Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving thoughts

This year we are spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws in Pennsylvania.  The first few times I spent Thanksgiving (or any major holiday, really) away from my family I struggled.  It is really difficult to be out of your holiday comfort zone, even if that zone is (slightly) dysfunctional and crazy.*  I love spending time with my family, especially now that there are "grands" as my mom calls them.  Watching the cousins play together is so much fun.

I didn't know how particular I had become until I spent a holiday with another family.  If I remember correctly, my inner thoughts went something like this:  Crap.  They actually used mushroom soup in the green bean casserole.  I guess nobody else really uses cream of celery because they think mushrooms are gross.  I don't want to look like a pig.  I will just take one scoop of everything and one ladle of gravy.  I won't drown everything in gravy like I want to.  Wow, this gravy is good.  Um, where are the sweet potatoes?  THEY DON'T EAT SWEET POTATOES???**  See what I mean?  I had gotten super particular!  Probably not an attractive trait.

But as I came to the realization that every holiday would not be spent at my parent's house, I started to appreciate spending holidays with other families sometimes, especially now with my in-laws.  I decided to embrace these times.  Here is what I found:  I enjoy trying the different foods that they prepare for the holidays.   I'll just bring the sweet potatoes if it is not their thing.  My MIL is a good cook and an even better baker. There will be no lack of delicious eats this Thursday.  Another perk is that they eat dinner early on holidays.  I know this is typical of many households, but the complete opposite of how my family operates.  I rather enjoy the early holiday dinner.  It allows more nighttime snacking opportunity.  Read: turkey sammies!  And lastly, I really enjoy spending the time with them.  This Thanksgiving my SIL will be there with her significant other and that makes it extra special.  As with so many other families, we are always doing the holiday dance...who is going where on what day and at what time.  Often we miss each other or only spend limited time with each other.  I'm glad we will all be together this holiday!

This year I am bringing an appy, I think the cheesy sausage balls, sweet potatoes and maybe an apple pie.  mmmm...I better get busy making that crust tomorrow!

*I am in no way saying that my family is dysfunctional or crazy.  At least no more so than the typical family.  No hurt feelings intended...
**These thoughts are in no way meant to hurt anyone's feelings.  I have always been the recipient of good food and gracious hosts.  And my first few holidays away from my family were with a long-ago forgotten ex, not my lovely in-laws!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

belated pictures!

I finally uploaded pictures from the past month or so.

We went to the Castle Park with Aunt Gina
Note the adorable Piglet sweater knitted by my talented MIL

We had a freak and dangerous October snow storm.

Halloween and my little Pinkalicious!

And finally, wedding preparations...

Monday, November 14, 2011

ahhh....the shore

Today I had a work training in Neptune (which is down the shore for non-NJ savvy friends) and when my co-workers and I went out for pizza I realized that we were literally blocks from the ocean.  "Let's get our stuff to go and eat it on the boardwalk" I said.  Hooray!  We were all excited...the beach in November...awesome!  It was a beautiful day, too, with slightly warmer than usual weather.
A beautiful fall day!

The 3 of us sat on a bench and ate our lunch while watching the ocean.  We were in the middle of discussing how restorative the ocean is.  I mean, on a very primal level the ocean just makes me feel like all will be alright with my world.

And then.  Oh yes...and then.  One seagull flew over us and landed in the sand in front of us.  I say, "Watch out for the seagull.  He'll try to steal our food."  And within what seemed like seconds, there were many seagulls circling over us and pretending to dive bomb.  We started walking to the gazebo a little ways away.  We turn around and the seagulls were following us.  By this time we were laughing so hard that we could barely talk, let alone walk upright.  If I had been able to I would have tried to record them.

We made it to the cover of the gazebo and finished eating our lunch.  As we were all looking out toward the ocean we realized that laughing hard like we did was just as restorative as looking out at the ocean.  And though I would love to be near the ocean every day, on most days, a good, hard laugh with friends is there for the taking.
Finally under cover!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Wedding Weekend!

My brother Jeremiah married his beautiful bride Laurie this weekend.  Theirs is truly a love story for the ages and there was not a dry eye to be found at several points.  I believe that theirs will be a blessed union and that they will be able to handle whatever life throws at them.  I am so happy that they have each other!

What was really special for me and Vinnie was that Monsignor Emory married us in the same church.  He also baptized Lilly.  :)  He asked me before the Mass if he used a certain story during our wedding and he had.  I actually really liked hearing it again as a reminder of where we were and how we felt that day almost 4 years ago.  

The children were amazingly well-behaved.  I did have to get stern a few times with Lilly, but I was probably being a little tough on her.

Hard to get all 3 kids smiling at the same time!

And then the partying began!  Or to misquote one of my favorite books, the wild rumpus started!

Spending some time with Nanny!  (sleepy Lilly)
Cousins dancing the night away!

This is my Dad's Aunt Doris, who is his mother's older sister. 
Vinnie and my brother Joe.  He's single ladies!

My brother Matt twirling Lilly

Crowded dance floor!
At the end of the night...
Laurie and Jeremiah are off to Florida and Disney for a fun-filled honeymoon.  I love you both and can't wait to see you when you get back!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Today, and every day I am grateful for the servicemen and servicewomen of our military.

I clearly remember the first bombing of the WTC in 1993 and how scared I was.  I was an 18 year-old freshman in college and I recall the fear that was coursing through my mind.  Never before in my lifetime had something like that happened.  I began to think about how people in other countries live in the midst of violence like that every day.  Even in my imaginings I never dreamed that we would be where we are today, still at war with Afghanistan.

My husband was in the Navy from 1995-2004.  He served all over the world, including 4 years in Japan and in 2 wars, if I remember correctly.  I did not know Vinnie before he entered the military as an 18-year-old young man, so I can only imagine how his years of service changed him.

I was writing this post in bits and pieces all day so I feel it it's a little disjointed.  I will try to edit and reorganize when I have a chance.  I just wanted to get this published on Veteran's Day.  Tomorrow is my "little" brother's wedding so it won't be then!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I had the day off!

Yeah, so I have not been doing that great about blogging every day about thankfulness.  However I have been trying to remain cognizant of being in a mood of thankfulness this month.

Over the past few days I have been thankful for:
3 days off from work this week
Lilly's sense of humor
Lilly's affection and snuggliness
health insurance
especially the mental health benefits
my therapist
a clean house

There is something else on my mind this night and that is the Penn State scandal.  I am sickened by the fact that children were harmed and nobody did the right thing.  In their avoidance, the behavior was allowed to continue. I don't know all the details of the case, but my heart breaks for those boys and their families.

Monday, November 7, 2011

happy birthday Elizabeth Grace

Today I am grateful for my beautiful niece, Elizabeth Grace.  Today is her 4th birthday.  She is my first (and so far only) niece and is the eldest of the grandchildren.  Holding her in my arms for the first time changed my life irrevocably, in the best way possible.  Lilly is 6 months to the day younger and just loves her so much.  She tells her, "I am going to call you Liz because your my friend."  I don't have any idea where she got that from but I think it's adorable.  I am so excited to watch them grow up together.

Elizabeth Grace, you will always and forever hold a piece of my heart.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Okay, I missed a few days...

But today I am thankful for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  This week I needed a lot of loud music.  They fit the bill for me.  So really, even though this is the band I chose to listen to, what I am really grateful for is the ability to express our emotions through music.  Music is such an incredible tool for channeling our emotions.
Even though I love this song, I think it's not the best example of what I was listening to this week.  There is definitely a small part of me that feels like like getting right in the pit, right up next to the stage when I listen to this music.  It brings me right back to the early and mid 90s....pigtails, mini skirts, tights and doc martins and Michelle.  Nothing could go wrong and we had the whole world in the palm of our hands.

Funny story...Lilly likes when I wear my old MMB teeshirt.  She thinks a bulldog with horns is funny.  :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am thankful 3

Today I am thankful for 3 year-old girl tantrums. Because really, she's just doing what I sometimes wish I could. Don't you ever just want to jump and scream until you are hoarse and cry out loud with snot running down your face? Okay, I could forgo snot running down my face. When Lilly has a tantrum of great proportions it is a reminder that our feelings are real and sometimes we just need to let them out!
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am 2

Today I am thankful for blonde highlights.  Yup, I said it...I am grateful for something completely superficial.  I had my hair highlighted today and my new do makes me feel fabulous!

I am also humbly thankful for my mom's friend Jenny.  She is amazing and doesn't even know it.

I am 1

For the month of November I have decided to blog every day about something for which I am thankful.  This happens to be a stressful time in my life right now and I think that this is a great way of keeping a positive perspective.  

#1 Today I am thankful for my parents.  They are not only supportive and loving parents but the best grandparents to Lilly.