Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Monday, January 31, 2022

BMW X3 - Family Car

This past weekend, Andrea and I went to Daytona Beach to trade in our old 2013 Lexus GX for a 2018 BMW X3. Connor turns 15 in a little over a month and Andrea had concerns about him driving around in the big Lexus SUV. The X3 is definitely a bit easier to drive and has some helpful safety features like blindspot indicators on the mirrors and lines on the reverse camera system. Connor has been working on his Driver's Education class and is on schedule to get his permit on his birthday. It's hard to believe he'll be driving soon!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


It's been chilly outside so the perfect thing in this weather is chili! We found a recipe online and decided to give it a try. It turned out great and Paige had fun cooking.

Pasting the info below for future reference.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion -diced
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper* -optional
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce


  • Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.
  • Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
  • Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Paige's Very Cold I9 Flag Football Game - Passing TD


Paige had her third flag football game on Saturday. It was a cold morning and it was in the low 40's during the game. Grandma and Grandpa came to eat lunch with us beforehand and to watch Paige. The girls played another all boy team and scored a couple of touchdowns. Paige had a few good rushes but didn't get in the end zone this week. She did, however throw a passing touchdown on a sneaky fake run.

Connor Roughhousing with Millie Mae


Millie Mae likes to wrestle and play rough lately. She has her "babies", her stuffed animals, but she mostly just likes to gnaw on them. Her favorite thing is to chase us around or have us chase her around and then wrestle. Connor was chilling before a tutoring session the other day and I got a few pics and a video of him roughhousing with Millie. She sounds angry and mean, but she loves it and always comes back for more.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Paige's Second I9 Flag Football Game

This past week was fairly uneventful for us. It was a pretty typical work and school week. Paige had practice for flag football on Thursday and then her second game on Saturday. She didn't get a lot of chances with the ball since there's a lot of girls on the team, but she did have a great run that almost resulted in a touchdown and she caught a pass for a touchdown. The girls were a bit overwhelmed by the other team overall and didn't win, but they had fun and scored twice this week (Abby also scored a touchdown). Paige loves hanging out with her friends and she definitely seems to be having fun with it.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Paige's First I9 Flag Football Game

Paige's I9 Flag Football team had their first game this afternoon. They're an all girl team and there had been some expectation that there would be other girl teams but it turns out that many other girls signed up for a different league so Paige's team is stuck playing with a bunch of boy teams in I9. They've had a few practices and today they had to put it all together. They came out a little hesitant, but as the game progressed they got more aggressive and loosened up. The girls were split in to two squads and Paige's squad was on defense the first half. She pulled the first flag of the game and was pretty good on defense. Unfortunately the boys they were playing against were experienced players and they scored a few times. 

The second half, Paige's squad was on offense and they moved the ball well, but they were down by quite a few touchdowns and hadn't quite made it in to the endzone. It looked like the girls were going to be shut out with only a few seconds left in the game when the coach decided to give Paige a handoff on the final play of the game. Paige turned up the afterburners and juked four defenders on the way to the endzone. Her teammates were so cute about cheering for her and congratulating her. I'm sure Paige will always remember her first touchdown.

Great job Paige and great job to the team, they're off to a good start!

New Years in Blowing Rock NC with the Gobles

On December 30th, we got up early and started the drive to North Carolina to have some winter fun. We typically avoid the cold weather, but we thought it was time to give a winter vacation a try. Andrea spent a lot of time researching different options, buying winter clothes (coat, ski pants, long underwear, gloves, hats, etc), and making reservations for skiing and tubing. The weather started out pretty warm for our trip and the drive up was pretty easy for us. 

We unpacked our things and were excited for the Gobles to arrive. The first night was pretty chill and we jumped in the hot tub to celebrate that we all made it to North Carolina.

In the morning we got up and got the kids dressed for their ski lesson at the Appalachian Ski Mountain. The weather was a little cool, but it was definitely warmer than we were expecting. Much of the snow on the mountain had melted, but there was still a fairly thick base layer on a few of the hills and there was enough to work with. We went through the confusing process of checking everyone in, getting their gear, getting them dressed up, and then we got them to Carly their instructor. 

The lesson started out fairly slow and they practiced basic things like putting on their skis and the proper stance. They progressed to using one ski and one boot and kicking themselves along on one ski to get the feel for it before putting on both skis and working their way up and down a small part of the slope. Once Carly thought they were ready they rode up the conveyer belt to the top of the practice slope that was off to the left side of the mountain. The kids crashed and burned pretty hard and it was a little scary while they were down on the ground struggling like helpless upside down turtles. Carly eventually took them over to a little bunny slope for a bit more practice and then they returned to the small slope and did much better in the second hour.

Once the kids finished with their lesson they skied down the slope a few more times before we left and went to lunch. They enjoyed it and it was certainly entertaining watching everyone trying to ski and snowboard, definitely looked a lot harder than we expected.

In the evening we relaxed and played some games including our new card game we got the kids for Christmas, "Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza". We didn't stay up that late to ring in the New Year, but Andrea did go with Paige early in the morning on New Year's Day to get some donuts to celebrate.

On New Year's Day we went to the downtown area to play at the park and then got some lunch. We planned to hike some trails, but the trail we picked was super steep and a bit too muddy and precarious for the stroller. We opted for a more chill paved path around a pond. 

We mostly relaxed and hung out, trying to enjoy the warm weather while it lasted. There was a winter storm coming on the night of January 2nd and we were hoping it'd bring some much needed snow.

On Monday, January 3rd, we woke up to a different world. The weather dropped to the 20's, it was super windy, and we got somewhere between three and four inches of snow. With the high wind it was pretty deep in some areas. Paige and I worked with Ryan to scrape off the cars. 

It was a little nerve-wracking, but we got out for lunch and then went to the Mast General Store. We did a little shopping and very importantly we bought a couple of sleds. We'd taken a bunch of walks on the golf course path near our rental house and I knew there were some pretty big hills. The kids and I went out for quite a while and ended up with a good route down the hill that was steep and fast.  Andrea and Amanda joined us for a few turns down the hill before we all got too frozen. We shot a few videos until my phone got so cold it shut off.

On our final day in NC, on Tuesday the 4th, we all went tubing including Griffin! There were four tubing hills, some longer than others. We gravitated towards the longest one and it ended up being the one we went down primarily. The first few times we went down we'd bump the edges and end up spinning. We noticed other people were tying their tubes together and we decided to give it a try. The kids enjoyed going down with other people and it was a lot more fun since you tended to spin much less. 

We'd considered skiing in the afternoon on Tuesday, but after our busy morning everyone was too tired so we just chilled out, did some packing, and watched a movie.

Early on Wednesday, January 5th, we headed home. I watched the last of the snow melt off our car as we crossed further south and it was great to be back in the warm weather. I went for a jog around the neighborhood when we got home to celebrate.

Overall, we had an amazing time with the Gobles. Graydon was fun as ever. He loves to hang out with his cousins and Connor had fun roughhousing with him. Paige and Graydon shared a room with two twin beds and we could hear them at night chit chatting after the lights were out. Griffin kept us all on our toes. I enjoyed taking him for walks on the golf course in his stroller and he enjoyed when I'd hand him golf balls, branches, and random things we'd find. Andrea played with him often and he was in a good mood most of the time. We're so thankful that we were able to spend time with family over the New Year, that we all made it there safely and back in the winter weather, and that we all were healthy and together.

Happy New Year!