Tales From The Ipe!

I sit by and watch the river flow. I sit by and watch the traffic go.

Category: Family (page 1 of 37)

Family-related anecdotes, visits, events, or topics.

Spending a Saturday in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

On Saturday, I went to the gym in the morning, After I got back and cleaned up, we drove an hour down to King of Prussia PA to spend a day. We grabbed lunch at this smallish chain called Naf Naf Grill for fast casual Mediterranean. After lunch, we hit up the nearby Crate & Barrel to check out in person a bar cart that we had our eye on. After checking out the size and quality, we plunked down a bag of quarters and purchased it. Here are some pics — it’ll be delivered early next week.

At 2:25 pm, we quickly drove to iFly for our reservation for indoor skydiving , and we met the Fernandez crew. Our reservation was at 3:30 pm, but you’re supposed to get there an hour ahead to sign in, do the safety stuff, etc. Only Namita and the kids, and the Fernandez kids would be participating today. Why? It’s expensive! Below are videos I took of the Ipes. Everyone generally gets two 1-min flights. The first minute seems to be merely experiencing the wind chamber. During your second go-around, you can opt to go all the way up. They all had a great time.

Namita performing some cool indoor sky diving moves at iFly from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

Joshua performing some cool indoor sky diving moves at iFly from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

Lily performing some cool indoor sky diving moves at iFly from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

After the indoor skydiving, we took a walk around the King of Prussia Town Center to enjoy the nice day and the sun, and grab some coffee from Starbucks. We then walked to dinner for our 5pm dinner reservation at Paladar. Very nice place, and good food, but our server kept getting confused with orders.

Lily was in an 8U girls softball tournament June 1 – June 4

In May, Lily and a number of girls from our township (and another one adjacent) tried out for an upcoming 8U girls softball / (“All Stars”) tournament scheduled for June 1 – June 4 down in Florence NJ. They had so many girls, they had two teams participating.

I was able to attend all of the games (an evening game on Thursday, a doubleheader on Saturday, then the championship game Sunday morning.) The girls did great overall, and Lily’s particular team went into the championship game against Robbinsville Sunday. It was tough, Robbinsville was just too good.

Kudos to all the girls and parents because it was a lotta softball in four days. Congratulations to the girls for coming in 2nd place.

Tonight’s theme is “Fire!”

I worked from home Monday, which gave an opportunity for some free time (which I usually have to spend commuting.) The kids and I had some initial difficulty but we eventually got the fire pit going. It took three Ipes to start a fire!



Next we prepared ribeye steaks and sides for dinner.

Lastly, for dessert, we broke out the graham crackers, Hershey milk chocolate, and marshmallows.  Delicious!


Sometimes Lily forgets how to eat a donut

My 41st birthday weekend

The Ipes dine at the *new* Steak N Shake in West Windsor

The Ipes dine at the *new* Steak N Shake in West Windsor

This year I wanted to keep my birthday pretty low-key. No big parties. No dressing up.  No big fancy dinners. No polite debating whether the 40-year-olds should go to a club, and see who drops out before we get to the sidewalk.

During the day, I was running around during errands, but the four Ipes met up for lunch — specifically, burgers, fries, and milkshakes — at the new Steak N Shake that somewhat recently opened up in West Windsor. Yes, you heard me. A Steak N Shake located above the Mason-Dixon Line. I can’t believe it, and they have the hats!

In the evening, the brave / fun people met up at Air Trampoline Sports on Rt 35 in Cliffwood NJ. We were going to dress comfortably, and act like kids again. For an hour, we jumped on trampolines, played dodgeball, and jousted like American Gladiators.

20170422_183752.mp4 from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

While they also had a rock wall available, I decided to try to conquer this thing called the Walking Sticks, where you climb successfully higher on these wobbly podiums. It gets high, and you can easily lose your balance. You know what, I’m 41 years old. At this point in my life, the only thing I have to be afraid of in life is quitting. And I ain’t no quitter. Never have been. Never will.

Joel Conquers the Walking Sticks from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

After we all got hot and sweaty, we met up with our friends Lenny and Evanessa at Big Ed’s BBQ in nearby Old Bridge for endless all-you-can-eat ribs. My God, there was a lot of food.

Lazy Sunday afternoon with the Josephs

Lazy Sunday afternoon with the Josephs

On Sunday, I went to the gym, we all went to church, and had lunch at home. After lunch, we drove down to my south Jersey to watch my niece Abigail play soccer, then we hung out at the playground, and around my sister’s house. We later had dinner, had some birthday cake, then got on the road home.

Oh, in case you were wondering about birthday gifts…

  • a couple Amazon gift cards (always appreciated)
  • a new Polar H10 heart rate monitor for when I go cycling or working out while traveling
  • a new lens hood for my Nikor 55-200 mm lens
  • a replacement copy of Star Wars Episodes IV-VI on blu-ray, since no one knows what happened to my original set


This is how you celebrate being 41, people.

Happy Easter!

Joshua’s 3rd bicycle

Last year, I noticed that Josh’s 2nd bicycle (last purchased back in April 2013) was looking long in the tooth for him. We bought it when he was only eight years old, and now it looked way too small on him. We waited until this Spring season to see how tall he was, and to ensure we bought a good sized bike for him.

He did initially select a simple black cruiser model that was a little plain Jane, but we ended up finding a more interesting looking Schwinn Frontier 26-inch mountain bike for him instead. It’s got a durable steel frame, a suspension fork up in the front, dual handbrakes, a triple crank, and 7 gears in the rear. Yup, he’s gonna learn how to adjust his gears now, right around the same time I myself learned back on my old 10-speed bike.


2017 CMB Karate Demo Team performance at the Wells Fargo Center (2nd time!)

Last April, the kids performed with the rest of the CMB Karate demo team at the Wells Fargo Center. Last year, it was on the concourse next to a Kia Optima on display. Nice, but it obviously would have been cooler to perform on the hardwood in the actual arena.

This year, they did! You’ll find Joshua on the far right, and Lily in the middle.

CMB Karate Demo Team “Space Jam” performance at the Wells Fargo Center – 04-08-2017 from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

**UPDATE** The Sixers organization recently published a much better (and closer!) video of the demo team performance. Check it out!

My sister was able to take some photos as well.

Lily’s 9th Birthday Party

Last Sunday, we celebrated Lily’s birthday a few days early by inviting about 20 kids over to our house for a detective-themed party. 

We purchased a detective / mystery story online, printed out multiple copies, purchased “detective” party supplies (pens, clipboards.) We also had kind friends and older kids play the various parts / suspects in the mystery of who dognapped someone’s dog before it could compete in the town’s big dog show.

I’m really glad we had help managing all of these 9 year olds running around our house, and to play various characters. I’d say the kids had a lot of fun, and our house survived in one piece. 

In case the mystery was kiling you, I played Officer Pickles.

In the evening, we put the house back together, my sister Julie and her family stopped by for dinner, and left to catch my 7:45 pm flight to Columbus Ohio.

My son Josh vs. peanuts everywhere, and Josh won

Josh has lived through a number of allergies growing up, since he was an infant. He was originally allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and had some lactose intolerance thrown in there too. It was a lot to deal with, but some kids have it worse, so I guess he/we couldn’t complain. We spent many meals ordering specific food items, navigating away from many foods with eggs or dairy in the ingredients. His allergist (plus research that Namita found on her own) advised that we should stay away from all of these allergens, with the hope that the body would slowly grow out of these allergies. In the meantime, we continued to purchase expensive Epi-Pens, in the event of accidental exposure to peanuts, as well as ensuring his various school nurses kept him away from other kids and their meals. Kinda sucks to spend elementary school stuck at the “peanut-free” table.

We went painstakingly about it for many years. Over time, he grew out of his allergies to eggs, lactose, and even gluten. It’s opened up a world of food choices to him. About two years ago, his skin test and blood work showed little to no sensitivity to peanuts. Tree nuts yes, but no peanuts! Still, the allergist recommended that we wait another year to confirm the results. Last year, again little to no sensitivity. They put us on peanut challenge wait list (about a year for us to wait it out.)

In March, his name came up on the list, and we scheduled the peanut challenge. Unfortunately, we also got blasted with a very late March snowstorm, and the doctor’s office was closed. Unbelievable — we had waited three years for the peanut challenge, and a freak snowstorm blows in. Thankfully, they were able to slot us into a last-minute cancellation the following Wednesday.

We got to the doctor’s office around 7:45 am, filled out paperwork, and carried in his clear apple juice. Over the course of 4+ hours, Josh drank increasing amounts of peanut powder dissolved in the apple juice, which he said was somewhat disgusting. We got worried at first, because his tongue was tingling after the first dose, but it calmed down after some water. After each dose, we had to take pictures, and the doctor and nurses inspected him for allergic reactions. While we waited patiently, Josh hung out and worked on stuff.

After the last dose, Josh and Namita had to wait around for two more hours in the doctor’s office for further observation, and I had to leave in order to get to my own office, so I high-tailed it out of there to grab some lunch and then to the train station. I’m happy to report that Josh officially passed the peanut challenge. It’s been a long time to wait, but this was huge progress. Later in the week, Josh enjoyed a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the first time.

He said it was delicious.



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