Archive for the ‘Mom’ Category


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!


For Jeff and My Mom

November 15, 2009


While out shopping today, I saw a guy taking pictures of the sky with his cell phone. When I looked up to see what he was taking pictures of, I decided I also should take a few pictures. 🙂


A Trip South

August 26, 2009

The weekend before last, Michelle had a party to celebrate her graduation from high school. She was fortunate enough to have completed her entire compulsory schooling without setting foot in a school building for any of it. For any who have doubts as to the competence and sociability of home-schooled young people, they need only talk to my little sister and her (many) home-schooled friends to learn that she and they are very bright, very social, and extremely well-behaved (and polite) young adults!

Having felt miserable for a few weeks with the breathing thing, I was hesitant to go to her party, knowing that there would be many young people and that my nerves were raw from frustration with this bizarre reaction I’d had. Early that afternoon, I began having a lot of trouble breathing again. It was a remarkably humid day with temperatures in the 90’s. Having no air conditioning at home, I decided I’d be better off at my parents house which is in the woods, far from the heat retaining hard surfaces of the city. I also knew I could sneak into the air conditioned camper or office if I needed to. So off we went.

On the way there, we saw two people hang-gliding across from the Bristol Mountain ski resort. There is a jump off point near the top of the hill opposite the ski mountain. Why anyone would want to leave the safety of terra firma to fly with nothing more than (what looks like) a kite and a harness is beyond me!



We sat and watched them for several minutes. There must have been some great winds up high because they seemed to float back and forth without losing any altitude for the whole time we watched them.

Upon arriving at my parents, I sat in the camper for quite some time working on a Lego Carousel that my uncle had brought. My kids love building Lego sets, so we all sat inside the cool camper and built a good deal of it. As Michelle’s guests arrived, I was amazed at the number of people and the relative calmness of the whole thing. I ventured out of the camper and found the parents of 3 of Michelle’s friends and sat and talked with them for most of the party. They were delightful to talk to and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I also chatted with a friend of the family for whom Michelle works in the fall, making grape pies. Another delightful conversation.

By the time the party was over, I was quite pleased that I had decided to go. My kids were also quite happy!  I was not really feeling up to taking a lot of pictures since teens don’t seem to stay in one place long enough to snap a picture, unless of course they are eating, which does not make for attractive photos! Here is a picture of the graduate though.



My Birthday

November 25, 2008

I had a wonderful Birthaversarygiving Day! You see, my birthday, our anniversary, and Thanksgiving all fall in the same week so there are many celebrations all at once. When my mom mentioned that I don’t get down there very often and the kids miss seeing each other, I decided that I would spend my birthday at my Mom’s house. Then she mentioned that my sister was bummed about not having family together for Thanksgiving. I suggested that we do Thanksgiving on Monday. Everyone loved the idea, so we did it. When I asked what I should bring, I was told in no uncertain terms that I must bring only myself because it was my birthday and I should be relaxing. Feeling only slightly guilty about bringing nothing, I did as I was told. Thanks Mom!

Here are a few photo offerings from the day. I will post my birthday presents in a seperate post. All of these pictures were shot using my new lens, which will appear in my “presents” post.

The kids played and had a good time. Mostly they played Guitar Hero, which was rather loud, so I didn’t get close enough to take pictures. Noise and I don’t get along well. I did however go outside and take a handful of bird pictures. I am embarrassed to say that this is the best one I took…


I decided to convert this one to black and white in Photoshop, so you can actually see the bird. In full color, there was simply too much going on.


At some point in the afternoon, Erin came begging for something (soda I think) and this shot was taken…


She didn’t get whatever it was…I CAN resist that face!

Here are a few closeups of the food my mom prepared.


Cranberry sauce that was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.


Stuffed mushrooms, which I did not actually try. I really dislike mushrooms unless sliced and “covered.”


Here is the whole feast (except for the bird which Mom carved in the kitchen).


Oh, the green-bean casserole is not pictured either.

After eating a very hearty meal, the kids needed to work off the feast by sledding. I was not excited about the prospect since I wore all the wrong clothing to stand outside in frigid temperatures, but I was outnumbered, so to the sledding hill we went. I got a chance to really try out my new lens, so it worked out. Of course, it took the whole hour-long ride home for me to get warm again, but the looks on the kids faces made it all worth while!




Michelle and Erin raced Sarah down the hill, with Ben in hot pursuit…


…then Sarah’s racing got dirty…


…but they all had a blast anyway!


Mom even went down the hill with Michelle…


…then by herself!



All in all we had a wonderful time. We left just as the snow picked up which was just as well. On the way home I experienced something I never had in my 20 years of driving in snow. I was on a straightaway going about 40 mph, when the car slid into the next lane. I was not accelerating, decelerating, or anything. It was a rather scary moment, but I calmly shifted the car into 3rd, then 2nd and regained the correct lane just as a car passed in the other direction. The kids were none the wiser, but I had a knot in my stomach for about 20 minutes afterwards!

My mom lives an hour away, and we experienced snow as we left her house, rain at a somewhat lower altitude, but furhter north, and freezing rain in between. The area where we slid was wide open and the wind had effectively burnished the road surface. NOT fun! We made it home safely though. What an adventure!


The Party: Happy 60th Grandma and Grandpa

October 21, 2008

After checking out Kinzua Dam, we went and picked up the cake for my grandparent’s anniversary party, then went to BLueberry HIll to get ready for the party.

We all helped decorate and set up, then Mom and Mark went to get Grandma and Grandpa. Everything was in place as we awaited the arrival of the guests of honor. Mom was to call me when they were very close and I was to tell everyone to get ready to yell “Happy Anniversary” as they walked in. I didn’t take into account that my cell phone might not have reception in the middle of the Allegheny Forest (or close to it). Somehow I managed to get a quick call in and hear Mom say, “We’re almost there! ”

Here are a few of the pictures I snapped. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get better/more pictures, but I was so caught up in the event that I sort of forgot to take pictures.

It took a minute for them to figure out what was going on.

Grandpa was thrilled that his favorite band, Moutain Railroad Band, was there just for him and Grandma. He told us later that he had wondered earlier where the band might be that day. They used to go listen to them just about every weekend.

Several family members were there to help celebrate. All of them seemed to enjoy themselves.

I’ve never seen Grandpa enjoy himself so much. I imagine he’ll be talking about this one for some time to come!

Everything was beautiful for their party, including the weather outside. We could not have planned for better weather!


Ten Things I Love That Begin With “F”

September 29, 2008

Silly me, I asked my Mom to give me a letter, and she gave me “f”! This may be difficult! These are not listed in any particular order…

1) Freedom has to go at the top of this list. I feel very fortunate to live in a country in which I am free to believe what I want, live wherever I want, have as many children as I want, as well as many other freedoms that I probably take for granted.

2) Foreign accents: I could sit and listen to foreign accents all day long. Among my favorites are South African and Scottish accents.

3) Family definitely makes the list. Without family, I don’t know where I would be. I feel bad for those who either have no family or don’t get along well with their families. My family is extremely important to me.

4) Fotografia: Hey, I didn’t see any rules about the words being in English! For those who need translation, that’s photography in Spanish. Taking pictures gives me great satisfaction. When I am grumpy (almost never, LOL!) taking pictures is soothing and tends to improve my mood. I love trying to capture a moment and have it speak volumes.

5) Funny: I love funny things. Not hurtful funny, just funny. I like to laugh and funny things make me laugh.

6) Fiction: I really enjoy reading, and among my favorite things to read are Christian fiction, historical fiction, science fiction…I really like fiction.

7) Friends: I don’t have a lot of friends, but I have started reconnecting with old friends, which has been a lot of fun.

8) Fog: Sorry Mom! I don’t like driving in it, but I love the serene almost eerie feeling of fog. I particularly like fog over water, although I would not want to be in the fog on a boat.

9) Farm Markets: I like to walk around and see what everyone has to sell. There is something very satisfying about buying homemade things, fresh produce, etc. at a farmer’s market.

10) Fall: No, not falling, Fall, autumn! It is my absolute favorite time of the year! The smell of wood smoke from chimneys in the evening, the cool crisp nights and early mornings that warm to a comfortable, cool temperature during the day. The smell that I can’t really describe, wonderful colors, Thanksgiving, and especially pumpkin pie!

Well, I guess that wasn’t too hard! It definitely made me think though.


Random Ramblings

April 18, 2008

I have been neglecting my blog for a while now. I realize I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, and I have a bunch of pictures that I have been meaning to put up, just haven’t had the time. Here are the things I have been doing for the last couple weeks…

Jeff had an interview in a town about 25 minutes from our house. Since I am more familiar with that area, and had a good idea of where the place was, I drove him. The kids and I waited in the car as he went in, realizing then that we had not eaten any lunch and were hungry. When Jeff came out, he too was hungry, so we decided to stop at the Wendy’s right up the street. I pulled in, placed our order at the drive-up window and began pulling up to pay. Jeff commented that he didn’t realize we were meeting my parents there. As I looked at him like he was crazy, I noticed that my parents were in fact sitting in the parking lot facing the drive-up lane. We sat next to their truck eating our burgers and I tried to convince Jeff that it wasn’t planned, but I’m not sure he believed me, LOL! As we were sitting there, Angus had to check out our food. He just watched and waited…

Note the ears? He is really intent on those burgers. I did give him a piece of bacon from my burger and he was very appreciative.

On the way home, we stopped at a drug store for a couple things and I found this stuffing free raccoon for Joe. I could barely get the stickers and tags off of it before he leaped up and stole it from me. Notice his other squeaky toys, the candy cane and red mouse, nearby.

Last week Sarah volunteered at a local library for a children’s story hour. Here she is leading the kids into the story room…

Yup, that’s her in the pig costume. Everyone was impressed with her performance in the rather big, hot pig suit. The kids loved her and she thoroughly enjoyed herself!

One day last week when it was quite warm, we went to a local park and enjoyed the weather while the kids ran around a bit. I decided to lay on my back on a piece of playground equipment and take pictures.

Here is a hawk that was flying overhead…

Erin, investigating why I was laying down…

My new shoes, after I sat up…

Some geese, also enjoying the weather, I guess…

Sarah, being her silly self…

And part of the thing I was laying on…I just thought it was a cool-looking picture.

I guess that brings the last couple weeks into focus (groan…sorry). The kids and Jeff all had a nasty cold this week, so I got to play nurse. I managed to avoid the thing with high doses of vitamins C, B, and a couple doses of Airborne, along with many glasses of water and lots of sleep.