Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is this?

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - 8/31/11
What is this?  Make a comment & see if you're right.

photo courtesy of http://startswithabang.com/?p=1107

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What I hope my children remember and learn from Hurricane Irene.


We are still in the throws of the after-effects of Hurricane Irene.  I am happy to say that my home had no serious damage to it and that my family is happy and healthy.  We are still without power, which is not ideal but we do have a generator running during the day to at least keep our fridge cold enough to keep our food from spoiling. We also can charge cell phones which allows us to stay in touch with the world.  All things that make this disruption not so terribly disruptive.
While walking around the neighborhood over the last few days with many of my neighbors (something we did a lot since we were all looking for something to do and others to talk to), I got to thinking about how this whole thing was actually a cool experience.  That it had brought us all together in a unique way.  I started to reflect on what I would want to take away from this experience that might make me a little bit of a better person.  Maybe it will help me be a little more patient, or a little more thoughtful, and maybe it might even make me a bit more organized, or a better "preparer".
Then, as I watched my kids walking, running and skipping ahead of me, I started to wonder what I thought they might learn from this experience.  I know what I wanted to try to take away from it but would my daughters benefit from it in some way too.
I decided to write my girls a letter.  I am hoping that by documenting some of what went on over the last few days, they might remember a little better some of the things that happened to us and some of the things that we did.  This way, I figured maybe they'd take away from this experience some of the values and ideas I hoped they would take away from it.


Here is that letter.  I have not read it to them yet, but I will and I hope they appreciate it's message and that it sort of reflects a little of who I am as their mom and what I believe to be important in this world.


Dear daughters -
What a crazy storm this has been.  You all have been so great about living without power and making this time the best you can make it with the circumstances we have been given.  I know it is no fun to take cold showers and I know it is frustrating to not have television, cable or computers but you all have rarely complained and have been "good sports" about the whole thing.  You have even referred to this whole experience as a "crazy camping trip at home".  You are great kids and dad and I are so appreciative of how resilient you have been.
And even with you being so fantastic for us, I have been thinking about some other things I am hoping you will take away from this whole experience.  Things that perhaps might make you what you and mom and dad see as a better person.


1.  I hope you remember from this storm how our neighborhood really turned into a supportive community.  How everyone who had anything to offer, did offer it and how neighbors made sure other neighbors where safe and that their physical as well as their emotional needs were being met.  I  hope you remember that when I walked over to our elderly neighbor's house to make sure she was okay and to offer the use of our freezer to her, that she was so thankful to know that we cared.  She was so happy to know that we wanted to be sure she was okay and that we were looking out for her and that her needs were being met.  That relief and appreciation that showed on her face is something I hope you always remember.


2.  I hope you remember how fun it can be to use flashlights to get around the house at night and how playing games and laughing with friends late into the evening can be just as fun or even more fun then turning on the television and watching a movie at the end of your day.


3.  I hope you remember that taking a stroll through the neighborhood can really connect you with those who share your world.  I wish you many sunny days and starry nights full of neighborhood strolls surrounded by good friends that live around you.


4.  I hope the books you have been enjoying reading instead of watching television or playing on the computer become more of your "go-to" for when you are bored and are looking for something to do.


5.  I home you remember how annoying it was at times to not have all our electricity.  That way, maybe in the future, when daddy and I say to you to remember to shut off the lights because we don't want to waste electricity that you go back, without a fight, and turn those lights off because you now appreciate that resource's worth.  Or better yet, maybe you will even remember to shut them off yourselves as you leave those rooms without even a reminder from us.


6.  I hope that you remember what it was like to not have the convenience of a warm shower any time you want or how frustrating it can be to not just be able to switch a light on in order to see what we need to see in the dark.  So many people in our world live without these resources every day.  They suffer from lack of energy, supplies, and daily conveniences that we usually have at our finger tips any time we want.  Electricity, clean and running water, and an abundance of food is not something a lot of people in this world have all the time...even in our own country.  When you see a homeless person, I hope you remember that he or she did not have a warm shower that morning, did not open up a fridge and simply take a meal out to eat and they did not just get to turn on the television when they wanted to catch a favorite show.  Remember this experience so that you can be thoughtful of others in the world who live inconveniently ALL the time.  Also, remember to not just think about them but to help them in some way, whether by giving them your time or help with money.  Think AND act.  Not everyone is as fortunate to live as well as our family usually does and having understanding as well as empathy for others is a great trait to have.


7.  I hope you remember that life circumstance can get a little tricky sometimes but that staying positive as much as possible through these situations makes the experience more bearable and even kind of fun.  But also make sure you take these situations seriously.  Plan well, and be prepared for tough situations so that you weather the storm safely.  Remember, people died in this storm so staying positive is important but being prepared and smart during these times is important too.


8. I hope you remember how our home became a welcoming place where all our neighbors knew they could come to charge their cell phones and laptops, or could come to cook a warm meal if they wanted to.  Plus they all knew they could store some of their freezer items so they did not loose all their food, and that they could just come to get out of the dark, enjoy a glass of wine and a nice conversation and simply not be alone.  Opening your home up is not always convenient and can be a messy, chaotic process at times but the satisfaction you'll feel knowing you helped others who needed you will out-way all the extra dishes that needed cleaning or the little extra messes that got left on the floors due to the extra "traffic".


9.  I hope you remember that the world does not stop spinning when things go "off kilter" a little bit and that when things get tough, they usually improve with time.  Hold on for the ride and enjoy it 'cause each tough time often evolves into a pretty cool life experience in the end.


10.  I hope you remember that your parents reached out to our next-door neighbor who had not always been so kind to us in the past.  We hope you see that this is what you do in serious situations.  The "olive branch" may or may not be accepted by those you reach out to after past conflict but you'll walk away knowing, either way, that you did what you felt was right and that you treated them as you would want to be treated.  That is a powerful experience to feel and makes you learn to swallow your pride and ego and be a better citizen and do the right thing.  You'll be better off for it.


I love you girls and I am so proud of how you all have stepped up and helped when you could to make this disruptive and kind of crazy post-hurricane experience less chaotic and actually a whole lot of fun.  You are going to go through many crazy, strange and uncontrollable times like this in your life and I hope you continue to carry yourselves through these times with a smile on your face, a helping hand reaching out to others.  Lastly, I hope you have strong memories of this time and that those memories remind you that if you made it through then, you can make it through in the future.


All my love to my girlie girls Always, Mommy



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Video - Why Hurricane Irene is o"On my List"

Why Irene is makin' me a Not-So-Happy Mama!


And the storm cometh!


Friday, August 26, 2011

What most East Coasters are doing today. Hurricane Irene - go away!

So, we are not big worries in general but when a big-honker of a Hurricane is baring down on "your neck-of-the-woods", we find it is just smart to be "better safe than sorry" (lotta cliches in that sentence LOL).  
So I loaded up my kids here in Rhode Island and we headed to the grocery store to stock up on the items noted on the Hurricane Preparedness list that we printed out via NOAA's website (Nat'l Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  Becca made calls to airlines to see if she could move her trip home to Germany to an early date...With no luck.  Looks like we may have her here in the states a bit longer -YEAH!

Here's what we were told by NOAA to get and prepare:

Disaster Supply Kit

Check boxWater - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Check boxFood - at least enough for 3 to 7 days— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly— snack foods— non-electric can opener— cooking tools / fuel— paper plates / plastic utensils
Check boxBlankets / Pillows, etc.
Check boxClothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
Check boxFirst Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Check boxSpecial Items - for babies and the elderly
Check boxToiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Check boxFlashlight / Batteries
Check boxRadio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Check boxTelephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Check boxCash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Check boxKeys
Check boxToys, Books and Games
Check boxImportant documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Check boxTools - keep a set with you during the storm
Check boxVehicle fuel tanks filled
Check boxPet care items— proper identification / immunization records / medications— ample supply of food and water— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash

I got and prepped the food/first aid/clothes/toiletries/... stuff (and a few bottles of wine...ya know...just in case :):):) and my husband will be getting the tools set, the yard organized, the generator prepped, the propane and gas tanks filled plus he'll get ice if he can find it.  Plus he was up at the crack-oh-dawn this morning, setting up extra line and anchors on our sailboat to try to keep it from getting swept away.

Looks like we are ready to ride out Miss Irene.  Kids are excited to see if this 'lady storm" develops into something cool to watch.  
Wish us luck that our trees stay up and our house stays in-tact (and we don't loose electricity...oh please don't let us loose electricity!)




Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's the difference between Fraternal and Identical Twins?

We had some time on our vacation to sit down and video-chat about some different twin-topics together.
One of those topics was what the difference is between Fraternal and Identical Twins (We are Faternal twins, although a lot of people think we are Identical because we look so much alike, sound a lot alike and are the same gender).  So Becca, the midwifey lady, shared her basic info. about what the difference is.
Sorry for some of the wind muffling but Block Island was having a gloriously sunny and windy day on this day.

Enjoy!






Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Video - Ah, the love between twin sisters...NOT!


We spent a week out on Block Island together with our families.  It was a great vacation but we had our moments...Like in this first video where Becca decided to feed the kids clams for an appetizer before going out to dinner and then proceeded to polish her nails, rendering herself useless to cathy since she then had to do all the cooking, feeding and cleaning-up.  
Ah! Our typical twin bickering.

The second video is Cathy trying to eat all the clams that got cooked since in her world..."you snooze, you lose" and since no one was coming to eat them, she was gonna enjoy them.  
Love little Miss Mia coming into the scene to tattle on Cecilia who was chowing down on some candy she found on the floor upstairs (eewww is right).




Friday, August 19, 2011

One glorious vacation and why we dare to go away with 11 kids

This past week has been glorious. We have spent the week on Block Island in Rhode Island with all of our siblings and their families. That means we have been surrounded by 8 opinionated (including ourselves :):) but funny adults and 11, yes that is eleven, crazy kiddies all week who are between the ages of 15 and 2.  YUP - CRAZY...but a glorious time.  We have cooked out, clammed for yummy dinners, went black berry picking all over the island, visited both beautiful lighthouses, went for hikes and bike rides, went to the BI maritime institute and the kids dissected and learned about squid, went for "ham and beans" aka ice cream on Block Island (a little joke our father started years ago with our kids to try to "trick" the parents into thinking that they weren't going for ice cream with grandpa AGAIN), boogie boarded side by side (adults and kiddies alike) and even dared to go out for dinner with all 11 kids (yes, we made all the other customers cringe).

We have laughed, fought, commisserated over the trials (and joys) of parenthood and in the end have reconnected in so many wonderful ways.  Plus, this yearly vacation has created such incredible bonds between all of our kids (the "couseez" as they refer to each other) and those connections and memories have been worth every crazy moment, frustrating situation and sibling spat (kids and adults  lol).  It has been a  blast.  One more glorious day and then we are back to reality but we will be back next year BIRI to make more memories for a lifetime.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#WordlessWednesday

Wordless Wednesday:  8/17/11
What ever happened to being an a cowgirl or an angel . lol



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy birrthday 11 year old!

Cathy's daughter turns 11 today

Happy 11th birthday to my baby!


My beautiful daughter turns 11 today.  Abigail loves to sing and dance and put on wonderful plays.  She also writes wonderful books that I am sure one day will be found in bookstores all over the world.  She is smart, funny and has the kindest heart I know.  Abigail, you are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside.  
Thank you for making me a mommy 11 years ago.
All my love always -
Mom

Here is my Abigail performing for my husband and I last winter.
Beautiful voice and girl!  We love you!










Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#SundaySayings

#SundaySayings - 8/14/11

Cathy: Song Lyrics that I love -

Sara McLachlan - "Push"  for my husband


Every time I look at you the world just melts away
All my troubles all my fears dissolve in your affections
You've seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am
And when I fall you offer me a softer place to land

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in
You're all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe

I get mad so easy but you give me room to breathe
No matter what I say or do 'cause you're to good to fight about it
Even when I have to push just to see how far you'll go
You wont stoop down to battle but you never turn to go

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in
You're all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe

Your love is just the antidote when nothing else will cure me
There are times I cant decide when I cant tell up from down 
You make me feel less crazy when otherwise I'd drown
But you pick me up and brush me off and tell me I'm OK
Sometimes thats just what we need to get us through the day

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in
You're all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me

You're the one true thing I know I can believe





Rebecca: Song Lyrics that I love -

LeeAnn Rimes - "I need you"  for my husband



I don’t need a lot of things
I can get by with nothing
Of all the blessings life can bring
I’ve always needed something
But I’ve got all I want
When it comes to loving you
You’re my only reason
You’re my only truth

I need you like water
Like breath, like rain
I need you like mercy
From heaven’s gate
There’s a freedom in your arms
That carries me through
I need you

You’re the hope that moves me
To courage again
You’re the love that rescues me
When the cold winds, rage
And it’s so amazing
’cause that’s just how you are
And I can’t turn back now
’cause you’ve brought me too far

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ONE Act a Week #Onemoms campaign:  8/12/11

Tell us what inspires you 

one-act-a-week-tell-us-what-inspires-you

Aug 5th, 2011 10:30 AM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Action: 7. Time: 5 minutes. Level of difficulty: Easy.
Inspiration
This week, I’ve been watching ONE’s tweets, blog comments and Facebook comments closely, and I know you guys are feeling outraged, powerless and disappointed about what’s happening in the Horn of Africa. But please don’t let that bring you down or forget why you’re a ONE member. We need you to be strong enough to raise your voice not just for yourself, but for the world’s poorest people. And you can’t do that if you’re not motivated.
So for our ONE act this week, we have a very simple exercise: Tell us what inspires you.
It can be anything — a photo, a song, a quote, your personal philosophy, a story. Maybe a little self-reflection and soul-digging will give you the oomph you need to sign that petition, volunteer for that event, etc. I asked this question yesterday on Twitter and was surprised by how many people (and partners) responded. Take a look: 
_________________
*MY ACT: "What inspires me... a photo, a song, a quote, your personal philosophy, a story?"


We are huge music lovers.  Music moves and inspires us every day.  So we chose to share a song that ALWAYS inspires.
ENJOY!

The Song -  Shed a Little Light by James Taylor

All you have to do is listen to the words and you will know and feel why each time we hear it, it makes us want to be better human beings and to reach out and help our fellow man in times of need.

The words resonate to our Cores...

"And Recognize that there are ties between us, 
all men and women, living on the earth, 
ties of hope and love of sister and brotherhood.
That we are bound together,
in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong.
We are bound together, by the tasks that stand before us, 
(THE HORN OF AFRICA!!!),
 and the road that lies ahead, we are bound and we are BOUND!



We can not listen to this without tears, and chills and without becoming totally inspired to help our fellow man.  It reminds us of the undeniable responsibility we have to take care of each other while we are on this earth!!!

This song represents how we feel about why we should all care about and help The Horn of Africa.  It's our "desire to see the world become  a place in which our children.." (ALL CHILDREN) "...can grow free and strong".
It is a touchstone for remembering those needing our help.  We hope it can be the same for you.


SHED A LITTLE LIGHT - James Taylor & band


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday:  8/10/11


Any idea what these are all about??  Leave your comment and then check to see if you were right.
.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dinner time gets tough, how do you survive it?

My First experience doing a LIVECHAT with my Digital Mom friends, Audrey McClelland and Meg Handy
"Who's nervous? I'm wasn't nervous?" (Yeah right!) Lol
(*Click on the caption under the screenshot below to view Livechat Video.  Video will start soon after you like the FB page (you can unlike it after the view if you do not want to stay linked to that site.  And enjoy!)


http://www.facebook.com/ragusauce?sk=app_196506863720166


I had such a blast last night working with two really fun, smart mommas for my first, ever "Live-chat" video sponsored by Facebook.com/ragusauce  and MomsTheWord on Dinner By Ragu (#momstheword). We really had so much fun and just cracked each other up (you should see us when the cameras are off..nut 1,2 and 3). We were "gettin' real" people.  And these 2 mom's are freakin' hysterical!  Plus I walked away from the chat with some cool ideas to consider regarding  how to make the process of dinner-making and dinner-eating more pleasant and a better experience for me and my whole family.  


Here is the chat video and chat information.  I hope you have fun watching us and getting some helpful advice.  I know I did.


LIVECHAT with Digital Mom, Audrey McClelland 8/8 is live on ustream
MomsTheWord ByRagu
Tune in for our LIVE chat with Digital Mom, Author and Founder of MomGenerations.com, Audrey McClelland on 8/8 from 8-9 pm EST/7-8 CST/5-6 PST We're hosting “When Dinner Time Gets Tough”, an online discussion about tackling various dinner dilemmas – from picky eaters to rushed schedules – you name it! To kick off the discussion, Audrey will host a live-streamed chat on the Ragรบ® Facebook page. Audrey will serve up some stress-free tips that have helped take her family’s dinner from “chaos” to “comfort”. Most of all, Audrey wants to chat about when dinner gets tough in YOUR household! Share your stories and questions using the "Check-in & Chat" button below. Audrey will address your comments during the LIVE chat.
The chat can also be found at ustreeam at http://www.ustream.tv/ragusauce#utm_campaign=unknown&utm_source=7241313&utm_medium=social


And I have to admit that the "live-chat" aspect of the show was a little daunting at first since I had never done anything on video live before AND in front of lots-oh-people and you really would prefer not to sound like a total goofball. But even though we knew  that people were watching us, the whole experience felt really authentic and honest...like a true "coffee talk time with friends..(or should I say cawfee talk.  This is RI ya' know).

The whole thing felt so fun, so authentic and was such a cool way to reach out to other mom's in order to help each of us survive the chaos that is dinnertime.

Hope you enjoy the video. I hope you laugh, cry and it becomes a part of you...Oh wait, no that's Terms of Endearment...Anyway.  I guess I can just hope you laugh!


Cathy





Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Sayings 8/7/11

It's here! The 1st, ever  #SundaySayings


To join in on the fun this week, post to your website or blog, a saying/quote that INSPIRES you (facebook only friends, you can post in comments here below or on facebook).  Then tell us why these words inspire you.  Make sure to then share your post's link with others on your Twitter account by using the hashtag #SundaySayings
Then follow this hashtag so that you can check out what other people have shared.
Ya' never know, maybe you will find a new saying that you just love and inspires you.


You can type your saying, vlog yourself reading it or even include a a video that shows the person who first said it sharing their inspiring words. (please give complete disclosure here).  Even include pictures or music in your post if you'd like to enhance the saying's message.


Be creative, and have fun  "INSPIRING" others!


#SundaySayings 8/7/11


If I Had My Life To Live Over

by Erma Bombeck

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck 
after she found out she had a fatal disease.


          If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

© Erma Bombeck

This is my daily 'touchstone".  I have it posted on my refidgerator and I read it almost daily.  It INSPIRES me to live well and to live NOW.  And it reminds me of what IS IMPORTANCE in life and what to l"let go".  I went through my third pregnancy really marveling in  the joy of it all and that was due partially to Mrs. Bombeck's words.  And I have become very good at having friends over, even when my home is not perfect.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Unique Twin Experiences - Story 1

Love this picture because it totally captures the joy we
feel when you see an old-friend.  by Luster Studio

Well, I Can't believe I cut my head off AGAIN and even worse this time then last but I decided to share the post as-is since I like the authenticity of the first telling of a story rather than a re-do version.  So enjoy the "headless" story and I will work to correct that for the future.  Thanks for baring with me during this learning process.






Beautiful Paris - from http://www.travelglobep.com