1. Faith and Tradition! - I am still learning the traditions of our Byzantine faith. Some Byzantine family needs to write a book about all the traditions throughout the year complete with prayers and a cd of different tones for the prayers (please). There are prayers for everything and it seems some people know where to find them, but we do not. I would love to learn how to sing all the tones as well, because not only would I enjoy singing the troparians and so forth, but my kids would love it as well. As it stands, I sing only the trisagion prayers and I think the kids get tired of it day after day.
We started by learning the Great Fast and Pascha traditions. In the past four years we have been learning the St. Phillip's fast and Christmas Eve traditions. The Christmas Eve traditions are so wonderful and beautiful. One thing we have never done is use a St. Phillip's Fast candelabra with the prayers. But, hopefully for future Advent seasons we will do this…just thinking about Eastern traditions.
2. They call him, Yoda. In college, my husband was given the nickname, Yoda, among others, because he gave great sage advice to our peers. Lately, my husband is full of good parenting and family ideas. I do not know why he does not share them with me more often. Day-by-day, I feel like I scritch and scratch, and barely get by parenting our children. Honestly, I think I do pretty well, but it is a lot of hard work. Here are three stories of how my husband has helped solve family problems.
3. Yoda Part 2 - Recently, we both struggled a lot with our daughters' sleeping habits. 13 month old Annie was still sleeping in our bed and no one was happy about it. Kristiana was waking frequently and screaming at the top of her lungs. So there was a lot of waking up in the night by both parents. But, we problem solved together. I moved Kristiana into Alex's room thinking that a roommate would squelch her nighttime fears. They both liked the change, but she was still waking. Kristiana was also taking milk to bed with her and she was requesting more milk in the night as though she were a little baby. I told my husband she was cut off from milk. She simply needed to eat more at dinner time. He agreed, but he talked to her all day long about it reminding her that she was not allowed to request milk and she was not allowed to scream. They seem to have a special bond. All his talking to her really helped and now she is sleeping better--not always, but it's better.
4. Yoda Part 3 - With Annie, I bought a crib and moved her to the girls' room by herself. She still would not go down by herself, but Andrew put a blanket over the end of her bed so she could not see light shining in from the door jam. And she could not see us leaving after putting her in bed. Now we can lay her down and leave immediately and she sleeps all night. Yay! We will get some sleep before the next baby comes along. And though I have enjoyed snuggling all night with our little babies the next baby will not be allowed to sleep in our bed.
5. Yoda Part 4 - The BEST advice of the week came from my husband at the end of last week. He worries greatly about homeschooling Alex, because he is high intensity and non-compliant. He gives me grief when I ask him to do his school lessons, which only take an hour if he is good about doing it. We both feel Alex needs an outlet outside of the home, but public school is not our answer. Our reasons for wanting to homeschool are concrete. But, Andrew requested that I get more organized and start earlier in the day with Alex. He said I should sit down on Sunday nights and plan out the entire week. We should get up early get ourselves ready and then wake the kids. Then each morning, after breakfast, after the kids dress, we pray, say the pledge of allegiance to the flag and dive right into homeschool. This has worked brilliantly all week. Kristiana gets little lessons too and enjoys it. Annie can be a trouble maker though. I try to get Alex done by 10:00 a.m. so we can have morning outings. My problem now is what to do with the kids in the afternoon. The kids play a little and spend a little time outside. Alex always asks if he can play computer games, but he always wants to play too long and throws fits when he has to be done. I feel like he needs to keep well occupied in the afternoon too…We are very much considering sending him to preschool next semester just so he can have a better outlet and more activity.
6. Monkey - I have such trouble getting pictures of interesting things Annie does before she stops doing them. She has begun to climb everything. She drives me mad about it. She will climb on top of the kitchen table for almost any reason and she will get into everything. She started climbing to the top of our backyard play gym too. This week, she decided she is brave enough to fling her tiny body down the slid with no assistance. She goes flying down the wavy slide and bumps her head at the bottom, then comes crying to me for cuddles. Then she goes back for more punishment.
7. Clever - One day last week, Annie dragged an outdoor patio pillow to the top of the play house. When she got to the top she threw it up and climbed the rest of the way herself. She took the pillow and threw it down the slide. Then she slid down and landed on the pillow. It was awesome and hilarious. She did it two more times and I did not get the camera in time to film it! She is way too little for such activities. She is very mature mentally, but looks like a baby younger than a year.