Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why I love Summer!

I was born and raised in New England, where we are "lucky" enough to experience four seasons. I love Fall because I love the way the trees turn colors, you get a beautiful view just driving to work every day for a few weeks! I love burning leaves and wood, I love the kids starting a whole new year of school, I love the crispness in the air. I love Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie, Halloween - there is really nothing like Fall in New England.

But I hate winter - there, I said it. I'm a bad New Englander. But I'll never leave, ask my husband. He tries to convince me to move away every now and then. He romances me with talk of warmer climates year-round, no need for snow tires or winter coats. But I am a huge baby and I could never leave my family - I gots roots, damn it! And they are staying put. But I hate winter - did I say that already? Oh sure, you got Christmas and New Year's Eve - the only FUN parts about this wretched season! And OK, the first snowfall is gorgeous, blanketing everything in a shimmering layer of glittery white powder. But it's a tease, I tell you. Within 2 days, that lovely white powder turns into blackish/brownish ICKINESS - and it covers the streets, the sidewalks, the freaking TREES!!! Then there's driving in it - you got 2 types of New England winter drivers: the ones who think they are invincible and just because they have lived in New England their whole lives, snow and ice don't affect them. They act as if there is no snow or ice on the ground. Scary. The others are the ones who act as if they have NEVER driven on snow or ice in their lives! Also scary and very irritating - especially when the roads are dry and the first flakes are falling and you're driving to work at 7:30 a.m. and the moron in front of you is going 15 mph and keeps slamming on their brakes!

PHEW - I got myself all worked up there for a minute, having winter flashbacks! OK - so as you can see, I am NOT a fan of winter. I mean, LOOK at it, look at those ugly bare branches sticking accusatorily towards the sky!?! YUCK!

Spring - ah, Spring. The green buds start poking through on the trees and get us all excited. See the green buds on the trees behind my crazy daughter? Then we have torrential down-pours that wash away all that blackish/brownish ICKINESS that winter left behind, so THAT'S ok! Then the buds come out some more, and the days start getting longer again and we don't want to go to bed at 7:00 anymore (because it got dark out at 3:30 for Christ's sake and our biological clocks were all messed up!). Then my sinuses start to swell and my face throbs and YES - Spring is here, baby! I get through it, and you know why? Because it means that SUMMER is right around the corner!

SUMMER - MY FAVORITE!!!! I absolutely, whole-heartedly adore Summer. First, you gots your SUN and warm weather, like, 90% of the time. Everything is fully green and filled in, you can smell fresh-cut grass on any given day, and everyone is in a better mood. It's true, you know! Sunshine helps produce serotonin in our bodies - serotonin is a "feel-good" chemical - so when you have reduced amounts of serotonin being produced, you can feel depressed or just plain old down. There is actually a disorder called SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder - that some people get mainly during the winter months, when their bodies are creating less serotonin! They feel depressed, lethargic, they gain weight, and have no energy. So once Summer comes and that serotonin starts pumping back up again - you can't HELP but feel good!!! Here are some more reasons why Summer is my favorite season:
the Beach


Pool fun!

I love cookouts and parties that take place mainly outside (as long as there is an INDOOR bathroom that I can use - I have a "thing" about port-o-potties, OK?), I love putting away all of the winter clothes, and never having to wear socks. I love thunderstorms, I love the way the sun shines all day and then the cool night air makes it so nice for sleeping with your windows open. Now - let me say this before I get knocked upside the head (probably by my friend Linda) - I am definitely NOT a fan of the heat waves and/or high humidity that we get at least once or twice each Summer. But to me, it's a small price to pay for having Summer! Well, I mean that figuratively - because it's really quite a large price to pay when you have to run air conditioners 24/7 just to be able to breathe... but I don't care, I love Summer and you can't make me change my mind!

Did I mention that my birthday also happens to be in the Summer? August 6, baby, mark the date! I love my birthday. Is that weird? So many people seem to hate their birthdays - I never understood that. But do most people get "birthday weeks"? hee hee My sister's birthday is August 9 - we are one year and 3 days apart (she's older - right, Shell? hee hee - OK well she's always ACTED older!). She's also my best friend. So you can imagine, right? We have "birthday week". We drive our families crazy for the entire week because we answer every request, every question, every statement, everything that comes out of their mouths - we answer it with "but it's my birthday week." ROFL Shell hates having her picture taken, so I don't have a lot of pics of her and I. This one is me and Shell and our friend Missy at the casino a few weeks ago. Michelle is basically average height, but Missy and I are midgets, so Shelly looks tall in this pic. LOL I love this picture, and it's the only good recent one I have of us, so here you go:

So that's why I love Summer. What's your favorite season?

P.S. Trevor (my almost-15-year-old son) just saw me blogging and saw this picture and said to make sure I mention that "no good can come of those 3 girls being together - who knows what they are up to?" ROFL I just had to share that - he's so funny. Sometimes he's like a little old man in a teenager's body!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tag - you're it!

I have been tagged! My wonderful friend Linda over at Behind My Red Door has tagged me. I am having fun doing these things, so I hope you are enjoying reading it all!

1. Name 5 things that I do for myself:
a. Stamp!!! I love to stamp, my favorite thing to do is make cards.
b. Read - usually Stephen King books, but I also love magazines and newspapers and other novels. I just love to read, I always have.
c. Go out with my friends every once in a while. I cannot imagine life without having fun with friends every now and then!
d. Lunch at my favorite middle eastern place at least once each week during the work week - Michelle and I cannot survive without El Basha's fatoush salad with grilled chicken, and mine must have feta.... yummmm... oh man, I'm on vacation and haven't had a fatoush salad in over a week! I'm having withdrawals just thinking about it!
e. Splurge every once in a while. I bought myself a nice new cell phone a few months ago and it actually made my stomach flip-flop to spend that much money on something for ME. LOL But it felt GOOD, let me tell you.

2. Name 5 kind things I do for friends, my children or partner:
a. My kids are teenagers - I pretty much do everything for them. LOL
b. Laundry - tons and tons of laundry.
c. I try to acknowledge everyone's birthday - I have a good memory for dates, and I remember the most random people's birthdays. I almost always bring a cake to everyone in my family on their b-day, because I just think everyone should feel special that day. When they complain about being another year older, I say "Well, what's the alternative?" LOL
d. Send cards - I like to make people cards when they need it, whether it's for a happy or sad reason, I like to let people know I'm thinking of them.
e. Rub backs - my husband has a bad back and my daughter just loves backrubs, and I often indulge them both. At least Jeremy just appreciates it - Cassidy gives orders: "Softer. You've been in that same spot for too long. Use your fingertips. Go all the way up to my shoulder. Now my arms." You get the idea. LOL

3. Name 5 kind things I've done for a strangers:
a. Sent cards and gifts when they are sick through ChemoAngels and Audrey's Umbrella
b. Quite a few years ago, I volunteered with another organization online and I ran a Christmas program one year that provided Christmas gifts to over 50 children. It was awesome and wonderful and exhausting! LOL
c. Let someone get in front of me in line at the store or bank
d. Let people pull out in traffic quite often, I believe in karma and all that
e. Talked/made funny faces at/to crying babies/toddlers in stores, etc., to try to make them stop crying while the mom checked out, whatever. You know you can TOTALLY picture me doing that, huh? hee hee

4. Name 5 hobbies I enjoy:
a. Card making/rubber stamping
b. photography
c. scrapbooking
d. Blogging and reading other blogs
e. Reading

Now I get to tag others. I never thought of this, but Linda mentioned it and I figured I should, too - I never want anyone to feel annoyed at this stuff or pressured to participate. I think it's fun - if you don't, just ignore it, no biggie! I guess you're supposed to pick 5 people, but I could only come up with four right now, so here they are!

Shelly aka Jaspere - Jaspere's Little Corner
Dirty Shanks - Dirty Shanks - warning - do not click here if you are a prude or do not wish to be subjected to crude humor. I happen to think it's hysterical.
Stephanie - Stephanie's Stampin Spot
Jennifer - Glitter in my Hair

Have fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I love rubber duckies, did you know that? They are just so adorable and they make me smile.
See? You know you smiled. What is cuter than a rubber ducky wearing shades? How about this guy? ROFL My daughter Cassidy is nuts - but besides that, she's like "cat girl" - all of our cats (we have 3) are hers. They follow her around and come when she calls them! This is her favorite - his name is Cubby and he's like our perpetual kitten. He's about 3 years old now but still acts like a baby. He lets Cassidy pick him up and hold him and dress him up, etc. This is him wearing sunglasses - isn't he cute? And this one on the left is him trying to use Cassidy's phone to send a text message. I swear he's part human, to tell you the truth. He doesn't make a sound unless you talk to him. Ask him a question and he'll answer you, I swear! But I'll bet you can guess why Cassidy is their favorite - see?

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Well I am officially on vacation for the next TWO WEEKS! Where am I going, you ask? NOWHERE! I get 4 weeks of vacation each year plus everyone at the college gets the week of Christmas-New Year's off, so I end up with 5 paid weeks off!! It can actually be difficult to use all of those days, believe it or not! So I had a bunch of vacation days that I needed to take by June 30, so I decided to take the whole last 2 weeks of June off and relax. With my little buddy Meg passing away last week, I've been very distracted and feeling down, so I can really use this time off.

Next week I have a pretty full agenda, doctor's appointments and dental cleanings for both kids, lunch and shopping with a friend, and the kids' last day of school is Wednesday so I promised I'd take them out to lunch that day. My parents have an inground pool, so I plan on spending some time hanging out there, too. The following week I hope to get to the beach at least for one day - I hope the majority of my time off is filled with sunshine and nice weather, but I would be OK with a day or two of rain, also - so I can do some stamping and maybe take the kids to see a movie.

I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support last week. I had planned to attend Meg's calling hours last Sunday with a friend who worked with her dad. He was supposed to pick me up at 2:00 - the services were about 2 hours away. It was over 90 degrees out - I got ready to go and called him around 2:30, he had gone golfing and had a few drinks to try not to think about where we were going that afternoon, and he ended up having a few too many and was unable to go. We both have daughters around Meg's age, and I really think that he just couldn't handle the situation - I was a little upset because I really wanted to go, and I am not the type of person who could go alone, but then I remembered my own philosophy that everything happens for a reason and I thought that maybe even I couldn't have handled it as well as I would have liked to think I would have. I sent flowers to the family last Friday at their home. I also made a beautiful sympathy card for her family with flowers and a bumblebee - I thought it came out really quite perfect - but it was so hard to make. I kept stopping and going back to it, because I kept thinking, "I cannot believe I am making a sympathy card, I cannot believe I won't be sending any more happy mail to Meg." I hated that I had to do it, it just felt so surreal. Anyway, here is the card that I made for her family, you can't see it but the bee has glitter on his wings and the purple flower has a diamond-like gem in the middle of it:

I felt a little bad for my own kids this past week. Every time they argued I just fell apart. They tend to take each other for granted - they are kids, you know? But all I could think was how lucky they are to have each other, and how Meg's sisters would give the world to have her back sneaking in their bedrooms or stealing their stuff! I cried a lot this past week and I know I was not as patient with my kids as I normally am. Luckily, they are great kids and they do understand on some level. We talk a lot - and I'm very thankful for that. I think (I hope!) these next 2 weeks will be good for all of us - I plan to enjoy my children while having some fun and relaxing!

Friday, June 6, 2008

RIP Megan Lynn Cordeiro 10/15/96 - 6/5/08

A little piece of my heart was ripped out yesterday when I found out that my brave little buddy, Megan, passed away yesterday afternoon. She fought this damn cancer so hard and was so good-natured during EVERYTHING she went through, it's just so damn unfair. Look at this little sweetheart -

Meg had a type of cancer called Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), and this was her 2nd relapse. Her poor little body just couldn't fight anymore, and her kidneys started shutting down a few days ago. She passed away surrounded by people who love her.

I'm so sad, heartbroken, angry, depressed.... everywhere I go, I think of this little girl. Every store I go into, every trip I go on, Cassidy and I look for things to send to "my Megan", as I affectionately called her. It's going to take a long time before I get used to the fact that I won't be buying or sending her any more "angel mail". Her parents called her their little bumblebee, and I will forevermore think of Meg when I see bumblebees. I take comfort in knowing that she no longer has to suffer, but it's a small comfort. She should NEVER have had to suffer. She should NEVER have gotten cancer. I cried for hours last night, and then I finally dropped off to sleep while thinking about her poor parents, and her sisters. How do you go to bed at night after your child just died? How do you get back up the next morning and just LIVE? How do you do laundry, clean the kitchen, pay bills? I keep them in my thoughts and prayers constantly and hope so much that they are able to get through this, because the awful fact is that life just goes on. HOW? Doesn't the world know that they just lost this precious child? How does the world just keep spinning and the clock keeps ticking and cancer keeps taking more precious lives from us? I will never know, but I will always be thankful that I got to be a part of this little sweetheart's life. I don't have any regrets and the pain and heartache is worth it, I believe that I made a difference in her life and I know that my mail made her smile and that she knew how much I adored her. And I know she adored me. I have to be happy with that, because I don't have a choice.

Being involved with ChemoAngels and Audrey's Umbrella and various other cancer support organizations has made a huge difference in my life, and I am very thankful to have been able to be involved. But it's also been heartbreaking at times - over the years, I have become close with other families whose children lost the battle. Jessi M. was a little girl close in age to my own daughter Cassidy, and I became close with her and her parents. She passed away on my wedding anniversary several years ago, I still visit her website and leave messages to reassure her parents that she will never be forgotten. Kaitlyn was just a baby, a BABY, less than a year old, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001. She died when she was only 20 months old. Her mom Donnell and I have stayed in contact, I consider her a good friend even though we've never "met".

So there have been times like today when I'm just devastated and I think "Can I keep doing this?" and I can tell you that I am 100% positive that I CAN keep doing this. How can I NOT? If I can bring a smile to a little kid who is going through cancer treatment, how can I choose NOT to do that? I can't, that's just me. So I'll cry for a while and I will never, ever forget my Megan, but I will not let the heartache and pain make me stop - that would be like letting cancer win even more, and I will never do that. I'm so thankful that I got a chance to meet Meg in real life and give her a hug, I will always be grateful to her mom for driving her to meet me - it was the best Christmas gift ever, one I will always remember with a smile.

Hug your loved ones today and tell them what they mean to you. And say a prayer for my Megan's family, please. I'm sure they can use all the prayers they can get.

Rest in peace, little bumblebee. You deserve it. I love you always and forever. <3>

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Birthday Card Contest for Blog Candy

So I just had to throw in my "pretty and pink"
birthday card for this contest that Jo is giving away on her blog, Only Joking. I like using pinks with unexpected colors - this color combo of the pink, green and brown is one of my favorites!

Wish me luck!
Peace - Jenn

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Girl's Day/Night!

Last Friday, my sister Michelle and I both had the day off from work. Her husband and kids were spending the weekend on a trip to Baltimore (I hope that's right, LOL) to see the RED SOX kick some butt. So Friday morning, we got up and went to breakfast at our favorite diner, Lou Roc's. Oh my yumminess. Then we went shopping for a bit, and then we met our friend Missy and her adorable little girl Molli, who is 4, for pedicures. Us big girls chose shades of dark pinks, and Molli chose purple. Now purple happens to be my favorite color, but I was thinking of my clothes and all that and purple just wouldn't have done it for me right then. But when we were all done, I actually liked Molli's color better! Now you have to know this child, she is a hot shit. She is FOUR, mind you, OK? FOUR. She is an absolute peanut with bleach blonde hair and big blue eyes and the most adorable glasses you have ever seen. So I say to her, "Molli, I LOVE the color on your nails!!" She looks at me very seriously and says "Well, you COULD have picked it, you know!" She is just too cute for words.

After pedicures, we shopped a bit more. Missy and Molli headed home and Michelle and I went to see a movie, The Strangers. It was creepy and scary and all that, but not great. It was really good at suspense - but very little dialogue and nothing to make you THINK at all, just creepy and suspenseful and then gross. I like Stephen King scary, M. Night Shamalyan scary, stuff that makes you scared cuz you imagine it could really happen, you know? So anyway, we did that and by then it was almost 4:30. Missy was meeting us back at Michelle's house for 5:00 so that's where we went. Once Missy got there, the 3 of us went to Foxwoods Casino and played Bingo, it was a blast! I love Bingo! LOL It was, oh, the 2nd time in my life I've played. None of us won anything at all, but we had fun for 3 hours playing! We then went to get some dinner and have a couple of drinks, and then my gambling addict friends just could not resist the pull of the slot machines. I truly do not enjoy slot machines - I get nauseous just thinking about putting in money and watching it go bye-bye. Geez, that was fun, pushing buttons for $20.00. I can push buttons on my washing machine at home for free! LOL But I wasn't a party pooper, I threw away $20.00 and pushed those damn buttons! I actually was up to $50.00 and I would have cashed in, but SOMEONE (I won't name any names, Missy, don't worry hee hee) pretty much assaulted me with shame and guilt for not pressing on for the BIG WIN!!! So I kept pushing and kept losing until it was all gone. It was fun, though, I laughed all day and all night. I didn't get home until almost 2 a.m. and I was thoroughly exhausted! We had an absolute blast - it's so rare that a bunch of MOMS gets to just go have fun for a day, you know? It was kind of weird having no worries, not having to remember to go anywhere or do anything - we just did what we wanted to all day!

I truly do get by with a little help from my friends. I think it's absolutely essential to the soul and the mind to be able to just let go once in a while, have fun, enjoy yourself. You really do only live once, it's not just a saying! And friends, sisters who are best friends, those kinds of relationships are so important. I'm a lucky girl, in a lot of ways.