An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Well, that got my attention ...

Outside the rain is falling and it's still dark . . . a perfect morning in which to sleep late.

But our little one has other plans when at 6:30 he trudges into our room and climbs into our bed. He rolls around. He climbs back and forth over my husband and me. He jumps up and down. We totally ignore him, we are that tired.

Then (are you ready for this?) he leans close to my face, pats my cheeks with both hands, and says very sweetly and matter of factly: You blithering idiot.

My eyes pop open. Did he just . . . ? Where did . . . ? Who taught . . . ? How? When?

Slowly a memory surfaces of Captain Hook calling Mr. Smee a "blithering idiot" in Disney's Peter Pan.

Oh. Well, then. I feel so much better. And even though I had in fact been blithering, I am no idiot. It's raining, it's dark, it's early . . . I roll over and go back to sleep.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buon Natale a Tutti

A Merry and Blessed Christmas from our house to yours.

(and yes, Virginia, it does occasionally snow in Georgia.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Opera in the Kitchen

Tomorrow is the day. The boys are home. Joe has the week off. And Nonna is beckoning us to her kitchen for our annual tradition of making homemade/handmade tortellini. E' un tradizione Italiano.

We make 500 of them...one at a time.

Why 500? Half we eat in a bechamel sauce on Christmas Eve, and the other half we eat in a delicious broth on Christmas Day. And, yes, they all get eaten.

Here's what they look like as they dry on the counter:


It looks like a lot of work, but it really only takes a few hours. The best part is that every year during this time my sons (and truthfully, my husband) get a lesson, compliments of Nonna, on a different opera.

My mother is from Verona, which hosts a huge opera season every summer in L'Arena (an open-air Roman colosseum) so she is well-versed on Puccini and Verdi.

L'Arena di Verona

So far, we've done Turandot,


Madame Butterfly,



and Romeo and Juliet (which takes place in Verona).


This year Nonna has planned Aida.


Let me tell you . . . opera is not boring. Oh, my sons could do without the "mushy stuff", but there are plenty of swordfights, suicides, murders, infidelities, betrayals, and deaths to thrill any boy.

Believe it or not, operas make good stories.

The only problem is when Nonna starts singing . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Note to self: "Tape" it easy

Today is the last day of school for my boys. In a panic, here is what I am doing before they are home for vacation: sorting, wrapping, tagging, and hiding.

And I'm on my last roll of scotch tape.

I have plenty of glue sticks, though. Think that will work?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Angels in the Mall

I went to the mall yesterday, and as I was wandering through a department store I kept hearing these unusual groans and loud outbursts. Eventually I realized that a group from a facility for the mentally disabled had come to spend an afternoon at the mall.

These were men curled up in wheelchairs, most of them in their 80's, wearing bibs and shouting out occasionally. Each wheelchair was pushed by a healthcare worker. I could tell these men were well taken care of . . . they all sported bright Christmas sweaters and it was obvious that the healthcare workers were trying to make things as festive as possible for them. Some of the wheelchairs were even decorated.

As I was standing in line to make a purchase, I noticed that some people were uncomfortable with the outbursts these men were making. I also noticed that some were even annoyed, rolling their eyes and sighing at the disruptions.

I looked at those healthcare workers caring for those poor men and thought that they were a living example of what Christmas is all about; they deserved better than the dirty looks they were getting because, heaven knows, they were doing a job that not many of us could do. I know I couldn't.

So I got out of line and walked over to the group standing nearby. In a voice that carried back to the register, I touched one of the workers on the arm and said, "You are angels, every one of you. I think it is so wonderful that you bring these men to the mall and let them experience a little holiday spirit. Really, God bless you."

To be honest, I was really nervous, but when the healthcare worker looked at me and gave me this warm smile . . . it was so worth it.

"To love another person is to see the face of God."
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Gingerbread Man: not your usual bathroom humor

Yesterday I picked Timothy up from school and he told me that during activity time he had to put his flower in the weed bucket (a disciplinary chart: good behavior, flower in the basket; bad behavior, flower in the weed bucket).

Since this was his first time, I was very curious as to what he did.

Evidently he and two friends were saying "poopy words".

Upon further questioning it seems that at the time they had been making gingerbread...with each child given a chunk of brown, lumpy dough.

Hmmm...

And I'm thinking: if you give a boy something brown and lumpy, it's just a matter of time before the "poopy words" begin.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Little Christmas Cheer



don't you just love his expression...

(This one is for suburbancorrespondent who
has been having some Christmas/Chanukah woes.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm not getting paid for this endorsement

Look what my sister Laura (a medical/information specialist) and my brother David (a doctor) co-authored! (Did I mention that I do not get paid for this endorsement? But Christmas is coming...hint-hint Laura and David!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Advent Season: The Second Sunday

"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope...

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."

-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Seek that Which is Above, 1986

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Email Kind of Day


Cast of characters:
Bia: sometimes writer, best of the bunch
Ua: medical librarian sister
David: doctor brother
Patrick: brother-in-law, the tax man
Leah: sister-in-law

Guest Appearance:
Mom
Dad
Translator

It all began innocently enough...

Ua: Get your Christmas hats on and be ready for a FUN Christmas celebration at our household on Sunday, December 14th; show up anytime after 8 am. I might look a little scary that early, though, just a warning.

Bia: EVERYTHING SOUNDS PERFECT, BUT SHOULDN'T YOU LET US BRING SOMETHING? DESSERTS?

David: And maybe for Christmas someone can show Bia where the Caps Lock key is.

Patrick: She’s just used to shouting…

Bia: EXCUSE ME? I EMPHATICALLY (good word there...I'll have to use it in an article) DO NOT SHOT...I MEAN SHOOT...I MEAN SHOUT!

Bia: BESIDES, DON'T YOU GUYS NEED TO WORK? DAVID, SAVE A LIFE, OR TWO? LAURA, LOOK UP SOME GHASTLY DISEASE? PATRICK, SOME TAXY THING?

Mom: For whoever has drawn Dad's name I have a suggestion: A paper shredder....a "modern day" pajama (size large)...

Bia: Uhm, what's a large paper shredder pajama?

David: I’ve found the Large Paper Shredder Pijama and tried them out. I’m still nursing a few injuries in key locations.

Leah: I must be the only one working around here!! Raising two little angels--I barely have time for anything else (like sending emails)--sniff, sniff.

Ua: We’ve probably already crashed Mom & Dad’s email system...

Later in the day....

Dad: I am confused. I looked at about 12 of these back and forth one-liners and have determined that all of you have way too much free time. Get a job!!! There are FOUR PAGES OF THEM ON MY SLOW EMAIL. Nonno

Bia: Now who's yelling?

Mom: Quando il papa` ha aperto il computer questa sera mi ha chiamato subito tutto preoccupato perche` ha trovato 2 pagine intere di messaggi che , a prima vista, sembravano tutti gli stessi. Abbiamo un VIRUS ha esclamato ! AIUTO! Cosa facciamo adesso? Per fortuna io ho suggerito di incominciare a leggerli e abbiamo cosi` visto che invece era la vostra corrispondenza. Avete propio lavorato molto quest'oggi!

Translator: When Dad turned on the computer this evening he called me all worried that he found two full pages of messages that, at first sight, seemed all the same. WE HAVE A VIRUS! he exclained. HELP! What do we do now? Fortunately I figured out that you were emailing eachother. I can tell you have all been working hard today.

And we all were working hard, kinda sorta.

THE END

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Timothy's Post

jfgjgjggghjghfhggfjhhgjhfjhhgfhdfhgfhdfhdhhjdshdjdhueudueuedhfdjdhfjf
hjfhjghjghgjhgjgjhdhrfghfhhhfhdhhfbbhhvnfmgmjknnjffbcbbggdngsdhdfdh
fbdhdcbbcdhnccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccxnbcbncnnvnvcvfkjgtjthg
ghjgghjjhjjjffjgfhjghfjhgjfhjfjfjhdjfhgjjgfjgfjhg jjrdffhcjfjddhjfffffffffffffffffggjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjkkjkgjkjkkkkjkkhkhhhfi

tim o thy m ommy dad dy tra i n

Monday, December 1, 2008

Alone at Twilight

This past Saturday I did something I had never done before: I went to the movies all by myself.

Over Thanksgiving my sister had given me all four of her Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, and I finally caved in and read them to see what all the fuss was about. Then Saturday night, since the little one was in bed and the boys (big and little) settled down to watch some football, I thought it would be fun to see the movie since I had just finished reading the book.

It was too late to call anyone, but heck, I decided to go alone.

So, there I was, at the movie theater.

Alone.

On a Saturday night.

A date night.

To see Twilight which was, really, a teen movie.

There was one middle-aged couple...and me. Everyone else was younger and on a date.

But as I looked at all those young kids I had a revelation: I like who I am right now at this point in my life, and although I was a little nostalgic for that young freedom, I wouldn't want to go back to those years.

I like being 41.

I like being a wife and mother.

I especially like the fact that I didn't feel embarassed about sitting in the movie theater all alone.

And, I enjoyed the movie. I really did.

The only thing that showed my age was that once the lights were lowered, instead of a $50 snack of popcorn and a soda, I slipped a granola bar out of my purse.

Hey, I have three sons that need to go to college.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Football


This year our entire family decided to meet in Hilton Head Island, SC for Thanksgiving where perhaps the highlight of the week was a huge game of football.

The kind of family football that includes children, adults, in-laws, out-laws, a sister who just announced her pregnancy, and all ages between three and sixty-five.

The kind of football where everyone was just plain goofy.

The kind of football where a four-year-old got the ball, and an uncle on the opposing team carried him(the boy AND the ball) to the end zone for a touchdown.

The kind of football in which teams kept getting confusing. Are you on my team?

The kind of football where a cute three year old niece in ponytails kept distracting everyone with her cuteness.

The kind of football where an interception was cause for riotous laughter.

The kind of football in which no one kept score.

And the kind of football that earned me the name Fumble-ina.

Uhm, whatever could they mean by that?



Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Contradiction in Terms

Seen, on the backroads of South Carolina as we were heading to Hilton Head Island for a Thanksgiving family reunion, this sign in front of a small church:

St. Mary's Baptist Church

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An Illustration on Freedom

A couple of weeks ago we attended an Open House at the Catholic High School my son will be attending next fall. At one point my son, perhaps in awe of all the high school students, made a comment along the lines that he can't wait until he gets older so he can be free to do what he wants.

Hmmmm. He was expressing a very common attitude in young teens who tend to think of freedom as not having a parent, or a teacher, or anyone for that matter, telling them what to do. To them, freedom is doing "what I want".

It was just a passing comment, but I didn't want him to think freedom was simply having a selection of choices; instead, he needed to know that true freedom is found in the right choice you ultimately make. It's a hard concept to understand.

To illustrate my point I reminded him of something that happened not so long ago:

One evening last fall our middle son, Jonathan, was excited about an upcoming football game and he wanted the entire family to come see him play. It had been a very busy week and Nicholas did not want to go. I could see that this was hurting his little brother's feelings, so I had a quiet talk with Nicholas.

I explained to him how much it meant for Jonathan to have his older brother come cheer him on, but since it had been a stressful week, we were going to leave the decision up to him. He could freely choose to come to the game, or he could stay home.

Now, neither decision was wrong, but one was definitely more right.

When it was time to leave, Nicholas came downstairs, high-fived his brother, and climbed into the van. We all went to the game and had a lovely evening.

As I told this story, Nicholas smiled...he remembered. But I wasn't done, yet.

I explained how that night he had been given the freedom to choose, but with his decision he experienced the true freedom that is God's gift to us. It's not the freedom found in the opportunity to choose, but rather the freedom that comes with choosing the right thing.

And the beauty of this freedom is that it manifests itself on so many levels.

That night Jonathan was free from having his feelings hurt.
My husband and I were free from any feelings of disappointment in our son.
Nicholas was free from any guilt he may have felt had he chosen not to go.

All these graces because he made a decision that was the right thing to do.

Of course, life is complicated. Decisions aren't always easy, or clear. But when we turn to God and pray for discernment, He shows us the way.

Only then can we be free.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Wii want for Christmas

Dear Mom and Dad,

Jonathan and I would like to say that Wii can't wait until Christmas. Wii are so excited that wii will be getting presents. Wii hope to get some very special ones. Wii are going to be happy with whatever wii get, though. So, wii wish you a Merry Christmas!

Wii love you,
Nicholas

**********

Dear Nicholas and Jonathan,

Wii are also excited about Christmas. Wii must remember, though, the true meaning of the season.

Wii love you, too!
Mom and Dad

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

No Bones About It

Once upon a time there was a turkey who lost all of its bones. So, he was stuffed with duck who just happened to have swallowed a chicken. They were all stuffed with a delicious stuffing, then seamed together and cooked at 350 degrees for 4 hours until juicy and succulent.

Turducken=chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey

Anyone ever had one?

Interesting side note: If you say turducken several times in a row, you start sounding like him...

Swedish Chef, the Muppets

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Moanday on a Thursday

Yesterday Laura was thinking about dedicating a day of the week to gratitude. She was going to call it

...until she discovered that someone had already coined that phrase. So she started thinking up other weekday topics and happened to mention Moanday. I commented that I needed a Moanday and look...she gave me one!!

Now comes the moaning part:

We have a computer virus.
I forgot about early dismissal; my boys were sent to after school care.
My boys were not happy with me.
Our computer only works for two minutes; then the popups come.
Our little one has a cold.
My oldest has a cold.
I had to take three 8th graders to soup kitchen...with the little one.
I now have 11 article assignments; I can't access my files.
My back hurts...am I getting the cold?
I'm getting the cold.
Asked Laura to re-send the Moanday button because my computer ate it.
Just realized I have neck wrinkles.
Our microwave has been burning the popcorn lately.

There. I feel better already. Now I'm ready for Gratituesday...first just let me go pop some popcorn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Space Alien...that's me!

Have you ever said something you thought was funny that no one else found amusing? It's a weird feeling...like you're a space alien,or something.

That happened to me today. Since we are still having major computer problems we decided to call (cue drum roll) The Computer Doctor.

He was somber, abrupt, and mentally rolled his eyes (really, I could see him)every time he asked me a question about our computer and I would have to say, "Uh, hold on a sec while I call my husband." He probably thought I was totally ignorant about computers...which I am, but that's besides the point.

Finally, I smiled and said, "You're name is Dave? I have a brother named Dave and he's a doctor, too...only he works on humans."

The Computer Doctor just looked at me. That's it...just a look.

It was weird, I tell you.

See the antennae sprouting out the top of my head?


(postscript: Now here, in this very spot, I was going to place a cute alien cartoon, but my husband threatened to throw the computer away if I downloaded anything unofficial. Someone is grumpy around here...especially since The Computer Doctor couldn't fix the problem.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Computer Virus from ****

We were invaded by a MAJOR computer virus over the weekend which took us-er, I mean took my husband-8 hours to fix.

So anyway, I am just now catching up with everything and look what I got from two of my favorite people, Laura and Lisa:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! And, in the spirit of giving, I would like to pass this on to nikki because they are about to adopt a beautiful baby girl from China, Kathryn because she is the ultimate Mom, and e because she left a really funny comment in my last post (yes, I am shameful that way).

I am also making up an award for my husband for tracking down and getting rid of that nasty, destructive, all-invasive computer virus.

Joey, this one's for you...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sometimes You Just Need to Give Up and Go Home

We woke up to a beautiful, sunny and breezy fall morning...just perfect for a family walk. While my husband and I walked, our little one rode his bike and our two oldest boys ran, passing a football back and forth. Nothing like family togetherness...

No tackling on the cement.

Timothy, no crashing your bike into your brothers.

Watch out for that pile of doggy poop.

Nicholas, don't call your brother an idiot.

Timothy, idiot is a bad, bad word and we do not say it.

Jonathan, quit teasing your brother.

No tackling!

Okay, give us the football.

Boys, we said stop that.


Then, this from the boys:

Why are we going home so soon? We're having fun.

And THAT was a definite matter of opinion.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What Not to Wear on Election Day

All yesterday we talked about the election: tomorrow we're voting; no preschool because of the voting; who we are voting for.

Voting, voting, voting...we must have said the word 500 times.

So, this morning our little one walks downstairs dressed in his bathing suit...
ready to go boating.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Name Game

This morning I helped out with the Halloween Party at my son's preschool. It's common knowledge that our little one hasn't been enthusiastic about the whole preschool thing, so we've spent a lot of time talking to him; in fact, we thought we knew everything about his class . . . down to the names of all his classmates.

Well, at today's party I discovered a few things . . . like gender and names have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

His classmate Alex? He is a girl.
and Brooks? She is a boy.
Logan, turns out is a boy.
Camden is a boy.
Reagan is a boy,
but Carter,on the other hand, is a girl.

I have a headache.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OOPSY-DAISY!

Dear Joey,

You know how sometimes you leave your car parked in the garage when your carpool picks you up at the house?

Well, this morning I forgot.

I got into the van, swung wide as I backed out of the garage, and rubbed my front bumper all along the driver side of your car.

You know how you liked that chicken cacciatore recipe I used a few months ago?

Well, that's what we're having for dinner tonight.

Bacioni,
Bia

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If at first you don't succeed . . .

Okay, Laura told me to find a book, go to page 55, find the 5th sentence and post it. I'd better do what she says or she'll write a bad haiku about me.

I closed my eyes and reached behind me to the bookcase. I pulled out the Dictionary. Not good . . . doesn't count. (FYI, fifth word on page 55 was animato.)

So I tried again. My hand located a romance novel that was tucked in the bottom shelf. Yikes! You wouldn't think that anything could happen so early in the book . . . but it does, and this is a family blog so I'm not sharing it with you.

Really, I'm not. Sheesh. (mental note: get rid of book)

This is not as easy as I thought it would be.

Then, my eye falls on The Dangerous Book for Boys, which is open face down on the floor. I pick it up. It's open to this chapter: Understanding Grammar: Transitive and Intransitive Verbs. Hmmm. My son has been having grammar woes, and I think it's funny that this is the book he has gone to for help.

Anyway . . . page 55, sentence number 5, and . . . okay. I am not making this up. The page has to do with Italy! Wow! Really, go check for yourself. Here's the sentence from a paragraph about Hannibal:

Rome was in real danger.

There. The third time was a charm. I knew I could do it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yukking it up for Halloween


SQUINTING EYES, GNARLED HAIR,
DON'T TALK . . . OR SHE'LL CAST A SPELL!
ME, BEFORE COFFEE.

Shaggy and Velma,
Mona Lisa, Da Vinci.
We are all adults?




Now go see Laura for more Yuktoberfest fun!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Engineer playing Pictionary

Last Friday we sat down with the boys for a family game night. We played two games of Pictionary; I was the common denominator for the winning team of both games whereas my husband was the common denominator for . . . the team that did not win.

My husband is a mechanical engineer and is very precise with his drawings. He draws very well, but he is not fast. Once, when we were teammates during a game, I could not figure out what in the world he was drawing. Later, he explained that his drawing was a cross section of a 2 x 4. The word was plank.

You're probably wondering . . . what about drawing a pirate? or a pirate ship? or a board over water with sharks?

Exactly my point.

Here's another example. During an All Play this past Friday my husband and I (this time on opposite teams) had to draw the word glasses.

Here's my drawing:

Here's his:


Guess which one took longer (waaaaay longer) to draw?

Not only is my husband methodical with drawing, but he's the same way with speech. The man doesn't waste words. I, on the other hand, do not shut up, which works very well with this game. I guess and guess, throwing out words completely at random. I figure that more words = more chances of a correct guess. My husband? He'll take maybe two guesses; they're usually correct, but then someone has already shouted the answer.

And I wonder if there is an Italian Pictionary gene? If so, my sister has it, too. When the entire family gathers for a game, we are not allowed to be on the same team; she makes a dot on the paper and I'll say something completely random like Beluga Whale, and I'll be right. It makes our husbands most annoyed.

In all fairness to my husband, he may not be quick on the draw, but he does provide us with some good laughs . . . and that's what game night is all about, anyway.

But secretly, because it doesn't happen very often, I do enjoy the fact that for once, in this case, my competitive boys clamor to be on my team. And that's a really good feeling.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Clear out a Room

We had a weekend in which the boys played football, watched football, and talked football . . . way too much testosterone, in my humble opinion. So when they settle on the couch to watch a little Monday night football before bed, I knew what to do.

"Tonight,I get the t.v.," I announce. "And I'm watching Dancing with the Stars."

WHOOSH!

It only takes three seconds, and I am completely and totally alone. Wearing my comfy pj's I stretch out on the couch and sigh contentedly. There's not a testosterone anything in sight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What ever happened to Dora?

Last week our preschooler was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his class in which the theme was . . . cue drum roll, please . . . High School Musical.

HUH?!

What happened to Ariel?

or Snow White?

or Cinderella?


Or, for that matter, what ever happened to Dora?



Well, I have a problem with four-year-olds pretending they're in high school, dancing like they're in high school, and singing songs with high school themes. Our preschooler still sings Little Red Caboose, for goodness sakes.

We sent our polite regrets, and our four-year-old enjoyed a nice Saturday morning playing with his trains and pretending he was Diego on a safari rescue mission.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Memory Keepers

Today Laura posted about one of her favorite things . . . a vintage Lolly Pop box. She said she would rather have this one item from her childhood than any crystal or stemware, and I understand completely.

I believe that certain objects actually tell a story. When I walk through an antique store I am always drawn to objects that have been used: old farm equipment, or lace gloves, or a tattered quilt. These things seems to whisper their stories, and I love that. I can imagine a farmer's bowed shoulders as he hooks up this plow; a girl's excitement for her first dance as she pulls on those gloves; a young bride as she carefully unpacks that quilt from her hope chest.

I once bought a photo of a young woman wearing a dress from the 1800's, her hair piled on top of her head with a thick velvet ribbon. She had an interesting face . . . and I felt like I knew her. She is now propped in front of some books in our study, and I think of her as a distant relative.

So I totally understand Laura's attachment to a Lolly Pop box.

When I was a little girl I gave my Nonna a pink ceramic statue of a girl with outstretched arms. On the base was written "I love you this much", and when she passed away the statue came back to me. I had totally forgotten about it; in fact, I hadn't seen it in a long time, but I was so touched that Nonna had kept my little gift. Now it's one of my favorite things because it whispers to me that Nonna, by holding on to it all those years, loved me "this much".


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I've got mail!

Today I received this in the mail . . . my first paycheck for writing articles!!! About a month ago I started writing for a Catholic organization that publishes monthly parish newletters across the country, and now I will get weekly assignments for which I will get paid. Getting the mail has never been so fun.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Man in the Making

Last week I took my oldest son for a check-up, and that evening he has an important announcement.

"Guess what? Today I officially weighed in at 100 pounds. Doesn't that make me a man?"

I look at my son. He has spaghetti sauce on his cheek, his hair is sticking up in the back, his arms are like toothpicks, and he is talking with his mouth full. In other words, he is 100% boy.

My heart flip-flops, and I smile.

"You're the man," I reply.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Before I Go...

I am leaving tomorrow with my sister for a repeat of our weekend getaway of last year. Before I go, I'd like to share with you this fun, easy project. See the image below? It was made from photographs. I first did this when I was scrapbooking, and the result was pretty enough to frame. Here's how:
  1. Take a favorite photo and have several copies made (this was a photo taken of a fresco painted on a wall in an Italian Monastery).
  2. Place one photo in the middle of a piece of heavy paper.
  3. Cut the extra copies of the photo into shards...arrange them around the main photo so that the edges are straight.
  4. There. Instant mosaic...and when it's framed the sheen of the photo shards does make it look like pieces of tile.

Here's another example, except that I made several copies of a different photo (rose bushes) to use for the mosaic pieces.


And now, I'm off. Last year when my sister and I came back from our weekend getaway I had complete and total laryngitis...go figure. Ciao! Ciao!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jesse

A few weeks ago I attended a funeral Mass held at our lovely church, St. Mary-on-the-Hill. Four priests were in attendance, one of whom had driven several hours to be there. There were four altar servers, and music filled the church.

We gathered to honor someone
who wasn't famous,
who didn't accomplish anything great or mighty,
who never gave a famous speech,
but who, nonetheless, left a mark in this world.

You see, Baby Jesse never walked on this earth; he died in his mother's womb during the fifth month of pregnancy.

With trembling voices we sang the hymn, "On Eagle's Wings", and although it was heartwrenching to see that teeny, tiny casket in front of the altar, we also felt God's loving presence as all of us - priests, mothers, fathers, teachers, Catholics, non-Catholics - came together to celebrate a life . . . not a life that had been lived in full, but one just as important that had barely begun.


(Thanks, mg, for sharing.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Taking Care of Business (because I'm not at my blogging best)

After a very hectic week, I am behind in everything: blogging, commenting, memes, awards . . . really, lately I have not been my blogging best. So, I need to catch up.

Laura and SuzyQ tagged me with this meme about blogging some time ago. I won't admit how long ago it was because it's too embarrassing.

What 5 things have I learned from blogging?

1. That on our faith journey, we are not alone. Oh, I go to church, I am a member of Familia, and I attend a weekly Bible Study, but it wasn't until I started blogging that I realized what a common bond our faith can be in the world. It is no coincidence that our family nights began around the time I started blogging as I began to get so many ideas on how our family can practice and live our faith. Blogging helped me see my faith on a larger scale; it has helped me realize how much more I can grow spiritually; it is a wonderful tool to share faith ideas and practices.

2. That blogging is a wonderful way to preserve the every day ordinariness of our lives. Writing about wonderful vacations or profound thoughts is fine, but sometimes it's the small things, the very ordinary things, that make life special. Writing about Daddy's ability to make a silly monkey face or about a dead car battery stranding us in the middle of the carpool lane helps keep these seemingly insignificant details about day-to-day life alive.

3. That I like writing . . . I really, really do. Ever since I was a little girl and wrote lengthy "Little House on the Prairie" stories, writing has always been a part of who I am. I majored in English, wrote for my college newspaper, reviewed plays and had a poem published here and there. But because it was something I always did naturally, I never took my writing seriously. Blogging has reminded me to nurture this side of me that I have taken for granted.

4. That it's a small, small world. There is something exciting about getting an email or a comment from someone you've never met; blogging is like having a pen pal with the entire world.

5. That I have met some wonderful blogging friends. When I mention your names at the dinner table, my family knows who you are. (In fact, I don't think my sons realize that I know you through blogging; they think that you are my friends at church, or something.)

Also, since I am taking care of business, SuzyQ passed on the "I Love Your Blog Award" to me because she is kind that way, and Laura gave me the "Super Commenter Award" because it makes her mother happy when I leave comments. Grandmak also gave me this last award . . . two people giving me this award . . . OH! the pressure to leave good comments!

Also, speaking of Grandmak, she passed on a "Holy Card Meme" in which I had to come up with a holy card for myself if I should ever make it to sainthood. Which brings me to this question: as a mother, am I not already there? See. That settles it. I am not humble enough and I procrastinate too much to ever be a candidate for sainthood. (I made the mistake of asking my husband this question an hour ago, and he hasn't stopped laughing. Well, then. He'll never make it to sainthood, either.)

Now, I can't tag anyone because everyone I know has already received these awards and done these memes . . . I told you I was waaaaay behind in everything.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Italian 101

As a mother of all boys, there are certain things I have perfected when I mean business.

One, is the look. My mother is Italian, so I have generations of Italian women in my blood who know how to do the look. Even my husband recognizes the look. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the evil eye . . . but there you go, it does have power.

Two, is the art of peppering my speech with two key Italian phrases when I am in no mood to be messed with:

~Basta! = Enough. Stop.

(As in, the boys are arguing, but when I yell BASTA! there is complete and total silence . . . instantly.)

~Punto e basta! = End of discussion, period.

(As in, the boys keep begging for a Wii; every day they complain until we finally say: No, you do not need a Wii, punto e basta. Go play outside. This signals the end of the discussion. Nothing further needs to be said.)

Now shhhh!, I'll let you in on a little secret: these are my secret weapons; I hoard them and whip them out only when absolutely necessary . . . like today.

It's been one of those days.

Remember when . . .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A is for apple . . . I think

After a shaky start, our little one is learning (albeit begrudgingly) to like preschool . . . that is, he's gone from crying and clinging to my leg to shedding only a tear or two when he waves goodbye to me. So, we are making progress.

I'm just not sure what he's learning . . .

Our Preschooler: "D" is for Daddy, "J" is for Jonathan, and "N" is for Nicholas.

Me: Excellent!

I wait a second or two, then ask: And what does "M" stand for?

He thinks, and thinks some more, then declares: McDonalds!

Er, would you like some fries with that?