Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Finally, The End Of January!

We have made it to the end of January in our new schedule and things have been good. I am looking forward to continuing most classes for the girls, though we are visiting whether we will spend the money on certain classes for Sis right now, or put it into an envelope and save it for a summer camp of the same fun business. Anyway, we shall see, but these girls are doing really well in their tumbling classes, and Sis is moving up to being in longer piano to make sure there is enough time to do anything, since her music is getting longer and more complicated. On top of learning to play, she is also learning to identify notes by their names both on the keyboard and treble/bass clef staff position, and working on different practice scales, so longer class will be great and she loves her teacher, so it works out.

We have finally gotten some rain in the valley for the first time in what seems like forever. I am chomping at the bit to plant things, since it should stay somewhat mild enough to get a few things in the ground, like peas, beets, and carrots. I have to wait until after the first, which will be pay day, so we can head down to get things to make raised beds. I would like to repurpose things to be a veggie/flower/herb/fruit bed, like the fire truck toddler bed. (We had to remove it from the house because a certain toddler was keeping hersel awake playing with the knobs and things...) Any ideas on what to repurpose? I have a pallet that we may fill with dirt and plant; my biggest criteria is creative and interesting. Oh, our bulbs we planted after we moved in are already starting to poke their little leaves up through the earth, which makes my heart jump for joy!

While I take the girls to their sister tumbling class, we leave papa for a minimum of 2 hours to work on his Orthodox graphic novel. He is working on adapting the lives of saints into a form that is appealing to many, but to target teens/young adults, beginning with Great Martyr Katherine. There are ever so many children's books, and certainly plenty of meaty adult books, out there and this is one of the concepts he has been wanting to work with for some time. It is coming along and we will see how it goes; I will keep you updated as to when he gets further along.

I have begun to teach the older kid's Sunday school after the liturgy, since our usual person is with family as they grieve the loss of her father (memory eternal, Rafik!), though my role is not to teach exactly as the other teacher has taught. This has proved both challenging and rewarding, due to the needs of older kids and the vast resources of what the posibilities are in this realm. Because they are able to comprehend things on a different level than the younger kids, knowing where to begin can be unclear. I have read the lives of Sts. Macarius the Great of Egypt and Brigid of Kildare, discussing their lives, having questions, really trying to get them to think. The season of Great Lent is upon us, so I hope to tie in the Gospel readings of the next sunday into the lesson with Q & A. I want to learn about the following sunday because they will have one bit from me and the next week they will have a follow-up by Father's homily, which I am hoping will reinforce what we discuss. As well as these lessons, we are discussing Christian virtues in an applicable manner, to try to bring mindfulness of ourselves and another aspect of the great fast. We often tend to focus on what food we are and aren't eating, and less on what we are or aren't doing/saying. These are often the hardest for us and I want us to acknowledge the entirety of the fast, so I have asked them to think of things for next sunday. Godwilling, this will all come together.

On monday, Jay took Mini to her 'tass' on his bike, with her in tow in the kid trailer, which we call the 'stroller bike', since it converts between bike trailer and stroller. Now that the weather is more cooperative, lacking in snow and super cold (all of which has been unseasonable for these parts!), we are aiming to drive less, bike and walk more. The overall goal is to be driving for liturgies and to Medford, but walking and riding all the other places. As I explained to Sis last night, it is good for our bodies, the earth, and our pocketbook. We started off by walking to her swim class as a family and I took Luna on a walk while she was in class, while Daddy and Mini watched Sissy swim. It went pretty well and I hope it continues to last, though I am at the coffee shop a little begrudgingly on my bike, because I ate lunch and got tired. I am glad I hopped on Samantha and came down, but getting the motivation to get out the door sometimes may become interesting. The ultimate question is: How badly do I want to go? Not to mention the outcome of feeling happy to have pushed past the lethargy of the body and slug onward, making a pinch of progress in redirecting some of the willfulness into productivity.

I think that may be it for now, but I suppose that is enough. We are trucking along, looking forward to February being a shorter month, as January has seemed eternally dragging. Spring is coming, Great Lent, another birthday for me, plants, flowers, hiking, barbecuing, camping, and whatever else we come across.