Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hot Dog!

Let me start this blog by reminding you that my children are 6 and (newly) 8 years old. 6 and 8! Let me also remind you that last year at this time they were both still in private ski lessons. We weren't sure that Cam would ever get out of ski lessons because his instructor said he liked speed too much and he was a bit out of control.

Fast forward to today. Today was the turning point where we were no longer waiting on our kids on the slopes. We were chasing them. And by chasing them I mean full speed catching up.

With the week that we have had (there's a lot still going on in the Silva household) we felt like we needed to take a family day. We took the boys out of school and headed up to Eldora. It was foggy, sunny, snowy, cold, warm....the only thing it was not was windy (perfect). We had a perfect day with the family and my heart is full.

Here are my two boys taking a lunch break. They were all smiles all day. So was I.
Here's a picture of Cam in the lift up the big mountain. It was so nice to be able to spend time with each boy. Going up the lift is a perfect time to just talk with your kids. It's so quite and beautiful. Cam even commented about how beautiful the scenery was up on the mountain.

I got to spend some time with Colin too. I just can't tell you how much I love these kids. After the last few weeks of stress and sadness, I really need to spend time with my family. I felt a little guilty about taking the boys out of school and taking a day off, but we needed this. I just needed to get lost in my family. That's exactly what we did.

Sooooo, that leads us to this picture. My boys went down a black diamond! Yes they did! It was amazing! The rocked that mountain! Can you tell I am excited about this???!!!

What a great way to spend the day! However, I have realized that I am going to have to get into shape to keep up with these boys. They skied circles around me today.

Cam on the black diamond run!

Both of the boys crossing paths on the black diamond run.

Colin trucking down the mountain.

Cam trucking down the mountain.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Colin's 8th Birthday

Colin's 8th Birthday was action packed! I flew in at 6am on Saturday and was home by 8am. Colin was so sweet. He waited for me to get home before he opened any of his presents. His joy brought a smile to my face. The morning started out with him opening his presents. He scored lots of Legos, a Pillow Pet, origami kits a paper airplane launcher and much more. He was so happy with every gift. They all seemed to be just perfect for this 8 year old boy!

Of course Legos are always a hit. He's built all of them that he has gotten so far. He just rolls them out. He has such great attention span when it comes to building.

After a breakfast of champions (that means donuts in the Silva house) we headed to the last basketball game of the season for the boys. Colin must have had some 8 year old confidence because he scored his first basket ever....and his second...and his third...and so on. That boy was on fire! He had such a great game!

Cam played a good game too. He played a good offense and a good defense. He was one of the youngest on the team but he did a good job hanging with the 2nd graders.

After basketball we ate lunch and headed out to the Harlem Globetrotters game. Colin's boy scouts pack presented the flags at the game. It was so neat to see how confident Colin was going out on the floor in front of all of those people. He did a great job. Again, I think that 8 year old confidence kicked in.

Here's Colin going out on the floor. Steve is his den leader so he was able to go out on the floor with his group.

Colin is in there somewhere. They got to present the flags and then at halftime they made a tunnel for the Globetrotters to go through. Colin was all smiles.

Camden was so proud to bring Great Grandma Willodean's stuffie (he named him Puddles) to see the Globetrotters. He has not let go of that little doggie since I brought it home to him on Saturday morning.

After the game we went around and got autographs. This guy's name is Flip. He was amazing. His flips and tricks defied gravity. The kids were very impressed with his talent.

This is Handles. He was the captain of the team. He talked the most and caused the most trouble. We were in line to get his autograph and they shut down the line two people in front of us. Colin was so disappointed. He started crying and I just felt so bad for him. I asked the woman that worked there and shut the line down if we could just get an autograph since it was Colin's birthday. Of course she said no which caused bigger tears. You can always tell when someone does not have kids of their own. I walked with Colin around to the front of the line and got the attention of the guy taking the picture tickets. When I motioned him over and told him it was Colin's birthday, he had us go around the line and put us in front of another section. Five minutes later we were taking our picture with Handles and getting his autograph. That guy definitely had kids of his own and understood the disappointment of a birthday boy. The lesson taught in that moment was that it does not hurt to ask. The worst that could have happened is that he could have told us no. Instead, he told us yes. We had a 50/50 chance and we got lucky. God bless that man. I'm not sure how long it would have taken us to get Colin out of that "no autograph" funk but I'm glad that we didn't have to find out. I love that Cam had Puddles in the picture too. What a great way to remember Great Grandma on the day she was laid to rest. It felt so good to laugh with my boys and share in the joy of Colin's birthday. He was so happy and I was so sad. Just being around my joyful kids helped me so much through that sad day.

Now we will jump to Sunday (the day of Colin's birthday party) and sing praises to my wonderful friend Angie who offered to make the Lego cake pops for Colin's party. I didn't know how I was going to get it all done. I spent Saturday in between the basketball game, the Globetrotters and a pizza dinner cutting out Lego letters, Lego dots and blowing up helium balloons. Those cake pops were not going to get done. I had actually taken Friday off of work since the boys were out of school and thought I would have all day Friday to get ready for the party. Instead I was in KS with no hope of Lego cake pops making themselves. In stepped Angie. She offered, I accepted. I think she might have been a little bit shocked that I jumped on that opportunity so quickly but I was sinking fast.

Can you believe they are so awesome?! She did an amazing job! I told every person that walked through my door that she made them. There was no way I was going to take the credit for these. The kids thought they were so cool. I did too!

Colin helped with the decorating. He has so many Legos. Every spare surface was covered with Legos.

Of course it wouldn't be a party without a pose from Addie.

And her sister Emma! My sweet Colin brightened my day more than once this weekend. He has such a good heart and a smile that lights up the room. I am so blessed to have him as my son.

The Silva's could never have a celebration without the Lee's. They have become some of the best friends that we have ever had. Liam is a great kid and a great friend to Colin. These two just "get" each other. Their love of Legos and Star Wars carries their friendship to places and conversations that I would never be able to understand. This is one of those friendships that will last a lifetime.

Some of the boys getting ready to chow down on some serious sugar!

It looks like everyone had a great time. They got to choose which Lego pop they wanted to eat. They were all decorated with different faces.

We had a surprise visit from a disguised member of the Lee family. Once again, this family is all heart. The sun was a little bright but we managed to get photos of all of the kids with the characters.

Cam didn't even attempt to open his eyes.

The last thing to round out the party was opening presents. Colin's friends know him so well. Every gift he received, he loved. Legos, crafts, sports, itunes cards...what a lucky boy!

All in all we had a great weekend. It took a lot to pull it off with smiles but we did it. I am so glad I was able to laugh and celebrate with Colin on his 8th birthday. He is such a great kid and has matured so much this year. I can't wait to see what this year hold for him. Colin, you are my heart and my happiness. Thank you for being such a sweet boy and a friend to everyone.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Grandma Grandma

This week has been a tough one for me. My grandma passed away on Wednesday. She was an amazing lady with a great sense of humor. I am exhausted from traveling. Exhausted from emotions. Exhausted from crying. I flew out and back in less than 48 hours. But I needed to be there and I needed to be here. So I figured out a way to do both. I'll sleep well tonight but before I do, I want to get some of my thoughts out while they are still so vibrant in my mind.

I always called my grandma, "grandma grandma". Never just one. Always two. She didn't call me Traci. Just Trace. So our phone calls began like this, "Hi Grandma Grandma." "Well hi Trace". So simple but forever in my mind.

I flew out Thursday night and arrived after midnight in KS. We decided that Friday we would go through grandma's apartment before going to the viewing Friday night. While we were cleaning out her apartment there were tears and laughter. As my mom and I cleaned out her closet, we were utterly amazed at how many leopard print tops she had in her array of wild clothing. Then we had a light bulb idea. Between her cloths and her jewelry, there was enough there for each of us to wear something of grandma's to her viewing. We thought grandma would get a kick out of this since seeing us in leopard print was quite a sight. Yes, the leopard print vest I am wearing belonged to my 94 year old grandmother. She was awesome! My sis, my mom, my niece and I all wore something leopard print from her closet. Hilarious! She had loads and loads of jewelry so we each chose some pieces to wear in her honor. I know she was laughing!

As you can imagine her viewing was hard. She looked beautiful. Peaceful. After we all shed buckets of tears, we laughed. We laughed long and hard remembering grandma. Bittersweet seems too simple of an explanation but that is exactly what it was.

Of all the things I remember about my grandma, I remember her cooking the most. She lived several different places during my childhood. It seems like each of them were my favorite because each brought new memories along with them.

Their place on Grand Lake (that's Oklahoma, not Colorado) was the one I remember most from when I was young. I don't know if I am remembering it correctly but in my mind it was the most beautiful house with a sprawling backyard. Their house backed right up to the lake. I can remember the very tall wren houses in the back and the drift wood that grandpa would collect and stack up by a big tree near the lake. I remember the green grass that sloped towards the lake. I spent hours and hours listening to the water lap up along the edge of the rocks. That was before the days of ipods and cell phones so the only thing to listen to really was the water.

Grandma used to grow the most amazing plants in her house. She had shelves set up along the back window and the sun would filter in to make them green and lush. She also grew African Violets in another area of the house. She would always have them under the artificial lights. I remember those lights because often times when we would go visit her and grandpa at the lake, I would have to sleep on the couch in the living room. I would compete with those lights and with the grandfather clock to try to get some sleep. Just as I would get situated enough to cover my eyes, the clock would strike and wake me up.

We always spent Easter break at the lake. I tell my boys every year about how the Easter bunny left my chocolate bunny too close to the wood burning stove one Easter. I woke up to a puddle of chocolate. I was so sad. But, the Easter bunny was always good to me and left me plenty of other goodies.

Oh, the coloring books. I would sit at grandma's table for hours and color. Then I would watch her play solitaire. Game after game after game of solitaire. She never really taught me how to play but I watched her enough that I became pretty good at it too.

Grandma always cooked huge meals and she never made anything that didn't taste delicious. Brownies, cobbler, spaghetti, potato salad, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, deviled eggs...even the homemade ice cream made at her house seemed to taste better. I just remember a buffet of my favorites. There was always something simmering on her stove or baking in the oven.

When grandma and grandpa moved from the lake, their next house was just a grand. It was a large open house with a big family room and huge kitchen. From that house I remember the small bedroom that was "mine" when I was there. Grandma's beds were always comfortable. They could be hard as a rock but still comfortable. They always had soft sheets and a quilt on top. Those quilts looked too thin to keep anyone warm but when you were under them, they were heavy and dense. They were perfect for pulling up around your chin and falling into a warm sleep.

After that house she and grandpa moved in to a four-plex. I spent a lot of my weekends there when I was in highschool. Grandma and I would stay up late watching movies. We would drive through the zoo, go out to lunch. We would just hang out. Then after grandpa passed away and she moved to Derby, we would do much of the same. Movies, dinners, ice cream. Grandma was just fun to hang out with. She talked and talked and listened when you needed her to.

Grandma always had a chihuahua. Some of her dogs I liked, some not so much. Some were biters, some were lickers, some were barkers. But they were all hers. They sat on her lap curled up in blankets and were more spoiled than a newborn baby. She loved her dogs.

As I think about grandma thoughts flutter in and out of my mind....

sunsets - she loved to watch the sunset from every house she lived in
birds - watching the birds were her entertainment for many years
crossword puzzles - she would work on these all the time with her perfectly sharpened pencil
kleenax - she always had a square of kleenax in the palm of her hand
rubberbands, paperclips, clothes pins - everything was kept neat and in its place
spiders - she hated spiders just as much as me
bobby pins - she would curl the hair right above her ears at night and bobby pin it in place
lipstick - I don't think I ever saw grandma with out lipstick on
movies - she loved to go to the movies with anyone that would take her
jewelry and clothing - she had a very broad scope of likes and dislikes
humor - that woman was a sarcastic as the day is long, but she was hilarious too

There are just so many things that I remember about my grandma. She loved each of us. She was so happy to see anyone that walked through the door. I remember being so excited when Christmas break would roll around I would know when I got home from school, grandma and grandpa would be at our house for Christmas. I absolutely loved being with them, even as a crabby teenager.

Grandma was always ready to greet you with a hug and a smile. She usually had a chocolate brownie for you too. She talked a lot about her faith and it comforts me immensely to know that she is in heaven. I miss her to the bottom of my toes. Just knowing that she is not there for us to visit anymore breaks my heart. But then I realize that she has earned her wings and the honor of being in heaven without pain, without suffering, without sorrow. She was a strong and faithful woman. And I know she'll have a brownie waiting for me when I get there.