Thursday, December 29, 2005

Before and after an English lesson

So, J and Dayton were hanging out together on our last night in Billings. At first, Dayton was having a great time:

Then J started talking to him about something about analyzing English literature and look what happened to the poor kid--out like a light!

Also, Josh, Mandy, Delaney and Kaitlyn stopped by on Thursday night to say goodbye and I snagged this picture of Josh with Kaitlyn (she goes by Kaity, but I wasn't sure how they spell it...)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gonna get you!

Our nephew Micah (Jess and Shad's youngest) became a crawling fiend while in Billings. I got down on the floor to take a picture of him crawling (wearing the hat I knit for him) and got this shot:

As you might be able to to tell from the dark background of the picture, the flash went off and I was afraid it had hurt Micah's eyes....but the boy loves flashing lights and kept heading toward me to get me, so I got this adorable shot:

Talk about an adorable face!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Spinning 'round and 'round

The last time we were in Billings, the young James boys received Beyblades spinning tops as gifts. The older boys (Shad, Trevor, J and Josh) played with them after the young ones went to sleep, to the point where one of the tops ("Old Blue" was her name) exploded in a blaze of glory. You can ask Trevor about "Old Blue" and he'll extole her many virtues.

Well, this year the big boys got their own Beyblades. Here are some action shots:

And yes, they're playing using an inverted pot-top as their arena.

On Thursday, we were getting milk at Albertson's and they had a real, genuine-article Beyblade arena on clearance for $2, so the tournament was world-class on Thursday more pot tops for these boys!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day

After a sleepy Christmas morning, we got ready for the Christmas open house at Kathy's. Trent's daughters and their families came, Josh and Mandy and the girls came, plus Suzy, Russ and Judy, and all the folks that were around on Christmas Eve.

Here are two pictures of cutie-pie Dayton, who was working on holding his own head up while we were there.

And here's a nice shot of Kathy and Trent:

P.S. If anyone out there (Jess? Kathy?) has a picture of J and I together during our visit, please email it to me! We don't have any pictures of the two of us this Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Thankfully, our travels went smoothly (all three flights!) and we arrived in Billings around 7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve. The party was already in full swing at Kathy's house when we arrived.
Below are some pictures of the older kids with their nose warmers...they humored their Auntie Kahla very kindly.

After opening gifts, we all snuggled down for a long winter's nap. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My first sock!!!

Not meaning that it was the first sock I ever had, but the first sock I ever KNITTED!! I started small so it wouldn't be so overwhelming.
J's disappointed that it doesn't fit him.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Here it is with all the lights and stuff! It is B-U-T-FUL!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2005


We went and got our Christmas tree today!! I think it's quite lovely. We're relieved that we have similar tree taste--this is our first time picking a live tree together.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving....very low key with just the two of us. We tried lots of new recipes from food network and they were all tasty!

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I listed "crafts" as something this blog is about, so here's the first crafty post....

I made these adorable felted pumpkins for fall. I got the pattern from

Even J has admitted that they're fairly charming. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Finally, a nicer day...or at least this morning was.

We got some pictures of the finished deck, so here they are, finally. :)

From the driveway:

Here's from inside the kitchen:

J was happy to see that the deck is still sitting level:

We got outside this morning to try and clean up some of the thousands of pine needles that have fallen in all of the recent storms. Here's a picture of needles that were on the driveway:

We know you thought we were joking about all the rain we've gotten, but these extra garbage cans were open during all of the rain and you'll notice that they're full to overflowing:

I just looked out the window and IT'S SNOWING!!! Not hard, but still, there is snow coming down. That is not right, especially since they're forecasting 60 degrees for tomorrow.
I just finished an adorable fall knitting project..I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chrissa and Kevin's Wedding

It was quite a blustery day (48 degrees with 20 mph winds=feels like 40 degrees), but as the first sunny day in over a week, it meant that the wedding would be outside. Here's a picture of J and me (don't you like J's tie?). This is a finalist for a Christmas card picture.

There are a ton more pictures posted on Chrissa and Kevin's wedding website. I'm so self-centered that I'm only including a picture of us because I think it's especially cute. :)

I was going through the pictures on the computer and found this from our engagement (2.5 years ago already!). I think it's hilarious how much younger we look. However, when I think of the converse, i.e. how much older we look in the first picture, then I freak out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Very Behind

Dave says, "I see nothing interesting has been happening with the two of you...there's nothing new on the blog." Oops. I shouldn't harass people to read the blog and then not post, hmm? :)

Too much stuff has been happening, actually....Chrissa's wedding, and then Tim's wedding. The camera batteries are currently recharging so the new photos will have to wait until tomorrow at least. Instead I share this lovely photo from St. John, where we'd much prefer to be today after 3 more inches of rain and 55-60 mph winds (I know, I know, I shouldn't complain because we didn't actually get hit by the hurricane, but we've had maybe 4 sunny days in all of October and we're getting depressed). (P.S. that's also why we haven't posted a completed deck's been raining and we haven't been able to take a picture)

The good news is that we purchased our tickets to Billings for Christmas and we only have 3 flights each way (optimal is 2, but who wants to pay $800 for each of us?), not 4...Seriously, there was one option that was:
Providence to Detroit
Detroit to Minneapolis
Minneapolis to Grand Forks
Grand Forks to Billings.
All in a 14 hour span! Now we just go Providence to Detroit to Minneapolis to Billings. Those of you around Minneapolis we'll be calling you if we get stranded there on Christmas Eve. :) We'll keep our fingers crossed that the weather cooperates.

Ok, that's all for now. I can't believe that it's a week until November.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Extreme-ly Cool

Extreme Makeover Home Edition is building a house 2 miles from us! We went on site and while we were there they used the crane to put in the tub:

And then they were putting in the floor of the second floor.

They demolished the old house YESTERDAY and look what they already have! Sheesh! It's a corner lot and not very wide streets, so they're framing it up a half mile up the road and then driving it in on the flatbead trailers.

There weren't any members of the design team on site today...rumor has it that they're finishing up a house in Maine during the basic construction of this house. I did see the one and only "move that bus" bus while I was on playground duty yesterday morning. Very cool. More details to follow.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Final Screw

No, that's not a dirty title. Take a look at this:

That's right....that's the final screw of the deck! Notice that J is smiling, knowing that it's all coming to an end.

Of course, all did not go smoothly, because come on, would a day of working on the deck be complete without a little adversity?
See this picture?

That's the second to last screw, which stripped 1/4 of an inch from the rail and was a real bugger to remove. Notice the less-than-thrilled look on J's face. We knew that things had been going too smoothly....but, we conquered it and then we celebrated:

We even put the camera on the nice wide railing to take this timer picture!

We'll post a beautiful, finished deck photo once the inspector comes and we can put the table, grill, etc. on there for the full effect.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fun in Holyoke.

Today we met Suzy, Andy, Tom and Lexi in Holyoke, MA at a state park. It was a gorgeous fall day and there was much fun to be had.
Here's a picture of Tom, the cutie pie!

We had a nice picnic and then we RODE THE MERRY-GO-ROUND!! Let me tell you, it's been a while since I rode a merry-go-round and it was a lot of fun. J swears his horse beat mine, but I disagree.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Happy Wedding, Donna and Drew!

This weekend I traveled to Ohio (sans Justin) to celebrate the wedding of my cousin Donna and my new cousin-in-law Drew (obviously I know that's not really his title). The wedding was a lot of fun because the bride and groom were very obviously happy. Here's a picture of the happy couple:

I also got to see my parents and Erin and Dave. Here's a shot of me with Erin--everyone kept saying we look alike.

J was a work horse and worked on the deck while I was gone...and he helped some friends of ours move. I definitely think I got the better end of the deal.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back in the saddle again

We've gone back to school! Ack!

Actually, everything is going pretty well...evacuation practice (fire drill) is always interesting with kindergarteners for the first time, and today was no exception. My new students have been lovely...hopefully that's not just a first week of school phenomenon.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

back to school

both J and I have had professional days this week as we prepare for students to arrive on on earth did September arrive so quickly?! No big plans for my birthday on Saturday...a few BBQs to attend this weekend, so maybe we'll do the birthday dinner out the following weekend.

28 sounds old to me. And at my new school, I definitely feel older than I did at my last school, because there are a lot of young teachers.

I think my new library will be ready for the kids. The back workrooms are another story, but the main library should be fine.

I keep meaning to post pictures of my knitting creations, but I keep giving them to people before I get around to photographing them. Maybe I'll take a picture of the purse I knit and then felted.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rock Star J

J worked like a rock star today and we actually have steps! Now we just need hand railings to go with those steps and we can call the building inspector and have the deck approved! The end is in sight, thank goodness!


We were excited to have Cass and Sarah Sobek in town this weekend...they're attending a wedding in Boston today, so we wandered around downtown yesterday to see the sights. We took them to our favorite bakery for their first cannolis (Homer Simpson would say "Mmmm... cannolis.")
Here are some photos:

We'd love to have you all visit!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It just figures....

...that as soon as we started mixing the concrete for the pad at the bottom of the stairs, a thunderstorm started rolling in. We managed to get it all mixed and covered without disastrous results, but come on, when do the breaks start? Needless to say, we were drenched by the time this part of the project was done. We tried to etch our initials in the concrete after it set up a bit, but it's harder to do that than they make it look in the movies. Or maybe we just bought cheap concrete.

(Obviously you can't see the concrete under the'll just have to believe us that it's there. This oh so lovely picture of me is the most recent shot of the deck WITH THE RAILINGS!!!) :)

A funny turn of events means we'll be heading back to New Hampshire tomorrow (different destination this time) to visit some of J's work colleagues at their place there. Maybe we should move there...they do have that cool "Live Free or Die" motto!

White Mountains

Here's a little more detail on our trip:
We drove up to Bretton Woods on Sunday afternoon and checked into the Bretton Arms Country Inn (part of the Mt. Washington Resort, but not in the big hotel). Here's a picture of the Mt. Washington Hotel from the main road:

Tiny, huh? Probably could have found a nicer setting, too, if they worked at it. :)

But seriously, it was built in 1902 and it was one of those grand, all-inclusive resorts where people used to "summer," back when people took the whole summer off. It was much cooler up there, so we understood why people flocked up there to escape the summer heat in Boston. We got a recommendation for dinner and had a nice meal outside on the deck at Rosa Flamingo's on Sunday night.

Monday we got up and had a disastrous meal before heading out on our hike. We hiked up Mt. Willard to overlook Crawford's Notch (see picture in the earlier post). Then we went to an overlook called Cathedral Ledge. After lunch we relaxed (J read a book and I knitted) on the AMAZING veranda that overlooks Mt. Washington. Here's a shot of the veranda:

And here's the view of Mt. Washington that you have from the veranda:

On Monday night we were going out for our fancy anniversary dinner and stopped for gas on the way there....and in true J and Kahla traveling fashion, tried to start the car only to find that my car battery had died and we needed a jump. Thankfully the restaurant was very understanding and had a table waiting for us 1 hour later (only 30 minutes before closing). The dinner was amazing--Rick's Cafe at the Grand Depot in Littleton--and more than made up for the bad battery incident. The car started just fine and we made it back to the hotel.

But of course on Tuesday when we went to start the car to leave, the battery was dead again. Thanks again, Mom, for the AAA membership! :) We made it home and my car is now the proud owner of a new battery.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Crawford's Notch

Thanks to some of you reading this, J and I spent two lovely nights in the White Mountains of New Hampshire celebrating our first anniversary. The trip was filled with a lot of highlights (hiking, beautiful mountains) and a few lowlights (dead car battery Monday night, dead car battery Tuesday morning), and we'll share more details later, but here's a nice shot to set the mood. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Deck Update

Thank goodness, it's almost over! The railing is up and now the only thing on our check list is the stairs...that's a multiple step process, but still, it's the last step in the long deck-building process.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The *#@%# Deck

Many of you know that we've been in the midst of replacing our deck (which the house inspector told us had been constructed without any regard to building code...they pounded the posts into the ground and crossed their fingers that the frost wouldn't shift it at all). Needless to say, it's been an adventure. Thankfully we've almost completed the project (the decking is on, but we still need stairs and a railing). Here's an amusing photo of J and me using the power auger to dig the holes for the concrete footings. Now, the building code dictates the holes must be 48 inches deep...but the auger only got us to 36 inches before hitting solid ground that it couldn't bore through. Thankfully J and I have muscles of steel (and a great shop vac from the Schillings!) that helped us dig all 5 holes to 48 inches deep.

We've never been so filthy in our lives...the water in the shower was brown from all the dirt. We also had to run our clothes through the wash twice!

I'll attach more photos of the progress later!