Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Cake Boss!

On our way down to New Jersey, Danny and I thought it would be fun to stop over and check out, the Cake Boss's bakery. We thought we'd stop on our way in to Jersey, but once we found the address and popped it into the GPS, we quickly learned it would take us way off course, and we just didn't have the time before dinner. So we figured, if we had time tomorrow or on the way home, we'd stop by for a cupcake or two. Little did we know...

After visiting with our friends at their new restaurant, we made plans to head to Point Pleasant beach, the next day. We told our friends we were thinking about hitting the bakery in the morning and then we'd meet up them at the beach. We had no idea what we were in for! We got up and left the hotel around 10:00am, and drove an hour to Carlos Bakery, in Hoboken, New Jersey. Thank God for GPS!!!

When we arrived, we got a little bit of a surprise....two blocks of people, also waiting to buy a cupcake or two! I have no idea what we were thinking! Of course there was going to be tons of tourists trying to get into the bakery ~ why wouldn't there be. We never really thought about it until that moment. Who knew the Cake Boss, and his bakery were so popular! I thought we'd just mozie on in, grab a few things, and head to the beach. Ummmm, no!

At this point it was after 11:00am, and parking was nonexistent. Nathan was sound asleep in the car, so I told Danny to drop me off and I'd wait in line while the baby slept and he looked for parking.

After about 30 minutes, he called and said he'd found parking in the shade, but he was .7 miles away! The line was so long, and we weren't going anywhere soon, so I told him to try and find parking closer. About 15 minutes later he was less than a quarter mile away, in the shade and Nathan was still asleep. Good! The line was moving but really slow, so we let Nathan sleep until he woke up.

I had just almost cleared the first block when Danny and Nathan joined me. It may have been almost an hour and a half at this point. And, we still had another block to go! Danny decided to get lunch at Johnny Rockets while we were waiting. Just as he returned, and we began to feed Nathan, the crowd started going wild behind us! It appeared that Buddy, the Cake Boss, was coming up the block!

I immediately took Nathan out of his stroller, grabbed the camera and away we went!!! Nathan was going to meet Buddy! We needed a picture for the blog; our virtual memory keeper, soon to be book!! (Danny doesn't call me the momarazzi for nothing!)

Just as he approached us, people were everywhere; I could hardly see him. I needed a different angle (pun intended). I decided to tap his advance person on the shoulder and ask him if he could help me get a picture of Buddy and my son. He said, "you got a camera?" I said, "yep!" He took it and took a few pictures with lots of other people in them. Then, Buddy said to him, "come on, let's go." And, then he saw Nathan and stopped. He waited and took a few more pictures with just us! That was very cool of him, and it was really cool of his advance person to help us out!
Well, that was super exciting!!! Once we crossed over to the second block, the line moved a little faster. All-in-all, we waited 2.5 hours to get inside the bakery. These pictures made every minute worth it! Not to mention the desserts that awaited us!
The first thing I noticed about the bakery, was that it was rather small and had lots of pictures hanging up on the walls. It was nothing fancy, just a neighborhood bakery.

The first, and only super cool cake we saw, was this Barney cake.

There were a few shelves of regular looking cakes on display. I ordered an assortment of different bakery desserts and they were all amazing!!! Danny and I talked about ordering Nathan's birthday cake from Carlos bakery. We're not 100% yet, but we're leaning toward waiting until he's a little older, so he can full appreciate the coolest birthday cake ever!

Another awesome day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ellis Island ~ Bridging Five Generations

Our last day of vacation was very special. It was the day, our son, and his great great-Jido's (grandfather) life formed a lasting bond in my heart. Before my Jido passed away, I had our family's name placed on the Wall of Honor at Ellis Island. I had yet to see our name on the Wall, all I'd seen was the certificate that I presented to my grandfather acknowledging its existence.

When I began my graduate school work, I conducted an ethnographic research project on my family's life, and their immigration to the United States. It was a wonderful project. Some day, I'll blog about it, so Nathan will too know the story of our family. Like most of America in those days, my great grandparents came to the United States on a boat through Ellis Island. Placing our name on that Wall was a symbolic gesture of hope and HONOR to my grandfather, and reflective of my love for him and our family. It was my last gift to him, and means the world to me. I couldn't wait to find it and show it to Danny and Nathan.

We began our day, at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, where we boarded a ferry to Ellis Island. This was Nathan's first ferry ride, and because it was such a super hot day, we enjoyed some strawberry icee on the way.

As we approached Ellis Island, I was taken aback by its size ~ it's much larger than I had imagined. We soon learned we were only seeing part of the Island. There were medical buildings behind the main building that is separated by a canal that aren't visible from where we unloaded.
When we entered the building, we headed straight to the computers to look up my family name. I had a hard time finding it because our family name was switched as my great grandparents went through Ellis Island. It wasn't Corey when they came to America. It was Lebanese, and although I can verbalize it, spelling it was another story. I couldn't find it. The computers also allowed me to search by purchasers name, so I tried and SUCCESS! I found our family name on panel 684 ~ we were off! I couldn't wait! I was so excited, yet moved to tears. Just being there, and knowing this is how my family came to America, and feeling like they were still here, on this Wall, to be honored forever, was awesome.

As we walked the Wall in search of our panel, my heart broke. As we came just a few panels away from ours ~ this is what we found. My family's panel was behind the construction area. Parts of Ellis Island are being restored, so there are large sections of the Wall that aren't visible to tourists.

Just as we were about to walk away, Danny spotted the panel, inside just before the green divider you see here in the picture. Just as we were discussing how to break in, a construction worker pulled up in a dozer, and upon seeing us gazing at the Wall, asked if our name was back there. We said, "yes, we think it's the one right before the green barrier." He said, "just move the stuff and come in. You people come a long way to see this Wall. Take your time."

How awesome was that!!! I get chocked up writing about it. Danny was right! It was the panel just before the green barrier!!!!
Feeling as if we were entering an area we really shouldn't be, even with permission, I went alone. It took some time, but I found it!! There it was ~ The Peter Corey-Douaihy Family! Finally. After I found our name, Danny carried Nathan through the barricade, and took one of the most memorable pictures of my life. I was so moved to tears, I couldn't contain myself. The beauty of watching Nathan place his little finger on our family's name is indescribable. It was as if the generations had come together all at once, if that makes any sense. And, as I looked at where we were, I thought about my family's history, and how my great-grandfather almost became a priest, but experienced a terrible accident that ultimately led him to America. And then I looked at my son and my husband, and thanked God for everything that had occurred for five generations that brought us to this very moment.

This is a great picture because we are standing in front of panel 684, and you can see just how close we were to not having this opportunity. What a blessing.

On our way back to the main building for lunch, we were stopped by a woman who asked us how old Nathan was. She spent a few minutes ooing and aahhing over him, and then told us she too had a daughter with Down syndrome. She showed us her baby pictures that she carries with her; she was adorable! Her name was Maria and she had passed away. The love for her daughter and sadness of her passing was so touching. As she left, she said something to us that no one has every said that wasn't part of our inner circle, and come to think of it, I'm not really sure how many of them have ever said this ~ she said, "congratulations." And she meant it with her heart. We replied, "thank you." What a miraculous day.

Once we left Ellis Island we headed to meet Lady Liberty! America's symbol of freedom and hope. What a beautiful gift to our country ~ she is magnificent!

Just like Lady Liberty, I have hope for Nathan, and for our country, that one day every family will be congratulated on the birth of their child with, or without, a disability. Hope that one day, the 'walls of difference' will be celebrated, and each person honored for their contribution to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. God bless America.