Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alec's 8th birthday

 It is hard to believe our youngest is 8!  Alec is such a joy to us and to his friends.  We had fun celebrating his party with a Minecraft-themed birthday party.  His "cake" was gluten-free brownies turned into dirt clods and large marshmallows transformed into mushrooms.  
 Friends were treated to 1 1/2 hours at the gym, then pizza, "cake", and presents at our house.
 Our wonderful friends, the Shullenbargers, have not missed any of Alec's birthdays.....Jessica is my birthday party buddy.  I am not sure I could pull off Alec's birthday without her!
 All of the guests posing with the "cake" creation.....not sure why the birthday boy looks so serious!
 On Alec's actual birthday, November 23, Alec's friend, David, stayed overnight and helped Alec celebrate his birthday morning.

 Alec LOVES Legos, and he received several sets this year.
 We spent a family day in Pittsburgh, first by visiting Gluuteny, a gluten-free bakery, and letting Alec pick out special birthday treats.

 Then we spent the afternoon at the Carnegie Science and Sports Museum...popular activities are always the rock climbing walls.

 Our new 8 year old with our 10 and 12 year olds....they are all even numbered until February (when one hits 13!)

Friday, October 18, 2013

The school year has started and where has the time gone?

 Alec is our 2nd grader
 Ann-Marie is in 5th grade
 Evan is in 7th grade!
 We spent the first day of school at the Heinz History Center.  They had a wonderful display about Pennsylvania's role in the Civil War.
We were joined by Bethany!
 We have been enjoying the sports museum and checked out the new bicycle exhibit at the Science Museum.

 Evan's soccer season just wrapped up this week.  He had a really strong was fun to watch him as a midfielder.
Sorry that I have not kept up with this has been very busy.  Thank you for taking a peek!

Friday, July 26, 2013

What do we do when we go to Iowa????

 We limbo!
We happened to be in town for the 4th of July festivities in West Union, Iowa....kudos to whoever put this together because we had a blast!!!

 We paddleboat!
My best friend from Iowa, Kasey, and her family have a camper at a local campground and she invited us to hang out for a day.  What fun!!!!  
 We go to Amusement Parks????
This was unexpected, but my sister,Carla, gave us tickets to take our family to Adventureland in Des Moines, Iowa, for a day.  We took my niece, Isabelle, with us also.  We had a blast!  I had gone to this amusement park when I lived in Iowa, but they had added a wonderful waterpark that we enjoyed immensely, as it was 92 degrees the day we visited.

 We catch up with friends!
It just so happened that our friends, the Campbells, happened to be visiting their family at the same time.  They live in Illinois now, but they lived in northern Virginia when we lived in Maryland.  We were able to double date one night and had a lot of laughs together!
 We hike!
Well, Darrell and I did anyway.  We left the kids with Dad one day and went hiking at Backbone State Park, enjoying some of the highest views in Iowa.  Beautiful!

 We swim!
The northeast rural area of Iowa has some of the BEST swimming pools, so we always look forward to visiting them when we go back.
 We ride (and drive)!
The rustler....lots of open land to drive around in....and let the kids try out some driving of their own.  No worries, it is always well-supervised.
 We fish!
Dad happens to have access to a small lake on his property where the fish practically jump out at you.  The kids really enjoy this fishing experience...catch and release of course.

 We enjoy the animals!
There are always baby kittens to be tamed and named on Dad's acreage, and this time we were able to enjoy my sister's puppy, Otis.

 We enjoy a slower pace of life!
Visiting family and friends and just hanging out, we relax and feel blessed that we have this time with each other.
Does that make you want to visit Iowa?  :)

Iowa trip 2013 - Precious time with cousins

 We went back to Iowa in July this year to be a part of my Grandfather's memorial service.  He passed away in January and because our family is so spread out, it made sense to choose a date in the summer when most people could travel and attend.  Well, every single family member attended - all of my first cousins, some of whom I had not seen in a decade.  What a precious time.....the picture above is all of the grandchildren of my dad and his wife, all of my children's first cousins.
 This is a picture of all of my first cousins and my Grandmother - so good to see and talk to each of them!!!!
 Ann-Marie really enjoyed getting to know Rose, her second cousin from Florida....guess we'll have to visit soon.
 Conversations were sweet - my Aunt Sue (Illinois) talking to my cousin Todd's wife, Kristen....
 my two closest in age cousins - Todd (Florida) and Dave (New Mexico)....
 Evan chatting with cousin Nathan (Colorado)....
 again all of my children's first cousins together in Dad's truck....special picture taken for an article being written about my dad in the local newspaper.....
 Ann-Marie really enjoyed helping out with her younger cousins, Abby and Selah (Colorado)....
 some of the boy cousins enjoying pool time.....the genetics run strong, don't they?

 Alec enjoyed hanging out with Silas (Colorado)......
 We enjoyed having Isabelle (Iowa) stay with our family for several days.....
 Ann-Marie and Isabelle became very close on this trip....
We loved being with my side of the family and will cherish the precious memories made!!!!