Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Big Bag

Benji thought this big bag was a blast! He would put it on his head and would run blindly around the house. I cut the hole in the front for safety. The best toys are things lying around the house!


Since we've moved here there has been hardly any snow in Prague. A few years ago there was a cross country ski race at Vystaviště, a few blocks away and afterwards they put the leftover snow in the park by us. That't pretty much the extent of our snow experience until this year. Prague hasn't had this much snow since the 1970's! The day after the biggest snowfall (over one foot!), we went sledding in the park down the street! Thanks to the Vondruškovi for letting us use their sled! The boys LOVED it! Benji giggled when we went down the hill. Much different from Vinson. The first time, we tried sledding with Vince, he refused to go and cried the whole time I went down the hill (maybe he thought I'd die?). This time around, both boys and parents had a good time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Family Christmas Letter

We should update you on where we are and why. It seems like the entire year we were trying to figure out where we would be next year. Our plans have changed too many times to count. Dan finished his Masters Degree at Charles University in Prague. We planned on going to graduate school in the U.S. where we could visit home or at least call whenever we wanted, but this didn’t work out. So we planned on going straight to a career and getting a PhD later, but this didn’t work out either. So we are prolonging our Prague adventures for 3-4 more years while Dan continues his studies and gets his PhD from Charles University.

Dan finished his thesis (Adventists and Mormons in Czechia: Distribution, position and manifestations of social capital) and received high marks and glowing reviews. Dan is really enjoying his studies and is getting more work than ever translating his professors’ articles and books into English (so technically he gets paid to study). He’s interested in studying religious identity in Central Europe for his dissertation. The PhD program is intended to last four years, but we’re hoping to finish in three!

Val is finally comfortable with Czech, though far from fluent. She does really well with children Czech, pregnant Czech, and religious Czech, but can hold a one on one conversation with anyone who is patient enough. The boys keep her busier than ever with play dates, going to the zoo, an at home preschool with Vinson’s friend Lolo and we also volunteer at a family center once a week. This way Val can practice her Czech and the boys can play with the toys.

Vinson’s favorite thing to do is to play pretend. He would rather act out Dora the Explorer or Franklin than watch them. He is several different animals every day and if I call him “Vinson” when we are playing he always responds with, “No, I’m baby tiger” or whatever he is at the time. We signed him up for an art class once a week and he loves it. He also enjoys playing games on the computer and has become expert with the mouse.

Benjamin is amazingly mobile and aggressive for a 1 year old. He runs, climbs, and defends his toys. This is fine when he is playing with Vinson, but I have to watch him closely when we play with other kids his age or older. He loves to dance and be involved when Vinson is playing and loves reading books with his dad (or anyone for that matter). He says “mama” and “bye” and is absolutely adorable.

We were able to go to Utah and San Diego this last summer and enjoyed seeing the family again. Being away from them and knowing they are missing a lot of the fun from watching the boys growing up is the hardest part about living so far away. We also miss seeing our friends from Utah enjoy spending time with our amazing friends in Prague. Other than that we love living in Prague. The scenery is beautiful, the parks are amazing, we love the people and enjoy having the opportunity to see more of the Czech Republic and Europe.

Love, Dan Val Vinson and Benjamin Reeves

Friday, January 1, 2010

December in a nutshell

December was a lot of fun. December 5th was Mikuláš (St. Nicholas Day). Mikuláš comes around with a devil (Čert) and angel. Čert scares you if you've been bad -or gives your parents a whip . . . this happens about as often as people actually get coal in their stocking - and the angel gives you candy if you've been good. Our neighbors were dressing up and offered to stop by our place.
We got a live Christmas tree this year and used the stroller to bring it home. It was REALLY pokey. We made a trip to Dresden for Vinson's visa and got to see their Christmas markets. German Christmas markets are the best!!!We made gingerbread houses. Benji particularly liked eating the candy. And said hello to the carp outside our apartment daily. (Czechs eat carp for dinner on Christmas Eve. So they sell them "fresh" and you can pick it out and take it to your bathtub or have it killed on the spot.)Benji got chicken pox on Christmas day. Here we are celebrating New Years with a movie and popcorn.