We’re on a Board!

Not to be confused with We’re on a Boat!, this post instead involves Mr. Bunches’ and my adventure into the wild and rocky world of paddleboarding!

And yes, this is another completely untimely post in that this adventure took place weeks ago when we attended M&C’s wedding in New Smyrna Beach, FL.  So yes, I’m lazy.  Guilty.  But enough of all that–let’s get on to some pics . . .

First off, we each got a quick lesson which involved this: start on your knees, paddle forward, stand up, continue paddling.  Complicated stuff, huh?  Oh yeah–and don’t fall in.  Junior was one of the first to hop on, and being the good listener that she is–she was all knees to start:

Mr. Bunches followed suit . . .

. . . as did the groom himself.

Now, I figured it would take each of them a while before they got the nerve to stand up.  Let’s just say–I figured wrong.  Each of them was on their feet after paddling less than two strokes.  And someone pretty much became an expert in about two minutes . . .

Mr. Bunches might possibly have the most coordinated (and adventure-seeking) family ever.  They were paddling those boards like they’d been doing it for years!

Of course, not to be outdone by Mr. Bunches and his siblings, the bride-to-be was the true expert.

Yep, she even led everyone in some paddleboard yoga.  Seriously.  I’m not joking.  Yoga.  On a paddleboard.  On the water.

Where was I during all this?  Well, I got out there for a few minutes.  I kneeled.  I paddled.  I stood.  I paddled some more.  And then I turned around and headed back in.  Let’s just say balance has never been my strong suit, so I wasn’t up for the yoga lesson this time.  But, happily, I did not fall in, so I considered my outing a success.  Next time I’ll have to make sure someone snaps a picture while I’m out there so that I have actual proof . . . oh well.  At least I have one shot to show I was on the dock . . .

All in all, we had a great time–whether watching from the dock . . .

. . . or actually getting out there and boarding.  So thanks Mike and Carrie!  As always, you two are the King and Queen of all things adventure!

The setting sun also created a good time for some family pics and poses, so here’s just a few of those to close out this much-belated post:

And finally, what day would be complete without a little Zoolander . . .

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Dome Time

First up–sorry for the lack of posts.  I’d like to say it’s because we’ve been busy around the Bunches’ household, but that would be sort of dishonest.  The more accurate truth is that I’ve been a little lazy lately.  Oops.  But we’re getting back on track, and first up I have to share our most recent trip.  Where to?  Guess.

Anyone?  Okay, I’ll give you another hint . . .

Got it figured out yet?  No?  Okay, last hint, but if you don’t get it this time, then you need to try stepping out of your cave once in a while.

That’s right folks!  Mr. B and I headed to Syracuse University last weekend.  Why you ask?  To see this guy of course!

Yep, Mr. B’s cousin was playing in the Carrier Dome.  Against Syracuse.  The #5 ranked team in the nation.  Basically, it was one of the biggest moments in his life.  And, of course, that meant that we had to be there to share in it.  In a word: AWESOME.

You see, Ryan was a walk-on at Fordham University.  He tried out his freshman year, made the team, and has been enjoying every second of it since.  And now, as a senior, he was co-captain of the team, and playing in the Carrier Dome–arguably one of the most impressive college basketball stages of all time.  Dream.  Come.  True.

With the stands filling up fast . . .

. . . we watched Ryan and his teammates warm up.

I’m not sure that Uncle C could have been any prouder . . .

We even managed to snag him away for some photo ops.

Of course, the Rams weren’t the only ones out there warming up.  Nope, Uncle C managed to grab this guy for a quick chat . . .

Who’s that you ask?  Look familiar?

Yeah, it’s only Scoop Jardine.  One of the best college players in the nation.  No big deal.

The starters for each team were announced, and Ryan stood jumped to greet each of them . . .

Some final fans straggled in . . .

And the game was underway!

The Rams even led at one point . . .

Unfortunately, that was short-lived as Syracuse held the lead for the remainder of the game.  But Ryan still made an impact . . .

Yep–coach put him in for some quality time with the team’s starters.

He played really well, especially against Syracuse’s starters and in front of such a crowd.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering who scored the final two points of the game . . . well, yeah, that was Ryan!!!

Nothing but net!

So even despite the final score, this game was a win.

What a moment.  What a memory.  And we’re so glad that we were among the large family contingent that was there to be a part of it.

Congratulations Ryan!!!  We love you!

The $500 Pumpkin

I know this post isn’t exactly timely (considering Halloween was a week ago), but oh well.  These days, Mr. Bunches and I are fully operating under the better late than never approach (as evidenced by the completion of our patio last week).  So here’s just a little late Halloween shout-out.

The day before Halloween it was gorgeous here in WNY (we’ve actually had a string of fantastic days here, and since we’ve heard some rough things about the winters in WNY, we’ve been trying to get outside and enjoy every nice day possible).  And so we decided to head over to the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence.

And, like just about everything in WNY, this wasn’t just any ol’ pumpkin farm.  It was also a festival (I’ve never lived in an area that loved its festivals more than Western New York–I swear there’s at least one every weekend).  But, they still had pumpkins (although a bit picked over since Halloween was only one day away at this point) . . .

Yeah–that one was big.  But not quite as big as this one:

And to think–for only $500+ we could’ve taken it home!  (Their pumpkins cost $0.40/lb, and this sucker was well over 1,000 pounds.)  But besides all the pumpkins and gourds . . .

There were also lots of fun cut-outs for picture-posing perfection (try saying that 3 times fast).

And what pumpkin party would be complete without some pumpkin cannons, right?

The big one was massive.  And it LAUNCHED those pumpkins.  I tried to capture it in these pictures, and if you look closely, you can see the pumpkin flying through the air (oh, and keep in mind that these weren’t little pumpkins–nope, the pumpkins in the big cannon were bigger than my head).

Impressive, isn’t it?  Of course, if you wanted the more immediate gratification of actually watching the cannoned pumpkin hit something and explode, then the smaller cannon was just right.

Once we had our fill of watching pumpkins get shot at completely unnatural speeds, it was time to venture over to the festival.  Cuz you know how my Mr. B loves his festival games (in case you forgot, check out here and here).  And guess which game they had?!

Our favorite!!!!  We love this game.

Any five in a row wins, but unfortunately this time we came away empty-handed.  But it provided our festival-game fix, so all was well.  And we won last time, so it’s probably fair that we let the kiddos take home the prizes this time.

Last, but certainly not least, were the animals.  You can’t have a proper WNY festival without farm animals.

I didn’t take any pictures of the goats, but believe me, there were goats.  Sigh.  Sometimes I still think about the one that got away . . .

Oh well.  At least there was this super sweet calf to hang out with.

So there you have it.  The Great Pumpkin Farm of Clarence.  Of course, we didn’t do the hay ride or the corn maze or the rides or the pumpkin pyramid, but we have to leave something for next year, right?

Wishing you a much-belated Happy Halloween from the Bunches’ household. :)

Two Steps Forward

That’s right folks–here at the Bunches’ household, we’re taking two steps forward.

Okay, so maybe not exactly those two steps.  But who doesn’t like a little throwback Paula every now and then?

Alright, let’s get real–we’re talking these two steps:

Can you believe it?!?!  For those of you that don’t remember, I wrote whined about our lack of stairs in my not-so-recent post about the completion of our patio.  Back in August.  Over TWO months ago.  Yeah–the project that Steve (our contractor) said would take two weeks has now officially taken THREE months.  Just to remind you, here’s where we started (described in more detail here):

Then, Steve made decent progress and we ended up here after a little over two weeks:

After multiple phone calls, texts, and pleadings, Steve finally showed up a month later and basically spent a whole day playing with bricks.  No seriously, he just brought some bricks, moved them around, stacked ‘em up, and sort of had himself a game of Lincoln logs bricks.

See what I mean?  And yeah–that happened in late September (when our sod and fence went in).  So finally over a month later, after calling in the big man Moose with some stern contractor-speak, Steve showed up last week and spent 5 days finishing the job he started.  So now to the afters (I just had to get some of my frustration out there–I mean, c’mon, 3 months?  I deserve some venting, but I’m trying to get to a better place and move on.  Trying.  Clearly not succeeding.):

The stairs are made of pressure-treated pine and are actually movable (so we can take them inside during the brutal Buffalo winters (although, truth be told, looks like Boston’s having a tougher winter so far than we are.  Not that I’m gloating or anything).

Steve also managed to finally finish all the brick work, including patching up the corner of the house . . .

And replacing all the jagged bricks along the back wall . . .

Is it perfect?  Not quite.  Is the grout a totally different color?  You betcha.  Three months after the project began, do we care?  Absolutely not.

We’re just glad it’s D-O-N-E.  Done, done, done.  He also laid all the bricks underneath the sliders and added a curved wooden threshold.

Overall, we’re just happy to have it finished and to be able to take two steps forward!  You knew it was coming.  Are you singing the song in your head yet?  You’re welcome.

One more time for good measure.  From the beginning . . .

To the end . . .

If you’re really paying attention, you’ll notice that we also took down the shutters surrounding the sliding door.  I wasn’t really feeling them.

So there you have it–finished patio.  Er, well, we still need to do a good power-washing, get a grill, some furniture, and maybe some accessories, but all that can be done next spring.  For now, we’re just happy to be done with Steve the contractor.  And don’t worry–we’ve learned some lessons, so at least we’re trying to take something positive out of it.  What was the biggest lesson?  Don’t pay ‘em ’til they’re done.  I know, I know–that one’s a no-brainer, but sometimes we get sucked into the whole being nice thing (okay, so mostly Mr. B gets sucked into that–he can’t help it, he’s just such a nice guy ya’ know).  So consider us educated.

Oh, and just to throw in one more little change.  Remember that scary-looking bird feeder (or death trap–we weren’t exactly sure which) that was on our huge tree in the backyard?  You can just see it in the far right of this picture:

Totally scary right?  Well, it’s gone!  Just one quick yank and it came right off.  Ta da!

Okay, so anyone else feel our contractor pain?  Please tell me we’re not alone out here.  Did you handle it yourselves?  Or did you, too, have to ask your father-in-law to step in and save the day?  Thanks Moose!

Paula and MC Cat image from here.

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