On the day we departed Cleveland, we headed over to Fr. Andrew's sister's house to visit with her and her husband. We brought them quite a variety of lunch food from our stash for our hotel room. And in return, Aunt Leanna gave us this beautiful bowl from their recent trip to Turkey. I just stuck it next to this icon of the resurrection (which in and of itself is fairly interesting, since it's not an icon seen very often in the East) and I love how the icon echos the shape and color of the bowl in the aura (is that the right word? energies?) around Christ. Not planned at all.
About a week later, we had a fun-filled visit from Fr. Andrew's other sister's family. We had a total of ten people staying our house that week—and a total of six kids! We had a great time having them here and we did a lot of exploring the city.
One day found us in a park that was set up for some kind of outdoor theater. The kids all ran around at random, and John was just so happy that he could now join in like the big ones. His walking in earnest began somewhat simultaneously with Fr. Andrew's ordination, and he's happiest when all the adults in the room quit telling him how cute he is and trying to cuddle him already. He just wants to move!
A couple of weeks later and we were off on another quick adventure. My parents had gotten us tickets to an outdoor Shakespeare theater west of Madison, Wisconsin. We picked up Daddy from work a bit early and raced up to meet Grandma and Grandpa at a Culver's (Mmmmmm....) near American Players Theater. We had dinner and then left the kids with the grandparents who would take them to a nearby hotel to play in the pool. We booked it to the theater for our walk "up the hill" to the stage. If we'd have had more time, we could have picnicked in the park near the theater. It's a beautiful location.
We slathered ourselves with bug repellent and grabbed the ponchos packed by my parents (hadn't thought of that...) and it was certainly a good thing we did the latter! We got the full APT experience by getting thoroughly soaked as "the show must go on!" The rain did let up for the touching final scene of The Taming of the Shrew and as we applauded the riveting performance, the cast applauded us for sitting through the weather!
Here are our girls modeling their similar dresses in the hotel room the next morning. They look a little too sweet, don't they?
And here's an out-of-order shot of John in our picnic basket. Silly boy.
Finally, a week later and the National Antiochian Archdiocese Convention made its way to Chicago. We left the kids with friends for "clergy day" so that Fr. Andrew and I could go to our respective meetings without boring the poor kids to death. They had fun playing with their favorite two-year-old girl (whose blog hasn't been updated in a little while). Mommy and Daddy had a fun day in downtown Chicago, sipping Starbucks and renewing friendships with fellow clergy families.
That Saturday, we joined my parents again, this time at the Convention hotel rather than Madison for some downtown shopping (can you guess how often I do that?) followed by Vespers. The following morning, All Saints worshiped with many bishops and three metropolitans at the Convention. It was a beautiful liturgy with many, many worshipers in attendance!
So, I think that about brings us up to the present. No wonder I've felt somewhat off in my housekeeping and blogging and general normalcy. There hasn't been any normalcy since the ordination!
A final monkey wrench in our life has been that a few members of our family have needed to be off of white flour and sugar. So these cookies were made with whole grains, stevia, and "date sugar" (which is just ground up dates). Yes, the chocolate chips had a wee bit of sugar, but I only put on three per cookie. Not bad for a non-refined-sugar cookie, though!
And now, it's the beginning of August, we haven't been to the beach even once, and I need to make some decisions already about our homeschooling books. Really, I just need to sit down and order them already. I'm half excited and half terrified to beginning homeschooling again. We sort of winged it last year (and considering my kindergartner taught herself to read, I think we did OK), but I'd like to be a little more organized for the big First Grade. I'm sure I'll look back on this or on our future kids' first grade years and barely blink, but for now, I think it's a lot about establishing good habits—mainly for me! Wish me luck!
****Update: Boy am I rusty. Here's the missing button!****