Thanksgiving Football

Friday, November 23, 2012 No comments

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A Favorite...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 No comments
the kids love to play in BeBe & PaPaw's jetted tub. Chloe told me, "I could get used to this!". 

The US Grand Prix

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 No comments
We headed out early for the holidays to attend the inaugural F1 race in Austin. We flew to Dallas on Wednesday, was at the karting track on Thursday afternoon and Matt and I were in Austin on Thursday evening. Oliver & Chloe stayed with my parents in Dallas. It was good to get away--just adults--something Matt and I have never done since having kids (unless you count going to Ethiopia to bring Oliver home, but I don't think that counts).

We had a great three days at the F1 event despite some inaugural race glitches and got to see a great win.

A photo from our seats at Turn 12--which was probably one of the best spots to view the action.
Collective Soul on stage Saturday afternoon after qualifying. Talk about feeling old---some German guys in their early 20s asked, "Who is Collective Soul?".
Matt and I at the Collective Soul concert.
Before the race the drivers were taken around the track in classic American cars. This is Michael Schumacher.
Lewis Hamilton, the race winner.
The last lap of the race with Lewis Hamilton leading Sebastien Vettel.


Monday, November 19, 2012 No comments
We left for the holidays a little (lot) early and arrived in Dallas on Wednesday. On Thursday, we were at the track--The Dallas Karting Complex. Chloe had a fantastic run in a Micro at a new track.

This girl is quite the racer.

Crazy Weather

Monday, November 12, 2012 No comments
The weather the last few weeks has been insane. We had a hurricane, snow, then we had 60 degrees and sun this weekend.

Chloe had two swim meets this weekend. She swam her first IM and did great. After the swim meets we took advantage of the nice weather and went to the track to winterize the RV. Of course, Chloe got some track time in and Oliver got inspired to actually ride (and use the pedals) his bike.

Insult to Injury

Thursday, November 08, 2012 No comments
Its not like we didn't just have a hurricane blow through, but yesterday we had a Nor'easter bring wind and snow. The kids had just returned to school on Wednesday and in the late afternoon the snow began falling.

The grocery stores were insane. I got one of the last gallons of milk.

Many people we knew had just gotten their power returned on Tuesday night then had it knocked out on Wednesday evening.

Of course, it was snow and that means the kids were so excited. School was delayed this morning and put the kids in their snow gear and let them play in the yard.

It was all fun and games until we saw...

The snowfall had caused one of our trees to sag taking the power line with it. We still have power, but its hanging by a thread (literally). Our recycling guys were nice enough to lift the line and tie it to a tree branch so no one would run it down. It is still drooping, so it could still happen if a large truck or bus comes down the road. We wait for the electric company to fix it and pray no one rips it down.

Of course, the downed power line didn't stop the kids from running around the front yard (away from the line and danger) throwing snow. I had to beg them to come inside so I could call the electric company.
Oliver attempted to put his hat on himself. Getting kids dressed in layers of snow gear is never fun, but seeing the finished product is precious!

I tried to enlist the kids to clean the front steps off. It lasted for about 10 seconds.

Then it was to throwing snow balls.

And trying to get Mom with snow.

Last Race of the Season

Monday, November 05, 2012 No comments
It was the last race of the 2012 kart season. Chloe had her last race in a kid kart and is now champion. Next year she will compete in Micro and Cadet.

She drove her last Micro race for the season. She did very well and was very competitive. We were very proud and can't wait to see how well she does and how she improves next season.
Starting from 3rd position (center kart in photo).
Chloe held off a more experienced driver for several laps. It was fun to see her competitive side make a definitive appearance.

Reviewing the lap times with her proud Daddy.

 It was so cold for the last race, in the 30s. It was the right temperature to make yourself say, "Ok, lets end this season!"

The awards banquet will be held in January.

2012 Kid Kart Champion

Sunday, November 04, 2012 No comments
Chloe had her last kid kart race and is now the OVRP Kid Kart Champion.

Hurricane Sandy

Saturday, November 03, 2012 No comments

This past week has been a bit of a blur, a bit unreal and a lot crazy.

Hurricane Sandy blew in on Monday but prep began Friday when Oliver and I began a mad search for D batteries. I don't understand why D batteries, which power most large flashlights, lanterns and emergency radios, are hard to find when the weather is good. So, it was near impossible to find them with a hurricane bearing down and impending power outages.

Oliver and I also went to the grocery store on Saturday and filled up the tank at the gas station in the car and for the generator. Lines were long in the grocery store and bottled water was gone from the shelves. The gas station had waived the full-service Jersey gas laws and were allowing people to pump gas on their own.

Matt and Chloe arrived back from the regional race early Sunday morning and we headed to OVRP to secure the RV and karts and to get the generator. Back at home in the afternoon we prepped the generator and ran extension cords to the refrigerators. We also secured our patio furniture and potted plants.

Then the waiting began.

School was canceled for Monday as Sandy was supposed to make landfall in the afternoon. Sandy made her arrival known. Howling winds and snapping branches. It was relentless and seemed never-ending. With every gust and howl we looked to the lights and out the window at the trees, waiting for the power to cut off and to make sure the massive trees surrounding our house didn't come crashing down.

Even before Sandy made her official arrival in the afternoon, the wind started and the tree across the street came crashing down.
We had the kids sleep in the basement for safety.

By 11:15 the massive winds seemed to abate. Our power remained on and we knew we were lucky and our power would remain on. We could see from the images on tv that  the city and the Jersey shore didn't fare as well and we knew through Twitter and FB that many of our neighbors and friends were without power and had sustained damage.

Some scenes of destruction in our neighborhood:

Tuesday was still a quiet day. Chloe actually had a friend over to play who had lost power. About 75% of our town was without electricity, 150+ trees had fallen and 16 homes had been damaged by fallen trees. Our street was blocked by a tree that fell across the street.

Matt didn't even attempt to go into mid-town for work for the week and he worked from home. Thursday was crazy with people trying to get into the city and around the city. The majority of mass transit was down and in a city as enormous as NYC, its a necessity.

Needless to say, Halloween didn't happen on Wednesday and has been rescheduled for Monday, November 5th.

Gas lines began growing on Wednesday. Its estimated that 60% of gas stations are without power and the blocked roads and damage are keeping supplies from arriving. Driving on Tuesday was hazardous due to downed trees and wires, driving on Wednesday and the rest of the week was dangerous due to the cars blocking the roadways as they queued for hours for gasoline. It was announced Friday evening that NJ is now on gas rationing. Even-numbered plates can fill up on even-numbered days and odd numbered plates and vanity plates can fill up on odd-numbered days.

Restaurants in town are also running out of food as swarms of people without electricity dine out and restaurant supply companies have lost power or cannot make deliveries due to gas shortages and road blockages. I took the time at home to complete Oliver's room renovation and had to run up to Ikea on Thursday to pick up his new bed. The store was busy but most people were milling about the store, very little people were actually buying, but the massive amount of people were lined up in the restaurant to eat.

School remained closed for the remainder of the week and the district has hinted that there will be no school on Monday as well. I am beginning to consider home-schooling, especially with word that a nor'easter could be headed our way next week. Polling places for Tuesday's election have been changed. Many remain without power and the temperatures have dropped drastically.

We count our blessings and consider ourselves very lucky as we sit in the shadow of so much destruction and death. I worried the kids would be scared or frightened, but they handled it like troopers and thought it was all one big movie-watching, Halloween candy eating party.

As Chloe and I sat watching the news one morning, I said to her, "You know many years from now you will be able to say you survived Hurricane Sandy. You are a first-person witness. In your old age, you could be interviewed about what it was like to live through Sandy. What do you think you would say to your grandkids if they did a report on Hurricane Sandy and it's destruction for history class?". Chloe looked at me oddly and replied, "I remember I ate Halloween candy, heard some wind and had a sleepover with my little brother. Other than that it didn't do anything."

Dear great-grandchildren: I don't think your grandmother makes a good first-person account. Perhaps I need to give my daughter some perspective and am searching for an appropriate charitable activity for us to participate in--STAT.