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20141109 newyorktripWell where do I start to describe such an awesome weekend getaway. Jean and I went away last weekend to New York City to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. We waited until now to go since of course the Rockettes don't dance until this time of year... and any trip to New York would definitely revolve around that.

Spending time in Manhattan, and especially Times Square at night should make it to everyone's bucket list. It really is an absolutly amazing experience. Visiting downtown Manhattan is kind of like visiting another country where you experience a bit of a culture shock getting used to people, places and grandesque atmosphere.

With just two days to experience everything we could, our days were packed and we really did see alot in a short period of time.

The highlight of the trip was getting Jean to see her life-long favorite Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, and thanks to my awesome sister, got to meet a Rockette and go back stage, which pretty much put Jean off the deep end. I've never seen her so speechless and confused. Thanks sis.

It was an incredible weekend with too much to describe. But in an effort to assemble a list of memories, here's a list of highlights.

  • Trying to drive around Mid-town
  • Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Manhattan
  • Lunch at the Stardust Diner
  • Seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall
  • Going back stage at Radio City Music Hall
  • Visiting the Top of the Rock
  • Experiencing Times Square at Night
  • Gray Line Bus Tour (Or any hop-on-off bus)
  • Walking through China Town and "Very" Little Italy
  • Freedom Tower and 911 Memorial (Awesome)
  • Watching Jean dance on the big piano at FAO Schwartz
  • Paying $140 to park my car for 2 days


20141025 nate licenseYikes, Nate got his license this past week and he's pretty excited about it.

The day after his 16th birthday he took the test, passed and got the magic card to his freedom.

Needless to say, he's going crazy about being able to drive somewhere by himself.  It was pretty odd having him drive himself to school this week and leave the house by himself.

Just another thing to make Jean and I feel old! Love you bud and be safe on the road!

20140922 marathoninterviewThe Akron Beacon Journal wrote up an article about the numerous relay teams in the Akron Marathon this year and how so many of them were built from people supporting cancer victims. They decided to spotlight Josh and our family and celebrating his success thus far as conquring his bout with cancer.

http://www.ohio.com/news/local/runners-say-akron-marathon-celebrates-life-1.524896

There ended up being a pretty large writeup and several picture of us and the Tshirts. It was pretty good recognition of what Josh went through.

Jean coordinated six relay teams and there will be over 50 runners sporting the "Team Josh" shirts in the marathon all together.  We ended up selling/creating over 100 shirts all together so thanks to all for supporting Josh and the family during it all.

I know there's not alot of success stories out there when it comes to cancer so it's nice to be involved in one finally.

20140810 warriordashAnother awesome day. Jean, Nate and I with some other family and friends took place in the Warrior Dash in Canal Fulton. In all we only had 8 of us this year.

Some moderate running for a "non-runner" like myself, along with many obstacles and LOTS of mud.

We adopted Dylan for the day and we all had a blast. Loved walking into Subway with our viking hats on for lunch and getting some odd looks from workers and guests.

Kind of a bummer that the race wasn't timed this year but the showers made up for it, being something you can actually walk under instead of sitting on the ground with a garden hose.

Here's to next year!

20140804 dasbootThe boys and I were invited to the Keba Camp in Pennsylvania.  We’ve heard the stories coming out of the camp so we’ve been looking forward to it. We began the trip with logging 150 miles with Nate at the wheel, across the turnpike and through the PA mountains.  Not sure if his temps crossed state lines but it was a great time to get some non-Streetsboro driving in.

The camp was really a 5 bedroom getaway house with enough sleeping room for a small army. Made to sleep a couple dozen hunters, it was just perfect for the weekend getaway. Great food was aplenty and Deano's camp stew was ridiculously awesome.

We went on an awesome 5 hour canoe trip down the Allegheny River with 6 canoes in our armada. Looting snacks from other canoes, dodging torrential rain and rescuing Nate & Nick’s capsized canoe were some of the highlights of me and Bradon's canoe voyage.

Other activities included a trip to the “hole” and a deep hike up the fire-roads and back down the mountain through the streams. Totally awesome and one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on.

Nightly activities included poker and a moderate consumption of the native liquid, most via 'das boot' during several games throughout the night.

Thanks to all for a great time.

 

20140727 missiontripFor the 3rd straight year I was blessed enough to be able to go on the mission trip with St Joan of Arc's youth group (C.H.A.O.S) to the Appalacian region.  Our destination this year was Cumberland, Kentucky where they have a great base of operations that can reach out to ALOT of needy people.

With a van full of a dozen, 8 kids and 4 adults, we had a blast working and playing over the last week. It was great to have both boys with me this year.

Some of this weeks activities were; rebuilding a porch, painting a deck, rebuilding deck stairs, replacing a storm door, resealing a trailer roof, building benches, replacing a gutter, painting a pavilion & revitalizing a statue of Mary.

Free-time included frisbee, cards, swimming, hiking, coal-mining museum and mine-tour just to name a few.

Below is a slideshow/video with several of the highlights.

20140718 teamjosh logoIn support of Jean's brother Josh and his fight against testicular cancer, Jean is getting together some relay teams, half-marathon runners, and even a full marathon runner for the Akron Marathon. Whether your a runner or just want to show your support for Josh by wearing a Tshirt, you can get some Team Josh apparel below. You can check out securely by using your Credit Card or PayPal Account during the checkout process at PayPal. Just add as many shirts to your cart as you want. Orders will be taken up through: Friday, August 15, 2014.

Sales are now closed. Thanks to everyone. There are over 115 shirts out and about now.

Team Josh - Tech Shirt
Moisture-wicking running shirts.
Unisex and ladies sizes.
 20140718 teamjosh techshirt
  Team Josh - Ladies Tank Top
Moisture-wicking racerback style tank.
For the fashion-sensitive ladies.
 20140718 teamjosh tanktop
  Team Josh - T-Shirt
For the non-runner.
Regular old cotton Tshirt.
20140718 teamjosh tshirt

20140608 natefirstdayworkThe picture by itself is pretty ambiguous but I know he was saying 'Are you really taking a picture of me right now?'.  I dropped Nate off for his first day of work at a real job. He earned his lifeguard certification over spring-break this year and he's working a lifeguard at Woodside Lake Park. I'm trying to think back of my first day at work at Geauga Lake in 1988 and I know I would have had the same expression on my face if my mom tried to take a picture of me as she dropped me off.

Good luck kid, you can start looking forward to retirement in 2063.

My sisters and I flew to Orlando for a long weekend stay with Teresa and Summer this past weekend. I have always been fascinated with flying and aircraft and everything in the sky, which is the primary reason for my 4 year Navy enlistment. My sisters were nice enough to let me have the window seat both ways, treating me like a little kid, or at least a little brother. Thanks! I must have taken a couple hundred photos and videos of the clouds to share the experience with my kids as it's something that one doesn't do very often. This is just a short video of a few seconds flying through the clouds on our decent into the Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport.  So blue and sunny above the clouds, and gray and gloomy down below.

Aly's First Dance SoloI'm pretty proud of Aly for performing in her first solo at a dance competition.

This weekend was busy as Jean and I were both at a wedding reception when Aly was to dance... at 8:00 at night!

We couldn't miss her first solo ever so snuck out of the reception for an hour and sped to the dance competition to catch her just in time. She did a point routine where she danced to her own voice recording of "To Believe". Click the following link to hear her sing it. Aly - To Believe

It was pretty awesome and we're super-proud of her to attempt a point routine at her age. She ended up scoring a high-gold (2nd highest possible) for the routine and placed 1st in her category. 

Good job Aly!

20140417 natedrivingYet another milestone crossed at the Giunto house. These seem to be hitting us hard and quick now that the kids are beyond their childhood years.

Nate got his temporary driving license Saturday morning.

We went out Sunday morning with Brandon in the back-seat wondering if this would lead to the first crash he's ever been in.

We drove all over Streetsboro for 45 minutes including through the center of town and up to 50mph on Rt 14. He did awesome for his first time ever on the road. Some may say it was a bit much going through town but nothing like being thrown into the lions-den. He handled it great and never freaked out once.

Jean ended up taking him out to the store last night too for his first night-time drive. Good job bud, drive safe!

20140423 kent vs streetsboroWhat a moment we had last night as Nate and Nick faced each other for the first time on opposite sides of the diamond. It certainly was odd being on the other side of the diamond from most of the kids I've coached for many years of my life, including my nephew Nick. It was more than just another game for me.

The decision to open-enroll Nate in Kent was not one Jean and I took lightly. We stewed over it for many, many hours. Not being exactly sure if you're making the right decision as a parent, is the most difficult part of parenting for me. With close Streetsboro family and friends intertwined in our lives, it's been a touchy subject and not one I particularly enjoy. A special thanks to all of our family and friends for supporting our personal decision and treating us as we would hope to be treated.

For me, the highlight of last night's game was when Nate was called in to pinch-run and was given the sign to steal 3rd base toward his cousin Nick. The reaction from both of them was priceless with Nate just getting under the tag.

A BIG thanks to Anne Peterson for capturing this photo.

20140416 campfitchI put on my chaperone hat again over the last couple days for Aly's 6th grade class at Camp Fitch. You would think there would be NOOO way we could possible get SNOW in mid April but..... just to put a finishing touch on the worst winter I can remember, we woke up to 25 degrees and snow on the ground for our 7:00 early morning trip to play dodgeball in the big red barn!

All in all is was a great time, even fighting the cold and weather.

Here's a Camp Fitch Photo Gallery of the field trip.

20140414 joshcancerJean's brother Josh was diagnosed with cancer about week ago and although the fight will of course be difficult, the end outcome has us all optomistic, being a treatable/curable type of cancer.

Many prayers go out to him and if you haven't noticed, we're all sporting the support bands.

Good bless and hopes for a great outcome.

Here's a link to his caringbridge site. www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshmurphy

20140326 stillwinterThis post is primarily for my family in Florida!

Normally driving past Dad's house on the way to work at the end of March, I'd expect to see lots of green.

Not so much this morning, waking up with 4 inches of snow and 12 degrees on the thermometer. This is by far the latest snow I can remember in my.... many years of life. Uggg.

Days like this make me wish I was born in the South. Some on Cpring!

UPDATE: Just had to put an addendum on this entry since we also got snow during our Camp Fitch fieldtrip on April 15!

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