Monday, June 30, 2008

Congratulations Daddy!

Well you made it through one of the busiest years of your life! Sixty clubs to visit, sixty board meetings to run, hundreds of events to attend, a 3 day conference to plan, two expos to create, thousands of miles put onto your car traveling around two states, a golf tournament to run and you still found time to work full-time and spend time with your family!

You are our hero Dad and we love you :) Many have told us that you were the best District Governor the district has ever seen and from what I have seen, I would say this is true. We do know that you were the only singing governor and that your legacy will live on forever.

Congratulations on a very successful year. We are so proud of you and hope that you will welcome your new role of PDG with open arms. This new role allows a lot more time for relaxing and playing with G and Z :) I love you!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Race Day

Well I woke up this morning feeling sluggish and not my best. I dragged myself out of bed and motivated S and Z to do the same. We got ready in record time and headed out to my 5K. The whole way there I was sick to my stomach (always am before a race). I just wanted to beat last years time (27:11) and knew that with the training I was doing, I should be able to. This was my last 5K until late fall because I have to start training for my summer 10K and 1/2 marathon.

S and Z walked me to the start line and gave me a kiss for good luck. This song started to play on my ipod and all of the nervous chatter died out around me. This song is always the way I start a relaxes me :) I could barely hear the starting gun and felt the crowd move around me. I started to run, reminding myself to keep it steady for the first mile or so. I searched for my space within the crowd...passing people as I searched. I finally found my stride and my spot and ran along with this man in a blue shirt. I stuck with him until mile 1 and then passed him on a hill (all my hill training had paid off). I then searched for a new running partner. I found her up ahead wearing a red tank top....I caught up with her at about the half way mark and stayed with her for a bit.

At mile 2 I rounded the corner, thanked her in my head, and quietly moved on. My next partner was in blue and was really putting me through my paces. I stuck with her until there was about a quarter of a mile to go. At that point I could see the finish line (the Town Hall) and did not need a running partner anymore. I skipped to this song on my ipod and ran like Hell. I always sprint this last leg of every run (my neighbors must think I am nuts). Then I saw the clock 24:38.....I had to beat 25 minutes!!! If I did it would be a new personal record (my old time was 24:58 from 2005 but I think that course was only 3 miles). I gave it all I had and came in at 24:49 :)!!!! Tears rolled down my face.

Now for some this time would not be that impressive but for took a lot of hard work. It took months of getting up 4 days a week at 5:45am to get that time :) S and Z came to give me a big congratulatory hug and some water. What a sweet personal victory :) Now I am after my dad's PR of 22:38 :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Memories

As I was filling up my car with gas today, I saw the 12 packs of soda on sale. This immediately brought me back to my summer days as a child. I could picture myself at the grocery store with my mother picking out our favorite sodas for our summer BBQ. I could then feel my hand inside the ice cold cooler, fumbling for my Sunkist or A&W Rootbeer....those were the days!

I loved summer as a child.....80 something days to do whatever I wanted! I remember the Country Time Lemonade Commercials coming on (you know the ones with the kids swimming in the creek with their big tire floats) and that is when we knew summer was here. We had an above ground pool growing up and that was the place to cool off on a warm summers day. There were raspberries and blackberries to be picked, forts to build, bikes to ride and friends to play with.

Friends always loved to play at our house because of the well stocked pantry. My mom had Devil Dogs, Twinkies, Ring Dings, Fruit Roll Ups, Fun Fruits, cookies, chips and plenty of soda. It is quite surprising that my sisters and I did not grow up to be fat lards with all the junk we had lying around (I am allergic to chocolate and peanuts so I know this helped my situation greatly!). My friends use to walk into my house and immediately run to the pantry. Having been to their houses, I understood why our pantry was so appealing. I remember my friend J's mom always had a piece of fruit or carrot sticks and celery for our afternoon snack. She made her own hummus and I use to devour it. J would always complain about this healthy snack and talk about all of the good food that my mom had ;)

Many of my summer memories are at the lake and I can't wait to get back up there with Z in August. We will have three whole weeks to swim, play and gaze at the stars. It will be a great time to make some special summer memories.

Summer is a great time to slow down and have fun. S and I made our annual list of summer activities that we hope to accomplish. It includes trips to the beach, clam cakes and chowdah, a trip to the water park, cooking a lobster dinner, mini golf and of course trips to the local ice cream stand. Happy Summer Everyone! Remember to take some time and just enjoy the season!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Date Night (at Home)

S and I have had to create date nights at home over the last 2 years. Between S's busy schedule and having to find childcare for is just easier to have a date at the house. We usually cook a special meal, open a bottle of wine and just talk.

Yesterday afternoon, I emailed S and told him we needed to have a date night. S agreed and we decided to BBQ and build our first fire in the fire pit I got for S for Father's Day :)

Z has been off with his nap/sleep schedule, so he was not sleepy at 7pm when we were ready to eat. Z joined us for our "romantic" dinner and was tucked away in bed by 8:30....just in time for our fire. We lit the fire and talked and talked until bed. It was wonderful :) There is something about a fire that says "summer". We roasted marshmallows, drank our wine and talked about our summer plans. It was perfect! I look forward to many more fires this summer :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer TV

Am I the only one who loves bad summer TV??? I think the writers strike and my getting rid of expanded cable (and DVR) has made me so use to mediocre TV, that I actually like these crazy summer programs! I live for the is by far my favorite summer show. Everything stops when it is on and I think even S likes it (you can usually find him by my side on a break from working while it is on :)). I will be lost on Monday nights without DeAnna!!!

My other guilty pleasures this summer have been Farmer Wants a Wife (so watching a train wreck....I can't look away), Supernanny (flip back and forth between this and Farmer....I hope Jo never comes to my house!), Wife Swap (another train wreck of a show) and America's Next Top Model.

I am so looking forward to I survived a Japanese Game Show and did you hear that Celebrity Family Feud is coming to Prime Time tonight???? I might have to let Z stay up!!!!

There is talk of an actors strike looming....that means summer TV might be extended into the fall.....that's okay with me because I will still have my Biggest Loser and Dancing with the Stars. And I am sure they have already filmed a bunch of episodes of the new 90210 that is coming out! As a huge fan of the old show, you know I will be checking this out :) After all, Aunt Becky from Full House is on it ;)

BTW.....S has been working consulting at night and so I have been left to my TV to keep me company...usually we don't watch that much TV :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Need Sleep!!!!!!

Well this is going to have to be quick....I am on my way to bed :) The reason I have been MIA is that I went on my former elementary school's trip to Washington DC. I had a blast with my former students, their parents and catching up with all of my friends. I have lots of fun pictures to share as well as a few stories but I really need to get to bed. I got 12 hours of sleep in three nights (I need 8-10 hours a night), walked all over DC and spent 25 hours on a bus this week. I am exhausted!!! I really wish it was possible to catch up on sleep. S and I napped for 2 hours today while Z napped....not enough! I think I could have slept until morning :)

I will fill you in more on my trip and my very busy weekend later ;) Sleep well!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

This message is for Chi Chi Auntie L, and Tante-O....

Happy Birthday!!! We love you all so much :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day Daddy

Well because of the timing of my 100th father's day tribute had to be delayed until today. Sorry Dad!!!

In honor of Father's Day I wanted to just write a little about why my daddy is so special to me.

My dad is the proud Pappa of 3 girls. I am the oldest and then there are my sisters L and K. I truly believe that my dad is one of the few men in the world that was happy to have three girls instead of a boy. Even if he secretly wished he had had a boy, you would never know it. He loves us so very much and has always encouraged our various interests.

My dad loves sports and lucky for him we do too! We all played basketball, softball, K ran track, I played soccer, K and L played field hockey, K played lacrosse and I played golf. Maybe all of this was why daddy didn't care if he had a boy or not ;) He shares a love for the Pats with K and a Yankee/Red Sox rivalry with me! He coached our softball and basketball teams growing up, attended all of my sisters college field hockey games and always made sure he was at as many of our games as he could get to (which was most of them).

My Noni (mom's mom) told me awhile back that she was so proud of my dad. She said he was one of the best dads in the world because family comes first for him. This couldn't be more true. He worked so hard so that he could be at as many of our games as he could be, he sat through my sisters LONG dance recitals and he saved up money so that we could go on fun family vacations. Family is everything to my dad (and mom too)!

My dad has always been proud of my musical "talent" and really loved that I stuck with the flute from 5th-9th grade. He actually paid me $20 to stick with band in High School (yes I was a band geek) and I am so grateful that he did. Junior year when I switched from flute to tuba he told me that "only tubby kids played the tuba" ;) I switched anyway and I know he was proud when I went left and the rest of the band went right during my first marching band exhibition with my tuba (can't hide with a tuba) :)

He then encouraged me to keep up with my music in college but suggested to me that rather than telling my new friends that I was going to band rehearsal, to tell them that I was going to the gym. He said to "run around the dorm a few times to get nice and sweaty so that they will believe you". Lucky for me I found friends who had been band geeks in high school too and appreciated my desire to play in college :) Dad was there with all my friends for my first tuba solo....When the Saints Go Marching In. That ended up being my last tuba solo and band concert and Dad supported me with that decision.

Dad, you have been such a influential person in all of our lives. We so appreciate all that you do for us and love how accepting you have been of our three guys :) They feel so comfortable around you because you treat them more like friends then son in-laws. Your grandchildren adore you and light up when you walk into the room!

Dad, Thanks for being you and for loving us all these years. I know we are responsible for every gray hair on your head but know that we love you and wouldn't be the people we are today without you and mom!!! Happy Father's Day!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My 100th Post--A Tribute to S and Z

Well as a former elementary school teacher, the 100th day of school was a HUGE deal. I feel it is only right to make my 100th post a HUGE deal as well :)

For Christmas I made S a calendar called "Z Loves Daddy". It had pictures of them and then one reason why Z loved Daddy for every day. It was quite a challenge to come up with 365 good reasons why Z loved his Daddy (he was only 14 months at the time) but I was creative and pulled it off. So in the spirit of that calendar, I have decided to list 100 reasons why I love Z and S in honor of my 100th post! If it weren't for them, there would be no Raising Z :) I love you guys and Happy Father's Day S!

1. I love their kind hearts
2. I love their enthusiasm
3. I love their big beautiful eyes (they have the same eyes)
4. I love when S cooks anything
5. I love when Z says "salsha"
6. I love when Z looks at me and then we burst out laughing
7. I love the way S is so patient with both Z and I
8. I love how understanding S is
9. I love how excited Z gets when it is time for a bath
10. I love watching Z conquer new obstacles and challenges
11. I love to listen to S philosophize and ponder the world's issues
12. I love S's conspiracy theories
13. I love their hugs
14. I love how Z gets scared when the garage door opens and runs into my arms
15. I love when S and I chat about our hopes and dreams
16. I love Z's giggle
17. I love how important Family is to S
18. I love cuddling with Z to read or watch TV
19. I love that Z likes the Family Feud and how he claps along
20. I love to watch S and Z dance
21. I love how happy S gets after a few glasses of wine
22. I love how Z says "good-bye" to everything
23. I love to hear Z giggle in his swing
24. I love how Z smells after a bath
25. I love to listen to S sing
26. I love S's awesome shoulder rubs
27. I love how hard S works at improving our home
28. I love that when I leave a room for awhile, I come back in and Z says "There's Momma!"
29. I love to cuddle up and read books to Z
30. I love their kisses
31. I love how Z body slams Curious G and then gives him a great big bear hug
32. I love when I make S laugh so hard that he starts to giggle and his eyes shut
33. I love to watch S play the guitar
34. I love how Z says "Buhhhlwoooowoooowooowzer"
35. I love to watch S write computer code (weird I know)
36. I love that S understands that I need nights out with my friends
37. I love that S gets so serious when he throws a side arm pitch
38. I love to go on vacation with my guys
39. I love Z's little dimples
40. I love the little sigh Z gives when he gives you a hug
41. I love how Z bends over onto his head and throws balls through his legs
42. I love seeing S walk through the door every night
43. I love S's smile (big toothy grin)
44. I love that S can talk to anyone and you never have to worry about him at a party
45. I love how Z pats your back when you hold him
46. I love how Z says milk "esno"
47. I love that S gets so fired up about politics and current events
48. I love to watch Z play with his little friends
49. I love to watch S play guitar with my dad or his friend J
50. I love being able to sit and do nothing with S and still have a good time
51. I love grocery shopping with Z and snacking on chex
52. I love driving and looking for trucks or construction sites with Z
53. I love playing the "what if you won the lottery" game with S on long car trips
54. I love shopping for both of my guys
55. I love how Z says "shunowerbutter" (sunflower butter)
56. I love watching Z sleep
57. I love when S gets up on his own in the morning!
58. I love how quickly z picked up on signing and fish was my favorite sign
59. I love how helpful S is around the house
60. I love taking family trips to Home Depot
61. I love playing board games with S
62. I love how non competitive S is
63. I love to watch Z draw with sidewalk chalk
64. I love to watch Z run!!!
65. I love that S and Z love the lake as much as I do
66. I love to kayak with S
67. I love to play horsey with Z
68. I love S's family!!
69. I love S's sense of adventure
70. I love how Z zones out when he watches george
71. I love to watch Z snuggle in his crib right before bed
72. I love that family is so important to S
73. I love to watch Z splash in the water
74. I love how Z points out all of the things in his room when I go to get him in the morning
75. I love that S is so honest
76. I love how cute S is when he gets his haircut
77. I love to watch Z eat his food (so messy)
78. I love to hear Z say "mama"
79. I love that S and I have similar taste in food
80. I love to hear Z giggle during the monkey book
81. I love our group hugs
82. I love to go on road trips together
83. I love to watch S read Z bedtime books
84. I love that S and I make decisions together
85. I love that they are both so much fun!
86. I love going out to eat with S
87. I love when Z runs around like a crazy person
88. I love how Z's voice goes up when he says "moon"
89. I love S's calm way
90. I love Z's sense of adventure
91. I love to see Z's face light up when he sees the stars at night
92. I love that S is my best friend
93. I love S and Z's crazy morning hair
94. I love their energy
95. I love to chat with S over a glass of wine at dinner
96. I love Z's little pot belly
97. I love how excited Z gets when S comes home and how he runs to the basketball hoop
98. I love how supportive S is and how hard he works so I can stay home
99. I love my zen time with Z in the morning, sitting on the couch and eating breakfast
100. I love my two guys so much, they are such wonderful people!!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Survey Says...."

So now that the secret is out, I guess it is okay to share it with the world.....

Z and I love the Family Feud! It started out so innocently and now it has become quite a guilty pleasure (obsession??).

A few months back Z woke up from a nap very crabby. Nothing would calm him and so I turned on the television. We have your very basic cable so not much was on at 3 in the afternoon....that is except the Family Feud. We started to watch and Z calmed down instantly and I got sucked in. I started to play along, talk to the TV and Z was clapping like madman along with the show. It was so much fun!!!

From that day on I would only turn on the Family Feud if he woke up cranky or we were feeling sluggish. That 30 minutes of family fun was the perfect medicine for us to recharge and get ready for our LONG afternoon.

Well as of late, the Family Feud gets turned on whether Z is cranky or not :) After his nap Z grabs the remote, hops up on the couch and tries to find his favorite game show. I always pretend that we shouldn't but then I find myself helping him find the right channel and shushing him during the play for "Fast Cash". It is so BAD!

Well nobody really knew about this ritual until yesterday. After nap Z and I turned on the Family Feud but instead of crazy families fighting for money with John O'Hurley there was Phil Mickelson putting in the US Open. Z looked at me with a strange face. I explained to him that golf was on instead of our show.....he was surprisingly okay with this.

Well I went out last night and S found Z on the couch struggling with the remote. S decided to humor him and turned on the TV. S was flipping through the channels when what should he find???? The Family Feud! Z jumped up and said "There it is!" and started clapping away. S looked at him funny and wondered why Z was so excited about this silly game show. Well when I got home he shared this story and I burst out laughing. I had to come clean about our almost daily dose of family fun.

Mark my words, someday you will see Z and I competing with three other family members for $20,000!!!! I think a practice game will determine who in the family is worthy to join us :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Cheer For Me :)

I am one of those people who love to beat themselves up. "I am too fat, I am not doing enough as a mother, I don't keep the house clean enough".....etc. This problem has gotten better over the years but I still have a long way to go.

Last week I was a bit of a head case over my weight and self image. Believe me, we are not talking an eating disorder (I LOVE food and wine too much for that), I just constantly beat myself up after I have eaten too much or if my clothes don't fit right. It was a tough week for me food wise and I was dreading the scale at Weight Watchers.

As it turned out, I had lost a pound (don't know how). All that worrying over nothing...I believe this was why S did not want me to go back to Weight Watchers :) Well I have spent the last week trying to examine and appreciate all that I have accomplished this year and hope to highlight some of that here rather than dwell on what I could be doing differently.

Last week marked the 5 "monthiversary" of my dedication to me! It was 5 months ago that I said I was going to work out 5-6 days a week, eat better and try to get back into a size 8.

Well guess what.....I have done all that and I think it is important to acknowledge that. For the last 5 months I have been running, lifting weights or doing aerobics 5-6 days a week. I have run further than I have ever run before and I am signed up for the 1/2 marathon that I have always wanted to run. I have muscle definition that I haven't seen in years (maybe ever) and my size 8 clothes fit once again! I am eating well (for the most part), drinking less and slowly making progress at Weight Watchers (3 more pounds to go). There is a lot to celebrate here :) So why was I so miserable????

I have come to the conclusion that no matter what size or weight I am, I will always feel large and want to be matter how much muscle I have built up, I will always feel it isn't enough. I guess that is part of being a woman? an American? I really don't know what it is from.

I have the most supportive and encouraging husband in the world. He truly does not care what I look like and is constantly complimenting me on how good I look and telling me how proud he is of my running. So what is my problem???

Who knows but I am using this entry to admit to the world (or my few readers) that I am finally happy with the way I look. Yes, there is always more to lose and tone but I am proud of all I have done over the last 5 months and even more proud of how dedicated and strong I have become :) So there, I said it (I hope this entry saves me hundreds of dollars in therapy :)).......I am happy with who I am right now! If I don't lose the final three pounds at WW...who cares!?!!? As long as I keep this healthy weight up and keep on running...who cares about a number on a scale??? Right??!!?? (Well I do secretly care but I am trying not to...oh maybe I do need therapy!).

Thanks for reading :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hazy, Hot and Humid

Well we are coming up on day three of a heatwave! We still have today and tomorrow to suffer through. We are in the Northeast and it takes us a while to get use to any new type of weather. The first snowstorm people are stocking up on bread and milk (still not sure why those are the two most important food items to stock up on...they both don't last too long in a power outage) and driving off the roads as if they have never seen snow. The first heatwave and everyone is at Home Depot buying large AC's and giant fans.

To be fair to everyone in this was blanket and fireplace weather on Friday and then the heat rolled in like nobody's business on Saturday. It is HOT!
We do not have central air or a pool. My family has a cottage on a lake and we are fortunate to be able to use that for a few weeks in the summer. The rest of the summer we huddle around our three AC units, hang out at my sisters house (she has central air) or play in Z's plastic pool :)

Z had his Summer Birthday yesterday (this is where he gets part of his birthday presents from us and my parents early so that he can enjoy them during the summer) and so he got a water table (he loves it!!!), some things for his swing set, a fire engine sprinkler and a picnic table!!! I am so excited about all of his gifts and can't wait to play with them (I AM such a kid Mom!).

As for the rest of the hot and sticky weekend....we spent Saturday installing our AC units and then went to Fenway for an afternoon game (nothing like sticking to your seat). Sunday was spent playing with Z's water table, S went to a Home Owner's Environmental Conference (trying to figure out how to make our home for energy efficient) and we had the Family June Birthday Party (Z and his cousin G got their summer birthday gifts then). It was a really great weekend, despite the heat. Today, I am hoping to mooch off my sister's mother in-law and hang out in her new pool :) Stay cool everybody!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Yes Zachary, That is your Male Body Part

Okay, I am sorry for the wimpy title. It is not that I am a prude, I am just afraid that if I type the actual P word then my blog will come up for all sorts of weird search terms! I don't want to go there :) So for the purpose of this blog article, we will call Z's male organ "his piece of toast" ;)

So a few months ago Z discovered his "piece of toast". It was in the bathtub and so I told him what the proper name was. He loved this new word and began saying it over and over. The next diaper change with S, he shared his new word. I think S was very impressed ;) Z's love for his "piece of toast" has become a bit of an obsession....I mean sometimes he says good-bye to it after a bath or when we put on a new diaper!

The other day, Z discovered that S too has a "piece of toast". S was getting dressed and Z ran over and yelled "Dadda, your piece of toast!". S tried not to laugh at the awe in Z's voice and told Z that yes he too had his very own "piece of toast". This made Z so happy :)

Now I am waiting for the day (I am sure it is coming soon) when Z asks me where my "piece of toast" is. I am so not ready for this, after all I was one of three girls growing up and don't know what to make of any of this boy stuff :) It is all new to me!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Toddler Rainy Day Fun

Well it is raining and that leads to an important question....what do I do with Z??? Since the weather has gotten warmer, we spend most of our time outside and this makes rainy days very challenging...he wants to be "ousiiii"!!!!! So on these days, I take a deep breath and try to reintroduce him to toys that he has not seen in a long time or find fun things to do.

Lately one of our favorite things to do is build a fort. We use our parachute (a sheet would work just fine) and the dining room chairs to make the fort and then get lots of pillows and all of Z's puzzles, books and trucks. It is so relaxing and cozy to play with his toys under our fort. It is a nice break for me to lie down and read to him.

Another thing we like to do on a rainy day is play with Play-Doh. I love this duffle bag, it is the perfect combination of tools and dough and it stores nicely in the bag. When I first introduced Play-Doh, Z used if for about 5 minutes. Each time I take it out, he gets a little more into it. Today he played with it for 20 minutes!

Our last favorite rainy day activity is to play with bubbles. These are the best bubbles in the whole world! They have some sort of plastic in them (don't worry they are non-toxic) so they last forever. I have had bubbles last for 3 days :) I am a crazy mom with a carpeted playroom so I don't mind blowing bubbles in the house. If you have hardwood not use these bubbles inside! It says right on the bottle that they can leave marks on wood so keep it away from your nice wood furniture too.

Well those are some of the activities that we like to do on rainy days :) Please share what you do to keep your tots busy when they are itching to be "ousiiiii"!!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Toddler Tailgating

Well Z tailgated for the first time on Friday :) We got our lunch, parked across the street from a construction site and had a picnic while watching the trucks! It was so cute, we even got smiles from the construction workers. We had the hatch up, used his pack n play mattress as a cushion and enjoyed the scene. There were bulldozers, excavators (diggers as Z calls them), a backhoe loader, dump trucks and pick up trucks. Six months ago I could only identify a dump truck, now I can name most any truck...I know you are jealous!

It was a very fun outing and we will have to do it again before they are finished with the site. I told Z were were going on a date and he kept saying "day" over and over. It was the perfect little date for this mom and her toddler :)