K.

Karis Comes Home

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

We were discharged from the hospital this morning and we were able to bring Karis home for the very first time! The morning actually went very smooth which was kind of unexpected because I just assumed it would be hard to figure out all the paperwork, pay for our time in the hospital, and then get released. But again, the Lord was so gracious and things went really well.

Obviously with a newborn our sleep is interrupted, but in the first few days you get a bit of a break and that’s what Karis did for us last night. By “break” I mean that she gave us a stretch of three hours. It’s amazing how good three hours of sleep feels when you’re sleep has been irregular for a few days. But I digress. Bethany got up early to feed Karis and the nurses were in our room a few times before 7:00am. All of this worked out really well because by 9:30 we were walking out of the hospital! We really thought it was going to take a good portion of the morning but we were packed, paid, and pulling out of the parking lot at least a few hours earlier than I had imagined.

Karis did incredible on the drive home and pretty much slept the entire way. We ended up stopping off for a little food and coffee and still she slept through it. The weather kind of felt like “beach weather” to us in the States, and it was cool and partly cloudy. When we got home the kids came running out to the car, and I heard Avery say, “I want to see baby Karis!”

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

I ended up setting Kari down in her carseat so Avery could look at her, but both Titus and Avery wanted to “help” me carry her inside. At one point I had Titus holding one side of the carseat while Avery was holding the front and we made our way into the house. If I had a third arm, I would’ve taken a photo of Papa and Nana wielding their iPhones to capture it all in photos and video. Such excitement for the home arrival of this baby girl.

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

Our landlord is often away at another home she has in Prague, but she came back this evening as we were walking outside to play in the yard with the kids. I tried to tell her in broke Czech that Bethany was home and so was the baby. Bethany brought Karis out to the driveway to meet “Babicka” (Czech for grandmother) and we all had a good time watching her reaction to the baby. Babicka gave our kids a little chocolate treat and we actually had Bethany’s parents bring her a gift from the States–a box of chocolates from Washington. The kids also made her a card and we wrote on it in Czech and she seemed to really enjoy it. The whole exchange was fun and hard because of the language barrier. We were glad to introduce her to Karis and Babicka was congratulating everyone which was also a ton of fun. Below is a photo of her with her chocolates and Bethany with the baby.

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

It’s so good to be home. Bethany’s parents did an amazing job just kind of detailing our house and getting things cleaned for us. They said Titus and Avery did great while we were away which was a blessing to hear. It’ll definitely be a time of transition for all of us as we relearn life now with a newborn. Already I can feel the constant reminders coming of “be careful with the baby,” or “that’s a little too rough, you need to be gentle with her.” I think for sure it’ll be good for Titus to learn just how gentle he needs to be around a little baby and he’s got a healthy respect right now for how fragile she is.

We’re tired but not overwhelmed. Bethany continues to recover, but is definitely still experiencing pain. We’ll be heading to the pharmacy tomorrow morning to get some meds for her which should help. Karis has spent her day at home sleeping and eating which is to be expected, and which is great for willing grandparents who want to just hold her. Even I got the opportunity to just hold her while she slept for over an hour. All that to say we’re glad she’s home and we’re so full of joy for this new little life.

F.

Friday Fun

Friday Fun (5/29/150

“Dad, we went to a puppet show!” said Titus after I picked him from school today. As always that was news to me. He was saying this as he was showing me the “puppet” he made with the help of his teacher. From what I gathered from Titus they walked somewhere in town, saw a puppet show that “wasn’t too loud” (in his words) and they shook hands with the puppets, gave them high fives, and laughed. I’m glad he had fun, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the random things the kids do in school here without our knowledge. He must have really enjoyed though because when I arrived to get him today he was in the middle of making that paper puppet and said, “Just a minute, Dad.” We waited as he finished up and off we went. Below is a photo his teacher helping him.

Friday Fun (5/29/15)

This afternoon we went in to Ostrava (a nearby, larger town) and did a few errands. Bethany was doing a little more nesting and wanted to get Titus some new school pants and was hoping to find a headband for the new baby. We were quite successful actually and it really helped to have Papa and Nana come and watch the kids at the play place while we shopped. I like to think of it as a “mini-date,” but I don’t know if Bethany agrees (note to self: maybe I should ask her?). We also got a few things at the grocery store there, including this huge cabbage for the coleslaw that Bethany, Papa, and Nana all made tonight. Here’s Bethany displaying the cabbage. She’s glowing (the wife, not the cabbage)!

Friday Fun (5/29/150

Bethany was actually displaying the cabbage out the window because she was asking her dad a question about how to cut it up while we were all outside playing baseball in the yard. It’s kind of nice to have a few extra players on the field, like Papa who has been playing outfield for us while I pitch and Titus hits. Avery even joined in on the fun tonight and played a little outfield with Papa. Here’s a quick shot of them with their game faces on, ready for any hit coming their direction.

Friday Fun (5/29/150

A little later Avery became “Umpire Avery” because she found a car wash sponge we have in the garage and began putting it in her jacket. We were laughing and tried to get a picture of her behind home plate. We did our best and this is Papa trying to help her call a strike. C’mon Blue!

Friday Fun (5/29/150

After the game I found Papa and Avery lounging in the garden swing enjoying the sunset.

Friday Fun (5/29/150

The sunsets the past two nights have been so beautiful. I guess absence (of sun) makes the heart grow fonder. Here’s a few more shots from the garden.

Friday Fun (5/29/150

Friday Fun (5/29/150

We did get a little sad news tonight. While we were playing in the yard our landlord came home and she had been gone almost a week. Normally she is away at her other house in Prague, but she told me tonight in broken English that she was in the hospital. I couldn’t figure out what exactly happened and she looked really tired, but I’m hoping it wasn’t too serious. We asked Bethany’s parents to bring something from America so they brought a little taste of the Northwest (Chukar Cherries) so we’re hoping to give that to her with some notes from the kids that we hope she feels better soon. If you think of her, please pray.

I’m doing a little work tomorrow with Josiah Venture as I’ll be at the summer intern training event in the late morning. I’m doing a little talk on social media for our interns so that should be fun. Until then, I hope you had a wonderful Friday!

O.

On a So-Called “Black Friday”

It’s amazing what a day will do. You go from happy, fun Thanksgiving to this intense, maddening holiday rush where sleepless people wait all night to save $20 on a big screen. I was a little sad to be out the States yesterday, but I’m not missing “Black Friday” at all on this side of the Atlantic. As I watch the news stream in from the States of big lines and huge sales, I’m struck with the fact that it’s become such a part of the American culture. From what I can tell, that doesn’t seem to be the case over here, but only time will tell just how strong that American influence is to the rest of the world.

We packed and left the hotel this morning and were back home around 11am. My voice is slowly returning, but I woke up with a pretty bad sore throat today. My energy hasn’t returned much either. We had a little meeting around 3pm with our landlord to get a new copy of our rental agreement which is needed for our long term visas. She has an office above our flat and while we were signing papers the kids ended up bringing her drawings they made which she was really excited about. Through her computer she translated, “I am going to bring them something for Christmas.” I’m glad our landlord likes our kids enough to want to bring them gifts!

Presents Await (11/28/14)

Speaking of gifts, tomorrow is Avery’s actual birthday. Above is a photo of her last present, which is from us, so she’ll have something to open. There’s also a chance we’ll be joining some friends for ice skating tomorrow. They too have a daughters whose birthday falls on the 29th and they invited us to join them. We have never taken the kids ice skating, so this should definitely be an adventure.

Shortly after our meeting with our landlord, we decided to lounge around and watch a Christmas movie together. With me not feeling well and all of us a little worn out from Thanksgiving, it was nice to just “veg” as my dad would call it. Bethany prepared some food and I made popcorn. Avery loves to make popcorn from scratch and watch the popcorn pop on the stove top. She giggles and says, “That’s silly!” which I think is just hilarious. We had a lot of fun just hanging around today and being together. Hopefully I can feel good for ice skating tomorrow and Avery’s birthday. Being sick just isn’t fun, especially when you’re trying to celebrate holidays and birthdays!

D.

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)

M.

Meeting Our Landlord and Seeing Our Apartment

Czech Life (6/30/14)

For the first time since we arrived in Czech we got to go inside of our new apartment. We have been staying in a another missionary’s place temporarily as we wait for our shipping container to arrive, but today we actually got the keys to go and see where we’ll be living for at least two years.

We had a meeting with the landlord around noon and she doesn’t speak English so our friend Mel drove over to help us communicate and make sure all the paperwork was in order. It’s a great place that we think should work well for us. I hope to post photos as soon we get the time to shoot them. After our walkthrough, Mel, myself, and our landlord drove to the electric company to transfer the power into our name–I didn’t even know that was on the agenda. Sadly, because we don’t have visas yet, the electric company said they couldn’t process the request yet and we’ll have to go back. Hopefully we’ll get our visa approvals soon so there won’t be any issues in the future.

Helena (our landlord) is actually a very sweet lady. She brought little chocolate wafers for our kids and even offered to upgrade us to a larger garage on the property for about $10/mo more which we did. This was a blessing from the Lord as we really do need the extra space for storage and it looks like we should have plenty of room now. Before we arrived she had already added our name to the call box outside the gate (shown in the photo above) and in general she was just really kind to us. We look forward to getting to know her more, even though it will be a challenge with the language barrier.

Czech Life (6/30/14)

It basically rained all day today. For us southern Californians it’s a nice change. Titus really wanted to go to the park, but it was just too wet to make that happen so we let the kids jump in puddles and play on the sidewalk as we walked to and from our new apartment. Rain is very common in this area so I’m starting to wonder how we’re going to get creative with things to do for the kids when it’s too wet to go outside.

Tomorrow we have the exciting task of going to get our mail at the post office. Apparently some things came in already and so we got a slip from our landlord telling us to go and pick it up. According to our friend Mel this is, “one of those cultural experiences you just need to have.” He was laughing when he said that and it sounded more sinister than sincere. I guess we’ll take it one day at a time…what else can you do?

Czech Life (6/30/14)