Wednesday, October 19, 2011
So come on over, check out my new digs, leave me a note to let me know your still out there, spread the word and have fun... and as always...love, love and laugh...abundantly. <3 H
Simply take all the ingredients (but the roast, duh…) and put them in the blender until it becomes a paste. Some of the peppercorns will still be whole. ( I do NOT recommend allowing teen brothers to dare younger brothers to eat the whole peppercorns at dinner, this does not end well. I promise you.) Add extra olive oil if needed to make the mixture wet enough.
Before I even took one bite, half the roast was already gone, the kids were already asking for seconds and thirds. My pickiest eaters ate till they thought they were going to pop and all I kept hearing was "OMG, Mom! This is sooooo good!"
As I sat at the table, watching them pass plates around, dishes clattering, voices muffled with mouthfuls of roast beef, broccoli and baked potatoes I remember THIS is why Joe and I wanted to have a big family. Dinners just like this. Good ole' family sit-down dinners that seem to have faded into obscurity in the last few decades.
a big thing for us. My kids love a night of chicken nuggets and french fries just as much as the next kid, but we tend to be a little more old fashioned around here. Dinner is (usually) every night at 6pm. My kids believe in three things on their plate. A
protein, a vegetable and a starch and are adamant that corn "just can't be" a starch because they go SO well with mashed potatoes! Who has a 13 year old daughter that ASKS for meatloaf? I DO!
And as I was cooking in our tiny kitchen, all 8 kids were jammed in there with me listening to music, drawing on the new chalk board, peeking in the oven and talking about school, sports and life in general. I couldn't wait for Joe to get home and enjoy the atmosphere with me. The experts are right when they say that family dinners really bring people together and keep parents in touch with their kids... works pretty damn well for us.
Pick a family favorite, cook it together,
sit around the table and enjoy each other.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Well here we are …. 2011…. Another decade. Another calendar. Another chance to get it right….So many things have happened in 2010 that it boggles the mind how we fit it all in. But we managed and we all came out of it breathing and with a pulse. And as much as I gripe and bemoan about life here with this crazy bunch, I wouldn't change it for the world. TJ, Cody and TylerLee are all managing to delve into the mires of teen angst while remaining honor roll students. TJ played football for the FIRST time and jumped right onto the same team with kids that have been playing since they were in utero. And he only broke a few fingers! SCORE! Cody has managed to simultaneously entertain and piss his teachers off all while being their best student and getting straight As. At home he spends his waking hours playing Madden11 and hoarding about 57% of our kitchen plates, cups and silverware under his bed. TylerLee….. well, lets just say TylerLee is a learning experience for both Joe and I… she is the first girl in our family. And we are finding the process to be somewhat…. taxing on us emotionally. The animal kingdom just may have it right where as some species eat their young. Her teen years will be a testament to that, Im sure. But to be fair, TylerLee never gives us any problems other than just the sibling rivalry and expected moodiness. She gets straight A’s, all her teachers adore her. She has a heart of gold and the entire month that I spent in the hospital she ran this house. She is so very mature and responsible at such a young age. She leads a quiet, modest life in this loud, insane house.She is almost ALL her father, thankfully and minimal of her mother. Kylie… what can we say about Kylie. Great grades, bad eyes, great attitude, bad ears, its a balancing act with her. She keeps us on our toes. As far as filming an episode of Mystery Diagnosis, she was a freakin champ. the “hero shot” for the ending gives me chills every time i think of it. She is a testament to the saying “If He brings me to it, He will bring me thru it”. The information gathering process for the show was a lot more emotional for me then i expected it to be. I'm still in awe.. At all of us. How the hell did we manage to survive those first few years? I guess we did it on auto pilot. because if we stopped to think about it we never would have made it. And I appreciate Joe and the kids for allowing the process to invade our life this fall. I am indebted to them as most of them said “NO WAY!” when I told them we were asked to do it. But when I explained that my goal was three fold, they understood and agreed. (well..TJ never did but he knew it was that or a life time of no rides to the girlfriends house) A. I wanted to bring exposure to this orphaned disease that most Dr.s only came across once or twice in their education and careers. We need support, we need research. We need a cure. And to get that, we need to expose it for all it does to our families. Our lives. Our children. B. I wanted families with DBA to see Kylies journey. Her obstacles, her struggle. And see her success. To know its possible to live a happy, abundantly blessed life as a child and family that carries the letters DBA sewn into their hearts…If we can do it, so can they! C. and the most important, to me…I hope that a Dr., a neighbor, a parent, a spouse sees this story and says “Oh my God! That is what my child/spouse/loved one has! It has a name! there are Drs who specialize in it! WE ARE NOT ALONE!” If just one family gets their mystery diagnosed because of her story, then it was ALLLLL worth it. Next up, Ryan….oh brother love… He has ::Draft-saved 12/31/2010 12:25 PM ::
And this is where the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 smashed into each other like a 12 year old crashing and burning on a sled at a high rate of speed. In fact… that's exactly what happened. That was where my journaling got cut off by the ringing of my phone and within a half hour I was in the ER with TylerLee getting x-rays on her ever swelling, almost pretty shade of purple, hand, By 4pm Joe was tearing about town shopping for last minute items and then home, furiously preparing the house and food and all its fixins for our annual bash while I brought home the casted and exhausted and temporarily nicknamed “the broken child”, TylerLee. And if we knew that New Years Eves activities are a mere hint of what the entire month of January was going to look like for us, Joe and I would have packed our bags and hitchhiked to Cuba before Snookie had a chance to roll out of her bedazzled New Years ball and right into oncoming traffic. Forget the fact that its illegal for Americans to visit Cuba or that neither one of us has a passport, because we are fully prepared to take up sanctuary at Guantanamo Bay as opposed to the war zone infirmary that this house has become in the last 19 days.
Less than three weeks into 2011 and we have had the “broken child” surgically repaired, out of state. TylerLee, Kylie and Jordyn are being evaluated for PVC’s (a cardiac rhythm irregularity that can require catheterization and ablation ), two are hooked up like hybrid cars to 30 day cardiac event monitors, two are scheduled for stress tests, Charlie had to be doped up and have his two front teeth manually yet gently yanked from his head thanks to an abscess, Joes had skin biopsies that received positive results on the kind of tests no one wants positives on, so come February he will undergo a series of Mohs surgeries and have a trial with some chemotherapy cream in hopes of avoiding more invasive treatments. And then there's, me… and that mythical. magical omentum. As much as I have read up on it, I am chagrined to admit I still have no friggin clue what it is, what it does, or what were gonna do with mine. As the days pass, I look at the shifting, lumpy, globular “thing” that has replaced what used to be my belly button and think of “The Blob”. It doesn't actually look like the blob, but say there was a “Littlest Pet Shop” pet blob. THATS what it would look like. Small, seemingly harmless, squishes when you poke it. Its my very own “Littlest Pet Blob”. Just ask Ryan and Kylie.. I let them poke it, Kylie nearly puked, Ryan thought it was the most awesome thing EVER! All that and its only the 19th of January. It cannot be any wonder why I choose to write the date as 20he11 every given chance, can it?
I have two theories on the cause of our current state of affairs thus far… Either A,) God is filling our “challenges to be met” quota early on as to leave the rest of the year free for unhindered joys and abundant blessings, or B.) The Myans really botched up their calendar and the rapture is upon us… JUST US! Either or are entirely possible, at the moment, its a crap shoot.
So, yeah… sorry my New Years update was about 3 weeks late, Sorry I never followed my thought process, to round up each childs year of successes and escapades in a few sentences, All laced with love and laughter, entwined in the chaos that is us Monica's and wrapped up nicely in a positive, uplifting cheer for to enjoy a happy new year. But alas, it was not meant to be. So instead, I will take the reality of all of the things that 20he11 has brought to us thus far and wear them like badges of honor. I will carry them in my pockets like hall passes or Dr.s excuse notes. So when I get caught going batshit, or breaking down into a puddle of blathering omentum, I can pull out all my reasons and lie them on the table. Literally and metaphorically.
Lets just hope Nancy Grace has a good sense of humor when I'm her lead story,,,,,,
Live, love and laugh, kids…. no matter what!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Its two days after Chrsitmas, about 3pm. There is 3+ feet of snow out there and drifts over 5ft. And its freakin beautiful. Sure, it destroyed yet ANOTHER back deck gazebo, sure the digging was epic(for Joe, I stayed inside and cleaned the house), heck I will even agree that its a little inconvenient. But you cant deny that its beautiful. Its gorgeous. its… pure, white, frozen miracles, each one completely different from the next. And as I stood outside in my polka dotted jammie pants, my Rutgers hoodie, my electric lime green Uggs and my totally weird, hard to explain, ski hat, taking pictures of Jordie and Kasey Mae, I learned a little something i never realized before…
It all started in December 1999. We had just had a house fire an lost absolutely everything to smoke damage. The fire, although contained to our kitchen, caused such an abundance of smoke, that it crept into every nook and cranny of our house. Everything had to be tossed out. We were able to save very little. It was also while Kylie was home. With 24hour nursing, a treach, non stop medical appointments and still not yet properly diagnosed. It was a rough year to say the least.After the fire we moved into a Residence Inn about 10 miles from our house. TJ, Cody and Tyler Lee were little bits. 3 1/2, 2 1/2 and 1 1/2. And it snowed. Boy, did it snow. We went to Sports Authority and got them all their very first ski suits. And while we were there we saw these odd contraptions called “Butt slides”. They were little scooped plastic thingies with straps and clips. We weren't quite sure just how they worked, but we got them anyway. And what a great idea that was. You simply step into these things somewhat like a rock climbing harness, clip the strap and off you go. Walk up the hill, throw down onto your butt, and off you go sliding down the hill as if you had your own built in sled. Which, you actually do, Nothing to carry, complete and free movement. It is one of the most amazing inventions I have ever seen.
Now keep in mind this was in 1999, This is now 2010 and we STILL have 2 of the 3 we bought. I really need to find some more.
So, there i go, out in the snow, to take pictures of MiMi and Meatieballie butt sliding down the driveway. As they are falling on their butts and sliding down the hill my first instinct is to say, BE CAREFUL! DONT FALL ! But then i realized that was the whole point of this. to run, fall on your ass, and ride that wave of ice, snow and diabolical laughter as far as it can take you. They were having a BLAST. They were laughing and smiling. Cheeks rosey from the cold air, hair all mussed and icy, hats and jackets all snow-y, It all made since just that very moment. You can actually fall right on your butt and ENJOY IT! Sometimes in our life, things happen and we literally and proverbially fall on our ass. We sit there , in out doom and gloom and get all mopey about our current position in life.Whining about being at the bottom. But there were these two, falling down and enjoying the brief and tumultuous ride that followed. Its all about perspective. The had to trust that in falling down they were not going to be hurt, they had to believe that the ride was going to be fun. They had to know that a little bit of fear is a good thing. And they, in their 8 and 9 year old wisdom camouflaged as innocence, reminded me that sometimes the fall and the ride after, are actually a blessing and can be an enjoyment if you let it. So, as 2011 approaches I am prepared. We ALL KNOW that somewhere in this next year, I WILL fall and I will land right on my ass. But when I do, I will try and remember the girls, in the bright, sparkling sun, falling on their butts in peals
And thats EXACTLY what Im going to do!
So, as you get ready for the New Years, enjoy the falls and the hilkes back up the hill. The ride is TOTALLY worth it.
Live, love and laugh as much as possible EVERY DAY!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Its fairly well known around this house that Mom can, at times, have a “potty mouth”. Yes, Mom meaning me. I know..I know… ::gasp:: Heather! such language! Well.. there is one thing I know for sure…. God never sent anyone to hell for cussin’. So the situation this morning that made this post possible kinda took me off guard initially when it happened.
Set the stage:: Its about oh, I’d say, 8:45 in the morning. I am standing in the downstairs bathroom doing Kasey Mae’s hair. and if you have ever seen Kasey Mae get her hair brushed then you know that is wasn't going down too smoothly. Enter Ryan from the hallway.. wound like a top and not even remotely ready for school. I am directing him to A.) pack his lunch, B.) get his socks and shoes on and C.) go brush his teeth. Well, as mentioned in a recent Facebook post.. it seems what I think are simple requests, are actually children's code for some horrific, brutal, cataclysmic torture that causes the child the request is directed at, to temporarily loose their mind and go insane. For Ryan, this temporary insanity expressed itself as an absolute REFUSAL to go brush his teeth. Because, he is under the impression that he is the ONLY child I have that I demand this brutal practice of. Not 12 hours prior to this argument, did I have the exact SAME discussion upstairs in my bedroom. And again, as I told him the night before, I explained to him that he never sees me yelling at the other kids to brush their teeth because they either brush them without me having to tell them, or they go brush them as soon as i gently remind them the first time… not the 500th. Mind you, I am still trying to put Kasey's hair into pigtails and apparently every hair in her head contains about 650,000 pain receptors as she is grunting and squeaking like a hamster stuck in a running dryer. And as the argument with Ryan escalates, I admit, I just MIGHT have been getting a little rough with the comb and ponytail holders. So, Ryan keeps at me, Kasey is crying and somewhere in the distance I hear my last nerve snap like the pony holder I just broke in Kasey's hair.So, finally… I just yell… “SON OF A BITCH! JUST GO THE HELL UPSTAIRS AND BRUSH YOUR GOD DAMN TEETH! NOW!!!!!!!”
Well, I guess it was then that Ryan's last nerve snapped… and he SCREAMS back at me… “ IM CALLING THE POLICE!!!!! CHILD ABUSER!!!!!!”
Um… ::blink:: WHAT??????
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the look on Kasey's face was ALMOST as shocked as mine. But since by now she was doubled over in pain because I just yanked half of one of her very lopsided pigtails out of her head in a knee-jerk response to Ryan's outburst, I could no longer see her face in the bathroom mirror. I'm just betting it was a pretty good “OMG Ryan is SOOOOOOOOO dead” face. With possibly even a few tears thrown in for added drama.
I ask… ok.. I don't ask.. I YELL “WHAT???”
He says to me “ I'm going to call the POLICE , because your CURSING at your CHILD!!!”
And I actually started to laugh. “Oh REALLY? You want to call the police….because I cursed at you? Well … let me save them the trip… I will actually TAKE you to the police station, where you can then file the complaint in person. OK?”
He shouts back “YEAH! That is a good idea! “
By now, Kasey has ran to get everyone else in the house who just might happen to have NOT heard Ryan go batshit, so they can all witness together, what just may be Ryan's last words on this planet as a child who doesn't walk with a permanent limp.
“Fine Ryan, I’ll take you.. but before we go, you need to go get your socks and shoes on…and go upstairs and BRUSH YOUR F*&%ING TEETH!”
And he did….
and I drove him…
RIGHT TO SCHOOL!
So, yeah…. I have a potty mouth sometimes.. but I swear.. ITS ALL THEIR FAULT!!!!
Live long, love much and laugh…. OFTEN!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The summer is over… and yes, all the tourists are gone. And now is where the REAL folks from the Jersey Shore start to come out to play. We do not require massive amounts of alcohol to enjoy our beach. nor do we require deep fried “what ever you can find and shove in the fryer” as part of our Nutritional Pyramid. The real Jersey Shore folks are a timid bunch. We quietly stroll the beaches, smiling and nodding to each other, walking our dogs (you know a local, because they actually pick up their dogs crap) and truly enjoying the gorgeous landscape that stretches out before us. The gift of the what seems to be infinite ocean and its never ending rush of waves that pour out across the sand like a salty, bubbly seltzer. Friends power walk and discuss the most recent scandal hitting the local school board, seniors sit on benches and talk about who cheated at last weeks bingo or how much they had to pay to get their car fixed, AGAIN! And me, I walk silently with my earphones tucked in just one ear so I get the beauty of the music on my iPod AND the beauty of the music God gave me from the seagulls, rustling sedges and the crushing waves mere feet from where i stroll. In my hands I hold my camera… my constant. I resigned myself this particular day to NOT take pictures of my usual, unusual stuff… I thought about all the pictures i saw cheaply displayed on my television this summer. The glimpses of my beach that TMZ spread like honey across the internet. And I though… no one gets to see MY Seaside…. My boardwalk is just as awesome a site without the flashing lights,the cacophony of the of sun burnt, sleep deprived, over fed vacationers, the din of hundreds of teenagers making minimum wage, trying to lure oblivious visitors to play their game where “even if you loose you will win” because they will give you a prize no matter what! (suckers- give me a buck, I’ll give you the lint out of my pocket and have Charlie tell you a nock-nock joke, a far better prize then the pathetic stuffed animal the size of your appendix they give you as your prize, go ahead…Google how big an appendix is… its TINY and useless!). You don't have to see the orange haze of self tan spray that is the cast of The Jersey Shore approaching to know that something really awesome is just ahead of you. Yes, we ALL know that nothing says SUMMER like the sounds, tastes and smells of the boardwalk. But we Jersey Shore folks are not to be measured as a whole based on a few weeks of drinking and debauchery glamorized on a reality show that is ANYTHING but realistic. I was born in NJ… so was my husband. We, as a couple make the perfect storm of what NJ is.. Irish (me) and Italian (he)… (and now you understand why our kids are so dang gorgeous) We like Bruce, we like Bon Jovi..but I have NEVER worn animal print and not once has Joe ever announced to me that it was GTL time…. (I'm not all that sure that Joe even knows what the heck GTL even IS!) Neither one of us have ever gone “clubbing” and that whole “Its a Jersey thing!” is lost on us. We ARE Jersey…and have NO CLUE what it means…
SO, back to my pictures. I figured I would show you what the Jersey Shore looks like when all the hoopla and foolishness are packed up and long gone. because when the cameras stop filming and the lights go out, when the Frog Bog is closed and the Khors Soft Serve Custard doors are rolled down for the last time till next summer, we are still here…. We don't creep around in our deserted town like Gollum looking for his precious. In fact its almost like then end of the movie 2012 and all the people gather by the metal doors, All waiting for the gates to open up to the sunshine and fresh air of the new world that awaits them. Us locals, after months of being holed up at home because the traffic is brutal, beaches are packed ass to elbow and the restaurants are filled with loud obnoxious and usually drunk travelers, we take the first chance we get to head back out to “the boards” and enjoy the view. And what a view it is.
So don't believe everything you see on tv. Because sometimes the glamorized image isn't all that glamorous. Sometimes, when you pull back all the bling and spandex, wipe off all that mascera and self tan, things actually look better. Sure its fun… but that's what we have Halloween for. The rest of us Jersey folk know that the true Jersey is more about working hard, raising a family and enjoying your community. Which I do! IMMENSELY!
Live, love and laugh, kids…. it really makes a difference… <3
(oh, by the way, GTL means gym-tan-laundry…hahaha)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Love you all!