Monday, February 2, 2015

Remembering Grandma Miuccio

This post has been a long time in the writing. Indeed, I have not written a post since the day that my grandma passed away, last Veteran’s Day 2014. Life always chooses the most inopportune times to throw everything at you, and because of the different life events I had going on, I decided to wait on posting anything. But now I feel ready to send a few thoughts and memories of my grandmother out into the world, so here they are...

My grandma was one of those amazing people you always feel privileged to have known or met. She lived through the depression and many wars. She raised NINE kids (that alone should get her some kind of medal!), and she loved to spend time with all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

Grandma, my dad, and I

I am very lucky to have known my grandmother for so long. I remember all our family road trips to upstate New York to visit her and my other relatives. I remember hearing her in the kitchen making up delicious meals (she knew that the secret to a happy life is good food), and I especially remember her cheering me on in basketball, and in life in general.

After a basketball game

Just before she passed, I got to introduce Jax, my first child, to her. This experience really drove home just how much I loved, appreciated, and learned from my grandma. It was something I had always know, but what made it so impactful was that, for the first time, I saw my grandma from an adult’s eyes, and not just that of a grandchild. It felt like I was now officially a parent. It was a really proud moment for me, and as I watched grandma smile at him, I saw her legacy to us all.

Grandma and Jax

After grandma passed away, I felt a deep sorrow, but not emptiness. Grandma had filled me with years of amazing memories, stories, and laughter. So, my sadness stemmed from the fact that Jax would grow up without that. I talked a little with my mother-in-law about it, and she told me how Dan, my husband, had not known his grandparents on her side of the family. However, if you hear my husband talk about his grandparents, you would not know that this was the case. My mother-in-law told him so many stories about his grandparents that Dan remembers them as if he had seen them himself. It is a beautiful thing, and one that I plan to do with Jax as well.

One of my favorite pictures of grandma

For Grandma Miuccio’s funeral, I put together a small speech that summarized some of her wonderful qualities and how meaningful they were to me and to many others. I will end this post by sharing it with you all:

Grandma’s Crossword Puzzle

When trying to condense my feelings for my grandma into words, I kept envisioning one of her crossword puzzles. My grandmother loved crossword puzzles. You could always find books of them stashed around the corners and bathrooms of her house. So, what better way to express both who she was and what she taught me? I would like to take a few minutes and fill it out with you all.

Number 1 is six letters long and means “full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky”.
The answer is “feisty”.
Grandma was a feisty woman – she had to be to keep up with nine kids and all of us grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. Seeing Grandma’s feistiness taught me to enjoy each moment of life and to live with spirit.

Number 2 is nine letters long and means “possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, and so forth”.
The answer is “beautiful”.
Grandma was beautiful – both inside and out. I especially remember her love for bright, colorful earrings. She taught me to have a good heart on the inside and to wear what made me feel beautiful on the outside.

Number 3 is eight letters long and means “a small ball of ground meat often mixed with bread crumbs and seasonings before cooking”.
The answer is “meatball”.
As all the grandchildren know, Grandma’s nickname was “Grandma Meatball” because she made the most delicious meatballs – as well as many other yummy foods. Grandma Meatball taught me the importance of good food and how it can bring all kinds of people together.

Number 4 is ten letters long and means “providing sympathy or encouragement”.
The answer is “supportive”.
Grandma was very supportive of those she loved. I remember her cheering me on at basketball games and always showing an interest in whatever life event I was going through. I saw her do this for many people, and it encourages me to do the same.

Number 5 is six letters long and means “feeling a warm, personal attachment or deep affection for another person”.
The answer is “loving”.
Grandma loved each and every one of us, and she encouraged others to love each other, even in times of difficulty or disagreement. She showed love in singing, in sharing moments and memories, and many other ways. Most recently, I picture her love in the way she smiled when my young son gripped her finger during his last visit with her.

Number 6 is ten letters long and means “to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods. Originality. Imagination.”
The answer is “creativity”.
Grandma was always creating. She loved to craft new trinkets and decorations. Growing up, I had a beautiful bunny that Grandma had created a lacy dress for, and as an adult, one of my favorite Christmas decorations is a snowman head that Grandma made for me. I will always attribute my love of crafts to her.

Now the crossword is complete, and at the center you will see the word “family” – this is what Grandma was and meant to each of us. Even though we have lost an important member of our family, we all carry pieces of her with us. We may feel less without her, but she has left us with more. Some of us have her eyes or her smile, and some of us have her humor or caring spirit. All of us have her love and memories that will keep her with us always.

I will love you always Grandma, and you will always be in my heart! <3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Breaking in the Tasting Room

On Veteran’s Day, Dan and I got to help our friends at Cardamon Family Vineyards break in their new tasting room! We are so excited for Chuck and Ana and very blessed to have them in our lives.

Chuck toasting the opening

Walking up to the tasting room, you will find little groups of tables and chairs where you can look out at the tree covered mountains. (or, as we were there in the evening, look up at the brilliant stars)

The new tasting room is warm and welcoming and has lots of natural beauty, which you can see in the colorful wood used in the floor, bar, and ceiling beams. Small, black metal tables and chairs are tucked into the corners of the room, and two leather love seats rest in the center of the room near a big TV that cycles through pictures of the vineyard, as well as Chuck and Ana’s travel adventures.

There were lots of delicious wines being served for the party. I had glasses of Cardamon’s Rkatz and Myshells from the whites, and I got to try Breaux’s Silk and a Spanish Crianza from the reds. Chuck had also saved Dan and I a bottle of his Cuvee Blanc as an anniversary gift. Mmm! Going with the spirit of the evening, we decided to have a glass right then and share some with the others in attendance.

Jax chilling with dad at the bar

Everyone enjoying the new tasting room!

Overall, it was a successful opening, and a very enjoyable evening. When you are out on Harper’s Ferry Road, be sure to stop at the Cardamon’s and relax in the new tasting room with some of their delicious wine. :)

All the wine was finished, but not quite all the milk. LOL

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Top 5’s of Pregnancy

In case any of my readers have never been pregnant or been around many people who are pregnant, here are a few highlights of my experience.

- Enhanced sense of smell
- Feeling the baby move
- People are more eager to help me (even when I don’t need it)
- Baby shopping
- Seeing my baby on the sonograms

- Decreased energy
- Sore hips
- Calf cramps
- Food aversions (beef and bacon - which are things I normally love)
- Extra Bathroom Trips

Pregnancy Things That Made Me Laugh:
- Forgetting that I can’t fit in smaller spaces
- Feeling the baby have hiccups
- Watching the baby kick the dog or Dan when they would rest their faces on my belly
- Crazy hormones (suddenly being protective, the “oh I love everything” feeling, etc…)
- Random food cravings

Pregnancy Things I didn’t know, that I know now:
- Baby car seats expire, and they have to be replaced after a crash
- It is common to get nose bleeds during pregnancy
- Your skin gets super itchy as it expands
- The majority of women do not have their water break before going to the hospital
- All the aches and pains that come because of pregnancy

What I was looking forward to most post-pregnancy:
- Seeing baby Jax (duh)
- Sleeping without hip pain/calf cramps
- Doing an actual work out again
- No more food aversions
- Being able to travel again (once Jax is up for it)

Things have been great since Jax arrived. I did have crazy days when he would not stop crying, and I did break down in tears in the Kohl’s parking lot because I couldn’t find the PJs I wanted for Jax. However, overall, being a parent has been great.

The hip pain/calf cramps did go away, and I love bacon cheeseburgers again. Mmm! The work outs still haven’t happened yet, but I have learned that breast feeding (if you are able to do it) is a fantastic way to drop your baby weight quickly. :)

I am not someone who wishes they could always be pregnant, but I am glad that I had this experience. I learned a lot, had some laughs along the way, and got a cool little boy in the end.


Jax and I after he was born