Tuesday, December 26, 2006

And this bit of information...

I know, I know, I already got lectured by Thomas Ham about this, because I said I was tempted to peek at my ultrasound since Jason wasn't going to be there. But I told the tech I didn't want to find out and this baby voluntarilly exposed itself just at the right moment. And, well, it's a BOY!!! We're so excited. It will be fun to have a little man around the house, and we're already anticipating choo choo trains and sporty, blue, boyish things. We wanted to wait until Christmas to tell our family, and since my mom reads this blog, I am just now posting this.

A Report on a Blessed Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas! Here were some of the highlights:

On Christmas Eve we went to Jason's uncle's house for dinner and presents. It was fun watching Hannah and her 2 year old twin girl cousins run around and play together in their Christmas dresses. Jason's family opens their presents like a bunch of neanderthals, and I say that affectionately. After being raised in a family that opens presents very orderly and by age (youngest going first) I still am not used to the joyful chaos that occurs once "present time" has been announced. One can get lost in the sea of wrapping paper and bows and the shouted "Thank you's" enveloping the room.

After that, we left to go to church. We were early and tried to take a nap in the car to no success, but there were already a bunch of people there so we took our time visiting the bookstore and making our pit stops, went inside and made it for much of Orthros. Neither Jason or myself new how long the Liturgy would be, or if there would be Communion or not. But it was LOOOOONG. But very good too! It was so beautiful. The church was adorned with lovely flowers and seeing everyone there at such a late hour with their sleepy, sweet children was very special. It was nice to hear the Liturgy being sung in a Major again, and added to the joy of the evening. It was so joyful that I found myself relishing every moment while I was there. I had peace and a satisfaction that this is how the Lord has been worshipped for centuries. I didn't need my comfy chair, an overly produced church service/rock concert, or even familiarity, to make me know that Jesus Christ was with me, and this was the night He came humbly to the earth with a purpose to conquer death.

Hannah slept through the majority of everything, we got her stroller so she could continue sleeping during the feast. We had a meal of very rich food, made lovingly by parishioners full of all the dairy and meat products every one had missed during the fast. I got a bit of everything, but could have had two plates of a delicious Greek salad. By the time we were all at the table enjoying the company and the food, Hannah sat up and had the most sour expression and started flailing her hands at us all, saying "NO!" at least 25 times. I think I was so tired I actually pointed and laughed at her. No, more like I pointed and howled at her. It was just far too past my bed time to be the patient, loving, and concerned parent I normally strive to be. Jason ended up picking her up and doing something to make her come around. She eventually lightened up when I shoved a bunch of chocolate milk and sweets in her face. She especially loved going to the dessert table to pick out something. Her favorite was a wonderful berry cobbler. Yum! It was my favorite too. That and the decadent cheesecake with the oreo cookie crust, with chocolate chips through out.

By the time we got home it was 3 AM. We apologized to the dog for the neglect all day, and collapsed into bed. Being the early riser I am, I couldn't stay in bed any longer at about 8AM. I poked around the house, hoping my family would wake up. They did about 3 hours later. We opened our presents, then as quickly as possible got ready to go to my parent's house. Since I'm the more functioning person in the morning, I got all the stuff out of our car that was from the night before, and put all of the Christmas day presents in. We got to my parent's house, and my mom and dad served us some delicious pazole, a Mexican soup similar to menudo, but made with pork instead of tripe. It was so good, and just the thing for our tired bodies. We opened up presents, which was fun because my parents gave Hannah a rocking horse with animatronics that nays and gallops. She loves it and has played with it all day today. We loved spending time with my parents, some more of my family came over, and we enjoyed a meal outside, since it was a lovely 75 degree day (I know, not very Christmasy weather) but enjoyable nonetheless.

After that we went to Jason's step dad's side of the family. We don't normally go there, but Jason really likes them, and they always invite us so we thought we would make an effort. We decided this visit should last us at least four years (ha!). Once we got there we enjoyed seeing them all, and Hannah had fun too.

So overall, we had a wonderful Christmas. It was the first year I really didn't feel all that stressed out, and actually had gifts for everyone we needed to have gifts for wrapped before Christmas Eve. Our families, as usual spoiled us generously with really great presents. My only complaint was, that I wish Jason had today off. It would have been nice for just the three of us to have a quiet day at home. He really didn't want to go to work today, and I don't blame him. But I really appreciate him for going anyway. I tried to put toghether the play kitchen my inlaws got for Hannah, but couldn't get the blasted doors to go on. I gave up. So now I'm laundering new clothes, and wasting time on this blog. I think I 'll go to the store soon and make some tuna noodle casserole for dinner and get this house in order so we can at least enjoy our evening. Thank you Lord for a blessed Christmas! And in my new way to express my celebration of the birth of our Lord - Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry, Merry Christmas

Last week Hannah and I had the day to ourselves and went to Disneyland. We had passes that just expired so it was our last day to go. I have never gone just with just the two of us so I was kind of nervous carting around all our stuff by wobbly self. But we did just fine with a little umbrella stroller. It was so fun to just hang out with my little girl, and a little sad to think this will be one of the last times it's just me and her. I doubt I would have the gall to take Hannah and a little baby to Disneyland by myself. We missed Jason though, it just isn't the same without him. He had to work - when I ask Hannah where Daddy goes everyday she says, "Daddy wooking. He make money." Somebody has to pay the bills around here! :)

The highlights of our day were seeing all the beautiful Christmas decorations, the huge tree, It's a Small World - where Hannah could barely contain herself from standing up on the boat, shaking her booty, waving her arms, and singing along to the "It's a Small World/Jingle Bells." Another delight of the day was Hannah getting to meet Winnie the Pooh. They embraced each other like a pair of long lost old friends. After that we got some hot cocoa and ate some of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made for us while having a converstation about how Goofy is nice, and so is Winnie the Pooh.

We ended our day taking a trip around the park on the train, and then taking a picture by the tree. I tried to take a picture of just Hannah, and she completely ignored me. I then asked a nice lady to take our picture, so Hannah, not wanting to disappoint the nice lady went ahead and paid attention and hammed it up like her normal self.

In other news, I'm happy to announce that I have a replacement to my flat iron. All is right in the world. My mom actually had an extra and brought one over - Thank you again!

I have been getting ready for Christmas, trying to shop between naptimes and picking up my neighbor girls from school. I was a knitting slacker this year and only ended up making one scarf. So much for learning patterns and all that. I did make some cute cookies in a jar gifts for family and friends. They have all the flour and dry ingredients, and then you make a lable of what fresh ingredients are needed, and how to make them. I made a batch for myself and they were quite good fresh from the oven. They have white chocolate chips and m&ms and I think I would prefer them to have regular chocolate chips instead. But they were tasty nonetheless. Sorry to those of you fasting. :)

Tomorrow I go for my 20 week ultra sound. Jason can't go this time and I told him I'm tempted to find out the sex. He said I'd better not. I won't but I can't help it if I see something. I'm feeling the baby do gymnastics lately, and just the other day Jason was finally able to feel it too. I'm also getting a taste of the uncomfortable sleep the belly bump can cause. On my back I feel like my brain is not getting much oxygen, stomach - forget about that, and I get uncomfortable quickly on each side, making for those oh so lovely nights of tossing and turning. Ah, well, half way done, and it only gets more uncomfortable from here. And then when the baby comes, I can just forget about sleep altogether. So I should just quit my complaining.

I'm excited about our first Orthodox Christmas and the feast after Liturgy late, late at night. I'm not sure how Hannah will do. I love Christmas! So if you read this, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Only a few more days left for shopping and running around. Glory to God!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yes, a poop I am.

Every night Jason and I take turns reading a chapter of The Way of the Aescetics.

I already had an idea that I was a selfish piece of poop, but this confirms it. I'm totally ready to hear it though. It's OK. I've read so much self-esteem nonsense from Christian books, that this is a truly refreshing read. From Scripture, you get the sense Jesus was never one to pat egos.

Another book I've picked up is Schmemman's For the Life of the World. I was reluctant to read it, and I had no idea where he was going in the beginning, talking about food, but I pressed on, and it is excellent. I finally feel like I am getting it, in regards to the Sacraments, the importance of the Eucharist, and a Eucharistic life. Wow, wow, wow.

When I look back at my Christian "walk" in the past, I can see I was always right at the surface, unaware of the depth that was intended. I really thought communion with God was just me inviting Him into my life, but it should be me, embracing the opportunity to join Him into His presence, into His heavenly realm. And I can only do that by letting go of the sin that entangles me, holding me down into utter selfishness.

And it's weird, but I had always thought this type of faith would make me full of guilt, making me miss God's grace. But it doesn't. It's just rejoicing in the truth. And the truth is sometimes ugly and difficult to accept. But it does indeed set one free.