Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

These two photos are a couple of my most recent favorites. As you can see, I need to update our title photo, as my kids no longer look anything like it. We are going to Philadelphia this week for Thanksgiving with our friends the Germanys. Hopefully we'll take lots more photos!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Move Along

If there are any readers of this blog left, you probably already know from other sources that we are moving to NE PA (northeastern Pennsylvania), and the date is fast approaching! We drive out of Chicago on the 9th of August and will arrive (after a few stops) in the Scranton area (no, I have not seen The Office) on the 12th. We have an apartment waiting for us, Andrew will be attending seminary at St. Tikhon's, and we'll have the monastery community and a new church in Wilkes-Barre to adjust to. It should be an interesting adventure!

In blog-related news, we were given a new camera by my parents for all of our birthdays this summer. So, we should be better at updating this thing -- especially since we will be so far from so many friends.

Here are a few recent shots -- many are from a tiny birthday party we had for our family's birthdays since we'd be moving when most of them occurred.

Gramma Baum with Susannah

Looking for kitties

Birthday gifts with friends, Sofie and Delaina

A birthday card for Maggie

Susannah with Delaina and Clifton

No, it's not a cigar... it's a wooden teething toy/rattle....

Singing Happy Birthday... notice Maggie is hiding (just like her Daddy used to do)

Sorry, Hal. I couldn't resist putting this up here.

Get your own.

It's empty, I swear.
(OK, so now this post contains photos that make it look like I let my 11-month-old smoke and drink....)

Decorations made by a friend

Susannah loves being able to get around on her own

Maggie being cute
(These are small because I wasn't paying attention, and then was too lazy to change it!)

Sleepy babies just waking up in the morning

Andy's test photo... containing our family motto

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wonder if my kids know this about their Mom...

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bye-Bye James! (and Katie and Clay Too)

Some friends of ours from All Saints moved down to Texas in the last few weeks. We will miss them a great deal! Maggie especially will miss her church buddy (and partner in loud mischief during services), James.

James is how we often get Maggie to do go to church if she's unwilling (Us: "You'll get to see James!" Maggie: "See James!") or do something while there (Us: "If you take communion, you can go play with toys with James!" Maggie: "Toys! James!"). I'm sure Maggie will also miss his bear hugs and 45-second, lip-lock kisses. :)

I don't have any of my own pictures to share. My sister, Ellie, was along at a farewell party Katie threw for James and his little friends (and us Moms), so if she ever gets the photos to me, I will share. If not, our other All Saints friends, the Schmidts, have a nice post on their family blog. The group shot of the kids (with Maggie and Susannah) is right at the top of the "Goodbye to James" post.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Melt My Heart

I guess Maggie has noticed what we say when we eat at someone else's house. Lately, after many of our meals, Maggies says, "Thank you for eating."

And I dissolve into a happy-parent puddle.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pascha Banquet

I don't know if anyone has any pictures of our family actually at our Pascha (Easter) service. We did attend. Both Maggie and Susannah slept through a good part of it. Our friend and the kids' babysitter, Rebecca took several nice photos at the brunch party after the service, however. I stole them from her Snapfish account. Is that legal?

Maggie and her Becca, who might be as excited as Maggie is when they get to hang out. She has as much energy as Maggie does too.

Beneath this adorable smile is another child. A child who is not necessarily agreeable. A child who refuses to don an Easter dress that was talked up all day. Ok, granted, it was a little scratchy and made out of polyester... and I probably wouldn't have wanted to wear it either. But it was so cute. Little pink flowers, big poofy white skirt, a gift from friends at St. George. Oh well. Anyone need a size 3T Easter Dress? Like new. Never been worn.

The kids had plenty of energy even though this was probably taken around 3:30AM. Maggie felt particularly comfortable, obvious from the fact that she has removed her shoes.

I put Susannah in the wrap so I could get some food from the buffet. By the time I returned to the table from the fairly short line, she was out. It was also this evening that we discovered the mythical cheering powers of "Sue-nanna's George" as Maggie calls him. If you look closely, you can see her clutching it in her sleep. Actually, this one is Maggie's -- he's wearing a red shirt, not yellow.

Maggie looking fairly pleasant. I think there's a pizza smudge on her face. For brunch, we had the usual breakfast fare, with the interesting addition of cheese pizzas on every table. It was an Italian restaurant, so I suppose it fits.

Eventually, Susannah roused herself to join in the festivities.

One of the All Saints traditions we all look forward to is Joseph's Vodka. Doesn't go with scrambled eggs, and isn't especially appetizing at 4AM, but it's tradition and we are Orthodox. Christ is risen!

Uncle Hal and the college table consuming theirs. I'm sure Joseph checked all their IDs. I'm sure he did the same for the high school table as well....

Maggie loves her Uncle Hal. Mommy loves her coffee.

At some point, Maggie procured one of the large balloons from the table centerpieces. Of course she wanted the pink one.

And she was off!

She ran around with that thing for a long while -- circling tables, full speed ahead with the balloon bouncing along behind/above her.

She was quite attached to it. And I attached it to one of her shoes (she wasn't using it) so we wouldn't have to explain to her why we couldn't retrieve the balloon from the ceiling. I think the balloon followed us home and hovered around the house for several days during Bright Week.

Here's the whole family: kids, Mommy, Daddy, and Hal. (Totally unrelated to Pascha: we were at the zoo recently and Maggie was looking at some fish. She said, "There's a Mommy fish. There's a Daddy fish. There's a Hal fish." Every family has a Hal, right? Where's your Hal?)

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blast From the Past: Susannah's Churching

In the Orthodox Church, for those who don't know, many women feel free to stay home with their new babies for as long as 40 days (roughly six weeks) postpartum. We don't go to church, and most try to do as little outside of the house as is possible. (If you are just staying home from church but going out to the mall, you're missing the point.) There are some parishes were this is not emphasized, but I have found it to be a wonderful time of bonding with my babies and healing from delivery. Not to mention, my doctor thinks it's wonderful: six weeks is the magic medical number in the postpartum period. The mother is mostly healed from a normal delivery at six weeks, the baby's immune system is somewhat stronger, and the breastfeeding relationship is established (but may I add that it can still drastically improve!) by this time.

When Mom and Baby are ready to return, the priest "Churches" them -- formally and prayerfully welcomes them back to the community. I see it as a sort of initiation back to normal life.

Susannah's churching took place at St. Ignatius in Madison, Wisconsin, with Fr. Patrick Kinder.

We begin at the entrance to the church, where the priest prays over Mother and Baby.

Fr. Patrick then takes the child down the aisle, stopping three times to lift her to God while singing Psalm verses.

She is raised again and maneuvered in the sign of the Cross in front of the icons of Christ and the Theotokos and Child.

I hope this was Fr. Patrick instructing her to be a good kid.

A final blessing: Father makes the sign of the Cross over Susannah before handing her back to me.

Clearly, she's practicing being a saint.

And Grandma and Grandpa got some more grand-baby time in of course.

Thanks so much to Katie, my mother's goddaughter (what does that make us?) who took these lovely photos.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Catching Up

The kids are both sleeping (and Mommy managed to get in a little nap and then sneak away!) so I am going to try to get us caught up. On a related note, our updates may need to pause for a while because I just tried to turn on our camera and nothing happened. I replaced the batteries to no avail. We have been using a digital camera donated by Andy's Uncle Dave and Aunt Patsy at I think my first Thanksgiving with the Kishlers, and it may have retired!

This must be just after awakening because Maggie is in her "kity 'jamas" and she's got a great smile. Ok, so that means it must be several hours after awakening because Maggie never smiles just after awakening. I must also point out "Maggie's George" as Maggie calls him, who Maggie just very excitedly noticed in this picture.

Susannah has a pretty smile too.

"I'm so cute."

Susannah loves to bounce in her seat suspended from the door frame, and Maggie likes to entertain her while she's in it. As long as Maggie isn't grabbing the straps and violently pushing her to narrowly miss the walls in the hallway, this is a good thing.

Maggie reading from her prayer book to Susannah.

"I know I'm cute."
P.S. This "pink doggie dress" is Maggie's absolute favorite. She would wear it for days on end if we let her, and it is always her first choice when I ask her what she wants to wear. Most days, I have to tell her it's dirty, to which she replies, "I'll wash it."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pile of Cat

And we pause our regularly scheduled cute-child updates to bring you this important message:

Faust and Opie can be pretty cute too.

Staying with Friends in Quincy

A couple of weeks ago, we and a couple of other families from Chicago traveled southwest in Illinois (Andy: "Good, I finally get to see the rest of the state."), past our state's capitol (Andy: "I think I saw a gold dome!"), to the home of The Cheese People. A hour or so away from Quincy, we stopped for lunch with a friend of mine who I'd met online through a Yahoo Group. We had a great time meeting in person, and I'm sorry we didn't think to take a picture together! Laura, thanks for meeting us!

On to the Quincy photos!

Dad, even though nearly all of us congregating in Quincy were or are "in the business" we still don't always slice the cheese straight. But at least we're capable of doing so if necessary.

Maggie and friend Josephine in an obligatory co-bathing shot.

Sunday, we had the privilege of visiting St. Raphael Mission. They have a lovely storefront church and were very welcoming to us and the multitude of children we brought with us.

A matinée presentation of some children's classic, complete with popcorn, followed church. (From left to right: Evalina, Sonia, Maggie, Josie)

Maggie made good use of the available art supplies.

The littlest Hanchett, Gabriella.

Our hostess, Sarah, giving Josie a goodbye hug.

Thanks for a lovely weekend, Hanchetts!
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