Saturday, January 26, 2008

Freshly powdered mountains

I love seeing snow on the mountains. After it raining cats and dogs for the past few days in Southern California, here is the striking view from our house. Hello, Mountains! It's pretty sad that there are days here, that you would not even know these mountains exsisted if you had just landed here from Mars. The air gets THAT bad. The foothills of these mountians are not even 10 miles away! What have we done?

Maybe we should walk more.

St. Barbara's Monastery

After some long hours of work, Jason unexpectedly got a few days off from work. We thought we'd get away and take advantage of the time. We stayed in Ojai for a couple of days, and visited St. Barbara's Monastery in Santa Paula, CA. OF COURSE it rained and rained while we were gone. Then it rained some more. And some more. I pouted a little when we were unable take Hannah to the Santa Barbara Zoo on our second day. But that was dumb of me, for visiting the nuns again on the next day was a blessing to each of our souls. They were so cool. And kind, accommodating, funny, and brilliant!

The mini onion dome on top of the chapel/house/monastery.

On our second day we visited, there was about two hour break in the rain, so we went walking around the grounds, getting a little muddy, but in a good way. There is a little creek there too.

My cozy boy with me.

When we contemplated visiting the monastery, we had left a message on their answering machine, making sure it was ok that we visited. Jason asked, "Did you ever think we'd be waiting for a nun to call us back?" Well, no.

But I hope that we have built relationships with these lovely women for years to come.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ikea, here we come.

I'm in the market for something that may not exist. I need a desk that is nice enough (and compact enough) to go in our front room, that contains and hides all our computer junk, as well as printer and paper shredder so it is unseen by our little humans with iddy biddy widdle fingers. The home office is just not working in the kid's room. Duh.

I went to all these big furniture stores and everything was huge. And I thought, well, this is for people with gigantic houses. And it was all expensive, and I thought, why do I even bother coming to these places? I know I'm just going to end up at Ikea. But I feel like, should ALL my furniture be Ikea? What will happen in ten years when ALL of it gets funky and broken? Then we are going to have to buy even more Ikea stuff. Ah wella. The meatballs are yummy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Quiet and Still

Today was quiet. The evening is still. Still as it can be with small children. Jason is working tons. I'm amazing myself at my sanity at the moment. We're holding down the fort. Laundry is folded, placed in it's designated drawers and closets. Floors are swept, though not mopped.

When Jason comes home, quite soon I suspect, he'll be tired. The kids will be all over him. We'll talk some business. I'll dote on him with a hot meal and kindness. Like he's a weary traveler seeking sustenance and refuge at an inn, at which I am the keeper. He'll sleep better than a baby, only to be awoken by an obnoxious alarm in the dark morning to do it all over again. I wouldn't last a morning in his work boots.

I hope these long hours won't last too long. I miss watching stupid Jeopardy with him.

What to do.

Knit a scarf - practice the Purl stitch I finally have learned

Watch another girl movie. I've rented Sabrina - last night was Pride and Prejudice.

Finish reading St. John Chrysostom's On the Priesthood - required reading for our catechism

Go through all of our drawers and find placement for clothes we no longer wear

Do some baking

Have a sparkling clean home - Do the bathroom NOW.

Ready? Go!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shall I make some lemonade?

Naaah! It's wet and cold out, after a few days of rain. The sun is filling the house this morning. What to do with these lemons?

Lemon Cheese Pancakes! I got the recipe from the back of Trader Joes Buttermilk Pancake Mix. I fixed them up with some help from Miss Hannah's ferocious stirring technique. Basically you just had some lemon zest and a bit of cottage cheese. When I finished I thought maple syrup didn't sound quite right. So I dripped on some honey and added a squeeze of lemon juice. What a delightful way to enjoy a bright winter morning!

And what better company?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Go in for a coffee grinder...

Leave with something else entirely.

The last time I went to my favorite little thrift store shop, it was a rainy day. Today, as the gray clouds had just begun to release their smallest of droplets, I just happened to be in the neighborhood of the shop and I could feel a gravitational pull. Baby was sound asleep. Daughter had just awoken from her nap in the car. So we went for it. I was hoping to find a coffee grinder or maybe even a high chair in good shape. But I came out with a few like new name brand clothes for myself, Hannah, and even James, a cute sunflower headband for Hannah to brighten up the gloomy day.
You never know what you will find. But I found a bargain today. I struck gold. This might sound weird or gross if you are not a mom of a baby, but I found a fancy brand name duel electric/battery powered breast pump for $4.99! I KNOW! I was so excited. So of course I bought it. I'm not even sure if my baby would take a bottle, but with this pump I just may try it. I have a hand pump that is terrible so I've very little milk in my freezer, but with this thing I can stock up. Heck, I could donate. Or I could sell it* on craigslist and make a little profit. he he.

Thrift stores and rainy days. I don't know why, but they just go together.
*sell the pump, that is, not the milk. Just to be clear.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Greetings of the New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Nativity and were able to meet the new year with hope and love. Today I plan to take down all the festive Christmas trimmings and decor. It's always just a little depressing to do so, no matter how cluttered it all is.

Our Christmas was lovely, filled with lots of family and friends. It was our second Nativity Liturgy in the Orthodox Church and it was beautiful. Last year was beautiful too, of course, but it was still very foreign to me. This year it felt like home, and it felt much shorter than last year's! Could it be I've gotten used to long services? It was nice to break the fast, although, I think we all felt like after the month or so of eating vegan, once we had some meat and cheesy delights, there was a brick in our stomachs. Ugh! But we slept it off and were able to enjoy all that wonderful Mexican food I wrote about in my last post!
We've been feasting ever since. Last night I told our friend Matt that I was actually looking forward for today's normal Wednesday fast so I had an excuse to eat healthy again, but he said today is still a feast! Oh geez! And you know I'm all over the cheese cake in my fridge. Do I sound like a Golden Girl?

So any New Years resolutions for you?

Here are mine:

1. Stop using water bottles. I bought some reusable ones that I haven't used much, because I tend to grab the throw-aways when I'm in a hurry. So my plan is each and every morning, when I make my coffee to fill up my bottle too so it's ready for the day.

2. Go walking at least 4 days a week. Except for when it rains. Fresh air does us all some good. I never stay consistent with this stuff. But I need to. Especially when I like to eat cheesecake and cookies so much.

3. Take better care of my skin. I'm seeing little crows feet and lines all over. They don't really bother me much now, but they will later. I need to find a good cream and slather some on every night before bed.

So that's it. I know they're pretty superficial things, but I didn't feel like getting to deep with them. They're just realistic little things I thought would be nice to work on this year.

Jason said this year he REALLY wants to go on a vacation. That's a big deal, because since we've been married we have never gone anywhere for more than a long weekend. So I hope we can do that. The time as a family would be precious. Our kids seem to be growing faster than we can keep up with. On the morning of New Years Day, the four of us were all snuggled in bed. Hannah had tip toed in at some point in the morning and James had awoken and smiled at his daddy and said Da Da. Then he looked at Hannah and said Nannah. He's been saying Mamamamama for almost a month now, so it was so sweet to hear him saying his other family names. He plays games like peek-a-boo and he even made up a game we call "Good night! Good morning!" He lowers his little head on the pilllow and pretends to go to sleep so we say "Goodnight James!" Then he opens his eyes and lifts up his head and grins and we say, "Gasp! Goodmorning! Did you sleep well?" Then he gives me another grin and does it all over again. It gets my heart a little mushy every time. It's so fun to have a little man around. He crawls around and looks for little crums on the ground to hide in his dimpled hands. He pulls up on his crib and chews on the bars. He scales the couch and then falls, cries for about three seconds and does it all over again.

Hannah is up to her usual stuff. She's been playing with the massive amounts of toys she got for Christmas. One of her most favorite gifts is a toy washing machine. She likes to take off one of her barbie's clothes and "wash" it. It spins around and my goodness, that thing is obnoxious. Of course she loves it. It has several noisy cycles so she has been warned to NEVER play with it during brother's nap times. She's pretty good about it too. She's a sweet big sister. And very undestanding. Now that James is mobile, he goes for everything she has. They've had a few squabbles but overall, she keeps her cool about it. So far.
Blessed Nativity to you! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!