Thursday, April 29, 2010

One Hundred

Well folks, this is my 100th post. It's been about a year since I started this humble little blog and it's become a dear friend where I can get the millions of words floating in my head down somewhere. So thanks for listening...whoever you are out there.

In honor of my 100th post, I'm going to attempt to come up with 100 things about me and our family. Not sure if I'll make it but I'll try.

1. We are Christians and we love the Lord and do our best to follow Him in everything we do.
2. We've been married for almost 8 years.
3. We've known each other for ten.
4. Our fourth, a daughter, will (hopefully) be born on our 10 year dating anniversary. Just worked out that way. I'm due on June 24th and we hope to schedule her c-section on the 25th.
5. We have three little boys.
6. They're all about a year and a half apart.
7. They all have Bible names but we didn't plan it that way. We just liked their meanings and so that's how they got their names.
8. We both graduated from the best university in the world...Cal Poly, SLO! Go Mustangs!
9. I graduated with a degree in English.
10. Steve got his degree in Math. I know, I know, we're a perfect match!
11. I secretly love country music although I don't like to admit it.
12. My husband does NOT like country music, although he likes Patty Griffin so that's okay with me.
13. I love to sing.
14. I love to bake.
15. I love to cook.
16. I love to entertain and have people over.
17. I'm not so great at all of the fun party stuff (I'm not the life of the party) but I can have my house cleaned and food made on time.
18. I don't like cats much at all.
19. But I do love dogs.
20. I love running. Short aside: I went for a walk with my old running buddy the other day. I am so used to running with her that I nearly took off out of habit when we got down to the track. That definitely would've been a sight. I love running so much that when I'm pregnant, I miss it like I do a close friend.
21. So when I am pregnant, I have a hill that I walk and that at least pacifies me for awhile.
22. Russian literature is one of my favorite genres.
23. Dostoevsky is by far my favorite Russian writer.
24. Cake and ice cream is probably my favorite combination in a dessert. Or really, anything fresh from the oven with ice cream.
25. I'm a sucker for sweets although I try so hard to have self-control.
26. After I went to college and earned the "freshmen 15" I ended up having to lose 40 lbs total a year into our marriage.
27. I did it with Weight Watchers.
28. It worked so well I've used Weight Watchers after every child.
29. I weighed more at that time in my life than I ever have full-term with any of my children.
30. As you can see, I stopped running for awhile in college and that's what got me in trouble.
31. I love my friends and am fiercely loyal.
32. I got married when I was 21.
33. I had my first child at 24.
34. I'm pretty stubborn (ask my husband).
35. Yet even though I'm stubborn, God's really worked on me so much that I've learned to willingly submit to my husband. And really, I'm much happier that way.
36. I don't like shopping because I don't like spending money.
37. Still, whenever we make a big purchase, I make Steve do it and I have a mini heart attack while he's doing so.
38. Did I already mention...I HATE spending money.
39. But I am a sucker for King Arthur Flour and Pampered Chef. I hardly ever buy anything (only accumulate slowly) but I love me some fun kitchen gadgets.
40. The last thing I ever want to do in a situation is give up. I hate quitting...almost to a fault.
41. I was in numerous plays and musicals in high school.
42. I still love going and hearing a good choir concert.
43. I was a cheerleader for one year in high school and then I was done with that. Too much drama.
44. I was on homecoming court but didn't win. But my best friend did so I was happy.
45. I didn't have my first real drink until I turned 21. It was a margarita. I wasn't impressed.
46. I'm still not a huge of alcohol so I don't miss it when I'm pregnant.
47. I don't really like coffee either unless it's a frappaccino but that doesn't count because you can't even taste the coffee.
48. I like tea a lot and I drink it black. Who wants to waste calories on honey?
49. Good Earth tea is my favorite.
50. I also love a big Diet Coke with some mini York Peppermint patties.
51. Three to be exact.
52. Because you can't just have one.
52. Two is nice.
53. But three makes you feel like you really splurged and got a treat even though they're really little.
54. I love ice cream.
55. Pralines and Cream from Baskin Robbins is my favorite.
56. But I usually eat light ice cream and I measure it into a 1/2 cup and eat it out of the measuring cup with a spoon.
57. I love to fall asleep on the couch. I get this from my mom.
58. I love it when I have fallen asleep on the couch and my husband scoops me up and carries me to bed...even when I'm huge pregnant. I love that.
59. I don't like scary movies or shows.
60. I usually have nightmares after watching shows with a lot of intensity or suspense.
61. My husband has banned me from these shows. Probably because I wake him up in the middle of the night scared with a nightmare.
62. I like microwave popcorn. 94% fat free to be exact.
63. And I like to burn mine just slightly. It tastes oh so good.
64. I like to chew Extra sugar-free gum.
65. Peppermint is my favorite.
66. I picked up that habit in Jr. High as an act of rebellion (we weren't supposed to chew gum in school) and I haven't kicked it yet.
67. All 3 of my boys have gone breech at some point toward the end of my pregnancies.
68. We'll see if little girl does the same.
69. My husband didn't kiss me until we had been dating for four months. Believe me, he wanted to, but he held out and I'm glad he did. That helped us slow things down enough to make it to our wedding day.
70. I'm Greek and proud of it-even in the midst of all of their crazy economic troubles right now.
71. I went to Greek School as a kid. I can read at the first grade level (ha ha). I can speak a little.
72. My two favorite Greek dishes to make are Spanakopita (Spinach Pie) and Pastitsio (like a Greek Lasagne, kinda)
73. I've been to Europe three times.
74. I hope to go back with my husband someday. He's never been.
75. Probably won't be until we're empty nesters.
76. Which isn't for a loooooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggg time!
77. I'm the only girl in my family.
78. I have an older brother and little brother.
79. I also have NO girl cousins. So I truly am the only girl.
80. My siblings and I have holiday birthdays. I'm born on St. Patty's Day and my brothers both share the same birthday (8 years apart) and their birthday regularly falls on Thanksgiving.
81. I love football.
82. I seriously enjoy watching football on TV or at a live game.
83. The 49ers are and always have been my team. Good thing I married a 9er fan.
84. We don't have TV so whenever Steve goes to a 9er game (we have season tickets that we share) or when he goes to watch a game at his brother's, I listen to the game on the radio or "watch" it on so that I know what went on in the game and how to talk with him about it.
85. My older brother taught me everything I know about football.
86. Steve has just reaped the benefits.
87. But all other sports don't interest me much (at least enough to sit and watch them).
88. I once took a Calculus class at Cal Poly as an elective to try and understand my husband's love for math. I was the ONLY English major in that class.
89. If I didn't have a live-in tutor at the time (Steve and I were married), it probably would've been the only class I ever failed.
90. I got a the skin of my teeth. And I cried after nearly every exam.
91. I never missed one class in college. Not one.
92. One of my favorite things to do with Steve is to sit outside, on a warm summer evening after the kids have gone down and talk.
93. I hate to iron. If Steve didn't need nice clothes ironed for work I'd never, ever, ever iron.
94. But I don't mind dishes at all.
95. And my kitchen must be spotless with every dish put away or in the dishwasher and the floor swept before I can go to bed. I'm very determined and anal about this.
96. That started when we lived in the country and I discovered that if I wasn't clean, I'd get mice. Yuck!!!! I learned very quickly to love a clean kitchen.
97. I love my husband more than anyone...including my children.
98. I love my children second best.
99. I love my extended family very, very much.
100. But I love my Savior best of all.

Monday, April 26, 2010


We have some very close friends from Cal Poly who will be embarking on a new journey this next year. After five years of teaching Biology, Andy will be attending medical school on the east coast this coming fall. These are very precious friends to us. So precious that we packed up our brood and my belly too and went to the valley (Fresno area) for a last weekend of fun with our wonderful friends.

We had a great time just catching up and being with them. We tried to soak up every minute as we aren't quite sure when or how often we'll get to see them. Steph made us some amazing meals as usual, the boys played with Annaliese (their daughter) and we just got to be together one last least for awhile.

All of us met through AGO at Cal Poly (except Andy and I knew each other in high school) and we started dating around the same time. Steph and I were roommates one year and so were Andy and Steve, and we got married within a year of each other. We kinda grew up together. We have a few other friends like them that we just love and cherish so much. It's hard to say "good-bye" but we know that we'll be friends for a lifetime.

Especially because these two, just seven weeks apart, have already been betrothed, so someday we'll be family. We just know it.

We love you Dollahites. Thanks for being such wonderful and special friends to us. We're going to miss you all terribly.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Education: The Butcher and The Milkman

One of the major questions that has been on our minds this last year is how we're going to educate our firstborn son next year. On the one hand, we're involved in a great little classical christian school that is very affordable and absolutely wonderful. Isaac has spent two years of preschool there and we've been very happy with the outcome.

However, we also know that we live way out in the country, we're going to have another child in two months and I literally am not superwoman. I wish I was...I'm just not. If I could "beam him up" to school every day and back home again that would be wonderful. Nevertheless, it's just not possible. And I don't know how I can expect my three other children to spend hours in the car every day just so that their brother can go to kindergarten. Don't ask me about the elementary school in our area (which isn't even that close)'s out of the question.

So what to do?

One thing I've generally found is that people can get all tied up in a wad over their decisions about where to send their kids to school. What works for one family might not for another and really, when it comes down to it, it's the parents' responsibility to make the best decision they can for their children and family. Homeschooling can be a great and viable option for some and not for others. And some choose to do it for a time. That very well might be us next year. However, the type of schooling is a method that parents choose for their child...the principle is that the parents get their child schooling in the best situation they can offer to them.

And coming from a family that earns its bread and butter from teaching in the classroom, we can't say that we don't believe in it. That would be like the milkman feigning lactose intolerance because he secretly doesn't like dairy or a butcher being a vegetarian simply for conscience reasons. Pretty hard to swallow if you ask me. I want my milk and meat to come from someone who believes in what they're doing and cares about the outcome. If they don't, I might end up with salmonella or moldy cheese. And knowing my husband like I do, he takes his job quite seriously. Plain and simple--he loves it.

I don't know where that leaves us. We're still wrestling, still asking God, still seeing where He will lead us. But I hope whenever we make the final call, that we'll be willing to negotiate in the future if need be and that we'll be able to see that this decision is good for us and not necessarily for everyone else.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It's just been one of those days. Not horrible but busy. My laundry is piled everywhere, my two oldest boys have fought every bad guy and monster in this house inside and out, my 18 month old has spilled anything he could get his hands on and has already been changed...twice, and as a result of the chaos, I actually had to lay down for a nap. Good thing everyone cooperated with that part. For some strange reason there's been lots of crying (not by me...yet), lots of training, lots of mishaps yet lots and LOTS of laughs.

I guess it's just been a Monday. Yet, I'm SO thankful I get to be here to deal with it all. And by God's grace, my husband just walked in early.

Here's to another great week!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Three Quarters...

On Wednesday I hit 30 weeks and folks, I'm starting to feel it. I'm 3/4 done with my fourth pregnancy in five years! I haven't started crying at night yet from fatigue but I'm sure the next ten weeks will be my most challenging of all my pregnancies so far. Mostly, I just have to laugh at myself and the crazy things I do. Soon it will all be over and I'll miss being pregnant, so I'm trying to enjoy every minute. Here's my Top Ten List of....

"How I Know I'm Really in My Third Trimester"

10. My bed has become a mountain of pillows and blankets that I just MUST HAVE to get any sleep. My poor hubby just has to deal with the extra stuff. I used to apologize for I just shrug and tell him it won't be long.

9. The duck waddle has begun. The other day I noticed I was waddling. And then I thought to myself, "Have I ever really stopped waddling?" I think that's just how I walk now, I'm so used to it.

8. As soon as the boys get in bed, I go horizontal and usually do not move until it's time for me to crawl in bed which always involves a lot of sighing and shifting around. If I don't do this, I simply cannot get up the next morning.

7. My children notice my large size and say things like, "Oh my goodness! You're huge!" when lifting up my shirt to say "hello" to their baby sister. That's always a confidence booster.

6. I've stopped sleeping well even though I'm very tired. Typical. Predictable. However, I'm sleeping more now than I will be in a few months so, I can't complain.

5. I feel like I'm growing as wide out in front as I am tall. Which isn't so big considering I'm just under 5 feet but yet imagine getting big and being my size...I definitely am struggling in the balance area.

Which I discovered, by the way, the other night when I climbed up to Isaac's bed to kiss him goodnight. I normally don't do that anymore due to my burgeoning belly but that night I just had to snuggle him so I went up there and then couldn't get down. Yes, I climbed the triple bunk bed. You should've seen the look on my husband's face when I called him from the other room to help me get down. It was the look of death.

4. I feel like my joints will be cracking and moving I could lead a percussion band with all of the noises my joints are making right now. Poor things have been through a lot over these past five years.

3. Most of the cute pregnancy shirts are starting to fade into the abyss and the bigger, less attractive smocks are coming well as the hubby's white undershirts (you know, to work out in). He hates it when I wear his shirts. Something about him needing them. Ha ha. Fun times.

2. I really don't feel like doing anything, like the normal cooking, cleaning and running a home, although not "feeling like it" doesn't translate into getting out of my responsibilities. "Mom! I'm hungry...I'm thirsty...I need to go poop!" as well as the normal crying, training and sibling banter, are all the background chatter and noise I hear throughout the day. Such is the life. And I am okay with fact, I love it. I'm just not as enthusiastic as normal about all of the things that need to get done. Nevertheless, I must push through.

1. But the best part about the third trimester is knowing that I've almost made it to the end and will meet my new little one soon. Now that makes all of the minor aches and pains totally worth it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Little Affection

A few weeks back my oldest and I had sat down for a little chat. I've really come to cherish the times I have with him while the other two nap in the afternoon. Everyday we play a game. And everyday we practice reading during this time and then he goes and takes a rest while I rest. It's precious to me. Most days nothing monumental happens but sometimes little nuggets come to the surface as he might share with me something on his heart or something that's bothering him.

This day in particular we were talking about his Dad. My little Isaac is enamored with his Dad. That's the way he's always been. My other two love their Dad very much as well but for some reason, Isaac has just always been a Daddy's boy. Maybe it's because he's a firstborn son. I don't know. However, it's just who he is. Anyway, as we were talking about his Dad, he tells me how much he loves him and how Steve works hard for him (we talk about this a lot because I want my boys to know and understand how hard their Dad works for them so that they learn how to provide for their own family one day). Anyway, I asked him why he loved his Dad and he looked at me with his huge blue-grey eyes and without skipping a beat said, "Because he kisses you Mom."

This totally caught me off-guard. I've always known that it's so good for our kids to see us show appropriate affection for each other but I never thought my four and a half year old would be able to express his utter delight in watching his Dad, his hero, love his Mom. It really struck me. And stuck with me. And reminded me of the importance of Steve and I keeping our marriage strong.

Lawrence R. Lucas writes about this very topic in his book, The Things You'll See (I've quoted this book before). "Something about children seeing their parents being affectionate with each other seems very right. It teaches them to be affectionate themselves with the spouses God may give them, and it shows them how. It blesses and approves in their eyes the enjoyment God intends us to have in one another. I believe it also warms and delights them, in part because it shows them tangibly that all is well in the house between mom and dad." pg. 77

So I guess there's no need to be shy. A healthy dose of affection is good for everyone-including the children. Maybe when Steve comes home tonight I'll tell him to plant one on me, you know, for the childrens' sake.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Break Project

Well, what have I been doing this last week since I haven't been blogging? We've been on Spring Break here and that always spells out tons of fun for us because Daddy is home for a whole week straight!! We did do some fun stuff as a family for sure this time but, this year, we had some different things on the agenda that took up most of our time. Here, I'll let you in on the details. you know, we've got a new little baby coming in about ten weeks and currently, all of our boys sleep in the same room. Our plan was to get one more in there but we weren't really sure how we were going to do it. Basically, our boys love sleeping together and we love it too because we live in about a 900 square foot house with 3 bedrooms and so, having them all together is a great space-saver for us. Plus, we think they'll have great memories of being all together when they grow up.

All of this in theory was great but the practicality of it all started to get a little bit difficult because we began running into some space issues. We couldn't figure out how we could get Joshua into a bed and have a crib in the room at the same time. And the baby will need the crib. So we began to brainstorm...and we thought about it....and we went through tons of options until we finally settled on a triple bunk bed.

That's right people. A triple bunk bed. Have any of you ever even heard of one of those? Well, I had but my husband hadn't and so we started researching them online. They are extremely expensive. And it's very rare that they are sold used because it's not that common that a family would need one. So we either had to fork over at least $800 for the cheapest, flimsiest one or come up with something else. That's when my husband saw the link to build your own triple bunk bed...and the plans only cost $10. We decided to invest the ten bucks to see if we could do it ourselves. After he looked it over, he decided he could do it so we took the plunge.

So this Spring Break Steve has spent hours and hours and hours building this triple bunk bed. He's a pretty handy guy but he's never done anything of this magnitude. It was a big job and he learned a lot as he went. He started out by going and picking out all of the wood (which his Dad helped with and provided a truck to haul it all home). Then he had to measure and saw the wood into all of the right sizes. Steve's brother let us use their side yard to do all of that work which was a blessing because they have more room--and lucky for us, they live down the street. Then Steve had to measure and drill holes that would be used in the assembly. Then he had to sand it all with a borrowed power sander from his Dad, stain every last bit of it and then put it all together. Sounds easy enough right? It was a TON of work!!

Lucky for us, my parents watched our boys for two days straight so that we could bust a move and get the bed done. I helped hold boards, did some hand sanding, kept Steve company and just cheered on my husband. When he was getting tired, I'd keep him going by giving him small goals to reach. We had such a good time working together. And at night, we took time off for ourselves and had so much fun. Of course, Steve did most of the work, but those two days working together were so priceless for us. Two definitely are better than one.

Here are some pictures:

This was only half of the wood needed for the bed.

Isn't he handsome? We probably spent twelve total hours sanding together. It was really hard work. Now, let me just straighten this out before all of you think my husband had his seven months pregnant wife using the sander...I just helped hold down the boards and flipped them when needed...he did all of the sanding. But anyway, Steve had already sanded the boards a lot up to the point I started helping him...we just had to shape all of the edges so that the boys wouldn't get hurt on the sharp corners if they fell on them and that just took a really long time.

Steve had to do all of the staining because I didn't want to be around the fumes. So I just did some fine hand sanding on the boards that needed it and sat on a stool talking to him while he stained. The staining took about six hours.

There's all of the wood for the bed!! Now it just needs to be put together.

This crazy crew put it all together today. Steve's Dad and our good friend Matt helped for about five hours straight today as they drilled everything together. The boys loved the finished product. Isaac's on the very top, Caleb's in the middle and Joshua will go on the bottom.

Now we just need one more mattress...and to get rid of our other bunk bed. We thought we had a buyer for it but then he never showed up today. I hate how flakey people can be!!! Side note: if you know of anyone in this area that needs a solid bunk bed...let me know. We're looking to sell ours. It's in great condition.

Basically, tons of people helped Steve pull this project off but it was his determination and hard work that made it come to fruition and boy is it a beauty. Steve did it all by hand and he did a marvelous job. He saved us a ton of money and we've got a bed, a family heirloom, that will last for many years to come. Oh how I love happy endings.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just Not Perfect

I know that this is the most important time in the year for Christians, being that it's Easter tomorrow, and that I should be ready. But I'm not. I usually do so much more to prepare my home, myself, my family and especially my children for the celebration of Christ's Resurrection. But I haven't.

To be honest, I'm disappointed in myself. I can make a ton of excuses like, I'm pregnant with my fourth, have a lot of little kids, etc...but really, when is life ever going to be easy for me to get these things done? I have to make a commitment to get things accomplished. I can't let my circumstances get in the way.

Usually, we've read through the Easter story from Matthew at least once by now, we've made a play dough mountain that depicts the crucifixion scene and the children have an idea of what's going on. This year we've made it to Judas' betrayal and the two oldest know that Peter cut off someone's ear (I think that was their favorite part--the swords). However, we haven't gotten to the cross...which is the most important part of the WHOLE story. After dinner tonight, I'm hoping to get there.

This morning my littlest woke up with a fever and has been literally sitting in my lap all day so my hopes for getting some things done last minute are flying fast out the window. And we may not get to participate in the family Easter party due to him being sick.

Maybe this year, God is trying to remind me that perfection just isn't what gets us to Him anyway. I want to celebrate God's triumph over sin. I want to make effort to show my family what's important and doing demonstrative things with children really helps them understand. Yet, sometimes it just doesn't work and I guess this year, that's God's lesson to me. I'm just not perfect. I can't always pull it all off. It's really about Christ and about His perfect sacrifice for us anyway, not about my plans.

And wasn't it the fact that I'm not perfect the whole reason for the crucifixion and resurrection...which is why we celebrate Easter in the first place? Maybe I just needed that reminder this year. It's simple. Christ died for me, and for us, because we're sinners--we're not perfect and He rose for us for the same reason. We don't have to do anything to get to God. Christ did it all. And that my friends, is the glory of the gospel.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean, In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, Is the current of Thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward, To thy glorious rest above.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How he loveth, ever loveth, Changeth never, nevermore!
How he watches o'er His loved ones, Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, Watcheth o'er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Love of every love the best!
'Tis an ocean full of blessing, 'Tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 'Tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, For it lifts me up to Thee.

Samuel Trevor Francis, 1875

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maybe...Just Maybe

If I play my cards a few years I won't be lifting a finger. Okay, so maybe not lifting a finger isn't really the goal--I'm sure I'll have a TON to do regardless. But, if I can get past how long it takes to teach and how the jobs aren't done necessarily how I'd do them myself, then I think/hope that as these boys get older, they'll learn to work, I'll have a cleaner house that I don't have to clean all by myself, and we'll all be better for it.

What do you do to train your kids to clean/pick-up? Awhile back I wrote about wanting my boys to learn hard work in the midst of our "convenient" society. How do you try and accomplish this task with your own children at home? I'm always looking for good ideas and new ways to do things so your responses will be most helpful to me.