Prepping For Baby

With the help of a Czech friend, I was finally able to get our winter tires changed over to spring ones. Sadly, however, the weather didn’t seem to get the message that it’s actually spring. This morning as I walked with Titus to school it was 46 degrees fahrenheit! I realize it’s technically still spring, but it’s the end of May. For this California native, wearing a jacket in May is like…actually, I have no comparison. I don’t know if I’ve ever worn a jacket in May. But I digress.

With a jacket on, I gave my father-in-law a quick tour of the town this morning. I needed show him where the little grocery stores are and how to get around just in case this baby decides to come soon and they are in need of food. We’re hearing that when she does go into labor she’ll be in the Czech hospital for at least three days so we’re prepping Papa and Nana for life abroad with two little ones while we’re at the hospital. It was fun to quickly walk the town and see Bethany’s dad’s reaction to walking around a European city. I remember that feeling well and every now and then it bubbles up which is really fun.

Playing and Having Fun (5/27/15)

Another friend, Romi, came over today to help Bethany fill out all the paperwork for the hospital. Bethany said it was a lot more than she had thought and she was very thankful for Romi’s assistance. During Romi’s visit, I drove Papa, Nana, and the kids over to the local grocery story, again, to give them the lay of the land in case they need to go to a bigger store for anything. We needed some groceries anyway so it worked out. There was lots of new fun things at the store today, including a bunch of Kellogg’s brand cereals. I was actually shocked because normally the cereal aisle is pretty limited. Needless to say we bought a box of “Frosties” (aka: Frosted Flakes) just because we could. Here’s a photo of Avery in the cereal aisle in her little car cart (if you look closely you can see a box of “Frosties” in the bottom left).

Playing and Having Fun (5/27/15)

When we got home from the store Avery wanted to park the car like Titus did the other day, so I let get some time behind the wheel while Papa captured video. Avery is clearly not as aggressive as Titus, but I think I like her style. Here’s what he got.

Playing and Having Fun (5/27/15)

After the successful car parking, Titus had started a pickup game of baseball with Nana so Avery, Papa, and I joined in on the fun. Titus eventually let me bat and after hitting what I believe was a line drive over the third baseman’s head, he chased me down and tagged me out. Papa somehow captured a short video of that as well and here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Finally we ate fast food tonight and went to a grocery store in Poland to find a baby bath sponge pad. We had tried different stores today but were unsuccessful and found one tonight in Poland which was a great. We got back kind of late so we quickly put the kids to bed and now I’m ready for the dream world as well. Good night!


Theatrics and Retirement

Avery Plays (5/22/15)

We walked to the post office today. It was just Bethany, Avery, and me because Titus was at school. I was surprised that Bethany came considering she’s in her final week of pregnancy, but when I asked her why she wanted to come she replied, “just to get a little exercise.” It did feel nice to walk, even in the cool mid-fifty degree weather we had today. Avery couldn’t make the entire trip and finally said, “Daddy, can you carry me?” I guess those little legs of hers aren’t quite up to Czech standards yet. We’ll have to work on that.

Titus did a little walking today too with his preschool class. They went to the local theater to see some kind of performance and I was pretty surprised that they walked. After checking on Google, I found out that’s a half a mile walk, one way. For a group of preschool age kids to go a mile to see a one hour play is pretty impressive. Apparently they weren’t walking very fast because when Avery and I walked to pick him up, there was no one there except a bunch of parents hanging out around the school building. As each parent would approach the building I would hear them saying in Czech, “No… theater…” or at least those are the words I could pick out. About fifteen minutes later we saw the kids walking down the street and when they arrived Titus’ teacher told me in broken English that they were going to eat lunch and it wold be another fifteen minutes. I said, “no problem” and Avery and I just played in the school yard for a little bit together. I took a few of photos of the fun (below).

Avery Plays (5/22/15)

Avery Plays (5/22/15)

Avery Plays (5/22/15)

Avery Plays (5/22/15)

We’ve been counting down the days until Papa and Nana (Bethany’s parents) arrive for their first trip to Czech. They will arrive some time on Sunday and we’ll go across the street to the train station to pick them up (that’s still so cool to do and say). The kids are so excited and both of them keeping reminding us that it’s only “2 more days” until Papa and Nana come. We actually sent Nana a little video message today because this trip also marks the beginning of her retirement! Today was her first day “off the job” so to speak so we took the kid to the back yard and made a short video of them telling her “Happy Retirement Nana!” We hope you had a great day today and we’ll see you soon!


Doctors, Kids, Dogs, and Taxes

Today was spring cleaning day at the Josiah Venture offices. This was a first for me, but it’s an annual event that’s actually on the schedule for us to clean anything and everything. For the international team, this not only includes our own offices, but also the garages (yes, plural) with tons of ministry materials that tend to get disorganized over the course of the year. I actually arrived late (shucks!) because Bethany had her last doctor’s appointment with her OBGYN. From now on she’ll be meeting with the doctors at the hospital that she’ll be delivering at because she’s officially in her 39th week! She’s only nine days away from her due date and we can’t wait to meet this little baby girl.

Avery Again (5/19/15)

Speaking of baby girls, I got the above photo of Avery this evening as we were playing in the yard. She was just looking really cute and staring at me so I grabbed my iPhone and got this shot. Almost nightly we go outside and play, which usually means Titus and I play tennis, baseball, or basketball while Avery walks around picking daisies and telling me stories. Almost all of her stories involve animals of some kind, but I was surprised by tonight’s tale of “monsters all around.” She ended up giving me “monster powers” so I could fight all the monsters which turned in to Titus and turning our tennis rackets in to what I’ll describe not as guns, but as Ghostbuster-like weaponry (cause guns aren’t for kids, ya know). These kids never cease to crack me.

Dog Gonnit (5/19/15)

There is a dog that continues to come around the JV offices and she was there today was we were cleaning out everything. I believe she has an owner with a garage near ours, but almost every day since the cold left us she has been around. Often I found her chasing butterflies and just wandering around the office. She seems friendly and everyone has fun petting and playing with her, but I still feel at odds with her. I actually like dogs and grew up with many of them, but I can’t seem to commit to this dog. I foresee and ongoing saga on how I feel towards this canine, so you’ll have to stay tuned for that. In the above photo you can see her wandering through the grass.

I spent a lot of time tonight working on our taxes. I haven’t written much about it (or at all) on the blog, but we’ve been on the search for someone to help us with international tax law as things get really complicated when you move overseas. By God’s grace, one of our friends in the States was able to get us in contact with a guy who has 32 years of experience in taxes, along with a ton of clients who live overseas. I was able to speak with him on the phone tonight and we’re getting things moving which is great! Now you might be thinking that April 15 has already passed and we missed the deadline. Well, that’s actually a bonus of living overseas because we get an automatic extension. I’m really hoping our new tax guy can help us and get us all those wonderful deductions we cherish so much. He was really great on the phone and I’m excited to kind of get that stuff of my shoulders.

I’m still not feeling great and don’t have my sense of taste back. In fact, I actually had a lot of sinus pressure today that was really bothering me so that’s a bummer. If you think of us, continue to pray for health. The kids and Bethany seem to be recovering quickly but I trail behind still clinging to my box of Kleenex.


The Last Day of April

The Last Day of April (4/30/15)

“Daddy, I have to show you something,” Avery said as she grabbed my hand and pulled me in to the living room. “I made a playground.” Above is a photo of what she made and this was her version of a “playground.” Her little mind continues to create and explore and I think it’s an incredible and wonderful process.

Back at the JV offices today we were hard at work trying to put the finishing touches on a bunch of different projects as we get ready for the spring conference next week. Everything from name tags, conference booklets, conference materials, etc. we were trying to get out to the printer to have by early next week. Tomorrow is some kind of Czech holiday so we lost a day, but we’re hoping it’ll all be done in time for the conference to start on Wednesday. It’ll probably be a busy week for me as I’ll be helping with photography, leading a communications session, and even playing drums/guitar for a few worship sets. It should be a great week and I’m really excited to see some of our friends from around Central and Eastern Europe.

The Last Day of April (4/30/15)

I took the above photo tonight of me with Titus and Avery because they were in an especially good mood as we sat on the couch. It’s been so nice to be healthy for the past month or so and I think it’s the healthiest we’ve been since we arrived in Czech. I honestly thought when the weather turned a little cooler this week that we might get sick, but so far we’re doing well.

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the first of May. The past ten months have absolutely flown by and Bethany and I were talking about it last night as she’s now 35 weeks along with baby #3. We’ve have about a month left before we get to meet our second daughter and I’m getting excited! God’s timing is perfect and we’re looking forward to another little one in our home. They are all a blessing from Him!


Health, Flags, and Avery’s Babies

As much as we’ve talked about how sick we’ve been over the past ten months, I’m happy to report we have been healthy now for a few weeks! This is definitely an answer to prayer and we’re thankful for the break from sore throats and runny noses. With the weather warming up this has allowed us to get outside a bit more, which I think is helpful, and having regular sunshine can’t hurt either!

Bethany and I were talking last night just how strange it is to have an actual spring season. In southern California it usually goes from semi-fall to summer overnight. Right now in Czech we’re experiencing the slow change from winter to spring like today which was a little cooler, windy, and rainy in the afternoon. This week it’ll be warmer the next two days but cooling back down and stormy into the weekend and next week. This is actually kind of strange to me because I just haven’t really experienced that kind of weather. California gets storms, but it’s pretty warm all the time.

I Love My Kids (4/13/15)

Today at preschool Titus colored Czech flags (shown above). Flags are so interesting because of what kind of emotions they evoke, especially in Americans. I wonder if the Czechs have the same kind of pride with their flag that Americans do? I know that Czechs are excited about their country. In fact, the other day at the store I saw a whole section of flags, colored pencils, and scarves that all were in support of the Czech hockey team. In a few weeks, not far from us there will a big hockey championship (actually, the USA team will be here!). I have a feeling that little section in the store was for that event, but I can’t be sure.

I Love My Kids (4/13/15)

More than ever, Avery is being more girly than I feel like she has ever been. Tonight she wanted to play “dress up” and wanted to wear a princess outfit, complete with a crown. And on more than one occasion recently I have found her babies somewhere in the house, complete with a pillow and blankie (as you can see above where she had them in the middle of the kitchen floor). As well, tonight I was wrestling with the kids on our bed and Avery just stopped in the middle of it with her two babies, put them in a little red wagon and said, “It’s their first day of school!” Obviously, it’s really cute and we are constantly laughing at her. I love it.

I’ve got more studying to do for my message this Saturday on the Trinity to the youth at our church. I’m getting more excited to teach on this topic, mainly because I’ve been so blessed by the study of our triune God. There is so much packed in to that often confusing doctrine, but the more I read and think, the more I am realizing just how beautiful the doctrine of the Trinity is. Please continue to pray for me as I prepare and then share on Saturday.

Finally, I will leave with this. Tonight as we were eating dinner Titus told us that it was someone’s birthday at his school. He said they sang the birthday song in Czech and Bethany asked him, “Do you know how to sing it in Czech?” He immediate reply was priceless. I posted his words to my Twitter account and Titus said,