Apr 12 2009

It’s Been a While

Hartzler House

Many of the photo galleries have been updated this evening. It’s been rather difficult to stay up-to-date due to the workload that I’ve been carrying; specifically work related to the doctoral program and trying to put together a house plan that would work financially. Since the last posting, a lot has happened. Noah has turned four, Jude has been through his kindergarten screening, our family went to a Cavs (versus Spurs) game, everyone from New York (both sides of the family) have came in this weekend for Charlotte’s baptism and Easter, and we have agreed to purchase a different property rather than build a house. Wow! So much has transpired that I will not be able to do justice to the true breadth of events here, but I can at least give a brief synopsis.

Noah’s birthday went well. Angie made a wonderful (alligator) cake (images of which can be viewed in Noah’s gallery). Uncle Ray was around that weekend and ended up getting Noah a gift that he and Jude have played with more than any other, a space shuttle type apparatus that can be taken apart and put together in a multitude of ways. (This is the sort of thing I couldn’t have quantified if I had posted on time…) There are also some nice pictures from Dad’s birthday party in February.

Jude’s kindergarten screening went rather well, I though (of course, I’m his dad…) The most memorable parts were the fact that Jude, when as a group the kids were to put the right colored crayon in a ziplock bag, continuously and repeatedly made sure (loudly) that the teacher knew that he had “one of those colored crayons”. Naturally, each child had the same colored crayons, but Jude wasn’t really aware of this reality…The other memorable tidbit was that when asked to point out his knee by one of the assessors, rather than pointing at the joint, Jue went into a rather long explanation of how he had tripped earlier in the day an hurt it (his knee). Lastly, when asked to state his middle name, Jude told the teacher that he didn’t know, but that he’d come back tomorrow with the answer…kinda’ funny.

The Cavs game happened more recently. We ended up having seats right next to Todd, one of the other pharmacists with whom Angie works. We were lucky in that the Cavs had lost two in a row (for the first time all season I believe) and therefore were very intense. The Spurs are a good team, but the Cavs took the apart. Since we arrived early, and since our group (Todd and his family arrived around the same time) was rather large, we ended up serving as a backdrop for some of the pre-game festivities. I had the camera and snapped some pictures of Gracie, Mommy, and the boys on the Jumbo-tron.

We also have celebrated Grandpa’s birthday recently. Unluckily, grandpa god sick the day of the party. But, he’s feeling better now (three days later) which is reassuring. Much of the time at grandpa’s party was spent visiting, as everyone from New York (Ellen, Anthony, Scarlett, Lawrence, and Laura Jeanne) were home, and Dorothy and Casey came down as well. It was a good time, and the kids have continued to visit both yesterday and today.

Both Jenny and Theresa came home for Easter as well. Josh, Laryssa, Max, William, and Ellise also came up from Columbus. We spent this afternoon at the Lackman’s coloring eggs and catching up. We’ll probably see them tomorrow as well, after Charlotte gets baptized. Theresa had a big day today, as her and Josh drove (back, in Josh’s case) down to Columbus and she purchased a brand new turbo diesel VW Jetta. What a beautiful car, I miss mine.

And then there’s the land. I had spent a good part of the first three months of this year pulling together contractors and putting together an estimate to build a timber frame home. We knew that the key to us getting approved was not going to be our gross income, but the loan-to-appraised value ration. But, before we had found out the result of the appraisal, I noticed that someone had purchase the piece of land that sits next to Charles’s and ours. He was timbering it and burning some of the limbs. I stopped, mostly because I wanted to be sure that he was on his property and not ours.

Through the course of our conversation, the young amish man mentioned that our neighbor had offered to sell him his house and land for a set price. He also told me that this individual had indicated that he had talked to an auctioneer and was planning on selling his property (25 acres in total) in three parcels, on of which would abut our property. This was problematic in that I really had always loved that piece of land and I wasn’t really enthused to have a driveway running the length of our parcel.

I ended up deciding to try to get in touch with the owner because of this concern. In the end, we decided that purchasing his home and acreage would be a better deal for us. Today, after roughly 3.5 minutes of negotiation, we agreed upon a price. I’m hoping that my calculations based on numbers pulled from the auditors Web site, and some fancy extrapolation are accurate. If they are, we did real well. If they aren’t, then I’ve learned a second painful lesson. Regardless, we love the property, and feel confident that we can make changes to the house that will make it our own.

Jan 2 2009

Christmas 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Well, Angie and I didn’t get Christmas cards out this year. You might want to get used to that…My sense is that we’re not going to be very good about that sort of thing, although, you never know. We very much enjoyed the cards that we received, especially those that included images of everyone’s families.

We had a good Christmas break. The boys were showered with gifts, including one XO laptop each (from Santa). Our family spent the majority of time either at my parents or at Angie’s parents. Angie had to work a lot, so she saw everyone a little less than last year.

The family went to the five o’ clock mass on Christmas Eve. We arrived around 45 minutes early, then struggled to save seats for Mom, Dad, Lawrence, and Will (Lawrence’s friend from COW). The showed up about five minutes before mass began, just as Father Steve came out as asked Jude and Noah to participate in the processional. Noah carried the ceramic baby Jesus around the parameter of the church and up to the alter. He then handed it to Jude who placed the figurine into the manger. Father Steve then mentioned the boys during his homily, indicating that I has sort of threatened them, essentially saying that if they dropped the baby Jesus, they would ruin everyone’s evening. After mass, Lawrence and Will came back to the Lackman’s with us. It ended up being a real nice evening.

Christmas went well. The boys woke up around 8:30 and we opened gifts soon after. The big evening at mom and dad’s was later in the week, on the 27th. The kids got together and bought them a new set of flatware, which I think mom really liked. We used it later in the week. Each of the families with kids (Angie and I, Charles and Laurie, and Anthony and Ellen) also exchanged gifts for each other’s children.

Christmas and Larry and Jeanne's

New Years Eve was spent at Lackman’s as well, up until around 11:00 PM, at which point Angie, Grace, the boys and I returned home. Midnight arrived as Angie worked through reading her latest novel (on her Kindle) and I spent time examining software on the web (typical evening). We had a real nice time New Years Day at mom and dad’s. Charles, Laurie and Charlotte came over as well and we all made and ate pizza while the boys mostly watched the Cartoon Network.

I spent a lot of break trying to get started on putting together a team of contractors who might be able to work together to build our house, which we hope to start around the first of June. I’ve made good progress, but we won’t know anything until the bids start coming in and we see if we can afford what we’d like to do. And now we are getting ready to get back into the rhythm of things, probably later than most of you who’ve already started working this new year. To be fair Angie has already done so, it’s Jude, Noah, and I who’ve been taking it easy and now have to adjust rather quickly to waking up and getting out of the house early again.

May 13 2008

Margaret Musselman’s First Communion

Margaret Musselman's First Communion

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but classes are over for a while and I wanted to get some more images up. We spent some time down in c-town (Columbus) with the Musselman’s for Margaret’s first communion. We had a great time, and it was nice to see everyone. Jude and Noah especially liked spending some time with Matthew. The ride up and back was fun, as I spent time working on a paper, and the boys got to chat (figuratively) with Sophia, who they hadn’t seen in a while. Anyway, I’ve uploaded some images, which can be viewed here.


Jan 21 2008

Noah Turns Three

Noah blows out his candles

We had Noah’s third birthday party yesterday. Both sets of grandparents came over, along with papa. Also, the Hooks made the trek up from Columbus. The party started mid-afternoon. It was nice for Jude and Noah to get to play with Max and William. Elise is growing quickly and there are some pretty funny images of her in the gallery.

Angie spent a boatload of time working on Noah’s cake. I would argue that this was her best effort to date. A soccer ball lying on some turf. She was up to three the night before finishing (I checked out around 1:15 AM). Everyone stayed until around four or so, but he Hooks stayed and made a day out of it. The boys played until around seven, at which point it was time to journey back to C-town.

Thanks to everyone who showed up. It made for a great day. I’ve uploaded some images. You can view them in the gallery.


Dec 27 2007

Christmas 2007

Stockings under the tree

I apologize for not posting in a while. I’ve been busy with graduate classes and just haven’t had the time. I missed posting some photos from Jude’s birthday. I’ll try to post a “year-in-review” post for New Year’s including some of the best images from the past year.

This part of the year is typically very busy for us as we live close to both of our families. We made to both Angie’s and my parents on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Additionally, we managed to attend midnight mass (as did both of our families) and open presents at our house on Christmas morning. Whew!

We spent the early part of Christmas eve at my parents house. The Staiano’s were in, as well and Laura Jeanne and Lawrence (also living in Brooklyn), and Laurie (who’s main focus is getting ready for her and Charles’s wedding). Dorothy and Casey were also there with their lovable (but large) dog Sampson. Angie had to work, but got off early which was very nice as it allowed her to spend some time over there as well. Before we left, we took a group picture of mom and dad with all of the kids and their spouses, and their children.

Christmas eve at the Lackman’s was very nice. Everyone other than the Musselman’s were there. Dorothy and Josh made a wonderful meal, and of course Jennifer had provided an abundance of baked goods for everyone to munch on throughout the evening. After dinner we exchanged gifts and sang Silent Night. The boys got awfully tired, and by the time we made it to the church, Jude was ready for bed. So much so, that he fell asleep after saying “hi” to Father Steve. We ended up in the basement of the church (the upstairs was full) which was a good thing. Noah spent the first part of mass wishing everyone a “happy Christmas”, and the latter half informing anyone of the family members that would listen that he wanted to go upstairs. After mass, grandma Dorothy took him upstairs to see the baby (Jesus) which made him very happy. Angie and I got to bed around 2:30 AM (the same time as the night before) after getting everything ready for the morning.

Christmas morning went smoothly. The boys woke up around 8:00 AM. After breakfast we opened gifts and then spent around an hour or so playing together. Angie helped Noah build things with his new Tinker Toys and I helped Jude get started with his Erector Set. The boys were pretty tired, so they spent some time lounging with mommy in bed before we got ready to go to Angie’s parents. Eventually we got ready to go and took the drive up to Apple Creek to say hi / bye to the Hooks, as well as to wish all of the Lackmans a merry Christmas. At around 3:30 PM we headed to my families for a Christmas dinner and more gift exchanging.

Ellen had worked all day to put together the meal, as mom wasn’t feeling well and had gifts to wrap. After dinner everyone pitched in to help clean up, then we migrated into the sun-room to exchange gifts. I must say, I was (and still am) a little overwhelmed by the amount of gifts everyone purchased for each other. I even made a list this year, and was still outperformed. Jude and Noah made out like bandits, but everyone did real well and the night was delightful. Grandma and Grandpa got the boys a Radio Flyer Wagon which, in addition to being a beautiful gift, was rather convenient as it allowed for us to package up all of their other gifts as a way of transporting them to the car. After another late night, we made it to bed around 11:00 PM. Unfortunately for Angie, she had to get up and work at 8:00 AM the next morning. The rest of us got to lounge around and take big naps. She’s recovered though, and feels much better today (two days later).

I’ve put together a compilation of the best pictures from the Christmas season. You can check them out here.

Jan 6 2007

Midnight Mass

It’s been a busy week. We spend a lot of time last weekend in Apple Creek with Angie’s family. Theresa and Jenny were home and the Hooks came up for Christmas. You haven’t really parented until you’ve taken a two and three year old to midnight mass after a full day of opening presents. Wow! We arrived fifteen minutes early to find that the church was already filled. I was kinda’ happy about this, as I thought that standing in the back of the church would allow us to move around with the boys if we needed to. Well, moving around helped for a little while, but by the time the readings started, the boys were ready to run around. I took Noah downstairs, as he as getting a little more upset, but he was having none of it. He wanted to get down and run around. He started crying which made things even worse.

Not ten minutes later Angie came down with Jude. At this point we kind of knew that our goal was to simply make it though the mass. We went into the downstairs reception hall where only a couple of families were watching mass on the large television. Of course, Jude and Noah wanted to climb on the benches and run through the rows of chairs that had been set up for the overflow. We went upstairs for communion, but then came back down right away. By the end of the service, both of the boys had their shoes off. They were still trying to run around. Angie and I wrapped them in blankets and took them out to the car. We didn’t even try to catch up with the Lackman’s to say goodnight.

The next morning (Christmas morning) we went up to the Lackman’s after we’d opened gifts (a subject for a separate post). Joe Lackman pointed out how few parents had choose to take their young children to midnight mass. I wonder if there was a message hidden in that comment…