Thursday, December 23, 2010

Decorating the tree

We got our tree a few weeks ago but waited to decorate it.  Sharon's sister Lynn arrived on Monday and we finally un-nudified our bare tree.  Eliana had a great time putting up ornaments.

 OOOhhh, Pretty Ornaments

 Daddy is letting me touch them too.

 Rationing out the goods.

 Reach for the stars kid


Most important thing to know about decorating is Location... Location... Location

Admiring her work

It just wouldn't be a good night with out a good cry when you don't get to do everything you want to do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

one hot girl on a cold day

This has been a trying week.  Sharon felt horrible on Monday and had a little bit of a fever.  She recovered quickly though and felt pretty good by Tuesday.  But it was then that Eliana started getting sick and running a fever.  She seemed to be doing better on Wednesday so we figured it was kind of a 24 hour thing like Sharon's bought.  Until Wednesday evening when her fever ramped up and she started shaking and moaning incestantly.  We took her temperature and she was reading 104.5 so we called the Jacksons to figure out where the emergency room is and what to expect.  We arrived at the hospital around 8 pm.  Once there the doctor examined her and called for some tests.  They drew some blood and started an i.v. to get her hydrated.  After 4+ hours we were released and told to come back the next day (Thanksgiving).  They were concerned but not enough to admit her.

So we went back to the ER yesterday and they ran some more tests and found that she was doing a bit better.  The doctor ruled out pneumonia and said its just a viral thing that needs to run its course.  So we are watching her and giving her ibuprofen every 6 hours to keep the fever down.  Thank God that we just got some kids medicines in a package from the States recently (thanks!!).
Last night Eliana spiked a fever of 104.5 again but it didn't last too long.  She also hit the 105.1 mark this morning but after the medicine kicked in it dropped down close to normal.  She is feeling alright for the most part and is playing and mostly happy when the meds are keeping her fever low.

Also, it snowed today here in Ljubljana!  It started dusting around 9-10am and hasn't really quit.  I think we have around 6 inches.  Eliana hasn't seen much snow so today was a special treat for her.  I also taught her the ancient art of snow eating and how to choose the right stuff to consume.

It's always tough when a kid gets sick but the timing of this illness was also difficult since we were supposed to be at a Thanksgiving retreat for the JV missionaries of the southern countries.  It's brutal to spend Thanksgiving away from family and friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rolam Y'all

Rolam: Slovene for "I skate"

While in Lithuania I never found a good hobby that gets me out and encourages exercise too.  So before we came to SLO I wanted to get a long board so could get around town, burn some calories, and not get cabin fever (which I am fairly prone to contracting).

Weather permitting I skate thorough the center of town each weekday on my way to my Slovene classes.  Its always fun for me dodging people, cars, and sometimes buses as I bob and weave through the city.  It gives me time to pray so I thank God frequently that Ljubljana has bike paths around much of the city.

Since longboards aren't common I often get funny glares from the old ladies and envious glances from the 8 year old boys.  Today however, was a good day for boarding.  Now you need to know that I have had some wonderfully humiliating times riding around town.  I have had some good crashes, some sweet spills, and one wicked slide that put me face down spread out in the middle of a crosswalk in one of the busiest intersections in the country; right in front of a bus of spectators.  Ugh.  There have been some highlights too.  Like hanging on to the back of a moped as some dude pulled me through some crazy city streets doing 25mph, even across cobblestone.  It got the adrenaline pumpin.  Another time Ga┼íper and I grabbed onto the back of a big utility truck and got towed around Old Town. But today, was the first time to be hit by a car!  I knew this day would come and luckily it was very minor.  I and my board rolled away unscathed with only minor pride damages.  I was shooting a crosswalk when a lady in a Yugo came cruising and was only looking at traffic to her left and NOT me to her right.  She saw me at the last second and slammed on the breaks.  I barely rolled up on her hood.  Close is for horseshoes and hand grenades right?

Then later today I was pushin across town and on my way back went into our neighborhood market. There I was stoked to meet another longboarder in the check out line.  Mind you this is the 3rd other longboard I've seen in SLO and he lives 1 block from me.  We started chattin and exchanged numbers so we can go ride sometime.  I've been praying for someone outside the church to build a friendship with and practice Slovene.  We'll see what God's up to.

A good day for boarding indeed!

I realized I don't have any photos of me on my board so here is something even better.  It is a clip of Barbara and Maja on my boards thrashin around Lake Bled.

Monday, November 22, 2010

College Group

Right now our group of university students that we meet with gets together the first and third Sunday evenings of each month.
Currently, we are going through the "One Anothers" of the New Testament. Each meeting we discuss a passage that contains this phrase and then try to put wheels on it.
(Note, I am trying to work on diminishing the amount of idioms I use since they don't usually translate well.) We want to be people who are consistent with what we believe and live out our faith in very practical ways. So often the church is known for its hypocrisy and the bad taste that leaves in peoples mouths. (Note, still working on it.) So last night we discussed putting others honor and interests above our own, Romans 12:10 and Philippians 2:3.
It was humbling to take an honest look at how much we love ourselves and how hard it is to put others interests above ours since we think no one will look out for us. We then did some praying and thought about practical measurable ways to make these verses a reality the next 2 weeks until we meet again.

Feel free to pray for us. That God would make a community of people who truly love Jesus here in Slovenia and who love those around them well as they give their lives away like Jesus did.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Horse Play

A couple days ago I met up with Miha, a dude from church, and we went out cruising on my longboards. It was his first time and he did amazingly well. We kicked around the center and then out to the HOT HORSE stand near Tivoli Park. We grabbed some finger lickin chow and chatted for a while about life in Slovenia. It was a fun afternoon.

For those of you who don't know, Hot Horse is a fast food chain here in SLO. They specialize in Horse Burgers with all kinds of fun topings. I had one with nacho cheese, onions, and tobasco. And let me tell you even though that old mare had given her life to nourish mine, she still packs quite a kick. (For all you horse lovers out there - please don't hate me.)

One of the cool things about Ljubljana is that it is fairly small for a capitol city. There are around 280,000 people and its amazing how small it feels. I don't know that many people yet and I see some of the few people I know kinda often. In fact I saw 3 different people as Miha and I were out and about the other day.
Quaint is a good word for our beautiful city.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A First

Today was a special day for me.

Eliana was sitting next to me on the couch as we read through some books together.

Right before she got off the couch to go to her next project she wrapped her arms around me and said something like, "ahhlblbloh."

And I realized it was my first unsolicited, unprompted, totally spontaneous
hug and "I Love You" from my daughter.

Today was a very good day!

(Despite my cheesy grin, this is one my current favorite photos of me with Eliana.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Learning to smile for the camera

It's a new concept - learning to smile for the camera.

We're still working on it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Field Trip!!

Part of my Slovene language course consists of a Friday field trip every other week. Recently we had the chance to get out of the classroom and on to the streets... of a little town called Ribnica. Which by the way is known for its wood peddlers. It is the region of Slovenia where there are some people who make wooden ware such as buckets and spoons.

So we headed off to Ribnica where we got to walk around this cute little town and then to a guys house where we watched him put the finishing touches on a bucket.

Though exciting in its own way the best part of the day was that Sharon, Eliana, and Maia joined me out this outing. It was so fun for my class to meet my girls. One of the funny comments came from my teacher who was surprised that a guy who longboards to class everyday had a family, and such a cute one at that. Another girl in my class thought I was too young to have 2 kids. Lets just say she ain't gonna make a career out of being one of those people who guesses your age at the county fair.

We had fun and it was great for Sharon and the girls to get out and explore.

Here are a few shots of Eliana as she played around the old castle ruins of this quaint town.

new name

As you may recall, Maia's birth certificate said her middle name is TOI instead of JOI. We got a kick out of it and more than a few jokes, but when we submitted all Maia's paperwork to the US Embassy the joke was much less funny. In order to get Maia's US birth certificate, passport, and social security number we had to get the correct name on her Slovene birth certificate.

It took 3 weeks to get her original certificate so I figured it would take at least a few more weeks. Sharon tried calling the Upravna Enota (administrative management of SLO) office and as soon as the operator heard her speaking in English they transferred her to someone else, who then transferred her to someone else, and so on, and so on until she reached the office of tourism where the lady who answered the phone spoke great english but had no idea how we could get a corrected birth certificate. So I decided to just go to the office and try to figure it out. When I stopped by the people were amazing and everyone was very helpful. The ladies working the department I needed were glad to help. When I stopped by the next day to pick it up they had a corrected version waiting for me.

We had our appointment at the US Embassy on Tuesday and after some paperwork, signatures, and a couple hundred or so dollars Maia is on her way to becoming a US citizen with a somewhat normal middle name.

Friday, October 15, 2010

One Day at a Time

Maia was born 5 1/2 weeks ago . . . I can't believe it's been that long already.

I'm finally starting to feel "normal" again. And by "normal," I mean I'm not hobbling around the house waiting for the abdominal pain to ease up and I'm starting to get into a little bit of a rhythm for each day. (Though that will have to change again once I start language lessons.)

I love being a mama to Eliana and Maia, though I find that I have very high expectations of myself (I "should" be able to do more than just get them fed, clothed, bathed, get the laundry and dishes done each day.) I'm learning to give myself grace in this whole process of being a mama to two. It will all come in time I know and I just need to enjoy each day with them. Sigh. . .easier said than done. So, for now, I'm taking it one day at a time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

date night to remember

Last Friday Sharon and I got to go for a simple date night. We packed up the kiddos and made the 10 minute walk to old town Ljubljana.

We had a great time just strolling through beautiful old town for hours. We stopped to get some chest nuts, which by the way were roasting on and open fire. They smelled amazing. I thought they tasted alright, Sharon wasn't a huge fan, but Eliana loved them.

I showed Sharon some of the sights that I learned about on the tour of town that I took with my Slovene language class earlier that day. We ended up at the open market and decided to use the MlekoMat machine for the first time. For those of you not up on the trends here in SLO, there is a tendency towards natural methods and wholesome foods. SO this machine dispenses raw milk. You can even buy a bottle if you forgot yours at home, like we did. So we got a liter of raw milk for a euro and threw back a cold one there in the square. White mustaches and all.

I'm sure some would think this post to be utterly disgusting but I am gonna milk it for all its worth.


We got Maia's birth certificate from Slovenia 2 days ago. We were excited to get it so that we can start working on her american citizenship, social security, and passport.
When we opened it up I noticed that instead of saying Maia Joi Mormance, it read Maia Toi.
I laughed, Sharon didn't think it was near as funny as I did since she made Maia's middle name very clear to the nurse in the hospital.

Oh and speaking of her name. Maja (j is a y here) is a common Slovene name. We chose a more international spelling for our girl. But her middle name isn't slovene at all. The nurse who came to check up on Maia tried to pronounce her middle name and said "oh, Maia (Yo-wee)" as she tried to say Joi (joy).

So we already have a few nicknames rollin around for our little girl.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

my girls are home

Yesterday around 2 or so we got to bring Sharon and Maia home.

My girls

Eliana was a little jealous and still wanted to be the baby

Sharon cam home and wanted to bake... so I ran to the store so she could make tasty treats.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A bucket half full kinda guy

My wife has told me many times that I am the optimist and she is the realist. Though I don't always agree that realist is the counterpoint to an optimist and I have at times loving mentioned that she might be a word that rhymes with bessimist. I do however fully concede that I tend towards a glass half full perspective on life.

Well it was an interesting weekend here in Slovenia. It started raining on Friday morning when we went to the hospital and didn't quit until Sunday morning. Now I used to live in Oregon and let me tell you, I know rain. But this wasn't that drizzle that lasts for months, this was a downpour, a deluge if you will.

So Saturday morning I woke up to a very steady drip coming out of the light fixture and surrounding sheet rock in our living room. It had made quite a puddle in our living on the not so hardwood floors. Luckily the new rug we bought was soaking some of it up though. So I got buckets to catch the effects of the new shower in our house. Then the wheels started turning. I was annoyed by the incessant dripping and splashing, so I created a miniature slip-n-slide to help the water reach its home. I cut a 1.5 liter bottle in half to create a funnel and then draped a strip of plastic and clothes pins to make a cascading water feature for our viewing enjoyment. The only issue now was to keep our 1 1/2 year old from enjoying it too much.

Now a lot of people here in Ljubljana were not too happy about the many inches of rainfall we had, especially those whose houses were affected by the flooding. I for one was thrilled about it. This storm allowed me to see the places were our roof leaks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

you gotta have patients

Sharon has done really well and for the most part enjoyed her time in the hospital here in Ljubljana.

It has been a very different experience than when we had Eliana a year and a half ago in the states.
Probably the biggest difference is the amount of time Sharon has had by herself and time with just her new baby. We had Maia Friday morning and then Sharon only got to see her about four hours that day. On Saturday she got to spend around 6-7 hours with Maia. On Sunday she got a little more time and today she spent most of the day with our new daughter. Hopefully they'll get released tomorrow. So she has had more and more time to be with Maia as they bond.

As far as visitors, when we had Eliana we had people stopping by all the time to visit and meet our baby. Not only were family and friends around a lot, I was there all the time. Heck I slept there at the hospital for 5 days. This time, visiting hours are from 3-6pm everyday. So the only visitor she gets this time is me (and Eliana came on Saturday). And only for 3 hours a day. I should add that we have been able to skype with our parents too. It was fun for them to see Maia the day after she was born even though they are around 5,590 miles away. God bless technology!

Lastly, all the new moms get issued a seafoam bathrobe to wear while they are checked in to the birthing center. Thats what they walk around in and lounge in too. Sharon wanted to walk around so today we went down to the cafe at the hospital to have a cup of joe in comfort and style.

I think its been kind of refreshing in some ways. She has been able to get some much needed rest after the c-section and some great time with her new little girl.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Matter of Life and Death

Today is a day we'll never forget.

We woke up early to get ready and head to the hospital here in Ljubljana to have our second daughter. We left the house and dropped off Eliana at the Jacksons where Terry and the girls took good care of her. Sharon and I then drove to the hospital and prepared ourselves for the c-section. We got there at 7am and waited around for awhile but then got inserted into the system along with the other ladies waiting to have their kids today.
After prep we headed to the OR where I got to stand in an adjacent room and watch them operate on my wife.
At 10:02 GMT+1 we had a little girl.
Her name is Maia Joi Mormance and she is 6 pounds 12 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. She is healthy and beautiful, and so is her mama. Her name means close to God and is pronounced (MY-ah).

But about three hours and twenty minutes after she was born and half way around the world back in Gresham, OR. my grandpa passed away. Larry Mormance was a good man and a wonderful husband, father, grandpa, and great grandpa. He was 95 and still living by himself. He was tough as nails and yet so gentle and loving with his great grandkids. He was a bit stubborn and sometimes kinda ornery yet so witty and one who loved life and those around him. I can't help but cry as I sit here and think of my grandpa. He was a good man, one that I hope to be like one day.

It was a really tough day to not be around family and friends. We miss you all and love you. We wish you could be here to celebrate with us and we wish we could be there to mourn with you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fingerprinting party

Yesterday we had a good old fashion fingerprinting party!!

Now Sharon's side of the family is used to this kind of party (australian side that is), but this was my first.

Josh and Kristi Patty came over with some ink pads from the police station, it was BYOIP, we're cheap (thats my side of the family).

Sharon, Josh, and I got to lay down some prints on card stock and send them off to the Oregon State Police. We found out on Tuesday that Slovenia just changed the rules and not only do we need and FBI background check but we also need a state criminal records check. Sweet! We are gonna be so checked out... uh sorry I got nothin.

Here is my beautiful bride getting booked.

Here are Eliana's Mug Shots.
Look at that face and wild hair, already a hardened criminal

Oh and...