Tuesday, February 25, 2014

a day full of accomplishments

Before dawn's early light, we arose. In the cool darkness, I dressed, made the coffee, and when at last it could be put off no longer, I woke the kids. Anna shot right out of bed and got ready. Jack, not so much. If a body can ooze out of bed, then that is what he did. I dressed the little ones and loaded them up in the car. The sky was beginning to lighten over the black mountain that looked much like a sleeping giant. The sliver of moon and one star were still brilliant against the deep blue-black sky. I really love seeing the day creep into being like that, I just don't like having to get up so early!

We arrived at our destination, the driver testing center. Tony dropped me off at the door and then went in search of breakfast for the kids who were by now fully awake and wanting nourishment. I looked over the rules and signs one last time. It was very important to pass this on the first try, for we had found a used car to buy for Tony and we were to pick it up today. Not very easy to do if only one of us can drive! It made me a little nervous that I was the first one in the group to finish the test. But I did it! I passed! Now I was ready for some breakfast too. Oh, and Tony made me drive home. My first time on the autobahn and I did fine.

Tony went back out on the next task, finalizing the rental contract on a house. We will have the keys on Friday, though our things will not be delivered until Tuesday. And by things, I mean the temporary furnishings the Army provides until our own arrive. It should only be a couple more weeks. I think I am really going to like the house. Jack is not so sure, because it is pink.

While Tony was busy with the housing paperwork, I actually got some schooling in before I fed the kids some lunch and we piled back into the van to go get the "new car". It feels so weird to say that we bought a BMW. Never mind that it is an 18 year old BMW. It is ours. We got all the paperwork done on that and then I actually made it back to our hotel by myself. Tony went to do some more errands. Note to self: I should have been paying more attention on how to get to places.

My next task is to come up with something nutritious and easy to cook for dinner. Again. We might just have sandwiches and soup because Tony is going to his first Knights of Columbus meeting tonight. On Sunday, to my great relief,  a very nice family approached us after Mass to welcome us. I must have that 'homeschool' look about me, though I am not quite sure what that look is. That day, it was probably the "Whew! We made it through Mass" look. She has just started a homeschool group at the Church and she invited us to join! Oh, joy! God is definitely helping me find some friends and that is a very, very good thing!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Helper

One dreary gray morning, Peter toddles over to his mama in his gray robot pajamas. Pulling on her skirt and peering up with his big brown eyes, he says "Egg." So Peter's mama scoops him up and goes into the kitchen to make breakfast. She sits him on the counter while she gets the eggs and a pan. Peter likes to help. He reaches out to grab an egg. His mama gently places the egg in his hand, and holding his hand in hers, shows him how to gently tap, tap, tap the egg on the edge of the counter. He grins and picks up the next egg. Before his mama can help, he firmly smashes the egg into the counter! Oops! It did not do the same thing as before. But it makes Peter laugh and laugh. His mama scrambles the eggs, puts them on a plate, and sets them on the table. Peter uses his fork all by himself, for the first few bites, then growing impatient with those eggs, he picks them up in his little fingers. Much easier!

Peter likes to climb. He is very good at it, most of the time. There is a nice, wide window ledge right behind the chair. It is a perfect place to sit and watch for Daddy to get home from work. But this morning, something went wrong. Instead of sliding back into the chair, Peter tumbles right to the floor! He is so surprised he forgets to cry. His cheek is scraped, but his pride is bruised. He runs to mama and snuggles deep into her arms. Soon all is right again and he smiles as he wiggles out of mama's arms and heads off on his next task. His mama sighs and smiles as the sun finally makes its way from behind the clouds. It is a long time until Peter takes his nap and he has lots to do before then. His mama pours another cup of coffee and thinks how lucky she is to have this lively little boy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

cooking light

As in, I have a very limited kitchen here in the hotel. One skillet, 2 pots, no oven safe dishes, and the most meager selection of cooking utensils. The spatula came pre-melted and the kitchen scissors were already broken. We have exactly 6 plates, forks, knives, spoons, and cups, so I have to either run the dishwasher or do all the dishes by hand after each meal. We arrived on the fourth of this month and I am fast running out of ideas. Oh, and everything I am cooking is from memory since my cookbooks are still in a crate somewhere.

I have another 2 weeks of this before we can move into the house we found, if we have managed to communicate effectively with the landlord. We are still not sure he understands us and we are not understanding him. Tomorrow's task is to get with the housing office and see if we can get all this straightened out.

 Peter was supposed to start feeding therapy before we left, but time ran out. He spits out more than he consumes, which is messy and frustrating, since he is 18 months old and weighs barely 19 pounds. Trying to come up with healthy, filling things for him is so hard. Funnily enough, most of his words involve food. "hot dog", "pop-pop" (popsicle), "app" for apple, "lo-liv" for olives. He also calls us all by name.

I go to the commissary each day to get what I need for supper. My mother does this all the time, but it is not for me. I like to have a menu and a stocked kitchen. I am awaiting Tony's arrival home from work. He has been taking the kids to the park and I can walk to the store (if it is not raining) and cook supper while the kids burn off all their pent up energy. That is our daily afternoon routine for now, but I am looking forward to having my kitchen fully functional very soon!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Greetings from Germany

Dear friends,

We are arrived in Germany! What a way to arrive though. The morning of our departure, I carried Peter down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. I did not even get to pour my coffee and he threw up right there, in front of all the poor people trying to enjoy their breakfast. He and I made a hasty exit back to the room to get cleaned up, all the while my brain is thinking, "We have to get on a plane today!" Thirty minutes later let me know that this was not a one time deal. Thirty minutes later brought the realization that we were in for a long day. We found a urgent care center that was kind enough to prescribe some anti-nausea medicine for not only Peter but some extra "just in case". We loaded up the van and headed toward the airport. On the way there, I looked over at Tony and knew. He was sick too. He somehow managed to get all of our belongings into the airport before succumbing to the illness. We got on the plane, got to our seats, and took off. The girls and Peter were with me and Tony and Jack were behind us, sleeping. The girls were keyed up and watched the movie. Just as they finally drifted off to sleep, I heard it. Jack was the next one. All night, on the plane. Anna and I did eventually get the bug too, but at least we did not have to go anywhere!

We got settled into our hotel, which is more like an apartment. After six days here, Tony passed the German driver's test and we have our van, which means we no longer have to depend on the kindness of other band members to take us where we need to go.  I will take the test this coming week.

House hunting has been our latest task. There is no available housing on base, so we will be living in a German village. They are so quaint. No cookie-cutter houses here. No sir. There have been some very interesting features to say the least. Hopefully we will be moved into a house by the beginning of March.

I have no pictures to share because I still do not have our things! I am using an old laptop and my phone does not work over here. The landscape is so pretty. Lots of rolling hills and small, tree-covered mountains, with villages tucked in here and there between lots of farmland.

Yesterday was the best day so far. Some Army friends from Georgia have been over here for several years. They are about two hours from us, but they made the drive and spent the day with us! I tell you, after they left, I sat down and realized what is important. Good friends, simple times, and good beer. Yep. You don't need much more than that.