Christine’s New Haircut

Today Christine and I spent the first two hours of the day moshing in the pit of people otherwise known as Plato’s Closet, which had their $10 for everything you can fit in a bag” sale (hence, the fighting off hoards of people). Then we headed over to my new favorite place, Shandora Spa and Salon where Christine got her hair cut by my hairstylist, Maribelle.

Here are some cute pictures I took after Vespers tonight. Isn’t her haircut cute?? I warned her that when you enter the Cone Zone, you automatically end up on our blog:)

Christmas in July Part 2

Wow, the blessings just keep on rolling! Today one of my piano students, whose father works for Southwest Airlines, handed me two round trip stand-by tickets. Of course I started gawking, but she just smiled and said that she knew how much I missed my family back in California and wanted Jesse and I to have them.

This brings the running total value of gifts received this week from piano students to around $3,000. Man, I love Texas generosity:)

Oh, and our good friend Christine is staying with us until Tuesday. So, this feels like Christmas on steroids!

Sisterhood- The Remake

To balance out my previous post, I had to share this little incident that happened tonight.

Scene: Living Room, Kelly and Jesse watching “So You Think You Can Dance”.

A preview for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants jingles onto the screen. The second it’s over, Jesse starts to twitch.

Jesse: Aghhh!!! Can I make fun of it Kelly, can I, can I??”

Kelly: [smiles]

Jesse: Please, please? Please let me?

Kelly: Fine. Show me what you got. [Big mistake, my sides are still hurting].

Jesse: There’s just too many things!

Kelly: Bring it on.

Jesse: Well, for one, you have to start messing with the title….

Boy should Hollywood hire us. Here are a “few” of the new titles we believe would be better suited for this movie. Trust me folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- They’re larger!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- This one’s a pair!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- One leg at a time!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- There and back again, a hobbit’s tale

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2- Follow your heart- er- pants!

Sisterhood of the Traveling 2- Judgment Pant

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – They’re a Size 2, I swear!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2-Let’s hope they’re Lucky!

Got any more? Let’s hear them!

Christmas in July

Thank you to everyone who prayed for my two students, Ricky and Matthew, who lost their dad 3 weeks ago. Yesterday was our first piano lesson again after the incident, and I feel that it went very well. Already I have been blown away by how brave they all are- it is a huge testimony to what a strong family they have together.

One example of their extraordinary strength was near the end of our lesson, when their mom, a dear sweet woman named Patti, came up to me and asked me a question, prefacing it with, “If you think this is in the least bit weird, please feel free to say so, don’t be worried about hurting my feelings in any way.” She proceeded to ask me what size shoe Jesse wears.

Patti and I have had many talks about how alike our husbands’ physiques are- super tall, long arms, narrow feet. We have bemoaned the fact that our body types are the polar opposite and shared tips about where to shop for longer sleeves and bigger shoes for them.

Jim worked at the Dillard’s Men’s Shoes Department. Patti’s question was whether or not Jesse could use 11 pairs of brand new, tags still on, in-the-box-shoes.

My first reaction when seeing all of these was shock. I tried to talk Patti into selling them- I know enough about Mens Shoes to know that brand new leather Cole Haan, Ecco and Rockport shoes are expensive. In fact, I just looked them up and Ecco shoes run for around $190/pair. What we’re looking at down here is around $1500 dollars in shoes.

I tried to convince Patti to sell them, but her only response was, “It’s what Jim would want. Take them all.” Five minutes later, all three of them were helping me load 11 boxes of shoes into my trunk.

I’ve had a couple days to think about this generous act of kindness, and I am deeply moved and perhaps convicted. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been very emotionally attached to material things. [Haha, I know what you just said to yourself, and you might be right. But for once, I’m not talking about the fact that I love to shop and decorate.]

I will try to explain what I mean in a round-about sort of way. Part of the reason that I have always been a very gift oriented person is because I was always aware of death and its imminence. Every time my parents gave me anything, I wondered to myself whether or not it was the last gift they would ever give me.

It was for this reason, I became the world’s most maniacal pack rat. My dad knew that I loved to make cardboard cities, so he would bring me home all sorts of various objects to cut up from the office. Long after I passed through that phase, he would continue to bring me boxes and I never dared to throw them away. At one point I had 3 huge bags of toilet paper rolls and staples boxes stashed away in my closet. They just accumulated until my mom cleaned them out while I was at Camp Good News. I also still have every single Tooth Fairy note that my mom ever wrote me. And, yes, I knew it was her, that’s why I kept them. I never would have bothered to keep a note from some stupid fairy.

I also had a huge fear of someone leaving before I could properly say goodbye. Again, I had the thought in the back of my mind that it could be the last time I ever saw them and so I should make the most of it. I had to, at all costs (and I mean all) watch and wave at my parents as they drove away until they were completely out of sight. My parents first found this out when they dropped me off at preschool for the first time- the teacher wouldn’t let me stand in the parking lot to wave goodbye. The preschool called my mom 4 hours later because I was still sobbing hysterically. From then on, we reached a compromise. They found a special “Kelly window” where I could see the parking lot exit. [As a side note, thank God for Bill Hawk’s Little Lambs Preschool. I realize now that not many preschools would have put up with my antics!]

Pictures and other objects, whether they were gifts or not, seemed to somehow deeply represent something to me. Once they were gone, that moment, that memory, or even worse, that person was also gone. My cousin Ellen and I were scrap booking once and she decided to cut up a picture of my mom for a “family collage”. I still remember the intense pain I felt when she cut my mom’s head from the body. Even though it was just a picture, I couldn’t stop crying for fear that that was one less picture I would have of my mom when she died.

They say that the real reality and pain of a loved one’s death comes not at the funeral, not in the immediate days afterwards, but when their stuff has to be sorted through. When I was 11 my last grandparent- the mother of my mother- passed away. Sure, my mom was very sad, and I was just realizing that even as a kid I could reach out and give comfort in my own way, but I remember that there was nothing to ease the pain of going through my grandmother’s stuff. It was one of the earliest memories I have of my mother crying. It seemed as though she would never stop.

Would I be able to give Jesse’s shoes away, only 3 weeks after his tragic death?

I don’t know, perhaps I need to chalk it up to personality differences- some are simply just not as attached to things. They don’t see them as a representation of much of anything, it’s just stuff.

Then again, death changes pretty much everything. My mom, for instance, is the poster child for those who see it all as “just stuff”. Material things, even our bodies, are just material. When we were planning our wedding, my mom’s famous quote became, “Do you really need a wedding cake?” She was the one who would purge my room of it’s “priceless” trash when I was away. She was the one who tried to convince me that I only needed one pair of pants in high school- heck, we had a washer and dryer! What did I need more than one pair for?

And yet my mom couldn’t throw away any of my grandma’s “stuff” for the longest time. After a few months, she eventually gave my grandmother’s clothes to Goodwill. Weeks later, we were shopping there (it’s where I get my bargain hunting roots) and she saw one of my grandmother’s shirts for sale. It was about a year before we ever went back.

So perhaps it isn’t a personality difference. Perhaps there’s a strength inside Patti that one day I hope to understand well enough to imitate. Perhaps she knows something that we all don’t.

Or perhaps her love for Jim was just too strong for her pain.

Sad, but True

I teach at an interesting school, that much is certainly true. But this just amazed me. While telling a story about how missionaries taught children math, a kid asked, “What’s a missionary?” I was dumbfounded.

Turns out that he was bothered by my use of the word “missionary” because he was only familiar with it in sexual references. Sad, but true.

Ave Maria

Can theology and dance mix? I think Mia Michaels on So You Think You Can Dance may have done that very thing the other night in this dance about the conception of Jesus…amazingly beautiful and haunting, even days later. Jesse and I think that the fact that they one normal shoulder (humanity) and one angel shoulder (divinity) may have meaning…what do you think?

And, lest you think we are reading too much into it, Mia Michaels is known for putting tons of incredible thought and meaningful detail into her routines, down to every detail of the costuming. She also weeps whenever she sees her own routines performed, which is so very authentic of her.

Also, I think Will and Katee are my favorite dance couple. You watch routines like this one, and you know that there are few people in the world who can dance with this kind of graceful complexity, especially since the Pas De Deux is one of the hardest dances out there! Make sure that you wait for the amazing lift at the end.

And, I have to admit, one of the best aspects of this dance is 16 year old David Archuleta (American Idol runner up) singing…

Goodbye Avants Part 1

In just two weeks the Avants (Photius, Carissa, Isaac and Genevieve) will be leaving us for St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary up in Yonkers, New York. Just to show them how much we will miss them, we had a get together last night at Josh and Heather’s new house that they bought last month. There is one more goodbye party at church next Saturday, and then Jesse will be helping them move only 24 hours before we fly out to Chicago to help our Unruhs make the move here to Dallas. Apparently, Jesse’s the hot commodity as far as getting him on your moving team. This was made evident by a conversation outside church yesterday.

Heather: Josh is all set to help you guys move on the 31st, Carissa!

Kelly: Yes, Jesse will be there too!

Carissa: Great! Thanks so much guys. The more help the better!

Heather: Yeah, you want Jesse there. When WE moved and I told Josh what a good job he and Jesse did moving the washer and dryer, Josh said, “No, JESSE moved the dryer. I watched and tried to help.”

Anyways, I am going to stop bragging about my husband now before I start to sound like a Swedish trophy wife who only married Lars for his biceps.

Here are some photographic moments from yesterday:

I seriously cannot stop taking pictures of these adorable kids! We are going to miss them so much 😦

Heather’s new kitchen:)

Here’s a cute video of the difference between these two kiddos: Notice how Genevieve tries to STOP the sprinkler, while Isaac runs away.

And here they are dancing:)

Reason #399 to love Texas

Blueberries. Texas Blueberries.

Last Sunday after we helped run the youth-pancake breakfast fundraiser, Father John gave us a few leftover cartons of blueberries that we used to make the pancakes. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything more perfect.

Thank God for Texas Blueberries.

Reason #398 to love Texas

I actually don’t know what number we’re on by now. But it’s definitely something I love.

Apartments. Cheap. Nice. Pretty. Yay.

These past few weeks I have been searching for an apartment complex that both the Unruhs and we would be happy living in.

Before searching, I got an idea from Courtney about what kind she wanted. What I got was pretty funny, at least to me coming from this side of the world. Courtney, please don’t hate me for sharing this:)

Courtney: I really want to make sure it’s nice.

Kelly: Okay.

Courtney: My standards are really high this time around. I want lots of amenities.

Kelly: Okay..?? [Getting scared, wondering how on earth I’m going to find an apartment complex that has a free classical school/nursery]

Courtney: I mean, it at LEAST has to have a dishwasher.

Kelly: [laughs in relief] Courtney, I think you’d be hard pressed to find an apartment in Texas without a WASHER AND DRYER much less a dishwasher!!

So, the search began. I had pretty high expectations, but I didn’t think I could find it all, AND find it for cheap.

And then, along came Village Green Apartments of Bear Creek. They are offering a special right now on their 2 Bedroom w/ attached enclosed sunroom.

Let’s play a game. I’ll list everything the apartment comes with, and you guess how much a month it costs.

* 2 Bedroom, 2 Full Bath, 1 Enclosed Sunroom, a little over 1000 sq. feet

* Real Oak Cabinetry, Crown Molding, Double Paned Insulated Windows, Vaulted Ceilings, Big L-Shaped Kitchen

* All appliances- Fridge, Microwave, new oven- included

* Huge Walk in Closet, Washer and Dryer connections, Real Wood Burning Fireplace

* Brand New Fitness Center (w/state of the art equipment) and Business Center almost completed

* 2 Pools with outdoor gourmet kitchen

* Backs up to a gorgeous huge park filled with tons of trees, creeks, walking trails, dog parks, playgrounds and barbecues.

Here are some pictures:

The sunroom The kitchen

The forest-like park that borders the property:


New Business/Fitness Center Plan:

Ready, set, guess!! (Not you, Courtney or Tess).


So, this is just a short post, but I thought I’d post a picture of my new haircut that I got last week. Better late than never! Whaddya think?