Archive for the ‘husbands’ Category

OK. There’s a problem.

Game Systems

We have an XBOX.

My husband got it as a gift from a friend about 4 months ago. He loves enjoys playing at night when the boys are sleeping and I’m off upstairs either sleeping, reading or blogging.

Not a problem. Right?

But now… there’s a problem.

William’s addicted.

Yes, addicted.

Hi. My name is Audrey. And my 3 1/2 year old son is addicted to Lego Star Wars on XBOX.

When I say, ADDICTED… I mean that he actually played yesterday from noon till 4pm. And then from 6pm till 9pm. He knows how to turn the game system on. Maneuver through the start-up menus. Click on his proper saved game. And play.

I don’t even know how to do this.

Yesterday when I came home from work around 4pm, William was on the couch playing. It was a beautiful 60 degree day… so I told him to turn the game off and put his sneakers on so we could go outside and play some baseball.

I got a “No.” Actually… I got a “No, Mommy. I’m almost past this level. I need a few more minutes.”

WHAT? OH, freaking NO!

I made him turn the game off, get off the couch and put his sneakers on for some OUTSIDE playing.

And you know what, he had a BLAST outside running around, playing baseball, jumping off our front rock, helping me plant 2 flowers and chasing his brothers.

This is what being 3 is all about.

So XBOX… ahhh, XBOX.

I know my husband loves playing you at night. But he’s a grown man. He works. He’s an amazing husband. An amazing father. And playing for an hour or two when we’re all upstairs doesn’t interfer with our family life at all.

But you’re not about to suck in my son. No, freaking way.

I am now ready to battle you myself… not by actually playing, but by turning my son away.

(Especially when Alexander now grabs his Leap Frog controller and thinks he’s playing too. Oh… no… you’re not getting him too!)

I wish we had never even bought the “special” Star Wars game for William in the first place! Shame on me… but now, I’m taking the control back. We thought it would be cool to see him play every now and then… but you’re getting him, you’re getting him real good.

And now… well, let’s just say I’ve got my own mama-powers.

Watch out! You don’t want to see me mad, especially while I’m pregnant!

- Audrey

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Part 1 –

Monday night Matt and I took William and Alexander out to Target to get some birthday presents for Benjamin. Even though he’s turning 1 and I know he doesn’t know it’s his birthday… I still wanted to go without him to get the boys excited for his special day!

We found our toys for Benjamin in record time.

But then… we needed to stop by the Thomas Train section.

Then the Leap Frog games.

Then the Playskool toys.

And – of course – Hot Wheels, Spiderman, Transformers, Tonka and all the other car/truck/train/”bad guy” sections there were.

Trying to pry them away from the Toy Department was like prying a bee away from honey… nearly impossible.

Check out was crazy because, well… they were playing “swords” with the plastic buckets we got them. Yes, the buckets were the swords.

While in line a family with 2 girls were behind us. The girls were sitting in the cart amused, but slightly horrified by William and Alexander’s “playing.” They were sitting there each holding bathing suits. Quiet. Calm. And reserved.

The mother of the girls smiled at me and asked if I knew what I was having… to which I responded, “Yes, a baby boy.” She said, “Wow… you’re going to have your hands full.” To which I said, “Oh yes, and I have another one at home.” My husband grabbed me hand and smiled.

On the way to the car the boys wanted to race each other. Then proceeded to wrestle each other into the car. And then play the “I was in my car seat first game” over and over again.

For the first time every, my husband whispered to me, “God bless you. God bless you. 4 boys, under 4.”

Part 2 –

Last night we were all sitting around the living room while William and my husband played Star Wars Lego on XBOX.

(XBOX usage is a post within itself… will get back to this topic at another time!)

As we were all lounging around… William took one look at my feet and stated, “Your toenails are disgusting Mommy.”

(To which they are. I give him credit for noticing.)

But to which I responded, “Gee, thanks William. That’s not very nice to say to someone.”

In his 3-year old innocence he asked me, “Why?”

And through trying not to laugh (since seriously, my toenails are horrible looking) I explained to him why it isn’t nice to tell someone that they look “disgusting.”

After we chatted and he continued playing his game, I went into the kitchen to make myself something to eat… which is when I heard my husband take over the conversation.

As I was leaning against the kitchen wall, I heard it all go down…

He whispers to William, “Buddy… you never tell Mommy anything other than how beautiful she is. There’s nothing about your Mommy that is disgusting. She’s a beautiful Mommy, with beautiful everything, even toenails.” (Again, total lie about the toenails, but I’ll give me props!)

Ahh… my hero. My handsome-husband-hero!

(It’s a good thing I’m already pregnant with baby #4… !)

- Audrey


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… to get all 3 boys and Mom and Dad together on the couch for a photo?

Somehow maneuvering a way to get Alexander away from my Nana’s 89th birthday cake.

Getting Benjamin to sit still for 2 seconds.

Matt and I sitting down… together.

Keeping the climbing boys away from my growing tummy… and Henry!

And deciding that William will not give up that laptop – and we’re okay with it being in the photo. :)

A photo of the 5 of us. All together.

Ahhh… priceless.

- Audrey

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I can hardly say Triathlon, never mind DO one.

But I am. Doing one, that is.

Well, a mini one. Or more technically, a “Sprint” Triathlon.

On the average, a Sprint Triathlon is about a half mile swim. A 10-15 mile bike ride. And then, to cap it off, a 5K run.


I am not an athlete. I am not a swimmer. A cyclist. Nor a runner. Especially not a runner.

Oh, God! How did this happen to me!

I’ll blame it on menopause. That feeling that I can conquer anything. That feeling of being 11 years old… you know, when a boy tells you that you can’t climb or run or throw as “good” as he can. And you just gotta prove you can.

This time I am proving something to myself.

So. On February 4, I headed off to our local YMCA with Jane (I am not big-and-bad enough to show up and just start swimming and running). I didn’t even know how to program a treadmill. I didn’t know where to put my gym bag.

I can’t see without my glasses, so you can imagine the look on Jane’s face when I had my glasses on over my swim cap from the locker room to the pool. Swim etiquette, or the not-at-all-cool-factor, just does not allow that certain look. You should have seen Jane’s face.

And my workout clothing? Won’t even go there. No, not lycra or spandex… or anything that may make me look normal. Poor Jane!

But anyway, I started on the treadmill. I could run for 5 minutes. Period.

Then to the pool. I could do 4 laps, panting. Period.

But I must say that one huge inspiration for me was our Pinks & Blues interview with Kathy Kaehler back in January. Kathy spoke about her “Take Five” workout where 5-minute blasts get heart rates up and energy flowing (not to mention, fit and sexy). I think the 5-minute concept just got me going in a very realistic way. Even on the treadmill and in the pool.

Here I am… a grown woman with children and grandchildren. I am confident and love challenges. But I was truly scared to look, well, kind of silly doing these things, looking exhausted and out-of-place. But 5 minutes?

Yes, I could do it.

Now here we are, almost 6 weeks later.

I actually ran 3.2 miles on the treadmill last weekend. It took me 44 minutes.

I actually swam 62 consecutive laps in the pool. It took me 35 minutes.

Do I look totally cool? Probably not.

Do I feel like a million? Absolutely.

And now that the nice weather is returning to New England, I am even running outdoors. And soon I will be digging my old bike out of our garage for Phase 2!

I know my kids and my husband are very proud of me. But I guess even more important than that, I am proud of myself for having a goal and sticking to a plan.

My first real Sprint Triathlon, you ask? Some time in late May or June.

In the meantime, I will keep you posted. I know it’s a total cliche, but “If I can do it”…

Yesterday, Jane caught me in the act and snapped a picture (shown above!). Audrey and Jane chuckle at my style of running, but you know what?… it works for me! (And I still wear my glasses over my cap from the locker room to the pool. Why? I kick ass.)

- Sharon

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This morning, Audrey and her little family came to Grandma and Pop-up’s (that’s what they call Grandpa) for breakfast.

And there are many “rules” to breakfast with three little guys, a pregnant mama and one hungry daddy. 

First, the bacon must be already sizzling when they arrive.  Audrey loves the sounds and aromas of bacon.  It reminds her of going to her Nana Flo’s house for breakfast when she was a little girl.  Nana Flo had the not-so-secret-anymore recipe of mixing bacon grease (I can’t believe I’m sharing this compete-and-total saturated fat secret) with her pancake batter to create the most delectably crunchy pancakes imaginable, and Pop-up has mastered the art. And oh yeah, Audrey has craved bacon this entire pregnancy with her little Henry!

Second, and very important… the coffee must be ready.  Not brewing.  Ready.   

Third, Pop-up better not have already mixed the pancake batter.  3-year old William loves to help Pop-up measure and combine the eggs, milk and batter into the smooth and creamy mix.  And he loves to chat with Pop-up about the entire process.

Next, it is a pretty good idea for me to have 11-month old Benjamin’s oatmeal cereal and bananas ready.  Benjamin has to be the easiest baby I have ever met, but the little guy loves his morning meal!   

Last, I should have 2-year old Alexander’s counter space pretty clear.  He must climb by himself onto his stool at the counter where he can color with his crayons ‘til the “pancanks” are served.

And everything went as expected… except for Ally.  He sauntered into our house holding his Little Tykes boom box.  Without taking off his coat or hat, he pressed a couple of buttons on his boom box and said to me, “Dance, Grandma.”

“Okay, Honey.”  This is what Grandmas do. 

So I moved my arms a little while simultaneously helping Audrey with coats, hats and mittens.  This is what Moms do.

“DANCE, Grandma!” was Ally’s response to my “dancing.”

A couple more buttons.  Another little tune.  “Okay.”  Now I move my arms a little more rhythmically and add leg movement.

Well, not rhythmically enough.

“DANCE, Grandma… DANCE,” was Ally’s response to my obviously pathetic attempt at breakfast disco.

So I danced.  Arms.  Legs.  Spins.  Dips.  Twist.  Freakin’ Limbo. 

I danced to Little Tykes with wild abandon. 

Let me just say here that I cocktail waitressed my way through college (one very long stint where my “uniform” was a red tie-up-the-center corset with white ruffled panties… yes), and I was often on-duty for morning/breakfast business meetings where pillars of society asked me if I “danced.”  Well, no.  But that was the early 70’s. 

And anyway, I guess all that waitressing and hey-she-looks-like-a-dancer prepared me in great measure for my darling little grandson asking his Grandma to get her groove on.   

Hey, at least he didn’t toss me a quarter.

That’s a lesson for another breakfast.

Thanks, Little Ally… you made my day!

- Sharon

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Corbin_park_trees_and_fogOK, February. I get it.

You suck.

You’re cold, rainy, windy, ugly, vile and mean.

And that’s on a good day.

I’m getting really tired of looking out my bedroom window every morning to be greeted with an unfriendly gray cloud cover.

Of having to wear 5 layers when I go outside just to be mildly comfortable.

Of hearing the weatherpeople say that we’re still going to have to wait awhile for the Spring weather (thanks for the reminder, guys).

Of dreading getting out of the shower to face the frigid air in the nude.

Of the bare trees.

I need the warm weather back.

The smell of grass being cut.

The desire to take a walk outside and not having to add one layer of clothing.

The sound of the lawn sprinklers.

The sight of families at the park.

There’s nothing like New England in the Spring and Summer. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

I love living by the ocean. Spending the day at the beach. Being able to drive for three hours and hit four different states (the three-hour drive from Providence to Portland takes you through RI, MA, NH and ME. Strolling through the quaint New England towns.

I definitely don’t want to leave my home state. But I’m clearly one of those people who needs to live in Florida from January to April.

My job would allow me to telecommute like that. But my husband’s teaching job may make it a little tricky.

OK, there goes that dream. 

I guess Plan B would be one of those Seasonal Affective Disorder light therapy lamps.


On second thought, that seems a little weird.

I think I’ll just suck it up for 6 more weeks!

- Jane

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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OK… I am a New England Patriots FANatic, as are most New England Mamas.

And the two weeks since the not-so-Super Bowl for us New Englanders have begun to heal (a tiny bit) what reason cannot.

Don’t get me wrong. I still wake up mornings with that sense of disbelief and, well, broken-heartedness that is our human lot when our hopes and great expectations become promises for perhaps another day, another year.

Oh, and it doesn’t help that one of our very close friends, who is (or was?) a die-hard Steelers fan, now works for the Giants organization and has sent me a little reminder of our loss in about 300 photos, from arriving in Arizona through the New York City parade and everything in-between (yes, he was there for it all). Yes, Doug… it has always been great fun for us to kick Steelers ass, but my wounds are still raw in a Giant sort of way.

I truly miss seeing my favorite guys in red, white and blue and rooting for them on Sunday afternoons and evenings during the fall and long New England winters. Guys like Tedy Bruschi. I love this guy. I love his story. I love his enthusiasm for the game of football. And I love his love of family.

But anyway. Football season is over. Red Sox pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training. And the Providence College men’s basketball team is still hanging on… OK, by a thread, but my husband* and I are fans anyway. Go Friars!

(*my husband Barry grew up listening to the Friars’ games on the radio back in the early ‘60s when his idols like Lenny Wilkens, Johnny Egan and Ray Flynn were playing, and he has lived Friars Basketball ever since… so to now have 2 seats on the floor of The Dunk is more than a dream-come-true. He is kinda like Jack Nicholson at Lakers’ games!)

I love sports so much because it is a great equalizer. Sure, to be great at tennis or golf or perhaps polo, your parents just may have had a few bucks. But I still believe in my heart and soul that most sports greats are guys and girls with a lot of talent and more determination and let’s just say it… sometimes balls, than most others.

This is why I love Tedy Bruschi so much. He is that perfect combination of quiet certainty and heroic humility. I can see why he is an idol to so many New Englanders, as attested by the thousands of fans who wear his jersey.

So how exactly does Tedy Bruschi fit into my conversation of the Providence College Friars? As my husband and I ran to our seats at The Dunk yesterday to watch Providence College (or so we hoped!) redefine Rick Pitino’s day, we were not immediately allowed to get to our seats. Instead, we had to enter from another direction. As we ducked our way along, a fellow season ticket holder and now friend stopped us to introduce us to his guest at the game. As I extended my hand, I realized that Tedy Bruschi was at the other end of it.

Tedy Bruschi. Tedy Bruschi sitting right there next to my husband.

Now, let me just say here that I am not a bothersome fan. I admire from the sidelines, from our section 9 season seats at Fenway Park, from the bleachers if I need to, from the floor of The Dunk, from box seats when I can get them, and/or sitting at a bar or in my family room.

I admire what it takes to become a great athlete. My husband’s childhood dream was to play for the Friars… he ate, walked and slept basketball. But he took a different journey. You know, a few little wise-guy moments that got his grades and his sports dreams all messed up. And my journey was different too. I played basketball and softball as a kid, but ended up cocktail waitressing and jewelry-piece-working my way through college.

By the time we found each other and sparks flew like fireworks, we were both teaching inner-city kids. We knew then that these kids needed dreams and ways to accomplish them… and that became our focus. But we still loved our sports teams. As our own kids came along, we literally saved pennies to take them to Fenway. Or the former Providence Civic Center… now The Dunk. To Boston Garden. To Foxboro Stadium. And all the Halls of Fame. Our sons loved basketball and football, and our daughters excelled in swimming and running.

But back to Tedy Bruschi. So gracious under the scrutiny of thousands of fans. So enthusiastic about the Friars. And sitting right next to us, talking to my husband like he is just another basketball fan.

Then the phone calls. The first one was from a friend. Then my husband’s brother. Then our granddaughter, Taylor. “Wow, Grandpa. I just saw you and Grandma on television sitting next to Tedy Bruschi!” And text messages. It seems that ESPN was covering the game nationwide, and my husband and I got in the frame as Tedy was being filmed.

Too fun!

And then last night everyone asked, “Did you get a photograph with Tedy?”

“Well, no,” we explained. “It didn’t seem appropriate. After all, Tedy was a guest of a friend. That would have been a little tacky of us.”

“Oh, no!” Our five-year old grandson, Andrew, was so horrified that we had no photo that we thought he may never speak to us again.

“Sorry, Little Buddy.”

Then this morning, the phone calls started coming again. “Hey, Sharon. Is that you next to Tedy Bruschi at the PC game?”

And yes, it is! Right there in the sports section of the Providence Sunday Journal. Me and Tedy.

Ah, ha! Not only do I have a coveted photo of one of my all-time favorite sports guys, I can show it to my 2 granddaughters and 5 grandsons (with 2 more on the way!).

So what more of a hero can I be?


I love it.

Thanks, Mike, for bringing Tedy to the game!

- Sharon

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

(photo credit: The Providence Journal / Gretchen Ertl)

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allysipping.jpgMy husband loves coffee milk.

Coffee milk… as in 2 or 3 tablespoons of Autocrat Coffee Syrup mixed into a nice, tall glass of cold milk.

This, in my experience, is kind of a Rhode Island thing. I had never heard of Coffee Syrup until I moved to Rhode Island. And the phenomenon doesn’t stop with coffee milk. It extends to coffee milk shakes. Coffee frappes. Or the all-Rhode-Island expression, coffee cabinet (don’t even ask me where the name comes from!).

So should I be surprised that my little 2-year-old grandson Alexander has coffee milk running through his veins? In his very DNA?

It all came to the surface yesterday.

My husband Barry, or Pop-up, as he is called by his grandchildren, and I had our little darling Ally for the afternoon. His older brother had his first school-kid-invited birthday party at the local YMCA and his littlest brother needed a nap.

We asked Ally what he wanted to do, and he immediately said, “Horses.” Which means the carousel at the mall.

That was easy. A couple of twirls on the merry-go-round. Then a trip to the Disney Store. A stop at the fountain “to trow in coins… lots of coins.” And how can you leave the mall without lunch.

Here in Rhode Island, lunch with kids means Newport Creamery. Ally is probably one of the easiest kids in the entire world to please, so we thought his usual grilled cheese and milk would do.

Not so easy.

Ally spotted Pop-up pouring some coffee-colored substance from a shiny stainless steel container into a glass.

“What’s that, Pop-up?” And not waiting for a response, “I want some.”

Now you must understand that a Newport Creamery Coffee Cabinet to my husband can be likened to Jimmy Choo shoes to me. Something to be savored. Delighted in. Loved.

But what trumps your favorite thing? A grandchild wanting it.

So Pop-up gave Ally a taste. That taste turned into his very own kid-cup. The kid-cup got traded in for Pop-up’s glass. The glass and its contents ended up as lickable remnants on Ally’s precious face.

Ah, Pop-up, it’s in the DNA!

- Sharon


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PatriotsOK, I’ll admit that I’ve always been kind of a girly-girl when it comes to understanding football.

This year I was kind of forced into "getting it" a little more because my husband coached football at his high school.

But that doesn’t mean I completely enjoyed sitting through the games.

It’s not that I don’t like sports. In fact, I would consider myself an athlete. I swam competitively from age 5 to age 17. I ran track and cross-country in high school, and was even recruited to run in college. I played Little League softball until I was in 8th grade.

I get sports.

I just never got football.

You see, back when I was in high school, going to my school’s football games was all about the social aspect. I don’t think I ever really even watched most of the action (or lack thereof) taking place.

My college’s football team was… a little pathetic. I remember one of my brothers coming to visit me one weekend, and I took him to a game. We were walking into the stadium and he asked me, "Where do we pay to get in?"

I laughed. Pay!? They were begging people to go.

As for watching the professional teams play, I have really only ever followed (and I use that term rather loosely) the Patriots (of course!).

And I’ve always watched the Super Bowl because, well… what else is there to do that night but eat and do what everyone else is doing? (Yeah, I follow the crowd like that.)

Sure, I’ve always understood the major point of the game – the touchdown, the field goal, the grown men touching other grown men on their backsides.

But, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that up until this year, I never really knew that there were guys who just played offense and guys who just played defense.  (*Hiding in shame*)

I also didn’t get why the words "he’s going for it on fourth down" sent people into a panic mode. (*Running away*)

And I swear in the name of Tom Brady, I never knew that the quarterback was only on the field with the offense. (*Changing my name*)

But I’m proud to announce, ladies and gentlemen, that I now get football - for the most part.

I mean, I am still unsure of what the hell everyone on the field is in charge of, what with their fancy names and all – Safety, Linebacker, Tight end, Running back. But I think that’s OK, because at least I know what they’re trying to accomplish.

In other words, I get the big picture. And I’m cool with that.

So this weekend when I’m watching the Pats play (and hopefully they’ll be playing in two weeks, too), I can enjoy the game(s) with my newfound football knowledge. And that makes me happy.

I think it will make the serious-football-fanatic-don’t-ask-me-questions-during-these-big-plays men around me happy, too.

- Jane

If you’re a Pats fan, or know someone who is, we have a giveaway for 2 wicked awesome Pats T’s from Boston Accents going on over here.

Cross-posted on New England Mamas


Our lucky dad pick today on Pinks & Blues is World Wide Fred’s Beer Bands!

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“Hey, sweetheart”

Ah, manners.

It is said that manners sweeten truth and add beauty to old age.

This is true. And in my experience, I have found this true of older gentlemen.

Now of course this statement does not discount the fine manners or matters of etiquette of younger men… but again, I speak from my own experience.

The “sweetheart” tag is a good way, I think, to explain this.

As a young girl, I found it funny when men addressed me as “sweetheart.” I can remember my Dad’s Navy friends calling me “sweetheart.”

Never “Sharon.”

Always “sweetheart.”

Like, “Hey, sweetheart, how’s school?”

Or, “Sweetheart, can you give your Dad a message for me?”

I did not realize back then that “sweetheart” is the translation for, “I really have no idea what your name is.”

As I grew older and more liberated (it was the late 60’s/early 70’s after all), I found the tag “sweetheart” a bit less endearing. I recall one incident at a school where I worked as a summer school teacher. It was a vocational school, and one older man, an automotive instructor, called me the “sweetheart” word in front of a group of high school students.

Like… “We don’t teach poetry here, sweetheart.”

Maybe it was the part about not teaching poetry to these kids that bothered me, but I reacted to the “sweetheart.”

“My name is Sharon,” I replied.

“OK, sweetheart,” he answered.

I guess it was then that I realized that “sweetheart” meant, “I will never remember your name.”

Ah, manners.

He could have ignored me from then on. He could have called me some other name. But he didn’t. He called me “sweetheart” all summer (even as I pursued the teaching of poetry to those young automotive students who until then thought they hated poetry). And I began to love him for it.

There have been lots of men in my life who have called me “sweetheart.” Neighbors. Mailmen. Cashiers. Ticket booth guys.

These guys are typically older than me. They are typically pretty confident that “sweetheart” is far better than, “I really don’t know what your name is, and if I do I can’t remember.”

Then came last Saturday.

I was at a basketball game with my husband. A rather important younger man (I will say young enough to be my son) came around to make sure that all was well with the tickets, the seats, the service…

Then he turned to me and said, “Hey, sweetheart. Hope you enjoy the game.”

I smiled. I actually almost laughed.

Yes, I know it sounds better than, “Hey, I-don’t-know-what-your-name-is-and-I-probably-should…”

And I have to say that I kinda like being called “sweetheart.”

Ah, manners. They sweeten truth and add beauty to old age.

But now they sweeten my old age!

- Sharon

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