This morning went to visit Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Anaheim, California. A friend of ours from church used to be a parishioner here when he lived in Anaheim. So we told him we’d visit. For those of you who don’t know, my family has been going to a Ukrainian Catholic parish for a little over a year. I plan to write a series of blog posts on why we decided to become Byzantine Catholics, at a future date.
This morning which happened to be July 4th, we went to the 9am weekday liturgy at Annunciation. We were greeted before we even entered the building by a man who happened to be a cousin of a parishioner at our church in Akron. The church is very beautiful. We really enjoyed the liturgy, and felt at home, even if the music was a little unfamiliar. Fr. James Barrand was very friendly and took time to talk to us before and after the liturgy.
The sanctuary has really impressive frescoes. They are working on paying down the mortgage before building an Iconostasis.
The Pantocrator (image of Christ) in the dome.
Peacock mosaic on the outside.
Sign, and lilac trees. I didn’t know lilacs came in a tree version.
If you are ever in Orange County, check it out. It is worth a visit.
This morning went to Dana Point to have some beachy fun. It is a short drive from my parents’ house. There are closer beaches, but Dana Point has a “baby beach. ” It is behind a breakwater in the harbor, so there are almost no waves. Perfect for Stephen! We all had a lot of fun. We built a sandcastle, waded in the ocean, picknicked, walked on a pier, and looked at a wooden ship.
Ready for the beach
Playing in the sand
On the pier
On the way to see the wooden ship
It’s there in the background. You can see the masts.
A pretty fun outing for everyone!
We are on vacation in Orange County, California this week visiting my parents. Getting here was pretty difficult. It included a change of airports, an accidentally deployed emergency exit slide, and a unplanned overnight stop in Wichita, Kansas. You can read more on my wife”s blog here.
We did a lot of this on the way to California.
Yesterday we went to the Santa Ana Zoo. There were two main highlights: Monkeys and a train ride. They have a really impressive collection of monkeys at the Santa Ana zoo. I would say it is pretty much a monkey zoo, with some really nice landscaping and a few other animals.
They also have a miniature railroad which was really fun. Stephen says it’s “like Thomas,” which is probably the highest praise you can get from a 3 year old.
Riding the little train with Mommy
They also have a nice farm area.
We saw turkeys and lots of other farm animals.
And dinosaur eggs?
Stephen and Daddy sat in a giant egg!
Here is a video of monkeys trying to escape their cage, or something.
I would have taken more pictures of all the beautiful monkeys, but the way the cages were set up, it was really hard to get any good shots.
A pretty fun day all around!
Agnes’ would have been one year old on Tuesday if she hadn’t passed away in January. So it is a really difficult time for me knowing we week have to celebrate her birthday without her. We are going to have a small party though because we want to keep her memory alive in our family. Especially for Stephen who is young enough to forget.
Today we went to a memorial for deceased children In Stow, OH. Members of my father in law’s church choir bought us a brick there with Agnes’ name on it. It was very kind of them.
We miss you Baby. Happy birthday.
Today is my wife Judy’s birthday. So the other day she asked our three year old son Stephen what he wanted to get her for her birthday. He replied without hesitating, “a zebra.” Usually his response to questions without obvious responses is, “I don’t know.” So we were a little surprised. But anyway I was now tasked with a mission to provide Mommy with a zebra. I decided we would make one together. Naturally I used two Styrofoam plates, some glue, blue painter’s tape and some white paint. Here are the results.
Okay. Maybe it looks kinda like a blue donkey. But we had fun.
For a while I’ve been wanting to get Stephen a “strider” bike. This is a type of bike that teaches kids how to use a two wheeler without training wheels. Bikes with training wheels are difficult to ride and tend to pitch over suddenly and cause injury. They also don’t teach balance very well because kids are constantly just leaning on one training wheel or the other. A strider bike on the other hand teaches kids to balance. Then they can learn to pedal later. I made Stephen a strider bike out of a 12″ wheel bike that I bought off a guy on Craigslist. It turned out pretty well but the seat was a little to high for Stephen to put his feet flat on the ground.
Here is the bike Stephen got from Grandma and Grandpa for his birthday. It is called a Bikee. It’s super light and works really well for him. I think it looks pretty sharp too!
Here is Stephen trying the bike out in front of our house.
Here is a video
Yesterday Judy went to the church to help make pierogies or pyrohy or however you want to spell it. Our church http://www.hgucc.org/ makes these for fundraising. Stephen went on a fun adventure. We took the bus to the main library in downtown Akron. The bus route down the street takes us there in about 15 minutes. Stephen rode his bike to the bus stop and I carried the bike on the bus. After we got some good books Stephen rode his bike around while we waited for the return bus.
Here is a video
It was a fun trip! We’ll have to try it again.
My family recently moved into a new home in the Highland Square neighborhood of Akron, Ohio. It is a 1918 craftsman that, though it is a bit rough around the edges, has the potential to be a comfortable and beautiful home for however large our family ends up being. Although this home is very typical for this neighborhood and similar to many in Akron, I am still amazed on a regular basis that I live here. Right now, it seems to good to be true. Two weeks ago, I was still living with my in-laws, so the feeling of freedom alone is very refreshing. Don’t get me wrong. My wife’s parents are wonderful and generous people, but it is difficult to loose your home and depend on another for a place to live. The last two years have been somewhat of a disaster for my family. In those two years: I lost my job in Montana, sold my home and moved to New Mexico, took another job at a church there, quickly realized this was a bad situation for me, in 6 months resigned that position and moved to Ohio. All this left our finances in total shambles. In addition, Judy became pregnant while we were in New Mexico and we soon learned that our baby would likely have medical problems.
Agnes Maria was born in June of 2013 at Akron General Hospital. She spent a great part of her life at Akron Children’s Hospital, and passed away there on January 24th of this year. Though her death was tragic her life was a miracle and a blessing. I believe I am richer for her short life, though the pain of her passing is still very fresh.
These two years have not been without other blessings as well. To name a few: we made many new friends and received much hospitality in New Mexico, we had a wonderful vacation driving from New Mexico to Ohio and visited many friends along the way, we are now members of a wonderful Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic parish and have made many friends there, I was able to quickly find work at Romeo’s as a driver while I attend school, I am in an RN program and looking forward to a bright future in the medical field, people all over the world and in our local area supported us in Agnes’ illness and even bought us a van to transport her, and lastly we got this amazing house. To me this feels like a new chapter in my life. I think things are going to get better now. I have grief to work through and a tough academic program to struggle through. But things are getting better.