B.

Better Than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I fell down flat on my bottom while playing soccer with Titus this evening in the back yard. It’s been drizzling and raining on and off today and the grass was a little slick. In a classic move out of an America’s Funniest Home Video I slipped and hit the ground hard. Even though the ground was wet, I stayed down. It hurt. Titus said, “I’m sorry you got hurt, Daddy. It was a little bit funny though.” I’m sure it was, but I wasn’t laughing. After icing my elbow and a couple Aleve pain pills I’m still hurting. I guess I’m just getting old.

Speaking of getting old, it’s my birthday. Yup. I’m 31. To celebrate I stayed up really late last night and watched the Dodgers win in 12 innings. That’s always fun. But beyond that it’s been a pretty regular day. I worked from home and we had one short time out this morning to take Karis to the doctor, but as usual that didn’t go as planned. We missed the opening time slot by 15 minutes and will now try again at 9am on Wednesday.

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

Speaking of Karis, I took her passport photo today. This also proved to be difficult. The U.S. government has strict requirements for how the photo is to be taken, the sizing of the photo, the size of the head, the height of the eyes from the bottom of the photo, the lighting, etc. And not mention we’re working with a two week old so that’s a challenge. Thankfully I have professional lighting equipment from all the photography I did in the States and that came in really handy. I had to take the photo from above her while she laid down on a white sheet and Bethany held her arms down because she kept putting them in her face. Here are a few photos I got. I love the one of her cracking a half smile.

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

Our Internet is down right now. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but around 5pm today it just stopped. I’m using my phone to post this post. Like the Internet, our kids have struggled today too. By struggled, I mean they have just had a hard time obeying. They still managed to make me birthday cards and give me a nice new shirt for my birthday. They also colored me a few pictures including a Star Wars Angry Bird color book page and Curious George on that Avery printed off the Internet (yes, my three year old can print color pages off the Internet!).

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

Bethany baked cupcakes for me and inside they had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that were imported from the U.S.! Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me (or as Avery sang, “Happy burstday”). It was awesome–definitely the highlight of an otherwise average day. I’m definitely thankful for the amazing wife and great kids the Lord has given me. They are my favorite gifts this year and every year. Even better than new shirts and Reese’s!

B.

Back to Church and Another Goodbye

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

It was a joy to be back at church today as we were out two weeks ago when Karis was born and last week there was actually no church (well, it was in another town, but that’s hard for me to explain). Today it was just Titus and I as Bethany stayed home with Karis and Avery. For the first time Titus stayed in his class without my or Bethany’s supervision and according to our friend Kristin, he did a really good job! This was really encouraging and I was impressed when I dropped him off because he was totally willing to be there by himself and the teacher was so kind to him. Back in the main service there was a baby dedication which included a bunch of special songs from little kids which were great. I wasn’t tracking with everything that was going on, but it’s very similar to what you might find in the states. I think the pastor prayed a special blessing on the parents and there were about four or five babies being dedicated.

The sermon today was out of 1 Peter, but to be honest that’s about all I got. There was a lot of prayer during the service today which I think is really cool. Often on a Sunday morning there is open prayer time for the body to stand and just pray. Even though I can’t usually hear the prayers, I’m always encouraged by how the saints pray. After the service, the pastor stopped me at the door and in broken English congratulated me on the birth of Karis. He told me to send his regards to Bethany and that they were excited for us. It was really kind and I was glad he stopped me to say that.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

After church Titus and I did a little shopping for mommy and the girls and most Sundays we end up getting donuts at the store. Today we found donuts for everyone, including a tiny one for little baby Karis. We were really proud and when I got it home Avery was jumping up and down with excitement and couldn’t believe they made tiny donuts for babies.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

The kids love Karis right now. Titus especially has been doing a really good job of being gentle with her and talking sweet to her. Today I caught him lying on the ground next to hear talking “baby talk” with her and I got the above photo. It was only a small moment in time, but it one worth capturing.

Even though it was in the low 90s today, we still found time to go outside for a little bit. Here’s a few photos.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

Late this afternoon we went out to a friend’s house to say goodbye to our friend Katka. Early tomorrow morning she is leaving Czech and moving to Latvia as a missionary. Katka has a pretty amazing story as she’s a Czech national who is now being sent out to another European country as a missionary to serve the people there. It was a sweet time this afternoon just hanging out and enjoying some barbecue with her and a bunch of her friends. As a bonus, she got to meet Karis along with a few other people who haven’t been able to see her in person yet. Here’s a few photos (with captions beneath each).

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Katka holding Karis.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Here’s Lauren holding Karis. If you don’t remember, Lauren was our doula at the Czech hospital and a huge help! This was the first time she had seen her since she was born.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

During the afternoon Avery decided to start collecting pinecones and putting them in our stroller. She was really proud of it.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

The pinecone collection.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

The little boys started a soccer game.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Here’s everyone hanging out (especially that guy on the right). We hope you were blessed today, Katka! We look forward to hearing what God does through you in Latvia.

P.

Papa and Nana Go Home

There was a moment about half-way home on our train ride this morning when Avery said, “Where’s Papa and Nana?” Clearly she didn’t understand what we were doing a few hours earlier when we said goodbye to them in Prague. But that’s just what we did. We said goodbye.

Goodbyes are never easy. We left pretty early today and we’re still suffering from minimal sleep with a newborn, so that’s probably why I wasn’t as emotional as I can be at times when we say goodbye (I honestly felt like I was more in survival mode). But now as I write it’s getting to me. Papa and Nana are special people and we’re so thankful they were able to with us these past few weeks. It really seems like it flew by in a flash, but that’s to be expected with all that has gone on with Karis’ birth and us traveling a little bit with them. Just a few days ago when we were with them and our friends Zach and Kara, Zach said to me, “Isn’t it cool to have family here?”

Papa and Nana Left (6/13/15)

As another missionary who lives here in Czech, Zach understands the flood of familiar that washes over you when someone you know, and know well, visits you here. It’s really cool. Finally you can show them your house which they have only seen through the periscope lens of video chat. Then you can show them your town and where your kids go to school and what you do to buy food. You can laugh as they too experience what it’s like to live in another culture, not know the language, and fumble your way around just to buy a few things at the store. Even with all the language apps on our phones and modern advances, it’s still hard. And even more than all of that, you get the opportunity to have those late night chats and catch up on life and talk about what God is teaching you and share about life here. For a moment you feel like they might understand better the things you say because they can see it happen and are experiencing it too. You know when they leave that you can talk differently with them because they actually have some point of reference for what you’re talking about and that’s just somewhat comforting.

If all has gone as planned, Papa and Nana are somewhere over the Atlantic en route to their final destination on the West Coast. And as we walked home today from the train station as a family I said something to Bethany to the effect of, “And then there were five.” It’s just us now. For the first time since Karis was born we’re back on our own. Bethany said to me, “We can do this.” We both laughed. What she means is, “We can handle this. We can be a family of five. We’ll make it.” Yes. By God’s grace, we’ll figure out how to function as a family with our newest daughter. We’ll manage to get through those sleepless nights, still get up to take Titus to school, make time for language learning, and do all that God has called us to do. But the Lord in his good grace gave us Papa and Nana to get us jump started in that process and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you, Papa and Nana, for your kindness to us, for sacrificing your time and energy for our family, and for loving us so well. We love you.

K.

Karis Takes Her First Bath (in Prague)

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

We’ve had a pretty low-key day. That’s not usually what you would say about hanging out with family in Prague, but it’s kind of how things got planned today. Most of the sights that Papa and Nana wanted to visit they saw yesterday and as Nana said, “Once you see the Prague castle, what else really compares to that?” Good point.

Despite the minimal plan today, we did manage to squeeze in a little bath time. I mean that literally. We used a little human and a little sink, right here in our little rented apartment in Prague. Karis had baths in the hospital, but this was the first one we did ourselves and it was a family event today as we gathered around the tiny sink in the tiny kitchen.

Things started out OK, but as Bethany took off Karis’ diaper and Nana was holding Karis, there was some hesitation on getting her in to the sink and Karis ended up peeing on Nana. It was actually hilarious in the moment and everyone was laughing, which was great. I have a video of it, but I’m gonna save that one for the family. Things progressed fine beyond that, but I’d rather tell that story in photos.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

Karis is all ready for the bath (this would be pre-pee).

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

Here she is in the sink. She was actually a little too big for the sink so Nana held her head and we had a soft sponge cushion under her.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

It apparently takes three generations of women to wash this baby because here’s an overhead shot of Avery, Nana, and Bethany taking care of business. Avery seems just OK about all of this.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

The final rinse off.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

Here she is coming out of the sink and in to the towel. Oh yes, you needed this play by play.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

The final result: a clean, happy, baby girl.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

All of the excitement was a little much for both Papa and Karis so they fell asleep on the bed not long afterwards. No, this is not a joke, they are both actually sleeping.

The rest of the afternoon we did a little shopping and mostly just hung around the apartment. Papa and Nana had to pick up a few things to take back to the States and I actually bought a $7 shirt because I didn’t pack enough clothes. We went out for dinner again and enjoyed a nice walk there and back. The restaurant gave the kids balloons and Avery was ecstatic about hers. Here she is enjoying it.

Avery's Balloon (6/12/15)

It’s bitter sweet tonight as we pick and get ready for an early train back home tomorrow. Papa and Nana fly out shortly after we leave on the train so we’ll be saying our goodbyes from the apartment in the morning. It’s bitter, of course, because they are leaving but it’s sweet because we have had a great time with them and have enjoyed their company and all their help. I’m sure there will be a few tears shed in the morning and that will be just fine. We have had some great moments together and that’s usually worth a few tears in the end.

Until then, good night!

P.

Prague With Kids and Staring Out the Window

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

Taking young kids to a large city is never ideal or easy. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or that it’s wrong, but it just means you may have to get creative on how you go about it. Today our philosophy was kind of simple: divide and conquer. I don’t think we ever used those words exactly, but it’s how we handled this slice of Europe they call Prague.

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

By God’s grace there is a really great park that we’ve been to before just around the corner from our rented apartment (shown above). Kara showed me how to get there last night and I had planned to take the kids there today which I did. Bethany, Karis, Nana, and Papa went onward towards the Prague castle. We just didn’t think our kids would be able to make it walking around the Prague castle, especially since they went to bed really late last night. Hence we divided and conquered. I took the kids to the park while everyone else went to the castle.

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

After a little lunch I took the kids on the subway and then a tram to meet everyone back up near the castle. We did pretty well, except I got on the tram going the wrong way so we jumped off and caught it going the opposite direction (maybe a 5 min delay). When we got to our stop we jumped off, saw Papa and Nana for a minute, picked up Bethany and Karis, parted ways with Papa and Nana, and then headed back to the apartment for nap time. Bethany was even testing out a new baby carrier that Papa and Nana brought over and it seems like it worked out well (it’s like a Baby Bjorn, but like a fabric wrap. It’s called a Baby Katan). Apparently Papa used it the entire time they were at the castle and Karis slept, well, like a baby.

During our travel around the city I got a few pics of the kids. Here they are.

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

Our apartment is situated in a great location which gives us access to the subway (Metro), trams, and lots of sights. Since we came here by train it made sense for us to stay near other modes of transportation. The views from our apartment are really great and we get the added bonus of a fun little band that has been peforming on the street below us. Here’s a little video I got today of them playing (about 10 seconds long). The band is standing below the tree at the very middle of the video, below that yellow colored building.

Here’s a wide view of the street from our window.

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

We actually spent a lot of time today staring out that window. While the kids napped, I was holding Karis with my feet out the window enjoying the beautiful music below. It was other worldly and so relaxing and I quite honestly think I needed that time today. I know I don’t deserve it, but it was a grace of the Lord that I thanked him for this afternoon. Even during it I received an email that made my day. It was special.

Here’s me holding Karis during that time. She was just wide awake and happy.

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

Here’s Titus staring out the window when he woke up from his nap.

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

Thank to a friend here in Prague we got authentic Mexican food for dinner (something that is VERY hard to find in this country) and I even busted out my muy poquito Español. The restaurant served great food, wasn’t overpriced, and was within a few hundred feet of the astronomical clock (shown above in the first photo of this post). You guys should seriously consider coming to Prague.

Lastly I ran out the store tonight to grab a few items for breakfast. We’re hoping to visit the famous Charles Bridge tomorrow morning, and we like to have breakfast together at our apartment. As I was waiting for the elevator I stared down the stairwell in this building to what is a beautiful, movie-like scene. I’m sure the locals could care less about a stairwell, but we just don’t see many things like this in the States. Here’s the photo I got

Exploring Praha (6/11/15)

Tomorrow is our last full day with Papa and Nana which is sad. We’ve had a great time with them and are so glad they could be hear to meet Karis and help us. They are so generous and so gracious to come all this way to be with us and it’s been fun to continue to see our kids’ relationship with them grow and grow. Just tonight as I was praying with Titus and Avery before bed Titus said, “Dad, after you pray can you ask Papa to come give me a hug?” Papa, of course, went in there afterwards, hugged the kids, and came out a little teary eyed. It was special. These are sweet times and that was a sweet moment. Let’s just hope for a few more of those tomorrow.