Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A New School Year

Well...before September ends, I think I'll post about our first day of school that was back on September 3rd.  That's right, when all of America was celebrating Labor Day, with a day off of school, we were suiting up here for our new school year.  You might remember, and you might not, that the tradition here in Slovakia is for students to take flowers to their teachers on the first day of school.  Well, when we first discovered this tradition back in September of 2010, it was too late, as we were already at school with our backpacks of books and no flowers, while all of the other students were there with their flowers and NO backpacks of books.  So, the next year we wizened up (is that REALLY how you spell "wizened"??) and left the backpacks at home, but still weren't sure about the flowers...do we buy them that morning on the way to school?...and from where?...so, I baked cookies and they took plates of those September of 2011.

This year, we decided to go with the normal Slovak tradition, and went to buy 5 flowers the day before, put them in water overnight, and were ready to go the next morning.  This, I have decided, is the easiest option yet!  We also sent the kids' slippers to school with them that first morning this year.  Every day the school kids change out of their street shoes and wear their slippers throughout the school day and then change back to go home.  Every day, that is, except for the first!!!  Why???  Who knows??  So, yes, our kids were holding their slippers as they walked up to school, saw that no one else had them, so threw them to Ed as quick as they could.  I am constantly making mental notes about what I am learning here.  Maybe I should start writing more of these down, so that I can remember these details when I need them.  So, next September, we'll be ready.  We'll send all the kids out the door with their flowers and NO slippers!  Remind me next fall if I forget!

All five are in school this year.  The oldest four are at a primary school in town, and Shaylee goes to a separate preschool.  So far, so good for everyone.  We are very thankful for good teachers who take time to help our kids learn in a second language.  We are also thankful for our tutor, Bibka, who helps all of us understand better what we are learning!  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Everybody loves...PARKER!!!

We're going to have to dedicate a whole post to pictures of Parker...there were so many!  The thing was, the whole time we were together in North Carolina...the hardest part was trying to decide whose turn it was to hold the little sweetheart!  And sweetheart he was...as he contentedly let us all pass him around...for 10 days!!!  Notice that he isn't crying in any of these pictures???  Not even in the bath???  That's because he didn't cry all week!!  Erin says that he is still a little sweetheart, although she evidently had to get him used to not being constantly held after we left!  Sorry, Erin!  And really, Chad AND Erin...thank you both for letting us ALL hold your 3-week old baby!  You're awesome!

Next stop...North Carolina!!!

So, as you might remember from earlier posts, our furlough began in Florida with Wendi's family: Dad and Mom, and sister Lori and her family.  Sister Erin and her family couldn't make it to our Florida time for a very legitimate reason...she delivered her fourth child one of the weekends that we were in Florida!  So, she stayed in North Carolina with her family (where they live) and waited to see us until the first of July...and WE waited until then to see her newborn baby Parker!

So...on July 2nd, we left Illinois and drove to North Carolina where we were greeted by Erin and Chad and their four kids, as well as Lori and Brian and their two kids, and Mom and Dad, too, who had all come up from Florida for the party!  SO...we were all together...the 19 of us!  We had a wonderful time, and were truly able to relax and enjoy everyone, while having so much fun in Chad and Erin's stomping grounds.  They had so many fun things for us to do, and we loved every minute of it!  We are truly blessed with the relationships in our families!