Pet Cuddles

The kids all got to appreciate Mom and Pops’ pets too while there.

Thunderer was especially taken with their dog Charlie.

When compared to Thunderer he was a horse! She had no fear though and enjoyed hugging the big puppy every chance she could get.

Maddie is their older, smaller, and sweet pupper who could be trusted outside a bit more without heavy supervision.

Then the cat Peaches who was very aloof the first night we were there but once she realized we were mostly harmless allowed the kids.

She helped fulfill Little Miss’ cat quota too.



Family Pictures

So what’s a first-time reunion like this without gathering _everybody_ up and getting a group shot or two?

All of the grandkids, all together!

The brothers!

And the parents and the boys.

Looking at these pictures again, it’s just amazing to finally be there. I really wish the van had behaved itself, but I’m glad Redflare suggested we finish the trip down and that I listened.


Traveling South

With my newfound family we couldn’t make it south to the Thanksgiving event due to my work but we thought, hey, let’s try for a different weekend to at least finally get down there and meet my little brother, my grandma, and anybody else who might be nearby.

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way…

On the way down, nice and close to Mason City, IA, the battery light on the van came on. Redflare frantically started searching through the manual to see what that might mean as I kept on the interstate.

Slowly things started failing.


GPS power (lighter port).

Cruise control.



Power steering.

We coasted our way up an exit ramp that fortunately had a light at the top of it.

Tired, stranded, it wasn’t a fun evening.

How, after all, do you fit _seven_ people into a tow truck, for instance?

Arranging with our insurance for a free tow, Redflare had the foresight to pack some emergency hard currency which was able to fund a taxi ride for everybody.

Superman stayed with me as the taxi and tow truck arrived at the same time.

Police stopped by to check on things too.

The next morning, after staying overnight in a hotel, was filled with me frantically finding someplace open on a Saturday morning that could take the van. Once confirmed, I arranged for another tow and we lost most of the day to an expensive repair of the alternator.

There was then the question: do we go home or continue? Redflare advised that since we were out this far we may as well finish and head back home Sunday like we originally planned, so South we continued.



Little Miss had an assignment to create a piece of abstract art.

We quite liked it and wanted to be sure to save a copy for ourselves.

It wouldn’t quite work in the scanner thanks to the unique dimensions so we had to settle for a picture instead.


Weekend Lounging

Don’t mind us, just enjoying an excuse to snuggle inside on a late fall/early winter weekend.

Perhaps play with the new Note 8 camera filters a bit…

And maybe even set up the Christmas tree!?

Relaxing and quiet weekends sometimes feel like they’re few and far between, so have to take advantage of them when they come, right?


Wedding Crashers

So why am I all dressed up?

Well, it’s time to head to (and crash) the first wedding that has come up for my newfound family!

It was about two hours north so rather than make the trip in 7 hours Mom and my newly met aunt were able to spend the night at our place and then all head up there.

It was a really nice service and I was able to get to meet quite a few aunts, uncles, and cousins. I do not remember everybody’s names. :p

That’ll come though.

In before anybody is too appalled, it was mostly a secret but it was cleared by those planning it. 😉


Heart Food

At some point I missed the memo about if you see a heart in food you’re supposed to give it to your love.

Redflare saved this walnut for me as a loving gesture and then had to explain it since I was confused.

Yep, I kind of deflated the moment a bit. :p

I’ll know foe next time.