Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter 2011

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. John 11:25-26

Easter is a pretty big deal around here! Sure we enjoy all of  the Easter chocolate, Easter baskets and even anxiously await the arrival of the Easter bunny...but Easter is 55 days in the making for the Orthodox religion. It begins with 1 week of preparation, 40 days of Lent and 1 week of Holy Passion week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter).

This past weekend, like every Easter, was jam packed with church activities and family festivities......

Friday we attended Good Friday Services at our church. It was both very moving and emotional. During the Crucifixion re-enactment I became very emotional just remembering the sacrifices He made for us. Stella saw me tearing up, she hugged me and said "mommy, I know you're sad because Jesus died, but it's ok because he goes to heaven." It's living these moments and seeing them through the eyes of your children that make it all worthwhile!

After the Good Friday services, it's tradition to go to Teta and Gido's house to devour fool (fava beans) and falafel sandwiches. We had such a great time and were in good company! My cousin Emad, his wife Mary and their daughters Marina and Olivia were in town from Lima for  the weekend and were staying at my parents house and were there too and we had a wonderful evening with them. We even were able to Skype with some family in Egypt (Emad's parents) and they were able to see Jonah how big Jonah had grown.

Emad and Jonah

Due to all of the rain, Stella's Saturday soccer game was canceled. I can't say that I was too upset about that because we I had so much to do before we got the kids dressed and out the door for the Resurrection Liturgy that evening (8pm-12am).  I was able to tackle a ton of projects around the house that I have been putting off for months because we've been so busy and I haven't found a single Saturday to set time aside to do them. I am happy to report that the office has been cleaned/organized, taxes and important paperwork that was piling up are now filed, organized the kids closets (removed small and out of season clothes), pictures are framed and hung, laundry is put away, kitchen cabinets and pantry are purged and organized, dog is bathed and Easter baskets were assembled. Yes I completed ALL of these tasks over the course of an entire Saturday afternoon and it felt great to scratch all of these long over due tasks off of my to-do list! It feels so good being productive!

On Saturday afternoon, I had a little photo shoot with the kids. I bought Easter bunny ears for each of them and we had a ton of fun snapping some shots.  Although Todd was not all to happy that I put bunny ears on his son, I figured that there no better time to do so then when he is small, innocent and cute. Right? I must admit, I think I have the cutest little bunnies in town!

We also found time to color Easter eggs on Saturday afternoon. Stella and I had a blast doing this together (the boys were watching the OSU spring game together while we were coloring eggs). As you can see Stella made a "Jonah's 1st Easter"egg, a OSU egg for her daddy and she even took the time to make a "poop on Michigan" egg (Todd was so proud of this work of art). Stella loves to do craft projects and coloring Easter eggs was right up her alley!

After I completed all of these projects I mandated "nap time" for the ENTIRE family since we would be up so late for the Easter/Resurrection Liturgy and dinner at Teta & Gido's. After our naps, Nana and Papi stopped by to visit and give the kids their Easter baskets. We had a great time and as you can see Jonah and Stella loved their gifts and enjoyed their visit. Jonah especially loved playing with the tissue paper and tried several times to put it in his mouth.

Jonah enjoys the tissue paper

The Liturgy at church was wonderful and the Resurrection re-enactment was moving. The liturgy ended around midnight but the evening was far from over! We headed over to Teta & Gido's for a feast! It was so so fun and delicious. In typical Teta fashion, she cooked way too much food, had chocolate bunnies at everyone place setting and baskets for the kids. I over indulged as usual but the food was way too good to pass up. What can I say except that my mom is the best cook ever. I need to shadow her sometime in the kitchen and learn her recipes so that I can learn to replicate them and pass them down to the kids one day. Again we were in great company and amazingly enough although we were up until about 2:30 am, the kids did great!

Jonah sleeping at church!

Long lost twin!
3 Grandkids!

Gido & Teta with Jojo!

Auntie Sissy and her Jojo!

Epic Shenouda family feast dinner at roughly 1:30 am!

Sunday morning we slept in because we were up so late the previous night! We awoke to find that the Easter Bunny had stopped at the house and left the kids baskets. This year the Easter Bunny out did himself and increased the loot! Stella received very little candy since she recently had a palette expander put in her mouth and can't eat much candy or any gum; its amazing how the Easter Bunny is cognizant of these things! :)  Instead this year he brought her 2 Nintendo DS games, some Squinkies and a new lunch box and messenger bag. Jonah got a Fisher Price Turtle toy with shaped pieces that fit in his shell and a grocery cart/high chair cover for when we are out and about.

At the top of the stairs waiting to come down!

Jonah and his basket from the Easter bunny!

Stella and her basket!

After the kids took inventory of their loot and settled down it was time to head to church for the Egg Hunt and Easter morning activities. Todd took Stella and our niece Sophia and I stayed home with Jonah because he was a tad fussy. Nothing like being out in public with a fussy child, right?  The girls had a blast and were very appreciative that Todd took them.  A few hours later they returned home with more candy and loot. Needless to say that my kitchen counter looks like the Easter Bunny exploded. The kids received no less then 5 baskets each from family and friends and every year it seems to exponentially get bigger and they receive more and more...I will be forced to sort thru them shortly.

Finally Sunday evening was upon us and it was back to Teta & Gido's house for dinner; YUM. It doesn't take a whole lot of convincing or coercion to get us to go over to their house for dinner because my mom is a fabulous cook and usually has a HUGE selection of choices to please the masses. What can I say except that when it comes to cooking feast's, Teta NEVER disappoints! Mike's mom and sister, Gigi and Breanna, joined us for dinner too. They too brought the kids baskets too and we enjoyed a delightful evening and dinner with them. They hadn't seen Jonah yet so they were very pleased to meet him.

Teta makes a HUGE spread!

And just like that the weekend was over! In a blink of an eye Friday, Saturday and Sunday were over and now we're preparing to return to school and work and to return to the daily grind. This past weekend although it was jam packed and I found myself tired at times it was still so so FUN! We celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord, ate way too much and created everlasting memories with family that we will cherish forever. This is definitely how life should be lived!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Palm Sunday 2011

Hosanna in the highest, this is the King of Israel, blessed is He who comes in the Name, of the Lord of Hosts.

Palm Sunday is beginning of my favorite time of year in our church. Not only does it commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem as a King riding on a donkey, it also is the beginning of one of the holiest and most spiritual weeks in the Coptic Orthodox faith. Some of my fondest memories growing up were spent in church during Holy Week attending Pascha.

The biblical story of Palm Sunday is recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; and John 12:12-18). All four gospels record this event in the same place in the story about Jesus, indicating that the four gospel authors agree on the location of this story at this moment in the life of Jesus.

Five days before the Passover, Jesus came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Having sent two of His disciples to bring Him a colt of a donkey, Jesus sat upon it and entered the city.People had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover and were looking for Jesus, both because of His great works and teaching and because they had heard of the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus. When they heard that Christ was entering the city, they went out to meet Him with palm branches, laying their garments on the ground before Him, and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”

This year was Jonah's first Palm Sunday. It was just a normal Sunday at church for Jonah except he was so so mesmerized by the palm. As you can see from the pictures he didn't want to let go of the palm. He thoroughly enjoyed playing with it and even tried to put it in his mouth several times!

Not only do I love that my kids are being raised in the Orthdox faith (as my sister an I were) but they are doing so surrounded by family! I've blogged numerous times about losing all of my grandparents at a very young age but even when they were still alive they lived in Egypt and seldom visited. So it brings joy to my heart to see my kids not only being raised in the church and growing in the faith surrounded by their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins!

Would any holiday be complete without these 2 trouble makers!?!

Take the time this week to reflect on what Jesus sacrificed for each of us! Be humble and marvel in His great mysteries and remind yourself daily that because of what He did and we are here today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jonah - month 7

It's so hard to believe that Jonah is already 7 months old. When I look at him now, I am not sure that I even see a little baby anymore. He's constantly changing, and crossing a new milestone each day but now when I look at him I see a toddler, a little man and "mamma's little boy!"

Jonah had many many firsts this month... He had is first bout with pneumonia, first hospital stay since birth and first ride in an ambulance! Thank God that he has since recovered from his pneumonia but he gave us all quite a scare this past month.

Jonah is a busy body these days. He is into EVERYTHING and if its in his line of sight he will go after it no matter if it's little or small. He loves to sit on the floor and play with all his toys he also likes to sit on the floor and reach for just about anything even if its not one of his toys. Just yesterday he was surrounded by at least 20 of his toys yet he wanted the remote (typical man, I suppose)! And when I moved the remote out of his sight the next thing I know he was reaching for my blackberry. Just like a kid on Christmas that is more mesmerized by the boxes that the toys came in than the actual toys, Jonah always finds something that is NOT one of his toys to go after.

Jonah hasn't quite mastered crawling yet but he can "scootch" or roll across the floor to get from point A to point B. Even when he is on his belly he will rock back and forth and somehow manages to push himself towards the object he desires. We've had to baby proof the house and all of the outlets have since been covered and anything that could be considered within his reach has been removed or put away. Todd even had to lower Jonah's his crib this weekend as we were fearful that he was way too close to being able to pull himself up and fall out of the crib.

Although Jonah's appetite hasn't completely returned 100% since his battle with pneumonia, he's eating a little bit more and more everyday. Jonah's still only eating stage 1 fruits and veggies and last weekend we introduced sweet potato puffs. The puffs are little star shaped pieces of cereal that when you put them in your mouth and they come in contact with saliva they essentially dissolve. It's an excellent way to get toddlers used to food other than jarred baby food and getting them accustomed to chewing (or I should say gumming) their food.

Since Ohio weather is very unpredictable we haven't been able to take as many walks as I would have liked. When we get home in the evening and it's still warm we try to take in a quick walk, if not we at least try to soak up some Vitamin D and take in some fresh air and swing out back. Jonah absolutely loves the swing and even cries now when you take him out of it.

I can't believe it's already been another month! Moreover, I can't believe how quickly Jonah is growing and how much he is changing!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Granny's 94th Birthday and Jonah gets pneumonia!

We celebrated Granny's 94th Birthday on Sunday April 3rd at Marion's Pizza with the Langley clan. We had a great time visiting with family we hadn't seen in some time and of course we enjoyed some delicious Marion's Pizza and birthday cake too.

Jonah hadn't really been feeling well since Friday but we chalked it up to him teething because he was drooling, fussy, with a little runny nose and feverish. Who knew that a visit to Marion's Pizza for Granny's 94th Birthday would land us at Children's Hospital hospitalized for pneumonia!?!   

While I was at Granny's party at Marion's Pizza I noticed that Jonah was huffing and puffing, chattering his teeth and his lips were beginning to turn blue. I called his pediatrician from the Marion's Pizza parking lot (the one that was on call) and he could hear Jonah panting through the phone. He told me to rush him up the street to the Children's Urgent Care in Springboro. I didn't want to cause a scene at Granny's party or upset anyone so I just said I was leaving under the premise that Jonah was feeling feverish. I know I rushed out and really didn't get to say goodbye to everyone and it probably seemed kind of rude but I was in a panic and need to get Jonah to Urgent Care quickly. I have since reached out to Todd's family and explained what happened and have received many sweet and touching notes from them!
Once I arrived at the Urgent Care, they took me straight back to a triage room because they could hear that Jonah was struggling to breath and they took his vitals and hooked him up to oxygen etc. Jonah's eyes began to roll to the back of his head from the high fever and his high heart rate and the nurse tried to calm me by saying that it was normal for kids to have seizures when their fever gets too high. I was in a panic so I called Todd (who was on his way to taking Stella to her soccer game) and my mom and they both met me at the Urgent Care immediately. When they hooked Jonah up to the EKG they found that he's heart rate was 225 and the normal for his age and size is in the 140-150 range so they thought that he might have SVT (Supra ventricular tachycardia) so they tried several methods to "shock" him out of it. First they tried to gag him by sticking the q-tip thingy in his throat (kinda like when they test you for strep) and that didn't work. Then they filled a tub up with ice water and dunked him in that and that didn't work. So then as last resort they put in an iv because they were afraid that they would have to inject him with a drug that would bring down his heart rate. At this point we were told that a transport team from Children's Medical Center was headed our way and we were headed to Children's via ambulance. Thankfully Dr. Badcock (whom I used to babysit his children more than 25 years ago) was the ER doc on call. It's so incredibly comforting to have a familiar face during times of uncertainty and he reassured us in telling us that it’s not uncommon for kids heart rates to increase when their temps do but that 225 was slightly higher then what they liked to see so they were going to do another EKG to rule out SVT and Chest x-ray and have the pediatric cardiologist and radiologist read them. They also drew blood and found that his white blood cells were elevated.

I cannot say enough great things about the staff at Children's Hospital! They were absolutely wonderful and kept us informed every step of the way and did everything to make our visit as comfortable as possible. We were also lucky that Julie (our sister-in-law) that works at Children's also happened to be working on the day we were there. She came in several times during her shift to check on Jonah and visit with us. Scott, brought us lunch on that day and he was able to visit with us over his lunch break.

I stayed the night at the hospital with Jonah because there was only 1 couch/bed in his room. Stella stayed the night with my parents and they took her to school the next day. Unfortunately Todd was continually running between the hospital and home to bring us the necessities and to deal with Buckeye (our dog).

Thankfully nearly 36 hours later, we were discharged and sent home. It was determined that Jonah had right upper lobe pneumonia and was anemic. We had to follow up with his pediatrician 48 hours after being discharged. Additionally we have a consultation with a pediatric cardiologist in early May to determine what caused Jonah's heartbeat to get so high...

Little man's IV

Jonah rocking the hospital gown.

Those 36 hours in the hospital seemed like the longest 36 hours of my life! I hated feeling so helpless and not being able to "fix" what was wrong or make Jonah feel better. I can honestly say that there is no worse feeling in the world as a parent when your child looks at you and there is NOTHING you can do to make everything all better. I found myself more than ever clinging on to my faith and begging God to watch over his child and protect him. I prayed at every chance I got and felt so blessed knowing that we had friends and family praying for him worldwide. Our priest, Father Angelous, reminded me that Jonah was a blessing and miracle child and that as such God was watching over him. It's during trying times in our life that we need to be reminded that He has a reason for everything that happens to us and that this illness/incident was part of his plan all along.  

Todd and I took turns the remainder of the week, staying home with Jonah (we each burned a lot of vacation time I wasn't going to leave my baby). Moreover, I learned a lot from this entire experience. I learned that I should always trust my gut and that 9 times out of 10 a mothers intuition is always right. When I say that I mean, I knew all weekend that something didn't seem completely right with Jonah. You could say that I am sometimes a bit of a hypochondriac when it comes to the kids (I guess that could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing) but I remember late Saturday night looking up Jonah's symptoms on Web MD and telling Todd that I thought maybe Jonah had pneumonia but I kept convincing myself that surely he couldn't have pneumonia

I feel bad that we were not able to visit more with our family who had come together  for Granny's 94th Birthday, but as unpredictable as kids can be so can illness!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In Memory of Phipps Langley...

On April 6, 2010 this earth lost a decorated war hero (WWII vet), son, brother, friend, husband, father, grand father and great grand father. Todd's 91 year old grandfather, Phipps Langley past away on April 6, 2010. We found out we were having a baby boy on April 5, 2010 and on April 6, 2010 Grandad passed away. We found it fitting to name our son after Grandad and so Jonah's full name is Jonah Phipps Shenouda Langley. And in true Phipps Langley fashion, Jonah has the cutest dimple chin like Grandad, Papi (Todd's dad) and Todd!


Grandad was such a wonderful person and touched every life that he ever came into contact with. He loved life to its fullest and was always excited to be in your presence.

Very handsome Army man!

I've always said that this photo should be captioned "rough day on Wall Street!"

Stella loved riding in the golf cart at the lake with Grandad!

Granny & Grandad- a true love story- married over 60 years!

At our wedding in 1999; I hope Todd and I can make it 60+ years too!

I've always said that Grandad was more than "Todd's grandfather" to me. From the first time I met him he treated me as if I was one of his own grandchildren and was always so loving and generous! Since I lost my grandparents at such a young age it was so nice to feel like I actually still had a grandfather.

So one year later, although Grandad has been sorely missed, we remember all of the wonderful things about him all of the lives he touched and simply- celebrate his life! 
We love you Grandad!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1 year ago today!

One year ago today (April 5, 2010), I underwent an emergency ultrasound because I was experiencing abdominal pain and some contractions early on in the pregnancy and we discovered that we were having a BOY (see blog post entitled It's a BOY!). Although, the blog entry is dates April 26th (if you notice the date on the ultrasound it's dated 04/05/2010). Here is the ultrasound pic:

and here he is now!