Saturday, January 22, 2011


I’ve been missing. I’m sorry. Thank you so much for all the sweet emails and comments checking on me and worrying about me.

I had already lost a little bit of steam in blogging , though that’s not totally unusual. Motivation comes and goes for me (and inspiration too).

Then, the first week in December, my 22 year old cousin was killed in a car accident. And it felt like, there was nothing else important to say. I couldn’t bring myself to write about Christmas dresses or meeting Santa or anything else, when all that seemed important was him. But I also felt like Joey’s story wasn’t mine to tell. His death hurts my heart in ways I never knew possible, but I also know in only a fraction of the ways it hurts for his parents and sister and nephew. Jack is mine and PJ’s, he will always be ours, and his story is mine. I didn’t feel right trying to tell Joe’s. But I can’t write anything else here until I acknowledge him, so I will do my best to just tell my story of Joe. I would never assume to understand what his parents are feeling. I can only tell you what Joey meant to me.

I was 19 when Joey was born. He was the first baby in our family in a long time, and he was instantly adored by everyone. Visiting him in the hospital, he was the biggest baby in the nursery, well over 10lbs, and swaddled up tight, looking like a six month old next to all these teeny tiny newborns. He was chubby and cute and had something special about him already, drawing the attention of every visitor looking in the nursery window.

I spent my 20s watching Joey grow up. He was the funniest, happiest, smartest, sweetest kid I ever met. Those were not the best years of my life for various reasons, but he was a ray of sunshine to me. I loved him. I always had his picture on my desk at work, always jumped at any chance to babysit or even spend time with him. I loved to take him to the movies and spoil him with too much candy, take him out to dinner and teach him things like how to hang a spoon from your nose, or to tie your napkin into a funny hat. When my coworkers brought their kids to the office Christmas party, I brought Joey (who at one party when he was around 4 or 5 refused to sit on Santa’s lap, not because he was scared of Santa but because he "didn’t like the looks of that elf…." - a tax accountant dressed as an elf is scary, and I didn’t blame him.) I tagged along on his family’s vacation to Disney World. I took him to a Spice Girls Concert and we were in heaven, having a shared love of the band (I bought him a Baby Spice Doll he carried around for a long time in a briefcase…. I don’t think his dad was too thrilled with that). I took him a few years later to see N Sync, but already he was becoming cooler than me, too hip for boy bands, just going along to appease me.

As I got into my 30s and my life got less angsty, and Joey grew up into an incredibly adorable teenage boy, I saw less of him but loved him just the same.

He was, without a doubt, the handsomest person I ever knew in real life. His eyes were the bluest blue, bluer than any sky or ocean. He was still the boy you were drawn to, just like back in the hospital nursery all those years ago. It would be easy to say it was because of his looks, but it was more than that. There was something special inside of him that shone through, through the blue eyes and big smile. He had a wicked sense of humor but a kind soul. He loved his family, and he loved his friends like family. Every person who knew him seemed to think Joey was one of their best friends, because he made you feel that way – and there were literally hundreds of people who called him friend.

Every day, I mean every time I ever saw him, he had on the pale blue bracelet from the Jack Fund. Every single picture I’ve seen of him from the last three years, whether it was dressed up to go out or in a crazy Halloween costume (or crazy outfit period, his whole life he had a fashion sense all his own) or in a Jets jersey at a football game, he had on that blue Jack bracelet. I never talked about Jack with him, though now I wish I had. I know they’re together now. PJ said Jack has the best bodyguard (and friend) in the world now. It’s not much comfort honestly, but it’s something. At this point I think we’ll all take what we can get, anything that makes you feel a little bit better. Because there just is no sense in his not being here anymore.

I keep thinking of the Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. That’s how it feels to me. Joey was golden. Jack was too. The brightest stars burn out the fastest, and I never knew a brighter star.

Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay

One of the pictures that hung on my desk for years….. you can see the marks on top from the push pins.

It’s not a napkin on his head, but it’s close. It’s his bowtie.

Joey and Charlotte last Christmas. I hugely regret not taking more pictures of him with my girls.

Joey and his nephew.

and the blue bracelet.

I love you Joey. Take good care of Jack for me.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Is it too late for Halloween pictures?  I missed it. I’m sorry.

For weeks and weeks I asked the girls what they wanted to be for Halloween and every time I got a different answer… Jessie from Toy Story, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella…..  no one could make up their mind.  So I just bought costumes I liked and they were cats.  A little dull, i know, but they were cute.  And i figure this was probably my last year of being able to choose for them, so i might as well take advantage of that.

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They loved Halloween and Trick or Treating.  I started writing a weekly column for a local site, The Caldwell Patch.  I covered our Halloween pretty thoroughly on there, if you want to read it. 

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Things have been super busy around here.  October is always crazy month for me – the girls birthday, Halloween, the Jack Fund Golf Outing.  Work on the Toy Drive has already started, the Amazon Wishlist goes up on Thursday November 2nd.  I can’t wait, I love the Toy Drive. 

I love that the girls are really ‘getting’ holidays.  They are already SUPER excited for Christmas.  Katie swears she loves Santa now and is going to give him a big hug and sit on his lap…  we will see.  I think the mall Santa is still traumatized from our attempted visits last year.


Jojo the Easter Bear made an appearance on Halloween and unlike at Easter, no one was terrified.  As a matter of fact, they loved him, so maybe there is hope for Santa this year.  Maybe.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mommy’s Big Tummy

A big topic with the girls lately is how we are all related to each other.  Katie especially loves to talk about this…. that Grandma Kathy is Mommy’s Mom, and Uncle Brad is my brother and Aunt Megan is Daddy’s sister.  She doesn’t always remember it all but she tries and she always does remember that her Mommy is Megan, her Daddy is PJ, her sister is Lala and her brother is Baby Jack.

The problem has always been, how to talk about Jack with them.  How to get them to understand ‘where’ he is and why he isn’t physically here, when honestly I’m not sure the answer to either of those questions myself.  How to make him real to them, make him real as their brother and not just some picture on the shelf.  A little while ago I started telling them this story, and now they ask for it almost every day.  I show them pictures of me when I was pregnant, and point out where they each were in my belly, and it’s known as ‘The story of the babies in Mommy’s big tummy…..’

A long time ago, Mommy had three babies in her belly.  Baby Charlotte, Baby Katie, and Baby Jack.  And they were all really happy in Mommy’s tummy, they had big bubbles of water to swim in and their only job was to grow and grow as big as they could.  They floated around in their bubbles and waved to each other, and laughed and kicked and held hands and loved being all together.

Then one day the doctors decided it was time for the babies to come out.  First came Baby Charlotte, then Baby Katie, then Baby Jack.  And they were all still really really small, they were the smallest babies Mommy had ever seen.  So they had to stay in the hospital for a little while to get bigger and stronger and learn how to do things babies do, like breathe and eat and sleep and cry.  

Baby Katie and Baby Charlotte did just that – every day they got bigger and pretty soon they were able to come home and live with Mommy and Daddy and their cat Leroy.  But even though Baby Jack tried as hard as he could to get bigger and stronger, and the doctors tried as hard as they could to help him, he was just too little and too tired.  So instead of coming home with Mommy and Daddy, he got to go live in Heaven with the sun and the moon and the clouds and all the beautiful stars.

And Baby Jack is still up there watching over his family, and especially his sisters Katie and Charlotte who he loves so much.  And every time you see a butterfly or a rainbow or a twinkly star, that’s Jack saying hello to you and telling you, remember when we were all in Mommy’s tummy together?  Because I do.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

We are Three

My babies are three.


We had a big party.


With fairy wings.


And cupcakes.


And sunshine.


And friends.


And presents. So many presents.


And we missed Jack.  I missed Jack, so much.  But he was there.  Surrounded by princesses and Tinkerbell and tutus and baby dolls, my little boy was there watching over his sisters. 

(Do you see Lala’s wings?)        

Happy Third birthday to all three of my babies. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

3rd Jack Malia Memorial Golf Tournament

Yesterday was the Golf Outing for the Jackson Malia Fund, and it went really well.  I’m going to be honest here and say that my heart hasn’t been in it recently, the Fund.  I don’t even know how to describe it precisely, but i went through quite a few months where i felt like I needed to stop.  That it was too hard for me, for lots of reasons.  I always feel like I’m not doing enough, and there is definitely always MORE that could be done.  And I just didn’t need anything else to make me feel badly when it came to Jack. 

But when it really came down to it, i didn’t want the Fund to end.  It is all I have left of Jack.

Now, I do feel like my heart is back in it, and i hope as time goes on it will get even bigger and better.  

For the last week I have obsessively checked the weather forecast, and it consistently called for rain yesterday.  It rained Monday and Tuesday.  And then yesterday morning, even as I was standing in my kitchen watching the weatherman on tv say it was going to be overcast and rainy, the sun was starting to peep through the clouds.  There was no rain.  It was cold, and the clouds came and went, but so did the sunshine.  It’s been like that all three years on the day of the Golf Outing.  Sun fighting to come through the clouds.  Jack working hard to shine down on his day. 


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sous Chefs

Life has continued to be hectic. A great trip to Hershey Park last weekend, first day of dance class today, apple picking, birthday parties, preschool, and on top of it all – a bad cold for everyone in the family. When my head is less heavy and my nose less runny, I will try and document it all… but for now, these pictures cracked me up. My assistants helping me bake an apple cake the other day with some of our hundreds of apples (a cake which incidentally turned out terrible…. someone added too much sugar and cinnamon. Probably me but I can’t be 100% sure because I did catch Charlotte trying to add black pepper so really, she’s pretty suspect as well.)

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One more thing going on lately I should mention – preparation for the Third Annual Jackson Malia Memorial Golf Tournament on October 6th. I haven’t mentioned Jack or the Fund too much on here lately, but he’s never NOT in my thoughts, trust me. Never.

Please check out the Jack Fund’s new site, and the info on the Tournament. If you’re in the area, please, join us! It’s always a lot of fun, for a great cause.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sit down!


The above photo pretty adequately shows how excited the girls were for their first REAL day of preschool on Tuesday.  They even insisted on wearing their backpacks despite the fact that nothing was in them.

However, when it came time for me to leave, Lala was a little iffy.  She said “no Mommy, you stay here, don’t go, stay with us!”   Until she realized there was about to be finger painting.  Then she forgot all about me. 

DSC03228The teachers said they did amazing for it being their first day, and told me “Wow, your kids REALLY love crafts.”  My little Martha Stewarts. 

When I picked them up yesterday, Katie kept telling me she was crying for me, and calling me… “I said Mommy! Mommy! Where are you?!  And I cried and cried.  Because I missed you.”  Charlotte even chimed in saying “Katie cried and I told her, don’t cry Katie, it’s okay.”  It was pretty pathetic. I took them out and bought them each a pink donut and a little stuffed dog to make them feel better.  I told Katie, don’t cry, Mommy will always be back to get you.

When I came to get them today, Katie ran up and immediately said the same thing “MOMMY!  I missed you!! I CRIED AND CRIED FOR YOU!”  The teacher said “Did she just say she cried?  She didn’t cry!  They didn’t cry at all while they were here.”  I knew it.  I knew.  I’d been played. 

Actually, as a source of information they’re pretty much useless.  I had visions of all these wonderful stories about their day and their new friends and what they were doing but so far, they’re tough to get much out of and it’s all inconsistent.  I know today was music class.  Katie said she played a tambourine, then complained they wouldn’t let her play the tambourine.  She said in addition to the tambourine there was a guitar and some instrument she evidently stuck in her ear so they took away.  She called it a lollipop but I’m thinking drumstick maybe?  Small maraca?  Lala said they sang Happy Birthday but Katie is adamant that they did not.  A book was read but one says it was about a school BUS and the other swears it was about a school BELL.  Charlotte told me a little girl who was sitting next to her  when I came in is her ‘favorite girl and best friend.’ but doesn't know her name and just calls her Girl.  I did find out they finger-painted tomatoes (though i think it was actually apples) and that they did play outside but the slide was too dirty and the sandbox was too wet to play in.  Katie didn’t like her string cheese or yogurt tube.  But they both liked the juice the school provided.  And evidently the teacher is always telling them to sit down. 


All in all, I think they like it.  I know this much…. Mommy loves it.  Three hours of sweet sweet freedom.  Worth every penny.