{SQT} Halloween and 40th Birthdays



Join Kelly for more better quick takes.

It’s been busy for everyone. I know. I KNOW. I still have to comment on it because I didn’t earn these adult stripes so I could sit back and not complain about things having been better in my day and the swift passage of time. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to since the last time I posted.

  1. Punkin carving! Thanks to some good friends, we carved the punkins and had a grand time doing it. However, I must say that I truly hate punkin guts. Like a lot.

  2. Of course, punkin carving means Halloween was right around the corner and we had a scary group of vampires and one (Teen Wolf-looking, though not inspired) werewolf.IMG_4305
  3. Halloween was quickly followed by All Saints Day at the kids’ school. Being Eastern, we celebrate All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost, complete with costumes and prizes. But, the kids go to a Catholic school, so they have All Saints on November 1 as well. My hippy was looking pretty episcopal if I do say so myself.


  4. My best friend turned 40, so we had a bash for her. It was so fun to see people from all of her circles. We had dinner at a pub followed by swing dancing at a studio that we rented out. We arranged for some dancers to teach an initial lesson/refresher to get everyone into the…wait for it…SWING of things. It was a ton of fun.IMG_4368
  5. Reflecting on my friend growing older (I long ago decided to just remain 29 forever), I was struck by the love that surrounds me. I have often reflected that God’s major way of “intervention” in human affairs is through love. As I remember the night I met my dear friend, I see nothing but miraculous intervention. So, allow me a momentary detour down memory lane…
  6. I really met my friend one night at a young adults group (just a few years ago, because I’m 29, remember?). I’d actually been introduced to her at a Theology on Tap several weeks prior and I remembered her because she’s from the town I was born in. We were two twenty-somethings (29 still seemed like a far ways off…it still does), newly married, and I was expecting my first baby. I was so tired and just wanted to go to bed. She was so enthusiastic and wanting to talk and talk. My husband is like that, so there I was, stuck outside after the doors had been locked for the night, standing under a street lamp, listening to the most enthusiastic Texan I’d met in a while, and wondering when, for the love of God, I was going to get to go home.DCF 1.0
  7. To say that I hit it off with her right away would be a lie. She became a friend of necessity on both sides. She’d left the workforce when she and her husband moved to our town because they were planning to start a family. I had just moved back after a year in Maryland and was expecting to start my career as a SAHM with my first baby. We had no other unemployed friends. We hung out with each other because there wasn’t anyone else. But we grew to love each other as people do when they have no choice but to rely on each other. She saw me through that baby’s death. I was with her when she gave birth the first time. She and her husband came to my house following the ultrasound that confirmed the death of their first son. We’ve attended the funerals of each others children, vacationed together, fought through sleep deprivation together, been angry at our husbands together, learned to love and accept our husbands, seen lean times and times of plenty, been swept along on this breathless adventure together where we ended up in states of life that we did not previously anticipate, laughed, cried, and lived. This is love. We couldn’t have known what we were choosing so many few (cuz 29! forever!) years ago when we chose to accept the gift of friendship the Lord so generously offered to us. We couldn’t have known how generous the offer was. But I can truly say that my life, my soul, has been profoundly changed because of it and that is no small miracle.

    Our kids have formed friendships out of our friendship. These two were the first. They’re big, old kids now – another miracle.

Guest Blogger – 4 Reasons Why

I assigned my son an essay on obedience because I read a parenting blog. What follows is his response. I’m not really sure that this is what the parenting expert had in mind…

4 Reasons Why: Why I Should Obey My Mother

By The Scholar

This new entry in Four Reasons Why features why you should obey mother. The first reason is that she’s the one who is married to your father and she will use him as a weapon against you. The second reason is she is the one who brought you to this world and you should respect her. The third reason is mothers are like cats, they will shed very few tears over your punishment and if you hate the punishment she will use it as her first resort. Fourth reason, she knows every embarrassing thing that has happened to you and she will share it.

The first reason is that she will use your father against you. What this means is that your father doesn’t know what to do nine out of ten times and when he hears, “Brook!” he awaits orders and those orders consist mostly of, “ Beat that child!” Second reason is  you should respect her. Your mother gave birth to you (and may I note with much pain did she do this,) and she feels that she should have a nice, respectful child. The third reason is that she will not only laugh at you while you hopelessly perform burpies she will use them more often. Fourth reason is that she will share every embarrassing thing that happened to you during her women’s book club. My mother personally does this every time I’ve been a bad boy, she always has a new, humiliating story to share. If you like this blog, try some other 4 Reasons Why.

He hasn’t written any more 4 Reasons Why, but I’ll post them if he does.


7QT – School Days, New Year, Hurricanes

Thanks to Kelly for hosting the link up. It’s been a while since I posted.


  1. Part of the reason I haven’t posted is because we’ve been so busy. September 1 is the beginning of the Byzantine New Year (Julian Calendar) and it is followed by some big feasts in quick succession. Why do the Byzantine Catholics start the new liturgical year in September instead of the first Sunday of Advent as the Romans?From the Eparchy of Phoenix:

    The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky. Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the New Year on September 1. According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22). Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1). Tradition says that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land in September. According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22). Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1).Tradition says that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land in September.

  2. The feast days for us mean that we go to a long liturgy the night before the feast (vespers with Divine Liturgy) because we can’t go during the day on the day of the feast due to school and work. There’s the Nativity of the Theotokos on September 8 and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14. While the Exaltation of the Cross is commemorated with a strict fast, we enjoyed feasting for the Theotokos including a MEAT Friday. I made lemon pie for her birthday and it was delicious.


  3. The boys both developed bronchitis, so that also added to the craziness. They’ve coughed until I cannot think anymore. Thankfully, antibiotics and the nebulizer have helped to heal them and we look to be over the worst of it. I am so glad that no one else got sick!
  4. My brother and his wife came to visit us for a couple of weeks while they fled the hurricane. They have the cutest boys in the world! We really didn’t think we’d see my brother and sister-in-law until next summer, so Irma gave us a sweet treat. It was such a relief when they made it out of town. They left before the hurricane changed projected course and went right through their town.


  5. School is in full swing, the sick days both boys took notwithstanding. I love listening to my kids talk about their school experiences. The other day both boys had one-liners that cracked me up.

  6. Instacart! I had my Costco order delivered again today and I just cannot rave about this service enough. It revolutionizes my Saturdays. I made pancakes this morning and realized I was at the end of my of maple syrup, so I added it to my list and it was delivered just a couple of hours later. If you have it in your area, check it out!
  7. Our refugees leave this week and we will miss them so much. I love babies and these babies are some of my favorites. I’m so thankful that they were safe from the storm, but there were many who were not spared. Please keep those who are recovering and rebuilding in your prayers. Also, consider participating in the USCCB’s special collection this weekend.


The Forerunner

In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet – provided they had a penitent disposition – because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims today – the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life. Learn to think and live like a Christian. You not only will remain unharmed by these events, but will reap the greatest benefits. – St. John Chrysostom.


We attended the vesperal divine liturgy last night for the feast of the Forerunner, Baptizer, and Prophet John. Tonight, we went rock climbing and ate shrimp boil without plates or knives in commemoration of his death. No globe-shaped foods were used in the making of this feast day.


The glorious beheading of the Forerunner was part of God’s saving plan that the coming of the Savior might be announced even to those in Hades. Let Herodias mourn for she sought a lawless murder because she loved neither the Law of God nor eternal life, but only this false and fleeting life. – Kontakion of the Feast.

Happy feast day!


SQT – Vegas, Babies, and Rock Climbing


It’s been full swing at school and work, so I’ve had a hard time finding time to blog. I still need to finish posting about my trip to the middle east, but in the meantime I’ll join the other bloggers at Kelly’s for some SQTs.

1. Last week I joined a couple of my siblings in Vegas for my cousin’s wedding. I’d had to go to Phoenix, AZ for a deposition, so it was just a quick flight up to Vegas after I finished with work. My brother arrived in Vegas just a little before me, so he met me at my gate with a drink. Hey, what happens…

2. My cousin is in the midst of graduate education and had to fit the wedding in this summer. I can’t imagine being in Vegas in August during any point of pregnancy, but she pulled it off beautifully. See those flowers, they are palm leaves bent and twisted into shape by guys on the street. I’m going to have to up my Palm Sunday game. Congratulations, sweet people! You are so cute!

Collage credit goes to a relative of the groom. She did a fantastic job of capturing stills from a live stream.

3. When I wasn’t at the wedding, I was at the pool, eating from the room service menu, or otherwise enjoying my super fun siblings. We also went to Cher. Cher’s show can be summed up in her own words, “I turned 71 this year and surprised even myself by doing a 5 minute plank last week. So, I just want you to ask yourself, what is your granny doing tonight?!” She was amazing.

4. My babies are getting bigger all the time, as you could see in my back to school post. But, it wasn’t so long ago that they were babies and my FB feed reminds me of how wonderful those days were.


Agh! My heart! Where did the time go?!

5. We joined a rock climbing gym and today we bought our harnesses so we’re, like, real rock climbers now. #notreally


6. We actually have really enjoyed the family time together. The kids and I are able to go fairly often, so it’s become my new exercise. That means, gasp, I quit crossfit. It was bound to be. My younger sister stopped doing crossfit in favor of more rock climbing and I do whatever she does.

7. Tonight we watched an old movie. I love that my kids will do that with me. Raise your hands if you love The Trouble with Angels.


Party on, fiesta people!


How they are now….


The Scholar started middle school. He has a locker. He changes classes 7 times a day. He’s SO big. I love him. He’s the best kid. He is very easy going and takes our parenting foibles in stride. I thanked him for dealing with my parenting awkward the other day and he told me that it’s part of his role as the eldest. All. The. Feels.

The Hippy is in fourth grade. He has made so much progress in school during the last two years. It is really incredible. He is still the hardest working of the three. He spent the summer organizing our closets and reading. He has decided on parkour as his extracurricular this year. He is also taking piano lessons with me. I love him so much. If a mother can be indulged a favorite…well, I mean, he cleans closets. Amiright?

The Princess is in second grade. She is a smart little fireball. She alternates between pure rage and cuddly baby-ness. She has been described as having a will of granite…by strangers. She certainly makes an impact in our family. She really is a little love, though. We enjoy her so much. She is very aware of everyone’s feelings and goes out of her way to express love. I so enjoy snuggling her because she is still little enough to curl up in my arms. She is so strong, too. She rocked parkour, but has decided to just rock climb with me. She is also taking piano with me.


The husband and I are doing well, too. We celebrated 14 years of wedded bliss. Well, okay, marriage is not easy. It’s about growing and preparing to be united to God. As such, it’s pretty much not about me or him being blissful. That said, I’d say that our marriage gets sweeter every year. This guy and I started dating 20 years ago and I can say I don’t regret a minute of it.


7QT – Staycation and Apple Butter

Thanks to Kelly for hosting the weekly link-up.


So as I stated last week, we have been staycationing this week. I made a commitment of not checking my work email until after 2pm and I almost made it. Good job, me!

mediocrity1. As for the rest of the staycation…we did pick apples, but we didn’t get them blessed. I found some almost withered plums in the back of the fridge and took them in for the blessing because I will not be defeated. Isn’t there a story somewhere about offering lesser fruit?


2. We also made apple butter. I used my Instant Pot to pressure and the slow cook the apples and it was wonderful. I have major heart eyes for the Instant Pot. I originally bought an extra inner pot and then told myself that I didn’t need it. Well, fellas, I needed it. I had the Instant Pot going at the same time as the extra inner pot on the stove. Can you believe it? I just put that bad boy on a diffuser and was able to have two full 8qt pots going at the same time. I may become one of those crazies with two, TWO, Instant Pots. Time will tell.

3. We also finished the school projects. And by we, I mean me. Look guys, I don’t think that these projects really teach anything. I think they are parent torture activities and I hate them. That said, look how good I did! I are smart and crafty.

My cousins and husband made Broke Back jokes about the pair on the horse. People! Clearly this is a loving rescue of a baby horse by a brave brother-sister team.

4. We celebrated Taco Tuesday with taco donuts from this really awesome local donut shop. Rebel Donuts for the win. And they have fantastic gluten free donuts for moi!

5. We’ve been swimming and rock climbing. We also tried out parkour and had a lot of fun. Disclaimer: I am really as good as the video because I are also much athleticism.

6. We had the orientation mass at the kids’ school, so I naturally did not take a first day of school picture. I DID get all the school supplies delivered. Whew!

7. I also got my cabinets reloaded with all of our junk. I paid a guy to paint our 70s style dark wood cabinets and I am so happy with the result. He painted the insides and put on new hardware. I’ll post an after picture so that you won’t have the befores for comparison. I really rock this blogging gig.

School is back in session on Monday and staycation ends as well. Likely this also means that my spurt of blogging activity will also end, but who knows. After all….