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


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Soccer, Holidays, and More!

How can so much time go between posts so easily? I guess there is always something going on, right? Well, going back to where we finished last time, the Fall Sports Awards were coming up. Hard to believe that this is Delaney's Senior year. She's come a long way from her freshmen year, earning the Rookie of the Year:

We are so proud of Delaney’s accomplishments during her Senior Year! The best part was to see the team re-capture the DAC and win Sectionals; next year, they can “Defend the Crown!” Delaney was selected to the DAC All-Conference 1st Team and was named the MVP of the Conference! She was named to the All-District 1st Team and played in the Junior/Senior Showcase in Indy. She was also recognized by both newspapers as the Post-Tribune All-Area 1st Team and the NWI Times All-Area 2nd Team. She was named as an ISCA All-Academic player. Finally, she was selected as the Team MVP and received the Team Captain Award (along with Sam!).

The team, parents and coaches helped the Lady Bulldogs have a great four years. Delaney loved playing with her fellow seniors; it was an amazing experience and she is so happy to have shared it with them. They’ll forever be Lady Bulldogs!

Since Delaney was selected to the All-District Team, she was invited to participate in the Junior/Senior Showcase Showcase.  And it was COLD!

The showcase included three games and Delaney had a couple goals and assists in them.  The best part about the weekend was the warm banquet at the end!  It was a wonderful celebration of soccer. Delaney had a great way to finish up her high school soccer career - she was selected as All-State, Honorable Mention!

We will be trading in our RED for GREEN next year as she will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha! We are looking forward to following the next chapter in her playing career!

Kenny had a holiday get-together with his buddies where they had to dress up as a character from a holiday movie. It took some convincing from us, but we finally persuaded him to go as Bad Santa. Since we hadn't seen the movie before, we had to do some research on his character so he could pull it off -- but it was a hit! He wore his dad's old Santa costume, and the wear and tear on it just helped pull the character together. Add in some alcohol, poor behavior and bad language... and he ended up winning the contest!!!

Unfortunately, everyone in the family got sick at one point or another. Kyle had a slight cold with a cough, but he didn't end up missing any school. He got it the easiest. I got what seemed like a never-ending cold that kept going away and coming back. After I got tired of the yo-yo'ing, I finally saw my doctor and he gave me some great meds. He thought I may have been starting to develop pneumonia, so probably a good thing that I finally went in. Kenny waited too long to get in to see a doctor, and he DID develop pneumonia. He got some great meds too, and he finally started feeling better. And saving the worst for last, Delaney got nailed. She had a horrible flu that just wouldn't stop. She had a fever, felt horrid, cough, sore throat... was just miserable. She ended up missing two weeks of school before break, and she was so behind in her schoolwork. It was definitely not a good time for her; she's NEVER missed that much school before (and doesn't want to ever again).

Then it was time for the holiday madness to begin. We decided to showcase our fur babies in our holiday card this year (Kenny had no say in the design process). The kitties were less than fond of their elf and Santa hats, complete with ties and bow-ties -- but it was all worth it.

Kenny was lucky enough to snag two premiere tickets to the new Star Wars Show, Rogue One at the IMax theater. So he and Kyle got to see the movie the night it came out, and they loved it! Delaney and Phoenix saw it shortly thereafter, and it took some time to figure out when I could finally see it. But we finally find a moment and ended up going to the IMax to see it with my dad and Delaney. It got rave reviews from everyone!!!

And since Delaney's 18th birthday was coming up, Sam took her to Chicago for the day to celebrate. They had a great time. They went sightseeing, had some yummy food, and even got to figure their way out from an escape room in The Great Escape Game. They escaped the Gold Rush room in time to win and achieved stickers; they want to go back and do another one (they highly recommend going there).

Then it was time for New Year's Eve! It always seems impossible for the year to be over. We had our traditional Benich Game Night. We play as many games as we can, as late (or early) as we can. The cats had fun hanging out with us too; we moved their kitty condo close to where we were playing. We ended up staying up until 5:15am in the morning. We played a total of 19 games, with the lead switching back and forth a few times. And drum roll... for the first time ever, Delaney pulled off the win!

It is hard to believe, but Delaney turned 18 this year!!! Aaaaaaah! We had fun looking through a bunch of old pictures from when she was little too:

For her actual birthday, we opened gifts up here at home. Kyle had fun giving her a bag of 18 gifts, all of which were individually wrapped. It took a while to get through all of those. Then we had a yummy meal at The Lighthouse with all the grandparents. Delaney later celebrated with Phoenix; he took her to Tequila Restaurante.

Turnabout was really early this year, so it seemed like things were just rushing into one another. Which meant we were scrambling to get her dress shortened and some straps added in time. But we finally finished everything, and they had a great evening together. (This was their 6th dance together!!!)

Delaney and her friends had an ice-skating outing planned to celebrate Sam's birthday. They went out to Valparaiso and had a great time. They also stopped at a cupcake place in Valpo nearby, and enjoyed huge and delicious cupcakes after their ice-skating.

Ironically, the day before on January 12th (a half day of school), an incident occurred. On that fateful day, Kyle was happily slipping around on the ice with his friends on the way home when he fell the wrong way. He really hurt himself, and a neighbor saw he was hurting and was kind enough to take him home. We were hoping that it would just be a small injury and resolve itself with some rest... but no luck. We took him to the pediatrician, who thought it was just a sprain and recommended crutches and rest. The crutches were problematic for Kyle, especially with school, and he probably didn't use them enough. His pain wasn't going away, so we finally went back to the doctor. She recommended we see an orthopedic doctor, where he received an x-ray and discovered he had a slight fracture, close to his growth plate. So... he now has a cast.

He'll need to wear it for a few weeks, then get x-ray'ed again. Hopefully it will be healed by then, and it can be removed. Until then, after a few more days at school with crutches... Kenny was able to find him a scooter. He loves it; he gets along so much better at school with it. With luck, it will make the remaining weeks go by a lot smoother for him.

Although things aren't as bad compared to Kyle's injury; we've had a tough couple months. We had to get a tree service to take down our dead tree in the backyard before it fell on the neighbor's pool, our TV receiver stopped working (it's hard to play Lego Dimensions with no sound!), the microwave bit the dust, the dryer stopped drying, and we signed the paperwork for Kyle to get braces.  To add insult to injury, we found out that St. Joseph's College -- and the computer lab where we met, of course -- is closing down!

Let's hope the worst of the year is behind us and the rest of 2017 is awesome!

Ken, Danielle, Delaney & Kyle