Saturday, April 10, 2010

BIG Mess

This morning I woke up to a BIG mess. About 500 perler beads all over the den floor with my two children sitting in the middle of them. Aaron was trying to vacuum them up with the Dustbuster. It wasn't a good sight. (If you don't know what perler beads are, click the link just so that you can see how tiny they really are).

I wish I would have taken a picture but I was so in shock that I left them home with my husband and went out to get Starbucks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Do It Whose-self?

Did you ever wish that you could do some of those around-the-house projects that you put on your spouse's "Honey-Do List"? Sign up for a newsletter from Home Depot's Do It Herself Club and you could definitely pick up some great tips.

An upcoming Do It Herself Workshop will take place on April 15 from 7 to 830pm and will focus on Interior Painting featuring Martha Stewart Living. In this workshop, you will
  • Learn how to choose paint and paint colors using the Martha Stewart Living color center
  • See the tools and materials you will need for a professional finish
  • Prepare and mask walls and trim for paint
  • Watch and learn the best methods for painting ceilings, wall, and trim
Click here to sign up for this workshop at a Home Depot location near you now.

*This post was cross-posted at Read Our Lips: the official blog of

No BIG Plans

Sometimes I wonder why I love Friday. When I used to work at a traditional office job, Friday signaled the end of the long workweek, a day where I left the office at 5pm or before, two full days home with my family, potentially a night out with friends and two days that neither my husband not I needed to go to or think about work.

None of those things hold true anymore. Since I work for myself, my weekends are never truly 100% work-free. There's always the potential for the need to have a phone call, answer an e-mail, write a blog post or something equally as interesting, or attend an event which means that my Saturday and Sunday aren't all that different from my Monday through Friday. The main difference is that there's no school and no work, so kids and husband are all home.

On the weekends, we try to catch up on laundry, run errands and go food shopping. Last weekend we planted around the house and tried to make our sorry excuse for landscaping look like less of a sorry excuse for landscaping. As the weather gets nicer, our weekends are starting to include the park, playground, riding bikes and bar-b-ques for dinner. I try not to make too many plans because I like our weekends to be our weekends. I don't want to be responsible for holding ourselves to being at specific places at specific times or make enough plans to account for every waking moment of our two days of freedom. In the interest of saving money, we're not really going out on Saturday nights but doing more family things - making dinner together, watching movies, having ice cream.

So, what does this weekend hold? No BIG plans. Saturday, we'll go to Aaron's basketball game, run some errands and go to a late afternoon birthday party. Sunday, I'll spend the morning talking to 15 pregnant moms about where they can find information that they need and then Aaron has another birthday party at Adventureland (local amusement park, so he is totally psyched) and that's it.

No BIG plans.

And that's how I like it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BIG Headache

I've had a major headache for three days. THREE DAYS. It hasn't even begun to go away.

In the spirit of NaBlogPoMo, this is my post.

I wish to the headache G-ds that they will take my headache and send it somewhere, never to be heard from again.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BIG Sadness

Yesterday was the last day of vacation and Camryn had a playdate with her friend. It was a beautiful day and so we took our playdate outside to the park. When we got there, the other mom said, "Did you hear that Coach Al died?"


Coach Al is the baseball coach at Camryn's school and last year, Aaron took lessons with him. A big man and avid baseball fan, he would always tell Aaron about Hank Aaron, if only for the reason that they shared a name. He'd walk around the school in his baseball cap, talking to all the kids and just being a super friendly man.

Dropping off Camryn at school today and seeing the sad faces of the other baseball coaches and everyone that worked in the school was heartbreaking.

Apparently over the break, he sat down to take a nap, had a massive heart attack in his sleep and passed away, leaving three children, many grandchildren and two more on the way. He was 62 years old.

Even though I really barely knew him, I do know that he'll be missed. RIP, Coach Al.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BIG Problem

At 730am, I woke up to screaming. Not your average kids-yelling-at-each-other screaming, but real, honest shrieking. Thinking that either one of the kids had lodged themselves into someplace that they shouldn't or someone's arm was falling off, I raced downstairs only to find that the television wouldn't turn on. Yup, no television in this house brings on mass hysteria. For a 7 year old and a 4 year old, this is a sign of a potential disaster and the world coming to an end.

A bunch of years ago, my dad had his eye on this new high tech (at the time) Sony television and after watching the price for months more than a year or two , he finally bit the bullet and made the purchase. Not only did he buy it, but he completely remodeled the room that would house the treasure set, complete with a closet that built the television into the wall. Upon entering the house the first time, the delivery guys promptly dropped the television on the ceramic tile floor, resulting in a giant crack down the side of the casing. Needless to say, the store shortly sent a non-cracked replacement.

After a few years and the emergence of flat screen televisions into our world, my dad bought another set and gave us the older Sony. It was perfect and it fit wonderfully into a corner of our den. At 40 inches, it was a huge improvement over the 27 inch non-HD set that we previously had. The only stipulation was that we needed to hire four BIG guys to relocate the television from my parents' house to ours. Reason being that this television weighs over 300 pounds. This is no exaggeration, it really weighs that much.

With all of the hysteria this morning over the television that wouldn't turn on, my first thought was not of the money we were going to need to spend to replace it, but more like "how in the world we were going to get this 300 pound television our of our house?"! From my asking friends to my updated Facebook status (Stupid TV broke. Anyone know a repair person/company that will come to my house and not charge me more than it would cost to buy a new TV?) to my calls to the repair shop that quoted me a minimum repair fee of $500, I have heard that if we buy a new television that is delivered, the delivery guys will cart away the old set.

Fingers are totally crossed on this one, because this could really be a BIG problem.

Monday, April 5, 2010

BIG Win (and why Twitter, Hampton Inns & my friend Claudine totally rock)

I feel the need preface this post with one statement: I never win anything. Really. Never, ever, ever anything. One of my favorite websites has recently done a number of $300 Apple store gift card giveaways and I have entered every time. Nothing. Twitter parties where pretty much everyone wins something? Nada. Raffles? Nope. Radio contests? Zilch. It's just a fact, I really never win anything.

Today, I was working catching up on Twitter and saw this post from a real life friend of mine expressing her displeasure about her recent stay at a Hampton Inn during a family trip.
Hey @HamptonFYI On road to NC we stayed @ Hampton Inn. 2 Dbl beds & no rollaway allowed in room #fail! Courtyard Marriott for return. #WIN
Being the busybody that I am, I started to follow @HamptonFYI, mostly because I wanted to see if they responded to her online complaint. Note: lately I am really in awe of the fact that so many large corporations monitor social media applications like Twitter and Facebook for complaints and truly do their best to rectify the issues and appease their complainers.

About an hour later, I received the following private message from @HamptonFYI:

Hi there! Can you DM us your contact info? You're our 2,000th follower!
Because of the high rate of identity theft and other frauds that run rampant through the internet (I'm sure you've received the e-mails from a prince in Nigeria who wants to give you $25 million dollars for doing pretty much nothing), I was pretty skeptical of this, so I replied with only my e-mail address.

Pretty soon after that, I received this e-mail from Christy from Cohn & Wolfe Digital, the PR firm for Hampton Inn.

Congratulations! To thank you for following Hampton, we’d like to offer you a free night’s stay at a Hampton property of your choosing. All we’ll need is your mailing address to send you the certificate! If we have your permission, we’d like to include your Twitter handle in a tweet announcing you as our 2,000th follower and a recipient of a free night. Thanks again for following Hampton – We love having you here!

Hilarious!! I totally won something! And it was something really great and fun! BIG win for me!

And a BIG win for my friend Claudine. Hampton Inn replied to her tweet and let her know that they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if you don't enjoy your stay, you don't pay. She called and they refunded her money for the lousy night that she had when she stayed there.

So really, who rocks now? Me, Claudine and most definitely Hampton Inn and their PR rep, Christy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Theo wasn't supposed to be all that big. According to our breeder, he should grow to be "60 pounds and medium sized".

Here he is at a year and a half old (not quite sure what happened to all of his puppy pictures).

Here he is now, at almost 8 years old. He's still big. Sometimes we call him Clifford, even though he's not red. And he's sure as heck not happy with the tiara on his head, courtesy of Camryn.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

BIG Trees, Little Girl

This picture speaks for itself, what a beautiful day outside.

Friday, April 2, 2010


At 7 years old, Aaron is not only my BIG boy, but my BIG toothless boy!! He has so far lost 6 teeth, two of which came out in the past week. He also left a note for the tooth fairy asking how many teeth he needs to lose to get her to bring him an iPod Touch. I think he thinks his toothfairy is Steve Jobs.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

BIG Girl

The theme for April for NaBloPoMo is BIG. This might get tough, but here we go....

4 years ago you were born, a little tiny baby girl (who we totally thought was a boy!). We loved you from the moment we saw you.

You started to amaze us from the very first day. And all of a sudden, you were one year old! You had a big cake and were a birthday princess.

You grew, learned to walk and learned to talk, and another year went by, and then you were two! No longer a baby, but a toddler. And becoming your own person. And potentially a rock star.

This is the year you went to camp and school. And cried. Every. Single. Day. For what seemed to be a super long time. But you eventually learned to love school and made a ton of friends. You loved it all so much we had to put you in school an extra day each week halfway through the year! And then you turned three (and still a princess)...

Now you're a big girl. You have your own mind, know what you like and make a lot of your own decisions. You pick out your clothes, pick your TV shows, choose what you want to eat. You're four years old now, what a big girl!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today is...

....a day that I did not want to get out of bed today.

....a day where pretty much nothing is getting done. I'm ignoring the vaccuum, laundry and all of the things that aren't where they are supposed to be. Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest?

....cold with a ton of snow on the ground. I am so wishing for spring to come. Really soon.

....a birthday party day. In the past week, my two kids have been invited to a total of 9 birthday parties over the next 45 days. From a gift standpoint alone, that is insane.

....a day that I wish I could just skip. Even though tomorrow is Monday.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Can time stand still?

Vacation is over. After all the anxiety about staying in my grandma's house without her, our stay came and went. It was hard being there without her. I spent a week feeling like something was missing. I've been wanting to write about it but wanted to wait until I could wrap my head around everything I was feeling. But I realized that isn't going to happen. All of the feelings, all of the emotions - they were so big. So present. So full. With a giant gaping hole smack in the middle.

When we arrived, driving into the community, everything looked the same. The people. The scenery. It was almost as if time had stood still since my last visit 8 years ago, January 2001. Walking into my grandma's apartment, I had remind myself to breathe.

In and out.


Instinctively, I looked at the corner of the couch. Her spot. And for a split second, I think that I really truly expected her to be sitting there awaiting our arrival. As if over the past eight years, she'd spent her days sitting and watching her programs just as she always had as we all lived our lives back in New York. When I looked at her spot and snapped back to reality realizing that she wasn't there, I felt such an unbearable pain shoot through my heart, it was as if I lost her all over again. And although it did lessen some over the course of the week, I felt that pain every single time I walked in that door and looked at that spot on the couch.

The first day we were there, everything I looked at made me cry. Things I haven't thought about in eight years. Things that if you asked me, I never would have remembered.

Like the toothbrush holder in the small bathroom. Or the dishes in the rack on the counter. Or the clock hanging on the wall in the kitchen. Or the sound of the doorbell.

All of my grandma's little things were still there. The same photos stuck in the side of the mirror. The same jar holding pocket change on the dresser. The same pillows on the rocking chair in the bedroom. At that point on that very first day, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to last 6 nights in this apartment without drowning in my own tears.

The only laugh during that first afternoon was when my daughter asked, "Mommy, why are there pictures of me in this hotel?" I couldn't explain to her that this wasn't a hotel. I couldn't explain the special-ness of this place. I felt almost like I shouldn't have to explain it to them. I wanted my kids to feel it in their hearts and in their souls. I wanted them to feel the same special-ness and happiness that I always felt in this place. I wanted them to feel the love. I wanted them to feel like she was there. Most of all, I wanted to feel like she was there. And on that first day, I cried for how empty the place was. Because even though some of her things were still there, she wasn't walking in the door or sitting in her rocking chair. I cried because I half thought I would feel happy, feel like she was there. And I didn't feel either.

Over the course of the week, things changed. My tears were slowly replaced with laughter. And stories. And showing my kids all of the things I used to do. All of the places I used to go. Silly things like how I would throw the garbage in the dumpster every night after dinner. Or walk down the street and visit my aunt. Or cut through the walkway at the building across the street to get to the pool. And all of these things made me happy. And smile. And remember. And feel like she was there.

There were times I could hear her, see her, feel her. I could hear her feet padding into the kitchen early in the morning. I could see her opening the freezer and taking her nightly ice cream snack. I could hear her yelling to my grandpa, "Murray, what do you think, someone's going to break in and steal you?" after she came home to find the front door locked. And I started to enjoy being in her house, around her things.

It was a week of significant reflection and so many memories. I thought about how much she would have loved my kids if she had the chance to meet them and how much she would have laughed with them. I thought about how although she would have loved them with her whole heart, she would have felt, and said, that being a great-grandma made her old. I remembered so many good things and felt so much closer to her, like I never wanted to leave this place that had changed from making me feel grief to making me feel somewhat comforted. But although I miss her so much, now more than ever, and would do anything to have her back even for a second, I feel like she did know that we were there, and she was there with us.

But most of all, I remembered how lucky I was to have my grandma until I was 27 years old. There aren't too many people who could say that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A little rememberance is nice...

Happy February vacation! We're getting ready to go off to Florida, where hopefully the temperature will warm up enough that it will feel like summer. I'm looking forward to so many aspects of this trip - getting away, being someplace where it doesn't snow, spending time together as a family, seeing old friends. What's nagging me a little bit about this trip is that there's going to be something missing. Or rather, someone. My grandma.

As a kid, every year I would spend my spring vacation with my grandparents in Florida. I'd get on the plane here in NY and they'd meet me at the gate in Florida, and I'd spend one or two weeks there, swimming and enjoying the warm weather. When my grandpa passed away in 1992, I went down after to spend time with my grandma. The last time I was down there was for her 90th birthday, 8 years ago. She was just getting better from being sick and in a rehab center getting ready to come home. Somewhere over the 6 weeks following her birthday, something happened. She passed away on March 2, 2002.

I haven't been back to Florida since that trip, but since we haven't seen my grandma-in-law in awhile, we decided to visit. Since my grandma passed away, we kept her apartment, mostly because it didn't pay to sell it. So that's where we're going to stay, instead of invading my grandma-in-law's one bedroom apartment with our party of four. And that's where the anxiety is. How can I stay in that apartment, her home, without her?

Although I'm looking forward to this trip, it's going to be weird. Only time will tell, and as we get closer to leaving, the anxiety grows. But so does the excitement, because a part of me feels like maybe I'll feel a sense of peace when we're there, like she's still there in some capacity.

In the meantime, this photo of my daughter totally reminds me of my grandma, mostly because of the purse.

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