Archive for September, 2009


Apple Picking

September 19, 2009

Erin and I decided to go pick apples today while Kyle and Sarah were at my in-laws. Erin kept bugging me to do something “fun” and a friend mentioned she was going apple picking, so I thought Erin might enjoy that. She was quite excited about it and when I asked if she wanted me to get Kyle and Sarah so they could go, she was adamant about wanting just the two of us to go. She is a girl who knows her mind!

The apple farm we chose is not terribly big, so we didn’t have to walk too far, or lug the 24 pounds of apples that we picked very far. We picked some Jonamacs, Ginger Gold, and Twenty Ounce. We plan to make a bunch of applsauce with the Jonamacs and the Twenty Ounce. The Ginger Gold we will just eat as they are.

While waiting for the wagon to take us to the orchard, we spotted this…

Good shady spot!

Good shady spot!

This is one of the wagons that carried people to and from the orchard.

Very bumpy ride!

Very bumpy ride!

As we headed down the first row of Jonamac apples, this caught my attention.


It is probably a good thing Kyle wasn’t with us. He would have run screaming from the place after his encounter on Wednesday!

A little later, Erin pointed out this huge apple on the ground. She insisted I take a picture of it, so I did. Then I decided that it was hard to tell, from the picture, how big is was. I asked her to find a “normal” sized apple from the ground to put with it. The apple on the left is an average size Jonamac. The mutant, on the right, is just plain enormous. At first I thought it was a squash of some sort.


Here are a few more pictures from our day…



I am not certain what kind of apples these are, but they weren’t ready yet. The trees were just bulging with these bright red apples!



When we finished our apple picking, we picked up a 1/2 gallon of cider and a bag of pears. We are going to add pears to some of our applesauce. I think it adds a little extra sweetness without adding (processed) sugar. We then went to a nearby Bill Grays and had some healthy yummy food before heading home.


Busy Week Running

September 18, 2009

Kyle had a rather busy week running. On Sunday we all arose at the crack of dawn to go to the Rochester MVP Healthcare Marathon and Half Marathon. It was a perfect day for running. I don’t think the temperature got much over 70 and when the races started around 7:30, it was only in the imd 60’s. I had never been to such a large running event. There were hundreds of runners, over 2300 actually!


The above picture shows just some of the many people there for the races. This was taken about 1/2 an hour before the full marathon was to begin. The 1/2 started 15 minutes after the full. There were a lot of people!


We took Kyle to Frontier Field, where the race headquarters were set up, then we walked with him to the starting line a 1/2 mile away. As we were waiting for the races to start, I glanced down at his feet and noticed he was wearing his old, very worn out shoes. He had gotten a new pair about 3 weeks earlier, but had neglected to grab them for the race. We had planned to meet him in a couple places along the course to provide Gatorade, water, and (for my sanity) to check on him to make sure he was okay. I suggested that we could run home, grab his shoes, and he could change at the first meeting point. He thought that was a good idea, so off we went.

We decided to leave before the start of the race to ensure we could stop to get the coffee I bribed promised Jeff for getting up so early, run home for Kyle’s shoes, and buy Gatorade at Walgreens by our first meeting point. Kyle made good time and we gave him his shoes and a Gatorade. The whole change took about 3 minutes. I suppose in a 13 mile race, 3 minutes isn’t too long…

After he changed and ran off again, we hopped back in the Jeep and went to the next point, a nearby park. I was impressed by the number of people along the course cheering the runners on. I am sure it was encouraging to the runners. Kyle made excellent time to the second point and only had about 4 more miles to go. We jumped into the Jeep one last time and hurried back to Frontier Field. Parking was a little nutty, but we managed to make it to the finish line with about 10 minutes to spare. His official time was 1:52:20. He had planned to finish in around 2 hours, 20 minutes, so he was quite pleased with his time! I wonder what his time would have been if he hadn’t had to change his shoes during the race…

The finish line was a flurry of activity with medical people observing the runners as they finished, the always cheerful Ellen was calling out as many names of finishers as she could, and finisher medals being handed out. I was so caught up in the commotion, I only took one picture and it was horrid…fuzzy! Oh, well! The finish chute ended in a large fenced area where they had a medic tent, massage tent, and food tent. I was very impressed by the organization and the dedication on the part of the volunteers. They all seemed to know exactly what to do and everything ran smoothly…no pun inteded!

Cool horse at Frontier Field

Cool horse at Frontier Field

Now that the 1/2 Marathon is done, Kyle wants to get ready for what is probably his favorite race. Jensen Stables 12K is an insane cross country race through horse pastures, fields, woods, up steep slopes, down muddy slopes, through (or around) an icy pond, etc. Kyle ran it last year and got very lost. He finished almost last, but thoroughly enjoyed himself anyway! In an effort to prepare, I suggested that he run a couple “off road” races over the next few weeks. We found that the final race of the FF Dirt Cheap Trail Races was going to be run on Wednesday. Kyle decided to run it.

We arrived pretty early so Kyle went and ran a short warm up, then decided he was ready. Just before the start of the race, they described how the course is quite technical and a bit dangerous in a couple places…something about stairs and a steep drop… I got a little concerned, but figured he’d be okay. The course was about 4 miles, so I expected we’d see him in about 30 – 35 minutes. He finished in 37:55 and he was ANGRY as he crossed the finish line. Apparently about 5 minutes before he finished the race, he encountered a nest of angry wasps that someone ahead of him had stirred up! He had at least 4 stings by the time he finished. Kyle has never handled bee stings very well! We gave him some benadryl and hurried to my in-laws so he could shower and survey the damage. As we were driving there and asking him about the stings, he announced he had gotten stung again! Apparently one of the wasps went up his shorts, got caught in one of the folds, and when he sat and shifted just right, it stung him!

After a shower and some topicals, he was fine. I was impressed that he calmed down as quickly as he did. Normally something like that would make him very angry and he would stay that way for a long time. He was already talking about the next “off road” event he plans to run by the time he was finished treating his stings. He is definitely maturing!

Here are a few pictures of the event.

Irondequoit Bay

Irondequoit Bay

Race start and finish

Race start and finish


Sarah being silly!

Sarah being silly!

Registration tent

Registration tent

Runners near the end






I had planned to take more pictures of the finishers, but after Kyle finished and announced he’d been stung multiple times, I thought better of staying. The finish of the race was great because they came around a bend, then up the hill. I was on the side at the top of the hill, with a great shot of the bend. It was an ideal spot for photographing the race.


Cool Train Stuff

September 7, 2009

In my last post I wrote about a visit to the New York Museum of Transportation. I decided it really needed it’s own post, so here goes!

I will, for the most part, let the pictures do the talking…


It was a gorgeous day!



Some of the cars inside the museum are set up to allow people to walk into them.


The following 3 pictures are from a 1914 car, Car 157,  with a very interesting story. I was very impressed with the beautiful mahogany trim!




The rest of the pictures were taken at Industry Depot. I just felt some of them needed to be in black and white!








These last two were taken inside the depot building. I was so impressed with the details on the seats. The entire building was finished in the same way that the corner I have shown was. I was just impressed with the attention to detail here! Definitely from another time!



This is the other track-car. I showed a picture of one in the previous post. You sit on the orange seats in the front and ride in the open air. It was quite exhilarating! I would not want to do this with small children. It is a little too open…with no seatbelts!



Sarah’s 14th Birthday

September 7, 2009

I can’t believe my girl is 14! I vividly remember, as though it was recent, her birth. The circumstances surrounding her arrival were odd! I was supposed to start classes at Buff. State the day she was born, Jeff was still in Buffalo but I was staying with his parents so I could deliver in Rochester instead of Brockport, she was 3 days late and the doctor was set in induce when my water broke, and Ari came to visit me in the hospital and wound up staying and witnessing Sarah’s very quick arrival. Poor Ari!

To celebrate her birthday, Sarah asked us to surprise her. Jeff and I looked around for something different to do and finally came up with the New York Museum of Transportation. We had never been there, but talked about it looking like a neat place. At one point during our visit Jeff remarked that he couldn’t believe we had never been to this place that is practically in our back yard. It is about 10 minutes from our house, but is only open on Sundays. It really is an awesome place!

We rode an electric trolley to Midway station.


Then we got on one of two track-cars (the smaller vehicle in the picture above), and rode to Industry Depot. At the depot, there were many train engines and cars.  Some of the cars were set up with pictures and information of RR stuff. After touring the Industry Depot, it was back onto the track-cars and up the track to meet the trolley, then back to the museum. I will post separately all the pictures of the museum and Industry Depot.

After our adventure at the museum, we went back to our house so Sarah could open her presents, then we went out for dinner at Tokyo. Sarah announced at the end of dinner that she had a really good time and very much enjoyed her birthday. Yay! Success!


This picture is so typical of my girls. Someone said something to Sarah making her laugh, while whatever was said made Erin roll her eyes, then close them and put her head in her hand and probably groan about it. If you know my kids well, I am sure you can imagine this. I am just impressed I managed to capture it in a photo!


Fleet Feet Summerfest 2009

September 5, 2009

Kyle has been training, for the past couple of months, to run the Rochester MVP half-marathon next weekend. He participated in a distance training program run by the awesome folks at Fleet Feet Sports. Today, many of the participants in that program ran the FF Summerfest 12k. For these folks the race was not about winning, but about pacing; something they have been focusing on each Saturday morning during their long runs. Here is a picture of the distance training participants that ran the 12k today.


Kyle was definitely the youngest in the group, but that didn’t bother him. He still made some friends and really enjoyed running with these great people. I am always amazed at the encouragement and comraderie among the people in the running community here. It has really made me think that it is something I might enjoy trying…after I get better…

The FF Summerfest is quite the end of summer event! They had a 12k race, a 5k race, and 3 different kids races: 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, and 1 mile. Kyle ran the 12k and Erin ran the 1/4 mile. Kyle was shooting for a pace of 9:30/mile and ran almost exactly that. His time for the race was 1:10:23. When he finished he said that he felt as though he had just warmed up for a race. We decided that was a good thing since the 1/2 marathon is 5.5 miles longer than what he ran today. He feels well prepared, which is a relief to me. I told him he could only run it if he prepared for it and felt confident that he could run it without injuring himself. He has done a great job preparing with the help of Ellen and the other folks from Fleet Feet!

Here is Kyle nearing the finish. He doesn’t really look all that hot or tired!


Erin jumped into her race a little late, so she wasn’t in a good starting position, but she looks great as well. I think she might have run the 1/2 mile as well, except that she was starving. When she’s hungry, she is really hungry. While we were walking to the car she polished off a hot dog, 2 chocolate cookies, a pretzel stick, and most of a Pepsi. Here she is waiting for her race to start…


almost finished with her race…


and Erin and Kyle after they both finished. Kyle clocked Erin at 2:39. Not too bad after a not so great start.


While waiting for Kyle’s race to finish and Erin’s to start, I took a few pictures of Mendon Ponds park, where the races took place. It was a positively gorgeous, cool morning; perfect for running.




While standing in the shade of a tree, waiting for Erin’s race to start, this dog caught my attention. I thought it was a pretty dog and it seemed friendly. When the owner laid down on the ground to stretch, I got a good laugh. The dog nearly jumped on top of him to play, then gave his face a good washing. The second photo is after the dog settled in next to him and finally allowed the owner to stretch…sort of!



What a great way to spend the morning. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves and Kyle is quite confident about his big race next weekend!


Finished Garden

September 5, 2009

The kids finished their garden and here is the result:



New Garden

September 2, 2009

We had this dead space behind our garage. When we bought the house, the space was basically a junk heap. There was a lot of wood, dead branches, rocks, garbage cans, and just junk there. The sapce is in the back corner of the lawn, with a very large oak tree shading most of the area. There is chain link fence on two sides and the garage on the third side. For years the kids have talked about doing something to make it their space, but things always seem to come up in the summer and nothing is ever accomplished with it.

Earlier this year my mother-in-law took Erin and Sarah shopping on several occassions and they purchased plants to put behind the garage. Each time they would bring home something new, Erin would go plant it. I knew she was planting stuff, but had no idea what or how much, until she begged me to look at it one day. I was rather impressed with her gardening skills, but the spring had been so wet that the back area had gotten flooded. The back part of the yard is somewhat depressed compared to the surrounding areas, so water seems to pool there for days after really heavy rains. I suggested a water loving bush or something, so we set out and found one right before I got sick. So this poor tree had been sitting in a pot in the back for over a month. It is looking very, very sad, but Kyle and the girls planted it yesterday, then Erin cut it way back. I really hope it comes back okay! When we bought the tree, we also got several bags of mulch.

I have been banished from work for 10 days, so I have lots of time, and nothing (that I am allowed) to do. I took a lawn chair out yesterday and sat at the edge of the kids new garden and directed. I can do that without physical exertion! Here are the pictures I took (mostly) from my lawn chair.


This is the area closest to the garage, before the mulching.


The first row of landscape fabric, and two bags of mulch…


Cousin It decided to drop by for a while…


Kyle’s hands turned really red…


Cousin It left and Sarah decided to join us, but then got on the phone and began playing with a hatchet… If talking on the phone is that bad, just hang up…don’t destroy the phone, lol!


Our neighbor, behind us, has a beautiful trumpet vine. I couldn’t resist a photo of the wonderful flowers.


Here is the garden, half finished. We got the nice flat stones from the woods where my parents live. Erin decided where to put them and I think she did a phenomenal job on the whole garden!


This is the same area that is in the first picture. Looks better, don’t ya think!?!

We went to the Garden Factory, earlier today, and got a couple more plants and more mulch to finish the garden. I, again, sat in my lawn chair and directed while the kids finished it up. It looks amazing! It is like a little pearl tucked away in the corner of an otherwise mudane yard. I will post pictures of the rest of the garden tomorrow. After I find the energy to take the pictures…

Oh, I forgot to mention that my Uncle Randy made the wiener dog for us. He used this great plastic-like paint on it, so it will hold up nicely in the weather. Thanks Randy!