F.

Father’s Day in Prague

Happy Father’s Day!

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

In another incredible adventure we have made our way today back to Prague. I never thought we would end up here as much as we have, especially in the past few weeks, but it’s been really fun and crazy all at the same time. Just like we did a few weeks ago, we made our here today via the train station right by our house. We walked there this morning, caught an 8am train and got into Prague about 20 minutes after noon. Below are a few photos from the train ride, including the one above. In the photos below we walked to the “kids car” and played for a bit. These aren’t are actual seats (those were in a different car), but the kids made a little friend while we were in the there.

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

When we got in to Prague we made our way down to the Metro (subway) and accidentally got on the wrong side of the tracks, took the elevator back up and over, and finally got to where we needed to be. We packed really light this trip since we’ll only be here one night so it wasn’t too bad getting around with all five of us. The Metro took us to a transfer station where we caught another Metro headed towards a lunch place that we made reservations at. There is a burger joint in Prague that supposedly has the one of the top five burgers in Europe and a friend had recommended it. Since burgers are my favorite thing on the planet and they are not super common here, we had to go for it. I’m STOKED we did because it was amazing and my Father’s Day belly left full and happy! Here’s a photos of the kids and Bethany as we walked.

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

What I never understood as just a tourist, but now understand so much better, is if you’re going to stay in big European cities…rent an apartment. Tonight we are staying in a literal castle view apartment that is about a stones throw from the U.S. Embassy (which is why we’re here this weekend) and it’s costing us less than you’re cheap Motel 6 in the States. Not only that, but this is a large 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen! Check out this view from one of our windows.

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Here’s a few more shots from around the building.

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Here’s a view of the American flag that we can see flying above the embassy from the other side of our apartment (small flag in the upper left).

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Tonight we (unbelievably) had dinner on a boat on the river, in Prague, with a view of the Charles Bridge and the castle. I’m not kidding you. I never in my life thought I would ever get to say or write that, but it’s another recommended, affordable restaurant that was walking distance from our apartment. The only issue we had was that the kids kept asking why the boat wasn’t moving! Here’s a few photos from the place and then a shot of it from the bridge.

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

The restaurant is in the middle boat (dead center) next to the wall (in the photo below)

Father's Day in Prague (6/21/15)

Our appointment for Karis’ U.S. citizenship, passport, and social security card is tomorrow at 9:00am so we’ll be up early to get packed up and make sure we get to our appointment early. I’ve tried to check and re-check every document that is required and we’re really hoping the process will go smoothly. I no reason to doubt that it will, but I’m always weary of government things like this, even ones that only involve the U.S.! Pray for us as we go tomorrow that things would be in order and go smoothly so we can get Karis’ documents and then take the next step towards getting her a visa.

Well, that’s not a bad way to spend a Father’s Day and not a bad way to end this post. 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.

T.

Then We Went to Prague

We’ve lost our minds. At least that’s the only explanation I can give for what we’ve done in the past week and a half. First, Bethany delivered Karis in a Czech hospital, we stayed in the hospital for 72 hours, we went to Krakow, we went to Auschwitz, and now I’m sitting in an apartment in Prague with our family plus Papa and Nana! We came here by train today (4 hour ride), walked to our apartment from the station, met our friends Zach and Kara for dinner, and as I write I can overlook the same square where communism fell in this country back in 1989.

The We Went to Prague (6/10/15)

Above is a photo of Karis riding the train and in the background you can see Avery and Titus asleep on their seats (actually, Bethany is also asleep in her chair but she’s off camera). Before anyone judges me for taking two young children, an infant, and a mommy who just gave birth to another European city, I can honestly say that a lot of this is because Bethany was totally up for it. Her parents will leave from Prague on Saturday and they too wanted to visit this beautiful city so we figured out a way to do it all before they leave. We’ll be here tomorrow and Friday and then we’ll come back on an early morning train on Saturday when we say goodbye to Papa and Nana as they head home to Washington State. I’m hope the next few days will be a joy for us all and a great end to a really incredible time together.

I mentioned we had dinner with Zach and Kara, but we also got to introduce them to Karis. Zach was saying when he saw our announcement that Karis was born that in that moment he realized, “oh man…now they’re outnumbered!” It’s true. I’m definitely still adjusting to a third child and I realized this more on the train ride over. It’s a lot of work to pull together all the stuff we need to spend a few days away as a family. This was always true with just Titus and Avery, but with baby Karis in the mix we’ve added a stroller, car seat, baby bag, and some ridiculous amount of diapers. Thankfully she’s been an incredible little baby thus far.

It’s just past 11pm and I’m pretty tired so we’re going to hit the hay. We’ll see you tomorrow!

A.

A Lot of Travel, A Little Sleep

Now I know how Santa feels. We have spent over 10 hours in the sky today (I am writing this on the airplane), and even though the miracle of flight is still amazing, it’s just a long time on an airplane. By the end it’ll be close to 13 hours on a plane, a few hours in airports, and another 3 hours in the car. The kids have done pretty well all things considered (e.g. early morning, a plane change, and basically just sitting in chairs literally all day). However, at one point about halfway through our flight Avery said, “I want to go outside.” Poor kid.

What’s really strange about today is it will be a very long day for us. Flying from Prague to Seattle means we actually gain nine hours of time during travel because of the time zones we cross. So I guess we’re just extending our Christmas Eve to squeeze in more holiday shopping? I’m sure there are a few shoppers out there that would appreciate the extra time more than I will today.

I’m finishing this blog in Yakima where it’s 7pm and I’ve manage to stay awake long enough to finish this. And before I type something weird, I’m going to end this quickly. Here’s a few snapshots I took today (a photo from each country we were in). Hopefully tomorrow’s post will be more inclusive but I am so tired right now I can barely focus my eyes to type this

The Longest Christmas Eve (12/24/14)

This is Titus in Prague early this morning before boarding our plane.

The Longest Christmas Eve (12/24/14)

Here’s us walking through the airport in Holland. Bethany is Dutch so it was like she was back with her people (OK, not really, but that’s what I was saying while we were there)!

The Longest Christmas Eve (12/24/14)

Here’s the snow we saw on the way to Yakima, Washington today. And………. good night!

A.

A Trip to Prague

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Oh, you know how it goes. You spend two days packing and making sure everything is ready to go. You stay up late the night before the big trip just to make sure you’ve packed everything. A few things get added to your luggage, you mark off your packing list, and then you zip up your bags and put them by the door for an early departure. Then, you barely make your train. But barely is still making it!

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

The train ride today was a lot of fun and I’m actually really glad we got to experience this trip in this way. It’s 4 hours from our place to Prague, but we had our own little mini room with four seats and plenty of space for our all of our stuff. The trains here are incredible and come complete with free coffee, free juice for the kids, and even free WiFi–not to mention pretty reasonably priced tickets. It’s just really nice to be able to sit and relax on the train and let someone else do the driving.

We are staying tonight in a hotel by the airport and will depart early tomorrow morning. Our Czech friend Martina sat with us on Sunday to explain just where to go and how to get around Prague and we had no trouble figuring it out with her directions. To get to the hotel we took a train, a bus from the main train station, and then a shuttle to the airport. It was a lot of maneuvering of baggage and kids but we made it work.

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

One of the highlights was on the bus from the train station to the airport where we talked with a young college student from Instanbul named Umur. He’s studying mechanical engineering in a town near ours but was traveling back to Turkey to see his family for the holiday. He was a really nice guy and was laughing and smiling with our kids. We talked about Turkish kabobs, which he told us were the real ones, and just chatted about different cultures and language. Near us were some young girls who gave their seats to our kids and they were from Portugal. Since everyone spoke English we had fun chatting and joking. It’s so fun to be around so many different cultures and people from different nations. I truly do praise God for the opportunity to talk and meet these young people today.

We had a simple dinner tonight and are getting prepped to give the kids baths and get a short night of sleep. We’ll be up early tomorrow (around 4:30/5:00am) to get to the airport for our 7am departure. Hopefully we’ll get good sleep and be ready for the big 17+ hours of travel ahead of us!

Here’s a bunch more photos from today.

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)

Travel to Prague (12/23/14)