Posted by Andrea at 07:25
Allen and I attended a nice marriage conference about 6 years ago in Cambridge. It was a very relaxing weekend without kids, and it was nice to focus on us for a while. There were mini conferences and speakers throughout the day and I attended one for women with children. One of the messages from that speaker has always stuck with me. The speaker talked about daily things to pray about for your child. Okay, some were the obvious ones, but the one thought that keeps reoccurring is this:
Pray for your child's future spouse.
If you think about it, the partner for your children are out there somewhere in the world right now, and their experiences are shaping them and hopefully enriching them as a person. I pray that they are loved, and will love my children the way they deserve to be loved; I pray that they are being educated and will be able to offer the gifts associated with education to my child some day; and I pray that they are learning to live in a fun family environment so that they can experience raising a family with my children.
That is, after all, why we endure parenthood....so we can enjoy being a grandparent someday (and being exempt from the diaper changes!).
We had lots of family time today with a T-ball game, shopping, eating lunch outside, a "Pirate and Princess Party" at the Youth Center, and playing Wii sports. I wish for many more days like this for my kids.
Posted by Andrea at 22:53
I am learning that when you ask for help from the kid crew......you can't always get the desired result........but I am thankful that it is done.
That is a little better. I think that we have way too many kid/plastic utensils. We even have the Halloween ghost and pumpkin forks and spoons in use! They are just too fun to toss in recycle. Who says that you can't celebrate every day?
Posted by Andrea at 10:40
Posted by Andrea at 11:06
Paper or plastic, mom?
Ryan knows how to recycle. He has been doing much of his 3 years, and I think that is fabulous! We have lived in neighborhoods where recycle bins were collected bi-weekly for paper/plastic items, "brown waste" (grass clippings, cardboard, food, etc). The UK also had recycle bins in various areas for glass items that weren't collected from your home. This is what our recycle bin looks like on a good day. On a busy day...it runneth over. Allen grumbles about having to empty it so often....hmmm....maybe similar to my feelings about laundry.
Germany has a great recycling system. They distribute these "mullsackes"-biodegradable, I assume, and items are placed in the appropriate color bag for collection bi-weekly. Bags are bright blue, yellow, red, and clear. You must sort everything---candy wrappers, foil, paper, milk cartons, cans, glass, plastic, etc. They are pretty strict, also. Our neighbors accidentally put milk cartons in the trash collection bags---visibly. Those workers wouldn't collect their bags, and they were left with trash for two more weeks.
Now, that is rough! Ugh. It was a summer month, too.
We recycle almost everything-except diapers, some food waste, and that plastic bag with mushy zucchini that had been pushed in the back of the veggie crisper drawer. Blah. I just couldn't empty it out. That had to exit my hands ---asap.
Twice a year there is a heavy trash collection around the town. I almost took pictures of it, but was fearful of looking silly taking pictures of piles of stuff---really, really old and ugly stuff. We are talking about funky flower furniture, t.v.'s, etc. It looked like the 60's and 70's threw up. Thankfully, that stuff was collected several weeks ago and the town looks normal again. Here was an interesting article that I found about recycling here.....and another.
In celebration of Earth Day, we played outside most of the day. Hello Mr. Sunshine! We missed you (even though you were out for only a few hours!).
Here are some of the things we do to help our earth:
- I purchased the Clorox Greenworks-so far, so good! I often use vinegar with baking soda also. I ashamedly admit---I am a bleach-lovin' girl. Sometimes, you just can't beat it. A more environmentally friendly one? I will keep my eyes open.
- With daylight hours extending, we don't turn on lights as often. We have the energy efficient bulbs in several lamps. For $11.00 a bulb, we have bought a few. Anyway, they are 220v., so we can't use them when we move.
- We use our canvas bags at the stores. We get less "looks" after the commissary introduced green re-usable canvas bags. We are used to this bag issue. German stores usually don't provide bags without a cost, so we take our own. You see many people with a basket in stores also.
- We do have six cloth diapers that we occasionally use. They are from Bum Genius, and they grow with your baby. This is the only set we have needed since you can adjust the snaps for growth. Why I waited until the 5th one to use them-I don't know. The products were available-just not as readily or were very expensive to replace them with every 6 lb. gain.
- If possible, we park and walk to various stores. and locations. The less I have to buckle little ones, the better. Europe is much easier in this aspect. Communities are smaller and geared more toward walking (i.e nice sidewalks!). People have to pay more for gas and automobile taxes here. For some, a car is not always an option.
- On the occasional times we go to McDonald's, I try and tell them we don't need the extra packaging for the kid's meal. Why do we want a huge box, that will just be folded down (and recycled here) anyway? The food obviously doesn't remain in the box and my kids rarely look at it or do the activities.
I'm glad that my children are learning this valuable lesson earlier than some. I think it's important to think of things other than yourself. Happy Day Earth!
Posted by Andrea at 23:58
I was feeling domestic today and made some cookies. I don't know if it was the gloomy weather or a need for chocolate chip cookies, but I made them.
It is not an easy task when you consider that I have to carry the heavy transformer into the kitchen (and back), just to use my hand mixer. I have had a Hamilton Beach black hand mixer since I graduated from graduate school, when I cooked....hmmm...what did I need a mixer for in those single days? Maybe the infrequent use has allowed it to last so long! While using it, I started dreaming of this:
Behold, the mother of all mixers-the KitchenAid. I'm not sure if this is the exact color or not; maybe not the exact model, but the idea is the same. I have really wanted one of these for quite a while. I have considered the girly pink and purple colors; maybe a red one to match my blender? Or maybe a classic black or white? Blue would always fit in my kitchen....
The tiring mixing of butter cream frosting batches-easier; making my friend Shannon's fabulous creamy mashed potatoes for holidays-so creamy; attempting one of Carol's homemade cake recipes-easy.
The time is not right, but some day it will sit on my counter top. Right now I would not risk letting it run on a transformer and cause possible damage, nor do I have the counter space (only two!), but a girl can dream! For now, it sits patiently in my "saved" cart, in several colors :).
By the way, I used the cookie recommendation from For Better Or For Worse. Congrats for finally finding a successful recipe!
Posted by Andrea at 22:36
It's time for some unfinished business. Rhea, from Word Tangle, has tagged me. She is a published author! She had a short story published in a magazine last year. Way to go! Check out her blog! Go on! She's a Texan, so you know she's friendly.
Admittedly, I have been a real slacker about this. Whenever I have visited her blog to copy exactly what I need to do, I get distracted and read, leave a comment and exit without copying the info. Oy. Must get my mind back on track.
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry.
Let's see....six random things about me:
1. I bought a bag of yogurt Haribo candies at the Hela (a Lowe's type store) and they were so fabulous, that I ate.the.whole.bag.in.one.day. They have a liquid yogurt filling and are yummy fruit flavors. I can't believe that I admitted that-oh, the shame;oh ,the sugar rush....
2. I have the neatest Widget on my computer desktop right now! It's the Big Ben Clock that chimes every 15 minutes. I love it! It reminds me of London, but it is also an annoying reminder of how quickly time passes...and how much time I have spent on the computer.
3. I am reading about 4 different books right now. I have one by the bed, one downstairs, one in the car, and one in a bag that goes places with me. I am not close to finishing any of them yet-and they are now overdue by three days-and I still have about three other library books waiting to be started. What was I thinking!?! My husband will be getting a "nasty gram" reminder at work to tell me to return them (the library account is issued in the military member's name).That is the worst. It's like they are telling on me. Blah.
4. I am so behind on my scrap booking that it is beyond help. I have the first year of Ashlyn's life completed. She is now ten. I haven't even started pages for the other four kids. Oops. There is more time when I retire, right?
5. I watched "Batman" several times this week. You know, the late 1960's t.v. show with Adam West. It has the "Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Batman "song and the "bam", "bow", "wham" graphics when they were hit. It takes me back to my early childhood days. I loved watching that or "Speed Racer" in the morning. I also like to watch "The Batman" if I see it. It's the updated animated series. I say that Nick turned it on, but it was actually me. He he.
6. Two of my oldest friends went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico last week for a "Girl's Weekend" at a resort. They are not technically "old", but I have known Gabrielle since 8th grade when we sat next to each other in Mr. R's science class. She asked to borrow my brush since she had broken hers in half and given it to a guy she liked in New York. It sound silly now. We laugh because we have known each other more than half our lives. The other one, Carol, I have known since 10th grade, when we worked at Joske's (now Dillard's). Good times. I love them so much and was sad that I couldn't join them for some R&R. I do think that I deserve a holiday like that! No kids, relax, sleep, shop, girl talk, relax...I digress. I just couldn't justify two trans-Atlantic trips in several months. We are also planning to visit this summer (soon!). I hope that we can plan another trip like that someday with them . Sniff. Who wouldn't want to be relaxing in this setting?
Now, I tag:
Hilary, Betsy, Christine, Bethany, Melissa (get your blog online girl!), Angie (get a blog, you know you want to!) ....and anyone else who wants to participate! Just leave me a comment, so I can check out your "unimportant" info! :)
Posted by Andrea at 23:27
Nicholas and Ashlyn-Windsor Castle (above and below), May 2006 . That palace guard wouldn't even crack a smile :). We tried, and tried.
We definitely have visited many castles and palaces during our years here. We have seen both castles still used as residences and ruins. I remember our first month in England when we visited a nearby castle-Weeting Castle. It is a 12th century ruin, but I thought it was neat to picnic there. I think the oldest one was Castle Acre, founded after 1066. The most ornate was the Palace of Versailles outside Paris.
Hilary wanted some pictures of them, so I looked in the archives and found these. My favorites have to be Windsor Castle, Leeds Castle, Sandringham, and Schloss Neuschwanstein (the Cinderella/"Disney" castle in Bavaria, Germany).
Lincoln Castle (above)-September 1999. A copy of the Magna Carta was there! (We also saw a copy at Salisbury Cathedral). Lauren is a newborn in the sling. There are usually many steep stairs at castles, and other historical sites, so I usually take some kind of sling because strollers are hard to push or not allowed.
Leeds Castle (above)-June 2001. It has a cool moat around it and a grotto to explore!
(above) Palace guard at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. His uniform looks different than the guard in the first photos; (below) Edinbugh Castle-May 2002. We walked the Royal Mile between this castle and Holyrood Abbey. Holyrood was closed since the Queen was in residence for her Golden Jubilee. Boo hoo. We wanted to make another trip back to Scotland, but never did. It was too far! The people in Scotland were very friendly, and the scenery is amazing. It was cold though! We found ourselves shivering, even in May.
I think this was a castle in Wales. We went to several, but I can't remember the names...they were in the welsh language!
Castle Rising (above) in Hunstanton. A 12th-century castle where Queen Isabella spent her last days. Nick (sling) and I are in the very bottom of the picture. It is mainly the ruins. I remember seeing the kitchen area, the chamber for the cleric, and the hole where they would pour hot tar on invaders at the door!
The girls in front of Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany-March 2005 (above) and a view from the bridge (below). Definitely a dreamy castle....
Posted by Andrea at 00:02
Posted by Andrea at 13:00
Posted by Andrea at 12:54
I checked out Facebook the other day. I only got as far as registering, trying to sort out the e-mail address thing and searching for a few friends, etc. Then an interesting thing happened. I entered my name to see what information was displayed, and encountered at least 30 people with my same name. So, I typed in my maiden name-about 30 people. I don't know why I was surprised. I am not so self-centered that I believe that I am the only.person.in.the.world. with my name, but it was really weird to see the faces of those people. Surreal, almost. I started thinking about what their lives were about, and who they were, and what they were doing. How had their name, uhmmm...my name helped or hindered them? Did they like their name? How did they pronounce it? I hear different variations of Andrea...some better than others :). Wouldn't it be weird if you were in some random office and they called your name and two people responded? I would have to have lunch with them right afterwards to swap life stories. Well, it won't be happening anytime soon. It's a smaller community here.
I might have to go back and search the kid's names. I'd like to see with whom they will share their legacy. Maybe I'll look up people who share names with famous people...good or bad....famous heroes, crazy dictators, inventors. The possibilities are endless.
On a side note, a sinus infection is almost brewing, but I think I just might be winning. Go me!
Posted by Andrea at 08:46
I saved this interesting link by Catherine Newman. She discusses why people read and produce blogs. I had forgotten that I had read some of her journals on Babycenter several years ago. She had a "blog" of sorts writing about her two children Ben and Birdy. She's pretty funny and realistic.
Finally! The girls returned to school today after 8 days off. It was a fairly fun and productive week. We had some fun and "not so fun". By that, I mean we cleaned out the playroom. There were bins of toys that had not been sorted before our move last July. I just didn't want Allen to miss out on the fun, I guess. No, really, it was enough to sort out other household items before our "Across the English Channel" move, that toys were at the bottom of the list. A side note-my mom is amazed at the amount of toys that we possess. I try to tell her that we do not have as many toys as other households I have visited-with only two children. I am also keeper of toys. We have toys that Ashlyn played with as baby and toddler. If it is not broken, then we keep it! An example is her play kitchen that has the store on the backside. The boys are now playing with it, and the many play food items. That does add up after 10 years and 5 kids, because you know that you accumulate toys for birthdays, holidays, and the random store visit.
I predict a quiet day since I am now experiencing my 6th-7th cold since we have lived here (ten months). Argh! The cold circulated through each child, with the exception of Ashlyn, who has been bragging about it. I am now off for a quick shower before Logan wakes up. Nick and Ryan are (gasp!) watching "Mickey's Playhouse" while I am upstairs. It's funny how t.v. changes as you add children. Ashlyn and Lauren watched Barney, VeggieTales, Little People videos, and other various children's shows. Logan doesn't get much exposure to little kid shows since the older siblings wouldn't dream of watching something so silly (to them). Occasionally we put the channel on Baby T.V. and there are educational shows or aquarium type images. He doesn't care-he's too busy getting into things! Or better yet-we just.turn.it.off.
I see that I was tagged by Rhea ( a Texan! Yay!), so I will get to that soon!
Posted by Andrea at 08:23
I'm done watching American Idol since we saw Michael Johns voted off tonight. We see the episodes several days later, ya know :(. What were people thinking?!? Boo hoo. I'll wait for the album on iTunes....
Posted by Andrea at 20:39
- If you decide to try a Twinkie after who knows how long, do not choose one from the store refrigerated section. This will only result is a soggy mess in your new van should you choose to try it on the way home. This, too, will result in questionable sticky, one-handed driving on a curvy hill on the way home.
- Do eat lunch before going to an afternoon cooking show. Doing that could have avoided the Twinkie purchase should you not like what they were sampling.
- Do not expect your husband to be particularly cheerful when you return home from an afternoon of cooking show and errands, and you only took one child with you-leaving four behind.
- Do not expect your home to be tidy after returning home, either.
- Just because your neighbors moved in several months ago, does not mean they will be staying long. They just might be assigned a surprise 12+ month deployment. I think we will adopt a new "get-to-know-you" only after neighbors have been established in their house for 3+months. This is the second set in 6 months. The others were part of another deployment.
- A one-year-old who is insistent on negotiating stairs solo is not necessarily a good thing.
Posted by Andrea at 20:57
The "Spring"part of the break just isn't happening. So far, we have had strange weather experiences this week. On rainy days we managed to bake brownies, color, play SIMS2 and IM (the girls), and destroy the playroom and clean it up again. We also did this:
Logan napped while he was waiting for us to get ready. Sometimes I put him in his exersaucer to keep him out of things. He can quickly turn the house into chaos before we leave. I have the hardest time leaving a messy house-so extra time is needed to do a quick pick up! Returning to messy house=grumpy mommy.
Posted by Andrea at 23:42
Recently I was frustrated with the endless amount of things to do to complete my evening, and my husband simply replied "Treat it like a job, just decide that you are not going to do any more today and save it for tomorrow". Is he referring to motherhood? Honestly? Is that even possible to just stop whatever daily event I am working on and address it later? "Sorry, honey, I can't change your diaper. I have met my quota today". I wish. I don't know many moms who can just let the daily activity dwindle. There is always something else to do....more laundry, clean out this closet or storage area, plan this event, buy this item, read this book, change these linens, blah, blah.
I know that he is aware of what goes on daily, and I see his frustration sometimes when he sees the list of "to do's" getting longer. If this is part of the job description that I missed, then I need to talk to someone in Human Resources, and fast. Now, where is that department?
Posted by Andrea at 00:04
So, I added a new template....and many pictures and lists disappeared in the process! Luckily, I saved the original template in a word document. Just bear with me as I try and replace things...
Posted by Andrea at 12:21
In the week leading up to Easter, it snowed, and snowed , and snowed some more most of the week. It was the strangest weather! It was overcast, then sunny, then snow flurries, and then the whole cycle began again. It's like most of the weather options are covered within the same day. I have a picture of it snowing while the sun was out-verrrry strange!
We tried to hunt Easter eggs many times that weekend, honestly we did. The weather just wasn't cooperating. We went to the first hunt at the Youth Center, only to discover that it had been moved to an indoor site, despite the current sunny weather. It had been raining all week and the field was very soggy. We showed up with our wellies, prepared for the mud, anyway. The EB was not there, but "Sparky" the fire prevention dog was there (along with the fire truck). We collected a few eggs and moved on. It did snow later in the day as we finished errands. We dyed some eggs that night, but I don't have any pictures. I honestly forgot, and I was too busy making sure Ryan didn't spill the dye everywhere (as he is prone to do). He did, however dye his hands yellow. This was still evident at church the next morning. We did the tye-dye look on most of the eggs. I have seen some super cute eggs in various magazines, but when it really comes down to the moment you just want to get it done and have fun! Maybe someday we will have some picture worthy eggs.
We went outside in the afternoon for an outdoor hunt. The snow had melted by then, but it was cold! The kids continued the fun inside the playroom with another egg hunt. Logan is still finding chocolate eggs in the playroom. The chocolate mess everywhere gives him away. We hope you had a blessed Easter!
Posted by Andrea at 23:01