Today was the first full day of Papa and Nana in town, but without the arrival of baby #3 it’s business as usual in our home. Titus was off to school this morning and I was off to the JV offices for a few meetings. I still continue to battle sickness for some reason and today was actually kind of a harder day for me (at least the first half). After my first meeting this morning I ended up coming home around lunch because I had a very bad sinus headache. I did my second meeting on the phone with my teammate but just was battling what was the most severe sinus headache I’ve had in a while. Coughing was actually the worst because it just made my head pound, so when I got home I took two Tylenol, ate a quick lunch with the family, and took a nap. That seemed to help but it still took another hour or so to get relief.
Papa and Nana got good rest last night as they begin the process of getting over jet-lag. With a nine hour difference from the West Coast to here it’s definitely hard to get adjusted. Nana was up at 4:00am, which is hard, but Papa was able to get a little more rest this morning. It’s almost 9:00pm here right now and they’re still awake which is a good sign!
Tonight we enjoyed dinner at our friends the Stephens house. They had wanted to have us over before the baby came and we were able to make it happen tonight, even with Bethany’s parents in town. Brian (who’s house we were at) has his parents in town as well so we had a great meal together and enjoyed just hanging out. Brian’s wife Aliesha just had a baby in Czech six months ago, so they are a big help in navigating some of the Czech health system and were answering some of our questions tonight. I had kind of forgotten about all the other paperwork items related to a new passport and social security number for the baby which we’ll end up doing in Prague shortly after she is born. The weeks ahead will be full and tiresome, I’m sure, but we’re continuing to look the Lord for strength and energy!
In the suitcases that Papa and Nana brought was a new book called Big Truths for Little Kids which is a children’s catechism that one of our supporters bought us. Papa read it tonight to the kids and I’m really like the question and answers as well the stories that go with it. Avery seems to be very interested in it and asking her questions like, “How many gods are there?” (answer: 1) and “How many persons in the Godhead (answer:3) is just fascinating to me. Without her understanding everything, she is able to begin to get her little mind our the Trinity. Above is a photo of Papa reading to them.
Every night I read to the kid from their Big Picture Story Bible. Above is a rare photo of all four of us tonight that Papa took while I was reading. It really is a joy to read and teach our kids the truth of the Scripture.
Finally, when we got back tonight from dinner I decided to let Titus park the car in the garage. Here’s a video Papa got:
OK OK, he wasn’t really parking the car by himself. He was sitting on Daddy’s lap!
That’s all for day one with Papa and Nana!
Today was spring cleaning day at the Josiah Venture offices. This was a first for me, but it’s an annual event that’s actually on the schedule for us to clean anything and everything. For the international team, this not only includes our own offices, but also the garages (yes, plural) with tons of ministry materials that tend to get disorganized over the course of the year. I actually arrived late (shucks!) because Bethany had her last doctor’s appointment with her OBGYN. From now on she’ll be meeting with the doctors at the hospital that she’ll be delivering at because she’s officially in her 39th week! She’s only nine days away from her due date and we can’t wait to meet this little baby girl.
Speaking of baby girls, I got the above photo of Avery this evening as we were playing in the yard. She was just looking really cute and staring at me so I grabbed my iPhone and got this shot. Almost nightly we go outside and play, which usually means Titus and I play tennis, baseball, or basketball while Avery walks around picking daisies and telling me stories. Almost all of her stories involve animals of some kind, but I was surprised by tonight’s tale of “monsters all around.” She ended up giving me “monster powers” so I could fight all the monsters which turned in to Titus and turning our tennis rackets in to what I’ll describe not as guns, but as Ghostbuster-like weaponry (cause guns aren’t for kids, ya know). These kids never cease to crack me.
There is a dog that continues to come around the JV offices and she was there today was we were cleaning out everything. I believe she has an owner with a garage near ours, but almost every day since the cold left us she has been around. Often I found her chasing butterflies and just wandering around the office. She seems friendly and everyone has fun petting and playing with her, but I still feel at odds with her. I actually like dogs and grew up with many of them, but I can’t seem to commit to this dog. I foresee and ongoing saga on how I feel towards this canine, so you’ll have to stay tuned for that. In the above photo you can see her wandering through the grass.
I spent a lot of time tonight working on our taxes. I haven’t written much about it (or at all) on the blog, but we’ve been on the search for someone to help us with international tax law as things get really complicated when you move overseas. By God’s grace, one of our friends in the States was able to get us in contact with a guy who has 32 years of experience in taxes, along with a ton of clients who live overseas. I was able to speak with him on the phone tonight and we’re getting things moving which is great! Now you might be thinking that April 15 has already passed and we missed the deadline. Well, that’s actually a bonus of living overseas because we get an automatic extension. I’m really hoping our new tax guy can help us and get us all those wonderful deductions we cherish so much. He was really great on the phone and I’m excited to kind of get that stuff of my shoulders.
I’m still not feeling great and don’t have my sense of taste back. In fact, I actually had a lot of sinus pressure today that was really bothering me so that’s a bummer. If you think of us, continue to pray for health. The kids and Bethany seem to be recovering quickly but I trail behind still clinging to my box of Kleenex.
Today was a very beautiful, sunny day. It was a very bright spot (pun intended) in an otherwise sickness filled week. Titus was back in school and I was back in to work even though we both still have congestion and coughs. As I dropped Titus off at school I heard other kids with similar symptoms as his so two things ran through my mind: 1) I’m glad it’s not just us and 2) I don’t feel so bad bringing my recovering kid to school. I thought for sure he would be sad after another week out of school and he was for a moment, but he was quick to jump in to the class and play with toys. Bethany called me around lunch time after she picked up Titus from school and told me all about his day. Apparently the class walked to the fire station (which is literally across the street from our apartment) and got to play with the fire hose. Titus said that they “pretended the big tree was a fire and squirted it with the hose.” Sounds like fun if you ask me! He said he enjoyed it so that’s definitely a bonus.
Later this afternoon Titus and I had an appointment to get hair cuts which we did and Bethany ended up walking over with Avery to meet us for ice cream. We’re glad it’s both warm enough for ice cream and the little shop that we like is open. We ended up just staying outside in the sun for a while and enjoyed our ice cream and just hung out on the benches in the town square. The kids love running around the big fountain there and since other kids were around playing they just ran around with their “friends” (any kid that’s in Titus’ vicinity is his friend). While out and about we ran into the English speaking mom I met a while back at Titus’ school and Bethany had never met her before. They were introduced and we were talking for a bit near the town square while all of our kids were playing.
She has two kids, a girl and a boy who are both very close in age to our kids. Her son and Titus are actually in the same class and he speaks English! This turned out to be very interesting when I walked up to him and talked with him and he said, “Did you know that Titus hits us at school?” Oh boy…come again? “Yeah, it’s not all the time but he hits us.” Of course I looked to Titus when the boy was sharing this insight and he denied it, but then began to say that they boys hit each other. “They hit me too, Dad.” This turned into a longer chat with Titus and then of course with Bethany as to how to process forward with this new revelation. Pray for us. I don’t say this jokingly, but we always need prayer as parents in regards to wisdom and handling situations and these are new for us. Like any parent, you don’t love to hear your kid is hitting other kids and you definitely don’t want to let it go un dealt with. Things just get a little more complicated when you add a language barrier between us, the teachers, the other parents, and the other kids.
With that I’m off to bed. I’ve got a bit of sinus pressure that won’t go away at the moment and it’s causing a headache. On the bright side, I was able to taste that ice cream this afternoon which is the first thing I’ve been able to enjoy for a few days now. Sadly, my taste went away again around dinner…oh well. Such is life.
I found the kids this morning sitting on the kitchen floor “reading” the newspaper (shown in the photo above). Actually, it’s not a newspaper, but an advertisement for a kids store here in Czech and apparently they found a few things of interest and were spending time talking about what they wanted to buy. I took this photo because in my mind they were just some old couple hanging out on a Saturday morning, drinking coffee, and reading the paper. Every few seconds Avery would say, “Can I get this one?” and point to some Disney princess thing and Titus was finding every Lego item on the page saying that’s what he was going to buy. We’re actually trying to teach them about money and how to save and think about things so we’ve been giving them “jobs” around the house which pays a few Czech crowns. It’s all really fun until they realize they don’t have enough money to buy the things they want and then the tears start flowing. It’s all part of the learning process.
As for the rest of the day we really just spent time cleaning and hanging out as a family. It was nice to get some things back in order and have the kids help clean up and do a little work around the house. We’ve had this annoying baseboard in our living room that kept coming off so I finally got some glue that I’m hoping will keep it on. We made it through all the dishes and I’ve got another load ready to go, and Bethany has been working on cleaning the sheets and getting the kids’ room a little more orderly before Papa and Nana come next Sunday. Speaking of Papa and Nana, we also spent time with them over Skype/FaceTime this evening as they prepare to fly next Saturday for their first trip to our place in Czech. They are mostly coming to help with the new baby, but we’re hoping to get them out to see some of Europe if we can. They are also bringing us some American goodies which will be fun too!
OK, that’s all for today. We’ll see ya tomorrow!
We have been on the go today and it really started this morning with Bethany’s doctor appointment. I decided to stay home and watch the kids because her appointment was a longer one which required her to lay back and relax while they monitor the baby’s heart beat for fifteen minutes. She ended up taking a book and headphones to stay relaxed because laying on her back this late in the pregnancy is never comfortable for her. The doctor said everything is looking great and she said Bethany is “really close” and that things are progressing. We’re still a few weeks out, but I have a feeling we’re going to meet this baby this month!
As soon as Bethany got back I was out the door headed for the Josiah Venture spring conference where we were setting things up and getting it prepped for tomorrow night’s first session as well as the rest of the week’s activities. There is a ton of work that goes in to getting things ready for the conferences and I’m so impressed by the team of JV missionaries that work and serve to get it prepared. Below are a few photos I got during setup today.
This evening we enjoyed an easy spaghetti meal at home with some IKEA Swedish meatballs mixed in! They are pretty tasty and this week was the first time we had tried them. For dessert we had little ice creams that we enjoyed in the back yard. I got the below photo of the kids and even took some video of them. They were just kind of cracking me up as they were eating and talking. They were like an old couple just hanging in the back yard. I love it.
Backyard Ice Cream from Shay on Vimeo.
I’m playing drums this week for a few session during the worship music sets for conference and even playing guitar for another set. I just got off the phone because the main worship leader who was supposed to lead tomorrow is sick with the stomach (actually, his whole family is!). So right now the team is trying to rearrange the sets a bit and make sure everything is good to go. It’s great to see the team pulling together and trying to make it work. That’s just one of those things you learn often in ministry: be flexible. We’ll be ready tomorrow night, even if it isn’t all as polished as we would like. I’m looking forward to it!