Saturday, December 31, 2011

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Empty Box

On this Christmas morning, I am sharing with you a story which happened
25 years ago.  I was 27 and had two s mall sons.  My mom had died that  June and it ws our first Christmaas without her.  My dad was only in his 50s but we had been noticing some alaraming symptoms.  Things that made us believe he was developing some sort of early  onset dementia,  It was devastating for us to think that my vibrant, extremely intelligent father was literally slowly losing his mind. We all missed Mom and it was difficult even thinking about Christmas without her.  But Dad insisted we carry on.  I remember he often said those last few weeks before Christmas that he was out Christmas shopping.  He wanted no help...he wanted to do t on his own.  My mom had done most of the shopping so this was a  pretty new concept!!      So on t hat Christmas morning he slowly handed out our presents.  He handed me a box wrapped in pretty  Christmas paper. It was the size and shape of a clothes box.  I opened the box and was empty. Dad was sitting near by anxiously waiting to see my reaction to the gift he picked out for me.   I showed him the box and said.." Dad the box is empty...there is nothing in it.""  I will never forget the look on his face, the embarrassment, the frustration, the disappointment.  He said"Oh Shoot!!and ran back up stairs with the box.  A few minutes later he came down and again handed me the box.  Inside was a beautiful dark green zippered sweatshirt.  It was perfect.  Those of you that know me know that dark green is my favorite clothes color and as the mother of 2 small children, I  loved sweatshirts. My Dad on his own had picked out the perfect gift.  But he was still feeling bad about the empty box.    And truthfully so was i.  The fact that it had happened  only confirmed what we had already been fearing.  The dad we had known all of our lives was changing.  There was something going on and we cold not ignore it. And yes, the disease progressed, he was diagnosed with both Parkinson's and early onset demntia.     The following years were tough and Dad died at the age of 64  way too young for a man who had so much to give.  I still think of that Christmas and of the box that dad handed me...but I  know something now...that I didn't know then.  The box wasn't empty at all.  It was filled with love, the love of a man who knew just the right gift for his daughter,  the perfect sweatshirt in her favorite color.  I miss my Dad always....but never as mush as on Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My most favorite time of the year.....(one of them!)

Today was Christmas tree choosing day.  There is a tree farm about 30 minutes away that sits high on the mountain!!  The farm has been there a long time and the owner isn't planting anymore trees...but there are tons left.  Any tree is 35 dollars.  Can't beat it.  Paul was away for the weekend but Jenn came...and David and Amanda.  We piled into the pickup...singing Christmas songs along the way.  The view is incredible  and the trees are my spruces!  The pictures tell the rest of the story...they show the absolute beauty of the day!!!!!  By the way  Jenn chose her tree and Sierra chose ours.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Prelude...a journey to Maine!

On our honeymoon Scott and I went to Kennebunkport Maine.  I love Maine.  I love the beautiful ragged shoreline...I love the people...seemingly always friendly and willing to talk...I love the weather....not too hot summers with cool falls and wonderful winters!!!  While walking around Kennebunkport and wandering through one of their many  shops...I came across a beautiful framed photo.  It was of a lit Christmas tree in the middle of town.  All the  surrounding shops were decorated.  There was a light powdering of snow on the streets.  It was beautiful.  I pointed it out to Scott.  Five years later we returned to  Maine to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  Right before we left to head home... Scott  handed me a large package.  In it was the large framed photo...the one I had admired 5 years before.  I loved it!!!  I secretly wished that someday I could be there when Kennebunkport celebrated their Christmas Prelude.....somehow I could see the tree lit and standing beautifully in the center of town.  The problem was...Scott works for the highway department...we never go anywhere in the winter  ( well except to China in January 2009...but that was an exception!!)  One day last year , as we were celebrating Chinese New Year at our house...I showed my friend Ellen he picture.  I told her how I wished I could someday go.  She said..."well let's go...let's go in December!!!"  "Lets bring Sierra and Gretchen and let's go to Maine!!  ( Gretchen is her adult daughter )  So last Friday morning we packed into Ellen's convertible and headed for Maine.  I can not even begin to tell you what a wonderful time we had!!!  We walked by the ocean...Gretchen and Sierra went IN the ocean!  We hunted for sea glass and small shells....we shopped and shopped and shopped for Christmas...and we stood in the center of Kennebunkport.... on a beautiful December night...when the tree was  lit !!! Sierra had a blast..She was awesome the entire weekend.  I loved sharing my dream weekend with her.  I loved spending the time with Ellen and Gretchen!  I was sad that Scott couldn't be with us...but I was appreciated the opportunity to have a girls weekend out!!

These are some of my favorite photos

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am hoping all my family and friends have the best Thanksgiving ever.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't stop and give thanks to God for all the wonderful blessings that have been stowed upon me.
This year we were saddened by the absence of Scott's father.  We had spent every holiday with him and we missed his warm smile.  We are comforted  knowing that he is not suffering and is no longer in pain!!!

Years ago when I was a little girl growing up in Long Island, my girlfriends and I would sit and dream about our futures.  We would imagine what our husbands would look like, how many kids we would have, and what their names would be.  I couldn't wait to be a  Mom.  I  couldn't wait to have babies.  I  loved being pregnant.  And I love being a Mom.  So much, in fact , that 17 years after my last child was born, I became a Mom again.  And I have enjoyed every  minute of it.  I am lucky.  All my children, even the ones not living home, live with in 4 miles of me.  I get to see them a lot.  But on Thanksgiving my heart always fills with joy as we meet at Scott's brothers and we are altogether.  And to have Paul and Jenn there as husband and wife, it made this Mama proud!!!!

Scott, Sierra and I started out the day with a wonderful walk down along the Hudson River.  It was a beautiful November day, bright sunshine, crisp temperatures, and no breeze.The mountains stood out against the sharp blue sky.  The only thing to  mar the moment was the fact that my camera battery died and I had not brought the other, charged battery.  I did get a few shots but not as many as I would have liked.  We then stopped at m y brother's house, but he also had decided to go and take a walk.  We came home and I called my sister who lives in Maryland.  She is actually in Florida and enjoying some relaxing time there.  I so miss having her closer for the holidays...but she surprised me with the news that they will be up this way for  Christmas!!!!!

We went to Scott's brothers and had a most delicious meal...oh my did we eat....and eat...and eat.  I try to remember though, the many children and adults in our world who are going hungry this  Thanksgiving.
 I know how fortunate we are that during this difficult economic time that we both have decent jobs And we have much family time.  Scott and I both work full time jobs but we both pull in the driveway together at 3:35.  We both get done at 3:30 and each of us work with in one mile of our jobs.  We have lots of time to spend together and have some time for ourselves too.
So I extend a Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and I hope your lives are as blessed as mine!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fill Their Stockings

Please click on this if you are interested in doing some holiday shopping and making a donation to some very worthy causes.  One of the receiving organizations is Pearl River Outreach.  This group of caring individuals help find sponsors for children, many who are from Sierra's orphanage.  Through Pearl River Outreach, we sponsor a sweet little boy named Aiden!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How great is my love...

During the past month or so I have been thinking about and rejoicing over the wonderful family that God has blessed me with.  The day of Paul and Jenn's wedding was a day I will never forget.  A I watched my sons and my precious heart over flowed with love for them all.  Our family also officially grew that day with Jenn becoming our daughter in law...but she had already been included in our hearts.  Many people came to me that day..telling me how special the relationship between my boys is.  And how sweetly they treat their little sister.  The love I feel for them is like nothing else.  The unconditional, no matter what, even though you are all so different, kind of love.  As I look at pictures from that day...I see it...I feel it ...all over amazing love I feel for my family.

I used to wonder about the idea of God sacrificing his child for us.  I thought I wasn't Christian enough because I knew I could never sacrifice any of my children for anything.  I would give my life for them in an instant but I could never send them to die.  Well this 52 year old brain finally had her light bulb moment!!  I was at our church Women's group meeting the other night and we start with a  devotional.  My friend was reading scriptures that told us how  much God loved us.  "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son"   And then..... I!  God doesn't want us to sacrifice our children.  What he saying is this'''Hey you know how much you love your love them so much you would do anything for them???  You put them first protect them, guide them, teach them etc.   Well guess what...I LOVE YOU EVEN MORE THAN THAT!!!!"  All of us...every day...every hour...every minute...every second of our lives  God loves us... more than we can ever imagine.  Wow...and so to my children I say all know how much I love you have blessed me every day of your parenting all of you has been my greatest I have been so proud of what you have accomplished..but you know what...God loves you even more!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Check out Leslie's blog.  I have been bloggy friends with her for over three years!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

It was a beautiful fall today here in upstate NY,  although the colors are not as vivid as usual due to all the rain we have had since summer.  Still it was fun to drive up and over the mountains and see the beauty down below!!

Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,
There have been many days during the last years that I have missed you both so much.  But none as much as yesterday the day of your grandson Paul's wedding  .  Friday night we sat at the restaurant at the rehearsal dinner and we talked about how it would have been  your 55th wedding anniversary.
I woke up yesterday morning....and immediately thought how I wished you were here.  Remember Mom, when I used to take you for your radiation treatments and I would bring Paul along.  He was less than a year old but he made everyone around him his friend, the doctors, the nurses , the waitresses when we stopped for lunch.  He was a people person then and he still is. It was evident yesterday by the amount of people who came to celebrate his joyous day.
Paul stopped by yesterday morning to tell me that he had gone to the cemetery. He wanted to know that he was thinking of you on his special day!!  He told me that he knows you would have been proud of what he has accomplished. He wanted you to know how much he loved his soon to be wife..  To tell  you the truth , it was me who was so proud of him.
The wedding was beautiful. Tim and David were the best men, Sierra was the flower girl. Beth my sister and Deb sat next to us at the church.  Dave  my brother played his guitar and sang a beautiful song. The wedding party started coming in.  Sara , Tim's girlfriend led the way.  Your granddaughter Jamie and our god son Jeremy were also in the party. Jenn was stunningly beautiful as she walked down the aisle. And at the altar waited Paul.  I watched his face...saw him smile when he saw how beautiful she was.  He looked so  happy.
  And he walked back down the aisle,when the ceremony was over, he stopped to give me a hug .  It was an incredible moment and so greatly appreciated by me!I can't begin to tell you how  much fun the reception was.  All Paul and Jenn's friends, and family dancing the night away. Dad, your brother Perry was there  dancing away even though he just turned 85 a few days before! Many people mentioned how much you both would have enjoyed it.  We remember how much you liked to dance!!  And the food...OH MY!!  Simply delicious!!!!!!!!
Mom and Dad...I so wish you were there to see it all.  I have to believe you did...somehow you witnessed the absolute joy of the day,...  somehow you saw what wonderful men my boys have grown up to be......  somehow you saw the granddaughter you never met, who got to ride in a limo and had the time of her life.  Somehow you  could feel the love that Paul and Jenn have for each other......and somehow you knew how very much I missed you and wished you were there!! It was a day I will never forget and I so wished I could have shared it with you!
Love you always,

Paul and Jenn

Sierra with Mohonk in the background

Sara and Jamie

Love this picture! 

My three special sons!

On the way to our room at the end of the night!!!