Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Last Trip in 2011

Several months ago when we were talking with Dave's mom and dad about their upcoming trip here, his dad asked if it would be possible to go to Krakow.

"People always ask me, 'Have you been to Krakow?'" he said. And unfortunately his answer has always been "No...never been there".

Even though we only live two and half hours away, we'd never taken them there when they've come to visit. So we had to do something about that!

Yesterday, Dave and I took his mom and dad to Krakow and had an absolutely wonderful time in the city!

While it was cold, it was magical with all the Christmas decorations still up.

We had fun in the cloth hall, the big market in the center of the square.

And we made a special visit to meet a sweet new little baby!

Our JV teammates, Tomas and Miriam Chmiel who serve in the Ukraine, are in Krakow right now after having had their second daughter, Kristina. God provided a wonderful apartment in the city where they have been able to stay before and after the birth.

It was so special to get to see them! And all in all...a perfect day spent with people we love!

I am headed out this evening to bring in the New Year with mom and dad Patty, our dear friends, the Ellenwood's, and of course with Dave, Tyler, Lara, Caleb, Claire!

2011 has been a very happy, exciting, blessed year. Looking forward to what the Lord has for us in 2012!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Advice from my Father-in-Law

Dave's dad told me yesterday that it's good to keep a journal to remember the important things in life. He says if you don't write it down, you'll forget by the time you're his age!

I'm so glad I have my blog as my journal because there are things I don't want to forget - like an evening in Vienna...

 ...and the best hummus ever!

Some dear friends made it possible for us to go to Vienna last week, while mom and dad Patty made it possible for us to enjoy dinner at at our favorite Israeli restaurant there. These are things I DON'T WANT TO FORGET!

It's also so special to have Tyler and Lara with us right now - we'll never forget enjoying their "engaged" days with them!

And I love remembering Caleb's enjoyment of life - even something so simple as a good meal!

And sweet Claire - she knows how to soak in the goodness of life!

Dave...he's happy when his family is happy! That's one of the things I love most about him!

So yes dad Patty...I'm taking moments out of my days to journal in my blog, so I remember all these good things the Lord is blessing us with. Thanks so much to you and mom for making that evening in Vienna possible!

Now that I have these photos on my blog, I know I won't forget, even if I get to be...well, you know, your age! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guess Who Came to Dinner

Any ideas on why Dave has such a grin on his face? Recognize those heads on the couch?

Any clues  about who's here from this cute face?!

Ah-ha! It's Grandpa and Nana...aka mom and dad...aka Dick and Margaret Patty!

They were down in Slovenia for Christmas with Josh, Dave's brother, and family. Now we get to have them for a week!

We're glad they came to dinner! :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Twenty Year Photo Shoot

It started in August 1990.

Tyler was just a few weeks old and we were at our military chaplain's house in Heidelberg for his baby shower.

On the wall in their home, I saw a frame with two photos. Both photos were taken at the Heidelberg castle. However, in one of the photos their two daughters were little girls, holding onto their dad's hand, walking up to the castle, their backs to the photo.

In the next photo, they were teenage girls, still holding onto dad's hands, in the same spot as they'd been years before.

It was one of those things that captivated my attention...and I never forgot it.

Roll ahead two years. We were in Colorado visiting Dave's parents. Tyler was our only child, but I was six months pregnant with Caleb. In a "lightbulb" moment, I remembered those photos in our chaplain's home and thought, "I need to take a photo of Dave and Tyler from behind, before Caleb arrives". This was the photo, and the beginning of a twenty year photo shoot!

Caleb was born in January '93, and it was a year and a half later, May '94, when I remembered I needed to get a "backwards photo" (that's what I've called it all these years...a "behind" photo just didn't seem to be the right name, if you know what I mean!) since I was now four months pregnant with Claire. This was taken in the Jesenik Mountains here in Czech.

Claire was born in October '94, and in October '95 we were in Krakow to celebrate her first birthday - here is her debut in the backwards photos.

From there it continued on through the snapping a photo from behind whenever I'd remember.

The kids grew...Dave's style changed!

Each photo, a special memory.

Many were in Czech, others in our beloved vacation spot, Croatia!

Each time I took the photos, I reveled in the goodness of seeing Dave and his kids, connected to each other - not just in the photos, but in real life as well.

There were many more backward photos over the next years as the kids grew up, like this one in the Dallas Airport in more holding hands, just luggage! :)

And then there was this epic photo. We were vacationing in Croatia when it was time to take Tyler over to the mainland to catch his flight to the States where he would begin his new life as a college student at Moody Bible Institute.

We spent the night on our little boat in the harbor by the Split airport, docked the next morning and literally walked to the airport to say goodbye. I get a lump in my throat looking at that photo.

Since then I only managed to get one backward photo, taken last year in Vienna - Dave in one "Croc" shoe because he has a cast on his right foot from a broken ankle. Always a memory with these photos!

This past Friday, back in Vienna, I captured yet another backwards photo, the last of its kind in a twenty year series...

...because now there is a new person to welcome into our backward photo shoot!

Tyler's precious Lara!!

And so, on we five in the picture, instead of four.

And who knows how many more over the next twenty years!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gifts of the Heart

Christmas Day was one sweet moment after another - I felt thankful all day long for the precious time God gave us yesterday, celebrating his birth with gifts of love to and from one another.

Caleb was creative this year and gave each of us "words", along with a photo that he either took or tracked'll see a few more of them in the photos below. They were so special!

Tyler printed out a photo that Caleb especially liked from this past summer while Tyler interned in Czech - such a funny juxtaposition!

Claire used her gift of drawing to bless her dad...and add a little humor too! This was drawn with Copic markers.

Claire, like the rest of her family, has a love for photography so I gave her a book by Shutter Sisters who post a blog that I like...she'll have fun reading through it and I'm sure we'll see the results of it on her blog this coming year!

Dave blessed Tyler with an oil painting that he found in Prague this fall - it just seemed to capture a feeling of Prague that he knew Tyler would enjoy!

Loved this moment of him thanking his dad!

Tyler and Lara blessed us with a photo from the day of their engagement this fall! Oh how we couldn't have been happier when we got that's fun to have a photo to remember it by!

Another one of Caleb's gifts of words...this time for Claire! Note the typical of these two who have been good friends all their lives!

Claire created another beautiful gift, this time for Tyler and Lara...again, done with Copic markers, it's the now infamous photo of Tyler's proposing to Lara. A moment they'll never forget!

Again...words from Caleb for his dad...priceless.

And one of my gifts of the heart was an ornament I had made celebrating 25 Christmases with this wonderful man!

One last gift of words from Caleb to precious and meaningful, just like the whole day!

Thank you Jesus for your birth, the best gift of the heart.