Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mikulaš

Milulaš was actually two weeks ago, but it was so much fun we still wanted to do this post.  (It’s late partly due to laziness and partly because I’ve been working on another post but the darn videos won’t upload.  Hopefully that one will come soon.)

Mikulaš is the Czech Santa Clause, only he comes on December 5th instead of Christmas.  (Baby Jesus is the one who delivers the presents – all of them – and the tree).  Mikulaš is always found with an angel and Cert (a devil).  Usually the threesome goes to homes and comes to schools.  But you are bound to find them roaming downtown on Dec. 5th.  So we always head for Old Town Square.  If you have been good Mikulaš checks and finds your name in his book.  If you are nice the Angel will give you a present (commonly a chocolate depicting Mikulaš, Cert or an Angel).  If you are bad than Cert frightens you with his chains and gives you a bag of rocks – to help you want to be better – so actually Cert is good Winking smile.

Mikulaš wasn’t able to come to our house this year but left some chocolates for the boys because they were so good.  Vince is the perfect age for this.  All other years we had to hunt down Mikulaš, but this year Vince was a magnet for them.  Mikulaš asks you if you were good and then usually asks you to sing a rhyme.  Vince was pretty cute saying, “hodný, hodný!” Good, good.  We taught Vince how to say, “Can I in English.” and then he sang Twinkle Twinkle little star.  We got some good candy and Benji was only afraid of Cert until he got the candy.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skills

Benji has really enjoyed music! We catch him singing songs to himself all the time. I've tried uploading the video TOO MANY TIMES! So you can click on this link to see it. Benji is singing Where is Thumbkin but got stuck on pointer here.

We wanted to have Vince interacting with Czech kids more, so we tried out soccer. It was interesting! Vince was the smallest and almost the youngest on the team and he finally told me he didn't like how the other kids ran so much faster than him. I didn't blame him. We lasted a month, but are going to try again in the summer. Vince learned some valuable words in Czech like "stop, stay there, right there." I overheard him telling it to Benji. And he made a good friend Marion (the oldest biggest boy who liked to play tag with Vince during breaks - unfortunately Vince wanted to extend this to practice time too. The coach was really great! But probably glad we stopped coming. Practice went something like this (Vince is in blue):

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Halloween

We went trick or treating to Nebusice (one of the only places in Prague you can trick-or-treat).  Benji ate candy the entire time we trick-or-treated.  Vince ended up with about double the candy. Benji’s got his mom’s sweet tooth. 

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Benji got to dress up at his music class.

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I like to take the kids to Stromovka to get their pictures before Halloween.  Vince couldn’t decide what to be so I got pictures of him as Vodnik (a Czech fairytale water sprite).IMG_9915IMG_9925

Then we had another photo shoot with the boys in their lion costumes.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Slovakia Part 3–The End (For everyone but Dan that is)

Sunday we went to church in Košice.  We doubled the size of the Mormon congregation (practically) seeing as Mormon missionaries haven’t been there very long and it’s a very young branch.  It rained.

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Košice has an awesome city center with fountains that “dance” to music played over speakers.  The kids could have spent all day there – Val too.

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We didn’t have the internet in the apartment so every now and then we would haul the kids to the school.  Dan’s a pretty unique student: married . . . with kids . . . American . . . and Mormon!  No wonder all of his professors know him by name.

After we left Dan gave two lectures at the University.  The first one was on Mormon culture and history.  The second one was on Utah’s unique regional geography.  They both went really well.image10-09_slovensko 292

We took a couple more trips.  First we went to Levoča.  It has an amazing wooden altar in a really beautiful church. 

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Then we went to Bardejov which has a really cute square.  We also took a bus to another Skanzen (outdoor museum)

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We had an “adventure” coming home.  I came home by myself with two boys, a large stroller and a 60 pound suitcase.  We had to ride the train to a smaller station to get on the night train to come home.  The night train came and I was the first one on with the stroller and Vince.  The train car guy took me to our room, then I ran back to get the suitcase.  I was stressed!  Dan said, "don't worry you have time."  I hauled the suitcase back to our room and then the train car guy talked to me again because he wanted me to pay more money because I had a kid and we only paid for one bed.  I had to cut him off cause Dan was still holding Benji.  Vince was in the room, I said I'd be right back.  Started towards the doors and the train started moving.  I freaked.  What about Ben!  Then I ran back and this nice looking guy was holding Benji sleeping in his arms.  Phew!!!  I love Slovaks!  They are SO NICE!  I got Benji and then went back to the car.  The train guy then realized I had 2 kids and one bed so he came to try to get me to pay for another bed (I would have done it, but had no money) - so he told me under no circumstances was I to sleep in the other bed- all in Slovak with me speaking Czech.  I was pretty impressed with myself.  (Slovak to me is exactly like Czech spoken with a Ukrainian accent).  I slept . .  . not well but we made it home!

Dan: “And I had to wait until the next day to find out if sleeping Benji made it back to Mama and Vince…”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slovakia … part 2

Here is Princess Mirka.  She is a geography student at Prešov who invited our family to see Stará Ľubovňa Castle where she works. 

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Benji and Vince “almost” there after hiking through town.  And up the hill.  Funny how all castles are on hills. Winking smile Castle in sight!

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This is how our boys play chess.  Benji seems to be winning.10-09_slovensko 17710-09_slovensko 207

My favorite part of the castle would have to be the boar rug and the stalactites growing in the dungeon.

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Stará Ľubovňa also has a skanzen (kind of like Pioneer village –for you Utahans) cute old log cabins and churches gathered in a little museum village.

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Our boys were a little suspicious of the locals.  10-09_slovensko 24510-09_slovensko 24410-09_slovensko 242

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Slovakia

Dan was invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of Prešov and got a foreign exchange grant as long as he stayed there at least 3 1/2 weeks. Through his program he has to do some study abroad time so we decided it was a good opportunity to work on his requirement and see Slovakia.
The only downside was that Val and the kids could only stay for 1 1/2 weeks.

We took the night train. Vince was super excited because he got to sleep on the top bunk!Prešov is a really cute city with amazingly friendly people!Here Vince is at the "pizza park."We had authentic halušky! Yum! Dinner was great! (Even though Benji shattered his glass on the floor.The boys favorite part of Prešov was probably throwing rocks off the bridge by the university building. I kept taking pictures of the old women. They were so cute with their skirts, aprons, and scarfs!Here we are at a Špiš Castle (known for being enormous!) We had to hike up this big hill and walk to the other side of the castle to get to the entrance. It was worth the hike - the castle was awesome!More Slovakia travel log to follow: