Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kensi wants to keep Christ in Christmas...

But Santa scares the crap out of her.

As we prepared to get Kensington to sleep, tonight we needed to up the ante.

You see, for the past several months, Kensi would - from time to time - get out of her bed and crawl herself onto ours. And leading up to that moment, there would be 4-5 times within the first two hour of us putting her down that she would come up with endless excuses to get out of bed.  

“I need to go potty,”
(This one always works, and she knows it… we don’t need her having an accident in her sleep);

“I’m thirsty,” (Two sips of water and then its back in the bedroom);

“I’m hungry,” (This one doesn’t work and I’m not sure why it’s still in her rotation);

“There’s a noise outside,” (We make sure the ipod is playing in the room so this is a non-issue);

 "I'm scared of the dark,” (Don’t start with me… you have three. Not one, not two, but THREE nightlights on in your room. Wait. This might actually be why she can’t sleep. No worries, she has a sleep mask that she got for Christmas last year);

“There’s a monster under my bed,” (Yes, and we put him there to make sure you stay IN your bed. You get out again and we’re going to tell him he can bite your feet the moment they touch the floor again).

Okay, the last one is a stretch. We wouldn’t want him to bite her feet… maybe just gnaw on a toe or two until she realizes that we mean business.

Tonight, we couldn’t take ANY chances. Santa was coming and needed to assemble all of her toys so they would be ready for her to play with in the morning.

After Kensi placed Santa’s magic key on our doorknob (now that we don’t have a chimney for him to crawl down in, he needs some way to get into the house), we tell her that Santa will come in, but if he sees her or even thinks that she’s still up, he will leave and take all of the toys with him.

She runs down the hall into her bedroom and hops into her bedroom. As I start to read a book to her (‘Twas the night before Christmas), Chris places our wireless speakers outside of her bedroom window. Half way through the book, Chris enters her room with his iPhone hidden behind his back. Mid sentence, he presses play and outside, you can hear the bells on Santa’s reindeer. Deadpanned face, Kensi looks at me and says, “You’re done reading for the night. We can finish this tomorrow. I gotta go to sleep. Now,” and gives me a peck on the cheek. Looking at Chris, as serious as can be, she says, “Dad, no cuddles tonight, only kisses. Do you understand?”
“Kensi, what’s wrong?”

“I can hear Santa’s sleigh. I have to get to sleep so I get presents.”

Our master plan had worked. We wait 20 minutes to start our evening’s activities, waiting until we knew she was out. At minute 21, Chris walks into her room to check on her and she peeks her head out from underneath the blanket. “Daddy, I’m scared.”

“Baby, what’s wrong? Why are your scared?”
“I’m so excited I can’t get to sleep. Feel my heart beating, daddy, its going fast. I can’t wait until Christmas but I don’t want Santa to know that I’m still up so I’m scared he’ll find out. Don’t tell him, okay? Promise?”

“Yes, baby… I promise I won’t tell Santa that you’re still up [cue music] but you really need to go to sleep. He’s almost here”

Ten minutes later, she was out like a light.


This year, Kensi had asked Santa for only three things. We told her that she’s very fortunate and couldn’t go to him with her initial list that consisted of everything she’s seen on a TV commercial . Since September, every toy, movie, character and set of Ginsu knives she’s seen on the screen, her response was, “I want that. Can you buy me that? Can Santa bring me that?”

We’ve had to sit her down and let her know that there are other little boys and girls that don’t have the things that she has, and Santa not only needs to make sure there are enough toys for everyone on his list, it’s also our duty to make sure that we buy some items and help Santa deliver them to other children that are in need. It took a couple times saying this, but she understood. We went out and got the toy catalogs from the major stores (These are NOTHING like it was in my day… I remember they were as thick as the Sears catalog, or the size of a phone book. Now they are a couple pages, like a Sunday paper advertisement, as most everything is now online.
She looked through the flyers with a marker and narrowed her ask down to three; A pink microphone with a stand, makeup, and the latest LaLaLoopsie doll with blue hair that she can comb (the other LaLaLoopsie dolls all have hard plastic hair)
When she finally had the chance to sit on Santa’s lap, she forgot the name of the doll. She was a little stumped as she wanted to make sure she got a specific as possible so he would know which one to bring her. Heck, if he’s only brining three things, they BETTER be the ones she wants.  And that’s the holiday photo that we went with.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Thud Heard Round The World

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At home with her arm wrapped
 the following day in her pink cast

two weeks later in her Christmas cast
(having breakfast in bed.. yes, she's milking this)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Texas T

No, not “Texas Tea”, as in oil, but Texas T as in Thanksgiving. This year’s Lone Star Rally included a special surprise for our family – Thanksgiving. As we experienced the rally and honored Mazha while we were in Galveston, we also took the opportunity to celebrate being together as a family at the beginning of November.

The past three years of the rally have been interesting. Three years ago we got a blizzard in PA that canceled Halloween and almost postponed our trip to Texas, last year we had hurricane Sandy that did postpone Halloween and impeded our travel (shortened our stay to just the weekend), and this year there was, what seemed to have been, a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Okay, maybe not that bad, but enough where we were home-bound for a day with the TV sirens going off. No worries... we ended up playing 6 hours of dominoes and watching the water rise outside of our window. We called it bonding.

With our usual activities taking place on The Strand, Kensington also experienced her first haunted house at the old Mayfield Manor, the former home of Dr. Horace Mayfield, once a respected doctor, upcoming community leader, and son of a prominent physician in Galveston. It’s an 1867 building that served as a morgue after the 1900 Storm – still the deadliest storm in U.S. history having killed an estimated 8,000 Galveston residents. When we entered, Chris told them not to hold back. She insisted that she go through it and loves the thrill of being scared and while we tried to warn her, she’s didn’t want to be babied. So we went through (with a flashlight) and she laughed most of the way through it. When we were done, she wanted to go through it again. It wasn’t worth the admission for the first trip, and we we’re going to even attempt it a second time.
Kensi loved the fact that our beach house was 50 yards away from the ocean. Within a minute, her little feet could be hitting the sand. Besides swimming, burying her feet in the mud and chasing after seagulls, she loved flying her kite with Fazha. Unfortunately, after about 2 minutes of piloting the craft solo, she let go of the string and the kite went soaring up in the air. I tried chasing it and stepping on the spool, even running through the brush and dunes to catch it. I had no luck. There was a huge gust of wind that carried it away. When all hope was lost, I found the spool that went over some power lines and found that the kite had actually landed on the deck of a vacation home. While I shimmied my way up the deck the best that I could, there was no way that I could get it. Cousin Chase also tried working his magic so K-Grace could have her “shark-attack” kite back. Then Daddy came to the rescue when he drove the truck up to the deck and I was able to climb on the rooftop of the cab and un-snag the sails.

We also made our annual trip on the ferry to feed the seagulls. With Chris, Simone and Jordan off at the spa, a group of us (loaves of bread in tow) stepped onto the ship and noticed that K’s throwing skills greatly improved over last year. Mighty impressive. Watch out Dorothy “Dottie” Kamenshek, this girl may actually beat your record.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This holiday season... let them eat cake

The holiday season is coming up quickly and this poor little blog has been unduly neglected. I thought when I changed jobs it would allow me more time to spend crafting our paternal experiences in my down time (while waiting in the terminal for the next flight, in the evening hours at some random hotel or on an Acela train that has been blessed with free wi-fi).

Needless to say, that hasn’t happened at all.

Quick recaps of K-Grace’s fifth Halloween:

Halloween this year was a whirlwind experience which lead to her treat-or-treating six times (yes, I said five) in four different states. How does one do this? Why, with the magic of Santa, of course. If he can travel all around the world in one night, Kensi can travel to a handful of locations that are separated from each other by a mere 1600 miles. No big deal, right?

Okay, there was a trick (and treat) to the multiple locations. First, it started with the festivities at Seaworld, Lego Land and Disney Land in Florida. The wonder of these two location is that its Halloween for the weeks leading into the actual date. While we brought Kensi’s costume with us, the weather ended up being 80 degrees and we couldn’t have our little sugar cube melt, so we declined the traditional costume and went with festive t-shirts. We do have to say, Halloween at Disney is ten times better than Christmas at Disney.  While K-Graces loves her princesses, she takes after her papa and leans towards the dark-side and enjoys her villain experiences, especially the headless horseman that lead the parade.
This leads us to TOT number three; Sleepy Hollow. I never knew this was a real location, but it is and happens to be only 20 miles north of NYC. So we took a day trip to this tiny village with “Kensi-Marie” in full getup. Tarrytown gravitated to her more than poor Ichabod Crane. Can you blame them?

We took a story time excursion at
The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow (a 17th-century stone church located on that has a five-acre churchyard feature prominently in Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"). The 40 minute story time theme was “Halloween Tales for Tots to Tweens” so we thought it would be a great little break from our packed agenda.
Boy, were we wrong. We ended up leaving about 15 minutes into the event, but not without our own laugh that we will remember for years to come.

When our “master storyteller” started, she had asked the group for a name that she could weave into the story. A little girl in the first row stood up and belted out her name, Chloe.

The storyteller echoed in response, “Great, Chloe it is.” Then another little girl on the opposite side of the church stated her name, Nicole. The storyteller then said, “Great. We will use ‘Chloe-Nicole’ as our character.” That’s when it got comical. You see, Kensi was standing in a pew behind the other attendees (because she was the only one in costume and was wearing a wig taller than most of the kids in the room). Kensi raised her hand and cleared her throat so everyone would notice that she demanded their attention. The sound echoed through the (sleepy) hollow church. “Yes, Marie?”

 And then it began…

“My name is Kensington Irwin-Dudek, Princess Grace”

There was a small chuckle from the adults in the room. One of the dads at the front said, “They call her ‘Bob’ for short.”

“Okay, love. That’s quite a mouthful, so why don’t we call the little girl in the story ‘Chloe-Nicole Kensington,’ okay? So once upon a time in a little village like this one, there lived a young girl by the name Chloe-Nicole Kensington. Chloe-Nicole Kensington lived in a little house with her mommy and daddy.”

Interrupting the story, Kensi said just loud enough for the small group to hear her, “I don’t have a mommy.” There was another round of stifled laughter from the adults and our narrator rolled with the punches.

 “Oh, honey. This story isn’t about you; it’s about another little girl named ‘Chloe-Nicole Kensington’. So let’s continue. Once upon a time in a little village just like this one, there lived a young girl by the name Chloe-Nicole Kensington. Chloe-Nicole Kensington lived in a cottage with her mommy and daddy.”

Kensi, this time a little upset that she wasn’t taken seriously enough the first time decided she needed to command the presence of everyone in the room. Speaking in a royal tone and at a volume loud enough to make the windows vibrate, our little queen belted out, “Hey Lady. I just told you, I don’t have a mommy and a daddy. I have a daddy and a papa!”

At this point, Chris is nowhere to be found. He dropped on the floor and rolled his body under the ten pews behind us to the exit and left the building. I only the other hand tried covering Kensi’s mouth with one hand while lifting a finger of my other and putting it up to my lips indicating that Kensi needed to be quite. “Kensi, hush. You’re being rude by interrupting the story” I tried to whisper.
“Well, Papa. I don’t. So stop trying to shush me.”
I try to cover her mouth again and she pushed back throwing up her hands in the air and giving me this look like, “For the love of God, stick up for me on this one. The woman clearly is getting the story wrong and I need to you defend me. I’m not the crazy one here, she is. Oh, and by the way, where did daddy go, he was JUST sitting here next to you.”

Tears are now being wiped away from my eyes from holding in the laughter and I grabbed her and kissed the top of her forehead. She pushed me away… I now know not to cross this little diva and to stick-up for her no matter what.

The story continues, “Okay. Lets try to bring this back together here people,” now speeding through the part, “Once upon a time in a little village just like this one, there lived a young girl by the name Chloe-Nicole Kensington who lived in a little house with her parents.”

All is well until two minutes later Chloe-Nicole Kensington’s mother gets sick in the story. Kensi looks at me, rolls her eyes and shakes her head. My finger goes up to my mouth and Kensi whispers, “she just doesn’t get it, papa.”

Ten minutes in, and the story is now boring me, Kensi and the entire audience of 25 so I pretend like I’m trying to find the bathroom for Kensington and we exit. Unfortunately, as I run around the church, I forget that the front of the church is surrounded with glass windows and everyone can see Kensi’s wig running across the cemetery.

That’s the end of this story, but the wig did make an appearance in Texas during Halloween at The Lone Star Rally and this time no one was referencing Chloe-Nicole Kensington or where she lived (or with whom).

Our little darling was the hit of the parade with hundreds of onlookers wanting their picture with her or of her. Perched upon her daddy's shoulders (come on, there were 400,000 people in attendance and with there being a group of us, her wig being so high we could see her and Chris from three blocks away) people would stop us for her picture. She would extend her hand as if she wanted them to kiss the ring, and tell them to “please hold”. Then she would flap open her feathered fan and cover Chris’s face. She wanted to be the only one in the picture. Then she would give the okay to have her picture taken. After a few snaps, she would hold her hand up as if she needed them to stop, fold up her fan, and then indicated to daddy that she was ready to move forward. Each vendor had their Jack-O-Lanterns out filled with candy and when they would look up and she who was in front of them, would literally empty out their container of candy into her bag.

Long live the queen of the Lone Star Rally.

Then, once we were home, Kensi wanted to visit her NJ friends and trick-or-treat at their homes so she “Boo’d” them. She made Halloween cupcakes and knocked on their doors and surprised them. Not only by providing them with their own little treat, but asking for, in return, some of their leftover candies. It worked.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Missing Princess

Kensington had her biggest highlight and let-down of our recent trip at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. As we entered the new Fantasyland, she became overly-excited at the sight of Rapunzel’s tower and insisted we go see it. As we were headed to our scheduled lunch with the Princesses (more to come on that soon) we told her we would have to come back. All she could talk about at lunch was going to see the tower. To be honest, we weren’t even sure if the tower was Rapunzel’s as we didn’t get a good look at it, but she was adamant that it was. After lunch we headed back in that direction and asked a cast member how to get to the tower. This is when we were told the devastating news… you can’t get to the tower. It’s floating in the forest and while you can see it from the village, you can’t go visit it. When we told this to her, she was heart-broken. Her entire body just shutdown. All she wanted to do was to visit her favorite princess, Rapunzel. Chris tried to console her, promising to give her anything that she wanted for her to put a smile on her face. It didn’t work. So she did what any young girl would do. She climbed up on the rock fence, turned toward the tower and yelled, “Rapunzel, let down your hair. Rapunzel, please let down your hair.” This caused a series of onlookers to take out their cameras to snap a picture of our own sad princess on the search for her dream.

This was the first scrapbook page I’ve done since getting our new Sizzix Eclipse. I couldn’t find anything to assist with the tower, so I created the SVG myself from an image I found online. You can download the free files here.

SVG Files:
The center of the sun (SVG also included) is a “gold doubloon” Kensi got from Jake and the Neverland Pirates Disney Jr. show.
This page is made up of:
Prism Stand Floss
Papers: Imaginisce’s “If the crown fits”; Kaiser Craft’s “Magic Happens” Collection; Glitz Design’s “Plum Crazy” Collection; My Mind’s Eye  Bohemia’s “Bluebird ‘All-Boy’ Stripes/Light Blue”
Embellishments: Prima Handmade Flowers; Recollections Floral Embellishments; Recollections Bling on a Roll; Making Memories {note}worthy trim and Paper Wizard’s “Princess” nameplate


Friday, August 16, 2013

Cowgirl Tough

After attending a recent Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Convention (yes… I’m serious. We actually went to a two day convention), I decided that it was time to dust off my Cricut machine, catalog our embellishments and reorganize the craft room.
What I found while doing this was a project that I started in 2011 that I never completed. It goes back to a visit to Texas were Kensington and her cousin Roni went horseback riding at the BlackHawk River Ranch – where Roni worked as a ranch-hand. The issue that I ran across is that I have no clue as to the look I was going for. I couldn’t find my original sketch or an image of an existing layout that I saw that I was trying to replicate. After staring at it for more than thirty minutes I decided that I hated it. I started tearing the pictures off the page when Chris came in and asked me what I thought I was doing.
He tried to convince me to go back to the page and rework it, knowing that there is no wrong way to create a page.  Once he realized there was no turning back, he steered me in the direction of doing a shoestring project, using the inking and chalking techniques that I learned in one of my breakout sessions, as well as multiple layering techniques.
This is what I came up with. Notice the horseshoe I used for the letter "u". This was taken off the Christmas tree in the hotel that we stayed at the day that Kensi was born. I knew I wanted to keep it but didn't know how to display/preserve it. I think this is the perfect home for it. 
Now I only have 2 more layouts to compete for 2011, three for 2012, and then I can get started on her 2013 book. Onward and upward!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.

Around this time of year, our mailboxes get filled up with advertisements for the latest and greatest Halloween costumes and major retailers that have gone out of business (i.e., Circuit City, Linens and Things, Borders Books), have had their former real estate turn into pop-up costume stores that seem to always be having a sale. While Chris and I may go into these stores for the occasional party prop, colored hairspray and bags of candy, we have stayed very loyal to our children’s boutique that has been outfitting K-Grace since her first Halloween appearance as Swine Flu - Chasing Fireflies @chasenfireflies

Kensington was like thousands of little goblins this week that went giddy over the gargoyles, ghosts, princess and cute critters costumes when they received the newest Chasing Fireflies Wishcraft catalog. She opted out of her regular “Seek and Find” and chapter books at bedtime and wanted me to read every description for every costume in the catalog and upon turning to the very first page, she declared that she had chosen her costume – the Skeleton Princess. 
My first thought was this was going to be an extremely long process if every costume we'd see she would be picking. But she didn’t. With that wicked sense of humor of hers, she was adamant that the Skeleton Princess was the costume that she wanted which threw me in a tailspin. You see, I have been waiting for THIS particular Halloween – the Halloween where she can finally fit into a 4T costume. Since I first laid eyes on the Chasing Fireflies almost 5 years ago, I have had my heart set on the Marie Antoinette costume which she could never fit into - unit now.  I know this is no longer about me, but… well, it’s all about me and the pictures. There will be tons of ghost and ghouls and skeletons running about but the likelihood of another Marie Antoinette (outside of the queens running around in the Village) is slim to none.
I mean, just look at it… the lavish confection of gold lamé, lilac and gold brocade and ivory lace, THIS is a costume treasure worthy of our little French queen. Plus, the stunning wig – just look at it! And the accessories add that ooh la la that is just to die for.
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I showed her the Marie Antoinette costume and asked her if this could be the back-up. If they didn’t have the dark princess in her size, then she wouldn’t be able to reign over a vast scary-tale kingdom and would have to tell her real kingdom that "In honor of Halloween, let them eat . . . candy!" She was fine with that compromise. The way I look at it, 10 years from now, she couldn’t care less about what she wore for Halloween. 10 years from now, I will still be looking at pictures of her in a 2 foot wig, wearing a smile on my face. So… here’s the deal. It’s up to you. Place your vote, we want to hear what you think - Dark Princess or Prolific Queen?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tales from the Crypt (minus the creepy skeleton guy)

Dear Lois,
On June 4th, it had been 3 years, 3 months and 13 days since I've spoken to mom. I had sat in a group reading with a very well know physic, Concetta Bertoldi, but it was a quick reading where – though she did come through – I only had about 90 seconds hearing from her and I didn’t really speak because I was in shock. Many of the things Concetta said during that reading made complete sense, including “Your mother is thanking you for giving her the tea, her lips were dry.” Which, when mom was in hospice, I was giving her, through a straw, sweet tea because her lips were dry.
When Mom passed, I made an appointment with Concetta for personal reading, and I was put on her three year waiting list. Knowing that my entire life was on the internet, I didn’t give Concetta my real name… and I didn’t use my real phone number or email address. I used a Google number that rang to my phone, and I made up an email address on the fly so I could receive my confirmation.
Leading up to this reading, I have been listening to P!nk’s song, Beam Me Up (which she wrote with one of my bosses, Billy Mann). The lines: “Could you beam me up, Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it”… That’s all I’ve wanted. Just one minute in that parallel universe. Just to talk to her and to ask her questions “I’m tired of being a fighter. I think a minute’s enough. Just beam me up.But you see… that one minute comes and goes so quickly. I had a hundred and one questions I wanted to ask, but when I was put in that situation, I was speechless. I couldn’t get anything out. Not that my mind went blank... it that I was so overwhelmed, I literally couldn’t get a sound, let alone a word, out of my mouth.

So fast forward three years... Chris and I arrived at Concetta’s house 45 minutes early, so we drove around the neighborhood. Chris was trying to engage me in a conversation – trying to make me laugh. It wasn’t working. I was making a mental and physical list of the things I wanted to come through. Words that would validate it was mom coming through. People that had passed recently so the names would be fresh in my mind. Songs that make me remember her, the name of her perfume.
When we finally drove up to her house and got out of the car, my palms were already drenched and I felt sick to my stomach. Concetta greeted us and I went straight to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face and just tried to focus in on the moment. Concetta remembered us from three years ago. Not the reading itself, but the fact that we had met in the past. She tried to calm me and get me to relax.
She’s just like she is in her group settings and in her books. After a couple deep breathes, I was fine. So I thought.
CONCETTA: Let me tell you how to have fun with this.
What I want to remind you is that these people are deceased and that they will come from your mother’s side and your father side. Anyone can come through and use you as a messenger, so what I want you to do – the best you can - is tell me who you recognize, or how it makes sense.  Okay?
You’re so damn cute.
PAUL: [Laughing] I know.
CONCETTA: What a good looking kid you are. What are you 12?
PAUL: [Lying out my arse] I’m 27.
CONCETTA: God. Give me a break. I remember those years.
PAUL: [laughing while Chris is giving me that look]
CHRIS: Don’t even start.
CONCETTA: Well, good. Enjoy it. It goes by very quickly, honey. Okay. Alright. One second here. [She breathes in deep] What I want you to do, it’s called “announcing one’s self”.
It’s very simple. Just say who you are. Tell them your first and last name.
PAUL: [not following directions and speeding through it] PaulIrwinDudek
CONCETTA: What is it?
PAUL: Paul Irwin-Dudek
CONCETTA: Do I have your permission to listen, please?
PAUL: Yes, absolutely.  [Taking a deep breathe myself and grabbing a Kleenex]
CONCETTA: Thank you. [She takes a couple deep breathes through her mouth]. Okay, okay. I have a woman, she’s standing right here. She calls you beloved son. Now, my question is, you’re very young. [In a confused and questioning tone, I think she’s questioning the age I’ve given her] Is your mother still alive?
CONCETTA: [Aha! moment] Wow. She was right then. I almost argued the point. I’m so sorry, my God. I’m so sorry darling. You lost her so young. I almost thought she was your grandmother, because she called you my son.  Sorry. I’m just talking out loud. Um… she thinks you look so much like her.
[In the first group reading that I attended months after Mazha past, she came through for less than a minute and the first thing she said was, “Look… we look just alike.” It was something she always said, and my typical response would be, “No we don’t. I’m adopted.” Which legally I am… but that’s another story for another time. Actually, the day that I left Texas to make the move up north, in the car Chris said, “wow, you look just like her.” I gave my typical response, which caught Chris off guard. And for two years he didn’t ask me any questions about my family because he didn’t want to pry. It wasn’t until I passed a car on the road that said, “Honk If You’re Polish” and I did. Chris turned to me and asked me if I knew who my birth parents are, and I had no clue to what he was talking about. Yes… to this day, Chris doesn’t believe a single word I say]
She told me you’re beautiful and she’s telling me ‘I love you, darling, I love you.’ Actually [pointing to Chris] she tells me she loves him to.
PAUL: She actually loved him more.
CONCETTA: She telling me he’s a wonderful partner, and she’s really happy that you’re loved. And she tells me to say it over and over again, “I’m so happy that you’re loved”.
[She takes a deep breathe]

Can you tell me who Helen is? [She takes another breath and I can’t get a word out. I’m physically speechless. I just shake my head up and down and a steady stream of tears pour from my eyes. Chris is just looking at me because he doesn’t know who Helen can be and why this has me reacting this way]. Can you tell me who… it starts with a “L”. “L-Helen.” I don’t know how to say it.

PAUL: Lois

CONCETTA: Who is Lois?

PAUL: So, (with my voice cracking and the back of my throat burning) Lois Helen Stephens passed away before my mother did. [Chris lets out a gasp and then covers him mouth]. I never met her. [Dear Lois...]

CONCETTA: Well, they are together. Your mother is telling me to tell you that they are together.
[Last night, Chris went to bed early because he wasn’t feeling good. When I went to bed, the sheets and the duvet had been completed confiscated to his side of the bed, so I walked into the hallway closet and grabbed 'Lois'. She had comforted me once again, but this time just hours before she came to visit.]

She said to tell you…she just telling me about her life. She’s with a lot of people. She wanted me to let you know that she was chosen to speak. They always elect a spokesperson and she was chosen. She’s very happy where she is and tells me to tell you that she no longer suffers. Did she have cancer, dear?


CONCETTA:  Whatever she had, she shows me that she had dealings with suffering. She tells me that her body… I’m seeing all of her organs shut down one-by-one. Organs… Shut down. Shut down. Shut down. And whatever it was, she’s happy at where she is because she’s no longer suffering. Whatever from I don’t know.

She’s with a lot of other people and they are all talking at the same time. But that’s okay, because she is delighted.
Who is Margaret, or Mary or Marie or “M”? Is there Mary, Mae… something like that?

PAUL: [Shaking my head, no, but I know what she’s wanting to come through. I don’t make a comment because I want her to get this]

CONCETTA: [she takes a deep breathe] Marianne, Marleen… I don’t know.  She might be talking about… there are a lot of people here so, keep in mind, they might be using you as a messenger. They could be talking about someone who is alive. [I make a mental note that I wanted her to come back to this - she needs to come back to this. I know what she's wanting to say.]

She’s calling you Paulie. Now, they are saying 'Paulie' because it almost sounds like there is another Paul. Is there another Paul?

PAUL: Yes. [This was something that was on my list that I wrote down to come through in order to validate the reading. In the group reading, I was called Paulie. She never called me Paulie and it wasn’t until we got in the car that night that I knew what she was trying to say. This being repeated only validated the reading more.]
CONCETTA: She’s saying, (moving her hands from side to side) “Paul” and then “Paulie”. Who is the other Paul.

PAUL: My grandfather.
CONCETTA: He’s Paul and you’re Paulie?

PAUL: Paul E. [Which is how I've signed my name since grade school]
CONCETTA: That’s what she’s saying but I interpreted that as Paulie. “I.E.” Paulie. She’s telling me. But she’s standing with Paul, she said.  I didn’t think it was your dad but it’s was a father figure by the way that she said it.

You are such a good son, and she’s telling me that you always were. She’s talking about when you were young kids – how many siblings do you have?

CONCETTA: She talking about when her children were so young, you were so sweet. She showing me images of you. She’s talking about you like you were very skinny and you wouldn’t eat.

PAUL: I am skinny and I’m not eating now.
CONCETTA: She says it to me like you were a poor eater. They worried about you. That you didn’t eat well. And that she was so concerned that you didn’t eat. She telling me that she remembers when you were little they would have to make special food – not special food – but only the things that you liked. You were so finicky. She saying and showing me that they were so worried.  Like, if you liked toast, they would make you a ton of toast. And that was what she liked. [I didn’t remember this, but did get confirmation from my sister]

She’s telling me you were very… in the neighborhood. You had a lot of friends and the kids all played together. Outside. She showing me images of you as a little kid. A really sweet little kid. And um… pretty. Beautiful. I don’t know how else to say it. Just so adorable. And she shows you… well, you have beautiful skin now, but she’s showing me as a child with milk white skin and even lighter hair that you have now. And she’s saying it like… you know…
PAUL: Well, it’s greying now.

CONCETTA: Well, you’re only 27.
CHRIS: Paul…

PAUL: Okay, I lied about my age.
CONCETTA: You did?!?

CHRIS: [Laughing] He’s almost 40.
PAUL: NO, I’m not.

CONCETTA: Oh, my Lord, and I believed you. Well, that’s not fair. And I’m so jealous. You look good. Let me say that. You both are adorable. But you have a baby face. Your father is saying… no, your mother is saying something about your dad. (She takes in a deep breath). Is he still here?
PAUL: Yes.

CONCETTA: She shows him to me… she’s trying to tell me something about him. She says to you, “Please have patience with him. He doesn’t always understand everything. And, he tries, but it’s not always perfect.” But she says, “It is what it is,” and he doesn’t always communicate well. He’s not the kind of guy who can talk about his emotions and his thoughts and put them out there –or connect the dots, do you understand?
PAUL: Yes.

CONCETTA: She’s telling me to tell you that so you understand. It’s the way he was raised. But she says that she was grateful to him because he was good to her.
Do you have a bother or a sister?

PAUL: Sister.

CONCETTA: Who has the brother?  Bothers? Is it your mother? She’s mentioning the brothers. No, your father… your father has brothers. Have any of them passed?
PAUL: No. [She’s correct, mom had no brothers but dad has two]

CONCETTA: Then I don’t know who these brothers are, but she’s telling me they are with HER, the brothers that passed. They’re with HER and I don’t know how they are connected. But they are together. That’s okay…
Do you recognize who is Roger or Richard?

CONCETTA: Raymond? That’s okay… no worries. You’ll get it. He’s passed. Whoever this man is with the “R”. I just want to say it so you can listen back to this. Okay?

And who is… Rose or Ruth. She’s saying it again, but with a female sound. Saying the “R”. Is it Rose or Ruth or Roberta?  Something like that. Okay, these are people you’re related to dear, but I don’t know how it fits together. [Ruth i smy grandmothers middle name... but that's all I have on this so far]

[Concetta takes her hand off the table and with her eyes closed, she brings her hand in front of her faces and smells from the bottom of the palm to the tip of her fingers]

Did you mother smoke cigarettes? I can smell them.

PAUL: Yes. [boy, did she ever]

CONCETTA: She’s telling me she enjoyed smoking. [Smells her hand again].

And who is Ann? An Ann or Anna… a friend of hers. [I shake my head, no]
She says… [Concetta turns her head up, with her eyes closed and asks Mom A question], “A friend of yours, mam?”

Okay, oh my God, sorry… one second. They are all talking at once.

Whose Frank or Fred?  Freddy? Who’s Freddy?

PAUL: Freddy. Her Uncle

CONCETTA: They just brought him home and that’s why there is so many people talking. [He had just passed two weeks prior] There is a huge homecoming celebration. That’s why so many people are speaking. It’s a home coming for this gentleman and that’s why there are so many spirits connected to that? 

PAUL: [Laughing] So, they are speaking to him over there? They weren’t speaking to him here on earth.

CONCETTA: On the other side, yes. [Laughing] I don’t know what the situation is, but on that side it’s unconditional.

[What I realized afterwards, is the Ann, or “Anna” that Concetta was referencing was Freddy’s wife who passed many years ago. She mentioned Anna, and then went right into Freddy, making the connection that they were there together]

She’s talking to me about your life. She definitely is showing me pictures of you growing up. Always being outside… in the woods… you and your sister [We did live on a huge property, next to the lake, that butted up against many acres of woods].

Well… Happy outings with your father, too, when you were a kid. She’s showing me the water. By the lake, but not the ocean. She showing me happy times there. She’s showing me the woods. She telling me that you were always industrious. You always were able to earn money and you have a creative mind. [I got in trouble in the third grade because I operated a boot-leg candy store on the school grounds. I had a 50-60% mark-up and used my allowance to kick-start my business. Later in high-school, I had a similar operation and in college… well, we will just leave it at that.]  And she was always admiring of that.

And you always thought of her. And that’s the part that she says the most…” Thank you so much because you always thought of me. What I needed.” She is talking about mother’s day gifts. And things you were just so kind about. That you remembered it all. She knows that you remember something to do with a telephone number. I don’t know what that means. But something about a telephone number that you play in your mind. A number.  I’m seeing it as a telephone number, but you play it in your mind like it has some significance. To her and to you. [We had the same telephone number for years, and when she gave up the landline and moved to mobile, I would still call the home number to reach her. When she passed, I would still call the number. I still recall the number in my mind when I’m driving and thing of her]

What is April? Is that a birthday or anniversary?  Is it the month that she past? What is it? She says she passed away on somebodies birthday.

PAUL: Nope.

CONCETTA: Okay. She says she passed away on somebody’s birthday or on somebody’s anniversary or holiday. I don’t know what it is, but she’s showing me – it’s a birthday. [Chris laughs]

CHRIS: Its Kayla’s Birthday. [I was trying to think about someone prior to her passing, but our best friends had their daughter on the one year anniversary of her passing… and prior to Kayla’s birth, I told everyone that Cathy was having a girl – she didn’t know what she was going to have - and she’d be born on February 22.

CONCETTA: Yes, there is something connecting that. She says she knows that you recognize that.
She said to tell you something about William. Who’s William?

[I’m so bad at this game… I shake my head no] It’s Bill. Who is Bill?

PAUL: It’s my uncle.

CONCETTA: Who is David, Donald… Danny? [No clue… the only thing I can think of is as a child we had a family friend, David, that was like my parents other son. He was between the ages of me and my sister and they stayed in contact throughout the years… and the funny thing is, now David and I live just towns apart, even though we both grew up in Texas]

Um... you have cousins that passed away that are over there.  They are young. She telling me you have a young cousin over there that recently passed. Starts with an “R”.

PAUL: I do have a younger cousin that passed. His name is Roger.

CONCETTA: [wanting to slap me, i'm sure] That was “R”, the “Roger” that was coming through earlier. [Um, yes. I see that now. Sitting back and looking at psychic shows I’ve watched on TV it always amazing me that people don’t know their own relatives names… well, look at me – I don’t either].

She’s trying to tell you that they are standing with her, because of the celebration of the homecoming of the uncle that passed. She couldn’t wait for you to get here. You’re in very good health, dear. You’ll have a very long life. She says you’re safe and you’re happy. And she’s very happy about that.

[Turning to Chris]
She knew you. She knew you, she said. And she has her arms around you and wants you to know that.

She showing me travels in your future. She’s telling me you’re travelers. You like to travel.[Chris and I have been to over 16 countries and most of the United States]

I see Florida in the midst.  [Chris laughs, as we just may plans less than two weeks ago to go back to Disney in October].

I know you two had a dog. She shows me a dog. [Chris gets teary eyed, and I haven’t stopped balling since the reading began.] She said the dog could see her and that the dog barked at her. The dog was very well aware of her presence and it’s not your imagination.

She’s saying, “Please know I’m always able to hear you, so when you ask for anything don’t hesitate to ask.” And also she’s telling not to hesitate to ask, but say, “In the name of God, hear my prayer” She’s one with God. She’s loving telling me to tell you how much God loves you and… listen… [we break for a personal story].

She’s making sure to tell you that God is love and God loves all things. She has the answers to the things she’s wondered about. And she wasn’t sure… but now she is, and she’s loving it.  She’s saying, “tell my son he’s in good hands – on this side and the other.”

Who is Doris, or Dorothy, or Deloris? [Oh please… not with the names again]. Do you know who this is? This is a woman who I believe was a good friend of hers. I feel like she’s telling me about the friends of hers that have passed away that are surrounding her and she said… She’s telling me I said her name wrong. [She never said it, but I know where this is going] What did I do? What is your mother’s first name? She said I said it wrong. She wants me to go back to it. I must have said the first initial, but didn’t say her name right.

PAUL: Go back to the “M”.

CONCETTA: That’s what she said… I said it wrong. “Thanks honey… I know I did… what is it?” I don’t know… Meredith? Mary? She’s telling me I’m saying it wrong.  I’m asking her why she’s not telling me her name and she’s responding to me with “you mis-said it”. 

What is it? You have to tell me because I’m just not getting it?

PAUL: Mazha

CONCETTA: I would have never gotten that. NEVER. How do you say it?

PAUL: [I can’t get it out. I’m chocking on my own breath and tears] Masz-ha

CONCETTA: Okay. So that’s what it is. What background it that?

PAUL: It’s not… we made it up. We called her that.

CONCETTA: What was her given name?

PAUL: Joyce

CONCETTA: But it’s the M name that she wanted me to say.

And who is Ed?  There is someone named Ed there. When you get back, know that your family is a part of this and listen to this and ask your family. [Okay, family reading this... who is Ed? What I have learned is my grandfather, Paul, was also 'Paul E." His middle name is Ed. Not sure if that is the meaning behind this, but it's what I've gotten so far.]

You have things that belong to her that she knows you treasure. And she’s telling me “They’ve saved things of mine, Concetta” she’s said. She’s showing me dishes or kitchen stuff. I’m not understanding it. She telling me your sister took things that belonged to her and she loves that. She loves that your sister is reminded of her. She wants you to tell your sister that she loves her. “Send my love to her” she’s saying.

Who’s Carol?

PAUL: Her sister.

CONCETTA: She has the connection to Bill, or William. She’s acknowledging that.
[She’s right. Mom;s sister Carol (deseased) was married to William/Bill] She sends her love.

She’s telling me to tell you to tell everyone that I know that they prayed for me that they loved me and that where she is, is a miracle. Its home. It’s a miracle. She doesn’t want you to worry about her anymore. She can hear every word when you speak and she’s still involved in your life and she’s protecting you.

From when you were this big (making the ‘knee high’ sign) , you loved animals. Kittens, dogs… anything with four-legs and fur – you were amazing. And gentle (Concetta cups her hands).

She talks about your father. He’s not having an easy time. She says to please understand that he does quirky things because he’s… not able to talk about his loneliness. So whatever he’s doing, she’s telling you not to worry about it. He’s doing this in order to survive.

She used to love to laugh – especially with the both of you. She was an easy laugher, too.

If you gave her a cup of coffee… and a cigarette, she’d be happy. She loved them both.  [Simone confirmed that when she was younger, before I came along, she used to live on coffee. By the time I came along, that was replaced by sweet tea]

She loves that she’s no longer in pain. What was going on with her body, honey?

PAUL: She had ALS.

CONCETTA: No wonder… she showed me her body breaking downs. I saw her legs. [Another item I wrote down prior to arriving at Concettas. I wanted her to reference her legs]  I know she telling me that she can now dance and run, and she loves telling that to you.

And I love telling you that there is a miracle coming if these politicians would get out of the way with what they can come up with in the area of stem-cell research. So vote wisely. She’s telling me there is a miracle coming, and no one will suffer the way that she did. She wants me to tell you that, and that she can do anything now.

Okay, so she’s trying to tell me some dates. January / February. What is it? Is that when she passed?

PAUL: Yes [February 22nd]

CONCETTA: She telling me that that’s when her crossing was. [She looks up] “Thanks honey!”
She wants you to know you have a long life. You’ll be here a long time and you’re very healthy.
[So, Chris is going before me… I knew it. And with DOMA being recently struck down, I get full death benefits.]

Things are going very well for you. Are you on the computer a lot of the time? She showing me you on the computer and she blows on your neck. She goes like this to you [dusting off her shoulder, and touching her neck]. She tries very hard to get your attention and to show you signs to let you know that she’s with you. And that she surrounds you. She has brought butterflies and it’s not your imagination. She now that she’s said it, you will start seeing it. It’s that, or something with wings. She showing something and just know that it’s not a coincidence.

I smell a cologne or perfume. I believe it’s something that you identify with her as well.  She says that the perfume… when you spray it you say her name. [The one thing I took of hers for Kensington is her favorite perfume which smells like Japanese Cherry Blossoms. When I spray it on her, I tell her she smells just like her Mazha]

She used to like to make you something to eat, if you wanted something, when she could do it. What do you want? At the end of her life everything started to shut down. Not everybody was there. Who wasn’t there? Who was missing?
[Her sister Lisa came down after the fact, while her other two sisters, Carol and Paulette lived local] I know she’s telling me, “don’t worry”, she just wants them to know – I didn’t want anyone to be hurt by my leaving.

She was very grateful to be let go.
[Simone, Chris and I all had seperate conversations with her  - against our fathers wishes, letting her know it was okay for her to go. That she didn’t need to suffer anymore]

Very grateful and more grateful to know that she didn’t die and that she walked into this amazing light, surrounded by so many. And that every time someone comes home, there is an amazing homecoming. And they take them in.

You are very popular at work. I don’t know what you do, but you have a lot of friends and tons of people respect you. She shows me that you are very loved by those that surround you. You have a great network. She says that. Your friends… your co-workers… what have you. She’s showing me very large groups. You travel around and people know your name and the welcome you in.
[I do… I travel to our Walks or Events, where there can be anywhere from 1,000 or 30,000 individuals, and I’m announced from the stage before I speak to all of our participants]

And in the future you have some dreams that come true. [We will see]

Personally, I think it has to do where you live. She’s showing me a residence change… but it really is happy for you. [Chris and I are living in our current location on a temporary basis. While we still have our house in the Poconos, we moved so I could be closer to work in NYC. Now, I have a 12 minute commute to the Empire State Building, but we know the apartment that we currently live in is only ‘home’ for two years.]

And you’re dreaming about her. Because she says she knows that you know she visits you when you’re sleeping. And that you wake up and you only remember little bits and pieces of it. [True, very true]

So please understand that it’s not your imagination. There are many layers of sleep; Theta, Delta, Beta… all these lower stages that we are fluctuating between all the time. When we sleep, they speak to us when we get into the lower layers. And when we start to really understand that we’re having this conversation, that’s when the other layers begin to wake us up. And then when we get to the layers above, it makes it seem like it’s a dream sequence. So that’s why you’re only remembering pieces of it. I want you to understand that your mother is talking to you. And you do have long sit downs with her. “I just want you to know,” she says, “I think you’re beautiful and I love you. I love you so much.” [Turning to Chris] And she says that to you too, as well my dear. [I swear he gave her a large sum of money when she was still here in order for her to say that. I always knew they had a secret alliance together]

She’s a good woman. She had a good life and she’s not complaining, about anything. She’s telling me that the only thing that there is, is that there is a great lesson in life and whatever came from her dealing with what she dealt with; her greatest joy is having the family that cared about her. And now she’s telling me that it’s all done now, and she had the answers to so many questions that she had… and she loves telling you that.

Another thing that I want to mention and I don’t know how it all falls into play, and I don’t know where… but do you guys have kids, because she talks about your children?

PAUL: [Shaking my head yes]

CONCETTA: I didn’t know how to put it all together, because she showing me kids.  How many do you have?

PAUL: [eeking out a single word] One.

CONCETTA: There will be a second. I just want to let you know because they’re talking about it… You have a daughter. And they are talking about another child, and I don’t know how this falls into play. You daughter is extremely bright and extremely adorable and she’s crazy about yous. And she tries to play the one against the other one, so just be aware of it. [Does Concetta have a video camera in our house?]

She knows your weaknesses and she knows yours. It doesn’t mean that she’s a bad kid; it just means that she’s a smart kid. And she’s not big… she’s a little one. She’s adorable and she’s crazy about yous and you’re doing a great job, your mother said. And it’s like I see these photographs of you, her, him and the dog. That’s just adorable. Such a sweet family and your mother is loving it, just loving it because you finally got the happiness you deserve and that you fought for in your life. [It’s funny that Concetta said the word, “fought” because Chris and I have been huge advocates for marriage equally. One would think the entire LGBT community it, but they are not. We marched in the first Human Rights Campaign in DC in 2000, alongside Ellen and at the time Anne Heche. We fought for equal health/employment benefits from one - at the time –of the largest companies in the world, and I started Inclusion Action Teams within my last job and was the organizations advocate and face of the LGBT Community. We’ve also been fighting to have our marriage recognized by the Federal Government] And she wants you to know that it will continue.

Your daughter is a mix between the two of you. They show her to be really cute and, just a mix. She has your personality traits and yours.
[Concetta starts laughing] They show her much like this [Showing us her crossed fingers] How old is she?

PAUL: Four

CONCETTA: Yeah… they show her like this. And if you forgive me, a little spoiled.

PAUL: Hmm…

CONCETTA: But, whatever… they say she’s very happy and that’s all that matters. She’s a very happy little girl and there is no question that they show a vision that is sweet and loving and bright and successful for her.

You mother is saying that. “when you need me, just call me, I’ll be there. It’s not a coincidence, it’s the truth.” And she’s asking you to send her love to everyone. She’s getting lower, dear. Please ask me any questions that you may have.

PAUL: I know that Kensington has been with us forever. Um… I’m just wondering how she’s been connected to us.

CONCETTA: She’s known you many different lives. It’s not a coincidence that she’s in your lives now. She’s known you many different life times. If you’ve done any readings on book that talk about past lives – I’ve done so much research on this, and I know it anyway – but I’m always amazed at it. If you listen to children, it’s ‘out of the mouths of babes’. [Personal story cut] [I have read many of these books, as well as all of Concetta's books. Concetta talked about spirit guide but doesn’t go into it much, whereas other books talk about how the spirits are connected – See Many Lives, Many Masters – I was hoping for Concetta to give us some insight, but she’s not that type of medium or physic].

PAUL: The last time we had a group reading, she mentioned something about a fruit bowl. We’ve tried to figure out what she was saying, and we have no clue.

CONCETTA: She’s actually laughing…  She has a sense of humor. She’s laughing as I ask her, “What about the fruit bowl?”  It’s a fruit bowl. I don’t know… all I know is she’s saying that you have things that belong to her and she loves being in your home.

She’s showing me photographs of her in your house… She’s showing me things that you use every day. Stuff.  Something in the kitchen. Do you have dishes of hers? She’s showing my cutlery. She’s showing me the kitchen.

PAUL: Her urn is in the kitchen. On the counter next to the knives.

CONCETTA: What is it that he has, dear? She’s showing me little do-dads… little tchotchkes. From the kitchen. Do you have any of those things? She’s showing me these things… you may not have them, but you loved them. She’s want me to mention these. Honey, I’m seeing these little things in the kitchen. And then she’s showing me photographs. So, it has to be something with the small do-dads.
[I wasn’t getting it, but once I got back in the car, I looked at my list that I wrote and I felt like a complete idiot. I wrote, “Tobasco”. I used this word for validation. Mom had literally hundreds of different tobasco bottles decorating the kitchen, as well as tobacco pot-holders, salt and pepper shakers, pictures and other ‘do-dads and tchotchkes”. She also used this as her password for some of her email accounts. I was looking for Concetta to use the word “Tobasco” and not what they actually were]  

I know she’s talking to your daughter. You daughter knows her. She is talking with her. She has conversations with her. And you daughter is being protected by her. She loves that little girl. That’s sweet. That’s so sweet. I’m so happy for you.

Is your daughter, I’m just curious, is she a mixed race? But she’s white.

CHRIS: Blonde hair, blue eyes.

CONCETTA: Oh Maron. You’re going to have your hands full in the future
[referencing that she too is blonde and blue eyed] They show her to be just like you and just like you… a mix. That’s why I’m asking if she’s mixed raced. Your mother is showing me you and you. She has so many things. So many expressions on her face. Your mom is mentioning it. She’s just really fun. Your mother is talking about it and in love with her. [Mom was/is one of her biggest fans. She loved Kensington so much and was just so elated every time I would update the blog and add additional pictures. She got the biggest kick when we would be in the store together and a stranger would walk up to us and say, “Oh she’s so cute” and seeing that she had blond hair and blue eyes, and we didn’t, they would say, “She must look just like her mommy.” Her response would be, “she looks just like her daddies.”]

Your daughter has pointed at her and tried to tell you that she’s there. It’s not your imagination. Whatever it is, your mother is telling you that she’s not dead. She’s in the air that you breathe. She’s in the AIR. A.I.R.  Always In Reach. And she’s very grateful for the way that you love her and remember her.
There you go. I hope this was good for you. You are so welcomed. You both – because of the way that she is saying it – are good people. They are telling me, with huge kind of applause, what type of men you are. They are proud of this. They are all very proud of this, not just your mother.  The energy around you guys is nothing but beautiful. Have a good time in Florida.

And there it is. A half-hour frozen in time. Concetta was right, it goes quickly. I can say that I now have a new sense... it's almost like relief or peace. I look at things a different way now. Do I still miss her? Like crazy. But now I have a new purpose... to write down all my questions for my next appointmnet. Unfortunately, Concetta is a very busy woman. Her next opening is in 2019.