Tuesday, December 4, 2007

We moved...

We moved this weekend. (We are still in Greensboro... Heck, we are still in Adams Farm!)

Our new address is:
5315 Coveview Ct
Greensboro, NC 27407

I'll post some pictures once we are settled a bit. We have so much stuff to unpack...

Friday, November 23, 2007


In July, we actually planned our Thanksgiving vacation in advance. We wanted to be sure to have good Thanksgiving dinner reservations and an appointment for Regan at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique at Disney World. Unfortunately, at the last minute, we had to cancel our plans.

We closed on our new house on Monday. And, the painting and laying of hard wood floors began on Monday as well. We are used to juggling a flurry of events but that night our TV died and then, shortly thereafter, we found that the water heater in our "old" house also died. The following day, after coordinating the replacement of our water heater, we got a call about our new house. The big window had a leak and they couldn't continue to lay the hard wood floors until the leak was fixed and the sub flooring was dry. So, despite all of our efforts, we didn't leave Tuesday night as planned.

Instead, we went to work the following day and I headed for the grocery store at lunch. Yes, I actually cooked a Thanksgiving dinner on my own. After a couple hours of cooking, I now understand why we cook a Thanksgiving meal just once a year. It's a lot of work. But, I'm proud to say, I did it.

It's nice not rushing around. We are still having fun. So far, we have played football in the park and have also gone bowling. We may go roller skating tomorrow...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Have I ever told you... Written by by sister Liza Szmaj in May 2000

Have I ever told you about my Grandmother...my Babcia?

A most inspirational woman...

She raised four children during the war (a fifth one, a daughter, lost to typhus because scarce medication was available to male children only).

My Babcia was a fighter, confronting even the Gestapo to try and change the unlivable conditions her "community" was in... After the war, the family was relocated to a Displaced Persons camp. She continued to make waves by teaching and becoming involved in local politics until a 30 foot fall broke her back and left her a paraplegic.

The person in charge of relocating families after the war had the Szmaj family slated for relocation to Australia - because America only wanted able bodied immigrants. Babcia felt that America was the land of opportunity and was willing to separate from her family (despite her condition) so that they could go on to the U.S.

Touched by the love of this woman - by her willingness to let go of her family so that they could benefit without a thought as to whom would take care of her or what she would do - the man approved the family's documents to go to the U.S. (for which I will be forever grateful, as probably are my uncles and aunts and my mother).

Years of praying and hoping for a miracle didn't improve her condition. Yet, growing up, I never heard her complain. She liked to "rule the roost" while living in our house. I remember playing in "our room", watching after-school specials with her(even though she was convinced that the people on the TV screen could actually see and hear us!). I remember her helping do "chores" by folding clothes and directing us children to do things; the way she used to peel an apple with a knife and leaving one long, unbroken, paper thin peel for me to put out the window so that birds and squirrels would come and visit. (I haven't mastered that peeling thing yet).

I also remember the morning I was the last one at home before school, waking her up for breakfast and witnessing that she just had a stroke and lost most of her eyesight. Even this did not stop her positive attitude.

She sang so many songs to me, told me joke after joke (she enjoyed a good laugh) and told me glorious old stories. Oh, she was such a great story teller...stories boundless...her eyes open wide and her face full of expression. Her smiles were endless (and toothless!).

Watching her, hearing her laugh a strong joyous laugh, enjoying the good things in life - "Give me Chocolate or give me death"; thanking God nightly for the " sunshine and the beautiful day and for family"; the roses in her room; the tickling a man's beard - which she enjoyed so much she would giggle with delight and blush, her bright blue eyes twinkling....

Even after she lost most of her eyesight, Babcia would use a magnifying glass to "read" her bible with pages worn from the many times she turned the them. Babcia used to tell me that growing up in Czestochowa she would pray the Stations of the Cross every day. Nothing stopped her from finding strength in God's word.

It was wonderful, because as I grew up she was my best friend. I would sit behind her on the bed and brush her long blonde hair, with its white highlights - instead of the other way around. I learned to braid on her soft, fine hair.

She was magical to cuddle with - round and delightful. She would cover me up with blankets until I could no longer breathe and I attempted to sneak the tip of my foot out from underneath the covers just to get some cool air. Somehow she always knew when I did that!

It became more difficult as I grew older. Instead of playing numerous games with her, I wanted to go out into the world, become the social person that my grandmother had been (some of the stories she would tell would include dancing until dawn....)

I left her room and got a room of my own.

When young, one may not realize the short time we have left with someone. We have videotapes of her singing and telling stories but the desire to hug her once more or feel her soft hands holding mine never goes away.

And then, remarkable as it was that she had lived as an invalid so long, she began to get sick, and began to break down.

It was then I realized that such a "burden" as an invalid grandmother living with you is not a burden at all - but a gift.

She shared so much with me...such an important part of my childhood as my baby-sitter and best friend - I learned a lot from her. And although, had she not broken her back, she may have been able to do so much in the world with her drive and determination - she was my personal special gift.

My family and friends also had the opportunity to share this "jewel" of a grandmother who would have given anything to help any one of us.

But I...I had her so much. I shared a room with her and she sang me lullabies until I was 13 years old. I spent endless hours with her. Sometimes, I'd awake in the middle of the night with her and after I got her some warm milk, she would tell me a story or sing me songs(melodious Polish songs that even my cousins living in Poland no longer hear!).

What opportunities are lost today when grandparents no longer live with the family!

I thank God constantly that she was so instrumental in my upbringing. Helping my parents raise me and then, in turn, affording me the opportunity to help her as she grew old.

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of her passing. Though I can't express everything she meant to me, and everything she did for my family and our friends, I want to share a bit of her joy on to you.

Life is short...listen to the stories your parents and grandparents have to tell. You are the keeper of their memories and that keeps them alive.

Monday, November 5, 2007


We went trick-or-treating with the Bradfords. Brooke & Alyssa were cute in their matching cheerleader costumes. Aidan "Harry Potter" often led the pack from house to house. While, Butterfly Regan flew as quickly as she could to keep up. Despite the furious flittering, the butterfly did take her time once there to carefully "select" the candy she was given and often asked for gum...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yup... We carved pumpkins....

Aidan wanted to tell ghost stories so off went the lights and Aidan put the flashlight under his chin for effect. Doug told one of the spookiest ghost stories I have ever heard. It was about a four-year old little girl who didn't eat dinner for a whole week...and disapeared. She turned into a ghost!!! Woo ooo oooo! (Regan finally ate her dinner.) =)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Princesses, Picnics & Pumpkins...Oh my!

Despite the fact that Doug & I are trying to get our house ready to sell, we can't stop our busy lives from coming at us at full speed. We even find ourselves adding things to our list of activities but... we can't help ourselves. Luckily, the constant rain that lasted for three days helped to cancel a soccer and baseball game on Saturday. So, our run from one activity to another went down to a mere jog.

On Saturday, Regan was loving life as she got to be a princess for the day at Libby Lu. This new retail establishment in Four Seasons mall caters to a little girl's every whim. Regan got to join five other girls for a birthday party that included dressing up like fairies, having their hair, makeup and nails done, some dancing and "shopping".... The party concluded with lunch and birthday cake. She and the other 4 & 5 year old girls were in heaven. Later, Princess Regan (still in her party dress and tiara) joined Aidan's baseball picnic party.

This picnic was great for the boys... They got to cream their parents in a game of baseball. Yes, yours truly even played. Unfortunately, I struck out at bat. But, what can I say? I tried. I know the boys were on cloud 9... On Friday, Aidan's friend at school stopped him to chat about the upcoming game and they both agreed that the Bulldogs (kids) didn't have a chance. (Doug helped them win by throwing balls to the wrong base WAY out and by not catching the ball at all... Other parents joined in by missing or dropping the ball as well. I helped out just by playing... I didn't have to fake at all!)

In between these two three-hour events, Doug & I tore our house apart. We are trying to de-clutter ten years of junk. It's a tough job and our garage is packed.

Today (Sunday), Aidan had his last baseball game. And, I couldn't miss our last chance to go to the pumpkin patch. Regan wore (well, I should say "held") her witches hat. And, we looked at some mushy pumpkins. (The rain had done some damage!) In the end, we walked away with two tiny pumpkins. So, Doug ran to the store for big pumpkins to carve. I guess that will be on the schedule for tomorrow night. I can't believe Halloween is on Wednesday. Where did this month go?

Friday, October 26, 2007

And... we begin...

I think that it is about time that I take up blogging. I document our life through pictures but I haven't taken the time to document the stories behind those pictures... I think I will begin doing that here. Here... in my wonderful neverland! =)