Saturday, June 30, 2012


We are at the Mann Center, getting ready to hear Idina Menzel. SO EXCITED!
Hope Josh has fun taking Hans and Joey to the Glenolden fireworks..
Bethany is getting to bed early for her trip tomorrow.
Love to all...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Date night!

Taking Cody to...

See Idina Menzel with The Philadelphia Orchestra at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts -

Saturday night wil be awesome! I'm a huge fan, ever since Wicked; my only regret is I can't take my mom. I know this would really make her happy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Friday in Gatlinburg

We had breakfast with Michelle before she headed home with the girls. It was a real treat having them with us, and Michelle got to relax a bit. Afterwards we went to the Arts & Crafts community, so Luis and Hans could see the glass blowers. Not quite what we expected, but we bought candles, some lotions at the soap store, and had pizza @ Pizza Express. The food and the deal were great - we highly recommend them! Then we headed home in time for a short swim, some leftovers, and then off to an evening at... Cirque de Chine! WOW!!!
What an amazing show - everyone loved it, and the performers are so talented. And limber! The boys especially loved the "yo-yo" man, with his dancing skills and ninja-like yo-yo moves. I'm not doing him justice, but if you get the chance, see this show! Everyone went home tired but really happy, and dreamed of joining the circus...
Love to all...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thursday in Gatlinburg

Thursday found us rafting down the Upper Pigeon river! What an experience - the river was mostly dry when we arrived, so being the first tour of the day, we got to see them flood the river. The class usually ranged from I - IV's, but we barely hit a III this trip. Which for us, was awesome! Michelle and I were the only ones who'd rafted before, and so this was the perfect experience for Hans and Shawny - both a little nervous about the trip. Everyone got plenty wet, and we all took a short swim in the river as we neared the end. Well, Cody and Hans skipped it - the water was REALLY cold!
Later we grilled steaks at the resort with Michelle and the girls, and then went swimming. It was a wonderful day, and everybody had a fun - but exhausting - day!
Love to all...

Checking to see if Michelle's done! 

Friday, June 22, 2012


Our "graduation" trip (I keep wanting to call it a senior trip, and am brusquely reminded they are no longer Seniors), is SUPER! Aunt Michelle arrived Tuesday a few hours after us, with Marissa and Shawny. Wednesday we went horseback riding, which I really enjoyed, and the kids all thought was a fun experience. Wise Luis said, "I didn't think I liked it at first, but once I realized it was my own fears making me nervous - not the actual horse - it was fun!" Ah, the wisdom of youth.
That evening, after barbecue at Greenbriar and a dip in the river (some more dipped than others...), we all went out on the town. Cody and I sampled moonshine (yummy!), the kids found a jerky and popcorn store that was 'sick', and then we split up. Hans and Cody went sightseeing, Boo took me up on the Sky Lift, and Michelle went with the teens to get an olde tyme photo done. They look so good! Boo and I wrapped things up when we saw Cody and Hans at laser tag. What a great time we had!
More to tell later - so much going on, it's hard to keep up!
Love to all...


Having a picnic lunch and then a 'dip' in the river at Greenbriar.  Some 'dipped' more than others...  : |

Bethany and I at the top of the Sky Lift; just the two of us, and this was the
amazing view.  Below, our feet as we head back down the mountainside.  Whee!

Party time!

(Tried posting the other day; no luck, so I'll rewrite).
What a great party! We estimate about 70 people came by, and it seemed like they all had a terrific time! Bethany kept track of the karaoke (except that hour or two she was on the slip-n-slide), Hans was perfect as games master, and there was SO much food! Though I believe the chocolate fountain took the cake - pound cake, strawberries, pretzels, marshmallows...
Most of all Cody and I offer a HUGE helping of thanks and gratitude to my parents, without whom the party would not have happened. Thanks for always coming through for us, Mom and Dad! And also thanks to Josh's grandparents, Kyoko & Richard, for all the love and support, and for theirs and Bob and Michelle's desperately needed - and greatly appreciated - help cleaning up after the party. We are so blessed to have such a great family!
Love to all...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


to the class of 2012!  We'll see everyone on Saturday at the big party!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Best Friends!

Luis is here, and Josh is SO happy! I'm so grateful he was able to spend graduation with us, and hope they both have a terrific time. Plus now I have two strong lads to help set stuff up!

Pretty roof...

I really didn't think we'd be able to get a new roof on so soon after buying the house. But this new roof looks great, and I'm so excited! One mour big project of the list!

3,294 more to go...  : (

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pool, pizza & Perry

Hans' party was a big success, with just enough food, lots of splashing, and a pinata that had the poo beat out of it! We played frisbee in the pool, Hans loved his presents. He even got a stuffed Perry the Platypus.  A big thank you kiss to Bethany, Josh and Cody, for all the help!

What a day...

Getting ready for a great birthday party tomorrow, and still have Graduation on the brain. Bethany helped me get the cake ready for tomorrow, and in the morning we finish the details. I hope Hans has a great time and is a little surprised, too. Love to all - I'm exhausted!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Review of Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Image Stabilizer Telephoto Zoom Lens - U.S.A. Warranty

HAD to review this IMMEDIATELY!

By K-monster from Philadelphia, PA on 6/7/2012


5out of 5

Pros: Durable, Zoom responsiveness, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Sharp photos, Easily Interchangeable, Lightweight

Best Uses: Indoors/Low Light, Sports/Action, Wildlife Photos, Landscape/Scenery, Weddings/Events

Describe Yourself: Photography Student

Was this a gift?: No

First, if possible, I am in love with Adorama. I ordered this lens LESS than 48 hours ago, and have taken a couple dozen photos all ready because it arrived that quickly. I bought this because the reviews were generally great, and just renting it for 2 weeks would have cost half of the buying price. It made financial sense. But WOW! I just took pictures of moving wildlife - crisp, clean, and sharp - and my kids, outside riding bikes. I can't believe how FAST the zoom is - I feel like it's responding better than my main lens. And I came inside and took some pictures of my pets in low light, and at 0.5" shutter speed, I could hand hold with a sharp, focused picture! (My cats are lazy, so sleeping pictures are easy). I could not be happier with my purchase, and since I bought it for my oldest's graduation, I am now grateful and confident I'll get the BEST pictures possible - well, without spending all his college savings! LOL

hand-held, .5" shutter speed


Tags: Made with Product


Tags: Made with Product


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Hans!

More celebrating today - starting with lunch after church, where Cody joined us.  (He had been working, but finished early today).  Then a bike ride to the park for frisbee and fun, followed by a movie and popcorn at home.  Then another ride down to Norwood park, since the weather got beautiful while we were inside.  A wonderful family day overall, and thanks to everyone who called to wish Hans the best!

Here's Cody at the park...

Saturday, June 2, 2012


We're starting the celebration for Hans' birthday tomorrow. So we went bowling, then out for dinner, riding our bikes the whole way! It was a great day! Now Bethany is at a black-light birthday party until 11:00. I'm gonna have to watch out - my kids are getting to have better social lives than Cody and I.