Tag Archives: birthday

Two Teenagers


Today is Drew’s birthday.  I am officially the mom of TWO teenagers now.  How is that possible?  I don’t feel old enough to have two teens in my house! We woke him with our traditional rendition of “Happy Birthday” the way my mom used to sing it to us.  Dave went and got him Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and he’s opened a few little presents.

He pulled out the advent calendar piece for the day….which was a yellow duck.  Drew doesn’t know it but Dave plans it that way so that when the duck appears, it is like a Happy Birthday message coming from my mom.

It is Friday, so he’s off to school in a few minutes, but tonight, he is bringing some friends to a New Jersey Devils game to celebrate turning 13.  He is so excited.  Last year, he went to a game with my dad the night before his birthday and wound up on The NHL Network! He finds himself on that jumbo tron all of the time…I wonder if it will happen again tonight?!?!

Happy Birthday Drew!! You give us so many reasons to smile 🙂



There are a few cupcake bakeries in town.  I am not a fan of supermarket cupcakes.  Even homemade ones aren’t my favorite, but two of these local bakeries, Gigi’s Cupcakes and The Able Baker have cupcakes that are mouthwatering!!  I won’t even go there to buy them because I know that I’d have no willpower and eat them all!

I am able to resist cake, cookies, sweets most of the time.  I can take them or leave them but when a Gigi’s or Able Baker Cupcake are in front of me, the temptation is almost too much!!  I told Dave, that for my birthday yesterday, all I wanted was a Gigi’s cupcake.  Not a little bite size one, but a big, fat cupcake.  I told him he could even pick the flavor and surprise me!  There are so many varieties, I could not decide which one I wanted.

I came home from work and was hoping to see the cupcake box on the counter, but it wasn’t there.  It wasn’t in the refrigerator either.  I didn’t say anything, hoping that maybe he hid it somewhere and was going to surprise me with it at dinner!  We went out for dinner and I didn’t see him carrying anything.  When it came time for dessert, our server asked us if were going to have anything on their dessert platter.  I looked at Dave sadly and said, “No thanks, all I wanted was a Gigi’s cupcake.”

Dave, who is usually so good at this stuff, always knowing what I like, missed it this time.  He didn’t even have to guess.  I told him exactly what I wanted.  He drove by Gigi’s after dinner, even though I knew for sure it would be closed…which it was.  I didn’t need the cupcake.  It was a silly thing to be upset about, but I really try not to eat too many sweets and I thought for sure I’d be splurging on my birthday.  I sulked a bit.

On the way home from school today, I decided to go and buy my own cupcake.  They had so many flavors, I could not decide, so I did a pack of minis so that I could share.  When I was paying for them Gigi, asked me what I was celebrating and I told her the story.  She was packing up the cupcakes and labeling them so I knew what they all were.  She went into the kitchen and came out with a huge vanilla cupcake with “Happy Birthday” written on it.  Earlier, I had told her that my two favorites were the vanilla and salted caramel ones.  She wished me a happy birthday and told me she had stuffed it with salted caramel!  She even included candles!

I can’t wait for dinner to be over so that I can sit down and enjoy that big, fat, beautiful cupcake with a warm cup of tea.  She really made my day and now, it is once again my turn to pay it forward for someone else 🙂

Pinot and Pottery


Tonight, a few friends and I went out to celebrate the birthday of a great friend.  Yes, this is the same friend who’s birthday I forgot last month!!  We went to a local art studio in town for a pottery class.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that art is not my forte.  I lack so much skill in this area, that I even apologize in advance to my kindergarteners when I draw for them!!

Spending time with friends is what I was looking forward to, a girls night out..  As for the pottery, well, they turned out pretty nice!!  It wound up being relaxing, almost therapeutic!  The best part of all, was we spent most of the night laughing and that makes me want to go back and try it again!

An Inspirational Birthday!

burst of sunshine

I am so excited to write today’s blog because it is so inspirational and such a fun and easy idea!!  Today is my friend Eileen’s birthday.  She sent me a message today telling me that in honor of her birthday this is what she wanted to do,

“I want to spread joy today. I told my kids at school that I’d be doing some random acts of kindness for my birthday (when they asked.) I love the way I feel everyday, but especially on my birthday, so I really want to spread the happiness.”  

I think this is an amazing thing!!  Here are some of the things that she did to celebrate her day!   First, while she was running errands, she stopped at the post office. After buying what she needed, she bought  an extra pack of stamps and she gave them to an older man.  She said the man looked at her in a funny way,  but she just looked at him, smiled and said, “Have a great day!”

Then she went to CVS, and bought $2 CVS Gift Cards. She walked around the store, looking for people to give them to. The first person she found, was an elderly woman who smiled and thanked her; the second one was to a woman with had her hands full and also thanked her and gave her a smile. Meanwhile, as she was doing this, the clerk at the counter was smiling and asked her if she was just randomly handing out the gift cards to strangers. When she told him yes, he smiled and said, “Wow, that’s cool!”

After her CVS trip she went to Shop Rite! All she did was get a coffee, but she did it just so she could pay for the coffee of the woman behind her.  Eileen told me that the woman was almost in tears thanking her and that it made her feel so good!

She bought $1 scratch-off lottery tickets and plans to hand them out later in the week.  She is baking brownies for a friend who is battling Cancer and putting aside extras to bring to her nurses in the hospital.

She gave her son $20 to “spread some goodness” today in Newark where he works and is waiting to hear about his good deeds.

I told her how excited I was that she shared this idea with me.  I told her that I would love to share it on my blog and she told me that would be great.  She told me that she was so glad this was started today, on her birthday, but by no means will it end today!!

It was amazing how it took only a little bit of time and money to make so many people happy!  She told me that she was having the best birthday EVER!!  She said that my blog keeps her motivated to spread joy!  I told her that this birthday idea has inspired me to share it and let others see how easy it is to do!  It is her hope – and mine, that those people will now pay it forward.  Imagine if it keeps on growing!!  It could take over!!  Spreading good deeds rather than negativity…how nice a world we would have.

 So today, I say, thank you to Eileen for inspiring me!  I hope that this inspires others to do the same.  It could be so easy!



Earlier this week, my best friend Kelly sent me a text message, inviting Dave and myself to dinner on Friday night to celebrate my birthday.  The four of us rarely go out on Friday nights.  Mostly because of work and family commitments.  So at first, I was surprised, but when she told me we had to wait till 8:00, to give Andrew time to get home from work, and their babysitter time to get there, I didn’t think about it again.  I was looking forward to it all week.

Dave and I are known for being early to everything.  I despise being late and would rather sit outside and wait till the right time than show up late for something.  Kelly sent me a text and said they were actually running early…and that they’d be there closer to 7:45. “ Better for us”, I thought.

We got to the restaurant, a great little place that Dave had never been to, and walked in.  It was quite crowded and I told that hostess that we were meeting another couple, and would be four for dinner.   Then I heard, “SURPRISE”, looked over and a table, filled with friends was there, waiting for me.  Dave smiled sheepishly and giggled.  I was completely surprised.  Surprised to the point of tears.  Truly, overcome with emotion.  It wasn’t my 40th, or 45th, birthday, not a “big one” to celebrate but they all told me, that after the months I have been through recently, it was a good reason to celebrate.

Kelly had thought of friends from all different phases of my life.  My best friends from childhood, JoyLynn and Tricia who have been through their own emotional few months, (with their mom suffering a severe heart attack and going through extensive rehabilitation) were there.  Tracy and Nicole, wives of Dave’s friends since childhood, who are now some of my closest friends, were too.  My former next door neighbor Lisa, who I love and wish I saw more often, my cousins Jody and Lisa who I am so incredibly close with and Maureen and Lynn, teacher friends, neighborhood friends and simply just two of my closest friends were there as well.  My sister, who I know was a big part of this, could not be there, as she was still out of state attending the funeral of her father-in-law.

I don’t think I have ever been as completely surprised as I was last night.  Even at my bridal and baby showers, there was an inkling of something that was going to happen.  Some people might wonder if surprises are overrated.  Not me!! Walking into the restaurant and seeing all of these friends was just amazing.  I was speechless at the incredible outpouring of love from these women that I love so much, many who I see all of the time, who went to the trouble to plan and keep this secret from me, just to offer me a night that was finally just about me.  A night where I could focus on nothing else, but the love that they all have for me!  It was truly a night I will not forget and I thank them all with all of my heart.

My Own Birthday

happy birthday to me

After several days of celebrating other family members’ birthdays, by the time it gets to mine, we are all sort of “birthday’d out”.  Today, though, was a really great day.  It started out kind of sad.  My mom ALWAYS, (since I was a little girl), sang her own version of “Happy Birthday” to me first thing in the morning.  She did it for all of us – DJ mentioned how much he missed it yesterday too. But my day got so much better…

I went to work and was greeted with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers.  Each student in my class brought me flowers and we put them all together to create quite a spectacular creation!  I attached a picture, it is just so pretty!

My co-kindergarten teachers celebrated with a special pie at lunch.  I love my team!!!

The beautiful weather was a great gift.  After these long dreary days, it was finally spring-like!  The whole school celebrated “Project ACES”, where “all children exercise simultaneously” around the country.  We were all out on the playground to start off physical fitness month.  So much fun!!

Hundreds of facebook birthday wishes and messages throughout the day were great to read through.

Drew had a baseball game, and although they did not win, but he had a few good plays in the field and pitched a great last inning for the team.  After the game my dad, brothers, Dave, the boys and I, went to my favorite restaurant, The Reservoir for salads and pizza, (my favorite), they even had a gluten free pie for me!  I came home to yummy gluten free cupcakes that Dave picked up during the day.  (Still not sure how long this gluten thing will last….but I am trying).

The day ended with a message from my Aunt Dale, singing me “Happy Birthday” just like my mom always did.  I don’t think I could have imagined a better way of spending my day.  I am grateful for everyone who helped to make it so wonderful!



grief time

Today DJ turned 16!  When he was born, everyone told me to enjoy every minute because it goes  by so quickly!  They were right.  No more toys and video games for gifts.  This year, he all he wanted was a New York Mets jersey, a gym membership and DRIVING LESSONS!!  How did that happen??  When a girl turn 16, it is called her “Sweet Sixteen”, but is there really a celebration for boys when they reach that age?  Tonight we will have a low-key celebration starting off with watching Drew’s baseball game and then pizza for dinner.  That’s more DJ’s style – low key and mellow.

Celebrating his birthday, I have been thinking of Tim and Francine a lot today.   Something that they were going to experience this year.  Something that Timmy had wanted for so long.   Not only is he grieving over the loss of his wife, but also the life of his child. Even though it was so very early in her pregnancy, I know that Tim is grieving the loss of the baby as well.  I know that Tim finds it very important, and perhaps comforting, to talk about the baby.  They were trying to get pregnant for awhile, so they already had names chosen.  It seems that miscarriage is not talked about often.  Although, in this case, it was not a miscarriage, it was another life that was lost. Many people do not know what to say, unless they have dealt with it themselves.

I am one of those people who doesn’t talk about it much.  I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks, the year before DJ was born.  Before that, no one had ever discussed it with me.  I did not know anyone who had suffered the same loss.  After it happened, so many people came forward to share their similar stories.  I had no idea how common it actually was.  I don’t know why people are so private about it.  Dave and I were struggling over the grief of a child we never had the chance to meet and talking to others who had gone through a similar situation was reassuring.  I still remember that pregnancy just as clearly as my other two pregnancies.  It was uneventful up until that day.  I never knew if it was a girl or a boy, but the due date was October 2, and I remember it every year on that day.

It is so hard to hear, “everything happens for a reason”, and I heard it so often after that.  When I look back on it now though, I realize that had that not happened, I would not have my DJ.  My charming, happy, well-mannered and all around great kid.  I am sure that Tim cannot get past that phrase right now, but I hope that someday, he is able to somehow turn what has happened into a bittersweet situation as well.


baby quotesIt is the day before my son’s birthday.  I remember this day so clearly even though it was 16  years ago.   I can remember this day even more clearly than the day he was born.  The excitement of the unknown…waiting for my husband to come home from work.  Going to the hospital, my whole family in the waiting room!!  The first grandchild!  No one would leave ’till he was born.  At the time we did not know if it would be a girl or a boy.  We had names picked for either.  It would be the last few hours of going from just the two of us, to a family of three.  I had a very easy pregnancy and a fairly easy labor.  It would still be hours (6 1/2 to be exact) before he would come but I knew that our lives were about to change forever – and they have, but only for the better!

Sharing a Birthday

 bless family

Next week, we celebrate three birthdays in our family; mine, my oldest son DJ’s and my nephew’s.

I remember being in labor at the hospital and telling the doctors to do everything they could to make sure that my baby was not born on my birthday!!  I admit it might sound a little selfish, but I wanted my own day!!  Well, my wish came true, and he came the day before. We still call it our shared birthday and now, 16 years later, I can honestly say that I love sharing my birthday with him; I call him my greatest birthday gift.

Technically, we each have our own day. DJ’s birthday is April 30th and mine is May 1stand several years after, DJ was born, my nephew Mikey was born – on April 29th, so now all of the individual days seem to melt into one gigantic celebration of us.

Children really are the most amazing gift.  The fact that I received him a day before my own birthday, is just one more reason to celebrate.

My parents have always made a very big deal out of birthdays.  No matter whose birthday it is, we all get together to celebrate on the Friday before our birthdays.  We go to the same place, The Reservoir.  Since I was a teenager, this is where we meet EVERY weekend for Family Dinner.  The owners and staff have known my family forever!!  Since tonight was a “Birthday Friday”, there were more of us than usual but there was definitely a noticeable difference without mom and Francine.

Francine had been the dessert queen.  Either she would make it, or get it from her favorite Italian bakery.  Because of that, tonight’s dessert wound up being a last minute pickup as I grabbed an ice-cream cake on our way to dinner for us all to share because the end of a “Birthday Friday” can never end without dessert.

As everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to us we made our wishes and blew out the candles.  I know we aren’t supposed to share our wishes, but my wish was that we would be spared of any more sadness for a while!!   The truth is, tonight was fun, family time, laughter, good food…almost back to normal.  Just with a few less people at our table.