Archive for September, 2006

My Nephew

Josh joined the army and has been in boot camp since July. We have gotten lots of letters, thankfully, but tonight we got a photo of him. It is nice to see his smiling face! He’s the one on the left. I am assuming that is a Drill Sargent on the right. I tried to link the photo even though I would like it straight on this page but I couldn’t do either. So, here is the link for those of you interested…


that does not seem like it would work. Hmm. Jeff…help please. Done!

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Thomas the Train

We had a busy weekend. Ever since he was one, Connor has enjoyed Thomas the train. Evan played trains because he loves his brother but he’d leave them in a moments notice if Connor suggested something else. Garrett, like Connor, has a great time with Thomas and his friends.

Since the boys are growing up and we were not sure how much longer trains would interest them, we decided to take them to Strasburg, PA when Thomas came to town. We made all the arrangements, my sister and her family got in on the action and away we went. We left Friday morning to make the train. We arrived a little early so we were able to walk around and see much of the Thomas things they had going. My sister and her family joined us right in time for the train ride. The boys were yelling, “THOMAS, HI THOMAS”! It was funny because they know Thomas isn’t real, well, I;m not sure about Garrett, yet they had so much fun talking to him and Sir Topham Hatt. The place closed at 5 PM, much earlier than we expected but we got to see most of the tents, meet Sir Topham Hatt, ride 2 real trains and one miniature train. Because we were in satellite parking, Garrett got to ride on his first school bus. That was probably just as exciting as the train ride itself.

We were staying at a cool hotel that really isn’t a hotel at all. It is a bunch of caboose trains hooked together that have been redone as hotels. We had a huge one with 2 bunk beds, a single bed and a double. We hardly made it to that side of the train because we were having so much fun climbing up and down the bunks pretending we were on a real train ride.

The way to the hotel was terrible because we stopped at my sisters hotel first. It was her birthday so I watched the boys in their room so she could go out to eat with her husband. By the time we got done, it was dark and, although I followed map quests directions to a T I ended up at a dead end. It was the first time since we used it that mapquest let me down. So, what took 20 minutes to get to our place took 50. That was the first time on the trip that we were glad Jeff was not there. I don’t like him to be inconvenienced like that. (we were suppose to go on Saturday and Jeff would have gone with us but since tickets were sold out for the weekend we had to go Friday.) We pulled into our place after 8 and after exploring didn’t get to bed till 9. Taht’s really late for our children so i did not know what the next day held.
Anyway, when we awoke Saturday, my sister and her boys came over to play at the park and check out the caboose. We played at the park, visited the petting zoo and checked out the shopping. Then we went to her place and went swimming in the pool. The boys had fun and got super hungry so we went to her room and made lunch. The guys ate on the balcony and since we had to leave soon we put them, swimsuits and all, in the huge shower with two jets shooting at them. All 5 of them fit in comfortably and were in there playing for about 30 minutes. It was a riot!

We got home Saturday around dinner and Jeff had hot pizza waiting for us. We missed him but had a fantastic time. next time, the boys said, “Daddy has to go.”

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All families are not alike

SO, I told you about the bad haircut I gave Connor already.  The next day he went to school but I did offer to bring him a happy meal at lunch.  Second grade is much different than first.  This year, when Connor sees me, he just smiles a little and sometimes, if I’m lucky, gives a small wave.  I understand but it isn’t really easy.  I want to go up and hug him and get all gushy but I don’t.  I let him grow up with dignity.

Anyway, when I took him his happy meal, I arrived a little bit early.  I figured I would be handing him his happy meal, getting a secret look of thanks and heading on my merry way.  Imagine my surprise when he came in, sat across from me, grabbed the happy meal and started talking to me!  I stayed at lunch with Connor and his friends (because I was welcome) and got to join in their conversations.  Actually, all they did was laugh at each other as they ate, had a contest seeing who can catch grapes in their mouth as they throw the grapes in the air and drool over Connor’s food.  That is, till a little girl came and sat down next to me.  Now that boys wear their hair longer, I was not sure if it was a girl or a boy.  but then she started talking and I knew right away, a girl.  She was talking about how “the boys call this table a boys only table but I sit here anyway” and a few other chit chat things then she went into serious stuff.  She mentioned how her dad is bad, really bad.  “Bad like rob a bank bad?” I ask.  No.  “Bad like, he’s in jail bad?”  No, but he’s been in jail a couple times.  “Oh ?”  He poured gasoline over my mom an me once.  “Did it smell awful?”  (WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU SAY TO THAT?!)  Yeah.  I have to tell people if I see him anywhere.  “So he doesn’t live in your house?”  No, he lives ____ but I saw him outside my house once.  “Did you run and tell someone like they asked you to do?”  No, my mom saw him too so we went inside.  “I’m glad your mom loves you and works hard to keep you safe.”  yeah.  and that was the end of the conversation.

I pray for families every night.  I especially pray for my boys future wives and their families.  It’s a sad world out there.  Children are paying a terrible price for adult mistakes.  It’s just terrible to hear things like that.  She seems like a very nice girl but I wonder what she isn’t telling me.

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Pictures to Appease John


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One thing I have been wanting to do is to cut the boys hair myself. It seems crazy to hand over $40 every time they need a cut. So, I bought clippers that were highly recommended and planned on watching the DVD to learn how. Well, I can’t get the DVD to work. I called and they sent me a second one. Guess what, I can’t get that to work either. That’s when I realized I must be doing something wrong and it went on the “need help from Jeff” list. I haven’t asked him to sit down and show me yet but I thought I’d try without watching first. The cut we did before school looked great. The only thing that went wrong is I nicked Evan’s ear with the clippers as I was going around the ear.
The second try was tonight. I thought, since last time went so well, I would try to use the special tool that said “Right ear guide”. Well, I think Connor would have liked his ear cut like evan’s because this guide took off so much hair! It was pretty short and it was a whole line around his ear. Looking back, I should have just done the other side just like it and called it a night but I didn’t. I cut the whole head that short. He cried for what seemed like hours. I felt so bad. Second grade is hard enough let alone going with such a short haircut. Once he stopped crying and after he was done insisting that he was NOT going to school, we talked about what to say if anyone laughed.

Evan, Mr. Compassionate, asked if he could have his hair cut too. “Really?!” was all that came out of my mouth. When we got to the bathroom he said he wanted his cut just like Connor’s. I reminded him that it takes time to grow back but he insisted. He said he wanted to look like Dad. I asked if he ws doing it to make Connor feel better and, looking like he was caught doing something bad, he admitted it. He’s so cool and we let him know what a great brother and all that jazz he is.
I think I’m in for a long morning tomorrow but I know it will grow. Luckily Connors hair grows so quickly. But, guess what, Evan has the slowest growing hair ever!!

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Garrett’s First Day – alone

Well, today was the day Garrett went to school for 1 1/2 hours without me.  We talked about it before we left, for awhile.  What kinds of things there were to do, some ideas about what he would do, the fact that mom would be back to get him when it was over and all the other stuff.  He seemed excited.  He knows that Connor and Evan went there.  He knows the stories they tell are about fun and happy stuff.  That is great!
Today when I walked him in I was not going to be surprised if he cried.  I had a plan on what to do if he cried and I played it over in my head.  He held my hand walking in (something he fights even in crowded parking lots) and kept a hold of it till he signed in and got to a table.  I stayed with him while he got settled at a center.  He liked matching different shaped jewels to the appropriate shape on the fancy paper.  He kept looking at me.  I kept looking at him.  Finally, I let him know I was going to have to leave but will be back to get him soon.  HE WAS FINE!!  A little smile and a great big hug and away I went.  There ws a recepttion in the other room but I was not ready to listen to other mothers miss their kids.  That would only make me miss my baby more.  I decided to go volunteer in Evan’s class to take my mind off things.
When I got back to get Garrett, there were some of the board members still in the reception.  After brief hellos they gave me a mug with the school’s logo filled with Hershey kisses.  I was still waiting in line, trying to be patient because I wanted to see my boy, when a mom came in from parking and stood right in front of me.  If I had Connor or Evan with me they would have told her she butted but I just put it in the memory bank.  When it was my turn, Garrett was sitting in his seat with his backpack on.  They called his name and he had to push in his chair before he came to me.  It was darling!!  He said he had a good day and told the brothers how he got to play downstairs.  They have this special thing now where they know about things at the school that Jeff and I never did.  It’s neat and I think Garrett feels like he is bonding more.

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Remembering September 11, 2001

It started as a normal day, I was up and feeding my two little guys, then 2 years and 1 years old. We went downstairs and started to play around when my husband called. He was on a business trip, which was not unusual for him. He was traveling at least once a month. But this call was different. He had me turn on the news and see what was happening. I didn’t understand it, just like I didn’t understand when I saw the Challenger blow up. It was like I saw too many movies and this was one of them. It couldn’t be real. Who would fly an airplane into the World Trade Centers? So, I left the TV on for a little while and saw the replay after replay. All my husband could talk about was getting home to us. All we could talk about was having him stay and be safe so we can be reunited when things got better. Surely this would not continue.
My family was, and is, living outside DC. We know people who work for the government. When we heard the Pentagon was the next target we started making calls. Was my sister ok? What about mom who was driving home from VA to her home in PA? Everything was unknown as the obys and I waited.
I did not want my boys to see any of what was happening on TV. Even at a young age, I knew it wasn’t good. We only had one TV so I had to rely on Jeff’s phone calls from Cali. I knew he was watching everything and calling to inform me whenever possible. Airports closed, roads closed, even if he rented a car with others there was still a possibility he wouldn’t be home.
Finally mom called. She made it safe and sound. She passed a caravan of army vehicles in PA, I suppose having to do with the plane that went down there. she sped home knowing the police were busy and understanding of the fact that everyone wants to get home to their loved ones.
I remember sneaking the TV on when the boys were playing in the other room, I remember seeing the people jump from the buildings, I remember watching the smoke and people running around not knowing what to do. I remember praying for my husband to come home and then for the people who were affected. I remember the sadness. I remember flags on the cars, flags on the bridges, flags from gas stations on almost every car you see. I remember the nation coming together. I remember telling our family that it isn’t only in DC where the flags are flying, it is in New England too. I remember our unity.

I’ll ask Jeff if I can post the letter he wrote to the boys about that day. Everyone’s memory is important so we don’t forget.

For more 9-11 memories, visit shannons site.

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