Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I Was

In the same way the generation before us will always remember exactly where they were when Kennedy was shot, the imprint of where we were on 9/11/01 will ever be etched in our mind. For me, it was a typical Tuesday morning. The hubby and I had just gotten up, both of us having jobs where the 8:30 start time was neither firm nor enforced. I was six months pregnant with our first so sleeping a little later was happening more frequently than not. I had just waddled into the bathroom when the hubby turned on the TV and said, "oh crap, it looks like a plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers." We talked back and forth about the news "what kind of plane would do that?" "what was wrong with that pilot?" As we are going back and forth, the hubby exclaimed, "Holy shit, another plane just hit the other tower!" I rushed into the bedroom and the hubby and I watched the horrible events unfold. We stayed in that bedroom all day, watching the images replayed over and over, talking about how we, WE, were the targets of the terrorists, and calling our family and friends to make sure everyone was alright.

Another thing happened that day, I found my first stretch mark on my belly. A fact that seems stupid and inconsequential. But for me it highlighted that I was pregnant and made me wonder how we could ever bring a child into what was now a crazy and dangerous world. I cried several times that day thinking that our kids were going to live in a world marred by terrorism and fear.

Three days later, my employer had a previously scheduled seminar on trauma and traumatic response. It was originally intended to educate us social workers on how to help out clients who have been through traumatic events. It turned into a debriefing of sorts for the entire agency to talk about their feelings about the events of 9/11 and how we were effected by these events. Truth be told, there was crying. Lots of crying. Except by me, because here's the thing, that baby girl inside of me wouldn't stop kicking. A leg pushed out on the right side of the belly, a arm sticking out on the right. The acrobatics she was doing that morning in my belly were frankly a pretty impressive ones, and I just could not bring myself to be sad when something so amazing was growing inside of me. And suddenly, instead of wondering how we could bring a baby into this crazy world, my thoughts moved to the fact that it will be people like our baby girl who will make the world a better place. We will teach her to be caring, honest, and accepting of all people.

Fast forward ten years, and though she often thinks her singing and theatrics are what will change the world, it is clear that she has the caring, loving heart that I hoped for that day. When others are hurt she always lends a hand and tries to make things better. When the earthquakes hit Japan, she brainstormed for days about how she could help the people there. When it comes to the events of 9/11, she has a compassionate interest, her heart going out to those who were lost and those who loved them.

The events of 9/11 have truly changed our world. But as I often say when facing difficult situations, what can we do to make things better? Continuing to teach the next generation to love each other, care for each other, and treat each other as they would want to be treated. Hopefully the, their generations' "where I was" moment can be a positive one, instead of such a tragic one.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Last Night

Last night...Boo made up a song titled "Archenemies" it was about...well...archenemies. And it was hilarious.

Last night...Sister cried for about fifteen minutes because she had hopes of playing with the girl down the street. And the tears weren't as much about not getting to play with said girl as they were about the fact that Sister got dressed in a "real cute outfit" that was then wasted on just going to the pool.

Last night...Tess-a-Bess had a cupcake for dessert which she continually called a "cuppycake" over and over. I couldn't get enough of that cuppycake.

Last night...Tess-a-Bess woke up crying in the middle of the night and after an hour of rocking and cajoling I convinced her to return to bed because her "babies" were crying and she needed to hug them.

This morning...I am sleepy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


If I had to describe myself it one word, it might be Mom. Yes, I have three wonderful kids, and love taking care of them. Nothing makes me happier than spending a fun day with my kids, making sure they are well fed, clean and dressed. I love hanging out with Tess-a-Bess reading a book while we rock in the rocking chair. Building Legos with Boo allows me to spend some quality time with my boy. And shopping with Sister makes me realize why I am so lucky to have a daughter like her.

Now, granted, I never said I was the world's greatest mom. I am notoriously a bad housekeeper. I can't count the number of papers I forgot to turn into school or the snacks I forgot to pack. And, yes, I do occasionally lose my temper and yell at my kids with insane proclamations such as, "If you don't behave I will pop that balloon you just got!" (Seriously, I did say that. Mother of the Year, I know). But nobody is perfect, and no one wants a sickly sweet, do-it-all supermom, do they?

My "Mom" title doesn't just apply to the kids, I kind of think it is how I approach many situations in life. I always seem to be the one my friends come to at work for advice and maybe even a hug or two. When I deal with patients I always want to be sure they feel cared for and secure. And I always seem to jump when some random kid falls at the playground or seems to be lost in the mall. When I see a situation that needs someone to take care of it, I just jump right in.

One year ago my "Mom" title served me well. After seeing a 47yo runner, Carolyn, collapsed on the running trail, I just jumped right in, knowing something needed to be done about the situation immediately. Now what I did was probably the most laughable, non-textbook version of CPR. But after having a massive heart attack, Carolyn just needed something to make sure she was here to mother her two children. I'm happy to say that whatever I did that day, with the help of a few other bystanders, was enough to ensure that Carolyn was here for her children, her husband, her life. Now, I'm not proud of my CPR abilities, because they suck. But I am proud of my ability to jump right into a situation and take care of what needed to be taken care of. I am proud of my ability to be a "Mom" and make bad situations okay.

Now, this post would be amiss without mentioning my own mother. My Mom - who raised a set Irish twins by herself, working two jobs, sending us to 12 years of Catholic school, and ensuring that we became strong, independent, loving women. Today on her 62nd birthday, I can say she is one of the reasons I am such a good Mom.

Tonight, we celebrated my mom with a nice dinner and an ice cream cake. And after the party was over, Tess-a-Bess fell and split her lip. I picked my little girl up, kissed her lip, and made everything okay.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Things that I love:

- I love that it snowed one of those wet, heavy snows where you can make a snowman in seven minutes flat.

- I also love the smile that Tess-a-Bess had developed recently in pictures. Extreme version above, here just a hilarious version.

- And here a toned down version, but still adorable (as are her sister and brother)

- I love that after taking Tess-a-Bess in a public restroom with me today, she insisted on giving me a high five when I finished, and we haven't even started potty training yet - she was just proud of me.

- I love that when my Dad sees a light bulb out in my house, he brings over the replacement the next time he comes over.

- I love that my kids play so damn well together, and play equally as well independently.

- I love (now, though it wasn't as lovable last night) that Boo got up in the middle of the night and peed in the tub instead of the toilet.

-I love that Sister dances and sings so much that she has passed that love on to her baby sister.

-I love that whenever my mom comes over she empties the dishwasher, even though she never puts things in the right place.

- I love that Boo proclaimed today opposite day and then said, "I don't love you Mom, not one tiny bit!"

- I love when the hubby says I'm cute even when I'm unshowered, crazy-haired and dowdy.

-I love when one word spoken simultaneously by me and my best friend can send us into obnoxious, uproarious laughter that embarrasses the hell out of both our husbands while we're in a fancy restaurant.

- I love that mention of the previous incident a few days later will again send me and my friend into uncontrollable laughter.

- I love how Tess-a-Bess hugs everything from pencils to baby dolls to bananas, she's just real excited about everything.

- I love how friends think of me when buying makeup.

- I love how Sister and Boo can spend hours making up wild scenarios when they are playing with something as simple as Japanese erasers.

- I love coming up with a blog idea in the last days of February so I can have at least one post for this month!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Time for a Change

2009 was a banner year. Yes, yes, some serious crap happened to us, but we are living, surviving, thriving, and probably better for it. Often when people ring in the new year, they want to throw last year away and start anew. I, on the other hand, loved last year - my baby turned one, Boo started Kindergarten, Sister suddenly became a little lady instead of a little girl, we took some fun trips (including an awesome trip to NYC with the hubby), and I got an iPhone! Seriously though, throwing away last year would be like throwing away all the wonderful things, even if it meant throwing away some of the crap with it.

That being said, it's time to look forward and begin a new decade. We all make resolutions, but do we all have a whole support group behind us to help us stick to those resolutions? This year, I do. My lovely and dear friend Miss K is organizing a small community of people who want to help each other make a change in 2010. She dubbed it The Plan 2010. You can follow @ThePlan2010 on Twitter.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty, my actual plan:

Physical Health:

- Lose these 8+lbs that have been plaguing me for the last year
- Exercise more often
- Run at least four races, one being the Shamrock Shuffle
- Eat healthier, paying attention to portion control
- Take a daily vitamin

Self Improvement:

- Stop procrastinating so much
- Strive to eliminate clutter and waste
- Stop biting my nails so much (I know, petty, but something to work on)
- Strive to be a better house cleaner


- Be more patient with the kids
- Stop yelling at the kids so much
- Find ways to spend more quality family time together
- Find ways to spend more quality time with the hubby

For me getting things done are all about accountability and support and I am hoping that this year The Plan 2010 will help me make these changes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spaghetti Sauce 101

So, this is blatant copying. Well the format at least, the recipe is a family favorite. Pioneer Woman does it all the time, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I wanted to share our family recipe for spaghetti sauce, or as some of those from Italian decent would call "gravy." The recipe comes from my step-grandmother, Nana Vita. She was a lovely old woman. Ok, perhaps she was a little crotchety. Alright, a lot crotchety, but the woman could could. Nana Vita would make this sauce all the time when we visited her house. As she was nearing the end of her life, my mom politely asked for the recipe, and Nana Vita would constantly rebuff my mom. Then my mom went to a little less polite and said, "If you don't teach me how to make this soon, you're going to die and your son will never eat his favorite meal again!" Way to make nice with the old lady mom. The tactic, however crass, worked and my mom was taught the secret recipe. She then passed the recipe to me. The key, I have learned over the years, is to be patient, and let this sauce cook, forever. I learned this during one batch I made one evening, and fell asleep while it was cooking. I woke up the next day to the house smelling amazing, and the sauce tasting the best I had ever made. If you want to eat it at night, you have to start first thing in the morning. I suggest even making it one morning, letting it cook all day, cool, refrigerate, and then warm it up again the next day. Then it is pretty close to amazing!

Enough blabber, let's get to the cooking!!

First, the ingredients.

Onion, garlic, olive oil, one large can of crushed tomatoes, one small can of tomato past, one small can of tomato sauce (my cans are bigger as I am making a double batch here), fresh basil, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, one package Italian sausage, and about 1 1/2lbs of ground beef. Not pictured are eggs, salt, pepper, oregano and sugar.

Dice the onion

Peel, then mince the garlic. For a single batch I use 3-4 cloves for the sauce and 3-4 cloves for the meatballs.

Saute onions and garlic in a good amount of olive oil (few tbls)

Them because Vita did it this way, as a heaping 1/3cup of sugar, salt, pepper and oregano to the can of crushed tomatoes (remember, I'm making a double batch).

After the onions and garlic are soft, add the crushed tomatoes with its extras, plus the paste and sauce to the pan. Then fill up the can from the crushed tomatoes with water, and put that in as well. Add about 7-8 basil leaves and bring sauce to a simmer.
Now it is time to get the meat ready. For the meatballs, to the ground beef add two eggs, the minced garlic, about a tbls or more of parsley flakes, 3/4c bread crumbs, 3/4c Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are distributed evenly, but don't overwork you meat as that will make the meatballs tough.

Sometimes I add a little water to my meatballs to make them nice and moist. By the end they should look like this.

While I am mixing the meatballs, I have generally already started browning the sausage in a generous amount of olive oil. I usually make a test meatball and fry it up, just to make sure my seasonings are good and everything tastes good.

Once the sausages are done browning on all sides, add then to the sauce.
Roll your ground beef mixture into the meatball size of your choice, I go kind of medium-sized.

The brown your meatballs in the same pan as the sausage.

Then add them to the pan.

When you are done, the pan is gonna be filled to the top. Don't worry, this will change. As it cooks down, you'll lose a couple inches, and that's what you want.

While you are cooking, you're going to notice some grease/fat accumulating on the top of the sauce.

Go ahead and skim that off with a spoon. In general I save the tomato sauce can for this skimming and often fill it up with excess grease.

Like, I said, this sauce needs to cook ALL DAY, for you to get the best results. See how it has cooked way down, concentrating the goodness of the sauce.

Boil yourself up a pound of pasta, my fave is is cavatappi, a curly pasta with a tube in the middle and ridges on the outside, because it holds lots of sauce! Today we only had rigatoni, which works just fine. It was actually more than fine - it was amazing!

He Needs to Grow a Pair of Balls

Ok, I know, terribly inappropriate. But the hubby put me up to it. And no, the title is not in reference to the hubby. We would be talking about Boo. Yes, I realize he is only five, and not expected to handle every situation like a man. The title was uttered by yours truly after my fourth or fifth trip to Boo's room in the middle of the night. Boo was just getting over being sick, and that night got up more times I than I could count. Each time with a different, tear-laden problem. "My legs hurts" "I hear a ghost" "I have to pee" "I'm so tired" To the last one I say no shit, me too. And after the last one, I huffed back to bed and said to the hubby, "He needs to grow a pair of balls." The hubby laughed and said, "I want that to be the title of your next blog post." Can't wait to get all the hits from the Google searches for this one!