Life Lessons Discovered While Apple Picking

Written by Justin posted on Oct 8, 2014 in Fall, Family, Kayce, Photos

Apple picking seems to be one of those activities which has really blossomed over the past few years. We are always looking for different ways to get the boys thinking and understanding more about what they are eating and where it comes from. So we ditched the Sunday Bears game and headed up to Kellers Farm in Oswego, IL. They have a multitude of activities and goodies for the kids but we were there for one mission: apples.

The orchard was well stocked and had a ton of variety (Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Cortland, and about 5-6 others I can’t recall). The kids classified them strictly by color and picked based solely on this factor. The weather was hot and the orchard not too crowded. You grab a bag and go about leisurely picking as many or few apples as you want. We noticed a lot of people sampling as they collected and then throwing out their half-eatens. Which did not seem very trustworthy to me, but maybe that is standard for these sorts of places?

All in all, we ended up with almost $50 in Apples. Which is quite a haul. Each boy wanted to have their own bag for picking and it was money well spent. They were on cloud 9 running up and down the aisles hunting for apples they could reach or begging for a lift for those just out.

We shared some with our neighbors and stored some for pie making at a later date. I read online that storing them in a cool, dark place wrapped in newspaper helps to preserve. Really hoping that holds true. These were easily the best apples I have ever tasted. It would be a crying shame not to see them go into some sort of baked good. Now I just need to find the time to bake a pie!

On our hunt, Kayce was just a head of the pack when he stumbled upon $40 (2 x $20). He could not believe his eyes! Ran up to Dawn and I to show us his findings. At first you could tell he did not know what to do. We were equally as shocked. He asked us what to do. I told him we would ask around and see if anyone had lost the money, if no one claimed it then it was his. We went down the aisle to the family in-front of us, not theirs. We asked a couple of the workers and no one had reported it either. At this point, we concluded it was his for the keeping. Now, Kayce is old enough to grasp the concept of money. But to him $40 is like finding $400. He lit up like a Christmas tree.

Proud papa moment in 3….2…..1……Later in the day on a store run with Dawn and Conor, unprompted he decided to give half of the money to Conor. He then proceeded to split the rest of his good fortune on himself, Devin, Dakota and a package of one of my favorite candies for me, Swedish Fish. This kid has twice the heart and empathy than a lot of adults.


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Not Quite Ready To Leave

Written by Justin posted on Sep 6, 2014 in Family, Kayce

This week Kayce was hospitalized with respiratory issues. It’s a battle he has fought once before about two years ago. One we were hopeful would never happen again. Alas, this was not the case.

Anyone who has ever spent time in a hospital or known someone who has, their immediate reaction is to want to leave and go home. Well not this time. Not this kid. When the doctor was set to discharge him and asked him if he was ready to go home, he quickly responded “no”. The doctor was completely floored. It was an answer I don’t think she had heard before.

Physically, he was doing better, not great, but better. We could continue the same treatments they were providing to him from home. Then why would a 7 year old kid not want to sprint out the door and head for the comforts of home? It was an answer right under our noses but not one we expected. While I was manning the ship at home and tending to the other 3 Grimm Boys, Dawn was dedicated to being with Kayce. As his situation escalated Office > ER > Hospital admission, Dawn was there by his side. Receiving an undivided attention from his Mother he had not in 5+ years.

With this distraction and brother free time, Dawn and Kayce utilized every precious minute. Board games, late night movies, talking about friends, life, goals and just plain joking around. Talk about lifting a sick kid’s spirits. A little bonding time with Mom is just what the doctor ordered. And Kayce was not ready to give that up.

In our constant struggle to be the best parents we know how Dawn and I try to give attention to each of our 4 boys. Sometimes we lose sight of the need to give each (especially the twins) some undivided attention. We had talked before summer about taking each kid out for a night on their own. I think this reinforces the need to follow through with that plan.

Edwards Hospital in Naperville was exceptional in every facet of childcare. Beautiful and clean facilities. A dedicated playroom. Daily treats delivered from local bakeries. Most importantly attentive and caring staff. If I ever have to go to the hospital I'm requesting the pediatric unit at Edwards.

Edwards Hospital in Naperville was exceptional in every facet of childcare. Beautiful and clean facilities. A dedicated playroom. Daily treats delivered from local bakeries. Most importantly, attentive and caring staff. If I ever have to go to the hospital I’m requesting the pediatric unit at Edwards!

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Four Kids In School

Written by Justin posted on Aug 30, 2014 in Conor, Dakota, Devin, Kayce, School

From July 4th on, the summer completely got away from us. Gone in an instant. Which I suppose is the sign of a good time. No dragging.

With that we now have 4 kids attending schools. Dawn will get some much needed quiet time for at least a couple hours in the morning. Freeing her up to study, complete an assignment or just fly solo to the grocery store. Sometimes, it’s the little things.


Conor – Kindergarten

This one, not like the first. Very independent and no parent tether here. By day 2 he was requesting not to be walked up to school. Something I couldn’t shake #1 from for 2 years.

2nd Grade

2nd Grade

Devin - Preschool

Devin – Preschool


Dakota - Preschool

Dakota – Preschool


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Being There

Written by Justin posted on Aug 11, 2014 in Conor, Dakota, Devin, Kayce, Photos, Vacation

We are incredibly lucky to have extended family members who have unconditionally welcomed us up to their lakehouse on a quiet lake in Northeastern Wisconsin for the last 5+ years. It gives our kids a chance to get the lakehouse experience they would not get anywhere else. We are forever thankful. It gives the whole family a chance to unplug and get away from the distractions of everyday life. There really is something to be said for that.

This trip was a short one for us but we made the most out of our time there. Got out bear finding, fishing, jetskiing, birthday celebrating (Happy 30th Uncle Danny!), frog catching, s’more making and canoeing. We even went out horseback riding. Which was a first for me. The weather was brilliant and the company was even better.

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A Week of Firsts

Written by Justin posted on Jul 29, 2014 in Conor, Dad, Dakota, Devin, Family, Kayce, Summer

What can I say, been busy enjoying the Summer of 2014. 

We have been busy busy with the likes of: beach trips, new jobs, swim lessons, sports galore, gardening, library visits, laughing, riding, playing, sliding, reading, writing and block partying.

This past week though felt like one I just could not let fall away into the ether. So many accomplishments I did n0t want to miss documenting. Kayce had been looking to go off the diving board at our local watering hole. Asking for weeks. Well, much to our surprise, he went for it at a friends party. And it has been non-stop ever since. He also got his first new bike since about age 2. It was much needed and the only requirements he gave was it had to be “blue”. AT 20″ it’s just slightly big for his size, but that has not stopped him from wanting to get out on it and ride ride ride.

Mission accomplished

Mission accomplished

Kayce and Conor also got to take in their first proper concert. We made it out to Wicker Park Fest to check out Exit Verse. Close family friend and all around great dude, Pete plays bass. As well, a musician I have been attentively following for decades, Geoff Farina plays guitar and sings. So it was a real treat for me to introduce the boys to live music in this setting. My first show was Milli Vanilli at Poplar Creek…THANKS LIZ!

exit verse exit verse boys

We also welcomed new life into the family. Baby Colette was born on Friday 7/28. Baby girls are a rare commodity in the Grimm bloodline so this was extra special.



Have you checked out the sting ray petting exhibit at Brookfield Zoo? It’s worth the extra cost.

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