Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We gathered together to ask the Lord's blessing.  The usual suspects were in attendance, as you can see in the holiday photos below. 

half of the Kucera brothers (the better half?) Mark, David and Nic

Mark and Jocy

Brenton, Cheryl and Bude (David)

Hail, hail, the gangs all here! (can you count the ten people in the picture?)

Roy, Blaze and Beth

Nic, Trevor and Lori

Billy posed with me so I wouldn't feel so "single" (old maid)!
my green bean casserole (before)
 We give thanks for our many blessings and pray for those family and friends who have had a rough year and continue to struggle with financial and health issues.
For those of you who were not able to join us in the festivities, well... we MISSED you and send our love!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Visit from Aunt Judy and Uncle Gerry

The Muellers (ironically, from Millersville) traveled two days just to visit with us in sunny Ohio. We had a marvelous time, although it was short and sweet.
 I hosted their visit and would love to have had them stay for weeks rather than days.
The St. Louis Cardinals were playing in the world series and we had some fun evenings cheering them on.  Sadly, they lost.
We all gathered sunday afternoon at Lois and Chris's new home and there was plenty of good food and good times had by all.
They never look any older!

outstanding in their fields!  (pun)

moving around the fountains (cheap labor)
Mark's homemade Autumn soup

and baby makes three?  (Four- sorry, Mya!)

sisters times three- Lois, Beth and Judi (missing Laurie)

three generations- Baby Stevie, Sandy and Lori

mystery child

the spread

kitchen crowd

pool closed for the season

baby Stevie Renee Kucera

Brenton is sweet 16

bonding brothers Nic and Bude (David)

sisters-in-law Cheryl and Beth

Aunt Judy and Jocy

Come back, anytime, Aunt Judy and Uncle Gerry... you are always welcome!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Circle of Life

I just returned from a week in Florida with my friend Cindy.
Unfortunately, this is the rainy season... and we had four days of torrential downpours!  It did NOT, however, dampen our spirit or enthusiasm one bit.

While enjoying the magic of Disney, Cindy treated us to an adventure in Animal Kingdom known as "Wild Africa Trek": a three hour VIP tour offering close encounters with exotic African wildlife in their native habitat.
The Wild Africa Trek takes small groups on a guided hike with animal experts into some of the undeveloped areas of the "Harambe Reserve" of the Kilimanjaro Safari.  You experience up close views of Africa's wildest animals.

You had to be in tip top shape and they weighed you before you were allowed to put on your protective gear.  (I just passed!)
There was a disturbing list of warnings that gave me some cause for concern but Cindy assured me NO ONE dies at Disney World!!
Once the pulleys and canteens, binoculars,  clips and supports were in place, we hiked along the wet slippery paths and journeyed deep into the Pangani Forest on a thrilling, privately guided expedition.
Usually there were twelve participants on each adventure but our group was an intimate and fun four.
Our safari "across an open savanna  teeming with native African creatures" was lead by knowledgeable guides who were also very supportive and kind... and patient.

 two hippos- I'm the one in the skirt!
"Twinday!" (means move along)

feeding crocs on narrow ledge (tethered in)
open wide for Judi
the monkeys screamed "stop stop stop" to warn me away

high up on the suspension bridge

After a seemingly precarious trek across the rope bridges, dangling over a throng of enormous crocs, you then experience another unbelievable view as you hang over the crocs' riverbed lair.
We then enjoyed a brief hike onto a sweeping African savanna for a VIP safari, riding in a bumpy private jeep to the back of property, where we visited an exclusive safari camp with incredible views of everything from towering giraffe to powerful rhino.
This true life adventure wild Africa Trek is a jaw-dropping journey only a few guests get to experience.
There IS a reason for that.... it costs about $100 just to get into the Disney park for one day (one park) and then you pay an additional $189-$249 per tour, depending upon the degree of thrills and perks.
Not for the faint of heart or pocket:-)
Full speed ahead, Cindy!

alligators hoping we miss a step

fern valley

baby Mosi with his mama

we got to keep the "free" canteen!
We received a delicious "snack" 2 hours into the tour.  This was a camp tin with upper and lower containers.
In the top circle, we had three small bowls with smoked meats, curried chicken salad and ginger infused fruit.
The bottom included Salmon roulade, tomato hummus and pita rounds and marinated tandoori shrimp.
orchid to cleanse palate

clothed in our daring jungle wear

we weren't the only diners of the day

This unique expedition was a thrilling encounter with African creatures in their native habitat away from the usual Disney crowds.

Thank you, Cindy, for a special and once-in-a-lifetime experience I won't soon forget.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Calling all Angels

Happy Birthday, Grandma Miller.
You were the most important person in my life for many years and I loved you with all my heart and soul!
I think of you often and thank you for loving me unconditionally and for making me feel really special.
RIP, sweet angel.

Ottilie Miller

Lyrics to Calling All Angels :
Jane Siberry with k.d.lang
A man is placed upon the steps, a baby cries
And high above him you hear the church bells start to ring.
The heaviness, the heaviness of it settles in,
A mother starts to sing.

Then it's one foot then the other as you step along the road
Steppin' on the road, how much weight, how much weight?
And it's how long and how far and how many times,
Oh, before it's too late?

Calling all angels, calling all angels.
Walk me through this one, don't leave me alone.
Calling all angels, calling all angels.
We're trying, we're hoping, but we're not sure how

Oh and every day you gaze upon the sunset
With such love and intensity.
Why it's almost as if, if you could only crack the code
You'd finally understand what this all means.

Oh but if you could, do you think you would
Have traded all the pain and suffering?
Oh, but then you would've missed the beauty of the light
Upon this earth
And the sweetness of the leaving.

Calling all angels, calling all angels!
Walk me through this one, don't leave me alone
Calling all angels, calling all angels,
We're trying, we're hoping but we're not sure

Calling all angels (call all angels)
Calling all angels (call all angels)
Walk me through this one
Don't leave me alone.

Calling all angels, calling all angels
We're trying, we're hoping, we're hurting, we're loving
We're crying, we're calling,
But we're not sure how this goes


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Party Weekend

I attended two celebrations this past weekend: 
Donna's daugher and new husband's wedding reception
and my sister Beth's 50th birthday party. 
Enjoy the photos!

the happy couple
Donna and Larry at their wedding reception

Chelsea and Whitney were married last month down in Florida.  This was an opportunity for family and friends to share in their joy.

cousin and friend Kathy

a little rain did not spoil the fun

a plethera of pastries :-)

Donna and her kids

Beth is the last of our sibs to reach her
milestone 50th birthday.
Yes, we are all ARP eligible and working the senior discount programs!

Roy and Blaze kept it a secret and Beth was caught off guard,  to say the least...
she thought she was going to an Indian's game and was all lathered up in sunscreen!
Jan and family traveled all the way from Tiffon, Nic and family up from Atwood Lake, Renee and Billy down from Lakewood and Lois, Chris and I just drove the 5 minutes to The Pub to gather in her honor.

Beth at bar with friends



Aunt Lois , Kim and Jen
Grandma Diane

Beth partied with friends til the wee hours of evening

Roy managed to surprise Beth!!