Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category


Our last excursion for the holiday season was a holiday gathering with all of the relatives(Stephanie’s Mom’s family) that live down in New Jersey. We gave Nathan the task of capturing the experience in pictures for us. He took all of the pictures that follow.


This was a great picture of Aunt Susan. If you look closer, he did a masterful job of capturing all of the levels of Christmas cheer occuring in house.


Kyle, Blake and Jeremy checking out their new toys.


A nice moment between Jeremy and his Aunt Katie.


Steve and Uncle Charlie catching up.


I’m not sure what Kyle did, but it looks like he had some explaining to do for Kim, Aunt Linda and Aunt Sharon.


Great photography Nathan!  (Stephanie is holding up Sean.  If it weren’t for the party…he would have been in bed hours ago!)


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Christmas 2008

The Christmas Holiday started for our family on Saturday the 20th when we traveled east to visit with Steve’s Mom and Dad.  We had a nice lunch and exchanged gifts.  grandma-and-grandpa


After our visit we rendezvous”ed” with Aunt Susan.  The boys were off from school for the week and were spending the extra time with Aunt Susan and Stephanie’s Mom and Dad. After the children were safely buckled into Aunt Susan’s car, we had the opportunity to take care of a few last minute details for the Christmas holiday and enjoy an extended 4 day “date!”

We made our way back east to Saratoga on Christmas Eve, arriving at Christmas Eve Mass right on time – (we really did!).  Later we left out a plate of cookies and some reindeer food and a note from Nathan.  It looks like Santa found everything just fine.

Thank you Santa

And despite the fog and these economic times Santa Claus came through. Although he did have some logistical issues to overcome.  Below Sean reads a letter from Santa explaining what his Elves were up to overnight.


As you can see by Sean’s expression, he was pleased with their work.  He was even heard saying “I do believe, I do believe!” 


As it turns out Santa and his elves took the intiative to deliver a ping pong table to our home while we were in Saratoga, and installed WiFi to enhance the boys video game experiences. “Wow! Cool!”


Another gift highlight was an electric guitar from Grandma and Grandpa. Uh oh… he looks like a natural.


Here Nathan tries his hand at Wii tennis.  If any of you have the capacity to play Nintendo games online we will have to let you talk to Sean about trying to figure out how to play together. The boys have been having fun playing Mario Kart with other people from around the globe.




The gifts from Sean and Nathan brought smiles to Susan and Dave’s faces.



It was great having the extended holiday in Saratoga.


Grandpa didn’t have to ask Nathan twice if he was interested in going for a ride on the four wheeler.




In fact, he even had a chance to drive all by himself for the very first time! (Oh my goodness!!!)


Just like that, it seemed like the time in Saratoga had flown by and we were loaded up and on the road home.  Everyone was a little tired from all the action – including Miss Carmella!


As soon as we got home the boys rushed down to our basement to see where Santa had placed the ping pong table.  It was so exciting! Steve became a little nostalgic hearing the pinging and ponging coming up from the basement.

This week we are taking a brief pause as we are both off from work for a few days before we resume our Christmas/New Year’s 2008 tour. We will keep you posted.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!

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We felt inspired to have our own blessing of our Christmas tree after a Christmas tree blessing was incorporated into our Sunday liturgy today. We appointed Nathan the role of officiating our family ceremony as he genuinely enjoys filling this role for our family. Above he guides us in prayer.


After reading the prayer he had the honor of dipping a piece of bow from the tree in our holy water and completing the ceremony as we illuminated the lights. Below, we took our blessing into the front room where we have a little tabletop tree.  The beautiful tree topper angel on the little tree was made by Sean in art class.




our God,

The heavens are

the work of your hands

the moon and the stars you


the earth and the sea, and every

living creature came into being

by your word. And all of us too.

May this tree bring cheer to this house

through Jesus Christ your good and holy son,

who brings life

and beauty to us

and to our world.

Lighting this tree, we hope in his promise.

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That’s a wrap!

At the end of December we said goodbye to an old friend…our ’98 Dodge Stratus, and donated the car (the proceeds of the auction) to the Spiritual Renewal Center of Syracuse


We bought this gently used car just weeks before Sean was born almost 9 years ago, and then drove him home from the hospital in it.  Steve drove and I sat in the back with Sean.  Sean slept and I cried, not believing that they actually thought it was a good idea for us to take him home so soon!


Every year at this time we make our way through the mountains and valleys of Pennsylvania, skirt around Philadelphia to the South Jersey “Second Christmas” with Stephanie’s Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and First Cousins once removed.  We enjoy a wonderful meal complete with the family’s trademark homemade noodles, have a pollyanna gift exchange, an annual wrapping paper “fight”, and a boys against the girls game of trivial pursuit, (which the boys girls typically win).  



One of our favorite parts of the traveling is getting through the mountain (because we can’t go over it, under it or around it) via the Lehigh Valley Tunnel.  It is about a mile long, and it’s always a relief to see the light at the end of the tunnel 🙂


On Steve’s birthday morning, we celebrated with presents. 


Then we joined friends at the Strong National Museum of Play.The entire museum is fabulous, but one of the highlights was the new Butterfly Garden exhibit, where incidentally, only Steve had a butterfly “light” on him.  We were able to enjoy the last day of the Bob the Builder Exhibit, and came across a giant monopoly game too.



 We enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve this year and Stephanie, Steve and Nathan stayed awake until 12:10! Sean threw in the towel sometime between 11pm and midnight (Sean thinks it must have been very close to midnight).


On New Year’s Day we gathered with Steve’s family.  It was great to have everyone together, thanks to “Skype”.  It was fun watching the Florida Heslers get wheeled around.    




 Unfortunately, Stephanie didn’t feel terrific that day, which turned out to be just the beginning of the end for us all…….


Health and happiness to you in the new year!

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Christmas morning!

We headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s on Christmas Eve.  We met at church for a lovely Christmas Eve Vigil Mass, before heading to a Christmas party at the home of some long time friends of the family.  We enjoyed good company and good food before heading to Grandma’s to settle in for a long winter’s nap. 

We set out cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer (which, if you’re counting is 9 carrots if you include Rudolph).    And then with me in my kerchief and Dad in his cap we went about the business of trying to settle two very excited boys into bed.   They did finally go to sleep.

Sean, who is our early bird, must have been extra tired Christmas morning, because he slept until 7am! The rest of us were grateful for this gift, as it allowed us to feel somewhat rested.

 Merry Christmas! 



Savoring every moment


 This will be great practice for when he is a veternarian (his current career goal)



Sean found a favorite treat in his stocking, some Pepperidge Farm “Pie-ra-oots” as he calls them, (otherwise known as Pirouettes to those familiar with French)



New slippers! (Soccer and Baseball) 



Brotherly love 



Would Santa have left a Wii by Grandma’s TV?



 He DID leave a Wii by Grandma’s TV!


And we haven’t seen the children’s faces since Christmas morning! Actually, everybody got in on the action, including Aunt Susan and Grandma and Grandpa.  The bowling game really brought out the competitor in everyone!  Here the boys are playing tennis, I believe



The day after Christmas we headed west again, and we stopped in Nasci-ville at our other Grandma and Grandpa’s for dinner.  We exchanged gifts, had dinner, and then the Nasci’s stopped for a visit.  A whole bunch of ’em.  It was nice to see them too.  Oh, and there is nothing wrong with your eyes or your computer, we enhanced this photo (cartoon style).  Grandpa is holding up a sun catcher (of a dog) to the light.  Nathan chose this gift and he painted it all by himself. 


 Carmella got to stay at Miss Lisa’s Vacation Spa and Resort For Dogs for a few days while we were away.  Here is a picture of her enjoying one of her presents when we were all back home. 



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Sean’s class hosted a lovely Christmas luncheon at school on Thursday.  It was a nice treat for Mom and Dad to join Sean at school with his classmates and their parents, teachers, and principal, for lunch.   


Thursday night was finally the Saint Francis – Saint Stephens Christmas Musical.  This favorite annual Christmas tradition was originally scheduled for December 13th was postponed due the weather, and then rescheduled for December 17th, and then postponed indefinitely because of yet another storm.  BUT by popular demand, another date was set, thankfully, because many people were so disappointed and after all…..THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Here the 3/4 grade classes are singing “It’s Snowing Cats and Dogs”



If you look closely in the middle behind the sheep, you’ll see a little shephard boy



On Friday, the Entomology Department hosted their annual holiday party at the Belhurst Castle.   Each year a group of brass instrument players and at least one wind instrument known as the “Bothersome Brass”, dust off their instruments and entertain their colleagues with Christmas Carols before lunch is served.  There are lots of wine drinkers in the crowd, so mistakes tend to go unnoticed. 



Here’s our favorite French Horn player (the one to the left).   


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Tuesday night was the “Pack Meeting” for Pack 5.  This is the time when all the dens gather together to share what has been happening and to receive any awards, merit badges or recognitions the boys have been working on.  Nathan received a prize and a patch for selling popcorn, his Bobcat Badge and a “Quality Unit Award”patch. 


 Wednesday morning Sean’s class (grades 3/4) along with grade 8 paid a visit to the Geneva Living Center Nursing Home to sing Christmas Carols.  The kids did a wonderful job and the residents seemed to enjoy the singing.  Mom took the morning off to chaperone.  If you are wondering what is on Sean’s head, he is wearing a dog hat for a prop for the “It’s snowing cats and dogs” song. 



We experimented with the “cartoon” feature when we edited the picture.  We thought this was pretty neat. 


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