Sunday, December 30, 2018

Vacation 2018/2019: Florida

Beach Day

We arrived last night in Fort Lauderdale for the first official day of our 2018/2019 family vacation. We typically don’t vacation and certainly don’t vacation this time of year. Our vacations consist of hockey/baseball tournaments with a dozen other families throughout the spring/summer and winter/fall. I’m not complaining. Actually, quite the opposite. I look forward to hotel tournaments and the great memories we have been building over the many many years.

However, this year is different. Not necessarily in a good way, but different nonetheless. Giuseppe has been an injured athlete since September when he underwent a major knee surgery. It has taken him out of both football and hockey. He’s on the path to a strong full recovery, probably sometime in January, just in time for baseball training season.

After much consideration we saw that Rocco’s schedule had one leagues game. We don’t like to miss games, particularly league games, but we made the decision to take this family vacation. (Good luck, Knights!!)

So, the kids aren’t getting any less busy and their time living with Andy & I are quickly coming to an end. Giuseppe is 15, Vincenzo is 11 and Rocco is 9. Andy and I are doing our best to truly capture and embrace their youth.

I’ll do my best to keep this blog up-to-date over the next seven days and add some pictures along the way.

Day 1: arrival day. Watch Cotton Bowl game.
Day 2: beach day.
Day 3: Magic Kingdom
Day 4: Universal Studios
Day 5: The Keys
Day 6: The Keys
Day 7: The Keys
Day 8: return home





Sunday, November 4, 2018

I'm reluctant to announce that I am now officially part of the Michigan community

Well, today I officially can call myself a Michigander. I moved to Michigan in 1999 straight from earning my undergraduate degree. For many reasons Michigan was a foreign world to me. To name a few:
  • Bottle returns
  • Embracing the winters
  • Hockey
  • Unions
  • Fordz (vs Ford)
  • Water access everywhere
But today I did what every true Michigander has done... I hit a deer. I guess I'm officially in the club after 19 years. I remember when I moved here I had someone tell me I wasn't truly part of Michigan until I hit a deer. I thought, "What a sick thing to say to someone who just moved here."

Anyway, I hit the brakes HARD, harder than I ever have. There was certainly contact but the deer ran off into the woods. My car appears to be fine. 

And the story continues:

I went to instruct a Jazzercise class. I was a little razzled from hitting a deer just 20 minutes prior to the first customer walking in the door. I made a quick announcement during my opening routine that I just hit a deer. Then for the next 60 minutes I was in my happy place, doing a typical Interval Dance Mixx. 

After class I had a few customer come up to me to ask if I was ok. "From what?" I thought. I honestly forgot what had happened to me just a mere 90 minutes ago. And that, ladies and gentleman, THAT is why I do Jazzercise. For one hour each day all my worries and stresses are gone. This is true whether I am an instructor or a customer. 

Some more entertaining news to share:

Andy, for the first time, came to my Jazzercise classes yesterday. He came to assess some electrical work at the center but also said he was going to give my class a try since he sees me prancing around the house shaking my booty nonstop while I am learning new routines. The ladies in the class welcomed him. After class he said what every new customer says, "That was harder than I thought but a lot of fun." He also said the person on stage (aka ME) was a different person than he's seen before.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Family update: September 2018


Today Giuseppe went to school without his crutches. He still has a brace on his leg, but he is able to walk without crutches. Pretty big milestone. His physical therapy is working amazingly. He can bend his leg at over 90 degrees. We are very happy with his progress.

Giuseppe has challenged himself with Honors Biology and Intro to AP Chemistry this trimester; he is very much an achievement oriented young man. He lives by the same motto as his father, "Work hard, Play hard."


Over the weekend Vincenzo had his best football game to date with a few solid tackles and in many plays. It was nice to see Vincenzo involved and happy. Since his physical therapy started over the summer to correct his flat foot & to loosen his hip flexor, we have seen huge improvements in his run and stance. 

Vincenzo also had baseball practice with Rocco's team yesterday where he got an opportunity to get his swing dialed in with the increased movement of his hips. A few bombs were hit, according to Andy. We're excited to see how this plays out with his new Saline Hornet team. (BTW: he sported a Saline hat yesterday for the first time and his smile was cheek to cheek.)

Vincenzo continues to read the Wings of Fire series of books. Without any pressure to read, we will find him enjoying hours of reading whenever he needs a break from life. 


Rocco had a busy weekend with two hockey games and a football game. Unfortunately he didn't win any of the games, but not without full effort from him and his teammates. Once the hockey team starts their official regular season, I have no doubt that they will be fine. 

Rocco absolutely loves being an athlete. LOVES IT!! 
This past weekend Rocco was named Assistant Captain.
Rocco also had his first fall baseball practice with his new 9U Saline Hornet Team Sunday in the humid heat. He was happy to see his baseball friends. It's nice to see this unique friendship start so young, which will develop to a strong brotherly bond as they go into middle/high school together. 

Grandma Lisa

We celebrating my Mom's birthday this weekend. She had a lot going on in the day, but stayed very positive and happy about being surrounded by her three grandsons. It is good for her mind to be able to attend all their sporting events. Mom has been staying with us in Ann Arbor for about a month now.

Her Alzheimer remains at the same level as when she was first diagnosed. She mostly has good days, as long as she has relevant interactions with those around her. Andy does an amazing job including her in small tasks throughout the week. Giuseppe, Vincenzo and Rocco are very tolerant & patient of her repeated questions. 


It's been about two months since Andy started his new job with Eurofins Lancaster Labs. There were virtually no hiccups in the transition to this job. Similar to his previous job, he works from home and travels for client visits. 

Andy coaches Rocco's baseball team and is one of the assistant coaches for Vincenzo's football team. For the first time ever, he is not involved as a coach for any of Giuseppe's teams. Andy's job is done in regards to Giuseppe as he enters his high school career.


I recently passed my Jazzercise assessment, which was weighing on me for months since I passed the audition in November. I am now regularly doing two classes per week of a LO format and two classes at a High format. Both formats are challenging workouts. I'm having a blast and wish so deeply that I had been doing this 25 years ago. 

Once upon a time, back in the 90s I use to do this exact thing in my parent's basement for hours and hours on end. I called it aerobics, but in reality it was fitness dancing. 

I remember my mom would get so mad at me and say, "You are addicted!". Maybe I was. Maybe I am. It would be HOURS per day that I would be in my "aerobics" room that was exclusively dedicated to me. My parents, brother and sisters were very respectful not to challenge the ownership of this hideously decorated patriotic room. (I wish I had pictures. Seriously, the carpet was red, white and blue to match the wallpaper. OMG!)

If only I had known about Jazzercise. If only I had known... 

Thankfully now in my 40s, I'm back to doing what I love with the full support of my family.

Friday, March 2, 2018

My mother has Alzheimer’s

My mom has Alzheimer’s. There, I said it… my mother has Alzheimer’s. She physically appears fine, but her brain isn’t functioning as it use to, her thoughts aren’t nearly as sharp and or course her short-term memory is about 2-3 minutes. It can be hard and exhausting to be a caregiver for her. (I praise my husband and brother for being her #1 caregivers.)

My mother needs us now more than ever. It is hard. It is so hard! But I have to remind myself that her disease isn’t any different than what took my father 10 years ago. My dad suffered a long and difficult battle with emphysema. 

When I get frustrated with my mom for her unprovoked mood swings or for asking the same thing hundreds of times a day I have to remember it’s not her... it’s her brain, an organ that is shutting down. Similar to my father, when he was down to 20% oxygen intake, I never would have gotten mad at him for not getting more oxygen in his lungs… it was his lungs, an organ that was shutting down.

So, I have been pro-active today to help me in my future because I don’t want my children to have to do what I have done for both of my parents. I don’t smoke, I exercise regularly and I’m focusing on preparing better meals for the family.

I now know I am 30% chance more likely to get Alzheimer. 30 PERCENT!!! That’s terrifying. Other than living a healthy and active life, studies show there isn’t much else I can do to prevent a future diagnosis. But I refuse to accept that. So I exercise my brain the best I know how to: I read, I think, I work and I challenge myself to solve problems, I listen to music, I try new things, etc.

Side note: My biggest plan to beat this is choreographed dance. Yep, you cracked the code… I am a certified Jazzercise instructor because selfishly it’s the push I need to beat this disease. More on that later.

In the meantime, I will continue to care for my mother, as I continue to work full-time with a demanding career, with a husband that travels 2 weeks a month, with a very active family of three boys who keep things hopping. I do this because one day this could be me. THIS COULD BE ME!!! If Alzheimer decides to invade my brain, I don’t want my boys to abandon me when I need them most. Life is hard and caring for a parent with Alzheimer is a bitch!

Vincenzo helps Grandma exercise her brain as he teaches her to play chess.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I don't know everything and neither do you

There is one person I can't have a conversation with... those that know everything, aka "know-it-alls." The people I have the most respect for are those that ask questions, those that want to learn and those that can admit they don't know everything.

A conversation with me come to a fast halt once I realize I'm talking to someone who knows everything. Why would I continue to engage in the conversation? They already know everything. They clearing have no intention of listening to me or learning my stance, so I don't waste my time.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Red is my favorite color

My favorite color is RED. I have loved the color red since I was a young girl. However, because it was my favorite I thought it was everyone's favorite. I guess at that young innocent time in my life I didn't realize how different we all really were. I thought everyone was like me. I thought everyone was Catholic, everyone had two parents, everyone ate pasta 3-5 times a week, everyone's mom stayed home, everyone liked dogs over cats...everyone was like me.

But I wanted to be different. I wanted to be unique. So, remember, I thought everyone liked red, so I would tell people my favorite color was actually the color I least preferred. I would say black or orange or lime green or sky blue or brown. It varied. I expected people to tell me how interesting my color choice was. Turns out no one cared. No one cared!

It baffled me that these people who I believed loved red would be the same people who wouldn't be 'shocked' that I liked sky blue. Why weren't they concerned? Why didn't they ask questions?

So, eventually I decided to embrace what I liked and was ok that everyone's favorite color was red too. Turns out, once I decided to actually be ME and not someone else I started to fit into myself. I was more aware of me. I didn't have to be different to be special. What I had to do was be me.

(Yes, in time I did finally realize that red wasn't the human population's favorite color. Big revelation, huh?)

This simple concept is the underlying tone of my life. Conversations now have more passion behind them, friendships have more meaning and life has a greater purpose. Instead of saying I like muddy brown and waiting for a look of disgust, I can proudly tell people I love red and passionately tell them all the reasons why.... and mean it, honestly mean it!

Side note: Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

There are no mistake

I don't think I am unique with this perspective, but I usually get looks of confusion when I tell people I don't make mistakes. I am who I am because of the things I encountered and the events I have endured. Maybe it comes across too confidently, maybe it comes across arrogantly.

I have no regrets and I don't make mistakes. I mean that and I believe that.

Everything I have done and everything that has happened to me has made me who I am today. Of course I get upset at things that seem difficult, but it is how I handle the situation that helps me mold myself to the woman I am today. My next course of action towards managing this life blunder (big or small) is my test. How I handle it is a representation of my strength.

Every unpleasant event I have faced was an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to learn from. All the awkward steps have been necessary for me to get here.

It really comes down to perspective. I actively have chosen to live my life never feeling sorry for myself. I chose to grow from the crap life throws at me. Life is full of obstacles. I may not like it when it happens but I have made a choice to grow and learn from them.

Maybe too deep for this blog entry, but this is also why I am not a participant of the Reconciliation Sacrament in the Catholic faith.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day Post

It seems fitting to write about my husband today, as it is Valentine's Day and it is also the start of Lent, so here goes:

I met Andy at the young age of 18, as a freshman at Ball State. Neither of us were looking for a relationship, but it found us. It wasn't but a few weeks of us dating that I realized this guy was meant for me and I was meant for him. So, it began. 

We were so different from each other, yet we challenged each other to explore unknown territories and to see the world through each other's eyes. And you know what, we still do. 

The world can be a shitty place, but having someone to go through it with you can make a difference. Life isn't easy, parenting isn't easy and people can be down right nasty. But Andy and I, well, we've been plowing through it together, and we've been making it. 

I love my life and I love what we've made of it and I love that we've done it our way. Without Andy to do it with me, who knows where I'd be.

So, Happy Valentine's Day, Andy! I love you.  Oh... and now the politically correctly holiday is referred to Friendship Day, or some crap like that. So, Happy Best Friendship Day, to you as well.

Thanks for the Valentine's flowers, Andy. However, the card says "from The Boys," so I'll assume you included yourself in "The Boys."
I love getting flowers sent to my office. They are beautiful and appreciated. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Giuseppe update

I am now the exhausted mother of a teenager. I'm still in denial.

Giuseppe is currently the MOST active of all my boys. He has football practice each day after school plus hockey 2-4 times a week.

7th grade at the Middle School. Giuseppe continues his straight A streak which includes advanced math courses.

First year playing for his school. He plays various positions including QB, Running Back, Left Tackle, Middle Linebacker etc.

Giuseppe returned from Cooperstown over the summer as a Home Run Derby Finalist. His team made it to the Sweet 16.

This year Giuseppe is playing for Little Caesars Black out of Farmington Hills.

Giuseppe is the official junior coach for Rocco & Vincenzo's 10U boy's soccer team.