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Sunday, November 2, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 44

Kitty o'lanterns.

I can't believe that Halloween has already come and gone. We were so busy with other stuff this month, that I didn't really have a chance to enjoy it. Now it's on to Thanksgiving and Christmas.


This year, Lauren dressed as a zombie girl. I'd like to say that she was playing the part for these photos, but that's just really her naturally grumpy look.

Dead stare.

We were just leaving to drop her off at her friend's house for trick-or-treating and a sleepover, so I guess it's understandable that she wasn't in the mood for picture taking.

Getting ready to zombie walk.

If George Romero ever decides to film another Dawn of the Dead movie here in Pittsburgh, she'll be a shoe in.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 43

Just sittin' on my pumpkin.

I was planning on doing another 13 Days of Halloween project this year, but something unfortunate happened to my camera this week. It got into an altercation with our concrete patio, and the patio won. The functions controlled by the buttons and dials on the top right are no longer functioning, but otherwise, it appears to be okay. I'm still on the fence about whether or not to have it fixed. Expensive cameras are a lot like cars in that most start losing value as soon as you take them out of the box. My camera is only two years old, but Nikon already released a new version of the model last year. Still, I was hoping to get another two years out of it before upgrading. I have an estimate on the repair and all the paperwork ready, but I'm just not sure it's worth investing more money to get a depreciated camera fixed when I could just put that money towards a new camera. I really need to make a decision soon because the holidays are right around the corner, and a working camera is an absolute necessity.

Thankfully, I have my Fuji x100 to use in the meantime. It's very capable and can probably do about 70% of things that I do with my DSLR, but its auto focus isn't nearly as reliable, I can't use my Nikon flash with it and it doesn't have long telephoto capabilities.

Anyway, these are the two photos that I took for the project before I decided to bag it. Lauren is probably happy that she has been spared from me pestering her to help out with photos, at least until Christmas time.

Trick or treat.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 42

Hippie cat.

This week, Lauren went to a sleepover at a friend's house. Kitty Coconut still hangs out in Lauren's room when she's gone, but she always looks a little lost without her roommate.

Sleeping under the rainbow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 41

 The way forward.

Between Lindsey's wedding, our trip to Michigan to visit my cousins and Girl Scout activities, October has been such a busy month that I'm terribly behind in my blogging. Even though I've been behind in documenting everything here, I've still been taking lots of photos, so it's just a matter of getting them uploaded.

My cousin's house.

This week, we took a drive to northern Michigan to visit my cousins Noreen and Nick. We stayed at their house which is located near the city of Charlevoix. As it so happened, the weekend of our visit was Charlevoix's annual Apple Festival.

Charlevoix, MI

Charlevoix is a resort town with lots of quaint shops and restaurants. In the past, Noreen has sent me gifts from American Spoon, so it was really neat to see it in person!

Round Lake.

In the middle of Charlevoix is Round Lake. During the festival, craft and food vendors line the park around the lake.

Autumn entranceway.

This autumn decorated entrance way to one of the shops really caught my eye!

Feeding the goats.

Right across the way from it was a petting zoo filled with these crazy goats. I thought for sure that were going to knock over the fence to get to that boy's ice cream cone!

Red Wings.

A little local flavor. I'll have to look up how to do that. If Mark grows pumpkins next year, maybe we could try out our own designs!

Bushels of apples.

And of course there were plenty of apples to be had.

Apple stand.

We had dutch apple pie, apple fritters, apple donuts, and Mark bought some specialty variety apples because he is an apple connoisseur.

Boston terriers on parade.

These two cutey Boston Terriers are locals.

Wise words.

I loved the quotes on the windows of this bar, especially the one by WC Fields:  "I don't drink water. It rusts pipes and fish make love in it." That certainly puts it in perspective...eww.


After tasting their awesome free samples of pumpkin pie and caramel corn flavored taffy, we stopped into this old fashioned candy store. I was only planning on buying a half pound, but since Lauren kept putting more and more into my basket, we ended up with a pound and a half! It's a good thing that I love taffy.

Into the woods.

During our down time, we enjoyed relaxing around the house and taking walks throughout their property. With the exception of some morning drizzle, we had absolutely gorgeous weather during our stay. It really made these photos!

Playing catch.

Mark and Lauren brought their mitts and played catch.


I wonder if Nick knows how many pine trees that they own? I will have to ask him. I now understand why he cuts his own Christmas tree every year!

To the top.

We took a walk up to the top part of their street so that we could see...

At the top.

...Lake Michigan in the distance.

On the way down.

At this point I will note that the foliage that I saw during that trip was probably the most breathtaking that I'd seen in my life. I wish that I had taken more photos of the leaves, but majority of the time I was leaf peeping from the inside of a speeding car - lol.

 600 ft.

One the second day we took a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted the  Most Beautiful Place in America by Good Morning America in 2012. And once you see it, you'll agree.

Enjoy the view.

The sign speaks for itself. The park rangers have had to rescue folks who made the trip down the dunes, but couldn't make it back up.


The water was so clear and blue - it was like the Caribbean!

Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Contemplating the hike 

Here's Mark and Lauren contemplating the walk down.

Over there.

That's about as far as they got.

Us three.

Of course, we had to take some family photos!

 My cousin and me.

 My family.

Nick and Noreen were such fabulous hosts. Everything that we did was wonderful and right up our alley. We can't wait to go back and explore more of Michigan!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 40

Kissing ball.

This week was special because we got to attend the wedding of Mark's cousin Lindsey. I think it's been something like ten years since we've been to a wedding, so it was fun to see all of the new traditions that had developed over the last decade along side all the old ones. Lauren had the honor of being the flower girl. She was reluctant about her duties (Especially the part about getting dressed up), but she handled it like a champ (Like we knew that she would!).

Flower girl.

The bride had told me that she didn't really have a preference in terms of Lauren's attire, but of course I wanted her to match the bridesmaids as much as possible. We found this cute navy blue dress on Amazon (I honestly don't know how I lived without Amazon Prime.). Lauren picked out the sandals. There was a silver pair that I liked better, but she insisted on the black. Well, it turns out that the bridesmaids wore black shoes too. So once again, Lauren knows best. After I saw how the bridesmaids were dressed, I was thrilled at our choices. She completely coordinated with them!

Here are a few photos from the church.


The bride and her family.

The couple with the bride's family.

Wedding party.

The wedding party.


 The reception was held at the very trendy Jay Verno Studios. Everything was gorgeous - they even projected the bride and groom's name on the wall of the reception hall.

 Table setting.

The entire hall was decorated with white pumpkins. Our name cards with our table assignments were made from the mini pumpkins.

Wedding cake.

 Bride and groom cookies.

Listening to the best man's toast.

Dancing with the Pitt Panther.

During her college years, Lindsey was a member of the Pitt dance team. So she invited the Pitt Panther to share a dance. I shared a dance with Mark to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," but I don't have any pictures of that.

Me and him.

But I do have the selfie that I've been begging Mark to take of us.

Photo booth mad cap hilarity.

Last but certainly not least, there was a photo booth running during the entire reception. People in the photo booth were displayed on screens throughout the hall. At first, Lauren was hesitant to try it out, so Mark and I went in first. After she saw what it was all about, she said that she would do it, but only with her dad. As the night went on, she came to me and told me she wanted us to do it together. Then during dinner, she leaned over to me and said that if the photo booth was still running after we ate, she wanted all three of us to do it together. When we went over for our fourth appearance, the guy running the booth said to Lauren, "You? Again?!"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

54 Weeks of 2014 - Week 39

Vintage finds.

This weekend, we headed to Burton to attend the Great Geauga Antiques Market. We've been going there since before we married, so it's been over twelve years. During that time, there's been a lot of changes to the antique fair as well as the town of Burton, but it's usually worth the trip. For the first time in a while, I had a lot of great finds yesterday, including this guitar, braided rug and die-cast, turquoise VW Beetle. I also got an original smiley face button, a large Pyrex blossom green casserole dish with lid and a frog planter. Since Belle's American Grille (the place with the best chicken salad in the world) closed a couple of years ago, we ate at Tom and Jerry's diner and had some really tasty burgers. That will likely be our go-to place until the newly opened Subway puts them out of business.

Unfortunately, I also have some sad news to share. After Mark fixed the pond for a second time this year, it started to leak again. Since it's been so dry during the last month, the water level was low enough that racoons came and took our larger fish. When Lauren and I came home on Friday, we found fish scales scattered all over the patio. Not only did we lose both koi, but we lost our oldest fish, Big Mama, who we worked so hard to save after she had gotten sick during the hard winter. We are consoled by the fact that Big Mama had lived a long life. We moved here eight years ago, so we figure that she had to be at least twelve, which is pretty aged for a fish of her type. Once again today, Mark was hard at work patching the pond, so hopefully three times is a charm!