Friday, February 26, 2016

Innovation Reigns

Tony is a very busy child.  Not one to sit and watch TV all day long (nor, I'm afraid, read a book) he is constantly testing concepts, learning new tricks and ideas, and putting them all together in projects.

Not all of his projects have been a total success.  He ran into some problems with his "real" Iron Man suit.  His recent Galaxy egg project began with a trip to Michaels and ended with a rather large can of paint remover which kept the house smelling, um, sterile for two days (although the egg WAS beautiful.)

This one, however, is great!  And it really works!

Yes, indeed, it is a speaker for a smart phone.  Easy to make with things found around the house, and super satisfactory results.

Go, Tony, perhaps we should look to you for the next "big" thing?!  I'm sure we won't have to wait long...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Happy Birthday, Bella

Today my daughter Bella turned 9.  She shares her birthday with General George Washington and likes that.

Bella has always been unique in our family.  She feels things very deeply and is quite sensitive to the environment around her.  She is very neat with her belongings and loves to organize and store things.  She takes great care in all she does and is a very special girl.

What a pleasure it was to share this birthday celebration with my dear daughter.  Here are some photos that reflect her pure joy in the occasion.

Birthday Party

Family dinner

At Medranos, where the wait staff sang to her.

Bella, we couldn't love you more and can't wait to see what you do next!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

4 Drivers (!)

For years and years Jay and I were the only two drivers in the family.  About a year and a half ago, Joey got his license and things were...expensive!  But also easier, as he could help us pick up things (or siblings) or drop them off.   Grandma Marilyn gave Joey her 1997 Nissan Pick-Up Truck and that served him especially well as he drove to Mountain High for his job as a ski instructor last winter.  Thank you, grandma!

As you may recall, Joey also has a Jeep Wrangler that he loves, but it is grounded in our garage for the moment.  At some point you will hear about it again once we find the time to get a minor repair done.  It's ironic because I cleaned the garage out in the fall so I could get my car back in there before the weather got cold.  I parked there exactly twice before Joey put his Jeep in my spot the first day it rained. The Jeep doesn't have a waterproof top on it, so it has just stayed where it is since it has been raining so often this winter.  Every morning when I go out to preheat the car (or scrape the ice off the window), shivering, I utter a tiny little Jeep-curse under my breath.

In much bigger news, about two weeks ago, Lindsey got her license too.  Not as expensive this time, but doubly convenient.  She loves to go out any time she has the chance so she has become my go-to girl for milk or bananas, and even better, she drives herself to her friends' houses!  This has been a major time-saver for us.  Grandpa Harry gave her his 2004 Civic and she loves it.  It is very "her" and I love to see her jetting around in it.  Thank you, grandpa!

Yes, the family is growing up.  We only have a few months left with Joey at home and two more years with Lindsey before she goes as well.  I plan to enjoy as many moments as I can with them before that time comes.

Of course, I'll probably have to take the batteries out of their cars in order to "find" those moments!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Julia's Best Meet Ever

It was on Valentine's Day in Long Beach.  The convention center was teeming with gymnasts.  Julia walked in confidently and...kicked butt!

Here is a photo of her in action on the beam (thanks, Susan):

She got her best all around score ever, earning 2nd place.  She placed 1st on bars and medaled on every event.

Yes, it was fun to watch, but she is always fun to watch.  She is a graceful and beautiful gymnast and I love watching her grow and excel in her sport.  When she is rewarded with good scores, it is truly icing on the cake.

In other gym news, Bella was just promoted to team Excel Silver and has added a day to her practice.  She begins competing next January and will go the same meets as Julia, just at different times.  She is very happy about this development and has worked hard to get there.  Finally, Natalie was just moved to level 2 in the pre-team classes, so it is good news "all around".  (Sorry, a little gym humor.)

Go Di Silvestri girls!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Lent (Wait, Already?!)

Didn't we just finish the Christmas season?  How can it be Lent already?

However it happened, it happened.  Exactly one month of Ordinary time passed in between Christmas and Lent, and here we are on Ash Wednesday.  For the second time in my journey as a Catholic, Ash Wednesday has come before Valentine's Day.  Luckily, though, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, which is always a feast day, even during Lent.  Thank goodness for that, because See's and Lindt are very important to me.  Really.

Seriously, Lent has arrived again and I am glad.  I like Lent much better than Advent (which, to me, is characterized by pressures of all kinds which means little time to actually think about the coming of the Christ-child).  Lent is different.  There is plenty of time during which we are not constantly pressured to find presents for everyone, decorate the house, send cards and bake cookies.  I honestly don't know when I became such a Scrooge, but each year I have a harder and harder time making it through Christmas.

Inversely, I look forward to Lent as a time to reconnect with our Lord, who so often takes a backseat to all the business of our daily lives.  It is a time of reading (this year it is Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Jesus), studying (check out FORMED on line), questioning how I am doing in my quest for eternal life, and being able to plan how to become the person God wants me to be.  Life carries on, but in more hushed tones and with a little less drama.  It is peaceful.

As you may recall from last year, I try to add something productive during Lent rather than mortify myself (my husband reminds me that my illness mortifies me automatically, which I can't really argue with).  So, no, I am not giving up chocolate or sweets or caffeine.  I will try to be more measured with them, but I will not cut them out completely.  Instead, I am committed to getting back on track with my blog and will be posting at least three times a week during Lent.  I really enjoy writing in this space and haven't been doing it lately for lack of inspiration and energy.  Maybe this can get me back on track, for real this time.

I have mostly settled into a one week good/one week bad schedule with my chemo so I think I can better manage and predict my best and worst days and work the blogging in with that.  I feel, when I don't blog, that I begin turning inward and become less social overall.  I don't want to give into that (unless I REALLY want to take a nap, that is).  Plus, my short term memory is pretty bad now, so this is a good place for me to write down what is going on in my life so I don't forget it all.  Plus, some day my kids can read this and remember parts of their lives that I was able to record.

Wish me luck, as I wish you, with all your Lenten endeavors.