Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mom of the Month

Like most families, our lives get pretty hectic around Christmas time. Perhaps the argument could be made that our lives do not need to get any more busy or stressful, but they usually do. So, like those families, December is spent thinking of ways to make the loved ones in our life feel special. Little gifts or goodies to make and send to family far away. This year, while I did not make goodies, I did do a lot of hand-made gifts. I also stepped up the Christmas letter this year.

But, unlike most families, ours has an added little stress. Birthdays. That is correct. Plural. Both of my children are fortunate enough to have their birthday's within a week of each other. However, they are unfortunate that Christmas is right in the middle of their birthdays.

Our odd year solution is wonderful, I think. Family Vacation. Every other year we will skip all the presents for Birthdays and Christmas, and instead, go on an awesome family trip. Last year we went to Disneyland. It was amazing! The kids had a blast, the parents had fun and it was warm. 'Nuff said.

I think our 'even year' celebration will still be a work in progress. We will try new things, and find unique ways to celebrate their birthdays. But this year, I did what most normal moms do for their normal birthday-ed kids. I let each of my children have a birthday party. ON THE ACTUALLY DAY.

Wow. I know. Pretty freaking cool Naomi. You are.

I did have to put a few guidelines down though. Each kid was only allowed to invite three friends. No cake, ice cream, candles, decorations, or goodie-bags. Two hours maximum. Geez. After writing that, I feel like Scrooge. Maybe I am only slightly cool now. But I let them each choose a fun 'dessert decorating' activity. Claire chose to decorate cupcakes and Levi chose to decorate gingerbread men. Except, that turned into gingerbread animals, since I waited till the last minute to get gingerbread men cookie cutouts and Fred Meyer was sold out and I did not feel like driving to Target, K-mart or Walmart at 1o pm.

But whatever, all the kids had fun. Especially Levi and Claire. And for that, I do feel pretty good.

Here are some pictures.

Thing #2's b-day party (hers is first, after all)

Here she is surrounded by her loot:

And thing #1:

It is hard to tell from the pictures, but the girls were all dressed up. Either dresses, or skirts, or fancy shoes, or jewelry. They also were pretty meticulous about their decorating. It probably took them a good half an hour to decorate three cupcakes each.

The boys, however, all have Jedi capes on (I made them put all light sabers on the floor.) They, also in contrast to the girls, slathered on the frosting and really dumped the decorations on. They were done, 10 minutes tops. And there were a lot more cookies than cupcakes.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Six Years Ago Today...

This is what was happening. I had just given birth to my first baby. A beautiful, healthy, long baby boy. We knew his name instantly. Levi's personality manifested itself very early and has always been strong. Unfortunately for him, for the past four years he has been overshadowed by his little sisters loud and demanding ways. But he deals with that very well; he loves his sister, he adores his baby cousins, he is a generous child.

Since moving to Portland, Levi has truly blossomed. He is a fantastic reader and his new favorites are the Magic Tree House series. Legos are still a favorite activity. Dressing up is huge around here. Levi floats between being Indiana Jones, an Army guy, anyone from Star Wars, an angel (his Christmas play costume), and Harry Potter. He is super excited to start Little League this April and not so excited to continue swimming lessons in January.

He is still timid and shy, but those characteristics are slowly fading. He makes friends easily and plays will with any child and of most age groups. When we are around babies, he is very attentive and caring, especially with his baby cousin, Ivan.

Levi lost his first tooth in November, he grew 1/2 an inch just in the month of December, he loves travelling by somersault, he recently discovered his love of singing (although usually in a high-pitched voice), he is definitely the goof-ball in school, and he loves doing science projects at night with Joshua. Any art activity possible, Levi loves to do. I am constantly buying paper and deciding which projects are keepers and which are not! He has learned the fine art of sarcasm and uses it well and often. He constantly, it seems, disagrees and questions my decisions. Basically, my baby boy is growing up.

But that is only my opinion! Here are what his friends and family think of him:

Mom: generous
Dad: curious
Grandma Ann: diligent
Grandpa Jim: brave
Grandma Kay: inquisitive & gentle-hearted
Grandpa Randy: discoverer
Christian: erratic
Veronica: nurturing
Eleanor: loving
Lora: considerate
Nicole C: imaginative
Nathan: ubiquitous
Kari: nice
Joachim: Star Wars
James: goofy
Cyprianna: smart
Paul: miniature soldier
Aaron: intense
Harley: serious
Trina: creative
Jabran: Boba Fett
Tina: clumsy
Khalila: fun
Katie: cute
Susie: cuuuute

Last night Claire fell asleep very early, thus giving Josh and I some time to spend just with Levi. We were joking around that this was our last time seeing him and talking to him as a five-year-old. We took some pictures and so this is what I will post. Some pictures of his first few hours and some pictures of his last hours before he turned six. He is such a handsome little guy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Way Behind & Winter Hike

I just uploaded over 300 pictures from our cameras to my computer. As I was looking through them, I realized that I am super far behind at blogging! I just know that the world is dying to know exactly what the Knight family has been up to this past month!

So, in order to play catch up, I have decided to do a blog a day. That is right, one blog post each day until I have caught up with all the adventures going on down here. I know that I will get at least two days done. Today, since I am doing it now, and tomorrow, since Levi turns six on that day. Beyond that, no promises.

So here is my post for today:

Lake Serene in December

The first weekend in December, Josh, the kids, and I drove to Washington do to a Thanksgiving meal with his family. My sis-in-law and I know that Thanksgiving dinner at the Knight family means a lot of sitting down, a lot of football, a lot of crying/whining/fighting/complaining children, a lot of stress, and a lot of fattening (but delicious) food. We thought we would deal with all that negativism by doing a early morning hike up to Lake Serene. Our friend Jule joined us.

For those of you not in Washington State, Lake Serene is properly named. Round trip the hike is a bit over 7 miles. It is also a 2000 foot elevation gain, hence, it is also not an easy hike! For all three of us, it was our first time hiking to the lake in the winter, and it was totally worth it. For starters, it was a beautiful day for a hike! Sunny and cold. We had snow then entire hike. The first 2/3 was hard, compact and icy snow. But the last 1/3 was the fluffy powdery stuff. It was also way past our knees!

There were quite a few other brave hikers that we passed; going up and down. But I have to say, we were the burliest of all hikers. No walking aids, no falls, and no pansy-slow-walking. Yep, we are awesome. Here are the best photos of the day:

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Nativity of Christ

On the rare occasions that I get to fully listen in church, perhaps the part that I enjoy the most are the hymns. The melodies are beautiful, the words are inspirational and the meanings are profound. One can gather most Orthodox theologies simply from the hymnography of the church.

The songs that we will sing tonight at Liturgy are perhaps the most amazing ones we sing all year. They constantly remind us about the "reason for the season." God became man. The Incarnation. It is a mystery how this can happen, but it did, and these hymns do their best to describe such an indescribable occurrence.

The Kontakion:
Today the Virgin, gives birth to the incomprehensible One.
The earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One.
Angles and shepherds glorify Him,
and Wisemen journey with a star.
Since, for our sakes, is born the Eternal God, a little Child.

The 9th Ode:
Magnify, O my soul, the most glorious Theotokos,
more honourable and more glorious than the hosts on high.
I behold a strange and wonderful mystery,
heaven is the Cave, the Cherubim thrown - Virgin,
the Manger the Place in which Christ lay,
the God whom nothing can contain. Whom we praise and magnify.

Thy Nativity:
Thy Nativity oh Christ our God
Has shone upon the world the light of knowledge:
For thereby they who adored the stars,
though a star were taught
to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness.
And to know Thee the Dayspring from on high.
O Lord, glory to Thee.

One of my favorites, The Hymn of the Nativity:
Today is born of a virgin, He who holds the whole creation in His hand.
Today is born of a virgin, He who holds the whole creation in His hand.
Today is born of a virgin, He who holds the whole creation in His hand.
He, whose essence none can touch
is bound in swaddling clothes as a child.
God, who in the beginning established the heavens,
lies in a manger.
He who rained manna on His people in the wilderness,
is fed on milk from His mother's breast.
The Bridegroom of the Church summons the wise men.
The Son of the Virgin accepts their gifts.
We worship Thy birth O Christ.
We worship Thy birth O Christ.
We worship Thy birth O Christ.
Show us also Thy Divine Thoephany.

I found this hymn on youtube. It is a Byzantine song sung in Arabic. This is perhaps the most amazing hymn. It is totally worth listening to; so beautiful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Claire!

My baby girl turns four today. What a character that kid is! We did the word game again this year with friends and family and Josh and I laughed as we noticed peoples impressions of her have not differed much from two years ago.

Naomi: loud
Josh: mischievous
Grandma Ann: persistent
Grandpa Jim: eccentric
Grandma Kay: frolicsome & dynamic
Grandpa Randy: pushes the limit
Christian: litigation
Veronica: independent
Eleanor: angry
Lora: headstrong
Addison: I love her
Nicole C: nut-loving
Nathan: original
Kari: vivacious
Joachim: cute
James: adventurous
Nicole P: silly
Aaron: precocious
Katie: spunky
Susie: play
Vasi: fun
Harley: busy
Tina: spunky
Jabran: climber
Khalila: active

Here is the list from 2008, the last time we did this. She was only turning two then!

Claire is certainly every one of those above words. I love how her cousin Eleanor described her as 'angry'. This is definitely the impression that Claire leaves when playing with others! Once again, these words are signs of her extremely strong personality. She loves playing with others, but most of the time would rather play by herself. She is independent, yet is willing to ask for help when she truly needs it. She is willing to take both calculated and uncalculated risks, and often cries, loudly, when things do not end her way.

She truly loves Levi. He is a wonderful big brother for her; letting her boss him around sometimes, while other times simply ignoring her bossy commands. She loves clothes, and changes her outfits, or wears several layers, daily. She has no sense for matching, and for that I am grateful.

We love our little girl; happy birthday, Claire!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Levi's Point of View

Apparently Levi loves taking pictures. Here are some of my favorite shots of his.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I know, it has been awhile since I have posted any pictures. Not because we have not been busy, on the contrary, things have been rather hectic around here! But I did have time to pick four pictures from the past four months that I thought did a wonderful job of representing what we have been up to.