Aug 6, 2011

Hot, hot, hot!!!

We are day 33 or 34 out of at least 41 projected days of temps over 100 here in Texas. Some have been as high as 110! So if we spend any time outside, it's definitely in water. Our playgroup had a family cookout, and pretty much all the girls showed up wearing pink and yellow so we took a photo of that. I think 2 or 3 are actually missing here.

Super fun trampoline with spraying water.

Who's little tush can that be? : )

It's not a family cookout without some songs from Gary.

At long last, after several months of work and countless late hours between myself, Dax, and a few other parishioners, our 10th Anniversary Weekend arrived! Here, I model the new church shirts. I drew the basic design, but a graphic artist cleaned it up and tweaked it to look more professional. It says our church name around the "window" and the words 'Christ is in our midst. He is and ever shall be.' That's a common clergy greeting and response in church. We aimed for a quote from St. Maximus himself, but he's a very complicated writer and did not leave us with many quotable quotes.

Events began last Friday evening when Bishop Nikon of Boston was formally greeted and helped serve at evening services.

Chantus Maximus performed a concert that evening called A Musical Journey Through the Orthodox World. The music coordinated with a slideshow featuring churches from the various regions represented in the music. I was at home with the kiddos, but got to hear part of the recording. They are for sale, so let me know if you're interested. All tickets and recording sales go toward the St. Maximus Building Fund.

On Saturday, we had an all day event that included morning services, brunch, two talks by Metropolitan Jonah- more on him later- a craft sale, lunch, and kids' activities- whew! Here are some of the craft sale items. I made these little scrapbooks. Waaaaay too much work since I sold only one, but I think they are really pretty, so they might be given as gifts as time goes on- we'll see.

Someone donated lots of lovely doll items. Our girls have some handsewn outfits by this lady for their doll and they are really impeccable. Lots of doll blankets here, too. In fact one little Russian girl told me as I was putting things away for the day that as soon as her mother was out of the lecture, she would buy some doll clothes. I didn't know if this was something her mother promised or not, but I told her I would leave that tub out. Well, the lecture ran awfully long and my kids were getting tired so I ended up packing it. Right then the lecture let out and I saw that poor little girl in tears! So I ran over and promised to bring the doll clothes right back in. Soon the tears were wiped away and she was taking home a beautiful little pink satin dress. : )

Besides the concert recording, we sold the Anniversary Photo Book (another big project of mine with lots of help from Dax) and The Hierarchy Book- celebrating visits from Archbishop Dmitri and Metropolitan Jonah. Both are still for sale, so let me know.

Anna donated some homemade jam and set up an embroidery station. As many know, it's tradition for women to wear headscarves in church as an act of humility and to draw attention away from vanity (like doing up your hair really fancy to gain attraction, etc) so....Anna offered to embroider custom scarves. Hannah and Chloe got their own, although they mostly refuse to wear them at this point. But surprisingly enough, Metropolitan Jonah requested to have his cassock embroidered with his name on the collar! He said that when he has his synod meetings, etc. all the various black wear gets mixed up on the hooks and it's hard to find his.

We also sold the t-shirts in three different colors. These are also still for sale everybody!
$12 for adult, $10 for kids.

Icon cards were for sale as well as having them custom mounted. The book I illustrated was out as well as my other big project, Liturgy Coloring Books- so far I sold 7! Only $2 each if you still want one. Hopefully, I'll be able to post the pages in the correct format soon.

One parishioner made the cutest wire frames and hair clips.

So I took one home for our kitchen. It will be a great place for the kids' artwork and fridge photos rather than having everything taped to the wall.

These crocheted hats were really fun! I bought that red one on the left, so
I can be spotted through all the snowstorms around here.

Chloe took home a purple one. She actually wore it that whole day.

As people began to arrive, the older kids enjoyed the game room and I was very impressed as Hannah inserted herself into several ping pong games and had a great time. I would have been way too shy at that age.

These monkeys found a tiny foosball table.

Enjoying the good eats!

When it was time for the first lecture, the adults headed into the auditorium and one of the dads (who had his 4th child very recently so I was impressed he still ran this) entertained the kids. I love how he quickly lined them up according to size.

The great thing is that her brought absolutely nothing! He simply thought up games on the spot and the kids loved it. Here they are trying the crab walk. His oldest son is the one doing the somersault. : )

It turned out the auditorium is not so insulated and the kids were a little too loud. Luckily, I had a craft table waiting for them, so we had plenty to keep them busy. They made clothespin butterflies, sun visors, straw sculptures, magazine picture drawings, and more. This was actually pretty tiring. I thought I had compiled enough to keep them busy and independent- no scissors or difficult concepts necessary, but I was very wrong. Every kid needed my help at every moment!

Once the adults were back, the children, led by Anna, gave some readings by St. Maximus. It was very sweet. Hannah and Chloe were in the "non-reader" group and recited with Anna between the older kids' readings. After a barbeque lunch, another lecture began. The kids went outside for a bit then enjoyed some impromptu story time since they were over the craft thing by then.
Overall, it was a great day with lots of activity and everyone seemed pretty happy.

The next morning, Hannah had the honor of presenting the Metropolitan with the traditional bouquet of flowers, always given by a young girl of the parish. His full title is: The Most Blessed Jonah, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Now that's a lot of territory to cover! Since he comes about once a year and we have many little girls, this was Hannah's one chance. I was really excited as his car was about to pull up. And then Chloe had to go to the potty.

So this ended up being my view instead. Colin is walking all over the place now and loves this little set of stairs.

Thankfully, someone else got a picture!!

Some of these pictures are courtesy of other parishioners. I'm not this good of a photographer.
Here are Father Justin and Bishop Nikon awaiting the Metropolitan's entrance into the church.

From inside the altar. Even these men look extremely stern, they couldn't be more opposite. Almost every time I see the Metropolitan, he has a jolly look on his face. He's truly a peaceful, loving, holy man. As for Bishop Nikon, I had never met him before, but he smiled and asked me many questions about by family and joked with me at the banquet later that night. He's also a sweet, kind, leader.

All the servers with the clergy.

And most of the parish. Minus my whole family it seems. At this point, I had actually gone home. Colin was being a little too rambunctious and fussy, and there simply wasn't enough room in the church for us! I have no idea where the rest of my family is!

Sunday evening, we had our finale banquet at Oakmont Country Club- our set up was basically this, minus the huge flower arrangements- because I forgot my camera!!! Anyway, our tables were actually decorated with stems of Rosemary from the church property, which was a nice touch, I think, thanks to someone on the planning committee. The evening was great! We were served a wonderful meal. I actually got to sit at the speaker's table and had a nice view of the whole room of people. Shortly after eating, Dax presented a slide show he compiled with three different pieces of music of pictures from the last 10 years. People laughed, said "awww" and had lots of moments of silence. He really did a great job. The whole slideshow ended on a quiet chord with a picture of the church at dusk. So nice!

After some delicious cake, Dax made an introduction speech and told the Stokes family story of how we came to be with the church as some of the founding members, branched off from the main cathedral in Dallas. Apparently he's a comedian because he had everyone laughing. Then Father Justin spoke and had people tearing up all over the place. There is not one person in the church who doesn't cherish him. He also gave an extremely beautiful thanks to Dax and especially his wife that everyone loved. Next the two guests of honor spoke. Bishop Nikon had a clear, bold voice and had a very thought-provoking message. I loved when he said, "The past does not belong to you. The future does not belong to you." Then he went on to speak of what kind of living you should do in the present. Metropolitan Jonah gave a very nice speech as well and reminded us that what we have as a church is truly a gift.

Finally, Dax presented gifts. He surprised me by telling everyone about the work I put into planning the event and gave me the new church logo in a frame as well as a copy of the photo book for our family. He gave the bishops their photo books and then gave Father something we've planned for awhile now. What kind of gift do you give someone who's spent 10 years serving his flock in every way imagineable? Our idea was to compile a memory book. So we begged, pleaded, and threatened : ) and received lots and lots of personal memories from the parish. We printed up cards of the memories and put them in a nice album. Thankfully, he loved it! Dax probably doesn't want me to post this, but he teared up while presenting it and got mad at himself at the microphone!! I just think it shows how much he cares : ) We also gave Father's family a frame with pictures of the church and their time there.

Well, that was the end of a successful weekend! This was truly a test for me. I was asked to coordinate it simply because I was one of the founding members, not because I have any experience or talent in planning events. I was overanxious about it. I complained when things didn't go my way. I wasn't thankful enough to all that helped with the planning. And I said many times that I will never do this again! haha. But! I learned how to better organize people, what is worth the time and effort and what is not. I learned I need to work on patience a great deal more and that I have an extremely patient, smart husband. I learned that people really do have the best intentions, even though they may do things differently than me. And most of all I learned that I don't want gratitude for this work, I just wanted people to have a nice celebration of their time at St. Maximus, which is what Father wanted in the first place. Many people have said they had a wonderful weekend, and that's what counts. And we did raise a small chunk of change for the building fund, so that's great, too!

On the home front, the kids are super glad I'm not obsessed with the anniversary anymore. We took time out on Monday and I took Chloe to her first movie- Winnie the Pooh! Hannah acted like an experienced pro even though she was reluctant to go at first. They both laughed through the movie and had a nice time : )

Dax got Colin all dressed up for shark week on Discovery Channel! He's holding 2 stuffed sharks by the way. He tried to take his picture in front of the tv, but there was only footage of a gruesome shark attack, so that wouldn't do! haha. For those who don't know, I grew up completely enamored with sharks. I even had a shark collage I made out of snipped out National Geographic photos. There was no such things as shark week then, so I had fun vegging on the couch at night this week revisiting my old obsession.

On Wednesday we had our last summer playgroup. One of the moms has a media room complete with huge HD screen and projector and red velvet curtain! How luxurious! Did I mention the popcorn machine? Well, all the kids gathered to watch Tangled- or rather wriggled and played around the room while the adults watched. Here's Colin anxious to climb up to the movie screening.

I always love seeing all their little friends lined up, many of which we've known since they were newborns.

Isaia was a little nervous about the scary parts.

Colin was anxious to grab his chair.

But mostly he found other things to do. This boy looooves slides. He even wants to conquer the really tall ones.

I made a few changes around the house. The second dollhouse was getting to be a little too much, so I turned it into a little shelf.

Can you tell the before and after of our dining room chairs?

And once again, you can't be very surprised, we rearranged the living room! We have hopes of getting a wall mount for the tv, and we needed to see if a new set-up would work. It's a little less room getting into the area, but once you do, it's very comfortable and cozy, perfect for playing games, watching a movie, and having a chat- all of which we've done. Hopefully it will stay like this for a long time. Thanks for braving this long post! I've already got more pictures ready to upload for next time!


Svetleah said...

I love that Chloe liked her purple hat so much! You really did do a wonderful job making the 10th anniversary celebrations! I love that both Dax and Fr. Justin got choked up. Their thankfulness was one of my favorite parts.

melody said...

WOW- it looks like a very fun and successful event! i wish i could have been there to enjoy it.
and i really really want to jump on a trampoline with water spraying through it! that seems like so much fun! haha

i also really like the new living room setup- it looks good!

The Robertson Family said...

I really like the living room set up this way!