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We started the new year out right by playing some games on with Jill and Jared over Zoom. Taken 1/1/22.
We tried out our excellent new game from Audrey and Dean: Trekking the National Parks. Having visited 26 national parks in 2021, and most of the rest of them in prior years, it's a great way to remember the beautiful parks we've seen, plus it is lots of fun to play. Taken 1/2/22.
Carol gave us this fun game: Genius Square, so we played lots of rounds of it. Taken 1/2/22.
While Tom was in Dayton helping his brother, Debbie was at home during a very long power outage. Tom returned to a house lit up by every single candle and portable LED light we own. Taken 1/3/22.
Debbie inherited a condo in Arizona that has a tenant and he sends recipes with his monthly rent check so it's always fun to see what arrives each month. Taken 1/4/22.
We put together another great PuzzleTwist puzzle from Carol: Travel the World. We were happy to find that we had been to every place included. Taken 1/7/22.
Claire went in for a follow-up head MRI to compare against the one taken last year. It showed that the neurofibromatosis type 2 tumors in her head had not grown since her last MRI, which was fantastic news. Taken 1/11/22.
At her appointment with her ENT/NF2 specialist, we went over her results while Claire waited patiently. Taken 1/13/22.
Our sweet grandson, Bennett, turned five years old and celebrated with a Paw Patrol-themed birthday party. Taken 1/16/22.
Tom baked a Portuguese sweet bread for the first time and it came out perfectly. Taken 1/19/22.
We swapped out many of our light bulbs with interesting decorative ones in attics, storage areas, and the garage. Here are two of them in the basement storage room, ...
... and three more.
Much of January was spent processing and scanning boxes of memorabilia. These boxes from Jill and Claire's dad, Greg, contained treasures from the girls' early school years so there was lots of cool stuff we hadn't seen before. Taken 1/21/22.
While going through boxes of old greeting cards, Debbie found not one, not two, but three birthday cards from Carol that still had a $20 bill in them. Debbie and Carol always send each other $20 for their birthdays, and apparently, Debbie doesn't always remember to put her birthday gift in her purse. Taken 1/21/22.
We got out some of Debbie's family's old 3M Bookshelf games for Tom to play for the first time. First, Tom beat Debbie at one of her favorite childhood games, Bazaar. Taken 1/23/22.
The next night, he beat Debbie at another of her favorite 3M Bookshelf games, Oh-Wah-Ree. Taken 1/24/22.
After giving Jill our bookshelves that were in the room we called the library, we decided to turn it into a LEGO room. Debbie had a great time gathering all of the random LEGO sets and bricks from all over the house and storing them in bins along the wall where the bookcases used to be. Taken 1/26/22.
We spent an evening babysitting, but with the grandkids in bed shortly after we arrived, we mostly dogsat our granddog Jack. Taken 1/27/22.
We added another version of Ticket to Ride to our extensive collection. This one is the London edition and it is just as fun as the others. Taken 1/28/22.
Jill and Jared brought the whole family over for a sleepover. After a Mexican buffet lunch, dip in the pool, videogames, and dinner in pajamas, the kids went to bed ...
... so the adults went to the basement for drinks and games. Taken 1/29/22.
After breakfast in the basement with Gram Gram the next morning, Grandpa picked up Aunt Claire for a visit. The kids were excited to see her and all wanted to help hold her drink for her.
Next, the kids enjoyed some pool time with Grandpa, ...
... then hung their homemade suncatchers made of ice and plastic animals in the cold air outside. Taken 1/30/22.
Our pre-made Mexican buffet had worked well with Jill and Jared's family, so we did it again the next day ...
... when we had Karen, Erin, Kris, Jess, and Tyler over for dinner. Taken 1/31/22.
When a snowstorm is coming, it is important to charge every single battery you have in the house. Tom was all over this task. Taken 2/2/22.
Debbie decided to display her mother's charm bracelet instead of storing it in a jewelry box. She used shrink wrap to hold it in place instead of a glass pane in a normal frame. Since most of these charms were collected during Debbie's childhood, this represents lots of great memories. Taken 2/6/22.
More processing and scanning: this time, it was Tom going through years of employment memorabilia. Most of it got purged, some of it got scanned, and some of it we're keeping. Taken 2/9/22.
This year's valentines for the grandkids were sparkly unicorn window clings. Taken 2/9/22.
Dean was baking his late mother's sugar cream pie recipe, and we were the lucky recipients of an entire delicious pie. Debbie had been actively dieting for nearly three months so we cut our pie into lots of tiny slices to be enjoyed over many days. Taken 2/12/22.
At Debbie's request, Greg took a picture of Claire and his dog Luka while she was visiting him for the weekend. This will be added to the frames in Claire's room of the people and animals who love her. Taken 2/13/22.
Football! We only watch it once a year and only when it is the Superbowl. Taken 2/13/22.
We babysat Bennett for an afternoon, which is one of the perks of being retired. He and Gram Gram played Life and he won. Taken 2/17/22.
Jill and Jared came over to celebrate her birthday. Her birthday gifts involved items that would come in handy for our Colorado River rafting trip later in the year.
We played several games and drank several beverages, ...
... then Chef Tom made omelettes for all of us the next morning. Taken 2/20/22.
Later that day, we attended granddaughter Kelly's ice skating recital. We recorded her performance instead of taking a picture, but here's our cutie in the green hairbow on the right. Taken 2/20/22.
More long overdue purging: our CD collection, which has been banished to an upstairs closet for the last decade. Sadly, we were only able to part with about half of them for this first round. Stupid nostalgia! Taken 2/25/22.
Claire always enjoys a dip in the swim spa, but this was the first time we turned on the swim jets for her. She loved it! Taken 2/26/22.
Just for fun, Debbie sent a pair of bizarre greeting cards to Audrey and Dean. The card for Dean indicated that she had adopted him as her grandson and now he was required to care for her in her old age, with a note that he should be a dear and get her a Diet Coke.
Four days later, our doorbell rang and we found a case of Diet Coke and a greeting card for Grandma from her grandson. Dean knows how to take a joke and run with it! Taken 3/4/22.
Tom and Jared spent the day installing a concrete base for a basketball goal. As they dug the hole required, Liam got into the hole occasionally to show how deep they had gone.
Of course, any sort of outdoor project always requires a trip to Lowe's and the Girl Scouts got to Tom as he was leaving the store. Taken 3/5/22.
Later on, we hosted a Mardi Gras-themed evening with Jess, Tyler, Kris, and Erin with a dip in the swim spa and late evening tornado sirens. Taken 3/5/22.
Tom tried out a buttermilk pancake recipe for the first time and we are now true believers. These are now on regular rotation in our breakfasts. Taken 3/8/22.
Tom put together the cool light-up globe Audrey and Dean gave us. It's gorgeous and fits our dining room travel decor perfectly. Taken 3/14/22.
Debbie's LEGO obsession really took hold by February, and in March, she produced her first holiday-themed centerpiece. Tom had to 3D print a green pot at the last minute for her to complete it, but that's the last time a non-LEGO accessory will ever cheapen her creations. Taken 3/17/22.
Our March gathering with Audrey and Dean followed the theme as well. Taken 3/19/22.
We dogsat Jack overnight the same weekend. Here is Jack relaxing in the study on Saturday, ...
... and either vigilantly guarding against intruders or watching for Mom and Dad to come get him on Sunday. Taken 3/20/22.
Debbie updated her grandfather's memoirs with additional photos, an epilogue of tracing his steps and researching the people he knew, and a fancy new hard cover, then printed copies to mail to her aunts and cousins. Taken 3/22/22.
After having the flu on his birthday, we finally got to celebrate grandson John's birthday. This was his last year of taking his picture with his numbered greeting card, a tradition that we followed for Kelly's first six years too. Taken 3/24/22.
We bought this red tub on eBay to use as wastebasket in our new LEGO room. Bonus that it came with a bunch of random bricks to sort through! Taken 3/26/22.
Jack stayed with us again while his family went on a short vacation, so he got to spend some time hoping that Claire would drop some of her food when she was visiting too. Taken 3/26/22.
Debbie's LEGO obsession was really starting to take off and she treated herself to her very first new LEGO set. Every other set we've ever purchased has been for Tom or Jill or other friends and family, so it was a wonderful new experience for her to have her very own set. This set has turned out to be a favorite of the grandkids, who like having 11 colorful minifigures handy at all times to play with. Taken 3/30/22.
Someone was apparently unhappy with the new signs on our street forbidding parking by nonresidents because of the cars that line up every school day to drive their kids home instead of using the correct procedures. So they pulled all six of them out of the ground overnight and tossed them into yards. When Tom put the one in our yard back into the ground, the perpetrators pulled it out again the next night and stashed it in our trees. All signs are back in the ground now, a little more permanently attached. Taken 3/30/22.
Since Claire's Phelan-McDermid Syndrome diagnosis in 2020, the annual family conference has had to be cancelled. This year was no exception, but instead of cancelling, the Foundation is presenting an online conference over the course of the year. We've learned a lot from the presentations, including this one given by the discoverer of the syndrome, Dr. Katy Phelan, covering Claire's newest diagnoses, Ring 22 and Neurofibromatosis Type 2. Taken 3/31/22.
Hmmmm, Debbie's LEGO addiction might be getting out of control. Since finding a great online site that sells used LEGO pieces from independent vendors, it's been great fun to build her collection with lots of special pieces. Taken 4/4/22.
Attempts to get a nice picture of the grandkids in a sunny spring garden were thwarted by the weather and by a couple of the grandkids themselves.
Inside, they were more willing to pose nicely.
We were hosting a family gathering with Tom's family, plus Claire and her dad, so we got a family photo of our little three-parent/guardian family, ...
... and Tom with his mom and brother, Mike.
During the visit, we did the first of many future LEGO projects: assembling a Unikitty from Gram Gram's collection of bricks, unicorn horns, arches, and Unikittty faces and tails.
Each kid got to pick their own pieces and take their Unikitty home with them.
Clearly, the kids really enjoyed the project. Taken 4/9/22.
After everyone had gone home, we attended another PMSF family conference session online. At the end of the session, they showed a video created from videos sent in by Phelan-McDermid families. The theme was joy, and our Claire was represented with a sweet video of her being giggly at bedtime. Taken 4/9/22.
The next night, we played more with Jill and Jared online.
In Dictionarium, we turned the word "exurbass" into "Nemo No Mo'". It was hilarious at the time, we promise. Taken 4/10/22.
Tom was doing lots of 3D printing, both for Debbie's LEGO collecting (minifig stands and funnels) and his own electronic projects, so he installed a tiny camera so he could observe the progress of his prints from anywhere. Taken 4/13/22.
This programmable party sign was the first official mashup of Tom's electronic projects and Debbie's LEGO collection. It can be configured to scroll the date, time, and custom messages. Taken 4/15/22.
Our sweet next-door neighbors, Jack and Nolan, stopped by to bring us some Easter treats. Nolan got to have his first tour of the house, hosted by second-time visitor Jack. Taken 4/16/22.
Behold, Debbie's Easter-themed centerpiece.
Another overnight visit, another splash in the swim spa for Claire. Taken 4/21/22.
There's always one weekend a year that the flowers in the front garden look their best and this was it. Taken 4/22/22.
After a couple of months of planning and purchasing the necessary parts, we built two identical river boat models with matching minifigs - one for us and one to give Jill and Jared. Tom designed the boat and Debbie designed the minifigs and created the miniature Belknap river guide that Jill's minifig up front is holding.
Tom created the step-by-step instructions and box cover and then we packed the whole thing up to make our first custom LEGO model set. Taken 4/22/22.
We started an epic weekend of activities with Jill's family by attending a plane pull fundraiser with Jill and the grandkids. Held at Republic Airways, there were lots of fun activities for the kids like a bouncy obstacle course, bouncy basketball court, ...
... ambulances, police cars, and race cars to look at, ...
... airplanes to tour, ...
... Star Wars characters to meet, ...
... and balloon animals. After seeing Jill and her Anthem coworkers pull a plane, we headed back to her house.
Next, Tom helped Jared and Jill install the basketball goal on the concrete base they had built the previous month.
After that, we headed to our house where the kids were much more cooperative than last time in posing for a reshoot of the annual kids-in-the-garden photo.
Every trip to Gram Gram's house now involves a LEGO project, so this time, the kids played with the orange, red, green, and blue LEGO Classic Creativity Box sets we bought a couple of years ago. Taken 4/23/22.
Everyone stayed the night, and the next morning, we gave Jill and Jared the custom river boat set we made for them to get them excited about our upcoming Colorado River trip in June.
John, Liam, and Kelly (not shown) each helped Grandpa put together his LEGO NASA International Space Station set.
Grandpa was the lifeguard and chief fun maker in the swim spa for the kids before they went home. Taken 4/24/22.
For Dean's birthday, Debbie created a custom rotating birthday-themed centerpiece, complete with an extra-tall minifigure assembled to look like Dean.
Audrey and Dean followed the black-and-red color scheme perfectly and we had a great time. Taken 4/26/22.
The next day, we drove to Trempealeau, Wisconsin, to visit Carol for three days, and made a six-hour side trip to St. Paul to have Carbone's for lunch and to bring seven frozen pizzas home with us. Read all about the trip here. Taken 4/28/22.
Tom had one more basketball goal-related task to help Jared with: raising the level of the lawn underneath the goal for safety. They dug up chunks of sod, placed leftover dirt from the concrete base digging project, and replaced the sod. It turned out so well, it's hard to tell it wasn't like that all along. Taken 4/30/22.
We picked up Claire for a day of medical appointments. First, a trip to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup, ...
... then a visit to the doctor to have the swelling in her feet (lymphedema) checked.
After bringing her back to her group home, we hosted a dinner with Jess, Erin, Karen, and Wendy. Cheers! Taken 5/2/22.
In April, we challenged Jill and Jared to build a LEGO house with at least two subtle references to Ed Sheeran. Here's our contribution. In the back, look for the graffiti on the overpass, the castle on the hill, and the fire inside the mountain. The exterior of the house features a different math symbol on each sides, a green walkway in the shape of U, and an address of 3214.
The interior contains a record, sheet music, strawberry and something else, a painted picture of you hung on the wall, and a bowl of cherries.
Meanwhile, Ed looks out the window of his house and sees fire.
Jill and Jared presented their entry by sending us photos and then Facetiming us to show us more. They include LEGO representations of Ed's math symbol-decorated albums and his cameo as a Lannister footsoldier in Game of Thrones, plus Eye C Fire.
Like ours, their interior also included sheet music, a bowl of cherries, and an Ed minifig (great minds think alike!), but also included his daughter and his wife, Cherry. Taken 5/3/22.
Neighbor Jack stopped by for an afternoon visit and built some models from our LEGO Classic Creativity sets. Taken 5/4/22.
We made a brief trip to Jill's to pick up Kelly and John at the bus stop and stay with them for an hour or so. Tom snuck this photo of Debbie and Kelly to show the power of heredity and genetics as it applies to hair color and texture. Taken 5/6/22.
Once again, we observed Annual Make Pappardelle For Dinner Day in honor of our late friend, Cory. This year, we made chicken thighs in korma sauce over pappardelle. Taken 5/7/22.
Debbie talked Tom into making croissants, a process that takes lots of steps and time, because his fresh-baked croissants are the best. He froze some for us to bake later, ...
... and took a dozen to his mom's house for Mother's Day with her and his brother.
While we were there, Jill and her family Facetimed us to wish Debbie a happy Mother's Day. Taken 5/8/22.
We went to Jill and Jared's on Friday evening to start the process of spreading mulch in their yard.
We expected to spend the night so we could complete the project on Saturday, but we ended up finishing up on Friday evening and stayed the night anyway after playing some games with them. Taken 5/13/22.
Tom especially enjoyed Heavenly Bodies on our PS4. Making space station repairs while weightless is right up his alley. Taken 5/14/22.
Tom also loves outdoor projects, like clearing out a corner for storing his wheelbarrow and hose reel. Taken 5/15/22.
Our next LEGO challenge was suggested by Jill and Jared: 'Murica! We opted to do a map of our great country. Natural features represented include the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and the Florida Keys. Look for the Space Needle, the Twin Towers, the Appalachian Trail, storms hitting the East Coast, and a launch from Cape Canaveral. Alaska and Hawaii are represented by white-edged boxes on the left. Taken 5/15/22.
Patio season was inaugurated with brie, crackers, shrimp cocktail, and drinks. We were pleasantly surprised to see how well our RV mat worked as a new patio carpet. Taken 5/16/22.
We enjoyed meeting David and Jessica's new sweetie, Hazel. Taken 5/19/22.
The next day, we babysat the kids overnight and introduced them to Gram Gram's latest LEGO creation: a scale-model recreation of our basement. They loved it and were especially impressed that Gram Gram could make something this massive without instructions. (Pictures coming up later on this page.)
Bedtime for the grandkids at our house usually involves Hervé Tullet's Game of Shadows and Game in the Dark books. Here's Grandpa projecting a page from the Game of Shadows on the butterfly wall in Claire's room. Taken 5/20/22.
John made sure to pack his "socks like Gram Gram" for the next day, so we wore our Solmate mismatched socks too.
Even though the swim spa was drained for the season, the kids wanted to play in it. John and Liam even wore their inflatable play vests for the occasion. Taken 5/21/22.
With Tyler in Europe on business, Jess gathered her girls for an evening in the Bundlings basement. Who would have guessed that we would play our LEGO Creationary game! Taken 5/21/22.
Tom gave Claire a hug when dropping her off at her house after an overnight visit. Taken 5/23/22.
Leftover charcuterie from Jess' girls night made a great patio dinner. Taken 5/23/22.
Audrey and Dean stopped by the next night. We enjoyed great weather for a while before heading indoors. Taken 5/24/22.
We added some bleeding hearts to our kitchen garden this spring and they are doing well. Taken 5/27/22.
After not seeing many of Tom's family during the pandemic, we had a nice gathering with Helen, Jeff, and Anne.
We stepped out onto the lawn and got a family photo of Margaret with her four kids, with everyone lined up the same way that they did in 1997 and 2007.
Afterward, we went to Margaret's home to hang out some more and so Tom could work on Margaret's email settings. Taken 5/29/22.
Audrey and Dean came over for Memorial Day weekend for a couple of hours, ...
... before we headed to Greg's house for a cookout with his parents and Jill's family. Taken 5/30/22.
After nearly a year wait, we got the new cover for our swim spa we ordered. Now, we just have to wait until late fall when we refill the spa to try it out.
We recycled the old spa cover by taking out the heavy foam slabs inside, drying them out, then using them as insulation/flooring in the attic over our bedroom. Taken 6/1/22.
Anyway, back to that scale-model LEGO version of our basement. Here's the view from the top.
Here's the bar and dining table area, ...
... the gaming area, ...
... the massage chair and part of the shelving, ...
... and more shelving.
Finally, here's the tiny bathroom tucked in the back behind the shelving area. If you've seen our basement, you'd absolutely recognize it in this model! Taken 6/1/22.
Over the previous four months, Tom was busy printing hexagon-shaped minifigure displays that interlock, so Debbie's growing minifigure collection could be displayed in the LEGO room.
Tom also was busy replacing outlets and light switches in the LEGO room and printing cover plates for all of them.
Here's Tom's very first 3D print for the LEGO room, completed several months earlier: a large version of the classic LEGO flowers. Taken 6/1/22.
In June, we headed up to Minnesota for a Macalester College reunion. It was an off-year for Debbie (her 38th), but we had a great time seeing friends from the classes of '82, '83, '84, and '85. Read all about the trip here. Taken 6/4/22.
Some of Debbie's June LEGO projects included building an aquarium (taken 6/10/22), ...
... a medium-sized chess set, ...
... and a miniature chess set in neon green and orange that looks especially cool in blacklight. Taken 6/16/22.
Our adorable grandkids Facetimed Grandpa to wish him a happy Father's Day. Taken 6/19/22.
Speaking of adorable, here are tiny LEGO babies in tiny LEGO high chairs. Taken 6/20/22.
The night before we left on our river trip with Jill and Jared, we spent a couple of hours with our grandkids. Here they are getting good use out of their matching Christmas pajamas.
After the kids were gone, we watched the last episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi with Jill and Jared, then went to bed early since we had an early start the next day. Taken 6/22/22.
Less than 24 hours later, we had flown into Phoenix and driven to the Grand Canyon to take a look at the Colorado River, where we would be spending the next week. Taken 6/23/22. Read all about the trip here.
We spent a day in the Cincinnati/Newport area with Jess and Tyler, starting with the American Sign Museum, ...
... and followed by stops at the Party Source, New Riff Distillery, Cherbourg Cyprus, Findlay Market, and Rhinegeist Brewery. Taken 7/7/22.
Claire started her birthday out right at her group home with pancakes, strawberries, a balloon, a tiara, and a cute new top. She celebrated with her family on two separate weekend trips home. Taken 7/14/22.
After successfully roughing it in Grand Canyon for a week, we thought we were ready for real camping while we travel, so we bought a tent. We set it up in the basement and decided that it was the best tent ever. Total setup time: under two minutes, including the rain fly (not shown here). Taken 7/14/22.
When the grandkids stopped by for an afternoon, our LEGO project was building an art easel, artist minifig, and artworks. That grew into building homes to put the art in. Total LEGO time: over three hours. Taken 7/17/22.
Sometimes, hot air balloons fly over our house. Taken 7/19/22.
To prepare for the 2022 Lindevig Reunion, Debbie assembled six LEGO sets to build Norwegian flags using the red, white, and blue LEGO bricks she had ordered after the 2018 reunion for this very purpose. Taken 7/21/22.
We went to Jill's house so that Tom could help her with a decoration project.
Debbie helped by keeping Jack company, or maybe it was the other way around. Taken 7/23/22.
The end result - a mounted TV with a white, ceiling-height frame - was lovely. Taken 7/26/22.
For our anniversary, we had lunch at Red Lobster, ...
... then played some 3M games. Over several days, Tom tried Ploy, Oh-Wah-Ree, Bazaar, and Venture for the first time, and managed to beat Debbie more times than he should at games she had grown up with. Taken 7/26/22.
Jill's grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a family dinner, so we babysat the grandkids while they were out, then joined the after-dinner celebration.
Here are Ted and Roberta with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (minus Claire). Taken 7/29/22.
We had a belated birthday celebration for Tom with Audrey and Dean. Bartender Dean started the neon theme with neon-colored layered cocktails and a neon shirt, ...
... and there were neon glasses, neon decorations, neon games, ...
... and neon birthday gifts, including this excellent neon(ish) sign for the Bundlings Basement. Taken 7/30/22.
It was the first week of school for our grandkids, so here's an adorable picture their mom took of them. Taken 8/1/22.
Our friend, Daphne, gave us baby pepper plants in early June when we were in Minnesota, and they thrived in our garden, producing bright purple peppers that we turned into pepper flakes at the end of the season. Taken 8/3/22.
Claire enjoyed some time in our little inflatable pool during a weekend visit. Taken 8/5/22.
Another Lindevig Reunion project involved carefully taking apart a priceless family history book, scanning it, uploading it, and printing a larger copy to share. Taken 8/8/22.
Months after we redecorated our upstairs room from a library to a LEGO room, we finally got around to officially photographing it. Here's the view to the left, with our LEGO-colored futon.
The main wall contains six white LEGO shelves, each displaying a different LEGO bricks collection. On the left are LEGO Soft blocks (used in classrooms), LEGO Jumbo, and LEGO Quattro; on the right are LEGO mini storage boxes, a LEGO large red storage box, and LEGO Primo. Part of our ever-growing minifig collection is displayed on 3D-printed hexagons. On the IKEA tables are homemade creations built by, for, and/or with our grandkids.
When they're not strewn on the floor or in the dining room, the tubs of LEGO bricks are stored along the short wall.
On the wall with the closet and entry doors, two white LEGO shelves holds baseplates and a LEGO book that Claire puts on the floor every time she comes to visit. Three little displays made from LEGO plates contain an assortment of our favorite minifig costumes, wigs, hats, and accessories. Taken 8/9/22.
After our river trip in June, Debbie realized that she needed to build a more accurate version of the riverboat model Tom made earlier in the year, so here it is. Tom's on the seat in front, Debbie is on the right horn, and Jared and Jill are on the left horn, which is pretty much where we could be found every day on the river. Taken 8/9/22.
We headed up to Wisconsin in August and stopped in to see Janna, Christian, and Len in southern Minnesota. Doug and Susan joined us there before the four of us headed to ...

... the Lindevig Reunion a couple of days later. Jill and Jared were also there with their little Norwegians, who had a blast. Taken 8/13/22.

From Wisconsin, we headed into Canada for the next ten days. In Winnipeg, Debbie visited her first Pick & Build wall in a LEGO store, and that led to us visiting eleven LEGO stores on the trip. Taken 8/17/22.
Another highlight of the trip was staying in the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, a place special to Debbie's family. Taken 8/21/22.
We drove all the way to Washington so we could attend our nephew Stewart and his fiancee Lyndsay's engagement party. Taken 8/27/22.
As we meandered back across the country, we met up with friends Tom and Dianne near Craters of the Moon National Park. Taken 8/30/22. Read all about the trip here.
Once we were home, we visited the Indianapolis LEGO store, which we had never been to before somehow. Taken 9/6/22.
Tom baked garlic knots for the first time and they were so good that he made them again for a party later in the year. Taken 9/8/22.
We got to watch Kelly and John for the afternoon, and here they are doing the Macarena. Taken 9/9/22.
Debbie's cousin Kathy was in town briefly so we had a great time catching up.
Later on, we spent the evening with Jill and Jared and all four kids. Here is Debbie making up bedtime stories with the kids. Taken 9/10/22.
The next day, we left in the morning for what was going to be a four-day trip to the East Coast, but we ended up having to come home in time when we got the call to schedule a biopsy for Debbie sooner than expected. But we made it as far as Pennsylvania and happened to find ourselves driving past the 9/11 Memorial on 9/11, purely by coincidence, so we stopped in to visit.
On our way home the next day, we visited three different LEGO stores and picked up a Millennium Falcon model for Tom. Taken 9/12/22.
He couldn't wait to get it home and unbox it.
The instruction book was the size and weight of a coffee table book.
To savor the experience, he assembled one numbered set of bags per day. Let's get started! Taken 9/13/22.
Grandpa was thrilled to get his very first text from his favorite girl when Kelly found the wizard in the Where's Waldo book they had been working on together. Taken 9/14/22.
While Tom worked on his Millennium Falcon, Debbie put together the LEGO Store set she had bought for herself. Taken 9/15/22.
We got to celebrate Renee and Josh's 40th birthdays and Josh's completed degree with them, even if it was delayed by two years due to the pandemic. It was fun to see other friends we haven't seen for several years as well. Taken 9/16/22.
Back to that Millennium Falcon. It was coming along. Taken 9/17/22.
We rescheduled our road trip to the East Coast once we got the good news that Debbie's biopsy was benign, so we spent the night at Jill and Jared's to celebrate the diagnosis and to leave from there the next morning. Taken 9/17/22.
We crept out nice and early, but had to give Zelda some love before we did. She was recovering from surgery so she was wearing a little outfit to keep her stitches safe. Taken 9/18/22.
This time, we made it out to the East Coast and started driving US-50 from Ocean City, Maryland out to Sacramento. Taken 9/20/22.
We stopped when we got to Seymour, Indiana, and headed home for nine days before returning and driving the rest of the route. Read all about the trip here. Taken 9/22/22.
Debbie bought a bulk lot of LEGO Friends sets online and when it arrived, she had lots of fun cleaning it, sorting it, and turning it back into original sets. Here's the progress as of 9/7/22, ...
... and getting closer to finished on 9/15/22, ...
... and finally done, with every set completed and bagged for grandkids to play with. Taken 9/22/22.
With our new-found love of tent camping, we did a little bit of testing some foods we hadn't tried over a camp stove before. Taken 9/23/22.
Meanwhile, the Millennium Falcon was starting to take on its final shape. Taken 9/23/22.
Tom went over to Dayton for the day to help his mom and brother spread mulch in her gardens. Taken 9/24/22.
Tom made it home in time for Jill's family to come up. The kids played with the LEGO Friends sets Debbie had put together for them, ...
... and the adults had some beverages and played games after the kids went to bed. Taken 9/24/22.
Mornings after a sleepover always involve breakfast in the basement with Gram Gram. Taken 9/25/22.
The next night, we went down to their house to give them our telescope so they could see Jupiter, its moons, and Saturn, which were visible in the clear night sky. Taken 9/26/22.
We had a fun dinner with Indianapolis-area Macalester alumni as part of the annual Mac In Your City event. Taken 9/29/22.
Claire got some love from Tom during her weekend visit. Taken 9/30/22.
We celebrated Audrey's birthday a day early since we were leaving the next morning.
Her birthday theme was Year of the Tiger with a matching color scheme, including LEGO bracelets we decorated for the evening. Taken 9/30/22.
The next morning, we dropped off Claire and drove back to Seymour, Indiana, where we picked up US-50 again and headed west. Taken 10/1/22.
Five days later, we arrived in Sacramento and got a matching picture of the mileage sign we had seen two weeks earlier in Ocean City, Maryland. And yes, we had driven all 3,073 miles, coast-to-coast. And yes, this was the second time we had driven to the West Coast in six weeks. Taken 10/6/22.
We visited lots of national parks, Mather plaques, and LEGO stores, but a highlight was visiting Debbie's uncle and aunt in California. Taken 10/10/22. Read all about the trip here.
We had to shorten our US-50 West trip by a couple of days when Tom got a letter calling him for jury duty. We made it home just in time for him to call in and find that he was needed. He was hoping he would be picked for a jury, and sure enough, he was. Here is Juror #18 after a full day of participating in the judicial process. He was fortunate that the trial only took an afternoon. Taken 10/18/22.
Debbie put together one of the LEGO sets she had purchased on our last trip: the Queer Eye Fab Five Loft. Taken 10/19/22.
Six weeks later, Debbie reworked the set into a two-level home.
Tom had been wanting to try baking breadsticks for a while, and here is his first batch. Delicious! Taken 10/19/22.
Over a month after starting it, with just a couple of weeks off to travel, Tom was still working on his Millennium Falcon model. Taken 10/22/22.
We had a blacklight party with Jess, Tyler, Erin, and Kris and we had great fun with blacklight-reactive tattoos and decorations. Taken 10/22/22.
When autumn rolls around, it's time to refill the swim spa. This makes Tom a happy guy. Taken 10/23/22.
October is the start of birthday season with the grandkids. First up: Kelly's birthday party. Gram Gram brought LEGO sets for the kids to play with while Kelly's grandpas chatted.
Kelly showed off her new net shelf to hold all of her stuffies, every one of which has a name.
Jill arranged party games and here she is taking on her grandfather in a spoon race. Taken 10/23/22.
Six weeks after buying it, the Millennium Falcon was finished. It's a beauty. Taken 10/25/22.
Jill always plans a fun group theme for her family's Halloween costumes. Taken 10/26/22.
Meanwhile, there were six decorated pumpkins at Claire's house - one for each of the housemates.
We took her to her ENT doctor during a visit to our house. Taken 10/27/22.
Doug and Susan went to Maine on vacation and got a photo of the Mather plaque there that we didn't get when we were there many years ago. Taken 10/28/22.
We visited John's school to see his pumpkin presentation about his favorite book. He and his pumpkin were both dressed as Captain Underpants and it was hilarious.
After leaving John's school, we brought his pumpkin to his house and picked up Jack to dogsit him for the next three nights. We didn't know it yet, but this would be his last visit to our house. Taken 10/28/22.
We enjoyed a vaguely-Halloween-themed game night with Audrey and Dean. Taken 10/30/22.
Debbie discovered the world of LEGO habitats, which is a style of building that involves 8 x 8 x 8 boxes that interlock, each with their own LEGO scene. She created six Halloween habitats and participated in an Instagram Halloween habitat challenge for the first time.
Halloween was a little misty out but that didn't dampen the neighborhood fun. We handed out candy and toys while sitting in our garage between groups of kids. Taken 10/31/22.
Having enjoyed the Halloween habitat challenge, Debbie joined a Facebook build challenge group, which is a subgroup of the LEGO women's group she had joined months earlier. Each week, a new challenge theme is posted. Her very first challenge theme was Hygge Bygge - cozy building, so she built her dream LEGO building room. Taken 11/3/22.
LEGO challenge November week #2: a postcard of any location in the style of LEGO city postcards.
LEGO challenge November week #3: warm and cozy.
LEGO challenge November week #4: Friendsgiving.
Here's Claire at the dentist again. She's surprisingly good about dental appointments. Taken 11/7/22.
We stayed up late to watch the Artemis I launch and were a little surprised when it actually took place. Taken 11/16/22.
One of Debbie's LEGO projects was to create single-color habitats for each of the sincle-color minifigs in the Everyone is Awesome LEGO set. Taken 11/20/22.
It was Liam's birthday and he had the bounce house set up in the basement where the temperature was much more pleasant than outside.
The younger guests gathered around closely to watch Liam open his presents. Taken 11/20/22.
LEGO challenge for the month of November: Fall vibes.
We enjoyed Thanksgiving by ourselves and made a full spread of food, including a spatch-cocked turkey not shown here. Taken 11/24/22.
Later that evening, we played some games with Jill and Jared, after their Thanksgiving plans were scrapped due to a sick kid. Taken 11/24/22.
What a fun surprise to receive a box full of vintage Lawrence Welk's Champagne Bubble Machines from Uncle Mark! This toy was great fun when Debbie was a kid, and it will be great to share these treasures with her cousins. Taken 11/25/22.
Claire loves being in the swim spa when she visits. Here she is making some rare eye contact with Mom. Taken 11/26/22.
Tom baked a delicious Scandinavian almond cake to start the Christmas baking season. Taken 11/28/22.
We sent Kimberly-Clark gift boxes to close family members (and ourselves) this year so we could compare it to the best corporate gift box ever: the 3M gift box. It was filled with wipes and towels and tissues of all types. Taken 11/30/22.
A couple of days later, another gift box arrived just for us, so we can check it out for next year: General Mills. It was filled with lots of tasty food products and a cookbook, so we will definitely be ordering this one next year. Taken 12/3/22.
December 1 means the start of advent calendars. This year, we had the Brewer's Advent Calendar from Costco, which Greg picked up for us while we were out of town.
We also had the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar, picked up from one of the many LEGO stores we visited in October. Taken 12/1/22.
We picked up Aldi's annual cheese advent calendar a week late when we ran across it in the store. This gave us the opportunity to double up on cheese samples for a week ...
... with our nightly advent calendar beer in the swim spa. At this point, we didn't yet have the cheese calendar so we were enjoying Babybel instead. Taken 12/1/22.
We were very sad when our granddog, Jack, died. Tom took this opportunity to try his hand at 3D-printing photographs, and used this picture of Jack. This was taken by holding the plastic disk up to the light to see the image. Taken 12/2/22.
LEGO challenge December week #1: 90 years of LEGO play; use only classic LEGO colors and a vintage vibe. Taken 12/3/22.
On Aunt Bonnie's birthday, we used her recipe to make Scandinavian aebleskiver, which is similar to a pancake, but cooked in a special pan that creates the spherical shape. They turned out great for our very first time. Taken 12/6/22.
LEGO challenge December week #2: skating rinks. Taken 12/8/22.
We joined our neighbors outside when we heard the unmistakable sounds of Santa and his entourage coming down the street. Taken 12/9/22.
Debbie celebrated her 60th birthday with a week full of LEGO-themed parties.
We started with a fun night with Audrey and Dean, ...
... who took the LEGO theme and ran with it.f
The highlight of the evening for Debbie was opening a huge box of bulk LEGO pieces waiting to be sorted and used. Taken 12/10/22.
It took nearly a week to sort through all of it and add it to her collection. After sorting through the major colors, there were wheels, Technic and Bionicle pieces, and minifig accessories to go through. It was all so much fun. Taken 12/11/22.
Cousin Stephanie sent Claire a musical Christmas card. Here is Claire playing with it in the car on her way to visit us. Taken 12/12/22.
The last PMSF conference session of a year full of great sessions was a family chat. It was nice to meet new friends in the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome community. Taken 12/12/22.
On Debbie's actual birthday, we went out for a tasty bento box lunch, ...
... followed by a trip to the Indianapolis LEGO store.
Tom made the day more special by baking Debbie's childhood favorite cookie, sandbakkelse. Taken 12/13/22.
We continued our tradition of creating an annual photo collage for Device IQ, even though Tom has been retired nearly two years. We will keep doing it as long as we can. Taken 12/15/22.
LEGO challenge December week #3: Santa's workshop. Taken 12/16/22.
A joint birthday celebration at Jill's house for Debbie and Jared turned into a surprise proposal for Debbie. Our adorable grandkids were in on the surprise and were holding signs as we walked into the playroom.
Jill and Jared had created a ring box out of Star Wars LEGO pieces, and had reset Debbie's mother's diamond into a sister ring to Jill's engagement ring, which is made from Debbie's diamond and her mother's ring set.
After Tom did the actual proposal, we got an official photo, but by now, the kids had rearranged the signs to be funny. Note the roses, rose petals, and candles to add to the romantic atmosphere. It was definitely worth waiting 26 years for!
Next up: a LEGO-themed birthday party with LEGO cupcakes, ...
... a giant LEGO model in the shape of 60, ...
... buildable LEGO-style party glasses, ...
... LEGO-themed cocktails with colorful LEGO brick-shaped ice cubes, ...
... and a LEGO trivia game with Audrey and Dean joining remotely.
We split into teams and built LEGO cars and raced them. Can anyone recall which team won? Not anymore.
We also celebrated Jared's birthday with a special birthday cocktail, complete with documentation. Taken 12/16/22.
There was one more LEGO-themed 60th birthday party for Debbie the next night.
Jess and Tyler brought a LEGO brick-shaped cake, with chocolate bricks and minifigs as decoration. Inside was a delicious German chocolate cake, Debbie's favorite flavor. There were great LEGO presents and activities and it was great fun. Taken 12/17/22.
The next day, Debbie put together the LEGO Succulents set from her brother, and Tom installed the light kit that came with it. Taken 12/18/22.
Next, Debbie put together the LEGO Bonsai set she had received. Taken 12/19/22.
It was a nice surprise to get a package of delicious lefse from our friend Nancy. Taken 12/21/22.
Greg was going to host a family dinner but came down with COVID, so we offered to host instead. Our grandsons spotted the Millennium Falcon in the basement and John ran upstairs to get his sister: "Kelly! Come downstairs! It's an emergency!"
It was no surprise to anyone when the Falcon was accidentally damaged by an unnamed grandchild, but it's okay because LEGO is easily rebuilt.
Meanwhile, Ted, Roberta, Greg, Jill, and Tonya gathered around the basement bar to have a beverage and some laughs. Greg had just tested negative that day but he stayed masked just to be safe.
Greg brought the main course, Jill brought green bean casserole, Roberta brought Watergate salad and a cheese ball, we served shrimp cocktail, Tom made rolls, gluten-free muffins, and gluten-free broccoli rice casserole, and it was all delicious.
After dinner, the kids were excited to open their Christmas gifts from their grandparents and great-grandparents.
It was a great family gathering! Taken 12/21/22.
LEGO challenge December week #4: gingerbread house. Taken 12/23/22.
With all of our birthday and Christmas social events behind us, we spent a low-key Christmas eve building the Christmas LEGO sets we had accumulated. Taken 12/24/22.
On Christmas Day, we built our new puzzle from Carol.
We also had a video call with Doug and Susan so we could open our gifts from each other. Here's Doug with his LEGO Bob minifigure and Irene banjo. Taken 12/25/22.
Here's the Christmas photo Jill sent us of our adorable grandkids.
LEGO challenge December week #5: use one of five LEGO pieces in a non-standard way: chicken, cotton candy, black Afro wig, book, and microfigure. Of course, Debbie had to fit all five into her build. Taken 12/25/22.
Claire came home for a visit after spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with her housemates. She immediately loved her new Christmas present.
She also continued to enjoy her musical Christmas card. Taken 12/26/22.
Claire stops by occasionally for some affection, ...
... and her stepdad is always happy to give it. Taken 12/27/22.
Before taking Claire back home, we took her to her annual doctor appointment. Taken 12/28/22.
Meanwhile, her dad had made a delicious bourbon pecan pie and brought a couple of pieces to us. Taken 12/28/22.
Winter storms had made it impossible for Tom's mother and brother to go south to visit his sister, so once the roads cleared up, we invited them over for a Christmas dinner.
The highlight of the meal was this beautiful cinnamon bread Tom made for dessert. Taken 12/29/22.
Tom had perfected Hawaiian sweet rolls and made a batch for New Year's Eve so we could use them for ham and turkey sandwiches. Taken 12/30/22.
Debbie built a New Year's Eve LEGO centerpiece. Each mini-scene represented a part of our NYE plans with Audrey and Dean, starting with opening presents and playing games, ...
... eating fondue, Pringles, and sandwiches, ...
... enjoying the evening's theme of Deep Cuts, featuring songs each of us enjoyed by our favorite artists that aren't as well known, ...
... and of course, toasting at midnight with champagne.
We started our New Year's Eve festivities with our first course of fondue at Audrey and Dean's home.
We opened our matching 3M gift boxes from Doug and Susan.
Our Christmas gift from Audrey and Dean was covered in jingle bells, which turned out to be a clever way of disguising the fact that it contained an amazing LEGO set, the Boutique Hotel.
Next, we headed to our house for the rest of the evening where we drank too much tequila and had too much fun! Taken 12/31/22.

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