Happy Halloween

Last night my husband and I took our two boys out for Tricks or Treats, as they say in the Peanuts Gang. It was a gorgeous night; the air was crisp but not too cold and a huge fall moon hung in the sky.

For the first few doors our two-year-old, dressed as a hoodless Jowa from Star Wars (he was mistaken for a Ninja more than once), was not quite sure what to make of things. He was more interested in exploring the yards and front steps of the houses. He held on to a single roll of candy from the first house as if it were the last candy on earth. Once he realized that he was being given treats at every house, he was running from door to door (often in the opposite direction we were headed in) and at times I had to run to keep up.

Meanwhile, dressed as Iron Man, our four-year-old was shouting “TRICK OR TREAT” before even knocking or ringing a bell! He seemed to think that the door would magically open just because it was Halloween and he was in costume. Both of them, with only a small bit of reminding, said “thank you” after receiving their candy AND often threw in a “Happy Halloween” too.

We passed by a few houses that were dark. I am sure the reasons for them being dark are unique to each home: working late, shopping, off trick or treating in another neighborhood with no one to hand out candy back at the house (which was actually what was happening back at our house, since my husband and I wanted to be with the boys, and seriously, taking two kids under five out on Halloween is a two person job).

Where was I? Oh, the darkened houses. Yeah, they reminded me of how I spent Halloween as a kid. As the child of Jehovah’s Witnesses, my Halloweens were spent either at the Kingdom Hall (if it fell on a Tuesday or Thursday night) or at home in the dark. Yep, you read that right: IN THE DARK. We would shut off all the lights, hunker down in the kitchen or dining room, and wait out the trick or treat seekers.

So, last night when I would see a dark house I found myself looking for the flicker of a candle and wondering if there were some kids being told about how Halloween is bad. Because, I have to say that sharing it with my kids has made me realize that it isn’t, it was a happy night. Every single house we went to was welcoming and amused by the antics of my children, and generous, and full of laughter.

It was a Happy Halloween indeed.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder and Me

As a little girl there were two things I loved: reading and watching television. Some have called it an addiction. An addiction that I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder.

One of my first books was Little House on the Prairie, it took me to the frontier. It took me away from the complicated life I had (how a little girls life could be all that complicated is a post for an entirely different type of blog).

My parents gave me the Little House on the Prairie box set, which I actually still have. I read each and every book from cover to cover, often in a day. I read while I ate, I read while I brushed my teeth. I read while I walked to the bus. I read riding the bus to school, and on the way home. I read by flashlight under the covers.

Then, I discovered that my beloved Laura was also a television show and so began my reading addiction evolved into a televisoin addiction.

Monday nights at 8 PM, I was glued to the television. I “shushed” anyone who spoke while my show was on. I begged off teeth brushing until AFTER the previews were shown. I was such a fan, that I even stuck it out through Little House: New Beginnings, which face it, was not nearly as good.

To this day I watch my favorite shows past the credits rolling, through the commericial break, and wait for the previews. By the way, I curse the programming menace that instituted the practice of running the previews at the end of the next show, seriously, what is that about!?!

In the digital age we live in, I am afforded the ability to carry my iPad around with me while I watch TV, as if it is being main-lined into my body.

I am not ashamed.

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Why I run…

Today I ran in the TUFTS 36th Annual 10K in Boston. This is the second year that I have participated in this run. I run with a team, Brendan’s Buddies, which raises funds for the NICU at UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts.

I first heard about Brendan’s Buddies three years ago. I was asked to help write a donation letter, and being my inquisitive self I wanted to know about this organization, which led me to wanting to know about the hospital it was raising funds for, which informed my decision of where I wanted to have my baby delivered …did I mention I was two months pregnant at the time? Well, I was pregnant with my second child, and having just moved the year before it just so happened that I was looking for a new OB/GYN and hospital.

The research showed me that the NICU at UMass was one of the best in the region, a Level III Nursery in the heart of central Massachusetts. And, only 15 minutes from my house. So, I chose them, “just in case” something went wrong.

A few months later my son, Finley Chabot, was born. He was two weeks early, and although he was a strapping boy, weighing 7 pounds; 14 ounces and measuring 21 inches long, he was not well. A lack of amniotic fluid during the last few weeks of my pregnancy had caused problems for him. He was whisked away from me within minutes of his delivery. He wasn’t breathing properly, he had fluid in both lungs — one was fully collapsed and the other partially collapsed — and there was a “bubble” in his belly. He (and I) spent 9 days in the NICU at UMass Memorial. When he was released his doctors showed me the X-Ray of his lungs, they said that it was the X-Ray of a perfectly healthy newborn.

When Finley’s first birthday was approaching I asked the founder of Brendan’s Buddies if I could run with the team in a race, to raise money for the NICU that had done so much for my family. Brian’s face lit up, he immediately suggested the TUFTS 10K and I immediately agreed. So last year I ran my first 10K, I did OK (I walk/ran across the finish line in 1 hour and 28 minutes) and I raised over $500 for the NICU. So, when the time came around this, I thought “I can do this,” and signed up.

Today I started at the back of the crowd, by the time I crossed the “Start” 8 minutes had already passed since the first person had begun running. About 10 minutes later I made my way over a bridge crossing the Charles River. It was a gorgeous fall day, U2 was singing “You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” and I thought to myself, “this is a perfect moment.” Then it got better.

Up ahead already making their way back towards the finish line I could see a group of women running toward me. They were so strong and so beautiful. They looked like a flock of birds flying together in perfect timing, their feet beating on the bridge, their bodies moving in unison. It took my breath away.

It took me 1 hour and 14 minutes to finish, not as fast as those inspirational women but better than last year. The best part: I never stopped running.

To learn more about the work done at the UMass NICU, please visit www.brendansbuddies.com

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Friday Fish Fry

Having spent the better part of the day fighting with my home PC I am convinced that we need to gut it and start over.

Now I am “working” off my laptop, and mentally preparing a dinner menu. Fridays are hard enough to stay motivated, but now that the sun has finally come out (after what has felt like a month, but in actuallity has only been off and on for a week) I am just counting down the minutes until I can power down and start on the Friday Fish Fry.

Oh, and work is good.

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Hello world!

Hello world. Blogging is good for business, blogging can be fun, blogging (they say) is great for everyone. Here I will delve into the world of blogging, writing about my business (professional writing services for small businesses) and about my observations on life (I know, ANOTHER blog from someone in a small town talking about nothing of importance, this is sure to be a huge hit). Enjoy!

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