Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Budding Photographer

The other day when our grandsons were over, Judah was looking through photos on my phone with me when he asked if he could take a photo of me (since he was looking at a whole bunch of photos that I'd taken of him!).

Here's the first picture of he and I together!

I don't think he actually meant to take that one to show that we were both in the picture. ๐Ÿคฃ But still, it's kind of cool isn't it?!

When I told him to lift the camera a little higher, this is what he got.

I was literally laughing so much, watching his little hands try to lift the phone up to take a picture - he was concentrating so hard at it! Of course I was giving him encouragement along the way too.

And then...he got this. Pretty good composition!

And better yet, this one, right as Asher wandered over to me!

Oh these are the moments I treasure! Just everyday life, shared with these two precious little guys!

Monday, September 17, 2018

I Caught It

"Why have you been on the couch all day long Mom???" says a bored Kaylee today.

Because I caught the flu bug that our little grandsons and daughter, Claire, got last week.

Ever since Dave taught on Psalm 23 last year at our JV spring conference, when I'm sick or not feeling well and need to stay in bed, I think of the words in verse 2, "He makes me lie down in green pastures."

That's been my day today...lying down because He made me!

Hoping I regain strength and energy soon. But thankful my Shepherd knows me and has my best interest in his heart.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Thank you Michelle!

All things considered, it didn't take too long to get this package that was being held hostage in Prague! (see here for what I'm talking about!)

I picked up the package yesterday, a birthday present from my dear friend Michelle in Oregon. It got held up in customs, but not for the amount of its worth (which is another thing), but for its weight! I found out that any package over 2 kg (4.4 pounds) has to go through customs. Since I've now signed an official document saying that I always want my packages delivered to me, hopefully they won't get held up again!

I did have to pay something for customs so note to anyone out there thinking of sending a package to a missionary in Europe (and I'm not just talking about me!)...make sure that the value is under $50.

But it was, of course, all totally worth it to get the package!

My favorite Creme Brรปlรฉe coffee beans from Portland, Oregon were in there, along with dear cards from her and her mom.

And a summer dress that I'll love taking out next year!

"Michelle, you spoil me! Thanks for loving on me (especially when you'd already given me birthday presents in July!) and going the extra mile to express that love to me. You're my treasured BFF!!"

Happy Birthday Dave

Today is my dear Dave's 57th birthday!!! ๐ŸŽ‚ ๐ŸŽˆ ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐ŸŽ ๐Ÿ™Œ ๐Ÿ˜

We met up in Ostrava at Starbucks with Claire...

I was trying to be sneaky and take a photo without them knowing...but I don't think I succeeded! 

And then with Judah and his family!

While they all went to get seats at a restaurant where we were going to celebrate Dave's birthday, Judah and I had some important business to take care of.

He brought his "Dyno" along to shop!

While I was taking care of him and Asher this week, we talked about Papa's birthday and what to get him. Judah thought about it for a moment and said, "Me get Papa dump truck!"

So we were in search of the perfect dump truck to give Papa for his birthday!

I can tell you that Judah is a very discerning shopper, and not just any dump truck will do for Papa. I showed him many possibilities and he had definite opinions about what he was looking for.

Thankfully, he finally found the right thing, along with a bag to put it in that he thought would be great for Papa.

He was so proud to carry the bag for Papa, from the toy store to the restaurant.

And of course, he wanted to give his gift to Papa right away!

After all that searching, he hadn't chosen a dump truck, but rather a TOW truck!! No explanation - just an intuitive decision made by a grandson for his Papa!

Then he had to show the other thing he'd picked out.

When I asked Judah what I should give to Papa, he quickly replied, "A race car!"

Knowing that Papa didn't really need the race car, I suggested in the store that Papa could have the tow truck, and it would stay at Papa's house. But that Judah could have the race car and that would stay at his house. He readily agreed!

But what I loved while shopping with him was that he never once asked for anything! It was all about Papa!

We all had a nice lunch together, giving gifts and gifts of words to Dave for his birthday.

"I love who you are Dave! I love how God put you together, and how you use all the parts of yourself to serve Him, and bless us. You are an amazingly kind, humble, strong and godly man. Those of us who get to live life up close to you are constantly blessed by you!! May this coming year be full of richness in life with the One you love so much, and with all the rest of us who love you! You're my favorite!!!"

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Connecting Our Worlds

Just a few minute's drive from our home, in the village of Malenovice, is a local restaurant that we love to take people to.

Six years ago the original pub in the village was torn down and this one was built to take its place.

And tonight it was our privilege to take our dear friend, Mary, there for dinner!

We met her and her husband at Gull Lake Ministries in Michigan, where Dave has been speaking over the past ten years, and where both Caleb and Claire worked during the summer during their college years.

Her husband has business in this part of the world, so she came with him this time to see us, visit some of our JV team in Slovakia and Poland, and to see if God would have them join our "A-Team", a unique opportunity for people to serve our team as "ambassadors" for JV.

What a delight to spend the evening with her and connect our two worlds together!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Down the Road

This boy gets up EARLY!!

This is breakfast at 6:40, after we've already been awake since 5:40!! I did manage to keep him in bed with Papa and I until 6:20 but then I got the "Me done sleepin'" message from Judah and we headed downstairs.

The funny part about this photo is he's having toast with honey...Croatian honey! I let him taste test a Czech and Croatian honey, and he chose Croatian. I thought it was cute that he had a preference!

Little brother "slept in" until 7 and was a cheery bundle of joy in the morning.

He thinks it's funny to climb into Kaylee's dog bed!

Kaylee is major entertainment around here, so off we went for another walk before his morning nap (I think it was our 7th walk since they'd arrived on Wednesday!).

While Judah was ahead of us on the road already, I turned around to see how far along Asher was and there he stood, looking so big and cute!

I think I need a picture of him every year like this to watch him grow up.

Love these little guys so much!

Asher was getting his turn at holding the leash (they're really good at it! And Kaylee is patient with the slower pace she has to go at when they're holding her) when all of sudden Judah cried out to me.

"Nonnie! Rain comin'!!" And sure enough...though I hadn't felt it before, all of a sudden, I felt the drops falling. He improvised and covered his hand with a homemade umbrella as we made our way back to the house! ๐Ÿคฃ

Good thing we weren't far away!

The rest of the afternoon we spent in good imaginative play.

Can you tell that's an elephant with Mrs Noah riding on its back?! ๐Ÿคฃ

Claire, who has barely recovered from the flu she caught from the boys, came over in the evening to help me get them ready to head back to their home in Ostrava.

With Tyler and Lara arriving into Prague late this afternoon, and taking the train home later tonight, we all thought it best that the boys go to bed at home so they can wake up to mommy and daddy in the morning.

While Claire got their bath ready for them, Judah tucked into a little snack before bedtime. He knew right where to find the dried cranberries back at home!

It's been a sweet three days with the boys, invaluable time investing in them and enjoying these early days of their life.

After putting them to bed (and honestly feeling a little sad that I wouldn't be seeing them in the morning...though who I am kidding? Getting to sleep in tomorrow will be wonderful...thanks Tyler and Lara for being such troopers at parenting kids who get up early!)...Claire and I hung out at their home until they arrived at 11:15.

They had a great time in England at For Mission, the organization JV is partnering with to bring theological education to the Czech Republic, a university degree program that Tyler will be directing next fall!

I'm so thankful to the Lord for all these touches with them and their boys. What joy to have them just "down the road" so to speak, in Ostrava!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Doing Life with the Boys

By 10 AM on Day Two of taking care of my grandsons, Judah and Asher, this is where we were at.

Both boys are recovering from the flu, with Asher farther behind since he got it after Judah. Awake at 6:30, he was back down for a nap at 8:30 and up at 10...not very happy. Poor guy!

I'd actually been up since 5:40 when Judah came in and whispered to me in my bed, "Nonnie, me done sleepin'". ๐Ÿ˜‚ But at this point, he was happily playing with toys in the living room so I quickly looked for something to distract Asher from his distress.

What was it? The toast that I'd never gotten around to eating that morning! ๐Ÿคฃ Oh mommies out there...I feel your pain! There was a cup of coffee that I never quite managed to drink either!

I spread a little jam on it to give to him, but ended up fully satisfying and distracting him with this technique.

Yes, Nonnie resorted to letting him dip his toast into the jam jar while I tried to clean dishes in the sink!

This technique resulted in a very happy little boy!

He recovered so well that I decided we would brave the grocery store to pick up a few things we needed.

My first trip to the store with both boys ended quite successfully!

And juice boxes were the reward!

I almost lost both boys to naps on the five minute car ride home, but managed to keep them awake long enough to get inside. We weren't there for more than twenty minutes when I turned around and found this.

And no kidding...ten minutes later, this guy was yawning. They both missed lunch, but hey! They had great naps!

Once they were both back up again, happy after good sleep, we went out for our second time of the day to walk Kaylee.

If you've ever been to my house you know our road isn't very long. But we stretch a walk out to at least a half hour, only going from our driveway down to the main road and back. And discover SO many fun and interesting things along the way!

Oh the treasures of toddler walks!

We came back to the yard, which also holds treasures, and picked the first carrot of the season!

I asked Judah if he liked carrots to which he replied, "Me yike cah-whats!" So I washed, peeled and cut them up in toddler size sticks to give him one for a snack.

"I no yike cah-whats Nonnie", was his response.

Plums were much more satisfying!

And they're even better sitting out on the front step!

Asher was still not feeling great so went down for an unusual third nap. This gave Judah and I some time outside, which ended up being super productive!

I don't think I would have thought about doing yard work with a two year old, but when he noticed I had some thistles growing in my flower beds, that led to he and I pulling weeds and trimming my bushes back for the fall. He was really amazing at helping me!

The rest of the afternoon and evening passed by in a blur of just "doing life" with them. And my day ended like this.

I said to myself numerous times throughout the day, "How did I ever do this with three kids??" But then I remember that you get into routines, you have systems, and somehow you just do it!

On to tomorrow with my two little boys!!