Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Raining, It's Pouring...


But we sure aren't snoring! Here in Southern California, when it rains, and you've got yourself a shiny new rain coat and rain boots, by golly, you're gonna use 'em! The first thing she said after I informed her of the rain this morning was, "I'm gonna wear my rain coat!" How could I deny her?

This weekend we decorated our house - this is our very first Christmas tree. Yes it's fake. I used to put our ornaments on some greenery, but we just have too many now, so it was time. The kids loved it and Hannah enjoys her priveledge of turning on the lights every evening. James is on the verge of crawling any day now. It doesn't mean he stays put though. He scoots backwards all over the house.

And just look at that funny Nanny McPhee tooth he's got there! We should be seeing it's twin companion any day. Babies are lucky they are so cute, with all their complaining they do. Poor guy.

Happy Feast Day!


Today is our parish Patronal Feast Day! We celebrated a beautiful Liturgy last night with 10 priests there! I'd never seen so many priests all in one place before. This is about his life from the OCA website:

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he later brought his own brother, the holy Apostle Peter, to Christ (John 1:35-42). The future apostle was from Bethsaida, and from his youth he turned with all his soul to God. He did not enter into marriage, and he worked with his brother as a fisherman. When the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, St Andrew became his closest disciple. St John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian, declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, St Andrew went to the Eastern lands preaching the Word of God. He went through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, he reached the River Danube, went along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea, the Black Sea region and along the River Dniepr he climbed to the place where the city of Kiev now stands. He stopped overnight on the hills of Kiev. Rising in the morning, he said to those disciples that were with him: "See these hills? Upon these hills shall shine forth the beneficence of God, and there will be a great city here, and God shall raise up many churches." The apostle went up around the hills, blessed them and set up a cross. Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dniepr and reached a settlement of the Slavs, where Novgorod was built. From here the apostle went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome for preaching, and again he returned to Thrace, where in the small village of Byzantium, the future Constantinople, he founded the Church of Christ. The name of the holy Apostle Andrew links the mother, the Church of Constantinople, with her daughter, the Russian Church. On his journeys the First-Called Apostle endured many sufferings and torments from pagans: they cast him out of their cities and they beat him. In Sinope they pelted him with stones, but remaining unharmed, the persistant disciple of Christ continued to preach to people about the Savior. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the Lord worked miracles. By the labors of the holy Apostle Andrew, Christian Churches were established, for which he provided bishops and clergy. The final city to which the Apostle came was the city of Patra, where he was destined to suffer martyrdom. The Lord worked many miracles through His disciple in Patra. The infirm were made whole, and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the illustrious citizen Sosios recovered from serious illness; he healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patra, and his brother Stratokles. The miracles accomplished by the Apostle and his fiery speech enlightened almost all the citizens of the city of Patra with the true Faith. Few pagans remained at Patra, but among them was the prefect of the city, Aegeatos. The Apostle Andrew repeatedly turned to him with the words of the Gospel. But even the miracles of the Apostle did not convince Aegeatos. The holy Apostle with love and humility appealed to his soul, striving to reveal to him the Christian mystery of life eternal, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Cross of the Lord. The angry Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the apostle. The pagan thought he might undo St Andrew's preaching if he were to put him to death on the cross. St Andrew the First-Called accepted the decision of the prefect with joy and with prayer to the Lord, and went willingly to the place of execution. In order to prolong the suffering of the saint, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail the saint's hands and feet, but to tie them to the cross. For two days the apostle taught the citizens who gathered about. The people, in listening to him, with all their souls pitied him and tried to take St Andrew down from the cross. Fearing a riot of the people, Aegeatos gave orders to stop the execution. But the holy apostle began to pray that the Lord would grant him death on the cross. Just as the soldiers tried to take hold of the Apostle Andrew, they lost control of their hands. The crucified apostle, having given glory to God, said: "Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit." Then a blazing ray of divine light illumined the cross and the martyr crucified upon it. When the light faded, the holy Apostle Andrew had already given up his holy soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the wife of the prefect, had the body of the saint taken down from the cross, and buried him with honor. A few centuries later, under the emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles beside the relics of the holy Evangelist Luke and St Paul's disciple St Timothy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last nights dish...

It was a vegan/lenten concoction of starch upon starch. It was good, I think. Well, it satisfied, and it wasn't yet another night of spaghetti on the Nativity Fast.

I'll call it Curried Sweet Potatoes on Rice. I think I may just do it again with a couple tweaks. Here's how I did it:

Made some basmati rice. While that cooked I boiled sweet potatoes. When those finished I set them aside, got a big pan out and sauteed vegan butter, a minced clove of garlic, a small sliced onion, and some salt. When the onions were almost carmelized I added the sweet potatoes which were quite mushy. I smashed them more as I added them to the pan. Then I thought, hmm, needs something else, what do I have? Oh half a bag of frozen spinach. Why not? I threw it in straight from the freezer. As it heated, I added more salt, some chopped Italian parsley, and about two tablespoons of curry powder. I also added about a cup of water so it would be a bit thinner and have a runnier consistency, which would be good on the rice. Next time I will add maybe another cup, because it was still pretty thick. Better yet, if I have some, I would use veggie stock. It was good in some flat bread we had hanging out in the fridge. Jason liked it, but Hannah was not super impressed until I added a wee bit more salt to hers.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Serenity Now!

Today at church the kiddo's were both actually good and I was able to hear Fr. Josiah's entire homily. It was about anxiety and fear. It was great, and I am way too lame to even begin to paraphrase it, but what stuck out to me was his commentary on our society on how we are so medicated. We are a terribly anxious, worried, and overwhelmed people, aren't we? The saints teach us how to live at peace despite losing "everything" here on earth. They are martyred into paradise, while so many humans may have more luxuries than one can think of, but may parish eternally. I get so wrapped up in my tiny little wants, but is any of it eternal? How do I fix my eyes on Christ alone? This desire for stuff creates anxiety...Will I be able to afford this or that? Will I ever get a new car? Will we every have a bigger house? Stressful stuff. Probably stressful enough for some to go on all kinds of pills. I'm not a pill popper myself (although to be fair, I've had a pretty stable, happy life thus far)but I could understand why some are. I think we are meant to feel our feelings and over come them. How can we conquer our fears if we numb them? What a sadness. Our society teaches us that numb is good. Don't want to feel the pain of child labor? We have drugs for that. Never mind that it can rob you of one of the most incredible, victorious moments of your life. Maybe it's weird of me to link the whole birth issue to to this, but it seems fitting. If we are Christians, we are to have joy in suffering, to be serene when everything is crappy. I wish I didn't suck at this. I'm such a complainer. Chief Complainer Lauren S. is done complaining now. Have a blessed and serene Sunday.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Go Ricki! Go Ricki!


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That's right, I'm talking about Ricki Lake. A couple of gals and I drove out to Newport Beach for a special viewing of the former talk show hostess' labor of love documentary: The Business of Being Born. It has a website where you can view the trailer - www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com Go now and watch it!

It was so excellent and encompassed so much of what I went through to have my baby naturally (after my doctor CAUSED my cesarean with my first child). If you get a chance to see this film, please, please do. You might be disgusted at the United State's condition of child birth , and you may be shocked to know how low we rank as far as maternal mortality, infant mortality (second WORST in the world for developed countries) in comparison to the rest of the world. Better than just you yourself see it - take your little sisters to see it, any young women you may know, heck take your little brother if you have one! I'm not saying every one should have to have natural child birth, but if it is desired, women should not be undermined the way they are today the minute they enter the maternity ward of a hospital.

Ricki Lake was at the event for Q&A and we got to meet her. (That's us in the pix above, my friend and Bradley Instructor Jamie is holding James. On the bottom photo, our friend Brenda is chatting it up with Ricki.) She was so very passionate, down to earth, and looked fantastic. I suppose I'm a little start struck! The funnies thing said that night was by Ricki. Some one in the audience asked about her using her celebrity to further the cause and she said, "I did enough hoochie mama make overs to get me here..."

Also there was Dr. Bob Sears of The Sears' The Baby Book fame. He was very kind, and signed our friend Brenda's copy of his new book The Vaccine Book which he said is his passion. I definitely want to get my hands on the book because I find that The Sear's are great doctors whom are honest, practical, and not sold out to drug or formula companies. From what I hear he gives a specific alternative vax schedule to compare to the traditional one, that should be much easier on our tiny baby's bodies. He also has a blog that you can find via www.askdrsears.com that he personally answers.

It was a great night out and James did really well for me. I figured I wouldn't be the only one in that group toting my baby along. Of course there were tons of mamas and babies. Ah, good times for me!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

10 things I never want to forget:

About Hannah, age 3

1) I love how you say the words chicken and kitchen. And how daddy and I make you same them together in a sentence. I want some chicken in the kitchen. And you say, "I want some chucken in the kitchun." We all think it's the funniest thing in the world.

2) I love how when you get in your carseat you get your straps on all by yourself. Sometimes we get into the driver seat and forget that we haven't buckled you in, and you say every time, "I NEED BUCKLE!" It's become such a ritual that we some times pretend that we are going to forget to do it, just so we can hear you say it again.

3) You are so great in the car. You just chill and look out the window. On the way to church you always notice a big metal wooly mammoth perched up on a hill, and you always say, "Hi Mr. Elephant."

4) When I do your hair, you are so very still and pacient for me. Some days you want your hair in two braids, or one like your Auntie Amy sometimes wears. Yesterday you said you wanted your hair long like mine. Today your hair is a crazy mess because you didn't want to take a shower and I didn't have any fight in me this morning. So you did it yourself and promised to take a bath tonight. You have a headband on that is situated right on you hair line. The other day you wanted to wear your headband on your forehead like Tiger Lily on Peter Pan. But you call her Tiger Girl.

5)You still love chapstick. Right now you are sitting on my lap, slathering it on, then smacking your lips.

6)Whenever daddy comes home, you "hide". Which means you bury your face into the couch and giggle until he "finds" you.

7) You sing and jump and dance. You often say, "Mommy! WATCH ME!" And then you hop over something and look at my face anticipating my, "Wow, that was amazing."

8) You say things just like me. You say words like amazing and coo at your brother just how I do saying, "Aw, what a cute little guy." Or, "Poor little fellow."

9) You love to wear scarves at church, and you have a special friend who knows this, and gave you some adorable polka dot ones that you love to take on and off, especially at home in front of the mirror.

10) I love so much about you dear Hannah. 10 things are not enough to describe you at all, how you come into our bed every morning and I can hear your little foot steps, you giggle at your brother and harass me to get you some juice, and throw fits about my completely unreasonable request that you go pee first, but then as soon as you do you run back in and say "I DID it!" and act as if you didn't throw any fit at all and everything is cool. In fact the other day you used the word cool in a sentence. I had watched a grown up movie after you went to bed, and the next morning you asked me if I watched my movie and I said yes, and then you asked me this: "Was it coowell?" I gave you a funny look asked you what? Was it what? And you said so plainly again, "Was it cooooowell?" And I said, yes, I guess it was cool. You talk so much and so very well, and sometimes I want you to stop growing and learning so fast and be just like you are this very day forever. Even though you are so frustrating too I want to pull chunks of my hair out. I love you forever and ever.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bashful



This photo was taken today. Not on Halloween. Because I'm a terrible mother who forgets to take pictures during traditional milestones and holidays. I did take a picture with my camera phone that night. But then what? How the heck do I put that on my blog? That is way too technical for me. It may require a new cable or something. So today Hannah was playing dress up and I decided to get a shot of Cinderella. This one made me laugh. My only flub was throwing out our rotting pumpkin this morning. I could have fooled you all.

So I'm trying to get my blog cuter. Thanks for the comments on the template I picked out. I pretty much am hating my title. Mostly, I think it's the word striving that I'm not enjoying. It's kind of a dorky word, huh? Usually I'm OK with being pretty dorky, but it keeps bothering me. So help. I'm commissioning you dear readers, all three of you, and mom, help me come up with a new blog title!! Whoever wins will get, nothing, since I don't have anything cool to give away, but maybe I'll give you some props in a silly way, right here on my blog. You'll just have to see.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My Six Things of Happiness

I'm playing along - here are six things that have made me happy today:

1. Visiting with old friends last night, and still thinking about the great conversations and laughs we had. It is a joy to have your house full of happy, noisy children, a crock pot full-o-soup, good beverages, and friends you can reminisce about the good ole'days with.

2. Guacamole Boca Burgers I am about to make for tonight. Easy and yummy.

3. A play date today that was fun for Hannah AND me. It is a true blessing when both the children and the mothers enjoy each others company.

4. A beautiful new icon of The Just Hannah which came in the mail yesterday for dear Hannah. She loves it and we will definitely order from www.comeandseeicons.com again. They have gone green with their icons - they are now made of a much more evironmentally friendly board and it was sent wrapped in a cute piece of fabric which we learned was scraps from a fabric store. Cool, huh?

5. My sweet chubby baby smiles and laughs and gives me plenty to be happy about.

6. Jason doesn't have to work tomorrow (and he's had to work a few Saturday's in a row) so I am very happy to have him for a whole weekend. Yippee!