Sunday, October 25, 2009


Outside my window...
The sun has set and the clouds have rolled in. We had a wonderful weekend in regards to the weather. A beautiful sunny day yesterday and the majority of today was sunny. The rain is expected again tomorrow.

I am thankful...
This may sound crazy, but I am thankful for Joshua's mom. She paid us a visit this past week and said something that has stayed with me. We were talking about raising boys and preparing them to become men. Anybody who knows me, knows that I do an awful lot of complaining about the cleaning skills of my husband. Basically, he sucks at it. Really bad. He has this uncanny ability to not see messy rooms or dishes. Or full trash cans. Or dirty clothes on the floor.

Anyway, Kay and I were talking about her situation raising three children on her own. Without going into the sad details, the men in Kay's life were not role-model material. Growing up Kay had to deal with a lot of negative situations, caused by the primary men in her life. When she had children, and two boys at first, the important thing that she wanted to teach them was honesty, faithfulness, love, and respect. These were the important qualities that she wanted to equip her boys with as they became men.

As she said that, I realized that these qualities were vastly superior to mine. I am thankful that she raised such a faithful and honest son.

I am reading...
I am more than halfway done with "Ahab's Wife." This book is amazing.

"And to the north again. A vast, what is that form? It slides under the water all square in front and tapering. How came that iceberg so rapidly, so close? Not ice. Living flesh. A sperm whale the color of ice!

He turns and swims parallel to us. He is like a ghostly shimmer under the blue-white water. He could be a mass of bubbles, a cloud. Would any eyes but mine ever have discerned his shape? He melts now into something blueish. I know there is a great blue whale, but I have never seen it. This white one is of enormous size, but his shape is clearly sperm. Is? I must say was, for he dissolves."

The entire book is like this. I am really enjoying it and highly recommend it.

In the kitchen...
Last week I experimented with english muffins. They turned out terrific. Right now I have a batch of dough rising. It will become cinnamon-raisin english muffins.

I am still making yummy granola about once a week.

I am listening to...
At this exact moment Journey just came up on my i-tunes. A great tune, "Who's crying now."

One of my favorite things...
Right now Levi and Claire are teaching each other yoga moves on a blanket on the floor. They both have several yoga poses down perfect. Well, perfect for kids!

The rest of the week...
We continue with swimming lessons this week. I have to say, Levi has a changed opinion in regards to the water this time. Levi is a bit of a cautious fellow. And he is definitely not a fan of water. However, this round of swimming lessons he is a changed boy! He actually likes it! He is not complaining or holding on to his teacher with white knuckles! He is putting his head under water and floating on his own! Claire was born doing all those things.

On Tuesday it is also Claire's Name's Day. In the Orthodox church we give children names of a beloved saint. This builds a life-long bond between the Christian child and that saint. We believe that the particular saint that they are named after pray and intercede for the child throughout their lives. Children are named in the Orthodox church around their eighth day and it is with this name that they receive communion. Claire's "Christian" name is Claudia. St. Claudia was the wife of Pontius Pilate and was the one person who defended Christ before his crucifiction.

She is only mentioned in the Bible one time, but her statement to her husband, "Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." Of course, Pontius Pilate did not heed his wife's warning, instead leaving Christ's fate to the angry mob who cried for his crucifiction. Perhaps it was her heart-felt warning to her husband that caused him to "wash his hands" of Jesus' fate. He declared to the Jews that they were killing an innocent man.

Not much is known about St. Claudia, but it is a common belief that she became a Christian after the death of Christ. If you also consider the times, she should be considered a very strong and passionate woman. Not only did she defend Christ to her very powerful husband, but she did this while Pilate was sitting on the judgement seat. Most likely she had only heard about Jesus and had not meet him.

On Tuesday I will read the portion of Matthew where Claudia is mentioned. Her god-parents and god-sisters sent her a package that she will open.

Claire is not a shy child. She is defiant and strong-willed; much as I imagine St. Claudia was.

A picture to share...
St. Claudia

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009


My friend who recently moved to PA has started doing this on her blog. Basically it is a little journal entry for the past weeks activities and highlights. I hope that I can keep this up!

Right now it is black. Today was a great day in Spokane. Josh was able to go mountain biking with a friend after church, while the kids and I went shopping for some x-c skis for me. The weather lately here has been the perfect fall weather. We were expecting the leaves to eventually all turn magnificent colors and fall from the trees, however, as we learned at the arboretum yesterday, since we had such a hot summer, the majority of the leaves are dying on the trees and not falling off. Normally at the arboretum they have a huge leaf pile for kids to jump in. Not this year! There are some pretty colors though; and the sun has been pleasantly warm.

For my neighbors. On Friday night we began "date night swap." They watched our kids and Josh and I took off for a great dinner in downtown Spokane. Speaking of Spokane, this place has so many wonderful and quaint restaurants! I had a beet and lentil salad and Josh had duck. Now, I am not a fan of duck, but it was actually really good! Anyway, the neighbors are amazing. Our kids get along great. Claire and Owen are best buds, while Levi and the older two, play all kinds of boy games: army, boy scouts, star wars, and indiana jones.

Ahh, a tough question for someone who loves to read! True readers always have more than one book going. I am no exception. My mother is also an avid reader, and she usually will send me a few of the books she liked after she has read them. We got such a package a couple weeks ago. I have already finished one book she sent and am working on number two. I finished Eleanor of Aquitaine rather quickly. Now I am reading Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. So far, love it. The book is "inspired by a brief passage in Melville's Moby-Dick, where Captain Ahab speaks passionately of his young wife on Nantucket."

I am also reading Eastern Orthodox Theology, which is a compilation of short essays written by various theologians. This book mostly covers the liturgy and sacraments, tradition, and Orthodox relations with other faiths.

Josh and I are reading Preserve Them O Lord together. It is an Orthodox book for engaged and married couples. We read this before we got married as well, but books like these are good to revisit!

ways to become a better wife and mother. I tend to loose my cool quickly; at both my husband and my children. I am working on giving all three of them the benefit of the doubt before I become too accusatory.

To The Point with Warren Olney. Well, not this minute, but it is what I am into! Unfortunately the local NPR station stopped airing his show. Now I download the podcast and listen to it at my convenience.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...When Claire comes to my bed in the morning, climbs into bed, rubs my cheek and says "good morning mama, I love you!"

The kids resume swimming lessons tomorrow. Claire is so excited to start wearing her swimming suit again! I swear, she would wear that thing everyday if I let her. Joshua's mother is coming for a quick visit on Wednesday, so both the kids are happy for that. Josh is still working the night shift, so nights are hectic and quiet, all at the same time. The kids don't get baths as often and the dishes don't get done every night, but we manage.
I also need to finish up our Halloween costumes. This year Claire is going to be Luke Skywalker. She had a hard time deciding on him or Obi-wan Kenobi. Her outfit is SO adorable. I got brown leggings at Burlington Coat Factory, a white tee and belt at The Goodwill and blue mud boots at a consignment store. Now I know what you are thinking. BLUE mud boots? Luke did not have blue boots! Here is the greatest part. I painted those boots gold. They look amazing. Think of it as a little feminine touch on Luke's masculinity.

Levi finally decided on Indiana Jones. Such an easy outfit! We got the cargo pants and tan shirt at Burlington for such a great price. And they are both pieces that he can wear in the future (he wore the pants to church today). We already have boots and our neighbors have a hat he is going to borrow. I need to make him a whip and try to make a satchel. He will look great. I will do some beard stubble with make-up for when we go trick or treating.

I am also trying to finish up Levi's Star Wars quilt. The top is almost all put together.

A few days ago we took Josh and Levi in to get haircuts. The place we went to had hair extensions in various colors. Naturally Claire saw the purple one and I totally gave in. Now she wears her purple hair everyday. She looks super cute too.

Levi is progressing rapidly in reading. We are already on book 16 in the 1st collection of Bob Books. I am constantly amazed how fast their little brains work. Levi is finding words in all places and trying to read and sound them out. Of course, this stage is also reminding me of how strange the english language is. So many rules, and then so many exceptions to those rules! Oh well, we all learn, right?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Well, we did it. Bought tickets to Disneyland that is. For only the second time in it's five year existence, the Knight family is going on a family vacation.

With this new job, Josh gets three weeks of paid vacation. He had to
choose all three weeks in June, so, not much
planning went into picking the dates. Josh chose his second week of vacation to be December 26th to January 2nd. Both of our children have birthday's at this time. Humm, Christmas, two birthdays... why not bag all the presents go to Disneyland instead?

When I first started looking for packages, it did not seem at all too expensive. About $2100. This price included everything: airfare, hotel, and Disneyland tickets. Or so I thought. When we found out it was reasonably priced, we decided to tell the kids and start informing the Knight family.

You see, the extended Knight family is accustomed to its Christmas rituals. Christmas is a big and important holiday. Lots of delicious food and gift exchanges. Also, Christmas is the favorite holiday of the Grand Matriarch and having 1/4 of the family not celebrate with the rest, well, it may as well be one of the seven deadly sins.

But then there is my family. We have not been to Alaska in a long time. Really, a long time. Plus, my parents just moved to Homer. They have a fabulous, rustic, quaint, Alaskan cottage. Breathtaking views, tons of snow, warm fires... what is not to love! To further feed my guilt, my sister and brother are both going home for Christmas this year. Breaking the news to my family that we decided to spend money in California rather than Alaska was equally difficult.

Back to the story.

So a few weeks ago I start to build my Disneyland vacation package at Alaska Airlines and the total price jumps up about $400. Turns out, that even though you are building a package (hotel airfare, tickets) the total price does not reflect the Disneyland tickets till you choose which ticket package you want. You see, there are a million different ways to see Disneyland. You can have just Disneyland tickets, or you can choose the Park Hopper tickets. Wait! You can have a 2 day Park Hopper, or a 3 day Park Hopper. You can get tickets for Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and about a zillion other things to see in Southern California.

Yikes. All of a sudden our cheap family vacation was not turning out to be so cheap. Then the realization hit us. We live in Spokane. It snows in Spokane. Last year it snowed A LOT. There are big mountain passes in between Seattle and Spokane. They close them often in the winter. Thus came the next logical conclusion: we decided to fly out of Spokane rather than Seattle. This complicated some thing (family) but uncomplicated others.

Logistically it makes sense to fly out of Spokane. Not only does it save us 10 hours of driving to Seattle, but we live here! The airport is about 15 minutes away and there are a ton of people who would drop us off, thus saving $ to park at the airport. And the kicker, we would not miss out on our vacation should we get massive amounts of snow and it become impossible to drive to Seattle.

So, Naomi, the queen of bargains (only when I want to be) spent hours on the Internet searching for deals. And boy, did I get them.

Turns out we had two mileage tickets on our credit card. Our credit card requires a Saturday night stay, so we had to move our trip up one day. Then Josh remembered that he had a credit on Southwest Airlines from when we was interviewing last year. He called up SW and they said that he did have a $75 credit, but it had to be used by Dec 27th. We were leaving on the 26th. Perfect.

So, I have Claire and I flying on our free mileage tickets, Levi and Josh flying Southwest out of Spokane for only $100/each, and then Levi and Josh flying Alaska home with Claire and I for only $140/each. Our total airfare, from Spokane to LAX, for four people, is under $500. Sweet.

Since we are leaving a day earlier than originally planned, this allows us to go to Disneyland a day earlier, Levi's birthday. He gets in free that day. Claire is two, she is free. That means we only have to buy one kid's ticket into Disneyland! Whoot! Adults are expensive.

On to the hotel. Obviously we will not be staying at one of the Disneyland hotels. It is like, $400/night at one of those places! No way. Not on my dollar. Okay, Josh's dollar. But there were several things that we important to me.

1. Closeness to Disneyland. We did not want to rent a car. Period.
2. Continental breakfast. We still have to eat. May as well get some free breakfast and snacks for the day!
3. Some sort of cooking appliances in the rooms.

I got all of those, and more, at a hotel called The Peacock Suites. Not only do they have two rooms (hello privacy!) but the rooms have a mini-fridge, toaster, microwave, and dishes! By the way, here is shout out to They made it SO easy to find a hotel, with good reviews, that had everything that I needed. Plus, it is only $100/night. Not bad for walking distance to Disneyland. We are coming back to Spokane on New Years Day. I wanted to see the fireworks.

With two kids, we figure two days at Disneyland will be enough. My brother lives close by, so we will get to see him and meet his fiance. That will be nice. Plus a good friend of mine and her husband, who was in Medical School with Josh, are doing their residency in LA. They have two children, the oldest being Claire's age. So we will get to visit them as well.

And there you have it. A complete week long vacation for a family of four at Disneyland at Christmas. Total price? $1500.