29 March 2010

They keep me in stitches!

We I have made a point of having dinner together as a family.  In the past, due to Jerry working at an office as opposed to now, working at home, the kids often times ate before we did.  Now we can have dinner together and we have some great conversations that way!
This weekend we were having some great convos at dinner and randomly Karis was talking about Brennan being "this big." She was holding her fingers so far apart.....what the size of a seed would be.  Then I proceeded to say that he was once, when he was in my tummy.  Hubby decided to get all technical and said, somewhat under his breath, "Well, actually in your uterus!"  "Do you really want to go there?!" I said!  Ha!
Then they got to talking about growing in mama's tummy.  We've talked to Karis a lot about adoption and growing in someone else's tummy but that God always planned for her to be in our family.
So Karis says "not me."  And Reegan says "No, Karis.  You grew in daddy's tummy."  Oh did we all about roll on the floor from laughter!!
And I just love the fact that I have a daughter that at this age (I hope & pray it stays that way) is very secure in the fact that she is adopted and it's ok that she grew in someone else's tummy!  She is a part of THIS family and she knows it!  Love it!

27 March 2010

Zoo Praha

Some homeschooling mom friends decided to take a trip to the zoo and extended the invitation.  That was on our to do list for some vacation time the hubby is taking this next week.  It's fun to go with other people, but also exhausting when you've got so many kids, mine being the littlest, and running in all kinds of directions and hoping praying they are with someone.
When we went through training to come overseas we took a trip with several families one weekend and I was the one to organize the trip.  Everyone kept calling me the "camp counselor."  I like to make sure that everyone is taken care of and not left behind.  I also have everything needed in my purse in case of an accident or a spill.  And that was before my kids came along!!
It has definitely extended to my kiddos.  I like to know where they are at ALL times and I get my "knickers in a twist" (love that British phrase!) if they are out of site for longer than 5 seconds.  But this is one area that I don't mind being overly cautious!
I got a little nostalgic thinking back to the first time we brought them to the zoo.  Look at them!  They were so little!

That was in October of 2007!  Wow!  Right before we headed back to the States for our stateside assignment (furlough).
And here they are now!

There were these crazy monkeys that we were watching.  Jerry was taking all kinds of pics.  And this guy looks right at him and smiles for the camera!

Is that not hilarious?!

Other zoo animals

All our monkeys kids posing.

Our kids always like looking in the zoo gift shop and try their hardest to talk us into buying something.  We walked away with some lapel pins!  We really didn't want to buy anything unless it had the zoo name on it!  And they didn't have much, not for kids anyway.  But while perusing, look at what the hubby found!

A calendar about animal poop!  My hubby has had some hilarious photo ops with pooping animals (and it would take me too long to go digging for them, so just take my word!).  This calendar was so appropriate!  This will probably grace his desk long past 2010!! 

24 March 2010

Oh the things they say!

My kids are constantly cracking me up with their vocabulary.  Too many times I forget to write it down and then it's lost forever.  But today, I got a good one from Brennan!

It is finally gorgeous outside after our very LONG winter!  I think we hit 60 degrees today.  The kids, well, a certain two....I won't name names.....it rhymes with Paris & Mennen!!  Ha!
Oh those 2 are constantly at it with each other!  Anyway,  the weather was beautiful and I really wanted to get out, but they would not get a long during the afternoon play time in their room.  All I ask is that they stay in their room and play.  I've given up on it being "quiet time" if mama can just have some down time!  But those 2 kept on coming out constantly.  I told them if they would let me get ready we could go to the park.  Of course they decided not to and thus aggravated their mama to no end and I said "no park!"  I do have to add that things got a little better and Karis then picked up the whole room by herself.  I was impressed.
Later on daddy had the brilliant idea to go out for dinner to the kid's favorite spot, Flora.  Flora is a mall that is 2 bus or tram stops away.  I was ready to say "no" as it was a pj day for 2 of them. But I knew we needed to get out and they always sleep better anyway, why not?!

Many times we like to walk and being such a gorgeous day we did just that.  On the walk there we sometimes take a little detour......through a cemetery (Hřbitovy).   It may seem strange to some to walk through a cemetery, but take a look at it!

Fallen stone, how sad!

It is quite gorgeous and it is huge!  From what I've read there are many famous Czechs buried here.  
Ok, got off topic but I HAD to share the beauty of this cemetery!  We were walking along and quite randomly Brennan says "Why'd you buy 3 kids, mom?"  I laughed so hard, he is always making me laugh, and wondered if I heard him right.  Jerry asked me if he said what he thought he said and pipped up with God giving them to us.  Very true but then I started thinking of the validity of his question because actually we DID, in a sense, pay for our kids!!  Between adopting Karis and going through IVF to have twins you could say we paid for them!  Ha!  I didn't go into that with him though!

We had so much fun.  I was so thankful this was a fun night out, because you know, sometimes we've had some doozies where I wonder why we even left the house.  The kids are complaining, food gets all over them, kids being mean to them in the play area, whatever.  But this was an all around great night out!!  And to think, I didn't even want to go!!

14 March 2010


.......and an update on our visas to Spain.

Maybe everybody feels this way, but the Lord seems to always be dealing with me in the area of patience.  I guess He doesn't think I've learned my lesson yet.  Ha!
I think back to when I was a kid and feeling that the Lord was calling me to ministry, but also getting no clear direction in the way He was leading.  Maybe He knew, at that age, I would be saying "No way am I moving to another country!"  Ha!  But I felt it was clear that He was wanting me to wait on Him for the big reveal and where He was leading me.
I remember the desire to get married and waiting on the Lord............at the ripe old age of 22 I got married.  Yeah, I was young. what can I say!  And to think I was getting old, ugh!  Oh my, was I ever young! 
If you've read much of my blog you know we waited a long time for our kids.  We first decided to wait to start a family (for 5 years) and then discovered our infertility and it took another 6 years before Karis entered our home.  Talk about a hefty dose of learning patience!
Then we waited 2 years before we could take Karis to the US due to the way we decided to adopt her (well, on the US side we didn't adopt her, we immigrated her).  Then a long wait in the US due to the US embassy in Prague giving us the incorrect visa.  That one almost caused us to have to take a leave of absence with our organization, but we got the much needed paperwork just in time to make Karis a citizen of the US and apply for the much needed passport to return to Czech Republic.  More stress diverted, thank you Lord! 

I should have known that God was not done with me yet!
Here we are now waiting on this, what seems like an eternity, visa process to get to Spain!!
I had all these ideas that maybe since we've already had a visa in an EU (and Schengen) country that the process would be quicker.  Or the fact that we have an EU member in the family.  Big, fat NOPE!!  Doesn't seem to matter one bit!!

People keep asking me if we've made it Spain yet or where we are in the process.  We've hardly moved!  We are STILL in the beginning stages.  Of course we weren't aware of what all was needed for this process.  We DID know that we would have to have birth certificates and our marriage license, but they also need to be apostilled.  Ok, takes some time but we can do that.  Ok, we have to have doctor's notes that we have no infectious diseases.  Ok, the kids just had a check up a couple of months ago and we can get ours done, no problem.
The one we weren't anticipating was the police report.  Ok, not really a big deal in Czech Republic.  Until I started looking closer at the specifics of the request on the visa application.  We needed to include a police report from each city that we have lived in for at least 6 months during the last 5 years.  Ok, so that means we needed to include Fort Worth, TX.  Alright, so we looked into that.  Oh. My. Word!   It is easier to get a police report in a foreign country than it is in the state of Texas?!  What?!!
To get a copy of our police record in the State of Texas we must provide a copy of our FINGERPRINTS!  Ugh!  And not only that, but they must be an a specific fingerprint card that they specify!!  Argh!! 
So, all this time we have been working with our contact who helps us with our Czech visas to see if she could find out where to get fingerprints done.  She doesn't even know!!  It is possible to get a notarized letter from the US Embassy stating that we do not have a police record in the US, but we are not sure if they will accept that.  So, we went ahead and paid the money to have those accompany the application.
Once we get the applications filled in and all the documents translated into Spanish THEN we can hand them over to the Spanish Embassy in Prague to await the verdict if they will indeed allow us a visa.  That could take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months.  Not so bad compared to what we've heard as far as the process goes when applying from the US.
It was our desire to be in Spain by about now.  It is best if we can apply for school in April, but we won't be able to if we aren't able to give a Spanish address.  The other concern is that our visas for the Czech Republic run out at the end of June.  We'll either have to apply for some type of extension to our Czech visas or vacate to a non-Schengen country to await our visa to Spain.    The closest non-Schengen country is the UK.  I wouldn't mind hanging out there for awhile, but that's not really ideal.

So, there ya have it.  The Lord most definitely must not be done with me in the area of patience.  Or He just doesn't think I'm getting it!  Ha!

07 March 2010

I Need....Well I WANT a Vacation

I grew up taking vacations with my parents.  Our normal summer routine was to head to Homer, Alaska and fish for halibut.  We did that as often as 2-3 times a summer if we could.  I loved it and have such fond memories of being out on the water all day long deep sea fishing, combing the beaches for shells, lots of seafood eating, always hanging out around the campfire with our friends.  So awesome!!

There is just something about sleeping away from home that makes it seem like a vacation.  Now, I do sleep better when I'm at home, but I love the act of vacationing!!
Since all our kids have come to us through adoption and birth we have not really had a vacation.  We have been to Greece twice for meeting with our colleagues, but we attend meetings all day so it's not like a vacation where you can sit by the pool in the sun all day.  We did have some free afternoons, but still not the same.

Our last vacation was as a couple to the west coast of Ireland to see the Cliffs of Moher in August 2005.  We left on our 11th anniversary, August 6.  Such an awesome memory making vacation!!  Walking the cliffs and enjoying the lazy fishing towns.  It was just weeks before receiving the news of our adoption and successful IVF!!

While we were in Texas in 2008 I decided that we were going to take our first family vacation to the Texas coast to a little beach strip town called Crystal Beach just to the east of Galveston.  I planned for a couple of months and hit the low season in September to get a better price and miss the crowds, but still have the warmth.  I searched for just the perfect beach house right on the beach.  I found 2 with a good price and that I liked and finally settled on one.  I was going to take a crock pot so we could do easy meals and go out a couple of nights to a local restaurant.  We were just going to play in the little yard in front or in the sandy beach right over the fenced in yard.  Nothing but relax!! 

Wouldn't you know that THREE DAYS before we were to leave for our family vacation Hurricane Ike stepped up and literally destroyed this little town.  It was sad and I was devastated.  I was saddened for this little community as well as feeling a little selfish that our vacation was ruined.  Jerry didn't want the pressure of coming up with an alternative, so he decided to still take the week off and we would do some activities around the metroplex.  We did some fun things like a trip on the mini train in Fort Worth, went to the zoo on our passes, went to Glen Rose with my parents and drove through Fossil Rim, a drive through zoo where you can feed the animals, visited the Fort Worth botanical gardens.  You know what though, it didn't feel like a vacation to me.

Now we are about to hit the one year mark of our return to Prague and have 3 weeks of vacation to use!  We had talked about going to Madrid to visit some preschools that our colleagues have looked at, but the cost for 5 of us to fly is a little on the expensive side.  We could do it, but we can think of several other ways we could use that money.  We also considered visiting some colleagues in Germany and hitting some spots around the country, but Jerry isn't excited to do that either.  His thought was to, again, do some things near home.  However, he has a good point this time.  The kids are now old enough to have memories that might possibly stay with them.  We are now in our last few months of living in the Czech Republic.  Why don't we use that time to see some of the sites around the country and create memories of their early years here.  How can I argue with that one?!
So, I guess I should get busy and figure out what some of those memory creating sites/activities/things should be!!  This country is full of them!

05 March 2010

"Show Us Your Life" Typical Day

I wish I could say that I am this wonderfully organized mama whose day is completely planned out.
I am definitely the fly by the seat of your pants kind!
But there are aspects of our day that are scheduled, but that is mostly just meal time and play in their room time.  it will change quite a bit once we are able to get out and enjoy the sun and then when the kids head to preschool this fall.

~ 7 am I try to get up at this time, get the coffee going, do my Bible Study, take a shower, check the computer (my laptop is in the living room near me at all times).  I am not normally able to accomplish all of these things in that time, it's just some of the things I might be doing.

~ 8 am The kids are able to get out of bed.  Usually they have woken up before 8 to take a trip to the bathroom, but then it is right back to bed until 8 am.  This gives me that much needed time to sleep in get ready for my day!   I have considered changing their up time to earlier but since we are moving to Spain where the typical school day doesn't start until 9 or 9:30 am, this should continue to suit us just fine!  The late mornings in Spain are going to be a huge plus for us.  Ha!  The REALLY late dinner is going to be an adjustment.  Ok, getting off topic....

~ Soon after they are up I am preparing their morning milk and they are deciding what they want for breakfast.  Maybe 2-3 days a week I will fix something, but this is one meal I don't consistently cook.
Two or three days a week I normally have a babysitter that comes around 9:30 or 10.  She is a student (masters degree level work) and works another job so each week she comes on different days.  It makes it hard to have a scheduled week (for me anyway).  But I like having a babysitter too much to give up this much needed time to sip coffee in a coffee shop to run errands !  Ha!!

~ The days that I am home are fairly low key.  We start the day with breakfast.     And they normally watch a favorite show, or 2 or 3.  Yeah, we are a tad tv crazed.  Once the tv is off they have some play time or I try to do some preschool type projects with them (but I am not consistent with this at all) all while I am cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry or playing on the computer (oh, I just gave myself up!  Ha!)

~ Then all too quickly, about 11:30, it's time to prepare lunch.  I have about 5 lunches I rotate so that helps keep cooking down a bit.  I enjoy baking, but cooking isn't always enjoyable to me. 

~ Around 1pm, I send the kids to have play time in their room.  This gives me some time to myself.  This use to be nap time/quiet time, but they either don't sleep anymore or if they do then it will be LATE when they finally get to sleep that night.  I use that time to do various things......laundry, clean, run to the store since the hubby works at home, prepare dinner and uh, yes.....play on the computer yet again!

~ Depending on how quickly the kids clean up their room after tornado time, I mean play time, they get up sometime between 3 & 4.  It's 4 and even later sometimes when they don't feel like picking up.  This is a big battle we are having right now.  They are usually tired, so we keep things low key. 

~ Then I finish preparing dinner and we usually eat about 6.  After dinner is usually the time the kids get to play with their daddy.  If it's a bath night then we do that and finish up the evening by doing our Bible Story/Prayer Time and watching "Little Bear."
Then off to bed with a few rounds of getting up by our oldest for almost an hour.

~ After they are all in bed I am normally finishing up laundry, if we got to playing a lot I finish cleaning up the kitchen and of course have some computer time.  The hubby and I will sometimes watch something.  Depending on how much work he has left to do.

There ya have it!

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