Thursday, June 30, 2011


So some of my blog friends are really into this Pretty/Happy/Funny/Real blog post in which you post pictures under each category. Sometimes I hate to follow the crowd…but to be honest, I think I just have not had time to think about what I would post if I were to participate.  However, I have some photos to share this week that fit these categories.






Real – I have two!

I don’t mean to embarrass Kristiana, but she can throw a fit with the best of them. But, all I need to do is affirm her feelings and then let her know her behavior is not acceptable, then she is fine.


Look at Annie stand up on her own. Toddling here we come. It’s about time.  She is nine months old.  The day Alex turned nine months he started walking.  No, I am not really keen on her walking.  Although, she crawls really fast, so it may not be much difference.  She is on the go!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tot Talk - Alex’s Team

I enrolled Alex in sport’s camp this summer.  This is my life-ling mom dream come true.  It’s my baby’s first summer camp.  The camp offered two days (mornings) of basketball, two days of flag football, two days of soccer and two days of t-ball.  I am really excited that Alex got to try a bunch of different sports.  For some reason I got it into my head that THIS WAS IT. Alex was going to discover the sport that he was sooo good at that we would begin his olympic training now. ;-) I mean everyone tells me how fast and athletic Alex is.  However, he was not amazingly good at any particular sport and he was not bad at anything either.  He just played hard and had fun.  What more could a mom ask for?  Well, how about a cute story? Okay, here it is…

On the third day of camp, I plopped down on the sopping wet, sideline grass and tried to entertain my baby girls as Alex went to shoot the breeze with the other campers before camp.  One of the coaches stepped to the side and was talking to his eight year old daughter.  I just happened to overhear him say, “I have to find Alex.  You have to meet him.  He is my favorite.  Yesterday, I asked the kids what we should name our team and no one said anything.  Then Alex said ‘Hey, I have an idea. How about Alex’s Team.’ Everyone else said okay and that’s our team. So I have to find Alex.”  At this point, I was thinking that is awesome.  He had told me that it was Alex’s Team the day before, but I did not believe him.  I thought it was some rambling from a four year old.  As camp began that day I heard the team cheer altogether, “Alex’s Team!”  I had a really proud mom moment.

“Yeah, that’s my boy!”

So what does a proud mommy do?  I made t-shirts.  Alex designed it.  He wanted a “Fireball! with a thunderbolt!”  I made one for each of our family members and grandparents, and the coach of course.  I did not make them for all the kids, because I think that would have been a little strange for the other parents and way expensive.  The back of Alex’s t-shirt says “Team Captain,” and the coach’s says, “Coach.”

…On the first day of soccer, the coach forgot to pick up the balls. One coach thought the other coach was going to pick them up. So I came to the rescue with two soccer balls and orange cones. I feel like a cool soccer mom. 

I can not wait to see what these kids do in their lives as they grow up.  It’s so exciting.  I hope that we are able to guide them to have honorable character and produce good fruits.  Grant it, O Lord.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Liturgical Feasting Traditions–Ss. Peter and Paul

peter-and-paul-apostles1I have been a wife (6 years) and mother (4 1/2 years) for just a short while now and over these short years I have been trying to learn the customs for each major feast.  My family never celebrated liturgical feasts growing up, so I am starting from scratch.  Each year I add more traditions to my repertoire, for my family to utilize in our celebrations. 

We have upcoming a major feast of Ss. Peter and Paul.  I have been searching online for traditional ways to celebrate and bring the spirit of the feast into our home.  So far I have discovered that it is traditional to go to the vigil and have all night vespers and then celebrate Divine Liturgy in the morning.  I do not know if I could make that work with our three small children.  I do not think our parish celebrates in this way either.

Other than an all night vigil, I have not come up with anything else traditional.  I found a site (obviously written by a Latin rite person) suggesting we eat fish, because they were fishers of men, and other Mediterranean dishes such as babaganouj and hummus.  I thought this was a good idea, because it is a direct connection with the saints.  However, I am not keen on this meal, because to me those are foods of the fast.  I was more thinking of a meal of lamb.

I think we will definitely tell stories of Ss. Peter and Paul.  Alex and I will work on an icon of the venerable saints.  But, I was curious if there were household objects, food, or the like, that are traditionally blessed?  Are there traditional foods to offer at our table in honor of these saints? How do YOU celebrate the feast? Please share your family traditions with me so that I might begin Ss. Peter and Paul traditions in our family.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tot Talk: Yummy Eternal Food

Tonight we went to the Baptism, Chrismation, First Communion of a friend’s son.  I love to see the Rites of Christian Initiation.  To me it is a great reminder of my own sacraments.  For a moment, I find myself as close to the Holy Spirit as I once was during my own Chrismation.  At the same time there is both a heaviness and a lightness within the room.  The smoke from the incense lifts us up.  The candle illuminate.  The scented oils fill our senses.  Then the grand moments occur.  The soul is bathed clean, the spirit is sealed, the life is nourished.

This world is so distracting. I am so distracted. Even tonight, the children were as wiggly as worms and as noisy as pricked pigs (including all the children present, not just my own).  It was very hard for me to be present with the Lord tonight.  Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit was there. It was so beautiful. 

Kristiana was very wild during liturgy.  She ran back and forth from the Narthex to our place in the Church.  But finally she settled when our friend told her that after she received Jesus there would be cake.  The children and I went to receive the Eucharist.  When we returned to our place.  Kristiana looked at me, rubbed her belly and said, “Mmm, yummy food. I like Jesus.”  I must admit even though she is only two years old, I felt a little embarrassed.  I leaned over and whispered in her ear,

“It is the food of Eternal Life.”

Without skipping a beat, her eyes widened and she exclaimed loudly, “ETERNAL LIFE!?!” and then she nodded her head, yes.  No one else heard her, but me.  The rest of the church were chanting a Eucharistic hymn.  However to me, it seemed that it was a moment of understanding between us.  God love the children—they are so innocent and refreshing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes–Summer Fun

1. The lots of simple fun is going on and it feels like summer is moving fast.  I haven’t had much time for blogging. 

2. Annie played in a sandpit for the first time.  She was perfect and did not even try to eat the sand.


3. We had the annual family s’more gathering.  Hopefully we will do it again.




4.  Icon writing class has begun at church.  I was asked to do a specific Icon for the church. It’s huge and I am intimidated.  After working on the icon for an hour and a half, I realized that I was asked to do it in a mirror image.  So I was about to freak out, but it was decided my icon could be hung somewhere else in the church.  I prayed and prayed and prayed this morning that God would work through me—that He would penetrate my soul with this icon.  And my friend pointed it out that it must be God’s vision for our church.  I think she was being kind.  But, I feel badly that I did not do what was asked of me.  I cannot help but think I was distracted by my impatience and fear.  I think my biggest problem with this icon is finding time to work on it with the kids around.  The icon must be complete before I leave mid-July.  I think this is perhaps I have bit off more than I can chew.

5. Andrew sold his collectible Star Wars card game for nearly $400.  So he will take me out for a nice dinner and then pocket the rest for his new hobby. Pretty cool.


6. I am still trying to workout a lot.  I am finding it’s really hard to do with three kids.  By the time we get ready in the morning, go to the gym and come back, the entire morning is gone.  Then we have lunch and a home school lesson with Alex and Kristiana.  Then Kristiana goes to nap and Alex and I work more on school.  When Alex is done. Annie wakes up.  We clean up, start dinner and the day is 3/4 finished. Dinner, bath, story, prayer, bed for the kids, a little relaxation and the day is done.  As beautiful as this all is, there is not much room for anything else.  I hope one of these days I learn to accept that, for now, my life does not have a lot of maneuverability.

7. Praying for our Godson and his family.  He will be born soon and we are hoping it is a safe and healthy birth for mother and son.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Icon Writing With Kids–The Ascension

Then [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’ Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” Luke 24:45-51

What I like about this Icon is that Christ sits upon a rainbow as a reminder of what we hope for—resurrection and a life with Christ in Heaven.  The blue circle (mandorla/aureoles) behind Christ is a glimpse into Heaven.  Whenever you see a blue circle or ellipse it means that Heaven enters this world.  It’s one of my favorite things in Icon writing.

It seems to me the more Icons we write together the more detailed the festal icons are. Coincidence?



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Claytonopolis Reflections of A Year at Home

I have wanted to write this for a while.  I have now been a stay-at-home mom for a little more than a year.  And yes, it is everything I hoped it would be.  Although, it is much more difficult working at home for the family than it was to pack the kids up day after day, cart them to childcare for 9 hours a day, cart them home after a long day apart, make dinner, bed the kiddos and collapse. In those days, I lamented that the people who were raising our children were strangers.  I felt as though we were aimlessly floating through life.  I thought in a few short years my children would be in school and that would be it.  All those precious moments, I longed for would be gone forever.

At first I cherished every moment being home, although, I was not exactly sure how to spend every moment and my kids were ill-behaved.  I quickly learned that there was hardly enough time in a day to get every thing done—from activities with the kids, to cooking, cleaning and laundry.  The house gets a lot messier when the kids are home all day.  I was surprised at the workload.  I had to learn how to balance the cleaning and spending time with the children.

As I figured out how we should structure our days, I began problem solving my children’s behavior.  I attributed their behavior to their age.  Now as I reflect upon the past year, I think their behavior had more to do with the fact that we did not know each other very well.  That’s a hard reality for me.  I thought that I knew my kids well.  But, we did not know how to be around each other all day.  In retrospect, I do not think the children trusted me or my discipline.  Perhaps it was an adjustment for all of us. 

I had to learn how to be a better mom and wife all around. I am still working on that.  (“Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.”)  I had to learn how to feed my kids without them rejecting everything I offered.  I had to teach them how to listen to me and show respect to me and others.  Then we added another child and a house and a dog—all in a year.  Everyone in our family made it through these exciting times.  Although, the waves were rocky at times and the boat tossed much, but, we kept faith that the storm would quiet and all would be right again.  We trusted in God that this storm was meant to strengthen us.  I am amazed at how much we have all grown in a year. 

100_4324“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” Col 1:9-11  

One thing I do not like about this last year is that even though I have seen my husband more I do not feel like we have had as much alone time and bonding time.  The workload has simply been too great for the both of us.  But, I think that has more to do with our new daughter and our new house.  I am sure this will settle down after a while.  Further, after having had my kids in daycare for years, I feel a little guilty leaving them with other people.  But, also I see they really enjoy a little time away every once and a while.  However, I sure do miss my lunch break (to go running, eat a quiet lunch, read a book, run an errand) and going to the restroom by myself.

100_3383Something that I have valued most about this year is getting to teach my kids more about our faith and help the whole family focus more on our faith. “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut 11:19  I am praying that every year is as fruitful as the last. “May God grant us many blessed years in peace, health and happiness.”