Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Preparations

This holiday season is getting away from me fast; it seems like Thanksgiving was just yesterday but Christmas is only one week away! Here are a few highlights form the last few weeks that went whizzing by.

Our extended Thanksgiving trip to Wisconsin included two visits to the (new to me) Discovery World. It would have been fantastic if this place was around when I was a kid. I'm jealous! The best part; we could go for free thanks to reciprocity with our Sciencenter membership. ;)

At Discovery Museum with cousin Jack

Sailing the seas

Our last day in town was spent vising Great-Grandma Case at the assisted living facility she recently moved to. The girls enjoyed this special, all-girls lunch very much. They are pros at visiting places like this and they worked the whole lunch room; chatting it up with every single table. Noelle appreciated how special this was also since it was a four-generation lunch. 

Four generations of Case/Brock/Hayes women

The above picture from lunch and the one with Grandpa, below, were Noelle's show-and-tell items the following week. She was enormously pleased with the whole trip. Flying in Grandpa's plan was an extra-special treat!

Grandpa showing Noelle the plane's controls

Once home, we dove right into decorating for Christmas. Our annual trip to cut the Christmas tree was done in unseasonably warm weather (and we were joined by our neighbor, Nora!) so everyone enjoyed it. Alex didn't even seem to mind getting down on the ground to cut the tree. 

Perfect tree successfully located!

\Why must you put this outside my reach?

We weren't done yet; Holiday Party season commenced as well with the Astronomy Department's annual party. Holiday cheer reached a new high with Dylan's reaction to Santa (played graciously by one of the department members). Little Dylan *LOVED* on Santa like nothing I have seen before. He ran up to him, gave him *huge* hugs, and didn't want to leave him. It was extremely endearing.
You look like the nicest man I've ever met!

Next up; Noelle and I paid a visit to the Ithaca Ice Festival. This local ice carving competition is world renowned and attended by Guinness Book of World Records ice carvers. It is, truly, a marvel watching these people crafting things out of ice. Unfortunately for them, the high temperature that day was nearly 60 degrees and none of their sculptures survived the day. I was on the commons the next morning and nothing was left; not even the ice throne that Noelle is sitting on in the picture below. Usually, these sculptures decorate our downtown throughout the holidays. This year the picture I took of Noelle will have to suffice.

Enjoying the ice throne for the duration of its short life

Finally, no holiday preparations would be complete with out cookie baking. My master chefs were an enormous help, both with the baking and eating of the cookies! 

Time to bake!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Today we're grateful for many things, especially these three kids; pictured with my 95-year-old grandmother, Velda Case.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Yesterday, Cora, Dylan, and I headed to Wisconsin in style; via Brock Air. Grandpa Brock picked us up with his airplane for an express trip to the Midwest.

Noelle seeing us off

Cora all set to go

Getting used to the gear

Dylan, my seat mate

This morning we were greeted by the first snow of the year.

Perfect conditions for a morning run

Lunch with cousin Jack

Alex and Noelle will be joining us on Wednesday for Thanksgiving. Until then, they are enjoying some quality time together.

Noelle's first Sudoku!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ice Skating

Last week the girls had their first ice skating lesson and they took to it surprisingly well. There was, of course, a great deal of falling involved. They took it in stride, however, laughing and getting up every time!

Sliding around

Helmets are a must!

Support system?

Dylan, meanwhile, continued to keep us all entertained. This little guy has a wonderful, goofy personality!

You said to 'get in the bath'!

Witch who?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Halloween (belated)!

Our kiddos had a fantastic Halloween week. I say week, instead of day, because they had many opportunities to wear their costumes and get candy!

First, Dylan and Cora went to a Halloween parade at Longview, an assisted living facility near us. I didn't think to take pictures, but they had a great time and earned the candy to prove it.

Next up was trick-or-treating at our local Wegman's. This event was total mayhem, and a bit much for Noelle, but the siren-song of treats soon overpowered her crowd apprehension!

Ready to grab their loot!

'Super Cora' and 'Monkey Dylan' didn't hold back at all, especially not with two Batmans to protect them!

Finally, the real deal arrived and we hit the streets of our neighborhood with some friends. It was fun to go in a bigger group and see neighbors we normally don't bump into.

Hitting up the neighbors

Here's a cute comparison of two-year-old Noelle and 18-month-old Dylan.

Who is the cutest monkey?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Busy with the Usual

The past week has been a lot of fun; not with anything out-of-the-ordinary, but with just our go-to activities.

Last weekend, on an unusually cold day, I ran a half marathon with some girlfriends. It was great to have some company on that chilly morning, otherwise I may have skipped the race.

The course was around beautiful lake Onondaga and the fall colors were fantastic. It was definitely worth the trip!

Jillian, Lindsey, & Celia - happy to be done!

Noelle, Cora, and I also had a great time at a kiddos birthday party. There were cool crafts and a lot of cake; all of the kids were happy.
Making our boat!

Eating most of the cake themselves

What week would be complete without a trip to Sciencenter? Cora and Dylan have a great time there together. It's really fun watching these two play and interact now that Dylan is big enough to keep up.
Almost as big as the dinosaur! 

On Tuesday evening the weather was so beautiful that we had an impromptu dinner at the fire pit. We ordered delivery and enjoyed s'mores until it was dark. We will not have many more chances to do that before it gets really cold!

Hanging out


Thursday, October 15, 2015

NYC & Birthdays!

Two weekends ago Alex and I headed off to New York City to attend his dear friend, Samara's, wedding. These guys went to high school together and still keep in touch; amazing. Even more impressive is that there were many high school friends at the wedding. Samara is a master at maintaining relationships!

High School Friends

During the day Alex had a meeting to attend and I found myself with several hours to explore on my own. My favorite way to experience any city is to go for a run and I did exactly that. Since I have been running in Central Park several times I decided, instead, to do a waterfront tour of Manhattan. It was a beautiful way to see the city, complete with the gorgeous bridges and waterfront parks. I must say that I underestimated how large Manhattan is. It took 14 miles for me to complete the perimeter south of Central Park. I'll have to get ready for a marathon next time, ha!

Around the island...

Near Battery Park

Brooklyn Bridge

While the parents were away the kids played with Grandma and Grandpa Hayes. I didn't get a lot of pictures from them, but here they are being silly with a local structure. Alex and I were very glad to get away and relieved to know that the kiddos were well taken care of!

Fun with the Grandparents

Just this past weekend we celebrated the girls' birthdays in style with a fantastic party at the house. We were extremely lucky with the weather and had a beautiful day to enjoy the bounce house and fire pit outside. Of course, for the second year in a row, I was too busy having fun to remember to take any pictures!

Fortunately, we did  get some pictures of the girls with their birthday roses from Daddy. I love this tradition and it is sooooo adorable watching the kids grow each year and be excited for their 'extra' rose (one per year).
Birthday roses

Noelle, our big 5-year-old kindergartner!

Cora, the 3-year-old master of mischief!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Flower Girls

In June the girls had the wonderful experience of being flower girls in my brother & sister-in-law's wedding. The pictures are in and they do not disappoint!

Noelle, Cora, & Nora

These three little ladies could not have been more excited for their big responsibility. They performed beautifully and got along wonderfully with each other.

Oh, the anticipation!

On their way...

The Brock side of the family

Pictured above; On the left: my sister, Stacy, her husband, Ian, and their two boys, Jack & Ben. On the right: our family, complete with the three troublemakers ;). My parents, Rick & Cathy, are in the back. The front, of course, is my brother, David, and sister-in-law, Kim.

As much as the girls loved the wedding, the highlight for them was definitely the reception! Cora danced as long as she could, slept in her dress, and woke up at 6am wanting to go back to the party!

This is, perhaps, the most personality-indicative photo of Cora to date.

Noelle having a blast with Uncle Dave

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Afternoon Fire

This weekend we are being treated to beautiful fall weather. When nap time came around today we just couldn't bring ourselves to head inside. Instead, we enjoyed an impromptu fire complete with marshmallow roasting.

Great Fire

Noelle's photography skills are improving!

Tricycle riding can be done anywhere

Dylan is loving his ability to actively participate