Friday, August 17, 2018

And More Good-byes!

The boys' last day of Kindergarten was the day before we moved into the furnished apartment.  It was a sad good-bye.  The head teacher took a few special moments with each of them.  She spoke to Drew exclusively in German, but spoke half English, half German to Judah.  

I took a picture after their cubbies had been stripped.

We played at the playground across the parking lot after school like we've done so many times.  The boys found a cricket and played with it for a while.  They've been so interested in insects and so we've been talking a lot about how to tell if it is an insect by counting the legs and body parts.

Holding his Cricket

Two of Judah's Friends from School
One of the little German boys was crying because Drew and Judah wouldn't be coming back after the break.  So sad!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Good-Byes Everywhere we Turn

We went to our favorite local Italian restaurant and ordered our family favorite, the Schafkase (Feta cheese with olive oil, olives, peppers, tomatoes, and spices baked and served hot with pizza bread).

I had to leave early because I was meeting someone back at the house, but Brian and Genevieve stayed and shared a dessert.  Brian LOVES this place and really had to drag himself away.  The previous owner, the mother of the chef and current owner, has always been so sweet to us and we were sad to say good bye.

For a month we've been in the house with very minimal toys.  I have to say it's been nice and for a while there I was thinking we should just get rid of all our other toys, but then they started to get really bored when we were at home.  We had to get creative to keep the little ones busy.  Isaac mad Bob this car track and city on a brown paper bag.

Our really good family friends said their last good bye after church on Sunday.

Brian and I went to the old, 500 year old to be exact, bar in a village close to ours for one last time.  There was supposed to be a jazz festival there, but then the World Cup changed everything.  They cancelled the festival all due to the World Cup soccer game because they said that no one would come.  We enjoyed some delicious flammkuchen and talked with the owners for a long time.  They don't speak hardly any English and so they always have spoken German to us.  I do still have trouble when people talk too fast or just some accents are harder for me, but they were very easy to understand and I left feeling very proud that I had such a long conversation in German.  Granted, he was a talker and didn't require too many full sentences from me, but still it felt good to have made some progress since living in Germany for so many years altogether.

Its' not my favorite thing to have my picture taken when I'm eating, can you tell?
Of course, we had to say good bye to our hair dressers too!  Everyone got a fresh haircut right before moving.    Isaac got his first real, non buzz cut haircut from a salon.  He's been more interested in styling it and so I thought it was time.

Genna also had to get a toner on her hair to cover up the fading blue hair.  It is a shade darker than her normal color now, but she loves it.

At the furnished apartment, the boys and I had to get really cozy to read bedtime stories on Hannah's twin bed.  I didn't mind it one single bitty bit.  I love to read picture books to my boys, and I really love to cuddle!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Trumpet Send Off

Two of Brian's friends surprised him with a mini concert with a trumpet and a hunter's horn.  It was very touching and beautifully played!  One of them came in town specially for this send off and the dinner that followed.

At dinner, Brian was lamenting that he had never sat in the cellar at this particular restaurant, but he'd always wanted to.  I had been seated there once when we took his mom there for lunch.  His friend slipped away and made a special request to the waitress that we be moved to the cellar and they did it without too much trouble.  It was such a sweet gesture.  Brian was pleased beyond words.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Clue Jr Party and a Chicken Fest

The oldest three kids wer invited to a Clue Jr birthday party.  They were supposed to come in costume and character.  Each was assigned their character and I was emailed the information.  At first I was concerned about not having our stuff causing a problem for the kids pulling  costume together.  Hannah was Peyton Purple, Genevieve was Scarlet Red, and Isaac was Mr. Black.

I really fudged on Isaac's costume because it recommended a suit and bow tie for him because he was a butler, however, I didn't keep his suit out of the first shipment.  I thought of turning a shirt into a tux, but I only had one sharpie and a white shirt to work with.  I had to make his suit white. For Hannah we borrowed a purple dress.  Genevieve was supposed to dress like a movie star and in red.  We had no red dresses that we could find in anyone's closet, however, we had just put a fancy red dress into the thrift store pile.  So we dug it out to see if she could get just one more wear out of it.  And boy did she!   She won the costume contest!  And it turned out she was the murderer.

Two days before our good friends left the country to move back to the states, we met them and some other friends at the Chicken Fest.  They have delicious chicken cooked on spits by firemen.  I made sure that I got pictures of all my kids with their good friends.

It was really a nice time with our friends and we ran into our old landlord and his wife from last time we lived here in Germany.  It was a late night, but we drove separately since we had only the two smaller cars.  So I was able to take the three youngest home to bed around 10 or so.

Our Former Landlord
The kids had fun in the bouncy house and riding the mechanical bull.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Trip Down Memory Lane

One of our priests had his sixty year jubilee Mass in Bann, a village that was next to our village last time we lived here.  That Sunday Isaac was scheduled to serve in our parish church as an altar server.  We were torn between wanting to go in two different directions for Mass, so we split up.  I took Isaac, Hannah, and Bobby with me to our parish while everyone else went to the jubilee Mass.  We met up afterwards for the reception and ran into this precious nun from our past.

Swester Batina was the headmistress at the kindergarten that the girls went to from 2008-2010.  She remembered us and the girls and was so sweet.  She doesn't speak a lick of English, but we were able to converse with her and catch up all in German.  This was just amazing for us because we had heard she'd retired but really had no way of contacting her.  It was one of those moments you just keep thinking about all day.  

Here are some pictures from the jubilee.

The Procession Before Mass

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lost and Found: 4th of July

 The day started off the way most Fourth of July's do for me.  I woke up and thought of my 4th eight years ago.  This particular day, I remembered her when I put on the same dress that I wore eight years ago.  I guess it's because it is blue.  Although my 4th always starts out this way, I also have so many good memories of this holiday from my childhood that intermingle with this touch of sadness for the child I never got to know.  I am so blessed to have a big family to make memories with on Independence Day.

We started the day with daily Mass at the chapel with our own personal priest giving us a beautiful homily about faith and how it must change you.  Then we drove to Saarbrucken and got on our BBQ Donut.  That's right, you heard me correctly.  It's an inner-tube on the river with a grill in the middle!  Crazy stuff, right?!

The Brians Test Driving It

First thing was for Brian to test drive it, and the kids and I took some pictures while they were gone figuring out how to work this thing.

This is when the real fun began.  One Brian drove and one Brian grilled the meat and veggies we brought.  My job was to cut up the meat for everyone when it came off the grill.  That turned out to be more challenging and time consuming than usual.  The table was a funny shape and we only had one real knife, so I had to cut it up for all nine of us.

Hannah was trying to not get dirty, have any bugs land on her, or break a sweat in the sun.  She had a blast. 

Genevieve and I worked on a crossword puzzle some of the time.

My Two Little Loves
We accrued a good number of duck friends as we motored down the river.  They must be familiar with the BBQ Donut and the food that could fall from it.

If you look closely you can see our entourage of duck fans trailing us.
After our two hour BBQ Donut ride was over, we went home to get in a nap before the late night of fireworks commenced.  The fireworks were on the American base, there was a large carnival type thing that was going on most of the day.  We went to get something to eat for dinner and hung out with friends until it was time to get settled for the fireworks.

This is when our perfectly good day starts to spiral downwards.  We found a spot for our blankets, and Drew needed to go potty.  Then Bob say s he needs to go too.  Brian ended up taking all four boys and our two male friends along with them.  They had not been gone for long when the anthems begin and we all stand.  After the anthems, the fireworks immediately started going.  We turned to realize that we couldn't see a thing because they were exactly behind the tree.  We frantically grabbed our stuff and tried to find a close by place where we could see.  I didn't pick well.  In front of us, people were standing to watch the fireworks and we had to look between their heads (which kept moving) to see some of the fireworks.

Our cell phones were jammed in the area of the fireworks for some reason, so I couldn't message Brian our whereabouts, so I kept looking back to see if they materialized.  Eventually, they show up and Brian was frustrated that we couldn't really see still and so he grabbed one blanket and moved to another spot leaving me with Bobby and Drew, and the girls.  I didn't want to miss any more of the fireworks, so we just stayed in place, but I was lamenting the fact that we weren't all together.  I asked Drew if Judah was with Daddy and he said that he was with Godfather.  I said something to the effect of, "I hope so" and kept on watching the fireworks.  Bob wasn't sure about them, and so I was trying to make it seem super fun and not at all scary for his sake.

What seemed like about ten minutes later Brian comes back and asks if Judah is with me.  He proceeds to tell me, a little panicked, that he is not with him or Godfather and that he hadn't seen him since they started making their way back to us form the potty break.  Time to freak out.  It's dark and loud and my almost five year old son is missing in a sea of Americans all crowded into one little corner of Germany.

Isaac tried to help me look for him around the field while Brian disappeared to look for him too.  Again, remember that the cell phones were not working at all.  I was trying to stay calm, but had no idea where to look.  Brian came back about 10 minutes later with Judah, saying he found him in the Child Lost and Found where the military police had taken him when a nice lady had brought him to them after she'd found him wandering around crying.

It turned out that when the fireworks had started, Bobby started crying and Brian picked him up to carry him.  Judah covered his ears and was following behind, but at some point got distracted by watching the fireworks.  When he looked back up to find Daddy he was already lost.  

Our ridiculous view of the fireworks...if you're reading this, please sit down when people behind you are trying to see!

In Brian's defense, he's not at all used to having Bobby thrown in the mix for potty breaks.  It was a change in dynamic that he didn't think through.  When you have a big family, it is so common to pay attention to only the youngest and most helpless and assume the older ones can keep up.  It was a good reminder to us to talk again about our separation plan to the children and what to do in a similar situation.  It was also a good reminder to Brian and I to be more vigilant.  And finally, it was the best place for him to have gotten lost (even though it didn't seem like it at the time) as it turns out because they were all set up for the occurrence of lost children.

But it did ruin our fireworks for sure!  I barely saw those things, and not only because of the standing up people or the trees.  You better believe that I gave that boy the biggest, longest hug I could when I got him in my arms.  I covered him in kisses and told him a hundred of times how happy I was that he was safe with us again.