Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our new home

We bought our first house back in August! It is an older home, built in 1925, but it is in great shape and has had a lot of work done to it. The Lord definitely blessed us with a nice house we could afford in a good area.
Since getting the house, I worked with my father-in-law, Charlie, and his buddy John to do some updates on the house. We pulled out a drop ceiling and put up a real ceiling, torn down wallpaper and painted, and have installed a dishwasher. Several people have come by along the way to help with painting and moving stuff in, which is a huge blessing. So it has been busy ever since, and we're still not finished. We have some painting to finish, a ceiling fan to install, wanescating to install in the dining room and crown molding in the master bedroom. It is a work in progress, but we are living in it now and it is really starting to feel like home. Once we get all of the boxes unpacked we will put up some more pics of the house, but for now you can at least see what it looks like from the outside.
Our neighbors are great as well, which is a huge relief. We can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us here and what the adventures will look like. Cooper and Ally seem to be enjoying their first home as well.

More of Cooper

Here's a collage of Cooper over these last 5 months. It's hard to believe that he's already that old, and yet it seems like he's been around forever at this point. We can't imagine life without him.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cooper Luka's' Taylor

This past week has been a very crazy week. Last weekend we found out that we are going back to Marshall University in the Fall and then on Monday Cindy was admitted to the hospital to await Cooper's birth.
It was a very long process for Cindy. She began contractions at 10:00 am on Tuesday but didn't have Cooper until Wednesday. I rode the 9:17 bus back to our apartment that night and was talking with family when Cindy sent a message saying that I needed to come back because they were moving her to the delivery room! I called Karla, a mother of 4 boys who was our translator for the delivery, and she said she could pick me up in about an hour to go back to the hospital.
We arrived to find Cindy pacing around some, ready for Cooper to come on out, but the doctor said it was still going to be a while so we should get some rest. So I slept about 3 hours on the tile floor of the delivery room next door, Karla slept on an extra bed in there, Cindy napped on the delivery table, and even the midwife napped in her desk chair, so we all got some sleep!
Wednesday morning is a blur of helping Cindy through contractions and different doctors coming to check on Cindy. Cindy took four showers throughout the night and morning and had several doses added to her epidural, which sadly wore off as the delivery actually began.
Cooper finally decided it was time to come out at 10:45 that morning amidst a flurry Cindy pushing, a doctor helping push on her belly to push him out and the aid of the vacuum extractor. Cooper weighed 3.9 Kilo (about 8 1/2 lbs) and was 51 cm (20 inches) long. He had gotten a little stuck, but the doctors did a great job getting him out. And now everybody is home after a four day stint in the hospital.
Cooper and Cindy joyfully returned home on Easter Sunday and enjoyed a great Easter lunch at Karla's house. Now comes the fun part of seeing what life actually looks like with a baby!

Isn't he handsome?

We are very grateful that God brought Cindy and Cooper through the delivery safely. We are excited to see where God takes us as a family over these next 20 years!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reunited and it felt so good!!! by Cindy

For those of you who were wondering (and I am sure many of you were!), we were reunited with our Ally while were in the US. She was very happy to see us and she got a little upset when we started packing again so soon. She slept in bed with us every night we were at my parents' house. We were sad to leave her again, but it was good to see that she is doing fine and not forgetting us. She is getting spoiled rotten at my parents' house and so she is not suffering while we have to be seperated!

Here are a few pics from our trip to Spain:
First, I made friends with a nice little stray spanish dog. I lured him over with food and then he let me pet him for a while!
Second, This is most of the people at our conference watching the Presidential Inauguration. Since we were all together when it was being broadcast, we decided to watch it.
After that is a picture of our hotel from the street.
Next is Mikey standing on the balcony off our room. We slept with the door open every night so we could hear the sea. It was really relaxing.
Last is a picture of the walking path and beach near our hotel. Nerja was ridiculously beautiful and I don't really think pictures can capture it fully.

Here are a few pictures from our student winter conferece. The top one is a picture of some of the brand new Slovak euro coins. The currency here changed on Jan. 1st from Slovak Crowns to the Euro. So, when we got off our bus at a gas station on the way home from our conference, we were paying in crowns, but getting change back in euros! It was wierd but exciting.
Next is a picture of Stephanie, Justin, and I playing games with some students from Bratislava and Presov. It was a trivia game like Trivial Pursuit, but it was all in Slovak! They helped us translate if we needed it!
Third is a picture of people skating on the frozen lake by our hostel.
Last is a picture of a group of students and staff that went on a hike during our free day at the conference. Mikey went with them, but I was with a group of girls having hot chocolate at a nearby hotel!

The Taylors Travel the World....By Cindy

January was a very busy month for us. Starting right after Christmas, actually, we began what seemed like an entire month of travelling! First, we had a conference for students called Zimna Salenica (Winter Conference). Several of the staff members from Bratislava spoke to the students about the Gospel and other aspects of the Christian life. We also had some training seminars, praise and worship, plus free time for fellowship. There were students from Kosice, Presov, and Bratislava. We were together from December 28th until the New Year. We were at a hostel in a village in central Slovakia. Slovaks celebrate New Year's with fireworks, so one of our team members Aaron set up a small fireworks display. The entire conference was a lot of fufn and while we were there I got the chance to share with the girls about some topics specific to women. It was the first time I have ever talked in front of a group using a translator! Mikey also got to share with all the students about spending time with God in His Word. Overall, the students really enjoyed our time at Zimna Salenica and so did we. There was a lake right by our hotel and it was completely frozen! People from the town were playing hockey on it and ice skating. We didn't have skates, but we went out and slid around on the ice for fun. None of the Americans on our team had every been on a lake that was frozen, we had only been ice skating at skating rinks in the US. One of the students had his iceskates with him and he let Mikey and some other guys try them out on the ice as well!

After we returned from our student winter conference, we were home in Kosice for about 5 days before leaving for another conference. This one was for all the Campus Crusade staff working in Slovakia. We spent time hearing from the director of Campus Crusade in this area of the world. His wife also shared with us about her experience of being on staff with Campus Crusade in Poland during communism. One of the Slovak staff in Bratislava, Mika, also had her father come and share with us about his experience of living as a Christian in SK under the rule of Communism. His story was heartbreaking and also showed the incredible courage that many Christians had in the former Soviet Union. He also shared with us the ways that he sees the effects of communism still affecting the people of Slovakia now and how we can be aware of that as we try to do ministry here.

We returned to Kosice for about 6 days after our staff conference before heading out again. This time we spent some time planning for the Spring semester and praying for God to work through us here. Mikey and I also went to my doctor during this break and we found out that we are expecting a boy! We were very excited and so were our families and friends when we shared the news with them. Then we headed out again. This time we went to Spain for a conference for STINTers (people who are serving overseas for one or two years with Campus Crusade for Christ). There were teams there from Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, and the NAMEstan area of the world. It was a very encouraging time for our team. We got to worship the Lord in English and to hear from people having similar experiences to our own this year. Although we love being here and feel called to serve the Lord in this way, it can be hard to spend so much time in another culture! This conference was in a town called Nerja right beside the Mediterranean Sea. Our room had a balcony that looked right out over the sea. Although the locals thought it was cold, it was in the 50' s and 60's the whole week! When we left Kosice it had been snowy and cold for weeks, so we thought this was a heat wave! Not to mention the fact that the sun stayed out until 6:30 or 7:00 at night instead of setting at 3:45 as it had been in SK! We really enjoyed our time in Nerja and we learned alot.

After Spain, it was back to the dark and cold again! We spent two days in Budapest, Hungary staying with friends and seeing the city. Mikey and I joined the staff of Campus Crusade with a girl who grew up in Budapest and still lives there now. Her name is Jodi and she spent a whole day showing us around Budapest. It was a lot of fun and we decided we need to go back again when it's warmer!

Then came the really crazy part of our world tour....we boarded a plane on January 27th and made a one week trip to the US for my brother's wedding! It was really fun to see so many family and friends while we were there, but the time change and the short trip was exhausting! We did get to see the incredible Steelers win the Super Bowl while we were home, which was great! Mikey's mom came up from TN to spend time with us as well and of course most of my extended family were in town for the wedding. While we were there we bought and got as presents alot of essential baby stuff to bring back with us! Of course we can get almost any baby thing we need here, but it is much easier to shop for that stuff when you can read the labels! We also registered for all kinds of other baby stuff we will need when we come back!

On February 4th, we finally made it back to Kosice for good! (Although our bags didn't make it for 3 more days!) We were exhausted but happy that we got to see so many people and places. The whole time we were gone, there were no classes at the universities here in SK. They take all of Jan. to study for and take exams from their first semester classes. So, it is actually just this week that classes are starting again! We are excited to see what God is going to do this semester as we try to help the ministry get ready to be run fully by Slovak staff!