Category Archives: Daddy

45 years ago today…

45 years ago today, my mom and dad were married in Long Beach, California. My mom was young, just 17 when they married, and my dad was 34. My dad had an Italian restaurant at the time and this was how my mom learned to be the most amazing cook ever. It would be 5 years before I was born, the first of 4 kids. The life they had, and the family they made, is the epitome of marriage. My mom took care of my dad, and my mom was my dad’s whole world. She took care of him and he never failed to support his wife and children, all while sitting in a wheelchair. They loved each other deeply. It may not have always been easy, and there were certainly struggles along the way, but they stuck together through it all.

They were married 43 years when my dad passed away. They lived a lifetime together in those 43 years – 4 kids, 3 grandchildren, many moves, many businesses, and a whole lot of love. I know that Daddy is celebrating up in heaven today and looking down on my mom. And my mom is thinking very much about Daddy today and all the fun times they had over the years. Thank you Mommy and Daddy, for loving each other and taking care of each other. We have very big shoes to fill…







Happy 4th of July!!

Okay, so I’m a day late, but the night ran late with our 4th of July fun… It was really nice having a day off in the middle of the week. It messed with my brain though, and I kept thinking it was the weekend. Anyone else have that problem?

Hubby and I decided to go over to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa and throw away a little of our money for a few hours. We invited my mom along for the fun. It was a fun couple of hours. Good news is, we came home with money, only leaving about $20 there. I’m so glad my honey has will power there and doesn’t keep feeding the machines. Yay honey!

After the casino, we headed home for a few hours and then went out to dinner. We originally wanted to go to The Ozona Pig, since after all it was the 4th and my dad was on our minds and we were celebrating him as well as Independence Day. Unfortunately, they were closed for the holiday, so we went to Sonny’s BBQ instead. Still a great dinner… My SIL Jenna and my niece Autumn met my mom, hubby and I up there. It was a very nice dinner. It’s a shame my brother Nick was working in Miami and he didn’t get to join us.

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After some silliness in the parking lot with hubby and Autumn, hubby went home so Blue and Ozzie wouldn’t be home alone freaking out from the fireworks. They do not like loud noises. How sweet is hubby to stay home with them?

My mom, Jenna, Autumn, and I went up to Crystal Beach for sunset and fireworks. Autumn melts my heart when she refers to it as Pop Pop’s Beach. She knows that was my dad’s favorite place to watch the sunset and talks about him while we are there.

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Autumn had so much fun playing in the sand, walking in the water (which was out REALLY far!) and then doing sparklers and watching fireworks. They didn’t have an actual fireworks show, but many people brought there own. It was a lot of fun and there were so many people there. My dad would have loved seeing everyone enjoy themselves.

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And we actually got lucky and any rain in the area passed through before sunset. This was our 19th sunset we’ve seen at Crystal Beach since my dad’s crossing and not one single one has been rained out. I know my dad has something to do with that.

Here are some more of my favorite pictures from yesterday. As usual, I can’t get enough of my adorable niece Autumn and can never have too many photos!

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What did you do to celebrate the 4th of July?

I’d also like to wish my Nick and Jenna a very Happy Anniversary! Today is their 9th anniversary! Love you guys!

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

I can’t believe another Father’s Day is here, the second since we said goodbye to Daddy. It seems that time is passing so quickly. Last year on Father’s Day, I bought a card for Daddy. I did the same this year. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t here… It is important to me that he is honored on such an important day, one that recognizes the amazing man that he was. Just because he isn’t here, doesn’t mean I can’t thank him for everything he was – and is – to me, and for everything he did for me. It wouldn’t seem right.

This morning, we went to Bay Pines VA to place flowers by Daddy’s memorial. It is always overwhelming to see his name there. I believe he is everywhere, but seeing his name there always make it seem even more real that he is gone.

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I’ve always thought that my dad was an incredible man. He was injured and in a wheelchair before he married my mom and before I was born. I never knew him any other way. The wheelchair never mattered, though, and it certainly never affected his ability to be a good father. He did everything he could to take care of his family. If anything, the wheelchair he sat in for 55 years made him work harder. I would often say that he did more from that wheelchair than many people did up on their feet. And that is the truth.

When you spend 12+ hours a day in the hospital with your dad over the last four weeks of his life (whether you realize it or not at the time), you do a lot of thinking. The 38 years and 8 months I had with him seemed much too short. I am fortunate that there were not things left unsaid and that we were very close up until the last time we spoke. If I was unable to say that, I would be even sadder. To be able to say goodbye to him and know that all was good between us was very important to me. He knew how much we all loved him. That I am sure of.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. You may not be here with us physically, but your presence is obvious in my world every day. You always were, and still are, a great influence on me and my life. I like to think I am a strong and determined person because of both you and Mommy. You will be with us today as we celebrate as a family. I miss you every single day, and even more so on these days we would have spent together as a family. You were the best father in the whole world. I love you and miss you so very much.

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                                  I’d like to think, I’ll always be Daddy’s little girl…

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                              A very proud Daddy, with Mommy, Mike, and me in 2003

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                                             Our last family portrait taken in 2007

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                                 My all-time favorite photo of Daddy and I, April 2007

18 months ago

Dear Daddy,

18 months has passed since I said goodbye to you, since I held your hand, since I kissed your cheek, and since I gave you a hug…

But not a day has passed that I haven’t missed you, thought about you, or wished that I could have just one more day with you…


I can’t believe that it has been 18 months since we said goodbye to you. How is that possible? The first several months were a blur, I was numb. The one-year mark seemed to arrive much too quickly. And now here we are, a year and a half later.


I still remember ever single day of the month that you spent in the hospital, as well as your last day. The sights, the sounds, the emotions, and everything in between are all still very vivid. I am lucky to still be able to hear your voice in my mind, and I feel very strongly that you are with me often.


You were taken from us much too soon and I miss you so much. I will be at Crystal Beach tonight, as I am on the 4th of every month, to watch what is sure to be a glorious sunset.

I love you, Daddy, and I miss you every single day.

It’s the little things…

I went to The Fresh Market on Tuesday to pick up some Love Grown Foods Granola. I had not been there in a long time, specifically since before my dad passed away. He LOVED that store. He would go there and come home with bags of goodies and treats. I had been there with him many times and one year, we even did our shopping there before Thanksgiving dinner.

My dad was famous for buying sweets and snacks that he know I liked. I used to ask him PLEASE do not buy me that stuff because I can’t NOT eat it when you do. But he just loved to do it and didn’t stop. I love that he knew what I enjoyed. One thing we both liked were the Raspberry Pillow Cookies from their bakery. OH. MY. GOSH. They were so good. Soft and chewy and sweet. He would buy a box of them and we would share them, of course.

So when I stopped in for my granola and passed the display with the boxes of Raspberry Pillow Cookies, it caught me off guard and I stopped. It’s funny how the smallest, silliest thing can bring a wave of emotion over me. Really? A box of cookies? It was just so my dad and I had to stop and think about it.

It’s been almost a year and a half since we lost Daddy and while it’s still hard and I miss him every single day, the pain is not as overwhelming as it was in the days, weeks, and months afterward. After it happened, I went around numb and cried alot. I don’t think I can even explain the hurt and sadness I felt aftwerwards. And when I saw those cookies, I had a overwhelming moment of missing him. It’s the little things…

So, I bought a box of the cookies. If Daddy had been there, he would have bought them for me. They taste as amazingly wonderful as I remember. I had one for me and then one for Daddy. And when I got home, since I can’t seem to find my willpower at the moment, I put each cookie in a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. If I want one, I’ll have to wait for it to thaw out and it will be worth it.

I love and miss you Daddy…

Oh so heavenly…

All packaged up!

Happy Birthday Daddy

Dear Daddy, today you would be 79 years old. I can’t believe we have celebrated two of your birthdays without you.

So much has happened since we said goodbye. We’ve had some amazing family days, that I know you watched and were with us in spirit.

Mike and I adopted another Aussie last April, his name is Ozzie. He is your kind of dog – he is happiest at our side, being loved. Blue is still the wild and crazy dog you knew!

Autumn is getting so big. She is enjoying dance class and talking up a storm. She knows you are in heaven and she misses you, as we all do.

BJ and Darlene came out last summer for a week-long visit. As you can imagine, there was a lot of Scrabble playing and enjoying each other’s company.

In October, Jenna walked 60 miles over 3 days for breast cancer. You would have gotten such a kick out of it, all the people walking all those miles. Jenna did a great job, you would have been as proud of her as we all were.

Mommy and Mike and I went to California last Thanksgiving and we had a great time seeing all of Mommy’s family. We also drove through Long Beach and saw two of the old restaurant locations. I’m sure it’s nothing like you remember. But it was also a bittersweet trip. We visited Pop Pops grave. I know how much you missed him and wanted to see him again. I know you are with him now and I can only imagine the trouble you are getting into.

You would be so proud of me, I ran my first half-marathon in February! 13.1 miles! It was SOOOO cold and windy out that day. I kept thinking how you would have been all bundled up in your scarf, but even that would not have been enough to keep you warm.

Gene and Bea just left after being here since January 3. I know they miss you too.

We go to Crystal Beach on the 4th of every month for sunset. You have given us some amazing sunsets. Each one is different and just as beautiful. There are always quite a few dogs there, running and playing. It’s no wonder you enjoyed going there so much.

This weekend, we will get together as a family at Jenni’s house to celebrate both her birthday and yours. Just because you are not here, does not mean we don’t celebrate your birthday anymore. Your birthday is as special as ever.

I love you and I miss you every single day, Daddy. I don’t know that it’s any easier since we said goodbye, but remembering all the wonderful things from over the years certainly helps to keep your memory alive.

Happy Birthday Daddy. I hope you celebrate up in heaven – we will certainly be celebrating you down here.

Love you always…

A favorite photo of Daddy and I, on his birthday in 2007

Why I blog…

Since it’s been over a year that  started this blog, I’ve been thinking about the reasons that I blog. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Accountability. It’s another way to be honest with myself and try and stay on top of this journey that I am on. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s impossibly hard.
  • It’s a constant in my crazy life. It’s always there when I need to vent or even go back and read a post that was maybe a defining moment.
  • I love to write. I wish I had more time to do it.
  • To share a side of me that people may not know.
  • To share things that I love, such as foods, books, products, and more.
  • To document my life and the events in it.
  • Motivation. When I write a post about a struggle I’m having and go back and read it days, weeks, or months later, I find it motivational to see how I overcame it.
  • To vent. There are some days I just need to get something out and what better way to get it out than writing it.
  • To remember. There is always something going on and we are such a big family. I like to remember special events and other things that we do or go through. Happy, sad, defining, and more. All moments are important and each one adds up to my life.
  • To {hopefully} inspire others. I follow several blogs and they inspire me. I would love to know that I inspire others in the same way.

When I first started my blog, I imagined it being mostly weight-loss related, although my very first post pretty much said it could be about anything. It was also just two months after losing my dad and I knew it would be another outlet in dealing with that and it has helped. It’s touched lightly on our infertily issues and is as light as posting about our crazy dogs. You can read my very first blog post here

I enjoy my blog and hope that my readers enjoy it as much I do. I love it when a post inspires readers to comment and let me know their thoughts. But ultimately my blog is for ME.

Sensory Overload

For the last 15 months, I have avoided the hospital where my dad passed away. I’ve had to drive past it many times, although I would even try to avoid that. One time I intentionally drove through the parking lot because I was compelled to do so. I had hoped that I would not ever have to go back inside anytime soon.

Today was the day. My mom is having surgery next week and had to go in for pre-op. I went with her so she wouldn’t have to go alone. My need for her to not be alone outweighed the trepidation that I felt. In fact, I am writing this as I sit in the waiting room and wait for her.

When you spend 12 hours a day or more over a month’s time in a place, there are things you get used to. You learn your way around, you recognize and get to know people, you get used to the sterile smell of the halls and the rooms, the sounds, seeing patients on gurneys, and more.

Neither one of us wanted to walk in there to begin with, and I wasn’t sure what I dreaded most. We had to enter near the emergency room which we knew all too well. Passing the row of parked ambulances brought back a flood of memories. But it wasn’t until we walked in that I realized what would hit me the most. And it was the smell. That sterile smell that I had become accustomed to, and the smell of the soap in the bathroom. To me, sense of smell is very powerful and can be overwhelming, especially in situations like this. These might seem like trivial thoughts to have but when you relate them to the last time you saw someone, it is HUGE.

The last time we were here, we said goodbye to Daddy – and physically left him here. It is one of many thoughts I had that day. I knew it was just his body in that room when we left, and his spirit and all that we loved about him left with us and still remains with us. But at that moment, it felt like we were leaving him, and I hated that.

So to walk back into the same building today that we last saw him in 15 months ago was hard.

Next week we will ALL, I hope, be here as a family as my mom has surgery. No one is alone in this family despite fear, trepidation, and more. The hospital is a great one and everyone here is very kind and patient-oriented. All of this outweighs the bad parts of the walls, rooms, floors, and more that make up the hospital that holds the many memories of pain, loss, and grief we all felt.

I am glad I came with her today, not only to support her, but to get beyond the apprehension of going. The next time we are here, I can focus more on my mom, her surgery, and her recovery. All will be fine.

My first half-marathon!

Today was a very a special day. I will remember it for a very long time. Back on December 29, 2011, I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in St. Petersburg. I was determined to do it. I walked and ran in preparation. I expected to walk most of it and run what I could.

This past week was full of anticipation. It was all I could think about. After I picked up my bib, shirt, and swag bag on Friday – I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. This was the weekend I would finally become a half-marathoner. All day yesterday, I wanted the day to pass quickly so I could go to sleep and wake up this morning. Like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting oh-so impatiently for Christmas Day.

The alarm went off at 4am this morning and I was ready to go. I showered, dressed, ate a good breakfast, got my stuff together, and we were out the door at 5:20am to beat the traffic to Tropicana Field in St. Pete. The only thing I was worried about was the weather. IT. WAS. FREEZING. With the wind chill it felt like it was in the 30’s and it was windy. I was shivering all the way to my bones. I started out in 2 shirts, a jacket, and gloves.

Finally it was time. The first corral started at 7:30. I was in Corral 12 based on what I thought my finishing time would be. We had to finish in 4 hours and I projected 3:25. We started at 7:46:23 am. Within the first mile, I could not contain myself and I started running. I ran off an on through the whole race. I wasn’t running to beat others or to finish by a certain time. I was just running because I could and because I was on an adrenaline high. This was the farthest mileage I’d ever put in where I was running a good portion of it. I’m not a fast runner, but I run.

Hubby received texts on his phone as I crossed certain points: 5k, 10k, 10 mile, and finish. I saw him three times during my run – right at the start,  the 5k mark, and at the finish line. He took some great photos for me.

There were bands and music throughout and lots of wonderful people cheering us on, handing out water and Gatorade. It all kept me going.

By the 5k mark, I was ready to take my jacket off, as I had finally warmed up. The gloves would stay on the rest of the way.

At about the halfway point, I realized that I was really going to do this. I was going to finish this and finish it good. For me. It was very emotional experience. I cried many times during for many reasons…. This was a HUGE thing for me, it was HARD, and I was so proud of myself for taking it on, and riding out the determination of doing it as the weeks passed leading up to it. I didn’t let my insecurities get in the way or focus on all the what-ifs, and my downfalls. I cried from the sheer beauty of the route, especially as we ran along the water. I cried because I knew there would be so many people who would be proud of me for accomplishing this. And I cried because I wished more than anything Daddy was here to hear all about it, to tell me how proud he was of me.

When I hit the 10-mile mark, it felt SO close. Never had 3.11 miles felt so far or so close all at once. When the route was closest to the finish line and I could here the music and people cheering, it made me want to push myself farther and harder. When I rounded the last corner in mile 12 and saw the 13 mile mark and the finish line just past that, I was in tears again. I was so close to finishing, so close to completing this goal I had set for myself.

I saw hubby just before the finish line and that made me cry more. He was there for me as he always is. He supports me and I love him dearly for it.

Crossing over the finish line was a blur. My official finish time was 3:11:33, coming in 6503 out of 7006. I was handed a medal, given a blanket, a bottle of water, and a banana. My picture was taken with my medal on. It was then that I realized I had not stopped my watch. I texted hubby to tell him I was waiting in the family area and waited. When I finally saw him, I was so excited. And then, I saw my mom and Jenna! What a surprise that was. I had just texted my mom to tell her I had finished. I had no clue they were there, even though I found out afterwards that they were standing right by hubby at the finish line. Me and my tunnel vision…

Again I was crying, overwhelmed at finishing, seeing hubby, and seeing my mom and Jenna. they had balloons, and were so proud of me. It was a moment I will not forget.

The day could not have gone more perfect. I started the race with my good friend Terrie, knowing that she was doing it in honor of two very special people as part of Team In Training. I ended the race, feeling extremely proud and strong and loved. And I was so excited to hug Terrie and enjoy the moment with her, knowing we both finished. We did it.

The afternoon was topped off perfectly with a great lunch, with Nick and Autumn joining us. I am exhausted and sore beyond belief, but it is still a wonderful thing. And tomorrow, the 13.1 decal will go on my car. Finally.

Terrie and I in the freezing cold this morning. Brrrr!

Starting line!

At the 5K mark.

A beautiful day for a half-marathon.

What a view!

Approaching the finish line - determined!

So excited to see everyone!


Feeling very accomplished! Terrie and I did it!!

A well-deserved beer at the end!

Another month, another sunset

How does the time pass so quickly? How is it that every month offers a new and glorious sunset to remember Daddy by?

The 4th of every month is spent at Crystal Beach in Palm Harbor, a favorite place of Daddy’s. He loved to go and watch the sunsets, the people, and the many dogs who visited the beach. It’s a small beach in a small community, no surprise he enjoyed it so.

14 months ago, on Dec. 4, 2010, our family gathered at Crystal Beach and watched the sunset hours after he passed away. Never before had a beautiful sunset held as much meaning as that day. And every month that we go up there and see another sunset, it is another reminder that Daddy is with us in many ways. Amazingly, it has not rained one single time on the 4th of each month that we have gone up there. Daddy is making sure of that.

Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven.   ~John Lubbock

Sunset at Crystal Beach 02/04/12