The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘At Family Member’s Home’

Family Visits

I visited a few members of my family this past Tuesday and Wednesday. Bob is acting boss this week at work and was unable to accompany me.

Although I enjoy visiting with my brother and sister-in-law and their entire family at once, I feel a lack of quality time with individual family units.  I was in search of quality family time, with available family members, during my solo mini vacation.

I departed home at 6:45 am on Tuesday, May 2, and arrived at my middle nephew’s home at approximately 10:20 am. It was a windy (the wind was gusty at times) and rainy (off and on) drive through Brookville, Punxsutawney, Youngstown and Indiana to Jared and Sara’s house.

I never knew that there was a Youngstown, PA even though it most likely was put on the map during President Trump’s campaign and subsequent election.  Driving through Youngstown, I passed by the Trump House.  I didn’t stop to take a picture. On hindsight I should have stopped!

I visited with Jared and Sara and their two daughters from 10:20 am until 2:00 pm.  During this time I talked with Jared and Sara, met my 8-day-old great niece Emma for the first time, and played with Kyla.  It was also the first time I had visited with Jared and Sara in their home.

Jared, Sara and I talked about a variety of things e.g. Kyla’s likes/dislikes, how my grandchildren and stepdaughter were doing…Emma’s birth…Bob and my vacation plans that include a week in the Outer Banks, which introduced a conversation regarding a cruise vs. a beach vacation..that we will see each other again in July at Jim and Judy’s camp…Jim’s construction work on the camp…Stacey’s vacation in Hawaii/scuba diving. There was very little lack of conversation during the entire visit.

I held Emma for at least 2 hours.  She slept the entire time that she was in my arms.  When Emma pooped, I handed her over to Jared. He changed Emma’s diaper and then fed her.

_XZ209058-day-old Emma

Sometime after my arrival and when Emma awakened from her nap, Kyla fell asleep.  When Kyla awakened from her short nap and Emma had been fed, I took a few more pictures.

_XZ20911Jared, Sara, Kyla and Emma

_XZ20910My two youngest great nieces
Kyla will be 2 years old in a few days.

Kyla has a ride-on bug.  I played with Kyla on the floor. She rode the bug, and we chased each other (with me on my hands and knees) around the room.

XZ020924Kyla and I

Too soon, it was time for me to leave.

From Jared and Sara’s house, I drove to Kittanning PA.  The drive to Kittanning was somewhat eventful. A tree branch was snapped from a tree and flew through the air like an arrow toward my moving car! The branch flew over my car, landing on the other side. Thankfully, the branch did not hit my car! It was good, too, that there were no other vehicles around me at the time. A little farther on my drive, Route 66 was closed due to an accident. I am thankful that the GPS rerouted me! I was about 25 miles from Kittanning at the time.

I checked into Quality Inn Royle in West Kittanning at approximately 3:30 PM. I cashed in a free night (10,000 points) for my night’s lodging. I relaxed in my hotel room until 5:15 pm. I met my brother and sister-in-law at Kings Family Restaurant around 5:45 pm. We had a wonderful visit, just the three of us, while we ate dinner.

XZ020925Jim and Judy at Kings Family Restaurant

I returned to the hotel around 7:45 pm. I video chatted with Bob for a short time, wrote in my journal, and went to bed soon afterward.

I awakened the next morning at 6:00 am, after a good night’s sleep.

My hotel room accommodation included a complimentary hot breakfast. I ate breakfast around 7:00 am.  I relaxed in my room until it was time to leave to go to my oldest nephew’s house.

I arrived at Michael and Kailey’s house around 9:00 am. I visited with Kailey and my youngest great nephew for the next almost 3 hours.  As was the case with Jared and Sara, it was also the first time I saw where Michael and Kailey lived.

Oliver was taking a nap on the couch, when I first arrived.

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Oliver taking a nap

Oliver awakened within 30 minutes of my arrival.

_XZ30935-EditOliver and I

_XZ30941Kailey and Oliver
Oliver will be 1 year old in July.

_XZ30942Oliver is such a happy baby!

During my visit I played with Oliver, and Kailey and I chatted. We talked about shows we watch on TV. I think I interested Kailey in “Longmire” and “The Man in the High Castle”. We talked about upcoming vacations.Michael, Kailey and family will be vacationing at a campground in Maryland in July. We talked about a few opportunities for us to get together again…my granddaughters’ birthday party later this month…Oliver’s 1-year birthday party in July…CelebrateErie in August.

I was not able to spend time with Michael, Kaleb and Anna this visit.   Mike was at work, and the two older children were at school.  My brother and sister-in-law have one more child, a daughter, who lives at least 1,000 miles away with her husband and daughter.  Emily wrote that anytime I want to make a road / plane trip to her house, I have a place to stay!  I responded that I may take her up on that offer of a place to stay one day.

I left Kailey and Oliver around 11:45 am and began my drive home. I hadn’t made it too far, when I saw an accident…not along my route. The accident was near the intersection of Route 66 to New Bethlehem and Route 422 toward Indiana, on Route 422. I saw a small red truck on its roof. I was going towards the left lane to get on Route 28/66 toward New Bethlehem. I got only a quick glimpse…traffic was beginning to back up and there were several flashing lights and then the vehicle sitting on its roof. Later I learned that there were no injuries, only damage to the truck.

I returned home shortly before 3:30 pm, after making several stops along the way.  I stopped for lunch at Burger King in New Bethlehem.  I made a bathroom stop at Kwik Fill in Marienville.  I stopped in downtown Warren, picked up my stepdaughter Stacey, and drove her to the dentist.

What a wonderful couple days I had!  I found the quality family time that I was in search of.  I hope that each family member whom I was able to visit with felt the same way.

 

 

On This Day in 2007 – Visit with Mom

The date was April 29, 2007. Bob and I visited with Mom at Concordia Nursing Home in Cabot PA, where she had been living for the past 2 years.  Most of our visit took place inside the home, in the living room.

MomVisit200704_002Bob took this picture of Mom and me during our visit.

Mom seemed alert this visit.  I talked with Mom about the company store in Cadogan, Mr. Kettering and his granddaughter Laurel.  Cadogan PA is where Mom lived most of her life.  She worked for several years at the company store, when my brother and I were youngsters.  Mr. Kettering was the owner of the company store.  Mom remembered going to Pittsburgh with Mr. Kettering on shopping trips for the company store.  She remembered that Laurel and I were summer playmates, saying that Laurel and I would play together in the store’s basement and in the attic.  I mentioned that Aunt Sis had telephoned me too.  It looked like Mom’s eyes lit up when I mentioned her sister’s name.  Before leaving I gave Mom a hug and told her that I loved her.  Mom told me that she loved me.

I am so thankful that I have these memories.

Thirty weeks plus one day later, on November 26th, Alzheimer’s Disease claimed the life of my mother.  I love you, Mom.  I will always love you.

 

Our Christmas

Our Christmas began on Wednesday, December 23.  We celebrated Christmas with my stepdaughter and two granddaughters on that day.  Stacey and the girls arrived at 2:00 pm. We ate Christmas dinner: turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and for dessert pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding and chocolate chip cookies.  After dinner, and after the kitchen had been cleaned up, we exchanged Christmas gifts.  Our granddaughters left around 4:15 pm, when their paternal grandmother picked up the girls to take them to church.  Stacey left about an hour later.

It was just Bob and me for Christmas Day.   Bob and I decided not to exchange gifts this year, opting to make our Eureka Springs vacation in September our Christmas present to each other.  We didn’t have a white Christmas.  It wasn’t even a chilly Christmas, as the temperature rose into the 50s.  In the afternoon Bob and I went for a long walk at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Jamestown, NY.  We walked all three trails. The orange trail is 1 mile in length; the yellow trail is 2 miles in length; and the blue trail is .5 miles in length. We didn’t follow each trail individually, so we didn’t walk the entire 3 ½ miles in trail. It would be reasonable, though, to say we walked more than 2 miles, probably close to 3 miles!

20151225_175810329_iOSBob and I on one of the trails at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary
If you would like to see more pictures from our walk, you may do so by clicking here.

We ate Christmas dinner at Variety Buffet, a local Chinese restaurant that we have eaten at the past couple Christmases.
Bob and I celebrated Christmas with my brother and family at his house the day after Christmas.  We left Warren at 10:00 am and arrived in Cadogan around 12:30 pm. Our nephew, Jared, and his wife Sara and their daughter Kyla had arrived earlier in the day.  I had plenty of Kyla time (and time with Sara and Jared) before the arrival of Judy’s brother, Donald, and his wife Gina and Judy’s mother, Lois, and our nephew, Michael, and his wife Kailey and their children Kaleb and Anna.

We ate dinner at 3:00 pm.

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Our Christmas dinner included ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, Amish noodles, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce. For dessert we had a choice of pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, and brownies. Dinner was served buffet style, with us taking our filled plates into the living room and den to eat. Dinner was delicious.

Gift opening commenced at 4:00 pm.

The last activity before we departed for home was a sock exchange, in which Judy, Gina, Lois, Sara, Kailey and I participated. Each of us filled a pair of fuzzy socks with stocking stuffers, the contents of which were not to exceed $20.00. We sat in a circle holding the socks that we brought. Jared read a Christmas story that I found on the Internet. Every time the word RIGHT was read, everyone passed her gift to the right. Every time the word LEFT was read, gifts were passed to the left. Each person kept the gift held at the end of the story. I give kudos to my sister-in-law, Judy, for suggesting the sock exchange.  We had the best time passing around our socks!

Bob and I left for home around 6:15 pm and returned home around 9:00 pm. It was an enjoyable day. Too bad that our niece, Emily, and her husband Dan and their daughter Elise couldn’t be there with us.  Emily, Dan and Elise live about a 1.000 miles away–a bit too far for a day’s drive!

I put together the following collage of some of the photographs that I took, while at my brother’s house.

Family_Christmas_portrait-16x20-vertical-02
 (top row) l-r: Lois and her great granddaughter; Michael and his family
(middle row) l-r: My brother and sister-in-law with their grandchildren; Donald and Gina
(bottom row) l-r: Emily and her family; Jared and his family

There is one picture included in the collage that I didn’t take. I downloaded one of Emily’s Facebook pictures. Dan, Emily and Elise were not with us in person. They were, though, with us in spirit!

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It is now the last day of the year 2015.   Happy New Year to each and every one of you.  Here are my wishes for you in the new year:

“Great beginning for January…
Love for February…
Peace for March…
No worries for April…
Fun for May…
Joy for June and July…
Achievements for August…
Harmony for September…
Good fortune for October and November…
Happiness for December…”

~Author Unknown

Day at Camp

Yesterday Bob and I took our granddaughters to my brother and sister-in-law’s camp, located near St. Mary’s, PA. We picked up the girls at their house at 9:00 am. It warmed my heart, when I saw Harper and June sitting on their porch step waiting for us. Stacey said the girls were very excited to go with us to camp.

We arrived at camp around 10:30 am. The drive to camp was uneventful. The girls stayed awake for the entire 1 ½ hour drive and did well entertaining themselves with the books and small toys that were available in a basket between their seats.

Harper and June’s activities at camp included swinging on a tire and on a swing; playing hide ‘n seek and story time with Kaitlyn.  A guy, who has a camp two camps up from Jim and Judy’s camp, had captured recently three rattlesnakes nearby.  I am glad we didn’t come across any rattlesnakes, while at camp! While playing hide ‘n seek, an older girl was with Harper and June at all times just in case they came upon a snake!  Another fun activity was making Styrofoam snowmen.

 

Making_a_Styrofoam_Snowman
Making Styrofoam snowmen

It was Christmas in July at camp this year.  Dinner, which we didn’t stay for, was going to be turkey and all the trimmings.

LJG16298 4x6
A small part of the hill across from camp was decorated for Christmas.
My sister-in-law gave Harper and June a reindeer and snowman to take home,
when we left camp at the end of our visit.

Oh, and I have to share a dialogue that my great niece, Anna (seen in this photograph helping Harper tie her shoes), and I had.  When Harper and June changed into their swimsuits, Judy gave each of them one of Anna’s shirts to put on as a coverup.  Anna was not around at the time.  Anna noticed Harper’s shirt later in the day.  Here’s how the conversation went between Anna and me.

Anna:  I have a shirt similar to the shirt that Harper is wearing.

Me:  Oh?  How is your shirt different?

Anna (after a short pause):  It doesn’t have a heart on it.

Me:  Do you have a shirt similar to the one that June is wearing?

Anna:  No; I don’t have a purple shirt.

We brought Harper and June’s 3 wheelers with us.  Jim and Judy had a couple 3 wheelers and a ride-on jeep at the camp.

LJG16297 4x6Harper and June and these two boys had a fun time riding round and round.

 

We didn’t stay for dinner, but we did eat lunch at camp.

LJG16300 4x6This was the children’s table.

Lunch included hot dogs, sausage, butterfly steaks, Buffalo Chicken Dip with chips, raw vegetables, and fruit.

After lunch (and changing into swimwear), we walked down to the creek.

LJG16307 4x6

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LJG16318 4x6The kids dropped their Styrofoam snowmen into the creek.

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LJG16322 4x6Whose snowman would reach the finish line first?

June’s snowman made it to the finish line first!

This was the second year that Bob and I have taken Harper and June to camp.  The girls were much more brave in the water this year than they were last year.

 LJG16344 4x6Harper and June braved the cold water and sat down in the creek!

 

LJG16346-2 4x6Thank you, Amber, for helping me to keep an eye on the girls in the creek!

Another highlight from a day at camp was when Harper and June met a friendly giant.

Harper_June_TroyHarper and June were enamored with Troy.  I think the feeling was mutual.

We left camp around 4:00 pm and dropped off Harper and June at home around 5:30 pm.  The day at camp wore out Harper and June.  The girls slept all the way home!

Three-Year Birthday Celebration

Saturday afternoon Bob and I attended our great niece’s third birthday celebration.  Elise’s birthday party was held at her maternal grandparents’ house from 2:00 pm through 8:00 pm.  The party was well attended by family members, for the most part.

M1101976 4x6This is our great nephew, Kaleb.  Kaleb is Elise’s cousin.  When Kaleb and I hugged each other, I told him how tall he is getting.  Kaleb’s response?  “I am 9.”  I guess being 9 years old means you are tall.

M1101977-New Year's Portrait - 01

This is Elise, the birthday girl.  When I took this picture, Elise’s mother (our niece) was holding her, and Elise was looking back at me.  As soon as I took this picture, Elise became shy.  She laid her head on her mom’s shoulder and looked away from me.

M1101981+M1101982+M1101983-seniors-template-15In this sequence of pictures, everyone sings “happy birthday” to Elise and then she blows out her candles.  I love Elise’s expression, while everyone is singing happy birthday to her.  She appears to be in awe that everyone is singing to her.  Elise’s smile, after she successfully blows out the birthday candles, is a favorite picture as well.

IMG_3543In this photograph Elise and others are eating birthday cupcakes.  Our great niece, Anna (Elise’s cousin), is sitting on the right hand side of the picnic table.

It was a 2-hour drive for Bob and me to attend the party.  Thankfully the weather cooperated, and we didn’t see any wintery precipitation during our drive there and back home.  We arrived shortly before 2:00 pm and stayed for a couple hours.

Happy birthday Elise!  Uncle Bob and I are happy that we were able to celebrate your birthday with you!

Our First Day Trip with our Granddaughters

Bob and I took Harper and June on a day trip to my brother’s camp, located near St. Marys PA.   It was the first day trip that we had taken the girls on.  The girls did very well both in the car during the 1 ½ hour ride each way and while at the camp.

We picked up Harper and June at Grandma Chris’s house at 9:00 am on Thursday, July 10, and arrived at the camp around 10:30 am.  June fell asleep for about 30 minutes, while en route camp. Harper stayed awake the entire time. Both girls did well in the car during the ride to camp.

Soon after arriving at camp, we walked to the creek at the end of the camp road.

WP_20140710_003Harper, June and I are at the end of the camp road.  I had just removed the girls’ socks and boots.  The girls had gone into the creek, wearing their socks and boots.  The water was deeper than it looked, though, so to avoid getting the insides of their boots wet, I removed Harper and June’s socks and boots.

There were several people at the camp, while we were there. In addition to Jim (my brother) and Judy (Jim’s wife), our niece Emily was there with her daughter Elise.  Emily brought her nephew Kaleb and her niece Anna to camp too.  Friends of the family — John, Amber and Amber’s niece Brooke — were there too.

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P7106156 4x6

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Everyone had fun playing in the creek!

P7106164 4x6It was time for lunch,
so we walked back to camp.

P7106165 4x6
June held Grampa’s hand,
while Harper walked independently back to camp.

E7131760 4x6This is my brother’s camp.

We had a picnic lunch, outside, right in front of the camp.  The children had peanut butter sandwiches, while the adults ate cold cut sandwiches. A variety of fruit was available, as well as a pasta salad.  The girls ate pretty well.  Harper pretty much finished what was on her plate. June was picky. She liked what was on my plate more than what was on her own plate. Between what was on June’s plate and my plate, June ate well too.

After lunch, the children played some more.  We brought Harper and June’s trikes to camp.  In addition to the girls’ trikes, there were other riding toys and a tire swing as well. Although I have photographs of only Elise and Harper on the tire swing, all three girls enjoyed swinging on the tire.

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P7106169 4x6

We departed the camp around 2:00 pm and made it to Harper and June’s house around 3:30 pm. Both girls fell asleep on the way home. Harper was sleeping before we had even left the camp road. She slept all the way home. June slept, too, but she took about 30 minutes before she fell asleep.

It was a great day. I am happy that we were able to take the girls to the camp.

Surprise!

Bob and I went for a motorcycle ride on Saturday, May 24. We had only one destination in mind, when we left home – Lutzs Leather, located a couple hours’ ride south.

We made two stops en route Lutzs Leather. Our first stop was at Fountain Park in Franklin PA to stretch our legs.

P5245194 4x6The A.G. Egbert Memorial Fountain is the centerpiece of Fountain Park.  The fountain was constructed in 1896 in memory of Albert G. Egbert, a local physician and one-time member of Congress.

In addition to admiring the fountain, I liked the beauty of this white-blossoming tree.

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Our second stop was in Slippery Rock, at Sheetz, to fuel up. Our stop at Lutzs Leather was not long. Bob tried on a couple leather coats and found one he liked. Bob now owns a new leather coat. This coat “breathes”, a feature he is most happy about.

We decided to go from Lutzs Leather to The Chief Bar and Restaurant in Kittanning PA (another hour’s drive) to surprise six of my high school classmates who were meeting there to plan our 40th high school reunion.

IMG_2722
Everyone was pleasantly surprised!
With the exception of one classmate, I hadn’t seen the others since high school graduation.

Bob and I not only surprised my high school classmates with a visit, we surprised my brother and his family with a visit. Before leaving The Chief Restaurant, I telephoned Judy to see if she and Jim were home and available to get together. We made plans to meet in a couple hours. With those plans in place, we made arrangement for a night’s stay at the Quality Inn. When we left home, we didn’t know whether or not our day’s journey would include an overnight stay. We packed a change of clothes just in case. Our visit with Jim and Judy lasted a couple of hours. In addition to visiting with Jim and Judy we were able to visit with our niece, Emily, and her daughter Elise, as well as with our great nephew Kaleb and great niece Anna. The eight of us ate a picnic dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, baked beans and fruit salad.

IMG_2728Anna and Elise

IMG_2732Kaleb got to sit on our new motorcycle.
By the way, Bob is wearing the new leather coat that he purchased at Lutzs Leather.

It was a good day. It was great to see everyone!

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