December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

I am taking a short break from my Christmas Preparations, well, OK, from doing what Holly tells me to do to help get ready.

Tom and Reen are heading here sometime today.  We're planning a small affair consisting of the fondue pots, some fresh meats and veggies and lots of dipping sauces.  That's dinner for sure.  As for breakfast, we're thinking fritatas and then lunch with my version of a Gondola, really, more of a grinder. 

This just in from my Nephew Jake:
Hey everyone here are some pictures of grandpas car with the body panels on it. They have been sanded for the first time and a few spots need more filler and they all have to be reprimed. I love you all have a Merry Christmas.

Here's a few shots of the car that he's talking about.  This is my father in laws car.  It's in process of a complete redo.  They took it down to the frame and are now building it up again.  

The car is a 1975 Hurst Olds and is actually 3 cars being blended into a single, sweet ride. 

It has the right wheels already and the engine is running well.  With the body coming along this well it won't be long until they are scrambling for interior parts.  Hopefully in time for Woodward Cruise.  Don't worry Bob, if you can't get up for that, I'll drive it for you!  ;-)

This is my favorite shot, if you look close you can see the sign says Merry Christmas.  Jake's a pretty cool kid that's learning the business.  Looking good and thanks for sharing Jake!

One other news Item to share is that Taylor is back in Minnesota for Christmas.  He surprised his dad, David.  He's how David described it:
Christmas came a little early last night when my doorbell was rung about 5:PM.  Opened the door to a tall, dark stranger with hat pulled down low.   After my tentative ‘hello’, the tall, dark stranger stepped into the light and say ‘hi, Dad’.   The look on my face apparently made his plan a success.  His Army class in California finished up early (like he expected) and he flew to Rochester and took a cab to my house.   Really, really good to see him.  The whole thing was repeated a few hours later at his mother’s house.   Taylor did a good job planning this whole thing out.  Yvonne is still scheduled to come in next Thursday.  

Hope your Christmas and New Year’s are filled with awesome surprises.

I'll try to post again this weekend.

I love this season!  May God shine on you and yours with joy and blessings.

December 18, 2010

News Flash #2!

I must admit that the boys are very supportive of each other.

Ian just got third place in a graphics contest and is headed to the State competition.

Here's his certificate.

Pretty darn proud of the boys, now if they'd focus a bit on their not so favorite classes we'd be set!

Have a great day!

December 16, 2010

News Flash!

Spencer just won the North Rockford Middle School Geography Bee!

I just had to share that.

As you can imagine, we're very proud of the boy!

How about you, any news that you'd like to share?

Have a great day!

December 5, 2010

Hello, Hello, it's me again!

I am so bummed that I failed to get a blog out for my brother's birthday.  John, while it's totally my own fault please forgive me.  I'd like to say I have a good reason, but I don't.

I've probably bashed him enough, so this year we'll go easy.

Here's a few shots from Thanksgiving. 

 Here's John with his nephew Spencer.  I took this just before he headed out for a smoke.  As someone that has quit smoking just a few years ago I have to comment.  It's really tough going out to smoke when it's 10 degrees.  I stopped out and visited a few times.  Pretty hilarious, hand shaking so bad he couldn't hardly get the job done.  It was so cold that his eyes were tearing up. 

The traditional Thanksgiving photo.  Tom, Ian, Holly, Maureen, Spencer and Jack.  We had a smoked turkey this year and it was the best!

Lot's of good food here, Scalloped corn, green bean casserole, taters, gravy, stuffing (why do we still call it that since it's never put in the bird?) sweet potato and apple casserole, thankful rolls and lots of pie!  Thanks to Tom and Reen for putting us up and putting up with us!

Happy Belated Birthday dear brother John/Jack.
It was awesome to have you come out and celebrate Thanksgiving with us and share in some of our traditions.

Thanks also to you for your years of service in the military. 

Briefly, Holly was in a hilarious skit at church today, if you'd like it can be viewed by following this link;  or go to YouTube and searching for the "12 pains of Christmas"

That's it for today. 

Have a great day!

November 29, 2010

Radio Man, as in I transmit!

I know, I'm still behind on reporting about my trip to Germany.  Sorry.  Eventually life will slow down enough to allow me to catch up on the blogging...or not.

Anyway, this blog isn't about me and my mildly amusing foibles.  Well, not completely anyway.

Leading off we have guest reporter, Kathy.  While I don't recall ever meeting Kathy, I'm sure we must have been in the same place at the same time.  How else do you explain the sign off that she uses is the same as mine?  You know, "Have a great day!"  Very unique!  Here is what she reports:

Here are some pictures of Jim and Nancy's travels.  They went to Cedar Rapids to watch two of their grandchildren play in the State Volleyball Tournament a couple weeks ago.

They are Dean's girls:  Amanda & McKayla

Notice the picture of the girls holding up posters.  Jim is in the background in the center of things AGAIN!  Couldn't resist that.

Sent to you from Kathy, Nancy's sister. 

Have a great day!!

Pat here again.
How cool is that! Man, I remember when Dave made it to Regional's, we thought that was pretty sweet, I can't imagine States!  Way to go Amanda and McKayla!

Switching subjects...

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?  I am tempted to start a sermon, but won't because I tend to forget to be thankful myself.

We followed our usual tradition of going to the "Starmack Inn" to celebrate the holiday.  Although we say usual, it is unique and special every year.  Thanks guys! 

My nephew Bryce and his lovely bride, Kelly are expecting a baby very soon.  My prayer is that it would be an easy birth.  Looking forward to adding that baby to my list of loved ones.

Nephew Mike and his lovely bride, Jamie are doing well in Delaware.  Their daughter, Lexi, is a drop dead georgous girl that has just placed 2nd for Cutest Baby in Delaware! Check it out and you're sure to agree with me, she was robbed!  She really was the cutest!

Nephew Matt and his lovely bride reside in sunny Florida.  They're not telling me much, but I get a sense that they are unwittingly happy.  That unto itself is pretty cool.  
I'll stop for now, when I resume I'll try to start where I left off.

Have a great day!

November 21, 2010

Cologne Germany - How cool is that?

First off a shout out to cousin Nancy from Iowa, she has let me know that she's moved more toward full retirement and next up is more travel.  Make sure you keep me informed as to where you go, what you do and who you see and I'll forward/post what you send, well, within reason anyway.  ;-)

As for my recent trip to Germany.  I traveled to Cologne to see the International Office Furniture Exposition, called Orgatec.  The "reason" for the trip is that much of our office design styles come from the European Designers, so I considered this a research trip.  The furniture show was about what you'd expect, lots of product displays, some new technology and lots of people networking.

Well, one of the office spaces wasn't what you'd expect, it was a workstation that held 10 people and they all faced out, pretty cool set up.  I sat directly next to the salesperson and as I faced out, I couldn't see them in my peripheral vision, because they were slightly behind me.  Also, since you're sitting on the inside of the circle, your work surface gets larger as it goes away from you, so while it's pretty tight, it feels bigger.  I would love to have this for our Customer Relations area, very easy to stay connected and yet, it felt big.  It's hard to explain and the photo really doesn't do it justice.  It looks like a spaceship, but more functional.  Both my boss and I really want to figure out a way that we could implement this at our office.

So, since I recently vented about my air travel, here's how it went with the same airline, Delta, when traveling overseas.  I boarded the plane Wednesday afternoon at Grand Rapids, flew to Detroit, we had short layover there and then on to Amsterdam and from there to Cologne.  The long flight was to Amsterdam and I had opted for coach to keep the costs down.  As we were settling in for the long flight the lady in the next seat popped a couple of Ambiens, announced that while she'd not slept on a flight before, she was going to this time.  She tossed and turned a couple of times and then was out like a light.  It was pretty disheartening to see this smallish person curl up in a coach seat, lay her pillow on the tray and then lay her head on the pillow.  Out like a light I tell you!  I looked at her and then at my own tray and tried to lay my head down on the tray.  Nope, too tall, too heavy, too stiff, too whatever.  I glared at the girl as she peacefully slept and I thought and I thought.  Half way across the Atlantic Ocean I had a brainstorm!  I got up, took out my briefcase from the overhead bin, sat back down, put down the tray, put the briefcase on the tray and then the blanket they give you and then then pillow.  I laid my forehead down on the pillow and after adjusting my hands/arms (they ended up folded in my lap) I was out to the world and I successfully slept on a plane with no Ambien and while seated in coach to boot.  When I awoke, it was time for the morning snack.  After a quick freshening up in the bathroom I was good to go.

From the Cologne airport I went straight to Orgatec.  It was pretty cool to figure out the train system and end up where I needed to when I needed to.  Once at the show I connected with my counterpart from Mexico and we spent the afternoon walking among the five large buildings.  That's when we came upon the round stations mentioned above. 

Around 5 o'clock we headed to the hotels, since we'd signed up late we all ended up in different hotels.  Jorge helped me get to my hotel, remember, I'd only had a nap in the long flight so my ability to figure out how to get around was limited.  After I got cleaned up we all met up for dinner.  We met at the Cologne Cathedral, the most famous and obvious landmark in the city.  Below are a couple of shots, I never did get far enough back to get the entire structure in a single shot.  But it was a very cool building with a very heavy Gothic influence, more about that in a later post.

After meeting near the Dom, as it's called in Cologne, we went out to eat.  This would be my first major meal in Germany.  I was really excited, did you know that I am part German?  Well I am.  So I was really excited.  Then I heard we'd be going to a Japanese Steakhouse.  What!?  This couldn't be happening!  But it was.  We went and I had a great Japanese Beer called Kirin, but, but I wanted German Beer!  Anyway, I'd heard that the menu was bilingual and so I thought I'd be all set.  Sure enough, it was bilingual, the menu was in German (obviously) and in Japanese (I guess this should have been obvious too!)  With the help of a very nice Japanese waitress I managed to order a nice duck dinner.  This is teppanyaki style of cooking.  I'm pretty experienced with this style of cooking, I've had it in Grand Rapids, out on the East Coast, in Dallas, in Chicago, in LA, in Mexico, in Taiwan and in Hong Kong and now in Germany.  I must say though, that this was, by far, the best I'd ever expericed.  The Chef did an awesome job with my duck and he did a reduction sauce, on that flat habachi grill, that was really, really good.  How could I have doubted Dan?  He was right, this was a great dining experience.

After dinner we wandered around town, had a few beers at a local dive that had a band that played, wait for it, wait for it, Dixieland Jazz!  Yes, you heard it.  Here I am in Germany and first we have Japanese food and now we're listening to Dixieland jazz.  Pretty weird and had I not been there, I'd have been sure that someone was just pulling my leg.  The beer though was a great light lager, golden colored, fresh tasting and a clean finish. Aah, my first true German Bier! The bar was Papa Joe's, follow the link if you'd like to see more.  After a few beers I begged off due to exhaustion and slipped off to my hotel.  It had been a great start to my European trip!

That's enough for now. 

Have a great day!

November 20, 2010

Trials of a traveling man

Do you remember when travel was easy?  Do you remember when travel seemed glamorous?  Do you remember when the worst thing you could say in the airport was an exuberant greeting to your brother John; as in "HI Jack!"  Do you remember walking a loved one to the gate?

The times have changed.  Now getting there isn't half the fun, it's most of the hassle.  Seeing armed law enforcement officials is common.  As an individual that has had knee replacement surgery I can tell you that I prefer the X-Ray machine over the dreaded words; "Male Assist!"  The pat down has gotten invasive, I agree with that, but I try not to think about that.  As my Mom used to say, "At least they're doing something to keep you safe!  Let them do their jobs."  I stand there and say as little as possible, knowing that they probably, (hopefully) aren't enjoying this either.  I like how they tell you that if you're uncomfortable with this they'll take you to a private place, let me tell you, that made me feel even more uncomfortable.  At least I'd have witnesses if we stayed in a public place. 

So, with TSA being such a fun deal, why the complaining?  Well, to be a bit more specific let me share some highlights about my recent trip to Denver. It's never a good thing when you have to quickly throw together a trip for business.  Where to start with this rant?  How about this, most of my flights were delayed, well, all but one, the last one to take me back to Grand Rapids.  I am a pretty tolerant guy, my goal is to get along as best as I can without ruining someones day.  On a normal day my personal goal is to make those that I am interacting with smile.  Pretty tough when your day goes like mine did yesterday.  Delta is my new carrier of choice.  Why?  Four reasons; I was with Northwest and they bought them, Detroit is a major hub for them, I have lots of miles, and generally they're pretty decent to us business folks. 

The flight from Denver to Minneapolis/St. Paul was delayed, the reason given was that the inbound flight was late.  Why?  Not sure, it's not in the system.  Will I make my connection or should I start rebooking now?  Oh, you'll have plenty of time.  Right!

With the flights nearly always completely full, why do they still allow roller bags?  Let's stop the insanity and reduce the size of allowed carry on and the number of carryons and stick with it.  Briefcase or back pack, that's all.  Invariably near the end of boarding they will announce that if you can't get it under your seat, you must check it.  So why not enforce that right away, not like we have many options, let's make the boarding process faster.

The reason for that rant?  It caused us a huge delay when they had to open up the baggage area to stow all the overflow bags.  Then we sat, for about 10 to 15 minutes, with no idea why, in an airplane with no air movement.  Thanks Delta, I really needed that to know that my fellow man is not as diligent with his personal hygiene as he should be.

We get to MSP (Minneapolis/ST Paul for the uninitiated) and the flight crew knows that many of us are either really close or have already missed.  They gave us this encouragement; "Only the ground crew can tell you where your next gate is and how likely you'll be to make it."  Funny, I thought that they had a radio and could get updated gate information so that we'd know if it was possible or not.  Wouldn't that be nice?  They know where we all need to go, they know if we're close.  What if they have those carts standing by to rush us to our next gate?  Nah, why exceed the customer's expectation?

They did ask those not pressed for time to stay seated so that we could make the dash.  I was really impressed with my fellow passengers, they stayed seated.  Hats off to them, they're at least helpful.

The dash to the next gate was for nothing.  They had just closed the door and wouldn't reopen it.  Period.  There's our ride home, just outside, sitting there.  It sat there for about 10 minutes while we started the rebooking process.  There I met one of the most beaten down, least happy, least helpful people that I have ever met.  I could tell that Delta was "having one of those days" just by looking at her.  Can't help you, nothing to get you home, no other airlines, all delivered in a flat monotone with no eye contact or compassion or empathy.  We were given meal vouchers for $6, one for dinner and one for breakfast.  Any ideas how much a decent meal costs at an airport?  George Moss can attest that a banana alone is $1.50.  Hotel vouchers were also issued.  We had made it clear that there were two of us traveling together that would need a room.  For what ever reason we were issued vouchers to different hotels.  We didn't catch that until later.  I asked about my checked luggage, someone not directly assisting me (and I am using that term loosely) said, you need to just request it and they'd be happy to locate it for me, it's sure to be located in 2 or 3 hours.  That was delivered with what was supposed to be a warm smile but felt like a smirk.  Then came the parting shot from my Customer Service Professional, "Make sure that you arrive at least 2 hours before your flight."  I looked at her and asked incredulously; "Are you insane?  You'll have us here at 4:30 AM!"  She muttered something about making sure we don't miss our flight and I held my tongue.  The responses that flashed through my mind were many, but I chose silence as my best course of action and merely grabbed my vouchers and walked away

We walked down to the hotel bus loading area and this was when we discovered that they were sending us to two different hotels.  I didn't think that this was such a good idea, so we went to a ticket counter to have them rectify this.  It took two people 20 minutes to figure out how to make that happen and still no empathy as to being stranded.

Back to the hotel pick up zone, in comes the bus.  After proving that we had a right to ride to the hotel we're allowed on.  Because I didn't choose the hotel, they shall remain nameless in this account, but they didn't help much either.  The driver was about 70 and seemed to have Parkinson's, steering was jerking back and forth and the touch on the breaks/gas was full on then full off, repeat until nauseous.  Upside, he had the Gopher's BBall game on and they were winning.  As we're leaving the airport he calls in; "I've got 4 distressed passengers, do you want me to stop at Mall of America?"  We were labeled for the trip now.  Distressed.  Getting to the hotel the woman checking us in was as tentative and apologetic as could be imagined, like to the point that she was annoying us even more.  Very difficult to remain positive. 

After I checked in, I went to my room and crashed after watching some TV.  Next morning, up and out by 5AM.  Upgraded to First Class for the last leg to Grand Rapids.  Nice, but too little too late. 

Here I am, home again, writing this to help me finish venting and now I'm dreading my trip to California in 2 weeks.  I haven't had a bad trip like this in quite awhile, maybe it was a fluke.  Yeah, let's hope so.  Or maybe I can try hang gliding across the country, OH Yeah!

Thanks for listening.

For those that would like to know how the trip to Germany went, I've finally got the pictures downloaded and oriented so that they're ready to be used.  I promise, I'll get to this soon!


November 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to You!

I have been remiss not mentioning everyone's birthdays or other momentous events of late and for that I am truly sorry. 

I am going to catch up quick.  From my records, I've missed the following:

 My Nephew Nick. Here's hoping it was a great day!

Cil, one of my lovely wife's best friends.  Here's looking at you kiddo!  Oh yeah, the actual kiddo is her daughter, Aanika.

Ian, my oldest.  He cleans up nice doesn't he!

 Tom and Maureen celebrated their 26th Anniversary, whew, that's a long time!

My dear Sister in Law, Allison, recently celebrated a birthday.  I've always liked this photo, very arty!

My one and only Niece, Kelsey.  Currently residing in the far east teaching.  What a cool deal.

The one, the only, Xanman had a birthday and this is a cool cat that knows how to dress for success!

I hope everyone enjoyed their special day and if you'd not known about it, take advantage and drop them a line.

And last, but not least, my girl Holly is celebrating her birthday today. I took this just before the annual motorcycle rally, good angle I think.

And there you haveit, we're all caught up, well, by my shaky records, anyway.  If you want a shout out, please feel free to send me a photo and a caption and I'll get to as soon as I can.  Shoot, some days I have even been known to hit the correct date!

Have an awesome day!

November 12, 2010

Escanaba In Love

Some friends invited us out to go to a play tonight.  It's a Jeff Daniels play entitled: "Escanaba In Love".  It was a really good play.  In fact, I told everyone after the last curtain call, "I laughed, I cried, It moved me!"

The play is set in the U.P. in 1944 at deer camp.  The audience was encouraged to dress in Deer Camp attire.  So we did.  I was pretty jazzed at how smooth I looked and encouraged Holly to take a photo of me.  Lucky you, you get to see my look.

Our friends, Tom and Diane, asked if we'd take a photo of them and we agreed.  Here they are, ready to join the cast at "Deer Camp".

As you can see, Camo, Blaze Orange and Flannel were the safe clothing choices at this event.

Since we took one of them, Tom offered to take one of us.  It was Tom's first time using my Blackberry as a camera.  Needless to say, it's not obvious in a dark place how to operate.  We could tell that Tom had the camera phone backwards, but we were too mean to tell him.  Instead, we sat and grinned as he took a picture of himself. 
As you can tell, my little camera phone has flash.  Tom was blinded by the light.

He was pretty upset, but we convinced him to take our picture anyway and here we are, looking good and barely sitting still as we laughed, hopefully, with Tom.

Have an awesome day.
P.S. - Someone in our house is having a birthday tomorrow and as a clue, it's not one of us boys.

October 3, 2010

Catching Up

Hey there, long time no type!  Feeling pretty stressed about how fast life is coming at us and know that I owe you guys something about stuff that's been happening. 

Today's the teaser, hopefully, I will follow through and get you all caught up with the Michigan Young's.

At the beginning of the school year we hold troop elections and Ian was elected the Senior Patrol Leader.  Really proud of him and a bit worried about if he can keep it all together.  Typical Dad.

Speaking of Ian, this past weekend he went to the Sparta Homecoming Dance with his girlfriend, Chelsi.  A super girl that is really cute and fun to be around.

A few weeks back Tim, Mike and I headed up north for our annual motorcycle riding weekend.  The plan was fantastically simple, leave work early on Thursday, meet up at Tim's and ride to his in-law's place.  Sunday, we'd come home.  How's that for meticulous planning!  Hopefully I can get a post on that before I forget all the good parts.

Can you tell where the photo was taken?

Boy Scout Popcorn Sale is on.  Get a hold of me if you'd like to help send a scout to camp.  Here's a link for you to connect to; TrailsEnd.  If you decide to order on the Trails End website, please select a scout to support and choose Spencer Y in zip code 49341.  Thanks for the support!


ArtPrize in Grand Rapids has been pretty good.  I got down there earlier this year and really enjoyed a quiet Sunday strolling around with Holly and running into people that we knew.  Lots of fun!

This entry is from a friend, it's a 4/6 scale model airplane suspended from a building near downtown Grand
Rapids.  Pretty cool.

That's going to have to do for now.
Have an awesome week at work and I hope to be giving more detail soon.

September 29, 2010

Extra, Extra, Read all about it

Mike Young turns another year older today!

Yeah, I know, your wondering, how does he manage to look so young?  Cuz he's a Young, that's the simple answer, and tonight, that's good enough!

Here we have Matt and Jamie, a cute couple.  Nice to have a beautiful friend to rely on.
 Here's Mike and his crew, I only know half of the group, but that half, well, it's a great half, so the other guys must be cool too!

How could you not trust a Dad with a Spam hat and shirt?

Don't trust Spam?  Well, at least you know he's true in the Viking gear!

Mike, the miles are many, the times been too long, but from my glimpses you seem to have it all!

Have an awesome Birthday!
Uncle Pat

September 12, 2010

Back from the brink

What a smashing weekend!

I was able to see the Iowa State at Iowa Football game, live and in person, actually at Kinnick stadium.  Not a big deal to most people, but I truly love college football, they have energy that pro sports can only dream about.  Here's how it played out for me this weekend...

I work with a guy that has become a great friend and he got us great seats at the game, and in to a great tailgate.  We met some good folks at the tailgate and we seemed to be pretty well received, it was weird, going on to their turf, it's been a long time since I was able to be objective about Iowa Football Fans.  Anyway, they had a great location, the tailgate was about 2 blocks from the stadium and the food was really good and really plentiful.  I'm going to skip over the game, it was painful and that's enough said.

The people that I met this weekend were truly wonderful, caring people that wanted their team to win, but were kind and respectful when we talked.  When they found out that we were from Michigan, they first wondered why we chose to come to this game, but that was easy to explain, and they also wanted to know our allegiance after "The Game", well, that was easy, I really have no allegiance in the Big Ten, so pulling for Iowa this year seems easy.

Here's what the stadium looked like from the North end.  I know what you're thinking, "The corner seats are the worst! "  I am here to tell you that you are wrong, there are no bad seats at the game, because, You're at the game!

College football is so much fun because it's so open, just like as I remember thinking about my own future, "All things are possible and we're going to win!" 

After the game we went back and gathered our respective kids and went out.  While we walked around Sammy tried to educate us, well you can see the result.   The gang was going to be fun, but that was on their terms.  They were hungry, can't you tell?!

It was a great trip!  Thanks Sammy and Ellen for everything!  Best to your kiddos too!

Have a great day!

September 10, 2010

Go Cyclones!

This Saturday is the Iowa State vs Iowa football game.  Holly and I are heading that way to hopefully attend the game.  The boys are tagging along to play video games in Iowa.  The Cyclones are not favored going into this, but then again, we usually aren't.  We're connecting with a friend that started out as a business acquaintance and has become a good friend.  Anyway, we're off to the game, and hopefully we'll find some reasonable tickets outside the stadium.  You see, I forgot to get with the Alumni Association and am stuck with looking for "On site alternatives".  We'll see.

I am not a crazy fan, but I do like the Cyclones.  That said, we'll you have to like their look to wear the gear.  The top is the logo that they've had for several years.  I think it combines the Cardnal and the Cyclone very well.  The one on the bottom is the new one, pretty much leaving Cy out of the logo. I like the simplicity of the new one, but feel sorry for Cy, losing his job.  (Can you say; "pursing other interests."?

Today we also have a Birthday Shout Out for my sister Molly.  She's a pretty cool chick, that's the youngest but wise beyond her years.  I don't have a lot of photos of Molly but let's see what I can come up with.  With Molly, while I have limited photos, I really wanted to make sure that everyone could see what I see, a beautiful wife, mother, sister and friend. 

Molly and Rick, the early years, outside good old 1400.

In this we have Rick, Reed and Molly, I'm pretty sure Christmas in Kasson.

This is my most recent shot of Molly and by far my favorite.  She came to Illinois to honor her sisters milestone birthday.

Molly, you are awesome, I hope that you have a most amazing year!

Have a good day,

September 7, 2010

First day of School

And all around the neighborhood you could hear the the Mom's expressing themselves on this most momentous of days, some tears were shed by the Mom's sending off the Kindergartners, mostly though was the cheer of glee at each bus stop. 

Here's how the boys looked this morning:
Ian 1st day of 11th Grade

Ian was thinking about imposing his; "No Paparazzi" mandate.  I looked at him and said, "Dude, it's like this, I have 11 of these photos from K through 10.  All from this front porch.  Are you sure that you really want to mess with your Mom on this?"  He saw where that would go and ta da!  Here he is.

Spencer 1st day of 8th Grade

 Spencer was an easier sell, but wanted to impose his own poses.  While I did take other shots, this is the stock, Michigan Young 1st Day of School Pose. 

At the bus stop
A friend at the end of the street took this one as they waited for the bus.  To me it looks like a study in perspective. 

At dinner we were regaled with the antics of these two's first day.  Sounds like they have some good teachers and we're once again blessed to be in this school system.

Have a great day!