Friday, February 29, 2008

Not good, but not horrible either

I've been a little preoccupied this week to think about posting anything worthwhile. (And I do have some fun pictures of the kids to post...but they'll just have to wait.) Between my head being in a whirl since finding out that my brother has colon cancer on Monday and with this the last week of the month, which means we're busy at working trying to wrap up invoicing to meet numbers, etc. there has been little time for me to think about anything beyond making it out of this week in one piece.

So, unfortunately yes, my brother was diagnosed with colon cancer. That's the bad news. The good news is that they removed the tumor on Wednesday morning after a 5 hour surgery and he is recovering well. The doctors believe that they removed everything but at this point are waiting for the pathology test results before determining a course of action on chemo/radiation.

So I'm heading back to PA tonight after work for a quick weekend visit. The 10 hour roundtrip drive will be well worth it to see my big brother and give him a hug. After all, if I've thought my week was bad, all I have to do is think about his and I'm once again reminded of how lucky I am.

Megan and Uncle Dan

Thursday, February 21, 2008


After receiving some disturbing news yesterday, I've been running a lot of numbers through my head in the past 24 hours and they're all adding up...much higher than I care to really think about.

4 co-workers who have each faced cancer battles within their families over the past 2 years. 3 lost their fight and as of last week, the remaining family member is searching for a reason to keep fighting.

1 babysitter, diagnosed with a tumor in the base of her skull. Treated, fought and won.

1 Aunt, who passed away from breast cancer back when I was very little. I still remember her wake being one of the first ones that I had ever attended. I had a cold that day that left me with a constant nagging cough. I distinctly remember sitting in the funeral parlor that evening while the rosary was being said and being so afraid that if I coughed I would once again be reminded to be quiet in that setting. It left me to the point where a blubbering noise would erupt when I could no longer restrain the urge. Yes, I admit that was a strange child.

1 Aunt and sister-in-law of very close family members diagnosed with cancer. Fought and won.

1 sister, diagnosed with cervical cancer about 5 years ago. Treated, fought and won.

1 Grandmother, passed away at a ripe old age, but not before being advised that her body was consumed with cancer throughout. Because of her age, no battle was fought.

1 Grandmother, cancerous tumor in her intestines. Surgery to remove the tumor as well as a part of her intestines, fought and won.

1 Father-in-law, diagnosed with a fast growing brain tumor a little over 1 year ago. Surgery performed immediately to remove as much as possible. Treatments began and with it so did the complications. He passed away on Feb 6, 2007.

1 Mother, goes for annual mammograms and each year we hold our breaths as they find significant lumps and run additional tests. Every year she dodges another bullet.

1 Sister-in-law, stood by her Mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Treated, fought and won. She also made it through a cancer scare with a mis-diagnosis on her Father.

These are just the people that I've watched go through this battle...there are so many more out there. Too many to count. Family members of friends who lost their battle with cancer before I ever knew them.

This year, my husband and kids, along with my Mother-in-law and a few other family members will be participating in the Relay for Life at Quinnipiac University. This year, we'll be remembering my Father-in-law and so many others who have been affected by this awful disease. This year, I'll be saying a prayer that the numbers on my list above do not go any higher.

But for today, tomorrow and the next, I'll be thinking of and saying prayers for my brother as we wait for test results, hoping for the best and preparing ourselves for worse. I don't feel like that preparation will really be enough... So I'll just keep thinking positive until then.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Little girl crushes

While Megan was perusing her Valentine cards last evening, she came across one with the picture of a High School Musical cast member on it. She turned it towards me and said, "Mommy, look."

I asked her what his name was, to which she replied in the most dreamy voice a 5 year old could muster, "Troy". And I swear there was an audible sigh at the end of that statement.

Yep - takes me back to the days of hanging posters on my bedrooms walls with pictures of Ralph Macchio, Corey Haim and Kirk Cameron on them. Could I have picked a geekier group of boys to worship?!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

******************SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM*******************

This year marks the 10th Valentine's Day that Bill and I have celebrated together. We've never been the type to go overboard on the celebrations for this Halmark created holiday but we certainly never let the day go by unnoticed. And today I want to tell him how much I appreciate this.

Our first Valentine's together, back in 1999, was spent at the Melting Pot in Nashville, TN. We followed up the romantic dinner by taking in some blues music around the corner in Printers Alley and then ended it with a horse and carriage ride around town. I also remember that weekend consisting of take-out food, chocolate covered strawberries, and dare I admit it to everyone (oh what the heck), a sexy red outfit from Victoria's Secret of course. It was romantic, our relationship was still only one month 'new', and I remember that fuzzy feeling surrounding me as though nothing and no one else existed.

After I moved to CT, over the next couple of years we went out of our way to go out for dinner at romantic restaurants or we'd stay in for wonderful cooking at home. Bill always made sure to acknowledge the day in some way, shape or form. Even if it was just with a pretty, unassuming bouquet of flowers that he happened to pick up at Stop N Shop on his way home.

The kids have since become a part of our celebration and these days are spent helping them with kitty cat and Spider Man valentine cards. To add to this, while picking up heart lollipops for Megan to share with her class, Bill also made sure that each of the kids had a special card from Mom and Dad and their own little box of chocolate candies.

And yet this morning as I climbed into the car to take Matt and Robert to the sitters, I found a card hidden up on my sun visor. He once again found a quiet way to remind me that I am still his valentine.

Thank you Bill for making sure that although we both agreed long ago to not go crazy on this holiday, you never let it go by unnoticed. And most of all...thank you for loving me...every day.


After posting this I received a call from our receptionist...regarding a delivery... I guess, considering he just blew every word out of the water up there about "unassuming bouquets and quiet reminders" I should add that he still knows how to keep me on my toes.

Today's the day - Let's go shopping ladies!!


Please join me today for my Purple Door E-Party for beautiful AFFORDABLE jewelry.
All that you need to do is log on to and start shopping. Upon checking out, put my name (Lisa Baker) in the field that says: "Referred By/E-Party Hostess".
Each guest who orders $25.00 or more will receive a FREE pair of glass pearl earrings! And better yet...because today is Valentine's day, you can take advantage of The Purple Door's Valentine special of $5.00 off a purchase of $20.00 or more by putting the coupon code PDVAL08 in at checkout. AND (yes, there's more...can you believe it?) all orders of $50.00 or more will receive free shipping!

The Purple Door is a jewelry and accessories company offering fabulous, fun and AFFORDABLE jewelry and accessories.
Natural gemstones, Authentic austrian crystals, semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, kids jewelry...there is something for just about everyone.
Best of all, nothing is more than $50.00 and most items are $30.00 or less. Really!

So log on to and have fun shopping at your convenience.
Beautiful jewelry...fabulous prices... I hope you'll join me for some shopping fun!!!

My Purple Door E-Party:

HOSTED BY: Lisa Baker

DATE: Thursday, February 14th (Valentine's Day)

The Purple Door
Where Girlfriends Love To Shop!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's an E-Party! Let's go shopping!

Browse now - but get ready to shop tomorrow! I'll include discount and code info in tomorrow's post:

(Invite a friend!)

Please join me for my Purple Door E-Party for beautiful AFFORDABLE jewelry.
And you can stay in your pajamas if you want to~does it get much better than that?!

The Purple Door is a jewelry and accessories company offering fabulous, fun and AFFORDABLE jewelry and accessories.
Natural gemstones, Authentic austrian crystals, semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, kids jewelry...there is something for just about everyone.
Best of all, nothing is more than $50.00 and most items are $30.00 or less. Really!

The party is tomorrow, Thursday, February 14th (Valentine's Day).
So log on to and get ready to have fun shopping at your convenience.
Beautiful jewelry...fabulous prices... I hope you can join me for some shopping fun!!!

My Purple Door E-Party:

HOSTED BY: Lisa Baker

DATE: Thursday, February 14th (Valentine's Day)

The Purple Door
Where Girlfriends Love To Shop!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Growing up Matthew style

I was tucking Matt into bed the other night and as I usually do, I leaned over his little body and propped myself up on my arm so we could sing our usual bedtime songs and end with fishy kisses. Matt began squirming a little and told me that his side was itching and hurting him. So I pulled his shirt up and decided that we'd put some lotion on it to help.

I grabbed the lotion out of the other room and when I came back into his bedroom he told me that Daddy had forgotten to put it on him after his shower, so we decided to load up all over instead of just that one spot. After putting the lotion on his torso and arms, I pulled his pj bottoms and underwear down to get to his legs and hiney. (Nothing worse than a dry, itchy hiney!) Matt was holding his shirt up and watching me apply the lotion when he informed me that his pee-pee was sticking out. (And just to clarify - not really "sticking out" but it was just there...and in his mind, sticking out.)

"But it doesn't stick out like Daddy's does," he says to me.

"And I don't have feavers like Daddy does eiver."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Poop, puke and so many other completely unnecessary things to discuss on a blog

If there is one sure fire way to kick start your weight loss plan, it's picking up a virus from one of your kids. Unfortunately, it's bound to end sooner or later and then willpower may have to take over.

It all started last Wednesday when the babysitter called to tell me that Robert had been unable to keep his breakfast down and that 3 very messy diapers later, he had diarhea on top of that. So I left work early to bring he and Matt home to begin what is so far 4+ days of sickness.

Because I've used up all but 4 days (actually 3 now) of my vacation time for the year (which is to last me until July!!) on the kids' sick days, Bill stayed home with Robert on Thursday. 3pm rolled around and I was beginning to feel a bit under the weather myself. Long story short, my 30 minute drive home felt like the longest drive ever with me barely make it home before losing it....literally.

My evening was spent sharing a "sick bed" with Robert, trying to hold down little sips of gingerale while trying to keep Robert hydrated with Pedialyte. By 1:30am my stomach had calmed down enough that I was only dealing with the southern end of the sickness...if you catch my drift. However, Bill, who was sleeping on the couch downstairs, was just beginning his bout around that time. Fortunately for him, there was no vomitting involved, and after a round of Imodium, he was off to work. Granted, a long drawn out day at work, but he was just slightly above the functioning mark.

Friday was spent home with the boys, waiting for what seemed like an inevitable moment that Matt would start up, and hoping to see the end for Robert. So far, both have not come. In fact, both Megan and Matt have seemed to avoid disaster. (Although with my luck, it will hit them on Monday and we'll be dealing with more missed time off from work.) Although, I guess with as much puke and poop that Bill and I dealt with there was no way that the two of us were coming away healthy.

And poor Robert is still having a tough time. Although "things" have slowed down, it's still very messy and definitely not something that you can wait too long to change. In fact, as soon as it is heard, we very carefully pick him up to move him to the changing area, hoping to avoid ruining another set of clothes.

We had also tried numerous times but he wanted nothing to do with solid foods until today. He's also picked up a slight gag reflex everytime he smells the Apple flavored Pedialyte and I can only attribute it to the fact that he was still getting sick when we were constantly pushing it down his throat to keep him hydrated. So after a slow start with some rice cereal and applesauce, I think we're finally on the mend. At the very least, I'm hoping that things become a little more bound up!

And in the mean time, the house has been sanatized and the Lysol hasn't left my hand. If we can keep the sick count down to 3 out of 5, we'll be in good shape. Keep your fingers crossed...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Great Interview Experiment...part deux

The second part of the Neil's Great Interview Experiment took place with Mary Pat who interviewed me. (Poor thing!) I didn't give much thought to the process initially but when the introductions began with the pending questions looming, I began to wonder what in the world she could possibly manage to pull out of my blog that might be interview worthy.

Drum roll please!!!

Q - Blog questions! Why did you start blogging? Do you have any real life friends that blog? Do your friends and family read your blog? What does your husband think? When do you take time to blog?

A - My cousin Karen and her husband moved to Japan a little over a year and a half ago. In order to stay in touch with family and friends back here in the US, she started a blog ( I started reading and then began exploring other sites and became addicted immediately. So I figured - why not give this a shot on my own in order to stay in touch with my out of state relatives. So many times I was left telling stories about the kids over and over again or intending to update the family on something happening in our lives and for one reason or another not get around to sharing it. Blogging just took care of that for me.

Although my friends and family read the blog, I get the impression that they aren't quite up to speed on the "etiquette" if you will, as the comments left behind on it are few and far between. It's obvious who understand the whole blogging thing and who doesn't.

In all honesty, I think my hubby thought that starting the blog was a little absurd (although he never said so). But now that I've been at it for a while, I know that he enjoys it and is constantly checking for updates. I've offered him the password to help out with posts but I still can't get him to take me up on that offer. Maybe if I give him free reign to post about the Red Sox or Notre Dame... Anyhow, although I have a long way to go before I'm anywhere near as good at blogging as some of my favorite reads are, I have definitely evolved over the past year. Now if I could just find more time...

Q - How did Uncle Kevin AKA Uncle Fat Kid get his name? What does he think about this nick name?

A - Ah, poor Kevin. (He's gonna strangle me for this one. He'll get over it.) Kevin has put on quite a bit of weight over the years. I'm told and from pictures that I've seen, he used to be an average sized 5'9" guy. Lot's of good food and numerous Bud Lights later...well let's just say he's not as svelte as he used to be! But he definitely has maintained his sense of humor about it all as he dubbed himself "Uncle Fat Kid" and continues to roll with it to this day.

Q - What in the heck happened with your house? It was built on a barite mine? How did you find this out? Is the barite worth anything? Does this effect the entire neighborhood?

A - Wow! I had forgotten that I had ever written about this issue. I could go on and on for quite a while on this one but I'll spare you the smaller details and will try to keep it to the point.

When my husband and bought our first house together back in 2001, although we wanted a niece sized piece of land, we really couldn't afford it. So we settled on a fantastic neighborhood, beautiful home - on a lot the size of a postage stamp.

Four years later, the housing market went through the roof and prices were almost double what they were before. We could finally afford that larger piece of land and so we went looking for our ideal home to raise the kids in. What we found was a little of 3/4 of an acre in the next town over. The house was ok, but definitely required some updating which I was looking forward to doing - starting with the kitchen and baths.

A month and half after we moved in, the Northeast was hit by some pretty severe rain storms that lasted for about a week and caused some major flood damage. We were lucky enough to have avoided any flooded but on the last day of the rain, we woke up to find a large gaping hole in our backyard that turned out to be a shaft to the barite mines. It was 10' off the back of my house, 15' in diameter and 35' deep!!!! I almost threw up the first time I approached the edge and looked down inside.

After much research we discovered that the town had mined for barite (a mineral that was used in white paint...unfortunately not worth anything today) back in the 1800's, shut down in the late 1800's but never closed the mines properly. They then proceeded to allow neighborhoods to be developed on this land.

We calculate that over 200 homes are affected by this along with some commercial property but the town of course denies having any part of it. We've tried so many different paths to get this resolved and continue to come up empty handed. So now we are caught up in a lovely little lawsuit with the town and the previous owners (who knew but still sold - no disclosure) that might not see the inside of a court room for another 2 years.

In the mean time, we've sunk $15,000 into closing the hole and are told that in order to fill the tunnels that run under our home and throughout our property, we're looking at around $500,000!!! (I don't know about anyone else's funds but that $15k blew out any thoughts of beginning renovations there and we certainly don't have access to $500k to fix the remaining issue.) And the ironic part of it all...we bought this place because of the LAND!!

Q - If you had it all over to do again would you go through the whole ear piercing thing with your daughter again? When did you get your ears pierced? How old were you? Who took you?

A - Oddly enough, although Megan gave us quite a ride that day, I would do it again in heart beat. The drama that she piles on to the every day thing can be very over the top. (Proven by the way that she cut off the dramatics less than a minute after walking out of the store after we completed ear #2.)

I on the other hand was not allowed to get my ears pierced until I was almost 16 years old. Just a silly old rule that was put into effect for my older sisters that still remained when it was my turn. I remember the year that I was finally permitted to get them of my sisters was getting married that October (1990 to be exact!) and I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me get them pierced so I could wear real earrings for the wedding and not the crazy clip ons. They of course refused. However, just two months later, my Mom surprised me on a trip to the mall by telling me I was getting an early Christmas present and had them done then. What difference the extra two months made is beyond me.

Q - Have you noticed anything regarding Robert only having one kidney? Is he just as crazy as the other kids?

A - We found out that Robert had only one kidney during a routine ultrasound at my OBGYN office. We then began monthly visits to Yale so that they could monitor the development and begin testing for any other potential issues. Apparently having one kidney can be completely normal and even hereditary. Or it can be just one of numerous indications that there is something much more complex happening to the developing child. Although we don't know for sure if it's hereditary (I have both of my kidneys but my hubby hasn't been tested) it was determined that there were no underlying issues and the remaining kidney is fully functioning. And on the day that he was born, within two minutes, he had urinated twice - one time drenching the nurse.

Although we had been told prior to his birth that everything was fine, after seeing firsthand that everything was in working order, I think I finally released the breath that I had been unaware I was holding for the last few months.

There are no outward signs of the issue and in all actuality, he's an enormous child. Off the charts in fact. So it's not like it has affected his growth or eating in any way. His personality is not quite as nutty as the older kids and so far he seems very laid back and calm. He's still young though and I'm sure he'll be picking up some good stuff from Matt as he gets older and they begin playing together more often. So anything could change!!

Q - You have an entire week without family responsibilities. What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you take with you? (husband not allowed)

A - family, no worries, right? I would take my Mom and 3 sisters someplace warm. Someplace where we could just sit our rear ends on the beach, drink some fruity cocktails and let the sun soak into our bodies. And I'm not particular - it can be any beach. But it must be warm! (Can you tell that I'm tired of winter already?)

Q - You have won the lottery. It's an obscene amount of money. You have paid off all your debt, your families debt and secured trusts for your children and grandchildren. You still have a boatload of money left over? What do you do with it to indulge yourself?

A - The first thing I would do is get the F*%K out of the mine pit that we call home today. We've talked about moving south so we'd probably head to the Carolina's somewhere. I'd then take the entire family, mine and my husbands, on a vacation. Nothing over the top. In fact maybe we'd start out with Disney, for the kids who have never been, then head off to a mutually agreed upon spot that we would all enjoy. We'd probably head back to reality for a few months but then I'd make sure that my husband and I were able to take our dream vacation to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Morea and what the heck - we'd head to Fiji too. I'd also make sure that we were able to pick a vacation spot every year that would be traveled to with our kids and another every year for just he and I.

Beyond my grand vacation and home buying plans, as long as everything else was taken care of financially, I would just want to live a casual, laid back life where we could come and go however and whenever we wanted.

Q - I'm going to assume you have an iPod. If you don't then just play with me here. What is on your playlist? What are the top Lisa songs that mean something to you. Name as many as you like. Highlight one that is kind of a Lisa theme song.

A - My playlist depends on my mood. I can listen to any kind of music - except rap. I'm currently stuck on Michael Buble, some random jazz music and the soundtrack to A Lot Like Love. But that could change next month when I get into a country music kick. (Although that never lasts too long - just enough to get a fix.)

Anything can trigger the change; the mood I'm in, the weather that day, an upcoming concert that I'm anticipating going to (went through that phase with Billy Joel and Rod Stewart). I have a habit of playing my favorites over and over to the point where I still love them but can't stand listening to them anymore and have to take a much needed break.

Theme song? I've never really thought about that before. And the more I think of it now, I keep going back to the little ditty that Jack Black creates in the movie The Holiday for the Arthur Abbott character. Now I can't think of anything else except the piano music and the old man scaling the stairs at the end of the movie.

A - Do you read other people's blogs? If so what is your favorite blog?

Q - Like I said above, I've become addicted to blogs. My first real addiction was Amalah, which lead to MamaPop. From those spots I've expanded to: Silly Little Girl, All & Sundry, Not That You Asked, Whoorl, The Shape of a Mother and most recently, Autismville (over on I peruse others sporadically but I try to not get into them too much or my day would be spent reading blogs instead of working!

Q - What question were you hoping that I would ask that I didn't? Ask and answer please!

A - I can't say that I was anticipating anything in particular and in fact was wondering how anyone would be able to pull anything interesting out of my blog to ask about. However, you've asked some great questions and I've had a lot of fun answering them!

But if I have to add on here, how about blogging pet peeves? My two biggest pet peeves would be cyber trolls. It irritates me to no end how someone feels that they have to post negative comments and/or attack a blogger. It eats me up even further when it then turns into an attack on fellow commenters who defend the blogger or when it just continually gets hashed out over and over. Let's all stop feeding the troller egos and simply delete their inappropriate comments!

The second pet peeve would be lurkers. If you're kind enough to read the blog - leave an occasional comment. It gets a little lonely out here without knowing if anyone else is living on (or should I say visiting) the same island!!

So there you go. Perhaps this information won't spawn an entirely new group of people to begin cyber stalking me (as Bill likes to say) but for those of you who read me...I hope it was worth the few minutes out of your day!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Citizen of the Month's Great Interview Experiment

Neil Kramer, a writer from Los Angeles, came up with a nifty little idea that blossomed into a 359 (and counting) person interview experience. Take a looksie, sign up, or just read all of the interviews that have taken place so far.

This is a two part process in which you are interviewed by the person above you and then in turn you interview the person listed below you. I started out by interviewing Jeni Allen from TN. And while it was determined that I'll never be the next Barbara Walters, it was fun and fortunately my questions were sent during the height of the tornado invasion down south so I inadverdently helped take Jeni's mind off of the crazy weather around her. Here is our end result:

Q - I noticed that your blog looks relatively new, having started in September 2007. Is this your first and only blog? What got you started with blogging and inspires you to this day?

A - My current blog (Allen Family Circus) is my first and only blog. I started blogging as soon as I got my own laptop and my resident engineer set up a wireless network for our house. I've always loved to write, and to read, and I love to share what's going on in my life and in my head. My inspiration is primarily born of a desire for connection; SAHMs can feel pretty isolated, but I've found there are lots of us out there!

Q - James is quite obviously one of the loves of your life. Tell me what your first impression was of James when you first met.

A - Well, I thought he was nice enough, but kind of goofy. I don't remember our actual first meeting, but he does - he tells me his first thought was, "Jeff has a sister?" I think I didn't pay too much attention to him when we first met, because my best friend was interested in him. Then he asked me out and I started paying more attention. :-) And now, eleven years after that first date, I still think he's goofy, and I love it.

Q - Wendy would be love number 2 (not in order of preference but rather chronological!) - How did you break the news to James when you found out that you were expecting.

A - I'm pretty sure I just got his attention and showed him the test. He said, "Hmph." (I call that his "James noise." It's his initial response to almost everything.) We were both a little shocked - it was an intentional pregnancy, but we didn't think it would happen that quickly. James did not get as excited as I hoped, but in hindsight I see that it was the responsibility of having a baby that was tempering his enthusiasm. And now, to see him roll on the floor with a giggling Wendy, you'd think he had jumped up and down and yelled when he found out she was on the way.

Q - You've put in the time and effort to become a doctor/vet and in your own words have said that it was probably not the best choice for you. If you could do it all over again, what career path would you have pursued and do you still think that you would be a SAHM if you had followed that ambition?

A - If I had it to do over again, I would have stuck with either biology research or teaching. It would have saved about $100,000 in student loans, 6 years of intense stress, and quite a bit of strain on our marriage. I'm pretty sure I would be a SAHM in any case, but if I had chosen the other career path, we'd probably have at least 2 children now, instead of just Wendy. This decision is one that haunts me with what-ifs. Then I remember that if things HAD gone differently, Wendy would not be Wendy - so maybe things worked out for the best after all.

Q - Now that you're a SAHM, what is the most difficult thing for you to deal with that you never would have anticipated?

A - I've been surprised how lonely I feel sometimes. Because we moved right before Wendy was born, there wasn't time to form friendships before the busy-ness of having a newborn isolated us. My family lives in town, and that's great, but my heart aches for friends my age, especially those left behind in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri.

Q - From what I can read, you live in the Nashville area (I lived there too for a while, and that's where I met my hubby!). What's your favorite thing to do with the family around town.

A - Well, I'm embarrased to say that we've never done anything in Nashville. We've been here for a year and a half and haven't done a single, solitary thing, other than having Wendy at Vanderbilt. We live just far enough out of town for it to be kind of an excursion, and we just haven't taken the time. I would like to tour the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, go to the Zoo, and see what free stuff we can experience this summer. Really, even though we enjoy art, and music, and theater, we're homebodies.

Q - If there were no barriers and the sky was the limit (in terms of time, money, etc), what changes, if any, would you make in your life?

A - Wow...well, I would definitely pay off our debt, sell this house, and buy one that fits our lives better - you know, a house with closets. I would want to take James and Wendy my two favorite places I've lived, Anchorage, Alaska, and London, England. I would want to arrange things so that James had more leisure time. I'd go visit all of my friends several times a year, and have them visit me, too. And I might set some money aside for a mommy makeover after our family is complete. :-)

Q - And maybe this is too personal, so if you'd rather skip this one, feel free. Are you planning on expanding your family? What is your "ideal" family size?

A - I have always visualized our family with four children. Even as I type that it sounds crazy, since I have so much trouble keeping up with one. But four seems right. They may not all be our biological children; we talked about adoption years before we knew there might be a medical limit to my childbearing. To be surrounded by children, and later, hopefully, grandchildren, is one of my dreams - and to be old and alone, with no family, is one of my nightmares. We'll just have to see what the years bring.

Tune in tomorrow to read my interview given by Mary Pat!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

One Year

February 6, 2008 marks the one year anniversary since Bob passed away. A lot has happened this past year and not a day goes by that something doesn't remind us of why we loved him so much and just how much he is and will continue to be missed like crazy.

Robert resembles Bob from the wispy hairs on his head, to the similar baby pictures from Bob's childhood, down to the little chubby crooked pinky finger.

Matt not only talks about him constantly but continues to act like Grandpa in his carefree, crazy antics.

Every trip to Hamden is a reason for Megan to mention the trips to the convenience store where Grandpa would buy his hard rolls and a treat for her during the time he used to babysit for us.

And those same trips to Hamden always include a drive past the cemetery where he is buried and is cause for a chorus of "Hi Grandpa, hi Mimi, hi Grimpie! We love you and miss you!" to come from the back of the car from both kids. (And most recently, Matt has added a greeting to God in that grouping.)

Everyone in the family has dealt with this loss in different ways. Some moved past that moment in a steady gradual movement and others are continuing to struggle every day, looking for that happy or at least calm place in their lives again. But no matter how we've managed to move on or how far past the sadness we've pulled ourselves, his memories continue to stay with us.

Bob was always willing to lend a helping hand, and the way that he loved his family, his grandkids, the Red Sox and Notre Dame, can not be compared. He may not have been a perfect man or lived a perfect life, but he was about as passionate as they come. If he were here to tell you himself, I'm sure that he would agree that although he wasn't quite done, he managed to live a full life. And I thank my lucky stars every day that he was a part of mine.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bowling - The New Contact Sport

We decided to take the kids bowling on Saturday to introduce a little something new in their lives. (And break up the monotony of our typical Saturday morning.) We went to a place right around the corner from the house that only offers duck pin bowling, which we figured would be perfect for the kids. Smaller balls + bumper lanes = easy handling and guaranteed scoring!

Before we even left the house, Megan started in with her typical, "I don't want to bowl" excuses and I figured we were doomed before we'd even begun. However, once she walked through the door her tune changed and surprisingly enough she was quite enthusiastic about it the entire time. (Perhaps the idea that she was able to wear new shoes helped the matter.)

Matt started us out, being that he is the youngest, and although he was coached by Daddy prior to rolling his first ball down the lane, he immediately adopted a style unique to himself. A little turn here and a little spin on your release and you too can be a duck pin master like Matt!

Megan stuck with the tried and proven technique of rolling between the legs but quickly proved herself to be as good a bowler as her Mommy. (Which is to say that we both stunk at this!) We both seemed to have decent enough techniques but there was something happening on our release that left us bouncing off of the bumpers. (Thank God for those bumpers!)

After a LONG and drawn out 10 frames we managed to make it through the game with only 3 melt downs. One was from Megan when she decided to hold onto the waiting balls while a return ball came barrelling up the shoot, smashing her fingers in between. (Even though we had told them both countless times to "get your fingers out of there!!") And twice from Matt. Once when an old crotchety man who evidently proclaimed himself the evil, duck pin, child terrorizer decided to yell at Matt for investigating the spot where the balls came out. And the second time when Megan smashed her finger and Matt arbitrarily decided to join his tears with hers.

Final scores? I don't remember exactly but I am a big enough person to admit that Matt beat me. Hey, back off! I still managed to kick Megan's butt!