Thursday, October 27, 2011

To the Peak of Peaked

The other day a friend and I packed up our cameras and took a hike up Peaked Mountain which is in a neighboring town. It was a glorious day and we were both excited to be outside, get a little exercise and take some pictures. We were careful to wear orange vests just in case any hunters were nearby.    The trails were fairly easy and well-marked and the sun shone gloriously on our way up the mountain.

We made it to our first stopping point...thinking it might be the top....and admired the views.  The clouds wreaked some havoc with our picture taking, covering big areas in shade. But the view was spectacular.

Onward and upward we continued...finding another beautiful spot with a lake. The cloud cover grew and light was not good for photographs.

We came to the highest spot and stayed for a while,  taking pictures with our cameras and iphones and just enjoying the peaceful quiet and the view.   We even had cell service up there at the peak.  At this spot, the view was panaoramic and beautiful.....miles of hills to the left and right. 

One last shot of the trail down. There were many beautiful yellows, reds and oranges along the path. I'm  so glad I went since it is the first time I've been able to appreciate the beauty of fall this year. Thanks Becky!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Texture Tuesday

While watching my son's soccer game last weekend I was pleasantly surprised when several horses appeared out of the woods and rode along the backdrop of trees next to the field.  It must have been some sort of riding club and I understand there are some great trails back in those woods.  I took this photo with another purpose in mind, but decided to add some textures for Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. I used my two favorite textures....Stained Linen and Warn Vignette.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Big Sky

Ever since the tornado the sky has been large....grand....endless.  I'm mesmorized with cloud formations, the color of clouds, the blueness of the sky, the sunrises and sunsets, the moon that is so visible now....and just the amount of sky I can now see.  It's hard not to focus on the weather. The last year we have seen so much bad weather.....from multiple feet of snow to damaging funnel clouds to 10 inches of rain within a few weeks time. 

I have a friend that grew up here but now lives in California. He visited his parents back this past summer and the first thing he said after viewing our new landscape was, "Big Sky." And I thought, YES!!

The neighborhood up the hill now has a clear view of the whole mountain range on the other side of town. What I wouldn't give for that view!  But I've seen some pretty skies right outside our back windows recently. This view took my breath away and I ran for my camera. I'm glad I did because the vibrant orange and dark pink was gone within minutes.

Big skies....are definitely the new normal around these parts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I've really come to realize that it's the small things in life that make you happy.  Today was the first day in several that I awoke to what I knew was going to be a sunny day.  When I went to wake up Chica for school I noticed the beautiful view from her bedroom window.  Well, even though the view in the back of the house is toppled trees and the ongoing reminder of the tornado, the sun coming through the trees and the beautiful sky and clouds made up for it.  I needed sunshine!!

The day got even better when I finally made a call to a local central vacuum company about the lack of suction on our second floor. A friendly man told me to plug the hose in and then cover the other end with my hand until the pressure stopped. I did this a few times and then let the hose run while I ran down stairs for a second.  Then suddenly I heard a strange loud banging noise followed by the sound of a strong suction from the hose upstairs. I knew whatever was clogging the line had dislodged and ran to the basement to see what ended up in the canister.  It was a Bob the Builder toothbrush that had caused my vacuuming issues!

So happy for the little things today!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Brits

When I signed Luke up for British Soccer this past summer I came across the box on the application where you check off if you want to host one of the coaches.  Our friends had done this in the past and really enjoyed it.  The outside of our house was certainly in no shape for visitors back in August (ala tornado), but the inside was fine and I knew I could comfortably host a coach. So I checked off "Maybe".  If they were desperate, I thought, I could rise to the occasion and host a coach. I knew it would be an experience we would never forget. 

Well then the microburst hit on July 27th, just days before the British Soccer Camp was supposed to start.  We lost power for a couple more days and the town was wrecked again from tree damage.  I had an unfamiliar call on my cell phone which turned out to be the British Soccer Camp coordinator looking for a host family for a coach. I had been the only one to express any interest in hosting.  I told the coordinator what we had been through with the tornado and the microburst and said we could probably host one coach, and possibly two if they were desperate (and the coaches were the same gender). 

A few days later I learned that I was indeed going to host two male coaches. I received their bios and before long I was driving to meet our new friends....Joe and Scott.

We met up with the coaches on the Sunday night before camp was to start.  The coaches were going to stay in Luke and Ben's room.  Ben was away on the Cape with his buddy Sam and Luke would sleep in our room. I didn't quite know what to expect. Did I need to have dinner for them for Sunday night? Would the coaches be scared when they saw our treeless street and wrecked yard?

We were happy to meet our new British friends. Joe, 22, was outgoing and friendly with a good sense of humor. Scott, 21, was tall, quieter and intriguing with some funky ear piercings.  Both were easy going, great guests and definitely passionate about soccer!

The coaches left for camp early in the morning and returned for dinner.  As host, I packed them lunches, drinks and snacks every day and also provided breakfast and dinner.  I certainly had to be on my game with planning meals and I found myself at the grocery store every day!  The coaches were pretty tired when they got home at night. They would shower, come down for dinner, have a little play time with the kids and then retire to bed.  The kids bugged Scott to play some video games with of his favorite past times back at home.  The kids also dragged the coaches for a swim in the pool a couple times.

At the end of the week at camp the kids all had the "World Cup" finals. The kids were broken into teams and played little games during the week.  The parents were invited to come and watch so I took that opportunity to snap some photos of our new friends.

Coach Joe 

Coach Demi - she was so sweet and ended up staying with our friends.

Coach Scott

Luke had an absolute blast at camp and loved having the coaches stay at the house.

This was Scott's attempt at imitating Prince Charles.

The kids all came up to receive their evaluations and high fives from the coaches.

The whole crew posed together

The morning after camp ended the coaches all took off for Boston for the day before they went onto their next adventures.  We had to wake the kids up early to say goodbye to the coaches and get a picture. 
Amy is going to miss her buddy, Scott, but hopefully we will keep in touch with the coaches and meet up again some day!

It was some work hosting the coaches....feeding them their meals and keeping up with their laundry. But it was WELL worth it because it is an experience the kids and I will never forget!!