Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Castle with a View

This afternoon, we decided to see our first German castle. We started close by. Berg Nanstein is in Kaiserslautern, which coincidentally is where Tony's car lost it's drive shaft a few days ago. We were following the brown signs, but were having trouble locating the castle. We drove past a narrow little cobblestone path with an arrow to the castle with a picture of a bicycle on it. We assumed that it was a bike path. After circling for a while, our friendly GPS finally felt like cooperating and informed us that that little path was indeed a road for cars. When we reached the castle, the inside was open for only thirty more minutes. Since there was a charge to see the inside, we will go back when we have more time. There was plenty to see on the outside and we stayed for several hours. The weather was perfect, the view phenomenal, the beer cold, and overall was a splendid day for the soul.  I'm told the ice cream was pretty good too.

The view from the castle

There is all kinds of excitement in those faces.

photo credit goes to Anna

This was on the back side of the castle.

A Tree Grows In Berg Nanstein

This is the "road" to the castle. We are coming back down when I took the picture.

Also a two way street. Those cars on the left aren't moving. They are parked That leaves plenty of room to drive, don't you think?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thankful Thursday on a Friday

I am linking up with Jamie today to do a thankful post.

First, let me say how thankful I am to finally, finally, have an internet connection! I called my parents last night for free and I also Skyped with them! Oh, so thankful for Skype so I could see my mom and dad, Sophie, and my grandmother.

Thankful for creative kids who liked watching a show called Art Attack in the hotel room. She created this paper mache helmet from items in the room. I did buy her some paint.

Thankful for cotton yarn and a pair of knitting needles. I made a lot of dishcloths in that hotel room!


Thankful for little boys who can fall asleep anywhere.  Thankful that these kids of mine handled this move like champs. Even through three, count them three stomach bugs in the first six weeks! Thankful for Lysol wipes too.

Thankful that cans of food have pictures on them so I could buy the things we needed for pizza at the local grocery store. Thankful for Google Translate on my phone so I can try and tell the ladies at the deli counter what I would like to buy.

Thankful for our new backyard. Thankful that there is a chicken coop backing up to our yard. (Not our chickens, but we get to watch them) Thankful that Peter gets in on the play now with all his siblings. Thankful for nice neighbors who don't mind the repeated trips into their yard to retrieve baseballs.

Thankful that this is the view out my front door. Look at those mountains! I love the little village we live in. I feel like I am living in a fairy tale book. Everything is so quaint.

Thankful for signs of spring. Flowers are budding and bursting forth everywhere I look. There are so many new plants to see too. And the birds! I am trying to capture them on my camera. There are such interesting birds here.

Thankful that most of the streets look like this. Some are paved, including our street, but all the sidewalks are made of stone like this. It is so pretty.

I am going to have to have a whole post dedicated to all the doors I see. Thankful for all the interesting architecture. It is like eye candy for me. I could just stare and stare and never grow tired of the views.

Thankful for little boys who find these small doors as funny as I do. Little doors like this are everywhere, tucked in the sides of buildings or walls.

Thankful for getting to see this on our walk to the store every day. Thankful that we can walk to the store because Tony's car broke down yesterday. Thankful for GPS so I could find him to pick him up in the big town where he was stranded. Thankful for leftovers because cooking dinner got interrupted for a rescue mission.

Thankful for the little chapel on post (not the one pictured here) where we have been going to Stations of the Cross and a soup supper every Friday. It has helped us meet people in the Church a lot faster than I imagined. Thankful that the Lenten season came along at just the right time this year.

Thankful for little girls who keep on walking after Mommy kisses her knees for the hundredth time. She just keeps tripping on those cobblestones. She keeps walking, but she does not suffer in silence. Thankful for her spirited personality. Most of the time.

Thankful for warmer temperatures so that our walk is more pleasant. Thankful that the sun has been out more than the clouds lately.

Thankful that I walk these streets more than I drive on them. It is like playing chicken every time we drive. There is room for about one and a half cars on the streets in our town. When you meet an oncoming car, you need to determine who is going to yield and pull onto the sidewalk, and who gets to proceed.

Thankful for the exercise this hill affords me every time we walk home. It is a good workout because I am usually the one pushing the stroller loaded down with Peter and all the groceries we have just bought. I am huffing and puffing those last 50 feet. I figure it will get a little easier every time. Right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Daybook

outside the window... a foggy morning. The bare tree branches are dotted with dewdrops. It has decided to be cold again after several warmish days. I liked not having to bundle up to go out. Hopefully the springlike weather will return very soon.

on my mother-in-law who fell and fractured her skull. Please pray for her recovery. It is hard to be far from home anyway, but now it is especially hard.

in the kitchen...learning to do things differently. The sink is small. The fridge is small. The oven is small. My first loaves of bread did not turn out so nicely. There is one rack in the oven and one cookie sheet type rack. I think the solid rack is interfering with heat distribution. The bread looked lovely on top and very undercooked on the bottom. I also have always planned a weekly menu, but I do not have the space to store all that food. I guess I could still plan weekly and then buy daily. The walk to the store is nice.

in the classroom...we have had some good days and some not so good days. There are still many interruptions because we are not all the way settled in. I do like our new space in the loft area though. The room is divided in half by a big sofa that belongs to the landlords, but would be most difficult to get down the spiraling stairs. So it stayed. On one side is the classroom and on the other is the play area. I worried that it would be too distracting, but it really helps keep Peter busy and that is most useful.

I am creating...a new living space in a new house. A knit for a friend. I had tried to have a giveaway last week. No one entered the drawing, so I will donate the hat to the local hospital. I suppose God will find the right little head for the hat.

In my mother-in-law.
            daughter Olivia, who has decided to live on her own.
            dad and his recovery.

Plans for the week...actually get the internet and phone service installed. Still no connection other than my cell phone's hot spot. So many things I need to do involve the computer. I would really like to know what the heck I am doing with the German washer and dryer. I am limping along until I can get an English translation for the owner's manuals. We had intended to do the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure, but we cannot do the online parts because my little phone cannot handle all the downloads and videos.

No picture of the week because it takes about an hour to add one!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yarn Along and a giveaway

Confession time. I never thought about taking the memory card out of the camera and loading the pictures onto our old laptop that has been chugging slowly along while we have moved halfway around the world. But I did today and guess what? I have knitting pictures!

Tomorrow, our internet is supposed to be hooked up. I am really, really looking forward to the moment when I don't have to work off of my phone's hotspot. It is rather slow and unreliable.

 The scarf thing I finished while I was still in the US at my parent's house. I had bought the yarn on sale and never could find a project for it. I have never been into wearing scarves, but I must admit I like it a lot. Every time we go for a walk in our little village, everyone seems to be wearing a scarf, so I fit right in. That is very unusual! I am sure my little American brood and I stand out as foreigners in every other way!

 Next is a surprise knit for someone I know, who may or may not read this little old blog on occasion. I will not tell what this is going to become, but I love the color and the feel of the yarn. It is mostly cotton and so soft, and I just wanted you to see the pretty yarn I picked.

Finally, for the giveaway! I knit this little newborn cap with earflaps with some yarn of unknown origin that happened to be in the bottom of my knitting bag. I made more dishcloths than I care to admit while I was living in the hotel and wanted to knit something cute. This little cap was fun and quick and I want someone to have it that can use it. So, leave a comment if you want to be in on the drawing. I will announce the winner on Monday morning, German time.

As for reading, I read Willa Cather's 'The Song of the Lark'. I much prefer 'My Antonia'. I just didn't care for Thea, the main character. She had all these lovely people in her life who helped her and she never seemed to me to appreciate what she had. I downloaded some Chesterton onto my Kindle app, so one of his books will be up next. Also, for Lent, I am reading 'Bringing Home Lent with St. Therese of Lisieux' by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. We have not read it every day with all the illness going through the house, but it is a lovely reflection for Lent for the whole family.

As always, I am linking up with Ginny.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dreams and Deja Vu

This past week, I have not gotten restful sleep. Poor Peter has been sick since Tuesday, with the other kids getting less severe versions of the illness throughout the week. Today is the first day that I can truly say I think he is on the mend. I don't know about you, but when I am bone-tired exhausted from caring for little people all through the night, my dreams get a little strange. I dreamt that Tony blew all our savings on something very frivolous and the dream was so real, that I had to keep reminding myself throughout the day that he had not really done anything wrong!

Several times this week, I have also had that deja-vu sensation. I never know what to make of it when that happens. Sometimes I think it means that I am where God wants me to be since it seems like I have already lived it before. It probably just means that I need a nap!

Usually, my dreams are fraught with anxiety when I am over-tired. But I had a surprisingly beautiful dream last night. In the six years since Ben died, I have had only a handful of dreams about him. The one I remember most occurred a few months after he died. I could see him through a glass partition, almost like a prison visit. It was obvious that I was not allowed access to where he was. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but I could tell he was trying to comfort me and let me know he was happy. Last night, though, I dreamed that we were celebrating Ben being a teenager and he was alive. It was a party with lots of family and friends and  I was tearing up, seeing him grown into a young man. So proud of who he was becoming.

Tonight, as I get ready to go to bed, I am hoping that all my babies sleep through the night and that we all wake up refreshed and renewed. As I tell my kids each night when I tuck them in, "sweet dreams".

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Our house has a bidet. When I saw it, I thought, now there is something that will not get used! We have been here less than`a week and I have to admit that this thing is really handy to me, but not for its original purpose. It is perfect for cloth diapering. I have rinsed diapers. I have lanolized covers. There is even a handy towel bar for hanging covers! The only improvement would be if it was in the bathroom that houses the washer and dryer.

And just this afternoon, I found it to be most helpful in rinsing the sheets that Peter threw up on. Yep. He is sick again. A fever too. I hope he does not share with the rest of us. There is a four day weekend coming up and we were hoping to go exploring.

That is all. I must console a miserable baby.

Friday, March 7, 2014

It feels like Christmas, not Lent

Last night we slept in our own beds for the first time since January 8, just one day shy of two months. It felt like such a luxury. I have such mixed emotions about that since it is the beginning of Lent after all. I feel like we have had our own personal Lent imposed upon us for the last two months. We have lived out of three suitcases, three outfits a piece plus one more for Church. One more suitcase for some toys, which quickly got old. Not many luxuries to speak of, and frequently I found myself having to improvise to make things happen.

Our household goods arrived yesterday, one week ahead of schedule. All day Ash Wednesday, Jack would burst out, "I can't wait for tomorrow!" Finally, at bedtime, I said "I can't wait either. Do you know why?" And he looked at me expectantly. I replied, "Because you will stop saying 'I can't wait'". He thought that was the funniest thing. He laughed and laughed. It was a little like Christmas, ripping open boxes to find the things we have been missing. This morning I made banana muffins and let me just say that I appreciated that muffin tin more than I ever thought possible!

I have made a great dent in the unpacking. The kitchen is pretty well put away, though I know I will be moving things around as I figure out a better configuration. The classroom is put together and the toys are all in the playroom. We either need to get rid of some toys (my preference and Lent is a good time to do so!) or get some more baskets to put them in. The beds and bedding are all done. The kids clothes are put away and our bedroom is the next thing to tackle. The Army provided temporary furniture until ours arrived. Yesterday was very crowded with twice the number of beds and tables and couches. They came and picked up the furniture this morning, so now I can try and arrange our things properly.

Tony and I are not spring chicks anymore, as it turns out. We toasted the end of the day with Advil! I have a feeling I will get in better shape quickly though. Our street is a steep hill. At the bottom are some restaurants, a bakery, a butcher, the grocery store and I discovered that there is an open market on Wednesday mornings! Most of that is a five minute walk going down. It takes us a bit longer on the way back up the hill! The grocery store is actually about a fifteen minute walk, but if the weather cooperates, I plan to walk. The streets are so narrow, you are basically playing chicken with oncoming traffic the whole time when you drive.

That is the latest update for now. I must get back to unpacking, for the kids are actually playing nicely.