Category Archives: Charlie

A Toddler’s Perspective on Playing Catch [Video]

In case you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be inside a toddler’s body, here ya go. We put a camera on Charlie’s head and played catch.


We learned that a simple game of ball-throwing involves a lot of falling down with both catching and throwing. And don’t worry, Charlie did not get hurt in the making of this video. Enjoy!

Papa’s House = America

IMG_3189Ever since we have been back in Zambia and increasingly in the past month or so, Charlie has been talking a lot about Papa (his Carlson grandpa) or Papa’s house. We hear such things as…

When struggling to put shoes on his big feet, he says, “Need Papa’s horn” – as in shoe horn.

Or we are building a train track and run out of pieces, and his American, not-used-to-any-lack self says, “Go grocery store Papa’s house buy choo choo track.”

Or if he doesn’t like what Derek or I have told him, he says, “Go Papa’s house,” as if Papa will take his side.

Out of the blue the other day, he said, “Decorations be broken Papa’s house…next week.”

We have told him that we will be going to Papa’s house, but not for a while. So, almost every night before bed, he says, “Go on airplane Papa’s house wake up.”

(As you can see, we’re still learning about prepositions and the many tenses of “be…” verbs). 🙂

This week, some teammates and friends of ours (Andy and Beth Rice) finished their time in Zambia and returned to the States. Most children here refer to older non-related adults as either auntie or uncle. But Charlie, on his own accord, decided that Uncle Andy was more of a “G-pa.”

G-pa and Auntie Beth stayed at our house for their last couple days, and then Derek took them to the airport. Charlie has been very curious since yesterday about where they are at each moment. He knows that they left in an airplane to go to America, so he tells us that “G-pa Auntie Beff go bye-bye in airplane Papa’s house.” Or when he heard a small propellor plane fly over our house yesterday and again today, he says, “Oh! There he is! There’s G-pa!”

But it occurred to me that, in Charlie’s mind and for all he is concerned, Papa’s house is America. And when people get on airplanes, they are going to Papa’s house.

Of course, all this coming and going of other people and us brings up TCK (Third Culture Kid) issues that we are learning to deal with. If you are ever interested in reading more, there was a fabulous 3-part blog that has been so helpful as we help Charlie work through the hello’s and goodbye’s and transition of life as we currently know it.

It is hard for an almost-3-year-old to understand these big concepts. But one thing is for sure. When we get on that airplane in a couple months, he will know that we are going to Papa’s house.

Charlie Boating

Here’s a little video of Charlie going on a boat for the first time a few weeks ago in Wisconsin. He kept saying after it was over, “so fun!”

Update and Back in Minneapolis

Map copyWell, unfortunately, we didn’t do a great job of blogging, as we had hoped to per our last blog, as we traveled 3,000 miles around the Midwest speaking during the last few weeks of September. Sorry about that.

So, to sum up our travels, Kristin and I have said over and over again that it went so much better than we expected! We expected to have a wonderful time with family, friends, and supporters as we traveled through MI, seeing family and friends in IN and KY, and then traveling up to WI to see more friends, supporters, and family in Monroe, Janesville, Appleton, Franksville, and Dunbar. And we did have such a wonderful and encouraging time with the people we visited and spoke with. Unfortunately, there were still so many more people we would have loved to see as we travel through the above places, but time and schedules just don’t always work out. (For those of you we weren’t able to see as we traveled through MI, IN, KY, and WI, please feel free to see us in MN, if you come this way sometime during the Fall and early Winter!)

But we didn’t expect our little 2 year and 4 month old little child to do as well as he did. Over the course of the three weeks, God was so gracious and answered our prayers as well as so many of you who have told us that you were praying especially for Charlie. Charlie really came out of his shell and was pretty extroverted (for Charlie) and warmed up and became comfortable with meeting new people, being left with new people, and sleeping in new places (6 in all)! So, that was a huge praise to God for us, and we come back to Minneapolis feeling encouraged and loved by the people we saw and so thankful to God for how this little guy who has traveled more than 10,000 miles through the air and on the ground over the last month has done and faired!!

Now, we wait with baited breath for the arrival of baby boy #2 sometime in the later part of October (October 27th is the due date). Please be praying for Kristin and the baby as they finish the final month of pregnancy and for Charlie as he adjusts to, Lord willing, being a big brother.

We will pretty much be around the Twin Cities till the middle of November. Please, if you are in this area, feel free to contact us, and we would love to see you!

We’re Back and On the Move! First Stop – Mt. Pleasant, MI

Well, we jumped the last big hurdle of our second term – boarding 3 airplanes, hanging out in 2 airports, and crossing 1 ocean (for a grand total of 31 hours in transit) – and made it safely back to the States last Wednesday. It’s been a whirlwind since then of getting readjusted to America, switching time zones, getting caught up on appointments, and beginning to catch up with family and friends. And we can officially say that ice cream, cheese curds, fresh berries, lattes, bagels and cream cheese, family time, church, American roads, customer-comes-first service, and more are all as good as we remembered. It’s actually a bit overwhelming!

As even as we still adjust to being back, we are packing up to begin our first speaking “tour.” Our first stop is Mt. Pleasant, MI at my (Kristin’s) home church, First Baptist. We would love to connect with as many of you as possible, even though our time there will be short. But, if you’re able, please stop by on Sunday, when we will be speaking about our ministry over the last 2 years during Sunday School (9:30-10:30am), and then Derek will be preaching during the 10:45am service.

From there, we head to Indianapolis to spend time with family. And the following Sunday (September 21), we will be at Faith Community Church in Janesville, WI.

That covers the first part of our “tour,” and we’ll keep you updated on the next part of our “tour” schedule as it gets closer. It will be great to connect with as many of you as possible. Feel free to email or Facebook us with any questions. And please continue to pray for us as we put Charlie is the car for endless hours and stay in many homes and introduce our introverted Charlie to so many new people over the next 2 1/2 weeks. Thank you for all your prayers for us so far – God has already answered them in abundant ways! Now, we look to Him to do still more.

Charlie Jumping (Video)

In case you’re hungry for a Charlie video, here’s a GoPro series of pictures of Charlie jumping from a couple of months ago on our back veranda.