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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.

Daylighth

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?

None!

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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We’ve all done it.

That polite smile.

You know what I mean… the type of smile when somebody you’re talking to goes on and on and on (and on…) about something you already know about, but you still must stand there listening.

I don’t know about you all, but I often find myself doing the polite smile.

Yesterday, for instance.

I had to go to the DMV to update my license. Not something that’s ever fun. EVER.

I was prepared for the long wait, so I brought some magazines and my latest Barbara Taylor Bradford novel, The Heir.

As I was settling in, I heard a voice say to me… “When are you due?”

I turned around to see a woman about my age, sitting there with a big belly that matched mine.

I greeted her with a smile. Not the polite smile, a real genuine, oh-cool-someone-I-can-chat-with smile. For those of you who know me… I’m a talker. I could chat for hours. Just give me a willing individual!

It turns out the two of us are due about 2 weeks apart. Both with boys. Both having C-sections.

Ironic, huh?

So we began to chat about our pregnancies.

And truth be told, I really didn’t get a word in edgewise. Looks like I was up against the talker-of-talkers. She went on and on (and on and on) about everything pregnancy. About everything baby.

I guess, in some ways… she viewed herself as an expert.

I did get a word in here and there.

“Oh yes, my oldest son had a Papasan.”

“No, I formula fed all my kids.”

“We found out the sex of all our boys.”

“My 3rd son had horrible acid reflux.”

And you know something is a little amiss with your conversation when, after chatting for a half hour or so (and saying the statements above) she asks me…

“So is this your first?”

Ahhh… that polite smile.

That polite smile that speaks a million things going through your mind… but you can’t possibly say those kinds of things in a public place.

“No… this is my fourth.”

To which she replied, “Will this be your first boy?”

Polite smile. (And an eyebrow raise.)

I pretended my phone was buzzing.

Said a polite “good bye” and “good luck with the rest of your pregnancy” and got up and walked away.

The highjinks of Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie had suddenly become much more interesting!

- Audrey

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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PatriotsI imagine that most sports bars and Super Bowl parties across New England looked and sounded the same last night around 10 o’clock.

Stunned faces. Dead silence.

(Meanwhile, I pictured the reaction at similar sports bars and Super Bowl parties across New York, New Jersey – and the rest of the country, for that matter – as being quite different. Jubilant would probably sum it up).

Yet, as much as I would have loved to see the Patriots win the Super Bowl and have that perfect season that seemed so attainable before last night’s game, it just didn’t happen. And that’s that.

I couldn’t even listen to my favorite talk radio show this morning. The Patriots fans calling in were so depressed that it was just downright… depressing.

And the non-Patriots fans were calling in sounding so giddy, it was as if they had singlehandedly won the game.

But that brings me to my point.

Guys? When it comes down to it? It’s just… a game.

It’s grown men running around in spandex and shoulder pads, throwing (and kicking) a ball from one side of the field to another.

It’s grown men getting paid millions of dollars to do this. It’s what they do for work.

Not a bad gig.

And last night after watching the game at a neighbor’s house, my husband and I walked back to our little home on our little street. Monday morning, and another work week, would be coming soon.

And although I was disappointed in the Super Bowl loss, I couldn’t help but think this: There probably isn’t one player on the Patriots roster who would lose any sleep if I had a bad day at work.

Because the reality is, that’s what it comes down to. They had a really, reallllllly crappy day at work.

But they’ll wake up this morning, hop on a private plane back to Boston, have a limo drive them to their multi-million dollar homes, maybe get a really nice massage, relax in their giant jacuzzis and/or home movie theaters (hey, I’ve seen MTV’s Cribs) and start their months-long off-season hiatus.

Oh, and on that hiatus? Maybe they’ll take a trip (or a few) somewhere warm. Earn a few more million pulling in some endorsements. Get some team workouts in. Play a little fantasy baseball just for the fun of it.

Yes, I’m generalizing a bit. But what I’m getting at is this: life goes on after a Super Bowl loss. In fact, life goes on quite comfortably for the players; even those on the losing team.

So let’s try to look at it as a bad day at work. We’ve all had ‘em. The Pats had one last night.

You may have one today. And if you do, just call up your masseuse for a nice, deep-tissue rubdown. And don’t listen to talk radio. Hearing your depressed fans will just make it worse.

- Jane

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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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

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

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Who’s It Gonna Be?

I wrote a post over at New England Mamas today about how hard it is for me to choose a presidential candidate.

I expressed a desire to find some sort of technology that would allow me to punch in my stance on certain issues, and then – voilà! – present me with my ideal candidate.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Internets answered my plea. Three helpful bloggers pointed me in the direction of three “candidate matching” services.

Problem solved, right?

Not so fast. Depending on which of the three candidate matching sites you want to go with – this one, this one or this one – my “ideal candidate” is…

(drumroll, please)

Hillary Clinton (sorry Stacey!), Ron Paul (um, OK…) and Duncan Hunter (my first thought was, “Who!?”).

Wait a minute, that’s three!

And here I was thinking that John McCain would be my man.

Apparently, it’s back to the drawing board…

- Jane

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This picture is from December 1994, and it’s (left to right) me (Jane), Mom, Dad and Audrey. It was taken before our high school Christmas dance, before our dates arrived to pick us up! Mom, could you have maybe suggested I put a little make-up on? Can you say “pasty white!?”

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This next one is from June 1992, on the day of my brother Adam’s high school graduation party. The fam (left to right: Dad, Keith, Audrey, Me, Mom and Adam) is posing in front of our house, the house I lived in from birth to almost my 18th birthday. Lots of memories there!

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Pinks & Blues Girls Blog is your Throwback Thursday Headquarters!

Join in on the Throwback Thursday fun! Sign Mr. Linky so others know you’ve participated and can check out your Throwback Thursday photos on your site, and don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know you participated!

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Enter our Pinks & Blues Virtual Baby Shower!

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You can find me over at New England Mamas today…

And did someone mention prizes?

Prizes! Prizes! Prizes! over at New England Mamas!

Get your prizes over here!

(Oh, I guess I mentioned prizes…)

- Jane
jane1.jpg

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Cyrano de Bergerac.

One of my all-time favorite plays.

I remember in high school, during my senior year English class, we had to choose a play to dissect in front of our class.

My mother knew I was “obsessed” with love stories, so she recommended I read Cyrano de Bergerac.

It quite honestly changed my life.

I fell in love with the story. With its characters. With everything.

And there I was, this girl of 17, terrified to speak in front of my class about anything… and something changed within me when I read this play. I wanted to speak in front of class about it. I wanted to recite my favorite line:

“To sing, to laugh, to dream,
To walk in my own way and be alone,
Free, with an eye to see things as they are.”

And from that day on, I was never afraid to speak in public again. Crazy, huh?

Just to further prove the magic of this play, I even went on to get my degree in Theatre Arts/Public Speaking at Brown University 4 years later.

I had never understood falling in love with a character. Or lines. Or a make-me-believe place – until I read Cyrano.

So it was a TRUE dream come true when my father surprised my mom, Jane and I with Cyrano de Bergerac tickets for Sunday’s NYC Broadway production!!

And get this… starring Kevin Kline.

Yes, Kevin Kline.

Jennifer Garner (minus Ben and Violet – I scoured the audience).

And Chris Sarandon.

The production was flawless.

OK, except for the 30 minute technical difficulties mid-show. But, all the stars came out and answered questions with the audience because they felt so bad that we had to wait.

Kevin Kline was genius. Jennifer Garner was adorable.

Everything was just perfection.

To see this play on Broadway… it was unbelievable.

We spent a great evening in the City. And a delicious dinner at Angelo’s on 57th Street.

And left with that longing feeling of missing the City.

Aww… all from Cyrano de Bergerac!

Also, check out Jane’s run-down of the play at New England Mamas – today is New England Mamas’ official re-launch date, and we’re giving away lots and lots of prizes!

- Audrey
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radio1.jpgOne of our holiday traditions used to be the family trek to the tree farm to pick out the Couto Family Christmas Tree.

We would usually go the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, pick out the perfect tree, take turns cutting it down with our saw, and spend that evening decorating our fragrant, freshly cut evergreen.

The tradition continued even as my siblings and I got older… and we’d bring along our boyfriends and girlfriends to take part in our little holiday ritual.

But then we started to go off and get married… and some of us began to have families of our own (the nerve!)… and some Thanksgiving long weekends began to take place in different states, where the in-laws lived…

And soon the Couto Family Christmas Tree became the kind that can be packed up and stored in the basement when the season is over, and re-assembled in twelve month’s time.

But Mom and Dad are big on tradition. And so they created a new one for us… one that would entertain their adult children and their young grandchildren alike.

And so in 2004, for the first time, we traveled – all 15 of us, at the time – to see the Rockettes perform at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

It was, indeed, so spectacular that we again made the trip in 2005 and 2006.

And now this weekend we will continue this new(ish) tradition for the fourth time in a row.

We’ve added two kids to the brood since 2003, so now all 17 of us will take Radio City by storm.

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Even though I have no human kids of my own (my doggies can’t come to the show), I look forward to this tradition every year.

To see the excitement in my nieces’ and nephews’ eyes.

To see my parents happy to have the whole family together.

To have a tradition that really means something to us all.

As for the men? I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that they get to see lots of Rockette cleavage.

- Jane
jane.jpg

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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