December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! The last few days have been filled with festivities! We had our annual Mangialardi Christmas on Saturday. My brother-in-law, Erik, put it best: it was filled with laughter, food, loud conversations, and food. Trying to organize something as simple as a gift exchange became a battle between who's voice carried the most, and who had the loudest conversation. While trying to rally the troops, Auntie Angela wandered around the room seeming to look for a distraction while actually causing one, Parker and Bella became bossom buddies, Grandma Bea was busy gettin' her groove on, and the women in the kitchen were on edge and snap when interrupted. Somehow though, we gathered around the tree and in a condition of chaos, exchanged our thoughtful boxes and gifts wrapped in tight ribbon. I always wonder why we bother to wrap so nicely when the minute the hands reach the paper it is torn off in a way that makes any man look greedy. Who made up that tradition? Apparently, gifts have been wrapped since the invention of paper in 105 AD. During the Victorian Period, when the tradition of giving presents became a highlight, only the wealthy wrapped presents, with the most beautiful of gift wrap. Today, it seems we only wrap to disguise or when the gift is needed to impress. My family has resorted to tissue paper, bags, or in some cases as Rosie says, "The box was pretty enough." The gift is more important than it's appearance on the outside. That seems symbolic...
Last night was time with my sisters and nephews. I get joy out of watching them open presents. Parker opened gift after gift with such excitement while Kent used the boxes as building blocks.
Richie and I, this being my last Christmas at home, are trying our best to keep the traditions alive. We slept by the Christmas tree on the 23rd, although I woke up alone at 3 am. We also slept together in my room, a tradition that started with 4 and is now down to two. We also read the Christmas story before opening presents this morning after watching some of the movie the "Christmas Story," on tv. It was very different to be in a new house with a small tree and with only 4 of us, but being with my parents is soemthing so special, that will never lose it's feeling of tradition. I was Santa for my last year at home. I'll miss every tradition but it will always live on....i just feel bad for Rich, he has to do it alone next year! :)

December 21, 2007

Hectic Holidays

I'm here at last! Home for the holidays. We got back Wednesday night...the drive went by really fast. I slept, I ate, I sang, I made up games, and I sang some more...and JP drove. From a long ago tradition Sharon and I have, I sang the 12 days of Christmas, each day sporting a new language accent. When I asked JP why he didn't join in he said, "For two reasons, babe. #1 I can't tell any of the accents apart...they all sound the same. #2 You are just so's like I don't need a radio." That's why he loves me. Then yesterday, we left for Milwaukee around 1 and spent the afternoon and evening visiting our friend Geoff, one of the groomsman, and my old roomie, Madeline. This morning we left Milwaukee at 6 am, in order for me to get to work on time...for Rosie. Even though we were in Milwaukee for only 12 hours, it was still so nice to be with them. God has truly blessed us with some great friends, and although their hometowns are spread all throughout the U.S., it's amazing how with some people you can just pick up where you left off.
JP and I realized the source of many of our disagreements: car rides. I'm not a good navigator, but because I like to be in control, whether driving or on board as a passenger, I like to be the navigator. On the way to Milwaukee, i fell asleep, while i was supposed to be navigating. needless to say, I was fired from the position. JP thought he'd give me another chance on the way home, but I ended up getting us lost and having him take the wrong exit. Finally, he said, "I never thought I'd say it but, just close your eyes and go to sleep. You are making me nervous." I know I've heard those words before and they happen to be straight from the lips of my father, "RoseAnn, just close your eyes and go to sleep." THis is when she tries to drive from the passenger seat.
Tonight I have to do some Christmas shopping, that I left until the last minute, and then tomorrow we are going for flowers. By we I mean Jp's mom, mom, and I. All JP asked was, "When's the cake testing?" Fine by me! :) Then it's a very merry Mangialardi Christmas at our house tomorrow night. It's only just begun!

December 19, 2007

Headin' Home!

I'm heading home shortly! I had two checkouts at 4:30 and 4:45 this morning, then one at 6:30 and then three more before 11:30. After vacuuming the floor hallway, cleaning my bathroom, packing the car, and checking and turning in all the keys and filing the paperwork,....I'm outta here! It's almost Christmas!

December 18, 2007


I'm completely done with finals forever!!! Looking over my transcript it is crazy to realize how many classes, projects, tests, 20 page papers, and finals I have been through in the last 3 1/23 years. Last night Amber and I, for the 3rd night in a row, were up until 3am. I had a checkout to do starting at 6:30 this morning. I have 21 checkouts to do today...basically I have no life. All I keep thinking about is that at this time tomorrow I will packing up the car to head home and I can't wait to spend 8 hours in the car with JP. Amber got me the Hairspray soundtrack for Christmas, which I intend to play and memorize the whole way home. JP is not thrilled with my idea. He has come up with a new phrase, which he stole from "Friends"...when I do something or make-up something really weird and random, JP laughs at me. Then I say, "o, you know you love me because I am weird, and that there is never a dull moment with me. He replies, "yes, I love you because you are so wonderfully weird!" I can't wait to get home to be with family, celebrating the holidays with all our craziness and traditions. Soon I'll be "home, sweet home." For now however, it's back to cleaning. I cleaned my entire room from top to bottom today. I also, while in the cleaning mood, decided to clean out the floor storage room and the study room. I love organizing! Once I get in the groove, I can't stop! feels good to have a day of cleaning, because then I can truly relax.

December 15, 2007


With three finals down and only one to go I have to get some things out. Although I am nearly done with undergraduate finals forever, and am graduating with a good GPA, I am still frustrated. I had my Tests and Measurements final today, one which I studied for for over 2 days and 24 hours. I wish this was an exaggeration. Someone explain to me why with being an elementary teacher, I am going to have to know what the heck a T-statistic, Z-statistic, sample variance, pooled variance,the difference between a one-tailed or two-tailed test is, an alpha value of .05 and .01, and things like difference sample means of a population sample is!!!!!!! The test was over 72 math questions on over 7 chapters and 4 assignments. I usually do well when studying or can grasp the overall concept, but I nearly ran out of time to take this test (as did 40 out of 50 students in the class), and for the first time in my career as a student, wrote down any numbers on the last two pages that looked familiar, threw the paper down and said, "I can't do this anymore. I give up." As a teacher, I would think that when your students as a whole class have gotten less than a C average on your statistics tests and have voiced their inability to understand their emotions of being overwhelmed, that you would take all that into consideration. I promise my future students this: that if I see my students "giving up and giving in," I will step back and take a new approach. I am so disappointed. I was about to graduate with high honors, something I have worked so hard for, and this class may jeopardize that all. I am on the border. Although I'm glad to be nearly finished with the semester, I can't seem to let go of the INJUSTICE! Yes...INJUSTICE! It's hard to talk to my family about the subject. I know that everyone goes through something like this and it seems so trivial, however, school is my thing. It's the only thing I can have pride about, that my family knows really knows me for...and makes fun of me for. Without school to have pride in, I can't seem to do school. I just thank God that this came at the final semester of classes for me.
Feels good to get that out!

December 12, 2007

Almost Done

I can't believe my semester is almost over. I officially am finished with actual classes. It's so wierd that after going to school for the majority of my life, I will never have to sit in a classroom desk again (unless I go for my masters). And in a week I will be finished with finals...never having to take another school test again!!!! YAY! However, bitter-sweet is the idea that I'll be graduating this spring. I"ll miss my Amber Delaine and some of our good friends here, and am scared to consider the fact that I"ll be on my own! Although I've been at school for 4 years, I'll really and truly be on my own when I graduate. HOW SCARRY! I know it's a normal emotion for an grad but it's still so eery...the unknown. The next week is gonna be crazy. Tonight we have our hall Christmas party at the roller skating rink. Should be interesting since I can't skate. I can't even balance myself on my own two feet. We all have to wear a costume so Amber and I are gonna be mistletoe...with kisses all over our faces, but the problem is we hafta figure out how to get the lip marks on our own faces. HAHA! Tomorrow afternoon is our floor Christmas Party. We are decorating cookies and playing games in our PJs. I'm gonna miss this girl time when I graduate. There's no time in your life when you can step outside your door to be surrounded by 40 other girls. If I ever want a girls' night out, i can knock on any door. Tomorrow evening we have our white elephant with our friends. That should be intersting. I bought an Enema kit and a "What's a Wookie" star wars book. I know, I'm good. Then finals start for me on Saturday. I can't wait to get home for CHRISTMAS!

December 10, 2007

Ice, Ice Baby

No, I'm not rapping to the old hit by Vanilla Ice himself, rather I'm starring out my window at work and all I see is exactly! I'm back at school, finally! I never thought I'd be so happy to be back. Reason for my joyful return is that JP and I spent 9 hours at O'Hare airport yesterday. We were coming home from Mammer's funeral and what should have been a quick day of travel turned into a day know where. Twenty minutes before our 11 am flight was supposed to board, we got a phone call from the airlines saying all flights to Springfield were cancelled until 6:30pm. We had no choice but to wait. I tried to sleep but something about being in a crowded place with uncomfortable seats surrounded by wierd people, didn't lull me into dreamland. At one point JP and I even saw a woman start feeding her baby, which wasn't so much a baby as a walking, talking toddler, in the middle of an overly-populated terminal. There was no blanket to conceal her womanhood...she just brought it out. I think JP was scarred for life. There was no ounce of jealousy in me...haha! We tried to make the best of the day. We played cards, walked around, ate, and watched some football, but all in all, the day was so so so long! Jp was such a comfort. I didn't feel well because my once a month friend came to visit, I had a sinus infection and my stomach was acting up, but he just tickled my arm, kissed my forehead and held me all day. He even ran out and bought $10 worth of any medicine he thought would help me and a pack of $5 playing cards that I could whip him in Speed with. This is why I love this man. I know I'm ready to say, "For better or for worse." Even in my worst moments, he stands right by me.
I am so glad to be back on solid ground though...OUT of the busiest airport in the world!

December 8, 2007

Lesson Learned

I'm going to be a teacher and have had some field experience, so I never assumed taking care of kids was easy. But even with experience, I was not prepared to's a lot of work! I miss my adorable nephews so much when I'm away at school. I check Bethany and Erik's blogs daily for funny stories, videos, and pictures of the boys just to hear about them to make me feel like I'm home. So naturally, when I was home this week, I wanted to spend some time with them. I told Bethany I'd take the boys Friday so i could spend time with them. Well I was without a car, and therefore trapped! While I was able to make Parker my ally ( i have no clue how to spell that), Kent is another story. The moment I turned my back I could hear his pudgy little feet running somewhere in the house and was able to track him down by his screams of joy when he was doing things he of course, wasn't supposed to. It was so hard to get mad at either of them for more than a minute because they are just so darn cute! For example: While the boys were playing bowling in the hallway, i took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. I left the door open so I could keep my eye on the mischievous duo. Parker came and slammed the bathroom door shut. I asked him why and he said, "D'tuz , Auntie J. Girls need 'deir privacy."
Later Sharon and I took the boys to McDonald's and to Target. Between the two of us we spent our dinner wiping the ketchup from Kent's face and I had to follow Parker through the playland, which I hadn't last visited since I was 5. In Target we devised a plan to take 2 carts, one kid each. Although I thought it would work, it lasted only until we passed the toy aisle. Quickly thinking, Auntie Shar-Shar got some goldfish crackers, which kept Kent busy in the store.
All-in-all, i had a busy, tiring, eye-opening and yet memorable time with my nephews. I just realized that parenting takes a team...ha. Sharon and I quickly learned that. It's funny how nothing these boys could do, could make me love them any less. THEY ARE TOO CUTE!

December 3, 2007

The Curtain Closes

With a dripping heart I grip the reality that Mammer, J.P.'s grandmother, passed away today. His mom called me early this morning to let me know she had been admitted to the hospital last night due to extreme pain. Then she told me that the doctor's were preparing them that it wouldn't be long. I heard the words but couldn't believe it. It has been about a year since she was first diagnosed with the fatal news of the brain tumor. But she has been through thick and thin, ups and downs, trials and victories with the cancer...which is why I didn't want to accept the words that I knew the family had been dreading all along, "any time now." J.P.'s main concern was getting to tell her he loved her one last time. Although she was basically unconcious his mom but the phone up to Mammer's ear and in a strong and sturdy voice he whispered, "I love you, and don't be afraid, Mammer." All I could imagine was Mammer, lying unconcious but still being able to think. Knowing her faith, I invisioned her saying to the Lord, "any time pain will be over and I'll be home with you." Less than an hour later I got a call from his mom saying Mammer had passed. She asked me to go be with JP when she called to tell him. I hugged him as he answered the dreaded call and without hearing the words, he threw the phone to the ground and fell to his knees. It was so humbling to see him fall to his knees first. I know when I'm hurting, the first thing I want to do is cry just to cry. JP just kept weeping and saying, "Lord, please help me. I need you." Although it was hard to see, it was something I will learn from.
The whole idea of death hasn't been something that has hit close to home often, by God's grace. I forgot how it feels to try and comprehend that someone fails to exist on earth anymore. As I sat in my practicum this morning, Mammer was taking her last breaths. As I sat comforting JP later on, she was leaving this world. As I sit here typing, she no longer exists. Death, although a celebration and followed by such an extraordinary promise from God, is something we can never fathom nor understand. I know that it will be more to take in when we return home to her empty house and grieving family, however I will never forget what Mammer has done for me. She planted Christ in JP's heart. She was his spiritual mother and for that I am always grateful. She had a hand in weaving the love of Christ in my future husband. Her actions inspired much of who he is today. Watching her suffer through the past year, with such strength and passion and quoting, "I am pressed but not crushed," (2 Cor. 4:8) despite pain, has been an encouragement and balm to my soul. I will miss Mammer, but as cliche as it may sound, "she is gone but not forgotten." She planted Christ as the base for her entire family and although she is gone, she has set the path for JP and I to continue to be Christ to the family and to share the faith as we create a new generation. Most memorable, she got to see me try on my wedding dress, so although she won't be there, I will have the image of her reassuring and excited smile in my mind as I say, "I do."