Monday, June 27, 2011

Kansas....So Far So Good

We took off on Saturday for our annual trip to Kansas. It's a long drive but always worth it when we get here. Our boys LOVE Kansas! I'm not sure that it is the state of Kansas so much as the people that we get to see IN Kansas. They adore their older cousins, second cousins, third cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great-grandma....the list goes on and on. We make it a point to see as many people as we can while we are here. Since we have the chance to be here for more than a week this time, we get to see A LOT of people.

We also get to do A LOT of things. Normally, we see a $1.00 movie, go to the water spout parks, see the free zoo, go fishing, have milkshakes and swing on the tree swing out back. This time, we have already added a few new activities to our trip. We spent an entire day with the older cousins and their significant others/spouses. Talk about starry eyed boys. They love their older cousins. I mean LOVE. They had so much fun with them.

We also went to Tanganyika Wildlife Park. It's located in Goddard, KS. They have so many fun animals. I think this small little zoo is better than any zoo I have ever been visited. The kids go to pet and feed so many animals. You should go to KS just to see this zoo. (Okay, maybe not, but it was a lot of fun!)

Here are a few snapshots of our fun so far. Stay tuned for more fun from Kansas.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. Today was busy. VBS from 9-2pm. While the kids were there, I had two meetings. Speech appointment for Cam at 2:45pm. Dental appointment for Cam at 4:00pm. Cam's t-ball pix at 6:30pm. Cam's t-ball game at 7:15pm. When does summer start?

2. I am enjoying this summer like it's the last summer I'll ever have. I know it isn't but there is still so much I (we) want to do and not much time left. (In my opinion.) What can I say, I love my kids. Yes, they drive me up the wall sometimes but I really enjoy being with them.

3. I am soooo looking forward to going to KS next week. We will get to see my family and Steve's family. Making the rounds to see all the cousins and the boys are stoked!

4. "Scooby the Wonder Dog" came for a visit this weekend. In less than 1 day, she managed to steal two bones from the neighbor's dog, dig up a vegetable bed and crush some of my newly planted flowers. We now call her "Scooby the Destroyer".

5. The boys are in their first VBS camp this summer. So far, two days down and they are loving it. Cam sings all of the songs every evening. I think Colin is just having a good time with his friends. He does not talk much about the actual camp even with my prodding. Cam, however, is full of stories.

6. I have a gaping hole in my wrist where I had a mole removed yesterday. The sight of it seriously grosses me out. I think I have discovered that I am okay with injuries to other people, just not to myself.

7. I just saw an old man walk by with his dog. Said dog pooped in our front yard. Yep, you guessed it, said old man did not pick up the poop. Now I think I am more grossed out by someone else's dog poop than then gaping hole in my wrist.

8. Steve is biking from the Home Depot tomorrow to work. Do you know how far that is? I do. Too far.

9. For Father's Day Steve cleaned the garage. Works for me. He also bought a new bike wheel. I bought one of those recordable Hallmark books and the boys recording their answers to various questions. Very cute way to have lots of great memories and preserve those sweet little voices.

10. Home made ice cream last weekend. Yum!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Surfing

The Silva's don't own a boat. We have to settle for the "Poor Man's" surfing. (Insert begging here to any friend that owns a boat and would like a lovely family with two fun boys to go out on the lake with you. We will bring the beer. Well, Steve and I will. The boys will bring the juice boxes and the fart jokes.)

Yesterday (the only day of the entire summer that we did not have something planned) a wonderful thing happened. The Town of Erie was purging the fire hydrants in our neighborhood. I just happened to look out the front window at just the right time to see a flood of water coming down our street. I yelled for the boys to come outside and an hour later, we were all soaked and smiling.

The squirrel was not too sure what to do. He kept running back and forth to the water. Poor little guy. I bet there were all kinds of good nuts and berries being swept away in that water. I think he walked away crying.

The boys found a plastic whistle along side the road that they used to float down the water and catch. If you were driving by, I apologize for the crazy lady that ran across the street in her bare feet and just showered hair trying to catch the whistle before it went down the storm drain. It's a good thing that my kids do not know how to use the camera.

It's funny how the most simple things can be the most fun. This was an impromptu situation that we ordinarily would not have even been home to witness. That water was cold and clean and rushing. If Cam weighed a few pounds less, I think he might have been swept away.

By the way, have I ever told you that I love summer in our neighborhood? Everything is so bright and green.

On a totally different note, we went to the zoo with some friends on Tues. The boys all had a great time hamming it up for the camera. These four are going to be T.R.O.U.B.L.E. when they get older.

On another another note... Last weekend we went camping in Estes Park. We always find new things to do when we are there. I took the boys to a cute store called Estes Ark. Yes, it's shaped like and ark. It is filled with every type of stuffed animal you could ever imagine. We spent over an hour just walking around and looking. Then another hour deciding on the two precious animals (with a limit of $12 or less) that we would take home with us. We ended up with a bat (?) and a seal puppet.

Happy Summer. Stay tuned for more fun Silva Adventures!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Moment

I had a moment this morning. Well, more like an hour but who's counting? If you are looking for a light and airy feel good read today, this is not the blog to be reading. This moment was deep. This moment was soulful. This moment caught me weeping, yes weeping by the side of the road. Read on if you want a little peek into my mind today. Grab a Kleenax. This one's a doosie.

This moment technically started last night. A certain child of mine had been grasping with the idea of loving God more than anyone or anything else in this world. It's strange because he has been talking about this for a few weeks. I always respond with, "Yes, that's what we are supposed to do. That's what God tells us to do. That is what is right and correct." It's a pretty blanket answer with not much feeling.

But I am Christian. I am Catholic. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus died for our sins. And yet, I doubt. I doubt every time I think of something happening to my children. I doubt every time I think of losing someone that I love. The one thread that keeps my mind believing is not the huge revelation that God loves us or that Jesus died for us. It is the heart wrenching thought that unless I have faith, I stand a good chance of never ever seeing my family, my loved ones, again beyond death. That thought crushes my heart. So, I believe.

I go through the motions. I go to church. I talk with my kids about the Bible and what we "should" believe. I try to teach lessons daily on right and wrong. I try to be joyful with and within my children. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes I seize moments and teach into our faith. Sometimes I just don't know how and I fail. I lose those moments and then regret that I am not more faithful. That I am not a better person. That I am not a better Christian. That I am not a better believer. That I don't necessarily lead a God-centered life. Not even close.

In the last few days a few things have happened.

1. I keep hearing one of my children stating that we are supposed to love God more than anyone else. He is having a hard time with that and so am I.

2. The other child had a few rough moments yesterday where he needed to be reminded that God forgives. No matter what, he forgives. That is why Jesus died for us. He died so that we could be forgiven. Just ask, I tell my child. Just ask for forgiveness.

Last night I went to bed with a very heavy heart. My child was hurting and I could not fix it. I could not put a band-aid on it and just make it go away. He was having a very rough internal struggle and he would not talk with me. The most I got was, "I feel like I did something wrong and I know God has forgiven me but how do I forgive myself?"

He was sad. He was hurt. He was emotional. And I had nothing. Nothing to offer. Nothing profound to ease his pain. I just kept telling him that no matter what, God loved him. Always. He will forgive. Always. However, and this is key, I was not sure at the moment that I really believed what I had just said. I struggle in my own mind to picture this "other being". This "all knowing, all loving and all forgiving" God. I want my children to feel His comfort when my own comforting is not enough. I want my children to ALWAYS have someone, something, to turn to when they feel lost. When they feel sad. When they feel like they are not worthy. I want them to be comforted so badly by His words. But it is my job to teach them His words. And I don't know much about His words. I have an idea. I have a Bible. I have music CD's. I have thoughts. I have moments of inspiration. But I don't really "feel" Christian. I am not even sure what that is supposed to "feel" like. All I know is that around every corner of brilliant thought and word that I speak to my children about God, I doubt. I doubt that I really believe what I am saying . I suppose this is the age old struggle of good and evil. Of God and Satan. Of right and wrong. But I never dig any deeper. I never move on the moment. I blink and go on.

Not this morning. I woke up today with a heavy heart. The conversation last night with my child was weighing on me. I woke up at 6am to go for run. I didn't feel like running but I went anyway. I walked for some time. Listening to my ipod and tuning out the world. And then I started thinking. Running always helps me come up with brilliant ideas. Camp Silva was born from running. The surprise trip to Legoland was born out of running. Even applying for the job as Vice Principal was born out of running. However, it's usually not a lot of deep thinking. I can't "do" running, listening to music, trying not to get run over by a car and deep thinking at the same time. So I run mindlessly. I let go. This is my time with myself. Not my time with God. My time with myself. Selfishly selfish self.

Until today. I got about a mile from the house and my mind was racing. How can I help this child of mine feel the bursting love that I feel in MY heart for him? I love my family more than anything in this world. "No", I thought to myself, that is not right. I am supposed to love God more than anything. But that does not work for me. My family. I love my family more. Always more. Then the guilt. I am not supposed to love my family this much. I am supposed to love God more. How can I teach my children to love God more when I literally do not practice what I preach? Can I fake it? I have been to this point but I think I have been suspected by my children. I don't FEEL that. I don't WANT that. My heart literally aches at times because I love my family so much. My priorities are all messed up. I want to raise these boys to be Christians. I want to raise these boys to be good men. Good fathers. Good husbands. God-faring men. God-faring fathers. God-fairing Husbands. How? How am I (are we) supposed to love God more than our children? More than my husband?

And then the moment hit me. Literally knocked the wind out of me. Literally stopped me in my tracks. All I was thinking was how much I love MY family. But then I thought, how much does God love ME? Bam!

I told my son last night that I loved him so much at times that it literally hurts. But, I went on to explain, God loves him inexplicably more. God. Loves. Him. More. God loves him more than he can ever imagine. We are all God's children. God loves us more deeply, more fully, more profoundly that any person on earth could ever love us. God's love runs deeper than anything. Ever. Forever. No matter what. Always. Sinner and all. God loves us MORE.

And then I had to stop running. I literally had to stop and sit down. I was sobbing. I was a wreck. I have been on this earth for 38 years and have never felt moved in that way. I have gone to church nearly every Sunday of my life. I went through years of CCD classes, First Communion classes, Confirmation classes; years. I never really felt like I believed what I was learning. I never really felt the love of God. Here I am telling my kids that god loves them more deeply, and I did not believe. I never felt moved. I never felt led. Always just lost. Lost.

And here I am. On the sidewalk in Erie, Colorado at 6:30am running with tears streaming down my face. Other people are out walking. I allowed myself to stop running and then I just started sobbing. I literally had to sit down. I had to think for a minute. Shake my head. Get this thought out. But my mind was racing.

God is a Father. God is MY Father. A Father. I know how deeply I love my children. If he loves me even an 1/8 more than I love my own children, I can not imagine the aching he feels when we are hurting. I can not imagine the grace he gives us. I can not imagine the powerful feeling of pride that he feels when we are following HIS words. I can not imagine anyone loving me more than I love my own children. But HE does. He loves us more. He loves ME more. He loves MY children more.

That moment brought me to the ground. That moment changed everything. That moment made me feel closer to God than I have in all of my 38 years. That moment made me understand how much God loves ME. ME. Little ole' ME. The most ironic and iconic thing about this moment is that it was not really about ME. It was about me believing what I have been telling my children all along. It was about being able to really really believe what I am teaching my children. It's about walking the walk and talking the talk and really believing.

For so long I have felt like something was missing in my life. I knew that a big part of that was my faith. But you can not force faith. I heave searched. I have prayed. I have had conversations with others about this missing piece. However, I could not fill this void because I did not know exactly what was missing. Today, I found it. It was a connection. It was a connection from knowing the love of being a parent. It was a true belief. It was a true belief that someone could love ME more. That someone could love my kids more. That no matter what, I was and will always be forgiven. That no matter what, I can have that unconditional, undying, never wavering love. And so can my children. Even when I am gone. Even when they are sad, or mad, or lost, or hurt, or scared. Even when I can not find the words.

He can do the impossible. He can love my children more than I love my children. I never thought that was possible. And he loves me the same way. I have no idea why this has never struck me before. I have always heard that some people have a moment when they turn their life over to Christ. I thought I had done that a long long time ago. Today was my true moment. Today was the moment that I professed that I believe. Feeling the love that I feel as a parent is unlike any other feeling I have ever had in my life. Feeling the love for my husband and the father of my children is unlike any other. But feeling the love of Christ. That unconditional, never failing, never ending love. That is bigger than me. That is more than I ever thought possible.

I don't know why this moment came today. I suppose it came because of prayer. Because of longing. Because of my need and desire for something more for myself, for my family. Something more for my children. Some way to comfort them. To lead a better life. To lead a more fulfilled life. The many times I have prayed for wisdom. The many times I have prayed for guidance and patience. The many times I have ached over my children's hurt feelings. The many times I have spoken the Word to them and not fully believed.

Today is the day that I feel whole. Today is that day that I feel loved. Today is the day that I feel I can teach my children the Word of God and believe.

Today I had a moment. And it will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Silva Summer Bucket List
(This is a list of all the things we have already completed on our Silva Summer Bucket List. It should explain why I have not blogged in the last week. I'm exhausted!)

1. Movie - Two different movies, Ramona and Beezus & Kung Fu Panda II

2. Camping in Estes Park - Twice

3. Candy Store in Estes Park - We managed to only spend a small fortune.

4. Hiking - Again, in Estes

5. Camp Silva - Three fun filled days of kids and crafts, 10-12 kids each day, 3 crafts a day.

6. Zoo - Three times!

7. Swimming

8. Smores Party - We had our wonderful neighbors over for dinner and smores.

9. Picnic - More than one and more to come.

10. Sleepover - It was quite successful.

11. Park - Several times.

12. Bike Riding - Several Times

I can't believe it is already the middle of June. This summer is going by way to fast I'm trying to soak up every minute.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer: Silva Style

Summer started one week ago today. We always make the most of our limited summer days but this year it seems that we have taken off with a bang. So far in the last week we have gone to a block party (of which I have no pictures, probably a good thing), gone to Estes for an overnight camping trip, toured downtown Estes, visited the candy store, had a picnic and taken a trip to the zoo.

Today we are going to the $1.00 movie and tomorrow Colin *might* have a friend over for his first sleepover. Friday we have a MOMS Club Reunion and this weekend we have 4 (yes, F.O.U.R.) birthday parties to attend. The Silva's know how to start off the summer with gusto. The kids have made their list of things that they want to do this summer. I can not promise that we will get to all of them, but we will sure try. Some of them are more expensive than others we will have to pick and choose our big activities. For several of them, we can get discounted tickets, some of them are already planned (trip to KS) and others cost no money at all.

Last night, after very little research (thanks Angie) my friend and I (whom we spent the entire day at the zoo with) decided that since out husbands ditched us for dinner, we would meet at Chili's since it was Kid's Eat Free night. Colin and Cam acted like they had struck gold. It seems that they can't get enough of the Osborne family these days. So, we all piled into on large booth, scared the wait staff, and served 6 kids (I'm including the youngest in this because she is a mini-adult in her eating habits) and 3 adults (I was kind enough to get a "to go" meal for Steve) for $48. Yes folks, Chili's was probably glad to see us leave since we bilked the system. But hey, if you offer Kids Eat Free, be prepared for kids. Speaking of kids, they were all great! Super well behaved. Six kids and well behaved usually do not go in the same sentence. But these kids were golden. I wish I would have taken a picture of the table aftermath. I felt a little sorry for the wait staff with that pile 'o dishes but giggled a little knowing that I did not have to clean a single dish last night.

And so, I leave you with some pictures of our beginning of summer adventures. There will be many more to come throughout the summer, if I can just remember to bring my camera.

Yes, that is our pop up camper. Yes, that is bull elk. We probably could have walked up to him but I love my children (and their fingers and toes).

Cam tore up the dance floor with his line dancing moves. Notice he is the only boy out there with all of the pretty girls. If I could figure out how to post a video on this silly blog, you would all get a good laugh at his "white boy" talent.

A little shy, but not really.

This is how we were greeted by the giraffe at the zoo. He was so pretty and graceful.

Trouble with a capital T, but such good friends. I love those girls to pieces. (And those boys too.)

Not sure who the random boy is standing next to Brody, but he can join our group if he wants.

Looking forward to lots of fun time with this group of kids.

Can you believe that no on got hurt? Well, that's not 100% true. Upon entering the zoo, Camden ran head first into a pole. Yes, really. He was not paying attention and clocked himself pretty good. It's going to be a long summer with that boy. For anyone that spends time with us this summer, I carry ice packs, butterfly closures and steri-glue in my car.

They all made it on the hippo for exactly 2.3 seconds.

And so, this brings us to the Silva Summer Time list. We brainstormed this list over the weekend and will add to it as we think of other activities.

Bead Hunting Park (This is Creekside park in Longmont - there is a little creek that we visit to hunt for beads.)

Elitch's - will require Steve's help

Water World - again, with Steve's help

Go to the Mall

Lego Store

Go see a movie - going to see a $1.00 movie today

Camping - already done but we'll have several more weekends of this

Candy Store - again, already done but I am sure we'll end up there again


Rockies Game - scheduled for Sept. 5 - you can't beat a family 4 pack for $49 (includes 4 drinks, 4 hot dogs, parking and a program)

Trip to KS - already scheduled for the end of June

Go to a Park - we have a MOMS Reunion scheduled for Fri. but there will be many more dates

Camp Silva - scheduled for next week

Visit Hammond's Candy Factory - not sure that we will get to this since we went in the spring

Zoo - done, but we have a membership so we will go again

Swimming - anyone want to invite us to their outdoor pool neighborhood pool or rec center?

Pirate Exhibit - I need to get this scheduled, the exhibit leaves in Aug.

Smore's Party

Bike Riding

Waneka Lake

Fishing - we will probably do this in KS but can schedule a few other dates as well

Circus - this won't happen until Oct. We go every other year and we did not go last year

Tour a Museum - Cam suggested this, not sure what he has in mind

Wow Museum - I have 4 free passes so we can go twice!

Butterfly Pavilion

Picnic - done but many more to come

Eat Lunch with Dad - sounds easy but his schedule is pretty busy

Have Lunch in the Basement - for a "Food is Banned From This Area" location, this is a special treat

Have a Sleepover - these plans are in progress with several different friends.