Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Many Faces of Magdalena

The Many Faces of Vojta

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Many Faces of Prague

Astronomical clock built in 1410!

Open-air market selling food, flowers, souvenirs, just about anything!

New Jewish Cemetery. New as in opened in 1891, as opposed to the Old Jewish Cemetery whose oldest tombstone dates from 1439!

TV station tower with strange baby sculptures!

The church at Namesti Miru just a block from Rebekah and Petr's flat.

The Adventure of Gigi and Magda

I was able to spend lots of time with Magdalena while mommy took care of Vojta.

Petr's dad, Milan, fashioned this house out of a couple of boxes, complete with doors, windows and a roof. The perfect place for playing restaurant!

Poppy called each evening, which was his lunch time. Some nights Madgalena was still awake and wanted to talk to her Poppy. On this particular night, she "told" on Gigi for breaking a crayon while coloring.

It is always time for ice cream! No matter how cold it is outside!

In front of the church at Namesti Miru, where we would catch the tram. We could hear the church bells ringing during the day. Such a lovely sound.

Multi-tasking Gigi! Just finished washing dishes, thus the towel. Then time for Facebook and holding Vojta!

Vojtech Wesley is Born

Our newest family member has arrived! Wednesday, Oct. 14, Vojtech Wesley made his entrance just on time--two days before my arrival in Prague (just as his sister did!!). I had planned to get there over a week before his due date, but he didn't wait on me. Thankfully, Kveta, Petr's mom, was able to stay with Rebekah and Petr for the week--just in case Rebekah went early. She was a big help to Rebekah and was able to stay with Magdalena during the birth. Plus, I was able to see and visit with her and Milan before they headed back to their village in Moravia. Oh, how I wish I could speak Czech!! I would love to just have a conversation with them without having a translator!

I arrived in Prague early Friday morning. I was able to get a nap before visitation at the hospital, but I still look pretty rough after traveling for 12 hours! But who cares when I'm holding such a sweetly sleeping baby as this!

Once at home, Magdalena was such a good big sis to her little brother! She does love holding him. She would volunteer to take him at the drop of the hat.

I was able to stay with them for three weeks, during which Vojta changed and grew daily--maybe hourly! He started out as just a wee little guy. You can see how long his newborn clothes are on him. But at his one week check-up, he had gained 500 grams (about a pound)!! Sometimes we would think he had grown while taking a nap!

Petr hadn't started his new job until about 10 days after Vojta's birth, so was able to be at home to enjoy his little boy.

Rebekah felt so much better after Vojta's birth than after Magda's! As you can see here, she has lost a lot of her baby fat and Vojta is gaining his! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rendezvous with a Missionary

Candace is a teacher and dorm mom for missionary kids at Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya.  She is also my first cousin.  She has been in Africa for a little more than a year.  Even though she lived in Washington State before she left, we were able to see one another fairly frequently when she would travel to Georgia to see family.  So when I found out she was coming stateside, I was excited about the prospect of spending time with her.  To my dismay, I discovered she was flying into Atlanta on the same day as Sarah's wedding in Virginia and would be leaving our area on the day I would travel home.  As the Lord knew to work it out, she would be traveling north on I-40 when I would be traveling south on the same highway! Perfect!  We would meet on the road for a good visit!  

We started our rendezvous at Red Lobster for a wonderfully delicious lunch.  But when we discovered there were no outlets to plug in a dying computer, we adjourned to Starbucks (oh, the travesty of having to order a caramel frappuccino!).  God bless Starbucks!  No matter how long one stays, they never make a fuss!  We talked and drank coffee and talked some more! Then we plugged in the computer and watched her fund-raising DVD's and viewed pictures of her adventures since her arrival in Africa.  I loved seeing where she works and plays and loves on MK's! Now I can picture in my mind her walking to classes each day.  I have seen some of the faces of students she ministers to. I know where she shops.  I see the view of the Rift Valley from the campus.  Her life is a part of me.

I began reading, back in the spring, a small book written by a fellow teacher at Rift Valley Academy--"All That You Can't Leave Behind: A Rookie Missionary's Life in Africa."  I was having a hard time connecting to the journal-style story line.  I had put the book aside, unfinished until today.  Something prompted me to pick it up and read it again.  Now that I have seen pictures and video of Candace's daily life, I am better able to relate to his narrative. What he has depicted as his first year at RVA three years ago, is exactly what Candace has just lived out and described to me in detail!  I am truly in awe of Candace's walk of faith--stepping out with only God as her safety net! And it is thrilling to see her thrive in a land and culture that is so foreign to us in the States.

Candace and me.

Candace and her friend, Caroline, from West Virginia, who was her ride that day.

The Full Theater Experience

Being the theater buff that I am and being involved in the theater world, Beth was able to get me a behind-the-scenes tour of the theater before I headed home on Thursday.  It is always fun and informative to peek behind the stage to see what other theaters do with costumes, props, sets, storage, etc.  They have a three story building for costumes--sewing and storage!  Lots of machines and sergers, bolts of fabric, shoes, shirts, everything!  Another building dedicated to set construction!  Even a wig-making shop!  One day!  :)

One interesting item on the tour was this entrance to a tunnel which connected to the hotel across the street where actors would stay for the duration of the productions.  It has in recent years been closed up due to a cave in.

Oh, wouldn't it be "loverly" for CFT to have its own dry cleaning machine for costumes!

Make up sketches.

One perk for Annalee was her own room at the Barter Inn (well, she shared the room with Toto from the play--they coordinated nights), where the professional actors stay while performing at the Barter.  We spent the night here (the window on the right was her room) after her performance since they live an hour and a half from the theater.

Here is an peek inside the room.  Thanks, Katie for sleeping on the air mattress!

Bartering My Way to Oz

No, I didn't follow the yellow brick road.  Mostly I went by way of I-75 and I-40.  Okay, I didn't even end up in Oz!  But I got a glimpse of Oz at the Barter Theatre where Annalee was performing as a tornado, a Munchkin baby, a crow, a Poppy, an Ozian, a Winkie, and a Jitterbug.  All in one show!  Whew, that keeps a body busy!  (Does that make her a busy body?)

I had extended my stay in Virginia just to see my budding actress in her first professional production!  What an exceptional singer, dancer, actress she is!  I have to brag on Annalee for just a minute: she has even performed with the Radio City Rockettes at Madison Square Gardens while attending a summer intensive course!  She has talent, good looks and the sweetest disposition (just don't ask her sisters about the disposition).  The show was wonderful!  (Ah, what you can do with fly capability.  Sigh.)  Loved the costumes!  One of my favorite scenes was Munchkinland, where Annalee was a baby in a stroller.  That was too cute!

The theater was founded during the Depression by out-of-work actors from New York City. The door admission was 35 cents or the equivalent in produce.  Thus the name--Barter Theatre.

My favorite costume!  Annalee should have been a redhead.  Nah, blonde is beautiful!

Annalee with her show's poster.

Beth (proud mommy), me (proud "aunt"), Annalee, Katie (proud sis).

Post-wedding Therapy

After Sarah and Scott's wedding, the rest of my family went back to Georgia, while I was able to stay several more days to visit with and console my best friend who had just seen her first-born leave the nest permanently.  

I moved from the hotel to Annalee's room (thanks, Annalee!).  The first couple of days some of Beth's Georgia family were still there.  We talked, laughed, partied (Victoria's birthday swim party at the hotel), and ate out--a lot!  By Tuesday, all guests were gone except for me and Shannon (well, we don't really qualify as guests--more like family too) and it was back to business as usual for Katie. She was interning with the Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader and had to report to duty in Salem.  We all went along, of course.  Not to intern, but to poke around town and shop while she worked.  We decided to take the "scenic" route home!  It was really pretty, but it sometimes went through dense woods just at dusk, which got us talking about headless horsemen!  We were all relieved to make it out of the fog and dark back to the main highway!

We drove to Roanoke for dinner at a scrumptious Mexican restaurant.
Katie in front of the office where she interns.  I'm very impressed with Del. Griffith.  He never travels with his female interns.  And one as pretty as Katie could really stir up trouble!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Another Birthday!

When Elizabeth got married last July, Annalee celebrated her 16th birthday on the same day. When Sarah got married this July, Jeff celebrated his birthday on the same day!  Mexican food was calling our names.  We wondered about in Blacksburg until we finally found one.  Who would have thought it would be so hard to find one--they are on every corner in Atlanta!

Anna wanted to say "Happy Birthday, Poppy!"
Poppy, Anna and Samuel
Samuel had gotten quite creative with his food.  Maybe he will be the next modern art Picasso!

What a view from the front of our hotel!  And the weather couldn't have been more beautiful!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Going to the Chapel, and We're Gonna Get Married . . .

Last summer, on July 31, the event of the season was the wedding of Elizabeth and Jonathan.  Almost exactly one year later, on July 18, Elizabeth's best friend, Sarah, got married to Scott.  So, to Virginia we went to participate in the festivities.  We couldn't miss the wedding of my best friend's daughter, who is my daughter's best friend.

The very elegant Sarah King.

Mr. and Mrs. Scott King's first dance.  Scott played football at 
Virginia Tech and Sarah is a dance major at Radford.  

The happy family: Katie, Beth, Karl, Sarah, Annalee.

Best Friends:  Beth and Gale
Elizabeth and Sarah

My beautiful girls, Elizabeth, Jessica, Anna.

Bridesmaids: Annalee, Katie (MOH), Elizabeth, Shannon.