Monday's Mommy Moment: Wow, Wow Everyone--Happy Halloween!


My little boy loves Wow Wow Wubbzy, so it didn't take long for me to pick out his Halloween costume this year.  The minute I saw it online, I purchased the little felt pullover and bought warm yellow clothes to wear underneath.

Not everyone knew he was Wubbzy; some people thought he was Winnie the Pooh, but we still had fun bringing him to my mom's place of work on Friday and Trick-or-Treating on Sunday.

This year, by far, has been the most fun for Halloween.  At age two, he was a whirlwind of energy...running to each house (at least in the beginning) and saying "Wow, wow, wow."  He also made sure to say "hi" to everyone handing him candy and "bye" once he was done.  (His two favorite words.)  We'll see what kind of costume Daddy picks out for Lil' Lewie next year...

"Wow, Wow, Wow!"

"Are we ready to go yet?"

"I love my new flash light/whistle that Gramy bought me!"

"This is fun!"

"Which house do we go to next?"

Friday Fun Flick: Stepping in Mommy's Shoes


Over the past few months, our little boy has been obsessed with wearing our shoes.  After work, I suppose we should be putting them in the closet where they belong, but since my husband and I are just too busy and too tired, we often take them off at the back door and leave them in the kitchen.  This is where my little boy's fun begins!

Practically every night, my little boy tries on one of our pairs of shoes--Daddy's sneakers, Mommy's sneakers, Daddy's slippers, and even Mommy's dress shoes.  Since we have so much video of my little boy doing this, I will have to revisit the topic with Daddy's shoes, but for now, here are two quick videos of my Lil' Lewie "clicking" around the house in my one inch heels. 

I'll have to admit that I was pretty impressed with his being able to wear these heels without falling.  Little did I know that my son could have dressed in drag this Halloween instead of the Nick Jr. costume I chose for him (hee, hee).

(P.S. Please excuse my house's appearance...Yes, I do have an Ideal Home where all clutter is in its proper place, but that home won't exist until we stop living in it.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Signs that You Might be Spooked!


I am a BIG wimp when it comes to watching anything scary. Yes, I've seen quite a few creepy movies in my day. In fact, I've even been to see the Warren's (a married couple that used to act like the real life Ghost Busters and track down spirits.) However, even though I have watched and listened to many spooky stories (both ones that claim to be real and ones that are not), I still don't handle the information well. In fact, I don't handle it well at all!

At best, some of these spooky sights or sounds will stay with me for a week, and at worst, they will stay with me for years. Yes, oh, yes, I am a scaredy cat. BIG TIME. My mind starts to play tricks on me, and the next thing I know, I'm suddenly "hearing" and "seeing" things that keep me from being able to go to bed and get a decent night's sleep, especially when my husband isn't home.

Is this you?  Here are another ten signs that you might be spooked.

10. You're constantly looking behind you because you feel like you're being followed. (Or worse, you think you feel someone's breath on your neck.)

9. You stand outside your infant's door wondering who on earth he or she could be talking to...After all, you left the room, and there's nobody hope!

8. You need to have the TV on constantly. Otherwise, you hear all the creeks and unusual noises of the house settling...or someone or something settling inside your house.

7. When it's nightfall, you make sure to put on all the lights in every single room of the house. That way, if there is a ghost, it won't be able to follow you undetected in the dark.  (It won't be able to glow in the dark, like you often see in the movies, either.)

6. The white bathrobe hanging up behind your bedroom door suddenly starts to look like the image of your great-great grandmother that's hanging on the wall at your parents' house. 

5. You can't help but notice that the cat is following something back and forth with its eyes until it freaks out and goes into the other room. Gulp. You wonder if you should leave the room with this kind of urgency too! Now you're alone...with it.

4. You know that someone passed away in the house, and you suddenly start to feel like a presence is there even when you're supposed to be by yourself.

3. The curtains start to rustle for no reason. Could it be the heating vent above them...or is some mysterious force shaking them?

2. You wake up in the middle of the night panicked because you suddenly feel light and airy, like you might be levitating!

1. You don't go anywhere near Ouija-boards.  Period.

Bonus:  You search all the closets in your room before going to bed.  Even more, you make sure they are all closed, so if something is lurking inside, somehow, it can't get out.  (In reality, a closed closet door never stopped anyone, but it still makes you feel secure to know that it's not open--not even a crack.)

And now a joke for the holiday to quell all of your "spooked" least mine.

Q: Why do cemetaries have fences around them?
A: Because people are dying to get in...

Monday's Mommy Moment: Costume Themes


My husband and I have decided to trade years on Halloween.  You see, I like dressing my little guy in cute Halloween outfits, and my husband likes to choose more "boy" type outfits.  I know one day, probably very soon, Little Lewie will be choosing his own Halloween costumes, but in the meantime, we get to choose...

"Hey everyone. Look...I'm a pumpkin!"

"I'm way cuter than this pumpkin next to me!"

During Little Lewie's first Halloween, I had the chance to choose.  I won the right because two months earlier, I gave birth to him after 14 hours of labor.
"Look everyone!  It's me and Gramy."
"Grrrrrrr.  Don't mess with me!"
"Check out my light sabor!"

Last year, my husband had the chance to choose, and he chose the Star Wars Yoda costume.  At first, I wasn't thrilled with the selection, but after I saw him wear it, I loved it!  My little 14 month old just adored his light sabor.    That year, not only did he get a chance to visit Gramy at work in her office, but he also had the chance to participate in the local library's Halloween party and to go out trick-or-treating.  When we went from door to door in our neighborhood, we kept him in his stroller while he waved around his light sabor.  All our neighbors laughed at his antics. 

This year, it was my turn to choose.  I think it's a cute costume, but I'm not going to reveal it yet... 

I hope everyone has fun this week!

Friday Fun Flick: Falling into Leaves Just Isn't My Thing


Okay, it's offical.  Little Lewie doesn't like getting dirty.  He went through a brief stage of actually enjoying playing in the dirt and mud puddles, but that stage has left.  I first noticed that he wasn't so crazy about it after trying to get him to help me plant bulbs in our garden.  Now, I noticed it again as Daddy and I tossed him into a pile of leaves.

As far as I can remember (which was probably back to age five) I loved jumping in the leaves.  It was fun to hear them crinkle and even better to cover every inch of my body (except for my head).  Little Lewie's perspective on leaves is, well, a tad bit different...

After this short video, I managed to take a couple of other revealing shots...

"Mom, why did you put me here?"

"I don't think I like this.  Can you pick me up now?"

"Yuck, do I have a leaf on my jacket?"

"Unbelievable.  My jacket's all dirty now!"

So far my Little Lewie is not too crazy about pumpkins and not a big fan of leaves...I guess fall might not be the favorite season this year...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Teaching Enthusiasm


My poor class.  I really don't enjoy making an example of them, but they are really teaching me a lot this year.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Teaching Kindness.  In this post, I talked about the lack of respect my first year college students seemed to have for me and others in general.   Most of this disrespect, I believe, comes from a general attitude of not caring--not caring about others but not caring about anything.

It's been hard to create a spark, to create an energy, to create an excitement in my classroom.  Oh yes, as a trained professional, I've been taught that I need to cater to all different learning styles--auditory, visual, verbal, social, interpersonal, kinesthetic, etc.  As a result, I use podcasts, YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations, writing lessons, meditation, role playing, exercise, music, everything and anything to get my students interested.  Heck, I'd even get up in front of the class and perform a tap dance if it would get their attention and dare I say, make them crack a smile.

I don't like to stereotype or make assumptions, so of course, not every eighteen/nineteen year old falls into this category, but I do sense a growing trend.  I understand that teenagers have hormones--their number one priority at this age, oh how I hate to say this, is getting laid.  (Lil' Lewie you are barred from reading this post ever!)  If not getting laid, then their goal is to increase the prospects of getting into a relationship with this emotional/physical intimacy.  These students also seek companionship and acceptance from relationships with their peers, etc.  I get it.  I don't think I'm that old of a fossil yet, even though my students would probably think differently.

Still, while I realize that school and learning may not necessarily be the priority here, I'd like to see them take an interest in something SOMETHING.  After all, school equals their future.  It equals what they may end up doing for the rest of their life. 

In my communications class, we talk about mass communication and stereotypes.  We talk about cultural and gender differences in communication.  We talk about effective listening strategies.  We talk about critical listening, evaluating speaker credentials, and evaluating the content of speeches (particularly persuasive speeches).  And, finally, we practice giving our own presentations both with using visual aids like PowerPoints and video and without visual aids.

To me, this is exciting stuff.  Not everyone enjoys going up in front of the class and speaking, but we do lots of exercises to learn how we can be better at communicating and listening.  At one point, I had my students watch a debate between the two candidates running for State Senate.  "Are any of you going to vote on November 2?" I asked.  The class became so quiet I could hear a pin drop.  "Are you guys registered to vote?"  Nope, not a single student raised their hand.  "What's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican?" one brave student asked.  Being as neutral as possible, I tried to explain the differences between liberal views and conservative views when the same student who asked the question said, "That's okay, Miss.  I wan't really that interested."  Another student piped in, "We don't need to know this for the midterm do we?"

Ugh!  Where's the interest?  Where's the enthusiasm?  Where's the desire to learn about the world, humanity, the arts, history, or even about our own country and government?  I realize not all college campuses are like this--college students, historically, have been the ones fired up to promote change and to form rallies to demonstrate their views and ideals.  Still, my bunch probably wouldn't even move from their seats if a fire was reported in the building.  "What, do we like have to go outside?" would be a question from at least one of my students.  "This sucks," would be the response from another student.  I hear these comments all day long...Yes, the "Do we have to do this?" to "This sucks."

Everything I learn in the classroom relates back to my little guy at home.  I look at him and see an outpour of enthusiasm for life.  Everything he does shows passion.  If he gets to do something he enjoys, he's wildly excited about it, and if it's something he dislikes, he's equally passionate.  He wants to learn how to say things and how to do things by himself.  He wants to learn about how to become a big boy (a.k.a. his future) and gets upset with me if I stunt the process by saying, "No, you can't do that yet.  Not until you're older" as I take the knife out of his hand.

I wonder...when does this enthusiasm for life turn into a "this sucks" mentality?  Is this a natural progression that happens to most teenagers or is this an attitude that's somehow passed down from parent to child?  Or, finally, is this "I don't care about anything" mentality a product of children that are given too much and no responsibility? 

I don't have the answers.  Oh, how I wish I did.  All I can say is that my goal is to build a love for learning with my little guy.  I want him to be excited about exploring and researching.  I want him to be passionate about his opinions, and I want him to care, deeply, about his actions and how he treats others.  I have my mission.  Do you have one too?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Ways I try to Rationalize with My Toddler


Okay, if I could start the process all over again, I would have taught Lil' Lewie to sign, and I probably would have bought him those 'Your Baby Can Read' videos.  In the end, I'm sure it would have helped me communicate better with my two year old, and perhaps, it would even have helped me explain to him why certain rules exist.

In any case, I feel like I'm constantly telling my two year old what he can and can't do.  I try to rationalize with him, and when all else fails, I even try to bribe him.  Whether you refer to them as the "terrible" twos or the "terrific" twos, you have to admit that this is an interesting age.  They're old enough to get into mischief but still too young to understand why they're not allowed to do certain things.  In my house, I sound like a broken record as I repeat the rules over and over again.  (Can you imagine?  Our children aren't going to understand the meaning of this phrase unless any of us have a record player at home.  I feel old.)

If anyone has a toddler right now or remembers the toddler years, this top ten is for you.

10.  "No.  You can't flush the toilet anymore.  What did I say?  Yes, there has to be pee pee in the potty.  Uh, did you flush it again?  That's it.  No more bathroom for you. Common we're done.  March, march, march."

9.  "Books are our friends.  We're gentle with the pages.  See.  Look how nice Mommy flips the pages.  Okay, if you're not going to be gentle, Mommy's going to take it away!"

8.  "The stove is HOT.  No, you can't go near the stove while Mommy is trying to take out our dinner.  What did I say?  No, you can't come here.  Okay, let's sit in Mr. Highchair (or Mr. Booster-seat), okay?"

7.  "Mommy has to get ready for work, okay?  I can't have you touch the HOT curling iron.  Come here.  Let's watch some TV.  Let's see--how about Little Bill or Ni Hao Kai Lan?  There.  That's much more fun for you."

6.  "No, you can't have Daddy's potato chips.  (Stern glare at Daddy from me.)  Come with me in the kitchen.  Hmmmm.  I see something yummy.  Why don't we have this banana?  No?  Yes, bananas will help you grow big and strong.  Common....Um, look Mommy just took a bite of the banana.  Mommy loves bananas..."

5.  "No.  No touching the buttons on the TV please.  What did Mommy say?  Right, Mommy said NO!"

4.  "No throwing things.  We don't throw things in the house.  Look your toy is your friend.  You don't throw it.  Now give your toy a kiss and tell him you're sorry."

3.  I said you can't touch that water cooler.  Alright Mister, if you touch it again, you're going into time-out.  That's it.  Off to time-out we go.  You know Mommy said no, right?"

2.  "Please eat these last few carrots for Mommy. only have three more to go.  Here let's count them while we eat.  If you eat them, Mommy will let you have a yummy treat....maybe you'll get a cookie."

1.  "Please stop screaming in the car.  I know you're tired.  We're almost home.  I can't concentrate with the screaming.  Please.  Okay.  Okay.  Here, I'll give you some of Mommy's snack.  Please stop screaming..."

Bonus:  "What did Mommy say? Yes, if you're a good boy in the store, Mommy will take you to the park.  Yes, we'll go on the SWINGS (emphasis) and SLIDE, and you can play with your SCOOTER.  We're going to have a good time.  Mommy just needs to get a few more things.  Yes, you have to be patient!  Please be a good boy, please."  (Desperation at its finest...)

Still, no matter how many times I say these things throughout the day, who can resist a little munchkin like this?

Monday's Mommy Moment: Where's My Little Pumpkin?


Lil' Lewie has now officially gone on three pumpkin picking experiences in his two short years.  During his first experience, at two months old, he stayed mostly in his carseat/baby carrier while we brought him on a hayride and then proceeded to pick out a pumpkin for him.  During the excursion, we did manage to take a couple of fun pictures of him with us.

Big Lew and Lil' Lew

Me and My Lil' Pumpkin
Last year, we brought Lil' Lewie to a different farm and released him within the sea of pumpkins that were spread out in a large grass field.  He crawled a little and then mostly sat while he explored everything around him.  We had a blast watching him.

Lil' Lewie Waiting for the "Great Pumpkin"

There's My Lil' Pumpkin

This year, with my little guy now walking running, I didn't know what to expect.  I figured I would just release him in the sea of pumpkins like we did last year and watch him explore.  Well, my plan backfired.  Big time.  This year, Lil' Lewie showed no interest in the pumpkins at all.  In fact, each time I brought him to the patch, he'd run in the opposite direction. 

"Wait Lewie.  Come back here!  Don't you want to see the pumpkins?  Please.  Mommy wants to take a picture of you.  Look.  Look at this little pumpkin..."

Yes, I did everything.  First I begged.  "Please Lewie.  Please stay for a minute."

When that didn't work, I tried to coax him.  "Lewie.  Look here.  Isn't this such a neat pumpkin..."

When that didn't work, I dragged him.  "Common, just one picture!"

When that didn't work, I sighed, and tried again a few days later.

Nope.  This little boy was interested in anything ANYTHING other than the pumpkin patch--the barn, the animals, the tractors, the cars, our car, the mums, people... I could have got a million shots of those backgrounds...  Anyways, here are my three pathetic pictures of Lil' Lewie darting away from the pumpkin patch.  Yes, my Lil' Pumpkin was far, far, away from the others.  Oh well, there's always next year!

"Lil' Lewie, Dont You Wanna See the Pumpkins?"

"Common, I know You Want to See the Pumpkins."

"Please don't run away.  I just want one picture."

Yes, My Lil' Pumpkin Has a Mind of His Own Sometimes.

My Ideal Home...


My ideal home has plush new carpeting and rugs
There are no stains on couches
And no crumbs to attract bugs

My ideal home has a shiny kitchen floor
There is no mud from traffic
And no dirt from the front door

My ideal home has no dishes in the sink
There are no dirty pots and pans
Nor plates of food that stink

My ideal home has no clutter on countertops
There is no pile of junk mail
And no orphaned lids and tops

My ideal home has a freshly made-up bed
There are no wrinkled, dirty sheets
And no ratty, torn bedspread

My ideal home has decorations galore
There are no mismatched trinkets
Nor toys strewn about the floor

My ideal home never needs dusting
There are no cobwebs on the ceiling
Nor iron railings that may be rusting

My ideal home has perfect, natural light
There are no filthy windows
Nor broken blinds that wreck the sight

My ideal home has a place for everything
There are no foreign objects
Like screws, brass rings, and things

My ideal home has closets oh so tidy and neat
There are no shoes in piles
Nor clothes piled above my feet

My ideal home is full of love and joy
In the end, that's all that really matters
For us and our little boy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons Why Cell Phones are Annoying


I understand that cell phones have their advantages, and yes, I have one.  Mine is rather cheap, but I do use it (along with my blue tooth) to talk to friends and family.  I also love the security of having it for emergencies.  With that said, however, I also find cell phones incredibly annoying.  Take today for an example.  My husband, Lil' Lewie, and I were outside raking leaves in our yard.  While it is not the easiest chore, I did enjoy having this time together as a family.  My husband and I had fun tossing Lil' Lewie into a few leaf piles and watching his reactions.  Within the first fifteen minutes that we start raking, my husband receives a text--it's his sister making plans for later that day.  Of course, he feels the need to respond.  Ten minutes later, it's a friend wanting to go fishing.  A few minutes later, it's someone else.  While my husband is having all these interruptions, I'm just trying to enjoy the present moment of spending time with him and my son.

This is not the only time that the cell phone interrupts our family time.  Sometimes we'll be in the middle of watching TV together, and my husband will receive a call or a text.  He responds, which gives me the impression that it's more important that he tells his family what he's doing tomorrow rather than watch the show with me.  Other times, he's receiving texts from his boss--and it's no longer working hours!  Ugh!

I'll have to admit...I was almost swayed to buy a top of the line cell phone.  I enjoy blogging so much that it would be convenient to be able to tweet and check my comments and emails on a minute by minute basis.  It would also be fun to check my Facebook account, check my work schedule, record and send videos, etc.  Still, I had to remind myself of one thing--I have a family and a little guy that needs me first.  Do I worry about staying connected on my cell phone, or do I worry about my son and his needs throughout the day?  Being on my cell phone all the time would give him the impression that he doesn't matter, and I couldn't ever, ever let that happen for a moment.  So, I opted to stay away from the temptation.

I may sound a little old fashioned here, but regardless, here are my top ten reasons on why cell phones are just plain annoying.

10.  The reception.  Here in Connecticut, we have a lot of mountainous terrain, which means that usually 50% of my conversation sounds like this: "Can you hear me now?  How about now?  Now?  Can you hear me now? What about now?"

 9.   The rudeness.  Today I hear people having conversations with their friends and family practically everywhere.  They could be talking while standing in line at the grocery store, while ordering at Burger King, or before mass starts at church.  I mean really.  Is the conversation that important?  Obviously it is because it keeps people from acknowledging each other in person.

8.  The interruptions.  As I mentioned before, cell phones often interrupt the moment.  They can interrupt a special date, a special time with your little one, and even a special time of self-reflection.  At times, they can be down right intrusive.  Most messages CAN WAIT!

7.  The spelling.  As a college English instructor, it's frustrating to receive papers that now use the letter "u" for "you", "i" for "I", or other texting language and symbols for words.  It is changing the way students spell and think about writing at the most fundamental level. 

6.  The plans.  If your cell phone dies or has an accident before your plan is up, you're usually required to buy another phone at full price, which easily becomes another $100 to $400 investment.

5.  The urgency.  When we receive texts or voice mail messages, most of us feel like it's necessary to respond right away--even when it's not about something important.  It makes us stop what we're doing and keeps us from focusing on our present moment.

4.  The price.  Cell phones and cell phone plans are not cheap.  Let's face it.  It's an added expense just like paying to have internet connection is and an added expense. Before the 1980's/90's, we didn't have this extra bill.

3.  The secrecy.  We knew a lot more about who our spouses were talking to and making plans with when friends and family had to call on the home phone.  Now that my huband has a cell phone, I have no idea who's on the other line. 

2.  The addiction.  We get addicted to cell phones just like anything else.  They become such an extension of us that we can't imagine going anywhere or doing anything without one.  (This is especially true of my college students who can't seem to stop calling or texting even during an important class session.) 

1.  Distracted driving. Texting and driving don't mix.  Need I say more?

Bonus:  The influence.  Now children as early as seven years old are asking for their own cell phones.   I'm not going to enjoy the day that my son asks for one because his friends have one.  At age seven, I'm not going to feel the need that he has to call me from school and tell me how his day is going.  I have to trust that everything is okay at some point.  (Isn't this how helicopter parenting begins?)

Monday's Mommy Moment: My Little Digital Native


In higher education, we talk about digital natives all the time.  Children, born in the 90's or later, are them, and their understanding of computers is beyond our grasp--their understanding is instinctual.  Starting my own blog has certainly helped me keep up with technology to a point, but even I must read books or be tutored on certain tasks.  I usually can learn them, but I don't have the ability to understand what to do on my own.  (Uploading pictures and creating hyper links were just a few areas where I needed help.)

Digital natives are different.  They didn't grow up with records, typewriters, and Ataris.  They grew up with one machine that could do all of these things combined and more.  Using a mouse, i-pod, or now texting on a cell phone is as instintive to them as popping in our a-track cassette was to us.  (Okay, I'm dating myself a little--I did grow up mostly with 45 records and cassette tapes.)

Since the day my son was old enough to sit up on his own, he already had a fascination with the computer.  I could see that little glimmer in his eyes, and he'd always try to touch the keyboard or mouse when we weren't looking.  Now that he's old enough to understand what "gentle" means, I let him play on the computer a little bit every now and then.  If he pounds on the keyboard, then he knows his time is about to end.

Almost immediately, I couldn't believe how my little one interacted with it.  Unlike me, who grew up with seeing it as a somewhat foreign object, Lil' Lewie reaches for the keyboard and mouse like he reaches for his spoon and fork.  It comes naturally, and he knows what to do naturally.  He also reaches for the screen, thinking that if he pushes buttons or icons on the screen, they will do what he wants them to do.  Certainly ATM Machines and now gadgets like the Apple i-pad, i-phone, Kindle, etc. make this possible, but how does a little two year old who has never touched a single one of these gadgets understand this concept?

His instinctive knowledge just blows me away.  There is no doubt that within a few short years, he will probably surpass me in the ease of which he uses technology.  (When I first started using the computer in the 90's it took me weeks to feel comfortable with controlling the mouse.)

Here, already, is my little two year old computer geek.  There is no question that our children are our future, and we will be learning from them...  (Have patience Lil' Lewie. Have patience with Mommy.)

I Remember When...


Losing my Aunty Sarah was difficult.  Of course, I no longer wanted her to suffer, and I'm happy that she lived a long 86 years.  It's me and my own selfishness that wanted her around for a while longer.  With her death, we lost her generation in our family and all the wisdom that comes with her generation.  She spoke Hungarian, knew Hungarian culture, and could tell us about her parents who grew up in Hungry.

My sadness for her loss, for the first time, was twofold.  First, I wanted her to live longer for me, so I could learn more about her life and create new memories.  However, this time, I also wanted her to live longer for my little boy.  I wanted him to know her and love her in the same special way that I love her.  At age two, I know he won't have any recollection, and to him, she will just be "the lady" in our photo album--this was my major source of grief.

Today, in order to give myself closure to this week's events and say goodbye to my Aunty Sarah, I am writing a list of all my memories.  I hope to share this list one day with my little boy, so that she will mean something more to him than just "the lady" in some pictures.

I remember when...
You invited five year-old me into your home and served me tea like a big girl.  I got to put in my own milk and sugar and be part of all the grown-up conversations between you, my mom, and grandma at the table.

You let me look at your People and Star magazines and watch your favorite soaps with you.

I remember when...
You played with me every time I came to your house.  We put together jigsaw puzzles, played the Triangle Peg Game, and played my favorite board games, Clue and Sorry.

You came with my mom and me to Orlando, Florida to see Walt Disney World and Epcot Center. I was only seven, and it was my first trip on a plane.  You made it fun by clapping and celebrating both the take off and the landing.  Oh and how you loved all the rides at both of the parks.

I remember when...
You came to all my birthday parties and all of my dance recitals.  Yes, for twenty years, you came to support my tap dancing and always brought me flowers.  One year, you surprised me, by buying me a special ceramic jewelry box with tap shoes--I never saw anything like it!

You came to all of my graduations and graduation parties--high school, college, grad school.  You were proud of my accomplishments and taught me to always believe in myself and to strive to further my education.

I remember when...
You taxied me around when I went to college.  I was living on a college campus near you and didn't have a car during those first three years.  If I ever needed to go to the store, to the mall, or to any of my community service projects, you'd always pick me up and bring me.  In fact, you'd pick me up and let me drive your car.

I made my first big salary after getting a promotion at work.  I was proud that I had the money to take you and mom to Boston for the weekend, so you could see Quincy Market, the authentic "Cheers" restaurant, and the Boston Common for the first time.  We also went on the trolley tour of the Freedom Trail, which was your favorite part of the trip.

I remember when...
You came with mom and me to craft fairs, especially the ever famous Pumpkin Festival near our house.

We played croquet during all our family picnics, and we also enjoyed playing some rounds of mini-golf in the summer.

I remember when...
You got excited because you heard that I applied for a Dean position at a college near you.  You wanted me to get the position so badly so that I'd be in your neighborhood.  Before even getting the job (which I never did), you already offered that I could stay at your place anytime, especially if the weather was bad and too treacherous to drive home.

You met my husband for the first time.  You said that he reminded you of your dear, beloved husband Raymond in so many ways.

I remember when...
You came to my wedding and wore a beautiful purple dress.  You looked beautiful and so happy in all of our wedding photos.  (This dress was the one you chose for your burial.)

You came to the hospital to see Little Lewie who was just born into this world a few hours before.  You held him and cradled him with so much pride and love in your heart.

I remember when...
You bought Little Lewie special little books, toys, and even a rocking chair that he loves more than anything right now.  You always spoiled him, no matter the holiday.

You came to the Two Lew Barbeque and looked so happy and vibrant.  You were a special part of my husband's 40th and Little Lewie's 2nd birthday celebration.

I remember when...
You came to our church's annual Four Season's Fair this September.  It was our last outing together, and once again, you enjoyed spending time with us and Little Lewie who always had a special place in your heart.

Aunty Sarah, please know that you will be missed more than any words can ever say.  I will keep all these memories with me always and share them with my little boy.  Thank you for being so good to were our angel on earth.  I love you.

The Best Friends in the Whole World


Today I would like to participate in Thanksgiving Thursday, hosted by Mama's Little Chick.  Every Thursday, Mama Hen counts her many blessings, and today, I would like to count mine as well.  In fact, today, I would like to stop and say thank you to all of my special friends out there who have been so incredibly thoughtful and supportive through this tough time.  (Your comments mean more to me than you can ever imagine.)

In life, I've always felt lucky to have some very sweet friends, but today I feel especially blessed...You see, my blogging friends are different.  You didn't become friends with me because we live in the same neighborhood or we went to the same school together.  You didn't become friends with me because we work together or because we're related through marriage.  You didn't become friends with me because we shared the same dorm room in college or because we both took a shade gardening class at the same local community college.

You became friends with me because you took the time to read my profile and my posts to this blog.  You became friends with me because you felt like we had a common bond, a common philosophy, when it comes to how we view our children, our families, and our lives.  You became friends with me because we enjoyed reading each other's comments and supporting each other through the ups and downs of life.

There really is something magical about blogging and creating new friends from all over the country world.  It's a relationship that begins like no other.  Here I share my daily life happenings, my achievements, my goals, my dreams, my failings, and my struggles, and it's my blog friends (not my long time friends) that read about me almost daily and give me the guidance, strength, encouragement, and/or praise to show me their friendship and support.  My blog friends can choose to read and make comments on anyone's blogs (we all know there are a lot of bloggers out there) and yet, they--you--choose to come back here.

Yes, today, I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for choosing me to be your friend.  You know more about me than most of my long time friends who only find out snippets of my life through quick phone calls or Facebook posts.  I can't describe how we first met or came into each other's world, but one thing is for sure, I'm so glad you did!

Happy Thanksgiving Thursday!   



Yesterday was by birthday, a day to celebrate 35 wonderful years and a day to celebrate a new series of tomorrows to make memories.  It was a joy to spend it quietly with my family...

Yesterday was also the day I watched my Great Aunty Sarah take her last few breaths...She had been battling a serious lung infection for nearly three weeks in the hospital now, and the doctors confirmed that even their strongest antibiotic was not killing it.  During this time, we watched a dramatic shift in her health from being a vibrant, strong 86 year-old, to a weak, frail woman who could no longer breathe or eat on her own.

My family forewarned me about visiting her.  "Why do you want to see her?" my husband asked concerned.  "Annette, trust me.  Do you really want to see her struggling?  Do you really want the image you see in the hospital to be your last full memory of her?"

I didn't care.  I had to see her.

I had seen my aunt in the hospital last Friday, and then, just then, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope that she'd be able to pull through this after all.  Now, from all reports, she was not the same woman. 

"Annette, honey.  You don't want to see her now," my mom cautioned.  "She can't speak to you.  She already knows that you love her.  Please don't go."

I still didn't care.  I went.  I went to say my last goodbyes.  I went to say "I love you" one more time.  I went to give her one last kiss on the cheek.  I went, and although my heart sunk to know this was officially the end, I arrived, not to see her struggling, but to see a woman falling into a deep, permanent, peaceful slumber.  They gave her a Morphine shot and was about to administer her another to slow her pulse, slow her breathing, and transition her exit from this life.

It was a hard decision to make, but I'm glad I did.  No regrets....only loving thoughts and memories of my great aunt who was like a grandmother to me in so many ways. 

Today I celebrate the life of my wonderful Aunty Sarah.