Monday, December 11, 2006

Where in the world is Christina???

Oh, yeah, I'm sure you are all wondering what happened to me?!?! Actually, I received a little "how are you" message from Dawn through and figured I had dropped far enough off of the face of the earth and I need to get back (BTW... if you would like to join orthodox circle let me know... and if you are already a member, why haven't you invited me to be your friend:) PLEASE know that I continue to read your blogs through bloglines, I just rarely comment...

So, what's been happening over here on our end of things....

1. Petros is getting bigger. And he's crawling. Everywhere. Oh, and his god-parents are moving into a house right behind ours!!! We are so excited!!!

2. Pavlos is, well, Pavlos. He loves preschool and he loves to paint (something that I did not know until he started preschool... actually, I don't think he even knew that he liked to paint until he started preschool). Pavlos does not like coloring. Never has. But he loves painting. And all of his paintings are of one thing... space (the final frontier). Literally. He saw the cover to Paul's Star Trek Movie DVD and it has all sorts of colors on it so he thinks space is full of these different colors. And that is what he paints. OH... and Pavlos' current favorite song is the U2-Green Day The Saints are Coming. He is right now singing it at the top of his lungs. He likes to put on his sunglasses and pretend he is Bono...

3. Go to and pick out a free chant sampler CD (here is the direct link to the order page). We received ours and it is very nice.

4. Kristin/Kiera is challenging us to take the TBR Book Reading Challenge. Basically, pick twelve books that you have been meaning to read for the last six months (at least) and challenge yourself to read one a month. You can sign up at the TBR Book Reading Challenge link already posted in this blog. So here are the books that I would like to read this year:

January: Children of Dune- Frank Herbert
February: Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys- Dan Kindlon
March: Einstein's Dreams- Alan Lightman
April- St. Silouan the Athonite- Archim. Sophrony
May- The Crimson Petal and the White- Michel Faber
June- Wounded by Love- Elder Porphyrios
July- The Hunchback of Notre Dame- Victor Hugo
August- Genesis, Creation, and Early Man- Fr. Seraphim Rose
September- High Tide in Tucson- Barbara Kingsolver (I have read two chapters)
October- Obedience is Life: Elder Ephraim of Katounakia- Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi
November- Dubliners- James Joyce
December- The Old Curiosity Shop- Charles Dickens (I've had this book for almost 20 years and have not read it- I tried to read it when I was 14 but didn't get very far... this was a gift from my grandma- I think it's time I give it another shot:)

Here are other books that I will probably/want to read this year, also:
God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
Heretics of Dune - Frank Herbert
Chapterhouse Dune- Frank Herbert (just to finish the series)
Les Miserables- Victor Hugo (depending on how the hunchback goes)
The Gulag Archipelago- Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (ok, that's a wish list book so we shall see if I even get to it:)

5. Christmas shopping is almost finished. I am so glad that I have boys... I spent a long time looking for a church outfit for our god-daughter and ended up buying part of the outfit from a store and ordering a skirt online because I couldn't find a decent length skirt. So she will just get two packages in the mail from us:)

Thanks for reading, even though I don't post much! The picture is what I am sending out for our Christmas cards:)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Good Samaritan...

The gospel reading for today was the Good Samaritan. Fr. pointed out at some point during theology 101 that Christ calls us to love our brothers. And who is/are our brothers? EVERYONE! I find that Christians (all Christians... Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant) can be very judgmental (including myself). And if we are truly loving our brothers, we would not be judging our brothers. I'm not a very good writer, so I'm not sure if I am conveying the AHA! moment I had today, but there it is...

I should love everyone because everyone is my brother. And I know that I have probably heard this a million times, but today I heard it not with my ears, but with my heart:)

So, in the end, it takes a million and one times for me to hear something before it actually sinks in...

The true test is to see if it stays in my heart...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

For the Love of the Game...

In the car I either listent to NPR or listen to music tapes. This morning, on the way to school, there was a short piece honoring Johnny Unitas. Now, I am not a big sports person. And, in fact, I pretty much despise most professional sports because it seems like the athletes have too much money and do not care/understand that young people idolize them. I know that I am speaking in generalizations but it really irks me when you see a talented athlete become very wealthy and then start switching teams in order to make more money. And to also not realize that their lives have become a fishbowl and to watch their behavior.

Anyway, the point of all this is the piece honoring Johnny Unitas which you can listen to here. And what struck me about him (and the other football players of that era) was that they had to hold down other jobs in addition to playing football. Even working during the season. Johnny U was a paint salesman. The piece talks about how a teammate bought a row house and how the entire team pitched in to repair and clean it (with Johhny laying down the new kitchen floor). Talk about playing a sport because you really love the game! How many of our professional athletes would work an additional outside job and play football at the same time? Thank you, Johnny U, for being an example of loving the game (and it doesn't hurt that he was Greek, too:)

Happy November 1st!

Anyone else think that time is just going by way too quickly?!?!

Last night was our annual All Saints Eve party at church. At first (two weeks ago) Pavlos didn't want to dress up at all. Then I showed him pictures of the different Saints from years past that he had dressed up as (see last years post). And he decided to go as St. Nektarios, again. That was fine with me because I didn't need to make a new costume:) Paul was unable to come to the party so it fell on me to videotape each child saying who they were dressed as and what that saint did. So while I was busy videotaping, yiayia and pappous took care of Pavlos. Needless to say, I never took a picture of Pavlos in his costume! So here is another picture from last year as St. Nektarios. Well, nevermind that, blogger is being a stinker and not letting me upload a photo.

In other news... Petros is almost crawling. AAAGGGHHH! That's all I have to say about that.

I have a ton of blogs that I read through bloglines, but then I end up not commenting on your blogs... know that I am reading, and I enjoy reading what is happening in your lives:)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Memory Eternal!

Today is the one year memorial for my yiayia. Here is a picture of her and my pappous with Pavlos when we went to Greece 3 1/2 years ago. Even though I did not spend a lot of time with her, I miss her so much. We will be having a memorial service for her after Liturgy (but before the potluck) next Wednesday evening (I will be making kollyva).
(A friend on Myspace did this and I thought that some of my blogging buddies would enjoy it)

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't LieThis is my suggestion, unless you really really hate the song (in which case why is it in your library eh), listen to each one all the way thru as it plays. You might just hear something interesting about yourself you weren't expecting.

Opening Credits: and so it goes- billy joel

Waking Up:love is blindness – u2

First Day At School: heartland- u2

Falling In Love: fields of gold - sting

Fight Song:a boy named sue – Johnny cash

Breaking Up: king of pain – the police

Prom: perfect girl – sarah mclachlan

Life:acrobat – u2 (line from song: don't let the bastards grind you down -LOL)

Career: folsom prison blues – Johnny cash (uhm, I hope not)

Mental Breakdown: romeo and Juliet – dire straits

Driving: lullaby good night my angel – billy joel

Flashback:goodnight Saigon – billy joel

Getting back together: unknown legend – neil young

Wedding:san jacinto – peter gabriel

Birth of Child:man in black – Johnny cash

Midlife Crisis: elevation – u2

Final Battle: half acre (acoustic) - Hem

Death Scene: one step closer – u2

Funeral Song: Yahweh – u2

End Credits:the river of dreams – billy joel

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

News Article and Fall Picture...

So far this week we have had absolutely beautiful fall weather. Yesterday I planted bulbs (my seemingly neverending project at the moment) and raked up the leaves in our back yard. Pavlos has his own kid-sized rake and he was "helping" mommy. uhm, yeah. He wanted to rake right where I was raking and then, when I finally had a really good pile going and went to get our yard debris garbage can, Pavlos proceeded to jump into the pile of leaves and spread them all over the yard, again. Here's a picture of Pavlos in the leaves. I guess my mom taught the kids about jumping in the leaf piles:) Needless to say, I didn't get as many leaves into the yard debris can as I wanted to!

And here's a link to an article I read yeaterday about making sure to give children just old fashioned play time. Like leaf-jumping:)

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's been way too long...

Yeah, I realize that I probably have no one that reads my blog, now:) And the excuse for not writing is oh so lame... we are so busy! Isn't everyone busy? I have a minute here, now because Pavlos is enjoying the beautiful weather and playing outside and Petros is actually taking a nap in his crib. He has two new little teeth coming in so he's been a bit grumpy, lately.

We had one of those weekends...
  • Friday night, Greek festival at Holy Trinity (Rob/Paul did not come with us, he has been working late just about every night)
  • Saturday morning go to my parent's home and we leave for Newport, OR for a family wedding (my mom, dad, sister, niece, nephew, me, Pavlos, and Petros)
  • Wedding was the shortest service I have ever been to (seriously).
  • Reception was the best I have ever been to, seriously. It was at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Great place for the kids. And it was beautiful. And it was fun. And we saw a ton of relatives.
  • Sunday morning, go to the beach, go to historic downtown Newport to buy Salt Water Taffy for Rob/Paul, then hit the road.
  • Home at 3:00pm-ish, Rob/Paul comes home at 5:30 (from work) and we meet my parents and two of my cousins and my brother and sister in law at the festival at 6:30pm. All the food is gone. Seriously. We had tickets for the chicken dinner. They ran out. So they served pastitsio (not a bad substitute). But almost all the food at the festival was gone. That's good for Holy Trinity!
  • We were home by 8:15, Petros fell asleep in the car and we carried him up to his crib. He woke up after midnight, ate, slept until 10am! Pavlos was in bed by 8:45pm and woke up at 8:30am! I went to sleep at 9:30pm, woke up to feed Petros, and slept until 8:00am! I think we were all a little tired:)

Hope to see some of you at the women's retreat this weekend!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

spinah withdrawals

I have been following the Sonoma Diet sinc May (the reason I have returned to my pre-pregnancy weight so quickly). On this diet (which is more of a life style than a diet), I eat lots of baby spinach. Last week I threw out my big bin of organic baby spinach from Costco because of the e.coli outbreak (didn't want to take any chances). Now my body is going through spinach withdrawals:)

Monday, September 18, 2006


Uhm... so I am rarely ever political on this site... you know, mostly updates on family and health. But, it is kind of driving me nuts... this militant muslim attitude toward Christians. They are allowed to say anything that they want about us but we can't say what we want about them?!?!? Do I hear double standard? And it's not just the militant muslims that do this... look around you... many public schools allow the students to learn about many different faiths around the world but so much as bring up Christianity and a teacher can be suspended.

ok, I'm off the soap box... for now:)

Friday, September 01, 2006

woo hoo!

and more woo hoo!

I have to say that it is bad sportsmanship when only a few American players congrarulate the Greek team...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Response to Katie's blog...

So Katie's blog entry made me think (very dangerous as you read my ramblings below). I wrote a long comment on her blog and then decided to just post it here:

Nowadays, just having a college education will not guarantee that you will have an income to even survive in the US... we have friends that the husband was a teacher and the wife stayed at home and they qualified for WIC and DSHS health care for the children! Both college educated! And what does this say about how we regard teachers... they can't afford to take care of their own families? What does it say about how important our children are when we don't pay teachers a decent salary? I always try to look at things as needs v. wants. We need baby formula. That's a given. We need Paul's insulin and my meds. We didn't WANT to be in the hospital (and meet petros' and my out of pocket deductible for the year), but we need to pay the bill that comes in the mail every month. And sometimes we do need new clothes. or new shoes. The part I struggle with is that I would love to be able to buy the things we need with a minimal effect on the environment (Like what Fr. Paul was talking about in his sermon the other night). Like trying to by things that are not made by slave labor overseas. Or free range meat. Or organic vegetables. BUT when Pavlos needs new shoes and I only have a minimal amount of money to pay for them, what do I do? Most of the time we are fortunate enough to have hand me downs from my nephew and only need to buy a few new items. And right now, I am lamenting that I have two weddings coming up in the next two weeks and I would really like to buy a new dress because I haven't bought a new dress in two years (I did buy two skirts in June, though). I sometimes tear myself apart with should I, shouldn't I?!?! And I read articles about being frugal but I do all of those things they suggest!

I really don't want to complain because we are richer than most people in the world. And we do own our own home. And we choose to send Pavlos to Agia Sophia. And I remember the poor years growing up... but my parents made a decision to send us to private schools, even though we didn't have a lot of money. And they did own their own home and instead of buying a new one, they added two more bedrooms (and my dad didn't take out a loan to build the new rooms... every week, he bought with cash what he could afford to buy... whether it was two nails or another 2x4). And I had a wonderful childhood in a wonderful family... my parents stayed together (and are obviously still together) after 35 years of marriage. And we spent our vacations camping rather than going on exotic trips (OK, we did take a couple of trips to Greece, but my dad went for 14 years without seeing his own parents. Fourteen years! But we went to Greece to see family, not just a whim of a trip). And my granma would make my sister and I really nice dresses that we loved.

OK. I think that's enough. I think that there are more people in our stage of life that struggle financially. They say that we are the first generation that will not be financially better than our parents. I believe it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Women's Retreat (and other things)...

I have emailed a few of you regarding our women's retreat (asking you to be a contact person for your parish so we can mail you a packet of flyers). Here is information about the retreat on our parish website. You can even register for the retreat online through paypal (and it's five dollars cheaper if you register early). If I did not email you and you would like to be a rep for your parish, please let me know... email me your address (cdblankenstein[at]homtal[dot]com) and I will get a packet in the mail to you. All you need to do is either put the information in your bulletin (monthly, weekly, etc.), post flyers in your church (where permissable), and/or pass flyers to interested women. We are very excited because this year we have Sr. Magdalen (author of Children in the Church Today and Conversations with Children) as our speaker.

Other news...
  • Happy Feast Day! It is our parish feast day today.
  • Pavlos and Petros are growing, growing, growing:)
  • Have seen many movies (V for Vendetta (Petros is currently sporting the bald Natalie Portman look), Everything is Illuminated (saw the movie then read the book, liked the movie and the book but this is one of those rare times that I am glad that I saw the movie before reading the book because there are quite a few differences between book and movie... book is actually stranger than the movie... loved the Ukrainian guy in the movie. He is premium:)... also finished reading the book about the Trapp Family Singers by Maria vonTrapp (you know, the Sound of Music family?!?!?) I enjoyed the book... interesting to read the real story behind the Sound of Music... also been watching snippets of Mary Poppins... this is Pavlos' favorite movie right now and he is constantly doing re-enactments of the movie (especially any of the song and dance numbers).
  • we are getting ready for Pavlos to go back to school and for Sunday School to begin. I feel like I am just going, going, going.
  • Keep Maria, my niece, in your prayers. She will be having surgery this Friday (she was born with cleft lip and palate... she has already had two surgeries in her four years but this one might be a little bit harder on her because she will know and remember what is happening (does this make sense). She does not remember her other surgeries.

I think that's all for now... hopefully, I will be a better blogger in the future:)

Monday, August 14, 2006

A topic to blog on...

Katie posted SEVEN things that she is grateful for (it's supposed to be at least FIVE) so I'm going to copy her and post what I am grateful for:
  • My health and the health of my family: things could have been a lot worse this year and while I will always have health problems, I am currently feeling really well (and I'm so thankful that Pavlos is healthy and Petros was actually born and is healthy, too).
  • Our little house with our little FENCED in back yard so Pavlos can go outside and play whenever he wants.
  • Family: immediate family, extended family, church family, and friends that are just like family.
  • A good haircut (which I don't currently have... but I love the feeling of just getting my haircut)
  • And, I have to agree with Katie on a cup of coffee. And, like her, I would probably take a really good cup of coffee over anything sweet (but I wouldn't necessarily say no to something sweet:)

AND I will add a few more...

  • A book and/or movie that makes me cry (and, in general, finding a really good movie... very difficult to do these days... everything seems to be remakes of the same ideas or old TV shows that we didn't care that much about in the first place being made into movies)
  • can you believe that I haven't written my children as something I'm thankful for?!?!? I know that I wrote about their health... but I guess I was saving the best for last (right). For Pavlos and Petros... I was once told that I would never be able to have children and the children that I do have come at a somewhat high price (I told my mom that pregnancy and I just don't get along AT ALL). So I'm thankful that I have two little boys.
  • OH... and I didn't mention anything about my husband (I'm so pathetic). Now I'm really saving the best for last (I should hurry up and put a disclaimer at the top of this that "these are in no particular order of importance" but I will keep it honest...). My husband who has had to go through so much in this last year (with me and Petros) and who's love, generosity and faith keep me centered and grounded.

So, you go out and post what you are grateful for... right now:)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogging is...

a fall/winter activity, I have decided. It's a lot more difficult to stay inside on the computer in the summertime than in the winter time.

I have lots of pictures I would like to post, from our camping trip and Pavlos' sunflower that he planted. But I just don't have the time to do it:)

I have lots of things to report... one cute st0ry is that this past weekend we were at my sisters in Seattle for my nephew's birthday. We went to see the Blue Angels do an air show. When we arrived at the freeway, Maria, my niece, exclaimed that she didn't want to see the airplanes, she wanted to see the Blue Angels that fly the airplanes:) Isn't that cute?

That's all for my little update, hope you are all having a wonderful summer (I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't another post on this blog until September;)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Home again...

We are home from our camping trip. It was wonderful. Beautiful weather... went to the coast for a day, went to Olympia for a day (for church and to see Mimi... and, I know, I forgot to give her a jar of homemade jam from my mom:( AAAGGGHHH! We even talked about the jam!). I did about a hundred loads of laundry on Tuesday... everything smelled like campfire. And, right now, I'm suppsed to be periodically checking the Lufthansa website because my uncle is flying in from Greece this morning. Dad wants me to call him the moment the plane lands and he will go pick him up from the airport. Uncle Pete is minus his new wife as there is lots of paperwork to fill out in order to bring her here.

Pavlos loved camping. He almost caught a fish (seriously). Paul did not fish as the out of state fishing license is pretty steep. And we enjoyed celebrating my sister's birthday at our campsite on Saturday... complete with chocolate chocolate chocolate cake that mom brought. Petros didn't know what we were doing, but he took everything in stride (even the bath I gave him in the washtub).

Anyone see the movie Serenity? We got it from the library. Interesting. I guess it was first a TV series that didn't make it and somehow it was made into a movie. We have never seen the TV show... we just checked out the movie because someone recommended it to me a long time ago. Basic premise... man cannot create a utopian society without taking away a person's free will. Or am I reading too much into the movie (hee hee)?!?!? So, it was interesting.

A few weeks ago we rented (we go back and forth between renting newer movies from Blockbuster and checking out other movies from the library) The World's Fastest Indian with Anthony Hopkins. It was very funny and very good. Based on a true story. Anthony Hopkins' character was the most down to earth, laid back kind of guy... nothing got him down. But he had determination to make his one dream come true. And he was so friendly... everyone liked him. The other movie we rented was Syriana... kind of opposite to The World's Fastest Indian. Syriana is a very serious movie... seemed more like a documentary the way it was filmed. It is one of those I-need-a-week-to-digest-this-movie kind of movie. Definitely not light-hearted fun.

Hopefully, I will have some pictures up of our camping trip. Now we are waiting for the Summer Heat Wave 2006 to hit Portland. Ooh, I'm excited (not really). I am not a big fan of heat. Paul wants to spend Saturday at the coast (no Vesper's Saturday evening because Fr. is coming home from the Clergy/Laity on Saturday evening). We'll see. I think everyone else in the city will be going to the coast, too. I am not a big fan of crowded beaches. But, I am also not a big fan of heat:)

OH... one of our former clients made it to the front page of the Oregonian newspaper on Monday (or was it Sunday). I will try to see if I can find a link to the article about him. I can't promise anything, though.... I'm supposed to be watching the Lufthansa website, you know:)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I only have eyes for mommy....

Petros is in the best baby stage... when all he wants to do is look at me and "talk" to me or have me talk or sing to him. I love it. Pavlos is in the stage where he skipped from being four years old to a 13 year old... he wipes away kisses. Didn't know that I could be so embarassing for him:(

We are going camping... leaving this evening and coming back on Monday. We are going west of Olympia so we will check out Ascension church in Olympia on Sunday and go out to lunch with my blogging friend, Mimi:) On Saturday, my mom is going to drive up to our "site" from Portland, my sister and her two children are going to drive down from Seattle, and my Uncle Jeff (mom's youngest brother) is going to drive east from I forget where (he lives on the Washington coast). Paul wonders if we are actually going to be on vacation:) he he he... It will be good to see my uncle as we haven't seen him in almost a year and that was at my brother's wedding which was not a great place for catching up (too much going on).

If you happen to be in the Portland area or are just interested in goings on at St. John's... we are having our annual dinner/fundraiser for our church building fund on Sunday July 23. Here is a link to buy tickets through PayPal. It was a lot of fun last year!

Pray for events in the middle east....

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chronia Polla!!!!

Oh foremost of the apostles and teachers of the world
Interced ye to the Master of all
that He may grant peace to the world
and great mercy to our souls

Ok, big feast day in my family. Happy Name Day to my dad (Petros), my husband (Paul), my sons (Pavlos and Petros), my nephew (Pavel) and my father in law (Fr. Paul... May his Memory be Eternal). Normally, my parents would probably have had one of their famous lamb roasts this Saturday (their own version of a Panayiri) but we just had Petros' baptism a few weeks ago... just can't do two lamb roasts in one month:) So, maybe next year... It is also my brother in laws birthday today.
One interesting thing to note is that after my sister and I named our sons after St. Paul, dad told us that his great great grandfather was named Pavlos. The name didn't get passed down because the family did not want to name a son after the other grandfather. So we have re-introduced the name back into our family without even knowing it! (my mom's grandfather and uncle were also named "Paul" but they were not very nice men and so we just try to forget about them:)

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash"

Pavlos' new favorite album is a Johnny Cash greatest hits... although we may have to cut back on him listening to Folsom Prison Blues as it sounds a little funny hearing him run around the house singing, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." Pavlos' real favorite song is Ring of Fire... he even made up hand motions to go along with the song:)

We were at the monastery this last weekend... very nice. Although I am selfish and would rather be there when no one else is there... too many people. Papa Herman has pictures on his blog (he didn't take them as he wasn't there). Pavlos is not pictured in the picture of the kids ringing the smaller bells, but he "helped" ring the bigger bell:) It was very hot and we spent a lot of time with the goats (hopefully, not the goats that Christ separates from the sheep).

In other news... my uncle Pete is getting married. This is big news as he is a confirmed bachelor of 48 or 49 years of age. We can't believe it. He is in Greece right now. I think my new aunt is a couple of years younger than me. We are very excited and happy for him. Seriously, we never thought this day would come. And, in fact, he has 3 nieces and a nephew that are married before him:) This is an answer to my yiayia's prayers (she passed away last October... May her memory be eternal). I know that while she was alive she prayed constantly that Pete would get married... her prayers in heaven are more powerful because he's getting married!!! I might just have first cousins that are 34 years younger than me (and younger than my own children). Only in crazy Greek families:)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Another Something I have Learned Since Becoming a Mommy...

The organizational status of a kitchen towel drawer does not mark the end of the world. Sometimes it is better if I just let things slide (which is hard to do for an organizational type person such as myself... I value and crave CONTROL which, when having children, means you lose a lot of).

Paul and Pavlos have dropped me off at my parents' home. They are driving to the monastery today. Petros and I will be going tomorrow morning with my parents. Yesterday I ran into two of the nuns from the monastery at Costco. This is the second time I have run into them there. It's kind of funny, for lack of a better word, to see them at Costco. And surprising. Especially because yesterday it was two of the nuns from Greece and I know there is nothing like Costco in Greece. I saw them as they were walking out and I was walking in. So, through the rest of my trip in Costco I thought what it would be like for them to walk through that gigantic store full of bulk items and $2000 TVs. And it's always interesting to run into them in the public... they always look the same while I have my specific clothes for church/monastery and my everday clothes (not that I was wearing anything outrageous... just some capri pants and a t-shirt oh, and a baby in a bjorn). I wasn't embarassed, but it made me think (which can be a trying thing to do for my baby brain).

So, I'm at my parents' home, baby is asleep, and I actually have time to write a blog. I have just finished reading Touching Heaven by John Oliver. He writes about his experience with the Theotokos. I have always been curious... as a cradle Orthodox I have never doubted or questioned the role of the Mother of God... it just seems so natural the role she plays in the Church (and I'm not implying that just by being a cradle Orthodox, one does not question... I'm sure there are plenty of cradles that struggle with this issue... I just never did and neither has Paul...). And I don't think that Roman Catholic converts have the difficulties in honoring the Theotokos as the Theotokos (birthgiver of God). So, if you are a convert or a cradle who has struggled with this idea... how did you get through it? Maybe you are still struggling with it, I don't know. Maybe I haven't struggled with it because my yiayia (grandma) was always praying to the Panagia to protect her grandchildren. It just seems to me such a natural thing... to honor the woman who gave birth to Christ. I mean, God would only choose someone worthy of that calling. And I know that a lot of Protestantism is really an attempt to put off anything that might at all resemble Catholicism. But to completely disregard the Theotokos?!? And, even snub her (as I have heard/read some people do) seems so, uhm, I don't know what word to use, uhm, incomprehensible to me (whew... that's a ten dollar word, especially from my little brain). Anyway, if you have thoughts on this, please, post away!!!

I think this is a long enough blog entry. I'm going to try to download a picture from the baptism for you all to see... might take me a few minutes:)

UPDATE: Ok, a picture of Petros with his godparents and Fr. Theodore. I look like I just ate something that tasted bad... oh well:)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Good Movie..

I think for every good movie we watch, we must see a couple of not so great ones. I won't write about the not so great movies:) but we recently rented The Syrian Bride which was very good... both funny and sad at the same time. I enjoyed it. And I re-watched My Left Foot yesterday while writing thank you notes for Pavlos' birthday and Petros' baptism. I had not seen it since it first came out, 16 years ago or something like that:) Thanks, Dawn, for writing movie recommendations which prompted me to just link these two movies I recently watched:)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What I've learned since becoming a mommy... and other updates

If you have a four year old boy, just leave the toilet seat up at all times. It makes life easier (and you won't ever sit in a "puddle").

Other Updates:
  • Last Saturday was Petros' baptism. He literally cried for a second and then just looked around at what was going on. It was beautiful. I didn't cry, but I warned Paul the night before that I might cry. You see, Petros' baptism was one of those future events that kept me going in the hospital... as in I would say to my self when I was really feeling down or yucky, "by the time this baby is baptized, everything will be ok." And it really is ok. We had a lovely party at my parents home complete with lamb on a spit (and my dad hung the Greek flag on the garage a la My Big Fat Greek Wedding). It was a beatiful day.
  • Pavlos' last day of school is Friday. I don't know what I am going to do with him this summer. Mom is suggesting some community center classes. I will look into that. I know that we can spend one day a week at the zoo, at least. He will be going back to pre-K in the fall. We are very pleased with the school and with his teacher.
  • We are going to the monastery for their feast day (anyone else going to go... we'll meet you there:).
  • My sister and brother in law are moving in the next few weeks and celebrating their 11 year wedding anniversary. Congrats to them. In this day and age 11 years is almost a miracle (and, boy, does that make me feel old... they were married a few weeks after I graduated from college).
  • I just finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Very interesting book. One of those magical realism type books with a strong emphasis on the realism part. And through out the book I actually felt like magic existed in England. I love it when authors put in fake footnotes and cite non-existent books, very realistic. It was a very interesting read...
  • uhm, that might be all for now... I have to stop and think for a moment...

AAWWW, yes, I have something to say... I have been reading people's blogs, but haven't been putting in too many comments. I just don't feel like I have the time right now. So, please know, my faithful few readers, that I am reading your blogs:) And keep writing...

I thought of something else to add... we are on the family cell phone plan with my parents (they have two phones), my sister (she has one phone), and Paul and I (we have two phones). Dad upgraded the phones recently. Now, none of us are big cell phone users. I pretty much just keep mine in the car. And I know for sure that my sister can't even remember her pin number to access her messages (it's been that long since anyone has left her a message). So, anyway, Dad upgraded the phones. Dad's great at finding deals and we are all proud owners of the Motorola SLVRL7. This phone does everything. It has a camera. It connects to the web (for a fee so we won't be doing that), it can hold 110 songs (I believe that's how many... it could be more). And, according to my brother who knows such things, this is a "flippin' cool phone". Uhm, ok. I don't think I have ever been this cool in my life...

Monday, June 05, 2006

On Yesterday, Six Years Ago...

Rob/Paul and I were married. Happy Anniversary!!! We went out to dinner and saw the movie Water. It was very good. Mom and dad watched the kids. Today is Katie and Steve's one year anniversary. Happy Anniversary!!!

What a big year for us... baby, bought a new home, moved into the hospital for a while, lost a spleen... always something going on. I don't have time to post more thoughts because the baby is starting to cry. Maybe I will try to write more later (not today, probably, we are going to a dinner tonight).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On This Day, Three Years Ago...

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
O Christ our God, upon fulfilling Your dispensation for our sake, You ascended in Glory, uniting the earthly with the heavenly. You were never separate but remained inseparable, and cried out to those who love You, "I am with you and no one is against you."

On this day, three years ago, we were in Greece for the Ascension, at the church of the Ascension on the island of Ios (where my dad is from). The church is one of our family churches (our other church is to St. Petros). It is a very small church. When I asked my Aunt Ourania how old is the church... she replied, "very old." I said, "no, really how old? One hundred, two hundred years?" She, again, replied, "very old." So I am going to assume that this church is probably 500 or more years old because the "new" addition on my grandparents home is 2oo years old! Hope you like the pictures!!! And remember I'm really bad at posting pictures so if they are in a weird order, please forgive me:)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad/Pappous!

Paul, Christina, Pavlos, and Petros:)

PS: photo is of yiayia and pappous with all four grandchildren

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's been a while...

Sorry, everyone, it's been a while since I posted. I'm even having trouble getting around to reading other people's blogs!!! We are quite busy, of course, with baby Petros and Pavlos and just lots of stuff going on. On Saturday we had a memorial service for Paul's father (Fr. Paul). It's been five years since he reposed. May his memory be eternal. So I spent Friday and Saturday putting together kollyva. I have a shelf in my cupboard that is dedicated to kollyva stuff.

Sunday was our church general assembly meeting. I don't particularly like general assembly meetings. And, since becoming co-chair of our sunday school program, we have to watch the children while the parents attend the meeting. AAAGGGHHH! Not my idea of a fun Sunday afternoon:) We were able to play outside and I brought Pavlos' newest game, Hullabaloo, and the kids loved playing it (it was a birthday present from yiayia and pappous).

Petros is now three months old. I cannot believe it. Pavlos went to his 4 year check up and we also weighed Petros... he's now up to 9lbs 7 ozs. Way to go!!! He is smiling a lot and making lots of cute baby cooing noises. Pavlos is a hefty (lol) 28.5 lbs.

I have started reading again. Finally have a little time to do that. I read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Oh Susanna by Kate Wilhelm (thanks, Kiera). Shadow of the Wind is kind of like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book (are my sister and I the only people who like Love in the Time of Cholera better than One Hundred Years of Solitude? Just curious). The Wilhelm book was funny and entertaining and easy:) I have finally gone on line to the library to request some books to read.

Last night, I recorded the season finale of 24 so I could watch the DVD of Pride and Prejudice which we rented. After having seen the mini-series P&P numerous times and also reading the book many times, the movie went so quickly! It has beautiful scenery, wonderful editing, it flows nicely, beautiful score, but it just gets through the story so fast. If I had never seen the mini-series, I probably would have like it better... although I do like the movie, too... maybe it would be good to own for those times when I would like to watch P& P but just don't have the time to sit through the whole mini-series?!?! So tonight we will watch the season finale of 24... will Jack make it (of course, he does, Kiefer Sutherland has signed a new, three season contract). Will the president be exposed for the lying slimeball he is?

Ok, that's enough rambling from me... have to go work on baptism invitations (if you are a member of St. John's you will not be receiving an invite to the baptism as we are inviting the whole parish... but please, let me know if you can make it so we can plan on how much food to make:)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Save the Date... and if you aren't tired of the davinci code already, here are some links:)

Sr. Magdalen (the link on her name is to the monastery where she lives in England), author of "Children in the Church Today" and "Conversations with Children" (both excellent books if you haven't read them) will be the speaker at the St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church Annual Fall Women's Retreat. The retreat will be the weekend of October 13-15 here in Portland, OR. Just giving you all a heads up (since most of my five readers of this blog live in the Pacific NW). I am very excited to meet her!

On a completely different note... a priest friend of mine sent me the following links regarding the DaVinci code movie (and book, for that matter) and the gospel of Judas. These are websites that have been developed through the Greek Archdiocese. Mind you, I haven't checked out these sites, yet, just passing the info. on from a reliable/trustworthy source. And, on a side note, who has read the DaVinci Code? I did, and thought that it wasn't that well written of a story, aside from all the historical inaccuracies:)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Oops... happy birthday pavlos, update:)

Me and my sleep deprived brain forgot to add two things to my little happy birthday pavlos blog entry... First, Pavlos was and always will be my greatest mother's day gift... he was born Saturday evening, the day before Mother's Day!!! And second, I need to change the description of my blog... Pavlos is not 3 and he really doesn't say, "uhm" anymore like he used to... i will keep the title of the blog, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the description... thanks:)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Pavlos!!!

Pavlos is four today. Our first miracle baby. He's my little boy blue eyes:) He's loud, silly, and loves to sing and dance and play (especially with his little people). I cannot believe it's been four years... how much he has changed and grown up (especially in the last few months). We are celebrating his birthday party on Sunday afternoon (his cousins are coming down from the Seattle area and his god-parents will be over), but tonight, yiayia and pappous are coming over for some pizza and hot fudge sundaes (Pavlos' favorite foods). Happy Birthday, Pavlos, and May God grant you many, many years!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pain-free visit to the dentist...

I went to the dentist today to have some long overdue dental work done. The dentist had to numb both sides of my mouth. When he inserted the needle, he said, "you will feel a pinch." I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. My body was poked and prodded so many times while in the hospital, I have developed a new level of pain tolerance! Whenever I have bloodwork done, it feels like nothing. No pinch, no poke, no feeling at all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Petros' baptism will be on Saturday, June 10, time to be determined (most likely around 11am). If you would like to come or are in the area, please email me and I will keep you posted and send directions. The reception will be at my parents home in Vancouver, WA. We are very excited!!!

My email address is cdblankenstein[at]hotmail[dot]com.

UPDATE: I forgot to add that the baptism will be at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, OR:)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Holy Week, Pascha, and after...

I know that I have not posted in quite a while... I've been busy:) Petros had his two month appt. last week, you can read about that here. Maintaining two blogs at the same time can be difficult and tricky... I have to figure out where I am going with these two blogs, if I'm going anywhere!

Holy Week was beautiful and busy. I did not attend all of the services, but Paul and I rotated on a few services so that each of us could at least go to one service without children. We all went to Sunday evening bridegroom service. My mother in law and I went to the Monday bridegroom service. Then we all went to the Tuesday evening service because our Metropolitan Gerasimos made his first pastoral visit to our community. He seemed very genuine. Pavlos had a little "encounter" with him... Metropiltan Gerasimos tried to give him a flower but Pavlos became a little afraid so Paul picked him up to take him to the Metropolitan, but Metropolitan Gerasimos told Paul that it was ok and to not "force" Pavlos to go to him.

We all went on Holy Wednesday evening for Holy Unction. Let's just say that I spent the entire service outside of the service because Petros was really, really fussy! He cried almost through the entire service, poor guy. Thursday morning, Petros and I went to Liturgy and Paul was going to go to the Thursday evening service, but ended up taking his mother to urgency care because she thought she was getting bronchitis. Turns out she might have asthma!

Holy Friday was our Youth Retreat which Carrie and I ended up being "in charge of" because we are the Sunday School co-directors (I majorly stressed about the retreat but it turned out really well). And Friday evening was Pavlos' turn to have a meltdown in church so we ended up leaving the service early (after the procession). Saturday morning, Paul went to church and I took the kids to my parents home for an Easter egg hunt with their cousins (although Petros didn't really participate). And I didn't go to the evening service as I thought that I would really not get any sleep at all, even after the service, because the baby would still wake up for feedings, etc. So Paul took his mom and Pavlos to church. But we all went to Agape vespers on Sunday morning (minus Paul's mom because she wasn't feeling well) and then, the Pascha picnic at church where they roasted two lambs! Yummy! Very exciting Holy Week and Pascha! Christos Anesti!

This past Sunday, we were privileged to become god-parents to baby Athanasios. May God grant him many years! And we have god-parents for baby Petros so now we have to plan his baptism!

We are so busy... and then this weekend two friends of mine from high school will be in town and they are coming over for lunch on Saturday. Then we have a fundraising dinner at church on Sunday evening (complete with Greek dancing... woohoo!). We spent last Saturday planting flowers in our yard. And Paul bought a swingset kit to build Pavlos (and Petros) a swingset with slide in our backyard (a birthday gift to Pavlos from grandma). OH, so that means that Pavlos will have his birthday in 9 days... he will be 4 years old:)

Please keep Katina (Ekaterini) in your prayers. She reposed yesterday. I lived with her for a year in San Diego, CA when I was volunteering with Project Mexico. May her memory be eternal!

Sorry for the randomness of this entry... I will attempt something with more depth later on:)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bridegroom Services or Famous Quotations of Pavlos...

Sunday evening, when we went to venerate the icon of the bridegroom, Pavlos said, "Jesus has an owie." Now, every service since then, he repeats, "Jesus has an owie." Last night, we were in the narthex and there is another icon of the bridegroom and Pavlos just stood in front of it, staring. There was a line beginning to form behind him and he just stood there, staring. I had to force him to move on because of the line up of people waiting to venerate the icon and proceed into church.

Second famous quotation... a catechumen was baptized on Saturday of Lazarus. As he was receiving his first communion, Pavlos wanted to know, "when is it my turn to receive Holy Communion?" Nevermind that we had just finished Liturgy for Saturday of Lazarus... he also thinks that every service in the church should involve communion...

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Church Sign...

Driving Pavlos to school, we pass a number of Protestant churches that have signs they are constantly changing... most are cheesy quotes or catch phrases or puns. Yesterday we saw the following on a sign...

Body piercing saved my life!

Uhm, yeah, ok. Wonder if that will increase search engine hits to my blog:)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Coffee and Cigarettes... (A Post on both Blogs)

It is one of those rare moments when everyone in the house is napping (except me). I drank a little too much coffee to take a nap right now.

My very good friend Maria, who I've mentioned in my blog before (and, everyone, she is a total Rock Star, by the way), gave me one of those Ipods that hold about 10 CD's. It was a life saver in the hospital. After the nurses would wake me up at 3am to check vital signs (yes, I am alive, please let me get some sleep) I sometimes would not be able to fall back to sleep. So, I'd turn on my Ipod and listen to chanting or music and would then be able to fall asleep. And then there were times in the afternoon when I just couldn't read anything and watching TV would about drive me crazy... I would turn on my music and just lay back and listen. Rob/Paul uploaded about 5 CD's onto it for me to listen to in the hospital. He even put on two U2 CD's (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and the greatest hits 1990-2000). Ok, so I haven't spent a lot of time listening to the greatest hits CD... I really think that the 90's were not u2's greatest time period... they are sounding much better now. But two lines from two different songs have stuck with me...

From Electrical Storm (and this has to do with my sudden fall back into the world of caffeine (I had been caffeine free for 2 1/2 years... but lack of sleep will drive even the strongest of us to fall into the depths of caffeine use))... and this is really just one line from the song so here goes:
Coffee is cold, but it'll get you through...
OK, this totally applies to me now. I actually will drink cold coffee... because, hey, it's caffeine and it will "get me through" the day, the next hour, the next ten minutes. I need that added buzz to get myself going:)

From Stay (Far Away, So Close)... this has to do with my earlier post regarding cigarettes and times when I feel like I just need to smoke. I don't feel like I need to smoke right now... I think I can handle only one "drug" at a time and caffeine is it for now:)
Green light, seven eleven
You stop in for a pack of cigarettes
You don’t smoke, don’t even want to
I see you check your change
The whole idea of not smoking and, yet, buying a pack of cigarettes... although, in my post on smoking, I was writing about WANTING to smoke a cigarette, but knowing that I won't, ever. Maybe I can change the lyrics... Just kidding... wouldn't tough U2's lyrics with a ten foot pole:)

So, this post is not really that profound or that interesting. My forty days ends this Sunday. So Baby Petros and I will be going to church on Sunday. I have been trying to take this 40 days seriously since Petros has come home... he has only left the house to go to doc. appt. That's it. I'm starting to feel a bit of cabing fever... but I know that it is better for him (and probably better for me, too) to stay home. We have had a difficult few months. Go here to read about it, if you want. And I haven't decided if I'm going to blog here or on my other blog which is why I posted this on both blogs.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

hagia sophia... check it out...

This is worthy of linking to... please pass this along on your blogs or through email."The European Union Parliament is pressuring the Turkish Government to restore Saint Sophia Cathedral from a museum into a Greek Orthodox Church. However the Parliament has set a requirement of 1.000.000 signatures on a petition before it makes this conversation a prerequisite for Turkey's admission into the European Union. You are requested to cast your vote by logging on to a link at This is an opportunity for each of you to have an impact on world events. Get as many Greek Orthodox, other Orthodox and Christian friends of yours to sign the petition and make history."

Friday, February 17, 2006

New blog to keep people informed of my health stuff...

Ok, so I created a new blog to keep everyone informed. Hopefully, I will post to it everyday. Not sure if I am going to post to this blog in the meantime. New blog is at Feel free to pass this on to people who might be interested or are praying for us!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Guess What, Again?

So I'm in the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy. I just finished up another blood transfusion, baby's kicking a lot right now. When they give me a blood transfusion they also give me an IV dose of benadryl to help in case I have a bad reaction to the transfusion. That makes me a lot loopy and a lot tired. But we are finished with this one, for now (please excuse my typing, spellilng errors, or anything like that... blame it all on the benadryl).

I was able to meet Presv. Elizabeth the other day. It was so nice to finally see her in person instead of just through cyberspace. A woman from church came by today and decorated my room a little for me. It now looks much more cheerful, cozy, as if someone actually lived here. Pavlos continues to poop on the potty. I am so proud of my little man. And hopefully my mom can get him enrolled into some sort of preschool or activity to help him have more in his life than just visiting his mommy in the hospital.

I am very thankful that they are keeping. I feel better knowing that both myself and the baby are being watched very closely. Still lots of up in the air things going on with my treatment. Will try to keep you posted (Paul bought me and antenna for the laptop and now I have great internet service in my room). Please contintue to pray for us.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Guess What?

I'm back in the hospital again. Hopefully for just tonight (Monday). I am right now waiting for them to give me another blood transfusion and another IV immuno globulin. I'll keep you posted, of course....

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Snap Shirts

With the time that I have on my hands, I went ahead and did this (like so many others). Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, February 10, 2006

New Book, Pregnancy, Lupus, and God's Will in Our Lives...

This is a link to the book I am currently reading about St. Basil of Ostrog.
So far it is very good and not too difficult a read. I am on the second introduction which is an article be St John of Damascus titled God's Miracles: The Foretaste of Eternal Goodness. If anyone knows where I can find a link to the article on the internet, please, let mw know because I would like to provide that link to you, my faithful readers, because it is such a beautiful article:)

Obviously I have lots of thoughts regarding the last few weeks. I realized that out of the last three weeks, i have spent 11 days in the hospital (two separate visits). I have received 8 blood transfusions (please, please, please... go give blood. I'm going to find out if I can give blood after this is all said and done and I have a normal hematicrit and am not pregnant... I am deeply indebted to the anonymous person who gives blood that exactly matches me... so go give blood).

I am learning to appreciate the two miracle babies in my life... Pavlos and this baby who we will God-willing meet soon. I had always pictured myself having three or four children. I don't know why, really, maybe because there are three children in my family. And I realize that with what I am going through now, that two children may be what we have in our family. And that's ok. When I was 25 (eight years ago), I was diagnosed with Lupus. My rheumatologist told me that I would/should not/never have children. I was single at the time, just finishing up grad. school. Not even dating anyone. Talk about a blow. I walked out of that office and thank goodness my mom was there because I cried all the way home. I had always pictured myself married and having a family. And now this doctor was destroying my dreams. Eventually, I met Paul and he knew that us being able to have children may not ever happen. And yet, he loved me enough to marry me and see what God's will would be in our lives. And here we are on the verge of our second miracle. The first pregnancy was very low key, not too many problems. And so we thought we would try again. And, well, you can read about what we've been going through in my previous entries or go to my mom's blog and read her updates on my health. That doesn't mean that we haven't struggled even in other areas of pregnancy... our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage at eight weeks. Our second pregnancy is Pavlos. Our third pregnancy ended in miscarriage at ten weeks, and this is our fourth pregnancy which is a little rough, but at this point, the baby is weighing in at over 4 pounds:) Definitely survivable. And it actually just dawned on me... I have four babies... just not all here:) Maybe that is God's plan for us.

I realize that this blog entry is a bit disjointed, I'm still really tired and I am finding it difficult to do much more than sit in my dad's lazy boy recliner and surf the net on my dad's laptop:) Today was a difficult day because I had a doc. appt. early, early this morning (thank goodness we were able to drop Pavlos off at a friends house so he didn't have to sit through the long appt.). After the appt, my mom and I stopped by the soon to be new church site because neither of us had been there in months. Then, we picked up Pavlos and went to get lunch. Then we went to Babies R Us because the only thing that I really need for the baby is a new diaper bag (which I found one that I liked and that Paul will not be embarassed to carry around). Then we headed home... and it took us over an hour to get back to my parents home because of all the traffice. I think we were gone for 8 hours today. I am tired. So forgive the disjointed-ness of this blog entry:)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Update on Second Hospital Stay...

This is an email that I sent out to family and friends to update them on what is going on with me... I will try to post more thoughts on my adventures in the hospital later this week (and I'm reading this great book on St Basil of Ostrog and the introduction has some really wonderful quotations that I want to share with you all:)

I am now out of the hospital and at my parents home. My hematicrit has gone up to 27 and my hemaglobin is up to 8. Still not normal but definitely better than it was. Baby is fine, I'm 32 weeks tomorrow so if this happens again in two weeks (like it did two weeks ago) they will probably build up my blood levels again and then induce me because the baby will be 34 weeks which is a great gestation.
I now have drug induced diabetes (not gestational diabetes) and so I have to give myself insulin shots twice a day, watch what I eat, and monitor my blood sugar. This came about because of the high amount of prednisone I am taking. The good news is that if my blood levels continue to rise, they will taper me off of the prednisone and my blood sugars will return to normal.
I also came home with a more permanent IV in my arm (aka PICC IV) so that if this does happen again, they won't be destroying my poor veins again. And they can do my blood draws through this IV, too. I will keep this in until the baby is born. I will continue to go to doc. appt's often (meaning multiple times a week). If my levels continue to rise, then we will eventually return back to our own home which I dearly miss (although we are extremely thankful to have my parents so close to us that they are able to take care of Pavlos throughout this whole ordeal).
That's all for now... I am supposed to be resting (not bed rest, just rest).

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

just some thoughts...

I keep meaning to write something, well, meaningful. But my brain is just too tired to do that. I missed meeting Dawn, Mimi, and Presv. Elizabeth this past weekend. That's alright. I know that we will meet someday! I wanted to go to church on Sunday but my blood levels aren't rising fast enough so I had to go through another IV immuno globulin treatment Sunday morning. Paul and Pavlos went to church. My mom came to the hospital to sit with me for part of the treatment. My dad and Uncle Pete went to our new church site to help clean up. I was hoping to at least swing by the site because I haven't been there in a while... but they gave me benadryl during my treatment and I was so whoozy! I hate that feeling. I am somewhat of a control freak and I do not like to feel out of control. Never understood why people get into drugs. Anyway, we spent Friday and Saturday nights at our home and then we came back to my parents on Sunday evening. I had labs drawn yesterday (Monday) so I should know those results sometime today. Hopefully my blood counts have risen.

Here are some things I have been thinking about (I have some time on my hands now):
  • My dad made a comment while I was in the hospital. He walked in and I was updating everyone on how the baby was doing. My dad said, I don't care about the baby, how are you? Sounds a bit harsh, right? But I realized that I am somebody's baby...I'm my dad's baby (and my mom's, too, obviously). And how I feel about my babies is the way that my dad feels about me. Age cannot change how or what I would give up for my little ones. And age will not chanage how or what my dad would give up for me and my siblings.
  • I've been told that I can be a bit dramatic and emotional (I know you are laughing, mom) but at one point, while I was in the hospital, I started crying because I was thinking about what if I died... Pavlos probably would not remember me. That crushed me. He would see pictures and hear stories but he is still too young to have clear memories of me.
  • That whole controlling thing for me is difficult to give up. Let others be in charge. Let others take control. I haven't even driven in almost two weeks! I've always been independent and like to do things when I want to do them. So it's been hard to just sit back and let others do for me.
  • I'm so thankful that we have my family in the area. This would be so hard to go through without family.

I think that's all I will write for now. I did get my "mom" haircut. That was fun. It's just very simple. Yesterday, after my doc. appt. mom decided that we should go out to lunch because traffice was terrible (some trees had fallen off of the freeway and so half the freeway was shut down to remove those trees). So we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I had been to the one in San Diego (back when I lived there). It was very good, of course. And we each ate only half our meals so we could split a cheesecake:) I love cheesecake... I think that would be my favorite dessert (I don't really like sweets all that much). Anyway, afterwards I got it in my head that I wanted to check out the Motherhood Maternity store in the mall (if it wasn't too far of a walk... when I walk, my heart rate goes up pretty quickly due to the hemolytic anemia). And it wasn't too far of a walk. So I bought myself a lounging outfit for around the house and a couple of tops. I think, at about this time in pregnancy, all my maternity clothes start to look a little depressing (because of wearing the same things over and over again). And I really wanted something comfortable to wear. That was my big adventure for yesterday. Don't know what today's big adventure will be:)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Home but not home yet...

I'm at my parent's house at least until Friday. I had been in the hospital from last Thursday until this afternoon. We had a little scare, I don't have time to write about it now, the baby is fine (it wasn't the baby, it was me). You can read about it in my mom's blog here. I will try to post more in the next few days. Two observations... Thank God for parents and nurses are the most kind, wonderful people in the world.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I've been tagged...

Four jobs you have had in your life (I’m going to post more than four)
1. push button engineer (aka working for dad in his machine shop)
2. camp counselor
3. resident assistant and assistant hall director in college dorms
4. Project Mexico office manager, etc.
5. currently working with adults with developmental disabilities

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
1. Any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy
2. Sense and Sensibility
3. Shawshank Redemption
4. Pride and Prejudice (if I have the time)

4 Places You Have Lived
1. Portland, OR/ Vancouver WA
2. Walla Walla, WA
3. Athens, Greece
4. San Diego, CA

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch (we hardly ever watch TV but lately…)
1. MASH on DVD (get them from the library, we are on season 2)
2. Lost (uhm, yeah, I’m the one who has slowly become interested in this show)
3. X-Files: dad and I would watch it together, when it used to be on
4. Mom wants us to start watching 24, but we haven’t ever seen an episode. I’m debating about getting it from the library. We’ll see.

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
1. Greece (multiple times)
2. Green Bay, WI (about once a year)
3. Whistler (for our honeymoon)
4. Disneyland many times when I was growing up

4 Websites You Visit Daily
1. hotmail
2. my personalized google page
4. washington mutual home page (our accounts)

4 Of Your Favorite Foods (right now)
1. I’m loving fruit… oranges, blueberries, strawberries, bananas
2. cheesecake from Larson’s Bakery (by my parents house)
3. Schwarma from Ya Halla restaurant in Portland (with rice and hummous and maybe a side of good middle eastern yoghurt… mmmmm)
4. gyro from Greece (with tzatziki and french fries, made at a little gyro stand… mmmmmm)

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
1. taking a nap in Greece (gotta love siesta time)
2. taking a nap in Australia (never been, but would love to go)
3. taking a nap in the Holy Land (never been, would love to go, but maybe not right now)
4. taking a nap in my bed

Bloggers You Are Tagging
1. my mom and that’s it (unless anyone else who reads this blog would like to be tagged, just let me know if you do it)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Days I wish I smoked...

My sister started referring to bad days or stressful days as “days she wished she smoked”. And my sister has a very lovely, covered back deck that would be perfect for smoking. I think Katherine using this phrase hearkens back to our grandma. Grandma smoked. Grandma tried to quit on numerous occasions but every time she tried to quit, Grandpa would be there, asking her if she wanted a cigarette. I always felt bad for Grandma when she was trying to quit because Grandpa didn’t help at all.

Grandma was a great seamstress. She made us quilts, dresses, dolls, you name it, she could sew it. I remember her making a dress for me when I was in first grade. She made a matching dress for my favorite doll, baby Ann. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. Grandma was also a great cook. But, Grandma was a bit high strung (is that the word for it) or maybe it’s better to say that she would get stressed out pretty easily. She was always smoking when she sewed or cooked. And she would mumble things under her breath (usually having to do with my brother… “oh, that Yianni” was a favorite phrase of hers). So somewhere, I think that Katherine and I have thought that smoking is linked to stress relief. (On a side note… I want everyone to know that this is not the only thing that we learned from Grandma… she was one of the greatest and most important people in my life).

Hence… days I wish I smoked. Now I know that my mom has already commented that I only have one child and just wait until I have two. But those days I wish I smoked aren’t always about Pavlos. Usually, it’s a culmination of little things (like snow on a branch that eventually causes the branch to break). Sometimes it’s Pavlos, sometimes it’s Paul, sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s church responsibilities, sometimes it’s too much traffic on the freeway, sometimes it’s just plain old being tired. All these “sometimes” added together, over enough days, leads to days I wish I smoked. And I don’t think that it is actually smoking… it could be something else… just substitute smoking with any other vice… Days I wish I had a drink… days I wish I drank coffee (with caffeine)… I don’t think I ever have days I wish I did illegal drugs, though:). There’s something that appeals to me about having a cigarette on the back porch to soothe my nerves (and make my clothes, hair, and breath really stinky).

And I have to admit that there was a time in my life when I did smoke. For about three months. We (Katherine and I) were working at summer camp as counselors. And the smoke breaks at the smoking table on the back porch behind the dining hall. Friends gathered there, complaining about which cabin was worse. Maybe that’s where this feeling comes from… smoking cigarettes and complaining, together, a bonding experience. But, after camp we quickly quit our three or four cigarettes a day habit and never went back to it. So maybe this is the definition of addiction: 13 years later, still having a moment where I want that cigarette (it was easy enough to quit) but never giving into it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Updates (client, myspace, & pregnancy)...

So the bureaucratic powers that be have decided that I will only have to work with "Jane" (go here for more info) until June 30. They are going to re-vamp the program for those who are not at all work ready (as in, there is too much to do with them before actually going out and finding them a job). Technically, we are only supposed to work with those who are ready to find a job... somehow this new program (which will be "newer" come June 30) was just trying to get clients to vendors without assessing their work readiness. Basically, what that means is I have to come up with 6 hours a month to spend with Jane until the end of June (without having to find her a job). And then she will no longer be our client and will go back to the people that do the job readiness stuff. Maybe they will convince her that she should work:) Eventually, she could become our client again, once she is ready to work. In addition to her, I will also be working with one of our other clients who is in the same situation (although I think she actually wants to get a job). We'll see what happens...

I did post a picture on my myspace account. And Katie commented on my account and so now I'm falling deeper and deeper into it.

And my pregnancy is going well, thank God! I am now 28 weeks and will start seeing my doctor once a week, at least, until the baby comes. When I was pregnant with Pavlos I had to increase all of my meds and, so far, I have not had to do this. With Pavlos I was spilling protein in my urine and, so far, all my labs are negative. This is a huge deal because of all the things that can go wrong with my different health problems. So let's see how this last trimester goes:)

I guess that's enough for now... I am working on a short blog titled "Days I wish that I Smoked". I have to think my lovely sister, Katherine, for that line and the idea:)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Prayer Request

Please pray for my mom's first cousin, Mariana. I think she is my second cousin (although I have never been good at figuring out that stuff). My mom writes about her here. Thank you!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Reflections on Jane Austen (Books and Movies)

Sometime in November I decided to read the Jane Austen books that I have not yet read and to watch the corresponding movies (I think that I decided to do this with the release of the newest Pride and Prejudice movie… I do not really remember my initial motivation for pursuing this task). Needless to say, last week I finally finished watching the last of the Jane Austen movies (I promise, the books were all read prior to viewing the movies). So here are some thoughts on the books and the movies. By the way, I did not read or see Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Sense and Sensibility because these are the books and movies that I had already seen/read, ok?

  1. The Northanger Abbey movie has a very interesting score to it… involving heavy use of a synthesizer. You may have been wondering how a Jane Austen novel-turned-into-a-movie would look/sound like with a synthesizer as part of the soundtrack. Well, wonder no more… because here you have it. Personally, this was, by far, the CHEESIEST of the Jane Austen movies that I have ever seen. Watch it for a good laugh. The book was very good.
  2. Someone help me out here. I have always wondered how these people stay warm (or at least appear to be warm). The men all look as if they are wearing a number of layers of clothing (probably some form of an undershirt, a regular shirt, a vest, a coat, and the funny thing around their neck). But the women… the poor women should be freezing to death in the dresses that they are wearing. Most are short sleeved, somewhat lower cut. Even reading the books, I feel cold for them. Maybe that’s why they are always dancing?!?!
  3. Persuasion, book and movie, were well done (no cheesy music).
  4. By far, I enjoyed Mansfield Park (book and movie) the best (and this was Miss Austen’s favorite work, if I recall). There are a few thinks that I would like to reflect on involving just this book…
  5. We’ve come along way since 1806 (the setting of the book). In one way, that’s a good thing. In another way, it’s a bad thing. BEWARE, SPOILER AHEAD (just in case you want to read the book or see the movie). So, I’m supposed to be happy in the end because Fanny (the main character) marries her first cousin, Edmund? Huh? Eeewww. He’s a great guy, ends up a clergyman, and they are very suited for each other but again, I ask, I’m supposed to be happy she’s married to her first cousin? In case you hadn’t figured it out, that’s the good thing we’ve accomplished since 1806… marrying your first cousin is, in my humble opinion, not a good thing.
  6. How we have obviously changed is in the reaction of everyone to Maria and Henry's adulterous affair. Maria, at the end of the book (and at the end of the movie) spends the rest of her days living in the country with Aunt Norris (that would be hell in and of itself). Her husband divorces her and she is never heard from again. And Henry, although he fairs better, lives with the knowledge that he has completely lost the only woman that he "supposedly" truly loved (not Maria, by the way). I am wondering if since he was not married, his sin is less than Maria's or if it is just one of those cases where because he is a man it is more readily forgiven. I am not certain of the answer to that question. But I am sure that there were probably people who would never associate with him again. Now, adultery and promiscuity are rampant and I don't know of many who are sent off to live the rest of their days in the country because of adultery. Things certainly have changed. There was (and this is in all of her books) so much importance placed on family name and not soiling that name. And, like in Pride and Prejudice, when the younger sister runs off with a man, all the other sisters' reputations are put at stake. No one would want to marry into a family like that! So, in Mansfield Park, the entire family separates itself from Maria in order to preserve their reputation, honor, and morals.

So, these are my thoughts on the last two months of reading and movie watching. I have to say that I have enjoyed this little "adventure". Now I'm off to put more books and movies on hold through the library:)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

U2 and myspace: totally unrelated topics

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Time article.
My husband says that Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates are doing what they are supposed to do. But we definitely should give them credit because they are going against what normal rock stars and corporate billionaire types do (which usually is not much).

U2: as many of you may know (because I wrote about it here), I was not able to go to see U2 in concert when they were here in December (small problem… I lacked a ticket). So, my dear god-daughter who went to the concert gave me a very nice Christmas present. The U2 concert live in Chicago DVD. Now I can watch U2 whenever I want without having to buy a ticket. Other U2 news… my DH bought me the latest issue of Time magazine as a New Year’s gift. Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono (lead singer of U2) are Time’s Persons of the Year. Maybe I will frame the cover….

Maybe you have (or haven’t heard) of I started a myspace account just so I could leave comments on people’s blogs. I told myself I wouldn’t get too involved with myspace (hey, I can barely keep up with this blog). And a sure sign of falling into the myspace trap is posting a picture on your account. Over the weekend, I was looking through pictures from Christmas and New Year’s and saw a nice one of Pavlos and me. So I decided to post it onto my myspace account. Needless to say, the picture file was too large and, thus, I was “saved” from falling deeper into the myspace world. I do find, though, that I am able to keep tabs on my brother in a unique and interesting way via having a myspace account. That makes it all worth it…

Client/consumer/individual going through hard times

One of my favorite clients (I’ll call her Joan… not to be mistaken with the client I wrote about last week) has had her meds switched. It is so sad to see the change in her. It will take her a couple of weeks to re-adjust to her new meds and then be able to function at the same level that she was just two weeks ago. I was shadowing her at her job site today because I wanted to work on some of her techniques (she works in an office, cleaning the kitchen, shredding paper, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, etc.). And the usual bubbly Joan is now a glassy eyed shadow of her former self. I’ve been through this with her before. And it is so hard to watch. It is as if all the steps forward we have taken have disappeared and we are now back to the beginning. I know that as soon as she gets leveled out on her new meds she will greatly improve. But it’s difficult to see her not as she normally is (I hope that makes sense). Her employer ROCKS! I told her employer that I felt Joan needed to go home and get some rest and her employer gave her the rest of the week off WITH PAY! She just wants Joan to get better and then be able to come back to work. The employer, in my line of work, can make all the difference in whether a client is successful or fails. I had another client who worked for one of those major chain stores (which will remain nameless). But he had two wonderful managers who really wanted his work to be a positive experience and they really valued what he did. He worked for three years with hardly any problems. Then both managers left… one moved and one opened her own business. And “John” had a new manager who just didn’t want to (or wasn’t able to) take the extra time to work with him. He lost his job within six months of that change (John himself started going downhill, too. Change can be tough on some of my clients). Whelp, that’s enough reflecting on my job for today… I just hope Joan gets through her “funk” quickly!