Tag Archives: cousins

Spending time with the cousins


Tonight we will go celebrate the 3rd birthday of my cousin Harper.  Her mom, Lisa and I are first cousins.  I have written before about my cousins, but they are definitely worth writing about more than once!!!

Some of the cousins grew up close to each other and we were lucky to be able to see each other quite often.  I’d consider them as close as siblings in some ways.  I love that my boys are getting to grow up close to their cousins, not only my niece and nephew, but also to my cousins’ children.  My parents always stressed how important spending time with family is .  When Dave and I first started dating, (we were in high school,) he came from a family that did not do a lot together as a family or extended family so I think when he first started joining our big Italian family celebrations, he was a bit overwhelmed…come to think of it, more than twenty-five years later… he might still be 🙂

We even try to stay close with our cousins who do not live here in New Jersey.  A few of them are in Nevada and the rest are in Alaska.  We don’t get to see them very often but when we do get together, the kids have a blast and we all just enjoy the opportunity to spend with one another.  All of my cousins are fairly close in age with only about ten years spanning us all and in there are ten of us so I am sure that helps keep us close.  Our spouses have all melded into the family and the kids range in age from my oldest who is almost 17 to the youngest who was born two months ago.  We haven’t met her  yet since she’s one of the cousins living in Alaska.

As the kids are getting older and busier with schedules, and traveling gets more expensive it is harder to see our cousins out West, but we are hoping to be able to have some sort of reunion very soon.  Our grandma turns 100 in just a year and a half – so if it doesn’t happen sooner, maybe that will be the time when her “dynasty” meets up all together.  There are 33 cousins through marriage and children so it will be a big fun get together when we finally make it happen!!

Homemade…or not…

worth every penny

Drew has been talking about having a lemonade stand for weeks and with work, sports schedules and bad weather we just could not make it happen.  Until today!  We decided late in the morning that it was the perfect day for it.  He remembered the lemonade stand we visited earlier in the summer and decided that we would sell a lot more if we had snacks too.  Although I love to cook, I am not much of a baker and though my dinners are made from scratch, I don’t get very creative when it comes to desserts, so we ran to the supermarket to get some of their “homemade” cookies and some pound cakes.  We came home, cut and bagged it all and made some “Country Time Lemonade” (also not from scratch but we did cut up some lemons to make it look pretty.)

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day.  None of the typical humidity that we usually have on an August day in New Jersey.  The temperature was in the high 70’s and the skies were beautiful.  “Perfect”, in Drew’s own words. He invited my niece and nephew over to help.  Only Gabi could come at first, but Mikey planned on helping out later in the afternoon.  We set up on the sidewalk in front of our house.  They set up baskets of treats on the table and a huge thermos of lemonade on a chair.  Drew insisted that I make a few gallons of lemonade.  I tried to convince him that would be too much, but it was not worth the argument so we went it.  I talked to them about how much it cost to buy our supplies, (less than $10 for all of it – including the cups,) and what profit meant.  I told them that they had to repay me for supplies, (which I never intended to collect, but just wanted them to understand.)

It was a slow start and Drew and Gabi were really discouraged.  They had a lemonade stand together last year and made some money so they were trying to remember what they did differently.  I thought for sure that they would give up, but then came their first sale.  One cookie and a cup of lemonade bought by a neighbor.  A few minutes later, their second sale!  Then they had another looooooooong wait.   Drew decided to make some new signs and the two of them paraded up and down the street directing cars to their stand.  That brought in a few sales but they still had not even made five dollars, (everything was 50 cents.)  I could not help laughing when Drew started yelling out to passing cars, “Fresh squeezed lemonade.   Lemons picked fresh this morning.”  Through my laughter I gave them a lesson on false advertising although a few customers found it quite amusing and it did generate a few more sales.

Through it all, I sat on the front steps just watching and replenishing their supplies.  I was proven wrong because they went through that entire thermos and I had to make more! After two hours, I started compiling a list in my head of all the things that I should have been doing instead of sitting around while they had their sale.  Then, I realized how much joy they were getting out of it and decided that sometimes that other “stuff” has to wait because as I have written before, it really is the little things in life that are really most important!

Business really started picking up and by the time Mikey showed up, they had already made nearly $30!  Mikey’s enthusiasm brought in more and more customers and after four hours of sitting outside they brought in a total of $50.  I never thought that they would have kept it going for so long, but they did.  I just sat back and watched and savored the look of joy on their faces and in their voices.  I heard them use their manners, thanking all of their customers.  They used their math skills to make change and figure out how much each of them would get.  It was actually a great diversion from all of “that stuff” that I should have been doing.

They kids were amazed as they saw some people pull up in the cars and just hand them a dollar or two without taking any treats.  One customer gave them ten dollars for just one cup of lemonade and a cookie.  When she said, “keep the change,” they could not believe it.  As they stared at her wide eyed, she told them that she had lemonade stands all the time when she was a kid and their stand brought back some great memories.  Even a teenager stopped by and tossed them some change and told them they were doing a great job.

I am convinced that the kids made a lot more than just $50 today.  They made their own memories and had a fun time doing it.  I am sure Drew will try to convince me to do another one before the summer ends.  Perhaps we will…



Today, our family, (23 of us), gathered at our favorite Portuguese restaurant in Newark, NJ, Tony Da Caneca’s.  It seems to be one of our “go to places” when we gather for a big celebration.   I have been going there with my family since I was little.  We were celebrating my Uncle Bucky’s 65th birthday.  It is always such fun to meet up with my cousins.  We live less than ten miles of each other, but with everyone’s crazy, hectic schedules, it is hard to fine the time to get together.  We have always been close, and our spouses all get along too.  Our kids play so well together, despite the age difference.  DJ is the oldest, at 16 and Harper is the youngest at 2 1/2.  With my kids, my sister’s kids and the cousins, there were six of them there tonight.  We always get seated in a room off to the side, because with our big Italian family, there is no chance of us being quiet!!

The last time we all got together was just about two weeks ago when we met to have dinner in memory of my mom on what would have been her 68th birthday.  We felt lucky to have been able get together again so close to the last time. Each time we get together, we wonder why we wait so long in between visits.  We enjoy each others company so much.  We laugh and we reminisce and we joke and tease.  Now, we have to look forward to the next birthday…we have one coming up in August, when my niece turns 11… for another opportunity to see each other.

What we really need to do, is to make it a point to NOT wait for a holiday or a birthday to come along, but to make an effort to get together just because we can.  It is hard with work and commitments, but it is totally worth it!