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I Believe…


Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…that our loved ones who have passed are always around us. I believe it with all that I am, and today reminded me, yet again, of why…

Today Alyssa told me, out of the blue, that she dreams of Rob’s mom. In fact, Rob’s mom came to visit her in her dreams last night. She said it’s the same dream she has always had…that his mother comes to her, hugs her, and tells her that she loves her. Last night she told her to always remember that she always wanted to meet her as well.

Rob’s mother passed away at the age of 44…far too young. We were only 19 years old, so clearly Alyssa never got to meet her. Alyssa has seen a few pictures of her grandmother over the years, but I wouldn’t say that she studied them enough to be able to describe her…but when she sees her in her dreams, like she did last night, she can do just that. When I asked her to describe her grandmother as she saw her, she was able to describe her as perfectly as we remember her….and it made my heart smile and my eyes fill with tears.

We have always said that she watches over us, and especially over Alyssa. She always wanted to have a girl, but was blessed with three wonderful sons instead. When we found out that we were having a daughter, we looked to the sky and thanked her. When we saw Alyssa take her first breath, we thanked her again and knew she was there smiling down on us, and on Alyssa.

Throughout Alyssa’s life, she has always been circled by tiny butterflies that flit all around her…sometimes white, sometimes yellow (which was her grandmother’s favorite color) and it makes us smile. To us, that has always been our sign that Bobbie is with us and watching over our daughter. Even in times when we are alone, those little butterflies will come flitting by us, and we are reminded that she is watching over us…and it brings us a sense of comfort and peace.

The day before Hurricane Sandy, when we were cleaning out our yard, we noticed one lone yellow rose that had bloomed on our rose bush. Yellow roses were her favorite flowers. Rob snipped it off of the bush, brought it inside, and put it in a vase. We knew she was with us and would watch over us….and we believe that she did. That yellow rose stayed hearty for a week, and we silently thanked it everyday when we looked at it sitting in that vase in the middle of our counter. I have yet to take that rose out of the vase. It’s no longer in bloom, but most of the petals are still on it. It’s our symbol of strength…

Today, Rob’s mother would have been 67 years old. We think of her constantly and always say “I wish she could be here to see this or share this with us” but Alyssa’s dream reminded us of what we already know…she is always around us. She may not be with us physically, but she is always here spiritually. She does see our lives, she does see Alyssa growing up, and she, above all, protects us. We’ve have plenty of signs from her over the years, and each and every time, we smile and are thankful for our Guardian Angel.

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you too…

Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…

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Thank You


Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.

This Memorial Day weekend, I came across veterans sitting in front of the Wawa collecting for disabled vets. I have NEVER in my life passed by those men without making a donation, even if I have gone into the store on multiple occasions over the course of the weekend. In fact, I have amassed quite a few poppies over the past few days thanks to them. Aside from always donating, I always make sure I look those men in the eyes and say “Thank you for your service”. If you have never done that when donating, you really need to. Those men appreciate a thank you just as much, if not more than the donation itself. It always makes them smile and sometimes even makes them teary eyed. They deserve every single thank you that they get, and then some if you ask me. When I see people walk by them like they are invisible, it actually disgusts me. If you don’t have any money to donate, a simple thank you is what they deserve at the very least.

Also this weekend, the volunteer firemen were doing their drive by fundraiser by standing at the entrance of the Shop Rite parking lot. On my way out, I stopped to make a donation and thanked the man for his volunteer service. He actually did a double take, smiled, and thanked me for saying that. He said no one had ever said to him before. As I pulled away, I was pretty shocked. How could no one have ever said thank you to him before? That bothered me, as did the many cars that drove right by him without making a small donation. My father was a paid fireman in North Jersey. I hope people stopped to thank him once in a while for what he did for them.(I’m going to have to ask him about that!)

Today on the way to my parents house, we drove past a coin toss for a different volunteer fire company. My daughter had never seen that before, but happily scooped out a bunch of change I had in the car. I slowed almost to a stop so she could throw it out the window at the target. The firemen all smiled, waved, and yelled thank you to us. As I drove away, my daughter remarked how happy the firemen seemed that we donated, and smiled at how they had so heartily thanked us…then noted that no one else had slowed down and done the same….and it bothered her too. On the way home we passed them again, and once again I slowed down so she could throw a big handful of change at the other target. This time they beeped the fire truck horn at us, smiled, and yelled thank you. Sadly, again she noted that no one else had slowed down and thrown their change. She said she hoped that we weren’t the only people that participated in the coin toss, because in her words, “It’s just not right.” I assured her that we weren’t but she didn’t seem very convinced that too many other people had tossed some coins, despite the signs preceding it for about a mile.

If I have taught my daughter anything in life, it is the value of “thank you”. Every time she sees a veteran collecting or anyone in a military uniform, she thanks them for their service. When she sees the firemen or ambulance squad doing their fundraising, she always says thank you for volunteering as she makes her donation too. I’ve taught her that anyone who makes a sacrifice for others should hear a thank you from the public. It’s a shame when a 10 year old knows better than the adults she sees around her…but I am pleased that she notices it and points out that it’s wrong. Tomorrow she is excited to go to the Memorial Day parade in town, so she can wave at the veterans and give thanks to them. I hope there is a decent crowd on hand, for her sake and theirs. It’s a sign of respect these men and women deserve, but often don’t receive enough.

To all of the men and women who currently serve or have served this country, I wholeheartedly say THANK YOU for your sacrifice. (Thank you to the Police Officers, Firemen, and EMTS too!) My daughter and I appreciate your service.

Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.

Don’t forget to use them as often as possible. Those two simple words matter.

Say It Ain’t So Mo!!! Thoughts From A Depressed Yankee Fan…


I have been a Yankee fan from birth…that’s 41 years if you’re counting. Growing up as a girl in my house had no bearing on being raised to love them. I have incredibly fond memories of sitting on the couch (with the plastic slip covers, because we are Italian after all) with my father and watching game after game. I remember how my mother would stop in her tracks and watch whenever Bucky Dent got up to bat, because she thought he was so handsome. (Agreed!) I smile when I think back to the many times my dad took my brother and I to the stadium to catch a game…my all-time favorite being Old Timer’s Day, when my Dad would explain something about every single former player that got announced. I remember walking into that stadium holding my Dad’s hand and loving it because you could just feel the history everywhere around you. I remember celebrating the good years in our living room when they would win it all, and the bad years when my father would yell “C’mon for Christ Sakes!” at the tv. It’s like a catalogue in my mind…so yes, I bleed blue!

When my husband married me, he wasn’t really a baseball guy. He was much more of a football guy…but marrying me meant learning to love the Yankees, which he did. When my daughter was born, it wasn’t long before she wore a pink Yankee onesie. We even have all of her tiny Jeter jersey’s saved in the attic – year by year, size by size. We brought her to her first game at the age of 3, (because we thought 3 was an age that she would actually enjoy it, which she did!).My daughter (then age 5) enjoying a dog after a day at Yankee Stadium Yankee games are a special part of her childhood too. Thankfully she got to experience the old stadium before they tore it down. (The new one is nice, but it’s just not the same.) We bring her every single year at least once. I wish we could take her more, but that is one ridiculously expensive day. In fact, we are catching a game three weeks from now as my Mother’s Day present. I have been really looking forward to it, but the latest Yankee news has put a little damper on that…Mariano Rivera won’t be there to close.

I am not embarrassed to admit that I have felt pretty sad and depressed all day. Right before I went to bed last night, I saw the clip of Mo going down and grimacing in the outfield…and I felt my heart sink. As they carted him off though, he displayed that huge smile that I love, and I figured when I woke up in the morning, they would still say it was just a twisted knee and he’d just be out for a while. When my alarm went off this morning, The first thing I saw on the news was Mo being interviewed with tears in his eyes, and being asked if his torn ACL would be the end of his career. Nooooooo!

I have some fantastic memories of #42. Mo dropping to his knees on the mound after winning the World Series
Mo holding up many a World Series Trophy
Going to the last Yankees World Series Parade and snapping this picture of him – looking like the King of NY
And Jorge pushing Mo back out onto the mound after save #602 so the crowd could cheer him some more..

The biggest thrill of being a Yankee fan though is being at the Stadium for a tight game and hearing the opening chords of “Enter Sandman” begin to blare. If you have never experienced what that’s like… WOW have you missed out on something special in life. There’s no way to truly describe what it feels like to be a part of that crowd, erupting with cheers, as #42 jogs onto the field…

The closest I can come to phrasing it is “part frenzy/part serenity”. The frenzy is the whole feeling of the moment. The serenity is knowing that chances are Mo is going to sit them down and close it out. It’s a feeling Yankee fans LOVE, especially this one. The time I have enjoyed it the most was being at the Stadium and watching Rivera shut down the Red Sox in the bottom of the 9th. All I can say is the place went BERSERK and I got to jump up and down with, bear hug, and high five all of the people in the rows around me. Mariano Rivera creates a magic that you have to physically witness to fully understand.

So, now this. I refuse to accept that this is how one of the greatest Yankees ever will end his legendary career. When the season started they interviewed Mo and asked if this year would be it for him. He danced around the question and said he’d reveal his answer at the end of the season. We all knew what that meant though…this year was likely it. I have watched the games this season and tried to picture what it would be like watching games without him…and it made me feel sad. (I’m sure I’m not the only one!) I figured that I would have all year to try to get ready for that. I even tried to picture what his final send off at Yankee Stadium would be like. (Again, it made me feel sad!) Therefore, him being carted off the field with a hurt knee cannot be the storybook ending for a man every Yankee fan idolizes. He has been nothing but clutch and pure class over the years. He deserves better.

I pray that he comes back…even if it’s for one more game so us Yankee fans can say thank you and goodbye the right way. Whether it is at home in our living rooms, or live at the Stadium – it’s a moment every Yankee fan wants to be a part of and remember. There’s a reason he’s the only man in baseball allowed to wear #42…I just hope I get to hear the opening strains of “Enter Sandman”, and see that magical man jog out of the bullpen to sit them down one more time.

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A day after I wrote this post, this was the cover of the NY Daily News:

We’ll be anxiously awaiting his return!

My Silver Linings


I have been hit with more than my fair share of bad news lately, and it got me to thinking about all of the good things I have in my life that I am thankful for. I’ve realized that there are plenty:

I am thankful for my parents: They have raised me with unconditional love and given me quite an example to follow in life. The older I get, the more I am aware of that!

I am thankful that when I turned 18, I figured out that my brother was not really a person who was meant to torture me in life, but rather someone who was meant to be one of my best friends. (The torture did mold me into a tough person and makes for some amusing stories though.)

I am thankful for FATE- I believe it is what helped me to move across the street from my future husband at the age of 14.

Speaking of my husband, I am thankful everyday to know that he is the person I will still be holding hands with when I am old and gray!

I am thankful for the greatest accomplishment in my life: my daughter. She amazes me on a daily basis and fills my heart with an unexplainable joy – even when she is running through my house screeching at the top of her lungs, while the dog chases her!

I am thankful for the gigantic dog we have that unfortunately thinks he is a poodle. He literally crushes me with his love everyday, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am thankful for my extended family – they say “You can’t pick your family”, but if I did have the choice, they are the ones I would pick – even the nutty ones!

I am thankful for my friends – the people we actually can pick in life! The closest ones are the dearest to me – because I can completely be myself with them, and somehow they continue to like me! 😉

I’m thankfully blessed with the best neighbors I could ever ask for. To walk out my front door and see people everyday that I consider my FRIENDS is a wonderful thing.

Finally, I am thankful for the wise words of my father: “When you go out into the world, choose a career that you love, or in the end it will be nothing but a job.” He was 100% correct on that one! I get to spend my days doing what I LOVE with some of the greatest people I know. Even the least smooth of days has a great point in it somewhere, and it’s usually quite hysterical!

So – there it is…a big bundle of thankfulness. Ahhhh! I’m happy, healthy, loved, and incredibly blessed – what more could I ask for? I can’t think of a one!

“People who lead the most fulfilling lives are the ones who rejoice in what they have.”
Today, I am most certainly rejoicing!

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