Thursday, September 04, 2014

Crazy Life

If anyone is still watching you'll know I haven't posted for almost 5 months!  Here is a quick snapshot of my life since the last post.

  • Chaos at work since December on a key quality issue and several new products
  • 4 little kids that are wonderful but time consuming balls of energy
  • Family trip for 10 days to North Carolina
  • Helping my parents move to the west side 
  • Week and the cottage
  • 10th annual (and likely final) PLT.  Paul finally broke the all time record going under 1:20.  I am OK with it.  He earned it.
  • 2 weeks camping in Grand Haven
  • 4 day work trip to Belgium 
  • 10 day trip to California - Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, and San Francisco.
  • Lots of cottage weekends
= a blazing fast summer.  

"Diving Board" foot dangle on Half Dome

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Florida 2014

It was one of the best Florida weeks I can remember. The weather was great and the kids are really getting to an age where we can enjoy everything.

Florida Memories:
  • Wesley happily crawling around with a lot of personality. His crawl has swagger.
  • Wesley eating sand and getting face fulls of sand and not being bothered by it.
  • Evie swam all the time. She would spend all afternoon in the pool
  • 2 Manatees parked in front of our dock all day one day. Saw them many times over the course of 4 hours.
  • Jack motoring around the pool with his life jacket on. Will typically playing by the side or needing to be held in the pool.
  • Jack turning into a fish. On Thursday he swam for about 2.5 hours straight. Typical Jack he was in and out of the pool a million times but swimming for large portions of it. Of course he never stopped giving his commentary.
  • Evie’s birthday celebration on 4/10 (Thurs) included cake and presents.  Evie received an Elsa dress that Erin made and “Frozen” DVD.
  • A lady gave us a kite the last evening at the beach. Evie let go once and I had to sprint down the beach to save it. Evie let go a second time and some girls were in the right spot to save it. Both boys flew it for a while but I tied it around their waist.
  • Perfect sunsets on Thursday and Friday.
  • Jumping waves in the ocean.
  • Taking the kids out in to the serf and going up and down with the waves.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


We had an absolutely fantastic day at Magic Kingdom last week.  It was a marathon as we left our condo before 6:00 am and returned home at 2:00 am.  The park was mobbed but we managed to keep our wait times under 45 minutes for every ride.  The kids had a great day but were so tired by 10:30 that they basically passed out in our arms and in the stroller. 

I didn't tell Evie what space mountain really was before we went on the ride because I didn't want her to back out.  She did well but didn't want to go on it again.

 The Barnstormer roller coaster was a favorite. The boys could ride it and wanted to do it again all day but we never got back to it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


It has been a LONG winter.  The boys are ready for the outdoors again.  This should be a great summer.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Chicago Day

I turned a short Chicago work trip into an overnight family vacation.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites (highly recommended) in downtown and had an exhausting but excellent 30 hours in Chicago.  Our activities in order:
  1. McDonalds for lunch
  2. Swimming in the hotel
  3. Rain Forest Cafe for Dinner
  4. Cocktails at the hotel (free)
  5. More swimming
  6. Bed
  7. Big continental breakfast
  8. Subway
  9. American Girl Store and Lego Store
  10. Cheesecake Factory for Lunch
  11. Chicago Zoo (free)

The kids loved the view from our 11th floor room.  

Evie, William, and Jack shared a double bed.  As expected there were some problems.  Will was moved to our bed to fall asleep because someone kept pulling covers away from him (he was doing it to himself), Jack & Evie needed several reprimands, and Jack was upside down by the time we went to bed.  

The Zoo was far better than I expected. The lions, tiger, gorillas, polar bear, and hippo were active and very interactive.   

 The kids were impressed by the size of the McDonalds.  It was 2 stories with service on both levels.
The subway was a highlight. For boys that love trains it was awesome to ride one.  
 Evie renewed her interest in American Girl Dolls after seeing all of them in one place.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

2013 Photo Stats

It is time to start working on my annual family photo book.  I organize with Picasa which provides me with some fun statistics.  Here are some facts about our pictures.

Total photos taken and saved (I only delete duplicates and poor quality pictures).

  • 2004:  3060
  • 2005:  2174
  • 2006:  2431
  • 2007:  3243
  • 2008:  2967
  • 2009:  3069
  • 2010:  5399
  • 2011:  4412
  • 2012:  4926
  • 2013:  4090 - I am a bit surprised that we were down on total photos in 2013.  Maybe it is because we carry our cameras less since we have phones with cameras. The biggest reason is probably that we weren't as adventurous in 2013 with 4 little kids. In 2014 we have 2 extra trips planned so I expect our photos will go back up.
2013 "favorites"
  • Total: 919
  • Include Evie: 386 
  • Include Will:  384
  • Include Jack:  383
  • Include Will & Jack: 277 (shows that they are almost always together)
  • Include Wesley:  246
  • Include Erin:  104
  • Include Randy:  135
  • Include all 4 kids:  66
  • Include all 6 of us:  25
  • Include Randy & Erin: 41
  • ONLY Randy & Erin:  3 - Only 3 good pictures all year of Erin and I without any kids around.  Improving on that number in 2014 is a new goal.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals and 2013 Results

My 2013 goals were extremely ambitious.  
  1. DUNK.  FAILURE. Sadly, I did not dunk and never was close.  It wasn't without trying, however.  For the first 4 weeks of the year I did 3x1.5hour jumping specific workouts a week.  But a nagging ankle injury prevented me from really jumping, even during he workouts.  In November or December 2012 I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle (my primary jumping leg) while playing basketball.  I hoped it would go away but it only got worse at the beginning of 2013. I had to quit jumping and let it heal...but it didn't.  After 8 months of investigation I found out I had os-trigonum syndrome which is an extra bone in the pinch point of my left ankle. Every time I extended my ankle to jump (or many other activities), the bone would get pinched resulting in a very sharp pain. I had surgery in October to remove it and was off my foot altogether for about a month.  So...never even close to dunking.  Good excuse but sad result.  Knowing how miserable that jumping program was I don't think I'll make dunking a goal for at least a few years.
  2. Give up baked goods for the entire year.  SUCCESS.  I made this statement while making the goal: without putting much thought into it I can already see there is a lot of grey area around what constitutes a baked good.  I basically eliminated cookies of all kinds, cake, pie, and baked bars.  I still ate cookie dough, no-bake bars, and had more than my fair share of ice cream.  I do believe this goal was a big success.  Prior to 2013 I ate a LOT of baked goods throughout the year and even with my baked-goods-replacements in 2013 I significantly cut down my consumption of clearly unhealthy food.  
Here are my 2014 goals. For the first time I don't have any physical fitness goals for the year.  Not sue if that is laziness or maturity.  I've found that my physical goals don't have the lasting impact I'd hoped for.  For example, doing tons of push-ups or sit-ups didn't make me really ripped, they only made my body good at doing that one exercise.  
  1. NO SNACKING: This will be my greatest challenge this year.  My goal is to only eat food during meal times, with a maximum of 3 meal times a day.  Exceptions and clarifications:
    1. Clarification - meal time is defined as the time after I sit down to start the meal until the time I stand up to clean up.  No snacking while preparing the meal and no snacking while cleaning up from the meal.  
    2. Clarification - meals have to fall in the generally accepted breakfast, lunch, dinner time frame.  I can't skip breakfast, and then add a "meal" at 8:00 at night.
    3. Exception - fruits, veggies, and >80% cocoa dark chocolate are acceptable snacks.  I will aim to minimize these but having them as an option will keep me from going nuts.
    4. Exception - out of state.  No snacking goal is temporarily waived if I'm not physically in Michigan. 
    5. Exception - in the rare situation where my body really needs food and fruit/veggies/dark chocolate are not an option or adequate.  This should be less than 5 times in 2014 if at all.  Only situations I can think of are after an extreme workout or some kind of medical emergency.
    6. Exception - situations where it would be socially unacceptable to reject food.
  2. Drink the doctor recommended amount of water EVERY DAY.  Pure water.  64oz per day.  Doing just a quick search I now see that this isn't really the recommendation any more so my goal is a little dated.  That is OK. I think drinking that much water will be good for me and may curb eating and pop consumption.  The point of the goal is to really follow what I think was an overkill-of-a-recommendation.  The fact that I had a kidney stone last summer also influences this goal.
  3. Read at least 10 books.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Uh Oh - Pictures from 2013

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Classic 2013 Family Pictures

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