it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Month: August 2014 (page 2 of 7)

A Haircut and Titus Starting Preschool

Kids Getting Schooled (8/26/14)

As I was getting my first Czech haircut this morning, I got a call from my friend Kristin. She told me that the preschool Titus was on the waiting list for had a spot open up for him (6 days before school starts!) and I needed to go pick up the application at the school and make a doctor appointment for Titus so he could be cleared to attend school. I felt a mixture of both excitement and panic! I finished my haircut, had lunch and called Kristin again to make a game plan for how I was going to ask for the application in Czech. By God’s providence, Kristin’s Czech friend, Miša, was at their house and offered to come right over to go with us to the school to help translate. The Lord’s provision is so specific and timely! It had been raining all morning so as soon as I could get the kids and I our boots, jackets and the umbrella, Kristin and Miša were here and we started walking.

Kids Getting Schooled (8/26/14)

Kids Getting Schooled (8/26/14)

The preschool is just around the corner from us and maybe takes 5 minutes walking with little legs. In the winter, Kristin said she took her boys to this same school on a sled because there are never any snow days. We got to the school and Titus went right to the outdoor play equipment and as we walked inside Titus and Avery headed for the all the toys. Later, his teacher explained to me through Miša that even on cold, rainy days the kids will play outside so she wanted me to make sure and have Titus bring extra clothes and a pair of shoes that will get muddy and wet. When they come inside they change, put on “house shoes” and keep the classrooms nice and toasty. Miša interpreted while Titus’ sweet teacher explained the application process and asked a few questions about Titus like, “Is he very active? A little energy or a lot?” I laughed and said, “Yes and a LOT!”

Kids Getting Schooled (8/26/14)

You can be praying for Titus that he would be putting into practice at school what we’re trying to teach him at home like self control and kindness towards others, even when we’re not around to train these things. We’re starting with maybe 2-3 days per week from morning until after lunch because I want that critical time with him and I at home and hope his being in school will help me see with new eyes areas we need to focus on with him. You can be praying that we would be faithful in our instruction and discipline of Titus and Avery as we’ve already seen areas they (and us!) need to grow in.

This is the view from the second story window of the preschool.

Kids Getting Schooled (8/26/14)

We walked home and Miša offered to come over and help me fill out the application form since it was all in Czech. Kristin made an appointment for us with their pediatrician and will come with us tomorrow morning to help translate as well. We have met so many sweet and helpful people here; we’re so thankful!

Driving Around Town With Our Landlord and a Czech Friend Stops By For A Visit

Our landlord, our friend Jitka, and I left early this morning in my car to deal with some of our outstanding utilities. Back in June we had tried to setup our electricity and gas utilities but were unable because we didn’t have our visas yet. Now that we do we rescheduled a time to get together and sort it all out. What’s funny to me is that we all have to go together to the different companies to set it all up. I don’t know if this is just something our landlord wanted or if it’s normal, but off we went today.

Errands and Friends (8/25/14)

Both companies are in the next town over, about 15 minutes or so from us. Jitka was a huge help in translating and making sure I knew what was going on. We hit the electric company first and things went really smoothly. Considering how much paperwork it takes normally I was surprised how quickly things went and how easy it was. Our second stop was at the gas company (photo above with our landlord on the right). That stop wasn’t as simple because I didn’t have our Czech bank account information on me so I had to work the phones with Bethany and have her send it to me. Some of those kinds of things are so new and different especially how often we give out our banking information. I was actually really proud today because Jitka (who is also our language teacher) asked me to read our phone numbers and banking info to the clerks in Czech. I did it! I may not be able to tell people anything important, but if you’re looking for my Czech bank account number I can now oblige. After I finished reading a string of numbers to the lady at the gas company I said, “Whew!” out loud and made everyone laugh. Hey, I can be funny in Czech!

Errands and Friends (8/25/14)

The gas company is located inside of a mall. It’s hard to explain it because there is a gas company, a grocery store, drug store, a tea house, and a lot of little shops inside the mall. It kind of feels like an airport to me because of all the different types of stores. Both Jitka and Pani Musilova (“Pani” means “Mrs.”) needed a few things so Jitka headed for the drugs store and our and landlord stopped at a newsstand. I guess we weren’t in a rush? I took the above photo because well, I didn’t have anything else to do and I just thought the whole experience was hilarious. Just prior to this photo we had stopped in a tea house where Pani. Musilova was having me smell different teas. “Mmmm…. ginger.” Actually, the more I think about the whole experience the funnier it gets.

Errands and Friends (8/25/14)

Meanwhile back at home, Bethany was spending time with our friend Lída (pronounced like “Lisa” with a “d”). Lída was one of the students at the camp we served at in Czech back in 2012. She speaks English very well and she has followed our journey via Facebook for the past few years. She only lives about 20 minutes by car, but she took the train this morning out to see us and meet Titus. She met Avery back in 2012 when Avery was just seven months old. It was a blessing to see her and her in our home. As all Czechs do she came bearing gifts. She brought 2 Czech kids shows on DVD for Titus and Avery and of course left us a wonderful dessert she made. Don’t be fooled by the photo below which you may think is a pizza. It’s actually a dessert called “Frgal” (no typo) and it’s specific to this region of Czech. Other than having the look of pizza the only similarity is the size which is about the size of a medium pizza. It’s a light pastry with a fruit spread on top. This one kind of tasted like fig (I’m not sure what it was), but apparently they can come in all kinds of seasonal fruits. Mmmmm, I think I’ll go have another slice.

Errands and Friends (8/25/14)

November in August

It’s August 24, 2014 and I don’t know where I’ve been at the end of every August, but I believe that more than 90% of the time I have been in California. August in SoCal is hot. Just now I checked the weather and it’s 85 degrees in Santa Clarita. But you wouldn’t have had any idea it was August here in Czech today. The high was 60 and right now it’s in the upper 40s. It rained most of the day and at one point it was just coming down hard (photo below). It cleared up tonight and Titus and I went outside to play for a bit and I said to Bethany that had I not known it was August I would’ve thought it was November. I had a sweater and pants on and found myself trying to see my breath. All that to say I’m starting to get a little nervous about the winter here. If August is more like November where I’m from in California, then what must November feel like?

Let It Rain (8/24/14)

I’m sad we weren’t able to go to church today. Bethany really didn’t feel well today and even though I had gotten up and showered, I knew Bethany wasn’t well enough to go. And the thought of taking both of my kids to a two hour Czech church service by myself was a little daunting so I spent the morning with the kids while Bethany rested. I’ve noticed we have good days and bad days with our health and I wonder if our bodies are just adjusting. Already I can tell my allergies have been a problem and numerous days Bethany and I have had weird headaches. Not sure what that’s all about but I hope it’s not a long term issue.

We are nine hours ahead of California and we read online today the news as it was happening regarding the 6.0 earthquake in Napa. From what I saw there were some serious damages and apparently critical injuries. We will be sure to pray tonight for that area. Often when big events like that happen it’s an open door for churches to give the gospel and share the love of Christ with their neighbors. By God’s grace, He will even use an earthquake to draw more to Himself and that is our prayer.

Tomorrow morning I’m headed out early with a translator and our landlord to finalize some paperwork regarding our electricity and gas. Please pray it goes well because historically anything at an “official” office doesn’t go smoothly. That’s just life in Czech.

Czech Swing

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

It was beautiful day in Czech. The weather was amazing, not too hot and not too cold, and the sun was out. Bethany went to Poland this morning with a friend to do some shopping there so I took the kids for a walk to the park. There were a lot of people out jut walking and I could see many of them carrying shopping bags, including one couple that was carrying a little table and chair they had just purchased. Although, I’m not exactly sure where everyone was doing all of this shopping? Above is a photo of a building next to the park. I think I take photos of the buildings to remind myself how amazing some of this old architecture is.

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

Do you see anything familiar in the photo above? You ever heard of “TK Maxx?” Now I’m sure you’ve seen “TJ Maxx,” but in Poland they call it “TK” and it’s the exact same store we have in the States but with a different name. Apparently there’s another brand in Poland with the name “TJ” so they didn’t want to be confused so they changed the “J” to a “K.” That’s where Bethany went this morning and did a little shopping. She got some great deals on winter clothes for the kids and a nice, small purse for herself. A lot of women wear smaller long strap purses as opposed to a hand bag. Some of that is for security, I guess, and a lot of ladies have recommended she get one too. I’m glad she was able to take the morning off and just enjoy some shopping.

Below is a video I took of Titus at the park. I had never seen him do this until today but he’s figured out how to pitch to himself. This is both amazing and depressing to me. Amazing because I didn’t know a 4-year-old could do that and depressing because I don’t know if he’ll still need me to pitch to him anymore!

Unfortunately for me we tried the same video again later this evening and I forgot how close I was (below). For the record he got me square in the chest as I was squatting and it stung for about 10 minutes. Had it been any lower I think we would’ve been making our first Czech hospital run and you would be seeing us on Czech’s Funniest Videos. Hey, “If you get it on cam, you could get it in crowns.”

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

A few weeks back we had seen that there were a few tree stumps left in the ground and that they had removed a couple larger trees. I was definitely confused by this until today when I realized what became of those stumps (photos above). Now standing beside the park is a wood carved jester, a squirrel, and what I believe to be a large snail (not pictured because it creeped me out a little). I don’t know if they are permanent installations or for something else, but they are pretty good size and I guess a mystery solved regarding those trees.

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

As I write Bethany is baking fresh bread in the kitchen. I joked that we’ve “gone full on Czech” with Bethany baking bread because they love fresh bread here. She’s making white bread I think mostly because she misses it. They have lots of different kinds of bread here, but I feel like everything we’ve tried has a distinct sourdough type taste to it. We probably haven’t exhausted our options but Bethany had yeast and dough so she’s giving it a try. It looked really yummy as it was rising in the bowl (photo below) and I hope it turns out great.

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

Early to bed, early to rise (bread pun intended) is how the old saying goes. Tomorrow is Sunday and we’ll be back in the pews at church doing our best to listen through a translator and hear God’s Word taught in a place that doesn’t have a lot of it. Sunday is always a reminder of the great needs for the gospel here. Even though we go to a great church, it’s the exception, and we will continue to pray for God to do a mighty work in the lives of millions in this country

The Post Office Experience and Why Getting Packages Sent Here is Awesome

You would think going to the post office would be uneventful. At least that’s what I thought. I was dead wrong.

Post (8/22/14)

I should’ve walked, but I only had a few minutes before Czech lessons were about to begin so I decided to drive the short distance in town to the post office today. As I pulled into the only parking spot I could find I was greeted by the site of a person standing up with no pants on (they were wearing underwear but were not facing me). By the time I got the car turned off they were fully clothed and laid back down on the sidewalk. Clearly it was a homeless person who I think had just used the street as a bathroom.

Walking from the car to the entrance is usually not a problem but as I strolled on the sidewalk a medium sized post office delivery truck pulled on to the sidewalk right in front of me (missing me by a foot or so) and parked. To be honest I didn’t even really pause. I’ve gotten used to cars being closer and making quick moves around me as I walk–it’s just more normal here. Finally I made inside and there was only one person in line ahead of me (photo above). Score! Last time I was here it was busy.

Post (8/22/14)

After greeting the postal clerk in Czech I basically told her, “I don’t speak Czech” and handed her my slip. She just kind of laughed and quickly pulled up the information she needed and then walked away. The line behind me grew much longer as we we waited for about five minutes while the lady retrieved the package from the back. When she finally came back I saw her walk into another office, talk to someone, and then came back to me with a box and about ten pages of paperwork. She took the stack of papers, flipped a few pages, and then would point for me to sign. This happened three times and it felt more like signing mortgage documents than a package. “Identification?” she asked. I handed her my passport, she checked it and then pointed to another clerk window and said “2.” I walked over, she met me there as well, opened the glass window with a key and finally gave me the box. What was inside the box that took two weeks to get here, multiple signatures, a pants-less person, and a near death experience with a delivery truck? Let’s open it up!

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The final inventory:

  • Streamers for Avery’s tricycle
  • Swedish Fish
  • Hello Kitty toy for Avery
  • Cars toy for Titus
  • M&Ms for the kids
  • Glow-in-the-dark stars for Avery
  • Soft baseball for Titus
  • New shorts for me! (Shay)
  • Flying toys for Titus and Avery
  • 1lb of whole bean Starbucks Pike’s Place coffee! (that’s for Bethany and me)
  • Wii Sports (because ours got scratched)
  • And one of the best presents of the bunch: dish scrubber with soap handle (and refills)! There is a bigger story about why that’s so important, but maybe that’ll have to be for another blog.

Thank you, Papa and Nana for the wonderful box o’ goodness! I’ll brave the post office experience anytime for a box like this!

Post (8/22/14)

I’m tempted to end this post, but tonight we had our first Czech family over to our place for dinner. They are a young couple from our church and are so nice. Both of them speak great English and are a treat to be around. Romi baked this Estonian pastry dessert that was incredible (photo above). It looks like something you would see in a magazine and all your friends would pin on Pinterest. I had two helpings. It’s tradition to bring some kind of gift or dessert in Czech! So good…so awesome.

Great day. It’s great to be alive.

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