RoseMarie Matassa


I come from a long line of strong Italian women. Women who run the show. These women know how to whip up a feast for a hundred people, not only to feed their bellies, but warm their hearts, pray a direct line to Heaven when we need prayers, give the clothes off their back and the food off their plate, and always, always how to keep their family together. Italian women know the secret to family success is throwing a great party where everyone can laugh together. My Great-Grammy always loved a good party. She would thrive in a crowd. It was just her way. That sweet little grin would light up a room when someone new walked in to say hello to her. 

    I told myself that I would take these next two days and celebrate like Gram. Hug and kiss my family, tell all the old stories, wax poetic about the fact that she had almost 99 years on this earth. But, to tell you the truth, I am not doing so well at it. 

    Another great party it is just what we need after the past few weeks. The loss of our Uncle Sal, Grammy’s brother, and now saying goodbye to her too. To bring us all back together again to laugh (and cry). So we can reminisce.

    But I couldn’t sleep last night, or really at all this week. I woke up today with a heavy heart because throughout all of our celebrating one thing is true. I really do have to say goodbye to my Grammy. A woman so loved that even my friends called her Gram. 

    As practical as I can be, I know she was 99, and lived a beautiful life, but I know it will hurt to not have the chance to hug her, to sit with her, and to see love radiate from her. I will miss her so much. So very, very much.

    I’m going to give myself a minute. Then, in true strong woman fashion, I will brush my tears off, put on a dress, and a fresh coat of lipstick (Thanks, Nana). And celebrate with the best of them. 

    My Gram raised a loving, special, crazy stuck like glue family, one of the best damn families I have ever seen. And I thank you for it, Gammy. We wouldn’t be here without you. 

    Love always,

    Aly

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    The Quiet Sounds


    It is currently 3:47 a.m. I woke up at 1:15 to nurse Max and just haven’t captured the elusive sleep we all crave. For the better part of the last two hours I have been reading and balancing our budget. Now, I am lying here listening to the quiet sounds as my family sleeps peacefully.

    Sophia is on my left between her Daddy and I. She asks every night to sleep with us and tonight was that night. She told Richie, “Daddy, you and Momma sleep together and I am all alone in my room!” Who can deny that logic? So here we are all tucked into one room. I can hear little tiny snores, bigger snores, and the rustling of my hungry nursling who is about to wake up again to eat (who needs sleep?)

    So, even though I can’t sleep and I’m squished under a toddler while nursing the baby I couldn’t be happier. When the sun comes up life gets crazy.

    I promise myself that I will get to my to-do list AND spend more time playing with the kids instead of worrying about that list. I try to focus on being patient instead of getting frustrated after tripping over every single toy we own, flying through the air like a figure skater, and definitely not sticking the landing. I promise myself I will submit that article and update my blog. Instead, I will probably end up dancing to Kidz Bop (I know all the words to every song now), eating way too many pretzels, and  tossing every toy inside the ottoman and calling it clean.

    After a successful round of Whole30, changing my eating habits, and losing 10 lbs I have gotten back into opening the fridge, sighing, and eating a bagel because I don’t want to cook.  So when I get up I swear I will cook a full breakfast and wash dishes and create a Pinterest worthy art project to do with Sophia. But for now, I will just enjoy the quiet and the cuddles. I will enjoy the sense of peace I have knowing my little family is all together, all in one place.

    And I won’t complain when I am overly tired running on hopes, dreams and pretzels because I am lucky enough to hear quiet sounds (and snores) next to me.

    Life Updates


    Hey All!

    Just wanted to say hello!

    We had our son, Maximus, on Memorial Day. So this summer has been hectic adjusting to life with a newborn and getting ready to move into our very first HOME! That’s right we purchased our own home and finally settle in two weeks. Life is finally starting to get back to “normal”.

    I have added a page called Freelance Services. If you click on that tab at the top of my blog you can see just a few of the services that I offer. If you would like to hear more about it, please email me for a complete list of services and pricing. I’m more than happy to work with you on anything you need.

    I hope to have a link to my portfolio and my pricing list added soon.

    Stay tuned for more news!

    Aly

    Under Construction


    Hello All,

    It’s been a while, but growing a baby human can be quite exhausting at times. On an exciting front there’s only about 5 weeks left until Baby T makes his way earthside. I know that once he is born things will be even more wonderfully hectic. Between preparing for the baby and house hunting for our new forever home I haven’t been online very much.

    Hopefully, there is some more exciting news in the works on the house front, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet. Stay tuned!

    As many of you know I am in the process of writing my memoir of the adventures Richie and I have shared focusing on a lot of our time in Japan. I’m considering switching gears slightly and focusing a bit more on how anxiety has affected our journey.

    I am also in the process of constructing my own website and online portfolio. A friend reached out to me requesting some editing help recently. I realized I don’t have any kind of portfolio or list of services for my freelance work. (I can do anything from ghost writing assistance to editing to constructing professional resumes if anyone is looking for some help).

    I’m hoping this blog will be a main focus once I finish my new website so don’t go anywhere! I appreciate all the love and encouragement everyone always gives here and thanks for sticking with me.

    Aly

     

     

    The Search for the Perfect House


    So, apparently we are adults, Richie and I have decided that with a little one, another baby on the way and a puppy dog we should probably own our own home. This is a big deal for us. Until Sophia was born we thought we would be at the whims of the Marine Corps, transient and blowing in the wind.

    Once Richie decided not to reenlist we came back to my hometown. We rented for a year, but when it came time to renew our lease we decided why not BUY? So we moved in with my Mom over the holidays and Richie got a new job! WOO. Well, after putting away some money, filing our taxes (yay, adulting) the house hunt is on.

    We filled out an application to become prequalified for a loan and we connected with  a realtor. Now, comes the fun part of uploading tons of documents in order to determine how much we can afford to spend on a house. And searching for said house.  It’s overwhelming and kind of scary, to be honest.

    The exciting part will be checking out houses to find OUR home. I’m excited to bring our new baby to our very own home and see our daughter grow up there! I just wish the process was easier, ya know?  If you have the perfect home for us, let me know ;-).

    The Third Trimester


    Hello Again, World

    I’m up before everyone else again because – pregnancy insomnia – haha. I don’t know if that’s really what it is called, but it makes sleeping very hard to do. I think Sophia woke up 100 times last night as well. She’s snoring in the bedroom now. Anyway, as my fellow Moms know, it’s tough to get comfortable when you have a giant belly. Flip flop from one side to the other, put a hundred pillows around you, try to lay on your back, but you can’t because the baby crushes your veins. It’s a challenge. So instead of flopping around in bed trying to sleep I figured I’d just get up.

    I’m really excited because this week marks the end of the second trimester and the beginning of the third. What does that mean? That means that there’s just just about 13 weeks until my due date and meeting my little man earthside. YAY! I vowed not to rush this pregnancy, to try to enjoy the little kicking moments and the round belly, but honestly I’m just so very excited to see him. The tremendous joy that we felt when Sophia was finally born is indescribable. I can’t wait for that moment again and this time to have Sophia meeting her baby brother will be amazing.

    So I don’t want to rush it, but the beautiful light at the end of this journey is our new baby boy, and a baby brother for our princess. It’s hard not to be excited for the third trimester!

    Reach Out …For Ali


    Ali asked me how my day was yesterday. Simple question. Simple answer.

    It was fine. Sophia and I went outside and played. Took a nap, made dinner.

    Pregnancy has taken a toll on me this time as well. More physically. Being at home in winter has enabled me to limit my physical activity to walking across the street to Nana’s or playing in the backyard with Sophia. So really, I’ve gotten big and lazy. haha. That’s okay though, the weather is warming up and Baby boy is only 3 months from arriving earthside. I better get ready.

    Anyway, back to Ali, we are like those old timers who sit around and reminisce about the “good ole’ days” which for us meant the days that we used to talk once an hour! I literally knew what she was doing at all times and she knew what I was doing. If one of us ever went missing, they would know to call the other one to find us. Even though we live several states apart and always have. In the true fashion of life, we have both become busy and fill our days with our beautiful families, work, church, school, friends and everything in between. We often go days without talking, although Facebook makes it easy to keep up to date on each other. We have been lucky enough to get together two summers in a row! Since we made it back from Japan and it’s been great. Our little girls are the same age as one another, they have as much fun as we do I think. This summer I’ll have a newborn in June, but hopefully in August Ali and company will make it down to the Shore house in Maryland and stay for a few days (Come on, Ali and Robert, free place to stay right on the water, fishing, crabbing, swimming in the creek).

    I’d like to try to close the distance. The one thing from the “good ole days” I want to bring back. More connection with people I love. Especially in the days that we are so connected, it shouldn’t be so hard to keep in touch. After our talk last night Ali told me to get a new mouse for my laptop so I could write more. And I did. I charged the laptop, plugged in the mouse and here I am. My vow, to Ali, and to all of you.

    Life tends to get in the way of living. But I promise that no matter where I am and what I’m doing, the ones I love are always on my mind. If you don’t hear from me, start bugging me, text me, call me, send me an email. Chances are I will be responding back right away because I needed to hear from a friend just a much.

    We all do. We all need to be that person to reach out. But just in case your friend hasn’t made the first move, go ahead. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. As always my friends, I love you. Share your light with others and start with people you love the most.

    And to Ali, thanks for always being my best friend near and far.

    Some Happy News in a Sad World


    Recently some beloved celebrities have passed away from fights with cancer. Even though we don’t know them personally, it sometimes feels like we did because we became so close with their characters/music. Farewell, Alan Rickman and David Bowie, you have touched the lives of many.

    In a sad week for movie and music lovers, I have some joyful news to share. Our family is excited to share that we will be welcoming a beautiful, healthy little BOY come June. Yay! My husband and I were both blessed to grow up with brothers by our side and now our beautiful baby girl gets to experience that same joy.

    There is nothing like a brother to tease you, drive you crazy, stand up for you, love you, and be your very first best friend. I’m happy that Sophia will have a brother to stand by her and be her friend for their whole lives. We are also super excited to see where our parenting journey takes us from one great little girl to two awesome kids.

    This pregnancy has flown by so far. Here’s to the next 20 weeks or so :). I’m going to enjoy this time with Sophia as an only child and hopefully get a bit of writing in here and there!

    Make A Connection


    With all of the technology we possess these days it is not hard to stay connected to one another. Emails, social media, texting, Snapchats…you name it. Twenty-four hours  a day we are able to get connected and get a preview into other people’s lives. Hey, If I can’t sleep at 3 a.m. I can always scan Facebook to see what everyone else is doing.

    The question is….you are always connected, but when was the last time you really made a connection? When can you say that you really had a one-on-one with another person without it just being a “Like” on Facebook or a re-tweet on Twitter. Sometimes it feels like my smart phone is my best friend or my ball and chain, it goes everywhere with me. Sadly though it keeps me from really seeing the world. Connecting with other people, reaching out and saying, “Hi, here I am. How are you?” This makes me feel lonely even when I’m surrounded by people.

    I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and a compassionate daughter who bring more joy to my life than I ever thought possible. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m missing all these beautiful connections with them by constantly staring at my phone or even watching the TV, or doing work on my laptop. Recently, I have been freelancing and editing resumes. It was a nice opportunity to work from home, but the amount of time I have spent staring at my laptop horrified me. A little extra money was nice, but not spending time enjoying my little girl and my husband because I was chained to my laptop was most definitely not. So I have cut back. I feel a lot better now. (Side note: If you need help with a resume/paper and it’s not an urgent matter, I am always available for that).

    Yesterday, I made a wonderful connection with a dear friend of mine. We went to college together (going on 10 years of friendship here). Amanda is a lovely, sweet person and we have been through a lot together. Most recently, we are now old married ladies and now expecting little ones (her first, my second). It’s amazing how life brings people together. She and I live about 40 minutes apart and now have this whole new wonderful connection to share as our babies grow. We met for lunch and sat at the table talking for almost three hours. I felt light and happy. I made a connection and it was awesome. It is so easy to forget in the glow of a laptop or a cellphone screen that other people are out in the world waiting just like you to make that connection. I can’t wait to spend more time together and share new memories as our children grow up, practically the same age.

    So for the new year, I am not hoping for a “new me” just a me that is more productive, motivated, and reaches out to others. I’m tired of my smart phone and my Facebook obsession. I want to really see and really be there instead of just hoping technology can occupy me.

    Happy New Year everyone!

     

     

    Reaching Out


    Have you ever wanted to help somebody?

    You know someone who needs a boost in life, a great person with dreams and aspirations and love who needs to get back on there feet, and you know in your heart that you want to do something for them.

    I do.

    Sometimes I wish I was wealthy or won the lottery or hit it big on the stock market because then I could just give to people who need help. Charities, schools, people, whoever it may be. Unfortunately, I haven’t it it big yet. (I’m still hoping).

    There’s a family in need that I know personally. Loss of employment for a few months set them back in bills a lot. Now this goodhearted woman (single mother) has a new job (Yay!), but could use a little help getting her bills caught up. If we had the money we would say, “Hey, here ya go!” But like I said I haven’t hit it big just yet.

    It’s been a rough couple of years for this family, being homeless and having to stay with friends, moving from place to place having to start over. But last year, she was able to purchase a small, safe home and start a decent full-time job. This job didn’t work out unfortunately and she was left with mortgage, electric, water, and car payment. It might not seem like much, but these bills add up fast when you aren’t bringing any money in. Currently, they can’t even stay in their home because the electricity has been shut off. The electric company won’t turn it back on until they pay $600.

    I’ve done what I can by helping with job applications, resume writing, and calling around to local charity organizations to find help with utility payments, but there has been no luck yet. With her new job, she will be able to start paying down her bills, but this is an immediate need. The electric needs to be turned back on, the water bill ($186) needs to be paid off or they will shut the water off too, and her mortgage is a few months behind. It is hard to be living out of a suitcase, not being able to sleep in your own home, cook in your own home, and basically have your own space. A little bit of financial help could get this family back on their feet in no time.

    This isn’t a sob story, and there are many people out there who face these struggles daily. I’d like to help everyone, but I’ll just start with one family and hope I make a difference. So I’m reaching out here.I want to teach my daughter the power of giving and sharing. If you are able, please donate to the Go Fund Me account I’ve started. If you are not able to donate, please share this link with family, friends, friends or friends, or even strangers in your network. The more people can see it, the more likely we are to get donations to help!

    Please Share! Raising Money for a family in need!

    Thank you all for reading and God Bless!

    xo Aly