Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions for 2013 - Writing prompt

It's the final day of 2012. It's also time to shake up the etch a sketch of life, and get a clean slate. Think long and hard about what we want to draw on it, not just for one day, but for the year.

I could sit around in my pjs' all day pondering about my own resolutions, but I digress. It's as simple as 1 2 3 and 4

1. R E S P E C T - Treating others as I'd like to be treated. Not always as easy to do as it is to say, however, if everyone stopped and thought about what they do and say to others, this world would be a much better place. I want to also teach my children how important this is.

2. Swear less - Sadly, even though I am a mom of young kids, I swear too much. Sometimes like a truck driver, maybe even worse. This doesnt' mean I am going to swear like that Mack truck's driver all day today. The swear jar goes up on the shelf tomorrow, and if I mess up, it's 25 cents gone out of my change purse! - I need those quarters for my coffee.

3. Write Every day - No matter what my day brings, I WILL write every day. Even if it is just a long 'note' on Facebook about my attempt at a new recipe or a review on Amazon of the last movie I watched, I can't live without it. Whenever I stop, or go even a few days, I feel off. From my fingertips, to the keyboard (or pen, yes, sometimes I write longhand), to the words flowing out, it's like a shot of prozac..haha..never had that, but it just sounds good.

4. Take care of myself - Just like my writing life, when I do not eat right, and get some form of exercise,  I feel horrible! Rather than sign up for a gym membership or join weight watchers, I want to make better food choices, and do a variety of different exercises so I don't get bored. And also, be supportive of others that are on the same pilgrimage to be healthier and more fit.

Happy New Year to you all!! I wish everyone luck on their journey down Resolution Road. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Papa's last Christmas (A writing prompt)

My latest writing prompt has me strolling down a snowy(and sometimes not so snowy) memory lane of the holiday season.
I could write about so many things from my Aunt Mary's story of truancy to see Ol' Blue eyes to the the last Christmas day in the house I grew up in.
However, it is the first Christmas in that same house that I will recall. It was 1979, my relatives from my mother's side of the family had all come to eat, open presents, laugh, smile, and have our last Christmas with the patriarch of the Arena clan, John Joseph Arena.
I love my papa just as much today as I did then. It was a bit crazy, lots going on, much like most family parties, and the 'foot fixer' was one of the gifts my papa received. He and Nana sat on this old long arm chair that for some strange reason developed lumpiness as it got older.

As a child of 10 years old, it was all a bit overwhelming to be in a new home, albeit a big old drafty(I miss that big old drafty house now) colonial at that. Before that we lived there we lived in a small house. It was a great place for entertaining and once you had enough people in the house, it got warmer, in more ways than one. It was warmer with heat, but it was also just a cozy warm feeling to have such a big family and be able to all be together at the holiday.

I wish the same for everyone reading this - Happy holidays to you and your family!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another NHS Reunion...

Now 25 years have gone by, and the day after Thanksgiving (a popular weekend for high school reunions), the graduation class of 87 from Norwood met up to drink, eat, drink, talk, drink, take pictures in the fun photo booth, drink some more, dance but mostly have fun.

Everyone looked like they were having fun and isn't that what parties should be about? Sure high school was not great for all of us, but like I've learned in the past few years - life is what you make it. 

Hopefully, those classmates that put the shindig together will read this - because I want to personally thank them. Everyone looked like they were having fun. The free color or b&w picture booth was a huge hit with all! So, whoever had that idea, merci beaucoup! (I took French in high school, those are a few of the words I remember).
Like past reunions, the bar area was packed, as people just wanted to stand around and catch up with each other while they threw back their cocktails.

After eating, and lots of catching up, the dancing commenced via 80's and some 70's music.

Wicked Drunk guy in white shirt
The dancing machine I paired up a few times, Terence, was grooving, even with his hurt foot he managed to cut a perfect rug. Cool and very nice, Terence hasn't changed much as a person since grade school but he definitely had some different looks through high school. He is good people. Also got the groove on with my dance club friends from the dance club days.
Cleveland School classmates sighted. The boys from my speech therapy were both there. I honestly can't remember why I was in speech therapy, but I am glad I had a chance to hang out with them once again to catch up and reminisce about our 'Therapist', Mrs. Riolo.
I'd say we all aged very well and our speech is awesome! :) Speaking of aging well, everyone in the Class of 87 looked very well and lots of happy faces. Some I didn't really know in high school all that well, but as I've gotten older, the confident and brave Eileen has emerged. I mingled a lot more than I did at the last reunion, and tried to talk to as many people as I could. 
Here I am with my gal pals from school that I still see now, Jackie and Joyce. and Steve, who I see from time to time when I am in Norwood. Sean, I didn't really know in high school very well, but I talked to him for awhile at the reunion and he is funny and very nice as well.
Reunions are a funny thing - some people go to them, some people chose not each is own I say. When I do go out anywhere I like to have fun, and that I did! Like my mom, I like to flit from people to people just enjoying everything. Life is good...Another reunion come and gone and I'm sure many a mini get together throughout the new year will arrive as well with new and old friends.
Like I learned in Girl Scouts, "Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold."
Totally, fer shure, bitchen time at NHS' Class of 87 reunion! Comments & additional insight reunion are welcome here!

Monday, December 3, 2012

When I see you Smile

When I see you smile....

everything is good

the corners of my mouth can't help but turn up gleefully

it is as I've had a shot of happiness injected into me

my day is better, even if it's pouring rain

I think of how lucky I am to have you  in my world

I see a handsome boy

When I see all my boys smile, or anyone smile, I will always smile back. A smile is a free gift that is easy to regift and no one will mind!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Multitude of Gratitude!

Thanksgiving Day may have come and gone, but I have done the "what I am grateful for every day" project for a long time. It helps to put everything in perspective and realize I do have something to be happy about.
I have kept notebooks, that are now filled with multiples lines of my musings and my thankfulness towards whatever seemed to have been brought about that particular day. Now, I have my blogs and a platform for my writing of which I will continue to do for the rest of my existence.

Drum roll, please....Here are the ten things I am Grateful for:

  1. Leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner - one slice of bread, turkey slices, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy... Yummy!! Looking forward to having that shortly.
  2. Folgers Vanilla Biscotti flavored k-cups - They were on sale, and I'm glad I decided to buy them. Yummy coffee!!
  3. Getting to sleep very late today. I was up too late last night, but was able to make it up this morning. I haven't slept until 10:15 in a long time.
  4. T.J.'s silliness - Yesterday he test tasted my brownies and said they were not that good, Then when he ate one at his Aunt's house he turned me to and said, "Mom, these brownies are the best!" 
  5. Black clothes  - Thankfully I own very cute shirts and pants that are all black and are also comfortable and some are kind of dressy.
  6. The current vibe in my home. It is quiet, and all my children are busy and getting along. (Knock on wood)
  7. La Cave Suzanne Salon - A plug to the hair salon I go too is well deserved plug! My hairdresser, Kerri, is so nice, and I love how I feel every time I leave there. I am getting all glamoured up today for my big night out tonight to my 25th High School Reunion.
  8. My husband, he is always on this list and no, Turkey sandwiches are not above him literally I am being very random about this. I can be kind of a random jerk (it's the hormones, I swear) to him and he is still just his wonderful self. He has no idea how much I truly appreciate him!
  9. WBRU's Retro lunch hour - "How soon is now" totally trumps Christmas music right now. I love all music, but all other kinds stop at noon every day during the week to hear the Alternative music from the days of my youth.
  10. Being able to remember my crazy dream from last night - what a bizarre one!

Peace, Love and Understanding everyone!

Friday, November 2, 2012

What I look forward to....

I am SO glad I stumbled into Ellen Stumbo's (pun intended) blog as I knew I needed a nudge to help me march on down the writing parade. So, with Anthony, and even my other children, I look forward to the future and see where my kids go, who the meet, what they do with their great knowledge, but most importantly I look forward to every day with them.

However, I know with Anthony's extra chromosome that he will be doing things in his own way. I like to make lists so here is everything I look forward to with my baby.

  • Having great conversations, whether it's signing or talking, we are working on both. However, i can tell he likes many of the things I like - music, people, and books. So, I am hoping for some awesome chats about these things with him. 
  • Seeing him do a Chariots of Fire imitation - a slight jog on the beach, maybe I am beside him, as that is about the fastest I will run as I am not a runner.
  • Knowing if he really is a lefty. He tends to favor his left hand when he is eating or coloring, however, he does use his other hand as well sometimes.
  • Acting, modeling, - he is a total ham and so photogenic, IF he is interested in these things as much as I am (for myself, and him), I will be more than happy to help him get into the entertainment industry.
  • Shopping - I do take him shopping for clothes with me a lot, but I'd love to hear the little dude say whether he likes something i try on and see him pick out his own wardrobe. - My 11 1/2 old loves clothes and is a clothes snob to some extent. He even likes to help pick out MY clothes and he is good at this. I'd love to see him get Anthony all decked out.
  • Each and every day, from here and into the future, I look forward to seeing my children lead happy productive lives. I hope they all find their passions and follow them. Even if it is something not that easily attainable, like acting/modeling, I want to see them try - I will support everything they do!
I am so excited to see where life goes from my whole family and being there for them is top priority. We are all in this together in this journey, and how we live and our attitudes help line the way of the road.. Rocky, smooth, slightly bumpy, it is all going to be together! There will be many roadblocks, and with Anthony, they will be a bit slower, but he will get through those construction sites as well. Can't wait to see where it all takes us!

Friday, October 19, 2012

If I knew then what I know now

If I knew then what I know now, "then" being the first time I heard that Anthony had Down syndrome, my whole being would have felt a lot better about my baby and his future.
All the negative thoughts would have left me like leaves blowing in the wind. Yes, they'd be flying around me for awhile until I knew the wonder and beauty of my Anthony. Health wise, he had a low body temperture and heart rate, but his heart was in great shape. Some with DS have heart issues and need to have some surgery. Ever so grateful, we felt blessed he was healthy.
It was a rough start, and if only i knew that him having DS was not as bad as it sounds, the whole first week of life with him could've been much happier and less stressed. I wished I had knew more about that extra chromosone and every thing that comes a long with it. It's a slower way of life, and I can't imagine it any other way.
I'd rather parents of an older child with DS told new parents the news - The official diagnosis was told to us by a physician in Rhode Island Hospital whose son had Down Syndrome. Dr. Sig Puechel  was the perfect person to tell us. He spoked so eloquently and happily about life with his son and after that meeting, we felt a lot better about the new road we'd be traveling in life.!/efarrellfamiglietti

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reasons why I have not blogged....

I meant to but just let my thoughts run out of my brain before I could get them on blog. I am very unlike most writers (or bloggers), you probably all have a set schedule for when you write. I do not. I am too flighty. Even when I try to schedule it in, something comes up that detours me from Blog Street. Admittedly, I am one of those people that seems to talk more about writing than actual writing. I ready about writing yet the most writing I've done is to review books I've read. So, I guess that accounts for some form of writing.

Laziness and lack of organization is the truly one reason that holds me back. If I could just keep inside my head the thoughts I have when I do write, I'd remember, "hey, writing is fun, and it helps keep me centered." Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Plus, I have too many blogs. I'd like to condense down to one and so far so good. After not blogging at all, this is the first stop on the Blogging road and I intend to stay here.

It's not like I don't have anything to blog about. I have TONS of stuff I could write about. My family/kids, my other passions, movies, books, music, and other random things - like this blog in particular. I'd rather just write about whatever I feel passionate about at that moment. There are a lot of parents of children with Down Syndrome who have blogs that seem to be strictly about life with their child who is blessed with the extra chromosome - like my Anthony - He makes a great topic but so do my other kids and other things that come up on any given day. There's a lot to say and I am going to start writing it all down right here.

So stay tuned for more. .... I am not using my noggin very well today. What stay at home mom blogs after school? I am going to hang with my kiddos now and then head out to their last football practice of the season. Peace & Love

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A message brought to you from Me & Anthony

Okay, I have three beautiful boys, but this blog is about Anthony. The day after he was born I was told he had Down Syndrome. The first hearing of this I was scared, for him, for us, and clueless -

How could I not be? My education about the genetic disorder stemmed from watching Corky in "Life goes on", and I had only a few interactions in my life with people who have the extra chromosome. I made one boy's day when I gave him all my coke cans for recycling. Watching him put his gloved hands into a trash barrel I knew he'd appreciate it. So, he was pretty psyched when I gave him two big green bags filled with cans. You'd have thought it was full of Christmas toys by the wide grin on his face.

Wait, this blog is about Anthony and the message I want to spread to everyone I know, and all who read this.  I know we all have opinions and some of us can be ignorant about many things. However, in my encounters with people who are first meeting Anthony or if I am simply announcing his difference from typical kids, I sense the pity they have for me. What do I say? How do you react to something that shouldn't have been said?  My retort - "Don't be sorry." When I would like to say, "You should be the pitied party for asking and my son.Anthony, is healthy, bright, and a good boy. So there is nothing to be sorry for."
And I would do this with a smile so they don't jump over the moving belt strewn with groceries and smack me.  However, I digress. I know deep down they just don't know anything about Down Syndrome. It is not as bad as they make it sound. There are some health issues for some children/adults with it - heart problems are the scariest. Fortunately, Anthony's ticker is in tip top shape.

When I meet other families with children or friends with D.S., they are smiling, and they know - they have done their homework now that they have someone in their world with the 21st chromosome.

My message is simple - educate yourself and those you can never have too much knowledge...

Start here and ask me - Google can't give you the kind of answers I will.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Class reunions - go or no go?

Well, it's a few months of my high school graduation which means reunion is this year. It will be my 25th. Reunions are a funny thing, they are kind of like traveling back in time for about five hours, unless the planning committee plans a barage of events for Thanksgiving weekend.
At first glance of reunions, the idea of the 5th reunion being on a boat did not sit well with me, especially since I still had some underlying anger with a certain ex best friend. Would I have pushed her overboard? I can't say for sure.
The 10th was at a hotel in Dedham. It wastrue fiesta a albeit a surreal event but people were really nice. The truth is, I was happy to be there. I was engaged yet recently fired but whatever! I hated that job anyways. It was fun to catch up with old friends and classmates.
The 15th was in Norwood and it was a smaller crowd. I was now a mom to a very handsome 18 month old and showed off with pictures. I was amazed at how many people looked the same and how some had changed so drastically. One person, who I didn't even know in school but I knew who they were looked so different. I won't try the old back handed compliment so I digress. We were all wearing nametags with our senior class pictures on them, and wow, what an amazing change this person had.
However, I looked the same, it was the person inside that emerged and became the opposite of my younger self- happy, confident, and full of life.
The 20th was at the same place my wedding reception was at, Concannons' in Norwood. Oh My God, what a fun night that was! This was by far the best turn out, and I only wish I'd worn better dancing shoes. I now had Frank and T.J. and well, I was pregnant but unfortunately, i lost the baby soon after the reunion. :( . On a positive note, I sort of talked a classmate(from elementary school all the way up to the end of our high school days) into attending the reunion. and he told me he was very glad he had come, he was having the time of his life-at least he looked like he was, but i think he may have quite a few cocktails. I wish I had been up mingling more because I missed a few people that I later saw in pictures.
Reunions aren't for everybody, my husband doesn't go to his and this year we were in England when they had his 25th. I may not still hang out with my old friends but the 20th spawned some new peeps that I try to see once in a while now.
High school reunions are good because you get to get inside a time warp for a night and have fun! So, do you go to your class reunions?