Thursday, January 29, 2009

"How sweet and aweful is the place..."

"With Christ within the doors, while everlasting love displays the choicest of her stores!"
Well, as it happens we are not sure when my Tita will be coming to Austin, so my family will be coming to pick me up the weekend.
In the past two weeks it has been so easy for me to slip right into the routine and schedule of the Apodaca's; I suppose this means I am very flexible and formidable but I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing...and I'm not about to get started on that "cookie trail".
I was thinking today of the different little things that I have added to my thought pattern and vocabulary:
~I now think in terms of breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and most importantly nap time.
~No longer do I "go to the bathroom" but now I "go potty", and privacy is a privilege.
~My nose can sniff a diaper change from the other side of the room.
~I can prepare and bottle in under thirty seconds with Joshua explaining how he feels overworked and under appreciated.
~When I hear, "Elena come here" that means now and might as well bring a rod and a rag for good measure.
~My apron has become part of my daily attire.
It's comical but hey, it's a living :) And I loved every minute of it.

San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

My family and I had the privilege of being a part of the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival a few weeks ago. The days were filled with watching many films, listening to lectures, and seeing awards won. Out of all the films I watched, some of my favorites were The Secrets Of Jonathan Sperry, The Widow's Might, Binding Faith, and Fireproof. I loved watching these well-made films that were Biblical in content without being " too cheesy", as my sister puts it :).
It was interesting to hear the comments after a film ended; some were wondering what courtship was or why Biblical Manhood matters so much or why does it matter what films we watch. My favorite workshop was by Mr. Geoff Botkin on "How To Analyze A Hollywood Film". I would tell you about that right now but it would probably take up a whole other post to do justice to it. And so I will write about it later :).

The Festival was probably my highlight of the year. Yes, I enjoyed it that much! It was a wonderful time to be encouraged by Christian filmmakers, learn from and with them, and commend them. Even better was knowing that these films are making an impact on people. Not just Christians recognized the Festival this year but it was told about and read about all across the nation. Two of the films entered in the Festival, Fireproof and The Secrets Of Jonathan Sperry, are either just out of theaters and now on DVD or going to be in theaters soon.

I cannot even begin to tell you about the exciting opportunity and wonderful time it was at the Festival; it was just that great! Which means, you will have to attend next time. My family and I are planning to go to the Academy and Festival next time and I hope to see you there!

In Christ,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Practices on the smooth running of a home (Part II)

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him"
This quote by John Piper and a wonderful post by my dear friend Jasmine, have pretty well summed up what I have been thinking lately.
Commencing with the later: here I am doing exactly what I have been telling everyone I would be doing after (or in my present case-nearly after) high school: serving others by assisting them in whatever capacity they require. No, it's not a university or a budding career as most expect; it's not even a quiet job in a flower shop.
However, I am doing what I am best suited for: serving on behalf of my family and being given the opportunity to imitate Christ to my young cousins, specifically by caring for them and assisting my Aunt with the home duties.
For someone like me who can get so absorbed by the little things in life, it is so encouraging to read things like Jasmine's blog. It serves as a wonderful reminder and something to think on as I go through my day.
Now for the former, a dear friend of our family has lent me Future Grace by John Piper (and I have been reading it in my "spare" time).
It has also served as an encouraging reminder on my purposes and motivations for my actions, right down to what I allow myself to feel and think.
I highly recommend it.
For those of you who enjoy art, I must confess I really like the artwork of Norman Rockwell. I am interested at the detail he put into his work and the way he expressed his opinions and worldview.
This was the first time I had ever come across something like this in his portfolio.
I like to think it represents my evenings after the boys and Abby have all gone to bed, the kitchen is clean, and I wish I had a pot of tea (and that sort of apron).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Practices on the smooth running of a home (part VI)

"Sleep is sweet to the laborer"
Well, I have been reminded of that quote lately (As I write this post so late at night). Now, I am not saying that I have worked very hard while being here, I will say that it has made me appreciate my sisters more. Specifically the way they willingly work together to keep a tidy and cheerful house. The first day I came here it was a bit daunting to do everything on my own. Not to have Mica or Caro to clear the table or take out the trash, but instead have to plan my time in order to get everything done. I felt a bit like the spoiled Mary Lennox, who never learned how to dress herself. I told Nicole that the other day and she just laughed at me :)
So here I am starting my second week at the Apodaca's; for various reasons I may be here until the end of the week.
In all honesty I must say that I miss being home very much, and I don't mind in the least staying here until I am no longer needed (or wanted as the case may be :).
A bit like Mary Poppins.
Oh, and I did feel like her this weekend. Brilliant Nicole thought it would be nice for me to spend Saturday night and Sunday with her, so I really did feel like a nanny, coming back after "my day off". Especially with my kniting bag which really looks more like a carpet bag with lamps and hat stands.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Practices on the smooth running of a home (Part V)

Today was quite memorable; today Jacob and Noah caught their first turtle. Abby was especially excited and promptly began stoning the poor amphibian. Noah was outraged and told Abby so himself. I think I washed their hands fifty times during the meeting; google says not all turtles carry salmonella but I don't play with fire (usually) or bacteria for that matter.
Tonight I have been researching and found that "Benjamin" is a Painted Turtle (Genus Chrysemys), so tomorrow I plan on having Jacob and Noah do some kind of project on this turtles species. Ah the joy of being a homeschooler!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Practices on the smooth running of a home (Part IV)

Today we were picking out which books to read before the blessed nap time. The Apodacas recently received a shelf full of literary classics such as Hedi, Treasure Island, a variety of others. Jacob informed me that recently he has been reading Robin Hood on his own during the day. Noah (who is three mind you) bent down to the shelf and scanned the books, then pulling out 20,ooo Leagues Under the Sea, he said that he was reading it during his spare time during the day. The following conversation went like so.

Jacob: No you're not Noah.
Noah: (Emphatically) Yess, Jacob, I am!
Jacob: (To me) He can't even read.
Noah: Yes I can Jacob and I am reading this on my own!
I then suggested that we read The Magicians Nephew aloud together.

This reminded me of something I have thought of this week.
Growing up in a house with girls, I don't really think of the great responsibility of raising boys. I think about the duties and character qualities required of young women; practical things such as keeping house and the hidden art of homemaking. And more mental things such as selflessness and perseverance to name a few.
However, being here has made me think of the very different things that growing boys must learn: leadership, the ways of a gentlemen, and learning to provide for and lead a family. My Aunt and Uncle are not simply raising three boys (So far); they are preparing three future husbands, fathers, or preachers. We learn to submit while they are being taught to lead.
The boys are still young but it gives me great encouragement to see the labour and sometimes of fruit of my Aunt and Uncle training their boys to be young men; showing them the ways of the Lord and teaching them to love Him with all of their being.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Practices on the smooth running of a home (Part III)

This evening my Aunt asked me if this very short exposure to matronly housekeeping had daunted me in any way; it's funny she should ask because I was thinking of my answer earlier this afternoon. By now I have gotten into a daily routine and the events of the day come more naturally than they had on Monday.
So in the humblest way that I could, I said no it was not daunting to me for the simple reason that these are not my children. My responsibility for them begins when Uncle Marcos walks out the door and it ends when he comes home in the evening. I do greatly enjoy caring for them and they have caused me to be reminded of and learn many things but it will end next Wednesday.
Please don't get me wrong, I am not making light of the homemaking duties of a mother. There are so many things I know that Aunt Amparo does on a daily basis that I am not doing in the days that I have here. My Mom works very hard at home and most of what she does no one sees, but it is so important to our home!
That is something that I have thought of while being here; keeping house requires a great deal of humility and patience.
For example, I could clean a kitchen after breakfast in fifteen minutes on my own, but with Noah rinsing the dishes it takes almost double the time. However it is important for him to practice the patience of completing a chore and and helping in the kitchen.
I hope that one day I will be able to keep house with someone and use at least a bit of everything that I have learned here.
The humility comes in when you work diligently at something that you may never be thanked for, especially little things. And its not as if the people around you mean to be ungrateful; its just that they may not see just what it is that you do or the work and effort you put into a task.

I hope that someday I will be able to keep house and put into practice the lessons I have learned from the different women in my life, in particular the things I have learned while being here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Practices on the smooth running of a home (Part II)

Last night I was thinking of how odd my day seemed (Aside from the obvious); to me the day went by so quickly and yet so slowly at the same time, a very odd feeling that you must be familiar with to understand.

This morning Noah helped me in the kitchen again; he likes to be assured of his meals. For example, yesterday I could not decide whether to make oatmeal or eggs; so I stood before the pantry in sleepy thought when Noah lead me by the hand to the refrigerator and said, "Elena, this is where the food is" in his funny Eastern European accent.
Poor fellow must worry so much.

Well, this is my second day and so far everything has been coming along pretty well...except for boogery-nose Abby. Apparently the cedar is quite high here and she suffers along with Uncle Marcos and Aunt Amparo. Thankfully I have no such relationship with the tissue box.

One thing I have found extremely helpful is a schedule (go figure). At home my Dad is very good about impressing on us flighty girls that scheduling and planning is very important; and here I am seeing just how helpful it is. So after breakfast I made a chart of the days I will be here and things I want to accomplish on each day; for example today I have: rake leaves, banish the children outdoors, and plant the apple seeds jacob and Noah avoided eating yesterday.
And as I go through the day I will add little things here and there to each day as I think about it.
I must confess that I tend to be a scatter brain...sometimes. I'm like the mouse that was given a cookie...with a glass of milk. So for me, knowing that the vaccuming will get done on Thursday relieves my mind; I know I won't have to try to fit it in or even think about it until then.
Like I said, it's not an original idea but it certainly helps creative-scatter brained mice like me!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Practices of the smooth running of a home (Part I)

Our family is not one of many traditions but we do have one that the ladies of our family have been doing since the birth of babies. Everytime someone has a baby my Grandma will come down and stay with them for a month or so, keeping house and managing any other offspring.
It is a great relief for the mother to have her there.

Well, after the birth of Joshua Ethan my Uncle Marcos has been able to stay home from work for a week, but my Grandma will not be able to come until next week. So here I am :)
I will be here in the Apodaca home for the next ten days holding down the fort until the much anticipated arrival of dear Tita.

I have really looked forward to the practice and experience of watching three little Apodaca's. Because we have to little ones at home, I tend to get a bit out of practice. Yes, I do babysit and watch little ones at church but never for more than three to five hours at a time.
So, like I said, I'm very much looking forward to this and next week, and I hope to be able to chronicle my small joys and sorrows that I experience throughout the day.
For example, Noah made my morning very bright by telling me numerous times how beautiful I looked (in my unwashed hair and pajamas); I think the fact I was fixing breakfast had some part to play in his decided opinion but there you go.
I had better go now and use the precious nap time wisely!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fun with Mia...

So we have Nicole, Sophie, and Mia all this week :)
Here are some of the pictures we took yesterday...

Blueberry scones with a lemon glaze

Well, here is the finished product for the scones that came in a Tyler Florence cookbook my Mom recently received for her birthday.
I followed the recipe pretty closely except for the blueberry part; the recipe calls for fresh berries instead of frozen so that you won't get the purple color throughout your scones... Although they looked kind of cute pre-baked on the red silpat...

The finished product did not look like the one in the cookbook.

Oh well, in the end they tasted wonderful and I would encourage you to try them with or without fresh berries.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's a boy!

Well on Saturday another blessing was added to the Apodaca clan; a beautiful 7lb. 15 oz. boy by the name of Joshua Ethan Apodaca.

My Mom got the call Saturday afternoon that Aunt Amparo was in active labor, so we drove from the film festival in San Antonio to Austin so Mica and Mom could be with her during the birth. It was a first time experience for both of them and they were very excited!


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