Saturday, July 29, 2006

Internet Addict

We have been in San Anselmo (Northern CA) this past week, visiting our former neighbors and good friends. Until today, their internet has been mysteriously not working, hence my blogging silence.

It would be difficult for me to say enough enthusiastic things about our hosts, the Pult family. They are good, kind, people. Amazing hosts. Uniquely qualified (along with our other wonderful Texas friends the Savards) to handle the chaos of 7 Di Silvestris invading, for 10 days, their relatively peaceful family of 4. But for some reason I can't understand, these otherwise sane and loving people, did not find it troublesome in the slightest that their internet was not working!

By day 3 I was experiencing physical withdrawls. Twitching, tics, the shakes. Claustrophobia was setting in, the house walls were getting small all around me. At first I thought my wonderful hosts must not understand what I was saying. In our house, having the internet or cable go out is a far greater emergency than having the water shut off. But soon I came to the sinking realization that they understood alright. It just didn't bother them! They were on vacation and felt no need to connect to the outside world. True to who they are, all that really mattered was happening inside the house...friends, family, real life. This is something I can respect from afar but has no place in my day to day reality.

Every morning I would try, desparately, to connect. Sometimes I would get to the Yahoo home page, but then specific requests would time out. One time I got into my mail but could only read one message. It became an obsession of my week. Fix breakfast, check the internet. Fix lunches, check the internet. Get back from the grocery store, check the internet.

Jay flew up last night to join us for the weekend and I began to picture him as my knight in shining armor, who would arrive and fix this situation (a former network admin guy, he can fix just about anything!). I rushed in this morning to have him fix things up and, guess what? Of course you already know. The internet was working fine.

I'm sure there is a lesson here for me, but right now I am too busy on the internet to figure it out. Oh, wait. Could that be my lesson? Could it be that right this minute all the Pults and the Di Silvestris are gathered in the family room playing a game except for me, who is hunched over the computer separated from reality by technology? Should I be bothered by this? Hmmm. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Comments Welcome

Oops--I somehow turned off the ability to accept comments on my blog. Thank you to Michelle and Brenda for telling me of the problem so I could turn them back on. I was wondering why I hadn't had a comment in so long!

Comments are always welcome and encouraged on this blog. All is well now, so bring on the comments!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Tony

Today you are one year old, and what a year it has been! In just 365 days you have filled us with joy, delighted us with your personality, amused us with your antics and endeared yourself to us forever.

We are so blessed to have you in our family. You are a joy to us all. We love you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sweet Innocence

Last Monday night I took Joey, my 8 year old, to see Pirates of the Carribean. There was an isolated reference in the movie to Captain Jack seeing a woman naked. Joey leaned over and loudly asked, "Mom, why would he want to see a girl naked?"

Bless his heart. Don't grow up, Joey.

The Date That Wasn't

Sonia, our regular Monday night babysitter, encouraged me to take an evening out with Jay last night. Normally I use my Monday nights to have rotating "fun nights" with each of my older kids, where I take just one of them out to do something fun, like a movie or miniature golf. But it had been awhile since just Jay and I had gone out, so I happily agreed.

Monday nights are Jay's night to go to his Opus Dei circle in Los Angeles, so we decided I would drive down with him, go the nearby mall (all by myself, can you imagine!) while he was in his circle and then we would go out for dinner afterward. It sounded great to me, great enough that I peeled myself off the couch and changed my shirt in preparation, no small thing for me these days.

Now, up to this point it had not been a good day for me physically. As is par for the course these days, I was nauseous for most of the day. But if I am careful about eating small meals nearly constantly, I can usually hold it together. After all, I am a pro at this by now. I have spent more than a collective year in the throws of all-day pregnancy sickness and I have learned a strategy or two for how to deal with it. So I optimistically exited the house for a date with my husband.

About a half hour into the drive, I started thinking it might have been a mistake. Normally, Jay and I love driving together. To us, that is the best part about doing anything. We get to talk, uninterrupted, about all sorts of things. Problem was, I was so sick to my stomach that I couldn't open my mouth.

We eventually arrived at the home of Jay's friend Paul, where his circle was to be held. It is a beautiful home, in an elegant gated community. I dropped him off in front of the house in our dusty minivan, knowing I needed to get away quickly. Well, it wasn't quick enough. I made it just to the gate house and threw up. Someone coming in stopped and stared at the wretching lady in the dirty van and I was sure that security was on its way to evict me and humiliate Jay. So, I attempted to drive on, clutching the bag and reaching desperately for napkins. It was a low moment.

I felt briefly better, so I drove on to the mall. I entered the food court, experienced another wave of nausea and hurried to eat before I lost it all again. So, our nice dinner out was me eating Hibachi-san Teppenyaki from the food court all by myself. I was right next to a Borders bookstore, so I thought I could just run in and get a magazine, but I was too sick to even do that. I just sat in the food court, unable to move, for an hour.

Jay caught a ride to the mall, had an uninspired food court dinner of his own, and home we drove, with me asleep. Sorry, Jay. Not our best date, to be sure. Let's try again soon!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Great Domestic Slowdown

I am experiencing a general slowdown. This applies to laundry, groceries, dry cleaning, bill paying, social committments and, yes, even blogging.

The cause, you ask? Di Silvestri baby #6, who is currently under construction, has dimmed the lights and drained the batteries. So, the reason is a good one, but the result is the same. This mom is spending a lot of time sleeping and the house has gone into a state of general chaos around her.

So, please bear with the fits and spurts as I react to my own physical state.

And, note to baby: even now, I know this is all worth it. Welcome!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Travel Log - The Ranch Part II

Back in the saddle again. We had a nice time in Anaheim, although I believe the conference which I love so much, has shrunk. I really missed some of the vendors and speakers I have seen in the past and hope they return next year.

So, weeks after I promised, I am finally getting around to posting photos of our day at the Carlsbad Ranch. Here are the highlights in photos.

The kids loved playing in and around Hepzibah, my late grandfather's truck. I spent many days riding beside my grandfather in Hepzibah when I was a little girl, mostly en route to Lake Casitas in Ojai, CA, where we would spend afternoons on the lake in his little fishing/row boat, the Suzyann. My grandfather was a good man and seeing his faithful truck again made me realize how much I miss him and my grandmother.

These are views of the swimming hole and BBQ area. The porch was in a little bit of disrepair (Ken called it his next project) because--get this--one of the horses got loose and walked on the boards. It then got confused, couldn't get out and had to be rescued, leaving some damage in its wake. These things don't happen at my house. But, granted, my uncle never finds a bottle of tabasco sauce in his bathtub and wonders through what bizarre set of circumstances it got there, so we all have our issues.

The ATV. What fun we had on that. We have GOT to get ourselves one of these! This is Ken and Joey, following is me and Julia, then Jay and Sam. Lindsey rode too, with Ken. You will notice in the photo of Jay and Sam that the bottom of Jay's pants are wet. Hmmm...turns out that standing up in the canoe when your eldest son is eagerly pulling it out of the water wasn't such a great idea. We enjoyed this situation immensely, Jay not as much (although he was a good sport about it).

Some canoeing shots:

The kids prepared for an evening back at the swimming hole roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Here they are with Ken loaded in the back of his truck for the ride down (although it is an easy walk, they were all tired by this time).

The Roasting. S'mores really are good, I was reminded that night.

For the finale, a shot of the beautiful, open interior of the ranch house, where we stayed. Deana's mother is an artist and it shows in her decor. The house itself was a vacation for us.

Next up in the Travel Log: don't mess with Texas!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Off Again

Another break in the regularly scheduled program...

We are off this afternoon to Anaheim for the National Catholic Family Conference. I will finish what I know (OK, dream) must be an eagerly anticipated completion of the the travel log when I return, hopefully spiritually refreshed as I always am after this annual event.

Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Tim Staples and a bevy of other fantastic speakers are lined up, so it should be good. I am sorry to see Michael Cumbie is missing from this year's conference, as he is always my favorite. Hopefully he will be back next year.

Enjoy the weekend...I know I will!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Travel Log - The Ranch Part 1

The first day we drove to Phoenix and stayed overnight in a hotel (which really means to us that the kids get to swim and we get breakfast handled in the lobby!).

Day two found us driving on through Tucson, El Paso, and on to Carlsbad, NM. My Uncle Ken and his wife Deana live about 20 minutes outside of Carlsbad, just minutes from the Carlsbad Caverns.

Along the way we drove through lots of Indian Reservations, so we stopped at one "trading post" for a bathroom break and enjoyed browsing. Jay ended up with a trunkload of fireworks (surprise, surprise) and the kids got their first of several trip souvenirs (amazing what they can find when limited to under $3 apiece).

When we arrived at the ranch it was dark, which was unfortunate since the kids were really antsy by that time. They wanted to run and tumble and they simply couldn't since we were a guest in Deana's mother's home (she was away in Albuquerque so we had the house to ourselves), and it was definitely not set up for small children! I rearranged many of her fine things to save them. She is a kind and trusting soul to have welcomed our circus there and we are grateful.

Ken and Deana live next door and are building a 3rd house on the property where they intend to move eventually. Ken is doing most of the work himself and it is truly beautiful. He also renovated their current house, which is an original homestead house from the mid 1800s.

Here are the kids and I with Ken and Deana in front of their historic home. You'll notice the sweaters (on some of us, anyway!)...we never expected it to be in the 60s and rainy, but it was. This was a relief for the parents who had been sweltering for weeks but sad for the kids who wanted to dive right into the swimming hole and ride the horses who were bogged down in mud from the 9 inches of rain they had received the day before.

So, while we waited for the weather to warm, we went to the Carlsbad Caverns. These caves are really something. Limestone statues, essentially, deep underground in areas the size of football fields and larger. Huge, high decorated ceilings with such an unassuming entrance. The first person to walk into these caverns must have been flabbergasted. The guides told us to be quiet underground and whisper, and the kids were amazingly good about respecting this as we embarked along the mile or so walk that would take us around the "big room".

Tony, in his backpack carrier, decided that he was immune from this rule, however. My normally quiet, content baby decided that this was the right time to register a protest of some sort and, about a quarter of a mile in, began shrieking with all his might. For those of you who have been to the caverns, you can imagine what this was like. Quiet, dark caverns, full of tourists listening to their rented headphones describing each formation, were hideously marred by piercing, unrelenting shrieks that reverberated through all the caverns. Joey, looking alarmed, said, "Are we going to have an avalanche?!"

I tried everything. I took him out of the carrier, I bounced, I whispered, I sang. Nothing worked. So, we did what any sensible people would do. We started to run. All 6 of us with Tony in arms began sprinting across the remaining 3/4 of a mile walkway, to get to the end. Not the best way to see the caverns, I must say. Tourists were looking at us like we were completely nuts. And I guess we were. About half way around we found a series of benches so I stopped and nursed him, which eventually calmed him down. We did get to see the last part of the big room with Tony now blissfully asleep in this carrier.

Carlsbad Caverns, Di Silvestri style.

The Graduate

Before I begin the official travel log, I couldn't resist posting a photo of Sam, my preschool graduate, because he is just so incredibly cute (says his proud mother).

We attended his graduation, car packed and ready to go, with plans to hit the road immediately after. It was 100 degrees in the shade, no joke, so I can't say it was altogether pleasant, but the kids looked great, there was a good band and some yummy food, so it turned out just fine. I instructed the children to eat as much they possibly could so no one would be hungry or thirsty 10 minutes after departure. Naturally, this backfired, as the bathroom requests started a mere 30 minutes in. But you can't blame a mother for trying, right?

Julia, though not actually graduating, also got to wear a cap and gown. Turns out, she looked pretty good herself. Graduates wore red, and not-yet-but-somedays wore white.

Welcome to Kindergarten, Sam. Sacred Heart, brace yourself!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

We are home. We did it!

We had a great trip but are glad to be home. I will post, over the next several days, photos of the highlights.

The car has been cleaner. But well worth the sacrifice.