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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

October 2018

It's November already!  Unbelievable.  We had a fun October!

I had to make a quick trip to Appleworks to get some apples, pumpkin bread, and other treats.  Such a gorgeous day!

David and I went with Brennan to Pittsburgh for a college visit.  I don't know that we've ever gone on a trip without Thomas!  We had some time for sightseeing along with our college tours and visiting with Rissa who is in her freshman year and doing great.

At the Andy Warhol museum.

At Ft. Pitt

The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh

Dinner with Rissa at the Hofbrauhaus - delicious!

University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon are beautiful campuses

Overlooking Pittsburgh

Thomas and Neil came home for a couple of hours to attend Ethnic Expo.  I took them to vote for their first time!!  And they got to see the little boys who were along for the ride.

David and Brennan took a quick trip to visit The University of Chicago for a college tour.  They really enjoyed the campus.

I took a quick work trip to Nashville.  My colleague and I had dinner downtown at Woolworth on 5th which was the location of peaceful sit-ins at the lunch counter upstairs in 1960.  Now renovated and the food is amazing.

While we were there for a bunch of meetings, we also get to attend the annual Kiddie Parade for over 300 children.  The employees go ALL OUT to make it special, handing out candy, taking photos, etc.  Every department picks a theme.

Our area was construction and it was awesome because the little ones loved it.  We had two wrecking balls. 

Speaking of Halloween, David and I went as Amy and Sheldon for the Gecklers annual costumer party.

And we celebrated David's BIG birthday!  It was great to have Thomas home for the weekend to celebrate.

They got David a gourmet sweets platter from Brennan's favorite candy shop.

After our celebration at home we went to Zwanzigz's for his party.

1968 Babies

We had our annual fire pit book club at April and Todd's where we discussed "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton.  It was an awesome night.

Remy graduated from Puppy Kindergarten!

And David and I have hit some state parks lately with the little boys.  It's been a lot of fun and the weather has been gorgeous!  Anderson Falls and Clifty Falls State Park in October.

Brennan's hand bell choir played for us in church.  It was such a beautiful song to close out the service.

And after a run Brennan made caramel apples, from scratch!  They were delicious, just ask David!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

September 2018

I'm not sure there has been a busier month for me than last month.  September was full of trips, volunteer work, work work, family, puppies, tricycles, hay rides, and book clubs.

I spent a very full week in England for work, including a weekend exploring the countryside.  I am lucky that a co-worker recommended some quick evening trips as well so I could see some local to Newcastle spots.  I took advantage of all the free time I had!

Over the weekend I visited 2 Pemberleys!  Chatsworth House from the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice (and mentioned in the novel itself) and Lyme Park from the Colin Firth P&P.  I can't tell you what a thrill it was to turn the winding road and come face to face with places I know so well from the big screen!

First up, Chatsworth House!  There were so many sheep grazing.  I took a grounds tour and ended up with a sheep walking alongside me.  I named him Mr. Darcy.

Next stop was Lyme Park.  

Here is the home in all its glory.

And a shot from the tv at home as I watched some scenes before heading to England.

Then I headed to The NORTH (I love how it's called that).  I spent a lot of time in Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, and Stockton-On-Tees.

My hotel was an incredible place called Rockcliffe Hall, on the grounds next to the parsonage where Lewis Carroll grew up.  These grounds and woods were his inspiration for Wonderland in the mid-1800s.  

I walked the grounds and found that the local Cricket club uses the grounds for their matches.  I stopped and watched for awhile.  Very cool to see!

My portion of Rockcliffe Hall

A wonderland area for children to explore

One evening we did a quick drive through Newcastle to see parts of the 1st century AD Hadrian's Wall.  It's 80+ miles long but not intact the entire way.  Walking the length of Hadrian's Wall is a fun event like our fundraiser 5Ks in the U.S.  They recommend you spend up to 7 days doing it because of the terrain.  Some people shoot for 3 days instead.

 Durham was my favorite town I explored.  While my co-workers had no idea what "Pemberley" was or why I'd want to spend my weekend exploring them (unbelievable!), they were very willing to point me to Harry Potter locations.  I couldn't have been happier!

St. Nicholas in Durham

 Durham Castle and Cathedral - where many of the first 3 Harry Potter movies were filmed!

Cameras were not allowed inside but a nice nun allowed me a quick snap.

The beginning of this hallway (not my photo below)

The grounds were incredible.  I enjoyed walking all around.

I was also encouraged to check out Seaham, not far from where I was working.  Here is the WWI monument to fallen British soldiers.  It's 9 feet tall and imposing.  There were a ton of visitors to it on a Tuesday evening.

My final side trip was to Fountains Abbey in Ripon.  You park and go into the welcome area and then as you head out you see just the top of the abbey, until you head down the hill and...

 Just gorgeous!

I can't tell you how happy I was to get home.  David picked me up at the airport and we took Thomas out to eat.  It was great to see him!  My puppies were happy to see me and I missed them.

Bailey needs a haircut - soon.

Look at Remy's little underbite.  So cute!

Remy turned 6 months old last month.

They like going on adventures (this time to Walgreens).

Brennan was 1st place in a 5K in September!!

Violet and I were lucky to snag the last tickets to see Reese Witherspoon on her book tour in Louisville.  Sheryl Crow interviewed her and we all got free books.  It was a super fun night!

Brennan and I volunteered at the Mill Race Marathon as bike security.  Brennan said he'd rather run the 5K.  I personally prefer the biking and cheering on all the runners.

Thomas caught a ride home one Friday.  He was only home for 2 hours - just enough to take him out to dinner, pack up some snacks from our pantry, and order him some supplies from amazon.  I am a good mom.

David (and his boss Aaron cheering him on) competed in the United Way tricycle race in Indy!

For the Litwits we discussed "In the Garden of Beasts" and I took (but did not make) a German Chocolate Cake.  

And Karen and Bob hosted our Wine Club for chili and all things Fall.  Here we are on a hay ride.  Karen served 4 kinds of chili and tons of yummy sides plus a peach crisp with vanilla ice cream.  I loved sitting around the fire pit with everyone!

Mary, Mike, Karen, and Bob

We got to see one of the only remaining 1919 Cummins diesels.  It was on its way to a show.  Very cool.

And finally, I served a dessert from Reese's book "Whiskey in a Teacup" and I made pasta with pesto, Eleanor's favorite, from "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" for my other book club.  

Already enjoying October and looking forward to two big family birthdays this month!