Monthly Archives: November 2013

Going through Mom’s Things

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Today, my sister Kathi and I found ourselves with a few hours to spare.  We decided to go up to my parent’s house and go through some of mom’s things.  My dad was okay with it as long as we promised to not do anything with her formal gowns and dresses.  We agreed and the two of us met there and spent a few hours going through one of her closets.  For those of you who did not know my mom, she was a large sized woman – she called herself “plus sized.”  We packed up several bags filled with clothing that we are going to donate to the veterans.  We packed another that I dropped of at a local church that is collecting for the victims of the storm in the Philippines – that one included bedding.  There are still two more bags of clothing that still has tags on them!  I am in the process of finding a charitable organization that will take new clothing for larger sized women.  There are even two bags of purses and totes!

What is so surprising to me is that my mom was far from a “fashionista.”  She wore the same type thing all of the time.  She liked simple, cotton clothing with an elastic waistband.  Her last few years, she had so much trouble breathing, even getting dressed would be a struggle for her.  So finding all of these clothes, many that were never worn was a bit ironic.  Even more ironic though, is that for someone who had very little fashion sense, this was only the first of several closets we need to go through.

Tonight, we met back at their house to have dinner with my dad.  This time, we took out what I thought was her jewelry drawer.  I brought it downstairs and Kathi, my brother Chip and my dad and I,  all went through it.  It turned out to not be her jewelry drawer at all, but instead more like a memory drawer!  We found many of our old report cards, including mine from first grade from the school that I teach at now!  I found a favorite picture that my mom’s good friend Linda took of me when I was about ten.  Mom had saved it in that drawer.  I guess it was a favorite of hers too.  There were many pictures in that drawer, but it turns out that isn’t even the “photo drawer” since we found another with hundreds more.  That drawer will have to wait for another time.   There were books about exercising and a very old copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care book.  All of our birth certificates were there as were our graduation announcements and First Holy Communion certificates.  She saved everything!!

My dad let us each have what was ours and then we took out another drawer we thought was her jewelry drawer.  This had some, including a ring that Dave and I had given her before we were even married.  My dad let me keep that one.  We haven’t found her “good stuff” yet.  More interesting though in this drawer were all of the items she had saved from her own parents and her dear Aunt, (who we called Nana.)  We found an autograph type book that was her mom’s and each of the entries in it was dated 1925!  The pages were delicate and falling apart but they were fun to read.  there was a bag filled with things from her dad – he died when I was about ten, and I don’t really remember him well.  It had his work ID, some other types of certificates, pins and awards in it.  We actually gasped when we found a picture – it looked more like a mass card – with John F Kennedy on it.  How odd that we found this almost 50 years to the date of his death!?!  Dad let me borrow it to scan it and see if we can preserve it, as it is falling apart.  I am not sure how my grandfather got the card.  It is definitely not from a newspaper, you can tell by the feel of the paper.  It feels like an actual mass card.  I wish there was someone who could tell us how he got it or why he kept it.

Next week, we are going to go back and finish the second drawer.  It got too late and with absolutely everything bringing up a new memory, it took much longer than expected.   As so many things are when we talk about mom, this was bittersweet, but it brought back so many happy memories.  I cannot wait to see what we find next week!!

Scan 1 Scan 2

JFK

On the 50th anniversary of his death, I thought it would be best to share a few of John F. Kennedy’s quotes on peace and kindness:

JFK Kindness JFK peaceJFK strong JFK time to thank

Grades

do your best

In the beginning of May, I wrote about getting both of my boys classified in school.  I was kicking myself for waiting so long, thinking how much time I must have wasted where they could have been getting the help that they needed.  Dave and I weren’t sure if we had made the right decision, but the teachers at their schools made it easy for us and we are grateful.  Both boys have now finished their first semester at school, DJ in grade 11 and Drew in grade 6.  High School and Middle School – rough years in general.

Drew, my son who enjoyed school, but loathed academics made the honor roll!  FIVE A’s and two B’s.  We haven’t received the actual report card, but with the technology available to us, we are able to go on line and check his grades whenever we want.  I am not a parent who checks on them daily.  I go on once every week or two, to see if the boys are doing their homework and getting assignments completed on time.  Drew is so proud of himself.   He cannot wait to get the report card in the mail and show it to his fifth grade teachers.  He told me how proud they are going to be of him.   Seeing him this excited about his grades and school is something that Dave and I have never seen him exhibit before.   He comes in and does his homework right after school.  I would not say that there is no mumbling and grumbling about it, just so much less.  I also have to credit his 6th grade teachers at the middle school.   Whatever they are doing to keep him motivated, is working!

As for DJ, he didn’t make honor roll, but he has also had the best report card we have seen from him in years!  4 A’s 2 B’s and a C.   He doesn’t talk much about school, he never has.  We try to get information out of him but rarely get more than a word or two in response.  His favorite class though is a television production class.  He likes it so much, he’s going to school tonight, (something he’d have never done a year ago,) to help film a program going on at the school this evening.

We have never pushed for our boys to bring home straight A’s. That would be unrealistic.  What we do tell them is to do their best and if they are giving it all of their effort, that is what is most important.  I am not sure what it is that is motivating the boys, the teachers, getting them classified, or something else, but Dave and I are proud of them.

A Charity Project for the Holidays

by giving you et more

I received an email from a friend regarding a project her children are doing in the hopes to make the holidays a bit more special for others less fortunate:

Hi Everyone, 
Austin and Branden are taking on a charity project for holiday charity.  They will be putting together 200 gift bags for the homeless in New York City through the bridges organization.    They will be collecting items from now to Dec 5th.
If you travel and have collected travel size items from all hotels please gather them up and drop them off.  Any travel size shampoo, conditioner, hand sanitizer, travel size tissues, mini first aid kit, hand or foot warmers, tooth paste, mouth wash, soap and tooth brush.  I will leave a box out in our front doorway, so you can drop off anything you might have any time.  I can pick up if you get get it here. 
This is a great way to give back during the holidays and it is really needed.

There are many things that homeless people usually do without, which to us may seem insignificant, but to a homeless person, they are meaningful and important.  We take so many things for granted and donating to those less fortunate shows compassion.

I tried to come up with a list of some ideas that might also be of use:

  • Baby wipes/wet wipes
  • a comb
  • Soap
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion

If you are local, and you want to help, you can give donations to me and I will happily pass them along to the boys.  If you don’t live nearby, perhaps you’ll consider doing the same thing in an area near you.  By doing this, you are giving hope and help to someone who is walking through a dark time in their life and that is so important, because everyone matters.

Shelter Pet

saving a dog

Today I read about a photographer who takes photos of shelter/rescue dogs and shares the photos to help get them adopted.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.680301948676364.1073741845.295429577163605&type=1

As the proud owner of a rescue dog, Emmy Lou, (I wrote about her story earlier in the year,) I can tell you that it has brought us nothing but happiness.  We have a door mat as you enter the vestibule of our home that reads, “A shelter dog rescued this family.”  It is the perfect quote because she has changed our lives.  I never thought that I wanted a dog, but there were so many factors that led us to her.  She was meant to be a part of our family. 

With the holidays coming, there are millions of pets awaiting a home.  Choosing a pet is a huge decision, don’t make it a quick one.  Take the time to figure out what pet is the best fit for your family.  When the right time arises, I encourage you to seriously consider rescuing one.  It has been one of the best decisions we ever made.

Everyone deserves love – human and animal. Everyone has feelings

Bracelets

pay it forward drew

Today I am letting Drew help me write my blog.

He told me that today at his school there was a Monday morning gathering where the social workers handed out “Pay it Forward” bracelets.  Each student was given two of them.  They were told that one was for them to keep and the other was for them to give away AFTER they did a random act of kindness for another person.  The person they give it to has to do a RAK for another person and they will pass the bracelet on to that person.  The cycle should keep on going.

I asked him if they could only have two bracelets and he told me that was just to start it off.  He said that the goal is that you always have two on your arm because people should be doing RAK for each other all of the time.

I love the idea.  Especially at the middle school tween ages.  I hope that the idea takes off and it starts something wonderful.  How inspiring it could be for these kids to know that by doing even a little thing for someone else can change their attitude  – because even the simplest thing could have a huge impact on someone else.

pay it forward bracelet

Football Sunday

football

The unseasonably warm weather today has made for a gloomy, foggy day.  A day that I am glad to have nothing to do besides school work and housework. I am still in my workout clothes from the kickboxing class I led this morning.  Haven’t even wanted to take the effort to shower.  It is a good thing I have nowhere to be!  The kids got their school work done and counted down the minutes until “Red Zone” began.  I am not sure if I am a fan of Red Zone yet.  It makes me dizzy trying to follow along as the games jump from play to play and stadium to stadium.   I try to follow which team is playing which and when I finally figure it out and begin to get enthusiastic about one game – the screen jumps to another, or even worse jumps to split screen and I am watching two games at once!!!

I love watching football.  For me, it is one of the easiest games to follow, but with Red Zone, I cannot focus long enough to comprehend what is going on!  I get disoriented and distracted!! Yet, I am drawn to it and I haven’t left the living room all afternoon as I have watched the huge rain delay in Chicago, the NY Jets get blown out by Buffalo, a tight game between Detroit and Pittsburgh, (although those bumblebee uniforms are atrocious and even more distracting,) and a possible comeback between Washington and Philadelphia.

This afternoon at 4:25, Red Zone goes off and The Giants game is turned on.  No Red Zone for this game.  The kids went to the game with my dad, I am going to watch from the comfort of my living room with Dave.  I don’t like distractions while I watch my team so watching it on FOX rather than Red Zone is much more preferable!!  I am sure Dave finds it a blast to watch football with me and my unique insight to the game!  I call the plays as they happen, I try to send telepathic messages to the coaches when the team is falling apart-as if I could do it better.  I tell Dave jokingly, that he is very lucky to be married to a girl who loves sports as much as I do!  He just laughs – because he knows I am right 🙂

Let’s go Giants!!