Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Dear United States of America!

Happy Birthday Dear United States of America!
And behold, a furry face of fear.
Poor Penny spent the evening of the 3rd of July panting and pacing in terror over the booms in the night.
Tonight she will celebrate our nations independence with a valium.
Have a happy 4th friends, and please be sure to keep your pets safe and inside...we don't want to loose any beloved pets.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lilly's Father/Daughter Super Secret Mystery Trip.

To celebrate the end of middle school and the beginning of summer,
Lilly took her dear dad on a quick trip to Montreal.
Lilly planned the trip herself... she wanted a European-ish adventure without actually going to Europe, and thought Montreal all would be the place to go. She kept the destination and secret from him until two days before departure, but was sure to mark it in his calendar as "Mystery Trip with Lilly" so that he was ready for anything. 
These two peas in a pod had a low key and lovely time together so documented in a series of photos taken by various friendly folk of Montreal. 
They stayed in a sweet little hotel in Old Town called Le Petit Hotel that also hosted a coffee shop called, of course Le Petit Cafe.
Here there are looking cute and Canadian while waiting for a taxi in front of the cafe.
(photo credit by the gentleman setting up tables in the across the street restaurant) 
This posey photo was taken in the lobby of Le Petit Hotel.
(credit to nice front desk lady)
And while it might be odd to be surrounded by suspended wine bottles while enjoying a fancy French dinner, it made a nice background for this photo.
(credit to charming waiter at fancy French restaurant)
They sent this selfie to me from the airport... I love it :-)
(credit to Karl's super long arm, so helpful for selfies)
Lilly is a lucky chica to have a fantastic dad who will happily save a post 8th grade graduation weekend just for her and she knows it.
So happy that these two have each other and enjoy each other as much as they do. 
Wishing all fathers everywhere the happiest of Fathers Day today and always. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Camper.

Jamie has been waiting for 11 months to get back to his happiest place on Earth... 
Camp Kooch-i-Ching. 
This is his second summer to attend and while last year he may have been a little bit apprehensive, this year he was over the moon excited to return to a place that he considers his second home. 
Here he is hanging out in his cabin which he will soon share with his summer pack of guys.
And on the outside of the same log cabin in the wilderness... complete with a cool Native American grimacing bear to make it even more macho and appealing to middle school guys.
Both father and son were stoic when it came to saying goodbye... the second time to camp was easier for both. 
The camp posts a selection of photos of their campers as they go about their daily activities. So we learned that on the first day Jamie signed himself up for sailing lessons. 
I can most definitely say that camp provides many opportunities not available in any other setting. Here goes Jamie in a trust fall... arms crossed and eye to the sky... and to prove extra trustworthiness, a trust fall platform has been built in the woods for added height.
All this make my kid a very happy camper.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reptile Roundup Extreme Close Ups

The guys in our family, were very excited to spend a week at the Cincinnati Nature Center learning all about our reptilian and amphibian friends. 
They spent their time happily traipsing about the woods and streams looking for snakey creatures and then showed them off to their families during a Friday  presentation. 
This gave me a chance to take a couple of extreme reptile close ups of some of the fellows that they caught and then later released.
This was my favorite reptile of the camp.. a male box tortoise... I learned that the boy tortoises have red eyes, while the ladies are brown-eyed girls.
This snake was found in the ladies room which gave me the heebiest of jeebies, and also proved that you don't really have to hike far and wide to find a snake at the nature center. 
This snake is obviously a female because of it's natural ladies room respectable lady snake would dare hang out in the mens room.
The kids found some amphibians too... including this very, very serious looking bullfrog.
I appreciate the intensity of his froggie gaze.
The creature that I had the toughest time capturing in extreme close up was my very own elusive 12 year old boy. 
Here is Jamie... from a safe and respectable distance, delivering his presentation with a pack of nature camp pals.  
Immediately afterwards, all wildlife was released to the same habitat where they were found, although my hope is that the lady snake found a new place to reside a bit farther from the bathroom that I will never ever again use. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Gieseke Family Stomping Grounds Tour.

Our family is lucky enough to have fantastic family stomping grounds close and drivable for a weekend reunion...Greenville Illinois.
I didn't realize that Greenville is also a place where the buffalo roam right outside your Comfort Inn breakfast bar... and of course I made them go pose for a photo... because really how often do you have breakfast with a herd of buffalo?
 And even better, a set of cousins to roast wieners with and give you evening golf cart cruises around the field. 
Emma and Rosie were both delighted to realize that they were both moms to guinea pigs... here they are posing with Pookie Boo...the Illinois pig. 
Cousins again!
Karl and David, were not as good at comparing guinea pig parenting stories, and stayed with kid stories instead.  
On Memorial Day, we visited the little cemetery in Trenton where many of the newest to the United States Gieseke's made their home after they arrived from Germany.
Whats a visit to the cemetery without a group picture?
Here we are with Grandpa August and Grandma Katharina... born in 1826 and 1836.
Afterwards, we stopped for a delicious lunch at wonderful restaurant happy to accommodate our big family. Henry was particularly happy about lunch and gave it a double fist pump cheer! Yay, pie!
The day was perfect, and we headed over to the Rod and Gun club to swim and row and fish. 
Karl and Uncle Tom had a more relaxed demeanor in their rowboat, but Lily was wisely ready for anything in her googles and lifejacket. 
Jamie loves to fish... and apparently he comes from fishing roots. He seemed right at home on the lake with a rod. 
Uncle Hugh taught Henry the hold the fish far in front for maximum size while being photographed trick.
Here is my adored father in law Jim, with his little sister and dear wife.

This was the best part of the visit... a chance to be together breathe the same air and enjoy each others company. 
A personal highlight was watching home movies of my father and law and his cousins and little sis jumping in the lake... and then watching very similar movies of Karl and his siblings and cousins jumping in the same lake 30 years later. 
And then of course watching our own soggy wombats jump into the very same lake.
What could be better then that?
And here are my very favorite Rod and Gun Club Lake Leapers... 
Jim, Karl and Tom.

It was a very most perfect Memorial Day Gieseke Family Reunion Original Stomping Grounds Reunion Tour. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Adventures in Dental Surgery...Chicago style.

This is a pre-op photo that Mary and I took of ourselves outside of her oral surgeons early Thursday morning. Mary scheduled herself to have her wisdom teeth extracted and needed a nurse/driver and because I was worried about finding parking in this big busy city, we arrived 90 minutes early to park about 20 feet from her doctors door.
So plenty of time for selfies and Starbucks before her appointment. 
Mary's doctor was across the street from a tattoo/piercing parlor... so glad that it was closed on a Thursday morning or this mom might have gotten impulsive and ran across the street to get some ink and studs...or something- while Mary was under.
Later, when I told her this, she mentioned that both of her doctors were next door to tattoo/ piercing parlors.
Yep... same here.
Her surgery went smoothly there were no problems, Mary's wisdom teeth are now long gone and she will never again have to have those choppers extracted. 
Thats the happy news. 
The bummer news is that having four impacted wisdoms is tough, but if it has to be done, I can recommend a 23rd floor recovery room... plenty of ice, a Shake Shack around the corner for delicious milkshakes and  plenty of HGTV to watch in bed.
And since Mary's recovery required a lot of sleep, and the day was gorgeous... I went for a long walk to see the city and get my steps. And I can see why Mary is entirely in love with this place...the city is gorgeous, and has a wonderful and energetic hum to it, just like our Mary.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Confirmation Day!

It has been a month of milestones met and new beginnings for this kid...and I love that she looks pleased as she marches to the front of the church to accept her confirmation and become an official member of our church.
Lily and her confirmation classmates have been meeting weekly with wonderful teachers for two years to prepare for this day...they were ready.
The five newest Presbyterians on the block and were both charged seriously and welcomed warmly by the leaders and members of Knox Church.
They were reminded that when they were very young, their parents made all decisions for them, such as their baptism, but as confirmands, they were old enough to make some very important decisions on their own.
They were old enough to help in the leadership of the church, and to help make thoughtful decisions for Knox. 
Here, Pastor Adam delivers the charge and reminds Lilly and her four friends of their new responsibilities.
(Adam also managed to sneak in a reminder about helping their parents out at  home, which was cool, kind of sneaky, and very much appreciated.)
And here is our girl after the service, looking all cute and churchy with her brand new bible. 
And no church celebration would be complete without brunch and a chocolate cake... and a Grandpa photobomb. 
Fourteen years ago Karl and I were very wise in asking Jessica Depp to be Lily's godmother. 
She and Lily are very similar in so many ways... she "gets" Lily and they have had many adventures together over the years. Here, Godmother and daughter strike a post brunch party pose to mark the special day. 

Thank you Jessica for being there for our girl and Happy Confirmation Day to both you and Lilly!