Ezra: 90 Months!

Ezra - 90 Months!

The First Snow Of The Season

The first snow of the season also equals the first shoveling of the season, which also equals the first discovery of snowflakes for the season, which also equals the first ‘my boots are wet’ of the season, which also equals the first good pictures of the season.

Elia Shoveling Snow 2015-5

NYC Stair Climb

An absolute highlight of my career/profession/life.

A lot of work and a lot of thought and a lot of care have gone into planning the stair climbs locally and nationally over the last 11 years. Throughout all of that planning, there have been several program positions that are uncompromisable…including 1) money raised using 9/11 would go back to the FDNY and whatever they saw appropriate, 2) what the families say is non-negotiable, and 3) what the FDNY says is standard. For example, the FDNY has worked on the idea of a stair climb in NYC for a few years now, but for a variety of reasons, it just wasn’t the right thing to do. Additionally, the FDNY has stated that when looking at doing a stair climb in the city, they would not be supportive of a climb in lower Manhattan…just too close to too many things (physically and emotionally). So when the FDNY said that they were ready to have a climb in the city, it was a significant marker in the stair climb program.

I had a chance to fly out in the spring to assist the FDNY with a site visit at Citi Field (home of the NY Mets) and to begin the planning of the climb that would eventually be held in October. The FDNY, and the FDNY Counseling Services Unit were completely behind the effort and dedicated equipment, units, and lots of hours of work on the climb…and they were extremely successful with the final outcome.

Ahna and I, along with the rest of the NFFF Stair Climb Steering Committee had the opportunity to travel to NYC to assist with the climb. It was such an honor to be part of the event, to see the firefighters climbing, to be witness to the FDNY support, and to spend time with crews that lost friends, and families that lost husbands and fathers. It was especially touching to talk with the kids of the firefighters who were able to find their father’s photo card, and climb for him. The event was incredible, and I am pretty sure that I was somewhere between clouds nine and 10 for the entire duration – and to be able to spend that event with the other members of the committee and with Ahna was very special.

After the event, we were able to spend a day and a half in the city exploring Manhattan. We had the chance to go to Ground Zero and to go to the 9/11 Museum – which was an incredibly emotional experience (especially after doing the climb the morning prior). The museum is beautiful and extremely well done, packed with a ton of information and artifact. After the museum, we wandered around Central Park, MOMA, and finished the evening at a Michelin starred vegetarian restaurant and drinks above Broadway/Times Square. We even squeezed in a midnight ice skate at Rockefeller Center.

The trip was a great get-a-away with Ahna, and a physically and emotionally exhausting and fulfilling experience. And now the planning begins for 2016…

IMG_4685

Photo Oct 11, 06 37 23

A Trip To The Pumpkin Patch

What has become a fall break tradition, we again headed north to Anderson Farms for a morning at the pumpkin patch. It’s fun to use that trip as another time marker to think “wow, it’s so different this year than it was last year”…for example, this year, Ezra chose to run off into the 9 mile corn maze all by himself (thank goodness for the overlooks). We were able to be joined by Nana and Papa and were also greeted that day by unseasonably warm (yet not totally unwelcome) weather.

 

Elia’s 3rd Birthday Party

Ahna once again made a stunning cake, as we celebrated Elia’s birthday Peppa Pig style.

9.11

Today we climb.

I promise that we don’t forget. We will NEVER forget.

Each year, I post this photo…a stunning capture in history (read story here). This is a photo of FDNY’s Ladder 118 responding to the WTC. None of them would survive the day. These guys knew what they were getting into, yet they didn’t hesitate. We climb to finish what they started.

lad118br-1

The list of the 343 FDNY brothers that died on 9/11:

Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 (D) Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Agnello, Lad.118 Lt. Brian Ahearn, Bat.13 Eric Allen, Sqd.18 (D) Richard Allen, Lad.15 Cpt. James Amato, Sqd.1 Calixto Anaya Jr., Eng.4 Joseph Angelini, Res.1 (D) Joseph Angelini Jr., Lad.4 Faustino Apostol Jr., Bat.2 David Arce, Eng.33 Louis Arena, Lad.5 (D) Carl Asaro, Bat.9 Lt. Gregg Atlas, Eng.10 Gerald Atwood, Lad.21 Gerald Baptiste, Lad.9 A.C. Gerard Barbara, Cmd. Ctr. Matthew Barnes, Lad.25 Arthur Barry, Lad.15 Lt.Steven Bates, Eng.235 Carl Bedigian, Eng.214 Stephen Belson, Bat.7 John Bergin, Res.5 Paul Beyer, Eng.6 Peter Bielfeld, Lad.42 Brian Bilcher, Sqd.1 Carl Bini, Res.5 Christopher Blackwell, Res.3 Michael Bocchino, Bat.48 Frank Bonomo, Eng.230 Gary Box, Sqd.1 Michael Boyle, Eng.33 Kevin Bracken, Eng.40 Michael Brennan, Lad.4 Peter Brennan, Res.4 Cpt. Daniel Brethel, Lad.24 (D) Cpt. Patrick Brown, Lad.3 Andrew Brunn, Lad.5 (D) Cpt. Vincent Brunton, Lad.105 F.M. Ronald Bucca Greg Buck, Eng.201 Cpt. William Burke Jr., Eng.21 A.C. Donald Burns, Cmd. Ctr. John Burnside, Lad.20 Thomas Butler, Sqd.1 Patrick Byrne, Lad.101 George Cain, Lad.7 Salvatore Calabro, Lad.101 Cpt. Frank Callahan, Lad.35 Michael Cammarata, Lad.11 Brian Cannizzaro, Lad.101 Dennis Carey, Hmc.1 Michael Carlo, Eng.230 Michael Carroll, Lad.3 Peter Carroll, Sqd.1 (D) Thomas Casoria, Eng.22 Michael Cawley, Lad.136 Vernon Cherry, Lad.118 Nicholas Chiofalo, Eng.235 John Chipura, Eng.219 Michael Clarke, Lad.2 Steven Coakley, Eng.217 Tarel Coleman, Sqd.252 John Collins, Lad.25 Robert Cordice, Sqd.1 Ruben Correa, Eng.74 James Coyle, Lad.3 Robert Crawford, Safety Lt. John Crisci, H.M. B.C. Dennis Cross, Bat.57 (D) Thomas Cullen III, Sqd. 41 Robert Curatolo, Lad.16 (D) Lt. Edward D’Atri, Sqd.1 Michael D’Auria, Eng.40 Scott Davidson, Lad.118 Edward Day, Lad.11 B.C. Thomas DeAngelis, Bat. 8 Manuel Delvalle, Eng.5 Martin DeMeo, H.M. 1 David DeRubbio, Eng.226 Lt. Andrew Desperito, Eng.1 (D) B.C. Dennis Devlin, Bat.9 Gerard Dewan, Lad.3 George DiPasquale, Lad.2 Lt. Kevin Donnelly, Lad.3 Lt. Kevin Dowdell, Res.4 B.C. Raymond Downey, Soc. Gerard Duffy, Lad.21 Cpt. Martin Egan, Jr., Div.15 (D) Michael Elferis, Eng.22 Francis Esposito, Eng.235 Lt. Michael Esposito, Sqd.1 Robert Evans, Eng.33B.C. John Fanning, H.O. Cpt. Thomas Farino, Eng.26 Terrence Farrell, Res.4 Cpt. Joseph Farrelly, Div.1 Dep. Comm. William Feehan, (D) Lee Fehling, Eng.235 Alan Feinberg, Bat.9 Michael Fiore, Res.5 Lt. John Fischer, Lad.20 Andre Fletcher, Res.5 John Florio, Eng.214 Lt. Michael Fodor, Lad.21 Thomas Foley, Res.3 David Fontana, Sqd.1 Robert Foti, Lad.7 Andrew Fredericks, Sqd.18 Lt. Peter Freund, Eng.55 Thomas Gambino Jr., Res.3 Chief of Dept. Peter Ganci, Jr. (D) Lt. Charles Garbarini, Bat.9 Thomas Gardner, Hmc.1 Matthew Garvey, Sqd.1 Bruce Gary, Eng.40 Gary Geidel, Res.1 B.C. Edward Geraghty, Bat.9 Dennis Germain, Lad.2 Lt. Vincent Giammona, Lad.5 James Giberson, Lad.35 Ronnie Gies, Sqd.288 Paul Gill, Eng.54 Lt. John Ginley, Eng.40 Jeffrey Giordano, Lad.3 John Giordano, Hmc.1 Keith Glascoe, Lad.21 James Gray, Lad.20 B.C. Joseph Grzelak, Bat.48 Jose Guadalupe, Eng.54 Lt. Geoffrey Guja, Bat.43 Lt. Joseph Gullickson, Lad.101 David Halderman, Sqd.18 Lt. Vincent Halloran, Lad.8 Robert Hamilton, Sqd.41 Sean Hanley, Lad.20 (D) Thomas Hannafin, Lad.5 Dana Hannon, Eng.26 Daniel Harlin, Lad.2 Lt. Harvey Harrell, Res.5 Lt. Stephen Harrell, Bat.7 Cpt. Thomas Haskell, Jr., Div.15 Timothy Haskell, Sqd.18 (D) Cpt. Terence Hatton, Res.1 Michael Haub, Lad.4 Lt. Michael Healey, Sqd.41 John Hefferman, Lad.11 Ronnie Henderson, Eng.279 Joseph Henry, Lad.21 William Henry, Res.1 (D) Thomas Hetzel, Lad.13 Cpt. Brian Hickey, Res.4 Lt. Timothy Higgins, S.O.C. Jonathan Hohmann, Hmc.1 Thomas Holohan, Eng.6 Joseph Hunter, Sqd.288 Cpt. Walter Hynes, Lad.13 (D)Jonathan Ielpi, Sqd.288 Cpt. Frederick Ill Jr., Lad.2 William Johnston, Eng.6 Andrew Jordan, Lad.132 Karl Joseph, Eng.207 Lt. Anthony Jovic, Bat.47 Angel Juarbe Jr., Lad.12 Mychal Judge, Chaplain (D) Vincent Kane, Eng.22 B.C. Charles Kasper, S.O.C. Paul Keating, Lad.5 Richard Kelly Jr., Lad.11 Thomas R. Kelly, Lad.15 Thomas W. Kelly, Lad.105 Thomas Kennedy, Lad.101 Lt. Ronald Kerwin, Sqd.288 Michael Kiefer, Lad.132 Robert King Jr., Eng.33 Scott Kopytko, Lad.15 William Krukowski, Lad.21 Kenneth Kumpel, Lad.25 Thomas Kuveikis, Sqd.252 David LaForge, Lad.20 William Lake, Res.2 Robert Lane, Eng.55 Peter Langone, Sqd.252 Scott Larsen, Lad.15 Lt. Joseph Leavey, Lad.15 Neil Leavy, Eng.217 Daniel Libretti, Res.2 Carlos Lillo, Paramedic Robert Linnane, Lad.20 Michael Lynch, Eng.40 Michael Lynch, Lad.4 Michael Lyons, Sqd.41 Patrick Lyons, Sqd.252 Joseph Maffeo, Lad.101 William Mahoney, Res 4 Joseph Maloney, Lad.3 (D) B.C. Joseph Marchbanks Jr, Bat.12 Lt. Charles Margiotta, Bat.22 Kenneth Marino, Res.1 John Marshall, Eng.23 Lt. Peter Martin, Res.2 Lt. Paul Martini, Eng.23 Joseph Mascali, T.S.U. 2 Keithroy Maynard, Eng.33 Brian McAleese, Eng.226 John McAvoy, Lad.3 Thomas McCann, Bat.8 Lt. William McGinn, Sqd.18 B.C. William McGovern, Bat.2 (D) Dennis McHugh, Lad.13 Robert McMahon, Lad.20 Robert McPadden, Eng.23 Terence McShane, Lad.101 Timothy McSweeney, Lad.3 Martin McWilliams, Eng.22 (D) Raymond Meisenheimer, Res.3 Charles Mendez, Lad.7 Steve Mercado, Eng.40 Douglas Miller, Res.5 Henry Miller Jr, Lad.105 Robert Minara, Lad.25 Thomas Mingione, Lad.132 Lt. Paul Mitchell, Bat.1 Capt. Louis Modafferi, Res.5 Lt. Dennis Mojica, Res.1 (D) Manuel Mojica, Sqd.18 (D) Carl Molinaro, Lad.2 Michael Montesi, Res.1 Capt. Thomas Moody, Div.1 B.C. John Moran, Bat.49 Vincent Morello, Lad.35 Christopher Mozzillo, Eng.55 Richard Muldowney Jr, Lad.07 Michael Mullan, Lad.12 Dennis Mulligan, Lad.2 Lt. Raymond Murphy, Lad.16 Lt. Robert Nagel, Eng.58 John Napolitano, Res.2 Peter Nelson, Res.4 Gerard Nevins, Res.1 Dennis O’Berg, Lad.105 Lt. Daniel O’Callaghan, Lad.4 Douglas Oelschlager, Lad.15 Joseph Ogren, Lad.3 Lt. Thomas O’Hagan, Bat.4 Samuel Oitice, Lad.4 Patrick O’Keefe, Res.1 Capt. William O’Keefe, Div.15 (D) Eric Olsen, Lad.15 Jeffery Olsen, Eng.10 Steven Olson, Lad.3 Kevin O’Rourke, Res.2 Michael Otten, Lad.35 Jeffery Palazzo, Res.5 B.C. Orio Palmer, Bat.7 Frank Palombo, Lad.105 Paul Pansini, Eng.10 B.C. John Paolillo, Bat.11 James Pappageorge, Eng.23 Robert Parro, Eng.8 Durrell Pearsall, Res.4 Lt. Glenn Perry, Bat.12 Lt. Philip Petti, Bat.7 Lt. Kevin Pfeifer, Eng. 33 Lt. Kenneth Phelan, Bat.32 Christopher Pickford, Eng.201 Shawn Powell, Eng.207 Vincent Princiotta, Lad.7 Kevin Prior, Sqd.252 B.C. Richard Prunty, Bat.2 (D) Lincoln Quappe, Res.2 Lt. Michael Quilty, Lad.11 Ricardo Quinn, Paramedic Leonard Ragaglia, Eng.54 Michael Ragusa, Eng.279 Edward Rall, Res.2 Adam Rand, Sqd.288 Donald Regan, Res.3 Lt. Robert Regan, Lad.118 Christian Regenhard, Lad.131 Kevin Reilly, Eng.207 Lt. Vernon Richard, Lad.7 James Riches, Eng.4 Joseph Rivelli, Lad.25 Michael Roberts, Eng.214 Michael E. Roberts, Lad.35 Anthony Rodriguez, Eng.279 Matthew Rogan, Lad.11 Nicholas Rossomando, Res.5 Paul Ruback, Lad.25 Stephen Russell, Eng.55 Lt. Michael Russo, S.O.C. B.C. Matthew Ryan, Bat.1 Thomas Sabella, Lad.13 Christopher Santora, Eng.54 John Santore, Lad.5 (D) Gregory Saucedo, Lad.5 Dennis Scauso, H.M. 1 John Schardt, Eng.201 B.C. Fred Scheffold, Bat.12 Thomas Schoales, Eng.4 Gerard Schrang, Res.3 (D) Gregory Sikorsky, Sqd.41 Stephen Siller, Sqd.1 Stanley Smagala Jr, Eng.226 Kevin Smith, H.M. 1 Leon Smith Jr, Lad 118 Robert Spear Jr, Eng.26 Joseph Spor, Res.3 B.C. Lawrence Stack, Bat.50 Cpt. Timothy Stackpole, Div.11 (D) Gregory Stajk, Lad.13 Jeffery Stark, Eng.230 Benjamin Suarez, Lad.21 Daniel Suhr, Eng.216 (D) Lt. Christopher Sullivan, Lad.111 Brian Sweeney, Res.1 Sean Tallon, Lad.10 Allan Tarasiewicz, Res.5 Paul Tegtmeier, Eng.4 John Tierney, Lad.9 John Tipping II, Lad.4 Hector Tirado Jr, Eng.23 Richard Vanhine, Sqd.41 Peter Vega, Lad.118 Lawrence Veling, Eng.235 John Vigiano II, Lad.132 Sergio Villanueva, Lad.132 Lawrence Virgilio, Sqd.18 (D) Lt. Robert Wallace, Eng.205 Jeffery Walz, Lad. 9 Lt. Michael Warchola, Lad.5 (D) Capt. Patrick Waters, S.O.C. Kenneth Watson, Eng.214 Michael Weinberg, Eng.1 (D) David Weiss, Res.1 Timothy Welty, Sqd.288 Eugene Whelan, Eng.230 Edward White, Eng.230 Mark Whitford, Eng.23 Lt. Glenn Wilkinson, Eng.238 (D) B.C. John Williamson, Bat.6 (D) Capt. David Wooley, Lad.4 Raymond York, Eng.285 (D)

Elia – 34 Months!

Elia - 34 Months!

Ezra – 86 Months!

Ezra - 86 Months!

Family Camping

And by ‘family camping,’ I mean ‘a lot of family going camping together.’

Ahna’s family was able to make a week-long journey en-mass to our house immediately following the completion of the school year. And while there will most certainly be more to come on their stay, this post is about our joint camping experience.

14 people, all related, two campsites, and little-to-no recent camping experience for most of us. And yet it somehow turned out to be painless, beautiful, and fun. It’s always amazing how much stuff needs to get packed for one night out – especially when you go car camping and are building a house and bed to sleep in. All 14 people and gear fit into three cars, and the three cars managed a 2 hour drive into the mountains without getting lost. We all ended up at the campground located just off the shores of Lake Dillon and spent a chilly evening exploring, getting dirty, getting bit by local bugs, roasting perfect smores, and going to sleep (sort of) way too late. Sounds like family camping perfection.

Photo Jun 08, 18 17 14

Up Close With U2

Not too many times will one get to experience arguably the greatest of anything in history – let alone four times. Whether or not U2 sits on top of the pile isn’t the point…it’s that they are at the top of the pile. For decades they have been producing some of the best and most important music in the world, and because they are globally loved, being able to see them live is an exercise in timing.

Once at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Once at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Twice at Pepsi Center in Denver.

I’ve been lucky. And considering that two of those times Ahna and I went together, I have been very lucky. The Pepsi Center (capacity around 19,000) seems like an intimate venue to see a band of U2’s stature. Having seen two huge performances in stadiums, the shows that they do indoors are entirely different. While still a performance, they are much more raw, much more rock, and much more fun.

This time around, we snagged floor/GA tickets, and met up with a couple of friends. We walked into the arena through a special entrance with no idea on what to expect. When we ended up about 10 feet from part of the stage, we were assured by someone who attended a previous version of the concert at an earlier tour stop that we were in perfect placement. Then the show began and our jaws dropped. Bono appeared immediately in front of us; then later seemingly serenaded us with Sunday Bloody Sunday. The band walked and played just in front of us, and the big video screen was omnipresent. Oddly, one of my favorite parts of the show was actually just a video…of Johnny Cash singing The Wanderer – perhaps my favorite U2 song ever (it was never played in the previous shows I have been to).

A night to remember for sure.

Photo Jun 06, 20 59 25

%d bloggers like this: