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!

N.

Nana’s Birthday

Today is Nana’s birthday! We celebrated with her in Krakow again today and it was a blast. The day started around 10:00, not because people weren’t awake, but because Bethany and I just had a bit of a rough night with Karis. Karis is doing awesome, but she just decided she wanted to be awake from about 3am on. Not too unexpected for a six day old, so no complaints on our end. But when we did make it out of our rented apartment the first thing on the agenda was a carriage ride through Krakow with the whole family! Below is a photo that Nana took of our new family of five while we were riding the carriage through the Old Town. It’s one the second photo ever taken of the five of us!

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

As you may have guessed, bringing a six day old on a mini vacation has it’s challenges–the main one being that she has to eat often. This brings challenges to trying to plan the day, so we mostly let Nana and Papa explore on their own today and enjoy the parts of the city that they wanted to see. But that wasn’t before our good man, Rick Steves, led us to a great pizza place via his tour book on Krakow. We had his book out while we grabbed fruit smoothies before lunch and found a place called “Cyklop” which serves incredible, gourmet pizza. The pizzas were being made literally in an oven next to our table and it was a great experience.

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

After the kids took naps, I told them we could go to the castle in town. Avery said, “Daddy, can we go to the castle where the princesses live?” to which Titus added quickly, “And the kings!” These kids have seen more castles in a few short years than I’ve seen in my life! As were leaving for the castle (just me, Titus, and Avery–Bethany stayed back to rest with Karis), Papa and Nana were arriving from their excursion and decided to join us. Instead of making the big walk with the kids to the castle, Papa saw a little golf cart service that would drive us up there so we did that. It saved buckets of time and definitely helped our tired legs. We made it to the castle in time to walk around, but were just a little late for tour tickets. Either way it was fun and here’s a few photos.

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

We wanted to do something special for Nana, so on our way back from the castle Bethany gave me instructions to pick up some cupcakes from a little shop we had visited before to celebrate Nana’s birthday. I was hoping to keep it a secret, but because Nana and Papa joined us I let them in on it and allowed Nana to pick a few for herself. We got a dozen cupcakes and took them back to the apartment where we all sang “Happy Birthday” to her. It was a great way to end our time in Krakow before packing up and heading home. Here’s just a sampling of some of the flavors we got (in the photo below).

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Since I struggled to get us to Krakow in a timely manner yesterday (e.g. we took the “scenic route”…aka: we took a LONG route), I made sure I thoroughly checked the map before leaving today. Thankfully, the route I chose was the right one and we got home in no time tonight, just around 10pm. We had a bit of a pause at the border because the Czech police were doing mandatory checks, but they checked my passport and documents and let us go. The kids had fallen asleep by the time we got home, so Bethany, Nana, Papa, and I enjoyed another cupcake together! It was a lot of fun celebrating this weekend and letting Papa and Nana see a little more of Europe since they had flown so far. We have another week with them before they head back to the States and we’ve got lots more to see even still!

But as the clock strikes midnight, I think I’ll sign off. We’re heading tomorrow to a government office to start paperwork for Karis’ birth certificate, so please be praying for that. Until then, good night!

P.

Pickle Balloons and Pregnancy Update

Party Time (5/23/15)

Beneath the small children and balloons is me. You can see a little bit of my shirt between the pink balloon and the chair I was sitting in and we were in the middle of a game I made up on the spot. I don’t really have a name for it, but basically the kids gave me “pickles” (aka balloons) to eat and after “eating” them (acting it out) they told me, “No, they’re not pickles, they’re balloons!” to which I would immediately begin to spit out the pretend yucky tasting balloon and make a weird face. This was all part of the birthday party we went to today for our friends the Yorman’s son Caleb. He turned eight yesterday and we had a fun time celebrating with him and all his little buddies today at their house. The party was mostly a fun hangout time for the kids, but with a Star Wars theme and a whole lot of Legos. They even had a home made Star Wars Ewok pinãta which Titus took a couple whacks at. Here’s a little video:

Bethany had kind of a rough night last night of sleep. She had a bad headache that kept her up really late (I think past 2am) and the baby was moving a lot which made her uncomfortable. She’s definitely in the home stretch here, but it’s the literal stretching the baby does inside the womb that can also cause significant discomfort to Bethany. Pray for her tonight as we’re hoping she’ll get better sleep and be more recharged. The hardest thing would be to have little to no sleep and then for her to go into labor. If that’s what the Lord has, so be it, but sure would be nice to have rest before things start getting more intense. Even tonight she was having some pains after dinner which weren’t really contractions, but painful enough!

We talked with Bethany’s parents tonight on the phone and they are sitting at the airport in Seattle, ready to take off for their final destination of Prague. We are so excited to have them here and can’t wait to pick them up at the train station tomorrow!

P.

Party at the Zoo

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

We enjoyed an incredible day today at the zoo with our friends, celebrating both Titus’s 5th birthday along with Gabe and Alex (twins) who turned 4. The weather couldn’t have been better and I’ve even got a little redness on my arms and neck to prove the sun was out. The day started at 10:00 at the zoo and we stayed until a little after 2:00. We brought cupcakes and met a bunch of other families “near the goats” inside the zoo. Everyone joined in singing happy birthday to Titus and then we did another round of singing for Gabe and Alex. After cupcakes and singing everyone headed in to the park and we mostly lost the other groups because we grabbed lunch with our kids, but we still had a great time with Steve and Judy and just walking around enjoying the animals. I got a ton of photos, so here they are!

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Let’s pause here a moment for a little story. Above is a photo of Titus eating a hot dog during lunch. Shortly after he was playing on the playground behind him. He had brought a toy car with him that he got for his birthday and was taking it up and down the slide. But then he started crying and came over to use saying he lost his car. I asked him what happened and he said, “That big boy took it.” I asked him which kid and he pointed, so I walked up to the kid and said, “Kde je auto?” or “Where is the car?” He immediately said, “Nevim! Nevim” or “I don’t know. I don’t know.” We walked around and looked for a while, but were unable to find the car. I consider it a lost cause and even if the boy had it, I wasn’t going to dig through his pockets to get it. But that didn’t sit well with Bethany so she walked over and asked the same questions, except she found another little girl to help her talk to the boy. Finally, after a few minutes the boy went to his backpack and gave back the car. I joked that Bethany was in “mom mode” there for a minute and no language barrier was going to get in the way of her getting that car back!

Ok… back to the photos

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Titus’ friends Beni and Caleb got him gifts that we opened in the parking lot just before we left. Beni had been talking about it all day and was so excited to give Titus a present. It was really sweet and both Caleb and Beni were asking Titus, “Is this the best day ever?!” It was fun to see them all so excited about Legos and Spiderman and Titus was really blessed. Thanks everyone for making it such a special time for Titus and our family!

T.

Titus’ 5th Birthday

We celebrated Titus’ 5th birthday today, although it the real party isn’t until tomorrow. This was the first time that Titus had school on his birthday so I felt like it was just a little weird that we kind of had to wait until he was out today before we could celebrate. We were all up this morning and we got to tell him happy birthday, but then we were quickly out the door to get him to school. Afterward we enjoyed opening up some of the many presents that were sent to our family from our friends in California and delivered by our friends, Steve and Judy. So, in a sense, it was like a party for all of us! Boxes of Kraft Mac-N-Cheese, brown sugar, yellow mustard, books, toys, chocolate almonds, etc. were all inside this jam packed suitcase! Thank you to our friends who blessed us in this way. You are awesome! Some families even sent individual packages which Titus loved opening. Here’s a few photos from that.

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Then we went outside to play some baseball and bubbles in the yard, as well as take a little tour of our landlord’s garden which is blooming a lot right now. I was too busy playing with the kids and hanging with Steve and Judy to capture any photos, but I think it was worth it. We all ended up napping in the afternoon and walked to dinner at a local place we really like. Titus wanted to have pizza on his birthday so he was able to get a big pepperoni pizza at the restaurant which he enjoyed. Afterwards we came home and had birthday cake dessert and opened a few more presents. I did manage to get some photos of that. Here you go!

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Along with some imported whiffle balls, Titus scored a ton of Legos! I spent a lot of time this afternoon helping him build the little cars and trucks he got and I’m considering building another set he got while he’s asleep because hey, who doesn’t love Legos!? During the day we just enjoyed spending time together and talking with Steve and Judy who are here until Wednesday. They are such a blessing to us and I just appreciate their heart to come here and be an encouragement. We’ve really enjoyed their company and look forward to a few more days together. They’ll be joining us tomorrow at the zoo and hoping it will be a lot of fun for everyone.