Thursday, December 31, 2009

365 list

The 365 List

I've never really done "resolutions". I like the idea of this 365 list. I admit, when I first stumbled upon it I thought I was about to read a list of 365 things a random person had listed out to work on over the coming year. I was pleasantly surprised to find this instead. An idea that I think is not only motivational and inspirational but set up in a way that allows your goals to be achievable.

3 things to work on this year
  1. Organizing the entire house and keeping it that way.  We have a lot of things to get rid of donate
  2. Giving Darren more attention, hugs, kisses, praise, appreciation, touches, love
  3. I need to treat my camera as I do my cell phone.  Taking it everywhere I go and using it on daily basis.
6 Things I want to do this year
  1. Take our 1st annual summer vacation.
  2. Run 2 5k's or 1 5k and 1 10k.
  3. Photograph, Photograph, Photograph
  4. Get additional tattoos to near completion of my left arm shoulder/chest work of art.
  5. Go to Missouri to visit my friend Angie. (this will be news to her I haven't talked to her in way too long)
  6. Start work on a biography writing project I've been meaning to do for two years now. 
5 Things to get rid of this year
  1. Migraines - even if it means taking daily medication. I admit my defeat and seek relief.
  2. Anything bad with my teeth. This is the year I will have any and all teeth related things completed. And then maybe as a treat and a motivational tool - teeth whitening.
  3. Our high mortgage payment.
  4. Our oven
  5. Our old decrepit hot water tank

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy 2010.  May you accomplish your goals, aspire to betterment and hold your loved ones nice and tight.  

"We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."  
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Decade - Part II

Topic #32 My Year Competition-Challenge

This is part II of a two part post titled My Decade.  If you have not already read part I please scroll down and begin there or click here to be taken there.


In July of 2005, just 4 months after being told it might take a full year to get pregnant again I felt "not myself" and jokingly said to my sister while drinking a beer, "I'm probably pregnant".  Five pee-on-a-sticks later, one confirming ultrasound and we were sent home with our first picture of Baby K and a lump stuck in our throats.  What if we lost this one too? Our worries had just begun.  I bled throughout the entire pregnancy.  I had doctor appointments almost every two weeks.  Looking back I was scared the entire time I was pregnant.  I rented a fetal doppler machine so I could calm my nerves with the sound of my baby's heartbeat.  I used it twice a day, sometimes more.  That reassuring sound engraved in my memory to this very day. My estimated due date by the doctors was March 19th.  I mailed back the rented doppler at the beginning of March and endured stress and worry for the next 10 days.

On March 10th, 2006 I was induced due to high blood pressure. It wasn't until almost 48 hours later on March 12, 2006, that we finally welcomed our first born.  A son. Our Jacek Robert.  At last.

While in the hospital Jacek lost weight and he got jaundice.  He had numerous appointments after we were discharged from the hospital.  We supplemented his feedings with formula and I cried thinking I couldn't make enough milk to nourish my own child.  It was heart breaking.  It took me so long to understand that it didn't matter what he ate in order to gain weight as long as he gained weight.  By his sixth month check up his growth was in the 90th percentile for head, weight and height.  We finally took a deep breath and began to enjoy our child and our life with him.  I would go through every single worry, every single tear and every stress filled day of my pregnancy again because being Jacek's Mommy is in every sense of the word, completely and totally worth it.

As we were settling into our second year with Jacek our family received heart wrenching news.  One of Darren's young cousins, just 21 years of age had been in a work related accident and lay in an unresponsive coma.  The family was shell shocked.  Danny was a wonderful young man. I had gotten to know him when he came to visit Darren and I in North Carolina.  I had talked with him, given him advice and loved him.  He had a special place in my heart and I would often ask Darren if he had heard from him recently.  Danny got to hold Jacek and feed him his bottle once.  I thankfully have that image to recall.  Danny passed away on April 16, 2007.  His 22nd birthday would have been the 21st of April.

I turned 30 in November of that year and Darren threw me a surprise party.  I had always wanted someone to throw me one and I was humbled to finally get my wish.  My family and friends shared in my day with me, made me feel special and most importantly, loved.  Later that same month I took a pregnancy test, on a whim mostly, but I guess I had an inkling. It was positive.  I was pregnant and scared.  The feeling of loss never goes away.

We went through similar emotions that we did when pregnant with Jacek, however the pregnancy could not have been more different.  It was so different in fact that I was positive I was having a girl.  I did not bleed, not even a spot.  My blood pressure was normal through out.  I didn't gain near as much weight as I did with Jacek.  I felt great, had energy and barely worried.

On Easter, March 23, 2008 Darren's phone rang.  It was his Aunt.  He did not answer.  My phone rang shortly after.  It was his Aunt.  I did not answer but I listened to the voice mail she left me.  She was crying.  Something was not right.  I insisted Darren call her back.  All I remember of what happened after was Darren screaming "Brennan", "not Brennan" over and over again and then he fell to his knees and dropped the phone.  Darren lost his cousin, his kindred spirit, his "brother". Darren could not stop crying.  The other part of him, the one who finished all his stories was no longer here to do so. Brennan had been only 32 years old. I didn't know what to say to Darren. Sometimes I still don't.

On March 25, 2008, just two days after Brennan passed, Darren went out to be with his family. Not long after he left my phone rang.  Darren was on the other end crying hysterically.  I remember asking him several times to repeat himself for I could not quite grasp "Uncle Brian is dead" as what he was actually saying to me.  I sat down on the couch in shock.  Darren was silent on the other end of the phone.  "I don't understand", I said.  "He had a heart attack.  He's dead", he replied.  "How can we possibly take any more without breaking?" I thought.

Brennan and Brian had a beautiful combined service.  I kept looking for both of their faces in the crowd of hundreds of people that came to pay their respects.  It still shocks me that they are gone.  All three of them.  Danny, Brennan and Brian, taken from us way to soon.  R.I.P.

Our house was a lot quieter in the days following the death of Brennan.  Darren was not himself and I soon learned that his life had changed and so had he.  We were both mourning but his life had been impacted by the deaths more so then mine.  It wasn't and still isn't something that is easily accepted.  It never will be.

On August 12, 2008 we welcomed our second son, not daughter like I had believed.  We named him Aidan Laurence Brennan.  After my father and our recently lost Brennan.  A strong name for sure.  Like the entire pregnancy he is nothing like his older brother.  Almost every opposite they could be, they are.  I find that fact, simply amazing.

Dealing with a toddler, a new born and the grief of my husband is turmoil I'd never wish on anyone.  I felt pulled in so many different directions and at a loss on how to comfort my own husband.  I missed him during those first few months after the loss of Brennan.  He was here but not himself.  He tried but only slightly succeded in trying to look ahead.  We knew things would eventually get better but at the time it felt like everything was moving so slowly.  He became angry, a part of the grieving process but difficult to manage being on the other end.  Our relationship struggled a bit.  I held on as tight as I could.

Jacek turned 3 on March 12, 2009.  We had a pirate party.  The four of us all dressed up as pirates and we celebrated.  A little bit of US surfaced again.  Darren began to smile more and we once more started to have fun.

That same month Darren and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  We went on a mini-vacation to Niagara Falls.  It was a much needed get away for us.  We spent time together, alone, without kids.  We talked.  We loved.  I had missed my husband.

Aidan, our second born, our thrill seeker turned 1 on August 12, 2009.  We combined his birthday celebration with a luau and invited pretty much everyone we knew.  Family and friends came and shared in the day with us.

And now, life is getting really, really good.

I am amazed after writing this at how much a person's life can change in just 10 years.  I am nowhere near where I started.

I have come full circle and then some.  A decade of change, growth and loss.  Life in all its beautiful and terrible forms.

And the decade ends. The last page read and turned. As I said in the beginning I feel enlightened and deflated at the same time.

Life goes on.  It is what it is.
I am 32.  I am a wife.  A mother. A strong, independent woman.

The next novel awaits to be written.

Wordless Wednesday 12/30/2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Decade - Part I

Topic #32 My Year Competition-Challenge

Topical Tuesday 

This week is not just the last week of 2009 it is the last week of this decade.  I don't know why I didn't realize it before. My husband mentioned it the other day and I was like "really?".   The end of a decade is to me much like the ending of a novel.  We're on those last few chapters you sink your teeth into, waiting for the resolution with excitement and sighing as you turn the final page upon it's conclusion.  It's then that you decide if the book was a good read or not.  What makes that decision for me, depends on whether it left me feeling enlightened or deflated.

This decade has left me feeling a bit of both.  

When the world entered into Y2K, the year of the millennium bug, I was waiting for my divorce decree. I was 22 years old.  The year that ended the previous decade had changed me in ways I wouldn't completely understand until 5 years into the next one.  Holding on to the hand of a friend who soon became much more I tripped my way into the unknown and rediscovered my path.  It had been littered with negativity, abuse and immaturity. I emerged much older then my years.

In 2001, I had been dating Darren for about a year and a half.  Our first year together was filled with difficulties not many "new" couples endure or even begin to think about.  He watched and stood by as I fought to relearn who I was, what I wanted and where I wanted to be.  We fought the demons of a past relationship that had little good about it.  He fought my battle along side me.  I fell in love with him.

One night we started talking about moving out of the state of NY, away from everything we knew, family, friends, jobs, and everything familiar.  We pulled out the map, got online, did research, secured an apartment, gave our two week notices.  My family held a moving away party.  In March 2001, we moved to Cary, North Carolina.

It wasn't as easy as we thought it'd be, moving away from everything we knew but North Carolina became our home.  We met amazing people, AMAZING!  We became part of others lives.  We made friends, we were active, and we enjoyed ourselves and each other.  There's something to be said about up and leaving what's familiar and replacing it with things that are new.  You learn things quicker,  you learn how to ask for help, how to extend yourself to others and how to be each others support system.  We drove back to NY for Christmas 2001 and Darren proposed.  Life was getting really, really good.

The beginning of 2002 found us planning our wedding from afar. We had talked about so many different situations as far as where to have the actual wedding.  Neither one of us wanted to make our families have to travel down to North Carolina to attend the wedding.  At one point we actually talked about doing a beach wedding and having someone do a live web feed so our families "back home" could witness.  We finally decided it best to have it where we both started and where our families still were, upstate NY.  It was interesting planning from such a distance.  It put a lot of stress on us and our families but it came together and our wedding on March 8, 2003 was everything we had hoped it be.

Darren and I both worked at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  I loved it there.  I worked at Davis Library as a Purchasing Assistant.  To this day it is the best job I've ever had.  I still think about it and wonder who's still there that I know.  I wonder if my fingerprints are still somewhere along the many walls and corridors.  I wonder if my impression still lingers and if the ones I still consider friends consider me the same.  It's there that I rediscovered myself, along the trips across campus, in conversation with new friends, in daily monotonous duties. I knew again who I was.

Moving to North Carolina was one of the best experiences of my life.  The fact that Darren and I shared in it together and made our own life there makes it something forever ingrained in us. We grew up there and we learned to truly love each other there.  We started talking about making our own family and those talks led us back to the well known corners of our home state.  We moved back to NY in the spring of 2004.  We were less prepared in our move back then we were in our relocating.  We had no place to stay and found ourselves back at my childhood home living with my gracious parents.  It took us longer to find jobs here and longer to feel at home.  There was a slight period of mourning, as our "home" had become North Carolina and we ripped it from our veins so quickly. Darren and I were both homesick for our new home and in a way, I think we will always be.

In Spring of 2005, still living with my parents, we got pregnant.  It was nothing like we had dreamed.  We were excited but not thrilled to be "that couple", living at home with the parents and pregnant.  We didn't have long to ponder over our less then thrilling predicament because the news that we would get from the doctors would turn everything upside down.  Yes, we were indeed pregnant but it was an ectopic pregnancy in my right fallopian tube.  Our excitement turned to fear so quickly I couldn't keep my emotions in check.  With an ectopic they try different things before recommending surgery.  I got two separate injections of a drug called Methotrexate, more commonly used to treat cancer.  Methotrexate is supposed to stop the growth of rapidly dividing cells.  The levels of my HCG, the pregnancy hormone, dropped indicating the pregnancy was ending but a day after the second injection my right tube ruptured.  Darren rushed me to the hospital.  The pain wasn't really that bad.  I had after all been hoping to be having pain in 9 months not after just 2.  We were devastated.  The surgery went well but I lost my right tube and was then faced with the difficulty of getting pregnant with just one tube.  My doctor advised us not to try to get pregnant again for several months, to allow my body time to heal and get back to "normal".  Normal?  You're never normal after having a miscarriage.  Everything felt different.

Not long after the surgery we bought and moved into our first home.  I was happy to have something to focus on besides the obvious.  We busied ourselves with projects and paint.  We worked our jobs and silently wished to be pregnant and secretly feared the same thing happening again.
Part II will be posted tomorrow.  Please come back to read the second half of my decade. Or click here to be taken there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Life List

It's almost the beginning of a new year.  A new year to strive to be my best, to do things I've always dreamed of, to live life to the fullest, not sweat the small stuff and to love like I won't be here tomorrow.
I've been updating my life list.  Do you have one?  It's an amazing tool that keeps me focused on the things I dream of.  It's so easy to forget, overlook and discard things I hope to do, see, and be.   With a life list I always have something to refer to, to see how far I've come and to be reminded that my life is Mine.
I highly recommend making a life list if you don't already have one.  It's a great way to gain perspective, inspiration and direction.

My Life List
Kerri Kwiatkowski
Created October 2007

  1. Have another child (August 12, 2008)
  2. Learn to play the piano, well
  3. Learn to play my violin
  4. Write a short story or stories
  5. See something I have written, published
  6. Take some photographs, enlarge them and hang them in our home
  7. See the Grand Canyon - take a helicopter ride over it
  8. Visit Hawaii
  9. Visit Alaska
  10. Learn how to shoot a hand gun; nail a bulls-eye
  11. Go to Disneyworld with my family
  12. Renew my marriage vows to Darren with my children present
  13. Kiss my husband in the rain; more then once
  14. Create a recipe that wins a prize
  15. Plant beautiful flower gardens
  16. Learn how to change a tire
  17. Learn how to cook on the grill
  18. Take a second honeymoon
  19. Attend at least one major sporting event
  20. Go to a talk show and be an audience member
  21. Plant a tree
  22. Plant rose bushes in our yard
  23. Make a personal mission statement; live by it
  24. Get passionate about a cause; support it
  25. Drive a convertible along the California coast
  26. Accept myself
  27. Go to Vegas
  28. Get in shape; remain active for my children
  29. Experiment with paint and canvas
  30. Stay debt free; no high balances on credit cards
  31. Spend New Years Eve in an exotic location
  32. Invest money; DO NOT TOUCH IT
  33. Get a passport
  34. Volunteer
  35. Develop a regular, series, meditation routine
  36. Take a scenic overnight train ride
  37. Develop a habit of gratitude – no complaining for 21 consecutive days
  38. Make a date day/night with each of my sons, once a month
  39. Take a trip with my Mom
  40. Take a trip with my sisters
  41. Write a children’s book
  42. If I have a daughter, volunteer as a leader for girl scouts should my daughter join
  43. Go on actual family vacations, if not once a year, once every two years
  44. Take a child CPR class
  45. Buy a pool
  46. Develop an interest in wine  Fall 2008
  47. Meet and become friends with other Moms Spring 2009
  48. Visit Montana with my husband to support his dream to live there someday
  49. Write a living will

  50. Add some fur babies to our family January and May 2009
  51. Show my parents more respect
  52. Strengthen my relationship with Darren’s Mom
  53. Blog for 30 consecutive days November 2009
  54. Run a 5k  August 8, 2009
  55. Run a 10k
  56. Rent a house or cabin and go on vacation with friends (who also have kids)
  57. Get my sun Tattoo August 3, 2009
  58. Get tattoo work done on left arm
  59. Take my boys to see the ocean
  60. Once the boys are grown - rent a condo or an apartment in a booming city - where Darren and I can walk to everything and enjoy city life since we pretty much only know country life
  61. Learn to swing dance
  62. Get 50 people to follow my blog March 5, 2010
  63. See Riverdance
  64. Get season tickets to R.P.O (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
  65. Go on a ghost hunt
  66. Own a "spiffy" golf cart
  67. Win a photography contest
  68. Visit and tour Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house in PA (

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Final Week of 2009 - Sunday Stealing Meme

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?  
I ran my first 5k. Hell yeah!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?  I promised myself I would do things for me.  I continue to work on this every day.  I don't call my goals resolutions because I am a work in progress and continue to work at being better every single day.  

3. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?  Home with Darren. Drinking wine.  Watching a video, playing some games.  Just us.  (As far as I know)

4. Did anyone close to you die?  No.  Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada.  Went there for a mini vacation for our Anniversary in March.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?   
More patience.  I'm getting there.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 6th.  
A wonderful friend lost her amazing father.  It is so hard to watch someone you care deeply about going through something so unimaginable.  My heart hurts for her.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Learning how to write more honestly, openly and freely. 

9. What was your biggest failure? Not keeping in touch with certain friends.  I miss you Angie. 
and also not seeing Hailey Fuoco more.  She was born on March 13th and I've hardly seen her.  Her Mommy is a wonderful friend and I'm sad that Hailey is almost 1 and doesn't know me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  I cut my thumb at the beginning of the year, had to get stitches.  I got a pretty nasty black eye from walking into a corner of a desk and most recently gouged my finger.  I see a pattern forming.  I've never been this injured before.  I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

11. What was the best thing you bought?  My tattoo.  Hell yeah!  I love it.

12. Where did most of your money go? Bills. Bills.  Bills. 

13. What song will always remind you of 2009? Fireflies by Owl City has been stuck in my head recently not sure if I'll think about 2009 when I hear it in the future though.

14. What do you wish you'd done more of? Hugging and Kissing Darren and my boys.  Can you ever really say you've done it enough?

15. What do you wish you'd done less of?  Complaining

16. What was your favourite TV program? Prison Break.  I miss seeing Wentworth Miller play Michael Scofield.  Why?  Because he is just pretty damn sexy

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?  Hate?  I don't hate.  People come and go.  If they aren't around anymore then there must be a good reason. 

18. What was the best book you read?
I read a lot this year.  Twilight Series..ok.  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn was a great novel but I was disappointed by the ending. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult was good but again not impressed by the ending.  Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom was a great read.  That got me thinking, feeling, wondering, etc.  That seems to be the closest to "best". 

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?  I dance as often as I can with my boys.  I mean, we ROCK the house.  A hootin and a hollerin....We. Dance. Our. Butts. Off.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?  I love Sandra Bullock.  We recently just watched The Proposal and I laughed pretty much the entire movie. 

but I also watched and recommended Sunshine Cleaners to several people.  It has stuck with me since August so it must be good, right? 

21. What did you do on your birthday?  I worked then Darren and I went out on a date.  It was a good birthday.  My parents, sisters and extended family came over the next day and we had a great evening together.  See my "I'm gonna tell you what I wished for" post.

22. What kept you sane?  As much as I say they drive me insane... My boys and my husband keep me grounded.  They make this house a home and my daily life a living.

23. Who did you miss?  I miss every single person that is no longer here with us.  I miss you all every single day.  I think about you.  I remember you.  I love you.

24. Who was the best new person you met?  You know who you are. 

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:  It is what it is.  (Words I now live by)

Kwiatkowski Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Recap Christmas Eve 2009

I awoke on Christmas Eve morning with a full list of to-do's.  I started early and worked steadily UNTIL I got it into my stubborn head that I would take care of one of Darren's to-do's.  This decision almost wrecked my entire day.
Upon rehanging our upstairs bathroom curtain I snapped off the decorative ball on the end of the curtain rod and gouged my right index finger pretty badly.  Bad enough that there was quite a bit of blood, bad enough that I couldn't bandage it myself and had to call my sleepy sister-neighbor over to help and bad enough that I thought I was going to spend the rest of Christmas Eve in the emergency room.
Thankfully, I didn't end up going but I still think I may have needed a stitch or too but the bleeding stopped by evening.  Thankfully.

I was a bit behind schedule the rest of the day.  Our little index fingers are quite useful, you use them for many, many things.  Without both many things become very cumbersome.

My niece and nephew came over and helped frost the almost 8 dozen cookies.  Debbie, my mother-in-law came and helped out with the boys.  I prepped most of the dishes for Christmas dinner, and tried to get as organized as possible.

Christmas Eve we exchanged a few gifts.

Christmas pajamas and one small toy for the boys.

Gifts to us from the boys.

We read The Night Before Christmas and then declared Christmas Eve a success

another Kwiatkowski Christmas Eve Night
in the record books.
Our house is a mess!!  

Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Eve Night

Christmas Day - what a wonderful time

My Oh My -  What a whirlwind it's been.

Just a quick post to say I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas.

I will post more update later once I find the laptops power cord and I'm not running on battery power.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Build A Bear Wednesday 12-23-09

Grandma Marshmellow treated the boys to their 
Build-A-Bear excursion. 





So, yes we went to Build - A - Bear
and came home with 

 A frog named Toodies
and a puppy named Brennan
(Thank you Grandma Marshmellow)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I've missed you Santa

I've always loved Christmas.  When I was growing up Christmas was pajamas on Christmas Eve, heart pounding, ears peeled for any sound of Santa and not being able to sleep Christmas Eve night, and waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of the ham cooking in the oven, waiting on the stairs to get our pictures taken, running down them as fast as we could bursting into the living room that was alive with all that Christmas holds: presents, lights, marshmallow santas, stuffed stockings and my Mom, my Dad and my sisters.  Then we would tear into the presents, pass out the Christmas cards, and either participate or witness an argument, it wasn't Christmas morning in our house without some sort of argument.
I don't really remember making crafts when I was a kid.  I know I made a macaroni one once and I remember when all the macaronis fell off of it and I cried.  I do remember going to the Christmas fair in my schools auditorium and picking out presents for my mom and Dad.  I remember buying my Mom potholders and my Dad this garden glove notepad holder.  I remember thinking how much I thought my Mom and Dad would just love those gifts.  I wonder if they did.

Christmas changes as you get older.  The idea of it, the sense of it, the feeling of it.  Santa takes on a whole different meaning too.
I believed in Santa.  I heard sleigh bells in the sky once and saw a ball of light that I swear was Santa and his sleigh. I felt the magic. I never doubted.
Then life took over.  I grew up.  I changed.  Christmas became less about the magic and more about gifts and wanting to get and give the perfect things.  I still loved spending Christmas with my family but I was different inside.  Skeptical?  Bitter?

A little bit of my old self came back when Darren and I got together.  The longer we were together, the more I decorated a little bit more at Christmas.  We put in a little more effort and made some of that childhood magic spark again.

We've been together 10 years now, married almost 7.  We have 2 sons.

This year is the most excited I've been about Christmas in a long time.  Most of it is from having children to live through.  To watch them taking it all in and bearing witness to Christmas magic through a child's eye...I don't even have words to describe it.

I haven't had my eyes swell up with tears as often as I have in the last few weeks.  My heart so full and encompassed with the love and compassion I feel for my sons and my husband.

My house decorated in full on holiday splendor.  Cookie dough chilling in the refrigerator.  Reminders that Santa is coming to town from Jacek.  Reminders that the lights on the Christmas tree are breathtaking with every oooh and ahhh from Aidan.

Today the love in my heart spilled over.  It splashed onto the floor.  My tears running with it.

Today I got my first homemade gift from my own child.  

Wrapped and adorned with a smiling photo of himself.

As he sang "We wish you a Merry Christmas" with his classmates and ran to my open arms and presented me with my present the joy in my life became apparant.

I have my first gift given to me by my own child awaiting me.  I can't even begin to explain the excitement I feel about opening this gift on Christmas.

I simply can not wait.  The funny thing is, I already know, that no matter what it is, I love it!  I love it!

I again believe in Santa.  I believe because I see it and feel it in my children's faces and twinkling eyes.

The magic of Christmas is again alive in me.  My children, my husband remind me every day.

I believe in Santa, the magic of Christmas and the spirit that can overtake you, filling you with joy and happiness from things you'd least expect.

When I was a child I was content with simply feeling the magic and not necessarily seeing it.  Today I got to feel and see the magic. 

Santa Claus is in town.  Has he knocked on your heart door?  

Monday, December 21, 2009

Definately" Not Me!"

 I did not take a really long time in the bathroom the other night.  I did not finish my business and then just sit in the bathroom taking a moment to myself to get away from the whining of some of the children that live here with me.  I did not get asked by my oldest son "Mommy, what took you so long?, what WERE you doing in there?" upon exiting the bathroom.

I did not exhibit poor restraint when it came to a gift for one of my nieces.  I did not tell the clerk to remove the item from my order, then tell her to put it back on....and when she asked "are you sure?", I did not say "no but I guess so." (what does that even mean?)

I did not possibly flash my elderly neighbor last night.  By flash I do not mean that I pulled my pants down and mooned Darren while I was bending to turn a dimmer switch on.  I did not moon Darren while the curtains were open and giving my elderly neighbor quite a site.  I did not duck to the floor once I turned and saw the neighbor creepily staring over in our general direction.  I did not say "So what!  If he wants to see my butt then I'll show him my butt!"

Laying in bed last I most certainly did not devise a plan for NEXT Christmas.  I did not vow to start shopping earlier, buy less, and revamp hosting Christmas so that the kids get the gifts and the adults don't exchange a thing.  I did not fall asleep thinking to myself, "yeah, right"

I did not totally get 15 well deserved dollars off a gift for Darren by b*itching and complaining about the stores terrible customer service.  I did not totally feel justified to ask obnoxious questions and make smug glances at the poor representative who got me when I was down to my last nerve.  I did not secretly wish I could high five myself once I was back in the van with the deal securely in the back.  Go me!

I did not bust my butt go out and finish my Christmas gift shopping this morning and Christmas grocery shopping this afternoon so I wouldn't have to go anywhere but to and from Jacek's school tomorrow and out on an outing with the boys and Debbie (mother in law) on Wednesday. I am not so totally happy and excited that I am done! 

I am not thinking to myself right now "I bet there is something I forgot."  Dang it all!!!!

Oh, I could go on and on and on.  I haven't done a lot this week.  Nope.  Not.  Me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Keeping things light.  This week's about to start and in it, is Christmas.  I still can't believe we're celebrating Christmas already.  Seems this year went by a bit to quick.  I'm glad I've allowed myself time to reflect on it.  I've learned a lot about myself. 

Taking a few minutes from "project Christmas" to relax and do this 100 things post.  Sounded like fun when I ran across it on another blog.

Everything I’ve done will be in green, while the things I’ve not done will be either white or black depending upon whether you are reading it on the blog or in a RSS reader.

1. Started my own blog -  I'm proud of this accomplishment.
2. Slept under the stars - many moons ago but yes.  I can't wait to do it again with my sons.
3. I have played in a band - high school band not rock star band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain 
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo - does Karaoke count - I think it totally does
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - never officially diagnosed by a doctor but pretty sure
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables - I accidentally grew cherry
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked  
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb- totally have a picture of it too - in NC while at an event while Mom, Dad & Grandma visited.
26. Gone skinny dipping  ;)
27. Run a Marathon - no but rocked a 5k this past year
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - many many times - never gets old
31. Hit a home run - not sure if my memory is correct on this one or not - i think i have
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors  
35. Seen an Amish community - it's a pretty amazing thing
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant -haven't yet but I'd love to
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - TOTALLY FREAKED OUT - i'd like to try it again though
52. Kissed in the rain 
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in
55. Been in a movie 
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen 
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62.Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - boo
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - the boys play with her now - my cabbage patch baby
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar  
72. Pieced a quilt 
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone 
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper  - marriage announcement
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life - I've read though that every person alive saves another persons life once in their lifetime and most of them never realize it.  So maybe I have and don't realize it.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - Al Roker count?
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby  - two, thank you very much
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

39 out of 100.  Stuff like this totally gives me inspiration and fires up ideas.  It's always interesting to see your accomplishments on a list like this. 

Very interesting.  I enjoyed the break and moment of sanity. 

Time to put the Santa hat on and wrap.

I hope some of you share a few of your accomplishments with me.  Just copy and paste into the comment box.
Ta Ta.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Date Night Before Christmas

Is not much of a date night.  My feet hurt like hellMy tummy is upset because Darren had a case of road rage and got my nerves all acting crazy.

We shopped for almost 4 hours and still have a few things left to get, only a few but I had hoped that everything would be done tonight.

We got out of the house alone for a few hours.  We had a really good dinner and some good conversation.

I only wish the balance in our checking account was the same as it was before we left the house at 5.

It's amazing what 4 hours and 10 stores can do to a checking account.

Now Darren and I know that the gifts are not what make Christmas.  We enjoyed our time together tonight more then any present bought, but we do enjoy buying for our boys, our families and our friends.  It just feels right even if it's not what makes Christmas.

 A date night before Christmas isn't much of a date but it was worth every penny.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Last year for Christmas we Santa gave Jacek a really nifty gift.

A digital little tikes camera.  In a span of almost an entire year 

we've replaced the batteries in it twice.

To date Jacek and miscellaneous others have taken a whopping 347


We've uploaded those pictures a big fat ZERO times....


today.  I finally broke down under the pressure of it being almost an 

entire year, searched and searched for the USB cord, and finally

connected the camera to my laptop and viewed the pictures.

At picture 132 Jacek said "I'm all done looking at these pictures

This same boy who hounded his mother at different times through 

out the year to show him his pictures on my computer grows tired 

and bored at picture 132.  Good thing he's 3 1/2 or I would have

had a thing or two to say about that!  Geesh!

I viewed them all.  Many are dark, most are very blurry.

These are the best out of the 347 pictures. 

I post them for your viewing pleasure.  

 This one...made the entire process 
totally worth it.  I just love those lips.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seven Days

It's only 10:00.  It feels a lot later then that.  It's cold in here.  I turned the heat down a few degrees because Jacek had red cheeks and red tipped ears when he went to bed.  The tips of my hands are so cold it's hard to type and my nose, I wonder if it's still on my face, I can't feel it.

I've been re-working my shopping list.  I still have so many things to buy.

How many days?  7.  Holy crap.

I got some Christmas cards done tonight and they'll go out in the mail tomorrow.  I didn't do a whole lot this year.  Trying to keep it simple.  I'm going to do an email greeting in a few days.  Sometimes it's just easier and that way no one has to be faced with the decision about keeping or throwing the card away once Christmas is over.  Who wants to deal with that guilt, right?

Christmas.  It's coming fast and it'll be over in a flash leaving us with our fat pants on, our houses a mess, bags of ripped and torn wrapping paper, crumbs and tired kids.  

Sounds fantastic doesn't it? 

Hope you're enjoying the build up.  Hopefully the climax won't be disappointing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Truthful Tuesdays - Do you believe in Ghosts?

If you look up ghost under wikipedia you get a smorgishboard of definitions.  Often the term ghost referes to the apparition of a deceased person. 

I have seen a few apparitions. The most recent being a little boy dressed in knickers and suspenders running from out of a corner of a hallway in my sister Kim's house.  He appeared to be running outside to play.  If I had to guess which sport he was off to enjoy, I would be inclined to say stickball. The energy that was coming off him as he drew closer to me was enough to make my heart race and my eyes swell with tears.  I could feel his youth, his excitement, his was my first child apparition.  I've thought about him often since.

I've seen a woman apparition in my own house. She was dressed in a cream and soft peach gown and she was descending my stairs.  Her hands were full because she was lifting and holding up the bottom of her skirt so as not to fall.  I could see the ruffeled crinoline underneath.  I was simply vacuuming the rug on the upstairs landing.  I glanced up, did a double take and off she went down the stairs and she was gone.  She was beautiful but her gown more so.  I haven't seen her again but I think about her often.  Once you see a ghost their image kind of remains etched in your memory.

I have had few experiences with ghosts as apparitions.  My general belief on apparitions are that they are souls or spirits stuck in time, reliving several moments of their lives over and over again.  I consider myself lucky to have witnessed these apparitions.  I don't know why I was able to but I absolutely believe that I have and that they are real.

I mentioned the term spirits.  Spirit is what I believe in even more so.  I believe spirits are made up from energy, whether it be energy from their soul as a human or energy from the universe or a comibnation of both. Once they learn how to manipulate this energy they can and do communicate with us.  I believe spirits can manifest the energy and I believe they can split the energy.

My sister Kristen believes our Grandfather shows himself to her as a monarch butterfly.  I feel he shows himself to me as a black crow.  He often takes this form when I've done something foolish, many times I've heard the mocking "caw caw" and known without a doubt it is my Grandfather laughing at me with me.

I am not a religious person.  I consider myself spiritual.  I at times struggle with my belief system but am often assured "by signs" that there is another dimension to this life.  We all take up space in this world while we are alive and those of us that are lucky enough to occupy that space for long periods of time leave their "mark" on the space.  That mark is their energy.  That energy remains though their physical form does not.  Energy is absorbed and that energy finds it way back out, it many different forms.

When Uncle Brian, a fireman, passed away of a heart attack, the Kwiatkowski's lost a great man.  A hero.  His work did not end because his heart did.  I don't recall how soon after he passed that this happened but it was sooner rather then later.  Darren, myself and Jacek were at our house.  It was chilly out and I clicked the thermostat up a few degrees.  Not long after doing so our house smelled of gas.  The smell got stronger and I was getting nervous.  Darren had us leave and go next door to my sisters while he called 9-1-1.  The volunteer fireman showed up with their blinking lights atop their vehicles and not long after the firetruck turned down our street with their whistles blowing and their sirens whirring.  Jacek was front and center to his own parade.  
I don't remember the logistics of the problem but I do remember the one fireman saying "You were lucky".  Our furnance had blown, thankfully it blew out and not up.  The furnance hadn't even been up to code or exhausted properly.  

I have no doubt, no doubt! that Uncle Brian saved us and gave Jacek quite a show in the process. I can picture him now happy and proud of me for retelling this story. He is smiling his big hearted smile, the one that Aidan seems to have inherited.   I feel him here with us all the time.  He was a big man in physical form and the energy he has now is quite powerfull.  I think it's undeniable but not everyone believes.

I do.


MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days. ~Doug Larson

I love revisiting my childhood.  I love that the memories still make me warm, still make me safe.  I think it's because those things are still a part of who I am.  I love that.


I went tonight to my niece and nephews holiday concert.  Ashley is in chorus and plays the flute in band.  Zackary rocks the drums.


I played the clarinet in band when I was their age.  I liked being just one instrument and being part of something bigger at the same time.  I loved that when we all played together this amazing calm came over me.  I got that same feeling tonight listening and watching from the audience.  Watching their young faces and seeing the proud faces of the parents and families in the audience made me nostalgic for my yesterdays.

I think one of the things I liked the most about playing in band was that I knew my Mom and Dad would be in the audience, my father clapping his hands the loudest.   I remember straining to hear his distinct clap at the end of one of our sets.  I could hear him as if he was standing right next to me.  I can still hear him to this day.

Ashley's chorus sang "Where are you Christmas?" and I cried.  I have heard the song many times before but when a group of 13 and 14 year old teenagers sing it, you really listen.

Tonight I went back in time.  Tonight I revisited forgotten feelings and emotions. It was nice.

I was reminded of a few things that made me who I am today.

I love that even though I'm older and different then that 13 year old girl I was almost twenty years ago I am so very much the same.