45 years since landing on the moon.

I saw a story on Foxnews today about it being the 45th anniversary for getting two men on the moon.  This is one story that both my mom and dad told me about several times.  They watched these events unfold in real time on live television.  Years later, in the 1980s, I watched a VHS tape of the events with my dad.  He gave the play-by-play of how it unfolded for he and my mom back in 1969.  At that point in time, no one would have ever thought I would have pursued physics and engineering for a profession, but I did end up doing that.  Reading about the event, both from an engineering perspective and from a social setting is pretty fascinating.

Dad told me on more than one occasion how he thought that this was the beginning of regular trips to the moon, building a moon base, etc.  My parents got to live during the heyday of the US.  NASA was pretty amazing at that point in time and was firing on all cylinders.  By the time I got to college in the late 1990s many people in the engineering and physics community were not thinking near as highly as they had in times past about NASA.  Many folks had little good to say at all.  My father had a tremendous amount of pride in the United States.  He felt that every other place on the planet was lacking by comparison.  He would certainly be sad to see things now.  He would blame it on the left wing folks 100%.  I don’t have anywhere near the amount of pride my father had.  I don’t think the US is what the rest of the world should model themselves after.  But I digress.  It is interesting, however, to see how quickly perspectives can change from one generation to the next.

It must have been pretty amazing to watch, in wonder, the events that unfolded 45 years ago today.  I don’t really have too much else to say about this except the fact that it made me think of my parents when I saw the news story this morning and I thought I would post a bit to my WordPress account.

Below I am posting two pictures that show what my parents looked like around the time the US landed on the moon.  My mom was about four months pregnant with my sister when Apollo 11 took place.  Both pictures posted here show them in early 1970.  This was the closest I could get when I did a quick scan their slides this fine Sunday morning.

Note:  I got the NASA picture from here.




Aldrin stands beside LM strut and probe.  This is one of the many great pictures that were taken 45 years ago today.

Aldrin stands beside LM strut and probe. This is one of the many great pictures that were taken 45 years ago today.

Trip to Iowa and Nebraska 2014

Last week my wife, kids and myself all drove to Omaha, Nebraska to visit my sister Kelly and her youngest daughter Jazz.  They drove out from Denver.  We had a lot of fun and stayed on Carter Lake in Carter Lake, Iowa.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  We lit off a lot of fireworks, went to the zoo, ate lots of food, visited a museum, and even did a bit of fishing.

The only bad part for me was that I was fighting off a nasty infection near my jaw.  I have been on amoxicillin clavulanate for over 30 of the last 45 days.  I hope it eventually goes away, I don’t know how long it is OK to take those meds.  Most people only take them for 10 days but not me.

The fishing was very fun.  I kept catching large bluegill and nice size largemouth using one of my surface poppers.  Surface popping is probably my favorite type of fishing.

We found that some of our firecrackers would ignite underwater which was very, very fun.  I don’t know how many firecrackers we watched go off underwater.

I will stop typing and just post the pictures.  #GoodTimes

Slides from 1960s from Mom and Dad

These are some pictures from after their time lived in California.  They were very lucky not to be hurt as they left California to move to Texas.  They left that blue truck (or van) in California that has been shown so many times in my blog posts.  They started driving Mom’s red car, while towing a trailer across the desert.  Around Boulder City, Nevada the car and trailer started to sway back and forth.  They were both very lucky not to be injured.  They rolled their car.  You can see some of the damage shown in the third picture in this gallery.

Mom was asking Dad as they drove to stop in Las Vegas.  They never did though.  I am thinking that they were pretty strapped for cash and that is why Dad didn’t want to stop.

Mom and Dad visit Disneyland (1965)

After she finished talking about California the next slide that came up was a picture of a ship at Disneyland.  My mom said, “Oh Disneyland.”  It must have brought back some good memories for her.  I visited Disneyland with her in 1985 when my brother graduated from high school.  When we were there, she brought up this trip pictured below several times.  I can tell that she must have had fun, made some great memories, and really enjoyed the experience with my dad.  I know I remember my dad talking about this trip to Disneyland as well.  He had fond memories as well.

When my mom and I were there in 1985, one thing she pointed out was that the submarine ride was very, very nice for her and my dad.  But her opinion had changed some about it for our visit then.  In 1985 she was a bit disappointed that the mermaids weren’t real women and she also said that she could tell that it was starting to show it’s age.

I believe in 2009 and 2010 we visited Disneyland with Cody and Chase.  The first visit, if memory serves me correct, Chase was in his mommy’s belly.  Second visit the next year, he was too young to remember anything.  Cody on the other hand still remembers the visits.  I took Cody on the submarine ride probably in 2010 and it was all about Finding Nemo.  We looked at a mix between underwater views and 3D views of Nemo et al.  While I was on the ride with Cody I couldn’t help but think of what it was like in 1985 and 1965.  The way Mom describes the ride in 1965 sounded by far the best.  Still a nice ride, but nothing special.  But I always think of Mom and Dad whenever I hear about the submarine ride in Disneyland, California.

If you look at these pictures it is pretty interesting to think that Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955.  So I am guessing that while they were there they probably saw some sort of acknowledgments around the park stating that Disneyland was having its ten year anniversary.

Also, some of these pictures were posted in the journal posts that my mother kept.  I am happy to have her pictures, journal and DVDs as a way to remember and learn more about their lives before I was born.  I post to this blog as well.  Someday, maybe, their descendants will read this and ponder their lives somewhat like I do.  But that is only a ‘maybe.’  It is pretty likely that none of my family will visit this blog or read about ‘those who came before them.’  However, I enjoy it, so I will keep posting.  Until next time…

Cody on his last day of elementary and his first day of kindergarten.

It is amazing how fast time goes.  I need to remind myself of that more.  Sometimes it seems like we are going to have little kids around forever.  This is just a season in our life.  A season that will soon pass.

Christen took the picture on the left on Friday.  The other picture was taken back when we all lived in Colorado.  We moved to Illinois at the end of Cody’s first grade.

Doesn’t even seem like we have been here this long.  We have though.

Cody will be in junior high next school year.

Cody will be in junior high next school year.

Picture of where mom was then and now

This is that picture of my mom standing out in front of their apartment.  In the DVD she remembered her address when they lived in California.  It was 297 Sierra Madre Blvd in Pasadena.  I was curious if she remembered the correct the right address and also what this place looked like now.  You can certainly recognize the intersection 50 years after the fact.  Some of the trees are larger, some are new and not in the old picture.  The median looks more or less the same and the apartment across the way, where uncle Murry used to live, looks really similar.

Most people will not think this is as interesting as I do.  But to me, I thought this was pretty cool.

297 Sierra Madre Blvd in Pasadena, California

297 Sierra Madre Blvd in Pasadena, California

297 Sierra Madre Blvd in Pasadena, California

Chase playing Minecraft

It is difficult to believe that Chase is getting so big.  Christen told me tonight after work that he has his last day of kindergarten tomorrow.  I looked over at him sitting on the couch with the laptop out playing Minecraft and couldn’t believe that he has gotten so big.

He loves Minecraft, we have to make him stop playing it.  Tonight he was making arrows and a bow.  Time really does just zip right by.

Chase playing Minecraft.

Chase playing Minecraft.

Our little Colton

His mommy finally got a picture of him smiling when he was 7.5 weeks old.  I thought it was very cute.  He is starting to get really chubby and his little personality is starting to show sometimes.  I can’t believe we have been blessed with four healthy, intelligent little children.  We are truly blessed.


Our little Colton giving us a smile.

Our little Colton giving us a smile.

Bucket List for 2014

Here is Christen and I’s bucket list for 2014.  It is kind of crazy to think that 2014 is almost half over.  Since it is, we wanted to make a list of things we would like to do before the end of the year.


  • Go camping twice with Cody and Chase.  Nothing major, just a one night trip over to the Fox River.
  • Go to a big zoo for Caity.  We are thinking of going to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Fish the Fox or Dupage River, by myself, at least eight mornings this summer before the rest of the family wakes up.
  • Take Caitlyn to downtown Chicago on the train.  She loves trains right now.  She would have the time of her life.
  • Take the family up to Door County.  Get a cabin or a hotel.  Buy fishing license stuff for us all.
  • Take the family to Turkey Run State Park.
  • Go hiking at Starved Rock with Cody and Chase one morning.  See some of the nicer canyons if possible.  Pack a lunch, sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Let Caitlyn catch her first fish.
  • Plant a tree at our new house.  I am thinking that I would like to plant an American Sycamore.  A very, very small one.
  • Stay up late a few nights and watch movies with Cody and Chase.  Cody will probably stay up later than Chase.
  • Have some sort of plan put together for finishing the basement and how much it would cost to do it in stages.


This is what I want to do with the rest of our year.  It sounds easy to do in just six months.  However, as my wife and I are finding.  Everything takes a little bit longer with four kids and a little dog tagging along wherever we go.




California Living for Mom and Dad

Tonight I am posting some more pictures from Mom and Dad’s old collection.  My labor of love continues.  See the captions below the pictures for more information on each slide.

Lastly, the first picture in this set was interesting to me because I looked up the address in Google Street View and you can certainly recognize where my mom is standing.  I will post on this another night.  For now, stay safe and keep on keeping on.