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Easter Monday and Why I Hate Self Checkout

Today was Easter Monday here in Czech (and other countries). It’s a normal holiday, so Titus was out of school and the Josiah Venture office was closed today so we were all home together which made it very nice. But check out how Wikipedia describes the traditions,

All countries practice a unique custom on this day. In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches.

I’ve heard mixed reviews from Czechs here about these traditions so I can’t comment with any kind of authority on what they really think about it. However, for us, this meant that Avery and Bethany didn’t leave the house because getting hit by a branch or group of branches just doesn’t sound like fun. I think for most Czech women, the weather worked in their favor because it snowed on and off all day today so there weren’t many people walking about the town.

Snowing on Easter Monday (4/6/15)

Even though I was home, I spent most of the day studying the book of Galatians as I’ll be teaching the international team Bible study tomorrow morning. I pretty much studied straight through from 8:00-3:30pm today, with the exception of the half hour the power went out this afternoon. Normally Dave Patty (the president of Josiah Venture) teaches, but he’s already got a lot of teaching commitments through the next month or so. I joked with another friend that they decided to call in a minor leaguer for the day so we’ll see how it goes. Speaking of baseball, I’m excited that today is opening day at Dodger Stadium! We’ll be rooting for the home team from 6,000 miles away and hoping they’ll beat the San Diego Padres. Go Dodgers!

Blowing Bubbles (4/6/15)

Despite the snow and rain, the sun did manage to peak through the clouds again this evening and I took the kids outside to play with the bubbles they got in their Easter baskets. Above is a video I got of Titus doing a good job making bubbles. It was still in the low thirties, so we weren’t out there long, but they had fun pretty much emptying their little bottles.

I Hate Self Check Out (4/6/15)

It’s been a longer weekend, so I decided to hit the store for Bethany tonight because we were low on food. Since it was a holiday, I actually called the store before I went to see if they were even open to my surprise they were. Titus and I left the house and Bethany texted me her list. When I pulled in to the parking lot it looked like a ghost town. In fact, I had a hard time believing they were even open. Again, to my surprise they were. Titus grabbed a cart (you know, the one with the little car on the front for kids) and off we went. I was so excited how few people were there because it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

I loaded the cart up, got everything on the list except for two things they were out of (strawberries and pear water) and headed towards the front where I was sure to find a lonely cashier waiting for me. Upon arrival I looked down the aisles and saw no such cashier. Then I looked further. Oh no. The only lanes that are open are those things they call “self check out.” You know the ones. They have beady eyes and a digital voice with a mocking tone. I rolled our completely full car-cart to the lane. The helper lady just smiled at me and I began the long process of unloading and scanning each item, one by one. About half way through things got worse. It didn’t like my bags, it didn’t like the weight of the items, it didn’t like that I chose an orange pepper and not a red one, it didn’t like that I was male, it didn’t like the clothes I was wearing, it didn’t like that that I’m a foreigner living in Czech and trying to buy groceries on a holiday for my wife! AHHHHHHHH!!!

After a few sessions of counseling I will be fine, but I hate those self check outs. They are of Satan. The work of the Devil is in them to deceive us in to thinking that machines are more efficient than humans. This is a life from hell itself. But I digress.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

On a happier note, when we got home Bethany had things ready for the kids to do a little egg coloring. They did. It was a really fun. Here’s some photos to finish off the night and this blog.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

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Easter Eggs and Stormy Skies

Today was day two of just daddy an the kids and thankfully it was about as uneventful as yesterday. Titus struggled a little bit today going to school, but I think Mondays are generally tougher for him since he’s had the weekend off and then goes back. I never thought this would happen in preschool, but Titus tried to convince me today hew as sick and said, “Dad, I’m sick…see!” and began fake coughing. Of course, I’m not OK with him lying so we dealt with that, but in my heart I was kind of laughing because that’s one of those classic “I don’t want to go to school today” things. I mean, John Hughes even made a whole movie about it. In the end we did get him off to school and I think he did alright.

Easter Eggs and Stormy Skies (3/30/15)

Above you can see a photo of Avery outside of Titus’ class when we picked him up this afternoon. Hanging on the little bush outside were plastic eggs which I just assumed were from the kids. Titus told us as we left that his class had done that and I asked him which one and he picked red (no doubt that choice is because he loves Lightning McQueen). In the photo below Avery is touching the blue one, but the closest red one is the one Titus said was his. He also said they colored eggs and played outside, but I honestly never really know if he’s telling me about something that happened all today or compilation of a few days.

Easter Eggs and Stormy Skies (3/30/15)

Speaking of Easter eggs, we have a box of plastic eggs called “Resurrection Eggs” that Bethany made a year or two ago. This afternoon the kids really wanted to go through them and they walk through the story of Jesus during the Passion Week. Each little egg has something inside like nails, thorns, rope, etc. that all relate to the verses regarding Jesus’ death. I had a really good time talking it through with them and even using the Bible we read them every night to show them pictures and relate the story for them even more. I’m amazed at how much the kids can remember and I also love that when we get to the last egg it’s completely empty! Avery knew what was coming already and said, “See! Jesus is alive!” Just that simple exercise of walking through the gospel with my kids was a blessing to my heart and a reminder of what we will celebrate this Sunday. I really am thankful my kids are hearing about these things at such young ages.

Easter Eggs and Stormy Skies (3/30/15)

It was pretty cold and rainy today and it even hailed more than once. But the sun came out for about 15-20 minutes this evening while I was making dinner for the kids (oh yeah, I make a mean frozen chicken nugget). Since the sun was low in the sky it made everything golden and I ran out with my iPhone and took a few photos. From gray to gold is such a contrast so it’s always strikingly beautiful when that happens. Above is a photo of Avery being silly with the sun shining behind her. And below is a photo of the church next door when the sun was at it’s brightest. It looks like the storm clouds are rolling away, but only a few minutes later it was dark and overcast again. Either way, I’m thankful for just a few minutes of that wonderful sunlight.

Easter Eggs and Stormy Skies (3/30/15)

Bethany called us from Poland tonight for a few minutes, but those turned into the the most exciting moments of the day. A few minutes into our phone call Titus knocked an entire cup of water on the table, chair, and floor in the kitchen and Avery dropped a little toy that has colored oil in it and it broke. Naturally this cut into our talk time and I had to hang up, but I think I’ll give her a call when I’m done writing this. She’ll be back tomorrow afternoon and I hope she has had a good time. She said it was stormy in Krakow today too and that they had been doing a lot of walking, but I’m sure I’ll get more of the details when we talk later. Overall, I think the past few days have gone fine and I’m thankful that she was able to get away. But…I really can’t wait for her to come back!

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Easter and Traditions

As our kids get older we’re trying to figure out what kind of traditions we want to have. I didn’t really grow up doing an egg hunt for Easter, but it’s definitely something Bethany remembers doing. I’ve seen 8mm video of Bethany with her Sunday best on and her basket when she was little, so I know it’s something her family really enjoyed.

This year we did a little egg hunt with our kids, and of course we had them all dressed up from church. We painted eggs on Saturday and had some fun hiding (I use that term loosely) them in the grass. We also opened up “resurrection eggs” which tell the Biblical account of Christ’s death and resurrection. There are 10 eggs that have a Bible verse and a visual reminder inside (e.g. a little rock to represent the stone that covered the tomb). Our kids are still really young and it’s hard for them to sit still as I read the passages, but we want to make sure they know what we’re celebrating and why Easter is so special. It was a fun time and I really appreciate the work that Bethany puts into making it so special for us.

Here’s a video and a few photos from our egg hunt.

Easter 2013 from Shay on Vimeo.

Easter 2013
Titus and Avery with their baskets, ready to find some eggs!

Easter 2013
Avery gets down low to find a blue egg in the grass.

Easter 2013
Avery showing some excitement with an egg she found.

Easter 2013
Avery dropping an egg in her basket.

Easter 2013
This was our attempt at getting a smiling photo of the kids when we were all done. Didn’t quite work out.

Easter 2013
Finally, a tripod photo of our family. Avery is going for the “Czech smile” (aka: no smile) and Titus is trying to figure out why daddy strapped a little baby doll to the tripod. Good times!