Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big Dalton Park

On Sunday, Jesse and I went to Hope Lutheran Church's annual spring service at Big Dalton Park in Glendora. It was a special service for us, because it was actually the anniversary of the first time we met the congregation at Hope.

It was days after we had found out that Jesse would be doing his internship at Hope, and we called the pastor excited about coming to visit. He told us that they were having their outdoor service that weekend, and that he would love to introduce us there.

Big Dalton is a large park with campgrounds, a dam, and hiking trails. The church gathers in a small amphitheater with a large fire pit and picnic tables nearby for the potluck-style BBQ.

We were nervous last year, and I made Jesse dress up in his nicest slacks, shirt, and tie for the first time he met his new congregation. He still teases me about it, because as soon as we got to Big Dalton last year, Pastor met us at the bridge and made Jesse take his tie off and leave it in the car. Most of the church members still remember how "ridiculously overdressed" we apparently were last year!

Here we are hanging out with some of our friends after the service

Tyler and Stacey Stover, and Jon and Mary Castle. Both couples our in our College and Career Bible Study.

We had a bit of fun before the service, too. Our friend Greg, whom Jesse has known since before high school, needed to do a photo shoot with a couple for one of his photography classes. We volunteered ourselves (who doesn't want free photos?) and had a lot of fun. We did shots on the church grounds, on a cute old fashioned street in Glendora, and at Big Dalton Park hours before everyone else arrived.

Here are some of the pictures to share with you!

The rest of these were taken at Big Dalton. Isn't it gorgeous there?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christo Anesti!

He is risen! Altheo anesti! He is risen indeed!

Those were the first words out of my mouth yesterday. It's a tradition in the Mueller family to greet each other this way on Easter morning, and a fond memory of every year of my life. I missed seeing Dad, Mom, Jon, Kate, and Laura on Easter day and getting to greet them with the "good news," but I'm glad that Jesse has learned the tradition too, and was able to respond with a groggy smile "Altheo anesti!" at four o'clock yesterday morning. Yes, 4am! But I'm getting ahead of myself...

The last week has been a very good one. Laura's sixteenth birthday was on Tuesday of last week, and Jesse and I drove out to the Griffith Observatory to spend the afternoon celebrating with the family. Only a true James Dean devotee spends her sweet sixteen at the landmark of one of his famous movies!

We had a wonderful time. Jesse and I prepared a picnic to take along, complete with cupcakes with "16" written on each one.

Beautiful Laura with one of her cupcakes

The Observatory was so crowded that we had to park a 25 minute walk away! Instead of carrying our picnic all the way and back, we had a street-side picnic :)

I worked ridiculously long on this sign. We were supposed to get there before everyone else so that I could tape it onto the statue of James Dean and surprise Laura, but in retrospect, it's probably the sign that made us run late!

All of the siblings :)

Getting in our picture too!

On Wednesday, I got a phone call from the principal at Hope (our church school) saying that a principal in Temple City needed a substitute for Thursday and Friday. I gave him a call, and it was arranged. I loved the people there and enjoyed subbing a 2nd/3rd grade combo class for the next two days. They've also given me a few more dates that they will need me, and I'm excited to be on their list now!

Saturday was a busy day. Jesse and I were at church from 10am-3pm preparing food for Easter breakfast. Apparently, it's a big tradition for the youth group to host Easter breakfast every year. It was fun to be involved in our first one! A looooot of work, though. The youth were there from 10-12, and I had about 5 in the kitchen helping me prepare casseroles and other breakfasty things for the next morning while Jesse had others out in the fellowship hall setting up tables and getting all set. In the kitchen, we made 30 casseroles in 2 hours. I was so impressed by the teamwork and commitment of those young teenagers! It was a lot of fun to work with them, tease, help each other, and get to know them better.

Jesse and I colored eggs on Saturday night.

We were extremely tired, but we had a lot of fun!

I didn't get very good pictures of the eggs, but they were pretty! We had fun experimenting with patterns and designs using things like rubberbands, yarn, ribbon, and crayons.


The Easter service was the first Lutheran one I had ever attended. It was very different from what I'm used to, but that's the way most things are there, and I'm getting used to it! We went to the sunrise service, so we were standing outside at 6am until the congregation processed into the sanctuary with the pastor. I nearly froze :)

The Easter breakfast was held from 7am until 10, and it was very busy! The youth stood behind the buffet tables and served the food to everyone. Jesse and I ran back and forth between the kitchen checking on everyone and doing whatever was needed. Here's a picture of a few of our hard workers!

There were a few lulls during the Easter breakfast, because there were three church services on Easter morning. We had mad rushes before and after each service, but pleasant peacefulness for the most part in between. I was able to take one of those quiet moments to excuse myself and call the Mueller house and wish them a happy Easter. It was the first holiday that I've spent away from them. I got to spend a few minutes talking to each of them, and after that, my Easter seemed a little more complete.

Jesse and I stayed and cleaned for two hours after the breakfast was over (with the help of two of our amazing youth!) and then we drove out to San Bernardino to celebrate Easter at Bianca's house. We were there a bit early, so Jesse and I had just enough time to catch a bit of a nap before Jesse's godparents, Jan and Robert and their son, Matt, arrived. We felt much better after that, and enjoyed fellowship with our family. We had a lovely afternoon!

Momma B holding her beautiful fruit tart with Jan.

The whole gange:

Enjoying dessert!

We were supposed to drive out to Redlands in the late afternoon with Momma B to see the house she's moving into in a few weeks, but we were so exhausted after our big weekend at church that we didn't make it. Jesse and I will be spending Thursday-Saturday with her this weekend, though, helping her pack up and also fix up her new house! I'm excited to see it. Jesse already has, and he says it's so cute it's going to make me jealous. I haven't lost any love for this precious little home of ours, so I'm not worried about breaking tenth commandment, but I do love looking at cute houses!

This picture makes me smile...Jesse passed out on his mom's couch after dinner. Someone didn't tell him that there's no tryptophan in Easter food!