Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pascha Carnival

And off to the Pascha Carnival. It's the "wear whatever you want day...eat whatever you want day...have fun day". 

The photos are all courtesy of my friend and photographer Dana of Bella Vita Creative. I took lots of photos...but apparently my kids were moving too fast for me to capture them. 

Cam actually took the two photos of Patrick and Moses with the green crosses. 

Face painting is a hugely popular booth. Everyone gets in on the action...especially Cam.

Tuba had a very mellow day. It's the first year he did not jump in the bouncy house. He had a very swollen infected toe/toenail so he laid low.

George got a big Captain America sign on his cheek.

Traditional green crosses for the boys.

Sis wouldn't do face painting this year....and this is the only photo of her. She jumped and ran and jumped some more.

We had a delicious feast and played hard. It was a great ending to Holy Week. 

We got home at 7:00 pm and I announced "brush your teeth and get into bed". Moses argued that it wasn't bedtime. Then he shouted at the top of his lungs, "I'M NOT TIRED". Then he stomped to his room, laid on the bed and was snoring in 5 seconds flat. No joke! Normally he'd be in trouble for such behavior but it was actually hilarious! We are still laughing about it. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holy Pascha

Finally! Holy Pascha service. We celebrate this liturgy at 10:30 pm on Sat. night. We made all the kids lay down to nap in preparation for the long night. This is how is goes. 

1. Everyone has a snack and then gets into bed.
2. Cam and I go and lay down.
3. Cam and I fall asleep. We sleep for 3 minutes and then George wakes us by announcing the toilet is plugged. Cam attends to the toilet.
4. Cam and I fall back asleep....after about 20 minutes.
5. Sis comes in to ask us how much longer she has to lay in bed. ARGH!! 
We all laid in bed for 2 hours. Cam and I slept off and on for some of the time. Kids did not sleep AT ALL! Not a wink.

Then we get up, shower and get in our spiffy outfits. The kids argue about what I've laid out for them to wear....Cam backs me up. It's Pascha...and you will wear your shirt tucked in with a belt. :)

Sis slept for about 10 minutes on the way to church. Don't we look cute?! This is my new Stitch Fix Easter dress. I love it!

Papa and George...with his tucked in shirt.

Tuba ready for his favorite night of the year.

The boys on the altar ready for the service. 

The liturgy is very beautiful. We process outside around the church building while singing Christ Is Risen. The bells are rung as we file back in. The music is amazing!

At about 1:30 the liturgy concludes and we head downstairs to our fellowship hall to celebrate and break the fast. We bring baskets of the foods we have fasted from....meat, dairy, wine....etc.
We always have the same things in our basket....cheese, deviled eggs, salami, smoked salmon, cream cheese, crackers, chocolate, cookies, root beer, and wine! 

It's really fun. Everyone visits and celebrates.

This year we headed for home at 3:15 am. Sis slept for 15 minutes during the service. George slept the entire service and woke up to celebrate. The big boys were all awake the whole night. Everyone quickly fell asleep in the van.

We plopped into bed at 4:00 am....with a last warning to the kids....DO NOT wake us up....even if the toilet is plugged.

I woke up at 9:45!!!! I've never slept that late! Moses, George and Patrick were already up. Tuba got up a bit after me. Sis and Cam slept until almost 11:00. Wow!!

Then....we eat, regroup and head to church....again!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Holy Saturday

The morning liturgy on Holy Saturday is my favorite service of the year! Christ is trampling down death in His decent into Hades. The colors go from purple to white in the nave. The bells are rung and the priest throws bay leaves in triumph.

Every year we take a family photo on Holy Friday. Well, this year Cam had to work late and it couldn't happen until Saturday morning. We got ready with a few minutes to spare so we could assemble and get the shot. Really it's only me that wants the photo...the rest of my crew just indulges me.

Here's the first year we started our photo tradition. Look how we have all changed!

Here's a link to all of the yearly photos. PHOTOS

When I look at this photo I notice that the shirt Tuba is wearing now fits Patrick and the one Patrick is wearing is now Moses's shirt. Oh I love Sissy's sweet dress and hair...and I'd love to hold my sweet squishy George again. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Holy Friday Lamentations

The tomb where Christ was laid. We process around the outside of our church with the tomb. It is held in the air as we pass under it and back into the building.

The service on Friday night was beautiful. The girls are myrrh bearing girls and sprinkle flowers all over the church. Last year Sis did this...but this year she didn't want to. No amount of asking/pleading/bribing would convince her. 

She was happy to hold a candle though.

George too.

Moses and Patrick served as acolytes all week....tues., wed., thurs., fri., sat. am and pm service! They were amazing!! 

Moses holding his patron saint icon Moses of Ethiopia.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Journey

George at the Thursday night service. This about sums up how we all feel midweek of Holy Week.

Holy Week is intense. The spiritual journey comes at the end of a lenten journey that was intense. Holy Week is long services every night, and for us that means lots of driving. With a big family it means lots of kid wrangling and outfit changes and meals and squeezing in homework. It's hard to fit it all in. Hard for me to do it all....and do it without feeling pulled apart.

I should know by now that Holy Week is emotionally hard, physically hard. But, I'm always caught by surprise when I fall apart. On Wednesday my kids were crabby. They fought from the moment they woke up. They were terrible to each other and to me. The day and week's stress were complicated by Cam being stuck at work long hours. He would leave the city and drive straight to church to meet us. Being without my partner and help meet made me even more stressed. 

After the kids bad behavior I was running around trying to get out the door for the Unction Service. I had my own melt down. Bad Mommy moment!! At church I felt so terrible that I spent the service crying. The kids were shocked and genuinely felt remorseful. After the service we all apologized and agreed to start fresh the next day. 

Although Holy Week is hard, it's so worth it. Hearing the gospels and how Jesus suffered on the cross puts everything in perspective. Christ's death was the ultimate sacrifice. Surely we can honor Him by coming to church. To worship. To learn. To hear. To grow. To teach. To give praise. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Palm Sunday 2014

I have affectionately....and exasperatedly called Palm Sunday, "Poke you mom's eye out Sunday". Nothing like standing in close proximity to five kids holding palms....waving palms...swinging, swaying, dancing, sword fighting with palms. This year Moses made little crosses out of the leaves. He watched some of the older kids making them and then did it himself.

It is a lovely service. Hosanna in the highest!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Favorite Salad

I love salad! I eat a big plate of greens everyday. I add different things to keep it exciting. I usually wash and chop up a big bowl to have ready. Then I can add some protein to it for a quick lunch. 

This is my new favorite!! So beautiful and so delicious. Baby spinach, avocado, strawberries and sliced almonds. I drizzle my homemade balsamic vinegarette (olive oil, balsamic, pinch of salt, drizzle of honey, fresh ground pepper and a healthy spoonful of dijon mustard) over it. 

Super good. Super healthy. Enjoy!

Other thing I love....

The smell of incense from church in my childrens' hair

An unexpected hug from a child

Hot English Breakfast tea with milk

A pedicure

A dog's devotion

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Little Toes

I love this picture of Sis's toes. It took this pic last summer and I think of it often. It's so precious to me. It makes me think of her soft little baby feet and how she loved to jump on my lap. She sleeps in a crazy bunched up position...something different every night. I never know what I'll find when I go check on her before I go to sleep. Right now she likes to sleep with her head and the foot of the bed. She likes one blanket under her and one on top of her. She will have various dolls and/or toys in bed with her too. Last week I came in and found the entire Barbie Camper on her bed. She is growing so fast....it's bittersweet. I miss the little baby that was so round and soft and snuggly. I love my tall thin busy girl just the same. She is changing so fast but she will always be my baby girl. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Stitch Fix

I have found the coolest thing!!

I love clothes and fashion....but....I don't have to time to shop. I have to try on lots of things to find items that fit well and that I like. I just do not have enough time to accomplish that. I also get nervous to try new styles.

There is a company called Stitch Fix that does styling and personal shopping for you. I heard about this company from a friend's blog. After checking it out I thought I'd give it a shot. It turned out great!

Here's the basics of how it works.

Go to Stitch Fix

Create an account.

Fill out a lengthy survey all about you...your size, your style, your price range, etc. It's very detailed.

They send you 5 items.

It costs $20 when they shop for you and ship the items. If you keep any of the items they deduct the $20 fee. Wow!

Send back what you do not want and the return shipping is free. You have three days to decide.

I was excited to place an order and see what I'd get. In the comments section I told them I needed an Easter dress and that I had some yellow flats that I needed things to go with. I also told them I needed a shirt to go with leggings.

After we returned from our trip I received my first order in the mail.

Here's what I got.

Item #1 - Maxi Dress $78

Perfect for Easter. It's really soft and feels amazing on. It fit perfectly...right to the top of my feet and concealed all bra straps.

It's really cute with a little sweater or denim jacket and some sandals.
Plus, it's made in the USA. Love that. 

Item #2 - Dark Navy skinny cropped jeans. $118

These are also made in the USA. Wow! They are the softest most comfortable jeans I've ever had on. They fit like a dream. 

Item #3 - Necklace $34

At first I wasn't too sure about this piece. Accessories are my weak area. 

Item #4 - Striped Top $48

This is perfect with leggings or jeans. It's really comfortable and fits so nice. Also made in the USA. Cam took the photo and he captured me being cheeky! Ha!

Item #5 - Green Blouse Top $58

I wasn't sure about this top at first. It was comfortable and it fit well but it is a bit unusual. The front is a cable knit sweater of cotton and the sleeves and back are made out of synthetic fabric.

The back of the top has these cool pleats. 

After trying everything on several times I decided to keep the dress, jeans and stripped top. 

But, here's the kicker. If you keep all five items you get a 25% discount on the whole lot. SO....if I sent back the two items I would save a whopping $13.00. 

I decided to be brave and try the new styles especially for the bargain price of $13.00.

I have already worn the green top and necklace and am glad I kept them. 

My favorite part of the service was this styling idea sheet. It has pics of the actual items they sent me. So fun and really helpful! 

Here are my tips. 

1. Be honest about your height/weight and body type. Everything fit really well and I think it's because I was honest.

2. There is a section on the survey that asks you if you have a Pinterest page of styles. I do and and put the link in my survey. I had lots of Pinterest outfits so they could see what styles I really like. 

3. Give additional info on what you are looking for. I got the perfect Easter dress by asking for one. 

4. Be honest about what you are willing to pay. I have very sensitive skin and cheaper clothing always itches me. I'm also willing to pay more for clothes made in the USA. 

Total of five items $336.00. But, with my 25% discount my total was $257.00. I am very very pleased!

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix go HERE. I will get a $20 referral credit. Thanks!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Break

We had a lovely time on Spring Break. A much needed break. We got out of town and stayed at a beautiful farm house in Sequim, WA. It's in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains....so less rain. Yeah! We had beautiful weather....sun!

The house had an amazing covered porch. We sat out and enjoyed the sun while watching the kids play and ride bikes. There were chickens and a peacock too. I have to say that the peacock is my new favorite animal. The shrieking sound he makes really cracked me up. I'd burst out laughing every time. Cam has nixed any ideas I had of getting my very own peacock. Sheesh! Maybe I can download a peacock shriek ring tone for my iPhone?

My favorite view is of the ocean but my second fav is of green grass and rolling pastures. This setting was ideal. The house was very secluded and had a long private driveway that the kids could ride bikes on. There was lots of grass to run around and play in too. The lavender isn't in bloom until summer but it was still pretty.

The house had a hot tub. I no longer count this as a bonus item. It sounds nice...sitting and relaxing in hot water....right? But, add five big kids and a bigger husband and then get splashed 75 trillion times in the face with chemical smelly water. Then get 7 people out and dried and towels and suits hung up and water off floor dried up and then lotion up because the chemicals made you so dry you are itchy......enough said. Next time we stay here I'll tell the kids the hot tub is broken. 

We planned to cycle a lot on this trip. The Olympic Discovery Trail is very close to the farm. But...we didn't realize there is a very busy road between the two. Darn. In the end we packed up the bikes and headed to the trail head. The kids did well on the trail and we got to show them our favorite bridge.

One of my favorite things we did is go for a long walk. I had a nice glass of wine in hand and we meandered around looking at houses and the scenery. Sis and George found a horse and fed him grass. Very fun...and I have photos of it on Cam's phone....shoot....he will have to send them to me. Sis is a HUGE horse/animal lover. She asked if she can PLEASE have a horse this summer and keep him in our backyard. 

Another day we went to the beach. It was cold but still beautiful. The kids had a great time. They stood very still and posed politely for me to capture this pic. 

The best part of the trip was watching the kids play. There was a TV and even cable at the house but the outdoors called. They climbed trees, played catch, wrestled in the grass, and rode bikes. It was so fun. 

The only problem with the trip was that it was too short. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

20 years

April Fools Day...20 years ago. That is the day I met Cam. It was the first day of spring quarter. It was algebra and the sparks flew. The rest is history. 20 years of history...which is a lot of amazing good times and a few hard times. It's billions of laughs and some tears. It's ups and downs. It's been easy and it's been hard. I would do it all again. Cheers! And here's to 20, 30, 40, 50 more years! 


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