Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lenten Motivation

I came across this great Lenten project for us to use. You can find it HERE on Etsy. It's called Lady Lent and each day of Lent has an item on the calendar...a sort of Lenten To Do list.

This is what it looks like. This is last year's version...but you get the idea. We purchased the file and then printed it out. I hung it on the refrigerator so we can all see it.

So far the kids are excited each day to see what the calendar offers. Some of the day's activities so far have included, clean your icons (on Sunday of Orthodoxy, pray for the departed, attend 3 services this week, and memorize a specific prayer. 

I was amazed when we sat down to gather a list of departed. The kids were able to come up with lots of people...some they knew well and some they've never met but heard about. Some are family and some are friends. Cam and I each added some names too. 

Orthodox Christians pray for the departed. HERE is a good explanation of why.

It was fun on the day we cleaned our icons. It was touching to see my 12 yr. old happy to participate. I wondered if he would consider himself too old. 

The kids carefully took their icons off the wall and lovingly cleaned them and returned them to their places. Since we venerate and kiss the front of the icons it is nice to get them clean. 

We are all working on memorizing The Prayer of St. Ephraim. It's a beautiful prayer said during Lent...and really it's fitting all year 'round. 

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. 
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. 
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

So far Lent is going well. Of course we are already tired of fasting foods. But, yes that's the point. We have enjoyed several of the extra services.

We are looking forward to Pascha as it will be different this year being in a new church. But, we still have a ways to go. As our protestant and Catholic friends and family celebrate Easter today we won't celebrate until May 1st this year. For an explanation on why we use a different calendar go HERE.

The good news for us is...

1. Easter candy and decor will be on closeout sale.
2. The weather has a better chance of being sunny.

Yeah and yeah!! Bonus for us Orthodox and a late Pascha.

And so how do we spend our time now without electronics/TV. Well the kids have been building like crazy with Legos and spending time reading for hours and riding bikes outside. Yes! Why do we allow them any screen time the rest of the year?! It's a rhetorical question. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Moses is Double Digits!

My sweet baby is 10!! Double digits! Woot! 
He was really excited for this birthday. He celebrated with a party. Five friends plus our family went swimming at a local pool, then had pizza and rooter floats and it was a sleep over! 

I tell ya...the older the kids get the easier the birthday parties are. Boy/food/video games=easy party. 

Then on the actual birthday, which is also St. Patrick's Day, he woke up to a decorated dining room, green shamrock pancakes....with mini chocolate chips and bacon!

And something new to wear.

That night we had nachos and ice cream pie for dinner. No more Irish dinner since the birthday boy picks the dinner. 

Happy Birthday to my awesome Moses! You are an amazing boy. You are smart and kind and determined. You are polite. You are curious about things and quickly figure out how they work. You are an excellent student. You are a super brother to your siblings. You are an early riser...often up an hour before anyone else. You are a great've got some moves! You are breathtakingly handsome. You make me so proud. I love you!

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Some days the sibling squabbles are endless....relentless. It's horrible! 

I really regret all the bickering I did with my sister because now I know how annoying it is to the parent hearing it. Sorry to my parents. Seriously.

There is lots of bickering here but sometimes I see my kids play so nicely together and truly care for one another. I cherish those moments. 

Mr. P has been very sick. He slept in the living room so that he wouldn't disturb his roommate. This morning I woke up and came downstairs to find the house quiet. Mr. P was sleeping in the living room and the other kids were missing. I assumed they were still sleeping...which would be unusual. 

Instead I came upon this sight. They camped out and read to keep quiet for Mr. P. How nice! This is George and Moses's room so Sis and Tuba joined them to snuggle up and read. 

And here's the ill brother. Say a prayer for him. It's been a week and he is still not well. Poor guy. 

And here's a funny story for you. Look at the photo of George and notice the roll of TP hanging next to his bed. I put that there when he had a runny nose. I asked him yesterday if he wanted me to put it away. He told me that no he wanted it to stay there because if he gets scared during the night he puts it on his bed and pets it like a cat and that makes him feel safe. Ummmm.....Okay. I left it and laughed. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lent Is Here

Tonight is our Forgiveness Vespers Service and Lent begins. But, first some photos and thoughts about our new parish. 

We are settling in nicely. The boys were asked right away to serve on the altar. They are enjoying it and the priest told me that he is very impressed with them. That was nice to hear. 

The kids have made new friendships and look forward to seeing them on Sundays. 

Cam and I are meeting people and trying to remember names and learn about each family. We also have old friends in the parish and for that I'm grateful. 

I am missing many families and friends from our old parish. I miss the familiarity of the space too.

But, this has been a good move.

Lent begins for us Orthodox Christians tonight. We are repeating what we did with the kids last year. So, no screen time. Cam and I will check email but will stay off all social media. No TV. Maybe an occasional family movie night. And I will blog. 

Fasting in earnest begins too. We eat a vegan/vegetarian diet. I gave the kids my standard, "It's Lent and the food will not our favorite meals". Really they do well once we get started. And I have some new recipes to try out. But, it can get boring....that's the point. 

More worship time, more prayer, less focus on food, increased almsgiving. That's Lent. 

Here we go. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

How's It Goin'?

Lots of updates to tell you about. It's all about our jobs. Now, from these photos it looks like we don't do any work at all. But, we like to balance our work life with a little fun.

Cam's new job.

Well, it's not new any more. He's been doing this new gig for 8 mos. now. He works in the ICU still but is with surgical patients instead of medical. AND...the big change was his schedule. He works looooong shifts but has more time off. A typical week looks like:

Thurs. 6:30 AM-8:00 PM
Fri. 6:30 AM-8:00 PM
Sat. (short day as long as the census is good) 6:30 AM-2:00 PM
Sun. Off
Mon. (short day as long as the census is good) 2:00-8:00 PM
Tues. 6:30 AM-8:00 PM
Wed. 6:30 AM-8:00 PM

Then 7 days off. Yep off! 7 in a row!!

So, the good parts of the schedule.

1. He is home more than the previous job
2. He drives into the city less days per month.
3. He misses all the rush hour traffic coming home to late.
4. The surgical patients are not as critically ill therefore he sees less death.
5. He likes the position.
6. He is available weekdays on his days off to be involved at the kids' schools.
7. He always has Sun. off....unless it's crazy busy or someone needs him to fill in. But, in 8 mos. that has happened 3 times.

The bad parts.

1. Those are seriously long hours.
2. He misses some of the Sat. morning games the kids play in.

We both really like the new gig. When Cam is gone I know he won't be home until bedtime. I don't sweat it wondering if he will be home for dinner, or sporting practices. I can plan accordingly. On the days he is off we have been able to do lots of fun lunch dates (which don't require a sitter). It's nice to enjoy the quiet house together too.

Cam is a big help with chores now that he is home more. He is able to really help with cleaning and errand running on his days off. I'm loving that he willingly goes to Costco! Woot!

If I had anything negative to say it would be that by the end of the stretch he's working I start to feel a bit weary and then at the end of the stretch where he's home (i.e. we spend ALL day together) I'm a bit ready for him to go back to work. Ha! I'm sure he's ready to have some time away from me too.

My new job.

I began substitute teaching in Oct. after not working outside the home for 13 years. It's been REALLY fun!! I am only working one or occasionally two days a week and only work at my kids' schools.

The good parts.

1. I bring my kids with me in the morning and take them home at the end of the day.
2. I know most of the kids at the least at the elementary level.
3. I know the teachers and staff.
4. I get to pick days to work based on Cam's days off.
5. It's fun.
6. The kids like me and it really feeds my ego to have a bunch of Kindergarten kids yell, "Mrs. Wright!!!!!!" as I go by in the hallway. They come hug me and wave at me like I'm a famous person. It's the best.
7. The paychecks help financially and it beefs up my Social Security.

The bad parts.

1. The pay isn't terrific.
2. I won't get to work over the summer.

Things are good! Really thankful for both of our jobs and our time at home together....and lunch dates!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Spring is Coming

Spring is in the's here...well, it's coming. I'm in love with the color yellow right now. It's happy, and bright and SPRING!! 

This time of year I get itching to get outside! We are between sporting seasons so we have SO MUCH EXTRA time to play. We spent last weekend hanging out. It was the first weekend since early November that we didn't attend games. 

I have an extra 15+ hours a week right now with no practices and no games. I'm enjoying every minute of it. I'm cleaning, exercising more and I just finished the taxes! Yeah!!

Sis is so happy every day to come home from school and just play. Nicer weather has meant lots of outdoor time playing hide and seek, soccer, basketball or just running with the dog. 

George finished up his ball season. He really loved it. Whatever sport he is playing at the time becomes his favorite sport. He is starting back at TKD with Cam this week. George is eager to continue on to his black belt. He's got a wicked side kick!

I got to attend Mr. P's middle school honor roll breakfast. It was awesome! Each student got up and said either what they have learned this year or a goal they have for themselves. The answers were so varied but all inspiring! My boy said, "I have learned how to get along with people I don't know very well and people I don't like". Wow! I loved that. Sounds like he's ready for real life. Cam and I tell this same thing to our kids and it sounds like the lesson has made an impact. 

We just love hanging around reading books too. Moses is a nut! Tuba is making an odd face in the photo but he's having fun on his iPad drawing. 

Tuba has finished his job at the local pizza place and began working at the food bank. The have him sort the food. One day he had to bag dog food. He hated it and kept saying, "Ewwww!". I food is stinky. He's pretty funny when he doesn't want to do a task he nicely says, "no thank you". 

And you know It's A Dog's Life...especially with Spring in the air. Rocket is being a very good boy. No more potty accidents. Not too much barking at the cat...still kind of bad. He loves to play and go for walks and let's Kali chase him.

Coming up....Lent!!! It's that time of year. And Flag Football for two of our kids. And Moses's birthday is coming AND St. Patrick's Day. And there are weeds to pull and grass to mow and things to get ready for SPRING. Woot!


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