Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Father Figures...

So Sunday I was Blest by an invitation from my friend Paula, to ride up to New York, Yonkers to be specific, and watch a taping of EWTN's "Sunday Night Live" With Fr Benedict Groeschel. Paula was also meeting her uncle, as her young cousins Elizabeth and Peter, had been staying with her for two weeks and their dad was there to pick them up.
We were able to be a part of the studio audience, and it was such a special experience!
Father Groeschel is Paula's uncle and he is such a Holy man. I really enjoyed the breaks in between the segments. Father introduced young Peter to the audience as is namesake. If you have time and want to enjoy a great show, here is a link. You can look for us in the back row. Danielle is in the middle.

Tonight was also really nice. Our Pastor, Fr Jay, came for dinner and brought his beautiful Golden Retriever, Junior. Junior was a gift to Father from the parish last Christmas. He and the boys had a blast playing ball in the backyard. Fr Jay is such a nice person and we had lasagna and strawberry shortcake! Great conversation too!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Founder of our Feast...

I haven't really blogged much about what Tim does, except when we are all together.
The biggest reason is because I am never really sure what Tim does, from one day to the next.

I know that he is still writing training materials. I know that he is still building, maintaining, shipping and presenting the tabletop model that they use to do emergency management training. That thing has a LOT of miles on it!

But lately Tim has been traveling all over the country with his buddy, the sometimes cranky, always quirky and tremendously unlucky, SIM MAN!
Yes, this guy is the original Steve Austin, minus a few million. He's not usually dressed quite this spiffy.
He has one goal, and that is to get injured badly or sick enough that whoever is dealing with him will be able to deal better with a real life emergency in the future. He can imitate some pretty scary health issues, if they are programmed into his laptop. He can foam at the mouth as if he has been exposed to a nasty chemical agent. He can develop all kinds of life-threatening symptoms and the trainee can do all the right (or wrong) stuff. He provides feedback as to whether or not the correct processes are being followed. Tim can write scenarios and then program them into the computer and Sim will fall ill accordingly. He is pretty cool.
So he and Tim are getting lots of road time together. Tim does get to fly, while Sim has to go Fedex.
It is amazing the things that have been developed to prepare emergency responders for any and every scenario. There are even more sophisticated "Sims" on the horizon.

So that's just sort of what Tim does. I always have to think twice when people ask me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday night, and all's well....

Gee, where to begin...?
A few little details regarding the weekend.

Friday was really a lot of fun, Laura and Andrew came downstate, and brought Lucy and Maple to stay with us for the day. If you are curious about Maple, you will have to ask Laura to update her blog.
We had so much fun! Lucy is so cute and is talking up a storm! Laura and Andrew had a day off and I think they enjoyed themselves.
On Saturday we went up to the pool for awhile and then packed up the boys and headed up to Hagerstown for the "surprise" that had been awaiting them: The Monster Jam Monster Truck Show, featuring GRAVEDIGGER.
OOOOh, you say.
Yes, this was a real live monster truck show with huge trucks, smashed cars, and the cultural flavor of Western MD. They had a great time, and we have been thoroughly educated in the finer points of jumping huge, out of control vehicles over mounds of dirt and piles of cars. This will continue until the next adventure...

Sunday was a quiet day, for the most part. I had a meeting at the pool, and Tim was here at home putting in the first of our replacement windows. They look very nice, but most importantly, they will do a much better job of keeping out the cold!

Today was baby and toddler day!
I had the morning to spend with Josh and Mira, my friend Nettie's little ones, while she was Organizing with a client. It was actually a very good morning. Nina came over with Lilly, which was a very good thing because Mira wanted little to do with me, and she loved Nina! Josh was great, and so cute! Lilly just crawled around and played with her toys. She is pretty happy most of the time.

John is preparing for new pets after we get back from Washington. I am helping him get a cage and he will get the Ratties when we get home. He is very excited. He can't stop talking about them, and he has been researching everything online. I think he is going to do just fine with taking care of them. Bosco is going to be very put out, as he will be banished from John's room for the most part.

I will try to get some recent pictures up tomorrow or the next day.
For a relaxing summer, this is turning out to be a crazy one!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Best of Today's Reader...

I am seriously lacking in inspiration tonight....
Fortunately for you, many other people aren't!
So I am going to post the best of what I found on my Google Reader today.

First here's a great new blog with a Catholic Mom's heart in mind...Faith and Family Live
I just added it and have really enjoyed reading through the articles.

Something that Barbara posted today...

To be a mother

The Most Important Person on earth is a mother.
She cannot claim the honor
of having built Notre Dame Cathedral.
She need not.
She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral -
a dwelling for an immortal soul,
the tiny perfection of her baby's body…
The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.
They cannot share in God's creative miracle
to bring new saints to Heaven.
Only a human mother can.
Mothers are closer to God the Creator
than any other creature;
God joins forces with mothers
in performing this act of creation…
What on God's good earth is more glorious than this:
to be a mother?

~Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty~

Here is one from Suzanne at Classically Catholic . It's great!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Frostburg Adventures

Last Wednesday Nina, John, Brendan, Paul, Lilly and I all packed up and headed up to Frostburg to spend a few days with the Cookes. We had a great time!
It was so much fun to watch Lucy and Lilly playing together. They really get along well and they are so cute together.
We got to see all the changes that Laura and Andrew have made in the house.
The first place we went was up to Lucy's room. Laura has painted it up so cute and the new carpet makes it a great place to play. There is a huge closet in between Lucy's room and the guest room and the girls had a great time running, and crawling, back and forth.
Downstairs, the toys were very entertaining. Lucy has a little airplane that she loves to ride and Lilly was having a great time pushing her around.
That evening Fr. Ed, a special friend of Laura and Andrew's, came over for dinner and we had a nice visit. He is such a nice person and he just loves Lucy! They have known him since they started school in Frostburg, and it was nice for them to get together.
The next day we got going early and went to Walmart so that I could get some swimming gear, as I had left ours at home. Lilly found a perfect place to nap.Laura told us that there is a great public pool in Cumberland, about 15 minutes away. The weather was hot, and it was the perfect way to spend a day. We got there at around 1:30 and the boys hit the water slide. I didn't see much of them for the rest of the afternoon. I traded off watching them, reading my book, and going over to the wading pool to watch Lucy and Lilly swimming like little ducks.
We stayed at the pool until about 5:00 and then went to a restaurant in LaVale for dinner. Lilly loves dinner!

After Dinner we went back to the same park where the pool is, for an event that Andrew's company, ATK, was putting on for employees and their families. The company is very family oriented and all the people that came were so nice! They had a Magician, a guy playing guitar named "Grateful Ted", and then after it got dark they showed a movie under the stars on an outdoor screen.
Brendan got into the Magician's act and he really hammed it up! What a nut!Here is a clip of him "helping".
The boys stuffed themselves with cotton candy, sno-cones, popcorn, and Brendan got M&M's for helping the magician.
On Friday I packed up our stuff and we got ready to go home. Before we left, though, we went over to a park in Frostburg, and the kids played and enjoyed time with Laura and Lucy.
They played on the playground
and swings.

All of them!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day Weekend

This 4th of July just seemed to go on and on.
On Friday, the actual 4th, we went to Mass in the morning and then came home to a really rainy day. So much for the pool. The boys wanted another bike ride, so Tim braved the clouds and took them for a short one. It stayed dry for that long!
We were supposed to go downtown for the First Fridays event that they have on the first Friday of every month. I was really looking forward to it. We were going to meet the Hauf family and get pizza and see what was going on. The rain changed our plans, so we ended up just fixing dinner for the boys and Tim and I ordered in from a great new little place down on Rt. 40. It was so good!!!

On Saturday morning I had to work for a couple of hours. I had a chance to spend some time with Betty, who is much more friend than client now. We got a lot accomplished!

I came home and we got ready for the 4th of July parade downtown. We have made this an annual event. This year we joined Nina, Lilly, Johnny and family. Nina had been up on Union street with her blankets at 7:00 am to save a good seat. It was so nice to be under the trees in the shade and the weather was perfect! It wasn't really very hot and it was overcast most of the time so we didn't have to worry about the kids getting sunburned.
It is by far the most patriotic parade I have ever attended. This is no surprise given the area and history of this place. There were several local military units. The National Guard,From APG,The Marines,

The Army Band, a flyover with a couple of gunships, I'm not sure what type of helicopters they use, but they are BIG!
There were probably seven or eight bands, including our own Havre de Grace High School band, led by our friend Rick Hauf. I was so glad to see him there!
All the bands played some sort of patriotic march or piece. There were floats and, of course, the candidates. Our neighbor Joe Kochendurfer is running for city council again this year.
There were also the car clubs and clowns. I think every fire engine in Harford County was there. And the cops, on their new form of transportation. I got a kick out of that. They are serious by the way. It has to make the bad guys chuckle just a little...It's a very good thing there were no emergencies during that hour...
Lilly LOVES the sirens! She was doing her little dance and screaming right along with them, laughing the whole time! She loves anything that has any rhythm at all and the louder, the better. The bands just thrilled her to pieces.

We had a great time. We walked back to our car, came home, had dinner and then went down to the middle school to sit in the field and watch fireworks. Whoever plans the show changed the location of the launch this year and it wasn't as easy to see. Next year we will walk down to the park to watch.

Our Sunday has been quiet. We went to Mass at 11:00 and then later in the afternoon we went to Lowes to order the first of the replacement windows. We are going to do most of the windows in the house before winter. It has to be done.

Should be a nice week, nice and quiet...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Boy Stuff

Yes, the boys have been up to lots of good clean boy stuff.
A few minor scrapes and bruises, but that's part of the game, right?

A couple of days ago, Tim and the boys started building the long planned and awaited go-kart.
They had several large wheels from the old lawnmowers that we had to trash. Nope, no babycoach wheels! Tim had a bunch of spare lumber and the guys had lots of ideas! So for the last few nights they have been working very hard on their chariot.

They finished it last night and here is the maiden voyage:

And here is John flying solo:

Yeah, I found it hilarious.

Brendan was planning to rob a train or something, I think, but they just couldn't get it to go fast enough.

Today they took it out and, well, John ran his leg over, Paul got some sort of injury, I'm still not clear on that one, and Brendan...didn't get hurt! That's a first! He had a few good rides too.

Tonight we rode bikes down to subway for dinner.
I should say the guys rode bikes and I walked because Paul still has a hard time with the hills, and it's a real handful trying to push your bike... and his. So I was the Paul-Walker. One guy got a real cackle out of that. He was a real earthy looking fellow with wild hair and a tremendous beard. He was driving this timeless model sedan without hubcaps, the window rolled down, and he yelled as he drove by, "It's not right, them making you walk behind! HAHAHAHAHA!" Yep, THAT was funny!
Wish I had a picture of him...

We had a great dinner and then went to Baskin-Robbins for dessert.
The evening was perfect for a walk.
I hope to do that a lot more often.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back in the Real World.

We're back!
As of this morning Brendan had been fever free for 12 hours and had taken eight doses of his Antibiotic. He had a rather clammy night last night so I guess he really broke the thing.

It is so good to be free to come and go, to watch Lilly again and be able to plan a few outings.
I want to go up to Frostburg, maybe next week, but I wasn't sure how long this was all going to go on!

We went to my friend Christine's house this morning and checked out her Usborne book sale.
I ended up buying:

This book is actually three books in one. Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. It is so great at illustrating the complicated aspects of Science that I don't have the answers to. John was reading the section on Genetics today and it actually breaks it down into very understandable chunks.
Physics and Chem are broken down and illustrated so that I can show them a picture while I am explaining a concept. It's all internet linked so that I don't have to go looking for nebulous sites that may or may not teach the concept I am looking for.

This is another wonderful book. I am reading it myself. It is very much an Art Appreciation guide. It will be a great help this year as John and I go back into history and work forward. I want to tie Art into History as much as possible. The descriptions of the works and the explanations of the Artists methods and intentions are so interesting. John really enjoyed his Art book last year, and we are going to use a similar text, so this will be a great supplement to tie his Art and History texts together. I also plan to use my CDs of Music through History, European anyway, to add to the experience.

This is another great book that I got just for fun, The Complete Book of Chess.
Paul and John love Chess and Paul has a distinct talent for it. He is going to study this book all summer and then go back to Port Angeles and have a great time playing with Grandpa Dick! A worthier opponent than his mom! I got a couple of other books, but they are for Lucy and Lilly so they will have to wait!

So that was the morning. I had Lilly with me, and she probably saved me a fortune, because I couldn't stay too long perusing the stacks.

We came home and Lilly and the boys had lunch, and then we got ready to go to the pool. I hadn't been up there for two weeks! The boys were finally feeling up to a swim.
I took Lilly and met Nina there.
Man does that little Lilly love to swim!! She is going to be a fish like her uncles.
She was just all about being in the water. We were there for a couple of hours, but I could tell Brendan was getting tired. He didn't complain, but John has been telling me that he is still feeling muscle fatigue when he does too much, so Brendan must be as well. He never complains, but he does get grumpy!
We came home and I worked on dinner. I am rather tired myself! I need to get my act together tomorrow though and start doing some planning and work on some projects around the house that need doing.
I will start pulling the school year together.
So I guess I'd better get to bed or I won't have the ambition to get going tomorrow!

I need this kind of exuberance! Life is so good!