Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rub a Dub Dub

Two dirty boys in a tub.  And who do you think they be?  Judah threw up so much that week, I could not get the smell out of his hair, despite several midnight baths.  I even decided to buzz his hair in case this weird and unexplained trend continued, but of course, after those three every other day incidents it was over.

Bobby loves baths and always joins Judah.  Drew and Isaac usually shower now, so these are my only two left to bathe these days.

Judah was holding a mini stuffed giraffe while trying to pee.  I absently reminded him that he should not have toys in his hands while going potty, and he didn't heed my instructions.  Consequently, the giraffe ended up in the toilet.  I was fishing it out and reminding him that this is why we have this rule about not holding things when you are using the potty.  He replies with, "Is that the Golden Rule?"

"No, it's just a good rule.  The Golden Rule is 'Do unto others as you want them to do unto you," I answered.

He retorted, "No, it is the Golden Rule, Mom."

Sigh.  Okay, fine then.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pizza in Judah's Bed?

I was woken up at 2:30am by Isaac who said, "Mom, Judah needs you.  He says there's pizza in his bed."  I roll out of bed and about the time I get to the top of the stairs it registers in my sleepy mind what I had just heard.  Then as I open his door I realize what he means by pizza in his bed as soon as the smell hits me.  He threw up in his sleep.  He didn't eat pizza the night before, he wasn't hungry for his dinner so he just ate some veggies and hummus.  Red bell peppers and carrots, to be more specific. Hence, the smell of pizza came from the bell peppers.  Judah was adamant that he didn't throw up.  Someone must have put the pizza there.  So sweet!  After a bath and making him a bed on the floor in my room with a trash can, he was wide awake.  He threw up about once an hour for the rest of the night and by 8am was feeling pretty good.

Two nights later I awoke to the sound of puking.  It was Judah in my bathroom.  The sweet boy has never ever gotten out of his bed in his life without someone telling him he could.  If he needs to go potty he always calls for me.  I had stressed the night before that if he ever wakes up and needs to throw up that he can get out of his bed and go to the potty without waiting for someone to come to him.  I was so insanely proud that he made it to the potty before throwing up.  On the other hand, I was concerned about why he'd have thrown up again when he appeared to be better and over the stomach bug that I thought he'd had two nights before.  That was the only time he got sick that day.  What's worse is that he did it again two nights later, this time in his sleep again.  It was much messier and he had to be sprayed down with the shower head.  He hates that even on a good day, but in the middle of the night he was hysterical.  Poor thing was pitiful.  This ended up being the end of it all, but I was worried about him.  We cut out dairy for a week again to give his stomach time to settle and recover.  He was not happy about that.  I am thinking maybe his stomach couldn't take the dairy when it was already inflamed from the virus.  He gradually started back up with dairy about a week or so later and has had no more trouble.

Judah says some pretty clever, if slightly misguided, things these days.  His new thing to say when he doesn't want to do something is, "I'm three.  I don't understand."  Unfortunately, he heard this from me tell the older kids not to argue with him about dumb stuff because, "He's three, and he doesn't understand."  Oops!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Gingerbread House Personality Test

For the purposes of this post I am labeling these gingerbread houses:  back row starting from the left will be called a, b, and c; staring from the left on the front row is d and e.
We were invited to a party by another homeschooling Catholic family that we met through the Nativity pageant.  This was a fancy Martha Stewart kind of party as it turned out.  The house was decorated to the nines for Christmas and the whole family was dressed up like they were going to a ball.  One of the daughters read a Christmas story to all the children during the party and the mom (7 months pregnant) sat down at her harp and played Christmas carols while everyone sang.  We came to find out that she was a professional harpist before she had children.  There were amazing party favors, and it all was just too good to be true.

The most notable thing was that the mom had stayed up late the night before putting together the frames for the gingerbread houses.  There were more than twenty gingerbread houses waiting to be decorated by the children.  When it was time to decorate them, bowls full of every kind of candy were brought out and laid along the center of a long table.  The children squeezed around the table and stood to decorate their own gingerbread houses.  It was the best gingerbread house decorating experience of my life since all I had to do was help Judah and Drew with spreading the icing so they could stick on their candies.  I usually hate doing it with the kids since they are all asking for help or bombarding me with questions at the same time which is the number one difficulty I have with being a mother of six.

So the point of this post was to show how these gingerbread houses all turned out like each of their personalities.  If you know my kids you should make your guesses now before I go into detail about how I would have been able to tell which belonged to which child even if no one had told me.

a.  This one is Drew's.  He likes to make everything look like it is really supposed to look which is shown in the Twizzlers brick tiles for the roof and the door with a door knob.  He does this with his coloring as well.  He always wants to know what color things are supposed to be and will not take, "I don't know.  Color it whatever you want  it to be," for an answer.

b.  This one is Genevieve's.  She makes everything flashy and noticeable.  Her house is covered from top to bottom with candy.  In addition to that, she is my sweet tooth who loves her candy.  She put extra candy on the plate to take home and eat.

c.  This is Judah's.  It is simple and random like any three year old would do.  This shows more his age than his personality, but then again his personality isn't fully formed yet.  My children have changed so much from when they were three.  Drew's love for order has completely developed since then.

d.  This is Isaac's.  This one could cause some trouble if you were trying to guess because you might think the crushed in house belonged to the three year old.  If you knew that the house did not look like this when it had first been decorated then you might understand better.  My sweet, sweet Isaac kind of breaks things a lot, particularly lately.  For example, he broke some Christmas lights because he just wanted to see if one of the bulbs would come out if he pulled.  Well, it broke.  He crushed an ornament because "it looked like it was made of stone" when in reality it was made of clay, and it shattered when he squeezed it to test it's strength.  He was getting out of the van when we got home and he dropped his gingerbread house.  To his great credit, he did not cry and handled it very well.  I love that boy.

e.  This is Hannah's.  Like Drew she likes things to be organized and look "right."  She makes a plan and does not just stick candy on willy nilly.  Her house is crisp and clean looking.

I wonder what Bobby's will look like one day.  He's got a long way to go in his personality development.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Nativity Pageant

Genevieve and Isaac wanted to be in the RE (Religious Education at our church) Nativity pageant.  They are always the ones who jump on the opportunity to be on stage.  It always surprises me about Isaac because he is not as outgoing as Genevieve.  He chose to be in the choir, so he was a choir angel.  We missed the first practice, and on our drive to the next practice Genevieve was saying how much she wanted to be Mary.  I told her not to count on that since we missed the first practice, but, lo and behold, she came out bubbling with excitement that she was going to be Mary.  I was so happy for her and very proud as well.  

They tried to use a real four month old baby for the play.  Genna was selling herself to the director of RE and the mom of the four month old, saying that she has a lot of experience with babies because she has four younger brothers.  Turned out he was just too fussy the day of the play and the mom backed out, so they used a doll instead.

Everything went well, and it was a lot of fun watching my children in the pageant.

St. Lucy's Feast Day

I've been wanting to celebrate St. Lucy's feast day by making a cinnamon bun wreath with candles.  I read that you could just use pre-made cinnamon rolls and form them into a wreath to simplify and make sure that it actually happens in the midst of busy life.  So I did it that way and it did happen.  However, the candles would not stay in place and I could not trust them to be lit even for a moment.  I'm pretty sure that my husband would kill me if I burned our 100 year old antique table. I was right and they fell over many times.  I suppose it's the thought that counts and the memories we made.  We have a book about St. Lucy that we read as well at breakfast.

Maybe I'll use smaller candles next year.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Christmas Markets: All of them!

Since I am so far behind, this post is going to be a difficult one because it is hard to distinguish all the Christmas markets from each other.  I think I went to five, but Brian hit even more than that.  At some point, one is just done with Christmas markets.  Well, some people are anyway, though not my husband.

The day after Thanksgiving Brian took our guests to the Kaiserslautern Christmas market.  They took the train, and brought only Isaac and Drew so that Hannah and I could bake for her birthday.  The first Christmas market we all went to was the next day, on Saturday, in Bernkastel-Kues.  We go to that town a lot for many different festivals.  (Remember the best fireworks ever?  That was here.)  It is not too far away (maybe an hour and some change) and it is just a really darn cute town.   Our visitors loved it, of course, and thought it was beyond cute and perfect.  This particular town has a giant Advent calendar on the side of a building where they open a new door each night throughout Advent.  It's so old that many buildings have a slight lean to them.  I was really hoping to get a good picture of all the kids together at this market since I really had no good pictures for our Christmas card.  This, however, did not happen.  Here are our failures.

Christmas Card Picture Failure No. 1 Notice the screaming baby in the middle.  Bobby was not cooperating at all.  Our friends insisted that I just bite the bullet and get in the picture too so he'd chill, but see below for why that didn't work out.

Christmas Card Picture Failure No. 2 Notice the still screaming baby in the middle.  He really wanted his mommy.

Christmas Card Picture Failure No. 3 Look at the elephant on the left.  I have seven layers on and a super huge scarf.  Not to mention the fact that I have a weird lean-squat thing going trying to be in the picture.  Yep, that one is not going to work either.  I should've ducked behind the bench like my smart husband.

Bob's First Ride:  He sat with Genevieve and enjoyed himself, but there was no ecstatic squealing or huge display of love for the experience.  I'm guessing it's his whole cautious MO. 

Christmas Card Picture Failure No. 4  We came around a corner and found this crucifix and thought we'd try again for a family picture.  This is definitely real life, folks.  No filters or photoshop could fix this photo.

Christmas Card Picture Failure No. 5  Things did not improve.

Christmas Card Picture Failure No. 6  And that's a wrap!  I'm throwing in the towel here, and going with a picture of the whole family in May in Lourdes for the Christmas card even though the picture is from six months ago.
Saturday evening we went to another market in the next village because Drew and Judah's Kindergarten was doing a performance and they had a booth where they were making and selling waffles.  I had signed up to bring pizza waffle batter for the fundraiser.   Yes, you read that right.  They were actually really good too.  They had to provide the basic recipe for me, and I got to add the pizza toppings of my choice.  I added my kids' favorite toppings which are ham and pineapple.

The performance...My kids are *almost* the only ones without hats.  Matilda must hate hats too.  Judah is the 2nd from the left and Drew is the fourth.

The next weekend we met our friends in Mainz for their Christmas market before heading to the tree farm to cut our famously huge tree.  We had some warm drinks and food, visited the cathedral, and Bobby and Judah got to go on a ride again.  Isaac held Bobby this time.

Inside the cathedral, warming up and visiting Jesus:  Again, Bobby's ruining the group picture because he wants his mommy.
He liked this arrangement better since he was closer to me.

The next evening we met the same friends over at a village in between our houses, although considerably closer to us.  This was a small market, but bigger than the one in the neighboring village.  I had a delicious Irish meat mixture that I'd never had or seen before.  This time the cold was a little rougher to take despite all the Gluhwein and hot chocolate we could drink.  It was probably the fault of the sun setting.  By the time we got to the van, Drew was hysterical about his frozen, hurting hands.  Before you think I am a horrible mom for having him out in the cold so long his hands hurt, you should first ask the question, "Why were only Drew's hands hurting that badly?"  Well, since you asked, it is because he never wants to put on his gloves and hat, or any outerwear.  I just thought he'd put them on when he gets cold, but really what happens is he waits until he is so cold his hands hurt to move and when you try to help him get the gloves on he starts screaming that it hurts.  So after this happened about a dozen times, I resolved to force him to put them on the gloves even before he feels cold so as to avoid him turning into a crazed little boy because he waited too long.

The Sweetest Sister Picture Ever (with a Drew photo bomb):  They were sharing hot chocolate.

We met different friends from Stuttgart over near them in Esslingen the next weekend (I think).  It was pretty cold again.  (Ignore the fact that Genna has her coat off.  She is certifiable and notoriously hotter than everyone else.)  Drew had only one melt down because his hands were cold.  Luckily, someone had a hand warmer that we stuck in his glove to warm him up and get him through the rest of the time there.  Isaac used his own money to buy a soft toy mace.  We watched archers, silversmiths, jesters, and basket weavers perform.  I bought a print that an artist was selling at a booth.  He carves the wood and then rolls ink on it and makes prints to sell.  I am still looking for a frame for it though.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Craft Crazy

Drew is obsessed with crafts lately.  He asks me constantly to do a craft.  I love crafts, don't get me wrong, but I am so busy these days that I can't see straight (I can't even make time for my sewing or blogging hobbies!)  So, my solution has been to give him mostly crafts he can do on his own,  This has been working until the other day when he said, "Mom, can I do a craft that I don't do by myself?  That you have to do with me?"

Be still my heart!  How can you resist that?  I've been really bothered by the fact lately that there are just not enough hours in the day for me to get everything done.  I was rocking Bobby and praying with him and it hit me.  One day I will most likely have time to do all of the important things and even get to my hobbies again, but guess what I am going to want then?  To hold someone's baby.  To read books to someone's baby.  To do crafts with someone's baby.  Why in the world wouldn't I just enjoy, without the thought of my to do list, these moments holding my own baby, reading books to my own baby, and doing crafts with my own baby now when I can?  I know this, but I needed a reminder.  And I'm here to tell you that if you come to my house, I will not have it all together and in the shape that I like.  I will not be on top of things because I am choosing to love on my babies rather than have the perfect house and the to do list checked off.  I'll always have a to do list anyway.

Back to my story about crafting with Drew.  I had to literally schedule it in for the coming Sunday because Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were just too packed with events, but Sunday it could be done.  I pinned a few ideas of things that wouldn't take all day and we already had the supplies for (the latter is always tricky.)  We ended up doing one craft that we couldn't finish that day (finished the next day though) because the glitter glue wouldn't dry and then we made a snowman out of an old sock.  I did most of the work on that one because it required a hot glue gun, but he and Isaac both were just happy to be helping where they could.  Isaac told me all day long how "cute" their snowman was.

And there he sits, amongst the Advent calendars and O Antiphons.

This coming week is the week before Christmas.  We are taking it easy on school and only finishing up some units in a few subjects.  I plan to hug my babies a lot and to focus on Advent activities and prayers.  Go hug your babies too, because let me tell you, if you don't already know, they don't stay cute and little for long.  Soon big problems and attitudes will be coming your way.  I'd take a baby who requires all of my time and physical energy to a preteen/teen who requires all of my emotional energy any day of the week and twice on Sunday.