Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From my Garden

Daisies are my absolute favorite flower, hands down. I even carried a daisy bouquet on my wedding day. The only problem is that you don't typically find daisies when shopping for cut flowers, so I rarely get them. D.R. and the girls usually bring me roses for special occasions.
My solution to this issue is growing my own. The girls get so excited watching them grow and blossom. They know they're my favorite.
Today we got to cut a bunch and bring them in. Tia was very happy to be my helper and picked out some nice ones.
These put a smile on my face, and I thought I'd share them with you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Go ahead and laugh

My Mother gave me these little cups ages ago. I wasn't sure what I would use them for, but I thought they were cute and she had two unopened packages of them. Since then I have used them for medication when we're going for an overnight. I also put the kids vitamins in them when we're going to be gone for just one night. They've come in handy.

Today I found a new use for these cute little containers. We were going to the movies to see Toy Story 2. I knew I'd have to pack lots of snacks to keep Gia occupied, since she's a little young to sit that long.
D.R. made some sort of promise regarding a 'treat', so I was forced to include one in our snack bag. We don't deprive our kids of treats and sweets, but we do try to limit them, especially since Gia would like to have treats all day and not eat any real food. I thought it would be a nice surprise for them to find a little container of M&M's in their bags. I had to laugh when I discovered that I could fit just 6 M&M's in each tiny container! Can you see it in there?

When we were home in Rochester last week, my mother in law sent us home with enough M&M's to last us about 3 years at this rate. Grandmother rules are so different than mommy rules.
Both girls liked having their special treat, and neither asked for more. My work here is done!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Year Later

June 12 was the one year anniversary of my Mother's death. A few months ago my sister called to tell me about a lung cancer race/walk (Meaghan's Run) that was happening on that exact day. What an amazing coincidence! We decided we needed to participate in this walk together to honor our Mom. Even more of an amazing coincidence is that this annual race was started by a woman who shared my Mom's birthday. More reason to get involved, and raise money for a great cause.
So, my sister flew to Chicago, stayed a couple days, and then we did the long and grueling drive back to Rochester together.
Bright and early on the 12th a big bunch of us met at my sisters house to head over to the race. I was touched by how many of our friends and relatives decided to join us!

Here are our top money raisers! Our friends Sheila and Roman. Roman was very close to my Mom, and ironically enough, they too shared a birthday!

Here's our group of walkers for "Team Peg!" What a great group.

We had two runners for "Team Peg!" My great Uncle Roger (72 years old!) and my nephew Thomas. They did great, Uncle Roger came in 2nd place for his age group. We're so proud.

We added a bunch of folks to our group along the way. The gentleman with white hair is Meaghan's father, the woman who the race was started by and named for. I had the opportunity to meet him and chat a little. How awful to have to lose a child, but how wonderful that he has turned his grief into a way to raise money and awareness for a great cause.

Our Great Aunt Ann, who will be 83 next month did the walk with us. I actually had to run to catch up to her because she took off like a shot! She is one spunky lady (she does pilates and has abs of steel!).

My proud sister with her son the runner!

Our whole group had a wonderful time together. We all went out for lunch after the race and enjoyed each other some more!
Losing our Mom was really tough, but we couldn't have picked a better and more fitting way to honor her memory. I know she was smiling down on us that day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Member of the Family

When somebody says they have a new addition to their family, it usually means someone had a baby. Not so in this case.

Here's the abbreviated story...

In 1945, when my Mother was just 5 years old, her father walked out on their family. He left behind a wife and 6 children. He was never seen by his family again. No clues, no trail to follow, nothing. There were many assumptions and theories surrounding his mysterious disappearance, but no facts.

My Mother always yearned to know what happened to her father. It seemed that her brothers were all able to move on and leave the past alone, but she had a more difficult time of it. She searched for him numerous times, and even visited a psychic hoping for some answers. My family lived with this mystery until about a month ago.

A genealogist contacted a couple members of our family, searching for information about the father of her client. Long story short, this 'client' is the daughter of my long lost would be grandfather! We've since been piecing the story together, bit by bit. We now know that the man who was supposed to by my grandfather left his family and relocated to Indiana, remarried, and had another daughter. He led a pretty decent life and lived until 1991! Talk about a shocker.

Her name is Wendie. I call her my "new aunt". To say that she was shocked to discover the story of her father and the life he left behind, would be an understatement. She knew he was very secretive about his past, but she was raised to believe she was an only child. Imagine finding out you had a bunch of brothers and a sister and never had the opportunity to meet them. Not only that but several of her father's siblings are still alive and well. We have a huge extended family. It's all a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

The best part of this story (for me anyway) is that Wendie lives just 45 minutes away from me here in Illinois! Unreal.
My sister and I met Wendie for dinner last week. It seems surreal, even as I sit here and type the words, I find it difficult to absorb. We had a great time talking and sharing stories. We could have sat there all night. However, all the excitement is overshadowed by the sadness that my Mom never got a chance to hear the end of the story, or meet the sister she never knew she had. She would have loved to have a sister. Wendie has said the same.

Wendie will have an opportunity next month to meet her new extended family. She will be celebrating her 60th birthday in Rochester, which was planned before she knew about all of us! I'm happy for her, and happy to finally have some answers to the great family mystery.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So much to say...

so little time.

My readers will have to wait to get updates on all the happenings over the last week. We're in NY visiting family and have been very busy. I've taken tons of pictures but don't have the ability to upload and edit them from here. You know I like to add pictures to my posts!

Just a sneak peak:
My sister flew to Chicago and stayed with us for two days. We met up with an aunt we never knew we had! We did the drive back to NY together, and she was great company.
We did a 5K walk in honor of our mother and the one year anniversary of her death.
Took the kids to the Strong National Museum of Play!
This weekend is our big family reunion and we have cousins coming from several states!

So, be forewarned, I'll have a lot to say and many pictures to post once we get back home. Until then, enjoy life and be well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Raising a Strong Woman

Because of Tia's shy personality, I've been concerned for some time now that she would end up being a 'follower'. In addition to being shy, she allows her baby sister to boss her around and she really looks up to older kids. I've discussed these things with my husband many times. We've talked about how we can raise strong girls who won't fall into the wrong crowd and just try to fit in. I know it seems strange to be thinking of this at such a young age, but personality is set very early on in life.

Well, yesterday this shy girl set me straight and made me very proud! She was playing with a couple of new (much older) friends we just met from down the street. All of a sudden I hear Tia raise her voice and say, with finger pointed "That's a naughty word. My Mom told me not to say that because it's naughty!". D.R. and I were beaming! She stood up for herself and wasn't afraid to express what she knew to be right. Victory! Later, when we all came inside, I asked Tia what the naughty word was. She said "Stupid! My friend said stupid and I told her it wasn't nice to say that!". Of course I told her I was so very proud of her and that she showed me she is a strong girl. She said "Yup, check out my muscles!". That's my girl.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pancakes for a good cause

Yesterday I took the girls to Colonial Cafe (Their favorite restaurant!) for "Penny Pancake Day". The restaurant holds this event once a year and the proceeds go to a deserving charity. It just so happens that this year the chosen recipient was a family in our neighborhood. They recently lost their little boy to brain cancer and have insurmountable medical bills. I've met the dad, and we're all very familiar with their story so it felt good to know we were supporting a good cause. The kids absolutely love pancakes and we had a lot of fun. My friend Anna and her son Kyle met us there for a very sugary lunch. There was syrup everywhere!

Here are the three of them with the famous cafe cow...

And a picture of the girls in front of the Penny Pancake Day sign. Tia is saying "Mooooo", that's why her lips are poking out like that! Notice those great looking hair cuts?

We had a great time and helped support a good cause. What more could I ask for?