New Brakes, Part 2

Man, that was one heck of an ordeal. So we finally got everything back together and fully changed out. We ran into a number of problems today that we were not anticipating that slowed us way down. We had broken bolts that caused us to have to exchange brackets and two defective calipers. The original O’Riely’s store didn’t have the replacement parts for the parts we purchased from them to replace the defective parts we got, so we had to go to another store to get them. It seemed like we ran into issue after issue. Diagnosing the second defective caliper took a lot of time because it wasn’t until we were trying to bleed the brakes that it was discovered. I can’t even explain all the stuff I learned in one way or the other during this entire process. However, the main thing I can say I learned is that changing brakes is nowhere near as difficult as I had thought for so many years. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but basically it’s very easy! While it has been a very long two days that has been both physically and mentally exhausting, I am very happy to have gone through it and learned everything that I have. I am very grateful to have such good friends as Nicole and Alex, who took a lot of time out of their days to help me, and especially Nicole for teaching me everything she did! So, after roughly 118,500 miles and 10 years, the original brakes, rotors, and rear calipers have finally been replaced on the Envoy!

New Brakes, Part 1

I’ve had my truck now for just about 7 years, and in that time I really haven’t had to put too much money into it. There have been some parts replaced here and there, oil changes and new tires and such. I’ve even been really lucky in the sense that a number of these repairs have been performed by friends for the cost of parts, smokes, and food. In addition to that, I am also learning things that I have never had the opportunity to learn before. Today was another of those learning experiences. Last night my brakes started making some really bad grinding noises. I’m not really surprised as I knew they were getting low, particularly since during one of the previous repairs my friend told me that it appeared my rotors were original to the truck. So today my friend Nicole help me and taught me how to change the brakes and rotors on my truck, all of them. I picked up a new jack and some various other tools along with the necessary parts and in about 8 hours we changed all four brakes and rotors. The front ones did not give us any issues but it turns out we are going to have change the calipers on the back as well, which means most likely bleeding the brakes too. Something else to learn! But that’ll have to happen tomorrow.

Third Swim Meet

Kylie had her third swim meet tonight. She participated in 4 events and did great! This was the second meet that Melissa and I were able to make it too, the first one being last week’s. I was very proud, and impressed, to see how much she has improved in the last week. I know she has a lot of practices during the week, and was even practicing in the lake with her cousins when we went up north, but the change in her form is incredible. Tiffany sent me the videos that she took during this meet like she did for the other, and as soon as I can I will get them posted as well. Also, once again, I do not know what her rankings were in her events, but that doesn’t really matter to us. We are very proud of Kylie and everything she accomplishes, and even more for just simply attempting it and following through. Looking forward to her next event already!

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

What a great weekend! We just returned from spending the weekend up north at Chris and Tracey’s cabin. It’s the first time Kylie and I have been there in almost 10 years, and it’s the first time for Melissa! We had a really good time, the kids all got to play together and the adults got to relax a bit. Even though it was a long weekend the time still went by really fast. The drive up and back took a bit longer than they normally would due to the holiday traffic, but luckily there were no real standing points, just congestion and slow downs. We are already talking about trying to find some more time to go back up this summer. Not sure if we are going to be able to or not, but we definitely won’t wait another ten years to get up there!

Second Swim Meet

Tonight was Kylie’s second swim meet with the Wild Cats, and thankfully Melissa and I were able to make this one (and hopefully many if not all of the rest!). Kylie took part in 4 events, and while I am not certain, I think she came in first in one and third in another. These events were a mix of both individual and group events and she performed a mix of different strokes. She will not find out what place she actually came in until her next practice, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that she did her best and had a lot of fun. She is doing really well and I can see a lot of improvement over the way she used to swim at the old apartment pool. I can see her confidence has improved in the water along with her general form. Also the dedication she is displaying, not only to swimming but also to maintaining her grades and ballet, is awesome. I think sometimes as parents we don’t realize the dedication and effort our kids put into these extracurricular activities, we just see the money and time we spend getting them there. I think it’s important that we recognize all the hard work, effort, and skill this takes on the part of our children as well. We are super proud of her and can’t wait to see her next meet!

Middle School Orientation

In a couple short weeks Kylie is going to finish up fifth grade and move on to sixth. This means that she will be in middle school! This is a completely new school, separate from her current elementary school, though right next door. So today she got to go on a field trip over to the new school to have an orientation, and tonight the parents got to do the same. Orientation for the adults this evening was held in the library of the middle school and provided by the Principal. He explained what our children can expect in terms of additional homework, different classes, changing classes and rooms during the day, even the availability of extracurriculars and clubs. It turns out that the swimming team is one of two athletic teams that sixth graders are allowed to join, so the Wild Cats will be a great help to Kylie if she wants to go for the school team. He also informed us about the eighth grade trip to D.C. so we could start saving for it now, as it can be a little pricey. After the presentation and the corresponding Q&A, he then led us on a tour of the school. The school has a separate gymnasium, auditorium, and cafeteria which is different from the elementary school. In addition they have their own indoor school, which is where Kylie is currently practicing with the Wild Cats until after school is out for the year, then it moves to the High School. There are also fully functional science labs and multiple computer labs the kids will have access to depending on their classes. Additionally there is a new wing being built that will include a second gymnasium and additional classrooms. Next year Kylie will also be required to change for gym, which is new compared to elementary school. There are going to be a lot of changes for her next year, and there will also be some for changes for us as well. While I am a little shocked at fast the time is going by, I am really excited for Kylie to begin the next chapter of her education

Beauty and the Beast

Tonight Melissa and I finally celebrated our second anniversary by going to see the musical Beauty and the Beast at the Fox Theater. We first went back to Angelo Brother’s for dinner and enjoyed some delicious Italian food. Afterwards we drove down to the Fox and luckily found a pretty good parking spot. I say luckily because there was also a Tigers game going on at the same time, so the city was even more busy than usual. It was a short walk to the theater from where we parked but it was a beautiful evening so the walk was rather enjoyable. Even though we arrived early the lobby of the Fox was already very busy. We had plenty of time to wait in line to pick up some souvenirs, Melissa was very happy that they had a full color souvenir program as she has begun collecting them from the events we go to, and then make our way to our seats. The show itself was very good. The way the stage and props were constructed so that buildings and set pieces were easily moved and served multiple purposes was great. The colors in the outfits were very vibrant, and the characters were all amazing. I can’t imagine portraying a candle stick or feather duster is an easy task, but they were incredible. I was amazed, however, at how many people appeared to show up late. I’ve attended many plays and musicals and never have I seen so many empty seats at the start of the show and so many people trickle in after the show had begun. There were a few seats in front of us that were empty until after the intermission, and then there was only another 30 minutes left of the show! Regardless, it was a great night for Melissa and I and we are very happy we had the opportunity to see this musical. Happy Anniversary Melissa, I love you!  

First Swim Meet

Tonight is Kylie’s first swim meet with the Wild Cats! Unfortunately due to Melissa and I celebrating our anniversary tonight by going to see a musical, we will not be able to attend. Thankfully Kylie understands, as this was planned before she was on the swim team. Nevertheless I am a little sad to miss out on her first meet. I have no doubt that she is going to do great though, and I look forward to hearing all about it. I am sure Tiffany will take some videos and send them to me, so once I have them, and time, I will be sure to get them posted up. In the meantime, good luck Kylie! We know you will do your best and totally rock! We love you and are very proud of you!

Ballet Recital Number Seven

I rarely get to go to Kylie’s ballet classes anymore, and even when I do I purposefully refrain from watching the class. I do this so that I am always seeing her dance for the first time at the recital, and she never fails to amaze me. As I think back on the years gone by, it’s an incredible journey and evolution of  her skills. Watching the younger children during the recital always helps to really emphasize that journey. It’s so easy to watch these young kids and remember when Kylie was that age, and then to have her come out and perform and have that full journey played out is spectacular. It’s hard to believe that Kylie has been in ballet for almost 7 years now (her first class)! This year saw the addition of pointe and while she did not perform that during this recital, I have witnessed her training in action for that. In fact she was only one of two girls that were able to releve` to on-pointe position for their individual ballet picture! All in all it was another great recital followed by the traditional visit to Stroh’s.

Bring Your Daughter to Work Day 2016

Today was the day that Kylie had been waiting for just about a year. It’s take your daughter to work day! Last year was Kylie’s first time participating in this event and she had so much fun that she has been asking about it ever since. So last night after work I went over and picked her up so she could spend the night at my house to make the morning a bit easier. Seeing as the events started with breakfast at 9am I decided it would be best to not go into work at 6am like I normally do, so we both got to sleep in a little later than normal, which is always a good start to the day. Traffic on the way to work was a little heavier than I am accustomed to, and even Kylie commented on it, which I thought was funny. Regardless, we made it to the office with plenty of time and Kylie was amazed that since last year I have moved my desk and now have a standing desk instead of a sitting desk. She seemed shocked to find out that I literally stand around all day. Even more exciting for her though, was that I actually do have a chair, one that adjusts to a higher height to allow me to sit at my standing desk if I so choose. She had a lot of fun sitting in such a high chair. After about 15 minutes we went over to the main gathering area where breakfast was being provided and found ourselves a seat. After breakfast there was some dancing (though Daddy doesn’t dance) and general goofing around, and shortly after it was time for the kids to go off with their groups for a day full of activities. Due to a customer issue I was, unfortunately, not able to actually sit and have lunch with Kylie. This upset me greatly, in fact, I think, a lot more than it did Kylie. Thankfully she was able to sit with Nicole and Kira so she was not alone. I was able to at least quickly go over and let her know I wasn’t going to be able to eat with her and let her know how sorry I was so she wasn’t just sitting there wondering if I forgot or something. After eating Nicole brought her over to my desk so I could see her for a few minutes before she went off to her next activity. At the end of the day we met back up and she told me about all of the cool things she did. She said she really enjoyed the programming class and that the day in general was a lot of fun. I am very fortunate to work for a company that participates in these events and grateful to have a job where I can actually bring her in for the day. We are both already looking forward to next year’s bring your daughter to work day!