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Sunday, October 28, 2012


My "little" brother Alexander called me this morning.  This is not unusual as my family tends to call me on the weekends, particularly on Sundays.  He left a message on our answering machine as I was bathing the girls upstairs.  He then left another message that I found an hour later.  Still, the message was of no urgency, just letting me know he had tried again to get a hold of me.  I called him back.  After a little small talk and updates on our kids and their new dog, he asked if we could Skype.  He just got an iphone and had downloaded Skype on it.  Since our computers are not performing as they should, I told him that wouldn't be a good idea.  We did a little bit more small talk and then he invited me to a magic trick.  Alexander is a really funny guy and so it is always worth entertaining his strange requests.  He asked me to have Dave videotape me doing the trick and I'd learn something new about myself.  Kathrin, his lovely wife, yelled from the background, encouraging me to do the trick.  She assured me it was well worth it.  Again, knowing how funny my brother can be, I was just too eager to comply.  I interrupted poor Dave at work (on a Sunday!).  You see what the poor man has to put up with?  He happily appliqued.  Camera going, Alexander asked me to get some paper and a pen.  I thought: "Oh, he will have me write something stupid and then videotape my face over the paper."  Alexander explained that he would have me write down words and I had to tell him the first thing that came to mind.  The list of words (not necessarily in this order and not necessarily the complete list) went something like this (in parenthesis were my answers): Mama (me), car (driving), vacation (going on).  At this point he made a disappointed sound, making me think that my answers were not working out for his magic trick.  Then he continued: USA (me), coffee (drinking), airplane (mama, as in mine), Abitur (test), today (I can't remember my answer).  There were a few more words that I cannot recall.  I was trying to outsmart him and figure out what he was trying to do but none of it made sense to me.  Then he told me to read the list, starting with the first word and then reading only every other word.  That made the following sentence, somewhat: Mama vacation USA airplane today.  Oookay, I thought to myself, that makes no sense!  What I thought couldn't be true.  So I read it loud.  And he said: "Exactly!" Here is where I lost it.  You see, what he was telling me was that my mom was on an airplane to the USA to come see us!  I screamed and I cried.  My poor brother and his wife.  They are most likely deaf.  Somewhere along the lines I asked him what time she'd be there.  He said 12:25 and I assumed that he must mean midnight since it was about 11:10am right now.  No, he meant 12:25pm!  So we rushed to get dressed, get ready, get kids lunch and left.  And now my sneaky mama is here!  She got us good.  Real good.  I love surprises!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Zoo-per Day

We were the lucky recipients of a local zoo membership, graciously given by husband's little brother and his family.  The kids are at an age were all of them enjoy animals.  One of the sunny days this summer we all packed into the car and headed to visit our animal friends.  

This was Isabelle's first visit to the zoo.  She is our animal lover par none!  She adores animals and has been aware of them very early on (six months of age?).  Her first "words" were "Daidee" for Daisy and "Dig" for Twig, our kitties.  As soon as she had control over her hands, she'd gently (and that is hard for a baby) pet them.  As soon as she could walk, walking was just another method to following the cats and her older siblings.  Now, whenever she sees Daisy, she tries to snap her fingers (that is how I call Daisy) and happily calls "Daidee!"   She is also very excited for any animal that she sees and points them out to me.  If for some reason we are not paying attention, she will keep calling us and pointing into the direction where the animal previously was.  

Here we are checking out the black bears.  These were Isabelle's favorites.  She LOVES bears.  We were here for a long time and when it was finally time to move on, Isabelle cried.  She cried for a long time.  
Here we are on our train ride.  We splurged this time around and took the extra-charge for a train ride.  Isabelle has her Curious George stuffed monkey with her.  At the time, he was her absolute favorite.  Naturally, he had to accompany her to the zoo.  Now her favorite is a baby that my mom sent for Abigail.

Abigail really enjoyed the train ride.  Her dress is one of my favorites.  I love that dress.  She is also wearing her special hair pins.  They are animals/girls made out of ribbons.  Here you see the frog.  Those daddy bought at a Christmas exposition a few years back.  He is so sweet when it comes to getting girl things.  He always picks thoughtful presents for the girls.  He once bought her a musical jewelry box made out of wood with a picture of an angel on the top.  So very sweet...

Ah, the polar bear.  A family favorite.  This time around he was resting. Last time around, we got a special treat and saw him play with a ball for a long time.  In his defense, it was a very warm day.  

Sizing chart of bears.  And children.  

Fun stuff all the way around.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Where The Wild Things Are

The two men in my life have great admiration for each other.  They also both admire nature.  And they both love to fish.  Therefore this day was bound to be a good one.  Early in the morning, the two men set out to find fish and bonding time along a close-by river.  The adventure was afoot.

Nathan found himself a most superb hiking stick.  Dad made it just the right size for him, but not without paying a price for it.  When he shortened the stick by stepping on it at an ankle, he must have somehow injured it.  The next day he could barely step on the foot.  That pain lasted for a few days until it finally went away.  Men, they never go see a doctor.
Anyways, here they are hiking through the backwoods.

Makes you feel small, uh?  Nothing like a little humble pie to feel awe.

That smile on my son's face just says it all.  The day was perfect. This is where a man's soul finds its peace.  

Cool root.  Two words with the "oo" sound.  Did you know there are different ways to pronounce that sound?  Yep, Nathan is learning to read.  I'm learning all the special sounds and rules of the American language.

Nathan lost his foot!  No, not really.  :-)  

Seeing these pictures, makes me drool.  I wish I was fishing too.  Maybe sometime soon.

I love that man.  I really do.  Life is so good.  Oh, another word with the "oo" sound!  Did you know his favorite beverage is made from a root?  Yep, rootbeer.

This remind me a little of a scene in Lord of the Rings.  Where the water balloons into a flood to help the Elfen girl escape with the hurt Hobbit.  I should google her name in order to be more specific...

Nathan is now casting all by himself.  That morning he had a great time exploring mine and David's fly-fishing jackets.  Since I haven't gone fly-fishing since we went to Yellowstone in 2005, all my flies where still in there.  Nathan was very interested in how one fly fishes and what all the flies were.  Then I had the urge to go fly-fishing in Yellowstone all day....  That would soothe my soul.

Nathan found himself a little writing nook to write a story for uncle Chris.  Uncle Chris bought them a Duck Tales DVD and the only way they could watch it was for them to write a story.  Nathan had to write about his fishing trip.

There was certainly no doom and gloom on his mind.  Just an overly happy little man.  It is turning into a great afternoon.  Now if only the giant fish would bite.

Ha!  A fish.  Nathan later on tried to understand why sometimes, you don't get a keeper.  It was a hard principle for him to understand.  :-) Since he is six and when you are six, you are just so excellent at everything.  

He is in such a good mood.  You can just see it in his face.

Ah, food.  No, not really.  This one was too little as well.

Apparently his foot slipped here and he told his dad after taking the picture.  He is going to get a kick with the big boot (an expression his dad uses quite frequently) if he ever does that again.

The pool of the waterfall right behind Nathan.  This place is so pretty, only a fool would not be able to appreciate it.

Nathan writing some more in his little book.  He wrote a good little story about a boy whose father took him fishing.  

David has owned this fishing shirt with a hood ever since I've known him.  And that is the only activity he will wear it for.

Nathan putting his first ever worm on the hook.  Normally dada does that for him.  Thankfully the worm is coldblooded.  

The moon is almost up.  Time to go home little man.  But not before soaking up the last little bit of this perfect day.  Then it was time to return to our neighborhood.
Bottomline: Boys adore their dads and they adore going out into nature with them even more.


Ah, nature.  Being out there in it, there is nothing quite like it.  It makes you feel more complete.  Maybe because you are closer to God.  We love these little outings and the kids have come to love them too.  This was a particularly pretty hike.  The day was perfect too, not too hot, not too cold.  Just perfect.

Walking underneath the big trees, passing alongside the ferns and underbrush.  So quiet.  So peaceful.  

Camouflage boy.  Look very closely.  The blue and red is really Nathan.  I know, it blended in so well, you did not realize it was him.

No words.

Sibling love.  They are having more and more moments where they appreciate each other.

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

How much fun can you possibly have outside?  

Abigail has always loved pine cones.  Her favorites are the little ones.  Why, my.  We just found a treasure trove.  I'm sure she wanted to stay there for the next six hours.

This root was quite a nice place to play on.

This was a particularly lovely day.  When we came home, we had another little niece!  Little Rosemarie was born the night before and we love her so!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And The Award For First Head Laceration Goes To...

There were three nominees in this category.  It is believed that Nathan is in the lead to win this award, closely followed by a table-climbing Isabelle.  Or will the unexpected happen and the underdog Abigail will run away with this one?

Ladies and gentleman,
The award for first head laceration goes to......................................

Pause to create more excitement.........................


Congratulations to Miss Abigail.  She received the prestigious but undesired three staples to the head award for a 1-inch laceration on the side of her head.  Her stellar performance of  a whirlwind dancer whose joyous movements were quickly ended as she collided with the corner of two walls, earned her this trip to the emergency room.  The other main character, the calm as can be father, guiding all family members to the hospital quickly and efficiently, has also been nominated for Father of the Year award.
Other supporting cast worth mentioning are the grossed-out brother with "hurting legs" (I'm thinking this means "weak knees") every time anyone mentions "staples" or "head wounds" and the mother who translating German into English and is telling everyone that her daughter has a "hole in her head."  (I have since been corrected and now know that the word "laceration" should be used instead.)

Abigail graciously accepted her award with tears (unfortunately these were not tears of joy, but rather tears of pain).  Staples hurt.  She was brave though, very brave.  She was kind to the nurses and a delight to most of them, making them smile with her ever so lively and pleasant attitude.  She's up and running today, enjoying being spoiled by mom and dad.  She does have a big headache, which was to be expected.

So that was our umpteenth trip to the local emergency room.  To be honest, I figured my friend Melissa with her three wild boys would make this particular trip before me....  :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Ah, my favorite kind of post.  :-)

Nathan singing a beautiful love song about Abby to make her feel better.
After a while, he ran out of the usual material, so he improvised: "....I have as much blood as Abby...."

Nathan looking at shrink-wrapped bottles: "Look, they have a force field around them!"  (To see the world through a 6-year old's eyes...)

Abby, seeing a teenage boy climbing down a steep path by a river: "Yep, he's gonna die."

Concluding an educational lesson on bats by local forest rangers:
Mama: "What is your favorite thing about bats?"
Nathan: "That they catch insects with their 'net'."
Mama: "Abby, what is your favorite thing about bats?"
Abby: "That they are part of Batman."

Mama: "Maybe you guys can just share?"
Nathan: "We don't share that good so we'll just do whoever gets there first."

On the upcoming election of the American President.
Nathan: "Who is the second guy going against the president?"
Mama: "Whoever runs against the president at the time."
Nathan: "You have to run?"

Still talking about the election process:
Nathan: "How do you become president?"
Mama: "Well, first you have to be an American and an adult..."
Nathan: "Oh!  I was going to be president!" (Dodged that bullet, Mr. Obama!)

Walking over cobble stones:
Abigail: "That looks like cookies with the frosting leaking."

Dada: "It rained here."
Nathan: "Where?"
Dada: "Everywhere."
Nathan: "I don't see any reindeer."

Dada to Mama, who complained of an utter lack of energy: "Drink 5 latte shotwoopiedidoos and you'll have energy."

Abby telling me a story: "...and Susi went...."
Mama interrupting: "I thought her name was Nya?"
Abby: "Yea, I'm just calling her Susi."

Nathan: "So you're blackberrying me?" (blackmailing)

Nathan toying with the idea of John 14:14. ("If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do.")
"So I could ask for a house full of toys? Yeah!  And then they'd all be girl toys!"

Nathan singing a song to me:
"You are awesome, you are the greatest, you are the biggest..." (Thanks, bud.)