Monday, April 21, 2014

Pascha, 2014

We did a little bit more for Pascha this year. It went well, and maybe we should have been doing a little bit more all along. We made it to several holy week services, and the girls did great overall.


Shopping for Pascha.

Anticipating Abba throwing flowers during Saturday's service, our favorite.

Abba throwing flowers.
Mommy and Annea.

Snuggling with Daddy waiting for the rest of the service to happen. Really, for the girls, it's all about throwing the flowers.
Cute Easter photo area.
Sleeping? during the midnight service.

And then, the long awaited--the most fun event of the year-- the Pascha picnic.
Eliana egg hunting.

Eliana and Annea egg hunting.

Adessa egg hunting.

Annea and Uncle Ben.

Annea kissing chicky with godmother Amy.

Easter Photo Booth posing.

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen! It was a glorious Pascha.

Spring 2014

Some pictures from our beautiful Spring!


Our new neighbors, a sweet little family of house finches.

We don't have a webcam set up (yet?) but we are monitoring their progress quite studiously, especially Calvin. He actually helped build the nest, the birds had been frittering around trying to get some sticks and grass to stick up on our slick two-inch porch beam, and so he twisted together some branches for the base of their nest. Dear man!

Impromptu photo session on a family walk. So many beautiful blossoms around!

Girls with our dogwood. Traditional (yearly) shot.

We borrowed "The Prince of Egypt", a 1998 cartoon about Moses, and played it for the girls while getting stuff done around the house. We were surprised to have both girls came to us crying their eyes out, because in it Pharaoh's son turned out to be mean, just like his dad, even though he had been Moses's friend when he was younger. It made the girls so sad!! We stopped the movie and talked about it and had just finished the retreat with George Papageorge about allowing kids to feel their feelings, not just dismissing their sadness, or trying to distract them. We let them cry, especially Eliana, who then felt sad about other things she thinks about, like loosing her grandmas. She sobbed! It made me cry, we all had a good cry. After a decent interval of really empathizing and feeling our feelings, :), I talked to both girls about things we can do when we feel sad, we can talk about things, we can write our feelings down, we can draw about how we feel. The next morning, Eliana came to me and asked me how to write: "Last night I was sad". This was what she made. Go, Eliana!!

Gardening at Grandpa's-- We're gardening! Not at our house because Calvin is fundamentally opposed to having anything else to do, but Grandpa is helping us by watering and providing a plot of soil, and I'm growing seedlings in a greenhouse at school. I love it! The seedling growing has been such a kick, how rewarding, they are growing! Maybe I'm a gardener after all! And if it all grows at Grandpa's house, that's okay.
Annea with Grandpa and Carson.
Annea in the wagon.

Five K. I ran one! It was great! I had fun training, and it was the farthest I've ever run, (ran?) and I'm not sure I'm going to do it all the time, but I see the appeal.

Another family walk.
All in a line.
Family selfie!

Eliana posing on fence, Quail Hollow Ranch. I had errands to run at our district office, and on a whim we stopped off for a lovely little walk. Walking around the ranch there was a huge red pile of redwood bark/sawdust, and Eliana said: "Ooooohhh! Look!! Cinnamon!" I tried to get her to say it again for a video, and asked her on camera: "What's that big pile there?" She waited, not knowing what I was trying to get her to say, and queried: "Horse fur?" So funny.
Eliana and Annea viewing the pond.

Spring Break

I meant to write immediately after spring break, as I was awash with love for my girls and the wonderful week we spent hanging out together. It seemed the few days after, when we were back to the grind, the magic wore off a little bit and the memory of the feeling remained, but... the feeling was dimmed, perhaps due to being back to the grind, places to be, homework to do, etc. But we did have such a lovely week, I was enamored of my girls, and it felt like falling in love again. Part of it was having a moment to sit and be with them, we had no big plans, and they are at ages that are delightful. We also have been having conversations, Calvin and I, about how good our girls are. That they know we are there for them, and they respond to our guidance (most of the time), and they are disciplined and well behaved, and all without spanking or even time outs. Hopefully this trend continues!! I will work to make it so!

Adessa is much more flexible and understanding about when things don't go exactly her way. She is helpful and caring, and eager to please, hopefully in a healthy way. My friend told me that at age six or seven, kids start being "on our team". Adessa is on our side, now. She knows how things work in our family. She can see what needs to be done and volunteer to help. Especially when she has had a nap (yes, still!), she is cheerful and pleasant. She can do so much now, but understands the limits of what she is supposed to do and not supposed to do. (As opposed to four years old, the age that I have been finding the hardest, where being able to do things (open the fridge, climb on the counter, move furniture, etc.) and knowing what's allowable don't always connect and correspond in the four year old's brain. Frustrating for mom!) The first day of spring break, Adessa went to a birthday party for a girl in her class, but had to get a ride there because Calvin was doing overtime and it was nap time. He got home in time for me to drive out to the party and be there for the last 40 minutes and take her home. She was so happy. She wasn't expecting me, and she had resigned herself to being taken care of by our carpool buddies, but it was better for her when I was there. It was a little lesson for me, I was glad I made the effort. I want to make the effort for my girls!

Eliana is growing out of her four year old self (see above) and into her five year old self, her birthday is coming right up. She sometimes has lots of emotions and we are working on helping her identify them and feel them (that's the hardest part for me) before moving on to solutions. She is sometimes at odds with Annea, which was a terrible shock, and she and Adessa have moments of discord, also. Mostly I just try to hold her and take deep breaths and listen to her, because it's gotta be hard in the middle. She loves to dance, and to turn up or turn on our music. We call her the DJ. It often takes me a minute to register that our music is blasting, and I always know who is responsible. She loves to laugh and be tickled and tell long stories with many gestures and facial expressions. She loves her preschool and is also looking forward to Kindergarten in the fall.

Annea is talking and singing up a storm. She gets frustrated when we can't understand her words, or sometimes starts with screaming for what she wants and then will get around to the words when encouraged. She is funny and engaging, our obvious extrovert. It is with bittersweet joy that I think about her growing up so quickly and being our last one. I have resolved to get my face off of screens more, as the need to constantly be reading, searching, posting, surfing can't possibly help with the years going by too fast, and childhoods being over in a blink of an eye. Since my mom's death I feel like every place in the house where I might ever want to land for a moment has something distracting for me to do, Suduku, iPad, iPhone, magazine, book. I have some good books to read, too, but they are not electronic and I haven't gravitated toward them, and real books are easier to put down, somehow. Something to work on, for sure!

The first day of spring break our friend and godson Alex was here, and we took a trip to the Seymore Center, basically just your friendly neighborhood aquarium. We all had a great time, as there were exciting creatures to see and touch, and the weather outside was wild and invigorating.

We got to meet up with the old gang, my mom's group, which was so great. We don't see them much but they are dear to me.

I heard voices coming from the girls room early one morning, and went in to find Adessa reading to Eliana with her flashlight. Cute!!

The last weekend of spring break was a Lenten Retreat, a great speaker our church had two years ago (I blogged about it!), George Papageorge. He was wonderful again, talking about if we want our church, our home, our marriage to be a "museum" (cold, sterile, beautiful, on display, perfect looking) or a "hospital" (for healing, safe, messy, truth telling, problem solving, dealing with reality, nonjudgmental, compassionate, etc.) It was so great. The big deal that I got out of hearing him was how to have a "hospital" home, with parents as Emotion Coaches (not dismissing their feelings), looking at mistakes as opportunities to learn, empathizing, connecting with our kids, and having their back. Making the extra effort. I want to do it!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

More Than Two Weeks?

I have a sneaking suspicion that its been more than two weeks since I last wrote. Ugh. It took a few weeks to even realize that I've been remiss, and a few more to cram time in for writing. And if you could see me now, I figured out how to split our computer screen with two internet windows open, and Annea is on my lap, Eliana is perching on my chair behind me, and Adessa is sitting on the desk. I'm typing on one window and fending off Annea's attempts to hit the space bar--her big computer move-- while they watch Hoopla Kids on youtube in the next window. And now I'm nursing and typing with one hand. But it really is remarkable that I'm here at all. You can thank me with chocolate.

We've had some colds and coughs, and strep throat(Adessa) and an ear infection (Annea). Probably the biggest thing keeping me away from blogging is my newfound determination to exercise. Discipline has not been one of my strengths, ever, really. But I have been doing resistance high intensity interval training and walking myself around the block, and feeling good.

And so, without further ado:

Annea: This girl istalking up a storm, some of it intelligible. She sings all the time, especially "That Girl is On Fire" by Alicia Keys, her version is belted out at full volume: "Girl Fiiiire.". Sickness has made her grumpy and clingy a lot of the time, and totally interrupted my attempts at night weaning, but otherwise she's delightful. She parrots what we say, marches around the house in Eliana's percussion band, pretends to be a kitty cat, and happily plays outside with the girls. She wants to do whatever the girls are doing, to a horrifying and inconvenient degree, like strap herself into her car seat, get herself out of her carseat (impossible and frustrating for everyone involved), climb and jump on whatever huge, ungainly thing the girls are climbing and jumping on.

Eliana: Just had Kindergarten Round Up! She's going to Kindergarten next year, she's ready! We had a bit of a pause about school a few weeks ago when I got a call from her preschool, wondering if she'd been exposed to the letters and numbers and just had trouble with them, or if she hadn't been exposed and that's why she didn't know any of them. Oops. So we did a mini-cram session with flash cards and a Kindergarten book and practice and she is fine, she knows them now and will go to school. Yay! She's sooooo excited. She really has been waiting for two years. Besides that, she's into a nice part of four years old, almost five. Still a lot of correcting, but she is helpful and silly and fun and snuggly.

Adessa: Doing great! She's seen the advantage of getting her homework done early in the week and not having stress the night before. (Yay!) She is enjoying school and her friends and writing little books and PE. She is super helpful to me, fetching and schlepping and currying. (Is that brushing a horse? Or cooking Indian?) She still has neither of her front teeth, and working in her class today I saw a kid who's grown up teeth are starting to come in. We're entering a not very photo-friendly time, I fear, though she is so cute. They all are.

I'm still a loud mom, vocal in my displeasure with their sometimes bizarre ideas about what's acceptable. I am still working on it. The discipline thing is also something I'm working on to be better for my kids, like sleeping enough and eating healthy and modeling good habits. I see their preciousness so clearly, too. So precious!!

Gleeful Annea

Eliana and Annea with me on an exercise walk. They both did great in the stroller so I could walk on West Cliff.

A cultural outing! Adessa's teacher, Janet (pictured), invited all her students to Bookshop SC to see/hear a children's author, Mac Barnett. We all went and it was so great! We enjoyed ourselves, some of us were more surprised than others to have such a good time. (Calvin!) We will look for more things like this to do.

A Saturday sojourn to Starbucks. A favorite of mine. Fun to be out and about with the girls in the early morning, when they are eager and bright and happy to be at Starbucks.

Eliana showcasing the fabulously large and heartfelt valentine from Grandpa. Sweet! He's great about cards for all occasions.