Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reality Sets In

We are into month 3 of living in sunny, warm and busy California.  The newness is wearing off and finally figuring out our way on the intertwining highways, our best priced place for gas and parking locations at the beaches. 

With life calming down and normalcy coming back into our lives we are seeing the challenges we are faced with. Like we would anywhere new.

Sophia has been a trooper as far as leaving Goffstown High School her senior year, leaving behind friends that she has known since first grade.  Exciting at first, but now we realize the community we were involved with in New Hampshire was amazing.  Soph goes to a small, I mean small private Christian school where her senior class has 78 students that all have gone through this district together.  That is rough for teens that are new to the school. 

I don't care if you are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, or have no belief in anything, treat people the way you would want to be treated.  If you see someone struggling or can see into there eyes that there is something not right, lend and ear or even a smile.  A sincere smile is so powerful. Standing up in a group when that group is being catty and mean, do you have what it takes? 

Even adults struggle in this type of situation as well.  I am working for a conservative Christian college.  If you know me well, I have a hard time filtering and boarder line inappropriate, ok maybe I cross that line at times too.  I am having a hard time fitting in and know the pain of being accepted for who I really am or having a friend in a working environment like I have had in the past.

Yes, I miss my friends more that I can convey in this Blog, I know we will  find a group of fiends like I had back east. I have been hesitant to get myself out there to meet people for fear of them not really getting my sarcasm or my unfiltered thoughts.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being close to my girls and Cruzer.  We have seen them more now them we ever would have back east.  This is why we are here. 

The weather too... AMAZING.  I see the pictures of New England and the breath taking fall foliage and the apple orchards and pumpkin patches.  But I know what is coming.  From mid Nov to mid April you all are suffering and paying for wood and oil to stay warm.  Last winter put me over the edge and also our budget with plowing, oil, and gas for the generator when the power was out.  I know I will love San Diego even more in February. 
Yes, crisp air, beautiful views, but see below...
Photo Credit: Lisa Mazur

This is coming in mere weeks people 

Photo Credit: Susan Linnell

I just put Abby and Sophia on a plane back East to recharge in hopes they see the blessing they have here with family and the amazing weather (thus being said before El Nino gets here).  We are planning on visiting in July, so get your guest rooms ready (Dave Murdoch, get on our "shed" in the back corner.)  Hunker down for the winter and I get it if you "unfriend" us during your New England winter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Do you believe in prayer, do you pray often, do you consider prayer similar to meditation? Do you feel weak if you pray, do you pray publicly or keep it private?  
This has always been a struggle of mine.  I am married to someone who survives on morning, midday, nightly and anytime prayer, hence why I stick close to him.

As you know we moved from New Hampshire, the second most spiritual dark state in the US, next to Vermont.  I grew up with many religions in my life from Methodist, Lutheran, Judaism, Catholicism, Mormonism, and non-denominational Christianity. We have always had morning and night prayers with our family.  Friends that came over were included as well if they wanted to, many did to see what this was all about.  This is not a knock on any religion or beliefs, lets get that out there!

I have been thinking, when people and yourself say to others that are struggling or have need "I will pray for you" do you do it, or do you say it because you think you should and it is easy to say? 

Kurt, Sophia, and I are totally involved in the Christian culture here. Kurt works for the Christian Unified School district, Sophia goes to that school and I work across the street at a Christian CollegeTo say it is a culture shock is an understatement for me at least. 

We have prayer in the mornings with our coworkers and Sophia with her classmates. We all discuss who needs prayers and how we can include them in our thoughts.  I must look like a fish out of water in these times.  Don't get me wrong, it is great, but I am a private person in this aspect.  My life is usually an open book but when it comes to my spirituality it is mine and mine alone.  Maybe because of past situations and being questioned or removed from what I thought I should have believed.  Anyways, this is just a different environment then anything I have been involved in and probably most of you as well.

So back to my original question, do you really pray for someone when you say you will or post on social media that you will?  I just hear this a lot now a days and wonder if they really mean it and if they really are doing it.    

I know in our home we do pray for many of you daily.  Sometimes I have to cough or fidget a bit to have Kurt cut the prayer down a bit with all the names he is busting out with.  Totally disrespectful I know.  Just know that when we say we will pray for you we do and I hope you do too. 

Just random thoughts today...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


So we arrived in San Diego Aug 1st.   We had only seen our condo online and only had 8 pictures to view.  Needless to say this was like Christmas morning to adults when we opened the front door.

We GPS'd the location of our new place.  As we  pulled in we were greeted by a garage, we never had a garage in NH.  All those winters,  brutal ice storm, blizzards, hurricanes and just unpredictable weather and no protection for our vehicles.  This was just the beginning.
 We opened the front door, bamboo flooring,  high ceilings, granite counters, stainless appliances, plantation shutters, and so much more.

A fire place, never had that in NH.  Three bathrooms, what?  We had a family of 6 in a home that had 1.5 bathrooms for 18 years in NH,  life would have been a bit easier with more bathrooms.  Now we have 3 living here so we have choices.  Because we went to Goodwill 13 times and the dump 15, sold stuff on social media we down sized so much we have plenty of space.  It is so freeing!

 We knew this was the place for as Sophia welled up with tears saying she loved it.  Phew.  
As you know moving a child across country is tough,  but her senior year is almost considered child abuse.  Mind you she has been a trooper with the transition.  A new school.  A Christian school.  Uniforms. A senior class size of 80 from 360 in NH.  Friends...  That is the toughest, but at least she has her sisters and Kurt and I.  Sometimes even "Christian" girls can be just as mean as regular girls.  A bit too judgy .

 We are in a great location!  25 minutes from the beaches,  downtown SD,  and from Halee, Tyler Abby, and Cruzer.  We are 8 miles from  Mexico, just to give you an idea of our location. 
Kurt is starting to gel with the coaching staff and the players, but that is not a shocker. He can make friends in any situation.  He is teaching 4th grade a new curriculum with a class size if 22.

After about 3 weeks being in California I finally was offered a job.   It is across the street from the high school where Sophia and Kurt are.  We  drive together some days to help with the gas budget.  I now get excited when I see gas for $3.25  that price causes lines at the pumps.  Crazy! 

 When we talked about moving to California people were pretty negative about it telling us how expensive it is.  Yes, they were right but we will not be paying $700 month for oil, $$ gas for the generator during power outages, over $1000 on driveway plowing, warm wardrobe, and all that goes with owning a home.   Yes,  there is tax on everything.   Yes,  the traffic can be maddening.  Yes,  the 2nd language is English in the USA.  But we love it.  The weather is amazing,  the people are friendly,  there is so much to do,  people are happier,  and I know we will all make this our "home" in time.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Look to Serve...

Let's try this again.  Just spent 40 min on this blog and deleted it by accident.  BTW it was  amazing. 
On the road again...  Sing it like Willie Nelson. 
We left Longmont CO at 9 am and headed for the most beautiful rides in America. After getting on I-70W we climbed up mountains, through mountains and cruised down them with amazing vie
ws at each turn.  Each turn was more beautiful then the last.  It still amazes me how there highways were built and the tunnels that go right through the rocks.

We made our way up into Vail, some part of this climb was over 10000 feet above sea level. We pulled into Vail to have lunch and let the girls fill up on gallons of water to help relieve their headaches caused by the altitude and to pee. (Someone has a bladder the size of a squirrel, but I will not embarrass him). Vail is so pretty. The town area has great shops, restraurants, hotels and condos.  So many mountain bikers. We had lunch outside watching the bikers make their way down the mountain in a cloud of dust.  The homes in this area were beautiful, but I don't know where they teach to enable them these million dollar places, we must find out.

Hopped back in the cars switched drivers and moved on.  Abby ended up driving again as Sophia was freaked out by the heights and no guard rails .  We cruved around, climbed, and glided down massive steeps.  Cars, trucks, and RV's started to litter the breakdown lanes.  This was a tough ride for a new car let alone a older vehicle.  We were climbing a pretty brutal grade when we came across a car pulling a small  Uhaul and about 20 Yards from it was a couple walking with their cat in a carrier.  Now we are about 100 miles out and no services for about that long, there was no way I could leave them.  I always make fun of Kurt for helping people on the side of the road, but something inside me made me stop.

This couple was from Wisconsin,  my dad is from there and felt a connection when I saw their plate.  Their little V6 couldn't handle the pulling and grades it had to climb towing something.  We offered to pull their Uhaul to Cedar City 3.5 hours away.  Now Kurts truck is a V8 and is a beast, but I saw Kurts eyes get a bit glazed over when I offered to hook them up and go.  This truck is Kurts "baby" and has never towed anything even though we have the tow package.  After hooking up, making room in our truck, and giving the girls the cat in their car we were off again. (Had to leave their car behind) * Side note, the rest area we stopped in to do the switch there was an Audi from NH that was being put on a flatbed due to blown the cooling tube. The young woman and her 2 dogs were from Hudson NH, she had AAA so she was all set and we had no room anyways.

Having total strangers in your vehical for almost 4 hours you get to know a lot about how others live and their lives. Wow!  I know we were meant to pick them up, not only to help them but to help us in realizing how blessed we are.  

We had a goal to make it to Vegas but towing a Uhaul we had to drive 30 mph under the 80mph posted. We got this couple to their destination but we couldn't continue the 2.5 hours onward.  We were spent and the critters were out and I didn't feel like dodging roadkill or seeing glowing eyes in my lane.  

We found a hotel... Abbey Inn, totally had to stay there.  Oh, and it was next to IHOP .  11:45 we finally had dinner.  Back to the Inn and the girls were out in minutes, as for Kurt and I, we were up all night, thanks Rockstar energy drinks and adderall.

We have 7 hours today till we are in San Diego. We will get to see our new townhouse which we have only seen 7 pictures of on line. We are excited and nervous but ready for this new life.

Disclaimer...  Doing a blog on a smartphone is not easy.  So please disregard the spacing,  spelling,  and possible auto correct.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Keep Your Head on A Swivel

Keep Your Head On A Swivel (yes, another football reference)

Today started with an amazing home cooked breakfast at "Hotel Benjaminson".  Being in Colorado with my Aunt Janet and Uncle Bob was more of a blessing than we could have ever realized...  And here's why (Top 10 Style)

Beginning with, and in no particular order...

#10. Being on the road for an of 10+ a day is TOUGH (physically and mentally)
#9. We needed a mental break from seeing corn (who knew how much corn our farms had?)
#8. We needed a mental break from seeing cows
#7. We needed a mental break from driving by 18 wheelers
#6. We NEEDED to wash Kurt's truck (literally killed 1,000's of innocent bugs)
#5. Janet and Bob are the GREATEST hosts
#4.  The meals we eat while with family are ALWAYS better than anything else
#3.  We went on a beautiful hike up Flat Iron Mountain (Part of the Rockies)
#2.  We weren't driving
AND THE #1.  Blessing of stopping in CO...  Spending time with FAMILY!

Oh, so why the "Keep Your Head On A Swivel"/football reference?

While coming down Flat Iron, I had mentioned to Kurt that walking DOWN a mountain is the perfect metaphor for life:  you need to watch your step (looking down from time to time for safety), but it's also just as important to keep your head up, to look ahead, and to ENJOY THE BEAUTY all around! Life moves fast, and we need to see, do, and BE all we can be (while helping others along the way as well)!

All that being said, we're all feeling rested, and excited to hit the road in the morning!

More Cows, Corn, and Trucks

Up and out early.   We hit the road 80W.  Now I prepared myself as my dad had taught me to check the weather.  Holy crap,  red and yellow cells on the radar.  I am not one that likes storms in a safe location and here we were going into the flattest post of the US known to many as Tornado Alley. 

Abby and I were in my Camry because I need to make sure the car was still running correctly and no funky clanks or clunks.   We hit the storms after the first 15 min.  You can see the storms coming from miles away due to how flat it is out there in Iowa and Nebraska.  At 8:30 am the skies became black, like legit black.  Abby was my photographer, so photo creds to her!  The first drop of rain hit like a droplets the size of a baseball.  The wind picked up and Abby asked what do we do if we see a tornado?  I had no answer which didn't make us feel o comfortable as we saw a few swirls of the sky. 
After about an hour of crazy weather we saw the light.  My hands were cramped due to the white knuckling I had to do.

We finally made it to Nebraska, who knew they had major cities.  We cruised through  Omaha and Lincoln, yah that was it.  Back to corn fields and cows.  We stopped at at truck stop somewhere in Nebraska and things got a bit tense. 

Just say NO to drugs people!  We watched this young woman stumbling around the store and then the parking area. She was bruised, cut up, bikini top, frazzled hair and just brutal looking, very sad...  I said to Abby to be aware of her surroundings and in just a short few seconds things went down.  Kurt and Sophia just gassed up the truck and were waiting for Abby to hop back in my car.  This girl was getting closer to Kurts truck when Abby flew out of her seat because this girl was trying to open Sophia's door to get in.  Abby pushed the young woman and yelled at her.  This girl was clearly stung out and she said she thought it was her boyfriends truck... I think, not unless Kurt was her new "friend".   Talk about seeing one of your kids act in a way that she was the protector made me proud, but also made me nervous as this person could have retaliated.  Abby did say she had soft skin... Pass the anti-bacterial!

Our goal for Tuesday was to make it to Longmont, CO.  This is where my aunt and uncle live.  We needed a break from driving so we planned on staying for a bit and hike around the Boulder area.  Nebraska to Colorado was brutal.  Kurt was getting snippy and couldn't wait to get out of the truck. 
The girls were doing well, we would check our rear view mirror and see them singing away, laughing and arms out the sunroof.   It is tough to see your precious cargo driving and trying to keep everyone safe.  But we made it to Longmont to a home cooked meal! AWESOME

Kurt will be posting the adventures for Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Construction, Corn and Cows

Spent the night in Hubbard Ohio.  Sleeping in a double bed after having a king sized bed makes for a tough sleep (first world probs).  Kurt was all jacked up on Rockstar energy drinks and thought if he was up at 3:30am that we all should be.  He was like a child waiting for his parents to get up.  He left for the gym at the hotel like 4am.  Think he did more  Snapchatting then working out. 

Finally we hit the road.  Most of Ohio is under road construction  and  full of State Troopers.  Looking at the landscape much of the eastern part of Ohio is like NH.  The western part is not at all like NH.  Corn,  farms, and flat land.   We could see the storms brewing in the distance quick was beautiful yet a bit unnerving.  

We final got to Iowa and wanted to stay in a populate area so we hit Des Moines.   It was like a ghost town.  No traffic,  no one on the streets,  and nothing happening.  Found a hotel with a pool at the request of the girls.   Got settled in and ordered dinner.   

I understand each region or state at that matter has different ways of preparing food.  We chose Chinese,  can't be to off on that right?  So so so wrong.    First the delivery guy was  beyond high,  similar to Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  We gave him a cash tip and he panicked and asked us to call back the restaurant to let them know we were paying in cash.   OK,  I did,  but that was a first.  The girls go got back from the pool and we opened the boxes of food.  Um,  what is that...  I have never seen creations of this sort.   Not sure the  restaurant knows what wanton papers are as our crab ragoons were made like an apple turnover.  So brutal.  Oh an fried rice,  no burned rice with a random pea or onion.  
 Total fail.

We decided to just count on breakfast and called it a day. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

2nd and 9 (Football reference)

Day 2 and nine states to go. 
Left Bedford at 11 am after getting some spiritual nourishment and losing most of our water weight from our tears saying goodbye to our son Brock.  We bought "flat"  Brock with us on our trip.  He has been pretty quiet,  and great for photo shoots.  Always smiling...

Kurt and Sophia had the first leg.  What was I thinking going on the Mass Pike on a Sunday or any day at that matter.  Slow and steady with all the D-bag drivers from  NY and NJ.  Not sure why they think they don't need to follow the rules.  If you are from these locations and you are offended from my observations then you might be one of the drivers I am referring to. 

At the most random times I would just sob and poor Kurt would look helplessly at me hoping it would pass quickly.   I think he could have whiplash from the emotional changes I would go though in just a few short miles. 

Having our girls following us in my car was another stress.  Making sure we stayed together,  had to watch our speed,  communicating to what our plan was makes it a bit challenging, mostly when I jack on the blinker to find food. 

Found a great diner in NY by Marist College.  Great lunch/dinner.  The waitress asked us why we are moving to a state that was a financial mess.  Our response... It doesn't snow.  I think she got it.

Abby and I did the 2nd leg,  six hours.
So many beautiful sites and we are taking in the greens, rivers, lakes, and rolling hills.  The sunset last night was  beautiful.  We had light until about 9 pm. 

Driving highways at dusk and dark is so sketchy.  We had see so many deer and critters that had been squished  by cars and trucks.  We should of played Roadkill Bingo,  I would of totally won for sure.  Poor furry friends.  

Not knowing the area and the poorly lit roads made for a tough ride.  I think every 18 wheeler was  on the road and I seemed to always pass it them on corners.  Total white knuckling.  Oh ya the fog.  Did I mention the fog?  Yikes.  I was waiting for a deer to be kicking it in the roadway in all the fog banks we crossed. 

I have this thing I do where I have  a contest in my mind.  My challenge from last night was to make it to Ohio on day one.  We were  25 miles from Ohio and was losing my vision due to contacts that felt like potato chips in my eyes,  but had to push on.  The girls called to say they had to pee,  but I refused to stop because of that goal I had.  So they might have UTI's but I completed my goal.   We can see the Pennsylvania and Ohio state lines from our hotel, but I win in my mind. 
Goal for today,  Des Moines Iowa. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Join us for Our Cross Country Journey NH to CA

So we had a 1-3 year plan to move to California to be with our 2 girls, son-in-law and new grandson.

We came home from February vacation in San Diego and with in 5 weeks Kurt had already landed a job at an elementary school teaching 4th grade and coaching high school football at a small Christian school (350 students).  How everything has fallen into place we know we are on the right path.  
I have applied for over 33 jobs, but realize the issues with trying to find a job for me from across the country.  I am not going to panic till mid August.  

Selling a home is quite a task.  We did have 3 offers on our place in 36 hours.  We have been getting the house ready for a family that we hope will make great memories like our family of 6 did.   The memories we have had in our 1700 sqft  home would have filled a 20,000 sqft home. 
We have lived in this home for 18 years and the amount of things we have done to this property has been a great feat.  We learned to install hardwood flooring, dig sump pump hole, install gutters, use a chain saw, build stone walls, paint, repair walls (thanks Brock), and build a huge composite deck.  
This home was a great place for us!  Now looking to leave the snow and owning a home has lead us to a new location. 
We will be living southeast of San Diego in Chula Vista.  This is 25 min from Kurt and Sophia's school.  They will be driving together each morning.  Still haven't figured out the return trip as Kurt has football into the evening.  We are really winging it, which we do best!  

So one of the toughes part of this new adventure for the Hines Crew has been leaving Bedford Football.  As you all know Kurt started this program and the amazing success it has had.  We really saw ourselves here forever and Kurt retiring from Bedford in 30 years.  

***Volume starts 14 Sec in...

We start driving across the U.S.A. on Sunday and will be documenting our travels.  I will be Blogging, Snapchatting, Facebooking, and Tweeting while Kurt is driving.  

Hoping to make it to Cleveland on the first day, Des Moines 2nd, Longmont to see family, Canyon lands in Utah, and then into San Diego.  That is the plan, but leaving a a day or two for weather or touring some cool places.  
Sophia and Abby will be following us in my car and Kurt and I will be in the Tundra.  I am sure we will rotate, but the music choice in the girls car might be a bit rough. 

Moving truck comes today, we will be "camping out" in our house for the next few days.  We have a going away party at Shorty's tonight, a wedding tomorrow night, Saturday to say goodbye to my parents, church on Sunday and then we hit the road.  

Bring on the memories and the new experiences ahead! Hope you will follow us and we plan to be back next July.  Can't miss the Chatham 4th of July or the RI garage party! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Recap of a Few Years...

So I want to try the Blog thing again as it helped keep me somewhat sane and also kept a history of our family.

Here are a few pictures recapping a few years since my last post. 

Abby graduated 2013
Prom 2013 w Peter
Typical Kurt Hines and daughter pose
Halee's engagement party 2013 

Graduation 2013

Halee and Tyler married in Palm Desert 2013
122' during their wedding in June 2013

Abby enrolled in college 2014
Halee announced she was having a baby 2014

Sophia went to prom at Trinity HS

Kurt and Brock in PA at the FCA Camp

Apple picking in Oct 2014 Christmas photo

Baby shower in NH for Halee and TK 2014
New York City with the Uruguay crew

Last year of football for Brock

Martin came to live with us for 8 weeks in January
Cruz is born into a tough situation
Kurt's first meeting

Sunset Cliffs

Torry Pines, hiking the beach area

Cruz's first day home after 18 days in theNICU


Sunset Cliffs with the whole family

Happy and Healthy Cruz