Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19~Winter is Here~

I would be the first to say that I LOVE winter, but even I have been taken aback by the abruptness of this recent snow and cold snap.  It has provided for some lovely landscape photos and because of cold, cold temperatures the sunrises and sunsets have been spectacular. Unfortunately, you can't stand to be outside to enjoy them for very long.  I guess that is why we have windows.
Monday morning view from our front deck
American Goldfinch
This little bird just recently returned from their nesting grounds in northern Canada, could it be this little Dark-eyed Junco's fault that we had early snow?  He is commonly called a "snow bird"

The Little Darby
The last few weeks have been rather emotional for me.  Rae LeCompte died on the 22nd of this month, exactly one month after my dad died.  She was many things to me as I recall our long association spanning nearly 51 years.  I had Rae as my PE teacher when I was an 8th grader at West Jeff  and she was a coach and mentor to me throughout high school.  I credit her with helping me to see the endless possibilities that were ahead of me.  My college choice of Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee was no surprise, it was Rae's alma mater. My major was physical and health education with minors in biology and music.  I was fortunate enough to be hired to teach PE at West Jeff at the middle school level and for awhile I worked with Rae until she moved to the high school to teach biology.  At the end of my career Rae came back as an administrator for the middle school and she became my boss.  It is safe to say that Rae was the most influential person in my life with my Grandpa Wilson being a very close second.  I could not have modeled my life after a more beautiful person.  Her Memorial last Sunday only served to show how many lives were impacted by Rae's teaching, counseling and friendships over her 77 years.  I will miss her deeply.
This is the sunrise from this morning over the Little Darby, I think of you, Rae.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sunday, October 12 ~Happy Birthday Luke

About a week and a half after Lily's CHOP Walk, Andy and I were driving back out to Dover to celebrate Luke's 7th birthday.  Seven sounds so old when you are talking about grandchildren but I guess time has a way of marching on in spite of our attempts to keep them young.  We drove out on a Wednesday and got a later start than usual because we were taking Evelyn with us and I didn't seem to allot enough time to get her ready.  I also had not factored in the extra stops that we would be making for potty breaks and since Andy was with us, our stop for breakfast at Cracker Barrell.  I also discovered that it takes at least 10 minutes when you leave because a 2 1/2 year old has to pick up or touch every thing of interest on the way through the gift shop.  Evelyn did finally fall asleep after our stop in Cumberland at the Dairy Queen and we pulled into Trish's driveway around 5 pm.  We were just in time to ride with them to Lily's gymnastics and Luke's parkour lessons.  Their classes were in the same gym and they overlapped so we were able to watch them both.  Lily oozes athleticism while poor Luke has to work twice as hard at everything he tries.  Parkour is a type of military training that includes obstacle courses and looks a lot like American Ninja Warrior.  It was fun to see the young, mostly boys throw themselves into a pit of foam and attempt pull ups. Cartwheels were a little dangerous as they would fling their legs into the air without looking to see if someone might be in the way.  Some of the older boys would do flips into the foam pit, Luke just dove head first and then climbed out with a big smile on his face. I was upset with myself that I left my good camera in my car and had to take pictures on my phone.
Lily on the spring board to the right

Luke is the first boy standing in line with a neon shirt with taco bell stains on the front.

Preparation for a cartwheel

Lily on the balance beam

On Thursday both kids had school and in the afternoon I took birthday cupcakes in to Luke's class.  His teacher, Mrs. Pennypacker was very nice and very young.  It appeared that she was a little more strict than Luke's kindergarten teacher, Mr. Davis but Luke likes them both and seems to do well in school.  Lily on the other hand would much rather be home-schooled so she never had to leave her mommy.
Luke's first grade class singing Happy Birthday while he stands in the middle.
Thursday evening, Luke had a t-ball game so we were treated to another athletic event.  The highlight of the evening was when Luke asked me to throw with him to warm up.  Oh, yeah, I hope he never grows up!

Under the lights
Luke didn't have school on Friday but Lily did so she was not a happy camper.  Trish did surprise her and pick her up at 12 instead of the usual 3 and we had a surprise birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese for family.  Evie absolutely loved Chuck E!  It was a lot of fun.

Mr Rockstar with his back up singers

Saturday was the day of the "real" party.  The weather was rather iffy and we held off on setting up the jumpy house until the last 15 minutes before guests were scheduled to arrive.  I'm not sure how many came but it was a lot.  The good thing is that when there are parties, the parents stay which adds extra sets of eyes to keep the rowdy boys in check.  Siblings also come so I think it would be safe to say that there were nearly 40 at the party.  The rain stayed away and the party was a success.
Ed is in charge of lowering the pinata

This year's theme, Pokemon

We held off on the jousting until the crowd thinned.

After the party we drove out to the farm for Luke's big present.  He was really surprised and thrilled when he saw his new 4 wheeler.  Lily scared us as she is more of a dare devil than her brother.  She even figured out how to shift into 2nd gear which gave us all a little scare.  Evelyn took a turn with Aunt Trish.

Evie even took her turn

Happy Birthday Luke!!
                                                     Hang on Dad, we're going for a ride!!
On Sunday we had yet another cake since the 12th was his real birthday.  I am still trying to lose the weight I put on over this 5 day birthday celebration!

Friday, October 3, 2014

September 28~Our CHOP Walk, Philadelphia~

After Dad's funeral on Friday we spent the day with family just reminiscing about years gone by.  We had dinner at the Red Brick Tavern, food was good but the service, mainly the wait time for the food to arrive at our table, was not so good.  However, the extra time just gave us more time to enjoy each others company.
Saturday morning I flew back to Dover with Trish.  I had decided that I wanted to participate with Lily in her 4th Cancer Walk and I invited Sharon to join us as our original trip had finished in Philadelphia for the walk.  Trish's car was still at the airport so we flew out at 6:45 and by 10 we were at her home in Dover.  In the afternoon, we drove up to Philly and checked in at the Windsor Suites on Ben Franklin Parkway.  We were looking for a place that carried the Big 10 network so we could watch the Ohio State vs Cincinnati game and decided on The Field House near the Philadelphia Convention Center. It turned out to be the perfect venue as we had a large table right in front of the big screen and there were a few arcade games nearby for the kids to play at while we watched the game and took turns playing games with Luke and Lily. The Buckeyes pulled off a win, Luke beat Gram at hockey and Chad made it up from the farm in time for dinner so there were multiple happy individuals in our group as we all packed into Chad's truck and rode back to the hotel.

Stopped for a photo at Love Park on the way to dinner, Peg started yelling, "Jesus, Jesus!", and low and behold behind us was a Jesus look alike walking in the fountain!
I think he may have been John the Baptist as he was actually convincing people to walk into the fountain to get baptized
The next morning we were up and ready for our walk.  This is our 4th year in the Four Seasons Parkway Run/Family Walk that supports pediatric cancer research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP for short).  Lily did her first walk at 16 months.  This year in April she got a great report after her scans, she is now considered a survivor!  The walk is a celebration of sorts for our family but it is also a very sobering experience as you see many that are walking in the memory of loved ones or those who have children undergoing chemo, some of which are being pushed along Ben Franklin Parkway in wheelchairs and hooked up to IV bags.  At the top of the Art Museum steps red heart balloons were released, and I can only guess, for a loved one.  But the walk also has an air of hope that someday there will be a cure for all pediatric cancers.  I am always so humbled to participate in the CHOP Walk and I thank those who supported me by their thoughts, prayers and donations.
Luke was not happy about wearing a shirt with a pink unicorn on it. And if Luke isn't happy, Lily isn't happy!

And Lily takes the lead!!

My favorite pic of Lily this year, she's on Carlo's shoulders!!

Team Lily 2014

Luke gets his second wind

Crossing the finish line

Sharon on her first CHOP walk

What a perfect day

Team Lily, minus Carlo and CJ, they were getting Dunkin' Donuts
After the walk we went back to our rooms and checked out and stored our luggage before hopping on the PHlash bus to head down to Independence Square.  We opted to eat at a different steak sandwich place and we all agreed that Jim's was better. Had a great afternoon seeing the sights before heading back to Dover in the evening.
Independence Hall

This year's Philly Cheese Steak (not as good as Jim's!)

But it was next door to a great little sweet shop. Luke got a FroYo with lots of toppings