Saturday, September 20, 2014

College Visit - Western Illinois University

Today we payed a visit to Western Illinois University so Nick could take a closer look at their Engineering program.


On the plus side, we were very impressed with the engineering program as a whole, and especially with the chair of the engineering department. On the minus side, Nick thought the campus was spread out too much, and he wasn't happy with the meal options in the cafeteria.

Next on the college visit list - Southeastern Missouri State in October.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Family Weekend - Missouri State University

Great weekend with Alex in Springfield. Looking forward to getting back down there again soon.










Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cardinals vs Cubs

Michele and I traveled to St. Louis yesterday with our good friends John and Krissy to watch game two of a double header between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.


We got photo bombed by a Cubs fan outside of Busch stadium:


But, we had the last laugh, as the Cardinals destroyed the Cubs 13 to 2. A great night with great friends.

Road Trip - MSU

Justin, Brian, Nick and Kyle just prior to leaving on their road trip to Missouri State University to hang out with Alex over the long Labor Day weekend:

Monday, August 25, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Redux

My beautiful wife Michele completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday, and while doing so, challenged me to do the same within 24 hours. I accepted and completed the challenge this evening, and offer the following photo as proof:


Yes, the water was as cold as it looks.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Michel was challenged by one of her co-workers to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which seems to be all the rage right now. If you aren't familiar with this phenomenon, individuals are challenged to dump ice water over their head, challenge others to do so, and donate $10 to the ALS association.

Michele was video taped taking the challenge, but we couldn't retrieve the video from the smart phone. The best we could do is this screen shot:


Man oh man, but she looks cold!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to School

Wow, the first week of school is over already. Time seems to be in warp drive. I guess I'd better get the annual back-to-school photo posted before Christmas break sneaks up on me:


Since Nick will be in college this time next year, this will be my last official back to school photo. I suppose I could commemorate the day next year by taking a photo with just Cody in it, but that will depend upon how emotional I feel with both kids being gone.Yeah, I'll be happy for both of them, but at the same time, I'll be crying inside.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

MSU Move in Weekend

It was move in weekend at Missouri State University this past weekend, so Michele, Nick, Kyle and I spent most of the weekend helping Alex get situated. The real fun was organizing the furniture in Alex's dorm room. The whole process reminded me of solving a rubic's cube. There was an ideal combination, we just had to figure it out.

All in all, Alex appears to be excited for the new direction his life is taking him. Michele and I are both excited and happy for him, but we're very sad to see our young boy leave the nest. Its only been 24 hours since we waved goodbye, and already we miss him dearly.






Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Illinois State Fair

Michele and I traveled to Springfield yesterday to watch and listen to some of our favorite bands. This was our second consecutive year of concert going at the Illinois State Fair.

This year's line up was awesome:

Boston

April Wine

Sweet

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jazz Fest

Just returned from a week on the road that included stops in Iowa and South Dakota. A highlight of all that traveling was the Sioux Falls Jazz Fest. The crowd was huge, the food was delicious, and the bands were bursting with energy. Here are some photos of a few of the bands we liked most:









Sunday, July 13, 2014

Announcing Gig

For the first time ever, I watched a baseball game from up in the announcer's booth while assisting my son Alex with his first announcing gig. Alex sounded like a pro which made me wonder if this might be his career calling. Only time will tell.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Gift

Looks like it will be a daily competition to see who gets to use the hammock. Today, Michele was the lucky winner.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Little Mermaid jr

Our good friend John is playing the role of King Triton in the Penguin Project of Mclean County's version of the Little Mermaid jr. We attended as a family on the Friends and Family night this past Thursday evening, and as with all of John's prior performances, we were mesmerized and entertained by the quality of the production.
Ariel returns the trident to King Triton 
The lead actress who played Ariel stole the audiences' collective hearts early in the production with her beautiful rendition of Part of Your World.

Ariel and crew step forward to take a bow
You could feel the excitement and enthusiasm as the kids delivered their lines. This was a top notch production, definitely one of their best.

John (King Triton) poses with his mentor after a successful opening night 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Congratulations Alex!

Alex received his diploma last weekend from Normal Community West High school. He graduated with a 4.90 cumulative GPA on a 5.00 scale. We are so proud of our young man!

Alex just one handshake away from his high school diploma

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Masters

My oldest brother Steve scored four tickets to the first practice round of the Masters this year, so he offered three of the tickets to me and my other two brothers. We gladly accepted, and off we went to Augusta, minus Steve, who ended up not being able to make it.

Here's a shot of my brothers Mike and John just prior to leaving the course to escape an incoming storm:

John and Mike at The Masters in Augusta
Prior to leaving the course, I did manage to get a picture of Bubba Watson, this year's Masters tournament winner:

Bubba Watson at the 2014 Masters
Even though we only spent about 4 hours on the course due to the storm, we still had a great time, and it made watching the Masters this year that much more personal. Since we're guaranteed tickets again next year, we may just do it again, and if we do, hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Perfect Timing

Lady luck was with me this morning as I dialed in to a local radio station in an attempt to qualify for a Hawaii trip give away. The radio jockey said he was looking for the third caller, and before he could finish his sentence, I was frantically dialing my phone.

I got through on the first attempt, and my name was added to the growing list of qualifiers. Here's the tweet they sent out announcing my qualification:


So I went in to work today feeling very lucky. But as it turned out, my luck was pretty insignificant compared to my good friend Jonathan.

Jonathan and I have worked together for many years, and as we were eating lunch today, I noticed the time was about 12:28. I knew that at 12:30 there would be another chance for someone to qualify for the Hawaii trip, so I encouraged Jonathan to give it a shot. Jonathan suggested we head out to the parking lot to listen for the signal to call in from one of our cars, but I knew there wouldn't be time to get there, so I suggested he just go ahead and make the call.

So, Jonathan pulled out his smart phone, entered the radio station's phone number, and dialed in. The phone immediately started ringing, and after only a couple rings, a voice came from the other end answered saying "congratulations, you're the 9th caller and the next qualifier for our Hawaii trip giveaway".

We were stunned. Jonathan's timing couldn't have been better. Here's the tweet they sent out after Jonathan qualified:


So, on April 13th, Jonathan and I and probably around 200 other qualifiers will be in a final drawing to determine who gets to go on the trip. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Marker Man

Over 25 years ago, a great man by the name of Bruce Blake took up an unusual hobby. Driven by a love of history, and of storytelling, Bruce began to research some of the local history of southeastern South Dakota, which he then recorded on roadside historical markers. That quarter century of effort has culminated in the placement of over 160 historical markers throughout Minnehaha County.

Pictured here are Alex and Nick with one of Bruce's historical markers. This one is located in downtown Sioux Falls right across the street from the Holiday Inn, formerly the site of Fort Dakota:


This marker has special meaning to my boys, since Bruce dedicated it in their honor by inscribing their  names on the reverse side.

I met Bruce in the early 1980's while he was dating my mother. He was there to see me off in 1982 when I departed for the Navy, and he has been there for me and my family ever since.

This is a shot of Bruce, myself and my Mom at my graduation from the University of South Dakota in 1993:


Bruce holding my son Nick shortly after his birth in 1997:


In 2010, Bruce was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame for his historical work and other contributions to the state of South Dakota:


This month, Bruce, or as some call him, Marker Man, will be publishing a 550 page book that documents his 25 years of historical work. The book will be called Twelve Thousand Years of Human History: As Recorded on Historical Markers in Minnehaha County, S.D.


We are so proud of Bruce and his accomplishments. But more than that, we are honored to have been a part of his life during this magnificent journey. Congratulations, Marker Man, we love you.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Academic Achievement Award

This past week, Alex was recognized twice for outstanding academic excellence.

The first ceremony was held in the high school auditorium, and it included only those students who had achieved a 5.0 or higher last semester. Pictured with Alex is Principal Dave Johnson:


The second award ceremony took place in the school gymnasium. This one included only the senior student athletes who had maintained a GPA of 4.0 or higher over each of the last 7 semesters. Alex's cumulative GPA as of the end of the last semester is 4.85.


I wish I could have achieved but a fraction of what this kid has in his first 18 years of life.

Congratulations my son, you make your Mom and your Dad very proud.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Boys' Big 12 Conference Swimming and Diving Championships

Yesterday was the last high school swim meet that Alex will get to participate in, and it was one for the record books.

The meet took place at Champaign Centennial High School in Champaign Illinois, the same place olympic gold medalist Tyler Mcgill set records during his high school swimming years. One of those records, now belongs to 4 of our swimmers from Normal Community West.

The event was the boys 400 yard freestyle relay, and the pre-meet big 12 conference record, set in 2006 by McGill and 3 of his teammates, was 3:16.46.

Our team (deDianous, Loy, Kiper, deDianous) set the new big 12 conference record at 3:13.78.


Here's a shot of Alex preparing to dive in for the last time:


Here's Nick preparing for his last dive:


And a shot of the entire team after they pushed the coach into the pool, and collected the conference championship bar, which they've done for three consecutive years now:


Click on any of these pictures to make them larger.

And finally, the celebratory cake:


Congratulations Wildcats!