Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Faith Like a Child

The sweetest interaction occurred yesterday during homeschool.  Alex (7 yrs.) bumped into Kristiana's (5 yrs.) chair and she nearly fell out of the chair.  Alex quickly moved back to his seat without saying a word.  Kristiana let out a huge exasperation, "Alex! You almost made me go to Heaven!"  Alex and I immediately began giggling.  It was exceedingly cute and silly that firstly, she thought falling out of her chair would make her die and secondly, that dying would mean she would go to Heaven.

Then Kristiana became a little weepy because we had laughed at her.  It was hard to express to her that we were not laughing at her meanly, but that we thought what she said had a sweetness and an innocence about it.

I whispered into Alex's ear, "What she said was funny because she thinks she was going to die and dying means she is going to Heaven.  But, it does not work that way does it?  We don't go to Heaven just because we die." 

Then Alex responded, "Yes, Mommy. She doesn't know about Hell.  Let's not tell her about Hell and then she cannot go there because she won't know evil.  She will only know good."

Awe. Melt my heart.  It is a nice thought to think if we just don't tell her about bad things, then she will always be good.  I also was surprised that this is the thought my son had for his sister whom he sometimes wishes never existed. 

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Mno Hya Lita!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Icon Writing With Kids - Moses and the Ten Commandments

In this week's home school lesson we learned about the Ten Commandments.  Therefore, we wrote the Ten Commandments icon.  What is there to be said about the Ten Commandments?  There is a lot to teach a child about what constitutes a violation of these commandments.  But, I think the most important lesson of this week is "The Lord spoke these words," (Ex 20:1).  It is important for a child to know that not only are these the rules, but that they are given to us from God.   This is the conduct the Lord, God, expects of him.  This is what it takes to obey God.

Kristiana has become my little icon protege.  While Alex participates here and there.  She is eager to study.  She request page after page of coloring, lessons and worksheets.  She is so proud of herself.  I would have had her paint this one, but Annie, our two year old was not napping and I did not want to get out paints while she was around.  Alex was sick with strep throat (ick).

Here are the girls working on this week's icon:


Moses of the Rainbow Robes - Kristiana was pretty proud of the many color robe



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Icon Writing with Kids - Adam and Eve

Since I have decided to put together a coloring book for my kids, I am drawing the cartoon of whatever icons go along with our weekly religion lessons.  I then scan it, clean it up a little and print one for each child including the two year old. I truly believe that these holy images are a large part of helping the children to understand our faith.  

I need to perhaps be more patient and spend more time getting it to look more graceful and precise.  I pushed myself to draw two this week amidst my other duties and it would have been better to slow down.  I do not foresee any large icon painting sessions any time soon.  

Here are this week's icon.  I could not convince the kids to color the last two because I did not set aside appropriate time for them to work on it.  But we talked about them.



Adam and Eve Fall

Michael the Archangel

Monday, September 17, 2012

Icon Writing With Kids - Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross (2012)

"As You were voluntarily raised upon the cross for our sake,
Grant mercy to those who are called by Your Name, O Christ God;
Make all Orthodox Christians glad by Your power,
Granting them victories over their adversaries,
By bestowing on them the Invincible trophy, Your weapon of Peace."

I have been trying to post our work since Friday afternoon.  We have been very busy.  
I do not understand how other families can do some many activities with the children, allowing each child to have an activity.

I drew the cartoon for this icon last year, took a picture and saved it.  Alex and Kristiana worked on the large version of this icon last year and went a little crazy, mixed all the colors and turned it to mud.  They can be so silly together--giggling and doing silly things.  Anyhow, this year, each person got their own and painted it as they pleased.

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Kristiana's attempt - She is very artistic and patient.  But, she got tired here. 

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Alex peaked at 4 years old in icon writing.  I think this is part of his perfectionism.  If he cannot do it perfectly, he will smear it all together.  It's going to be a year of this.  I can tell.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Icon Writing With (Lots of) Kids - The Nativity of Blessed Theotokos

Today we celebrated the birth of the Mother of God with home school friends.  We painted icons and I shared some of my favorite facts about icons.  Then the kids had cupcakes.  It was a birthday party after all.  

I really need to get back to copying the icons by hand onto large paper for Kristiana's year of icons with mummy.  I am more than pleased to be enjoying a life of overactivity again. Whereas last year we tried to experience a life of over activity, but did not necessarily enjoy it, or achieve it due to the misery of, but blessed, pregnancy. 

Troparian – Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded joy to the universe; for from you rose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God. He took away the curse, He gave the blessing, and by trampling Death, He gave us everlasting life.

“And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it. “(Luke 11:27-28)





Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Love Letters

Love Letters to God 

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Love Letters to My Spouse

I never knew true friendship until I met him.  It all began when he asked me in an email what were my views on Love.  He said he had recently had a conversation with a friend about it and he wanted to know what I thought.  I returned an essay on the topic.  I recall I wrote something like the agape notion of love even though at the time I am sure I had no understanding of the term.  I would have to find the email again, which I saved of course, to quote it.  But it said something to the effect: to love for the sake of love, in which there is something to love, a good, in everything.  I stated that everything which God has made is meant to be loved. Everything that is created, everyone, is worthy of love, and I loved all things because God created them. Then I concluded by saying that I loved him based on my previous premise.  I hardly knew him when I declared my love for him.  But, the moment I did, we were bound.

 Andrew and renee

Love Letters to My Kids

[I made a photo book for Alex after a year of writing icons and at the end of it I wrote this.]

"Dear Alex,

'Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them' (Mark 10:14,16). It all began when you asked me to copy an Icon of Christ with all the children. But instead of drawing the children from the icon, I drew you and Kristiana so that you might know that you are children of God, the Son, Christ Jesus. Through this sacred window into Heaven I hoped that you would recognize and feel God's love, and in return, I hoped that you would love God.

Alex, I am so proud of you and this year we have spent writing icons together. We have learned so much about faith. You have helped me to grow closer to God and love Him more by giving me the opportunity to look through these windows into Heaven more often and more seriously. I pray for you constantly that you will grow to be a good and holy man. I pray that you will not turn your back on God. I pray that you will love God all the days of your life and you will know His love as well. Remember that God is "Everywhere present and fills all things." You can take God in with all your senses and with your whole body. You can even see Heaven everyday in ordinary things. You can see God on a painted, wooden plank. You only need to have faith. Thank you for this special time together, Alex. I will cherish it always. Love, Mommy"

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Love Letters to Friends

To those who have inspired me, loved me, prayed for me. To those who stand by me in the hard times and the good.  Thank you.  May God bless you all the days of your life. (P.S. Don't be sad if you don't see your picture. I just don't have pictures of all the wonderful people I love).

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Firstwives BU


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Icon Writing With Kids: St. Patrick’s Day

It’s been way too long since we have written an icon.  It’s been six weeks.  I think it would be enlightening to write the icon from last Sunday’s Gospel: The Temptation of Christ.

Anyhow, I am happy we were able to celebrate one of the great saints in history—St. Patrick of Ireland.

Alex wanted our icon of St. Patrick to look like the one drawn by Tomie De Paola in his book, Patrick of Ireland.  But I modified it, because I still wanted it to be our own creation.  After we wrote this icon, we read the book.  I highly recommend checking it out from the library, even if you are grown up. I also recommend Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato, by the same author (the story begs you to speak in an Irish accent).




Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They Makeup Their Own Minds

I have been driving myself crazy about my children’s behavior. Recently, I reflected back to when I was a child. I was not a bad child, but I do remember that if I wanted to do something, I would just go ahead and do it regardless of what my parents said. They could council me, teach me, discipline me, and if I wanted to listen, or thought their input was helpful or good, I would comply. But, I decided what I did. I used to think as a kid that you really cannot blame the parents when kids screw up, because kids make up their own minds in what they do. I definitely viewed myself as an individual capable of making my own decisions.  Then as a young adult, having made some good choices in my life, I thought that when kids screw up it’s largely the parents at fault for not disciplining and monitoring their children. If you raise your kids with the right morals and values, they will become virtuous people. Now that I am a little further into parenting, obviously it is both. When I was a kid and I was trying to determine whether to act badly or not, I did remember the lessons my parents taught me. The final decision was all my own, but the lessons advising me were from my parents, teachers and mentors. This is what I am trying to remember as I get stressed to tears over my kids not listening. They may be choosing to not to act right, but they are listening. Perhaps someday, they will choose to act virtuously.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Unplugged Part 1

My kids are active, or have AHDD.  But, Alex watches too much T.V.  Kristiana could care less about T.V. she is too busy getting into everything to bother with T.V.  At our home we have our T.V. is locked away in an armoire—out of sight out of mind.  However, this summer Alex has a lot more access and he became accustomed to watching a lot more T.V. during the 5 weeks of Washington spring rains.  I am quickly running out of ways to keep the kids occupied.  They do not seem to care too much about spending all afternoon in the back yard like I did when I was a kid.  I think it’s just not hot enough for them here.  The activities I have been thinking up for the kids do not keep them occupied for very long.  I have been trying to take them for a walk in the stroller and a stop at the park every morning.  That usually takes an hour and a half or two.  One day a week we go the library for a couple of hours.  Other days we make a new snack.  Alex has become good at putting together puzzles.  We all like putting together the train tracks, but Alex doesn’t share the trains.  It quickly digresses.

The kids were driving me nutty this morning.  Our morning outing was not as long as normal.  We walked to Starbucks, ate and returned home.  We had to fill the rest of the morning hours.  The kids colored for a little while, but it really didn’t last long.  I thought the kids were going to play in the back yard, but they just ran in and out the back door more times then I care to count and made a mess of the markers on the back porch.  Alex started getting into the refrigerator and cupboards looking for junk food and Kristiana was trying to color everything with the markers.  Alex had already helped himself to popcorn, so I was not interested in making a new snack, further lunch was approaching.  I thought, I have to get these kids doing a new activity, but all the usual suspects had been done.  I googled homemade play dough and that’s what we did.  Except I added a little too much water and it turned out a little goopey.  It was good enough to squish though and Alex and Kristiana are not skilled enough to make sculptures yet, so it worked.  Apparently the play dough worked up a good appetite for grill cheese sandwiches and fruit.  After naptime we played a little bit with side walk chalk, Alex ran through the sprinkler (it was 65 degrees today, but he wanted to), then the kids drove me crazy for the remaining hour until the rest of the family came home.  But look how cute they were while squishing play dough.

Recap of Summer Unplugged Part 1:

1. Home made play dough
2. Side walk chalk
3. Running through the sprinkler

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

“Pickle In The Middle”

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Success! A snack that everyone enjoys. 
From my new favorite kids’ snack non-cook book “Pickle in the Middle”


6 graham crackers
3 prunes, cut up
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbs. honey

Put the graham crackers in a sealable bag and crush them into crumbs.  Add them to a medium bowl.  Cut up prunes with child-safety scissors into the bowl.  Add peanut butter and honey; mix it with a spoon until mixed thoroughly.  Roll into 1 inch balls and let stand for 10 minutes.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Picky Eaters Anonymous

I think I am on my eighth parenting book. This time I am reading on picky eaters.  Why doesn’t someone write a book that covers all the major parenting topics in one book like the “What to Expect…” books—with all the common expert advice.  So far I have one on sleep, a second one on sleep, potty training, discipline, parenting in general, The Duggar’s family book (just parenting tips they have learned over the years), one on manners (that I haven’t really read yet), breast feeding and “What to Expect the First Year” and now picky eating.  Some have been very helpful and some not so much, some I haven’t read all the way through. I am sure I will read a few more before I am done.  I thought parenting would be intuitive.  It sort of is, but then again, when you love someone like you love your child, and children are irrational, unformed humans, you find your own thoughts and actions being irrational. 

9780679314547 Back to picky eaters—The advice section of the book was unimpressively short.  The book begins by explaining that the fact that my child’s picky eating/bad behavior toward food has gone this far is my fault.  Fair enough, I would agree with that.  I have been a big push over about what he wants to eat.  I have been a hovering and uptight about food.  I have just been happy if he would eat anything.  I have let him eat in front of the T.V. if would eat his meal.  There are lots of reasons children in general are picky eaters, but parents like me make it worse. And the height of picky eating is three years old, which is where we are.

The entirety of the book’s advice can be found in this article from the Mayo Clinic with a few anecdotes for good measure.  But, the advice is sensible and I have seen a few positive sparks.  There are lots of recipes.  Most of the recipes I have said, “Yeah, right. Like my kid is going to eat that.”  I might find one that I will try.

100_2357 My mother-in-law pulled out an old-timey children’s cook book call, “Pickle in the Middle.”  There were lots of simple, healthy, snack recipes that kids love to eat and could even make themselves.  The book is designed for kids to use.  I found a bunch of recipes I am going to try this week.  Today, Alex and I tried fruit spears.  Alex was really excited to help make the snack.  He thought it looked great.  Then when we were finished making it, he said he wanted to eat a slice of bread instead.  I didn’t fuss.  He’s on a bread kick.  Kristiana and I ate the fruit.  She ate all the bananas and nutella and I ate the rest of the fruit.  I put a little nutella on Alex’s bread.  I could not believe he did not want to eat all this luscious, tasty fruit.  The picky eater book said that snacks should be a safe place to eat friendly foods, because mealtimes might be a little stressful with foods that are unfamiliar and scary. 

We’re taking baby steps.  We have stopped asking him what he wants at meal times.  Then if he doesn’t want what is prepared, we just tell him he doesn’t have to eat it and move on.  I think we will come through this one okay.  Alex and Kristiana are both excellent sleepers via applied advice from a book (two different strategies).  We’re figuring this parenting thing out.  ;-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jesus’ Posse

Alex and I made Apostle Action Figures.  I went to a website selling icons of the Apostles, copied and pasted them into a Word document and then printed them in color.  Then we cut them out and taped them to 3 inch tubes, cut from a wrapping paper tube.  We talked about the names of each Apostle and he learned that they are Jesus’ friends.  He’s remembered a few names and faces.  I think we will take a little time each day to learn a fact about one Apostle a day.  The construction of the Apostles was enough for one day.  Then the Apostles came to the kitchen and watched us make cookies.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Little Hobbites News

Kristiana had tubes put in her ears on Monday. She was a little fussy on Monday, because of the anesthesia. Tuesday she was a very good girl. She clearly felt better. And last night she slept through the night for the first time since she started getting ear infections way back in February. Praise God, Alleluia. Her parents are finally going to start getting some sleep...okay, Kristiana too.

Kristiana has also becoming a little mover and shaker. She has officially started crawling, but she doesn't crawl for long. She usually uses her crawling skills to crawl over to furniture to pull up on. She has become very skilled at furniture surfing. There is some motive to her furniture surfing too. She usually is after her big brother's toys. They are much more interesting than her own. Of course, Big Brother is not at all happy about her interest in his toys. We just try to teach him to share with her.

Alexander has been very successful with his potty training. He will not put on underwear for his parents, but he'll put them on at preschool. He has not mastered the whole art of using the toilet, but that will come with time. He has had a very strong start. All together, Alexander is doing great.

I read in my potty training book (yes, I read books to learn how to do something as simple as potty training. I would be a worry wort if I did not learn about what the "experts" say, and in turn I would probably make Alexander a basketcase) that even though most kids can learn potty training in a weekend, they do not master it for 3-6 months. Which means that they will still have accidents; It may take them time to learn to do #2 in the toilet; They will still wear a diaper to bed for a little while.

Alex also started at a new preschool on Monday, and he likes it very much. They have more structure. He seems to be flourishing. He used to come home very stressed out and cranky. After the first two days at the new preschool he has come home very happy and relaxed. Instead of telling me about how the one of the other kids hurt him, or how he had to go to time out, he tells me about new friends. The new preschool is closer to home and where my husband will be working, so hopefully my husband will be able to pick him up earlier more often.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This Week's Update - Big News for Those Who Haven't Heard

I am a little busy due to the upcoming board meeting for the executives at my business. I have to make sure all the all the grunt work gets done. I was ahead of the game, but I am not very interested in it, so I have slowed on my progress. I keep thinking that I need to do a stellar job, because well it's the right thing to do. So, here I am taking a little break from it all. For the time being, I am not doing my job.

I have found all things I normally do to be a little more cumbersome lately, because I am amidst the haze of pregnancy (7 1/2 weeks along now). I wanted to keep it a secret, but we had to tell our closest friends and family and it has just exploded from there. I told my boss when we were in a meeting because I kept feeling like I was going to vomit on her. Back to the haze. For almost a week I have had constant nausea, which I did not have when I was pregnant with Alexander. I have not "lost my lunch" yet. It's just been a really annoying constant sickness and gagging. Today, I finally had some relief; it's been short and sporadic, but relief.

I called my mom last week in desperation and gave her a list of things I needed from the local whole food store that I cannot get here. I requested natural, fresh ground peanut butter and ginger candy. Thankfully, my mom put together my care package quickly and sent it priority. I received it Monday. She added some ginger tea and "pregnancy" tea. Surprisingly, what has helped the most is the peanut butter and "pregnancy" tea. The ginger candy and ginger tea were both a bust.

I have also been exhausted and my thoughts have been cloudy. I have been falling asleep very early lately--not too long after Alexander's bedtime. I got home last night and realized the dishes had not been done since Sunday. The kitchen was a disappointing disaster. Fortunately, this will not last long. Exhaustion and nausea should end after the first trimester, which is only six more weeks.

I can't believe we are going to have another child. We definitely feel blessed. We are VERY excited for Alexander to have a sibling. However, we cannot help but worry about finances. We are beginning to drowned with the cost of living skyrocketing. I guess we will just be taking out more student loans. Maybe Andrew can teach on a Indian Reservation and have those loans forgiven.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Seedlings of Hope

Yesterday Andrew and I enjoyed a day of family togetherness. It was a cool rainy day. We all slept in a little bit. As usual, Alexander and I got up first and did our normal diaper, nebulizer, breakfast routine. Knowing Andrew would be very sleepy I put on a pot of coffee and Alexander played a little bit. As I was waiting for the coffee to brew I looked out on the back porch. It looked and sounded very tropical rainforest with the large trees hanging over our porch and the rain coming down so heavily. I became very happy. It reminded me of Washington, or Australia. I especially liked that it was not blistering hot Texas weather. It was a good day to sit on the porch. So, I woke up Andrew and told him that there was coffee and he had to come drink it on the porch. Andrew did not hesitate. He got up and poured himself a cup of coffee and joined us on the porch. We each read our books, sipped our coffee, or played with toys, respectively. We sat for a long while enjoying the gentle, peaceful, uninterrupted sounds of rain pattering to the earth. Then Alexander became hungry and sleepy with great urgency as he let me know. So, I nursed him there on the porch and he fell asleep in my arms. After a short while the coffee had created in me my own sense of urgency. So, I went inside and put the Alexander down in his crib. He napped for two hours. This gave Andrew and I time to just sit back relax and talk. We talked about how much we liked being parents and getting to know Alexander. We have had such a life fulfilling experience with Alexander. We think he has a good personality.

Andrew and I were discussing all these facts and I suddenly exclaimed that I do not understand people who do not want a family, or are hesitant about starting a family—have standoffish opinions about having children. Recently, I had a conversation with a couple who were not sure they were ready to start a family. Not that they did not want children, they just had the attitude tht most young married couples have these days. They wanted to spend a few years married, work a little on their careers, make sure they had enough money and so on. One major thing in their minds was that they could not see themselves as parents yet. These are all very common notions amongst newly married couples today. As opposed to sixty years ago when young married couples could not wait to have children and tried very hard to do so.

Initially, Andrew and I thought it would be best to wait to have children until he was finished with his PhD. I mean graduate students are not known for having the resources to support a family. But, we also did not want to wait too long. I think that many people would say that we have started a family too soon. But, that is what people also said about us getting married right out of college—too young, too soon. But, how can they know when it is the right time for us? I cannot think of a more natural and coherent progression of our lives. Andrew and I are very fortunate to be two very practical people. We were not caught up in a purely physical relationship nor were we struck dumb by fanciful idealistic views of each other and our relationship. Therefore, it was quite natural for us to grow up, become friends, leave our families and naturally assimilate into our own family.

At some point in the first year of our marriage, as our love for one another grew, our fears of having a child before we were capable of caring for one disappeared. Of course, not knowing what to expect, there was a little trepidation. However, now that we are amidst diapers and high chairs, we can honestly say that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

In our conversation yesterday, Andrew began telling me that in having a child he realized that it is the most important thing you can do (I hope that Andrew will take a little time explaining this in the blog as he did to me yesterday). It is more important than your career or school. It is the greatest thing to be able to procreate, to love someone, to love someone who is of your flesh and of your spouses flesh—forever united, and to teach the young, to have a special bond, to change and add to the world with your offspring, and to do it now rather than later. If you wait until later, you may never get the chance. The sooner you add to your family the more time you will have to spend with them. So, again, I do not understand those who do not want children and, or want to wait to have them.

Needless to say, we had great day being a family yesterday.