November 18, 2014


 Woah, November always seems to fly by. The days have been good. Greg has traveled a lot, but we have our rhythm and the most recent week he was away was no biggie. It helped that some girlfriends planned a mid week dinner just to get me through. It also helps that my boys are now young men. I'm enjoying this season. The other day I went to give the boys a haircut....they had to sit down because they are now inches taller than me. I'm loving having a couple "can you reach that for me?" boys in my house.
 I wish I had time to share some thoughts and "a-ha" moments from the last couple of months. I sure like my "a-ha" moments.
                                                          Instead, I will share some pictures.

                                                                                So very thankful

September 22, 2014

My Sign

I've been feeling a little weathered lately. Things are fine, but internally I have some worries that always seem to be lingering just below the surface. I'm sure most parents have some sort of worry/concern/stress that is always silently hidden below the surface. Or not? I don't know, maybe it is just me. Being an INFJ (meyers-briggs), I learned that it's perfectly normal that I wonder about things (analyze), and wear my heart on my sleeve.....but I guess the whole Meyers-Briggs thing is a whole other subject.

As I was making lunch today (and as my boys were playing basketball outside), I thought about how I wish I could wear a sign that explains certain things about my sweet boys. I could walk ahead of them and flash my mom sign (yeah, my tween boys would cringe). Part of me thinks I owe no explanations and that Greg and I know how their personalities work so who cares if others make false assumptions. Then there is another part of me that wants so much for people to see who they really are.To see the smart and funny side of them. Maybe I want to protect them from being hurt? My sign would possibly cause certain people to give them a second chance, heck, a first chance, and not just dismiss my boys because they didn't say a word.

My sign might say......
Before you judge my boys please know.....

Yes, I know they are tall/broad/big boys.....but they are only 12 (a young 12). Please don't expect them to think/act like a 14 year old. Also, just because they are husky don't assume they are not active and that they eat junk all day. If you knew us, you would know how health conscious we are, and how active we are. Genetics can be rough, people! They are built just like their birth father (a handsome, strong man). And please ,thoughtfully, consider how awkward it may be for them to most often be bigger than their friends. I was always the shortest/smallest among my peers growing up. I know how awkward that can be. But you know what? In a few years, they will love being big, strong, broad men.

Please don't confuse their being quiet as being uninterested or rude.  Let me assure you, once they feel comfortable with you they will be chatterboxes. You should see them when they facetime with their good friend from NJ, or hang out with our old friends. They talk and laugh non-stop. They've told me that they try to find something in common when meeting new people, but sometimes that takes a while. Please don't walk away if they take a while to answer your question. They've shared with me that sometimes it takes them a little time to process their answer, and other times didn't even realize they were being spoken to (since they have gotten used to being ignored). How about crowds? That can be even harder. They often don't feel comfortable in crowds, and don't always know how to penetrate a group (umm, hello-I think many adults feel the same way).

Homeschooling did not cause their "shyness". They are who they are. I know plenty of home schoolers who are not "shy". Again, those kids are who they are. For most homeschoolers, the "S" word is not an issue...for us, maybe regular school would have helped them come out of their shell a bit. Maybe not. It is what it is.
*it's an area Greg and I think about often, and are always actively trying to expose the boys to new things and guide the boys in that area.
**shy is not an accurate label for them, but for lack of a better word.....

I hope you get to experience their funny, chatty, deep-thinking side. They love big, and care deeply. I hope you get to know that side of them. They truly are unique and awesome boys and I am honored to be their mom.

I know that sign would be ridiculous and is a bit lengthy.  In reality, I think we all could benefit by wearing a sign.

You'd be surprised how many times a week I have to address a question related to the topics listed in my faux sign. Sometimes I will share or explain certain things....other times I sort of brush off the question. Why do people sum up others in a matter of minutes? And why is everyone supposed to blend in? Blending in is so boring.

 I am thankful for close friends who love and encourage my boys. I'm thankful for coaches and teachers who get to know them and share sweet stories about them. I'm thankful for people who have taken the time (and sometimes it takes a lot of time) to get to know them. Most of all....I am thankful that God chose Greg and me to be their parents. He entrusted them to us. How we were connected with them reminds me that they were chosen for us.

 I do find it a bit ironic that I was a super reserved child. It's amazing how we push ourselves through certain things for the love of our children. Maybe it's because I don't want them to struggle the way I often did. Who am I kidding? I am still a somewhat reserved adult. Again, it is what it is. I'm determined to view the cup half full.

While writing this I received a call from Greg's dad. He shared how the boys joked and chatted with the owner of a restaurant while out to eat with him the other day. Funny how he called just when I needed a little boost of encouragement in that area. I'm praying that the Lord keeps me focused on the positives. Hopeful....

September 16, 2014

Photo Dump

Some random photos Greg found on his camera........

August 20, 2014

( in her words)

The other day I happened upon a blog post that totally resonated with me. Perfect timing as we are about to start a new school year.

I really really like this blog post........

That's not your thing

August 12, 2014

Date Night (August)

Now that we finally have gotten into our summer groove....summer is on it's way out. I plan to hold on tightly and milk as much summer out of Sept as I can. I had an epiphany in July that has started our August off with  a big happy sigh. Feels like I've been holding that sigh in for a while.

Greg and I had an impromptu date night last weekend. It was one of those days that worked out smoothly from start to finish. And it was such a nice night. Remember that sweet big bear we ran into on the canal a few weeks ago? He's not only an author and expert on Abe Lincoln, but also a very talented musician. Fortunately for us, he happened to be playing at a spot an old friend of Greg's recently opened.

                              (I couldn't get a good photo that night, so I pulled this old one from the net)
                        When J spotted Greg he announced mid song "GD is here". Or something like that.         The expression on his face was priceless, so what he actually said was a blur. So funny. J is one
                         of the sweetest guys I've ever met.

Because many of Greg's old friends were in town for a memorial service for PSH, it turned into a mini reunion. (Did I ever share about Greg's acting debut with PSH??) The weather was perfect for outdoor                              chatting and the oldies music was so fun. It was such a good date night.

July 18, 2014

July Highlights So Far

One of the things I love about summer is closing our "school room" and having somewhat open ended days. Honestly, for about the first 2 weeks of summer I had to force myself to let go, put the books on the shelves, and chill out. The responsibility of having to coordinate my boys curriculum is in the back of my mind somewhere, but lately the thought of it only comes out when another homeschooler asks if I've figured out such and such.  My point is.....I really dig summer. And I am digging being back home this summer.

* grandma's pool....and time with G & G
* rib and blues fest
* VBS at G&P's church ( we have had hit/ miss vbs experiences, the boys week there has been a huge hit. I think it reminded them of our church in NJ)
* Decorating with Lam
* deck time...and BBQ time....and basketball, rugby
* stacks of good books.
*walks with my girls ( and an impromptu sleepover- just the girls)
*finally "getting it" (nothing material or physical) ; )

The cutest thing happened one Saturday in July as we were walking along the Erie Canal in Greg's hometown. One of the reasons we were in that particular spot was because Greg wanted to look at a house that was for sale. Before finding our current house, we were strongly considering another house...a house I still decorate in my mind all.the.time. Though, I actually think we liked the location of the house more than the house itself. We made the right choice between the houses, but the desire to live in that area has been on our minds a lot.

So, we were walking along when a man running along the canal looked at Greg, suddenly looked startled , and then yelled something I didn't understand. Greg yelled back. what seemed like slow motion.....they ran toward each other, jumped in the air and hugged. These two men had not seen each other in 30 yrs, but it felt like yesterday to them. The runner man then started hugging me, grabbed my face and said " Paizano?!". I could not stop laughing as he kept hugging each of us. I instantly fell in love with Greg's sweet friend ( who was like a big teddy bear).

They quickly caught up on some lost years and then he shared that he lived right where we were looking and so did another of Greg's old friends. He further convinced Greg to put that for sale sign up and move back "home". We'll see......

July 8, 2014

On Dentists and Thunderstorms

Today we met our new dentist. Yes, I'm not proud to admit it took us a year to find a dentist. Back in NJ, we were faithful 6 month visit people. Finding doctors here has been a chore. Thankfully, my boys enjoy going to the dentist. Today was no different. While I sat in the chair getting my teeth cleaned my boys hung out in the waiting room chatting with the equally chatty receptionist. The thing boys are usually timid or stand-offish with people they don't know. Today, they did not stop talking....the three of them discussed edamame, basketball, and a bunch of other topics. Other than my cavity, it was a very good dentist visit.

Today also brought a big rain storm. The thing about rainstorms.....they usually contain thunder. Ever since living in NJ and experiencing two hurricanes ( Sandy & Irene) Sam has a strong reaction to thunder. If the power goes out ( another reminder of the hurricanes) it's even more of a stressor. Since moving back to Roch, we've gotten used to Sam's thunder protocol. Usually, Sam will shut all the curtains and then sit on the couch - ears covered and faced buried in a pillow. That's just what happened today when a thunder filled power outage rain storm came upon us. This time, though, as Sam and I sat close together he also requested music.....Steely Dan's "Reelin' In the Years" to be exact.

As I sat there with him I couldn't help but smile. I know my boy will overcome this fear. I pray he will overcome it soon. But at that moment....Greg and Ross were sitting nearby reading books, Sam was buried in his pillow- ears tightly plugged, and Steely Dan was filling our room with music. It was sort of crazy, and funny....but totally perfect.

He next requested The Lumineers and then Building 429. I just love that boy.

I also love friends who text me during rainstorms because they know Sam so well. Texting just to see how he is doing and to tell me they are praying for him.  So sweet.

April 25, 2014

You Don't Know......

I'm not sure if it's the singing off key, the random lip movements when they don't know the words, or the passion and hand gestures when they do? Maybe it's Greg shaking his head and grinning ( as he usually does with me and my antics) that makes me smile. This home made video reminds me that seasons change. This was taped a short time ago, but these days I'm pretty sure my boys would not have participated as enthusiastically. Maybe a drum or electric guitar solo.....? ( and, oh, please ignore the twisted seat belt??)

April 5, 2014

Memory Lane

I have no clue why I have been blogging so much lately. Maybe because I'm not on Facebook?
Mostly because I look back at the last few years of blogging and I am so very glad that I have so many things documented.

Like this post. I had forgotten all about that.

 And this...that basement was perfect for dodge ball. So many changes within our family since that day.

Or, this....And for sure, this! NJ is always on our minds in one way or another. We were always a bit homesick while there, but really enjoyed our life there as well. I miss being in a new city with all its new areas to explore. I felt like we all learned so much in our 3 yrs there.

I came across an old blog post I wrote about one of my (and Greg's) oldest friends. Everyone needs a Carla in their life. She tells it like it is. Even if it feels like she's shaking you a bit while doing so.

February 27, 2014

Delicious Days

  They still overlap their legs, just like they did when they were babies. 

Over the years, the boys have developed a passion for cooking. I love that they are so interested in recipes. Give them a cookbook and they are happy to sit and read it, but they also like creating their own recipes.
Ross created "zucchini pizza". They were delicious.
Together they made/created.....Italian Surprise. I'm not entirely sure what
was in it, but it was good. 
Sam came up with the idea for a Chocolate Volcano. He baked 2 cakes, scooped out the inside of both, filled and layered with cherry pie filling, and then placed one cake on top of the other.
                                              It was delicious.

February 21, 2014

Some Stuff To Think About

I really like this blog post, so I'm posting a link to share....and also for me, so I can read again later (because sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in). The part near the end is really making me think. Actually, it's helping me second think some things.

(click good stuff)

Good stuff

February 18, 2014

Worth Smiling Over

*I love that moment when a good, deep conversation with someone turns into a good, loud laugh together.

*One of the perks of living near family again is having a mother in law who loves to cook. And loves to share.

*Knowing this snow will stop soon....even though it feels endless right now....because the first day of spring is just a few weeks away.

*chocolate from Aldis. Who knew?

*Deciding to wait for God's best instead of tolerating a not so great situation. Hard to do, but so worth it. Right??

*The boys asking to visit NJ just about every other day....knowing that they loved their life there. Realizing that a NJ trip also means stopping by IKEA.

* A stack of new books. So good.

January 26, 2014

On Home

( From earlier this week)....Home with a headache that won't go away....and sort of thankful for a reason not to have to drive through the snow and cold to drop the boys off to their regularly scheduled "thing". Lately, we've been on the go and out of the house You guys know that is not my cup o tea, at all. I'm a big advocate for not over scheduling. Anyway, being home all day today was heavenly. Hot meals were served, school work was completed, books were read, wii dance was performed, phone calls were answered, the boys were happy and not haggard from running here and there...and....and, what's my point?

Just thinking out loud. How do I keep our lives on a good flow, and avoid following the crowd of busy-ness? There are a lot of fun/ educational classes/ things we could be doing( and are doing), but should we be doing them? Some, maybe...others probably not.

I've noticed a new trend lately....people stepping away from outside commitments, Facebook, blogging, or whatever and stepping back into their lives. Being present. I love this movement....especially because the years we have our kids at home are short. Truly, it's a short season. I want to make it a good one.

Some of my favorite words, lately....

Moving forward ( yeah, 2 words, but I like 'em)

And my favorite lyrics this week....

The sun comes up it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing your song again
Whatever may come and whatever lies before us
May I be singing when the evening comes

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