Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can you believe we're all the way to December?

We started the month off with a........wedding!

Andy and Kailyn were married on a very snowy, December 5 at what most people told us was the best wedding, ever. We agree! Words just can't do it...so let me show you a ton of photos:

Michael was his brother's best man, Tony was an usher:

My beautiful niece, Katlyn, was the junior bridesmaid.

The whole family was there...although once again, we missed getting my brother in the photo. We'll get him next time!

The reception was tons of fun. The wedding planner out did herself, the hall was so beautiful, it looked like a winter wonderland. I think that the person that had the most fun was my 77 year old mother! She danced the night away, making sure she danced with all the cute guys...

Like my brother...

and Andy...
And Tony!

During the reception, the DJ announced that the Village People were going to perform for us, singing their hit song, YMCA. You can't believe the cheers they got when they came out:
I could barely stand up when I saw our sons, Andy, Tony and Michael, or the police man, the sailor and the Indian chief, along with Kailyn's brother, dancing! It was too funny!

While we were inside, dancing the night away, it was snowing outside...we were fortunate and all our friends and family members made it home safely.

Getting ready for Christmas is such fun for us! Tony and Morgan went down to Pittsburgh to skate at PPG's wintergarden:

The whole family got together to spend a day in Pittsburgh, exploring the strip district and having a fun lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
Linda was confused by the whole holdiay thing...
But Bill caught on quickly. He even practiced sitting on Santa's lap. Mark didn't appreciate being a Santa substitute!
Also in December, Mark and I found a new church home! For Mark, it was instantaneous, he knew he was where he should be. For me....well...let's just say it took a little longer.

Andy kept playing with his tractor...with a few mishaps...
What can I say????

A kid that comes home to cuddle Bill can't be all that bad!

Growing up, Christmas was always such fun for us. The Christmas after my father died was so sad, I made up my mind that we would never have another sad Christmas again. We had family!

That's the year I we started hanging our stockings again for Christmas Eve at my mother's house. All year we pick up odds and ends to put in each other's stockings. Nothing cost more than $1 and most things are...well...

This year Tony found swimming rafts on clearance...

And everyone got tiaras (and clown noses)!
Recognize these guys?

The policeman:
The sailor:
And the Indian chief!
There is a lot of creative wrapping going on...
Those are drum sticks!

And lots of giggles and lots of reminiscing, lots of memories being made. It's our night to be silly!

Christmas eve has always been a special time for our family to be together. Christmas day, we all have our 'other families' and other traditions to keep us busy, but eventually, tired had happy, the kids all end up at our house to end the day. I try to get a photo of all of them together, this year is was (almost) successful.

Hey...isn't this fun? I LOVE Christmas. Come back tomorrow, we'll celebrate January!


Monday, June 29, 2009

November was slow...

for that we were thankful! We needed a breather for sure!

Of course, in a family divided politically (who ever taught those kids to think for themselves?) voting is something we take seriously even though there is much ribbing going on!
We're proud Americans and fly our flag over our home with pride!

Vicky, my daughter (with the second degree black belt) took my niece, Katlyn, to Taekwondo class with her. We were thrilled when they came bursting into the house one Thursday early in November with the announcement that Katlyn had earned her first yellow stripe!

One Saturday, also early in November, I woke to the sound of a ladder being extended. I opened the bedroom door to find my husband, who hates heights, painting the two story hall!
I quietly closed the door and went back to bed. I didn't want anything to distract him. The hall was red ever since we moved in here. Painting it has been #1 on my to-do list for 5 years. It looks wonderful and I'm so thankful the job was completed without mishap!

Of course, November brings...snow!
Linda likes it, but not as much as Tony and Morgan:
I think they dragged out every snow toy we had in the garage!

A friend of ours traded with Andy: If Andy would do some welding for him, he'd give Andy and old lawn tractor. Of course, loving to have things in his garage to 'play' with, Andy accepted. It was in pretty sad shape:

But that didn't stop Andy! He quickly built what he called a 'rock crawling tractor' and had a ball with his new toy.

He brought tons of rocks to put beside our little pond, and then proceeded to drive his tractor over them. It kept him busy for hours and hours. How did he get it to our house? He put it on a trailer behind his Jeep! We tried to persuade him to leave the tractor and take this load:

No deal!

One Sunday, he challenged his dad to a 'crawl off' between tractors. Andy set a course through the rocks and marked it with items from our recycling bin:

It was a very close competition for about a nano-second when Mark got hung up on a rock

He had to be towed out by...none other than...

Super Andy! I swear, there isn't a dull minute around here.

Since the kids grew up and had significant others or even spouses, we moved my family celebration of Thanksgiving to the Sunday after the holiday. It gives us time to relax and enjoy each other without rushing and balancing time between two families.

This year, Mark deep fried a turkey for us. It was the first time using the turkey fryer, so it was exciting for us.

Turned out beautifully, didn't it? It was delish!
Right after Thanksgiving, Tony told me he had a photo opportunity for me. He took me out on the golf course:
Yes, that's SNOW! I followed him around the golf course for hours, freezing and photographing. This is what it looked like when we were done:
Dark! What we won't do for our kids!

Told you it was a slow month. We were getting ready for December...wow, wait until you see what we did then!

Be sure to come back tomorrow! It'll be worth it, I promise!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

October is always such a colorful month

and usually starts out with the most brilliant blue skies and perfect temperature. I grabbed my camera and hit the roads, photographing things that caught my eye:

I must have spent HOURS and HOURS, driving around, snapping my shutter! Both driving and photographing are therapy for me.

Kailyn, who always plans things ahead of time, bought her cat, Deore, her Halloween costume"

Deore wasn't fond of it, I don't think she wanted to be a lady bug, so she did her best to get out of it:
And when she did, she made sure her mommy wasn't going to try to put it on her again:
The cooler air made the dog feel frisky for a few minutes right before they went into hibernation for the winter. They felt obligated to hunt those renegade leaves and twigs. Linda obeys when you tell her to drop things. Bill seems to have a problem:
In mid-October, I was driving down the road and....OH OH!
Something hit my windshield!

What was it?

Yes, it was Bill! No, he's fine, but ouch! I had to step on the brakes quickly and he came down, between the seats and wacked the windshield. Not so sure the insurance company bought that story, but they did replace it.

The small town where we camp has a scenic train ride on weekends. When we see it pass, we always run out and wave. Usually people have their cameras ready and snap photos. Some time I surprise them and photograph THEM!
We decided to take the last train ride of the regular season.

They do have a winter run in December, but brrrrr! Mark, Andy, Kailyn, Tony and I got to go. Morgan was at work.

The town where the railroad is located has a population of 55 (today, 54 last week!). One of the cutest things was this couple, sitting at the beginning of town.
Also in October Tony was in a golf tournament with his college team. He came in second overall which brought his team in at second place. He was tickled even though the huge trophy stays with the school. How lucky is this kid who's mother had a golf trophy ready and waiting for him when he got home:
Oddly, he wasn't around in 1958, the year on the trophy. In fact, his mom was in grade school! The wonders of ebay!

Also in October, wedding preparations were in full swing! Kailyn's attendants had a shower for her:

She got so many beautiful things, and was beaming when Andy showed up later:

The tulle veil was the wrapping for a gift from Kailyn's aunt. I wish I had gotten a photo of the wrapped gift, it was beautiful and what a great idea!

Andy also had time for a hug for his sister and his cousin, Katlyn, who will be a junior bridesmaid in the wedding.

We also heard that the city had torn down the house Mark and I bought before we were married. They are expanding the base-ball park behind the house. Tony and Michael wanted to see:
You can see the baseball field in the background. It's a beautiful park.
They found some of Tony's pogs, a few legos and one jeep matchbox car. I put them in a jar as our time capsule!

Lastly, I suppose it would be Halloween...and we really don't celebrate it. I love to buy pumpkins to use in decorating, but we don't even get trick or treaters up here on the hill!

Whew...still with me? Come back tomorrow for November, which will be restful, I promise!