Friday, September 14, 2018

Summertime is over! :-(

It is remarkable how fast summertime just seems to whiz on by -- it's like you blink and (* poof *), it's over. I personally love the lack of schedules, alarms, homework, and other potential drama-inducing problems. This is how I feel during summer break:

We had a great summer; it was nice to have everyone all home again. Besides returning from being away at college, it was also a little different because Delaney had her first part-time job over the summer. She was working Monday -Wednesday full days, and then Thursday a half day with Fridays off. It was a bit of an adjustment for her, but I think the paychecks helped. :-) She started pretty much as soon as she got home from her Freshman year, then didn't stop until the beginning of August right before she was heading back to college. Kyle once again took a class over the summer, this time around it was Health class. Compared to his Gym class last summer, he thought it was a breeze.

Delaney was also playing soccer this summer with the Chicago City team in the WPSL. She thoroughly enjoyed playing soccer with the team, although she definitely did not care for the drive back and forth from Chicago. It was a great way for her to keep her foot on the ball all summer and have fun at the same time.

A flashback photo: this picture is currently hanging in our soccer room. I have always loved this photo; look how little the kids' feet are! This was taken 10 years ago; time just flies.

Speaking of time flying, the ring bearer in our wedding (Kenny's cousin Tyler) got married this summer, too. Wow, how old does THAT make us feel? Look at this cute little guy.

The weekend of June 23rd, we headed up to Michigan for Tyler and Morgan's wedding. The wedding was outdoors with the reception in a nearby tent. They lucked out, the rain stayed away and the sun was shining. It made for quite a warm event, but they had a great day. Kenny snapped this picture right after the ceremony.

Morgan shared a few beautiful photos from her photographer on Facebook as well. I took four of them and had to crop them to fit in a single image. So they aren't quite as lovely as the originals, but the photographer obviously did a wonderful job.

We had Becky, our go-to kitty babysitter, take care of our fur babies while we were gone over the weekend. The kitties aren't entirely sure about her and keep their distance. In fact, Thor pretty much hides from her the entire time. She will usually send us pictures, but she only found Thor this time through the window!  :-)

We also had an uninvited guest in our house this summer, that I definitely could have done without. Look at the size of this guy! (* shudder *) I wish I could say he was the only one. :-(

Birthday Time! There were a few birthdays this month. Our nephew Michael turned 12 years old. Hard to believe!!! And Kenny's dad is now 72 years young, and my dad turned 70 years young!

It was also Babe and Kathe's 49th wedding anniversary this month. Next year will be a big one. :-)

Kenny and his buddies have started playing Dungeons & Dragons again. Usually they have been getting together online to play once in a while, but they planned a weekend this summer that they could get together in person. They met at Timmy's house and had a great time, not only just playing Dungeons & Dragons. They also went to an arcade! :-)

Kenny wasn't the only one playing video games. The kids and I have had a lot of fun playing different video games all summer too. Kyle was playing a lot of Warframe and Rainbow Six Siege among other games, but lately he has been obsessed with the recently released Destiny 2: Forsaken.

Some of the other games we've been playing are LEGO Superheroes 2, Typoman, Hue, and Overcooked 2. The second Overcooked game came out just before Delaney had to go back to school, so great timing there. Delaney was also able to use the money she got from working a soccer camp one weekend to get herself an X-Box system that she could take to school. So for a while, we had two systems to play on. Nice!

The latest one we are trying to finish up is LEGO Worlds. This game is a lot bigger than we originally anticipated. We got it a while ago during a great sale, but we didn't have time to play it then. And when we got it, it was only a single-player game. But now it is set up for 2 players, so that was a pleasant surprise too.

Before we knew it, it was time for Delaney to head back to school. She has to go in early for soccer, even though Wisconsin doesn't start school until after Labor Day. She moved in on Saturday, August 11th. It took us two vehicles to get everything up there. This is what our soccer room looked like right before it was time to leave. That is A LOT of stuff!!!

This year she is in an apartment; she is very excited about it. She is sharing with other students, the main living area, kitchen and bathroom -- but she has her own single this time.  Her room turned out really nice. I think she is happy to be back at school, but she misses the kitties a lot.

When we got back from dropping Delaney off, the fur babies were waiting for us in the window. They aren't used to be alone for so long. :-) They were so happy someone came home.

Once back at school, Delaney was right back into Parkside soccer. They are in a new conference this year with some new uniforms too. Here is a nice article about one of their games that Delaney scored in. She's also been starting and getting a lot of playing time. They even had a trip to Boston to play some games. They flew there and back, got to do some sightseeing, and played some soccer. They even toured Harvard's campus. Here's to a great season for Ranger Women's Soccer!

Then, unfortunately for Kyle, it was time for him to start thinking about school. He is also a sophomore, but in high school of course. First, we had to wean him back to a normal schedule, as he was playing into the wee hours of the morning and then sleeping in past noon. Waking up at 6am for school was quite the change for him! He volunteered a couple of days at the school helping them get chromebooks ready for everyone and with whatever else they needed done. And before we knew it, it was time for school to start! Delaney's didn't start until after Labor Day. Here are their first day of school pics.

Believe it or not, Kenny and I also just celebrated our 23rd anniversary. Can you believe we have been married 23 years? Crazy!

And to finish off this blog, Kyle just got his braces off a couple of days ago.  Yippee!

And with that, we're finished! 

Luv,  Ken, Dani, Dee & Kyle

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