Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the holidays...

so everyone keeps saying, "so hard this happened so close to the holidays"

at first i wanted to punch them.
well... i still do. 
but... im finding my silver lining. 
if my dad had died in January... i would have had to grieve, and then a year later, do his first holidays. 
that would have been worse... at least that is what i am going to believe because that is my reality. 
and i have to find some sort of silver lining here. 

today jack saw a commercial for the thanksgiving day parade. he was so excited.
i started to cry.
for my entire life. EVERY year... my dad calls me at the end of the parade to declare that santa is coming. he would scream "are you watching it? here he comes!!!" 
and he would be all jolly & cheerful & ... tearful! 
he lived for christmas.
my dad always played santa claus every year for church and friends houses. 
he was the greatest santa!

this year i will watch the parade and likely sob my eyes out as santa comes. 
the phone won't ring... and i will be sad. 

my kids are the bittersweet part here.
they make me keep going.
i have no choice.
but they also make me remember my dad... which is great.
jack appeared at my feet today like this...

{terrible photo taken with my phone}
see his pen? my dad always had a pen on his shirt.
he would say, "a good salesman always has a pen"
jack always tried to swipe his pen. 

these are things that jack helps me remember. i would never have thought of that.
so i love to hear his memories of  his Pop Pop. 
i feel horribly sad that sammy will not know my dad. 
it makes my heart ache.
because my dad adored sam. 
and still... sam walks around and says "poppa" when he see's his picture.
but soon that will fade and sooner than i'd like... he will forget him. 

so... on a positive note.
tomorrow im going to eat! 
i will be a member of the clean plate club.
i will watch the parade.
i will make the best of thanksgiving. 
i will be grateful my family is together. 
i will somehow find it in me... to make the best of our first holiday without dad. 

enjoy your loved ones.
hug them... because you can!

Monday, November 22, 2010

finding a new normal

it has been a long time.
life got busy.
then life got bad.
it took me a while to get here to write... 18 days to be exact.
which for me... is a long time to not "talk".
i am an open book.
i like to be surrounded by love & support... what you see is what you get.
but this is hard... because writing it... well it makes it more real than this nightmare already is.

my dad died.
i still can't believe it is true. i wait for someone to pinch me and tell me that phone call at 11:13 pm over 2 weeks ago now... it was just a horrible nightmare i can't escape.

i dream of trips in the rum rum {the '67 austin healy with plates reading 'fun toy'}, trips to kuhns corner for hot dogs and later duchess when kuhn's corner closed, visiting nanny & stopping for carvel, golfing at patterson, his wildly inappropriate jokes that made us cringe and laugh at the same time, his lack of filter, or his annoying & cheesey jokes, email forwards, his insane obsession with Fairfield Univ basketball... going to games with him as a child and wanting to hide because he was SO embarrassing as he screamed at the refs "NEED MY GLASSES!!! THAT'S A WALK JACKASS!", the pride he oozed as I received my college degree and masters degree, the clean plate club, my very own santa, the things he got away with, his wealth of knowledge of diners, how he loved to go places where people knew him, or how every where we went, someone did know him, how all my friends always thought he was hilarious- even when i didn't, how he loved each of us {I am the youngest of 5} unconditionally... and defended each of our flaws & quirks, he always called me his "caboose", how he loved my husband. how he played with my kids. it was special- "my cane" tug of wars with jack, reading books to sam, how he tried to get sammy to talk more- he "heard" him say a lot of things... it made me laugh. no dad, sam can hardly utter "momma"... he did not just say "i love you"...  and how jack some how managed to get him to play hide & seek once... or the times jack demanded he color and do crafts with him. he did it!  i would kill for just one more of those hugs that, as my sister described perfectly, made you feel safe from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes, or one more "knee squeeze" in the front seat, or one more pinch and declaration of "this is MY side", or to simply hear his voice... his deep distinct commanding voice that filled the room. it made people listen to him. even if they didn't want to! i would kill for him to come to my house and just annoy me again... because that is what he did. what i wouldn't give for that... just once more.

i have been surrounded by love and support.
it is overwhelming.
i have learned a lot about people around me.
a lot surprising.
a lot good and some bad.
some disappointing.
some overwhelmingly amazing.
some friends became closer friends that i will forever cherish after this past couple of weeks.
i have grown up more than i wanted to ever.
i feel broken... like a piece of my soul is forever gone.
but it is part of life... sadly.

i woke up last night, just an hour after i fell asleep, without even opening my eyes just quietly sobbing.
i miss my dad.

i was named after my dad. i used to hate that.
now... i cling to that.
i also look like my dad.
and i hope to be a lot like him in many ways.
the priest said to us "think of the things you loved about him. think of all he did. and try to emulate them in your life. this is how you will carry him on".
i will continue to volunteer... my dad taught me that. and i will do that in his honor.
i will sing my heart out at church and when they play the national anthem.
i will cheer for Big Blue!
i will quote cheesy jokes of his. maybe ;)
and many many other things.

i feel so grateful to the people in my life that have surrounded me to get through this horrendous time.
the tribute we gave to my dad was over the top!
just like he wanted.
but more importantly, exactly what he deserved!

i know he is here with me. my very own special angel.

i have a lot more to say about my dad. 
but for now i work towards finding my new normal. 
figuring out what life is like... without my dad. 
hoping each day gets easier.
hoping the tears jump up and bite me at less brutal times. 
hoping my brain functioning returns some time soon {did you know that a traumatic experience like this causes your brain to stop functioning the way it used to... true!}
i will continue to carry my dad in my heart... i will talk of him with ease so my children never forget him. 
and ever single day of my life... i will miss him deeply.


Monday, November 1, 2010

missing in action

yikes... where has the time gone! 
i have been neglectful of my blog... and i do miss it lots!

but i am enjoying my new ventures a great deal too! 
it has been so amazing to use other parts of my brain. i will say i am exhausted. no. EXHAUSTED. i can't seem to get my body used to all this running around. i have been battling jack's chronic, 3 year long mystery coughing with my husband traveling for, what seems like, eternity!

i literally just sat down for the first time today. 
we had a really nice day... just busy constantly. 
if i wasn't cooking or playing with the boys, i was cleaning or feeding the boys, or playing catch up with all the piles of laundry. 

im not sure i will ever get back to my blog the way i had. sad but true! 
but i miss it... it was a sense of a journal. 
right now... i have on hold a list of other things i should be doing. 
including eating dessert... while i spend a little time here!

in the meantime... a little of what has been keeping us busy!

this is trouble. this little boy, at the end of a horrifically long day which was preceded by a terribly long few weeks... got in the tub while i was getting it ready and had turned my back for a split second. 
with ALL of his clothing on. 
he likes to torture me i believe!

we have been decorating! best $1.99 ever spent!

a very over exposed self portrait of me and my little man who is getting so big with each day!

we carved pumpkins, the night before halloween. it was sort of, i must confess, an obligation. we never pumpkin picked the traditaional way this year. no far. no hayride. no cute photo ops. it was too much with jack's mystery cough. so we skipped it. and got them at the store. we saved BUNDLES! and our pumpkins came out pretty cute!

they love each other lots! sometimes TOO much!

we planted some bulbs... lined the walk with tulips! hope we did ok!

my boys all dressed up for a communion! a rare siting! jack would live in sweats if i would let him!

nothing better than munchkin sandy hands. this was the day the mother at the playground responded to my "she can have one" as her daughter cried because she wanted a munchkin with "i don't let my kids have things like that". 
really?!?!?!? who says things like that! even if you don't want your kid eating that crap. everything in moderation. no need to be a judgmental bitch now!

my kids do not hold my hand. ever. or rarely. sam does sometimes & my heart skips a beat when his little hand slips in to mine. literally, i melt & ooze! 

meet the newsest man in my life! my best friend had a baby! 
im in love with him!
it is SO much more fun to swoon over other peoples babies and then hand them right back and go home and get a good night sleep. i don't do well with the whole baby stage when they are my own. my hormones take over and im 2 steps away from a psych unit. 
so i like to "re-do" with my friends babes! 
i like to be there for them when they go sleep deprived hormone crazy 
{which by the way, she is not doing. which is amazing & annoying all at the same time}

little man loves to slide down the slide on his belly. i lvoe watching him get up on the slide and swing his little leg over! its adorable... he is so determined!

a group shot of our halloween extravaganza! 
i call it "organized chaos"!
the biggest puppy & woody have been trick or treating for 5 years now together. 
they are big! 

woody! when he saw this picture he said: "oh my gosh i look sooo awsome!" 

happy fall! 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

feeling groovy!

i love that song!
i hear songs and they immediately take me back to a certain place.
a time.
often very specific memory or sometimes a period in my life.

songs make me happy.
turning on that ipod can, plain & simple, turn my entire mood around.

feeling groovy is a fun & happy song!

im feeling that way lately.
i was missing something in life.
i adore being a mommy... blah blah blah. i don't need to gush over them unnecessarily. you know the drill.
but i was missing something. for ME! before i had kids i had a vision of motherhood that was dreamy and of me in perfect control. i knew what my kids would be like, how they would behave, what my husband & i would look like as parents.
none of that was quite true. not that it isn't dreamy and amazing and rewarding. but it is certainly not this glamorous job detail i thought it would be! i never thought past the amazing & rewarding parts to the nitty gritty!

recently i decided to make some changes for ME!
and let me tell you, i finally am finding a balance.
and with that... i have more energy, feel better, and am so excited to have something else to contribute to the world outside of "jack & sam's mom".
{not that being that isn't the most amazing and always the most important job i will have}
but this is fun! im loving this stella & dot venture! im having trouble keeping my money in my wallet! i can't wait for my launch next week!
and im about to start picking up some cases again at work. im scared shitless of doing this again. but i can't wait!

im not gonna feel bad about needing something for me.
it makes me a better me.
a better mommy!
a better wife!
and a better ... ME!

i got home from a work thing the other day and jack was over the moon to see me!
i think having a little time away from me was good for him too!

ok... here are some random pictures of what we have been up to lately.
sort of.
i have been neglecting my camera in my new venture.
which is about my only regret in all of this.
but once i have it figured out... we will be back together again soon!

big milestones at our house! my heart skips a beat as i watch him ride no training wheels. 
stuck between pride overflowing and fear as he is wreckless!

we went to "touch a truck"... this is a horrible picture but i love how jack is just tucked into the wheel! 

do you have a pirate in your backyard? 
i do.

homemade banana chocolate chip muffins! 
jack loves them for breakfast with cream cheese- he thinks he is eating a cupcake! 

jack has acquired a new best friend. riley. the cute white fluffy pup! until riley came along he was petrified of dogs! riley lives next door... riley's mommy, julia, took jack for a walk with riley and they are madly in love since! it is so cute... i like that he will learn to take care of riley, even if only from a distance, because it teaches kids good things to help take care of dogs. and at this point, i can hardly manage to care for the humans in my house... so riley will be our adopted doggie!

my mom & jack working hard on a workbook. i love their hands working together. the hands that raised me... now helping my son. i adore this photo.

this was a real moment. a sweet one. without squeezing or hurting or forcing. 
true brotherly love at its best. i just happen to have my camera sitting on the counter... hence the forced flash. i  refused to miss this moment due to lighting & exposure issues.

teaching sammy how to scooter!

he just stands on it!

and when you hold up the camera... he says "teeeeeaaase"
and makes his obnxiously dramatic face! 
it makes me giggle every. single. time.

we went to a wedding in NYC. my first NYC wedding.
i sported my stella & dot charlotte necklace :)

and this is the best.... i found him here. 
in his closet.
with the door closed.
flashlight on.
coloring under blankets.
soooo sweet!

life, i love you.
all is groovy!!!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

chaos & i

i tend to function better in chaos.
{i'm social working myself i think here!}

but this summer i craved routine and structure... and a little something for me!
i love being a stay at home mom. but it is harder than anything i have ever done before! and i have really been looking for a balance... 
my word is 

when it rains it pours!
not so much of a balance. but it feels good!

i decided to sign on to be a Stella & Dot stylist!
i adore the baubles! so fun and trendy but classic and timeless too!
something for everyone!

at the same time, i decided to pick up some per diem hours working again!
it is crazy... but i can not wait to sit down and do some therapy again!
i can't wait to do documenation!
write reports!
get yelled at by parents...
and cursed at by defiant little kids!

i think i'll be better at my job now.
now that i AM a parent.
i get it.
i used to think i got it... but i didn't.
now i do.
i get how kids push you to your breaking point.
i get how without support and coping skills... the unthinkable CAN happen.
i get how you make choices to survive on a day to day basis, without understanding the long term impact these choices will have and how these choices become... bad habits!

i am really excited!
and really nervous!

{and looking forward to shopping for some back to work clothes... to wear with my new stella & dot goodies that should be arriving any day now!}

and in the meantime... life as usual marches on!
i heard giggles from the laundry area... i looked and saw nothing at first.
then i saw THIS!
see this guy? you know, the back of him? running in the other direction?
i see it ALL the time! and sometimes, i don't SEE him sneaking away!
he snuck off while we visited family in NY. it was scary!
he is sneaky and slick! 
and is currently aging me rapidly!

a good attempt at a family photo! 

we also attempted at getting a photo of all the cousins with nonna!
it always looks something like this!
organized chaos! it makes me laugh really hard... out loud!

it is almost impossible! some day {hopefully} they will all be old enough to sit nicely and smile normally with their nonna to get the picture she really wants! in the meantime... its a riot!

he thinks he is big! 

can't you just see the mischief in his eyes??

i recently discovered i don't take many photos of my kids just smiling. 
i love to capture the moments... not the pose.
so i am going to try and get a few of their beautiful pearly whites that make my heart skip a beat!

after our trip to visit cousins... my little man fell asleep on the car ride home.
he was like a drunken commuter on the train... head bobbin forward and unable to keep his eyes open!
sometimes... even the tough guys are still little babes at heart needing a snooze!

and while the little man was snoozing in the back seat... the one that should have been sleeping... yapping away!!!!

hope your all having a great week!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

home made ice cream!

i have a few "unfinished" projects recently.
not that i didn't finish them.
but really that i got wrapped up in the moment {or forgot & got distracted may be more reasonable} and didn't finish photographing them! 

life has been crazy busy lately.
i have lots of "balls in the air" so to speak. 
lots of decisions to make and possible changes in my future. 
its very exciting, all consuming & overwhelming all at the same time!

so i made ice cream ;)
obviously the perfect fix!

i used the recipe from the cuisinart booklet the ice cream maker comes with! 

vanilla bean! did you have any idea that vanilla beans are outrageously priced!
like the gucci of the "spice isle"! 

i also have these adorable mixing bowls from william sonoma a few years back.
i loved that they were pink... since i'm very outnumbered by testosterone in this house i figured i was entitled to a set of pink mixing bowls!

while making this ice cream, i suddenly noticed that...
when i crack the egg on the above side of the bowl, i always get the egg white dripping down the side and i think its gross. 

and when i crack it on the "handle" side... it drips right into the bowl! YEAH!!!!!
i thought i hit the jack pot of ideas! the little things that get me going!!!

as it cooks it is thin and white at first

and then becomes more yellow & custard like.
the problem is... when you are taking pictures for your blog, you run the risk of over cooking the mixture... and then you have ice cream that is more like.... well... creme brulee. 
could be worse problems to have!

and apparently i was too busy consuming said ice cream to take finished photos!

i wish i had planned better... the process of making your own ice cream, start to finish... is much longer than anticipated. 
{freezing the canister, cooking, setting, time in the maker, and then it needs more time in the freezer... i found overnight was best}

so.... added to my fall to-do list {which is way more fun than my summer to do list} is make ice cream again, pumpkin at my neighbor/baby-sitters request!
stay tuned!