Tuesday, December 26, 2006

2006 in review

The top 20 highlights (and lowlights) of 2006:

1) Saw Ricky Martin live in concert...simply fantastic!
2) My best friend, Patty, lost her Dad to cancer.
3) We bought the business from my Dad. We are officially small business owners.
4) Gianna talked ("hi") and walked (March 16th) for the first time all before turning one.
5) Gianna turned one on March 29th.
6) Gianna cuddled with me and said, "Mamamamama".
7) Dad had his back operated on so now he has some of his mobility back.
8) Danny & I went to Philly for a weekend without the kids.
9) My step-mother's mom died.
10) We discovered we had termites and how expensive it is to get rid of them.
11) We had the decking around the pool done over. I think they used diamonds for nails.
12) We were quite broke for the remainder of the summer.
13) My sister Kim married her best friend and partner, Paula. :)
14) My sweetest aunt, Dottie, died of inflammatory breast cancer.
15) Went to see Jimmy Buffett and had a BLAST!
16) My babies, Julia and Nicholas, turned 4 and 5 in August.
17) Nicholas started kindergarten and Julia started preschool.
18) We celebrated 13 years of marriage in September and are happier than ever.
19) Kerry and I went to "So you think you can dance" in Providence. So fun!
20) Celebrated Christmas with my family (except Ricky, Chieko and the kids). Everyone is still here and healthy for the most part. And for that I am grateful.

I'm looking forward to 2007 and hoping that it is a fun, yet uneventful, year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Little Blessings

Today was the Christmas program at Little Blessings. Julia got to hold a star during her play. And Nicholas was so grown up singing front and center for his program. After each program they sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and had cupcakes for snacks. I love Little Blessings.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

La Salette - Festival of Lights

300,000 lights...

On the way to La Salette, Nicholas asked what exactly we were going to be doing there. Julia asked if there would be a jumparoo. (Ha!) When we told them we were going there to look at all the beautiful lights and to view the baby Jesus Nicholas said, "Oh...that is going to be soooo boring!". Oh my goodness.

We lit a candle for Danny's dad and said a quite prayer for him. He has been gone now for just over a year. I also thought of my grandparents and how much I miss them, especially at this time of the year.

It was just so beautiful. The pictures I took simply do not do it justice.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Getting ready for Santa

I absolutely love this time of the year. My kids are so excited for Christmas and are at the best age for it. Everything is so magical for them. We went to the "North Pole" on Sunday for a Polar Express event. They really and truly believed they were going to the North Pole that day. I told them I would push the red button on my dashboard to make the car go extra fast for the long drive to the North Pole. (We were only going a few towns away for a fifteen minute drive.) I yelled, "Hang on tight!" and they squealed in delight at how "fast" we were going. The look on their faces when we arrived was priceless. The event was held in a huge white, heated tent with lots of lights. Inside were all kinds of kid's activities and cart fulls of penny candy. They loaded up our stroller with tootsie rolls and lollypops. After about a half hour, before Santa even arrived, they were exhausted and asked if they could go home. Oh well. The magic only lasts for so long I guess!

Maybe next year

Here is a recent picture of Tyler, Justin and Zachary. They are the adorable offspring of my wonderfully funny and loveable brother, Ricky. I miss them all so much. I got to see Ricky in October but I haven't seen his kids in almost a year. I wish I was more spontaneous to just book a trip to seem them. They live in Florida for goodness sake! What is wrong with me?!? And not only that, my brother works for Universal Studios so we're talkin' free...FREE...passes to Universal and Disney!! So what holds me back from buying a ticket? Just the logistics to me is a nightmare. Packing? Three little ones in tow? Maybe next year. That's what I always say. And yet another year goes by and that is another year I lose out on really getting to know the boys. I so wish they lived closer. I would love to help take care of them. Wipe their little noses. Cuddle them. Play with them. Just spoil them like a good auntie should. I love my sweet sister-in-law Chieko. It would be great to have that extended family support system around. But once again I will say maybe next year...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The flu shot

Poor Nicholas. He had to go to the doctor today for his flu shot. He literally wailed when I told him. He tried to be brave but ended up in tears as usual. I told him we would go to the store afterwards so he could buy some candy. He chose Mentos. When we got home he asked me to wrap his arm in an ace bandage. Then he took toilet paper and wrapped it around his neck and made a sling. He left it like that for the rest of the day. I guess it made him feel better. Now we can only hope that he doesn't get sick this winter!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Feast Day

Yesterday was Feast Day at Little Blessings. When I asked Nicholas what he was going to dress up as, he told me he was going to be a chicken. (He actually meant to say turkey.) I love Little Blessings. The school does amazing work with the children. They were all so well behaved and polite and we're talking about over 50 children all in one room!

I love my babies!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Quote of the day

Nicholas said, "Mom, you are so beautiful. Just like a star." Oh my wonderful, handsome, smart baby boy. I love him to pieces.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

November...twenty years ago

Dean Hall, Dean College

It was the best of times...it was the worst of times.

It seems like a lifetime ago when I lived away at college. This time of year always brings back so many wonderful memories as well as painful ones too. It was a time when I was settling in at a new school, getting to know my new roommates, and making new friends. Also memories of the year that followed when I was headed back to school to the familiar surroundings and friends. I practically lived outside in the beautiful weather soaking up the sun in between classes, playing flag football, cheering on my boyfriend as he played lacrosse, and just hanging out on the wall with everyone in the courtyard between the dorms. I felt so free and independent back then.

I remember this guy coming back to campus to visit some friends and telling us to enjoy our time there because soon we would be out in the real world. At the time I remember thinking that I had seven months left until graduation. Seven months! It seemed like an eternity back then. Now seven months goes by in a flash!

College is where I fell in love and had my heart broken. It was where I had some of the best laughs of my life and some of the saddest cries too.

I miss those carefree times when the days, weeks, and months passed at a snail's pace and I felt so safe in that small campus environment with friends all around me. November. A lifetime ago.

So you think you can dance?

My sister Kerry and I went to see this show Sunday night in Providence and it was AWESOME!! My favs were Ivan and Allison. (OK, I know I sound like a teenager but it was so much fun!) I'm so glad I went with Kerry because we both share the same passion and love for dance.

Hopefully my little girls will love dance as much as me and their wonderfully artistic Auntie.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One wish

Finally, my Dad is feeling better. He is such a trooper. With all his aches and pains and all the treatments he has to endure he hardly ever complains.

My dad is so loving, kind, and generous. I enjoy every minute I have with him and don't take one minute for granted.

If I had one wish I would take away all his aches and pains for good.

I love you Dad.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My wonderful family

No one makes me laugh the way my brother and sisters do. Why is it that we regress to childhood when we are all together?

Love lasts

Eighteen years ago today was our first date. I remember not being too crazy about the date because some other guy just dumped me. How funny to think back on that now. And to think that I almost decided to end it after a few dates but then tragically his mother passed away. I stayed with him through those hard times and that is when I fell in love with him.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lucky 13

Danny and I just celebrated 13 years of marriage on the 25th of September. We have been together a total of 18 years now. We have had our share of bumps in the road but boy am I glad we chose each other to be life partners. Danny is the most incredible Dad. He loves his children with his whole heart and soul. He is an amazing husband. He has to be to put up with my crazy moods! We are best friends and partners going through these crazy and fun years of parenthood together. We make quite a team!

I love you Babe!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Apple pie, apple crisp, apple salad...

We ate lots of apples today and tomorrow the baking begins!!!

This is Gianna's "I'm not so sure about this" face. She wasn't crazy about the hayride. It made her nervous.

The dancing bug

From the moment I knew I was expecting a girl I couldn't help think of the day when I could sign her up for dance lessons. Dancing is such a huge part of my life. My wonderfully artistic and creative sister Kerry gave me the dance bug. I remember going to watch her dance classes when I was a little girl. I would stretch, turn, and practice all the moves she did. I idolized her and wanted to be just like her. When I was ten I took my first ballet class. My mother went exactly by the rules and bought me a blue leotard and pink tights. I was soon moved to another class, jazz, and in that class all the kids wore black. I stood out like a sore thumb. However my first dance teacher was a little nuts so my lessons only lasted about a year and a half. It wasn't until I was 21 that I danced again. This time, after lots of convincing and encouragement from Kerry, I began dancing at her school. Those four years were so fantastic. I studied jazz, ballet, tap, and modern. Dancing in her company was such a wonderful experience for me. I was older than the girls I danced with but I didn't mind at all. They were all so lively and fun to be with.

Now I am passing the dance bug onto my little girl. She is always dancing around the house putting on shows for me. I took the time to find a really good dance school for Julia with hopes that she will get good training. Will she love dance as much as me?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

First day of school

Nicholas started kindergarten last week and Julia started preschool for the very first time on Monday! We could not have been more proud of them. Last year on the first day of school Nicholas told us he was going to hold onto the chair and never let go. It made for a tough morning. But he adjusted pretty well. This year he wasn't nervous at all. However he did say the first day of school was "a little boring".

Julia's first day of school.

Nicholas' first day of school.

It is so funny how different Nicholas and Julia are from each other. Julia could not have been more excited for her first day. She picked out her outfit the night before. How cute did she look in those sneakers?!?! I was in the hallway trying to talk to her and she kept asking if she could go into the classroom. Was she trying to get rid of me or something? The teacher told me she did very well her first day and only got upset once out on the playground when she didn't get a turn on the swings. Julia later told me it was because she saw Nicholas on the playground for a few minutes and when he had to go back inside she was sad. Funny how that doesn't happen at home. Hmmm....

Tomorrow is Julia's second day at school. I miss her when she's not with me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quote of the day

Nicholas said to me tonight, "You're the best Mom I ever had". How sweet is my baby boy?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy birthday Julia!

My little girl is now four. The night before her birthday I told her she would be four when she woke up in the morning. She was all excited, but at that moment it struck me that she wouldn't be three anymore and I started to cry. She held my hand and said, "Mommy, I promise I'll stay four for a long time." There she was comforting me! I guess turning four means she is growing up and moving out of the baby/toddler world. She will be starting preschool for the first time this year and I just enrolled her for dance lessons. Four opens up a whole new world for her. I'm sad to see those baby years end for her but so excited to see what four brings her. She is so beautiful, smart, and funny. It seems I waited forever for my little girl and now here she is turning four already.

I was reading a post tonight about someone who is having difficulty conceiving. I remember those days all too well. Those days, months, and years just seemed to crawl by. At the time I didn't understand why it was happening to us. Why couldn't we just get pregnant like everyone else? Why did we have to endure so many tests and shots and procedures with what seemed like endless phone calls from our clinic saying "sorry but you're not pregnant". But now looking back I have been able to make sense of it all. If we had gotten pregnant any sooner then it wouldn't be Nicholas, Julia, or Gianna. They were all meant to be here. God was trying to tell me to be patient, but I was trying to control it by the tears and anger and frustration. In retrospect, I wish I didn't spend so much time in tears and worrying so much. It wasn't until my last IVF cycle that I decided to kiss it up to God and let Him take over. I was trying to control something that was uncontrolable. We were doing all we could.

Now our three children are the center of our lives. Life is unfolding as it should, and we couldn't be more blessed.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Birthday madness!

My house is out of control. Yesterday was the kids' birthday party. I invited fifteen kids and only one didn't come. Now what I didn't think about while doing the invites was how many presents we would end up with....28 presents, which ironically is my favorite number. Maybe I better pick a new favorite number. Our toybox is already overflowing all over the floor. Where on earth are we going to put all this stuff? And of course most of the toys need batteries.

I think I'm going to scream!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Our Mae Mae

I love to run my fingers through those curls. Everything about her is just so cute...her tiny toes and tiny fingers, her big Buddha belly, and her squishy legs. I love being with her and actually get sad when it's time for her nap or bedtime. I love how she says "mama" for absolutely everything. At 16 months she has learned some words like "hi", "bye", "cracker", "papa" and she even said "marshmellow" once. She understands everything now. I'm so glad Mae Mae is part of our family. We are blessed.

The lazy hazy days of summer.

Nicholas got a new fishing pole for his birthday from his Dad. Here are a few pictures of the kids trying it out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My friend Patty

Patty has taught me what friendship is all about. She is always there for me...never voicing her opinions too strongly. She always knows exactly what to say at the right time but more importantly what not to say. I feel like I'm constantly a work in progress when I'm around her. I can depend on her for anything and that is such a comfort. What would I do without her?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jimmy Buffett

How much fun did we have??? Hmmmm....

Happy 5th birthday Nicholas

I cannot believe my baby boy is five. Wasn't it just the other day when we were trying so hard to have a baby? We went through endless doctor appointments, testing, and IVF cycles. I had so many shots my butt was numb! But it was all so worth it. It happened when it was supposed to happen. If it were any sooner then it wouldn't be our Nicholas.

He is such a love and tells me over and over again throughout the day that he loves me. He gives me the biggest hugs. Oh how I love my baby boy....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Quote of the day

Nicholas said after being good to Gianna, "Mom, if I'm good, will you give me dollars"?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

If we change one thing then it changes everything...

Today was my Aunt Dottie's funeral. She raised six awesome kids who are now grown with children of their own. As her daughter Maureen said today at the funeral, she was so fortunate to see all her children grow up and know all sixteen grandchildren. My uncle and my cousins believed in my aunt's faith, so much so that they seemed quite at peace with her death.

At the cemetery all the grandchildren released pink balloons and we all watched them until they were tiny pink dots in the sky.

My Aunt Dottie crocheted me a blanket for our wedding thirteen years ago and it has become my favorite blanket to snuggle up with on the couch while I watch TV. It has also become a favorite of my kids too. She loved to bake and made this incredible swedish braid bread. I would always look forward to it at Christmas. She gave me the recipe after mine went "up in smoke". (Long funny story.) She was just so pleased to pass on the recipe to the younger generation and see us actually bake from scratch.

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So he put his arms around you
and whispered "Come to Me"
A golden heart stopped beating
Hard working hands at rest
God broke our hearts
To prove to us
He only takes the best.

I will miss my sweet Aunt Dottie.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Canobie Lake Park

What a day we had yesterday! We went to Canobie Lake Park and the kids had a ball. They went on lots of rides. I'm so happy that they have not outgrown the kiddie rides yet. They look so cute riding them. I actually went on a roller coaster by myself. And little Mae was awesome per usual. She sat in her stroller most of the time just taking in the surroundings. Not one tear or one complaint from her. Actually Nicholas & Julia were great too. Very little complaining.

Then it was off to the water park. That was so much fun! I haven't gone on a water slide in years. I'm so glad Danny and I are able to just join in on the fun with the kids. Nicholas is fearless. He just goes all the way up to the biggest slide and off he goes. Julia on the other hand hates to get her face wet. You get completely soaked going up to the slides. Buckets of water get dumped on you. But it was so much fun!

By this time we were starving so we went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. I think they both were a little nervous at first of the alligator and other creatures but soon they were fascinated. They ran around taking pictures of all the animals and fish.

What a great day. I love the summer!