Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Worst Moment

I did something the other day that I hate doing.  And I mean Hate with a big capital H.  I ran on the treadmill.  Now don't laugh, I mean, I hate it for the obvious reason.  I'm not a runner and people that "enjoy" it must be sadists because why would you want to get all out of breath and sweaty.  If/when I do get on my treadmill, I never actually run, I jog or lumber, like a bear.  So I ended up getting on my treadmill at home because Annabelle was being less than helpful and my window of opportunity at the gym was fading fast.  I'm trying so hard to lose the weight and be healthy that I ended up at my last resort, the treadmill.

While my hatred of running is a perfectly good reason for not using the treadmill, it's really tangled up in my scariest moment I think that I have ever had.  Even though it happened almost three years ago, I have the daily reminder every time I see Annabelle. 

It was December 1, 2008.  The date will always be etched in my brain.  I was on the treadmill jogging away.  I hadn't been on very long when Annabelle wandered in.  Usually she stayed in the living room while I exercised but this time she wanted to be with me, though why I'll never know.  Now I had a rule, she must stay in my sight line at all times but she was 2 1/2 and constantly pushing boundaries so she walked behind me.  In the ten seconds it took me to tell her to, "Get where I can see you!", she screamed.  Not a scream of fun or joy or just for the heck of it but excruciating pain and terror.  I hear that scream in my nightmares.

I still don't know to this day why I didn't just jump off the treadmill and grab her. I took the time to turn off the treadmill and pull the plug.  I waited for the belt to stop moving.  I know it had to have been a guardian angel sitting on my shoulder helping me stay calm.  Annabelle had put her tiny little hand under the belt and it git sucked in.  If I hadn't waited for the belt to stop moving, the doctors told me I probably would have pulled off her whole hand or at least a few fingers.  She would have been horribly deformed. 

One day later.  The blackish grey area is burned rubber that we couldn't get off.

I can remember calling her doctor as a cradled my sobbing, little girl in my arms.  I bundled her so carefully into her coat and buckled her into her car seat.  I hit the garage on the way out and ripped the side view mirror off of the car in my rush to get her to the ER.  We were there for hours making sure nothing was broken and trying to get as much of the melted rubber out of her skin as they could.

She was so lucky.  We had 3 appointments with a plastic surgeon who once again reiterated how lucky we were not to have lost her fingers or hand.  He said she may need/want scar revision surgery once she's older if it bothers her but that it was the best outcome we could have possibly had.  She only has a slightly noticeable scar in the shape of a bunny on top of her hand.  You have to look very closely to see the scars on her ring and pinkie fingers.

This is what her hand looks like today.

See that tiny little space between the belt and the frame?  That is where she put her hand.  I still have no idea how her hand fit in there.

I am so grateful every day that she is OK.  Most people, if they would look at her, wouldn't even notice the scars, you have to look very closely.  It was my very worst moment but part of me is grateful for the memories, the scar.  It is a reminder to be vigilant, to not let my guard down too much because even the most benign thing could spell disaster.  I know how easy it is to slip.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Then and Now

15 Years Ago:
Mark and I had just celebrated our 1 year anniversary.  I had never dated a boy for more than a few months before that so it was a big deal.  Plus I started my freshman year at the University at Buffalo, officially a college student.

10 Years Ago:
We went camping and celebrated my cousin's 1 year anniversary.  Both Mark and I had stood up in her wedding.  We ate the top tier of her wedding cake even though it was ruined because it rolled down a hill and into the street!

5 Years Ago:
I had an almost 3 month old baby.  We were just starting to get out of the awful colicky phase, Mark's anxiety meds were really starting to work for him and things were finally starting to become more of a routine for us.

2 Years Ago:
Annabelle was 3 years old.  We were signing her up for her first year of dance class and I was beyond excited.  She was finally potty trained and we had just gotten back from a great vacation to Boston.

1 Year Ago:
Annabelle was starting Pre- K!  We were busy buying supplies and meeting her teachers.  I thought I would have so much time to myself with her being gone for two and a half hours but I was mistaken.  That was no time at all!

6 Months Ago:
We were doing major last minute planning for our trip to New Orleans and getting our Easter decorations up.  I started thinking about getting a part time job in the fall for a little extra spending money.  I planned on having tons of fun over the summer.

I helped Mark deal with a hangover after he had too much to drink at a friends party.  Plus we packed his bags because he is heading to Charleston, SC for a week for work.  The we found out that Annabelle has yet another fever, grrrr!

Annabelle was feeling better except for a small headache.  I went to Zumba twice, once at 10:15 am at my gym and then at 4:30 pm with two of my friends at their gym.  I figured that I worked so hard that I deserved Moe's for dinner, yum!

I am heading over to the zoo with my friend Krissy and her two kids.  I plan on having fun, making lots of animal noises and eating some ice cream. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011


Do you remember back in the late 90's when The X-Files was a popular show?  Normally, a show about aliens and abductions wouldn't be my idea of a fun hour, but I can remember sitting in the living room and watching the show every week while on the phone with Mark.  We would talk on the phone for hours and hours back then. 

But anyway, the reason I'm talking about this is that my sweet little girl, has been probed by aliens.  I have proof.  Here it is.

Do you see the small cut on her neck there?  (I know it's not a great picture, our camera is seriously taking a dump on us.  We are so buying a new one before we go to London because who knows when we'll get to go there again!)  It's about one inch long and perfectly horizontal.  The exact place where Scully from The X-Files had her locator chip implanted from the aliens!  Since we have no idea where this cut has come from, I have made the logical leap to alien abduction.  So just be on the lookout everyone.  Check every one's necks for the evidence.  Doo doo doo doo doo doo (I'm singing The X-Files theme song there).


Friday, August 26, 2011

A Lighthouse!

Annabelle has only asked to do one thing all summer (OK that's a bit of a lie but this one thing has been constant) and that is go to see a lighthouse.  Every time we would head to the marina, and that is often a weekly thing during the summer, she would see Buffalo Lighthouse and beg to go inside.  Except the Buffalo Lighthouse hasn't been open to the public in more than 30 years, though I have inside info from my dad that it will be open for tours next summer.  So I finally broke down and drove the hour to Dunkirk, NY to see their lighthouse with my mom, sister and her two kiddos.

We had a super fantastic time.  The kids were very good for the tour of the light keepers house which was basically a museum for the Armed Forces.  It was interesting but way over their heads, as were all of the hints that the lighthouse was haunted by two children and an old keeper named Charlie.  So the highlight of the trip was getting inside the actual lighthouse.  Luckily this one is small, only 53 steps.  Annabelle did most of them, the second flight of spiral stairs she got a piggy back from Grandma when Annabelle bumped her shin and started to cry.  We spent some time up on top and playing with lighthouse paraphernalia in another outbuilding before getting some ice cream and heading home.  Overall a very enjoyable day.

Dunkirk Lighthouse and the keeper's home right next door.

Heading up the first mini flight of stairs.

A view from inside the tower at the first landing.

It was pretty breezy up there.

Leaning way out to try to get a picture of the top.

A room with a view.

We were told that banging on the bell would bring good luck so we all took turns banging away.

Driving a boat.

We got to feel how warm the light was when it swung past our hand.
Next year I'm sure that we will head on up to the Buffalo Lighthouse and see how the two are different from each other.  Compare and contrast, sounds like fun huh?  That's what they call a teachable moment, might be a little bit of the teacher coming out of me:)


Friday, August 19, 2011

Olcott Beach Carousel Park

About an hour from our house is Olcott, NY.  It's a quaint little town right on Lake Ontario and the reason that anyone with kids under the ages of about six or seven goes there, is for the Carousel Park.  It's only open Thursday through Sunday during the summer and is run entirely by volunteers.  There are 6 rides at the Carousel Park that cost 25 cents to ride.  The rides are from the 1940's and 50's, except the Carousel which is from the 1920's.  Everything is in pristine condition.  None of the rides are out in the weather except for the Ferris Wheel.  It is a fun time for parents with little ones and an inexpensive way to spend the day.  A couple of rides, a hot dog or hamburger at the snack bar and an ice cream cone afterwards.  There is a small, rocky beach that you can walk to as well.  The water is pretty rough most of the time but it's a lot of fun to throw rocks in the water.

The Herschall Sky Fighter

Herschall Kiddie Car Ride

Inside the Ferris Wheel

Mahogany Boat Ride

Rocket Swing Ride

The 1928 Herschall Carousel.  Annabelle named her horse Princess.

Mark named his Rocket.

My horse was named Speedy.

Let's find some rocks.

Can you see her rock up at the top of the picture?  We thought for sure she was going to get brained!

I'm getting yelled at because we got wet.  We walked in to far and then caught a rogue wave.

The on the way home we stopped at Bye's Popcorn Stand for some yummy popcorn.  We bought a medium bag of plain and a small bag of caramel and peanut popcorn.  It was all gone waaaaay before we got home.  It is so good and fresh.  I can't wait to go back for more:)

*** Make sure you stop by next week and enter my very first giveaway!  It's free Digital Software from  I'm playing with it now and so far so good:)***

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Backyard Camping

We did a camp out last weekend, complete with sparklers, a fire, hobo pies, and s'mores.  Annabelle had a blast and mommy ended up with a sore back from the air mattress.  Mark is planning on camping out again this weekend, I plan on sleeping all stretched out on the bed, all by myself :)
This is our tent.  Pretty nice, huh?

Annabelle obviously thinks so!

First, some sparklers!

Pizza hobo pies.  Mark and I both ate two, oink.

Patiently waiting for those hobo pies to cook.

Melty cheese!

As Mr. Food would say, "Ooh, it's so good!"
It is officially camping if your sitting by the fire in your pj's.
Anyone ready for peanut butter s'mores?

Roasting the marshmellows.

Her first bite was declared delicious!

We had a great night!  I look like I'm on fire but that cheesy grin must mean I'm enjoying it!
We had a great night!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All About Me

I'm not really good about putting me on the list.  You know, the list.  The one that determines who and/or what is the most important.  There is always someone or something higher on my list.  Annabelle, Mark, family, friends, cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc etc etc.  Every once in awhile I try to put myself up there.  Gosh darn it, I'm important too!  But I always push myself back down again.  Right now, I'm on the list again.  I'm doing Weight Watchers and counting my points, heading to the gym as often as possible.  Trying to be happy with me and the way I look.  I think it will do wonders for me and my confidence.  Especially if I lose this last 15 pounds that just won't. go. away.

So I woke up bright and early the other day and went to the gym for an hour and a half, even though Annabelle's only supposed to stay at the child care room for 70 minutes.  Forty-five minutes of Ab Blast and an hour of Zumba later, I was feeling great!  So full of energy because I pushed myself HARD and I knew I would be feeling it the next day. 

I just have one thing that I need to add.  Walking out of the gym and smelling bacon outside from one of the restaurants is not a good thing!  It almost kille me not to eat some bacon, it smelled so good.  But I persevered so I pat myself on the back.  Hopefully it will smell like something healthier tomorrow, like salad. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Busy, Busy

So last week I had written about our not doing enough together as a family this summer.  So to combat that we've been going 20,000 miles an hour having fun.  So just last week Annabelle and I went to the Herschall Carousel Factory and the beach, and over the weekend all three of us had a camp out in the backyard, spent the day at Olcott Beach Carousel Park, the zoo and we finally went to the Anchor Bar.  Just for the record, Anchor Bar is not so good.  Duff's is better by about 1000% but we had never been to Anchor Bar and thought that being Buffalonians we should give it a try.  Also Duff's won the wing taste off that was held here last year, for the tastiest wings.

So Friday Annabelle, my MIL and I went to the beach for a few hours.  The forecast said sunny but it ended up being pretty overcast.  Oh well, such is life.  We made the best of it and Annabelle had a great time so that's all that counts.

Happily putting sand on Grandma's leg.

Our sand city with a moat, a castle and fiefdom, as well as pony stables out front.

We brought buttons and colored Popsicle sticks for decorations.

The exact button she was looking for!

The whole set-up.

Then she posed for some photos with my beach hat on.

She was one dirty, sandy but super happy kid. 
Can life get any better than this?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sixteen Years

Sixteen years ago today Mark and I officially started dating.  We had gone out a few times before that but on August 15 we made it official.  I was 17 years old and had only dated a handful of guys, no one seriously.  With Mark, it was different from the very beginning.  We worked together at Burger King and my best friend had a crush on him.  I didn't have him on my radar until later on.  But he was so funny and cute.  Everyone always ended up with a little crush on him at one point or another.  Luckily he decided I was cute and funny too.

He says that this day is not important.  That as an anniversary, it doesn't count anymore.  And I can see his point.  I don't expect roses and an expensive dinner out.  But it does count.  It has weight behind it.  Without this date, the other really important ones, don't ever happen.  We don't fall in love, get married, buy a home, have a baby.  None of it happens.  So yes, to me, it's still important. 

I can still remember how I felt holding his hand for the first time, the date he first said I Love You (October 2, 1995), my prom, camping trips, college together, the day he proposed.  It's all right there and it wouldn't be there without today.

He told me when he proposed that he doesn't believe in soul mates but that you know you have to be with someone if you can't imagine life without them.  That he didn't want to ever live without me.  And I don't want to ever be without him.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Not Going Anywhere

Mark called me on the phone late last week from work.  He tends to be busy so it's not a normal occurrence.  When he does it's usually later in the afternoon, so when I saw the caller ID was him, at around 11am I was intrigued.  And then I cried.  He told me that we could be moving to San Diego.  He said he looked into school systems there and that there were a couple of good ones.  He told me about a nice hefty raise and paid for moving expenses and beautiful weather.  He told me it would be 3 years, 4 tops.  All I could do was cry, big gulping breaths, fat tears rolling down my cheeks.  The ugly cry. (All of my cries are ugly cries though.)

My whole life is right here in Buffalo.  I've never lived anywhere else and I don't want to.  My parents, Mark's parents, every single person we know is here.  How could we move Annabelle away from her grandparents?  We'd have to sell our home and buy a new one.  Find new doctor's and friends and favorite restaurants.  All of our vacations would be coming back to Buffalo, not heading to fun and new places.  We would have to spend Christmas alone.  My heart was breaking just a little bit, can you tell?

He asked why I was crying and I told him all of this.  Then he said, I was just asking what you thought about moving, not that we were actually doing it!  I wanted your opinion, I don't want to leave either.

Jerk, just say that in the first place!!!  I'm not going anywhere!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This summer has been flying by!  I'm not ready to have to wake up at an ungodly hour, around 6:45am, to get Annabelle ready for school.  There is still so many things on my Summer-To-Do List.  I don't feel like we've been lazy but all those little fun things, like trips to Fantasy Island and Olcott Beach and Dunkirk Lighthouse, Niagara Falls and Hidden Valley Animal Adventure haven't been done.  Some of these things are in the works, my plans are hopefully falling into place, but there isn't much time left.  Three weeks, that's all.

I saw mums when I was at Lowe's buying paint a couple of weeks ago.  Thanksgiving decor is out at Kohl's.  We've been done school clothes and supply shopping for weeks now.  I think this will all hit me pretty hard when we get all the info for Annabelle's school year.  The calendar and her teacher's name, bus times and class meet-n-greets.

I still get that fluttery feeling of nervous apprehension when we start getting closer to the school year starting.  Just remembering how important it was to find out which friends would be with at lunch time and who would be taking AP English, knowing which teachers you were looking forward to seeing again and who you wouldn't.  I feel it getting closer.  So I am prepared to make the next three weeks a fun-filled time. 

Do other people get this manic need to make it all perfect and memorable, or is it just me?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wobbling Willy

The two main attractions at the Buffalo Science Museum for Annabelle, are the 10 foot tall Alaskan Grizzly missing his ears and Wobbling Willy.  It is a full human skeleton that is motorized.  If you push a button the arms move.  I guess it was a awesome attraction at the Chicago World's Fair in the early 1900's.  She would stand there forever holding that button down if we let her.

I hope that you as impressed as she is.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Muder Mystery...

cue evil laughter!   Bwahahaha!  That was a bit much, sorry. 

This past Monday, I went on a Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise with my mom, dad and sister.  We bought the tickets for my mom for her birthday.  She's impossible to buy anything for.  That usually ends up with us buying play tickets or anything that is even moderately artsy for her. 

So we packed up the car with the four of us for the hour and a half drive to Rochester, all in our spots in the car that we've always sat.  Dad drives, mom passenger seat, me behind dad, Heather behind mom.  Heather started to get into my spot and then apologized and moved over.  I think it's weird that almost 15 years later we're still stuck in the This Is Where I Sit In The Car time warp.

Overall the "play" was a little bit cheesy.  The woman who was playing the part of caterer totally fooled us though.  She was really good!  My dad asked for the chicken marinade recipe and she said she couldn't tell us.  We were completely fooled!  My sister forgot that it was a murder mystery dinner and was annoyed at the people standing up front talking about their wedding and the codicil in his father's will at the beginning.  I made sure to buy her a very expensive but super yummy mango-strawberry margarita to get her head back in the game.  To repay me she dropped a huge piece of chicken into my open purse.  Thanks Heather!  Just what I wanted. :)

I had a great time just hanging out with my family.  Sometimes things are just "off" with us when we're all together.  Heather and I have had our issues the last few months but none of it seemed to matter.  We laughed and talked and joked around.  I wish I had remembered my camera battery to go along with my camera so that I could have gotten some pictures but sometimes my brain just gets fried, you know?  We had fun and we were told that they will have a totally new show next year.  Maybe we'll have to try it again next year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Little Outside Time

We celebrated our cat, Nigel's, 8th birthday this past weekend.  We aren't sure of his actually birth date but we guesstimated because he was around 3 months old when we rescued him from a shelter, three weeks after we got married.  Annabelle sang him Happy Birthday and gave him many, many, many kitty treats.  Then he went for a bit of a walk in the backyard on his leash with Annabelle.  He hadn't been outside in years because of having no deck so he was excited to get out again.

Sniffing under the pine trees.

Moments later he decided to go for a sprint.  Annabelle wasn't ready for it and she fell down and had some rope burn on her wrist.

But she still loves her Brother Cat.

She's making a goofy face but Nigel looks so handsome, don't you think?