Sunday, September 28, 2008

Memory Walk 2008

Here are some pics of the kids at the Alzheimer's Memory Walk 2008. It was raining the whole time and stopped right after we crossed the finish line! All in all it was a success, we had 21 people walk for our team, and my niece K made shirts for everyone that said "Memory Keepers" on the front (our team name), and on the back it said one of 3 things: Mom, Nana or Dotty with "08" underneath. They were very cool (see them on the kids in the pics.) My feet are killing me and I have 3 blisters, but the walk was good. Now, let's hope this money means we are closer to a CURE. Because I do NOT want to have Alzheimer's Disease. Ever. And I do not want anyone else that I know and love to suffer this way.

Here is a picture of my Mom with Pal and my niece, A in 2007 at their First Communion. This is one of my favorites (notice Pal holding Mom's cute.)

Thanks for everyone's support for this walk and of my family. Please keep us in your prayers.


Friday, September 26, 2008

A Banner Day

From what Pal said, the first trombone lesson went well! Of course, he thinks that he should have been able to play a full song after his first real lesson....he is quite challenged in the patience department! So this will be a lesson in patience for all of us....

Another big happening around here today was Pal had his first ice skating lesson. We tried this back when he was 3 and it didn't go over too well, so tonight I was apprehensive about the lessons because I knew the class would consist of mostly 3-year-olds. And I was right. Fortunately, though, the instructors (and there were plenty of them) stuck right with him and he actually did really well! Again, the patience was a factor....he thought that because he could walk on the floor in the skates, he was going to walk right out onto the ice! His first fall wasn't until the instructor told him to sit down on the ice for a minute, and he looked around himself like "How am I going to get DOWN there?" and then he fell forward and sat. Whatever works, right??? He did fall a few more times, but all in all for a first time on skates, he did great. Ray Bourque watch out!

Not to mention that he did this skating lesson less than an hour after having 2 more teeth pulled! His mouth was still bloody - that's how soon after it was. I was impressed at his resilience.

Added to the trombone lesson, the skating lesson, the teeth extractions - Pal made it through the school day (especially a Friday) without getting a punishment essay!!! Yay for a homework free weekend!!!

A banner day, for sure. I'd love to have many more of these to come!!!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

"76 Trombones In The Big Parade"

Today, Pal got on the bus with his huge Trombone in his hand. I should have taken a picture of it, it was so funny. The case is almost as big as him! The night I went to buy the trombone, you should have seen the box that the case and trombone came in - I almost couldn't carry it, so one of the high school band members had to carry it out to my car! Of course, I was still having trouble breathing after seeing the price of said trombone!! They don't call them "wind" instruments for nothing - it knocked the wind right outta me!!!!

So, off he went with his newfound interest this morning. We'll see (after school) how his first real lesson went. Last week, I hadn't gotten the information and we didn't know he had to bring his trombone to school, so his first official lesson consisted of watching the other kids. But as soon as he got home, he opened up the case (he had been forbidden to even open it - by the music teacher, not us) and started making noise! He loves to assemble it, play it once or twice, polish it, disassemble it, put it back in the case...wait 20 minutes....then repeat the process all over again! He is already able to make some loud sounds with it, so I am hoping that he learns how to play it and comes to love it.

I wish I had learned how to play an instrument as a kid, and that doesn't include my sister's electric organ!!! It had numbered keys instead of chords, so instead of knowing how to play "Silent Night" by key chords, all I know is 5-6-5-3, 5-6-5-3, 9-9-7, 8-8-5, 6-6-8-7-6-5-6-5-3, etc.!!! Although I can play a little piano by ear, but that's about it.

Keep your fingers crossed (and your ears protected) as we go through our first foray into the wonderful world of music! Who knows, maybe someday he'll be playing the trombone for his college football team! One can only hope....

((((****Side Note - Punishment Essay Count: 4****)))) Will he ever learn????


Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello? Is this thing on?

Did I scare everyone with my poop-fest? I apologize. It was not in good taste but hey, it was what was going on in my life at that moment. And I was bored at work.

This weekend we closed up our camper for the last time -- we are getting rid of it and hopefully getting a new one for next year. We had to completely clean out the camper, after 15 seasons of camping in it, and it was like moving!!! There was so much stuff to go through and get rid of (which I love to do!! It's a sickness, I know). But we had to pack all of our stuff in boxes and move it up to my sister-in-law's camper to store for the winter. The owner of the campground wanted us to do this now so that he can haul the camper off of the site and do some repair work to the hill in front of our camper. It has been eroding for years and now the pipes are exposed. I am hoping that he actually DOES the job before next season...he has a tendency to promise things and then not follow through. I hate that. It would really suck if we buy a new camper and then can't have it delivered because the site is not ready.

Now it's Monday and I'm home with Pal because he caught my cold. I was miserable on Friday and Pal woke up yesterday with a cough, and this morning he felt warm so we decided not to send him to school. This gives me a chance to get myself 100% better and get some stuff put away from the weekend.

So, please continue to read my blog - I promise not to post about poop again. For a while at least.

Happy Monday!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Update on Poop Fest

Good news - there was just a blockage in the pipe and the "Septic Guy" was able to snake it out. Now we get to fill it all back in.....

Everybody Poops...

I feel like all I do is talk about poop. And I don't mean bull-poop. I mean bodily function - people and animal - POOP.

When I worked in Boston, I used to take the bus to the train station and there was this couple that rode the bus with their little daughter. They would read to her on the bus, out loud, every day. One day, they were reading "Everyone Poops". It made me laugh out loud! There is even a girl poop book and a boy poop book!

Even Oprah isn't immune to talking about it with Dr. Oz on her show. According to Dr. Oz, your poop should be slightly green in color and S shaped. Go ahead, everyone looks. Oprah says that every time she gets nervous about interviewing someone, she just remembers to herself that everybody poops!

Lately, in my life, it has been talking about my niece, K, and her Ulcerative Colitis and her having surgery to remove her colon (if you want the gory details, her very descriptive blog is listed in my "Blogs I Like" section!!!). Then my Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, and we were talking about her poop and her lifelong battle with poop-related issues. My sisters and I have talked about poop at length when discussing the need to have a colonoscopy.

My nephew has just recently become totally potty-trained, and we discussed his poop habits at length several times with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law! Of course, then I live with hubby and Pal and they think poop is a dinner-time subject. Then my father-in-law likes to regale us with the dog's poop-of-the-day! I can't get away from it! Another poop-related blog you should check out is Manic Mommy (on my list of "Blogs I Like") and read HER recent issues with poop! Now THAT is so gross I could throw up just thinking about it.

And last, but certainly not the least, is what happened yesterday....during dinner my mother-in-law told us that we might need to call a "Septic Guy" because they've been hearing gurgling noises from the toilet and shower whenever we do laundry. When she went to take a shower yesterday morning, there was a "brown liquid" in the bottom of her shower stall....NOT a good sign, no, not at all....hubby called the "Septic Guy" and he told us to dig up the septic tank!!! Well, not the whole thing, but the top of it where the caps are, so we can look in and see if it's full. EWWWWWW.
He also wants to know when the last time it was pumped, and I luckily remembered seeing a receipt from the previous owner for a pump-out in '02. I dug that out, and also found the plot plan for our house (which we have owned for 3 years) and on the back of the plans were EXACT DIRECTIONS to the location of said septic tank caps!

God Bless You, previous homeowner!!! We love you, buddy, wherever you live now!!

After about an hour of digging, hubby unearthed the caps and opened them, much to Pal's delight. EWWWWWW. Pal runs into the house and says "Daddy told me to shut the door because the smell is really bad." This is not a good sign. When I asked him if he looked in the tank he said "Yeah, it was all muddy and wet". EWWWWWW.

Today Mr. Septic was coming to see for himself whether the sucker is full. It's a sh*tty job, but someone's got to do it!!!! Glad I'm not doing HIS laundry, gurgling noises included!

I'll let you know how my poop-fest turns out, possibly tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We're On The Move

My family and I are walking in the Memory Walk 2008 in honor of my Mom. Our team name is "The Memory Keepers". If anybody is interested in donating to our team effort, please let me know!!!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Good Start to 4th Grade

First, I just want to say that Pal DID go to N.H. with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law last Friday!!! Yay for us! He had a great time and so did we!!!! We had dinner out Friday night, and I slept in Saturday morning (not hubby - he's too busy to sleep!). We enjoyed reminiscing about the days when it was just the 2 of us, and we didn't live in a house with his parents. It's not that we don't appreciate what we have now, but it's fun to go back to the "glory days" once in a while!!! I love my son and my in-law's, but it was a nice break.

So tonight was the Open House at Pal's new school. In our town, the public school kids switch schools 5 times from Kindergarten through 12th grade. So Pal started at the "Intermediate" school (4th and 5th grade) this year. His 3rd grade teacher had a hand in picking his 4th grade teacher, which I was very glad about. Pal has some behavioral issues and he needs someone who will keep him in line. Since his 3rd grade teacher was excellent with him (tough, but kind), I had the utmost faith that she would pick someone just like herself.

When we got to the open house, my hubby was wearing a BC Hockey shirt and the first thing the new teacher said to him was "Nice shirt". It turns out she went to BC! She started out the meeting (all parents, no kids) immediately making everyone laugh, and I could easily see why Pal comes home every day with funny stories and excited about the things he is learning.!!! Not once in the 5 years he's been in school (pre-k til now) has he ever come home excited about school. He almost doesn't mind doing the homework, either. His 3rd grade teacher gave a ton of homework, and so far the 4th grade teacher seems a little more relaxed in the homework arena. However, in her words, "the world had better open up and swallow you whole if you don't DO the homework". The first time you don't have your homework, you get a 125-word composition on responsibility. The second offense, a 250-word composition. And the third offense (which she claims no one has ever been stupid enough to get!) is a 500-word composition!!! Yikes!!

So of course, you know that Pal has already written a 125-word composition.

And a 150-word composition on paying attention to directions. On a Friday. Which meant weekend homework. The worst!!! Hopefully, we will not break her 500-word stupidity theory......
With any luck, he has learned not to mess with her. All in all, the fact that he is liking school right now is a good enough start for us. Let's hope that it continues.

On a side note - Pal had 2 teeth pulled today, and is having 2 more pulled next Monday. He handled it like a champ, and has NO idea they used a needle for the novacaine!!!! Some things are better off left unsaid!

Have a great night!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Just the Two of Us???

Pal might be heading up to N.H. with my sister-in-law and her family, and we'll meet them up there tomorrow after a friend's housewarming party. My in-law's are also on a cruise, so there is a distinct possibility that hubby and I will have the entire house to ourselves....could it be true? Is it possible? I really could not tell you the last time that Pal was not with us - he doesn't get many invitations to sleep out, and I am not a big fan of sleepovers anyway. Mainly because we are the ones who suffer the consequences of the lack of sleep!!

That's IF Pal really goes...he usually has an anxiety attack at the last minute and backs out. The only thing that might work in our favor is that he wants to go up to N.H. (to our campground) because it is "Halloween" and they get to carve pumpkins, go trick-or-treating and then there is a "spook ride" later tomorrow night. Hubby took him last night to get some costume accessories, and he was talking this morning about getting all the candy (which he doesn't even eat half the time!).

Dare I wish? Dare I hope? Dinner out alone? A morning to sleep in...undisturbed??? Other than the dog, that is, but he will sleep late if we do!

Keeping my fingers crossed until Pal gets in their van and they drive away!!!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

There's an Alan Jackson song called "Where Were You?". It's all about remembering the events of 9/11. Today being the 7th anniversary of that horrible September day, it seems like everyone uses this opportunity to remember exactly where they were 7 years ago today. At work today we all swapped stories. Then I ran into a friend whose husband is a Fire Fighter (FF) and she said he was out at a 9/11 ceremony. My brother, who is also a FF, was my first thought this morning when I realized it was 9/11. My brother-in-law, another FF, sent me an email asking me to "never forget" with a picture of the FDNY carrying the American flag in a St. Patrick's Day parade.

As for my "Where Were You?" moment, my friend Pat's father had passed away and his funeral was that morning. I was in my room, drying my hair, when Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America announced that something had crashed into one of the twin towers. They went live to the scene, and that's when my phone rang. It was my Dad, asking if I had my TV on, and while I was answering him - the second plane crashed into the towers. My Dad screamed "OH! Oh my God, that was another plane!" I felt this sense of dread in my legs and sat stunned as I watched it unfold. Obviously I had to go to the funeral, so I brought Pal (who had just turned 2 and was happily oblivious) downstairs for my father-in-law to babysit. The funeral went on as usual, because we really didn't know anything other than that planes had crashed into the towers. We still knew nothing about the Pentagon and Pennsylvania planes. Our cell phones were dead, and traffic going over to the cemetary was insane, probably because everyone was going home.

I just remember being home that night, watching the news with hubby and feeling vulnerable and scared. And because at that time I was a full time SAHM, I was watching way too much of the coverage on TV. I prayed a LOT during that time.

We found out the next day that we knew someone who was on the flight that crashed into the first tower. He used to be the organist for our Church choir (which most of my family was in.) He left behind a wife and 5 year old son. It really hit home.

Ever since 9/11, my hubby repeatedly says things like "Life is too short", and "We could be gone tomorrow" and our vow since then has been to live life to the fullest, take vacations and enjoy our family and friends as much as we can.

These are the lyrics to the song I mentioned above. Read them, and never forget where you were on that September day.

"Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogs I Heart !

So I just figured out how to add a list of blogs that I like to read and wanted to bring them to your attention. They are over to the right, under the "about me" section. Some are people I know, some are complete strangers from somewhere else in the world. My niece, K, who I've written about here, has started her own blog! She told me that I inspired her to start her own after she'd been reading mine. I even have a brother-in-law who told me that I'm a great writer, because he's been reading it, too! (Hi Uncle Billy!).

The weird thing about blogging is that I find myself quoting things I've read on other people's blogs, or sharing a funny (or sad) story I might have read. There are many more blogs that I've viewed and some I've even left comments on. The list will grow as I come across their blogs once again. It feels a bit stalker-ish, but I am thoroughly enjoying this new world I've discovered.

If you do visit these blogs, do me a favor and leave a comment on theirs. I know that it makes my day when someone leaves their comment here.

Happy new blog reading!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

I'll warn you up front - this not a post about an ancient wedding tradition.

Something Old:

My Mom has Alzheimer's Disease. This is the "something old" for our family, we've been dealing with this for about 8 years. She was officially diagnosed in September 2005, but we had noticed the signs for many years before this. She would lose her car in the Mall parking lot, forget where she put her pocketbook at family gatherings, lose her cell phone repeatedly. In more recent times, she forgot that her Mother was dead...or even at her sister's own funeral would forget who was in the coffin.

Something New:

They don't call it NEWs for no reason. We found out on Wednesday that Mom has colon cancer. The word cancer itself evokes a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Mom was living in an Alzheimer's unit at an Assisted Living Facility. They were not capable of handling her personality, and recently started sending her off to the hospital for what seemed like stupid reasons. Well, thank God for their persistence, or insistence. The decision to put Mom through a colonoscopy was not an easy one, because we know she would NOT agree to it if she was in her "right mind". But the hospital staff talked us into it and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. At least now we know WHY she has so many problems, and our decision to move her to a Nursing Home was made easier knowing that they will be able to keep her comfortable during this ordeal.

Something Borrowed:

As of right now, we are on borrowed time with my Mom. They cannot operate on the cancerous polyps in her colon because she could hemorrhage and bleed to death. And because they cannot remove the polyps, we don't know exactly what stage she is in. The doctor said it is NOT in the early stages, that's for sure. So, we really have no idea whether Mom will be around for a long time or if she'll go quickly. My faith is in God - He will take her when He is good and ready. In the meantime, we can only make her comfortable and make the most of the time we have left.

Something Blue:

We are all feeling blue about this latest development with Mom....I cannot stop repeating the words "My Mother has cancer" in my head. I wake up in the middle of the night and that's all I can think about. I've always been so thankful that cancer has not touched my immediate family, and now I can't say that anymore. Cancer invades more than just the affected person's body - it affects everyone that loves them, too. I have unfortunately dealt with the loss of many people in my life to cancer, but this is the first time it has felt so heavy...inside. I just have to have faith that God knows what He is doing.

I'll end this post with a line from a song I love:
"To hear with my heart, to see with my soul, to be guided by a hand I cannot hold, to trust in a way that I cannot see, THAT'S what FAITH must be."


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pal.

When you're 9, it's all about the cold, hard cash!!!!

Wow, how time flies. Nine years ago today I was a new Mom. Here I was, holding this little perfect boy, and he was mine. I remember specifically looking at his elbows and saying to my hubby "Look, he has elbows!". (This went on for hours, I was so totally fascinated!).

I won't bore you with the details of his birth or how many hours (19) I was in induced-labor-hell (19). I won't freak you out telling you about the size of my C-section scar, or how I had an imbedded staple in it. Did I NOT mention the (19) hours of labor?

Pal has been a whirlwind of activity since day 1. He screamed all the way home from the hospital, probably because he received his "bris" (except we're not Jewish, if you catch my drift) right before we left the hospital. He hated the car from that moment on, too. I used to dread long rides with him.

Pal has brought us so many fun times as a family and we are so proud of him. Most people who know him well know that he is a sweet, kind, caring little boy who enjoys playing with his cousins, playing with our dog, Rusty, swimming, stuffed animals, Bionicles, lego's and watching his favorite TV shows. I can only hope that he will always know how much his Dad and I love him, and that he will grow up to be a warm, caring, responsible young man.

We love you Pal. Happy 9th. Love, Mama and your Da