Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We thought it would take a drive by!?

It's no lie that keeping up with this blog is more than I am capable of at this point in my life... I wish you could see the countless posts that I've started and haven't finished... or maybe they are finished... and I just need to be more ok with "complete" and less ok with "perfect."  But this is a place for memories and one of my greatest memories has gone to a better place this week. 

Heaven has gained a character! This I know! My kids will remember Catherine Barry Higgins as "Great Nana"...the lady we went to visit.  The old woman in the wheel chair who bragged about their drawings, pictures and accomplishments.  The one who giggled, smiled and nodded as if she could hear the very important information they were telling her about their camps, strawberry picking, bike rides or books from RJ Julia each time we visited. But I, however, will remember her for SOOOOO much more. 

What an amazingly feat those 98.5 years she lived were! Maybe I love her most because she lived through all my favorite decades... She was too young to roar in the '20s but my guess is she made a decent effort trying with her aunt Doo Doo and Nell? and 5 other Barry siblings that lived with her.  In 1916 the president was Truman (she lived through 12 Presidents! She voted in 12 elections. Let's hope she voted in that Eisenhower election since women could finally vote! Prize to whoever can name them: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama).  She met my grand father Daniel Higgins and married when he came back from War.  Then he went back to War! They got married and he went to war! I mean let's be honest... I freak out when I have to pull clothes out of the dirty laundry pile for my kids (ok, and maybe me) to wear again before washing... (work with me, everyone does that right?!) This woman lived through sending her husband to war, a Depression, Prohibition (God love her), the first flight, the invention of the credit card (can I get an AMEN), a man on the moon, the assassination of a president, the invention of TV, dishwashers, microwaves (how she cooked dinner I'll never know), computers, email, cell phones, iPods, iPads, facebook, selfies and the list goes on and on. 

During this time she managed to raise three amazing kids: Danny, Patty and Ricky and love countless neices and nephews.  I don't remember all the stories from their generation but I know Higgins' playground was a place everyone was welcome to play as long as they had a good attitude and played fair.  Pop-Pop had no time for naughty words or bad attitudes (see: Making it through a World War.  I guess playground fights pale in comparisson).  I'm guessing it's during this time she looked out her kitchen pantry door while she perfected her orange jello salad, pumpkin bread and cheese cakes on a backyard full of kids having fun. There is no doubt in my mind that she made all the girl cousins wear different bathing caps summer after summer at the Jersey shore so that she could repeatedly count them from her chair making sure they were all there.  I didn't have to be there to see that to know its true.   As amazing as she was nervous was her middle name.

While I know my kids will remember her, and I am feel so blessed and thankful for that, I realized in the last few weeks in times they caught me sad or crying and didn't understand why, that there are so many things they won't remember of "My Nana."  We'll start with something she has told me many times... "I was there when you were born, you know!" They won't remember sleepovers in their house in Roselle watching Family Ties (it's true, mom, she let us stay up till 9:00!) eating ice cream sodas at the kitchen table.  They won't remember shopping trips and surprises of the coveted Esprit shirt and Jessica Mclintock dress.  The words "drenched in holy water!" and "Bless yourself" mean nothing to them! I'm going to tell my mom to bring that back! It's priceless.  They won't remember her eating toast, butter and jelly every morning for as long as I can remember.  Or being embarrassed of the white Chevy Nova and its slow drivers that dropped me off at soccer or dance during the 1 of 18 million times they were there to babysit us.  Thank God that chevy nova loved some McD's-- always a reward when they were here.  Crocheted blankets, kleenexes stuffed up her sleeves and proclamations of "and how!" are forever etched in my mind.  In college nothing brought a smile to my face quite like an enveloped taped up tight with a random quilted bear or knights of columbus sticker on the back placed solely to ensure no one was going to steal my card of sweet words, random updates and most importantly my $20 'mad money"! Was anyone more surprised to see you? Throwing her head back and hands up and saying "Oh my..! I can't believe it! You're here!" even when she knew you were coming.  I don't think I realized at the time just how amazing it was that my Nana was not only at my wedding but rocked that pink suit and killed it on the dance floor! 

There are a couple things that are for sure. I know that we can hardly pass a Dunkin Donuts or talk about the Yankees without a reference to Great Nana.  I know that in her later years we laughed about things like "Patty, I didn't have a heart attack, tell them I didn't have a heart attack" and "Have you seen how OLD all the people in here are (as she shakes her head!)? I know that somewhere along the line we realized she wasn't going to die of a broken heart after Pop died and it was indeed going to take more than a broken hip, heart attack or bacterial infection to take this tough cookie out...  We were thinking somewhere along the lines of a drive by or gang fight...  And I know that there are very few things that can be constant over 98.5 years.  But her love for her family and friends stood the test of time and will be felt for many more decades to come.   And now the perfectionist in me wants to find the "perfect picture" ... the one of my wedding or four generations with her holding Jack for the first time... or thomas... or kate... but now i'm going to press "publish" because sometimes finished is better than perfect.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sometimes just when you don't expect it...

you learn from your kids....

I feel like my heart has been learning from my kids since 8/18/05.  It grows and grows and loves them so fiercely.  Feels pride when they accomplish, sad when their feelings get hurt and excited and nervous for them when they face opportunities for the first time... Not too long ago my buddy showed me how to be mature and I thought my heart was going to burst.  I doubt I will forget this but I want to capture it so that one day when he reads this he will be proud of himself and how he dealt with disappointment.

Things come easy to J.  We showed him the word "the" and next thing I knew he was reading chapter books.  He picked up a golf club and hasn't missed the ball since.  With the exception of having to have a quick chat about "celebrations" after making a basket this winter (I blame NBA2K ;)), he is not cocky or obnoxious but humble.  I have been surprised by emails from his coaches complimenting his sportsmanship and leadership on and off the field.  He's an old soul.  However the truth is things come easy.  This Spring he tried out for the travel team he did awesome! He made the B team.  It's a really competitive league so we were so proud of him, but we thought he might be disappointed when we told him because his best buddy is on the A team.  And he was disappointed...  For 1 minute.  And then he walked in the kitchen and asked me if he could see the email from the coach.  He looked at that email and turned to me and said.  "Mom, I'm going to make that A team.  I am going to work really hard and I'm going to move up to the A team." And.... Bam.  Sometimes just when you don't expect it.... you learn how to put your big girl pants on and face life from your 8 year old. Go get 'em, J.  Show them what you're made of!  

Friday, March 21, 2014


We LOVE Kates teachers Mrs. O and Mrs. L. They are the most caring women I think I've ever met.  She is having the best time and I am having a hard time believing she's ready for school!  I got over that quickly (when she locked us out of the house on the first day of school and I had to push her through the back family room window that happened to be open.  Thank God she is a girl and can focus long enough to meet me at the back door and unlock it! The boys for sure would have found something along the way to play with complicating the situation even more)  I am now enjoying my free time and my tennis game loves that she is in school. 

I love this letter.  They have captured her personality perfectly-- fiercely independent yet so sweet and helpful (in her own time!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Homestead

Over the river and through woods... to the Homestead we go! My sister and her husband were so gracious to invite us to The Homestead with them on President's Day weekend.  I think I started giggling the second we got there and didn't stop until I almost barfed from the windy/icy road home.  It was too much fun had by all.  The kids made the trip so fun by being so good.  My littlest friend got left at home with Nana and Pop Pop and we managed to non stop with older two.

The kids had so much fun ice skating and swimming in the hot springs pool OUT SIDE in the middle of winter.  Is there any thing more fun than that!? Swimming outside... in the winter... minds blown.

The first night the kids went to "kids club" that they deemed LAME!?... Saw that coming.  But the parents went to the dining room that was not LAME at all.  It was so adorable/classy.  Our table was right on the dance floor where there was a three piece band and all these cute people getting up from dinner to dance.  It felt very old fashioned - like I had been transported back in time and was channeling my inner fancy nancy. 

Hot hubbies
Tubing where I was sure one of them (or us) was going to break our necks! You get some speed on those puppies.
 Love these boys
So much fun skiing together.  A run with Auntie Meg.

And of course some skilift selfies    

We had a rocky start to the skiing business.  Fortunately a lot of things have come easy to the kids and let's face it skiing is hard stuff... but once you get it... you got it.  No shock that Crazy T figured it out first.  I got so nervous taking him up for his first big run that I forgot to put the lift gate down and said "hail marys" and "don't move" the entire way up.  My skis gave him a good smack on his fall but he got right up for more. Me - i need to recover from my ride up sans lift gate. I am so proud of them for pushing through the tears and 'owning' that mountain.  I never thought they would be riding the lift by themselves to the top no less.  I lost a few years of my life when AJ took T to the top and he came whizzing down like he was in a downhill ski race at Sochi.  They really rocked it.  And made me smile to see them all encourage each other.  

After skiing these knuckleheads (after a "$5 bet you won't" by the supreme knucklehead) jumped from hot tub to snow.  Cray Cray. 

I wish I had some footage of the lipsync contest - priceless.  It's all about the song choice.  And these kids can pick some songs.  I'm getting my songs lined up for next year.... 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Old Man Winter 2014

I mean if this doesn't sum up January/February 2014 I don't know what does... 

The Winter That Nearly Killed All the Moms

Oh it was fun, oh so fun.  The 5:30am "All Call" messages proclaiming "no school!"... hot chocolate...cozy movie days... 
     Epic snow ball fight.
 Sledding The Mount
My little helper.

And then.... not so much.  The kids don't even want to sled anymore.  And I for sure do not want to shovel anymore.  I really do not want to shovel any. more.  

Expensive Winter

Dear Husband, while you "enjoy" balmy London, I've bought a snow blower and generator. Hurry home before I buy a house in the Keys. 

Xo, k

*AJ has been in London for 3 out of 4 storms this winter.  Coincidence? I'm about to jump in front of a snowplow (kidding).  I love you guys... and I really love playing in snow with you.... but I'd rather play in a pool... on a sunny day... or better yet the beach.  Can we play at the beach? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

"He" was a "She"

**2/20/14: I just found this in my drafts... I must have had to referee something and pressed save instead of publish.  The funny thing is if I had known this existed 2 weeks ago i could have given Sare a much more accurate memory of her birth... Just prior to her own little ones birth!

As recalled on 5/11: I was supposed to call my OB at 3:30p on Sunday to let him know I was feeling... absolutely no signs of labor pending. He was convinced I was going to go on my own that weekend and not need to be induced. There was also some concern about how quickly I tend to go and didn't really want me to continue to dilate prior to active labor and then deliver in the car. Naturally I agreed with that theory as our car is not equipped with an epidural.  So at 3pm I barfed. I started to remember this was the way I went into labor with Crazy T. Barfs but no contractions... great. I called Dr. and we decided that I would come in Monday morning to start the pitocin. I got in the shower to hopefully feel better. Dr. called back and talked to AJ and said - ehh why don't you come in tonight my friend is the one on call and he'll put your cervidil in. Barfed again. So la-dee da- blow dry my hair...put on make up. I am having a baby after all - you do know how many pictures are involved in having a baby, right.... a girls gotta look good for her newborn (whose eyes can't even see more than a spec infront of them and in black and white!) Mom - Mom came over to watch the boys and off we go to the hospital - I think we got there around 5pm. During the car ride i was starting to feel much more cramping... continued to barf and felt like maybe... my water had broken. Not like in the movies broken, but just a little broken. When I got there i was 3+ dilated and sure my water did break - which was a bit of a relief because the alternative was that I peed in my pants... and well, I'm glad it was the water breaking. I was staying and we were having a baby!

Let the drama begin. I go fast... I had pushed it one contraction too far in previous births so I immediately asked for my epidural- I had magazines and movies to watch. That was THE PLAN. Country Strong with Tim McGraw and Gwennie and some USWeeklys to catch up on while I watched the contractions on the screen and say - "wow that was a big one" without really feeling it. That was THE PLAN. Enter anesthesiologist... a face that is now forever etched in my mind because after not one, but two attempts at getting me my epi cocktail, we had nothing. As in nothing numbed by my right foot. And well if your right foot was where babies came from I would have been all set. But we all know that's not where babies come from so THE PLAN was foiled and I was REALLY wishing that I had taken that labor class at some point. The anesthesiologist wanted to try for a third time but after she told me that could result in an indefinite headache (as in forever), I saw the writing on the wall... I was likely still going to feel this birth AND have an indefinite headache. It wasn't the call I was looking to make, but it was time to get my head in the game and... go sans drugas. Thankfully they broke the rest of my water around 7pm I went from 4 -10cm in 45 painful minutes. And after a couple quick pushes -bam she was born at 8:03pm. And "he" was a .... "She!"

After all the drama during her birth, I can definitely say - I would not change a thing about this experience - the sheer amazement and surprise and instant love for this little family we have made was irreplaceable. Two boys and a girl! I couldn't believe it. I hope I will always be able to remember that feeling of pure joy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Epic Fail.

Recently my friend Chrissy responded to my text ramble "I can't wait to read your blog... get started!" And I thought - "Yeah, I should write a blog- what a great creative outlet since I don't have time to sew, craft or DIY much these days"... and then it dawned on me... oh wait,  I DO have a blog.  I've just abandoned it for TWO (almost 3 but who's counting at this point) years.  Between changing all those dirty diapers, making lunches, working, class momming and shuttling those stinky boys to soccer, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, soccer, baseball. I missed it.  I missed jotting down the minutia.  The minutia that today I think might break me and one day so soon I am going to miss.  And then I'll want these days back... all because I forget why it was all so perfectly exhausting. 

I am so sad that I haven't written one memory of the kids in 2012 and 13... so so SAD.  Aren't these supposed to be the best days? The ones filled with "he touched me" and "that's MY ball." And I'm missing it.  I'm missing the memories of all their funny (and not so funny) moments! Augh! I could cry...

Once I dust myself off.... I'm getting back to blogging... for my kids (not at all for my sanity and attempt at remedying a terrible memory).  For my kids.