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
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.

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

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.

Colorado Trip

My uncle Tom, who lives in Colorado Springs, has not been doing well. His mental and physical health have been declining and I had the opportunity to go visit with him for a few days at the end of last week. Susan stayed home on kid duty and I spent my days visiting with Tom, making time for a hike each day.

Susan playing at the creek with the kids.
Lucia chasing after Elliot.
I camped in Colorado. It felt like our RV trip to pull into the campground after dark and have to find my spot.
The view from my office. I worked on Eastern Time, so I had a couple of hours each day to get some work done before heading in to visit with Tom. I was fortunate that the weather was still warm.
My first good view of the mountains.
Uncle Tom, resting
Tom liked to hold hands and one of my primary responsibilities when I was there was to make sure I was available for that.
Meanwhile, life went on at home and Susan had to get all of the kids to their activities. here, Andrew is running in a XC meet , maybe at Southeast Polk.
My first hike in Colorado Springs was to Garden of the Gods. I tried to stay pretty close to town.
Susan also had to get up early with Oreo, who insists on waking us just a little earlier than we would like.
During this time, Mari also submitted her application to work at Coldstone Creamery. With soccer and XC winding down she will have more free time, and she is saving up for a new phone.
Soccer fans.
Red Rock Open Space in the foreground, with Garden of the Gods in the background.
Susan and the kids enjoying a fire.

Cincinnati Fun

We haven’t been to Cincinnati in a year and we have been working hard this summer to find a time to go. A good window presented itself and we made the trip, staying just a few days in Cincinnati. We mostly hung out with my family, except for visiting with the Herrels.

Driving to Cincinnati

After a slight delay, we are headed to Cincinnati! We delayed our trip one day because Elliot started developing a rash. We weren’t sure what it was, but after a few hours we could determine that it was poison ivy.

The big kids like to rotate who sits in the back and are committed to making sure they switch at the right time. Here they are, doing the rotation.

Gulf Shores Vacation

Back in the Spring, just before the pandemic started, we booked a vacation to Gulf Shores, AL, with the Reagens. A few months later, it didn’t feel quite as comfortable, but we decided to make the trip anyways. The Reagens were not able to come because they wanted to be closer to Nate’s dad, who has not been doing well since the end of June. Vacation was definitely not the same without the Reagens, but we did our best to have a good time.

Checking out the beach upon arrival.
hot tub
Day 2, building a beach hot tub
Ocean-side balcony
Andrew skim-boarding. He hurt his back the first day and was out of commission for about 12 hours, but was back at it the second day.
Day 3, Susan and Rose relaxing under the umbrella
We buried Lucia. I think she fell asleep.
Hanging out
Shell collecting
A vacation tradition.
Our favorite dinner spot. This balcony overlooked a lagoon, on the back side of the condo.
Family picture
The girls
Day 4 modeling
Beach footballing
Special Dessert. Susan and her family used to go to TCBY often in Des Moines. It is not here anymore, so Susan was glad to find one.
Day 5 sand castling
Still working
The finished product
Elliot Walking
Beach walk
Categorized as Travel

Overnight in Memphis

Today we started our drive to Gulf Shores and spent the night in Memphis. I was in Memphis a few years ago for a conference and looked forward to spending the night in the city again. We arrived in Memphis at around 7, stopped at our hotel, and then headed to the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination and current National Civil Rights Museum. We picked up some BBQ nearby and took in the experience, which felt more significant due to the current upheaval that is affecting the world. After that we headed to the Beale St. area, just to drive around.

Categorized as Travel

Lake Viking

Over the past few days we headed to Lake Viking to celebrate Gary’s 80th birthday. Good times were had by all.


For the second year in a row, we went to the Connors’ for Thanksgiving, in Kansas City. Fun was had.

Rose, Colin, and Lucia
Thanksgiving Dinner
Rose, Mary, and Lucia