Thursday, December 18, 2008

Light.... It does the body good!

So finally our power came on at 4:15 p.m. I just looked at the PSNH website and 3,500 homes are still without power in Derry and 50,000 in NH. So I feel very thankful to have our services back. Its been fun having Stephanie, David, and the kids but they are ready for their power to be on too. Its amazing how stressful it can be. My sister Jennifer would cringe at all the people we've gotten to talk to and commisserate with. It is very obvious to me that the state and federal governments cannot be relied on in an emergency and the sense of community that has been realized is really neat. I hope all of you reading this will remember to pray for those without power and heat. It has drained many people's resources right before Christmas. We are also expecting a major snow storm tomorrow that will hold off the work that needs to be accomplished for those to get back into their homes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

88 hours and counting!

Ok, not having electricity is getting old FAST! We've been playing alot of games and there has been no school or church. David and Stephanie are staying with us which is fun... but the laundry is piling up, and the floors are in need of vacuuming. Even though I'm bored, I'm thankful for no school because preparing good meals and keeping up the woodstove and the house has become a full time job. It starts in the morning by making breakfast and starting supper for the day. I have gotten quite creative with meals. We've had chicken noodle soup, squash casserole, apple crisp, chicken, and eggs and toast.We've enjoyed hot chocolate as well. I went to the post office this morning and spoke with several people who are involved with neighborhood meals. It has brought a sense of community but people are weary and ready to get back into the swing of things. Many of the grocery stores lost everything in their freezers so milk is a hot commodity right now. It was 55 degrees today but it is going back down again tonight and it will be in the 30's tomorrow. There are many who are staying with family or at one of the shelters that are open. The national guard is running the hummers around town and trying to open up some roads. There is no school at least through tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday are iffy. There are still 100,000 people without power today and they are having to rebuild powerlines, etc. My kids have found another way to keep themselves occupied.... dressing up the dog! Poor Scout, we need the power on fast.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Wonderland.... NOT

We got an ice storm Thursday into Friday a.m. that left 1" of ice on our trees and lines and now our house looks like a disaster zone. We heard trees snapping and saw transformers blow during the night, but we didn't realize just how much damage there was. We lost many trees in our yard including the one that came down on Tim's box truck. (no damage) The worst was not being able to get anywhere, and not knowing how our community-at-large fared. The Batchelder's came over but had to use a chain saw to get down the road. Our neighbor from down the street came to get some wood but needed to go into Windham and come back because there were 2 roads closed due to trees being across them.

Very few people in Derry have power at all. The restuarants are full of people trying to get warm and something to eat. There is a high of 30 degrees here today with a gusty wind. We have a generator and a very good friend who is an electrician who came and put in a plug to be able to connect our generator to the house. We also have a wood stove. We cannot run the oven on the generator so I made dinner on the hot wood stove. It took me about 4 hours but I was able to make a chicken noodle soup and an apple crisp. We also pulled out the sterno and fondue pot and had a little mid afternoon snack. They say it will be Monday or Tuesday before we have power and the biggest problem is getting to everyone. The house has really not gotten below 63 degrees so we are fortunate. The wood stove works wonderfully and the dogs see the benefit in its heat.

We've been playing alot of games. Today, we went to Panera bread in Manchester to eat and use the computer. My parents called on Skype and everyone around us was interested to talk. :) Most of the people in there were also without power. As of this morning, 300,000 people in NH, 150,000 in MA, and 200,000 people in ME have no power. Its amazing how dependent all of your activities are on having power. I suspect there will be no school on Monday and Tuesday.

When something unexpected like this happens, you realize what you are thankful for... a warm stove, good neighbors & friends, a generator that we just bought several months ago, food in the house, and gas in the car.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


It is amazing how fast Scout has learned to climb. She has climbed up a fence we put across the stairs and got stuck. She has very quickly learned to climb in and up on the dishwasher. She has also learned how to take silverware out of the tray and run off with it. There is a video on You-tube that shows a beagle escaping by climbing up a chicken wire fence. You can watch it at I think the dog was Scout.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Class Ring

Amanda got her class ring on Thursday. It is silver and has the Pinkerton clock tower that is silver and put right in over the stone. She chose her birth stone which is pink but the stone sometimes looks purple depending on what she is wearing. Her name is engraved on the inside. She is excited to have this ring.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not to be outdone by my sister

So my sister got a new puppy that was soooo cute. We've been actively looking for one for about 2 months now. One being a beagle puppy... AKC registered, tri-colored, get the picture. I looked at Tim today and asked him what he wanted... and he told me a puppy. So, I got back online and happened to find a breeder with pups in Easton, MA. (1 1/2 hours away) We took a ride down to see her and ended up taking her home with us. I wanted to name her Sophie but I was getting so much flack from everyone... what is wrong with that name anyway? So after talking with my sister Jennifer who suggested the name Scout, we decided to go with that name. Ranger and Scout. Her personality is VERY different than Savannah... to which most would say its a good thing. She is a sweet, non-mischievious dog who is very inquisitive. She has a bounce with her walk. She has also found out that there is a pecking order and she's on the bottom. Anyway, she's 13 weeks old and as cute as a button. She has a pedigree longer than mine, and her grandfather was a champion show dog. It's nice to have a new one in the house. She has a very easy going personality which is good for Ranger. Tang was scared by her but didn't even hiss, and Scout didn't even bark at him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nuttin' for Christmas

So my sister Jennifer thought she'd be really funny and send me a squirrelly gift. Many of you don't know that I speak squirrel so it is nice diversion to have someone to talk to. (I learned this art in Savannah this summer) But Jen didn't realize that my other half is a squirrel killer and when he saw this present, he said, "where's my gun". If things keep going this way, I'm takin the squirrel and running. We can set up our band, "Mixed Nuts and Imaginary Friends" in Kenmore Square in Boston and play the air guitar to earn money. And Jen, thanks again for "nuttin'". :) By the way, this squirrel even sings "I'm getting nuttin' for Christmas."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jeffs gig

Jeff has been playing drums in a band named Cogent. Since Kristin is home, we all went (including David and Stephanie) to see him play at a "Christian" club called Ground Zero. Lets just say that the owners are Christian and there is no alcohol there. Jeff has really improved on his drum playing. I watched him last night and wondered how he was able to keep up. His group plays rock and acoustic. Two of the boys in it were my students at Calvary, and the other one was in my former church (Fellowship Bible). Since they were the 4th ones to play, we had to listen to the others. OK, lets just say that although the club is clean, I'm not sure the first kid was. His one man band name was named the "Imaginary Friends Band", and he played alien type music with a mask that looked like it was a power rangers mask and covered his whole face. At one point, be brought out a stuffed penguin and a T-Rex and pretended the T-Rex ate the penguin. I told the others that he wore the mask so that he didn't get beaten up on the way out. The second guy was an acoustic guy from Portland Oregon. Although he supposedly had a girlfriend, he was hitting on all the girls around. The third group called Scarlett Fade was from CT and had 3 sisters and a brother who had an Alanis Morrissette meets Joan Jett vibe. They had alot of expensive equipment. Although I don't think their voices are good, we might see more of them. It was an eye opening interesting night!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kristin is a mini me

My sisters will find the poetic justice in this... but Kristin is cleaning my entire house without even being asked. I find it amusing that after coming home at 3 a.m., she is cleaning at 8:30 a.m. She has already had Amanda bring down her laundry, and has even done some of mine. She has vaccuumed the house, and cleaned the kitchen. It already was clean to me, but she redid it. When I used to come home from college, I'd wake my sisters up at 2 a.m. and tell them to clean up the room. Hey, as long as she is doing the work I have no complaints. At least she is not waking up me or Amanda to clean!

Finally, I can fill my gas tank for under $80.00

I love my suburban, but when prices are over $4.00/gallon, there were choices to be made about activities that I engaged in. To my delight, gas is much lower. When it was so high, it took $125 to fill my 42 gallon tank every 10 days or so. Today, I put 32 gallons in for $60.25!!!!!!!!! Gas is now around $1.80. Today... I'm going to the scrapbook store in Nashua!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tim's deer

This is for those of you who wanted to see pictures. On Sunday, November 2nd at 7:30 a.m., Tim got his first deer of the season. But he brought his deer to the butcher so fast that I didn't get pictures. Luckily, Phil Wilson did. The deer was a nice 8 pointer, 147 pounds, 2 1/2 year old and gave us lots of meat. Tim spoke about how majestic it looked in the woods. He has 3 more tags if he gets them in the right order. We'll have to see what the rest of the season holds.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat

My neice Kassidy is the perfect age to enjoy trick or treat. This year, I went to the Disney store and bought her a Cinderalla dress, the crown, and the wand that lights up. I wanted to see her in it but I had to go to Maine when Manchester (where she lives) had trick or treat on Sunday. But Derry has trick or treat on Halloween so she came with us. She was so cute everytime she said trick or treat. She'd tell the people "I like your candy". Sometimes she would just help herself. She was very polite and said thank you! We went out to a neighborhood with hundreds of houses. Trick or treat is only 1 1/2 hour. There must have been 800 people roaming around. The people had totes of candy and were very generous. After we got home and started looking at the candy, David and Stephanie came over with the boys to show us their costumes. They were so cute! The kids all decided that playing the piano was fun, so they all joined in. We got to enjoy them running around the house to get their energy out and then send them home to sleep. John especially loves to cuddle with Tim.

Funny Amanda Story

People love it when I tell them I have a funny Amanda story because it is usually good for a laugh. Amanda has no inhibitions and will say exactly what is on her mind. Many times, I laugh at her because it is something I would say if I had no inhibitions... she truly is a mini-me in so many ways. One of the ways is her love of politics and social justice. I truly have no idea how she knows things because I don't let her watch the news, but she has very definite opinions, especially on Obama and McCain. It's not something we talk about much, but she knows.
In her government class at school, her teacher is a democrat and talks about Obama alot apparently. She comes home and tells me that she tells the class and her teacher frequently that Obama is a bad man!
Today was no exception to her interest in politics. We went to Mary Ann's to eat breakfast this morning. I was settling the bill and turned around and there was Governor Lynch. Governor Lynch is a democrat and was campaigning on this last weekend before the elections with another democrat running for state senate. After I introduced myself and Amanda to the governor, she spoke out very loudly..."Hey, where is Sarah Palin?" He looked at her and told her that his staff might know where she is.... After I picked my chin up off the floor, I explained to him that Amanda has special needs and is actually gets services from one of the 10 regions that dispenses state funds to people like her. I also told her that we are thankful she is alive today. He asked a few questions about her school and about her age. After I told Amanda that we needed to let him move on to talk to others, she asked, "When can I come and spend time with you?" I did let the governor know that she was a little miffed that she could not meet the president and she was upset about the sharp shooters on the White House. And then we moved on...
I started laughing before I got out the door. I really got a kick from the look that was on his face when she asked the question. He was a very gracious man.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Special Olympics Bowling

Amanda had another opportunity this year to play on the Pinkerton Astros Special Olympics bowling team. She would practice every week on Tuesdays. When Amanda would roll the ball, she would watch it go down the lane and turn her body the way she wanted the ball to go. Amanda was a little discouraged that she came in last... but I was proud of her that she got a strike. She also had encourage-ment from her friend Jody (above), and from one of the assistants, Miss Guarano (below). Jody was in her art class last year and has been a really good friend. She is graduating this year though and Amanda will miss her. She enjoyed bowling but is looking forward to a different sport.

My baby is 16!!!!

Every year that passes and Amanda has another birthday, I find myself reflecting and being thankful that my girl is alive, happy, and in relatively good health. This year, I was even more thankful. March was a very hard month for Amanda with her seizures. Amanda celebrated her 16th birthday with 6 friends on Friday, October 24 at the Space Center in Hooksett, NH.

The space center is a place with lots of games, laser tag, bumper cars, and it even has a roller coaster. Laser tag was really fun. If you've never played before, it is a workout and similar to paint ball without the paint. You get points, and at the end, there is a readout of who tagged who and how many times. I admit that this time, Amanda got me more than I got her. I knew I was in trouble when she said... "you're going down". She has way more energy than I do. But since I paid for a bigger package than the number of kids that came, we got 2 free tickets to go again and play..... I say "GAME ON GIRL".

We had pizza, soda, cake and ice cream. We played hard, and had a great time! Amanda got gift certificates, a mosaic turtle to make, a game, and some CD's. Auntie Becki gave her $20 to go see High School Musical 3 which came out on her birthday.

Its the most wonderful time of the year!

And I'm not talking about Christmas. Fall in New England is something I look forward to all year long. After a hot summer, the cooler weather is a welcome relief, but the cooler weather also means that it is time for apple picking and the changing of the leaves. Today, I took a ride through Chester on my way to Maine and the leaves were beautiful. The peak was last week and the leaves are starting to drop. But I love the colors and the smell. I love the apples and the pumpkins, and I love the colors. NH has about 60 trees that change color and there is a wide array of colors at different times.

The only thing I don't like about fall is that after the leaves fall, the long winter sets in. The first snowfall is beautiful but it gets old fast. Fall is the signal that most living things must take a break and then renew. I think God paints the most beautiful fall in New England, and I'm thankful for the reminder of His ability to sustain his creation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My father's plants

My dad came up twice before two graduations and worked diligently planting the stone walls we had built. The plants have gone through the summer season and they have really blossomed. But last weekend, we planted the wall that wasn't ready when he came to visit. Rockingham Acres is the nursery down the road, and Bill is a master at plotting out where bushes should go... second only to my dad. It was the last day the nursery was open and we got bushes buy one get one free. So we purchased 20, 17 of which went on our new wall that CJ built.

Of course the finish work is not done. I have to move some of these purple flowers over...

And we'll plant some marigolds like dad did on our bushes in the front ... this is a Rose of Sharon with marigolds around it:

Thanks for all your hard work on the plants dad.... my yard is the envy of the neighborhood!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It finally came

I was beginning to wonder if I truly graduated with my masters. I did get a letter saying the diploma would be late because they had to redo them. But finally last week it was hand delivered by my postman. Its amazing how good one stupid piece of paper can make you feel. And that piece of paper represents 40 hours a week of writing, reading, attending classes, and trying to manage the most important people in my life- my family for 2 years. I think it is the word "master" that describes it best....
I decided recently, after being bored out of my mind with no classes, (Kristin is gone, Jeff is working, and I'm on top of my game at school) that I need to enjoy the stress release. But I am a nutty, high achiever who loves school and am actually lamenting the fact I'm done. (I am enjoying the pay raise, however) I came to realize that I'm addicted to the stress. There is something that is addicting about constantly being in hypervigilant. So I have decided to put away any thought of taking another class, at least for this year, and work on my hobbies. Then I realized I am even hypervigilant about my hobbies... which include... fishing, shooting my bow, stamp collecting, scrapbooking, and quilting. Most people only have one or 2. I'm not sure what to do about that, but I think I will just have to wait for my sister to come so I can focus on one of them. ;)

New Hampshire boys are pyromaniacs

I don't know what it is about New Hampshire boys(men) but they all seem to love fires. I was thinking today about Jeffrey's comment about learning to make s'mores for Nichole just like dad does for mom. That seems to be one of those rites of passage in this family that causes the men to grunt because it is a manly thing.Even my niece Carly loves her Uncle Tim's s'mores... to bad you're not coming in Sept. Carly.
But we also love a great bonfire. The pile has been in place I think since March so it was very dry. And we are fortunate enough to get tropical storm Hanna coming through (as if we needed more rain this year) tonight. As usual, Tim made the fire and it must have gotten to be 20 feet high. These are the simple things that we enjoy and make life just a little sweeter.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Although Jeff was ready to "get out of there", parting with his girlfriend of 9 months was difficult. I thought he handled it well, but I felt SO bad for him. Nichole lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and both are returning to home, 2000 miles from each other, to start working and saving money for school (Nichole) and a plane ticket to Utah (Jeff). At least he figures this is the priority. So graduation was bitter-sweet and both were sad to leave each other but glad to go home.
This was the first year that graduation was held at the BI and it was outside. We sat in adirondack chairs and were very comfortable. Graduation was the usual and it didn't take long to pack up and start for home. Of course there was a quick trip to Friendlys for lunch. Jeff is missing Nichole and trying to find work, which can be difficult at best. We'll have to wait to see what the future holds. Hard to wait, right Jeff?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Niagra Falls

We had 2 days before we had to be at Word of Life to go to Jeff's baccalaureate and graduation services so we thought we'd drive up to Buffalo, NY to get a look at Niagra Falls. We went over the border to the Canadian side because we heard the view was much better. The picture above shows both the Horseshoe falls and the American falls. There is alot of water that goes over those falls. The water comes down so fast that it makes a mist that is felt from a quarter of a mile away. It is definitely a touristy area but to look at the falls and think about the sheer power of falling water, it is worth the trip.
There were some crazy people who felt they needed a closer look so they went on the Maid of the Mist boat trip. They all wore blue rain gear. It was fun to watch them from up above. Mandy wanted us to go on it in the worst way. I told her I didn't need to do that to know what it feels like to be wet.... And I must say I'm not regreting my decision.

Shenandoah National Park

I guess I'm the only one who thinks that the passport book that is put out by the National Park Service is great... but I don't care. My goal is to see every national park in the country and get my book stamped.

We've been to Shenandoah National Park before. But it is such a pretty drive. We drove the 105 miles on Skyline Drive along the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only problem with the mountains is that they are always hazy. But the haze gives them their blue hue. There are about 75 over looks that you can see the Shenandoah Valley. The grass is really green up there and it looks "lush". It really amazes me that each park has its own feel to it. This one is no different.

The last time we were in the park, a deer walked right up to the car and licked Tim's hand. They do get tame in the park. We didn't have that kind of luck this time but we did see a fawn with its mother. It still had all its spots. We love watching the wildlife.

The beginning

Kristin is now enjoying college life and starting a new chapter in her life. It's hard to believe that she is there, at my old alma mater, experiencing some of the same things I did 2o some odd years ago. I'm excited for her. She just wanted us out of there ASAP but I understand.... not cool to have your mom there embarrassing you. She wouldn't let me take pictures either but promised that she would. So I'll have to put in my order of what I want. She thinks we were happy to get rid of her. Actually, we knew she was ready to get started and are excited for her. No sense prolonging the agony at home. So she is there, in dorm 29, with 5 other girls. And I hope she has the time of her life! .... and makes A's in her classes. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

It was time to leave Glenwood Springs and use our last full day to travel to Denver to where we were staying near the airport. We decided to travel by way of Rocky Mountain National Park. The drive was beautiful and we drove through tunnels in mountains and along the Colorado River for much of the way.There was Columbine growing at the visitors center coming into the park. It really is a beautiful flower!
Each park we have visited has had a different look and feel. There is one road going through the park. Everyone starts at 7800 feet and ascends to 12000 feet via hairpin turns, winding roads, and cliffs (white knuckle driving). The views are gorgeous! There are mountains and meadows and streams. We saw moose and elk in this park. At one point, there was a whole herd of female elk and their offspring. They make a sound like Nyah, Nyah in a high pitch sort of way. They just had their babies in July and some were still spotted.

We enjoyed every bit of the wildlife we saw on this trip. We have decided we are definitely mountain people. We enjoyed most of what we saw in Colorado. I think I'd like to spend more time here at some point. We've been away from home for 2 weeks (2 and 1/2 for me) and are very anxious to get home! We fly out tommorrow.