Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Willow, it is for you we weep...

Yesterday there was some sort of nasty weather front moving through and it was making a statement. There was no rain and no darkness in the sky, but there was wind. The kind of wind with gusts that shake your house and remind you that you are not invincible. And this wind shook not only the house but also our family.

This gorgeous baby willow grabbed our attention one day as we toured a nursery. We wanted a special tree, but we were not looking for a weeping willow. Maybe a sapling that promised to become a great maple or maybe even a towering birch. But this gentle little tree reached its delicate branches towards us (okay, maybe it was the breeze). Our logic jumped in to tell us that willows get huge, their roots are shallow and work their way into basements and septic systems. Avoid it. Do not buy it.

We bought it. It connected with us in some way that seems silly considering we are speaking of a tree. But this tree was planted in our yard, early in our marriage and shortly before our daughter was born. This tree seemed larger at the nursery but now seemed dwarfed by the scale of our home. But it was now part of our home and soon our newborn daughter would play under it. And soon after, her little brother would join in the fun. This tree, the ‘family tree’ grew as fast as our children.

The wind was howling as I folded laundry in the family room, I heard a very loud and grumbling noise. And then silence. I assumed it was the deck chairs being pushed around as if in a game of dodge ball. I headed onto the deck and began to fold and stack chairs so they could weigh each other down. But then I turned my head left and saw this:

I saw the weeping willow, looking defeated and hurt. I walked over to look closer at this poor limp tree all slumped on the ground. I stared for a moment and then went back inside to alert my husband. He came outside and we both stood there in silence.

All I could picture was the hurt that would be in my daughter’s eyes when she came home from school. My son was home and seemed more amazed than sad. However, as predicted, my daughter felt the pain. She is in mourning. It is an awful experience to see your child go through their first loss. No, it is not a person she has lost but a childhood friend nonetheless.

To be continued….

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday

Any of you who know this little guy, knows how loving and challenging he can be and lucky for us, he is all ours! Happy Birthday Ben!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day

God blessed us with this man.

Gymnastics Recital

Isabel has been dutifully reporting to gymnastics all year and has had so much fun. She was quite timid each time she practiced 'In the middle of an Island' at home and did not want us to watch. Therefore, I was a bit nervous about how she would react when she saw that she was on stage but it went great. We are so proud.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teacher's Gifts - Decoupaged Clip Boards

Seeing as the year is coming to a close, we wanted to give the teachers a special gift. One that I hope they can actually use or at least find pretty to look at so I did some searching for some great ideas. I searched my favorite design, craft and idea blogs and let Isabel choose. She choose this idea from Design Mom. Luckily, there was also a tutorial on Michael'
Since her school is nature based, we looked for school/nature themed paper. I hope you enjoy the photos. Isabel also made a card for each teacher expressing her love for them with words and a thousand hearts.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

By way of Boston - The Freedom Trail

I already had Boston on my mind as we are going there in 2 weeks and then came the latest edition of Family Fun magazine and it happened to have a very long article about The Freedom Trail. Now my kids are a bit younger so we have done and enjoy the usual for the preschool set: Harbor Tours, Children's Museum, New England Aquarium, Public Garden Park: the sweet bronze ducks from the book "Make way for ducklings" and the Swan Boats. They are great activities for many ages but you really should take a look at this article if you children are say 8 and up. What an educational and fun opportunity. They even recommend some books to read prior to your trip.

What are some of your favorite family memories or place to visit in Boston?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8 - Your Thoughts

Along with 10 million others, I tuned into to watch the season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8. Not because I wanted to have a front row seat to the scandal but because I have watched from the beginning. I spent 73 minutes watching a painfully sad event and I do not think I will be watching again. Why? here is enough negativity on TV shows/news etc. and that is one show I watched to smile and enjoy. At any rate, I found 2 posts I thought I would share and wonder what you, if anything, wish to add. Will you continue to watch?

First up: Dr, Michelle Golland, a relationship expert:

A relationship expert's advice to Jon and Kate: practice what you promised at your recommitment ceremony.
Dr. Michelle Golland: I have worked with enough couples and heard enough stories to know when I am witnessing the downward spiral of negativity and criticism, and the descent into divorce. I am sad to say that too many couples find themselves in this situation. Unfortunately, this is what I have seen with Jon and Kate.
With all the hoopla and commentary surrounding Jon and Kate's life, I decided to immerse myself in their marriage -- or at least, in what we see of it on TV. I went into the archives to hear them answer questions about their thoughts on marriage, how they met, etc.... I listened to the wedding vows they each wrote for wedding number one, and I watched the recently televised Hawaiian renewal of their vows.
What I would say to Jon and Kate starts with the two things I tell all couples who come to see me:
1) I am going to fight harder for your marriage than you are, because you have lost perspective and are living in an unconscious marriage.
2) I will tell you what I think and you may not like it very much. There will be times when each of you don't like me, or don't like what I am saying to you.
What I try to do with my clients is help them live in a Mindful Marriage. This is a marriage where you fully understand each other's history -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- and you are each working for the betterment of the other. This is not easy, and it can take a lot of work to achieve this level of connection and understanding, but it is well worth it for you as an individual, a couple, and as a family.
I would like to truly try to help Jon and Kate by understanding how their marriage has run off the road and into the swamp of disappointment, resentment, and anger. I have read all the stories about Kate's criticism and controlling manner (and of course, her famous hair), but I see Kate as a victim of her own unconscious drives that have overrun her, her husband, and her family. I have also read the opinions of those who think Jon needs to "man up."
Jon and Kate married at the age of 22 and 24, respectively. They both have seemed to focus on this age difference as significant, although in reality it is not that large at all. So begins the setup for Kate to claim that she is the responsible one in the relationship, while Jon gets to play the part of the fun jokester. She is the parent, while he stays the child.
In Jon's original wedding vows, he thanks Kate for "accepting" him for who he is and believing in him. He promises to be her "provider." Kate talks about his free spirit and the joy that gives her. As any of you who watch the show know, Kate rarely likes his free spirit, doesn't accept him for who he is, and probably doesn't believe in him much anymore.
This is a sad reality, but what I think most impacts their marriage are Jon's unfulfilled dreams. He himself shares that he really never had the chance to find a career path, thus he hasn't fulfilled his "provider" role that was so important to him. He has become Kate's reluctant sidekick, while she has found her passion and her career as a celebrity, author, and mentor for other mothers. By allowing Kate's career to take over the family, Jon has lost the space to develop a separate sense of himself as a man, father, or husband. He is only defined by those around him.
In the renewal of their vows, Kate said, "I promise to love you more, speak more gently, and be more respectful and sensitive to your needs." Excellent, Kate -- but now comes the hard part: actually doing what we say. In the promo for the first show of the fifth season, I could see the depression oozing from Jon and the fear Kate has of losing the show and her lucrative and fulfilling career.
She thinks it's great that Jon can stay home with the kids and get paid for it. He does not, and when he tried to share his feelings about it, Kate cut him off and "told" him what he feels. Being sensitive to her husband's needs would instead entail seeing how this show and her own difficulty in allowing Jon to be himself is going to help usher in the end of their marriage.
Jon is not innocent in all this. He has been quietly and passive-aggressively colluding with this setup, because for a while, it worked. It allowed him to avoid looking at himself and his lack of career or accomplishments. It helped him numb out to his feelings of failure, but as we have witnessed, his coping skills are now ineffective and it is the dawn of a new day.
So here is my advice. Jon: stop rolling your eyes and stop backing down to Kate. This is not the time to have an adolescent rebellion, but to have a real shift into who you are and who you want to be in this life. Provide for your family; get to know yourself and your passions. Stand up and be the man you know you can be.
Kate: realize your controlling coping skills were very helpful and necessary as a mother dealing with eight infants and very little help. Your life has changed, however. The landscape has evolved, and your ways of coping are now damaging those around you. You have found your passion. Go forward with it, but free Jon to become who he needs and wants to be.
As a relationship expert, I believe we come together as couples to heal, challenge, and understand our past, create our best future, and become our most fulfilled selves. I truly believe -- whether there has been infidelity or not -- that Jon and Kate have the opportunity to make their marriage work. They need professional help and time to heal the wounds of the past and create the mindful marriage I hope they both desire. I wish them courage, self-reflection, and hope during this very public challenging time.

Mom Logic:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Creative Writing?

Mr. D washed, peeled and chopped the carrots as instructed by his wife via an email. She is ill, in bed for the second day, and hoping that a large bowl of carrot-apple soup will cure her. Their sweet five year old is giving her dolls a bath while the handsome three year old is enjoying his afternoon slumber. What is mom doing in bed? planning, learning, coughing, scheming, dreaming, smiling, coughing, again and realizing that she has succumbed to her heightened senses at this moment. Could this be the result of too little rest and being sautéed like onions in the Florida sun for 7 days? Is she the unlucky recipient of a fellow flyers germ? What I am writing about? I do not know, I think my fever is back.

What is in my chest and Tweet Up in RI

I am lying here, blogging in bed. I am wondering what it is that has me sick. Fever on and off, chest hurts badly, coughing, no head involvement. The rest of the family is at the Garden Market Fair choosing the vegetables for our garden. I know, we are a bit behind but we are getting there. On another topic, I am super excited about an event I just registered for called 'The Twitter Phenomenon explodes in Rhode Island'. Are you going? Thank you to 'The Daily Blonde' for tweeting about it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Soda Crates

It looks as if I need to take a drive to some Pottery Barn stores. I just saw that pottery barn was to sell these online and guess what? They are all gone! Any of you have contacts and can have these sent to me? Gosh, as a kid I could have gotten tons of these for free.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Fancy Nancy Party

We had a very fun weekend celebrating Isabel's 5th birthday! We started with a Fancy Nancy themed party on Saturday. We made some cute Martha Stewart Pink Pom-poms for the playroom and went all out making a fancy table in the dining room including little pots with mini pom-poms and butterflies. She was so excited and picked out her ensemble. She also help choose her menu for the day. It consisted of: heart and star shaped ham and pb&j sandwiches, baby carrots and hummus, olives, goldfish, grapes and cheese sticks. Oh, and fizzy pink lemonade.

The cake: Isabel requested a bottom of chocolate and top of vanilla. She wanted some pink and fancy stuff so this was our creation.

Her party began with some free play time while we greeted parents, followed by some fancy nancy coloring pages and mazes. We then decorated some jewelry boxes with 'gems'. I had painted the rim pink and written a their names in glitter glue earlier in the week. The funniest thing was that Isabel asked me 'Mommy, why did you scribble on all of the jewelry boxes?'. I looked at them and realized that I had written in cursive-so funny!! Since everyone was hungry early, we ate lunch and then went outside to read some fancy nancy books. Daddy then took the girls on treasure hunts in the backyard for a while. We played with bubbles, took photos of each girl with Isabel and then opened gifts. Ben had his buddy Hudson over and they spent lots of time playing cars, trains and making bubbles for the girls to chase.

Happy Birthday my sweet fancy girl.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Uptown Office

I am inspired. I have had a vision of my office for years now and this sums it up: painting my desk white, a colorful rug and bolder color on the wall. I have had a great blue chosen but have not yet taken the plunge.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter 2009: Great Chocolate Cake, Food & Fun

One of my greatest memories of Easter is how my paternal grandparents, I mean bunny, would hide 2 baskets for each of us in her house. I always knew that when I had kids, I would continue that tradition as it was so exciting for my sister and I to try to figure out where the baskets could be AND what would be in them. Here is what my children found (behind chairs, under tables and the bubbles on their place setting in the dining room) this year and we had so much fun watching them hunt.

Aren't my first attempt at royal icing cookies cute?

After looking at all of the treasures, we went and got dressed. The kids wanted us to try to dress alike so yellow shirts and jeans for the boys and pinks for the girls.

Finally, Isabel and I made a chocolate cake the day before and were quite proud of it, too bad the lighting was not better.

Love food? Come to my food blog, Savor The Thyme . By the way, I am entering this cake into the Easter Cake Bake 2009 at A Slice of Cherry Pie.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Countdown to her Birthday - Richard Scarry style

Isabel has been so excited about reaching this milestone (5 years old!) that she was asking me numerous times a day 'how many days mommy?' and 'Is that a long time?'. So, I decided we needed to make a calendar to assist in visualization and to give her something to be excited about everyday we got closer. Don't you love the Richard Scarry characters?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A necessity

I need this. I do, I can feel it in my bones. I am going to dream about it. Which color? both! that is what I was thinking.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Color me some Easter Eggs

After opening the first box of egg coloring to find it was empty, I found myself reassuring the children that we would color eggs today and we did. They loved it. By the way, remember to buy white eggs not 2 cartons of brown eggs.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ready for the Egg Hunt

Our two little bunnies were very excited to go to a friend's house for an Easter Egg Hunt. I will post more pictures from the hunt this week.