Avery Tried to Eat Money and Titus Broke Glass

Avery tried to eat a Czech crown today. Thankfully it was the smallest coin of the lot, but in her attempt to do so it caused her to throw up…all over our bed. Avery has been sick like the rest of us, and kind of like me, she’s slow to recover. I realize she’s only three years old, but when she gets sick it lingers. Today she found a little pile of coins on my night stand (I will often empty my pockets at night and leave coins there) and in the process just decided to see what it would taste like. As Bethany describes it, Avery immediately threw up and then told Bethany, “I ate the money! I ate the money!” and then it actually came out the second time she threw up just a few seconds later. Thankfully she didn’t swallow it and her body did what it was supposed to do–that is, reject foreign objects. Bethany gave her a bath afterward and she seemed to be feeling better. Crisis avoided, I guess. Well, at least the first one.

Later today, Avery was napping and Titus was having “rest time” after he had come home from school. Sometimes Titus will nap in our room while Avery naps in their room because it’s just easier for Avery to fall asleep. Titus doesn’t nap every day, but we still like him to have a little rest time even if he doesn’t fall asleep, which was exactly the case today. Bethany was in the living room when she heard a crash in the bedroom and upon arrival there Titus was sitting on the bed with a broken glass picture frame. It had begun to rain hard this afternoon and he got up to look out the window and when he did that he knocked the picture frame on to the floor, thus breaking the glass, but then he decided it pick it up (yes, even the broken glass) and put it on the bed. When Bethany got there he was crying, not because he was hurt (thankfully), but because he was sad about breaking it. He said to her, “Mommy, I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” She told him she didn’t care about the frame but wanted to make sure he was OK. He was and all was alright. I think it was just shortly after this event that I received a text from Bethany which read, “It’s been a rough day. Do you know when you’re leaving?” (as in, when I would be leaving the JV offices). I left the office soon after and came home.

Bethany is 39 weeks pregnant and she’s been pretty uncomfortable the past few days. Today was hard on her, but she still amazes me with her attitude in the midst of it. She wasn’t complaining when I came home, but just mostly tired and in need of help. I did my best to pick up the house and help get things cleaned up (including the glass) but my job was so minimal compared to hers today. I tried to explain this to Titus tonight when he wanted to play with me. I said, “Buddy, mommy has been taking care of you and Avery all day and now she needs our help. We need to work and help her and then if we have time we can do something else.” The kids did help me. They picked up different things and Titus helped me vacuum. They also recognize when mommy needs help, even though they don’t always know what that looks like.

Thank you, wife, for always being an example to me of godly character in the midst of life’s chaos.


Coins and Cleaning

The Saturday Paper (5/16/15)

I found the kids this morning sitting on the kitchen floor “reading” the newspaper (shown in the photo above). Actually, it’s not a newspaper, but an advertisement for a kids store here in Czech and apparently they found a few things of interest and were spending time talking about what they wanted to buy. I took this photo because in my mind they were just some old couple hanging out on a Saturday morning, drinking coffee, and reading the paper. Every few seconds Avery would say, “Can I get this one?” and point to some Disney princess thing and Titus was finding every Lego item on the page saying that’s what he was going to buy. We’re actually trying to teach them about money and how to save and think about things so we’ve been giving them “jobs” around the house which pays a few Czech crowns. It’s all really fun until they realize they don’t have enough money to buy the things they want and then the tears start flowing. It’s all part of the learning process.

As for the rest of the day we really just spent time cleaning and hanging out as a family. It was nice to get some things back in order and have the kids help clean up and do a little work around the house. We’ve had this annoying baseboard in our living room that kept coming off so I finally got some glue that I’m hoping will keep it on. We made it through all the dishes and I’ve got another load ready to go, and Bethany has been working on cleaning the sheets and getting the kids’ room a little more orderly before Papa and Nana come next Sunday. Speaking of Papa and Nana, we also spent time with them over Skype/FaceTime this evening as they prepare to fly next Saturday for their first trip to our place in Czech. They are mostly coming to help with the new baby, but we’re hoping to get them out to see some of Europe if we can. They are also bringing us some American goodies which will be fun too!

OK, that’s all for today. We’ll see ya tomorrow!


Please Sign Receipt

Man am I dumb. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking, but what is done is done. In the words of Kronk in the Disney movie The Emporer’s New Groove, “I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me.”

Tonight I needed to to go to the store and pick one item: a metric screwdriver. I decided I would take the kids with me, get gas, and then hit the store. I went to the local Kaufland mainly because (to be honest) I was avoiding the drunk guys hanging out at the other store I usually go to. Everything went great. We found the screwdriver, it was cheap, and then I got the kids some gummy bears just for a fun thing to do since we were out. I wen through the checkout stand, paid, signed the receipt and off we went. As we walked to the car in the parking lot I said, “Who wants a gummy bear?!” to the kids who both said, “ME!” Oh I wish it ended there.

As I was buckeling Avery in to her car seat a store employee came running outside to me, yelling at me in Czech. The only things I could understand was “kartu” (which means card) and “podpis” (which means signature). I pulled the receipt out of my pocket and showed it to her but she kept motioning for me to come back inside. I told her “moment!” and got the kids out of the car and went back in.

Card Problems (2/11/15)

When I got back to the register where I paid there was a huge line of people and now three different employees who were visibly upset and trying to fix the computer which apparently had frozen after I left. My total was still on the screen and it read “Please sign receipt” on the card reader. Again, I showed my receipt to a second employee who was now picking up a phone and calling someone (you can see her in the photo above trying to get the computer to work). Titus said to me, “Daddy, are we done?” Of course, I couldn’t answer him because I really didn’t know what was going on. After a few minutes of button pushing and a phone call the lady finally came around and got under the register to where the cables were (see photo below).

Card Problems (2/11/15)

I think she reset the computer or something because a few minutes later they cleared the screen and said I could go. During all of this I had said to myself, “I’m not showing them my card again,” mainly because I had an authorization code on my receipt and I didn’t want to be double charged. They told me I could leave and as I was about to step away the lady said, “Chislo! Kartu!” which literally means “Number! Card!” Apparently, she wanted my card number. I said “Ne chislo!” and showed my receipt but they weren’t going for that. So in a moment of confusion and just not knowing what to do I pulled my card out and that’s when they started writing it down on the back of another receipt. I told them I was upset and didn’t like it, but couldn’t communicate that well. The clerk who spoke a little English said, “You don’t have to worry” which is theologically accurate but didn’t really calm my worry in the moment. So now my debit card number is on the back of some receipt at some store in Czech.

After rushing home, I put a hold on my card and will keep it that way for a few days. I’m actually kind of a freak about that stuff to the point where I don’t even share passwords, numbers, or just about anything over the Internet or on paper. If I absolutely have to write something like that down, it ends up going through the shredder. Even in our home I find myself whispering that kind of info to Bethany because you just never know who’s listening! Unfortunately, I just can’t cancel my card because having one shipped to Czech is even more difficult so I will just have to trust the Lord. Lord willing, it won’t be misused and hopefully will be thrown away! Like I said, I’m dumb.

New Print (2/11/15)

Ironically, I hung the above frame and print in my team’s office at Josiah Venture today. It says, “Never Stop Learning.” It’s really a philosophy I live by and am applying tonight. I thought “never give your card number to a stranger” was a given, but when you’re in a new place and unsure what to do you can find yourself doing weird things. Hopefully I learned something tonight.


A Slow Jog and Stories That Stick

Ding–early this morning I get a text message from an unknown number. It’s all written in Czech. Just then a Czech friend walked in to the office and I said, “Can you help me read this?” “It’s your gas company…you need to pay your bill.” I promise I’m not irresponsible, but I just can’t win at the whole bill payment thing in Czech. A few more minutes online and my friend was able to help me pay the gas bill, but it’s definitely embarrassing and confusing. That company sent us a letter that we showed to another Czech friend who said they would automatically debit those things from our bank account. I guess that wasn’t the case, so tomorrow I’ll setup a regular online payment. Even as I say that, I have a paper sitting next to me to pay for Titus’ preschool which requires an online bank transfer. If I figure this without losing my mind I’ll turn up “We Are the Champions” and slow jog around the house in victory.

Read the Kids' Bible (10/22/14)

Every night we read the kids their Big Picture Story Bible. We just finished our seventh or eighth time through and have restarted again this week. Tonight we were reading about the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As I opened to the chapter the title read, “A really sad day” which I read aloud to the kids. Avery immediately said, “They ate from the tree…” and followed that with “Adam and Eve disobeyed God and He disciplined them.” She remembered the entire story and I hadn’t even started to read! Now I know kids are sponges, but Avery (who’s almost three) surprised me. I guess it’s the beauty of repetition and stories. Both are so powerful. Like a song chorus that gets stuck in your head, repetition provides an easy way to secure something in your mind. Stories have the same effect with their powerful word pictures and emotional connection. It’s so fun to see it all at work in the lives of our children, and better still, that it’s the truths from the Bible that are sticking.

Read the Kids' Bible (10/22/14)

At the end of the chapter tonight there’s a page about God giving Adam and Eve a glimpse in to how He would one day defeat Satan and sin. Titus saw Jesus standing on the snake and said, “Jesus!” and the kissed the book. Then he said, “He killed the snake!” Yes, He did and by His grace Titus will have a full understanding of what exactly that means in his own life some day. Until then we’ll continue to read to him and Avery the big story of God and trust their view of God will grow too. That’s not just a hope and prayer for the kids, but for Bethany and for me.