Thursday, April 14, 2011

memory lane- western nj

When we recently went to New Jersey, we had a little time to kill before going to our friends' home for dinner. We decided to drive around and show some of the places we lived in or visited to the kids. They were all very small during that time period and may not remember. Austin, having been 8 years old when we moved to Michigan, recalls quite a bit of it. And Braaten does as well.

Once we left Pittsburgh to get closer to family back in 1997, we found this apartment complex. We were expecting our 2nd baby. It was a 2 bedroom apartment that had a swimming pool and a separate building that had a laundry room. Ugh! Shlepping with loads and loads of laundry is never fun, but you do what you have to do. At least it wasn't in an entirely different location!

Our place was the one on the right.

Oh, the Italian food from this place was delish!


Though my husband worked at the place that makes Nilla Wafers back then, he also found a part-time job at this place. He is and has always been dedicated to our family and does whatever it takes to provide for us. At the time, I was not licensed in our state to practice chiropractic, but I did sit for the board in early 1998 in order to fill in for other chiropractors. 

Austin has a penchant for golf courses and mini golf centers and I wonder if his love for the game started here?

He loves checking out the details of mini golf courses.

Our twins, Grant & Cooper, were born at this hospital. Before knowing that I was carrying twins, my desire was to have our 4th child at home with a midwife. At 19 weeks pregnant, I found out that I was carrying children #'s 4 AND 5 and the birthing plan changed.

My midwife still delivered those precious bundles of joy (weighing in at 6 lbs 7 oz. & 7 lbs. 3 oz.), but it happened in the hospital with the doctor she worked with present to help if needed. The doctor asked Shawn and I if his daughter could attend the births as she was trying to decide where in medicine she would eventually work. After having 3 kids already, who cares right? The more, the merrier. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I just wanted those babies out and wasn't thinking clearly. 

Moving further along in our walk down memory lane, this is downtown Hackettstown. What a quaint place! Shawn and I realized when we were passing through that we hadn't spent much time there which we both regret. I know now that it was because we were raising a young & rapidly growing family.

We lived just a couple of miles from here.

Poor Braaten wasn't in the pix because she was feeling ill during our 10 hour trek to Jersey.

Apartment dwelling got old after a year and Shawn and I found this place (a townhome) in a gated community called, "Panther Valley." It was my first-ever house in all my life. I grew up living in apartments so this was a HUGE deal to me. That, and I had my very own laundry room. Yippeeee!

The street we lived on was Duck Hawk Court. Strange name, eh?

This fella was a little guy when we used to walk on that bridge so he could see the little fishies swimming around on the way to the playground. He just had to get out of the car to check it out again. 

And finally, this is the school that Braaten went to for a year after the twins were born for preschool. She has such fond memories of that place.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of the home we bought after the townhome that we lived in for 3 years prior to the big move to the midwest. I can probably dig one out and scan one another time.

I loved taking a walk down memory lane and I hope you did, too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Everyday is the weekend for you, Mom"...

When my precious daughter was pondering the fact that she has to return to school today, she wanted to continue to bask in her springbreak time off. You could see the thoughts swirling in her mind. She had such a great week that included time back east and then sleepovers at friends one night after the next. And one conclusion she made at the end of it was this:

"Everyday is the weekend for you, Mom."

The record player in my own swirling thoughts went scratch in my head! What? I guess my life is one giant weekend. I reminded her that my life isn't a weekend and that the work I do is at times very hard. Taking care of our family of seven, homeschooling, keeping house, keeping a schedule that is crazy at times, cooking, cleaning, baking, growing in my relationship with Christ through service, Bible study, etc., being intentional in my marriage to continue to grow closer to my husband, and the list goes on and on.

I concluded in the end that being able to stay at home is like everyday being a weekend, but the reality is that it's not.

One day she'll understand.

Monday, April 11, 2011

talk of the town

There were different reasons for spending spring break in NJ~

*to spend time with our friend Barb who is grieving the loss of her husband
*to see my family
*to spend time with our friends
*to visit the Cake Boss
*to go to New York City even if only for a few hours
*to eat some great food
*to take a walk down memory lane and show the kids a bit of their roots and mine

We did all of those things in 4 days and we had a blast!

I seldom went to Helmer's, but it was a place my mother loved. It's a German restaurant on the corner of 11th & Washington Streets in Hoboken. Her favorite meal to eat was the open steak sandwich with mashed potatoes. I'm pretty sure her favorite rubbed off on all of us because that's what we each ordered when we had the opportunity to go there.

This was once a bank now turned Walgreens!
I found that interesting so I snapped a photo.

One of our favorite places to eat is Benny Tudinos Italian Restaurant.
They have ginormous pizza slices that are delicious.

That's Huge!

And look at those slices. 

My alma mater

I can't tell the tales to my children of how long and difficult the road to school was. It was a half a block away! 

And if you visit Hoboken, you should definitely buy some homemade mozzarella with ham and salami to go with it. They make the best Italian sandwiches.
Fiore's has been around since 1913.

Shawn and I went to Boulevard East in West New York where there is a fantastic place to see the NY skyline. Hoboken has a great view as well, but we happened to be in this area at the time.

I love New York!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Cake Boss

My hometown happens to be that of the Cake Boss
a.ka. Carlo's Bakery.
It's Hoboken- where the first-ever game of baseball was played and where Frank Sinatra was born.
My mom & dad raised all of us, Denise, April, Cindy, Bobby, Tracey, Jimmy, and I there. We lived in an apartment building in different parts of our one-square mile town and I think that since I have been away for some time, I appreciate going home all the more. It's a great place; one that I am proud of. Not because Buddy has his bakery there, but because it's where my parents worked hard to raise us to be loving, responsible, helpful, caring people. 

We just took a mini spring break trip to see our friend, Barb, who recently lost here husband of 32 years, my family, and to check out what's happening at the now-famous bake shop.

My kids have been living in Michigan for most of their lives and Hoboken is that place their mom reminisces about and the place that connects them to family. Their cousins and aunts and uncles are there and they love going to see them.
It's only recently that they have tuned into the show where they have come to know and love the characters. They couldn't wait to step into the bakery and experience what they see on t.v. 
So here's our trip in photos.

The line is long usually and it took us about an hour and a half to get in.

The City Hall is directly across the street and it's where I worked throughout high school during my summer breaks.

These clocks were put in about 15 years ago. I love how they make the town so quaint.

My hubby spotted the Carlo's van and went around back to get a few pictures.

They were waiting to see if anyone would come out of the door where they usually exit with cakes to load in the van. They never did. 

Braaten saw several of the family members while looking in the window.

While in line for any length of time, you get to know the folks around you. You find out that they come from all over. The fellow behind us was from Atlanta. He was with his wife and 2 children and offered to snap a photo.

While we were stepping in and out of line to take pictures or to peek in the window, a gentleman touched my husband's arm and started talking to him. He happens to work with him in Battle Creek. Huh? You're all the way here from home, too? Small world.

Random photo of Washington Street caddy corner to the bakery.

I remember passing this store countless time while I was growing up. I love how vintage it looks.

As we were standing in the bakery, number in hand, we heard the cashier ask a patron what her zip code was for the credit card she was using. Yes, you have to wait again once you enter! She said it and we couldn't believe our ears. It was our exact zip code. No joke! 
A lady and her daughter were visiting from Michigan, too. Three families in that crazy line were from our town. What are the chances? 

Buddy's sister, Lisa, was so sweet and friendly.

His mom came out momentarily and everyone cheered.

Braaten was so happy to have her picture taken with Lisa.

As we were paying dearly for our baked goods, Buddy came down the stairs. Everyone cheered again with the hopes that he would come out and talk to us. He did and he was graciously thanking us for coming.

What a fun day we had as a family.