Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apple Picking

Columbus weekend was beautiful here in Buffalo, so I decided we needed to do as much as humanly possible.  You never know when the weather will turn and the winter coats will be a must.  So on that Saturday we jumped in the car and headed on over to Blackman Farms, up in Lockport.  It was the picture perfect day for apple picking.  The sun was shining and we wore shorts and t-shirts, in October! 

This is another one of those yearly activities for us.  Annabelle loves picking the apples and seeing the few animals that are there.  One year we even picked Concord grapes but it's so messy and with the seeds, they are hard to eat, so we haven't done it again.

We got some apple cider slushies (OMG so good!) and tried a bunch of different apple butters, plus we played around with all the weird looking gourds and pumpkins they had.  But first, on to the apples!

She kept telling me it was hard to pick apples.  They were really attached to the branches.

But she was so happy to be picking.

We decided she was big enough to try the ladder as long as someone was with her, of course.

This time Grandpa was helping her out.

Mark was taking pictures of my bum, but did get one nicer one of all of me here.

I love pictures with sun flare.  I just think they look so cool.

Posing by one of the apple tree signs, except we picked Jonagold and not Cortland.

It looks heavy but was hollow.

Trying to balance it on her head.  Look at that concentration!

Ta Da!  But why does she look so concerned?

Sitting on a white one!

After we finished up there, we went out to eat at Grover's.  It's a local restaurant that makes hamburgers the size of a meatloaf!  They are so good but eating even half makes me so full.  You have to get there by 3:30 or you will be waiting forever to be seated.  I can't wait to try a fish fry there one of these days.  We ended up having so much fun that day.  It made me happy to be able to spend some nice quality taime with my family.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zillions of Pumpkins!

Every year, since Annabelle was just wee tot, we would head over to the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence.  There are literally thousands of pumpkins there, along with gourds and corn stalks, a petting zoo, hay maze and a shop that sells cider and cookies and all types of Halloween decorations.  If you head over there on weekends, they have all kinds of amusement park-type rides and concession stands, plus a haunted house and a pumpkin catapult.  Except we don't go on weekends because they charge you to get in and Annabelle would beg for some $5 rides and that's just ridiculous to me.  So we went on a chilly Tuesday evening and still had a great time.

She fell asleep in the car on the way over.  I couldn't help snap a quick picture of her in her new big girl booster seat.

We take a picture of her in the mums every year.  It makes me a little sad to see her so big.  The first year the mums were almost taller than her!

She wanted a photo in front of the pumpkins.

This is another picture we take every year.  Annabelle and Daddy up on the pumpkin steps.

How much do I weigh?

Annabelle took a shot of me next to one of the 1000 pound carved pumpkins.

Annabelle in the wheel barrow with our purchase, three rather large pumpkins.  These were the smallest ones we could find, it must have been a good pumpkin season this year.
 We have already gutted our pumpkins and carved them.  We couldn't wait any longer for some yummy pumpkin seeds.  Now we'll have to wait a whole year until we can have some again:(

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This is a ginormous topic of conversation here in Buffalo right now, for obvious reasons.  Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide all because he was bullied for being gay, happened in my school district, in the schools where my daughter will be going.  It puts a name and a face on things here.  It makes me worried for Annabelle in the future.  I don't want her bullied or to be the bully either.  I hope I wouldn't be the parent that is too stupid to realize that she was terrorizing another child.  I don't think that would happen but you never know.

All of that aside, I'm writing this because I was bullied.  I had a couple of moments when in school where people zeroed in on me as the weak kid, but I always fought back.  Not with fists flying but with my brain.  But I'm not why I'm talking here about this because I was bullied last week!  In a Michael's craft store!  By a woman who looked to be in her 40's!

I was really taken aback when it happened but I stood my ground.  I had run into Michael's to buy some ribbon.  Once I found the perfect shade of gold that I needed, I went up to the registers, perused the lines and chose the shortest one.  One line had maybe 10-12 people in it, while the other had only 2.  I asked the guy who was checking out if the register was only for returns, just to make sure and he replied that I could stay there.

That is when the bullying started.  A woman walked up to me, got right in my face, and told me to leave the line.  They had formed one line, were waiting for their turn and that I was rude.  Now I am, by far, rarely ever rude.  I am the people pleaser to a T.  If she had said anything to me nicely, I would have skulked my way over to the end of the long line and this would be a very different post.  But she made me mad!  I told her I wasn't leaving the line and if she had a problem with that, then she had to deal with it.  The lady (obviously I'm using this term loosely) stomped away muttering how SHE had things to do and that HER time was important and SHE had to be home to pick up her child from school in an hour and a half. 

About two minutes later, a manager walks up front to help a customer, when that very important lady stomps on over to her and gets in her face.  She demanded that I as well as the few other people now in line behind me, get to the back of the long line.  Because that is how they always line up at Michael's, not a different line for each register, right?  The manager seemed pretty flustered by this but did explain that there should be different lines for each cashier and that we could stay put.

At that point, the woman behind me, started laughing and whispered to me, "She just tattled on you!"  It was the funniest thing I had heard since walking into the store.  At the same time though, I'm pretty sure she will be the parent with her head in the sand when her kid starts bullying.  How else are her children going to learn right from wrong when their own mother doesn't know the difference.  I'm pretty sure she thought she could intimidate me because she thought I was younger than I am.   But I stood up for myself and that felt good. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Day at School

Last week, I volunteered in Annabelle's classroom.  Because of budget cuts, almost all teacher aides have been cut from our school district.  Now teacher aides, especially in Kindergarten, are so vital to teachers.  Trying to teach 22 children the fundamentals of all learning, letters, numbers, math, reading along with showing them how to be good, constructive people in their communities, is hard work.  A full time teacher's aide is invaluable until there isn't the money to pay them.  Now parents are asked to come and volunteer whenever they can and being a very lucky, SAHM, I obviously jumped at the chance to see my girl in action.

My job was to help them make a scarecrow, which meant helping with cutting, gluing and drawing.  Annabelle was so excited to see me there and I must have gotten about 10,000 kisses and hugs in the hour and a half I was there.  But I was a little concerned.  It took her the whole hour and a half to finish her seat work.  Now she did get called out by nurse for a quick eye test, plus she worked with me and with her teacher, Mrs. Tripi.  But every other student was finished and doing fun center work even though hey were pulled out for all of the same things.  Reading and puzzles and games.

When she brought her worksheet home the next day, I saw why it took her so long.

Some of the normal papers we get home.  No coloring and she forgot to put her name on it.  She did the bare minimum and nothing more.

This is what she did while I was there.  Everything was colored nice and neat.  She cut her lines straight and didn't go overboard on the glue.

When I asked why the two papers looked so different, she told me she did her best job.  So that I would be proud of her.  And I am.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Epidemic!

We are having an epidemic here in Buffalo and the surrounding area lately.  People are forgetting how to drive and are crashing into buildings with extreme regularity.   At least once or twice a week, the news is reporting another crash.  I'm sure that this happens with some regularity out there and to be honest, most of the "crashes" are small bumps into local banks and convenience stores.  I'm sure that they wouldn't have been reported at all if it hadn't been for that little old lady who forgot which pedal was the brake and which was the gas.  Maybe it would have been silly and comical, except that she killed two people and now a young boy doesn't have his parents any longer.  Like I said, most of the crashes are just bumps, not much damage, but two of them have involved fatalities and another very nearly so.  What in the world are people thinking when they are out there driving?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eight Years

Eight years ago today, I married my best friend and the man that makes me a better person.  He pushes me to work harder, be better, believe in myself no matter what.  He is my white picket fence, even though it took us some time to realize you have to work to keep that fence white and standing straight.  He makes my dreams come true.
This is a story of my wedding day.


I was woken up at 7am by my mom and dad.  They crept into my old bedroom where I was asleep on a twin mattress with my cousin Amy, and poured balloons on top of me.  My mom leaned over me and whispered in my ear, "You're getting married today!  We are so happy!"  We decided it was a no tear day.  We weren't going to get all sappy and keep ruining our make-up.  But this meant that I saw very little of my mom and dad, because they had to leave the room I was in every time they thought of "losing" their daughter.

I remember laughing with my friends while we had our hair done and looked at flowers.  I remember the photographers getting there and their infernal clicking.  I remember just before we were to get into the limo, my mom decided she needed to clean up the pastries and coffee mugs before we left.  She spilled a mugful of hot chocolate onto her dress and I thought she would lose it, but thanks to my sister and my friend Angela, they got her all cleaned up.

I can remember walking down the aisle with my dad.  We didn't link arms like you are supposed to, we held hands.  I t felt so nice to hold my Daddy's hand one last time.  I can remember my dad deep breathing so that he wouldn't cry.  It made me cry.  My Aunt Beth whispered to me as I passed her to stop crying:)  After that I go a little bit blank.  I don't remember seeing Mark until we got up to the alter.  I can remember his hand in mine and asking him if he was OK.  His response was, "I am now."

I teared up at the beginning of my vows, but finished off strong and clear.  I wanted everyone to hear me tell Mark that I would love him through it all.  After that we had pictures and a party that celebrated us and our love.  On the day we got married, it was also our nephew Joshua's 8th birthday.  We had all 150 people sing happy birthday to him.  We bought him his own special Oreo cake and gave him a camera as part of his present.  It is one of my favorite memories of Josh.  He always holds his emotions and feelings close to him.  We rarely get any real feelings but on that night, he smiled so big.  I'm smiling just thinking about him. 

We had the best time and so did everyone else.  We laughed and danced and sang and took group pictures inside the bathroom because there was a really nice couch in there.  My memories of that day are so clear, vivid.  It was an absolutely perfect day with everyone that I loved. 

Lastly, right by our card box, we put these bridal skeletons.  My mom had bought them for us for our shower.  She thought they were hilarious but I at first, did not.  I hadn't wanted anything Halloween-y creeping into the wedding just because it was October.  But these two ended up being a big hit with the crowd and they have soft spot in my heart now.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Celebration!

Saturday was Sweetest Day.  I don't think that it's a very big deal to most people, maybe there are even people out there that don't know what it is.  In my house, it was celebrated more than Valentine's Day.  My dad liked to go all out for it, maybe because it's not the norm.  I got engaged on Sweetest Day and got married on Sweetest Day the next year, it's a special day for me. 

So this year Mark and I decided to celebrate our anniversary a few days early with some time alone together. We went the movies and saw The Ides of March, with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. An adult movie, without Annabelle, it was great! Then we wandered the mall for a bit before heading to The Melting Pot to eat ourselves into a food coma. After that we went home put on our comfy clothes and watched some TV together. It was relaxing and wonderful to be able to spend some time together.

Me and my hunny in our Love Pod.

This is my Love Martini.  So super yummy.

Queso Fundido with all the dippers.

We finished the night of with Dulce de Leche, bittersweet dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt.  My mouth is watering!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


  • This week is going to be crazy for me.  The long weekend was FULL to the brim with fun and pictures, so future posts on that will be coming up, I'm sure.
  • We are still slowly but surely taking down trees in the back yard.  My arms and legs are all scratched up and not so pretty right now.  Being allergic to pine trees and having to touch them are bad news.
  • Annabelle has yet another cavity that needs filling.  A pox on my husband's teeth genes that he passed on to her!
  • It is hard to buy a birthday present for a person that I have never met.  Annabelle's been invited to her first party of the year.  I know many more will come but it will be easier once I know some of the kids, both through volunteering in her classroom 1-2 times a month plus being a room parent and planning parties.
  • My nephew, Josh, is turning 16!  Holy crap, he is getting old:)  Besides a car there is little else that he wants and while I love him and he's a great kid, I'm only a non-blood related aunt.  Sorry bud, maybe I'll give you gas money at you're party this weekend.
  • I have a chiropractor appointment this week and my back is sooo ready for it.
  • This weekend, once again is jam packed and then we get to celebrate our anniversary next week too:)
  • I promise my next post will be much more interesting!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Let's Go Buff-A-Lo!

My Sabres shirt is on, it's 75 degrees outside, and hockey is on the television!  I guess one of the perks of being a stay at home mom is being able to watch my favorite team start the season over in Finland.  Hopefully this starts my long weekend off right, with a big win:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A New Room!

First I want to thank those of you out there that wrote me such beautiful, kind and funny words on Monday's post.  I am a girl that tends to get blue pretty often.  It has happened to me for as long as I can remember.  Some day I'll get brave enough to talk to a doctor about it, but I'm not there yet.  Just know that I am prevailing. 

Now on to the good news.  My newly painted family room.  Now that is something that makes me happy. :)  This is our second make over of the room.  When we bought our house, the family room walls were covered with dark brown paneling.  It was so ugly and even with a patio door and two sky lights and some recessed lighting, it always looked dark in there.

I then decided to go the complete opposite.  We stripped all of the paneling off and got lucky that it was nailed instead of glued.  I painted the walls a bright and cheery yellow.  Except it was never quite the color I had in my head.  I hate when that happens.  But ceiling is turned out great!  It's a vaulted ceiling and we wanted it to feel big and airy so we painted it blue with tones of puffy clouds.  We still love to this day.
Pretty huh?
Here are the walls yellow.  It wasn't awful, just not right.
So after many years of wanting to change the color, I finally did it.  I didn't want to make a mistake again like I did with the yellow so I bought some tester paint and painted a big old stripe down the wall.  Then we lived with it for more than a month.  Once Annabelle was settled in at school, my lovely MIL, who loves to paint, came over and helped me knock it out.  It took one whole day to do the walls, two coats.  Then she came over again the next day and helped me refresh all of the trim and paint the cabinets.  And now it's pretty, pretty, pretty.  Of course, it only makes me wish for the money to be able to really finish it the way I would like.  But that unfortunately will cost close to $10,000 to redo the fireplace, put down new floors, buy a super big wrap around couch and a big screen TV to hang over the fireplace.  But for now, it's good and I'm lovin' it:)

It's was still messy when I took the pictures.  It's much cleaner now.  Does anyone want a treadmill?  We want to sell it.

A closer look of my set up over the fireplace.

The right shelving unit.  They used to be dark brown.

And the left side.

The view of the couch.  I still have to add more pictures but I'm stumped how to do it right now.  I needed these pictures that I found at JoAnn Fabrics.  They matched so perfectly.

And the view into the kitchen.
So what do you think? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


We have many trees in our backyard.  Most of them are pine trees and they are all slowly dying or at least looking pretty scraggly.  We chopped two of them down about six or seven years ago and then two more from the front yard two years ago.  We are becoming experts.  With the deck now being finished, we are going to slowly be removing more of the trees.  I think that we will end up cutting 10-12 trees down, the sooner the better.  They make it really difficult to mow back there!

So two weeks ago when Mark was out of town for work again (boo), my MIL stopped over to help me paint and then we started dismantling one of the trees in the back.  Once Mark got home he got to work too and I decided that instead of helping, I'd snap a few photos.
A close up.

The next step will be getting out the chain saw!
 After Mark did all he could, he was a messy mess.  He hopped in the shower and that's when he started yelling for me to help him.  I needed to figure out how to get tree sap out of his hair.  Luckily i knew what we needed already.  Hand sanitizer!  I helped him get it out of his hair and some on his arm.  I made him do his own armpit.  I am not an armpit person and will not go near them unless I'm forced.  I don't even like the word armpit, gross.

Don't ask how he got sap in his armpit but suffice it to say that it is now very clean and sanitized.  I can't wait until we are done with this project.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I'm not doing so good right now.  I'm all over the place.  I'm so tired of the happy face.  I had such an awful weekend.  I had planned on having a great time but as usual, I look at my friends photos and all I see is sadness and disappointment.  In me, in all of it.  The past few weeks have been weighing on me so heavily that sometimes I'm amazed that I'm making it through it all.  I tried mentioning it a couple of weeks ago to my friends when we got together but when I mentioned how sad I was, they kinda laughed it off.  I think they thought I was being over dramatic.  I know I tend to run hot and cold sometimes so maybe that's why they didn't see the pain.  But it shut me down real fast.  I don't have them as an outlet like I thought I did.  I don't want to talk about it with Mark because I know he'll get upset.  I won't talk about it to my mom or dad because I don't want them to think that they screwed up with me, made a mistake with me.  Maybe I should talk to my sister.  She'd probably slap some sense into me.  It's what I need.  But right now, I'm sinking, crying for too many hours of too many days.  I hope I'm bottoming out and I'll start smiling for real again.  Pray that I do soon.