Archive for the ‘family’ Category


Long Time Coming

January 24, 2016

It’s been ages since I last blogged! My webspace provider shuttered his business sometime in late 2014, so I lost my space. I toyed with finding new space, but I enjoyed being able to pay a few dollars a month, automatically debited and not many places provide that at a price I am willing to pay. It occurred to me recently though, that I could simply revert back to posting through WordPress, so here I am.

So much has changed in the last year, I’m not sure where to begin! I am still eating plant strong, but I have succumbed to my sweet tooth on too many occasions. It is definitely time to get that back in check as well as making the gym a habit again.

We have found a church, finally! I was invited to check out Victory Community Church a little over a year ago and within a couple of months Erin and I were not only being blessed by the messages and the genuine people there, but we were involved with the worship team.  Erin began singing and I joined the visual team. Sometime last summer Jeff also started attending regularly. We are so blessed and able to bless others. It’s been such a long time since I have felt at home in a church!

Yet another hockey season is winding down. This one was different though. Erin hung up the skates at the end of last season. Her primary reason was to get away from the all-consuming beast that travel hockey is. She told me that there is so much more to who she wants to be than a hockey goalie, but the sport consumes one’s time like quicksand. Politics played a lesser role in her decision as well.  So this hockey season has been about coaching for our family. Jeff is an assitant/goalie coach for the Edge non-tournament bound U12 team and Erin is a student goalie coach.  I’ve done stats for most of the games and have traveled with the team to most games. It is so different and so much more relaxed, and I am enjoying it. I am looking forward to having our weekends back though. 😊

It is my goal to bust out the camera and start taking pictures again, so stay tuned and keep checking back for new posts…with pictures!





Turkey Dinner

November 22, 2011

Since we won’t be able to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, the girls and I decided to make a turkey dinner today. We made turkey, stuffing, smashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, and gravy. Here are some pictures of the major players.

Here is the whole spread on the table for dinner. The rolls are teh only thing we didn’t make from scratch.

While at Wegmans, I saw some beautiful autumn flowers that I decided to buy. When I got them home and put them into a vase, they looked so tiny. At $8 a bunch, I wasn’t keen on going back and buying another bouquet or two. Then I went to Price Rite this afternoon and they had bunches for $4, so I bought a couple.

Here is the end result of my 3 bunches of flowers.

We had a great time together and the food was super tasty!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day!


Happy Anniversary

November 20, 2011

Even though our anniversary is not actually until tomorrow, Jeff and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary last night. Erin has a hockey game in the middle of the afternoon today and tomorrow is nutty as most Mondays are, so the kids suggested Jeff and I should go out on a “date” last night. After looking around a bit on the Internet, I determined that I’d rather go to Niagara Falls and check out the Festival of Lights. So we all hopped in the Jeep and headed out around 7 pm. Our favorite steak house, Montana’s, closed in the US, has a location in Niagra Falls, so we headed there first. After a yummy dinner, we decided to take a ride on the 175 feet tall Sky Wheel. It is a ferris wheel with enclosed “gondolas” that give one a fantastic view of the falls!  We never did make it to see the lights, but we got a glimpse of them from the sky wheel.

Unfortunately, the pictures I took from atop this wheel did not turn out but I thought these two pictures of the wheel itself were pretty cool!

Both of us had a wonderful time and the girls made it even more enjoyable.  We didn’t get home until nearly 1 am, but it was a great night!


Erin’s 12th Birthday

August 23, 2011

For  Erin’s 12th birthday, we took her and Sarah to a rock climbing place. She had spent the day at hockey camp and we weren’t sure she’d be up to rock climbing afterwards, but she was psyched to go try it out. Thanks to a Groupon, both girls got a lesson and two climbing sessions for a great price. Since Erin is not old enough to belay, Jeff also joined the lesson. He looked great wearing the silly bright blue helmet that they required him to wear for the lesson! He let me take his picture, but I promised not to post it.

Erin was paying close attention to her lesson, but she looks very worried instead of attentive.

After a fairly brief lesson, she began climbing. Check out those crazy socks!

Apparently going straight up the wall wasn’t enough of a challenge. She soon decided to try her hand at climbing in a corner, backwards.

Eventually, she decided to try bouldering. She discovered that it’s a little more difficult than it looks, so she gave me a silly pose instead…

She and Sarah both had a lot of fun. Jeff even seemed to enjoy himself as he belayed for the girls. He even thought he might like to try climbing sometime.


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.


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!


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!


Lazy Afternoon and Fish Woes

August 4, 2010

After our visit to Ganondagan on Sunday, we stopped at Jeff’s parents house for dinner and to allow Erin to open her birthday presents. We had a lazy afternoon, lounging and just hanging out. Jeff and I tried our hand at Wii baseball which we didn’t like and I tried Wii bowling, which I am pretty good at. Jeff’s parents have had a Wii for quite some time, but we had never really played it before. I guess it’s not really my thing. As we relaxed, I wandered and took a few pictures.

Sarah and her grandpa enjoyed the hammock.

Gorgeous hydrangea in the back yard.

One of Erin’s presents included some cell phone erasers.

My beautiful, not so little, girl.

I think Erin’s favorite gift was Dotty, who is wearing Erin’s purple shirt, also a present.

Erin also received a fish tank for her birthday. She’s been bugging us to let her get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for about a year, but one dog is enough for now. There is no doubt in my mind that she would take great care of a dog of her own, but the expense is a little more than we’re willing to take on right now. So, she asked for a fish instead. On Wednesday we filled the tank with water and treated it. On Thursday we took her to buy fish. She labored over the process, looking at all of the fish, finally settling on a neon fish and a fancy guppy. When she got home from camp on Friday, she called me in to look at the neon fish. Dreadfully, it was upside down by the intake for the filter. She suggested that maybe it was just sleeping, but I had the miserable duty of telling her that it was not. Poor kid!

While I took Erin to the store to replace the sneakers she lost at camp, Jeff called the pet store and found out that we could take the fish back the next day and they would test the water and replace the fish. On Saturday, we went to the store and spoke with an extremely helpful young woman who told us that the water was fine, but since the set up was fairly new, we should do a partial change. She also told us that the neon fish are very delicate and should not go into a newly set up tank. We pointed out the tank Erin has to the guy on Thursday and told him she has no heater for it. He told her the neon would be fine. Jeff and I were quite annoyed by the situation and apparently so was the young woman who helped us on Saturday. She said she would speak to him and she apologized to Erin repeatedly. Apparently the neon fish, which are $10, are just regular old guppies that have been injected with dye. UGH! Had I known this, I would have discouraged her from buying one in the first place. WHY would you inject a fish to look cool? I digress…the woman told Erin she could get another one, but that she would need to wait (a couple of months) until her tank was better established, or she could pick $10 worth of other fish/stuff to go in her tank. Erin, after learning about the delicateness of the neons, opted for other fish. She got 2 more fancy guppies, a thermometer, fake grass, and a candy bar (not for the fish) for the $10. Tough lesson for a kid to learn, but she’s very happy with her 3 fancy guppies. She named them Gilbert (“Get it, cuz he has gills?” she asked me), Speckles, and Dribble. She put their names on sticky tabs across the top of the tank.

Not a great picture. I think I need some practice with glass, water, bad lighting, rapidly moving fish, and 5 feet of space, lol!

I told Erin what the woman at the pet store told me about the neon fish being injected with color and she said she was glad she didn’t get another one because “that’s just wrong!” Smart kid!


Corning Museum of Glass

August 2, 2010

Erin’s 11th birthday was July 28th, which was also in the middle of a week of intense hockey camp. Figuring that last weekend would be the better time to do something for her birthday, I asked her what she wanted to do. She had mentioned the possibility of going to Corning to visit CMOG, but that was a couple of weeks ago. This time when I asked her, she said she wanted to go to my Mom’s house and swim with the kids. When I suggested going to CMOG, she was pretty excited, then when I suggested stopping at my Mom’s on the way home so she could swim awhile, she got really excited. So that is what we did. My mom, Mark, Michelle, Ben, my in-laws, Jeff, our kids and I all went. It was fantastic and the price was definitely right. All 3 adult couples had Entertainment books with BOGO coupons for the museum. We all also had AAA memberships, so it cost each couple $11.90 to get in and all kids, 19 and under, get in free. What a deal!

There was so much to see and do that I don’t think we covered even half of what was there. Photography was a challenge, as flash is not allowed. I took a lot of pictures, but many were too dark, or slightly out of focus, so here are a few of my favorites.

Yup, science nerd that I am, I had to take a picture of a Periodic Table in glass!

There was a children’s book that featured this guy, but I didn’t take the time to read through it. I think the dragon is pretty cool though.

Dale Chihuly makes the coolest things out of glass! I took about 15 pictures of this and wasn’t thrilled with any of them. What I wanted to do, should have done, was lay on the floor underneath this and photograph it. I also probably should have used the shorter lens, but it was late in the day, I was tired, and I didn’t figure I’d be able to get off the floor once I got down onto it. Oh well. I guess it’s an okay picture.

Not sure what this is, but it’s cool looking.

Jeff and Sarah decided this looks like something from Superman.


Since we were going there to celebrate Erin’s birthday, I bought her a ticket to make her own pendant out of glass.  We had to venture to a different building for this, so as we walked outside, in the oppressive heat and humidity, I snapped a couple of pictures. These colorful flags caught my attention. Everything there was pretty cool to look at. The grounds were pretty and the buildings all had interesting shapes and architecture, but it really was too hot to stay outside for long and take pictures!

While we waited for Erin’s turn to make her pendant, we checked out some neat glass pieces made by students of the glass center.

Although beautiful to look at, I think one might find a bite of this fruit painful…

An “eye”pod?

Behind the area where Erin was working on her pendant, there were several students blowing glass. We watched for a while, until everyone was hungry and overheated.

From glowing glob of glass…

…to not quite finished, glowing vase.

This just looks cool…or hot!

After our adventure at CMOG, we headed to my Mom’s house where the kids planned to swim. Jeff and I got there first and sat on the porch enjoying the peace and quiet of the Bristolwood, when it began rumbling, loudly! Then the thunder began cracking, and eventually, after everyone else arrived, it began to downpour.  It looked as thought the kids might not be able to swim, but then the sky cleared and they went in the pool for an hour or so.

I went into the kitchen and Michelle was washing dishes, so I kicked her out and finished them for her, so she could swim. As I was washing the dishes, I looked out the window to see Ben and Sarah with jugs on their heads. By the time I got the camera, Kyle had put one on.

Erin and Michelle enjoyed the hot tub while the rowdy kids played in the pool.

The frog guardian looked on as they played.

While the kids played outside, Angus posed for a couple of pictures.

Okay, so he was begging, not posing, but in the next one while he was begging, I called his name, and this is what he did…

We had a very enjoyable day, but when we left we had to take a detour, as two roads on the way home were washed out from the heavy rains. On the way, we encountered a dog that was wandering up the side of the road, then a little ways later, a guy walked up out of a ditch and onto the road. It was a rather bizarre ride, so I was quite happy to arrive home in one piece without having hit anything.


Fabulous Mother’s Day Weekend

May 12, 2010

On Saturday, when we went to Canada, I told Jeff that all I really wanted for Mother’s Day was to go out to eat at Montana’s. You may remember a post from a couple years ago about Butterflies in which I mentioned Montana’s. Since that time, that location has closed and the only Montana’s restaurants are in Canada. Since we were only going to be 30 minutes from one of them, I asked if we could have dinner there. My inlaws went with us, so we all had a delicious early dinner at Montana’s. We decided that would be our Mother’s Day celebration with Jeff’s mom, then we’d both relax on Sunday.

My family decided that I should choose what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, so we went to Starbucks and Panera, then to the lake in Webster Park. Erin had part of a bagel left over from breakfast, so when a curious squirrel came near, Kyle threw out a piece of Erin’s bagel. The result was pretty funny. I suppose I should mention that the winds from Saturday hadn’t slowed down much and it was only 40 degrees F.

The squirrel was not holding its tail that way, the wind was blowing it that way! At one point the piece of bagel that was on the ground began blowing away, so the squirrel grabbed it back.

Apparently this squirrel understood from whence its food had come, for it strolled over to the Jeep, sat up on its haunches, and reached up with its arms, batting toward me as I hung out the window taking pictures. Good thing it didn’t decide to jump up onto the camera or something! I am convinced that if the wind hadn’t been blowing so hard, I could have heard what it was saying, lol!

Once we stopped feeding the poor creature, it apparently got annoyed and decided to look threatening from a post that was directly in front of the Jeep.

Perhaps it was just preparing to pray…

The wind was blowing really hard and the silly seagulls couldn’t fly very well. They would dive down, pluck a fish from the water, then get blown backwards and drop the fish. It was absolutely hysterical! I imagined the fish saying “I’m caught, I’m freee, I’m caught, I’m free, oh just kill me now!”

As we were giggling at the silly squirrel, I was keeping an eye on two men with sailboards. They appeared to have arrived shortly before we did and were putting their boards together as we sat there. Eventually they donned their wetsuits and launched out into the angry cold water. I sat shivering just thinking about the temperature of the water! Even though they were in wetsuits, their faces and fingertips were still exposed, brrr!

Call me crazy, but that just doesn’t seem like a good idea! Too cold and too windy!

After leaving the lake, we went to a garden shop and wandered a bit, then stopped at Wegmans to get a snack. I was getting tired and sore, so we headed home, but we still wanted to go to the park to take a picture. I took a short nap, then we headed back out to get a Mother’s Day picture.

Erin found a tree that looked like a chair, so she sat and asked me to take a picture. She’s so funny! She is sitting on the ground with her arms resting on two “armrests.”

My Mother’s Day was quite relaxing and enjoyable. Thanks Jeff, you are awesome and wonderful and I love you soooo much! Oh yeah, I didn’t post the picture of you either!