Today, Kyle, Declan, Bailey, and I said goodbye to our first home and Raleigh. We leave behind 4 years of fond memories filled with laughter and love. We will never forget all the awesome people we met and became friends with along the way. Raleigh will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Onto a new and exciting chapter back in Pennsylvania...stay tuned :-).

Picture
The Koch house
 
 

Happy happy birthday to...

One of the kindest people I've ever known

A gentle giant

A loyal brother

And a wonderful friend.

"First you were a bother, then you were a brother, now you are a friend"

We love you Sean! Happy happy birthday! We hope you have a wonderful day and an even better year!

 
 

This past weekend Kyle, Declan, & I made the 8/9 hour trek home to visit our hometowns. On Friday we stayed in Lehighton and Saturday & Sunday we stayed in Bethlehem. It's a really neat experience when you don't live where you grew up and you bring your child to that place. Life really comes full circle. This visit was really two-fold. My very best friends each had sons this past July and I wanted to meet them and for Declan to meet them before they got too big. The other reason I just Autumn at home. It's so beautiful. We always try and get home in the Fall. This weekend was packed with visits with family & friends, dinners, hitting up fav eateries, laughter, wine, & lots of reminiscing & story telling. Never enough time but always enough love. Highlights included visits with grandparents and great grandparents, watching Pop-pop at church, playing with cousins, getting "Yocco'd", family dinner at 3640, Sunday morning with the McMonagles & Haldemans, Olivia & Declan hamming it up, & JPKs chocolate cake.

"Where we love is home-home that our feet may leave, but never our hearts" -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Picture
Kyle showing Declan the Fountain of Opportunity in his hometown.
Picture
Stud.
Picture
Love him.
Picture
Happy birthday Pop-pop!
Picture
Family dinners at 3640 :-)
Picture
Best.of.friends.
Picture
Candid.
Picture
Bonding with Jack
Picture
Blessed to call these girls my best friends.
Picture
Dad's hometown
Picture
Home.
Picture
Pop-pop & Declan
Picture
Got Yocco'd
 
 

Things that make my heart swell:

Listening to Declan giggle himself to sleep over the monitor

Kyle reading to Declan

Julie, one of my BFF's, new son Jack. He.is.adorable.

Swimming with sweet D at the pool.

Family walks

Life itself

Weekends with my family

Declan's interactions with Bailey, he is obsessed with her.

Picture
Future baller y'all!
Picture
Jack!
 
 
Picture
On June 26th, God called my Gammy home to Heaven.  While we will never understand why it was on that day, she will forever be missed by all who knew and loved her.  Gammy was laid to rest on what would have been her 95th birthday, July 5th.  Below are the remarks of remembrance I gave at her funeral mass.  She was wonderful.

On behalf of my parents, my brothers, my sisters-in-law, my husband, and myself we would like to thank you all for coming to celebrate the life of Joan Elizabeth McDevitt, affectionately known to her grandchildren as “Gammy”.  It is an honor and a privilege to give the remarks of remembrance about my grandmother and my brothers and I consider ourselves so lucky to have Gammy for 94 almost 95 years.  
   When reminiscing about Gammy some of the wonderful memories that came to mind were: weekend sleepovers in Reading that included back to school shopping, miniature golf at Shell’s, bowling at Laurel Lanes, trips to Major Magic and of course BINGO all with her partner in crime, Aunt Pearl, by her side.  
   We remember fondly playing Michigan Rummy, Rummy 500, and Gin Rummy for hours, lunches at the Charcoal Chef that always included milkshakes served in a boot, her presence at every event from First Holy Communions, Confirmations, graduations, weddings, and until about 8 years ago every Christmas at 3640 Spear Street.  Gammy was so good about mailing cards to let us know she was thinking about us but more importantly to let us know how proud she was of us.  
   When we remember Gammy we will always think about her love of the Phillies, her falling asleep to Harry Kallas doing to the play by play on the radio, her applesauce, wooden spoons, working part-time at Thrift Drug, trips to the Pagota and the way her hallway at the Episcopal House was so perfectly decorated for each holiday and the joy she found in doing that.  
  Although the last several years her mind grew weak her heart was strong and her love for my mother and our family was ever present.  An example of this love was when Dad, Brian, and I went to visit her to tell her that mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and Gammy cried and said “It should be me, it should be me.  Your mom shouldn’t have to go through this, I should.”-What love, Mom-she loved you so much.
   When we think about Gammy we think about her strength and her faith.  Gammy was one of the strongest women I’ve known.  When the love of her life, Pop-Pop Joe died in 1973, she could have crumbled, but she did not.  She helped my mom and all of us the best she knew how and always reminded us of how proud Pop-Pop Joe would be of all of us.  His memory is alive in each one of us because of her.
   Gammy was a very devout Catholic.  When she lived in the Episcopal House she would walk to St. Paul’s and attend daily mass and after mass she prayed the rosary.  Towards the end of her life she frequently asked my mom “Why am I still here?” and my mom would say “You are so good at praying for all of us and we still need your prayers” and Gammy just smiled and complied.  We were always taken care of and now we have her bending God’s ear, so what more could we ask for?
   Our very last memory with Gammy took place this past April when we all got together and met at Gracedale and had a family picture taken.  Although Gammy was asleep she was so peaceful.  It is known that hearing is the last sense to go so Gammy’s last memory of us is hearing all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren telling her they love her and how much she means to them.  For me, she heard my son’s name and he got to meet her which is something I will treasure forever. 
   I would like to end with two final tributes to Gammy:  The first is a quote from the children’s book titled “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman, how fitting for today, it goes like this:

“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same’ because there had never been anyone like you..ever in the world”-Gammy, our 
lives are better because you were a part of them.

   The second tribute is a Polish poem that is usually song or read on someone’s birthday.  The English translation is this:  good luck, good cheer, may you live 100 years, good luck, good cheer may you live 100 years, 100 years:

Sto-lat, sto-lat, niech zyje, zyje nam,
Sto-lat, sto-lat, niech zyje, zyje nam,
Jeszcze raz, jescze raz, niech zyje, zyje nam,
Niech zyje nam”

Happy birthday Gammy!  Enjoy your day with Pop-Pop Joe and bask in this celebration.  We love and we will miss you.


 
 

First...where did June go?  Yikes, slow down summer!  Here are some of my fav pictures from the month :-).

Picture
Uncle Seany & CJ
Picture
The man.
Picture
Their love for each other is inspiring. Never knew that more than beach week and the week to follow.
Picture
This.kid.is.magic.
Picture
My men.
Picture
View from our back porch courtesy of Christine
 
 
Picture
Happy Father's Day to guy who (with help) raised this crazy crew.  You set the bar very high Dad, hope you have the best day ever!

To my brothers...you are such great fathers and I see Dad in each of you.  You're kids are so lucky to have you & so are we.
To my husband...Happy 1st Father's Day!  Watching you become a Dad deepened my love for you and only makes me admire you more.  You are such a great Dad and role model for Declan, what a lucky, lucky, little fella.
 
 
Picture
Four years ago today I married thee most amazing man.

Four years and a baby later we are still giggling.

"Love, love, here we are" Pablo Neruda

Happy Anniversary to my better half :-)

 
 
It is going to be hard to narrow this down to 10 because a lot of things make me happy but I am going to focus on those things that give me that natural high, that feeling that makes your heart a puddle, it makes you say "can it get any better than this?"  So in no particular order...

1.  Sunset Beach, NC with the Kelly's is one of the two highlights of my year b/c I know at least for some portion of the week, we will all be together and it is wonderful.
2.  Thanksgiving in Raleigh (2nd highlight).  For the past 6 years we've been spending Thanksgiving in Raleigh as a family it's become one of my new favorite traditions.  The Northern Kelly's make they way down and we all have a wonderful dinner at Brian & Laurie's and it's awesome.
3.  Mass with Kyle and Declan, this makes my heart skip.a.beat.
4.  Delcan's smile and giggle-AMAZING.
5. Maria and Julie.
6.  Reminiscing.
7. Christmas Eve- there is a peace that blankets the night and it makes my heart swell.
8. Raising the American flag each morning at work while singing a patriotic song.  I love America.
9.  My Dad signing "I Really Love You" whenever we part ways.
10.  Friday nights with a glass of wine and Kyle.

 
 
I miss my childhood.  Don't get me wrong, life right now is awesome, and I am loving every single bit of it but I think a part of me will always miss my childhood.  I guess that is a big attribute to my parents for making it so wonderful.  I loved the Fall back home, leaves changing, playing outside with my brothers in the crisp Autumn air, and Trick or Treating around the neighborhood.  I hope one day my kids will miss their childhood b/c then I know I did a good job as a Mom, when you yearn for something you so loved because it was so wonderful.