Karis Comes Home

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

We were discharged from the hospital this morning and we were able to bring Karis home for the very first time! The morning actually went very smooth which was kind of unexpected because I just assumed it would be hard to figure out all the paperwork, pay for our time in the hospital, and then get released. But again, the Lord was so gracious and things went really well.

Obviously with a newborn our sleep is interrupted, but in the first few days you get a bit of a break and that’s what Karis did for us last night. By “break” I mean that she gave us a stretch of three hours. It’s amazing how good three hours of sleep feels when you’re sleep has been irregular for a few days. But I digress. Bethany got up early to feed Karis and the nurses were in our room a few times before 7:00am. All of this worked out really well because by 9:30 we were walking out of the hospital! We really thought it was going to take a good portion of the morning but we were packed, paid, and pulling out of the parking lot at least a few hours earlier than I had imagined.

Karis did incredible on the drive home and pretty much slept the entire way. We ended up stopping off for a little food and coffee and still she slept through it. The weather kind of felt like “beach weather” to us in the States, and it was cool and partly cloudy. When we got home the kids came running out to the car, and I heard Avery say, “I want to see baby Karis!”

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

I ended up setting Kari down in her carseat so Avery could look at her, but both Titus and Avery wanted to “help” me carry her inside. At one point I had Titus holding one side of the carseat while Avery was holding the front and we made our way into the house. If I had a third arm, I would’ve taken a photo of Papa and Nana wielding their iPhones to capture it all in photos and video. Such excitement for the home arrival of this baby girl.

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

Our landlord is often away at another home she has in Prague, but she came back this evening as we were walking outside to play in the yard with the kids. I tried to tell her in broke Czech that Bethany was home and so was the baby. Bethany brought Karis out to the driveway to meet “Babicka” (Czech for grandmother) and we all had a good time watching her reaction to the baby. Babicka gave our kids a little chocolate treat and we actually had Bethany’s parents bring her a gift from the States–a box of chocolates from Washington. The kids also made her a card and we wrote on it in Czech and she seemed to really enjoy it. The whole exchange was fun and hard because of the language barrier. We were glad to introduce her to Karis and Babicka was congratulating everyone which was also a ton of fun. Below is a photo of her with her chocolates and Bethany with the baby.

Karis Comes Home (6/4/15)

It’s so good to be home. Bethany’s parents did an amazing job just kind of detailing our house and getting things cleaned for us. They said Titus and Avery did great while we were away which was a blessing to hear. It’ll definitely be a time of transition for all of us as we relearn life now with a newborn. Already I can feel the constant reminders coming of “be careful with the baby,” or “that’s a little too rough, you need to be gentle with her.” I think for sure it’ll be good for Titus to learn just how gentle he needs to be around a little baby and he’s got a healthy respect right now for how fragile she is.

We’re tired but not overwhelmed. Bethany continues to recover, but is definitely still experiencing pain. We’ll be heading to the pharmacy tomorrow morning to get some meds for her which should help. Karis has spent her day at home sleeping and eating which is to be expected, and which is great for willing grandparents who want to just hold her. Even I got the opportunity to just hold her while she slept for over an hour. All that to say we’re glad she’s home and we’re so full of joy for this new little life.


Holiday At Home

Holiday at Home (2/24/15)

Throughout the day today I was getting little photos of our kids messaged to me from Bethany. Above is a photo of Titus dancing on our ottoman to a song that he can’t seem to get enough of lately. We love music in our house and we often have “dance parties” when we just want to get some energy out. Titus especially loves music and always ask for “rock songs.” I guess he’s enjoying his week off from school because of the “Spring holiday.” It’s always fun to have a holiday at home.

Below is another photo Bethany sent me of Avery painting. Apparently she was painting a picture of me and said, “Daddy has glasses.” I think I look great.

Holiday at Home (2/24/15)

Here’s another one of Avery folding here little wash clothes and baby clothes just like mommy does. It’s really fun to see Avery copy Bethany and want to help around the house. The other day I found all of Avery’s babies lined up perfectly, each one with their own tiny blankets.

Holiday at Home (2/24/15)

It rained a little today and the weather has been warmer, but definitely not warm. Bethany commented that we needed a little rain. It feels like with all the snow melt and and dirt that the roads and sidewalks just needed a rinse. Other than that, it’s just been a normal day. We didn’t do language lessons today, but we’ll pick things up tomorrow. We’re also working on a plan to take a mini vacation to Prague this weekend to see our friends Zach and Kara. We’re hoping to take the train and rent a little apartment because it’s the most affordable and comfortable way to go. We’ll see how it goes!


It’s Good to be Home

We made it to 2:00am today. I went to bed last night at around 7:30pm, so that’s actually a pretty good night’s sleep. And I’m learning to live with jet lag. In fact, I was really productive between 3:00 – 7:00 this morning. Went through emails, wrote people back, worked on my to-do list, got things in order for next week, did puzzles with Avery, and even had time to get a shower in there! By 8:00 I was out the door and doing a little shopping for Bethany.

I feel like Bethany and I are tag teaming the whole jet lag with little kids thing. When I’m awake she rests, and when she’s awake I usually take a break too. Unfortunately, today all three of them fell asleep in the afternoon while I was working so we had to get everyone up around 2:00pm. Now we’re hoping they’ll still sleep tonight.

Besides jet lag, I was thinking today that it’s really nice to back in Czech. Being away for a bit was nice, but it’s been nice to be home. The weather here was amazing today and even yesterday when we went to Bethany’s doctor visit our drive was incredible. The sun was shining and the air was clear so you could see for miles (or kilometers!). I feel more comfortable here than I’ve ever felt and I hope that continues. I mean, I was even excited to go grocery shopping today and I don’t know why. I guess I’m just not as nervous about it like I used to be (don’t get me wrong; I still had an issue with my debit card while checking out, but that’s pretty much normal). Again, it’s good to be home.

It’s barely 5:00pm as I finish this blog and I could fall asleep at my desk I’m so tired. I’m hoping to make it until 8pm, but we’ll just have to wait and see. If you’ve been praying for us, thank you! Transitions are always hard, even if they’re just from one time zone to another. Here’s to hoping we can sleep in until 4:00am tomorrow!


We’re Coming to America

That’s right. Amazingly, on Christmas Eve we are flying to Washington state for just a few weeks. We really weren’t expecting to be returning this soon, but Bethany’s brother is getting married and our family is part of the ceremony. Since we’re flying all that way we decided to spend the holiday there with Bethany’s family and flights out of Prague were much more reasonably priced on Christmas eve. We’ll be there for about two-and-a-half weeks and coming back in January.

Jesus (12/12/14)

I don’t know how all missionaries do trips home, but we’ve been keeping a list of things we want to bring back with us from the States. You know, things like: ranch dressing mix, salsa, green chilis, coffee beans, and even hand soap! Oh sure, you can get hand soap here in Czech, but we’re just used to the smells of the kinds we would buy in America. It’s so funny how you miss the little things you have grown up with your entire life. We just got done video chatting with Bethany’s parents about the trip and we were dreaming about American food that we might be able to enjoy. Call us silly, but sometimes you just miss that good ole’ Tillamook cheddar cheese.

With the help of Bethany’s parents we’re also going to be able to get our annual letter out in the mail this year. We worked hard on it the past few weeks and it’s all printed and ready to be shipped. Bethany’s family is going to help get all the envelopes stuff and shipped out which is a huge blessing! Hopefully you’re on our mailing list because something special is on it’s way very soon!

Finally, please pray for us as we travel in less than two weeks. It’s a long way to go and it’ll literally take planes, trains, and automobiles!


Why History Matters and Working on Our Home

Today is a holiday in the Czech Republic. Schools and businesses were closed and people were celebrating what is known as the Velvet Revolution. Twenty five years ago, in 1989, students were holding a demonstration in the capitol city of Prague. As BBC News put it, the students were holding a “peaceful demonstration to commemorate International Students’ Day. Little did they know that their seemingly innocuous protest would trigger the momentous events which would in effect end the rule of communism in the country a mere 10 days later.” It truly was a historic day and one that has today led to more missionaries working here and giving us the opportunity to openly share the Gospel with many who have never heard it.

I have always enjoyed history. It’s a subject I did well in and I owe a lot of that to amazing teachers who taught me to enjoy and learn from the past. I’ve even reminded of that famous quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Obviously, not all of the past bad, but I think we get the point. That’s why I was struck by something I read today in regards to the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czech. In the same article I quote above, BBC News later writes, “But as both countries [Czech and Slovakia] prepare to mark a quarter of a century of freedom, a survey conducted recently by the Public Opinion Research Centre suggests a full sixth of Czechs still long for a return to communism” (my emphasis). Wow. Really? That’s just hard to believe, and honestly as a foreigner it’s definitely difficult to understand. The article continued by adding, “…84% of Czechs are aware that 17 November is celebrated as a national holiday to remember the Velvet Revolution, only 30% of people below the age of 30 are aware of this.” Yikes.

History matters. I don’t know what they’re talking about in Czech schools, but to ignore one of the most significant moments in their history is just sad and dare I say wrong. What’s scary about those statistics is it’s mainly about the young generation here. If the young people don’t know their history they are very likely to miss things in their future and even revert back to the past. My hope and prayer is that God would continue to work among that young generation. I hope they do learn from their past, but more importantly, that they would hear about the most important Person in history, Jesus Christ.

Now for a change of subject.

The Dining Area (11/17/14)

Bethany has been saying for months “if we had two full days, we could finish unpacking and get the house in order.” Well, today was definitely one of those days. With today’s holiday and a birthday party for Avery coming this Saturday, we worked hard getting some final boxes unpacked and getting the house organized. It has been an uphill struggle, but I think we might have made it to the top today. Above is a photo of the hutch in our dining room area which we decorated a little bit today. Those Los Angeles and Seattle prints are not final, but we had them so we’re using em’ for now. Beyond the dining room, I spent a lot of time in our storage closet. We really only have one, maybe two spaces for storage (besides our garage) and we have maximized our capacity. Below is a photo of the little storage closet we have that I finally completed organizing today. It’s floor to ceiling full, but it fits and we can find things!

Storage Room (11/17/14)

With all the transition here, our house has just taken a back seat and I was really thankful to get some time today to just focus and help get our place feeling more and more like home. There’s still some work to do, but this was a huge step forward today.

Now to get some much needed sleep!