Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dear Diana,

You are 22 weeks! The last time I wrote you a personal post, you were only 2 weeks old! So much has happened since!

You were christened at Saint Matthew's in Windham in October and we had a wonderful celebration after at the Black Water Grill. It has become a favorite place of ours as Daddy plays their often and the owner is just wonderful to us.

You also enjoyed your first Halloween (as a baby fairy) and your first Thanksgiving (Windham Turkey Trot in the morning and then a big family dinner at Mimi and Papa's).

In December, we experienced a major set back. Just as you were sleeping through the night, we experienced the worst ice storm in our state's history. We awoke to no power and trees falling in our yard at 2am on a Friday morning. Daddy, me, you and Kayla piled into the car and headed to the Red Roof Inn in Salem. We thought we would be back home with power within a day but no such luck. We were out of power and displaced for 8 days! As a result, you were traumatized and had much trouble sleeping.

We ended up sleeping two nights at the motel, one night at Mimi and Papa's and then Papa and Grammy got their power back and we, along with your sisters and brother moved in for the next week. We made the most of it and really enjoyed spending quality time together. Grammy and Mummy actually shared the kitchen and had fun making dinners together :) You started to calm down there but sleeping was still an issue, even after we moved home.

A week later, you got very sick. RSV was going around the daycare and we were pretty sure you had it. It was a very bad cough and cold and you had trouble breathing. The worst night you experienced, since you have been home was Christmas Eve unfortunately. You awoke every hour and we had to go and pick you up to help you breathe. It was very scary. Earlier that night, we did enjoy you at church and then Auntie Peggy's for the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes.

On Christmas Day, you had your first fever so it broke our hearts. We all still enjoyed you and celebrated that it was your first Christmas.

After the holidays, you started teething and although you have been in pain, you are a tough little bugger. Just like when you are sick, you fight your way through it.

Last week, I knew you weren't yourself and you were so fussy so I brought you to the doctor and sure enough you have your first ear infection...make that a double ear infection and you are now on amoxacilin. It breaks my heart when you are sick but again, you fight your way through it. You just started sleeping through the night again (know on wood and Thank God!)...we hope this lasts!

You have really started to develop a personality. When you are trying to be funny you start smiling and sometimes laughing and you pull your bib up over your face- it is the cutest thing! You sit up with help and love sitting in your bumbo so you can see everything going on.

Last week, you started playing in your exersaucer and you are really strong! You let us know when your legs get tired but you are so good at standing and reaching and holding toys!

You have also found your voice and are very vocal- we really didn't expect anything else- look who your parents are!!! :)

Although you have picked up viruses and colds at daycare, you love it so much and we love it. We are so grateful for your wonderful teachers and curriculum at Little Sprouts. We know that you are learning things quickly because of them and we are grateful that we have been forced into this option because of your exposure to other kids. You will be ahead of your time on the social scene too!

We love you so much- I still can't believe I am your mom. I look at you in awe. I thank God all the time and wonder what other surprises you have planned for us.

You have added a dimension of magic to our home and have brought our family even closer together. Your sisters and brother love you so much and even Bambi is getting used to having you around. You just started noticing Bambi and you think she is hysterical!

You enjoy Thursdays at Mimi and Papa's and they love having you. Papa gets so excited to see you that he is always waiting at the front door for us- he can't help himself!

You have also enjoyed some special nights with Papa and Grammy in Windham- usually when mummy and daddy have some fun plans. Although we like getting out, we miss you! You love snuggling with Papa watching tv and he loves that special time with you. One night, at Christmas time, I came to pick you up and you and Papa were dancing to Andy Williams- I will never forget that.

A few weeks ago, we started giving you cereal- rice and then organic oatmeal- sorry to say you are not a big fan but we are fighting through that as well. Stay tuned- a video of you eating will soon be posted.

I love you my baby bird.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some of My Fairly Newest Favorite Things...

My daughter's smile

Filling up my pandora bracelet with sentimental charms

My relationship with my stepson

Horseradish...not only on my oysters anymore!

The prospect of helping Kayla with her essay and assisting in her success at college

Shabby Chic- the new cupcake and gelato cafe in Windham...so girlie...and so yummy :)

Watching the special bond I have with Ally grow even deeper with her love and attachment to Diana

Our New Athletic Director...Bill...I believe we got the best guy out there for the job and I am very excited to watch our athletic program at WHS grow

The Workout Club in Salem..when I workout there...I feel like I am already in shape...ahh that does wonders for my psyche ;)

Windham Boosters....oh what a fun group

Pinor Noir...very smooth

Facebook- although that has become more of an obsession

The cross of San Damiano

My daughters' daycare...Little Sprouts...the staff just calms every worry I have and Diana just LOVES them!

My newest "mommy" friends from Windham and the anticipation of the "mommy group" they are recruiting me to

The renovated Common Man

Sales at The Children's Place

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Time

So I have tossed and turned over this decision and things have happened...probably little signs from God telling me...it is time to step down as the President of the Windham PTA.

As I reflect back on my three years with the PTA, in this role (that is the only role I have held in this organization), I look back at stressful times, fond memories and moments that changed my life forever.

I remember when Zack brought home the pink flyer...the notorious PTA pink one. It talked about the need for volunteers to step up into PTA board roles. I thought...hey, now that group is a good idea...I would love to support my stepkids in school and give something back. When I connected with the then President, she told me that the PTA was in danger of disbanding...she was stepping down and no one was willing to step up to take on the job.

She said I was more than willing to come to a meeting...as I expressed interest in other board positions. The problem was, though, those other positions would not exist and nor would the group as a whole if no one stepped up to be President.

I told Rob one Summer evening in 2006, "I am going to a meeting to discuss the future of the PTA and how I can help...it is at one of the ladies homes in town." He said "great...thank you for taking such an interest in the kids..." etc etc...

I came back from the meeting that night and he asked, "how did it go?" and my reply? "I think I am the new President." He asked, "How do these things happen?" and the rest is history.

It has been a wild ride!! During my first board meeting, I walked into the most unfriendly room you could imagine. People weren't talking to each other...no one would make eye contact...and I was scared to death about what I had just gotten myself into.

I knew that one of my first goals would be to make everyone feel comfortable and wanted. We were all volunteers....shouldn't this be fun? I can proudly say that by my 2nd meeting, the vibe had turned around and we were off...most of our executive team was brand new and there was such fresh energy and creative ideas being tossed around...there was no looking back.

As many of you know, we have been building our first high school in Windham for the last several years. Election time was coming up and we decided as a group to take an active role in educating the public on their options and pushing for an option that would give us certain athletic facilities and a greenhouse for our science program. It was my first taste of politics and although at first I was petrified and felt bullied into speaking publicly on our stand and holding up signs, I truly was bitten by a bug.

Not everything passed during that election but because of our efforts, some things did pass and more progress was made on our high school plans. I also started to build some credibility in the community and meet some fantastic and influential individuals who have taught me so much.

I also learned some things the hard way. As a group, we made a few mistakes. At that time, I realized not everyone was a fan. One fellow resident, called the Attorney General on me and the PTA and I ended up getting a call at work. What I thought was a joke at first, turned out to be a serious complaint and we were issued a cease and desist that prohibited us from promoting our election beliefs on school property.

Scary? Yes! However, I have been through much scarier times in business and I found this time to be such a learning experience.

When all was said and done during my first year as President, we ended up winning the Top PTA unit in the State of NH. We were told at the Statewide Annual Conference, that we won this award with flying colors...no one even came close because of our grass roots advocacy initiative and the ongoing programs and education that we drove at all of our schools.

I am so proud of that award and the plaque still sits on my desk so I can look at it every day.

Last year was not as eventful, however, we continued to maintain some of the exciting programs we had started the year before. We also decided that during the election, instead of choosing to get behind a specific stand/article, we would make it our mission to educate the townspeople. It is disheartening, however, that after all of our hard work, only 1200 voters show up to the polls.

This year, I have felt that I have hit a wall. There seems to be some dissatisfaction among the group as I am not accessible during the day (I work whereas several board members do not) and I am now the mom of that beautiful little girl. Because of feeling some dissatisfaction and wanting to continue to impact my stepson's educational experience, I have decided that this will be my last year on the PTA board for awhile.

I am stepping down as President to give someone else a chance. I am also stepping down so that I have time to devote to the High School Boosters Program which is brand new. I am going to be heading up Publicity and PR and I am so excited. It is such a fun group and we already have plans in the works for some real fun fund-raising programs starting in the Spring- they will include a Gala and a Golf Tournament :)

Dr. Bass, our Superintendent, also called me personally. I was honored and even more excited. He asked me to be on a committee with him and a few others in town. This committee will make it their mission to publicize and educate the town on various educational initiatives coming down the pike.

In addition to the high school, there are several projects that need to be done- repairs to the other schools, a new middle school and public kindergarten starting this fall!

The PTA has been one of the highlights of my life...my plan is to rejoin...in some capacity once Diana is at Goldenbrook...until then...they are in great hands and I am ready to fly on to my next project once this school year wraps up :)

It's been real...

The San Damiano Cross

The San Damiano Cross is the icon cross that St. Francis of Assisi was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original cross presently hangs in the Basilica of Saint Clare (Basilica di Santa Chiara) in Assisi. Franciscans cherish this cross as the symbol of their mission from God. The cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who have a part in the meaning of the cross. The tradition of such crosses began in the eastern Church and was transported by Serbian monks to the Umbria district of Italy.

We were given this cross, as a family, as a gift at the 9:30 mass at St. Matthews last weekend. This is a new program that our wonderful new Pastor, Fr Steve, started. It has a deep meaning to us and to Fr Steve. As in the tradition of the San Damiano Cross in Italy, Fr Steve was brought to St Matthews to rebuild our faith and renew the energy of the parish. This is just one of the exciting adventures he has created.

Baby Diana also got a bottle of Holy Water...it was a very special mass for us and we have the cross hung proudly in our home.

Basketball Season

So Zack is still playing Rec Basketball in town and Rob is still coaching him. This year, however, he also made the school team and we are so proud of him. He has really developed into a solid athlete.

Diana and I got to catch one of his school games this week.

These pictures, however, are from his rec game last weekend...right before his much needed haircut!!! It was turning into a helmut...yes we have hair issues in this house ;)

Zack also had his first girlfriend this year...actually very recently...It lasted about a week and a half and from what I have been told...that is a LONG time in Middle School. Anyway...I asked about her the other day and he says "Oh her? I broke up with her!" I asked, "how did it go? what did you say?" He replied, "I went up to her and said, look this just isn't working." He then said, "it was so weird though...she never came to my games but after I broke up with her, she was there." I said to him, "well now that she can't have you, she will probably chase you...that is just what women do!" His reply? "That is just creepy."


Ally's Sweet Sixteenth!

So Ally turned 16 last week- can you believe it? I can't! When I met her, she was 8 years old and just the sweetest little thing.

She now tries to teach me how to parent...is pretty moody and yet is one of the best kids going. She has many friends because she is good to people, cares about others and invests in her relationships.

For a teenager...she ain't bad :)

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we let her have her closest friends over for a little shin dig and some of the girls slept over.

Diana, of course, was right in the middle of things. Ally wouldn't have it any other way. The girls had a blast playing Sing Star (the recent fave in the house) and snacking on special snacks I made- pineapple cocktail franks, chicken salad finger sandwiches, mexican dip and chips, relish dip and crackers and some yummy birthday cake for dessert.

Here are some pix...most of "The Morning After"...can't ya tell?

Happy Birthday Love Bug!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Reunion of Sorts at the CMan

So I had such a wonderful night tonight! I got together with two friends from town- Shandra and Julie.

I met Shandra through PTA. She has been living abroad, in Singapore, with her hubby and kids for close to two years. We really got to know each other over blogging and email and I am so glad we did. Connecting tonight just showed me how much we have in common! She will be back in July and I can't wait!

I got to know Julie through the Crichtons. She is also another "Ex-PTA Lady"...we had some great laughs and I am so excited to get involved with Julie's Moms' Clubs and to hang out with her more as well.

Tonight was a night when all of my fears were put to rest...my thoughts confirmed and I could be myself with friends from town.

We had a blast- thank you ladies :)

Caiden Turns 2!

Julie and Cory hosted a brunch to celebrate Caiden turning 2! The food was wonderful thanks to Cory, the Chef!!!

We had a blast and Diana enjoyed soaking up lots of attention!

Caiden seemed to enjoy his gifts...lots of fun toys...some very loud ;)

Jay's Surprise 30th on New Year's Night

So Cass and her mom planned one heck of a bash at the Blackwater Grille to surprise Jay for his 30th.

Christian Breen, owner of the BWG never disappoints. He knows how to throw a top shelf party- delicious food, great drinks and the decorations were top notch.

Rob and Mike played for an hour and entertained us with some classic tunes and Jay was truly surprised!
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