Category Archives: my delightful husband

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

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

all for now

My baby learned how to clap yesterday. This morning after he woke up, he was found clapping in our bed. I can’t believe how much I love him.

I just got a (new to me) laptop and I’m very, very happy.

I haven’t officially deleted my Twitter account, but I am stepping away from it indefinitely because I need to rid myself of all distraction. Maybe I’ll write more about that sometime soon.

I’m already planning my summer wardrobe. Sad, huh?

Speaking of – this morning, I got dressed in some of my favorite dark jeans, a canary-yellow tank top and a black v-neck sweater. Before I put on the sweater, I mourned the fact that I won’t be able to simply wear a tank top, jeans and sandals for a long, long time. Then I went upstairs and told Ryan I was mad about it. And he smiled at me. He gets me.

I made homemade chicken stock for tonight’s dinner. I love making meals stretch and it just so happens that I used the carcass from Friday night’s braised chicken to make tonight’s chicken stock. These are the things that make my heart sing.

That’s all for now.


Filed under Forrest, my delightful husband, tea-timing

Down with Sick

(Proof that my boys are amazing: they both have pink eye in this photo!)

So, we’ve been sick. Really, really sick.

It started the week of Christmas. Ryan wasn’t feeling well and I could tell some kind of sickness was trying to take us down. I began to guzzle down water and elderberry extract and I drank echinacea elder tea with local honey at least three times each day. My sore throat disappeared, but unfortunately, Ryan and the boys all ended up with the flu. I was so grateful to have avoided it so that I could at least take care of my boys, but I was silly to think that would be the extent of the sickness in our family.

Starting on New Year’s Eve, Ryan got the chills and said his throat was hurting. The next day, he had a fever. By January 2, he and I were both brought down by another flu. And, the icing on the cake? Both of the littles got pink eye. Lovely.

Ryan finally feels like he’ll be able to go back to work tomorrow, and I think I’m getting better. My throat isn’t hurting quite as badly, I haven’t had a fever in a while, and the aches seem to be gone. My ear hurts pretty bad, but I’m assuming it’s just a part of the cycle. The boys’ eyes are still seeping a little, but Forrest’s are the worst. The poor kid has been waking up each morning with his eyes sealed shut! It’s got to be one of the saddest things I’ve seen!

Anyway, I know this is sort of a boring post but I figured I owe y’all an explanation. 🙂

Oh, and for the sake of conversation: we took Forrest to the ER during the first round of the flu because his symptoms got pretty scary. While we were checking in, the nurse was asking basic questions about Forrest and his health. Then, inevitably, she asked, “And he’s up to date on his immunizations?” I smiled and said, “No.” She tilted her head slightly and I could feel the tension rise. “And why is that?” My answer: “Because we choose not to immunize him.” She responded with a drawn out, that’s-the-dumbest-thing-I’ve-ever-heard “O-kayyyyy…” and then continued with her questions. Does anyone else find it interesting that she basically acted like we were the most irresponsible parents ever? (Just curious, regardless of your stance on immunizations – I respect whatever choice you’ve made for your family!) I was pretty offended!

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got right now. I have a few posts in the works and I should be publishing them this week – that is, if this sickness continues to back off. Pray for our health if you think of it!


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