Monday, August 27, 2007

Momma Called the Doctor and the Doctor Said...

...that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Isabella's mouth or tongue and that, go figure, she probably just likes to stick it out. She should outgrow it within a few months.

Just what I thought, but it is good to know for sure.

If she is still doing it pervasively two months from now, they will regroup and do some basic screening to rule out rare, but possible, neurological causes. Thankfully, the doctor believes it is highly unlikely that we will get to that, and believes Isabella is a perfectly healthy little girl.

So there you have it, hot off the medical presses.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Six Months Old Already

Here are the results from Isabella's impromptu 6 month photo shoot:

Attempt #1 = Hmm. Not looking as bright as I might like. Let's try again.

Attempt #2: "Now why would you want to take a picture of the baby when you could have a picture of me instead?!" inquires Tony in not-so-many-words, as he positions himself strategically between Isabella and the camera and waits expectantly.

Attempt #3: Getting closer, but, seriously, can you stow the tongue for the official photo? You are awfully cute, though.

Attempt #4: The camera hog has wormed his way back, after several forceable removals on my part, this time with a hearty, "CHEEEEESE!"

Attempt #5: Thank goodness. We got one.

And just in time, too. Because...she's outta here!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Jesus Meme

4andcounting tagged me for this meme a shamefully long time ago, and I am finally getting around to doing it.

Why did it take so long, you ask? Because it is a toughie, that's why! It's one I really wanted to think about, and by the time I get to blogging at the end of the day, I don't have much coherent thought left. But tonight, half of my kids are at Sea World with grandma and I have enough iced tea in my system, so I am feeling up to the task.

I'm supposed to name 5 things I love about Jesus. There are so many choices that it is overwhelming for me to pick the 5 most meaningful, but here is my attempt:

1. He is Always With Me

I never feel alone, even when I am. I sense Jesus' presence all the time, wherever I am, and I chat with him throughout the day. He is with me when I am reading to the children, doing laundry, weeding the garden or chopping an onion. He is my constant companion, and I love that.

2. He Fills Me With Peace

When I am angry, frustrated or scared, all I have to do is focus on Jesus and ask for his peace and I feel it instantly. It fills me up, from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, and is a physical as well as emotional sensation of release for me. I should never forget to do this when I am upset, yet, sadly, sometimes I do. Yet, when I ask earnestly and prepare myself to receive it, he delivers every time.

3. He Is At Once Fully Human and Fully Divine

This is such a great mystery, and I love to contemplate it. I turn his experiences around and around, wondering how this seemingly impossible combination worked. For example, as a fully human infant, he would have little awareness of the world around him, yet as our fully divine Lord, he must have always known who he was. How can this reconcile? I can't wait to find out.

4. He Came Down to Us Out of Love

When I say "came down" I am not speaking of the physical aspect of earth being below heaven. Rather, I mean that our creator, so far above us in all things, put himself here in the physical company of those not worthy to receive him. Not only that, but he gave himself many of the worst possible circumstances: poverty, riddicule, betrayal, faithlessness, hatred and, of course, the worst death imaginable. How ashamed I am to think of our dear Lord, who loves us so much, subjected to the cruel reception he received here on earth by those so far beneath him in every way. He could have been an earthly king, but he chose instead to give us a perfect example of where our values should be. So it makes perfect sense, yet still overwhelms me when I think of it. How loved we are.

5. He Remains With Us Physically

Although Jesus was assumed into heaven, he left us with the gift of the mass. Being fully human (and, of course, fully divine), he understands how important physical contact is to human beings. This is how we connect best. Knowing this, he arranged it so that, not only can we sit in his presence, but we can actually consume him. We can bring his body and blood into our own bodies every single day. There can be no greater intimacy.

* * * *

So, there you have it. Now you know why it took me so long!

Thanks for the tag, 4andcounting--I like doing memes.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Day of Triumphs and Milestones

For those keeping track, I thought I'd share some milestones and victories for our family.

Yesterday, Isabella crawled for the first time. She is not yet six months old, which makes her my youngest crawler yet, besting even Joey. After three babies that didn't crawl until 9 months and didn't walk until 16 or 17 months, I was quite honestly hoping that Isabella would follow suit and sit happily on her blanket for another few months at least. This is not to be my fate, however, and I am quickly picking up small choking hazards and hiding electrical cords.

She did this while we were at the baby shower of a friend of mine. I had placed her on the floor so I could concentrate on winning the word scramble shower game, and was--I'm embarrassed to admit--annoyed at the interruption when someone started saying, "Look, she's crawling!" I, who have been known to be a tad bit competitive when playing baby shower games, said something resembling, "Don't bother me now!" Enter me in the mothering hall of fame, will you? Anyway, congratulations, Isabella. Take your time cruising, OK?

Also in the milestones category, Isabella got her first taste of rice cereal today. I try to hold my babies off on the solids as long as possible for my own personal convenience. The sole nursing keeps my body offline a little longer, and the diapers get much smellier once solids are introduced. I have managed to make it about 7 months before starting solids with most of my kids. But this little one is ready. For awhile now, she has been grabbing for my food, voraciously sucking anything that resembles food, and getting frustrated with nursing (especially the privacy blanket, which she will simply not tolerate any longer). So, I plopped her in the high chair today, cued up the video camera and waited for the initial response all my kids have had to solids: confusion, thrusting the food back out and some cute yucky face expressions.

This did not happen.

Isabella saw the spoon coming, ripped it out of my hand, shoved it in her mouth, sucked it clean and then stared fixedly at the bowl, waiting for more. I couldn't believe it. She ate and ate like a pro. I didn't even need a bib, so efficient was she at sucking down anything that got even close to her mouth. Then, when I was sure she'd had enough, she shrieked in protest when I removed her from the high chair.

That's my girl. We're definitely related.

Now, in the shameless maternal bragging category, I have to report that Sam was in a karate tournament today and won both divisions he competed in. He came home, hid the medals in his closet and actually kept the secret until dinner time, when he shared it with his siblings at our traditional dinnertime 'round the table "how was your day" report. Both categories involved breaking pine boards with fists or kicks, and I can't believe he could even crack one, much less multiples. I am bursting with pride and happiness for my little dude so I could not resist sharing.

So, it's been a busy week for us Di Silvestris. Next up: back to school. Sigh.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More Magic

This time the magic is not scouting badge's Magic Mountain, the Six Flags amusement park I took my kids to last week as a reward for good progress made in their summer reading program.

This mountain really is magic. I went there often while growing up, long before it was owned by Six Flags. I have seen it grow and change over the years, in both good and not-so-good ways. But I am here to tell you that the day we spent in the park together was nearly all good. We had so much fun!

One of the changes Six Flags has made in the park is to add a lot of new, "extreme" roller coasters. As someone who likes the classics, like Colossus and the Revolution, I look with suspicion at these metal giants, that are so bumpy and jerky that they are more painful than fun. However, when Joey begged and pleaded with me to go on one of the relatively new coasters called "X" with him, I agreed. I even waited an hour and twenty minutes to do it. I never, ever wait in lines that long. Except to make my kid happy.

Anyway, as we were getting on the ride I told Joey, "No ride on earth could be worth a wait like this one." When I got off, I said, "That one was worth every minute." And it was.

If you've ever been on the Zipper, a classic carnival ride, this might remind you of that. But this would be the Zipper on steroids. It whips you around, face down to the ground, except this time you are much higher, falling farther and there is no cage around you.

I loved it. And so did Joey. But it's most definitely not for the faint of heart.

Long live this magical mountain!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's A Girl Thing

Lindsey reached a very important milestone today, a rite of passage for most girls. She got her ears pierced!

This is my girl who doesn't like even to have her hair brushed and winces at relatively little pain. Yet, bravely she sat, enduring pain for beauty's sake, as all women eventually do to one degree or another.

I don't know what prompted it, but a few days ago she started asking to have them done. After I described the process and the discomfort level associated with it, I thought for sure she would postpone. But she was undeterred, so away we went to the Piercing Pagoda, and I watched her fight back her tears and fears while they machine gunned the posts into first one ear and then the other.

I was exactly her age when my ears were pierced, so I felt an extra close connection to her today. What fun we had picking her first earrings (little gold dolphins) and having lunch together afterward.

Congratulations, Lindsey. You are beautiful, inside and out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recovery of the Best Kind

I am here. All is well.

We have had guests non-stop for two weeks now (and I am so glad, what a wonderful two weeks it has been) and I have been too busy enjoying their company to do much else.

I am in recovery mode now...laundry, grocery shopping, summer reading with the kids, all the things I have neglected in favor of irreplaceable time with friends.

I'll be back in the groove soon.

P.S. 4 and counting, I saw your meme tag and will respond soon...I promise!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Sam is 6 years old today. How can it be? I know, I know, I always say that on the kids' birthdays, but it's true. Only yesterday he was my toddler. What the heck happened?!

Sam celebrated his birthday with a karate-themed party on Sunday. Boys from his class, family and friends gathered for swimming, Asian finger foods and a karate demonstration by an 11 year old brown belt who was amazingly composed for his age...or any age for that matter! Thanks, Josh.

As you can see, I did not manage to get a great shot of Sam during his party, but I did manage to capture the embarrassingly large pinata before it showered the children with obscene amounts of candy. At Joey's birthday party back in May, we had a too-small pinata and ended up with crying children who did not get any. Jay, in particular, was scarred by this memory and made absolutely sure this would not happen again. I am certain there must be a happy medium in a pinata that is not nearly the same size as the birthday boy. But I digress.

Today we kept it simple, with a homemade cake (thanks for the help, girls) and Sam's choice for dinner (Mac 'n Cheese from a box--hey, at least it was easy!).

Sam is one of those rare, naturally peaceful people that is difficult to ruffle and almost always happy. He is low-maintenance, self-sufficient, and flexible. He has a "whatever you want!" kind of attitude that I could learn a lot from. He is enthusiastic, clever, funny and imaginative. He is an all-boy bundle of energy with, thankfully, a high tolerance for the pain the comes with his many bumps and bruises. He is a rough and tumble kid that is also one of our snuggliest. Sam is our resident narcolept, who plays hard and sleeps hard, succumbing instantly wherever and whenever fatigue strikes. This is one of our favorite Sam features.

Sam, this world is a better place because you are in it. You keep us all grounded and lift our spirits with your innocent joy. Watching you grow and learn, and develop your naturally kind heart and good character is a true privilege. I love you very much. Happy 6th birthday!

Monday, August 06, 2007

It Really Is Magic

I am oh-so grateful to the inventive folks over at Badge Magic.

Because, even though I enjoy sewing (and even do it from time to time), there is no way Lindsey's Brownie Uniform would look like this without them:

Rather, all these hard-earned patches would be sitting in a basket on my sewing table, waiting for their day in the sun, and poor Lindsey would be attending event after event with my apologies and promises that I really would sew them on soon.

Nor would Joey's, Sam's and Jay's Cub Scout shirts be properly adorned.

Because, really, with a Brownie, two Cub Scouts and a double Asst. Den Leader--so far!--in the house, who has the time to properly patch them all? Just changing the thread in my bobbin alone would take more time than cutting off and peeling half a dozen of these magic stickers.

I have been known to use them for karate uniform patches as well. Cheating, you say? So what!

Thanks, guys. Keep up the good work.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Yet Another Benefit of a Large Family

When you go to your parish BBQ and fill every single seat at the cake walk, you are definitely going home with a cake.