Monday, October 20, 2008

The Pat's Adventure

There is a long standing argument in Philly - which cheese steak is the best? Pat's, Geno's, or Jim's? They equally give me indigestion and make me wish I had never set out to eat one in the first place. However there is one that stands out as the best. Pat's Philly Cheese steak is the choice of this group of culinary wannabes. After completely stuffing ourselves silly at the brunch after the wedding, devouring home cooked goods that could have sustained the entire army at Valley Forge for the winter, we decided a great idea would be to go downtown and get us some Pat's. Some of us had the better sense to share our cheese steaks (ahem, Brian) and some of us did not. It is rumored here at Pat's that the cheese steak line is somewhat reminiscent of the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. I have always been too nervous to test the theory.

The Home is Where the Heart Is

This is just a little taste of the beauty of the Buchanan home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rinners Gets Hitched

The last of the roomies to wed, this was Rin's big day. Rin has been holding out for the love of her life and she found her perfect match in Matt. I do love the weddings. I have only missed one East Coast wedding for my girls from Villanova.

Somehow I managed to not get so many pictures of the bride and groom, but more of everyone else and the rest of the weekend festivities. Sorry, Rin. I must have been so busy laughing at pregnant Kristin who couldn't seem to put a coherent thought together. We had many laughs at her expense. Including a great guffaw at Kristin's story about the bride's new last name - which she apparently thought she had misspelled on the wedding card after I corrected how she was saying it and proceeded to panic over the whole thing. Hours later when inspecting the offending card, she realized that she had not in fact spelled it wrong at all. The whole weekend went like this.

We really enjoyed seeing all the old gang and revisiting some of our favorite places. Besides the obvious - school, apartment buildings, church, Great Harvest Bread, Anthropology - we also were very delighted to spend some time at Rin's parents' house. Over the course of a couple of years Brian and I had the great fortune of spending time with her amazing family. Seven children in total and Rin is the oldest. We were always amused at the ever inviting dinner table. Her parents always made any one who entered their home feel loved. They are the stuff of fairy tales. Our visit Saturday morning was no exception. Not only did we feel welcome and loved, but we also were able to observe those kids from before, now adults in their own right. These children have grown into confident and uniquely gifted adults. What a testament to exceptional parenting.

Can I get a refund?

This weekend we flew into Philly for a quick trip and a wedding. We absolutely could not miss Rin's (Erin's) wedding - the last of my college roommates to marry. Rin grew up right around our alma mater so Brian and I decided to stay with another old roommate at the hotel right by school. We were able to fit in a quick trip to campus to drop a small fortune at the bookstore and grovel at the new nursing building.

My jaw must have been obviously dropped as we walked up to the very impressive Driscoll Hall - the new home for the College of Nursing on Villanova's campus. An old professor I was really hoping didn't recognize me (I was infamous among college professors - probably due to my ADD I realize now) stopped and said she noticed that I was a former student. She recommended that we go on in and take a look around - we would be impressed. I tell you what, we went in, walked around, oohed and ahhed - and frankly, I would like my 120,000 dollars back for a do over. (No pics of the inside - sorry.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I mean really

Could you have said "no" to this?


I adore watching my children engage with their grandmothers. We had a weekend of generational togetherness with my mom and grandma visiting. Four generations of Heller/Kidd/Miller women under one roof for three days. We could have taken over the world! Or, I mean, we had a lovely time.

We also journeyed to Houston to see my great aunt and cousins. The three hour drive made my seat sore but it was soul soothing to see them. The kids especially enjoyed playing with a cousin their age and reading the books Aunt Motie (the forever teacher) gave them. Reba showed off her superior reading skills. The only one disappointed was Jacob - he was hoping to see more things "wrecked" from the hurricane. We pointed out as much damage as we could. Though most things had been cleaned up we could still see evidence that a disaster had occurred. It was sobering to drive through neighborhoods with tarps for roofs and piles of carpet and ruined belongings out on the curb for trash pickup. The generator was still sitting in my aunt's backyard and we were grateful for the electricity we had.

By the way, Jenny and I jammed again. This time we planted Grandma next to us in the kitchen so she could be part of the action. While we were jammin' Grandma was reminiscing about Rhubarb (what is that anyway) and her mother jamming. Every so often she would interject with ,"that was six and a half cups of sugar." We all had a good laugh at what we imagined was a collective jamming session. In the end some seriously fabulous Raspberry Jam was concocted (with only one panicked phone call to the jamming diva in Wisconsin).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All the Gourdy Goodness

I love Fall. I love Fall for all it's gourdy goodness. I love how the light is different and shadows play off things. I love the browns and oranges and greens of this season. Here in Texas it's still sometimes 90+ degrees but somehow you can sense there is a change in the air. We enjoy the change as we sit on our deck - now that it's not 110.

I also love Fall for its holidays. I always look forward to Halloween, not for it's spookiness but for the sense of creativity it brings out. We always made our costumes - my first experiences with sewing, and perhaps this is why I enjoy this weird holiday so much. I won awards in high school for my costumes. In fact, I think my senior prediction was that I would someday find a way to make money building costumes out of cardboard boxes.

Thanksgiving is also one of my favorites. I have so many wonderful childhood memories surrounding this holiday. This was one of the least stressful holiday events that I can remember. All we had to do was make pies - and that is one thing we are very good at. In my college years Thanksgiving was spent with friends and then Brian's relatives. Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh, NY/NJ, and North Carolina - who can beat that? I had my first taste of ice hockey, giant parade balloons, and Southern hospitality. Now I look forward to family visiting and the joy of cooking and spending time together with my in-laws (a little home improvement each time isn't bad either).

Welcome, Fall!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sew in love

I love sewing. Seriously. I LOVE sewing. I find nothing more therapeutic and satisfying. I do often find myself frustrated by the tiny size of my little replacement machine after my original died. I keep trying to convince Brian that the $900 machine is really worth it. Imagine the things I could make on that! I think that is actually what worries him. He is imagining several more storage bins of fabric that I will want to make these things with. Whatever...

Here are some of my latest favorites. One is a quilt I didn't show a pic of because it's a gift for my mom. The next is a yet to be completed quilt for Jacob who picked out the fabric himself. Cowboys, of course. I am super thrilled with the last one which is an awesome gift from Grandma Dentist. She is moving and cleaning out the sewing room. This was only one among many gifts. She said this jewel quilt has been unfinished for about 5 years. I am delighted to get to finish something that looks like so much work has already been put into it. My next projects include a quilt for grandma, a purse for Molly, and Doctor H, if you are reading still, I have to send you that quilt for your little guy!


I came home to this inviting sign yesterday. Apparently my first grade boy has become just that, a first grade boy. Beware the little sister than goes in the box fort when the boy is not "ther." Also, if one sign wasn't enough, he made three. The tissues were a late addition after the copious amounts of dog hair on the floor must have gotten to his sensitive nose. Poor baby. And yes, this is the box that the dog crate came in. It is the box box. Also, I am thinking we need to work on some spelling - though at the parent teacher conference today we heard what a genius he was. Lord help us if that boy's head gets any bigger.

How time flies...

- when life takes over and you are up to your eyeballs in work/lice/vision and hearing, T-ball, puppies, sewing, and basic survival! Are you aware that when you work during the day 5 days a week you have to do stuff - like when everybody else does? Do you know what Costco looks like on a Saturday?!? What the heck?!? Also, do you know that when normal people come home from work, the rest of the family is also home? How exhausting! Besides all of this now I am doing on weekends what I used to do for WORK - spending Saturdays in the ER. What is wrong with me?

Enough of this, though. I have screaming children in the bathtub, puppies underfoot certainly getting into something they shouldn't or peeing on something they shouldn't, 4 baskets of laundry to put away, dinner left overs to store, a house to clean before my grandma and mom come see what we are living like, and dog hair to sweep up - enough to equal the size of both puppies. Look forward to several posts later this evening.

Here are some obligatory pictures of the puppies courtesy of my sister whose life now revolves completely around puppies.