Valentine’s Day 2021

We have had Panera every year on Valentine’s Day since the time Andrew was born. Even with the pandemic we didn’t want to stray from the tradition. It wasn’t quite the same as being in the restaurant, but we manage to make it work.

Around the House

Not much is happening these days, so I haven’t had a lot to post about. I decided to take some time to share what we have been up to these days, on a day to day basis.

Susan has been working 40 hours a week as a billing specialist at 515 Therapy, a mental health counseling practice. She works from our closet most times, going into the office on Fridays for a few hours. When not working, she enjoys reading, exercising, and going for walks. She and I are almost finished with a Beachbody exercise program that had 100 30 minute exercises.

I have also been working about 40 hours per week, either at the dining room table or in my closet office in the basement when I have a meeting. I enjoy exercising and walking with Susan, and practicing guitar. I am taking an online guitar class right now, learning some traditional Kentucky tunes.

All of the older kids are back in the classroom this semester and have been enjoying it. Andrew leaves for school around 8 in the morning and usually gets home around 3:30 or sometimes stays to lift or run after school and gets home closer to 5. For the past few months he worked a seasonal job at Target, but that has come to an end. He is around more, but with track starting in a few weeks that will come to an end.

Mari goes to school the same hours as Andrew, but at a different building because our school district has a separate building for 9th graders. She really likes being back in school and having more things to do. She is planning on playing soccer at Valley and has been going to practices once a week in January. In February there are 2 practices per week and some ACL strengthening classes 2 more nights per week.

Elliot is in 8th grade and is the most neutral about being back in school. He thinks it is OK, but would rather not go to school at all. His school starts the earlier, 7:30, and we pick him up around 2:30. He doesn’t really have any activities right now and his soccer season won’t start again until March. He has been reading more over the past few months and passes some of his time doing that. He also likes like Rocket League, Forza, and ping-pong.

Lucia was going to go to school this year but because of the pandemic we decided to keep her home. Same for Rose and their daily activities should really be listed together because they spend 99% of their time together. They spend a lot of time playing and pretending, either with their toys or with role play. They like to play with their dolls, barbies, and horses. The are up around 8 or 8:30 and have lights out at 9:30, but they often stay up too late chatting until around 10:30. Lucia is doing dance class online this year and they are both signed up for soccer in the spring.

Girls Night & Boys Night

Last night we split up the boys and girls from the Lieslands and the Reagens and had a girls night and boys night. The girls stayed at the Reagens’ and highlights included nachos, a dessert bar, fashion show, and couples yoga. The boys stayed at the Lieslands’ and highlights included sandwich bar, watching football, playing ping pong, playing drawful, and eating junk. Nate was unable to join us because he was in Minneapolis visiting his dad.

Christmas Day

Christmas day followed a fairly standard schedule in our house, with some modifications because of the pandemic. The day started at 7:30 when Lucia and Rose woke up. We told the older kids they could sleep until 9 so when Lucia and Rose woke up we watch the newest version of the grinch until 9.

The kids always have to wait in the upstairs hallway together before they are released.
Stocking unstuffers
Chocolate chip pancake breakfast
Lucia was really excited about her new American Girl doll, Joss.
Rose got a lot of new toys and made a whole estate for her new people and horses. Here she is taking a break to snuggle.
Mari made this neat artwork for Susan.
Elliot and Rose
In the afternoon we went for a hike with the Reagens.
In the evening we had zoom sessions with the Liess clan and the Hyland clan.

Merry Christmas!

Lake Life – in December!

The weather was awesome this week, so Mary Connor found a lake house for Gary and Kathie to stay at for a couple of nights. Mary, us and the Reagens came out for a day to enjoy the warm weather.

Sun deck
lake loungers
Kayaking
Susan
Kubb
Kubb
Susan & Rose
Andrew & Ian
Mari after getting in the lake
Elliot, Cam, Andrew, and Ian, after getting in
Susan, Mary, and Erin
Mari and Hope, sunset photo shoot.
Craft time

Thanksgiving 2020

For Thanksgiving this year we headed south to the Connors’. The weather was awesome and they had a beautiful setup in their driveway.

Travelers
Winner of best Thanksgiving driveway.
Luke playing with Rose
Socially-distanced prayer
Dining pods
The Connors
Whipped Cream Accident
The Lieslands

Skip-Bo

This has been happening a lot lately, now that soccer and cross country are over.

Weekend Wrap-Up

Nutella Bread with Hope
Mari made the bread.
I was in Cincinnati for my Uncle Tom’s funeral.
It was really warm in Des Moines and we don’t have great leaves in our yard, so Susan, Lucia, and Rose made a nice leaf pile at the park.
Lunch after the funeral.
My dad, Chuck, Ken, Ruth Ann, Nancy, and Janet.
Rose and Lucia playing with rocks at the creek.
Their creations. I imagine Susan helped a little with these.
They are their mother’s daughters.
Elliot and Hope enjoying some funeral lunch leftovers.

Beggars Night 2020

They Potato and a French Mime

This evening we celebrated Beggars Night, which is basically Des Moines’ version of trick-or-treating – a night early. We do it this way every year. This year was a little different because of the pandemic, but it worked! There were still plenty of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood and plenty of people passing out candy – social-distanced, of course. Most people had a treat station in their driveway and were either sitting behind it or just in their house.

Lucia and Rose were our only trick-or-treaters this year. Mari, Andrew, and Elliot stayed home to pass out candy and by the end of the evening we were joined by Mimi, Mary, Casey, Erin, and Nate to hang-out around the fire in our driveway.