Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020

On this last day of 2020, this was a happy photo to receive from Dave! 

He is in Denver, visiting his mom and dad for a few days; mom is spoiling him with good food for every meal while he's there! 

While he's celebrating New Year's with them, I went over late this afternoon to Mel and Amy Ellenwood's house to celebrate with our regular New Year's Eve buddies!

For many years now, Patty's, Ellenwood's, and Hash's have rung in the new year together, with a variety of our children usually with us. This year Noah and Jill were visiting from Montenegro so joined in on the fun. Noah made pizza in his special new pizza oven that they're taking back home with them for pizza parties with their youth! 

Usually, we stay up past midnight, watching the fireworks together and sharing our thoughts with each other on the past and coming year. 

But this year, thanks to coronavirus, we have a curfew so I scurried out the door and made it home with two minutes to spare before the curfew started. 

I didn't actually plan to stay up until midnight, but before I knew it, the new year was here! So I stepped out on our balcony to see a few of the fireworks displays going on. 

2020 will be a year we'll never forget; we might even look back on it as the oddest and most difficult year of our collective, worldwide lives.

While I don't wish to stay in it, and pray 2021 is different, I'll also look back on it with fondness for how God led us through it, for the two new grandchildren He brought to us, and for how we all grew in faith during it. 

Goodbye, 2020! ๐ŸŽ‡ ๐ŸŽ‡ ๐ŸŽ‡ We'll never forget you!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

In Search of Sunshine

On this gloomy day, Claire and I took a little trip into Ostrava in search of sunshine.

So happy we found it! ☀️

Simeon, Tyler and Lara's new son, is a week old today! Aunty Claire brought him a special hippo friend to celebrate.

He, along with the rest of the family, are doing well adjusting to being home with three boys!

It's still amazing to me how much babies change in their first days and weeks of life. I just saw him three days ago and he's already different!

So very proud of Lara for being such a good mom to all of them!

And proud of Tyler for leading his family so well!

Their days and nights are full of caring for their family. And they're doing it so well!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Peaceful Travels

If you look closely you'll see something a bit unusual. 

We do have deer running through our yard all the time, but we rarely have one who comes to stay for a while! 

It was a sweet scene to leave as Dave and I got in the car to head for Ostrava. I hope tomorrow is as peaceful for Dave as it is for this deer resting in our yard before he takes off again.

We are locking down again here in the Czech Republic as our Covid cases are steeply rising. But tomorrow, Dave will get on a flight early in the morning and fly to the States. 

We haven't been to the States since February so haven't seen our parents in quite a while. With his dad's health being, at times, precarious, he wants to go and spend some time with his dad and mom while he still can. 

So we said goodbye for a week and he is off to Denver just to be with them! I'm so glad he can go and pray that his flight is peaceful tomorrow, as well as his days with them. I'm sure it will be!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Engagement in Slovenia

Yesterday afternoon I heard a FaceTime call coming in on my phone. When I looked to see who it was from, I was surprised to see it was my niece, Rebecca Patty.

Wonder why she was calling? 

Because THAT had just happened!!!

Thank you FB and Becca for these photos that I could "borrow"! 

Becca met Mitchell when he was a JV intern in Slovenia a few years ago. They've been dating for a year and came to Slovenia this year to celebrate Christmas with Becca's family (this is the daughter of Josh and Kristi, Dave's brother and our sister-in-law).

But of course, that's not all they did. They got engaged! 

It delighted me to no end that they called us to share their happy news, and tell us they're looking forward to a wedding this summer.

We'll do everything we can to be there!!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Everyone Loves Simeon

Tyler and Lara spent Christmas night here at our house, so we woke up to them as a family of five this morning! 

I am amazed by Tyler and Lara, and their ability to bounce back into life after Simeon's birth just four days ago. Isn't Lara so lovely?! 

Tyler has pictures like this one with each of his boys. What an awesome dad he is!

And this Aunty loves all of her nephews and her niece!!

Every one of us enjoyed our turn with Simeon today!

His brothers think he is pretty special!

Dave and I recognize that it is highly unusual, as missionaries, to live close to family; we don't take it for granted, but instead, just thank the Lord for this gift of having these dear ones near us in this sweet season of our lives. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Hello Simeon

Simeon is here!

What a beautiful Christmas gift to receive today!

Tyler and Lara were able to check out of the hospital this afternoon with Simeon and bring him to our house.

The wonder of a newborn arriving on this day, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, will be remembered for many years to come. 

As we each held him, I think we were all thinking something similar: Imagine what it was like for Mary and Joseph to hold their son, the promised Messiah, on that day of his birth over 2000 years ago.

Imagine what it was like for anyone who gazed on infant Jesus' face like we are gazing at Simeon today.

The hope of the world lay in that tiny baby. Can't you just feel the joy in those who recognized that hope?!

In a different kind of way, we feel hope and joy in the presence of our grandchildren, who represent a future hope too. 

We pray that these three little boys will grow to be strong men of God who will carry the light of Jesus and the Gospel with them wherever they go. 

And for Simeon especially, we pray that like the Simeon of the New Testament, who was righteous and devout, waiting for the promised Messiah, that our Simeon will also be a man full of the Spirit in the same way that the Simeon of old was when he took Jesus in his arms and praised God because he knew WHO had finally come. 

We already love you Simeon and pray that you will know Jesus too!

Christmas Morning Delight

Oh, the joy of waking up with little people on Christmas morning!  

Judah and Asher are staying with us right now while their mom and dad are at the hospital after the birth of their baby brother, Simeon on the 22nd. They had hoped to be home for Christmas, but with a tiny bit of jaundice, the doctors wanted to wait another day to watch Simeon's levels. 

So, we got to wake up to these little voices this morning, excited that it's Christmas morning!

Instead of Christmas stockings, we did "morning presents", and planning to wait until later to open the other gifts if/when Tyler and Lara get out of the hospital. 

The boys were completely satisfied with cars, coloring books, magnets, and Pez candies! 

Claire made yummy French toast for our breakfast, and we kept out the special Waechtersbach Christmas dishes to eat on that I've been using since our early married days in Germany!

The boys were so content for the morning as we waited for news of whether or not Simeon would be released from the hospital today. 

A "Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer" dance party happened...

As well as more turns on the rope swing upstairs that Papa put in last night.

Snuggles in pajamas with Aunt Claire were most satisfying. 

As was the amazing moment we got a few snowflakes on this Christmas morn', which was something Judah had been praying for!

They didn't stick...but there were definitely some flurries out there that made him happy! 

Claire also baked some fun meringues for us to enjoy.

Then finally, we got the news that Tyler, Lara, and Simeon were coming home! So we got to work to prepare for their arrival.

We are getting a special gift today, on a day when we celebrate the best gift of all!

More to come on Simeon's arrival at Papa and Nonnie's house!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve with the Boys

How do you top visiting your baby brother at the hospital on Christmas Eve?! 

That's where these two have just returned from. 

Tyler and Lara had hoped that Simeon would be released from the hospital today, but when that didn't happen, I was able to drive Judah and Asher into Ostrava so they could go in to meet their baby brother, which was the best gift of all today! 

Other moments of fun on this monumental day? 

Painting with Nonnie while they waited for a surprise from Papa. 

What's a ladder doing upstairs near the playroom??

Giving Dave the ability to install a present from him -- a rope swing from the rafters on this Christmas Eve!

I hardly took any pictures because I was smiling and laughing so much as I watched them enjoy Dave's creation!

This has been on Dave's heart for many months, and today became a reality. Oh, the fun they had this evening, and the fun to come in months ahead!

Claire came to join us for our Christmas Eve dinner - traditional fajitas like we've been having since 1993!

Afterward, we gathered with the boys to watch, "Polar Express".

We've read the book several times, but this was their first time seeing the movie. It totally tickled them!

The actual scene Judah was laughing at was when hot chocolate is served on the train!

(Also, just so you know, we fast-forwarded through the parts that were a bit too scary for this age range!)

For bathtime on this epic evening, I surprised them with new toys for the bathtub.

I love bringing smiles to our grandson's faces. Fun is kind of my adopted middle name, so I'm always looking for little ways to bring the fun!

Claire was the desired book reader for bedtime tonight. And they wanted it to happen on the floor in Papa and Nonnie's bedroom, so it did. 

Making memories with Judah and Asher on this Christmas Eve was pure joy! 

In the meantime, Tyler and Lara were making their own Christmas Eve the hospital. 

We're all hoping they'll be able to come home tomorrow for Christmas Day.