Thursday, July 30, 2009


I was watching the Barefoot Contessa recently, and she was preparing a dinner for her husband for their anniversary. She commented that people often ask her what makes a happy marriage. She said that she's glad she doesn't have to work at it. She wants to make her husband happy, and he wants to make her happy. It's as simple as that.

I am blessed to have a marriage like that. We are committed to spending time together, but we don't really consider it work...we just love to be together.
Since we have two young children and not a whole lot of money, we keep things low key. But honestly, I don't think I'd want to do anything much differently even if we were in different circumstances. We have carpet picnics and play board games by lantern light in bed. The birthday card he gave me said, "My Wife, My Special Blessing", and inside, one of the many things he wrote is that I help him get through each day with a smile. He is my special blessing too. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Man Running Again...On My Birthday!

Sunday was my birthday, and I had a wonderful, wonderful day. My husband cleaned most of the apartment in the morning, and then we got ready to drive down to Queens for a reunion with friends of mine from grammar school. We were meeting at a park that, although it was hardly a mile and a half away from where I grew up, I had never been to. My son spent the entire time in the sprinklers, except for a few minutes where we strapped him down into a stroller to sing happy birthday to me. One of my classmates was kind enough to bring a birthday cake for me. One of the people I saw I hadn't seen since High School, and we had been very close friends. It was so nice to see her again. I hope to keep in touch with her in the future. It was nice to remember old times with old friends.

The weather held out just long enough for the reunion, and then some hearty storms made their way in. Our next stop was my Mom's house for a wonderful dinner and home made birthday cake. My sister braved massive hail, collisions all around her, and pouring rain to come to my birthday dinner. My Mom made a roast beef with onions, roasted potatoes, and asparagus. My sister made a fantastic gravy to accompany the meal. Then we had coffee and cake. My Mom made a cake that her mother used to make. It's yellow cake with a frosting made from unsweetened Baker's Chocolate, evaporated milk, butter, and a little bit of sugar. It's rich, it's decadent, and I didn't take the rest of the cake home because I would have eaten it all.

It was a lovely day. On top of it all, my husband bought me the Top Chef Cook Book, which I've wanted since it came out. He also got me Scrabble, which he doesn't like to play, but because he loves me and wants to make me happy, he promises to play it with me. I'm very excited.

So, I have recommitted myself to Weight Watchers. I haven't posted my weight loss/gain, but over the past month, I've been futzing around the same three pounds. I started my exercise routine again, and I've been faithfully keeping track of all the points I eat. So, hopefully, I can make my way past these three pounds. Better three than 43! I'll get back to 46 pounds down very soon, and then it's just another 4 pounds to 50. Cool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Discipline Method

On Friday, I went to my son's school to observe his class and talk to the school social worker. I explained that we were having trouble with discipline in that the usual methods have not been working. She explained to me that saying no running, no hitting, etc. are ineffective for learning disabled children because everyone must first picture the original item before picturing "no item", and most of these kids just don't make it that far. Also, with cause and effect such as time outs or taking toys away or leaving locations because of poor behavior don't always work because these kids just don't make the connection. So, she suggested continuing with some of our methods, such as leaving a fun location if my son doesn't behave, taking toys away if they're used for unacceptable actions like throwing them at his sister, etc. However, she said that for everything else, just try to phrase everything in a positive manner. By positive, I don't mean, "I'll give you flowers if you're a good boy," or something like that. She meant just not saying no, and trying to think of some other command for him to follow. For example, saying "walk" instead of "no running", "quiet hands" instead of "no hit", "feet on floor" instead of "no climbing", etc. This is extremely difficult. But, we're working on it. Also, whenever he hits his sister, instead of admonishing him, we take his sister away and give her ALLLL the attention, so that he HOPEFULLY will stop using her for getting attention. So, we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Funniest Sign and the Best Ice Cream

Tonight we all went out for ice cream at Heinchon Dairy Ice Cream. On the way there, we passed the funniest sign we have ever seen. There was a sign (as you can see above) that said, "Judge Crossing". WHAT does that mean????? Do we need to watch out for a robed figure suddenly running in front of our car? Might there be a rogue wig flowing through the air? We got a lot of laughs about this one. AND the picture above I downloaded from because it was posted as a waypoint by MY OWN COUSIN. You see, the same sense of humor obviously runs in the family.
This sign we passed on our way to the Heinchon Dairy's Ice Cream parlor which is housed in an old farmhouse right next to a farm. The ice cream is made from the freshest all natural ingredients, including milk and cream straight from the Heinchon dairy down the road. It doesn't get any better.
We got out of the car, and the smell of country air filled our heads. A clean smell of life...a mix of freshly cut hay wafting over from somewhere, mixed with trees and flowers. It was intoxicating. That became mixed with the aroma of home made ice cream toppings as we approached the door to the parlor. Oh boy. Inside, there are old school desks as well as traditional ice cream parlor tables and chairs. There are also tables outside on the porch and picnic tables in the grass behind the house. We ordered ice cream for all of us (although the kids didn't eat more than a spoonful each, and my husband wound up finishing it for was a sacrifice). I got my ice cream topped with home made hot fudge, and when I put the first spoonful in my mouth, I was immediately transported to my childhood because the fudge was made with Baker's Chocolate...the very same that my Grandmother used to make the frosting for my birthday cakes. We chose to eat outside at a picnic table so my son could run around and climb on the straw bales, and we could sit and savor the experience of enjoying old fashioned good food just a step away from its original source in the serenest of settings. It was simply a wonderful experience in every way, and as Julia Child always said, "Everything in moderation!"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Day Out with Thomas at Edaville USA!

If you have a young child, a great place to go is Edaville, USA in South Carver, MA. It's an amusement park for young children. It reminds me of a place my parents brought me when I was a little girl called the Fairy Tale Forest. There, you got to walk through lots of fairy tales and see where they all "live", and there was a train that went through Candy Land. It was magical. Unfortunately, it's also long gone.
At Edaville, USA they have a train that goes through a fairy tale forest so that you can see the actual location where the cow jumped over the moon, and if you've ever wondered where the gingerbread man lives, you can plainly see he lives with his family in a gingerbread house of course! At Christmastime, they have lots of light displays that the train runs through.

They also have kiddie rides and old engines that the kids can climb all over. It's great anytime of year. However, once a year, someone special comes to visit.

Thomas the Tank Engine! And they have a tent set up where there's a story time and a music show where they let the kids play along with whatever instrument they'd like. There was a music parade too, which was very cute, and the kids and parents got to march all around the tent.

Finally, the main event. A ride on Thomas through the fairy tale forest. It was a nice, 20 minute ride...not too long, not too short. The breeze was lovely. We went on one of the few days when there was some sunshine. Of course, just about as soon as we left, the rain came back, but we had a lovely Day Out with Thomas.

The best part of the whole day was when my son first saw Thomas driving around the rail. He was absolutely beside himself with excitement, and he broke out into a run crying out, "Thomas! Thomas!". Thankfully, we were far enough away that I could catch up with him long before he got to close to the train! But it was absolutely adorable. My son had a wonderful, wonderful time, and my infant daughter enjoyed herself too.
So, if you're ever in the area with little kids, it's a great place to go.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Holly Hobbie

I love this bonnet. It's a present from Grandma, and it looks like a Holly Hobbie bonnet (for those who remember Holly Hobbie). My daughter is so cute, I can't stand it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Button and Blog Picture

My new button and new blog picture are a photo that I took at a place called Sam's Point in Cragsmoor, NY. It's the tallest point of the Shawangunk Ridge (which I try very hard to pronounce shong-gum, or "The Gunks" because that's how the locals pronounce it), and from this vantage, you can see NY (of course), MA, CT, PA, and NJ. It's probably the most beautiful vista I've ever seen. I've never been to the Grand Canyon, but I imagine it must be a similar experience here, in that you can see so very far, and the scene looks more like a painting than reality. It truly is my spot.

First Day of School

Today is the first day of the Summer session of school, and I just put my son on the bus. It came 15 minutes early, so thank goodness, we were ready and already on our way down the stairs. My son was decked out in some new clothes and shoes, and a new "Thomas the Tank Engine and His Friends" backpack. He also has a new notebook with family pictures in it of our little vacation to Boston where he got to meet Thomas and go to the New England Aquarium (more about that in another post). He loves to look at pictures, and having pictures of his family at school helps him to get adjusted because he can look at us whenever he misses us.

The bus comes at 7:30, which is really early. My son comes home at 1:30, which seems really early. LOL Up here, it's in the 50's in the morning, and it doesn't get up to 80 or so until later in the afternoon, so there's no quick dips in the pool before my son gets home for me. Oh well.

My son was up until after 11 pm last night, and I thought he'd be a monster this morning, but I guess he was excited to go back to school, because he got right up, didn't fight me while getting ready, and walked right down the stairs, and got right on the bus. That's a true blessing.

Of course, a lot of it has to do with singing. Music calms the savage beast, they say, and I guess it's true. My son behaves a lot better when I sing. That means if I'm sick, and I can't sing, or I'm feeling too miserable to sing, our days are very difficult. So, we sang "I've been working on the Railroad", filling in all the names of "Thomas the Tank Engine and His Friends" for Dinah. Now I should have an hour or so before the baby wakes up (I hope), so that I can have some nice, peaceful time to do some housework. Not that I haven't been working since 6:30 anyway, getting lunches and breakfasts together, getting my husband out the door and then my son, but now I can get some other things done.
So, without further ado, I should get straight to work!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Year of Firsts

Well, we've nearly completed a year of firsts since my father passed away. His first birthday without him, the first Christmas without him, the first anniversary of his's over. The last one is the one year anniversary of his burial, but somehow, that one doesn't seem to affect me as much. I feel like it's time to start over and move on now.
Yesterday I spent the day with my Mom (and of course my kids), and we started the day with a memorial mass. Then we had lunch together, and went out to the cemetery. I had originally made a little garden after my grandfather died, but since I've moved so far away from the cemetery, I haven't been keeping it up. I passed the gardening tools on to my Mom so that she could become the new garden tender.
I had originally planted the garden mostly for my Mom, and had bought a robin to place in the garden. It was absolutely adorable. However, over time, the robin eventually flew away (i.e. someone removed him). Since then, we've been unable to find a suitable replacement. In addition, my Mom wanted to add something special for my father and her brother (who died within a week of my father last year).
So, on the way to the cemetery, I took her to the little gardening shop where I had found the original robin, and she found a new robin. This robin was so plump! It's absolutely endearing. The funny thing was that just that morning she was telling me that she had just seen the fattest robin she'd ever seen. We assumed she was "with egg". She also found an adorable turtle. My father had a pet turtle that he loved, and so this was very special.
She had planted some new items in the garden, and it looks beautiful. Someone else had also left flowers at the grave. The robin and turtle made it look cheerful, if it's possible for a grave to be cheerful. My son found a special rock and put it on top of the stone. It was a nice day of reflection.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Dad

On this day one year ago, my father had a massive stroke. He died about 18 hours later at the hospital after my Mom found him unresponsive at home. Last night I was very sad thinking about how last year, that was the last night he was alive. That was the night my parents celebrated their anniversary, because my Mom wasn't home the day before. My Mom cooked a special dinner of leg of lamb. At 7:30 this morning, I thought about how that was about the time when my Mom found my Dad, and right about now was when we got the phone call that something was seriously wrong with my Dad.
My husband was with him when he died around 3 in the morning. I'll never, ever forget that. My Dad didn't die alone. We were all sitting vigil, taking turns, ensuring that he wouldn't die alone. We didn't expect him to make it through the night. It was supposed to be my shift, but my husband didn't want me to drive in to Jamaica, Queens alone, so he went in my place. He thinks my father didn't want to die with my Mom or any of us children, and waited for him to be there to let go.
My husband sat up with me last night rubbing my back until I fell asleep. I don't think there's a more kind and loving husband in the entire world. I love him so much, and I'm so blessed to have him in my life.