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Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother's Day Devotional

My mother, Naomi, 2010, Heidelberg Germany

As many of you may know, in November, my mother went home to be with our maker. Although I grieved her passing, and my loss, I was sad yet joyful, for my faith is strong and clear and I know she was a Christian woman who had accepted the gift of eternal salvation. Some time after her passing I started thinking a lot about her, me, our relationship, the good, and yes, the bad, and just mothering in general. I especially thought about how she mothered me, was there a Christian foundation, and how I now mother my daughter and if there is a strong Christian foundation there.
I came to the conclusion that my mother has a lot in common with Tamar and Sarah (as I’m sure most of us Christian women do). I’m sure you all know the story in the old testament of Tamar, but in case some of you don’t I’ll just say she’s the kind of person who appeared to take matters into her own hands. It’s a racy story but the point is she handled a situation by tricking someone into helping her conceive. Now I think sometimes God guides us to tackle matters in this way but other times He does not. We need only look at Sarah to see an example of how you should not take matters into your own hands. She definitely should have waited on God!
With Tamar, the child she conceived is in the direct lineage to Christ, so although most people teach this story as Tamar taking matters into ‘her own hands’ I believe God guided her to do what she did. With Sarah, she was told she would conceive but her lack of faith guided her into convincing her husband to conceive with their maidservant. Thus leading to the lineage of Ishmael and eventually Isaac when she did conceive by her husband as God had foretold. We can see the mess this caused, even to this day, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, thanks to Sarah’s lack of faith.
What does this have to do with my mother?
We joked my mother was like the FBI, always taking matters into her own hands when it came to protecting her eight children (yes all eight of us, for she considered us all her children and cared for each of us, giving her all for each of us)
She was not perfect. Just like Sarah I’m sure her faith faltered sometimes. But no one is perfect. No one.
Sarah caused the Arab-Israeli conflict still going on to this day. Yet Peter uses her as an example of a godly woman, someone we should look to as Christian woman, someone to emulate.  Now doesn’t that give us encouragement that even in our imperfectness we can still become examples of godly women?

Let’s read 1Peter 3:1-6
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (NIV)

Clearly, Sarah was not perfect. But this does not discredit her good.  My mother was not perfect, but this does not discredit her good.
It was my mother who dragged her kids to church every Sunday, youth groups, Awanas and other church activities.  I say ‘dragged’ because we were unwilling. It is to my mother I owe my salvation. Of course I mean it is to God I owe my salvation and all the glory. But He used my mother, imperfect, human, to lead me to Him. And she was obedient!

Now to give my father credit for his obedience, my mother disclosed to me that my father admitted to her he’d been praying for her to be saved for years. You see my mother was raised Irish Catholic and was brining her children up in the Catholic Church. But my father is the son of a German Baptist Minister and was already saved. As you can see it was my mother who made the religious decisions for the family. In these times when submission is seen as oppressive instead of what it truly is, freeing, the weight is on us, the mothers.
My mother was eventually saved and we all started attending the Baptist Church where my father is still a member to this day. It was here, during a youth mission’s trip to a basketball game in Maine with Pastor Tom, where I accepted Christ as not just the Savior of the world, but as my personal Savior. I believe I was about 14, but I remember making the decisions clearly.
Now I look at myself as a mother, with a husband who doesn’t take any religious route in life. He does not mind I bring our daughter up to know Christ, but he doesn’t get involved. It is left up to me.
I face a lot of pressure, a lot of judgment, even from my own family members. But when my daughter stops me before eating and says ‘wait, you forgot to pray,’ or when she asks her daddy to pray with her before bed, I know I am doing it right. My focus is on God and His command to teach my daughter to know Him. I may not live in the limelight, or have some prestigious degree and high paying career, but God hasn’t called me to. He has, however, called me to introduce others to Him and His gift of Salvation and I am to start right here at home, raising my daughter in His word, and winning my husband for Him with my conduct.

It is very important that we as mothers play a role in the salvation of our children.

First, the job is not easy. Stephen and Janet Bly define the toils of mothering in their book, How to Be a Good Mom.

No job on earth takes more physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual strength than being a good wife and mother. If a woman is looking for the easy life she might try teaching tennis, cutting diamonds, or joining a roller derby team. There is nothing easy about mothering. It can be back breaking, heart wrenching and anxiety producing. And that’s just in the morning.

Trust me when I say I was THAT kid for my mother.

But the Job is an important one and we don’t have a lot of time.

Katrina Kenison, in her book, Mitten Strings for God, shows how short that time is.

Just when I figure out how to mother a kindergartner, it seems I have a first-grader standing before me instead. I have just learned how to love and live with a nine-year-old when the nine-year-old vanishes, leaving a preadolescent in his place. They don’t stand still long enough for me to have my fill of them ever, at any stage. “Stop!” I want to shout. “Let’s just do it this way for a while, let’s stay right here.” But the movement is inexorable – up and out, away, into the future.

But the responsibility is on us!

John Angell James depicts this responsibility in his book ‘Female Piety.’

At a pastoral conference, held not long since, at which about one hundred and twenty American clergymen, united in the bonds of a common faith, were assembled, each was invited to state the human instrumentality to which, under the Divine blessing, he attributed a change of heart. How many of these, think you, gave the honour of it to their mother? Of one hundred and twenty, above one hundred! Here then are the facts, which are only selected from myriads of others, to prove a mother’s power, and to demonstrate at the same time her responsibility.  

I sincerely hope and pray, even in my imperfectness, my potential for good is not discredited and I can live up to the responsibility God has given me; a responsibility far greater than prestigious degrees and high paying careers.  And in the face of adversity and the judgment of this world, that I have the resolve to keep the Faith.

Happy Mother’s Day!

My mother and her namesake, my daughter, Naomianna  (named after my mother Naomi and my mother's mother Anne)

Gifts of Love

On Saturday May 18th, my home church here in Germany, held a Mother's Tea. It's a lovely idea, each table has a host and each host can decorate their table any style they'd like. It turned out perfect, with four different hostesses all decorating their table differently. We shared a wonderfully fancy potluck lunch and had a guest speaker, Alice Burge, missionary and wife of missionary Gene Burge.
I volunteered to open with a devotion about my mother and motherhood in general. I will share my devotion on my next blog post, but first I want to share something profound that occurred to me while I was getting ready for the tea.
I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror (we only have one, and it's a medicine cabinet mirror so I don't know why I need to state 'bathroom' mirror as if to differentiate between multiple mirrors in my home! ha) trying to put on a necklace. This necklace was given to me just one week ago by my husband and daughter. They gave it to me Saturday, May 11, on my birthday, which was one day before Mother's Day. My birthday present hadn't come in yet (this is typical w/ mail coming to Germany) so my husband decided to give me my Mother's Day gift on my birthday. (yes, it was a celebratory weekend for me! not to mention Friday May 10th was mexican mother's day and since my husband is mexican and therefore my daughter.. i think i can cash in on that one too!)
So, there I was, standing in front of the mirror trying to put my necklace on. I say trying because it has a tough clasp, the opening is at a weird angle and the opening is small. Every time I had put the necklace on in the last week, I had to get the chain under my hair and around the back of my neck (I have very long 'tangly' hair as my daughter calls it because of the movie 'Tangled' - aka curly) then I have to  squinch my face to look down and try to clasp it in the front. As I stood there putting it on I thought, you know, this has been going on for a week now, maybe I should just get a new chain.. keep the charm but replace the chain. But then I stopped in my tacks and smiled and thought.. awww, how could I replace any of it? This was a gift given to me in love, by the adoration of my child and spouse. They didn't give it to me hoping to make my life difficult. They gave it to me to make me happy, to tell me they loved me. So now, every time I put the necklace on and it gives me an ounce of trouble, I will stop in my tracks, smile and think of how kind their gift was.
That's when the epiphany hit me. How much more does my Father in Heaven love me! More than my spouse loves me, more than my daughter loves me, He Loves Me. He gave me this life as a gift. He gave me the roles of spouse and mother, among others, as gifts. He gave me these gifts because He loves me! Is it difficult sometimes? It sure can be difficult to be a spouse, an Army spouse at that. And it sure can be difficult to be a mother. But the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV) God clearly doesn't want to harm me! He didn't give me this life BECAUSE it was difficult. He gave me this life and these roles as gifts. He who formed me in my mother's womb, He who knitted me together and He who knows the plans He has for me, to prosper me and not to harm me, He Loves Me! And when things get difficult, that's when I can stop in my tracks, refocus my gaze heavenward, thank God for my gifts and ask Him for guidance, renewing my faith and strength in Him.
Then I thought to myself.. isn't it amazing... when I'm in the word every day, reading my Bible every night, spending time in prayer each night and welcoming, err BEGGING, that the Holy Spirit come into my life, guide me and reveal things to me...  that God answers my prayers. He does not turn His face away from me... and very regularly I face epiphanies, where new things are revealed to me, by Him, through the Holy Spirit.
God is great, and to Him I owe all the glory! Thank you God!
Keeping the Faith... Rachel

the girls praying 

The Tables

The food

Naomianna munching

Miss Rose (pastor's wife)

Alice Burge (our guest speaker)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Naomianna at English Ballet

Naomianna has attended 2 different ballet schools in the past. When we came to NH end of May 2011 I enrolled her in her cousin Kayla's ballet school for the tots class. It was really sweet and special! They ran around with scarves and jumped over alligator pits. It was truly centered on that age and encouraged grace from the young girls.<p>
When we got to Germany I immediately looked for a ballet class to enroll her in and found one through the SKIES program on base. Now I'm not sure what criteria you need to teach a class through SKIES but obviously it is not an accredited studio. Naomianna did not fit in well as the class ages were 3-5 and Naomianna was two and a half. Now granted she is unlike most children her age and very advanced in thought.. but her behavior still reflected that of a two year old. Additionally I believe there is a HUGE gap between three and five year olds anyway! The class was very strict and not fun and the teacher seemed to just ignore Naomianna and not encourage her to participate.
Well, I am happy to report we have found a new ballet class! On the economy it is English Ballet. It follows the English Ballet Curriculum and actually ended up being less money than going to the one on base that is not an accredited studio, it's just someone who used to take ballet 'teaching' the kids ballet.
When I spoke with the director at the studio on the economy (who speaks England English and German) she assured me they follow a strict adherence to the curriculum and are checked several times a year to make sure they are staying on track in doing the best stretches and moves for each age group and at the same time encouraging their imagination. They use a different fairy tale each season.
I believe this month is Sleeping Beauty because Naomianna came home talking about it. The only down side is when I peeked in at her (they won't let us sit in on the class I am guessing because it may distract the children) She was running around following the teacher, but with her hands over her ears. When we asked her after why, she said 'Because I was scared of that music. We were pretending we were running away'
Even more notable than that, when she came out of class she said all dramatically w/ a sigh 'phew.. all that dancing made me dizzy' HAHAHAH! she is one funny kid.
So here are some pictures of her first day at the new ballet school. I can definitely see a difference in her will to do what is being taught in comparison to when she was younger! Although the one in NH was very encouraging and catered more to her age =)

On our way in! What an entrance! I was already excited!

At first Naomianna just stood there as we entered.

But her leadership personality led her to the bar right away! =)

And she started bustin' out moves! (don't know if they were legit or not) =)

But they looked pretty good! =)~

ohhh... Someone wants to be friends =) (all the other kids speak German it seemed but little girls have a way of communicating that is all their own and without words... )

The little girl decided to come over and try it too!

It was time for mommy to get out! One more quick pic =)

Papa was peaking in and said 'look she's following the teacher. She's doing it' (as if he was surprised she was being a good girl! When it comes to ballet Naomianna is alllllll in!)

Ok one more quick pic from the door way =)

Now I should mention, Naomianna LOVES ballet. Everything is dress up, alllll day long. This kid is rarely in regular clothes. She's always in her dress up princess dresses! And... of course... ballet shoes. She has outgrown the ones I bought here in NH which I got used for a great deal! But I was lucky enough to find 4 more pairs on the yard sale site in the next 4 sizes for $4 each! So I bought all four! Of course! So we are good to go for a while. I also bought tap shoes for next year too! =) When we went to Naomianna's cousin Kayla's dance recital Naomianna was ecstatic! And woah, when the tap dancers came on stage... she was out of her seat dancing along! And during intermission she was ON STAGE! hahah!

We have a movie that Naomianna watches with little girls dressed up in fairy ballet costumes dancing around and teaching the move. Naomiana knows plie, jete and pirouette because of it (as well as I now know them! ha) That's probably why she knew what to do at the bar on her first day of ballet! =)

We've got our hands full with this one! So ballet is a great outlet for entertaining, encouraging grace and healthy exercise habits =)

Her first day the director was ill and not there so a young girl was helping to teach the class. Hopefully next week Tuesday the regular teacher will allow me to sit in and watch the curriculum on the first day.... and of course take tons of pics of those little dancing ballet piggies.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Life of a Military Wife

The life of a Military Wife!!!!!!!!

Lots of moving...



...Moving far from home...

Moving two cars, 2 kids and one dog...all riding with HER of course.

Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house;

Moving curtains that won't fit;

...Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.

Moving away from friends;

Moving toward new friends;

Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.

Often waiting...



Waiting for housing.

Waiting for orders.

Waiting for deployments.

Waiting for phone calls.

Waiting for reunions.

Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.

Waiting for him to come home,

For dinner...AGAIN!

They call her 'Military Dependent', but she knows better:

She is fiercely In-Dependent.

She can balance a check book;

Handle the yard work;

Fix a noisy toilet;

Bury the family pet...

She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.

She can file the taxes;

Sell a house;

Buy a car;

Or set up a move...

.....all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.

She reinvents her career with every PCS;

Locates a house in the desert, The Arctic, Or the deep south.

And learns to call them all 'home'.

She MAKES them all home.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty...

They leap into:




Career alternatives,


And friendships.

They don't have 15 years to get to know people.

Their roots are short but flexible.

They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:

They connect over coffee,

Rely on the spouse network,

Accept offers of friendship and favors.

Record addresses in pencil...

Military Wives have a common bond:

The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique.

He doesn't have a 'JOB'

He has a 'MISSION' that he can't just decide to quit...

He's on-call for his country 24/7.

His language is foreign












And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.

She is the long- distance link to keep them informed;

The glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments:

She wants to wring his neck;

Dye his uniform pink;

Refuse to move to Siberia;

But she pulls herself together.

Give her a few days,

A travel brochure,

A long hot bath,

A pledge to the flag,

A wedding picture,

And she goes.

She packs.

She moves.

She follows.


What for?

How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.

But actually it is because she has lost her heart.

It was stolen by her man,

Who puts duty first,

Who longs to deploy,

Who salutes the flag,

And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military Husband,

She will remain his Military Wife.

And would have it no other way.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

carter's makes the prettiest and comfiest Pj's

This morning we had to get up at 5:30am to bring Alex to work. He's in 'rotation' right now. That means that a group of troops is rotating through here for training and basically he has to be in the field when they're in the field. He's an OC (observer controller) so he has to oversee and correct/control their training. He's on a team of people that do the same thing. I believe each OC is assigned a certain number of troops they oversee. We are at Joint Multinational Readiness Center Headquarters(JMRC HHC)so we see Romanian troops, Georgian troops, I believe Spanish troops (from Spain) and of course American troops, maybe others, I'm not sure. And hopefully none of that information violates OPSEC (operations Security).

Anyway, we had to drive Alex in this morning because we are down to only one vehicle, the truck. We bought a 1992 BMW here for only $800! Great deal, right? And the guy who sold it to us is previously 82nd Airborne, from C Co. 3-505 Team Panthers which is the unit we were in back before Fort Lewis. He actually knew of Alex, though had never met him before, AND he knew my brother Kris! The Army sure is a small world after all =)

Well the car's been pretty decent to us... but while I was in NH Alex had to replace the radiator and that cost us 250€ which is about $310. . Now it is stalling.. had to push it back in the driveway the other day because it wouldn't restart. Say a prayer it's an easy fix. Alex is busy with rotation right now, but he's got plans to change out the air filter, change out the gas filter (I think he said that), put in concentrated gas additive and change out the spark plugs before we give up and tow it over to the shop. The only convenient thing is the shop is right here in our tiny village (home based businesses are VERY common here and often times attached to people's homes). So we have a large chain and can tow the car with the truck about 2/10th's of a mile from us! But let's pray it doesn't come to that.

Alex has been staying in the field overnight on and off lately. He could come home at 9pm and go back in at 430am every morning... but for the sake of Lexi's (and MY) sleep he's been sleeping out there. But sometimes if he's done early he'll call us to come get him. It's nice to have him home overnight so I'm not so nervous checking and re checking the locks on all the doors/windows every night. Ha! Last night was one of those nights Alex was able to be home with us. YAY =)

It got cool here overnight, maybe in the mid 50's. So I had Lexi all bundled up this morning. She was so cute and so sweet. I love when she's sleepy. =) Now, you should know, Lexi LOVES pajamas, especially footed ones and she LOVES getting new ones! We just got a box at the post office yesterday that I had sent myself while we were in the states recently and in it was a lightweight pair of footed pajamas that she wore last night. I absolutely love the color of them on Lexi. The pj's are SO cute and they have ruffles on the bum! Makes me want to bite her bum all the more! hahaha! So I thought I'd share a few pics of the cute and cuddly new PJ's Lexi loves and how cute and cuddly she is IN THEM! =)

Yes, I am showing off my daughter's bum on the world wide web! =)~ Blame it all on carter's for making such cute and comfy pj's! And yes, the last pic shows I am not yet done painting my bedroom wall.. I only started THAT project.. ohhh 5 months ago. I've decided I hate painting and I'm never doing it again! =)~

Prayer Corner

Please add these few requests to your prayers.
1) My friend Sam is having severe financial troubles right now. She is a family of 6 with 4 children at home, (the oldest son is with great grandparents otherwise they'd be a family of 7 living together) Her youngest is her daughter Samarie who is only a few weeks old! They don't even have enough funds to cover gas in their vehicle to get her husband to work. Her husband has taken the only job he can get at the moment which is at a mobile company 30 minutes away. There is hope of a better job that he has applied for and if that works out their plan is to walk away from the house and move closer to the job and rent a place. This is a lot of stress, losing their family home and moving their large family all while having a brand new baby in the home. Sam has been nothing but faithful, knowing and expressing that God has a plan for them in all of this, she has been the epitome of 'I will praise you in this storm' and is an encouragement to me! So please, please keep them in your prayers!
2)My sister Gretchen is trying to get a few more weeks at home with her new baby before returning to work. Please keep her and baby Tommy in your prayers that her job at BAE will give her the few more days she is requesting for them to hold her position before she returns. Also, our parents will be watching baby Tommy when she returns so please keep that situation in your prayers as well that it all works out!
3) Please pray for our vehicle issues as well as me getting my business license so I can start advertising on base and hopefully getting new clients! Also pray for me as I teach at VBS this week that my words are not my own but are our Father's coming through me and leaving an impression on the school age kids I am working with that it will be, in the very least, a foundation that will one day lead to them accepting Christ as their sweet savior.

I close on a humorous note... we have a sliding gate that closes off our driveway and completely fences in our property (great for the dogs). When we arrived home the other day Alex jumped out of the car (the junker one) and opened the gate so I could pull in and of course he was greeted by the dogs jumping all over him. I was busy looking at them and I crashed into the gate!

I laughed! Alex got mad! I laughed harder! Alex got madder!

No damage was done. I told him he should just laugh. We have 2 choices... get mad... or don't. There was no damage done (ok the fence is a LITTLE warped..) and the car is a junker anyway w/ blemishes all over it.. so I decided to not get mad... AND LAUGH..

poor Alex.. he just doesn't see it my way...

ohhhh such is the life of a soldier's wife =)~
'til next time my lovelies....

PS I was throwing Lexi on the bed earlier and I was all done with the 'one more time.' one more time.' so i said 'i'm leaving' and walked out of the bedroom and she said all cute.. 'you can't just leave me here. i'm your little girl' man.. she knows how to work ya! we're in trouble! so is EVERY teacher she's ever going to have.. i can already picture those big ol' puppy eyes and hear that sweet voice and all those excuses!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New England Seacoast Trip... 01 of 02

We are apart from Alex again =( The good news is we are here in NH with family. My sister is having her first baby so Lexi and I flew in so I could throw the baby shower and be here for the birth! While we are here I've been doing as much as I can to keep Lexi busy and entertained. And we're taking advantage of the opportunites to see all the local sights! Yesterday we did a 7 hr seacoast trip with Opa (my dad). We left at noon from southern NH (where my family lives) and drove up the 101 to the seacoast. We started in Hampton Beach, a popular hangout for all of NH. They've certainly been sprucing up the area. The parking lots have all been marked with huge sails with the corresponding lot numbers on them (I'm sure it's easy to forget where you parked there!!). And they've completely rebuilt the pavillion and put in new, nice and large facilities! Very nice! I'm thinking the state was behind that to bring in the tourism from MA =) As we drove along Rt 1A the waves were crashing so hard agains the wall, the sidewalk and street were getting splashed! Dad thinks it's due to the proximity of the 'super' moon and the gravitational pull. Here is a pic of us posing on the wall (a passerby was kind enough to offer to take a photo of the three of us) and you can see in the far background some of the waves crashing. But that was nothing! There were times when we had to duck to not get wet! Our next stop was to enjoy our picnic lunches at Rye Marina. Out of nowhere a golden retriever showed up and stole what was left of Lexi's lunch. We thought he was coming up to be patted.. surprise surprise he stole our lunch! haha. It was actually only the bread left over since Lexi likes to eat the meat and cheese from her sandwiches. His owner came running soon after saying 'dugie, no!' haha. But he was a sweet ol' guy! Here we pose in front of the nautical decor on the marina

After Rye Beach we drove up to Odiorne Point. Used as a bunker during WWII it is now a NH state park

"This reinforced concrete structure covered with earth, was built in the 1940's as part of Fort Dearborn. It was one of several coastal defense installations built to protect Portsmouth Harbor and the naval shipyard during World War II. The structure was a typical World War II intermediate range harbor defense battery. Its fire power consisted of two six-inch guns placed 210 feet apart that had a range of 15 miles. They were mounted facing the Atlantic on the circular concrete bases seen at each end of the structure. Powder and shells were stored deep at this Battery 204. In addition to a 17- foot square reinforced concrete fire control center located on the roof, the fortification consisted of thirteen rooms of various sizes buried under enough concrete and steel to withstand direct aerial and naval bombardment. This photo shows a conceptual sketch of the interior of Battery 204 showing thirteen rooms."
"Look closely at the hill in front of you. During World War II bunkers like this one were constructed to house large guns and then camoflauged to look like natural hills. Fort Dearborn located here on Odiorne Point played an active role in the Portsmouth Harbor and the naval shipyard. Following the war the inside of this one was equipped as a civil defense shelter and a rotating radar was placed on top. In 1959, Fort Dearborn was declared surplus property and was acquired by the State of New Hampshire for use as a state park."

Here Lexi sits in front of one of the bunker doors. Located in the front are the shells from the six inch guns. Inscribed on the side of the shell all the way to the right (look closely)it says 'These six inch shells were shot from this bunker 204"

On top of the bunker was this tree that must have been knocked down but is still growing strong w/ its roots still in the ground.

It made a perfect photo op =)

After Rye we headed further north along the 1A to Portsmouth. But we have been there so many times and Lexi fell asleep for a nap so we just drove through. We'll be headed back up there to Strawberry Banke for some plays in the park this summer anyway =)

After driving through beautiful seaside Portsmouth we kept heading north and turned off into New Castle which has a US Coast Guard base and some more bunkers left over from WWII. We didn't try to get on the base but viewed the bunkers from outside the gate.

Also notable, in New Castle, NH, is Wentworth by the sea. An old victorian hotel that was built in 1874 and has quite an interesting history, including in 1905 housing of Russian and Japenese delegations for the peace talks and eventual signing of the peace treaty ending the Russo-Japenese War. Theodore Roosevelt suggested these peace talks and won the Nobel Peace Prize because of them. The negotiations were done at the nearby naval base but the signing was done at the hotel. How's that for neat history! Also noteworthy history of the hotel, is for many years it was vacant and was due to be demolished (but it landed on America's most endangered places list and then was aired on the History Channel's show 'America's most endangered.' Then it was picked up and restored and is absolutely beautiful today! But while it sat empty, the victorian hotel, in its forlorn and vacant state was used for the haunted place in the movie 'In Dreams' starring Robert Downey Jr and Annette Benning!

Next we headed over to the naval base. Now interesting story about the naval base - it is disputed what state it's in!! It pays Maine taxes but the dispute is it's actually in New Hampshire property. Now previously, the bridge from Portsmouth would take you right across the Piscataqua River to get to the naval base, but just last month they tore the old 1920's bridge down. So, to get there from portsmouth you have to go across the I95 bridge or the Rt1 bridge and both take you (shortly) through Maine to get back to the naval base. So right now... it's hard to say it's ours. HAHA!

Either way, on our way there I saw this amazing looking building across the water of the Piscataqua River! (pictured below) My dad told me that was a federal prison back in the day. In fact, my Uncle Jack, back when he was in the marines, had to 'escort' someone up to that prison from VA once. When we entered the base I showed my ID and they asked no questions and let us on, but we asked them if there was a museum, they said 'no' so we inquired about the building. They said you can't trespass near it and you can't go in it b/c of asbestos and I'm not allowed to take photos on the base. Well of course I found this RIDICULOUS considering I had just used my zoom lens and gotten a great shot of the place from right outside the base! So silly! But it is a sub base so I guess the 'no photos' thing is security for that. But what if you lived there? You can't take photos? And they even have an old sub for display... you can't take a pic in front of it??? Man.. people are funny when you've got a camera in hand! Can you tell which pics I took from outside the base and which ones on the base? If you can't tell I'm not going to =)~


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