Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall 2016 - season of change and growth

Fall 2016 - a season of change and growth

Curtis was so excited to start his senior year of high school.  He got a little frustrated when he realized how hard his classes are and it's not all fun and games this year. He finally passed the driver's exam on the third attempt and that really boosted his confidence and mood.  We're still driving with him for a few months.

In the afternoon, Curtis goes to a forestry program at the neighboring high school.  Jonathan and I took turns attending his forestry competitions.  It was fun to watch his sawing events and he placed really well in tree identification, even earning his first ribbon.

The third week of September, Trevor was readmitted to his transitional program. (Long four months working toward that).  He's still working four mornings a week and then goes to Northstar in the afternoons.  He's taking math and science classes online.

Trevor is no longer a teenager.  For his birthday, he picked seven new recipes from his favorite cookbook for me to make for him, so we had a birthday weekend full of yummy food.

Our good friend, Murray, died on Sept 24th.  The Hensches have been our closest friends in New Hampshire and we've spend many holidays and birthdays together.  We've spent several hours a week helping his wife, Lynn, sort through his possessions and sell them.  The ward really rallied around the whole family.  It's been an intense time of loss and growth as we've walked through this with them.

Celebrating Lynn's 50th birthday on Oct 31st with pumpkin pie (made by Jonathan)

Jonathan and I were able to take a quick anniversary trip to the White Mountains during the peak of fall foliage.  We went to Squam Lakes nature center in Holderness and hiked Mt. Fayal to view the lake.  We stayed in N. Conway and went to Echo Lake state park the next morning..  It was relaxing and refreshing trip.

Prepping update:  Jonathan completed CERT training, we took a class from the local PD about responding to an active shooter event and are studying for Ham Radio licensing exam this Saturday (technician for me and general for Jonathan).  Jonathan learned how to turn honey comb into purified bees wax.  I dusted off the pressure canner and learned how to make pickles and relish from our prolific garden.

I also went with a group of gals from church to Time Out For Women in Rochester, NY.  It was a fun weekend and great spiritual recharge.  I've started seeing a counselor and that has really helped me sort through family issues and advocate for me own needs better.

All in all, a good season.  Winter here is hard because it's cold for sooooo long.  We have Jason's wedding to look forward to January 6th in South Jordan.  It will be great to see family and friends.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Our Trip to Oregon August 2016

Our whole family together for a few days at Rockaway Beach, Oregon

We left on an early morning flight Friday the 12th.  Jonathan's good buddy Murray drove us to the airport.  Our nice neighbors took care of the chickens, ducks, and cats while we were gone.  We owe them big.

In Portland we rented a car and drove straight to Eldon & Janeil's in Corvallis.  We could not resist picking blackberries, even in the sweltering heat.  Jonathan made two pies from them, and they were about the best he ever made, even if he says so himself.

Jessica drove to Corvallis with Quin and Ammon.  Yay! We finally got to meet our 7 week-old grandson. Velvet was there with Grace, Laura, and Kate.  Brenda's family was there, Berkeley & Meagan, Grant & Ruth, and Jason & Isa were there for supper.
Meeting Ammon

That evening we all went to spread Carl's ashes in McDonald forest.  We met Ken's family there and hiked in to a beautiful, predetermined spot. Grant read some of Carl's poems.  We stopped at nearby Locke Cemetery to see family headstones.
Grace, Kate, Velvet, Laura at MacDonald Forest

Isa and Jason
We're so glad Isa came to meet our family.

After spending the night at the Brewsters in Springfield we met everyone at Avery Park in Corvallis for Carl's celebration of life.  Brenda and Sheryl sang a nice song.  Grant, Velvet, and Brenda gave moving talks.  Sheryl shared a few of Carl's poems.  Neil shared some poems, one from great grandma Kezia.  Brenda sang a few more songs and then we had open microphone.  Jason, Curtis, Jonathan, Mike Andrus, Carl's friends, and Janeil all shared some thoughts and memories.  We laughed through our tears.  Everyone had a good visit and plenty to eat.
Ruth and Velvet

Teen cousins - Sam, Curtis, Erik

We caravanned with the Brewster's and Goodwin's from the park to the coast.  It was a long drive, mostly north.  We stopped at the Tillamook cheese factory, which was a bust because it was crazy crowded, like Paris on new year's eve.  Instead of waiting in a long line for ice cream cones, we bought some half gallons to eat at the resort.

Rockaway Beach was an awesome location for the family reunion.  Eldon and Janeil rented some large beach houses for us all to stay in at Harbor Villa Resort.  It was nicer than Camp Alpine in some ways--lots of bedrooms and two large rooms for meals and games and a grassy backyard for the little kids to run around in. It was a short walk to the beach, where Grandpa Jonathan went with Quin a few times, and everyone else went to walk along the shore or play in the sand.

Grandpa Dodge and Ammon

Jessica and Quin enjoying some beach time

Quin LOVED running through the shallow water at Rockaway Beach

Quin playing with second cousins

Sunday morning we went to church.  At least half the people there were tourists.  That afternoon most of the group went on a "short" hike that turned into at least 4 miles round trip, and very steep.  We loved it, although Sheryl was not wearing her new hiking shoes, and Jessica was busy with Ammon.  Grandpa Jonathan stayed back with Jessica and Ammon, and by gum we all reached the top where the view was AMAZING.  This is where Jeff Goodwin proposed to Stephanie, so they were excited to show it to their kids. To top it all off, there were some German tourists there.  They took our picture.  The name of this place is Neah-Kah-Nie, which is easy to remember because it sounds like 'neocon' with an 'e' at the end.

Beautiful view of Northern Oregon coastline

Isa, Jason, Jessica

After a (late) salmon supper there was a fireside where Berkeley & Meagan Andrus and Zachary Olsen told about their recent missions.  Jason and Isa made everyone customized milk shakes.
The newlyweds - Meagan and Berkeley

We took turns making meals for the whole group.  Trevor made a marvelous Mexican Lasagna.

Jason skim boarding

That afternoon our whole group went on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad ride to Garibaldi, after which Jason, Trevor, and Curtis played on the Andruses boogie boards and skim boards.  It was as much fun to watch them get in and out of the wetsuit as to play in the water.  Thanks to Mike and Sam Andrus for making that fun.
Trevor boogie boarding

Monday evening was the talent show, which was surprisingly short, so Jonathan was invited to talk about being prepared and stuff.  It was a great chance for doom and gloom in front of a microphone, explaining how the criminal banking system works.  Trevor played the harmonica, and Jason sang as he played the guitar (sounded pretty good this time).  That night we played board games with Trevor.

The "Ungame"

Tuesday morning, after Jonathan played with Quin on the beach one last time, we packed up and drove to Cape Meares with the Brewster's.  Jason and Isa were to meet us there, but there was a delay and no mobile phone service, so we missed them.  They spent the night in Bend on their way back to Utah.  On the way they unofficially announced their engagement (or was it that they announced their unofficial engagement?).  Anyway, Jonathan was THRILLED and unofficially told everyone he saw for the next several days.

Back in Springfield... Wednesday began with a shopping trip to BiMart and SuperEvilEmpire.  Jessica and Sheryl got new clothes, and Jonathan bought things to update Michael and Jessica's 3-day kits.  Later that day we went to Splash, a big indoor wave pool.  Grandpa Jonathan stayed in the the old fogey chairs with Ammon while everyone else had a blast swimming, especially Quin.  That evening, Michael took Trevor and Curtis to a Star Trek movie, which they all enjoyed.

Thursday morning was Jonathan's "vacation moment"  as he took Quin in a jogging stroller for a jog.  Then we all walked to a park and let Quin play.  After that we walked to Cafe Yumm for lunch.  Jessica and Sheryl canned pears while Jonathan worked on the 3-day kits (driving everyone NUTS in the process) and Michael played video games with Trevor and Curtis.

Friday we drove to Portland and went to OMSI.  For everyone except Quin, it was old hat.  But Quin was so excited he practically did summersaults in the rubber ball pen.  That made it fun.  Later that hot day was Berkeley and Meagan's wedding reception.  It was in a nice building at a park in Hillsboro.  They served ice cream sundaes and every topping imaginable. Grandpa Jonathan hung out with Quin at a nearby playground, and helped with Ammon a while too.  It was awesome.

Grandma and Quin finding all the letters

Brenda and bridesmaids enjoying Sundaes

 We spent that night with our good friends the Sorensen's, who live in Hillsboro.  Unfortunately Bob was gone on a business trip, so he and Jonathan did not get to stay up late laughing and dooming.  But Pam shared a good dose of doom with us, so it was all good.

with Pam Sorensen

Saturday morning we stopped at the Andruses.  It was difficult to say goodbye.  Then we stopped at the rental house in Lebanon and finally met Katie.  She has done wonders with the house and yard.  That night, back in Springfield, Jonathan & Sheryl watched Quin and Ammon (we watched the Lego movie) while Michael & Jessica went on a real date.  After that we played the game Splendor.
Saying a tearful goodbye to Brenda

Sunday morning Eldon and Janeil stopped in before church.  At church Michael gave Ammon his baby blessing.  After that we had a big party with Michael's family who were there for the blessing.  It was great to see everyone.  Kind of odd sharing Quin and Ammon with another set of grandparents because we love those little boys so much, but it is good.  It is all part of the plan.

Ammon and Great Gma on blessing day

Mother-daughter moment

After the Brewster clan left, we went for a walk along the McKenzie River (where Jonathan jogged with Quin).  It was beautiful, and there were a few blackberries left on the bushes.  That night we feasted on Jessica's amazing curry chicken, and we played Splendor where Jessica won and Jonathan actually enjoyed it this time.  Then came the very difficult goodbye and the drive to Corvallis to spend the night with Eldon and Janeil.  "Why are we always living in the wrong place?!?!  Why don't we just move back?"

Monday was filled with travel back to New Hampshire, the cats, the chickens, the ducks, and the nice neighbors who took care of everything while we were gone.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Our summer so far (written on August 12th en route to Oregon)

The most exciting news since my last newsletter...
Jessica delivered Ammon on June 25.  We are on the plane to meet him right now.  He is a cute, mellow, little guy who just started smiling.  Jessica, Michael and Quin have adjusted well to this wonderful addition to their family (with occaisional meltdowns).    

Baby Ammon

I completed a weekend-long CERT training and joined the Nashua team.  Community Emergency Response Teams respond to emergencies and assist paid professionals (often first responders on the scene).  Jonathan will attend the next training as he was busy at a Ham Radio event.  He joined a club with his friend Murray and he's been studying for the next level of licensing so he can operate the equipment he's already purchased:)  He also bought a second cargo trailer and his latest project is fabricating metal hand carts in case we have to go off road when the "guacamole hits the fan."

Our garden had a slow start with some erratic weather.  Also with too many chicken in the coop we started letting them out in the back yard and they got into the greenhouse a few times. They destroyed the spinach and kale but left the radished and tomato plants alone.  We added a screen door and put chicken wire on the open side of the greenhouse and everyone is much happier.  Now the garden is really producing and with the abundance of cucumbers and zuchini I have been canning pickle relish.  I also pressure-canned most of white meat from our own chickens to add more protein to our food storage.

I was released as Relief Society president last month after 2 years 9 months.  I learned a lot from serving in Relief Society and really grew to love the women in the ward.  It was a big time commitment, however, and I had a hard time juggling everything. Now I'm back teaching the four year-olds.  Whew! It's fun to be in Primary with Jonathan.  He plays the piano during singing time and then visits my class.

Castle in the Clouds

We took a fun day trip with Curtis to "Castle in the Clouds" in Wolfeborough, NH.  I had free libary passes and sold Jonathan on the idea because in addition to being free there was a large classic car show event there.  It's a large estate and mansion built  with the state of the art technology at the turn of the century by a self-made millionaire. We had a great time in spite of rain clouds obscurring the view of Lake Winnepesauke. 

"View" of Lake Winnepesauke

Trevor started a job last week!  His transitional program set it up and it is his program right now to work four mornings a week "bagging and tagging" at a facility that manufactures magnetic shields for surgery equipment.  He was very excited to get his first pay check yesterday.  The work is pretty monotonous so he was happy that he can listen to audio books/music while he works.  He is looking  for good young adult book recommendations.

This has been a summer of change and growth for Trevor in many ways.  He is more aware of his need for help and has worked hard with counseling and medication.  He is really pushing himself to learn new things and make social connections.  He often attends FHE with the student ward that meets in Lowell, MA and is taking music lessons.

Curtis has had a fun summer.  His extended school year program focused on lots of outdoor, team-building activities with a field trip every Thursday.  Stake Youth Conference was a unique experience as he went with 120 people on three tour buses to Palmyra.  They went to the Smith farm, sacred grove, Grandin building, Palmyra temple and of course, the Hill Cumorrah pageant.   He is ready to attempt the DMV drivers test as soon as we get back from Oregon.  He is way more excited than we are.

Jason is driving to the family reunion with his girlfriend, Isa.  We're looking forward to seeing him and meeting Isa.  He recently changed jobs and will start next week working at three different storage units in Salt Lake area.  He plans to start taking night classes at LDS business college.

Jason and Isa

Well, we're on our way to Oregon for 10 days.  Next newsletter will be about our family-event  packed trip that will include a memorial for Carl, family reunion, wedding reception for nephew Berkeley and baby blessing for Ammon.