The rest of May

I have been woefully behind on the blog. I decided that to catch up I would just do a few posts that cover entire months. Here comes May. . .

Filling the pool with a sand foundation.
Spreading the sand
Susan, Mary, and Erin
Working on the liner
Working on the liner
Ian was the first one in the pool
Rose, Ian, and Lucia
Hope and Mari reffing
Going away party for our neighbor Vi
Generic pool shot
Lucia playing socer
Lucia’s Soccer Team
Rose’s Soccer Team
Elliot after band concert
Dew Tour
Rob Axe Throwing with Friends
Susan and Rob on anniversary date

Pool Sand and Wall

Today we made some major progress on the pool. The sand was delivered and moved to the pool area. Then, this evening we had some friends and family over to help us put up the pool wall.

Happy Easter!

Today we celebrated Easter with ourselves and then we had the Reagens over in the afternoon for an Easter Egg hunt. Church was online with Lutheran Church of Hope – same as last year. Our traditions include Easter Bunny-hidden baskets (inside), Easter Bunny-hidden eggs (outside), and then a candy Easter egg hunt with the Reagens.

Lake Ahquabi State Park

Today we went for a hike with the Reagens. The hike was fun, and a little longer than we had bargained for, then we (the Lieslands) got stuck on an icy hill trying to leave the park. A nice man in a pick-up truck stopped to dump some sand and the Reagens came back to help push us out.


Not too many pictures of the big kids as they were well ahead of us. Maybe I can get Andrew to share some of his pictures. . .

Gary Reagen

Nate’s dad, Gary, passed away this week. We have spent a lot of time together over the years because of how close we are with the Reagens, and it has been very sad for us. Gary was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half ago and it has been a declining rollercoaster since that time. Gary was engaging, thoughtful, intelligent, and kind, amongst other things, and he will be missed.

Here is his official obituary, written by Nate and his brother, Josh:

Reagen, Gary Husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend of many, died peacefully at his home at the age of 71. He was surrounded at death by his two sons and wife Kathleen of more than 48 years. Gary was a man of integrity and bravery, volunteering for the Army and serving in Vietnam as part of a Special Forces unit called Project Delta. He was blessed with a uniquely deep voice that helped him in his career in television and radio for more than 20 years. Gary had a presence that got your attention. The way he spoke and how he carried himself left a lasting impression. He loved playing cards, listening to Motown, spending time with his family, and enjoying a beer with the sun on his face. Gary understood that life was precious and would often stop, close his eyes, and treasure the moment. He developed many great relationships over the years, especially with his five grandchildren whom he adored. If cancer were in any other form, Gary would have overcome it, just like he overcame so many other adversities in his life. The world was a better place with Gary in it, and our lives are better for having had him as a part of it. Rest in peace our brave warrior, we think of you and miss you every day. Memorial services will be arranged once gatherings can occur safely. In lieu of flowers and in his remembrance, please consider donating to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charity that Gary strongly supported and believed in. Because Gary would always like to leave you smiling – And the Lord said unto John, “Come forth and you shall receive eternal life”. John came fifth and won a toaster.

Nate and his family have also been working on updating to feature Gary’s biography. He led quite an interesting life.

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.

New Year’s Eve 2020

This year for New Year’s we had the Reagens and the Liesses over for a wild party. The Reagens spent the night.

Hanging out before dinner.
Kids dinner
Mimi & Rose playing a game.
Hope & Mari
Erin and Susan
Rose and Lucia
Memory Game
The Morning
Baking Competition
Finished Products

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!

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.