Life with Granny Blog

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans." — Allen Saunders

Happy Memorial Day….So Long May!

Roger Saluting Veteran Riders

Roger saluting motorcycle riders

While the Memorial Weekend is a fun holiday with family picnics, parades and the 500 Race, we must not forget the true meaning of the holiday.  Today is the day we set aside to remember the military people who died while serving our country. Pictured above is my brother Roger saluting a group of veteran motorcyclists who stopped to visit the Veterans’ Home in West Lafayette on Wednesday.  The group of nearly 100 riders started in California and were heading to Washington, D.C.

Of course Memorial Weekend is also a time to decorate family grave sites.  Each year Mike travels to Jamestown and Burkesville, Kentucky to decorate his parents, grandmother and great aunt’s graves.  I usually go with him but this year I didn’t want to leave Mom alone for the 10 hours it takes to make the 1 day round trip, so a friend of ours rode down with Mike.  They said the trip was bearable since they did make a rest stop at a casino on the way home!

Mom at her parent's graves

My mom paying her respect to Grandpa and Grandma Konechnik

Graves of Grandpa and Grandma Konichnik

Grandpa Frank and Grandma Mary Konechnik

We took Mom to St. Joe’s Cemetery on Sunday to decorate Grandma and Grandpa Konechnik’s graves.  I bought the flowers on Tuesday and every night before she went to sleep she would ask me when would we go to her parents’ grave site.  It was very important to her to go there, even more so then going up to see my dad.  I guess it is because she lives way in the past more and more.  While there we paid our respect to many of our relatives and friends who were also buried there.  I wish I had flowers to put on all their graves.  My husband commented on how little flowers there were at the cemetery compared to the other cemeteries.  I told him that maybe it is because Catholics give for Masses rather than for flowers to decorate graves.

Emma and Max at 500 Parade

Friend Peyton, grandkids Emma and Max and friend Carson enjoying a box lunch at the 500 Parade

Angela, Matt and Taylor enjoying coconut smoothies

Angela, Matthew and Taylor enjoying coconut smoothies at the track on Saturday evening

Matt and Julie before the 500 Race

Matthew and Julie before the race

This was also a big weekend for race lovers.  Kelly’s family attended the 500 Parade on Saturday.  I believe this was their 2nd time to attend.  Max said his favorite thing about the parade was the Children’s Museum float while Emma said her favorite thing was the horses.

Julie and Craig attended the actual race and took Matt with them (Taylor and Angela opted to stay home with Craig’s mom).  Matt had a great time at the race.  Julie said he couldn’t even eat his lunch because he was so excited didn’t want to take his eyes off the track and the cars!

Max as King Tut presenting

Max giving his King Tut presentation to fellow classmates

Emma and missing tooth

Emma showing off the hole in her smile

And of course the school year is winding down — only 4 more days before summer vacation begins!  Max finished his last big project of the year — his King Tut presentation.  And Emma lost one of her teeth at the Maple Grove Star Olympics on Friday.  Actually, I think one of her classmates pulled the loose tooth for her!

Engagement Photo

My mom’s engagement photo

Last but not least, my Mom will celebrate her 87th birthday on Saturday!  Even though she is getting more and more forgetful, if you ask her how old she’ll be she does remember that!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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Welcome Spring….Busy Spring

Anna Zupancic with Margaret Ford

Anna Zupancic with Mom

Spring arrived so it was time for my Mom to visit Cousin Anna’s beauty salon for her spring perm.  Mom really doesn’t like to go out much so it took some convincing that she was long overdue for a cut and perm.  I was so happy that the day I scheduled her appointment turned out to be a beautiful day so Mom could give me no reason to cancel her appointment!   Anna is always so good and patient with Mom.

Tiling 1

Kitchen back-splash

Mike finally finished the kitchen renovations.  The tile work is beautiful and it’s always nice to have a freshly painted room (walls and ceiling).  The tiling took a little longer because this was the first time Mike had done any tiling and he is a perfectionist.  I am so pleased with how it turned out!  The only thing left is to change out the ceiling fan which he is doing today.

Angela and Taylor

Angela and Mermaid Taylor enjoying a swim. Taylor asked for a mermaid outfit for her birthday!

Taylor in her dance costume 1

Taylor in her dance recital costume

Emma at Math Pentathalon

Emma competing in a Math Pentathlon Competition at Southport High School.

Emma's art fair project

Emma showing off her entry in the Center Grove Art Exhibit

Emma's art project

Emma wanted jeveryone to get a close up look at her owl which was accepted in the Center Grove Art Exhibit

Emma with her Uncle Joe and Baby Morgan

Emma looking on as Joe B shows off his new grand-daughter Morgan B.

Great Grandma with Morgan Banich 2

Great Grandma Ford meeting her youngest great-granddaughter Morgan B.

Classroom Chics_Julie

Julie playing with her newly hatched classroom chick.

Classroom Chics_Matthew

Matthew corralling one of his mommy’s classroom chicks.

The grand-kids have all been busy.  School is winding down but between sports and extra academic activities, they are all staying very busy.  Taylor is busy with dance lessons and soccer.  And of course her birthday.  Emma competed in a Math Pentathlon Competition and also had her school art project entered in the Center Grove Art Exhibit.  Matthew just finished up his baseball games but is still busy with his scout group

Boy Scout 3

Boy Scout Matthew

Boy Scout 2

Matt hamming it up!

And last but not least, Max just celebrated his birthday on Mother’s Day, along with his mommy. I think he was the best birthday present Kelly ever received!

Birthday 8

Kelly and Max share their birthday on the same day

And Max is getting ready to participate in his class wax museum.  He’s been busy researching the famous person he chose and finishing up his essay and speech.   Can you guess who he is going to be?

Max as King Tut

For his famous person Max chose to write about and dress up as King Tut for the 4th grade wax museum. Perhaps there will also be a little King Tut trick-or-treating this fall!

And of course you have to kick off the month of May with the 500 Mini Marathon.  This year Dave and Kelly participated in their first mini and both finished in under 2 hours.  They also participated in the 1st Annual SSFC Family Fun Run at our church (SS Francis & Clare) on Saturday and Kelly placed 1st in the Women’s Division.  Way to go!  She must take after her mother — NOT.

Mini Marathon Finished

Dave and Kelly with their medals after finishing their first 500 Mini Marathon in less than 2 hours!

SSFC Fun Run 4

Dave and Kelly after competing in the 1st annual SSFC Family Fun Run where Kelly placed first in the Women’s Division in the 5K! Way to go!

Mother’s Day was perfect and Mom got to see most of her kids.  It’s almost impossible to get everyone together as our family is so big but it was a fun day for everyone who came for her Mother’s Day Luncheon.  Her next big celebration will be at the end of the month when she turns 87 on May 30th!

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Front:  Nichole Smith, Adrienne & Danielle Ford Back:  Brittany & Sheila Smith, Grandma Ford, Greg Ford

Front: Nichole, Adrienne & Danielle
Back: Brittani & Sheila, Grandma Ford, Greg 

I hope you all had a very Blessed Easter.  We had a wonderful Easter.  Our company started on Good Friday when Mark and Marie, and Jeff all stopped by to visit with Mom.  Probably lucky for them I was busy getting ready to make a Potica that day so I didn’t think to get their pictures with Mom.  I did try to remember to take some family pictures on Easter!

Kelly and Dave with Emma and Max

Emma and Max with parents Kelly and Dave

And speaking of Potica…..I need to remember to never make a Potica on Good Friday.  The house was filled with the heavenly smell and when the Potica was done I couldn’t even sample it since it was a day of fasting!  Next year I will make it either on Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday!   When I made the other two Poticas I had my son-in-law Dave helping me with rolling out the dough.  I think this is the hardest part of the process.  However this time Dave and Kelly were in Chicago with their family so I was left on my own.  I did have Mom watching me and giving me her 2-cents on how to roll it.  I was surprised she remembered the process but I guess when you made as many as she did in her lifetime it is embedded in your “long-term” memory!  Anyway, the Potica was delicious and I served it to all the visitors we had on Easter Sunday.  Sorry, but if you didn’t come on Easter you didn’t get any as it went fast!  I am so excited I can add Potica-making to my resume!  Lessons, anyone?

Easter Potica

Easter Potica

The Easter visits continued with Peggy and Jeannie coming on Monday to spend the afternoon with Mom and Judy and Jim driving down on Tuesday.  It indeed was a very Blessed Easter!

Jeannie, Mom and Peggy

Jeannie, Mom and Peggy

I’ve had several people ask where we are on our house renovations.  We finally finished the stairs and I must say, I am so pleased with how the spindles turned out.  Mike really did a nice job.  Now we are ready to move on to the kitchen.  We need to paint the walls and ceiling, but we also want to add a tile back-splash behind the counters and perhaps under-counter lighting.   Mike is busy researching how to do the lighting and tiling.  Whatever did we do before YouTube?

Finished Stairs 4

Emma and Max checking out the spindles.

Finished Stairs 2

The finished spindles

But back to Easter….I would like to leave you with a few pictures of other family members celebrating Easter.

Judy, Sister Mary Grace, Joan and Jim Watson

Judy, Sister Mary Grace, Joan and Jim 

Jill and Patrick Storey with sons Sam, George, Thomas and Andrew

Jill and Patrick with sons Sam, George, Thomas and Andrew and little John Paul

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Happy Spring!

Photo by Emma:  Great Grandma with her newest puzzle.

 Great Grandma working on her  newest puzzle.  (Photo by Emma Barton)

Finally, spring is here.  It doesn’t really feel like it today but at least we know warmer weather is just around the corner.  I love that we are on Daylight Savings Time now because it is so much better for my mom.  She has “Sundowners” and it seems at dusk she starts getting anxious.  So it helps that it is lighter for longer.  I wish we would always stay on this time.  During the day she is okay because she has her puzzles to keep her busy.

Matt with Basketball Trophy

Matt showing off his trophy after his after his final basketball game.

Julie’s son Matthew just finished up his basketball season.  He has turned into quite the basketball player!  unfortunately I couldn’t leave my mom to attend any of his games, but Mike made it to as many as he could.  He was quite proud of Matt!


Mike installing the wrought iron spindles.

Mike continues to work on updating our great room.  He is finishing up replacing the spindles on our stairs.  Because the white wooden ones were larger than the new ones, he is having to sand/stain/varnish where each one was before the wrought iron spindles can be placed.  We are so close to being finished and I am loving the look!

Grandson Max playing on his iPad in his "great room."

Grandson Max playing on his iPad in his “great room.”

Speaking of “great” rooms, Max asked me recently why we call the room a “great room.”  Before I could explain the reason to him, 7-year old Emma popped up and said, “Max, it’s called the great room because that is where Great Grandma sits.”   Out of the mouths of babes!

This past weekend we decided it would be a good time to see if we remembered how to make Potica.  In December Peggy and Mike came down and taught a  Potica 101 Class to several of us.  So yesterday Dave and Kelly came over with their bread machine and we made 2 Poticas.  They were supposed to be for Easter but we decided to eat them now and not freeze them.  I put raisins in mine because I love raisins (and it would keep most people from eating it!).  I think during Holy Week I will go ahead and make a Potica for Easter to share.  That is, unless Mom and I are tired of eating it by then!  It really wasn’t too hard to make the dough since we used the bread machine.  I remember Mom making Potica dough by hand — kneading it over and over.  I can’t imagine how hard that was.  Definitely it is easier using a bread machine!

Dave making the filling while the bread machine makes the dough.

Dave making the filling while the bread machine kneads the dough.

Potica 2 Rolling out dough

Kelly rolling out the dough.

Kelly spreading the Potica filling,

Kelly spreading the Potica filling,

Dave and Kelly rolling up the Potica to fit into the round tube pan.

Dave and Kelly rolling up the Potica to fit into the round tube pan.

Poticia 4  Finished Product

Potica–the finished product!

Last week I had Kelly’s family over for dinner since I had to get the kids off the bus early because of “early dismissal” from school.  I usually just bring them over to my house so Kelly can go running after school (she and Dave are training for the 500 Mini Marathon).  They wanted to help me make dinner so I taught them how to make the side dish of baked beans and bake some cookies for desert.  Usually when Emma is over she and I will watch the Food Channel.   My philosophy:  You are never too young to learn to cook — boy or girl!

Max and Emma's cookies

Max and Emma baking cookies

Max and Emma making cookies.

Max and Emma with their finished cookies.

This weekend I will be teaching stamping classes, both on Saturday and Sunday.  I have some really cute spring projects planned.  Because my house will be turned into a big classroom, unless you plan to come and stamp with us, all family visits will be put on hold until the next weekend!  (Sorry for the inconvenience,)

Projects for this weekend's March Stamping Classes

Projects for this weekend’s March Stamping Classes

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The Painting Continues…..

Mike painting trim in hallway

Mike painting trim in hallway

For those of you who are keeping track, Mike is still busy working on our house.  He is currently sprucing up all our trim.  It is a slow job because he is just doing a little each day.  His next big job to tackle will be the stairs.  He wants to change out the white spindles for burnished bronze wrought iron spindles.  He is trying to get the house ready to sell.  No, we don’t plan to move anytime soon but since I am always looking he wants our house ready to list just in case I find something.  Of course with all the work Mike is doing, our house is looking better and better to me!

Light Rings on Taylor

Taylor modeling her new glow rings.

The grand-kids have been busy with school and activities so we haven’t gotten to see Julie’s family much this winter.  They are all doing great.  Matt has been busy with his basketball team.  His team won the first game in their tournament so they are moving on.  Taylor is enrolled in dance classes and is currently studying ballet.  She has become quite the little dancer.  I think she must have some Konechnik in her because whenever I see a photo of Nancy K’s grand-daughter Josie on Facebook, I have to take a second look to make sure it is not Taylor!

Matt showing off his glow rings.

Matt showing off his glow rings.

Mike getting a little morning cuddle time with Emma.

Mike getting a little morning cuddle time with Emma before she gets ready for school.

Since we live just minutes from Kelly’s family, we do get to see them almost every day.  I love morning time with them.  Kelly’s children are also involved with their school activities.  Max is busy with his Robotics team, while Emma is involved with Math Pentathlon.  Because Max is in the Enriched Learning class, he seems to always have a special school project he is working on.  Below are a few of the things he recently completed when his class was studying about the move west.  He currently is studying about the immigrants from Europe who made their way to Ellis Island.  I did tell him the story of his Grandma and Grandpa Konechnik’s journey.

Max working on his  Navajo school project.

Max working on his Navajo project

Max with his covered wagon.

Max with his covered wagon.

Grandma Ford is still keeping busy with her word search books and her jig saw puzzles.  It is a great way for her to pass the wintertime.  She recently went to see her family doctor for a semi-annual visit and wellness check.  Other than her memory, she physically is doing great.  Last weekend several family members stopped in to visit with her. She had fun with Peggy’s grandchildren — Henry and Simon.  Henry is one of her youngest great-grand kids.  Sheila and her daughter Nicole stayed with her on Friday evening so Mike could take me out for my Valentine’s dinner (I know, a little late) and it was so nice to get out and have a date night. With Mom we just don’t get out much except to Mass with her.  She does not like to be left alone anymore, especially in the evenings, and she does not like to venture out.  I guess she has what the doctors call “Sundowners.”

Great Grandma with Henry Sullivan 3

Baby Henry with Great-Grandma Ford.

Before I sign off, I wanted to wish my older sister, Judy, a very happy birthday on this Friday the 13th!

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A Major Undertaking!

Mike painting the ceiling

Mike painting the ceiling

As many of you who follow me on Facebook know, Mike and I have been busy painting the inside of our house.  The house was built 18 years ago and I don’t think the ceilings have been painted since.  We moved into it 11 years ago and at that time we had all the rooms painted.  Each year I would spend many days washing down walls as part of my “spring cleaning.”  So this year we decided it was time to paint.  After painting the halls and the upstairs bonus room, we decided to tackle the great room and wow, what a huge undertaking that turned out to be.  I never thought the room was that big until we started painting it.  I think the ceiling got higher and the walls got taller!  We had to rent scaffolding in order to reach everything. It was so big it took up a lot of space–we called it the big yellow monster.

Mike rigging up the ladders on the stairs.

Mike rigging up the ladders on the stairs.

I think the worst part of the entire ordeal was figuring out how to paint the wall and ceiling by the stairs.  We had to borrow a special ladder from our friend and then rig it up with boards and an additional ladder so Mike could reach everything.  I held my breath and did a lot of praying while Mike tackled that section.  It looked like an accident waiting to happen–but luckily nothing did.

Grandma Ford watching us paint.

Grandma Ford watching us paint.

Poor mom was a wreck for the last several days.  We had to keep moving the furniture to different areas of the room in order to move the scaffolding, so she soon became very confused and agitated.  She kept asking me when would she be going home and whose house was she in.  I think because the room looked so different, her mind could not comprehend what was going on.  At night we would leave a light on in the great room in case she woke up and wandered into the room as she often does (and did on Saturday evening).  We did not want her to fall over the scaffolding (which she did not).  I think as soon as we take the scaffolding down she will be able to relax and things will get back to her normal.

Mike installing the new fan

Mike installing the new fan

The last thing we had to do today was install a new fan.  I always hated the white fan that the builder hung.  And for years my stampers (myself included) kept asking Mike to add lights to the fan.  Since we had the scaffolding it seemed like the perfect time to update the fan and get one that included lights.  I am doing the happy dance now!

Our next project in this room will be to install a new entry way light when I find one I like, and to change out the spindles on the stairs.  I have some wrought iron ones picked out.  I am sooooo lucky Mike is so much like my dad was.  Daddy did everything himself — never hired anyone.  My husband is the same way, although he keeps saying he wishes he were more like my dad.  Mike always says my dad forgot more than he (Mike) knows!

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A Look Back In Time….

Grandpa Konechnik with sons Tony and Frank

Grandpa Konechnik with sons Tony and Frank

Recently I wrote that I had never seen a photo of my mom’s oldest brother Frank.  He passed away in 1950 and as far as I knew, Mom never had any pictures of him.  After hearing I would love to know what he looked like, Aunt Joanna Konechnik found a few photos of Uncle Frank and sent them to me.  Pictured above is a photo of my Grandpa Konechnik with his youngest son Tony (who was married to Aunt Joanna) and his oldest son Frank.  He was a much bigger man than I would have thought, as both my grandparents were small in stature.  Looking at the cars in the photo, I am assuming the picture was taken in the late 1940’s.

Below are some other photos I thought you might enjoy.  When I showed the pictures to my mom, she wasn’t sure who the ladies were but I believe she is the one with Uncle Tony.  I am stumped as to the lady in the bottom photo with Uncle Tony and Uncle Frank.  My guess is that it is Aunt Sophie with little Sonny??? If someone knows, please drop me a message.


Tony Konechnik with his sister, Margaret


Thank you, Aunt Joanna, for letting me copy these old pictures. I love getting a glimpse into the family history that makes up our wonderful family.  The final photo was posted by David J. Lekse (son of Dave Lekse and Debbie Alsup) on Facebook.  It is of Aunt Sophie as a young bride.  She would have been 98 on February 2nd.  Since her birthday fell on Groundhog’s Day, it was easy to remember

Aunt Sophie

Josephione (Sophia) Konechnik Lekse on her wedding day, Sept. 5, 1938

If anyone else has some old Konechnik family photos they would like to share, please either email them or send them to me through the U.S. mail.  I promise I will return them after I scan them into my computer!  Be sure to send me a little story to go with the pictures so I can share on my blog.

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January in Review

Julie's family day

Julie and Craig having a fun day at the ice rink with Matthew, Angela and Taylor

Was it my imagination or did the month of January seem especially long?  I’m not sure why because here in Greenwood the weather started out really cold but all-in-all it wasn’t bad since we had very limited snowfall.  Of course north of Indy didn’t fare as well.  Our son Eric lives in Wabash and they got quite a bit of snow and nasty weather.  We are all awaiting the next snowfall which should arrive either tonight or tomorrow.  Here’s hoping February doesn’t see much snowfall!

Kelly with Emma and Max for Disney on Ice

Emma, Kelly and Max getting ready for a fun Sunday afternoon attending Disney on Ice. Emma dressed as Elsa from Frozen for the event.

This past week was tough for our family.  Last Saturday Mike’s nephew Don passed away.  He had been ill with a bad cold and when Mike’s brother went to check on him he found Don had passed in his sleep.  He had just turned 50 a few days before.

And my former husband Tom Jaffke was rushed to the hospital on Monday night because he had no feeling in one of his legs.  It turned out he had a blockage and on Wednesday he had to have surgery.  A vein was taken out of his good leg to replace the bad vein in the other leg.  The surgery went well but a few hours later he ran into problems and had to be taken back into surgery.  Then on Thursday morning there was no blood flowing in the new vein again so he was taken back into surgery for the 3rd time.  He is doing well now and we are so thankful he won’t lose the leg.

Daniel Jaffke

In Memory of Daniel Jaffke

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of Daniel Jaffke’s death.  Daniel was Julie and Kelly’s little step-brother and you may recall he was murdered last year on the southside of Indy while delivering pizza to an apartment complex.  The irony is the apartment complex was where Tom and I lived when we were first married and the murder happened just a few doors down from where we had lived.  There will be a candlelight vigil this evening to celebrate his life.

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A Typical Winter Day….

Morning Time at the Barton House

Grandpa Mike having his morning snuggle with Emma & Max

While most people hate January and February because of the cold, dreary weather, I actually like it — as long as there is no snow.  After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I find the winter months following a nice quiet change.  There is no shopping to do, no grass to cut and no leaves to rake.  As long as the snow doesn’t fall there is no shoveling to do.  It is a great time to just relax.  Well, maybe relax is not the correct word as I like to spend these months organizing my closets and tossing out things I don’t need.

Mike and I start each weekday morning by going over to Kelly’s house and getting the little ones up and ready for school.  Kelly has to leave early for her teaching job so we make sure they are up and ready for the bus stop each morning.  I’ve got to tell you there is nothing better than starting our day with hugs and kisses from grandkids!  We are usually back home to start our day before Mom even gets up!

As part of our daily routine, we have been trying to walk a couple of miles each day.  Some days are easier than others.  I am feeling pretty proud of myself as I now feel guilty when I don’t walk. Six weeks ago I could have cared less!  They say you have to do something 18 times before it becomes a habit.  (Did I hear that from Dr. Oz?)


2015 January Projects

My January Stamping Class Projects

I’m still teaching card-making classes in my home.  I have been doing this for 11 years.  A lot of days while Mom works on her puzzles, I’ll be in my stamping room designing projects for my classes.  I will be teaching my monthly class this Saturday morning and another class on Sunday afternoon.  I needed to get my January classes in before Superbowl weekend.  It is fun to see the happy faces of my “stampers” when they complete their beautiful handcrafted cards and see how easy it was.

Well, I’d best get busy cutting my card stock for this weekend’s project.  Stay warm and stay healthy!

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Happy Birthday, Mike

Emma icing Grandpa's birthday cake

Emma icing her grandpa’s cake

Today is my husband’s birthday.  Since the weather looked like it was going to be dicey today, we decided to celebrate Mike’s birthday last night after Mass.  Plus, I think everyone wanted to stay put today to watch the football games today.  I had baked a cake earlier in the day and while we were waiting for the ham & cheese sliders to warm up, little Miss Emma iced her grandpa’s birthday cake.

Happy Birthday Mike

The birthday boy getting ready to cut his cakeSo now we are getting ready for the big ice storm.  I have been catching up on my laundry and my computer work just in case we lose electricity.


Ice storm


So now we are getting ready for the big ice storm.  I have been catching up on my laundry and my computer work just in case we lose electricity.  Probably since I am being pro-active the storm won’t be as bad as they are predicting.  But better safe then sorry!


Max & Great Grandma 1

Max working on his iPad while Great Grandma works on her puzzle

Of course Mom is all set — she has so many puzzles to get her through any storms winter throws our way!  As long as she is warm and inside, she doesn’t really care what is happening outside!

Denver vs Colts
So now we are all set to watch the big game.  I have a huge dilemma though — I hate it that the Indianapolis Colts are playing Denver today.   I do cheer for the Colts when they are on but since they are playing Denver it is going to be tough.  I really want to see Peyton win one more Super Bowl just to show everyone that he can.  Andrew Luck has plenty of time to get one under his belt.  Okay, so don’t crucify me now — I’m just saying….. Bottom line, I guess which ever team wins it will be okay with me.





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