Monday, December 9, 2013

It is December already!!!

Our last post started with Halloween pictures, and here it is now December!  The time flies by so fast!!!

On Saturday, November 23rd we had a 40th birthday celebration!  Kenny's younger sister, Kristen, hit a milestone birthday.  We had a great time, eating and playing games -- all the kids were hilarious when we were playing Apples to Apples as well as Guesstures.  Then we finished off the night with a round of Trivial Pursuit (just the adults), so everyone was paired off and the winner was: Babe and Kathe!

Delaney filmed some awesome shots with her phone while we were playing Guesstures (a bit surreptitiously), and Kenny made this awesome little video to share:

Then on Thanksgiving Day, Kenny first had his Annual Turkey Bowl (Delaney couldn't play this year, she's still resting her back).  They had five teams, and the winning team was... Kenny's!  Great job, guys!  Kenny's master plan was to run off some calories in order to make room for all the food he was going to eat later.  :-)

And on to some very exciting news, something that Delaney has wanted since she was a little girl... a new kitten!  That's right, we have a new member in the Benich family.  His name is Loki, and he's spoiled rotten. Delaney did a great job getting us pictures to share!









He loves finding little places to hide in, and we find him in the strangest places, for example INSIDE our couch.  :-)


But he's still just a little kitten, so for all his rambunctious behavior... he certainly sleeps a lot!  One of his favorite sleeping spots is on top of Delaney.



Then believe it or not, it was time to decorate for Christmas!  Kenny, as always, did the tedious job of putting the trees all together.  Then it was time to trim the trees.  Kyle and I decorated the main tree.  (Delaney said that I was keeping an eye on Loki in this picture.)


Kenny only puts on the important ornaments:


While Delaney was assigned the soccer tree this year:

And, of course, we had our new little helper:


Ta-dah!!!  Our beautiful Christmas trees:



Keeping with the Christmas spirit, Kyle has been learning some fun new Christmas songs on the guitar.  I've been trying to finalize our holiday shopping list and finish everything up, and both kids are counting down the days of school left until Christmas break (as of today, Monday the 9th -- 9 more days).

Kyle also got to spend the night at his cousins' house and go to a holiday party the next day.  Here is a picture of Michael and Kyle:

Ready or not, the holidays are definitely coming!

Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Halloween, Family Pictures, and More!

It has apparently been since before Halloween that we posted last! So I have to start out with the Halloween pictures, because the kids helped select and make their own costumes this year. Delaney went ahead keeping the nerd theme going this time with Nerds candy, while Kyle went all out with Minecraft as Steve riding a pig.  We even found a Darth Vader costume on clearance last year for Kenny, that we surprised the kids with -- Kyle gave it a big thumbs up!

I think their costumes turned out great!  Unfortunately, there was also a lot of work involved for me, so I'm not so sure how excited I'll be next year if they want to "make their own costumes" again.  We'll see.  Maybe with time I'll forget, right?

Here's a front and back view of Dee's costume:


And here's a couple of shots of Kyle's costume:


His costume was a tad cumbersome when moving around, but it was definitely unique.  He got lots of compliments while out trick-or-treating, even a "best costume seen all night" from a passerby.  Awesome!

He got his picture taken with his Dad and his PaPa too:


The kids are still enjoying some of their Halloween candy (occasionally).  :-) 

Kenny decided we needed some more family pictures taken, and he wanted us to get out to Lemon Lake before the leaves dropped.  So on Sunday, November 3rd, we made out way out to Lemon Lake.  It was a bit nippy, but thankfully not quite as cold as it has been lately.  Since the kids are older, taking these pictures aren't quite as painful as before (but Kyle still only lasts so long before he is incapable of holding still and smiling anymore).  Even so, I think we got some nice shots while we were there.  We're going to update a few photos around the house with some of these too.







Kyle has been going through books like crazy.  It's actually been kind of hard keeping him stocked with books here lately.  He now has over 500 AR points so far this year.  He's on a roll!  He's also been helping with the After School Reading Club that Solon is running.  It pairs up kids who are struggling a bit with reading and taking AR tests with good readers in the school.  This last time, I guess one of the much younger kids was a little stressed to read with someone he didn't know.  The librarian said that she had gone on about Kyle's reading accomplishments earlier before the club started, so she then explained to him that he was going to be reading with Kyle.  And I guess he was like, THE Kyle?, so he sat down next to him and was so pleased to read to him.  Isn't that cute?!?

Delaney's Crown Point soccer for her freshman year officially came to an end.  Since our last post was their sectional win, I'll start with how the rest of their season went.  They went on to Regionals and won their first game against Hammond High 9-0.  Then they played Valparaiso in their second Regional game (they had beaten them earlier in the season 3-2), and they just couldn't quite get it and lost 0-1.  It was a heartbreaking loss for the seniors (their crying made Delaney want to cry), and their season ended.  They still had a great season, winning 13 games and earning the 2013 Sectional title!

Last night, Crown Point High School had their Fall Sports Awards Program.  Delaney is now officially a Letterman!  She was a Scholar Athlete and also selected as Rookie of the Year for her team.  She finished the season with 10 goals and 6 assists.  Coach had the three sophomores and Delaney (a freshman) up front; they had accounted for half the goals this season!  Delaney was also an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Times All-Area Girls Soccer Team.  Great job, Dee -- we are so proud of your accomplishments!  It will be exciting to watch next year's team and the rest of the players step up next year.  Can't wait!


All the CP Scholar Athletes were given a t-shirt for their accomplishment, and this year the percentage of athletes who earned the t-shirt was 50.4%!  Over half of the CP Fall athletes earned it, amazing!  Each year that percentage has just kept rising, it was up last year from 47%.  They had all the Scholar Athletes stay for a picture, which we missed, but they tweeted it out:

They even had trouble fitting all the kids in the picture!  I think Delaney may be cut off on the right side!  These athletes include: Boys - Football, Cross Country, Soccer and Tennis; Girls - Volleyball, Cross Country, Soccer, Golf and Cheerleading.  The kids have an intense schedule during their season, so what an accomplishment!

Right after her Crown Point season ended, she started practicing with her Three Lions team again.  They were playing together in the Indianpolis College Showcase tournament on November 9th and 10th.  They hadn't played together obviously in a while, and they were playing some tough teams.  They tied one and lost two, and Delaney got a couple of goals.  After that, we decided it was time to shut her down for a bit.  Her back is still hurting from way back in May, when she was flipped over during a Three Lions game on a breakaway (a foul was called).  She's gone to therapy once, but it didn't seem to completely solve the problem.  So this time she is taking a break, allowing her muscles a chance to heal and going to therapy again.  Hopefully this will take care of it!

Last, but not least, the kids and I are HUGE Nathan Fillion fans now.  We watched Firefly and Serenity on Netflix, and now Delaney and I are working our way through Castle.  We've seen season 1 and 2, hoping to watch season 3 over Thanksgiving break.

If you haven't seen them, you are so missing out!  LOL

Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Soccer, Reading and More!

We'll start off with some exciting news!  Delaney's Crown Point team won their sectional!  With those games, their record is now 12-5-1.

If you can't tell from the grin in the second picture, she is very excited with their achievement.  Their first sectional game was against Lowell; they won 6-1.  Delaney was mentioned in the article about the game.  There was even a nice picture of her included with the article too:

Their championship sectional game was against Kankakee Valley; the final score was 2-1.  The girls played hard, and they were rewarded with the 2013 Sectional Championship title.  Here is the article for that game.  Delaney's family came out in full force to cheer her on!  She had her grandparents, aunts, and cousins all in the stands as well as a few of Kenny's soccer buddies -- Adam, Pat and Mark.  Thanks to everyone for taking the time to come see Delaney play!  Kenny even snapped a picture of me cheering Delaney on:

Tomorrow their first Regional game is going to be at Valparaiso vs. Hammond High at 5:00pm.  The Valparaiso Soccer Stadium is located at 1600 Roosevelt Road, next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School.  Here is an article talking about the upcoming Regional games in the area.  Very exciting!

And as many of you know, I have LAM (a rare, progressive lung disease).  I usually keep it out of our family posts, as we have a separate area for LAM updates and fundraising, but sometimes I like to share in the spirit of education.  :-)  For the lady who said I was "lucky" because I got a ride to the soccer fields to one of Delaney's games.  I was polite and didn't say anything, but I have to say that "lucky" is not how I would describe it.

As a friend nicely posted in response to our Facebook post regarding this same topic, please remember that not everyone's physical problems are visible.  It took years for me to get a diagnosis; several doctors were stumped!!!

Kenny attended the ICE (Indiana Computer Educators) Conference in Indianapolis for a few days, from October 9-11.  Kenny said it was a great experience, and he brought back a lot of ideas to help Hammond's teachers.  He was there with a group from the Hammond school system:

And he even shared a quick picture of one of his classes one morning to me:

Delaney and I thought this was great, because we're always telling him how sweet Pinterest is.  :-)

Last, but certainly not least, Kyle got an awesome shout out in the Solon newsletter from Mrs. McCarroll, the librarian at Solon.   He apparently finished reading all of them before she did!  This is his second year reading all 20 Hoosier books.  Great job, Kyle!!!  He's almost to 300 AR points too.  Woo-hoo!

Is it really sad that I'm already desperately looking forward to Fall Break?!?

Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle