Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interview with Belly

I read about this interview idea on a friend's blog. (Thanks Lisa!) I thought it was great and would be fun for everyone. The idea is that you do it every year and see how much changes.

Ok, you ready to get started? (Redundant question since she has been asking when we are going to do this for the last two hours. She has set up an interview couch made out of dining room table chairs and all her best blankets for her to sit on. She has been sitting there waiting for me for ten minutes. Needless to say, she liked the idea.)

This is an interview of Isabel Kristine King. One of the most interesting and wonderful 5 year olds in the world.

I am going to ask you several questions about yourself so we can all get to know you better.
Okay, let's get started.

What is your name?

Isabel Kristine King

How old are you?


Where do you live?
Um, in Texas and we are like Abraham. (We've read about Abraham and how he was told by God that He would send him to a new land.)

Um, here.

Where is here?
In Prague? I don't know. (I paused here to type something into the computer.) Is that it? Is the interview over?

No, not yet. Do you have any pets?

No. Um, yes. Well. Grandma buyed me a kitty cat, but she keeps it at her house...... I wish there was an audience here. (Said with a really downcast face and dejected look.)

Who do you like to play with?


Anybody else? What about Madeline and Jacob?

I play with them a few times. I need a microphone Mom. (Pause as we search for a suitable pretend microphone.)

What is your favorite Cereal?

My favorite cereal is.......I don't know. I have to think about this question. It is rice crispies.

What is your favorite vegetable?

My favorite vegetable is peas and carrots.

Really? You like peas?
Yes. And mashed potatoes. (She has never in her life voluntarily ate either peas or carrots. I think she is trying to show off for the interview right now.)

What is your favorite drink?

My favorite drink? Well, lemonade, cool-aid, milk, water and don't forget sprite. I love all kinds of drinks.

What is your favorite snack?

My favorite snack. Oh. Cupcakes.

What is your favorite toy?

My little blanket kitty doll.

What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is, my favorite book is, my favorite book is, well........Hey Pancakes.

What is your favorite restaurant?

My favorite restaurant is a pancake restaurant.

Do you have a favorite pancake restaurant?
I like plain ones with maple syrup and butter.

What is your favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday is Christmas, and my birthday.

What is your favorite animal?

My favorite animal is a horse and a kitty.

If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?
Um, Isabella.

What would your middle name be Isabella?

Isabella Princess Flowers

What do you love about your Dad?

When he wrestles with me, when he plays with me and when he hugs me.

What do you love about your Mom?
I love about my mommy is when she hugs me, plays with me and watches TV with me. It is really true, I like my mom.

Where would you like to go on vacation this year?

To a waterpark and camping. That is about it. You know I like camping because of the marshmallows.

What is your number one wish for this year?

I hope everybody will not be upset with each other. And growing my hair out. (She wants to grow her hair out to the floor she says.)

What about getting a house to live in?
Yes, I want a real fancy place, like a castle. With stairs.

What is your favorite TV show?

My favorite TV show is Max and Ruby and Charlie and Lola. That's about it.

Thank you for your interview Ms Isabel King. I appreciate your time.
And where is all the audience clapping? (In the snootiest voice possible. Did I say that she really likes to perform?)

Interview with Maddie

I read about this interview idea on a friend's blog. (Thanks Lisa!) I thought it was great and would be fun for everyone. The idea is that you do it every year and see how much changes.

Ok, you ready to get started? This is an interview of Madeline Aisalee King. One of the most interesting and wonderful 4 year olds in the world. I am going to ask you several questions about yourself so we can all get to know you better. Okay, let's get started.

What is your name?

My name is.....What's this button for?......Princess King.

No, what is your real name.

I can't remember my real middle name. How about I just do Madeline King?

Ok, that's fine. How old are you?


Where do you live?

Hmmm, in Germany. And Czech Republic. Is there a video in there? Can I push these buttons?

Do you have any pets?

No. (And she gives me a look that says "Duh! OF COURSE not!")

Who do you like to play with?

Hannah and Reagan.

Anybody else? What about Isabel and Jacob?


What is your favorite Cereal?

Hmmm. Got it. The cereal with chocolate in it. When I'm done, when I'm doing really well, what do I get? (Meaning, do I get some sort of reward for doing this stupid thing with you?)

What is your favorite vegetable?

Hmm. (Shrug) Apple.

Apple is a fruit. Can you think of any vegetables?

Hmmm. Ha! What vegetables are not spicy and not hot and do not need to be cooked? Peas and tomatoes.

What is your favorite drink?

Hmm. Cool aid!

What is your favorite snack?

Ah! Crackers! Cheese!! Ham!!! (Said with increasing excitement, and possible expectancy of previous said reward)

What is your favorite toy?

Ah! Butterfly! My American girl doll. (Actually, we just told her it was an American girl doll but isn't in fact a real American girl doll. She means it is a doll that is not a baby doll, but a big girl doll.)

What is your favorite book?

It is, um.....(Shrug). Hmmm. Backyardigans. (We do in fact have a Backyardigans book. But she loves the TV show as well.)

What is your favorite restaurant?

Quesadilla restaurant. Why is that doing that?

I don't know. Wait! Come back. We are almost done. Do we need an intermission?

What is that?

It's like at the ballet where we stopped in the middle so we could get a snack.

Yes. I am going to have a drink. (As she walks away into the kitchen.)

Ok, ready to get started again?

Yeah. (Warily) I'm going to save some water in case I'm thirsty again.

What is your favorite holiday?

Ah! Ballerina holiday. When we go to the ballerina day. Oh! Easter! Easter!! Easter!!!

Why do you like Easter so much?

Cause we get to find eggs and crack what is inside them. And we get to have pumpkins.

Not pumpkins, not at Easter.

When do you have pumpkins?

In the fall. At Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Um, I love Halloween too. I don't like Thanksgiving so much. Am I done now?

What is your favorite animal?

Kitty and dog and horse.

If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?

Cupcake and butterfly and birthday. Ok. I'll just go and then drink and come right back.

What do you love about your Dad?

Wrestling! And playing games with him too. Now can I go?

What do you love about your Mom?

Um, Birthday! When she gives me a birthday. (What a wonderful answer I must say. On so many different levels!)

Where would you like to go on vacation this year?

Aha! Ballerina place!

What is your number one wish for this year?

I wish to have a butterfly.

What is your favorite TV show?

Animal show. (Said quickly and without any thought. She is definitely trying to get rid of me now.) I'm going now. Oh, do I get something now? What do I get? Something special?

Thank you for your interview Ms Madeline King. I appreciate your time. (Said to her retreating back as she runs off to engage in some more wrestling with her dear old dad.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jet-lag meet our children. Children we would like you to meet Jet-lag.

First off, the kids did an amazing job on the long flight. Our flight left Dallas at about 4:20pm Dallas time. The kids played rather nicely during the first hour or so until we were served dinner. At the end of the meal, Dawn and I gave all the kids a little happy pill. :) While the kids twisted their faces at the nasty tasting pill, we (the caring, kind-hearted parents) assured them that it would make them feel better during the flight. This was partly true, but we all know the REAL purpose of the medicine is much more sinister. Quite pleased with ourselves, we watched the children's eyes drooping as the yawning began. We carefully arranged them so that they could all spread out either on the floor or on the seat. As the snoring commenced, Dawn and I grinned at each other knowingly and closed our eyes. To our utter surprise the girls slept all the way till they served breakfast about an hour before landing and Jacob slept all the way till we landed.

Parents - 1; Kids - 0!!!

Now, we Christians aren't supposed to believe in karma, right? Hmm. After the complete success of our medicinal malfeasance, our false sense of security surged.

It all started when the flight attendants began to serve us breakfast, Isabel looked at me funny and said, "Breakfast? I'm not hungry for breakfast, we just ate dinner." (which in fact we did less than 4 hours ago.) while Madeline pooched her lips out (doing what we call her duck lips). I tried my best to explain that issues of global positioning and the effects of crossing multiple time zones, but she gave me the exact look she gave to the German flight attendants when they spoke German to her (we flew Lufthansa... the German Airlines). It wasn't until later that I would realize that the eating problems would be the least of our worries. The kids ate without much fuss and the rest of the trip went rather well.

Parents - 2; Kids - 0. Not too shabby, eh?

We finally got to our new/temporary apartment about 2:00pm Prague time (PT)... or 7:00am the next morning Dallas time (DT). By this point the happy veneer was beginning to break down and the children were starting to show signs of fatigue. Ok, for the readers who don't have children, children are like a car's break pads. When they are fresh everything runs pretty smooth. But, when the pads start to wear down, they let you know by emitting this annoying, high-pitched, teeth grinding, blood coming out of my ears, constant squeal! :) But wait, we are in our apartment! We have food and beds!!! Problem solved.

We first start out with a short, controlled, 1 hour nap. At 5:00pm PT (or 10:00am DT), we have dinner. The kids eat a little, but complain that they aren't hungry. Hmm. So, I make another run at explaining why we need to eat even though we aren't hungry. "It helps reset the biochemical mechanism that controls when you get hungry and when you get sleepy," I say. "Uh, but we're not hungry for dinner," they say. "EAT," I say. As Dawn gets the kids ready for bed, I scrape the uneaten food off the kids' plates.

Parents - 2; Kids - 1!!! Uh... hmm.

At this point, our brains are pretty mushy from fatigue, but we manage to discuss the options for bedtime. We decide that 9:00pm PT (or 2:00pm DT) would be good to put the kids in bed. Everything runs sorta smooth and the kids go to sleep. Done. Dawn took some medicine to help her sleep and went to bed, while I worked for a few more hours on the internet connection. As I get into bed, I hear Jacob. Evidently, Jacob's biochemical clock thought this was only his afternoon nap and that it was time to wake up. Jacob, seeing the pitch-blackness in the room, starts to cry. Now, we have all three children in one room. Hey look. We're all awake... uh, all except Dawn.

Parents - 2; Kids 2!!! What's happening!

I do my best at calming them down, but to no avail. It is now about 12:00am PT (5:00pm DT - dinner time). So, guess what. They're all hungry now. At this point, my brain has passed mushy and moved on to gushy! I struggle to maintain control as Mr. Hyde knocks at the door. I pat, I stroke, I even SING!!! Nothing.

AH HA! The jet-lag cocktail!!! I rush to the kitchen and fumble around for a minute. Upon my return, I have crackers, peanut m&ms, Tang, and a Dramamine chaser in hand. The children sing my praises at the veritable smorgasbord I present them. As they happily munched, I slipped in the sleepy medicine. The children bounced around for another 30 mins. before the medicine started to work. Finally, about 1:30am PT (or 6:30pm DT) sleep catches up to the children. I drag myself to bed after a few crackers, m&ms, Tang, and Dramamine. Hey, I've got a biochemical clock too!

Parents - 2; Kids 3!!! The darkness closes in!

The next morning... uh... afternoon, Dawn (happy as a chipmunk after her full night of sleep) comes in the room and rousts me out of bed. I look at the clock thinking that it must be like 6:00am!!! Ok, so it was actually 11:00am PT. My biochemical clock is telling me that is it 4:00am DT. We then burst into the kids room and happily wake them up. Vengeance is ours! (Ok, it was more like, "Time to get up sweetie," but that doesn't sounds as cool. Anyway.)

Wanting to get over the first day jitters, we start the day off with a simple scouting trip around our block (or should I say bloc! HA.). After taking at least 30 mins to get all of the coats, hats, gloves, scarfs, boots, etc. on the kids, we set foot on... The Outside! For whatever reason, I was pretty nervous. I felt like every was watching us... they weren't, but you know. Up until now, the kids had been hounding us to take them outside to play in the snow. So we did. After they remembered that snow is cold, we agreed it was time to go back inside, and so began the 30 mins of taking off the coats, hats, gloves, scarfs, boots, etc. 1.5 hours for 30 mins outside!. Dinner time... we're not hungry. And so it continued. Then came bedtime. Learning from our tactical error the night before, we gave them Dramamine as soon as we put on their jammies. At 9:00pm PT we laid them down and soon after they were asleep.

Parents - 3; Kids 3. Tie! HA!

The next morning they woke up at 8:00am PT and we were feeling rather proud that we had weathered jet-lag so well. Everything seemed to be going our way. We even had visions of reprogramming the kids normal waking-up time. Again, for those who don't have children... an illustration. Kids are like break pads... and like roosters! No need for an alarm clock with a 2-year old that wakes up at 6:30am sharp every morning.

The funny thing about Dramamine – it seems kids can become immune to the stuff. That night and the next night have kinda blurred together into one. (Reminds me of the time when I had my endoscopy done. They used conscious sedation on me. Evidently, I was awake and talking, but there are a few days there that I don't remember.) I do remember giving the kids the medicine and thinking... just wait 30 mins for it to start working. 120 mins later and the kids are still awake.

Parents - 1 (minus 2 points for Dramamine penalty); Kids 4. We were robbed!!!

The thing that panicked me was that it was Saturday night and language school started the very next Monday morning at 9:00am. This had to get better. And it did. Sunday night went much better and the next week ran very smoothly. We even thought we had been successful at reprogramming Jacob. He slept until 8:00am every morning the whole week... yeah every morning except for Saturday. 6:30am!!! ARRRRGGG!

Parents - 0 (minus 1 point for Reprogramming penalty); Kids 5. Game over. Good game. Good game.

Oh well. Things are returning to normal. I guess that is appropriate. Life is like that – even after going through such tremendous changes and turmoil in our lives by moving to Europe, it all still boils down to a mundane, day-to-day routine. This is the key thing that I know I always seem to miss... a life well lived is not usually about the grandiose or noteworthy, but about the mundane. How we choose to live day-to-day is what really matters. We all know about how great God used Noah to build the ark and rebuild humanity, but we pass over the fact that he had pleased God for over 500 years before he even started building the ark.

Prayer Request:
  • That we honor God in the mundane.
  • That a schooling situation becomes available for Isabel.
  • Wisdom and discernment with our next decision of whether to stay in Prague or not.

  • Language school is going well and the kids' babysitter is great.
  • We have gotten quite good at the tram and metro system.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


On our flight to Prague, everything actually worked out pretty well for our flights, luggage, etc. We did have an incident on the escalator as we were leaving the airport in Prague. Maddie was really tired and she and Isabel got scared and refused to get on. The problem was, I was carrying all the bags and pushing Jacob in the stroller at the end of the line. Philip was carrying three rolling suitcases and neither one of us could help them. We "encouraged" them verbally to just GOOOO! But to no avail. There was a little nudging and more "encouraging" at which point Philip finally had to throw all the suitcases down and dive over them to catch Maddie and Isabel both as they began to tumble head first down the escalator. He caught them by the back of the neck and stood them up. At which point he was too far down to retrieve the suitcases he had dropped back up at the top. So, he rode down with them, stuck them at the bottom and told them not to move (gently and lovingly I am sure) while I stayed at the top with Jacob and the bags. Madeline is crying so loudly at this point that I am sure the entire airport can hear her. He then had to climb the stairs to come back up and get everything. Needless to say, everyone was a little upset and shall we say....grumpy? It took a while to get Maddie to stop crying, but we survived and made it out with all of our luggage and our body parts.