Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wow... Whirlwind

Let me start by saying that wow... time flies when you are super busy. I wouldn't have it any other way, but the spring was a complete whirlwind. I barely had a chance to breathe! From trips to concerts, meets and games, we've been at it non stop. And... there is this pesky thing called work. What a downer! Actually, I really like my job and it's a perfect fit for me. The hours are great, I love the people and the Church. It has definitely been an adjustment, but I've had so many people help me out (it really does "take a village") that the transition hasn't been too terrible.

My blog is supposed to be about our move here- but since it's been 2 years, it's more of an update about how we are and we have been up to.  We continue to check things off of our "New England Bucket List" and hope to keep it up. We've even done several repeats. This spring brought us numbers 5 and 6 on the Boston Duck Boat Tours! We were talking to friends that both grew up here and neither of them have ever been, and they are our age... we love it and would go again. We also visited Lexington/Concord for probably the 4th time. It never gets old.

Our biggest excitement from the spring had to be Amelia's trip to Fenway.  After a difficult audition, one of the (four) bands she participates in, the All Town Wind Ensemble, was chosen to play the National Anthem at Fenway for the Sox's second home game this season.  My sister and her family and my parents made the trip to come see them play and it was fabulous! What an opportunity for her!!
Photos can be found on the link:

Unfortunately soon after playing Fenway, Amelia received some disappointing news- she has to have surgery on her spine this fall. She has been wearing a Boston Brace for scoliosis since December of 2013- but the brace was no match for her 8ish month growth spurt where she grew over 4 inches (and 2 more since).  We still have one more appointment before surgery, but it looks pretty definite.  I'll post once we have a date, as cards and letters will be appreciated!

Soon after Fenway, we crossed another item off of our list- we visited Vermont. Home of Ben and Jerry's (just as awesome as we anticipated), Cabot Creamery (very interesting) and our big stop, Jay Peak Resort.  It is a ski and golf resort, but we mainly went for the Waterpark. We had a blast, and were happy to see Vermont, even if it did involve lunch in the back of a hardware store (true story).  We'd still like to visit Burlington; maybe this fall.

After that we were knee deep in track and field for Declan (showed some great improvement this year, especially in long jump), tee-ball for Finn (he loved playing catcher the best, like sissy) and softball for Amelia. She's been playing since she was 4 and loves it as much now as she did then. We hope her surgery doesn't sideline her too much.  For now, and next summer, she is happy to play rec in the spring and summer league (play against other teams from the county)- no "travel/tournament" team yet.  The summer before 9th grade if she's still playing and interested we'll pursue travel.  She's currently mostly playing catcher, 3rd base and left field. So far, so good. 

Declan will run cross country in the fall, and he'll get involved in drama at the MS as well. Finn asked to do swim team, so we'll do a pre-team for him this winter. They keep me busy.

The end of the school year brought "move up day" for both Declan and Finn. I can't believe I'll have two in MS and Finn will tackle elementary!! If Kindergarten had a mayor, Finn would win in a landslide! Good luck to his teacher. Seriously.  

We were SO happy to see the Okonaks twice this spring/summer- and they helped us cross another bucket list item off- visiting "The Cape". What fun to have lunch and hang at the beach with them for a day!  We also got to visit with them and the Howensteins to go see U2 at TD Garden. What a blast!!

I'm only working 3 days a week for the summer, so besides our Outer Banks vacation (which was heavenly), I've been trying to do some fun things with the kids on my days off. We've now gone to Davis Farmland (LOVE!) and Drumlin farm, as well as the pool that we joined.  We hope to still hit the beach and the amusement park in the next few weeks.

I think that's it... one more week of softball, more day trips, camps and VBS... slow for August. :) A visit to PA and Ohio will wrap up our August, then we are back to school.  Much love to all, friends old and new-  
I'll try to add some photos to the post later. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Has Sprung?

Supposedly it is spring. I'm not buying it. As I sit here on my back enclosed porch on April 2nd, this is my view... Hmmmm. It is pretty this afternoon and I think we broke 50^ for the first time this week. Our family did "see grass in the front yard" poll and we already have 2 out. We do have patches of grass in the back and sides where it's sunny- but most of it looks like the picture. Sigh.
  Not that we've been sitting around moping. February break brought us pizza making,
 A really cool hotel stay in Manchester, where our room overlooked the baseball field. (As did the outdoor hot-tub. Way cool). We also hit up...
 ...Build A Bear. The first time Finn ever remembers doing it. Poor neglected Finn.
 The end of break got interesting. We ended the weekend with Matt almost falling off the roof while cleaning it. He caught himself- but dislocated his shoulder and tore the heck out of the ligaments in the process. Here is us in the ER. He didn't want to be in the picture.... but included it for fun. haha. He has since had surgery and is recovering well. He's looking at 5 more months before he has full range of motion. But, he's back to work and (against doctor's advice) driving.
 We also have managed to beat the blues by visiting Altitude Trampoline Park several times. Finn feels pretty manly when he knocks kids off of the battle beam!
                             I included this just because I think the kids look cute.
 The next picture is from our church's sock-hop! It was so fun and I think we are all secret 50's kids!
 March brought us a little more snow (not much thank goodness) but it didn't dampen our St Pat's spirits!
 Amelia has been lucky enough to perform at several important state band competitions, and Declan was chosen to sing in the elementary All State Treble Chorus!!! It was awesome! Here he is with his teacher and 2 others from his school that were chosen. And, after much deliberation he has decided to join Chorus in middle school and not play the trumpet like big sis. We love, love, love Miss Lacasse and Mr. Wright but we thought it was important for Declan to "have his own thing". And, his very good at chorus and enjoys it a lot.
 Sadly, March also brought us a huge loss. After almost 14 years (his birthday would have been this week). Our sweet, sweet Baxtie crossed the rainbow bridge. His health declined rapidly, but he died comfortably at home in his favorite spot on his bed. He was always under foot and could be maddening, but he was so sweet and loving. He will definitely be missed.
Next week starts a new chapter in our New England lives- I start working! For the first time in just shy of 2 years I am going to be a "productive member of society". And,I'll be working in the summer for the first time since before having kids(so weird). I have accepted a job at Aldersgate UMC (the church we attend) as the office manager. I think it will be a great fit for me and the people there are awesome. I am really excited and a ton nervous.  

Right after I start working I get to hit NYC with my sis!! So excited to finally celebrate turning 40. We aren't going to be there long, but we'll manage to pack it in (mostly food, but I'm good with that). 
We will return from NYC and meet up with my parents and go watch Amelia PLAY AT FENWAY. We are so excited that she has the opportunity to play the National Anthem with ATWE (All town Wind Ensemble). It is a potentially once in a life-time gig... can't believe how lucky she is! 

The next week brings Spring Break. We are escaping to Northern Vermont for a couple of days before I start working my "full days" (9-2). Lots of excitement, but we don't do boring!!! By the end of the month hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll be right in the swing of T-ball, track and Softball seasons.  

Miss you all!
PS- for the record, we did set the  snow record! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SO Close to the Record

As of this morning in Lowell MA there were 111.3 inches of snow for the season (though it fell once in November, and the rest since Jan 20). The record is 111.5 inches. I assume that in Chelmsford (where we are, next town over) the amounts and records are similar.  I want everyone to read that number again. One hundred and eleven. Of course, that much snow is not on the ground. However, my shovel has touched that much and much of it is piled around my house (and intersections and parking lots, and, and and...). The thing about this much snow is that pictures are so hard to give perspective.  I'm going to try to post "before" and "after" pictures of sorts this time to try to give you an idea of what we are dealing with. It's been a crazy ride.  But, I do have to say- it damn well better snow another inch. If we are going to be this close, we better beat that damn record!!
Finn's school (before this storm). Those are swings
Finn's school playground. 

View from my bathroom wndow. The snow is obviously as tall as the window. This is from piling it there. To the left is my fence. You can barely see the top of it (it's a 4ft fence)

Another view from my bathroom. That is my enclosed patio

View from my kitchen window. Again, included sill so you could see how tall it is.

Look at the top of the umbrella. Again, from piling it up- moving it away from house

This is to the right of my back door. There is a fence over there. You can see the path towards the fence. We have started stepping over it.

From our main entrance looking out.

Not the same exact angle, but same spot in driveway.

Before we cleared the driveway. You can see how deep todays and how tall the pile already is.

I am standing on the ground (cleared off driveway). They are standing on the pile that is on ground the same height as the ground I was standing on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blizzard of '15 "JUNO"

Still don't quite understand why they are now naming blizzards. Or, maybe they always did, but we didn't have The Weather Channel on 24/7 to tell us the name 247 times. 

We are now in our second winter in New England. We thought it would be very wintery here and we weren't really wrong last year. My last patch of snow melted in April (not kidding) but the snow kind of came in fits and starts. We got around 3 feet in the month of January. A lot, and with much frustration on my part because Matt was gone most of the month, but it's what we expected.  What we did NOT expect was to get 3 feet of snow IN ONE DAY.  Last Saturday we got around 6" of snow. A decent snow fall. We got it all cleared out and heard a storm might be coming for Tuesday.  Pretty soon we heard we might get between 20"-30" of snow on Tuesday. Then we heard it would be blizzard conditions. I went to the store, we put our shovels, snowblowers and gas in the garage and we waited.  

At 11pm Monday night we went to bed with it just spitting a bit of snow at us. We woke up to around 15" of snow. Holy what?! It continued to snow the rest of the day at a rate of around 2" an hour.  When all was said and done, by around midnight Tuesday night into Wednesday we had received 33.8 inches of snow (on top of the 6 we had). Wow. It is a LOT of snow.  Matt is very paranoid about water getting into the basement- so we have been clearing it like crazy- from around the base of the house, off of the roof, and of course the driveway and walks, as well as patio. (The worst roof gets raked onto the patio so we have to keep that clear to keep pulling snow off of the roof).  After around 6 hours each yesterday and 3-4 more hours today I think we are done.   Below are pictures- I am trying to post in chronological order- so the first ones from Tuesday morning and the last ones from Wednesday morning.  Happy viewing!  

And, oh, yeah, heard there is a foot more coming Monday.  HELLLLLPPPPPP!

Pre blizzard

This is around 9am

Standard height garden flag

Believe it or not, this is the top of our driveway

Good height perspective. This was around 10 am Tuesday

Declan's fort in the woods. Held up pretty well

path we created to walk to part of the yard

We had so much that matt went on the roof and shoveled and then I raked it off with the roof rake

Notice that the fence is almost covered. Those are not piles created by us- that's the  height of the snow

After clearing path Wednesday morning. All the rest of the pictures are after all the snow fell.

You can see a tiny bit of our wall. It's at least 3 feet tall- and there is a slope away from it at the bottom.

Notice the pile of snow to the left of the deck- is as high as the railing

Try to look at the height of the snow as compared to the door/window on the shed

Again, piled to top of rail

That is a standard 3 ft fence. Snow is to top of it- not piled- just fallen

A good perspective shot. 

This is the path and spot we shoveled for the dog