Pictures Perfect

I’m not sure I’d ever have what it takes to be a photographer. Oh sure, many people comment on the pictures I take with my phone and post on Facebook, but they are far from professional.

There is a local photographer close by that has never disappointed us with her photos. She took Ella’s First Birthday pictures, Andrew’s helmet pictures, and recently Andrew’s First Birthday pictures. Her name is Beth and she owns Enjoy the View Photography.

I am always amazed when I look at the pictures she gets. I know the chaos that was happening when the pictures are being taken, yet she is able to grab that perfect split second in time that makes it frame worthy.

For Andrew’s session, she set aside some time for us to get a few of both kids and the family. The autumn colors were not at peak, but the outdoor photos still look fantastic!

She got pictures of the whole family sitting, standing, with Ella on my shoulders, and more. It is hard to pick a favorite and which ones to put on canvas.

Then there were photos of the two of them together. Some truly amazing shots of them sitting, but the one that both Sam and I love is them running from the camera.

There is one of Ella grabbing Andrew and hugging him that makes me laugh …

…and one that makes me tear up….

Beth got a couple solo shots of them, which wasn’t easy with Ella. She was way past being done, however, there is one that just came out perfect…

…my favorite solo picture of Andrew captures him in all his sweetness…

We headed inside to get birthday and cake pictures. Again, Beth was able to get these split second moments perfectly. Andrew was not really about sitting still, but you’d never know it by these pictures.

As far as a cake “smash,” we didn’t really get that for pictures. We got some at home on his birthday, but he was just to careful during the photo session. It was almost like he was saying, “I’d rather not make a mess…”

My kudos again to Beth and Enjoy the View Photography for these wonderful pictures which we will look back and enjoy for years!

A Perfect Weekend to Celebrate

Saturday I got to spend some time with my wife and celebrate her birthday. I arranged for Nana and Papa to watch the kids so we could have some time together. I am so grateful for them.

I worked Friday night, and when I came home, I went right to bed, so I could catch a few winks before our date day. The time I was asleep was rough for Sam as the kids were a bit crankier than normal. We almost called the whole day off.

Thankfully, all fell into place. We dropped the kids off and went to our favorite steakhouse for lunch. The weather was absolutely perfect, so we asked to eat on the patio. When the greeter walked us out there, I was surprised to see no one else there. We had the whole patio to ourselves for most of the meal!

What a wonderful afternoon! We sat in the sun enjoying conversation and each other. It was so nice to just be together.

Because we got a later start than we had planned (and because showtimes didn’t really line up with our plans), we decided to skip the movies. There were a few things we wanted to do, so we just spent the rest of the time doing them.

We had recently bought a two camera baby monitor from Target. It was a nice one and expensive. We set up the cameras and for whatever reason, one of the two cameras would have trouble connecting. We could see one, then it would go out and we could see the other. It never seemed to be able to show both cameras at the same time. This bothered us because we were on wifi, and no matter where we were, it should connect. There was an app you could download on your phone and you were supposed to be able to check from anywhere. I never really did get that to work. We decided it was best to take it back.

So we walked through Target just looking around and talking. We ended up buying a few things for the kids while we were there. Then we wanted to walk through the Christmas Tree Store. They always have a lot of holiday type stuff. The Red, White and Blue wreath we put on the door for Memorial Day and the 4th of July was looking pretty ragged and faded. We hoped to find something there for the door. We did.

It was getting close to the time we told Sam’s folks we’d be back for the kids, so we jumped back in the car and drove to get them. I held Sam’s hand on the way there and was just so glad to have had a day with her.

When we got the kids loaded up, we started to head home. It was getting close to Andrew’s bedtime. He started to cry a lot in the backseat. Sam crawled over the center console and squeezed between the two car seats and made him a bottle to drink on the way home. She had to be extremely uncomfortable! Once we were home, she had to climb back over the center console to get back in her seat to exit the car. I joked with her that I should have taken video to get her back for posting a video of me trying to hop the fence in our backyard! It was a humorous way to end the night.

Sunday night, Sam had to work. I took the kids out to Sam’s Club to pick up a few things we needed at home. Ella found some beautiful flowers and wanted to get them for mommy. Sam’s loves sunflowers and roses, so it was almost as though she knew exactly which ones to get.

We hoped to get a cake while we were there, but they didn’t have any. On the way home we stopped at the little grocery store around the corner from us. There were three cakes there and Ella picked the one with a sun on it. When I asked the girl at the counter if she could write on it, she asked what it should say, and Ella just spouted off, “It has to say ‘Happy Birthday, Mommy’ on it!” The woman asked Ella what color she wanted it in and she told her it had to be pink.

When we got home, we decided to make mommy a birthday card. I wrote on it and she “colored” in it. I helped both her and Andrew “sign” their names. She was so excited to give it to her this morning.

When Sam got home this morning, we went out to breakfast. This would mark the first time that either one of our children has been in a restaurant to eat! Hard to believe, but it is true. Sam and I prepared for the worst. We expected Ella to be running all over the place and Andrew to just cry through the whole thing. We were surprised at just how well behaved they both were! It was a very nice breakfast.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy when we got there. It was mostly retirees and older couples eating. It was a tad busier when we left. Ella said that she had to say goodbye before we could go. So she stopped in the middle of the aisle and yelled, “Goodbye, friends!” It was priceless. We were getting the kids in the car and the waitress came out to stop me. I thought maybe I paid the wrong bill or something. Nope, she just wanted to give each of the kids a plastic duckie.

Sam needed to head to bed when we got home. She had to work tonight, too. Before she did, she only had one request – a photo with the kids.

This was like the fourth or fifth picture. It’s hard to get Ella to sit still long enough for one now! The first three Andrew was smiling like crazy, but he obviously only had three takes before the smile went away!

What a wonderful weekend to celebrate, Sam! One thing is for sure, I’m gonna be diligent to keep scheduling monthly date days/nights!!

Happy birthday, Sam. I love you now and forever!

Something to look forward to

It seems like forever since my wife and I have actually had a night (or day for that matter) out. We will remedy that tomorrow. Even though I work tonight, I have arranged for the kids to visit Nana and Papa tomorrow so that we can enjoy some time together.

Sam’s birthday is coming up on Monday, and we’re taking the day to celebrate it. We will definitely be going out to dinner (or lunch) at one of our favorite restaurants. While there are a list of possible things to do as well, nothing is really set in stone. We are simply looking forward to time together – just us.

I think it was Anthony Robbins who once said, “Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won’t be an end.” There is a lot of truth to that. Our love was built by spending time together. We talked. We held hands. We dated. Yes, we are a family now, but together – Sam and I are the foundation of that family. In order to strengthen the family, we cannot lose sight of “US.”

There is so much truth to the above quote! Our challenge has always been our work schedules. We have already talked about the need for us to make sure that we are taking time off from work to be sure that we have time to be together. That is SO important. Without that time to strengthen our relationship and husband and wife – our roles are mom and dad will suffer (and so will our family).

This may sound ridiculous, but knowing that we will have this time together tomorrow has me so very excited. There is a new found energy in anticipating our date tomorrow. Even this morning, when I got home from work, I watched my wife as she walked into the kitchen and took in all her beauty. My mind raced as I thought about just being able to sit across from her and have the opportunity to hold her hand and look into her eyes. I’m excited to be able to kiss her without the cries of a child interrupting that moment. I can’t wait to hug her without a tug on my pant leg because of spilled milk that needs to be cleaned up.

Tomorrow – I plan on enjoying every single moment that my wife and I get to be a couple. I cannot wait to celebrate her – celebrate us – and celebrate all we have been blessed with!

Celebrating 52

Today is the 13th anniversary of my 39th birthday. Jack Benny said he was 39 for years and got away with it. For some reason, today I realized just how silly that is. I will certainly continue to lie about my being 39, as a homage to Jack, but I know I’m not fooling anyone.

Because Sam had to work tonight, we sort of celebrated yesterday. I came home from work, caught a couple hours sleep and we went to the Saginaw Children’s Zoo. We met Sam’s sister and my nephew there.

It was quite hot out, so we took Andrew’s helmet off for the visit. Ella and I got a kick out of watching the otters, who were extra active yesterday. The were enjoying swimming around and she loved that one kept swimming by the glass window. It was too hot for the penguins to be outside, so we missed them. The wolves were also curled up in their den where we couldn’t see them either. We had fun anyway.

We always have to ride the train when we go. We bought a membership, so train rides are free. It’s a short ride, but the kids love it.

The kids love to ride the carousel too. Andrew was so hot by the time we got there, we figured we’d just keep him in the shade. Ella, of course, had to ride it like three times. Each time she rode a different horse/bunny. She loves it! It was great to watch her from the sidewalk and take pictures as she rode past me. Poor Sam, though. She was ready to throw up by the end of the third ride!

When we left to go home, Sam asked what I wanted to do for dinner. I told her I would be happy with something simple. I hadn’t used my grill yet this year, so I told her to pick up some hot dogs or brats and we’d grill them up.

We stopped at Meijer and Ella went in with Sam while I drove around with Andrew, who was napping. When they were done shopping Ella was extra excited. She helped pick out a birthday cake. I guess Sam told her my birthday was coming up and she kept asking about birthday cake. They stopped at the bakery and Sam asked if they could write “Happy Birthday” on it. Ella said it needed to say, “Happy Birthday, Daddy,” so that is what was on it.

After dinner, Sam put some candles on the cake and Ella not only sang, “Happy Birthday” to me, she helped blow out the candles!

This morning, I woke up feeling no different than yesterday. I don’t feel older, but I am. I received calls today from my dad, my brother, my oldest son, and my best friend. There are hundreds of Facebook wishes from friends. Some are long and heartfelt, others short and sweet. I have messages from Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram with birthday wishes, and many text messages, too. There is no way I’ll be able to respond to them all!

I certainly felt special the past couple days. I’m one very blessed man!

Nice Day For A Birthday and a Half

Monday is usually my day for getting stuff done. I do laundry. I fold laundry. I load the dishwasher and run it. I pick up the living room and vacuum. I clean up the kitchen and clear the counters. None of that got done today.

My day started with getting Andrew out of bed, fixing him a bottle, and putting his helmet on. Ella was up shortly after and mom brought her home pancakes from McDonald’s for breakfast.

It is Andrew’s 1/2 birthday (he is six months old today). We measured him, weighed him, and put him in his special onesie and took our Milestone pictures. We decided to take his pictures in his helmet so we’d remember it.

Today, my oldest son turns 20. He spent the day with his friends bowling and then playing games at his house. He is usually a late sleeper, so I waited until about 11 to call him. I used video chat and when he answered he had his mask on and was obviously in class at college! I felt bad that I interrupted and told him I would call him later!

The temperature outside was about 60, so I decided to take the kids on our first walk through the neighborhood. It’s a bit different with the double stroller, but it was just perfect. We got to see neighbors outside with their kids, raking up leftover fall leaves, and just relaxing on their porches.

It felt good to walk. I know that walking really helped me drop some weight last year, and I hope it will again this year. I just hope Ella will allow me to push her in the stroller. She loves being able to just walk.

Andrew seemed to really enjoy being outside. I bundled him up in a sweatshirt and covered him in a blanket and he cooed through most of the walk. He started to doze at one point, but he made it through the walk taking in all the sites.

When we were walking up the driveway, my oldest called me back on the video chat. He was excited to be out of class and was going to check out the video game store. He got to see his brother and sister and couldn’t believe when Ella said, “Happy birthday, brother.”

After lunch, the kiddos napped – Ella in her crib and Andrew in my arms. Tonight is the first night he has to sleep with his helmet, so I’m anticipating a rough night. He has been doing well with it, so I hope I am wrong.

My favorite moment of the day was captured by the camera. Ella wanted to get her picture taken, too, when we were getting Andrew’s taken. So we put her in the crib next to him and I caught this magical moment….

Precious!

2021 – What a Year!

At midnight tonight, we’ll start a brand new year – 2022. Some have compared a new year to a book. The book with 365 blank pages – one for each day – and said that the book is ours to write. There is truth to that.

As I looked back over my “book” entitled “2021,” I see that (despite the pandemic and all the crap that came with it) I really did have a good year. Bear with me, he’s the recap:

January

January started with some snow. It actually looks like we should be getting snow again this week. Ella absolutely loved being outside in the snow. It was fun to watch her try to figure out just what all the white stuff was. Today, when she sees it, she get’s excited and yells, “Snow! Snow!”

In mid-January, we scratched our heads and wondered just how Ella was 11 months old! I mean, it seemed like she was just born!

The pressure was on as we closed in on her first birthday. With Covid, we weren’t quite sure if we’d even be able to have a party for her.

February

As we got closer to Ella’s birthday, Sam was just not feeling right. 3 days before Ella’s birthday, we found out that baby #2 was on the way!

This took us both completely by surprise! There was great excitement all over again. The hardest part was keeping it a secret…

Ella’s first birthday was a fun and busy day. We ditched the pink blocks and marked the birthday with a HUGE number “1” balloon. This was followed by a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium, the Build a Bear place, and cake at Nana’s house.

We were glad to be able to get some professional “1st Birthday” pictures, too!

March

In March we got our first look at the baby we now know as Andrew/AJ and announced Ella’s promotion to big sister.

Ella also got her first haircut

March also consisted of many walks around the neighborhood and stops at the park.

April

Big brother, Dante’ turned 19 this month! Before that, Easter fell on my mom’s birthday. We got Ella all dressed up in her Easter dress, stopped at the cemetery to visit grandma on her birthday and then went to Nana’s for an Easter Egg hunt!

Ella is so very blessed to have wonderful people in her life. Aunt Margaret is one of them! (She will kill me for posting this picture, but I just love this!!) She and cousin Marissa came to visit and the highlight was watching them read books together.

We also found out the baby’s gender, but that wouldn’t be revealed until May.

May

Birthday’s have never really bothered me, mostly because I opt for the Jack Benny attitude and say that I am stuck at 39. However, in reality I turned 51. 30 was big. 40 was tough. 50 a bit hard to swallow. Over 50? Well…..I examine my own mortality every day.

The month started warm enough that Ella got to spend lots of time in her sandbox and pool.

We revealed that Ella was having a baby brother and got another look at him on an ultrasound.

Ella and I worked on a special project for Sam for Mother’s Day and we got to visit the Detroit Zoo.

May also brought Ella her first taste of corn on the cob!

June

My second oldest boy celebrated his 14th birthday in June. We got to spend Father’s Day together by visiting Crossroads Village. They had a Classic Car Show there and we walked the village and rode the train. It was such a great day with my kids!

It was SO hot that day!!! By the end of it all, Ella was physically exhausted. June was a hot month and we did get to get out and enjoy walks in the park and a day at the splash pad.

July

By July, Sam was 5 months pregnant and was so sick. The pregnancy was a rough one on her. The heat didn’t help things. Despite that, the middle of summer was packed full of amazing things and our family had loads of fun.

We celebrated America’s Birthday, Ella had her first visit to the public library and bowled for the first time, and we all visited the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.

August

As Summer drew to a close, we continued to squeeze as much into it as we could. I got to spend a perfect day doing a daddy daughter picnic, my name was finally on the board at the Corner Cone for a free ice cream, Ella spent lots of time drawing with crayons, and our stress levels were through the roof as we took Ella in for her ear tube surgery. We also got another peak at AJ and had a visit from my brother.

September

Fall! My favorite season of all. I was glad to be able to get together with Margaret, Walt and my buddy Chris at Margaret’s house. Since she’s already mad at the one picture I posted, I’ll just share the one she told me I could share. Hopefully, that makes things a little better….

We always love going to get pumpkins and decorating the front of the house for fall. Ella seemed to like it, too.

Ella and I also got to take one last trip to the Saginaw Zoo before it closed for the season. It was a great day for us, and Sam actually got to relax a bit.

October

We had been told more than once that there was a possibility that the baby would come before his due date. He held out almost until the date! Just two days before he was born, Ella and I got to go outside and enjoy the fall colors.

On October 11th, AJ entered the world. I watched in awe as my son was born and all the pride of being a daddy again filled my soul. We weren’t sure how Ella would handle it, but she welcomed him with open arms.

They still did not have a photographer at the hospital, so we went to JC Penney to have some newborn pictures taken. AJ looks spiffy in his outfit!

While this wasn’t Ella’s first Halloween, it was the first real Trick or Treating adventure for her. She was happy that big brother was there to walk with her. AJ was obviously way too young to attempt to go out this year.

November

Fall walks are among my favorites. I love looking at the colors. Ella and I took many fall walks and there were many instances where she’d just play in a pile of leaves! AJ kept us all busy and so it was just Ella and I making the trip to Bronner’s to get his ornament for the Christmas tree. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at home and got the house ready for Christmas.

December

The final month of the year brought many happy memories. Professional Christmas pictures, my annual reading of Dickens, AJ turned 2 months old, a visit from Papa and Grandma, Christmas Eve with my boys, Holiday lights at Crossroads, our first Christmas as a family of four, and the anticipation of a brand new year.

Blog highlights included my entries to the 2021 Song Draft, salutes to Soupy Sales, my grandpa, and Ernie Harwell, a guest blog from my pal Max, silly blogs about hats and Bernie Sanders’ mittens, fishing memories, my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and a blog about an amazing cartoon Dog Dad.

There were many sad moments in 2021. I lost classmates and friends to cancer, heart disease, and of course, Covid. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that life is precious and another day is not promised. You never know when it will be the “last picture,” the “last phone call,” or the “last visit.” It takes me make to that quote that my band director wrote on the grease board my senior year. I have quoted it many times. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.”

Life is too short. Live. Laugh. Love.

As we welcome 2022, I pray that it is a good year for all of us. May we find it full of happiness and good health. May God bless you and yours in the upcoming year.

Get ready. The Book of 2022 awaits. Grab your pen and turn to page (January) 1.

Birthday Recap

On Saturday, I celebrated birthday 51. I worked the night before, so I came home and literally went to bed. Sam and I had plans, so I wanted to get some sleep before we left.

Even before the clock struck midnight, my Facebook was blowing up with countless birthday wishes. When I woke up, there were over 300 wishes and more continued throughout the day. I always joke that without Facebook I might not remember somebody’s birthday. Remember when we used to put them on a calendar and actually made a phone call or sent a card to someone? Not that it bothers me, it is nice to be remembered.

Anyway, Friday night, my coworkers helped me celebrate with home made brownies and cannoli from my favorite Italian bakery (Tringali’s). Another co-worker bought me an instant ticket and it actually was a winner, which never happens. It wasn’t the $500,000, but enough to buy another lottery ticket…

Visit to the Zoo

Ella’s first trip to the Detroit Zoo. Had to get a picture by the famous fountain.

For Ella’s birthday, Aunt Margaret got her a year membership to the Detroit Zoo. The weather was going to be perfect, so we decided that we’d celebrate both our birthdays there! We almost weren’t able to go, because you have to reserve tickets in advance. There were only two times available on Saturday and I took the first available, which was 4:30pm. That only gave us an hour and a half to walk the zoo.

It actually worked out perfectly. We didn’t stand in line for the kangaroos (it was quite long), and we didn’t do the reptile house. Instead, we walked and saw the animals that were outside. We saw lions, tigers, giraffes, rhinos, monkeys, and the polar bear. Sadly, the penguin exhibit is closed for remodeling and the otters were off sleeping somewhere (those are Sam and my favorite animals).

Doesn’t that tiger look real?!

Every so often, we’d take Ella out of her stroller and tried to get her to walk with us. We tried holding her hand, but it wasn’t gonna happen. As soon as her feet hit the pavement, she was off like a shot! She was running everywhere. She was so excited to see other kids and other people. She just wanted to roam around! We got our exercise in chasing her around the zoo!

Sam had asked me what I wanted to do for dinner earlier in the week. Our favorite steak house is almost impossible to order a carry out from these days, so I thought we’d try Mexican food. After a few attempts, and getting a busy signal, I was at a loss. Then Sam reminded me of the Roadhouse up the street from us. They have the best burgers! That actually sounded really good, and I was excited to order. Sam was craving nachos, so she got an order from there (it probably could have fed 4 people – that thing was huge!). The burger itself was a treat, but I also decided that I’d splurge and get an order of fried pickles! Yummy!!!

Ella was exhausted by the time we got home and pretty much went straight to bed. Earlier in the day, she helped Sam make my birthday cake. She cracked the eggs and helped mix it all up. Because she went to bed, we never really got to sing Happy Birthday and I didn’t get to blow out the candles and make a wish. However, my wish had already come true that day – I got to spend my day with my two favorite girls!!

Trip #52

Today is the 12th anniversary of my 39th birthday.

As much as I’d like to be “Forever 39” like Jack Benny, the truth is that I am officially logged 51 years on the planet. Today begins Trip #52.

People are always asked “What do you want for your birthday?” This blog is my answer (or answers) to that question. These are things you can do for me.

Pay It Forward

Every now and then, someone will pay for my coffee at Tim Hortons. It always feel great to know that someone was kind enough to do that for me. You know what feels better? Doing it for someone else!

Thank A Veteran

It is such a simple thing to do. In the Covid world, shaking hands is frowned upon, but you can still say thank you. You may not think it means much, but it does.

Support a Local Business

This is so important today. The big companies are not struggling as bad. Search out local businesses and support them. Make it a point to brag about them on social media. Spread the word. Your community will thank you for it!

Do Something Nice For Your Neighbor

Bring up their trash cans from the road. Mow their grass. Send them flowers. TALK to them! Put the phone down and do some real socializing.

Look Into Your Child’s Eyes.

I saw this online recently and it really hit home. “Stop what you are doing, sit down, and just look into them. Do that every day and you will change the world.” ~Noel Cocca

Give. Don’t Expect To Get.

This one thing can change the entire world! Everyone expects things today. We are selfish. Be the change – “It is better to give than to receive.” It doesn’t have to be money or materialistic things, either. Give a compliment. Give a smile.

Smile More

When you smile, you instantly uplift others! Plus, smiling can reduce stress and activate the smiles in the people around you. Smiling is infectious. Too often we walk with our faces down or stern, perhaps staring at our phones, oblivious to the people around us. Look up. Smile at people. If you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway.

Be Thankful

Say “thank you.” You will be amazed at how your attitude changes when you become more thankful and grateful. Thank your friends, family, and God daily.

Say “I Love You”

This is a life mantra of mine. You may never get another chance to tell someone how you feel. Always make sure they know. Make it a goal to tell at least 10 people you love them today. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Stay Positive

Do whatever you can to avoid negativity and negative people. Find the positives in everything.

Unplug

Spend some time away from your phone, the internet, television, etc. Get out in nature. Sit on your porch and take in the sights and sounds. Read a good book. Read the Bible. Pray. Set some time away from technology and reset!

Write a Letter or Send a Card To Someone

Do it for no reason. You will make their day!

Practice Active Listening

When you are speaking with someone, give them your full attention. Ask how they are and then LISTEN to them!

Get Musical

Sing, hum, dance, make music, celebrate music. Music is one of the things that make us experience life more fully and connect to our innermost creativity. Music is the universal language. Get LOST in a favorite song – really listen to it. Listen for something you may not have heard before.

________

Thanks in advance for reading. Now go out and make a difference!!

“For the record …”

In keeping with my tradition of following Jack Benny’s example, today I celebrate the 10th anniversary of my 39th birthday.

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My wife is the best gift giver – hands down.  She picks up on things that I say in passing and turns it into an amazing gift.  She knows I love the Godfather and mafia related stuff.  For Christmas, she found the Godfather Notebook, which is a simply amazing book compiled of some of the novel, Francis Ford Coppola’s notes, and some very cool pictures.

notebook

My dad and I were talking about how my grandpa used to use a cup and brush to lather up to shave one day.  For our anniversary, she bought me this sweet shaving set with razor, cup, brush, and more.  Truly a unique and wonderful gift!

SHAVE

She topped both of those for my birthday. I guess one day my dad and I were talking about vinyl records.  I was talking about how I would sit in on the floor in our front room and listen to them.  I was raised listening to vinyl records – and just a few blogs ago talked about them!  As a kid, I had this red and white record player and played my records on it – if you’re old enough, you probably did too!

RP4

My wife has a hard time keeping secrets.  She tried to give me hints:  “It’s something you were talking to your dad about.” That could be anything from music to TV to movies…you name it!!  “You were just talking about it.”  Again, no help.  I told her to stop trying to tell me or give me hints.  I told her I would wait until my birthday and see what it was.  She was obviously quite happy with whatever she was giving me and said, “It’s gonna be hard to beat this one…”

Over the weekend, my brother came up from Ohio for a visit.  He wanted to visit my mother’s grave for Mother’s Day.  I also had my sons for the weekend, so she decided that when I got home from work on Saturday, we were doing a small birthday celebration.  She got a cake, ice cream, and I had to open my present.

No doubt, you know what it is based on what I have written.  She had me open the album she got me first.  A perfect choice –

RP3

A double album of Sinatra!  I have to be honest, it had been so long since I held an album, I thought it was a picture or something.  I mean, the cover art is beautiful and could easily be framed!  Then, I opened the main present –

RP1

I’m not going to lie, I got emotional.  What an amazingly thoughtful gift!  I was speechless.  My brother captured the moment in pictures, but the angle makes me look awful, so I am not posting those pictures!  This machine is wonderful.  It has speakers on the front, a headphone jack to listen privately, the capability of recording to a USB device, and RCA outputs to play through my DJ equipment, if I am so inclined.

As I pulled the album out of the sleeve, I could feel my hands shaking.  I carefully put the album on the turntable and dropped the needle gently in the grooves……and there was Frank singing “One For My Baby”.  Wow.  The sounds of Sinatra on vinyl.  Only those who appreciate the sounds of music on vinyl can relate to what I was experiencing.  I probably could have sat in the corner with headphones on and spent the rest of the afternoon like that.  What a surreal experience.

RP2

As I mentioned a bit ago, I had just blogged about missing record stores a few days ago.  You can read that blog here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/05/08/i-miss-record-stores/

She thought I was on to her when I posted that blog!  What a coincidence, huh?  What are the odds?  She literally had purchased the record player a few days earlier!

This weekend, she has more plans for me.  She let the cat out of the bag that we are celebrating my day throughout the weekend with more surprises.  She did let me in on one stop – we are going to make a trip to the record store, so I can purchase a few albums to listen to on my birthday present.

Thank you, baby, for your wonderful gift!  I love it and I love you more than I can say!! Thank you for making my birthday and my life so special!