Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Musing on Lenten traditions


What do you like to do for Lent? Or, rather, what feels meaningful?

I've never gotten as much "into" Lent as I have Advent. I wonder why that is? Maybe because there is a measure of sorrow mixed in with the ultimate joy?

I stocked up on some new picture books last summer, as well as a devotional resource I'll mention below. As a visual person, it's the decorative elements that appeal to me more than the readings or other observances. But I still haven't really established any traditions. It's hard to find the time to get out all the materials and build a good supply that can be used annually.

It's a little bit confusing this year because the eastern and western Resurrection Sundays are a week apart. I keep forgetting which is which. I guess western is April 1 and eastern is April 8? When we had pancake week here, I was confused over whether Lent had started yet. Of course, I already knew that Valentine's Day coincided with Ash Wednesday, so that helped me figure it out.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I decided to leave up Valentine's decorations until Easter. It seems like a good theme for the interim period-constantly thinking about love! I saw that there were a few articles about balancing Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday and I wasn't quite sure what the big deal was...not eating chocolate? At any rate, that day of course ended tragically for American high-schoolers. :(

Monday, February 19, 2018

January challenge conclusions


As I wrote about last month, for January I focused on changing family sleep habits. Specifically, mine and Sophia's were problematic. Of course Andrei is also sleep-deprived on a regular basis, so he also benefits from Sophia sleeping better. But he controls his own sleep habits. ;)

Ironically, we flew to the U.S. on January 30, resetting our internal clocks. But I guess you could say it was the perfect final "exam"! :)

Surprisingly, both kids slept well while we were in the U.S. Sophia did not have her usual "happy hour" in the middle of the night. However, this meant that she was waking very early the first few mornings and I got to experience what so many parents of early-bird toddlers complain about. I went to sleep early, but still found it hard to get up early. Even when we started sleeping a little later, I found myself prone to morning melt-downs. I'm definitely not a morning person! And I also wondered, is there something wrong with ME or is it just a matter of whether the crankiness happens in the morning or afternoon?

Now that we've been back in Russia for a week, Sophia is starting to sleep better. However, this is thanks partly to my meticulously planning and limiting her naps. It is counter-intuitive for me to do this, but it has gotten her sleeping at night again. While she had fought her second nap for several months, I finally learned that is it actually the MORNING nap that should be dropped, making more awake time in the first half of the day rather than the second half. I also read that there should be about 4 hours of awake time between the last nap and bedtime. We'd been doing it the opposite, napping earlier and then crashing an hour or two before bedtime. I think we're on the right track now!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Continuing winter


Grateful for a somewhat normal day (so far).



Sophia finally slept! She woke up like 4-5 times last night but was back asleep within 5-10 minutes, which is basically "sleeping through the night" in our family.

Yesterday we went outside and enjoyed a beautiful sunny snowy day. It was so nice out that I didn't want to cut it short for Sophia's nap. She ended up getting overtired and throwing a fit. It was worth it though because she was so tired she had a good night.

Last night we got more snow. When I woke up the air was still thick with clouds blocking the sun and I couldn't bear the thought of going outside in that. However, the sun is peeking out a bit, so maybe after lunch we will give it a try.

1 week ago we were getting ready to fly back from visiting my parents. I think I read somewhere that jet-lag takes one day per time zone to get over, so we should be almost done!

My mind is spinning from various news stories: a Russian plane crash, Russians in Syria killed by U.S. forces (?), school shootings in the U.S. (!), ensuing political debates, sexual harassment cases, and various sensational headlines. I wish I could watch the Olympics,  but it isn't very interesting on a computer screen and by myself! Maybe when the kids get a little older they will be interested.

I have some thoughts/updates about continuing goals for the year. But in the meantime it's off to finish baking Valentine's cookies (ahem) and read some ideas for Lent (which begins next Wednesday for us).



The week that felt like a thousand years

Last Sunday, we went to church. I kind of figured it would be our last for awhile. By the way, we usually get around 15 people...but we do...