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Labor of Love

As we enjoy the last “official” weekend of summer, I began thinking about the fun times we had this summer with our grandchildren.

We were fortunate enough to spend a week on Long Beach Island, NJ with our oldest son Mike, his wife Kim and their three children. Besides how impressed I was with all the rebuilding that had been done since hurricane Sandy, I was impressed by how much our grandchildren enjoyed the beach and the ocean. It was our youngest grandson Evan’s first visit to the beach. At a month and a half old, he handled it like a trooper.

After we returned home, our son Brian, his wife Jen and their three children came from Ohio to spend a week with us. Having all six grandchildren together can be crazy but it fills the hole in my heart that’s there when we’re not all together.

We got to spend another day at the beach with five of our six grandchildren and close friends of our families two boys. It was such a beautiful day. The water was perfect and the kids had a great time jumping waves with their parents and their PopPop. Unfortunately for me I had eye surgery that week and couldn’t get water in my eye. But, I was able to get my feet wet and watch them play.

It was fun watching the grandkids interact. Our four year old grandson Garrett was thrilled to be able to play games on the iPad with his cousin Emma. She is our oldest granddaughter (10 years old). She seemed to enjoy spending time with Garrett too.

Our three younger grandchildren, Zoey, Oliver and Olivia ( all 2 years old) had their good times and bad. Sharing toys is still a little touch-and-go with them. But, they seemed to have fun together.

Baby Evan slept and ate through it all. Don’t worry Evan, you’ll be running around with them next summer!

It won’t be long before we’re all together again…Christmas! It’s right around the corner.

After our time together and everyone went home, the house was quiet again. It always takes me a few days to adjust to the silence.

Happy Labor Day everyone. I hope you get to spend the day with your loved ones.

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Happy Birthday Son!

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As you may have realized, our family celebrates a lot of birthdays this time of year.

Today we celebrated our son Mike’s birthday. He is the oldest of our two sons. He is a kind soul, an awesome son, husband and father.

Mike was born on Holy Thursday 38 years ago. His birth was truly a miracle for his Dad and I. We had a difficult time conceiving him. One day after confiding to my Mom, she suggested I begin a Novena to St. Theresa. She told me that if my prayer was to be answered I would receive a rose.

I began the Novena several days later. I told no one about it, not even my husband. A short time after I completed the Novena, a young girl whom neither my husband nor I knew came skipping down our sidewalk. She had a rose in her hand and tossed it in our yard. My husband picked up the rose and brought it to me. He asked me if I knew who the girl was. We hadn’t recognized her as being one of the neighborhood children.

A few weeks later we learned that we were expecting! It was a joyous but scary time. Being pregnant thirty-eight years ago with diabetes was a little complicated. I had several hospital visits due to highs and lows. Fortunately I was blessed with great doctors who followed me closely and were proactive with my care.

Six weeks prior to my May due date, I was admitted back into the hospital. It was getting harder to control my blood sugar. The c-section was scheduled the day after I was admitted. We had a healthy baby boy and I suffered no further complications.

The fact that our son was born during Holy Week spoke volumes to me. I still pray to St. Theresa every day. Our son was a gift from God and a true blessing to us. He was the start of our beautiful family. Happy Birthday Son!

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Happy New Year!

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I’ve always thought of New Years Eve as more of a sad time rather than a happy time.

If we had a special event during the year such as a wedding, moving into a new home or the birth of a child, I hated to see that year come to a close.

Becoming a grandparent has changed those feelings for me. Each year brings a new adventure. Watching our children and grandchildren experience new things is a joy to watch.

This new year will bring us a our sixth grandchild. Our oldest granddaughter will be turning ten years old and is becoming such a beautiful young lady and big sister. Our oldest grandson will be turning four and gets smarter everyday! The three youngest will be turning two. I look forward to hearing the funny conversations we will be having with them once they learn to “Use their words.”

The new year reminds us that nothing stays the same. We need to enjoy each day we are given and make the most of them. We need to cherish the memories we are making today.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and may all your memories be happy ones!

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Our Greatest Gifts

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Shortly after our youngest son got married ten years ago, he called one day. He lives out-of-state and since he is a police officer, when he calls it makes me a little nervous.

This particular day when he called we chatted about the usual things, such as the weather and what he had been doing. At the end of the conversation he said, “Mom, I think you better sit down.” I was panicked, I thought for sure something bad had happened to him. I sat on the side of my bed with my heart in my throat. Then he said, “Jen and I are expecting a baby!” I started jumping around like a crazy person and tears were rolling down my eyes. I yelled to my husband the good news. Then my son said, “You’re not upset?” Why on earth would I be upset I asked. He said, “We’ve only been married a few months.” I said, “What difference does that make?” He said, “We don’t have a lot of money, we just got married.” I said, “If you wait until you have enough money, you may wait your whole life. It will all work out.”

It did work out of course. They have a beautiful daughter and have since added twins to the mix a year and a half ago.

We just learned several weeks ago that our oldest son and his wife are now expecting their third child. It just never gets old. Knowing that you are going to be welcoming another baby into the family is one of God’s greatest blessings.

Overall this is the fifth time we’ve been given the news of a new baby joining our family and it is as exciting this time as it was the first.

My husband and I have been so blessed. We may not be rich in fortune, but we are rich in having a loving family.

This Christmas our greatest gifts won’t be the boxes under the tree, but the family that sits around the tree. That is truly our greatest gift.

Merry Christmas!

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“I Love You”

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Three simple words that can melt your heart, “I love you.”

This time of year we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that we often forget why we do all this in the first place. Of course we do it to celebrate the birth of Jesus and our love for him, but also to show our family and friends how much we love and care about them.

The other night I talked to my oldest granddaughter on the phone. We laughed and shared stories. Before we hung up she said, “Nana, I love you.” I didn’t have to buy her anything.

Last night I had dinner at my son and daughter-in-laws home. My little grandson asked me to sit beside him at the table. While sitting there he leaned his head on my shoulder and said, “I love you Nana!” Again, I didn’t have to buy him anything.

I think the greatest gift we can give anyone is our time. Especially children and our elderly parents. It means more than any gift we can buy, and the memories it creates last forever.

So, don’t wear yourself out this holiday season. Spend more time with your family and friends than you do at the mall. The gift you get back will be heartwarming.

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Time to be Thankful

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Earlier this year one of our granddaughters had to have open heart surgery. Her pediatrician discovered a heart murmur and sent her to a cardiologist to make sure it was nothing serious.

As it turned out, after several tests, the cardiologist discovered some defective valves which needed immediate repair. Olivia was only 11 months old at the time. It was a scary time for our family, but thankfully the skilled surgeon was able to make the repairs successfully. Our little granddaughter is doing great today.

As I watched her run around playing today with her brother and sister, I thought about how thankful I was for her pediatrician and cardiologist.

I know that many of you have similar stories like that in your life. I hope you were able to pause for a moment today to be thankful for your many blessings.

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Making Memories

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This coming week my Dad would have celebrated his 85th birthday. Unfortunately we lost him in 1993. However, Thanksgiving was always his favorite holiday. He always enjoyed cooking and making the holiday special for family and friends. He and my Mom hosted Thanksgiving for many years. My kids and their cousins always looked forward to going over Nani Rose’s and Pop Pop Joe’s to celebrate. I remember the laughter as we all sat around the huge table setup for the entire family. The food that came out of the kitchen seemed never-ending. I remember the jokes and the giggles.

Now that mine and my brother and sisters children are grown and have families of their own, it is harder for us to all celebrate together. We will be headed out to Ohio to celebrate with our son and his family. Our son that lives in New Jersey will be celebrating Thanksgiving with his in-laws this year. My Mom and brother and sister and their families will be getting together at my brothers house.

It reminded me that whether we are together or apart, we will be making memories. Our grandkids and kids will remember this holiday for the rest of their lives. We will remember where we were and who they celebrated with. We will remember loved ones that are no with longer us.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family. I hope that you will take a moment to remember your past Thanksgivings and who you celebrated them with. Make the most of these memories for they will always be cherished forever.