Thursday, July 31, 2008

Talking Pennsylvanian

We're back home!  It was a long travel day yesterday but we finally made it home to our own beds by 2am.  We did so much, saw so much, once again filled up 2 cameras and a Flip video.  There's lots to recap and eventually I maybe will, but the summer of traveling is continuing and I just don't have the time...I leave in less than 2 days for a girl's weekend away....(woohoo Matchbox 20!) and then next week another family vacation to see more family...this time Santa Cruz to visit Aaron's side.  Can't wait for both! 

In the meantime I wanted to share this funny list called "Talking Pennsylvanian" my Mom sent me.  All of it is so true...Pennsylvania is like another culture and another time in so many ways.  I've always kinda just known that but Aaron was constantly amazed at how different it is, especially from California.  In addition, Pittsburgh too has it's own set of quirks...I think I'll begin compiling my own list. 

Once a Pennsylvanian, ALWAYS a Pennsylvanian!
About Pennsylvanians:

  • You've never referred to Philadelphia as anything but 'Philly' and New Jersey has always been ' Jersey '

  • You refer to Pennsylvania as 'PA' (pronounced Pee-ay). How many other states do that?


  • 'You guys' is a perfectly acceptable reference to a group of men and women


  • You know how to respond to the question 'Djeetyet?' (Did you eat yet?)


  • You learned to pronounce Bryn Mawr, Wilkes-Barre, Schuylkill, the Pocono's, Tamaqua, Tunkannock, Bala Cynwyd, Duquesne and Monongahela.


  • And we know Lancaster is pronounced Lank aster, not Lan kaster.


  • You know what a 'Mummer' is, and are disappointed if you can't catch at least highlights of the parade.


  • You know what ' Punxsutawney Phil' is, and what it means if he sees his shadow.


  • The first day of buck and the first day of doe season are school holidays.


  • At least five people on your block have electric 'candles' in all or most of their windows all year long.


  • You know what a 'State Store' is, and your out-of-state friends find it incredulous that you can't purchase liquor at the mini-mart.


  • Words like 'hoagie,' 'crick,' 'chipped ham,' 'dippy eggs', 'sticky buns,' 'shoo-fly pie,' 'lemon sponge pie', pierogies' and actually mean something to you.


  • You can eat cold pizza (even for breakfast) and know others who do the same. Those from NY find this 'barbaric.'


  • You not only have heard of Birch Beer, but you know it comes in several colors.


  • You know the difference between a cheese steak and a pizza steak sandwich, and know that you can't get a really good one outside PA, except Atlantic City on the boardwalk.


  • You live for summer, when street and county fairs signal the beginning of funnel cake season.


  • You know that Blue Ball, Intercourse, Paradise , Climax, Bird-in-Hand, Beaver, Moon, Virginville, Mars, and Slippery Rock are PA towns. (and the first three were consecutive stops on the Reading RR).


  • You know what a township, borough, and commonwealth is.


  • You can identify drivers from New York , New Jersey , Maryland or other neighboring states by their unique and irritating driving habits.


  • A traffic jam is 10 cars waiting to pass a horse-drawn carriage on the highway in Lancaster County .


  • You know several people who have hit deer more than once.


  • You carry jumper cables in your car and your female passengers know how to use them.


  • Driving is always better in winter because the potholes are filled with snow.


  • As a kid you built snow forts and leaf piles that were taller than you were.


  • You know beer doesn't grow in a garden but you know where to find a beer garden.


  • You also know someone who lives 'down the lane'.


  • You actually understand all this and send it on to other Pennsylvanians or former Pennsylvanians!



Here's some family photos I did want to share...
This is us with my Uncle Steve and Aunt Donna, cousin David and his family
And here are some from when we visited my Grandma...92 years old and physically healthy as can be!  Doesn't even really need the walker, it was actually quite humorous to watch her more like throw it around then use it. 
We obviously don't make it back East very often so it is so special to be able to see family when we can.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Having a good time!

Though the Pirates are sucking!! Middle of 2nd, padres 7 pirates 1photo.jpg

Close up of a Primanti Bros.


Pittsburgh Original

We had to go to Primanti Brothers for a Pittsburgh original pick your meat, there's lots of cheese, french fries, cole slaw and if you're really brave, a fried egg! Sounds weird, but it's really good. Check for more info. There are lots of culinary traditions here we've been partaking in and lots more to doubt I'll gain at the least 5 pounds here!
Today we also went and visited my Grandma Kay which was so special. Tonight we're going to a Pirates vs San Diego Padres game... If it's televised where you're at check it out, we'll try and get on the jumbotron!
Pittsburgh Original

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Electrifying!

Visited the Carnegie Science Museum today...saw a cool Omnimax movie,
Wild Ocean. We had dinner with my Aunt and Uncle at my cousin's house
and met the newest little cousin...good

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Duquesne Incline

Top of Mt Washingtonphoto.jpg

Busy day ahead...first stop...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We made it to Pittsburgh!

Home of many bridges and tunnels...our flight just got in and we're
headed to my Dad's house in New Stanton...with time diff it's 1:56

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In San Francisco

We just arrived in the Bay area (Millbrae to be exact). We're heading out tomorrow for a flight to Pittsburgh (short stop in Vegas - can't get enough of that place!).

Will update with future adventures....In San Francisco

Dark Stuff and Loving It!

Last night Aaron, my brother and I went to see the Dark Knight.  REALLY great movie, though I was lost a little bit of the time.  I hadn't seen the first one (Batman Begins) and it was so fast moving.  My brother made the comment that he was surprised I wanted to see it because it's not something I normally would go see.  It's true and I really don't know why I was drawn to see it but I'm so glad I did.  And Heath's performance as the Joker was incredible.  I found myself eagerly waiting for him to come back on screen.  I so would have loved to hear what he has to say about making the movie, such an unfortunate loss.  We couldn't even believe that was him under that psychotic makeup job. 

In other 'dark' cinematic watching news...AaronDexter2
and I just finished watching season 2 of Dexter via iTunes and loved every second of it!  Such an incredible show with a wild storyline and distinct characters.  Can't wait until season 3 comes out in a few months!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

George and Arnold saw us!

So Grandma, the kids, and I decided to head up to Whiskeytown today to hang out at the beach.  A little risky because Whiskeytown National Park is actually closed due to the fires, however Brandy Beach is the only section open (little odd, but OK).  It was quite eerie driving up there as there were very few people and lots and lots of smoke.  When we got to the beach there were a few other groups there and all the lifeguards had on face masks.  Comforting.  We ended up having a really nice time and the kids got to do a lot of swimming and we still managed to get some sun.  The smoke cleared a little as the day went on too.  So onto the George and Arnold part!  We were aware that President Bush would be visiting Redding today to survey the fire damage.  We kinda thought he may fly over the lake and at about 3:45 he did!  Him and Governor Schwarzenegger, along with some other political types, were in 4 helicopters flying over Shasta Lake and Whiskeytown Lake.  We were all really excited and everyone was snapping pictures and waving.  If only I had my ultra zoom lens with me!

P7172041 (My Mom and I's photos)

Picture 1

President Bush heads to a briefing with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Redding Mayor Mary Leas Stegall. (By Evan Vucci -- Associated Press)


Marine One with President George W. Bush aboard flies above a tanker plane used in fighting forest fires during an aerial tour Thursday, July 17, 2008 in Redding, Calif., to survey wildfire damage in the area. White House photo by Eric Draper


Photo by Andreas Fuhrmann / Record Searchlight
Air Force One sits on the runway at the Redding Municipal Airport this afternoon.

Junior Giants

The Junior Giants program started up again a few weeks ago.  IMG_7344This will be Jacob's second year doing it and it's fun to have a ball game to go to in the evenings.  The program is run very well and is a great experience for Jacob. 

He's got to have the prettiest, most stylish cheerleader too!



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jacob's first veggie!

Remember the garden Jacob planted with Grandma in April?  (Jacob and Nature)  Well he recently picked his first vegetables from it!  He got a huge zucchini (which should have been picked a little earlier but we were on vacation) that we made some yummy muffins with and a pepper.  He was so excited to pick his first vegetables!

And now back to our regularly scheduled life

So since coming back from vacation, Aaron has been at work.  The fires that were burning in and all around Shasta County were and are still going strong.  We have gotten a few glimpses of blue sky, but for the most part we have had constant smokey and menacing skies.  One 'plus' is that the smoke has kept the temperatures down a slight bit, though we have had our share of 110+ days.  

We have kept busy with various activities throughout the past week.  We had some special visitors from New Jersey (Angela and her boys Ethan and Aidan) that we met up with around town for a couple of days.  It is always so good to see and talk with her and get some East coast perspective!

July 2008 057 July 2008 068

Monday, July 14, 2008

Part 5 - Last and final part!

Our last couple days in Vegas were spent doing family type stuff in Vegas...believe it or not, there is lots to see and do in the Vegas area for those under 21.  One drawback though, the kids are lower to the ground and have a much closer view of all the trash and 'trading cards' that litter the streets....we just tried to distract them as much as possible!  We walked halfway up the strip to check the sights, though it was 115 degrees outside so we'd duck into as many places as we could.  We all loved spending time at the hotel pool too.  Nothing better than lounging next to a huge tropical pool, drinking and eating, listening to some good tunes, while reading a gossipy magazine.  P7061905
We also took part in a Tournament of Kings dinner theater which was fun.  We ate our entire dinner with our hands while watching kings fight for their honor.  We rooted for the country Hungary.  Gosh what else? Oh we spent some time in various kids 'casinos' playing video games and winning cheapo prizes.  All in all we had a really great time in Las Vegas and are looking forward to going back soon!

Click here for some of our Las Vegas pictures

Here's some of our random video clips too:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Part 4 - Las Vegas Wedding

Picture 21
I think this might be the part of our trip everyone has been waiting for!  Our 10-year vow renewal with Elvis Presley was a crazy fun time!  We got to Vegas in the early afternoon and after checking into our hotel (Excalibur) we grabbed a quick Chinese lunch before getting ready for the big event.  A limo picked us up and whisked us off to the Graceland Chapel which is a cute little chapel in the not so best part of town...bail bondsman across the street, hourly rate motel next door, that kind of thing.  We waited in the tiny waiting area for the wedding before us to finish and within a few minutes Elvis (or was it Marc Anthony?) came bounding out to meet us.  After a quick run through of how the ceremony would run, we started right was over!  I remember saying our vows, Aaron picking up Elvis' southern accent, awkwardly dancing, and the kids with wide eyes and bewildered looks.  Other than that I need to watch the DVD to see what else happened...though I really don't want to relive that dancing part!  Afterwards when we went out into the waiting room there were 2 more wedding parties waiting for their turn, they really crank them out at that place!  It was such a fun and unique way to renew our vows and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.  I love you so much Aaron and thank you for 10 wonderful years and for many, many more to come! 

Click here for our photos from the wedding event of the year!

Here's a little slideshow I put together of the professional photos:

Next up...the Vegas finale and trip home...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Part 3 - 4th of July

Claremont Colleges E,M,M,J 2

We left Anaheim the morning of the 4th and headed to Rancho Cucamonga 
to visit with Aaron's brother, Jaime and family.  We hadn't seen their new house yet and the kids always love playing with their cousins.  We arrived just in time for a BBQ lunch.  We then headed to some friends of theirs who live on a mini-farm.  Well not really but they did have a horse and chickens!  They also had nine-4 day old lab puppies and the kids loved getting so see all the animals (bunnies and fish too).  We then all headed to a firework display put on by Claremont College.  It was fun hanging out, eating, listening to a live band and then watching the fireworks.  Click here for more pictures!

Next stop Las Vegas!

Part 2.5 - Disney Vids

Some random video clips from our time at Disneyland and California Adventure...

Up next....Rancho Cucamonga!

Part 2 - Disneyland and California Adventure

Picture 1
We spent 3 full days at Disneyland and California Adventure.  Bottom line, we love it all!  We are 

fortunate that we've been able to go every 2 years for the past 6 years so we didn't feel rushed at the parks.  We were able to check out the new attractions and re-visit our favorites.  Each time we've gone the kids have been at different stages and ages and it's so much fun to see it through the kids eyes as all new too.  This time around both of them were tall enough to ride all but one ride (California Screamin') Picture 14
and while they were scared of some of the rides, they were great sports and tried everything.  We even got them to go on Tower of Terror - twice!

Two of the new rides that we loved were the Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland and Toy Story Mania at California Adventure.  Both used new technology in old school type rides and it was so well done.  Finding Nemo is the updated and revised submarine ride from long ago.  It is now much longer and incorporates animation seamlessly throughout the ride.  So good to see Nemo, Dory and all the underwater friends again!  Toy Story Mania was incredibly fun and innovative.  You wear 3-D glasses, board a ride vehicle and zip off into a 4-D world of midway-style games.  Each person has a spring-action gun that you launch darts, pies, rings, etc at a variety of targets which triggers all kinds of animated fun.  And just like the Buzz Lightyear ride (another favorite we rode 4 times!) it keeps score of what you've hit for great bragging rights after the ride is over.

Unknown-1 In addition to the rides, we saw some really great shows, parades, displays, and the greatest fireworks show ever!  Every night they do fireworks and it's nice seen from far away but if you are actually in the park and in front of the castle it is absolutely incredible.  There is music timed perfectly with the fireworks, they're shot off from all around you, there are light shows displayed on the castle and Tinkerbell even goes flying by above our heads!  The music and effects range from wholesome Disney to the classics to Indiana Jones to Star Wars to Haunted Mansion on an was just spectacular.  I found a variety of YouTube videos that filmed it but you really need to be there to get the full effect.  Here's a pretty good one...

And here's a little video we took of the coolest display we saw...we were all amazed by this!


Stay tuned for more of our vacation recap soon....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

OK, we did come back

Ahhh, what a trip!  We didn't want it to end, but alas, real life was calling us back...namely the bank account part....LOL...

So where to even begin?  I have 2 full cameras, a video camera, and lots of professional photos to go through.  Guess the best way to organize my thoughts and keep me from spending hours in front of my computer is to do this in parts throughout the week. 

I'll start from the beginning.  We headed out on Sunday morning and planned to drive half-way to LA.  We IMG_7185
stopped in Santa Nella.  This is always a good stopping for us because Aaron's dad is buried at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery which is located there.  The grounds are beautiful and always very peaceful.

We also found Uncle Gordon's place too...IMG_7191 

We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the hotel pool and after dinner went to see the movieWall-e-poster1-big
Wall-E in the theater.  Great, great movie!  The creators of Finding Nemo have done it again.   We can't wait until the movie comes out on DVD...we all were trying to perfect the voice of Wall-E.  I think Ella is the winner of that contest. 

The next morning we headed the rest of the way to Los Angeles which was only about 4 more hours.  Pinkberry-plain
We cruised around the IMG_0494
Hollywood area for a bit and finally got to try a Pinkberry...
Now I'm craving another one, but since they're only served in LA and NYC, I'm outta luck.  I so want one with raspberries, Coco Krispies, and chocolate chips...mmmmmm......


IMG_7198We made it to our hotel in Anaheim and were so happy to find that the website was correct and they are directly across the street from the entrance to Disneyland.  We've had bad shuttle experiences in the past and wanted to walk to and from the park as we pleased.  We walked to the Anaheim Garden Walk for dinner (PF Changs) and watched the fireworks from our room. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of our trip tomorrow!

(For those bored by maybe too much detail...sorry...this often serves as my journal/scapbook too!)

Monday, July 07, 2008

We may never come back....

It's a rough life!photo.jpg

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008