Wednesday, November 27, 2013

40,000 Page Views on a Content Free Blog

Things have been a little slow around here, for oh say the past year. We have lots of updates that need to be published, maybe we'll get around to writing some of them over the holidays. I'm kind of amazed that there have been 40,000 hits to this blog, which translates to about $60 of revenue from google, (our benevolent internet overlords won't pay until we hit $100). I'm sure a large chunk of it is eastern European spam robots, at least that's my guess based on where the traffic is coming from, but still pretty amazing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Jackie at Preschool: Markers Edition

The preschool sends us pictures of Jackie in class from time to time. This one came in the other day.

She really amazed me with the markers last week. I was supervising coloring time, and with markers I guess you really need too, other wise things can get out of hand in fairly short order, and I was drawing her pictures of cartoon characters she likes, and she was doing a great job coloring between the lines. With the crayons, not so much, but she was using those markers like a champ.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Repost: Grandma’s Ice Cream

My own blogging has hit the skids again, for this I apologize. I'm going to try to link some different tidbits as I come across them to keep things interesting. I came across this today, and I thought it a beautiful sentiment about suffering with grace and dignity, when we encounter hardship. Most of our problems in life are rather small, and how we handle them speaks to our faith and character.

Grandma’s Ice Cream

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Looking Back Twelve Years II

I posted some memories of 9/11 from the Academy last week for 12th Anniversary, today I get to post the flip side of my experience with something a little more uplifting.

The Color Guard at the Academy will typically present the flag at events throughout the NY Metropolitan Area, sometimes at sporting events. In the wake of 9/11 no one was sure when professional sports would be ready to play in the city. Sure the stadiums were unaffected, the Mets and Yankees both being fresh off their appearance in the Subway World Series the year before were in the hunt in their respective leagues for a return the playoffs. The Yankees being at the tail end of their most productive years with their core group of legendary players, would end up playing in the World Series and losing to the Diamondbacks, but that's a story for another day I suppose.

Schedule wise the Mets and Yankees were both on the road at the time, with the Mets due to return to NYC first, their first games after the attacks were in Pittsburgh, the next home stand would pit them against division rivals the hated Atlanta Braves.

The Academy Color Guard was invited to participate in the opening ceremonies with first responders from ground zero. Volunteers were requested, and as a Mets fan and someone struggling to be of use in some capacity, I signed up and was chosen to participate. We practiced a few times, but once the crowd started chanting U-S-A as we walked out onto the field, the bag pipes that were playing and any commands from the Color Guard were completely drowned out, it was amazing.

We stayed for the game, and got to witness Mike Piazza's amazing game winning home run, I will never forget the outpouring of emotion from the crowd. The atmosphere was electric, and who knows if I'll ever experience anything like again (hopefully not, if it means another catastrophic event).

We Mets fans rooted our rag tag team on to the end of the season, but they fell short, and so began a dark time for the Mets that continues, with brief flickers of light in 2005 and 2006. But that one moment, I'll never forget. I remember reading about Mike Piazza when he first came up with the Dodgers in Boy's Life Magazine, I was thrilled when he came to the Mets, and this at least for me is his quintessential moment with the franchise. Forever linked with a moment when some of us were finally able to take a breath and start looking forward again after such a traumatic experience. It's so silly, but I get a little misty eyed, and goosebumps, whenever I watch this moment, as if I am taken back to that night and relive the wonder all over again.

All tuckered out after a summer of fun and parties

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September Hits The Ground Running

Last week was very busy for us here in Bridgewater, well mostly Jackie and the rest of us because she can't drive yet.  Tuesday was the start of preschool.  Jackie attends North Branch Reformed Church Preschool.  This school comes very highly recommended by some of the moms from the Little Flowers Moms Group.  The first day was just an hour for the kids while the parents had an orientation session.  The class was split based on where you live, so we were in the first session with five other children from Bridgewater or Somerville.  There was one familiar face, Oliver, that we knew from the Little Lambs session that Jackie attended last April/May.  But of course Jackie didn't need the comfort of a familiar face she jumped right in and didn't want to leave.  So when Thursday was a full morning session she was very excited to go for a full two and half hours.  Here are some pictures from that first day.
Are we going to preschool today?

What are we waiting for?

Let's get moving!

Tuesday was also a big day for Catherine.  She turned five months.
Always so happy

It is very hard these days to take a picture of Catherine with no hands in the mouth

The next big thing was Wednesday swim classes for Jackie.  This is a half hour class that runs once a week from September to November at our local YMCA.  The class is for 3-6 year old children.  Based on the size of the other kids most everyone seems to be closer to 3 than 6, and the class is evenly split three boys and three girls.  The first day was a rousing success.  Unfortunately yesterday's class, not so much.  The first fifteen minutes were fine then came all the complaints.  "I have to go the bathroom", "I'm cold", "I'm wet I want my towel", "Can we go home yet?"  Hopefully next time will not be like yesterday.  Here are pictures from that triumphant first class.

Practicing "safety slide" into the pool

We ended our week with a visit to Shohola, PA.  The Gillespies had a house warming party.  This was our second visit there.  We first saw the new digs when we went with our friends the Williamsons on Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  It was Jackie's reluctance to get out of the Gillespie's pool, even though she was blue and shaking she was so cold, that pushed me into signing her up for swim class.  At any rate here are some pictures from last Saturday's party.

Mom and Dad didn't check the weather in PA, so Jackie is wearing Charlotte Pants to keep warm

Katie the dog, checking things out.

Feeding baby

Is that Catherine or a baby doll?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Looking Back Twelve Years

Some thoughts after a dozen years…

I think one thing that has stuck with me these past 12 years is the feeling of extreme helplessness I had. Something changed that morning and it was disconcerting. I vividly remember sitting in a Project Management class in Fulton Hall with the great section 1M1 at Kings Point, probably bored to tears and trying to keep myself from falling asleep as our esteemed professor droned on with a generic blue and gray colored power point presentation. Another student ran past the door, alerting us to the fact that a plane or something had hit one of the towers. Not knowing at all what to expect when we got to the roof, I remember thinking about the event comically as we raced up the stairs, some amateur pilot in a small craft had probably gotten too close and made an error, what a dumb ass! Nothing could have prepared me for what we saw from the top of the engineering building. Nestled between the towers of the Throgs Neck Bridge, the top of One World Trade Center engulfed in smoke, billowing out on the horizon as far as the eye could see, I was completely stunned into silence.

I don’t remember if our class was dismissed at that moment, but I remember being huddled around the television in the ward room of Cleveland Hall as much as I could all morning, seeing the reports that the second tower had been hit. At some point before 10 AM I wandered over to an area near the waterfront to take some pictures not realizing that the south tower had just collapsed. The rest of the day is sort of a fog of watching television coverage on the various cable news channels in the Band Company Ward Room, and attending classes. In Naval Architecture class, our professor explained the construction of the towers and why they collapsed. When you set aside the conspiracy theories that have festered over the past 12 years, his explanation on the morning of 9/11/01 to a stunned class of engineering students, turned out to be exactly the same as the 9/11 commission report. A quantitative methods class was cancelled and a test along with it, I remember feeling terrible that I would have a reprieve from a test I was certain to fail as I had not adequately prepared, (probably I was drinking beer in the baseball dugouts the night before). I would end up failing that test anyway on 9/12. 

Looking back at the television footage, it's amazing the naivete of everyone prior to the second plane hitting, even living through the bombing in 1993, and seeing everything unfold before our eyes, how we just assumed it was probably an accident, not some years long plot by evil men, throwing a desperate haymaker at the great satan. If you can bear to watch, as the second plane comes into view around the 10 minute mark, and the camera pans away as no one is expecting it, when the woman being interviewed screams out that a second plane hit, I think that is the moment when that feeling of innocence left for good. The woman on the phone thinks maybe there is a problem with the Air Traffic Control, while Matt Lauer tries to  get the camera footage, and then mutters that we have to assume that it's not an accident. I remember around that time my good friend Mike saying it must be Bin Laden.

The Power Squadron was dispatched to lower Manhattan soon after the towers collapsed, over 100 Midshipman and the waterfront staff, assisted in evacuation and relief efforts that would continue for weeks. Being on academic probation, as I was frequently, I was not permitted to volunteer. The afternoon was full of preparation by the Academy to accept triage patients since we were one of the closer federal facilities. I was to direct ambulance traffic along Steamboat Road, ambulances that never came. Drifting through the fog of that day, I tried to get away from the news coverage, I tried taking a nap, but sleep wouldn't come, when I rejoined the rest of my company mates in the ward room, we watched 7 World Trade Center collapse.

I don’t remember if it was the day of, or the day after when it was more clear what had happened, and who had perpetrated these attacks, (Mike ended up being correct in assuming Bin Laden of course), but I remember the Regimental Commander telling the Regiment at noon mess, that if we wanted to get those responsible we should join the Marines. Our generation was going to war, classmates, company mates, high school and childhood friends at the Naval Academy, my twin brother and his ROTC detachment, my older brother finishing up in the Army. Things had changed forever, the feeling of helplessness faded in the days following the attacks, but our world has never been the same. 

A photo taken by one of my old room mates from the grounds of the US Merchant Marine Academy

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I was trying to put Jackie to sleep, and I have no idea what setting on the camera produced these, but they were interesting.

Here are some more standard pictures

Jackie Vader and multiple Darth Vaders

Catherine with a mohawk
Funny Girls

Birthday Part II

Yes that's right Birthday Part II...why not Birthday Part I? Well, the camera was lost in a couch cushion for about two weeks, so while there are photo's from Birthday Part I, we will only be able to post them once we get those pictures. This year because of some scheduling confusion, and my desire to simplify and not have one giant party at my house with a hole in the kitchen ceiling and prepping for roof repairs and new windows, we opted to have two slightly smaller parties, one with each family.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jackie at 3

Happy third birthday to our big girl Jacqueline, she's so special she gets two parties, one today and one next Saturday.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Working Out

Dad is not the only one getting back into shape, Catherine has been working out with the large bug that hangs off her car seat.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Catherine's Baptism

It's been a little over two months, so I guess it's about time to post some pictures from Catherine's Baptism.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

CGT at 4 Months

Today Catherine is four months old

Celebrating with Wicket W. Warrick

Friday, August 9, 2013

Turtle Back Zoo

At the end of June the Trynosky girls had another exciting adventure.  From Aunt Kiki's suggestion, Jackie and Catherine were able to experience the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ.  Even though it was summertime there were not a lot of people.  However it was a Thursday.  Whatever the reason we were able to experience everything the park had to offer for an almost three-year-old to have a good time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Twinkies are back on the shelves and only 3 weight watcher points a piece. Catherine was only about the size of a turnip the last time they rolled off the assembly line, so she was happy to be introduced to them.

Twinkie the Kid

Monday, August 5, 2013

Knoebels Grove

A few weeks ago, Grandma and Grandpa Ken borrowed Jackie and whisked her away to a family favorite vacation spot. Knoebel's Amusement Park in Elysburg PA. This was Jacqueline's first trip to a big amusement park. She had been on Carousel's and mini-train rides and other small amusements before, but this was the first place with a ton of kiddie rides, and she's big enough now to really enjoy them. Knoebel's is such a great family park we were happy to let her go with them on a day that I had to work. Alison stayed at home with Catherine, and poor dad was stuck in his usual 9-5 drudgery while Jackie got to do all this...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Catherine the Great...Rolling Over

Catherine has been treating us to demonstrations of her new abilities this past week, she's been grabbing at things, helping to feed herself by holding the bottles, and she is starting to roll over from her tummy to her back. It seems like just last week she had trouble lifting her head up for any period of time, and hated tummy time, now she is looking around like a champ and rolling over.

Jackie was helpfully providing advice on how to roll over in between her singing about sailing the Never Seas with Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mary in Cambodia

A couple of years ago my cousin Mary decided to apply to the Peace Corps.  This past spring she found out her assignment would be in Cambodia from July 2013 to September 2015.  She had a going away party on June 30th and I can't believe that will be the last time we will see her for a while.  She keeps us updated with her blog.  You can find it here, Mary in Cambodia.  It sounds like she got a little homesick but is otherwise doing fine.  Also her local county paper did an article on her.  Mary's story is on page four.  What an exciting adventure, Congratulations Mary!

Here is the article as a jpg

Monday, July 22, 2013

July Photos

The end of June and the beginning of July got really busy and no posts were made, but we offer these cute photos of the girls as an apology.

Catherine celebrated her first 4th of July

Recently Catherine has discovered she has hands




Catherine turned three months and Jackie is turning three

Catherine's cowlick on the back of her head helps her with her Alfalfa impersonation

This photo was super difficult to take because Jackie kept trying to use the life preserver as a hula hoop

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Overdue Updates

I've had a post on Jackie's  first trip to an amusement park in the editing queue for a few weeks now, but we are determined to not fall behind on this blogging experiment again! Alison has been doing a heroic job all summer, trying to find things to keep the kids busy, while I am toiling away at the office, and we have tons of pictures to share. Jackie has also taken her first steps towards a diaper free future, which has also been very exciting.

Catherine is turning out to be as big a ham as her older sister, maybe even more so, she is just a happy little content bundle of wonder, we can't believe she is already 3 months old.

Lot's more activities in the coming weeks, leading up to Jackie's third birthday celebration, so we'll try to get a few of the past due updates moving in the next few days.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Graduation Day Part 3

For our third and final graduation this season we got to go back to my alma mater. My youngest sister Lauren graduated high school from IHA the first Sunday in June.  Catherine of course slept through the whole graduation.  Jackie started getting rowdy during the opening prayer, was quickly escorted out and returned just as the graduates recessed out of the gym.  Of course.  I heard the guest speaker, Mary Beth Kean Class of '95, had the best speech of the afternoon.

In the fall Lauren moves onto Monmouth University to study both Education and Art.  Two days after graduating she celebrated her 18th birthday, so congratulations and happy birthday Lauren!

I guess it is important to note that at the Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday night my parents received the IHA Family Award.  This special recognition is given to those parents who have three or more girls graduate IHA.  While most years would be lucky to have one family get the award, this years class had about six or seven families receive it.  I think my mom first got excited about the award when she found out about it at my Baccalaureate Mass.  I heard she has put a call out to the National Archives for tips on properly preserving the plaque.

The happy graduate

Sleepy Catherine

Where's Waldo? Or should it be 'Where's Frank?'

One of the very first bricks on the pathway to the multipurpose room

The IHA Family Award proudly on display

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day from Elvis
Alison procured this incredible flag to hang for the "holiday".

Friday, June 14, 2013

Choo Choo

Catherine training to be a train engineer

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Graduation Day Part 2

The third weekend in May was a very busy time for us.  First Maryellen had her graduation.  Since her graduating class at TCNJ was so large they had a graduation ceremony on the football field for everyone on Thursday and then Friday everyone broke off into their specific field for a more intimate ceremony.  She now holds a BS in both Biology and Psychology.  Next Jon, Maryellen's boyfriend, had his graduation on Sunday.  He graduated from Rutgers with a BS in Criminal Justice.  Also that weekend was Robert Louis' baptism, post about that to follow at a later date.

Congratulations Jon and Mel!
Catherine attempts to photobomb this picture

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dancing Machine

Alison is always looking for fun activities to do with Jackie, and the Bridgewater Library usually delivers the goods a few times a month. Today was a toddler dancing activity, Jackie appears to have had a ball.

CGT 2 Months

Catherine Grace wanted everyone to know that she is two months old today. She's such a happy baby.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Getting back into the swing of things...

For the one or two regular readers, who are actually just family members and a phone call away, I'm sorry for the long layoff. I had stuff to talk about, but just needed a sabbatical from the blog. Not like it's an especially onerous task to whip up a few posts a week that feature mostly pictures and videos of my kids doing cute things, but for whatever reason I just didn't have the motivation to follow through with it. We are back now, with a back log of stuff to write about, and I think the wife is going to be helping with a few more of these posts from time to time. She is the boots on the ground so to speak, being home with the dynamic duo of Jackie and Catherine most of the time, so expect her to dash off a quick post now and again whenever they do anything fun.

Jackie the Builder or Jackie the Destroyer

Jackie is honing her skills to become an Architect, a Contractor or the star of a Japanese Monster Movie.

Catherine is still upset about last weeks episode of Game of Thrones. Don't worry Catherine, good times ahead for the Lannisters of Casterly Rock.