Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lil' Cowboy

Playing with Daddy some night this week:


video

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trip to Blue Bell

On Monday, we went to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham, TX. For those not familiar with Blue Bell, it is the best ice cream around! We enjoyed the tour and got a scoop of ice cream each at the end. Luke has a book that talks about a bear who likes chocolate ice cream, so when we asked what kind he wanted, he replied, "choc-o-wate!" Here are some pictures:

Luke with the Blue Bell Ice cream delivery truck:
With the cow and the milking girl. While on the tour Luke asked where all the cows were. Not at the factory. :)
Posing in front of the display that showed all the flavors Blue bell makes (55)!
Grandpa and Luke eating their ice cream:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gardening

So, this is kind of a news and weather post.

Spring is really beautiful in Houston. The weather is great and the trees and flowers are in bloom. I never really paid that much attention tot he seasons because after living in Southern CA for so long, I almost forgot that everyday was not just a variation on Spring or Fall (though there is something very nice about that).

Anyways, this year I really wanted to get a garden started and redo some of the front and backyard space. I never realized how much there was to keeping up a yard, let alone trying to grow anything extra. Our house was VERY lush when we moved in and had lots of landscaping. Also, our neighborhood looks nice and our neighbors really do keep up their lawns (at least in front), so we want to make sure that ours looks nice too. I don't mean to sound like I am complaining about all the yard work. Actually, I love it and wish I had more time to devote to taking care of the outdoors. All I mean to say is that it is just a bit shocking when you move from a little apartment to a house int he South with a large lot.

Last year I started my garden in May, kind of as an afterthought. Um, that was not a good idea. Starting out so late, my plants were just too immature to handle the intense Houston heat and humidity. I worked with my plants all summer and ended up with one tomato and one small shriveled bell pepper.

This year, I began as soon as I could and planted: 5 pots with tomatoes, one strawberry plant, a rosemary bush, 4 rose bushes (to replace some ugly or dead plants), and 12 big bulbs (also to replace dead/ugly plants).

My azalea:
My little patio garden. The big garden is on hold due to the practical limitations of being increasingly pregnant and eventually having baby #2.

I have also done a lot of trimming and cutting back of some of the plants that we already have growing. Today, for example, I lopped off all the crepe myrtles. I realized only recently that this is something that you are supposed to do every year. :) Maybe I'll have our whole yard figured out by the time we leave this house, whenever that may be.

The crepe myrtles:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Give me a Sinner

Last Sunday, we celebrated the beginning of Lent with Forgiveness Vespers. Nathan was still out of town, so I braved 2 church services is one day with Luke. :)

At the end of the service, everyone (priests, lay people alike), go around the perimeter of the church in a line asking forgiveness of one another, and respond reminding that God forgives. While we may not know everyone very well or feel that we personally have done something to offend the other person, we ask their forgiveness. The Orthodox believe that all sin is damaging in some way and sometimes we do something that offends without even realizing it. Forgiveness Vespers is kind of a way to cover all the bases and begin Lent with the right heart. Personally, I love this service. Looking into the teary eyes of the older women who have been faithful for decades, having them ask your forgiveness, is powerful and humbling and beautiful beyond words.

Anyways, Luke was the youngest participant this year. He went around giving people hugs as we said, "Forgive me, a sinner," and replied "God forgives!" After hearing a few people ask his forgiveness, he began saying "Forgive me, a sinner," as well. This morphed into a shortened version- "Give me a sinner." One teenager remarked, "Luke, I dare you to go into any store and ask the people to give you a sinner. We all laughed. He kept saying the phrase long after the service was over.

On a more serious note, I want to say that this was a great reminder to me of how much we need all sorts of people in church together, especially children. In the past, I have been in churches where babies to high school children are excluded because they are "distractions." Well, if church were merely a course of lectures every Sunday, then yes, that would be very true. But its not! It is much more than that. We all are in this world together and we need each other. Each of us has a role to play.

Luke is a "distraction" sometimes as he mutters to himself or has the occasional outburst during services (and yes, I DO take him out when he gets too crazy- everyone has their limit!), but I saw last Sunday how much of a blessing children in the church are. Luke asking forgiveness made everyone realize again what we were saying to one another in a way that only can come "out of the mouthes of babes."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bellies and the Week Without Daddy

This past week, Nathan was in CA on business and to be a groomsman in a good friend's wedding. While he was gone, Luke and I kept the home fires burning so to speak. Acutally, we were not home much at all. Thanks to the kindness of friends and family, we only ate dinner by ourselves 3 of the 7 nights Nathan was away. Thanks to everyone for the help- especially Aunt Bethany!

Last week was tough on Luke emotionally. I didn't realize how much he missed Nathan until we got him back again. Last night he was bubbly and happy and sooo excited to talk to and hug him.
It was tough on me as well, being pregnant. I took a nap everyday and was still really spent by the end of the day. I also felt faint at least a couple of times each day and was a little worried about that.
Today, I had a Dr.'s appt. The Dr. visit went really well and Luke was still in such good spirits that he was a very good boy all the way through the hour or so at the office. Whew! I am now seeing each of the midwives (there are 4) for a second time. I just keep thinking how lucky I am to have them.

Everything checked out as normal and the baby's heartbeat was nice and strong. About the feeling faint, they said that it was relatively normal, especially with extra work at home and encouraged me to keep resting and eating well. Today I felt strong all day.

Here are some pictures from today at 23 and 1/2 weeks along:


Luke wanted you all to see his belly too:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

At the Rodeo!

The Houston Rodeo is amazing! This morning, we (Luke, Gina, and I) spent almost 4 hours walking around looking at the incredible livestock. Look at this Longhorn!


There were also several great opportunities to pretend to be a farmer, pet animals, and even see animals being born. One exhibit has chicks that were in the process of hatching. It was fascinating to watch them try and break through the egg. Here he is petting a rabbit. The rabbit exhibit was Luke's favorite animal exhibit:

The petting zoo was fun too, here is a big, old, pig:
I think that Luke's favorite thing about the Rodeo was the John Deere tractors. There were several on display and two that the kids could ride in. He did NOT want to get out. But, a real (big) cowboy who was helping run the exhibit told him to get out and Luke obeyed. Now I know how to get Luke to obey- I just need to become a very large cowboy. :)
Anyways, there is much more to tell, but I have a terrible headache from doing so much, so I'll be off to bed shortly.