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2011_nate_baseballchampionsWell this little blog entry can't say enough how proud I am of Nate and our baseball team this year.  We had a great year finishing 9-5-1 in the regular season in the Aurora Baseball League.

Nate finished the regular season with a .410 batting average and gave me great innings at 2nd base and pitcher postions.

With a 3rd place finish we had to work our way through the tournament bracket to get to the championship game last night.

Up against an undefeated "to be unnamed" red team, we needed to play our best offensive and defensive game to beat them.

The game went as most others until we put up a hit filled 7-run inning which would turn out to be the difference in the 9-4 game... holding this team to 4 runs was an accomplishment of its own.

This is when my kids and I began to witness the most poor sportsmanship we've ever seen from coaches and kids alike. With pounding on the fence taunting with every pitch, screams of 'you suck' and coaches that were high-fiving the ridiculousness, it was an out of control game to say the least.

It made the win all-the-sweeter to put a team like that in their place.

A special kudos to "Jared Tuma" who looked the taunts in the face with a big smile at their dugout, and continued to shut them down in the 7th inning with strike outs to close the game.  Thanks Jared, to help us rise to the top, hold our heads high and be happy to live in Streetsboro and not Aurora. Made me proud!

20110706_branminortournyI want to take a little space to tell Brandon what an awesome job he did this year on his baseball team.  He was one of our most valuable assets playing hard in the catcher position primarily, but also giving us good help at pitcher and short stop.  He finished with a .710 batting average with 3 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and hitting for the cycle twice.

We finished the regular season with a 10-2-1 record.

We breezed into the final tournament game under the lights at night and the kids pulled out an exciting win to take first place. It was great to see how excited they all were.

It makes all the hours put into coaching worth it being able to stand there with the kids, knowing we helped get them there and were able to help them be their best.

This makes for his second baseball championship. Thanks for a great season Brandon.

20110531_memorial_jackiAnother successful camping trip to the Salberg Camp in Leeper, Pennsylvania to kick off the camping season.

Thanks again as always to Mark and Joy for letting us camp there, and bring a couple outsiders with us.... the Blasiole's and Novotny's. With 10 kids, we were a handful.

Starting with a pretty sloppy setup due to the wet spring, it actually turned out to be a great weekend with just enough sun... for me to get burnt.

Below is a few bullets to highlight the weekend, followed up with a big photo gallery with lots of pics.

And the highlights....

  • If the shamrock's a rockin, don't go knockin.
  • I think the power is out.
  • There's a couple flies in the outhouse.
  • Why is Brandon on the roof of their RV?
  • Daddy, Nate's cheating at Nukem.
  • Did you say Brandon is leading the kids on a hike.
  • Can we go on a quad ride.
  • No smartphones allowed.
  • 70 campers at the Salberg Camp
  • 60 degree river water

Click here for a photo gallery of the weekend.

2010_football_familyWe had a great football season this year (coaching & playing & cheering) with Nate playing for the Junior Streetsboro Rockets Varsity Blue team, and Aly cheerleading for him.  Nate  played starting tight-end all year and had a great time.

We finished the season with a 5-3 record which was a nice difference from last year when we couldn't pull out a win all season!

Can't help but think this will be Nate's last time in a football uniform?!

Good job bud!

2010_aly_woodside_bassWhat a fantastic weekend! We camped at Woodside Lake Park in Streetsboro from Friday to Monday with friends and had a blast.

We were able to get 3 big lots and build a big u-shape out of Blasiole's, Squier's and our campers to give us a huge opening for a triple-ring bonfire, cornhole and to facilitate parking for the bmx brigade. By Saturday night our visitor count was over 30 to the camp-compound.

Lots of thanks to Rick Squier for handling most of the cooking for the weekend. French dips, paninis and sloppy joes were awesome, not to mention the 2 breakfasts to feed 3 families.

Jean surprised me by inviting an old Navy buddy who's in town for a few weeks on business. Sam spent a couple evenings with us catching up and hopefully a few more before he leaves town.

All the kids did a little fishing this weekend, and as you can see above, somehow Aly has become the fish charmer. With dozens and dozens of little blue-gill and sunfish being caught, she happened to get ahold of the 16 inch, 2.5 pound large-mouth bass. She did the casting, reeling and landing, I just took a little weight off the rod and made sure he didn't pull her in! Right after this picture was taken, she had to ride her bike back to camp to show mommy...... and seventeen other people along the way.

Just a great weekend.

What a great vacation.  We decided to take a week and a half vacation this year and what a difference that makes, especially with alot of travel time. We drove straight through to Orlando and it took about 15-1/2 hours.

Staying at my sister Teresa's house in Orlando half the time, and at a beachfront condo in Ponce Inlet the other half the time, gave us the best of both worlds.

We spend a day at Sea World for the kids to meet Shamu for the first time. A 14 hour day at that park gave us a very full day.

Four days straight of the beach, was plenty of sand and sun. Setting record-high temperatures in early June was not what we expected. 99 degrees!

Hunting crabs, climbing the lighthouse and building several sand castles was just a few of the highlights at Ponce Inlet.

With lots of leisure time throughout the week and a half, we finished up at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday. Everyone should go there at some point in their life. Great place to visit! We left STRAIGHT from KSC to drive home, wow, talk about a full day.  The 16 hour drive home right after a full day at Kennedy proved difficult, however we all made it home safe and sound! Thanks God.

Here is a big photo gallery of our vacation.

20100605_jeanaly_trophiesThis week at the yearly McCardles Dance Studio review, aly and Jean achieved some major milestones.

Aly received her 5 year trophy for five great years of dance, and Jean received her 20 year trophy for the same. So just a special kudos to both of them in sticking with what they love.

UPDATE: Jean and Aly had this picture of them and Colleen McCardle(studio owner) in the Cuyahoga Falls Press, helping to advertise the dance studio.

jacki_memorial2010Another great Memorial Day weekend at the Salberg Camp.  Thanks to Mark and Joy once again for allowing everyone into their camp.

Due to Nate and I being at Camp Christopher, Jean packed the whole camper and all our stuff by herself.  What a good woman! Didn't forget anything critical. That gave us a late start on the weekend since Nate, Maria and I didn't get home from that until 5:00.

We finally departed about 6:00 with the Blasiole Clan right behind us. Their first visit to the Salberg Camp and first time all 7 of them camping. :) After 15 minutes on the turnpike, our camper had a blowout! Dad brought some tire-changing supplies to rescue us. It's a little scary changing a flat tire 6 feet from Semi's rumbling 70MPH past you. I'd rather be on the flight-deck at night then do that again. That led to yet another night setup at camp. Beginning to be pros at that.

Once at camp, the relaxation and vacation began. Went to the Clarion River to swim and play twice, hiked up to the fire tower and Seneca Point in Cooks Forest and played lots of volleyball and nukem at Camp.  Thanks to Dustin for giving all the kids an archery lesson. All in all a great weekend with no casualties or losing little Nate.

Here's a photo gallery of the weekend.

camp_chris_nateThe two 5th grade classes at Nate's school... Mrs. Idone & Mrs. Watt both went to Camp Christopher for a 2-day camp.  Me along with a few other dads were able to go along as chaparones to help keep the hellions in order.

What a great place! There were non-stop activities that kept the kids busy learning exploring and just having fun.

Highlights included a kickball game between the 2-classes, a great hike, a pond exploration looking for critters, a cemetary scavenger hunt, a night hike and lots of teamwork challenges.  It's a great place that every kid should get to go to.

I found myself knee deep in the pond with all the kids catching a couple turtles..... errr helping Nate catch a couple turtles, and scooping lots of crap for the other kids to sift into buckets.  Couldn't keep me out of there.

The 2-day adventure was topped off when the 2 classes came together to lift me over a 12-foot wall.  I would have guessed I'd be the only parent to get heaved over the wall.

Here's a photo gallery of the 2-day excursion! Can't wait for Brandon to go in two years!

Aly's first communion this weekend went great.  She was as excited as ever.  She was able to sing the refrain during the first communion celebration. Be sure to check out the video below. My favorite part is her sitting down at the end and smiling ear to ear.

So I was at work today and at about 4:00, a call came in and caller ID said Steven Giunto.  When I answered the phone I heard Nathan say "Hi Daddy". He asked me if today was Mommy's birthday, and I said "No, it's tomorrow."

He then told me that he thinks "Mommy want's to go out to dinner for her birthday". I asked if she told him to say that, and he said, "No", and she doesn't know he's calling me so "Don't tell her he called".

I then thanked him for "Looking out for Daddy".... Thanks Nate!

Brandon has been doing great at his gymnastics.  He really is a natural at everything he does. After just 2 sessions (14 weeks). He was at a Level 3 after completing his first session.  His instructor has taken a real interest in him and given him lots of attention and free training time.

Here is a video of Brandon nailing his first Aerial without landing his hands.  He's very close to hitting it on just the floor too.

With such a crappy summer, and winter seeming to hit quick this year, when I heard it was supposed to reach 68 degrees for the first week in November, I was glad to hear I would get in my fall hike, which I was sure we missed.

Aly on HikeWe decided to go across the street again since the kids are all bigger. I also allowed Aly to go with us as long as there was no whining and complaining about legs being tired. :) I knew we'd be very far from home so wasn't sure if she'd make it. She did extremely well for her little legs.  By the very end of the hike she said "I'm not complaining Daddy, but my legs are starting to shut down". Very funny. I took all three of our kids as well as some of my nieces and nephews; Jacob, Abby, Zack and Dylan.

We trekked up and down lots of dirt hills, through a few marshes, through many pricker patches and on lots of trails. We opted not to go to the traditional sand-pits this time but went to a lake quite a bit further away. We discovered a perfect spot to set up a tent and camp some weekend and named it Diablos Point due to the trident shaped tree right in the middle of it. We also stopped by the quarry to throw some rocks into the water below.  A favorite for everyone.

I tucked my GPS unit in my camelback which tracked every step we took. When we got back I plugged it into my computer and it showed our track right in google-earth, what a great technology. We hiked on and off trails for almost 3 hours and covered about 4 miles of ground.

Check out my Fall Hike Photo Gallery page for a couple dozen photos of the hike.

Nate Browns GameI scored 4 free tickets to the Browns vs Bengals game today. Thanks to Steve Armbrecht for that gift. It was truly appreciated.

I was able to take Nathan to his first Browns game. We invited good friends Ed and Jared Tuma, to go with us.  It was Jared's first Browns game as well.

The game was an excellent game to go to, as it was close the whole game up to the last minute of regular play.  A tie at 20 sent the game into sudden death overtime.  With many, many, many, many changes to score, the Browns fell short and lost to a field goal with only seconds left in overtime.

A real disappointing loss since we were really ready for a Browns win.

We spent the first half of the game in our regular seats, and then snuck down to the lower bowl 50-yard line for the 2nd half.  Great seats all around and had an awesome time.

Nates First Browns GameThe fun wasn't over with the game.  While idling in traffic down the center lane of East 9th street in downtown Cleveland, we smelled some burning rubber and plastic.  We just said "Someone's car isn't smelling so great".  At that same moment, a walker on the sidewalk told us our tail light was on fire! Yes. I glanced in the side-view mirror and saw smoke and small flames coming from the tail-light.  Ed and I quickly jumped out of the car, collected a small water bottle and Nate's Frutopia and threw it on the tail-light for a quick sizzle.  Luckily I had a screwdriver in the back of the van so we quickly removed the whole plastic assembly and dumped another bottle of water on the smoldering mess.  Thanks to the guy on the sidewalk for that. Seconds later a police-man came up to us (van in the middle of east 9th) and he told us to move on...... I asked him if I could put the fire out first.  He kind of smiled and said OK. We ended up just ripping the tail-light enclosure clean off the van since it was molded to the wire. Threw it in the back of the van and went on our way without any other mishaps.

All in all, even though the Browns loss 20-23, it was a pretty fun day.

Thanks again Steve Armbrecht.

The Frog Prince is yet another home movie.  We kind of winged it in a period of less than an hour, so it's not one of our best.

Dylan and Nick Keba had a sleep over so we decided to have some fun with our video camera and my new imac. After about 3-1/2 minutes of preparation, 15 minutes of filming and 3 hours of editing, we came up with our finished product.

The kids loved being stars. We all viewed it at Mom and Dad's on the big screen on Thanksgiving and it was a big hit.


After being bugged to death by the kids to make another movie, I awoke one Saturday morning with a great idea. After a few sketches and less than an hour planning, we have our next feature film. "The Boy Who Could Fly". Brought to you by the same creators of "Star Kids".


The kids and I made another home movie.  We sat down for several hours with very brief direction and made a semi-successful movie.

This movie was modeled after a talkshow setting with Nate being the host. Nate's adlibbing needed some help. It includes interviews by Brandon Giunto and Dylan Keba.  The talkshow portions aren't all that exciting, however don't miss the 3 commercial spots featuring Nick Keba and a guest appearance by Jared Tuma who happened to be over.

Brandon's coach pitch team who was sponsored by Murphy's Photography this year, (www.murphys-photo.com) had an incredible season with a record of  12-1-1. The one loss they had was due to a forfeit because of so many kids on vacation.

They won all 3 games in the single-elimination tournament to win first place in it.

His primary positions were pitcher and second base and he did great in both of them.

As for as his brother and sister's team. Nathan's (my) team had a great regular season at 12-4 but couldn't finish strong in the tournaments and placed 3rd.

Aly's pig-tail team was..... well.... terrible winning only one game all year.




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