Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Claire's Last Day

Does anyone else go to school until the very last day of June??! That's the "rule" here in Czech...school finishes on June 30th, unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday!

While Tyler finished a month ago, and Caleb finished early so he could go to English camp in Poland, Claire finished out "zakladni skola" (basic school) TODAY!! She is now officially a high schooler!

It was a little sad taking the "last day of school" photo today with only Claire (and Lily!) in it. Tyler was on a train to Prague to pick up the team from Lancaster, PA who will be at the Frydlant English camp which starts on Saturday, and of course Caleb's been gone to Poland since last week.

But...traditions ARE traditions! So Claire gamely posed by herself and let me take that famous photo that I love! She knows how important it is to her mama!

Just Dave, Claire and I went out for dinner to celebrate tonight...wonderful to be with just her, but strange to have the boys missing. Hmmm, shades of a life to come one day in the not too distant future!

But for now, we'll enjoy and soak in summer vacation with whoever happens to be at home!

Friday, June 26, 2009


While Claire is still home sick, life continues on for the rest of the family.

Caleb came home last night from a three day class trip with his school. He brought a friend home to spend the night and they rode bikes up to the hotel later in the evening to see other school friends at a retreat there, getting home at midnight!

This morning Caleb returned books to school, said good-bye for the summer, then headed off to Poland for the next ten days. He'll be at an English/Volleyball camp with a church from Katowice, serving on the team.

That camp finishes the same day the Frydlant English camp begins, so he'll barely come home before taking off again for another week of camp!

In the meantime, Dave and Tyler are hiking in the Alps, staying in huts and campgrounds around the Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen area. This is our graduation gift to Tyler - a memory with his dad. Dave wrote today and said the hiking was great, the views awesome, and the time together (along with two friends of Tyler's) superb!

While the guys are out and about, I spent the evening ministering to a hurting friend for three hours here in my office. We cried together, prayed together, and trusted in Jesus together for her future. It was a precious, though difficult time as her situation is really a mess.

Where oh where would we be without the love, compassion and help of the Lord? Thankfully she trusted Christ three months ago so is looking to him for help. She does need it oh so desperately.

Claire is getting a bit better...enough so to have a friend come over tomorrow night. Will be good for her to have a little company!

And so goes life at our house!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sick Days

Amidst a very rainy, foggy and so far, cold summer, we've got sickness in our house.

Claire is in her third week at home with a bronchial infection that just doesn't want to clear up. We were back at the doctor today for blood work, just trying to cover all the bases and make sure there's not something else going on. We'll get the results tomorrow.

She's missing school as our Czech schools don't actually finish until June 30th. And believe it or not, that's hard on her! These are the last weeks with her classmates that she's been with since second grade. Next year when they all head back to school, it will be to different ones since they all start high school in the fall. So it's k
ind of a bummer that she is missing these last days.

But not one to wallow in any self pity, she's been keeping herself busy at home being artistic. Generally if Claire has any extra time on her hands, she spends it doing something creative! So these past weeks she's been working on a few fun things.

For Father's Day she did this pencil drawing for her dad, based on a photograph she'd taken a while back.

Thanks to a sweet gift that Dave brought back from a friend in the States (thanks Sandy!) she's spent the last few days learning the art of calligraphy.

We hope she gets better soon since our Frydlant English camp is coming in a little more than a week (starts July 4th). All three kids will be at it this year. Pray that they're all healthy and well for it!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just for Girlfriends

"Could you do something about my roots and give me a little trim while you're at it?"

Ha ha! Famous last words!

On Friday I was at a new hair salon in Polsky
Cieszyn, just over the border from Český Těšín (for any of you who are interested...it was one town a long time ago, but eventually divided by the Czech and Polish border. Today, since the borders are down, you can walk across a bridge between the two).

My friends, Laura, Amy and I, were trying out a new salon we'd heard about there. We've been doing hair together for, oh I don't know, maybe five, six or seven years. It's our 'three times a year' girl get together, which used to be in Katowice until we ran out of good stylists there (all the good ones have gone on maternity leave through the years!).

Laura got her hair done at the new salon by the woman owner, and I got Mariusz, the only guy I've ever had do my hair in all these years of living in Europe!

He started out by doing more than just roots...guess he thought I needed it! But it turned out pretty and I was feeling good as he spun me around in the chair to give me my first look at it.

Before I could even comment he said in his broken English, "And now, I have new idea for your hair...but it is VEEEERRRY different. Can I explain??"

Hmmm...what do you say at that point??!! "Um, you don't really know me and actually I'm pretty happy with what I have", or "Sure...you don't know me, but I'll give it a whirl!"

Well the truth was, I'd been feeling like I needed something new for a while. So the answer? "Sure...why not!"

Amy gasped a little bit and said I was brave! Laura just laughed...she's known me a long time! I used to change my hair fairly often, but have had the same style for a while now. So...it was time to make a change!

As he brought the scissors up to my hair he said, "Maybe you close your eyes...and keep them closed!" For some that would spell doom...but for me...I don't know...made me kind of excited!

At one point I opened one eye to look down at the floor and whoa! There was quite a bit down there! A girl quickly came with the broom and swept it away so I never really knew how much came off.
But in the end, when he again spun me around for a look, I was happily surprised! It was different...trendy...fun...perky...and, a good new look for me, I THINK!

When we walked out and I saw my reflection in the first window we passed by, I was taken aback. I honestly didn't recognize myself! But I'm adjusting now and think it's going to be just fine!

I got a big thumb's up from the boys when I got home...that was encouraging! Caleb says I look like a mom in a magazine...whoo hoo! That's a good compliment...I think! Dave has yet to weigh in since he's in the States!

Anyway...this is one of those blog posts that's mostly for my girlfriends (and my mom!!), but maybe you'll get a kick out of it too even if you're not a girl!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our Becca

It was eight years ago this month that Becca McMartin came to stay with us. We thought it would be for a summer - thankfully she stayed a lot longer!

That first summer she was with us, we went to Stramberk (a very quaint and old city nearby...650 years old to be exact!) on
my 40th birthday and took a picture with her and the kids - one of my all time favorites! Aren't they cute??

Becca leaves in two days to go back to the States (how we will miss her!) so we just had to go back and re-create that photo to see how everyone had changed since then, so we went today!

I would say there have been a few changes, wouldn't you?!!

We will always be so thankful for what Becca brought to our family, especially to the lives of our kids. They, and all our JV kids, are different people because of her godly, creative, loving, serving, happy influence in their lives all these years.

THANK YOU BECCA! You will be in our heart always!! Please come back to see us sometime!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Graduation Photos

Okay...I wanted to post graduation pictures...just pictures. But it's not working to add pictures without any text! There must be a better way!

I do have pictures on Facebook...a whole album, in fact! If you have FB and haven't seen them already, head over there and find them!

If you have FB and we are not friends, request me as a friend so you can look at them!

If you don't have FB then...hmmm. Not sure what to say. I'm going to try to just put a few in, and hope it gives you a little glimpse into Tyler's special day!

The first picture is his class of 15 graduates...yes, that's how many were really in his class! The two out in front are about to give the class "speech".

Second picture is Tyler receiving his diploma from the vice mayor of our town.

Third picture is happy mom with graduate son right after the ceremony!

And last picture is proud dad with graduated son!