Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas in PA

We traveled north to PA Christmas eve after church. Except for the car overheating on Afton mountain we had a good trip. I need to get the problem, apparently a slow leak in the overflow or a hose. I was glad I was led to pack a bottle of water. We pulled straight in to Ellen cHapel with ten minutes to spare before candlelight service. Arla and Gerald were there as well. Lily was very sweet and so glad to see us. Mom had to work Christmas morning so the kids had to wait for most of their gifts. We did give them a couple. Kevin took a 3.25 mile walk with Laura and I. It started sleeting, then turned to rain while we were out. After the walk Daniel joined us to get some free coffee to warm up at a convenience store. Arla and Gerald joined us for supper. Tina and family arrived while we were still eating. They had a plumbing problem or would have left earlier. We all exchanged our gifts after eating. The day after, Laura and I walked to Ollie's. We decided we could return to PA the following weekend giving us the see Kent coming up Thursday. So David and Lily decided they wanted to stay there with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Laura and I have to work today through Friday.
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Monday, December 18, 2006


I'll try to post a picture soon, but recently my family and I had the opportunity to sign one of the huge support beams for the new Freedom Tower in NYC to be built where the World Trade Center once stood. The day before Tina, Lily and I attended the ceremony with NY Gov George Pataki and other dignitaries. Yesterday that beam arrived in NY where it is on public display. It will eventually become part of the basement structure for the tower. Mom, dad, Brian, Faith were in town and able to sign the beams along with all of my family and Tina's. The PA part of the family was in town to attend the Living Christmas Tree on Friday night (12/8). I was the only one not able to attend because of work. Actually, Daniel decided not to go because he attended a nearby coffeehouse concert with a friend instead.

After church Sunday, the PA gang left and took Lily along. She'll get to be the total center of attentio now for two weeks without competition. All of us in VA plan to travel up right after Christmas Eve Sunday morning worship to be there in time for Christmas Eve candlelight service at Ellen Chapel. In emails from PA we hear Lily is doing great but we miss her here.

This past weekend we have seem to caught some stomach bug. Started with David on Friday, me on Saturday night and Laura Sunday afternoon. Hopefully will not get it or at least until his final exams are finished. Gotta go for now. Will try to post sooner in the future with not as much time between.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A full day

First yes, we celebrate the third anniversary of Lily's successful heart surgery at 17 days old. Laura and I were both off fortunately. We took Lily to toddler reading time at the public library. We then rushed to see David and his pre-K class with their costume parade. David dressed like a real super hero, a fireman. We then went to the park for a walk and exercise. Took some time for David and Lily to play on the playground. After picking up Daniel from school, we went to the mall where the kids could more safely get candy and they got lots! I then took them to Thomas Road's Kids Carnival while Laura took Daniel to a schoolfriend's house for a party. Then the four of us went to our new church location to help paint and clean and move stuff. We meet there for the first time this Sunday. Picked up Daniel and home after a long but fun day which we were glad we could spend together!
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Morning walk

Lily and I took a 3-mile walk in the park this morning ... breezy and cool ... so we then came home for hot chocolate.

More visits

Lily went along back to PA on Thursday with mom, dad, Kevin and returned to VA on Saturday with Aunt Faith and Uncle Brian. They spent the week here - great fun eating, shopping, video/board games... capped off with a little birthday party for Lily, who turned 3 on October 14.

October family visits

Mom, Dad and Kevin visited early in the month. We attended Liberty University Regents weekend activities. Met Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at one of the events. They all went along with David on his pumpkin patch field trip (along with Aunt Tina) the day they returned to Pennsylvania. Great fun.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Our August vacation

Brian and Faith visited us for a week in early August. When they went back to PA on Sunday, the 6th, they took Tina, her three children, and Lily along. David really enjoyed the week (though he missed Lily and asked where she was often, or how many days until we'd see her in PA) and we got to see different aspects of his sweet personality since he did not need to compete for anything.

Sunday, the 13th, following church, Daniel, Laura, David and I headed off on vacation. We arrived in Washington DC in the evening. Had a great hotel - extremely nice Radisson - from an Expedia special. The pool was on the fourth floor roof so we had to spend some time allowing the boys to swim. Then we walked around the corner for dinner at Young Chow - the Chinese food just always seems better in DC than Lynchburg. We then headed for the metro for David's first experience to ride the train and ended up on the Mall. We walked past the Washington, WWII monuments to the Lincoln Memorial. David was getting so tired and kept asking to be held. The challenge was to make it to a different metro entrance due to the time of night and the last train leaving at midnight. We did make it! David almost fell asleep on the floor waiting for the train - and did fall asleep before we got back to the hotel at around 12:30a. Since we were so exhausted, we adjusted our morning plans of getting up early and instead took our time. We wanted to allow David a chance to swim again, but the pool did not open until 10a so that did not work out. We checked out and boarded the metro again to Metro Center. Walked to Ford Theatre and visited, then to the corner and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (just for the experience). Back to the metro and on the Smithsonian. We took quick trips through both the Natural and American history museums. David rode the carousel on the mall. We walked through the sculpture garden, across the street to visit the National Archives, then hoped to go to the Art Gallery or Air and Space. Both were closed by the time we got there. En route, we made it to the reflecting pool of the capitol and took some pretty cool pictures. Totally spent, we found the metro and headed back to the hotel to retrieve our car and start on the Philadelphia leg of our trip. Called cousin Kent to let him know we'd be later than expected .... then after spending one hour moving 2 or 3 miles in MD because of road construction ... called him again to tell him it would be even later! We got to Norristown about 12:30a. The next morning we all boarded the van and headed for Old City Philadelphia. We toured Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell. Security was very tight -- just like boarding a plane, had to empty pockets and go through metal detector while our belongings were x-rayed. It is the September 12 era - life has changed! We wanted to do more but about 3p headed back home to beat the rush hour madness of the Schukyll (sic?) highway. Just hung out with Kent and Wayne that evening, dinner/tv, etc. Wednesday morning we visited King of Prussia mall before heading north to Lewistown. Lily was so glad to see us ... she kept happily repeatedly, "I missed you" and hugging each of us. Thursday, my 46th birthday, Tina's family and ours ... along with Faith, went to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park which was fun for all. We enjoyed the safari bus ride to get up close to the elk, bison, rhea, llamas... Friday morning Laura, Daisy and I went to Peachey's for breakfast (mine was free because of my birthday!). That night we took part in Grace Methodist's block party. The kids all enjoyed the free food and the games. Kevin and I went to a used book sale at the Mifflintown Library on Saturday, then that evening, Ellen Chapel had a big community picnic with some very tasty barbecue chicken underneath the brand new pavilion. The Howards headed back for VA on Sunday. We decided to stay until Monday. Tuesday was a big attempt to clean and get back to routine before going back to work yesterday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

He Is Legend rocks Jaxx

So while I'm updating... Sunday before last I took Daniel and 3 friends (yes, that's a full car because we took the Cavalier) to a concert at Jaxx in Springfield, VA... that's a 3 1/2 hour drive. I was hoping to make a little jaunt to the Lincoln Memorial, but ran out of time, since the we were leaving around midnight for our drive back to VA. But, with the loud music all the way up, all the way back, and during ... I couldn't help but stay awake for the drive. I believe they had a good time... got to see several local groups and one they saw perform in Lynchburg previously, Thin Dark Line. The lead singer remembered meeting them. The night was capped by He Is Legend, the more popular group in the line-up. Mostly rock, metal, screaming -- hardcore stuff... but it's what has become popular with a large segment of our youth.

Happy 3rd week anniversary!

Tomorrow, Allen and Linda celebrate their 3rd week together!! So glad we could be there in OH to celebrate with you! Hope the time in Canada was fabulous! Love to you both from our family.

Laura, thanks for the reminder to update with the happy couple... love you!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Back to Ohio - no pretending!

A week ago we were in OH to celebrate a new beginning for our sister-in-law Linda who lost her husband suddenly 3 years ago (Laura's brother Rob). Linda and Al got married on Friday afternoon in a very nice ceremony. It was a great chance to reunite with Laura's youngest brother Rick, who we last saw in Oregon when he and Monica married. David, Lily and Daniel really enjoyed seeing him again and doing things with both he and Monica at grandma's house -- swimming, playing in the sand, just talking...

I came back from vacation to learn that my manager-partner (the day manager) had just up and left. Never worked out a notice, left any kind of contact information or let anyone she was close to know we wouldn't see her again ... so we'll all a little worried and hope she's OK. That was a good time for the team to take a fresh look at our progress, challenges, structure -- it always is. It was determined that the role of assistant manager (both of them) was not needed at this point, so I have accepted a supervisory position -- back in the role I was in two years ago. Change that I don't fully embrace yet -- but I'm OK and how I handle it makes a huge difference in the impact I have on others around me and any opportunities I have in the future. This is a picture of Rick and Monica... visit their business website at

Monday, July 03, 2006

Summer vacation

Back in Lynchburg after a great break away from everything routine. Our trip home to PA was longer than usual as we first drove West and South to pick up Daniel fom Camp Powhatan. That added about four hours and we also took along Daisy and Isaac. David, who had been in PA since May 31 was very happy to see us - lots of love and hugs - but not at all ready to think about leaving to go back to Virginia. We had our, I guess now fourth, annual family reunion. By the time we ended we had been joined by Tina, Jackie, Bonnie, Dale, Marsha, Stacey, Keaton and Kent (who stayed with us until Sunday). Monday and Tuesday we did some of our favorite bargain-hunting and just hung out. Wednesday, several of us went to visit Uncle Wayne where Kent and Loraine had a very nice meal prepared. After visiting a few hours Kent joined the trip back home to spend the next several days with us. Thursday we all went to DelGrosso's amusement park and enjoyed a super time together (Arla and Gerald joined us as well). It was great to be home and to significantly reconnect with family. If it wasn't for such a thing as a job I could easily move back and love it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Daniel captured this great moment...

A June morning ... catching up

Dentist appointment this morning. Cavity filled. Great way to wake up! Had a late night at J.Crew last night ... unexpected associate matter... left at 1:40a, stayed up a whilte after. So, a little tired today.

Daniel is at Warcry, a week-long youth conference sponsored by our church's presytery (hundreds of teens), being held at Liberty University.

David is still in Pennsylvania. His grandparents came to see he and Joshua (his cousin) graduate from pre-school on May 31 then took them both along back until our families go up later in June (actually next weekend) for vacation. Sounds like they are doing fine. Lily is loving the one-on-one time and extra personalized attention! She was even helping me do some "Bob the builder" the other day.

Last week, Isaac (another cousin) got to ride a limousine for the reading points he achieved (among the highest in his school)... see the photo.

I'm off today and tomorrow (had to work Sunday and will work Saturday) so its just a trade-off, but have some extra time with Lily and Laura as a result. Maybe we'll do lunch. Right now Laura is at a water colour painting class. I'll need to post a picture of one of her works. Very nice and getting better!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

School is out

Well, for one - David. Daniel still has finals next week before he is free for the summer. David is a bit nervous about the whole graduation exercise on Wednesday but knows special things are in store for him afterwards, like a trip to PA along with cousin Joshua to spend a couple weeks with grandparents, uncles and aunt. Grandma and Grandad will be here for the graduation and to take them back until we join them while on vacation in late June.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Still here

I know some of you have been looking for an update.... sorry... I'll add some more pictures later... So what has happened since I last posted?

We spent Spring Break in Cincinnati with Laura's mom. I actually drove up and back twice. Laura spent the whole week, but I had some obligations in Lynchburg. Laura was helping her mom move between apartments.

I finished my 2nd MBA class with an "A"!!! So happy about that. Taking another break now between classes.

Laura went on a women's retreat with the church to Natural Bridge.

Daniel and David are both getting close to the end of school. David 'graduates' pre-school next week, and it looks like his grandparents from PA will be here to celebrate. David, however, is a bit apprehensive about the whole school ceremony thing... but so excited about going to PA for a few weeks afterwards... "today?" he'll ask.

I have meetings today at work, so Tina will watch David and Lily for a while this afternoon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

David's Big Day

I think he waited about a year for it! :) Actually, he would always add to his birthday list whenever he wanted something he could not have... so he was anticipating for quite some time now... and I believe he told everyone he saw (even at Kroger) that it was his birthday yesterday. Actually, he's still doing that today, bragging about turning 5! David's day began with school -dress like a rancher day, then we made a cake, went to CiCi's as a family after Daniel got off school, he had his Rainbows at church, then we had cake and ice cream after he came home... quite a great day for turning 5!!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

In Pencil-beania

Spending the weekend with family in Pennsylvania, or Pencil-beania as Lily would say. A short trip, but good. Laura wasn't able to join us, but last night we had cake and ice cream to celebrate David's birthday (in 3 days now) and of course, Hartley's chips. Heading back to Virginia in a little while.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Dairy Farm Field Trip

David's class went on a field trip to a dairy farm yesterday where they milk 350 cows three times a day!! Lily and dad got to go along, and cousin Joshua and Aunt Tina were there as well as Joshua's class also participated. The kids enjoyed seeing the cows until they got closer and were a little clingy. I know dad learned a lot!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Daniel's party

We hosted a big birthday party for Daniel Saturday night in our church's fellowship hall/youth room.... 34 teenagers! That was crazy! Noisy, chaotic, well... a little stressful. I know looking back, Daniel will appreciate what we did for him and hopefully we'll be able to find a way to top it in 2007 when he turns 16, yet in a more manageable framework. Still, all went well, and I believe he had a lot of fun. He had three of the guys come over to spend the night at the house afterwards. We're getting some very wet snow falling this morning ... not expecting any kind of accumulation, but it makes it pretty. I'm off today to help around the house and hopefully to make some progress on my MBA class work. Daniel plans to go buy a new guitar tonight after school with the money he got for his birthday. He's quite jazzed about that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A morning walk

With Laura off today, and a nice mild day .... we had about a half-hour to walk this morning before cousin Joshua came over after school. We need to do this more often ... missing it. Just wanted to share a few pictures I captured...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Daniel!

WOW! How time has flown... our oldest son, Daniel, turned 15 years old today. Seems like only yesterday we were hoping for the day we would have a family. David and Lily really enjoyed singing to Daniel and blowing out their candles on their own cupcakes, too.

Over the weekend, Daniel had mountain camping/hike event with his Boy Scout troop so he came back pretty tired. We just stayed at home and watched some movies to celebrate the day -- Wallace and Gromit, and Sky High.

This week begins my next MBA course, Effective Executive Communication, so I'll be doing lots of reading and writing ...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Daniel VIC runner-up

SURPRISE! I'm finally back.

We just came back from Liberty Christian Academy where the Virginia Independent Conference tournament was held. It was postponed from Saturday because of snow. I have not felt well with a really bad cold all day - but figured I could cough just as well there as at home.

Well, Daniel was fortunate to have a bye early on and wrestle a lesser experienced opponent, whom he pinned, so he wrestled in the finals (against a senior - who also took the most impressive wrestler award of the day) and comes away runner up with a second place medal.

This officially ends wrestling season for him and he ends up with a 16-11 record, runner up champion for the conference!!!! We're very proud of him!