7:00~1/14/12~Happy Birthday, Brandon!

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It’s not his actual birthday yet, but we’re starting the celebration tonight!

Happy birthday to my Godson!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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7:00~12/31/11~Chinese Food Tradition

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Years before my parents had children, they often went out to dinner with friends to a Chinese restaurant on New Year’s Eve.  After having children, they started ordering Chinese food take out and stayed home with us, instead.

Growing up, I can remember getting the Chinese food for dinner, then afterward continuing to cut up confetti (that I had been cutting all the week before in anticipation that I would be able to stay up until midnight), and ringing in the new year…year after year.

This year, at the end of 2011, three generations of us gathered around the table to devour this meal from China One on Ryders Lane in Milltown – a meal that could feed an army.  (Leftovers tomorrow!)

I couldn’t think of a more perfect final 7:00 picture for 2011.

Happy New Year!  🙂

~Melissa

The Jersey Girl

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7:00~12/24/11~Polar Express

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My oldest nephew, with barrels of enthusiasm and an ear to ear grin, invited us all to gather around and watch The Polar Express with him at 7:00 tonight.

I’ve never seen it, but I thought it sounded like the perfect Christmas Eve movie for the family to watch.  This idea of his has the makings of a potential, family tradition written all over it.

However, attention spans are just not quite long enough to sit through the movie in its entirety yet.  (Children’s and adults’ alike.)  Santa’s impending visit tonight is just too distracting.

Perhaps we’ll try to watch a movie together again next year.

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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Today, I’m Thankful for the Superheroes in My Life

By definition, a superhero is someone who has the ability to swoop in during times of greatest despair, when no one else can possibly help stop the dangerous and daunting trouble at hand, and has the power to single-handedly save the day.

No matter what mood I’m in, no matter what type of day I’ve had, and no matter how good I may already be feeling, my nephews always manage to make me feel even better.  They make me (yes, little ol’ me) feel like a celebrity when I walk into their house.  I’m the safest citizen in all of the city.

“Aunt Mimi’s here!” they shout, and faster than a speeding bullet, run toward me.  (Unless of course the Wii or the iPad are in use.)

I’m greeted by grins and hugs (charged with more love – and a million times stronger –  than the man of steel himself could give), and I’m informed about their adventures from pre-school, given demonstrations on how to play a favorite memory game, or shown a new toy train that “goes by itself.”  We count and spell, and they ask a million questions about what things are and what they mean and how they work…

It’s magic.

So today, I am thankful for my nephews, the superheroes in my life.

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Today, I am Thankful for My Brother(-In-Law)

Growing up with one younger sister, I often wondered what it would be like to have an older sibling.  Someone who would look out for me and set the example.  As my sister and I grew older, we became good friends and our birth order didn’t really matter much any more – we now look out for each other and, for different reasons and in different ways, we are each other’s example.

Still, from time to time, I find myself wishing that I had a big brother – someone, other than my parents, who I know I can turn to for protection or guidance, someone who I can trust is always watching out for me.  No matter how old we get, it is nice to have someone like that in our life.

(I don’t know if he knows this, but) for a long time after my sister got married, I referred to her husband as “my sister’s husband.”  It wasn’t really an intentional choice of words; it was just what made sense and seemed to fit the most.  He was a part of my life through my sister.  She was the thing we had in common, the person that connected us.

Somewhere along the way, however, a shift happened.  Maybe it was spending so many family holidays together year after year.  Maybe it was the birth of my nephews that brought all of us a little closer.  I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I stopped referring to him as “my sister’s husband” and he became “my brother-in-law.”

This past weekend I found myself seeking guidance and needing to consult with someone whom I could trust.  I needed someone who was rational and logical, but who could also be compassionate and sympathetic.  I needed someone who cared more than a friend, and someone who wasn’t lecturing me like a parent.  My brother-in-law came through for me, and then some.

So today, I am very thankful for my big brother(-in-law).

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

It’s Almost April!

Sometimes Things Get Blurry
Being so close to New York City, many New Jerseyans work in the Big Apple, several major NY sports teams play in NJ (Giants, Jets, Red Bulls) bringing New Yorkers to NJ for the big events, and the line between NY and NJ is a little more blurred than many New Yorkers (or New Jerseyans, for that matter) would like you to believe.  Don’t get me wrong, we still maintain distinct identities, but I, for one, happen to appreciate the blurriness every now and then.

Futhur at Radio City Music Hall in NYC

This past weekend, I crossed the river with a Grateful Dead fan to see a Furthur show.  Furthur, for those of you who are like me and don’t already know, is a band made up of  the remaining members of the Grateful Dead.  The band also plays in NJ (Atlantic City and Asbury).  This show at Radio City Music Hall was a good time and I would definitely check out another Furthur show in the future!

Well-Deserved Pizza
I also got to spend time with John Conde and work on the Notes on the State of New Jersey website this weekend.  I’ve never taken on a project of this magnitude before, and it’s been such a fabulous learning experience for me to see what all goes into building a website from scratch.  I’m so excited about the progress we’ve made so far and can’t wait to share the new updates with you soon!

Also pretty exciting was the delicious lunch break we took while working on the website.  We went over to Inzillo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant in Jackson for some pizza.  While we can compromise pretty well on topics pertaining to the web development, the selection of a common pizza topping was not so easy.  The folks at Inzillo’s worked with us to make a pizza that we both enjoyed.  The next time we work on the site, I’ll definitely suggest going back there for a lunch break!

Mom's birthday dinner at Chili's

 

 

Mom’s Birthday
Yesterday was Mom’s birthday and we celebrated at the Chili’s restaurant in North Brunswick.  My nephews love the chicken tenders and burgers there, and Mom loves the food as well.  To her surprise, the excellent wait staff came out singing with a special birthday dessert for her – and I caught it on camera!

The busy work week at school continues, and I am certainly looking forward to a fun-filled weekend.

It’s almost April and that means lots of awesome springtime New Jersey events coming up…like Jersey Shore Restaurant Week! Make sure you check it out!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl