Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

For Jim

Ryan says "Hi"

From a grand day

RIP: Pink Floyd's Richard Wright

Well, it has come to this. That one of the members of my favorite band growing up is now died. I never met him, but morn the loss of a true (albeit nutty) artist.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Field of Flags

At the Congregational Church in Clinton this weekend, they did a tribute to those lost in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was 4,741 as of September 10th 2008, according to the sign on the memorial. I found the sight of all the flags quite impressive and wondered what it would look like if it had been done for those who lost family during WWII or even the battle for Normandy. I'm not belittling these losses... far be it... I am amazed by what the representation of these lives looks like when displayed publicly, and realize that I would find it difficult to actually imagine the staggering number of those that have gone before me to war.

Click above for the series

I came by in the morning and took a few photos to share with you. It was an impressive sight and I believe an endeavor that was well worth the effort by those that took part in it. It serves as a reminder to those of us who do not live with this daily threat on our family members, going about our busy lives that somewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are people who are struggling every day to get back to a normal life.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Once again I'm remiss

PLEASE NOTE: I linked all the pictures to slideshows, so that's were all the "other" pictures are. :)

Ok.. so a heck of a lot has gone on since my last post... Labor day has come and gone and so has 2 busy weekends. I posted our pictures with my parents on Labor day weekend here... it was just a blast.

Ryan and Connor had their first day at school for and are totally loving it. Ryan took the bus on his first day and was just so happy about it, he was besides himself. He beamed as he got on and gripped the seat. After a white-knuckled ride to Kindergarten, he then enjoyed a great first day of school, complete with getting to know new people and seeing some old friends from Preschool. He looked exhausted after his first day, even though it was only a half day and told us of his bus ride, each way. His first words to me as I walked in the door from work were "DAD! They had no seatbelts on the bus, so I had to hold on with all my might... My hands really hurt when I got to school." He has since lightened up. I guess it all goes to show how new it all was to him. Connor on the other hand, had an easy bus ride to pre-K and was happy to see everyone he laid eveys on. His first words were "DAD, I SAW MRS HARRIS!!!!" :)

The weekend after our first week of school, we were visited by hurricane Hannah. She passed by in the middle of the night and left little damage as she had been downgraded to a tropical depression (or less) by the time she flew by. Since she darkened our Saturday, we decided to go Bowling to pass the time. Even though Connor was exhausted from the week, he still enjoyed every minute bowling. It was the boy's first experience bowling and they were incredibly cute about it. They did a great job throwing the ball, but I'm afraid anywhere else they'd be tossed out for running and basically throwing the ball overhand. :) Lise and I enjoyed it, and aside from Connor losing it around the 8th frame, it was alot of fun for all.

The next day after Hannah had left us, we went to the town beach. It was beautiful. The tide was extremely low and we walked out a good ways to the tidal pools to see all the animals. We saw a hermit crab (I think) and some spider crabs, and enough limpets for an army of gulls. It was truly beautiful and I enjoyed it as much as the boys. After our walk on the beach, we played at the park until we all were so tired, we fell into a heap and went back home. That afternoon, Lise and Ryan enjoyed a nice birthday party and Connor and I mowed the lawn and then went to the carousel to end the day.

Our second week of school went very well and the boy had "back to school night" for the parents. We met Ryan and Connor's teachers and toured the school. On Friday we planned to go to NJ, but all the excitement of the last two week brought us all some colds, and we made the sad decision not to go. I know we missed out on a great time, but I think we needed the down time, and all slept very well on Friday. On Saturday we did Soccer and haircuts. Connor's belly settled by the end of the day and we went out to eat and had sorbet... Connor let me know the "berrys are nice when they are cold"

It's now Sunday and we are taking some downtime. I took the boys out while Lise slept for a bit and now MY nose is running, so I guess it's time for me to get my cold . I still wouldn't trade it for the world.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Coming weekend

This weekend is in flux. Labor-day fun time.

Kindergarten next week, parents visiting, picnics, friends stopping by and a major clean up of my office that I've not only been putting off, but making worse daily.

Happy Labor day. Another post this weekend... When I find my little camera....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Bells... The Bells!

Everyday this month, I've woken up with music going on in my head. This isn't the only time I've awoken with a song in my head, however, it's one of the few times that it's been a daily occurrence over so many days. The really BAD part about this, has been that on some days, it's been songs I am not a fan of, so it's like some sort of self torture.

I cant quite tell you why this is the case, but it's been noteworthy that every day I am stuck in the shower with an all 80's and 90's radio station blaring in my subconsciousness. This week, the hit list has been... well unstable at best... here's the list that I recall.

  1. Theme to "Fall Guy" 80's TV show
  2. Teenage Wildlife -Bowie
  3. Thela Hun Ginjeet - King Crimson (Concert influenced)
  4. Rock and Roll - Led Zeppelin
  5. "Bonanza" Theme
  6. All the leaves are Brown - Mama's and Papa's
  7. 7 Nation Army - White Stripes
  8. What you are - Audioslave
  9. "Roadrunner" TV show theme song
  10. "Superfriends" TV show theme song
  11. All of me - Sung like Steve Martin
  12. Don't stop believin' - Journey
  13. Gloria / Peace Frog- The Doors
Today on the way to work I inadvertently heard "The Rhythm of the Night" ... I hope that doesn't stick for tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monkeys at the Fair

This weekend, we took the kids tot he Chester Fair in Chester, Ct. we had a great time. The majority of the rides were for the little ones, so Ryan and Connor got alot of rides in and got to see a real live pig race. Other than that we kept a low profile.

This week, we prep for preschool and kindergarten. Drum roll, please.

On another note... we saw this guy by the beach about a week or so ago... it's a Coyote out looking for a morning snack. From the way it was moving, I suspect he had a healthy skepticism about being out in the open and made tracks for the woods shortly after.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

King Crimson

So on my little vacation time, I also took in a concert in NYC last night. It was tiring after driving the entire day before, but a lot of fun to hang out with Gene, and see a show. I saw King Crimson on their 40th anniversary tour. it was a very good show, and I was happy to have gotten a chance to go. Thanks Anthony for the opportunity, and thanks Gene for coming with me.

For anyone concerned, Time Square is the same as it was about 5 years ago, when I went last. Which is still WAY different than it was, say 20 years ago. :)

Update... A Picture from Gene's phone of the stage.

Quebec City

We had a great time in Quebec City visiting Lise's cousin Claude. His wife Louise greeted us at the door with gifts for the kids and huge hugs and kisses for everyone. Dominic also join us and worked as a bit of an interpreter for the group while we waited for Claude to arrive. The kids wasted no time diving in to their goody baskets as we sat down and had a terrific lunch. Once we caught our breath, we spent the rest of the afternoon on a whirlwind visit to Quebec city. We took the long way in... by Ferry across the St. Lawrence river. As we crossed the river, Claude put some perspective around what we were seeing, with information on the geography and some history of the city. He also pointed out the one of the ferries passing us (the Louis Jolliet) was a ferry he rode regularly as a child, when there was no bridge in Trois Rivieres. When I showed this to Marie and Denise, she said... "Hey, that's the Ferry in Trois Rivieres" before I could tell her it was in Quebec City.

We had a fantastic time on our tour of the city and when the kids ran out of fuel, we headed back to the house for an absolutely wonderful meal. After dinner we were joined by Adriane (Claude's daughter) who Ryan immediately had a crush on. (I'm going to hate Ryan's teens). Early the next morning, we met the family downstairs and shared a breakfast together (the kids still ate Lucky Charms) and then we took them to the Aquarium. They needed something just for them. After seeing the animals and getting out picture taken with a a guy in a walrus costume (Ryan wasn't so sure about THIS dude), we had a lovely picnic with Louise and headed back to Three Rivers for a night before we left for home.

Click here for the rest of Quebec City

In Trois Rivieres, we had another great meal with Celene, this time at a restaurant. I think we all enjoyed the meal very much and fell asleep pretty quickly after we arrived home. We left the next day... there were some muffled tears but we promised to see each other soon, and headed out to the highway at 9:00AM

We stopped in Vt for a lunch break and once again in Northampton Ma to see my uncles, but because of extenuating circumstances, we didn't meet up. We'll be by again though. With our stops, it took us until 7:00PM to get home. Ryan and Connor told me they were "not tired".. however, I know two boys who fell asleep before I left the room. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quebec City

I'll post more tomorrow night.. until then... we are having a great time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canada's House

On Friday when we arrived in Canada, we waited at the border for about an hour. During our wait in line, Connor kept asking the same thing over and over again, but it was hard to figure it out. Finally I heard him loud and clear saying ¨Are we at Canada's house yet?¨ Since then, he has asked if we're at Canada's house yet another dozen times and when we visited Gigi's home town... he changed his montra to ¨Are we going to visit Gigi?¨

Yesterday we visited with Lise's cousin Pierré who lives in his mother's home in Trois Riviéres. He was a wonderful host for a man who was about to go to the hospital for a CAT scan. From there we had a little walking tour of the old city (Vieux-Trois Riviéres). It's a beautiful place and a great mix of old and new. During our walking tour of the city, we stopped at the Cathedral in the center of town. This is the church where some of Lise's relatives have been married, but it is a place where my family also attended and my great-great-great-grandparents on my Mom's side were married in this church. (weird, huh?) Below you'll find some of the pictures for our walk about, as well as the pictures of our evening meal on our arrival.
Trois Riviéres

Today, we went to Ste-Cécile, where Lise's Mom was born and rasied and her grandfather Despres also resided. We stopped and took pictures of the Despres house, and then the first house Marie-Paul's family owned. It was run down, but gave us an idea of where she lived. Down the road, we stopped again in front of the infamous family farm that I had heard so much about from Marie. It was in great condition and Céline explained that the fields across the street were once all attached to the farm house. We turned around and Céline pointed out the Garage that was once a blacksmith that her Uncle Charles owned. Charles was handy (much like Lise's sister, Louise) and changed to a garage once enough vehicles began breaking down. After our drive we stopped for some pizza and visited some goats in a roadside farm. Connor loved it and Ryan was in spirits.

Now we are getting ready for yet ANOTHER great meal. I'm going to pack up here and get my dinner.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Canada Day 2 and 3

We had a great day yesterday with Francine and Jacques. We visited old Montréal and had a lovely lunch at an outdoor eatery in the historic section of town. After a good walk to clear our heads, we came back to the house and the boys and I went to the local park. Ryan had a great time, but Connor was completely out of steam.
When we got home, I had to keep him up through dinner, and he and Ryan slept like the dead. :) (and then we were able to as well). We had a fantastic dinner, as Francine is a great cook and got ready fo the next day when we met with the rest of Francine's family. Daniél and Lyné and Michel with Suzanné came and we had a great time. Lise practiced her French the whole time, to prepair for us to got to see Céline, as her family speaks more French then English.

When we arrived at Celine's house, we were met at the driveway with such love. It is wonderful to see Lise with her family. They love her so much and they are so accepting of her children and husband who can only speak enough french to embarass her. :)

I've posted some photos and will do my best to put the names in. I am writing on a french keyboard, so I might have to fix the spelling later... Or at least, that's my excuse this time.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Last night we arrived in Canada. All is well (except for sharing a room with Ryan) and we are enjoying our time with our first hosts of the trip very much. Francine and Jacques have been so wonderful to us. We are here on Sat & Sunday. On Sunday we leave to see Lise's cousin Celine.

I will post some pictures if we have some time tonight.

On the way up, we stopped at a Truck Stop called Betty Beaver's Truck Stop.

The food was wonderful, but the sign had some strange hold on me and Ryan. To this day I dont know why. :)

As I said we arrived after about 8 hours of traveling and about 6 hours of actual driving... the border was an hour and so was lunch.)

Ryan and Connor were a bit crunchy when we arrived, but ice cream soothed everything. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time for a check up

Is that bright light at the end of the tunnel a train? Nope, it's Ryan about to give you a check up.The tools came out in an attempt to thwart a nap or lunch or something, and the next thing I know, I'm getting a full check up. Ryan is checking my eyes for a possible corneal transplant and Connor is sneaking in a few random drugs for his own personal drug study. I being of sound mind, wanted to run for the hills, but instead I took my lumps. Mom was also due for her yearly visit, and the kids were more than happy to investigate and look for any monkeys in her throat. It has been determined by this panel of doctors that she has an incurable need to provide yummy treats for the children and her prescription, as ordered, was for both children to receive a frozen yogurt pop and make them stay up late for a week. At least this was Dr. Ryan's orders. Dr Connor's orders was to do what ever Ryan said, and to get Connor his wolverine doll and spend time in the pool, and to get him a drink... what's that on TV? .... (You get the idea) After all this attention, I need to see my own doctor.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Egret in Branford

Posted by Picasa

Keeping Cool

It's about 90 degrees out this morning and Connor has managed to keep himself very cool. Although he is spending some time on the net playing Power Rangers games, my children have suddenly become too cool to allow themselves to been seen without sunglasses. I know they are constantly recognized when we travel, so a disguise is truly necessary. This must be how Bruce Wayne surfs the web at home, no?

When we haven't been dressed like batman on Friday, we went to see "Bubble Mania". The guy that hosts this show was with Ringling Brothers and is very well known, but he lives not more than 20 miles from my house and regularly plays at the Ivorytown playhouse. It was alot of fun. He commented on all the screw ups, but had he not, I would have told you the show was flawless. We arrived a bit early and he was on the stage, clowning around as he set up. This was the part that Connor liked best.... Ryan liked the part where he put a boy into a bubble... (a big boy and a very big bubble). After that we got over heated at the local watering hole and spent the rest of the day cooling off at home. Today (sat) we are going to a tag sale with Gigi. She used to love these things, so I hope she has a great time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gotta love Kids...

Ok.. this is worth the 3 minutes to watch....

Ryan, don't get any ideas about you or Connor doing this one! - Watch more free videos

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Crazy weekend

Items for the weekend:

1) Band Plays on Clinton green
2) Grandma and Grandpa G coming by to go to the Weston Picnic- They arrive Friday
3) Wesbrook Fair - Friday night
4) Tom's Wedding Saturday (Parents off to the Picnic with regrets)
5) Grandparents pool day....

Ready set.....

Lise has been ansey all week... She has really been looking forward to getting out of the house... as you can see here... she prepped for all the running around she needed to do to get ready for this weekend.

Thursday night after work we went to see Shaded Soul on the town Green in Clinton. They were alot of fun and I grabbed a few pictures of the kids having a grand old time...(see below) By 8:30, everyone was spent and we all went back and went right to bed... Ryan woke up at 7:30am.... I couldn't believe it...

On Friday we went to the fair in Westbrook. We had a great time a rode most of the rides. Ryan loved the bumper cars and asked to go on them at least 100 times. Patience, Mike... After a great time spinning , jumping, twirling and driving, Ryan and I had to call it quits but we thought we'd go on the Pirate boat ride.... the one that swings.... Ryan loved the first 5 minutes and then began asking... "when does this thing end?" Connor meanwhile "hit the wall" and was on a sugar exaggerated, overtired hate high that made him completely schizophrenic. He was so happy, he wanted to kill you. We tucked him into bed and he slept like a truck hit him.. and then took a nap the next day to leave his demon self behind and become a little boy again.:)

On Saturday we had a lovely breakfast together (Connor dressed as robin) and then a trip to the farmer's market. (more pictures below!!) After making lunch for the picnic, Lise and I got dressed and left for Tom's Wedding (you guessed it ... below)... We had a fabulous time and really enjoyed seeing people that had been absent from our lives for the last couple of years. I am happy to see Tom so happy and joining a good family... Good Luck Tommy! We got home totally exhausted and passed out.

On Friday we spent the morning chatting and the afternoon on the pool. It was great spending some time as a family and I think Grandma and Grandpa had as good a time as we all did. :) After they left, we had a dinner at the local beach stand and sent the boys off to bed... when I'm headed this instant! Good night.

Click for more Band at the Green

Westbrook Fair

Tom's Wedding

Grandparents visit

House Grind

So with Staycation over, Lise & I finished up a bunch of projects and began a few more... Our front garden was in need of an overhaul and we had put it off long enough, and our front porch was rotting away, so we got that under control first thing...



I'm glad we're finally able to focus on the outside of the house... we've been fixing the inside so much, it's a little rough out there. Lise has put in a little bird bath and we have the gazebo up ... so I think we're good for a little while. :) I cant wait to be done, but for right now, I think we're ready to finish up our projects until the housing market has come back a bit more. :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I was asked to take vacation this week ... I'm not a huge fan of being told when to take my vacation time, but the flip side is that I know I'm a consultant, and that I am overhead... etc etc etc... I'm not really complaining... I needed some recharge time.

So this week I took full advantage; I did a few projects and spent some good quality family time in the pool. It was a full blown family "staycation". I couldn't afford a "vacation" and going to Canada this year, so... "Staycation" works for me. We did all the family things we usually do on the weekends and just enjoyed some additional time together. On Friday there was the farmer's market and fresh strawberries... and then off to that Carousel with Superman and Ryan to ride the flying cat / dolphin things... (don't make eye contact with the ride... eek)

On Saturday night there was a fireworks display in East Haven at Gigi's place and we all went and met with Auntie Nee and Louise and Bob for a night of food and fireworks. We had a wonderful, except Connor hit the wall just as the fireworks started and started to ask to go potty every 3 minutes and then not going... ugh. In the midst of it, I was able to take a few snaps.


We all went home and threw the kids into bed around 10 pm... they remained crunchy all week. :)

On Tuesday Connor Started back to summer school. The bus picks him up two days a week, and he is still loving it. I'm really not looking forward tot he days of "I hate school", or the stories that "the teacher hates me". Oh well... Until then, I'll enjoy the smiles and try to mastermind a plan to keep them excited about learning... or break their backs trying. :)

While Connor was at school, I installed a "whole house" fan that blows air out of the attic to and pull fresh air in through all the windows of the house. I am hoping that after all the fireworks ends I can use it at night to cool the house. There are SO many nights where it is 60 degrees out and it's 80 on the second floor, so I'm hoping that getting the fan going will cut my cooling costs. In the afternoons we went to a few festivals in town and on Wednesday, we went to the "water's edge" for their festival. It was expensive and we decided that after getting cool shark tattoos that we'd blown our wad and were ready for a little dinner at the singing bridge...
I should note that it was crazy hot (it got to 113 degrees -Fahrenheit Meike... 113 C would have been a fire up there - while I was up there one day) working in that attic all week and when the kids wanted to go swimming they didn't get any resistance from me (except to finish the wiring I had to redo - another day I'll tell all about that) Anyway... We got some quality pool time, which I posted separately here, for the fun of it...
We got an underwater film camera from the Grandparents which turned out great for taking shots of the kids jumping into the pool. There are is a sequence of Connor jumping in, so you can get an idea of the fun they were having. :)