Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grandpa Ward

My Grandpa Ward passed away last weekend and I have been thinking a lot lately about what he meant to me and some of the lessons he passed on. He was very talented musically. I loved hearing him play the piano, before his fingers became too sensitive and he wasn't able to play like he wanted to. He enjoyed sharing stories about how music really enriched his service as a Mormon missionary in Texas during the 1940's. He and a few other missionaries formed a small musical group and toured the mission (Texas and Louisiana) to put on concerts and even play for a radio station or two.
A little four-generation picture. If we wanted to get technical, my Mom
should have been in here with us, since Grandpa Ward is her father, but hey,
we're all family, anyways.

I have been trying to think of a favorite Grandpa Ward moment or story from my life. It's interesting that while no one moment seems to really stand out, there are thousands of small moments that paint a wonderful picture of my Grandpa. He had an amazing ability to love others and to express that love (I would describe it as a Christlike love) in the way that he talked with them and served them. I really admire the way that my Grandpa would help me, my family - and anyone else for that matter - without making any fuss or show of it. Perhaps that doesn't seem so remarkable, but I can think of several times, when I barely noticed or was only peripherally aware of the fact that my Grandpa had done something to help me. I am absolutely certain that there are many more instances, where he helped me and I didn't even notice. He had a quiet, humble and unassuming manner of making life better for the people he came in contact with.

...And I loved hearing him sneeze! It just sounded unique and ... Grandpa Ward.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Boy

Benjamin is such a happy baby. He can't wait for someone to look at him so he can give them a cute baby grin. He's "talking" a lot too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cute Benjamin!

I'm so lucky! I get to be mom to two of the cutest boys in the world!
We love cute little Benjamin. Just a few weeks ago he started to smile and we caught it on film! Vince loves to involve Benji in everything. He just can't wait for him to grow up a little bit and become a playmate, but he's done pretty good regardless. The other day I found Vinson reading Benji a book.Dan helped Benji ride the tractor while Vince rode his motorcycle. Vince was so upset when Dan got tired and Benji had to call it quits.This is Vinson and Benji riding a "train."
Vince wanted to write something:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Adventures in Potty Training part 2

Once again if you don't want to read about bodily fluids please stop now. This is so awful I've wondered about writing it at all but as I follow a lot of your blogs and a lot of you have kids that you're trying to potty train and are having a frustrating time I figured I could write this and you could think to yourself: at least it's not THAT bad. Or if you have a story (and I'm not talking about my friends sisters cousin stories) that makes this look good, I would LOVE to hear it and think to myself, "Whew, at least he didn't do that . . . " Vinson is going to hate me when he grows up if he ever finds out the things I tell the entire world about him.
Vinson has started working lately. He gets on his motorcycle and says, "Bye mom, I'm going to work." Then he'll usually give me a kiss, the same routine as when Dan goes to work. Then he proceeds to put all of his toys into my bedroom sometimes taking one toy at a time and making a big pile of toys. One Saturday Vince said, "Bye Mom, bye Dad, I'm going to work." We started chatting and after a while realized we'd been talking for a while without seeing Vinson come back for toys. So then Vinson says, "Mom, Dad, pojd" (Czech for come here). So we went together. We opened the door and there was Vinson beaming and looking like he'd done something wonderful. This is what he had done. He pooped his pants and then had taken them off. Sometime during this he thought to himself, this is kind of like the paints that mom lets me play with, maybe I'll do some art work. So then he proceeded to "paint" the floor, one of his toys, and his motorcycle with poop. Dan and I were horror struck. We kind of stood there in silence for a minute torn between laughing, and crying and what to say or do to punish and how much. It's hard to gage exactly how much Vinson grasped that this was wrong especially after his obvious pride in his work. Dan said, "Vinson, you've done a very bad thing. Poop is not paint, you only put poop in the toilet." I turned my head to smile. Dan cleaned up Vinson - his punishment was having a cold shower. I started cleaning the floor with bleach and threw away the sponge afterwards. His motorcycle and toy also had a bleach bath followed by a real bath. Then I heard Dan say, "You made a big mess. You should ask mom if there's anything you can do to help clean up." My mind searched for ways he could help. The only thing that came to me that actually would help was something that I knew that Vince woud think it was fun, I didn't want to support him doing this sort of activity again ever, but I went for it. He had to swirl his underwear in the toiled with a plastic knife (then I could throw it away), lift, flush, swirl, lift flush etc. until I could handle cleaning them. Dan had to supervise. He should have thought before offering Vince's services. Maybe you're asking, why not just throw the underwear away. I would have but my mom brought me nice American tiolet training pants. They have padding that holds the water in so there isn't a wetness all over the floor. Europeans don't have potty training underwear. Their kids run around their house with nothing on bottom and a kiddie pottie in every room of the house. When they do go to underwear it's skimpy bikini underwear. At least that's what I've observed and found. All I have to say about this experience is YUCK!!! GROSS!!! EWW!!! UGH!!! I did take a picture. From the picture it might not look that bad, but believe me it was!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trick or Treat!

We are lucky that there is a suburb of Prague that has trick or treating. Vince was superman and Benjamin was a cow. My friend lent me the cow costume. Trick or treating was a lot of fun. Vinson didn't want to put on his costume until I said, "Vince let me tell you what is going to happen. You will go to a house, say trick or treat, and they'll give you candy, but only if you have a costume." There was no protests after that. At the first house he kept standing there after she gave him candy. I had to pull him away. Then he got what was going on and ran from house to house. Benjamin slept for most of it, but when he woke up the little cow kept wanting milk. We brought candy to help refill bowls that were almost empty. There are so many trick or treaters you can barely shut the door. Those who were prepared had boxes of candy.
We were also excited about the branch Halloween party. Val invited three families and they all came. Of the 5 awards for costumes someone from each family got something. Vinson and Sofie doing Kolo Kolo mlynsky (ring around the rosies the Czech version.
Nella, Jahim, Vinson and Sofie. No one wanted the picture taken.I dressed up as Kostičky. He's on a TV show here. I thought he was pretty well known, but apparently he wasn't as popular as I thought.
Benjamin slept through the whole thing, even the balloon popping and woke up with enough time for everyone to want to hold him.


Besides Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday! We had our annual pumpkin carving party!

Vinson painted his pumpkin.Here is the gang: Chris and Ivana (this was her first experience carving pumpkins, drinking root beer and having carmel apples), Jirka and Renca, Dan Vince and Val (Benjamin was sleeping.)
Later we got invited to a pumpkin carving party with the Bywaters. Sofia, Oliver, Elliot and Vinson. Vinson's was a train pumpkin. He's obsessed with trains lately.