Tag Archives: Becky

The December Celebration Gauntlet

When Wendy and I married, December suddenly became much more than just a Christmas holiday. Wendy’s birthday is December 21, and we married on New Year’s Eve. That means that I have, arguably, the three most important gift-giving days of the year in an 11 day stretch. After 12 years (a number rife with Biblical significance) trying to find balance in this celestial conjunction of celebrations, our first grandchild unexpectedly, like the star of Bethlehem, appeared on the horizon last year and plotted his arrival on December 11th. An already crazy month just got crazier.

Milo and his parents (I state it this way because, let’s be honest, it’s all about the one-year-old) arrived home from the UK in early December. I picked up them up and drove them home from MSP. The kids made our house command central out of which “Operation Celebrations” would be conducted. Milo has four sets of grandparents, a full contingency of living great-grandparents, and at least one great-great-grandparent. Long story short: There’s a lot of people needing a Milo fix.

Our celebration of Milo’s first birthday happened the night of the 12th. We had a small cadre of family over for a relatively small affair. Ya-Ya Wendy made Milo both a chocolate cupcake and a white, funfetti cupcake. He seemed to prefer the funfetti cupcake, proving that his taste bud genes are inherited from his paternal DNA coding.

Walking is a lot easier with one of these things!

The rounds of family visitation continued on the 19th when Taylor, Milo, and I stopped by my folks retirement community to have lunch with the folks. Milo was, of course, a huge hit. Milo also had a fascination with all of the various walkers with wheels. As he is in training to get the whole “walking” thing down (we’re up to about six consecutive steps without falling at this point), it was a huge discovery for him that there are devices designed and manufactured to assist in this basic human motor skill (special “thanks” to Mary for letting Milo run free with her walker).

Skol! Vikings!

Wendy and I began celebration of her birthday on the 15th when we headed to the Twin Cities. On the 16th we went to our first Vikings game at their new “mother ship” stadium. An annual trip to see the Vikings had become a bit of a tradition for us until it was announced that the new stadium would be built. Wendy and cold get along like Hamilton and Burr, so we skipped the seasons they were playing at the U of M’s outdoor stadium. We finally decided to all the trigger on  our old tradition. It was a lot of fun. We’ll be back.

Wendy’s birthday was otherwise fairly quiet except for the doorbell ringing incessantly. She got a trifecta of flower bouquets on her big day. The florist here in Pella was grateful for the business, though they somehow couldn’t get the deliveries consolidated. On the following weekend our friends Kevin and Becky came to Pella to celebrate Wendy. A pint at the Cellar and a pizza from George’s was in order with the rest of the evening relaxing at Vander Well Pub.

Maddy Kate flew in from her home in South Carolina on Christmas Eve day. We visited Grandpa Dean and Grandma Jeanne before I drove her back to Pella. She joined Wendy and me at Christmas Eve services at church while Milo and his entourage were making an all day tour stop at Na-Na Brenda’s.

Christmas day, I’m happy to say, was an all-out, love-and-laughter, food-and fun, lazy lounge-fest with just the six of us. Wendy made her traditional Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, along with an awesome breakfast. I threw French Dip into the crock pot for the evening meal. Lunch was a charcuterie menagerie for all. We opened gifts together after breakfast, then moved a mattress into the family room next to the sectional for a blissful day of binge watching (This is Us took up the entire afternoon), eating, and napping together.

The Latest 09-21-2015

I’m a little late on the publishing of my Sunday Summary this week. There was a lot happening early in the week. Wendy and I were excited to finally see our yard getting graded and seeded with grass. We were thankful for a couple good rains late in the week.

2015 09 20 Lake with Rooses LR - 1 (1)

The early part of the week also included a whirlwind of work that had to get done early and a business trip to northwest Iowa. On Thursday evening Wendy and I headed down to the lake with our friends Kevin and Becky. We had to drive to Kansas City and pick up Kevin at the airport as he flew in from a business meeting in Denver. We arrived at the lake near midnight.

It was a bit overcast on Friday, nevertheless we got out on the boat for a slow cruise in the morning. We headed into town in the early afternoon and went to BWW for lunch. Becky went shopping while the rest of us stayed to watch the Cubs take on the Cardinals. We were about the only people in the restaurant and the manager, Darin, came over to chat with us. One thing led to another and Kev and I found ourselves doing a “tasting” of their four hottest sauces. We were even given complimentary boneless wings with them. My digestive system is still recovering.

As usual, our weekend with Kevin and Becky revolved around food, drink and rather intense conversation lasting deep into the night. Great salmon dinner on Friday and then burgers on the grill on Saturday night. We, of course, also found time for some sun and fun. On Saturday afternoon we spent a lot of time on the dock in the sun. Becky insisted we say good-bye to summer with one last boat right. We headed in the boat to both Bulldog’s Beach House and Larrywood for some refreshment.

Sunday morning we packed up and headed home, arriving back at VW Manor around 5:00. Wendy and I unpacked and settled in to watch the Vikings beat the Lions on the DVR.

Rocky Mountain Whirlwind

Wendy and I made a whirlwind trip to Colorado last week. Wendy’s sister, Becky, gave birth to our niece, Lydia, the previous week and we wanted to pay a visit to welcome her to the family. The trip also afforded me the opportunity to make a client visit and to spend some time with Madison, who is back in Colorado Springs.

We headed west on Wednesday morning, arriving in Denver in the evening. We got to spend some time with Becky, Court and Lydia before retiring for the night. On Thursday afternoon I make my client visit and had a business dinner. Madison drove up from Colorado Springs and I met the who crew at a restaurant after finishing with business. We got to celebrate Madison’s birthday since she won’t be making it back to Iowa until Christmas. Madison and I had some father/daughter time late Thursday while Wendy hung out with the Oakes crew.

On Friday we all spent a few hours together before Madison had to head off to work. Becky and Court then treated Wendy and me to a visit at the Denver Botanical Gardens. It was a gorgeous day to get outside and there was an amazing exhibit of Chihuly glass sculptures that were installed amidst the gardens.

Wendy and I left for home Friday afternoon, breaking up the 10 hour drive with an overnight stop in Kearney, Nebraska. We arrived home on Saturday just in time to get to rehearsal for USP’s production of A Christmas Carol.

It was a quick trip, but we were thrilled to meet the family’s newest bundle of joy and to spend some time with Madison.

Fourth of July 2014

Wendy and I have enjoyed a gorgeous Fourth of July weekend at the lake. We’d been working from the lake last week, but took Friday off to enjoy getting out in the sun. There were a bunch of boats tied up in the cove with lots of people swimming, floating and sunning themselves. We blew up a couple of mats, threw on some music and floated in the sun for a few hours. Wendy forgot to put on sunscreen and got fried, but we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon nonetheless.

Wendy’s sister, Becky, and her husband Court, arrived around 7:00 p.m. They live in Denver and are headed to a visit back in Iowa, but stopped to spend the weekend with us. Becky is pregnant with their first, a girl, whom they’ve named Lydia. It was a lot of fun to see her pregnant and we’re excited to meet Lydia later this fall.

We cooked burgers on the grill Friday night and sat out on the deck to eat and chat. Captain Ron’s had their annual fireworks display planned for Saturday night but it seemed as if everyone in the cove had purchased their own at one of the 3,248,489 fireworks stands that dot Highway 5 every quarter mile or so. It was kind of fun to just sit on the deck and watch them going off all around us.

We got out for a boat ride on Saturday morning, though the traffic on the lake was already so heavy that the water seemed a bit more like being on the ocean. We slowly made our way around some of the nearby coves and let Becky and Court see the sights. In the afternoon we went down to the dock. Court and I got in the water while the ladies sat on the dock chatting.

Saturday evening was a wonderful dinner of grilled chicken and sweet corn on the cob. As it got dark was took the boat and anchored out in the cove to enjoy the fireworks. Becky and Court got up on Sunday and headed for Pella to spend some time with Suzanna. It was great to have them with us for a few days.

Kev & Beck at the Lake (a Late Post)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, it was a month ago that Kev and Beck joined us at the lake for our annual weekend together. We spent some time that weekend trying to figure out how many years we’ve been making the early summer pilgrimage. I think we landed on this being our 7th year. The trip has typically been a weekend before Memorial Day event, though this year we pushed it into the weekend after Memorial Day so as to ensure a little warmer weather. With it being such a cold, wet spring, we’re glad we did. We had wonderful weather and, as usual, a great time together.

The thing about the weekend with Kevin and Becky is that the agenda is pretty simple:

  • Breakfast and conversation.
  • Sun and conversation.
  • Lunch and conversation.
  • Boat ride and conversation.
  • Drinks and conversation.
  • Dinner and conversation.
  • Wine, chocolate and conversation.
  • Sleep.
  • Repeat.

Mile High Weekend

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It wasn’t just the Colorado, Rocky Mountain elevation that gave us a high this past weekend. A harmonic convergence of family celebrations in Colorado fell onto the calendar this past Saturday as Madison graduated from her one year program at New Life School of Worship in Colorado Springs and Wendy’s sister, Becky, was wed to Courtney Oakes in Denver.

Wendy and I were up early on Wednesday and made the long trek across Interstate 80. We hit a huge spring thunderstorm in Kearney, Nebraska. It was only 50 degrees and the cold rain made it feel more like October than late May. Within a few hundred miles the clouds gave way to sunny skies and the thermometer climbed 35 degrees. We arrived in the late afternoon and spent the evening with Becky, Courtney and other members of the wedding party that arrived that evening.

Wend and I worked remotely on Thursday and then joined with the gathering family and wedding party members for a trip to Coors Field to watch the Colorado Rockies beat the Houston Astros. Of course, Wendy and I loved being at the baseball game even if it wasn’t our beloved (and beleaguered) Cubs.

More work for Wendy and I early Friday. Wendy then moved on to help Becky with the mid-day rehearsal and preparations for the wedding as I headed down the interstate to Colorado Springs to attend the family picnic for Madison’s graduating class. It was great to meet Madison’s roommates, classmates and teachers. It was heartening to hear one of her teachers compliment Madison’s attitude, participation and spiritual maturity. I had to head back to Denver for the rehearsal dinner while Madison stayed in Colorado Springs to continue moving into the apartment where she’ll be living this summer.

The rehearsal dinner was on Friday night at the home of Courtney’s parents. They have a gorgeous home with a wonderful back yard perfect for hosting the party. We enjoyed a great meal and got a chance to mingle with Wendy’s family members who’d just arrived along with meeting Courtney’s family.

On Saturday morning I enjoyed early morning coffee and conversation with Wendy’s dad. Her mom then joined the two of us for breakfast. Wendy was busy all day getting Becky ready for the wedding as I headed back down to Colorado Springs for Madison’s commencement service. On the way I got a phone call from Madison letting me know that she’d fallen while packing her car and hurt her foot.

I arrived at New Life Church for her commencement ceremony. Madison was in pain and couldn’t walk on her foot, but it wasn’t too swollen and I was encouraged that it wasn’t serious. Unfortunately, her injury kept her from crossing the stage with her classmates to receive her certificate, but they did ask her to stand to be recognized. After the ceremony she got some help getting up on stage to have pictures taken. After the service we had some cake and punch before grabbing lunch at Champs where she works as a server. I got to meet her co-workers and we enjoyed lunch together before heading to Denver for the wedding.

Despite her injury, Madison played photographer at Becky’s house as Wendy and her sister, Suzanna, got their make-up on and helped Becky into her corset back wedding dress. I got cleaned up and dressed at the hotel and then picked up Madison and headed to the wedding which took place at the Summit Conference and Event Center in Aurora.

The wedding ceremony was nice and the three Hall girls (Eden, Adira, and Sophia) were adorable in their white dresses as they stood up with Wendy (Matron of Honor) and Suzanna (bridesmaid). Mr Ed held it together as he offered a prayer of blessing over the couple. Guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers while the family endured the obligatory pictures after the ceremony. Then came dinner and lots of dancing. Madison was a real trooper. Even though her foot was killing her she hung in there and helped take a lot of pictures of the reception.

Madison climbed in Reggie (Wendy’s Nissan Murano) with Wendy and me and we took off for home this morning about 9:30. It was a long, hard drive back to Pella. Madison slept most of the way and Wendy got some shut-eye as well. We made it back to Vander Well Manor about 7:45 this evening to unpack. Madison shrieked with glee as we drove into Pella. She’s excited to be home and very quickly headed up to George’s to meet a friend.

I figured I’d write this post and get some photos loaded. It was a long, but wonderful weekend. We had a ball with family (old and new!) and are so proud of Madison. Madison has decided to stay in Colorado Springs. She will be living in an apartment with a couple of her classmates and plans to attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs this fall.