Thursday, May 31, 2012

Smelling The Roses

Are you like me?  Do you always have a list of things to do, places to go, chores to be done?  Of course you do.  Who doesn't?

There is the famous quote that says, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

I have a bad habit of living in this "let me just get it done" mentality and not enjoying the process.  I can't count how many times I prayed recently asking, "Just get me through May."  The commitments seem to be overwhelming at times and I look forward to turning the page on my calendar to see more empty spaces.

Truth is, May was great.  I entered the month with a feeling of dread, and when I sit back and reflect, it really was full of blessings.  I got to watch my boys play baseball outside in beautiful weather.  I saw Mary's love of running grow during track season.  I watched Ann read a book she wrote out loud at her school. I had fun going places with Matt everyday. I watched people enjoy eating the many things I had to bake this month.

I'm learning as I grow older that the things I don't want to do usually end up being the most fun and have a great deal of joy and reward in them.  I just have to make sure I look for it.

With that being said, I don't enjoy, and never will enjoy, packing these every night and will not miss it one bit this summer.

 But I do see the joy in having food to eat. 

See, I'm getting good at this.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New York City!

Before I tell you about our trip to New York City, let me just give you a little background.  Every Saturday and Sunday morning when we have nothing going on with the kid's sport schedule, Bill and I make coffee.  When 8:30 hits, Billy knows it is time to turn off the XBox and hand over the remote.  We sit on our own comfy couch to watch Dave Briggs, Alisyn Camerota, and Clayton Morris sit on their comfy couch on the set of Fox and Friends Weekend.

We've talked a long time about going to New York to stand outside of the Fox studio.  When we realized this past Saturday was during Fleet Week, it was the perfect time to go.

Our adventure started getting the kids up at 5:30am, a quick breakfast, and then an extra treat from DD.

And we're off....

We were lucky enough to get street parking right near the studio.  We arrived at 8:45am.

We first met Mike, from Home Depot.  He flies up from Atlanta just to do this segment.  It was really neat to see him practice for the show and what he was going to say.  He stopped to talk to us a bit....super nice guy.

Next, we saw Dave and Alisyn come outside.  I was so excited. You would have thought I was back in 1984 meeting Duran Duran!

Clayton came out later and did the Home Depot segment.  I practically tackled him to get this picture.
 Mission accomplished! 

Luckily though, after the show Alisyn came over to the crowd and we got to meet her.

We also got to see sailors and Marines.  They had a tug-o-war.  It was nice that the Navy let the Marines win. (*wink*)  You may be able to open this link and see us in the background, but it probably won't be there for long.

We could have gone home then and I would have been happy, BUT there was still so much more to do and see.

Rockefeller Plaza
The Lego Store
The American Girl Store (bathroom)
St. Patrick's Cathedral
FAO Shwartz

Central Park
After all of that, we walked back to our car and drove to West Side Highway to the pier to tour the USS WASP, an LHD-1 (Landing Helo Deck)  My camera conked out by the time we got on board, but we managed to snap a few with our phones.

We finished with dinner and then a visit to see Dad's office in Newark, NJ.
As great as NYC is, it is major sensory overload.  It is a fun place in small doses for me.
And even though these pictures look like we're having the time of our lives, there were many meltdowns, complaints, and accidents....just so you know. But all in all, it was a great day.
Needless to say, we slept well that night!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

I don't clearly remember the first time I met my father in law.  I know it was on Christmas Eve.  I know I was nervous to meet him and the rest of the family.  That was 15 years ago.

I have seen him very clearly since then.  Because Bill and I lived a bit farther away, we often stayed overnight at my in-law's house after family gatherings.  In the mornings, we would be greeted with pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast.  Dad had been up already for a while to let the dogs out and would have started breakfast.  Many times he was already back from getting doughnuts at the store.  I never knew if this was just par for the course at their house, or simply just him spoiling his new daughter in law.  (I'd like to assume the latter).

Dad was Bill's best man at our wedding.  There could not have been a finer choice. He is strong....strong in faith, strong in service, and strong in character. He has spent his life doing for others.

As a Marine:

As a Dad:

And as Gramps!

I have video from our wedding that shows Dad giving his toast.  It was a gem.  His last line was this:

"As you continue to grow in care and love for one another, may it be exceeded only to the degree to which you come to love God more."

Recently I went on a long car ride with him and Mom.  About halfway in to the three hour ride, he pulls out his rosary and starts praying. That speaks volumes.

He is truly a man to be admired.  I cannot thank him enough for the wonderful example he has given and continues to give to Bill and me.

 Today I'd like to wish him a very happy birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good Buddies

Last week when Matthew was sick our good friends John and Mary went on a mission of mercy.  They headed to our house on Friday night.  With them they brought popsicles, Klondike bars, ice cream sandwiches, and a big balloon.  Bill and I were a tad frazzled as we waited for results from Matt's bloodwork.  John and Mary put a little cheer into our night.

Yesterday, Mary came over to watch Matthew while I went to a doctor's appointment.  You can read about it here.

I can tell you this.....Matthew does not enjoy being out of his comfort zone.  Whenever I tell him we are going to do something or go somewhere his first question is, "Are my brothers and sisters gonna  be dare?" ( that's "there" in Matthew talk). They are his security blanket, that's for sure. I was nervous how he'd be for her once I left.  However, he had fallen asleep on the couch when it was time for me to go and I didn't say goodbye.  Mary tells me that when he woke up he looked for me and then sat back down on the couch, perfectly content to be with her alone. 

It's no wonder really.  She's that person, while not a relative, might as well be.  She knows him like family, loves him like family, and he senses that.

And that is why they are buddies.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Birthday Girl

Mary Kathleen turned 11 years old today!

Here's a walk down memory lane. (digital camera era only)

Virginia - 2010
Here are some pictures from her day today.
Morning doughnuts

Requested: cheesecake by Mary Kate/ regular cake by other kids
Matt not liking the delay in dessert

And the gift is.....
Sister love.

There are not enough kind words to describe Mary Kate.  She's got a big heart and everyone in the house loves to be with her.  (In other words, she fights the least with everyone.)

I'm amazed at her growing talents in piano, violin, and running. 

She's graceful.  She's sweet. 

She eats my dinners whether she likes them or not.

She's very cranky when she doesn't get enough sleep, but is always the one begging to stay up late.

She loves to go shopping.  

She likes to steal my shoes. (yes, she fits in some of them)

***Mary Kate, you are so wonderful and loved very much.  Happy Birthday my sweet girl!***

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Little Man

Matthew was sick last week.  We're still not sure what it was.  He had high fevers for 6 days.  On day 5 he had to have bloodwork.  What a trooper this kid was!!  He closed his eyes and looked away.  He cried a little but the real tears/screams/thrashing came when the phlebotomist tried to put a bandage on him!

We headed straight to the hospital cafeteria when it was over. This is what he chose.  Nothing like a Screwball  and O.J. to help the hurts go away for a 3 year old.

At first the doctor thought it was a virus, so he had no meds.  But once we did finally start the antibiotics he started feeling better.  We're still waiting results from the bloodwork, but it's possible we may never know what it was. 

I'm just glad by Sunday he was almost back to his normal self and climbing trees.
Well, wishing he was.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Out Of The Mouth Of.....

....Mary Kate.

Her birthday is coming up next week.  We had the following exchange.

Me: "Mare, what do you want for your birthday?"

Mary: "A violin."

Me: "What's your second choice?"

Mary: "My own room."

Me: "What's your third choice?"

Mary: " A guinea pig."

Me: "What's your fourth choice?"

Mary: "A Kindle."

Ok, now THAT is do-able.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review?

I can read, but I am not a "reader".  I like to read books, but don't do it often.  When I do finish a book, I think to myself, "I should read more".  I am not at all qualified to give a review, but I can tell you if I liked something or not.

Last month my friend Danielle lent me the book "Heaven Is For Real".

 I'm sure if you've been out and about you've seen this book on a shelf somewhere. It's about a boy who was very ill and close to dying.  After his recovery he reports being with Jesus, the angels, and deceased family members during his illness.  It is an easy read. I enjoyed it very much. There were many things I loved about it and a few things I didn't, but the best part for me was the idea that our prayers are heard instantaneously, as if Jesus is sitting right next to us as we pray.  That is what I took away from it and I look at prayer a little differently than I used to.

I was in the bookstore last week to treat myself to a new book.  It was either going to be The Help or Heaven Is Here.  And the winner was......

Ta-Da!! Both of them!!!

I just finished "Heaven Is Here".  It was truly a wonderful story about resilience after tragedy.  It was very inspiring.  I highly recommend it.  In fact, Jennifer from Cupcakes and Mudpuddles is having a give-away of this book and another called Bloom.  Enter over here for your chance to win.  You have until Thursday at noon!

Back to the bookstore.....While I was there I saw the section called "Classics". I honestly don't know how I got through high school and summer reading lists.  I don't think I have ever read one classic.  Actually, I do remember reading "The Good Earth".  I think I liked it. Oh, and I read "Rebecca" when I was young and loved it. The movie is good too....Laurence Olivier....oooh, la, la!

Anyway, I decided to try to read some classics.  I found this at the library thinking it was a classic.  I didn't realize it was less than 20 years old and not a classic.  I had heard of it, so I grabbed it while waiting in line.

It is over 500 pages....that's a lot longer than my attention span.  Plus, I think it might be a dark story.  We shall see.

Have you ever read the Poisonwood Bible?

Do you have a favorite book?

Don't forget to visit Jennifer and enter her giveaway.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Surrounded By Love

Happy Mother's Day! 

As I was giving thought to a mother's day post, I could not help but think of the many women I have been blessed to have in my life, past and present. 

I would have to start with my own mother.  There was no better role model a girl could have.
I have been blessed with a mother in law who showers me with love and affection always.

I have one sister who is my best friend.  I would be lost without her.

I've had my 5 girlfriends since grade school who helped me through the thick and think of adolescence, the teen years, young adulthood, and motherhood.

I've been blessed with many sisters-in-law who fit right into my side of the family, or have welcomed me into theirs.

I've had one special girlfriend who introduced me to my husband....I'm forever grateful!

I have special friendships with women who have helped me grow in my faith over the last 12 years while living in this area. 

...and most recently, the friends I have made in the blogging community - How great they are!  We can all learn from one another, whether we are close friends, acquaintances, or passers-by on the street.  It takes a village, and I have been extremely blessed in the village in which I live.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

p.s.  Here's a special shout out to my good friend who gave birth to her 5th child today!! Congratulations Katie!!  What a great Mother's Day gift!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Look Who's 12!

Billy had a birthday this week.   Let's take a walk through memory lane, shall we? (digital camera era only)


Where has the time gone?

His birthday was jam packed with after school activities, but we managed our traditional.....

.....Morning doughnuts:

......and cake!
.....and singing

A few things I love about Billy:

~He puts his heart into everything he does.
~He never gets nervous trying something new.
~He reads while he eats.....just like Dad.
~He gets nervous when we drive on an almost-empty gas tank and frantically looks for a gas station.
~He plays with Matt....a lot!
~His nose.

Happy Birthday Billy. You're awesome.  We love you.