Saturday, December 31, 2016



What would New Year's Eve be without some fireworks!  Now, I was barefoot on my front porch and it took a sparkler or four but I got a shot I liked.  I might even stay awake to see the ball drop!

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Little Things......


Opened up a package and found this lovely little gift from a dear friend who knows me so well.
It should be an ornament on the tree but I think I am going to keep it out where I can enjoy it more than just a few weeks a year.

It's the little things that matter most.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mill Pond Road


On our way to our annual O'Brien family Christmas, we passed this little side street and the waterfall was simply lovely.  I knew I had to make a stop for a few pictures on our way back to Pittsburgh.  We still had some snowflakes falling and it made for a lovely scene.  I would have loved to have gotten closer but it was private property and well...I did not want to make a scene with the kids there...LOL

One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin.
~William Shakespeare

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cheesecake Serenade


So it was Christmas with the NY O'Brien's.  The kids get to see each other less and less as they get older.  Everyone is involved in multiple activities/sports/groups and trying to find one day is no easy task.  So they played games, laughed, shot some hoops, ate and a great time together.

My youngest niece has just taken up the flute and was not sure she was liking it.  Shannon, who is 8 years into the flute and now piccolo, was working on encouraging Emily to continue.  Emily knew that cheesecake was on the dessert menu and I sorta twisted her arm that she had to serenade us before she could have cheesecake (yeah, I know)....but she pulled off the first measure of "Puppy Dogs" (after a lot of giggle and coaxing).  Please note the great flute angle.  Shannon was proud as bad flute angles make her nuts!

If music be the food of love, play on!
~William Shakespeare 

Board Games


After a long road trip, nothing thrills the kids and Grandma than a marathon game of Monopoly.  This time the real estate tycoon was Shannon, which made Dan not a happy camper!

I wish I was feeling better last night but this "thing" I have was not letting go and I was just too tired to do this post.  It doesn't happen often but there is a time or two when I just cannot get the post done.

No one ever reads the rules for Monopoly, except when an argument breaks out.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Seven Tiles


You know if the Scrabble board is out, Mom is here for a visit and despite my feeling crappy most of the time, we did manage to get a few games in.

And when she is not visiting, we play Word Feud daily.  It's our brain exercise and fun for the both of us.

The only good time to yell, I have Diarrhea is when playing Scrabble because it's worth a shitload of points!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Continuing the Tradition...


Growing up, the Hess Truck was a standard gift from my father for his son and grandsons was a Hess truck.  My son loved getting this truck and when my father passed, he was sad thinking he was not going to get the next one for Christmas. Thanks to some friends in Jersey, we got one and the look on Daniel's face  when he found that under the tree that Christmas, it was priceless.

Thankfully will now ship the truck to you for free and I make sure there is one every year.  Makes me fee like my Dad is with us every Christmas morning.

It's not what's under the tree but who's around it that matters....

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Bench Speaks: December


As we all gather with family and friends, enjoying food, fun and great company, let's not forget the reason for the season and just enjoy each other.  Be thankful for those you get to spend the next few days with, remember those that left us much to early and wish the best who could not be with you this time of year.  No matter how near or far, they are always in our hearts.

Much joy and love from our home to yours!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Family & Friends.....


One of the best things about the Holiday season is the time we set aside for family and friends. Tonight was a twofer as I got to have a lovely "girls" evening with my Mom and Chris.  Good conversation, good wine and some delicious munchies made for a lovely evening, despite the teenager girl breaking the tub....LOL  Never a dull moment with these kids!

The best times can be found when family and friends are around.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I've Gotta New Man!


Spent the day giving the house a deep clean just in time for Mom to arrive with packages, bags, boxes and baked goods.  In one of the bags was another wonderful snowman for my tree.  Actually there was more than one snowman but this one was my favorite.

I am looking forward to getting to relax a bit and enjoy the holidays with my family!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tip Off......


One of the best parts of Christmas is having time off and being able to attend my kids extracurricular activities.  Today was Dan's last basketball game and I was able to be there.  Now, Peters Township ran all over us (and were not real sportsman like about it) but I got to spend time shooting and watching Dan score again.  Only problem is I get so excited that I forget to take his picture...LOL

KO 8th Grade Boys Basketball ended up 7-7 for the season and it was a lot of fun to watch!

It's going to be exciting to watch these boys when they hit the High School!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Surprise...It's a Snowman!


Surprises!  Christmas is one of the few times during the year that I get surprised.  Today I came into the office to a gift bag on my desk and what looked to be a nice bottle of "something".  What was inside was better than a bottle, at least in my world.  It was a snowman!!!!  I was so not expecting this lovely gift but I am thankful for a great friend who love to feed my snowman addiction!

There is no man, like a snowman....

Monday, December 19, 2016

And The Stockings Were Hung......


Another one of my favorite's at Christmas is our stockings.  Handmade by my Mom and mine, made in 1968 and still in pristine condition despite all it's been through!  I remember as a kid trying to wear it (it went up well past my knee).  It being stretched when stuff full with hair spray, pantyhose, shampoo and other large, heavy objects.

Then eventually, when Mom finished my brother's stocking (many years after he was born), she started on spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Even my mother-in-law got one!  Now I need to get my act in gear and learn how to make these because I would love to continue this tradition.  I have never knitted a thing but I am willing to learn how to do this.  Mom promised me the pattern and if I have to take a knitting class or a long weekend in NJ with my dear friend Justine, I will do it.

Christmas is a stocking stuffed with sugary goodness!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town......


One of my fondest memories of Christmas as a child was going to church on Christmas Eve and then getting home to anxiously away Santa Claus coming down our street on the big hook and ladder truck from the Nottingham Fire Department.

Santa gave out little presents and some years it was a coloring book and crayons (something I still love to do) or one of the Life Saver Candy books.  It really didn't matter what it was, it was all about the man in red.

When I bought my first home, in a small town outside of Philly, I was thrilled that Santa still came around on the hook and ladder truck.  Even more thrilled after Daniel was born that we had his birthday the weekend before Christmas and Santa was always there for all the kids to see.  How cool was it to have Santa come to your birthday party!

This tradition continues in our home here in Pittsburgh as our local volunteer Fire Department comes around with Santa.  It's not a hook and ladder but we do get Mrs. Claus and how cute was it to watch my neighbors little girl run up to give Santa a hug today!

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm telling you why......Santa Claus is coming to town!

Saturday, December 17, 2016



Woke up to the perfect weather today.  Freezing rain and oodles of ice everywhere.  This meant I had to stay in, get things done and that's what we did.  By 3:30pm, when it was time to head to Mass as Dan was serving, it was almost 45 degrees.  After the 5F it was yesterday morning, I thought I should grab my bikini!

So in between laundry, ornaments, snowmen, cleaning and decorating I managed to find time to grab a few shots of the frozen fun!

The cold never bothered me anyway!

Friday, December 16, 2016



Dan, Jameson and Quinn have been friends since AM Kindergarten.  Paul joined the crew in 2nd grade and they have been together since.  Little League baseball, Metro Basketball,  Flag Football, Middle School basketball.  It's been a pleasure to watch these little boys grow into fine young men.

They do clean up nicely and I am still in shock that Dan bypassed the shorts and hoodie and dressed up!  I do love the bow tie look!

We did not realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2016



When I am out and about with no camera in my car (other than my cell) I often wish I had my 7D with me.  Of course, if that was the case, I might never get to where I am going!  Today, I was driving to the office and there it was.....the moon setting.  And I had my camera!  I was lucky for some stopped traffic and managed to get just one shot off.

Each night, the moon kisses secretly the lover who counts the stars.....Rumi

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Morning At The North Pole!

Day 345/366

Well it looks like a morning at the North Pole, complete with Santa's sleigh and reindeer in the front yard!  Now for the frigid North Pole temps coming overnight.  Kids are praying for a 2 hour delay.....knowing our School District, it will come at 6AM.

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark on a sentimental journey and enjoy every idle hour. ~ John Boswell

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tree Tuesday


It's our first real snowfall of the season.  We have had a dusting or two over the past few weeks but I don't count it unless it covers the grass.  It's also #treetueday and what a better choice than my favorite tree.

I do love the peace and quite outside when the snow falls.

If it's gone tomorrow, I won't be upset!

When snow falls, Nature listens.

Monday, December 12, 2016

From Our Town To Yours....


Green Tree, PA, where all the trees are not green but they are beautiful, especially this time of year!
Just a little over a week ago Green Tree kicked off the Holiday season with Light Up Night.  We had to sell trees that night so we did not make it but I am sure a good time was had by all.  Music, crafts, face painting, ice sculptures and most importantly, Santa!

I miss my kids being young and enjoying that evening with their friends and neighbors.  When we first moved here, Light Up Night was the same weekend we celebrated Dan's birthday.  The whole family would go up and enjoy the holiday fun!

Merry Christmas from Green Tree!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ugly Sweater Time......


Is Christmas really complete without an ugly sweater?  I got mine today with a cup of my favorite coffee.  I was killing time and editing photos while Dan was at CCD and well, this cure ornament just screamed for me to bring it home and put it on the tree!

Who am I to say no?

America (and me) run on Dunkin'

Saturday, December 10, 2016



Hallmark ornaments, a tradition that my mother started in 1975 with my sister, brother and myself.  I have continued this tradition with my own children. By the time they move out on their own, like me, they will be able to decorate their tree with oodles of memories.  I hope it's something they continue with their own children when the time comes.

This particular ornament is one of Daniel's favorites.  I had to buy it twice.  The first one was ruined by a back-up in the basement and he was crushed.  It's a favorite to put on the tree every year.  If you push the cherry on top of the truck, it plays the classic ice cream man tune!

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is reminiscing as each ornament is put on the tree!

There is no ideal Christmas; only the one you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections and traditions. ~ Bill McKibben

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cosmic Tree.....


Well it's progress. The tree has lights and it looks like Christmas threw up in my living room. 

More to come tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

I See You........


Tonight was the Keystone Oaks High School Winter concert.  What a beautiful night of music and song by our Jazz band, Symphonic band and Chorus.  Now, what is even more fun is the funny stuff I tend to catch with my camera.

This shot just made me chuckle.  Bryce playing peek - a - boo with Bree Stocke.  It's great to capture these kids having a great time doing something they love.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Bookhamlet Wreath


A much needed night out with friends tonight at the Green Tree Borough annual wreath decorating class.  How fun it is to watch how creative everyone is starting with same base wreath.  Then the decorating starts and WOW, what amazingly beautiful wreaths we created for our homes.

I originally found a funky mosaic ribbon in popping neon Christmas colors but when I returned to get that ribbon, my eye spotted something else.....something I just "had to have".

It was hedgehog ribbon.....and if you looked close, it just might be a were-hedgehog on that ribbon!

I might just be hedging my bets on that one though :)

What happens in book club....yeah, it doesn't stay in book club...LOL

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sam's in Control.....


Another W in the books for the KO 8th grade basketball team.  I think the only schools we ever play are from Upper St. Clair....LOL   Almost a double digit  point spread and I got to see my #42 hit his first two points today.  I was also experimenting with the 50mm f1.8 because we all know how awful the lighting can be in the school gym.  Well Dan's photo of his first points is a bit blurring but I was there to see it and that is all that mattered.

Now the photo features Dan's team mate Sam who might be the smallest kid on the team but he can move and can he hit those three's!  Paul and Quinn added to the point totals with their own three's. Always exciting to watch!

Nicely done KO....I could get used to these wins every time I come to a game!


Monday, December 5, 2016

This is what I get!


No homework and this is what I get when I try to take a picture....

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Going To The Chapel


I have said multiple times that one of the things I love about doing Senior portraits is that I get to discover new places in Pittsburgh and the surround areas.  Today was a visit to Oakland for a family portrait session at Phipps and then Senior portraits with KO Senior Daniel Rowe at Heinz Chapel.

Now I have driven by Heinz Chapel countless times but this was my first time actually getting up close and it was simply stunning.  We lucked out as there was no service at the time of our visit so I got to shoot inside for a bit and it did not disappoint!   Anyone who knows me knows that churches of all denominations are one of my favorite things to photograph and I know that I will be back again!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rudolph Joins the Band!


Oh those clarinet players.  Always marching to the beat of their own music and trying to be incognito about it.  We know the game you are playing Liz and we love it.  Especially since you could not see a thing and still managed to make it down West Liberty Ave without losing a step!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sweet Dreams....


When I rest my head tonight (finally) I hope my dreams are like this.  This did start out as a picture of my pillows but it took a left turn.....

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Baby Chucks


While on a recon mission for Santa I found these and had to snap a pic.  Too darn cute!

Hey now, you're an All Star, get your game on, go play....
Smash Mouth