Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010!

We woke up to snow this morning, so Darrell and the kids made the first snowman of the season.
And here's our family focus for 2010 (no resolutions...they usually don't make it past January), no one is becoming a nun, the picture is one Darrell took at the Vatican when living in Italy. To me, it represents a contemplative life. I found a plaque to go with it that is especially meaningful to me, it reads, "Make time for quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud." I'm reading a book right now titled, "Not So Fast; Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families" by Ann Kroeker. All this put together is our family focus for 2010 - slow down, do less better, live in the moment, enjoy and be content with whatever circumstances we're in and whatever we have, and go in the direction that God leads.

Wishing you a happy New Year from the Jerome family!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ice Skating in Pittsburgh

Family tradition is to meet up at PPG plaza in Pittsburgh to go ice skating and enjoy the winter garden display with Santas around the world and gingerbread houses. It was COLD yesterday and it snowed in the afternoon, but we still had fun. It was Alec's first time on skates, Ann-Marie skated by herself and Evan ripped up the skating rink.

Inside.....the gingerbread houses and customs from around the world....couldn't resist a picture with "Bella Befana" from Italy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Visions of Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve party at our house....the blessing was Aunt Helen being able to attend.

Christmas morning....finding stockings stuffed full.....Alec wondering what is all this stuff????Evan surveying the loot....
Ann-Marie and Lulu (not real, a Fur-Real pet)....
Steeler stuff for Evan!

BIG Christmas present for Darrell! He's very pleased!
Christmas dinner at Uncle Mark's house...above, Aunt Maura and Ann-Marie....
Ann-Marie and Pap handing out gifts.....
The girl cousins.....
The boys......
and all together with Pap! We had a very nice Christmas and now are looking forward to a relaxing and fun week. We hope the same for you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Build-up to Christmas

First "real" snow of the season.....
Ann-Marie's turn to put the angel on the tree....

Christmas cookie making and decorating....

Merry Christmas from our family to you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ravioli Day 2009

Jerome family come together a few weeks before Christmas to prepare the Christmas day meal. Everyone tries to make it, although now we're running into having older cousins away at college and they are very much missed. This year went very smoothly. Above, Meghan rolling the dough for the ravioli.
Analise hamming it up while Karen tries to check the thinness of the dough.
The rolling of the meatballs.
Ann-Marie sealing the ravioli.....and really getting into her work!
I love seeing this side of the family, young and old, come together and enjoy a day preparing this meal.

Above, the girls in their aprons....we were missing one girl cousin, Natalie, who was at college. We missed you, Nat!

Now we are counting the days to eat what we have prepared.......

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wonderful visit

My sister and her family left yesterday after spending almost a week with us here in western PA. This is my youngest sister, Sheila, who is married to Kurt and have two children (and one on the way) Silas, age 2, and Nathan, age 1. They were here because Kurt had business in Pittsburgh and they were able to come along. What a blessing to have them here as they live in Colorado and visits tend to be few and far between. We thoroughly enjoyed having them here...we got to love on the little ones and (hopefully) help Sheila out a bit while Kurt was in Pittsburgh. Above picture is Kurt with Silas at the Carnegie Science Museum and below picture is Silas and Nathan.

Highlights of the visit were:
1. Kurt getting tickets for Darrell and Evan to join him and some of his colleagues at the Penguins game on Thursday night - they got to sit in the General Managers box!
2. Taking Sheila and kids and meeting Kurt in Pittsburgh to visit our current favorite place - the science museum!
3. Taking them to the Festival of the Trees at Brady's Run Park - Silas LOVED the upside down tree!
4. Getting to take Sheila on a sister's dinner only to Tinitique restaurant on Monday night.

On Saturday afternoon, Ann-Marie was invited to a Christmas tea party at a friend's house. She was so excited! She got to dress up, I put big curls in her hair, and we put on a little lip gloss. Big excitement for a 6 year old! We also went to a local thrift store and she picked out her own tea cup!
I am so thankful that this visit with my sister worked out. We enjoyed having family see what our life is like here and we got to enjoy them. So thank you to Kurt and Sheila - it is hard traveling with such young children, but the memories of this visit we will treasure for a lifetime!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend fun

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Darrell's side of the family! We always stay over at his sister's house, with the morning after bringing a trip to the gym and then more pie for breakfast! (It's all about balance, right?) We travel through Pittsburgh to get home, so we try to do something fun with the kids. This year we made a stop at the Carnegie Science museum. We tried to see the train display but the line was too long, so we played mostly at the top floor with activities for all ages. Evan, Ann-Marie and I took in one show about the states of can see Ann-Marie (above) participating in eating a marshmallow dipped in liquid nitrogen.....brrrr!

Hot bubble baths sometimes bring on GREAT IDEAS and that is how we found ourselves at Oglebay in West Virginia on Saturday afternoon. Friday night, I needed some reading material for my bath time, so I grabbed a book that I had given Darrell - "1,000 places to visit before you die" (the United States version) - and read up on local places of interest. Since we're so close to West Virginia, the chapter on Oglebay was interesting. We decided to take a visit and we were so glad that we did! They had a small zoo (as you can see from the pictures), an outdoor light display, an indoor Christmas laser show, and a six-mile drive-through light display. We were really glad to have gone early because once we were done with the drive-through, we saw that cars were lined up to get in for over two miles! It was well worth the trip for us, though.

Next sister and her family will be flying in this afternoon for six days! We are very, very excited for this opportunity to spend time with them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, we travel a little over an hour to spend Thanksgiving with (almost) all of Darrell's side immediate family. Since he is the youngest of six, it is quite a gathering. I am very thankful to be part of such a loving family. I am also reminded today of the people I will not be able to spend time with but whom I am very, very thankful for dad and step-mom in Iowa, my sisters (one in Iowa, one in Colorado), my step-sister and step-brothers, my niece and nephews, my grandparents, all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins spread throughout the United States and my wonderful friends who are spread out not only in the United States but also overseas. God has blessed me with loving, meaningful, and long-lasting relationships, for which I am truly grateful. So as we prepare to head out for our annual Thanksgiving feast, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy 4th birthday, Alec!

We had a birthday party for Alec on Saturday, November 21 at our house. Three of his friends from the area came, as well as our dear friends, the Shullenbarger family, from Maryland. Grand total of participating kids (including our family) was nine. Alec opened his Batman house right before the party because that was what gave him the idea to have a Batman-themed party. Activities were decorating Bat planes (thanks Chris and Jessica for making them) then throwing them at the Bat target and freeze dancing to music. Pizza, cake and ice cream and presents rounded out the fun. Alec thoroughly enjoyed his party.

Mondays are our busiest day of the week, so we celebrated in the midst of the activity. Alec picked all three meals (Breakfast: French toast; Lunch: P,B,&J; Dinner: Hot dogs). As you can see from the picture above, he was very excited to get to use the red birthday plate. Happy Birthday, Alec!
Above, Ann-Marie got lots of baby time with Haddie (only three weeks old!)