Tuesday, January 30, 2007


My grandparents were high school sweethearts...my grandfather joined the navy when he graduated and they got married a year later when my nanny finished school. They lived in a trailer on the naval base in Norfolk, VA...and had two kids in less than two years. Five more children followed in rapid succession....Today they have 22 grandchildren and 6 great grand children....

My family is very close. Growing up, we all spent summer holiday weekends at my grandparents cottage in RI. We had monthly birthday parties where three to four angel food cakes were served and six verses of Happy Birthday were sung. You have never seen as much food as we have at out Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve celebrations. Although I really love where I live and my family is only two hours away, I miss them a lot.

This weekend I went to CT with Sam and Grace for a welcome home party for my grandparents. They usually go to Florida from Christmas to Easter, but had an abbreviated trip this year because my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer this past fall. They left earlier than usual and are back now so that he can start chemotherapy.

I stopped by their house on my way into town. They hadn't met Grace yet and I wanted to get a little alone time with them. (Our family gatherings are lots of fun, but very loud and chaotic). As I watched my grandfather hold my daughter, I saw a look on his face that I have seen often....I saw it at my college graduation and when he danced with me at my wedding...It's not a look saved for the big moments though. I've seen it often when he stands quietly at a family gathering, taking us all in. His blue eyes absolutely twinkle and he looks as though he might burst with pride and joy. It's also a look of contentment and satisfaction. It's a look that says something like, "All this started with me, and I did good..."

How incredible is must be at this point in his life to look into the eyes of a great grand baby...to know that this little soul is part of the fruit of all your hard work and sacrifice...to know that the things you taught your children were taught to their children and will be passed along yet again...to know a part of you will live on for all time...

I've been thinking a lot about that look...It's how I have, and will always think of my grandfather...watching and quietly loving us all...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Grace is three months old today!

It's hard to believe that our little munchkin is three months old. Would you believe that she came home from the hospital weighing 6 1/2 pounds? At her two month check up she was 12.6 lbs and I have to believe that she is at least 15 right now....which means that she's basically going to wear 3-6 mos stuff for about a week! (So sad because we have a closet full of the cutest things...Bethany if you have a girl, we'll send you a box!) I need to find Sam's baby book and compare...I think he was bigger, but not much.

Anyways....Grace is a joy. She is such a happy, easy baby. We are having a blast with her. She tends to be very serious, but when she smiles, it's infectious. She's also got the gift of gab and loves to sing (like her Aunt Michelle!)...too early to tell if she's tone deaf like me (Sam is)....

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Cold & Angry"

"Cold and angry." This is how a friend who was displaced by Hurrican Katrina recently described New England...as soon as he said it, my southern friend was concerned that someone might be offended. As a native of New England and someone who has never lived in any other part of the country, I wasn't offended at all, in fact it struck me as quite true.

There is a different feel here...I noticed it the first time I visited Virginia at the age of 14. Generally speaking, people are more friendly, more outgoing, more considerate and thoughtful when you leave the northeast...Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of kind, wonderful people in this part of the country. I was surrounded by them growing up and I like to think that I am one of them, but I know I can do better.

The reason that I am even bringing it up, is that now that I have two children, I notice little things that I never paid attention to before and I'm super sensitive to the little things that people do to help (or not) during my day. This afternoon at the grocery store I experienced "cold and angry" New England at it's worst...I was standing in the check out line with Grace in the sling SCREAMING her head off...the line was long, really long...as I stood trying to comfort my baby a very pregnant woman in the line next to me started talking to me...we were talking for maybe 15 seconds, when I turned to check if my line had moved...it had and a woman had cut right in front of me....(The only reason that I even noticed is that an elderly woman whom I had spoken to had been in front of me 15 seconds earlier...) I knew she knew, because she never once turned to look at me (even in New England, a screaming baby tends to get an empathetic look...)...I wasn't going to say anything, but then Grace really got going and I couldn't refrain. As she started to unload her cart I said "Oh, that's all right, you must be in a real hurry. Feel free to cut right in front of me." She looked at me and said something like... "Well the woman in front of you got out of line and you were standing there talking and I didn't know what line you were in....blah, blah, blah..." I guess it would have taken a real effort to ask me (as I held my screaming baby) if I was still in line....(maybe if I was from the south I would have kept my mouth shut!...ha, ha)

It's not all bad, last week a woman held a door open for me for what seemed like 5 minutes while I made my way across a parking lot with two kids in tow...a few weeks before that a woman helped me unload my groceries at the checkout and on a particularly cold day, an older gentleman loaded my groceries into the back of the car while I put the kids in their car seats...these last two "acts of kindness" actually made me cry...I blamed it on my crazy hormones, but I think actually, it has more to do with the fact that it was so rare and unexpected to have a stranger offer to help you.

I think that most of the time I am pretty considerate and helpful, but I am going to do better...I plan to make a conscious effort to do the seemingly insignificant things like hold a door, smile, say hello and thank you (while making eye contact) all of the time...maybe I'll inspire someone else to do the same...New England may always be cold, but it doesn't have to be so angry.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Your son is so well behaved!"

This is Sam...this is what Sam does when you ask him to smile for the camera...it's pretty indicative of his personality in general..if I ask him to be quiet, he yells "What?"...if you tell him to stop, he changes up whatever he was doing just slightly and says, "How bout like this?"...he's 2 1/2 and although I love him so much that it physically hurts...there are a lot of days that I don't like him very much!
His energy level is exhausting...If I had half of it I'd be able to run 10 miles every morning, come home, get ready (taking time to put makeup on and dry my hair), make a hot breakfast for all, and clean the entire house, top to bottom, by about 10 a.m...I've been thinking about sending him to preschool in the fall, but have had this terrible fear that I have "that kid". You know, the one that nobody wants to have over their house...the one that is in trouble constantly...I keep thinking, "what if he gets kicked out of preschool...does that stay on his permanent academic record? Will it ruin his chances of getting into a good college?:)" So I've basically put off going to preschool open houses and when people ask, I give a casual "I don't know yet" shrug...
This morning I had to leave the church service for a few minutes to calm Grace down...as I walked around the building, I decided to peek in at Sam's class. I stood as far from the door as possible, lest a teacher should see me and ask me to please take my child...never bring him back...what I saw brought tears to my eyes. My little boy was sitting quietly (in a chair!) listening to a man play the guitar and singing along...some of the older boys were goofing off and being reprimanded...not Sam, he actually look angelic! When Brad picked him up after the service, his teacher said..."I don't know what you are doing at home but it's working. Sam is one of the most well behaved kids in the class...we love having him.." I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself...there is hope!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Christmas Tree....

We got a fake tree this year. That may not seem like that big of a deal for a lot of people, but it was huge deal for me. I have always hated fake trees...I hate how they look, I hate that they don't smell...We had a fake tree growing up, and I remeber trying to help my mother sort out the different shaped, different length, color coded, oversized pipe cleaner looking sticks that were the branches...Despite my mothers assurance that it would look real when she put the lights on (b/c real trees have lights?) it looked...fake. At the age of 8 I decided that when I grew up, I would always have a real tree....fast-forward 25 years....I spent last December trying to keep Sam from touching our ever shedding tree and then the rest of the winter and into spring cleaning up pine needles....quite frankly, it was more bother than it was worth....and when I found a Yankee Candle that smells exactly like a pine tree, I bought it and began to rethink the fake tree....after several serious conversations with Brad (they went something like, Me-"Honey, what do you think, should we get a fake tree this year?" Brad-"Whatever you want to do is fine...") We packed our kids up, drove to Linens-N-Things and bought the last pre-lit tree (with a remote control) that they had. It was too big to fit in the back of our XTerra so we tied it to the roof...just like all the people who were out buying real trees on that cold Decmber afternoon....It's incredible you can have white or "dark" (what Sam calls the colored lights) lights...it doesn't shed, and best of all, it is just two pieces....gone are the days of a box full of pipe cleaner branches...you just snap the two pieces together, plug it in, hit the remote and viola! instant tree. The only thing that could make it better, is if it came with a little elf to take the decorations off! I loved decorating the tree, but it is now mid January...we haven't bothered to turn the lights on since New Years Eve, and quite frankly, I'm tired of looking at the big fake tree....but there are boxes of decorations on it and every time I so much as mention taking it down, Sam bursts into tear.."No, I like it mommy, I like it, I do..." Not to mention the fact that if I have three free hours, I am much more likely to take a nap than deal with the tree...So for the time being and perhaps the forseeable future, the tree stands...thank God we didn't get a real one!

Time goes by....

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how fast time is passing. My son Sam is 2 1/2...my daughter Grace, almost three months...I've been out of college for almost 11 years....high school for 15...driving for 17...the list goes on and on...I can rember when my mother turned 30...now I'm almost 33...I thought that my parents were "old" when I was growing up, when in fact they were 38 (5 years older than I am now) when I graduated from high school! It's actually a little disturbing to look at my high school graduation pictures and see that the proud couple with their arms around me, look about the same as I do now....more disturbing...I'll be about as old as my parents are now when our kids finish high school!

Anyway, I am going to attempt to jot down my thoughts, observations, cute things my kids say and do and just the everyday happenings that are my life. I'm doing it so that I don't forget...I'm doing it so that I can hopefully look back and laugh (at the good and the bad), I'm doing it to feel connected to people I love who aren't close by and I'm doing it because there are days that I go long periods of time without talking to an adult....