Family time with the Jacobson clan – Celebrating Tyler’s 11th!

Tyler celebrating his 11th birthday!

Tyler celebrating his 11th birthday!

How fast they grow…

Humbling, frankly. I remember them quite fondly almost 5 years ago. Now, here I am taking pictures and reflecting warmly on the many smiles and frustrations they’ve all caused. :)

Emma and Felicity - 11/2013

Emma and Felicity – 11/2013

Seriously, I jest though. In truth, there is a true love I’ve seen grow in me towards my “adopted” kids and family, and I’ve grown a lot as a result. It’s certainly given me clarity and vision to how I am towards my own kids and love that they also were able to celebrate this day.

I digress though! Tina threw a nice shin dig at her house with family and friends, and it was an absolute blast! Tyler made out like a bandit and was able to get every gift he’s wanted. Let’s just say, if you can score two major video game systems in one weekend… even I was envious. ;)

Yes... that's an Atari 2600..  Yes... that's River Raid!

Yes… that’s an Atari 2600.. Yes… that’s River Raid!

It was fun, speaking of video games, when Tina and her older sister Lisa threw down the gauntlet and the old “Atari” got unpacked for some sister rivalry playing some “River Raid”!

In the days of Xbox, PS4s, Vita, and 3DS, it was great seeing the kids also get into it. Tyler and I spent some good time challenging each other to several games of Combat! Needless to say, I had to school him ;) ..but it was all in good fun, and he still had a blast!

T-Minus 24 days to Christmas… let’s buckle in, and hang on! I know for us, it’s going to be quite busy between the various families, and tons of kids and relatives to shop for! Certainly don’t want to wait till the last minute!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6333026 <-- As always, the full album can be found here.

Lisa, Alex, and Christian hanging for Tyler's 11th birthday!

Lisa, Alex, and Christian hanging for Tyler’s 11th birthday!

Costumes, Jazz Dance, and a some good adult time..

Sam rockin' the Batman outfit!

Sam rockin’ the Batman outfit!

Have I ever confessed that I have about as much creative ability as an earthworm?

I can poke fun at that. Honestly, I think photography is the extent of my creativity. On the other hand, Tina’s got a knack for it. So, when we got to the point of talking about Halloween outfits for the kids the run of the mill responses came back. The kids must have spent hours just arguing and bickering back and forth on trying to convince the others of why their theme is “cooler than yours!”.

Of course, with some creative psychology and parenting, we got them all aligned on their favorite toy/cartoon de jour.

Sam wanted to be Batman. Of course, Emma idolizes Sam so she wanted to be Batgirl. Then Felicity heard how Tina was Wonder Woman as a kid, so she wanted to be like Mommy… and of course it’s nice that the preceding two are DC Comic Heros.

That of course leaves Tyler and Sebastian. Our Nintendo boys…. No small surprise they decided on Mario and Luigi.

Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Mario, Luigi, and Batman!  Nintendo meets DC Comics!

Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Mario, Luigi, and Batman! Nintendo meets DC Comics!

Take Sam and Felicity. The pics speak for themselves when you look at the details in their make up and outfits. It wasn’t enough that we take them out all day finding the base outfits. Tina then spends the next two weeks literally hand sewing enhancements, padding, and customizing the outfits to the kids, making them look much larger than life.

We only really have our kids together about 2-3 days a month now. But, we were fortunate to have an Open House next door in Bloomingdale. It was hosted by the Police and Fire Department. They had tons of stuff for the kids. Activities, bouncy houses, petting zoos, free food, snacks, treats, and drinks, as well as tours and activities in the Fire House and Police Station.

Wonder Woman taking a break for Jazz Dance Class.

Wonder Woman taking a break for Jazz Dance Class.

On top of all that, Wonder Woman still had Jazz Class. So, here we all go from Bloomingdale to Schaumburg, stopping by a phone booth so Wonder Woman could change into her alter ego. Wait, isn’t that another DC Comic character?

Anyways, after that, here we go, back past that phone booth, and then Wonder Woman and the rest of the clan went back for some more projects, time with the Firemen, and more treats!

My Queen of Hearts and Jason's Girlfriend (Stacy)

My Queen of Hearts and Jason’s Girlfriend (Stacy)

So, just when you think she’s hit her creative peak, there comes an invite from an old friend of Tina’s who’s throwing a pretty killer Halloween party. We accept, and then the conversation starts all over again.

Football Jock and Cheerleader..

Lord and the French Maid…

etc.

Finally we get to the King and Queen of Hearts. But, we had to do it our way… ;)

So, start with some period type costumes that fit us, and then let’s start painting, sewing, tweaking, and after a few trips to Hobby Lobby and other places….

We look pretty damn good!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6287703 <-- Pics can always be found in my gallery.

The King and Queen of Hearts are upon us!

The King and Queen of Hearts are upon us!

A weekend of Adult time much needed.. Galena, IL.

Tina with a few of our friends - Galena 2013

Tina with a few of our friends – Galena 2013

Tina and I finally had a chance for a much needed time away!

We both love to photograph, and try to find time during the month of October to really capture the change in seasons. This year we ended up going to Galena, IL. For those who aren’t up on their US History, this is the home town of our 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant.

It’s a party town…

Downtown Galena, IL. - 2013

Downtown Galena, IL. – 2013

Twist my arm and make me try and say it’s a quaint and quiet little town… but it be a lie. This place is hopping all night long with a bustling night life.

We found a nice little Bed and Breakfast which was pretty cool. They had a hot tub outside that was actually built into it’s own little structure. Definitely took advantage of it late at night! :P

Also seems to be a rather large “Ghost” community, with tons of haunted tours that go on during the night. We did one of the haunted pub crawls ourselves! But, despite the repeated attempts to toast with the good spirits, they must have been off at another one of the dozen parties going on within ear shot.

But I digress.. We came for colors, didn’t we? There were plenty! Some of the most beautiful landscape and foliage shots I’ve been able to take.

To top it off, we met some cool new friends. Tina and Kristin bonded immediately; to the point where we even found out they have the same exact birthday, same exact year, and are scaringly similar in all their traits!

The final little part of our adventure was at the Chestnut Mountain Resort outside of town. They have an alpine slide which is a quarter mile bob sled style ride you control down the ski slopes. Pretty cool!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6280757 <-- Full pics can always be found in my gallery.

Scenic overlook between Elizabeth and Galena, IL - 2013

Scenic overlook between Elizabeth and Galena, IL – 2013

Family day trip to the Mall of America

Sebastian and Emma having a day of roller coasters and rides at the Mall of America.

Sebastian and Emma having a day of roller coasters and rides at the Mall of America.

So, what do you get when two crazy parents say.. “Let’s wake up at 5AM and do something spontaneous!”?

You pack up 5 kids and head to the airport and board a flight to ride roller coasters for a day…. then fly back that night.

It was a lot of fun actually! The kids got along well, all things considered, and everyone had a great time!

Emma's first airplane ride - 2013

Emma’s first airplane ride – 2013


But I digress.. we went to the Mall of America in Minnesota.

It really couldn’t have been more convenient! The METRO light rail is a 10 minute trip from the terminal straight to the Mall door step. On the weekend it cost us $.75 per kid each way… can’t really beat that. Plus since Emma is 5, she rode for free!

Guess it made an impact too because Sebastian kept going on about how he wants his birthday party there… keep dreaming my lovely boy!! :P

In truth, what we did end up finding out is that they were having their state fair going on as well. From what all the locals raved, it was a party we missed too!

…next year!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6213125 <-- As always, full pics can be found here!

The Minions... hanging out at the Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America.

The Minions… hanging out at the Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America.

Accertify/AMEX: Free lunch courtesy of Managed Services!

Burgers, Dogs, Sausages, and all the trimmin's!

Burgers, Dogs, Sausages, and all the trimmin’s!

It’s always great to do a good job! Gives you a sense of well doing when you finally lay down at night!

It’s even better when one of the teams you support heavily says “Come on over!! We want to make lunch for you!”.

Mark, the VP of Managed Services personally manned the grills outside on a 95F day and cooked for not only us, but his own team to give us all a time to catch up and gel.

Thanks Mark! Great time as always!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6208923 <-- Full gallery can be found here!

Hanging with our Managed Service teams!  They were nice enough to throw a "Thank you!" lunch for the Client Service team!

Hanging with our Managed Service teams! They were nice enough to throw a “Thank you!” lunch for the Client Service team!

!!!Evil Al!!!

!!!Evil Al!!!

Four wonderful years! Anniversary trip!

Tina, mini golfing in Mackinaw City

Tina, mini golfing in Mackinaw City

It’s been an interesting ride, but it’s nice when Tina and I get a week without the kiddies.

We decided to celebrate this year in the Mackinaw area of Michigan. From Mackinaw City, to Ontario, and back to Mackinaw Island, it was an absolute blast for us!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6186567 <-- Full pics here!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6186567_7099474 <-- Check out the video if you have a few mins. Some funny stuff!

As always, anyone who finds themselves in that area, and loves spirited driving, check out Highway 119 (the Tunnel of Trees) outside Petosky. Beautiful driving!

Finally, the girlie spoiled me with some cool gifts. One is great for the photographer out there!

http://www.spiderholster.com <-- Check this out!!!

Agawa Canyon - Ontario - 2013

Mackinaw Island - 2013

Accertify/Amex 2013 company picnic at Brookfield Zoo

Trouble and Heartache at Brookfield Zoo - 2013

Trouble and Heartache at Brookfield Zoo – 2013


Had a great time at Brookfield Zoo with my Brady Bunch and work Peeps!

Accertify/AMEX really knows how to take care of their employees, so we had a full ride, even including some of the exhibits. Lunch was a blast as well!

Dinosaurs - Live - at Brookfield Zoo

Dinosaurs – Live – at Brookfield Zoo

Emma, suddenly interested in all things bones.  - 2013 Brookfield Zoo

Emma, suddenly interested in all things bones. – 2013 Brookfield Zoo

As always, I publish all my pictures online.

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6118876 <– You can find the gallery here.

Accertify/AMEX attending the 2013 JP Morgan Chase – Corporate Challenge

My man, Ian, bringing it home!

My man, Ian, bringing it home!

What do you get when you get thousands and thousands and thousands of people coming out on a very unbecoming <50F May day?

A 3.5 mile run to warm up, with a great time afterwards!
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I was fortunate enough to be asked to head down and take pictures, showing how Accertify/AMEX represents amongst their peers.

Great representation from Chicago’s large corporate presence. United, and Motorola are just two that come to mind.

Overall, great time though! It was a great networking opportunity for those of us on the Accertify Island to take a peek outside, and meet our peers!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6077211 <-- As always, the full photo gallery is located online.

Everyone from the local AMEX offices, as well as the dozens of people from Accertify who attended the event!

Everyone from the local AMEX offices, as well as the dozens of people from Accertify who attended the event!

A magic trip to NYC – Someone’s dream comes true…

Lady Liberty - 2013

Lady Liberty – 2013

Anyone remember the movie that came out a year or so ago, New Years Eve? One of the parts of that movie had a lady (Michelle Pfeiffer I think..) who had a list of wishes she wanted to accomplish.

This was one of those moments.

Times Square, in the heart of Midtown

Times Square, in the heart of Midtown

Times Square - 2013

Times Square – 2013

Tina had a dream to see New York, and had a list of wishes she wanted to accomplish. From going to NBC, to the Trade Center, to seeing Lady Liberty, shopping sprees and everything in between.

She got her wish on her 37th Birthday, and I was lucky enough to come with her!

Happy Birthday Tina!

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6057647 <--Full, MONSTER, gallery can be found here.

An angel on a stormy day!

An Angel on a stormy day!

Work day to Chicago Indoor Racing

Editing a small video for our day at CIR.

Editing a small video for our day at CIR.

We have an awesome concept on building family and team building! We got to spend the day at Chicago Indoor Racing doing all the events.

One of our Operations Managers had some GoPros on the Karts.

http://gallery.projectwrx.com/6042882 <– Here’s a small video of the footage.