Sofia, First of Her Name

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Sofia Rebekah. First of her name in our family, anyway. Alternately called: Fifi, Squee-Wee, Chunky Monkey, Princess Pootkins…

That last nickname came about because the minute she was born we could all see the striking resemblance. So striking, that we assumed she was a boy for the first 15 seconds of her life. Nope, turns out she was all girl. But the physical resemblances remained: the quizzical eyebrows, the sparkling eyes that become crinkly when she smiles, the thick, dark hair, the little gap in-between her two front teeth. We’re also pretty sure that she’s going to grow up to be a warrior princess because she has HUGE feet and BIG proportions.

She’s always happy (except when she’s really, really ready for bedtime), she loves food (just look at her!), is a smart little booger, and she does deep baby-squats like nobody’s business.

I love having two little girls close in age, and I love all the things that make Sofia uniquely different from Kristina, and vice versa.

So, Happy Birthday, Sofia… We can’t wait to watch you dive into that birthday cake tonight. Here are some pictures from yesterday, and some pictures of her big sister, just for good measure.

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Where Have I Been?

Where have I been?

I’ve been:

  • Taking care of two little girls with colds.
  • Cooking dinners for 10 people.
  • Coordinating constant naps between two little cranky people.
  • Talking on the phone with my husband who I miss very, very, very much. I can’t wait to see him soon.
  • Talking on the phone with my sister who I miss very, very, very much. I can’t wait to see her soon!
  • Helping organize and categorize kitchen equipment and dishes in my parent’s new kitchen.
  • Taking some serious time to relax and unwind every day by going on long walks outside, reading fun books, listening to music, and enjoying delectable dinners and drink.
  • Watching movies with my brothers and sisters. We went and saw Divergent last Sunday evening (it was so-so), and I’ve been watching middle of the season Doctor Who episodes with Will — I need to start from the beginning with that show!
  • Folding laundry, washing dishes, and petting the neglected outdoor kitty.

Ha… quite the list. Life, when you actually live it, oftentimes keeps one too busy to write meaningless blog posts. I only wrote this one because I have an hour to spare this Sunday morning.

 

Wake Me Up

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When the babies sleep, I am awake.

I have a toddler.

I also have a wannabe toddler. That’s a lovely age for babies to be. They’re too little to walk. Big enough to crawl. Big enough to stand. Uncoordinated enough to keep falling over. Big enough to eat solid food. Still babyish enough to want milk. But she stopped nursing weeks ago. Teething. Yet never seeming to get her teeth.

All of the above makes for exhausting days, and sometimes long nights when Fifi just.won’t.go.back.to.sleep. Shoot me, just shoot me now… I don’t want to get up for the 8th time at 3 in the morning.

Most mothers like to sleep when their babies sleep. But, some moms, like me, like to get in a little alone time. Time to read an article or two uninterrupted. Time to watch videos on YouTube. Time to Facebook.

So, after half hours stacked up upon half hours of trying to fall asleep, halfway succeeding, only to be woken back up by unhappy cries of grumpiness from Miss Poot Pants, now that she is finally asleep, my brain was wired to NOT fall asleep.

Coffee made, computer open, headphones in, children sleeping, cat kicked out. It’s time to relax for a while. Thank you, Lord.

And, I thought I would share some of the awesome, informative, thoughtful articles I’ve been reading this morning; here ya go:

Why I Won’t Give Sugar Up For Lent

Some people give up sweets for Lent. Others give up coffee, pop, or caffeine in its entirety. Huffington Post suggested fried food, cigars, or devices.

I can’t help this nagging feeling that something about this is all a little off. If I give up something I enjoy in order to remind myself of Jesus, and then I start wanting that thing but can’t have it because I’m remembering Jesus, I’m going to get cranky. And if I’m cranky, I’ll start associating semi-bitter or negative feelings with Easter.

That seems a little, well, backwards.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not strong enough to work past the unhappy feelings I think I’d have if I gave up something I really enjoyed. Weak character? Faulty theology? Blatant misunderstanding? All very possible.

But if Lent truly is a season “to rid ourselves of all that prevents us from living a truly Christian life”, I have to wonder how far giving up little luxuries like sugar and meat and cigars is going to go.

This year, I want to try something different. This year, I’m giving up anger for Lent.

 Wife After Baby: A Husband’s Guide: Sleep deprivation will play a small part in your Wife’s temporary insanity.  In the first few months, you may witness a number of breakdowns, meltdowns and shutdowns and realistically, the Wife you knew may be gone, along with her personality and sense of humour for around twelve months.  Sometimes less.  Sometimes more.  She may (almost definitely will) also be suffering fromDMF.

Infrared Photography In Yellowstone National Park

A Breakup Letter to Matt Walsh:

Dear Matt Walsh,

It’s not you. It’s me.

Or was it the other way around? Yeah, that. It’s totally you.

Sorry. I was confused.

Do you remember when we first met? It was back in August, just after the VMAs. You had just writtenthis piece, angrily dismissing Miley Cyrus and the vacuous pop culture she represents. I found your acerbic wit and brutal honesty refreshing. I was impressed by how efficiently you disposed of worthless culture.

But then I came to realize that you do that to everyone.

Enjoy reading!

Anna

Close Encounters

With mountain lions, bears, the occasional bobcat and coyote.

Growing up in the rural Sierra Nevada foothills in California with lots of wooded acreage to explore, my family has had more than one encounter with the wild beasts that also roamed the area. Mountain lions sightings and attacks were (and still are) a not un-common occurrence, and bears also are pretty bold about getting into trash, chicken coops, gardens, bee hives, etc… I have some fun, and scary memories of my own encounters with these predators over the years.

  • My first encounter with a mountain lion happened when I was 7 or 8. I had been warned about what to do if I saw one, and well versed about mountain lion habits, like coming out at dusk, they’ll chase you if you run, and momma mountain lions being mean. It was shortly after dinnertime, dusk had fallen, and I had been sent outside to fetch my bike I’d left lying in the dirt. I had just picked up my bike when I heard a noise. Looking down at the apple trees, I saw a tawny colored small animal. I looked closer. There were two of them. My heart started racing when I realized they were mountain lion cubs; I wasn’t brave enough to look around for the mother mountain lion. I dropped my bike, and slowly made my way to the backyard fence, hoping I wasn’t moving so fast I would be chased, but when I reached the gate, I ran like mad for the house, slamming and locking the door behind me. When I told everybody inside what I had just seen, they laughed at the silly notion that I had seen mountain lion cubs, and told me it must have been a fox instead. Huh? They did believe me the next week, however, after the mountain lion got both of our goats we had at the time. When a hunter came out to deal with the problem, and he finally tracked down the mountain lion, he found that she had two cubs, as well. Uh huh.
  • Our whole family was out on a walk around our property, and had gone pretty far down our hill towards our well, bordering another neighbor’s property. We were walking back up the hill towards our house when we heard noisy rustling in the fall leaves close by. Not too far from us, a mountain lion had crept up on a deer and had taken it down! Fun family adventure indeed! Mom and Dad took us back to the house as quickly as the could.
  • Sam and I were out on a walk (or perhaps riding bikes) around the road on our property and we our corgi Home with us. Suddenly, Homer started barking like crazy (since when does he not?), and we look down the hill to our right and saw a BIG.BLACK.BEAR. Just standing there. Looking at us. Homer was still barking at the bear, so Sam and I inched our way back up the hill towards the barn at the top, and when we got to the top started shouting and screaming at Homer to come here! Finally, the stupid dog obeyed us, and we ran all the way back down the stairs to our house and inside as quick as we could.
  • I was 13  and walking up our neighborhood road knocking on doors and handing out fliers for my new business. I’d already secured a few sales from sympathetic older ladies, so I was feeling pretty good about my business, and decided to walk up one longer, more secluded driveway. When I got to the end, I knocked on the door and waited, waited, and waited some more. Nobody was home, so I turned around to go. Running away from me back into the woods was a mountain lion. And here I was, at the end of a long driveway, a blackberry hedge blocking the view from the road, and nobody inside the house. I started praying as hard as I could, and, willing myself to not run down the driveway, took what seemed like an eternity to make my way back to the road. When I got to the en,d a neighbor lady drove by, stopped to say hello, and offered me a ride home, which I gladly accepted.

And, that is the extent of my distinct memories concerning encounters with mountain lions and bears. I have seen the odd bobcat and coyote out and about on my parent’s property, too. I know that all of my siblings have their own memories about encountering bears, and mountain lions. Perhaps they would be kind enough to share some of those memories here, too.

Coram Deo,

Anna

Last Minute Thoughts

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Thanksgiving is almost here. As if you didn’t already know that fact. Most of you are probably traveling, or hunkering down in your warm houses against the cold outside to celebrate in the light of candles and the love of family. Boy, that sounded sappy.

I have the Thanksgiving jitters right now. I always feel this way before a major holiday. Especially if I am contributing to the dinner menu, which I am this year. It’s not that I’m not a competent cook, on the contrary, I am an excellent cook (sheesh, now I’m sounding arrogant), I just pause for two seconds in this rushed week, and try and take in the picture as a whole, and it makes me feel restless, jittery, and joyful, all at the same time. It’s a feeling akin to drinking a large cup of coffee on an empty stomach. These days, ordinary and holy during this gradual ascent into Christmas season remind me so much of my own frailty. These days remind me that they are fleeting beyond belief.

The now and the not yet are in constant revolution in our lives. One doesn’t stop so the other can catch up. Which is why during holidays especially, we are drawn in the now to be reflective over what has, is, and will be to come. We are living lives in the now that will reflect our lives in the not yet. Holy feasts, feasts beyond compare, will be held in the not yet, but we are commanded to mimic them in the now. Of course, the most important reminder feast and sacrament that we are commanded to observe is communion, (all other feasts are up to personal preference, and we are NOT to judge other people if they observe them or not). That feast, communion, fully combines the was, is, and is to come in our lives through JESUS, and puts all other feasts into perspective.

If you are living your life completely focused on the was, it’s time to stop. If you are living your life completely focused on the now, cease and desist. And if you are living life always looking for the to come, you need to look around you again. Try as much as you can to live life focused on all three, and you will be doing better than most people.

Try and have a Happy Thanksgiving, and a joyful start to your Christmas season.

Coram Deo!

Anna

From a Railway Carriage

This poem is dedicated to mine and Bekah’s trip with four young children on the train this coming Sunday. There’s a magic about seeing life fly by from the window of a railcar that I’ve longed to enjoy. I hope all goes well for us! 🙂

From A Railway Carriage
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clamber and scrambles, —
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is the river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

Coram Deo!
Anna

Catch 22

Sarah is still not quite ready to come home. Her blood pressure needs to come down more before the doctors feel comfortable with releasing her. Eclampsia seizures or even a stroke can sometimes occur, even after the baby is born, so they are making darn sure that she is going to be on the road to recovery with lowered blood pressure and improved cognitive ability before they give her the green light to go home.

It’s a bit of a Catch 22, however, since Sarah is a homebody who doesn’t like being at the hospital. Not that the staff hasn’t been helpful and caring with her, she just misses the familiarity of her home, and family around her — tonic clonic seizures will almost always cause some memory loss, as well, so she feels disoriented about not being able to fill in the gaps. All she remembers is that the ambulance transported her to the hospital, and then she woke up in a hospital room without Athanasius. It’s hard to feel secure when you are wake up after being in labor, and you don’t have your baby, and you are surrounded by strange people!

Anyway, it is stressful on Sarah being stuck in a hospital room 24/7, especially while being disoriented. She is doing better now that Athanasius is with her. But she still wants to come home right now, but can’t until her blood pressure comes down. At the same time, her blood pressure is still high because she is stressed about not being home! It’s a Catch 22.

So, dear friends, be praying for her BP to lower so that she will be released and come back where we can take care of her more easily, and she will continue to get the rest that she needs… It will be a major blessing to have that happen. She needs lots of assistance with nursing and taking care of Athanasius, too, and it’s hard on Steve being the only one to help with that all night long. I’m sure I’ll be on night duty to help with getting Athanasius up and changed, and put back down — it’ll be like having a newborn myself again! 😉 But it will be so much better than Sarah attempting to do all those things in the hospital room alone.

Coram Deo!
Anna