Jan 22

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 22

Today I am grateful for a son and a nephew that are not just cousins, but are the best of friends. It has been a blessing to have someone for Zach to grow up with that is close in age as the next youngest sibling is 5 years older and the oldest is twice his age. Having Mitchell around, especially when all the kids were home only added to the mayhem we called home. When you have 5 kids, what’s one more? And then add their friends … ya, it was chaos, but it was our amazingly fun chaos.   Dinner conversations were sillier with the younger ones around and they only added to the mix with food and noises.  Summer time fires out back and they would roast marshmallows and be so tired and fall asleep so we would carry them inside and tuck them in.  Birthdays were great because they loved to help open gifts and blow out candles and eat cake and ice cream.  Watching them find Easter eggs always was just filled with laughter and joy.  Whatever big present Zach got for Christmas, Mitchell did as well so we could all enjoy them together.  This past year is the first one we couldn’t figure out a gift they would both like after 13 years.

The sampling of pictures below are only a few of ones we have of the two of them together. They have shared all the holidays, school vacations (sometimes for the whole week), summer camping trips and sleepovers all throughout the year. It was so much fun to set up a pop up tent in our living room so they could “pretend” to have a camp out when they were little. They liked to jump on the trampoline with all the other kids at 5 and 6am on the weekends. They enjoyed more jumping off the bunk beds in the house and pretending they could fly. Whatever game they could play outside was almost always brought inside much to the demise of our house.  It has been a joy to watch them grow and mature and support one another in the sports they play.  They are funny when they are together, they are adventurous, they are kind to one another and they share friends.  They don’t go to the same school, but when they want to be together it’s all good if other kids are there and they both have wonderful friends.

They shared our wedding and were the cutest ring bearers you ever saw. When we all sat down to watch the video of the ceremony we busted out laughing as the boys were caught throwing their pillows around on the side of the alter while vows were being said.  That day and all the fun they had before the wedding at Aunt Paula’s house, getting ready with all the boys and adults, during the ceremony and the reception are probably the most special memories I hold close and I am so thankful we have photos and videos.

These are all memories to be cherished as it seems before our eyes they went from diapers to teenagers and I still am not sure how it happened.  Next year they will be Freshman in high school and they will begin that path to adulthood with girls, cars, proms, diplomas and colleges.  I am more than thankful that I’ve been able to be such a big part of Mitchell’s growing up.  I am more than blessed to know that he is a huge part of who we are as a family and that all the kids think of him as the “6″ of them and not just the 5.

For now I will keep the memories close and remember to live in the moment as these next years are going to fly right by and I am thinking we will have to be holding on to our seats because it will be not just one but both of them.  Double trouble.  Fun trouble I am sure.  We’ve joked about it for years that when the driving begins and there are any calls that have to be made, well, they better call Uncle Peter first.

I couldn’t be happier, prouder or love them more than I do.  I am so grateful to be a Mom to Zach and an Auntie to Mitchell and that we have had the best of times for 13 years sharing in all the joy (and dirt, bugs, frogs and mischief) that boys bring.

 

Zach and Mitch

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Jan 21

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 21

Today I am grateful for moments we had to share of a life well loved and the memories that linger like whispers in my heart.  Today I am grateful for the man I had the privilege to call my father-in-law and the honor to call Dad and my kids to call Grampa.  He was amazing in a million little ways and love wasn’t just a word it was everything he stood for.  He wouldn’t hesitate to hug you and make you feel at home.  He didn’t bat an eyelash to lend a helping hand, fix something that was broken or make you something with his own woodworking hands because you wanted it and he loved you.  I have some wonderful pieces of furniture and some treasures that we will cherish and pass on to the next generation.  Today marks one year that we have been missing a man that was such a large part of our lives ~ Santuccio Domenic Carchidi.  I loved calling him by his first name when we were goofing around, but he went by Dom.

Sometimes you wonder if you will ever get to the other side of grief. You don’t get over it. You have to walk through it. You mark time by it. You don’t want certain days to come. You pretend that by keeping busy and skimming over your feelings it will get easier. You avoid conversations and reminders because then it stays under the surface. Then BAM here comes a day you just cannot avoid. That lump in your throat threatens to spill over into the everyday and you’re not sure what you can do about that. You’re still not sure where all that time went. Memories come all at the same time and it’s hard to sort it into compartments. Love is strong. Love lives on. Yet, you’d prefer the tangible and not the words.

A year ago I sat down and wrote a letter to this man that gave everything of himself and that totally made me and my children feel loved and right at home from the moment we met.  He was a great storyteller, funny, witty, totally outspoken and when he hugged you it was with intensity and purpose.  When he laughed it was genuine, loud and his face was totally filled with warmth and light.  My kids adored him and he taught them so much about life, love and giving of oneself.  We miss him more than words can ever express and when the tears come, I’m grateful for all the wonderful photos, stories and memories we have to keep that love alive.

S. Dominic Carchidi

Today Zach and I went to visit him and left two pennies to let him know we think of him all the time and miss him. It was special to share some tears and some words and then we rode much of the way home in our own thoughts and emotions. Below is the letter I wrote and a collage of photos with our beloved Dom.  Family meant so much to Dom and he loved when we were all together having dinner, parties, cookouts, birthdays, special occasions and I am so thankful we have all these great pictures to remember.

 

Our Family Day 21

What is love?

Love is a wonderful and amazing word isn’t it? It’s used to describe many things tangible and intangible. You can love food, a place you visit, a favorite color, a picture, a story you heard and people just to name a few. The word love can bring a sense of assurance and it can also bring overwhelming pain because love is felt on many different levels. Love, more often than not, is used as an adjective to describe something and we forget that it’s really an action and is something you choose to do. Love is a part of each one of us and we should give it away to others. Keeping love would mean not taking chances and in turn that love would never bless us.

Love in its tangible form could be a card you send to a friend or loved one, a hug when someone is sad or a memento that you give that means so much. Love that is intangible would be the words I love you, I’m sorry or listening to someone that needs you. There are times in life where love is overwhelmingly happy and overwhelmingly sad like the birth of a baby and then the death of a loved one. These are just a few examples because we are all unique and each one expresses and gives away love individually.

People ARE love and we all embody love differently. I believe Dom wore love like a blanket that surrounded him and he never hesitated to wrap that love around others. That blanket each day may have been different colors or fabrics, but he never hesitated to share it. Dom always had a smile and laughter that was contagious and you couldn’t help but have some fabric rub off onto you. He shared his stories, his love of baseball and football, his gifts of woodworking and more importantly his time with all those he loved and those pieces of fabric are now a part of us.

Dom shared his table with all of us for many special occasions along with the everyday moments and that blanket of memories will surround us forever. Love wasn’t a word for Dom, it was a way of life and he lived each loving moment out loud and we were lucky to share those out loud moments with him. Each of us has been touched by Dom and his love in a profound way. We will continue to be surrounded by his blanket of love and now we will wrap love around others, give pieces of that love away and his legacy will live on not just in our hearts, but outside as well.

It is hard to say goodbye to someone that loved us so much, gave all of himself in a way that made each of us feel special. There are so many wonderful memories that we all have of Dom filled with overwhelming love along with great joy that leaps out of your heart. It will really never be goodbye as we have all these stories to share, his blanket to surround us and a knowing in our hearts that Dom is looking down from Heaven with that great big smile… AND if you listen very carefully you will hear his laughter in the air.

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Jan 20

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 20

Today I wanted to share these things we should be grateful for:

Be grateful for your eyes that can see the sunrise, sunset, a child’s smile, words on a page and the love in the eyes staring back at you.  Be grateful that you can smell the roses, the rain, a campfire, changing seasons, fresh cut grass, the chicken soup and those cookies in the oven when you come through the door.  Be grateful you can feel a new born baby’s skin, sand on the beach, grass at a picnic, a hug and the fur on your family pet.  Be grateful you can taste that apple pie, the burgers that just came of the grill, spaghetti and sauce that is fun to quickly suck up into your mouth, the dinner that someone you loves makes you and those chocolate chip cookies that are like heaven.  Be grateful you can hear the sound of children playing in the park, someone calling your name, the phone ringing, a person shouting to keep you from danger, someone saying I love you and a conversation with a friend or loved one.

For those that are blessed to have all of these senses and have them in good working order it’s a gift.  Have you thought about what it would be like to be missing just one?  What if you couldn’t see someone you love or the flowers that were just delivered?  What if you couldn’t taste what you put in your mouth?  What if you couldn’t feel that something was hot or cold?  What if you couldn’t smell the flowers or the cookies or that turkey in the oven?  What if you couldn’t hear a baby cry or laugh, the words I love you or the conversations going on around you or with you? I’ll leave you to ponder those things… and other things I am sure that are important to you within your life that you would truly miss not being able to sense.

I’ve always known I had a sense that didn’t work quite right and over the years I’ve learned to compensate in other ways.  I believe that other senses are stronger to help with that.  Yesterday I learned I truly am mild to moderately deaf.  I learned I will need hearing aids in both ears.   My hearing challenges have helped with some pretty funny dinner conversations.  One night at dinner my response was “what? you’re going to New York?” when in all reality they said “that’s not going to work”.  Sooooo, “going to New York?” became the catch phrase for when I didn’t hear something correctly.

Just because you can joke about it and say you have a hearing issue doesn’t mean you really thought it to be wholly truth. Just because you think you know something doesn’t mean you are ready to accept that. I am sure it will help me hear the conversations I am missing and words that I cannot understand.  It will help with my speech that I hadn’t noticed was changing.  It will help me not say “excuse me, could you repeat that or WHAT?!!” for the millionth time to the same person.  I will be able to actively participate in conversations that I was only shaking my head to because I didn’t want to tell that person I didn’t understand them. 

So, today I am grateful for having the medical technology to help with any sense that we may be missing or having a challenge with.  I am grateful I have not lost my sense of hearing all together.  Below are things that represent my five senses and what I would miss hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting.

My kids won’t miss having to speak directly in my face, but I think they will miss the funny things I thought they said or that they could talk and not have to whisper behind my back and I couldn’t hear them.

My Five Senses Day 20

 

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Jan 20

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 19

Today I am grateful for boys, brothers and the bond they have.  They are 5 years apart and they can fight like it’s nobody’s business and then they can have the best of times like it’s a party to top all parties.  Ok, it’s never quite like that, but it was usually one extreme or the other; a happy medium was never to be had.  They are boys and their room looked like a tornado hit it every. single. day.   They are sloppy and smelly and completely unorganized and of course it was my job to know where every thing was.  Really?

There was never a dull moment when those two were home.  Come to think of it, there was just never a dull moment.  They could lie like a rug about who broke what, lost what or brought in the frog.  They could also scheme about how to get out of a grounding or coerce me into bringing them somewhere or buying them something. They could be fresh one minute and so loving the next.  I wondered if I would survive them or they would make it to their next birthdays.  Yet, it was in even the fighting moments that the bond would grow and they would each learn a lesson even if they didn’t admit it.

This photo reminds me that there were those quiet times when nothing else mattered but that moment in time they were sharing.  This was taken at Stoney Bridge and I forget how or why we ended up there, but they were skipping rocks and having a grand time and I got to be there with them.  It is in these amazing moments that I knew we would survive all the next annoying moments to come. They are brothers and they will stand for one another through thick and thin in spite of the trying times.  It’s how they grow up and grow together.   I have witnessed the ugly, but I’ve seen the standing up and speaking out for one another and that is what matters ~ their love always wins.

In our house we have gone from 7 to 3 and as much as I love all the older ones are out on their own paving their road, I miss them and the noise they made.  It’s been an adjustment for Zach to have a room only to himself without any mess or noise and for us not to have our nightly “science fact” at the dinner table.  Those moments I thought we wouldn’t survive and they wouldn’t see their next birthday? … well, I miss those too,

 

Brothers

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Jan 19

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 18

Today I am grateful that I have a son that is a carpenter (and an electrician) and very handy, our daughter’s boyfriend that is also like a jack of all trades (he’s a plumbing and heating contractor) and Sarah and Elijah that are willing to help us with projects around our home.  After over 2 years of living in our home, we now have new trim and doors and new flooring that’s being installed over the next few weeks.  Our house looks and feel warmer and more homey.  I’m excited about seeing it all complete and doing some redecorating.  We have several more projects to go, but this is one I’ve been waiting for and I am so happy to see it being done.  I am impressed with the skills they all have as I don’t have a power tool using bone in my body.  Creative?  Yes.  Handy.  No way.

I am happy when we can all be together as I do the cooking and they do the manual labor.  They had some amazing teamwork going on yesterday and it does a mom’s heart good to see them all working, laughing, dancing and singing and … ok, the singing was a bit over the top, but it was so much fun to watch.  I love to hear the stories they tell about their “childhood” days and how things were in our house.  I love that they are close and it’s a different Mom’s perspective as they are all out on their own and making their way in the world.  I am very proud of where they are at right now and where they are headed.  They are responsible, hard working kids and I am grateful to be a part of these new journeys they are on.

Thank you Andy, Ross and Sarah for the amazing work with the flooring and to Elijah for helping me build my new desk.  I love you all to the moon and back and I’m so lucky to be your Mom!

 

Our new Flooring Day 18

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Jan 17

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 17

Today I am grateful for simple beauty. I like the Winter and I don’t mind the cold, but today I am missing the vibrant colors of late Spring and early Summer. So, I went to my photo files and found this colorful Monarch.

During June of last year we went to the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island with Stephanie who came home from Germany to see Elijah graduate. Stephanie came to our home in 2009-2010 as an exchange student and became a sister and a daughter in the almost year she lived with us. That is a grateful story I will share at a later time. The Zoo is an amazing place to go and my favorite animal to visit in the Giraffe and that is a grateful story I will also share later, but I also love to go into the butterfly place. They are so beautiful to look at and mesmerizing to watch. I love when they land on me and I hold my breath so they sit for a bit and I can just look. Being inside the warm greenhouse and seeing all these color butterflies flitting around I can’t help but smile.

To think that a butterfly once was a caterpillar is just incredible. To think it may not have been so pretty and now is just breathtaking is inspiring.  It’s always like a new beginning.  Isn’t life like that sometimes? Maybe things are going along and they are just blah and then you find a way to make it WOW and there you have all this new beauty to behold and new place to start.

How can we not appreciate and feel grateful for all that nature has to offer? I am glad I found this color on a day that is cold and knowing there is rain coming. I will think past that to Spring and all the newness and beauty that is coming.

Butterfly Beauty

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Jan 16

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 16

A couple of days ago I wrote about being grateful for our Narragansett Historical Society and it’s gardens during the seasons. I also mentioned the teas they have during the summer months and that once upon a time when I was younger I and my friends served the tea and desserts. I also believe I mentioned we dressed in period costume.

Well, look what I found in the archives. This is my best childhood friend Kim, her sister Kelly and cousin Brenda. We didn’t just do this on occasion, we like being there and dressing up and it was fun. These are times and memories I am very grateful for. Sharing time with friends, making new friends, learning of our history, enjoying the stories we would hear and feeling more grown up was a great experience.

Looking at this photo makes me also remember all the good times with those girls and how much we shared of our lives for many years. Kim and Kelly lived just a couple doors down and if I wasn’t at their house they were at mine with me and my sister. Brenda lived a couple of miles up the road and we spent just as much time there. We were family. The best thing about the neighborhood was it was 5 miles wide in every direction and we knew everyone. Kickball games, hide and seek, catching lighting bugs, kick the can, baseball, riding dirt bikes…. and so much more. Everyone’s parents were your parents and we got away with nothing and by the same token if we needed anything, they were there.

We could go just about anywhere as long as our homework was done along with chores, we left a note where we were and we made it home before dinner or dark whichever came first. If we really wanted to go somewhere quicker, we would help with each others chores so that the games could start earlier. We never stayed indoors, we didn’t have a cell phone attached to our ears, we didn’t have video games to sit in front of and TV was limited to evenings and we watched what my parents wanted to see. We helped with dinner both set up and clean up and always ate meals together at the table and it was not negotiable. Saturday was reserved for household cleaning, yard work, stacking wood and any other chore my parents assigned and again, it was not negotiable. Oh and there wasn’t allowance in my house, we did it because we were part of a family and that was that. I didn’t always like it and I complained, but I wouldn’t change it. I learned how to be responsible, respectful and reliable.

Life was simpler 30 some odd years ago and maybe that’s because I was a kid, but I’ll always be grateful for the friends I had, the good times we shared and the lessons I learned that are still with me today.

We do not remember days, we remember moments. Cesare Pavese

Historical Society Tea

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Jan 15

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 15

Today I have a headache. Today I am not feeling the gratefulness.  No, I am not always sparkly and see rainbows and unicorns.  I know, right?  I hear you giggling too!   Sooo, sitting down to write and look through some photos is a good idea for me.  It will force me to take a few minutes to stop rushing around and relax and think on the positive.

As I write this I have not chosen a photo.  I have however remembered that yesterday when I got up to the Dunkin drive up window that the person in front of me paid for my coffee and that totally made me smile.  So, of course I paid for the person behind me.  Paying it forward, that’s always something to do and to be thankful for.  Well, give me a moment and I’m going to look through some old photos from around the town and let’s see what story I can come up with for today…..

I’m back and who doesn’t love a PUPPY PICTURE!  I think that makes everyone smile, don’t you?  This is Baxter the #masterofdisaster when he was just a wee little babe and we had just brought him home.  I still cannot believe he could fit on my laptop keyboard!  He loved to sleep in my lap when I was working and now at 2 years old, he’s way to big for me to work around.  He has the best personality and enjoys other dogs (except Brutus) and truly loves people.  Baxter’s persona is a mix Snoopy, Beethovan and Hooch only he is not as big.  I love that I can leave and come back 5 minutes later and it’s like he hasn’t seen me in days.  I love all the funny and cute photos and videos I have already in 14 dog years.  This little master of disaster can make me absolutely crazy one second and have me totally cracking up in the next breath.  I say at least twice a day, thank god he’s cute!

I’m grateful I am his dog Mom and that when I am having a not so sparkly, rainbow and unicorn day…he’s always there to make me smile.

Baxter Puppy

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Jan 15

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 14

Once upon a time there was a young girl and she loved to wander in the gardens and dream about the people and places of the past here in her hometown. She loved when the garden on Sundays during the summer were full of chairs and tables for the neighbors to come for tea and tour the building. This girl along with her friends would serve tea and desserts and dress for the occasion in the early 1900′s. She loved to listen to the laughter, hear the stories the ladies would tell and feel like she was a part of a tradition that was her heritage. She enjoyed serving people and feeling a bit more grown up than the early teenager that she was. She more enjoyed looking through the building after the tea was done and looking at the pictures, military uniforms, dresses, old newspaper clippings and photo albums of the townspeople that came to establish Templeton. That young girl was me and a life of serving was born in those days along with storytelling, a love of history and a gratefulness for growing up in a small town.

These benches that are now in the garden behind the Narragansett Historical Society remind me of those simpler days for me that I enjoyed. They bring back wonderful memories of those days where I learned about giving, serving and being a part of a community. I am grateful those days shaped the woman I am today and that I serve my community in many ways.

Over 30 years later and I still take time to wander the gardens from the Spring through the Fall and enjoy those quiet moments I can step away from the busyness and reflect.

Historical Society Garden Benches

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Jan 13

365 Grateful Days ~ Ordinary Moments in Photos ~ Day 12

Today I am grateful I can say I have had many wishes that have come true and I live with hope in my heart always.  I won’t say I have never been down or I have felt like when would my wishes come to life, but I know that because I live a grateful life it makes it easier to keep hope alive and keep making wishes.

I like those words.  I keep those words close to me and try to live them so I can pass it on to others when I see or hear someone else who is going through a rough patch.   Words are powerful.  Words can uplift or destroy.  Words can leave scars that we don’t see on the outside, but feel on the inside.  Hope and wish are a verb, not just a noun.  Give someone hope.  Have hope.  Make a wish.  Grant a wish.  We have the power to make these things happen for ourselves but I feel more importantly for others.  Live the “pay it forward” kind of life and hope and wishes will be naturally given to others.

Living a grateful life one moment at a time gives you lots of hope and opportunity to see your wishes come true as long as you see not only with your eyes, but your heart.

 

Wishes and Hope Day 12

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