St. Nicholas

Many people are celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas today and what a joy! As the years pass and my children get older and older I really appreciate childlike things more and more. Seeing the joy in their faces as they await the feast, wondering what will be in their shoes, preparing gifts for their friends, are all things that I find my self experiencing all over again.

Many people know the story of St. Nicholas. He was from a wealthy family with his uncle as his biggest influence that taught him that serving his neighbor is most important. There are many stories of St. Nicholas and the story of the golden coins seems to be the most popular among Orthodox friends at least.

Celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas is always my favorite because it takes away from the frenzy of the holiday month with so much focus on gifts and what things we want or what our kids want and what our relatives want. The story of the saint is such a great example of what our focus and attitudes should be during this time of focus in the world on materialistic things. So early on in the December month and the holiday race to Christmas, it sets me in the realistic mind of Christmas. I try to capture that joy in my kids and see it through their eyes.

So today as we unwrapped our shoes and found our own golden coins, I saw the light and believe in my kids and tried to remain thankful throughout the day. What a season to be thankful and count our blessings! For the family and the love for the peace and the joy.

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Book review

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick book review here for all those Christian moms out there following me. I have had this book for a while and recently reopened it again. This is not a book that is a sit down and read type. It has many different prayers for different areas of motherhood. What I love about this book is that at any time you can look in the table of contents and search for the prayers you need. I also like how they are not all formal prayers that we are used to and more on a personal request that I felt like are words given in a time when you don’t have any words.

There are also some stories of many beautiful Orthodox mother saints that I personally love reading because it constantly encourages me to look at someone that is a mother with many kids, that has finished the race. I will say that when I did originally get the book I did not think I would use it a lot but now with such little time left in the day I do find myself running to this book for short prayers very often. The book also has various Psalms after the prayers which I liked as a way to memorize them in relation to what I am dealing with at the moment.

Overall I am thinking about getting this book for a few of my friend for Christmas in hopes to encourage their motherhood journey. A copy of this book can be purchased on Ancient Faith Publishing website if you are interested.

Homeschooling: Start

Come into the garden Children…

Our first week of homeschooling started this week. We are starting the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum from Anaphora press and will be using Waldorf Essentials as our main curriculum later in September.

We started lesson 1 that was supposed to start on September 1st but I felt like this is a good intro to schooling and could be done flexible according to homeschooling schedules. It was all about talking to the child about a special place where we are going to talk to Jesus and learn about the Saints and the great Feasts of the church. Surprisingly Mr.4 responded really well to the lesson and the songs. Above is the picture of our space.

Since we are doing the unit studies with our co-op I do not have to worry about scheduling that in so our next lesson is about Moses and the ark of the covenant. In order to prep for this lesson I have to tell the story of Mosses, which is kind of long if people know it, so I decided to break it up into small lessons throughout the week leading to the feast day of Moses. I am using a variety of children’s bibles for that and just keeping it really simple.

Then it’s Russian… ugh. My struggles with teaching Russian has always been ongoing. How will they ever learn! This year I am just doing a curriculum I found that has drawn out stick figures for the words and I do one page at a time for the words. This way I track the lessons and words and can also repeat the lessons beforehand. We will see how this goes.

My crafts:

Decided my hand at candle making this week and also made an altar for a little church play for quiet time. No, dipping a ballon in wax is not an easy process. So I found that dipping the balloon in wax first then dipping it in water speeded up the process. Also I noticed that I had to stick the shells on way later in the process. Oh well, I learn from mistakes.

And there above is the miniature altar I made for my kiddos to play with. Mr.4 really loved watching these crafts. Work with your hands. I try to show them that.

Hope your week was blessed.

Quiet 

  
All is quiet here around the house, not a sound is heard not even a mouse… Finally after having once of those bad mama parenting days the house is quiet. Tuesday’s are all day and night school days for my husband here in seminary making my night of putting two kids to sleeping by myself extremely difficult. 

Milk is all my son wanted tonight but we didn’t have any and all I wanted was a beer. Thankfully we both got what we wanted from a generous friend by the end of the night. Now two hours later the house is quiet while both boys are asleep. This rarely happens in parenting it feels like. 

So cheers to all you parents out there dealing with bedtime routines, bedtime battles and all that jazz. Good night.

All the leaves are falling down…

  
Here we are the start off fall. It feels very official now since the start of fall is seen everywhere here in New York because of the change in colors. Back in California we never experienced this change since the weather keeps warm or hot all year round and when it does cool down a degree or two then it always climbs back up to the normal warm/hot a few days later. Outfits remain the same all year round really, maybe an occasional sweater or jacket to buy will add that fall feeling to your wardrobe.

“I don’t think the weather is going to be getting warmer” says my frightful husband that has never truly lived in a weather changing place his whole life. I for once am going to enjoy these seasons for a while. Maybe when the snow comes and we can’t go outside anymore then I will have a different opinion, but for now my opinion remains.

All the leaves are falling down red, orange, yellow and brown. Yes all seasonal crafts that we can do and actually experience the season sounds like a good mom time to me.

Happy Friday!

  
Just a typical start to a Friday here in New York. A special moment today for me and my first born. Woke up this morning and got a chance to take a break from the baby and just hang out with my son. Running up and down the hill, climbing hills, rolling on the ground , chasing squirrels, kicking a soccer ball around. 

Sometimes it’s hard to see what you are missing until you experience it again. What special happiness rest in small moments of our lives. Why do we take things for granted sometimes?

Lord grant me to greet the coming day in peace and all that it shall bring 

Babies babies babies!

A very good friend of ours is having twins and asked my husband and I to be Godparents to one of their boys. Well what an honer… except that I do not know the first thing about organizing any kind of baby shower event. Thankfully the Godmother that she had chosen for her other boy is very aware of what needs to be done for such an even. She put me in charge of a few items such as games and thank you baggies. I started having a total meltdown when I realized that I have never accomplished putting together such items in my life. How am I ever going to be a good mother that organizes lunch boxes for her kids is what came into my mind. Hence the meltdown.

I am not what you would call a girly girl. It is thanks to God and His mercy I have a son as a first child since I would not know what to do at all with trying to be girly. I jumped out of airplanes for fun (parachute included) dived the deep seas over 100 ft down (almost died a few times, my cat lives are running out) and jumped off a bridge (bungee cord included). Yes organizing an even and games is not in my nature.

With Google being my best friend in times of crisis, tomorrow is the day of the big bay shower event. “Mom is having to get out of her comfort zone” says my husband to my 6 month old boy that is staring blankly at me as I put together thank you gifts. Yes that statement says it all.

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Post Pascha blues

Yes the glorious Pascha. We have made it. We have fasted over 40 days and have reached the celebration that is the feast of feasts. Yet every year without fail more and more people that I talk to seem to confirm the feeling that I always seem to receive along with this Pascha season. Our priest calls it the “post Pascha blues.” All the services are now back to their normal schedule, the length of the services is no longer 4 hours and every year it feels so lonely to me. Here we are celebrating the Resurrection of Christ yet I always seem to loose the joy very fast. The everyday woes of life always catch up to me faster then I can notice them and I get just stuck in a funk. How do we keep the joy of the Resurrection with us?

It is the question that may take my whole life to answer, maybe that is why we do have Lent and Pascha every year. During our recent trip to the monastery I noticed how easy it was to get back to everyday cares right when we started driving back and hit a few gas stations. How easy it is to start caring about entertainment and food. The joy of simplicity is hard to keep. The joy of Pascha seems to be swept up and I start dealing with post Pascha blues and try to get the joy, as well as keep the joy, for as long as I can.  Platina 2014 048

Hi Ho Hi Ho on the road we go

Yes we are packing our little bags grabbing our little 6 month old boy and going on a long overdue vacation. We are going to the monastery to visit the monks and nuns of Platina at St. Hermans then going to good ol San Francisco. Vacation with a little bundle of energy should be a new and exciting experience :o)

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