Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day Water Fun

The Memorial Day agenda consisted of great food, family, water, bubbles and (unfortunately) a Jon & Kate Plus 8 marathon. Lindsay loves the show and knows everything about it. My mother-in-law was definitely roped in by the season premier. After watching it I think that I know someone like Kate...interesting. Bob and I took the kids to Nana and Pap's for a cookout with Uncle Sean and Lindsay, too.

At the last minute, like when we were pulling out of the driveway, Bob said to me, "Should we take the sprinkler?" So, I complied and got excited. I love watching the boys experience new things. (Right before the boys' birthday we purchased a baby type pool for Matthew and a Slip 'n Slide for Andrew.) We ran around like maniacs rounding up water toys, sunscreen and swim gear. Finally, we were headed to McCandless for a day of quasi-relaxation. :)

Matthew is truly a water baby, I swear he's going to move to Hawaii and become a surfer. He gets very physical when we try to take him out of the tub, each and every day. We were SO excited to see him in his little pool. Andrew is my King of Analysis. He surmises each situation before he partakes. He absolutely loved the slide. He kept Uncle Sean busy for quite a while. Both the pool and the slide were big hits. We completely enjoyed our day. I think the boys tired all of us out!

Checking Out the Dinosaurs

Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest in the Kocan house. I had just returned from Casey's graduation, Bob had a fun-filled few days with the boys and we all needed some R & R. However, when mid-morning came, we were all a little stir crazy. Andrew's allergies have been really bad and his poor little eyes were swollen. Originally, we were going to go the zoo but we opted for the Carnegie Museum instead. Who doesn't need a little T-Rex?


Here are some photos of the boys to chronicle their birthdays!


When Matthew was born I knew that it was going to be tricky to organize and pull off a HUGE birthday party for both Andrew and Matthew. When Andrew was about seven months old I began planning his first birthday party. We had it at Bado's in Mt. Lebanon so that I could totally enjoy the whole experience. When I tried to find a place to have the boys' birthday party I had a very difficult time. Many places were too small for the number of people we were inviting. We looked at Jumper's Junction and some other places (I refuse to have anything at Chuck E. Cheese.) but struck out. I didn't want to go to the Children's Museum or the zoo quite yet. I figured that could be a venue down the road. So, the logical thought was to have the party at the house.

THEME? What in the heck was I going to do about the theme. I tried to find a color scheme that would match between Happy 1st Birthday and SpongeBob, etc. I thought to myself so many times, 'Why am I so Type A? This should be easy.' I scoured the net trying to find solutions to the monumental problem of theme for the party. I finally decided that it would be so much fun to have a CARNIVAL! It's fairly easy to find different types of carnival fare. I bought many things from Oriental Trading and Paper Mart. Pap Kocan was able to get us a pretzel, hot dog and nachos machine for us to use. Cousin Adam's employer provided us with a sno-cone machine and large tent for minimal cost. I enlisted and paid former students to run the games and to take photographs. One of my former students even washed my dishes! Rainbow the Clown was amazing. She truly kept all of the kiddos entertained for the better part of an hour. Two of the little boys were afraid of the clown but we adjusted. Andrew was very cautious when dealing with Rainbow so Corbin "volunteered" to be the guinea pig on several occasions. Bob and I were even part of her act.

The kiddos played a series of games and also played in the rain for a little while. We did encounter a few downpours but somehow survived. The proverbial "Happy Birthday" was sung to both boys. Matthew dug into his cake after the crowd sang to Andrew. He didn't really know what to do with it. He preferred to play rather than eat but we enjoyed watching him! Andrew feverishly opened his gifts of Bakugans, Transformers, TMNT, etc. Matthew truly had no idea what was happening. He just watched all of his friends and family clapping. Regardless, both of the boys received amazing gifts. We are so thankful and blessed.

Attendees were: Mom, Dad, Andrew, Matthew, Nana, Pap, Uncle Sean, Lindsay, Granny B, GrandJay, Uncle David, Aunt Missy, Adam, Rachel, Great Grandma Evelyn, Uncle Hank, Hank, Manny, Nicole, Uncle Steve, Aunt Jere, Stevie, Kevin, Christy, Madeline, Rachel, Sarah, Melissa, Luke, Lily, Mark, Cyndi, Anthony, Christina, Andrew, Kim, Tyler, Kelly, Jackson, Kaylin, Corbin, Annelyse, Julia, Wes, Danielle, Adrianna, Jessie and Brian.

We started the party at 1:00 p.m. thinking that the entire day would be over around 6:00 p.m. at the latest. Boy were we wrong.
We had guests until 1:00 a.m.!!! Talk about a party!!! So much fun for our babies!!! HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY ANDREW! HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY MATTHEW! WE LOVE YOU.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Casey's graduation

My little sister, Casey, graduated from the University of New Hampshire on Saturday, May 23, 2009. I hoped on a plane to Boston on Friday and the entire family came to pick me up along with Casey's boyfriend, Alex. We shuttled off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire which is a phenomenally quaint little area. I have been to Maine, Connecticut, Massachussets, Rhode Island, etc. However, I had never been to New Hampshire besides passing through as we were headed to Maine. We ate a fantastic seafood dinner at the Oar House in Portsmouth and prepared for Casey's final night as a college student. We were prepared for loads of traffic and many people as we needed to get to Durham, the home of the Wildcats, and wish my gorgeous sister congratulations. Luckily, the train station was next to the graduation site so that I could hop on a train to Boston and catch my flight out at Logan Airport.

The ceremony: in a word-INSPIRING. A few days before the event I checked out the commencement website that UNH prepared for visitors and graduates. When I read that Gary Hirschberg was going to be the keynote speaker I was so excited. Flashback: When I got into the van when my family picked me up from the airport I said to Casey, "Casey, I am so excited about your graduation speaker." Casey replied, "I knew it. As soon as I found out who it was I thought 'Tiffany will be so excited.'"My reply was, "I can't wait!" And so, if you don't know who Gary Hirschberg is here is the skinny: he's the president, founder and CE-Yo of Stoneyfield Organics. Also, if you didn't know that UNH is an extremely green campus and university, you do now. UNH offered the first totally green commencement ceremonies-EVER. So, I was and am very excited to have been a part of Casey's special day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Mother's Day 2009 was one of the most prolific days of my life. Several months ago, I decided that I really wanted to captain a team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Mother's Day in Schenley Park. My grandmother, Mary Deiter, died after having a brain aneurysm in January of 1994. However, during her hospital stay they diagnosed her with breast cancer. The doctors told us that she had been battling it for some time. For many years I wanted to contribute to this cause. I wanted to participate several years ago but had Andrew the day before Mother's Day 2005 and last year I had Matthew five days before Mother's Day so I could not engage either. I joined PWAM in August of 2007 and decided that I wanted to organize a team for the race. The cause is truly near and dear to my heart; one that affects all of us in some way.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 2009 inspired me to put my heart into breast cancer awareness, fundraising and service. Bob, Andrew, Matthew, Dad Kocan, Mom Kocan and I walked. The boys were amazingly wonderful and well behaved. They also enjoyed being outside in the wonderful weather; Schenley Park is gorgeous. The atmosphere was electric. The camaraderie was intense and fun-filled. We were joined by Theresa, Chris, Abby and Ollie from Parents With A Mission. It was so great to meet them and enjoy the environment. I saw several people that I know. They seemed to be having a fantastic time, too. All in all, it was a day that helped to define me. That was a meaningful and priceless epiphany for me. The boys bought me a gorgeous Vera Bradley flower arrangement and a spa package. The day was the ultimate Mother's I won't forget soon.

We also visited Great-Grandma Evelyn on Saturday. We hadn't seen her for a while and really only have the opportunity when there is a major event in the family. We joined Mom Kocan in the morning at Grandma Cap's house. Andrew and Matthew enjoyed seeing her, too. I will have the chance to see Granny B this coming week/end. She considers Mother's Day a personal day (which isn't a bad idea as most men go golfing on Father's Day) so we decided that we would see her another day. Again, May is so busy for us!!!


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