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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Wish You A Merry Christmas

Christmas is my favorite time of year. Its a time for family and friends to get together. It is a time where you can see the twinkle of anticipation in a child's eyes for Christmas morning to FINALLY arrive. Above all, it is also a time of celebration in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything about this time of the year is magical. You hear people say that it is magical, but why? Why are we more charitable, more forgiving and kinder to our fellow person? I have no concrete answer to give you, but that is magic in itself isn't it?

Every Christmas season I look forward to getting together with friends and family members. I love attending Christmas parties just for the sake that it is Christmas. It brings people together. It makes us all talk and spread good holiday cheer. It is a time where you can give a present to a family member or friend that says "thank you and I appreciate you." Sure not all gifts are always in appreciation or honoring that someone. We usually do have someone on our list that if we were Santa Claus himself, that person would be on the naughty list and getting coal. However, when you do receive a gift or an invitation to a party, someone took the time in thinking about you. How special is that?

As a parent to a toddler, Christmas is becoming more and more exciting and another learning lesson (as age appropriate as I can make it). Yes Santa is coming in the wee hours of Christmas morning to give presents since he was a good little boy this year. My son loves the fact we have a lit Christmas tree in our house, but would never understand the significance of why we are carrying out a 16th century old German tradition. I have to balance that and also teach him that this day also marks the birth of Jesus Christ. How do I do it? I keep it simple. My son will often point to his cross in his room. I often think if I should pray or not when he does this. Its pretty high up and not flashy, so I am not sure why he keeps noticing it. I am glad he does though. For me it helps bring up conversation. I tell him that he is Jesus and we are going to celebrate his birthday in a few days. Usually I will sing a song along with whatever we are playing like "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel" or "Silent Night". At this age repetition is everything and one day I will rejoice when he is able to say it back to me.

How do you celebrate the Christmas season? How do you teach your children the true meaning of Christmas?

God bless you all and have a Merry Christmas!

S'nami Boh!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gadgets and Gizmos a-plenty

Okay so maybe this suburban Mom HAD to sneak part of the lyrics to the song Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid to the post title, but I do have a point other then making you sing to yourself the rest of the song. My son likes gadgets, gizmo's and whatever else is electronic. Not sure if this is a toddler loved thing across the world or if I am one of the lucky few that has to hide electronics to keep from having melt downs.

Pumpkin loves playing with anything that has buttons, knobs, etc., Never mind the Toys R Us explosion of flashing, noisy and ridiculous over priced toys in our house that is just for his pleasure. He ignores them for the most part. He wants to inspect everything that is gadget like and because of that, my (or my husbands) gadgets have suffered a great deal. Yes we can hide them (which we do) or tell him "no touch" (which we do), but its hard taking something away that won't harm or hurt the child when he is so into inspecting and exploring his new found gadget. I am all for exploration as a Mom, but I do have my limits. Our remote now rattles with broken plastic pieces inside and we have to baby proof even more so with things like plug in fire alarm/carbon monoxide detectors because we would like them to actually work. Is this just a toddler fascination? A male gadget fascination? Or what?

I am sure I am not the first or last Mom whose baby runs away with the remote and promptly hides it while something inappropriate (too much info on Discovery Health) is on while watching Mommy scrambling to find the remote and then finally turning the television off manually to shield toddler eyes. I would just like some peace in not wondering who Pumpkin has accidentally called this time and wondering how long the phone has been off the hook and wondering what conversations people overheard (there is a downfall on having cordless phones around the house). I just wonder how many Moms, how many parents go through this same thing? Do you turn over your over sized calculators because your child is interested or perhaps old remotes hoping that your usual remote can be finally left alone?

I am not trying to complain. This post isn't about that, although I am sure it sure sounds like it. I know I can hide things, or tell Pumpkin "no". I have and will continue to do so, but I also want him to explore things that interest him. I guess I have to walk a fine line with what is okay to have and what is not okay to have for my sanity and so I can have private conversations without checking to see if the phone has dialed someone first.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slacking Holiday Mom

I have a confession to make. I haven't put up any decorations or really gotten prepared for this Christmas season. Yes, I have been a bad Mommy. I do have some excuses such that I have been sick and keeping up with the regular household duties while working full time is hard enough with a toddler. But since my son is realizing more and more about whats going on around him, I should probably do something with the house, but where do I find the time and the energy?

I am sure all Moms struggle with the fact that time is precious and there is way too little of it. When you are working and finally get home with your little ones in tow, time is even more pressed to do all the things that you want to do. I fully believe in the saying:

"There will be years for cleaning and cooking.
But children grow up when your not looking.
So settle down cobwebs.
Dust go to sleep.
I'm cuddling my baby.
And babies don't keep."

I have seen how this saying relates to my life first hand. My son who has just grown up so much doesn't want to be held really or cuddled that much. No, he is way too busy wanting to play tag or bang blocks together. Sure there are those few seconds where he will just be with me, but I could never anticipate how quickly he would grow. So I have been slacking on household chores while I spend time playing tag, peek a boo, parachute (he loves doing this with blankets) and doing the other necessary things like dinner, bath time and the night time routine. Finally after he is asleep, I have a few minutes to tidy up, spend some "me time" (that is very much needed) and chat with my husband for a bit before its time to go to sleep and repeat the same routine again tomorrow.

I guess I am wishing that little elves would come and do my Christmas decorating. One could hope right? But I have to get this done. It just doesn't seem like Christmas without having things put around the house to remind you of that holiday cheer. There is just something about having that Christmas tree put up, my German nativity scene placed in the dining room and odds and ends that just make the whole season that much more magical and fun.

As parents do you struggle with getting those extras done in your house during different holiday seasons?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay the title to this post is a little premature, but seeing that most people (like I) will be busy tomorrow with family, meal preparation and actually enjoying the food, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving a day early.

To sum up the theme this week, I wanted to post my favorite Thanksgiving memory. Obviously having my son in my life is my favorite, because I had another special person to share it with, but I wanted to resort to a childhood memory. I find it a bit humbling because I wonder what my son's favorite memory of Thanksgiving will be when he is all grown up.

When I was little it was tradition that the family would head up from our home in North Carolina to Cleveland, Ohio to see my Nagypapa and Nagymama for Thanksgiving. It was at least a 12 hour trip and with two kids in tow, I am sure it was tons of fun for my parents (not). I remember early in the car ride before we would traditionally stop in Breezewood, Pennsylvania, that I found a toy hidden underneith my Dad's seat, which I sat behind. I was so elated because this was a new toy! My sister was wondering where her toy was too but soon found hers, and we quickly unwrapped the contents from the box and played with it most of the way there. I had to be at least four, since my sister was six years older and still wanted to play with toys.

When we arrived we were greeted by my Nagypapa and Nagymama at the front door with lots of hugs and kisses. This is a memory that still brings tears to my eyes as I wish I could still get those greetings from them. I remember the smell of my Nagymama's shalamar perfume and cigarettes and my Nagypapa's smell of well...body odor and smell from his work (perhaps it was a factory) that he worked part time at. As my parents unloaded the car and set up shop for the next few days, my sister and I would catch up with my Nagypapa and Nagymama about all the exciting things that were happening in our lives. The listened patiently with loving eyes. How I miss those loving faces...

On Thanksgiving I know my Nagypapa would wake up at the crack of dawn like he did every morning of his life. I remember waking up in my Dad's old childhood bedroom hearing him creep down the stairs coughing his Nagypapa cough. Soon enough I would awake and trample down the stairs with my kiddo pajamas still on and join my parents, Nagypapa and Nagymama around the kitchen table. They had a retro style kitchen table in their small little pink tiled kitchen. I remember that they had metal lining the outside of the table and I used to love running my fingernails through it. Why I remember that, I don't know. After breakfast my Nagymama and Mom would work diligently in the kitchen preparing the Thanksgiving Feast while the rest of the family would watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on the tv. I do remember going back to the kitchen from time to time to pester my Mom (really I was attached so I just wanted to see her) and remember seeing turkey when it was all done and out of the hot oven. The sheer size of the bubbling hot turkey always looked big to me at that age because in the eyes of a four years old, they were ginormous!

Soon enough the cousins would arrive along with my Aunt and Uncle. It was so much fun getting together with them as a few of my cousins were only a few years older then me. We would play games, get teased by Nagypapa (or yelled at depending what we were doing), and play hangman on the chalkboard upstairs. Oh how I miss that chalkboard! As children that chalkboard was the coolest thing in my Nagypapa and Nagymama's house. I mean who do you know has a chalk board outside of their bedrooms? I am curious now to think if Nagypapa or Nagymama would write notes to each other while their grandchildren were away.

Around 1 or 2 (depending on if the food was ready), the entire family would sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner meal. I remember one cousin putting black olives on each of her fingers and then bite them off one by one. I wished like anything that I liked olives too so I could do just that, but I couldn't bring myself to liking them. I still hate black olives, but if my taste buds ever changed their mind one day, then I would totally eat olives from each of my fingers. After dinner was over we would feast on tons of desserts. My Mom knew that I didn't like pies or most cakes, so she usually baked chocolate chip cookies for me beforehand. What a great Mom. I loved the fact she would think of me that way. It always made me feel special.

After dinner was over and we were all fat from eating way too much, the cousins and I would run off again while Nagypapa took a snooze in his chair and my Nagymama, Dad, Mom, Aunt and Uncle caught up sitting on my Dad's Godmothers couch. My Dad's Godmother was named Ethel Ergh, who lived in Lorain OH- about 2 hrs west of Cleveland. The Ergh's (Geirgy & Ethel) were great friends of my grandparents and my great grandparents. The senior Ergh has his original barbershop on Buckeye Rd now part of the museum collection at the Western Reserve Historical Society in University Circle, Cleveland.

Getting back to my Thanksgiving memory, before long the cousins were called by my Aunt and Uncle to go home and the holiday was officially over. We spent the rest of the evening huddled in the family room watching 'Murder She Wrote' and other various classics that would probably be on the Turner Classic Movie channel today. Even though Thursday was over, the Thanksgiving memory still isn't over yet.

The next day the family continued another tradition of going to downtown Cleveland. We never drove through the downtown area, we always took the rappies (the metro). I remember driving down the road to the metro stop. My Dad would always go around the round abouts five zillion times until my Mom told him to stop. My sister and I would squeal with laughter and I am sure the other passengers on the road thought we were all nuts (at least the driver). I remember my Dad telling me that even in the old days before there was four wheel drive, that they would travel down the same road to church on freshly fallen snow. As we arrived at the metro stop we would all get out the car and wait patiently until the rappie would arrive. I remember freezing as most Cleveland Novembers were always (and I mean always) cold as anything. When the rappie would arrive we would quickly (to get out of the cold) jump on the rappie. I remember doing my best to find one of the orange pleather seats that was facing backwards so that I could ride the entire way backwards. How fun is that for any kid!?! On our way downtown, my Dad used to always point out where the old St. John's Byzantine church was. It was sad in a ways since I could envision a memory of the area being lively with Hungarians strolling the street, but it was now more of a slum that no one in their right mind wanted to go to.

As we reached the end of the line to the mall, I remember hearing the engines of the rappies being so noisy and seemingly sighing of relief (this is a child's imagination) that they were finally at their stop and could rest from their travel through the Cleveland cold. My parents paid our fares and we would make our way up the long escalator to Tower City, which was basically a huge mall. While in the mall we made our way to Higbees Department store. Most would remember that Higbees in Cleveland was the store with the mean Santa Claus from The Christmas Story movie (remember the movie with the ugly lamp that resembled a woman's leg?). However, they had no Santa Claus there, bu they did have the most tremendous area for young children to go to. I remember it had a swan ride that resembled a rollar coaster, but it layed flat on the ground. My sister (who was too big for it) rode with me to "help me", but in reality I think she still wanted to ride it. Then we would go into a little shop specially made for children through a small door where no parents were allowed. This shop had baskets and shelves full of gift idea for parents and siblings. I believe I got a heart key chain for my Mom there because I thought it was so beautiful and shiny and it was made just for her. Once my sister and I were done with our purchases, we would head back into the main area of Tower City. Often we would see Mr. Jingaling, who looked like a old man in Christmas themed clothing with lots of keys. He was a Cleveland television personality for decades, but I had no idea what he was suppose to be. I loved seeing him and he loved seeing the children.

Mr. Jingaling

After we were done with Tower City, we would all make our way to The Arcade for lunch. Now the name may fool some people because it wasn't an actual Arcade with games and prizes. Actually it didn't have any of these things. On our way there we would smell the ever familiar smell of the nut shop and just HAVE to go in for some cashews. To this day, smelling cashews reminds me of that old nut shop in Cleveland. As we made our way to the Arcade we would typically see homeless people on the street. My Mom would give us money to hand out to some of them. I remember giving my money to a old man with a dog and in return he gave me a small green plastic piggy bank.

When we finally reached The Arcade, I was always stricken with how beautiful it looked inside even when I was little. It was more office then shops, but the food court always had pizza and that was something that made every little kid happy. I remember my Dad telling me once that he remembered the stairs as a small kid. I remember thinking how funny it was to imagine my Dad as a kid. He was a kid at heart, but being my age was something I just couldn't comprehend as a child. Typically The Arcade was our last stop to our downtown adventure and we would all head back to Tower City and take the Orange line home to Mayfield Heights.

The Arcade

A View of The Arcade in the early 1900's (it hasn't changed much)

To me, even though it was a simple Thanksgiving, it was one of the best Thanksgivings that I can recollect. A simple memory such as family getting together and enjoying one another is the warmest memories of my childhood.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

So I am keeping with the theme this week on being thankful for what you have, because realistically if you are reading this means you have a computer. If you have a computer this means you have some sort of wireless connection, which means you have a roof over your head. If you can afford the computer and the Internet connection, then you most certainly can nourish yourself and your family otherwise you would go without (lets hope).

My thanks for today is that I have a job, a healthy family and the most beautiful little miracle God has ever gifted me with.

Take a moment and think about what you are thankful for and if you are thankful for a person, tell them so.

God bless.

Monday, November 24, 2008

To Be Thankful

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday has made me reflect more so on what I am thankful for then other past Thanksgivings. I know I have been more in tuned with how wonderful and miraculous life really is since my son was born, but why did I not feel this depth last year? Perhaps its because we are finally starting on a real schedule and I am not learning how to do the basics of parenting and perhaps it could also be that having a little life in your arms for over a year has opened up my heart, my mind and my soul even more so. I just think of things that I am thankful for and it makes me tear up, so here it goes. Here is my insignificant list to the world, but a list that is so important to me.

Family. I am thankful for them. Some drive me crazy, some disappoint and some I wish I could be more close to. Perhaps I could use this thankful list as part of my new years resolution huh? But above the drama, the bickering and the crazy advice I get from time to time, I have family. There are those that have no one in this world and I have no idea how they can honestly go through life like that. Who do they fall back on? Who knows them? I mean really knows them from their little personality of a young person to an adult? No family is normal, so in saying that I am thankful for them.

My son and husband. I know they are apart of my family, but they are my FAMILY. We eat, sleep and breathe each other. My husband does amazing things that surprises me and he loves seeing the reaction on my face. He cleaned the house the other day. Isn't that an amazing thing for any tired wife/mommy to come home too? I could kiss him just now thinking about that great surprise. My son is obviously my life. Without him there isn't a me. No I am not saying I lost my individuality, but when you become a parent you know how it is. You can't imagine life before there was them because they are your life. Your life centers around their care, their woes, and the endless amount of love you have for that person. I wake up every morning thinking about my son even though he usually wakes me up crying and the last thing I do at night is tell him I love him as he lays sleeping curled up in his little crib.

God's Grace. Yes I am thankful for that. I strayed away in my earlier years from my faith. Now I am returning home to God's love. Honestly I felt awkward at first like a child shying away from loving relative they haven't seen for a while, but now I am more and more in love with my God, my faith and his grace and understanding. How can you not be thankful for unconditional love?

My friends. I don't see them as often as I would like. I honestly love them though. Sometimes there are things I can't tell anyone except the small group that I hang out with. What is more beautiful about my friends is that I honestly love them and they love me. They love my son and I know if I had an emergency or something come up that they would take care of him. To trust a group with the most precious thing in the world means so much to me. There are few that I trust in that capacity.

There are lots of more little tid bits that I am thankful for such as having a warm home, food on the table, etc., but those four core reasons I talked about above were what really came to mind.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cost of Day Care

For working parents, a form of day care is a reality when we have our little bundles of joy. It doesn't matter if our kids start at three months or a little later, when two parents or a single parent works it is something that parents have to research, get on a waiting list and pay out big bucks so their children are well taken care of while they are at work.

When I found out I was pregnant, I thought I had all the time in the world to find a day care. I was in no hurry. A then friend told me that the wait lists for day cares were quite long and I had to do my research NOW. I was only nine weeks pregnant at the time. I was thinking how baffling it was to search for a day care for a child that isn't born yet. It couldn't possibly be that hard to get in, but if you live in the Northern Virginia area, and have gone through this process, you know it is long and drawn out. After doing some research in school I wanted my child in, I signed up for a day care. I was not even into my second trimester when they told me that they believe they should have a space available when my child is three months old. I still was shell shocked about the long wait list. What if a pregnant Mom wasn't given the same advice I received? What if they waited up until their third trimester to find a day care? How could they possibly return to work with no one to watch their child? What if you just moved to the area and needed childcare immediately?

I choose the day care for my baby for four reasons. 1) The curriculum was great. Each day (even for the infants) the children had a schedule, a list of things they would do with the babies to help development and other motor skills. 2) The location. It obviously had to be convenient enough for my husband and I to do drop off and pick up. We both agreed that we did not want a place that was hard to get to. We knew we would be busy once our child entered the world, so why make it more strenuous on us? 3) The type of day care. Our day care is not fancy. I did not want an overly fancy day care, because that is just not us. Obviously the curriculum was important, but I didn't want to stress my child out on a daily basis in having to learn things that I knew was way beyond age appropriate. I found some schools didn't allow bibs at a toddler age or did flash card so they knew 100 different types of airplanes at the age of four. No, that wasn't for us. I wanted a day care that was loving, supportive of both the child and parents, and do the same type of things with my child if I was staying at home. Plus, they had an amazing playground. I know that it is silly, but my day care memories centered around the fact I had a great playground to play on. 4) The cost. I found through my research so many day cares that cost an arm and a leg! It wasn't that I didn't want the best for my child, but I also had to know that the cost was justified.

The cost of day care is crazy. You have yearly registration fees, materials fees and lets not forget those weekly fees! For my child to go to day care as an infant we shelled out $259 a week, which is $14,504 a year and this didn't include the other added fees! What is more surprising is that it was not bad if you consider some of the day care we looked into wanted to charge $350 a week plus all those other hidden cost. I saw no difference in the day cares other then you get to watch your child via the web with one, which was also out the way vs. the day care with a better playground and it was not located in an industrial business park. I choose the one with no web video. It was tempting, but I couldn't justify the cost.

At the end of the day parents do what is best for their family, their child. Some choose in home day cares, others choose family or friends to watch their child and some choose day care facilities. Unless you have free day care, all working parents can relate that the cost is high, but then what would we not do for our little ones?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tis The Season to Go Shopping?

The shopping season in search for the perfect present for this holiday for all your loved ones has kicked into high gear. However, I haven't found myself shopping and planning like I usually do. Perhaps I am just a tired Mom that doesn't feel like doing the daunting task of shopping for a million people (okay eight people) or maybe its the fact that money is a little tight right now.

I honestly am really glad that my son is young enough this year not to care what he receives on Christmas morning. Sure Christmas isn't about presents. I am a Catholic Mom who sees this season for more then just that. I am just grateful that my son isn't asking for a new video games or the latest kid gadget from Santa Claus. My husband and I would either be faced with the horrible task or not giving him his Christmas present wish or we would have to whip out the credit card. Don't get me wrong. I am not going to raise a child that gets everything they ask for, but there is something magical about getting what you want on Christmas morning. I remember asking for an American Girl doll as a child and believing Santa heard my wishes. It was an expensive doll in the 80's (still is), but Santa GAVE that to me.

Our family, along with the rest of the world (unless you are the Gosselins), just do not have the money for extras this year. We're being frugal and trying to save that extra dime here or there. We are not poor by any means, but we aren't shelling out the big bucks to get huge ticket items. Its fine for me that I don't get a bunch of new items. I am okay with it being a small Christmas. I think in many ways it will teach people the true meaning of this upcoming holiday. Its a time for peace, joy, good tidings and family. Its a time to reflect on what we have, not what we don't have. Its a time to be kind to your fellow man (I'll have to remember that while driving to work). Its a time for celebration.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God's Creatures

There are so many parents in the world blessed to have healthy children. Children that can run, jump and call out their parents names. Moms and Dads can some times take for granted that their little miracles can do all these great things. Becoming pregnant is a miracle, giving birth is another miracle and having healthy children is what every parent wants, but not all parents have healthy children.

I was inspired by a blogging friend of mine who posted a blog about one of their friends whose daughter has a terminal illness. She wanted another baby, but wanted to adopt, so she adopted a little girl from Guatemala. The parents were overjoyed as any parent would be on their new bundle of joy. It wasn't until later after they thought they had a healthy little girl that she would be diagnosed with a terminal illness. She had Tay Sachs. I will admit that I know little of the disease. From what I read on her blog that children with this disease don't live much pass six years old. This woman (unbeknown to her) inspires me every day as a Mom to cherish and not take for granted the precious moments I have with my little boy. She doesn't complain about the countless medications she has to give to her daughter, or the daunting knowledge that her daughter will probably not grow up into adult hood. Instead she celebrates every day with her little girl. She takes everything in stride so gracefully, so beautifully even though I am sure her insides are screaming for help, for guidance, for courage and a miracle for her child. She has accepted that God has chose her life to be not so normal. If I may quote her, this is some of her reflections that I just thought were beautiful.

"I keep going back to Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. Normal is not spending a year in an Ark. Talk about life on hold! Normal is not waiting until you are 90 and 100 years old for a child. Most of us don’t like waiting one day for what we want. Normal is not hiding your child for 3 months from a king intent on killing all baby boys. Normal is not giving that baby boy to the very people enslaving and mistreating your people. I doubt Moses’ mom envisioned this life for her son."

Those words are just awe inspiring. Normal doesn't have to relate to your every day living and how you cherish your children. What is normal anyways? What I believe our children teach us and what parents of terminally ill and those children teach us, is to live every day to its fullest. Don't dread on the small bumps in the road because there are far greater things in the world to worry about. There are starving children, parentless children, abused children, and children with terminal illnesses. For one second, just look at your children, your nephews or nieces, your grandchildren, great grandchildren, your friends children and just reflect for one moment how precious life really is and what a miracle they really are.


For some reason I have been thinking a lot about my Grandparents lately. The ones that have passed that is. I have only one single surviving Grandparent and as much as I would love to feel welcome with open (and loving) arms in her home, I am not. Its not that I did anything, but she is just a different type of Grandma. She only wants HER biological children to visit. She claims to have too many grandchildren. How can one have too many blessings? Thats another post at a different time though.

I grew up feeling loved (with exception of one) by all my Grandparents. For most of my childhood we lived far away from both of them, but would make at least two trips if not one trip to see them each year. My Nagypapa and Nagymama (Grandpa and Grandma in Hungarian) lived on the east side of Cleveland. It was tradition that we would go up there every Thanksgiving. We were always (and I mean always) greeted at the door with kisses and hugs.

I remember how I loved to kiss my Nagymama. She had such a smooshy face (I know that doesn't sound endearing) and she always had a big smile after my quick peck. She loved it. She died when I was only 12, but I tend to think of her more so then I think of my other Grandparents. She taught me solitaire, read books to me, said the rosary daily, smoked her cigarettes (the smell still reminds me of her), and encouraged me to become an author after patiently reading all my childhood scribble books. She was beautiful and I loved her.

My Nagypapa was a strict and stern man. You did not want to get in trouble with this guy. He reminded me of my Dad, but even more strict. He had a fun side to him though. He loved to tease us. I remember how he used to have two jars of M&Ms in his dining room. The peanut M&Ms were his favorite and the plain one was mine. Typically before dinner, he would want some M&Ms, but he knew that if he was caught then he would be in trouble. So he sent his grandchildren in to get it. I remember many a time being caught red handed with a handful of peanut M&M in one hand and a handful of plain M&Ms in the other. Then he would get scolded by the women for putting me up to it. Later years he had Alzheimer's and dementia pretty bad. I remember at one point he was in a rehab to rehabilitate from some minor surgery. He sat there and the cousins, my sister and I just giggled and laughed telling stories to him. At one point I remember him sitting in the wheel chair, I was kneeled down next to him and a light bulb in his head went off. "Diana?" Nagypapa said. At this point he barely recognized his own children and not his grandchildren. "Yes, Nagpapa its me." I tearly said back to him. He recognized me!!! "But you're so grown Diana" he said in a confused tone. I gasped, the cousins and my sister gasped, and I said "Yes Nagypapa". The light bulb went off and he was back to his regular self. Apparently he must of remembered me from when I was a little girl. That moment still makes me teary eyed to this day. It was the last time he ever recognized me. I love him so much.

My Poppi was one of my favorites. He was a great Grandfather that would take you to the park, have books behind his chair so that each grandchild could pick a book for him to read, and just spend the time with us. One memory was of how " bad ass" my Poppi was. My Grandparents didn't live in a good neighborhood. My cousin and I decided to go to a park that was only a block away. While playing (we were only 11 and 12) a gang of Hispanics started jumping the fence to the playground and started surrounding us. We were pretty scared. My cousin and I were great runners at that time and some how escaped. While running down the road back to my Grandparents house, we were screaming for "Poppi" and no joke about twenty Hispanics were running behind us. Poppi could look out at the street from his window and probably saw us running. He ran and got (and this is hilarious) his World War II rifle and headed out the door. He pointed the gun as we ran passed him at the Hispanics and said a few words and told them "to get the hell of his property before he shoots their asses." My cousin and I cheered inside the comforts of the house. The Hispanics left and my Poppi had saved the day. My Poppi passed away a few years after that. I remember holding his hand as he died at the age of 13. I couldn't let go of that hand for four hours. I just didn't want my time with him to end.

If you have gotten this far, I appreciate your patience in letting me talk about my Grandparents and my memories of them. It makes me wonder what memories my son will have of his Grandparents. How he will view them. What he will think of them? What will his favorite memories be of them? I hope his memories are all beautiful and wonderful. Grandparents are a true blessing in life and certainly can give their grandchildren such a different outlook on things. Good Grandparents, loving Grandparents are honest blessings in God's work.

I love you Nagymama, Nagypapa and Poppi. I miss you.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I for one am looking forward the weekend. Its always jammed pack with family outings, getting together with extended family, or meeting up with friends. Its also a moment when you can just enjoy, and not have to wrestle with the rat race of going to work and sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Weekends for me mean FREEDOM!

This weekend our family will be watching two Caps games and the ever talked about Redskins vs. Dallas game. For me, I can't wait to see the Caps in action tonight and tomorrow. I just have a HUGE love of hockey. How I love Brashear! I deal with watching football, though I admit it usually puts me to sleep.

Although I will be glued during the evenings at home, I often wonder what type of events are going on in my neighborhood. What new and exciting thing is there to do with my family or friends? I found this blog and am in love with this bloggers way of keeping up with events and activities going on each week and other special interests. So for all of you that are wondering what should I do this weekend? I would check out the link. Its my best find link of the year!

Have a safe and happy weekend everyone! Go Caps! Go Redskins!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Day

Its amazing what inspires you to do different things in your life or attempt something new. My husband will tell you, I am the dominant person in our household. Obviously my husband has a voice if he is adamantly against something, but for the most part, I decide what happens in our lives. I decide what we do on the weekends, how we will raise the children, what religion my children will be, and the list just goes on and on. In all honesty I don't think he cares about most of the stuff I make decisions on just like I don't care what brand or type of television we have as long as it works. In any case I will get to my point.

After watching an Oprah show one afternoon, I was inspired. Not by the content of the show, but what a therapist challenged a husband to do. He was to plan a date for the couple since typically the woman in the relationships dominates everything they do. I immediately thought that it was a fantastic idea! One little flaw to the date night plan was, we had no babysitters available the upcoming weekend and I wanted to do this experiment NOW! So on a lazy Monday morning, my husband gets an email, "I saw an Oprah show and it inspired me. Per the show I got an idea that you should plan a family day for the entire family this Saturday and it can't be us sitting at home all day." He responded with "okay." It was my desired response back since it had no exciting tone, even for an email tone, but at least he said he would.

Throughout the week leading up to the Saturday family date, I was a bit nervous. I was wondering what he would plan. Would he plan something that was child friendly? Would he follow the rules of being some type of outing that wouldn't consist of a Costco trip? Would he remember to plan something? Obviously I was not in control of the planning, so I was a bit out of my comfort zone. I just wanted my experiment to work.

Saturday mid morning/afternoon the baby and I awoke from our naps. My husband was eager to get us all out the door for his planned family day. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered and seemingly had something great up his sleeve! He reassured my first set of worries. I quickly got myself and the baby dressed and we all headed out for an afternoon of the unknown. We first went to a new favorite restaurant of mine. I thought to myself that this deserves kudos, but would this be it? Would he decide that afterward we should all go the nearby ice rink for some ice skating, which was so inappropriate for the age of my child? Nope. He had other things in mind. After a delicious and wonderful lunch, we headed back to the car and we headed down the road once more. SCORE! My husband took us to a local zoo where we would admire the exotic animals and feed the animals in the petting zoo. The entire family enjoyed the event. My baby (okay a much bigger baby) even squealed with laughter at all the animals! Plus gazillion points for my husband!

After we were all done with the zoo and a short trip to walk around a local outside mall to just enjoy the scenery, we all headed home. It was a fantastic day and my baby conked out early from all the wonderful outside air, which was another bonus my husband did not plan on.

In all my hubby planned a fantastic day for his entire family. I was worried at first, but he didn't let me down. He rose up to the occasion and made a really special day out of it. He even loved getting the attention and praise that I gave him for making our day extra special. I think I may be giving him more family date opportunities in the future. It was just nice not to have to the planning for everyone and give someone else the reins for awhile.

So go out there and challenge your significant others on planning a day if you are the one that is always doing the planning. It is well worth it!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Night Out

At one point in my life I had all but one girlfriend. Not sure why, but thats how it played out to be. I was never comfortable in discussing relationships, sex, parents or anything deep. I had great guys friends, whom I considered best friends, but they never really fulfilled that need and couldn't compare my thoughts and feelings as a woman. After all, they were all men. Then the day came when I found an amazing group of women. Women who I could bond with, talk to and wouldn't judge me, but give me sincere advice.

I used to think when I heard that women need women, I thought it was full of crap. The few girlfriends I did have growing up usually stole my boyfriends, back stabbed me and spread rumors about me. Thus I was always friends with more men. Men were so less complex. What you saw was what you got and if there was an argument, it was upfront and done within a days time. There was no grudge or revenge taken at a later time. As I began work in the real world after college, I was amazed to see so many young women working at my new company. At the company I was before, I was the youngest person there and the only people that were even close to my age were military men. I was cautious in meeting each of these women, since the last several friendships I had with women in the past didn't turn out that well. Plus I wanted to maintain that professional outer shell and never let them look, let alone see the over sensitive, shy, insecure person that I was.

After several months and work drama that occurred, several of these women would confide in me. Confide in me so much that if I ever said anything to my supervisors what they said, they probably would be let go. I was honestly surprised and pleasantly relaxed by this new found trust they had in me. Obviously I would never "rat" them out. It was the fact they trusted me that was so wonderful. Slowly I let them in my little world too and before I knew it, I had a circle of girlfriends that I never had before.

My work girls and I sort of grew together out of that girl phase and into actual women. I cheered when a friend of mine got engaged, sat with her threw her wedding planning at work and even attended her wedding. They rejoiced in when I got engaged, after I confided in them that I never thought my husband would propose. They even surprised me with a work bridal shower, which I got several of my "much needed" household items. But we never actually hung out after work.

The day came when someone had a bright idea of not having husbands, boyfriends around and just have it be an all girl event. It was to be at a friends house, since none of us felt like going out and we just wanted to relax. We invited a friend's sister over and we all opened up to each other about whatever was going on in our lives. I think by the end of the night we all had a new appreciation of each other. After all we were all women that could relate, give advice and there was no judgment involved. We all decided that after that night, we would do our best to hold monthly girls night.

Over the months we all bonded closer and closer together. I would look forward to each and every girls night the minute to when it was planned to the night of. Each girls night was filled with something new, a problem tended to and news revealed. At one such girls night a pregnancy was announced. We were all elated with the beautiful news and the upcoming baby it would bring. It turned into something beautiful. Something wonderful. Something I never had before in my life time. I was truly grateful and blessed. I had someone to talk to other then my husband about my concerns, problems and joys. It isn't that my husband isn't wonderful to talk to, but men, even if they are your best friend can only compare and relate such much. I was finally fulfilled in my friendships. It isn't that I would not invite more people in, because I would, but I actually had something great and something that I would never let go. I have never loved women unless they were relative like I love these women. Not in a romantic way of course. I love them as if they were my sisters. They are my sisters to me.

I guess my final thoughts in this post is, be open to friendships. Be open to meeting wonderful people in your life. I had one hell of a protective shell around me, but having these relationships changed my life and for the better. After my nights out, I come home a better wife, a better Mommy and overall rejuvenated for lifes daily events once more. Its a blessing. My sisters are truly a blessing and I love them all very much. They have no idea how much they mean to me. Women truly need women.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November Already?

I am not going to write about Election Day tomorrow. I know its a GREAT freedom and is important, but honestly, I am SO sick of hearing about it. Just so you know, I am not ignoring it, but just refuse to write about least for now.

What I wanted to concentrate on this blog is the fact that November is already here. It was only two months ago when I was on vacation with nine adults, two children and four babies at the Outer Banks and wearing (pain stakingly so) a tank-kini on the beach. Now Halloween has passed, the air is getting cooler and the fun family holidays are looming around the corner.

Despite the cold air and the heavier clothing, this time is one of my most favorite times of the year. There are so many fun activities planned for the kiddo, lots of family bonding and lots of good things to eat. Note: Forget the diet until at least January 3rd. I can't help but be excited to experience Thanksgiving with my son. I long to see him actually enjoy a Thanksgiving feast this year unlike last year when he had to eat mushed veggies in a jar. I even have already bought all of my son's Christmas presents because the anticipation of him actually learning how to unwrap presents and knowing in my heart he'll love that process is just so exciting to me. Holidays mean something different, now that I have a child. I honestly feel the magic coming alive once more.

So I will start early on what I am thankful for and I am thankful for my son opening my eyes even wider to a beautiful and joyous season ahead. Its amazing what a child can teach you and continues to teach on a daily basis.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Its that time of year again. Its Halloween! The air has gotten colder, the leaves are turning their vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red, and pumpkins are displayed on the front porches of homes across America. I love this time of year despite the cold air (I am not one for the cold) as I love Halloween, and all the great holidays that follow. For me, it reminds me of a time for family and holiday cheer.

This year my little one is going as a Native American Indian. He looks adorable in his costume and actually lets me put the head piece on complete with a feather on his head. He typically throws off any hats I put on him, unless they are tied to his head, so I was surprised in the dress rehearsal that he allowed it. I know he still is young and won't get everything that is going on, but if he can go out on a walk and be outside, he is all for it. Plus, what mother doesn't want to get some free candy and use her child as an excuse? I will obviously allow some candy to be given to him for his hard work, but the things he can have are few and far between (no hard candy), so the rest will go to his Dad and I. I am even more pleased that for the second year, he will be using one of my childhood pumpkin pails for his treats when he goes out. Its a small pumpkin, but just the right size so we can go out for a little while and not be out for too long.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween. Enjoy your evening with friends, family and your little ones!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Farewell To An Old Friend

I recently learned that a childhood cherished doll of mine will no longer be for sale through the American Girl company. Samantha will be discontinued. Sure, most of my childhood toys that I loved and cherished are no longer for sale in the retail stores. The Wuzzles, Gem, and Gummi Bears are all a distant memory of my past. I acknowledge that and accept that. I guess its hard to see it when you are an adult seeing a piece of your childhood being discontinued.

Samantha was the last doll I cherished when I was still in the doll playing stage. I believe I also received her in the last Christmas when I thought Santa Claus was real and Christmas was magical (it still is magical to me just in a different way). She was an expensive doll for the 80's, but my Mom (aka Santa) knew it was something I really wanted. One of the best parts about this doll, is that she looked like me. She was complete with long brown hair, bangs and big brown eyes. I even loved the name she was given and at that time I was going to name my little girl, Samantha when I grew up and had children.

Samantha and I were buds. I pretended I was her Mommy and she my little girl. I spent hours dressing her up in her early 1900's clothing. I remember what a hassle it was to stuff her in her stockings. I remember being sympathetic, because I would occasionally be stuffed into stockings too. I used to do her hair all the time into her trademark half pony tail. I would want my hair done like that to and even to this day (not that my Mom does my hair), if I asked my Mom to give me a Samantha hair do, she would know exactly what I was talking about. I even had my Mom buy me a dress just like Samantha's so we could dress alike. 1900's or not, I was going to look just like her. I even had professional protraits taken in that dress with Samantha by my side. She was my favorite toy until I reached the boring, non-toy playing preteen stage.

I wanted to write a special blog about her, because she was special to me. She was there at the end of my childhood and for that she has a special piece of my heart. I ache knowing that future little girls will not dote on the same doll I did. She was a wonderful doll. At least I have my memory of her and at least I still have MY Samantha tucked away on a shelf until I have a little girl or grand daughter to pass her down to. Then she will be cherished once again, as a only a child can cherish a toy, and Samantha will be given the most glorious kind of love, a child's love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Television and Babies

When my little guy was an infant, I really didn't care what was on the television. He spent most of his time cuddled up without a care in the world (as long as he was feed and had a clean diaper) in his Moms arms. As he grew older, I got more and more into what he couldn't watch on television and what should be on the television if he is in the room. I know kids don't need television on all the time and I do try to cut it to a minimum, but even if just Thomas or Sesame Street, I like having the background noise. I am one that likes a noisy house. Go figure.

My new house rules (when the baby is not sleeping his crib) are the following:
  • No Dead People (CSI, Bones television shows are ruled out)
  • No violence
  • No sex
  • No drug use
  • No curse words (God forbid the kiddo picks up a word)
In my husbands words, "So what can we watch on television?" I like to break down the television shows of things that are funny (AFV), dance shows, Oprah (even ruled out some times), and any sports. I am what you call a television addict and I do have to appreciate having DVR so I can catch up on some not so friendly kid shows after the baby is asleep.

I guess it never occurred to me when you have a baby that you thought of such things, but as the Johnson and Johnson commercials always say, "Having a baby changes everything." That line is so true.

So for now, until my kids are age appropriate, the television shows are all screened. At least I can always trust the PBS Sprout Kids, which are completely age appropriate.

How did television change in your household when you had children? Do you have any favorite shows you watch as a family?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Toddler Talk

For the purpose of this article, we'll call my toddler Pumpkin. Pumpkin is of the age when he is learning more and more words. The first word came around the first birthday and inevitably it was "Dada". It was very cute and my husband adored that he was singled out. I didn't tell him that lots of toddlers first word is "Dada", since its just easier to say then "Mama". Even so, we rejoiced in the new milestone Pumpkin reached. Over the next few months, Pumpkin learned more and more what things meant. He learned the word "dog" next as he loves to terrorize the two poodles in our home. Luckily, they are faster then him. If you said, "Tough down Redskins",those little arms would reach over his head like the refs do when a player scored a touchdown. He even learned that if he pointed and said "that", then we would tell him whatever "that" was. Recently, Pumpkin even learned the word "clock". Yup, a hard word for a toddler (at least in my opinion) to get that "cl" and "k" out there. I relish in all of the new things Pumpkin has learned. However, he has yet to say "Mama".

Don't get me wrong, I am not mad. I praise my toddler for every milestone he hits. I know each one of them is a true blessing as there are so many children that never reach those same milestones. However, can Pumpkin just look at me and say "Mama"? I carried this child for 38 weeks, went on bed rest for four of those weeks, pushed him out, lost countless hours of sleep by his cries, read hundreds of stories, sang every song imaginable, and did my best to play the "Super Mom" role. I guess I am just a bit disappointed? Everyone in our house has a name to him, the dogs, Dada and even his favorite clock, but Mama has yet to receive a name. Have I tried having my husband point to me and say my name? Yes. I have tried saying his name by pointing (since he learns words through pointing at things) and then pointing at me and saying my name. He just looks at me as if he's saying "okay whatever lady" and moves on to something more interesting.

I know someday I'll get that "Mama" word out of him. Its bound to happen at some point and I am sure it will catch me by surprise and I'll relish in finally having a name like his Dad does. I'll probably write at a later time and say how much he does say "Mom" or "Mama", like Stewie does in Family Guy and wish that I could have a break. For now I am just waiting for that moment. I know it will come all too soon.

What were your little ones first words?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mom Guilt

For the longest time, I thought I was the only Mom that had "Mom guilt". I just don't remember hearing friends, family members or anyone talking about the guilt that you feel when you become a Mom. You want to do a million things for your kids, like take them to great places, cook gourmet meals every day and have it on the dinner table at five, read tons of books every day, and just be the best possible Mom you can be. Although, I strive every day to put my son first, there are days where I don't feel that I did enough for him or slack in another part of my life. When you become a parent for the first time, you hear its going to be hard, but you can never anticipate what it will actually be like. Its not hard doting, loving on and just snuggling with your child, but having enough energy and enough hours in the day is a whole different matter to do everything you want to do in life.

My biggest confession of guilt is that I work full time. I know a shocker, but still I feel guilty for having to work. I do my best in working early hours so I can spend the rest of the afternoon with my son, but its still hours missed that I am not with my son. Financially, I have to work so we can put a roof over our heads and food on the table. I just feel badly that I am missing out on most of my son's days five days a week. This stems from my other guilt. When I get home from work, I try to be the most upbeat Mom with lots of energy, but the truth is I am tired. I push it though. I push having the energy to be upbeat, sing songs, read books, make snack and all those other great things I can do before dinner time and bed time. I just sometimes don't have the energy to do everything, like read that extra book, do a craft, or make a healthy dinner (chicken nuggets are just too easy to pop in the microwave).

My realization is this, something has to give. Rather it be my friends, other family members, work, household or sometimes my son, something has to give. If my son is sick, I have to call in for work. If my work needs me that day because a big project is due and my son is sick, I have to find someone to watch him. I feel guilt about that and too often I have had to do both of those scenarios. I have had to cancel on girls nights, parties, etc., because either I could not find a sitter or my son wasn't himself and thus I decided to stay at home. All too often I have wanted to just go out shopping with my Mom and sister, but that would mean leaving my son at home because he would last all of five seconds. So, I had to bail out on that. And forget about my house. Its a wreck and its dirty. I used to clean my bathrooms every week like clockwork, but with activities and other things going on, its lucky if I get to them every two weeks. My house is by no means nasty or unhygienic, but it certainly can stand for a good clean. I would like for once to have all the laundry folded, put away and off my bedroom floor before the weekend is over with. That usually doesn't happen until around Tuesday.

The bottom line is my son is always first and foremost, but there is Mom guilt associated with doing everything I can for him, because I can't do everything. He's only a baby for a little while, only a kid for a little while and I have this window for a little while where I can do certain activities with him per his age group. I do my best in everything I can do for him, I just wish I could do better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Calls

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know it is election season. From the dozens of signs on the highways, to the endless news coverage and campaign commercials, it certainly is apparent who is running for the presidential office. I typically don't mind election season. Its easy to drive past signs and simply ignore them or fast forward through the campaign commercials with my trusty DVR remote, but what I can't ignore are the endless amount of phone calls being made to my house.

These phone calls never come at a decent time in my house. Either I am just getting in the door with a hungry toddler and two dogs that want to go outside, cooking dinner/cleaning up, or (and this is the one I hate the most) the phone rings right as I am putting my baby down to go to bed. No Obama or McCain supporters, I don't want to work in a campaign (like I have the time), I don't want to contribute money (we are in an economic crisis), and its no one's business (especially a strange person at the end of the other line) on who I am going to vote for! Not only did you call me at an inconvenient time, but usually you can hear a child in the background begging for my attention. Do you think trying to delay me getting off the phone is going to make me want to support your candidate even more so? No!

What gets to me more is, they usually ask for my husband first. Did the 19th amendment get thrown out for some reason? I don't get it! Last month he was blessed to receive his naturalization papers and became a citizen of the United States, but did he hand out his home number as apart of the process? That just makes me mad that they never ask for either Mr. or Mrs. when they call.

Obviously I look forward to November since it has two holidays, family time, etc., but another more calls! My house will be call free, except for those that I actually want to talk to.
Does anyone else have an annoying campaign story to tell?

Up All Night

So nightmares are a new thing in our household. We (meaning my husband and I) have been up all week, multiple times during the night trying to soothe our child. We have no idea where how these nightmares started. We are careful about what is on the television, nothing dramatic has happened to cause any nightmares, so what gives? Our baby is too young to tell us about what the dream is about, so the idea of putting monster spray around the room is a little too premature for our kiddo to understand. Plus, who wants to introduce the word of "monster" to a kid? The only monster I want him finding out about is Elmo, who refers to himself as a big (I think he's exaggerating), red, hairy monster.

May I someday resume sleep? Perhaps not, well at least it seems that way. If my kid follows in his Mommies footsteps, this could go on for well over a year. When I was the age of three, I woke up every single night dreaming that bodyless knights in armor were chasing me. This whole dream stemmed from the end of Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Note to self: don't let the kids watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks until they are 16). So wish me luck in this new stage of my life, the sleep deprived state. Then again, thats just been the story of my life since I became a Mom.

First Night Away

This weekend will be the first time my son has stayed away over night. My husband and I were invited to a friend's Halloween party this Saturday. It will be one of our first parties since we became parents that is late (past 2 pm) and kid free! We even planned (since the party won't be until 8 o'clock that evening), to have a dinner date. My son will be going to his Grandparents house. I know that he will have loads of fun, be completely spoiled and have lots of great kiddo treats. So why am I a nervous wreck?

I am a worry wart Mom. I don't try to helicopter my young toddler son, since I want him to be able to experience things; however I want to be with him as much as humanly (and financially) possible. The highlight of my day is running out of work and seeing his little face as I open the day care room door. I am completely in love and infatuated with him. He certainly is the apple of my eye. He has grown so fast and its hard even calling him a toddler. Where did my infant go? Where did the little guy that used to be cradled in my arms for hours at a time go? He's getting big and although many parents will leave their kids at a younger age with family or friends over night, I just never did. "He's too little", I used to think. Now, this is another marker in his little life of growing up and going to an over night stay.

Selfishly I wish my son's Grandparents would stay up until we got home so I could sneak a peak (as I do every night) at my baby sleeping soundly in his crib before I go to sleep. But, I can't do that to them. It wouldn't be right and my parents aren't the type to stay awake much past 10pm. It will be a fun night for me, but one of the most difficult nights of my life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Welcome to our blogging site! This site is dedicated to Moms and Dad living in the NOVA area (and beyond) to talk about our thoughts, feelings, triumphs and difficulties. Each day parents are faced with new and sometimes trying events. It is always nice to see, read or hear about a parent, friend or relative going through the same day to day things that you or someone you love is going through.

This site is dedicated to all the Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, friends and other family that has children in their lives. May God bless you all.