Joan and I had an a wonderful New Year’s Eve together.  Christine Horton took this picture of us standing in the front entry before we went out dancing.  Joan was starting to spend a lot more time at the town house.  Very soon she would meet the boys.

§ Joan Meet’s the Boys


One evening I told the boys that there was a special surprise. Max guessed that I would be introducing someone special, and he was so excited that he sat on the windowsill in his room to watch for her car. When Joan pulled into to the driveway he ran out to meet her and to help her carry some things. That weekend he was so disappointed when he couldn’t join us for dinner in Grand Island.

It was incredible how quickly all three boys bonded with Joan. Damien was especially affectionate. He was in the first grade. At his parent-teacher conference his teacher asked who “Joan the Queen” was. Apparently he had been talking about her quite a bit at school. The year 2008 was filled with an incredible array of fun activities, and even though there are many pictures, they barely scratch the surface. Playing Mr. Mom for four years had been wonderful but exhausting. The changes were so positive.

Writing this in 2013, with Damien entering the seventh grade, I amamazed by how easily he could be carried at that time!

§ Easter


Vicki and Beryl with their children have been a big part of our life since 2002. Initially Vicki was an assistant in Maxwell’s pre-school class at the YMCA. Later they would sometimes watch the boys. At the town house they were present for countless barbecues and holiday celebrations that were never photographed. This was a wonderful celebration – the first holiday that Joan and I hosted together. Here we have Beryl at the table, Vici with Jade and finally Jaimie.

Betty was a special friend who came to spend time with Jacob. She was also a big support for me, and immediately she took to Joan.

It was a large group for Easter dinner. In the last picture you will see Tom with Christine. Peter was undoubtedly working – the busy life of a surgeon.

§ The Year in Flowers


After helping Aunt Lynn with her gardens last year we returned home to dig our own gardens. There will be irises and day lilies from Minnesota, but I also planted many bulbs. First came the daffodils. Unfortunately the neighbor boy, Tyree, picked all of them down the side of the town house.

It was an incredible year for tulips. They came in healthy, and then the weather cooled. They lasted for weeks.

Around the back patio we planted impatiens along with the usual begonia baskets. These gardens were new too.

The impatiens went crazy, and by Halloween they were actually out of control. You may notice that I have created a new garden behind the barbecue grill, but it is still pretty empty except for soaker hoses.

§ Max Turns Eleven


To the right Max opens a gift from Grandma Judy and Grandpa Ed.

It had been the same group of five boys for a sleepover for three years in a row. This year it was Tom, Jaimie and this boy from school whose name I forget. Nobody wanted friends around more than Max.

Once again Max goes for the angel-food cake with drizzled chocolate. This year we made it slightly more interesting with trick candles. Max found enough wind to blow them out anyway.

You might notice that Max is once again wearing one of his favorite hand-me-down soccer shirts from cousins.

You might also notice the increasing trend towards silly pictures. It is almost impossible these days to get all three boys, if even one of them, to just smile for the camera. Max is the biggest ham of all.

§ Flag Day


Flag Day celebrations are a big event at Pittsford schools kindergarten through fifth grade. Each grade sings songs. The orchestra plays, and the older kids put on a play of some sort. Sometimes the invited speaker is not too boring. It is best when the weather is good. In a solid decade of attending these presentations we were only rained out once.

For fifth graders at Jefferson Road Elementary School in Pittsford the Flag Day celebration doubles as a graduation. The Principal Carole Schwabb did a very nice job of sending the fifth graders off to middle school. Max was a fifth grader in these pictures, and he really looked like he had out grown the elementary school.

At typical concerts it was very difficult to get a decent picture of Max with his violin. With bright sunshine and clear line of site this was one of the few times where he was easily photographed performing. You can see Joan in the background.

§ Damien at Lake Canandaigua


Max must have been at Camp Gorham, the YMCA camp in the Adirondacks. Jacob was busy too. It was just Damien with Joan and me, so we did one of his favorite things. We took him to the beach at Lake Candaigua, the nearest of the Finger Lakes. We brought his shovel and pail set that he has had since summer vacation in 2006 when we went to Cozy Cove on Manitoulin Island.

Sometimes Damien reminds me of Jacob. This is not the case when it comes to the beach and especially to seaweed!

§ George’s Birthday


George is Joan’s youngest child, but he was an adult by the time I met him. This was his nineteenth birthday as clearly indicated on the cake. Notice that the cake is decorated with a dumbell. Not only does George like to train, but he is also a very successful body builder.

Joan loves to pose with here children, and here she is posing with the birthday boy. Notice the archway in the background. They are standing in the dining room of the house that Joan’s father built for her. Currently Joan’s daughter is living in the house with her fiance Matt.

This picture is taken out by the pool area. Shown is Jimmy: Joan’s kid brother, Winnie: Joan’s maternal grandmother and Annette: Joan’s kid sister.

Standing directly behind George is his cousin Sammy, son of Theresa. Also in the back is Travis, son to Annette and Frank. Also present are Nick and Charles, the sons of Jimmy and Lynn. We are just beginning to scratch the surface.

George is posing with his grandfather, Papa George. I’m not sure what the deal is with the fist and the smile. I think Papa George is trying to pose competitively and make his muscles look like his grandson’s.

As mentioned, George is a body builder. It was a lot of fun watching him compete at the Mr. Buffalo competition. It was difficult to get decent pictures at a distance with the low-light conditions and lots of motion, so those don’t really do justice.

§ Summer Vacation – Chicago


We spent the first portion of our summer break visiting Chicago where we took this picture of Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim Kinn.

Below we have Jacob, Maxwell and Damien sitting with Janae, Diana and Mitch in the Kinn living room. Though we did not know it at the time this would be the last time that Jacob and Max would be with any of their cousins for many years.

I am also posing with Sue and separately with Joan. We didn’t know it at the time, but I wouldn’t be seen clean-shaven after this.

§ Summer Vacation – Grand Island


We spent a few days during the middle portion of our vacation at Joan’s house on Grand Island hanging out by the pool with perfect weather. Damien and Max were especially fond of the pool.

This was fun. I coached Max how to do a back dive, and he got a couple of perfect ones withing about fifteen minutes. He was amazed when he nailed it, did a perfect under water loop and surfaced with his nose inches from the edge. I did many more back flops when I was his age and trying to learn that dive.

§ Summer Vacation – Keuka Lake


We spent a week at “The Shady Rest” cottage on Keuka Lake. Max enjoyed driving there in the Mini Cooper with the top down. You can see Damien approaching the cottage, and Jacob checks out the interior. For the full treatment visit the Keuka Lake page.

§ Cave of the Winds – Niagara Falls


Somewhere in that busy August we squeezed a visit to Niagara Falls, NY which is separated by a bridge from Grand Island. The actual Cave of the Winds actually collapsed many years ago, but you can still take the elevator down to the wooden stairs and decks to feel the power of the falls. They are intimidating!

If you stand where the falls occasionally spill onto the decking the ponchos are of little use. The water pounding on your back is impressive, and it is but a drop as compared to what is a few feet away. We used a picture from this trip for our 2008 Christmas postcard.

§ Halloween


Let’s begin in Rochester with the tradition of using power tools to carve the Jack-O-Lanterns. Beryl and his daughter Denver enjoy seasonal treats. Max and Jaimie enjoy hanging out together. The whole place is decorated for the season including the scarecrow with the Jack-O-Lantern head.

Next we move to Grand Island. Halloween is the birthday of Joan’s mother, Grandma Penny. She will never be too old for Trick-or-Treating or at least the costume.

We also see sister-in-law Lynn, Jimmy’s wife, with daughters Isabella and Lili.

Joan is just one of the four generations shown. From left to right we have the great grandmother, Winnie, the mother, Joan, the daughter, Victoria and the grandmother, Penny. At some point I am sure we will be displaying pictures with five generations together.

§ Basement Renovation


The basement was completely unfinished, but the boys would play down there. The bare cement made a lot of dust. Epoxy paint for the floor and cinder block, panelling above, a moveable wall around the furnace, an area rug and what a transformation!

§ Damien’s Birthday


On the right Damien is opening a gift sent from Minnesota. It came with the “Grandson” card shown below.

Damien really wanted some type of boat that he could use in the water. It had to stay afloat even with big waves. He was really happy with this gift that got lots of use in the bathtub and the swimming pool.

It was his eighth birthday. You can see the numeral-eight candle on his birthday cake.

§ Jacob’s Birthday


It was Jacob’s thirteenth birthday. In the first picture he is opening a present from Minnesota, and in the second he is opening a present from home.

In Joan’s family the person with the birthday cuts the first piece of cake, and that tradition is being shared with Jacob.

§ Lisandra & Giorgio’s Wedding


For a gallery of images visit the Gio-Lis Wedding page.

§ Engagement


What could be a better way to celebrate a year of happiness?

§ Christmas


Jimmy and Lynn host Christmas Eve every year, and since 2008 that is where we have started our Christmas celebration. Joan gets to be with her children plus the entire extended family and a number of friends that are just like family. See more pictures on the Christmas page.

We wake up at the townhouse for Christmas Day. See more pictures on the Christmas page. Here the stockings are all hung by the stairway with care,and filled, waiting for the boys to arrive from their mother’s house.