Category Archives: Our Extended Family

This Christmas Means to Me…


Something had been eating at me as we lived out of boxes and suitcases and from house to house in the 6 weeks between the sale of our home and purchase of our new one.

I really wanted to get Christmas started, but I didn’t know why.

You’d think that it would be next year, with getting to watch on wonder as four ‘lil Burghers gather by the tree and squeal in delight.  But that wasn’t it. keep reading

Got it from My Momma

There are so many things that I am glad to say I “Got it from my Momma” to. One of those things is writing. And sadly, today, I was reminded of that oh so much.

As I tried to work, I kept refreshing the page, waiting to see what I know my mom had been so lovingly working on with her siblings…the listing of the things my amazing Grandma did in her life. When the page finally refreshed and my Grandma’s, my babies’ “Grammie the Great” or “Great Great”, life story was in front of my eyes, all I could do was cry. I cried tears I didn’t think would come. I cried tears that I’ve had several years to cry, tears that have come on rides home after other times we thought “this was it”. Tears that were filled with the love that this woman showed all of us as a family. Tears because I knew the words were written with so much love and thought behind them – words written by my mom. keep reading

Waves of Life

Taking a ‘lil break today to find some peace in the ups and downs of life. Somedays, we ride the high tide, others the low. There are always going to be waves in this life. It’s how we handle them that matters in the end.

Thank you for those who had my mom (and dad) in your thoughts today. Our family is grateful for the prayers, love, and support. keep reading

Loving Our Scars

The other day, my ‘lil cousin Dana posted something on Facebook that is something that absolutely all of us (women and men) should take to heart:

You know when I think about it scars, blemishes, and stretch marks are such beautiful things. We are born blank. Like a canvas. Nothing to show what we have done. But as the years go on we get bumped here, slam in to that. The freckles on our faces and arms show we saw the beautiful light of day at a time or another. The stretch marks show how we have grown. We remember most of the reasons we have all of these markings. So they are beautiful little ways to tell our story. The story of us. How we painted our canvas. How we lived. It shows that we actually did something with our selves. It shows the beautiful and not so pretty parts of everything, how it is all a part of you. You are just making some beautiful memories and showing your story. keep reading

Five Favorite Moments: Vacationing While Growing Up

The other night, my family got to talking about family memories, specifically vacations on a frugal budget. While the stories were mostly memories about how my Grandma made vacations (and life) special on essentially one income to raise seven kids, I have to say that my Mom and Dad made some amazing memory magic of their own, too. You see, my dad is a pastor. Not sure if you know, but that’s not up there with the income of a doctor or lawyer…or most other folks. We had some amazing times, though, and I figured I’d share five of my favorite moments vacationing while growing up. keep reading

Dr. King’s Speech: In Dad’s Eye’s

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed a nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech. As you know, our family is living that dream. Our dad (Pop Pop) was there for the March on Washington–he and his Dad rode a bus from Harlem to D.C. We asked him some questions about the day, and are so glad to be able to hear his recollection of this moment in our history. He was 24 years old at the time.  keep reading

Idlewild Park

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Oh a whim, we decided to join my aunts, uncle, grandma, and cousins for a trip to Idlewild Park. This has to be one of the best parks in the area for ‘lil ones, so there really wasn’t much thinking about if it was the right decision. We were right, for the record.

You already know that we trusted Arianna and cousin A to lead us with the map, but not before we enjoyed a glorious picnic lunch. The park has great picnic shelters that you can rent or claim if they haven’t been rented. We shared a shelter with some random families during the day, and felt comfortable leaving our bags there while we went for a swim. (Note, this is the park where Greg lost his wallet a few years ago. We returned back over an hour after it was lost and it was turned in with nothing missing. It’s that kind of great.)

Yes, we got to go for a swim at the amusement park. No pictures here, but we enjoyed trips down water slides (I finally got over my fear), the wave pool, and Lazy River. It was refreshing to enjoy fun in the water as a family.

In the late afternoon, we headed to Story Book Forest to enjoy a walk around the nursery story book world.



After this part of the park closed, we headed to Jumpin’ Jungle to ride slides, play in a ball pit, and enjoy time climbing and playing. The bigger kids went with their dads on the Log Flume…poor ‘lil Man was not happy to learn he was 1/2 inch too short to ride with them all, but he enjoyed 45 minutes with Mama while we waited.

Later, we headed on the train to Racoon Lagoon. (Park go-er tip, use the train to get from Hootin’ Holler to the kid area!) The ‘lil kids loved that their slightly bigger cousins could ride with them. They enjoyed every last minute of it, but avoided the camera like the plague.


Once we had our fill on ‘lil kid rides, we enjoyed the Merry Go Round, Tilt A Whirl, Whip, Paratrooper, and Balloons. Lots and lots of spinning.  No veritgo issues. Swear.

Not even the moment when I looked at Arianna, grabbed her arm and told her it was okay, I had her. Her response? I’ve got you too, Mommy. And always our prince, Evan chimed in that he’d make it all okay.

Not even the moment when cousin E got on the Tilt A Whirl with us and knocked the balance off to the point all we did was spin around. 

We survived the park, and ended up being one of the last people out of the park…even after many employees had left for the day. Those are the things loving memories are made of.

Bonus Points on our awesome day? This was Evan’s first trip to Idlewild Park and he back-navigated us home in the dark. “Turn right up here, Daddy!” and “Just ahead, get on the Pittsburgh Turnpike!” He refused to sleep until we got off the turnpike and on 28, just one exit from our house. What a kid, he takes after his Mama.