Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
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.
“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.”
“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.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
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.
Friday, November 15, 2013
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
Friday, August 16, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
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.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
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.
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.
You’re so damn cute.
It’s very simple. Just say who you are. Tell them your first and last name.
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.
CONCETTA: Who is 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.
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.]
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.
She says… [Concetta turns her head up, with her eyes closed and asks Mom A question], “A friend of yours, mam?”
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?
She knew you. She knew you, she said. And she has her arms around you and wants you to know that.
What is it? You have to tell me because I’m just not getting it?
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.
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 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.
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]
PAUL: [eeking out a single word] One.
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?
CONCETTA: Yeah… they show her like this. And if you forgive me, a little spoiled.
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: 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.