Friday, May 23, 2008

A Trip Back in Time

We drove about 35 miles and 400 years back in time today when we visited the Botanicus Historic Center in the village of Ostra in the countryside to the East of Prague. We picked up tickets, changed our Czech Crowns in to Botanicus "Pragergroschen", and walked into a bustling medieval village.

The narrow streets were paved with rough cobblestones - I guess they didn't use strollers back in the olden days. Fortunately, our super-stroller bumped and trundled along, "Kyler the Smiler" strapped securely inside. The village is great "living history." Each thatched-roof house and store along the path offers a different hands-on lesson. Kids (or kids at heart) can make paper, wind rope, see how soap is made, watch the blacksmith hammer out a coin, craft candles, or even pan for gold. Puppeteers put on a show in the the town square, and the "Great Guild Hall" offered a fine selection of medieval munchies (and beer in paper cups!) Need to buy something? Just stop by the Treasury to change money. Don't try to rob it... or the village sheriff might have to hook you up to the rack, or even throw you in the town jail with the poor guy who looks like he's been rotting away there for quite a while!

We stopped by the village armory to try out their assortment of swords, knight's armor and muscats, passing water pumps, wine presses, and all kinds of things to play with (and on).

Right outside the village lie the beautiful Botanicus herb gardens - beds of mint, thyme, rosemary and other herbs nestled amid manicured lawns, flowers, and "secret" pathways winding underneath shady trees. A perfect spot for a medieval picnic, and a "dragon hunt" in the "forest" (a hedge maze).

Today was a "Special Event" day at Botanicus - with games, horse rides and other neat things for the kids to enjoy. Jad's highlight of the day was trying his hand at archery (the arrow almost got as far as the target!) and posing with a hunting falcon. Danna got to ride a "weal howse." All of this fun? Just an hour from home via our Toyota "Time Machine.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kyler's Dedication

April 27, 2008 turned out to be practically a perfect day! The weather was delightful -- sunny with a light breeze and plenty of flowers in bloom. The church was full of smiling faces, special friends, and Tayta (Erin's mom). The service seemed to flow like a mountain stream. Definitely the time that Joshua had devoted to planning how he would lead the church service paid off because it was a worshipful experience. Tima had his debut with his first baby dedication -- how special that it was Kyler!! What a pair those two made! And Dejan did an amazing job of tying in Kyler's dedication to his sermon about how life is beautiful and we should live like it is.

Jad, Danna, and Kyler have all been dedicated to God as babies. For us, the parents, this is a gesture that we want to raise our children to be followers of Jesus and citizens of God's creation in a positive way. Just as each of these three children are unique, so were their dedication services!

Jad was dedicated at our small church in Zimbabwe (the one with a thatched roof and no walls), whereas Danna's took place with 11 other children at our church in Portland, Oregon. And Kyler the Smiler ends it with a dedication at Sarka Valley Community Church in Prague, Czech Republic.

Three different kids, three different church "families", in three different countries. What a blessing, though, that no matter where we end up in this crazy world, our family can be a part of the local branch of the "family of God."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Royal Birthday

Her Royal Highness, Princess Danna Rachelle Rubesh turned four today. In attendance at her gala birthday event were royal ladies from other European monarchies, dressed in exquisite finery to befit the event. Stinky boys were banned from the royal household before the festivities got underway.

In this boy-free environment, the princesses enjoyed a wide variety of entertainment, including the manufacture of crown jewels (bead bracelets), the transportation of royal eggs (egg & spoon relay race), and "Obey the Royal Command" ("Princess says" - a variation on "Simon Says".) Organized activities were followed consumption of the royal birthday cake crafted by the Queengrandmother (visiting from the Kingdom of Oklahoma.)

Musical entertainment was provided by Princess Melissa, visiting from the Kingdom of Nave. She performed Princess Danna's favorite princess tune - Ariel's "Part of Your World."

Royal mothers conversed in the lounge while drinking royal coffees and teas. Towards the end of the celebration, the stinky boys were permitted to return to the castle, following their adventure to the IMAX theater to watch a dinosaur movie. Much running around ensued.