Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's time to prepare

This year Orthodox Easter (Pascha), is much later than western Easter--like so late that we haven't even started Lent yet. Here's why. In any case, we are having our own sort of "fat Tuesday" of eating and celebrating this weekend--Brian and Megan's birthday party (Mexican fiesta), and Emily's baptism. There are no celebratory services allowed during periods of fasting (i.e. no weddings or baptisms.) We will begin fasting from dairy products on Monday and then the following Monday include abstaining from all meat products, oil, and alcohol until April 27th.

It is always a time of cleansing and renewal, drawing closer to God. I've started reading a book about the Orthodox veneration of Mary as I am preparing myself for Great Lent. I'll probably be sharing more about this as I process it. It's a short one, so I'll probably pick up something else once Lent gets going, although I'll be back to work soon--only 4 more weeks, and I have enough trouble finding time to read my Bible let alone other spiritual books, so we'll see.

In the mean time we are preparing a lot of our favorite meals this week: homemade pizza, biscuits and gravy, and chili. I washed and pressed the baptismal gown this morning. My grandma made it when Mary was baptized. It is beautiful! I hope that it will be used again someday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mary is loving her gymnastics class! She has one more week in the beginner class and then will move up to intermediate. She has been doing lots of jumping, walking on the balance beam, and beginning to use the bars. This week they started to learn cartwheels too. Elijah is going to start in the boys class.

girls weekend

the inside of our hotel--it even had a small aviary with a parrot
If Laura's career as an art teacher or floral designer doesn't work out, she has a back up plan!!

On Friday, despite the blizzard-like conditions, my sisters-in-law and I took one of our friends to Indy for the night to celebrate her upcoming wedding. We had a lot of obstacles to overcome, but we made it!! And it was fun!! We stayed in a hotel suite so baby Emily (yup, she was there too) could have her own space and we could stay up without bothering her. We went out to eat, sat in the hot tub, and on Saturday we went wedding dress shopping. It was so fun to get away. It doesn't take much to entertain me these days! Emily was the best baby ever. She didn't cry at all and she just hung out in her car seat, or in the pack-n-play, or let someone hold her.

P.S. the bride is going to be her godmother (baptism this weekend!!)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Even I have had enough

I actually like snow. I figure if it has to be cold, you might as well have something to play in. I don't really mind driving in it too much...but this is getting ridiculous!! In December, lovely. At the end of February, annoying.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"From Apostolic times and to our days all who truly love Christ give veneration to her who gave birth to Him, raised Him and protected Him in the days of His youth. If God the Father chose her, God the Spirit descended upon her, and God the Son dwelt in her, submitted to her in the days of His youth, was concerned for her when hanging on the cross-then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinty venerate her?" --St. John Maximovich
Many of you know that Brian has become kind of a chef around here. I still make most of the nightly meals, but if there is something special going on, he likes to whip up something tasty. Well, I am ready to give him a run for his money. His inspiration comes from a magazine called Cooks Illustrated, which I think is lovely, but the recipes take all day and require destroying the kitchen to make. He found me a sister magazine called, Cooks Country,which has some equally delicious things, without quite as many steps. Last night I made the most delicious beef stew I can ever remember--in the slow cooker. Granted, it wasn't quite like throwing all the ingredients in and turning it on. But, the 30 minutes of prep work was well worth the result. One key to this recipe: wrapping the vegetables in foil and placing them on top of the beef to steam (so they were not overcooked and soggy). Also, this recipe included parsnips, which I had not tasted before. They were fabulous!! I will be trying some more new things from this magazine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

3 Month check in

Today marks Emily's 12th week of life outside of me. She is growing up quickly and more so than with the other two kids, I feel like I want her to just stay little. (I can definitely see the whole birth order thing coming into play here!!) She is getting into a routine of sleeping and eating that is helping me to feel more calm about our life. She is often falling asleep on her own at night now, and especially joyful news--at a really decent hour (sometimes even allowing Brian and I to have that much coveted couple hours of quiet time before we collapse into the bed). It's hard to believe it was just maybe 8 weeks ago that she was completely backwards and keeping us up until almost 2 am some nights. We felt like we'd never sleep through the night again, and here it is only 2 months later...I am especially thankful again, that I was not back to work at 6, or even 8 weeks. I just cannot imagine functioning at work with such little sleep.

Emily is learning to enjoy her awake time by just hanging out with us. I am a lot less vigilant about stimulating her all the time than I was with my other kids. This morning she sat in her seat for 30 minutes while I walked on the treadmill. She was quiet and just looking around the room. I used to feel guilty for not interacting if the baby was awake, but I think I am learning new things as a mom too. She does enjoy being tickled, making throaty gggg sounds, and being snuggled. She does not enjoy being on her tummy, but I still try it if the stars are all aligned. Elijah reminded me this morning, "Mom, are you going to lay Emily on her tummy today? The doctor said you should do it every day."

I am truly thankful each day for the time that I have at home right now. I feel like I am trying to lock these feelings and moments away in my memory. I just want to hold on to them. Mary climbed into bed with me the other morning at 6:00 and locked her arms around my arm. She kept saying, " mommy," over and over again. These are the times to treasure.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I love 3 day weekends

Even though I am currently a stay at home mom, I absolutely love the 3 day weekend. I think we should have them twice a month. We are able to have a good balance of work, fun, and relaxation that you just can't get in 2 days off. We did lots of family stuff all weekend and on Monday Brian got to come to see Mary's gymnastics class (she is moving up to the intermediate class in a few weeks!!!) and we took the kids out to Happy Hollow Park to run around even though it was cold outside. We went for a (SHORT) walk on the path and got to see running water in places that are usually dry all summer. It's always hard to get outside when it's cold, but I think once you get out, it's not such a big deal.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

An assassin lives at our house

He might look [fat, lazy] old and slow, but this de-clawed cat has taken down 6 birds this week! We are so proud of him! We have this problem with birds nesting above the window on our back porch and they make a huge mess--poop, nesting materials, feathers...we don't really want them there. He has been single-handedly getting them out of our hair. I don't know how he does it, but I would like to see it some time. I am imagining him launching into mid-air and catching the bird in his mouth. It would be a sight to behold. Not to mention that he weighs like 15 lbs or something.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Elijah is so much more visually-spatially oriented than I am. He got this new gorilla as a birthday party favor last night and wanted to use his blocks to make a jungle for it. The standing up blocks are the coconut trees and the group of blue blocks are the water. I never would have come up with this idea.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

the key to a good day:

the morning nap. If Emily can go down for a nap 1- 1 1/2 hours after waking up, she will:

a) lay down awake and drift off to sleep
b) nap well for the rest of the day
c) allow me to enjoy my day because she will not be fussy

It's amazing what a difference it makes! She came with me to the dentist on Tuesday (what in the world was I thinking?) and couldn't sleep in her car seat due to the awful sound of the hygenist scraping my teeth with this awful tool. The rest of the day (and that night): awful. Have I mentioned before that I love routine??

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where has the week gone?

I can't believe that it is going on Thursday already. I truly don't know what has been happening. Well, I've been watching kids--Caroline, as previously mentioned; Warren (age 2) all day today, and Jonathan (my 4 month old nephew) tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last day of swimming lessons and parents can swim with their kids, so I am gearing up for getting into my swimsuit with an extra 10--okay 20 lbs., on my body in front of people. Both kids really enjoyed their lessons. Elijah can now do front and back floating and can swim the width of the pool in 2 different strokes. I am impressed with his growth this time. Mary now puts her whole head under the water, is beginning to use her arms, and jumps into the deep end with a floatie.

We are finally getting over the sickness that has been hanging on. Emily is just now starting to sniffle. Hopefully she won't get it full on.

Tomorrow night is Valentine's Day and we are actually going on a date--a double date! Woo-hoo! Our friends' son is having a b-day party so parents can go out for the evening and Emily will go to my parents' house. Definitely something to look forward to.

Last, a couple of recent pics of Emily. She is almost smiling for the camera.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy BIRTH day, Lucy!

This weekend has been one of those busy, but not really feeling like you got anything accomplished weekends. Friday night Brian and I went out on a date and had a fantastic time! We bought a new loveseat for our living room and went to Mountain Jacks for a relaxing dinner. We are funny about going out to eat these days. A lot of people think Mt. Jacks is a really expensive dinner, but it's actually not that much more than say, Outback or Texas Roadhouse; but to us, the ambiance is worth the extra $15.00. It is a quiet, relaxed meal, with well-paced courses and great service. The last time we went to Applebee's (which used to be our favorite eatery) we couldn't believe how expensive their prices had become.

So, the crazy started Saturday morning. I went to exercise at 8:00 am and my mom called to say that Mary's fever was back (she has had a really nasty cold all week). Fearing another ear infection, I made her an appointment at the Peds. clinic. We spent most of the morning waiting on lab results only to find out that she has a bad cold.

When we got home, we found out that our friend and goddaughter, Caroline, was on her way over because her mom was getting ready to have a baby. She spent the whole afternoon and evening here and we had such fun. Caroline is about 17 months old and is such a sweetie! Her mom called at 6:30 to report that Caroline's little sister, Lucy had been born after just one push!! So it was great fun, but I am glad that we only have 3 kids. We were beat at the end of the day. I suppose it made it worse that Mary is so sick and truly not easy to deal with right now.

Here's hoping for a good day today!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The most disgusting thing I've seen all day

Sonic Airheads do this to your mouth. Gross.

And, not disgusting....

Everyone has one of these pictures, don't they? Mary was relaxin' (or maybe chillaxin'?) in the tub with the jets going and lots of bubbles to play with. The bubble beard is a classic.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Greene's go green

I escaped germville last night for a brief visit to Target to replenish our beverage selection and a few other essentials. I got to use my new string bags to take home my purchases. I decided as my first ever new year's resolution that I am going to make an attempt to stop wasting plastic bags. Every time I go to the grocery store I bring home at least 15 bags and I just can't reuse all of them. I admit it--I throw them away. They take up so much room under the sink. SO, I decided this year I will be one of those annoying people at the grocery store that you hate to be behind because they are taking so much time. They certainly drew a lot of attention last night. They are cute colors and can hold up to 40 lbs. each. I think I will buy another set because I see that they are on sale right now and one set of 5 bags is only packing about 2/3 of our typical weekly groceries.

Next stop churning our own butter and recycling old cereal boxes into paper in the garage.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

visions of a sick day

This one was so tired this morning that she literally fell asleep sitting on the couch. We had a pretty rough night. I was already sleeping on the couch due to a certain unnamed man who was snoring so loud I was about to plug his nostrils. Mary came out about 10:30 and was burning up with fever. I let her sleep on the loveseat. Emily was having a hard time falling asleep, and Elijah was up around 4, also with fever. He had been sick yesterday, but of course Mary always has to get it 10 times worse. So today, instead of my day to run errands, such as the grocery store and going to the dentist for the first time since I won't tell you when; I am washing sheets, washing children, and watching Disney movies.

Monday, February 04, 2008

For anyone who cares...

A few people have asked, so here it is...our new 4Runner. We are enjoying it. The kids actually like it better than the van. And incredibly there is more leg room in the back seat.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Snow Day

Yes, she is eating celery. We didn't have any carrots for our snowman, but Mary ended up just munching it.
The amazing Aunt Laura in her orange snowsuit. In case she gets lost.