Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'll be there

When you're down and troubled
And you need some loving care

And nothing, nothing is going right

Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am

I'll come running to see you again

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I'll be there

You've got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds

And that old north wind begins to blow

Keep your head together

And call my name out loud

Soon you'll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am

I'll come running to see you

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I'll be there

~ Carole King

Yet, I often wonder... why can I no longer sense you? Distance and time have not altered something I still treasure... you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

True Colors

I'm not afraid of confrontation, although I don't go seeking it. I have never been timid to share my opinions or feelings. This may get me in trouble at times, but I believe that you should go through life showing your true colors, rather than being disingenuous.

On Sunday I was approached by a man who, around this small town, is known as a brash loud mouth. He is very involved in local sports and coaches hockey & baseball. Although he does a good job at this, many have been turned-off by his gruff demeanor. He can be overbearing and offensive.

He never addresses me by name, because I don't think he's taken the interest in knowing it. So he comes up to me and starts off by saying " I hear you've been running your trap about me at (the store) so if you have anything to say about me, say it to my face because my friend just about had you fired."

Ooooooh I'm scared, buddy. If I said anything about you it's that your coaching style makes those opposing you feel very small, very browbeaten and very sorry that we have to listen to you alienate the kids & coaches on the other team. There's a right way to motivate your team.

By the way, you must think it's okay for YOU to give ME attitude about your strike zone as an ump. How about the time you deliberately pulled up in your car to berate me when I was simply watching my son practice? Because you do this to my face with your bitter sarcasm, you feel you're justified because your cards are laid out on the table?

Think again. I will not be intimidated by you and will continue to call a spade a spade.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Step One: Staying Busy

As of Sunday, we started getting outside for some more fun & exploration. All of us went for a bike ride Sunday night, then on Monday I took the boys to Burlington to go for a hike. We also stopped by the beach where they frolicked in the water while I roamed the shoreline.

The summer plan is to ensure that we all stay active and off the couch. I put a daily agenda together for the boys, which includes reading after breakfast, then sending them outside to play while I get some chores done around the house. So far things have worked perfectly, but I'm probably going to go broke before too long. If we all benefit in the long run, it'll be worth it though.

Today I signed Birdie up at the gym for the Kids Summer Plyometrics & Weight Training Program. [Plyometrics is a type of strength training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the overall performance in a specific sport.] His doctor recommended that he drop about 20 pounds, especially if he wants to play football, so this was the inspiration. He'll also get better results for the other sports he plays, like baseball, soccer & skiing.

I tried to encourage him to do a summer weight loss challenge with me, but we couldn't agree on a tangible reward system. So I had to go in a different direction. He's excited about going to the gym and has agreed to make a commitment of 4 days/week in the program. I hoped to join alongside of him, but their free daycare isn't available during that time slot. So Nut & I will probably ride the bike path while Birdie does his thing.

Meanwhile, Friday we're going to sign up for the Summer Bowling Program, which the boys love. Plus it's cheap. Next week I've got more hiking & biking trips planned at Smuggs and around town.

So many adventures out there waiting for us to uncover... I just hope the weather cooperates!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Tiny Spark of Inspiration

Sometime I look out and see nothing but the fog. Gray, dense & overwhelming. Other times there's a burst of color that explodes in my mind when I'm inspired. Like any good swift kick, all it takes to start the ball rolling is an "ah ha" moment.

As I said in my last post, I've been tinkering on Facebook. I've found some old friends from way back and it feels fabulous to rekindle these connections. There are many others who I have yet to find, but I'm sure that when the time is right, we'll come together.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some thinking lately about where I want to go, and how I want to lead my life. Now that I've got a 6th grader (a.k.a. "tween") in the house, I really have to buckle down and start dredging up some super-positive habits. I need to start changing things about me, or at least modifying things.

Hmmm... where do I start?

My self is the first thing on my makeover list. Got to start dusting off the fitness DVDs and sprucing up my eating habits. Now that it's summer (although you'd never guess it's summer if you live in VT where the sunshine has been nearly non-existent) I'm going to start enjoying the great outdoors with the boys; hiking, biking, swimming, walking, rollerblading, and exploring the sights. I'm even thinking about doing plyometrics at the gym with Birdie and taking a Zumba class.

My job is the next thing that I need to change. I really need to find something new, maybe inside a school or hospital so I can really make a difference. Meanwhile, I have to garner more knowledge in order to expand my horizons. I want to talk to an advisor at the community college and get a direction, although I'm leaning a bit toward health care.

Baby steps to a brighter future.

I'll need an angel to guide me and a drill sergeant to keep me in check. Any volunteers?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summertime = vacationtime

Lately life has been flying by, mostly because we are all so devoted to baseball. Both of the boys played Little League and Hubby coached both teams. I sat on the bleachers, often between two different fields watching two different games. Then when they weren't both playing at Rotary Field, one of us was racing to another town for a game.

This year Birdie played 17 game while Nut played 14 (2 rainouts). Ironically of those 14 games, there were 10 conflicts with Birdie. A very hectic season indeed. But it hasn't ended yet, Birdie made the All Star team and has been practicing nearly every day. So that's why I haven't taken the time to be here...

I do love to write, but as I said in a recent post, the boys have been harassing me about how much time I spend online. You might think that I have earned my time away from the motherly grind, but I'm tired of listening to them kvetch. Maybe what they're really saying is "Mom we need you"...

I've had my nose in a few books between working and dabbling a bit on Facebook so that's why I haven't been journaling much here. Plus things at work have been very stressful. I'm thinking of taking some classes in the Fall; maybe taking some accounting or medical courses to further my employment horizons.

Meanwhile, I'm taking the time this summer to spend some quality time with the boys and take some much needed time off. TTFN

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Little League

Determination, strong work ethics, perseverance... just 3 of several standards of Little League.

Then there's the other side of the coin.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

3 Beautiful Things

My gratitude journal for May 18 - 24, 2009:

1. enjoying a gorgeous long weekend with lots of time off
2. seeing the magnificent oriole (plus hearing him sing)

3. finding a beautiful spot by the falls to read while my men fished

Life is good when you can get outside and enjoy the beauty of this fine planet.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Music Play

Every now & then I think about it. The hair on the back of my neck feels prickly and the goose bumps on my arms swell. I shiver, mostly in fear, thinking about the inevitable I will face someday. Yet at the same time I think about how liberating it will be when I get there. I mean, when I, myself, go.

I just want to go first, not after them. Like my sister.

For many parents, it's our greatest fear; outliving our children. And for me it became a reality I witnessed with ironic torment. I had just barely given birth to my first child when my sister's first child was taken.

To this day, I am still rattled by the cruelty of this vicious cycle.
There are days that the reality floods over me like a tidal wave, knocking me down, sucking out my breath, choking me as I swallow the filthy water of his death.

I miss him and wonder, especially as I spend time with his siblings, what he'd be doing with his life today had the chord not been cut.

Like a
crescendo, his music stopped. The song remains the same, but the melody is different ~ more melancholy.

Our world changed forever. And no matter how many years pass, our ears will always ring with the sound of his silence.

Now, as I lay quietly next to them in their restful slumber, listening to the rhythm of their gently breathing, I pray that my sons will be bound for a long, productive journey, with me & Hubby watching in the wings, until the day our music stops.

grave Pictures, Images and Photos
Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 17, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 59/365

My gratitude journal for May 10-16, 2009:

1. baseball victories for both Nut & Birdie
2. the many fruit trees in bloom throughout the yard
3. quality time with family, especially Jason

Life is good when you've got so much to be grateful for...

Graduation Day

Yesterday was little Lex's graduation day. From college.

I swear it was just yesterday that my sister told me she was pregnant with her baby girl. Then again wasn't it just recently when we all sat in the audience to watch her baby's dance recital? And was it really 4 years ago that our baby girl put on her cap & gown for her high school graduation?

Now our baby girl is finished with school and ready to face the real world with her degree in business management.

Lexie Lu, the spitting image of her mother, has captivated us all. So it's not surprising that so many of us were there to celebrate her commencement.

I was glad that the rain came down with such vengeance, thereby postponing Birdie's game, so we could get an earlier start on the 2 hour ride to the party. We had all come from many miles away to be there for Lex; my mother from Florida, my father from Pennsylvania, my nephew from Oregon, my "twin" & me from northern VT. The only ones missing were our 3 brothers, who all live too far to join us.

What a wonderful day we had, being together and catching up with one another. None of us had seen Jason since 2005, so it was a wonderful surprise to have him there. In fact, my boys hardly remembered him. They were 6 & 4 back then.

It struck me funny to see my boys with their maternal cousins, who all except one are young adults ranging from 21 - 27 years old. Funny because all of us sisters had our children so far apart, despite only being 4 years apart ourselves. My oldest sister had her first child in 1977 and I had my first child 21 years later.

Yet the bonds of family are not tainted with distance or time. The boys love their aunts & cousins despite the lack of an everyday connection with them. I especially enjoyed Graduation Day. There truly is nothing better than spending time with the people you love.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Everyday Battles

Last night I watched Farrah's Story on NBC and went to bed very melancholy. It really opened my eyes to how much I take my health for granted. And the health of my family as well.

Cancer is so evil, so sly, so potent.

I was humbled by how well Farrah is dealing with all of this, while witnessing the downward spiral of her son, Redmond, whom she adores. Her spirit is strong despite her weakening body. She remains positive & optimistic, hopeful that her tenacity will outlast her cancer.

I was also struck by how much medication Farrah has to take to fight this vicious disease. The fact that she has travelled to Germany several times for highly specialized treatment not performed in the US was also very enlightening.

There are days that I walk through my life in a haze, commiserating about the small stuff that worries me. Now, after watching Farrah's battle with Cancer, I have a new found respect for the life God has given me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Still proudly wearing the Black & Gold

Last night was a real bummer. I was so hoping that the Boston Bruins would pull off a win, after being down in the series 3-1 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. But with 1:14 left in overtime, the Hurricanes' resident goon scored a tip-in goal for the victory. Uuuuuuuugh!

I had a hard time falling asleep, partly because I was disappointed, partly because I knew the boys would be bummed when they watched the highlights on NESN, and partly because my asinine BIL had to call (at 11:25pm) to rub my face in it. (I had the last laugh though, since the Bruins played 7 more games and finished with a respectable record compared to his beloved Canadiens. Haaa!)

Although I've never played competitive sports, I've become very passionate when routing for my teams, especially when the boys are part of them. Yet ever since I met several of the Bruins' players at training camp, I have fallen in love with hockey. I still cannot always follow the puck as it whizzes across the ice, but I can sense when something is abreast or afoul. And last night I knew that puck was going in.

Alas, in all sports, there is always one winner & one loser. Life hasn't been irevocably changed. I have learned that it's not worth losing sleep over... It's just a game!

The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling,
but in rising again after you fall.
~~Vince Lombardi

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Metamorphosis of Our Gang

My parents were busy bees in way back in the late 50's & 60's because they were chasing around 6 children. As I've said before, I was the youngest of the brood; 3 boys & 3 girls. We were all about a year apart, born between November 1956 & December 1962.

I cannot imagine what it was like for my mother to have all of those cloth diapers to change and wash. I say my mother because I'm pretty sure that my dad didn't help too much with the children, other than discipline & a little playtime. I will give him credit for being a good provider, though, because I do not recall ever wanting for much.

Anyways, as I was growing up I remember feeling like I could lean on my oldest sister for anything. She was always so mature... so ready willing & able to face anything head on. I came to rely on her instead of my mother in some ways, probably because Mom seemed so harried with managing the mounds of laundry, the endless chores & everything else mothers do.

The fun I had was with my youngest brother, who was a couple years older than me. We were usually sent outside to fend for ourselves for the day so we'd head to the backwoods for some wild adventures. I was afraid to go far from the house, but when we were together he somehow managed to venture off in the deep, always finding something new to explore around every bend, with me trailing just a feet feet behind.

Many of the memories of my childhood stem from being with my "twin", though. My sister, Lauren, was only 15 months older than me yet, for the longest time, Mom dressed us alike. We'd wear the same sundresses, the same sandals, the same everything... just different colors. She was a beautiful little chocolate haired cherub of a girl with bright blue eyes and I was the towheaded pixie.

We were always close and today we only live about 30 minutes from each other. Nevertheless we have busy lives that rarely bring us together. My other sister & I don't talk much, and our relationship grew cool over the years. My brothers all live in different states and none keeps in touch.

I admit that I hate the holidays. I see families all around me giddy with the excitement of being together, reminiscing about the good times and the antics of growing up with a big family. This, unfortunately, is something I've never experienced. So when I hear my boys bickering and wishing they were an only child, my heart aches.

As another Mother's Day passes, I realize how sapless most holidays are in our house. So it is my hope that, going forward, we invest more time to celebrate, not just the occasion, but the love & camaraderie of a real family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The best job I've ever had

I originally posted this on MySpace, so now I'll repeat it here.

Free Orkut and My Space Mothers Day Graphics Glitters

You will find as you look back upon your life,
that the moments when you have really lived,
are the moments when you have done things
in the spirit of love.
~ Henry Drummond

I firmly believe down deep in my heart that the first time I ever felt the true meaning of unconditional love was the moment I gave birth to my first baby.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I wondered how I could EVER love this next child as much as the first. I cried many tears before my little guy came into my world because I didn't want the magic that I had with baby number one to end or become clouded.

But the love for each child is very unique; there are no favorites, just differences in how the love is connected and expressed.

More than a decade later, that love has deepened and intensified by the day. There are times that I don't like my children's behavior, but the love and respect I have for them will never diminish. It's etched deep in my soul.

What I know for sure is that I would give my life to spare my child any pain or grief. Being a mother is the most rewarding, and heart wrenching, relationship I have ever experienced. And the best job I've ever had!

The only thing I imagine that will exceed my love for my sons is the love I will have for my grandchildren. I am so looking forward to the day when my children experience their own unconditional love as a parent.

I hope that I'll live long enough to love my great-grandchildren, too! Meanwhile... I thank God for giving me the privilege of motherhood.

And to those who don't yet have children, I never believed the testimony of mothers who were smitten by their kids, but believe me now when I say… the best is yet to come.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 58/365

My gratitude journal for May 3 - May 9, 2009:

1. only needing to get up extra early once this week
2. finding the book I thought I lost
3. finishing the book before my 1st club mtg

Life is good when you don't feel stressed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It wasn't meant to be a trick question

I've always believed that if you want answers, you have to ask direct questions. So I did. And she didn't respond.

I'm frustrated by the imbalance between being a full-time mother and being a part-time peon. They've known for eight years that I will never compromise my family's needs and it was never an issue.

But, all of a sudden, something has changed. Of course, it's the corporate office's fault. Corporate Office = highly-paid-know-it-all-bean-counting-fat-cat-hot-shots.

If I didn't need to work, I'd tell them where they can shove their "corporate" excuses then never look back. But, in this dismal economy, with everyone around me losing their jobs left & right, I know I need to suck it up for now, work the crappy shifts I get, & pretend it doesn't bother me.

What effing annoys me about the whole thing is that we had a similar conversation less than 8 weeks ago. Everything was hunky dory then. We were on the same page. She understood what & why my priorities are because "when [her] kids were young, [she] made motherhood a top priority, too."

Fast forward to the last 3 weeks, when the schedules were posted and the prime shifts (that used to have my name on them) were given to the new cashiers, one that has been there only 2 weeks!

Did I mention I've been there 8 years? Evidently, seniority counts for absolutely nothing. I suppose Corporate wrote that bullcrap policy, too.

So I've got a new strategy. As of tomorrow, I will only be able to work my required 20 hours over three days thereby satisfying the policy regarding my benefit classification. Period. No more. No less.

And if that doesn't work, maybe I need to have a little conversation with the District Manager the next time we meet at the ballpark and get HER take on this.

Meanwhile I'll remind myself of this philosophy :
Determination gives you the resolve to keep going
in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.
~Denis Waitley

Monday, May 4, 2009

3BT Things 57/365

My gratitude journal for time period 4/26 - 5/2/2009:

1. nice weather for Little League opening day
2. recognition for both boys re: their hard work on the fundraiser

3. one fantastic victory and one close game with signs of promise

Life is good when everyone leaves the ballpark happy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Out there

There's always someone out there ready to knock you off balance... like the people you consider friendly acquaintances who obviously turn up their nose as you walk by or turn their head to avoid eye contact.

The other day I was chatting with a couple of friends about how awkward it can be to stroll through life, especially in a small town with all of it's ugly politics. You can find yourself befuddled by the measurement of your designated status.

Who dictates this kind of hierarchy? And what makes these people think that others don't notice their pretension?

Like the mom who drove her 2nd grader to school in their Porsche... or the 4th grader who went around school threatening to peg baseballs at his younger rivals... or the crowd who goes suddenly silent as you enter the room.

All I want to do is go to work to earn a few bucks, go to the game to watch my boys play and go about my day to somehow make a small difference.

I do not live my life proclaiming my value based on the car I drive, the clothes I wear, the money I make, or the people in my social circle.

And those who think otherwise have not taken the time to truly get to know me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's not a secret... it's just mine! For now.

Lately the kids have been riding me about how much time I spend on the computer. What annoys me about it is that they say it in front of Hubby, which makes it sound like I'm ignoring my duties as Domestic Goddess.

I'm no Cinderella or Suzie Homemaker for that matter, but my house is not a pigsty. On the other hand it's not immaculate either. Nobody will ever mistake me for the Queen of Clean. So I ask you... IF

they get to school on time, with everything they need
then I get to work on time, most days with everything I need
they get to every practice & game on time, with everything
they go on vacation, Bruins games, the movies, date night, etc.

Before or After

I've worked a 5-7 hours shift, standing for nearly 80% of it
I've sat in the rain or freezing cold to watch every game/practice
the laundry is done
the meals are prepared
the fridge & pantry are stocked
the floor is swept
the rugs are vacuumed
the bathrooms are scrubbed
the homework is done
the daily grind is over
and everyone go to bed in a comfortable, happy home

then why the eff are they griping?

I think of myself as someone who loves to connect with others who share my life, someone who would give the shirt off her back to those in need, someone who enjoys being creative,
someone who is making a difference, and someone who deserves "me time".

That's why I spend so much time here. Writing, for me, is intensely therapeutic, extremely liberating, and very enjoyable. I hope my sons will find this same joy and passion for writing as I do.

One of the reasons I created this blog, as well as my gratitude journal, is because it helps me appreciate the reason I've been given this life. It keeps me grounded by reminding me just how good I've got it.

I cannot wait until the boys are able to savor the words I have written here for them. I hope that they, too, will leave a similar legacy to their children someday.

So, boys, until I'm ready to share this sacred place with you & Daddy, I'll keep it a secret. This is my retreat and I'll spend as much time here as I need.

Consider it a Mother's Day present... to myself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Rules of Summer

Alright Ladies, it's that time again! I think we all need to be reminded of a few things. So my sisters, raise your big toe and repeat these words below:

The Open Toed Shoe Pledge

As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow these rules when wearing sandals & open-toed shoes:

I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over
and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.

I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.

I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.

I will wax the hairs off my toes and the tops of my feet.

I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker,
mother, or sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.

If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into
place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.

I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr.
Scholl if my feet need him.

I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me
as I fall and break my ankle.

I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell
and begin to look like Vienna sausages.

I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she
asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good.

I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they
actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.

Now, quick... pass it on!

3 Beautiful Things 56/365

My gratitude journal for Tuesday April 28, 2009:

1. success at the scrimmage
2. Birdie's 3 straight outs on the mound
3. great teamwork

Life is good when everyone plays well.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Are you there God? It's me, Lisa. Chapter 2

Hi there,
If you can hear me, I need your help again. I can feel the pot starting to simmer and I don't want any of us to get burned. So I hope you'll help guide us away from the ugly vibe I can sense. In other words, make sure that we don't let ourselves boil over the edge.

Sometimes we can all take it too seriously and get caught up in the excitement, forgetting the what matters most. I know we're not the only ones, but it can be so frustrating and all of us end up feeling miserable.

We remember our own parents telling us that life isn't always fun or fair. Now, today, we find ourselves delivering this same "reality check" speech. Yet somehow our message fails to ease the disappointment and can actually fan the flames of self-pity.

Dreams, especially those of children, can often outweigh the scale of reality. But without the dream, many of us would never venture outside our comfort zone. Failure, even by the smallest of margins, must not diminish the glory of the effort.

The lesson we want the boys to learn is that most of us fail before we succeed, and all of us have felt disappointment along the way. Yet it is how one faces defeat that is the true measure of character.

So please, God, whisper in our ear (or shout if we don't hear you the first couple times) how to effectively teach our sons the value of grace & dignity, and how we can soothe the inevitable wounds of despair.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 55/365

My Gratitude Journal for Saturday April 25, 2009:

1. spending time with my "twin" sister *
2. making friends with Harley **
3. sharing leftovers with Gingie Girl ***

Life is good when we spend time with Auntie & her furry family.

* this sister is only 17 months older than me
** my nephew's 1 year old pit bull
*** "twin's" 12 year old golden retriever

Friday, April 24, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 54/365

My gratitude journal for Friday April 24, 2009:

1. today's weather: high 70's & sunny... unbelievable
2. wearing sandals in April... without socks
3. reading outside in the adirondack chair

Life is good when it's near 80 here in April, instead of 30.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 53/365

My gratitude journal for Thursday April 23, 2009:

1. sleeping in
2. power naps
3. going to bed early

Life is good when you have time to rest & refresh.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 52/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Wednesday April 22, 2009:

1. my favorite motherhood moment of the week: watching the boys make strides to achieve success at the goals they set for themselves

2. my favorite day in April: Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's (Although we didn't go this year, we had 2 last year!
Come on, you would have, too...)
3. my new favorite words: "BRUINS WIN!"
Do I sound like a broken record? Well, bear with me because I think I'm going to say it alot in the upcoming weeks!

Life is good when you make favorites.

Good Old Fashioned Joy

A while back, I was honored by two of my fellow bloggers with the distinguished "Lemonade Award". This award is presented to people who are thought to demonstrate great Attitude &/or Gratitude.

Thank you Shabby Girl & Tricia for sharing this honor with me. I have always savored the tangy mix of lemons & sugar in a refreshing glass of lemonade, but have never really thought of myself as having an uplifting spirit.

As I wrote in yesterday's post, I used to have a much more pessimistic view of life. But since becoming a mother, I have tried to wear my rose colored glasses along the way. Writing a daily "gratitude journal" to remind me about all of the little things I am thankful for has totally changed my perspective about the life I've been given.

So remember to share your gratitude throughout your journey. And when life hands you lemons, add water, then blend the bitterness of the world with a spoonful of sugar from your happy heart. Sip, smile & share!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When the tide turned

Yesterday, as I was sitting at the cafe table inside the Mobil store sipping coffee, the boys stood at the door collecting donations for Little League. At the next table, two men commented about how well the kids were handling themselves. I told them how much my sons really enjoy "tag" week, where the players are sent out in the community to solicit donations for the program, and that it's the boys' way of saying "Thank You" to all of the coaches & volunteers.

We also talked about how much I value the programs our town offers the children in our area, which in turns gives kids something to do other than stir up trouble or experiment with the rampant drug activity here. That's when one man began to blame the trouble & drugs on the recent rise of "the black" population, saying that our area never had problems this bad until "those blacks got here".

I tried to sway the conversation away from this negativity by turning the conversation back to how my boys love sports. No matter what he said, I tried to put a positive spin on things. Eventually he back down and said "You must be an eternal optimist."

This is when it hit me that since I became a mother, my life is different and so is my outlook. I told him "Actually, until recently, I always saw my glass as half empty. And it wasn't until I had children that I learned that my attitude would affect they way they saw the world. So I decided that I needed to adjust my way of thinking, and put more emphasis on the positive aspect of a situation. I don't always succeed, but most times I stress the importance of making a constructive difference in the world."

Although I'm not a perpetual Pollyanna who wears rose-colored glasses, I do try hard to make the boys understand that they have a choice to be happy, to find ways to make a bad situation better, and to turn their misfortune into a learning experience.

I love sharing stories with Birdie, ones that pull at my heart strings because these stories somehow seem to strengthen our bond. Just recently I told him about the days I watched the Columbine & 9/11 horrors unfold, and how each tragedy affected my life.

As he listened, I could see the change in his eyes as he tried to comprehend the details. Later that evening, the news ran some footage from Columbine so we watched it together. He was stunned to see what happened inside that school and the terror that ensued.

Maybe this story was too intense for a ten year old, but it is my hope that it raised his level of compassion. I also hope that he learned that he must find a reason to move forward even when the road appears to end.

3 Beautiful Things 51/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Tuesday April 21, 2009:

1. I never get tired of saying "Bruins win!"...
2. I never get tired of helping my children succeed
3. I never get tired of being the mother bear

Life is good with the endurance to keep going strong.

Monday, April 20, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 50/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Monday April 20, 2009:

1. the sound of Moxie's silly cooing & itty bitty cry
2. the sound of the boys playing well together
3. the sound of my husband's car coming up the road

Life is good when you like what you hear.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

3 Beautiful Things

Here is my gratitude journal for Sunday April 19, 2009:

the weather is getting warmer & the sun feels hotter
2. the cremee stand is finally open... woo hoo

3. found the book for my new book club

Life is good with warm sunshine, cold ice cream, & a good book.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Bucket List: 21-30

Here is my third installment of The 101 Extraordinary Things I've Always Wanted To Do (Before I Die).

This list is merely my reminder of what I want to accomplish over the next 50 years, if I am blessed to live that long.

I'd be ecstatic to fulfill even just 20% of this entire list, because one just never knows what the future holds. But I'm gonna die trying. Wish me luck!

21. visit Sequoia National Park to see the magnificent Redwoods

22. fly in a glider over the Autumn foliage in Vermont

23. go windsurfing in Aruba
24. ski at some of the best resorts in Colorado
25. see a live performance by Cirque de Soliel
26. adopt a baby girl (once the boys are in high school)
27. write a children's book
28. take an art class & expand my creative horizons
29. have lunch with my mom, sisters & John Edwards (the medium)
30. learn how to golf with Hubby

3 Beautiful Things 48/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Saturday April 18, 2009:

1. meeting old friends & making new ones on FaceBook
2. fun in the dugout at Nut's scrimmage against all the dads
3. my friendship with Carrie, who I miss desperately because I haven't been to a fun party since she left... Bunco anyone?

Life is good when you enjoy a few laughs with friends & neighbors.


Friday, April 17, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 47/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Friday April 17, 2009:

1. The boys completed their "Honey Do" lists without grumbling
2. The boys cooperated with my plans to green-up the T-Ball field
3. The boys didn't whine when I got them a smaller size treat

Life is good when the boys are easy to please.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 46/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Thursday April 16, 2009:

1. Kessel scores! woooo
2. Kessel's 2nd goal, a pretty empty-netter! woooo

3. Bruins win 4-2!

Life is good when you find the Achilles heal of your long-time nemesis.

A Life Letter to My Sons

Thursday April 16, 2009

My dear sweet boys,

Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for giving me the privilege of being your mom. If I could stop the hands of time so I could keep you young, I would. In fact, I'd turn the clock back to the days that you were both babies, so I could relive every single day from Thursday October 28, 1998 until Monday September 10, 2001. Then keep rewinding over & over.

But I know that's impossible so I will try my best to guide you through this sometimes charming, sometimes catastrophic ride called Life.

I pray with every beat of heart that I will live long enough to hold my great-grandchildren in my arms as I sing them lullabies. However if for some reason I cannot be there, I want you to honor
these keys to life:

always respect your fellow man, regardless of your differences
always be polite & courteous
reach out to those less fortunate than you
pay it forward

treat people the way you would want them to treat you

extend tokens of appreciation & affection
don't be afraid to express your true feelings

be honest, loyal & dependable
question authority without confrontation
your actions speak louder than words

Also please always remember that...

work is always secondary to family
having a passion for something is one of life's treasures
a higher education will enhance your future
you can only make a first impression once
punctuality shows respect
when you commit to something, follow it through to the very end

a tattoo is permanent
no President has ever had their ears or tongue pierced
drugs destroy brain cells
smoking is a filthy, cancerous habit
someone is always watching you
you must be willing to pay the consequences for your actions

it's okay to admit when you are wrong
an apology is more effective with sincerity
humility is more honorable than pride
words are very powerful weapons

the words "I love you" are not just a phrase; it's a feeling
a pet is a lifetime commitment
it's vital to give back to your community
laughter is the best medicine
it's okay to cry

a gentleman always holds or opens a door for others
women enjoy sincere compliments, not catcalls
sex and making love are two different things
you must ask your future in-laws for their blessing
it is noble to get down on one knee when proposing

romance is one of the keys to undying love
endearment is a valuable part of any relationship
communication will simplify your life
fidelity, trust & devotion strengthen your bond
it's never too late to start over

no matter where you go, I will be with you in spirit
you have made me very proud
he world needs positive role models, so be one
your home should always foster love & support

Although the path to your future may have been unclear, my goals for you were always decisive. I believe that I was put here to leave you with a legacy of love, hope and honor.

I have always loved you more than mere words could express. And if I should ever be asked what good I have done for mankind, I would confidently say that I was a good mother.

Hugs and Kisses,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Always Remember ~ My 100th post

Today was a beautiful day.

I had the day off
so I did a little shopping
got myself a new bra and a pair of black jeans
went to the library
had a nice chat with an old friend
made new friends on FaceBook
baked cupcakes with Birdie for Mr. Flanagan's b'day

I've been thinking about what I wanted to post today
so I wandered around Blogger for inspiration.
I found it!
And it reminded me to always remember, so

I will always remember...

the black and white photos of my childhood,
especially the ones of my siblings lined up on the couch,
my brother holding the newborn baby (me),
all of them smiling so happily!
how freaking cute all of them were back then

the picture of them lined up in front of the tree
how few pictures there are of me growing up
the ones I remember most were taken at Nonie's house

Nonie's parlor with the blue-green furniture
DelVeneri's Bakery
the crusty bread baked in a wood-fired oven

the rare occasions we ate dinner at Nonie's *yum*
the lillie's of the valley & peonies on Meadow Street
the huge wedding picture of my parents

camping at Lake Dunmore with Dad's parents
my brother yelling "Irma!", which got him in trouble
the sweet smell of Grandpa's cigars
Uncle Johnny teaching how to bounce quarters on our beds
exploring upstairs at Aunt Tracy's house

peeing my pants in Sister Justin's 1st grade class
never wearing a seat belt as a kid
bouncing from seat to seat in the station wagon
the attic adventures in the old house on Spellman Terrace
stowing away in the bed of the pick-up while Dad drove to work
going to the 50 cent matinees every Saturday

sharing banana splits with my friend Lisa at Woolworth's

my first french kiss ~ too much tongue *yuck*
my first real boyfriend, Lenny
dumping him for the gorgeous guy who took my virginity
having my heart broken for the 1st time by that gg
senior year religion class with Father LaValley
the huge picture of me that hung in the window of Bartlett's Studio

the first time I got drunk
the first time I smoked weed
the first & only time I tried "coke"
my 1st apartment
bar hopping
moving away from the town I grew up in to escape a bad relationship

being in the best shape of my life
dating several guys at once to regain my confidence
the trip to Long Island with Janice & Dottie
getting set-up on a blind date with Hubby
my first concert with Hubby ~ Stevie Ray Vaughn & Joe Cocker
Hubby's wedding proposal 7 years later

our first home in Hinesburg
our wedding on the beach of St. Lucia
our honeymoon cruise through the Grenadine Islands
the birth of our 1st baby ~ a beautiful son
Birdie being rushed to the NICU 2 days after birth
the day Hubby told me I lost my nephew
telling Hubby that Birdie was going to be a big brother
the car accident on the morning I went into labor with Nut

Birdie's rendition of Santa Claus, sung to the BratPea
Nut's uncanny ability to always make me laugh
Hubby's unwavering devotion to his sons
how lucky I am for being the Queen among these Princes!

3 Beautiful Things 45/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Wednesday April 15, 2009:

1. getting the boys to two separate practices on time
2. seeing their passion for baseball shine through
3. watching the coaches and kids build a team

Life is good when you witness your kids' athletic feats.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 44/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Tuesday April 14, 2009:

1. The Bruins have the best goaltender in the NHL, who played for the UVM Catamounts when they went to the Frozen Four tourney in '96: Tim Thomas #30

2. Phil Kessel, Bruins #81, was so sweet to my boys when we met face to face last September (a very humble, modest young man, who is also a cancer survivor)

3. The Bruins tallied 116 points this season and will face Hubby's beloved Canadiens in the playoffs. The tension is mounting in this little house...

Life is good when your team has a tremendous season. GO BRUINS!

Monday, April 13, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 43/365

Here's my gratitude journal for Monday April 13, 2009:

1. getting a colossal kick in the pants from the bathroom scale this morning (and if my butt wasn't so big, it'd still hurt now...)

2. the fresh pico de gallo I get at market is good for you and tastes fabulous, too

3. I've consumed less than 1 ounce of chocolate in the last 4 days despite the 6.75 pounds of it visible and hidden throughout the house (However, that doesn't count the brownie Birdie forced me to inhale last night.)

Life is good when you get a wake-up call before it's too late.
Can you say "oink"?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 42/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Sunday April 12, 2009:

1. finding my old friend Lisa on Facebook

2. motivating Birdie to beef up his project without a battle

3. learning that Mom is coming for a visit in May

Life is good when you you have Sunday off... my first this year!

Oh, it's Easter? Well, it was just another day around here... Hope yours was fabulous!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 41/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Saturday April 11, 2009:

1. being born with all ten toes
2. being born with all ten fingers
3. being alive and well

Life is good when you consider the alternative.

Friday, April 10, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 40/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Friday April 10, 2009:

1. lunch dates with friends
2. date night with Nut (pizza, a movie & slap jack)
3. Easter Sunday off... two years in a row!

Life is good with some relaxing down time.

My Bucket List: 11-20

Here is my second installment of The 101 Extraordinary Things I've Always Wanted To Do (Before I Die).

There is no set priority so this list is merely my reminder of what I want to accomplish over the next 50 years. And yes, that means I'll still be at it when I'm a nonagenarian!

I think of myself as a pretty simple, down-to-earth person but I have an appetite for some high-priced adventure.

Who knows if I will ever be able to afford to do all 101 things, but I'm gonna die trying. So wish me luck.

11. para-sail over some exotic ocean resort
12. hydrazorb* down a mountain in New Zealand
13. see Old Faithful blow in Yellowstone Ntl Park
14. go on safari in Africa
15. becoming a therapy dog handler
16. bottle fed a litter of baby tiger cubs
17. snorkel throughout the Caribbean
18. build a house with Habitat for Humanity
19. get an eyebrow transplant

20. go to a Stanley Cup game, hopefully watching the Bruins

* for those of you who are not familiar with zorbing, I first saw it done on the reality show The Amazing Race Season 5. And after searching the web, I discovered that they now have zorbing in the United States (Tennesee of all places...)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 39/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Thursday April 9, 2009:

1. building great relationships every year with each of my sons' teachers
2. spending lots of quality time with the boys when they're at school
3. meeting the most clever, the most dynamic, the most imaginative teacher in the world: Shira Seigel, who was Nut's pre-school teacher

Life is good once you're old enough to enjoy going to school.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 38/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Wednesday April 8, 2009:

1. a quiet dinner with just the kids
2. a little fun with Birdie as we rehearsed his lines
3. the spontaneous bear hug from Nut

Life is good when the kids are happy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grace in Small Things: The View

There are things in this world to which someone is drawn, mesmerized, enchanted, encouraged or transfixed. This is my tribute to a few of those things.

1. relaxing in the hammock on a sunny afternoon, book in hand, a gentle breeze aiding the swing, hearing the sound of the wind rustle the leaves above as the orioles call to each lovingly

2. watching the kittens playfully tease each other, pouncing, ambushing, and chasing, weaving in & out of every nook and hiding spot until exhaustion beckons them to a quiet retreat and a much needed cat nap

3. sitting on the cold bleachers, muscles tense, pulse racing as one boy steps on the mound and the other readies himself behind the mask to catch a sly curve ball, robbing the batter of his chance to shine

3 Beautiful Things 37/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Tuesday April 7, 2009:

1. fresh pineapple

2. crusty garlic bread

3. homemade lasagna

Life is good with a belly full of delicious food

Monday, April 6, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 36/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Monday April 6, 2009:

1. great conversation ... sometimes about nothing much
2. great neighbors ... not just mine*

3. great doctors ... I'm doin' my damnedest to raise two

Life is good when you can lean on someone.

* my BFF Dee has moved at least eight times in the last 25 years and everywhere she goes she has the uncanny ability to move right next door to some of the greatest people on earth.

Knock Knock

Anyone who has a cat knows that if you don't hear them knocking, you could be in for some serious trouble...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 35/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Sunday April 5, 2009:

1. having Chinese take-out for dinner instead of cooking
2. that our sweet little stray trusts me enough to lay in my lap
3. medicine that will clear up Nut's lungs

Life is good when you don't have to cook on the weekends.

Grace in Small Things : Genesis

My newest literary project: Grace in Small Things: A daily reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook.©
My list may be as long as 3 things or short as 1, depending on my mood...

Why? Grace in Small Things exists because I am choosing to wage the battle against embitterment and to recognize the grace that exists in small things.©
When? Grace in Small Things is a challenge for every day, because there's no time like the present, tomorrow never comes, and some other cliche about seizing the day. Oh, right: carpe diem.©
Who? Grace in Small Things was created by Schmutzie; Grace In Small Things: A Challenge For All Of Us. © Copyright Schmutzie 2008

Every day there is something that makes waking up in the morning so awesome, like

... the sound of a cat's purr
... the sound of the rain that lulls me back to sleep
... the sound of laughter, especially that of a child

Saturday, April 4, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 34/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Saturday April 4, 2009:

1. sleeping in until 8:20
2. The Boston Bruins clinching the top spot in the NHL Eastern Conference
3. the new doctor who treated Nut for another nasty lung ailment

Life is good on the weekend, especially when there's no schedule to follow...

Uh-oh, now I'm it...

The Girl Who Wears My Shoes has tagged me! If you want to read something written with passion, you cannot miss her blog. You would be cheating yourself if you didn't spend at least an hour reading the history of Tricia's story.

According to the meme I'm supposed to tell you six random things about myself. If there was ever someone who lead(s) a boring life, it must be me because I've racked my brain for hours trying to jot down interesting "facts" and this is all I came up with:

  1. I am the youngest of 6 children born to parents who divorced when I was an adult, a mere 15 years too late.
  2. I was the only blond child in the family, thus I was teased constantly. The tease I remember most was that my siblings convinced my parents to bring me home after visiting my cage at the zoo.
  3. My eyebrows are nearly invisible... not because they are blond, but because I have a tweezer addiction.
  4. I never floss, despite threats from my hygienist that I will suffer periodontal disease or even contract cancer if I don't.
  5. The corners of my mouth turn down thus when I am not smiling, people think that I'm in a crabby mood.
  6. I have never owned a dog, but someday I will get one and train it to be a therapy dog.
Now for the rules:

* Link the person who tagged you. *Post the rules on your blog. *List six random things about yourself. * Tag six people at the end of your blog and link to them. *Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. *Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So from someone who always strives to challenge rules rather than follow them to the letter here are my 6 blog tags in no particular order:

Julie at 47 & Starting Over, Adlibby at Adlibby on the Loose, Mary Ellen at Adopting ME, Jennifer at Thursday Drive, Marie at Nourish, and Erin at Treasures Found.

Friday, April 3, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 33/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Friday April 3, 2009:

1. no more trips to the mountain for awhile
2. having 4 days off instead of 2... (at least for the next 7 months)
3. coffee dates with my MOPS friends

Life is good when you spend less time at work and have more time to PLAY! I mean... to yourself. I mean... for housework. I mean... to gamble. No, no... to ramble. OMG, I need a nap!

(Please don't tell Hubby I said "play"! He doesn't know I've hired a cleaning lady, or that I drop off all the laundry at the 1-hour laundromat, or that I've asked the neighbors to do all my errands & shopping so I can spend more time on Blogger, I mean my journal, I mean my domestic godesstry. Promise you won't tell? He'll know soon enough when I've drained the savings to keep up the payments now that I'm not bringing in the 2nd paycheck... What time is it? I really need a margarita, then a nap! )

Thursday, April 2, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 32/365

Here is my gratitude journal for Thursday April 2, 2009:

1. a juicy steak perfectly grilled ~ make mine medium

2. not one but two great pizza joints in town

3. M&M's ~ plain (but peanut works if that's all there is)

Life is better after munching on something tasty...

Pursue your dream

Pursue your dream
Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.