Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday Fun-day!!

You know when you have a couple of great ideas and then try and pack them all in one day??  That was yesterday for us.  We did too much.  I can't even recall how many cups of coffee I had this morning, too much.

The day started with breakfast at one of our favorite places, Avenue Grill.  Matthew has been obsessed with going back and eating the MONSTER PANCAKES that he had last year on Mother's Day and so we thought to kick off our Sunday fun-day, we would head there for breakfast.

The before shot.  One should not be so excited about monster anything, yet he was.  What was sad, but true, is that we had to talk him out of the three stack and insist that he only have the two stack.

Anything you can do, I can do better.... kind of.

The last bite.  I was miserable just watching him.

After breakfast, we headed to the boys' new favorite place.  The Bass Pro Shop.  This AGAIN, is thanks to my nephew Mason who is responsible for all things they like.  Matt got a gift card for his birthday and we thought it would be a good time to catch some after Christmas sales.

He was totally bummed this shirt did not come in his size.  It is a shirt from the show Duck Dynasty.  Have you seen it?  This was a Mason recommendation---you see where I am going with all of this??  I almost caved and let him have a Duck Commander shirt, but they were not in his size either.  Confession---I spent one evening with the boys watching this show for five hours straight.  That would be 10 straight episodes.  I'm not proud, just truth.  And I hate to's bit entertaining.  What is happening to me???  I didn't even break out in hives walking through the Bass Pro Shop and I told myself after the first time I walked in that it was okay that I NEVER go back!  I even helped him shop for a camo shirt for crying out loud!  What is wrong with me???  Somebody hit me hard with a blunt object over the top of my head the next time you see me and drag me back to the Wine and Rose Spa where I belong!
I told my mom not to be surprised if these two items show up under her tree for Christmas next year.  Rich thinks we should throw in the gutting table that was next to it!

And finally.  Matt wanted to get some fishing sign or poster to hang in his room.  I reluctantly told him to look and if he found anything, I would certainly think about it.

This is what he found.  I walked up, read it, looked at him and said, "Absolutely Not!!," turned back around and walked away to start laughing.  I love that he is clueless.

Part three of the weekend was a big surprise for the boys.  We were taking them to a Sharks game in San Jose and also ice skating at the Shark Arena that was a couple of blocks away from where the game was.  The boys were beyond excited, especially Ryan. 

I have a confession.  If I had all the money in the world, I would think about moving the entire family to wherever Ryan could play hockey.  I would sign him up for skating lessons, try and get him on a team, and do whatever it took for him to play.  He loves the game that much.  When we got to the skating rink there were two games going on besides the free skate area.  There was college game that we could watch and there was a kids league that we could watch.  He wouldn't leave.  He just wanted to sit and watch.  At one point as his face was pressed flat as a pancake against the glass and he said in the softest whisper, "I wish I could do that."  I wish we could do it for him.

Isn't this sad...and pathetic??  Well, it was enough to twist my heart in knots!

Finally, when the game ended, we were able to get some skates on the boys and let them feel the ice for the first time.  He looks good!

Waiting patiently for his buckets.  The beginners are supposed to lean against the buckets to get used to skating and learning how slick the ice is.

Matt did good, he just wasn't too sure about the whole thing.  I was pleased he got out and tried.

This dude on the other hand...he took off and was almost running across the ice.

And when you run on the ice, you fall.  And when you fall, you learn how cold and hard the ice is.

One would think he would learn, but no, this is him after he ran a little and then jumped on to the top of the bucket to swing around in a circle like the girl was doing on the rink next to us.

After their skate...they both want to come back again. to the Sharks game!!!!  New hats, check!  New jerseys, check!

Last game we went to I was amazed that almost every person was in some type of Sharks gear.  Now, they just look like one of the pack!

As we were walking around, trying to find our seats, one of the ushers told us that we could go down near the ice and watch the warm-ups.  You didn't have to tell them twice!

And then reality hit...the actual view from our seats.  :)
Great day! Super fun!  Can't wait to go back!

Friday, January 25, 2013

To my sister Noelle...Happy 40th!!


We used to chase each other with butter knives all through the house.  My parents would leave us alone and think it was safe to do so.  And it was, for the first fifteen or so minutes.  And then all hell would break loose and one of us would grab a knife and head for the other.  It was usually me...with the butter knife. (Saying it was a butter knife makes it better, right?) I would start screaming and running down the hall because I wanted to do something outrageous and she told me no.  She was older, she was smarter, and she was in charge.  I remember one time when my mom had finally had it and said… “Go for it.  Do whatever you want to each other.  I’m done!  I can’t take it anymore!!”  And Noelle and I turned to each other and just started throwing slaps that never landed!  After a few minutes of scratching, hair pulling, arms flying, both of us realized we were laughing hysterically.  We had no strength to fight each other because we were laughing so hard.  And that was it.  It was like a truce had been called.  After that….we were done fighting and became friends, not just sisters…friends.


My sister turns 40 today.  FORTY!!!!!  Over the Hill???  Is that what they say?  Hmmm.  I don’t buy it, because this chick doesn’t age.  It’s rude and not fair.  Her skin shows no signs of aging and her hair is still her natural color.  Whatever.  I’m over it.  I’m just hoping that this is a little preview of my genes to come.   

All kidding aside on this momentous occasion….my sister is a rock star.  Period.  I don’t know a harder working mom on the planet.  Being a mom is hard work, and anyone who is a mom knows that…but having a child with special needs takes on a whole new beast.  I have believed for many years now that only certain people hold the privilege of being a parent of a special needs child because the amount of patience and dedication is not for all, only a chosen few.   To watch Noelle with Natalie is like watching a saint at work.  As I am usually raising my voice and directing my children into a spot for a time out, she is calmly dealing with a non-verbal child who speaks through sounds and hand gestures.  Sounds and gestures only Noelle knows.  Sure, we can guess from time to time, and sometimes we even get lucky at what Natalie wants.  But there is no mistake that Natalie’s life revolves around my sister and their understanding of each other is like nothing I have ever seen.  It’s pure and beautiful.  I haven’t walked a day in her shoes and couldn’t even come close to imagining her daily struggles.  The curve balls that have been thrown at her have not only been faced, they have been hit out the park.  She is a fighter, a survivor, and a warrior.  It’s that simple.

Noelle turns the big 4-0 today!  I am the only one, the lucky one, who holds the honor of calling her sister and friend.  I don’t view us as just sisters, she is my best friend.  And I celebrate her on this day!  I celebrate her hard work, her love for her family, her dedication to Natalie, and her perseverance in all that she faces.  She is a rock star.

Our offical celebration will take place sixty-eight days from now when we land in New York City.  I can’t wait to see her and celebrate New York style!!  Hopefully it is a trip to remember and a celebration like no other.  CHEERS!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Basketball Season A-Go-Go!!!

Somehow we have three basketball leagues going, with only two boys.  And "lucky" for us, only one weekend has a conflict.  So, that means on Saturdays when we leave for Ryan's game in the morning, we better have everything we need for the rest of the day, including both of Matt's jerseys, food, and water.

A couple of pictures from this weekend.

This was the exact moment Ryan realized that his old best friend from preschool was on the team they were playing.

Maybe a bit of a ball hog....just maybe.

This shot was taken actually BEHIND the basket. 

 Break away series....

Score...yep, it went in.

During the last period of the game, Ryan and his teammate decided to assess his injury and see what action should be taken to make it better.

I'm not going to lie...this doesn't look good.

A little cool breeze always seems to do the trick.

Round two...Matt is playing on a city league team.  Most of these boys have been on his team before, the only difference this year....It just occurred to me they all could be in my class next year.  So when I am screaming and cheering them on...they will just need to know Mrs. Marini is a "little" different in class.

Rich is helping out as an assistant coach this year.  This is a good thing.  Let me explain.  Sitting next to him on the sidelines, listening to every thought in his head come out his mouth...more often critical of the boys' play than not enjoyable.  And when he is coaching...he doesn't say a thing.  AT ALL!!!  Several times yesterday during Matt's Upward game, the one he is not the coach of, everyone around us was able to hear his every thought.  So, after a long, loud discussion last night, we decided it is best if we don't sit next to each other at games.  I'm just putting that little disclaimer out there so people understand why we may not act like we know each other for 45 minutes.  

He hasn't hit a three yet...but he has come incredibly close several times.  He won't stop until it hits.

Side story, not basketball related...
Friday night Rich ran to Target to pick up treats and drinks for Matt's game.  Because of the fact that every time he goes to Target, I usually get a string of texts asking me questions, I took my phone into the bathroom to have near me when I took a bath.  Is that too much information???  Well chill, because the bath is the only way to defrost my body due to the fact you can hang meat in our house because it is just that cold.  Anyway, as I was thawing inch by inch, I reached up to grab my nook and totally forgot that I had placed my CELL PHONE on top of it, and when I brought my nook down to open phone slid right in the tub.

The string of expletives that came out of my mouth would make a truck driver blush.  This was not the first time I have had a phone go for a swim...and it didn't end well last time.  So I immediately stood up and ripped it apart, taking the battery and SIM card out and drying them off right away.  I ran to the computer, looked up best ways to solve my little problem, sent out a couple of emails letting my family know what I had done and not to text me...and told them that I hadn't told Rich yet, so remember to bury me in something cute with amazing shoes!

Following the advice I had found online, I then went and got the vacuum and proceeded to use the hose to suck any water that may still be in the phone out.  As I was doing this, Rich walked in the door.  Look on his face when he saw the vacuum hose sucking a disabled cell phone was...priceless???  He rolled his eyes and said..."What now?  How did it happen this time??"  I refrained from saying it was all his fault, but knowing that it wasn't true I just said...."I don't want to talk about it, just let me do what I think I have to and see if it works." 

16 LONG HOURS LATER...I pulled it from rice and put it back together.  And so works.  SO FAR.... I feel like I am patiently waiting for it to start sizzling and die.