Sunday, March 30, 2008

Seeking advice

Okay so since Luke was born our house has not been the same and by this I mean it is never clean. There are always dishes to do, clothes to wash and things strewn about the living room, covering the dining room table, kitchen countertops and our closets are exploding with "things". Toys, papers, books, bottles, clean clothes that need to be put away and dirty clothes that need to be washed are everywhere! It is driving me crazy. I work full-time (which I enjoy as I need the outlet and interaction, I am not made for staying home, which is good because we can't afford for me to anyway) and just never seem to have the time for any of it. John is very helpful but we both just seem to suck at this even though we have a combined goal of an organized-everthing-in-its-place home.

For the last 4 years we earned extra money cleaning the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce but recently gave it up as it was taking over our weekends and wasn't worth the gas money for John to drive down there everyday once he was working in Glens Falls full-time. The money was necessary those years and would be very helpful now, but it was becoming more of an annoying obstacle with a baby in tow...this morning John thought that maybe we suck at keeping our house clean because we cleaned other peoples crap up for 4 years and now we're rebelling. I disagree, this is our house, we should care about it alot more than someone else's office.

So moms, how do you do it? Or is it the kind of thing you have to learn to accept, that with kids comes clutter? Maybe we just need to purge the things we haven't used in awhile and use that space for the things we do. Our house is teeny tiny which in some ways I love, but another bedroom, a mudroom and a better kitchen and bath would help. This spring we are going to have a friend who frames houses come check out our digs to see what kind of an addition is possible. We really don't want to sell and move, this house has emotional ties that we are not ready to cut and would rather expand it than leave it behind. Hopefully the framer will have good ideas!

On a side note, how do you also find the time to workout? I can't seem to figure that out either.

Thanks for listening:)

clearly not being helpful now as he's supposed to be cleaning this...

and I should be picking up this clutter and puting away the clean laundry that is all over the couch

Clearly we are just lazy, tired, and unmotivated.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is it really spring?

A medley of Easter Sunday family pictures playing Wii (notice John in the background trying to sit upright and not pass out from his fever. Good times.), posing with cousins, and hunting for Easter eggs. Note Will in his bike helmet, it was his idea to protect himself as he duked it out with his older brother, such torment for a 5 year old! I also included our backyard "spring stick" that impailed our yard a few weekends ago. We are convinced it will officially be spring (we just took these pictures today, so sick of the snow!) when the stick falls. Here's hoping! Of course I couldn't leave out the prince, he's once again cute as ever hanging in his high chair. *sigh*

Monday, March 24, 2008

Prospect Street Born and Bread

So I had this whole plan to document the Center Family Easter Bread tradition and of course I forgot to bring the camera to the festivities thus rendering this post pictureless and lackluster. Friday night was full of restless sleep as John came down with the flu. He moaned in pain and had the chills until early morning. We have both been fighting a sinus infection/head cold for the better part of last week and so finally we made our way to the doctors Saturday morning, missing the first half of the Easter Bread doings and forgetting our camera as we packed up Luke to enjoy the morning without us. Turns out John had a temperature of 103 and a double ear infection, I was luckily not quite that bad and was diagnosed with a textbook sinus infection. We were given prescriptions and John was told he'd feel better in probably four days and was to return in two weeks for a re-check. We left for Rite Aid but of course the scripts wouldn't be ready for an hour so I brought him home to sleep and off I went to partake in some bread breaking.

This Easter Bread tradition dates back to well, I don't know how long, but my father's mother made it for her kids every Easter and it grew into a neighborhood tradition. My grandmother Grace Celeste Center grew up on the same street that I did, two houses from my childhood home. My father was also born on the street and lived there for a bit before the family moved to Dix Avenue. Prospect Street was the heart of the Italian East End, nearly every home is equipped with a wine press and most grew their own grapes, had lavish gardens and tended to chicken coupes. It was a community in and of itself, one day a year they all got together to crush the grapes that made their wine. Legend has it (as I was told by Helen Pozzulli, her sister was my grandmother's maid of honor and she too spent the first 80-something years of her life on Prospect St.) that one family owned the grape crusher, so the neighbors spent one day crushing all the grapes together. I've listened to all sorts of familal tales of illegal gambling, and mob-type doings centered around this tight-knit guinea commune. I have such fond memories of summer days riding my bike up the big hill and visiting with widowed neighbors listening to their stories of the old days.

So anyway, my parents married and moved our family across town from 3rd Street to Prospect Street, back in my father's territory and the tradition of sharing Italian Easter Bread with the neighbors on Holy Saturday began. The smell of the pugent parmesean cheese mixed with the strong aroma of black pepper floating in the air, the thick yeasty clouds infusing your clothes with the heavy smell. It reminds me of home, of laughter, of cute little old ladies longing for days gone by sharing their memories. Coffee cups cling and the steam from the baking bread fogs the kitchen windows, our house is full of blessings and family. It's truly the most special tradition. One that I wish I had pictures of to share.

Thankfully John is on the fast-track to better health. We best have a healthy spring and summer, we've met our quota of sickness for the year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your families, happy spring:) Salut!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"I'm going to buy Aunt Amy a new car!"

One Thursday a month I am charged with picking up my nephews after school due to the fact that my sister-in-law works late in the winters and my brother is at the firehouse working a 24 hour shift. I love these after-school car trips treking from one end of town to the other collecting their backpacks, homework, and art projects. More often than not the conversations have me smiling and giggling at the things they say, and the way they see the world.

A snippet from today's doings...

"When are you going to get a new car Aunt Amy?"

(I currently am driving my father's 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada: it's good for dump runs, errand running, and the best thing, no car payment)

"I don't know Will, they cost a lot of money. I don't think we're getting a new one anytime soon."

"Well, I have a lot of money in my piggy bank. You need a car with a dvd player. I want you to have a car with movies. Like, um, I have, um, a lot of dollars. Will that help you?"

"Oh, Will, I don't think you want to spend your dollars on getting me a new car. Do you?"

"Well, I have change too. Do they take change? Do you need quarters? I have change and dollars in my piggy bank! How do I get the money out anyway? How many, um, how many, um, how many quarters will you get back if you buy a car?"

And then Luke piped up with a Da-Da and the conversation trailed off. We finally arrived at the neighbors house where Jacob was waiting for us, so I prodded Will to tell Jake what he was planning to spend all of his money on.

"I am going to buy Aunt Amy a car with a dvd player in it! Isn't that cool Jake? Won't that be cool Jake?"

"Will, we don't ride in the Bravada that often, that's kind of a waste of your money."

"What's a Bravada?" Will asks.

"This car, Aunt Amy's car." Jake answers.

"Oooh, I didn't know this was a Bravado. But Jake, I have a lot of dollars I could give her."

"You have a lot of pennies Will."

Then nothing. Silence. I turn around and they're both making faces at Luke who is smiling from ear to ear, fascinated with their attentiveness and then the best comment from the both of them, "I love you Luke-do!"

Too bad they'll be stuck bobbling around town once a month in the Bravado without a dvd player, but happily entertained by their baby cousin.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Can you hear the laughter?

Life cannot get any sweeter. That smile with the dimples and those eyes are just too much. Someday I will have to say no and be all parent-y regardless of his sweetness, how will I manage?!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Soldiers Sleep in Peace and Angels Sing Amazing Grace

Dear Dad,

It's been 5 years today. 5 years since we last spoke on the phone, you eating peanuts and laughing with mom and your friends before you headed out to dinner. Our last good-bye, and the last "I love you Acey-cakes" I would hear spoken from your lips to my ears. Thank you for calling me, a gift I will treasure. How could I have known that a few hours later Tom and I would be driving through the night to Groton to meet mom at a Connecticut hospital. Dry-heaving and throwing up along the way, both of us in shock at how could this be happening to us. You were supposed to come home that coming Friday we were going to eat Harvest pizza and you were going to meet John. This John who I had been speaking about with such joy that I'm sure you heard me smiling through the phone converstations we had while you were in Rotten Groton and I was in Saratoga. We've been blessed these past years. William was born that January, but you knew that, you called me from Groton to tell me the news. He's a funny, handsome little guy who wants everything Jacob has and dares to be told otherwise. He's built like Tom, a tough little fighter who hates to be told no and who Kristie's father thinks will one day be a Marine. Jacob is tall and lean and gentle, he has your spirit and remembers you with eyes that sparkle and a smile so big it makes his eyes squint. He says when he grows up he's going to be a Seabee. Of course I got married to that John guy and this past June we had a little one of our own, Luke Thomas. I have to believe you were there as I looked outside our room and the American flag, one so huge and proud was slapping the hospital window.
We're all doing well but your presence, or the lack there of is the white elephant around every holiday table and birthday celebration that we have. I see you in Tom, so much of you and while years ago he would probably balk at that, I think today he might be alittle proud of that fact. It's funny that in all the pictures we have of you two, you're proudly wearing some Seabee t-shirt and he's sporting a fireman one, and when he's on tv 8 at those town board meetings talking in his serious voice, he sounds like you. I wish you could watch and see. We see mom struggle, it's hard and I can only imagine harder for her to go on without you, without a mate. It's odd how our roles shifted so quickly, me the lonely girl tagging along with her parents to now mom sitting alone in the backseat with me and John. I hate it. But through it all I know you are here, you are proud and I know you must miss us. I hope you feel us as we feel you.I know you didn't die "at war", but you were away from us (but mom was there with you, thank God!)and on active duty when you did and when I hear this song I lose it. We did lay you down, in a field on the edge of town, at the Saratoga Battlefield and 100 Navy Chiefs lined Warren Street as we approached St. Mary's in the most magnificent salute I've every seen. So this is for you. I know you are singing Amazing Grace today. We love you and we'll see you in pictures and dreams.
If you’re reading this
My momma is sitting there
Looks like I only got a one way ticket over here
I sure wish I could give you one more kiss
War was just a game we played when we were kids
Well I’m laying down my gun
I’m hanging up my boots
I’m up here with God
And we’re both watching over you

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul
Is where my momma always prayed that it would go.
If you’re reading this I’m already home.

If you’re reading this
Half way around the world
I won’t be there to see the birth of our little girl
I hope she looks like you
I hope she fights like me
And stands up for the innocent and the weak
I’m laying down my gun
Hanging up my boots
Tell dad I don’t regret that i followed in his shoes

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul is where my momma always prayed that it would go
If you’re reading this, I’m already home

If you’re reading this, there is going to come a day
You move on and find someone else and that’s okay
Just remember this
I’m in a better place
Where soldiers live in peace and angels sing amazing grace

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul is where my momma always prayed that it would go
If you’re reading this
If you’re reading this
I'm already home