Life Lately, According to my iPhone

Anthony books 11.5 months

Someone just discovered books

Anthony highchair 11.5 months

…and how to get out of his highchair

Gregory midnight wakeup 3:2013

A little midnight cuddle. He came down the stairs, half awake, and said, “G’morning, Mama!”

Gregory scab nose 3:2103

Life with boys– he got wild and fell down the stairs! Scared us half to death

Gregory:Dadda fort 3:2013

The boys made a fort! Entertained G for hours

Gregory at table March 2013

This kid has always LOVED food

Gregory with Dadda's gloves March 2013

Playing with Dadda’s new yard gloves

Gregory with smoothie 3:2013

Green smoothies– hey, it’s how I get him to eat Spinach and Kale!

Gregory with toys 3:2013

A day with toys


Yesterday, I went hog wild on my sewing machine. Seriously, it was like a little sweat shop over here.

First, I sewed the curtains for the boys room. Curtains are super easy to make, but they take FOREVER– just picture hemming all 4 sides of a giant 9 foot napkin. Times two.

Gregory and Anthony's curtains

Notice how the light shows on the sides? It’s actually a double curtain rod, with blackout curtains behind it (they were ugly plain…hence the decorative front curtain!). I’ve found that Gregory sleeps a million times better during his naps if it’s completely dark in his room

A closeup of the print

A closeup of the print

Next, I tackled my third and final chair cover to match the ones I’d already done.

Lastly, I made Gregory’s duvet cover and pillows.

Gregory's duvet and pillows

Side by side with the curtains. I love how the prints aren’t too matchy matchy!

Gregory's duvet closeup

I’m pretty proud of the duvet cover, complete with double hems AND ties!

I’ve also purchased an organic toddler sized pillow for G, so once it arrives I will be making a few pillowcases.

Pretty much the only other thing that I still need to do for their room is to buy a bunch of new gray chevron-print crib sheets! With two kids on mattresses now, we need twice as many for those little diaper leak accidents my boys seem so prone to.

I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not they need to be organic sheets, but since they’re no longer babies (what? sniff sniff), I’m okay with settling for normal fabric, especially because we’re on a tight budget πŸ™‚

One room almost done! Many more to go!

Chevron sheet


My favorite song out of any Orthodox song I’ve ever heard is one that is ONLY sung during Lent, and ONLY at Pre-Sanctified Liturgies throughout the week.

My greatest sadness and regret last year was that because I was feeling so rotten and worn down from being 34-40 weeks pregnant, we didn’t make it to any Pre-sanctified Liturgies, and, as a result, didn’t get to hear this song.

The song is based on Psalm 141 and called, “Let My Prayer Arise”. If you have 30-60 seconds to listen to it, I guarantee you will be blown away. I’ve FINALLY FOUND a live version of it, sung as a trio of three talented female voices. It was recorded last April at an Orthodox parish in Houston.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties (Psalm 141).

A Visit

This weekend, Ben and Buddy came to visit us. Here are just a few highlights:

Gregory showing his tummy 3:2013

Gregory hammed it up all weekend

Daou Arch Gate smaller

We went wine tasting at Daou Vineyards


You can see why people like coming here to hang out and enjoy a glass of wine! They also sell food and cheese pairings (or you can just bring a picnic lunch!).

Wine Tasting 4

A view from the parking lot

Wine Tasting 3

Buddy and Jesse, not sure what to expect


Wine Tasting 1

They had lounge chairs everywhere in order to enjoy the view

Wine Tasting 2

The view was almost as amazing as the wine

Gregory and Uncle Buddy 3:2013

After picking up the kids from my parents, we all went home, ate dinner and read books



Good Blog Post

I’ve always found my friend Sarah’s blog enjoyable, but I thought that her post today was especially good. Read about how she labored at home for 3 days with her baby, then finally made the decision to transfer to the hospital.

Isn't her baby just the CUTEST THING EVER??? Sorry, Sarah, hope you don't mind me stealing pictures of your adorable girl. She even has my sister's nickname-- Nell!

Isn’t her baby just the CUTEST THING EVER??? Sorry, Sarah, hope you don’t mind me stealing pictures of your adorable girl. She even has my sister’s nickname– Nell!

What I found so refreshing about this blog post was her absolute honesty. It was helpful for me, as well, to realize the immense amount of guilt and shame associated with “failing” at an all natural birth. I’ve always struggled with empathy in every area of my life– I try, but I’m just really bad at it, turns out.

Sarah’s post helped me to understand the other side of things so that I can avoid hurting feelings. Out of all my friends who’ve had babies, 90% of them (including me) had a ROUGH labor with their first baby. Around half of those ended up in the hospital with an epidural, despite the fact that they took tons of measures to avoid it. By the grace of God, I made it through my 22+ hour labor without transferring or needing drugs (although G did come out BACK OF HIS NECK first! Yikes!). But it’s safe to say that I could use some help with empathy in this area.

Also, she was RIGHT ON with how her struggles with breastfeeding changed her outlook towards mothers who use formula. My first two weeks breastfeeding were literal hell-on-earth, full of tons of cussing and “WHY GOD, WHY??”. Then, when he was 10 months old, I had to use two months worth of formula on him because I got pregnant again. I’m so grateful that my experience with Anthony has been the complete opposite, but I’m also glad that it wasn’t my FIRST experience, or else I wouldn’t be able to understand the other side of it. If feeding Anthony had been my first experience with breastfeeding, I’d have probably put my foot in my mouth about a dozen times, then fallen flat on my face when I struggled the next time around.


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any good thrift store/craigslist/garage sale finds.

This past week has been an amazing batch of deals, so I thought I’d share!

First of all, G finally has a toddler bed and mattress. We already had his crib mattress, but I want to use G’s crib for Anthony soon eventually.

I’m also a HUGE stickler about organic mattresses. Our current crib mattress is organic and wool, due to another lucky find on Craigslist (it was unused since the baby ended up co-sleeping until he was ready for a bed). Unfortunately, new organic crib mattresses come with a hefty price tag, and since I also have a mortgage to pay now, money isn’t what it used to be around here πŸ˜‰

This is the one I wanted, but it was $279 on Amazon!!!

This is the one I wanted, but it was $279 on Amazon!!!

I’ve been faithfully searching for weeks/months, looking for the right deal.

And then, the crib mattress of my dreams, NEW AND STILL IN THE BOX, was listed on Craigslist for only $100. Turns out, the mom had received two at her shower and didn’t feel like going through the process of mailing back the other one.

G's new room 1

Gregory was cackling with glee the entire time we set this up!

His toddler bed was $55 on Amazon. It’s super sturdy, took only 30 minutes to set up, and arrived in 2 days! I didn’t want to buy on Craigslist because I want to be able to get a matching one for Anthony when the time comes.

Our next two deals:

coffee can wooden bowls

I found both of these at our school’s thrift store. They were cheap to begin with, but we actually got them for free (teacher’s store credit).

Our last deal that we got I don’t have a picture of, due to its disassembled nature. We found the perfect ceiling fan for our bedroom, also free because it was at the thrift store! Last summer, our ceiling fans enabled us to only turn on our air conditioning once or twice (the Texan in me can’t believe I just said that!), so we’re stoked to have another one.

500 square feet!

I can not get over this San Francisco House Tour! 2 adults and 2 little boys, all living in 500 square feet? It’s incredible!


Lent for Some

I wish I had a deep post full of deep thoughts to kick off Lent. I figure that if I wait for one, however, I’ll never write. That seems to be the current way of things around here.

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent for Orthodox Christians. Our Easter Sunday (based on the Byzantine calendar) is a few weeks off from Western Easter, so, don’t fear, we still get our 40+ days of fasting in πŸ˜‰

Speaking of fasting, I am super excited about Lent this year. After 3 SOLID years of being pregnant or nursing full time (sigh, yes!), I was finally given a “blessing” by our priest to fast! Since I am still nursing Anthony 5-6x/day, I won’t abstain from dairy, eggs and fish, but it’s something! At this point, we will soon transition Anthony to cow’s milk (depending on how he handles it) since his 1st birthday is only 3 weeks away. Since he won’t take a bottle, we’ll keep trying different sippy cups (he uses a regular cup but it takes so.ridiculously.long for him to drink an ounce or two of water). So, if my milk supply does drop a little, Anthony will be fine–have you seen pictures of that hulky kid?

The last Lenten fast that I did was in 2009, so, needless to say, I’m pretty gung-ho and kinda nervous. I have dozens of yummy sounding recipes on my Vegan Pinterest board. We’ve only tried some of them before, so let the experimenting begin!

I’ve also made a commitment to actually fulfill a few of my New Year’s Resolutions (oh yeah, those?), so I’m going to be working out every day, in some shape or form, along with drinking protein/green smoothies for breakfast. Our entire refrigerator is PACKED with vegetables– kale, spinach, zucchini, peppers, bell peppers, cucumbers, snow peas, celery…..the list goes on and on. I also did Pilates AND weights today, which basically means that I gave up being able to feel my butt muscles for about a week.

Here’s to a productive and profitable Lenten season!

Anthony 9-11 Month Letter

Dear Baby Wee,

Mommy feels bad that you haven’t gotten a month by month letter like your brother. Then again, she knows that you already have many privileges that he never had, such as a big house to crawl around in! Mommy’s sorry that she’s been so busy, but it doesn’t mean she hasn’t enjoyed every little special thing about you.

Anthony in highchair 9 months

9 months

What are some of the great things that we love about you? First of all, you are sooo social. You want to laugh along with everyone else, and you respond immediately to someone trying to get a reaction out of you. While you sometimes “zone out” playing with toys, you also show that you are keenly aware of where Mommy is at all times. Your favorite toys at this time are cars. You love them in a way that your brother never did, intently pushing them around and watching the wheels turn. You also love to chew on and throw wooden blocks.

Anthony with truck 11 months

11 months

You have two fun games that you like to play with people (that you learned on your own, by the way!). The first, is you stare someone down, then look away, then whip your head back and laugh while looking back at them. You especially love it when someone else joins you in the game. The second game you play is you look up, huge grin on your face, and clap your hands expectantly. The moment somebody claps back, you squeal with the cutest giggle and do it again and again.

Your winning smile, 9 months

Your winning smile, 9 months

You respond very dramatically to music. Any time someone sings to you, you stare at them intently, as though trying to figure out where the sound is coming from. It always always calms you down. When somebody says or sings something, you often hum and try to match the same rhythm and tune! Your favorite song right now is, “This Little Light of Mine”– you laugh hysterically whenever Momma gets to the part about “hiding it under a bushel”. We frequently catch you loudly humming to yourself, especially during church.

Church friends, 10 months

Church friends, 10 months

You are still a big tanker of a boy! You wear all 18 month clothing (sometimes we can sneak a favorite 12 month outfit in if it STRETCHES!), and you look so similar in size to your older brother that everywhere we go, people are asking if you two are twins! This is also because your hair is getting lighter and lighter. Whereas it used to be dark black-brown, it is now a dirty blonde. Oh well, matches your gorgeous blue eyes! Not to mention your dramatic hair-do/cowlic that we can never seem to brush away in the front of your forehead πŸ™‚

Anthony adorable hair 9 months

You have been crawling like a maniac since you were 7.5 months old, but you’ve definitely taken it to a while new level lately (how did you get so fast?). You are pulling down baskets and getting into cupboards that seemingly should be well out of reach. For the past 2 months, you’ve been pulling up on everything and trying to cruise around on the furniture. You’ve even tried to stand up on your own from the ground, without any help! Make no mistake though– Mommy’s in no hurry for you to walk. You are much safer crawling, and for that, she’s grateful. πŸ™‚ Within only a week of being at the new house, you also learned how to climb the stairs, cackling with the discovery of it all the whole time.

Anthony crawling up stairs

10.5 months, crawling up the stairs!

9 months

9 months

While you still nurse fulltime (4-6x/day), you also eat at least 3 large meals. You love to hold a banana and chew it to smithereens. You also eat lunch meat, applesauce, eggs, and oatmeal. We give you little bites of whatever we’re eating, and you’re handling it quite well!

10 months

10 months

For your 9th and 10th month, you were, quite honestly, a terrible sleeper. Part of this isn’t your fault, as our whole family was in transition from one house to another and you slept right next to Mommy and Daddy. Who could blame you, since knowing that Mommy is in the room ALWAYS makes you hungry? But since we moved in to our new house and have your own little room, you’ve suddenly become a MUCH better sleeper. You go to bed around 7-8pm, wake once around 1am to nurse, then again at 6am, then sleep until 9! Not bad! Mommy is definitely seeing this as a huge improvement. Over the next couple weeks, you will start sharing a room with your big brother!

Anthony with Gregory 9 months

9 months

Speaking of your brother, your relationship with him is interesting. He seems to get very possessive and jealous of his toys when you are the one using them, which means that you often get pushed over or knocked in the head with a toy (we’ve found several scratches on your forehead lately– sad!!). When he gives you hugs and kisses, you seem suspicious, as though worried he’s going to bop you at any moment. But if he is laughing at something, you ALWAYS want to join in. When he cries over being put in the car, you ALWAYS join in. When he’s playing with something, you ALWAYS try to be right next to him. Sometimes, he plays peekaboo games with you in church, getting you to belly-laugh during all the quiet times. You guys definitely have a fun relationship, but it will probably get a little bit more “fair” once you can defend yourself and hold your own πŸ˜‰

10 months

10 months

Finally in time for your 11th Month Birthday, you got SIX teeth to sprout all at the same time! We’ve known they were coming for a while, as you were a bit crankier than usual. You also had a slight fever over the weekend. Only two of the teeth have officially poked through. The other four are nearly there– any day now!

See those 2 bottom teeth?

See those 2 bottom teeth?

You also got your first illness this month– a congested runny nose. Mommy still can’t believe it took you 11 months to get sick, especially since Mommy and Daddy are teachers and bring home all sorts of germs.

Anthony crying 9 months

Sad face 9 months

Anthony sad 9 months

Recovered just a little bit

You still have the saddest face around when you cry. Mommy thinks that this just proves what intense feelings you have, whether it be sadness, frustration, pain, or love. This intensity is just part of what makes you “Anthony”, and we know that you will learn to channel it for good the older you get.

What a smile!

What a smile!

We love you tons!

Love, Mommy

King Arthur

Another very cool day teaching! To finish up our unit on Sir Thomas Mallory’s Morte D’ Arthur, we built castles and knocked them down!

First, Jesse and I brought a bunch of our old moving boxes to school. The boys and girls, on different teams, divided up the boxes one by one.

Castle Project 7


Next, each team arranged their boxes into a “castle”, the design of which was entirely up to them (the kids have been planning this for weeks. The Girls Team even “accidentally dropped” a “fake plan” of what their castle was going to look like in order to “trick” the boys!).

Castle Project 6

Their mission? To protect their victim– one of Gregory’s stuffed animals.

Castle Project 9

Then, the games began. Each team had to send one person out to “joust”– that is, to answer King Arthur quiz questions correctly in order to obtain ammunition (a basketball and a volleyball).
Castle Project 4
We had to “joust” for over an hour before the fatal blow.
Castle Project 1