A.

And We Wait

As I write a storm has quickly moved in, taking over what was a beautiful sunny day. Rain is now falling and I believe the forecast is calling for thunderstorms in to the evening. I had been playing with the kids outside just a few minutes ago, but with the weather abruptly changing we put all the yard toys away and I’m glad we did because it was only seconds after we came outside that these big drops started coming down. As Titus said, “Whew… that was a close one!”

Waiting (5/30/15)

It was outside in the yard that I got the above photo of Avery. Titus has a mini basketball that we were playing with and we jokingly were putting them under our shirts and telling Bethany to come to the window to look at us. Avery wanted to join the action too and this was the photo I was able to capture of her. I think it tells the story of how we wall feel right now as we wait for this little baby to come. Someone asked me the other day when Bethany’s due date is and I responded, “Some where between May 28 and June 1.” I feel like this is the first time we really don’t have a really accurate date. At least for me there’s been some confusion on the due date based on how the doctor here was measuring the baby, so needless to say we don’t exactly know a perfect date. Bethany had some early contractions (if we can call them that) last night, so we’re keeping a close watch on her. The drive to the hospital is about 40 minutes so I want to make sure we have plenty of time to make our way there. We drove the route yesterday and there’s some new road work being done that caused some traffic, but I’m hopeful it won’t affect us when we’re in need to get to the hospital quickly!

This morning I was gone for about four hours because I was a tiny part of the Josiah Venture intern training event going on at Malenovice. All of the summer interns arrived this week and they are getting trained on a lot of different things for this year’s summer ministry. I had a small presentation on social media and some of the projects my team will be working on which require the help of the interns. I regret not taking a photo of the room and seeing the excitement these mostly college aged students have for the gospel of Christ. Shortly after my presentation, I was meeting with another missionary serving in Ukraine, trying to help her setup a document for translating the harmony of the gospels into the Ukrainian language. Hopefully my little skill in technical design software will help aid her in getting the Scripture in to the hands of the people in Ukraine. That country has been in such turmoil the past few years and they are in constant need of God’s Word and the prayers of the Saints. Please pray for ministry there that even in the midst of much conflict, God’s Word would be proclaimed.

The smell of lasagna is wafting towards me while Bethany, Papa, and Nana work in the kitchen making my absolute favorite meal. It’s been fun to have help with meals and things around the house this past week and we’re thankful for Bethany’s parents willingness to come all this way to do just that. So while we wait for the arrival this little one we’re continuing to enjoy the time with them and I’m looking forward to enjoying this wonderful meal tonight that smells so good!

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!

S.

Storming the Castle

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

I was up and out the door early this morning to get our car to the mechanic. Again our friend Tadek met me and drove with me to the mechanic’s shop so he could make sure everything was taken care of and that I would be able to get a ride home. It was a gamble leaving our car for the day with Bethany so clue to having the baby, so I had a “back pocket” plan of using a friend’s car should we need it. Thankfully we didn’t to go to plan B as we’re still waiting for our little girl’s arrival. I got the car back late this afternoon and it’s all fixed. This week alone we’ve put on new tires, had an oil change, brakes changed, and even some joints repaired along with a realignment. Driving the car today felt like a new experience and I’m excited to have that stuff all done and taken care of.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

Before lunch Papa and I took the kids to the park while Nana and Bethany worked on the house. They are trying to get our bedroom ready for the arrival of the baby which involved some furniture being moved and getting things organized so we have a spot for the bassinet and changing table. It’s looking good! Back at the park we had the place to ourselves and I think it was mostly because it was a little cooler out this morning. Above is a photo of Papa and Titus on the little spring seat thing that goes back and forth.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

Avery had begun working in the sand so the boys joined her and thus began construction on a super sand castle. I appreciate Papa’s willingness to literally get his hands dirty with the kids and just sit in the sand and play with them. As the castle grew in size they began adding flags to the top of the towers (shown below).

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

While walking back home for lunch we stopped off at a little memorial thing that I’m pretty sure was erected by the Germans at some point. Here’s Titus and Avery climbing on it and claiming it as their own.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

One of the things we’ve been wanting to do since Papa and Nana arrive is walk over to the castle ruins that are literally down the street from our place. If you’re an avid reader of the blog, you’ve seen this place before but each time we go it’s more amazing than the last. The sun broke through just as we were walking there today and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Here’s a few photos with captions beneath each one.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

This is the river the separates Czech and Poland.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

Just across the river in Poland.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

Just another shot of the city that sits right next to the castle ruins.

Thursday Fun (5/28/15)

The view from the top of the tower. It cost $1.50 for us to walk to the top. I carried Avery up all the stairs while Titus and Papa walked it. The views are incredible up there and everything just looked so peaceful. Everything to the left of the river is Poland and to the right is Czech. Our city is a little like Kansas City in the States as it sits across two countries. Pretty wild! Click the photo for a much larger view.

It was just a great time together and we’re continuing to enjoy our time as a family and having Papa and Nana in town. Until tomorrow, good night!

P.

Prepping For Baby

With the help of a Czech friend, I was finally able to get our winter tires changed over to spring ones. Sadly, however, the weather didn’t seem to get the message that it’s actually spring. This morning as I walked with Titus to school it was 46 degrees fahrenheit! I realize it’s technically still spring, but it’s the end of May. For this California native, wearing a jacket in May is like…actually, I have no comparison. I don’t know if I’ve ever worn a jacket in May. But I digress.

With a jacket on, I gave my father-in-law a quick tour of the town this morning. I needed show him where the little grocery stores are and how to get around just in case this baby decides to come soon and they are in need of food. We’re hearing that when she does go into labor she’ll be in the Czech hospital for at least three days so we’re prepping Papa and Nana for life abroad with two little ones while we’re at the hospital. It was fun to quickly walk the town and see Bethany’s dad’s reaction to walking around a European city. I remember that feeling well and every now and then it bubbles up which is really fun.

Playing and Having Fun (5/27/15)

Another friend, Romi, came over today to help Bethany fill out all the paperwork for the hospital. Bethany said it was a lot more than she had thought and she was very thankful for Romi’s assistance. During Romi’s visit, I drove Papa, Nana, and the kids over to the local grocery story, again, to give them the lay of the land in case they need to go to a bigger store for anything. We needed some groceries anyway so it worked out. There was lots of new fun things at the store today, including a bunch of Kellogg’s brand cereals. I was actually shocked because normally the cereal aisle is pretty limited. Needless to say we bought a box of “Frosties” (aka: Frosted Flakes) just because we could. Here’s a photo of Avery in the cereal aisle in her little car cart (if you look closely you can see a box of “Frosties” in the bottom left).

Playing and Having Fun (5/27/15)

When we got home from the store Avery wanted to park the car like Titus did the other day, so I let get some time behind the wheel while Papa captured video. Avery is clearly not as aggressive as Titus, but I think I like her style. Here’s what he got.

Playing and Having Fun (5/27/15)

After the successful car parking, Titus had started a pickup game of baseball with Nana so Avery, Papa, and I joined in on the fun. Titus eventually let me bat and after hitting what I believe was a line drive over the third baseman’s head, he chased me down and tagged me out. Papa somehow captured a short video of that as well and here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Finally we ate fast food tonight and went to a grocery store in Poland to find a baby bath sponge pad. We had tried different stores today but were unsuccessful and found one tonight in Poland which was a great. We got back kind of late so we quickly put the kids to bed and now I’m ready for the dream world as well. Good night!

P.

Papa and Nana Go To Poland

I don’t believe the sun has come out a single time since Papa and Nana arrived, but we’re doing our best to make the most of this rainy weather. Tonight we decided to make our way across the border for a little dinner out. Technically, we could’ve walked but with all the rain we decided to drive and stay dry. We took everyone to the place that Bethany have been to just a few times, a nice little restaurant on the town square in Cieszyn (photo of the outside below).

Dinner in Poland (5/26/15)

For Papa and Nana, this was really their first European meal experience and they loved it! We all ordered something different and just enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the rain coming down outside. Titus and Avery did pretty well while we all talked and just spent the evening together as a family. There’s something very nice about restaurants here that is not common in Southern California, mainly the calm and quiet. You don’t find yourself yelling over the table to have a conversation or feeling rushed by a waiter trying to get you out the door. I think Papa and Nana were very impressed with the meal and loved all the new flavors. We even had time (and room in our bellies!) for dessert which included Tiramisu, ice cream with hot raspberry sauce, and hot apple tart. Not a bad way to enjoy a meal out with Papa and Nana!

Dinner in Poland (5/26/15)

After dinner the kids wanted to run around the fountain in the town square and despite the rain we decided to let them. They had their rain boots on, so “jumping in muddy puddles” was first on the priority list. Papa and Nana had their phones out and were capturing personal photos and video and the kids were as happy as clams. I was very content just watching them play with my hood on and rain falling all around. I think for all of us it was a really great evening together as we wait for the arrival of baby #3.

Dinner in Poland (5/26/15)

Bethany is still feeling those early contraction pains, but nothing has been too intense yet. Our Czech friend Romi is coming over tomorrow afternoon to help finish up some final paperwork that we need for the hospital so that will be a huge help and load off of us. I’m really hoping we’ll have everything in place before Bethany goes in to labor because it’s already complicated enough just having a baby in a foreign country. Continue to pray for us if you think about it!

I continued to battle sinus headaches today and this afternoon it got really bad. I tried to lay down, but just couldn’t fall asleep as my head was pounding. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but this is about as bad as it’s been since I first started experiencing sinus problems back in college. I’m experiencing a little relief this evening, but am hoping that this pain will subside soon. I can handle headaches for a short time, but when they go on for hours it’s really hard on me. Again, if you think of us, pray for me and this continued health struggle.

I don’t want to end on that low note because today was a pretty fun day for all of us. We’re excited to have family here and even more excited about meeting this new addition to our family!