Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

Nicholas and Julia had their Christmas shows today. Julia and her class sang songs about Jesus while Nicholas' class, you know with public school and all, went the generic route with santa songs and the twelve days of Christmas.

Isn't Jesus the reason for the season?

Julia and her sweet friend, Kim.

Our three little ones.


The kids sang happy birthday to Jesus.


Mmmmm...those cupcakes were good!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Nutcracker

Julia and I went to the Nutcracker today. We got all dressed up. I did her nails and hair before we left. We looked so pretty...and guess what...no camera! Danny had the diaper bag with him and I had put the camera in there the night before. Darn it! Julia was so cute. She literally counted the minutes away waiting for the show to start. She did great considering it was a little long for her. After the show I took her out to dinner to Applebees which is her favorite restaurant. She ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, french fries and applesauce. We got ice cream sundaes for dessert. We played endless games of tick tack toe, I Spy and hang man throughout dinner. It was so nice spending time with just one child. I really must do this more often. I know it's good for them to have my undivided attention but really it is good for me too as it is much more relaxing.

Funny story of the day: When we were parking the car, a woman attendant came to collect our money. She commented on how cold she was standing outside all day. After I gave her the money Julia said, "Mom, why did you give her money? Is she collecting money to buy herself a coat?"

La Salette Festival of Lights

We went to visit the La Salette Shrine again this year. They celebrate Christmas with the Festival of Lights and have over 300,000 lights on the trees and around the grounds. It is so amazingly beautiful. My pictures do not do it justice. It looked especially pretty this year because it had snowed this week.



We lit candles for Danny's Mom and Dad.


There were hundreds of sparkling candles that had been lit by visitors of the shrine.


The kids had the most fun climbing on the huge snow banks!



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Game of Perfection

Our house was always full of kids when we were growing up. Kids loved my mom and our house was the house to hang out at. One Christmas when I was about eleven years old and my older sister Kim was about fifteen, she had a Christmas party with a bunch of her friends. They played Christmas music, strung popcorn, ate junk food and so on. I was in a grumpy mood that night. I have no idea why. But one of my favorite people was there that night. My sister's friend Joe. He lived a few houses down from us and was at our house almost every day. He became part of our family. Even if my sister wasn't home he would come over to visit and play cards with my Mom or spend time talking to my Dad listening to his advice.

I really liked Joe because Joe really liked me. He never treated me like some pesky little sister. I remember the night of that Christmas party, Joe invited me to sit on the couch next to him and sing Christmas carols even though I was in a no good bad mood and didn't want to sing. Just that gesture of him including me made me feel good. That was Joe. He was kind. He was the "good" one in his very large family of ten kids. He never got into trouble. Joe was also the only one at the party to show up in a suit but that was him. He loved the holidays, especially Christmas.

That Christmas one of my gifts was the game Perfection. For weeks after Christmas, Joe would play that game with me and we would have competitions as to who would get the better time before the pieces popped out all over the place. Even today when I play that game with my kids, I think of Joe and our competitions.

After Joe and my sister graduated high school, we didn't see much of Joe anymore. He went into the service and eventually became a state trooper in New Hampshire, got married and had a son.

I remember the last time I saw Joe. He was in his twenties by then and just stopped by my Mom's house with another friend to visit. We sat at our kitchen table and played cards with my mom, just like the old days. I had not seen him in years but he was as handsome and happy as ever. He had this great infectious smile and such a wonderful joy for life.

Fast forward to November of 1989. Joe was 28 years old with an 8-month old son. He was killed in the line of duty in a car accident as he and another officer were transporting a prisoner. Crazy how I've outlived him by so many years now. I visit his grave each spring as he is buried near my foster brother, Glenn.

My family loved Joe. We were all there for him at the end praying for him to pull through. And when he didn't, we were all there to pay respect to him and his family at his funeral along with hundreds of police officers.

I know you are in heaven shining down on all of us. This was truly your favorite time of the year and I just want you to know that our family will always think of you with great affection, and never forget you, your kindness or your passion for life.

You were good...like perfection. Merry Christmas Joe. :)

Joseph Gearty 1961-1989

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ornaments

We put up our Christmas tree today. I love going through our box of ornaments each year. There are a few that I hold near and dear to my heart. Like these...

This is Nicholas' first ornament from 2001. After waiting years and years for his arrival, I couldn't wait to hang this on our tree. He was four months old his first Christmas.


We had no idea that the very next Christmas we would be hanging another baby ornament on the tree. Julia was also four months old for her first Christmas.


This ornament was given to me by an old boyfriend's sister-in-law. I thought it was such a sweet gesture.


My friend Sandy gave me this ornament after living in Vienna for a time.




This Santa ornament belonged to Danny's mom.



My sister Kim and I have a tradition of going shopping some place fun just days before Christmas each year. My sister bought this one for me on one of those trips.


Nicholas made this ornament in school last year at Little Blessings...my favorite school of all time.


I bought this dancer ornament for Julia last year for her first year in dancing school.


And this is my favorite ornament. The cradle. It was given to me by my dear friend Joann who helped me through those dark days of infertility. She gave it to me as a symbol of hope. She said her grandmother used to give a cradle ornament to her grandchildren when they were just married with hopes of having children someday. It guess it really works...


Saturday, December 01, 2007

My sixth sense

Sometimes I wonder about this strange sixth sense I have. Out of the blue random people just pop into my mind. Usually it is people I don't really know well or haven't seen in years. I think about them just briefly and then the thoughts are gone. Poof. And then I get a phone call telling me something about the person I was thinking about. Here are some examples.

One day out of the blue the name of this girl, Denise, popped into my head. I used to teach her dance at my sister's studio when she was a young girl. I'm sure she must be in her late twenties by now. I have not thought about this girl in years and years. I thought about how beautiful she was and how much I enjoyed teaching her. That's it. Then the thoughts were gone. A few days later, my sister called to tell me that she heard from friends that Denise was engaged to be married and her fiance had died suddenly.

On another day I randomly thought about this girl, Diane, that I was friends with in grade school. I didn't hang around with her much after that although we did graduate high school together. I haven't seen her or spoken to her since high school. My thoughts were about how we used to play together as kids and that was it. The thoughts were gone. The next day my dad called to tell me that he had gone to physical therapy the day before. And guess who his physical therapist was...this girl Diane.

Yesterday, out of the blue I was thinking about Danny's friend Mark and his wife. She is pregnant with their third child. Although I know Mark very well, I really don't know his wife very well. I was thinking about how with each pregnancy they have the ultrasound technician write down the sex of the baby and put it into an envelope. When they go home they give the envelope to her father to open. I was thinking how it was a little strange to me but who am I to be critical of her relationship with her dad? I was thinking about how close they must be and how important it is for her to have her dad know first. Then a few hours later the phone rang. It was Danny calling to tell me that Mark had just called him to say his father-in-law has terminal cancer. He has less than a year to live.

How does this happen?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Grateful Friday

Me and my beautiful girls.



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Memory Junkie

I will admit that I am a memory junkie although I HATE clutter. Danny and I have had more arguments about me throwing away stuff that he said was important. Like random scrap pieces of paper that he has written phone numbers on that I thought was trash. I have even on occasions thrown out mail that I thought was junk mail when in fact it was something important. But when it comes to memories I absolutely cannot part with it. I have boxes and boxes of stuff that I think is important.

Like this...

A teen magazine from 1978 when my world revolved around Shaun Cassidy...my diary from 4th grade talking about my crush on a cute boy in school named Timmy...and an old jewelry box full of notes from grade school friends.

And then there are my journals. I have more than what is even shown in the picture below. Most are from the 80's and 90's. I started writing in journals in 9th grade and still write in them today. I'm not great about writing in them daily though. Sometimes I'll go months without writing but it is so fun to look back over a years' time to see what was happening in my life. Oh, the drama!

Since I don't always write in my journals daily, I have these....


Pocket calendars. I pick them up at the Hallmark store or at CVS every December. I live by these. I usually track my weight, menstrual cycles, appointments, birthdays, etc. I can look back ten or twenty years ago and see what I was doing (or gaining or losing...)

Then there are the boxes of notes from my friends when we were in high school (which are just hysterical) and letters and cards from family, friends and old boyfriends from when I lived away at college. Every once in a great while I will pull out those boxes and just sit and laugh and sometimes even cry.

And of course there are the pictures, pictures and more pictures. Since I am quite the neat freak most are in photo albums, in order and by date.

Now that I have kids in preschool and kindergarten I have all the stuff they make and draw. I have a big plastic bin where I store all my favorite things they have made and worked on. I'm sure I'll be adding more bins as the years go on.

So I will own up to it..."My name is Dini and I'm a memory junkie".

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thought for the day

I drive by this church every day that has a billboard out front with different sayings. My favorite one recently was this "aspire to inspire before you expire". It made me laugh but it does make you think, doesn't it?

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Sister Kerry


I'm happy to say that my sister, Kerry, has started her own blog! (Big yippee on my end!) She is a creative soul and is looking for a place to express all her ideas. Her body hasn't been kind to her over the years. She had to give up what she loves most in this world...teaching and choreographing...but is still hopeful that she will be able to share her knowledge with others. Kerry has a great idea that she is working on (with my very talented brother) and will hopefully soon be able to start on this new endeavor. She gave me the dancing bug when I was a little girl and I'm hoping that bug will spread to my two little girls.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feast Day


Happiness...being with extended family...cousins playing together...having so much fun even though years separate them...good food...funny stories...happy feast day.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My favorite love stories

I'm a sucker for romance. I was looking through a magazine the other day and they had listed the most romantic movies for each year for the past twenty years. Practically all of my favorite movies were listed. What I consider romantic is two people falling in love and knowing it's for a lifetime. And of course most of these movies have leading men who are beyond sexy and good looking.

So here's my top ten movie list for the most romantic love stories of all time.

Honorable Mention: My Best Friend's Wedding - Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts are so adorable and funny in this movie and Dermot Mulroney is a cutie.

10) Dirty Dancing - OK so these two probably didn't end up together but it was a great movie. A guy who can dance masculine and is hot.
9) Untamed Heart - I rented this movie on a whim years ago and totally fell in love with it. Christian Slater is adorable in this movie.
8) The Holiday - Jude Law is to die for.
7) Fried Green Tomatoes - Unexpected love. No cute guys but I fell in love with Kathy Bates and Mary-Louise Parker.
6) Legends of the Fall - This movie has lots of love stories going on. And Brad Pitt with long hair...oh my goodness.
5) Knotting Hill - Waiting patiently for the one you love to realize they want it too.
4) Brokeback Mountain - I cried my eyes out over that darn shirt.
3) Titanic - Sweet and pationate young love.
2) Say Anything - That high school crush that ends up being the real deal. Everyone should fall in love with a Lloyd Dobler. I know I did...trenchcoat, hightops and all.
1) The Notebook - Nothing in my book beats this love story.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Power Ranger, The Fairy, and the little girl who wouldn't put on a costume


Here are my cuties on Halloween. Gianna woke up in a foul mood after her nap and refused to put on her costume. It's funny how different they are from each other. Nicholas couldn't wait for Halloween. He loves everything about it. He goes trick or treating for hours while Julia on the other hand could care less about it. She went to about five houses and was done. She doesn't like chocolate or any candy for that matter. I guess that is a good thing, right? I guess only time will tell whether Gianna will like it or not.

Potty Mouth

Nicholas came home from kindergarten yesterday and told us he learned a new song. At least he gave us fair warning that it was going to be inappropriate but sang it anyway. It was a variation of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" with not too nice lyrics. I really, really tried not to overreact...really I did...and asked him who taught him that song. He told me a boy in his class did. This is kindergarten! How this infuriates me. I know I can't shelter my kids forever but can I at least make it through kindergarten? Because Nicholas is my oldest he isn't exposed as much to this stuff. I'm finding it harder and harder to keep the inappropriate words, actions, etc. away from him. He has many friends with older siblings. I'm just sad I guess. My baby is growing up and heading out into the real world...I guess where they learn things much, much earlier these days.

Just so you know I did write the teacher a note and she did speak to the boy. Let's hope no one else had to learn the new lyrics to Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Haunted House Part II

OK Brooke...this is for you! Just so you know, the house I'm talking about is the one in front of the old dance studio.

Just the other day, my sister Kerry mentioned that she was walking up the stairs on the outside of the house and went by one of the apartment windows. She saw someone inside and the window was ajar. She was going to say a quick "hi" when she noticed the person standing there wasn't who she thought it was and then it quickly vanished.

Recently my Mom was in her dining room and rather preoccupied when she heard a voice in her front hall say "hello". She automatically said "hello" back and started to go see who it was when she realized that there shouldn't be anyone in her apartment. And of course there was no one there.

Many years ago, my sister and brother were in the basement of the house. No one else was in the house that day. At one point they heard someone walking around in the kitchen above them, opening drawers, etc. My brother called out "Dad?" because at the time he used to work in that house. When no one answered he went up to the top of the stairs only to find the kitchen was completely dark and nobody around. Yikes!

Then there is the funny story about one of Kerry's dance students working on a solo in the house studio and she was doing some turns and couldn't stop. That story always cracks me up!

So yes, we all think that house is haunted. I know what I have experienced and to me they were all very, very real.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween


Years ago, before I got married, I lived in a haunted apartment. I'm not kidding you. Haunted. Strange things used to happen up there on the 3rd floor. One night, shortly after moving in, I woke up in the middle of the night with an ugly, old woman crawling towards me on my bed. I will never forget the way she looked. There were many, many nights I would wake in the middle of the night with white swirling objects just inches from my face. I would frantically try to swat them away.

Then there was the crazy night when I awoke in the middle of the night to find the kitchen light in my apartment was out. You see, after all the crazy stuff happening, I used to leave the kitchen light on. But on this night the light was off. So I got up out of bed to turn it back on, and when I reached for the handle of my bedroom door...the door slammed shut! Of course I freaked! Mind you there were NO windows open so therefore no explanation for this to happen, right? I finally got the guts to open the door and turn my kitchen light back on. Needless to say, that was yet another sleepless night.

Then there was the day when a family recipe went up in flames in the kitchen. My aunt had this great recipe for a Swedish braid bread and my mom had a copy of the recipe. After much convincing, my mom gave me the only copy she had. I promised that "nothing was going to happen to it" and "Mom, I promise to give it right back". (To Mom, and for those of you who know my Mom, you know what I'm talking about.) Anyway, I'm in the kitchen just doing my thing with some candles lit on my kitchen table. The recipe was laying on the table no where near the candles. I hear a crackling sound...and then again. I turn around and there is the recipe floating in the flames completely engulfed! I think the ghosts heard me talking to my Mom and decided to play a little joke on me. Not a funny one.

So why did I stay there? It was cheap...my Mom was the landlord...and I used to make Danny stay with me most of the time (for protection of course!).

My Mom lives on the first floor of that house now and she has a few creepy stories as well that literally would make the hair on your arms stand up!

Boo to you! Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Disney Vacation

This sums up our trip.



But it was fun and so worth it.


We've been back since Saturday but I've been too exhausted and a little overwhelmed to blog. I started my new job yesterday. I'm not doing a whole lot other than just setting up shop and making a mess of my dining room. That is where I'm setting up shop. Mission: got to find a room somewhere in this house to use as an office!

Florida was hot, humid and loaded with gross flying and creepy crawly bugs but other than that it was very fun! We had a blast with my bro, his wife and their cute boys. Here are some of us waiting for the parade stuffing our faces with ice cream.


Seaworld is always fun. This time we made dinner reservations for Dine with Shamu and he literally swam right in front of us.



Oh the perks of having a sibling who works for Universal Studios. We got in free and had VIP passes for all the rides which translates to NO LINES! After the Barney show was over, the auditorium was cleared and we got to stay and have a private meet, hug and greet with Barnie! The littles loved this!



Ricky made me ride this ride....

The Hulk. The first time on it we sat in the front row and the second time we sat in the last row. I think the last row was scarier than the front row. He neglected to tell me that half way up the first hill you literally take off like a rocket and proceed to do loop after loop after loop. I love roller coasters and this one was crazy fun!

I think I got the worst mother of the year award after taking Nicholas and Julia on the Spiderman 3-D ride in Islands of Adventure. They were curled up next to me asking if it was almost over the second we got on it. I was laughing so hard and just having a blast. I was shouting "just close your eyes" as my sides were killing me from laughing. When I looked over at Julia after the ride was over her 3-D glasses were all crooked on her face and she looked like a disheveled mess. Oh I felt so bad. But really....it was F-U-N!!!!

One of the best days was Typhoon Lagoon. That was the only park where my kids didn't complain at all. All three of them were in heaven that day.


The Magic Kingdom is way too crowded for me...you all know how I love being around lots and lots of people. The parades and fireworks made up for it though. However you let two or more people come between you and your kids and the kids are gone forever. It truly was magical and fun though. Nicholas at one point during the fireworks was just so thrilled that he looked at Kimmy and told her he was so happy and he loved her. My boy is such a sweet soul.

Another highlight for the girls was meeting Ariel. They love her. The long line was worth it.




Princess Julia went to the Boutique in the Castle for the royal treatment of getting her hair, nails and makeup done.

She chose blond hair for her extensions instead of dark brown...I guess she wants to be a natural blond just like her mommy. ;)


The kids also enjoyed face painting at Islands of Adventure...which is way too fun for kids of all ages.



We all miss our Florida home, Ricky, Chieko and the kids so much and we're already talking about going back again next year.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Desperate Housewives, Dictations and Disney


Desperate Housewives:
Twelve women from my neighborhood, including myself, headed to Wellfleet down the Cape this past weekend. We left many, many children behind as well as husbands for a nice girls weekend away. We had lots of fun relaxing, eating, shopping, eating, biking, eating...you get the idea.

Dictation:
No more Medical Transcription for me! I swear I am "even Stephen". A few weeks ago the woman I work for called to say that the group of doctors she transcribes for are going with a national transcription company and I would soon be out of a job. Then a week later, my old boss called asking me if I would work for her from home as her account coordinator. Do I have the luck or what!?! I'm very excited to start a new job that requires some real thinking and won't cause my hands to ache 24/7!

Disney:
We are off to Florida on Friday for a much needed vacation. We'll be visiting my beautiful nephews, my adorably funny brother and his sweetheart of a wife. Kimmy and Paula will be there too for the first weekend! I haven't seen my brother's new house yet or really had a chance to hang out with his whole family in a long time. It will be very, very fun!

So when I get back I should be tan (well the rest of my Italian family will be), relaxed and ready to start my new job!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Drinking and driving

What is up with Hollywood these days? Why do they all think they can drink and drive and get away with it? Britney, Paris, Nicole, Lindsay, etc.

I was so disappointed to read today that Kiefer Sutherland, one of my favorite actors on one of my favorite TV shows 24, was arrested on DUI. Do they not understand what could happen when you drink and drive? You could kill yourself but more importantly kill the innocent people completely unaware of the weapon coming towards them ready to take their lives.

Drinking and driving kills. It doesn't discriminate.

Just about two years ago, two beautiful young sisters who lived locally were killed when the older sister decided to drink and drive one night. She took her life as well as her sister's life.
Everyone knows this but still people make that choice to drink and get behind the wheel of a car. This issue is just so huge. Tougher laws for repeat offenders? Increase the driving age to 21?
I'm tired of Hollywood, athletes, etc. setting such poor examples. They should be role models and instead most are just poor excuses for human beings. 'Nough said.

14 years


Happy Anniversary Babe! I love you!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hip Hip Chin Chin

Last night I spent the evening with her...

and him...

and her...

and him...

and this gorgeous hunk o' man...

The show was incredible. Danny was so far superior compared to the others. I could not take my eyes off him when he was on stage. His body is amazing...muscles upon muscles...oh my. They did all the best dances from the season plus a few new ones too. They opened with this fun, funky dance that was new. Hok, Jesus, Shauna and Anya are all on tour as well. Hok, Sarah and Dominic did this really fun break dance.

Rumor has it that Hok and Lacey are dating. That's crazy. Hok just seems way too nice for Lacey. I think the "bad" girls always go for the nice guys.

When Lacey and Neil did the "Time" dance in memory of Mia's dad, all the dancers came on stage at the beginning holding bouquets of the plastic flowers and dressed in white. They dropped the flowers all over the stage and then walked off while Neil and Lacey danced. It was so pretty.

Being the good girl that I am I followed the "rules" and didn't bring my camera. But of course everyone else had their cameras! I was so annoyed that I didn't just bring it. We were in the seventh row and could see them sweating we were that close! I think I should just break the rules next time.