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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Checking In

When B and the big kids arrived home tonight from the Bridegroom Service (we deemed the youngsters too young for the late night), Z handed me a CD of pictures from G's baptism that were taken by part of our spiritual family.  The relationship goes M's godfather's other godchild's father took the pictures.  Tongue-twisting, no?

They're lovely--to me, the mark of a good photographer is that he or she can make the subjects look much better than they really do.  Judging by my appearance alone, he's a fantastic photographer.

LIfe is busy this week, services and such.  No time for breathing, let alone blogging.  

For those celebrating with us, whether physically or in spirit, our prayers are for you to have a Most Blessed Pascha!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Poor

Z is going through an Eva Ibbotson phase right now.  In her library bag this week were Journey to the River Sea, The Secret of Platform 13, and this.   She kept quoting selections from Island of the Aunts to the rest of us while she read it.  I love that Eva Ibbotson's books are well written, adventurous, and have just the right amount of scary to be enjoyable by sensitive youngsters. (I thought the same about Bunnicula, but that book gave Z and M nightmares.)

We listened to The Star of Kazan and The Beasts of Clawstone Castle earlier this year, and both were loved by Z and M alike. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Finished Friday

I am knee-deep in home school preparations for the next term of school, so not much else is happening in the evenings here.

I have, however, made time to whip up a little sun hat for G.  When I say "whip up," I mean that it took 4 hours from start to finish, with a good hour of interruptions added in.  It's not perfect, but it's functional.  I keep seeing all of my mistakes, and hoping that no one else can.

The pattern is the Bucket Hat from Little Things to Sew, and G loves it in the way that only a four-month-old can: he starts screeching and flapping his arms whenever I put it on.

The reason there are no pictures of G modeling the hat?  His big brothers are like moths to a flame whenever G is on the floor, and would not get out of the frame.  Those brothers!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Poor

I had never heard of this series until we started homeschooling, but wish I had read these books long, long ago.  The big kids, and Z especially, adore the Melendy family.  M identifies with six-year-old Oliver Melendy, who is always getting into scrapes, and Z wants to be Mona Melendy, a real actress.

Pictured below is the third book, but if you'd like to begin at the beginning, try this one.

The four Melendy books not enough Elizabeth Enright for you?

We recently finished listening to (and loved) Gone Away Lake.  Try it, too!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Finished Friday

A few months ago, B came home from visiting a Greek friend and wistfully commented about the lovely koulourakia he'd been served alongside his tea.  It was the kind of thing a wife takes seriously, and so immediately thereafter the kids and I became koulourakia machines.  I'd whip up a batch of dough to put in the refrigerator, and every afternoon we'd bake a dozen or so cookies.  Yum.

Lent started a few week ago, and that put an end to our butter and egg koulourakia.  I know B missed them.  After a vegan-peanut-butter-coconut-oil-cookie mess, B mentioned that our Church Yiayia has a lenten koulourakia recipe.  

"I think she uses orange juice and olive oil or something like that," he said.

Koulourakia entering the oven...

...and our mouths.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Poor

If this book is not already in your library, don't walk, RUN to the computer and order it from Conciliar Press.  

Like The Scent of Holiness, this book has been popular--in Orthodox and non-Orthodox circles alike.  

It's no wonder. 

Everyday Saints won the Russian "Book of the Year" in September 2012. 

It has been translated into ten languages to date. 

It's just that good.

Orthodox friends of ours, watch out.  There's a good chance we will be giving you this book on the next gifty occasion.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Finished Friday (a day late)

This will be the last of my "Finished Friday" series for some time, I'm thinking.  A confluence of events has conspired to chip away at my knitting time, and the big-ish project I'm currently working on just won't be finished by next Friday.

At any rate, here is the second hat I made for B's cousin's son.  It fits G, so it falls into the 6-12 month range.  It's not the best picture: T was fussy and I had to snap the picture quickly before I wrapped the hat.

 yarn: Noro Kureyon, I think, colorway unknown

And, over spring break, I was able to snap a quick picture of the embroidery from a previous project.  Here, for the record, is "quelques petites choses." 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Month 4: Travel, etc.

This month we were away from our house as much as we were present. Planning G's baptism took most of my spare thoughts, if not spare time, and we were on the go with all of our scheduled activities.  We also traveled to see family in three different states over the course of one week!  Praise God that we arrived at every destination safely, if a little worse for wear.

I...am in a process of self-discovery this time around.  With the kids getting older and requiring more in the way of homeschool preparation, time, and attention, the balance of my time has tipped  entirely in their favor.  Gone are the nights spent quietly with B on the couch, me with knitting in hand and a good movie/television show on the screen.  Lately the couch and I have spent very little time together.

B...The job prospect didn't pan out, so he's back to square one.  I am praying, praying hard, that something will open up for us.  The job that didn't work out was ideal in a lot of ways: location, area of discipline, location.  I find, though, that God always has something even better in store for us.  Hard to believe something better exists, but true.  And He'll be getting all of the glory when it happens. I can't wait to see!

Z...Poor child has had a rough winter.  Between pneumonia when G was born, and several bouts with the stomach bugs going around, she'll be overjoyed when spring really gets here.

M... I am trying so hard to be a good mother for this, my oldest son.  And I know that he's trying so hard to be a good son and big brother.  G gets excited when M walks into the room.

T...started Greek school this month!  He's the only boy in a class of nine, so the girls are keeping him in line.

G...needed to be compelled to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it seemed.  He screamed so loud that we couldn't hear the priest.  Our favorite Yiayia quoted a saying from the village of her husband, of blessed memory.  Loosely translated it says: "Better my mother hold me (than anyone else) even if her hands are covered in thorns." Sure enough G fell silent as soon as I received him from his godfather.  

G hits the five month marker on Pascha this year!  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Poor, and a Little Food for Thought

This book happens to be quite popular in Orthodox circles these days.  While I wouldn't say it should be nominated for any writing awards, the anecdotes contained within are treasures.  These gems are perfect reading for the days of Lent (or any other time, for that matter).  

An excerpt, which has been relevant to me lately:

        I became so excited I could hardly contain myself.  I continued putting dishes away, but when I saw Sr. Sarah and Sr. Thekla, I started explaining how I had heard of the elder before, how he had cured a woman from cancer, and the other things I had heard about.
        "Make the sign of the cross, Constantina," Sr. Thekla calmly suggested.
        "Why?" I asked in bewilderment.
        "Because you are very excited and the devil sees everything," she said simply.
         I made the sign of the cross and struggled to better contain my enthusiasm.  I had heard this before--not expressing your emotions too outwardly so as not to give the evil one more ground than he needs in tempting you.  But I must say, this did strike me as odd at first.
        However, it is more spiritually prudent to be measured when expressing any outward signs of emotion.  This way the evil one has less ammunition, since he can only judge our thoughts and feelings based on what we externally reveal to him.  He can neither see the future nor read our thoughts...And so temperance in displaying sadness, anger, frustration, hurt, and even enthusiasm guards us against the evil one's wiles and temptations.

Right now I am needing some temperance in my display of frustration, exhaustion, and impatience.  What a great reason to reexamine my thoughts, and nip temptation in the bud!  And a bonus? My children will benefit also.