Christmas 2019

We packed away all the Christmas decorations yesterday, so it’s time to share the 2019 holiday report.

This year we stayed put in Maryland and played host to all the grandparents as well as my brother.  The advent calendar kept us busy and we were able to pack quite a bit into the kids 12 days off from school.  The highlights were ice skating, several hikes in the woods, visiting Longwood Gardens, skiing with Elli at Roundtop, baking cookies, getting new bunkbeds, and seeing Frozen 2!

We received lots of nice picture cards in the mail and it’s good to see everyone happy and healthy.

Happy New Year!

Visiting Santa at the Fire Station

First Snow Day of 1st Grade

Stamping Out Christmas Cookies

Enjoying Snowman Pancakes

New Bunkbeds made by Our Friend Chris!

Withers’ on Ice

Hiking with a Princess

Elliott’s Note to Santa

Christmas Morning

Elves and Uncle Brent

Christmas Day Hike at Susquahanna

More Gifts from G&G Stader

Train Garden at Longwood

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Thanksgiving in Ohio

This year we travelled to Grandma and Grandpa Stader’s house in Columbus for Thanksgiving.  We were joined by Cheri’s Aunt Tunie and Uncle Kevin who flew in from Omaha.

Thursday we had a nice hike in the woods followed by preparing and eating turkey, potatoes in many forms, broccoli, cranberry relish, beans, cauliflower, and apple pie.  Super yummy!  Then card games were played into the night.

We then spent the weekend with Cheri’s brother Chris’s family and the cousins all got along great.  We all went on a nice hike and enjoyed the company.  The kids baked Christmas cookies with Grandma.  I also got to meet up with some high school and college friends and watch the Buckeyes crush Michigan.

Big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for their hospitality!

Elliott’s Recipe

Baking Christmas Cookies

Sliding Sisters

Down the Fire Pole

Group Hike Minus the Over Achievers (Cheri, Rory, and Tunie)

Cousins/Grandpa Hike

Sleepy Everett

Rory takes the easy option.

Group shot with questionable child buy-in.

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Fall Time 2019

October has been busy.  We went to the Darlington Apple Festival, had a neighborhood Oktoberfest block party, and the kids ran a cross country race.   Cheri and I each spent a week out of town on business, Elliott had a Walk-a Thon fundraiser, and of course Halloween!

Elli was a witch, Rory was a princess, and we hosted a few friends for dinner and trick-or-treating.  Incriminating photo evidence below…

Elliott’s Horsey Ride

Goofy Kids at Oktoberfest

XC Race Start

Rory on the home stretch.

Astronaut Elliott

Mrs. Vernon’s 1st Grade Class after Walk-a-Thon

Pumpkin Truck

Windy and Warm Halloween

Kid Costumes

Pumpkin Carved

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Camping with G&G Withers

Last weekend we met Grandma and Grandpa Withers for a nice camp out at Elk Neck State Park on the Chesapeake Bay.  We spent two nights and enjoyed biking, fishing, and hiking during the days.  The campground was nice for the kids with a playground and swimming beach close by.

Waiting for Popcorn on a Stick

Sisters on a Bench

Walking to the Lighthouse


Elliott’s First Bass

Camp Digs

Camp Selfie

Turkey Point Lighthouse

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Rory’s 3rd Birthday

Rory turned 3 last week!  We didn’t plan much, just brownies at home and a few gifts on her day, but there was a neighborhood gathering of friends on friday evening so I showed up with a cake and made it a birthday party.  Rory says thank you for all the happy wishes and she is enjoying bragging that she is an inch taller than Elli was when she turned three!

Goofy Face
Impromptu Party
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Mid Ohio Track Day

Lovely wife hit it out of the park when she organized and gifted me a surprise weekend trip to Ohio to meet up with my high school buddies and spend a weekend driving around in circles as fast as possible!

The track was Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, where I had spectated several races back in my school days and always wished I could get to experience driving first hand.  The Porsche Club of America organizes events where you can spend a weekend driving a track and they even provide an experienced instructor to ride with you.  No ‘racing’ is allowed but you are encouraged to drive as fast as you can, learn the racing lines, and go as far beyond your comfort level as you dare.

We drove 8x 25 minute sessions over two days, which is plenty of time to get comfortable and work on technique.  Super fun!  Also the only way to experience the true capabilities of a sports car without going to jail.

It was a great treat to get to spend the weekend with Joel and Colin, who I do not see often enough, and I also got to meet up with old friends Katie, Erin and Bob.  To top it all off my Uncle Steve and Cousin Ryan came for a day and took some really great photos of us on track.

Thanks to Cheri for making it happen, and to Colin and Joel for putting their shiny cars at risk at my request.

You can tell I’m smiling even with a helmet on!

Colin looking blurry

Joel making his spoiler pop up

Uncle Steve and his Bullitt Mustang


Here’s a clip of one lap where I’m trying to chase Colin down but not making much progress:

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Hadley Visit and First Day of School

We had a nice visit from some old friends over the weekend.  Activities included biking, eating ice cream, playing in the creek, making s’mores, and building wooden airplanes and racing them off the deck.

This morning the yellow bus came to take Elliott to her first day of first grade.  She was pretty clingy at the bus stop but once the kids lined up to get on the bus she jumped right on and had a great day.

Kids with their planes.

Jack’s sage advice – “Make sure you don’t hit your penis with the hammer”

Ready to Fly

First Flight

Down the string.


On the way to the bus stop.

Elliott’s first day of 1st Grade

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