Friday, December 31, 2010

Best New Years Ever!

Thirteen years ago at a New Years Eve party my boyfriend looked me in the eyes and said “I don’t think you will ever be a good wife or mother”, thus ending our 2 year relationship. I spent the next two weeks crying my eyes out on the shoulder of my roommate who said things like “you are wonderful”, “you will be an amazing mother”, and “he is crazy to think he’s better off without you”. 2 years later, I married that wise man and have spent the last 11 New Years Eve’s being thankful for another year with him! And every day I work hard to prove him right. I am a good wife. I am a good mother. I would not wish the heartache of that night on my worst enemy. But if you ask me if I am glad it happened to me…my answer would be…ABSOLUTELY!!! Happy New Years honey! I love love love you!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Sing-A-Long

I learned a few things last night.

Even though I cannot sing, I can still have fun at a sing-a-long.

People invite us places for my husband's amazing eggnog. And the look on people's faces when they take their first sip is priceless.

I am going to be an amazing drum player someday! I am currently taking applications for my band!

There are sweet girls Megan's age who snuggle with their moms and don't roll their eyes. Megan will never be one of them.

When I go on Amazing Race, the tag under my name will be "Bookstore Volunteer" because let's face it, "Mom, Wife, Teacher" isn't catchy.

My daughter is a flirt. Complete with the "notice me" way she sits on the couch and the "sing me a song" requests. Sigh.

My son is not a flirt. He walked past the sweet girl snuggling with her mom 87 times without a second glance. Different Sigh.

There are some people that just look good in hats. Any type of hat. I am not one of them.

It's cute when little girls show off their ballet skills. It's embarrassing when my husband shows off his.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Things I Learned in Yucaipa

Don't ask me how we ended up in Yucaipa. It's not relevant. I can tell you, however, that I learned a lot during my short visit.
1. There aren't many mini-vans in Yucaipa. Most people drive big trucks or old mustangs. If you drive a mini-van down Yucaipa Blvd., the people will stare at you like you have landed from another planet.
2. There are a lot of churches in Yucaipa. But the place with the most patrons is the bar.
3. You can see the entire town in 3 1/2 minutes.
4. We like to take a local's recommendation for a good meal spot whenever traveling to a new town. In Yucaipa, this means dinner at a place whose menu includes breakfast, Mexican food, cheese steaks, burgers and fried mushrooms, all prepared on a grill behind the cash only counter. There are plastic benches in their small booths. Their burger special is only $3.25 but if you want any flavor with that, you better make use of the ridiculously hot peppers they leave sitting on the counter all day, or at the very least, half of the salt from the shaker at your table. After dining at this place, you have a 50/50 chance that your icky tummy the next day came from their meat, or the e-coli from the stream water you drank on your hike. Their bathrooms were clean, which was a bonus!
5, In Yucaipa, the entire staff of a restaurant will stop working and sit down to watch the opening ceremonies of the WWE Championships.

I could go on, however my son has informed me that making fun of Yucaipa, and the people that come from there, is not kind hearted. So I will leave you with this, Yucaipa is not a destination location, but if you ever need a good chuckle, take a ride out there. There are plenty of sights to see!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pay it forward

Last week we went to the Chicago concert. The whole experience was blog worthy, but I will save that for later. This post is reserved for praises for two wonderful women we met at the concert. They were seated next two us. Two friends since elementary school who were about my mom's age. They take an annual trip together and this was their week. They had come from Canada to see the band. They were as excited (if not more) than we were. When they were about to enter, they overheard the security saying any cameras would be confiscated. They were so worried about this, they returned to their room, left their cameras behind and came back into line. My camera was in my purse, in plain view, and it did not get confiscated.

After a few songs, we realized most people around us also had cameras and were not afraid to use them. Our friends were disappointed, we were encouraged to take ours out! So I got a few pictures and videos of our friends and the band. I took an email address and told them I would send them when we returned from our trip. They were so very very grateful! At the end of the concert they asked us if they could buy us a drink or two to say "thank you" in advance. We declined and told them to "pay it forward". We said, someday you will be in the position to make a memory for someone else and we hoped they would take to opportunity like we had.

Well...our friends really took this to heart. After sending the pictures, I got a reply that warmed my heart. Let's back up for a minute. During the concert, there was a man who got to come on stage and sing a song with the band. He had won this opportunity, backstage passes and front row tickets after being the highest bidder on an auction for the opportunity. The money raised all went to breast cancer research. Awesome! So flash forward to the email I received...after returning to Canada, one of the ladies went on the band website and found they would be playing this weekend only a few hours from her home. She eagerly bid on the chance to sing with the band and won! She was really excited about the opportunity, and then remembered our "pay it forward" conversation. It was then that she contacted her local breast cancer survivors group and asked them if they thought they could find a survivor who loves Chicago and might want the package. Yep, in addition to donating money to the research fund, she also donated her winning tickets to a survivor! What a woman! That is the most awesome "pay it forward" story I have heard, I think, ever.

Opposites Attract

My husband and I don't have a whole lot in common.

I get excited about the Chicago band tour bus.

He gets excited about the Nom Nom truck.

Enough said.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Notable Quotables

The last few days have been filled with some quotes that just have to be documented.

Dad-"2 minute warning guys and then we have to get out of the pool."
Dylan- (Gets out of pool, stomps to Dad and then cries big tears while saying...) "Why can't it be like and hour and a half instead of only 120 seconds?"
(Clearly the art of compromise is lost on him)

Friend-"Gina, you are so awesome people ask me how they can get into your club. So many people, too many to even name names, have come up to me and asked me how I got into your club. They want to know how to be a part of the inner circle!"
Me-"You're cut off!"
Friend-"Seriously! I tell them you're really nice and welcoming and that they just need to go say hi to you. Then later they'll come back to me and say 'WOW! I tried it and you're right! She really is nice. She said hi back to me!!'"
(No, this conversation did not take place in high school. This was really an adult saying this to me)

Spinal Surgeon-"My advice to you is to take a Vicodin and go to the gym. If it hurts to work out, just take your pain pills when you want to exercise."
(This guy is obviously an advocate for addiction to pain pills. And possibly my new best friend! I mean think about it, why would I ever want to actually recover from my injury when I can just pop pills for the next 50 years! Brilliant solution! Sign me up!)

Dylan-"Look! Some Japan guys on a roller coaster!"
Dad-", those are Buddhist Monks".
(Maybe you had to be there for this one but it was worth a mention)

Friend-"I am a total Facebook addict now! I logged in 3 times last month!"
(I had nothing to say to this. She clearly needs help for this addiction. Anyone have any references for a good inpatient recovery program?)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Advice to Graduate Students

Today I spent some time grading assignments from my graduate level students. Here is some advice for those of you that may be considering pursuing this level of education:

1. Put your name on your paper. You have been doing it for approximately 16 grade levels. Now is not the time to stop.

2. When the questions asks for four examples, don't give me the same example worded four different ways. For example... Sam showed limited cognition when he was unable to remember what time to feed the baby. Sam forgot to feed the baby, therefore he has no cognition. If Sam has to have help remembering to feed the baby, this shows he needs help with cognition. Sam does not have the same cognition as normal people as evidenced by the fact that he cannot remember to feed the baby. That is ONE example.

3. If it says reference the text, reference the text. Don't say "The textbook has a chapter about Mental Retardation". Show me you read that chapter with a quote or two genius!

4. No fancy colors. I do not need each answer written in a different color font. This may have been cute for answering questions about your boyfriend in high school, but it is not so cute when discussing the heartache experienced by parents of children with profound disabilities!

5. If it asks for a limitation...don't give me a strength. I know the strengths already...that's why I didn't ask about them.

6. Get a new printer. I can hardly read your dot-matrix text. Or save it to a flash drive and print it out at Kinkos.

7. When making a video of yourself to be viewed by the instructor...
Clean your house first. I do not need to look at your sink full of dirty dishes. I have my own thank you very much. Do I really need to mention throwing away dirty diapers sitting on the couch? Make sure that the camera operator knows the importance of the instructor actually being able to see what you are doing on the video. Your grade will reflect the fact that I watched your camera operator's hand eat french fries for 3 minutes. And I BEG YOU...please take the battery out of the beeping smoke detector before filming! I will deduct 1 point for every beep I hear.

Consider this a public service announcement!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Date Night!

Once upon a time...we had a date.

The luxury transportation picked us up right on time.

We had appetizers on the beach just after sundown.

We laughed and loved.

We watched some teenagers come in from a swim after dark. Poor dears...the waves must have knocked their swim suits right off of them!

We walked on the famous pier.

Beach potties have no mirrors, so I took a picture of myself in the stall to see the damage the wind and moisture had done.

We walked downtown.

We ate some more.

Our carriages took us back to the place where the trolls were playing.

It was wonderful.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I used to crave change. After graduating high school, I changed schools, boyfriends, jobs and residences about every year. I was not settled. I always wanted to go somewhere else and start a new adventure. Then I met my husband. I knew very early on that the changes I would be making from that point on would be for the better, not for the different. We had a few years of subtle, yet rewarding changes that led us to Huntington Beach. After moving to our home 7 years ago I was very settled. My husband had a stable job, I loved our neighborhood and community, we were making great friends, going to an awesome church, involved in our community, feeling very charitable, life was good. No need for more change. It took one moment to make the life we had created for ourselves to come crashing down on us. It was uncomfortable, it was painful, it was scary. In the past month we have gone through many changes as a family. It has been very unsettling. I suddenly found myself fearing that which I used to desire. Change. I have cried for myself, I have cried for my children, I have cried for my husband. I have been scared, angry, hurt, frustrated, confused and sad. Very very sad. I felt like I was saying the right things "we have faith", "we trust", "we will be OK". I walked the walk and talked the talk but in reality I had a lot of doubt and fear and questions of faith. I never doubted there was a plan for us. I just wanted to know what it would be and when it would start! The problem is, I neglected to recognize that there were many things that had led us to that one moment of change. It had been coming for a long time...we weren't really happy...we were just comfortable...doing what we had to for our family. But we weren't really doing anything for a purpose beyond our own daily survival. All our efforts, all the long hours, all the missed opportunity for family time, all the holidays spent apart, all the late nights, all the loneliness were for nothing more than paying the bills. So much was wrong...we just didn't want to admit it, because we both feared change. So change was thrust upon us. In several different ways. And today I sit here grateful for that change. Tomorrow we start a new adventure. An adventure that ties us to our community even more, that allows us more opportunities to be together as a family, creates more opportunities to foster friendships and spiritual relationships that have meaning, and purpose. And tonight, I watched my husband excited to go to work for the first time in 9 years. I have no regrets. The path we took to get here was blessed beyond measure. And now that we have arrived, I feel more blessed than ever! It does not take an expensive car, a hefty 401K, a college fund to make me feel complete. For me, truly living, is being surrounded with good people, having a happy husband, nurturing my children and and having meaningful relationships. I am so grateful to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus. I am grateful for my husband. I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for change. It is because of change that I have been led to this amazing life. There will be other bumps in the road, but I will face them with more confidence and less fear because ultimately, change is moving us in the right direction.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Love Songs From Jesus

Last week I was having one of the worst weeks of my adult life. Details aren't important. Just know that this solid as a rock girl was crying every day, several times. More times than I can count actually. I was a mess emotionally, physically, spiritually. On Friday morning I was driving to work in the pouring rain. There were accidents everywhere. I had a few scary moments myself. It didn't help that I was crying...again. I turned up the radio to drown out the sound of my ridiculous sobs. As I did, "Jesus take the wheel" started. Great...that didn't help. So I started singing along, which made me cry more and then told myself to stop. Stop crying, stop trying, stop hurting and just let Jesus take control. Easier said than done but I really needed to hear that song at that moment. I tried to compose myself as the song was ending because I was almost at school. The next song was "Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down". WOW! I was blasting this song as I pulled up to school. As I did, I was greeted by the most amazing rainbow right on top of one of the buildings. It was hard to capture on my phone but I tried. I just wanted to remember that moment, that when I stop, let Jesus be in control, and live life with more faith, heaven will indeed shine its light on me. I am trying to remember those five important minutes in my life right now. Each day, when I feel the urge to cry, I think back to Jesus sending me those two love songs right when I needed them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Feed Me!

FYI-I can binge eat better than anyone I know. And probably better than anyone you know too!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Dark Side of DIsco Mommy!

I love that my brother thinks that by threatening to send me a picture of his bare rear I will stop harassing him via text. He doesn't know me at all! Game on! I have ALL night to text o'brother of mine!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Falsetto, Flowers and Paper Bags

I recently heard someone say "There is something for everyone in every church service, but everything might not be for you". For me, I dread the "Shake and Howdy". To me it feels forced. I love being friendly and joyful to strangers as I go through my daily routine. I always ask the cashiers at the stores how they are doing and try to spread the joy! But this portion of our church service just isn't for me. That's OK...I do it anyway. Today was the first day I was excited for the Shake and Howdy. All through the worship songs I was waiting for the moment when I could turn around and meet the woman with the extremely loud, off key falsetto, singing right into my ear! When the moment came, I quickly turned around with a smile on my face...and it was...a...MAN! A young his 30's...who looked more like a wanna-be body builder than a wanna-be opera singer! HUH?! Where was she? Who was she? Either this man had been cursed with this strange voice or the voice was coming from someone sitting in the row behind him which means she was singing even louder than I thought! I was so disappointed.

So the sermon starts. I enjoyed it. My heart was moved. So was my belly. By about half way through I was feeling nauseous. There was a horrible smell. HORRIBLE! It was the most disgusting perfume I have ever experienced. I am painfully allergic to any flowery scented perfume and I could not bear this one. It was strong. It was wrong. My eyes were watering, my ears were ringing, my stomach was churning. I wanted to vomit. And just like the first day I stepped foot into FCC, the Pastor seemed to know exactly what I would need that day. Imagine my relief when he told us to pull the paper bag out of our programs. This was a gift for me! My own personal air sick bag just at the right time! I was tremendously relieved. He does provide!

By the way, I love that my mystery friend was making a "joyful noise"! It's awesome!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vacation Is Over

I know it is time for vacation to end when my kids get diarrhea from all the crap they have been eating. They are seriously going to detox from sugar tomorrow. It is going to be ugly.

Yep...I'm Hairy!

I have always known I am hairy. I'm Italian...I wear it with pride. Today I went to take care of the craziness that is my eyebrows and upper lip. The lady offered me a special price, $5 extra to wax my chin while she was at it. I declined. Surely I don't need that. It's just an up sell. When I left, I looked in the rear view mirror and spotted the most ridiculously long hair growing out of my chin. How did she make that grow there?!?! Aging sucks!

By the way...I had to look at some disgusting pictures for this post. I will never be the same.


I haven’t even finished putting away my Christmas decorations and I am already being solicited for summer camps for my kids. SLOW DOWN WORLD!

Reality Check

When girls in their 20’s get implants, they forget to consider how ridiculous they will look when they are in their 70’s. I do not think old ladies should wear a bikini, especially if they have had implants. It’s just wrong!!