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JUNE 2008
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)

June, 2008

The pool is finished!  The pavers have been installed, and WOW!  It looks awesome! 

As you know, with the fall of the mortgage industry, Mark and I have had the rug pulled out from under us financially.  I was so very fortunate to get the job I did when I did, and am grateful to have it even though I'm not making what I did with the closings.  We've been walking on eggshells where Mark is concerned, though.  He's been sort of floating from branch to branch trying to learn as much as he can while they discuss what he might be able to do for the company.  There has been discussion that he'll take over a branch, possibly Ocala, Lakeland or Melbourne, although I believe a couple of those have since been shut down.  We both know all too well that if he's laid off, there is no job to be found for a mortgage broker right now.  Well, our prayers have now been answered.  Mark's company has offered him the position of "brand manager" (yes, brand, not branch) of two of the chemical lines.  It came with a pretty big pay cut, but it's a job.  It was also a big boost to his ego that they really worked to find a way to keep him with the company.  {big sigh of relief}

Off to New York!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I left work today at noon so we could hit the road.  We drove from 2:30 to 10:30 before stopping for the night.

Friday, June 20, 2008

We had another full day on the road today.  The kids entertained themselves with some colored duct tape, making themselves wallets and other fun stuff.  New York City was a beautiful sight!  Our hotel is in New Jersey just across the river. 

Enjoying dinner

Saturday, June 21, 2008

WOW!  Today was our big tourist day in the Big Apple.  There's so much to see!  We took the ferry from New Jersey, and from that point on, we were on foot.  We walked and walked and walked.  We went to the Empire State Building first, but there was a 2-hour wait to go inside, so we just oohed and ahhhed from the outside.  We came across two sets of break-dancing street performers, who were incredible.  Of course, now Patrick wants to learn how to break dance!  The architecture in the library was amazing, and Alex was particularly impressed there.  We relaxed awhile in Central Park.  There were dogs everywhere, and oddly enough, we really enjoyed watching the lawn bowling.  Maybe because it was an excuse to not walk for awhile.  ;-)  We made our way through Central Park and finally found the Museum of Natural History, which was one of our stops partly because the Night at the Museum movie is based there.  However, by the time we got there, we were so hot and exhausted that we mostly rested in the air conditioning, and really didn't see much of the museum.  I had been told we just had to try the candied nuts from the street vendors, which did indeed turn out to be wonderful.  We spent the rest of the day on the lookout for another vendor so we could get more.  We were so tired at one point, we ventured down into the subway, but the signs were so confusing, we decided we'd better just stick to walking.  LOL  All in all, it was a good day, but I think it was more of a reconnaissance trip so we can do better next time.  :-)

the wooden escalator at Macy's The Empire State Building

tourist, tourist, tourist! inside the library St. Patrick's Cathedral

Times Square Rockefeller Center

Radio City Music Hall The Museum of Natural History The Dinosaurs from A Night at the Museum

Trump Tower The Late Show with David Letterman

Street Dancers Talented guys!

After dinner, we went to a family show at a tiny improv theater.  It was a TON of fun, and Patrick had a blast participating.

Meanwhile, Mary Ellen and KC's crew were flying up to Lake George. 

Mike and Mary Beth showed up soon after Danielle, Preston, Julia, Heather and Ryan playing Monopoly


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our plan for today was to go to Ground Zero and then take the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty.  However, the weather was miserable, so we settled for going to Liberty Park and seeing the statue from there.

We're at Lake George!  Oh how I love this place!  Everyone else arrived yesterday, so we got a wonderful welcome.  :-)  We spent the day getting to know Matthew (what a cutie pie!), playing poker, and just hangin' out.

Ahhhh - I love the sound of the guitar The poker table

Ryan, Matthew and Danielle Goofballs

Beautiful Nana John and his little buddy

What a grin! Just hangin'

Monday, June 23, 2008

The four of us slept in this morning until 10:30.  Whew - we were tuckered out after walking NYC.  And OMG - all of our legs are killing us!  Of course, it didn't keep the boys from playing football most of the day.  LOL

Football on the front lawn Julia, Emma and Danielle heading to the volleyball court

Mike made arrangements for a bunch of us to go horseback riding.  Just getting everyone onto the horses was quite a feat.  I rode Charlie, who definitely had a mind of his own.  Apparently, he wasn't really all that interested in following along behind the horse in front of us, and thought veering off into the bushes would be fun.  Patrick was riding O'Malley behind me, and I heard him say at one point, "O'Malley, this isn't all about you.  There's somebody on your back, ya know!"

It really smelled like a stable.  Danielle and Julia - Julia's holding her nose

Emma couldn't stand it! Danielle & Julia head-to-head

Stacy and Patch checking out the horses Heather made a friend

Mike & Ryan checking things out Stacy and I are ready to go

Preston's ready Danielle's saddled up

KC got the big guy! Ryan got a walk around the corral

 Julia got a ride Emma and Matthew showin' us how it's done

After riding, we relaxed on a hayride.

Back at the stables - what a silly cat!

Back at the lodge . . .

A killer game of kick ball Balloon wars!

More poker Patrick and Heather did NOT want their picture taken

Preston entertaining Matthew

What a funny face!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rain, rain go away!  We had a bunch of restless kids and a bunch of rain.  Ugh.  Alex, Heather and Ashley didn't care - they played basketball out in the rain.  Mark's Aunt Pat and Uncle Jim and a bunch of their clan came today.  It's so nice to see them!

Danielle got to hold Matthew Ryan's turn with the baby

The kids discovered this bird's nest in the ping pong pavilion

Alex was bored, bored, bored . . .  and more poker

another angle Training Ryan in poker etiquette early!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We headed across the lake to Pat and Jim's property for some water fun and boating.  Mark gave the boys sailing lessons, and the kids went tubing.  When we went back to the lodge, Danny (Mark's cousin's son) and Patrick played their guitars together.  Ahhhhh.

Nana gave Julia, Ryan and Danielle rides Mark and Patch get ready to go sailing

Off they go

Aunt Stacy is the fishing expert Christian and Alex

Alex, Christian and Ryan Get Alex!

Heather joins in Ryan's taking him down!

A nice visit Everybody's got a spot

Taking out the big sailboat Nana, Heather and Ashley soaking their toes

Check out their hair! They had a BLAST!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Alex and Heather were up early, so they walked down to the store and got the newspaper, milk and cinnamon rolls. 

John received the horrible call that his boss died today.  It was a complete shock, and we all send our sympathies.

Alex was pitching for Emma

Friday and Saturday, June 27-28, 2008

We all said our farewells and headed back home.  We had an uneventful drive home, and were oh, so happy to be home and see our pups and our own beds.  Ahhhhhhh.