Holy Week is always such an anticipated, long (but short) week for us each and every year.  This week was no different. Currently, we have the entire family relaxing & watching The Sound of Music in our bedroom while I’m rocking away in my new recliner leisurely typing away but mostly watching the movie.

My grandma started a tradition many, many years ago where she would take one grandchild at a time to the mall to go shopping for an entire new outfit for Easter – dress, socks, shoes, hat and a new purse too!  We’d also get lunch at the mall with her.  My parents were very poor when I was little.  We rarely and I mean rarely went out to eat, at all, so eating at the mall was a super big deal to us.   The whole experience was always a big deal to me.  My grandma passed away many years ago on Palm Sunday.  For her funeral, we thought it was appropriate that all of us grandkids wear our new Easter outfits instead of black to her funeral.  It was our way to say goodbye and we love you.

As part of this ongoing tradition, Niki made each of the boys a new tie this year for Pascha.  I picked out fabric and she made it for her brothers based on an old tie she inherited from her papou.  Papou’s tie was made in either the late 40’s or 50’s.  We tried looking it up online but could only pinpoint it to around this time period.  The boys’ ties are purposely not tapered at the bottom – it was a boxy style.

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We also spent some time unpacking from Tulsa this week.  Yes, I know…we’ve been back for almost a year.  Shhhhh.  I’ve been pregnant ever since we got back and playing catch up just hasn’t happened. We had piled a lot of the stuff in the office hoping to get to it but there it has sat for many months now.  We finally put our family altar back up the other day.  It’s been packed in buckets for way too long.

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On the right side of Christ and the Holy Trinity icons are all the icons representing our extended family and godparents.  On the left side of Christ and the Holy Trinity are the icons of our family.  You’ll notice that Les put up a piece of paper saving a spot for Gabriel until his icon arrives.  Many of the icons represent more than one person.

I was thinking quite a lot this week.  Father gave a talk at the end of one of the services this week that made me realize a couple of things.  One of them is too personal for me to feel comfortable sharing but I’ll share the other one.  Both were something that were always there but I just didn’t give it enough conscious thought.

Taking care of all of my children is a big deal to me.  I put a lot of effort into every aspect of caring for them.  But – what Niki was to ease, the boys are to difficult.  I’m not really comparing boys vs. girls (although I have no doubt that plays somewhat of a role) but more about their circumstances as babies.  I’ve spent years and years of trial and error with the boys trying to help them heal and overcome obstacles.  Some experiences have been slow successes and others have been epic failures…but I keep trying.  For someone who thought she knew children pretty well, it was a wake up call that there was still more to learn.

I consider myself to be an optimist which I’ve come to understand is a rarity.  An optimist is not someone who thinks that everything will always turn out hunky dory in the end – it’s someone who always has hope in the future and hope in those around you.  It’s not that I don’t accept or understand that sometimes people will let me down or that life has it’s hiccups.   I think this is often misunderstood.  I just try to give everyone every opportunity possible to let their light shine – even if sometimes it’s dim or flickering out.  I just don’t see the point of waking up tomorrow if hope doesn’t exist.  Why try if the reality is the boys are broken beyond repair?  Why try if everyone I meet will eventually just let me down?  Why put forth any effort at all into anything?  Hope breathes life.

With that said, school has been….an uphill battle with the boys the past few years.  There are some good moments – when I put together units – but everything else is pulling teeth especially with math and reading.

With this year coming to a close, I’m giving thought to next year.  I was talking to our priest about the boys the past couple of weeks and explaining to him their circumstances but also the story of their love of anything and everything revolving around church.  It dawned on me this week that I should be working WITH this instead of trying to figure out how I’m going to avoid tantrums.  Soooo….I’ve decided on next year’s curriculum.  I’m going to keep our math workbooks but everything else is going to be centered around our faith – an uber unit, if you will.  I’ve found myself writing the curriculum in my mind all day long.  I’m going to start with the Divine Liturgy and we’ll see where it goes the following year.  I have quite a few ideas but I need to fine tune them before sharing.

My plan is to develop and work through the curriculum this coming school year and then share it with whomever is interested after that.  I’m not exactly sure in what capacity that will be yet – whether it’s a series of blog posts, an electronic curriculm, or hard copy – but I will share it.  Hopefully it can benefit another family like I hope it will benefit mine.