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Category Archives: Family

I’ve Made It Into the Tennis Hall of Fame!

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O.K., so I didn’t actually make it into the Tennis Hall of Fame due to my playing abilities; I  just went to visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI.  A few weekends ago they had a family day with free admission for all those under 16.  Imagine my surprise when the clerk was about to let me in for free.  I said “I thought only kids go in for free” and she answered “You are not older than 16 are  you?”  I had to contain my desire to hug that woman.

She provided the kids sheets with clues, and pencils to go on a scavenger hunt around the museum, discovering many artifacts and facts pertaining to the origins and history of Tennis.

They learned about Brad Parks, the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis worldwide.  The actual wheelchair Brad used during his games was on display.

As for me, I was much more interested on finding the display for Rafa Nadal.  Of course, my interest in him is purely based on the fact that he is the number 1 Tennis player in the world.  It has nothing to do with his olive skin and dreamy smile, seriously.  Fine, don’t believe me.  I did find Rafa and took pictures with him; unfortunately those didn’t come out so good. 

No worries, I was able to find the display of another hunk, I meant to say another great Tennis player, Andre Agassi.  

Skimpy Outfit from the 1940's

He seemed very happy to see me and insisted that I take a picture with him. “Why of course Andre, I’d be glad to.”

 Other than the attractive players, I really liked the display of playing outfits, which were considered very risqué for their times.

My kids and their friends by the courts

After playing a couple of rounds of Tennis Wii, the kids and I headed outside to look at the grass courts, which are truly beautiful.  In fact, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been voted one of the best places to host a wedding in RI. 

Have you made it into any Hall of Fame? 

If you come to fame not understanding who you are, it will define who you are. – Oprah Winfrey 
 
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Special Date: Friday Night Live

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Special Date: Friday Night Live

Friday Night Live Crew

It is not in vain that Providence is called The Creative Capital; we have a good concoction of cultures, flavors, and rhythms, as well as many artists injecting life and energy into the city.  I enjoy this mix and often drag my kids to cultural events, may they too develop an appreciation of varied forms of art.  For our latest special date, Aleck and I attended Friday Night Live,  a weekly family friendly Improv show where a group of talented performers make it up as they go.

We had lots of laughs during this interactive show where the actors often ask the 

Aleck and I at the show

audience to provide random words as inspiration for their improv skits.  Part of the show is an acoustic guitarist that gives the performance an extra kick.  They also have an Open
Stage Night once a month where members of the audience get their 5 minutes of fame to perform a skit of their own. This clean comedic performance, which was named Best of Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly,  is family and wallet friendly at $5 per person.  Aleck and I absolutely enjoyed it.  He was happy I brought him to the show as our special date, and took many pictures of the skits.  I was glad to have such a handsome companion (not that I am biased ;))at this event.

Friday Night Live is part of the Everett company, “a cross-cultural, cross-generational group of artists that creates original evening-length dance theater performances, produces film and video, carries out a wide range of educational programs, and mentors new generations of young artists” as stated on their website  “Everett, through its Company, Stage and School, brings live art to diverse audiences. With a 25-year history, a Company that tours nationally; a vibrant Stage of monthly programming; and a School that offers free classes to low-income youth in everything from ballet to improvisation, Everett is at the forefront of integrating art and community…  No one is turned away for lack of funds and 95% of students attend classes for free.”

At the end of the performance Bianca, one of the talented young actors, asked us to watch a short promo video for a film she’s hoping to produce as part of her final thesis at Emerson College.  In her own words 
Got You tells the story of an 8 year old girl’s discovery of her mother’s suicidal thoughts. This film aims to raise awareness for depression and suicide and how it impacts the relationships we have with our loved ones. I would be so eternally grateful if you could help make this film a reality. Every dollar toward a donation counts, but even if you can’t help out financially, please spread the word! We NEED to raise $5000 by December 3rd!” 
I strongly encourage you to help.  Donations start as low as $1.  As someone who has dealt with postpartum depression, and still deal with clinical depression and SAD, I know how painful and alienating this condition can be, and the profound effect it has on one’s relationships.

Here is the link to the “Kickstarter” page where you can learn more information and also donate: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gotyou/got-you-an-emerson-college-bfa-short-film

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

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Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

This Year We finally made it to the Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular; another item knocked out of my Places to Visit in RI list.  I’ve been wanting to attend this event for about 10 years now.  Tried it back in 2004 but the line was soooooooo long that after waiting for about 45 minutes, with two toddlers in tow, and no other adult to help; I quit and turned around when an announcement was made letting everyone know that strollers were not allowed once inside the trail. Strollers ARE allowed nowadays, of course, my kids no longer require them. 

This event is attended by thousands of visitors each year, and it runs throughout the month of October.  On weekend nights the lines are so long that wait time could be up to 2 hours.  This year we went on a Monday night and we were able to purchase our tickets without waiting in line; once inside the zoo there was a bit of a line before getting to the actual Jack-O-Lantern trail, but it wasn’t bad, and they had fun signs with info about the event and trivia questions to keep us entertained. 

The actual display was truly spectacular, displaying about 5,000 carved and lit pumpkins.  This year’s theme was Journey Around the World, and stations included Italy, England, Asia, Mexico, Cuba, India, and the North Pole, among others.  My favorite were India and Asia.  Each station had background music to go along with the theme, such as The Beatles for England. There were carvings of The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Gandhi, Fidel Castro, Mariachis, a Geisha, and even an “In Memory Of” section, which included a carving of Steve Jobs.  I totally recommend this as a fun fall family outing.

Happiness in a Bowl: Meet Fred

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It appears to be an unwritten rule at our home that every fall, as my kids return to school,  they graciously pick up every germ and virus they can gather in order to kindly bring it back home and share with their mother.  Thus, the past few weeks at our home have been full of coughs, sneezes, sore throats, and generalized body aches; courtesy of which I got to spend a couple of days out of work, lounging in my pjs and sorting loads of laundry.  This is also the reason why I had neglected my bucket, as well as following my favorite fellow bloggers.

We are slowly getting back into our normal usual routine.  I must admit, I did find an unexpected source of joy during my “sick as a dog” days.  See, my kids have been begging for a pet since forever. My daughter is allergic to furry animals, which limits the kind of pet we can get.  I personally do not like having caged birds,  lizards and snakes creep me out, frogs may leap onto me – no way; we looked into buying a couple of turtles but they require more upkeep than I am ready to handle, thought of getting a tortoise instead, and planned to save up to buy it, and all the trinkets it requires.

Meet Fred

I’ve always dismissed fish as pets because they just seemed so “cold” and indifferent.  What kind of interaction could the kids and I get from a fish really?  They just swim around minding their own, and oblivious to us humans, unless you attempt to scoop them up; then they just try to avoid you at all costs.  Well, someone recently gave my son a Betta fish as a belated birthday gift.  You must know I was not happy at first, not really.  Then I came to realize this was just darn perfect.  The kids have an animal of their own now; no more hearing them beg for a pet.  This wonderful bluish Betta requires minimal upkeep and very little investment on my part, my kind of pet indeed! 

Fred Coming up to Look at Me

And guess what, I found myself delighting in observing him, I’ve even started to make all sorts of foolish sounds at him every time I pass by his bowl. Don’t tell anyone but I even call out his name the way one might call out a baby’s name; yes I talk baby to the fish.  It makes me very happy when Fred responds to my voice by swimming up close and making a display of his moves.  Now, I realize that this might just be his way of letting me know to back off, perhaps mistaking my reflection for another Betta, as they are very confrontational towards each other.  However, I prefer to take it as a sign that Fred is happy to see me 🙂  You see, sometimes what you don’t want is exactly what you need.

Special Date: Brunch and Flowers

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I have come up with a very fun way to help me accomplish goal #4 on my bucket list, by scheduling one-on-one time with each of my kids; when we go out for  fun, talk about them and whatever wonderful things are occupying their minds at the moment.  We call these outings Special Dates.  I document some of those dates here, hoping as time goes by, that the memories will be “officially” preserved.  On this occasion, thanks to a Groupon I snatched a couple of months ago, my daughter and I were delighted to indulge our love for breakfast foods, by visiting The Breakfast Place in nearby Attleboro, MA.  Sunday brunch, that’s gotta be my favorite meal ever; and in such good company it just fills me with joy.  This cute little breakfast joint has a 60s air to it, and they play the oldies, which I believe Karla enjoyed.  Their service is great; it seems to be family operated and they really give you the special touch treatment; making you feel very welcomed.  The little lady and I spoke about the new school year and reuniting with friends, over a veggie omelette, with wheat toast for me, and scrambled eggs with a chocolate chip pancake for her.  We also shared an order of french toasts, which by the way, were the best I’ve had in a long time.  The servings were generous and we could not finish our meals so we took our leftovers to go.  Karla liked it so much she plans to ask her dad to bring her back soon. 

We then headed towards Roger Williams Park in Providence in order to cross off the last spot on my list of places to visit within the park, The Botanical Center.  I must say this is a beautiful and serene garden; I think it will be my new favorite spot to sit and relax while reading a book.  My princess also commented on how pretty and peaceful it was; she also enjoyed snapping pictures of the flowers and mom, among other things.

Read This if You Have a Daughter OR if You Like to Run Around the House Naked

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Public Service Announcement:

…On Nakedness
I don’t know about you but I just love taking off my clothes; not in a “sexy stripper” way but in a “liberating my body” kind of way.   After a long day of work, parenting, running errands, and such, one of my favorite things to do is getting home, shutting the door and taking all the layers off – packages, accessories, clothing, shoes, undies, everything! Ahhhh what a sensational feeling of relief. 

Click on this Picture to go to Dove's Self-Esteem Page

 Yes, I love being naked within the privacy and comfort of my home.  Going about my chores and to-do’s without the extra weight and restrain has become part of my daily routine.  As my elementary school age kids grow, their approach to my bare body changes.  Of course, from infancy to their early pre-school years it didn’t even face them. As they grew a little older and became more aware of their own bodies, and of society’s views on nudity, they seemed a bit rattled by my running naked around the house, so for a long while I restricted my being completely bare for when I was home alone, and would wear undies and a tank when they were present.

Recently, I have retaken to wearing my Eve custom while my kids are around.  Why? Karla is much more preoccupied with her physical appearance and the shape of her body.  I’ve always shot for physical appearance not to play a significant role within our family conversations.  Knowing that my children (especially my daughter) would sooner rather than later get bombarded with the narrow views of beauty that our society upholds, I wanted home to be a safe heaven in that sense.  Unfortunately, media, and the opinions of family and friends force our children, girls specially, to second guess their opinion of themselves at every moment.  At her young 8 years my little princess is worried that her belly is not flat enough; that just breaks my heart.  So, as the most important female figure in her life, I’ve decided to model a positive personal image of myself.  My goal is for her to know that although my body does not fit media’s rigid mold of “beautiful” , I think of myself as a Hot Mama, curves & love handles included.  At first my kids did not know what to make of my walking around naked again; so I would just start dancing around happily, or shout out little phrases like “Beautiful Naked Mama Coming Through”; they would laugh and giggle.  Now, little miss Karla walks naked around our home sometimes too, which puts a big smile on my face, seeing that she is more comfortable with her own beautiful body. 

I am including a link to a heartwarming video, which is part of the  Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.  It’s a shame our young girls do not get more messages like this both on the media and through us, the adults in their lives. 

If you have a young daughter, niece or sister, please model a positive view of female beauty by not stressing topics such as being thin, and dieting while you are around her.  You will do her a huge favor and possibly prevent her from dealing with low self-esteem issues and eating disorders in the future.

Here’s a link to the National Eating Disorders Association’s website: NEDA

Turkey Bravado

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We went on the road very early, headed to Coggeshall Farm Museum, in Bristol, RI, in order to participate in their BREAKFAST in the BARNYARD program.  This is a Farm Museum which operates exactly as in the late 187o’s, down to the garments the farm attendants wear.  It was a good experience in which the kids and I got to interact with pigs, chickens, turkeys,

horses, mules, and cows.  We were permitted to pet the animals, brush them, and even milk one of the cows!  I especially liked that part since this was my first experience doing so.  It was much easier than I thought, and she was  very mild-mannered, patiently letting everyone take a turn at squeezing her jigglers. 

The little farm-house is decorated with scarce furnishings from the 19th century. It has a very old-fashioned kitchen were we were delighted to eat some freshly made johnnycakes. 

In summary, I would totally recommend this as a family outing.  Word of caution – the turkeys do not appreciate being teased.  My nephew Alex quickly found this out when he started making funny turkey sounds and three turkeys lined up in attack mode ready to confront him.  I had to come to the rescue and appease the birds.  Luckily one of the farm attendants had warned us in the beginning of the tour to just stay still and quiet if at any point we felt nervous around one of the animals, and that’s what we did until the turkeys backed off. 

Bring a hat, a water bottle, and get some sunblock and bug spray on before your visit.  As we left the farm we also had a chance to make a quick stop by Bristol Harbor, which is gorgeous. This day trip serves to partially accomplish goal #24 on my list.

Have you ever had a farm animal try to attack you?