Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Christmas

I will try to post pictures and videos soon, but wanted to update blog for Christmas. Israel, Kristie and I made special Christmas sugar cookies and sent them to Israel's preschool to share with the kids. All the kids and the teachers gave Israel special Christmas cards. That was really special.

On Christmas morning, Israel and Elijah enjoyed opening their gifts, favorites being a kitchen set for Israel and a bongo drum set and guitar for Elijah. We ate Pumkpin pancakes for breakfast and then did Advent Calendar. Our friends came over...we had 2 from our STINT team (Chad and Rhesia) and a family Todd, Karen and their 2 little ones Bethany and Josh. I made a Christmas dinner and Karen brought some food to contribute. Rhesia brought a juice from St. Vincent where she is from. The chicken wasn't done in time so we just ate sides. Todd made a Happy Birthday Jesus cake and we sang to him and the kids blew out the candles. We Skyped all day with family. We took an evening walk through Bascarsija. We put the kids to bed and then Josh and I watched Elf. It was still funny, but not nearly as funny without other people.
I really missed the States yesterday, but there was something special about just being together as a family, especially in the morning when we did Advent...Josh read Jesus' birth story, crucifixion, resurrection, and coming back stories from our awesome Children's Bible (The Big Picture Story Bible.) That was probably my favorite part of the day.

My family is coming on Monday, excited about that! Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Protector of Truth?

So ever since Elijah was born I prayed that he would be a great protector of truth since his name means "My God is Jehovah" and his middle name (William) means "Protector". I think he's living up to his name. He is constantly wanting to read the Bible, and Josh quizzes him on Bible stories...He remembers all the details and LOVES to read Bible stories.

I'm so thankful for my little boy. If you haven't already, you really need to watch the video of him dancing. It's the top video on the left side of our blog. It will make you smile and probably laugh.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

SNOW!

We have so much snow right now. Check out the new videos we posted. we took the kids sledding today with our friends Irma and Djordje, they had a great time. We will post more videos when we download them to Youtube.
After sledding we went to a Christmas bazzaar where we tasted 100% Apple Juice (no water added) and I bought a bottle. We had lunch at an Italian place. Then went home for a nap.
Tonight we attended the Couch's annual Christmas party. Sang Christmas songs and ate lots of goodies. We had a great time. I think the cutest thing was watching Israel and Elijah play with Esther's 2 little boys, Henry and Julian. They were so sweet together. Then during the Christmas singing, Israel sang "Away In a Manger" for everyone. Last year at Janelle's party she sang it for everyone too. I think this is becoming a tradition!
We enjoyed a car ride home with Tom and Kristie, and now the kids are very quietly sleeping. They were worn out from the busy day!

Enjoy the videos!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Team party


Here's our team (minus Ceca) by our Christmas tree!
We had a great Christmas party last night. We did a "Secret Santa" gift exchange and had a wonderful meal. Griffin made chicken stuffed with zucchini and I made salad. Andrew made mashed potatoes, Chad made brownies, Rhesia brought feta cheese for the salad and Ice cream. We also celebrated Rhesia's birthday. Griffin put together a book of letters from her closest friends and family. Israel stayed up late and ate an entire chocolate Santa Claus.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving

Hey everyone. Sorry for the long break between posts! We had a lovely thanksgiving with our friends, the Brents who live in Split, Croatia. First, we went to Mostar and stayed at the Bible School there. We met with several pastors and the leader of the Bible school and his family. The kids enjoyed playing in their AWESOME playroom.
Then we loved celebrating Thanksgiving with the Brents. Josh met the Brents his 2nd STINT year in Split 10 years ago. They have 3 little girls so our kids were in Heaven. Our dinner was just like American Thanksgiving dinner. I got to make my Nannie's sweet potato casserole and Griffin's chocolate cake. Another family joined us with 3 little boys, so we had a house full of children (8!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baking with Baka




Kristie ("Baka" as our kids call her) came over and we baked for the bake sale. Yummy! The most fun part was having the kids put sprinkles on the cupcakes at the end. Fun!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The zoo for Elijah's birthday

An Ostrich (no, that's not with a zoom, we were actually this close!)
Mommy with the birthday boy

sweet siblings in the garden.
We love the zoo! Happy #2, Elijah!
We took Elijah to the zoo for his birthday (I know, an old post) but we want to show you some pictures.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

WE BOUGHT A CAR!!!!!!!

It's official. We bought our car today. We won't be able to drive it until later this week (international registration issues) but we are so happy to finally own a car. It's a silver grey minivanish type car. It's called an Opel Zafira. It has 10 airbags and it is just a really good car. Josh took it with the dealer today to the Opel dealer and got a check up. All looks good, we just need to buy some new tires before winter hits hard. The dealer came down 400 marks so we could use that to get new tires, really nice.

Thank you for all your prayers on this! We are so excited! Take a look at the car.




Didn't get a car but...

Drove 7 hours yesterday with our national staff Zeljko. We had a great time with him, and saw some beautiful countryside. The car in Hercegovina was not what we thought it would be, so we didn't buy it. But I wouldn't say it was a waste of time. The leaves looked absolutely beautiful as they are changing for Fall. And we got to spend time with Zeljko, which was fun and we got to speak Bosnian as well.

We saw a car on Tuesday here in Bosnia that we think we are going to buy. Pray for Josh and Zeljko as they meet with the car dealer today and we might get it today or sometime this week! Thanks everyone...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Getting a car...

Please say a quick prayer for us tomorrow as we travel to Hercegovnia (about 3 hour drive) to maybe buy a car. We looked at a car here in Sarajevo today and liked it. Pray for wisdom as we make a decision. Thanks!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweet Katie Angel


Yesterday, a sweet little girl Katie Seaman, age 11 went to Heaven after battling a brain tumor. She was dear friends with Josh's little sister Melea and was so sweet. We had the privilege of knowing Katie for only a few months, but her life really impacted ours. Please pray for Melea and the Seaman family during this time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Singing at church

Today was another first for us. Josh and I lead the worship at our church today in Bosnian! We had sort of informally led it our first Sunday, but this week we actually had worship practice. My keyboard arrived in our shipment, and we keep it at the church because we have no room to put it in our apartment. It's great though. Our worship leader said that he was praying hard for a keyboard. He was actually saving up to buy a cheap one, but now we brought ours. He said he's glad he has ears because if he didn't his smile would wrap around his whole head! Haha. Ivan is funny.
It was a beautiful morning. Worship preceded a very encouraging sermon by an Englishman (reminds me of home...we miss you ChristChurch!) Then tonight we had a date night. Went to a great cafe and got some yummy cheesecake with a beautiful view of the city.
Hope everyone is having a great Sunday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Oasis


Here is a picture of my Bible study on Tuesday afternoons. I call it my Oasis because I usually come to this group terribly stressed and discouraged, and leave full. They are all women who serve here in BiH. Some have been here as long as me, others as much as 16 years. Serving with different organizations, having children, having none, single, married....I love these women. We are studying Beth Moore's Esther study. Loving it.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank you for praying!!! Quick answer!

I was SO overwhelmed with the response...so many people prayed for Israel! To give you an update: today was the best Vrtic day YET! She went RIGHT in, smiles, and didn't cry the entire time!
It has to be so overwhelming: you are 3, don't understand the language and don't know anyone. Then there's cultural differences as well...

We had our first snow the other day. And it is SO cold now. Praise GOD for our women's Bible study...a lady in the study let me get some of her garage sale items...we got snow pants for Elijah and a snow coat! We got Israel a nice warm winter coat! We got mittens for Israel! And a fellow laborer here gave Israel an umbrella for her very own. Now all we need is mittens and a hat for Elijah. I have no idea where to buy them that small...another adventure. But Izzy is set. We found her some snow pants really cheap too. One thing that has been challenging here is the cost of things...they are so expensive. But God is providing for us. I'm so thankful for these winter clothes. We are so blessed.

thanks for keeping in touch!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pray for Izzy

Hey all,
To those who love my little girl. Please pray for her regarding her preschool. It is a great preschool. But she still cries every day. It's really hard to leave her. This morning she was in hysterics. Please pray for her to settle in quickly and love her school and learn Bosnian. Thank you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Elijah's Birthday Party

Elijah putting a spot on the dog
Skyping with Nana and Aunt Lou Lou
Play Dough
Baka playing balloon with Anje and Israel
Notice the pretty sign

Josh reading "The Remarkable Farkle McBride" to the kids
The doggie birthday cake I made!

Elijah turns two tomorrow (Monday). We had his birthday party yesterday (Saturday) in his room. We had a great time. His guests included Nathan, Joy, Rhesia, and Chad from our STINT team, "Baka" Kristie (our grandmother here in Bosnia) and her daughter Tamra (an adopted Aunt for the kids), Anje (the little 2 1/2 year old girl whose grandparents live downstairs) and her grandmother Medita. We had a great time. Some games we played: I drew a huge dalmatian puppy and cut out some spots and the kids (and Chad) took turns putting spots on the puppy, we played with playdough, we ate "dog food" (really cocoa puffs) from a dog bowl. I read them "Red, Stop! Green, Go! Dog party book" We had pretzels and Napolitanke for snacks, as well as Cedevita (think Kool Aid) for drink and water. Nana and Aunt Lou Lou skyped in for the party, which was great! So thankful for technology...don't know what people did back in the day!

It was fun having everyone join us. Josh and I made a huge sign that says "Sretan Rodendan" (Happy Birthday). We sang the Rabbit Song and Going on a Bear Hunt. Everyone loved the cake. Elijah got a Grover doll (and Izzy got an Abby Cadabby doll). He also got some new trucks, a puzzle, some chocolate, Cars DVD , Ice Age DVD, and some new house shoes. We had a great time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thumbelina

We had a great time last night...Israel, her friend Sarah and mom Lejla and I all went to the National Theater's production of "Thumbelina" (Palcica in Bosnian). Neither Lejla or Sarah speak English, so it was a Bosnian adventure. The girls had a great time and the production was truly beautiful. I got in for free (don't know how that happened!) and sat on the 2nd row. Loved it and Sarah and Lejla came over last night after the show to play for about 30 minutes. Had fun!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Israel and Elijah's Prvi Dan...Izzy: Vrtic, Elijah: childcare










Yesterday (Monday) was Israel's first day of Vrtic (pronounced "VER-teech"). We left and she agreed to do three things: not to cry when I leave, smile at one person, and learn one new Bosnian word. I left and she wasn't crying, so that is a good thing! I dropped Elijah off with Merima, our babysitter. While they were there (Elijah from 8-11, Izzy from 8-12) I studied Bosnian then went grocery shopping. I picked up Elijah and he was so happy. He kept saying "Had...fun...Merima" over and over and over again...all the way to Israel's school. Israel was crying when I got there, but her teacher said she had only been crying for about 15 minutes. I asked her if she had learned a new Bosnian word. Israel said, "yes...I learned LIST. It means leaf!" That is true, and I am happy. It's a sweet little school and I hope Israel will be happy there.

The highlight of the day was Ballet class. The previous night we had gone to a park and ran into one of her ballet classmates, Sarah. Izzy and Sarah played the entire time and were instant friends. When we arrived at Ballet, Sarah's mom Lejla said that Sarah had been asking "where's Izzy?" Both Sarah and Lejla only speak Bosnian. We were praying for friends who don't speak English so it will force us to talk! As soon as Israel entered her class, she got a huge smile on her face and ran to Sarah. The two were inseparable and Israel had a smile on her face the entire hour! What an answer to prayer! Tonight, Sarah, Lejla, Israel and I are going to the National Theater to see the ballet's production of "Palcica" (Thumbelina). We are excited!

Thank you all for praying for us. Pray for more good days like yesterday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hilarious Post...a must read

So yesterday was cold and rainy so we decided to go to the indoor pool. So we hopped a tram and arrived at the Olympic pool. We changed into our pool clothes and as we were about to get in, a man who works there told Josh that we all needed swimming caps that that it was mandatory for Josh to wear a Speedo. So I left to buy everyone swimming caps. Josh just sat on the bench while we swam. Until the guy came back with one of HIS Speedos to let Josh borrow!!! It was a TINY Speedo, and of course it would have been awkward for Josh to reject his generosity, so Josh went to the bathroom, washed that speedo out with the hottest water he could, and returned to the pool in a swimming cap and a tiny Speedo! It was SO SO SO funny. If only I had the camera. However, Josh said he wouldn't have let me post a picture. In his words, "the world doesn't need another reason to vomit."

On another note, we helped lead worship at church this morning. And "we" being our entire family. Israel on a shaker, Elijah on a drum. Very fun.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We don't have to move!

Praise God. We met with our landlord yesterday morning and he said that he will not pay the taxes. So we were on the lookout for another place. But we were praying that God would do the impossible. That Dino would call us back and say he would pay half of his taxes, and we would pay the rest. He called this morning. He had misunderstood us yesterday morning. He is paying for half, so we can stay! Thank you ALL for praying!

Monday, September 28, 2009

We found a Preschool!

We have officially found a preschool for Israel! It's called "Vrtic Sunce" (that means "Kindergarten Sunshine") and it is absolutely beautiful. It faces a massive park and has windows all along the walls, letting in lots of natural light. Israel's classroom has a loft with lots of "girly" toys. When we visited, she liked to play up there and used her imagination. The teacher is nice. Her name is Amra and she speaks both Bosnian and English, which is helpful. Israel's health tests will come in on Thursday afternoon, I'll turn them in to the Vrtic (pronounced "VER-teach" on Friday and then she will start Monday! She'll start at 3 days a week and go from 8am until 12pm. She'll have breakfast there. There will be a lot of time where she will be able to play outside in the beautiful park. She will learn songs, her numbers, her letters and more. And, most importantly, she will make friends. There are 2 children in the school (which only has about 30 children) who speak English. We can walk to the school or take a bus. Elijah will not go to Vrtic yet, but he will start play dates with Merima, our awesome babysitter, who will teach him lots of Bosnian words and speak to him a lot in Bosnian while I take my Bosnian language classes in the mornings. It's a wonderful set up. Thank you all who prayed for us during this process. We felt truly led and we are hopeful for a wonderful first year of school.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Izzy into Preschool

So we are trying to get Israel into preschool here, but it's so complicated! So today, we tried to get some things done. We went to the medical offices (30 minute walk away) with Merima (our God-send!) and tried to get all the medical stuff taken care of. I found out then that I have to take her to ANOTHER doctor on the OTHER side of town, get her breathing test, get a stool sample (and carry it back to the medical office!), then RETURN to the office (with the stool sample) as well as her birth certificate, passport, and some more paperwork we have to fill out. Oh yeah, and her immunization records. Which of course I didn't have. So I had to call her doctor and get her to scan it and email it to me. UUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHH.
Tomorrow we are going to the doctor to get Israel's breathing test. Then back to medical office.

We checked out a couple of preschools. I'll keep you updated. They were all different from one another. Please pray for us to find the right one for us.

Also, Israel started ballet tonight. She goes 2 times a week. The studio is right around the corner from our house, which is cool. She did well...the first part she started crying and said she didn't want to take ballet. But by the end, she was participating and was so proud of herself.

Okay, that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Merima and Homeschool

Hey everyone, quick update here. It's good to be back home in Sarajevo. We love being home!

Some quick pictures: Israel and Elijah with Merima, their sweet babysitter and our dear friend. We love this sweet woman and are so grateful to have her in our lives. She made these heart pillows for us by hand.
The other picture is Israel and Elijah after our homeschool play dough time. We made a "B" out of play dough.
We will be looking for Israel's preschool in the next day or so. Please keep that in your thoughts!

Monday, September 21, 2009

To Croatia, back to Sarajevo...

Hey everyone, I'll try to give you a brief update of our last week. We went to Croatia for a few days for a conference with our organization here. Tuesday morning, we woke up and got ready to go. After Izzy ran down the stairs after Josh, I chased her, I fell down the stairs, she was disciplined, we all got in the rental car (a VW Golf 6) and drove the 5 hour drive to Split. On the way there, Izzy said "there is something I miss really bad about America...my room and my nana and grandy". That's when it started...my tears started falling...are our children going to grow up okay without having what they had? A yard? Sweet neighbors? A pink room for Izzy? (She and Elijah share a room) Grandparents close by? Good solid teaching on Sunday morning? Then, a song came on our CD player in the car. It's from "Sing Over Me" (all you parents out there, get it...it's the best lullaby CD)...Here are some lyrics:

When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul, You are still good.
When the world has gone grey and the rain's here to stay You are still good.
With every breath I take in, I'll tell You I'm grateful again.
And the storm it may swell even then it is well
And You are good
So how can I thank You, what can I bring?
What can this poor man lay at the feet of a king?
So I'll sing you this love song, It's all that I have
To tell you I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands.

I couldn't stop crying and every time I hear that song I cry now.

Then, we got to Split and stayed with the Brents. They have 3 little girls and Izzy and their youngest Claire who is 6 played forever with girly things. Claire and Ana share a pink room so Izzy thought that was great. Elijah had a good time too. But I got a fever, then passed out almost! I laid down and then we left for Porec the next morning, although my stomach was killing me and I cried a lot on the way there.

We got to Porec for our conference 5 hours later. I got in touch with some other moms there who have been serving in Croatia for a while. Karen, Jane and Lynn were amazing. They all met with me individually and shared with me their experiences. I told them about my homesickness and they talked me through it. They said it is normal and I will get through it. Through talking with them, we have decided it is best for me to put Izzy in Vrtic (preschool) this year and Elijah in it next year. It will be best for them for learning language and making friends.

The conference was great, although my stomach hurt the entire time and I had to take naps every day. I'm feeling better now. Not 100%, but much better.

So now we are back in Sarajevo. We got back last night. Izzy said how much she LOVES being back in Bosnia. She LOVES her new Bosnia home. That made me feel better. And Wednesday I will check out a Vrtic nearby. Today and tomorrow is Bajram (our city celebrates this, it is the end of Ramadan)...so most of the Vrtics are closed until Wednesday. We'll see and I'll let you know what happens! I can't believe I'm sending my baby to preschool! This is a challenge for me, the homeschool freak, but also exciting!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Accountable Kids




We just started this new program with Israel. It's called Accountable Kids. You can check it out online at www.accountablekids.com It's a board with several pegs: start, finish, ticket, date, and chores. The cards on the left (start peg) are the tasks Israel must complete in a day. They are sorted by color, so the yellow ones are the ones she must do in the morning. So every morning, Israel looks at the chart and sees she needs to make her bed, so she makes her bed and then flips over the card to the finish peg. Then she sees she needs to take her vitamins, etc...then she brushes her teeth, combs her hair, dresses herself, eats breakfast, and reads her Bible. It's been a great thing for all of us. If she completes all her morning tasks, she gets a ticket, redeemable for a priveledge later on. (TV, playground, etc.) If she disobeys in the day, she gets a ticket taken away. And if she is able to make it a day without loosing a ticket, she gets a star on her date card...10 stars equals a special date with Daddy wherever she wants to go and do whatever she wants to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Israel is so funny

Here's the quote from the week:

Me: Let's eat lunch on our patio today. it's such a nice day.
Israel: No, there are too many bees out there (there were a lot of bees that day, as well as some birds that come often).
Me: Okay, we don't have to eat outside today.
Israel: Yeah, Mom. I'm afraid of the birds AND the bees!
Me: (trying to hide my laughter!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The life of the Irbys in Sarajevo

We created this blog so people back in the States (and around the world) can keep up with our family. Check back for updates and pictures soon!

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