Monday, September 14, 2009

So Far Behind...

Wow, so much has happened since our last post! Let's see if we can catch up...

The week after we took Brandon to Illinois, we took Tiffany's boyfriend, Tommy to Colorado where he is attending Adams State College on a football scholarship as well. GO GRIZZLIES!!! Derek, Tiffany and Tommy's dad (Ted) went on this trip. As they were heading up toward Heber, the fuel pump went out in the Suburban at about 3:00am. They ended up turning around to head back home and when it finally totally quit, they had to push the car until they reached a hill where they could coast down, then coast until it wouldn't coast anymore and push again. Fortunately, there are several pretty big hills to help them. They made it almost to Payson and Tyler had to drive up to tow them the rest of the way home to get the car fixed. The next day they were on their way and made it to Alamosa, Colorado in about 10 hours.

Before Tommy left for college, he got Tiffany a kitty (she named 'Kitty') She was so excited and absolutely adores her new kitty!

Dean finally received his Bobcat, which he earned quite a while ago and also his Wolf in Cub Scouts.

The kids have been enjoying school so far. Dean is in 4th grade and started playing the viola in the school orchestra this year. He really enjoys that, even though they haven't really been playing too much yet...still just learning the basics.

Heather started her first year in actual high school this year as a sophomore. She was a little nervous but has been enjoying it. Unfortunately, they dropped orchestra from her schedule because none of her classes were offered A hour. She has been practicing all summer with both the basketball and softball teams and is very anxious for basketball season to start.

Heather has also been playing the piano a lot. She practices every day and is definitely improving. There are a few songs that she can play with both hands pretty well. She's pretty much teaching herself and is doing awesome. So, no grandma, you can't have the piano back...sorry!

Kimberly started this year at EVA and EVIT in their Health Sciences program to begin working towards her goal to become an OB/GYN.

Tiffany started her Junior year this year and is on the Varsity Cheer Squad. She misses Tommy but is doing great. She's also driving...not sure if we mentioned that in a previous post or not. She started teaching dance classes at the house over the summer and has also started dancing at the dance studio again 3 days a week.

Cathy has finally received (although earned a while ago) her AA Degree! It only took 20 years :( Now, only 8 more classes to finish up for her Bachelor's in Business Administration, hopefully by next summer!

Over Labor Day weekend, we took another trip to Colorado to visit Tommy, watch his game and help him celebrate his birthday. Derek, Cathy and Tiffany went, along with Tommy's mom, Diane and his sister, Jackie and her friend Zoe. It was a lot of fun. We were hoping for some nice cool weather and while it was in the 70s it seemed really hot and we all got very sunburned while watching the game on Saturday. For his birthday, he wanted to go to the alligator farm so we went to see the Colorado Gators and then went bowling. Here are some fun pictures from our time there...

Happy Birthday Tommy! We love you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good Luck Brandon!!!! We Love You!

Well, we (Derek, Cathy, and Heather) just returned from the nice long drive back to Illinois to drop Brandon off at college. We took lots of random pictures along the way (in the car, at the rest areas, in the restaurants, etc.) We drove straight through to Charleston (that's where EIU is) and it took us about 24 hours to drive straight through.

We did make a couple of stops along the way at the Precious Moments Chapel/Museum and Bass Pro Shop in Missouri.
Heather posing in front of a life-size piece of her birthday train that Grannie started for her.
OK, so the picture doesn't do the story justice, but as we were leaving Brandon decides to play around near the fountain...he starts jumping up the stairs (only 2) and as he hits the 2nd step, he slips and falls, drops to the ground and almost rolls IN to the fountain. He had to stick his arm in to catch himself. If only we could have had it on was the funniest thing (especially to see the look on his face as it was happening). So, the best picture we could get was one of his wet arm afterwards (lame I know). Most likely, even if we had the camera or video camera ready we probably wouldn't have been able to catch it because we were all laughing so hard.

Bass Pro Shop...

We spent the night in a hotel there and looked around a little bit then headed up to Indiana to visit Cathy's brother and his family. It was nice to see all of them and get to spend some time there. Heather got to eat at her favorite restaurant (with Uncle Joe and Aunt Becky)...

Brandon wanted a haircut so Uncle Joe helped him out. He wanted a cape but they didn't have one so he made one out of a garbage bag.

Heather had fun catching lightning bugs. Those pictures didn't turn out so well and she didn't have a glass jar so they were collecting them in a Cool Whip container with holes poked all over it.
We also got to visit Cathy's Aunt Elsie and went by the cemetary where her dad and grandparents are buried.
The College Football Hall of Fame is also located in South Bend so we got to visit there. As Brandon says...he was picking out his spot!

We stayed there a few days then headed back to Charleston to get Brandon settled in. We were able to spend a few days there as well and were able to attend church with him on Sunday. It's great to know that there is a 'built-in' family wherever you go! The people there were great and very welcoming! There's definitely not a shortage of corn fields in Illinois (they are everywhere), as you can see from this picture of Brandon in the front of the cornfields across the street from the church.

We got him all set up with all the supplies he needs (and wanted) except for a car. Still working on that one. In the meantime, we bought him a nice beach cruiser so he can get back and forth to the school and wherever else he chooses to ride.

His house...
A couple more pictures from the school... Love the big helmet up on the wall and the picture turned out great too...
...and here he is in front of the Tony Romo wall (Dallas Cowboys QB who played for EIU)

We had a great trip, the weather was wonderful (some rain here and there, not too much humidity, temperatures in the 70s and low 80s). It was great to be able to see the school, meet the coach, his roommates, his Bishop and other church members, see the town, his house, etc. It was hard to leave him but this is an awesome opportunity for him. This is a great place for him to be and he is living his dream. He is an awesome young man and we know he will do well and accomplish great things. He has some missionary work to do while he's there as well. Check back for updates on how he is doing as the year/season progresses...
**********GO PANTHERS!!!***********

Now, to get the other kids ready for school...

Friday, June 26, 2009

All the happenings...

Derek is back to racing again...He and Tyler have been going out to the new sand drag track, which is about 10 minutes from our house (beats the heck out of driving to Yuma, Blythe, Laughlin, or Mexico) and playing in the mud and sand. Tyler has been driving the old 'Wild Willyz' Jeep that Derek use to race.

Derek recently traded his Mustang for a Corvette Funny Car, blown big block Chevy that runs on alcohol. Thanks to everyone who helped him get the car ready to race, especially Lamar, Arnold, Wayne and Mykel. It looks and runs great and he had a blast. His best time was 3.36 seconds on a 100 yard track at 96 mph. He's only had it out one night but is hoping to take it out again on July 3rd & 4th. They also both have a great 'pit crew' (too many names to list here but most of them are family members).

He also took out his little 4 cylinder, Toyota 4x4, which was the first to make it through the mud. Heather and Dean both had fun riding along.

Heather has been playing basketball 3-4 days a week with tournaments on most weekends.
Tiffany has started teaching dance classes at the house. She had a great turnout the first week and is expecting more to come on a regular basis.
Kim has spent the majority of the summer with her aunt and cousin, and doing some babysitting. She also had her first date!
Dean just finished up summer school and is bored out of his mind every day; asking each day if he can go to Chris' or Tyler's house. Not sure what he will do for the next month and a half.
Brandon is finishing up everything to get ready to head off to college. He just got registered for his classes, has made his living arrangements, and is having a good time here with his friends before he goes. He hasn't even made it there yet and has already made his first appearance in the local newspaper. You can read the article here:
Cathy just finished up her last class to earn her Associates Degree. 10 more classes to complete her Bachelor's in Business, hopefully finishing up by next summer!!!