A.

A Tooth Tale

Stuck in the Middle (6/16/15)

Ever since I got hit in the face with a baseball while warming up for a Little League game when I was nine, my teeth have never been OK. I’ve had multiple root canals to fix problems, oral surgery, and my front teeth are only half real. I brush, I floss, I get regular cleanings and checkups, but even this past January I had to have another root canal on one of my front teeth that was damaged when I was nine. It’s not my favorite by any means, but it’s just reality.

This morning I was flossing (yes, flossing!) and the floss got stuck. As I gently tried to remove it, the floss tore and was literally stuck between my teeth. It started hurting instantly because of the pressure it added and I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to get it out. Eventually I ran to the store to find some kind of tooth to try and fix it, but what I ended up buying just wouldn’t work. Finally, I gave up and called a friend to see if they could suggest a dentist. He pointed me to his dentist, I called, and I got an appointment for 7pm this evening.

Stuck in the Middle (6/16/15)

I didn’t even consider driving (OK, maybe for a second, but that’s just because I’m lazy). It took me 9 minutes to walk to the dentist. I crossed the border into Poland and while literally standing on the border there was a car with a camper trailer. The camper was parked in Poland and the car was in Czech. Below is a photo I got during the walk. It’s a ridiculously beautiful 9 minute walk.

Stuck in the Middle (6/16/15)

While walking up the street towards the address I had this is what I saw (below). The dental office sign is the gray one in the foreground on the right.

Stuck in the Middle (6/16/15)

I don’t know what I expected when I got inside, but it was super nice in there. Only about one human can walk down the hall at a time, but here’s a photo of the entry / waiting room.

Stuck in the Middle (6/16/15)

The dentist finished up with another patient and saw me in. Thankfully, he spoke great English and was able to start working on me right away. It actually took a lot longer than I thought. Little by little he worked away until he got all the floss out. I didn’t even know floss could do that. When he was finished I asked him if I should floss tomorrow and he said, “Well, if you want to?” Maybe I misunderstood because his first language is Polish, but for me that translated to: A DENTIST TOLD ME I DON’T HAVE TO FLOSS TOMORROW! Cue “We Are the Champions!”

I really wish there was a moral to this story, but alas I have none. In fact, even telling a tooth story is a bad idea. That’s why on today’s post I leave you with this four minute video clip and words of wisdom from comedian Brian Regan.

B.

Better Than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I fell down flat on my bottom while playing soccer with Titus this evening in the back yard. It’s been drizzling and raining on and off today and the grass was a little slick. In a classic move out of an America’s Funniest Home Video I slipped and hit the ground hard. Even though the ground was wet, I stayed down. It hurt. Titus said, “I’m sorry you got hurt, Daddy. It was a little bit funny though.” I’m sure it was, but I wasn’t laughing. After icing my elbow and a couple Aleve pain pills I’m still hurting. I guess I’m just getting old.

Speaking of getting old, it’s my birthday. Yup. I’m 31. To celebrate I stayed up really late last night and watched the Dodgers win in 12 innings. That’s always fun. But beyond that it’s been a pretty regular day. I worked from home and we had one short time out this morning to take Karis to the doctor, but as usual that didn’t go as planned. We missed the opening time slot by 15 minutes and will now try again at 9am on Wednesday.

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

Speaking of Karis, I took her passport photo today. This also proved to be difficult. The U.S. government has strict requirements for how the photo is to be taken, the sizing of the photo, the size of the head, the height of the eyes from the bottom of the photo, the lighting, etc. And not mention we’re working with a two week old so that’s a challenge. Thankfully I have professional lighting equipment from all the photography I did in the States and that came in really handy. I had to take the photo from above her while she laid down on a white sheet and Bethany held her arms down because she kept putting them in her face. Here are a few photos I got. I love the one of her cracking a half smile.

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

Our Internet is down right now. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but around 5pm today it just stopped. I’m using my phone to post this post. Like the Internet, our kids have struggled today too. By struggled, I mean they have just had a hard time obeying. They still managed to make me birthday cards and give me a nice new shirt for my birthday. They also colored me a few pictures including a Star Wars Angry Bird color book page and Curious George on that Avery printed off the Internet (yes, my three year old can print color pages off the Internet!).

On My Birthday (6/15/15)

Bethany baked cupcakes for me and inside they had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that were imported from the U.S.! Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me (or as Avery sang, “Happy burstday”). It was awesome–definitely the highlight of an otherwise average day. I’m definitely thankful for the amazing wife and great kids the Lord has given me. They are my favorite gifts this year and every year. Even better than new shirts and Reese’s!

B.

Back to Church and Another Goodbye

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

It was a joy to be back at church today as we were out two weeks ago when Karis was born and last week there was actually no church (well, it was in another town, but that’s hard for me to explain). Today it was just Titus and I as Bethany stayed home with Karis and Avery. For the first time Titus stayed in his class without my or Bethany’s supervision and according to our friend Kristin, he did a really good job! This was really encouraging and I was impressed when I dropped him off because he was totally willing to be there by himself and the teacher was so kind to him. Back in the main service there was a baby dedication which included a bunch of special songs from little kids which were great. I wasn’t tracking with everything that was going on, but it’s very similar to what you might find in the states. I think the pastor prayed a special blessing on the parents and there were about four or five babies being dedicated.

The sermon today was out of 1 Peter, but to be honest that’s about all I got. There was a lot of prayer during the service today which I think is really cool. Often on a Sunday morning there is open prayer time for the body to stand and just pray. Even though I can’t usually hear the prayers, I’m always encouraged by how the saints pray. After the service, the pastor stopped me at the door and in broken English congratulated me on the birth of Karis. He told me to send his regards to Bethany and that they were excited for us. It was really kind and I was glad he stopped me to say that.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

After church Titus and I did a little shopping for mommy and the girls and most Sundays we end up getting donuts at the store. Today we found donuts for everyone, including a tiny one for little baby Karis. We were really proud and when I got it home Avery was jumping up and down with excitement and couldn’t believe they made tiny donuts for babies.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

The kids love Karis right now. Titus especially has been doing a really good job of being gentle with her and talking sweet to her. Today I caught him lying on the ground next to hear talking “baby talk” with her and I got the above photo. It was only a small moment in time, but it one worth capturing.

Even though it was in the low 90s today, we still found time to go outside for a little bit. Here’s a few photos.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

Late this afternoon we went out to a friend’s house to say goodbye to our friend Katka. Early tomorrow morning she is leaving Czech and moving to Latvia as a missionary. Katka has a pretty amazing story as she’s a Czech national who is now being sent out to another European country as a missionary to serve the people there. It was a sweet time this afternoon just hanging out and enjoying some barbecue with her and a bunch of her friends. As a bonus, she got to meet Karis along with a few other people who haven’t been able to see her in person yet. Here’s a few photos (with captions beneath each).

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Katka holding Karis.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Here’s Lauren holding Karis. If you don’t remember, Lauren was our doula at the Czech hospital and a huge help! This was the first time she had seen her since she was born.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

During the afternoon Avery decided to start collecting pinecones and putting them in our stroller. She was really proud of it.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

The pinecone collection.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

The little boys started a soccer game.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Here’s everyone hanging out (especially that guy on the right). We hope you were blessed today, Katka! We look forward to hearing what God does through you in Latvia.

P.

Papa and Nana Go Home

There was a moment about half-way home on our train ride this morning when Avery said, “Where’s Papa and Nana?” Clearly she didn’t understand what we were doing a few hours earlier when we said goodbye to them in Prague. But that’s just what we did. We said goodbye.

Goodbyes are never easy. We left pretty early today and we’re still suffering from minimal sleep with a newborn, so that’s probably why I wasn’t as emotional as I can be at times when we say goodbye (I honestly felt like I was more in survival mode). But now as I write it’s getting to me. Papa and Nana are special people and we’re so thankful they were able to with us these past few weeks. It really seems like it flew by in a flash, but that’s to be expected with all that has gone on with Karis’ birth and us traveling a little bit with them. Just a few days ago when we were with them and our friends Zach and Kara, Zach said to me, “Isn’t it cool to have family here?”

Papa and Nana Left (6/13/15)

As another missionary who lives here in Czech, Zach understands the flood of familiar that washes over you when someone you know, and know well, visits you here. It’s really cool. Finally you can show them your house which they have only seen through the periscope lens of video chat. Then you can show them your town and where your kids go to school and what you do to buy food. You can laugh as they too experience what it’s like to live in another culture, not know the language, and fumble your way around just to buy a few things at the store. Even with all the language apps on our phones and modern advances, it’s still hard. And even more than all of that, you get the opportunity to have those late night chats and catch up on life and talk about what God is teaching you and share about life here. For a moment you feel like they might understand better the things you say because they can see it happen and are experiencing it too. You know when they leave that you can talk differently with them because they actually have some point of reference for what you’re talking about and that’s just somewhat comforting.

If all has gone as planned, Papa and Nana are somewhere over the Atlantic en route to their final destination on the West Coast. And as we walked home today from the train station as a family I said something to Bethany to the effect of, “And then there were five.” It’s just us now. For the first time since Karis was born we’re back on our own. Bethany said to me, “We can do this.” We both laughed. What she means is, “We can handle this. We can be a family of five. We’ll make it.” Yes. By God’s grace, we’ll figure out how to function as a family with our newest daughter. We’ll manage to get through those sleepless nights, still get up to take Titus to school, make time for language learning, and do all that God has called us to do. But the Lord in his good grace gave us Papa and Nana to get us jump started in that process and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you, Papa and Nana, for your kindness to us, for sacrificing your time and energy for our family, and for loving us so well. We love you.

K.

Karis Takes Her First Bath (in Prague)

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

We’ve had a pretty low-key day. That’s not usually what you would say about hanging out with family in Prague, but it’s kind of how things got planned today. Most of the sights that Papa and Nana wanted to visit they saw yesterday and as Nana said, “Once you see the Prague castle, what else really compares to that?” Good point.

Despite the minimal plan today, we did manage to squeeze in a little bath time. I mean that literally. We used a little human and a little sink, right here in our little rented apartment in Prague. Karis had baths in the hospital, but this was the first one we did ourselves and it was a family event today as we gathered around the tiny sink in the tiny kitchen.

Things started out OK, but as Bethany took off Karis’ diaper and Nana was holding Karis, there was some hesitation on getting her in to the sink and Karis ended up peeing on Nana. It was actually hilarious in the moment and everyone was laughing, which was great. I have a video of it, but I’m gonna save that one for the family. Things progressed fine beyond that, but I’d rather tell that story in photos.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

Karis is all ready for the bath (this would be pre-pee).

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

Here she is in the sink. She was actually a little too big for the sink so Nana held her head and we had a soft sponge cushion under her.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

It apparently takes three generations of women to wash this baby because here’s an overhead shot of Avery, Nana, and Bethany taking care of business. Avery seems just OK about all of this.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

The final rinse off.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

Here she is coming out of the sink and in to the towel. Oh yes, you needed this play by play.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

The final result: a clean, happy, baby girl.

Karis' First Bath (6/12/15)

All of the excitement was a little much for both Papa and Karis so they fell asleep on the bed not long afterwards. No, this is not a joke, they are both actually sleeping.

The rest of the afternoon we did a little shopping and mostly just hung around the apartment. Papa and Nana had to pick up a few things to take back to the States and I actually bought a $7 shirt because I didn’t pack enough clothes. We went out for dinner again and enjoyed a nice walk there and back. The restaurant gave the kids balloons and Avery was ecstatic about hers. Here she is enjoying it.

Avery's Balloon (6/12/15)

It’s bitter sweet tonight as we pick and get ready for an early train back home tomorrow. Papa and Nana fly out shortly after we leave on the train so we’ll be saying our goodbyes from the apartment in the morning. It’s bitter, of course, because they are leaving but it’s sweet because we have had a great time with them and have enjoyed their company and all their help. I’m sure there will be a few tears shed in the morning and that will be just fine. We have had some great moments together and that’s usually worth a few tears in the end.

Until then, good night!