Friday, February 5, 2016


Writing on my blog helps me get my feelings out. Get my thoughts in order. But, sometimes I'm not sure that all my thoughts should be out there for everyone to read.

I've wanted to write about something for a long time but I  refrained. My family and friends read my blog and I didn't want to say what I was feeling in case it was interpreted wrong. I didn't want to be misunderstood.

But, it's time. 

Cam and I have made the very difficult decision to leave our parish. 

Very difficult. 

We are not leaving our faith. We are still Orthodox Christians and we are going to attend a parish closer to our home.

For many reasons...personal and practical...we came to the conclusion that this is the best choice for our family.

Over the past couple of years I have begun to feel disconnected at our parish. My family grew and changed and also things at church grew and changed. I don't like change. Nope. Nevertheless things change. My heart has a hard time keeping up with those changes.

So I waited and stewed and waited and talked to Cam and waited and continued on. But, things have only gotten busier in our lives. And yes, things change. That's life.

As our kids have gotten older they have become more involved in activities and sports, they have more homework. It's a different kind of busy from when they were little babies and toddlers.

If you know me well you know that it's excruciatingly hard for me to make decisions. It has to be (feel like) the perfect decision to me. It makes me crazy and yes, Cam too.

Cam is a practical thinker and a Big Picture kind of person. He made the decision that we would switch parishes. Not that he was deciding for me but he had made the decision for himself. He knew...and I knew that it was the right decision.

But, my heart. I cried and cried and cried. Tears of grief. Cam and I were married at our beautiful parish, we were chrismated Orthodox there too. All of our babies were baptized in that building. I have worshiped there for 20 years. There are families in the parish that we deeply love and will miss seeing weekly. It has been hard. Very hard.

It's been almost a month now since we made our decision and my tears are dry (drier) now. I sent emails to a hand full of friends to let them know of our change. I received some beautiful messages in return. A few people did not reply at all. That does bother me but I am thankful for the kind messages I did receive.

We will visit our old parish too. I'm hoping it feels nice and not awkward when we do visit. I'm worried about that. But, we have friends that we love and lives that we want to stay in touch with. When I met with our priest to tell him about our change he was very kind but also sad. I was relieved that he was sad. It's nice to know we are loved and will be missed.

So, on to the new chapter. We are now driving 8 miles instead of 25 to church. That makes a HUGE difference. The parish is small....small building but has recently purchased a building and will be remodeling/building a larger church. It's exciting to be part of that.

We know most of the families at the new parish. There are some of our oldest friends and some families that we have known just a couple of years. And now we've met several new people too.

The kids are loving the change. They have met kids and are having fun together. They like the short drive too.

I want to become connected in our new parish life so am working on ways to accomplish that.

Change is hard and yes I'm still sad but I am reaping the benefits of this change already. It's going to be a good change...even if it takes some time to get used to.

Seriously, It's a Dog's Life.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mom and Dad

Translation: Mom and Dad are in love I don't know why they are in love I don't know why

This is by Sis. Hilarious! I'm glad she knows we love each other. We will have to work harder to let her know why we love each other. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Puppy Eyes

This sweet girl has mastered Puppy Dog Eyes when she really, really, really wants something from you. 

Who could resist that face?!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year

I love the New Year! Actually I always think of "years" beginning and ending with the flow of the school year but I love the traditional New Year too. 

Christmas is gone, the decorations are put away, and lots of extra cleaning has taken place. I always like the house a bit empty after all the sparkle, clutter and pizzaz of the holidays. I leave the mantle mostly empty and I clear any decor off the window sills. It gives me such peace! A fresh start.

George brought this home after the first day back to school. I just love it and had to share. 

George's answers: I love his phonetic spelling...but I will translate for you here. :)

I want to learn: How to build a robot (love this)

I want to go: To New York (me too buddy, me too)

I want to do more: Reading (Yes!! The mama/teacher in me loves this answer)

I want to read: Wabite (apparently there is a cartoon called Wabbit and he wants to see if there is also a book)

I want to improve: I'm helpful (he's a good helper already but it's a nice goal)

I want to imagine: The poor is satisfied (oh, my heart just swelled with love and pride)

I want to try: Eating a snail (ummmm.....ewww, but points for bravery)

I want to change: McDonald's (love it...we don't eat there and we talk a lot about how the "food" they serve is not real food and why it's not healthy)

I want to: Read for 17 minutes (good goal buddy, actually you already read about 3 times that each day though)

In the new year I am going to: Hunt (ha! some laughs too...I think he is actually serious but not sure who is going to help him out with that)

I loved this New Year's goal setting so here's my answers too.

I want to learn: To make sticky buns

I want to go: On lots of hikes

I want to do more: Sewing

I want to read: Martin Marten

I want to improve: My core strength

I want to imagine: That my wild puppy will calm down

I want to try: Ballroom dance lessons

I want to change: My reaction to my pre-teen's teen-agey snarky behavior. Uh-huh

I want to: Say out loud more of the compliments I'm thinking in my head

In the new year I am going to: Send more cards

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sister is 8!

Sis turned 8 at the end of the year. Oh. My!! 8!!

Cam had to work her actual birthday so we opted to celebrate a day early. She wanted to go jump at the trampoline place. She was soooooo excited. We had cousins staying with us so they got to come along too. We drove into an empty parking lot and I had a sinking feeling. Ugh! The place had gone out of business but had not taken down their website.

Oh...was she mad...and sad. We salvaged the afternoon with lunch out at a favorite restaurant. She quickly turned happy again and planned a day of building forts with her cousins and siblings.

Sis picked out cupcakes and ice cream at the store for dessert. Okay...I had major guilt over this. I always make the kids a cake but with her birthday being so close to Christmas I was SO tired and overwhelmed so I opted for the store bought. I know she was fine and it's only cake but I still feel bad.

I made up for it a bit the next day (her actual birthday) and made her crepes topped with strawberries and whip cream AND hash browns (her favorite) for dinner. Oh yum!!

She had gotten an American Girl doll for Christmas and for her birthday she got the horse and camper. Oh has she been having fun!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas Faves

This is mostly how I feel about Christmas. The hoopla goes on for weeks and it's all a bit too much for me. I like the calm after the storm. My favorite part of Christmas is when it's over. Yep. I love it when the house is cleaned and the kids are still out of school and we can just hang out and enjoy the quiet....well, as quiet as my house ever gets. 

The above photo was my very bad cold coupled with my very bad hair. I was so sick that I forgot I had a hair appointment. Very bad. And now I'm stuck with dark roots and ugly hair until the end of January. Eeeeee-gads!

Some of my favorite things about Christmas...yes, there are some things I love. I adore the lights. I love both indoor and outdoor lights. Tuba LOVES the lights and was thrilled getting off the school bus each day as I strung lights in the yard. I love the crackly fire and candles lit along with our beautiful tree. I love the tree too. Putting it up and taking it down....not my favorite. 

Christmas books. We have a big basket of books that we love to read at night. 

Cam and I had a Christmas shopping date. I LOVED that. He was on crutches so we couldn't do too much but we were able to go out for a fun dinner and then finish up our shopping. All shopping should start with dinner and drinks!

I also had a nice shopping date with this cutie. He bought for his siblings and Cam and I this year since he's now at the middle school and they don't have the Holiday Store. He was only a little impatient when I'd stop to look at things. We had a nice treat time too! And he did a great job picking gifts for everyone! He had a $10 limit per person and he found nice things to buy. 

Lots of time off school means lots of time to stay home and snuggle. I love that.

Lots of time to hang out and be silly. The kids were putting out their stockings on Christmas Eve and found the mustache stickers from last year still in the stockings. Oh fun!

Other things I love about Christmas....

My homemade almond brittle
Watching the kids open their presents
Saying Merry Christmas
Driving around looking at lights on houses
Watching Elf with my kids
Christmas dishes, I didn't use mine this year and I miss them

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Highlights

So my last post was a bit Bah Humbug and a little Grinchy sounding. We did have some great times over Christmas. 

The Highlights:

Cam came home from work one night and told me about a young gal that was in his ICU. She has a terrible disease and two young children. She had spent a lot of time in the hospital and was back again and most likely going to miss being home for Christmas. He had asked the gal if it would be okay for Cam and I to buy her kids some Christmas gifts. She humbly gave him the go ahead. We planned to buy the kids a few toys and some Christmas treats and help make a hard situation a little nicer.

Then while laying in bed with insomnia Cam felt that God was once again speaking to him and placing this young mom on his mind. He got out of bed and wrote a Facebook post asking if anyone wanted to help contribute to this family. 

The response was amazing. It was humbling. And it made our Christmas dreams come true. 

Over the next week we began to receive checks in the mail. And gift cards. And friends began to stop by our house with cash...and gifts....and food. I'm talking lots of friends! And lots of money! And so much LOVE!! 

Cam arranged for us to deliver the items to the hospital so the woman could share in the joy of what her girls would receive. But, a wonderful thing happened and she was released from the hospital in time to spend Christmas at home. 

We instead were able to deliver the items to her home. Cam was on crutches and the apartment was on the third floor so I was the elf...climbing up and down with loads of things. It was AWESOME!! 

We delivered oodles of wrapped gifts for two small girls and gifts for a the mom. We brought a cozy blanket and a basket full of holiday treats, and a box of food. AND...we delivered a gift card tree with cards for Target, Subway, McDonalds, Visa, ToysRUs, and Fred Meyer. Get this!!!!! Totalling over $1,050.00. 

It was so much fun to deliver the items!! I think they were shocked. They were so happy and they were so, so thankful. 

Cam and I shed a few tears after getting back into our van. 

We are so thankful for all we have and truly thankful for our friends and family who gave so freely to help someone else have a Merry Christmas. The magic of Christmas is alive and well! 


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