Christmas Tag

I wasn't tagged, but I read this on Hilary's blog, "My Own Little Circus" and thought it would be fun and easy--it was!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bag? I love wrapping paper and ribbons, but when time is short-the bag will have to do.

2. When do you put the tree up? Ryan has a birthday in early December, so we usually wait until after that and begin Christmas decorations..so usually the 8th or 9th. We put it up on the 14th this year.

3. When do you take the tree down? Since we are late putting it up, we have waited until January 5th or 6th. Logan has a birthday soon after that, so we try and get decorations put away before his celebrations.

4. Eggnog?? Love, love, love it. The hips? Not so much.

5. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember getting a Tender Love doll that I loved ( I am dating myself!), a Barbie bedroom fold-out carry box and a stereo with cassette player (hehe) in seventh grade.

6. Hardest person to buy for?? Parents. We have been getting them regional foods and gifts because they are quite happy with what they have at the moment.

7. Easiest person to buy for? Lauren. She has a great list----And an alternative list.

8. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes-three of them. I have one that my mom gave me from my childhood, a Little Pe@ple one, and a handmade one from a Polish Christian Mission. I love them.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? I have honestly been so irresponsible in this department the past few years. I used the "Baby due" and "moving excuse"in past years. This year I am going for the "trying to update addresses" and "procrastination" excuse. I will get them out-it is a matter of when. I love getting pictures and updates from others though.

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Hmmm.. I remember an itchy nightshirt from my Mema when I was little.

11. Favorite Christmas movie? The Holiday, National Lampoon Christmas (is that the name?), Love Actually.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I like to get things here and there throughout the year, but the bulk of it is done October through December.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Hmmm...don't remember. If I did, hopefully someone didn't notice it?!?

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? We make decorated sugar cookies every year. I also loove chocolate covered pretzels.

15. Lights on the tree? Yes. Lots and lots of white ones-no twinkling allowed. :)

16. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night (Celene Dion-oh my...brings tears to my eyes every time), Do You Hear What I Hear, What Child is This, Carol of the Bells, Little Drummer Boy (love the movie).

17. Least favorite Christmas song? A Wonderful Christmas Time, the George Michael one that I hear every year.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? No family here=no traveling. I'm sure we will have lots of catching up to do in several years. Next year we really want to go somewhere and have a simple holiday. Switzerland or Garmisch, Germany come to mind as choices.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Always.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A homemade angel doll with ribons cascading from her feet down the tree.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We have been known to open pajamas on Christmas Eve before church, but I haven't bought any this year!?! Hmmm....

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The days are short and so is my patience. I want this to be a special time for my kids. I have fond memories of this season, and want the same for them.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I have British history theme--Henry VIII, his wives, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Scottish crown and Prince Albert and Victoria ornaments intermingled with other traditional ornaments. The past two years we had the "pretty tree" with snowflakes, pearl ornaments, red jewel garland....but this year I let the kids add some more of their ornaments that we have collected over the years. I think I want two trees every year-one pretty and one sentimental/kid friendly.

24. Favorite Christmas dinner? Spiral ham with Shannon's mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots and baked bread. Some kind of apple cobbler is a bonus.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A drama free, kids-listening, calm and loving day/evening.

I'm back!

After a very long, unscheduled blog break....I am working on several posts. It's amazing how the last eighteen days have flown by! I have been checking blogs, leaving some comments and updating Faceb@@k, but the thought of a long post has been daunting.

Yikes! I have ideas swimming in my head and photos hanging out on the flash drive. Besides the normal day-to-day mundane tasks of laundry, school runs, after school activities, cleaning, blah, blah---here are some of the things we have been doing:

  • celebrating two birthdays and planning another in a few weeks!
  • celebrating St. Nicholas Day
  • having pictures with Santa Claus
  • attending the annual squadron Holiday party
  • ice skating, lasagna and sleepover with friends
  • buying and trimming the tree
  • Christmas markets
  • a visit from a friend in the UK with their sweet baby
  • school Christmas music production
Here are some things that we/I am still working on:
  • holiday/Christmas cards
  • wrapping gifts
  • mailing boxes of gifts
  • finishing Logan's stocking
  • I am sure there are other things that I am completely blocking out!
Be back soon! Promise.


Dear Mr. Weatherman

Dear Mr. Weatherman,

It is a busy time of year for you, I know. I need you to understand something. I am a Texas girl, you see. I am used to snow falling and lasting maybe......five hours......not two weeks!!! You have to understand that we live on a very steep and slippery hill. I watch the experienced German drivers sliding around on the hill, and I know better to let my Texas icy weather driving skills get the better of me. I really do not enjoy sliding up and down hills with a car full of kids squealing. Honestly.

And speaking of kids, my children must despise any sort of winter gear because it takes forever to get gloves, hats, coats and scarves assembled in the morning. This is just time that we don't have to spare, you see. All of the aforementioned gear is then taken off immediately as the car starts to move, and relocated and donned again when we reach our destination. Extra time...are you seeing the trend here?? These crazy kids actually toss gloves and hats everywhere so that we often are missing items mid-journey. These items are supposed to last us all winter, and we already are missing quite a few things. It takes time to locate these things-- time we don't have. So, mis-matched gloves it is.

Speaking of time, I just don't have those extra ten minutes before seven a.m. to de-ice the car. Can we limit the ice, rain and fog a bit? Come'on...it's just December 1st. Ya Know??? Give us a break.

We decided to walk to the bus stop this morning, but our experienced German bus driver was running a tad bit early. Obviously our slipping down the hill did not increase our speed...so we missed the bus. That is not a great way to start the week, I tell you.

I am asking that you consider toning the weather down just a little and letting us ease into this winter state-of-mind. I certainly could use the time to gain better patience, driving skills and just readjust my schedule a bit so we can make it on time, safely.

No need to respond, just help out if you would.

A Busy Household


Early blessings

Yesterday we celebrated Ashlyn's eleventh birthday. She had a great day at school with a lunchtime chorus of "Happy Birthday" and ended the day with takeaway Chinese and doughnuts. She is continuing the celebrations today by bringing cupcakes to her youth group after school.

I was thinking about the day that I became a mom for the first time, eleven years ago. I had been on bed rest for exactly a week with unexpected complications when my water broke. Allen, who had been up all night finishing his thesis, was not excited about having to come home from work and take me to the hospital. He just wanted sleep!

After determining that my directionally challenged girl was breech, a C-section was scheduled. Several hours later I was resting in the recovery room when Allen brought my newly bundled baby girl to me. He told me, "I called my grandma and told her the name was Ashlyn. I hope that's okay". What matters???? I was somebody's mom. It was overwhelming. I looked at this new life and just could not believe that I had been chosen to care for her. I love those first hours as you gaze at a new baby straight from Heaven.

My friend Melody later told me that she had seen Allen in the nursery with Ashlyn as the nurse bathed and examined her. She said that she wished that she had her camera because the look of pride on his face was priceless. I am so glad that I have that memory. I couldn't be there to see all of those firsts because I was medicated, but I can imagine it. A good memory that I have of the surgery is being completely toasty warm. Strange memory, but it was a feeling that even your inner core was warm and comfortable. Karma? Medication? Warm blankets? I don't know, but it was nice.

Many of my memories of the time immediately following her birth are fuzzy since I must have had a good dose of drugs, but I do remember that. I also remember seeing the first pictures of me holding Ashlyn. I love looking at them, but I also wonder why nobody removed the temperature strip on my forehead (from surgery). I didn't even know it was there, but I'm sure others saw it. I guess we just get caught up in the moment!

We brought Ashlyn home from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving that year. It was entirely unexpected! She was due exactly two weeks before Christmas, so I was pretty much planning a Christmas baby. Early blessings it was. We were, as you can guess, not ready for Thanksgiving that year. My family drove up from three cities to see us and H.E@.B. was a big help with the trimmings!


Big news!

Well, on the scale of big news issues in other households, this might not be so big. But in our household, this is great news!

Ta-da! I.have.found.a.babysitter.

Yes. After living here for 14 months and exploring various avenues of teenagers, I have finally found one. The best part is that she is no longer a teenager. Yep. A true adult! She is one of the younger teachers at Ryan's school who was interested in watching the kids when I asked at the school.

She came over yesterday evening to meet the kids and to find out more about each others' families. She is German, but she knows English fairly well (hey, I can understand her). She received her education with children and was really great with the kids. This also makes me worry less if something were to happen while we were away. We would have a certified teacher who knows the area/language and can get the appropriate help.

This gives us such options-dinner, movies, holiday parties-yay!

I often remind my husband that moving is very traumatic for women because we have to find new:

  • hairdressers
  • gynecologists (honestly, right?)
  • babysitters

These are very important people in women's lives (at least this one), and we can't get just anybody to do the job. I hate, hate, hate leaving my old ones and asking around until you find someone that you can trust. By then, it's time to move again!!!

Not having family around and moving frequently means that you need to make adjustments and find means to help your family. For us, living further away from the primary military (and thus english-speaking) community has limited us in finding childcare. We just don't want to drive the children to places and create a late night. We have discovered that late nights=chaotic mornings. Blech.

I do have a cousin serving in the Air Force who lives about 30-40 minutes away, but his deployment and the distance have limited that option of asking family to help. I know he and his wife would be more than willing to help though!

The only down side is that our new sitter mentioned that she lives at home currently, but plans to move to Kaiserslautern at some time. She will continue to work in our town though. I am just hoping that the long commute doesn't take her away from us.

Now, with my husband being away the past few weeks, I need some "Me Time". Now I can go to a girls' event with some friends this weekend. It is much deserved.


My new mantra

" She believed she could
So she did. "

(In the lateness of the evening, I didn't give credit where it is due. I saw this on a Hallmark item recently. A coaster maybe? Love it! )


Monsters and their spooky castle- a sneak peek

I am finally able to access them! Whoo hoo!

It's late, so I will just post a few of our pictures of Frankenstein Castle in Darmstadt (ummm...yeah, from October) and provide details later!

Keep in mind that this was "Family Day" and kids were encouraged to come. I seriously wonder how scary things are on Halloween night!! These guys looked pretty real....and tall....and eerie.

The pin face and white-face monster were really creepy. The kids didn't seem to mind them very much though. Is that a good or bad thing?

This picture is just because.

Logan and I waited a while while the kids tried out the "burning stake".


It's the little things

It's been a chaotic weekend, and it's only Saturday afternoon. Today has been a flurry of laundry, sorting, whining, kids running, baths, drama because the planned sleepover friend now cannot come tonight, toys scattered, gloomy weather, headache, Wii supplies everywhere, torn books, what are we having for dinner worries.

In the midst of all of this I wiped my baby's hands and face after he had yogurt. I usually just do the quick scrub and wipe around the face without really noticing. Today I really looked. Looked at his big blue eyes, the long eyelashes, the smooth skin, the smile looking back at me.

I'm glad that I did. I really needed that.


St. Martin's Day or Martinstag

St. Martin is a cherished man who was a Roman soldier in the 4th century who later became a monk and led a simple life. He cut his cloak in half to provide a beggar with warmth during a snowstorm. In Germany, on the eve or on November 11th, children celebrate this man's generosity by making paper lanterns and parading through the streets singing songs about him. It is implied that the children are also singing for treats, similar to a Halloween tradition.

Last night we met at Ryan's school and watched a brief presentation by the school children (in German, of course) on St. Martin. The school children had made these amazing brightly colored lanterns-suns, owls, penguins, multi-colored. They were beautiful!

We then lit our paper lanterns with these little electric light wands and followed the parade through the town. Every so often the band that accompanied us would stop and play a song. It was amazing how the townspeople all gathered around and watched-taking pictures and singing along. Watching others seems to be a popular pastime here. I like that the pace of life is slower here.

We returned to the school and stood around the bonfire and ate pretzels and bratwurst. They were also serving hot Gluwein and a "kinderpunch" (a warm , fruity drink).

St. Martin's day is also associated with goose (ugh-not a fan) and the beginning of the fasching season. Let the fasching begin!

(Of course, I cannot get our pictures to upload. I will post them when possible. I found some other online images-you get the idea).

The business of being organized

Not that I am anywhere near this state of mind, but is there such a thing as being too organized? I think there are definitely so many tools that one can use to help get organized, that you can easily get overwhelmed. Consider just one aspect of organization: calendars.

I am guilty of having too many calendars! I have a large "More Time Moms" one in the kitchen that all of the kids can look at to see what is going on in our household for the day/week/month. Nicholas especially likes to use this one. He often tells me the dates and what is going on :).

I also have a purse "Whomi" calendar where I write down things while I am out and about, or appointments as I make them outside the home. I like this one because it saves me having to have papers with this information collecting in my purse.

Here is where it gets crazy, I also have a desk calendar that I write most of my plans, birthdays, addresses, weekly lists, etc. Nobody really references this but me. I love this one because I usually get a ME one. I think I want to get a fun one like Paris or London themed one for 2009. I just can't give this one up.

And last but not least, I have an online calendar with Cozi. This is a great site! You are able to post pictures, an online journal, make lists, use the color-coded calendar, etc. I can't give this one up either. I just like looking at what is going on in this easy to read calendar. The colored dots are simple to see that daughter #1 has things planned most days, every week. Sigh.

The obvious problem is making sure that what is written on one calendar--is written on the others. Double scheduling or forgotten events have happened! This is where a personal secretary would be great for every family. Keep up with appointments---return correspondence---file necessary paperwork. I digress.

I opened my pantry, and what do I see?? Two computer printed calendars that I occasionally list household chores and menu plans. This is so I can see when I needed to change sheets, wash windows, washed pillow covers, etc. I can also plan ahead sometimes and have items for a particular meal ready, if it's on the calendar, that is.

Too much?!? Stop me now.

As I am looking ahead for Christmas gifts, I am considering getting Ashlyn, Lauren and maybe Nicholas a planner/calendar. Am I creating planning monsters? Ashlyn and Lauren have had planners before, but they are not dedicated users of them. Not yet. We'll see when I am finished with them. Bwahahahah.


I miss these guys

These are two cute little guys that used to reside in my house. These pictures were taken in February 2007, when Ryan was barely two and Logan was five weeks.

Ryan was such a sweet little person. He has a great smile and knows how to use it to his advantage. "Yes, I know I have just unrolled the whole roll of toilet paper.....but I am so cute. Here, let me hug you and remind you!". That was then.

Since school started we have earlier mornings, and he is such a grump. He takes a daily nap and we try to get him to bed early, but he is still an unpleasant little person. There is whining when he didn't want that cereal...or bowl...or somebody gave him a funny look...or called him that. Eeeek!

Logan. What can I say? He was peacefully sleeping in the five week picture. The boy does not stop until his head hits the bed for nap or bedtime. I love this age with the hugs, the sweet words and phrases, cute expressions, the new abilities to make things work....but I live for those moments when he is contained in his bed and not moving.

I miss these guys. I think I didn't relish the time when they were sweet and sleeping. I guess I was busy.....with life. I was making other plans. Or whatever.

I know many moms that feel this way. Maybe that is what being a grandparent is all about-taking the time to relish and embrace the true childhood.

**I am still working on posting our monster castle experience, Halloween and anything else of picture importance. I have uploaded them, but cannot figure out the storage system that my husband has set up. Bear with me until my computer nerd can remind me how to find the picture files again. Sheesh.


My mantra

"Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week"

~Spanish proverb

That's just fine, because I plan on putting my feet up this weekend!


The paper solution

Squash a kindergartner...save a tree!

I'm not really advocating to harm a little person.
However, this is the amount of papers that my own kindergartner brought home in one day. And there are millions more like him-bringing home a tree a day of worksheets, art, etc. Okay, it wasn't exactly a tree, but I did count eleven papers. And that doesn't count the packet of homework sheets that arrived in his folder as well!

I love seeing his work, but I just wonder-how much is too much?
I took this next picture to exemplify kindergartner logic. It seems that he was missing a sticker from the teacher for some particular reason, so he came up with his own solution. He added his own pumpkin sticker.
Never mind that it obviously doesn't match the teacher's stickers.

**I did notice a few days later that the sticker had been removed at school. Hehe.

***Side note-I don't know what's going on with the square haircut look. We had it cute short so that we could give it that "rustled" look, but apparently if you don't do that daily you get the "square" look. Ugh.


This is what I am lovin' today

I loved the fact that I could get some quick shopping done at the local German supermarket (on a much smaller scale) and have it home and unpacked by 8:15 a.m. You see, if I waited to go to the commissary on base, I would have to wait until it opens a few hours later. Then you factor in the 30 minute drive each way...you get the picture.

I picked up some washing detergent, apples, yogurt, brotchen (rolls), cafe au lait, butter and spatzle. I bagged it quickly (you have to bag your own stuff with your own bag--very quickly or you get "the look") and Logan and I were done. He was happy that the lady at the bakery gave him a brezel (pretzel). Maybe she felt sorry for him because he was still in his jammies. I just can't manage to get six people up, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:05, so something had to give.

I love the fact that I had the patience and finally found my debit card. It has been missing for five days, but I have checked my account online frequently and notified my bank. Cancelling the card would have meant filling out a new form, faxing it, waiting for a new card, blah, blah. Apparently it was hiding out with my gas ration folder. I guess that is the last place I used it.

I love the fact that tomorrow will be the beginning of the end of the election speculation. A lot of big decisions are being made today, and I trust that the person chosen will lead our nation to the best of their ability. This day doesn't have as much meaning for me as far as the true "voting" feeling though. It just doesn't have that same effect on you when you fill in the papers and put it in the postbox.

I am also ecstatic that I found this cool gadget that will allow me to have unlimited phone minutes with my family for free (okay-there is an annual very low fee, but no biggie!). Friends can also call me at a US number. No more mis-dialed numbers and panic when a foreign-speaking person answers. I shudder when I think of the money spent on long distance (and postage) these past nine years.



Obviously, we have made the trek to Legoland in the past. Here are the girls in front of Legoland Windsor in 2001.

Ashlyn got her first taste of speed-and a drivers license!
Fast-forward to 2008-adding three more kids. This is Logan at the beginning of the day. I took this picture because I also have one of the stroller, and all of it's effects at the end of the trip. There is quite a difference! I have just a few pictures to post because, well, the computer is being stingy with sharing pictures from the folder at the moment.
Ashlyn and Ryan decided to try the pulley ride. Unsuspecting Ashlyn soon learned that Ryan was not about to pull his own weight! Smart Boy.

This time we saw many beautiful sights in Germany made of thousands of legos. We made mental notes of fabulous places to visit. Here is Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. It is quite a sight. We have been to visit it twice, and I suspect that we will see it again when we have guests visit.
What would a trip Europe be without posing with the Beckhams? Oh wait, they are in the US now, right?!?I added this picture because we were in this HUGE park with so many things to see, and Logan was standing in the middle of the walkway, playing with a leaf...and eventually became inteterested in the drain. I'm not sure that I will ever understand the mind of a male. I will try and post as the computer allows. I have several other posts, but I am getting a message stating that it could not make contact with Blogger-saving and publishing may fail". This has got to be a conspiracy.


Oh bother!

Sorry about the lack of posting...or pictures!! I have tried, honestly! Our router keeps disconnecting me from the main computer! I type something and click to review...offline. *Sigh*.

I was able to upload a few pictures, but now the folder is unavailable.....argh! Hopefully it will behave itself.....(insert stomping and fist waving). I just need the "computer guy" (i.e. husband) to have a few hours to fix it, but activities and daily life keep interfering.


Six Seis Sechs Seven Siete Sieben Sept

I was tagged by Anne at "Anne's Blog" do a "Six" Meme, and by Hilary at "My Own Little Circus" to do a "Seven" meme. Ever the multi-tasker, I am combining these. Nah-nah-nah-na-nan-nah!

Here are the rules of the meme:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on the blog.

3. Write six (or seven)random things about yourself.

4. Tag six (or seven)people at the end of your post.

5. Let each person know they have been tagged

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

7. Uh-oh. Make up your own rule.

  1. I cannot, most days, leave the house a mess (or the kitchen at night before I go to bed). This generally results in late nights and being late, which I don't enjoy. My husband is always questioning, "Why are you picking up toys or flufffing pillows before we leave? Who's going to see it?". Ugh.
  2. I am quite a germ-a-phobe. I believe that this stems from working in hospitals and watching MRSA work its way down the hall. That and watching so many people walk of of restrooms without washing the hands! Ugh. My kids wash their hands immediately upon returning home because I know school is a germ playground-that and the bus that brings them home.
  3. I have traveled in fourteen countries: Belgium, Scotland, England, Crete, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg , Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Mexico, and Wales. We are planning a trip to the Netherlands in the spring, and hopefully the Czech Republic and Italy (again) before we leave. No wonder I feel so out of place! I have no home :(.
  4. I have a love for magazines! I have a hard time parting with them. It seems that I think I will have time to pull out useful recipes, decorating ideas, articles, etc. My favorites are Real Simple, Country Living, Southern Living, Oprah, Martha Stewart ( wink, wink Mamaneena) and Nick Jr. (great kid party ideas, crafts and recipes).
  5. When I was a child we had animals as pets-doves, rabbits, parakeets, dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, lizards (my brother), turtles (again-my brother)......but I refuse to let my kids get a pet. I know they are fun and that they teach important lessons, but I just can't convince myself that I will have the time and patience for another thing to care for....
  6. I have never baked a turkey. Shameful! I know. I have always been blessed to have friends or a husband who take on this monumental task. Maybe it's something about touching the raw bird.....
  7. I have a pet peeve of almost used-up items....almost empty tubes of toothpaste, one piece of bread in the bag, the sliver of soap, only bubbles left in the shampoo bottle, one candy in the dish, one storage bag left....use it up already!! :D

There you have it-random things from the top o'my head. These are late, but at least I followed through! I am not tagging anyone-play along if you wish or leave a random comment about you or your day.


Great Giveaways!

I am not the "giver-awayer", but Allison at "Life in Germany" has found some fancy, true-to-life, German Christmas decorations that she is Giving away!! So, head over there and have a look!

Just guess

Guess where we are going this weekend?
Clues: it is not too far away; it is a very Halloween-ish place; monsters run amuck here!
Leave a comment and de-lurk! You know that you want to!?! Besides, I am interested in the variety of ideas. We just might think it is a great idea!



We found a great park with tons of leaves! I will post more later. This is the fifth time I have uploaded and lost them. Oh! If you are on our Christmas card list...don't look too closely. You just might see them again :D



This past week has been a blur of activity. Besides the normal school and after school activities, we have had a day off (Colombus Day) to recover from the Legoland weekend adventure. I was part of a group hosting a baby shower for a very deserving mother expecting her fifth baby. We had a great morning of fantastic food, interesting chat, ahhhing over baby clothing, and fun friends. Before we knew it we had to rush off to collect children, have sports photographs and attend the Fall Festival at the school.

Ashlyn had a game (cheering) on Saturday, and then the rest of the weekend was spent cleaning out our third floor storage room. We have been putting it off since we moved in, and the situation was deteriorating, quickly. Nothing is so humbling as watching every single item that you own being crammed into crates (for an overseas move), and then now getting rid of so many items in the storage room that you are wondering why you have moved, stored, and kept these items as long as you have!!! There are children's clothes galore. Now that it has been cleared out --the storage room looks so much better! You can actually walk in! I now need to sort out the clothing for selling, donating, tossing, etc. Blech.

Today is catch up day...laundry, blogging, e-mails, housework. Logan is happily playing with blocks and I am finishing an episode of Lost in Austen. I also planned on finishing another post with some pictures and putting up Legoland pictures, but have a roadblock. Since installing a new router for the upstairs computer, the stored pictures are unaccessible. Aaccckk! That will have to wait, I guess.


Overheard during the car trip

It took us quite a while to get to Legoland. We encountered quite a bit of constructiuon in multiple areas along the autobahn, but thankfully did not have the six kilometer (at least) staus (traffic jam) that we viewed on the opposite side of the motorway.

During that time we made multiple bathroom stops, passed out goldfish crackers, small packets of Haribo gummy bears, and water.

Lauren soon noticed that Nick had saved over her Imagine Teacher DS game.
Lauren : "Nick! I can't believe that you did that! I am going to write in my journal that you are a bad boy!"
Nicholas: "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" (As if this has some bearing on his future).

Ryan "Dad, it's lunchtime and we haven't had lunch yet! All we have had is goldfish and water". We are such mean, uncaring parents, aren't we? How dare we starve our kids as we take them on a Legoland adventure, when we would love to take a trip to a warm, sandy beach....sans offspring?

Nick, after asking every two minutes, "How many minutes until we get there?"......and being told about two hours......replies, "I think I am going to say it will be ten minutes since I like that number better".

Yeah, if it only worked that way!

We are home, unpacked, and ready to begin the work/school week. We will post pictures soon!


Holiday plans

I hope that everyone is enjoying their long weekend and that you have fun no matter if your plans include a fun location or just staying at home. One friend of ours even had a sweet baby boy over the weekend!
While some we know are visiting places like thisor this ........
We can be found here. I guess that comes with the territory when you have kids. You have to visit these places every so often and spend lots of euros on foam swords, low nutrition meals, bags of sweets and pictures!


Boy Heaven

I got a glimpse of boy heaven this week. We ventured out on a gray day to a pumpkin patch near Landstuhl with our MOPS group. I was as prepared as I could be-wellies, those cool matschhose for Logan, coats, my big IKEA bag to carry pumpkins and muddy gear, euros, umbrellas, snacks and camera.

We were immediately greeted by the farm cows. They wanted to know if we had snacks-and could we share. We decided that the small bag of pretzels would not last long, so we declined and went straight for the patch. Keep in mind that it has been raining quite a bit recently. The pumpkin patch was ooey gooey with fresh, cold mud. The boys immediately began picking up all of the pumpkins and trying to stack them. It was a good thing that Logan was covered from shoulder to toes in rain gear since he spent much of the time laying on his back like a turtle with his boots tangled in the vine saying "tuck! tuck!" ("stuck" in 20 month-old language).

After shelling out ten euros for five semi-small pumpkins, and putting our goods back in the van, the group

loaded onto a trailer that was being pulled by a tractor. How cool is that for boys? We stood in the back (30+ people) and made the 400 meter trip (or so) to the farm. Logan screamed loudly at first, but was happy to try and open the gate as we drove. I didn't take a picture of the tractor since I was afraid it would leave us if I took too long.

At the farm we were able to check out the cool tractors, the farm dogs, the cows in the barn, the chickens, the pigs, the geese and more mud. Oh, and lots of animal poo. Good times. Logan was not afraid at all. He explored all venues, whether he was invited or not. Ryan was more hesitant, but when he finally touched the cow, he was not amused. "Mom! it snotted on me!". Sure enough-----a big thick string-y thing.

Surprisingly, I had no wipes, so we made do with a piece of hay and went on. Secretly, I was thinking "Eww, eww, eww", but I didn't want him to dwell on it.

This is where the photo experience ends. Of course, as with any photo op, the camera batteries died.

We rode the bumpy trailer back after a while and tried to de-mud before getting in the van. Daddy just cleaned the whole car, so I didn't want to leave too much evidence.

We bought lunch and went home for a nap. What better way for boys to enjoy the morning? Outside with mud, animals and gooey stuff. Mommy didn't even freak out with the grubbiness of it all.

I put the pumpkins out on the front step. I still haven't washed the mud off of them. Since we don't have a hose outside, I am hoping that future rain will do the job. If not, they will remain "all natural" until the BCD (BIG carving day).


Overheard at our house

A conversation took place in the basement where my husband was painting Ashlyn's furniture. Since he was able to hear the commotion (kids yelling, me yelling at the kids, kids arguing and whining, etc.) above him. I am not quite sure why he asked-

Husband-"Is everything o.k. up there?"

Me- "No, the kids are so loud and crazy this afternoon. I am never giving Nick a Cinnabon again if he is going to act crazy like this."

(The box of Cinnabons were calling my name last week. We had them for breakfast. They were so yummy! We eat them maybe once a year, and now I know why.... Evil Cinnabons).

Husband- "Do you ever feel like you are in over your head?"

Me- "Um, yes-daily." (insert *sigh* and aggravated facial expression here)

Husband- "Well, at least we know they will move out some day, but that will be a long time from now".

Me -"Yeeeeaaah, okay....thanks for the encouraging words".


Autumn Adventures

Here are some fun things that we have enjoyed this season:

Watching the fog cover the hills. Isn't that beautiful!?!
Participating in the Breast Cancer 5K Walk! Cheerleading!!!
Choosing the perfect pumpkin
Visiting a local pumpkin patch
Playing at the farm Getting to know nature

Picking apples in your back garden
Deciding which apples are okay to eatEnjoying the outdoors!
Meeting my new friend! :)
Decorating the house for autumn. Here is my German bread bowl that I found at the bazaar for my birthday! I love the stuffed pumpkins also-they have the best cinnamon scent.
Enjoying the living room decor
Here is the entryway table. Can you see the sled that I found at the bazaar? It is actually one from a German kindergarten (Southeast area). Supposedly the children can actually use this when it snows!

Sampling the sweets and lebkuchen hearts at the Herbstmarkt (fall fair)
Having fun on the rides at the fall fair
Playing in the town fountains before they are turned off for winter!
Going back to school (or starting school)! !!

Begging to ride this huge ride at the herbstmarkt. Uh, no.