Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another glorious victory over that team up north...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Class of 2013 Lady Knights Volleyball Squad

Marie's season opener is two weeks from today! Can't wait!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I think I've done about 7 or 8 gigs now with the kid's band, Zobapago. What started out as simply filling in on acoustic for a weekend show about 4 months ago has turned into a new passion of well as our band's newest roadie, lil' Sarah Kay. The gang consists of Kimmy and Dan Salmons (vocals and percussion), Eric on sax/ percussion, Tony on bass, EZ on electric, and then yours truly on acoustic. We've played venues ranging from private birthday parties to outdoor settings including neighborhood rec centers and the Cuyahoga Falls amphitheatre. I think we've got Highland Square's Art festival coming up next month and then a gig down at EJ Thomas in November.

By far, though, the most fun that comes out of all of this is just the sheer joy and singin' and dancin' by our audience- a mosh pit of 3-8 year olds. Kimmy is simply fantastic getting these kids involved in all the tunes that we play- Goin' to the Doctor, Shapes, Dinosaur, and Gravity are some of my personal favorites and tunes probably well on their way to becoming Platinum in the near future...I'm tellin' ya Wiggles...move on over!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

More Landscapin'

When I bought/ planted this bush last year, I was told that it would attract these lil' critters...guess it worked.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall...

I'll preface this post by saying that I do truly adore my next door neighbors. Their kids- Christina and Goren- have become Josh and Sarah Kay's best friends...and the four of them play together extremely well. So at the risk of appearing "un-neighborly", I just finished a little landscaping project this week by planting eight 4' arborvitaes alongside the fence that separates our two yards. To be blunt, my neighbor's yard has become rather "busy" with their smoke house, dog kennel, grape vineyard, enormous woodpile, and 10' trampoline, which my kids so enjoy playing on I might add. It really doesn't bother me too much now, but I guess I'm just lookin' ahead to the the time when I turn into a crotchedy, old man who would relish a secluded, private backyard....I'm guessin' that it'll probably take these trees about 10-15 years to reach full height to award me this little wish of mine...we'll see.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Holy Cross Pilgrimage: Hoban High School's Montreal Trip 2009

After driving just about the half the distance and staying over night in Toronto, the Hoban kids, Mandi (Hoban math teacher), and I arrived in Montreal last Monday around 5:00 p.m. After a quick dinner in the College Jean de Brebeauf's cafeteria, we made what would be our first of many trips over to St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal for evening prayer. Our hosts- Brother Jonathan Beebe, CSC and Brother Mark Knightly, CSC- spent a considerable amount of time explaining to our kids the difference between being a tourist and being a pilgrim. Unlike touring a big city (like Montreal) and window shopping and sight-seeing various attractions and historical buildings and monuments, a pilgrimage is truly a spiritual journey...a journey that leads us to several churches to seek and encounter God. It's a time of change and transformation in an effort to live out the Gospel more deeply in our lives. Truthfully, I think all of us- including Mandi and I- embraced this message whole-heartedly the first time that we arrived to the summit of St. Joseph's Oratory and peered out over the entire city of Montreal...words cannot describe the scene from the Oratory's terrace...

The second day included a detailed tour of the Oratory as well as an education on the man who is credited with the construction of this magnificent building, Brother Andre Bessette. Earning the reputation of a miracle worker, I read in some of the literature that this man vehemently protested such a title and proclaimed that "people are silly to think that I can accomplish miracles! It is God who can heal you, not I. However, we were told on the tour that he is currently at the stage of beatification and is currently awaiting the next step- sainthood- which can only be bestowed on a man by the Papacy.

While at the Oratory, we all were able to see not only the tomb of Brother Andre, but also the oratory museum, which contained a collections of nativities made from various countries all over the world...spectacular! Later in the evening, we all headed back to this same spot to witness a dramatization of the stations of the cross...presented in the Oratory's outside gardens. Again, just an incredibly beautiful- albeit contemporary- reenactment of Christ's final days here on earth.

Wednesday was set aside for the whole gang to make the trek downtown- using the subway system of course- and tour Montreal's other basilicas: Mary Queen of the World (modeled after St. Peter's in Rome), St. Patrick's, and Notre Dame de Montreal. Even though it made for an extremely long day to tour all three of these, it was very cool to see them all in compare the styles and ornamentation found in each one...and believe me, each one was extremely different. Hands down, my favorite was the Notre Dame Basilica. Check these three out on-line sometime to see the magnificence found in their structure and interior artwork...simply least for this mediocre blog writer.

Following some impromptu witness talks by all the adult chaperons on the trip, the afternoon allowed us to re-visit the downtown area of Montreal and do some of the touristy things in the city. Twenty years from now if I come back and re-read this posting...I would be remiss to not document our journey to St. Catherine's St. Let's just say that this is a rather lively and eclectic part of the downtown area that thrives on adult entertainment. Needless to say, we made a rather quick U-turn from this location after we realized that we had kind of made a wrong turn on the tour.

It had been a number of years since I had chaperoned a lengthy trip with students. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but our kids were phenomenal. They played and laughed hard, but they equally prayed hard- with earnest- during all of our prayer services and masses that we attended together as a group. I think the one moment that I'll remember most is watching our kids "pray the steps" at the Oratory. Beginning at the bottom and working their way up the hillside- on their knees on stone pavement- their prayer journey took them over an truly was a moving experience to see a bunch of teenagers- huddled together in prayer- make the ascent to the top of the Oratory. So cool.

On a much lighter note, we shared so many laughs together as we played Euchre each night through the wee hours of the morning...not to mention the car rides there and back from Montreal. The kids transformed my music tendencies a bit by getting me hooked on their Hip-Hop music...some catchy tunes were sung loud and strong while rollin' down the Canadian highways. Again, thanks to Mandi, Josh, Chris, Emily, Katie, Anna, Sammi, Paul, and Nettie for a wonderful trip...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Allegany '09

Cindy, the kids, and I just got back from a week "camping" in the mountains. I'll admit that our accommodations probably would not classify as true camping...2 bedroom cabin w/ full kitchen, living room, bathroom and shower. I did, though, have to start a campfire each night! Anyway, here's a quick overview of how we spent the week...

Day #1...

Cindy wasn't able to meet up with us till Wed., so the kids and I spent the first couple of days in the "wildnerness" by ourselves...and I managed not to lose either one of them! The park has a beatuiful lake- Red House Lake- which we were able to swim, play at the beach, and rent a paddle boat for the Josh found out, it's a bit harder to row the boat with three passengers!

Day 2...
The three of us took a three mile trek (the Black Snake Mountain trail) up the mountain this morning...a very, very long three miles I might add...and then after a trip to the camp store to get a much needed bow and arrow (mom still hadn't arrived so Josh and I figured it would be an opportune time for this particular purchase) and a quick dinner cooked on the campfire...we made yet another trek to the local ice cream stand.

Day 3...
With mom having arrived the night before, we made a day trip to Niagara Falls on Thursday. I can't begin to describe the look on Sarah Kay and Josh's faces as we boarded the Maid of the Mist and headed toward the Horseshoe much fun. Afterwards, we headed over to Goat Island to take in the sights of both the American and Canadian Falls. Absolutely breath-taking...did I mention that we did an awful lot of walking that day?
Day 3- later that evening...

And what would be a camping trip without an authentic Hootenanny? Josh and Sarah weren't shy at all at running up on the stage to lead the crowd in some singin' and dancin'. Each evening ended with a relaxing campfire...with Josh's newest friend and Sarah Kay's newest "boyfriend"...boy, am I in trouble...

Day 4...

Well, the game plan was to rent a canoe or a kayak this morning, but when Josh and I got to the marina, we were told that they no longer provided this, we had to settle for little fishing boat instead. Josh absolutely loved driving this little craft around the Allegany Reservoir...later that day, we headed off towards Thunder Rocks where the kids were able to climb around and give their mother a near heart attack as they scampered around the rocks and cliffs.


Friday, July 10, 2009

" Mean Joe" Eubank

Not that I'm ready to rush my son's grade school life by him, but I would love to see the lil' guy don the Hoban gridiron colors at Dowed Field someday...having just finished up his very first football camp, Josh appears to be pretty excited about the notion of playing organized football, possibly as soon as next year for the CYO team through St. Matthews. Of course, if his interest turns to another sport...say the exciting, fast paced game of soccer...well, then, I guess I could live with that. But I REALLY wouldn't mind at all if the lil' guy chooses to play offensive tackle or defensive end someday...much to the chagrin of his mom, I would imagine.

The Hoban coaches introduced the kids to many of the practice drills that the high school players endure during training camp. I think one of the coolest things for Josh was simply being able to play on Hoban's field w/ its artificial turf and "larger than life" size goal posts. Sarah Kay and I watched a good portion of the camps from the bleachers, and Josh seemed to be able to hold his own against the other kids...if fact, I'm thinkin' that I may need to get him an agent within the next couple of years or so....just to be safe.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sarah Kay and her pup

We've had Maggie now for about six years...we bought her at the Humane Society back in 2003, and at that time they told us that she was probably around 7-8 years old. I know that I've told a number of people this over the years, but this dog really is about the best pet that anyone could ask for. From day one, she has been wonderful around kids, and she has become quite attached just recently to Sarah Kay...most likely because she tends to play with her more than Josh and Marie do.

I've recently started thinking about how much longer our family pet will be with addition to her much smaller appetite and poor hearing, just yesterday, as we were taking our evening walk, I really noticed how bad Maggie's arthritis is beginning to bother her. She still LOVES to go on walks, but it's become a real labor of love for her to make the familiar trek around the neighborhood that we so often have made over the years.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Josh

We didn't really go all out for the little guy's 8th birthday...for a number of reasons...but I think Josh enjoyed himself yesterday as he "partied" with his two bestest friends, who happen to live right next door, in helping him celebrate his 8th birthday.

I know that I'm gonna sound like just another braggin' father here, but I really have to say how incredibly proud I am of my son. These past six months have been a very trying time for our family, and the little guy has been simply amazing through it all. I've always said that Josh is the type of kid who wears his heart on his sleeve...but he's also turned into quite a strong young man who is constantly looking out for not only his little sister, but his mother, whom he loves ever so much. Through it all, Josh is always concerned that everyone is always happy and well taken care of. The lil' guy is gonna make an awesome husband/dad one doubt about it.

Outside of the DS that you so dearly wanted for your birthday, Josh...if there is one gift that I could give to you for your birthday it would be the courage to fight for things in your life that are most important....never take the easy way out, love your family and friends with all your heart, and keep your faith in Christ. Truth is, though, Josh tends to help me out with these things a whole lot more than I do for him. Happy Birthday son...I love ya so much!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Archbishop Hoban High School
Class of 2013
Our Admissions department will use this photo quite a bit this fall in various publications. Check out the gleaming smile of the cute one in the lower right hand corner of the photo...Ms. Marie's high school career has officially begun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Reading

Josh was assigned the “Herculean” task of reading 20 minutes each day of his summer break by his teacher on his last day of school. Looking around at the plethora of books in his room, I thought that maybe we could turn this into a little project that would have some meaning to it…as well as something that he will hopefully remember for a while. Around a couple of weeks ago, Josh had actually asked for a Bible for his birthday. He’s had a couple of prayer books and “favorite Bible stories” collections…but never did he own an actual kid’s Bible that contained both the Old and New Testaments.

So after a quick trip to Borders, I found this one that seemed to be perfect for the little guy, who is still honing in on his first grade reading skills. This Bible has around 550 pages, and contains the major OT and NT stories. What’s been most amazing to me is how much Josh actually knows about some of the OT characters- apparently from both his grade school as well as Sunday school classes. When we began the story about Jacob and Esau…he piped up…”Oh yeah, Dad, this is the one about the mean son who stole his brother’s birthmark”…”You mean, birth-right?” “Yeah, that’s it”…and so the summer reading continued...

To date, we’ve read through most of Exodus, and are getting ready to plow through Joshua and the Battle of Jericho this week…

Josh- my Josh that is…has read every word on every page so far. Only 452 pages to go!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alive 2009

After what seemed like weeks of reading Guy's Facebook status of ..."don't forget to vote for Julie at "...things fell into place as Julie Hufstetler secured a top ten spot for this year's New Artist Talent Search at the Alive Music Festival in Canal Fulton.

In addition to the incredible vocals of Ms. Julie, our band consisted of Andrea Leibundgut- drums, Jayson Benn- electric guitar, Daniel Salmons- bass, Joey Garlando- keyboards, and yours truly on acoustic. We took the stage at noon today and played a 25 minute set in the Woods stage...complete with an encore of one of my favorite tunes from Julie's latest CD's, He Changes Everything.

The winner, as chosen by the judges at Alive 09, will represent Alive this fall at the Word Records New Artist Talent Search in Nashville, TN. There the winner will be showcased and compete against 16 other festival winners from across the country.

Then, as an added bonus, the winner will be also be able to perform at the 2010 Alive festival on the Main Stage.

This whole experience was something that I will treasure for a long time. I was truly flattered that Julie even asked me to play in the band, and I think we all were kind of pleasantly surprised how quickly and effortlessly things came together for today's performance. Anytime you want to take this gig on the road there, Ms. Julie...count me in! Regardless of the outcome of the competition, you are a phenomenal musical talent, and no doubt God has great things in store for you with your song writing/ music ministry...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Conquering the Magnum

The lil' guy helped me chaperone the annual Hoban High School 9th grade class trip to Cedar Point today. As what has become the norm, it rained the entire way up to Sandusky, but once we got inside the park, the rains ceased and we had a pretty decent day- albeit a bit chilly. But the upside to that was that the lines were almost non-existent...I don't think we waited for more than 10 minutes for any of the rides we tackled today, including the Magnum (after a little bit of encouragement by yours truly)

The Hoban kids were great- both on the bus ride to the park as well as their promptness getting back to the buses by 7:30 p.m.- it was 7:33 when the last kid boarded this evening...not too bad.

My fondest memory of the trip came when my son was playing the infamous guessing game- you know the one when the gal tries to guess either your weight, age, or birthdate. Not having seen the gal write down her guess on a piece of paper, she asked Josh when his birthday was...after replying that it was on June 27th, the worker said "December...take your prize young man." Perplexed, Josh looked at her and replied, " Didn't you just hear me....I said it was in don't listen very well" Well, maybe you had to be there...I thought it was awfully funny.