Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Great Tragedy

I got a phone call this morning from David which wouldn't be unusual except that I talked to him yesterday and we usually try to stretch the money I put on the account by spacing out the phone calls.
As soon as he came on the line, I knew something was wrong. I could hear the tears in his voice and could barely understand what he was saying.  He called because of a news story he saw last night.  A man was beaten and left for dead over a dispute over a parking spot.  Read the news story here. 
The man who was attacked, Chad McDonald, was David's boss for 3 years.  Apparently, Fernando Aristy, regularly parked his car in a no parking zone in front of the warehouse where Chad worked.  There were signs stating that it was a no parking zone but Aristy parked there anyway.  He was repeatedly warned to move his car by Chad but would park there anyway.  Eventually, Chad called and had the car towed.  Aristy then came back with two friends and attacked Chad and then left him lying on the ground.  He was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. 
Information on Fernando Aristy can be found here.
Chad leaves behind a large extended family in addition to his wife of ten years and their two sons ages 15 and 11.  The 11 year old will be 12 on Friday.
One of the worst parts of this tragedy is that Aristy has had a warrant out for him since September of 2009 when he was released from prison and failed to show up for his probation meeting.  He should have been back in jail for that but authorities hadn't found him so he was still out to commit this crime. 
Chad didn't have any life insurance so the loss of his income will greatly impact his family.  There is a benefit scheduled for November 6 at 8pm at the Lynnway Sports Center in Lynn, MA.  I am planning to attend and hope that a lot of others will as well. 
Chad was a great guy.  Hardworking and easy going.  Always had a smile for everyone.  He was a terriffic father.  He was always great with Davis when he and I would go by the warehouses to see David while he worked.  He will be missed. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

School Pictures

This is Davis' first year in daycare and they took school pictures, which I didn't expect.  It was a nice surprise though.  For some reason, no matter what I do, he always smiles more for people outside the family who are taking his picture.  With me, he can be acting goofy and smiling away but as soon as he sees the camera, he starts turning away and pretending to be shy.  If it weren't so frustrating, it would be funny.  Okay, it is funny but it's frustrating too.
Anyway, now I have a dilemma. They took 4 pictures and I like them all. I can't decide which one(s) I want to get 8x10s of.  I'm getting wallets of all of them, but I'm not sure which to get 8x10s of.  So here they are...Let me know what you think.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sharing a Wonderful Blog

I just stumbled upon a wonderful blog.  I found the link on my Facebook news feed today and I'm so glad I followed it.  Single Dad Laughing is a well written, deeply thought provoking blog with a lot of humor thrown into the mix.  
The entry that brought me to the blog was, You just broke your child, Congratulations. It was an amazing entry and definitely should be a must read for every parent.  This post is written about dads but I think it pertains to moms as well. 
I know I'm not perfect as a parent and I never expect to be, but I know that I'm doing my best and my son knows I love him.  I spend time with him every day no matter what.  I know I'm extremely lucky to have found a man who is a loving and involved father and I'm grateful every day for that.  Even though David is away from us for now, he manages to show his love to Davis is a million ways.  And I know that when he is home again, he will be as involved and loving as he can be. 
If you haven't already, you should definitely go check out Single Dad Laughing, he's an amazing writer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Toddler Talk Thursdays: GAMES

First off, I'd like to thank the Toddler Talk Moms for highlighting my blog this week!  It really made my day.

Now, this week's topic is games. Davis LOVES games of all kinds. 

He started off with things like peek-a-boo and what we liked to call "I'm gonna squash Daddy"

Which later progressed to "I'm gonna use Daddy as a jungle gym"

Yes, he was watching wrestling with us in that video, he's always loved it.

He has always been a sports fan, lately his favorites are soccer and baseball. 

I've recently started doing a lot of flash cards with him which he loves. They're not really a game, but he thinks they're fun so I think it counts.  We have seasons, animals, letters, numbers and sight words flash cards.  He's not quite ready for the sight words yet, I just show him the picture and then the word so he connects that the word goes with the picture. 

I'm really excited that he's getting to the point where he's about ready for actual board games now.  I plan to get him one or two for Christmas this year, I just don't know which ones would be best to start with.  I'm making my own memory/matching game with pictures from his coloring books.  We'll be trying that one out this weekend, I can't wait to see how it goes. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Recipe Lion - 23 Spooky Halloween Recipe Ideas


With Halloween just around the corner, it's a great time to start adding to your recipe collection.  What better way than to have recipes delivered straight to your email inbox.  Sign up for a FREE email newsletter from Recipe Lion and you'll get a FREE ebook of spooky Halloween Recipes which includes things like Pumpkin Ravioli and Spiderweb Brownies.

Visit Recipe Lion to get yours today.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Toddler Talk Thursdays: Halloween

This week's topic is HALLOWEEN!  I love Halloween, I've always enjoyed it but I think what really cemented it as my favorite holiday was living in Salem, MA for 8+ years.  We moved there when I was in the 7th grade and lived there through high school.  I didn't really experience much of the Haunted Happenings madness until after high school. 

We actually lived in Salem for Davis' first Halloween when he was 6 months old which was great.  They have so many great family friendly activities.  David is also a big fan of Halloween so we both had a lot of fun taking Davis to things like their kids costume contest and the Haunted Happenings Parade. 

First Halloween 6 months old.

He made an adorable dragon.

Last year we lived in Lynn which is just a town over from Salem so we were able to participate in a lot of the Salem activities again. I also took him out trick or treating with my friend Jayna and her two daughters, Charlotte (then 3)  and Aaliyah (then 2 months).

Baby Dracula at 18 months.

This year, I wish we could do more of the awesome activities in Salem again but we live about 45 minutes away now and traffic getting into and out of Salem is insane.  We'll just have to make our own fun.   I still haven't decided what he'll be going as but I'm sure he'll have some input this year.  Maybe one of the Toy Story characters since he loves them so much.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Blog Hops

Time for the Monday Minute with Cristy.

1. What's your biggest pet peeve?
I have a lot of pet peeves, unfortunately.  One of my biggest though is being asked to repeat information over and over again.  It happens a lot at home because there are 2 teenage boys, a tween boy and a 20 year old girl living here.  They constantly ask me a question and fail to actually listen to the answer. Or they interrupt me halfway through the answer.  I've learned to just stop talking to them when they do that and say, "I'm done."  After a few minutes they'll usually ask me the question again, but they'll actually listen this time.

2. Describe your first kiss.
My first kiss was when I was about 10 or so and I don't even remember it all that well, it honestly wasn't that good.  I've had way better kisses with my fiance.

3. Describe the drunkest night of your life (or at least, the drunkest night you can remember,)
That'd be the night  I went  with my fiance to his friend, Mike's house for the first time.  He has this "tradition" that the first time anyone visits his house, they do shots.  So we did shots of Jim Beam.....and I drank a Smirnoff Ice.....and a margarita.  Not a good idea to mix it all, especially since I hadn't eaten much that day.  I was holding my own though until it was time to leave.  His friends insisted on walking us out the front and I puked on his porch steps.  Thankfully they were concrete and easily washed.  Ugh.  We went home and I fell straight to sleep.  Thankfully I was fine in the morning though. 

4. What's the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?
The last movie I saw in theaters was Toy Story 3.  It was awesome!  Davis loved it, it was his second trip to the movie theater.  He hadn't seen the first two movies, but he loved the third so much that I went out and bought the first two that week and he's obsessed now.  

5. Do you prefer taking a bath or a shower?
Shower.  The only time I take baths is when I'm sick.....or when my sweetie decides I need to relax and runs one for me. I'm just too lazy to take all the toys out of the tub and run myself a bath. LOL

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Sippy Cups and Cloth Bums

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Davis has taken to making the boys give him horsey rides.  And he adamantly refuses to do this without a cowboy hat.....

Or sometimes a policeman's hat.

Check out more Wordless Wednesdays or to link up visit  Wordless Wednesday or Marvelous Mommy

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Blog Hops

Top Two Favorite songs......
That changes constantly.
Right now, my favorite songs are Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice and Pray for You by Jaron and the Long Road to Love

Tuesday Tag-Along

A Trip to The Zoo.....or Where it all Goes to the Animals

This weekend, Davis and I went to the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Ma with my cousin Tommy and my sister Maureen.  Davis loves animals so this was a great trip for him.  It's a smaller zoo, but they have some great animals.  I think next spring, I'm going to purchase a zoo membership and take Davis several times over the spring, summer and fall next year since he enjoyed this trip so much.  The Stone Zoo is one of two zoos in the Zoo New England network.  The other is the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA.  Within the next few weeks, we plan to go visit that zoo as well.  In the mean time, here are some of the pictures I took while visiting the Stone Zoo.

Davis peering through the glass at the Black Bear exhibit

This is how my son looks standing next to a black bear

Perfect sign for both the bears and a lot of toddlers.


Tommy and Davis in an old mine car

Davis' hand compared to the Lynx's paw print


Spider Monkey


Davis and Tommy petting the Pygmy Goats

Mexican Grey Wolf

I wonder if this is one of Santa's Reindeer.

Cave explorer. The window goes to the Coyote exhibit

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Teenage Boys are a Wonderful Influence on a Toddler

I took this video a couple weeks ago, just for the heck of it because my cousin was acting  a little crazy.  If you listen at the end of the video, you can hear what he taught my little man to say.  Warning: video contains foul language.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Toddler Talk Thursdays: ART

First off, let me say YAY! and Thank you to these great moms at The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom, Crazy About My Baybah, and Family and Life in Las Vegas for choosing me as their highlighted blog this week at Toddler Talk Thursdays. 

This week's topic is ART.  I'm so happy about this topic. Davis LOVES art.  He enjoys all the projects they do at school and he's always asking for paper and pulling out his crayons to color. I love to print out coloring pages for him online to save money on coloring books.  Crayola has a great website with coloring pages and other great art and craft ideas.  Some other websites I use for printables are Coloring Book Fun and Free

We try to do more complex or time-consuming art projects on the weekends.  One of Davis' favorites is painting.  

He loves painting so much, I have to hide the paintbrushes or he'll beg to paint everyday.

Another favorite is sidewalk chalk.  He loves to scribble on the driveway and tell me what colors to use. 

When we do this, I always write our names and the names of our family and show him the letters.  I also draw different shapes and he names them.  He thinks it's great fun, but he's also learning something.  It's the best of both worlds.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learning to Drive Stick Shift

So here's the current car situation.....

6 cars in the driveway and 51/2 drivers (Alec has his learner's permit).

Sounds like it works, right?


Natasha (Bryan's silver car) has been sitting in the car for several months patiently waiting for a new engine and the white car's transmission just died.

That leaves us with 4 cars and 51/2 drivers....still not too bad.

Except that two of those 4 cars are standard shift cars and only 1 driver (my uncle John) can drive stick shift.

So to help out with this situation, we decided that at least one other driver needs to learn to drive stick.

By the process of elimination, that person has become me.  Bryan is a teenage boy and therefore too bullheaded to listen when learning and likely to blow out the clutch.  Lindsay is a 20 year old girl with the same problem.  Marianne doesn't have the time as she is working two jobs.  Therefore, it all comes down to me. 

In preparation for learning this new skill, my uncle has given me some LEARNING TO DRIVE STICK  on  After reading a little bit of it, I have to admit that it is entertaining as well as informative. 

I'm still nervous about actually trying this out though.

I'll keep you all posted on how this goes.

Blogging Award

Thanks so much to Erika over at Let Me Think! She just gave me an award and I'm so grateful to receive it!

Rules For Winning This Award

Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
Share 7 things about yourself
Pass this award on to 15 other bloggers that you recently discovered and think are fabulous.
Contact the bloggers you chose and let them know about the award. 

Seven Things About Me

1. I am ridiculously organized with some things...some might even say OCD.  For example, I have binders filled with plastic sheet protectors that are the homes to my letters from David, Davis' letters from David, and all of Davis' daily sheets and artwork from school.  Yes, they are all in separate binders and yes, I plan to save them forever.  Eventually, I'll even scan them all and keep digital copies.

2. I love the colors purple and green.  

3.  My favorite season is fall.  I love the changing of the leaves, the cooler weather, wearing jeans, boots and hoodies.  My favorite holiday is Halloween and my birthday is at the beginning of October.  What's not to love?

4.  I believe in fate, destiny and karma.  Fate is what brought David and I together.  It was our destiny to be parents to our wonderful son.  And karma will take care of all of those who have attacked our family and made our lives so hard.

5.  I LOVE to read.  I will read pretty much anything.  I go to the library at least every other week and I always come home with a very heavy bag of books.

6.  I often feel lonely even though I live in a house full of people.  I miss spending time with David every day and seeing my friends all the time.  I wish I lived closer to them all.

7.  I may be easy going, but I will fight to protect my family at any cost to myself.  Even if that means having to cut myself off from people who have meant a great deal to me.  

15 Blogs

Monday, September 20, 2010

Visiting Day with David and Monday Blog Hops

Yesterday Davis and I drove down to visit with David.  It was great to see him.  It's about an hour and half drive and with the cost of gas and snacks in the visit room and everyone's schedules competing for cars, we only get to go to visits every couple of weeks.  It's an exhausting process, but it's well worth it.
We left the house at noon and after making a couple stops (for gas and chicken nuggets for Davis to eat on the ride) we were on our way.  Davis ate his lunch and fell asleep as he usually does.
With traffic, we go there about 2pm.  And then began the process to go in to visits.
First stop....the bathroom to change Davis and use the facilities.
Next....go to the machine and put money on the card for the snack machines.

Third.....fill out the paper requesting a visit;  find my license, Davis' birth certificate, and the car registration.
Fourth....wait in line at the window and hand in all paperwork.  Get everything back except the paper requesting the visit.
Fifth....put everything into a locker except what we're allowed to bring in (empty sippy cup, 2 pullups, plastic baggie with baby wipes, 1 pacifier, card for the vending machines and locker key)

And then we wait for the intake processing......

After a few minutes, sometimes longer depends on the day and how many people are there, we get called to get processed through.

This starts with taking off our shoes and placing them and everything else we'll be bringing in with us on a table.
Then Davis and I each walk through a metal detector separately now that he can do it on his own.  
As we do that, they look through our shoes and everything else we're bringing in to make sure it's allowed.
Yesterday, I was lucky and got to be their random pat search for the shift. For that a female officer takes me behind a partition and looks in my mouth, under my hair and at the bottoms of my feet as well as patting me down.

After all that, they hand me the paper I had filled out requesting the visit and we go sit on a bench and put our shoes back on.  After they do this process with several people, they signal to another officer behind the glass to buzz the door and we are let into the "visitor trap".   Only after that door is closed behind us do they buzz the second door open and let us into the visit room. 

Once inside, we head over to the desk to hand them our paper and then go find a seat and wait for David to be brought in.  Davis usually goes into the play room to play while we wait.  They have legos and a few other toys and some books in there which keep him entertained.

Finally, we get to the good part.  David comes in and we get to spend several hours with him.  It's almost like things were before he went to prison.  We get to talk face to face, he can hug Davis and I.  It's great.  I love seeing them together and of course I love getting to spend time with David.  We eat sandwiches and snacks from the vending machines and play games and just hang out.  I can almost forget where we are for a while.

Yesterday we stayed until the visit period ended at 8:30pm.  It's a long day for Davis, but he loves his Daddy and I know spending time together is great for both of them.  The hardest part is saying good-bye.  I never know when I'll be able to get there for another visit because there are so many things in the way of getting there.  And I know Davis doesn't understand.  He's already started saying things like "Daddy home?" And I don't know how to explain to him that Daddy isn't coming home for a few years.  I've tried looking for picture books to read to him about it, but there aren't many.  The ones that I can find are usually not accurate to what we're actually going through or seem to emphasize the "Daddy did something bad" aspect of things which I think is unnecessary.   I know at some point we'll have to explain what David did to Davis, but I think 2 is way to young to be stressed out by hearing those things. It's just such a hard situation, I'm not sure what to do.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Skateboarding Toddler and Saturday Blog Hops

This is Davis' favorite thing to do lately.  He sees his older cousins out in the driveway skateboarding with their friends on a daily basis so of course he wants to join in.  So far, he mostly sits on the skateboard and pushes himself around with his feet or stands on it while watching the boys.  He loves when either I or one of the older boys holds his hands and kind of pulls him around on the board.  I love that he's having so much fun, but I dread the day when he's able to actually skateboard because I know he'll get hurt.  Oh well, at least he's getting in the habit of wearing the helmet now so I won't have to worry as much when he gets a bit older and is out there skateboarding on his own.