Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome, 2010!

Happy New Year's Eve to all you doubters who thought I wouldn't post again in 2009!!! When I started thinking about saying goodbye to 2009, I thought of my post from December 23, 2008 where I did a recap of the horrible year we had. All-in-all, I think 2009 did me proud and lived up to its expectation of being a better year. Here is my recap of 2009 (some of it may be redundant after my catch-up post in October, but here goes):

January 5th we moved my Dad into the retirement community and said goodbye to the house where we all grew up. It was a poignant moment and we all handled it differently. I said goodbye when I was there alone the night before it was "sold". It was like watching the end of a TV series when the cast walks off the set and it goes dark --- I had to lock the back door, putting my key inside on the counter before I shut the door. Looking back through the locked door into the kitchen where my family shared many a meal. It was sad, but I had to remind myself that it was what needed to happen for my Dad's sake. I have to drive by that house every day after work and I always look down the driveway to see who's home. I hope the new people have many happy memories in that house. My sister, P, is in touch with the new owners on Facebook, and they send her updates and pictures. It's pretty cool to see.

February was totally uneventful, and I loved it that way! We hired a math tutor for Pal, who comes to our house twice a week. He's a good kid, out of college and looking for a job. He does wonders with Pal. He even helps him with other homework if he has it.

The first weekend of March, Hubby and I were able to escape for a weekend and go to a luxury hotel in Maine. I say escape because Pal was NOT happy about us leaving, to say the least. He stayed with Hubby's sister and her family and according to him, he was "miserable" all weekend! We, however, were NOT miserable! We were near the ocean in Maine and that Saturday turned out to be an early Spring surprise, where the temps went up to 70ยบ! We walked on the beach and watched the crazy surfers, dogs running and little kids digging in the sand. Then we went for a drive up the coast, got a little lost, and stopped at a "world famous" hot dog stand.

In April we barely stayed home! The first weekend took us to New Jersey to visit some friends who moved there. Their son is one of our many Godchildren, but the only one that both Hubby and I share as Godparents. (We each have 4 others, separately!). On that Saturday we all took the train into New York City and went to the American Museum of Natural History. What a place! It's where they filmed "Night at the Museum". It takes up 4 city blocks and you need two full days to see the whole thing. On the ride to and from NJ, Pal read the entire first book of Harry Potter! He has since read all 7, and even read 1 & 2 again!
On April school vacation, we went on a Cruise. It was just awesome. We went to St. Thomas, Tortola and Samana. The latter was horrible, but the other two made up for it. We even swam with the dolphins in Tortola - that was totally cool!!!

May was quiet, and again I am thankful for quiet! A friend of ours who runs Pal's Cub Scout pack was nominated and won the town's Good Guy award. That was so much fun to see him honored - he truly deserved it. We were even quoted in a local newspaper from parts of our nomination letter! Later in May, Hubby bought a new pickup truck and we went camping with friends and got to use our brand new (used) pop-up camper for the first time. It was great! Our favorite memory from that trip was the 3 boys (Pal and their 2) playing army all over the campground, and as they were leaving the camp site, one of them yelled "The battle will ensue in the ferns on the hill!" It was their battle cry and we all laughed so hard.

June brought the end of my work year, the end of school, and the decision of whether to put a new transmission in my 9 year old van or trade it in for a new vehicle. We ended up putting the transmission in, which didn't pay off in the long run (see December for update on this!). In light of my Mom's colon cancer, it was suggested that all of us get a colonoscopy, so mine was in June. Everything was fine, for all of us, thank God! In late June, Pal started a Summer program where he went every day from 8:30-1:00 for June through July. I loved it. Him...not so much! Pal also started taking Karate lessons. Again, I love it. Him, not so much! But, he made a commitment to it and will be taking lessons until our contract expires next June!!

July was filled with going to our campground and enjoying that new camper, too! We also did a family trip with all of the kids in the family to a local water park - with a cookout at the camper after. We also shared season tickets to a Triple-A baseball team called the Lowell Spinner's, so we went to our share of games. It was a lot of fun.

In August we were barely home, again! The first weekend we went camping with the same friends in our pop-up. This time we went to Maine and the campground had a lot of stuff for the kids to do. The campsites were a little too close for our comfort, but we had a good weekend anyway. The second weekend, we went to Florida. Instead of another Disney-filled trip, we decided to do the "other" parks...shhh, don't tell anyone! Boy, was it HOT. I have never sweat so much in my entire life.
Then I went back to work, earlier than usual this year, because of a new position. You can read about that in my October "Marathon Start" post. Pal also went to Cub Scout camp for his final year. More about this in same October post.

Back to school came September 1, and then Pal turned 10! We also had a visit from one of our cousins in Arizona (see October post again!). My family also walked in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk in honor of my Mom.

October was colder than normal for our area. On the 3rd weekend, the Cub Scout pack went camping with the Boy Scouts Troop to a mountain in New Hampshire. I was excited because the women folk were NOT invited!! A whole weekend to myself?!?! Whoopie!!! Well, not so fast, there G! The temps dropped into the low 20's, and the men decided after hiking 9 miles up the mountain that they would prefer sleeping in a warm bed at home. Oh well, there goes the big bed all to myself!
The 4th weekend Hubby and I went to Erie, PA for my friends wedding (see Weddings post in October). In late October, I decided to join a local Chorus for their Christmas show. I hope to audition for them in January to be a member. They are part of the Sweet Adelines.

In November I had some moles removed from my face and that was one of the most painful experiences of my life! At least they were all benign, which I knew, but it was nice to be reassured. For my Dad's 77th birthday, we got the whole family together and made him one of his family's famous recipe's...Ropie Pie. It is a potato and meat mixture which I find repulsive but he was thrilled. Pal also competed in a Karate tournament and placed 2nd and 3rd in the 2 categories he was in. We were so proud of him. The following week he got a belt promotion, too! Exciting stuff. The very last weekend of November was my 20th High School Reunion, which I swore I would never attend. But, after reconnecting on Facebook with some good friends, I decided to go. It was...interesting!

December brought more van trouble. This time it was a power steering pipe that rusted. Then 2 weeks later it was the entire front end suspension. We decided it was TIME. So, now I am driving a leased Toyota Rav4! We had never considered leasing before but now that I know I will not have to deal with an aging car again, I am loving the idea! Pal also shocked us at his Band concert by getting up to do a trombone SOLO! Again, we were so proud!

At Christmas I went to see my Mom in the NH, and she seems to be doing okay. She has good days and bad, but for the most part things are status-quo. We still could not be happier with the decision to move her to the NH. As for my Dad, he also continues to struggle with all the changes in his life, but for the most part is doing alright.

So, after a hellish 2008, I am happy to say 2009 was good to us. May 2010 be prosperous, healthy and happy for all of you, as well!!

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 11, 2009

OH Christmas Tree...

Do you remember this picture from last January?

My post was about the mess our real tree made and how I hate real trees. But, Hubby likes them. So again, we went and picked out a real tree last Friday and brought it home, put it in the stand, and on Wednesday night all 3 of us strung the lights and decorated it. And then, it started to fall over. Luckily we were right there and caught it. But no matter what Hubby did to resecure it in the stand, it would NOT.STAND.UP. @$*&!!!

And so, we UNstrung the lights and UNdecorated it, and then we threw it out. I was so disgusted. Now, we will haul the fake tree out of the attic this Sunday and REstring the lights and REdecorate the fake tree. *&^%!!!

Next year, we will START with the fake tree. I hope.

Here's hoping your holidays are joyful and filled with good friends, good food and the love of your family.

See you in 2010 (because at the rate I am blogging it WILL BE 2010!)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I love weddings. I love going to weddings. Weddings usually make me cry. I get all nostalgic and think about my own wedding, which I loved every minute of. Everybody told me that my reception was the most fun they ever had at a wedding. I was proud of that, because we hired the "one man band" guy we had seen at another wedding because he really knew how to work the crowd. We chose really cool songs for our first and last dances and because it was before Christmas, we chose poinsettia plants as the centerpieces. For the seating assignments, we attached the "Table #__" cards to a Christmas ornament with our names and our wedding date hand-written on them, that I made myself. It's been 14 years and people still tell me they hang their ornament up and think of us every Christmas. I love that!

I remember my brother telling me that he felt like a fish inside a fishbowl on his wedding day, where everyone was watching him and Di and their every move. All eyes on them. I loved that feeling! I know, I know, this doesn't shock those of you that know me well. (My brother also used to say I had a mouth the size of Peru, and my nickname from a close family friend was "Motor Mouth". I am NOT shy.) I still watch my wedding video once in a while. Hubby still has never watched the entire thing!! That was our agreement - he didn't want it video-taped, I did. So, the agreement was that I would never MAKE HIM watch it. Marital harmony!

This coming weekend, Hubby and I are traveling to a wedding in Pennsylvania. The groom was one of my former teens when I was doing the High School Youth Group at Church. He was a sulky, moody boy who showed up at the Mass because his new girlfriend dragged him there. At first I figured we'd see him this once and he'd never return, girlfriend or not. But he surprised all of us by coming back again and again. When we wanted to paint our youth center, he offered to paint a mural on one wall. At one point he was so upset about a youth group issue that he staged a boycott until we heard him and his peers out. His graduating "class" from the youth group are among some of my favorite teens to this day.

After he graduated, we didn't see him as much, but kept in touch with him. One day he called us and asked if we would consider him joining the adult team for the youth group. I was so happy and proud. He wrote a paper for a college class about his experiences with the youth group and how we all helped him change his life around. I have never, ever, been more humbled by someone else than I was that day.

Well, he joined our team and in the long run (and I do mean LONG run, many years and a few parish changes later) ended up running the youth group!! He has since "retired" (as have I) and met the love of his life who he will marry on Saturday. I don't have any younger siblings, and he is an only child, so we are always joking that he is my little brother and I am his sister. I really, really like his wife-to-be, too, and I tell him all the time that I might even like her better than I like him. Typical older sister thing to say, huh?!

I am truly blessed to be able to witness this marriage and I hope they have many, many years of happiness.


- G

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Marathon Start

I feel like I have been running a marathon since I last blogged. (Okay, stop laughing NOW!). The last post was all about our Summer activities. Since then I have gone back to work, Pal has gone back to school, and it is now October. I didn't even have ONE post in September! I will catch you up as best I can:

Pal was at Cub Scout Camp during the week of my last post. He didn't really like it this year because they decided that the Webelos II scouts would go to an offsite Boy Scout camp instead of staying in camp with all of the others. So they would pile onto a bus for a 45-minute ride to the other camp every day. Then on the last day they brought them back into the camp with all of the other kids and it was (to quote Pal) "awkward". Plus this was the first year that I had to be back to work and couldn't go as the "Den Escort". I like to think he missed his Mom. =)

Back to work came early for me this year. Myself and 2 others got a promotion and this brought on a ton of new responsibilities, (it was a whole other job on top of our regular jobs), and boy were we in shell shock. I have never had so much work to do in such a short period of time before. I was EXHAUSTED at the end of each day! I would rather be busy than bored, but at this point I could have used enough time to take a bathroom break!! Especially since I was looking around and it didn't seem like the other 2 had as much work to do as I did. Thankfully they noticed, too, and everyone pitched in to help me when I needed it. When I got home every night it took all I had to keep my eyes open!

Pal started school before Labor Day. He seems to like his new teacher and isn't getting loaded down with homework, yet. This teacher likes them to get as much done IN school so they don't have to take it home. I love that theory, but I worry about next year when he goes to middle school and has to manage his work himself. This is not his strong point! He is also doing Karate twice a week and has decided to keep learning trombone in the school band this year. On top of all of that he has CCD and Cub Scouts, so we are always going somewhere.

In the same week that Pal went back to school, he turned 10! We had a "Lego Store" party with 3 of his buddies, with pizza and cupcakes after. Then we had a family party at the house, which was small this year. And that was just fine with me!! Here is a pic of the Lego Party:

Toward the end of September, one of my cousins from Arizona came to New England with his wife for a short vacation. I'll call them the "Carbs". This is one of my "long lost" cousins that our family never really knew until I made contact with one of them about 10 years ago through email. It was so great to see both of them, and this was her first time to the east coast. She just fell in love with it, and we all got along so nicely. Here are a couple of pictures from their visit: My sisters C & P, with myself and RCarbs

The Four R's
RCarbs, my Dad, my Brother and my Nephew)

My Dad and RCarbs (they kinda look alike, don't ya think??!)

Mr. & Mrs. Carbs and Dad

My family once again did the Alzheimer's Memory Walk as the team "Memory Keepers". Here is a picture of the whole team:

Now we are headed into Columbus Day weekend - at long last! It is also Hubby's 39th B-day next week! He will be spending the following weekend camping with the Cub Scouts (did I mention that he took over their den this year?) Look at how cute he is in uniform:I will be thoroughly enjoying some time to myself (in other words, the house will get cleaned and stay clean for longer than 10 minutes!!!). I have made some plans to hang out with the ladies and I am SO looking forward to it.

Mom's disease is progressing, and she now needs assistance with eating. She looks pretty good though and doesn't seem to be in too much pain. Here is a recent picture of her with 2 of my nieces:

I've caught you up on my life since August (not 100%, there isn't enough blogisphere out there to chronicle ALL of it!!!!). Pretty soon it will be the holidays and we will be saying, "Where did 2009 GO?"!!!

Have a great long weekend!
- G

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer, Summer, Summertime!

It's a rough life, but somebody has to do it.....
Two of my lady friends and I, chillaxin' in the pool in Cape Cod, MA

I feel like I've been on a Blog Vacation, because it was Summer and I was busy doing a million (other) things. I guess that's a good thing, right?

Here is a photo montage of our Summer:

Pal with cousins and friends on July 4th in N.H. - What is better than sparklers???

Pal being cocky after catching a frisbee in Vermont

Just some of the beautiful balloons that were about to fly - Vermont

Vermont again - our ambitious group of bike riders ready to hit the trail!

Pal and his cousin DD taking flight in a tethered balloon - Vermont

Exhausted at the end of a long day in Vermont (rough life this kid has, huh?)

Pal with his cousins and Hubby going for a canoe ride in N.H.

Pal and his best buddies - camping in Maine

Okay, lightsticks in Maine *might* be as cool as sparklers in New Hampshire!

A bluebird eating breakfast at our feeder in N.H.

Our last hurrah - Florida in August (and our sweatiest vacation ever!)

The building of "Harry Potter" exhibit at Universal Studios in Florida - we cannot wait for this to open!!!

Pal with Shaggy and Scooby Doo at Universal Studios.

Pal getting eaten by Jaws - Universal Studios.

Shamu show at Sea World, FL

The new "Manta" roller coaster at Sea World, FL. Possibly THE best coaster we've ever ridden!

Dinner with Minnie and cousins at Chef Mickey's in Florida

Mom and Pal with their favorite mouse in the World!

This was our dessert at "T-Rex" in Downtown Disney!

I will leave you with this gift - the sun setting over our hotel in Florida:

I hope you enjoyed the pics from our Summer. I realize how blessed I am to live the life I do, and I am thankful for it.

On to the school comes 5th grade!


Friday, June 26, 2009

The Sounds of Summer

Certain sounds can bring me right back to Summers of years gone by. Some of them have always stayed the same, and some have changed according to location. Here are some sounds that remind me that Summer is really here, even if the weather hasn't shown us it is.

Here are some sounds that I love:

Red Sox playing baseball - the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd. Reminds me of when I was a kid and my oldest sister was obsessed with Rick Burlson. I love all of the background noise from the games, too.

Crickets - except when the huge ones decide to live right outside my window!

Rain and T-Storms - My Mother loved rain storms, and we used to gather on the front porch and watch the lightning and listen for the thunder. Once when I was little, I remember that she took her shoes off and went out to the street to run in the flooding rain water.

Splashing of pool water - I grew up with a pool, so I remember hearing my brother and his friends jumping into the pool, wishing I was cool enough to be included in their pool party!!

Bug zappers - thank goodness no one in my neighborhood owns one. I just remember them from when I was a kid. ZZZZZZZttt!

Big bugs bouncing off the screens - those huge moths, or June bugs buzzing the windows looking to come in!

Lste night street sounds - I grew up on a main street, so there were always cars going by, but I remember sitting at my window on really hot nights and just listening to the sounds of the neighborhood in its "quiet" mode. You could hear a car coming to a stop at George Street, or a lone person walking sounded like 10 people when it was that quiet. The big tree in the LeBert's yard across the street, blowing in the breeze. Occasional car accidents, and my Uncle walking around the corner to check it out because he heard about the accident on his police scanner.

Kids outside playing - it's a sound like no other. I remember our neighborhood teeming with kids playing Relievio or kick-the-can. Now, for my son, it's the neighborhood kids playing "army" complete with teams and forts and weapon stashes.

I am not looking forward to the heat and humidity that I know is inevitable, but I do love the relaxed schedule and having the time to enjoy the sounds of Summer.

Enjoy yours.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Work/School's out for Summer!

I can't believe that it is June. Today I am out of work for the Summer, and I have that same feeling that I used to get on the last day of school when I was a kid. It's a giddy, bubbling sensation that won't allow me to sit still! I am dreaming of lazy days, staying in bed until I feel like moving...ahhhhh the dreams you dream....

Pal will be out of school in 10 days. I am also looking forward to this, because it means no backpacks, homework, trombone lessons, etc. No schedules. I truly feel that kids deserve Summer vacations because the school year feels like it is forever long, and they need a breather. I'm sure I will feel differently by mid-July!!!!

Yesterday the 4th Grade performed a musical concert for the parents. It was really good, and the music teacher did a great job picking songs that weren't too "baby-ish" or silly. These kids are all about 10 years old, and they don't want to look stupid. There was one kid who I gave a lot of credit to, he did a solo and tried to impersonate Elvis - it was awesome! He did forget the words halfway through but just the fact that he did it was great.

Here is a picture of my shy guy:

For the Summer, Pal is going to a morning camp in town with some friends. I won't make him go every day but for the amount of money they charge he will be there as much as possible! Other than that we are planning on going to our campground on the weekends and hopefully hosting some friends and family there, and in August we are taking the pop-up with a group of friends to Maine. Not sure of any other plans but knowing Hubby there will be more to come!

What are your plans for Summer? Please enlighten me!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday K2!

Today is the 15th birthday of my 4th niece, the third-born child of my sister P.
I have referred to her here as K2. My sister P decided to tell me that she was pregnant again while she was bleaching my new apartment bathroom! I was going to kill her. But then I was so excited for her and for the fact that I would now have 4 nieces (or my first nephew, because we didn't know at the time). When K2 was born, I was at the hospital waiting with my family and we were all convinced that she would be a boy. So when my brother-in-law came out yelling "It's a girl" we were all so shocked!! Another niece. At least we were used to little girls in our family, so K2 fit right in nicely!

Right after she was born, my brother-in-law had to go away to a conference and my sister was going to be home with the 3 girls by herself. After a 3rd C-Section she was going to need help, so I took a week's vacation and stayed with them. Because K2 was newborn, my main job for the week was to take care of her - feeding, burping, changing, rocking, etc. We bonded that week - I felt so strange the following week when I had to go back to work, it seemed like I was leaving MY child!

On my wedding day, K2 was only 19-months-old so her Aunt on her Father's side brought her to the reception hall for the family pictures. She was so adorable in her cream-colored dress, wobbling around unsteadily. My sister used to call her "Tweety Bird" because she had this little wisp of blonde hair and huge blue eyes. When they were trying to take a photo of my sister's family, she kept leaving the picture and walking over to hug my knees. It was so cute.

Now, K2 is turning 15. It seems like yesterday that she was the little 4-year-old to whom I gave the doll "Molly" from the show "The Big Comfy Couch", and she wanted to know "Where her friend????"! She meant the human clown lady named Loonette!! (Check out the You Tube video here:)

K2 is incredibly artistic - she draws things the way she sees them, and some of her drawings would make an architect jealous. She is also hilariously funny, although her shyness would make you believe otherwise!

So, Happy 15th Birthday, K2. You are beautiful, funny and talented and I know you will go far in life. I love you, Tweety Bird.

Love, AG

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vacation Memories

This is the new version of "The Thinker"!

Our vacation was wonderful. How could it not be? We were on a 900+ foot luxury ocean liner, visiting gorgeous Caribbean islands, eating what and when we want, and meeting people from all over the country and world. There were a lot of New Englander's on this cruise because of school vacation week. We had the amazing opportunity to have dinner with the ship's Doctor - a very interesting man who was born in Australia but is an ER physician in Taiwan. Here is a picture of Hubby and Pal with our very own Adam Bricker:

He told us our cruise was one of the busiest for him - there were a few serious ailments, one man almost died but they were able to stabilize him long enough to get him off the boat in St. Thomas. We actually saw them taking him off the ship and into the waiting ambulance. I sincerely hope he was able to get the proper medical treatment in St. Thomas and is on his way to recovery.

The first place we visited was Samana, which is in the Dominican Republic. This island is lush and beautiful, but also one of the poorest places I have ever been. It was so disheartening to see the poverty, but we also used it as a teachable moment for Pal - he saw how other people have so much less than he does. I can only hope that the images of the dirty children and emaciated animals will stick in his mind the next time he whines about not getting the newest video game or toy! One thing that struck me about the children of Samana, though, was how happy they were - they always smiled as Pal waved to them as we drove by. They were happy with life, not because of what they had or did not have.

This was the waterfall we hiked to in Samana: Gorgeous, huh?

The next island we stopped at was St. Thomas. Hubby and I had been there once on another cruise. We loved the sight of Magen's Bay so much that we vowed to come back and swim there.
So, Pal, Hubby and I went to the beach at Magen's Bay. The water was so crystal clear, and the beach was incredible.

Next, on to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
I may have even liked Tortola better than St. Thomas! The first thing we did was "Swimming with Dolphins". Expensive, but totally worth it. The dolphin we had was a 3-year-old male named Atlas. They are such intelligent, gentle creatures, and their skin is so soft and leathery. An experience of a lifetime. I have pictures, but have to scan them in so I will update this post with those as soon as I do it!

After the dolphins, we went to Cane's Garden Bay. Take one look and you'll fall hard:

Here is Pal on the beach at Cane's Bay:

After a full day at sea and nursing our sunburns, our next and final stop was Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas - which is NCL's own private island. They tendered you from the ship onto this little strip of land in the middle of the ocean. We were on the 2nd tender of the morning and there was already a race for beach chairs. The other thing that Pal really, really wanted to try was parasailing, but Great Stirrup Cay was the only place that Pal met the age/weight requirements. When we inquired about getting a reservation through the ship, we were told it was sold out. So, as soon as we arrived onto the island, Hubby went right over to the parasailing kiosk and asked if there was any availability. The guy told him that they could go on the next trip out! So lucky! So, before the age of 10, Pal has been swimming with dolphins and parasailing, not to mention going to Hawaii at age 5 and going on a helicopter ride over a volcano!!!

Here is the view of the ship from Great Stirrup Cay:

Here are a couple of pictures of them parasailing:

As you can see, it was quite the trip. None of us got seasick, there was no major travel issues and we came home with lots of memories and pictures. I'll leave you with one of my faves - it was just a comical moment at that kids pool.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Year Blogiversary

On April 18th it will be officially one year ago that I started this blog. I've written 53 posts, and since I started tracking the site visitors I have had 1,375 page visits. That's pretty cool. Since I will be getting on a Caribbean Cruise on my actual Blogiversary I thought I would post this today and say "Bon Voyage" until I get back!

I am really enjoying blogging, when I have the time. Sometimes I feel like I could write 1,000 posts and other times I feel like it's a chore. It's funny how in such a short amount of time I have become one of those people that looks at every story, every picture, every good or bad event in my life as blog fodder! I also am fascinated that people I would never had dreamed would be reading my blog are always commenting (either live or on the message board) on my posts. I've been inspired by other people's blogs, and even gotten to know complete strangers who I feel so connected to through their blogs. It's pretty bad when I go to tell my Hubby a story about a post I read on someone's blog and I start by saying "This person I know...well, I don't really KNOW them, but I read their blog...." It makes me sound like I sit in front of my computer all day long and live vicariously through other people's blogs, but I can assure you that is NOT the case.

In addition to our Caribbean Cruise, I am excited to say that we just purchased a used pop-up camper (in addition to the 40ft. travel trailer we bought last Fall to put in our campground). We are looking forward to moving around in the pop-up and experiencing new places. Buying the used pop-up and the new travel trailer was a nice compromise between Hubby and I. Hubby was getting tired of being in the same campground for 18 years and wants to experience other campgrounds and other places around the New England area. But Pal and I were more reluctant to give it up, and since Pal will probably be the one to put a stop to our camping altogether when he's a teenager and get's a "life" (at least that's what most other parents tell us happens when their kids reach the teen years...), we figured we'd compromise and get a used pop-up. The one we found was perfect - we had been looking at a lot of them and this one was spotless and had the perfect layout. We will be much more comfortable than in a tent, that's for sure! Here are pictures of both new campers:

So, I want to say thanks to anyone who has been my blog follower for this past year. It's nice to know there is a place that I can post my innermost thoughts and feelings, and that there are people are out there that care enough to read it. It's been very therapeutic, cathartic, curative, medicinal and salutary for me.

Yes, I've been reading the dictionary again.

Happy Blogiversary, and I'll be sure to post after I done being the Caribbean Queen!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Squirt!

Today is my eldest niece's 23rd birthday! I affectionately refer to her as Squirt, since I was only 15 when she was born and she was the closest thing to a little sister that I would ever get. Her mother is my 2nd oldest sister, C. Squirt is her miracle..Sis C was told at age 19 that she would probably never have children. Sis C had a lot of medical problems since the age of 2 and had had about 18 surgeries before the age of 26. So, when Sis C got married and went on her honeymoon, she came home to discover, in shock, that she was pregnant! We were all so excited.

Then, at only 7 months gestation, my 3 sisters were shopping at a local Mall when Sis C's water broke. Of course, they rushed her right into the hospital. She was then transfered to one of the big Boston hospitals because of the high risk of giving birth so early. I had been at my little cousin's soccer game and came home to find a note from my Mom that everyone (except me!) was at the hospital with Sis C and that she was having the baby. I was so scared, home alone, and pissed off because I wanted to be with everyone. My brother's friend happened to call the house and I answered the phone in tears, so he very kindly offered to drive me in to the hospital. Just as he was pulling up to the house, my other 2 sisters came home to get me. We picked up dinner for everyone and headed back to the hospital to wait for the news. When Sis C's husband came around the corner, he had his hands raised in the air, triumphantly, and said "It's a girl!". We all cheered like a team who just scored the winning run!

Squirt was the light of my life. Everything she did and said was so amazing to all of us - it was almost bordering on sickening!!! I babysat at every given opportunity, and when she was school age she used to come to work with me during school vacations. All of my co-workers loved having her there - she had (and still has) such a sarcastic, funny personality that it was like having your own personal comedian around! I was also lucky enough to have her come to work with me again, this time in a much different way. Because I work at a college and "our" students go home during winter break, we needed other help and so we hired "outside" college students. Squirt fit the bill, so she started working in my office and did so for 3 winter breaks in a row. My other niece, K, also worked in the office during breaks. It was so awesome to be able to hang out with them during my workday, and also watch them interact with my other co-workers and the other students.

Squirt has had her share of health issues through the years, and seeing her go through surgeries and other problems in her life have been difficult to watch, almost physically painful to me. But I feel like she is strong. And I mean strong INSIDE, and that her inner strength will get her through just about anything. After all, she IS her mother's daughter, and Sis C is pretty invincible! Honestly, I cannot wait to see what she does with her life and am excited to be a part of it!

So, Happy 23rd Birthday, Squirt - my little sister, my heart.
I love you all the way up to the moon. And back. Go get 'em!

Love, Aunnie G