Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy First Birthday Monica!

Enjoying a hug from John Paul!
Sharing a giggle with Mommy

It's great to visit with Aunt Catherine and Lydia.
I love my family!

Having fun with Grandmom

I like to play with Lydia, but I may need some help soon!

Chatting with Grandad
I like this ride. Let's do it again!

I wonder what the next year will be like?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Memories

The Browns, Anthonys, Mom and Charlie came to celebrate my birthday. The guys had the meal preparation under control, despite appearances to the contrary.
Big wheels are the best. Where's one for Rosie?
Enjoying good food and conversation on a perfect summer day. Fred, Mom, and Teresa had a little misunderstanding when Fred described Teresa as a "Disneyaholic" like himself and Mom thought he said "dizzy alcoholic".
Teresa made a beautiful and tasty birthday cake. Just one of her many talents!
Blowing out the many sparkler candles was a group effort. Imagine if there was a candle for every year-whew! When it got dark we played flashlight tag. Very exciting! Gabe was great at not making a peep as people searched for us within a few feet of our hiding spot. I think we have a new tradition!

On Sunday August 10 Luis and Carolyn served Fred and me a scrumptious breakfast!
Luis suggested wine tasting at Chadds Ford Winery as a birthday treat! He also volunteered to wait on the patio with the children who couldn't enter the winery( Pa. state law), so we ran wine out to him.We had lots of fun sampling different wines.

Enjoying the good life at Chadds Ford Winery
This rainbow was a special birthday gift from God!

Lively Lydia

Lydia Catherine Heil is now one year old! She is a great combination of her mommy and daddy.
Lydia is animated and talkative(who does that sound like?)
Celebrating the gift of Lydia!
The next generation of Villanova Wildcats!

Enjoying Lydia's first birthday party
I love my daddy!
Cousins are the best!

That cake tastes good!

Lydia exudes joie de vivre ( my favorite French phrase)- a great joy of life!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New York, New York!!

John and I spent three days visiting New York. We loved the vibrancy, the dynamism, and the beauty of human ingenuity displayed everywhere. We especially enjoyed the contrast of the green peacefulness of Central Park and the many other parks and playgrounds that offer a refuge from all the hustle and bustle of our greatest city. There are beautiful churches that provide a prayerful sanctuary; St Patrick's on Fifth Avenue is a prime example. I enjoyed going to Mass at a church two blocks from our hotel.
Our hotel was a block away from the Chrysler building, John's favorite. It was beautiful day and night, with special lighting that highlighted the decorative details! We did lots of walking, and the nighttime views of soaring buildings were captivating.
Central Park is quite an oasis. We spent a few hours strolling and enjoying the pastoral setting. The bustling city forms a "wall' around the park. We visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art located next to Central Park. I was particularly intrigued by a display of Leonardo Da Vinci's sketchbook that was opened, as though he had just left it behind for us to peek at.
We had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Heil for lunch. We sat at a table in a restaurant that is replaced by Rockefeller Center's ice skating rink in December!

This fountain may look familiar if you saw the movie "Enchanted".
John and I strolled around Greenwich Village a few hours and sampled cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. No celebrity sightings for us but the cupcakes were delicious!

Here's another view of our outdoor restaurant at Rockefeller Center.

We toured the United Nations, located a block from our hotel. Our tour group contained mostly Europeans. Our guide said that there are 192 member nations; every country is represented but three. The Vatican chooses to be an observer, not a member. Pope Benedict addressed all the members in this Assembly Hall in April.

I arrived in New York an hour before John so I toured Madison Square Garden. Although the busiest train station in the country is built below it, the arena is completely soundproofed.
Our hotel was conveniently located near Grand Central Station. We had lunch at a restaurant built under the train tracks! The subways were convenient and fast. We felt like natives when we ended up on a subway during rush hour, jam packed with no air conditioning!

Theater is an important part of a visit to New York; we went to two plays, Rent and Mary Poppins. It was exciting to meet some of the Rent actors! We are already dreaming about another visit- there's more plays to see!