What makes a house a home?

I have learned no matter if you live deep in the south, down in the heart of Texas, or up in the northeast, you can be at home if you are with the people you love. As sappy as it sounds, it’s true—home is where the heart is. My heart is my family. It is important for me to create memories and traditions with my family that will instill in them a sense of “home.” It’s the simple things like having Friday night family movie night, sitting down for dinner, and taking family adventures together. It’s also the annual traditions like our pumpkin carving party, frying turkeys for Thanksgiving, or opening up Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. We try to make our daily life and the special days important and memorable. I know if we focus on spending time as a family, it won’t matter where we live,because as long as we are together, we will be home.

Halloween is a big deal in our family! We all like to participate in dressing up.

Halloween is a big deal in our family! We all like to participate in dressing up.

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One of our annual pumpkin carving contests…it gets serious!

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Sweet sisters in their Christmas Eve pajamas…a tradition I am carrying on that my mom always did for us.

Football…Are you ready?

Football. Now, that’s a strong word in the south. Folks live and breathe football…especially on Saturdays – College Game Day. We are Rebels, and my girls say, “Hotty Toddy,” but I have to give it to this northern city on Sundays in the fall. Not only does it actually feel like fall up here with the crispness in the air and the leaves already starting to change colors, but this city has a unique way of celebrating this good ole American pastime.

The city streets come alive with waves of NFL fans marching to their favorite bars to get prime seating for the big games of the day. You will feel out of place if you don’t sport your favorite NFL team. It is a sea of mostly blue ( go Giants) speckled with green (poor Jets), but you will see occasional representation for teams all across the nation. So, of course, as a good southern mama, I make sure my family is decked in black – Who Dat! I have to admit we do cheer for Eli, I mean we are Rebels, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to invest in any Giants paraphernalia yet.

While the jambalaya, crawfish étouffée , or gumbo is simmering on the stove,  we sit at our window and watch everyone flooding the streets with football enthusiasm. I love to leave the windows open to let in the crisp fall air as well as the live cheering that erupts from the bar across the street every time the Giants score a touchdown.

So, in the south, Saturdays are still where it’s at, but I like being able to expose my kids to the excitement, pride, and tradition of football Sundays in the northeast…Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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It would never happen in the burbs…

So, I think I will have enough content here to make this a weekly subject: It would NEVER happen in the burbs! I am still amazed at what I see and hear in these city streets on a daily basis…and if I see and hear it, you can bet I’ve got some small eyes and ears and that are picking up on these things as well. Although these happenings are a part of my life now, I am not so removed from southern suburbs to not be totally shocked or awed by them…depending on if I’m talking about the NYC skyline being a part of my daily routine or seeing a pantless man walking the street by our front door. Yes…PANTLESS.  I guess I’ll start there since you are probably a bit more intrigued by this one.

We do live in a city, and that means lots of pedestrians, one way streets, and your local homeless crew are all a part of life.  Mostly the homeless stick to themselves or the park benches, but sometimes you get some pretty special  encounters with some of the “Hoboken Characters” as they are called. Literally, there is a local website that catalogs these “characters”and their usual whereabouts and routines. Wow. I bet you can’t find that in your hood. So…back to the story…this character was an older man, cruising down the street, at around 10:00 am on a Saturday, sporting nothing but a blue t-shirt that hovered right above his belly button…and….that’s all. Seriously, nothing else. He left a wake of stunned pedestrians who probably hadn’t had enough coffee yet to know if what they saw was for real. That’s when my husband spotted him. Thankfully he was inside of his car that he had parked on the street by our front door with the kiddos in the back seat. The kiddos were deep into a Strawberry Shortcake DVD, so thankfully they wouldn’t have known if a three ring circus was coming down the street. And of course, for those of you that know me, I had to run back inside our apartment to pee one last time before hitting the road to the Jersey Shore. I left the front doors wide open…and as the pantless man came close to our door, he turned to look inside. About this time, Jason had one hand on the car door and the other dialing the police. Whatever was going through that man’s head, at least it wasn’t…walk inside! He decided to take a little rest on the stoop right next to our door …and about that time, I came flying out of our door back to the car. I could hear Jason on the phone inside the car…and then a police car comes barreling down a one way street the wrong way right in front of us.

Jason caught me up on the situation, making sure to tell me if I was one second faster down the stairs I would have been face to face and then some with this guy.  I leaned over in the car because I had to take a peek to make sure I was hearing this all correctly. Wow. This would NEVER happen in the burbs. Can you ever imagine walking out of the front door of your home, and there on the cool concrete stoop next to your door was the naked bum of a bum! WHAT?!? Never.

Well, I’ve never been so thankful for dvd players in the car. That would have been fun to explain to two little girls. I guess I could have gone into teaching them a lesson on how everyone is different, and that’s ok, except when we don’t wear our pants outside!