Monday, May 26, 2014

Fox, A Cardinal, And The Determined Warrior

For the past three years our family has taken a day trip to New York City to celebrate Memorial Day.  I suppose now we can go ahead and call it a tradition.

To see years one and two you can go here and here.

We woke the kids like this:

We got dressed, had breakfast, stopped at Dunkin Donuts, and we were off.

First on our agenda....Fox and Friends, of course.

We met Anna and Rick!  They were super nice and posed with us.

Tucker wasn't there, darn it! 

The Navy Band Northeast was also there.  We met a few of the members who were really friendly.

We met the trumpet player who played the Superman theme song for Tommy.

We also had the honor of meeting Ron White.

Ron White honors our fallen heroes by writing the names of the fallen from Afghanistan - more than 2,200 names - on a wall...from memory. He travels the country with a 52-ft wall, writing the names to honor them so they will never be forgotten. It is a 100% non-profit project and currently, 150 more men and women have died and Ron needs to buy more panels to add to the wall so he can honor them as well.

In his Fox and Friends segment Mr. White reminded us of the following quote from Calvin Coolidge:

"The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten".

 If you want to find out how you can help, visit

After the show, we walked the few blocks to St. Patrick's Cathedral for mass.  The Archbishop of New York, his eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, was the celebrant. After the recessional hymn, he saw that we were there....

 ....and came over to say "hello."

 Tommy got a handshake and Annie got a hug. Very cool!

Next, we took our packed lunch and ate at Dad's new office.
Then we took a subway ride to the Staten Island Ferry and rode that to Staten Island to see the USS Cole. The view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty was amazing.

Such beautiful skies as well. 
I highly recommend this because it's fun--and free.

We toured the USS Cole, the Determined Warrior. 

After touring the Cole, we went back to Manhattan, got a quick dinner in Hoboken, NJ, and headed home. 

We were so tired by the end, but it was so worth it. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

iPhone Photo Dump

Casting Crowns concert



Need I say more?

Early mornings for band/orchestra rehearsal

Teenager face


Science Fun Night at the middle school

First ride of the season

Tortellini on the go

Moms and Tots Easter Egg hunt

Kindergarten Field Trip

Lunch with a buddy

Gee, I wonder who took this one?

My employers. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Scenes From A Birthday

Last week Billy turned 14.

It was a low key day, but he said it was one of his best birthdays yet... School, baseball practice, Xbox, popcorn chicken, and cake.  He's easy to please.

 (*Note:Bill was away at the rehearsal for his brother's wedding, and Mary Kate was away at her band and orchestra trip.)

He went nuts over one of his gifts, a family size box of Wheat Thins, and made us all laugh.

I joke with him that he's my guinea pig; that all of our parenting techniques are being tried out on him. He gets annoyed with me more times than not, but every once in a while I get a smile out of him.

He's smart and is constantly reading, especially magazines; anything from The Week, to Sports Illustrated, and even my copies of All You. (don't tell him I told you that.)

He's become quite the pitcher, too.  So proud of him on that field.

 He starts high school next year. I'm not ready to talk about that right now. 

You're a good kid, Billy.  Happy Birthday.  We love you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tim and Beth's Wedding

It was a beautiful day last Saturday as we celebrated the wedding of Bill's brother Tim and his new wife Beth.  We traveled a few hours away to Stone Harbor, New Jersey. 

Exchanging wedding rings

Bridal party

The bride's awesome sisters-in-law

Bill's family...Mom and Dad and most of his siblings. (one brother was unable to attend)

Cocktail Hour :)

The view

The fun crowd

 My mother and father in law rented the whole family a house in Cape May, New Jersey and hosted the rehearsal dinner there, too.

This was the view from our bedroom:

Yes, that's the ocean!

The reception was a ton of fun.  The bride and groom did a special first dance for us. This is the best I got with my camera.

Great job you two!

Congratulations on your marriage.  May you be blessed with many happy years together. 

We love you!

**special thanks to my brother, aka Uncle John, for watching our little darlings while we enjoyed the weekend.  You totally rock, Johnny!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Auction

Today's Gospel reading reminded me of this story. I was able to find it online.  Enjoy!

The Auction Portrait     Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for collecting art. Together they traveled around the world, buying only the finest art treasures. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world. As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed, the young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man viewed the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer.

    On Christmas morning a knock on the door awakened the depressed, old man. As he walked to the door, the expensive masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hands. He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you." As the old man began unwrapping the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his deceased son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, he thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of art. His task completed, the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.

    During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, and fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief, the painting of his son became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the expensive pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors his son's painting was the greatest gift he had ever received.

    The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation that with the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, because on this day he had received his greatest gift.

    The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day - greatness would be achieved as many would be able to claim, "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked.

    Minutes passed and no one spoke. Finally, from the back of the room came a voice, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget about it and move on to the good stuff." Many voices echoed in agreement.

    "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now who will take the son?" Finally, a neighbor of the old man spoke. "Will you take $10 for the painting? That's really all I have - and since I knew the boy, I'd like to have the painting."

    After more silence, the auctioneer said, "I have ten dollars, will anyone go higher?" Then the auctioneer said, "Going once, Going twice, Gone." The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and we can bid on the real treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over.

    Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean, it's over? We didn't come here to bid on a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! I demand that you explain what is going on!" Other voices raised in agreement.

    The auctioneer raised his hand and the room quieted. He then replied, "It's very simple. The attorney for this estate has indicated that according to the father's will, whoever takes the son, gets everything."

    Life is an auction. We are the buyers. There are material things to acquire and spiritual things to acquire. How often do we, as these art dealers, quest after great material things which appear to have great value, while spurning those spiritual things which seem inconsequential but will later govern our eternal life? It doesn't seem like much of a price to pay when we accept the love of Jesus Christ into our hearts. It is free, and our expression of loyalty and obedience in return, almost seems negligible. Perhaps we too need to discover once again, as these art dealers, that when you have the Son, you have everything!

-Author Unknown

Found online at