Friday, October 14, 2016

leaf hunt

This afternoon, while I was running an errand, I entrusted my husband with the task of re-reading "Leaf Man" to the kids and to then go on a leaf hunt so that we could make our own leaf creations. I caught up with them while they were out. I must admit that at first I just wanted to herd everyone home because, well because we hadn't done much schooling and I started to feel the pressure to get more done. But I had to tell myself to stop and let them explore and play and just deal with the fact that I was very chilled. I still have that little nagging voice telling me "you aren't doing enough", and I am trying to quash that voice and just celebrate whatever we accomplish. It is not an easy thing to do when the rest of the world is telling you just the opposite.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Jaunt

One of the first poems Jack studied this year is "The Children's Hour" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We came to the following stanza:

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse Tower on the Rhine.

We had to look up this reference because we live close to Bingen and well, a Mouse Tower just sounds interesting. After reading about it, we knew we wanted to go see it for ourselves. Imagine our surprise to discover that it is only a few hundred yards away from the museum where we learned about St. Hildegard of Bingen last year! The weather was cold and windy and we could not access the castle or the tower from where we were. We will have to revisit this site again when the weather is more agreeable.

We actually started our day in Mainz, which is about 25 minutes away from Bingen. We went to the Gutenberg Museum. We paid the entrance fee, and the clerk told us that there was a live demonstration of the printing press in thirty minutes. It was in German, but we could still watch. So we hung up our coats, visited the WC, and headed to the demonstration area to look around while we waited. A group came down the stairs and a gentleman began the English! So we sat down and watched and listened. After it was over, he told everyone to follow him upstairs for the next part of his tour. Oops! We accidentally sat in on someone's group tour! I took some pictures until I was kindly told that I wasn't supposed to. In my defense, I never saw any sign saying as much.

Then we walked across the plaza to the Cathedral. The children were just wanting to get to the Mouse Tower at this point, so it was a quick walk through the Cathedral! The one thing the kids do in every church we visit is light a candle and offer up a prayer for someone special. That done, they were done, and we left.

We stopped at the bakery to pick up a baguette to go with the ham and cheese I had packed in the car. We ate along the way to Bingen. Minus the frustrations of a broken GPS (we really need to get another one!), and the fact that my phone died while navigating us to Bingen, we had a nice little impromptu field trip yesterday.

On Anna's head is my first knitted project since breaking my arm.

This was as good as it got for a family photo.

The castle overlooks the Rhine and the Mouse Tower

The Mouse Tower

"Hey Mom! I am going to climb this big hill all by myself!"

"Help! I can't get down!"

Dad to the rescue.

On the drive home.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pirate Ship Park

Sunday was beautiful, so I suggested we go check out a park I had seen listed as one of the top 7 parks in our area. As with so many things here in Germany, there was no specific address listed in the article and they even said that it can be challenging to find! I made my best guess and plugged that into the GPS and we were off. For once, I was right, and we had no trouble finding the park or the pirate ship! The water was only a few inches deep, and my kids had such a blast navigating those little, wooden rafts. When they finally tired of being wet, and their stomachs were wanting nourishment, we wandered across the park to the mini-golf course, where we had more fun and some food, and maybe even a glass of wine for the mama.

Because they are and because he oftentimes is, I would like to title this one "Crabby Pants".

This duck was floating on another pond nearby, but I startled him while trying to capture the scene and he suddenly took flight.

After the fun of the pirate ship, we wandered over to the miniature golf course, where they were having some sort of fest. These were on the table, where I waited for the food while the kids hit the links.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Morning Musings

Sunrise from a few days ago.

This mornings sunrise amid the fog.

Taken only a few minutes after the first picture. The sun moves amazingly fast!

I never used to be a morning person. In the quest to find some quiet time in my day, I started setting the alarm clock for 6:00am. After many months, my body is naturally waking at this time. I arise, start the coffee and grab my Magnificat. I head to the living room and sit in my favorite spot. There is a huge window that affords me a spectacular view of the distant mountain.

Now that fall is here, the sunrise is right around my waking time, and not at 4:30, like it is in the summer months. Every morning, there is a new and completely different show that happens outside that window. Some days are so cloudy that it just naturally gets lighter, but there is no great glowing orb rising from behind the hills. But, oh, those days when the sun does burst forth! It is a reminder to me that I get to start afresh, and try again to live this day better than the one before. God is wonderful like that, forgiving and offering anew the chance to be the person I long to be.

This morning was one of those mornings. Every few minutes, the colors changed, the morning fog catching those colors and spreading them across the sky. I sat there, mesmerized, taking photos in the crisp, cool air that also seems so fresh compared to the air at the end of the day. God must purify it somehow as we slumber.

Mornings in our homeschool have given our days a new freshness as well. After listening to Sarah MacKenzie from Read Aloud Revival and Pam Barnhill from "Your Morning Basket" on many a podcast, I have begun a "morning basket" approach to the start of our days. We gather in the living room instead of the classroom. We start with a morning offering, a hymn, and then we do read aloud time. Sometimes it is Shakespeare, sometimes it is our current book "Black Beauty", but whatever we choose, we are gathered together in a cozy, comfortable space.

After morning time, I had envisioned us heading down to the classroom to begin our other work. Since I broke my arm, though, the couch is a great place from which to teach. I can pile up pillows for my arm and have my planner next to me. We have done almost no school in the "classroom" so far this year.

In an attempt to keep my anxieties at bay, while the kids are working I have tried crocheting, which is much more doable with one arm than knitting, seeing how you only have one needle instead of two. At first, I stuck the crochet hook in the splint and did all the moving of the yarn with my right hand. I managed to make a purse. As my fingers have regained some of their mobility and strength, I can now hold the crochet hook with my fingers. Anna has joined me in making little circles that will hopefully become a blanket.

I have come to the end of my morning cup of coffee and now I must try to get some things done while the kids are away. They have joined the youth bowling league on post and Tony takes them every Saturday morning. Have a blessed day!