Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reflections on a tough week

Last night was the candlelight vigil for Matthew Denice. I assisted with the organization of the event by making a Facebook event page, sending it to the appropriate people, and coordinating the donation/purchase of candles. My step-sister-in-law, Theresa, also helped me. Together we bought 840 candles, and paper cups. We purchased a few of the candles and cups, and used donations from friends for the rest. When we set up our table, we also received 5-6 bags of tea-lights, and 4 16-count boxes of tapered candles. We used every last one.

I was amazed and touched by amount of love and support. There were well over 1,000 people in attendance. There was a bike run, that passed the vigil and went on to the accident site. I'm told that Matt's parents were at the crash site when the bikes went past. I'm not sure if that was the case. Either way, it was a beautiful gesture and sign of respect for a fallen fellow biker. There was also a group of teenagers that skateboarded, single file, to the vigil.

My husband is part of both the biker community and the skateboard community. I was extremely touched by the gestures of respect and support by both groups. I tried to fight back the tears as the bikes went by, but I wasn't strong enough. It was so emotional for me. My poor son was even upset, because Mommy was crying, and the bikes were loud, and he obviously didn't understand. He was all smiles, however, when he saw his Nono (grandfather) and Daddy on their bikes. I didn't see them, but he did. He yelled "Daddy!".

I didn't personally know Matthew Denice, and I caught a little bit of internet heat for helping to plan the vigil. Apparently some people found it inappropriate that I offered to help. Here is my thought process: I thought that by taking one thing off the list of "things to do", I would be doing my part. I felt that as a part of this community, I would do what I could to support his family. I did what I thought was right. I heard nothing but supportive words at the vigil itself.

Last night made me proud to live in Milford. I had a tough time coming here from the "townie" town that I grew up in. I didn't feel like there was a real sense of community here. My mind has been changed. I'm proud to be a member of a community that will rally around it's members, and support them in their time of need. With that being said, I'm saddened to see the level of hate and intolerance that has emerged toward immigrants in our town.

While I understand that there are fundamental flaws in our immigration system in Massachusetts, that is not a basis to treat people unfairly. The fact of the matter is that drunk driving was the direct cause of this tragedy. I realize that this particular immigrant had been in trouble before, but his immigration status was not a direct cause of this incident. I wholeheartedly believe that he should have been deported prior to this incident, but it was his decision to drink and get behind the wheel that I take the most issue with.

I live in a neighborhood that is most immigrants. I have no idea what their immigration status is, and I honestly don't care. Most of them are great people. They walk around the neighborhood, and they say hello. They smile as they pass. They are respectful of our home, and we are respectful of theirs. I can tell you with 100% certainty that they are afraid to come out of their homes after the hatred that has been thrown at them in the wake of this horrible tragedy. They fear for their lives, and that is injustice. It sickens me.

I certainly hope that the loss of this young man's life does not turn into a illegal immigrant witch hunt. My most sincere hope is that his family is able to find the peace and support that they need during this time. I hope that the community continues to support them, and to honor Matthew's memory. I will certainly be keeping him in my mind. I pass by the accident site every day, and my heart aches.

Rest in the sweetest peace, Matthew Denice. You've left a lasting impression on this town, and you will never be forgotten.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sad days in Milford

On Thursday, I was blessed to spend the day with my Mother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephews and my son. I was surrounded by love, and support. Our family was doing what it does best - rallying to support each other. My mother-in-law had dental work, and my sister-in-law and I were helping to drive her car home, get her settled, and trek back with all of our kids. We were showing our children how a loving family supports one another. While we were busy teaching our kids about love, a 14 year old boy in the town we live in committed suicide. He ended his life because of bullying.

On Saturday, we spent the day as a family. We went to the beach with our son. We rushed home to get ready for "cousins night" - a revival of a family tradition from my husband's childhood. We spent the night eating, and celebrating the blessing we all have. My husband, his two sisters, three cousins, and their respective spouses and children all got together to just enjoy each other's company. While sat around a beautiful outdoor fireplace, reminiscing and making new memories, a 23-year old young man's life was taken by a drunk driver just around the corner from our home.

I sit in my living room as I type this, and my heart aches. I can not process these tragedies. You hear about these things happening, and you always think that it's somewhere else. This is happening in my backyard, and in yours. There is only one way to stop these awful things, and the answer is community. Period.

If this community had rallied, and been more aware of the bullying of a 14 year-old boy, he might still be with us. If this community had rallied and demanded that unlicensed individuals be punished at their first offense, a 23 year old man would still be with us. I'm not writing this to talk about the politics of illegal immigration. My opinion is just that, an opinion. I just feel that if this town, this state, this country, had a sense of community, tragedies like these could be averted more often.

I realize that senseless tragedies and accidents happen. I just would like to work toward a better tomorrow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Potty training Day 1

I should have titled this "Let's hope the house doesn't catch on fire..."

We bought Lucas his first package of underpants on Wednesday, and decided that since the forecast for Friday looked so rainy and yucky, we would try them then. We knew we'd be home for most, if not all, of the day. I wanted to be sure not to keep flip-flopping.

So we woke up bright and early at 8am this morning. (This is early for our house. Lucas usually sleep till 9-9:30) I decided that since I was up, I might as well face the day with some ambition. So before even having breakfast I took off his diaper, and put on his underpants. He was so excited because he had picked them out himself, and they were "Choo Choo Tom!" (aka Thomas the Tank Engine). I bought waterproof undies to go over them, but he hated them. I mean HATED them. So they lasted about 30 seconds.

I'm happy to report that Lucas had a total of 3 "accidents", but they were all just tiny dribbles. Never even left the underpants! I was so impressed. He did, however, poop in his diaper as SOON as we put it on for nap. But hey, he's only 2!

I kept him in just underpants, or an underpants/t-shirt combo all day for a few reasons. First, I wanted him to see, feel, and understand that underpants were different than diapers. Also, I wanted to be able to see if he was wet, even just a little, to try to keep on top of it. I also wanted to eliminate the million pairs of shorts I would potentially need to launder.

In the spirit of "leading by example" I also spent the day in a t-shirt/undies combo. With the curtains open. In my very cramped neighborhood. What was I thinking?!? It was a long t-shirt, but still. I do a lot of bending throughout the day. Hopefully no one was peeking! And thank goodness the house didn't catch on fire. We would have been the underpants family!

Monday, August 15, 2011

RIP Freddie Fishy

Well, as I think I mentioned, we bought Lucas his first fishy as birthday present. We bought it to help us with our nighttime routine. And it worked. Oh, except that recently the fish had been sinking to the bottom and laying there for a few minutes at a time before swimming around again.

After 4-5 days of this, I figured Freddie was on his way to a better place, and I had every intention of going out and getting a replacement so that I could swap them out without Lucas noticing. Life got in the way, and I forgot. John did a lot of the bedtime stuff for the past few days, and when I got Lucas this morning, Freddie had left us.

So today, John ran some errands with Lucas while I ran to Petco to get Freddie 2.0. My plan was to sneak home and clean the tank and replace Freddie. Well, then I remembered that I forgot to buy spring water, and I suspect that Milford's heavily chlorinated water is what did in Freddie 1.0. So I had to wait until tonight, when Lucas is here.

I feel like it's a little early in life to try to explain death to the poor kid. I mean, he will NOT get it, and he doesn't need to at this point. So I let him "help" me clean the tank, like we do every week. He sits on the toilet and watches me clean away. His "job" is to keep an eye on Freddie in his little bowl while I clean the tank. Well this time he was watching a very dead fish "sleeping" on the bottom of the bowl. I told him to wait just a minute, and I would try to wake Freddie up. I made the swap in the other room, and he was none the wiser.

I feel a little guilty about lying to him, but I know I did the right thing. Here's hoping that Freddie 2.0 lives a little longer than his predecessor.

photo via

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I've been sick since Saturday night. I woke up on Sunday feeling just plain yucky. I was supposed to go to The Garment District with Heather, and I was going to tough through it because I NEVER make plans, so I really didn't want to reschedule because of a sore throat. I was thoroughly relieved, however, when she suggested that we reschedule due to the torrential rain.
I did still go to John's show with him, which was also in Boston, but we left fairly early, and we missed most of the show after he played because I dragged him to the nearest Chinese food restaruant to get egg drop soup. John's drummer (and very close family friend) Jake was kind enough to offer to go buy us both some tea too. His girlfriend, Nicole, works at Tealuxe, and hooked me up with some delicious Mango Tea. I was in heaven. She also treated me to 4 varieties of loose tea leaves to bring home. Very generous, and quite appreciated!
We got home, and neither of us could get out of bed on Monday. Lucas was also a little under the weather, which actually made it a LITTLE easier. We all had to muster up some strength to go get new tires on the minivan, so that we could drive to my doctor's office for a strep culture. We made it, but after 3 hours out of the house, the three of us climbed into our bed and watched a movie. We all fell asleep, Lucas played on the floor for a little bit before I realized the he can't sleep with us anymore, so I put him in his crib. We all woke up around 5 pm. Yup... we slept from 1pm to 5pm, and we were miserable. I made my own homemade egg drop soup, which was delish, and I added extra ginger to help boost my recovery.
Well, John woke up and felt fairly functional today, I do not. I still am miserable. Lucas seems to be back to normal other than a runny nose and post-nasal-drip-induced cough.
Anway, in the spirit of trying to feel better, I am going to jot down a list of all the things that have improved my  mood and possibly helped!

  1. Lucas singing and dancing to Till The World Ends by Britney Spears. It's been his favorite song for quite some time, but it still cracks me up.
  2. When falling asleep watching a movie with Lucas & John, my love handle was ever-so-attractively exposed. Lucas reached over and rubbed his little hand over me, just like I do to soothe him. It was enough to nearly make me cry. Such a big boy taking care of his Mama.
  3. Egg Drop Soup - I love it. It's a recent obsession of mine. I'm so glad I looked up how to make it, because it is easy as pie. That saying should be changed, some pie isn't easy!
  4. Movie nights and late night pizza with John - John is tough to deal with when he's sick. He falls hard, and is pretty much useless, so I was glad that he bounced back quickly, and I'm very grateful that he has taken such good care of me. He even got Dominos pizza at 11 pm for me. Don't judge, we were hungry after our marathon naps! 
  5. My dog is the world's best companion. Seriously. She didn't know what to do this time, though. We've never ALL been sick at the same time, and she wasn't sure who to snuggle, so she went from person to person, sharing her snuggles with us all. She's so cute!
  6. A hot shower followed by a nicely chilled a/c'd room. It was perfect! The shower would ease my achy body, and then I would cool off in my bed. 
  7. Tea! I haven't tried the teas that Nicole gave me yet, because I couldn't bear to stand long enough to put the loose tea leaves in the bags, so it's been mostly D&D's tea, but there's nothing that feels better on a sore throat. 
What helps you feel better? Honestly, I feel like a little love makes all the difference to me. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I've been really wanting to get a subscription to lately. I have entered a few contests, including:
This one - @ All Aboard

And I've been obnoxiously tweeting at to show them that since my Dad looks just like Steve Buscemi (whose episode re-aired last week), they should gift me a subscription. Makes sense, no?

If neither of these attempts work, I'll likely go to the local library & use that account until I can afford one of my own!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear Young Self

I am a twitter lurker. There I said it. I rarely tweet at people, mostly silly tweets, and I read lots of tweets. I'm more an observer than participant. Anyway, #dearyoungself has been trending for a while now, and it got me thinking... what the hell would I say to myself... let's say 10 years ago.

Dear 17-year-old Nicole (young self),

You have no idea what your life has in store for you. You are about to enter your senior year of high school, and every decision seems "life & death". Relax, and enjoy the rest of high school. You'll grow to miss certain aspects of it.
Don't use the word "regret" unless you truly mean it. You will make MANY mistakes in the next 10 years, but they will bring you to a place of happiness. It will not be an easy road, but holy shit , it will be worth it.
Money doesn't mean shit. Stop obsessing over getting a job that makes the most money. Do what makes you happy. You won't listen to this now, but you will realize it later.
There's a light at the end of every tunnel, but some tunnels are MUCH longer than others. Just be strong, and you'll get there. You always do.
Work hard, but listen to your gut. You need to let loose and have fun. (On second thought, you may have let loose a bit too much from 19-21, so be careful!)
Your actions now have serious consequences. Don't change your course of action, but maybe the method is questionable. Food for thought.
Cherish and nurture your friendships and relationships. People, unfortunately, come and go in your life. Enjoy them while you can, you never know when they might be gone forever.
ASK QUESTIONS. You will lose most of the oldest generation (your grandparents' generation) before you are old enough to ask them everything. This is one thing you will look back on and feel the very truest form regret.
Enjoy your young body. It sounds cliche, but it really never is the same after a baby. And we all know that you are lazy about fitness. You will pay for that too. Tenfold.

Overall, you did pretty well. Don't be so critical of yourself. Oh yeah, and toss that self consciousness out the door. You won't need it where you're going. You will find love, in the most unexpected of places and you will fall madly and hopelessly for him. Your world will turn upside down, and then upside down will become the new norm. Just when everything is in balance, something will turn it around again. Your heart will grow which each new addition (pets and BABY!!!) Your life will be full. You will be happy. Enjoy life, and stop worrying. Everything will be fine!