2012: A full heart

We arrived here almost a year ago. We had been uprooted from life as we knew it, and we didn't know a soul.

As we look back over 2012, we are overwhelmed and thankful for the people that have come into our lives.


A full year. A full heart.

Happy New Year!



Oh Christmas. We had a good one.

Rachel and I had talked earlier this month about what we wanted this first Christmas in Prague to be. We wanted to start traditions and make memories. Holidays away from home can get the short end of the stick if you're not careful and we wanted to fully arm ourselves with Christmas cheer and fun- for the boys and for ourselves. Time to pull out the big guns.

We met throughout the month as a team to celebrate Advent, sometimes through readings, sometimes through discussing, sometimes through specially themed videos (we highly recommend the Bethlehem Star DVD or catching one of the presentations in Texas if you're in the area). Rachel found a neat Advent wreath that the boys had fun lighting.

On Christmas Eve I enjoyed making a birthday cake for Jesus, a 60-year tradition passed on from Grandma and Paw Paw Pasche. It made me feel close to my family knowing they would be doing the same thing that night.

On Christmas morning we had a special breakfast with the Kellers. We are so thankful for this family and their partnership here with us. We are encouraged greatly by their friendship and how God uses them in our lives as we share life here together. 

And after that a lot of lounging around and playing with presents.

Rachel the Incredible made us all stockings!

We got the boys sleds for when the park hills are covered in snow- can't wait!

They ran around and tried them out :)

We compared cat-scratch scars from all of the love we give our kitties, and the fight they give us back. I love this picture because you can see the damage on our hands, and the wildness on the face of a cat that would rather not be restrained. I am quite sure Hobbes added to the cat-scratch tally as this photo was taken.

A happy Sandoz/Keller Christmas morning!

And then Rachel and I went to our separate corners to cook! 

We had company coming in just a few hours and a Christmas lunch to get on the table!

I was aproned and ready. (Thanks for the apron, Carrie!)

Clay's and my first holiday bird was a success!

The house was readied for Christmas guests!

And then they came- my whole language class!

The food was AWESOME. It was real Christmas, people. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, mac n cheese, salads, rolls, and cranberry sauce.

Scott said it best, and made me laugh thinking it was exactly what my brothers would say: "This is legit."

Halo characters and hobbits joined in as well.

After the meal, it was time for another one of my family's traditions- BINGO! I don't think we've ever done it at Christmas, but some of my favorite Breckenridge, Tx memories are making runs to the dollar store for prizes and playing BINGO with the cousins.

And so Christmas BINGO began.

Prizes were hard-to-come-by American treats: Dr. Peppers and Root Beer, Pop-Tarts, Mr. Goodbars, etc.

One prize was a little mischievous on my part.

Atomic Fireballs.

They had just been sitting there by the cash register in the Prague Candy Store and I couldn't resist grabbing a handful. 

All of our friends from Korea tried them, with Scott coaching them the whole time to leave them in their mouths, that it was an "American tradition" to finish the whole fireball without spitting it out.

Oh we laughed! 

Such good sports, and quite forgiving too :)

One of the best things about the holidays at home is Nanny's buffet overflowing with desserts meant for snacking on all day.

I can't even EAT desserts right now, but this sight made me so happy.

Then it was more playing...

…and chatting with new friends.

I discovered this message the next day.

My classmates fill my heart to brimming with joy. 

December 26th held a time-honored tradition that I thought had ceased years ago. 

Dear to me are those cousin trips to Abilene to catch another installment of Lord of the Rings, followed by Sonic drinks and discussions in the car.

It made me happy to have a little of that tradition back. Czech subtitles and all.

Since then we have stayed warm and cosy inside.

And though a little late, enjoying Christmas presents that arrived from Texas! 

Šárka loved the paper and bags.

And it makes me laugh that you could probably go back through all these pictures and find a spray bottle in every one. 

This cat gets pretty wild sometimes!

And Clint and Mel sent a great framed picture of Clara that makes me smile whenever I see it.

With our week off of school we are getting to some projects we've been scheming over for awhile. 

First was this gigantor lamp that I scored for free off of a classifieds site. 

I'd been wanting to make it into a light over my desk.

Here it is before, in all it's dusty fringed glory. It really is so much bigger than this picture makes it look. HUGE. It kept us laughing.

The 'during' photo, after we'd stripped the shade. 

Šárka thought it was some kind of impenetrable fortress of protection and chilled out inside for awhile.

And then, voila! Hanging lamp.

We love working on projects together. 

Clay Sandoz is a pretty handy guy.

And now, the next project. 

Planning our spring/summer garden. The sky may be gray and the wind may be cold, but I know sunshine's just around the corner!