Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Prague. In fact if you tell a Czech you celebrated Thanksgiving they won't know what you're talking about. But we pulled off another American holiday with all the trimmings! Twice! First, Ed Barner invited us to go the Obecni Dum (one of the nicest restaurants in Prague) with ALL the missionaries in the Czech/Slovak mission (which would be between 100 and 150 missionaries!) and some of Ed's American friends. Even though the invitation was extended to Vinson too, unlike last year, we decided to get a babysitter and relax. This year was A LOT funner than last year, probably because we knew people. Dan is the branch mission leader - so we get to know 14 missionaries at a time and it was fun to see all the old missionaries in Prague and catch up. Some interesting details about the meal was that the turkey was 20 kg (over 40 pounds!!!!), everyone got rootbeer (something impossible to find here) and the first thing the resturant ran out of was zely (the only czech dish provided). Are those missionaries really missing home cooking?Here is a picture of us in front of the Obecni Dum.

Friday I threw a Thanksgiving party at our house. I invited some people and kept inviting until I had to start stressing as to how they would all be able to sit down. The final plan involved seating people on the couches and borrowing two chairs. Come Friday mornin I thought I had everything under control. Pies were cooked and in the fridge, the house was clean, our table and desk (which functioned as a table) were in place and the table was set . . . and we only had six sets of silverware, but I was going to cook the turkey at the church and borrow silverware from there. Dan convinced me to call the church to make sure the kitchen would be free. What! There's a meeting there?! Oh for those of you that don't know, we don't have an oven. We have a toaster oven to handle all of our cooking needs. Not going to work with our turkey. Thanks to Melinda, who kindly let us use her oven, we were set . . . and Sister Nelson who brought some silverware. The tricky thing was getting the turkey home. Dan helped me by carrying Vinson and the stroller carried the turkey. We covered the turkey up with a blanket on the tram ride home. People must have thought we had the best smelling baby in the world!

It was our first turkey ever and I must say, we did a great job. (tips: I stuffed it with celery and an onion and stuck, or more like molded a stick of butter on the turkey) SO GOOD!!! Becca and Logan brought rolls, the Wilcox's brought Jello, the Nelson's brought scalloped potatoes, Chris and Marketa brought stuffing, and Melinda, Britt, and Laurence brought mashed potatoes! YUM!! Dinner was amazing. I went back for seconds on JELLO. It was the first time I'd had jello in more than a year and I can't believe how good it tasted. Marketa (the only Czech joining us) wouldn't touch the stuff :)
In the picture is Brother Nelson, Sister Nelson, Chris, Marketa, Becca and Logan.
Brother and Sister Wilcox, Dan, Vinson, Me, Britt and Melinda. We had a great time eating and chatting. Thanksgiving was a success!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"I LOW" Vinson!

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and I am so Thankful I have such a cute little boy like Vinson! Vinson and I are best buds! He loves his Daddy. In the morning he makes kissing noises as he runs to Dan to kiss him goodbye. Then he'll give Dan a hug and say "I LOW" AKA I love you. On the phone it is always understood as "Hello" which isn't nearly as flattering as "I love you." He is the best house cleaner in the world. Even when I don't want to he'll run to the chair and pull on it- AKA mom, it's time to do the dishes! Then he'll be so helpful putting the water from the sink into a bowl and sucking on any dish rag he can get his hands on. Laundry has doubled since then because his shirt is wetter than the dish rag by the time we're done. But that's okay because he helps with the laundry too. He takes things out of the washer slower than I put them back in. If anyone wants a helper with vacuuming, Vinson can start the vacuum by himself! We love reading books together and watching Cars (we've seen it almost everyday.) I can't get enough of my little VINSON! I have so much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 12, 2007


I know some of my posts are CrAzY long, and to add to the longness I have full sized pictures. Oh, well.
Dan's old mission companion Brian Hansen stayed with us in Prague a few weeks ago and offered to let us stay at his parents house in Vienna. His dad works for BYU and is living there for the BYU study abroad program. We couldn't pass up the offer!!
Things didn't work out so well for us: Dan had a project he had to do Thursday night, the busses in Prague were sold out to Vienna and the trains going to Vienna were all expensive ones. For the greater good: saving money and seeing Vienna poor Dan pulled an all nighter. We found that we could take a train to Brno and then catch a bus from Brno to Vienna which would cost less than half. So we caught the train to Brno at 1:00 in the morning Friday (after walking/jogging to the train station because we watched as we missed 3 TRAMS!!!) Then we got to Brno (see picture of Vinson fascinated by the listings of trains changing in the train station at 4 in the morning.) We waited for an hour in the train station and caught our pus to Vienna at 6:00 in the morning and arrived in beautiful Vienna at 8:30. Thankfully Dan and I caught a second wind and we were off!
In case you were wondering, Vienna is here:) We first wanted to see St. Stephensdome, but got lost and saw these great sights!

Dan and I love to see churches. And we saw this one, not so spectacular on the outside, but WOW on the inside!

Who knew Vienna has SO MANY HORSES, I thought Prague had a lot, but right outside St. Stephans there were at least 50 carriages waiting for someone to get a ride.
Isn't it amazing how no matter how high the cool thing is, strangers still insist on taking pictures with your feet in it!!!!

Vinson playing peek a boo in the church.

Afterwards we were FREEZING!! So we warmed up and ate a pizza. Mine only had 3 olives on it. What a jip!

Dan and I took a long time deciding whether we should go and see the library or not. We were glad we did! Wow! We could take pictures but only without a flash. I took 22 :)
Poor Vinson was too cold to continue. So we went to the Hansens two hours early (3:30). Thank goodness Liesl was home and let us in.

Day 2

Today we wandered around Vienna with a plan! Brother Hansen gave us a bunch of tips on how we could spend the day. We first went to "the Ring." Which is where a bunch of really cool buildings are in a circle. We saw this neogothic cathedral Votivkirche (it was built in the 1800's can you believe it!)

This is the Rat House (Rathaus) hee hee. In front of it they have set up a bunch of Christmas shops. One was open, but we weren't interested :)

This whole time our ATM card wasn't working even though we KNEW we had money in there. (Later we found out it was trying to take money from savings, and there wasn't money there :( Anyway, we weren't able to see the inside of Karlskirche
because they only accepted cash :(! So, since we were freezing we went to the Schönbrunn Palace, waited in line, and found out that their Visa system wasn't working either. So we walked around the gardens since Vinson fell asleep. It was georgeous even in the winter. It must be amazing in the spring.
Afterwards we decided to see if their machines were working. And yipee yeow they worked! So we got to see the amazing luxury that kings and queens lived in. Crazy!

We had seen a bunch of pictures of the Hundertwasser Haus and thought it was crazy enough we wanted to see it in person. Plus we got a tip that the cafe there had the best sachertorte (Thanks Liesl).
We ordered and had a sip of hot chocolate and then my heart sunk. What if they don't take cards. So Dan asked and . . . they don't take cards. So Dan left to try another ATM and like the last 20 times before that it still didn't work. Dan ran into a Czech lady at the bank and she dumped her change purse in Dan's hand. SO NICE! But we were still 5 Euro short. Dan (who is amazing!) explained to her in German that we didn't have enough money and she said to eat and bring money back later. It was SO YUMMY, so how come Dan and I had a hard time laughing and talking or anything? We went back to the Hansens and called the bank and fixed the problem. Sister Hansen fed us dinner, yum! and we headed back to pay for our food. I felt like an idiot. She offered to watch Vinson for us, and we took her up on it.
The extra effort was worth the amazing smile she gave us when we came in and gave her the 5 euros we were short on the meal. We took the scenic way home and took some great night shots. When we got back Vince was already asleep. I hope he was good while we were gone.

Day 3 We wanted to try to see Elder Schaeffner, who was an elder in Prague and had left for home eight weeks ago. Dan figured out which ward would be the one he would attend and Brother Hansen wanted to go to that branch too, to see a friend he hadn't seen since his mission. Before we left we took a picture of the Hansen Family. (Sorry Liesl)
At church Elder Schaeffner wasn't there, and wasn't there, and right before sacrement started he went up to the stand. Dan and I looked at eachother, wow, we're going to get to hear him talk. But we got to hear him give his homecoming address!!! It was really neat when he bore his testimony in Czech because all of a sudden I understood it and the spirit was really strong. He talked about being guided by the spirit, "not knowing beforehand what he should do." Wow!

Vinson on the train coming home. 5 hours, but he was good the whole time, well almost!

Tag - I'm It!

Okay, I've been tagged and these are the rules I have been given.
A. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
B. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. My initials are VDR and Dan's are DVR. The first time Dan suggested that we should get married I was commenting on how my initals aren't so cool and Dan said he could change that so we could have the same initials.

2. Pet Peeves: People smoking in closed areas. Grrr!!! Waiting in line at the foreign police - going through the line - the foreign police in general. When Vinson pulls my hair and says, "Ouch." Stepping in something slimy bare footed.

3. Favorite Life Moments: Getting married to Dan in the temple. Holding Vinson for the first time. The first time Vinson said "I low" (I love you). The first time I understood a complete Czech converstation (granted it was pretty short). Country Dancing with Dan (especially when he wears his cowboy hat). When Dan kisses me on my forehead. Hearing my family laugh.

4. Favorite quotes: This one's long: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, georgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a Child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we conscienciously give others permission to do the same. We are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Nelson Mandela 1994
"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I'm with you." Roy Croft.
"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing got who's sending a love letter to the world." Mother Theresa
On a trip to Southern Utah with our friend Rachael: Rachael - "What would you [two] do without me?" Dan - "Kiss."

5. Selfish things I wish for a year's supply of: Milka candy bars - one for each day, chocolate chips, powdered sugar (the American kind), tortillas, refried beans. (Things that either are insanely expensive or nonexistent here.)

6. Favorite Books: All Harry Potters, Rhoald Dahl's Witches, You are Special, Where the Wild Things Are, Sneetches, The Book of Mormon, Bible

You can make up your own facts or copy mine (and put in your own favorites :) I tag Kimberly, Barbara, and Jen :)

Friday, November 2, 2007


Lions, and tigers and CHEETAH'S!!!

Here Cheetah Vinson is! Notice the super cool ghost slippers that my mom bought for Vinson when he was still in my tummy! I'm glad we got to give them some good use!
We are super lucky to have friends who live in Nebusice which is probably the only place in the Czech Republic where there is trick or treating. We went last year, but didn't go trick or treating, we felt like theives knowin that Vinson couldn't do anything with the goods. We went again this year and Vinson was really good at saying, "Diky" which is Czech for thank you when we went trick or treating.
But since it's the only place in the Czech Republic that you can go trick or treating they get A TON!!!!! (Five exclamation points doesn't even do it justice) of trick or treaters. We got a small stash and then kept running into homes that had run out.
Here is a picture of the trick or treaters that were in our group (besides Anna, Elly, and Anna) We have Martin the bat, Sophie the flower, Vinson the cheetah, Gabby (first time trick or treater) witch, Jonas (also first timer) Zorro and Vivian who was also a bat. It was great fun!!
Pumpkin Carving Party!
Other festivities! Dan and I hosted a pumpkin carving party, no small feat in Prague. One of my English students who saw the pumpkins before the carving said, "Were did you get those? Not in Prague? I've never seen them here." Well, I happen to have American connections. They sell pumpkins at the international English School of Prague and I bought 4 big pumpkins (at around 5 bucks a pop) but it was worth it!
We invited Becca and Logan, foreign exchangers from Manhattan Kansas (Becca actually knows Lindsay Long!)
Jirka and Renca also came! Jirka was a missionary in Arizona, so he knew all about Halloween festivites. Renca was a first time pumpkin carver and did an amazing job, I might add.

Here the happy family is. It was a lot easier gutting with Vinson than carving. I think we did a pretty good job at keeping him away from the knives :)
When we lit the first pumpkin Vinson squealed and ran up to the pumpkin. It was so cute!

The Gang!
Chris and Brian came a little late, and they made and excellent Bart Simpson pumpkin.

Becca and Logan did an awesome ghost. Ours was the one in the midle. Notice the Prague Castle under the bat. It was dan's idea to have the Prague skyline in the pumpkin and Val made it a reality. The castle was Jirka and Renca, not bad for first timers eh? Too bad it went all moldy before Halloween.
This is what happened when I took out the trash one day. Vinson found out a way to get inside the trash (which was actually pretty clean so don't worry:) Mom and Dad are still puzzled as to how he got in there.