Monday, February 25, 2013

FOUR years later!

Oh my!  Has it really been that long?  Four years with no updates on the little cherubs or about our life.  Wow.  Well, a lot has happened since then.  We now reside on the beautiful Florida Space Coast.  The kids are both in full time school, the little Princess is in Kindergarten and the little Prince is in First Grade.  Time just flew by!

Yes.  You read that right. We now live in Florida.  We absolutely LOVE it here!  We have made some wonderful friends, we love being able to swim almost the WHOLE year, the sunsets are just outrageous and the kids have been to Disney so much they think we have a second home there.  We have found a wonderful church family and I sing weekly at the 9:30am mass.  We are beautifully blessed, but then that is nothing new...God has always been right beside us, blessing us all along.

Here's some photos of our life over the last few years...enjoy!

2011 was such a busy year!  Settling into our new home near the Jersey shore, our trip to Arizona to visit family, putting the house on the market through the summer, the kids starting school, selling the house and then moving to Florida in October!  Phew!  What a year!  Filled with so many blessings!

 2012 was all about becoming 'Floridians' and enjoying our new Florida life. It was also about Disney, making awesome friends, Disney, visiting family up north, Disney, having family stay with us in Florida, Disney, buying our new home and settling into it, Disney, both kids being in school full time and oh yeah...visits to DISNEY WORLD!

Looking at these pictures reminds me of how blessed we are and how God has been guiding us here to Florida all along.  We have been through some dark times, but God's hand has been over us all the while.  That is most likely our greatest lesson from the last four years...even in the darkest of times, joy is ever present. Joy is a special gift from God that we can have at any time, in any moment...all we have to do is reach out and embrace it.

May you embrace your joy today.

- The Mamasaurus

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stephen Silvio Carlino

Easter 2005

Before I close this year out with my blog, I must address something that is hard for me to talk about, but must be done.

As many of my friends already know, our family lost a truly spectacular person on October 25th, big brother, Stephen.

Never did I ever consider for a second that I might see one of my siblings pass away so young. Stephen was only 42 years old. My sister-in-law and three nephews are never far from my thoughts or prayers. My heart breaks for them, for all of us.

Stephen was a kindred spirit. He was someone who would help his friends, his co-workers, any way he could. He was quick with a celebratory pat on the back or some sound, loving advice if you were struggling with something. He loved his family so very much, they were what he was about...and why he did all that he did.

As a brother...I couldn’t have asked for more. He always gave the best advice. He was my biggest fan (he loved this blog and would tell me to just ‘keep writing!’). He would sometimes get ticked off at me for not using my voice and it makes me smile to think about that now. He wanted me to sing more with the gifts God gave me.

Amen, big brother...I will.

Missing Stephen was something I had already been used to...but missing someone because they’ve moved and missing them because they’re gone is very different. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could pick up the phone, or type an email to him.

Stephen moved away from the northeast to the southwest five years ago. Though I missed him dreadfully, I wanted him to be happy. Then, back in ’08, my hubby and I and our two children joined him out there. Although, as it turned out, staying in the southwest was not to be...for us. Worried about upsetting my brother, since he was tickled that we were living there, I tearfully told him one day that we would be moving back. Stephen was surprised, and although he wished we would give it more time, he said, “Look, I want you to be happy...I’d love for it to be here, but if it’s not, you need to go wherever is best for your family...because that’s what matters the most.”

I hugged him and silently thanked God for him. You see, he came all the way out to PA to drive a moving van with my hubby for three days across the country to move us out there. Now, we were moving back less than four months later. He didn’t scoff at us, he didn’t get upset...he just loved us. And that’s what Stephen did so well...he loved...and he showed it. He never failed to put himself in some else’s shoes. And if perchance he happened to be in the wrong...he would always be the first one to say, “I’m sorry.”

May we all strive to be that humble.

Memories throughout my childhood of Stephen and I are so clear to me now. Stephen and I singing Christmas carols, watching the Dukes of Hazard, Stephen working on his cars and teaching me all about 8 cylinder engines. He even taught me how to tell what kind of engine a car had by listening to it (he tested me often). Then, an added extra bonus was his girlfriend and my future sister-in-law, Stephanie. I loved her just as much as I loved him. She was really like a sister to me and still is. Then, he gave our family his three beautiful sons whom I love dearly. I am so thankful for these precious gifts he has left us all with. Especially the memories.

Ah...the memories.

Ever since I could remember, Stephen was there for me. One special memory stands out. It was back in my elementary school days. Back then, I had a lot of trouble in school and didn’t like it much. Okay, that’s putting it mildly...I HATED school. One of the reasons why was because I was bullied a lot in people who did not understand the struggles that I faced every day. Our family had been going through some tough times. Kids can be cruel and they tend to pick on the ones that need the most love and understanding...ironically enough.

One particular day, close to the end of school, I was having a problem with one of the girls in school. She teased me mercilessly and made fun of me at every turn. I could do nothing without her saying something derogatory about me. Today, that wouldn’t fly...but then, teachers turned a blind eye and a deaf ear and often, they would join in. Sad, but true.

I wanted so much for people to see me differently...perhaps do something spectacular to ‘shut them up’ for a change.

I was walking out of the school yard to the bus stop on the corner. Past the ‘girl’ who kept whispering and saying some things loud enough for me to hear. I kept my feet moving as the snickering multiplied while I walked past. All of the sudden, the sound of a motor droned out above the din. A moped came buzzing into the lot with a mysterious looking guy on it, face hidden by his black helmet and shaded face guard. All of the girls behind me gasped and turned their attention from me to the mysterious guy on the bike. Hearing chatter behind me like: “Who is that?” and “Who’s he picking up?” and “Wow! Cool bike!” echoed the frantic beating of my heart.

Eventually the chattering became drowned out by the sound of the approaching bike. He pulled right up to me, and stopped...idling his engine. With a nod of his head and holding out his hand, he helped me onto the back of the bike. He handed me a helmet. Hearing the gasps, I looked up and saw a sea of faces with wide eyes. Suddenly possessing the moxie, I winked at our audience and put the helmet on. We sat there for a full moment, watching the jaws of everyone drop. My mysterious rider made sure to do a complete circle around the group of gawkers before pulling out of the school yard. I was smiling the biggest smile I had in a long time when I waved goodbye to those gawking faces. It was a moment I would never forget.

I hugged my mysterious rider tightly. He may as well been a knight in shining armor on a white horse that day.

I knew that the following Monday at school there would be questions and talk about who it could have been...I smiled to myself.

They would never know who was under that helmet.

They would never know that he was one of the best brothers any girl could ever have...a brother who somehow, instinctively knew that day, I needed him so much.

Stephen, you blessed my life so many times, just by being who you were. I hope where you are, you know that.

Till we meet again big bro, I promise to laugh more, love more and thank God for each live life to the fullest.

Until I hear the sound of that moped again.

-The Mamasaurus