Day 818 – Thankful for Spending Time with My Father In Law

I’ve mentioned it before, but just to re-state it, I won the “In Law Lottery.” While I hear some interesting stories from others about how difficult things can be with their in laws I just can’t relate. They’re great people with huge hearts. Over the past 24 hours I’ve had the opportunity to spend a good chunk of time with my father in law.

Last night we played cards with Dominic and Nathan (my nephew) while everyone else went to the movies. It was so much fun that I’m sure we’ll all remember it for quite some time!

Today everyone went outside to ride sleds behind four wheelers in the fields. As we were wrapping up the first session of sledding (the boys are back outside already as I type this) I took a few minutes to lay flat on my back on a sled in the field. It felt great to enjoy the fresh air and time outside. Out of nowhere Ken pounced on me and squished me! It was hysterical!

While everyone else was either in the house or wrapping up their rides Ken and I decided to take a walk in the woods on a trail he has behind the house. We walked and shot the bull as he pointed out various animal tracks. He shared a couple of hunting stories and talked about how he would be working on the next trails. We took our time and enjoyed the quiet and some time together, exactly what the doctor ordered during a busy holiday season.

Spending time with him in the woods reminded me so much of the times I had done the same thing with my dad so many times in the past. Dad and I would often wander through the woods to cut brush, boughs, and to find places to hunt and trap. He would share stories of hunting as a kid and the things he and his friends used to do in the woods. He’d share his knowledge of wildlife and wilderness survival skills. We’d spend time talking and other time in quiet. As I look back those were amongst my favorite times in the world with him.

The time with Ken has been an awesome Christmas present. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time with him and am so thankful for the opportunity to create some excellent memories together. It’s also been great to bring back so many wonderful memories of times with my dad. While I can’t spend time with Dad this Christmas the time with Ken has helped to fill that space and has left my heart filled with joy.



Day 817 – Thankful for Fun Childhood Memories

Last night while celebrating Christmas we reminded each other of the story of Nick’s remote controlled truck. We had our giant VHS camcorder set up on a tripod near the stairs to record the opening of our presents just like we did every year. Nick’s big present that year was a remote controlled truck that he really wanted. After unwrapping it he turned it on, grabbed the remote and hit the gas. It rocketed forward at an amazingly quick pace… and shot straight past the camcorder and straight down the stairs. The silence of our shock was broken only by the sounds of plastic crunching on each stair and then onto the concrete. The film caught our expressions and they were priceless!!! Just like normal, we all laughed and enjoyed re-living that magical moment.

Throughout the past 24 hours or so there have been many fun childhood memories that have come back to me. Between Christmas with my family and then driving back through Ladysmith on our way to the Thums’ there’ve been many moments that have come back to mind and brought smiles.

As we passed by the Ladysmith High School I was reminded of so many wrestling matches. I still shiver with disgust when I drive by that school 😉

While going for one of our walks yesterday with Nick we had flashbacks to when the to of us used to fight like Dominic and Gavin were.

Eating spritz cookies always reminds me to seeing just how many of those wonderful cookies I could eat as a kid before my parents would cut me off. I always remember making them with my mom and eating some of the dough and I remember how much my dad loved them.

Opening presents with the family reminded me of all the times we did that as a family. We’d usually huddle around the tree after church on Christmas Eve and open a seemingly endless pile of gifts… after taking a family picture like the one below. Gotta love those silk shirts!!!

So many times I’ve stopped and smiled as a memory has dusted off the cobwebs and reappeared in my brain. One other thought has passed through almost immediately after each of those memories… Which memories are the boys making today that they’ll remember forever? Hanging out with their cousins? Joking around with grandparents and aunts and uncles? Staying up late playing games? Just a hunch, but I’m guessing they’ll remember their trip to Hawaii on Christmas Day. Regardless, it brings me great joy knowing that they’ll also have wonderful childhood memories to look back on once they’re old like me!


Day 816 – Thankful for a Chillaxin’ Family Christmas

Today has been exactly the chill family Christmas I was hoping for and always look forward to. We’re all up at Mom’s and I’m enjoying every moment of it.

After hanging out last night we slept in this morning and it felt great to not be in any rush. Once I was up Becky and I headed out to take Ruger for a nice long walk. We enjoyed the fresh air and movement which was exactly what the doctor ordered after all the eating last night! There wasn’t an agenda so we kind of wandered and went even further than we were planning.

We then hung out and just did a lot of chillin’ until lunch. Lots of talking, planning our summer trip together, and working the different building kits the boys received as gifts. There may have been a little eating mixed in too!

Then it was time for lunch… mmm… lasagna!!!

Once the dishes were done we went right back to chillin’. More shooting the bull and relaxation time. Throw in a couple of games for good measure and it was exactly the peaceful Ive been hoping for.

As a big family we played the dice game, our annual fun event in which Mom picks up a bunch of cool stuff, wraps it up, and we play games to see who gets what. Every year we have so much fun with it!

Supper will be ready soon and then we’re sure to fire up some more games and relaxation. I could definitely get used to this pace!

Throughout the day we’ve had a wonderful mix of time a a big family, time in smaller groups, and even some time alone. There’s been zero agenda or stress and it’s perfect.

Total chillaxin’ all day long with some of my favorite people in the world… How could I ask for anything more on Christmas? (Although I jut realized I’be been chillaxin’ a little too much and I don’t have a group picture of us so I’ll go with a Christmas Gavin instead).


Day 815 – Thankful for Morning Pump Up Music and Working in Produce and Lumberyards

With a busy day planned and a lot to accomplish before heading out I knew the right choice in music on my drive in would make all the difference. After a quick scan I found exactly what I needed… The Offspring. While Dexter and the boys sang and shredded I exercised my vocal chords while playing a little air drum on the steering wheel.

That whole drive I was smiling away thinking back to a flood of memories. Ever since high school The Offspring have made regular visits on my CD player, Mini Disc player, MP3 player, and iPhone. Their tunes have been in my ears while running, wrestling, traveling, and driving.

What really had me stoked this morning we’re the memories of jamming out to their album Smash while cleaning the produce cooler at the IGA with my buddy Garwood in high school. We’d go in once the store closed, fire up the music as loud as my little boom box would go, and clean away all the stuff that lives under the greens rack. We’d joke around, shoot the bull, and actually have a great time while getting paid to hang out. It was awesome!

Listening to them today also reminded me of working at the lumberyard the first two summers of college. I’d fire them up in the truck whenever I have the opportunity to go out on a delivery. Working there with the guys was one of the most entertaining work experiences I’ve ever had. They took great care of me and told me so many stories that still make me chuckle just like when I first heard them.

Funny how all it takes is a little of the right music to bring back some great memories. Throughout the morning I had little memories of those experiences pop into my head and brought a smile to my face.


Day 814 – Thankful for My Laptop Login Screen

How’s that for a crazy title?  Today while in Menomonie I went to open up my laptop to pull up some info and the picture below popped up as the computer started the login sequence:


It looked so awesome that I had to pause and take a look at where it was from and mentally add it to my dream list.  The funny thing is that this is becoming a regular occurrence.  The picture changes every day or two and it’s become a lot of fun seeing what pops up next!

Over the past couple of weeks the following all caught my attention:



And this one from Iceland really caught my eye!

IMG_8131.jpgIt’s funny, but Microsoft has found a great way of making something ordinary and routine the stuff of dream creation.  Each time I login in I’m anxious to see if it is something new and if it’s a place I’d like to add to my dream list.  How awesome to sprinkle in  little dream fuel several times a day?


Day 813 – Thankful for Digit Destruction Day

Yup, you read that one correctly. Gavin named today Digit Destruction Day for a reason. Oddly enough I’m actually thankful for it!

Part of the reason for hiring a contractor for the basement is that I’m still working on my workshop in the garage. We’re down to painting and then a little trim work and it’s done. I had a strong sensation of needing to complete something so I headed out to paint after dinner.

Shortly after starting Gavin burst into the workshop just like the red headed fireball he is and… OWW!!! He ran right into the stool that was holding everything I was using which rammed right into one of my toes with a crack. After second I could see the look of regret and sadness in his eyes so I let him know I wasn’t mad, I’d be okay, I’d just like to have him be more aware of his surroundings next time.

As I was painting I was also listening to the loud banging of Gavin hammering some boards together as he made a creation. Suddenly the pounding stopped and I saw him dancing out of the corner of my eye. It only took a second and a half to realize that he was doing the thumb bash dance. He’d missed on a hammer swing and got himself. He took a deep breath, talked himself into feeling like it didn’t hurt too bad, and got back at the project within a minute.

After a while he asked me, “Dad, what’s the word for fingers and toes?” “Digits?” His response was “yeah, that’s the word. This isn’t a good day for our digits is it? It’s definitely Digit Destruction Day today.”

We joked around about it the rest of the time we worked together and he even named his project the “Digit Destroyer.”

So why am I thankful for Digit Destruction Day? He saw me not lose my mind when he smashed my toe. We were both able to laugh off the pain from the accidents we both had. Most importantly, Gavin and I had fun working together in the workshop. I’m always thankful for workshop time with my boys… even if we’re destroying our digits!


Day 812 – Thankful for Hiring a Contractor (Part 2)

I’m still not sure how my parents did it… working full time, being very involved in our lives, and building a house all at the same time. That’s absolutely ridonkulous!

Today I’m thankful for taking the easy way 😉. In order to finish up the basement and turn it into a lair for our stinky boys we opted for hiring a contractor instead of doing it ourselves. With as busy as life has been for us recently there’s pretty much no way we would have finished the basement before 2025.

Instead we’ve come home to happy surprises! New flooring one day, trim another, another day a bookshelf and finally a cabinet. Just like magic!

Sure, I could’ve done it myself, but it sure feels good to have it done before the boys move out of the house! 😂