Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekly Gratitude

"People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Being grateful can help people cope with stress and can even have a beneficial effect on heart rate. This action is easy to do yet its benefits have been scientifically proven." Author Unknown

 A look back on all the things I have been thankful for in 2011 (as documented here)....when looking back, all I can think of is how blessed my family was this year...with health...with prosperity and most of all with answered prayers...God always has a plan


My husband coming home to us safely after a wonderful business trip to Las Vegas...in the midst of a snow storm when most flights were cancelled and delayed at best! (yes prayers work)

My stepson Zack and my stepdaughter Allison and all of the help and support they provided me while Rob was away (especially since it was also tech week for my show and I was at rehearsal every night)

My father-in-law who checked on me constantly and plowed out our driveway after our HUGE snowstorm

Diana starting to ask to go potty more and more and successfully doing so multiple times daily!

My awesome bosses who were flexible with me this week and very supportive of my return to the stage

The AWESOME head shots my hubby took for our cast!

and for the help from new Windham friends...quick costume changes...taping of the body mikes, etc...and for my wonderful stage partner Jonathan...You're The Top...let's bring the house down tonight!
The way my parents love my daughter

Diana's sleepovers at Grammy and Papa's...a new chapter

My job...my husband's job...jobs that we look forward to going to

Our warm home...during the coldest week of the year thus far

New friends from WAG...and karaoke night with them...

Lobster rolls and martinis with Debbie...aka Kitten

Diana singing my songs from the show...Magic To Do...Put on a Happy Face...Friendship


The opportunity to take Diana to see Sesame Street Live and her reaction of pure awe and joy

oh and we cannot forget the margaritas at Garcia Brogan's...yeah maybe they made my mom and I sick but they truly tasted like the nectar of the Gods...closest thing to Poco's around

Not losing power this winter, as of yet...with several MAJOR snowstorms (we lose power when the wind blows the wrong way in Windham yo)

Friday night bliss...first one I have had since Friday November 19th- why? Let's just look at the blackberry (now mind you, I had lots of fun but still, not my Friday night chill with wine, sushi and a chick flick after Diana is in bed and Rob is at his gig!) Humor me peeps: Nov 26th (Thanksgiving weekend in York with the fam), Dec 3rd (Christmas shopping with Monkey), Dec 10th (Cass's Silpada Party), Dec 17th (the end of the Christmas shopping with Monkey), Dec 24th (Christmas Eve- enough said), Dec 31st (New Year's Eve- again enough said), Jan 7th (Zack's basketball game), Jan 14th (opening night of my show!), Jan 21st (had kitten over for dinner and relationship counseling) and this past Frday???? Ahhhh.....spicy tuna roll, Pepperwood Pinot and Love Happens...pure bliss!

Two contract starts this week

Being asked to help manage the campaigns of two friends running for school board...two impressive and bright friends that add so much to our community

Our parents...as always...just a wonderful support system..I know not everyone has this and I never take it for granted

The new judges on American Idol...can I just say how beautiful Jennifer Lopez is...I can't stop staring at her...her skin...her hair...her teeth and then her personality makes her that much more beautiful and then Steven Tyler? I have always been a fan but even more so now when I can see his true passion for music...the chemistry between him and Lopez is infectious..and Randy "Dog" is actually being kinda chill this year...much more appealing

Having the privilege to have known and worked with Brian Carne- may he rest in peace

For Diana and Mimi's Valentine Cookie making today...just precious

For the Z Pack...strep throat this week- YUCK!

For a new client...with 5 new jobs for me- YAHOO!

The wonderful chicken orzo soup my hubby made for us this week...delish and very healing!

Being able to score Daddy Daughter Dance tix last Saturday....Cass and I had a BLAST waiting in line at the rec dept for two hours, outside in the freezing cold...sound crazy? It is BUT it is THE thing to do in Windham and we ended up 2nd in line and they ALWAYS sell out EVERY YEAR:) Stay tuned for mega pix...the dance will be on March 26th

Ally getting into college and being there to see her open her very first acceptance letter

Overdue gratitude alert....a very special visit from Kayla...Diana had so much fun with her big sister...it is so nice to have conversations with Kayla now...can't believe she is an adult..where did the time go???

work...work...work...having GREAT jobs to work on again...forgot how fun our business is and now remember why I have been doing this for 15 years

Claribel- a new magician with a blow dryer- at Bella

Special Dunks trips with Monk and Ally for an afternoon pick-me-up

Zack's courage...stay tuned...really keeping it on the down low but so proud of him for something big he accomplished this week

Mimi's visit with special valentine's gifts including a VERY fancy bottle of wine...all for ME! ha ha

Gossiping with Papa Bob...I end up in tears from laughter when he gives me his take on certain things...and certain someones

a 60 degree day today...holla! (breaking out the open-toed shoes for a night out with my WAG friends tonight)


Mary and the power of the rosary

Kale Chips (Thanks Cass! Separate post coming for this one!)

Major success at work last week- success that will actually put money in our pocketbook for once

Parenthood (On Demand)

My hubby's new boss


Ring Around The Rosary with Diana

and of course our special and surprise date night...will remember that forever Rob xoxo
Lent and thank you to my friend (who I don't even know) for the beautiful prayer book she gave me this week

Thanks to my mother for showing me the beauty in life. We had such a wonderful day yesterday celebrating her birthday...shopping..gossiping...like two "school girl." pure bliss

Excellent election results in town- we are getting our permanent kindergarten, our facilities master plan passed which means the improvements will start on all schools in town and Michelle and Stephanie both got elected to school board- hooray! We are in great hands! Thank you to everyone who came out to vote- not nearly enough did but the right people did and they voted the right way!

The cast of The Drowsy Chaperone at WHS for an entertaining evening! Wow- we were impressed- such strong talent at the high school level! Thank you for giving it your all!

Thank you to my co-workers for all pulling together and working as hard as we can to capitalize on the return of the employment market- you have inspired me especially over the last three months- you are rocking it!

Thankful always but need to say it for my husband and beautiful family

Voice class and discovering that I can sing a ballad...grateful for Annie in Annie Get Your Gun and the song They Say It's Wonderful which is becoming my new audition piece- can't believe I am writing that!

A fun-filled time at Imagine that with Jules and fam...watching the joy in Diana's face and knowing she is at her happiest is priceless...and getting to spend quality time with one of my besties at the same time is also priceless!

The strength to do without chocolate this lent (so far so good- God please continue to help me!)

The wonderful priest at morning mass and our pastor at St Matt's on Sundays

Business continuing to pick up...pray that my brother can find a new job soon

Sales at Old Navy

Dinner with a dear friend...one that always makes me want to be a better person...one that inspires me..so thankful that PTA brought us together years ago

The drama at the Breton household this week...what else is new right? It truly makes me laugh so hard...Bambi tried to leave us..not sure where she thought she would find something better but it caused mass chaos...Ally (being 18) took it upon herself to go to the police station...Rob was roaming the neighborhoods...Zack even went into the woods..so scary because we live on a main road but thankful to the woman who picked her up and brought her to the Dog Officer...$40 later she is home...ugh but kinda funny and thankful she is home...when the time is right, want to have the chance to say goodbye :(

Belly laughs with my family...usually because "Uncle Matt" is doing a dead on impression of "Papa Pete" when he doesn't understand what Diana is asking for...flippin hysterical

More business

Modern Family...the show keeps getting better and better

Diana's dance class...there is nothing like watching two year olds dance and have fun...at the same time, it is so fun bonding with other moms..already have play dates set up and birthday parties to attend!

My hubby cooking dinner...delish and a nice break

Being able to pull off skinny jeans...bought them for the heck of it at GAP and did not gag when I looked at myself...paired them with some awesome gray flannel embellished ballet flats, hot pink ruffle jacket and embellished tank and I am good to go!

DKNY woman

being invited to my cousin's wedding...not only being invited but having our entire family included..a true honor and something that touched me more than they will ever know

HCG...let's give it a whirl

Bonding time with Zack

Wow! What a week! There were so many emotional highs and lows. I am most grateful that we all, as a family, came out unscathed (well for the most part).

I am thankful for the Windham Daddy Daughter dance...I don't think I have ever seen Diana so happy and excited. (though she kept Rob running around all night...chasing her...he wouldn't have traded it for the world AND Mama had some quality girl time with her BFF at their favorite Windham hangouts)

I am thankful that my stepdaughter Ally is okay. The same night, Rob got the call that Ally had been in a car accident...car is really bad...Ally is ok...Thank GOD

I am thankful for the Jass Brothers. This was Rob's band in the 90's and early 2000's...it is actually how we met...the Jass Brothers, however, finished up about 10 years ago. Once in awhile, we are graced with a special gig. On Saturday night, they came together for Bella who is a little girl in the next town over. Bella got strep throat and the infection went into her bloodstream and she ended up losing all four limbs- every parents' worst fear. The boys came together and it was amazing. When the three of them get together it is pure magic. I was so melancholy. It was a quick one hour set in the middle of a benefit. My old friend John (also a huge Jass fan) took me out for dinner first and then we enjoyed the band. I was very emotional and probably because of my next item.

I am thankful that my husband flew out to New Orleans safely on Sunday and flew back to us safely yesterday (you all know how much I just LOVE flying- tongue in cheek here) He is home safe AND Diana gave him the best welcome I have ever seen...made us all cry and do a group hug in the middle of the airport!

I am thankful that my car only had $300 worth of repairs today needed AND NOT the need for a new transmission

I am thankful for new clients this week...as soon as you fill jobs and help clients, you kinda panic and ask yourself...Oh no! What is next? (on the same note, I am so excited that a special client paid on time and I will be getting my first award for it!)

I am thankful for my stepson Zack, who was truly the man of the house when his dad was gone...he even made dinner for the Monk and him on Monday night...he is one of a kind

I am thankful for the years we have had with Bambi, our beloved bulldog. It is time to put her down. We are so sad but it is selfish to keep her here. She is very sick...she is almost 100% blind and she has lost all control. Saturday will be a day of mixed emotions. She was a great dog and a loyal friend to our family...we will love her forever and never forget her. (the picture attached to this post is from 2007 when I started this blog- Bambi was healthy and 4 years younger- this picture accompanied one of my very first posts)

I am trying to be thankful for the April Fools Snow storm tomorrow? NOT!

I am thankful for Marianne Bemister and her Biggest Loser competition in Windham.

I am thankful for my parents and in-laws who love my child so much...I have never witnessed such love for one little human being!

I am thankful for my girlfriends...it sometimes feels like they help to carry me through life

Quality swim time with Diana and Ally- love watching sisters having fun

Bambi Breton- as Rob described to us, her passing was so peaceful and she was so happy- it was also confirmed that we were making the right decision when the Vet told Rob she had dropped 10 pounds- so much for a bull dog- still so sad- so much more quiet around here- Bambi was a good friend and never talked back (well almost never)- so grateful for her companionship for 7 years

Alone time with my hubby

Mass on Sunday with the whole family and getting our first opportunity to bring up the gifts during the offering (as a family) :)

Griffin Park- forever grateful- and so happy to be able to visit the park weekly again now that the snow has melted!

Circuit Training and the Biggest Loser- in full swing- have completely left my comfort zone- in one week, I feel like my life has already changed so much- oh yeah and the elliptical that I would never touch at the gym (for fear that I would fall off)? I jumped on and haven't looked back- have been on it a few times at circuit and then a few more times at my gym- and I actually LOVE it! :)

Performing my audition piece at our final voice class- sang a ballad (and pretty well- surprised that I did so) in front of the group and got kudos from my director/instructor who as a former professional opera singer- learned a lot from her and thankful to have exercises to practice and improve my voice before future auditions

Awesome mini-fam dinner at The Tuscan Kitchen- you must try the Cappellacci Salad- mixed wild greens, candied pecans, marinated apples, goat cheese and squash filled home made pasta- out of this world! (and Monk gives their pizza two thumbs up!)

The joy Diana is experiencing with her new Dora bike- I am so glad we were able to do this for her- it is the first thing she runs to every day now!

Our new friends from dance class- yes Diana is having fun with her dance class pals but Mama is too- it is so fun meeting moms my age and getting together for play dates!

Falling in love with working out again!


The Booster Babes and a VERY productive meeting this week!

Thankful for dropping 8 pounds in two weeks

for a great client meeting this week (which produced a great job too!)

A great lunch at Lucky's Lounge and the discovery of the Sinatra Brunch- cha ching!

Holy Week- my favorite week in church all year

Quality family time

Friendship and support from people I never thought would even care about me- God works in mysterious ways


Inner strength and peace

My healthy girl


Answered prayers

A WONDERFUL Easter weekend filled with tons of quality family time- and especially baking with Mimi on Holy Saturday

Working out- still!

WAG friends and the promise of a new season of great shows!

Lobster Tail fun

Prince William and the New Princess- The Royal Wedding- I have been up since 4am watching- did you doubt it?
so grateful for exercise and willpower...Down 12 pounds and not stopping..."can't stop, won't stop"...that's for you Christine

Spontaneous time with my BFF...coffee...lunch...catching up...priceless!

Looking smashing in a dress for Ally's graduation AND it is ONE SIZE SMALLER...I almost cried in the dressing room! So excited :)

Neon pink...love that it is becoming more popular...adding a few more pieces to the wardrobe :)

Grammy and Papa's chicken pot pie family dinner...several laughs watching Papa's old commercials for Breton Brothers Ideal Foods and enjoying the pie that Oprah has been raving about! (even Monk liked it!)

Polar Bob and my new polar watch! Now I know where my heart rate needs to be when I am working out, in order to burn fat and maximize my calorie burning...such an invention...I am psyched!

New friends...meeting through a healthy activity like exercise is good for the soul

Dance pals

Spring and my hubby buying the supplies for Mimi's and my garden...can't wait to start building and planting!

My mother...the best ever...Happy Mother's Day to this gorgeous woman!
a Happy Home and a constant and positive environment for our kids

Diana's love of the water

Lucia's Bodega- a winery in town that carries some of our faves :)

A wonderful dinner and more importantly sharing it with good friends

6 great years with BFS

my darling little girl and her strong spirit
Deep talks with Ally Bean

A fun family dinner night complete with a dance party

Rehearsing again with some of my favorite peeps- so excited to be performing again in a few short weeks with WAG!

Answered prayers...being heard

Office Humor

My fitness- booyah!

Lightening striking twice

Understanding the strength and talent inside and not giving up because a man thinks I can't do it

Quality girl time...BFFs and their little girls on a Friday night...complete with lots of giggling, great wine and chicken enchilada soup!

A successful surprise 40th for the BFF...great night of catching up with friends

A Sunday drive to help out a friend

An opportunity of a life time

My parents...for always helping me out and taking such good care of our little "Princess Attitude"

Putting on my "Happy Face" again and rockin' it with my "stage hubby"

Running....with more strength and speed than I have ever had before!

BEAUTIFUL spring weather heading into one of my favorite weekends of the year!

My in-laws for always being there

Treating myself to a french manicure because yes I am down 15 pounds! WOOHOO!
Wow..I am late with this! Life has been CRAZY!

I am thankful for some excellent summertime reading

Beautiful weather for a drink on the deck with friends

Enjoying a cocktail with my stepdaughter who is 21-can't believe it- quality girl time-priceless

Family wedding fun

The first dip into the Atlantic Ocean but more importantly seeing Diana's pure joy being in the ocean

For being able to be the better person

For being respected for my work and for being given an opportunity that I could have only dreamed of

For Mary's listening ear

For our health

For our sanity

For a great rehearsal and the anticipation of another fun show together

For some of the best people I have ever had the honor of working with...my second family... I am filled with such mixed emotions but I am grateful for these bonds that will never be broken

For the fact that my hubby's injury, with all things considered, was minor (and he will still be able to play his guitar soon!)

For my hubby and stepson's hard work to make our yard look beautiful this week (so sorry that you both have to suffer with poison ivy now!) :(

For an understanding boss who said I would always be welcome back should I want to return

For the dance experience with Diana..I have loved being there to experience her joy...and this week especially a great dress rehearsal!

For being able to shop again!

For Ally Bean and all of her accomplishments...especially as she graduates from Salem High tonight!

so grateful that we could all experience Diana's first dance recital together...we were so proud...she did her dance like a big girl and looked so precious doing it...i was truly crying and laughing at the same time!

so grateful to Christian and his Blackwater Grill...I have said it a million times and I will say it again...the man is AMAZING and so very generous...he gave us a wonderful little celebration for Diana with fancy appetizers...a funky salad right up my alley and red and white sangria

so grateful for The Bake Shop on Kelley Street in Manchester....they made the most adorable and delicious bumble bee cupcakes for Diana and then did a BANG UP JOB on Ally's graduation cake...they are our new favorite...so talented and more importantly WONDERFUL to work with...shout out to the owner Denise- thank you!

so grateful for a great family gathering to celebrate Ally and her high school graduation...special special day

so grateful that I have learned some important things from some colleagues...details that I am glad I know now and make my move in a few more weeks all that more positive...details that helped me realize I am truly making the right decision and will be with people who truly appreciate all the hours of work I put in (24x7)

so grateful to know that in life and in work and in exercise...hard work pays off...I feel that I am changing every day..physically...mentally and spiritually and realize more than ever that prayers are answered

Diana's love of the water...another mermaid in the making

A wonderful dinner with my future partner in crime with our hubbies- if you haven't tried it, pay a visit to All Seasons Table in Malden- best sushi ever!

A very special father's day...great to spend such quality time with the wonderful men in our lives

AWESOME circuit workouts...looking around the gym and knowing I was strong...I didn't quit...I finished with a bang!

A great result for the final weigh in!

The basil growing like wild on my deck and the wonderful return of our caprese salad suppers! I LOVE SUMMER

My sweet girl as always- please say prayers as she has been ill this week

Last but not least for my brother getting the job...a great job...another answer to the rosary! So happy for him and so so grateful!

Thankful for this picture and everything it means in my life

Thankful that Diana is feeling better...on the mend all around

Great work friends and relationships to last a lifetime...trying not to feel the sadness...makes it easier right now

A future team that is trusting me to take things to a new level...so flattered and so excited to get started

Summer....finally :)

Cape Cod and my BFF

Being a Mom

Being a daughter

Being a wife

Being a Stepmom

Being strong enough to leave my comfort zone

Thankful as always for all of these gifts

The new digs...not just the digs, in fact that is just an extra perk...my new firm...my wonderful business partner...my awesome boss who has so much faith in me...so so grateful that it is truly overwhelming...can't thank God enough

a wonderful time in Baltimore...and the chance to crack crabs! HA!

the rosary

OUR garden...you won't believe the size of our plants already...in fact, this week, I am going to experiment with the zucchini blossoms that we have- stay tuned!

Dance Moms and summer fun

Being able to grow a garden! Rob just spotted our first zucchini yesterday (see above)...this first veggie will go to my mommy with her green thumb and the biggest reason why this garden is thriving!

A new business to learn...productivity....good stress!

Matty in the Morning...still...after all these years

A wonderful client visit at Brigham and Women's...wow...I felt like I was truly on the set of Grey's Anatomy...I was in awe as soon as I walked in the front door...my business partner is already laughing at me...ha ha!

Griffin Park...summer walks there...nothing beats the peace I feel there

Conversations with my daughter

Unconditional love from Roberto...everything is ok when he is around

Our first garden veggie- the "big zucchini"- went right to my Mama who made our garden grow :)

An informative business lunch with our clients over at MGH

New business that I brought in- WOOHOO and actually feeling that I am really good at this- it has been way too long since I have had business confidence!

Feeling appreciated again- again, it has been way too long

HOT summer days...this weather reminds me more and more of my childhood when we would play under the sprinkler...jump in the pool and the special days when Mum would take us to the beach!

a wonderful reunion with my College Pal Sharon and learning she will be back in a few short months again- CANNOT wait for Thanksgiving Eve :)

a beautiful night in Boston with my Mama...couldn't talk fast enough...wanted to get everything out...it has been a while since one of our girl nights...great margaritas...yummy nachos and ever fun gossip :)
Instagram- a wonderful app on my hubby's iPhone- makes pix look old fashioned and there are several styles to choose from- see Exhibit A above ;)

Summer fun for Diana and me with my BFF and her girls- fun that reminded us so much of our childhoods...giggles of little girls running around outside...jumping through sprinklers....

The love and excitement of a new job and a feeling of true accomplishment at the end of the day

Diana getting kicked out of a dance class for a few minutes this week- gave us some entertainment and confirmed that we have our hands full!

Dance Moms- their friendship and being able to vent to people who completely understand what I am going through!  I bow to them :)

Beautiful summer weather and spending much time at the beach

Experiencing Diana's joy at Canobie Lake...and watching my stepkids take such great care of her and share in her excitement <3

Our garden that is producing real veggies-still can't believe it!

My stepson's philosophy to life and love

Having bronchitis because it meant that I had to go to the pharmacy for my meds and I actually successfully recruited our pharmacist- woohoo!  (I know I am crazy)

A chance to rest and get better because my hubby is the bomb, as usual

Hall Pass- hysterical movie- love belly laughs

Coffee talks with the BFF- never gets old

Living so close to the ocean...and getting to enjoy an evening there last weekend

Quality mini-fam time

Having 2 go-to hairdressers...I know Cass will make fun of me for this one..but those who know me, know the curse I was born with and it is so nice to have two talent, patient hair stylists that I can call at the last minute- fee lucky- if they can do my hair, they can do anyone's hair!

The pace and activity in my new office...grateful because I thrive in fast paced environments like this one and I have a business partner who I love to work with

Booster babes an all of the fun fall planning we started last night...I love high school football season!  (Thanks Zack)

My parents always but for taking Diana to York Wild Animal Kingdom yesterday...Diana had a blast and I love all of the tales my parents regale me with...

This guy...the beekeeper/pest control dude...for getting rid of the bees that attacked my hubby and me...so thankful that we are not allergic and more thankful that Monkey was left alone

For being able to make dinner for my parents on a cozy Friday  night...I always say I cook to show my love...or as Emeril would say "It's a food of love thing"...and then of course my Mama reciprocated...gotta love family dinners

An awesome date night with my hubby...great weather and a wonderful show...I missed Toad the Wet Sprocket and they brought back so many great college memories

A rainy Sunday to get some cleaning and organizing (and resting) in...

The start of the high school football season and a successful parent meeting...this is going to be the most exciting year yet for Zack- first year with four classes at the high school and on the football field!

The Booster Babes

My WAG friends

Lots of business from National Accounts right now and being overwhelmed at times with the volume...that is my happy place!

Quality time with the BFF and our girls....Japanese....Park...Pizza...Bowling...wow we do it all!  Just so grateful that Diana can have a friend like I do :)

Quality beach time with Mimi...I love watching Diana in her happy place especially when her and Mimi are sharing special moments

A wonderful anniversary w/ my hubby (and the monk of course)...breakfast and shopping!  woohoo

The feeling of true accomplishment at the end of each day

Having such an awesome business partner to work with AND a new friend at the same time

Quality time with my stepkids this week...and yeah it may have included the Jersey Shore ;)

The ability to run

Family Love Always...

A few days late...long story

A gig free night for my hubbo and all of  his help preparing for the Princess's big Dora Party...lotta work but we have fun doing it together!

A perfect day for our baby girl's party...there is nothing better than watching your child in her/his happy zone...that is the best gift!

A beautiful 70th birthday celebration for my Dad...nothing like quality family time

After feeling my first earthquake, just thankful that everyone is okay...we knew we were rocking it in our bullpen but we really weren't sure what the shaking was all about!

A FANTASTIC 3 mile run outside with two friends this week...just reminds me how much more fun and encouraging it is to have friends to exercise with AND gets me even more psyched for the 5k we are doing in September at our high school!  WOOHOO!  CAN'T STOP- WON'T STOP!

For just being right where I am supposed to be...

Working successfully on my first perm deal at the new firm

Dinner with a great friend from town...just love deep conversations

Being able to experience moving my stepdaughter into college and realizing how deep are relationship really is- true gift (with all of the attitude and ups and downs, it is still so worth it)

A wonderful time in the city with my hubby...alone time...Red Sox...dinner...romance...and a big thanks to my parents for keeping "The Monk" overnight

Quality family time during Hurricane Irene

Speaking of Irene- so thankful our family and friends were safe and that we only lost power for a couple of days this time

Quality time with the BFF as she treated me to an early birthday dinner- the wine tasting at Tuscan Kitchen- we had a ball despite the duck liver pate ;)

Awesome running with great friends as we prepare for a 5K!

Jersey Shore- Oh my God did I just say that?  CAN'T....TURN...IT....OFF....what is the MATTER with me???

and I need to ask for patience and faith as Diana's terrible 2's have turned into the horrible 3's...she is being defiant...difficult with potty training an having even more tantrums...grateful to be a mom and thankful to have our parents and friends to get us through this...sometimes I feel like I am just going crazy!

Friday afternoon drive to UNH- perfect weather and perfect tunage

Successful team dinner for Zack- great kick off to the football season

AWESOME birthday with the ones I love

The fun of building a great team

The return of the sun

Being someone's first choice

Being able to run

Our health

Our hopes and dreams

Thankful to have this blog as a means to share my gratitude as well as my prayers, thoughts and intentions on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and always- may all of the families affected by that awful day find some peace and love within themselves and their families this weekend

For the time I got to spend with my Auntie Angie.  She passed away on September 11th.  My Dad's mom/my Nani Binda died when I was in 4th grade.  Her death hit me very hard.  From the moment she passed on, however, her sister, "Auntie Angie", stepped in to fill that void.  She was a wonderful person.  She was dealt a very tough deck- went through so much pain in her lifetime and still always made time for others.  Her husband died when they were in their 40's and she was left to raise two children all alone.  He was her true love-she never married again.  Her daughter, after losing weight and becoming "healthy" dropped dead in step aerobics class on the same day that her father had passed and at the same age- 42.  Horrific.  My Aunt carried on.  She raised her grandchildren after that and was always a support to all of us.  The moment that stands out above all for me though was when I walked into my wedding shower (for my first wedding)....I had hugged my mom and soon to be mother-in-law and then made my way to the back of the room where my bridesmaids were.  My Nani (my mom's mom) came up to hug me and congratulate me and then without missing a beat, Auntie called "Holly!" and she got up to hug me and to fill in for my Nani (my dad's mom)...I still well up every time I think about it...she truly looked at us like her grandkids and I will never forget it.  Her funeral is tomorrow and her granddaughter Deanna asked me to do a reading.  I was so touched and I guess I didn't realize I was that important to her.  I will tell you, however, I feel so important and loved at this very moment.  I am so so thankful to have had her as my aunt.

Although the rest of thanks this week will pale in comparison to Auntie, I must continue to give thanks for my everyday gifts.

I am thankful that I was able to complete a 5K and not any regular 5k- a torturous run, through a cross country trail of several hills, ditches, etc....it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do physically (outside of giving birth) and I am proud...so thankful for my running partners who also never left my side.

I am thankful for a successful football parents tailgating party.  Although the Boosters might put an end to our football fun, we had a blast and I am thankful we got to do it at least once.

I am thankful for my daughter's happiness while apple picking...I love watching her when she squeals with delight.

I am so thankful for feeling appreciated at work.  I am so thankful that I am able to work two days from home so I can raise my daughter and yet I am trusted to do my thing and run a business and the success is showing in the numbers.  I don't think I can ever explain how lucky I feel and how grateful I truly am.  I am busting at the seems with pride, happiness and gratitude.
A fun trip to Fall Mountain...never had to drive 2 hours for one of the kids' sporting events but the JAGS made it so worthwhile...Rob and I enjoyed a scorpion bowl and some chinese on the way up in Claremont...some of the parents agreed that we need to make that a group party next time- check!

Gymnastics and breakfast with out BFFs...such fun girl time!

A successful photo shoot for Diana- because of some advice from a pro, I took Diana to have some pictures taken and she ATE IT UP!

Cozy fall night with my parents...made one of my specialities- Autumn Risotto.....just never gets old...we had a ball

A healthy check up for Diana...still can't believe she is 3!

The friendships I made at my last company

Making peace

For the return of the nicest man at morning mass who leads our rosary...back from summer vaca...perhaps the Cape?  May never know but just glad he is back

Business....business....business....so grateful we have it!

An AWESOME weekend with Ally Bean...from picking her up on Friday night to Diana's endless squeals...to getting my special gift (UNH Stepmom Shirt- LOVE LOVE LOVE IT) to quality time and so many laughs and for being able to help her with a very special paper she is writing about how the birth of Diana has changed her in so many ways

A great homecoming for Zack...getting his swagger back...love seeing him so happy and love the success this football team is finally experiencing...much deserved

For Claribel....the greatest hairdresser who ever existed

To new found friends in town...it just keeps getting better

and for our Homecoming Duck- LOVE
My daughter's love of Halloween and being able to share in her excitement and live through the eyes of a child

Being able to scare her (I know it sounds twisted but hear be out) with the threat of calling the police- Diana is not scared of anything-she is a fearless child UNLESS you bring the police up- if she thinks you are going to call them if she is doing something bad or if she hears a siren in the distance and knows she is not listening, she straightens right up and gets in the zone...what makes this even more funny is that Rob and Zack have a police siren app on their iPhones and play it and that is when she is really scared into doing the right thing- twisted but hysterical and grateful we have something to keep her on the right path (10% of the time anyway)
For the great team my business partner and I have put together- they make it so fun to go to work and I love looking at the young girls with their whole lives in front of them and remembering when I was their age trying to impress my bosses- they are keeping me young!

For the power of prayer and the fact that we are here- looking back to a year ago, I am so grateful for where we are today and that we have pulled through some of our toughest days
for quality min-fam time....I love when Diana has fun..nothing like watching her happiness

football friends...just keep getting better

for Marianne...my trainer...thank God for her

for being able to make my boss happy and proud and for feeling like I am good at something again...just a little more business confidence has already gone a long way!
for always being welcomed back to morning mass by friends who don't even know my name

for the photo challenge while it lasted...I am giving up today because I know that not all of these photos will be possible to take..fun while it lasted ;)

for warmth....for our health...for structure...routine...family....friends...security...the little and the BIG things...so thankful
For answered prayers...

For safe flights and a safe trip for my hubby...

for Rob being able to see Nashville...a city he always wanted to get to because of the music mecca that it is...

for finding the perfect and FLATTERING dress for my upcoming 20th high school reunion-score!  (Gotta love Nordi's)

For the new and successful team we have put together at work...we just realized yesterday that 3 of us our step-moms!!  Guaranteed it is a big reason why we all get along so well!  (One of my new work pals, Heather, brought in a bag of clothes for  Diana because her daughter has outgrown them- so nice!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them too...

For little things like my dentist covering my ENTIRE crown because of a mistake his office made- LOVE him  (and all of the mistakes they make) ;)

For a great Friday night with my mom...nothing like deep conversations...great cocktails and apps and belly laughs to last a lifetime!
For being able to live vicariously through Diana...love getting excited again about things like Halloween because she experiences so much excitement and joy...there is nothing like it...here she is with her dance pals during Halloween Costume Day!

and for carving jack-o-lanterns...one of my favorite past-times (and thankful I have the best sport of a husband who gets into everything to make me happy!)

for being able to share the WHS football experience with my parents....such a great time!

for the return of great workouts!  WOOHOO!  

for new friends at work...we have such a great group and I am thankful for the ability to build great teams!  We celebrated hitting some hefty numbers last night at The Venetian Moon- wonderful!
for my step kids and the relationships I have with them...it has not always been easy but I am so proud of the love and trust we have built...so much work but oh so worth it...they are all so special in their own ways and I am grateful I can be a big part of their lives

and for just pure silliness that we enjoy every day!!!

oh yeah and snow in October?  thankful?  Well...to put a positive spin on it....just thankful it wasn't much and we can all drive safely (and thankful it will be back in the 60's by next week!)

as my Dad always said..." honey there's frost on the pumpkin!"
Good friends....

Our awesome parents for not only taking us in and feeding us but being so excited about it

Quality family time

Job Security

Great workouts

Dancing with the Stars...Parenthood...Modern Family...

For the experience that Zach got to have with football this year- we are so thankful that he experienced so much play time and a championship season..we gave him a special gift this week that I made along with a very special card.
and for strategy...hard work and rewards

for my little monkey who continues to amaze us with her vocabulary.

and for continuous quality family time...Diana making cookies with my parents....sleep overs at Grammy and Papa's....Ally coming home from college....wonderful conversations and endless love

and to all of our Veterans...we salute you...thank you for the gift of freedom
So thankful for so many gifts...especially this time of year...stay tuned for my Facebook list next week of 24 Days of Thanks

I am thankful for the academic and athletic experience that my stepson is enjoying in our town

I am thankful for antibiotics and how quickly they clear up sickness

I am thankful for the kind words my boss shared with me this week- he continuously makes me feel appreciated

I am thankful that I could afford to give my husband a great birthday gift of Bruins tickets...he was able to enjoy a great night with his son that they will remember forever

I am thankful for the alone time with my girl...even if I am working for half of it...quality physical time is therapeutic for both of us

I am thankful for the memories I have been able to make with my family and extended family
I am thankful for the "Diehards"

I am thankful for Ramona Quimby

I am thankful for a great team

I am thankful for a supportive family

I am thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving Eve with a full house of kiddos...the success of new recipes and DVR!

I am thankful for quality time with the kiddos and an awesome Turkey Trot!

I am thankful for family love and an epic Thanksgiving
I am thankful for online only Black Friday Deals- score!
I am thankful for my high school reunion- proud of where I have been and what I have made of my life

I am thankful for Joe and our potential on Newbury Street ;)

I am thankful for a booming business

I am thankful for the ability to network

and I can't believe I am saying this but I am very thankful for Siri and so glad I was pushed into the new iPhone 4s...WOW!

I am thankful for my one true love...my best friend and my passion

Quality Mini Fam time including Monkey's first time at the movies...so grateful we could give her that experience

Having the energy to work hard

Being able to work out and get that high that has become addicting

The ability to strategize

The desire to help others

For dreams and goals

I know I have said it before but I will say it to infinity...the job security and corporate success my husband and I are both enjoying

The hope we have for the future and the opportunities for our family

Being able to give back...being able to do nice things for special friends and family

I am personally thankful that I can pick up the phone and call my mom whenever I want...a gift I do not take for granted

A great trip to North Conway with good friends who were gracious enough to host us for the weekend!

The hope that Diana's behavior over the last month is only a phase...right?  God are you listening to me?  Even my parents say I was never this bad!

Insta Friday

life rearranged

Here is what our week looked like through the eyes of my i-Phone and the Instagram app :)
Christmas craft time with Miss Diana on Friday night- a cozy eve of the eve :)

The next morning Diana was up at 4am (yes for the day- ugh) ...we tried to make her snuggle with us but she is so rough that this didn't last for long!

Then we were off visiting and partying and Christmas Eve'ing...

Uncle Matt scored big this Christmas by giving Diana what she asked Santa for..."Purple Headphones" (just precious)

Going to bring Ally to work...styling in her new shades and fur vest

Wednesday night Alexis and Cass came over to exchange Christmas presents...the girls got to get wild for a little bit and then we bopped on down to The Lobster Tail for a quick din din...not so relaxing there....story for another day..ha ha!

Here is my Clark Griswold, last night, as he was de-tangling some of my necklaces...that light did come in handy Papa..he is going to kill me when he sees this! ;)

Linking up with Jeannette..hope you all had an amazing week!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

Another Spectacular Christmas

Monkey was so excited to wake up to "more presents from Santa?!"

Her big gift was a portable DVD player with a collection of 12 classic Disney movies
 New Barbie Phone (just like Mama's iPhone) :)
 Shopping carriage complete with groceries!

 The Ariel Tub Doll

 Dress Up Clothes!

and then the rest of the kiddos joined us and the opening frenzy began!

When Grammy and Papa arrived, it was another opening frenzy (overboard again!)

and then Mimi and Papa and Aaron arrived and our group was complete!
We started with Christmas cocktails, hot crab dip and filets wrapped in bacon

and then we enjoyed a traditional Italian Christmas Dinner
Our first course was gnocchis that my parents got at Bella in Medford

After that is was Pork Crown Roast, Cornbread and Black Cherry Stuffing, Grammy's Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beens with Bacon and Shallots, Salad and Parker House Rolls

 MY Clark Griswold :)

Obligatory Family Shots before Dessert

and Mr. Aaron blessed us with the most delicious homemade rum cake (he is quite the baker!)

We also had Mum's decadent Christmas Cookies, Gram's Custard Pie, My chocolate peppermint dessert and plenty more

After the feeding frenzy and the last guest had left...we settled in for one more showing of Christmas Vacation...we just can't get enough of that movie!

Merry Christmas to you my friends!
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