Monday, November 26, 2012


New Year's Eve, 2011, just a few months before they discovered the cancer.
My dad's long time girl friend, Daniele, was diagnosed with cancer early this past spring.   She lost her battle with that cancer this morning.  My heart is aching, but I know my dad's heart is breaking.  I can only imagine how her son is feeling right now. Our consolation is that she's not hurting any more.  Once again, any and all of your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My 2011 Scrapbook is Done!

Oh man, it feels good to be done with my 2011 book!  Of course, I haven't even started on 2012...but I'll worry about that after Christmas.  :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sea World!

Thanks to the Anheuser-Busch Here's to the Hero's program, we were able to take the girls to Sea World while we were in Florida.  Mom and Wade went with us, and they brought along the girls' cousins, Veronica and Cecelia, for the day, and we met up with my step-brother and his family while we were there.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.  :)

And that concludes my coverage of our trip to Florida.  :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Surprise Party for my Grandmother

After the last family emergency, one of my cousins made the comment that we really ought to get together for fun, the way we used to, when my grandfather was alive, rather than gathering only when there's an emergency.  I agreed, and started the ball to rolling to turn my grandmother's birthday celebrating into a family reunion.
We came from all over for this shindig.  Zach came from Hawaii, I came down from Virginia, Aunt Monica came down from Ohio, and the rest of the family came from all over Florida: Orlando, St. Augustine, the Keys, and I don't even know where else.  This was the first time that she had all of her children in one place at one time in I don't know how long.  (All except my uncle Sherwood, who passed away just before I was born.)

Christine, Monica, Gramma, Kevin, (Kevin's wife, Linda), Siobhan (my mom) and Tex.
Uncle Kevin, the one who'd had that nasty stroke, was even able to come from the nursing home to be with us for a little while.

Just a few days after this, he left the nursing home for good, and is now back at home.
And I think it had been even longer since all of the grandchildren (my cousins) were together.

Clockwise from left: me, Nicholas, Heather, Merryn, Andrew, Alanna, Zachariah, and Gramma.
It had been a good five years, at least, since she'd last seen Zach at all.   

We got together as much of my great-aunt's family as we could.  I'm not sure about my grandmother, but for me, it had been a good fifteen years since I'd seen some of those people, and the rest of them I'd never even met!

There were so many people there, all come to reconnect with the greater family and to celebrate my Grandmother's birthday.  It was a surprise for her.  She'd been expecting just the normal gathering of local family, with the additions of my family and my Aunt Monica.  She was completely blown away when she realized what we'd put together for her.

I made the cake: double-layer, double-chocolate cake with peanut butter  and dark chocolate frostings.  What can I say?  I came by my sweet tooth honestly.)
I can't remember the last time I'd seen her so happy.

The party was a complete success.  Yay for family, and yay for reconnecting with the ones you love!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall Visit to Florida

We're not going to Florida for Christmas this year.  I was thinking that it would be good to stay at home and start building some family traditions of our own, but we were undecided until our friends set their wedding date for the beginning of March.  It didn't make good sense to go to Florida in December, and then again in February/March, so that settled it.  But we didn't want to wait until the end of February, either, so we made a trip down over Halloween.  It was really neat to get to do different things with the family this time.  Since we usually go over Christmas, we normally just do the round of Christmas-y things, but this time, we got to do Halloween-y things, like visiting the pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, and going trick-or-treating.

Cecelia, Merryn, Veronica, Alanna, Kaylie, me, and Elora.  :)

Halloween night was pretty crazy.  We actually went trick-or-treating with Mom, Merryn and Cecelia, and Alanna and Veronica as well as Rex and Kelly and their two children, but I only had a chance to get photos of half of the group--and none of us together.  We went first to see my uncle at the nursing home, then to my grandmother's, then we split up and Mom, Alanna, Veronica and Cecelia went to see Alanna's boyfriend while the rest of us went to see Brandon's parents.  I'd intended to do photos after all that, but before actual trick-or-treating, but by the time we got back to my mom's the light was too poor to do photos.  Boo.

blowing bubbles with Gigi
at the park with Gigi, Krystal and Thomas
Thomas, Krystal and Staria (Gigi)
We also spent a lot of time catching up with family, and just plain playing.  

at my Grandmother's

Sam and Tony--the newly-weds  :)

Elora, Carrie, Sam, me and Kaylie, on the day that they had to leave.  Don't let the smiles  fool you, we were all pouting.
It's hard to compress 2 weeks worth of photos, but here you are, the highlights.  There's a bit more, but it can wait for another post.  :)