Friday, April 30, 2010

Time Well Spent


Other uses for a clothes line


The kids and I spent a lot of time outdoors this week.  Between, hanging out laundry, diapers and paintings; there were also daily trips to various parks; I also allowed/encouraged the kids to play in the water outside. 
We are all a little more tan.

My little scientist has continued his self guided science lessons a few times a week.
Here, he is testing water flow.


The kids playing well together.  It’s happening a little more often these days.


Poor Man’s Play Pool: A white cleaning tub and some plastic cups ;-)  
(At my husband’s request the kids are now wearing swimsuits instead of their birthday suits.  The neighbor girl, who is seven year’s old, kept coming over and peeping through the fence.  Then she would ask me to get them dressed.  “Well, stop peeping through my privacy fence!”)


Alex did not want to get his swim shirt wet. 
It was hard for him to understand that some shirts are made to get wet.



Checking out dinner: They couldn’t believe we were going to eat them.
Kristiana said, “Animal!”



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fool’s Errand

Remember this table that I painted one morning before dawn a couple of weeks ago.  Well since then it has rained a lot and it has not been possible to finish painting the chairs.  But I ran into some problems.


With the first rain some paint chipped off the table despite the fact that I sanded away all the loose paint and wiped the table clean.  The chipping paint is in such poor condition that every time it gets wet, it ripples and chips away.  I have been tying to sand away all the loose paint from chairs, but the mission has proved impossible and frustrating.  I finally decided to go speculate a belt sander to help me in the process.  As I was standing in the power tool aisle at the corner hardware store, feeling sick about the prices of the belt sanders, my eyes dropped down to the floor as I thought, and there I saw the Dremmel Tools.  I thought, “I have a Dremmel!”  I went home with an $8.00 paint remover attachment.  I was ready to blast away these chairs.  I set up the Dremmel, attached my new tool and not only removed the loose paint, but took it down to the bare iron.  Thirty minutes later, the sanding grain on my new tool was completely gone—One chair was sanded, $8.00, poof, gone.  That was an expensive experiment.  I sanded one other chair with the barrel sander attachment.  It worked well enough.

This morning I washed, primed and painted the two chairs.  After I washed the chairs, more paint rippled and pealed off the chair I sanded with the barrel sander.  Yikes.  I cannot win.  As I painted the chairs it took twice as much paint to cover the primer as it did when I just painted straight on to the table.  I guess I was supposed to use brown primer.

We have seven chairs.  I decided I would paint the five best chairs and recycle the other chairs.  Now that I have no more paint and am feeling like a fool for thinking I could save this patio set from rust obliteration, I am thinking that I will paint one more chair and just keep the others out as extras.  I will place the green set altogether.  Did I mention I have to sand and re-paint the table too?  This is certainly a fool’s errands, but now that I have spent the money, I feel I must finish it.  After it is all painted, the set will be placed under the overhang on our townhouse, so it should not see too much weather and will hopefully not bear and further destruction or chipping. 

I share my story in hopes that you too will not fall to this foolish pursuit.  You cannot paint flaking chipping patio furniture unless you have a sandblaster to remove every shred of paint.

100_2180 And the saga continues…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Life Would Be So Boring If Not For…

Today Kristiana discovered black olives.  Throughout the day she snacked on half a can. 
By dinner time she figured out that they fit nicely on her fingers.

This is Alex’s “Take a picture of meeee!” face

We shaved Alex’s head for his summer haircut yesterday.  He always gets so sweaty when it’s warm outside. This morning I asked him if he liked his new haircut.  He said that Mommy and Daddy took his hair, because they were being mean. I tried to explain to him that we just didn’t want him to be hot and sweaty when he played outside.  But, he was still sad, so we both apologized and told him we would leave it next time.

And finally, I made Chile Relleno for dinner.  It was delicious.
I made up my own sauce that made the whole meal heavenly.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Mother’s Sermon

Mom and Alex BW Thursday, I gave the introduction to my Mom’s Group Bible Study.  I woke up at 4:00 a.m. one morning and could not go back to sleep.  I wondered what to do with myself and decided to read the study for this week (see book here).  The topic was focused on mothers’ sacrifices and sufferings and using the Beatitudes as a guide.  My mind was moving a mile a minute as I read.  And afterward my brain was like a freight train going a hundred miles an hour.  I started writing to empty my head and thought perhaps I should share with the other moms at our meeting.  Here is my mother's sermon on our suffering and sacrifices.  You may recognize some of it if you are a regular follower.

“Why should sacrifice be united with the beauty of love?”  In motherhood, did you find that you finally grew from girl to woman? Have you found yourself experiencing and doing things that you never imagined you would do, or were capable of doing?  Have you been surprised by your sacrifices?  As the author points out, motherhood begins with suffering in childbearing and birth, and a mother continues to suffer through every hardship in both mothering and also the child’s sufferings. Yet, in all this suffering motherhood is beautiful, joyful and desired.  Perhaps it is our suffering and how it transforms us that makes motherhood so great a station in life.

Motherhood brings a special kind of suffering and beauty.  We are all aware of our special kind of suffering.  We have a connectedness to our children in such a way that their every ache and every stumble pains us.  However, the beauty comes in procreation--a gift we share with God.  We are gifted and entrusted with the lives of our children.  We are entrusted their beautiful souls to help mold and guide.  And because this responsibility is so great our burdens are also great.

We should not treat our suffering as an affliction to our lives, but rather as a vessel for our salvation.  Though suffering may bring pain and difficulty, it is in our suffering that we are brought closer to God.  Because we are believers, we are driven to the arms of God, with an open heart and a longing to rest in Him. Truly if you treat all your suffering as though it were for naught, then that is what it will be. 

As mothers it is even more important that we approach our sufferings with love as though they are gifts from God.  It is important to not allow a mother’s suffering to lose sight of our mission.  We must be there for our children and be an example for them.  For our sufferings are an opportunity like no other to step closer to the Lord—to be bathed in His love.  If you suffer with a pure heart, your suffering will not feel like pain, but will be like a moment to rest in the warm embrace of the Lord. 

So, “gird your loins,” and turn to the Lord.  Do not ask Him why you must endure this suffering, but PRAY that it may be offered in communion with the Passion of Christ, that sins may be forgiven and you may be bound to eternal life. The beauty of suffering is that it will bring you to the love of the Lord so long as you do not turn away. 

You may think that this is an impossible ideal to approach your trials with love and even joy.  But, I assure you, as mothers, you already have. You have brought your children this far.  You are raising them to know the Lord.  You have not abandoned your station.  You have held this post out of love and transformed suffering into love.  And it is love that will carry you forth through motherhood, through being a wife and through life, as St. Paul tells us,  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Scientist in the House

Alex saw some observation science experiments on one of his favorite PBS morning cartoons.  He explained to me that we had to get a magnifying glass and scissors and do the experiment.  So we went and collected leaves one day and learned how they give food to the plant by collect sunlight and oxygen.  We also looked at the veins and I told him how the veins carry water and nutrients. 


The next day we looked at rocks.  Underneath a big rock we found leaches and snails.


A little belly progress with baby #3.  Ultrasound in two weeks.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Read My Blog?

I am always surprised when people tell me they read this blog. Today, I am having a follower drive.  If you read this blog and like it, please sign-up to be a follower.  Let me know who is reading along.

Follow Claytonopolis

claytonopolis3 copy

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tot Talk: Good Boys

Alex and Daddy go and brush their teeth together every evening.  We have one toothbrush that flashes blue light for one minute.  We have another toothbrush that flashes red.  Alex’s toothbrush is the blue one.  Alex and Daddy go to the restroom and turn on the two toothbrushes and turn off the light.  The two flashing lights look like police lights. Daddy sings a song while Alex brushes.  It’s the Daddy disco.  Daddy usually beat boxes or makes up a song. Tonight Daddy began to sing, “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha’ gonna do, whatcha’ gonna do when they come for you.”  Alex giggled and said,
“Daddy, we’re not bad boys. We’re good boys.”  But, that’s not the funny cute part.
After he finished brushing Alex started singing, “Good boys, good boys, whatcha gonna do…”  too cute.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Easter Luxury

Mmm, I have been enjoying lots of butter lately.  My husband and I both agree that the thing we missed most during Lent was butter.  Everything tastes so much better with butter smeared, or melted on it.  One of my favorite foods for Easter this year was our Pascha Bread.  Every time I ate a slice of our blessed Pascha bread with butter on it I would say a little prayer, because I was reminded of the Sacrifice.  I felt holy eating it. 

Banana bread and butter


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Proud of One’s Station

“In the eyes of his contemporaries, he was a man who had committed the one unforgivable sin: he was proud of his wealth.” Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. 

I am still working on reading Atlas Shrugged.  It’s been a year since I began reading it.  I have been trying a little harder to read it this spring.  Still I only have a little time in the evening to read it.  I read about five to ten pages a day. I still have other reading I have to do too.  At this rate I will finish in four or five months.  Oh well, such is life.  I have really loved this book so far.  It’s especially intriguing when I see reflections of our current affairs in this book.

The above quote really hit me.  At first I thought as the heroine, Dagny Taggart, implies, that’s right, he should be proud of the wealth he has earned.  He should be proud of the GOOD work he has done and for which he has been monetarily rewarded.  He does not have to share it, but if he does, then that is a noble good for the neighbor he shares it with and his good deed will benefit his own soul…

This got me thinking though.  It is perhaps easy to be proud of wealth, especially if one earned it.  But it is also important to be proud of where ever one finds himself in life.  So long as one lives nobly, honestly, works hard, lives the good life, then there is much to be proud.  I think in this case the definition of  “proud” is owning one’s station in life.  If one is poor, then take pride in living simply, being frugal and not being ashamed of poverty.

I am not rich, famous, or on the fast track to corporate leadership, but I have much.  I am proud of being a good wife and not only making my marriage work, but making it beautiful and part of our salvation.  I am proud of nurturing and teaching my children.  I am proud of slowly, but surely making my way in the world, nobly, honestly, and you should be proud of your station in life too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Babies

100_2109 100_2107100_2108100_2106 Alex was not too keen on this activity – Until mommy offered a lap
(I was not planning on being in pictures).


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Before Dawn

100_2096Before Dawn I painted this table.  You are supposed to be able to see the dawn sky in the background.  I received this aged, iron, patio table and chairs free, last summer.  We went and bought paint for it the next day, but we never got around to painting it.  Yesterday, after the painters finished painting the house.  I looked at the patio and said, we should paint that table while everything is cleaned up.  I asked Andrew to wake up early with me and help.  I wanted to paint it before the children woke up and give it a chance to dry a little.  I was so tired last night that I was sure I would never get up early even though I had talked about it.  But I woke up on my own at 5:00 a.m. Darn pregnancy hormones.  I tried to wake Andrew, but he rolled around in bed too long.  I made myself breakfast and coffee.  Then I sanded and painted the table, all before dawn.

Today was a very busy day.  After I painted, I woke the children, made them breakfast and helped them dress.  Then I tidied up a little and they played.  By the time I was dressed, the kids were itching to get out of the house, so I took them to the children’s museum.  They tired themselves out a little.  Then we rested a little, played a little more, then we went to the park, because they were stirring again; dinner; Alex was a little tired; then bed.

Andrew went to go shoot his new shotgun, so I had to do the latter part by myself.  Since I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and chased those little ones all day, I am ready to crash. Whew! Tomorrow, I have to paint the chairs before the kids wake, do a major cleaning, take the kids to story time and I spotted a field of blue bonnets perfect for kiddie pictures (I just have to have a blue bonnet picture in case we aren’t here too much longer, and the blue bonnets do not last long.)  I think perhaps a couple of those things won’t happen. We’ll see.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Favorite Moment…

Today was a day in which nothing quite seemed to go right.  I woke up early, but it was still about 45 minutes after I wanted to wake up.  I dove right into laundry, as I wanted to get all of it washed and hung early, so I could get it folded and put away today.  First thing, I turned a load of dish towels pink and spent the next hour bleaching.  I finally hung all the towels and a half hour later the house painters showed up and told us to move all our stuff so they could paint.  They did not show up until almost 10:00 a.m.! I figured they were not coming today, because I thought tradesmen, especially those who work outside, begin work early, certainly before 10:00 a.m.  So I had to take down the wash and had to move all the patio furniture and toys.  But, what really annoyed me was that they did not paint our unit until 4:30 p.m.

100_2087 I was determined to finish Easter cards this morning and get them sent.  (Don’t be insulted if you didn’t get one. I only sent them to our grandparents and one member of the clergy.)  It took me an hour on Sunday to print a few photographs of the kids (actually, it was a lot of photographs).  This morning I decided to draw pictures on a mere three of the cards.  I wanted to draw them all, but I was realistic with myself.  As few as I had, it took all morning.  The kids kept interrupting as kids do.  Everyone had a need this morning.  Alex insisted on coloring with mommy and using my special colored pencils.  He drew very nice pictures.  Kristiana was very needy today in general.  She woke up ready to be attached to mommy all day.

Some strange little five year old at the park thought it was a good idea to pants Alex and give him a wedgy.  I usually try to stay out of children playing and or fighting. I like Alex and the other kids to figure it out.  But, I definitely draw the line at touching underwear.  He didn’t give Alex a wedgy, because a mob of moms jumped to action.  But, everyone saw Alex’s underwear.  Alex is not really familiar with shame yet, so he shook it off and was ready to play again in seconds. 

More neediness from Kristiana in the afternoon—the kind that drives a mom a little mad.  It took me all day to realize I should put Kristiana in my sling.  She was in the sling while I made dinner.  She loved it.  She felt much better after just half an hour.  I made an awfully salty meatloaf that didn’t stick together in a loaf.  Andrew liked the meatloaf, because he likes salty.  It was just a little like the rest of the day.  It was okay, but nothing seemed to stick together quite right.

My favorite moment of today was when I dressed the children for bed, gave them the last cuddles of the day and tucked them into their beds.  That moment right after I walked away from their rooms was a moment of peace and a sigh of relief.  I finished the laundry—all of it—washed, folded and put away.  The day was truly not bad.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Morning Baby

Kristiana is so happy, well-rested and beautiful first thing in the morning.  She also moves very fast, which is hard to photograph.  So I spent a little time this morning taking dozens of pictures of her and I finally obtained a few that capture her beauty.  I am still working on pictures that capture her personality.

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Handsome Brother


Alex decided to give Kristiana a ride on his tricycle today.  She loved it.
She always pretends to ride his trike, but can’t reach the peddles.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I wanted to mention this last week, but I did not want to detract from Holy week and Easter preparations.  On Palm Sunday, I finally emerged from the first trimester doldrums.  When I reached mid-afternoon, Sunday, and I did not have to have an involuntary nap, and then 7:00 p.m. passed by and I did not fall asleep, then 8:00 p.m., then 10:00 p.m. came and I spent some time reading a book.  I was not going to declare it all over until the fat lady sang.  The next day was more of the same and so on.  I still get tired, but it is not nearly as bad.  I just wanted to share my joyful news.  Just in time to celebrate Easter.


Salvadore Dali - “Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid”  The Resurrection

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bright Week & Bright New Ways

From out of the darkness, Christ’s disciples begin to learn that not all is lost.  In fact, eternity is gained.  And one by one, Christ shines His light upon the Apostles and disciples, giving glimpses of Alpha to Omega…

Monday I continued the Spring cleaning and gave the upstairs bedrooms a deep cleanse.  The kids played in Alex’s room.  Kristiana screamed her head off for a while—big brother does not play so well with her.

100_2029Monday is also laundry day.  However, laundry day seems to be turning into laundry three days.  It always seems to  take a full day to wash the laundry and then it takes another two days to fold, iron and put away.  Further, this week I started using our cloth diapers on Kristiana, so that added another load. 

We have had the diapers since Alexander was born, but it was too stressful to use them regularly.  I have used them for fours days so far.  The caked on toddler poop is awful.  After my husband changed one poopy diaper we immediately went online and bought some diaper liners so we can simply pull it away and flush it.  The diaper washing went well.  I had some practice from when we used them before. 

My bright new thing is hanging the laundry on a clothesline.  I hung the diapers out on the line and they dried nicely, white and clean.  I was so pleased with the results that I hung the next load on the line and watched the clothing gently waft in the wind.  The load dried in an hour, which is about the same if not quicker than the dryer. I think I am addicted to hanging the laundry.  It just felt right and it saves energy, which means we will save on our electric bill.  I probably will not hang every load, because sometimes it’s raining and or something else might come up that prevents hanging.

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I made a mistake though.  I did not tighten the strands of rope enough, so the line sagged when I hung the clothing.  I also hung the lines too close together, so the clothing twisted about each other.  It still got the job done.  I will have to take the line down and re-hang it, but that’s something for the next laundry day.

My mom used to hang clothes on the line when I was little and we lived in Australia.  I remember we used to play in our play pool every day we could and when we were done, we would run over to the clothesline and pull sun warmed towels off the line.  When we moved to Wyoming there were many reasons to not use a clothesline, chiefly the weather.  The air is frozen nine months of the year and the wind blows so hard always that your underpants would be blown to Nebraska by nightfall. 

Somewhere, a couple years ago I read a humorous article about clothesline etiquette and I could not find it again to share.  If I ever find it, I will share it.

Christ is Risen!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Alleluia!

Our Easter dinner turned out perfect.  It was glorious.  Truly befitting to celebrate Resurrection and our salvation. We, my husband and I, were highly impressed.  Our guests enjoyed it as well and asked for recipes.  We had ham, green bean casserole, hash browns, cheese and salami, deviled eggs, Pascha bread and butter, a big fruit platter, delicious sweet and bitter beets…I ate some leftovers later in the evening and had to pat myself on the back.  The flavors had set in more and it was better reheated.

We moved our Resurrection icon and our cross to the dining room for Easter dinner. 
They are hanging where our Advent calendar hung, and where my painting normally hangs.
I think we’ll leave it for the remainder of Easter.



This is the first Easter Kristiana was able to hunt for Easter eggs.  She had jelly beans for breakfast.
Alex found most of the Easter eggs.  He was also perfectly behaved in church.  Alleluia.
During the consecration he looked up at me folded his arms in prayer and said, “Like this, Mommy.”
He was trying to tell me how to do it as we have told him over and over.  We will make a couple of trips to daily Mass this week for more practice.

My beautiful family.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Great and Holy Thursday and Good Friday

In Easter basket making news…on Thursday I made baked cheese.  It’s a sweet, egg and curd cheese baked in the oven. It turned out nice.


On Good Friday we had a quiet day and baked the Paska bread.  It is also sweet and eggy.  I think it is by far the most labor intensive part of the Easter basket.  It takes hours to make, standing on one’s feet and there is lots of kneading.  It turned out a little puffier and browner than I would like, but we sampled a small roll made from the dough and it should still be tasty.


Now for my lament.  I have the most horribly behaved children in all of our church.  They cannot sit still or listen.  They are noisy, squirmy and prone to fits.  They often are taken out for talking to and spanks and nothing seems to work.  We parents, simply sit, near tears, clutching the writhing children, wondering what we have done wrong.  Short of strapping them to a chair one hour each day and making them watch Mass on EWTN, I do not know what to do.  Is this why so many churches have nurseries?  Why do other children their age at our church seem to behave?  We feel like unholy parents.

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