Thursday, May 31, 2012

7 Quicks Takes - Afternoon Chaos

Afternoon Chaos: Alex is reading a book, Kristiana is eating a snack of spaghetti, Annie is, um, laying on the table looking at something, Lucy is taking a nap.


Afternoon Glow


Afternoon Quiet Alone Story


Afternoon Sister Cuddle


An Anomaly on the Patio: The kids found a tiny frog.  They observed it. Then put it in a jar.  They drew pictures of it.  Then they released it.  
Then Kristiana went back to sing to it "Hush Little Baby," because it was a baby frog.  Good logic.




"No Flash, Please."


Four Little Monkeys In My Bed!



2012 Summer Unplugged - Crayon Recycling

I will be honest, I started teaching my son for no other reason than to keep him from watching T.V. all day (and these days playing computer games).  Quickly, I learned that in teaching him we were establishing a relationship of trust.  When we do not spend our time learning, and going on outings, the kids quickly revert back to begging me for T.V. and computer time.  So I guess I am going to have to start coming up with summer activities again.  The summer of 2010, we learned to make new and interesting kids snacks.  Last summer we made home made summer things like kites and such.  I think this summer we will explore nature.

This week I needed to keep my bored kids busy.  Maybe I am keeping myself busy too. So here is one of the things we did:

Crayon Recycling

Step One: Sort the crayons into a muffin pan.  My kids did not want to make multicolor crayons. They wanted to anally sort into colors.  I guess they take after mommy. 
 Our 20 month old just helped break the crayons more.  That's her job.  She's the reason there are so many broken crayons.

Step Two: Remove the paper from the crayons.  This step took over an hour.  The kids helped a little while, then they got frustrated and disappeared.  
Then mommy and daddy worked as a team removing paper.  This gave us a chance to talk sans children.  Sometimes it's nice to have a real adult conversation.


Step Three: Grease the pan and melt the crayons in the oven at 300 F for 10-12 minutes.  Cool until firm.  Then put them in the freezer for an hour, so they slide right out of the pan.


This entire box was filled with broken crayons.  I cannot believe we had so many.


Step Four: Enjoy coloring with crazy big crayons on big paper.





Thursday, May 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes - Seasons of Life

1. Sometimes Andrew walks up to one of the children and in a deep voice says, "Lucy, I am your father."  [Insert the name of any of our children in place of Lucy].  It's supposed to be like Darth Vader from Stars Wars.  Then they run away screaming saying, "Nooo, it's not true.  You're not my father."  Okay the second part is not true.  The kids never run away screaming.  But, the bit about Andrew IS true.

2. Darn Baby Blues.  I never had a problem with this hormonal unrest before.  I had something going on during pregnancy with Kristiana.  But, it was not like this in which I just randomly start crying about something.  And most of the time my mind attaches it to something.  For instance, today I was at the gym at an exercise class and caught sight of how big my belly is and I burst into tears.  Thankfully, everyone is too focused on their own workout to notice.  But, let's not be confused here.  I am pretty sure it's not the baby belly that set it off.  I am pretty sure it was coming anyway and somehow it all becomes internalized.  I have noticed that when I encounter just everyday stresses, like kids climbing all over me, or a kid mess, or my husband asks me a question, I burst into tears.  These things normally would not bother me, but for some reason, lately it's an occasion to cry. Ugh.  I am sure this is going to pass and I am just hoping soon.

3. Monday, I spent the day being particularly fierce and stringent with the kids.  It was not fun for me.  For some reason, they thought they did not have to obey mom and dad anymore.  It had already been several days of bad behavior.  That had to be nipped in the bud.  Alex got the message quickly, but Kristiana continues to be a free spirit.  On Wednesday, while I had a house full of guests, she took this as an opportunity to use the backyard as a restroom for her #2.  It seems to me she does not think she is special and important since the baby has come and is acting out.  That's my theory at least. 

4.  Annie seems to be coping well with the new baby.  There have been moments of baby resentment.  There may have been an early morning throwing a bottle at the baby's head incident.  But Annie is pretty good at communicating her needs for attention.  After nap time, she has started a new routine.  She has been bringing me a blanket and shows me that she wants me to swaddle her.  Then I cuddle and rock her infant-style until she feels content.  Afterward she gets up and goes off to play happily. 

5.  Alex has been taking a break from home school since Andrew is on break from teaching.  Therefore, he has been trying to fill his time with as many computer games as we will allow.  It drives me crazy to see him spend so much time on the computer.  Likewise, Kristiana has tried to watch as many movies as we will allow her (I think she is bored.  It's a phase).  But, this is also mommy's recovery time, so whatever, we're gonna let this all slide.  "There is a time for everything."  There is a time for planting, and a time for reaping…And a time for vegging.

6.  She's gonna be tough.  Annie just wanted to lay next to her and kiss her.



7. More cute baby pictures.  She changes everyday.



"Isn't my face cute when I pass gas?"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Great Growth

When our first child, Alex, was born we had a lot of trouble learning breastfeeding, and my milk did not come in until 5 days after birth.  It was a tough beginning.  When he was eight days old and we were finally successfully feeding for a few days, I gazed upon him and realized I had kept him alive a week.  A week!  I kept another, helpless, human being alive.  I knew then that I could be a successful mom.  

Now we are enjoying our fourth newborn and there is much greater ease sustaining this life and all our children.  But, I am still proud of the growth of our little two week old.  She had her two week check-up today. 


Stats: 7 lb. 4oz. (25%) 20.5 in. (75% she grew a full inch)

I know in the above picture it looks like Lucy is a chunky monkey, but it is misleading because she is all balled up.  I think she looks quite skinny.  But, she is starting to fatten.  Kristiana apparently snuck into the room and gave Lucy a little friend.  Look to the left of Lucy's head.

Gradmom, who came to help us, had to leave this week.  It was sad.  We miss her company.  She cheered everything up for us, and did some organizing. 

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Grandpa came for a visit for a day.  He was, of course, a great novelty to all the kids.  They were happy to see him, and his iPad.


No one, I said no one, is having any issues regarding welcoming the new baby. Can you tell?  The girls especially love to hold the baby, and watch her have her diaper changed and help out with her in any way they can.  Annie started sleeping through the night after the baby was born when previously she wasn't.  But I do have Annie and sometimes Kristiana trying to jump in the chair with me while I try to feed Lucy (note to self: start sitting on the sofa while feeding, so the girls can sit on either side of me.) 


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Birth Announcment

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Birth Journey - Lucy

I am not sure that Lucy's birth was so eventful.  Not to say that any birth is not an "event" in itself.  It was a significant event.  Each child begins as a helpless, little creature, and with love and sustenance grows into a being full of beauty, worthy of being loved no matter the course their lives take.  However, I feel like all the trouble I have had with my legs during the last bit of this pregnancy was my labor.  The actual labor and delivery was simply the culmination of this birth journey.

So here is my journey. Things were going perfectly with this pregnancy.  I had the varicose veins showing again and they hurt a little bit and they looked terrible.  Then all of the sudden the pain in my legs got worse day-by-day.  I think it was about at 28 weeks.  Mondays are usually my hard day, because of all the laundry I do and the tidying up from not tidying on Sunday.  Usually, I am up late folding laundry and dogged tired.  Often just after dinner on Monday, the kitchen would need cleaning and I would be in tears from the aching in my legs.  If it did not happen then, the tears would come later in the evening.  

I thought I was just tired and over-burdened.  This may have been the case, but there seemed to be something more.  I kept showing my legs at my pre-natal appointments, because the appearance and the pain was concerning to me.  The mid-wife assured me things were fine, but I could try support hose to help it.  It did not feel fine.  At first it was just a nagging pain.  Then it became a nagging pain that was just enough to drive a person mad.  Then it became pain that oscillated between nagging and screaming pain.  For the final two weeks of pregnancy I had to spend two-thirds of my day with my feet elevated.  I would make our dinner in the morning before my leg screamed, so I could slip dinner into the oven in the late afternoon.  Then I would tidy the house and spend the rest of the day with my feet up with some moving about to care for the children.  The usual discomforts of the last month of pregnancy are enough, but to add another pain, plus the job of being mother to three pre-schoolers; it was all too much.  Being far from family who might help otherwise, left me with little hope. 

Often, I was in denial about the pain.  I would tell myself, "This is not so bad.  I can deal with this.  I just need to get to the end of this pregnancy.  It is coming."  The midwife suggested support hose.  I didn't know what that meant.  "How could that help?"  I talked myself out of it.  "I would not be comfortable in those stockings.  I don't even like uncomfortable pantyhose.  How could that help me to give me another discomfort?"  By the next appointment, I asked for the hose.  I had to wait a week for them to arrive.  I put them on and felt a little depressed about them, but felt relief in my legs.  Since I was relieved, I resigned my despair.  Three weeks later they ripped.  But by then things were dire.  I did not feel I could live with out them.  The pain was constant even wearing the hose my legs ached a little.  I saw a vein doctor and he was excited, because he felt I was a perfect example to educate people about how bad varicose veins get during pregnancy.  "Yay, now I am fodder for medical journals."

There was the pain and then there was the emotional anguish over not being able to perform my usually duties.  Three weeks to go and I was feeling desperate to have it all end worse than any other time I was pregnant.  I felt guilty about this too.  I just did not feel I could go on like this, yet I had to.  I kept telling myself, "If only you could get used to the fact that this is your life.  This is how things are and you can't change it.  You have to adjust.  Then perhaps, you would not feel so badly about the situation.  Then you could be happy."  But I could not get used to not being able to perform.  I could not get used to the pain.  I kept asking myself, "Is this pain really as bad as you are making it?  Can you try harder to not focus on it."  A lot of times I could answer, "Yes, this really is that bad."

After a particularly bad Monday my husband asked if I wanted to induce and sobbing in pain, "I said, yes. But, I couldn't ask for that, because there is no GOOD reason I couldn't wait and do it all naturally.  I didn't want to quit the race before it was over."  He said, "No one needs to know.  It's not a race. You don't need to be a hero."   With two weeks to go, I was going to beg for an induction as soon as possible.  It didn't take a lot of begging.  I was on the schedule for a 39 week induction.  This certainly helped my mental status.  I bought higher compression support stockings that day and sat with my legs elevated for a week.  I did some squats.  I took the max limit of evening primrose oil to help prepare for birth.  And I prayed that I would go into labor on my own.  As much as I wanted to the pregnancy to be over, I hated  to see it medically induced.  But my labor, it seemed, was months long already.

I saw my midwife the day before the induction and I was 4 cm dilated and ready to go in every way.  So she swept my membranes and later that evening I was in labor.  It was slow and weak.  I thought it might be false labor.  I did not think I could be so lucky as to go into labor at 39 weeks as it has not happened to me before.  I fell asleep at my usual hour and slept for two hours.  At 1:00 a.m., I decided I needed a snack.  But, I did not think the contractions were still going.  I quickly realized they were and they were getting stronger.  I was still not sure this could be real labor.  20 minutes later I decided it was too strong to sleep and maybe I needed to get moving, breathing, sitting on a yoga ball.  I was not comfy.  Then I decided I need to find something distracting on T.V.  On PBS there was an image of a baby ape sucking at it's mother's breast.  I stopped to watch.  It was a show about mother's and babies.  It was about how mother's give of themselves to protect and provide for there young.  How fitting for labor.  The narrator talked about how a certain species of spider hatches and the babies eat the mother.  It talked about how deer eat up all the afterbirth so that predators are not attracted.  The narrator adds, "Deer, being naturally vegetarian are repulsed by this."  The image on the screen was a deer mother gagging on her afterbirth.  It was hysterical.

Labor continued to get stronger.  I was frantically looking for the heating pad, because I could not/did not want to get into a warm bath with my support hose on and I did not want to take them off, because did not want to stand without them.  I began to debate when to wake my husband when Annie, our 19 month, woke up.  I knew she was not going back to sleep without help.  She had fallen asleep with a poop in her diaper.  I woke my husband and told him to call his co-worker to come to our house to be with the kids.  I went to change Annie's diaper--contractions and all.  I finally remembered where I had stashed the heating pad and I laid on the bed with the pad and Annie.  Annie was disturbed by my pain.  She was not sure what was going on.  

We were finally off to the hospital.  I was 8 cm dilated.  I was tired.  For some reason, I could not get my head in the game.  I did not feel like my deep breaths were helping me get through the contractions.  The contractions felt sharper than the past.  I found it difficult to focus my mind away from the contractions.  I felt weary.  I was weary not just from the labor, but from weeks of turmoil.  So, I asked for an epidural.  I felt badly like I was quitting that race again.  But, I just could not get with it.  It was more like when you are running a race and you get a leg cramp and you keep telling yourself that you should keep going, but your body keeps giving you shooting pain telling you to stop.  Then you get really mad, because you could not finish the race.  It was like that. 

When the anesthesiologist came in, I think he scared away my contractions.  I had one contraction the entire time he was in the room.  It was strange.  He joked, "You know, you actually have to be in pain for this to work."  He left and they went back to being every couple of minutes.  I was relieved that I could breath again.  Then my water was broken.  The baby started to descend.  I could feel the pressure of her head coming down with every contraction.  I laid comfortably on my side, because the baby's heart beat did better in that position.  It came time to push and I did my work.  It was the same position in which I gave birth to Annie.  I think I found my magic birthing position.  It went beautifully.  I couldn't have asked for better.  

My legs are not better yet.  I am still wearing the support hose.  But, the burden definitely feels a lot less without having to support the life of the baby as well.  Over the last week, it has felt a little better each day.  I will probably have a vein stripping to take care of the trouble-some veins.  I need to get my weight down too.   That's my birth journey.

38 weeks 6 days


Oh cute, fancy, support hose.


Does this look like it hurts? Because it does. 



Lucy Macaria


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My First Meme


1.) The first rule is to post these rules.
2.) Post a photo of yourself then write 11 things about you/your life.
3.) Answer the questions for you set in the original post.
4.) Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5.) Go to their blog/twitter to tell them you have tagged them.

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Eleven Things About Me:

1.) I think this is the first time I have ever been tagged for a meme. I think that means I have no friends who find me such a significant part of their lives that they wish to learn more about me via a meme.  Or maybe they wished to spare me such a frivolous time waster…To be honest, I have been relieved to never have been part of such inane pursuits.  But now having been tagged for one and not having blogged in a while. Why the heck not. ;-) 

2.) I have one American parent, one Australian parent.  I was born in Texas and shortly thereafter moved to Australia.  Lived there five years and knew nothing else, until we moved to Wyoming.  Wyoming was my home for 12 years and then I spread my wings into the big wide world.  I think it's funny that I was born in Texas, never actually lived here and now this is where I reside.  Good Ol' Texas called me home, I guess. 

American US Flag 1Australian Flag sizedTexas flag1

3.)  I'm not a half bad artist.  People have actually paid me for my work in the past, so I can't be too terrible.  But, I am too humble to expect what I am worth.

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4.)  My family is Byzantine Catholic, which means we are a part of an Orthodox church in communion with Rome.  I grew up Roman Catholic, but when I met the Ruthenian Byzantine Church, I felt like I had been lied to my whole life.  No one educated me of the Eastern Christian Church, which should have been covered somewhere in my Christian education.  I had found Truth, Beauty and Christ in the Roman Church, but I found religion steeped in Theology in the Byzantine Church.  I will always stand firm upon, Bl. Pope John Paul II statement that, "The East and West are like the left and right lungs breathing within the body of the same beautiful Church Christ began so long ago."

Pope and epatriarch

5.) It's not that easy to get me to laugh.  It's not that I don't find things funny.  I always tell my husband, I am laughing on the inside.  But, if you catch me laughing aloud it's usually toilet humor that got me going. LOL.

6.) I'm attached at the hip with my dearest husband.  I never grow tired of him.  He never ceases to fascinate me.  When we bicker, I am beyond broken and I insist we must be fixed (and from time to time, we do bicker).  He is the best friend I always dreamed of having as a child. He is my king and I am his queen.  Of course, this does not mean every thing in our marriage is picture perfect, but, I do adore him in the good times and the bad.

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7.)  I am not so good at sports, but that doesn't stop me from trying to be athletic.

8.)  I love sauces.  A good sauce makes the difference between the average meal and a gourmet meal.  The first ingredient in all great sauces is butter--Heavenly, salted, fat from mother's milk.  Ugh, when I die, I want to die slurping down a melty butter sauce.


9.) I've seen the world.  I was impressed.  I would like to see more of it.  But, I am also content to be at home and live a routine dutifully and in godliness.

450px Le sacre coeur paris france

10.) What was important to me in high school was being in theater, friends and grades…in college it was boyfriend, grades, knowledge, future career…six years ago I was trying to learn how to be married, expecting a child and trying to make ends meet in my first career…now I am totally absorbed in being a great wife, mother to four babes, home school teacher and bring faith to family life.

11.)  I try not to be, but I am really a narcissist.  I am sure you could tell, because I have a blog.  Really, who isn't? "For no man hates his own flesh."

Questions from the Blogger Who Tagged Me:

1.) What is your favorite movie? Braveheart - I could watch it over and over again.

2.) If you could go back and give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Turn off the TV and start reading more books.  Then I would give myself a reading list.  

3.) Why do you blog?  I started this blog to help my friends and family keep up with my life--instead of awkward, informal Christmas letters and occasional emails. (Funny that neither my friends nor family seem use my blog as a means to keep up with us).  But, as I wrote I found that writing about life left me inspired and in awe of the Creator's Hand in my life.  Therefore, I hold that my blog theme is faith and family "Byzantine style."  Whether friends and family choose to stay in touch via the blog I began for them, it is still pertinent to me.  It's where I come to learn about my life.

4.) What did you want to be when you grew up? I have wanted to be a lot of things.  My earliest memory of occupational pursuits was in preschool.  I wanted to be a nurse, because I had a natural impulse to nurture.  Later, I wanted to be an architect, engineer, artist, maybe a teacher, but I always knew I was going to be a mother. 

5.) M&M’s – plain or peanut?  Peanut - the original health food.

6.) What was your first car? White Chevy S10 - I called her, "L'il Diamond."  Sold her one summer to have funds to live on.

7.) What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? A real Indian dance sari, bought especially for me in India by one of my father's students

8.) What are your favorite blogs? I used to read many blogs, but around the birth of our third child I got overwhelmed that I had missed so many posts.  I felt stressed like I actually had an obligation to catch up on them, so I stopped reading all blogs except for two--two ladies I consider very good friends.  Right now, I only read Fear Not Little Flock, When I Grow Up, and Renidemus (three Byzantine Mommas).  Occasionally I will check out other blogs of friends or recommended blogs.  But in general, I don't have the time anymore.

9.) If you were to have a boy and a girl tomorrow, what would you name them? That's funny. I will be having a babe any second now. Woot! Her name will be Lucy Macaria.  If she were a boy, she would have been Edmund Campion.

10.) What was your favorite class in college? Ethics Directed Reading with my father-in-law.  We read a whole lot of Aristotle's Ethics and sat and discussed it on the back deck of his house.  :-D It was the first time I really understood what the pursuit of Philosophy was all about.

11.) What celebrity do you think it would be fun to be friends? Nathan Fillion - It is my belief that actors (especially big time actors) pick to play characters with whom they identify.  All of his characters seem pretty playful and fun. 

Questions for Those I Tagged - Based on 11 Things About Me: (Do I really hafta inflict this on others)

1.) Do you like to meme?
2.) Where do you call home?
3.) What do you claim as a talent?
4.) Tell something about your Faith.
5.) What's so funny? (Feel free to insert a joke)
6.) Do you love unconditionally?
7.) Gym? Open road? Sports? Couch Potato?
8.) Eat to live, or live to eat?
9.) Where in the world? (Where would you like to go, or have been?)
10.) What's important to you?
11.) What do you love about yourself?