Friday, September 23, 2016


Here we are hanging out on the front porch.  I was playing guitar and Gridley decided to start dancing. It was so beautiful.  She insisted I play Harlem River Blues by Justin Townes Earl over and over again.  No problem.  such fun.

 For Krista's birthday we sent her away to Boston to have a girls weekend with Hillary.  they had a great time.  Lots of long walks and wine.  time on the beach.  great stuff.
 I enjoyed my daddy time with the kids too.  We went to the store and bought marshmallow cereal.  that was a big hit.  we watched movies and went to the swimming pool.  Here we are at the aquarium before we went to pick up mom at the airport.
 We managed to not miss our towns annual pancake breakfast at the firehall.  Always well attended.  the kids got pancakes with whipped cream, m&m's and sprinkles.  whoa!!

We had an unbelievably sad event last week that knocked us all over.  Jason Testrake, cousin Jill's husband, very unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack.  He had just turned 40.  it was awful.  He has two kids.  both under age 3.
We went up to Mt Horeb WI to be with the family and attend services.  Due to some huge software conference every hotel was booked.  but krista found this farm house on airbnb which was pretty amazing.  We even had fresh chicken eggs every morning.

We stayed with Krista's dad and step mom.  Here is Pop ready to dig into a huge pretzel.

 this was the start of a memorial bike ride for jason.  He loved riding his bike more than anything, so we all got together and rode a route near his home remembering how awesome he was.
 This is Gridley with cousin Gemma.  I got to pull both of them the whole way.  And even to the top of a huge hill!  i didn't realize quite how tired i was until a couple days later.  Sore!
The family is still reeling from the loss.  we're hoping to get back up there soon and spend some more time with Jill as she starts working through this terrible time.

First Day of School

So I was reminded that i am again WAY behind in my blogging.  Sorry blogosphere!!!  I meant to put this post up right after the vacation one but of course things got away from me.

so the kids started school.  that's what kids do.  We are now without our nanny, Mary, which has caused great sadness.  But it was time to move on to a new stage in our lives.  We are taking both kids now to montessori school a couple towns over.  they have before and after school care, so it works out pretty well.  It has been a big adjustment though.  Krista and I are sharing drop off pick up responsibilities.  so far so good.

This is Gridley and Emi, friends since they were little.  Having some fun at our nearby forest preserve.

 First day of school pictures.  Out in the front yard.

 Gridley is getting to be a big help in the kitchen.

We found a monarch caterpillar in our yard last week.  super cool.  and as luck would have it, there was a monarch learning day at a nature center in river forest.  they encouraged us to bring the little guy inside and watch him grow.  so we did just that.  gave him some leaves and he was good to go.

Stay tuned, more to come.  he is in his chrysalis right now and should be hatching tomorrow!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Road Trip Vacation

So here we are, ready for our big summer vacation.  Camp is over but school hasn't started yet.  This will likely be our window for adventure for years to come.  this is what our minivan looks like when you combine three nights of camping with five nights of michigan lake house vacation.  We avoided using the roof rack, but it was tight.  We did manage to keep half of the third row available though, because sitting in the way-back is just fun.  Dad managed to get a speeding ticket on the second day of vacation.  That big V-6 is unwieldy.

So this is our lake house we rented.  it was on an inland lake near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  this could not have worked out better.  this water remained 18 inches deep well past the end of this dock.  The kids spent hours splashing around and looking for minnows.

We took a hike on Empire Bluff.

Then we went swimming at this beach.  it was kind of full of sea weed though so not super fun.  Beautiful though.
Here is Gridley, unaware that my camera on a tripod had a remote connected to my phone so i could take pictures without her knowing.
As luck would have it, one of the nation's oldest and last drive-in theaters was about ten minutes away from our house.  And they were showing Findy Dory!!  holy cow, that could not be missed.

They were real sticklers about not even starting the snack bar ads before it was dark, and this was the west side of the eastern time zone, so the movie started at about 10pm.  whoa.  The kids hung in there, although Gridley crashed before the movie was quite over.  We didn't stay for the second feature.

We got to spend an evening with my good friend Jim from work.  he retired in June and is transitioning to full time living at his Michigan lake house.  he lives north of Traverse City in an A-frame facing lake michigan.  Unbelievably beautiful.
we went for a hike on the Sleeping Bear Dunes themselves.  That is the thing to do.  Climb the dunes.  Because they are huge.

It's hard to see them, but Gridley and Arthur went off on their own adventure down into this bowl.  they had a big time.  We have a lot more pictures, but they all kind of look like this one.

I attempted to learn how to use long exposure on our camera to take some star pictures.  But the moon was behind me and just put too much extra light in the sky.  I also woke up a couple of nights after moon set to see the meteor shower.  Pretty cool, i definitely saw some.  got to listen to some Loons calling across the lake.
So this doesn't look like much but it was Arthur's favorite part of the trip.  This was the end of a lazy river that dumped into lake michigan.  so the river flowed along the beach, parallel, with a nice friendly current to play in.  Arthur had his life jacket on and just floated down the current and had a huge time.
Here we are the next day on the same river.  we rented a canoe and floated for a couple hours down to the lake.  So much fun.  and so little paddling!

So we left the lake house and went to a camp site about an hour south.  Nice to be late enough in the year so most of the bugs had gone away.  We didn't get any pictures, but this place included a lovely beach on the lake that had some pretty decent size waves.  Arthur went out with me and bobbed in the waves.  We had tons of fun out there.  So much better than an ocean.  Fresh Water!!

Here we are ready for the rain.  Rain was predicted for friday night so we battened down the hatches.  Glad we did, it rained super hard.  No wind fortunately.  The kids slept through most of it.  and the tent did a great job keeping us all dry.

So after the rain storm, a lot more rain was coming.  we packed up a day early and headed home.  Kind of a long, treacherous drive.  Tornadoes went by, although we were unaware.  The kids watched the Charlie Brown movie twice on the kindle.  I'm glad we came home early.  Gave us a day to dry everything out and get some rest.

In other news, Arthur took a crazy horrible fall off his bike this week.  We were all riding over to Guiliano's for dinner.  There is a bridge going over the tri-state that has a big hill.  so Arthur has gained a lot of confidence and came down it a little too fast.  Couple that with a car backing up where we did not expect to see any cars (it's a footpath), he wiped out hard.  Literally did a somersault with his bike.  His mouth was bloodied and he had scrapes everywhere you could think to have a scrape.  He broke his helmet, so I sure was glad he had it on.  No broken bones though, so it worked out ok.