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.
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