Having just returned from my first confession since we came to New York, I've had opportunity in the past 24 hours for some reflection on our time here.
One thing we're enjoying in New York that we never could in Texas (for more than a day or so each year, anyway) is the changing of the leaves into their fall colors. Last Sunday we took a walk down the Bronx River Parkway Bike Path and really enjoyed the fall scenery. The girls collected acorns that were so thick in places that the grass appeared to be paved from a distance, and we got a look at some Canadian geese resting on their trip to sunnier climes.
The weather here has been in the low 40s, barely changing from midnight to noon for the past several days, just in time for me to start working openings at Starbucks. This means that it's not only pitch black when I get up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready for work, but it's soooo cold! I'm so thankful for the change in schedule, other than that, though, because it means that I get my work hours out of the way before the girls really get going for the day, and then I get to be with them all day and evening. Some mornings my husband wakes them and gets them ready for Matins at 7:30, while others he lets them sleep in if he can (if he's not required to sing then).
My poor K. is sick again, this time with a stomach bug AND a respiratory affliction, and one of them is giving her a slight fever. She's behaving beautifully in spite of being sick, except at meal times, when she proceeds to smear whatever tasty dish I've prepared all over her hands or the table. She just won't eat much of anything except at breakfast. We're trying to keep her hydrated and hope that this too shall pass quickly. She certainly hasn't let it stop her potty-training efforts. After we first arrived in New York, I had put her back into diapers because she was having more accidents than not, and the amount of laundry and the cost to do it was overwhelming me. This past week, I decided to tackle the potty training full-force once again, and I think she must have been more ready than the first time, because she's doing great.
One thing I've been so excited about is that I finally found a nearby grocery store that sells more than just food (it has a pharmacy, etc.), and at decent prices. It's about a mile and a half from seminary, but I never would have found it unless someone had told me it was there, because it isn't visible from the road. It's in a shopping center behind another shopping center. Who knew? I went there today, having forgotten what I've been warned about trying to grocery shop on a Saturday, and drove around for about 10 minutes trying to find any parking spot at all. Yonkers' shopping centers look on Saturdays like anyplace else's look like on the day after Thanksgiving. It's crazy.
H. has had a development in her sense of humor just in the past week. She's started laughing at things just because they strike her as funny (not because they're silly or someone's tickling her, etc.). For example, tonight, K. was playing with some foam Disney princess accessories, and thought she had grabbed one with two birds from the Cinderella movie. She was singing to it, "You can't fly anymore," when H. noticed that the piece she had was not the two birds, but was instead Lumiere, the candelabra, from Beauty and the Beast. This struck H. as so funny that she laughed that great little kid laugh, the best kind of laugh in the world. It's impossible not to laugh myself when she does that!
K. has taken to requesting a censer of her own while we're in church, lately. We have taken various attachments off of our diaper bag to make her a pretend censer that she can swing around. This is not so amazing, because kids usually imitate what they see others doing, and the deacon walks past us swinging a censer twice during each daily vespers service. However, what is a little bit more impressive to me is that the girls trade the censer back and forth, and when they do, the one who takes it will kiss the other's hand. This is also something the priest and deacon do at church, but it's not close to where we stand and is a much subtler action. It makes me wonder what other little things they notice that I think they don't.
I'd like to include more here about a recent talk we attended by Fr. Steven Belonick about kids in church, but I think it will have to wait until next time. I've been awake 19 hours and it's time to go to bed.