Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Highlights (So Far)

Highlight #1
The kids have all agreed that the best day so far this summer has been at our friends Tricia and John's house.  Over the 4th of July weekend we gathered in their backyard for 10 hours of fun.  Yes, you read that right.  10 hours.

Tricia is one of the Six, and this party was for all 6 of our families.  It's rare for us to get together, but even more rare when it includes the husbands and kids. We enjoyed a plethora of games, food, drinks, and great company.

Pizza making in their pizza oven. So fun!

Backyard games

ping pong

Our hosts Tricia and John are standing next to me and Bill (second from left)
The day was a total blast. Thanks Tricia and John for spoiling us!!

Friends from our parish retreat team hosted their annual pool party/bbq.  It was a great afternoon. Not sure how the kids didn't shrivel up from swimming for 4 hours straight.  Here is a picture with some of the team, with an added late-comer edited in for fun.  Can you see it?

A friend of Bill's from college, who lives in California, was vacationing with her family on the East Coast.  Our families met up while they were in Philadelphia. They hadn't seen each other in 18 years.  It was so nice to meet all of them and we really hope we get to see them again soon.  Maybe a trip to California in the near future is in order??

Highlight #4
Not too far from our house is the #9 Coal Mine and Museum.

While there we rode a little train car 1600 feet into the mine and had a guided tour.  We saw a 900 foot deep elevator shaft, an underground mule-way, and heard about the working conditions there.  

After that we had lunch at a local pizzeria....

.....then found a Country Junction to peruse and have fun in.....

And as luck would have it, on our way home we came across a store that had just what I had been looking for....a new hex sign for our garage.

Highlight #5
We enjoyed a day at our township community center with some of my sisters in law, nieces, and nephews.  They were kind enough to drive 90 minutes to our neck of the woods and spend the afternoon with us. 

All that in July! Wow.  Counting my blessings, for sure.

Thanks for visiting today!   Hope your summer has been a fun one as well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

We Ate More Chicken

Yesterday I heard a rumor.....

I immediately texted Billy, who was across the street at his friend's house.  This friend works at a local fast food chain.

Here's the text:

So, the girls and I {OK, mostly the girls} got busy making our costumes.

My next text to Billy 20 minutes later.....

Oh, what we won't do for free food.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Happenings

Summer is flying by at rapid speed.  And although some days seem to find us at a loss with something to do, we've had some really fun days as well.


Last day of school/work.

My fellow teacher assistants :)

Ann- rising 6th grader

Matt- rising 3rd grader
You can totally tell which one of those two liked having me working at their school.

We had a playdate with friends from back in the day....when we were all new moms in a moms group. I love the lasting friendships.....

.....and can't believe our growing-up-too-fast children.

My sister and I met up in New Hope, PA to see a play.  Steel Magnolias is one of our favorite movies and it was brought to the stage at the Bucks County Playhouse.  It was a fun day of shopping, eating, and entertainment.

It was an almost perfect day until a stop at Wawa on my ride home for iced coffee and Fritos made it completely perfect.

On June 20th Bill and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. 
No picture of us, just our dinner.

(Did any of my regular readers notice I did catch up posts last month for each member of the family except Bill?  This just occurred to me.  Good grief.  I guess I won't be getting the Wife of the Year award)


Somebody turned 8.

Matt ate too many chicken tacos for dinner and was feeling full and had a hard time looking at the cake.... hence, that face.

Next time I will post about the day that all five kids have deemed the BEST day of the summer so far.
Until then.....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Father Denny: Fisher Of Men

When a person that everybody loved has died,  this phrase is often uttered.

"Why does God always take the good ones?"

Last week, one of the "good ones" was taken.

My first memory of him was in high school.  I can't remember if we ever met.  I only knew him as the moderator and advisor to my older brother's senior class.  

Fast forward 11 years and he would be the only face I'd recognize in the sea of 50+ family members of my friend Bill as he introduced me on Christmas Eve while on our second date.  

I had known that Mr. Denny had become Father Denny, O.S.A. during those years in between.  And soon Father Denny would become Uncle John to me when Bill and I married.

Our encounters were typically at family weddings, baptisms, funerals, special masses, and Christmas Eve.  Oh, the gift of having a priest in the family!  You could listen to him speak and never tire of it.  He spoke the gospel with great fervor, embellished his stories (just a tiny bit) and celebrated a beautiful mass.  Anyone who met him could see, feel, and hear the joy he had in his vocation.

So, why does God take the "good ones?"  This week as his family stood in line for 2 viewings, one mass for his parishioners, and one funeral mass, receiving well over 1000 people, the answer was clear.

He was a Fisher of Men.  

His life exemplified Jesus' words in Matthew 4:19.  Throughout Fr. Denny's life, he encountered many, many people and touched them in deep and meaningful ways.  In fact, a Facebook page was set up in his name--first as a support for him when he became sick with cancer--and now as a support for all who knew him.  It has become a way to share the wealth of love for the man he was. 

And the man he was, was a follower of Christ.  A devoted Catholic who brought the love of Jesus to all he met while he was alive and continues to do in death.  His encounters will have a ripple effect for years and years to come.

Father Denny had a custom at the conclusion of each baptism he celebrated.  He would flash that famous smile and say to the baby, "Welcome Aboard!"  It always made me smile.

My hope is that one day I will see him again at the gates of Heaven and hear him say one more time,

Welcome Aboard!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spring Catch-Up: Part 6

It's Matthew's turn.

Matt grew and matured by leaps and bounds this year.  I think I owe it all to his amazing teacher.  I was recalling last summer how he cried when he learned he had Mrs. R.  It was all because he heard she has a tradition in her class of putting on a puppet show and he did NOT want to take part in that!

But lo and behold, the day of the puppet show came and he aced it.  No nerves.  No anxiety.  It was adorable hearing him from underneath the table saying things such as, "Don't be ridukulos" and "Master Elephant, You must face yo foe." in the most adorable kid-talk ever!!

He also played Spring soccer.  It was nice because it was laid back and it consisted of one practice and one game each week.

Two milestones were finally reached:

1. First lost tooth

2. Learning to ride a bike.

He takes great pride in his hair and looks in the mirror and takes selfies to make sure it looks perfect.

He has a beautiful heart.  Check out this cuteness I came across on Tommy's birthday.

 A close-up of the bottom right hand corner:

He makes us all laugh.

He's a great kid who we all love very much.  He is the perfect caboose to our family train.

For previous posts:

Me, Billy, Mary, TommyAnn.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Spring Catch Up: Part 5


I think Ann may have been the busiest child this Spring.

Her birthday started off the season.  She turned 11 in March.

Morning donuts

Because it's a bummer to have your birthday midweek during the school year,  Ann's BFF and family came over to celebrate and sing Happy Birthday to make it more special. 

Ann participated in the new Digital Marketing Club at school.  Here she learned how to film, edit, and post videos for the school.  They showcased their work one night at a school fair.

Now onto Ann's music career:

She continues with piano lessons and clarinet and recently picked up playing the cello, too.  She played clarinet at the All City Band concert where 5th graders from around the district play together.  Here she is with her instrumental teacher who teaches her both clarinet and cello.

We love Mr. Morrow!
Mr. Morrow happens to be married to Mrs. Morrow--our kids' piano teacher. 

These two are such a blessing to our family.

Ann was also chosen to represent her school in the PMEA concert.  This stands for Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and their mission is "to advance comprehensive and innovative music education for all teachers and students through quality teaching, rigorous learning, and meaningful music engagement."
In this specific concert Ann played with 5th and 6th graders from around our area and we were blown away by the talent of these young students. ( videotaping was prohibited )

She also played for her elementary school in their band and orchestra concert.

The 5th graders were also invited to play at the middle school band/orchestra concert to give them a taste of what it will be like next year.  Here she is with Tommy afterwards.

One big event Ann participated in this Spring was the 5th grade running club.  They met each Friday afternoon for about 8 weeks and trained for a 5k.  The race was in April and it was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting.  The best part was the proud look of accomplishment from Ann and all the girls at the end.

from left- Seasoned runner, new runner, wanna-be runner

She is now finished at her elementary school.  There were many end-of-year activities to mark the occasion, one being the 5th grade show.  Ann is pictured here with the biggest smile on her face.  She saw her Dad in the audience, not expecting him to be there because he had been out of the country all week.  It was the cutest thing!

You ROCKED 5th grade Ann. 

Oh, and she cut her hair.  What a cutie.

Great work this Spring Ann.  We are so proud of you and love you so much.

For previous Spring Catch Ups, click each name.