A good way to incorporate exercise

One thing I am really impressed with about Europe-----

the way that everybody walks-everywhere! The villages, towns and cities have incorporated sidewalks along most neighborhoods, streets and in the town center. Unlike the U.S., the stores are generally clustered in an area where you can park in a semi-large parking lot (okay-the HUGE lots that you see in the U.S. are rarely seen here) and walk. I really like that idea because I like to just get the kids out of /in the car as few times as necessary.

There are also bus stops everywhere. I usually don't take the bus, because I have a fear of getting transported to some unknown area and then it will take forever to get back home. Hmmm....do you think that this has happened before? :)

For example, today the weather is rainy, windy and high 40's. You think that might deter some from walking outside. Uh, no. I spotted so many school kids, elderly people, mothers, etc. walking in town as I went about my day. They were all bundled up and carrying umbrellas as they were walking along the streets and hills.

In the UK I would even see elderly people on bicycles fairly often! I think that is just fantastic! I don't see as many elderly people on bicycles here, but there are many steep hills here that challenge the experienced riders. I do, however, see many elderly people walking here to the shops. I think part of the reason is the steep expense of owning a car here!

There are some days that we walk to Ryan's school and the kid's bus stop. I wish that we walked most days. It is about a mile walk to Ryan's school, and about a half mile to the bus stop. This would save gas usage, incorporate exercise into our day, and allow the kids to use up some spent energy. The main reason is that many days I just don't have the time that it takes to walk. Sad excuse, eh? I just need to get ready a few minutes earlier so I can walk and get that extra exercise.

Why is it that it just seems so much easier to jump in the car? Why is this part of the "American thinking"? I really hope that we can change this attitude in this household.


Hey you!

You---- my only stay-at home friend. Can you stop emptying out books, paper, toys and other such items?
I'd like to know ---when do you have time to make a tornado trip throughout my house since you are constantly in the pantry self-serving the crackers, cereal and sweets? The only time that you are not exploring is when you lay that blond head down to sleep (and nap-thank God!).
Oh yeah, you do sit still for a book occasionally. How many times do we have to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and The Gruffalo?

And can you stop looking so cute while you are wrecking havoc?


The battle

Us: 0
Stomach Bug: 4

Thaaaats right. The bug that I have been hearing about-the one that has been making its way around the elementary school for the past several weeks made an ugly appearance. At our house, nonetheless.

Nick was sick on several occasions the day before my birthday, thus changing some weekend plans-most importantly my day trip to Metz.

I had to pick Ashlyn up from school yesterday after several calls from the school nurse. The curvy road home was making me veer-r-r-ry nervous.

Allen fell victim yesterday evening. This guy never stays home sick from work! Today was an exception.

Ryan was sick after he woke up for school this morning. Oh no! Does this mean that I have to get a note from the krankenhaus (a doctor at a German hospital) before he returns? I thought I heard that fact during the translation session-not that could look it up again.

I am thinking that making my favorite spinach brownies (relax----just a spinach bake cut into squares for kid appeal) for dinner yesterday was not such a great idea.

We definitely are usually lucky with these bugs. I hear about them and say a quick prayer-knock on wood-and all of those things to ward them away. I am also the hand washing dictator after school. Those backpacks and jackets hit the hooks and the reminders to wash well begin. I guess this was way beyond my control!

Allen and I were talking today that this definitely is a down-side of a larger family. It's scary to think that the washing, resting and cleaning up could last-gulp-weeks! The thought of chasing a toddler around to make sure he doesn't go near the rugs or furniture is frightening. Logan is the one that really scares me.

Lauren and I made a pact this morning that we would not get this bug. I hope she can keep her part of the deal.



Somebody has one of those monumental birthdays.

You know the ones. The ones that you just don't look forward to, but you know that you just have to take a breath and accept it?

Today she is thinking about how her mom felt-those many years ago when she met her little baby girl. And how her aunt felt when she met her little baby boy. And how her Mema felt to finally have a granddaughter. And how her other Mema felt to have a red-headed granddaughter.

Today, she's forgetting the new piles of laundry from the throwing up 5-year-old and going shopping at a bazaar and playing with her kids. She's also planning a trip to France this weekend to explore new places. Because that is what she does best.

But that doesn't mean that she's excited about this birthday.

Not one little bit.


Birthday season has begun

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an event planner like Julie on The Love Boat. Do you remember that show? Planning parties and events for seven is not quite what I imagined, but it is what God had in store for me.

We began with Allen's a few weeks ago. His is the first of seven birthdays within the next seven months. Arghh! The day began a little later than we anticipated since we were caught up in a stau or traffic jam caused by a peaceful demonstration and lots of polizei along the route. We drove around the town of Cochem, where they were having a weinfestival. We hiked up the hill to the castle and spent the rest of the day at Schloss Cochem; we had lunch at the restaurant there, took in the scenery along the Mosel River, and had yellow cake with chocolate frosting when we arrived home. I'm sure he had his heart set on McDonald's, but it just didn't happen.

Happy birthday Honey!!


Did I mention that we are moving?

We saw a great place a few weekends ago. Should we make the big move?

So, what do you think? It has great architecture and views. The fabulous dining room has plenty of space for our family, plus some!The antiques are well cared for.
It has large fireplaces and light fixtures. Just think-the money we could save on gas and electric! The view of the Mosel River, and all of its vineyards is breathtaking.It has a mermaid light fixture that you rub (her red belly) for good luck. Yeah, sorta creepy but unusual. It has a treasure chest stored there full of (chocolate/ "schokolade" ) coins! Can you see it in the dark background?
It has unusual external features.People who drive shiny expensive cars would visit. We could even hire it out for weddings! Isn't this bride beautiful in the gardens?

We'll take it! Where do we sign?

Here is a link with more photos of the town and surrounding areas of Cochem. We noticed that they were having many wine fests in the small villages as we drove home. It is becoming that festival time of year.

We are currently taking donations, and then we can talk with the people at Schloss Cochem and make them an offer that they can't refuse!


And then there was one

Almost all of my babies are out of the house today. Yep, for the past few weeks they have been playing at school; meeting new friends; exploring new things.

This was the last one to leave. He just hopped on the bus and didn't look back! I even went to visit him on his first day to take some pictures after I returned his sister to school from an eye appointment. He was agreeable to take a few pictures, and then he was ready for me to leave. I think he was also afraid that he would have to go home.

I am left with this one. This is the adventurous one. He lives, loves and plays ferociously.
Even at this sweet age.

We have been busy recently with appointments and other random things, so I am not quite sure what to do with this new block of time! I have BIG PLANS for it though! I forsee trips to the library, commissary, lunch outings, a semi-uncluttered day at home, home projects, event planning.....need I say more!?! I can actually read a book with him, or my own book and not worry what is going on in the depths of the household.


A very good question

Nicholas has become quite the philosopher lately. He asked me this yesterday, as we were walking to the commissary for some food essentials.

"Mom, why didn't God give you five or six hands, like an octopus?" (never mind the fact that an octopus has eight tentacles-we'll address that with him later).

My response : "Hmmm...I've often wondered that myself. That would be very useful sometimes for me. "

I could use another one of those hands right now. I sat down to update and catch up on blogs, but now it's time to get the kids from school! I will get the pictures and updates out later today!

Another good question: is anyone else having trouble with spellcheck on Blogger? Mine is not working! I need that extra help so that I can post quickly. Any suggestions?