18 Already!

It’s hard for me to believe, but Moose’s 18th birthday was yesterday!

Since he had a busy school day, we split the celebration over two days. He waited until after school to open his presents…Lego is still one of his (well actually all of ours) favorite things!

He had a late day at school, so he picked something quick and simple for dinner…chicken patties and mac ‘n’ cheese (I added the green beans so we could pretend there was a healthy component to the meal!). It was excellent timing, because yesterday was also National Fried Chicken Sandwich day!

And we had his cake on his actual birthday, which worked out well, because there enough left for round two today!

Today he had off of school, so he spent the day relaxing and doing some of his favorite things. And tonight, for the first time in about four years, we went to Red Robin for dinner!

I can’t believe that 3/5 of my children are now legal adults, but I have loved seeing the people they have become as they’ve gotten older, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Moose!

Senior Night

Tonight was Senior Night at Moose’s high school, and the senior members of the marching band and their parents were recognized at the football game along with the football players and cheerleaders. It was very exciting for me to be there and be recognized with Moose, especially since his marching band career got off to a rocky start thanks to the pandemic. While there was technically a band his freshman year, they didn’t get to play at any games or competitions, so it wasn’t exactly the beginning he was hoping for, but he has loved all of the events he has gotten to be part of since they resumed normal activities his sophomore year!

Tonight was extra exiting because following their usual pre-game music, they got to change into their new show uniforms for the first time for their halftime performance!

Here are a few more images from the festivities tonight:

I’m so proud of Moose and all of the hard work he has done as a member of the marching band!

Senior Year!

Today is the first day of Moose’s senior year of high school!

In the interest of full disclosure, I took these photos before band practice last night. He had to be at school at 4:25 this morning because the marching band was playing for one of our local news stations, and it was obviously too dark then to take a decent picture. I’m so excited to see what exciting things are in store for him this year!

The Klinger Tour of Toledo

Today is Jamie Farr’s 89th birthday! Inspired by the character he played on M*A*S*H, everyone’s favorite “company cluck,” from Toledo, OH, here’s a look back at the highlights of the “Klinger Tour of Toledo,” a trip we planned in Jamie Farr’s and Klinger’s honor, that we took last month.

We stopped by Jamie Farr Park, located not too far from Michigan and Galena, which is where Klinger said he is from. The quote on the plaque is absolutely lovely, and of course it made me cry!

Our trip to Toledo would not have been complete without a meal at Tony Packo’s, and it was just as delicious as Klinger promised it would be. The M*A*S*H memorabilia everywhere was so much fun to look at, and we loved taking a picture with Klinger and Hawkeye. What was really special, though, was seeing how much Toledo loves Jamie Farr!

The other must-do for our trip to Toledo was a Mudhens game, which was one of the most perfect ball games I’ve ever attended, ending with a walk-off home run followed by a fireworks show. We saw Klinger on the retired numbers wall of the ballpark (I personally think they missed an opportunity to retire number eight in his honor, since he spent so much of M*A*S*H trying to secure a Section 8 for himself!), and also saw Jamie Farr’s name at “Farr Out Funnels.” We had hoped to try a funnel cake there, but unsurprisingly, the line was really long, and we never had the chance.

This was a Big Deal for the boys and me (we’ve been talking about going to Toledo and eating at Tony Packo’s and seeing a Mudhens game since before the pandemic, I think), and I’m so glad we finally got to have this experience together!

As we left Toledo, we all had one thought…”And you made it out alive?” In all seriousness, it was a fantastic trip, and I can see why Klinger (and Jamie Farr) loves it so much!


Today is Moose’s 17th birthday! If that isn’t unbelievable enough, he keeps me reminding me that in just one year, he will be a legal adult, and I am just not ok with that!

We started with presents before school…I was especially excited to give him the Lego Ideas Jazz Quartet set, because he loves music, and especially jazz, so much:

I think he had a good day at school…most importantly, he didn’t have any homework tonight! He picked McDonald’s for his birthday dinner, and requested a space-themed cake. I did my best to copy the picture he made for me, and I was really pleased with how the cake turned out!

He got all 17 candles in pretty much one breath!

It’s always a little disappointing when a birthday is on a school day, because that limits how many fun things we can do, but even with school, I think it was a great day!

An Early 16th Birthday!

We decided to celebrate Moose’s 16th birthday a few days early!

It was a rather space-themed day…we got him a pair of astronomy binoculars, and he received some space books and a planisphere to go with them. And a Lego set, because I don’t think it’s really a birthday if there are no Lego builds!

This afternoon, he led a rather raucous family game of Uno:

The space theme continued with his cake, which he asked me to decorate with the phases of the moon. I had to do it freehand, so it wasn’t perfect, but he seemed happy with it. I think it’s funny that he asked for a cake that went so well with his presents without his even knowing what they were!

It was fun to celebrate his birthday on a Saturday when we didn’t have any commitments, instead of on a weekday when everyone is busy with school and work!

First Day of High School, In Person

For the first time in almost 18 months, I dropped Moose off at school this morning!

Even though he’s a sophomore (I can’t believe it!), this is his first year in the high school building. It’s a strange way to experience the (continued) transition to high school, but I’m sure he’s up to the task, and he’s already excited about some of the things he’ll get to do this year!


Today is Moose’s 15th birthday!

We started the day with a breakfast of his choosing…toaster strudel:

He did have school today (which was a bit of a disappointment after the unicorn that was the birthday long weekend last year!), but since he’s doing distance learning, he was able to open his presents at lunchtime, which is way better than waiting until after the school day is over!

For dinner, he requested White Castle, which is easy enough to carry-out:

And he wanted a chocolate cake with m&m’s…I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

Now all five children have celebrated their birthdays in the time of COVID-19, from Turkey’s 17th birthday in March the week the stay-at-home order was announced to today, at a time when we’re wondering if we’re going to see increased restrictions again. We haven’t been able to go out to eat, or have family and friends over, or even go somewhere fun for any of the birthdays, but I think we’ve still had special celebrations, and it’s certainly a year of birthdays we won’t forget!

Pumpkin Picking in the Time of COVID-19

I was kind of worried about pumpkin picking this year. Actually, I had pretty much given up on the idea of us going, and I was planning on just buying a pumpkin when I went grocery shopping, because there was no way we were comfortable with piling into a tractor-pulled wagon with a bunch of people who would hopefully be wearing masks. But then I found out that most sincere pumpkin patch in the area, Braeutigum Orchards, was not only requiring masks and social distancing, they were also offering the option to walk to the pumpkin patch, and that was something we were all comfortable with! Yesterday was the perfect fall day, so we took a break from school to find the Great Pumpkin.

Actually, in some ways, in addition to being a slightly new and different experience, it was a superior experience. We got to see some parts of the farm up close for the first time ever, and it was beautiful:

There were still quite a few pumpkins left, even though it’s pretty late in the season. One thing I love about Braeutigum’s is the wide variety of pumpkin shapes and colors they offer. Being able to borrow one of their hand wagons was a fun new experience, and made our job much easier, too, which is how we ended up with four different pumpkins in three colors!

We stopped to visit the animals while we were there…we always see the chickens and turkeys, but we don’t usually get to see barn cats…we came across at least six of them!

Taking pictures was a little different this year, what with the masks and all, but it’s a memory.

Did I mention it was a beautiful day?

Of course we picked up apple cider and apple cider donuts to enjoy at home:

This was a really positive experience in a surreal time, and made yesterday feel almost like a normal day!