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.

 

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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!

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Kayaking

Since moving to PA, we have been trying to get out and do a variety of outdoor things with the boys. The took mountain biking lessons, we’ve gone hiking, they learned to sled, ice skate and make snowmen. We are enjoying the county park that is located about 3 miles from our house. We love that we have 3075 acres of nature to explore and enjoy.

Out latest adventures was kayaking. We have always seen tons of people out kayaking and stand up paddle boarding on the lake in North Park. We often talked about getting out on the water and trying out kayaking. Saturday was the day we got out. We went through LLBean Outdoor Discovery School

. (We went with them on 2 hikes last year) Our feeling was to get with an instructor who would help all of us begin to understand the techniques of kayaking.

Each of the boys was able to paddle their own kayak, which was a big plus. None of us were perfect, but we had fun. Colby struggles in the beginning, but Richard helped him muddle through the basics and then his paddle stroke became near perfect. Blake on the other hand just went at it. His stroke is a bit sloppy but that doesn’t stop him from going.

For me I found turning to be the most challenging, part, but I’m getting there.

Richard has the most water craft experience, so this was a lot easier for him. (he is the one who had the camera, hence the picture of me)

While on the water we saw lots and lots of Canadian Geese, they are starting to practice for their migration flight. We saw Harry the Great Blue Heron and a snapper turtle who decided to pop up right in the middle of all of our kayaks.

family · life · Must Have Monday

Weekend Update

Happy Monday Morning…. why does that always sound soooo wrong when you say that? So, I don’t think I even opened up my laptop this weekend, hence the lack of blogging. So let me catch you up on life!

Friday was the boy’s last day of theater camp and there production. They did Frozen Kids this time. Colby was Olaf and Blake was the Duke of Weselton. They had so much fun. I am totally impressed that these kids can learn a whole musical (lines, scores, blocking, dances etc) in one week.  Well it isn’t even a week. On Monday they have auditions. Then they practice T, W, Th at the studio and then on Friday they have their dress rehearsal and the show.  (pictures taken after the show– Colby was hot in his Olaf costume and Blake’s wig was driving him crazy. so they aren’t the best pics, but they had fun)

Saturday we slept in! I think that was the thing Richard and I were looking forward to the most for the weekend. Getting up at 5:30am everyday to workout is good… and bad! But, worth it. Saturday and Sunday are rests days in this program so we didn’t have to get up and get moving. I took Saturday as my cheat day too. This meant I finally got to try the PB&J cookies. They were really good I think the ratio of peanut butter to jelly was off. I almost would prefer them as a thumbprint cookie instead. We ran a bunch of errands including going and researching getting a full rack of dumbbells for working out. Then went out for Tex-Mex for dinner.

When we lived in FL we had a few different Tex-Mex places that we went to on a pretty regular basis. I guess Tex-Mex isn’t as popular here, or it at least doesn’t live up to our standards.  We keep trying different places, but haven’t found that OMG this is good Tex-Mex just yet. The one we went to on Sat. was the closest we’ve tried. We would at least go back to this one again opposed to the others that were one and done places.

Sunday found us with beautiful weather and motivation to hit the trails. I dropped Richard and the boys off for a bike ride and went for a hike. I found it a lot easier to walk trails that I’ve walked before. I wasn’t having to stop to catch my breath after climbing the hills and increased my pace. I hiked just a bit under 2 miles. The guys rode just under 5 miles. The rest of the day found us doing relaxing things at home.

I finished 2 of the books I got at the library this week and the third books I read two chapter of and then gave up because it didn’t peek my interest enough. I also deleted the book I was reading on my kindle, that one started to get too smutty. I’m now reading a book on my kindle about Hemingway until I get back to the library.

Ok that is my weekend in a nutshell. Hope you had a good weekend too

 

life · through my camera lens

Photo Fun

So this weekend I decided to splurge on me a bit. Typically I spend more money on everyone else in the house, but from time to time I say… I need x, y or z.

So… this weekend we went to Famous Footwear and I got hiking shoes. I’ve been talking about getting shoes for hiking since we moved here last summer and I finally gave in and bought a pair. I got new gym shoes while I was there since I’d worn a hole in the side of my old pair.

My other splurge was a bit more expensive, but totally worth it and time! I ordered a new camera on Amazon. I actually go the same brand and style I’ve had for my last two cameras, just a newer bit more elaborate model. I am a point and shoot photo taker. I have a Panasonic Lumix camera.

So, on Monday when the boys went to there second to last mountain biking class I put on my new hiking shoes and tossed my camera in my backpack. I thought I’d share the photos I had playing around with my new camera

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family · life · through my camera lens

The Point and North Park

Friday we went into the city. The boys and I met Richard at his job and from there we went to an art’s festival by “The Point”. Point State Park is the location of Fort Duquesne which was part of the start of the French Indian War. (I’d have to have Blake do a blog post to tell you more about it) The Point is also the location where three rivers (the Allegheny, Monogahela and the Ohio) converge.

 

The art festival was… ok. But, we had a good time walking around and just being. I was also able to get a few decent pictures of some of the bridges as well as the incline.

Saturday we got up and headed to North Park. The boys took Richard on another trail that they rode with their mountain bike class. This trail travels across the park so I dropped them off and then moved my car. When the finished they wanted to ride more so they took off on a new trail. This trail also ended in a second spot so I moved the car again. I hiked on two new trails for me too. We were all tired when this was done.

 

While I was hiking I came across this little deer having a snack. I decided to stop and watch. While I was there, the boys and Richard actually made it to where I hiked (we were going in opposite directions). We then headed back to the car.

Last night Colby had two friends over for a late birthday sleep over. They had a blast playing video games, watching a movie and we even went out for ice cream. We are all tired today, but it was a fun weekend.

family · life · through my camera lens

Catching you up on life

Wow I think I missed posting more in the last 7 days than I have in my whole time I’ve been writing this blog. We were busy this weekend as I talked about here. The boys finished up school yesterday, so there were a lot of end of the year things happening. Also, yesterday I had a job interview.

I will hear back from them in about a month, they are between sessions right now and have a board meeting coming up. They also need to finalize with the existing staff what hours they want before hiring. Not that I know if they will offer me a job yet or not. I have another preschool that wants to interview me later in June once they too get their summer program up and going as well as the director of that one is going on vacation in the middle of June.  We shall see what comes about from these places.

I always hate when interviewers ask canned questions. I’d rather you ask me specific questions that I can tell you actually want to know the answer. The first question I got in this interview was tell me about yourself… ummm what do you want to know? I’m a mom, I have two kids, I’m a teacher, I have lots of teaching experience,  ummm umm crickets in my brain.

Another interview question that is always asked that I never know how to answer is “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?” Now when I was young (as in right out of college) I was better at answering this… now, not so much. When I got asked this question at my last interview, back in FL, I laughed and said if you asked me this question 2 weeks ago it wouldn’t have been “I see myself interviewing for a teaching position”. They knew this, but that is another story for another post. This time I was like…. if you asked me last year I wouldn’t have said I’d be in Pittsburgh. Life has to be a bit more fluid when you are a mother. I’m lucky in the knowledge that I don’t need to work and that if life says I need to stay home I can. I instead talked about the fact that I want to go back at sometime and get my PhD (that won’t be until we’ve paid the boys college tuition… they come first), and that I would love to teach in a either a HS, tech school or college where people are in teacher training programs. I have a lot to share and I think I’d do a decent job teaching people to become teachers. But again, that is on the back burner right now because I need to take more courses to get the certifications I’d need for that. I think of life this way in 5 years, Blake (16) will be going into his junior year in HS and Colby (15) his sophomore year. In 10 years Blake will be 21 and Colby will be 20 and they will be in college. How can I know what I’d be doing then when I can’t even imagine them at those ages?

Ok enough of that. Blake and Colby finished their first round of mountain biking classes last night. They enjoyed this so much that we signed them up for session two, that starts on Monday. They went a totally different route and actually ended at a different part of the park. North Park is 3,075 acres so there are lots of trails and paths to take. I decided to drive down to where I would pick them up and hike from there for a change. This was an area I’d never visited, but I will be back. I didn’t walk as far or as long as I typically do, but I finished feeling tired and covered in sweat, guess I call that a good workout,

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family · life

It’s Saturday

It’s Saturday. It’s the weekend. It’s a long weekend.

This means biking in North Park, yard work, and family time. Richard helped Colby make his car for school. Colby needed to make a car to protect an egg in a “car crash”. He made the car out of foam insulation and they worked together to shape it into the car in Colby’s mind-eye.

Tonight Colby is going to a friend’s house for a sleep over. Last year on this day Colby was having his two best friends from FL spend the night over to celebrate his birthday. This was their last hurrah together before our move. Tonight he is going to be at a friend in the neighborhood’s house. They became friends over the course of the school year and while it took time for the friendship to foster, it works now. He misses his Florida friends, but he has found a new group that makes him happy here too.

In 8 days Colby will have his tenth birthday. It’s hard to believe he will be in double digits. I’ll talk more about Colby and his birthday on his birthday post, but I was thinking about it today as the pictures from his sleep over popped up in my Facebook feed.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend and are able to get out and enjoy the unofficial start of summer.

family · life

Weekend update- mother’s day edition

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. We were busy this weekend. Saturday found us at North Park on a bike ride. The boys wanted to show Richard the trails they have been riding in bike class. I decided to skip the ride and go for a hike. I went on a few new paths that I hadn’t walked on before. It was a win-win all around. We then went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and stopped at the bike store. Blake needed a new helmet and Richard wanted to look at new bike shoes. We were spent a while outside doing a bit of this and a bit of that as well as chatting with neighbors. We originally planned to go out to dinner, but the skies opened with no sign of letting up, so fend for yourself dinner it is! We decided that since we stayed home we should watch a movie. We decided to watch Ocean’s Eleven (2001). Richard and I have been on a kick of showing the boys movies that Richard and I enjoy, but are still appropriate for tweens.

Sunday morning Colby decided he wanted to make me breakfast in bed. Richard told him that wouldn’t work since there was no way to serve it. So instead Colby opted to make me a strawberry peanut butter smoothie. He tried to bring it up to me, but I was already on my way downstairs. After breakfast, we went off to the gym, DiBellas, and Lowes. We had a long list of things to purchase at Lowes. This did not make the boys happy. We can’t win they don’t want to go if we don’t have a list, now they don’t want to go if we do have a list. Get over if… home ownership means trips to Lowes!

When we got home we started putting down seed on the front and side lawns and then were were going to begin putting the bags of top soil on bare spots. The ground here is rocky, loaded with sticks and it is clay not soil. So we are having to work hard to get this lawn looking the way we want it to look. We will get there. While we were working on putting out the top soil it began to rain. It wasn’t bad at first, but then it picked up. We had to head in and wait it out in the garage. We were already partially done and slightly damp so we decided to wait it out instead of going in to change. We then went out again when it let up only to have the sky open and drench us. Oh well… it got done.

Colby came outside when he finally stopped raining and was observing the run off on the lot next door. He has been learning about water and the effects of it on the landscape. It was neat listening to him discuss the erosion he was observing, the tributaries that were created as well as many other terms he learned in science class. School work at it’s finest!

We had homemade pizza and rolls for dinner. We used the Alton Brown recipe again. It wasn’t as good as the first time we made it, but it was still really good.

The night was ended with Google Hangout calls to both grandmothers to wish them a happy mother’s day.

Hope you had a great weekend.

(Must have Monday is still going to appear today…. just later on today. I didn’t post yesterday so I wanted to share the whos and whats of the weekend)

family · life

Friday rambles

Yesterday the boys had their second mountain biking lesson. They are really enjoying this. I went for a walk again. This time I didn’t go on the trails, but stayed on the paved areas. I walked just shy of 4 miles. We had a huge rain storm during the day yesterday, but it the weather improved and it was the perfect weather to be out in the park.

Today has been overcast and on the cool side. After breakfast this morning, I went outside and mowed the lawn. I decided to stick my phone in my pocket and put on “map my hike” while I mowed. It was about 1.5 miles and we don’t even have grass on our whole lot just yet. (we haven’t dealt with the back of the lot yet since we want to alter the topography of the lot still) Let me tell you… my hips hurt now.

This means I had four walks over 1 mile this week. I’m trying to get more walks/hikes in each week. I was thinking last night that I should probably find my headphones and start playing music or even a book while I walk during the boys biking class. I am almost done with both of the books I’m reading now. I haven’t decided if I want to start using my kindle before I go to bed or continue to have a real book for reading upstairs in bed.

It looks like we are going to have a soggy weekend. I have no clue what we will end up doing this weekend. We will probably try to get to the gym and the boys are wanting to go biking with Richard to show him the trails they have ridden in class. Lets see if the weather allows that to happen. All I know is Sunday we are having pizza and I’m making more of the garlic rolls I made with Alton Brown’s pizza dough… yum!

Hope you have something fun planned for your weekend.