Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Outing to the Aquarium

One of the positive things I mentioned about living here is the proximity to NYC. We don't get into the city much at all, but we do have zoo/aquarium passes that my parents have gotten us for Christmas this year and last year. The aquarium is in Brooklyn, and you can see Coney Island from the parking lot. For those with any knowledge of the geography of NYC, that means it's really, really far from where we live. It took us 50 minutes to drive there this morning, and much longer to drive home a) at 4 p.m. with more traffic and b) with our GPS for some reason directing us into all these neighborhoods and side streets, even though we'd arrived on only highways and major roads. Manhattan often does make our GPS wonky (where we appear to be spinning in circles on the map even though we're actually sitting still at an intersection, or when it recalculates 17 times while we're slowly driving down a street), but we weren't in Manhattan and it wasn't acting wonky; it just wanted us to take the slowest possible route, apparently!

So here are some photos of us at the New York Aquarium.

At the cafe, after peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from home. See the mess?
This is H's reflection in the tank of some really tiny jellyfish.

LL was not very impressed, but she was cute!

The sharks were H's favorite part. Did you know that sharks and rays are related?

Climbing on this walrus statue was K's favorite part.

We figured today would be the last day for awhile when we could undertake such an outing. I'm certainly not going to take all three of them by myself, and DB puts his nose back to the grindstone tomorrow, starting with three choir rehearsals, a choir trip, and then classes beginning again on Monday.

He will be working on a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) unit this semester, requiring him to be at a local hospital roughly 25 hours a week this semester, in addition to his other classes. I anticipate this semester's schedule to be quite a stressor, especially when you consider that Great Lent will be in the middle of it, bringing with it so much time required in church. Other stressors are a young infant, homeschooling H, and (of course) never quite knowing where the money to pay each months' expenses is going to come from. I know that God never gives us more than we can handle (with His help), but I have a feeling that this semester is going to push the edge of that and feel very unpleasant. Unfortunately, I'm usually right about the things I dread. Pray for me, a sinner.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lessons to Complete Before Contemplating Parenthood

I found this on my October 2010 birth forum on babycenter and I laughed so hard, I thought I'd share it with you!

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolution Re: Blogging

This blog is supposed to be about what it's like for our family at seminary, but I've been reflecting lately that I've so far mostly blogged about our family life, but not so much specifically about what it's like to be here at St. Vladimir's. While I regret that I missed some fresh impressions of SVS and living in Westchester county when we first moved here, my New Year's resolution is to try to include the kind of experiences here that someone might find valuable, or at least amusing, if she were to find herself in my position as a seminary wife.

To start off this new year, I'd like to begin with two items that present the pros and cons of some of our experiences so far. The first is a list of the five best things about living in Westchester county, and the second, the five worst things:

5. Trader Joe's. 'Nuff said.
4. Autumn is beautiful (remember, I came from Texas, where fall lasts about one weekend).
3. Bronx River Parkway walking trails.
2. Bagel shops and amazing bakeries around every corner.
1. Proximity to New York City (you can walk to the train station from campus).

Now for the worst:

5. Winter lasts too long for this southern girl. I want to get out my spring clothes in April and be done with it.
4. This is not an easy place for a newcomer to adjust to. You can probably find anything you might need nearby, but without knowing the right local natives to ask, you are not likely to ever find the right store.
3. The grocery stores tend to either have cramped aisles and unattractive fixtures or be very expensive. It's almost impossible to buy all of your groceries from one store in one trip.
2. It is really expensive to live here - gas, groceries, household supplies, electricity, and everything else cost more.
1. It cannot be overstated how difficult it is to find your way around here. I never thought I'd be a GPS-user, but Westchester county has converted me.

So there's your first installment in my newly-resolved more-about-seminary blog!