Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowflake Drive




I wasn't going to talk about it. I can’t even bring myself to watch the coverage, but this morning I heard about an absolutely wonderful thing the National PTA is doing and I want to spread the word. The National PTA is organizing a Snowflake Drive for the children of Sandy Hook. They want their new school to be adorned in as many unique snowflakes as possible so the children know that everyone is behind them during this tragedy. 

I’m going to be doing this with my kids tonight. It’s a wonderful way to show support for just the price of some paper and a stamp. I hope you’ll join me. 

Your snowflakes should be sent by January 12 and should be mailed to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514





Lily

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who needs sleep when you have MARKERS

When I woke up today it was just like any other morning. When I picked Babe out of bed to put her in the car, I thought my normal morning was all going as planned. HAHAHAHAHA! Babe had other plans...



I remember thinking it was odd that Babe didn't come into my room a bazillion times last night (as she does every night). I guess she was busy.

It's a lovely shade, isn't it? I don't think it's quite her color but you have to admit, it certainly adds character.


Notice the red on her lips. At least she knew green isn't a good lip color. I'll just have to work on her with her rouge and foundation color choices.



Lily

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's bright out here on the top side of my rock


Since I found Pinterest started my Master’s class I find that I am sort of living under a rock. I haven’t watched the news in months. I haven’t checked the weather in…months. I get dressed in the morning according to the level of cold in my bedroom at approx. 11pm the night before, which is a surprisingly bad indicator of the following day’s weather. I’m usually incredibly cold in my office during the fall/winter months and our bedroom could double as a sub-zero fridge in the cooler weather so there have been (nice) days where I have literally been sweating the entire day. That’s a pleasant feeling.

I’ve become incredibly bad at water cooler talk. You know, talking about the sensational headlines in the news. Yeah, I have no idea on any of that. I also haven’t followed the election. Not even a little. I realize that will give some of you heart palpitations and I’m sorry for that but my utter disdain for politicians makes my care-factor incredibly low and when I have about 2 ½ hours a night (if I’m lucky) to play with Pinterest  Instagram my kids, the news never rarely makes it on the TV. (I wonder if Nick Jr. would be willing to air the presidential debates and other current events in cartoon form so I can trick my kids into thinking it’s a “normal” show and actually stay abreast of current events.)

I haven’t even been staying current on my blogs. (I’m sorry.) Basically, my life is a shell of its former self. I’m not sure where September went…don’t get me started on October. I just keep reminding myself that I have only 4 more years of this. Four. More. Years. Crap crap crap crap crap 

In other news…

My husband and I haven’t killed each other yet are going in the right direction…dare I say even doing well.

I’ve started helping with Bud’s hockey team (60 on 3 seemed like really bad odds for the coaches. You know, with all those little kids with knives on their feet and clubs in their hands). So I’m the hunched over one with the pony tail sticking out of her helmet picking up the littlest kids and giving them a shove back toward their real coaches who know what they are doing. I only had one kid cry (how was I supposed to know he kept skating over to the wall to get his mom because he had to pee really bad?) and I call that success! Plus, it seems like it’s the only hockey I’m going to get this season (Lockout I hate you) so I’m a gunna get myself as close to the action as possible.

In the sad news department my Grandma is deteriorating at a very rapid rate so it’s pretty much day to day now. Still praying but now it is for her to be released from all her suffering. Cancer is a bitch. (That, right there, is the understatement of the year.)

In happier news, my husband has some good news coming his way. I don’t want to jinx it so I’m just going to be mean and tantalize you with those very meager details and leave it at that. You’re welcome.

Two of my cousins are heading to boot camp (Marines) next week. Please pray, and then pray again, for them!

Babe has been calling people "F*%# heads" lately. We are so proud.

The first graders in Bud’s school are supposed to be able to read 50 words in one minute by June. They had a proficiency exam a couple of days ago and Bud read 100 words in a minute. 100 WORDS! It’s not even half way thru the year! We are checking into the age requirement for Mensa.

Ok, this is long enough and Pinterest is waiting. Hope all of you are doing fabulous (yes, I do realize I’d know the answer to that if I was keeping up with your blogs) and while I’m being a terrible Interneter please know that I love you all dearly!

Peace out!


Lily

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hiking

We went hiking to Piseco Lake this weekend. My husband has been going there since he was a little kid and it was one of the first places he brought me when we started dating.

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Piseco circa 2003

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circa 2011

It’s one of my favorite trails because there are several really cool features. There’s the HUGE rock that we are sitting on in the above pictures and then the “chair rock” right next to it.

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circa 2011

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circa yesterday
(man, they sure take up a lot more room then last year)


Then there is the spot just before you reach the top that has the root stairs.
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(again, circa 2011)


So yes, I really enjoy hiking in Piseco. But it’s more than that. I love that we are handing down this tradition of hiking in Piseco with our kids. I love that they are just as excited as we are when we say “We are going hiking today!” I love to watch them rediscover the same things we discovered last year, because nature really is cool. I love that it’s something we are all doing together and I know it's healthy and good and fun for all of us. But mostly, I love how happy it makes me when we are doing it. I feel myself smiling. That’s a good feeling. I’ve always enjoyed nature but I’ve never been a nature freak by any stretch of the imagination. However, the more I’m outside in the woods or near water I realize how calming it is for me. My husband has always said he wants to live in a house miles from anywhere. The city girl in me freaks out when he says this, but maybe he’s on to something.

Some more random pictures from Piseco, this year and last...

(Last year on the left side of each, this year on the right)

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Lily

Friday, September 21, 2012

My funny is gone


I can’t bring myself to write about happy things right now. I usually love to write about the little moments in my kids lives that make me chuckle or something in my life that makes me laugh. I just can’t do that right now. It’s not where my head is (believe me, I know that’s where it should be but reality isn’t always what we want). I’m not saying I don’t enjoy these moments still, because I do. It’s just that when I try to write about them I sound sullen and sad. (Hmm, much like this post.)

So, I’m thinking I’ll make it official and say I’m taking a little break from blogging. My heart is not in it and writing crap is fun for no one. I may come back and use you all to get some thought vomit out now and again but for the most part, I think taking a break is best.

I’ll still be reading your blogs (I need something to keep me sane) and I will try my best to comment as often as possible but even if I don’t please know I’m in the background living vicariously through you.

Until next time…


Lily

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reason #52 why Smidge is my great friend - A guest post


(Update: I'm stupid and can't successfully schedule a post. So this was supposed to be posted on Sunday...but you'll have to settle for it now)

Hello everyone! I’m still in sunny Seattle (I feel it’s important to note that this is me being optimistic. I am writing this intro on Thursday morning at my desk in New York, and from what I’ve heard, Seattle doesn’t do “sunny” very often. Here’s hoping!) [I think I should quit my job and become a psychic...it was totally sunny the entire time I was there. Winning!] Anyway, I’m still in Seattle where I ran away from all responsibility with my mom visiting my aunt. I imagine I am having a great time. As I said in Friday’s post, I’m sure you can expect a big photo dump when I return on Tuesday or Wednesday when I actually get around to downloading all the pictures. In the meantime, please enjoy this word from our resident Smidge…



Reason #52 Why Small Towns Can Be Great

I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town  (and from that start you might be able to figure out where that small town is) [comment from Lily: Bruuuuuuuce] and I’ve always thought that although it comes with some disadvantages (like EVERYONE knowing your business before it even happens), the good out weights the bad.

After college Lily did something crazy! She moved to the smallest of small towns 4 and half hours away in the middle of nowhere! For those of you who think I’m over exaggerating, directions to her house included “turn left at the only stop light in the county” and “right at the red barn”.  I’ve spent a lot of time making fun of her for this move. [comment from Lily: She really has] Now thanks to modern technology I’m still able to e-mail her every day, which is wonderful, but sometimes that’s just not enough and I need to take that extra step and send her something thru regular old US snail mail.

For example, this year was her big b-day!!! You know the one no girl wants to think about too much…30!!! (pssst…LILY you can totally make that number lower before you post this if you want, I won’t tell anyone) I couldn’t be there for it but I knew that I had to send her a fun care package with as many goodies as I could think of that she could eat, and lots of notes so she knew that even though I’m over 4 hours away, and we are both older then we’d like to admit, I’m still me and she’s still her. 

SO after a good hour in the store reading labels, another hour writing fun notes (without the help of spell check which always makes things interesting) and an e-mail to one of our other friends to confirm the address, my b-day surprise was packed and ready to ship. I sent it out so that it would deliver on her B-day and then waited for the fun phone call I would get when she got her surprise.

Four days later I was sitting in my house going through old mail when I found a letter from Lily with a return address that was NOT the one that I just sent her package to. After a text to her to confirm, I discovered I had sent the gift to an old address [comment from Lily: we've lived waaay too many places in the last 8 years]. I was devastated, not only did she know it was coming now but because of my mistake it would take weeks to get to her, if she got it at all. 

Lily suggested that I call the post office to see if they could do anything, I didn’t think they would be able to help but I figured why not, I had nothing to lose. So the next morning I called the Post office and told my story to the nice lady who worked there. She asked what the name was on the package, and after I told her she said “oh I have that right here”.  As you can imagine my jaw dropped “WHAT” I said “REALLY!! That’s AMAZING…oh my gosh you just totally made my week!!!” [comment from Lily: those of you that know Smidge in person, I'm betting you can totally hear her saying exactly that in her excited voice.] she giggled at that and asked for the real address. There was no checking the computer, or asking for tracking numbers I didn’t have, she just had it on her desk. Seems it came in a few days ago and since no one knew the person on the address she was waiting for more information.  Only in a small town would something like this happen, anywhere else a package comes in with the wrong address it gets lost in the back somewhere, or returned to sender, not many people would have “waiting for more information”.

So thanks to this small town post office Lily got her package just a few days later!! And I got one more reason to love small towns. It might even make up for that time in 5th grade when I got in trouble for cutting across the railroad tracks on my way home from a friend’s house after a “concerned residence” (the stoolpigeon’s name remains a mystery to this day) called my mom to tattle on me…well then again maybe not, I did, after all, get grounded for 3 days for that!

~Smidge

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If you follow me on Instagram (@momnextdoorblog) you may remember this picture from a few weeks ago.

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I can’t even begin to tell you how excited getting this box o’ stuff made me! When my husband came home and saw it he said to me “You giggled the entire time reading all these notes, didn’t you?” Yes, yes I did! And then I called Smidge and we had an ear splitting conversation that went something like this…”OMG SMIDGE! THIS IS AWESOME!” “I KNOW RIGHT! I KNEW YOU’D LOVE IT!!!” “OMG IT”S THE BEST!!!!” “DID YOU LIKE THE TOY?” (because, according to Smidge, every birthday gift must contain a toy!) “OMG I LOVED THE TOY!!!” (the toy was an ity bity yellow ninja that was AWESOME and as soon as I said the word “toy” Bud’s ears perked up, he ran over to me, plucked the yellow ninja out of my hand and went off to play with it. I swear I didn’t call after him and say “Hey, that’s my toy!”)

So my birthday gift was a few days late but honestly, it was worth the wait! Smidge, as always, proved once again she is the best!


Lily

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marriage Is Hard Yo - A Guest Post


(Yeah, sooo...I guess I don't know how to schedule posts. Just found out this never posted on Friday. I'm sorry I suck, but here it is several days late.)
 
While I'm jet setting out West (does staying in the continental US count as jet setting?) (Please don't burst my bubble!) I'm going to keep you distracted with two guest posts (next one scheduled for Sunday). After that, I will most likely give you a big photo dump of Seattle. I'll say you're welcome in advance. You're Welcome!

One thing I love about the blogging community is it lets you know you are not alone. You are not the only one with crazy kids or a struggling marriage or a some crazy thoughts that you just need to share. I’ve been very fortunate to “meet” a lot of great bloggers who share their stories with me, some publicly, some privately. Today I’m opening my blog to someone who is also having marital problems and, like me, needs to write it out to sort through everything to try to make sense of the senseless. I recommend you click the two links at the beginning so you can catch up on the story.

Without further ado…


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So by this point you've probably read up on me and mine here where a sordid tale begins and you may even have tracked over to here where I am awash with friendly advice. Go ahead and catch up.

So a lot of thinking has taken place and I'm left with two undeniable conclusions. One, a post about the dating life post separation and divorce is going to be depressing as hell and two, I still love her.
She's got plans, plans that can't seem to happen fast enough. I fully expect to be served with some sort of separation agreement in the next few days and there is little I can do about it. She would like nothing more than for the us that was us to be finished. Someone is talking her into it. It would be great if this was merely a man as men don't scare me! They are easily as screwed up as I am. Her fears are being played like a finely tuned golden fiddle. This is almost masterful in its execution. Almost.
I don't plan to do anything about it either. I won't... I can't.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "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."
I'm stupid. You're undoubtedly thinking it. How can you let her play you like this? Have you no backbone? Does she still hold your testicles in a satin lined box in her dresser? Well, here are your answers: neither she nor I is playing this game, I have all the backbone I need, and I don't require testicles for this.
Today, I read "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." (Mark 11:24 NASB)
Folks, I'm not asking for a million dollars. I'm not asking for a Ferrari. I'm not asking to meet Ghandi. I'm asking for what is already mine. I have a ring on my finger that symbolizes it. I already received it once, nay twice and I am patiently waiting the outcome of a battle that has already been won.
Do I have work to do? Yes.
Is it going to be hard work? Undoubtedly.
I've got to wrestle with my pride, I've got to offer forgiveness. I've got to see her point of view.
I've got to stop acting defeated and become hopeful. Frankly, I've got to get my chin up and stopped acting like a sullen asshat. I've got to separate my feelings and my attitude.
At some point I have to lay my fears on the line and risk them coming true.
This is a giant thing to overcome. To that giant, I say...
I've got my sling and I've certainly got my rock and I'll see you outside.
Stay tuned... 
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Lily

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thought Vomit is all I'm capable of


Today is my sister’s birthday. Even though she’s been gone for 12 years it’s still her birthday. Always will be. I don’t feel particularly insightful today so I will leave it at that.

Super Grandma is hanging in there but she now under the care of hospice. Waiting to die, knowing it literally could come at any moment is just cruel. We are all doing our best to make her as comfortable as possible.

On to happy news so I don't break down into a puddle of tears. On Friday I am taking to the friendly skies traveling westward to visit my aunt in Seattle. I can’t wait! Just me and my mom are going for a long weekend. We have never taken a trip just the two of us. I get to leave behind responsibility for a few days (I hope my aunt doesn’t mind if I wipe her mouth if she gets a milk mustache) and just enjoy being with two fabulous ladies. It is a long needed break from the stress of life and while I will miss my kids and yes, Husband, even you, I really can’t wait to get away for a few days!

In the meantime, I’m going to have a couple of guest blogs while I am away. (Is it weird that I will have more frequent posts while I’m away then when I’m sitting at my computer all day?) I hope you enjoy.

In other news, the other day I read a hilarious post by Natalie. If you don’t know Natalie then you are not experiencing all the joy that you could be experiencing. I hope you’ll rectify that by clinking this link here to read about her toilet story. As I read it (and if you read the comments at the end of that post you’ll see I’m not lying) I couldn’t help but think of my very similar story. Really, get ready for the best day ever (assuming you also clicked on Natalie’s link) where you get TWO toilet stories for the price of one. You’re welcome.

A few weeks ago we went to visit my cousin on Long Island (remember the ticks?) and we had a really great party at her house. As fun parties do, it lasted all day and into the night. I’m no stranger to pooping wherever I have to but obviously I prefer a place away from large groups of people. (I’m considerate like that.) The urge hit and I wasn’t going to be able to hold it until everyone left. Thankfully my cousin’s house has a basement AND a bathroom in the basement. Lovelier words have never been spoken. So I slipped downstairs and did what I had to do. Relieved, I got up and flushed. And looked on as my waste swirled but did not descend into the wonders of indoor plumbing. It just swirled there, mocking me. As I stood there with my shoulders slumped and my head hanging, the water drained away leaving my offering to the porcelain gods half submerged in murky water. Despite the risks, I flushed again. Perhaps the fates would take pity on me and make the second time the charm. To no avail. This is a good time to mention that I am incapable of unclogging a toilet. I am an expert, nay, a savant when it comes to clogging it (ask my dad and husband) but the Lord has rendered me incapable of fixing my own problem, forcing me to drag others into my misfortune. I searched around, hoping to find a plunger so I could discreetly ask for my husband’s unrivaled magic unclogging powers but once again, I was not so lucky. I went upstairs and pulled my cousin aside so she could laugh in my face to ask for a plunger. It was downstairs (apparently she doesn’t have my issues and a plunger is not necessary in every bathroom just feet away from the toilet – please pronounce this as twa-lay as my co-worker does. It just makes it better.) so the three of us (me, her, and my husband…truly, he has magical unclogging powers) descended the stairs to my shame. She retrieved the plunger and scurried upstairs…with me on her heels, leaving my husband to force the porcelain gods to bend to his will and eradicate my indignity along with my pride. The moral of the story? Life can be shitty but everyone should have a husband who is willing to save you in your moment of shame.

I’ll leave you with that dear readers. You’re welcome.



Lily

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Super Grandma - update


So the Super Grandma situation isn’t looking the best right now. She had a 6 hour surgery scheduled for this morning to remove parts of her pancreas, small intestines, and her gallbladder. They went in lapascopically (lathroscopically? Spell check doesn’t like either so you choose which you like better) and removed the gallbladder and in the meantime discovered that the cancer had spread more than they thought. So they closed her up and aborted the rest of the surgery. They are recommending chemo but she’s been pretty adamant that she doesn’t want chemo or radiation so we’ll see about that.

When she woke up from the surgery she asked how it went and when they told her they didn’t continue her response was “Good, I’ll die faster.”

(Enter my family’s collective heart breaking here)

All of my reasons for wanting her to live longer are selfish. She’s 87 years old, she’s led a wonderful, full life. She has a huge family that love her more than we can ever express. Her faith has seen her though so much and is getting her through this now. I know death would be a relief for her but it’s the survivors that suffer. I don’t want to be a survivor again. I want her with us so we can gather at her house for our loud, happy, fun family get-togethers. I want her with us so I can call her and ask for her prayers and talk to her and have her tell me everything will work out the way it should. I want to hear her call me by the pet name that only she is allowed to call me. And yes, I know that I will be able to “talk” to her and pray to her after she I gone. But you know what? I want more than that. It’s selfish and childlike but I don’t care. I want to stomp my feet and hold my breath until she is better. I want her to laugh at my kids and say “God Bless you” as we pile in the car for our trip home. I want my Grandma.

Right now I have no idea how long they are expecting her to live. I have no idea if she will leave the hospital, if I’ll get to see her alive again, or if she’ll be around for Babe going to 1st grade (3 years away). I have no idea.

This whole thing has me feeling helpless. My family has been wonderful about keeping everyone posted and we are all weighing in with thoughts, suggestions, concerns. But, I feel way out of my league. Thankfully my mom and all of her sister’s and brother’s are running the show but I can’t help but think that someday I am going to be the person responsible for my parents. Right now they are all taking shifts staying in the hospital with her. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t spent a night alone yet. It has meant sleeping in uncomfortable chairs and eating cafeteria food for a few weeks but there is always someone there to take the next shift. Everyone is doing everything they can to make her comfortable and well cared for. She is so lucky.

Thinking of going through this with my parents (in a very long, long time, got that parents?!!) I can’t help but think I’m not going to be able to do this for my parents. It makes me incredibly sad.

Sorry about all this gloom and doom lately. I much prefer to do the happy upbeat routine but right now I can’t. Hopefully we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon!

Lily

Monday, September 3, 2012

You are my most favorite daughter I've ever had!


Dear Babe,

Ok, you can stop growing right now. I think you're perfect right here. You’ve officially outgrown your Terrible Two’s (can you hear the choir of angels signing joyously? I can!) and you are really starting to form your personality. I mean, you’ve been your own person for a while now but I don’t know, you are almost showing a maturity that I’m not used to in a 3 year old. Last night as you hung out with me while I was doing my homework (and by hung out I mean refusing to go to sleep, but not doing so in a mean way, just letting me know that you are not interested in going to bed until you absolutely have to – which means when I finally shut the light and go to bed myself) you really impressed me. You’ve been impressing me a lot lately.

For about a week now you’ve been waking up and getting yourself dressed before you even come out of your room. Not only do you dress yourself but you fold your pajamas and make your bed. I don’t even do that! When we called Super Grandma the other day you immediately remembered she wasn’t feeling well even though I hadn’t spoken to you about it in a few days and you asked her how she was feeling. It was incredibly sweet and I know it meant a lot to Super Grandma! And last night, after a few hours of refusing to stay in your bedroom you finally gave in. As you left my room you shut the door (to save us from feline mischief in the night) but burst back in just to say thank you for taking you to the NY State Fair and to tell me that you had a great time. Really, you’re three! Who does that at 3? I love you baby girl! I am proud of who you are becoming and I hope Dad and I do all the right things to nurture this wonderful little girl we see before us. You are thoughtful, so very thoughtful, and I’m not sure who you learned that from but I’m positive it’s not me. I’m so glad you picked it up and I pray you don’t lose it.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still be a terror (in the nicest possible way of course), I mean, you are still only 3. Sometimes you don’t like to share, and yesterday you bit Bud because he got in your way (WTF was that about?) but overall you are becoming a charming little girl and I am happy and proud to be your mama! I can't wait to see you grow and mature even more. We got a lot of miles to go kiddo and I'm looking forward to only the good ones all of it!

I love you for real life.

Love Mom


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Lily

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thought Vomit Wednesday

So you might not know this about me but I think about some really random crap. (I know! Hard to believe, right!) Most of the time I spare you guys the details but I have come across the perfect platform to spew my mind vomit all across the Internet. 


Thought Vomit Thursdays was brought to my attention by Josey over at “My Cheap Version of therapy”
 (Go ahead and click the link. She’s fun. The first link will bring you to her home page, the second will bring you to her first TVT post.)

Here goes…


So yeah, lot’s to talk about. It’s been a while and I think a Thought Vomit post is just about right for this mish-mash we need to discuss.

A)  Super Grandma keeps living up to her title. The mass on her pancreas was a fluid filled cyst and the surgeon who drained it yesterday said he didn’t think it looked cancerous. YAY! But we still have to get the pathology results back so we are sitting tight on the celebration. She also has a few more hurdles to overcome before she can go home. (Her poop has been a hot topic of discussion in my family. We love you Super Grandma! You can do it! Give us a big ol’ poop we can be proud of!)

2)  A couple of weeks ago now I left you hanging on a weekend getaway for me and the husband. It went really well. We had a really great view of the lake from our hotel and rented some kayak’s and voiced big dreams as we paddled past all the beautiful lakefront cottages. It was a much needed getaway and it was definitely a good distraction.

III)  Speaking of the husband, I’d really like this roller coaster to be over now. The suckiest part, it’s my attitude and actions that are causing most of the bumps. We had a kind of breakthrough, or I should say , I did about myself, so figuring out a major issue is great, but I still don’t know how to get over it. Baby steps are one thing, these micro steps are frustrating.

D)  We went to visit my cousins on Long Island a couple of weekends ago. It was a fabulous weekend with a little surprise party for me and ended with Bud (and the rest of us) being covered in ticks. It was amazing! Oh, what? It’s not normal to end a fabulous weekend with ticks? Then obviously you haven’t had my cousin try to show you a fabulous weekend. (I love you Wench!) So this story could be a whole post of its own but you see how great I’ve been about posting. If I wait I fear it will never get posted. So, very long story short, we wanted to do one more thing before we left to go home so we decided to go to a historic house right on the ocean. It was pretty awesome. At the end we walked around the family cemetery plot and then got back in the car to head home. As we were backing out Bud said there were bugs on him. Being overly dramatic and scared of bugs I told him it was just dirt and to brush it off. His response? “But they are moving!!” So I took off my seat belt (I was in the 3rd row of my mom mobile) and looked to find THOUSANDS of ticks on him. I wish I was exaggerating. There were thousands!! So I tossed him out of the car, stripped him down in the middle of the parking lot (thankfully it was deserted) and started wiping him down with baby wipes. His car seat was also covered so Wench wiped that down for me. As I was frantically wiping Bud down, my husband grabbed Babe to check her over. She had a few on her too. My husband said his shoes were completely covered in them too. He cleaned them off before I saw but he said he couldn’t even see his white socks because they were covered with ticks. I had a bunch on me and Wench had some on her. Her fiancĂ© (it’s so fun to write that – they are recently engaged) didn’t get any because he didn’t walk around the cemetery like we did. Jerk! We stopped at CVS on the way home to buy some rubbing alcohol (apparently that kills them?) and we rubbed the kids down before throwing them in the tub. I can’t tell you how many times we have checked them (and ourselves) over but we seem to have escaped. I really don’t know how. Thank goodness Bud saw them pretty quickly, if not I can’t even imagine how many we all would have had!

5) I had my first master’s class yesterday. I was super prepared and read the first book a couple of weeks ago so I was all ready to intelligently discuss the boring as hell book. Until I found out that the professors switched which book we were reading first and I didn’t know. So instead I sat in the back with my head down and didn’t engage once. What a great way to start off my MA!!! Who rocks the house? Lily rocks the house!!

VI)  Babe is awesome. She routinely gets herself dressed in the morning before she even comes out of her bedroom. Reminder: she is 3. This morning I went in her room to shut off her A/C and this is what I found…
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She even folded her underwear! Which means she actually CHANGED her underwear. I love this child. (We’ll work on getting the clothes in the hamper or back in her drawer but seriously, thank you dear Lord!) (And yes, she sleeps in a pink batman shirt. Have I mentioned that I love her?)

G)  Dudes, I turn 30 tomorrow. When did I get old enough to be 30? And what happened to my 20's? Seriously, it's a complete blur. 

Ok, I think this is enough vomit for one day. Huh, I missed blogging. I might have to do it more often.


Lily

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Super Grandma


As I write this my Grandma, or Super Grandma as we affectionately call her, is laying in a hospital bed. She was brought into the hospital with severe stomach pains and vomiting. They found a mass on her pancreas. Apparently it is blocking her small intestines and is preventing her from digesting anything. After a very rough night she was stabilized and now it’s a waiting game for the next step.

We don’t know her prognosis yet, and won’t for another few days, but as I thought about her, and our family, and the legacy she will one day leave behind I knew I wanted, no, I needed to write about her.

The youngest of 10 children (and the only one born in America) her childhood was pretty normal for any Italian immigrant in the 1920’s. Her family’s story of success and triumph, mixed with sadness and pain, is similar to a lot of immigrant stories of people who came to America looking for a better life for themselves and for their families, and found what they were looking for.

She raised 6 children, six children who have all gone on to be smart, successful, good people. One can never count the number of things a mother teaches her children but one thing is for certain, she taught each of them compassion, love, the value of family, and mostly, the value of faith.

Anyone who knows Super Grandma knows how important her faith is. I tell everyone that she has a direct line to God. If you need prayers she’s the one to go to. God listens to her. She instilled her faith, and love of God in all of her children and grandchildren. It is proven every time one of us takes a car trip and recites “Our Lady of the Highway, pray for us” before we ever pull away from the curb. It is shown every time one of us repeats “leave it in God’s hands, God will provide.”

I have known for a long time how special my family is. A lot of my friends always had stories to tell about their crazy family and the latest feud or drama to infiltrate their lives. I couldn’t relate. I’ve had friends that didn’t want people to come visit because this family member or that would just embarrass them. I couldn’t relate. I had friends who didn’t know their grandparents, not because they had passed away, but because there had been a fight no one knew the reason for anymore and they refused to speak to each other. I couldn't relate.

I tell stories of our amazingly fun parties and get-togethers. I tell stories of the bond I have with my cousins, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. I tell my friends that we all love each other and that is no exaggeration. How did we get so lucky? Well, we have something no one else in the whole wide world has. We have Super Grandma.

She is so full of love and goodness it makes me ache to know she is in pain. I’m going to visit her tomorrow but I already know what she will tell me. She will tell me that she has lived a good life and if this is God’s will then so be it. She’ll tell me she is leaving it in God’s hands. I don’t want Super Grandma to accept death so easily but I know she will do it the same way she does everything, with grace and humility. I certainly don’t want her to be in pain and I know she will be looking forward to seeing Grandpa again (probably playing the clarinet with St. Peter), I just don’t want it to happen so soon. She’s 89 years young. She still does an exercise tape and eats healthy food. She’s my idol! I’m not ready to let her go and I know the rest of my family feels the same way. Maybe it’s her time, maybe it’s not, but I know she has lived her life to the fullest and I know she has left her mark on this world. Her legacy will live on long after Super Grandma is gone. Lucky us.





Lily

Friday, August 10, 2012

If this were a book this chapter would be over by now


We are trying. It is hard (very hard) but we are trying. In our effort to do all that we can we are headed for a mini vacay to the Adirondacks. Just the two of us. We haven’t done that since our honeymoon. We’ll be staying at a lakeside hotel complete with a private balcony and canoes to rent. I pray to the rain gods that they go easy Sunday - Tuesday and let us get out and do. Getting out and doing helps. It gives us shared experiences to bond over. We need to bond. Maybe I’ll bring Monopoly. Doesn’t everyone bond over monopoly?

We didn’t have a good night last night. I’m still having such a hard time letting go of the bitterness and resentment. It doesn’t help that I don’t understand his feelings. He tries to share with me and I lash out at him for feeling the way that he does. I’m an awesome wife. Why is it that I can be so kind-hearted and understanding to a stranger but I’m unable to accept that my husband feels differently from me? I think we both want each other to be a different person then we are. How unfair is that? How does one get around that and make a marriage work despite never being able to change who we are. Should we even try to get around that? Leaving sounds so much easier. But then, what about this life we’ve built around us? I don’t want to lose that. We have a beautiful family, we have a work in progress beautiful house, should I throw that all away because I don’t want to put in the work? No, I don’t think so either. But how much longer can we go on like this? I don’t want to act like I am, yet I find that I can’t change it. Not yet anyway. I keep telling him that it seems like I’m not ready yet. Not ready to let go of the anger, bitterness, and resentment. But what will make me ready? I fear that by taking my sweet ass time I’m doing more damage than can be overcome. I don’t want to do that! So why am I? (Seriously, can someone answer that because I have no idea?)

Things had been getting better. But I guess they weren’t really. I would really like someone to tell me exactly how long this is going to take. I’d like it to be better right this second but I’d settle for just knowing how long it’s going to take. Is that so unreasonable?

Husband – if you are reading this, please know that I do love you and you’re doing all the right things. I’m proud of you for trying so hard to right all the wrongs. Please be patient with me. Please don’t give up on me. It took 8 years to get to this point and I hope like hell it won’t take 8 years to get out of it but I do need longer than just a few months. Just don’t give up on me, ok? You’re doing it right.




Lily

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Conversations with Babe


(Babe - reminder, she is 3 - was lying on my chest trying to go to sleep when she pointed at my boob and the following conversation ensued)


Babe: Is this fake?

Me: (Looking at her finger on my boob and then at her) Uh, no (I’m very articulate)

Babe: Why?

Me: Uh, because (See, I told you)

Babe: What are they then?

Me: Uh, real.

Babe: Why?

Me: Because I want them to be?

Babe: Well, I want them to be fake.

Me: Good to know. Go to sleep.


And now I better start saving for more than just her college education. (You know, for her therapy bills when I refuse to let her have breast enlargement surgery when she is 16.)


Lily

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Conversations with Bud

(This conversation occurred in the grocery store as we cruised the aisles.)

Bud: Hey Mom

Me: Yes Bud?

Bud: You see this guy right here? (pointing to his bicep) Well, he’s got a brother and he lives right over here (pointing to his other bicep).

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(I swear I feed this child. Please ignore his protruding ribs and resist the urge to contact CPS.) (Thank you.)


Lily

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Flashback - Wall Building


Today’s flashback is a hindsight, a picture drawn with words if you will, rather than a real photo…sorry for the downer.

My Papa died in March 2000, my sister died April 5, 2000, I graduated from high school in May 2000, we moved to a different state in August 2000, 2 weeks after that I started college, a few months after that I broke up with my high school boyfriend and started “dating” someone else that was serving in the Air Force (he was an ex-boyfriend that I reconnected with). He came home from deployment shortly after we reconnected and I promptly fell in love with him and he promptly dumped me. I was so hurt, so pissed off, so utterly broken from all the change and stress that defined my life in that year.

I didn’t realize it at the time but looking back, that is when I started building walls. My childhood was relatively carefree and happy. I never dealt with any major issues (beyond which activity to play with my friends that day) so I didn’t know how to deal with all the stress and pain I found myself in. I’m a happy-go-lucky type of person, and I bet if you ask anyone who knew me then, they’d be shocked to hear I was having such a hard time. I smiled and sucked it up and went about my business. I even fooled myself. It’s only looking back now that I realize how traumatic that time really was. To make it through the day I ignored my problems. I didn’t analyze anything or give much attention to my feelings. And I started building walls. These walls kept me safe. How can anyone hurt you if you don’t let them close? I learned to keep them just far enough away that they think I’m letting them in but really there is a big, strong wall right in the middle. I was safe behind my walls. The best part, no one knew they were there…and I ignored the fact that they were. They just became part of me.

This really worked great for me. That is until I met my husband. We fell in love very quickly (we were engaged after 6 months and got married about 9 months after that). Yet, I still had my walls. I knew I wasn’t giving my husband the love he needed or deserved. I knew it but I had forgotten about my walls (they were so deeply ingrained that I didn’t see them as separate from me) so neither of us could see what the problem was. I don’t want to say I regret marrying him, because I don’t. He really is a wonderful person and a great father to our children. But my walls were causing hell. And then he got stuck in a job that sucked the rest of the life out of him and he changed. He became miserable and all the little negative parts of his personality became amplified. I’ll sum it up by saying our marriage sucked.

We almost divorced a couple of times but neither of us really wanted to. I knew it was mostly his job that was making him miserable but all that misery just reinforced my walls. I would not let him hurt me. I would not let him bring me down. He needed love and affection and would push hard for that, all the while being miserable in every other way. I worked under the premise that he can go on and be miserable but I am going to keep smiling and I’ll just do whatever I want to do with little regard to him. That worked splendidly for about zero seconds. Yet, we continued on like that for that entire time. It was a vicious cycle of him pushing for what he needed and me running as fast as I could in the other direction with my walls safely between us.

In October of last year he FINALLY got a new job. The hours weren’t great and the pay sucked but he was out of that hell hole that was his previous job! Things started to look up. Especially when he was offered an even better job a few months later, with better pay and MUCH better hours. Things were good.

And then they were not good. I will not go into detail here but I’ll just say that even my walls weren’t protecting me anymore. It was all just too much. I became miserable. I found myself driving home slowly because I didn’t want to be there. I stopped smiling. I started being mean because I didn’t care to make an effort not to be. I fell out of love.

With my walls no longer being effective and my realization that they really weren’t helping me anyway I decided I couldn’t pretend anymore. I couldn’t go on as we were, just pretending everything was ok. Everything was not ok. But now what? How do I cope when every coping mechanism I’ve ever used has failed me? I didn’t know what to do, what to think, how to act. Then the anxiety attacks started. I didn’t know what it was at first but after a couple of times I realized that’s what was happening. At that point I knew we hit bottom.

During my…breakdown (I guess you would call it that, although that sounds awfully dramatic) my husband had his own transformation. From what he’s tells me, he realized how good he has really had it, realized how miserable and horrible he was to us all and he is now looking at things in a whole new way. He’s happy. Don’t get me wrong, he is under no illusion that everything is ok, but he’s going forward with a positive attitude.

That brings me to my next problem. I don’t know how to handle this new, excited, optimistic person. At first I figured it was his way of trying to cheer me up and get me out of my funk. I appreciated his efforts but I just kept waiting for the old husband to come back so it wasn’t having too much effect on me. Then yesterday he responded to a chain of emails between me and my cousins (planning our upcoming trip to their house) and his response was cheery, upbeat, and completely frightening for me. That’s when I realized, not only do I have to get over the hurt and all of our past issues, but I also have to figure out who this new guy is. I feel myself trying to build more walls to guard myself against this unknown man trying to get me to love him. While part of me is enjoying this new guy, with his upbeat attitude, great suggestions for fun things to do on the weekends, helping around the house, the other part is reeling from the absolute change of direction. Who is this man and what has he done with my husband?? I have the urge to poke him with a stick (think the large poking device that the “Friends” gang fashioned so that they could see if Ugly Naked Guy was really dead or not) to see if he’s real or not. I just do not know how to cope.

The good thing is I’m facing the issues now. Really facing them. I don’t know where it will lead or how bumpy the road will be but that is where I am coming from and this is where I am now. Part of me can’t wait to see how it turns out, the other part…scared to death!



Lily

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No where to go but up


It’s not a big secret that my husband and I don’t have a rock solid, everything-you-ever-wished-for kind of marriage. We have more of the “we suck at this” type of marriage. There have been some major issues and there have been some teeny tiny issues that have festered and have morphed into the stuff nightmares are made of. It’s been a super fun (almost) 8 years.

Recently, things have come to a head and that’s been really fun. I now know what an anxiety attack feels like (nothing like rainbows and kittens in case you were wondering), and we’ve never been closer to just calling it quits. Neither of us really wants to but at what point do we say “this is stupid” and move on? Obviously there are so many different factors to think about. The kids, of course, are the biggest concern. There is no question that both of us love them both beyond words. Neither of us can bear (bare? I suck at grammar and am too lazy to look it up) to think about not seeing them every day or coming home to their smiling faces. If I were to decide that I just can’t keep up the charade anymore and it’s time to move on, I know that the last thing I want to do is keep my husband from seeing our kids. Just because we suck doesn’t mean it has to be a messy situation, especially for the kids.

Ultimately, the effort (and anguish) of dealing with our issues is way better than the alternative. Who knows what the future will bring but for the time being we are going to fight. He has already made tremendous efforts and now it’s my turn to get over the hurt, resentment, and just all the shit that has piled up and been ignored for so long. Once upon a time we loved each other and we need to rediscover the reasons we said “I do” in the first place.

We’ve started counseling and we are both cautiously optimistic that it might work this time. My husband is ready to make everything all better and has made some amazing strides to keep us together.  Who knew that ignoring the issues and letting the resentment build up would make it so hard to forgive and move forward on my end. Huh, conflict avoidance doesn’t work. Who knew? I’m not sure where counseling will take us (we’ve only gone a couple of times) but we are ready to put in the hard work. The hardest part? Letting go, breaking down titanium walls, and accepting that things will be different this time. He’s changed his outlook on life and expectations, and me, and the kids. I sure do hope it’s a permanent change. I sure do hope that I can change my attitude before it infects him and ruins all the hard work he has been doing. I sure hope that we don’t severely mess up our kids in the process. I sure hope I don’t turn frumpy…oh wait, that’s a different post. Sorry. I sure hope that we can look back on the beginning of our marriage and say “wow, we wasted so many years being miserable but I’m so glad we are happy now.” I sure hope we can set a good example for our kids so that they know not to give up, to fight for what you want, to not get complacent with those that you love.

These past few months have been incredibly hard. I’ve shied away from writing because the pain is too raw to show the world, yet it’s all consuming and I can’t find the energy to write about anything else. I’m not depressed but I’m feeling blue. I have been feeling tired, overwhelmed, mentally on the edge, ready to snap, ready to cry, ready to fall down. I’m hoping that feeling ok to write again (about something more than snot build up and trips to NYC) means maybe I’m healing. I might be crazy, ok, I am crazy, but maybe, just maybe, rock bottom is below me and not head-level anymore. Maybe.



Lily

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Conversations with Bud


Scene: In the car this morning, Bud droning on and on talking about Pokemon when he suddenly stops.

Bud: He is a Stage 2 Pokemon but he can evolve. Mom, when my nostrils get all stuffed up…uh, I’ll get back to Pokemon in a minute. I have more to say about that. But, Mom, when my nostrils get a lot of snot build up…did you know that Onix can do 20 damage…uh, mom, did you know that when my nostrils get full of snot it makes me have to cough. Superior can do 20 damage to Onix but Onix can do tail slap...

(At this point I fell asleep and swerved off the road from an overdose of Pokemon related discussions.)

(Oh Pokemon, please release my son from your evil grasp!)



Lily
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NYC 2012


We took the whole extended family (my in-laws, sister-in-law and niece) down into New York City this weekend to see the American Girl store sights. We had an amazing trip to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, a stroll across the Brooklyn bridge, Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the American Girl store (my niece drooled when we walked in, I swear it!), and a final stop into my mom’s building to see the sights from the top floor. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and better company! It’s a trip we won’t soon forget.

Here are some of the highlights…

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Playing in the water in Battery Park


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"Pirate Ship!! Mom, look! A pirate Ship!!"
(Bud was extremely excited about this in case his statement wasn't clear)

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View of the Statue from inside the main building on Ellis Island 

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My husband and Babe (and the Statue of Liberty)

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Pretty lady

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This is Babe's "I'm mad at you and I will stomp my foot" look.
(Clearly I was very worried that she was mad at me. So worried that I held the camera still so I could take a picture even though I was laughing.)

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Checking out the sights from the ferry deck.

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The statue is so small!

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Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
(Stupid construction blocked our view most of the way. Jerks!)
(It was still an awesome thing to do)

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Babe taking her picture with "McKenna" in the American Girl store.
(Dolls = boring)
(Super expensive American girl dolls = boring + major eye roll)


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Bud stalking pigeons

(This is how he was walking most of the day. He wanted to catch one so badly!)



How about you guys? Do anything fun this weekend?





Lily

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gasp!


Well hello! Yes, I am still alive. And yes, this is actually a post from me! When you pick yourself up from the floor please continue reading…

Growing up my parents were SO GOOD at shouting things like SUGAR instead of shit, or FROG LEGS instead of the other F word. And the fact that I went to Catholic school kept me pretty sheltered as far as bad words (not all bad words of course, but it was kept to a minimum). I remember one day in particular, (I was probably around 10) someone made a comment about “the F word” and I had NO IDEA what this person was talking about so I asked my mom, she was thrilled. I had never seen her so uncomfortable. She looked up at me through her eyebrows (the classic “are you serious” look), she tried to deflect, but I countered with “Come on mom, I’m not actually going to SAY it, I just want to know.” So she gave in and told me. I really didn’t say it…for a while.

As I entered high school I’ll admit I stared to curse a little (like any good Catholic school girl, am I right?) but it wasn’t my go-to vocabulary. In college though, things changed. (If my mom is reading this right now I know she is starting to cringe…sorry mom.) I wasn’t terrible but I was known to let some colorful language fly in certain situations (in appropriate company only mom!).

I definitely don’t curse as much as I used to, and I try not to in front of the kids, but I will admit I’m not yelling out sugar when I step on lego pieces or Barbie brushes. I don’t know if I was better at holding my tongue when it was just Bud or if he just doesn’t care to imitate me, but Babe…oh boy, Babe! She’s got the mouth of a trucker.

A couple of weeks ago she was picking peas with Bud and their grandma. She was stealing all the peas they were picking and eating them. Grandma told her to pick her own peas if she wanted to eat them. A few minutes later she resumed in grabbing the peas from their bucket. Bud told her to go pick her own and she turned to him and said, “Be quiet you little bitch.” (Am I allowed to be proud that she used the word contextually correct?)

The funny thing is that is not one of the words I use. Rarely do I say it so I can at least say it’s not entirely my fault.

Babe is one to push the limits and see what she can get away with. I’m sure to correct her every time she says a “bad word” but I just pray that she doesn’t go around calling the other kids at pre-school “little bitches.” She could say “Mah bitches” though, that’s totally acceptable.


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In other news…SUPER DUPER MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS to my cousin who got engaged this week! About damn time Wench! I’m so happy and excited for her!!!!



Lily

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