Catching Up

Posted in Family with tags vacation , travel -

So I find myself, once again, very far out of touch with these updates. One of the things I like best about these updates is the running dialog they represent for our vacations. Given we’ve got one of those coming up, it seems a good time to reboot!!!

First, what’s happened since we last talked:

RV Update 20!

It seems I rudely left the world hanging on a final update from our Epic RV Trip from last summer! Many apologies. I had big intentions, and even some cool content planned, but much of that is now lost to time.

Our trip was epic by all measures, and now, a year later, we all still talk about it fondly. It was amazing how well we all got along and how much stuff we really packed in to nearly three full weeks!!! For my final update, I wanted to give folks a little cheat guide for RVs, especially if you’ve never driven or vacationed with one. We learned so much!!!

  • Speed limits apply to RVs more than other cars - whenever I drive on the road with my car and see a sign that says reduced speed ahead for a corner, I almost always ignore it and go the same speed as I was on the straightaway. In an RV, you pretty much have to go that speed!
  • RVs and Hotel/Car vacations are different beasts - We took the RV as a means of conveyance and as a place to stay. Beyond that, we vacationed the same way we always do, by driving around and seeing a bunch of stuff. That’s not the ideal way to enjoy an RV. RV vacations should be planned out to spend time WITH the RV, likely in an RV park or something like that. It’s not a fantastic conveyance device, nor is it a fantastic hotel, but if you want to go away from home and hang at an RV park, which has a lot of charms, then an RV is your ticket. We don’t regret renting it, but we do appreciate that we didn’t buy one, because we aren’t really RV vacationers…
  • Don’t cook on the glass stove top - RVs have tons of unique setups to make things a little easier. Make sure you don’t misuse them!
  • Pay attention to what goes into the toilet - The pipes are only 2" max. TP can be used in moderation, but really nothing else in there that doesn’t come out of you. Nothing.

I don’t know if we will ever rent an RV again. It was perhaps a unique, one time experience, but it was amazing and we will never forget it!

We Moved

So yeah, we moved! The housing market was hot, so we were able to sell our house in about 4 hours (almost not an exageration) for several thousands of dollars more than we listed it for. We really liked our house, but we wanted something in a neighborhood with a pool, which is what we got in the Richfield house! It’s also setup a big differently with a bigger kitchen, more open floor plan, and the real game changer, a dedicated office!

We Got a Dog

COVID has made our kids somewhat lonely. Quinton has been out of in person school for 2+ years now. After we got back from the RV trip and moved our house, Quinton convinced us that he was ready to take care of a dog. So we found a rescue organization in the area and adopted Dexter!

Dexter in September

Dexter Today

Dexter was rescued from New Mexico where he and his litter was found on the side of the road near their mother who had been hit and killed by a car. When we got Dexter, he weighed about 9 pounds. The rescue said he was a Black Lab/Heeler mix. Looking at him, you wouldn’t guess, so we did a DNA test and found he’s in fact 42% German Shepherd!

Dexter is a very sweet dog, but very jealous. He and Heinz constantly battle for attention. If one is getting love, the other comes and interrupts that love. Dexter goes so far as to bat Heinz in the head with his paw. We are all smitten, though he is naughty. To date he has wrecked:

  • 2 night mouthguards
  • 1 pair of glasses
  • 3 dog beds
  • several xbox headsets
  • many charging cables
  • 1 Google home speaker

and numerous other things. Luckily he is very cute and lovable and makes it impossible to stay mad for any amount of time at him.

We Got a (new) Guinea Pig

You figured that Quinton would be able to get a dog and Mireille would be super cool with it, right? I guess that’s what we thought, but we thought wrong. To this day, on tired and bad days, we still hear how it’s not fair that Quinton gets a dog and she doesn’t. We told her she could get one once Heinz passes, which was probably a mistake as I’m sure she’s plotting Heinz’s demise now. In the mean time, as a way of trying to make amends, we agreed to let her get her very own Guinea Pig. That’s when we got Odainn (Odin).

Odainn is… fine… He and Zazu take residence in my office with me. They are actually a topic of interest for my numerous Zoom meetings, and when their cage is clean, they are actually quite pleasant. Unfortuantely it only takes about 3 days for them to completely foul their cage. Yeah, our house is starting to resemble a zoo of sorts!


School Happened

Ethan started and finished his Junior year at CSU. His classes were a mix of in person and remote. He lives in an appartment off campus in Fort Collins, CO with 3 other roommates and has a job at Home Goods.

Quinton started and finished his 8th grade year at his online school. When we moved, his default middle school changed from the one he started at in 6th grade. We tried to option him over to that school so he could get out of the house, but it was denied. We believe they just didn’t want any more kids in any school this year other than the ones they had to have there, and I can’t say I think that was a bad idea on their part! Next year he starts high school and will be attending Smoky Hill High School just like Ethan. This time the option was approved!!!

Mireille started and finished her 3rd grade year at St. Pius X School in northern Aurora. When we moved, our new house was about 5 miles further away from her school, which made the drive nearly excruciating for Jenny. We’ve decided that next year she will be attending Our Lady of Loreto school which is about 0.3 miles from our new house.

Holidays Happened

The holidays came and went as they always do. This year was a year of making new traditions in our new house. We also got to spend a week with Jenny’s sister and some friends of ours outside Austin, TX, which was a ton of fun! I could have written an entire blog on that trip - again, this is the reason I’m dusting off my editor…

I got a new job

Oh yeah, at the start of 2022, I got a new job! I’m now the VP of Engineering at Ada, a Canadian software startup that is building the Brand Interaction Platform of the future! If you don’t know what that is… well… I don’t blame you. I’d love to tell you over a beer sometime, though!

The company is 100% remote - there is no office. We instead use the money that would typically be used for rent to fund trips to get together on a fairly regular basis. The entire company will be gathering in Toronto in Auguest of this year for a week-long exercise. Should be fun!

We did an Epic Spring Break!

I will likely go back and document some of this at some point, but for Spring Break this year, all three kids had off at the same time, which is almost unheard of considering they all attend different schools! We spent a week in Las Angeles, CA visiting Venice Beach, Universal Studios, and Disneyland. It was a really great vacation full of wonderful memories that I hope to document at some point. In the mean time, ask us to see the pictures!

Mireille got Confirmed…

…and also got her first communion! She and 7 of her classmates celebrated on a Friday night in May. Ethan was her sponsor, who was able to do so just before he left for his trip to Copenhagen. Grandpa and Grandma Grady were able to come out and celebrate with us, which was very special for her. And, she looked absolutely beautiful - I can’t believe how big my little girl is getting!!!

Good looking family!

Ethan Went to Copenhagen

Ethan was able to latch on to a trip sponsored by the English department and go to visit Copenhagen, Denmark! He spent 17 days there learning about the country, their culture, and how they have prioritized sustainable energy. He had what appeaers to be a wonderful time.

While he was there, he got a new tatoo, and he also turned 21! Of course, he was bummed that he happened to turn 21 in a country where it would have been legal for him to drink for 3 years already, but hey…

And there you have it - you are up to date! Lots of details are missing, certainly, and hopefully I can get back to some of them someday, but for now I’ve cleared my plate to make room for what is looking to be yet another great trip - we’re spending a week on the Lake of the Ozarks with three other families!

Stay tuned!

Written by Brandon Grady
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