Tag Archives: mom before mom

It’s Easy as A-B-C!

Sometimes I am convinced I live in the dark ages of the blogging community. I have found some AMAZING blogs… but everyone already knows about them. Where the heck have I been? Then I remember. Dave and I re-met in 2007, began dating in 2008, bought the money pit (j/k I love my house) and married in 2009… we both worked 7 days a week, totaling more than 100 hours every week between us until my water broke April 15th. At that point I wasn’t blogging anymore, and what I was writing was about the family HERE or about running HERE (I wish I’d done more with the last blog). Who cares who I know about, right? ME! I CARE!

I was recently tagged by an inspiring local blogger, Jennifer of Multiple Realities, in her old school meme post, and I was super excited to join in! Remember the MySpace days of filling this stuff out? Let’s be real: people love to talk about themselves. I’m no different. I have to live with me, so I know a lot about me. I’m a blogger, so I over-share. This short and simple project got me all giddy. And, here we are.

Thanks to Jennifer, I’ve been introduced to The Miss Elaine-ous Life, and I’m hooked! Elaine started THIS old school meme in 2008, and is reigniting the trend HERE! I am SO thankful I was tagged so I could check out her blog (how amazing to be a writer with such a following- I aspire and digress).

And back on track! Here is my 2013 Old School Alphabet Meme!

A. Attached or Single?  The former.

B. Best Friend?  It’s true love:

 NewYearsBesties

C. Cake or pie?  Cherry pie.  All the time.

D. Day of choice?  Friday- I get to spend the morning swimming, the afternoon with the bestie, and it means the next day Dave and I can sleep in a little!

E. Essential Item?  THE diaper bag… it houses a lot, including snacks, coffee and, well… diapers.

F. Favorite color?  Is plain blue acceptable?

G. Gummy bears or worms?  Yikes- not for these teeth!

H. Hometown?  Huntingdon Valley, PA

I. Favorite Indulgence?  Wine. Lots of it.

J. January or July?  July, because that’s when the best big sister ever was born <3

Sistas

K. Kids?  Adelaide Eileen <3

LookUp

L. Life isn’t complete without?  The LPA and POLP (parents of little people) communities and all of their support.

M. Marriage date?  August 2, 2009

N. Number of brothers/sisters? I have an older (somewhat wiser and definitely more beautiful) sister, Jessica, younger brothers (identical twins) who I still refer to as The Twinnies, Nick and Geoff, and a deceased baby brother, Jonathan, who would be 23.
(BTW: Jen, your brother sounds amazing. May I be placed on a waiting list? ;) )

O. Oranges or Apples.  Apples. Maybe in a pie. Unless there is cherry pie… then I want the cherry and I will leave the apples behind.

P. Phobias?  The dark after a scary movie. Literally debilitating.

Q. Quotes?  Many times I pick something from a list I’ve compiled over the years, but recently, a POLP mom said this to me: “People in general get uncomfortable when their own truth is facing them. When they have to acknowledge their own behavior and perceptions, only then can real change occur.” It resonated deep in my soul, and I hope I can learn from her when we meet in DC this summer. Thank you Tonya.

R. Reasons to smile?  I used to believe there were none. Truly. Perhaps I’ll write more to this, someday. But one day I put my feet on the floor, and weaned myself off years of medication and decided SOMETHING HAD TO BE WORTH IT. Then I found him and we made her.

daveandaddiegoodbye

S. Season of choice?  True Spring- warm enough to stick your feet in the water and maybe hit the beach once or twice.

T. Tag 5 People.  Mary, Mike, Sarah, Tera and Jane.

U. Unknown fact about me? I want to get into politics (local level), but I fear what would be said about me and my family.

V. Vegetable?  Artichoke

W. Worst habit?  My phone

X. Xray or Ultrasound?  Am I supposed to like one more?

Y. Your favorite food? Avocado!

Z. Zodiac sign?  Scorpio. If you’ve ever met me, you’d know.

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Marvelous Monday!

So, It’s been QUITE the weekend. I think I am stressed for the next two weeks before they even happen. Don’t you hate when you do that to yourself?! I am combining MM with Mom Before Mom because… well, sometimes life just all comes together in sweet harmony. Read on!

This week I am thankful for my beautiful girl and her power of healing. We had a wonderful visit with the ENT two weeks ago to check on her tubes and they’re doing great! She seems like she is hearing SO much better, but I will have more conclusive, scientific results after our audiology appointment in May. Until then, we are back in the water and loving out new ear plugs- they’re even fun to try and eat!

Ear Plugs

Which brings me to the Mom Before Mom prompt from All of me Now this week: What was the first piece of music you couldn’t stop listening to? What was the first piece of music you bought?

I am so glad that Addie can hear! I can say that I remember driving my sister crazy when I was about 15, listening to Dave Matthew’s Band over and over- more specifically, Every dog has it’s day every day has it’s way of being forgotten- “Mom it’s my birthday.” What would you say?, and then restarting the song. Ah, the joys of newly made compact discs.

But my first favorite memories of music are the nights after Flyers’ games, when I was half asleep in the back of the car and my Dad put on Oldies 98fm Philadelphia for Doo Wop Sundays. As I drifted off to sleep, knowing that I would wake up in the morning safe in my bed, I listed to some amazing songs like Earth Angel, In the Still of the Night, Sixteen Candles, I Only Have Eyes for You, Why do Fools Fall in Love, A Teenager in Love, Pretty Little Angel Eyes, Life is But a Dream, Blue Moon, Tears on my Pillow, Sunday Kind of Love, Since I Don’t Have You, and my all-time favorite Unchained Melody. These songs all bring me back to a time where I knew (almost) nothing bad in this world existed. Where all evils could be cured by a hug from my Dad.

I want this for Addie. I am thankful that Dave and I can give her the gift of music, and that Dr. G was able to give her (back) the miracle that is hearing. Dave is a very talented musician and he needs to share that with her. I want to give my little angel all the happy memories and related history that comes along with different musical eras. To cherish memories that were both mine as a child, and my Dad’s (him being young in the 50’s and growing up with this music), gives me the “old soul” I’m said to possess. Passing on my love of music is something I am proud to give to Addie and cannot wait to share with her more and more as she grows into her likes and dislikes… or maybe I can wait- if it means NOT having to listen to the same Sesame Street song over and over and over!

* * *

This week, in light of Easter, I’d love to focus my information about dwarfism to weight. Addie had a beautiful Easter shoot last weekend, as a model for one of my wonderful friends, Lynette, owner of Exalt Photography.
Exalt PhotographyYesterday was Easter and we had a beautiful time as a family! We went to Home Depot, snuggled in, boiled eggs we never dyed, and had a wonderful dinner at my bestie’s house… we also had an Easter basket!

Easter Basket

… with no candy or food of any kind involved. Someone made a point of emailing me to tell me that I shouldn’t feel superior just because I don’t give Addie sweets or candy because she’s young and I will someday. My response, quite simply, is OK. I don’t feel superior to anyone for any reason. The feeling that you need to email me to tell me that giving Addie candy and sweets is in some way inevitable is a given, makes me wonder why you are so passionate about this issue. She will have these things, but they do not have to come from our home. In no way does that ever need to happen. Will it? Sure. But I have made a parenting decision- equally with Dave- that sweets and treats will not be a part of our holidays. Instead, we choose books. Addie has gotten a special book for each holiday thus far. Perhaps she will get a special DVD one year, or a specific outfit. But, there are so many opportunities for junk outside the home, there is no need for me to spend my money supplying such things. It is not a judgement on what others do… it is just our prerogative.

With that being said: lots of other children do not have the automatic predisposition to obesity. Not being overweight. Obesity. I am a healhty person by nature. I like salad, I enjoy running and I come from a family of athletic people. While Addie is partly my genetic make-up, she is also Dave’s, who comes from a less athletic family. And she’s also something completely different from us. She is her! Children with achondroplasia have a high-risk for weight issues. I’ve been on a few sites in the last 10 months that have parents asking for dietary tips for their achondroplastic children… their 4 to 7 year olds, who are being placed on dietary restrictions because of their weight. That is terrifying to me. In a world where primary concerns are looks and weight, especially for girls, I am concerned for Addie. I want to give her the right foods now to avoid the issue of childhood dieting (which can have terrible emotional consequences, and often times don’t last) later. If Addie doesn’t have fast food (which Dave and I do not ever eat. Ever.), juices (they’re all sugar) or cake and candy, I won’t be setting her up for failure. Just a bite here and there at home, as regulated as they are, do not account for what she will encounter outside the home. Just a few extra pounds on her will effect her hips (she has dysplasia), knees and ankles, not to mention her spine- in-which she has some minor issues now.

It may seem like we are “hippy-dippy” (as I was recently called and chuckled about) because we have no TV, we don’t ever go through a drive-thru and I refuse to give Addie junk food (she snacks on peas- and rarely her auntie gives her puffed cereal), but I’m truthfully just trying to give her the best start to life as I can. How many play dates will be spent playing a video game or watching a movie (she still has never watched a movie)? How many parents will grab chicken fingers from BK for dinner when Addie gets a ride home? How many birthday parties will have pizza, cake and ice cream? A lot. I want Addie to learn about wonderful raw foods, foods cooked with love and care- prepared with whole ingredients that she can identify and learn to use in her own ways. I want Addie to learn how to play outside in the hot Summer sun, the warm Spring air, the brisk chill and leaves of Fall, and the snowy days in a New England Winter. I want her to like to dance in the rain, the way I do. There wasn’t a reason to be inside (except for lightening and thunder) as a child, and for that reason I am an active, healthy adult.

I guess as crazy as I seem, I am not trying to restrict her from ever having certain foods or watching TV, but I make the conscious decision to not have them in my home (for my sake as much as her’s), and to not spend my money on them. What other people do and all the elements of the world… they’re not something I can control. Addie will make decisions for herself as she gets older, and I will make those decisions for her now, as other parents do for their children. Sometimes Addie will be in the crosshairs of our family values and others. That’s OK! That’s growing up and becoming your own person- acceptance, respect and, at minimum, tolerance of other values are wonderful life lessons. I never ate Big Macs and therefore I never want one. I don’t battle with weight or weight-related illness. It’s just that simple. Many things in Addie’s life are bound to be struggles. With a healthy lifestyle, weight doesn’t have to be one of them.

* * *

My random of the week (of which there are two) is a BIG Happy Birthday to my amazing hubby Dave and his business partners Domenick and Jamez. Their business BSharp has been open for TEN YEARS!!!!! It may not be what keeps us afloat anymore, but it is an accomplishment to keep a business alive for 10 years, especially in this economy, especially in Rhode Island. Just ask Curtis Montague Schilling, also known as Curt, who couldn’t make a business work with 75 million dollars. I digress. Happy birthday, BSharp! I love you, Dave. I am so proud to be the wife of such an amazing, dedicated man. Working two jobs to keep your ladies together means more to both of us than we could ever tell you <3

Bsharp

Second… IF YOU HAVE DRESSES YOU WANT TO RID YOURSELF OF AND ARE IN THE AREA…
Dresses

It’s back – Say Yes to the Prom Dress! The Pawtucket Community Partnership Team Against Violence are looking for donations of gently used prom dresses! Make arrangements to drop off your clean and generous donations to make a teen’s DREAM COME TRUE by calling us at (401) 723-3057 by April 12th.

Addie and I dropped off 15 dresses last week

Addie and I dropped off 15 dresses last week

Dresses 15

We will pick dresses up from you and make the delivery! It’s so easy to help!

Have a fantastic week, Reader!!!

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Moving on…

How did you choose what to do after high school? Did anyone provide valuable advice which influenced your decision?

This is the next prompt from Carla at AllofMeNow, who is running the Mom Before Mom series that I’ve been writing each weekend. I LOVE these pieces- initially because they allowed me the time to reflect, but now because they give me the right to feel things I didn’t get a chance to as a child.

I had always known that I would go to college. I dreamt of becoming a flight attendant, and then of being a doctor. The doctor thing stuck with me for a while. I was going to cure cancer. My cousin had died at 18 of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I was going to stop it from ever happening again.

Then my Dad died. April 21, 1998 I had more than just bad dreams to battle, I had the dreams of a child crushed under the weight of fluid filled lungs and a 6’1″ man residing in a cold bed, now housing a 140 pound body. It sounds graphic. It might have been. Regardless, he was gone and I could never face my dreams again.

So… I did what lots of girls do- I tried to find my Dad. I didn’t go around to boys looking for them to be daddy, I dated boys who had strong dads who would protect me and love me as their own. They helped shape me into the woman I became- some offering advice on how to throw a punch, some telling me tales of how to write a good cover letter. It was all encompassing of my father, who would have shown me and told me how to do everything from reducing the swelling on a bruised knee, to building my own computer and how to french-braid my own hair.

You’re wondering how this has anything to do with my post-high school life? Let’s call him Mer. Mer and I had a relationship- he’d graduated from a college in Rhode Island earlier in the year we’d met, that I later graduated from as well. Prior to my application, acceptance, scholarship, over-achievement and early commencement, I was lost. My whole life I was going to cure cancer, but as I moved into my later teen years, I learned to accept the fact that I had no ability to separate myself from feeling. Six years of schooling, grueling nights working on a cadaver, no sleep, little money, insurance risks- all this meant nothing. What stopped me from accepting the obligation I’d laid upon myself 5 years prior to my high school graduation- to cure cancer- was the fact that I could not tell a child they were going to lose their parent.

So, as I held onto my high school job of working in a kitchen and found I loved planning events (I’d even been so blessed as to need to color code and list most aspects of my life), and Mer told me all about Johnson & Wales University, I knew I had my next step planned. Done and done.

It sounds so silly… how I got there, what it meant. I’ve done very little with my degree since 2008- I graduated in 2006. I learned a lot about the non-profit sector, and that’s been helpful… but I was meant to change things. Big things. I wasn’t just meant to plan weddings… which, by the way, I love! I have a wedding coming up in September, and I am SO glad to be back in the saddle (two weddings in two years can make a planner want more more more), but beyond that… I have a larger goal, a longer stride, a destiny to make a difference.

I’ve awoken in a cold sweat more than once, swearing that I was 13 again standing at the side of my father’s bed rattling off a litany of medications and therapies, transfusions and a test for… but I wake up. Before I can hear myself breathing as though I’ve just run a marathon, there is a high-pitched beep in my ear signifying a flat line. They’re all dead. My cousin, my Dad. Thousands of patients I didn’t save.

It sounds morbid, but perhaps it’s what led me to now. If I had gone to med school, I would have been confined to a lab, spending years of my life fighting to cure something I truly believe the pharmaceutical companies don’t want to cure (this is a whole other topic about conspiracy that I firmly believe in). I wish I could know my cousin now- she would be 34… I wish my Dad had walked me down the aisle at my wedding… but who would I have married? Where would I have graduated from? Forget college… I never would have gone to Upper Moreland. I would have been a Spring Side-er. I would have been a normal kid, whatever that means. I would not have met Dave and we never would have had Addie.

Because it’s Sunday, I’ll say it: I chose what to do after high school because I believe God has a plan. Is it the God hanging, bloody on the wooden cross in my Catholic church? Maybe not. Maybe it’s really the Messiah and we’re still waiting, maybe it’s just the idea that something besides our selfish souls and a boy named Mer controls where we end up.

There is a path, and it led me here. To Dave, to Addie, to writing.

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Would you like peanuts?

As if I haven’t mentioned this before… I LOVE these Mom before Mom prompts. They bring me back to some fantastic times in my life, as well as reliving and remembering that sometimes life just isn’t fair and that’s OK. Thank you, Carla, at AllofmeNow!

This week’s prompt: What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you still harbor a desire to be that? When did you realize your dream was or wasn’t possible?

“My name is Michelle. I drew myself as a stewardess. A stewardess is…” Thanks to Mrs. Carpenter’s class and Career Day, I knew what I wanted to be: a flight attendant. I wanted to travel the world, be a free spirit and serve others. Sounds silly, but my bachelors is in hospitality- so I guess the desire to serve others never went away. I don’t remember too much about the day our parents came in to school tell what they did and what our reactions were (except to Geoff’s grandfather- who ran a gymnastics school I painfully wanted to go to, but was too tall by the 5th grade to ever be admitted), but I do remember the life size portraits we made of ourselves in our desired positions.

In art class, our bodies were traced and then we decorated our paper-selves as we imagined we would be as adults. I remember painting a hat on myself, and a navy blue uniform- more of a business looking suit- complete with my pin of wings. I imagined a perfect bob beneath my cap, a red painted smile and gloved hands. I saw myself becoming this:

Air Stewardess (1962)A novel by Marguerite Nelson

Air Stewardess (1962)
A novel by Marguerite Nelson

From "Star of Davida" on Blogspot

From “Star of Davida” on Blogspot

I wanted to serve people in a professional manner and see the world, and I wanted to look good doing it. Although I think my ship has sailed (or plan has flown) to pursue a career as a flight attendant, I still imagine myself as a jet-setter in my dreams. Something like this, maybe?

Illustration from 123RF.com

Illustration from 123RF.com

I suppose a conflict of boyfriend and reality both got in my way, in terms of being a flight attendant. There were so many things I wanted to do- being a doctor was high on the list- but I always found something to limit me. In this case, I knew I could never tell a parent or a child that they were going to lose the other, so I knew being a doctor was not in my future. I disappointed many teachers when I told them I would not be applying for any pre-med programs. Then, there was the idea that I would go to school for business, but that seemed too general for me, which led me to hospitality. There were so many things I could do with my degree, but I chose to focus on events. I. Love. Weddings. I love Love. I use it as a proper noun, because when it’s real love, it’s Love. I do not think you Love only once in your life, but whether you are celebrating your first, or your last, or maybe the one in the middle- I have some insane desire to help people plan their day. And so, a planner I was.

Sadly, this economy can only harbor so many wedding planners, and while the 7am-1am days wore thin on me, I drifted away from my plan of being J.Lo in The Wedding Planner. Plus, what if I fell in love with Matthew McAbs? His country-boy accent would eventually wear out its welcome, and long after the credits rolled, I’m sure I would have moved on to be with someone more suitable for me (like Dave). Alas, I digress.

I guess I made it impossible to catch my dream of applying to be a flight attendant because I was in love with a boy. One when I applied to, and decided to attend JWU, and a different one when I graduated. The idea of leaving someone for a career seemed too far-fetched, although sometimes I want to kick myself in the rear end for stunting my professional growth for two people I no longer have feelings of love for. Everything happens for a reason, and if my two feet had not been planted on the ground, I would not have married the man of my dreams.

Being Addie’s mom, I have found myself more invested in the idea of traveling- especially to LPA conferences and hopefully to DC to help make some much needed changes for our new community we call family. There are so many things I do not need and have given up without even noticing: massages, manicures, pedicures, highlights, dinners out, new winter boots, another pair of running shorts, extra minutes on my phone, movies in theater, drinks at the bar, coffees, and song downloads… to name a few- and without these things, we’ve kept up with the medical bills and everyday life. Perhaps, we will be able to get out more often, and, more-so, we will have the funds to allow Addie to have the opportunity to go to many of the local and national LPA events, and have a few custom things for her in our home.

I hope to get my MFA, and to be able to send Addie and our future child(ren) to college, to provide them with their first cars, and pay for their weddings- my dream of flying those friendly skies as a career have been replaced with different dreams, and one of the biggest already being fulfilled: becoming a(ddie’s) mom.

When I grow up, I hope to be… me.

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Family Pet

This week’s Mom before Mom prompt from Carla at All of Me Now…

3/9 Did you have a favorite pet? A crazy one?What were their names? Tell us a story about your animal companions or lack their of.

There are so many animals that come to mind when I think of my childhood. I was blessed to always have animals in the house, and thus I learned from a very young age to take care of other living beings. I went to an amazing private elementary school and we always had classroom pets and fun animals in the science room (and some not so fun ones- NOTE- chinchillas are not friendly).

I had a friend who was allergic to parakeets, and so his joined mine. We had Crispy, Brindy (yes, after Rod Brind’Amour), Skylar, and Sunflower all together, though not at the same time. Sadly, birds commonly get tumors after a few years and I was devastated every time. We even went to a special vet to try and figure it all out- but one by one my loves fell to the bottom. Crispy lived the longest, but suffered a great depression after Brindy passed. He was never the same and passed within the same year. Eventually, we had no birds, and I was OK with that- I hope to have a parakeet for Addie, though. When handled everyday- they are loving and beautiful little birds to have.

Of course, we had dogs, too. Brownie was my first. He was hideous. I look at pictures now and wonder why we had him, but I was young, so I’m not sure I had much to do with the process. He reminded me of Benji- with less endearing qualities and longer ears and body. We loved that boy.

I have often wondered how much I will turn into my mom. We look SO much alike with every passing year- our noses, the shape of our faces, the curve in our pinkies. Everything except our hair color and bust line seem to be genetic matches. But, it’s the personality that seems to be budding from me. Recently I’ve become much more “zen” in my approach to negativity, but more than that… I yell at any vehicle that looks like it’s going over 27MPH down my 25MPH street.

And so, back to Brownie. My grandmother was at our house and my parents were out. It was early-ish in the evening and we had all just settled after eating. My grandmother went to bring the trash out- why? I don’t know- my Dad would have done it. Then, we heard her yell at the dog, who had slid past her and out the front door into the night. And worse. We heard worse. The screeching of tires and a thud. My sister, 7 years older than me, ran- Past grandma, slamming through the door and to the end of the lawn, directly under the spotlight of the street lamp above. On our 25MPH, no outlet street a kid was speeding and hit Brownie. I’d never seen anything like it before. My grandmother was panicked- in a brusk voice told me to stay inside. My sister picked up the dog- I watched her ever so carefully lift his body from the road. A child in front of this kid who just had to get somewhere, carrying the lifeless dog. She was covered in his blood- all over her 3/4 length sleeve baseball jersey-style top. My parents came home and called the police. The kid was sorry- as I recall, he was cited with a speeding ticket. But nothing brought Brownie back.  We all cried.

As I got older, I began to ask about another dog. I visited my Dad at work a lot and often went down the street to a local pet store that always had puppies in the window (how cliche!). The owner was SO nice and I always got to hold a few of the pups whenever I stopped by. I must have begged a million times, but my parents always said “no!”.

Then Christmas came. I realized that my sister was still opening gifts, but I was done. Being young, I was upset and went up to my room. My Mom came up after me (somehow I didn’t realize that my Dad was no longer there), and told me that Santa may have forgotten one of my gifts. My heart lit up. It was a hockey player. I was sure that Santa would bring me one of the Philadelphia Flyers to be mine. In no way am I kidding. I thought that I would get my very own hockey player. Naturally, I was hoping it was Rod. After I was sure of what Santa had forgotten, Mom led me back down the stairs and into the living room. Suddenly there were paws scratching on the floor… and a puppy ran into my lap! He was a black lab-keeshond mix… I named him Fudge.

Fudge

After his passing, I took months to pick out another puppy. I wasn’t sure what I wanted. My parents were impressed with my self control. I had seen lots of cute ones, but not the dog for us. Then we went to a sheltie breeder… all bets were off. I saw him. His name was Dollar Bill, and he was the runt of the litter. A dog who wasn’t good enough to be shown, but fell fast asleep in my lap. His cousin, a tri-color sheltie named Snoopie, who was very shy, also came over to me. The breeder was impressed… and no matter how loving she was, she knew that either of these dogs would make good pets for us, but do nothing for her. After snuggling with both puppies, Dollar Bill was the one I could not get out of my dreams that night. After weeks of searching breeders and pet shops, my parents were almost more excited than me! All the puppies in the litter were named after money and I liked the name Bill, so we renamed him William Jefferson- called Billy! He was amazing in all areas a dog could be. Well trained without lessons, didn’t need a leash, loyal and loving, and a therapy dog! Bill lived a long 13 years before his passing. He was a beloved family member and will always be remembered by us all. Interestingly, my Dad lived for 13 years of my life, too. I like to think they are both up there, thick as thieves, watching Flyers’ games and playing endless games of fetch.

My sister got a lab that suffered from several issues including being awesome… as well as separation anxiety and the inability to walk up the stairs forward- ever. No, really, Toblerone Chocolate (aka Toby), never went up the stairs unless his butt was leading the way. He was the most adorable chocolate lab ever. He passed away a couple of years ago from cancer- a nice old man who lived a wonderful life. In high school, my boyfriend got me the cutest ugly dog ever. I named her Lexi-Marie. She’s half dachshund and half pekingese- all so hideous, she’s actually adorable. She lives with my parents in PA… she’s my step-dad’s daughter he never had. It’s kind of too adorable to mention. She lives with a rescue named Rocky. Back in the day she, Toby and Bill were the three silliest dogs together:

Three dogs

Lexi and Bill

In college I had PETS! Perhaps it was because I was missing all the fun at home, but my friend Adam and I loved all of the animals in our apartment… from the fish tanks to Avery the Boston and Aiko the Dane, there was a brief stay from some cats before they found their forever home, and the geckos, of course! When we graduated, the puppies went to live with my friend’s mom, and the geckos had passed on (lifespan 2-10 years… what a difference in span!). I miss those hounds, but they have found much comfort in not living with college kids and being with a woman who is one of the best caretakers I’ve ever met!

geckos

Avery!

Avery!

Aiko!

Aiko!

Lastly, before Addie there was Carter (and Morgan). Carter is my first born son- a labrahoula (catahoula lab mix). He’s a rescue from down south where his purebred mama birthed him and his siblings and nobody wanted them. Happily, Carter became ours! Morgan is Dave’s cat… I love him, but I’m not sure I like him. I am not a cat person, but I adore how dog-like Morgan is. He (named because he was thought to be a she) is kind of my BFF when Carter is too smelly for the bed… but don’t tell Dave.

My dude, Morgan (2008)

My dude, Morgan (2008)

Carter on Petfinder

A picture of my sweet boy from Petfinder!

The day he was adopted!

The day he was adopted!

My southern boy in the winter snows!

My southern boy in the winter snows!

I hope to pass on my love of animals of all kinds to Addie, from the traditional cat and dog, to the passion for horses and all silly animals like birds and lizards!

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Chicken and Stars

I love this Mom before Mom series. Thank you Carla at All of Me… Now!This week’s topic is interesting because I can only think of one thing… here we go!

This week’s prompt:
Who took care of you when you were sick? How did you spend sick days? From soup to ointments to old wives tales, how did your family teach you to heal?

To be honest, I can’t remember too much about being sick. I’m sure I had colds and the flu, but I have no real lucid memories of those times. I do know that for me to get a fever is rare and sort-of dangerous. I haven’t had one in 20 years. But, when I don’t feel well, just as when I was a child, I request Chicken and Stars.

Not chicken noodle.

From www.mommymusings.com

From www.mommymusings.com

An old plastic tray carried Saltines, Canada Dry, hot tea and Campbell’s Chicken and Stars to me (via Mom or Dad). The salt stayed on my lips, the carrots always gave me just a little flavor and the stars… well- they were just awesome. I don’t think I was ever out from school for more than 2 days. If I was sick before school but OK to be out of the house, I would go to work with my Mom and sleep on her couch. Her receptionist was one of the most memorable women of my childhood. Her name was Gisela, and she was German (I think). Her blond hair and big smile were so welcoming, and I felt like speaking with her was a challenge- one I wanted to accept. I have such wonderful memories of those days with my Mom. I even remember Gretchen- she was a college student with beautiful hair. I think I only met her once, but she was a long-time patient of my Mom’s. Lord knows Mom would never tell me why she was seeing her, but I suspect Gretchen needed a mom to talk to that wasn’t her own (my Mom is kind of everyone’s go-to for that- she’s an amazing psychologist). That one time we met, she brought me for ice cream after a session. I remember her piggybacking me. She was like my big sister for the day. I’m not sure if I felt sick after that; like I just needed some love, or sugar (see below), to feel better.

Usually my Dad would come to school when I didn’t feel well. He owned his business and was closer to Meadowbrook than Mom. Often times, I had a headache. This was solved by rubbing my temples, and later with some food* (especially when I passed out in 4th grade from low blood sugar). I remember one time feeling terrible. My Dad did skin-to-skin with me. I was maybe six. We were laying in my parents’ water bed and my Dad put me on his chest to keep me close to him and elevate my head so I could breathe. I fell asleep on him. When I woke up, Mom was home- she tried to help my Dad out from underneath the soaked sheets (we were both sweating and I had drooled terribly). Instead, my Dad smiled at my groggy gaze and patted my head back down. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I fell asleep there and my parents didn’t put me to bed that night. I loved snuggling with them. Other times, Dad would bring me to his office, where I would climb on the conference room table, all the way to the end, where I would open up the doors on the wall revealing a white board. These were brand new back then. State-of-the-art stuff where you could write and project your presentations. Me? I chose to write notes and my name with every marker color they had. If the ink ran out, I would raid the office supply cabinet near the fax machine (and sugar cubes).

My headaches still come and are generally stress or lack-of-food induced, although you wouldn’t believe it by my pant size! However, since I have been a quitter (smoke-free) for 3 years, my colds are incredibly rare. When I do feel under-the-weather, I call upon Chicken and Stars. Although one can never does it, there is no other solution to a cold for me.

Having such loving parents, I learned that “things” are not generally what heals us. Healing, both inside and out, are not something that can come from someone else- it comes from within (rest, nourishment, caring for oneself)… but I also learned that things can comfort us in times of need. That is what this soup does for me. As I wait for my body to heal and my spirit to return, I find comfort eating my soup from an over-sized mug. Instead of my Mom delivering a delicious tray of goodies to me in bed, Dave proudly carries a baby on one side and a mug ‘o stars on the other. He then runs down stairs for ginger ale and orange juice with lots of pulp (his solution to all ailments).

While I am glad that memories of illness, at least not my own, are not focal points of my childhood, I am so thankful that Chicken and Stars created such a blissful bond inside me. I hope to pass down the love of this comfort food to Addie, should she ever have a sick day.

* While I mention 4th grade, do any of my UMHS alums remember my sophomore year? On a hot day in June, I stood in my choir robe on the top riser. I was proudly preparing to sing the National Anthem for our graduating seniors, and got to “Oh say…” before I went straight back, knees never even buckling, from dehydration and low blood sugar. I was taken, by ambulance, off the field and to Abington Memorial. My fellow vocalists never stopped… in fact, I think they closed in to fill my space- carry on, Choir!

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Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight

Prompt #7: Walk us through your bedtime routine as a kid. As a teen. Anything you still do now? Mom before Mom series

By that title alone, I hope there is an “oldie but goodie” playing in your head. I loved to be sung to as a child. I danced with my step-dad to “Lullaby” by Billy Joel at my wedding… it was magic, in his arms, wishing my Dad was still alive, but having a man who cares so much for me holding me there on the empty dance floor.

I cried the whole song. Al just held me up like I was his baby girl crying in the middle of the night.

I cried the whole song. Al just held me up like I was his baby girl crying in the middle of the night.

That dance brought me back to childhood- of times when I stood on my Dad’s feet in the living room in my footie pajamas extending those “five more minutes” for ten. I never had a true routine that I can remember as a youth, and if I dare devulge too much about college, I would have to admit I fell asleep standing up against my bed more than once, and even in a pile of “I thought he loved me tears” at least twice.

What I remember most about my youth is: “I can’t sleep”. As I stood at the top of our stairs, my parents peered past the threshold between the front hall and kitchen. There I was, pretending I had been asleep for a half hour and now was unable to remain in bed. “Do you need a cup of tea?” my Dad would ask. “Yes.”

Mom would bring me tea and rub my head, my back, my arms, hands, legs and feet repeating “relax”. I do this for Addie now. It works like a charm to get her to calm. Many nights my Dad would come in a sleep with me until I really was in dream land and not pretending. Other times I set my TV timer for 15 minutes, and inevitably, it became just like my alarm, but in reverse. I kept tacking on 5 minutes until I finally fell asleep holding the remote, or sat petrified because I had just watched a mini-marathon of Unsolved Mysteries. I would only hide when I heard my parents at the door to my bedroom. I quickly hit the power button and closed my eyes. It never worked. They knew I was awake.

As a teen, my routine was to shower after work- being a dishwasher is kind of gross- finish homework and go to sleep. I was an athlete, so I never had the opportunity to sleep in and miss morning classes (not in by 9am means no practice that day and no game that week), so I tried to get in at least 6 hours. Even in high school, when my Mom got home late from seeing her last session (she’s a family therapist), I would ask her to make me tea.

The funny thing is, 68% of the time, I never drank the tea. It was a way to lure someone to stay awake with me and talk a little longer.

As a mom, my routine is milk, pajamas, diaper, 3 books, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, prayers and bed for Addie, followed by a glass of wine and pumping for me. Dave usually gets sleepy around this time, and I always ask for tea. As usual, it’s a ploy to not be awake and alone. To have someone to talk to as I wind down for the night.

A routine? Perhaps not. But I assure you, if I ask you for tea at 10pm, what I mean is “I care about you and want to spend another few minutes with you today.”

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Dearest Jeep Jeep…

The next Mom before Mom prompt: What kind of car did your family drive? What played on the radio? Where did you sit? Take us on a road trip.

If I could say anything about the cars I remember my family driving, it was that they were all kind of hideous and they all had names.  I can also tell you that the last car my father drove was an early 90’s Chevy Lumina. Baby blue. License plate DEZ808. It haunted my dreams for years after his death. I don’t know why- he didn’t die in an accident, but that car drove around in my dreams. The car was spacious but ugly, and the one memory that sticks out from this car was the time we were on our way to a major swim meet and I threw up all over the backseat- including on the backs of the front seats. Oops. No one was mad, in fact I think my parents chuckled. It was that, or throw me out of a moving vehicle, I suppose. I remember getting cleaned up and my Dad putting sawdust down in the car to absorb both the liquid and smell.

There are many cars that shaped my youth, and the people who drove them, too. In all the cars we listened to country music with my Dad. The old stuff, that then, was barely new. My Dad was a smoker, but stopped when I was about 4. I don’t remember him smoking in the car much, but I do remember scolding him for not wearing a seat-belt. It didn’t change much, but I remember it. My Mom listened to a lot of what would now be called soft rock. I loved it. Billy Joel is my stranded island artist. We also listened to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and the news. I loved being such a grown up- but I hated the static. In my sister’s car I always listened to the newest coolest stuff- she’s 7 years older than me, so her driving was a big part of my growing up. She was the first one to let me sit in front- as long as I didn’t tell Mom. We listened to Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews. Every car we had, had a car phone that got terrible reception and had a GIANT microphone attached to the visor for hands free talking. My sister was the first one to have CDs play in her car through a tape and a cord the connected in the cigarette lighter. The CDs would skip terribly, but that was OK with us. Her sunroof let fresh air blow in and I was one of the cool kids when I was with her.

We didn’t road trip often, but I was always getting picked up by different people in different cars: my grandfather or grandmother. My Mom or Dad. My big sister. We drove to the shore a lot. I loved the beach, but remember nothing of the drives that truly stands out. I know we loaded the cars up with buckets, shovels and sand from the year before. I remember the year my brother couldn’t get the door closed on the van when we were in a second story Ocean City rental. I could have sworn he was yelling Stuck but with s lisp. He wasn’t. But road trips as a kid are not something I can remember defining my youth.

My maternal grandfather drove a 1987 Chevy Celebrity. Why do I remember the year? I have no idea. Perhaps the same reason I remember Ali Greber (now Bibler)’s home phone number, or my parent’s car phone numbers from the early 90’s. It was just something I remember about that tank. I also remember the bench seat and how much I didn’t like having to move with the driver during an adjustment when I got to sit in the front seat. I can’t remember the radio, but I’m assuming that just meant it was all talk. There were those hot silver buckles in the summer- there was even a middle seat in the front. My grandfather would pull the large padded arm rest out for me to sit on so I could be up high, then we wrapped the lap belt across me and fastened it. Safety first? The entire car was one shade of navy blue or another on the inside, and the exterior a shiny metallic navy. It was pristine. My grandfather drove the speed limit and always made me buckle up. There was the car accident my mom and I got in after my grandfather died and she drove his car. A woman blew the light at the intersection West Moreland Avenue and Blair Mill Road in Horsham. She claimed she still had a yellow light. No chance. My knee hurt. The police came. My Dad came, and so did the woman’s husband. Standing in the 7-11 parking lot, the husband attempted to speak to and blame my mom for jumping the light, my Dad asked him if he wanted to dance. I remember this being one of my first lessons about physical encounters: If someone talks too much, most likely, they aren’t going to hit you. Needless to say, the police were not impressed. The men were told to relax. And what of the Celebrity? It had very minor damage, seeing as it was literally built like an army tanker. Eventually we sold it and my Mom got something else. There will never be anything like the memories of seeing my grandfather come pick me up at school. His big boat of a car pulling into Meadowbrook’s round-about. Him, always dapper, in slacks, leather (freshly polished) shoes, in a sweater with a collard shirt underneath. Sometimes, wearing a beautiful plaid fedora. Not one you can buy now- something more special and far more intricate than what graces the shelves today. His parted and combed, perfectly white hair peeking out from below the brim.

There was my paternal grandmother’s car… It was white. I have no memory of what it was, and really it left no impact. The driver, however, left quite the memory. In her beige orthotic shoes, Harriet drove with two feet. She didn’t learn to drive until after WWII, when my grandfather taught her. She was terrible. She put turn signals on half-way through the maneuver, if she bothered at all. She hit more curbs than she missed. She constantly adjusted her seat and there was always a new seat pad behind or beneath her to help her get closer to the wheel. It’s a mystery as to why my parents ever let any of us get in the car with her, except that they truly believed what didn’t kill us would make us stronger. The one thing I knew as a child about driving, I learned from my grandmother: USE ONE FOOT! I also thought that you HAD to have a steering wheel cover because the wheel would burn you otherwise. Turns out that lesson was incorrect.

My Dad had a Mitsubishi Starion. It was a toy car. Silver, sleek and hot. Literally. The darn thing caught on fire while on the highway more than once- never with anyone but my Dad in it. Dad kept it for a while. It was a pretty cool (figuratively) car. What I remember most are the nights he came home with black on his hands. He would be at the sink in the “blue” (the whole room was BLUE) bathroom and scrubbing at his hands and arms telling me it was just a small fire- he put it out easily- and me envisioning him on fire like a stunt man. I thought he was such a brave guy. There were late nights on the way home from Flyers’ games, driving on 95, that we would listen to doo-wop Sundays on 98.1WOGL as I fell asleep in the backseat.  I remember going to church for Easter and my mom putting towels down on the leather seats because they were so hot they would burn my legs. The black leather made squeaking sounds as I slid across it. I don’t think I could put my feet on the seats, but I was allowed to climb on the car… strange. I even look confused about it:

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Mom had the most hideous car ever. Her name: Brittany. I don’t know why… and I have no idea why I remember this except that it’s a ridiculous name for a car, but she was a mid-80’s Nissan Stanza Wagon. In brown. Not beige, gold, mocha… brown. I just remember this as a precursor to the SUV. It was higher than most station wagons, and had a roof rack (man, I miss skiing). It was 4WD- I remember because there was a red button. I pushed it a lot. Although it was really, really ugly and I don’t have a particular story about it, this car is something my memory holds on to. Perhaps because of this awesome picture (below), or maybe because it was a time when we were all family, still. I tend to throw a lot of things away… memories, however, I hoard.

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And finally, Jeep Jeep…

Jeep

Jeep Jeep was awesome for many reasons. One: 4WD and a plow. In the winter my Dad got a plow, and I thought we were awesome! It was yellow, and I don’t think we got a ton of use out of it, but with our big driveway and the township’s lack of responsiveness to our street in storms- I’m going to say we were small town heroes for a day. This thing was an interesting buy for a number of reasons… I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t know that it had doors- or maybe just the locks were bad, and it definitely didn’t have seat belts. It was stick shift that didn’t like to shift, so only my Dad could force it into D and P drive it. The windshield wipers may have just been pieces of metal scraping at the last hopes of life- masquerading as distant cousins of wipers that once were. The Jeep made its way around the driveway, but I don’t have many memories of it out on the road. My Dad wasn’t a fan of the seat-belt for himself, but as far as I remembered, the car couldn’t drive unless we were all buckled in- so this might have been a driveway only car for us kids.

Finally, there was the GT Beretta. It was a two-door in cherry red with black trim. The handles pulled sideways from next to the window. It was my sister’s first car, but my Dad drove it for a year before her… to break it in, I suppose. I have 1.2 million memories of this car. My sister drove it into college, after all, when she then drove my first car to break it in before me! But the most vivid memory of all is the time my grandmother left the car door open in a rain storm. There was a foot of water in the car by the time my Dad saw the ajar appendage of the vehicle from the upstairs windows. Bucketing out the water and laying down baking soda proved to save the car and leave it drivable for years to come, but the tears that were shed are forever in my psyche.

There’s a lot to be said about what shapes us as adults. Why we are who we are, and which of our actions will impact our kids the most. I wish I more road trip memories, and could remember why I loved the hideous Nissan named Brittany… alas, they are just cars. Just trips down my literal memory lane.

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So This is Love?

This week’s prompt in the Mom Before Mom series truly struck me:

Do you remember your first romantic thoughts? How old were you? Who was your first crush? It’s the month of love so fill us in on how you created a concept, an idea of love and relationships.

In some ways, this prompt brings me back to last week and why I chose to not write about my birthdays as a child. I had AMAZING days spent just for me: bowling parties, a pool party at the Abington YMCA, gymnastics parties… but my worst birthday ever, my 13th, is never far from my memory. I always hesitate to celebrate me because of it. My Dad handed me a black box. Inside was a tanzanite and diamond ring. It was Monday, November 10, 1997. I was 13. Less than 5 months later, withered into a skeleton of himself, he was dead. He was diagnosed on my birthday… the first man I’d ever loved- the one who taught me that sometimes, for those you love more than yourself, you just suck (the proverbial) it up. My parents were married and in love (most of the time) for 24 years- until April 21, 1998.

Pool Party at the Y

Pool Party at the Y

And now I sit and I think about this topic. I think about love. I think about my husband and why I am so attracted to him. Want to know the truth? He’s just like my Dad.

I can remember movies I watched and falling in love with being in love, but watching my parents, I grew enamored with the idea of marriage and all the hard work that took. I played house, where I cleaned and cooked and went to work as a professional hockey player.

And so, I fell in love for the first time. His name? Rod Brind’Amour. He was #17 for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was also November on my calendar… I don’t remember the year, but I remember looking at the picture of him lifting weights and reading about he and his (then) wife Kellie and feeling resentment for her. I was young and had convinced myself that being 14 years younger didn’t mean anything. I could take care of him. Whatever the heck that meant. I remember going to the Flyers’ Wives Fight for Lives carnival and getting a Polaroid taken with Rod. It was love. Eric Lindros, John LeClair? So over it.

This article hung in my room... Rod is the guy celebrating. *swoon*

This article hung in my room… Rod is the guy celebrating. *swoon*

I, to this day, resent when Rod is mentioned as one of the ugliest men in the NHL. I like strong noses and big eyes… add that to him being Rod the Bod and his Stanley Cup Ring (regrettably not with the Flyers)- and he’s my dream man.  Plus… has anyone ever seen Mike Ricci? I also fell in love with Chris Gratton… but certainly not because he was an amazing hockey player- it was all looks. His number was 55 with the Flyers and 77 with Tampa… making a combination of numbers, I chose 17 and 75 and my lucky ones in life. Seventeen, more often, is a winner for me.

Just to sweeten the deal: I was always #17 0r #75, a combination of my loves, when I could pick my number in sports, and Addie was born on the 17th. I have a connection with Rod… It’s just a fact, you never forget your first love.

#17, Meadowbrook Field Hockey starting goalie

#17, Meadowbrook Field Hockey starting goalie, 5th-6th grade

#75, Upper Moreland HS varsity starting goalie

#75, Upper Moreland HS varsity starting goalie, 12th grade

Years after my crushes, a married member of the Philadelphia Flyers hit on my sister in a South Jersey bar. I never had another crush on an NHL player.

There were boys I liked in school… Robbie, Taylor, Scott (and the other Scott), Lane. Then Dan, Tyler, Jake, John, Tommy, Doug, Sully, and Seth. But those were crushes that defined nothing in me except my fickle-in-love manner and my ever-changing taste towards the sports-minded man versus the musician. I swear, I’ve never met a man who is truly a varsity athlete and master of the baritone guitar, but I hold hope for you ladies- there  is one out there!

After the passing of my father, I looked for someone to love and mend. Looking for someone to take care of meant: passing up my paychecks and emotions to boys who were missing something in their lives. Perhaps it was their motivation, mother, financial or emotional resources. I watched movies that could never reflect reality- daydreaming about what it would be life if…, while transforming people into the men they wanted to be. I wrote résumés, book reports, college papers, gave money, co-signed leases, cleaned apartments and cars, lent out my vehicle. I had two great loves in college and one after. Yet, I was never satisfied. I was loved, but I never felt safe- perhaps more my fault than any man’s.

Don’t get me wrong- I have felt great love before Dave, and I’ve dated some amazing, strong men- but I never found the Blane to my Andie (Pretty in Pink)- my protector.  I’ve always been boy-crazed, and if by any chance Rod Brind-Amour calls me (hey, he could email me…), I would still swoon, but I’ve finally found the love of a lifetime. He never brings me flowers unless I yell at him to, and he doesn’t light candles unless the power goes out. I know, without fail, his gift for whatever holiday will be a charm and he rarely remembers to get me a Hallmark card (if he gets me a card at all). Rubbing my back is less seductive and more of a chore for him, and the last time we went on a date I think I was still considered in my early twenties. BUT… when I eat garlic by the handful to get rid of my cold, he still leans in for a kiss, and when I want to watch a sappy movie he plays on his phone next to me. When I cry over the past, he doesn’t ask me to remember the future, and when I can’t help but fret over what tomorrow will bring, he reminds me about how beautiful life is today.

When I think of my current definition of love and romance, it’s similar to what I felt as a child watching my parents: it is work you’re happy to do. I take my vows seriously and always have open lines of communication with my husband. Doesn’t sound romantic, but saying I love you every night and meaning it is about as perfect as it gets. I thank my childhood for offering up such vivid dreams of love that are not real so that I can say I lived fantasies. I carried around baby dolls that were my love child between some famous person and myself (having NO idea how babies got here), and I put pictures of Johnny and Leo on my walls. I imagined the boy I loved holding a boom box up, and I still love [almost] every John Cusack character ever. The fact remains that while movies aren’t real, love is. And I’m both thankful and regretful  of the lessons I learned which shaped and molded my version of love as I know it.

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Move over… it’s all about me!

Is it that time again? I’m loving these Mom Before Mom posts and learning about all of my favorite bloggers out there. Thank you Carla at AllofMe…Now!

This prompt is: How did you celebrate your birthday? Do you have a favorite celebration? Worst? From the cake to the presents to the guests, invite us in to the party.

In the years prior to wifedom and mom, I was pretty cool :) I’d love to describe Worth before Martinka in the birthday zone… or at least my early, in which I knew a thing or two about life after 10pm. But, I’m not sure I can remember those times. So, here are my past few celebrations. They all mean something special to me and I have the best of, though few in numbers, no less mighty in love, friends a girl could ask for.

As a general rule, we don’t do physical gifts… at least not from friends. A drink purchased, a dinner, a movie. I love memories being made. My friend Tracey has taken me to see Twilight every year for my day… this year, due to no vampire flick, we will be seeing Catching Fire :) Another time, I was treated to a mini/pedi/massage. And, my best friend took me to a fancy sushi restaurant this past year one night and Dave took me to another the next!

Addie celebrating with me at Sakura. PVD, RI

Addie celebrating with me at Sakura. PVD, RI

Those are gifts- the memories that come and the times we will always share. My ever-generous Mom and mother-in-law always splurge on me, and my hubby has taken to getting me a beautiful charm for each occasion in life to add to my Kay’s Charmed Memories bracelet.

Mostly, my celebrations in the past few years have consisted of my gal pals enjoying drinks and the company of each other, or an amazing vacation. For these things, I am truly blessed.  Of course, I have a worst birthday (23rd), which consisted of me being kicked out of a bar, my boyfriend and I being publicly intoxicated and argumentative and my friends, who had driven over 250 miles from Philadelphia, sleeping in my rented portion of an illegal-to-live-in-warehouse with no heat and no bed (I didn’t have heat or a bed that entire winter, so they can all get over it). But, who wants to hear about that?!

There was 24… and it was awesome! I went home to PA to celebrate my engagement and my birthday, and seeing my mom is always a bonus!

Me and Mom!

Me and Mom!

Dave me and my Best, Nick

Dave me and my Best, Nick

Dave wore his ring since we got engaged <3

Dave wore his ring since we got engaged <3

I also got to spend my birthday night in the booth at Thee Red Fez in Providence (recently sold and bought by an awesome dude… I can’t wait to check it out). Friends came, much was laughed about, an Oreo cake presented itself to me, and there were drinks-a-plenty!
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Yep, 24 was great.

My 25th birthday fell about 3 months after Dave and I were married, so we decided to honeymoon then. Riviera Maya, Mexico!!! What a happy birthday to me! And my 27th birthday, with a belly full of baby, we made the incredible journey to Honolulu, Hawaii for my oldest friend’s wedding! (Hawaii travel tip, sans baby: book a year in advance AND get the cheapest place- you’ll never be in your room anyway!)

Happy 25th

Happy 25th

Happy 27th!

Happy 27th!

My 26th was your usual wine and dine… psych! Dave took me to breakfast. It was supposed to be to a place we went to while we were dating… a chain we joked we were bringing back, but only went to once… We found out it was closed when we got there, so we went to T’s (another favorite of mine). While there, Dave whipped out a game of hangman he had made for me (I love hangman!).

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The game led us to a beautiful, crisp day getting apples from a farm and walking our new puppy, Carter (now a beast at 70 pounds) in the woods. A wonderful birthday, marked by the experience surrounding it:

26 years!

26 years! (note to self: NEVER cut your own bangs!)

I guess I’m more of a visual person… I could not even begin to write about a traditional birthday for me because, since childhood, there has been no tradition. No particular place I go, or drink I drink or cake I crave- it varies by year, as I grow and change, so do my celebrations. What I do know is that I get to have experiences gifted to me; memories no material gift could ever replace.

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