Saturday, December 29, 2007

Re: solutions

I can't take the credit for the witty twist on the word Resolutions, I saw it in a magazine and thought it was pretty smart so I'm copying them. Not very creative of me, but I'm too tired after all the holiday hoopla to care.

2007 was an amazing year for us. Luke arrived, our jobs morphed in good ways and bad and we're leaving the year in the hopes of some financial security (finally!).

My Re:Solutions for 2008 are as follows:
1. Organize and simplify our house. I've learned that when everything is important, nothing is important. We live in probably one of the tiniest houses in Glens Falls, but I know there are better ways to organize our life than the current scenario. So we should honor and make important the things that we love and cherish and donate/store the things that we don't need/use often.

2. Keep the dream of the addition to the house alive. A mudroom, updated kitchen, master bed/bath are within reach, just not in 2008. New siding on the house might be though!

3. Cliche I know, but I gotta lose the last 15 lbs of baby-weight. He's 6 months old so I can't use the "baby-weight" excuse anymore. My solution is to work out on my lunch hour at home 3 days a week (now that "Magda" won't be watching Luke at our house, this is feasible) and go to kickboxing 2 mornings a week, this might be too ambitious, but that is what I'm shooting for.

4. Enjoy life. Don't compare your life to others. Enjoy what you have and live in the moment.

5. Check back on these Solutions every 3 months.

This is part of living in the moment. A co-worker demanded that I take pictures of Luke's hands and toes as they will change and grow quicker than we realize and we'll forget the dimples and the baby soft suppleness of his skin. So here it is, his cute as pie, chubby little dimply hand, contrasted by his father's long piano fingers. (ugh, of course it came out blurry, but it's too cute not to share)

Happy New Year everyone, I'm off to de-Christmas our house and get crackin' on the organization. Yippeeee!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I think I'll let the lyrics speak for themselves tonight. This song gets me everytime, why I listened to it at work today I have no clue, thankfully I had my tissues handy.

Oh the joys of sad country songs. Daggers to the heart.

Look at the two of you dancing that way
Lost in the moment and each others face
So much in love you're alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago
I was her number one
She told me so
And she still means the world to me
Just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything
Life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

How could that beautiful woman with you
Be the same freckle face kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
Someday you might know what I'm going through
When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

Monday, December 10, 2007

All We Want for Christmas

Luke has been the master-o-the-drool for quite some time. I never thought we'd go through twenty bibs a day but alas I find myself doing laundry just to replenish the bib stash.

Saturday we trudged through the land of trees at Styles in Fort Ann, searching for the perfect yet no-too-perfect tree. Luke braved the cold, his cheeks all pink and on the verge of wind-burn. He was a true trooper though, no complaints from him, save for maybe that look of "how could you forget the camera batteries Mom!? I am looking mighty cute in my snowsuit and the sky is the perfect shade of blue with the snow covered mountains so beautifully dotting the landscape." Arg! How COULD I forget the batteries, I don't know. He was adorable though, take my word.

So we get home with our friends, two sleeping kids, the tree, and some take-out. The kids took nice long naps and the adults relaxed by the fire, played some ping-pong and watched a movie. Ahh, relaxation. Luke finally awoke, I sat with him in the recliner, he was studying my face, "kissing" my cheeks and laughing. I stuck my finger in his mouth as usual to check for any signs of teeth and low and behold there were two. Sharp as nails and white as snow! They're just barely poking through, see them in the picture, how can you miss them!?

He's really growing up. Really. Thankfully he hasn't seemed too pained by the teething, so far. I'll keep the bibs on one hand and a tissue in the other:)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

For One More Day

It was about 2 or 3 years ago, I was standing on the street corner with my boss at the time and the director of the Museum, it was a mid-March, chilly, almost-spring-but-still-winter day. The Mayor, our State Senator, county supervisors and other dignitaries were also in attendance, it was the big unveiling of the cities cultural insititution traffic signage (how we never had signs directing people to The Hyde or the Wood Theatre for so long I'll never understand, but I digress). There I stood, tv reporters, and news writers were taking statements from Senator Little (a woman I've known most of my life as her kids grew up with me and my brother), Mayor Regan (a close political friend of my father's), and the county supervisor who beat my father in the last campaign. I snapped the token pictures with the sign and those that made it happen to tout the accomplishment in our next newsletter. I felt the emptiness, it was so heavy in the air swirling around me. If my father were alive he would have been there. He would have helped to make this happen. He would have been beaming, showing me off to his politician friends, so happy that I was home from New York City, working in Glens Falls and actually using my degree.

I was wearing my Hyde badge, some women from the county said, "oh, you're Tom's daughter, he was a great man." They smiled that sympathetic, "I'm so sorry" smile and then the awkward silences followed. I congratulated the Mayor and my father's succesor. At that moment a fire truck went flying by, charging for Warren Street, lights flashing, sirens blaring. I felt him, he was there in the sirens saying, "you guys did it, I'm so proud of you!" My brother was driving that truck, his childhood dream was to be a fireman and there he was racing through the streets and I, the little girl who would copy the comics on Sunday mornings was working for the most beautiful little museum that we're so lucky to have in our tiny city of 16,000. We're doing what we love to do in our hometown that we adore. We're contributing to the community with pride and doing our best to to do so with honor and integrity.

I caught the end of Oprah today. It was about the new made for tv movie, "For One More Day". I was of course holding Luke and sobbing. John came home and the three of us stood in our living room, crying, hugging and swaying as Nick Lachey sang "An Ordinary Day"...I'm paraphrasing here, but it's something like, "if I had one wish, it wouldn't be for fame or money, it would be for an ordinary day with you".

If *I* had one more day I would want to go back to that streetcorner scene with my father in tow, when it was over we would hop in his car and surprise-pick-up Jacob and Will from school and my mom, Tom, Kristie, and John from work. We'd rush home to a wonderful meal with all of us around the dining room table (somehow Luke would be inserted here even though it was a day in the past, let's let go a little, eh!!), the boys would play throw and catch in the backyard and the girls would watch in awe at how lucky we are to have this family.

Edited to add: That I'd also like a walk down the aisle, I've always wondered what he would have said to me at that moment. Okay, that's enough sap for awhile!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It Takes a Village and a Snort

Our Magda (aka Rosalie) told me today that unfortunately her last day with Luke is going to be Dec. 19. She cried, I cried, we hugged. She has a heart condition and due to his linebacker stature she's having a hard time lifting him and feels it not in her back but in her heart. Ugh. I feel it in my heart too. She brought us eggplant parm and tortellini soup this morning, I wonder if that was Italian Catholic guilt? I kid. She needed to know who was going to watch him, I told her it was the sitter who my brother and sister-in-law use, it's in-home daycare and she's great. He'll be with other kids, it'll be good for him to get out (I hope). Thankfully it's not a "daycare" institutional-type place. We won't be spoiled anymore though, no more empty sink and dishwasher waiting for us to fill them up only to be cleaned and emptied the next morning while we work. I'll have to buck up with the dusting now and organizing Luke's dresser, rotating out his too small clothes with the next size. This is all regular day to day stuff, but I've been spoiled and I didn't realize just how much. It's been a great run though. She allowed me to ease back into the working world without having to worry about him. I do have to admit that I won't have to freak out on Monday nights to make sure the house is picked up for her arrival the next morning. Is the toilet paper on the roll? Do we have clean hand towels in the bathroom? Did we charge the phone last night, or is it dead again?

We really are blessed and have so much support. I wonder what life would be like if we lived elsewhere? How would we do it without all of these helping hands? I guess it does take a village.

Anyway, this blog is supposed to chronicle our life with Bubby-Do and so far he hasn't been the main topic. How sad!

I can't believe how big he's getting. It seems like he's been this size forever, but then I saw some pictures that my mom had just gotten developed and oh my Lord he was so tiny! It was the day of our anniversary and she came over to watch him while we went out for a little lunch. He was 3 weeks old and in this picture he was just a scrawny-do. Long, straggly legs, tiny little body, so tiny. How did he get so big? Four months later and he's more than twice the size of that little baby and his scrawny legs are no longer. Some days we can hardly wrap his size 3 diapers around his belly. He's eating cereal and veggies like a champ and just recently we've noticed that if we're holding him while we fill up a glass of water he reaches for it. So the other day we thought, hmm, we tilted the glass towards him and he attacked it, drinking and sucking the water like no tomorrow.

I feel so self-righteous saying, "they grow up so fast". My baby is still a baby, how can I say that? He graduated though. He's sitting in a high-chair, he wants to drink out of our glasses, he engages us, and the absolute best is when he puts both hands on my cheeks, pulls me in and plants one on me. It might not be a real pucker-up kiss, it's a sloppy, drooly, open mouth "kiss" and he's so forceful that he snorts and practically suffocates himself on the side of my face. The snort puts me over the edge, I kiss him all over and we both relish in the laughter of each other.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Power of "Do"

Growing up my father had lots of nicknames for us. Tom was Boop. When he was little my dad would bounce him on his knee and say "Boop boop dee do" and Boop just stuck, even when he was 30. There was also the classic "Son". My mom was hardly ever referred to as Mary Ann, she was always "Mare". Somehow I inherited the motherload of names, ACE was the most common. One Christmas, I was about nine years old, he bought me (Amy Elizabeth Center) a monogrammed sweater. With the big C in the middle it looked like my sweater said ACE. And so it began... "Acey-cakes", and "Ace is the place" were his two favorites. Followed by Baby-Cakes, Scooch, Schoochy-doo, Miss, and Missy, all very endearing. My brother still calls me Miss and my mom has her own version, Amykins.

Then John enters. He is just John. No familial nicknames, not much in the way of silliness during his childhood. In an odd way and unbeknownst to him, there are times when I think he is channelling my father. He borderline bores us (my mom and I) with historical facts about every town in the tri-county region as we drive through them, so much like my dad. When this happens my mom and I roll our eyes at each other and smile a smile that says, "they would have loved each other!" We used to make fun of my dad and say he was a bastion of (useless) knowledge. They would so get along, most likely trying to out-bore, ahem, I mean out-do the other with their knowledge of useless facts.

John has once again channelled my dad. Luke is rarely referred to as Luke. He is L-Train (a football player reference), Mr. L, Bubby, Bubby Brewster (another football reference I think), and Bubbs Bubberton. Then there are all the "Dos". Mr. Do, Bumble-Do, Bubby-Do, Bubbs-Do, Luke-Do, and the classic "Do". Let's not forgot who we have become. I am Mama-Do, John calls himself Dada-Do and my mom is Grandma-Do. We are the family of "Dos". We go to Sleepy-Do, wear Diaper-Dos, take Tubby-Dos, and drink Baba-Dos.

Am I stretching things here, looking too hard for a connection that maybe isn't there? Well you see my dad was a Command Master Chief in the Seabees, a division of the Navy. Seabees or CB for Construction Battalion, are the ones who rebuild after war, or go to underdeveloped countries to build roads, bridges, put in plumbing or electrical services. Their motto is "Seabees Can Do". They have "Can Do" spirit. They "Do".

You tell me? Is this just coincidental? Regardless it warms my heart and yet again I am so blessed-do

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tough love

I finally shared this blog with some friends and family. Yikes, people may actually tune in now! I guess I should explain where the name "Can You Hear Me Smiling" came from.

When I went to college, 4 hours west of good ole Glens Falls I found myself terribly homesick. Even after all my ramblings on of "I can't wait to get out of GF!" Little did I know that most of the students lived within an hour of the school, when I would say where I was from they would say Glens Falls? mean Watkins Glen right? No, wrong, I mean Glens Falls. Where's Watkins Glen? I eventually found my niche and made friends for life, but those first few months were tough. Probably more so for my parents. I would call home and the sound of my mom or dad's voice would render me speechless. I was paralyzed by the enormous lump in my throat. "How's things" they would ask and I would cry or complain about this or that, when all they really wanted to hear was that I was enjoying this time, one they never got to experience. One weekend day while I lamented to my father about all my woes and asked for the hundredth time why he couldn't just come and get me for the weekend?! He had finally had enough. He said so sternly into the phone, "You know no one came to pick me up in Vietnam! Go iron something or study or whatever, but stop complaining!" I was speechless, he was fed up. I felt like such a heel after I hung up. Here was my father, born into a family of six with no money, no family car, ever!, and certainly no means for college education. His only way out was to join the Navy and serve two tours of duty. And I, so priviledged to be going not just to college, but to a private college and not for business or teaching or nursing, but to be an artist? Graphic designer what are you going to do with that? My parent's never asked me that though, they never doubted, if I wanted to be a circus clown they would have tried their best to make it happen (well maybe we would have had a little discussion about gypsies and stability and does the circus provide health insurance?).

Throughout all my trivial whining he would send me notes and cards to cheer me up. For my 19th birthday he sent me a card with a curious little girl sitting on the beach in her bikini holding two seashells to her ears and out of the shells it says "Can you hear..." and on the inside "me smiling?"

He wrote, "Amy, Keep smiling, go for your dreams, have fun on "your" day. Love, Dad"

I guess we all need a little perspective in our lives at times. and sorry mom, if you're reading this, you get a whole lot of credit too, you mailed me cupcakes and suprise packages of love. Thanks for not coming to pick me up, tough love makes us better people. Too bad I can't use the "Vietnam" line on Luke someday, I doubt "No one came to pick me up in Scranton" will make that strong a statement!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bless my heart

Luke has decided the last month or so that getting up between 3 and 4am is okay. Oy! He was peacefully sleeping through the night for a week and I thought for sure we were on to something. We had our routine down to a T and were rewarded with 8 or 9 blissful hours of sleep and quiet. And then he switched it up again. Haha joke's on us I guess. I've come to wake just prior to his squeals and yelps, we're in tune to each other's wakefulness. I dread getting out of bed (although John usually gets him and brings him to bed for me) but I also cherish those early morning quiet moments of mother-son bonding. The one thing that can soothe him back to sleepytown is the comfort of me, our bellys touching. More often than not I stare at him quietly nursing away, his tiny hand proudly covering his little heart while the other is in a fist, thumb saluting like a hitch-hiker. He pulls off, stares up at me and smiles a smile that I know is saying "I love you too, thanks for the drink mom, I'll see you in an hour!"

He won't be this little forever, I know I will miss these early mornings...the decadance of a solid nights sleep certainly doesn't trump sweet baby love.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Charmed Life

So I was chatting with a co-worker the other day about my life as a working mom. We from time to time regale each other with the ups and downs of our lives, commiserating over holiday snafus and family duties. She asked what our daycare situation was. I explained how lucky and spoiled we are at the moment. A family friend and former childhood neighbor (who's full-blooded Italian and married to one as well) who now lives two blocks away from us offered to watch Luke, and insisted she do so at our house not hers. It would be the best thing for the baby she said. We didn't have to ask, she begged. So every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning her husband drops her off (they're both retired and have one car), or on sunny days she walks. She and Luke have the absolute best time. When she walks in the door he lights up, smiling so big his eyes squint. She sings, and plays, and walks him all around the neighborhood to meet and visit with her cronies. Plus! She cleans out our fridge when it starts to get funky, organizes our kitchen cupboards, does our dishes, and on occasion brings us soups, stews, and yummy treats.

The coworker was like, huh, you have your very own Magda (you know, Miranda's Polish nanny from Sex and the City). I was like, OMG I totally do! Then said coworker says "wow, you really have a charmed life Amy. The angels are certainly looking out for you (meaning our two deceased fathers). You do realize that? You have so much support and love all around you."

I was taken aback. She was completely right. This was the same girl who was complaining about how her parent's were visiting for the weekend from Long Island and something about her father helping her boyfriend with some house projects. She was really annoyed or upset for some reason, I can't remember why, but I remember telling her how I would give anything, ANYTHING to have my father help John around our house. She shouldn't take it for granted. While taken aback at first by my honesty, she later thanked me for saying that.

So thank you Angels. I know you are watching over us. We hear you smiling too. In fact I'm certain Luke hears you, he's always smiling.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Firming up

Today I ordered The Firm workout tape set (I mean DVDs, get with the times Amy!). I am feeling quite UNfirm as of late and need something to fix it. This whole mom thing kind of takes up all hours of the day, especially after working full-time. How do all those workout moms do it? I sadly came to the realization that the only real time I have to workout is at like 5:30 or 6am. I have to make it a priority and I have to just do it, and get it overwith...which is the only bright spot in this whole wicked-early workout it early and get it outta the way!

We're headed over to my brother's house this afternoon to watch the Giants play the Cowboys and have some chili and cornbread. Luke is wearing the Giants jersey that my dad bought for Jake 10 years ago. Very sweet and fits him perfectly. It's a chilly fall Sunday. Perfect for football, family, and a cozy evening huddled around the fireplace cheering and jabbing and laughing together.

PS this jersey is a size 2T, ummm he's 5 months old!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Can you hear me smiling?

Call me a virgin blogger. I've never done this before, my fingers hesitate as I decide to bare all. The thoughts, emotions, silly-ramblings-on of my simple life. I decided today that I need to blog. I need to share and I don't know why. I'm a first time mom of a now 4 month old son (decidedly the most amazing baby to have been born thus far) a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a graphic designer, and well you get the idea.

I lost my father almost 5 years ago. It happened in an instant. He called me at 5pm out of the blue like always, "just calling to say hi, and tell you I love you Acey-cakes (one of many nicknames)." At 7pm he was dead. Brain anurysm? Massive heart attack? We'll never know. My world was so turned upside down. I had just met the man who would become my husband, and in the same month lost the man that for my entire 26 years had meant the world to me. How could it be that these two men who I had and would come to share so much of life with never meet?

It's been 5 years and the emotions are still so raw. When does it fade? When my nephews were born I had a whole new realization that my parents were once regular people with dreams and lives before my brother and I entered with the hostile take-over. I appreciated them so much when I watched as we all fawned over my nephew as if he were the king of kings, realizing that they once fawned over me and Tom in the same teary-eyed joyful way. And now here I am gleefully saddled with my own child and the feelings are even deeper than I imagined. I want Luke to know that I love him with wild abandon, that his dreams are my dreams, that life is an adventure and you need to go live it to figure it out. Support, trust, freedom, rules, respect, integrity and passion are the words that my father instilled in me. I feel honored to have been raised in that way and honored to pass the morals on.

Dad, can you hear me smiling? Life is sweet, you are ever-present and I am so thankful that you were mine.