3 years together

What!?!  How has it been three years since David and I walked down the aisle and said “I do!” I guess the old cliche is right: time flies when you are having fun. I seriously love this guy. He has challenged me, inspired me, loved me, supported me, and made me laugh each and everyday. In these short three years, we have built a family and a home together and I am so incredibly grateful to have such a fabulous husband (Of course, I am a pretty fun wife too!). Our little twosome is about to be a threesome but I am really happy to have had these three years together. It has been an adventure and promises to continue to be. Thankfully I will have this lovely guy by my side to keep it all interesting!

When it became official: The Kiss

 

 

four years.

I woke up this morning and happily welcomed two things about today: Spring Break begins at 2:15PM and four years ago, David asked me to marry him. Spring Break is clearly exciting especially as we have a BIG family vacation planned in 7 days {pictures and updates sure to follow} but this morning I am blissfully reminiscent of what happened four years ago.

We had just landed in Rome and settled into our hotel. After a quick shower from the flight, we headed out to explore the area around us. Our hotel was located one block away from the Colosseum. The day was clear, bright, and warmish for March and we slowly walked up to the massive ancient ruin. David seemed quiet but I just thought that was due to jet lag. I started to share my nerdy love of history and that’s when David grabbed my hand and rushed straight pass the Colosseum! He said he wanted to go into the gardens that dotted the hill overlooking the ruin.  A little taken aback that he would just “skip” the Colosseum for gardens, I followed along, besides it was his first time in Rome after all. We headed up to Appian Hill and then it happened, the proposal, the “Yes!,” the tears, the joy, the hugs and kisses, and the “wow this is real!” It was wonderful and has been wonderful since.

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But this morning wasn’t just about remembering that moment with deep joy and fondness, but David and I also spent time this morning reflecting on all that has happened in these past four years. It is amazing to see our lives in that moment and how they have grown and changed to today. We are just so grateful for each other and for the many blessings we have shared and continue to share on this journey together. He is my sweetest friend and I am just so happy to have such an amazing individual to share my life with.

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David & Melissa Zippin October 2010

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Vegas baby

Have you ever been to Vegas?

David and I made our way to Sin City for 48 hours this past weekend. What brought us so far for a weekend you might ask?  Some awesome friends of course!  We were invited to share and celebrate in the wedding of our friends Andric and Amanda. It was a fun trip for so many reasons. First, our friends got married!!!!  What is not great about that.  We stayed at a dump of a hotel which allowed for great stories to follow. We didn’t gamble but we did eat a lot.  We learned how to play craps and I sort of want to try my new skills out at Foxwoods. We saw naked Cirque du Soleil and my goodness are those performers strong. We walked the strip and “people watched” to our hearts content. We drank some interesting cocktails and danced ironically. We saw impersonators and water shows and listened to great music. We did not get enough sleep.  But, we had a good time!  Vegas in 48 hours is intense and exciting and hypnotic and not nearly enough time to see it all.  But, definitely a great place to celebrate our friends!IMG_4918

Landing at sunset in the desertIMG_4919What you might not be able to tell from this picture is that the women with the blond hair is Holly Madison. That is right, she went to the same performance as us! IMG_4922A random bachelor in drag finds his way to Andric. IMG_4924Singing Michael Jackson.  I love how casual the gamblers are about this. IMG_4925

Ugh our unfortunate hotel. We wanted to save money so we went to Circus Circus otherwise known as the mistake in the desert! Sheesh what a sad hotel room that was. Next time we will absolutely splurge and stay at the Wynn.IMG_4926Mornings in Vegas are quiet. Teacher clock still woke us before much of the city. IMG_4928The Wynn was so pretty inside. IMG_4930 IMG_4931

Interesting horse outside of the Wynn. Clearly, having come from Circus Circus this hotel left an impression on me.IMG_4968

The Atrium in the VenetianIMG_4935The Venetian IMG_4937Wine bottle art IMG_4938A little bit of Venice IMG_4939 IMG_4942 IMG_4945Ceasar’s Palace.  Seeing it made me want to watch the Hangover again IMG_4948Got my rings sparkled up at Tiffany’s IMG_4949

Playing craps.IMG_4950

Michelle’s winnings!IMG_4967

The Bellagio. IMG_4954The Paris across the way IMG_4956

ChihulyIMG_4961David and the Groom, Andric. IMG_4965Married People!

saying goodbye to my nanny…..

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The Carvel Lady, Ada, Mom, Nanny. She went by many names. Regardless, Nanny was always genuinely loving, caring, and compassionate. Her greatest pride was her family. Her 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren were a constant source of happiness. To everyone who knew her, she was a petite powerhouse. She always said that “good things come in small packages” and she represented the best of that. I was truly lucky to have grown up with her. Each day Nanny was there to share in our joys, comfort us in our sorrows, nurse us when we were sick, and model lessons of hard work, determination, partnership, and love. Nanny was my partner in crime as we would dash off together on little adventures and share secrets and knowing glances. She was feisty, electric, charismatic, and fashionable wearing heels even to the end. She was the matriarch of our family demonstrating to us how to live and laugh and showing us how to forgive and encourage.

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Nanny grew up in Verona Italy in an apartment near the river that ran through the city. She used to tell me that her brother Ismael swam to work each day as he loved the water. Once when she was swimming with him, she was almost swept away in rip tide and not a strong swimmer Ismael saved her. During the war she spent a good deal of time living in the countryside of Villafranca with her cousins to avoid the bombing of the allied forces. At night, they were not able to light any candles as this would alert the planes above to drop bombs. To highlight this, she would tell a story that a little old couple in the village lit a candle to go to the outhouse and they were targeted and killed. While in the country, Nanny was a skinny girl and her grandmother, Regina (tall and regal), would always bring her extra food and raw eggs to fatten her up. She spent a lot of time in the country with her nephew, Renzo.

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Later during the war, Nanny worked for the Red Cross with Milena and Louisa. They ironed bandages and sorted soldier mail and news. While working, a Nazi officer one day walked into the headquarters and pointed to her saying something in German and leaving. She didn’t know what he said, but her sisters knew that nanny wasn’t safe.  They hid her in a closet and covered her with anything they could find: bandages, newspapers, etc. The Nazi officer returned and started beating his riding crop around in search for her. Her sisters though had protected her and kept her safe (One of her friends was not as safe, while walking through the streets of Verona with this friend again a Nazi officer pointed to her and told her to be somewhere the next day. Nanny did not see this friend again until after the war. This friend had been sent to a work camp where Nanny recalled she had lost some fingers). Her father, Guido, would ride around Verona on his bicycle and try to find the family food. He often would barter with neighbors for items likes sausages.  Nanny didn’t know exactly how he did it but they always had food during the war.

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As the Allied forces made their way up to peninsula of Italy, they eventually made their way into Verona. Nanny was working still at the Red Cross as a nurse and assistant. She was invited to attend a soldier’s dance but did not want to. Eventually her friend convinced her to go to the dance. She snuck upstairs before her parents came to pick her up.  There, at the dance, she met my grandfather, Pasquale aka Pat aka Patsy. He spoke fluent Italian as his family was from Abruzzi.  He was a tank sergeant in Patton’s army. He convinced her to dance with him.  As the night went on, she told Pat that she had to go because her parents were picking her up. He did not believe her and followed her downstairs and saw her parents waiting.  He called on her often while he was stationed in Verona. He told her he was going to marry her, but she was unconvinced. After all he was an American soldier and would eventually leave Italy and her behind, or so she thought.  After his unit left Verona, he would sneak visits to her as often as he could. Once he even hid in the back of a coal trunk.  Covered in black soot she barely recognized him when he knocked on her door. When he asked to marry her, Albina and Guido asked first to be able to write to his mother in America and to his priest.  After these correspondences,  Ada and Pasquale were married in December. Pat had to continue on with this unit and Ada prepared to leave for America. She took a ship from Italy to Ellis Island. The ship was filled with 500 other war brides and the entire crew of the ship were women including the Captain.  The women on the ship danced and sung and played music through the Mediterranean Sea.  Once they reached Gibraltar the seas grew rough and the women started to become sea sick. Nanny was so ill she spent the rest of the trip lying in her bed.  She opened the little pothole and remembered the sea splashing in on her but she was too sick to move or even close the window. When she arrived in America they gave her a number of vaccines in her arm and dressed in green she met her mother-in-law, Ermalinda. Ermalinda questioned who this girl was who showed up so sickly looking wearing a green suit dress to match her complexion. They soon found out that Nanny was pregnant with her first child, Linda.

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In NY, Nanny lived in an apartment on Thompson Street. She used to say that people still used chamber pots (which they spilled out the windows each morning) and donkeys still walked through the streets of lower manhattan.  Nanny named her first baby Ermalinda though everyone calls her Linda. Ada and Pat had a lot of love for each other and their family. Nanny always recalled how Pat was the life of the party always up to practical jokes.  They adopted two daughters, Anna and Cathy. And, later on they had a son, Robert.  They moved to Mill Basin and eventually to East Meadow. Pat worked as a postman and Nanny did a little work in a local taffy factory. For some reason, they put Nanny in the first aid office (She said that she thought this was because she didn’t speak English that well and was a woman). She saw some horrific factory accidents while working there (including a man losing the flesh from his hand after it got caught in the machine). Once in East Meadow though, they opened a Carve Ice Cream Store. And Nanny operated the Carvel Store until I was in High School. After Pat died of a heart attack and my parents, Robert & Laura, married, they all moved in together at the East Meadow house. My parents had Bryan and five years later me.

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I grew up living with Nanny, Mom, Dad, Bryan, and Aunt Louisa. It was just how it was and we felt to lucky to have them with us. Anytime I was sick, I remember Nanny would sit with me on the couch and keep me company watching the Price is Right or Matlock. She would stroke my hair or tickle my feet.  Growing up, she often babysat Bryan and me at the Carvel store. We would turn refrigerators into spaceships, decorate cakes, and eat our way through waffle cones. There with Aunt Louisa, we had our “first jobs.” We celebrated every holiday together, every birthday, and really just everything. Bryan and I grew up in a solid home with lots of love and support. He and I left for college but we visited often and called home every day (really multiple times a day!). Nanny was there for our graduations, vacations, and most importantly on our wedding days. Nanny visited us in our new states, Bryan in California and I in Massachusetts. And, we visited her.

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It is hard to process that Nanny is gone from this earth.  She was such a lively and vivacious woman that her loss it truly felt every day. The loss of Nanny is painful and raw to me and to all who loved her. Nanny was a curious, passionate, intelligent, beautiful, and courageous woman. She was an inspiration and her loss will be felt each and every day.

“I’d found out that when you’re never going to see someone again, it’s not the good-bye that matters. What matters is that you’re never going to be able to say anything else to them, and you’re left with an eternal unfinished conversation.”

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happy birthday mom

The birthday celebrations that cram into the first week of June end with my mom’s birthday today. It has unfortunately fallen on my school’s graduation the past 4 years and I have not been able to celebrate with her personally. Hopefully, though she knows how much I love her and how much I wish I could be there to celebrate her birthday with her today.  At least this year, in just four days, we will see each other for a mini-Florida vacation. Growing up, my mom worked tirelessly to ensure that Bryan and I were not only basically well fed and sheltered, but truly loved, challenged, and thriving. She focused on our education and helped us hone our writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. Each day after school, we would make camp at the kitchen table while she prepared dinner and we worked on our homework.  There we munched on snacks, chatted about the days events, and struggled with Spanish, grammar and, of course, math. In between sautéing vegetables, she would quiz us for our upcoming assessments, help us create a variety of projects from scratch, and go over our work with us making sure we asked questions but more importantly that we could explain why we had the answers to her questions. I believe I am teacher today because she was always a present teacher in my daily life. She balanced this strength and determination though with a soft side and I can recall many times snuggling on the couch with her and talking about her own childhood memories. My mom was my partner in crime. Many afternoons we would sneak out to the mall together and shop for dresses for school dances. While we sometimes argued in the fitting room over the style of dress (I always aimed for something a little too mature and she for something a little more immature), we designed a veto system to turn these tiffs into productive discussions in which we explained why a particular outfit was unappealing to one of us. By the time, it came to buying my wedding dress, we had mastered our veto system and the experience of being just with my mom on the day we found “the dress” is a memory I will always cherish. My brother and I were so lucky to have our mother home with us each day. She modeled unconditional love, patience, support, and she always believed in the beauty of our dreams. I hope today my lovely mother has a truly lovely day.

730 days

Today, David and I have been married for 730 days (2 years). So much has happened in that time and I am so grateful to have met, fallen in love, and committed to this amazing man. He is my best friend, truest confidant, and love.

Here is a link to our photographer’s blog that day (includes a cute little slideshow): Lanierstar

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