Saturday, November 21, 2009


We love Halloween at our house, maybe because my kids love costumes of all kinds (see Midsummer Nights Dream pics, below, and Rennaissance Faire pic above. :) Here's our 2009 Halloween get-ups. Nate, who's a huge Star Wars fan went as "Commander Cody." (I had to ask him just now who the character was, b/c I couldn't remember. For any Star Wars purists out there, Commander Cody isn't a character from any of the six movies, but from the spin-off animated film and TV series, "Clone Wars.")
Brennan, our history buff, went as Al Capone. He got the idea when his GrandmaLu got him a cool fedora over the summer. He carried a pillowcase for his candy and said in a Chicago gangster drawl, "Awright...put da candy in da bag, pleez!" At least he did it for a while, he said. But then people started looking at him strangely, so he stopped.

And our tween, Annie. She's at the age where she still loves trick or treating but is too cool for a store-bought costume. So she uses her creativity. Brennan helped her with this one, mimicking a computer upload signal (Costume Loading. Please wait....) . Clever, huh? :)

Trick or treating starts at 4:00 here in Joliet, which I've always thought odd since where we grew up it was always at night. But, still, it's probably safer. My kids this year asked me not to accompany them, since they're pretty familiar with our neighborhood. They roamed around for a couple of hours on their own and had a marvellous time. They're growing up!

The candy haul. Can anyone say, 'Sugar high?'

Finally here's some of our jack'o'lanterns we carved. We always do one for each member of the family.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Midsummer Night's Dream

Jessica and Bethany made a request for us to post our Renaissance Faire and our Midsummer Night's Dream pictures. I'll have a nice long post soon about the Ren Faire (previewed by the family pic above showing us in our Reniassance costumes) But here's at least half the request filled, with pictures from Shakespeare in the Park.

Our kids really love drama, and this summer the older two appeared as fairies in the Joliet Drama Guild's "Shakespeare in the Park" production of Midsummer Night's Dream. Every fairy made his/her own costume, so the results were creative and eclectic. It was really a lot of fun, sitting on the grassy hillside in Joliet's outdoor theater, on a summer twilight, watching Shakespeare's fairies flit around us. (All the fairies danced out into the audience at regular intervals.)

I was really impressed with how focused all the kids stayed (including Nate, who was in the audience for two performances) through three hours of Shakespeare. And don't they look great!

Here's some of the fairies on stage in the middle of a scene.

Annie whispers some stage instructions to her brother.

A close-up of our fairies.

A group shot after the play.
They had someone doing facepainting during the intermission. Nate got a beard and mustache painted on him. He looks kind of like Will Shakespeare, doesn't he?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More Summer Travel Pics

We had a shortened trip to see the McDonnell clan this summer, since I inadvertently caught half the family out of town on vacation! (Note to self--plan better next summer) But here are some pictures from our visit east. We went to Mystic Seaport with Dad and Gail, which was a lot of fun. And since Brennan and Nate are currently on a Revolutionary War kick, the Pierces took us to Valley Forge and the "Paoli Massacre" site (which wasn't really a massacre, and wasn't really in Paoli, but oh well.) We visited the Anthonys but somehow didn't take pictures. (Oops!) But we did drive down from York to DC for a day's touristing.

Can you see Dad, Gail, Nate, and Annie?

Here we are pretending to attack Fred at the Paoli Massacre site.

Aww, we didn't mean it, Fred!

We spent some fun evenings hanging out with the Pierce family.

Here our Brennan (ever the ham) acts out something in a Charade type game. (Lorrie, John, or Greg, can you remind me of the name of that game? It was fun!)

Here's Nate with Abe.
In front of the actual Apollo 11 lunar module. Very cool

Saluting our Illinois heroes at the WWII memorial.
Waving hello to the Obamas, our fellow Illinoisans.

Finally, back at home. What's a summer without some sparklers?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Flashback: Our (2008!) trip West in numbers

A year ago this week we got back from our car trip out West. I found a paper in a notebook today of numbers from the trip that I meant to post on the blog, and never got around to. So, in memory of a wonderful adventure last year, I give you our 2008 trip in numbers:

5123 - Car miles we traveled.
1030 - dollars we spent on gas. Gas was $4/gal. last summer!
3.5 - number of times we had to vacuum the car to get all the gunk of the long trip out.
100 - m.p.h. - the fastest we went. But it was an accident! Coming down a long hill in the middle of nowhere with no one around. Fortunately we didn't get a ticket. And no, I won't tell you who was driving. :)
1 - number of bears we saw in the wild.
36 - number of bears we saw at Bear Country U.S.A. in South Dakota.
1 - Biggest living thing in the world seen by us. It's the General Sherman tree at Sequoia National Park.
3 - number of wildfires we came too close to comfort to (yes, I know; awkward sentence!)

Anyway, there it is! A wonderful experience for all of us; one we'll never forget.

Our Georgia trip!

We've been on the road so much this summer that I've neglected our blog. But here are some fun pictures of our time in Georgia visiting Mark's wonderful family.

We all went tubing up in the north Georgia mountains one day. Here are Jessica and Rocky above, and Nate and Bethany below.

We got to see Mark's Uncle Bob and Aunt Kathy. They live in Florida, but drove up to Georgia to see us.

Annie and Bethany challenged a gleeful Grandpa Don to a card game. The girls suspected their grandpa was cheating, though!
Zachary, Nate and Brennan show off their hats.

I'll post our Connecicut, PA and D.C. pics soon!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The beach!

We had a fabulous time at Topsail Island last week! Gosh, I love that place. One of us needs to win the lottery and buy a house on the beach there for all of us to descend upon every summer.

Annie's loving it.

So is Brennan.

And Nate!

The Schultz kids and Anthony kids had fun doing some improv games. Here they all are in crazy improv poses, waiting for Scott's interesting "interpretations."

Below is one of Scott's impressive sand castles:

The guys react to the waves threatening the castle.

Nate, John Paul, Annie and Mary Kate prepare to get wiped out by a wave.

Mark and Cathy mellowing out.

All nine kids report for duty to start the Friday night cleanup the night before we (sob!) have to leave.

What a great week! Anyone want to share great Topsail memories in the comments?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Nate's Very Big Day!

Nate had his First Holy Communion today! Though we wish we could have oodles of family trek out here to Illinois for these important family days, it was still nice with just the five of us. Our church is so small that there were only five kids having their First Holy Communion today, so the kids did a lot during the mass.
They read the readings.

Then Fr. Ray called them up for the homily. They each explained the banner they had made for the day. Here's Nate's. He had a picture of the cross, and the host, and the chalice on his banner. He called the chalice, "the Holy Grail," which made the church laugh. Nate loves his King Arthur stories!

The five kids also brought up the gifts for the Offertory.
Then they sang the reflection song after Communion. Very sweet!

Finally they process out with Fr. Ray.And here's our choir rocking the house. :)

And then, cake in the parish hall!
A great and good day. We love you, Nate!