Palm Sunday and Life Around Here

One of the “differences” between Orthodox Christianity and the rest of the Western world is that we operate based on the old Julian calendar. Some years, this means that our Easter falls on the same Sunday, and other years, it is later. This year, our Easter was off by just one week (some years it’s been a month different!). This means that instead of celebrating Easter today, we had Palm Sunday. A friend of ours caught this sweet little picture of AJ kissing an icon of Jesus riding in on a donkey. Palm Sunday with AJ I absolutely love this time of year here in Dallas. Spring is in full bloom, it rains every other day, and everything is lush and green. Now that we live by a huge lake, we have the most gorgeous drive home from church in downtown. Here’s a taste of what we got to experience today. These aren’t even filtered– this is what it looks like in real life (in fact, the second picture was taken through the front windshield while we were driving)! Spring in Dallas lake Spring in Dallas The weather has been absolutely gorgeous when it’s not raining– mostly in the 60s and 70s with sunshine and a slight breeze. We’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors, that’s for sure! Jesse with stroller Gregory on trike AJ and I took yesterday morning to go get haircuts while Jesse and Gregory went to Saturday morning liturgy at church (we have church twice a day during Holy Week, so church is 75% of our life during this season). After haircuts, AJ and I walked over to the grocery store across the street. It’s my favorite store in the metroplex, quite honestly. It’s a small store called “Natural Grocers“, and is not unlike Whole Foods, except for the fact that it’s a little smaller. The unique part about this store is that it used to be a movie theater many years ago. They use the old movie marquis to display health food posters 🙂

natural grocers

sunny day with AJ

We’ve also had a lot of great times with friends lately. Last Thursday, I babysat all 3 of my godsons. Friday night, we had my doctor’s family come over to have music lessons and then eat out with us at a restaurant. Saturday, we had two other families over for dinner. And then Sunday afternoon, we ate out with friends after church. unruh boys and gregory on swings Jesse and I hardly ever turn down an invitation to spend time with friends since we spent 3 years feeling very lonely in CA. We’ve been trying to make up for those years ever since, which probably means we’ve been overdoing it with our social calendar! I guess as long as we get precious moments like this as a family every night, I’ll be okay with the busy-ness. 🙂 Jesse reading to boys

Birthday at the Lake

Grapevine Lake sunset

It always frustrates me when people turn up their nose at Texas. When we said we were moving to Dallas for the first time, we got a lot of looks like, “Eww, why would you do that?” I didn’t know enough to correct anyone, because I, too, was picturing tumbleweeds and desert sand dunes.

That common perception couldn’t be further from the truth, however, especially in East Texas. We live within a half hour drive of beautiful state parks, lakes and campgrounds. Grapevine Lake, about 10 minutes away from our old home 3 years ago, has a gorgeous RV campground right near the docks. This weekend was one of my godchildren’s 4th birthday, and his grandparents hosted the party right outside their RV.

Grapevine Lake RVs

It was a sunny 80 degrees with a breeze. We’ve been loving our weather lately!

Grapveine Lake playground

Grapevine Playground swings

Grapveine Lake playground b and w

My beautiful Gregory boy.

Handsome Gregory

My wonderful husband.

Jesse on slide

My adorable godson.

Cute Jonathon boy

My Texas.

Grapevine Lake tide

William’s Baptism

Ever wondered what a baptism in the Orthodox church looks like?

This last weekend, we were part of the baptism of our fourth godchild, William. Normally, in the Orthodox church, babies are baptized within their first 2 months of life. Since our friends were waiting for us to move to Dallas, however, William is already 5 months old!

For long-time readers of this blog, you will notice that our “home” church in Dallas is the same exact place where we baptized our first godchild, Christopher, our second godchild, Lola Magdalena, our OWN son, Gregory, and our third godchild, Jonathan. This is a special place for us, to be sure!

Topher

Christopher, 2009 (before any of the iconography on that back wall!)

Lola

Lola, 2010

Double Baptism

2011 (double baptism– we were Jonathan’s godparents, and his parents were Gregory’s godparents!)

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William, 2014!

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We were friends with two other couples long before any of us had kids. Now, we have a herd! Here are 5 of the 7! Baby Joanna and Baby William are missing (or getting baptized!). And, yes, 6 of our 7 are boys! Poor Joanna!

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spit up

Want to see the Money Shot? Right as they handed William to me, he spat up. Ah, babies!

 

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Laughing it off!

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Taking William up for his first communion!

 

Our July 4th At The Beach

Patriotic Kids in stroller

The first thing we did on our July Fourth was attend the home-spun parade I grew up attending EVERY year as a child. Yup, just as hokey as ever! Isn’t it funny how the small town things of our childhood stick with us and make us love them anyways?

Patriotic Black and White Car

 

Old Car in Parade

And now some shots of my gorgeous offspring.

Beautiful boy at parade

Happy Gregory closeup

Handsome AJ

Horses in Templeton Parade

Patriotic trailer

Old Black and White car

Jesse and my sister Janelle decided to talk about movies the entire time. Oh well. I had the hokey parade ALLLLL to myself. Muah.

Watching the parade

After the parade, we went home and all took long naps. Later in the evening, we went to the beach with my family and a few friends to watch the fireworks and eat tri-tip.

Holding AJ at beach

couple on the beach

Beach with Dadda

AJ on beach

I was basically freezing the entire time.

Kelly on beach

This was the only good picture I got of Gregory because he was running around and having so much fun.

Gregory with a feather

Watching fireworks

Fireworks at the beach…so pretty!

FireworksHow was your holiday? Hope it was as grand as ours!