2019 Book List

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany
  2. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  3. Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Cathy’s Bookclub Book)
  4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  5. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
  6. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
  7. Educated by Tara Westover (Melody’s Neighborhood Bookclub Book)
  8. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (My Neighborhood Bookclub Book)
  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  10. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by
    Charles Duhigg
  11. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  12. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  13. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
  14. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
  15. Everthing I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  16. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
  17. Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
  18. Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler
  19. Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Tehran
  20. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  21. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
  22. The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
  23. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  24. Savor by Shauna Niequist
  25. Strangers Tend To Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson
  26. Zen and Gone by Emily France
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2018 Book List

1. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
2. l’appart by David Lebovitz
3. Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
6. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
7. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
8. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
10. The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard (My Book Club Book)
11. The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani
12. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
13. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
14. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann (abandoned – good story but too long)
15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
16. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
17. Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood
18. The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder
19. Eligible (The Austen Project #4): A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Happy 8th Birthday Miss M

* Back dating post from 10/10 to 7/31 *

2018-07-28 M Close Up Bday Cake.JPG

M is eight years old! She celebrated with her friends at a pool party and had a mermaid themed party complete with Ariel cake.

She LOVES to read. We have to practically tap her on the head to get her attention and bring her back to real life when she’s engrossed in a book. She reads the Harry Potter series over and over and not necessarily in order. She’ll be reading multiple books at one time and searches for her favorite silly parts.

Weight: 49lbs (18%)
Height: 49″ (31%)




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2017 Book List

1. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (Book Club)
2. Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
3. The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Baja (Yoga Book Club)
4. Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave (Book Club)
5. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Yoga Book Club)
6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Yoga Book Club)
7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
8. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Book Club)
9. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
10. The Circle by Dave Eggers
11. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
12. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini
13. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
14. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Read to M – age 7)
15. We Are Water by Wally Lamb
16. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (Read to M – age 7)
17. The Girl of Train by Paula Hawkins
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (Read to M – age 7)
19. Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
21. The Leavers by Lisa Ko
22. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (Read to M – age 7)

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Happy 7th Birthday Miss M.

2017-07-27 M Bday Cake

My big girl turned seven this summer! She’s now lost 6 teeth: 2 on the top and 4 on the bottom. She’s learning how to ride her bike faster and faster, but we’ll probably wait until next summer to take the training wheels off. I just started reading Harry Potter to her every night at bedtime and she and I are really enjoyed this special thing that’s just for us. This year she started at a new public Montessori school in the youngest grade in her 3-year class and she did great! She loves math and has a wonderful sense of humor. She learned how to roll her eyes this year – let me tell you how awesome that is :::eye roll::  Her birthday fish, Goldie, from last year had a brush with death earlier this month, but he seems to have prevailed. This year she enjoyed her first roller coaster (at StoryLand) and her first canoe ride (Union Pond). She had her birthday party at Jump On In. She got to go to camp with three of her best friends from her old school. She keeps us on our toes, often begging to watch more My Little Pony and teasing her sister, but she is often the only one who can truly comfort her sister when she’s upset. They can play together for hours making up stories and homes for their My Little Ponies. She’s loving drawing and often wants to complete youtube tutorials on how to draw certain characters. She loves picking and eating tomatoes from our garden, but can often sustain herself on one bite of dinner alone. She never passes up dessert. She loves me more than the biggest piece of chocolate cake and I love her to the moon and the stars and all the planets and back. She is stubborn just like me and will always challenge me to be the best me I can be. She made me a mommy and I am forever grateful to be hers.

2017-06-25 M Acadia 2

7 Year Old Stats:

Height: 47″ (40th percentile)
Weight: 46 lbs (40th percentil)


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Last Day of School

What a wonderful first year of public Montessori education!

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The Sunday Services committee at our Unitarian Universalist church asked me to speak (along with two others) today on why this place is home for me. Here’s what I had to say:

I didn’t grow up with a church community. I was an only child and home for me was watching Cheers while sitting on my dad’s lap, inhaling the smell of second hand smoke brought home on his dress shirt from the tabloid newsroom. At Cheers, when Norm walked in, everybody knew his name. Not to compare church to a bar, but there wasn’t really a place beyond my neighborhood when I was growing up where everyone knew my name. I’d visit churches on holidays with my grandparents or cousins, but I didn’t know a soul and didn’t understand the seemingly intricate rituals that I wasn’t allowed to participate in since I wasn’t baptized. While I was raised with canoe trips down the Loxahatchee River for the sole purpose of cleaning up litter and spent much time volunteering with my Girl Scout troop, my family had no organized religion or spiritual community. My parents said they didn’t force religion on me so that someday I could make my own decisions about what I believed, but without any reference of what was even out there to choose from, I felt a bit lost.

Ryan and I moved to Manchester from Florida in 2002. Ryan grew up in a Catholic church and we planned to church shop and see what was out there as we settled into our new community. Sometime after buying a house and moving to this side of town in 2004, we began visiting UUS:E. It’s the only church we’ve ever visited. Ryan connected with Bob Richardson (music director) and volunteered here and there to play on Sundays. At some point, we drifted away.

Almost seven years ago we had Margeaux and again we visited. Ryan connected with Pawel (music director) and we started going more frequently. He enjoyed playing music on Sundays and outside of church with Pawel. I enjoyed the sermons and found it easy to attend with a sleeping newborn. Margeaux was dedicated as an infant in this church and the powerful words read back by the congregation moved me deeply. But as she grew and became mobile, it became harder and harder to concentrate on the sermons while juggling a cranky toddler. I know the ‘holy hubbub’ (our reverend’s term for babies babbling during sermons) is encouraged, but I was unable to focus and it became a chore to attend with her. I wasn’t quite ready to send her downstairs to the nursery and at that time we didn’t have a staff member and relied on volunteers. Without a familiar face week after week, I felt uncomfortable leaving her while I was upstairs. So again, we drifted away.

I should stress, music was ALWAYS bringing us back. In the early days, Bob would call on Ryan and then later Pawel would reach out to him. And back we would go. Simone was dedicated here and again, the powerful words of support that the congregation repeated to us were so uplifting. We loved being here. Pawel would always be open to Ryan’s suggestions for pieces he wanted to play and he would come to Ryan when he had something in mind and needed a bass player, and sometimes even a cello player! Music always pulled us back and for some unknown reason, we always seemed to drift away again.

And then Pawel died. I don’t believe I have ever felt a pull so strong to be in a physical space. The outpouring of grief, love, compassion, community, support and so many other things that I saw come out of this congregation at that very difficult time in so many people’s lives made me see what an amazing, wonderful, caring, spiritual place this is. I felt to honor him, I needed to be here. I needed to bring my family here. I needed to connect to something bigger than myself. It was time.

We started coming more regularly. Ryan connected with Mary. We were excited when Emily was hired to run the nursery. Simone, who was two at the time, felt comfortable going to her each week and we felt that we had someone who really knew our child. Now we are so thankful to have Claire in the nursery. And she’s joined each week by wonderful volunteers who we’ve also come to know.

Margeaux joined Spirit Play and is now in Superheros. She enjoys seeing her friends each week and learning about UU Superheros from history. While hesitant at first, I am enjoying being an assistant in Margeaux’s class about once a month. On the other weeks, I enjoy volunteering with other aspects of the RE program, or attending upstairs. I recently spent an hour teaching Matteo how to play chess and that got me thinking I might like to volunteer with the older kids next year. Both volunteering and attending upstairs fill my soul.

Our kids have made great friends in their classrooms as well as with older and younger kids at UUS:E. Through our circle group gatherings, they’ve met folks from upstairs that they might not have gotten to know otherwise. Downstairs, where we hold religious education, I’ve connected with moms that I am learning from, growing from and just love being around. They bring so much positivity to my life. We’ve all been exposed to amazing music and powerful words from this pulpit.

I think one of the most important aspects of parenting is modeling the behaviors you want your children to develop. I love being part of a community that has so many amazing role models for my children. From handing out hot cocoa with Michelle and others at the Manchester Road Race to learning about gratitude from Gina, I have many wonderful partners on this parenting journey.

There are so many more opportunities to get involved at UUS:E. I’m interested in the book group, the movie discussions and the environmental work being done. I am also moved by the amazing social justice work being done by Josh and this congregation. I want to do all the things!

Up until Pawel’s death, I would say we were always just visiting and drifting, visiting and drifting, visiting again and then drifting again. But now, two years later, I can say with much certainty that we are home. My family is excited to come each week and “giving up” our Sunday mornings doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all, it feels like finally coming home to a place where everybody knows my name. And if you don’t, let me introduce myself: My name is Jenn and this is my home.



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Happy 4th Birthday Miss S.

My littlest baby is four! How can this be?! I just went back and read her three year old post and lots has changed and there’s a lot that’s the same. She still loves to snuggle just as much as she always has. She still sucks her thumb when she’s tired (usually only in the car and at bedtime) although the pediatrician wants her to stop now that she’s four. She still wakes about once a night about every other night or so. She just wants to come give me a snuggle and go back to bed. How come they never go over to Daddy’s side of the bed?! (spoiler – it’s because he doesn’t wake up).

One thing that has changed greatly over the past year, really since March, is her eyes. In May she got glasses and in December she had eye muscle surgery. We had her six week checkup just after her fourth birthday and they are very pleased with the results. We have not noticed crossing when she has her glasses on at all since the surgery. No matter what, this doesn’t seem to slow my girl down at all. She’s been totally resilient and unfazed by the whole thing.

Since last year, she’s started at a new school. It’s still Montessori, but now she’s in a public magnet school which is a tiny bit closer to our house than the other private school (and much more affordable). She seems to be adjusting well and enjoying herself.

She still wants to do all the things her sister does, but we’ve talked her into playing the cello instead of the violin. She’ll start lessons in the fall. She’s into Daniel Tiger and can play alone in her room with her stuffed animals and dolls for hours on end, making up big stories about what all the characters are doing.

She had an amazing birthday party at the Carousel and we celebrated at home with pancakes and ice cream cake for dinner.

Four Year Old Stats:

Height = 39.5 inches (25th percentile)
Weight = 31.5 lbs (10th percentile)


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S First Time Ice Skating


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Christmas In Florida

We had a quick, but wonderful, trip to Florida for the holidays. I was able to take most of the week off from work and really relax on the trip. We did about a million Christmases, saw my niece in the Miami City Ballet Nutcracker, snuck in a trip to the zoo and got back in time for an uneventful New Years.




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