Friday, August 24, 2012

August in Attica

Another year, another enjoyable Barnes' family reunion in Western New York.   The weather was exceptionally cool(er) this year, but none of us were complaining!   It was a real treat to hang out in jeans and sweatshirts during the middle of the summer.   Lucy was in heaven, with her family... and all that country life has to offer.   

Friday morning we ventured out on a safari....No, seriously, we did.  For any that are ever in the region, you must take a trip to Hidden Valley Park, in Varysburg.  It was unlike anything I have ever experienced.   A dairy farmer in the area (as if milking 2000 cows a day wasn't enough) created a park full of exotic animals (inspired after the one in Columbus, OH) and the adventure is surreal.  The animals come right up to you to feed!  And the beautiful rolling hills of Western New York only add to the fantastic experience.

Here we are, getting ready to head out...Lucy was so excited!

Let the adventure begin.  Here are the elk....

and bison...

and here they are....coming right up to the trolley to feed!  That is Lucy's little head in the front of the picture!  At first, it was all a bit intimidating...but we got more comfortable as the tour went on.

Yes... this is what it looks like.   The guy in the middle was trying to get involved, to no avail.

Our guide told us that from tip to tip, this Texas longhorn's horns were 6 feet long.  He came right up to us! We all backed away for fear of getting snagged by one of those things when he would turn his head!  

Asian water buffalo...stinky, but remarkable.

This was towards the end of the tour;  you can see how comfortable Lucy got with the animals.   I was surprised at how soft/fuzzy the antlers were!

After the driving tour, they have an entire separate area where you can walk among the "safer" animals.   Like being in a zoo, without all the cages.  

Now on to the family reunion....  This old fire truck showed up at the park on Saturday.  

Unbeknownst to any of us, some of the "older" relatives decided it was time to "pass the torch" on to some of the "younger" ones.  Since Lucy happened to be the youngest one in attendance, she received the honors. You would have thought Lucy was just crowned queen of the universe.   She was beaming with such pride, yet understood nothing about what was going on, other than that she was getting a boa, tiara, wand and torch!  It was hilarious!  

Fun on the teeter-totters--a timeless outlet of entertainment for all ages!

Lucy had a blast with all her cousins...

Fun on the swings with MaMaw... Lucy would stay on them forever if you let her.

What is wrong with this picture?  (He didn't even know/remember it was on his head!)

Lucy's BFF...

Onto Sunday, where the festivities continued....

This is how the golf cart trip began....

And this is how it ended... what are those crazy cousins letting Lucy do?

Cousins Bernie and Kathleen, with Aunt Mary Anne...

Out again, this time with Papa letting her drive... 

Thanks to all for a great weekend in Attica!   Always such a relaxing and fun time.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Busy Summer

"Friends are the family we choose for ourselves."
 Edna Buchanan

It was with great joy that we spent a recent weekend in Indy, celebrating the wedding of our good childhood friend Angie, to her new hubby, Brett.  Our families have been friends for 35+ years, growing up across the street from one another.  We have shared with one another before that we can only hope that one day our children will have the kind of lasting friendships that we have enjoyed over all these years.   To see Angie so happy, and to feel such joy among so many who were sharing in her special day...well, it was a blessing to experience.   Lucy had a blast dancing (for over 2 hours!).  And, Ang, please know how deeply touched we were by your inclusion of my Mom's memory during this special occasion.   And yes, that ladybug that landed on your dress...well, we all know who that was!

Here are some other miscellaneous photos of how we have been spending our summer:

This "kite" landed in our backyard around the 4th...must have been from a firework.

We took it to the local park, and Lucy had a blast!

The one picture I got of Lindsay's visit with us.   We had fun cooling off in the pool during a very hot weekend.
Lucy and I trekked up to Dayton to visit with my college cross country coach and his wife, Penny.

They had a great park, right by their house.  We had a wonderful visit.
Butler County Fair....never mind we found out later in the week that some of the pigs there had swine flu!

It was hilarious to watch Brian squeeze himself into this tiny ride.  The things we do for our kids!
A get together with my college girlfriends, their hubbies and great to see all the kiddos playing together.

I wish I could take credit for these next 3 photos, but they are all Damon...

Don't tell Brian, but I think I need a new camera...don't ya think?

What could be better than a homemade ice cream sandwich, on the trampoline, at dusk?  Life is good!