Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Photo Recap

January 2012 Nugget's Game

February 2012 Phineas And Ferb Live!

 March 2012 Grandma Willodean's Funeral (Sad But Happy)

April 2012 Colin And Cam's First Black Diamond Slope!

May 2012 Colin Makes His First Communion

 June 2012 Sanibel Island

 July 2012 A Trip To The Wolf Sanctuary In Guffey, Colorado

July 2012 (Because I HAD To Put This One In Here) Celebrating Mom And Dad's Anniversary In Crested Butte!

August 2012 Tanganyika Wildlife Park

August 2012 We Moved To Kansas! (It Was A Pretty Big Moment So I Had To Put This One In Here Too)

September 2012 A Throwdown In Front Of Our New House

October 2012 A Trip To Silver Dollar City With Great Friends

November 2012 Skiing Again In Colorado

December 2012 A Fun Visit From All The Cousins At Christmas

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Love, Kindness, Rainbows, Unicorns and Prayer

For those of you that don't want to hear me be "preachy", stop reading this right now. I'm about to get preachy and throw around words like Heaven, Jesus, Savior, God and Amen. If you continue reading and you don't agree with me and you want to leave a comment, that is fine. Freedom of speech and all that. However, I kindly ask you that you refrain from ugliness, rudeness and general meanness. After all, that is what has gotten us into this mess of a broken world to begin with.

So here it goes....

Our world is broken. That is no secret. In my opinion, it has been in a downward spiral since 9-11. I have felt heavy since that day. Yes, it comes and goes but mostly it comes. No, I don't think I am depressed or ill. I am just sad for our world. I am sad for our children. I am sad that I hide the newspaper and click off the news when my boys come into the room. My kids have never ever watched the news. Yes, you heard me right. It's not that my children don't know about the tragedies of this world, it is that my husband and I choose when and how to tell them. They know about death. They know about hate. They know about 9-11. They know about Hitler. They know about bad guys, terrorism, kids getting taken off the street.

However, this tragedy is going to be a hard one to explain. Simply because there are no answers. There are no excuses. I can't tell the kids, the shooter was a broken man that did not know these children. That he walked into a random school with random intentions and started shooting. From my perspective (what I have read) he was considered "friend" not "foe" in the school. I would have done the same thing. I would have allowed the son of a teacher into the school. Why wouldn't I? You can't screen for mental illness. You can screen a driver's license. You can ask all the questions about their reasoning for being at the school. There probably would have been no amount of questioning that would have changed the outcome of yesterday.

Our world is broken. Somewhere along the way, this man was sad. Somewhere along the way this man was depressed, ill, bullied, abused, treated unfairly, wronged, judged....something. Somewhere along the way, there were signs that we probably ignored. I say "we" because I mean "we". Society. Not his mother. All of us.

Here is where I get preachy. I am not blaming the mother, the brother, the Principal, the friends. I am not blaming anyone. I am simply asking one question:

Out of all of the people that this man interacted with on a daily basis, did not one person bother to notice a warning sign from him?

Someone in his 21 years of life must have noticed, must have sensed, must have suspected that he was a broken mentally ill man. I'm fairly certain that you don't just wake up one day and decide that you are going to go to an elementary school and start shooting.

Here is my plea to our broken world. Take notice. Talk to people. Give a smile. Say hello. Call an old friend. Make a new friend. Talk to your kids' friends when they come over on a play date. Help a disabled person at the grocery store. Bake cookies for someone else. There are a million ways that you can spread kindness in this word. Love and kindness require no money. No purchase necessary. No gift receipt.

In case you are wondering, I do believe that a lot of the hate and anger in this world can be prevented by rainbows and unicorns. Maybe even a little bit of glitter and a few butterflies. Throw some cute puppies in there are you have the making for some serious joy filled-people.

I am not trying to make light of this situation. Can you even call it a situation? It was a hate filled murderous act of evil. That's what it should be called.

Those children were innocent. Those children did nothing to wrong this man. And therein lies the evil. This man committed an evil act on the innocent. He lashed out his anger in a cowardly way. Puppies and unicorns will not fix a man like that.

We need to pray against the evil. We need to pray our way out of this broken world we have created. WE HAVE CREATED. We were all born innocent. Remember, God gave his only begotten son... remember that line...from the BIBLE???

We are approaching one of the single most important dates in all of Christianity. The birth of Jesus gave hope to the world. Can you imagine how broken the world was back then...before the birth of our Lord Jesus? Look at what a gift we have. We have been given a gift of forgiveness. A gift of hope. A gift of grace. Those sweet little innocent children and the adults that cared for them at the school are with Him now. Imagine their happiness. Imagine the sheer joy of never feeling the pain of this world again. Pray for them. Pray to them. Pray that their angelic minds watch over us and make this world a better place.

We need some light in this world. We need some hope in this world. Hope is created by us. Love is created by us. Maybe this will spark your "feel good vibe" today to pray.

Most importantly, pray. We all relish and gear up for Black Friday, Cyber we have Camo Thursday and Macy's I Believe Day. Really?

How about a "Pray Like You Mean It Day"? How about a "Get Down On Your Knees And Pray Day"? Take 30 seconds out of your life today to pray. Take five minutes out of your life today to pray. Pray as you make cookies for someone. Pray as you dial up an old friend. Pray as you are driving and someone cuts you off. Pray for them. It will take just as much energy to let them cut in front of you as it will to step on the gas pedal and box them out.

Pray for the families that are mourning their lost children. Pray for the families that are mourning the loss their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends. Pray for all of the children that saw this horrible act carried out in front of their eyes.

Pray that our broken world heals. Pray that the hatred ends. I declare today Prayer Saturday. If Macy's can do it, why can't I?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Day!

Some pretty cool things happened today. Before you read on, realize that my life is pretty simple right now. I can relish in the little things that happen each day. So, although I did not win the lottery or a Noble Peace Prize, the things that did happen today have made me pretty happy.

1. I had a cup of coffee. A regular ol' cup of joe. Caffeinated. Guess what? It didn't taste good. After 28 days of no coffee (or caffeine in general) having a cup of coffee this morning gave me a headache and made me jittery. It's amazing what clean eating can do for your body.

2. I got an early morning Skype from my sis. Guess who she was holding in her arms? My new great-nephew. Oh my goodness that boy is cute! A full mop of hair and sleepy little eyes. Yummy.

3.  I went on a jog this morning. About 1/2 mile into the jog, I had to cinch up my running pants with the drawstring. The elastic was too loose to hold the pants on my hips. Then, I had to stop and cinch up my heart rate monitor that straps around my torso. Again, too big.

4. I got home from that wonderful jog where I knocked another 23 seconds off of my time from yesterday. Took a shower. Put on my jeans. Too big!

5. My cold in g.o.n.e.

6. Scooby the Wonder Dog got bathed and groomed today. She looks like a sweet little puppy with bows in her hair. Yes, she is curled up on the couch. But who cares when you are this cute?!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving we decided to travel back to Colorado and spend the week with our friends and neighbors. We. Had. So. Much. Fun. Instead of boring you with all the details, I leave you with a picture diary of our week.

We started off the week at the Killian's house. Always a good time with them! Colin and Cam stayed 2 nights with them. The minute we left Colorado on Sunday, Colin asked when he was going to be able to see Kiki again.

A trip to Colorado to visit friends would not be the same without visiting the Osborn family! These kids have been friend since preschool.

These two could be brothers!

These two could be siblings. Or married....

Yep, two peas in a pod.

Love this little girl. Wish I was around to spend more time with her. She's a firecracker!

 The gang is back together!


A visit to Colorado would also not be complete without a visit to see this family! Makes my heart happy.

The naturally silly two. I heard they had quite a "dance off" while hanging out on Friday. 

Pretty much what these two do all day. 

Thanksgiving with the cousins. 

A little bit of "older cousin worship" going on all day.

Not a ton of snow but enough to ski down the hill.

 Hitting the slopes ... literally....

My ski buddy.

A trip (anywhere) would not be complete without Cam getting hurt. He got to go down the mountain in style. He took a nose dive on a fall and got a bloody nose. We couldn't get it to stop so he got to take a ride. 

All cleaned up. No worse for the wear but very tired.

If you look at the bottom of his ski (behind his binding) it's broken into two pieces. Not sure if he fell because it broke, or if he broke it when he fell. Either way, he wants to hang the ski on his wall. (Why wouldn't he?) 

After posting all of these pictures, I realized that I missed out on A LOT of photo opportunities with many more friends. We had a great time seeing everyone! We also have so much to be thankful for. Thank you to our great friends, the Crowder's, for letting us crash at their house all week. We just couldn't ask for better friends than the ones we have in Colorado. We really thought we would be so sad seeing our old house. As it turns out, it wasn't the house that made the neighborhood, it was the neighbors! Since we know we can always go back and see our neighbors, there was no reason to be sad.  Until next time...

Sunday, November 18, 2012


It's amazing what a new hair cut can do for your outlook on life. But what is even more amazing is what losing 10 pounds can do for your outlook on life. When you lose that 10 pounds without feeling grouchy, tired, hungry or deprived, that's is a bonus that seems unthinkable.

This might come as a shock to a lot of you (or not) but I have never ever been comfortable in my own skin. Okay, maybe once. When Steve and I got married I was in the best shape of my life. I was working out twice a day (4 hours a day total) and really watching what I ate.

I am old now. I can't keep up that lifestyle. Even if I had enough hours in the day, I would have been too tired to work out for four hours a day.

As a kid I always felt overweight. Always. Here's the funny thing though, I wasn't overweight, I was just tall. I was skinny and tall but I couldn't trade clothes with any of my friends. I was too tall. In fact, my nickname was Too Tall Traci Troutman. Never comfortable in my own skin. My friends never knew I was conscious about my weight. I never told them. I never let on. I just always felt different, bigger, than everyone else.

Then as I got older (and had kids) everyone was always so polite with the "you are so tall so you carry your weight well" comments. I am here to tell you people, that is NOT a compliment. I have struggled with my weight for years. Years. I am well past the point of having "baby weight" to loose. My "baby" is 7 years old.

I have tried a few weight loss programs. I tried Weight Watchers (twice) and Herbalife (twice). What surprised me about Weight Watchers was the amount of processed food that was "okay" to put in your body. Get rid of sugary calories by drinking diet soda. Get rid of regular foods in your pantry and refrigerator and replace them with low fat and sugar free. You can still have sweets but replace those with the kind that cost $2.00 for one square that makes you stomach hurt when you eat them anyway. I had a hard time with all of that. The fake sugar just made me crave more sugar. I was a Diet Coke a-holic anyway so that just gave me the green light to drink more Diet Coke. Not the right program for me.

After a few more pounds and frustrations later, I tried Herbalife. I think their program is great for some people. However, with my heart problems (more annoying than serious) I couldn't use a lot of the products. If I get too much caffeine in my system (I would switch off from Diet Coke to Caffeine Free Diet Coke) my heart starts racing and I can't breath. With the teas and supplements that you needed to take along with the shakes, I just couldn't do Herbalife. Plus, the shakes made my stomach hurt. Like really hurt. I am not sure if it was too much protein all at once or the type of protein but it just didn't work for me.

I am a loyal gal. Each time I tried these methods I felt so guilty for quitting. But they were not working. It wasn't my lack of motivation or willingness to stick to something. It was that after a month or better of trying, 3-5 pounds was all I could loose. My stomach hurt. My heart was racing. I felt like crap.  I was frustrated. So, I just quit.

I decided that I would just exercise enough to lose the weight. The only problem was that I was tired all the time. I couldn't even walk three miles let alone run three. I would push myself to run 3-4 miles and then need a nap. Seriously. A nap. I ran a marathon! It was 9 years ago but ... I ran a marathon and now I needed a nap after 3 miles?!?

I did what any sane woman would do. I went to the Dr. I got my thyroid checked. I got my iron level checked. I got my everything checked. Other than my mildly annoying heart problems there was nothing medically wrong with me to make me tired or gain weight. So, it was up to me to figure things out.

I kept eating all of the healthy foods. I have never been a fast food, take out, restaurant once a day type of girl. I don't even eat that stuff once a week. But what I was eating was a lot of "diet food". Not just Diet Coke but fat free everything and low sugar everything. Again, I thought this would help. But I just craved more. And more. And more.

Until now. I took a vested interest in a new program. I literally decided that this was my last chance. If it didn't work...if I was still tired....if I didn't loose weight....if the products made my heart race or my stomach hurt...I was just going to go ahead and nap everyday and buy new clothes that fit. Or better yet, stay in my pajamas all day. I just couldn't do it anymore.

Literally 14 days later, I feel great! I have lost 10 of the 25 pounds I want to lose. I have energy. I am back to running. I play outside with my kids after school. I am happy. I am sleeping better. With seeing results I know I am committed to losing the rest of the weight. My stomach doesn't hurt. My heart isn't racing. These products actually make me feel good! I am not starving myself or putting junk into my body. It's all natural. I almost feel like I am cheating or that I hold a little secret because after all those years, who knew it could be this easy. Seriously easy. I finally found something that works for me. Finally.

I can see myself on a new path. A happy path. A path where I am comfortable in my own skin....and browsing upcoming races to set my sights on my next marathon. It might take me awhile to get there but at having a goal is a good step!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Epic Fail

My Mommy Card has been revoked ... for life. Remember that happy cheery blog that I posted last week about my happy Cam getting his happy bird and we were all one big happy family?

Fast forward one week later and a lot of research about a cockatiel and this is what my boys looked like this morning when they were informed that Flint the cockatiel was being taken back to Petco.

Yes, I am a horrible horrible mother. I broke the hearts of both of my boys before they competed in the Pinewood Derby this morning.

Now, let's back up about 3 months ago. Cam has been checking out books about birds forever. We have been reading about birds and learning about birds for months. In all of that reading not once did we read anything about cockatiels not being able to handle the fumes that are produced from non-stick pans. Since last week every single article online and every book I have flipped through has placed this warning in great big giant letters. I know you can't believe everything you read but when it is printed in great big letters on the brochure that they give out at Petco along with the Cockatiel, I'm pretty sure it is true.

As I dug a little deeper into my research it seems that they are also sensitive to drafts (meaning they can not be placed by an air vent, a window or a door). They are sensitive to smells. No more scentsy, bleach cleaning products, scented candles...some sights even said perfume and cologne.

When we got Flint from Petco the sales person told me that his wings had just been clipped. Silly me, I believed this sweet person. The first time I tried to let him out of his cage and allow him to "play" on his birdie playground (yes, we now own one of these) he flew all over my house. I had a heck of a time getting him back into the cage. Actually, I had to call a neighbor that probably thinks I am total spaz because a bird flying around my house just about put me over the edge.

So, somehow I was going to have to get a bird that could fly into a small box so that I could take it to the vet to have its wings clipped that were not clipped so that I could train it so that it could playground and be tame enough for Cam to play with it so I could take a trip to the store to get all new pots/pans/baking sheets/cake pans etc.... and throw away all of my scented candles, scentsy and perfume. Meanwhile, I couldn't open any windows or doors because there is not a single spot in my house where we spend time that is not near a window or a door.

My stress level shot up about 100 times over. After a few days of debating, we decided to take the bird back for a full refund. That's about the only good that came out of the whole situation. I learned that if you buy a pet from Petco, you have 15 days to bring it back for a full refund. However, I will never buy another pet from Petco. Also, I will never own another bird. Yes, Cam earned the bird. However, as you can see from the picture above, he is considerably less upset than Colin. Cam wanted Flint to have a safe home to live in and we made Cam well aware that we did not think we could provide the right type of care for Flint.

Cam was actually very understanding. He did cry a bit but then quickly moved on to thinking about what he might be getting in exchange for his bird since he did work so hard to earn it. We agreed that a promise is a promise and he did get something in it's place. No, it's is not a living creature. Thank goodness.

Stay tuned. And, goodbye Flint.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Make 'Em Work For It!

Those of you that know Cam, know that he has wanted a bird since his life began. Seriously. He cam e out chirping. No really.  He has talked of getting a bird since the ripe old age of 3. Our stance was always NO. I like birds. I love watching them from my window. I feed them 10 pounds of seed every 2 weeks. Since we have been in KS, I now how the pleasure of watching bright red cardinals out my window every morning.

But owning a bird. No thank you. As I read about birds to determine whether or not Cam should get one, I learned that they are messy, noisy and smelly.

And now we own a bird.

Many people have responded with this news by saying, "He finally wore you down." Or, "I knew he would talk you into it." Better yet, "You finally caved."

Nope. Cam earned that bird fair and square. He has been researching, reading, talking about, drawing, planning, saving...since April. Last April Steve and I realized that Cam has never really "stuck" with anything else for that long. He likes Legos but not enough to ask for them for his Birthday. He likes to skateboard but it's not something he does everyday. He enjoys drawing and playing on his ipod but can go weeks without either. A bird. That's a different story.

The bird idea has stuck with him for years. We decided to allow him the chance to earn his bird. The only thing I had on hand for "markers" were almonds. So, in went 250 almonds in a jar. We sat Cam down and explained to him that if he showed responsibility and earned 250 almonds, he could buy his bird. So, he had to earn the almonds and the money for the bird. He had to earn almonds through showing good behavior, responsibility and kindness. He could also have almonds taken away for making poor choices. He earned some. He lost some. In the end it took him 6 months to earn 250 almonds. He did little things like getting completely ready for school without being asked. Being kind and polite to kids that he did not know at the park. Not throwing fits when things didn't go his way. Helping with tasks around the house. You get the idea.

He also had to earn the money to buy the bird and all of the supplies. He actually earned the money several times over. Spent and earned. Earned and spent. Eventually Steve and I decided that we should buy the bird if he bought the supplies. It was our concession to him for our move to Kansas. We agreed that each boy would get something out of the deal. Cam asked if that could be his bird.

Last week he earned his last of the 250 almonds. You should have seen the look on his face! He was excited and overwhelmed. It was a long time coming. He earned that bird fair and square. He is also all set to take care of them bird himself. He will change out the food and water dishes each day and change the paper in the tray underneath. Once a week he will help me clean the cage. He considers all of this a privilege since he knows how hard he worked over the last 6 months. So the next time your kids ask you for something that you are not very fond of, consider making them earn it. It's a life lesson you won't regret.

Welcome to the Silva Family, Flint. We hope you like it here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


On this day 11 years ago, I was in a building full of students. I had just finished checking the classrooms that morning and was in my office working on paperwork listening to the radio. Then the news broke. My husband, brother and parents were all at different airports that day. I have never been so scared for my family in my life. It took me three hours to get a hold of Steve. I sat in my office and sobbed. He had managed to get out of the airport and contact his driver before the mayhem started at Chicago International.

It was so difficult to be at school that day and explain to the older students what was happening while trying to shield the younger students from the news. It was hard to breath. Just to put one foot in front of the other. I don't have any connection to anyone that died or was injured in 9-11. But I am an American; we are all connected. I will never forget. We are still feeling the effects of this horrible day. But as Americans, we will do what we do best. We will rally together (even if only for only one day during this political season) and we will pray, send out good vibes, direct  healing thoughts, guide the good mojo....whatever we do, towards helping and healing those that had family and friends that perished on that tragic day.

As for me, today I pray that our Nation can heal from this horrible violence and hatred. We all know that we have not healed. We feel the effects of this event everyday. We see the prices at the gas pump, we hear of others losing their jobs, we see others stare and glare towards those that look different than typical Americans.

Today, instead of cutting that person off in the school drive line, instead of being impatient with your kids, rather than mutter under your breath at the cashier, look someone in the eye and say "Hello". Ask someone how they are doing today and really really mean it. Spend some extra time laughing with you kids. Call a family member that you have not spoken to in weeks or months. Life is precious my friends. It can all end in a blink of an eye. Cherish those moments and remember the sense of urgency you felt 11 years ago. Reach out to others as if today is your last day here on earth. At least you were given that chance. The 3,000 people that died on September 11, 2001 were not given that chance. Live for them today.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

So Far...

In typical Silva style, we have done a lot over the last few weeks. Since we don't have a house to clean or repair, we've spent a lot of time together as a family. Here are a few of the things we have done in our six weeks in far.... I wish I had more pictures of other things we have done but my camera battery ran out after about week three here and I couldn't use my camera again until two weeks ago when I was able to get my charger.

We had fun over Labor Day weekend at Aunt Roxanne's. We got to see everyone! It's nice to be close to family again.

The boys caught fish after fish after fish at Dillion Nature Center. We just love that place. Uncle Ron got in on the fun too. Thanks for being a good sport!

Cam caught a pretty good sized fish (compared to what we usually catch there). He had fun reeling it in. His casting has gotten better too. Not a bad little fisherman.

Steve showed off his mad drumming skills at the new outdoor drums at Dillion Nature Center. You might think that he was showing off for his kids, but no, they were busy playing in the sand. He was just playing for his own entertainment...and mine too.

The only picture the entire weekend of other family members. Thanks for spending time with us Larissa and Jenni!

Of course we had fun at the water spout parks in Hutchinson. Again, we had other "boys" with us but somehow I didn't get any pictures of them.

Colin had a perfect strategy. Filling a cup and splashing it on the unsuspecting people. Sneaky little guy.

This past weekend we made it back down to Crown Center. It was a beautiful day so we took a picnic lunch to the fountains. Please ignore the dude sleeping in the background. We did.

 The Lego Discovery Center provided 5 hours of entertainment this trip. Whew. Exhausting.

Colin built a throne fit for a king. It was actually pretty cool.

Little did we know that this weekend was home of the "Chalk Walk Art Festival" at Crown Center. Lots of different people drawing amazing scenes with chalk on the side walk.

One of my favorite drawings. It's amazing to me how they can make chalk drawings look so life like.

Typical "Cam" picture. He can't seem to keep his baby blues open in the sun.

Our first week here we went to Crown Center. They have a Crayola center. That's a huge wheel of crayons behind the boys with every color of Crayola ever made. Pretty neat.

Cam had fun at Crayola drawing on the extra large paper stations that we set up. One guess as to what he drew....

Colin and Cam both enjoyed a trip to Fritz's. If you have never been there, it's a lot of fun. There is a train overhead that delivers your food to you. It drops the food on a platform above your table and then lowers it down slowly. The boys loved it!

We have been able to see a lot of family since we have been here. We have seen Aunt Patty several times already! I don't have any pictures of visiting Grandma Silva or Aunt Cyndi as my camera was not working but trust me, we have seen them more in the past six weeks than we have in the last six years. So much fun!

Of course, while at Crown Center we had to buy a membership to the Lego Discovery Center. It's a fun place for the boys. I suspect that most kids would tire after an hour but both times we have been have been there five hours or more.

By happenstance, while in Derby, KS, my bestie from high school was in town. We stopped to have lunch at one of my all time favorite eateries (Casa Martinez). Her kiddos are adorable!

Also by happenstance, we went to Exploration Place in Wichita, They had a full display of Star Wars movie props. That section of Exploration Place alone took us three hours to go through. What a great find!

No trip would be complete without a stop at the zoo. One of the best zoos ever...Tanganyika in Goddard, KS. Cam feeding a black rhino. Kinda yucky and slobbery. Perfect entertainment for a boy.

Colin enjoyed feeding the lorikeets....about 50 times! They really liked his red shirt and were very attracted to him, as you can see.

Auntie Em even got in on the fun. Again, another reason to be in KS. We are much closer to a lot of the people we love dearly.

Cam was in his element with those lorikeets. He's is about 3 weeks away from getting his own bird. Please pray for me.

The boys got to pet the kangaroos. This one was very docile (asleep really). They feel like bunnies with very soft short fur.

 There are so many animals at this zoo to feed. They also fed goats, chickens, tortoise, rabbits...

Cam enjoyed feeding to guinea pigs too.

The grand finale...the lemurs. This time they were eating fruit snacks. They were quick as a flash when they grabbed those from their hands. Again, their fur is so soft. Just like a fuzzy baby bunny.

Somehow I have no pictures of my sis (Roxanna) and her family even though we have seen them at least twice since we have moved here. Watch out Hess/Hawkinson/Zimmerman families. Next time we see you, that camera is going to be flashing!