early since she is an athlete. So on Saturday, August 12th we loaded up the car with all her supplies and headed up to Wisconsin. She is living in a suite style building. There is one area for four suites; each suite has two bedrooms with their own bathroom and shower.


Kenny and I couldn't get over how much room she had.  She and her roommate even have their own walk-in closet and 15' ceilings. It is huge! Our rooms while we were in college, seemed barely larger than her walk-in closet.

She has been tackling those bare walls and personalizing her space. She has added some photos, posters and other stuff to make her room a lot more comfy.

She even personalized her laptop!

Kyle started high school on August 17th. It was nice to only have a two-day week to start off. It is so hard to believe that he is in high school!


Delaney's actual classes didn't start until September 5th! We asked for a selfie on her first day of class, and we received this:

Delaney has had 13 games so far, 9 official, with several road trips: to Minnesota, Missouri and Evansville IN. She isn't a huge fan of the bus trips, but it is nice she is getting some playing time. Kenny has actually gone to a few of the games, but it is awesome that the ones he can't attend we can view online.

It is hard to believe that it is almost October already!

Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Playing Catch Up: End of School, Graduation, and More!

Yes, it has been quite a while since our last post. We have been overwhelmed with end of school, high school senior activities and everything else going on. We left the last post with Kyle's lovely cast and fracture. While dealing with the cast at school was definitely not ideal, Kyle really wasn't all that upset to be out of PE at school. He got to report to the library for that class and read (which, as you know for Kyle, is certainly not a burden). He basically read about a book a day, with that extra reading time. I gave up on trying to keep up with him, instead, I was trying to give him as many series as I could think of that I had already read! When it was time to get his cast off, he was actually almost upset to have to go back to PE! Thankfully, though, he did get it off just in time to enjoy Spring Break without it.

Since this was Delaney's last high school Spring Break, we let her pick the destination. She basically wanted to go somewhere when it was warm and thought Florida and amusement parks sounded fun. She also invited a friend to hang out with her for the week, Shelby. So, off to Florida and Universal Studios we went. The weather was absolutely gorgeous; I think it was the best weather we have ever had on vacation. For the most part, we kept everything low-key: hanging by the pool, getting a pedicure, playing miniature golf, and beach time.

We even forced the kids to take a photo in their Captain America pajamas (go, Cap!).

It wasn't all just laid back; however, we had a great time at Universal Studios too. Everyone went together for one day, then Delaney and Shelby went back for several more. 

We got to check out all the Harry Potter stuff, the new King Kong and Transformers ride, and so much more. It was a blast!

Delaney and Kyle even unexpectedly met up with their cousins while checking out the Harry Potter stuff! What a surprise!!!

The last time we went to Universal was back in 2013. Check out the difference a few years can make. Crazy, right?

Kyle had his birthday on our road trip, too. He is now 14 years old! (* gasp *) Then a few weeks after we got home, Delaney had her senior prom. She and Phoenix went together, and they had a great time. After prom, they went with another couple and spent the remainder of the weekend at the beach up in St. Joseph, Michigan (with their dad for supervision, of course).

While Delaney was trying to finish up her senior year, she still had soccer games with Three Lions as well as University of Wisconsin Parkside events preparing for college. She was crazy busy! With UWP, she had an overnight with her soccer team, placement tests, an orientation day, and her "official" signing to play soccer for them. Delaney is now finished with Three Lions and ready to be a UWP player next year. Thanks to Mike, Graeme and all the Three Lions United family for several years of great soccer!

We were also up to our eyeballs in end-of-year school stuff: awards nights, taking senior pictures, getting ready for Delaney's graduation from high school, etc. Kyle won his last middle school award for reading the most books (Delaney got this twice and Kyle all three years).

Even though it didn't seem like it would EVER arrive, it was finally the last day of school -- well, half day actually. Hard to believe, but Delaney is officially out of high school. They both had fun after school plans. Delaney and her friends went mini golfing and out to lunch, then spent the day after in St. Joseph at the beach again, while Kyle had an end-of-school party at a friend's house. Good times!

Then it was finally here! Delaney's official graduation ceremony from high school; it is so hard to believe we are the daughter of high school graduate.

Delaney and I were a bit overwhelmed tackling the senior pictures. But we got through it all, and she got some great pictures. We ended up making her a couple of albums at Shutterfly. I made her a senior pictures album, while she made a senior year album documenting her last year of high school. We were frantically trying to get everything done and submitted, so it would be back in time for her graduation party. It was soooo nice to get it all finished!

Once the photo books were off for printing, it was now time to get ready for the graduation party. Delaney baked a ton of cupcakes, went through a ton of photos, and helped set up the backyard -- everything turned out wonderful! We had tons of help, too. Kenny's sisters and niece helped so much with the food and keeping the party running smoothly. We definitely couldn't have done it all without them.

Then, of course, Phoenix had his graduation party as well as Parker. And she and Phoenix have been graduation party hopping ever since.

Here is Delaney and Parker, from preschool to now:

We are enjoying what's left of the summer; there is not much left!

Ken, Dani, Delaney & Kyle