Monday, December 9, 2013

It's The Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas from Santa's helpers!

It is so hard to believe that it has been 5 months since we've moved here. The time has flown by! 
Everyone has been asking how the weather is here. So far, so good. We had our first significant snow today- and it was really only an inch or two, plus slush, sleet, rain. No cancelled school, much to the kids' dismay! They can't believe that Ohio has had way more snow than here already. I told them to just wait!!

The kids remain well. Declan is at the cumulation of  his play. It is called "Christmas at Dobb's Diner" and is about a group of kids stranded at Christmas. The flip side is that there is drama at the North Pole and Santa might not be able to head out. The cast is comprised of kids all ages 8-12 and they've been working hard since September.  Declan plays the part of one of the elves and is having great fun.  He also takes piano lessons and starts Basketball this week. Better to be busy than bored, I guess.

Amelia continues to play and LOVE the trumpet. I never would have guessed she'd be such a "band geek" (I say that affectionately) but she is and she's loving it.  She is also playing Basketball and she'll start softball in the spring.  She is busy with her dog walking business and I joke that she makes more money than I do. :)  Amelia's big news, however, is that her scoliosis is now at a point where she has to wear a grace. She just started wearing in a few days ago, so it's still a major adjustment, but she's doing great so far. 

30+ degree curve middle- top is 24+ degree

Finn continues to be Finn. He is taking swim lessons as his only extra curricular activity. He's content to just do that, and so are we.  We've both been making friends, though, both at jazzercise and through mother's club.  It's been fun to have some social interactions.

The Christmas season is upon us and we've enjoyed Advent services at the church we've been attending. We also hosted Matt's department here for a Christmas party, so it was fun to get the house ready for guests. 

Party time!
We saw a "reindeer" scoping out the house, and the kids have played Santa a ton as well.

Above- one of Santa's reindeer looking for a landing spot!
Below, my own reindeer and Santa and helper.
And, because we don't want to live here and not do the things that there are to do- we visited Edaville. It's an amusement park South of Boston (pretty close to the Cape actually) that has a train that runs through its festival of lights. The big kids sat on Santa's lap, we decorated cookies, we rode the train and we had a great time!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Projects, Projects and more Projects

Both an advantage and disadvantage of not working is that I have lots of time on my hands. I'd love to say that my house is super clean or that I whip up gourmet meals, but I can't. (In my defense for the meals, we do eat at home just about every night, but evening is actually when we are busy, so no gourmet!)  But what I have done is started a lot of home projects (which I talked about earlier). While this is great in making this house "ours" it kind of stinks for my husband because that means I shop and spend money just about every day. haha. But, seriously, I'm still a bargain shopper and I think most of what I have bought are good, sound purchases.  Pictures to follow of the living room now done with the exception of maybe some square ottomans to sit against the wall and eventually a new couch or couches. 

We are definitely settling into a routine here. It's great. The kids are enjoying their activities and school, I am learning the area more and more each day and the weather and foliage is gorgeous.  We can't complain about the fall weather here, that's for sure!

We are gearing up for a visit from "Nanoo and Grampa" (Matt's parents) so that should be awesome for the kids.  That will quickly be followed by Finn's birthday, our Halloween party, Matt's birthday/visit from my dad and brother for the Steeler's/Pat's game, then the Hanley's visit, then Matt's brother visits and it's Thanksgiving. Whew! We'll be busy but in a good, fun way!!

Not sure if I posted this already. My favorite project. I found this pallet type thing in our woods. It's great for haning all of the kids' stuff. I do plan to paint bright gold behind it, but we have some repair work that needs done to the wall first. I took out the funky desk that was there.

My foyer bench- one of my Consignment finds
Living/Family room

Living/Family room complete with photo bomber.                                                                                                                      

My other photo bomber. The wall is actually a grey blue color. At certain times of day it seems to match the dining room built ins, but it is actually much more blue. I like how it provides flow between the rooms, though. The ottomans will go to right of TV console

Our back woods. Can't wait to see this in the winter
View down our driveway towards main road

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From closer to the house, looking down drive

Looking across our front yard

front door. I love the giant mums

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall is in the air

 Everyone promised that the Fall would be beautiful here in New England. And although it has only technically been fall for a few days, so far I couldn't agree more! There are lots of apple orchards here and plenty of trees and already they are slowly starting to change color- and sometimes even smile at me!

School is in full swing now and all three kids are totally loving it. They are making friends and seem to be caught up academically so we are so happy for that.  Declan has started practicing (5 hours a week!) for a theater production. It's a Christmas show called "Dobb's Diner". It seems really fun and he loves it. He's also taking piano and so far, so good with that.  Amelia has had 2 Field Hockey games and while she's still learning, really enjoys it.  And Finn will start swimming in October. Busy and fun!

I have been busy trying to get involved with PTO, exercise class, and the local mother's club; basically ways to  try to keep busy and meet some people. As much as I love Finn, he's not exactly giving me adult conversation (though sometimes the stuff he says is amazing).  We spent a lovely day Sunday with some new friends and it was so good for us to feel "social". We are planning to host a Halloween party. It might be small, but it will be a fun way to get to know some people better.

The other thing that I've been doing is slowly work on house projects.  We lived in our house in Westerville for 8 years. Everyone knows I pretty much did not like the house from the day I moved in. However, there were several projects I wanted to do that would have really improved the house. The biggest project we wanted done was to have a patio put in.  Matt drug his feet about every house project, including that one. Finally we had it put in, and had landscaping done, last fall. We loved it. We had about 2 weeks to enjoy it.  I think that really kind of hit home with Matt that why wait to do some of the "fun" projects? Do them while WE get to enjoy them. So he's been on board with some of my craziness.  
Below are some pictures that show the "after" of the dining room as well as my new TV console. It was quite a find!! Once we paint the wall behind it I will do some after pictures of that room as well.
TV Console. Was to be sold as a sideboard, but I loved it for this!

New table, painted the built in hutch grey, removed the bookshelves, new hardware.

The "new" columns. Don't they look a million times better than the weird Roman ones?

The light is really bad in this picture, but on the right is my grandma's old curio. I did a shabby chic paint on it of grey and white.

You can see the curio better in this picture.
We even took the baby blue carpet off of the stairs! They really really need painted, but it's still a major improvement!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Almost a Month

Our trip to Boston with mom and dad
It's a miracle! mimi hits the beach!

Paul Revere's House

Oh my! It's been almost a month since I posted?! I guess I feel like I've been posting alot of our activity on FB so I haven't had much to say on here.

My parents came for a whole week to visit us at the end of August. That kept us busy, but it was so fun to explore with someone else and, of course, to have visitors!  While I've made a few friends, I don't get to see them very much, so it can get a bit quiet around here. Everyone knows I like to talk, so it was nice to have someone to chat with for a week!  

The kids started school last week and they all 3 seem to be liking it so far. No homework yet, and still settling in, so we'll see how they feel in a week or two once we've really battened down.

Amelia has started field hockey. She said she's still learning and is kind of slow, but she thinks it is really fun and has met some more girls- so that's good.   Declan will start practice to be in a community (children's) play this week and he'll start piano next week. Busy fall schedules, but good. Still trying to decide what to do with Finn- I'm hoping maybe swim lessons.  I will also be taking him along with me to Jazzercise on his off days from school. Something new for me, too! I've never done it. I haven't worked out since March, though- so it's [well past] time!!

I am really enjoying the area and the things there are to do here. It is historical and beautiful.  However- I'm not sure if it's a local thing, a NE thing or maybe everywhere (since I've never been new before) but it is SO HARD to get information from people. Geezy peet, it's driving me crazy.  For instance there was a paper sent home with Declan on the first day (not before school started mind you) that said "if you will pick up your child from school every day please fill out this slip and turn it in. You will come to the school doors and your child will be called from the cafe for you to get." Okay, fine. But what if you have to just get your child sometime?   So, I called the school today as I have to get Declan every Tuesday. The lady answers "hello" (not who she is) I basically tell her I know if I'm picking up every day I needed to fill out that paper, but what if it's only once in awhile (or in my case, once a week). And, I kid you not,  this woman who WORKS IN THE SCHOOL says, "Well, now you know, I'm not really sure." WHAT DO YOU MEAN???? She goes on to say "I guess you just write a note to the teacher saying you'll be picking up" I have to reply "But, do I need to park and come into the  building, or is there a different method?" Again her reply is, "well, I guess that's what you do, but you'd really have to talk to (different person). UGH.  Certainly I am not the only person who has had this issue- right?
   Example 2- Amelia's school has given very specific instructions on how and what time to drop the kids off in the morning if you drive them. But nothing has been said if they are walkers. What door they should go in, if it's okay to get there early and stand around outside.. nothing.  
Example 3- I signed Declan up for a play/children's theater type of thing. I never got anything beyond the basic flyer. It had how much I owe and when I need to pay it and the time and days of practice. It somehow assumed I knew WHERE practice was, sign in/drop off procedure and who to pay.  Even after I asked those questions she never bothered telling me who to make a check out to.  

Can you tell I'm frustrated today? It's feels different to me than Ohio in that there people were always willing to go out of their way to help you, guide you, instruct  you, help you find the answers. Here I fell like I'm always kind of just on my own.  It also doesn't help that I don't have a network of people to ask, either.  Oh well. Still finding our way- and next year I'll "just know", too.

Oh, I have been working on my dining room re-do also. I am almost done- and will post before and afters when I'm completely finished! That's been my project of the month! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bird is the word!!!

I know there are lots of people out there who don't like birds. My mother is one of them. I've never really minded birds as long as they don't poop on me or fly to close to my head.

I've tried several times before to have bird feeders but for one reason or another it's never worked out. Usually we are over run with squirrels, I can't keep up on the food, or Matt complains that we get weeds from where the seed spills.

Well, this house came with several bird feeders- so I figured I'd give it a shot again. So, whether or not the feeders are empty early- I fill them each Sunday. We have 3 feeders outside of our kitchen window, 1 outside of our bedroom window and 2 in the back yard.  I'd guess that by Thursday or Friday the feeders are empty- WORD IS OUT!! I look out my window and see what I like to call the "bird smorgasbord".  Birds are literally lined up to take a turn at the feeders. This happens all day long.  We have common finches, crows, bluejays, cardinals, pigeons/doves, chickadees (state bird of Ma), woodpeckers, robins and more.  We bought a book just to identify them. It's been so interesting and fascinating to watch them.  But--- the best part--- we now have TURKEYS! Yes, you read that correctly- the neighborhood has a family of turkeys living here.  They come each afternoon or evening and they eat all of the bird seed that is on the ground.  It is crazy!!!  Living kind of in the country I was expecting some wildlife, but not THIS wildlife!!
Gobble, Gobble

In other news- the kids and I took a whirlwind 10 day trip to Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York to see family (and we snuck some friend time in there, too). It was really bittersweet to see everyone. We had a great, great time, but now I miss everyone even more!! Our trip was capped off by a visit by my sister and her family.  We had a great time and even enjoyed our first New England Lobster Bake!! It was fantastic!

Pa for Max's adoption court hearing. He's official! Yay!

Long Beach- Cousins!

Amelia captures her inner colonial girl

Finn has found his calling- Minuteman.  The other boys liked it.
We couldn't get Finn out of the costume.

Lobster Bake! ALL fresh, local ingredients.
 In house news- the exterior walls and roof are now repaired. The metal fabrication/roof guy found some other issues that need to be addressed- but  we should be mostly good to go for now. And, it didn't cost quite as much as we anticipated- so that's good.  Our patio has been enlarged, a lot of landscaping has been done and most of our interior projects are completed.  We will probably hold off on the other projects for now- so we can save some money. I'll likely to most of the painting myself.  It's been quite an ordeal, but once it's all behind us I feel we will really enjoy the house.  I do feel that this sign sums it up, though.  Thanks to my sister for buying it for me once I spotted it. 

In kid news- softball is over, but Amelia is signed up to play instructional field hockey. Sounds fun.  She will also be playing trumpet for the middle school band (not marching band, just class).  Declan is signed up to do a play that will rehearse from Sept-Dec and performances will be held in December.  He'll also pick piano lessons back up. We are just waiting to get matched up with an instructor. Busy will be good.  They all start school the week of Labor Day. The big kids the 4th, Finn the 6th. Wish me luck in our final stretch!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

6 Weeks to become a "masshole"

I feel like a new mom. I can't believe it's already been 6 weeks and yet it's been the longest most tiring 6 weeks... 

We got our license plates this week. So- as the people who live in New Hampshire would say- we are officially massholes. I think that is a direct link to your car, too, not just by living here. The drivers here are um, colorful (to be kind).  There is a lot of aggressive driving and a lot of defensive driving. If you are somewere in the middle like me it makes for witnessing some interesting traffic.  When people complain about the traffic here, they aren't kidding. It's awful. But what makes it the most awful is that there is no rhyme or reason for why exactly it's bad. It makes no sense.  Oh well- I've already learned to just plan on it taking twice as long to get somewhere as it should. :)

The issues with the house are ongoing, but I won't dwell on that.  In addition to solving all of those we have decided to do some "fun stuff" to the house right away and not wait 7 years like the last house. We want to enjoy some of the personalized changes we are making. Some built ins are coming down, the weird roman columns are getting an appropriate update, some landscaping is getting done- it's great!

I will post pictures once more progress is made- but they are definitely awesome changes and I want to be real life besties with my general contractor and his son. They've been so incredible!!

One thing I've posted about on FB and not here that I'm super excited about is that the beach (the real Atlantic Ocean beach) is less than an hour from here!!! We've only been to one of several recommended beaches, but we went there twice. We tagged along with my new friend Tina's family the first time, then just our little family unit went the second time. I'm super excited to probably go to that beach a 3rd time when my sissy comes to visit in a few weeks! Don't fix what's not broken, right? 

It's called Wingaersheek Beach and it's in Gloucester (Glousta), Mass. It's an inlet so it's very very shallow for really far out with sandbars and tons of big rocks the form tide pools. Great for catching crabs, shrimp, hermit crabs, etc. So fun for the kids (and us)!

She actually wasn't scared at all to catch and hold the crabs- but this one was pinching her right as I took the photo. oops!

One of the bigger crabs she caught

We also have found a babysitter thanks to our nice neighbor- she asked around to some friends and found us some contacts. Nicole came last week while Matt and I checked out our little town on an afternoon date.  Here are a few pictures taken from the deck of the restaurant we ate at.  Isn't it quaint?
They don't sell Yueng-Ling in Mass so I've had to switch to Sam Adams. In this pic have seasonal, Matt has regular. 

ghThis is the town Center- and behind that white church is the town "Common".  You can't tell from the picture but where the grey and white cars are stopped is what I refer to as the "25 way intersection". I think it's only 5 or 6 way- but it's a lot for busy roads to converge. And I've been told that until recently there were not stop lights there. whoa! 

Softball has been a godsend for us. We've met some really nice people and it gives all of us something to do a few times a week. It is wrapping up this weekend with a tournament. Back to back games right now; so I am catching up on blogging while Finn catches up on some sleep and Matt holds down the fort at the game.  

Until next time---