Archive for August, 2010


Kyle’s 18th Birthday

August 23, 2010

Kyle turned 18 today, technically at 9:05 PM. His birth was quite an adventure! I was living with my grandparents in Florida and hurricane Andrew was threatening the Florida coast. Since my grandparents lived in Ormond Beach, very near the coast, on a little peninsula that sits between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean, they were more than a little nervous about the situation. I was nearly a week past my due date and Andrew’s exact heading was still somewhat uncertain, but it was clear it would hit somewhere between Daytona and Miami. Once I went into labor, my grandparents both breathed a sigh of relief and off to the hospital we went. Twenty-two hours I labored, and then finally, at 9:05 Kyle made his entrance into the world. All 8 lbs, 8oz of him!

The nervousness of the whole situation was compounded, for my grandparents, by the fact that there are only 4 bridges from the peninsula to the mainland and the hospital was on the mainland. If there was a mandatory evacuation, my grandparents had decided that they could pack all of my possessions in the 2 cars they owned and they just wouldn’t worry about their own stuff. We would head to the mainland and wait for me to go into labor. I think they figured a mandatory evacuation would trigger it. Having spent my entire life prior to that in upstate New York, the worst “weather” I had experienced was a snowstorm that dropped about 6 feet on the college campus where I spent my freshman year. This hurricane business was exciting! Looking back, I think I was insane at the time!

Since Kyle’s birth, my grandparents have moved to a retirement center in the middle of Florida. While spending time with them this summer, in Daytona Beach Shores, we reminisced about some of the crazy things from over the years, including Kyle’s crazy entrance into the world. My grandma, who was 70 at the time, was thrilled to pieces to be in the delivery room with me. She wasn’t awake when her kids were born. She was amazed at how different things were! It was a crazy time in my life and my grandparents were instrumental in keeping me sane through a crazy time.

We celebrated Kyle’s birthday, this year, on Saturday. We went to his favorite Japanese restaurant, then to my in-laws for cake and to open presents. Since he will be starting college in a couple of weeks, Jeff and I got him mostly college related things. It was a fairly low-key celebration. I did get some nice pictures of the birthday boy and his siblings though.

Last time Kyle had an adjustment to his braces, he opted for a red wire on his top teeth.

Kyle tried on his new sweatshirt, but Erin thought the tag should come off before I took his picture, so she tried to help.

A thoughtful pose? Not sure what he was thinking about, but he sure looks like a student.

Erin looked on and helped by handing him presents to open.

Sarah sat by and sipped coffee with her grandpa.

Since Sarah is allergic to legumes, it is nearly impossible to buy baked goods that she can eat. I managed to find some soy-free chocolate chips, legume-free cream cheese, and decided to make Kyle a mint flavored, chocolate chip cookie cake with cream cheese frosting. It was awesome, if I do say so myself.

I think he had a good birthday. He spent the night at his grandparents on Saturday night, and today we took him to set up some banking and had a fairly low-key day otherwise.


Erin’s Lake Visit

August 19, 2010

Erin’s friend Katie has been staying on the lake at her Gandma’s cottage and she invited Erin to spend the night on Wednesday. Erin was so excited about going, so we met Katie’s mom yesterday afternoon after work so she could go to the cottage. Erin was so excited and she definitely had a great time!  When I went to pick up Erin  this afternoon, she and Katie were in the water, so I took a few pictures.

This was the reaction when I told Katie that she and Erin have homework for hockey. Once I told her it’s a survery, she seemed okay with it.  I still think the reaction is pretty funny!

This is Snickerdoodle, who belongs to Katie’s grandparents. Isn’t she cute? After checking us out thoroughly, she wandered around the rocks on the beach and took a couple of drinks from the lake. She is super friendly and super cute.

After I dragged Erin out of the water, I got a fantastic picture of Katie. Apparently she doesn’t have the “obnoxious camera person” reaction that I get from my own kids typically resulting  in scowling faces or goofy looks.

Katie’s grandma told me that the girls were still up and giggling at 10 last night when she went to bed, but they were sleeping when she awakened at 2 AM. She also said they had gone swimming last evening and then a couple times today, so it wasn’t surprising when Erin slept most of the 50 minutes it took us to go pick up Jeff from work.

The trip to pick up Jeff was quite an adventure! At one point I glanced at the thermometer in the Jeep which said that the outdoor temperature was 82 degrees. As we were driving along I mentioned to Kyle that there was quite the impressive  storm front moving through. A short while later the sky opened up and I could no longer see the taillights of the car directly in front of me. Both older kids asked me to pull off the road, but after totaling a car under similar circumstances in South Carolina 13 years ago, I was content to continue on at a considerably reduced rate. After about 5 minutes and maybe 2 or 3 miles, the rain let up and the temperature was reading 64 degrees. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I never would have believed an 18 degree drop in temperature over such a short period of time! I suspect at least 2 of my children have a much greater appreciation for their mother’s driving skills, lol!


Fiddler’s Fair Part II

August 16, 2010

I realize that the post I put up earlier today had the Fiddler’s Fair in the title, but contained no pictures of the fiddlers. Sorry, I will try to rectify that in this post.

It was a rather rainy day, so we were content to sit inside a large barn-like structure and listen to the groups that played in there. This group played almost exclusively hammered dulcimers. The music was wonderful despite the fact that we kept hearing that it was difficult to keep the stringed instruments tuned properly due to all of the humidity in the air.

Immediately following them was a trio of men. Apparently the guitarist that normally plays with the group was ill and couldn’t be there, so a couple hours before their set, the band found a guy to fill in. I never would have known he wasn’t actually part of the group normally. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the hammered dulcimer player. He struck me as being very ADD, but also very talented.

As we were sitting in the nice dry barn, it began raining outside and I caught this musician trying to close his umbrella, which had been protecting a bango from the rain, before entering the building. I thought it was a neat picture, very indicative of the weather from the day.

Throughout the day, there were opportunities for the guests to get their hands on some of the instruments and give them a whirl. Mark wanted to check out the hammered dulcimers, so once the group shown above was finished, we headed over to a tent to learn a little about them. As the woman began talking to Mark, I quickly became lost. Despite the fact that I took flute lessons for a couple of years, and can pound out a tune or two by ear on the piano, I am not terribly musically inclined. As she began speaking of fifths and thirds and arpeggios I decided that they may as well be speaking a foreign language, for all that I could understand. Mark, being a guitar player, seemed to eat up the information and figure out the structure of the instrument. When she handed him the hammers, he produced some beautiful sounds. Mom and I decided that we would have sounded like two year olds pounding on the strings.

Near the end of the day, there was square dancing in the main tent. Although I was required to square dance in school, it was not something I would have chosen to do. I do however, enjoy watching it.

I thought this older couple was so cute. They seemed to know the dances, so I imagine this wasn’t a “new” experience for them.

One of my friends from college met us at GCVM with her daughter, grandmother, sister, brother in-law, and their two girls. The girls, after watching for a little while, decided that they could figure this square dancing out. So up they went. Fortunately, there was a gentleman whose purpose, apparently, was to assist those who were new to this style of dancing to figure out the steps. He helped the girls a little, but they soon picked it up and were doing a great job for their first time out.

I think the smiles on their faces are proof of their enjoyment!

After watching the girls for a little while, I sat down and set my focus on a slightly smaller subject.

Isn’t she a cutie!?

I was trying to keep these two posts organized, but I had so many pictures, that I missed a few that should have been put into the last post, or are just random. I’ll just put them in here, even though they are a bit random. It’s been a busy couple of days and I am so tired I can hardly see straight.

My little? girl!

Michelle sat for a minute while Mom and I went into one of the houses in the village.

Michelle and Erin. I called to them from across the room and these are the resulting faces.

Ben didn’t want me to take his picture, I guess.

I forgot to put these two in my last post. They were cute and much nicer than the nasty goose that tried to bite me.

This (wax) man was in the insurance office in the village. The door to the room where he was sitting, was slightly ajar, but could not be opened any further. I tried a few times to get a good shot, but the opening was not wide enough for the flash to fire without interference and it was way too dark for no flash. So I opted to go with black and white, hoping to get across an antique feel. What do you think?

Speaking of the insurance office, there was the funniest letter in there. It was a letter that was supposed to have been from the era of the building. The insured was writing to the insurer to let him know that his horse, barn, and many livestock had died in a fire that he was sure was punishment from God for his poor church attendance. As I stood reading the letter, I could hardly contain my laughter. He went on about each of his animals and whether or not he thought they were worth anything, like the pigs with worms, or his old nag, who was apparently very cantankerous, and whom he had named after his wife. It was a very amusing letter, even though he had lost much.

This stove was in the outer part of the insurance office. Pretty cool looking!

Bachelor’s buttons, growing along the side of one of the roads in the village.

We had a fun and very tiring day. My mom brought some sandwich and salad fixings, so at one point we went to the truck and Jeep for a bite to eat. While we were there, Erin asked if she could spend the night at my parents house. A quick call to Jeff confirmed that she could, so she was ecstatic the rest of the time we were there. I had turned off my cell phone last night to charge it and when I turned it back on this morning, I found a text message from Erin (using Michelle’s phone) that had been sent at 11:56 pm, just to say “hi!”. I guess the girls had quite a fun time building a fort in Michelle’s bedroom, watching cartoons, and just staying up late. When we met this afternoon so I could bring Erin home, she looked as though she’d fall asleep at any moment. She was wishing she could have stayed another night, but then later decided she was glad to be home. Jeff sent her to bed a half hour early because she looked like she was going to fall asleep in her dinner! She’s such a funny kid!


GCVM Fiddler’s Fair

August 16, 2010

Typically, the Fiddler’s Fair at the Genesee Country Village and museum is on the weekend around my Mom’s birthday. For some reason, it was a week early this year. One of my out-of-town friends and I decided a few weeks ago that we should meet there this weekend, so she and her family and my Mom and her family, and Erin and I all met there around noon. There were 12 of us in all, so we split up and checked everything out.

I have to apologize for the ridiculous number of photos, but I absolutely love taking pictures in the village there. I’ll start with some of the buildings in the village.

The next few pictures are from the Cooper’s shop. They were working on repairing the garbage barrels. Not terribly romantic (in the words of the Cooper) but necessary. This is one of my favorite places in the village because of the wood shavings everywhere and the smell of the wood.

After visiting the Cooper, we wandered over to the Blacksmith. Fortunately, Erin and I went early in the day before it got terribly hot and humid. I imagine it would have been intolerably hot otherwise.

This enormous bellows is connected to a pipe that runs down the side (outside) the chimney and then through the chimney to deliver air to the fire burning on a huge fireplace. The blacksmith told us that in order to work the metal they sometimes need a fire in excess of 2000 degrees F, which would not be attainable without the help of the bellows.

He had some interesting pieces on display, but the one that caught my attention was a horse shoe on a horse’s hoof…

…without the horse attached. This particular piece was rather disturbing to both my sister and my daughter. Silly girls!

The Mercantile is where Erin was most interested in going, as she remembered that they sell candy there. What once was penny candy, now costs 3/25

This was from the Doctor’s office.

I thought this pitcher, in the back of the doctor’s office was pretty cool.

Stone fences always get my attention and there are a few of them in the village. This one was right outside of a little church.

These were 2 windows that were in the church and I must say, I am very pleased with how these pictures turned out.

Pretty cool organ in the back of the church too.

This insanely tall (at least 10 feet) corn was behind the Blacksmith’s shop. I guess that’s corn on steroids, or something!

A trip to the village wouldn’t be complete without a peek at all the animals. There were two young (yearlings maybe?) cows in a field by themselves and they were a lot of fun. They apparently like people, so they came right over to us.

After offering several types of grass and plants nearby, Michelle discovered that these guys really like one particular plant…

…a lot!

Across the road from the youngsters were these guys. Not so excited to see people. They just kept eating, paying us no mind at all.

As we wandered down to the barn, we saw some ducks and geese and decided to stop and look at them. The ducks were very cute and nice. The geese, on the other hand, not so much.

This one may look all innocent, but it tried to goose my knee!

Then it hissed at Michelle. It was actually pretty funny because Michelle took a picture on her cell phone, just as I jumped back from the nasty thing, so she has a pretty funny picture of me and the goose.

We used to have geese, when I was a kid, and they were the absolute best guard “dogs” we ever had! They would hiss and chase and if they didn’t get close enough to bite, it was fairly likely that you’d step on at least one of their “land mines.” Great animals for keeping people away, lol!

The ducks were much more enjoyable to look at.

As were the sheep, even though they were so warm they were panting.

Since I took so many pictures that I want to share, I think I will add another post, or two, later today with the rest of the pictures.


Hockey, Again

August 14, 2010

After two solid weeks of hockey, Erin wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. She asked me if I’d take her to a skate-and-shoot, but Jeff so enjoys going with her, that we waited until the weekend, when he could go as well. Jeff is amazed that  every time she plays, she seems to improve noticeably. She seems to have moved from just stopping the puck to anticipating what will happen after she stops it. So now she will often stop both a first and second (rebound) shot, sometimes quite impressively!

Yup, she knows she’s cute!

This was a pretty cool save. She stopped it…

…then, it went plop. I thought these 2 pictures were cool together.

Not sure what Jeff found funny, but I was pretty psyched that I got a picture of him laughing…very rare capture!

At least Erin keeps a “level head” and has a “firm handle” on the ice!

They both had a blast today and both got a good workout. And I got a Sabres jacket for 50% off in the pro shop at the rink!


Do you know…

August 12, 2010

…what this means?

It means the side-walk engineer came out and decided that our side-walk is a danger, so they will be fixing it…eventually. The guy we bought the house from was a DIYer who makes one understand those shows on HGTV where the home owner got into a project and then couldn’t finish it…or it fell apart. In his infinite “wisdom” he decided that the asphalt from the driveway should go over the top of the side-walk and continue in front of the house, all on side walks that are the city’s responsibility. Apparently the city won’t deal with the mess of removing the asphalt. A couple of weeks ago the kids and I were removing weeds/grass from the cracks in our side-walk up to the house (not covered with asphalt), when I realized the asphalt on the side-walk in front of the house was super loose. I got the kids to pull it all up. Unfortunately, the side-walk underneath is not great, so I emailed the city about the crumbling, they sent out an engineer, and soon they will repair it. The irony of the whole situation is that they told me they would put down a temporary asphalt patch until they can do permanent repairs! Oh yeah, they tell me the permanent repairs will be made by July 15, 2011. Oh well, at least they will repair it!



August 11, 2010

I have never really made time to garden, but this year we have 3 permanent garden areas, and 2 raised beds that we put in for a cut flower garden and a veggie garden. Today I decided to photograph the garden areas. I went out around  12:30 and took 50 some pictures, only to find that the colors were horrid. It was so hot and humid that there was a ridiculous amount of moisture showing up in the pictures so all of the colors were waaaaay off! Oh yeah, and they were hazy looking. I decided to scrap that batch and instead went back out around 7:00 PM and got MUCH better pictures.

In the front garden, I used to have roses, but the kids helped me to pull them out early last week, so I replaced them. I opted to anchor it with a perennial, but fill it in with annuals, so I could change them around from year to year. Jeff was fed up with being attacked by the roses, so he is thrilled with the new plantings.

Next to the driveway in the back yard, we have a primarily perennial garden, but there is not a lot of color in it. I really like the variety of color in the foliage, but I think we’ll put in a few bulbs this fall to add a little spring color.  I seriously cut my forsythia bushes back when they were done flowering and am now trying to train them to grow up more than out, but fill in where they had gotten lean in the middle.

Pardon the weeds growing in the driveway. The driveway really needs to be pulled out and redone, but that’s major, so it’ll have to wait a while longer.

This is Kyle’s turtle statue under the forsythia.

When we first bought the house, the area behind the garage had a ton of potential, but it was a dump, literally. The kids and I cleared out brush, weeds, car parts, garbage cans, cinder blocks, and tons of other junk over the years. Once we had all the trash out, we pulled all the weeds and dug up a few small trees, and we had a beautifully cleared area. Erin really wanted her own garden, so I decided that she could have the area as her own. My mother-in-law took Erin shopping and she picked out a handful of plants to put in. It’s a tough area due to a large maple tree shading the whole area. We put down landscape fabric and covered it with several bags of mulch, then she put in the plantings and some stepping stones that we gathered from my parents woods. Now she has a fabulous little garden to relax in.

Here’s the gnome that watches over everything while trying to hide in the sliver mound.


Her impatiens have flowered all summer long.

This belongs to  my neighbors trumpet vine. It’s gorgeous, but super invasive.

In addition to all of our garden areas, I have a lilac bush I planted a couple years ago. It was stunted for a while after getting broken by the kids and a soccer ball. I finally cut off the broken part and the rest of it went nuts! It only had one flower this year, but it grew about 1.5 feet. Hopefully next year it will flower a lot more.

Here is a closer look at the buddies under the lilac bush.

Erin planted a bunch of seeds in her raised bed, but only the radishes seem to be actually growing. I didn’t know radishes had flowers…

…and I definitely didn’t know that they had seed pods!

This little beauty is in Sarah’s cut flower garden.

I can’t believe how wonderful our gardens look this year!


Jeep Owie

August 9, 2010

This past Wednesday we went out to do a little running around, then headed to Starbucks for coffe and chai. As we pulled up to the light there was a little girl, about 10 or 11 years old, crossing the street. When she reached the corner, she pushed the button to cross the street where we needed to turn right. Jeff inched forward a touch and apparently the girl behind us thought we were going to just go, so she did. She ran into the back of the Jeep. All 3 kids were in the car, but for the most part everyone was okay. Sarah and I have sore necks, but the Dr. says they should be okay with a little time. There was a police officer in the line of traffic behind us, so he had witnessed the whole thing. The little girl made it safely across the street.

The damage to the Jeep isn’t too awful, but there is more damage than we first thought. An adjustor came out today and assessed the damages. Here’s what it looks like.

Just about 10 minutes before we were hit, I turned and Sarah was holding a free weight that Jeff had just bought. It was only 2.5 pounds, but I told her to put it down. I was thinking that it could be rather dangerous if she was holding it if we were in an accident.

The young lady that hit us was driving an Alero so her car didn’t fair so well, but she was not hurt either.


High Falls

August 8, 2010

Yesterday Jeff took Erin and Kyle to an open skate. Sarah and I didn’t feel like going so we stayed home. I napped for a while, until Jeff got home, woke me up, and said we really should get some food for dinner. We dedcided to get something grillable for dinner tonight, and just grab some take-out from King and I for last night. As we were driving through the grocery store parking lot, I saw a vehicle that looked familiar, but before I could say anything, its horn was honked and my mom began waving to us. Now, this is a little odd because it’s not like my parents live that close by. They live about 45 miles away, but on more than one occasion, we have “run into” them at unplanned times and locations. Since they had just gotten home from a week long camping trip, I never expected they’d be wandering up my way. My mom’s Amish friend had a baby very prematurely and was staying nearby, so my mom wanted to go visit with her. Michelle and Ben have friends in a band that was playing nearby, so they wanted to go see them. While the kids were watching the band, my mom and Mark wanted to see the laser and fireworks show at High Falls, as they had not seen it before. Jeff and I went a few years ago, but Jeff thought it was kind of lame, so he had no interest in going again. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to drive down there alone so I asked my mom if they could pick me up after they met with her Amish friend. They agreed, so we went to the show.

These are definitely NOT my best pictures ever! I don’t take pictures at night very often, and I have neither a monopod, nor a tripod, so I am still fairly low on a steep learning curve.

After the brief show, we wandered along Brown’s Race and checked out the old mill.  We decided we really should go back during the day and check it out. There is a rich history there that is, to a large extent, being preserved.

I had a blast showing my parentals around. Mark has a great little GPS unit, but true to my CPS (Jeff’s name for my navigation skills) abilities, I had better routes! We must go exploring again sometime!


Amerks Youth Hockey Camp

August 7, 2010

After spending a week at Edge camp, Erin had the weekend to recover before Amerks camp started. Amerks camp last year was her very first organized hockey experience. She has come so far in one year! On the final day of camp there is a scrimmage, so Jeff had taken the day off in order to go.  As we were watching her, Jeff told me a couple of times, “get a picture, that’s a great stance.” He didn’t get to see her play last week, so the last time he saw her play was at the camp in Amherst. She has come quite a ways just in the last couple of weeks. She’s cleaned up her stance and she keeps the heel of her stick down now. She did tell us after the scrimmage yesterday that she spent a lot of time focusing on those things. That’s what she needs to do now and eventually it will come automatically. We are so proud of her!

Her awesome stance!

She made a whole bunch of great saves. Jeff was so impressed!

Here she is receiving some instructions from coach Matt.

Erin thoroughly enjoyed both of the camps she attended this summer. She is looking forward to resting for a little while though before the season begins in a couple of weeks.

We did manage to locate the sneakers she lost at Edge camp, but her stick is still AWOL. I don’t think we’ll be seeing it again…