I am the fifth child of five, blessed with five little miracles of my own. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a counselor, a homeschooler, a practicing (though often failing) Catholic. My life journey has been amazing. I am blessed beyond my ability to believe most days.
Friday, August 23, 2013
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
I could put about every picture here that we took in Slovakia and Vienna. The land is beautiful, the churches are amazing. Even the house we rented was 500+ years old and incredible. Some examples...
The garden of the gymnasium (middle school) next to our house
The entry to our rental home. My cousin said parts of the house are 500-600 years old. Wow.
Every church, from the tiniest village church to the grandest cathedral were amazing inside. This is the altar piece at the small chapel in the Kosice seminary where my cousin worked for 12 years. We got to sit right there when he was presiding over Mass (no, I didn't take the picture during Mass. Most uncool.)
My children, by some act of Divine grace, were overtaken and transformed into (mostly) angelic beings. There were meltdowns a plenty when it got too late and they were spent but, on the whole, it was a beautiful time of meeting new friends and relatives and having fun.
My big man in my big van
Little one enjoying the fountain
Who knew that even Kosice, Slovakia has shopping malls with great play areas! (our friend, Jan (pushing G) and his wife Veronica, spent the day with us. What a big help!)
Cousin Julia cheezin with G
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my EIGHT-year-old! (that was way too fast)
Backyard soccer and bike riding with the cousins
We had some sad times and some trying times but, on the whole, this was one grace-filled trip. Laughter was abundant and for that, I am grateful. How blessed we are
Thank goodness for #1 son. He drives me nuts at times but he can be so entertaining to his baby brother. Sitting together was a must. Especially during a 9-hour plane flight!
You know how, in the mall, they have "personalization" stores? Cups, blankets, etc., all with your name? Well this is the Slovak version. Can you find your name ;0)
There is no language barrier for those under the age of 2. I was ready to steal little Lukas and bring him home. Golly he was cute.
These kids ran themselves ragged so wake up wasn't always the best time of day. It was funny to watch, though.
The Vienna "family" hotel room. Six of us in the space of my dining room. Thank goodness we were exhausted and had to get up at 4 AM!
We flew in and out of Paris both ways. The joke is that we didn't really fly into Paris but some minor airport on the outskirts of some random city. I never personally saw the Eiffel Tour which is suspect, since Paris is about as flat as a pancake. On the way home, the pilot made a point of saying "look out your right window to see a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tour". Do you see it? Guess I'm just not French enough.
Amidst the funny and happy times there were a sprinkling of real moments. For these I am always thankful. They rank among the most memorable times of our journey.
The van. The 9-passenger-manual. I'm the only one that was able (legally and skill-wise) to drive. It was good anyway, since I would probably have thrown up if I had to ride in the back. I know this because several of my children did so on different occasions (always get the full coverage!)
We were able to watch a wedding at one of the churches we visited. It was really great to see the differences between here and there (see how the bride has her arms covered for church, even though she chose a strapless gown?). Also, the processional consists of the bride and her father along with the groom and his mother.
No trip is complete without a trip to the cemetery to visit relatives. This is my aunt's grave (she died at around 20 months old and is the only one of her immediate family buried in Slovakia). It was so great to walk through and remember the family I have there. It was even more special to have my Aunt with me. This is her "family cemetery" - she has to go to Slovakia to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family! (I also love the little red candles they light every time they visit. On Sunday night the cemetery glows with candlelight)
Taking my children to the shrine at Levoca, where I prayed to the Blessed Mother to help me in my journey to motherhood, was overwhelming. (Blondie was more camera shy than ever on this trip)
This guy was praying everywhere we went. How blessed we are.
The food was amazing. The time spent over a simple meal with family was priceless.
I was so worried about the little guy and how he would adapt to life in a foreign country. (I even forgot his favorite bear. Yeah. Mother of the year here). He was the best traveler by far. Didn't hurt that everyone thought he was cute (even the customs agents ;0))