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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Catching Up

I can't' believe it's been four months since I wrote in here!!!

Let's see - since February, what's happened....

FEBRUARY - Sydney and I decided that I would take her to the Father/Daughter dance! We are both so happy we did it - she had such a great time! I wore one of Matt's ties with my skirt suit, and Sydney wore the beautiful powder blue dress that Aunt Michelle had given her for Christmas. Her best friend Penelope wore the exact same dress! I was the only mom there (that was escorting her daughter and not volunteering), and I felt a little out of place at first, but after seeing Sydney having a blast with her friends and not at all concerned with the fact that her dad wasn't there (at least she seem like it), I felt much better. The important thing was that she didn't miss out on this event.

MARCH - Two years in our home!

APRIL - Took the kids to Disney World with my niece Ariel during Spring Break! We drove, and that's the last time I'll do that unless we can take our time more and make some planned overnight stops that involve sight seeing or something to break up the drive a little more. I felt blessed we made it there and back safely with no accidents - especially since on the way home, there were so many accidents that it took an additional five hours to get back! We got to visit my dear friend Jenny while we were down there - it was so nice to have a chance to visit with her and her beautiful family, and stay for a couple of nights in her gorgeous new home. At Disney, we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort and it was fabulous!!! The kids had a blast at the pool, and Ariel and I enjoyed the Banana Cabana... =P  Our last day at the resort, and Jacob broke his tooth (for the third time in one year). This time, the dentist said it kept breaking easily because the other dentists attached the broken half of the tooth to the other half of his tooth, and apparently you're not supposed to do that. Instead, he put a crown on it, so hopefully it will hold a lot longer than before. It was a crazy, whirlwind, fun and completely exhausting week, but I'm so glad I got to show my kids Disney. My niece had never been there, either, so I was thrilled to be able to give her that experience, too! Next time it will be more relaxed - we'll make sure we fly, and have more time at the theme parks and enough down time to recover in between.

Right after we got back from Disney, I helped to move my mother from her house to an apartment closer to me. Her house was beginning to fall apart, and she is at the point where she can't take care of this stuff herself anymore. It was just too much for me to handle things at her house needing repairs, and things at my house also needing repairs (of course, this stuff happens simultaneously)... I've been helping her much more than ever since her health and stamina has been declining, and it is SO much easier having her only two miles away now.

At the end of April, the Run for Row Corp. had our first official board meeting in which we selected board members, and changed the name of the corporation to The Matthew R. Row Scholarship Foundation. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter!!! SO much to do, but it's all so very exciting!!! More to come about this soon - in the meantime, here is the blog for the Foundation (which serves as it's website).

MAY - Jacob turned 11, and Sydney turned 8! It's hard to believe how fast these kids are growing up, and how much their personalities are developed. Jacob had his middle school concert this month in which he played the tuba, and also was asked to perform a piano solo! He played the Pirates of the Caribbean score, and rocked it. He has such a natural talent for the piano, and it's quickly become his passion. My heart was pounding for him as he played, and even though he said he was a little nervous performing in front of so many people, he didn't show it at all. So proud of him!! Ginny and Roy visited from AZ for two weeks, and they had a chance to be a part of the kids' birthday party, and got to see Jacob perform. Sydney had dance pictures while they were here, so they got to see her in full costume and make up which is great since they weren't able to be here for her recital. Unfortunately, Ginny and Roy both ended up SO sick while they were out and couldn't do half of the things they would have liked to. Even though he was under the weather, my father-in-law built us a new raised garden bed - in typical Row fashion so that it will probably last forever. The last one got demolished from the November storm.

We've had a rough couple of months with our health - Jacob and I ended up with strep throat at the end of April/beginning of May, upper respiratory infections, and Jacob had his first (and hopefully last) asthma attack that brought him to the ER. I had already had an appointment scheduled for him and Sydney to have their allergies tested, so his appointment couldn't have come at a better time. Turns out the only thing he's allergic to is cats, and we have two! It's not so severe, though, that we need to get rid of them. The allergist just suggested we keep them out of his bedroom. I'm taking it a step further and getting rid of all the carpeting in the house. It was something I had planned on doing eventually since we're lucky enough to have beautiful hardwood floors underneath, but I felt a sense of urgency to get it done since all I could picture is dust and dander imbedded everywhere. No matter how much you vacuum and clean, that stuff isn't coming out of the carpet.

JUNE - Jacob's room got painted before having all the carpeting ripped out (the same day). That was yesterday... I'm now in the process of cleaning every surface of the house and putting everything back in the bedrooms, living room and dining room. a HUGE job (which is why I'm probably procrastinating and writing in the blog instead - haha!!). In between the painting and carpet rip out yesterday, I dug up a two-foot wide section of lawn next to the driveway and installed pavers and stone. It turned out pretty darned good! I'm exhausted, though, and trying to muster up the energy for the project facing me today (and I'm recovering from walking pneumonia). =P

Sydney had her ballet recital last week, and she did such a beautiful job!! It's her second year in ballet, and she is so graceful and strong. So proud of my sweet girl!

Only a few more days (well, half-days) left of school, and they're out for the summer!!! Woohoo!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Online Dating WARNING

Ladies, (and I'm sure this could apply to men just the same), if you are involved in the online dating thing - whether it's Match, E Harmony, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, Christian Mingle, Tinder, etc., MAKE SURE you get the person's FULL NAME before you agree to meet with them. You would be surprised how many people lie about their actual name, age, and other important (and pretty basic) details.

If they're going to lie about this shit right from the beginning, then chances are they are just a plain liar. Do not get involved, and then block them.

Google, google, google. There is nothing wrong with that. It's not an invasion of privacy before agreeing to meet with someone. It's a responsible first step before putting yourself in potential danger. Please heed my advice. Giving them the benefit of the doubt only prolongs the inevitable.


Friday, February 6, 2015

"I think I know why my heart is so strong - because Daddy is in it."
~ Sydney


You and me both, sweetheart. <3 br="">

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lonely...

I have made many acquaintances with some pretty awesome people since my journey into widowhood began six years ago, and one of the most talented writers I've come to know is a fellow widow by the name of Catherine Tidd. She is the author of Confessions of a Mediocre Widow, and I was truly honored that she sent me a complimentary copy of her book for me to read and review for her. I had taken a hiatus for a few years from reading books on this topic, but I have finally started reading her book and am LOVING it so far.

In the meantime, I've been friends with her on Facebook for a long time now, and I truly enjoy reading her status updates and the articles she posts. This one, in particular, has hit home for me and I feel the need to share it with everyone I know.


‘LONELY’ NOT POWERFUL ENOUGH WORD TO DESCRIBE WIDOWHOOD



She puts it all into words so eloquently that it's very possible that someone reading it who has not experienced what other widowed people have may actually get a glimpse of understanding. I recommend that EVERYONE read it - widowed or not... The people who haven't experienced this specific kind of loss can maybe understand their widowed friend a bit more than before, and those who have experienced it can be comforted by the validation that they are not alone in these feelings.

Keep writing, Catherine - you rock!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Thank You's

The kids and I finally wrote out our thank you cards for the Christmas gifts that we received this Christmas! Sounds pretty boring, but it's actually quite significant - at least for me.

It's possible that we did some over the last six years - it's even possible that we wrote them out but just never ended up putting them in the mail... Do you know how many piles of cards (Christmas cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, etc.) I have found over the course of the last six years that never ended up making it to the post office? Although I had good intentions, very few thank you's were probably actually sent and I just hoped that a verbal thank you was sufficient. I've had so much guilt over this...

But today, with participation from Jacob and Sydney, we finally completed a whole set of thank you cards, addressed them, and even put them in the mail!! Woohoo!

This is a true testament that I really am finally getting my shit together. =D

Monday, January 12, 2015

Run For Row

When Matt passed away, his co-workers from his new job had gotten together and organized a 5K in his honor called the Run for Row. It is held every year on the third Sunday in August at Como Lake Park in Lancaster, NY. Their purpose for the event is to raise money for our children's education, and they have faithfully organized the event every year since Matt's death.

This past year, since we're now living back in the area, I was invited to the last meeting before event in August. As I was listening to the planning process, one of them mentioned that they had gone to a local grocery store asking for a donation of hot dog rolls for the event, but they were turned down because they will only donate to a cause that benefits more than just one family. I didn't hear much of the rest of the conversation because that immediately got my wheels turning... I thought, "it would be way better if this event benefited more than just my kids" among a hundred other thoughts all at the same time. Not only would it be wonderful to help other kids pay for college, but I would also be way more inclined to help with the event if I knew it was helping others. I haven't been involved in this process for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it would just simply seem weird to help with a cause that benefits my own children - kind of like throwing a baby shower for your own baby. To me, it just seemed too self-serving to feel right.

I interjected an idea during the meeting... What if we were to change the objective of the event to raise funds for other kids who've lost a parent, and not just mine?

Then he told me that because the Buffalo plant (the plant Matt used to work at) is up for sale, that they decided to separate the Run for Row from the company they work for and form a non-profit corporation so that it is a separate entity. Because of that, they actually had to write the mission statement so that it reads that the funds raised will assist more than just my kids anyway, and they were going to ask me if I was OK with that. I'm more than OK with that - it thrills me to think we could help other kids, too! I'm now one of the directors of the corporation and am actively involved.

Education was so important to Matt. He got his associates degree right out of high school, and then at the time we met, he was just going back to college to get his bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. When he graduated with that degree nine years later (just before I gave birth to Sydney), he had just begun his studies for his Master's Degree. He is the only one in his family to get a college degree.

One of the reasons it meant so much to him to get a college education is because it was so important to him that his children have a college education, too, and he felt he would be a hypocrite if he told them to go to college if he didn't have a degree himself.

As such, I am so pleased to announce that the Run for Row will now be raising money for scholarships for students in the Western New York area who have lost a parent. We are still in the beginning stages, but it's a very exciting venture and I will post about details once we get them figured out. =)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (no matter which one you celebrate), and that the New Year brings everyone good health, love, happiness and peace. I have a good feeling about 2015! =)