Friday, December 12, 2008

hinckley brag

last weekend, we went up to boston to hear my brother-in-law sing in Handel's Messiah. there is much to brag about on the hinckley side of the family right now, and since the only reason i am associated with any of these people is through marriage, i will now shamelessly and unapologetically brag.

we saw the performance on friday night. my brother-in-law was the solo tenor. i'm no music critic, but his voice seems richer and fuller everytime i hear him sing (and it was pretty dang awesome to begin with). this was the 155th consecutive performance of The Messiah by this society. the conductor was insanely energetic and a pure pleasure to watch. at times, it looked like he was bull-fighting with sections of the orchestra. there was a section of period instruments that played a "half-step" lower and gave a feel for how the piece would have sounded when it was written. somehow now our CD of handel's messiah doesn't seem quite up to snuff.

the next day, we were joined by my brilliant (i've already mentioned that she's at a top notch law school in vermont, right?) niece, chelsea, and her husband jake. all the women in my niece's family have more talent in their little finger than i do in my whole being. (don't believe me? just check out my sister-in-law's art or writing. susan also amazingly gave birth to frida about 80 years after the fact?)

the whole gang went to lunch at p.f. chang's. i only mention this because somehow the seating on our side of the table went: jake, pat, lily, evan, grace, me. after lunch, pat made some comment about how it's not fun to take our whole lot out to lunch. it was only then that i realized how i had sat next to the 9 year old for the whole time. it's easy to enjoy your lunch when hubby gets all the young'ns and disabled one and you get the more than capable 9 year old.

here's the hinckleys we were able to visit with (minus brian).

getting back to hinckley bragging, my nephew who lives in seattle made it on an all-regional football team and already has an offer to play football for air force. he was recently in the seattle times with other all-regional player. (he's christian rennie).
the biggest brag of all is getting to visit with this beauty pictured belowed. annie and brian's youngest, jane, is now 6 months old and is very sweet natured. it was fun to see her again.
oh, and if you look close at the above pic, you'll understand why i keep calling grace: "granny". she has lost the baby teeth on either side of her four middle top and bottom teeth.

ok, fine, i'll put one brag in from my side. here's my little nephew, ian, that i get to see in a couple weeks. he and jane are just four days apart.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


lily keeps requesting to read one of my childhood favorites at bedtime. it's entitled "the king who rained" and goes something like: "daddy says there was a king who rained for 40 years" then shows the little girl looking at a king in the sky with rain coming out of his belly. anyhoo, i could tell lily wasn't "getting" any of the book, so when it came to the page that said: "mommy says that little children always have bear feet" and has a picture of the little girl with hairy feet and claws, i tried to explain to lily how she had bare feet because she wasn't wearing any socks, but that the girl in the book thinks "bare feet" mean "bear feet". we kept reading. then a few minutes later, lily practically in tears, proclaims: "i don't want bear feet!!"

then tonight, we read the book again; (she requests it every night). when we got to that page, lily said: "can someone get me some socks? i don't want to have bear feet!" i asked her if she thought her feet would get all hairy and she answered in the affirmative. i tried again to assure her that she will never have "bear feet."

oh, childhood. i must admit that it's one of my favorite things to exploit my kids naivety and try to get them to believe things that aren't really possible. but i am hoping i haven't scarred her too much with this book.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


here's mr. handsome in the pea coat that his nanna, aunt annie and uncle brian gave him for his birthday. (click to enlarge).

thanksgiving weekend

we had a nice thanksgiving weekend. i made dinner this year for all three of my parents and my sister's family. everything turned out well except the turkey that i planned on taking four hours (max.) to cook took 5 1/2 hours. lucky there had been plenty of appetizers and everyone was patient. there is something very satisfying to me in cooking a big meal for everyone (must be my italian lineage). i did decide to wear my 2 1/2 inch leather boots (hey, they matched my outfit) and proclaimed how excited i was to take them off after the pie was served. to which grace responded: "mom, you didn't have to wear them, you know." i also did what i thought was impossible by not being able to finish my third piece of pecan pie (don't worry i did it in three settings - one day, but three different settings). but i can't think of a better way to spend thanksgiving than overstuffing myself with homemade pecan pie. yum.

"When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if not…mmmmm, boy!” -Jack Handey

friday morning was spent shopping the sales; (luckily my brother in the pacific time zone, i.e. 3 hours earlier, decided to shop too and was therefore actually awake when i called him 8 am eastern time.) then on saturday night, my stepmom and i took my sister to see "twilight" for her birthday. (wendy, i would tease you about your age right now if it wasn't practically owning up to my own age on my blog).

anyhoo, i painted my nails red in honor of seeing the movie. must say, i enjoyed it. yes, some lines fell a little flat, and sometimes angry vampire translated into "looks like he's constipated" vampire. but as in the books, the romance won me over in the end.

there were no "twilight" posters, so we chose to stand by this "bloody valentine 3-D" poster.
this picture illustrates why i've never thought of myself as photogenic. the woman in my family always take great pics and then there's me.


really, how???!!! i'm rooting for ken and tina!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a little sad

just heard that elder joseph b. wirthlin passed away. he was a leader of my church who gave some talks that have been a source of great comfort to me in recent years. it's a little ironic in that i recently had the thought that i should go back and read some of his older talks since i keep enjoying his new talks so much. i guess that will have to pacify me since there will not be any more greatness coming from this good man in this life. (he was 91 and his wife had preceeded him in death by four years.)

you can find some of his talks here and especially here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

another milestone

jake also hit a milestone this month when he turned 12 years old!!!

what to say about jake? he melts my heart everytime he smiles, giggles or seems to understand something. this year, i discovered he likes "The Beatles" and that it helps if we sing snippets of songs to make him aware of what's happening next. he willingly gives rides to his younger siblings by letting them sit on his lap. he loves outings as much as his siblings do (which is a lot).

on his birthday, we went and celebrated with my family in new york.

we had a celebration later with my mom (grandma ellie). jake unfortunately couldn't eat his piece of cake until the next day because he was sick.

my mom gave jake these therapy balls. nanna jean, aunt annie and uncle brian sent jake a great black pea coat with a zipper in the back. i'll have to post a picture of him in it. he looks so handsome. my friend, shirlene, helped me turn a throw blanket into a poncho with a hood for him. (not a super hard task, but as my sewing maching had a cobweb on it when i brought it up from the basement, you can imagine how grateful i was to have shirlene helping me.)
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happy 60th, dad!

my dad turned 60 at the beginning of this month. i thought i should acknowledge this milestone on my blog. my dad would walk to the ends of the earth to help any of his children or grandchildren. i am blessed to have him for a dad.
i've always loved this pic of my dad and gracie. my dad is a magnet to all the grandkids. he runs around and plays with them; they all just flock to him when were together. lily recently had a dream where a shark was after her, but she told me that "poppa monster saved her" from the shark. i think poppa will always be a safe place/person to land on for all my kids (as my grandparents were for me).

i always thought that my sister and i inherited our ability to make complete fools of ourselves from my mom. but it looks like we had no choice in the matter as both sides of the family seem to have this gene.

fritzy does look a little scared, eh?

so a very, happy, belated birthday to dad and all his aliases: poppa jim/ poppa monster/ padre! we still love you despite your attempts to spoil my kids rotten and drop the word "parent" from "grandparent"!
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car show

we took the kids to the car show in hartford this past saturday. who knew how much fun getting in cars (especially trunks), dancing in trucks, looking out sunroofs (sometimes hanging) and sitting on motorcycles could be. everyone had a great time.

this was a "how many hinckleys can you fit in a trunk" picture. yes, i do realize it is not a flattering picture of me; but as i mentioned in previous post, i learned from my dad that it was ok to make a fool of yourself. so it's really all my dad's fault.

this video game at the volkswagon station was a big hit with the kids. note that my hands on were on my lap. i was just needed to push the gas pedal; there was to be no help with the steering especially for a little two year old boy.

pat and i think we might be a dying breed of those who prefer manual or stick-shift cars. we were loving the toyota Rav4 until we found out it only comes with an automatic transmission.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

reasons to smile

i thought after my last post, it would be good to list some of the things that have made me smile recently.

* REASON #1: conversation and antics at the dinner table last night:

grace: "can i have another roll?"

me: "not until you eat more soup. it's actually the soup that is good for you."

grace: "maybe that's why i want more bread."

later on:

lily (after she's taken a spoonful of her juice and puts it in her mouth): "mmmm, drum punch!"

she actually should be saying "rum punch." bonus points if you can name the (kids') movie that she is quoting from.

*REASON #2: reading this: "anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." - oscar wilde. glad to know this; so now when my husband tries to pay all the bills, i can just remind how lucky he is to have such an imaginative wife.

*REASON #3: this recent conversation that i had with a dear person in my life who also happens to suffer from a delusional disorder. we were in the car listening to ABBA. (yes, i probably just embarassed my husband by admitting to listening to ABBA. i also danced and sang along to the songs in the credits at the movie theatre when i saw "mamma mia", but enough confessions for one post.)

my "friend": "so sad, i can't believe it's all gone."

me: "what?"

"friend": "sweden. it's gone now. just got overcome with floods and water."

me: "i've never heard that."

"friend": "yeah, it's gone. no more ABBA."

please tell me you find that funny too! (at least just a little bit. i learned years ago that you have to laugh at some of these delusions.) this story might also help you understand why i was in tears (from laughter) when i watched this. (thanks for the link, lindsey).

*REASON #4: I HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS EVAH!!!! friends who forgive you when you flood three floors of their house (this is an oldie, but too classic not to mention), friends who make you the most divine birthday cake and calls just to check up on you, friends who remember your birthday with handmade green earrings, friends who tell you that the dent you just added to the rear of her car gives it character, and friends who write thoughtful notes and bring you the yummiest chicken soup when you're family is sick (even though her husband is out of town). see, i told you they were the best!

birthday cake (yes, my birthday was in may. i'm a little late mentioning this.)
soup and rolls
bonus smile: after seeing skylos (our dog) was eating some cereal that spilled on the floor: "is cereal poison for skylos?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

my morning

warning: this post contains graphic content.

4:00 am wake up to fritz vomiting. clean up sheets and go back to bed. (amazingly, fritz wasn't a mess. tried to brush his teeth without success as he was already trying to go back to sleep.)

4:30 am hear jake over the monitor. come downstairs and start to tell him how it is too early to wake up (he's been struggling with the time change still) only to see when i come in his room that he is in the middle of vomiting. clean up jake.

4:45 am bathe jake. get him re-dressed. put him in his wheelchair and start giving him pedialyte through his feeding tube pump.

5:00 am lily gets up and has had an accident in her bed. change lily and put mary poppins on for her.

5:15 am take a shower.

5:30 am clean mattress. put bedding with vomit in the washing machine (on sanitary cycle).

5:45 am make gracie's lunch for school and finish dishes from last night.

6:00 am fritz wakes up.

6:15 am fritz starts with diarrhea.

6:30 am bathe a screaming fritz and wake up grace for school.

6:45 am get everyone breakfast

6:55 am watch grace go off to school. call jake's bus company to say he won't be going to school today.

7:00 am write this post while fritz and lily are both in my lap and arguing over who gets to play with jake's new ball that he got for his birthday.

sounds like a promising day, eh? actually on days like this, i always think: "some days are like that, even in australia." if you don't know what that means, then you must read this; (it's one of my faves).

for the record, this is my second morning in a row with a 4 am wake-up call. at least yesterday's wake-up call didn't include any vomit.

post script - 7:10 am jake throws up again. change his shirt and wipe down wheelchair and floor. start wondering if i have enough clean towels to make it through the day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

lowell, mass

after the exhibit, we explored lowell, mass. i think my favorite trips are when we have one thing on the agenda (this time visit the art exhibit), but the rest of the day is just spent exploring - no agendas, no rushing from place to place, no expectations, etc.... just unawaited discoveries and time together.

the visitors' center had a hands on exhibit for the kids. gracie really enjoyed pretending to weave.

gears on the wall of visitors' center.

all the kids on the trolley at the visitors' center.

after the visitors' center, we ate lunch at a mexican restaurant (there was a HUGE selection of restaurants) and had YUMMY ice cream at another place. then we walked around town where we found this train.

crossing the train track bridge. we saw a HUGE fish in the creek/river.

the kids really enjoyed this trolley playset.

isn't he handsome?

me, goofing off, trying to figure out how my friends take good self-potraits. also trying to experiment on how i can look the least fat in a pic. (i also have to add that i can actually see how my sister and i look alike in this picture. usually i can't see any resemblance other than our mannerisms).
pat joining in the fun.

then we added the boys.

finally the girls clue in and join us.

this (below) ensures a return trip to lowell. we discovered the new england quilt museum. we saved going in for when my mother-in-law is in town. i think bringing her here will be a must.

what the kids did

here are the kids hanging out at the U of MASS at lowell campus while we took turns looking at the exhibit.

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"is that lily holding baby lily?" -lily's response when i showed her a picture of gracie holding her when lily was a baby.

"drama class is actually a lot of fun." -gracie (this is only humorous in that grace seemed surprised by how much she likes drama class. this from my child who we refer to as "a drama queen" when she is not around.)

"mom, you can go with my teacher and i'll stay home with japie and evan. daddy can go to work, and i'll be the mommy" -lily, in response to learning that she would be going to preschool next year instead of this year.

"mom, if you don't get rid of that smell soon, you're going to have to buy a new car." -gracie when it took me a couple of days to clean out my car after returning from a road trip.

"mommy, they have dress-ups for you!" -lily while walking by the prom dress section at macy's.

"i said the prayer "last"-erday." -lily's replacement word for "yesterday."