Friday, September 30

Thursday, September 29

Vacation: Day Four...


Today was our most low-key day... we were so tired from our escapades on Wednesday! We had breakfast at Sabrina's, one of the restaurants recommended to us by my brother-in-law and his fiancee. Our next stop was the Children's Please Touch Museum. Though this place was pretty cool (there was a child-sized supermarket, mini hospital, and wee construction zone, just to name a few things), but it was utter chaos. Little Man looked up at me at one point and said, "Mama, this place is too crazy!" There were about a million children running rampant everywhere... after about an hour, Father John and I decided that it was just not worth it and gathered up our chicks and hit the road. Once we were back at the apartment , everyone had a little rest and then we spent some time walking around and looking at all of the sites that we saw from the tour bus a little more carefully. Dinner was yummy salad and pizza at a little restaurant on South Street and right before bedtime, we treated the little ones to ice cream! Today was the perfect last day of vacation for us!

Wednesday, September 28

Vacation: Day Three...




We were busy today! We started out by going to a little science museum. It was so small that we were able to see everything in an hour! The highlights there were the dinosaur bones (Little Man was thrilled!) and the live butterfly exhibit (perfect for Sugar Plum!). After lunch at Subway, we headed over to the aquarium. While Sugar Plum and Little Man really enjoyed all of the sea creatures we saw, Button was beside himself with happiness! Everything from watching the big animals like the sharks and hippos to gazing at the tiny fish and getting to oh-so-gently touch starfish was exciting to him. I think that he could have stayed there for hours! We finished up the day by taking a tour bus ride around the city and eating yummy takeout Chinese food for dinner!

Tuesday, September 27

Vacation: Day Two...


We started the day off by going to Joy of All that Sorrow Orthodox Church to venerate the miraculous icon of Saint Anna. The church was so beautiful and it was really nice to be able to walk only a few blocks from the apartment right to the church door!

Father John suggested that we go to visit the Franklin Institute next and so we hopped in the car and drove over to get there in time to watch an Imax movie about mummies. We toured the museum for the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon. There were many exhibits that we just right for our little ones. They really enjoyed the huge human heart, train room, planetarium, and the kid's science room.

After a little nap, we took a walk to dinner (nachos and burgers!) and then came home to play with some Legos that we bought as a souvenir at the museum today. I have a feeling that I will be asleep before my head hits the pillow tonight!

Monday, September 26

Vacation: Day One...


We began our vacation with a trip to a large zoo! Though we have a little zoo about 30 minutes from our home, it doesn't have as many exotic animals that this zoo has. Since this was our little one's first visit to a big zoo, it was especially exciting to witness the their faces as they saw animals that they have never seen in person before. Some favorites include: the lions, the cheetahs, and the otters!

Other highlights today were going to see our "hotel" (really a two bedroom apartment in my sister-in-law's apartment building) that exceeded our wildest expectations and going to a Brazilian Steak House for the first time... YUM!

Sunday, September 25

A Wedding...

May God Grant the Servants of God Andrei and Lena Many Blessed Years!

Hyland's Teething Tablets are Back!!


Two things that I really count on with a teething baby are amber teething necklaces and Hyland's Teething Tablets. Unfortunately, the tablets were going through a reformulation for months and I was unable to purchase them for Button. Happily, I noticed that the pharmacy I ran into today is carrying them again! I've already purchased a bottle and I may go back to buy a few more just in case the stores in our area don't have any when we return from our vacation.

Saturday, September 24

Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman...

I was clicking through the channels on the television at our hotel room (we're on our first family vacation!!) and found Dr Quinn! I haven't seen this show in years! Where has programming like this gone? I would love to find a good show to watch... What television programs do you like to see?

Thursday, September 22

Clothing the Little Ones...


For the past year or so, I have tried to be mindful of how much is too much and how much is too little when it comes to clothing. I have re-read what I wrote last year on this topic several times over this year to try to renew my enthusiasm for being a good steward of our closets.

I have found that I am pretty spot on when it comes to our older children. They have about five outfits for everyday (from socks and underwear to pants and shirts) and one or two fancier outfits for Church and special occasions. The baby is a bit more tricky since he still goes through clothes quickly (though it is much better than when he was a tiny baby last year).

Having fewer clothes has meant that I have to do laundry more often. Washing, drying, and folding a load of clothes or linens each day has become a part of our routine. We have also been able to learn to take care of our things a bit more. One goal that I have for this year is to have a smock or a pinafore to put over our little ones when they eat or are doing something creative.

One area that I am still working on is out-of-season and outgrown clothing. We are fortunate to receive hand-me-downs from several families and we also have very generous family. As we receive clothing that we can't use at the moment, I go through it and take out what we can use and give the rest away pretty quickly. The problem is that as time goes on, our stored clothing grows. I have always felt that I should keep clothing for future children, but perhaps I keep too much.

Not too long ago, a friend was expecting a baby girl and she mentioned that she would be very grateful to have any girl clothes that anyone could spare. Initially I thought, "But what if I have another baby girl?" I realized how selfish I was being I did end up going through our girl clothing bins and found FOUR giant trash bags of beautiful clothing that I could give to her. I decided to keep the things that were special to our family and offered her nearly everything else. It is so nice to see her daughter in things that Sugar Plum wore as a little baby and it is good to have the clothing used and not wasted. Around this time, I also was able to re-organize how I store clothing that we are not using. I have one bin for each gender and each age (under a year, 12-18 months, 2T, 3T, etc.). I marked the bits and if I found that I had more than could fit into the bin, I needed to pair things down. This has really helped me to keep things under control.

Last year, we started the tradition of gathering clothing for donation on the feast of Saint Martin (November 11). It is such a sweet way of remembering the saint who cut his cloak in half to warm a beggar he met on the road. I would love to hear about what you do with clothing storage and what your children have in their closets and drawers. I'll try to do a quick post on our autumn wardrobes in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 21

Changes Afoot...



A few weeks ago, our mission discovered a property for sale that may be a God-given opportunity for our parish. It is an estate that provides room for a chapel, fellowship hall, and rectory on 15 wooded acres. So far, the parish is gearing up to make an offer to the owner and we have met with His Beatitude to get his approval for going ahead (which was granted). There are many steps in the process before we can say that we are moving there (one of which is getting an offer accepted!) If all goes well, I will be sharing more about this property as things happen. Please keep our parish in your prayers!

Tuesday, September 20

From the Mighty Oak...


This has been a banner year for acorns! I feel like everywhere we turn, there is a tree laden with them! Sugar Plum is very fond of collecting bits of nature and all of these acorns are so exciting to her... she specifically chooses her outfit for the day based on whether it has pockets to help carry her bounty. It is so funny to her little dress being dragged down by pockets full of treasure (or choking hazards, as my husband refers to them!).

Monday, September 19

Little Red Rocker...




I was at a thrift shop recently with Button. We were just poking around and he spotted this little red rocker. He loved it and cried when we left. A few days later I decided to get it, though. It was only $5 and even though we already have a rocker, this one is red! Plus, when you are on your third baby, you have everything he needs in hand-me-downs... he should have something of his own! It is hard to believe that he is getting a personality already... I forget that he is fifteen months old sometimes! He looks a lot like my older children did at nine months old because he is so tiny.

Sunday, September 18

Elder Philotheos of Para...


From the Councils of Elder Philotheos of Para

True happiness is not the honors and pleasures of the body. True happiness is virtue. As many as fight to acquire virtue, to put into practice the commandments of God, these are truly happy.

+

When the enemy tempts you with thoughts of faithlessness, with all your heart say, “I believe completely whatever the Church believes, whatever Christ says in the Holy Gospels, whatever the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers said. I don’t, however, believe you, devil, for you are a liar and a thief.

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If a man builds a house and leaves it without a roof, this house can’t be used at all. In the same way, if a man acquires all the virtues but not love, the house remains roof-less and is of no benefit at all.

Saturday, September 17

Wool for Kate...

My sister, Kate, is an avid knitter and so when a friend of our parish who is a sheep farmer (I know!) mentioned that he had a lot of wool and yarn languishing, I jumped at the chance to get some. The next time he came up, he brought a bag full of this lovely yarn and roving! I am mailing it out today... I can't wait for her to see it!

Thursday, September 15

Warming Breakfasts...



Tomorrow, it will feel like September has really come for our area! Today was in the upper 80's and tomorrow it will be in the 60's. For the past few days, I have been getting the urge to be in the kitchen cooking those comforting foods we all love in the colder months, especially for breakfast. Some of our favorites are: pancakes, muffins, hot cereals (oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc.), eggs, cinnamon toast, warmed-up apple crisp or apple pie leftovers, homemade bread, etc. One of our new favorites is Toad-in- a -Hole. I have no idea why we have never tried it until now... it is delicious and so easy!

What are your favorite autumn breakfasts?

100 Years of Style...

Wednesday, September 14

The Zoo...




Our little zoo has so few animals compared with the big city zoos around, but the smallness makes it so cozy and so familiar to our little ones. They can walk the whole thing with energy to spare (enough to play at the zoo's playground for an hour afterwards!) and they see the same animal friends every time. I love the dappled sunlight that filters through the trees. It makes for wonderful pictures.

Tuesday, September 13

Festal Learning Basket: Exaltation of the Cross...

Photo from the Vigil of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross at Holy Trinity Monastery

Commemorated on September 14th

Books
The Exaltation of the Cross
The Queen and the Cats: A Story of Saint Helena

Activities
Decorate a Cross with fresh basil leaves and flowers for your icon corner or feastday table
Give the cross around your neck a good polish
Talk About Making the Sign of the Cross (how and why we do it)
Make Basil Pesto to serve today

:::::

Before Thy Cross
We Bow Down in Worship O Master,
And Thy Holy Resurrection,
We Glorify.

Monday, September 12

The Great School Post...

We have been officially homeschooling for twelve days! Things have been going well and I thought that I would take this opportunity to share what we have been up to.

Sugar Plum loves kindergarten! We have chosen to use Sonlight K for her to use and have so far found it to be a good fit. While I am probably more of a Small Things kindergarten educator, Father John wanted things to be a bit more academically oriented. So we compromised... Sonlight and lots of outside time, drawing and painting (and other crafts!), cooking and baking, cleaning and organizing, and anything else that catches our fancy this year. One of the things that I really like about Sonlight is that kindergarten work takes no more than half an hour to complete (though it may be a bit longer as the year continues). That is just the right amount of time in my opinion.

Little Man is three. He is just starting to be interested in arts and crafts, but his first love is imaginative play. It is not unusual for me to find him sitting on the second or third step going upstairs with a bit of yarn tied to a stick trying to catch bass (?) or building an elaborate train track system and using different voices for each of his trains. Under normal circumstances, I would leave my dreamy little boy alone and let him enjoy his preschool years playing, crafting, and reading. However, he needs speech and has been already tested, iep'd, and sent to a twice weekly speech preschool. He really seems to be improving and it is my hope that we will be able to transition out of the classes as the year progresses. If not, his teachers are lovely and I am sure that he will improve a lot and have fun in the process. I am appreciative of the fact that they strongly encourage play in their classroom.

What school situations are your little ones in?

Friday, September 9

Painting on the Porch...


Joyous Feast!

Thy Nativity, O Virgin,
Has proclaimed joy to the whole universe!
The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,
Has shone from Thee, O Theotokos!
By annulling the curse,
He bestowed a blessing.
By destroying death, He has granted us eternal Life.

Wednesday, September 7

Festal Learning Basket: Nativity of the Theotokos...


Commemorated September 8th

Books
The Nativity of the Theotokos
The Story of Mary the Mother of God
The Illustrated Life of the Theotokos for Children

Activities
Bake a birthday cake or cupcakes to celebrate the Mother of God's birthday
Add a vase of flowers to your icon corner
Display an icon of the feast on your table or a feastday shelf
Serve special foods to celebrate the feast
Wear the color blue to Liturgy
Sing the Troparion of the feast before meals and during your morning and evening prayers

Saint George and the Dragon...


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