Category Archives: Jack

It’s 4:45pm & my kids are still in their PJs

I’m sitting here at the table with a cup of tea. My boys just got up from their nap time & quiet time. We’re giggling off and on because a storm just rolled in and our windows were open. I asked Jack to crank the window closed and right then the wind and rain came down so hard that he got soaked and the screen flew out of the window. He just laughed and laughed. I ran to close the window over our sink but the fan sitting in it was spraying me with so much water that I could barely see. Now, only 5 minutes later, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Oh, little adventures.

Earlier today, I was adding a few knots to some of my front sections of hair that haven’t quite dreaded up yet, and Forrest wanted to “help.” He sat on my lap and just twisted my hair all around. It felt good. It’s something you kind of give up when you have dreads – there aren’t a lot of people who understand how clean dreadlocks can be, and so, there are few people who will just play with your hair for fun. Except your little kids. You can count on them for sure.

Do you ever have that feeling that nobody really gets you? It sounds narcissistic when I say it like that, but I mean it innocently. I think I feel that way because I have forgotten how to share myself. I mean, it’s so easy to share half-versions of ourselves on blogs or Facebook or whatever, but what about the full versions in real life? I’m sure that not everyone struggles with this. But I am a stay-at-home mama (who loves what she does) and I don’t get out a lot because there are so many blessings to tend to here within these walls. I would like to see myself open up so that people can get me. Because I’m pretty sure that’s the key here.

Anyway…time to get my kids dressed. (Yes, it’s 4:45pm.)


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Filed under Forrest, Jack, laughter is good, tea-timing

a long-winded explanation about why I am beginning to distrust stinging insects

I’m not really the type of gal who is easily disturbed by insects. I mean, I don’t really love them, but as long as they’re gentle or they basically want to avoid me, I’m happy to share the air with them. The problem is, I kind of feel like insects of the stinging variety are following me through my years, and I wish they knew how much I don’t like it.

As a teenager, I was stung by a wasp while retrieving the mail. I don’t know why a wasp was hanging out by the mailbox or why it didn’t want me to get my mail, but I let it slide because it was the first time.

And then, when I was living in Texas and was still pregnant with Jack, I nannied for several different kids. I used to nap along with one of the little girls I looked after, and one time, I woke up to the sound of buzzing. A mud dauber (in other words, a hideous reddish-brown wasp) was flying angrily around my room. I was able to “take care of it” probably only because of the rush of adrenaline it gave me. Maybe a month later, I found another one in my room (thankfully, this time the little girl I looked after wasn’t sleeping in there). I “took care” of that one, too.

This one is the worst. One day, when Jack was only a couple of months old, he was sleeping on my bed and I was on the computer in a corner of my room. I felt something tickle my hand and figured it was just a cord brushing against me. Well, then I felt it again, got a bit curious, and looked over at my hand. Nope, not a cord. A mud dauber. GAH! I leapt up and the mud dauber buzzed to the window, behind the blinds. Fortunately, Ryan was home, so I grabbed Jack and ran to Ryan to ask him to help me. He searched the room and found no trace of the stupid bug, but suddenly, Jack was screaming. I looked all over him and found no reason for distress, so I hugged him to me and tried to soothe him. Suddenly, I experienced such an intensely painful sting on my finger, which was supporting Jack between his legs. It was so painful that I may have dropped Jack if I hadn’t been holding him right next to the bed. I laid him down and immediately stripped off his little sleeper. Lo and behold, there on his leg was the mud dauber, and there were at least five stings on Jack’s tiny little inner thigh. It was heartbreaking.

After that, I once had to chase a bee out of my apartment in California, but it’s nothing to get upset about when I compare it to the baby-stinging mud dauber.

And that brings us to our house here in New York. A couple of weeks ago, a honey bee was just hanging out above our kitchen sink. We tried to figure out a way to capture it so that we could let it go outside, but it didn’t want to cooperate and we (by we, I mean Ryan, of course) were forced to take more drastic measures. And then, just the other day, we came in from a long day away from home only to find a ginormous hornet hanging out on our kitchen ceiling!

What is the meaning of this?! I mean, really? Is it normal? Does everyone feel like they are constantly fighting off stinging insects, or have they just taken a particular liking to me and my home? It’s really quite ridiculous. I’m starting to feel suspicious.

These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night. Seriously.


Filed under Jack, my delightful husband, tea-timing

this state of being

As I sit here, my mischievous little one-year-old is behind me, playing in the baker’s rack. He crawling on top of the cast iron griddle, and banging the lids of the pots together. He’s so loud and Jack is sleeping but Jack sleeps through everything and I’m just happy that Forrest is happy.

I’m munching on carrots and peanut butter because I am sotired this afternoon and I what I want is to eat vanilla yogurt with my homemade granola, but I know that the sugar will only make me more tired.

Sometimes I think an attitude adjustment is a really clever thing to talk about, and then it occurs to me that I pretty much need an attitude adjustment every week. But isn’t that a good thing? I don’t know a whole lot, but I do know that I never want to become complacent. So I think I’m okay with frequent attitude adjustments, and the fact that they’re not really anything new.

This week, I’ve come to the understanding that I have to stop looking at housework as something to complete. It’s never complete, and treating it as if it is only causes me more stress. Housework is…never ending, but purposeful, and the only reason I have housework to do is because I’m taking care of a family – my family. That’s a really, really good reason to do housework. So, no, my housework isn’t complete once the bathroom and kitchen are cleaned, the floors are swept, the laundry picked up and the toys are put away. There’s always more. And it’s always good. Homemaking isn’t a verb as much as it is a state of being. You know? I am a wife and a mama and I make my home. Every day. All day long. And it’s just lovely.


Filed under Forrest, homemaking, Jack, tea-timing

A few of my favorite things.

1. The way Jack says, “See that?” (except that “see” sounds like “hee” and “that” sounds like “dat”) when he wants to share something with me.

2. Daisies.

3. Breakfast empanadas.

4. Really, really hot hot sauce.

5. Hanging freshly washed cloth diapers to dry in the sun and then, 15 minutes later, finding them completely void of stains.

6. Coconut oil and its many, many uses.

7. Thunderstorms that make midmorning seem like midnight.

8. Wool yarn.

9. Watching Forrest balance on his own. (!)

10. Good, attitude-altering perspective when I seem to have been lost in a sea of selfishness.

11. The Planet Earth DVD set.

12. Cleaning my house.

13. Sparkling water.

14. Friends that feel like family.

15. Babies.

16. Taking impromptu ice cream breaks in the kitchen with Jack.



Filed under Forrest, Jack, my delightful husband, photographs

This & That

Gosh. I keep thinking that every other blogger out there must live quite a busy life, too, but they manage to update their blogs, like, 98% more often than I do! I obviously need to figure out how to write more frequently…but you’d be amazed at how easily I am sidetracked. It seems that there’s always something to be cleaned or someone to be taken care of or something to cook and the list goes on!

Today has been a full day – the kind of full that feels good and purposeful and kind of crazy. I like these kinds of days because they give me a lot of time for reflection. You wouldn’t think that, but I find that cooking, cleaning, taking walks and the like all cause me to be very introspective.

Some things I’ve been thinking about…

:: How do I cultivate gratitude in my home? Sometimes, I’m not very grateful at all. I get caught up in missing my extended family, or in having little storage space in this small (but admittedly adequate) duplex, or wishing I had more time with Ryan. And somehow, I manage to forget the simple pleasures. I overlook the mundane, ordinary, everyday beauty of my life. And I know that those little things are what make my life. So…I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m seeking. I’m praying and I’m just doing my best to keep my eyes open for opportunities to give thanks. I have this lovely necklace charm, and on one side, it says “gratitude,” and on the other side, it says “abundance.” I think, although abundance does (should?) beget gratitude, gratitude also begets abundance. Because we won’t recognize the abundance of blessings we have until we master the art of gratitude.

:: I love watching Jack play with his toy kitchen. He got it for his first birthday and he’s always loved it, but only recently has he begun to get it. He takes his little enamel pots, fills them with wooden food, puts the whole thing in the oven, looks at me and says, “Okay, wait. It’s cooking.” When he decides it’s finished, he pulls it out of the oven, brings it to me and tells me it’s a surprise! and hands me a piece. Usually, I’m instructed to blow! and he always asks me if it’s good. I guess this brings warmth to my soul because I know he understands how beautiful and important it is to feed someone. In our house, we spend so much time preparing, cooking and serving food. The kitchen really is the heart of our home. And I love sharing that with my boy – even when the food is wooden and (it should go without saying) totally inedible. 🙂

:: I’ve finally managed to acquire my first sourdough starter! I already made two (delicious!) loaves and I’m in the process of making English muffins! I cannot begin to explain how much happy this brings to my life. I’ll post some photos soon.

:: Although I didn’t get time to report this as it was happening, Ryan got his appendix removed a few weeks ago, and then last week, we all sort of got a weird version of the flu. Forrest was affected most and only seems to be truly on the mend as of today. It’s amazing how sickness (or surgery!) can really throw us off track. I’m just thankful that we all seem to be healthier now!

And now that I have a mad baby yelling for my attention…gotta go! 😉

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Filed under homemaking, Jack, my delightful husband, tea-timing


My blogging crisis has lasted much longer than I anticipated. The best way to explain it? As time has passed, I’ve begun to realize how little I know. The more I’ve come to accept this, the less I’ve wanted to say. I understand, now, that I do indeed have a lot of worthwhile things to say. But, instead of presenting my way as the only way*, I feel free to observe from my point of view without feeling the need to convince others to choose my viewpoint also.

*In regards to Christianity, I’ve come to realize that the surest way of displaying the heart of Jesus is through my actions – attempting to convert someone is pointless when my life does not emulate the One I choose to follow. So I act out my faith, and use words when necessary.

I still want to talk. About food. About my heart. About my family and the things we learn together. I’m just trying to get my head around the “how” and the “what” part of the things I share here in my space.

Anyway, I wanted to give a little update, considering how much time has passed since I last wrote.

My dreads are maturing quite nicely – they’re about 2.5 months old now and most of the time, I absolutely love them. We have our off days, but they really don’t deter me. I love my locks. I just do.

Here are some photos of how they look right now:

And, as you can probably see from the above photos, we went on vacation! My mom turns 50 this June, and her wish was to have her kids, kids-in-law and grandkids all in one place – in one of her favorite locations! So, we all reunited in Hawaii, on Oahu, for a week. It was lovely. We got back a couple of days ago, and we’re still battling jetlag with all the strength we have. So far, jetlag is winning. Big time.

Here’s my favorite photo from our trip:

As for the boys, they are doing really well. Forrest has begun to coast around furniture, and he currently has 6 teeth (going on 7). Jack is learning so much, but his favorite things to talk about are letters and numbers. Seriously.

Here are some great shots of them:

(That’s my brother, Sam.)

By the way, all these photos (except for the one of me kissing Forrest, which was taken by my mom with my iPhone, and the one he’s in) were taken by my sweet brother with his awesome new camera. I have serious camera envy.

Also of fairly high importance: we moved into our new apartment right before we left for Hawaii! We really, really love it. I don’t want to share too many details about the location, but you can be sure I’ll be posting photos of the inside. We’ve got some fun vintage furniture and I can’t help but share its glory!

Anyway, now Forrest is nursing, which is making it a bit complicated to type, so I’ll wrap it on up! 🙂


Filed under Forrest, Jack, my delightful husband, photographs, tea-timing, things we celebrate

now that we’re Home.

So! Let’s talk a little more about Orthodoxy.

When we first began talking about visiting the Orthodox Church, we sort of just saw it as “another way to do things.” Our understanding of the Orthodox Church was very limited and it never occurred to us that we’d have to officially convert in order to become Church members. Again, to us, it was just like any other denomination.

As we were preparing for our temporary relocation to New York (where we are now), we talked a lot about what we wanted in a church. We have friends who’d recently became members of an Orthodox Church back in California, and they only had good things to say about it. We also have friends who had planted a Anglican Mission church and we were very interested in that as well. We were sad to find out that there were no Anglican Missions in the Rochester area, but we were able to find an English-speaking Orthodox Church. Assuming the two churches would be very similar (again, we were ignorant), we decided we’d just “hang out” at the Orthodox Church until we moved to our final destination, where we’d look up an Anglican Mission.

So, we moved. And we visited the Orthodox Church for the first time. There was something so compelling – so authentic – about that Church service and we came home that day in a total funk. Truth does that to you, doesn’t it?

It’s hard to explain, because honestly, you just have to experience it to understand. In short, we knew we had just taken part in something we would never (be able to) forget. I remember Ryan looking at me and saying, “Rissa, if we’re going down this road – if you want to read up on it and truly consider it, you know there’s no turning back. This is it.” And it’s true. This is it. We’ve come Home.

Our transition into the Church has been fairly smooth. When people have learned where we’re attending, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is, “How are the kids doing?” Truly? They’re doing great. There is no childcare or “kids’ church,” but that’s been an easy transition for us because we’ve always kept our kids with us – even before we began attending at the Orthodox Church. The first time we went, we were ill-prepared and Jack had a hard time. He was used to being whisked off to a “crying babies” room whenever he felt like being loud, and our new insistence that he keep his voice down was not received very well. 🙂 The next week, however, we brought along a couple of toy cars, his Sigg bottle and a bag of raisins. On the way to Church, we explained that we expected him to be quiet because we were going to worship Jesus. He’s been quiet, calm and happy in Church ever since. I don’t plan on always allowing him the convenience of his toy cars, but as we make the transition, it has been extremely helpful. I’ve noticed, however, that lately he has been paying more attention to what’s going on in the service so I’m hoping to transition him into toylessness soon. 🙂

Oh, and I always wear Forrest in my ring sling or the Ergo, so he does fine. We stand for almost the entire service, so Forrest usually doesn’t have any reason to get restless. In fact, he almost always takes his morning nap while we’re there!

Speaking of the boys – they’re both clamoring for my attention. That’s my cue!


Filed under Forrest, Jack, my delightful husband, orthodoxy, tea-timing