Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Photo Shoot

I thought I'd post some of the progressions of pictures from the cold photo shoot. Sometimes those make the best memories, yet never seem to make it to the Christmas cards! CRAZY!!!

Merry Christmas!!

From Thanksgiving to Christmas...I guess that not many "blog-worthy" events have gone on in between there. We did get out and take some family pictures, though, so that is "blog-worthy" enough for me! We are enjoying a quieter December here than usual for our family. Yesterday and today (Christmas Eve and Christmas) have been just the 7 of us for the first time ever. It's a good thing there are plenty of us here to make it seem like a party, huh? It is fun to see the kids growing up, and becoming more conversational than before. Some of them are more "converse-y" than others (that's a new word, just for you, Kari)! We are enjoying many Slovak treats as our Slovak friends have brought cookies and coffee cakes to us...different than American Christmas goodies, yet still delicious! However, I do still miss all of those peanut butter and chocolate delicacies (you know, the buckeyes and the ones with the Hershey kisses, and the homemade Reese's bars...) that I always snagged off of every Christmas cookie tray that I saw! If any of you have any of those still hanging around, freeze them for me and someday I will come over and give you huge hugs for saving them just for me! :-)

We all hope your Christmas is filled with the best of family times, fellowship, and the making of great memories, as you celebrate the wonderful birth of our Savior and Messiah! Thank you to so many of you who went the extra mile to mail your Christmas cards to us over here! It is so fun getting those cards out of our mailbox and catching up with you and your families, knowing that you took extra time (and spent the extra postage) to be sure they got to us across the ocean!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011 to all of you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving in Europe

Our first Thanksgiving away from America meant that we got to celebrate it here in Europe. Since Europeans don't celebrate our American Thanksgiving, we took the kids out of school on Wednesday and traveled to Czech so we could celebrate this favorite holiday of ours with the other JV missionaries. As we were driving over the icy, snowy mountain passes, in the dark, without our snow tires on, we wondered if we would even make it. We noticed that the truckers weren't even attempting to go over those mountains in that weather, as they were all pulled over to the side, blocking lanes. We were all praying in the van as Ed drove, creeping slowly along. Arriving at the hotel, we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for God's protection for us, and went inside where it was warm and cozy, with dinner and friends waiting for us.

Thanksgiving morning, the guys played their traditional American football game, then we all sat down to a delicious turkey dinner, which everyone had contributed to bringing. After a relaxing afternoon of watching football (an old Monday night football game that someone had) and napping, we enjoyed the annual JV Talent Show, which all of the JV kids put on for us. It was really quite a show...fortunately our kids went first with their "Circus"; that way they didn't have to "follow" any of the other acts! :-)

So, it was a great three days, and we made our way home much easier on Friday afternoon. As our first Thanksgiving away from our family and friends back in America, we were thankful for this chance for all of us to be with other Americans who appreciate the traditions and festivities associated with this holiday, and who are also away from their families on this day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Nice Surprise for Ed

Not that it wasn't also nice for just wasn't a surprise to me! Yes, Ed's parents came to visit...and they actually succeeded in surprising him! They had been on a trip to the Holy Land, fulfilling a long-awaited dream of theirs, when they "stopped by" on their way home, to see us! They knocked on our door on a Tuesday afternoon, and Ed and the kids went to see who it was. The kids and Ed were all ecstatic to see them, but, of course, Ed showed it in his usual, calm and relaxed style, just as his Mom and I had envisioned him to react! He smiled a huge smile and calmly said, "What are YOU doing here?"

They were here for a week, and we had such a great time! They spent some time exploring our town, shopping the square, climbing to the castle ruins near us, visiting the kids' schools, experiencing our church, and meeting the youth group at a youth meeting in our home. They walked with Shaylee nearly every day, relaxed with us, and blessed us with their time, love and generosity. It was so much fun showing them our world over here, knowing that now they can picture us exactly where we are. They even brought us all some special souvenirs from their Israel trip!

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for routing your return trip through Slovakia, even though it added quite a bit of extra traveling! We loved having you here, and so appreciate the time we could spend with you both! Shaylee still says your names when she comes down from her naps, wondering where you went! I think she's hoping you're still able to take her on her daily walk! We love you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jaylin is 6!

Yes, the last of our family birthdays for the year. Jaylin was so happy that the Porritt family was here to celebrate her 6th birthday...and then the day they left, Pavel and Jelka came with her special "Jelka cake", so Jaylin was able to celebrate twice this year! The Porritt's wanted to be in on the Slovak tradition of tossing the birthday girl into the air 6 times, but neither Debbi nor I caught her on camera in the air...any of those 6 times! :-() Oh well...maybe next year!

Visitors from the West

Well, at least they came from west of us...but that's not hard to do; we seem to be farther east than most everyone we know. Anyway, last weekend we had some friends come here from the Czech Republic. They are other JV missionary kids: Hannah, Hayley, and Noah Ellenwood, and Caleb and Claire Patty, all in high school, plus Seth Miller and Kari Grissom, our two interns that have now spent 5 months with us here in Slovakia. Jayce and Tate were at JV kids camp with the five missionary kids, and we have been wanting to have them come visit, as our kids love every minute of being with these older kids. It is great spending time with this group, as we are always encouraged to see how these JV kids have all grown up as missionary kids, here in Eastern Europe, and are so mature and fun! They are all just great to show our kids so much attention.

Our kids just love having people over, and are always asking "Who's coming over today?" Our kids have definitely grown quite close to our interns, Seth and Kari, as these two have treated our five incredibly special from the beginning. It is fun to see how much Shaylee especially loves to walk over to Seth to have him pick her up, and how often she asks for "Kari???" These pictures are a great illustration of just how much our kids love these people!