Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nana's House: Where Cousins Become Best Friends

The Buchanans came to visit on July 27th and so we've been having lots of cousin fun with the Hammers. It's mass confusion ~ or what this Nana likes to call "happy chaos." What follows are random pictures of cousin fun at home, Pirates' Island, Riverside pool, and the mall playground.

Two frogs and a pink zebra ~ in their new towels from Nana

Sophie Lynn and sidewalk chalk

Andrew and sidewalk chalk

Andrew and Connor at the Dinosaur Playground at the mall
~ Andrew is saying "I'm the King of New York!"

Too much fun: the Hammers crashing on the corner sofa

Papa and the kids at Pirate Island
Isn't that one handsome grandpa?!

The parents at Pirate Island

The loot acquired at the arcade

Uncle Brian

Uncle Michael

Andrew enjoying a marshmellow ~ pre roasting

Cute granddaughters in matching rainbow shirts

On the swings!

Ayden and Connor enjoying s'mores

Backyard fun with the fire pit

Abby and Sophie

Connor, Abby and Nana at Riverside

Abby and Sophie lovin' on Annie ~ and Andrew's curly hair

The costume box is a big hit at Nana's

Skeleton Andrew

Uncle Bri and Abby

Abby enjoying chicken fingers at Riverside

So many great memories!
It's all good!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sundance Summer Theater

On July 30th we were invited by Lexus to a BBQ and musical at Sundance. Since Rich was out of town, Laura and I had a date. It was a lovely summer evening with yummy food and a good musical: The Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in a beautiful setting. And I got to share it with my daughter.

The first video on my blog:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Two weeks ago Laura was cleaning her house in anticipation of my visit. Well, she's coming here next Tuesday and I am currently trying to finish up some projects in anticipation of her visit. There's nothing like having visitors come to give you the motivation to really get some stuff off your to do list!

Fortunately, I have had a lot of help from Brian and Michael this week.

Brian was my go to man for the playset. When we bought it used I had some big plans for it and they are complete this week with Brian's help. First, he stained it and it looks just beautiful. Next he filled the sandbox with sand. I even got some new sand toys, but I definitely need more since there's only one shovel. Then he helped me cover the picnic table and benches with vinyl. We padded the benches with foam and then covered them with the vinyl. And the vinyl tablecloth is stapled on so it won't blow away. I think the gkiddies are going to love it!

My next project was the window wells. I cleaned them out from the inside a couple of weeks ago and this week Michael and Brian hauled 1000 lbs of river rock in 50-lb bags to put in the window wells. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Last October we got the grates to put over the window wells, but I wasn't happy until they were cleaned out and had new rock.

from the inside

from the outside

we also added rock to this spot by the outside entrance to the basement where we keep the ladder

This morning I washed all the outside windows. A few years ago I bought some professional window washing equipment and I had all the windows washed in less than 40 minutes!

I'm getting the carpets cleaned on Friday and then I'll be ready for my visitors!

New York Trip July 2010

We had a wonderful week-long trip to New York.

We flew into JFK where Laura picked us up and took us to their new home. It was so fun to see the gkiddies in the front window watching for us. And we met our grandpup, Bristol. We paid a pretty penny to change our tickets to Saturday so that we could spend an extra day with Laura's family, (they moved to a bigger house since we first purchased our tickets and so we decided to go a day earlier) and while I was sitting at their kitchen table eating lunch with Abby beside me saying over and over, "I wuv you, Nana," ~ well, it was worth every pretty penny! It became a joke on the trip that Abby always said, "I wuv you, Nana," while we were eating a meal, I asked her if she wanted to condition me to eat more? Both Abby and Andrew have trouble saying "L" so they use a "W" instead ~ it's very charming and lovable!

views of the city as we were driving in from Tuckahoe

it still makes me sad not to see the twin towers on the skyline

We drove into the city Saturday evening and enjoyed pizza at Lombardi's, cajun corn on the cob and got some rice pudding to take home. We stopped at the Brooklyn Bridge for a photo shoot.

On the mirror at Lombardi's:
Welcome to America's First Pizzeria enjoy your slice of history

Rich, Connor and me in front of the Brooklyn Bridge

Gotta love those Gothic Arches!

Connor taking a picture of Papa Rich

Papa Rich with Lady Liberty in the background

On our road trip to upstate New York we decided to stop in Harmony, Pennsylvania to see the site where the Priesthood was restored and Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were baptized on the banks of the Susquehanna River. It was a little difficult to find, in spite of having printed maps from mapquest and two iphones working! But we did find it and we were happy to see such a significant place in the history of the Church.

Papa Rich and Andrew

Upclose and cute

the rocks in front of us are the remaining foundation of the home that Joseph and Emma lived in when they were translating the Book of Mormon, lost their first baby and received the Priesthood

along the banks of the Susquehanna River

the gkiddies finding a rock to keep to remember our visit here

The grave of Joseph and Emma's first son

Our first day in the area we got to spend some time with Michael. Michael had the awesome opportunity to be in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. It was a wonderful experience for him, and for us to be able to go and watch him. Monday we picked him up from his dorm at Hobart College in Geneva, NY and went to the Peter Whitmer Farm where the Church was organized on April 6, 1830. We took Michael out to lunch with us and then back to his dorm. As we were dropping him off he said the cutest thing: "I almost hate to go home. I'm in a bubble here with the happy, church people."

the Peter Whitmer cabin

upclose and cute

Swimming at the hotel pool is always a hit.

Laura swimming with Connor sporting the "George Washington" do

Andrew and Abby enjoying the safety of the stairs

Connor and Nanajan riding "noodle bicycles"

Hot tub fun with Papa Rich

As everyone knows you don't use THE when taking about the Hill Cumorah Pageant ~ it's just PAGEANT to those who know and love it. There is an amazing spirit at pageant, all the church history and the good people who are voluteering there to share the gospel. Everyone is so kind and happy. My husband wrote a nice essay on his blog about the contrast between the protesters who are trying to disrupt pageant, but can't succeed in taking the spirit from the happy Mormon people. Rich and I went all three night that we were there and loved it every single time.

I love these boys, especially the one on my right!

the "Sams" sharing the gospel before the show with the beautiful sunset in the background

Michael and his friend Braden were both cast as Sam, Nephi's righteous older brother. Michael was "vision Sam" appearing in Lehi's vision and partaking of the fruit. Braden was "wilderness Sam" appearing in the wilderness, ship and promised land scenes. They also were both part of the scene protesting Samuel, the Lamanite and were on victims of the destruction before Jesus visits America.

Laura's family with Michael after the show

Jenny flew in to join us on Wednesday. She's always a delight. The kids just love her and we were so happy to have her there. Also, she was able to drive home with Laura and spend a few days with her in Tuckahoe.

Jenny and Andrew making a Connor sandwich

My aunt and uncle, KaJeen and Stan Barlow, live in Ithaca, NY so it was a treat to get to see them and two of their children and families. KaJeen is only four years older than me, so she's more like a sister and our children and grandchildren are the same ages (all cousins once removed). Unfortunately, Shay and Tirzah's baby, Jude, has been in the ICU for nine weeks unable to breath without a ventilator and no diagnosis yet. Rich and I were able to visit them at the hospital and meet their adorable 9-month old baby. We are praying for his quick recovery. They joined us later at pageant along with Andra and Robby and their three children. It's always wonderful to reconnect with extended family and we appreciate their coming to pageant on our last night there so we could visit with them.

We also met my cousin's son, Elder Jess Humphreys who is serving for four more weeks in the Rochester Mission. Michael met him before we got there and said to us that he is a really great missionary ~ and Michael would know after serving three years with us in the Korea Daejeon Mission.

We also got to meet up with one of our missionary office couples we served with in Daejeon ~ the Scheepsmas, who live in Elmira, NY. It's so wonderful reconnect with our missionaries!

We were able to walk through the Sacred Grove twice and visit the Palmyra Temple. It is a beautiful, sacred place and the Spirit can be felt there. Even the children could feel it and they were so good to walk quietly with us even though the humidity and heat were quite oppressive.

Laura and her kiddies in front of the Smith's log home

the Smith farm with the Sacred Grove in the background Isn't that sky beautiful?!

pretty blue flowers in the Sacred Grove

Now Abby and Andrew are making a Jenny sandwich!

Cutie patooties

there was a Korean family on our tour and Rich enjoyed visiting with them in Korean

new Korean friend

Abby, Connor in front of the fireplace where Joseph hid the gold plates

the beautiful sacred grove

the Palmyra Temple from the Sacred Grove

the Sacred Grove from the Palmyra Temple

Jenny in front of the temple

We don't love McDonald's food, but the gkiddies are always asking to go there, so we did a couple of times on this trip. One time when we stopped at the one nearest Palmyra we were all hot and sweaty so the four adults got large drinks. As the cashier at the drive-through handed the four large drinks to Rich, not securely placed in a carton, they all spilled all over him and the car. It was crazy! And then she kept handing replacement drinks and we were trying to clean up all the soda that was literally all over Laura's new van. Fortunately, we laughed it off and went on with our day. But I thought it poignant to think about that little mishap while also realizing that Shay and Tirzah have been staying at a Ronald McDonald house for nine weeks while their baby has been hospitalized and how grateful they are for that home away from home.

I couldn't end the post on this trip without mentioning a continuing fun family tradition. When our kids were little and we went on road trips, Laura and Mary would always sit in the back and sing songs from Broadway musicals. I loved hearing them belt out the tunes. I really loved when they sang "The Confrontation" from "Les Miserable!" Well, the tradition lives on! Laura's kids know all the words to the music from "Newsies" and it's so fun to hear them belting it out while we're on the road. On this trip we added "Saturday's Warrior" to their repertoire. Good times!

beautiful sky and clouds from the plane on the way home