July 2009


On Saturday, I went to Jada’s first birthday party. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!  Kwame and Julie had family in town, Allison and her family was there too and we bbq’d for lunch. The kids used the Slip n Slide (I always wanted one of those when I was little!).  It was one of the first days, it seems, that it was sunny and hot all day, so we enjoyed our time outside.  But then we had to go in for cake and ice cream, of course!  And Jada went straight for the frosting:

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For some reason, she wasn’t really happy that day, and this is as much of a smile (if you even can call it that) that we got out of her!

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Jada, always mean-muggin!

On Thursday, the 23rd, Grant and I celebrated our 4th anniversary.  We went to dinner at Leunig’s Bistro here in town.  We went there once for Valentine’s Day our first year here, but we weren’t that impressed with the food, so we never went back.  Since then, we kept hearing how wonderful it was so we decided to give it another shot.  And it was much better than the last time.  It was a nice, summer night, so after we ate, we walked to Ben & Jerry’s and got some ice cream.  Great food, great company, and a great reason to celebrate.  I love you, coach!

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No, I don’t have a new car, but my lovely Honda Accord is still kickin’!  Turns out, it was the distributer that needed to be replaced.  After learning that the original place it was towed to didn’t have the right equipment to do the diagnostics, we had to pay to have it towed to another place down the road that had the right equipment.  They were able to fix my car for a hefty sum, but here’s the thing: They fixed the car before calling us to tell us what the problem was and how much it would cost to fix it.  Who does that?!  I was pissed.  But I am thankful that my car is set to last a while longer to give us time to find me the perfect car (eventually) !

Saturday was supposed to be a day of hiking and hanging out with friends.  Little did I know, God had other plans:  Allison called in the morning and invited us to go hiking with her family to Camel’s Hump, the highest peak in Vermont.  We were all for it, and even made plans to go to dinner at Kwame and Julie’s once we got back.  Driving to the mountain, my car decided it didn’t want to go.  Step on the gas, nothing.  Any alert lights on the dash go off?  No. Nothing.  Turn off the car and try starting it again and again and again. Nothing.  It sounded like it wanted to, but it wasn’t turning over.  We made a call to Allison and let her know we were stranded in a church parking lot and were going to call a tow truck and to go on without us.  So that’s what we did.  My poor car might be on it’s last leg. It is 16 yrs old (Honda’s last FOREVER!) and has even taken Grant and me across the country to Arkansas from Oregon.

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We are having it looked at, even as I type, and if the cost of repair isn’t too much, I’ll get to keep my car for a little longer before I upgrade to a new one.  If it’s going to cost an arm and a leg for a new part, I might have to say good-bye to my little Honda.  I want a new Honda CR-V and was planning on buying one, but not until next summer.  But, if we end getting a new car, this tow truck guy, Matt, told us to call him first because he loves Hondas–he has a few and likes to fix them up.

Matt: “So before you trade it in or put it up for sale, give me a call and I’ll buy it from you.”  

Us: “Umm, okay!”

A couple hours later, we were at Kwame and Julie’s eating up her delicious guacamole.  But we made room for dinner and dessert, of course!  It was good to see them and the kids.  We heard from Allison via text message later that evening about how they were soaking wet, bleeding, and starving from the hike.  You can kind of see the ominous clouds in the background of that picture, but it poured rain that afternoon, about 10 minutes after my car broke down and kept up for a couple hours.  So maybe missing the hike wasn’t a bad thing?  We will have to try to go some other time, I guess.

Sunday, we went to church and ran a couple errands.  I got on my bike later that afternoon to ride to the bike shop so they could put in my tires, and as I was shifting gears, the chain came off!  Luckily, I was still on my block, but still… I had to walk it back to the house and have Grant help me get it back on.  And it kept doing it until Grant finally said, “just don’t switch gears while you ride up there.”  Arg.  So I did (ride) and didn’t (switch gears).  The nice man at the bike shop filled the tires and worked his magic to get the chain to stay in place while shifting–he even tightened my brakes–and I had a much easier ride home.  I’m glad my bike got fixed, because being sans bike while also being sans car would have made for a grumpy Monday. I could take the bus or have Grant drop me off, but it just messes up my routine, you know? 

I’ll update you on my car once we get the call!  Hopefully nothing else huge will happen between now and then!

It’s been a few days, and there’s nothing new to report on the Ceara front.  This week has been consumed with work.  We are hiring a new athletic trainer, so interviews are happening.  Monday and Tuesday evening, Grant and I had to take candidates to dinner; Wednesday Grant played in his basketball league… I haven’t gone to any games yet, but in the next couple weeks I will.  Work is going to start to pick up even more in the coming weeks, as a staff member just resigned yesterday and someone else will most likely get fired. So the current athletic trainer search won’t be the only search to happen this summer, I’m sure.  

The weather’s been good off and on, so on the good days I’ve been riding my bike to work.  I’ve been working hard on my hydrangeas, trying to keep them from further turning brown.  I was afraid it wasn’t getting enough sun (my Better Homes and Gardens magazine said they need at least 4 hrs every day) because the tree in front of our place ends up blocking a lot of the midday sun, but my mom (who knows the answer to everything you ask her) said it’s probably not getting enough water.  So I’ve been watering the hell out it–once in the morning before leaving for work and again in the evening when I get home, especially if it’s been hot out.  The flowers haven’t returned to their once lovely shade of pink and blue, but the leaves have become more green and there’s a couple new buds starting to grow. Hopefully there is some potential there.  My next set of hydrangeas I think I’ll plant in the back yard, where they can get plenty of sun and I will water profusely after I plant them.  

I’m not sure what the weekend has in store for us.  The weather here is supposed to be crappy on Saturday, with sun on Sunday.  If anything goes down, you know you’ll be the first to know about it here!

It took us exactly 14 hrs each way and we really only got lost trying to get through Montreal (I’d say that’s pretty good!) But we really should have brushed up on our French before leaving the house!  Apparently “west” is spelled “ouest” (or something like that) in French, so to take Aut-15 O means take Aut-15 West. North, East, West, and South should all start with the same letter in every country to minimize the confusion. And why didn’t anyone tell us that our GPS wouldn’t work in Canada?!  Thank goodness for a brand new atlas.  Ahhh, there’s nothing like a new atlas!

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We drove through Montreal, Toronto, and entered Michigan through Port Huron. This is the bridge between Canada and Michigan

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Our main mission on this trip was to get the inside of the Wilson’s house painted.  After 3 days of working about 7 hrs each day, we finished!  This room was our favorite

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Thank you for letting us paint over your wood windows and paneling, Mr and Mrs Wilson!!

Once we finished painting, we got to really take time to visit with family and friends, and eat at places that aren’t here in Vermont: Jimmy John’s (Grant’s favorite sandwich place that I like to call Johnny Johns), Arby’s, Popeye’s (mmmm! extra biscuits please!!!), and my favorite O’Charley’s!

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We were so glad to visit with Grant’s grandmother, who is so sweet.

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One of the other highlights of the trip was Grant’s Uncle Freddie taking us to his favorite Karaoke spot. “Are you going to get up there and sing, Ceara?”  Am I going to sing?!?!?

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I’ll sing by myself…when no one’s watching….

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…with Uncle Freddie

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And with some old guy who wanted to sing with me…

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The whole family got in on it…Chris…

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Vonetta…(she was really feelin’ it!)

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EVEN GRANT!!!!!!!  I’m glad I got a picture cuz I’ll probably never see this again (I hope I do, though!)  You can’t go wrong with Bon Jovi “Living on a Prayer”

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We had a great time!!

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One evening we went to Kalamazoo to visit Grant’s best friend, Matt and his wife Joye.  We had dinner with them, but of course I forgot to get a picture.  Arg.  On our drive back we stopped in Detroit to have lunch with Grant’s other friend, Dre, who brought his mom and son, Andre Jr with him.

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All in all, it was a nice vacation and a fun road trip!  

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