Friday, August 18, 2017

VBS Camp Family Style

We were going to miss our church's VBS and so I suddenly had the bright idea to have the older three kids put on a VBS for the younger three kids.  I planned out a simple three day curriculum, camp t-shirts (that I majorly helped with), and assigned the three big kids their specific jobs.  Isaac was in charge of snacks, Genevieve was in charge of music, and Hannah was in charge of story time, arts and crafts, and the memory verse because they were all pretty closely tied together.  Holy Heros has a ready-made VBS for just such an occasion as this, but I looked at it and it was a little too involved.  I wanted something easy that I could mostly hand off to the older kids.  So I made ours up and am sharing it here.  I think that it was a wonderful experience for all of the kids and we will do it again in the future, even if we do go to an official VBS.  Even if it is only for one morning, maybe an Advent VBS day as a break from school or something.  Who knows!

I wasn't a huge part of this in action, in fact two of the days I was out when they were doing it, so I didn't get pictures of it in action.  I did get pictures of some of Drew's coloring pages and one craft.

Day One:

Story:  The Calling of the Apostles with coloring page

Memory Verse: "Come," Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you Fishers of Men." -Mark 1:17

Craft:  Write memory verse on light blue construction paper.  Use a dark blue peeled crayon on it's side and place netting under the paper to make it look like a net.  Glue goldfish snacks onto paper.

Snack:  Goldfish in snack baggies with a "net" drawn on it (aka blue cross hairs with a Sharpie)

Songs were the same all week.  Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Baby Shark, This Little Light of Mine.

Day Two:

Story:  Good Shepherd with a coloring page

Memory Verse:  "I am the Good Shepherd; a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep." John 10:7

Craft:  I drew a simple sheep on a paper and wrote the memory verse on it.  Everyone got to glue on a cotton ball each time they finished the sentence, "I love (insert name of sibling here) because..."

Snack:  Popcorn

Day Three:

Story:  Jesus Dying on the Cross with coloring page
Memory Verse:  Dear children, let us not love in words or speech, but with action and in Truth.  1 John 3:18

No craft that day because life got the best of us.  Drew learned the three verses very well and Judah knows them fairly well also.  After they completed the VBS stuff for the day, the older kids put on a religious movie for the younger ones as a reward.

At the beginning of the week we made these Divine Mercy tie dye shirts.  They turned out well and Brian insisted we use puff paint on them.  So we wrote "Jesus I trust in You" on the shirts.  The kids got carried away and did bonus tie dye shirts and puff paint shirts with old white t-shirts from the boys' drawers.

Here's Bobby's!  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Speyer Pilgrimage

Our church does what they call "You Drive It" Pilgrimages every now and then.  One of our priests will say a Mass for us in an old, beautiful church, and then we get a tour of some kind of the church, town, monastery, etc.  We've been on a few of them.  This one was to a church we've already been to the last time we lived here in Speyer.  It is a short 45 minutes drive from us and we tried to have Isaac baptized there years ago by Fr. Ron Smeltzer.  (Fr. Ron died recently, by the way.  May his soul find happiness in Heaven with Jesus ever so quickly.)  However, it was not to be.  Too much red tape.  Apparently, being baptized in Italy is much easier than in Germany.  All was for the best though since Isaac came full circle back to the chapel he was baptized in as an altar server.   Plus, his First Communion was in a super cool place in Italy.

Before Mass began

These pews were not big enough for us.  We had to split up.

The moms talking afterwards during the tour since some of the little munchkins couldn't be quiet during the tour of the outside of the church.

Speyer Cathedral

Afterwards we had a wonderful lunch with many of our good friends.  The kids played on the playground at the restaurant, and then as we walked back to our van, we stopped for the always promised scoop of gelato.  Drew, unfortunately, did not get a scoop because he pushed his friend off the playground and then couldn't manage to stay put in time out.  He was pretty upset about that, but in the big scheme of things, "small boy, small problems, small consequences---big boy, big problems, big consequences."  Hopefully, he'll learn his lessons before he's a "big boy." 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Other News in July

While I was rocking Bobby and praying, I was praying for him to grow in holiness.  I was interrupted by this small voice that prayed, "I want to go to heaven."  I was so blown away by this little, not even two year old saying this that I shared it with Brian.  Genna heard me and said, "Yeah, I've been talking to him about heaven and how it's really awesome and we all want to go there."  At first I was kind of bummed that he isn't some amazing saintly prodigy, but Brian told her that was even better because that means she is teaching her brother good things and is becoming holier herself.

We are potentially going on a loud aircraft in the near-ish future and so we bough the kids noise reducing head phones.  I though Bob wouldn't like them or want them on, but he loves them!  He will just wear them for no reason around the house.  We all went up stairs to see something and then realized Bob didn't come with us.  I was calling for him and he didn't respond.  This is where we found him, happily playing on the balcony in his own quiet little world.

Our balcony flowers are doing MUCH better this year than last, but still they can't hold a candle to the Germans' flower boxes.  I am happy with the improvement.

On our altar, you can see a picture of a colorful cross on the right side of the picture.  Drew designed that and was so excited to tell me that this is the design we are going to spray paint on our big van.  I said that Daddy probably would let us do that and he insisted that Daddy said it was a good idea.  I didn't have the heart to explain sarcasm to him.  Poor guy!

I was missing my blue hair.  And at the end of July I put purple streaks in it.  I love it, even more than the blue.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Legoland for the Boys

We had a bit of a drive the next day to Legoland, so we didn't manage to get there when the park opened, but we were close.  This trip was for the four boys' birthdays (all four are between end of July and beginning of September) in place of a party, or four parties.  Pretty sweet deal for all parties involved, am I right?

So one time when Drew's kindergarten was taking him on a field trip (ON A TRAIN) without me, I was a little nervous about him getting separated from the group.  The teacher saw me putting my phone number in his backpack and told me that Germans write the phone number right on the child's arm with a pen.  Genius!  German phone numbers are so long they are hard to memorize, even for me, so this is perfect.
The first thing we did was the aquarium.  Everybody loved it!

Bob's about the same size as the scuba Lego dude.

Drew got inside the middle of this tank by crawling under and standing up into a dome.

Judah joined him.

Next up was our first ride, a Ninjago simulation, where you ride on a bench around and try to help the Ninjago warriors defeat bad guys and a giant cobra.  Turns out the cobra scared Bobby just a little, but not too bad.

While waiting in line for the Ninjago ride, they had areas for the kids to play Lagos and in this last part they could take pictures with this Ninjago person.

Then Dad took the biggest five on an Egyptian pyramid ride, and I took Bobby on a baby safari ride twice.  He would have gone on it a million times if I'd let him, but two was enough for me.

Selfie on the Safari
Then Daddy took Bob on a baby ride, while I took the biggest five on the "Log Ride" (this was called something else, but it is essentially the same as the old "Log Ride" at Six Flags that I used to fear every year, but sometimes got the courage up to do.  I figured this was the ride for me to take the big kids on since it wasn't a roller coaster or something crazy like that.   Isaac, Hannah, and Judah were all nervous during the long wait in line.  It really was too late to turn back at that point since Brian was long gone.  In the end, there wasn't enough room in one boat for all of us and Hannah and Isaac had to go in the next boat.  I felt so badly about that because I knew they were nervous.  To top it all off, the ride malfunctioned just as my boat (the first of the two we were in) got to the top.  We had to sit there and wait for a little bit.  Hannah and Isaac were at the bottom of the big hill ready to come up when it froze, but I couldn't see them and I was praying they weren't panicking.  

The ride started back up again and as we were getting to the edge before the big drop, I looked back and saw Hannah and Isaac coming up.  When Judah and I went down, you should've seen my precious three year old's face.  He looked like he was about to burst into tears from fear.  I told him not to cry and that it was all over and he didn't cry.  Poor guy!  I was proud of everybody being brave through it all though.  No one acted a fool like I did once upon a time when my parents were trying to get me on rides.

Brian took this of us on after we came down the slope on the "Log Ride."

The play area Daddy took Bobby to during our water ride.

Then we wandered through the Lego city part where we found many giant Star Wars scenes and characters made of Legos, as well as many cities and sites we've seen in real life which was fun.

Bob fell asleep on me and so  most of the kids played on a playground of sorts while I sat with Bobby and Brian took Genevieve on a spinning, high ride that no one else wanted to go on.  

Genevieve ready for take off on the spinning ride.
Then Daddy took the biggest five to try to do go carts, but they were somewhat unsuccessful.  Bob and I hopped on the Lego train to take a little tour of the park.

Somebody LOVED it!

Selfie on the Train
Then we had more time, so I took Bobby on a boat ride.  Another huge success in his little mind.  I like Legoland because we weren't stuck doing nothing while the big kids had all the fun with their dad.  There are so many rides for little ones.

Selfie on the Boat
Then we met up to hand Judah over to me and I took the two little boys on an airplane ride. Judah rode alone and Bob and I sat in the plane in front of him.

Judah was ready for take off!

And one more selfie of me and the Bobster

We did a couple more rides, but by this time we were winding down.  We made a run back to Ninjago Land to the store that Isaac and drew had picked out something to buy.  Drew used his own money, and Isaac had money from his Mimi earmarked for a Lego set at Legoland.  The rest of the kids each bought a minifigure or two that they built with their own money. Then we grabbed them all hot dogs on the way out since it was long past dinner and we a had another 45 minute drive to our next hotel.  Brian and I ate a delicious dinner at the hotel.

The girls rated Legoland a 7 and an 8, if I remember correctly.  I didn't even have to ask the boys.  The verdict was evident!

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Waterfall and a Downpour

After picking up Brian from the train station, we immediately started driving to the Black Forrest.  We went to Triberg so the kids could see the waterfall that we saw last summer sans children.

We hiked up the waterfall and then back down part of the other side to the restaurant with a playground, a lake with ducks, and delicious food.  By the time we got there, they had no room to seat us.  The clouds started getting darker suddenly, and despite having rain coats, we decided to send Brian back for the van so we could just drive to our hotel and eat at the restaurant there.  It was now after 6pm and we had a 45 minute drive to the hotel.  Right after Brian took off after the van, it started raining and then pouring!  Our raincoats were laughing at us.  That's how hard it was raining.  And it turned out that I forgot Bobby's raincoat, so we all shifted up a size, leaving me without one.  We were really wet, by the time Brian got back.

I am determined to get a few decent pictures of all the kids for the Christmas card this year, so I'm making them take a lot of group photos as we travel.  It's not their favorite thing to do.  They like to try and sabotage my efforts in hopes I'll give up.  It has been working...until now.  Now it just serves to force me to continue taking pictures until they all cooperate.  Up in the second picture, Isaac gave Genna bunny ears and once I realized how many pictures he ruined, I made them all get back up on the rock for more.

Love this picture!  Should've cropped out the hand, huh?

Finally got a couple to choose from!

They were sick of posing at this point, for real.

Reaching our final destination, the restaurant on the lake, before the deluge.