Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do You Love Me?

It's funny.  I went to the doctor with my husband today.  He is very sick with tonsillitis.  He needed someone to drive him and remember all the facts of his sickness.  The doctor was surprised my husband had a tube in his ear.  They discussed it and my husband said the date when it was put in.  I interjected that was impossible because I already knew him then and he had it done before then in high school.  He said that it had been replaced that year.  I was shocked.  There was something about my husband I didn't know.  We had been practically attached at the hip from the time we started dating.  How did it get by me that he had his tube replaced?  You would think he would have at least mentioned it when seeing me or talking to me on the phone.  

It just goes to show you learn new things about your spouse every year.  It never gets old, or it at least, it never has to get old.  Your spouse will grow and change over time, so there is always more to know.  Or there are stories from the past you never heard before.  Year after year, we find something new to love about each other.  

Another funny thing, since Andrew has been sick I have been pulling a lot of extra weight around here; and of course my heart is heavy in his suffering; and hoping he will get better.  Last night as his fever climbed he said deleriously, "Well as a Byzantine I guess you never took vows to stay with me in sickness and health.  So I guess you can just walk out now. "  Of course, his comment was in jest.  But, I pointed out in our betrothal it was much greater than mere vows.  It was not some sort of strange modern contract in which if the terms were violated we could walk away.  We were told that we had entered into a bond that could not be undone and in a way that is greater than any vow we could utter to each other.  So, "Do you love me?"  I do not think there is any other choice.  Love is in all that we are and do. ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2013


YES! A baby eating spaghetti is so entertaining!

There wasn't too much damage.  She kept it all in her seat.  She was aiming it all in the direction of her mouth.  Then we just dunked her in the bath afterward.

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Nom, nom, fingers are tasty too.

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The Money Shot

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Oh, you think this is funny? Me too!

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Clean me up now.  I'm all done.  And I saved some for the dog under my right thigh.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

This, That and Great Lent

1. The Journey - I like to reflect upon how I am living out this penitential season.  But, I am always cautious to do so on the internet, because we are called to do so in privacy.  We are to "wash our face, anoint our heads" and partake of our Fast with joy and love of the Lord.  Lent is a great gift to us.  It is an opportunity to turn ourselves back to the way things ought to be.  It is a time to be less self-absorbed with the physical and balance the physical with the metaphysical.  Ah, Lent! It is a rich season of our faith.  It is the story of the creatures' life with the Creator.  Liturgically we journey from creation, fall, exile and to the Apex of our exile--Christ and our Salvation.  It's an amazing journey.  I have been partaking in Lent since I was a little girl and each year Lent grows into something bigger and more beautiful.  I learn new things about the tradition each year.  I wonder if there will ever be a year where I say, I think I have completed the full journey of Great Lent.  

2. Prayer - I have been reading Alexander Schmemman, Great Lent, again this year.  This is the third year I am reading Great Lent.  Each year I begin it and become overwhelmed by it.  I read a little each night and then half way I usually think it's too much.   This year, I am not reading it slowly.  I hope to finish it up quickly.  I think by doing this I will at least complete it and then perhaps begin again. This year we are gifting ourselves the Triodian (Triodian Info), which was one of the prayer books Fr. Schmemman speaks about in the book.  We'll let you know how it goes for us.  We've been at this Byzantine thing 8 years and we're still learning year after year.

3. Fasting - In addition to the usual Great Fast abstentions I am trying to give up coffee creamer again, but so far I have only started today, Friday.  I know it sounds like a small thing, but I put a fancy creamer in my coffee and a lot of it.  So it's not a small thing.  Some abstentions take longer to build up to.  I mean if it is our appetites we want to quiet, sometimes appetites are addictions.  Addictions/habits take time to change.  Giving up coffee creamer is a big deal for me.  After giving up creamer, I am going to cut my luxury drink (coffee) down to one per day.  I am not writing about this to put my "piety" on display.  I think writing it down helps me to process it and helps me be stronger.  It's a catharsis for me.  The moment I write it down here I can let it go.  I can give up my obsessions and focus on what is important. 

4. Disaster in the Ashes - Even though we are Byzantine and the beginning of Lent is earlier than the Romans, I like to go to Ash Wednesday service.  I told my husband that I really wanted to take the kids this year to help them have a visual for the season of Lent.  However, we went and they still did not get it.  What's worse is that we showed up a little late.  I took the kids to the cry room, because I knew Annie would be crabby and not behave.  Who should be in the cry room, but the strictest mother I have ever met.  She has ten children.  I do not even know what she was doing there.  Her children are always perfectly behaved at church.  She has a new baby and maybe she was concerned he would make noise during church.  But, she told me once that she makes one year olds sit still and quiet for an hour a day, so that they will learn to be quiet and still in other situations she needs them to be quiet in.  I do not know how she does that.  Don't one year olds just scream when you make them sit still?  Anyhow, my kids were off the hook naughty.  No one would sit.  No one would be quiet.  I haven't seen them that naughty in a while.  Annie was particularly grumpy and tired.  She would not stop throwing all the contents of my diaper bag all over the cry room.  I should have left.  But, I held hope things would get better.  Knowing the "Strict Momma" was in the room made me extra anxious and unable to deal with the situation.  Finally, I slapped Annie's hand and told her, "No!" after making a big mess.  I know you must think I am a terrible mother for not controlling the Annie/bag situation, but the child works fast.  She's an intelligent, little con-artist.  She could fool anyone.  She got so mad at me she looked me in the eye, cried out, gritted her fists and peed all over the floor--Pièce de résistance.  It was really embarrassing.  I cut out their afternoon luxuries after that.  They did not get to watch T.V. or play games.  They understood me and still misbehaved.

5. Humility in Home School - We had a rough month in January doing home school.  Alex had a bad attitude toward doing his work.  It was taking all afternoon to complete small tasks.  Finally, I thought for a second, perhaps he was having trouble switching gears from our morning outings to doing school work in the afternoon.  Plus, our neighbor had been sick and she could not watch Annie to prevent Annie distractions.  As much as I lamented it, I knew what had to be done.  We needed to start home school earlier in the day.  This would mean I would not get to go to the gym in the morning.  I have enjoyed the morning crowd socialization.  I wondered how I could have my cake and eat it too.  I thought that maybe we would get up earlier and do school and still be out the door before 9:00 a.m. to go to the gym.  But in the end, I had to give up some morning workouts.  Now I try to do a mix of some afternoon workouts and some later mornings.  So Alex has been working  on school first thing and the neighbor was able to take Annie earlier.  He has been completing all the work and extra work with very little complaint.  So now I have the whole afternoon free to have a little down time and catch up on house work.  It has been hard for ME to make this change.  But, it is obviously working out better.  We are all less stressed.  Today, I am able to sit and blog, because my afternoon is free.  So I am humbled, once again by my children.  

6. Curious Annie - every time I look away she is into something and then when I go to clean up the mess she made, she sneaks away and gets into something else.  At first I thought I was a bad mom, because how could one little kid get into so much if I were watching her.   But then I realized any moment I am not with her preventing her getting into stuff, she is into something.  She gets into stuff right in front of me, but at least I am there to stop it.  It's no better when my husband is around.  It's just two parents chasing after her messes.  I cannot run after her every second.  Why can't she just stay put and play with toys or look at books.  She always has to climb to the top shelf everywhere and unlock locked doors.  That's all she wants to do is get into things that are forbidden.  When she walks into the pantry, she wants to open every package, inspect the contents and then dump it on the floor.  If it's glass she tries to break it by smashing it on the floor.  Yes, we are very cautious.  We have locked cabinets where needed, because she does it over and over.  I think she must be incredibly curious and head strong.  I wonder what Annie will be like as an adult.

7. Alone - My husband was out of town for six days.  I was bummed about being alone.  I tried to not throw myself a pity party and that helped.  But I realized why it was so tough mentally.  Life without Andrew has a little less meaning.  There was no one to share our days with.  The main person I created this life with was absent and it just felt empty.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Ever After

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Well, I guess today is the day.  It's the day we celebrate LOVE. It's so important--LOVE is.  I am not so sure all the crazy gift buying and so forth is what is important.  But, love is what is important and we can show it all year, every day and in many ways (that are not cliche).  For instance, I love it when my man shows his love for me by taking out the trash without being asked. ;-)

Kristiana had a little dress with a tulle-like overlay.  The overlay was ripped and I cut it off so the dress could still be worn without it.  The material has been sitting in my closet for 6 months waiting for the day that it would become this:


A veil.  My sweet Kristiana became a bride today.  She was more than happy to play wedding.  I even made her a little silver twist tie ring.  Valentine's Day was a perfect day to play bride.


I cannot tell you how many times as a little girl I put my Dad's white undershirt over my head like a veil and looked in the mirror and pretended I was a bride.  It's a sweet thing for a little girl to imagine that day she becomes a man's wife…That's not to say I was "wedding crazy."  It's just something a little girl imagines.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lucy's Joy Ride

Lucy had a nine month check-up last week.  She is a smallish baby.  She was 10% on the growth chart, which is the same as Kristiana.  Despite eating as much food as a grown adult at meals, she is still not so big.  Where does she put it all?  I would say she burns it all off with her youthful energy.  But, that is not a true statement.  She sleeps like a champion.  She sleeps twelve hours at night and often takes a three hour nap in the afternoon. With all that sleeping, she can't be burning it off.  At the doctor's appointment, the doctor discovered both her ears were on the border of being infected.  This did not surprise me.  Her nose has been running green for a week.  But, the infection was caught in the nick of time, because it was the next morning that she really started fussing and tugging on her ears.  Since she began taking antibiotics her health and disposition have improved quite a bit and her nose stopped running green.  Good for Lucy. 

She has finally taken an interest in crawling more and pulling-up. It's still timid and slow, but she's doing it.  She has been the slowest of our children to meet this developmental mark, but she also had the benefit of siblings catering to her.  She had no need to go explore. 

Bundle of Joy - And now, Lucy is enjoying her one and only Christmas toy.  I called the toy maker and told them how I misassembled it.  They had me send it back, on their dime, and sent us a new one.  Without further adieu --Lucy's innocent joy for your viewing pleasure. 

Heart Art

I am pretty tickled with myself over this Valentine's Day related art.  I had the kids create pictures of animals using only hearts.  We discussed the animals they wanted to draw and brainstormed how to create the animal using hearts.  Then the kids colored in the pictures.

Alex's picture is a lion. I guess he is lion-hearted. Lol.


Kristiana's is supposed to be two hippopotamus.  One in the water and one on the shore of a heart shaped pond, but it is hard to tell by how she colored it.  What can I say.  She is a true artist.  She always has to be on the edge of creativity.


I have plans for more art like this, but it involves paint and there has not been a day yet where I have felt we have time and patience to execute.  Perhaps one day this week we will get to it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I have really wanted to blog lately, but have not found the time and then the blogs escape me.  Here are a few blogs rolled into one.

A couple of weeks ago, we were very excited to welcome our regional Byzantine priest from 110 miles away to come to our neighborhood and celebrate Liturgy with us for the first All Souls Saturday of the season.  We had about 30 souls in attendance.  It was a great triumph for us.  Hopefully there will be many future Liturgies and many more in communion

(My picture is blurry, because I did not want to take away from the moment with flash photography.)

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Ever they comedian, Kristiana.  What's in those pants?

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Here is Kristiana's Micro-mini train yard.  Have I mentioned how much I love four year olds!  They are so creative, yet have some sense of reality.  It's super fun.  Kristiana has taken to telling me an imaginary story off the top of her head each night as we lay in her bed before she goes to sleep.  Sweet and tender merely touch upon the feelings I have for these moments.

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Smushy! She'll eat anything!

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We went to the store to buy Alex some new undergarments, when I saw some shirts that would be suitable for church.  I asked Alex what he thought.  Then he turned around and saw a shirt and tie set, chuckled and said, "That looks like, Daddy's." [Pause. A moment of inspiration comes across his face.] "Mommy, I want that shirt, because then I would look just like Daddy. "  When we arrived home he changed into his new clothes and wanted to go to work with Daddy.  Alas, he could not, but he wanted to do home school in his "business clothes."  He told me he was, "Business Alex."  Later he said he was, "Business Boy!"  almost as though he were announcing a super-hero.  It was pretty cute.  I wonder how far I could ride this one out and get him dressing a little more civil and a little less like he is always ready to play in the dirt. ;-)

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Finally, I went to the post office the other day and an elderly woman stopped me to tell me that she had five children, and so she knew what it was like.  Older people who raised more than a few children, always stop to tell me they had been there and then they pat me on the back and hold the door open for me.  I gripe about people making comments all the time about how my "hands are full."  But, I always forget to tell folks about all the nice people who are kind.  I have had a lot of compliments about me and my kids lately. I digress, after the lady told me about her kids, she opened all the doors for me and then as I was loading the kids in the car she said her mother-in-law told her, "I know it doesn't seem like it now, but this really is the happiest time of your life.  And I didn't believe her then, but I see now it really was."  Which gave me a big grin and I replied, "I try to remember every day how precious this time is."