Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Not Alone

This morning I had a lot to do, but I wasn't sure where to start. So I thought I would write a To-Do list. I couldn't escape the boys talking and questions long enough to get a word on paper, so I hid in the bathroom with my notebook and pen. Cenzo came bursting in and said, "Mama, what are you doing in here?" I explained that I needed about five minutes of alone time so that I could write a list of things we needed to do for the day.

He looked at me and said, "But, you are not alone. I'm in here, Silly."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thank You Summer

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread."
-Mother Teresa
What an amazing summer it was! I feel like a lot of progress was made towards reaching goals both personally and as a family! I cleared some clutter and shed almost 15 pounds in the process! I kept having the soundtrack from Hairspray playing in my mind. The song, "Good Morning Baltimore" starts with the line "I wake up as always, hungry for something that I can't eat." And I realized this summer that the song had a deeper meaning in my life than just a catchy beat. I kept thinking I have everything I want, what is it that I am hungry for?? Is it really pasta, bread and peanut butter cups??

The last 6 years of my life have been about babies. Trying to get pregnant, trying to stay pregnant, gaining weight with each pregnancy and miscarriage. Sleepless nights and endless days following the arrival of each child and adjusting to being a family. I have been putting every effort into my motherhood, it is the very core of of who I have become. It dawned on me this June that I need to be putting in quality in order to get quality out of myself. So to be the best mother I am capable of being, I need to be the best person I am capable of becoming. I took inventory of my life and tried to target the key areas that are essential to my new life as wife and mother and to the ME that is now a 35 year old woman who has some life experience and has known love and heartbreak and the unconditional bond that comes with bringing 3 lives into the world. I know that I can function daily and get dressed and feed everyone, but I want more than that. I want my children to have more than a watered down version of life. I want to live an inspired life. I want it to be about more than the material goods that can be bought and consumed. I want it to be about the sacred, the Divine, the miracles. When I really thought about it, I knew in my heart of hearts that I had lost my Center. I had not focused on spirituality in a profound way in a long time. I attend Mass when I can, I pray at meals, bedtime etc. with the kids. But, my own spirituality had gotten lost in the shuffle. My soul's health and my body's health had been tossed to the wayside. It was an empty feeling. So I needed to build myself back up to full strength!

I did a major overhaul of priorities and started focusing on being healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually by clearing out junk food from the cabinets and negative energy from my life. It is unreal how a positive attitude towards life can be so effective.

Hubby and I really worked as a team to make sure we were all eating healthy and having fun as a family. We made a concentrated effort to buy more whole grain and organic foods, cook meals at home and eat dinner as a family as much as possible.

We also took a break from a set schedule, but still kept our balance and routine so we still had the same flow of the day for the kids, but in a relaxed way that makes summer such a special time! We took Road Trips to Sesame Place & Vermont. Hubby took each of the boys to Yankees Games individually for some Guy Time! The kids and I spent summer days going to amusement parks, beaches, museums, the zoo, and other fun Field Trips with various family and friends. And I spent a few days here and there getting in refreshing breaks and even attended a retreat!! It was energizing! And I have made a real commitment to attending Weight Watchers meetings.

Around the house we made some real strides in organizing the clutter than can easily take over a small house with 5 people in it. We designated areas for each person and rearranged some rooms to maximize the space we do have. Just by changing the furniture around in my bedroom it cleared away a lot of the mess and chaos that was stressing me out. We cleaned the garage out and reorganized the playroom. And the other day the kids were all playing. In the playroom. With toys. It was nothing short of a miracle!

We have had more Pajama Days, more Family Movie Nights. Summer life was good for us. It gave us all a chance to spend more time together. It also gave us a chance to reevaluate what is important to us as a Family. Now that we have 2 Big Kids and a baby, our needs are different. The boys are not little babies anymore and need more independence and responsibility and time on their own. They have dreams, imaginations, concerns and hopes that are now a part of our considerations when we make a plan. They have gifts, talents, personalities that enhance each experience! Isabella has her own unique set of needs and qualities that she adds to our family dynamic. She has a brand new outlook on life, everything is exciting and wondrous! She allows us to slow down, to stop and take breaks to enjoy life and take in our surroundings. When she needs to be nursed the world stops for 10 minutes. It gives us all centering time to regroup and breathe a bit no matter where we are.

I am happy to have taken 14.4 pounds off. I have lost the weight I gained with Isabella and the weight I gained with the boys. I still have a lot more to go, but I feel good. And I know it is not about food or pounds. I am surrounded with Love, with good people: my husband, my kids, my family & friends. Life is good!!

I will miss Summer! It was good to us. I want to hold onto it forever!! And as I go into the Fall and Winter I will keep reminding myself of a quote that I read:
"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart." - Celia Thaxter

Friday, August 27, 2010


Vincenzo is a talker. He talks from the minute his eyes open in the morning. The only breaks he takes from talking is his nap and when he passes out from sheer exhaustion at night. He has a wide variety of vocabulary and different accents depending on his mood. I can't help laughing at some of his unique pronunciations and phrases!

Some of my favorites include:
~The Hoard- as in: "Hail Mary, The Hoard is with Thee" ~Winnie- as in "My name is not Winnie, it's Wincenzo"
~Kajamas- as in "I need to put my kajamas on for bedtime."
~Uccio- as in "This is my brother Uccio, we are twins."
~Tawget- as in "Tawget is the best store."
~Actually- this is his "Word of the Week." It can be used in several phrases, but his most popular is: "Actually we can get that at Tawget." (see above)

Another prominent Cenzo Phrase is: "I have to tell you something." And let me tell you, when you hear that phrase, you know it won't be a short story!

He remembers everything and he will use it against you, so be warned!!

He is a rule follower and expects that everyone else will be too. And he does not mind telling the rules to those around him, even if they didn't ask or do not want to know.

But, most of all he is a loving, kind, intelligent and sensitive little boy. He takes in the world around him, internalizes everything and makes it a part of his schema for future reference. And at the end of the day when all is SAID and done, my most favorite words in the world are,
"I love you Mama. You are my best Mama ever."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nerd Mother: The Next Generation

My brother and I used to make fun of my Mom because she is somewhat gullible, especially when it came to our teenage trickery. Well, I realized that I am just like her when I got totally BAMBOOZLED by my 13 year old nephew! It started out innocently enough, he asked to go to the Mall to buy a bracelet. He said he thought the bracelet was around $5. No problem! The kids and I were so excited to be spending time with Nikko that I jumped at the chance to take him shopping. And my boys love going to the Mall so we were on our way. We went to Zumiez, a skateboarder store. I have been there before with Nikko and we walked out with a skateboard so I knew to have a better plan in place this time. But, we were just there for a bracelet...

Of course, we had to look at the shirts on sale and the shoes, bracelets were quickly forgotten. I am used to shopping for toddlers so the price tags were much bigger than in the baby stores. So we agreed on a budget and then I left him to shop. Well, 30 minutes later we were checking out with sneakers that were a "smidge" more than we budgeted for, but stylish!

Of course, at the register...there were The Bracelets. He asked if he could still get the bracelet too. Well, sure. That is why came here after all. So we get the bracelet, get our bags and off we go.

We load up the car, 2 toddlers, 1 infant, 1 stroller, several bags and a teenager.

As I am driving out of the parking lot, I look over and notice the bracelet. It's black with white writing. Hmmmm, what does that say??? He moves his arm so I get a closer look and it says...
I Love Boobies.

OMG!!! I just bought him an I Love Boobies bracelet??

I never thought to look at the bracelet BEFORE we bought it. I was just happy he wanted a bracelet and that it only cost $5.

I am Nerd Mother.

But, he assured me the bracelet is to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Research and it was a charitable thing to do. So I feel much better.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Ideas

Yesterday I locked myself and the 3 kids out of the house AND car, ughhhh! Its always hectic getting out the door and we were on our way to pick up my nephew and then dogsit for Stregga and Papa's babies. I had the bags, the snacks, the kids, etc. But, once we slammed the house door shut behind us, I realized I had not put the car keys in my pocket, but had instead grabbed my house phone. Hmmm...I blame it on Mommy Brain sorta of like when I found the roll of paper towels in the fridge the other morning. Either way, it was hot and the kids were ready to go and no keys. So, immediately Vincenzo and Luccio started coming up with "big ideas" to help. As I dumped every bag out on the lawn searching frantically, they came up with solutions. Cenzo thought we should "use a big stick and pry the house door open." Luccio thought we should "use a water pistol and spray the door down." Both very creative ideas!! And I must admit far better ideas than my own, which was to sit on the lawn and cry.

Normally I would have called my father. He is like McGuyver and he would have come over and widdled a new key out of tree bark or taken the door off the hinges with his pocket knife. But, he and Mom were away hence the dog sitting. So instead I called my brother and sobbed my story to him, forgetting that it was his birthday AND that he was on his way to Boston to have surgery. (Yeah, I can be a bit self-absorbed at times. But, I guess that is pretty obvious since I have an entire blog dedicated to my ramblings.)

Anywhoo--Luckily my little brother had a few minutes to spare and talked me successfully through putting my library card to good use. I was pretty determined to figure out a better solution than having Hubby drive 35 minutes home and then back to work again. So Chad saved us all a lot of trouble by coming through in a pinch with some very useful skills!

The boys were a bit disappointed to not be able to use sticks or weapons to help out, but I assured them there would most likely be a next time so we could save the big ideas for then.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Papa's Papoose

The kids and I went to the Zoo with my Dad the other day. It was so much fun! They absolutely loved being with Papa! On the car ride to the Zoo, Cenzo kept saying, "I love you so much Papa." He also kept telling me that it would be okay if I wanted to stay home so they could go out with Papa without me. Stinker!!! Luckily, Luccio can always be counted on and he piped up, "I love you always Mama." Oh, my Bear! So glad I did take the ride with them. We had a great day. We walked around checking out the animals for a couple hours and then took the boys on the Carousel. Even our Little Princess loved it!! Papa carried her around in the Papoose for most of the time and she couldn't have been happier! There really isn't anything better than watching the kids enjoy themselves so thoroughly! The Zoo is small enough and we have been there often enough that they boys can easily guide themselves through it using the map you get at the entrance. They have the place memorized, but think they are reading the map. Also, there are paw prints painted throughout the Zoo so they get a kick out of trying to guess what animal left them and following the paw prints. Papa had a great time too! And he bought us the Zoo Membership so we can go back again and again.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stopping to Smell the Roses

I have been very fortunate this summer to have Hubby home more than he would be during the school year. I have had some fantastic opportunities to get refreshing breaks from the daily duties of being a SAHM. Last week I went to The Casino to celebrate Crazy Cousin's 35th and Mom & I made a stop at Ender's Island Retreat Center on the way back. And this weekend Mom and I went to Wainwright House for a Holistic Health retreat on the Harbor. Both were wonderful experiences that renewed my spirit.

The casino celebration for Crazy Cousin was a lot of fun. We were born 8 months apart and spent a lot of time together growing up. I have great memories, especially of our endless summers. We would spend weeks at my house watching The Princess Bride over and over and over and swimming in the pool. And some summers we spent time in Wildwood, NJ having fun at the beach and on the boardwalk. Over the years we sometimes fought like Sisters, but most of the time we were laughing so hard we cried! At The Casino we laughed over the fact that we had to go to a noisy, busy place to find Serenity, LOL! We lounged by the pool and went out for dinner, such a great time.

The next today on the way home Mom and I stopped in at Ender's Island in Mystic. I found the place about 10 years ago when I was still working at the Newman Center and I went on a work related retreat day there. It is a tiny little island with a retreat center, a main chapel, a gift shop, a meeting room and a small stone chapel right on the water. There are tons of gardens and peaceful places to sit. I brought my journal and wrote for a little while, but mainly I enjoyed the quiet and prayerfulness of the island.

This past weekend, Mom and I went to a Holistic Health Retreat at Wainwright House. We went last year and loved it so much, so we have been checking the Wainwright website for updates and events. I was so excited to go back there again!! It is a beautiful stone building with lots of bright rooms. There is also a Carriage House/Yoga Center and another smaller house on the property that was open for some of the activities. The day went by so fast! Every 30-45 minutes there were different sessions. And each block of time there 3 separate sessions to chose from so it was difficult deciding. But, I went to the keynote address and listened to the author of The Fearless Factor. She was a motivational speaker that addressed how the issue of fear holds us back from achieving our dreams. I am reading her book right now and I will post more about that topic soon. I also attended a meditation workshop and walked the labyrinth that was on the property. I had a very moving experience and feel like I was able to clear out some negative energy that has been hanging around and get refocused on the all of the beautiful blessings I have in my life.

Speaking of my beautiful blessings, 4 of them are my Muses: Vincenzo, Luccio and Isabella and my dearest Hubby. It felt great to be able to get away for a short while knowing that my babies were in the capable hands of their dad. Grandma and Papa also helped out while Hubby worked for part of the day when I went to the retreat, so I am grateful that I can count on them as well.

I wish I could say that I ran off with no worries, but I have to admit when I went to the Casino I was really worried. My Princess had been fussy all morning and I had been pumping milk for over a week and knew there would be just barely enough for 24 hours for her. I felt a wave of nausea at the thought of leaving her overnight. I knew the boys would be okay because they are used to sleepovers and understand a lot more now. But, I have hardly left my little Princess and I was a wreck!! Hubby was very encouraging and reassured me that she would be fine. I called and checked in several times (until he told me to knock it off and have fun!) So it took a few hours, but I finally got into the groove of relaxing and really enjoyed myself! And my babies were just fine! In fact, they hardly missed me either day. Although The Princess did have a tough time sleeping and kept Hubby up from midnight until 3 or 4 am. I didn't find out until the next day, but he said it was fine and even took all 3 kids to the local Bounce House on his own for the day. As my brother always says, "That man is a Saint!"

It was nice to get "recharged" a bit. Spending time with family and friends and focusing on my spirituality always inspires and builds me up so much. I feel like I can once again give the best of myself to my most important endeavor-raising my babies!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Road Trip

We loaded up the minivan with just about everything in the house and the 3 kids and headed to Vermont to visit friends. It was our first big Road Trip as a family of 5! I wasn't sure how it would go with a nursing baby and 2 energetic toddler boys. But, it was fantastic! Ms. Meeghan and Mr. TJ and their kids gave us a warm welcome and such hospitality!! Their girls are close in age to our boys and their baby boy (our Godson) is only 6 weeks younger than Isabella. So it worked out nicely and everyone had someone to play with. It was fun staying with another family and it made it so much easier for us to travel with the kids. Our hosts made sure we had air conditioning in our rooms and a crib for the Princess and a space for the boys to set up camp. The girls were so gracious about sharing toys with our kids and everyone really got along. I enjoyed having some Mama Time and chatting with Ms. Meeghan. We have been friends since we were roomies in a volunteer community after graduating college. We have have alot in common including our faith, so I always feel renewed and inspired after our chats. And Mr. TJ has lots in common with Hubby, they are both amazing husbands and fathers and they are very creative and artistic, so luckily they get along well. It was especially nice when Ms. Meeghan and I were able to kick them out for a bit so we could have Girl Talk. Although there really wasn't much arm twisting involved when we suggested they go for beers. Hubby heard beers and immediately thought of wings and that was about all the convincing needed, they were off the couches and out the door in under 3 minutes, LOL!!

We stayed for 2 nights. We had time for relaxing and hanging around at the house and enjoying meals all together. And we also made some time for a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and a some shopping for the Mamas while the guys and kids went to a local park. It was a nice mix! A refreshing break from reality. We were pleasantly surprised that all 6 kids were in bed asleep by 8 pm both nights. We were pretty impressed with ourselves to say the least, LOL!!

As for the car ride, I thought it would be a long, dreadful trip. But, it turned out to be so much fun. On the way up we sang songs and talked for nearly 3 hours and then plugged in the DVD player for a movie. On the way home they requested movies right away and then everyone slept except for our Bear who said he was "just relaxing and looking out his window."

We are so thankful to have good friends to share time with as a family! Such a blessing!! We look forward to many more visits as the kids grow older together.