Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Darrell!

Darrell's birthday was Friday, September 26. We had a family birthday party for him on Saturday. Happy birthday and here's to many, many more!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New nephew!

I am happy to announce that my youngest sister, Sheila, has delivered her second baby, a boy named Nathanael Kinnick Aichele early this morning. It's really neat to see, how my Dad raised three girls and now has seven boys, and only two girls, as grandchildren! Another touching fact is Nathanael is born on my cousin, John's, birthday. John Hampton is the youngest son of my Aunt Sue and Uncle Lyle and he passed away in a car accident in the year 2000. I love how God gives us these joyful events on dates of sadness. Our Ann-Marie also was born on a date God knew we needed happiness.....she was born on the birthday of Darrell's brother, Bruce, who was also killed in a car accident just a couple weeks before John's accident and death.

Congratulations to Kurt and Sheila! I only wish I could climb on the next plane to Colorado to meet our newest nephew! We love you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Love Shack

I know, it's a "scandalous" blog title for what I usually write about, but you'll understand in a minute. I told Darrell for our 11th wedding anniversary I wanted an ENTIRE weekend away to somewhere we've never been. My hotel-addicted husband went uncharacteristic on me and rented a "rustic" cabin off of Lake Erie. Rustic means electricity (which meant lights, a mini-refrigerator, and microwave) but no heat and no plumbing!

Above is a picture of our cabin. The minute I saw it, the song "Love Shack" went running through my mind and I couldn't get it out of my head the entire weekend!
Here's a better perspective....yep, not much bigger than the minivan, but I loved it! It was so quiet (which is key to getting away from the chaos of having a young family) and secluded.
Yes, it's true! That's Darrell coming out of the bathroom/shower shack. He was such a trooper! At least the water was warm!
The first morning we took our bikes to Presque Isle. We biked 12 miles around the lake and the view was stunning. Above is a picture from the bike trail....that's Erie, PA across the lake. Below is Perry Monument. The Perry Monument on Crystal Point was built in 1926 to commemorate a significant battle during the War of 1812.

As we biked around the lake, we even saw a wedding on the beach....very cool since it was our anniversary day!
Saturday afternoon found us touring wineries in the area. We felt like we were back in Italy because there were grapevines as far as the eye could see! Above is one of the wineries, concord grapes are so common there they even covered the entrance.We ate at a restaurant called "Smuggler's Wharf" in Erie, PA Saturday night. We highly recommend it! The fish was amazing.

And we got to experience the second best sunset in the nation (second only to Hawaii) after dinner. It was stunning!Sunday morning we spent kayaking....no pictures taken as we've had bad luck with the camera and water. Three hours of kayaking on Lake Erie was wonderful....I'll have to say I'm a little sore today though!

A special thanks to my sister-in-law, Maura, and her family who kept the kids all weekend! You're wonderful Maura! And another special thank-you to my husband, who created such a wonderful get-away. You knew exactly what this frazzled mom needed! I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with a thoughtful and caring husband. Here's to many more anniversaries and adventures!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

All she wants for Christmas.....

is her two bottom teeth! The second one has come out, and at Aunt Maura's house again!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Soccer season has started once again. Evan participated in his first soccer season this past Spring. Needless to say, it was parental sacrifice to watch. Not that we don't enjoy watching our children playing sports, but Evan did not start soccer out on the right, ummmm, foot! He spent the season totaling scores in his head (they do not keep an official score at this age), dodging the ball, and spending his time at the edge of the field (even when he was a part of the action). At the end of last season, however, I was finding the glimpses of what was really going on. Evan is very analytical (I don't know WHO he gets that from) so for him to learn the game, he needed to sit back and watch the action. I learned that was exactly what he was doing. After soccer season this summer, he found every opportunity to play pick-up soccer games (often with boys older than himself). We started getting comments from some of the boys that Evan was really good. I thought, "Awwww, they're being really nice, because they can't be talking about OUR Evan." Fast forward to Saturday, Evan's first soccer game of the Fall season. I secured my parent spot on the side of the soccer field and began dividing my attention between talking to Darrell, trying to keep Alec off of the field, and half-heartedly watching the game; when all of a sudden I see Evan's smiling face and other parents applauding HIM! He made his first goal, EVER (and I didn't see it!) I started really watching him and he was a completely different kid on the soccer field - he made three goals (actually one of the goals Darrell penned "the immaculate reception of U8 soccer" - another player kicked the ball REALLY HARD at Evan's lower body, to which Evan pulled a knee up in self-defense, ball connected with knee, ball went directly into the goal, SCORE!, and Evan could not stop laughing!) What a neat turn around for a parent to see!

Ann-Marie decided for the time being that soccer is not for her, so back to gymnastics we go. She really does love gymnastics and it's a lot of fun watching her try to do all the different moves and be on the beam and bars. She puts a blanket down on our floor at home ( we do have carpet but she feels better with the blanket) and puts on gymnastics shows for Alec and Jameson (the baby we watch during the week).

And finally, an update on myself. I passed my video assessment so I am now an officially certified Les Mills Body Pump Instructor. The gym I am supposed to teach at is still being renovated and is taking much longer than anticipated. So I'm not teaching yet, but will be once the gym in Chippewa is opened.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fun Fair Pictures

On Saturday, after the 5k run, we met some of our family at the Canfield Fair in Ohio. I guess this fair boasts that it is the largest county fair in the nation...I haven't confirmed this, but it was pretty good. I was excited to see a real milking set-up so I could show my kids what I had to do growing up. Yes, it's true, I milked cows for several years with the equipment you see in the pictures above and below. And I really need to thank that experience and my dad for my strong work ethic and loyalty. My dad will probably fall out of his computer chair when he reads this, but here it is, "THANKS DAD!"
Don't you just love the fair? The biggest pumpkin display was a hit......
Can you spy Ann-Marie peeking out from the pumpkin below......
And of course, the pigs!
A good time had by all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

One for Ruth

There's a more recent loss in my life I don't discuss much for several reasons. One is that it's still too new (a little over 6 years....consider the fact that it took 15 plus years to really talk freely about my mom) and that it's more my husband's loss than mine. My mother-in-law, Ruth Jerome, died in June 2002 and we miss her very much. She was an amazing mother-in-law who loved me, didn't judge me, was a wonderful mother to her children and wife to her husband, and adored our little Evan until he was 15 months old. So even typing this brings tears to my eyes.

I found a way to honor her last year by running a 5K race that raised money for an organization she supported, The Women's Center of Beaver County. My sister-in-law, Karen, let me know last year that she would run with me this year.....so Saturday was the day. The picture above is Karen and I before the race. The day of the race was beautiful, Karen did a wonderful job running her very first 5k, and we crossed the finish line together. I can't even express all the emotions that I felt, but I can say it was a wonderful way to remember Ruth and we're looking forward to making this a tradition. I'm proud of you Karen!