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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Leap of Faith

I'm gonna do it. My children and I are moving to California! I'm excited and scared. More excited than scared, though, which is probably a good sign! Everyone I know is completely supportive - including Matt's parents and my parents, and that means so much to me.

I have to say thank you to everyone who responded to my post, too, because when I hear from complete strangers who are able to remain anonymous (and friends!) that I'm not royally screwing up when they can actually say, "You're out of your ever-lovin' mind, lady!" makes me feel pretty good. (Yeah, I finally figured out to allow non-bloggers to comment... I am so not computer savvy.)

My beautiful home is going on the market as of tomorrow and I will be flying to California to look at houses and hopefully find one I love and will want to call 'home.' I'll be renting a car for the first time, too! Not to mention driving for the first time in California... I'm a bit intimidated by that, but I'll adjust. Heck - if I can survive the past six months, I can do anything. Plus, I have GPS!

I think one of the things that clinched the decision for me was the realization that I need something to look forward to. I feel like there is nothing here for me anymore. None of the things I used to look forward to mean anything to me anymore without Matt here to share them with.

I signed the contract last week to sell the house. The real estate agents are coming over tomorrow morning to walk through, take pictures and put a sign on my lawn. Booked my flight to go house hunting. Cleared out a bunch of stuff over the weekend - clothes and shoes that the kids have outgrown and/or will no longer need (winter gear!), loads of sweaters (mine), some toys, and recycled all my Parenting Magazines. Gave the kids' clothes to people I know who will put them to good use, will donate my stuff to the Good Will, and gathered things for a yard sale taking place this weekend at the school I work at. It really feels good to lighten my load. Matt's family will be taking a lot of things back with them when they visit in August for the 5K, including Matt's truck. Now I just have to find someone to take my piano. Anyone want a piano??

I am really looking forward to a fresh start. The song "Closing Time" from Semisonic came on the radio yesterday, and this line said it well: "Every new beginning starts from some other beginning's end."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back in the Saddle...

Jacob has finally gotten back on his bike, and he's in the swing full force. It's such a relief to me to see that his confidence with riding has returned, and he's even challenging himself more and more. He's been riding on Jennifer's long gravel driveway, which poses some new challenges- keeping his balance through all the bumps and rocks. The day before yesterday, he crashed pretty good on that gravel driveway and scraped his hands. He wiped his tears away, got right back on and kept going. Yesterday, he crashed again and skinned his knee, but again, got right back on.

Last night he was riding on our steep, hilly lawn with his cousins until the sun went down. He came into the house exhausted, but invigorated. He is so proud of himself that he now can ride on the grass, too.

Matt started out riding his bike in California - he became so proficient at BMXing that he was actually considered somewhat of a local celebrity in his little San Diego hometown. When he moved to Buffalo, he continued with it (as much as he could between rain drops and snow falls) and also became an avid mountain biker. When I met him, he was riding as often as physically possible and involved in races that took us all over New York State (this, in addition to working full time and going to school- the man was amazing). His favorite part about mountain biking were the steep downhill runs on skinny dirt trails over tree roots and rocks, and all the other obstacles that challenged him on the way down. My favorite part about it was how hot he looked in his riding attire. =)-

Jacob told me last night that his favorite part about riding his bike is speeding down the hill in our yard and navigating the bumps. Sound familiar?

When I was tucking Jacob into bed late last night, he said to me, "Daddy was with me when I was riding today." I said, "He was?" and he replied, "Yes - he was in my heart."

He most certainly was.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Need some advice from the "been there, done that" people

I've been told a few times not to make any major decisions for one year. I am *this* close to putting my house on the market and moving across the country. I guess I need to hear from some other people who have been there what their experience is with this sort of thing. Anyone?

I understand it's normal to want to leave and get a fresh start, and this is my primary motivation for doing this. Also, my brother, his wife and two kids live in California. I haven't lived near my brother in about 20 years. He is wonderful, and I know that he'll be a great male role model in my kids' lives. Jacob absolutely adores his Uncle Bryan, and they share a love for riding bikes. Also, Matt's parents and brothers live on the west coast - not in California, but close enough that we could take either an hour and a half flight to get there, or a long drive. Visits would be more frequent. There's a lot of potential to get a good job in my field. I've got a couple of friends out there already, and I can make more friends easily. There are a ton of fun things to do out there, and the weather is pretty much guaranteed to be great.

I'm feeling some sense of urgency about it, too. I'm not pretending to be financially or economically saavy, but all I know is right now, the market is down in California, and up in New York - ideal for such a move. The things that Matt took care of around here are going to go to hell in my care, so if I stay here another year with the intention of trying to "take my time," I can tell you it probably won't be in nearly as good of condition for a sale. Working full time and taking care of two small kids doesn't leave a whole lot of time to spend the two and a half hours it takes to mow all the lawn, not to mention all the other maintenance stuff around here. My intentions not too long ago were to take care of it all, and do it as best as I could. I really wanted to. But I'm finding that it's at the cost of my time with my kids, and time I need for myself. And my sanity. I just simply can't function here anymore.

Matt grew up in California until he was 14 years old when he moved back to the east coast with his parents. It was a rough adjustment for him - he thoroughly enjoyed his childhood in San Diego and always intended to move back somewhere on the west coast someday. He wanted his children to grow up like he did - being able to be outside whenever they wanted, and not cooped up in a house because of the weather. When I really think about it, it's kind of funny that I've been living here as long as I have... I relied on Matt to play outside with the kids in the winter because I hate being cold. No matter how much I bundle up, I end up frozen and I just don't have fun doing outdoor winter activities. I even got a tattoo of a palm tree and a sun in my early twenties to remind me there are places on this earth that are warm, sunny and tropical, even when it's cold and miserable here.

Thing is, my house was built by my husband. He was a total perfectionist, so it's extremely well built. If a tornado whipped through the area, this house would still be standing. It has everything you would want in a house. It's absolutely beautiful. The only thing missing is him, and I don't want to live in here without him. I don't want to live in this town without him. Hell - I don't want to be on this side of the country without him. Everything I do, everywhere I go, even where I work, and everyone I associate with... he should be a part of it all. I kinda feel like if our lives have to change with losing Matt, then everything needs to change. I remember thinking when all this was fresh, "How am I supposed to go about a 'normal' routine ever again? Nothing should ever go back to normal."

In a way, I realize that I would be in essence trying to "escape," but so what if I am? Is that so bad? I'm not trying to escape him, but my intentions would be to try to build a life of my own that wasn't scripted to include him. I feel like I'm being completely selfish, though - trying to make a fresh start for myself, but taking my kids away from their cousins and friends, and everything that's familiar to them when they probably need familiarity the most. Jacob is supposed to start kindergarten this fall. Screwing up is one thing, but screwing them up is my biggest fear, which is pretty easy to do in any situation, but we're dealing with some monumental issues here.

I have so much support and love from everyone in this area... friends, my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, my parents, yet I still want to leave. I must be crazy. There is quite a bit working out in my favor to make this move, though, and I feel like I should be listening to whatever force is pushing me out there. I've been reminded that it's not permanent; if it doesn't work out, I can always move back. But who wants to move across the country more than once? (Actually, my brother did it, and Matt's parents did it, so I guess it can be done...) I feel like if I don't do it, I'll always wonder if I would have been happier. The thought of moving is what has been keeping me going lately... I'm the kind of person that needs to "do" in order to feel like I'm effectively solving a problem. I know there's nothing that can be done to ever fix this, but this is the only thing I can really "do" to possibly improve my situation.

Enough rambling... I suppose I just need reassurance, once again, that I haven't completely lost my mind and that I'm not making a huge mistake. Matt was always the voice of reason and came up with the most practical solutions. I wish I had him to talk to about this.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Six Months.

I lost the love of my life six months ago today. I can't believe it's been six whole months - half a year since I've seen him, talked to him, touched him. I miss him more than mere words can express.

The thought that my children are not going to grow up with their daddy is still unbearable, as is the thought that Sydney won't remember him at all, and Jacob's memories will get foggy and some will fade. I'm still haunted by the images in my mind of what he must have endured during his last moments. What his body went through, what he was thinking and feeling...

The senselessness of Matt's death is something I will never get over. Never. The thought of it stirs a rage in me that's nearly impossible to suppress. I'm angry for his mother, that she lost her youngest child. I'm angry for his father and brothers who feel like it should have been one of them instead. I'm angry and sad for everyone else who is affected by his loss. I'm pissed at the company for letting this happen. A completely preventable, avoidable accident. I hope in time I can get over the anger and maybe find some forgiveness in my heart, but I don't see that happening anytime soon just yet.

I am grateful that I had him in my life for ten wonderful years. During that time, we both were so appreciative of our awesome relationship and the love we shared. It seemed so good, that it was always in the back of my mind that it couldn't possibly last. I was always afraid something horrible was going to happen to him, because I knew that if something ever ended our relationship, it would not have been from a break up. I did my best to never take him for granted, although I know there were times when I did.

One time, during our last weeks together, I laid my head on his chest and listened to his heart beat. I thought to myself, "I have to soak this up."

I'm glad I appreciated the little things, because it's all those little things that I miss the most.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

My sister has been in town visiting this week. She has been such a huge help - cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and being an extra set of eyes and hands (and ears). Last night, I took the opportunity to run some errands, sans children, and have a little time to myself. She played with them, got them ready for bed, tucked them in, and when she asked Jacob for a kiss goodnight, this was his response:

"I only have one kiss left, and I'm saving it for my mommy."

Does it get any sweeter than that? How does he come up with this stuff?!

Sydney is my other little love bug. When we were in California, she told me she loved me for the first time, and she's been saying it ever since. She loves giving me and her brother kisses and hugs, and big sweet smiles.

My children fill my heart with such joy and love. I am the luckiest mommy in the world!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Funny story about that doorbell ring...

Matt's cousin Amy (who set up my wonderful Mother's Day surprise) is married to Aris and they have two little boys. Alex, Adam, Jacob and Sydney get along incredibly well and love spending as much time together as they possibly can.

All four members of their family had a hand in this surprise. They put the bag in front of my door sometime on Sunday morning, and when I left the house that afternoon, I didn't notice the bag since I usually enter and exit through the garage.

Aris was trying to text me anonomously, but I delete anonymous texts without reading them, which was probably good since this particular anonymous text said, "Go to your front door." Probably would have freaked me out! He noticed that the bag was still there that afternoon, so he sent Alex down to ring the doorbell with the instructions to ring it, and then run back up as fast as he can so I don't see him. Alex said, "I can't ding dong ditch Andrea!"

He did it, anyway, and after running back up the hill faster than anyone has ever seen him run, Aris asked him, "Was the bag still there?"

Out of breath, he answered, "I don't know - I didn't notice!"

Ha ha!! They are the best.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day.

Another stupid Hallmark holiday designed to set people up for disappointment and heartache, and ruin what could have otherwise been a decent day. Ranks right up there with Valentine's Day.

On the positive side, I look at my children as my gifts, so technically, Mother's Day is every day for me. I did get some very special hugs and kisses from my gifts this morning!

Took my mom out for dinner with the kids, and when we got home, there was a gift bag at the front door. Inside was a card, signed by Jacob and Sydney! Well, Jacob signed it, and Sydney had a little help... There was also some bubble bath stuff, and two dinner plates designed by my kids!! Jacob's plate has his hand traced on it, and he signed his name. Sydney's plate has a bunch of colorful scribbles on it. Beautiful! Amy, our next door neighbor and one of Matt's cousins, was the one that set up that awesome surprise. She is one of the most thoughtful people I know!

Talked to my mother-in-law, who had been on my mind every minute of the day. If I thought this day was difficult for me, multiply that by a thousand for her. At a minimum.

A little while later, my doorbell rang (my brother installed a doorbell for me when he was here in March). No one was there.

My sister showed up about a half hour later from Schenectady, and we had a great visit and ended the night with some laughter and tears. I'll get to keep her until Friday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why...

I have pretty much stopped asking myself the question "why" as it relates to the reason why Matt was killed, and why things happen they way they do. But what I want to know is, why are some days so much harder than others?

Today has been difficult. Not every moment of today, but many of the moments, and it's not like anything significant has happened, or that it's a special day. I just am missing Matt something awful lately, and today in particular, I've had some difficult moments. I should be thankful that these moments aren't back to back and constant like they were in the beginning.

It's probably things like Begindergarten, and Sydney saying more and more words - even small sentences, that are a trigger. I'm sure I'm just going to have these moments for the rest of my life for no good reason, except for the simple fact that I miss him. I miss him. I miss him awful.

Begindergarten

Begindergarten is a great concept that Jacob's new primary school came up with to break students (and parents) gently into Kindergarten, and get everyone comfortable with the school, classrooms, teachers, procedures, and separation from parents. There are several sessions that take place before September that started in April. One of the sessions will include a meal in the cafeteria, and another will even include a trip on a school bus for the kids.

Last night, I took Jacob to another Begindergarten session. He always gets so excited when we get there because they have pictures on the wall of the classes that came before, and he loves to point out the pictures of several of his cousins who went there and are now in 4th grade (at a separate location). One of his cousins is only a grade ahead of him, so they will see each other on the bus and at school!

When arriving at the school for a session, everyone goes to the library to get a name tag for the children which are coded with a blue circle, red triangle or a purple star. Then we all meet in the cafeteria - parents and kids. Jacob was flirting with a pretty little blond girl who was sitting with her dad at the table next to us (I think her name was Valerie) and wanted to sit with her instead. I was sitting at a table with Max's parents who he also goes to preschool with (I know them and like talking to his mom), and encouraged Jacob to sit with me.

"But Mom, I LOVE her!"

Guess he's staying at her table. =)-

There is a brief presentation before the kids are led out to classrooms where they are read a book and do fun projects. He was disappointed when he discovered that Valerie had a blue circle and he had a red triangle, so they were going to be in separate rooms for the session.

The parents learned about the plan the school has for teaching the children how to read, and what levels of reading they will possibly be at by the end of their Kindergarten year. Jacob has already been reading some sight words, so I think he's gonna do great.

At the end of the session, the kids all came bounding back into the cafeteria with big smiles, a new book they get to keep, and their project for the day. Jacob is going to love Kindergarten! Next session: May 19...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's Like Riding a Bike...

Yesterday, Jacob said to me, "I used to know how to ride my bike, but I don't anymore." What a heartbreak. I instantly felt like I failed him and Matt. This was their favorite thing to do together, and Jacob was so proficient - especially for his age. He even took the training wheels off last summer! I've suggested to him several times that he get on his bike instead of the big wheel - no wonder he hasn't. He's lost confidence in himself on his bike. I promised myself, Matt and Jacob in November that I would take him into town like Daddy did to ride bikes (we don't have sidewalks by our house), and I haven't followed through yet. I did explain to him that once you know how to ride a bike, you ALWAYS know how to ride a bike.

It is a bit tough with Sydney - I can't leave her to take Jacob, and I've had to use a babysitter for other things going on, and I don't want to leave her more than I already have been. We do have one of those carriages that hook on the back of a bike, and I've intended to figure out how to rig it up so I can take Sydney with us. I definitely need to make that a priority.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Birthday Party!

Jacob's and Sydney's birthday party was this Saturday, and it went off without a hitch. Everyone had a great time, and the kids had a blast. A couple of our friends who have a bounce house business treated my kids to a bounce house for the party, and we had it all day Saturday and Sunday (I even got in it for a little while on Sunday)! I will never have another birthday party wtihout one. All the kids were contained in there for almost the entire duration of the party, so clean up was a breeze!

My dad drove out from Syracuse on Friday afternoon and stayed until Sunday, and it was really wonderful to have him out. It was so comforting to have him here - especially during the party. I really think he's the reason why I actually enjoyed myself instead of being depressed the whole time. Having him hanging out with our friends made me feel not as lonely. I tried not to dwell too much on the fact that Matt wasn't there for our children's birthday party, but at one point it was a little tough. Sydney got some really cute dress up shoes for her birthday, and was trying them on. My first instinct was to tell her to go show Daddy. My mouth was already forming the words, but I managed to stop myself before the words left my lips.

Sunday, my dad put some gas in the tractor for me and got me started with mowing the lawn. I finished it later that day myself, and actually enjoyed it! I was a bit intimidated at first by the hills in our yard (we have three acres of land), but after a bit, I got brave and whipped around like I'd been doing it right along. I think Matt helped me a little...

You all would be proud of me. I downloaded pictures onto my computer for the first time since October. It was a really difficult thing for me to do (I explain that in this previous post).





April 30, 2009

Today was rough. First day back from LA, had to prepare for administering SATs to my students, start planning my kids' birthday party that's happening on Saturday, and then go to a very difficult visit at Cameron. Back to reality, alright.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April 24 - 29, 2009









The kids and I went on a very much needed vacation out west to visit my brother Bryan and his family. It was so refreshing to get a change of scenery, enjoy some beautiful weather, and just relax. Relax without the worries and stress of what is facing me at home or at work.

Jacob, Sydney and I arrived early Friday afternoon after a flight that was WAY more bearable than the one we took to Arizona in November. I actually remembered to bring the portable DVD player, got a couple of new movies, and even remembered to charge it the night before. God bless the person who invented that little piece of technology!! There was much less screaming by Sydney, and I know the other passengers appreciated it, too. Jacob, of course, was such a good little helper the whole way, and enjoyed pulling the little green suitcase behind him (which weighed more than he does) through the airport. He even hussled when I rushed him to our connecting flight that we came within seconds of missing. They were literally closing the doors!

There is nothing like walking out of the airport and seeing palm trees... Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love palm trees. Later that day, I had an opportunity to meet Matt Logelin and go out for a delicious dinner that ended with dessert wine. I've never had that before (or even heard of it), and boy was it delicious!! It was also nice to be a grown up for a little while, eat a meal in peace, and in wonderful company.

Saturday, Bryan, his wife Elaine, their kids and my little family all went to the park where my nephew Daniel had a baseball game, and my niece Madeline had a basketball game. I was pretty impressed with how well all those young kids played, and it was great to get the opportunity to watch them in their element. Jacob and Sydney had a blast playing on the structures at the park, and of course, it was warm and sunny... You can do anything when it's warm and sunny! Later, we went on a beautiful hike, but Sydney did not like being in the backpack carrier at all and screamed most of the way. She never seemed to mind the carrier when it was her daddy that had her on his back. She did like the part when the hike was over, was out of the carrier, and could play to her heart's content at another park with a beautiful carousel. The parks in LA are amazing! Bryan and Elaine had a delicious BBQ that evening for dinner, and we had certainly worked up an appetite by then.

Sunday, Matt L, his sweet baby girl, Maddy, and my little family of three went to Disneyland and had an absolute blast. I even got to hang out with some of Matt's co-workers/friends... Jacob was in awe at everything, and it was tough to get him to stay close to me, so it was extremely helpful to have some extra sets of eyes to make sure he didn't wander too far away. Before I became a parent, I always thought those kid "leashes" were so cruel. Now I totally get it - especially at a place like Disney! (For those on the west coast, I purposely said "Disney" instead of "Disneyland" because I'm embracing my East coast-ness... he he). At one point when we were taking a break, Jacob was hanging out by one of the kiosks, and the lady running it asked Jacob where his daddy was (or something to that effect). Of all the questions to ask him, it's ironic she would ask about his daddy... Jacob, of course, responded with, "My daddy died at work." The lady was pretty stunned, but handled it quite well considering.

Monday, Bryan took the day off and took the kids and I to the beach, to lunch at one of his favorite spots, and then to the Santa Monica Pier. All the rides were shut down for maintenance or something, but the only ride still running was the ferris wheel. What a beautiful view from way up there! There may have been a time when I would have been a little afraid of being that high up (OK, a LOT afraid), but I think I mentioned before how Matt's death cured me of my fears, and turns out maybe even my fear of heights! Even on the flight on the way out, the plane dropped probably a couple hundred feet in about a second from hitting an air pocket, and the last time that happened when I was on a flight to San Diego with Matt, I actually yelped outloud and fought back tears. This time, I actually enjoyed the tickle I got in my stomach - I know Jacob did! I said it was like riding on a roller coaster, and one of the ladies sitting in the row next to us looked at me like I was nuts. I'll admit it - I probably am.

Monday night, we all went to our favorite Mexican restaurant - Paco's. We usually have to hit Paco's once whenever I come to visit. That would be one good reason for us to relocate to L.A. You can't beat the Mexican food... My Paco's favorites are their authentic, homemade flour tortillas, and their marinated carrots and onions - oh - and their chips and salsa. Somehow, I don't think I ended up eating any chips and salsa while I was there that night. I guess I'll have to make another trip out soon to get some! I'm making myself hungry now...

Tuesday morning was relaxing - the kids and I hung out at my brother's house, and then Matt L. picked me up for a delicious lunch. I spent the evening hanging out with my kids and my brother's family, and dreading having to get on a plane in a few hours to come back home to reality.

Our flight took off that night at 11:00 pm, and it was almost delayed by some idiot complaining about someone's adorable baby girl kicking the back of his seat (no, it wasn't my adorable little girl...). This little girl had to have been barely a year old, and cute as can be. How could anyone get so upset about that, that it nearly caused such a scene? Get a grip, people! All I can say is thank God he was not on the flight with us to or from Arizona in November. I'm sure Sydney would have really set him off, and then I would have had to - um - given him some perspective on the situation. I'm pretty sure we all would have been kicked off of that flight.

This trip did me a lot of good. Meeting Matt and Maddy was a treat, and as always, it's a treat to get to spend some time with my brother and his beautiful family in sunny L.A. I came back refreshed and with renewed purpose. Now if only I could finish unpacking...
**I almost forgot to mention this!!! Sydney said "I love you" for the first time when we were in California!!!!! One of the most precious moments ever. =)