Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
One of my favorite gifts: the Paul Potts cd, One Chance. Paul was working in a car phone warehouse when he auditioned for, and ultimately won, Britain's Got Talent contest by singing opera. You can check out his auditon here. . . it will move you to tears.
Speaking of tears: I was touched when my twelve year old had tears in his eyes and gave me a fierce hug after we finished watching The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. It always moves me when my rough and tumble boys show their sensitive side.
A late surprise: the day after Christmas my sister noticed an envelope tucked in the branches of our tree. Huh? Inside was a gift card for a local restaurant which our good friends placed in the tree when they were visiting the week before. What a lovely surprise, especially considering that it was not discovered earlier.
A family accomplishment: we ate all 500 tortellini. . . there were no leftovers. None.
One of my favorite Christmas moments: watching It's a Wonderful Life with my husband on Christmas Eve when the boys were all in bed and we were playing Santa.
Too tender for words: watching my eldest son humor his Nonna by dancing the fox trot with her.
And I spoke too soon: Late Christmas morning, as we were getting ready to head over to Nonna and Nonno's house, I remarked to my husband that it was nothing short of miraculous that we actually made it to Christmas day without any of the boys getting even a sniffle. That afternoon my toddler throws up. Go figure.
Buon Natale: I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Thanks to all my blogging friends for their holiday well wishes...I'll be visiting soon! God bless.
Buon Natale from our family to yours!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
500 handmade tortellini. . .
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This time the call went through. It rang 7-8 times, and I was just beginning to think I had the wrong number when I heard, "Congratulations! You're on the air and you're our 10th caller!"
Yikes!! I went into a full-blown panic attack. What was the contest? Would I have to answer any questions? Would I have to do something stupid like sing Jingle Bells backwards? What if the prize was something weird like dinner for two at Hooters, or something?
And truthfully, I didn’t even know what radio station I was listening to. What if they asked me what my favorite radio station was and I said the other one?
The host explained. It's really very easy, he told me. The contest is The Twelve Diamonds of Christmas, sponsored by Windsor Jewelers. All I had to do was pick Box # 1, Box #2, or Box #3.
That's it? Pick a box? Wow! I thought. I can do this! I can!
So I told the host with the pleasant voice that I had three sons, the youngest was three years old, so I would please like box #3. I heard him open the box, and then he asked "Uh, how would you like diamond ring?"
What? Did he say diamond ring?
The panting over the airwaves was me hyperventilating.
Apparently, it was true . . . I had just WON A DIAMOND RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I picked it up that afternoon at Windsor Jewelers, and they presented it to me nestled in their signature green box. It's pretty, it fits perfectly, it's bigger that I thought it would be, and it's sparkling very nicely right now by the light of this computer terminal!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Finding his list also filled me with delight because (and here is a dirty little secret) I am a list saboteur.
Yes, I like to add "to-do" items to other people's lists. Nothing I add to these lists is a chore; instead, on my husband's list of change air filters, check pressure in front tire, or fertilize backyard I might surreptitiously add hug your wife, ask your wife out on a date, or bring your wife flowers. Sometimes I just draw a heart, or a smiley face.
Nothing difficult, but my add-ons often bring a smile . . . and sometimes they even get done.
My son's list was a new territory for me. Should I scribble help your mom with the groceries? Tell your Mom she is the greatest?
Reviewing my various options, it dawned on me that lists always seem to deal with this physical world. . . what to do instead of how to be. What about a spiritual "to-do" list, one full of reminders on how to be a good person? Mentally, I made list.
- practice charity
- forgive someone
- help a stranger
- take a stand
- visit the sick
- read/watch something inspirational
- sing a hymn
- be a peacemaker
- be kind, smile, speak gently
I need a list like this.
Which brings me back to my son's list. There was nothing I wanted him to physically do, but there was so much that I wanted him to be. So, at the end of his list of turn in reading log, lift weights, type story I simply wrote: be a child of God.
And I drew a smiley face.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
A Christmas card is like a mini present. Inside there may be blessings, or good wishes, or photos, or shared memories, or even funny jokes. One time we received a card that someone forgot to sign, and we had ever so much fun trying to guess who sent the card with the red cardinal on the holly branch. Was it Uncle David? Aunt Ann? Our realtor? We never did find out for sure.
What I find beautiful is that, behind every card, someone out there was thinking of us at any given moment when they wrote our name on the envelope and signed the card.
It's wonderful, this exchanging of Christmas cards, and to ensure that my rough and tumble boys fully appreciate this tradition . . . to really show them how to take the time to go beyond the picture on the front of the card and value the well wishes and blessings that are being sent . . . we've started a new Advent tradition.
Now, when we sit around the dinner table, we take a few moments to pass around any Christmas cards that came in the mail that day. We read each card out loud. We comment on which ones are beautiful. We share stories about the people who sent them ("This is from Aunt Clare, the one who made that beautiful quilt when you were born"). Then, when we say grace, we offer up a special prayer for them.
This way, at some time at any given moment, our family is thinking/praying for someone out there.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The sight of all those scrawny fifth graders, with their long, skinny arms and legs was very endearing to me. They looked so vulnerable, so innocent.
A fifth grade girl sitting next to me had an entirely different reaction.
"Ewwww," she remarked, with a heavy southern drawl, "That's just gross."
Just. you. wait!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I added some holly berries, some handmade candles, and some purple and pink ribbons. Our new advent wreath:
Wishing you heartfelt blessings on this first Sunday of Advent.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
- Hands down, my favorite childhood gift was an acoustic guitar. My Italian Uncle (Zio Luciano) played in a band, so he helped my parents pick one out. I'll never, ever forget that feeling when he carried it into the room and handed it to me. I hadn't even told anyone that I wanted one, but somehow everyone knew. I've played that guitar at campfires when I worked as a camp counselor in college, in a folk choir at our Catholic church, and now I like to pull it out this time of year for singing Christmas carols.
- As an adult, my favorite gift was, and still is . . . soap. Yup. Soap. About five years ago we let our two oldest boys buy their own Christmas presents for the family, and that year they gave me some beautiful bar soap. The following year it was fancy shampoo. Then, a bath set. It took me a while to figure it out, but now I know that they are boys, buying their Mom a gift, and they are trying to buy something feminine; in other words, they are buying for a girl and for them soap is a very "girly" thing. So, I treasure their soap gifts, and I love it when they give me a hug and then mention that I smell good.
- Now, for a future gift . . . can I think big? I would like to be able to spend an ENTIRE summer in Italy with my family. Rent a villa, explore towns, absorb the culture. Part of my childhood was spent living in Vicenza (an hour by train from Venice) and I would love for my husband and my boys to experience actually living there. Two years ago we did take the boys to Tuscany for the first time for a couple of weeks, but I want three months. There, how's that for thinking big?!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
This week we are headed to Virginia Beach to spend Thanksgiving with family. It's an eight hour car drive, but one we are used to. One year, however, we almost didn't survive ...
What our toddler does on a 8-hour car trip to visit Nana and Papa for Thanksgiving:
--Fifteen minutes after leaving home, gets bored, takes off his shoes.
--Listens to his favorite song 12 times in a row. Everybody is beginning to hate that song.
--Eats a pack of fruit snacks.
--Bored again, takes off his socks, throws them over his shoulder and hits big brother in the head. Big brother throws them back and a sock war rages. Daddy gets mad.
--Seven hours to go.
--Begins undressing again. Even tries to take of his sweatpants, but he's buckled in. Works on his shirt.
--Doesn't take a nap.
--DOESN'T. TAKE. A. NAP. (I have to emphasize that point.)
--Eats a pack of fruit snacks.
--Yells that he wants to get down RIGHT NOW! and imitating his parents says, I'M SERIOUS!
--Eats chex mix.
--Throws his cup, hits other brother in the mouth. Nobody is happy, especially the brother.
--Starts laughing at EVERYTHING. Won't stop. Everyone is most annoyed.
--Falls alseep twenty minutes (twenty minutes!) from Nana and Papa's house. Looks very peaceful. Looks like he'll sleep for a while.
Twenty minutes goes by very quickly.
|Really, how could someone so cute |
possibly be responsible for all the above?
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thank you, Lord, for my healthy limbs, when so many are crippled,
For my perfect eyes, when so many are without light,
For this voice that sings, when so many are mute,
For these hands that work, when so many have to beg.
It is wonderful, Lord, to have a home to return to,
When there are so many who don't know where to go.
It is wonderful, Lord, to laugh, love, dream,
When so many cry, hate, and die before being born.
It is wonderful, Lord, to have so little to ask,
And so much to be thankful for.
Sandro Nottegar with Lino Villacha
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Yup. Three. I never, ever planned on three trees; it just happened. We have a huge tree for our family room, a small tree ($11 at a Target post season sale) in the boys' room which they decorate with football cards, and another tree that I use for my old glass ornaments. So, with three trees I absolutely refused to absolutely even think about buying another tree.
Then, this past weekend my husband and I went to chat with a neighbor who was having a moving sale. And I saw it: an Alpine Christmas tree (a tall, slim tree, sometimes called a pencil tree) that was $15, pre-lit! What's a girl to do when the tree of her dreams lands in her lap? So here's confession number two: I bought it. And the miracle of the whole thing is that my husband voiced no complaints whatsoever about yet another tree; I mean, he didn't even roll his eyes! I love that man!
So, one tree up, three to go . . .
Friday, November 9, 2007
2. Realize that you forgot to wash your sons' school uniform pants the night before, so you dig out some dirty ones, throw them in the dryer with 500 dryer sheets for five minutes, and consider them "dry cleaned"?
3. Spend five minutes looking for the remote when it would take 1 second to just turn it on manually?
4. Set the clock on the microwave and instead of pushing "set" you push "start" and then don't realize that the microwave is running until the wicker bread basket you had hidden inside (to keep the counter tops clutter free, you see) catches fire?
5. Cook a frozen pizza and when you couldn't slice it realize that you had forgotten to remove the cardboard circle from the bottom?
6. Forget to pick up your kids when they have early dismissal?
7. Cook a whole turkey without taking out the bag of giblets and not realize it until the 250 people you have invited over are seated at your table?
8. Run into an old Italian boyfriend (one you haven't seen in 10+ years) when you have just been caught in a rain shower and your hair is plastered to your face and your mascara is running?
Just wondering . . .
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
1. I love the serenity of the moon, or in Italian, la bella luna. Don't get me wrong, the splendor of a sunrise or a sunset can take my breath away, but to go outside when there is a full moon, well, there is nothing quite like it. I guess it's the solitude, or the way the light lands gently on the trees, or . . . okay, I'll stop. As you can see, I wasn't kidding about the moon.
2. I once went on a two week mission trip to Haiti and studied in Spain for a summer during college. But it is Italy--the food, the culture, the art, the language,the land--that holds a special place in my heart.
3. Before I had children I taught high school English and Spanish . . . an Italian, teaching Spanish and English, with a British maiden name that was changed to a Slovak last name after I got married in the middle of the school year. Don't worry, I'm confused too!
4. I turned 40 this year and accomplished the following: went to Rome, Italy with my best friend (a surprise from my wonderful husband), let my hair grow long for the first time in my life, and started to get serious about my writing again.
5. I turned 40 this year and noticed the following: my knees are creaky, I'm having to exercise furiously to get rid of my "Hi, Marys!" (don't ask), I don't need as much sleep, and I like who I am.
6. I won a $2,000 college scholarship from Coor's Beer! I'm not kidding. (It was set up for children of veterans and my Dad was retired military.) This scholarship generated more than a few laughs while in college, but strangely most people thought I was just joking. (FYI: I did get a few other scholarships that were more scholarly in nature.)
7. My family calls me Martha Stewart because I love to decorate, cook and entertain. I make a great chicken and polenta dish and nothing makes me happier than to have people seated around my farm table sharing a meal. Dinner anyone?
8. I met my husband while serving the garlic bread at a spaghetti dinner at our church. This December will be our 17th anniversary and, despite the fact that he has this quirky character trait of not liking coffee (Java Joe . . . or not), I love my husband dearly. We have three wonderful sons, and I couldn't be happier.
Okay, I know that was 8 random facts. Did I also mention that I was never good in Math? Now go read something really interesting!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
When the illness of their youngest daughter forced them to return to Verona, Sandro was called to continue his work there. With much prayer and faith, la Comunita` Regina Pacis was founded in 1986, a religious community dedicated to prayer, fellowship, and evangelization. It was there, just one month after the community officially opened, that Sandro suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was only 42 years old.
But his death wasn't an ending . . . it was the beginning of an incredible journey for those he left behind. His wife, Luisa, their three daughters, and the members of the Community continued Sandro's work in his name so that today they are doing mission work in Italy, Brazil, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. God's work, carried out in four countries, began with this one man, and in 2007 the Bishop of Verona began diocesan proceedings to formally nominate Alessandro Nottegar as a candidate for sainthood.
Just an ordinary man . . . and yet that's what makes Sandro's life story so powerful. It shows that there are Saints walking among us today, here, on this earth. Ordinary people, accomplishing extraordinary things, all for the glory of God.
Update: The documentation papers for the canonization of Sandro were ceremoniously sealed by the Bishop of Verona and are now officially at the Vatican. The formal investigation has begun.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
We have a great backyard, but we also have trees, and the ten boys who have gathered here aren't wearing helmets and they think they are going to tackle each other. Uh uh, no way. No tackling. Period.
You should hear the wailing protests. We'll be careful! Nobody will get hurt! You'll spoil our fun. How can I be like Paul Posluzny if I can't tackle?! Mmmm. I feel like an ogre, but I don't budge.
But I do have a solution (I've tried the touch football idea but then they shove each other out of bounds straight into our brick house). Look here. I show them a flag football kit. It's really neat, I say. Everyone has a belt with two flags velcroed to it; instead of tackling each other into the trees or shoving each other into the brick house, you grab a flag.
The kids sigh. Okay, they say, in a tone that is very begrudging. But as they secure their belts, I can tell they are more than a little intrigued. In fact, they are having a great time. They play all afternoon and I don't feel like I need to stand by the phone ready to call 911.
And they aren't even annoyed with me. Later my oldest son comes in and asks if I would come out and be all-time quarterback. Wow! I am stunned speechless, but I go outside because, really, how hard can it be to throw a football? At least I know I won't be tackled.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
There is no doubt that raising our sons is the hardest thing that my husband and I will ever, ever have to do. At night in bed I often review the events of the day: did I lose my patience too much? was I too lenient? should I have done this instead of that? My husband and I have endless discussions on discipline, on character building, on instilling spiritual growth. Often it seems as if there is never a clear answer; each situation, and yes, even each child, needs to be handled just a little differently.
I remember nursing my first son in the dark and quiet hours of the night when the enormity of the years ahead struck me. Changing diapers, bathing, feeding, rocking . . . taking care of our son's physical needs was the easy part. What about all the things we would have to teach him: to walk; hit a golf ball; spell his name; make his bed; research a paper; fill out an application; drive; get a job?
As important as these things are, what about character and spiritual growth? Imperfect as humans (and thus as parents), how would we teach our son to believe in God; pray with faith; help a stranger; give of oneself; be a good citizen; be strong, and confident, and secure; stand up for what is right? As I sat and rocked my son to sleep that night, I felt overwhelmed . . . we weren't just raising a child, we were raising a soul.
In the midst of those swirling emotions, I soon found a deep comfort in the Blessed Mother and realized that she, more than anyone, understood what it is like to be a mother.
Scripture tells us that Mary was afraid and "deeply disturbed" (Luke 1:29) when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. At the nativity, when the wise men came to pay homage to her son, Mary quietly "kept in mind all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19). Later, when she presented her first born son to the Lord, Simeon warns her of the pain that would come when he says, "a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Luke 2:35). And when Mary found Jesus in the temple after he had been lost for three days, she tells him, "See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you" (Luke 2:48). Joy, worry, pain, uncertainty . . . Mary lived through it all with a deep and abiding faith.
Now that we have three sons ages three, eleven, and twelve, Mary is still here to comfort, guide, and mediate for us. Help is only a prayer away, and that's a good thing, because here is what I am reminded of on a daily basis: raising our sons is, and always will be, the hardest thing my husband and I will ever, ever have to do. It's not supposed to be easy, but with prayer and faith it can be done. It's as simple as that.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Yesterday was also my middle son's birthday, and when my brother called to share the news, he asked for my son Jonathan and told him to announce Ethan's arrival to the family since they now share a birthday. Of course Jonathan's announcement, given in a matter-of-fact-nothing-out-of-the-ordinary kind of way, sent everyone scurrying, scrambling, and racing to grab the phone from him. I mean, really, what was my brother thinking, entrusting such important news to an eleven year old?
After a whirlwind of phone calls, after the laughter and the celebration, after everything quieted down and I had a moment to take it all in, the beauty of this event hit me . . .
A new baby. Here. On earth.
What could be more joyous?
Monday, October 15, 2007
Now that my son is twelve years old, he likes to do things by himself. No more quizzing him on spelling words, picking out his clothes, helping him with his reports. I am now "Mom" spoken in a voice that seems to lower by the minute, and I notice that, while he speaks nonstop with his friends, having a conversation with his parents is akin to torture.
But, on Thursday he was all mine! I got to tuck him into bed, plump his pillows, make him tea, and even kiss him on the forehead . . . all without protest. We watched television together, talked about school, and laughed at his three year old brother who was getting more than a little jealous. And later in the afternoon, as I was handing him yet another cup of tea, he thanked me and told me he loved me.
Despite the pesky little stomach problem, it was a good day for both of us.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sitting in a lawn chair, looking at the evening sky . . . these were my thoughts while waiting for my son's football practice to end:
A friend of mine (who is now a Franciscan priest) once told me that clouds are every color except white. Studying the puffy, billowy clouds overhead I saw purple, pink, blue, grey, yellow . . . but no white. Amazing!
I recalled this conversation from Winnie the Pooh: "Why is the sky blue?" asked Piglet. "To give us something to talk about," said Pooh.
"Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will." This quote popped into my head, probably because I was contemplating the heavens.
Practicing my faith, I thought: "I don't believe that this marathon practice session will end. I know that it will end."
And it did.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
"Uffa!" (pronounced ooo-fa) is a word that sounds like a sigh and a sigh that sounds like a word. I hear it a lot when I am with my cousins, and it conveys exactly the same meaning as our west wind.
Now, I am admittedly a little biased with all things Italian, but the breathless "Uffa" sounds, well, actually very nice.
So I think I'll teach my boys how to do the west wind in Italian because, after all, if they're going to indulge in preteen grumpiness, they may as well sound nice in the process!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Me: "Sweetie, please roll the trash can down the driveway."
And that sigh, so exaggerated, so full of preteen angst, so weighed down with the burdens of the world, is what we call in our home . . . THE WEST WIND.
The other day it was blowing more than usual, and in exasperation I finally asked, "Excuse me, is that the west wind I hear?"
After a moment of panicked silence, I hear, "Uh, no, it's just a little breeze blowing in from the southeast."
Hmmmm. Too smart for his own good.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Last night, when the full moon was hanging low and heavy right over our house, I found myself again calling to my family to come and see. I enthusiastically pointed out how serene it made everything look. I challenged everyone to think of as many songs as they could that mention the moon. I even made up this corny poem: "The man in the moon smiled as he looked down on the mother and child." Then, when I noticed everyone looking at me as if I were, well, looney (from the root word "luna"; lunatic also comes from "luna"), I realized that I was turning into my mom . . . and my Nonna.
In the early nineties, when we were vacationing in Florida with my parents and my Nonna, we were told that the space shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral could be viewed from our second story balcony. The fact that it would take place at 3 a.m. didn't stop us because we knew that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially for my Nonna who was visiting from Italy.
At 3 a.m. we gathered on the balcony, listening to the shuttle countdown on the radio and watching the horizon. When the shuttle launched, and we could follow the shuttle's ascent, my Mom and Nonna couldn't contain their enthusiasm:
Mom: "OH! Lord bless them. Bless them. Keep them safe!!" At 3 a.m. she shouted this 550 times from our balcony.
Nonna: "Maria Santissima! Cielo santo! Che bello! Dio mio!" Again, it was 3 a.m., and this was also shouted repeatedly.
With the mixture of English and Italian being hurled towards the heavens, the rest of us cringed (did I mention that it was 3 a.m.?).
So, last night as I was extolling the virtues of "la bella luna", the reality that I was becoming just like my Mom and Nonna hit me. Yikes!
"Cielo Santo! Maria Santissma!"
I'm not sure if I should be terrified or not. (wink! wink!)
Sunday, September 23, 2007
But I am surrounded by boys, and in order to relate to them I am learning to enter their world. I now know that "sacking" has to do with tackling and not a large bag; that when someone calls "hit it", pushups are required; and I know the difference between a lineman, a linebacker, and a wide receiver.
One evening after practice the coach gathered the kids around and told them to "take a knee". It was a beautiful thing to see, all these sweaty boys, bulked up with shoulder pads, kneeling on one knee as they respectfully listened to the coach. At a scrimmage the following evening, the whole team "took a knee" in silent prayer when there was an injured player on the field.
While praying is something we do often as a family, I now realize that my son is getting a new lesson on this theme from football. By "taking a knee" with his coaches and his teammates, he is learning that prayer can be incorporated into many areas of our lives. Prayer isn't just limited to church, or the dinner table, or our school, or family rosary night.
I love that my son is learning this. Kneeling is a very humble act. We kneel in adoration, in respect, in prayer, in times of need. It is an acknowledgement that we as human beings are indeed frail, and when we kneel, we surrender this weakness and yield to a higher authority, our God. I want my sons to learn to "take a knee" in life.
So now, instead of complaining about all the disruptions this football season has caused, I am thankful for lessons he's learning . . . lessons that reinforce what we try to teach him at home. And sometimes I get a glimpse, however brief, of the man he will one day grow up to be.
Taking a knee in football practice . . . and in life.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I, on the other hand, love my morning cappuccino. Between my Bialetti stovetop coffee maker and my Barista espresso machine (a gift from a wonderful sister-in-law!) I wake up every morning with Starbucks at my fingertips. For me it's a comforting ritual, one that is carried out in the early dawn when everything is still quiet and peaceful.
My husband just doesn't get it. I was making my morning cappuccino recently when I offered to make him one as well. He didn't even answer; he just made a face.
"How can you not like coffee? You've never tried it." I remarked, determined to ignore the fact that he was shuddering.
"Why do I want to start drinking something that I can get addicted to?" he asked, sounding too much like the engineer that he is.
"I am not addicted." But I was getting perturbed. And defensive. "I only have one cappuccino in the morning and sometimes one in the afternoon."
"I have seen you when you haven't had your coffee," he observed. "You're addicted."
Until he wakes up and smells the coffee, I'll just enjoy drinking mine!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Last week, I stepped barefoot on a matchbox fire truck complete with a sharp ladder and a small siren. ("Ow!")
Many times I have stepped on a lego . . . or a lego structure. (Crash!!! "Ouch! . . . Ouch!")
Once it was a marble on the arch of my foot. ("Gee Whiz! How can something so tiny and smooth hurt so much???!!!")
But last night I felt safe because the boys had picked up before bedtime. Unfortunately, I had been so used to walking around things on the floor that I became disoriented and stubbed my toe on the bedpost. (I will not post those comments.)
Tonight I'll get my husband to check on the boys.
Taking this expression to a deeper level, it is a basic human truth that, like it or not, our appearance, demeanor, and actions reflect who we are, where we practice our faith, where we go to school, our national origin, and even how we are raised.
Getting my sons to understand this can sometimes be a challenge. One day in Target my two oldest boys got into a shoving match in the check-out lane. I was mortified for two reasons: one, they were fighting and two, they were fighting while wearing their school uniform. Later, when everyone calmed down, we discussed how, when wearing a school uniform, they were more than two brothers scuffling . . . people looked at them and saw their Catholic school, their church, and even their parents.
Now, did they get it? For the most part. I think. Maybe. My Nonna explained it better. But the very next time I took them to Target while they were wearing their school uniform, a woman commented on how well mannered they were and inquired where they went to school.
Hmmm. Maybe the idea of "la bella figura" is catching on after all.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I looked at my him and said, "That's right. Are you a real man?"
My ten-year-old thought a couple of seconds, and with all seriousness replied, "Yes, I am."
I smiled. That's my baby!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
See you at the park tomorrow . . . I'll e-mail the photos!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
The first time I went to Rome it was with my Mom, my sister, and my Nonna. I was twelve, on the brink of puberty, and I was grumpy . . . a lot. In the Sistine Chapel I remember sitting next to my Nonna who had tears in her eyes as she tried to explain Michelangelo's majestic ceiling to me, but all I could think about was that it was too crowded, too hot, and too boring. Really, I just didn't get it.
Twenty-eight years later my husband, for my 40th birthday, sent me to Rome with my best friend for four nights and five days. While I had been back to Italy many, many times, this was the first time I would be returning to Rome since that first trip. And since my Nonna had passed away two years earlier, this time, in her honor, I was going to do it right.
I prepared a lot. I read history books, studied tour books, taped shows featuring Rome, and surfed the internet for tips. As I read Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King, I felt something in me stirring, some understanding that was hovering just beyond my reach.
When we entered the Vatican Museums my best friend and I bypassed room after room as we followed signs to The Sistine Chapel, and so we were one of the first to enter. It was incredibly quiet. I found a seat on the bench running alongside one wall and finally looked up. It was too much. The notes and binoculars lay forgotten in my lap as I let the colors, the power, and the immense beauty wash over me. I didn't think, I just felt.
And I felt tears in my eyes. And I knew that in heaven my Nonna was nodding and smiling . . . because I finally got it.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I began walking/jogging most days of the week. And here was the problem . . . where, Oh where! , were those endorphins, that natural high, that feeling of euphoria that you were supposed to feel when exercising? All I felt was sweaty and tired. Was I not working out hard enough?
Seven months later I have it all figured out: I do have endorphins after all! I do get that natural high, that feeling of euphoria , that sense of well-being. . . when the exercise session is OVER!! You go, girl!!