Sunday, December 21, 2008

Picasso?


I think I may have an emerging Picasso! Logan is 3 and loves to draw, everywhere! I have found "art" on his sheets, on the wall, and lots of other places. My favorite instance was the other day when I found a very crooked line drawn on the wall. I asked him if he had drawn on the wall and he replied, "that's a crack!". I had to stifle a laugh. He did admit to it and was very upset when he found out how upset I was. A couple of weeks ago, he was upstairs in the school /craft room when I found him with the other kids. They had all decided to draw. Logan, unfortunately decided again to use another canvas.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

I just had to post this because it is fresh in my mind and rather cute! Caedon's class in the preschool is studying fairy tales. They are a little different here because they haven't been "Disneyfied" but still similar. Anyway, Caedon came home the other day telling us that he had role-played Sleeping Beauty. He told me what everyone did and who they were. I can't recall exactly who he said he was (I didn't understand all the parts!). Today, when we went to pick him up, he was about to do the Sleeping Beauty play again. this time he was the prince. So I waited till they got it all together and the teacher began to tell the story. Caedon came in in the end and kissed sweet little sleeping beauty. I didn' see him do it. On the way home, Caedon was telling his dad about being the prince. He said he had to kiss the princess (Antonia). I asked, on the cheek or on the mouth? He said, "on the mouth. Kisses on the mouth are more funner!" I thought that was so funny but also a little scary!

Another story along these lines. Caedon and Logan and I were talking about Jack. He is a "mature" dog now and the kids have taken notice. We talkedabout Jack having puppies later. That led to talking about getting married, etc. Caedon said he wanted to marry Marit, a girl in his preschool class. He said that she was his friend. Then 3 year old logan piped in, "I will marry Re'ne, he's my friend!" So, I had to tell him that boys only marry girls but that marrying your friend was a good idea! It was cute and fun to have "serious" discussions with my children.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Goethe

Jason and I began a 4 week language class on Monday. With Jason's sister being so unwell, class from 8:30 to 1:00, just my everyday chores, and everything else coming up in the holiday season, I will probably be posting very little. I am on the search for 2 apartments for some workers coming in January, and if Emily does well and Janis is not needed in December, Mike and Janis will be here with us for the 2 weeks around Christmas. So, with all that rambling I will sign off. If someone does something amazing cute, funny or precocious, or we have a great story to tell, I will blog it.
After Christmas I will share pics from the top floor of our house. I am hoping to have it done shortly after Mike and Janis bring my new bedding stuff! I know if you made it this far you must be thoroughly bored by now, so I will stop.

Bis dann...... (till then)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jason's sister Emily

Jason's sister Emily just gave birth to her 5th child, her 4th daughter. On Tuesday,a couple days after the birth, her femoral artery ruptured and almost killed her. She coded on the trip from her local hospital to Dallas. She is stabilized now after 2 surgeries but not out of the woods yet. Needless to say, it has been a very difficult 3 days for us. Jason's entire family is in Dallas or Quinlan to help her husband Luke and the the kids and to be with Emily. It is difficult to be on the other side of the world and feeling so helpless. It is a very similar feeling to when my best friends came to Prague and had to leave after 6 months to return to Texas for their son to undergo chemotherapy for a bone cancer. They have since returned and it was a wonderful reunion but during the over a year they were away, I felt helpless. I am a servant by nature and I want to help by doing. Give me something tangible to do, work, that is helpful. So, with all this going on in Texas I can "do" very little here. I know prayer is very important, and I am doing that but as a servant I want to be there to watch the children, clean the house, drive someone somewhere, cook a meal, anything to feel like I am helping.

I am reminded in this situation how quickly things happen, and people go from this world to the next, or go from healthy to sickly. Life is a very tenuous thing. It is fleeting. We are reminded of our mortality. Do I need to do something now that shouldn't wait,because I may not be here tomorrow.

Please pray for Emily. She is a wonderful mom, wife, daughter,sister, and friend and she has a precious new baby, Sarah, waiting for her at home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Randomness (that's allowed even with OCD)

During the summer here, since we are fairly far north, it stays light till almost 11 pm. The sun comes up at about 4:30ish. For this reason, Europe has these great things called Rollladen. Yes, I know there are 3 L's, but that is the correct German spelling. Anyway, they are usually built into the wall on the outside and have a band inside on the wall for moving them up and down. They can come all the way down and block out ALL the light, or anywhere in between. They are one of the best inventions ever! Unfortunately, we don't have them on the windows in our room (we have 2 door windows and 2 smaller windows) so our room is very bright and hot during the long summer days.
Here is a pic from the boys room, with the rollladen half down.

Here is one window with it down and the other with it up.


Also, When I first showed pics of the house, I showed one from the front door looking out at the auto shop across the street. It is rather unsightly. But after a couple weeks, he has made some improvements. I am not sure I like the new paint job, though.

After, with a fresh coat of neon yellow. The pics don't do it justice! It is hideous. I think I liked the old brown better! But, what can you do. I hope it fades with time.
People really like to paint their buildings bright colors and I usually like it but this is a really ugly yellow. (and I like yellow)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Floor 3

Here are some more pics from the third floor. It is the kids' floor. It is Ashlyn's room, the Boys' room and the bathroom. Here is a shot from the stairs into Ashlyn's room.

Her loft bed, desk, and dresser.



Looking into the hall from Ashlyn's room

Straight shot from hall into boys' room. On the other side of the windows is the balcony.

Jonah's and Logan's bed

Caedon's and the guest bed



Everything is "color-coded". Jonah has orange sheets, and picture frames, Caedon, red and Logan light blue. All the toys are in bins under the beds.
Stairs going up to our floor. I will probably wait till after Christmas for our room because it is in transition. I am changing the bedding and colors. I want to paint but won't because I don't want to invest the time and money for only a year or 2. That and I don't have the money right now!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I don't have a camera this week (it is in Spain with Jason) so I cannot update with pics from the kids' floor. But since Jason is gone, it reminded me of something Caedon said the first time Jason went on a trip since we moved here. It must have been about a year or so ago. Jason went to Spain (Barcelona this time) for a meeting and so we were on our own. I went to pick up the boys from Kindergarten and they asked about their daddy. I said he was on a trip. Caedon then said, "are we going to have to get a new Daddy?" It was pretty cute. I asked him if he wanted a new daddy and he said "no". Jason's job security is good for now!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Floor Two

Here a few pics of the house. I will start at the opening of the stairs from the basement. Some would call this the first floor, other the ground floor since it opens up into the back yard. As you come up the stairs there is a small foyer with 3 doors. Straight leads into this tiny bathroom. The sink is so small, I have a hard time washing my hands in it without spilling water everywhere. On first look it probably looks pretty normal, but for anyone who has not traveled to Europe might notice that there is no tank to the toilet. The tanks are built into the wall and the large white thing on the wall is how you flush the toilet. Thankfully, our toilets are fairly similar to American toilets, that means they don't have what we affectionately call the "viewing shelf".
That is a whole other post.
Another thing that is very different to America, is when you move into a place,you literally get 4 walls and a floor. Houses come with nothing! No closets, no kitchen counters, no light fixtures. There are outlets, light switches and wires hanging for the lights and that is it. No bathroom counters or cabinets either. There isn't really room for a cabinet in this bath, so we haven't bothered doing too much with it. I put in a light fixture and a mirror.
On the left of the stairs behind door number 2, is the kitchen. This first pic is a straight shot from the door. I painted it a really bright yellow so that it is not so dark during the LONG winter nights. It begins to get dark at about 4:30, so while cooking dinner the kitchen is pretty dark. Germans love bright colors and I have gotten quite a few compliments on the color. On the left wall, above the "coffee bar" are paintings from most of the cities we have visited in Europe. Some are from street artists and others are prints from street artists paintings. On the wall are paintings from Prague, Barcelona, Venice and Salzburg. Behind the door is the refrig. and a cabinet.
Here are the cabinets and sink, etc. I decorated with the colors of the rainbow. I found canisters and then used the colors from them to decorate with.
The last pic is the corner to the right, with the stove and oven. All appliances here are pretty small and it can be difficult to cook more than one item at a time. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a challenge! But, we are lucky to have a large kitchen by German standards. It is called a "Wohnkuche" which means that there is room for people to eat in it.Literally translated it means living kitchen as in living room and kitchen. It is just large enough for a table and chairs that seat 6.
That is Jason's computer cord and pigs in a blanket beside the stove that I was making for our Bible study group last night.

Floor Two/2

Here are the rest of the pics from the 2nd floor. This is a view from the door,looking into the room and to the backyard. It is really just a garden.

We painted only one wall red for several reasons, the biggest being that it would be too much. Most Germans think it is too dark. I have seen it elsewhere though and this was a pre-mixed paint I bought.






My dining room furniture that I brought from the states. The table, china cabinet and our bed are the only 3 pieces of furniture we brought over here.
The postage stamp backyard. We have the biggest house but the smallest yard. It is enough for hanging out my laundry (that is what the blue thing is. It opens out into a square with lots of lines for hanging clothes.) and letting the dog out to get some sun and do his thing. We fixed up the bed you see, it was just dirt before.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Neu Frisuer

It finally came. The day for my haircut! I am pleased with the cut and color and if I can afford her after she starts charging me, I will go back! She works in a very plush hotel (it has an outdoor guard) and I am not sure I can afford her but we will see!

As I was in the chair, I thought of a few cultural differences I thought I would share with you. First, at this salon, I was given a shirt and robe to wear. I went behind a curtain and changed out of my shirt, into the borrowed one and then put a robe over that. She didn't use a cape. Next came tcolor and then the wash. I love to get my hair washed, it feels sooo good! Especially here in Germany. I think they must have to massage your scalp ( or maybe just the women I go to) because both times they massaged in addition to the wash. Today the women (Katja) even used the little round thingy with the tines that massages your scalp! I also got to catch up on my american and german celebrity gossip with a couple magazines! Anyway, after the wash came the cut and cut and cut. She was very thorough. I was a little scared when I saw her go for my bangs (they're called pony here). I was afraid I was going to have to go around with a mullet! But after she was done it looked good. She did what I had wanted and so I am pleased. No blue or purple hair and no mullet. A couple things a conspicuously missing from beauty salons here though, curling irons and cleaner for the scissors and brushes. They only use a round brush and a hairdryer for styling and I am not sure what they do about cleaning their brushes. I just try not to think about it. Anyway, Here is a pic, judge for yourself.
Excuse my tired face, I was awakened at 5 am and am extremely tired!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Here are the first of the pics of inside our house. I am starting at the bottom, front door and working my way up. That makes the most sense, to me anyway. Our house is only one room wide and two rooms deep (or about) so getting pics is a little difficult. The bottom floor includes the entryway, Jason's office and junk room, and the storage room and laundry room (what they call the Keller.) It is not the first floor. That is above the ground floor. Anyway, here goes.
Looking in from the front door. A cabinet for coats, etc. and a rack for current jackets, shoes,etc.
Each kid has his own "cubby" for shoes and a basket for winter hats, gloves, and scarves.
Looking toward the front door. Germans always take their shoes off before going into the home. We have house shoes for inside and most everyone has a few available for guests. With the yucky, rainy weather here, this is a very nice custom. I also call this area the sandbox, because after preschool, the Caedon and Logan dump out all the sand from their shoes. Caedon can literally make a small pile, I don't know how he walks in them with so much sand!
One pic from Jason's office.It is always a mess! The kids put their school things in here and anything else that doesn't have a home! It is Jason's room and I don't touch it, even though my OCD side really wants to do something about it.
This is the "area" for the kids school stuff. Each has a box for their stuff. Kids here don't have lockers, so they have to keep everything at home and repack their backpack each day according to their class subjects that day. (It is like a college schedule.) Each kid got to decorate it as they wanted.
The stairs up to the rest of the house and a small storage area for skates, shoes, and bike.
At the back of the house is a large storage area with a smaller room for my laundry area.

Just two shots into the storage area. It is a mess and very hard to keep under control. Thankfully, I got a bunch of "hand-me-down" cabinets to organize and hide all of our junk.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our House

I am fascinated by peoples' homes. I like to think it stems from my love of architecture and interior design. I almost studied both in college but decided to go a different route. I don't regret my decision, but do still find both interesting. Jason says my curiosity is just nosiness. Anyway, I have people asking for my advice on interior decorating and love to "do" up my house. I am constantly wanting to change, redecorate, "freshen up" our home.

So, this set of blogs is for anyone who is curious how this missionary family lives. I have seen a few other apartments and houses of others here in the Germanic speaking world and feel like we are fairly comparable to others' situations. If you have no interest, then just wait a while and I will move on to something else. I plan on giving a virtual tour of our home. It will be only pics, but will give a general idea. So, here goes,

This is our building. It is three row houses together. Yes, it is 4 stories. Ours is the one in the middle. Our house is larger but our yard is smaller. There are three houses that look similar to ours on our street. Behind us is several rows of row houses that are only accessible by walking. Unfortunately, our street is very busy and noisy and we are in the path of planes from the airport. The neighborhood is very quiet though. There are a lot of families with lots of kids. The grade school (1-4th) is just around the corner and the kids can walk there in just a few minutes.
Our house up close. The front door is the one on the right. The other is the window to Jason's office/junk room.

Our small front yard. It is a work in progress. It was pitiful when we first moved here and now it is just a little less pathetic.
The view out the front. Unfortunately, it is rather ugly. The house belongs to an auto mechanic and he has converted some of it to a shop and office and he has a high tech shop to the left of this pic.
The view down the street. Up this street, beyond the trees to the left is a really old Lutheran church (about 800 years old). To the right up the street and around the corner is the kids' school. It just celebrated its 125th or more birthday. It is a very small school, with only 1 or 2 classes per grade, about 100 students at the most. Next week, when I find time I will begin with the inside of the house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hair

My husband says I am not "high maintenance". I like to think that I am not. I do my own nails and buy cheap hair products, etc. I even cut my family's hair. I even cut my own hair, but this is out of pure desperation. I made sure I got a good haircut and went back to my natural haircolor (I like to call it "ugly , indefinable brown") before I left the states. This would ensure that I would have about 6 months to get accustomed to Germany and maybe learn enough German to get a haircut. When I got here, one of the first things I noticed was women's (and men's) hair. What I mean is, one couldn't but notice! The hair was every color imaginable (I actually saw a woman that had every color imaginable). My favorite was neon pink and blue. We call the old ladies here the "purple hairs" because every shade of purple is the most popular color for the over 60 crowd! The cuts were just as wild as the color. The mullet, mohawk and rattail are still going strong here. All the hair cuts you see in the magazines and hairbooks at the salons, that is what you see here. Very unconventional. So, I had great fear! After waiting nearly 2 years I finally got up the courage to go. Armed with pictures of the length and color I wanted, I went to a friend of a friend. What I left with was nothing like I wanted or my pics! It wasn't bad, just not what I wanted. So, it has now been another year and 2 home haircuts and colors and I am done. I must get a new "professional" cut. There is a lady in our church that needs guinea pigs (models) so she can get her special certificate or something, I don't understand how it all works. But anyway, she will do my hair free! And I have seen her work and I like it. So next week I am off to the hair wizard and I will post pics and info. when I have it. Pray that I don't get blue hair or a mullet!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Neighbors and Flowers

Now you may ask, what do neighbors and flowers have to do with each other? Nothing really, but I want to share a little about my neighbor and the flowers she "gave us".

God blessed us with an awesome neighbor (family). We moved into our house in June of 2006, knowing only please and thank you in German. But God is so gracious. Our neighbor not only speaks excellent English (she did a year as an exchange student in Texas) but her father just happens to own a language institute! So, language problem, solved, tutoring needs, solved. The story could go on, but then I might forget to share about the flowers.

We have a small yard behind our house. We have a small fence and shrubs that separate our yard from our neighbors'. Every year our neighbor plants flowers along her side of the fence. Inevitably though, we always reap the benefits of her plantings. The last 2 years we have had sunflowers. Sunflowers are really popular here and almost everyone grows them. They get REALLY big here, upwards of 20 feet. (I last lived in west Texas where they had had a draught, so nothing grew) Anyway, this year's flowers were pretty impressive.( I think the only ones that grew, grew on our side of the fence!) So, here are a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the flower and it gives me a chance to share a little about God's blessings and my neighbor. I will tell you more about her and the story later. They have 4 precious girls, ages 5 to 6 months. This is a very unusual for east German families! Me under the flower, getting dusted in sunflower dust!
The main flower and one of the other 9 flowers or buds.
Jason under the flower to give you a little idea. In case you don't know, he is 6 ' 3 in. tall (or so he says) The flower is also a little top heavy and is bent quite a bit. Although our flower isn't especially large, I have seen some sunflowers here as large as dinner plates or frisbees.