family · life · through my camera lens

weekend update

Well I enjoyed posting my blog hop. If you didn’t play along yet, it isn’t too late. Grab the information here and reflect on the back to school topics on your blog.

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This weekend we were busy. Friday night we went to Pour at the Park. This is an annual fund raiser for Allegheny Parks. This was our third year attending. It is a great way to give back to the park we use so much. They have food and alcohol company from around the area come and distribute their products. We purchased a drink pass for Richard and a designated driver pass for me. In the years past, most of the alcohol based companies only gave away beer which I do not drink. This year I would have drank more as they had a few cider companies, one with vodka and another with rum… oh well!

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They moved the location from the lake to the lodge. While it was nice to have real bathrooms and the food places were able to use the kitchen facilities a bit, I didn’t like it as much. In the past, Richard and I spent a lot of time just chilling out looking at the lake. Also there was no additional lighting so the tents that were not right near the lodge were in total darkness once the sun went down. The event didn’t end until 8:30pm.

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It was still nice to just slow down and enjoy a bit of time as a family.

Saturday we got up and went to Target to get a gift for a birthday party Blake was going to Saturday night. Then headed over to Costco. When we got home Richard decided to try out his new chainsaw. We now have more firewood. Now we just need another day to have a fire in the fire pit.Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature

After we dropped Blake off at the party, we headed into the city for dinner. Then came home to watch the UCF football game.

Sunday we had a lazy morning and then went to pick up Colby’s new bike. We got both boys got new bikes on Labor day. They got bigger frames bikes with more mountain biking features such as disk breaks and separate shifters and break leavers. They only had one bike in store, so we ordered Colby one since Blake liked the color in the store.

The boys and I went out do dinner. I swear the slider Colby was having was almost as big as his head. Image may contain: 1 person, eating, sitting, child, drink, food and indoor

Today everyone was back to school!


family · food · life · through my camera lens

I didn’t run away… weekend update

I just realized that I haven’t posted anything since Thursday. I’m not sure why, but hey such is life. So here is a quick update on all the fun and frivolity that occurred in our lives.

Friday found us back at the theater. This was the boys second week of theater camp. This time they did Peter Pan Jr. This cast was made of children ages rising 2nd grade through rising 8th graders. This made my boys some of the older kids. For this cast both of the boys were part of the lost boys. They were twin one and twin two. While they have spent most of their lives  trying to convince people they are not twins I guess it played a part in their casting.

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The nice thing about Friday was we finally had a day without rain. It was overcast and never really warmed up, but at least it wasn’t raining. Richard and I originally planned to go have dinner somewhere that we could eat outside, but by the time he got home we decided that Chick-fil-a was a better choice time wise. After the play, we headed to sonic. Colby asks to do this after every play. I got a strawberry limeade this time. This was a nice refreshing drink. I love that they used real strawberries and limes in it. I even filled my cup up with just water when we got home and enjoyed the lime strawberry water. I need to do this more often.

Saturday found us being a bit lazy in the morning. We then headed out in search of lumber. Richard has decided he wants to build us a farmhouse table out of cedar for our back patio. Finding the cedar wood needed turned out to be a bit more challenging than we originally thought it would be. We went to two different lumber yards. The first was 84 Lumber. Ok this is a big name lumber yard they must have what we need…. NOPE! Everything we wanted would have to be special ordered. We decided to check out a local lumber yard that we saw when we went to the a home show. This place was pretty impressive in their selection. I should have taken pictures of some of the cool wood they stock. They had purpleheart, zebra wood, and so many other types. We were able to get everything we wanted/needed there. This probably cost us more than if we could have got it at/through Home Depot or Lowes (which did not stock the sizes we needed), but hey we helped the local economy.

We then had a late lunch and headed to Costco. We decided to get the boys super soakers. Over the years they have had a variety of water shooting toys, but never try water guns or certainly not ones like these. They came home and decided to test them out.

We finally decided to get ready for dinner after 6pm. We decided to head to the restaraunt in North Park. We wanted to sit outside on the lake and enjoy the view. When we got there, there was a 45min-1 hour wait. We decided to stay and just go for a walk around the area. The boys played on the playground and then we walked over to a small bridge/waterfall area that we enjoy.

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The food at the Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe is decent.. it isn’t OMG I need to wait an hour for this food. but the view and atmosphere makes is that much more enjoyable. This was my view from my seat at the table.

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family · life · through my camera lens

Community Service

Our family spends a lot of time in North Park. We love to go there to bike, hike, kayak and ice skate. This has been one of our favorite parts of our move to PA. There is nothing better than getting out into nature and doing something active. It is a time for us to be alone or together. It is just our escape.

On a recent bike ride, Richard noticed a sign talking about a park restoration project. We decided this was a great opportunity for us to give back to the park that has given us so much.

There was a landslide in the park last year that effected the longest trail in the park. It cut through it in multiple sections. The Park Rangers had already started working on creating a workaround for this area.

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Saturday they were working on closing the sections effected by the landslide and opening up the new section.

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We were on one of the opening groups. We were working on cleaning up the edges of the new trail. We were working to make sure that the water could efficiently flow down over the new path. This involved sloping the high side to a 45 degree angle. Clearing the path and then clearing the lower side of that to a 15 degree angle as well as moving debris that would effect the water flow.

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We worked there for 3 hours. Three hours of moving earth. Three hours of helping the park we love so much.


life · through my camera lens

The Road Not Taken


The Road Not Taken

ROBERT FROSTImage may contain: tree, plant, sky, grass, outdoor and nature

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I first learned this poem back when I was in high school. I had to memorize a poem my sophomore year in high school and this is the poem I chose. When I originally picked it I didn’t realize how meaningful it would be to me for years to come. That year was a major year of transition for me. I changed high schools (going into my junior year) going from the public school to an all girl Catholic school. This was a decision that I look back on and say it was a turning point in my life.
I went to a small college. I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. Then went straight into grad school and got my Masters Degree in a year.
Every time I have had to make a decision in my life on what is best for me, I try to reflect on is this decision what is best for me. I can’t get wrapped up in the well everyone is doing this so I should too. Sometimes it is the more traveled path. Sometimes it is the easier path. But the choice has to be what is right.
So next time you have a decision to make remember this line:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(I took this photo on a hike in North Park last night, it’s not a yellow wood, but it works…. ish)
family · life

Back on the trails

Last night the boys were back on the trails. They are mountain biking on Mondays and Thursdays. This means that I can get back onto the trails and hike.

Yesterday it was cold and then it began to drizzle. I walked 2.5 miles on the paved trail as I figured that hiking trails would be muddy, and judging by the boys clothes after… they were!

There is something special about getting out into North Park and hiking. Getting out into nature and enjoying some time alone.

Now if it would only warm up enough that I didn’t need jeans and a sweatshirt to hike, it would be better!

Colby did end up going to biking, but then was miserable for the rest of the night. We tried a new cough med and kept him home again today. I think it is helping as he seems a lot better today. He is a bit bored and will be a lot happier to go to school tomorrow.

family · life

Spring had Sprung!

After many weeks of it being spring, but feeling like winter, spring had finally arrived!

Yesterday we had originally planned to stay home and spring clean/company clean/catch up on cleaning. This was how we started the day out. I cleaned out the fridge, as in took everything out and cleaned the shelves (as well as checking all the dates on everything in there). Colby cleaned his bathroom and then cleaned the stainless on all the appliances. Richard straightened some of his things around the house and worked on some laundry. I dusted, mopped and packed up 4 bags for Goodwill.

We then decided it was time do hit the trails. The boys and Richard biked around 5 miles and I hiked just over 3.5. It felt good to get out on the trails. We all love being on the trails of North Park. We get out there and enjoy moving in nature. The boys were also excited to go to the jump park and pump track.

We dropped off the bikes and headed out to have subs for dinner. We decided to stop off at Lowes and pick up some needed spring items (plants, grass seed and fertilizer). On the way home, we decided to go for a detour and stop off at Sonic for shakes.

Today we worked outside again. I planted the planters for the front yard. Then Richard, Colby and I headed to the backyard to work on the trail we are trying to blaze.

We were outside working in shorts and t-shirts. It is sunny and comfortable. We have had the windows open in the house for the last two days.

It is spring! I hope spring had finally sprung in your corner of the world.

family · life · through my camera lens

Weekend updates- weather and fun

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, or frozen to the ground. We just had a fun and busy weekend. Saturday we got up and moving and decided to go to North Park and go skating. The boys took skating lessons last year, but hadn’t been back on the ice since. I don’t think I have been ice skating since I was in middle school and Richard has been maybe 3 other times in his whole life.

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We skated for about 2 hours. It was more of a workout than you realize when you are a child. Or, maybe you just feel it so much when you had completed a weighted leg workout the day before and your legs were already burning??

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Now, some of you might be thinking… wait were the boys and Lori off school for 3 days because of snow and cold? Yep we were, but the weather was nicer on Saturday. We still needed jackets but the sun was shining and it was a nice day.

Sunday we got up and did some work around the house and then headed to the hobby store. The boys needed/wanted to get some parts for their remote control trucks. After shopping and lunch we went home and the boys and Richard drove their trucks. Ok people… Wed and Thurs we had temps that felt like -20s…. Sunday we were in long sleeves and no jackets! It was in the mid to upper 50s. That is just a huge crazy swing in temps.

Last night we went to a neighbor’s house to watch the Super Bowl. We have been getting together every couple of months and doing something as a group. It is nice to get together with the neighbors and just enjoy the company. This time we all brought bar type foods (nachos, wings, pizza, sliders). The game was rather a snooze fest and even the commercials didn’t grab my attention, but we had a lot of fun and ate some tasty food. Now I just need to up my healthy food game to counter balance all the junk I ate Sunday night!

It was very hard to get up and going today. It felt like forever since I’d gone to work. But, my class actually did better than I expected them to do (knock on wood). They were really excited that it was warm enough to go outside for recess.

family · life · through my camera lens

Looking back on 2018 July-Sept

The last two days I’ve been reviewing the year of 2018. It has been a fun and busy year.

July found us spending more and more time in North Park. The boys took biking lessons for most of the spring and summer so I spent a lot of time hiking in the woods of North Park.  It never gets old.

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We spent the 4th of July home and even lit some of our own fireworks. The boys enjoyed helping Richard lite them.

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We then went on vacation to Hershey and Lancaster PA. This was such a fun trip. We spent time at Hershey were we ate chocolate, rode roller coasters, went to the water park and so much more. We also went and saw model trains, a train museum and went on a train ride.

The boys went back to theater camp. They love the theater company we found here in PA. 2018-07-27 19.58.09

In August we went to the local science museum where they had a Lego art exhibit. This was really cool. It was amazing what the artist made with just Lego blocks

August found Richard and I jumping on the Beach Body bandwagon. This motivated us to finish our basement where we workout every day. This was fun and creative painting process.

It also found the boys going back to school and me going back to work as a preK teacher this time.  Blake started 6th grade and Colby started 5th.

We also began kayaking. This was a fun new adventure… in North Park. Do you see a trend in our adventures?

Tune in tomorrow for my last glimpse into 2018!

life · through my camera lens

Thankful for- places

Home is where my family is, where we sleep each night. In my married life I have lived in 3 houses. Before I married Richard, I owned my own house in Orlando. Before that I owned a condo in MA. I also lived in Rochester, NY and grew up in different area of MA.

I still talk about going home to FL even if I feel like our house here in PA is home. There are so many things that make this house a home. We have done so much in the year we have lived here. We have explored the area and enjoy everything if offers.

I am thankful for the house we live in, but I talked about that last week as a “Thing”.

I’m thankful that we live so close to North Park. This is a county park that we go to whenever we can. I have watched the leaves change the snow fall and the floods comes. My sons have learned to ice skate, mountain bike and kayak in North Park. We love the trails, wild life and scenery we can enjoy there.

I’m thankful for the city of Pittsburgh. This is the city where Richard works. But, more than that it is the city we get to explore. We have experienced a variety of cultural activities there. We have gone to baseball games, monster truck races, street fairs and many more things. It is know as Steel City from all of the steel factories that were located here back at in the last century. This steel is present in the many bridges that crisscross the city.

I’m thankful the memories we have from our years in Orlando. It was the city where my sons were born and had all their “firsts”. We miss going to Disney World and the year round summer.

But, for now… Pittsburgh (well really Wexford) is our home… and for that I’m thankful.


family · life · through my camera lens

Painting, yard work and working out

Life has been so busy lately.

Richard and I finished painting the basement! We painted the media area the dark green and then the stairwell the light area.

Saturday, Richard and I spend about 3 hours working outside. We seeded, fertalized and did a bit of other work on the yard. We replanted 3 plants that outgrew their pots. We also made 2 new spider plants out of my spider babies and a new pothos plant with clippings from Colby’s plant. Then we took on the way back. Richard got out the brush cutter and I took the large loppers and we went to work cleaning out lots and lots of brush. It’s crazy when you realize how much you cut, and then look at how much more needs to still be done back there. But hey, at least we made a dent.

We went on a bike ride/hike yesterday.  It was nice to get out on the trails after a long busy week. I ended up hiking just over 3 miles.

Today we started our FOURTH week of Liift4 on Beachbody. I can definitely feel myself getting stronger and am able to lift heavier weights. I won’t say that I’ve seen a ton of difference in my clothes or on the scale, but I feel a lot better getting up, working out and focusing on eating healthier. I am not following their food plan exactly. I am more focused on eating healthier instead of working on measuring out portions and counting the amount of each type of food I eat. I always feel that heath, fitness and nutrition need to be natural parts of your life not forced pieces if you are going to keep up the work. I know the fact that I’m lifting will burn calories. I know that the HIIT parts is the best way to get cardio. I also know that eating more veggies and lean protein will fuel my body in a healthy way.  Now I make all that knowledge work for me!