Debbie Schilling and Tom Bundy's Photos Page: 2019 [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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Another year, another collage for Tom's company. This was the first year with the Device IQ logo in the center instead of Gale Force. Taken 1/4/19.
It was a little late, but we made it to the Jingle Rails exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum before it closed. The displays consist of famous locations recreated in twigs, bark, and wood.
We met Jill and our grandkids there and we all loved seeing the trains and displays. Here's the Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park.
This is Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park.
We had just seen the El Tovar Hotel eight days earlier so it was fun to see a model of it.
This Route 66 display featured lots of highlights from the road, starting in Chicago near the Willis Tower ...
... all the way to the Santa Monica Pier at the other end. We drove it all in 2021 and saw these sights in person.
This display represented Las Vegas.
Here's Glacier Park Hotel in Glacier National Park.
Mesa Verde National Park was represented too.
We also spent some time looking through the museum, especially the kids' gallery on the lower level. Of course, Johnny and Kelly had to dress up like cowboys and go for a ride on the range.
In one of the art galleries, we found this painting by Thomas Moran, "The Grand Canyon," 1917. We hadn't been to Moran Point when we visited the Grand Canyon the previous week but we had been there a year earlier.
Afterward, Jill and the kids came over to say goodbye to Tito, who was very ill.
Both kids love the cats, but Johnny in particular loves his kitties. We had an in-home euthanasia for Tito the next morning. Taken 1/5/19.
Kelly and Johnny came over again the next weekend to spend the night. In the morning, Kelly helped brush Claire's hair.
We played "Press Here" ...
... and then went out in the heavy snow to play. Then we sent the kids back because we had to ...
... head over to Jesse's birthday party for dinner and games, ...
... and then go to Jessica's birthday party for dessert. Note that all of this driving was done in heavy snow.
David showed us his Playstation 4 VR system, and we were immediately hooked. Taken 1/12/19.
After owning this autoharp since the 1960s, Debbie gave it away to Claire's music therapist. It's good to know it will be appreciated. Taken 1/16/19.
This lovely tribute to our late kitty, Tito, showed up unexpectedly in the mail from Debbie's friend, Jamie. Taken 1/16/19.
After giving us a baron-themed round of Christmas gifts, Dean was sneaky enough to suggest that we have dinner at Barons Bar and Grill. Taken 1/18/19.
We went through several dozen old VHS tapes and digitized most of them. Old home movies are now preserved forever, and old TV shows got rewatched. The highlight was watching the Neptune Fly-By recorded in 1989. Taken 1/20/19.
We tried making okonomiyaki at home. It was pretty good, but not nearly as delicious as the real thing in Japan. Taken 1/21/19.
Claire recently decided that it is fun to hang out in the bathtub. She happily plays with her toys and chews on her bandanas. Taken 1/24/19.
Orchard Final Friday was held at the Stacked Pickle. Taken 1/25/19.
Of course, we had to get our own Playstation 4 VR after trying it at David's house. The Apollo 11 VR Experience was everything we had hoped it would be. Taken 1/26/19.
Poor Phil. Courtney enlisted some help to decorate his office well in advance of Valentine's Day. Taken 1/28/19.
Tom and Claire stayed home from his job and her day program, respectively, because of extremely cold winter weather, so we decided to make it Pajama Day.
Debbie spent Pajama Day sorting through some of the many boxes of pictures and files that her aunts and uncles have passed on to her.
One of the treasures she found was this stack of Harry Schilling campaign cards. Harry was her great-grandfather, and he was elected as Assemblyman of the Second District of Wisconsin, but he did not win his later race for Wisconsin State Senator. Taken 1/30/19.
Sometimes, weather radar is very entertaining. Here is the entire state of Indiana experiencing no bad weather for exactly one minute. Taken 2/7/19.
We headed to Minnesota to visit Debbie's Aunt Mary who was dying of lung cancer. We had a mini-vacation in Red Wing on the way up, ...
... where we saw some bald eagles on the river, ...
... and did some sightseeing in Springfield, Illinois on the way home. In addition to lots of Abraham Lincoln sites, we visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House ...
... and passed by Springfield's pink elephant. Read all about it here.
A couple of days after we got home, Debbie's order of Chicken Tonight finally arrived from the UK, along with a big selection of other odd foods we had never tried before. She was hoping it would arrive in time to bring to Aunt Mary, who was the only other person who loved Chicken Tonight as much as she did. No such luck, but they did have a good time reminiscing about it during their visit anyway. The UK is so lucky to still have this product on the shelves. Taken 2/12/19.
Jess and Karen came over for wine and Chinese food, but the only photo we got was of the dinner table at the end of the evening. Yes, those are paper airplane placemats. Taken 2/13/19.
Claire's adult day program is great about observing various holidays. Here's the bag of goodies she brought home for Valentine's Day. Taken 2/14/19.
Jill brought the kids by to celebrate her birthday. Jill took a photo of her annual grossly inappropriate birthday card from us, because her friends were standing by to see what we had come up with this year.
Then Jill showed off some smooth moves by playing Beat Saber on the PS VR. Taken 2/15/19.
The grandkids stayed overnight while Mommy went out for her birthday. The next morning, Gram Gram helped Kelly bake some Peppa Pig muddy puddle cupcakes for Mommy's birthday.
After the grandkids went home, we hosted a fifth anniversary dinner for Audrey and Dean. Can it possibly be five years since we celebrated their marriage in Las Vegas? We duplicated as closely as possible the food, decor, and activities of their big day. Taken 2/16/19.
Tom showed off how handy he is by replacing Claire's bathroom sink and counter top. He's useful that way. Taken 2/17/19.
Aunt Mary had given us a couple of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, but since she bought them in Minnesota, they were slightly different than the ones made by a different cookie baker in Indiana. Of course we had to do a taste test. Verdict: they're all delicious! Taken 2/21/19.
Debbie's car odometer finally turned to 20,000 miles, moments after she put gas in her car for the first time in 2019. Taken 2/21/19.
Orchard Final Friday: Books and Brews. Taken 2/22/19.
We took Claire to My Way Matinee where we saw "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World." Taken 2/23/19.
Debbie watched Melodifestivalen online every Saturday for the entire six weeks of the competition. Her second cousin once removed was watching at the same time in Sweden and they amused themselves by sending messages during the show. Taken 2/23/19.
In early February, we started playing Portal Knights on Playstation 4. That started an addiction that continued all the year. Here are our characters relaxing in their 2 x 3 block hot tub. Taken 2/24/19.
Hmmmm, that egg on the right looks a little odd, don't you think? When we found this in our egg carton, we knew we'd have to preserve it forever. Look for it in our Easter decorations in the future. Taken 2/26/19.
After over six years since the old Hostess company went bankrupt, this was the very last original package of Suzy Qs left in our freezer. Loyal readers of this website know that Debbie thinks that the two versions of Suzy Qs created since then are abominations, so deciding to eat exactly half of this package was not a decision taken lightly. One half remains frozen, possibly forever. Taken 2/28/19.
Claire enjoys watching us play the PS4 from time to time. Taken 3/1/19.
She really enjoys swinging at the park, no matter how cold it is outside. Taken 3/6/19.
The grandchildren have found their own favorite PS4 game. This one is called The Playroom, or as Johnny calls it, Boys.
But they don't love PS4 as much as they love bedtime stories read by Grandpa. Taken 3/8/19.
The next morning, we celebrated Johnny's third birthday a little early. Taken 3/9/19.
Debbie's uncle created a series of videos about her Aunt Mary's memoirs, and Mary mailed a set to Debbie. It was amazing and heartbreaking to watch, since Mary was just days away from dying. Taken 3/13/19.
Another evening with Jess and Karen went mostly unphotographed. But bowling ball shots were consumed. Taken 3/14/19.
Audrey and Dean came by for a little St. Paddy's Day observin'. Taken 3/16/19.
It was time to replace one of Claire's favorite toys with one of the extra copies purchased from eBay several years ago. Even knowing what was in there didn't stop this scene from being a little frightening when opening the box.Taken 3/18/19.
Three days after Aunt Mary's death, we were headed back to Minnesota for her funeral. We brought Claire with us for her first long road trip in a dozen years. We grabbed a picture of the pink elephant in DeForest, WI, on our way up.
At Mary's service, Debbie gave the eulogy and almost made it through without getting weepy.
We spent much of the next day with Debbie's dad. He wasn't feeling well, which turned out to be a hint of what was to come.
After spending several days in Minnesota, we did some sightseeing in Wisconsin on our way home, including a visit to the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum. Taken 3/23/19. Read all about it here.
Orchard Final Friday: Tried & True Alehouse. Taken 3/29/19.
We finally broke open our beautiful Game of Thrones-themed bottle of Johnny Walker (White Walker) in memory of Tom's dad. Taken 3/29/19.
We made some Japanese pancakes and used Google Translate's cool video option to translate the instructions visually. Technology is amazing. Taken 3/30/19.
With spring coming up, Debbie fired up the Aerogardens and started dozens of seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, basil, tomatillos, ground cherries, and lots of flowers. Taken 4/6/19.
Phil and Courtney had us over for a delicious dinner of Phil's homemade pasta and sauces, ...
... and hot sipping chocolate. Taken 4/6/19.
What? Did Tom and Debbie win the entire NCAA office pool? Yes. Never bet against us. Taken 4/8/19.
We love any excuse to get outside with cheese, crackers, sausage, and beer. Taken 4/8/19.
We went to Cleveland for a weekend of sightseeing. We were able to start right in our own backyard when we drove past the pink elephant in Fortville. Since this was our third pink elephant in three months of travels, it is now officially a collection.
We did so many things in Cleveland, including collecting every Cleveland script sign we could find, ...
... and spending a fun evening at the Great Lakes Science Center's Yuri's Night party. Taken 4/13/19. Read all about it here.
We got home in time to have the grandchildren overnight.
The next morning, Gram Gram dressed them up in their Norwegian sweaters to take their annual Syttende Mai portrait.
After that, they played in the garden ...
... and in the park. Taken 4/16/19.
We love Oreos, but we especially love Oreos that match our current obsession. Taken 4/17/19.
Claire continues to eat very poorly, so we bought another case of our secret weapon: fresh lefse, her favorite food. Taken 4/18/19.
Doug sent us this photo of a case of Schilling Hard Cider's latest seasonal flavor: Rosé Vacay. Would you believe it has a pink elephant on the cover art? Of course it does. Taken 4/20/19.
Just before draining the swim spa for the season, Claire had a blast playing in it. Taken 4/21/19.
With the weather getting nicer, Claire got to go to the park a little more often on her way home from her day program. Taken 4/24/19.
For sister-in-law Susan's birthday, we sent her a lot of crappy gifts. Literally. She seemed to be quite amused by them. Taken 4/24/19.
Orchard Final Friday: Daredevil Hall. Taken 4/26/19.
We celebrated Dean's birthday with a fiesta-themed party and butterscotch-themed birthday gifts. Taken 4/27/19.
Seriously? Still no pictures of Jess and Karen over? Taken 4/29/19.
We tried Ali'i Poke for the first time and declared it a take-out place worth trying again. Taken 4/30/19.
Here are the tots again!
Johnny loves all kinds of berries, so when he is presented with four different kinds at once, he is a very happy little boy.
Gram Gram and Grandpa are pretty great, but nothing beats being with Mommy. Taken 5/4/19.
In preparation for our upcoming trip to Colorado and Utah, Debbie made surprise balls for her Macalester friends we'd be seeing on the trip. Taken 5/7/19.
Claire can go down this slide by herself, but she can use a little encouragement the first time. Taken 5/7/19.
Claire enjoyed My Way Matinee's showing of "Ugly Dolls." The theater manager saw us taking her picture in front of the poster and by the time we had gotten our tickets and gone inside, an employee came up to us and gave Claire an official movie poster. Taken 5/11/19.
With all of us being unavailable on the day of the Eurovision finale, we had our annual Eurovision party with Audrey and Dean a week early.
We watched the official videos for each country's entry, judging each as we always do. As usual, we ranked the winning song very low; this time, 39th of 43 entries. Taken 5/11/19.
The great thing about a drizzly day is that you sometimes have the park all to yourself. Taken 5/13/19.
Benny sent Debbie her Aunt Mary's recipe box. It was filled with treasures like Oreo Cookie Dessert. Debbie scanned all of the recipes to share with her cousins.
A week later, the recipes had been scanned and organized, along with the box of postcards Mary had given Debbie in February, and everything was shipped off to Mary's family. Taken 5/17/19.
The very next day, we flew out to Denver, hopped in a rental car, and drove up to Steamboat Springs.
We spent the weekend with our Macalester friends, ...
... then headed to Utah for some sightseeing. We started with a day at Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park.
We spent another day in Moab with our great friend, Tom D.
Then we spent two days on the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon, ...
... a day of sightseeing and friends in Boulder, ...
... and a weekend of sightseeting and friends in Denver. Taken 5/25/19. Read all about it here.
It was great to have the grandkids overnight the weekend after we returned. They love painting, ...
... and their stars and moon jammies, ...
... and going to the park. Taken 5/31/19.
Here's Tom's annual mulch photo. He claims he enjoys spreading mulch every year. Taken 6/5/19.
It's a miracle! We actually got a photo of Jess and Karen over for dinner. This time, Erin joined us too. Taken 6/5/19.
The day after we returned from Colorado, we learned that Debbie's father, Bob, was ill. A few days later, we learned it was widespread cancer. That weekend, his brother, Herb, visited him in Arizona and sent us this photo. Four days after that, on 6/7/19, an hour before heading to pay our respects to our friend Curtis' late wife, we learned that Bob had only one to two months left to live.
We stopped by Katherine's high school graduation open house. We've known her and her mother, Heather, since Kat was a tiny girl. Taken 6/8/19.
Later that evening, we had a quick dinner with Audrey and Dean before Debbie headed off to Arizona. Taken 6/8/19.
Two days after her dad's prognosis, Debbie was in Arizona to visit him. For the six days that she was there, she worked on tasks for and with him, getting his affairs in order. Taken 6/12/19.
Meanwhile, Tom was holding down the fort at home and took Claire to My Way Matinee to see "The Secret Life of Pets 2." Taken 6/15/19.
The day after Debbie returned, we headed to Jill's house to visit and help with some projects. Debbie entertained the kids while Tom worked on the attic and Jill replaced her garbage disposal.
Johnny and Kelly gave Grandpa a big Father's Day hug. Taken 6/16/19.
Cousin Heather tipped off Debbie that Kenny Passarelli was featured in an Elton John bio. Oh, Kenny, you're still dreamy. Taken 6/16/19.
We are suckers for McDonald's international offerings, so we had to try their limited time menu of worldwide favorites.
On the left is the Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger from Spain, and the Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich (Canada) is on the right. Taken 6/21/19.
We had been saving a trip to Mr. Muffin's Trains for the next time Debbie's dad visited, but since that wasn't going to happen, we decided to take the grandkids there in his honor.
One of the first tiny buildings we spotted in the huge model train room was this miniature diner named after Debbie's late mother.
Of course, we had to have lunch at the Choo Choo Cafe.
Quite by coincidence, we had arrived in town less than an hour before the annual Rail Fest started. So not only did we get to visit the town, we got to buy tickets to ride the Nickel Plate Express.
The kids loved looking out the window for the hour-long trip.
We did some splashing outside when we got home. We always dress the kids in oversized t-shirts to get wet - it's great sunscreen and easier than keeping a duplicate set of bathing suits for the tots.
That evening, the kids chose to sleep on sleeping bags in the basement. Taken 6/22/19.
The next day, Jill and the kids said their goodbyes to Spike. He was suffering from kidney disease and we were euthanizing him later in the week. With Debbie heading to Arizona again for an unknown period of time, we wanted to do it while she was still here to be with him. Taken 6/23/19.
We headed to a Sunday matinee of "Dirty Dancing" with Audrey and Dean, but had a surprise mini-party when we went to pick them up. Taken 6/23/19.
We celebrated Tom's birthday a week early because of Debbie's impending departure. With a space fan like Tom, it was an easy decision to do an Apollo 11-themed party. Audrey made the amazing moonwalk cake, complete with craters. Taken 6/26/19.
While Debbie went to Arizona, Tom took Claire to My Way Matinee again. This time, they saw "Toy Story 4." Taken 6/29/19.
In Arizona, Debbie's father was declining quickly. Debbie had arrived just in time to take care of him around the clock until he died. At this point, he was still able to enjoy a sip of beer with his brother-in-law, Terry. Taken 6/30/19.
Meanwhile, Audrey and Dean were keeping an eye on Tom. The three of them had a Jaws-themed mini-party before heading to the theater to see the classic film. Taken 7/3/19.
A week after her return to Arizona, Bob died on July 5, 2019.
That evening, Tom built his brand-new Apollo Lunar Lander LEGO set in honor of his late rocket scientist father-in-law. Taken 7/5/19.
Debbie returned from Arizona four days later and was happy to settle back into the routine of being Claire's afternoon caretaker. Taken 7/12/19.
Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself to Red Lobster's Ultimate Feast. Taken 7/12/19.
We spent part of our Saturday at the FIRST Robotics Invitational at Lawrence North High School. This year's robotics challenge had a great rocket theme to it.
From there, we went to Tony's late mother's visitation in Pendleton. We snuck in a visit to Quack Daddy Donuts before leaving town. Taken 7/13/19.
The grandkids were over as we were filling our luxurious 10' inflatable pool. Kelly decided to make water angels while the water was just a couple of inches deep. Taken 7/13/19.
For Claire's 30th birthday, we took her to her favorite park. She usually sticks to the slides here, but she tried this equipment for the first time. Taken 7/14/19.
Then it was time to open presents. She gets very excited when she realizes that the presents are for her. Taken 7/14/19.
Our favorite new additions to the garden this year were two ground cherry plants. In early July, they started producing delicious, yellow fruits hidden in little paper-like wrappers. They're great fun to open and eat right out of the garden.. Taken 7/15/19.
We ordered some additional shelves for our spa room shelving, which came in handy for storing all of the extra boxes of nutrition drinks for Claire that we acquired over the summer for various reasons. Of course, the Diet Coke and beer is for us. Taken 7/16/19.
We played a lot of Portal Knights when the new Rift expansion came out. See that little pink imp in the corner? We got really good at acquiring him and it made us happy. Taken 7/17/19.
For days, we listened to the Apollo 11 broadcast as it happened in real-time exactly 50 years earlier. When the moment of the moonwalk occurred, we were ready. We had some Purdue University 150 Years of Giant Leaps beer, plus some delicious Tang, which was an Apollo 11-themed gift from Doug and Susan. Taken 7/20/19.
We went to Ale Emporium a few days before our anniversary, because we would be out of town on the big day. After years of going to different locations of Don Pablo's to celebrate, because that was where we first met, the very last location had just closed (not that we were ever going to drive to New Jersey to eat there). So we went to the place where we saw each other for the second time. Taken 7/22/19.
Jill joined us on our drive up to northern Minnesota for Bob's funeral. It's a long way up there, so we took at break at Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls, and spent the night a little south of Duluth. Taken 7/25/19.
We had a party in Bemidji as Debbie's relatives arrived in town. Here are all 10 Schilling cousins, photographed together for the very first time. Taken 7/26/19.
Bob's funeral was very nice and it was great to see friends Debbie hadn't seen since she was a girl. Here are Tom and Claire, her parents' friends from their St. Olaf College years, plus their daughter Elyn. Our Claire's name was inspired by the original Claire.
After the funeral, we went to Bob and Becky's lake home for a while before returning to the hotel to spend more time with family. Taken 7/27/19.
On our two-day trip back home, we made a brief stop in the Twin Cities just long enough to eat at Carbone's with Kristine, Jean, and their husbands named John. Read all about the trip here. Taken 7/28/19.
Look how great our patio looks with that beautiful blue pool. Yes, folks, money is no object when it comes to our summer leisure. Taken 8/4/19.
Sometimes, beauty appears when you least expect it. Taken 8/5/19.
Debbie got to be a professional photographer for a day when she took photos of an industrial installation as a favor for her cousin Paul. Taken 8/8/19.
By mid-August, we finally got a chance to work on the beautiful puzzle we bought in Boulder three months earlier.
This puzzle was challenging because of the unusual shapes of the pieces, but that's also what made it so fun. Check out that little human figure going for a walk in the upper right. Taken 8/10/19.
While we were out running errands, we had to drive past this sign a couple of times to get a good picture of it for our crossing sign collection. Taken 8/11/19.
With way too many tomato plants in the garden, we had a huge harvest. But no problem - we bought a canner and made many batches of salsa. This is a vat of peach salsa. We also made mango, rhubarb, and ground cherry salsa over the course of two weekends. Taken 8/11/19.
Our sweet Kelly is four years old and she was very excited to be starting pre-school. Jill took this picture on her first day of school. Taken 8/16/19.
Claire has been nearly impossible to feed lately, but she just loves La Hacienda's chips. Taken 8/19/19.
As mentioned, we planted a lot of tomatoes in our garden this year. We bought a lot of seeds last fall when putting together sister-in-law Susan's Christmas gift of seeds named after her, so we had some unusual tomatoes. Here is Berkeley Tie Dye.
This beauty is Dark Galaxy. Our friend, Rick Marcus, planted it last year so Debbie copied him this year. Sadly, Rick passed away unexpectedly in July before we could share a photo of it with him.
Here's the interior of Dark Queen. Like Berkeley Tie Dye, it is striped on the outside. Taken 8/21/19.
We had another overnight visit from the tots. They both love painting, so we got started on that right away.
The next morning, Grandpa and Kelly were wearing matching orange shirts. Taken 8/22/19.
We took Claire to My Way Matinee's showing of "Angry Birds 2." There wasn't a poster of it to pose her with, so here we are in the theater waiting for it to start. Taken 8/24/19.
Audrey and Dean hosted a fun Looney Tunes-themed brunch. We brought the brunchy beverages and they provided the Bugs Bunny face waffles, fun decor, ...
... and colorful footwear. Taken 8/25/19.
Tom spent a day in Dayton tackling his mom's To Do list. He's a good son. Taken 9/1/19.
It's always fun to have lunch with some of the Orchard Development crew. Taken 9/6/19.
In preparation for the every-other-year Schilling Reunion, Debbie bought some pretty purple Schilling Reunion 2019 pens ...
... and made some Schilling Family flash cards.
She also made some strawberry-and-basil-infused vodka to bring along to the reunion's silent auction.
Two days later, it was ready to bottle. Taken 9/9/19.
After happening across this epic yard sale at a local preschool the year before, we marked the date this year.
We picked up lots of extra clothes for the grandkids and a variety of new toys for Claire. Taken 9/14/19.
We headed north for the biennial Schilling Reunion, but we took a couple of extra days to get there. We spent an evening with Carol in her new home in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, and had a nice visit to Elmaro Winery. Taken 9/18/19.
The next day, we visited longtime family friends, the Myrahs, in Spring Grove, Minnesota. Taken 9/19/19.
The Schilling Reunion was great fun as always. Here's the portrait of our new, smaller family, now that Bob was gone and Becky was too ill to attend. Taken 9/21/19.
We toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Laurent House in Rockford on the way home. Read all about the trip here. Taken 9/22/19.
The morning after we returned from Wisconsin, Debbie got a call from Rob at Orchard to tell her that the company was being sold and to invite her to the announcement two days later. Debbie was honored to have the new CEO seek her out to meet her after the announcement. Taken 9/25/19.
An hour after the announcement, our friends Dianne and Tom arrived to spend the night.
We had seen them four months earlier on our trip to Colorado and Utah. This time, they were passing through after a two-month road trip through Eastern Canada.
Dianne got a nice picture of us.
We made rhubarb oven puddings for dessert, and everyone helped assemble the ingredients. Yummy!
Here's Dianne and Tom's camper the next morning, last seen in Nancy's driveway in Steamboat Springs.
We went to Ruth's Cafe for some breakfast, featuring lefse, ...
... then we headed downtown to Rhythm Discovery Center, ...
... where we got down with our bad selves in one of the sound booths..
After a little more touring, including a pass by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we said goodbye until our next visit. Taken 9/26/19.
Later that day, Claire got to go to the park on her way home from her day program. Taken 9/26/19.
We got to attend the annual Orchard fall party by going as David and Jessica's guests (or maybe we were Renee and Josh's guests?), so we had a quick gathering at our place before heading over to the party. It's nice to have Orchard friends who are married to each other and can take along some extra folks.
It was great fun as usual until Audrey and Heather started showing off their ability to do Junior Birdmen eyes, a skill Debbie has yet to acquire. Taken 9/27/19.
The next morning, we took Claire to My Way Matinee. The film was "Abominable," and all three of us disliked it so much that we left halfway through. Taken 9/28/19.
Two days earlier, Debbie's cousin-in-law, Eric, moved in with us for several weeks while his family relocated from Memphis to Indy. We sent him out on the town with Jill for the evening, ...
... so we could have the house to ourselves for a Phil Collins-themed birthday party for Audrey.
There were Phil Collins games and music, plus presents and birthday cake. Taken 9/28/19.
The next morning, we left early to drive to Cleveland (again). This time, we took the long way through Fort Wayne (again) so we could visit Indiana's Merci Train boxcar.
It wasn't that far out of our way to see Ohio's Merci Train boxcar too.
When we got to Cleveland, we visited Preston's H.O.P.E., an inclusive playground designed for people of all abilities to play together. Taken 9/29/19.
The next morning, Claire had a Tobii Dynavox evaluation session, which is the reason we had come to Cleveland.
Here's the Tobii Dynavox, an eye-gaze communication system for non-verbal communicators.
We stopped in Dayton on the way home to see Tom's mom, Margaret. Read all about the trip here. Taken 9/30/19.
We got home in time to throw a quick birthday party of Chinese food and cake for cousin Sharlot, thus ending the busiest 10 days of our entire lives. Taken 9/30/19.
Later in the week, we attended the annual Mac in Your City gathering of Macalester College alumni. This year's gathering was held at Public Greens Urban Kitchen. From left to right: Deidre, Allison, Jura, Debbie, Jim, John, Heather. Taken 10/3/19.
In observance of Sweden's cinnamon bun day, Debbie tossed some Pillsbury dough in the oven. Taken 10/4/19.
We bought a used Tobii Dynavox and tried it out with Claire. She seemed interested but it will take some time to learn how to use the system. Taken 10/5/19.
We had Orchard friends over for a lasagna dinner in October. Taken 10/7/19.
We spent date night at IKEA having dinner and shopping for floor rugs. Taken 10/9/19.
Claire went on a field trip to Stuckey Farm with her day program.
Her caregivers got some cute pictures of her.
Here's our sweet girl.
She obviously had a great time. Taken 10/10/19.
Jill and Jared came over for a brief visit and had some fun with our PS4.
Jared brought some gifts for us. Hmmm, how did he know that we loved CFDC and Tic Tacs?
Meanwhile, cousin Stephanie had just received the Survivor buffs that Debbie had mailed her, after learning at the Schilling Reunion that Stephanie is a huge Survivor fan. It turns out that Debbie used to be, too, during the early years, and had some vintage souvenirs to share. Here's the picture Stephanie shared of her new treasures. Taken 10/12/19.
After going to a visitation in Elwood, we got home in time for Jill and the grandkids to stay overnight. The next day, Debbie watched the kids and took them to the park. Taken 10/15/19.
We went back to IKEA to pick up a second floor rug and to have dinner again. This time, Claire joined us. Taken 10/17/19.
For her fifth birthday, Kelly had a princess-themed birthday party.
All guests were asked to dress up, ...
... so we did.
Look how pretty Claire is in her princess dress and tiara.
Kelly's Pappaw was there, ...
... as were Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Wiegand.
We left Claire with her dad at Kelly's party and headed north to Sarah and Charles' BBQ party. We stayed in costume on arrival, then changed into normal clothes there. Taken 10/19/19.
Cousin-in-law Eric was staying with us again, and having a little fun with his coffee pods.
We enjoyed an evening of beer and snacks out on the patio with him. Taken 10/23/19.
After her father's death, Debbie gathered, sorted, and weeded all of the family photos found on her dad's laptop. Since nearly all of the photos were of her stepmother's family, she sent thumb drives of them to her stepmother and four stepsiblings.
Later that day, she received a box of her dad's things from stepsister, Katy, and sent this appreciative photo to her. Yay, it's a slide rule! Taken 10/27/19.
Much of October and November was spent applying for a mortgage to buy a rental property. This one looks nice and is less than two miles from our home. Taken 10/28/19.
We had Phil and Courtney over for an evening of make-your-own pizzas and games. Taken 10/28/19.
Debbie acquired more Schilling family memorabilia over the year and spent some time sorting it all and scanning some of it to share with family members. This is the project that will never be completed. Taken 10/30/19.
On Halloween, Claire wore her princess dress to her day program, ...
... Debbie wore her queen dress to Orchard Software, ...
... and Tom wore his king cape to Device IQ.
That evening, the cutest little Vanellope and skeleton came to our house to trick or treat with ...
... cousins Koree and Kelsey, who had just moved to Indiana with their parents this very week. Taken 10/31/19.
We stopped by IKEA for the third time in a month to pick up some additional Christmas presents, and had dinner in the cafe again. Debbie can't get enough of the Shrimp Skagen with extra on the side. Taken 11/2/19.
Sometimes, Claire is in a cuddly mood when she first wakes up. Taken 11/4/19.
Every few years, Debbie swaps out the 3M anti-tarnish sheets in her mother's silverware chest.
The set it contains is International Silver's Adoration pattern.
There are a couple of extra non-matching pieces, but the set is very complete. Taken 11/4/19.
A week after the Orchard Software sale was finalized, Debbie was invited to attend Rob and Ben's retirement party. It was great to be back with the members of the original staff from the early days. Taken 11/7/19.
Jill sent us this photo of Kelly's hair, showing that she definitely inherited the blonde streaks that her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother passed down. Taken 11/8/19.
After such a busy fall, we needed a quick evening with Audrey and Dean to catch up on everything that had been happening. Taken 11/9/19.
We finally got around to making some repairs on some old family portraits in vintage frames. Cousin Sharlot took this pair of frames of her Schilling great-great grandparents.
We kept this portrait of Debbie's Schilling great-grandparents, Harry and Agnes. Taken 11/11/19.
Debbie spent a day at a training session for Tobii Dynavox so she can work with Claire on eye-gaze training. Taken 11/12/19.
To meet a December deadline on some hardware, we turned our basement into a 3D printing factory temporarily. Here's Tom assembling some parts while the printers are busy in the background. Taken 11/12/19.
We had Orchard friends over for a taco/burrito dinner. This is the first time we experienced the iPhone bug of yellow streaks on our pictures. Taken 11/13/19.
The next day, we closed on our rental property and toasted to it with new tenant Greg. Taken 11/14/19.
The very next morning, we were off on our road trip to New Orleans. We followed the Great River Road through as many states as we could, ...
... and stopped or crossed at as many points on the Mississippi River as we could. We stopped to view the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in Illinois looking at Kentucky (left) and Missouri (right).
We crossed the river from Illinois into Missouri, ...
... stopped to view Kentucky across the river from Missouri, ...
... crossed the river from Arkansas into Tennessee, ...
... crossed the river from Mississippi into Arkansas, ...
... stopped to view Mississippi across the river from Arkansas, ...
... and finally, boarded a cruise ship in New Orleans to cruise the rest of the way down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico to visit ....
... Chichén Itzá in Mexico, ...
... Roatán, Honduras, ...
... Harvest Caye, Belize, ...
... and Costa Maya, Mexico. Read all about the trip here. Taken 11/22/19.
Meanwhile, back at home, our Arlo cameras were watching out for visitors, including this little fox who came by to check out our kitchen garden. Taken 11/23/19.
We got busy working on Christmas gifts when we got home, including two beer advent calendars that needed to be completed and given away before December 1. We lined the beers up in the order that they would be received, ...
... then placed them in the advent calendar crate, inserting extra paper to push the cans far enough up that they could be retrieved. Taken 11/27/19.
It was a full family affair when we all went to help Greg move his furniture out of his lake cabin. Claire stayed with her grandma until meeting up with us later that evening at Greg's new house. Taken 11/29/19.
Mmmmm, chai. The chai we had at Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder six months earlier was so delicious that we had to order some concentrate to enjoy it at home. Taken 11/29/19.
We hadn't done anything for Thanksgiving nor had we seen the Sanders for nearly a year, so we hosted a post-Thanksgiving gathering at our house. Kelly and Johnny immediately examined the Christmas tree to see what fun toys they could find.
While we waited for the other guests to arrive, Kelly had a great time balancing all of Grandpa's solar system marbles on his head.
The Sanders brought a beautiful butterscotch pie and some cookies, made by a baker friend of theirs.
We never remember to get a photo of dinner while it is being served, but we served shepherd's pie. Debbie was getting over pneumonia so Jill helped out quite a bit with the cooking. Taken 11/30/19.
Tom jetted off to Paris for a brief business trip. Read all about it here. Taken 12/2/19.
Meanwhile, Debbie just happened to be in Aldi on the morning that their annual Countdown to the New Year sparkling wine assortment was released. Get in the cart!
A couple of hours later, Cousin Sharlot stopped for lunch and to pick up some things. She also brought along some lovely flowers and gift cards as thanks for letting Eric stay with us in September and October. Taken 12/4/19.
Can it be? Is it really the 3M gift box? Yes, Debbie's brother, Doug, had purchased some 3M stock shortly before their father died so that he could continue the tradition of sending the annual 3M gift box. It was a little strange to see "Douglas" on the label where "Robert" used to be, but it was a welcome treat. Taken 12/5/19.
Debbie has been retired for over two years now, but she hosted her annual Orchard Development department holiday after-party for the third time since retiring. Chef Tom was in charge of the food and party upstairs, ...
... while Debbie enjoyed the party downstairs, none of which we'll show you other than Jess and Erin, who were enjoying their first Development after-party. Taken 12/6/19.
As always, the party was great fun and it was amusing to find this note while cleaning up the basement the next day.
Our brand-new next-door neighbors had just closed on their house on the same day as the Development party, but fortunately, they waited until the next morning to start moving in. We had to take this photo as we were driving past, simply because the truck they used to move was the exact same truck Jill had used earlier in the week, having previously worked at the company that owns it. We were driving by on our way to ...
... Regal Cinema, where we took Claire to see Frozen II. It was her second viewing, having gone to My Way Matinee with her father while we were on vacation two weeks earlier. Taken 12/7/19.
That evening, we attended the annual Device IQ holiday dinner, ...
... held for the second year at Prime 47. Taken 12/7/19.
The next day, we stopped by David and Sandra's home for their holiday open house. Taken 12/8/19.
In the middle of all of this activity, Tom was spending all of his remaining time building more hardware. How convenient that the red and white tubes can almost pass for Christmas decorations. Taken 12/9/19.
Debbie was back at an Orchard Software event for the fifth time in six weeks when she was invited to attend Dirty Bingo, a tradition she brought to the company over a decade earlier. After the mayhem was over, hostess Audrey confessed that she was the one who had put in the Star Wars ornaments that Debbie was lucky enough to be bringing home with her.
While at Orchard, Spencer gave her a bottle of the tasty cinnamon vodka he had told her about a couple of days earlier at the Development after-party. Taken 12/11/19.
The next day, Debbie took John out to lunch to celebrate his 20th anniversary at Orchard. John was the first person Debbie hired there and it was one of the best hiring decisions she had ever made. Here's John with his fancy 20th anniversary jacket. Taken 12/12/19.
Claire was a patient girl at the doctor's office. She's done very well this year on some new medications and her weight is now firmly where it should be. This day, our visit was just to get her guardianship form signed, as we have to do every two years right in the middle of the holiday season. Taken 12/12/19.
We finally got a picture of Claire's wonderful Billy Shoes, which feature a zipper that unzips all around the top of the shoe so that it is easy to put on and take off. With the laces there just for show, they can be tightly knotted so she doesn't have untied shoes anymore, and the high tops prevent her from kicking her shoes off. Taken 12/12/19.
Tom surprised Debbie with roses for her birthday. Having cut flowers around the house in a vase this large wasn't an option when the cats were alive, because they loved to chew plants, so this was a nice treat.
That evening, we violated Debbie's rule of having nothing Christmas-related on her birthday when we went to IKEA for their Julbord dinner, which was a ticket-only buffet of Swedish holiday foods.
After dinner, we went back to our house for fun and presents. Every one of these beautifully wrapped gifts contained a Frank Lloyd Wright-themed item. Taken 12/13/19.
The next day, Jill and the kids stopped by with a very special birthday present. Debbie's late Aunt Mary bought this for Jill to fill out and give to Debbie someday, so this was also a gift from Mary.
Then, all of us (including Claire) drove out to Sharlot and Eric's new house for a fun evening. Cousins Shirley, James, Stephanie, Preston, and Parker joined us as well. Taken 12/14/19.
We finally got to be in the room where it happens when we saw "Hamilton" at the Old National Center (AKA the Murat). Through the magic of social media, we were able to meet up with Helen and Anne for a few minutes before the show since they were also attending. Taken 12/18/19.
Debbie received a lovely surprise in the mail. Her friend, Ariel, created this Dala horse embroidery and mailed it to her. It fits in perfectly with our Dala horse kitchen items on the refrigerator. Taken 12/19/19.
Debbie tagged along with the Device IQ team when they went to see "Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker" the day after it premiered. Taken 12/20/19.
Now that Tom's mom has retired from baking Christmas cookies, we made a batch of peanut blossoms, one of our favorites. Taken 12/21/19.
What a nice treat to receive a large chocolate gift basket from Greg's parents as thanks for helping him out. Taken 12/21/19.
Speaking of helping him out, we were back at it the next day - helping Greg pack up his old home to move into the new one. While Tom and Greg bought new storage shelves and worked on Greg's new garage, Debbie packed up as much as she could of the kitchen. Taken 12/22/19.
After several days of helping Greg pack, we were definitely ready for a holiday cocktail in our hot tub, so we finished off the bottle of peppermint bark Tippy Cow we had purchased the previous year. Taken 12/22/19.
While Greg moved, we had the day off, so we spent it relaxing and doing puzzles. First up: a board games puzzle we had gotten at the Schilling Reunion a couple of years earlier.
We left the house in the morning to drop off Claire at her day program and get breakfast from IHOP. When we headed back out to pick her up in the afternoon, we got some delicious ramen for lunch.
Our evening puzzle was identical to one that we sent Debbie's brother, Doug, for Christmas, except that it was double the piece count.
It featured 17 pictures of Doug taking pictures of Debbie, dating back 25 years. It was hilarious to identify puzzle pieces of Doug's face as we put it together.
Here's the excellent final product.
We also received our box of presents in the mail from Doug and Susan but held off on opening them until Jill could join us. The box was so perfectly fitted to the presents within that we had to take a picture. Bob would have been so proud! Taken 12/23/19.
On Christmas Eve, we headed to Greg's new house to help him settle in. Debbie unpacked all of the items she had packed in the dining room, ...
... while Tom put down shelf liner in the kitchen, among other tasks. Taken 12/24/19.
When we got home that evening, we were ready for Christmas beers in the hot tub. Taken 12/24/19.
We spent a luxurious Christmas Day all by ourselves. We enjoyed some glögg, mixed with Elmaro cranberry wine.
Our Christmas dinner consisted of items that we could open, heat, or bake within 30 minutes.
We watched Christmas movies and TV specials all day.
We opened the first tiny bottle in our Aldi Countdown to New Year sparkling wine collection and drank it in the hot tub.
Our supper was cheese, sausage, and crackers in the basement playing PS4. A perfect day!
Tom was back to work the next day, but that evening, we drank the next bottle in our Countdown box. Taken 12/26/19.
The next night, we had the third bottle in the series. Each bottle contained just enough for two perfect champagne glass servings. We were on a roll, but got derailed the next day and ended up saving the last four bottles for New Year's Eve and beyond. Taken 12/27/19.
One of Debbie's cousins forgot to include postage on his Christmas card to her, but our mail carrier delivered it to us for free anyway. Taken 12/27/19.
We celebrated Christmas with Jill, Jared, Kelly, and Johnny a few days after Christmas. Kelly was thrilled by the Frozen LEGO set we gave her.
Claire liked the new toys she received.
Kelly had to immediately try out her new Frozen II pillow, blanket, and eyeshade set from Uncle Doug and Aunt Susan.
We gave Johnny a Little Passports subscription and gave Kelly a Kiwi Crate subscription. Kelly and Grandpa put together her first Kiwi Crate project.
We had jägerschnitzel for dinner along with whatever was easy to heat up.
After dinner, Kelly set up an arcade in the living room so everyone could use her claw machine, now fully decorated and filled with two yarn-and-googly-eyed puffs. If you successfully got one out of the claw machine, you got to claim a farm animal toy. Don't worry, you could keep trying until you succeeded.
After the kids went to bed, the adults had some beverages and played some games in the basement. Taken 12/28/19.
The next morning, Kelly and Grandpa used some of Kelly's unplayed sets of LEGO from last year to create a little house and yard for Tiny, the smallest of our nesting matrioshka dolls. It was topped with the new flashlight that Uncle Doug and Aunt Susan sent for Christmas.
Speaking of gifts from Doug and Susan, this one was especially hilarious. The note instructed that we could only eat the chocolate bars labeled with a place we had visited. Fortunately, we had just visited Chichén Itzá a month earlier. Unfortunately, we haven't been to the Taj Mahal, so no delicious coconut chocolate bar for us! Taken 12/29/19.
We hosted New Year's Eve with Audrey and Dean. The theme was "Easy," and after this crazy year, we needed it.
Tom decked out the basement fridge with party lights for the occasion.
We started with our favorite cocktail, Candy Bar, served in our faux Eurovision shot glasses from last year.
Of course, we used the traditional selfie stick.
We opened our 3M gift boxes from Doug, who had generously sent two (plus one for Jill), in case we wanted to share with Audrey and Dean. We also opened our gifts for each other, as is our tradition.
We received a couple of fun games, so we played them both. We highly recommend both games: On a Scale from One to T-Rex and Charty Party (shown here).
Cheers to 2020!

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