Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where Did You Go????

Where did you go? Summer, that is. Well actually, you might be asking where did I go.....seeing that I haven't blogged in almost a month! We have just been so extremely busy cramming in all sorts of activities before the end of summer. Where do I begin in catching up on my blog??? Well, I guess I'll mainly blog today about our most recent activities this past weekend and then under that I will include a bunch of pictures below (with a small explanation).

This weekend was so busy! On Friday night, David and I went to the wedding of a co-worker of David. The wedding was beautiful, the music was great, the food was yummy and the reception locale was awesome....so unique (Shea's Buffalo). The only downside was that I didn't dance as much as I would have liked to - but I guess I have no one to blame but myself for that.

On Saturday, David and I went over to the house of a different co-worker of David's. David helped to hook up the electrical for the installation of a garbage disposal. As the guys worked, the girls gabbed. Where was Madeline then???? She played her butt off with their daughter who is just a little younger than Madeline.

After traveling back to Indiana the weekend prior along with our activities on Friday and Saturday, I was ready to have an easy, laid back family day on Sunday.....and that is what we did. After a lazy morning, the three of us got our butts moving in time for 12:00 Mass. Prior to leaving for church, I packed us up a picnic to enjoy later in the afternoon. After Mass, we headed up north to a park on Lake Ontario. (Okay, we made a mini-side trip (since we were in the vicinity) to pick-up some wine that we enjoy from a local Niagara vineyard/winery, Schulze Winery.) After that mini-detour, we were off to our picnic in Olcott, NY. The park was so nice because as we sat to eat our lunch we overlooked Lake Ontario. After lunch we walked to the Olcott Beach Carousel Park, which was right next to the park where we picnicked. The carousel park is an old fashioned kiddie park with 5 vintage rides (circa 1920s - 1950's) that were in absolutely impeccable condition. Aside from the fact that the carousel park was SPOTLESS (even the Port-A-Potty was spotless), the best part was that each of the kiddie rides was only $0.25! After riding each of the 5 rides the park offered, we enjoyed a Perry's (my dad's favorite local brand) ice cream cone. Already a full day? Yes, but we continued on to a nearby (Niagara county has tons of fruit & vegetable farms) U-Pick orchard and picked 3 1/2 pounds of blueberries. What a wonderful learning experience for Madeline and you can't beat the price....$1 a pound! When we got home we grilled out a pork tenderloin that was marinating (Rosemary Balsamic marinade) all day while we were out. We had that with green beans, a pasta side that included tomatoes and basil from our garden, & David and I shared the locally grown wine we had bought earlier. I had all intentions to serve a blueberry cobbler for dessert made with the berries that we picked earlier but I was missing one of the important crumb ingredients. So.....the cobbler had to wait until Monday night. But regardless, it was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Below is a collection of various other things that kept us busy during the month of August....

We hosted David's work summer party at our house 8/13. I had to take a picture of my ribbon jello and the beginning of the next generation being obsessed with it. My mom used to make this for all her parties, I often include the ribbon jello when I am entertaining and by the way Madeline was wolfing down the "scraps" as I was arranging the platter before the party, I think Madeline might carry on the ribbon jello tradition one day.

I was able to re-upholster the chairs to my dining room set (which used to belong to my mom) before the party. The fabric that was on the the chairs was on there for as long as I can remember! Below is the BEFORE picture.

The AFTER picture is below....

Here are some pictures from David's summer work party that we hosted at our house...
Bean bag toss and KanJam in the side lawn.

The kids enjoyed swimming, playing on the swing set, and many crafts and kids activities. I got a sitter for the day to supervise the kids so that the adults could relax and enjoy the party too! Here the kids are searching for goodies in the sandbox during the treasure hunt.

The grown-ups had a water balloon toss....which ended up being a balloon war between me and David.

Someone from David's work organized and brought a game. The employees at David's work were being cast by actors to play their role and two teams had to race to correctly match the actors with the correct employee. Stanley Tucci was cast to play David.

The winning team.....

I will go out on a limb to say that everyone had a nice time. Even though the party started in the afternoon, you can see from the picture that we were still enjoying ourselves into the evening.

Erie County Fair (one of the largest county fairs in the county!) I don't recall the Tilt-A-Whirl ever being so tilty!!

Madeline enjoying a bike ride at the fair

Madeline and I went bowling for the first time (we went with Tammy & her girls - Tanya & Jenna) Madeline scored a 50 with the bumpers in. Me? Well....my first game was not much better.

We made a trip back to Indiana to visit David's parents and this is the ONLY picture I have of the trip!! Yes, I am on a kiddie horse at Meijer's! Yes, I actually rode it! What the heck.....it was only a penny!

Madeline and I attempted a late August picnic (prior to our picnic mentioned above) but had to pack up half way through because the bees were too interested in us and our food/drinks

My MOMS group has a monthly MOMS night out. In August we went to a Bisons Baseball game. Here is our view

Upon entering the ballpark we were chosen to particpate in on of their promotions. We were on the ballpark's Big Board holding a Dunkin Donuts banner. One of the girls one a $20 gift certificate!

I was just happy with the SoftLips chapstick I caught when the ballpark promotions group was throwing them into the crowd.

Every little girl's dream....Madeline's first purchase from Claire's while back to school shopping

Madeline and Mama being silly while out to lunch...

Haircut time for back to school.....BUT this was Madeline's 1st "big girl cut" where she got her hair washed in the sink before the cut. Madeline was feeling pampered!

Trying to save a little money, Mama gave herself an at-home pedicure. I was trying to make sure my feet would look good in strappy heels when we went to a wedding at the end of August. Mama treated Madeline's feet to a little TLC, using all my scrubs, lotions and potions on her too! Here we are soaking our toes in preparation.

I thought I would get Madeline to help me out around the house and had her use the vacuum. She had a ball.....although I still needed to vacuum to complete the job when Madeline was done "playing"

My friend Tammy is going back to work soon (she's a teacher). We all know that having pre-planned and prepared meals makes life easier. We decided that we would get a ton of groceries, split the cost, cook all day and split the fruits of our labors. This photo DOES NOT show everything because we cooked up a storm. During one day we made a huge pot of chicken soup, apple cobbler, chicken enchiladas, meatballs, 4 meatloaves, Gołąbki (cabbage rolls) and lasagna

I think I am safe to say that you are now sufficiently caught up on the Adventures of Mama-Dirtyfoot!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Shoes To Fill

Mama-Dirtyfoot's feet

My sister's, Marysia's, foot

Gosh, I wish I had a picture of my mom's feet to share with you! Big shoes to fill?? Well, yes. My mom was an amazing person so, figuratively, my mom left some "big shoes to fill" when she died. But, I guess you could say my mom literally had big shoes to fill too.

My mom didn't have particularly large feet. I believe she wore either a size 8 or 8 & 1/2 shoe. Yet, for as long as I can remember (I was probably Madeline's age & my mom would talk about this!) my mom would complain about her feet swelling. When we traveled, her feet would swell. In the heat, her feet would swell. Consuming too much sodium, her feet would swell. During our high school years, when we sisters were at the age to attend dances, we would always ask mom to wear our brand new dress shoes around the house for a couple of days to stretch the shoes out so they wouldn't bother our feet on the night of our dance.

Aside from the occasional but recurring swelling issues, my mom's feet were the strangest looking feet! They were just chub-sausage feet with little nub toes. My mom called them "good dancing feet"....so, I guess that explains why I love to dance. My niece, Christina, who is also cursed with these feet calls them "Polish feet". In addition to the peculiar shape, my mom's feet were always so scaly.....blah! I used to tease my mom about my feet but in my early 30's, I noticed that my feet would easily scale up and regular pedicures began to be a necessity. At the same time, I became more aware of the similarity of my own feet with my mom's and my mom then had the last laugh.

My sister Marysia's feet also resemble my mom's feet yet, I think at the time I was visiting her on my 40th birthday, it was decided that my feet are most like my mom's. It didn't help though that while visiting , my feet were swollen from the heat! My blog post from a couple days ago, Belated 40th Birthday Pampering, and the post's picture of my toes encouraged some gentle teasing both in the comment section of that post and on the phone. Was that the end of it? No! Today, I get a picture text of Marysia's toes. A few minutes later, I get the picture text below: (Luckily, I take after my mom's ability to laugh at her sausage feet!)

Marysia's dog's, Jesse's, paw

Friday, August 6, 2010

Be Afraid.....Be Very Afraid!

Holy cow! My dear, sweet, angelic Madeline can pull off a scary look if she wants to! Granted, these photos are really more innocent than they look. Madeline has noticed she has colors (natural highlights) in her hair but she also knows that Mama has been known to get her hair colored. Today, Madeline wanted more "colors" in her hair and, thus, the red wig. Of course, Madeline, had to sport a hat with her "new 'do" and the clip-in braid was just an added touch to her new 'do. The bling-y t-shirt was simply because I need to do some laundry. And the tattoos on her arm, well...as bad ass as they look, they were actually given out at vacation bible school (long story...not really a "Catholic thing to do" but Madeline LOVED it and Mama loved a week's worth of mornings to herself.)

So, I am not sure if, in these photos, Madeline looks more like a skater-girl or a biker babe who is ready to kick butt. Yet in actuality, Madeline is still my sweet little girl with an awesome imagination. Hmmmmm......with the ability to successfully pull of looking like a "bad ass", let's hope that Madeline paid attention during vacation bible school!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Belated 40th Birthday Pampering

Tracy is my oldest friend. Wait.....let me re-phrase that! She is not the oldest in AGE, but rather I have been friends with Tracy longer than anyone else. It is pretty safe to say that Tracy and I have known each other our entire lives. Heck, we probably sent dolphin-like sounding signals to each other while we were in utero.

Tracy lived about 2 blocks away from me when we were growing up. Not only that, but her house was directly in-between my grandmother's house and my aunt's house. We were actually baptized together at the same baptismal ceremony. We started kindergarten together and attended the same grammar school together. We had crushes on the same boys (although Tracy always got the guy), we played over each other's houses and ate dinner at each other's houses. Birthday parties, field trips, scraped knees, dance class/recitals. Much of our childhood was spent together.

But then.....life happens. Tracy moved out of my neighborhood (in 6th??? grade). As a kid, that was heartbreaking. Often times, that is the tale of childhood friendships and the beginning of stories that often end with, "I wonder what ever happened to....(insert name)". Tracy finished grade school on the other side of the city. She attended a different high school. Yet, although our families were always very friendly with each other, the bond between us was not because of our parents' relationship. Somehow, through all these years (many of them while we were still kids), we managed to keep in touch. Yes, life happens.....Tracy & I would sometimes, throughout this period of time, have greater stretches of time in between our visits, but yet we always eventually reconnected.

Tracy was born on June 17th and I was born on June 23rd (and I love to remind Tracy that she is older!) Lately, Tracy and I have started a yearly tradition on getting a pedicure around the time of our birthdays to celebrate our special days with a little pampering. Certainly, we had to pamper ourselves for our 40th!! This past Saturday, since it was our BIG 4-0, we upgraded to the next level of pedicure service AND enjoyed lunch together afterward. (My ugly corn-kerneled toes and gnarly feet need all the help they can get) Yep, we "old ladies" enjoyed ourselves as we laughed at our dwindling eye sight and aches & pains. But, we worked hard to maintain our friendship for all these years and for that, we deserve to reward ourselves!