Wednesday, December 07, 2011

They copy everything!

Earlier today . . .

Matt had just returned from language class.

Eliana was sitting at the table drinking milk. . .

. . . when all of a sudden she spat milk all across the table!

Matt: Eliana?!  You just made a huge mess!  Why did you do that??

Eliana: I throwed up.  I wanted to be like Mama.

Sigh.  Hmm.  Yeah the morning sickness hasn't eased up a whole lot.

And I have a little girl who watches everything!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

All Tied Up

Last Sunday we told all the students that we would be doing something fun for college group - something they wouldn't want to miss.  Hehe.  (Gotta love hype!)

So once they were all seated for dinner (something we do together each week), we told them that this meal would be different - because they were going to have to eat their meal with their hands tied to the person sitting next to them!

Here is a glimpse of the group in action.

After dinner (and after they cleaned up the table while still having their hands tied), we all talked tother about what we had observed and learned - about each other and ourselves, and how this all relates to functioning together as the Body of Christ.

I think this might be one of my favorite meals with the college group!

Birthday girl

Some pics from Maia's first birthday.

Eliana LOVED helping Maia open her presents.  
We just had to keep reminding her that these things were for MAIA.

Maia was still not too sure about having so many people over.  
And by this time it was near her bedtime.

But after she tried her cupcake she was quite content and happy!

Maia Joi
"A Delight to the Heart of God"
She brings us endless delight with every passing day.
We love you sweet girl!

A trip to the beach

Ok. . . so in my last post I wrote about how I was sad to be leaving the "baby" stage with Maia.  There are so many things that I LOVE about the baby stage.  I did a good job at processing the "loss" and embracing the new stages awaiting.  I was truly content and thankful for where things were at.

. . . and then . . .

I got sick . . . and it lasted a long time.  And I was so very tired.  And I thought we just needed to take a vacation so that I could get back to feeling like myself again.  We were able to squeeze in a day at the water park with the girls - but I still felt so very tired.

Our friends the Jacksons graciously took our kids for a day so that Matt and I could take a day trip to the beach.  It was a beautiful day!  Matt had me pose for all kids of fun photos.

The promenade had all these little staircases that went straight down to the water.

Doesn't that water look glorious?  Oh why didn't we bring our swimsuits???

We even looked into renting a scooter for an hour.  
But they rent them by the day and that was way out of our price range.

Just wish Matt was in this photo with me.

As we were walking back to our car Matt spotted this restaurant sign.  
He insisted that I pose by it "just in case" we were ever to get pregnant again.  
I just wanted to get back to the car.
It was hot. My feet were tired from all our walking.
 And we already had two miracle babies!  There's no way we could have a third!!  

Two weeks and three pregnancy tests later we learned why I'd been feeling so very tired for so long.

Baby #3 arrives at the end of next May.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Post About "She's-Still-My-Baby" Maia

Just looked back at a few our last posts . . . and saw all the photos of Eliana.

I'm thinking that Maia needs a "brag time" too. So, here are some of my recent favorite photos:

She is almost walking.  
That sunk in earlier this week as I realized, my baby is almost a toddler! 
But every time I start feeling sad about "losing" my baby, 
I think about how her little personality unfolds with every passing week.  
I fall a little more in love with this spunky (almost) toddler every. single. day.
Just look at that face.
Who could resist?!

Monday, September 12, 2011

That's My Girl - Part II

(This one is for all my Aussie family.)

You remember this post?  It's all about Maia's love for Vegemite.

This post is a continuation . . .

Oh yeah!  
That's. My. Girl.

Parenting Books

Wow!  I got quite a few responses to our last update about teaching Eliana to pray for Matt.  (I had asked for tips or suggestions that people have found to be helpful in teaching spiritual truths to their children.)  Several readers recommended resources that they have found to be helpful in their parenting and I wanted to pass these recommendations on to you:

* Gospel-powered Parenting, by Bill Farley
* Don't Make Me Count to Three, by Ginger Plowman

Disclaimer: I haven't read either of these books yet, but I'm looking forward to checking them out.

The two books that I have read and would highly recommend are:

* Parenting With Love and Logic, by Cline & Fay
* Grace-based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

longboard camp

Camp was amazing!  It was good to go and hangout with a bunch of great guys and girl (Nadija).  Not only were the people cool but the track was gnarrrly.  I had the opportunity to go 4 days ealry and help set up camp and the track and then stay for a day to clean up.  I had a lot of opportunities to get to know some new people and to go deeper with the ones I already knew.

Here are some videos
We made the local news

and here is a video taken buy some slovene guys I rode with.  I'm the guy in back.  And remember this is the intermediate track (where I hung out) not the expert track.  We got up to around 40 mph / 63 kph it was really fun.

more to come.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teaching Kids to Pray

I just wrote this for our latest email update 
. . . and then realized that some of our blog readers might not get our monthly updates.  
So, I'm reposting here.

One of the things on my list-of-things-to-do-while-Matt-is-gone-list is "Prayer project with Eliana." I wanted to invite her to pray with me for Matt during his longboard camp.  But, I was struggling with how to invite this two year old to spontaneously pray for her dad while he is gone.  I mean really - she is only two.

And then a thought struck me - she hears all the random noises that we adults usually tune out.  (She is constantly asking me, "Mama, what was dat noises?")  She hears every siren, dog barking, airplane, kid crying . . . everything!  

So, a couple days ago I tried something new.

"Eliana, let's pray for Daddy and the longboarders every time we hear an airplane, ok?"  

But then I worried that we might not hear many airplanes, so I changed it to hearing a dog barking.  I did it with her a few times and then my adult ears went back to tuning out a lot of background noise.

Not long after that she came racing into the living room, barely making it around the corner, so intent was she on delivering her important message, "Mama! A dog barking! Pray for the longboarders!"  
I love it!  She is actually the one who is keeping ME on track with remembering to pray for Matt. . . whenever a dog barks OR an airplane flies overhead. 

(PS  I am always on the hunt for trying to find creative ways to teach spiritual truths to children.  I struggle with feeling like I'm winging it and would LOVE to hear any ideas or suggestions you have heard about or tried.)

Cookin' with Mama

Keeping Eliana busy in the kitchen while Matt is away.

A Trip to the ER

Matt called a couple hours ago - from the Emergency Room in Ljubljana.

Yeah, I kinda froze when I heard him say that too.

But he is just helping by driving guys who get hurt in to the hospital (a two hour drive each way).  Apparently the clinic near the village where the camp is being held can't do much - at all.  And the ambulance crew who is on standby is only available for BIG emergencies . . . Hmmm. . .

Matt woke up this morning and was asking the Lord for more opportunities to help Mihael, the guy putting on the camp.  An opportunity came up a few hours later - not quite what Matt had in mind, but it is a huge help to Mihael.  A guy broke his arm and another broke some ribs.  Mihael was going to make the drive to Ljubljana to take them to the hospital but Matt volunteered so that Mihael could stay at camp. (Mihael already made an ER run to Ljubljana a few days ago - he didn't get back to camp until 5am the next morning.)

So, right now Matt is hanging out with a dude from Germany, a 19 year-old guy from Slovakia (and his 17 year old girlfriend).  They don't speak much English, but it sounds like Matt is keeping them entertained in the ER.  (They have been there for HOURS already!)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

9 years!!

Today we celebrate 9 years of God working in and through our marriage.  And I celebrate 9 years of being married to the best girl in the world!!  I am a lucky man, husband, dad, and friend.

Friday, August 05, 2011


This morning at breakfast . . . (I was dressed for the day but hadn't done my hair or makeup.)

Eliana: You do your face Mama?

Me: What do you mean?  Do I need to do my face?

Eliana: Yeah. . . you face crazy.

Me: What?!  My face is crazy?

Eliana: Yeah.  You hair crazy.  You face crazy.

Me: Hmmm. . . (here's where I give the short talk about how make up is something I do just for fun but ladies don't have to wear make up if they don't want to, beauty comes from the inside . . . etc. etc. . . and how she can wear make up when she is a grown up if she wants to.)

Eliana: I wear make up when I grown up?  I be married? 

Me: Oh you want to be married?

Eliana: Yeah.  I be married and look at the man.

Me: Um. . . what?

Eliana: I be married and I look at the daddy-man.

Me: Well, I hope you get married one day, but you have to look for a man as nice as Daddy, who loves Jesus more than anything, k?

Eliana: Ok mama.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

That's my girl!

Maia was done with her meal . . . but still seemed hungry.

So I gave her some of my toast.

Toast with Vegemite that is.

And.  She.  Loved.  It!

She licked off every last bit of Vegemite before gumming the rest to a soggy mess.

Yeah . . . that's my girl!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Doll House

Last week our neighbors got new doors and windows installed in their house.  
This was the view from our girls' bedroom window.

It looks like one giant doll house!

Keeping the kids busy

During summer team training I had some time when I needed to keep the kids busy. 
(That's me with my back to the camera, right before the kids started getting restless.)

So, I took them to a back corner and had some fun with the camera.
Oh how I love these little faces!



I came out to the living room and found her "reading" this book.

Check out the title.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

He's always been an amazing guy.
hardworking . . . lighthearted . . . daring . . . thoughtful . . . insightful . . .deep  

When these two bundles of joy came into our lives, 
I saw Matt's qualities deepen, becoming even more rich and profound.

He He. . .the next two pictures still make me laugh.

Matt, you are a wonderful dad.
 I love seeing the delight in your eyes when you play with the girls.
And I love watching them light up when they see you walk into a room.

Happy Father's Day from your three biggest fans!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I have kind of a love/hate relationship with airports.  For every "hello" there is a "goodbye." 

The following is something our friend wrote when she was waiting with us in the airport before we went through security at PDX:

Some coming...
Some going...
All feeling...

TSA provides the pat downs
But cannot touch
That part of you...

That piece where you separate
The body, the actions
From the emotions

A life divided
Between what is ahead
And what you leave behind

How do you carry both?

This is the real baggage carried
In an airport terminal...

But it is forever worth the weight.

Pretty deep huh?  
I love it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This morning at breakfast . . .

Me: Wow - look at Maia.  She is so close to learning how to crawl.  She sure is getting bigger.

Eliana:  She get-tin bigger!

Me: Yup

Eliana: Mama get-tin bigger

Me: (pause)  Um . . . I hope not

Eliana: Daddy get-tin bigger

Matt (chuckling from the back rom):   Yup


There are six interns joining the JV Slovenia team for the summer. 
(This is more interns that usual.)
They spent last week in Czech training with all the other JV interns.  

This week they begin working in villages all over Slovenia.
Tuesday they joined us for our monthly staff meeting.  
Hmmm . . . how did we end up with so many interns? 
Not sure.  

But I do know that we have six interns . . . 

and six babies on our team.  


New Tricks

Last week Terry and I had the opportunity to go around our wonderful city and take some photos for a scavenger hunt(ish) game that will be used at an upcoming training time for the summer teams that come to help with camps.  Before I met up with him at one of the squares I texted him and asked if he wanted me to bring an extra longboard.  He said sure.  I gotta give it to him - he did a great job learning to board as we rolled around the city - and some of that was on cobblestone!!

Terry, I am glad you ain't an old dog.

Date Night

Aahh. . .
             . . . I remember the days . . .
                 . . . the days when "date night" meant getting dressed up
                      . . .  and going out for dinner at a nice restaurant.

These days it usually means trying out a fun new recipe at home - like homemade pizza (my new fave).

But you know what?  
The fact that these two smiling faces
are sitting at our dining room table 
makes my heart feel very full and happy.

I know the day will come 
when I will miss having a pink Bumbo and sippy cups at our table.  
So for now, I treasure date nights like this.

Copy Cat

I think these photos speak for themselves.

(And yes, that is the little pink potty in the background.  I'm happy to report that potty training has been going very well.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Practice Week 2

I got to go to longboard practice last Wednesday.  It was good, we worked on our slides for 4 hours and just hung out. BUT I crashed a lot and have been so sore this week.  No pain, no... sorry my finger just cramped up.  Anyway, it is a great group of people and they are super welcoming too.

I hope to go to their camping trip they have set up for August.  Basically they close down a mountain road near the Croatian border and downhill for a week.  Can't wait.  Hopefully I'll still be alive in August.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feeling Distracted

I'm trying to get caught up on paperwork right now. (Sharon)

This is the view from my desk.

Can you see why I'm feeling a little distracted?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Which  means wonderful... and yesterday was just that.

It all started as I had run some errands and then was sitting in the city square praying for people who walked by, for the city, and studying the language.
Then some people in peculiar red shirts, that would drive a bull crazy, started trickling into the square.  They set up camp and started singing and dancing!?!  I could see there T-shirts said "God is love" in Slovene and English so I figured I should introduce myself and see what they are about.

Turns out they are part of an international group of Catholics who study theology in Rome and then go do evangelism projects around Europe.  I told them who I am and what I am about and they asked me to join them.  So I teamed up with Natalia from Columbia and we started talking to people in the square about God's love and the hope we have in Jesus.  One would talk and ask questions and the other would pray.  Though no one was really responsive and often humored us, it was good.

I left from there to meet some young guys I met longboarding a few days ago.  They were meeting for "practice" and invited me to come.  On my way, I was avoiding a bicyclist and got caught on a tiny 2" curb. I recovered and then tripped and laid it out into full superman on the pavement in the middle of the bustling city.  I scraped myself up and sprung a few leaks (as grandpa used to say) on my hand and elbow.  Pride had left the building at that point as I got up and dusted myself off.  I laughed at myself, and bandaged my ego, and continued on.

We met at a bus stop where we met a few guys in their upper teens and low twenties and one ten (ish) year old girl showed up.  We caught a bus and rode to the edge of the city where some other people were waiting.  A group of us practiced our slides and turns.  Mihajel was our teacher and according to those there, one of the best longboarders in the country!  He was cool as he instructed this wide range of ages and abilities. Luckily I fashioned some homemade slide gloves the night before so I could learn how to toe and heel side slide yesterday.  It was so much fun and cool to start some new relationships and be included into a subculture just by having a longboard.  I think we are going to go ride today to.
Here are some guys practicing.

Yesterday was amazing!  I went to bed tired and with a smile on my face thanking God.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Feeling settled

This sweet girl has done soooo much traveling over the past four months!  And I have to say that she has done really well - all things considered.  This shot was taken Sunday during our eight hour drive back from our Spring Conference.

Yesterday (Monday) was the first time that I've felt settled in one place long enough to begin 
. . . drum roll please . . . 
potty training!  Yesterday morning I took Eliana to the store to pick out some special snacks (salty snacks) and some fun juice.  So much of yesterday and today she spent her time like this:

You can't see it but she is sitting on her little pink potty.  Here's to hoping that this whole process goes quickly!

And finally, here is a photo of our little Maia Joi - such a ray of sunshine!!