Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Old Homestead

So it's true. Internet pictures lie. Big time! The house was cute on the outside, the yard was nice, but the inside wasn't all that. They did quite a cob-job on trying to create closests in the essentially closet-less house, the floors were a mess and would need to be refinished, and that side playroom-room had a major water leak over the spring thaw. We'd have to repitch the roof and fix all of the water-damaged sheetrock. Plus it has oil heat, most of the electrical outlets need updating and overall it just seemed like the character of the home wasn't really there. It's like the previous owners didn't really care about the house and the work done was shotty at best.

In the end we came home, put Luke to bed, sat in the living room and were happy with what we have now. We'll keep looking of course and my brother is going to do us some auto-cad plans of what an addition to our house would be like. So while I'm on the verge of nesting and making sure we'll be okay to live here with a toddler and a newborn, we don't need to rush into anything for now. My feet are back on the ground, but believe me, I'm sure they'll take a leap again. The dreamer in me can't be held back.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Memories

Today we remembered our Papa's with a visit to the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery for their annual Memorial Day ceremony. Grandma Center, Grandma LaSarso and "Grandma" Joyce came with Will and in the hot sun and loud rip-roaring wind we honored the bravest, those that have given selflessly to their country. I shed some tears, laughed some laughs and answered Will's questions about death and confirmed to him that yes Papa was in the ground. I know it's confusing and hard for him to grasp, I was blessed with knowing both of my grandfather's, hearing their stories, and sharing holidays.

We left the cemetery and headed to visit Grandpa Jack's grave too, to honor him and say a prayer. Then it was off to Uncle Dick's house for a cookout. I noticed the wagon pretty quickly, the wagon was our magic carpet growing up. It lived in the crawl space under my grandparent's back porch and every Memorial Day it was unearthed, we (the 5 proud grandchildren) would watch with twinkles in our eyes as Papa LaSarso would dust it off, oil it up and line us up for rides around the block. It was as if Christmas was happening again in May, this wagon so simple brought us so much joy. We would try to cram as many little ones in at once, sometimes we'd get blankies and cuddle up for our chariot ride around their Hudson Falls neighborhood. It was truly magical for all of us. There it was, in my Uncle's backyard, the metal wheels, and handle, the AAA sticker on the rear. Will hopped in and we had to get Luke in there too, John tooled them around the backyard and we commented on how Luke looked like a little Tommy in the wagon. Memories of grandpa's so special, gone too soon, but loved forever.

You were men of honor. Thank you for your service and for doing us proud.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Home sweet home

We are about 4.5 months away from being a family of 4 in a tiny 2 bedroom, 1050 square foot house. We love our house, we love that a family friend basically gave it to us for a steal as she wanted it to be kept in "the family". We love the backyard, so big and green. We love our hardwood floors, the fireplace, and the coziness of it as a home.

We do however not really enjoy the neighbors and their enormous, rusty camper, ca. 1984. I had to call the cops on them this winter as they left their dog out one un-ending evening after another and I had had enough of the non-stop barking. It was freezing and the dog had been barking for 3+ hours. Then this spring after the snow melted they so lovely raked up all the limbs and clippings of our big oak tree that had fallen in their yard and walked it around to our backyard to dump it. Nice, eh. Great confrontation skills they have. We are also busting at the seams with toys and all things baby. We have no play area save for the living room floor, which renders our house never picked up, and a seemingly unorganized mess. We barely have enough cupboard space for Luke's bottles, how will we store the new baby's bottles and Luke's sippy cups? Yet we do feel a bit of guilt even looking to move on. A nun gave us this house. A nun! We didn't sign a binding contract that we would never sell the house, but there was this unspoken "take good care of it for me" conversation. The guilt. The Catholic guilt. Oh what to do.

Anyway, I found a house. On a street that I love, love, love. A little cul-de-sac, on an out of the way street yet still in our school district. It's lined with the cutest cottagey homes and this particular one has been on the market for some time. We have a call in to the realtor to see it hopefully sometime next week. If we can low-ball and sell ours for relatively reasonable (pipe-dream?) it's do-able. It has that side playroom room, 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and that extra half-bath that we currently are without. The floors are all hardwood too and the paint colors are very similar to ours. The best is there are no campers on the street! It's been updated throughout, so far it seems like we would just have to move in and maybe in the next few years upgrade the kitchen, but that's it.

Our other option is to add another bedroom and bath to our current house. Remodel the kitchen, add a deck/patio, and somehow add a mudroom. Oh, and line our yard with tall hedges to fence us in and block our unsightly views. Let's not forget that we also need to upgrade our drafty windows, replace the ugly doors, get new siding, and do some serious landscaping.

I know I'm jumping the gun a bit here, planning our future before we have all the facts. John's being very cautious, which I think is boring! It's time to take a bit of a risk, it might pay off, but I know I should let my feet touch the ground a tad before my dreams are shattered and our views of the snotty dogs and rusty camper live on far longer than I anticipated.

*sigh* The life of a dreamer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We took a huge risk

Our first trip to Boston with Luke and what do we do? Parade him around Beantown in a Yankee hat of course. The nerve! John's friend Kevin was convinced we were going to get a comment or two, but due to Luke's striking personality and uber-cuteness we didn't so much as get a second glance. Someone even asked us for directions to Fenway.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Accepting reality and coming to grips with it

My mom has a date in the near future. With a man who is obviously not my father.

I see a spring her step, a twinkle that has been on hiatus for the better part of 5 years, it's refreshing, but also selfishly it makes me uncomfortable. Why is it so hard for me? I know that she didn't chose to live out these years alone, I know she wants my father back as much as the rest of us, if not more. In some way I guess she has accepted the reality and has a "friend" (her words) who she is comfortable talking with and one who is not a woman. Apparently she's tired of spending all of her time with other women, which I can understand. I was single in NYC for 4 years and it seemed like an unending eternity.

I guess what kills me the most is that Will, Luke, and even John don't know the couple that was Mary Ann and Tom. They only know my mom as Grandma, the woman who lives alone, sleeps alone (Will asked her why she did one day), runs ragged to avoid the loneliness of her house of which she fills with things purchased from QVC. She excites in the thrill of buying something spur of the moment, receiving a package in the mail, filling her house with things none of which will replace what was lost. When men my father's age are around the three boys I get a little angry inside, thinking it's not fair that whoever it is (an uncle, friend, etc) gets to see them play Little League, run around and laugh, listen to their stories and just be. Why do these people get to experience their childhood and not their grandfather? And when will my irrational anger subside? So knowing that a man who is taking my mom out to dinner is going to one day, maybe be around my children and nephews is so hard for me to accept. I don't want to be this selfish, I can't have what I want and I need to accept that reality. Honestly I admit it, I get jealous of other girls who have fathers which is so totally weird as I used to be so jealous of friends who were in relationships and I wasn't, so badly wanting to be in one. Now I'm married and I would give my right arm to have lunch with my dad just one more time. Strange how life is eh.

John met my entire family and I mean, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, etc all in one day. The day that my mom, brother and I came home from cleaning out my father's Naval base apartment and leaving his body in Connecticut to be driven home the following day with a military escort. We had only met 2 weeks prior and here he was shaking hands with shocked family members and friends. I wish we had met sooner, my parent's weren't this incredibly dynamic duo, I don't want to over romanticize them, but they are my parents, so special in a way and together they "worked". I miss laughing with my dad, ribbing on each other for silly things or strange personality traits.

So how do you let go, but remember and accept the future reality with grace?

The perfect end to any day

Monday, May 12, 2008

mirror, mirror

Do you think the belly will grow far beyond the edges of the mirror? Guess we'll see, we've got 24 more weeks to grow!

Can he get ANY cuter?

John surprised me with a pretty bouquet of spring flowers last Tuesday to enjoy all week as a Mother's Day present from him and Luke. Very sweet and totally caught me off guard. Friday he "graduated" from his training program and bought himself a 6-pack of beer to enjoy over the weekend and along with that got me a Martha Stewart Living magazine. He did this when I was pregnant with Luke, he'd buy himself some Davidson's and get me a Country Living or the like. I always wonder what the cashier thinks, the vision of a guy buying beer and homestyle magazines cracks me up, thankfully he doesn't give a shit. I find it endearing. Then on Sunday I got to sleep in as he whisked Luke off to get the paper and breakfast treats, we went to church, had brunch with the fam and came home to lots of backyard clean-up which felt good, but also killed my back and left me curled up on the couch with him tending to Luke all evening.

I won't lie, it's nice to be appreciated and taken care of (and this doesn't mean I don't ever need flowers again!), but this pic of Luke melts my heart just the same.

When you give a 5 year old a camera...

...this happens. Below is a photo-documentary of our weekend (again this was two Saturday's ago, I'm not keeping up with this very well!) sleepover with Will and Jake. Will got ahold of the camera to capture the moments of shrieking cousin fun and life at Aunt Amy and Uncle John's. It's pretty cute. His favorite things are us, Luke, his tent, the dirty laundry pile that went down the shoot, and his cartoons!

And then when that got boring they all moved on to learning how a piano works and making up songs with Uncle John.