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.

Sep 23 2007

George and Lori’s Wedding

George and Lori on their Wedding Day

We spent late afternoon and early evening in Dayton last night as Lori and George’s got married. It was very nice and we had a great time. The ceremony itself was different and I thought it was lovely. Jude and Noah didn’t really want to spend any time sitting down for the ceremony but they made friends afterwards with some other younger children and spent the rest of the evening running around furiously. That left Angie and I juggling watching them, trying to get them to eat, visiting with other members of the family, and eating ourselves. By 8:30 it was obvious that the boys were too tired and it was time to pack up and begin the trek home. We ended up getting home around midnight. We took some pictures. You can check them out here.

Sep 4 2007

Labor Day at the Hanlons’

Andrew, Dylan, and T.J. pull a tree out of Terry's pond

We got a surprise call from Dylan Monday morning. He was on his way up to spend Labor Day with his parents and invited us over for the afternoon. Having no plans of our own, we headed over around noon. It’s always good to see Dylan and he brought along Luke, who we hadn’t seen since the winter months. T.J. was home too, as was Terry’s dad, his sister Kate and her husband Bob. We spen a lazy early afternoon watching the kids play, grilling, listening to the Tribe, and enjoying the weather.

After a while, Jude asked Dylan about the pond. As we walked down to the show Jude, Dylan mentioned that a tree had fallen during a storm and was currently half-way submerged. We then embarked on a mission to remove the tree from the depths. Luckily, Terry had a borrowed come-along which we were able to secure to a tree (actually, the base of the tree that had fallen) and slowly pull the limbs out of the water. The whole process of pulling the tree out and then cutting it up took well over an hour, but it was good fun. For a short while we were those two little boys again, on some exciting (though rather trivial) adventure.

Pictures can be found here.

Aug 29 2007

Holmesville Homecoming 2007

We spent the later part of Saturday at the Holmesville homecoming. It was a pretty good time. I got to talk to Mr. Summers (elementary principal) who laughed at my belief that it was crows raiding my bird-feeder. He described starlings which are also black (for the most part) as the more likely culprits, as crows are much larger birds. I also got to spend some time with Kathy Haycook, a long-time friend and her beautiful daughter, Natalie. Pictures can be found here.

Aug 4 2007

Goodbye To A Friend


Red passed away Thursday. He was a great friend and companion; playful until the end.

Walks won’t be the same without you buddy. We’ll miss you.

Jul 31 2007

Michael and Megan Cerniglia!

Michael and Megan

We spent this weekend in Virginia for Michael and Megan’s wedding. Angie got off work around 5:30 PM and we ended up getting on the road around six. Angie drove the for the first couple of hours so I could do some reading. We switched around eight and I drove the rest of the way. Dad, Lawrence, and Laura Jeanne met us at the hotel entrance around 1:00 AM. The boys got a little excited. Jude and I didn’t end up getting to sleep until around two, Angie was less lucky. Noah kept her up until around three.

I was awoken the next morning by Jude arm smacking my leg. He demanded that we go downstairs for breakfast. So, we went. When we came back, Noah was ready for Angie to take him to breakfast. Jude went again. After breakfast, we spent some time in the (rather cold) pool. After drying off, we headed back to the room and got ready to take a trip to Uncle Ray and Aunt Linda’s.

We haven’t been to visit Uncle Ray and Aunt Linda since they moved into their new house. It is very nice. It was good to talk to Tony for a little bit. It was the fist time we’d seen him since his accident in Afghanistan. After consuming some of the best pizza I’ve ever ate, we took a brief trip home to rest up before the wedding.

Our shuttle arrived at the wedding (only) several minutes early. Lawrence was having problems waking up, or quitting Harry Potter, or something. Anyway, I spent most of the ceremony chasing Noah around…and desperately hoping that he didn’t head straight for Michael and Megan. The reception was beautiful. Noah spent a lot of the time dancing. I’m a little jealous of Lawrence, Charles, and Laura Jeanne, as they got to spend some time after the reception with the rest of the Cerniglias. I know they really enjoyed themselves.

Anyway, I’ve put up a gallery with some of the images that we took. You can check them out by clicking here, or by clicking on the image of Michael and Megan above. I know I’m a little late posting this, but my school work is keeping me pretty busy. Hey, the honeymoon isn’t even over yet, so I’m not doing too bad.

Jul 15 2007

A Ride on the Canal

For a while now, my father has been telling Jude and Noah that he’s going to take them on a canal boat ride. He’s done one better. Ellen’s home with Scarlett so it was the perfect time for everyone to jump in the car and take the short trip down south. I’m not sure how many times I’ve been on the ride, but it’s always worthwhile. The boys really liked the trip, and we just made it off before the skies threatened. We took some pictures, and if you’d like you can check out the gallery.

Jul 11 2007

Scarlett’s Baptism

Anthony, Ellen, and Scarlett

Sometimes you’ve got to wonder. We took a short, two day trip to New York to see our new niece, Scarlett get baptized. Although the trip started smoothly we ran into some problems later on.

We left around 4:30 in the afternoon on Friday (June 29th) and drive straight through. I was feeling pretty good as typically we leave a lot later than we plan, and in this case we got on the road as soon as Angie got home. We arrived in Queens around 2 A.M. At this point, Angie and I were interested in going to bed (we stayed at Angie’s sisters’ place,) but the boys were so excited to see Theresa that we didn’t actually get to sleep until 3:30 or so.

We spent the morning and early afternoon visiting with Theresa and then headed over (in exceptionally heavy traffic) to Anthony and Ellen’s house. Charles, Angie, and I had purchased a Trek road-bike for Lawrence as he had just moved to New York and really likes to ride. After the initial hug and kisses, we gave him the bike, which I think he really likes. After a big dinner the guys watched the United States under-20 soccer team play Korea and the girls took the kids to the park. We met up around 9 or so at an ice cream shoppe and had a nice (tiring) time. I ended up finding a parking spot back in queens around 12:30.

Sunday morning began with Noah waking up about thirty minutes before everyone else. This was a big development because after giving the boys baths and getting ready, we were unable to locate the car keys. After 40 minutes of searching, we found them in a bag (one of many) of clothes. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the church before Scarlett was baptized. It didn’t help that I thought that the church’s name included the word Xavier and instead it was Saviour. We got into the church just after the baptism. I was not happy.

After mass (read: after we finally made our appearance) everyone headed back to the house for a catered lunch. We had to leave around two because I had class and Angie had to work on MOnday. But, we enjoyed ourselves while we were there, and from the feedback I got from Ellen and Anthony everyone else did as well. It was nice to see everyone in New York (except for Jenny, who had travelled to England to see her favorite band) and to finally get to see the Staiano’s house. And, most of all it was great to see Scarlett, the beautiful new addition to our (extended) family.

Jun 18 2007

Backpacking Trip

Andrew, Charles, and Lawrence

Charles, Lawrence, Joe and I spent a couple days on the Appalachian Trail this past weekend. It was quite a trip. Joe had to drive in from Florida (around 14 hours) and we couldn’t leave until after my Thursday Statistics I class. We ended up meeting in a little town called Buena Vista about 15 miles from the trail at around 8:15 P.M. It took us until around 10:20 P.M. to get both cars in the right places (one at either end of our planned walk), on account of having to drive on two of the curviest roads ever (one of those being the Blue Ridge Parkway). Now, your average group of guys would have slept in the car, maybe set up the tents outside and waited until morning to begin hiking. Not us. Nope, having sat in cars all day, we were ready to do something, anything really. So, knowing full well that we had a 4 mile, +3200 foot climb in front of us; armed with headlamps and our new trekking poles, we happily began our ascent up The Priest at 10:49 P.M.

I’ve taken around 10 individual trips on the Appalachian Trail. Some more difficult than others. Charles, Lawrence and I have done some wild things; climbed waterfalls, 25 mile days, sprinted 2 miles to a shelter to avoid lightning. The trek up The Priest now ranks number one on that list. One of the longest climbs that we’ve every made, in the dark, in the fog no less. The A.T. is (at times) no more than a foot or so wide and can be hard to follow in the daylight. Our headlamps generally make it possible to hike at night. But, the dense fog put us in a similar situation to a driver driving in the fog at night; the fog simply reflected much of the light and the visibility was actually diminished.

A little more than three hours later and we had reached the summit (not much to see at 1:45 A.M.). After celebratory high-fives, we remembered that we now actually had to find a place to sleep. We pushed onwards, toward a shelter eight-tenths of a mile further (talking politics as we walked). Unfortunately for us, the shelter was full. We ended up tenting near the shelter. Joe got a fire going (really quite something in that weather) and Charles, Lawrence and I set up the tents. We fell asleep around 3.

Our hopes were that the rain would move out and we would be treated to two sunny days on Friday and Saturday. It was not to be. We woke up at around 11 in the morning to find more rain and fog surrounding our tent. Left with no other choice, we took down the (very wet) tents, packed up, and moved on. After such a big night our energy levels were pretty low. We only managed 8 miles on Friday. We stopped at the next shelter, filtered some water, made and ate dinner and were asleep by 7:30 P.M.

We awoke at 5:30 A.M. Saturday morning to the same type of weather we saw as we dozed off on Thursday night. More rain and fog. We got an early start (6:15) and had completed around 4 miles by 8. We took a break on Wolf Rocks and then moved on. Around noon, the sun was able to peek through. We found a cool place to eat lunch (Joe built another fire as we were still trying to dry out) complete with two swings and climbing tree. We made some calls home and stayed for a couple of hours (having 7 miles under our belts). At around 2 o’clock we packed up and began our walk out of the woods. The climb down into the gap (3000 feet) was a killer. My big toes felt as though they were about to fall off. I always dread the big uphill climbs. But, after we get off the trail I find myself convinced that the down-hills are even worse.

Jun 1 2007

Baby Scarlett Marcella


Scarlett And Mom

Anthony and Ellen had a beautiful baby girl on Friday, May 11 at 5:16 P.M. I know that they are so excited and the entire family feels blessed that Scarlett and mommy are in good health.

Ellen and Scarlett came home Tuesday and by all accounts are acclimating nicely. We will continue to be thinking about the Staiano’s as they adjust to the work that is parenthood.