Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Rekindling... Perhaps

I haven't posted to this blog in, well, a long damn time.  I have gotten all kinds of flack from my loving family members because I have abandoned Facebook and pretty much any social media kind of interaction.  I won't go into the logistics of these decisions, because those of you who remember how to dial a phone probably already know the whole story.  But, I feel like maybe I have enough energy to get the ol' blog up and running again.  I make no guarantees, written or expressed, however that the action will continue with any regularity what so ever.

I'm not even going to try and update the goings-on of the last few years here.  Again, those of you who really care to know those details already know most of the what went on anyway.  I guess since it is January, though, I could give a quick rundown (probably in reverse order because that's how my mind is going right now) of the highlights of 2012.

Christmas was good.  Santa came and delivered his usual cache of goodies.  Ate all my damn cookies and milk... 

But people were happy.  

Including me.
Immediately after these pictures were taken, we all came down with the bubonic plague.  I'm not even kidding.  So the rest of 2012, from Christmas morning +1 hour till oh, pretty much yesterday, we were pathetic and lousy.  Vincent decided to turn his plague into impetigo.  Let me just tell you all the fun we had with that.  I think I did as much laundry in two days as I did in all of 2012.  We literally celebrated the new year on the couch under electric blankets and straining to stay awake past 10:00.

I am training to run the Chicago Marathon in October.  Thanks Wendy.  What a great idea.  Wendy and Ricky and probably a few others are planning on doing it with me.  Or maybe I'm planning on doing it with them (?)  I've already begun my training, because not only do I intend to torture myself once, I thought it'd be a great idea to add to that torture a pre-marathon half marathon for the Indy 500 Festival.  I'm pretty proud of sticking to my training schedule right through the bubonic plague - yeah - I still don't really know what I'm thinking.  But I have some good shoes.  They better be good shoes, anyway, for what I paid for them.

Halloween went off without a hitch. We claimed big dividends in Hobart.
 Vincent turned 10.  Jade turned 7.

Cakes were graciously supplies by Mrs. Rayner.  Thank you for saving me the embarrassment of making my own.

The boys did some hunting and made me nervous putting up a tree stand.  Saw a few deer, but didn't shoot any.

Everyone had a good season in Pop-Warner.  There were no major injuries and they both really liked it.  Going to the games was fun.  I don't think there was one, though, that we actually had normal weather for.  It was either blazing hot, freezing cold, or raining.  Gotta love Northwest Indiana.  The boys only lost a game or two, so that success was good for you-know-who.  KV's loaded nachos were a highlight, too.

We visited Wendy, Chris, and the kids in Virginia.  I guess I'm back tracking there.  We had Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family and it was great.  That's where I got the hair brained idea that it was a good idea to run 26.2 miles at once...

At some point we acquired a new horse.  In a nutshell, the people that had her were, um, "high energy" let's say and she is a "high energy" (read: borderline crazy) horse.  Their energies multiplied themselves into nothing short of an equine disaster.  She was free.  And she's pretty.  She makes good company for Harley and isn't too bad to ride, as long as you remain the calm one.
Ricky and I took her trail riding and no one died so we might keep her.  We'll reassess the situation in the spring.

The cat had kittens.  We got a quick set pool.  My sister and the girls came to visit.  Vincent graduated from Culver's Junior Woodcraft camp.  We only got a few (2 I think) black eyes from baseball practice - learning the very important rule of keeping the mitt in front of the ball.  Ricky smoked meat and we ate till we were sick.  We went to Disneyworld in April.  That was fun.  I think most of you have seen those pictures.   The whole trip was kept a secret until we left for the airport. 

Grandma turned 89.  Wow.
 There was so much more.  I could probably sit here and type all day but I have things to do.  Looking onward to the coming year...

Vincent is going to play baseball and football again.  I got a new job.  Well.  Kind of.  I relocated to the Crimes Against Children unit and I feel like that's going to be a good move for me.  I guess there's no need to make forecasts.  I'll try my best to keep this updated on a semi-regular basis.  Hope you all come back - if I'm not getting hits to the blog I'm gonna quit :).  Again.

More to come...

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Favorite Boys Going Off To Hunt...

Today was Vincent's second attempt at deer hunting. They didn't see or shoot anything, but he was still and quiet, which was a big improvement from last year. Or so I'm told. To celebrate we had venison salisbury steaks with home made gravy and noodles. It was tasty, but these boys better get on shooting something if we're going to have it many more times!

Monday, February 28, 2011

And Another...

Police in Northwest Indiana arrested 76 people and confiscated almost 200 roosters after raiding a cockfight near North Judson.

Authorities said a passerby noticed an unusual amount of traffic around the property Saturday morning and called police, who found a large crowd gathered around a cockfight in progress in a corn crib when they arrived about 10:45 a.m.

The spectators scattered when officers arrived, and police found men and women hiding in ditches and wooded areas, including some in hollowed-out trees and logs. Some were children, including one who was wearing no shoes.

Police arrested so many people they had to borrow a school bus to take them to the Starke County Jail. Twelve were charged with felonies, and the rest face misdemeanor charges.

The birds, some that had been fighting and were dead or bloodied, were taken to the Starke County Humane Society, where they were destroyed, police said.

Police found 13 guns in the home on the property, and plan to seize the 20 vehicles and money found at the cockfight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Score One For The Good Guys...

What an exciting day at the office! Can't really go into detail about how we assisted in this arrest all the way from Lowell, IN as it was happening, but let me tell you, technology is pretty cool. Good work everyone, and so glad no one got hurt...

Man found in creek after police chase:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Onward and Forward

As if I don't have enough living creatures at this house, I'm going to add more. I've always wanted to try and maintain a saltwater fish tank, so I'm taking a stab at it. After putting a fresh water tank in at the office and remembering how relaxing it is to watch, I decided to take the plunge (well, not literally). As I was shopping for stands, I was noticing the poor quality 1/4" chipboard that they were constructed from. Since salt water weighs 8.5 pounds per gallon, and I'm figuring I'll have at least 70 gallons or so after all the rock and stuff is in, plus the weight of the rock, and the tank... I'm looking at a pretty heavy load. And I'm pretty sure I'd have to freak right out if I got it all up and running only to have the stand collapse.

Looking at the price of those cheap stands, too, I was pretty sure I could build my own for less or at least close to what the stores were charging. I did some online research to get some ideas and the project took off. I figured I have about 15 hours invested in this thing, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. There are a few spots that I resanded that I need to touch up with paint, but I think it's looking good. It's pretty sturdy. I'm feeling like you could probably park and elephant on it and it wouldn't break. Now to start collecting all the stuff I need to get this thing set up. It's amazing, with the research I've been doing, how involved this saltwater thing is. It's basically like maintaining a really complicated hot tub. With living things inside.

I'll keep the progress posted!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Camp McDonald

To celebrate New Year's, we decided to venture out in the COLD (sheesh!) to Hobart to go see "Gulliver's Travels" at the theatre. The other option was to set up camp in the living room and watch a movie at home. Turns out we did both. So, prior to going to the show we stopped at WalMart and got this little tent.

The movie was good and everyone had stellar behavior the whole night... good way to start off 2011!

After we got home, we set up camp. Vincent and Jade had fun staying up late and pretending we were in the wilderness. They even slept, in the tent, till 9am this morning! Amazing! They're still in it right now watching "The Neverending Story." I love that movie...

So happy...
Life is good :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Even Horses Love Christmas

Thought the horses would like a little extra treat for Christmas this year.

I crushed up a bunch of peppermints, cooked up a huge bowl of oat bran, and mixed in apples and carrots for a warm winter afternoon treat.

I think they liked it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Fun

It's so nice to not have a schedule full of stuff to do. Today was kind of warm (as warm as northwest Indiana gets in the winter anyway) so I decided I'd take the kiddos to a real sledding hill. We attempted this a few years ago, but Jade was too little and freaked right out the first time she catapulted down the hill. Needless to say, we didn't stay long that year. This year, however, was different. We stayed there for about an hour and had a great time. I successfully got a picture of us when we first got there wanting to get it out of the way should there be a galactic meltdown at any point.

There were a few near misses...

and a little friendly competition...

and all in all we had a fun time. I was asked when I launched myself into the shrubbery why I didn't steer... well, duh! Because I was too busy filming on the Blackberry to steer! We thwarted any major injury, despite a small collision with a 10 year old for me and a major collision with some other sledders for Jade - and the kids had a blast. This is definitely something we'll have to do again soon. Or maybe we'll just take them skiing. That is... if I survive my first ski trip (in who knows how many years) that is in the works...

Hooray for winter fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Yesterday was the big belt test day at ATA. Jade was going for her orange belt and Vincent is looking to move to camoflauge (a pretty significant jump). I also participated, but there is no visual documentation of that (haha).

Everyone did a pretty good job. There were so many people there cheering and clapping it was a really stimulating environment. The kids did a great job concentrating on the job they had to do. Vincent got selected as "most improved" over the past 8 weeks - based not only on his Taekwondo skills but his attention, leadership, and behavior in class as well. Surprisingly, on an unrelated note, I also got a note from his teacher that he has really stepped up his behavior in his class over the past couple weeks. Worthy of an atta-boy of some sort I think...

Enjoy the videos and pictures from last night's festivities - and if you're going to watch the videos, I recommend muting your volume or turning it way down... just saying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful For... Dinner!

I thought I'd add that image to this post for all of you who feel the need to comment, "Awww, Bambi!"

But before you feel too bad for the pretty deer, consider the number of car/deer crashes that happen every year and the massive amount of property damage and personal injury they cause. Yes, I know, it's our "urban sprawl" that is pushing them into areas they don't usually inhabit... blah blah blah. Regardless of why they're there, they cause problems. On to the story.

Tonight was the kids (well, and really my) first experience with a venison roast. I've had deer brats (thanks Schnick) in the past, but I've never had just plain old deer. Luckily, this particular roast was completely prepared by someone other than me - as I have no idea how to make venison roast not taste gamey...

Another cool little factoid is that this was the preparer's first attempt at actually butchering said deer himself too. But that's a whole 'nuther story. Yoy.

So I told the kids what they were going to be eating, and surprisingly there was no protest. The thing sat in the crock pot for a good long time, and when it was dinner time, I was surprised at how lean and tender the meat was. The kids hesitatingly took their first bite, but after the first taste, devoured the entire plateful. I have to say, it was pretty darn good. I was pretty proud of them for being open minded and trying something new.

So not only was is so tasty, it was kind of cool to be eating wild game with some healthy fresh veggies on a cold and icy Thanksgiving Eve. And with Thanksgiving still being my favorite holiday, things are so just right. Cheers to warm and fuzzy feelings... :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fire Tower Expedition

Ever since we went camping last summer the kids have been gnawing at me to take them back to the campground to return to the fire tower there. When we went camping, it rained in the morning and brought out so many mosquitoes, I was pretty sure they'd just carry us away if we attempted anything resembling hiking and/or fire tower climbing.

So we bypassed the fire tower experience, much to the dismay of my company.

This weekend was probably one of the last of the nice ones we'll have for the year, so I decided to suit up and take the gang back today. We climbed to the top and back down not once, but twice. I'm pretty sure I about fell down the stairs the second time my legs were so weary from the 115 or so *very* steep stairs. Didn't help I had to carry Jade halfway down the first time either (sigh).

After the trek, we did some additional hiking, playground playing, and outhouse visiting (double sigh). But we all made it home alive, and I even got the boogers to cooperate long enough to get a couple of cute pics ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Vincent's been involved in Taekwando for about a year now. He's improved so much, and I've noticed a big improvement in his self confidence and behavior since he's started. His coordination and balance has improved too and he has good role models to look up to in his class. He's learning personal achievement, self discipline, perseverence, and the value of hard work for reward. Jade and I have spent many many hours watching him - and she's been asking for months to join too.

Today I let her, and she was stoked. She entered her first "Tiny Tigers" class full of gusto. She did so well and picked up on what she was supposed to do so quickly. She had great focus, followed the rules, and did a fantastic job. She was so tickled about her new uniform and how she did that she insisted on calling Auntie and Grandma right then and there to tell them about it before we could even leave for home.

Here's to hoping eventually I'll have two black belts, who can use the skills and values they're learning today to better themselves as adults (helps the resume too!)

Good job guys!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Finally Did It...

It's a dream I've had for years and years - to own my own Harley. I almost did it when I got my job and moved back to Valparaiso, but apparently the stars weren't in line for me at that point. The motocycle got put on hold indefinitely. I went through periods of wishing I had one, to periods of being perfectly content that I didn't. I've seen friends get hurt on them, and I've seen friends have the time of their life on them. I've spent a considerable amount of time on the back of one this summer...

And then it happened.

I was passing the car lot in Demotte that always has more than a few Harley's for sale. I always turn my head and glance, and then something caught my eye. I saw this bike and instantly fell in love. I couldn't help but think about it all day, and after work, decided to stop and take a look. I figured it would be unaffordable, but I still had to check. Turns out it wasn't.

So today I became the proud owner of a 2009 Harley Davidson Super Glide Custom. And I'm elated.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Party Success

Well we pulled off the big 0-5 for Miss Jade this weekend. We had family and a lot of friends over to help celebrate and the kids had a ton of fun trashing my house playing and being perfect angels.

Jade cashed in big (way to go girl), I didn't even burn the cake (what 5 year old wants a home baked cake? *sigh), and everyone ate and laughed and had fun. Thanks to everyone who took time from their weekend to help us celebrate and make her day so much fun; Mom, Auntie, Mike, Rick, Combs, Baileys, Schnicks... and, Great, you were sorely missed -

Jade, you are getting so big and the things you do and say just crack us all up. I haven't quite figured out where you get your goofy attitude from just yet, or your sass, or your strong will... but it fits you well. You are so smart and so pretty and so outgoing and caring. We love you to pieces and hope that you had the bestest birthday ever!

<3, Mom

Monday, September 20, 2010


Hope you catch many tennis balls, take endless rides in the box truck, and enjoy friendly pats on your head from great grandpa... rest in peace good buddy.