Summer, already???

It seems like yesterday we were welcoming spring! Ryan's kindergarten class had a Fruhlingfest in April to welcome spring. They sang songs (in German) and wore flower hats. They tied these little ribbons on a tree as a sign of the upcoming spring days. On a side note, I volunteered to bring a cake to share. In the UK the American cakes and cake mixes would sell quickly at school events because the British cakes tend to be dense and not as sweet. Interpret this as not very tasty. I'm sorry to admit this, but I did not like the cakes in the UK. There were many, many other things that I liked though!! Okay-anyway----I thought that bringing cupcakes would be a hit. Only several people took the cupcakes and here is why~~~You should have seen the cakes that people brought!! They were gorgeous! They had these fancy designs and cream frostings. I had to ask if they were store-made. That's how fabulous they were~they put my cupcakes to shame, even if my cupcakes had the cute caterpillar icing decors on them and were stacked nicely on the cupcake stand. They didn't stand a chance.

We experienced the longest day of the year yesterday, although we didn't see much sun! It was a strange weather day where the sun would be out, then cloudy, then rain and wind, sunshine, cloud, etc. We have had a mild spring/summer so far in Germany. You just never know about the weather from day to day! It makes planning ahead for outing and clothing very difficult!! There have been several days that were warm enough to swim outside in the pool or play in the water, but most have been mild with sun/clouds.

Now that it is finally summer, we are planning on spending more time here.

Or doing this.

Admiring these.

Hopefully we can do more of this!!

Or maybe just doing this.

You never know where you will find us this season.

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My other half

I wouldn't have five children if it weren't for my wonderful husband. Except for the obvious reasons, I just could not do it without his daily help and support. He is a loving and fun dad-sometimes finding humor in a situation when I am thoroughly annoyed. After working long days, he often comes home and helps with dinner, dishes, after school activities, homework-you name it. He is always ahead of the game when it comes to gift giving occasions-never skimping or forgetting. He doesn't even mind if I buy myself flowers frequently- for no occasion at all.

Before we got married we discussed having children, but I do not think that the number five was ever part of the equation. We had no idea how our lives would change and be enriched by these vivacious little people.

Today we are celebrating him, even though he is stationed far away in a desert location. Maybe he is building sandcastles today? The kids talked with him briefly today since we had used up most of our hour earlier in the week. They sang "Happy Father's Day" with the birthday tune.

Before he left he mentioned that one of the things that he would miss the most is having them run and hug his legs when he came in the door after work. I am beginning to really miss that, too.

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Burg Eltz

Last month I embarked on a road trip with two other moms and twelve kids (!!!) to a place between Trier and Koblenz to see this:

Isn't it magnificent!!
This is a medieval castle nestled above the Moselle River. It has been owned by three branches of the same family for 33 generations. You can read more about the history here or here . This is the view that you get as you leave the car park and walk down the path. It was a steep 800 meters down to the castle along a curvy road (and a fun walk uphill. Eeeek.)

We stopped to take a few pictures and climb up some rocks.

This is the long road leading to the castle. Scenic, yes?
This is the view from that window in the wall. It is a long way down!!

After lunch, we went inside for a tour of some parts of the castle. viewed the treasury, and had ice cream. There were some very interesting features in the castle like the dragon around the water drain pipe, the non-bolted spears and weapons in the weapons room (the two-year-olds discovered this, surprisingly).
Here is the (loose) weaponry. Eek. Wouldn't that be fun to have "the child" who pulls down the weapons as the guide is speaking?? I'm so fortunate that we noticed. Several months ago, we were "shushed" during our Cochem tour by the guide because Logan was whining. Blah.The following pictures were taken inside the courtyard. Apparently a family (or is it two) still reside in the castle. Cool, yet I believe it would get old dealing with all of the tourists.

Next, we had ice cream (eis). We don't have any pictures of this. I was either enjoying my own chocolate cone and talking with the moms, or I was wiping multiple sweet, sticky faces and fingers.

Since the kids had behaved (erhem, most of the time, really) we went down to the river to play in the stream. They loved it!! The little boys stood there throwing rocks, both small and large into the water. We realized it was fruitless to tell them to stop when this 70-ish German man rolled up his trousers, waded out and threw some rocks with his granddaughter. We laughed about it, even with the nice German man, who did speak some English. The girls were more adventurous and waded further along the stream.

The day ended with a stop at a McDonald's in Trier where we took up residence for quite a while so the kids played at the playground and moms chatted. We stayed out way past bedtime, but it was worth it!

As we left McDonald's I noticed this right next to McDonald's and thought it was ironic, yet a marketable idea. McFit is a fitness place where you have the option of paying by the hour or month. I guess you can eat your Hamburger Royale (i.e. Quarter Ponder) and work it off next door!?! Has this idea made it to the USA? I have been away too long to know.


Give a dancer some props

If you give a dancer some props, she will put on a great smile and perform in a fabulous show!

Lauren ended the year of her hip-hop class with the recital a few weeks ago. I am just now getting the pictures uploaded, so bear with me. She generally liked the class, and I thought it fit her perfectly. In the past, she has taken both tap and ballet classes and did well, but they may not have been her thing. She is definitely my spunky child and can get away with a bit of flair. I loved many of the gorgeous ballet and traditional costumes that other girls were wearing, but I thought that this was cute on Lauren.

There were two performances (we were the second-yes!) and it was standing room only! When we arrived there were seats, but you know how people can be-sitting on the ends, using their stuff to reserve the seat, etc. I'm not sure that the boys would have sat for that length of time anyway. The theatre seats are just too fun to sit in- up, down, up, down. Everything seemed to flow well, thanks to the staff, which happened to include a fellow blogger. I am very thankful that Casey didn't give my rambunctious boys the "stink eye" during the performance, even though they were fighting over a drink and snacks for what seemed to me like the entire performance. Logan has this loud, piercing whine when he doesn't get his way. I usually ignore it, but when we are in public and trying to maintain a nice family presentation....sometimes I do whatever to appease him. I am sure that I will pay for it later. I'm just doing what works, right?
Lauren was really surprised to get flowers from her adoring fans, (i.e. her family and her BFF), who came along to cheer her on! That made it all the more fun!

I felt some sadness because I have a feeling that my days of have girly recitals are coming to a close. I have enjoyed them these past years. I participated in dance and sports when I was young, so I know how interests change. My girls just seem to have other interests like cheer leading, swimming, gymnastics and friends. I hope that dance will continue, but if not, I will support them and be inwardly sad.

The brothers were given some props after the show and considered putting together a rock band. Negotiations are still ongoing.
Speaking of negotiations, this is a super cute photo and story. Nicholas had only a few pictures of children from his class. I never seem to take them when I have been visiting his school. Maybe because I am running after Logan in
Kindergarten Heaven? So when we saw one of his cute classmates was performing I saw a photo op and couldn't pass it up. I gave her one of the flowers that we had and told her that she did a wonderful performance, and asked if she would take a picture with Nick.

From the first day of school I have remembered her because she reminds us
so much of one of Nick's first girl friends who lived in England with us. They have known each other since they were two and four-months old. Anyway. Here is the resulting picture. After I pried Nicholas off the floor, he reluctantly agreed. He seems to like her and now I have proof. The face is priceless.


While I was staying busy

...this happened.My oldest graduated from 6th grade last week! I am speechless. How could this happen? When did my little baby decide that it was okay to do this?? She received awards for A- Honor Roll this quarter, A/B- Honor Roll for the year, The President's Gold Academic Award, and some others that I cannot remember. I mentioned the big ones, right?

She graciously accepted her awards and flowers, took glam photos with her BFF friends, celebrated with a class BBQ (dunking booth included), and went merrily on her way to Middle School.

More drama to follow.

That is one thing of which I am sure.