To The Creators Of Dora

Dear Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh, and Eric Weiner,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have been a part of my life for 5 years now and I have never taken the time to give you the thanks you deserve. When ever we are having a bad day I know we can count on Dora to make it all better. When I need to take a shower, Dora saves the day. Have to get dinner made, hello Dora.

Thank you for the 20 minutes of quiet you give me every day.  Today as two of my children were fighting over a marker and the baby was screaming wile trying to take said marker away from his sisters I searched frantically for the remote. I found the remote, searched my dvr list and found Dora. As soon as I hit restart and the wonderful d,d,d,d,d, Dora sound filled my living room all 3 of my children stopped what they were doing, and locked eyes on the t.v.. And that is where they have been, silent for 19 minutes.

But it had been 19 minutes and I just heard Dora say “I like that part too”, My time is up.  The insanity is about to continue.  Thank you for the last 20 minutes.  I was once again able to feed my family because of you.


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What do I say?

This week was a big week for Abby.  She had her dance recital on Saturday and on Wednesday she graduated from pre k.  Some people may not think that a pre k graduation is an occasion.  But to a 5 year old it is the biggest thing that has ever happened in their life.  Abigail spent so much time practicing for this.  She and her classmates practiced almost ever day at school, and every afternoon she would practice the songs when she got home from school.  By the time the morning of her big day came she could not even sleep.  She was so excited she was out of bed before 5am.  (I know this because I was also unable to sleep that morning.)

Abigail had a wonderful day. Her graduation from pre k was so special.  She had her own little cheering section sitting in the row right behind her.  My dad could not come because of work but you better believe that he was here that night to hear all about it.

She was expecting one more person to be sitting in her cheering section.  The night before he had asked what time the graduation was.  She heard him ask and expected him to come.  I heard him ask and thought “why the fuck did he ask, we all know he is not going to come”.

She asked me about it last night. We were working hard on all the really cool fathers day cards my kids  are making for all the special men  they have in their lives.  I had no idea what to say.  I changed the subject and thought to myself, thank  God we see him less than 10 times a year because unless the kids see him they don’t even think about the birthdays, dance recitals, and pre k graduations he was not around for.

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This picture was taken at Abigail’s dance recital.  As much as this man looks like he works  at some sleazy club he was in  fact the bouncer security guard at my 5 year olds recital. His mission?  To make sure no parents brought flowers to the stage at the end of the show.  This is not a joke.  At the end of the show, when all the girls came out to take a final bow the bad ass mall cops stood, arms folded at the front of the stage. Making sure that no little girls day was ruined by some crazy flower yielding fan.


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My Beautiful Ballerina

DSCF6522I had planed on writing all about Abigail’s recital this weekend.  But I can not find words to describe the way I felt watching her dance on that stage. It was without question one of  my top parenting moments.

She was so happy up on the stage. She had the biggest smile up there. (I think, I never took my eyes off  her so I am not even sure if there were any other kids with her on stage.) And the more she smiled the more I smiled.  Wile she was dancing I was sitting there thinking so many things.  I was thinking “She is so beautiful”, “when did she get so big” (no Mom, it was not when she put eye makeup on.) and “I am so lucky”.

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May 28th

When I got up this morning I was all set to sit down and write about our trip to the pediatrician yesterday. But before I got a chance to sit down at the computer my phone rang.  I was reminded of the date and it all went down hill. Today is a day I wish would just go away.  Unlike Steven’s birthday there is nothing to celebrate today.  Today is the anniversary of the day I will always remember as the first worst day of my life.  The day I learned a phone call at an odd hour is almost never a good thing.  The day I learned nothing is a guarantee in life.  The day a folded flag became something more than a flag.  And the day that a 21 gun salute, Taps, and the final call of a fire alarm became something that makes my knees week and my head spin.

After my list on Steven’s birthday I received a few e-mails from people who did not know him.  They all said the same thing, “I wish I knew Steven”.  My answer to all of them was the same.  “I wish you knew him too”.  So today I am going to do my best to “introduce” you to my brother.

Steven was fun!  He really knew how to have a good time.  That was what he did.  I could sit here and say he was a responsible, hard working guy who always did what he had to do.  But that would be a lie.  He knew how to party.  Always made friends with the bar tender, bought the drinks, and made people laugh.

Steven was a fire fighter.  In every sense.  He had a bond with the others like nothing I have ever seen.  I think he was most proud of being a member of  Liberty Hose and truck co.  He loved his brothers.  This was something I never understood until he was gone.  But I quickly learned it was so much more than just fighting some fires. They were a family.

He really helped people.  In the short time he was given he did more than most people who live to be 100.  He would give someone the last dollar he had if he thought they needed it more than he did. (And he did a few times, even if he had to borrow that last dollar from me.)  He once helped deliver a baby.  And on September 11, 2001 when most people were getting out of New York, Steven was driving in.  He said his brothers needed help, and he had to help them.  So he drove to New York and found a fire department to help.  He came home a day or two  later to a frantic mother who had not heard from her son since the attacks.  And if I am remembering correctly, could not understand what the problem was when she was worried about him. They needed help, he was just helping.

He was a friend.  Steven had a lot of friends.  I met hundreds of Steven’s “best friend” in the days following Steven’s death.  Steven had his few “best friends”  but treated everyone like they were one of them.

His friends poured in by the 100’s. And they all had stories to share. Some that I will treasure for ever.  “I’m lookin’ in the mirror, and I don’t really see myself commin’ in today.” He called in sick to work that way, when his friends pointed out that he never said who it was he replied “they know”  Some I wish I never heard. “Hey Murph!” Blecch, Blecch (that is the sound of me barfing a million times.)  Some that make me proud.  “Steven helped me through a really hard time in my life”.

The stories are what have gotten me through this.  Please, if you have a story to share about Steven put it in the comments so everyone can enjoy it.

Christmas 2003-Nicole Party-STEVEN 092

One last thing, I have needed to get this out for 5 years.  I hate you Julia Davis!  I think of you almost every day. I hope your life sucks.

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A hot dog with what?

Any one who knows Maddy knows that once she has her mind made up about something her mind is made up.  So today when she did not want to eat her lunch because it was not pb&j I decided that I had to be just as stubborn as her.  Chris had made hot dogs for lunch and that is what she was going to eat.  I let her eat in the living room watching t.v.. When that did not work she had to come and sit at the table.  She sat there, and would have sat there all day before she ate the hot dog.

I offered her ketchup to dip it in. No. Mustard, nope. Mayo, no. Ranch dressing, no. Chris offered hot sauce. Still no.  I decided to just get silly.  She had decided she was not going to eat it and unless we could get her out of the bad mood she was in it was going to be a long afternoon of her sitting at the table.  So in my silliness I suggested chocolate syrup.  And she said yes!   For lunch my 2 year old ate a hot dog dipped in Hersey’s chocolate syrup.  GROSS!!!!!

I never expected her to say yes to that.  She was supposed to laugh at the thought of  a chocolate hot dog.

I could not even watch as she ate.  And she ate all of  it!

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Things I learned from my brother, Steven Sochinski

Today is my brothers 30th birthday.  I should be getting ready for a big party.  Wrapping some silly gag gift and making a beer run.  I should be enjoying the day, celebrating.  But I’m not.  May 19th is no longer a day of celebration for my family.  In one instant that changed.  I have tried to go the way of celebrating his life, instead of his birth.  I have tried to be happy for the time I did have with him,  but I am selfish and that is not good enough.  I have tried to laugh over memories past,  but I just want more memories.  I have tried to see pieces of him in my children, but I would rather he had a chance to see them himself.

So for Steven’s birthday today I have decided to share the lessons I have learned from him.  Some will make you laugh, and some may make you cry.

  • Never take advantage of what you have.
  • Be happy with who you are.
  • Have a good time, all the time.
  • Don’t worry about what other people think of you.
  • Help others when you can.
  • Don’t drink it if you don’t know what is in it. (what is in a live wire?)
  • Never lend a blender to your brother to make beer sours. (I still can’t get mine clean.)
  • A  lighter + wd40+ worms = a lot of time spent in your room.
  • Do what you want to do.
  • One person can make a difference.
  • Never pass up a chance to let the people you care about know how much you care.

I am sure there are hundreds more.  But who has that kind of time on the computer?  I would rather be playing with my kids.   So as you remember Steven today, think of all the gifts he gave us all.  Hug your children.  Call your siblings.  And tell your parents how much you love them.

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