Death and Life


This week has been a mix of tears and smiles as our family both lost a loved one and gained a loved one all in the same week.

The day after Easter Sunday, my Aunty Irene and Uncle Terry left our house to return to Delaware.  Saying goodbye, of course, is never easy, but our family always creates reasons to get together.  In May they would most likely be coming back up to our house for Mother's Day, and in July, we would be coming to their house for our annual summer get together--complete with pool party and "camping" out in their motorhome. 

Unfortunately, life for our family would change forever when my Uncle Terry fell asleep in his lounge chair Monday night never to wake up... I received the call early Tuesday morning and cried and cried and cried.  I know he is in a better place and that he'll be watching over us, but I can't stop thinking about the huge loss it is for our little family. 

He was like a father figure to me after my own father died in 2007, and he was like a grandpa to my little boy who now has no male figure to emulate on my side.  There will be no more of him helping my son get back up on his bike, watching him play trains, bringing him to the Delaware rail yard, or the countless other memories that my son Lewie has of his "Uncle Terry."  Of course, my aunt, too, is devastated, and life will change for her the most.  She will most likely sell their house and motorhome and downsize...

My beloved aunt and uncle a year ago at my cousin's wedding.

My beloved Uncle Terry

In memory of my uncle, here are 100 words that capture his true spirit...

NASCAR, wine, motorhome, pool, coy pond, mowing, tractor, farm, Mason, police officer, Lieutenant, dispatcher, Constable, gardening, camping, Corvette, country, home improvement, friend, husband, son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, step-father, helper, work ethic, compassion, politics, uniform, solitude, opinion, current events, jokes, laughter, boat, fishing, dreamer, soft-hearted, teddy bear, tall, stately, health-conscious, coffee, steak, grill, family, community, church, God, contemplative, hope, love, commitment, horses, barrel racing, cowboy hat, History Channel, Westerns, police car, routine, even keeled, relaxed, Dover Downs, car rides, trains, tinker, adventurer, protect, eye-rolling, smirk, happy-go-lucky, twinkle, resourceful, woods, nature, benevolent, spirited, county fairs, courthouse, old school, loyalty, trust.

While he was visiting on Easter weekend, he made a few comments to me that are so telling of his sense of humor. 

After watching my aunt pick up the phone to talk to a family member (for the third time on the same evening), he rolled his eyes and said, "She's always on the damn phone.  Yeah, she talks to everybody on there except I can't get her to talk to me." (laughter)

On another day last weekend, my husband and I were running around the yard chasing kids at a birthday party.  My uncle sat out on the porch and said to one of the kids, "You're a spring chicken, and that old hen (meaning me) is giving you a run for your money."  (So bluntly said, but so true.  As usual, I couldn't help but laugh.)

*     *     *

Not even three days after my uncle's death, my sister-in-law, Missy, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Lily.  (She was 10lbs., 14 ounces!)  We went to see the baby on Thursday night and Lewie had many questions (questions that I was unprepared to answer).  "Where does the baby come out?"  "Why does she have that thing attached to her belly button?" etc. etc. I helped Missy put Lily into her "jammies" for the first time and reminisced about the days when Lewie was that small.  Where did the time go?

Lewie, Lily, and me

Our sweet, precious Lily

How can you resist little baby feet?

Lily, Aunty Missy, Me, and Lewie

Time is an interesting thing.  A wise friend once told me after giving birth to my son, "The days are long, but the years are short."  I understood the meaning, but I wasn't able to fully grasp its significance until I, myself, started watching the years slip by--1, 2, 3, 4, 5--and this year Lewie will be 6!  The paradox of life is that there are days when we wish our life away (if only these terrible two's would end), and then there are days where we wish we could "freeze" this moment in time for all eternity.  Like a river that flows, life is forever moving forward, and yet there are days that I wish I could jump out or swim upstream...  I don't want my Uncle Terry to be gone.  I don't want my son to turn six this year...and yet, I must move with the current.  We must all move with the current...

RIP Uncle Terry.  You will be sorely missed...
Until we meet again.

Welcome Lily!  We are so lucky to have you be part of our family.  May we be reminded everyday by your sweet smile, that life is not to be taken for granted...

Easter Treats


Our Easter weekend began on Good Friday when my son requested to meet the Easter Bunny at the Danbury Railway Museum (again).  He remembered it vividly from last year, even pointing out the Easter Car:  "Mommy that's where the Easter Bunny is..." he said excitedly in his five year-old, high pitched voice. 

He insisted he was going to ask the Easter Bunny for a train when he met him but then said nothing when he realized the Easter Bunny doesn't talk.  Instead he gave the Bunny a hug and a high five while I snapped a few pictures.  I was excited the pictures came out cute this year with Lewie's "authentic" smile.  (These days I usually get a fake ear to ear grin.)

Lewie on the Easter Train Ride.

Hubby and me.

Lewie and Grammy--my little boy requested that Mommy, Daddy, and Grammy come this year.

Lewie and the Easter Bunny

Priceless.  I love age five!

On Saturday, Lewie had a chance to spend most of the day with our Aunty Irene and Uncle Terry that came up from Delaware.  We made birds next cupcakes for Easter (Lewie enjoyed sampling the frosting), and then we went to cousin Crystal's birthday party who turned one year old. (She was born on tax day). 
This birds nest was made with chocolate dipped Chinese Chow Mein noodles.

Our Easter dessert.  Lewie loved putting on the eggs and the bird.

Little Crystal Rae on her special day!

So cute...posing with her first phone :)

My son with his "fake grin" again.

On Easter Sunday, Lewie woke up somewhat groggy, forgetting that the Easter Bunny had come to visit our house.  (Ironically, he had woke up on Friday and Saturday announcing "It's Easter.  It's Easter," but actually missed making the big announcement on the real day.)  Once I told him I thought the Bunny had come, he started frantically searching for his plastic eggs in the living room and then his Easter Basket.  He started the hunt with confidence:  "Mommy, I'm good at finding eggs."  However, it didn't take long before he solicited my help, especially for the Easter Basket. 

Lewie and his "train" Easter Basket.

Looking at his jigsaw puzzles.

I think I taught my child too well.  He told me that I could have his chocolate Easter Bunny.

Excited because the Easter Bunny did put a train in his basket!

After a few hours of Lewie playing with his new trains and starting his train puzzle, it was time for church.  Mass, as usual, was beautiful and profound, and it reminded me that Easter is truly a time to rejoice.  We spent the rest of the day feeling thankful for God's grace and spending time with our beloved family.  It was truly a beautiful weekend on all accounts.

Pictures after mass...

I'm glad I can still pick up my little boy.

Lewie's Easter outfit.  I LOVE his sweater.

I hope everyone enjoyed this special holiday!

The Winter that Never Ends


This year the weather has been interesting.  Thankfully, we've been spared from blizzards, hurricanes, super storms, and the like (for now), but the months of March and April have not exactly been easy.  Cold temperatures, snow, and ice storms have been frequent, and just when we think warmer weather is here to stay, we get this:

This weekend, we had temperatures in the high 60's and 70's.  For the first time this spring, my tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils finally managed to push their way through the rock hard ground and show their colorful pedals.  On Sunday, we decided to go hiking at an environmental conservation area called White Memorial Campground, and there, the forest seemed to be awakened too.  Squirrels were playfully running up and down trees, birds were diving over our heads, peepers were calling for mates, oh, and bullfrogs were grunting too.  I must admit that I never heard bullfrogs before during mating season, but my oh my,...if you're curious, this is what they sound like:

It was a fun weekend, but now we're back to the cold.  Our winter coats and hats had to come out once again. (Have I mentioned that this unpredictable weather has been making everyone sick in our house too?) Since the weather has mostly been cold, I scheduled our annual Easter Egg Hunt with friends at my house for the first week of May...  Boy, I'm sure glad I did!

On the way to school, April 16,2014

A fake smile from my five year old that's not too happy about our ice storm.

An Interview with My Five Year-Old


This week has been a struggle.  Both Lewie and I came down with a bad head cold on Sunday, which quickly turned over to the flu for the rest of the week.  Our clean, organized house that we spent much time fixing over the weekend quickly turned into a war zone of germs, used tissues, medicine bottles, pillows, clothes, and blankets thrown all about the house.  I look at it now (after one full week of being sick) and wonder when will I have enough energy to start the clean up again.

Today, after feeling a little better and finally being able to sit upright again, I decided to "interview" my five year old.  Truth be told, I write about my son all the time--what he likes, what he doesn't like, what surprises me.  But as he gets older, I realize that he has his own little voice, and whether I want to admit it or not, my Little Lewie can begin answering for himself.  So today, I grabbed a piece of paper and decided to write down my son's answers--word for word.

Here are Lewie's answers to my most pressing questions:

Me:  What's your favorite toy,  Lewie?

Lewie:  My favorite toy is what I'm making right now.

Me:  What are you making right now?

Lewie:  Well thanks for asking.  Right now I'm building a Lego world and train tracks.

Me:  What is your favorite season?

Lewie:  Spring and Winter...Summer...and Fall too.

Me:  What is your favorite color?

Lewie:  My favorite color is orange and pink.  Just orange and pink Mommy.

Me:  What is your favorite thing to do?

Lewie:  My favorite thing to do is to live with you guys.

Me:  What is your favorite food?

Lewie:  My favorite food is broccoli, oatmeal, a corn muffin, and toast.

Me:  What is your favorite dessert?

Lewie:  You're talking about a treat, right?  Okay so it's ice cream and more ice cream.

Me:  What kind of ice cream?

Lewie:  Chocolate and vanilla and strawberry.  I like all of them.

Me:  What is your favorite time of day?

Lewie:  I like the morning and the afternoon but not school in the afternoon.

Me:  What do you think kindergarten will be like?

Lewie:  Well I think kindergarten is going to be like fun. 

Me:  What do you think you'll learn in kindergarten?

Lewie:  Nothing.  (laughs).  I'm just kidding.

Me:  No really, what do you think you'll learn in kindergarten?  Do you think you'll learn how to read?

Lewie:  I already know how to read.

Me:  What is your favorite letter?

Lewie: L because it starts with my name that's why. 

Me:  What is your favorite number"

Lewie:  10.  I mean 100.

Me:  Who's your best friend?

Lewie:  Bryan   (He means Ryan.)

Me:  What's your favorite cartoon?

Lewie:  Thomas the Train

Me:  What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lewie:  A train conductor.

Finally, here is the answer to Daddy's most pressing question:

Daddy:  What is the median income for a family in the Naugatuck Valley Region?

Lewie:  Poopy

So here you have it folks...Here is the transcript of my son's very first formal interview.  I am proud to say that all of these replies have come directly from my son without any prompting or coaching from me. 

I must say that he seemed a little relieved once all the questions were over. After all, according to him "It's taking for a long time."   I wonder how he will feel about these answers in the next few years...