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Tuesday, March 31

Take Me Back Tuesday

June 1967
Holy shit. That would be me. And I am 2.
How fricken cute am I? And look, I've come full circle.....
little sweaty girl back then, hot-flashing mamma now!

This photo was taken somewhere in East Hartford, CT (I think).

Wouldn't you know I came across A FEW,
A VERY FEW old pictures. Bill worked until
his fingers bled,
he was about ready to put his fist through the computer
and then my printer,
he just gave up like a wimp,
he just couldn't figure out how to get my damn scanner working.
He made up for it by scanning these in from his office this morning.

Thanks babe.

Monday, March 30

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Even when you are 43,
you are still learning everyday, I guess.

I love Life Lessons. They keep me on my toes.
They reinforce who I am.
They make me see things for what they truly are.

I loved this quote, which I stumbled upon.........
Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?




It is an ever changing world.
An ever changing life.

Looking forward to a good Monday.

If you are bored, you can Warhol yourself here.


Sunday, March 29

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What is that, a Christmas tune, right?
I've got to tell you, it totally describes right here,
right now, for us at home.

The weekends, with the weather on the upswing and
Bill being home from traveling during the week, are
something we look forward to. Nice weather,
sports, hanging out together, grilling,
eating outside - so GREAT!

Saturday's now are all about soccer.
The team this year is fantastic and the
games are so exciting.
If I thought I was a crazy swim mom,
I think I pretty much have that all beat
on the soccer field.
Judging from what happened yesterday
to the coaches, with all the tension on the sidelines,
any one of us could get yellow-carded.

Here is my super star. If I didn't know better, I would think that this
is when Connor realized his father was on his way to getting in trouble.....

And here is when Connor almost nips his tongue right off......Dang he does that a lot!
Everyone couldn't be more excited for next weeks game!

As Bill and I headed out for our first visit this year, to the nursery
the kids managed to make a fort in the foyer. Breakfast was served IN the fort.
And yes, that is a basketball hoop in the foyer.
I have two boys after all......
LOVE IT when that thing is there!

So back from the nursery,
we spent the rest of the day in the backyard.
Planting new plants, fixing water lines,
moving the fireplace, cleaning all the furniture.....
letting Lucy get it all "haired-up" again,
re-vacuuming it....etc, etc.....just getting the yard ready.
To start throwing some parties I guess.

Connor decided to do the right thing and go off to the park
with a buddy of his. Get himself right out of the prospects of
having to help us. Good job Connor. You ARE smart!

Meanwhile, my two other absolutely insane children
decided to give the pool a try.
Garrin contemplating....

Hannah contemplating......

Guess who was the guinea pig?

He didn't care.

Hannah thought by going in this big twisty thing
she wouldn't get too wet.

She was right.
They had a lot of fun anyway.

So here's to many full, happy, useful, fulfilling,
fun weekends.
This was certainly a great start!!

One week before we head to Connecticut for Spring Break.
Looking for a productive week IN the house
getting ready to get 5 people on a plane
next week.

Saturday, March 28

Bill got a card today.

Well, it wasn't a greeting card.
And it didn't come in the mail.

It was at the soccer game today.
And it was a yellow card.
Typically a soccer player can get a yellow card for any
number of offenses. 2 yellow cards to a player results in
removal from the soccer field. Today Coach Bill got one for
"talking back" to the referee - NOT under his breath........

(this is the actual referee, but I had to photoshop in a yellow card
because my battery died in my camera right before this happened)

Within a few minutes of Bill getting yellow carded for mouthing
off to the referee, his assistant coach got one as well for the same thing.
Made for an exciting game today.

Thursday, March 26

Weighing in on the scales of justice


It has been an interesting couple of days around here. I will preempt this story with
an ironic note. This weeks foster/adopt class was all about discipline and punishment.
For three hours we dove deep into ourselves, really thinking about how, we as parents,
discipline and punish - even how OUR parents did it. While my sister, my brother and I
grew up within the epitome of dysfunction, and discipline was somewhat non-traditional by
today's standards, I think the three of us turned out pretty darn good.......
.........without the intervention of professional therapy.......
........yet.

So when you are face to face with your own thoughts and your own personal
evaluation of yourself and how you parent - wow, I really wasn't prepared for THAT one.
While I won't get into the specifics of how Bill or I choose to discipline, I will say
that I went into this whole parenting thing thinking I was going to totally do the
opposite of what my parents did. And I am pretty sure, as sure as I am sitting here
today, I am following many of the same trends my mother did. Unlike my childhood,
my kids are admittedly spoiled...rotten. And they get away with a lot.
And I have a tendency to not follow through on a lot. Very, VERY unlike my mother, though.
So a mixed bag I guess.

Which brings me current.

So at age 11, my daughter has many privileges. Privileges she has earned.
She works hard in school, swims hard, and is, when looking at the big package,
a pretty decent kid. Cell phone, email account, facebook account, laptop...
she's got it. And with our constant and knowing supervision,
has remained very trustworthy.

So I don't know if it is the age. I would assume so, because I, out of the three of
us kids in my family, was the troublemaker, the oldest, the test-the-waters kind of
kid. So with some prior experience, I know. Herein the lying has begun.
Mind you, not big lies. Little ones. Lots of little ones.

And it is happening more and more often. And what seems to me, it is the first
thing out of her mouth....without hesitation.....without thinking first on what would
be the better choice.......the truth or a lie.

I have been forewarning her too. To please stop. To tell the truth, because,
and this we all have heard, I won't be nearly as upset about the actual offense,
as I will be if you lie about it. I have been threatening to take away privileges.
Which I am sure, through no fault but my own, have fallen on deaf ears.
Hannah and Connor both, have been grounded from things for like a day, before I give in,
or Bill gives in. That "big picture" pops into our heads that, they could be
worse, act worse, do worse.

But the "big picture" didn't matter when I reached a breaking point the other
day, and I absolutely without a doubt or thinking-twice, grounded Hannah.
I took away her cellphone, I took away her laptop, and I changed all
the passwords on her voicemail, her email, and her facebook.
Gone. In less than 60 seconds.

And then I proceeded to take away swimming.
Which heartbreakingly devastated her.

But I did it. I have to nip this in the bud RIGHT NOW.
Before this gets any worse - because I know.
I know how much worse this can get.

And two days into this I am dying. My heart is breaking and it is aching.
She cries at night when she goes to bed, because she is thinking about all of this.
She is trying, at 11, to understand this.
She is trying to hate me.
She is trying to hate herself.
She is trying to cope with being "this" age.
And I am sad.

But I have to do this. And when I say that I am doing all I can do to keep this
real and right and be strong and be the parent that I have to be right now,
this IS one of the lower points of being a mom, being an adult, being a disciplinarian,
being an example.

I look at her beautiful little face, and into her beautiful eyes
and it makes me hurt so much inside. And am hoping that by the
weekends end, I won't have to wipe away her tears anymore
and that she was able to sort through all of how hard it can be to be a kid sometimes,
and how hard I find it to be a parent, sometimes.

Skin Cancer? Nah...

Even Lucy likes to get a tan.

Just thinking ahead to summer.
Laying out by the pool
in the scorching warm sun,
getting golden brown....
and taking a nap.

Wednesday, March 25

The Purple Blanket

If you saw my Take Me Back Tuesday yesterday,
you will see in the photo, what is so lovingly referred to as
The Purple Blanket, which is next to Hannah.

That is its proper name.
That is why it is capitalized.
The Purple Blanket.

The Purple Blanket is 11, going on 12.
It is one of the 400 receiving blankets I bought or received as gifts
from Gymboree for Hannah alone, when she was a baby.
It fast became the favorite,
the preferred,
the life-long companion,
the imaginary-friend replacement.

It also became the reason for the thumb sucking.
Hold blanket, suck thumb.

So eventually, we got rid of it.
Kind of.

We lectured Hannah about buck teeth talked to her
gently, about why we needed to put away The Purple Blanket.
And we did. In a special little box up in her closet.

Well the thumb sucking ended,
and The Purple Blanket mysteriously appeared
now and again, under Hannah's covers.
Through gritting teeth, I agreed that The Purple Blanket
could be brought down from its spot permanently.

And here it is today.
(trust me when I say, I actually considered spending the many hours
it would have taken, to photoshop all the crap out of my daughter's
bedroom, but I didn't. I'm a bit short on time today.)
It is no longer one piece,

but two pieces....
with many holes....

And I don't even want to go here but....
I don't remember the last time it was laundered.
For the obvious reason that it will shred faster
that a pork shoulder that has been slow cooking for 12 hours.

And THAT would mark the end of
The Purple Blanket.

Oh.
And did you happen to notice
the mascara on the bed?
Interesting combination for an 11 year old,
wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, March 24

Take Me Back Tuesday

August 2000


Hartford, CT
Connor was born.
Hannah was nice to him.

Sunday, March 22

Where the heck did March go?


Well it is Sunday night, just sitting listening to Wonder Pets on TV for Garrin,
and Hannah and Connor giggling while attempting to bake a cake together.
yes
T.O.G.E.T.H.E.R.
I am relishing this moment of happiness between them
because bickering certainly out weighs nice-ness around here for sure.
I glanced over at my big whiteboard calendar
where I keep my life somewhat organized
one month at a time,
when I saw that tomorrow is March 23rd.

Holy End-of-the-Month!!


Garrin is out on track break for 3 weeks - 2 leading up to Spring Break.
I will, with mostly good intentions, hope to do something fun with
him while he is out of school. But at times, LIFE dictates what we
do around here and LIFE isn't always what I have written on the calendar.
I will be lucky if I get through all the laundry upstairs in time to
pack it up to go to the East Coast for vacation.

This weekend was nice. Connor's soccer game wasn't until
4:40. We kind of just hung around all morning, like a bunch of dummies,
not knowing what to do with ourselves. Typically we are up and out pretty early.
The game came and all was well. The Scorpions were up 3 to 2 against a really
aggressive team...........until 30 seconds before game end, when they scored.
Dang. A tie. My Connor was visibly upset. He is not a good loser, by any
means....and they didn't even really lose, they tied.
I am not even sure if the coach is over it yet...
that would be Coach Bill, in case you were wondering....

Today, we slept in as much as 2 parents of three kids and a dog
can possibly sleep in. The only thing on the agenda was hair
appointments today. I love when our stylist works on Sunday!
No rushing, no stressing. Bill and Connor got cuts and I got,
well, transformed back into the girl I like to be, from the girl I really am.
My hair is super long now. I can't even believe it. I have never ever had long
hair. I find myself saying (oh, this is going to date me for sure)
"Gee, My hair smells terrific". Remember that commercial?
I can actually smell my clean hair now.
I sound like a complete FREAK, but for someone who has
always had a short haircut - it's kind of awesome for me.
Anyway - I'm gorgeous....
for today....
because I certainly won't be styling my hair this nice tomorrow.
Good thing after I was done there, I came home and took a nap.
I was actually thinking that as he was drying my hair-
"wow, what an utter waste of time, because this head
is going to hit a pillow within 20 minutes."
Anyway - our friend Michael is auditioning for the show
Shear Genius and actually took a picture of Connor for his portfolio.
Hope he gets chosen......
in between color jobs of course.

So back to the calendar.
Time is flying.
April is right around the corner.

We are already thinking that Hannah has 2 more months of school.
Unfortunately Connor is on a track that is in for the summer.
Oh well. We are in the preliminary stages of planning a trip
to Disney World in Florida for the end of June.
This was a hard decision for Bill and I to make.
Realistically, we could certainly use the money we will
be spending on a vacation, in a more useful, pay-down-our-debt-sorta-way.
But we need this. And we didn't really realize that until we started
the planning.
Most often, our travel is for swim meets, which, sometimes, we have
time to incorporate some fun. But we want to take our kids
somewhere, where we can leave everything behind,
swimming, working, cleaning, cooking, watching my neighbors
moving out so my house value plummets even more than it already has...
We'd like to relax and just.have.fun.
Pure unadulterated fun.
Disney World.
We love going there, if you've been, you understand.
You get hooked.
So for the next couple of months,
everyday will be a little more happy,
a little more exciting,
a little more who gives a crap,
there IS light at the end of the laundry tunnel,
because we have something so VeRy hApPY to look forward to.

I'm not saying for April and May and June to swing in here
and swing out,
too much to do in those months.
So slow down, TIME.
LIFE is moving a little too fast.

Friday, March 20

It was bound to happen.

I am a mother of three.
So the title is nothing new to me.
Shit happens.

I have never been hesitant on explaining
my feelings for this little guy.
He has brought a renewed energy to our lives
and a greater appreciation for the fun that kids
bring to us daily. All caught up in the day to day,
has made us lose sight of that. But we seem to notice more
with him - maybe because of the gap in age between
him and his siblings - who knows....

Terrible Two's never hit our lives.
With Hannah, nor Connor.
It was always Terrible Three's.

So this all came to a head with oh, so sweet Garrin
while at one of my favorites places
to shop:

Garrin went from

to

faster than a candy bar
melting in my car on any given summer day here.

I could see the signs the past week or so.
He has been doing this sighing sound kinda thing,
when he's upset with something.
The best way I can describe it is a sigh mixed with a whine.

So he's been doing that, and I got right on it
and am trying to put a lid on that behavior.
It is not working.
He keeps doing it.

Well, he's a smart kid and has decided to add a little
somethin' somethin' to the mix.
So he plops himself down on the floor in a laying down position.
Thinking he is going to get this one by me,
he is smart enough to not throw himself down
in full-on tantrum mode.
So, its
a sigh/whine
with a plop.

I've gone so far as to say -
"OK Garrin. You can stay home by yourself."
I go out the garage (for added drama on my part),
slam the door, go out and start the car.
Which, I being the smarter one here, should realize
that THAT is only going to escalate his grumpy-ness.
(again, added drama on my part)
He still doesn't get over himself.

But Target.
Well, he took it to a whole other level.
And I knew it was coming.

I was putting my things on the counter checking out.
I heard the sigh/whine.
And then saw the plopping down on the
dirty, rotten, stinky, nasty, disgusting floor
in the check out aisle.

And then the tantrum.
Screaming and crying at the top of his lungs.
After a minute or so of this,
he now has snot coming out of his nose,
faster than the tears streaming down his face.

So I did what any good mother does,
and I pretended he wasn't there.
Paid for my stuff.
Got him the heck out of there.
And I still don't know what set him off.
Do you ever, though?

So here in lies the next phase of my son's life.
It's gonna be quite a ride, I am sure!!

Thursday, March 19

A Day of Red

Today is St. Joseph's Day for us,
Eye-Talians.

I'm just about right off the boat as I was in yesterday's
post about St. Patrick's Day.
But Italian/Sicilian was promenint
within our family dynamic.

Partial dedication of this post goes out
to my dear friend Leslie and her family
who need all of our prayers to St. Joseph, to sell
her stinking house in TN that way they can move
closer to me, to AZ. You know, because it's all about me!
Now that she has buried him
properly in her front yard, and has the prayer she
needs to recite incessantly - St. Joe should come through soon.

The one thing Facebook has been good for, is helping
Leslie and I reconnect after many years apart. I thank
God everyday for my true friends, and am sad that her and I
missed so much time, sharing, love, and fun. That is true
friendship. It's palpable, sincere, and honest.

And yup,
didn't get any of these today.

A. Like I really need this indulgence right now.
B. I live in Las Vegas for heaven's sake, and we don't
have any Little Italy around here.
C. I am also praying to St. Joseph to let the bakery's
back east continue making these through Easter,
since we will be traveling back in a couple of weeks.

So today is a day full of red.
I actually had written a bitch post.
Bitching bitching and more bitching,
but with much thought decided to keep it to myself
because, to be perfectly honest,
I felt pretty good after I wrote it.
I talked about it with my most understanding and
down to earth husband with thinks far more logically
than I ever do, and talking with him really helped too.
The jist of it all was pertaining to the fact
that there are many things that are angering me lately.

Things that I have no control over. And as a matter of fact,
at times, I put myself right into said situation purposefully,
and then get pissed off. Why? I ask myself often. Why?

So I am stepping away from a few things,
because I DO have control over setting myself up
to get mad.

And this just reminds me that it is always good
to see the glass half full....


even if that glass is bigger than your sweet little face.

And leaving you with a little more red from my front yard.

Since the two humongous plants that graced by backyard

are dead.....oh well.


I have my red shirt on

and I am ready to greet the day.

Happy Day to you.

Wednesday, March 18

Almost like we are right off the boat.

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day in true Irish style around here, yesterday.

I stepped into my closet , looking for that forever traditional green
to wear, and all I came up with was a smokin' hot pair of sweatpants
from Aeropostale. The reason for the "name drop" is so you get the full
visual on how stunning I was looking all day - full well knowing I had to help out
in Connor's class. My sweats have the word AERO
embroidered down the side. Nice. Oh well. I got over myself,
when I got all excited because at least one of Connor's approved school uniform
colors is green. How apropos.

Toward the end of the school day - we gathered in Connor's classroom
to have us a little Irish feast of baked potatoes.
With the works -
butter
bacon bits
sour cream
and cheese..
lots of cheese.

Do a little work, have a little potato.
It was fun.
I've only included this picture in case you wanted to look at
Connor's eyelashes. Feel free to click on the picture
to make it bigger and make yourself jealous.
I know I am.
Did you check out the St. Paddy's Day Mohawk?

Anyhoo - Connor was working on a paragraph that had to
explain how we celebrate the holiday. So he looked up
at me with those big blues eyes as if to say - WTF? ('cause I've
said this before - he will surely be the first to drop the f bomb)
What do we/what have we EVER done for St. Patrick's Day.

And I said - "Honey, now you know Mommy and Daddy
don't ever remember what we have done because we are
too stinking drunk to remember". Just kidding.
We don't drink.

And I REALLY said - "Connor. We are not like most families. I
get in the car starting at about 2:00 in the afternoon, and I really
don't get OUT of the car until about 7:30 at night, after Daddy and I
are all through driving you kids where ever it is you need to be,
at what ever time, at which time we then grab a Happy Meal with a
Shamrock Shake from the Golden Arches
and call it St. Patrick's Day. We might even cook
corned beef and cabbage on the weekend, you know,
in between soccer games and swim meets. Write THAT in your
paragraph."

So later that afternoon I was asking Hannah about school
and she said that kids were getting sent down to the dean's office
all day for
PINCHING.
And I don't know, for some reason, I found that very amusing.

So for dinner - there was no traditional meal around here.
No damn time. But I did cook broccoli -
which is green.

And with that I will leave you with a limerick.

There once was a Lady named Gini
Who was not Irish but Ginney.
She said "the heck with this day"
"I'm just tryin' to say"
"Bring on the Zeppole, Vinnie!"

Tuesday, March 17

Take Me Back Tuesday

October 2002
Hannah's kindergarten class Halloween Party
I'm reaching here, guys....

Connor went I guess.
It was the year Lilo and Stitch was popular.
Boy oh boy, his hair is blond!
He looks nothing like Garrin here, I don't think.
And yes, the end of October,
and we were flip-flops with our Halloween costumes.........

uhh...'cause we can!!

Monday, March 16

Weekend in Review

Aside from my big cake adventure,
we had a very full weekend. But the kind of full
that is GOOD full. EASY full. STRESS-FREE full.
I liked it.

Obviously once the whole cake thing was done.....

Anyhoo - Saturday marked the start of Spring Soccer here.
This season came with some apprehension.
Bill chose to play his team up an age group...
......let's see........maybe because they smoked every game
all last season and then proceeded to smoke the tournament??

He wanted the boys to have more of a challenge this season.
Play against tougher boys, (a little older), bigger fields, bigger ball,
bigger goals, bigger roster, (we have ten boys now), and a goalie!!

They were both pretty excited before they left for the game.
I was too - so excited that I chose not to yell at Connor
for getting toothpaste on his jersey. At least he brushed his teeth, right?

So by game end,
I was in awe.

I kept saying that to Connor. They won 10 to zero,
against a 2nd year U9 boys team. WOW!
Unbelievable. It was
exciting
incredible
fun
tense
all at the same time!

Never without drama though.
Connor got kicked in the thigh....

got pissed off....and went back in to kick some more butt!


Speaking of kicking butt.

Yesterday Bill and I got our butts kicked.

WE ARE OLD
and
WE ARE OUT OF SHAPE,
apparently.


We started the glorious morning off by hiking up the
mountain in our backyard.
After we got about half-way up
and the rescue truck left after giving us oxygen
we were huffing and puffing
and breathing so heavy
is was downright embarrassing.
Because by this time,
our swimmers/soccer player/kids
were already at the top of the mountain,
not even winded.

Embarrassing, I tell you.


We had a fantastic time, nonetheless. The mountains
are very green right now, so we went exploring
to see all the unusual plants and flowers and rocks.
As documented in the slide show to the right...
Have to do this now, you see, before it gets to be 115 degrees
and the mountain plants turn brown and crispy
and you can fry eggs on the rocks!


After that, we decided
we obviously need metal therapy
to go to the park with the kids and the dog,
and ended up playing far too many innings of kickball.

Suffice it to say - I needed a nap when I got home
and my legs hurt like I'd just spent 1 hour on the elliptical machine.


Let's see if THIS is the inspiration I need to get my hiney back to the gym!!!

Sunday, March 15

Only for the birthday of a friend....

would I have even considered attempting to make THIS.
Well, last Friday I did it.
I started off with my two best friends.

Land O'Lakes Butter
and
my Kitchen Aid mixer.
So it starts out with 14 cake tins filled with the
cake batter.

(and it is imperative that you wear your dorky glasses while baking!)
So 14 tins divided by 3 tins in the oven = 5 batches times 12 minutes = 1 hour in the oven.
(how 'bout that math calculation??)

and then start the layering with the sticky ganache-y stuff.
uhhhh, yeah...holy crap.....
There were a few times that I thought that sucker was goin' over.

So this is it with the layer of that stuff all over it.
I actually refrigerated it that night.
(and then proceeded to get up twice to make sure
it was still standing up....)
I wanted to make the chocolate cream cheese...(hold on while
I wipe off the drool....) frosting that morning.
Here is the finished product.
Yeah, its nice looking, but I wanted to see
the inside. Couldn't wait to get to the party!
And here is the Birthday Girl.
One of my lucky friends that joined the 40 and over age group!
Yippee.
Go ahead, say it...."DANG you look good, girl!!!"

And so did my cake.

Cupcakes as sooooo less stressful, though!