Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mama Cenzo Day

Over the weekend Hubby took Luccio to see his first Yankees Game in NY! They took the train and everything!! Very exciting experience for The Bear! And since it was Cenzo's Special Day with me, I let him choose what he wanted to do. I told him we could go to a museum, amusement park, anywhere at all. And he chose to go to Target and The Shrine. Target is his most favorite place on Earth. He constantly tells us, "you can get that at Target." Or "This is a nice store, but it's nice as good as Target." So off to Target we went. He wanted a specific toy that he had seen on one of our previous trips. A horse trailer for mini horses. Unfortunately the first Target we went to had sold out of them. So we went in search of another Target a few towns over and found the trailer!! And several horses! Next, we went to the Shrine with Stregga. It is a special place for me and I enjoy the Peace and quiet of it as I have previously blogged. Well, Cenzo really enjoys going there too. He says he likes the quiet. But, I think he also likes the yummy cookies at the snack bar and shopping in the gift shop. Everyone was delighted to see him and gave him special attention and treats. We spent a couple hours wondering the grounds & visiting with some friends. We lit candles and said some prayers. We looked for frogs and listened to Nature. It was truly a beautiful day!! It probably wasn't as exciting as a train ride to NYC! But, it was perfect for our Mama Cenzo Day!


Yesterday I had my Weight Watchers (WW) Meeting. It was great! I lost another 1.4 pounds so I was thrilled with that. And my WW Leader was as motivational as ever!! She had great advice and she ended the meeting with a fantastic quote, "Watch your actions, for your actions become your habits. Watch your habits for your habits become your character, watch your character, for your character becomes your Destiny."
And she said we should all make it our Destiny to be Losers!! Her parting words are always, "I will see less of you next week!" She really cracks me up!! And totally motivates me. She has practical advice and lots of quotes and slogans to help me get through the week. And before I sound like a total advertisement for WW, I would just like to mention that I am not paid for my opinion in any way. That has never stopped me before, so onto my soapbox I shall climb!! I will be a Loser!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Soul Balm

I have been craving quiet time lately. Just time to sit and think a coherent thought for 2 or more consecutive minutes. Luckily, Hubby was off from work on Monday, so I got up early and went out by myself. I went to a local Shrine that I really love. It is a beautiful place, the most peaceful place I have ever been with the exception of Assisi, Italy. I took my journal and a pen and my camera and off I went. The Shrine doesn't have services on Mondays so there wasn't anyone around when I arrived. I went up to the Grotto and sat on a bench. And for minute I was a bit scared because there wasn't a human in sight and I heard rustling in the woods. I realized it was just squirrels and not the black bears I had worried it would be! I laughed out loud at how nuts it was to be afraid of a squirrel and thought how about long it had been since I had been really alone without another person around anywhere! I tried not to be too distracted by all that and proceeded with enjoying my quiet time. I opened my journal and wrote and wrote and thoughts just spilled out on to paper. Actual paper. In a notebook. It was weird to be writing and not typing. I have to admit I made a lot of errors and found myself scribbling a bit. I switched on and off from print to cursive and back and found most of what I wrote was not legible. Ugh! Had it really been that long since I wrote more than my signature?? I used to be an avid journaler, starting from when I was 8 years old until about 4 years ago when the kids were born, I would write at least weekly if not more. Now I just jot down a thought or 2 every couple of months in my journal. The rest of my "writing" is done through email, facebook or this blog.

I quickly got into the flow of writing and blocking out the distractions around me and then, it started raining. Seriously???!!!!! I finally get 3 kids coordinated, free time with no other obligations, a quiet place with no other humans, and it rains?? ugh!!

I thought of just sitting there until it passed, but my pages were getting soaked and the ink was running so I decided to go up to the Main House and see if it would be okay to sit in a quiet spot there for a little while. The Main House is the private Residence/Office/Retreat Center of the Shrine. So I talked with the Secretary, she is so fantastic and I have known her for years. She said to feel free to find a comfortable spot. The only people in the house that day were cleaning staff so she said if that didn't bother me for them to be running around cleaning I could stay as long as I wanted. I assured her that as I long as I didn't have to change anyone's diapers, they could run around all they wanted!

An hour flew by in what felt like minutes. I looked at the clock and knew it was time to wrap up the morning and head towards home. But, first I stopped in the Gift Shop on my way out. My Mom volunteers there and it happened to be her morning on. So I visited for a bit. There weren't many customers in yet and the store needed a some rearranging and organizing so I stayed to help Mom get started with that project It was so much fun! I love looking at a room and trying to figure out how to set it up and decorate (as long as its not in my own house, LOL!)

I had an iced coffee, I chatted with mom and few other people I knew who were milling about the grounds and then I headed home. It was such a relaxing morning that I felt like I had gone for a massage or something. It was balm for the soul. I needed to recharge and being in a peaceful place and writing was such a scared experience!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dumpy Day

Yesterday I woke up feeling Dumpy. I didn't want to wake up at 6:30 am, I didn't want to deal with the pile of dishes in the sink, I didn't want to wash the 367 millionth load of laundry, and I really didn't want to sit outside in the beating hot sun at a toddler birthday party for the second day in a row. So I had an old-fashioned temper tantrum complete with tears. Cenzo said, "Mama. I think you need a hug." That child is so perceptive! He was exactly right!! The boys ran into the kitchen to give me hugs and we were on our way to getting ready for the party. The birthday boy is one of their friends from preschool. He is a sweet kid and his mom is one of the nicest, most relaxed people I have ever met. So, I knew once I got there we would have a great time! And we did!

The backyard was massive, as in GI- NORMOUS!!!! There was a bounce house, a bouncy water slide, a sprinkle, tents set up, so much food, it looked like a professionally catered event. I sat with some of the other moms I know from school and chatted and we had fantastic afternoon!! Stregga and Papa had the Princess for me, so I was free to sit and relax while the boys played for hours!! Some of the other moms mentioned that they had been have Dumpy Days all week too, we attributed it mostly to the heat, lack of sleep and no school to drop the kids off at! It was great to hear others feeling the same way. It wasn't the "misery loves company" thing either it was more like identifying with Kindred Spirits!! We have chatted over the past school year, but didn't really get beyond the small talk of "so how many hours have you slept since you have had kids??" Until yesterday. It was the first time I learned that one woman had hike the Appalachian Trail alone for 6 months!!! OMG!!! It was amazing to hear her stories! It got me thinking of my own travel experiences and dreams. Motherhood is my number one priority at this point in my life and I love it. But, it was so nice to be able to share stories and experiences of how we got here and what shaped us into the women we have become. And I am still trying to formulate how I will get myself back to Italy for a visit in the near future. I have come up with some plans that are pie in the sky dreams and others that may actually work, but it remains to be seen. I need to dream though! There is power in positive thinking and putting it out to the universe. At least that is theory behind the ever-popular book The Secret. Not sure if I buy it, but it can't hurt to try.

The party invite had said 12-3, but several of us were so into our chatting that we ended up being there until 4:30 Our hosts were so gracious and welcoming and the kids behaved so nicely and played together for hours!! The yard was so big that at one point we literally had our own tent to hang out in! Finally, I had to force myself to round up the kiddies and go get the Princess. I was so relaxed I could have easily set up a sleeping bag and stayed the night!! What a great treat it was!!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I feel like when the same theme pops up over and over in my life, it makes sense to stop and examine it a little closer. Lately, it has been living a decadent life that keeps coming up. I am reading Eat. Pray. Love and I have been looking into the Oprah book Women, Food and God, both explore what it means to live life to the fullest. For months (years really) I have been on a weight gain binge. And recently I have hit my all time non-pregnant weight max. In fact, I was weighing more recently than I had when I was 7 months pregnant with my twin boys. I have always had that love-hate relationship with food. I love to eat, but hate to gain the weight I eventually put on. I remember being 12 years old and getting weighed by the school nurse for a gym related task and being 132 pounds and in size 8 jeans. Most of the other girls were still weighing around 100 pounds and wearing junior size clothing. My battle with food continued into high school. Then the summer before my Senior year, I joined Weight Watchers for the first time and lost 15 pounds and started daily gym workouts. I felt great by the time Senior Prom came around and my dress was gorgeous! But, I packed weight on again in college, I skipped the traditional Freshman 15 and went right for the 45!! After college my weight was a yo-yo.

Then in 2001, I traveled to Italy by myself and stayed for a few weeks in Assisi, the Peace Mecca of the entire planet. I visited sacred places, I journaled, I meditated, I met new friends, I stopped and took a look inside my own soul. I found Peace. I brought that feeling back with me. Then, after the devastating events of September 11th, I clung to that feeling of Peace and tried to find the good in the world. I decided it was time for me to take better care of myself physically and emotionally. I cleared out the junk food and the clutter of my life that was no longer working and I distanced myself from the people that were taking the energy right out of me. I let go of relationships that were no longer fulfilling and decided it was time to move on and find the Love that I wanted for my future. I again joined Weight Watchers, this time committing to the weekly meetings as a time for myself to concentrate on my health. I lost 30 pounds, I met my Sweetest and I enjoyed the work I was doing. Life was good and I felt strong and healthy.

Over the past 8 years a lot has happened. Marriage, 3 babies, my body has changed, my mind set has changed, my career has changed. I am a different person than I was 8 years ago and some changes are not for the better. I spend less time on my spiritual life and journey and that has spilled over into all areas of my life. I have fallen into keeping pace and treading water to stay afloat instead of reaching out and soaring like I once did.

Infertility, 2 miscarriages and giving birth to my 3 children has changed me emotionally and physically. I will never again be that naive girl who thought you get married and have babies and it requires no work at all. I will always carry with me that feeling of devastation that the challenges of infertility opened up in my life and that miscarriages reinforced. I will never forget that feeling of "the carpet being pulled out from under me" when I found out one of my sons had a neural tube defect. The ups and downs and joys of new parenthood and lack of sleep mingled with the sheer terror of my infant undergoing surgery 5 times in his first year of life.

But, I settled into motherhood and blocked out the trauma of all that and focused on the good. I rejoiced that all turned out well with my boys! And when I got pregnant with Isabella it was a healing experience. After I delivered her I had lost 35 pounds in the first 2 weeks, I had only gained 18 with her so the rest was a bonus! I thought this it is, I am healthy and going to lose the weight-Finally!!

Of course, it wasn't that easy. I fell into the mode of grazing throughout the day or binging on junk food. Then last month I decided that was it. I had one of those AHA moments. It felt like the planets aligned. I realized I was at an unhealthy weight which affected every aspect of my life and my mood. I decided that enough was enough and it is time to take care of myself. It took me a few weeks to go from that point to actually ready to do something about it, but one day a Weight Watchers post card arrived and I knew it was my answer. SO the day before 4th of July I joined. I thought- How could I possibly be so stupid as to join a weight loss program the day before a major holiday?? What would I eat?? How could I have a 4th of July celebration without my food???? But, I did it anyway. It was time!

My meeting Leader was so motivational!! She said, "this is the first day of the rest of your life! You can lose weight, you will!!"
She talked about making a smoothie for snack with frozen cherries and she described it as "Decadent!" I looked that word up and it means "luxurious self indulgence" or "a rich, luxuriousness." Hmmm...

I left there thinking, that is what I want~Decadence! I don't want ordinary, I don't want ok, I don't want satisfying or to settle. I want decadence! My food, my life, my future- I want it to be DECADENT!!!

I have been following the WW program called "Simply Filling." The foods are basically designed to fill you up in the healthiest way possible. The food list includes whole foods, fruits, veggies etc. And it clearly states bread is NOT a filling food. That made me stop and think. Most of what I shovel in does not constitute a filling food.

I needed to get a handle on the feeling of exhaustion. I had to realize it wasn't the laundry piles, the dishes, the cooking, the bills, the kids. It's me. I need to fill myself up with life. Similar to the advise to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others. I need to be filled up so I can be the best mother, wife and person I can be.

One of the things my WW leader said is to eat what you "need." I have been paying attention to that lately. And I notice my children eating what they need. They know hungry, thirsty and tired. Even my infant knows when she has had enough food and turns her head away. And the boys are very vocal about expressing their needs. When a child is full you cannot force them to take another bite, nor should you. Isn't that how most of us overweight people got here? The Clean Plate Club that we were encouraged to be members of?? When you observe a child you can see that they know just what their bodies need at any given moment. I find it fascinating when I hear my little ones telling me they are thirsty or tired. How do they know? They listen to their instincts. And when they are tired the world stops for a siesta. I love that!

I want that feeling of-yummm this tastes DECADENT!! Or wow-this moment or experience is -DECADENT!! I want to look back in 10 or 20 or more years and think about the moments that were worth living for and be at Peace and feel content. I feel pretty assured it will not have been the Reece's peanut butter cups I consumed while watching my Soaps that I remember as the best moments of my life! Or at least I hope not!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Family Vacation-Sesame Place

I have to start by saying that we love, love, LOVED Sesame Place!!!! A dream vacation spot for toddlers & the people that love them! And it was a toss up as to who enjoyed it more-the kids or us, LOL!!! However, the trip was not without the drama. The 4 hour car ride went very well! Then, we pulled into the hotel parking lot and the entrance was surrounded with cop cars- so Luccio was yelling, "Coppers!! Coppers Mama!!" I sent Hubby in to check things out, then I thought that may have been stupid so I panicked and called the front desk to see what was up. The man on the phone assured me all was well and it was safe to check in. Just as I hung up my cell phone, Hubby walked out to announce that there was a slight problem. The hotel was safe-the police were just escorting a half-naked drunk man out of the building. But, they didn't have our reservation. Excuse me???? Huh???????

I, of course, stormed myself into the lobby and had Hubby pull up our confirmation info on his iPhone. Hmmm.... seems I booked the Marriott Philadelphia, not Marriott-Langhorne. We were at the hotel I wanted, the one a 1/4 mile from Sesame Place. But, I somehow booked the Philly one that was 45 mins away!!! OOOPPPPPSSSS! Not sure how it happened! I had asked the lady on the phone if they were near Sesame and if they had a shuttle and she sad yes to both. Well- they are in the same state as Sesame and their shuttle goes to Philly Airport so I guess there was some miscommunication!! I knew it was too good sounding when I booked a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, kitchen, and living room suite for $159 a night!! Apparently such rooms at the correct hotel go for $500. A 1 bedroom suite was $320. A sort of big difference. I had a meltdown. Not a quiet little moment, no. A MAJOR all out meltdown. I was hysterical. Luckily the kids were still in the car with my mom and didn't realize I had ruined our first family vacation. And even more luck was that the Hotel Guy took pity on me (actually on Hubby for being married to me) and got his manager to give us one of the 1 bedroom suits for $189. Crisis averted, vacation saved!! We brought the kids in an unpacked!!!

We headed to the Park for the most amazing fun EVER!!!!! I cannot even tell you how much much fun it was to my little guys (Hubby included) enjoying themselves so much!! The wonder and awe on their faces when they saw Grover, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Zoe, all of the Sesame Street people and places! OMG!!!! Luccio kept saying. "this is wonderful Mama!"

The Elmo Live show was awesome! We were right up front, thanks to Stregga being first in line!! My baby Princess was so into it! She loves Elmo and her expressions were priceless!!

Most of the park is water rides and pools and sprinkles, perfect for such hot humid weather. So we stayed cool and had fun. We took breaks to see a couple shows and watch the parade.

The second day we slept late and then headed to the park for around 11am. We had another day of great weather and got to see more of the park. It was actually a small enough place that we could go separate ways and meet back up easily so that was nice.

The only other crazy moment came when Hubby went out to get a late night snack for him and Stregga. He called us from his cell to say that Burger King wasn't serving fountain drinks because the water in the area was contaminated!! We checked with the hotel desk and supposedly the hotel and Sesame Place have their own filtration systems and were unaffected. But, the article we read said that many places in the area were affected by e. coli from human or animal feces in the water, ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! We had brought lots of bottled water and snacks for the the kids so we hardly needed to go out for anything and were basically unaffected.

We really enjoyed ourselves and we were all so sad to leave!! The kids thought we should stay forever and told us they wanted to work at Sesame Place. Luccio wants to be Elmo and Cenzo will be Grover (aka Grobber) Me, Stregga, & Isabella can all be Abby Cadabby! And of course, Hubby will be the Count because he looks so much like him, LOL!!!

We have been home for a week now and talk about it constantly still. We watch the video and look at the pics over and over. We definitely want to go back again next year! Cenzo thinks he is having his birthday there in September!! Resourceful kids is always thinking of new plans, LOL!!