Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Letter To My Pop-Pop


     Yesterday morning, with family by your side, your journey here with us ended.  I am, actually, we all are extremely sad to not have you here with us anymore, but we have some peace knowing that you are no longer in pain.  

     It's been a long five months, watching you struggle and fight your body, just to make it to your "Funny Face's" big surprise birthday party.  But, you did it.  And just like you always have, you made her feel more loved than she could have ever imagined.  

     Although it has only been a day, I can't explain how much I miss you.  It hurts, a lot.  You have been such an important person in my life and have taught me more valuable lessons than I can count.  I am so grateful to have had such a strong relationship with you, one that can never be replaced. 

     I want you to know that we are all surrounding Mam-Mom and each other with that exact love that we have learned from you.  And though it may be hard for us to believe, we will make it through this, together, for you.  We will laugh through the tears, and hold each other tightly as you begin the next part of your journey.  

     I am so happy that Gwen was able to be a part of your life, that she got to kiss you goodnight so many times during your last month here.  That she knows her Pop-Pop and told you many times that she loved you.  And I will tell her just how much her Pop-Pop loved her.

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful memories that you have given to me and our family.  I'll share with Gwen all of the fun times that we have had... how you taught me to swim, how I stole your "prize" peach off of your tree, about our many drives in your little red car and all of the other countless special moments we've had.  

     I have be to honest, Pop, I don't want to let you go.  I want you here.  I don't want to say goodbye... so I won't.  I'll say until we meet again.  I know that I don't have worry, that you will be watching over us, especially your beautiful bride.  I know that I will talk to you many times during the course of my life, and that you will send signs our way.  And each time it will sure make me smile...

I love you, Pop, Rest In Peace.

Love Always,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Eff, Marry, Kill - The Sookie Edition

I don't know about you, but I totally love this game! So excited to link up with Heather and Michelle for...


Being the obvious "Trubie" that I am, of course I had to do a True Blood edition.

Here are three of Sookie's men...

And here's my final answer...

Duh! Lol. I didn't really like him with long hair, but now I am Team Eric for sure.

He seems like he would make the best husband out of all three.  And he's actually human, sort of, SCORE!

Sorry, Bill, you never really did it for me. 

There you have it.

How would YOU answer?

Of course, Husband, this is totally in a world where you {my perfect man} didn't exist. ;)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mam-Mom!

First and foremost, how are you liking the new blog look??  It is still a work in progress, so bear with me. Thanks, peeps.

MORE importantly...
Today is my Mam-Mom's 70th Birthday!
We celebrated with her this past weekend, but I waited to share this video of Pop "conducting" us all as we sang Happy Birthday to the Birthday Girl.

Today is probably the hardest birthday to date for her, and I hope that she knows that we are all here for her... whenever she needs us.

So, please help me wish my Mam-Mom a VERY happy birthday.

We love you so much!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Because I Am Her Mom

A friend and I were chatting the other day, and the topic of "making decisions about Gwen" came up.  I began to tell her that whenever faced with a decision about/for/pertaining to Gwen, I always seems to provide my reasons for making the choices I do.  And I have started to realize that I don't have to justify anything...

...because I am her mom.

I go with my gut.

I always choose with only the best intentions for Gwen.
{there I go again, justifying.}

I have to learn that "because I said so" is enough of a reason.  End of story.  Right?!

I give myself anxiety sometimes because I worry about what people will think or how they will react about my choices for Gwen.  I need to change this.

She's my daughter... end. of. story.

Any thoughts? Advice? Similar feelings? How do you handle it?

Here's some baby lovin' for ya...
She is obsessed with "Bah-noooooons!" {balloons}, like it may deserve it's own post. lol.


Shutterfly's Long Live Summer Photo Contest

Want to win a trip to the Bahamas?
Shutterfly wants to make that happen for you.

Just enter their Long Live Summer Photo Contest.

All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week.  Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering.  You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

Photo Themes
  • Week 1 (7/9) - Americana
  • Week 2 (7/16) - Great Outdoors
  • Week 3 (7/23) - Water Fun
  • Week 4 (7/30) - Sports & Activities
  • Week 5 (8/6) - Parties & Celebrations

Head here to enter http://bit.ly/sweepS  


  • Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
  • Weekly Prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
  • Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook Fan Page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
  • Grand Prize - trip for 4 to the Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot. {if you win, you must take me ;)}

I entered this picture today, go ahead and vote for it! {you know you want to}

So, go, NOW!  Enter, enter, enter!!! Good Luck to you!

*This is a partnered post. I will receive a Shutterfly product for this post.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

He Got Her... Gooooood!

I'm not sure when he conjured up the idea, weeks, months, maybe even years ago, but my Pop was d-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-e-d to surprise my Mam-Mom for her 70th birthday.  A surprise, which he knew would make her angry, and that he little chance of pulling off.

While he was still doing well, and still living in Florida, he called my mother every single day, with new invitees, more intricate details, and the most recent updates of his "big surprise" status.

He wanted dinner, drinks, dancing, tons of orange {her favorite color}, their "song" playing as she walked into the room {"Funny Face" by Donna Fargo}.  He had the perfect plan in mind, and WE were his team who had to make it happen.

So, we went to work.

Then, he got sick.

But... he never forgot about the party.

And he made us promise to make it a reality.

So, even though he got sicker, even though we had to change the location, narrow down the guest list, and compensate for all the current obstacles that were in our way, we were d-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-e-d to make his wish come true.
For the both of them.

The day came, and knowing that he wouldn't be able to make it out of bed, we brought the party to him.  We sneaked and schemed and all met outside of my mom's house in preparation to storm in and "Surprise" the hell out of his sweetie.

He had an idea that is was the day but we reminded him and gave him a 5 minute til surprise reminder.

He was ready.

{It wasn't the easiest of days for him, that day, but when he realized what was about to happen, he pulled it together, and boy did he make it an amazing moment for her}


I brought my laptop into the living room as my mom said, "Ok, Pop, are you ready to show her your surprise?"

Pop: "Yup!"

I pushed play and "Funny Face" began to play...

...she smiled, thinking this was his surprise...

...he began to sing "Happy Birthday"...

...she told him "No, sweetie, that's not the song"...

...and one by one, we {her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren} filed into the room.

They both started to cry.

And we serenaded them with the rest of "Happy Birthday."

Then, in true Pop fashion, he looked at her and said "Naaaa Naaa, I TOLD YOU I would get you one day!"

We all burst into laughter.

In that moment, we had him back... this was HIS show.

It wasn't your typical party, as we had to make sure to give him space and not overwhelm him, but it was one of the best parties I've ever been a part of.

It was for his Funny Face.  And she knew how much it meant to him.  It was a great day.

Happy 70th Birthday, Mam-Mom!
Hope you loved your surprise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bridal Shower Fun

This past Sunday was my future sister-in-law, Megan's, Bridal Shower.  It was a great day, and I must say such a relief that months of planning and scheming behind her back were over. lol.

Their "honeymoon tree" full of money :)



Homemade Sea Glass Favors, thanks Pinterest!

Jen, the MOH

The bride-to-be
The future Mr. & Mrs.

With the mother of the bride

We filmed my brother's answers for "how well does the bride know the groom game" 

Her bow "bikini" lol

With her Bridesmaids and BridesMAN, yep he's one of us :)

Congrats, Megan!
My little lady made an appearance later in the party and tried collecting every single balloon, lol.

About to fly away!
I hope she loved every minute of it! 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blogger 411

Today I am linking up with the fabulous Becky over at From Mrs. to Mama {seriously, I love everything she writes and her daughter E is just precious} for a little "getting to know you" link up.

How long have you been blogging? What got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?
I started blogging March of 2010, and it's main purpose was to document my pregnancy and keep family and friends all over the place up to date on my progress. It has most definitely changed the minute Gwen was born and although I sometimes am inconsistent, I always come back for more bloggin' :)

Where have you traveled?
Puerto Rico {even got married there}, St. Lucia {honeymoon}, Dominican Republic, Canada, the whole east coast, and of course, Key West!

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A new house... and a boat for my husband :)

What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?
Uhh, only 3?
1- Feet {except mine and Gwen's}, when people touch or play with their feet... groooosssss!
2- Bad drivers.  I'm from Jersey, nuff said.
3- Bluetooth Headsets {when not in the car} - you're not that cool or important... and you aren't fooling us either.

What is your favorite movie?
I've shared this many times - The Princess Bride - I know every.single.line... and I am very annoying to watch the movie with. lol.

What is your drink of choice?
Non-alcoholic - Water or Diet Peach Snapple
The good stuff Alcoholic - Captain and Diet or Cab. Sav.

What day would you love to relive again?
Our wedding day.  over and over again.  {maybe edit a few little things out} but it was perfection. seriously.

If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
The only two people that I have ever been told that I looked like were Jennifer Love Hewitt & Maggie Gyllenhaal... so I'll take Maggie because she is a much better actress {although I don't see how I look like either of them!}

If you could travel anywhere is the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Fiji.  A hut on the water.

Show us the most current picture of you or you and your family.

Where do you see your life five years from now?
Another bambino, new house, closer to family, happily married, enjoying each minute.

Thanks for hosting, Becky!

Friday, July 13, 2012

His Little Red Car

After my parent's divorced {circa 1997-1998}, my mom relocated us just about a mile down the road from my grandparents house.  It was helpful not only to my mom, but to us as well, sometimes more than we knew.

Although this move was within the same town that we had already lived, it was a different neighborhood, one that I wasn't too familiar with.  And one of the things that I dreaded the most was the walk to the bus stop, the wait, and frankly, the bus in general.  It had nothing to with the passengers of the bus, I just didn't like it.

So, one morning, I decided to call my Pop.

I was running late, wouldn't make the bus on time, and knew that he would be heading out to work soon.

He lovingly obliged and then and there began a routine.  I called him every morning asking for a ride to school...

...he never said no.

That man drove his {spoiled} teenage granddaughter to school every single day in his little red car, until the day she got her license.

And it didn't stop with just school.

"Pop, can we go tanning?" {He would wait the 10-15 minutes in the car while I fake baked}

"Pop, can you take me to my friend's?"

He taught me how to drive in his little red car... making sure that I always had sneakers, even if it meant changing in and out of my sandals.  

Once, while learning to drive, we were approaching a traffic light {that was currently green} and said, "Slow down. SLOW DOWN."  I asked, "Why, Pop?"  "Because you never know when it's going to change"  LOL!  {He just wanted to make sure I was safe}

And, although he hasn't had that little red car for a long time now, we both remember it fondly and have joked about it recently.  He even gave me a little red matchbox car not too long ago... I can picture the huge grin on his face as he watched me open it.  

He also told me a few weeks ago when we visited him in the hospital, that he had to get better because in a few years he had to give another little girl {Gwen} a ride to school.  I melted.  
{This isn't it exactly, but it was somewhat like this.}

Looking back, I am no longer thankful for the rides to school and other places, but more for the time that we spent together...

...I would do ANYTHING to have one more ride with him in that little red car.
I love you, Pop-Pop.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet True Love

As I wrote here, my family and I are going through a very trying time.  And although it is a sad and painful time, I am also learning things about my family and even myself.  The most amazing part of it all, is watching the way that my grandparents love each other.

Even during this ugly time of hurting, their love remains strong and true and so sweet.

No matter what is going on at the particular time, he manages to whisper out "You are the love of my life" and she continues to tell him what a "cutie pie" he is.
I think he's a cutie pie, too :)

He winks at her and it makes her smile like they are on their first date.

She reminds him of how great he's doing and makes sure that he is comfortable even when she hasn't slept in what seems like days.

He reaches out for her hand and hugs her like he will never let go.  She leans down and kisses his forehead ever so gently.

And, it is clear...
...they are each other's world.

Isn't that the truest love? When in the toughest moment, your love shines brighter than the brightest star?

Thank you all for your kind words and comments, they mean a lot :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why I Have Avoided You

It's been awhile, that I know.

I've avoided you. This. Blogging. Writing. Venting.  Sharing.


There is no easy way to say this.  No way of sugar coating this.

I sit here writing, watching a man, who taught me many life lessons, loved me unconditionally, and provided so many amazing memories... cling to life.

My Pop-Pop, is currently on hospice at home with his family, and it's more than painful to bear.

I can't believe that this is happening.

I thought he would live forever.

And the even harder part?

Watching the love of his life's heart break, all while taking the absolute best and tenderest care of him.

The good part?

He's home, in NJ, with all of us.  That we all got to see him before it got worse.  That he occasionally smiles and gives us the "pop" wink.  That I can hold his hand, tell him I love him, and feed him some ice cream.

What I don't understand... Why I can't keep him?  I mean, I do understand, but I don't want to accept it. 

What I've learned so far... I have a VERY strong, loving, and supportive family.  I couldn't be more proud of how we have all rallied and "held hands" through this all.  It is not going to get easier, BUT, I think that it is safe to say that we all know we will not take this journey alone.  Not. One. Step.

This is all that I can write right now.  Please bear with me.  I'm shot.  We all are.  But, it's for a great cause.  The best cause...

...my Pop-Pop.