Friends taking a look at the blog!


Living vicariously through my children’s vacations? Not a bad thing!

              Let me start off with the fact that I did not grow up poor.  I am the youngest of three siblings that lived with a single Mom. I didn't have my Dad in the picture till much later in life. With that said, growing up I was in awe of friends who would say that they go away every summer or go on these vacations around the country. Now my mother did the best she could and looking back the only “vacation” I remember, was going to my Aunt Na’s  house who lived on a golf course. I would go and my cousin and I would chase down golf balls and throw them farther or hide them! She had the best house. One of those houses with what seemed like a million floors (I think four floors in all.) Never did my family go on those long drive vacations to the shore, or “Hershey Park” or anything like that. We had growing up “Playland” in Rye, New York that constituted my big vacations. Going to an old amusement park. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t know any better but always in the back of my mind, I knew if and when I had children, I would want them to experience vacations in a much bigger and better way. And I did.

      When we moved to Missouri, little did we know that Missouri had a ton of attractions, museums and a great Zoo - which of course, was free. My oldest son Patrick had to have made a record for the youngest guest to go through the Budweiser tour before the age of three! Now, now - we always brought friends visiting to the tour and had Patrick in tow. We would drive back to New York when the kids were little,  stay and visit with family and stay in hotels . Our favorite time as a family would be our trips into New York City. 

This was taken on the top of the Empire States Building and was the spot that Billy asked (told me) I was going to be his girlfriend some twenty four years ago!

      We drove down to Florida to visit with friends and go on their boat and clam dig. The kids loved staying in hotels and running around and all those dinners out.  When we moved to Florida, we made the big trip to Disney. That was always a dream of mine as a child, as it was new back then and looked magical. I knew I wanted the kids to experience that.

That smile says it all. In fact that smile never left her face. Not sure if the boys had the same great time as Maria and I did!  I remember walking down the street in Magic Kingdom and I started to cry. I didn’t want the kids to see me cry but got so overwhelmed with the feeling that God had blessed us to be able to give to our kids what I didn’t have. I sat in that moment and could still “go back” to that moment even now.

    Then came the skiing trips. We had the opportunity to go with Liz and her family skiing. Those trips were a blast. Living in Florida, you never get that experience of snow and cold weather let alone being able to ski! The kids loved it and even today, we are trying to plan another ski trip this winter because it really has been too long!

The boys took to snowboarding as Maria was skiing down “Black Diamond” runs before the age of ten!  I remember we went tubing and as I was being pulled up the hill, again the tears came. Thankfully, no one saw but I can remember clear as day, the crisp snow flakes hitting my face and the sky filled with stars and having that quiet moment with God, thanking HIM yet again for HIS blessings. 

    What I am trying to say in this blog, is that I’m not boo hooing about not having the kind of trips my children have had.  I am so grateful and appreciative  to have given them these great trips that I did not experience as a child. I am blessed that my children get it. Get the fact that these are blessings (that and I have a tendency to remind them “how many trips did Mommy go on as a kid? - none - that’s right!) They, too, are blessed with wonderful friends who have brought them away on their vacations on yachts, beach houses, deep sea fishing trips, etc.. The great thing about those trips, they appreciate it even more and enjoy telling you all about it when they come home.

       You make the trip what it is. Even trips to our local beach, we make it fun. We even stood over night in a hotel on the beach that was twenty minutes from our house, just because! I hope one day my children will do what we have taught them to do when they have children of their own, appreciate God’s gifts no matter how big or how small. I hope you take some time out today to remember your childhood vacations and remind your children how blessed they are to have their vacations as well!  

     Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time! Now pass me the sunscreen - I’m off to Marco Island. 

Marco Island 2010 with the girls. Annual trip that will take place next Monday! Stay tuned…….


Divorcing my BFF - Liz? Not gonna happen.

    I recently read a blog that went over a check list of what someone might look for in a best friend. It really intrigued me. I never thought of a check list for a best friend. Looking over the list, I quickly checked off  yes to all 10 attributes in reference to my friend Liz. Things on that list included; honesty (does these jeans make my butt look big - um…yes,) ability to laugh (apple martinis help,) comforts in time of need (see apple martinis,) agrees to disagree (Republican vs. Democrat,) to name a few. I wanted to give something to her to let her know she means the world to me now and forever.

        This is my letter to Liz.

Dearest Liz,

                 I can not believe it is almost eleven years that we met at Maria’s house for the MOM’s meeting. It seems like yesterday. I knew I liked you the instant we met. Loved that you were an ex-New Yorker. Weren’t we all? Was so excited to get to know you and off you went during that summer to New York and I wouldn’t see you until school started. Ugh. I was teaching Religious education (CCD) at church with someone that I really didn’t like and knew I didn’t want to teach with her again.  I was walking into the parish school and you were walking out, when we bumped into each other and started chatting (the start of many, many chats to come,) when you suggested that we teach together. You said you like to do arts and crafts (which you know I hate!) and I would do more of teaching scripture. Frick and Frack as we were known, was born.

       Matty and Katie’s 1st communion picture in 2001. They look like a little bride and groom!

         How we talked everyday. Special friendships are a rarity, but I knew this was the start of one for sure. 

         Then came 9/11. Even though we were only friends a short amount of time, it was strange (not a coincidence) that we called each other 4 days after the attack and said, almost at the same time, we have to go to New York and do something, anything. 

       Everything about putting that trip together went perfectly. We were set to go November 1st. We had the parish school make rosaries for which we would drop off at Ground Zero for whom ever wanted them. It was great to have “our kids” make a poster for the fireman to let them know we care and that we will pray for them as well.  I was deathly frightened to fly considering what had happened on 9/11. But not you - you were as cool as they get. Then we get the front row of the plane with the bad breath dentist guy who kept saying “if this was your last five minutes on earth until you died - who would you call first?” Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me??  I wanted to throw the guy out the emergency door! Then you said you had to go potty. Oh no you are not leaving me, and to make matters worse - I look behind us to think two guys in the back, look like “terrorists.” Yes, it was stupid, but my head was spinning from being on the plane and flying! You said if you didn’t come back in five minutes, to take the 50 rosaries and go choke them! Nice…….

            We get to New York and God so had His hand on this trip. How was I to know that when we visited my mom, and took a picture, it would be the last time I saw her alive. And you were there. We laughed and of course, she made us something to eat. I will always treasure that moment that you were with me and my mom.

         We get to the city and again, God lead us to Ladder 6 where they greeted us so warmly. They embraced our gift and even let us stay to  help them cook dinner!

            We were truly blessed to have had that time with all of them. Then came time to donate the rosaries. We walked and walked and couldn’t find the main area to donate them when we stumbled upon a side entrance for a church and ended up at the rectory. We were greeted by this priest who said, "are these the rosaries that we were waiting for?" We had no idea what he was talking about and said, um…yes?  He said he was so happy to have them and that he would make sure that they were distributed amongst the workers and that HE felt blessed that we gave them to him. You can’t make this stuff up.

             Then came the trips together. The family skiing trips to Snowshoe and our trips to Marco Island. Boy could we drink, I mean talk and talk until the sun came up. Did we ever have not have something to say?

           Then like all true friendships, ours was tested. What seemed like forever, we didn’t talk as much and too much time went by. Again, it seemed like we both at the same time knew it was time to talk it out. If we wanted this friendship it was time we made it work. And we did. So yeah, we’re back to where we were with talking every day and going to the beach and those coffee breaks at Starbucks. Then you meet me for lunch and with this grin, tell me you’re moving out of state. What? You can’t leave me. But, I knew what you were going through and what you needed most was a friend. Someone who understood the pressures of moving your family from one state to another!

          Well, that Saturday came and Billy and I went over to your house to “help pack” but in reality, it was to say good bye. Billy was great to give us some space after he bent down to hug you and then it was my turn. My eyes still tear up thinking about how I just didn’t want to let you go. Why does it make it easier to just say, “call me later - ok?”  

             Thank you again for allowing me to officiate your wedding renewal vows ceremony. What an honor and pleasure it was. It also was a great party to remember and a send off that no one will soon forget.

                            Now, my Maria tells me, “with Liz gone, I know someone you could be best friends with!” I was a bit confused and thought, she just wants me to have our friendship here and now in Florida, but what she doesn't understand is that you are and always will be my best friend whether you're here or not.  I miss and love you my friend and you know - I'll call you later.

All my love,


Casey Anthony verdict - how could something positive come out of this?

       It's four hours and twenty minutes since the world heard the words "not guilty" addressed to Casey Anthony. Not that I'm counting but......

        I thought it was ironic as I sat with my computer on, with the tabs of Facebook and Twitter up and both time lines were busy with status' and tweets of people generally just wanting justice for Caylee Marie Anthony. As the time got nearer to the reading of the verdict, my Twitter page crashes and my Facebook freezes. Seriously? I have been watching, reading, tweeting with other trial watchers with all different opinions and this is the moment we all have been waiting for! I was truly blessed to have met some wonderful people during these past few weeks that have had similar views to my own. Don't get me wrong, there were other people that had different opinions but again, we all got along.  I was able to send a text message to my friend who said she would text me when the verdict was going to be read!

          As God is so good, my Twitter page and Facebook page refreshed and the world was right again. The feeling before the verdict was read was like being at the dinner table with your friends and who is talking over who.  At one point, we all just stopped and prayed for justice. OK some were praying for other things ........(like the electric chair for Casey,) but all in all it was a moment I won't forget.  This was so similar to "where were you when the OJ Simpson verdict was read." I was working at a YMCA in Missouri and was just about to go into a class, towel wrapped around me while looking up at the screen in the girls locker room. Was so shocked by that verdict that I could not teach. Nor did my class want to participate so we just water walked for an hour and tried to reason that verdict. That never happened. Still to this day - I do not understand. 

               I still feel and will always feel, aren't we blessed to live in a country that allows us to agree to disagree.  Right now, I know people are gathering to pray for Caylee, Cindy, George, Lee Anthony and even Casey Anthony. We are not here to judge but if you were on Twitter or Facebook lately - we certainly can voice our opinions. My son Matthew has had a hard time with me regarding my personal time/feelings about this case. I'll go as far to say, he just didn't get why I was "obsessed" with the trial. Obsessed? Nah. Just a mom who couldn't fathom having a two and half year old girl one day and gone the next and possibly having something to do with it?  I am thankful for my Twitter family and my Facebook family that continue to respond to my status' or tweets regarding this trial. So happy to have made such wonderful new friends and how much fun it was to "introduce" old friends to my new friends.  I want to clarify a point that upset me a few weeks back. Some one on Twitter made a comment, how could we laugh or make fun or admire (#YummyYuri) when the trial was all about the death of a two and half year old girl. To that I would say, we never forgot that point, nor will we ever forget that point but you have to find that down time to keep sane. There was never a point of disrespect towards Caylee, to the contrary - I saw more love, prayers and even peace come from a child we never knew.  

                   Tonight I will do what I have been doing for weeks. I will pray for Caylee to rest in peace, pray for Casey and her family who have the toughest road ahead of them and pray in thanksgiving for the family I have here in my home and my computer.

                The bottom line, this was about a beautiful little girl who we never knew but has touched our lives in a way we will never forget. Rest in Peace Caylee. 

                        I'm going to hug my kids now, I suggest you do the same. Ton o' blessings until next time.