Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sunday #4--Week ending July 21, 2013

Dear Loved Ones,
Thank you to all who have written emails this week!! I loved hearing from you! And thank you for your support and prayers.  We pray for you too and know that The Lord is aware of you and loves you. I just asked the kids their highs and lows for the week, and I think that they sound more and more cheerful as the weeks go by.  How blessed we are to have each other and these missionaries to serve with. We love them.  

Really quick, though, I want to say that James pointed out last week that this blog's photos make it look like we are always so happy and things are going perfectly.  Just dandy! So let's be honest.  When people are mad at each other, or when there is teenage attitude, or when we are overwhelmed with some of our responsibilities, or SO tired, or when someone is sad and doesn't even know why, I don't take a photo. That wouldn't go over too well!  Anyway, just know that. We aren't always out on a lovely walk, smiling and getting gelato:)

1.  The first high was this building we went into at the zoo.  It had turtles and little fish and one big fish.  It was like a jungle.  I LOVED the hippos.  I loved the place with a room where you throw in a coin into an elephant statue monster.

 (Do you see these parrots?  I said goodbye in czech as we walked away, and one of them said it back to me!  In Czech!  Na'sledanou! (no idea how to spell it))

2.     Swimming laps with dad.
3.  I liked getting the mini basketball hoop. (we’ve had it for years, but now it’s very anchored to the wall in his room)
4.  Playing with my brothers.
5.  I was happy that my dad gave me a blessing and after he gave me a blessing I knew I would be alright and that my ear would feel better. I love my family so much.  

My ear.  It doesn’t feel better.  (ear ache, probably headed to the doctor tomorrow.)

1.  One of my highs was getting the mini basketball hoop hung in my room so then I can play basketball in the winter and in the summer if I want. 
2.  Seeing the Nike store because they had Sparta shoes. (we live right by the Sparta stadium and hope to see a soccer game someday over there)
3.  I really liked the zoo.  The zoo was so fun.  And the good thing is, it’s huge, so the next time we go, we can see the next ¼ of it.
4.  I really liked church today.  Church was really fun.  I’m getting used to it so I learn a bit more of the lesson every week. 
5.  I think now I’m becoming a master of tying bow ties. (he is asleep now in his bed in pajamas and a bow tie)

  Low:  Being sad on Charles Bridge.  I was tired and I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to exercise with mom, Wilson, and George, and we were on the bridge at 9:00 p.m.  

1.    Charles Bridge for family night.

2.    I liked watching mission impossible. (the first mission impossible has lots of scenes in the first part that are filmed in prague)
3.     I liked going to Trebic with dad cause we got to see a talent show put on by members from different branches.  This one guy had dad mix up the rubiks cube and he took it back and matched the sides up within the next 15 seconds.  He holds the record in the Czech republic for fastest rubiks cube time in a competition.  (11 seconds)
4.     Game night with the Mendenhalls (the senior couple in charge of Young Single Adult family night, game night, and lots of other activities in the YSA center on the floor below our apartment.)  My favorite game was Qwirkle.  I also loved the waffles!
5.    Face timing cousins.
6.    Prague zoo, my favorite animal was the hippo because it swam right up to the glass.  It was beast.
7.  The elders and the young single adults surprised us by setting up our basketball hoop, I loved playing on it!

8.    I also loved that now my mini basketball hoop is up on the wall.
 9.  Going to Wenceslas Square.
10.  Surprising Elder Prymak for his birthday.  Sister Munro’s Australian cake was amazing.
 11.   I liked going swimming with Dad and H and George.  We swam laps.  And messed around.  And used the coolest hair dryer in the bathroom afterwards. (fluffy hair when they got home.)
 12.   I liked when you and dad went on your date because hanging out with my brothers and sister was super fun.  We had snacks and played games and watched a movie.
 13.   Playing phase ten with siblings.

14.  Hanging out with the elders.

1.    Basketball hoop backboard is breaking.
2.    Boredom.  I miss having a back yard where I can just go outside whenever I want.  I miss the Popp’s backyard too.
3.   I miss family dinners on Sunday.  I miss my friends.
4.     Embarrassment in church (he won’t tell me what happened.  He is not ready to laugh about it yet.  I totally understand!)

1.     Shopping with Sister Munro.
2.  Playing tennis with mom.
3.   Going to the zoo.
4.  Charles bridge

5.    Plzen with dad.

Language barrier.
Various frustrations.

1.   Spiderman (a 5 year old in the talent show Wilson talked about) and the great members in Trebic.  It was like a mormon “dan in real life” gathering. But better.
2.    Watching a baptism in the same small lake I baptized in as a young missionary.
3.  Seeing and speaking to the members in Plzen.  

Lots of kilometers in the car. (he travelled so much this week, absolutely loved seeing the missionaries in different places and teaching with them, but isn't as fond of the actual drive)

I am so thankful for how Ev, Wilson, H and George have adapted to big city life.  They are working on becoming street smart, and being good listeners.  So much of their safety depends on listening to me and how they watch the signs around them.  Public transportation is a pretty serious thing, and they are learning that they can't goof off near tram tracks or subway tracks or even while on the train or it could be really bad.  I guess you'd have to know how crazy they were on our drives in the land rover to appreciate how different this is for them to have to be well behaved:).   And then there's the whole other thing of super inappropriate billboards and photos, that are found probably in every big city, and I see my kids look the opposite direction or just turn their back to whatever is the shocking image.  I love these guys so much.  

  This is a little part of the city bus/tram/metro map that I used to get us to the zoo.  I never prayed before I went to the hogle zoo in salt lake, but I am telling you, I totally prayed before our trip to the zoo on multiple trams and buses.  We never even got lost!  

A variety of pictures from the week:

Nicki Gray, this one is for you.  A little sweets shop near wenceslas square.

James is working on transfers for next week, where he considers who is going home, who is flying in, who needs to change cities, who needs to change companions, who is going to get a new leadership position, who is going to train a new missionary, what branches need extra support, etc. His mind is pretty focused on this board/the missionaries.  I know he will be so inspired as he puts this puzzle together every transfer.  The Lord loves these missionaries! (actually the church has an app that James has been using on his ipad to make moving around the missionaries easier.  it really helps when you have to start all over.  can't you just picture james working the transfer digitally?)  Cute Sister Munro,who is the office secretary, just made these missionary cards for our kids so they, right in the mission office, can be on dad's board.  

James and I celebrated 18 years of marriage this week!  I love this old photo from his mission here in 1990-92.  And Dorien, I still love this frame you gave me!

I love watching him balance mission life and being a dad

I love it when he cooks.
I love him in his p-day socks.

I love when he speaks czech.  Here he is walking behind me on a path toward a lake where the lady he is talking with was about to get baptized.  

 And I love that he is my mission companion.  First day as companions at the mtc in June:

 Sarah Denison and Nicki and Lance and Rachelle and Sarah Wells and Whitney, Evie is carrying on your tradition of making yummy treats for us on Sunday afternoons!  No chocolate chips here, so she just busts up milka chocolate bars.  And no brown sugar, but they still turn out awesome.

More from the baptism in Hradec Kralove, such a beautiful setting that reminded me of Brad Kilpatrick's outdoor baptism.  

 Missionaries, including those who taught the woman that was baptized, singing a beautiful "come thou fount of every blessing" in czech as a musical number at the baptism.

So here is what my kids do a ton.  After daily chores and reading, if I am taking care of my household stuff and helping missionaries with medical issues, the kids play on screens, watch movies, etc.  I am not wishing for school to start because I really like having them around, and it's awesome to involve them with missionary work and seeing the city sometimes, but I feel like they are on screens a ton.   I didn't realize how much we used our back yard and the Popp's back yard and our front yard until we moved here.   And they had cousins and friends to play with and grandparents to visit.  Beside us on one side is the Indian Embassy.  On the other side is the Spanish Embassy, and then the Israeli Embassy with armed guards out front at all times.  Then there's a ginormous park, with all kind of trails and walkways, where we go once in a while if I have time to take them.  But honestly, my kids have sat around, indoors, more during the past 2 weeks than maybe ever!  Can you tell I'm feeling guilty?  I know we are still transitioning and new here, but I am just trying to figure out how to do it all.  Thank goodness for Legos and art that help break up the screen time. 

Sunday evening walk.  The church is behind the kids. Can you see James in the background, coming home from his office across the street?

 Sunday walk

 Sunday walk past the chinese embassy. Sam Stewart, when I took this picture, your cousins were telling me all sorts of stories about you speaking chinese on the basketball court. Such fun times at the mccompound!

Evie thought you would like this street, Grandad:

My name tags in Czech, Slovak, and English:

Years ago, the Woods brought this bell home from Talmage's mission in Polland and we have hung it on our front door ever since.  I brought it in my carry on, on the flight over, and hung it here the first night.  Every time a tram down on the street makes our apartment rumble, the bell rings.  And when someone opens the door to visit, it sounds like home!  

Ok now it is Wednesday night even though I put most of this blog down on Sunday.  It has been a crazy few days.  I'll finally post this.  Happy Pioneer day everyone! Shelli!  Eat some corn on the cob for me at Joan's party and tell everyone that we just had dinner with the cravens and that we love all the fetzers so much ok?  Love you family and friends!!!  Have a beautiful day wherever you are! Love, the mcconkies


  1. Laurel,

    Last night I tucked Sam in bed and we read your blog and looked through pictures. I love that you do this. Tell Ev and Wilson that I follow them on Instagram and love seeing stuff they do each day. Tell Ev thanks for sweet note. Look for a package from us. Sam and V made some sweet notes. Listened to your July 24 talk on the MT. You are doing such great things. We now pray for those missionaries to find the elect! Love you!!! Kelly

  2. Good thing on the "transfer board" Evie is the blue card and Wilson is the red card. That could have turned out much worse. Bry.