Monday, October 29, 2012

Stupidity and efficiency

My mornings while the boys are at school are a special time that I truly treasure. It's a time when I can go to bible study, meet up with friends and get chores done around the house without being interrupted or waylaid by small children. Wednesday after I dropped the boys off I planned to complete a laundry list of errands and chores. I needed to clean the house, vacuum the rugs, do the laundry, pick up a package and return a borrowed stroller in exchange for our old one that had been at the shop to be fixed. Since the stroller was going to take the longest, I decided to that first.

I grabbed the borrowed stroller, hurried to the train, and rode the four stops to the bus station where I would transfer to get to the toys r us. While I was on the train I decided to get some work done. I got so absorbed in finishing my german homework, that when I looked up we were at my stop! I grabbed up all my papers and ran out of the train. I stood on the platform thinking how nice it was that I didn't have to wait for the elevator when it hit me, I had left the borrowed stroller in the train! My mind raced trying to think if some way to retrieve it, but no, there was no way to get to a further stop than the train I had just exited, and I couldn't call anyone on the train and ask them to leave it on the next platform for me. I wandered over to the"information" board on the platform with maps and whatnot and noticed a phone number for information. I called the number, and to my delight the woman that answered spoke perfect English. I explained the situation and she chuckled, "how did you forget a stroller?!" She asked. " I guess because it didn't have any children in it", I replied. She advised me to speak to the driver of the next train that came along, and he would radio the other driver and figured it out. That had never occurred to me, but it worked great! The driver told me ride along while he radioed the other train, and then two stops later he stuck his head out and told me to ride to the end station with him, and then I would get my stroller back there. I rode along, and two stops before the end he stuck his head out again and told me to get out there and wait for the next train coming the other way, they would have my stroller. I did as instructed and the next driver had my stroller up next to him. He had me sign a paper and returned the stroller to me.

I was honestly amazed how efficiently the whole situation was handled, and that they were willing to delay the trains each time to help me out. I expected it to be a much bigger hassle than it was. Of course, afterwards I felt really ridiculous having spent my whole morning and all my precious time riding the subway, and I didn't even have time to return the stroller, so I had to do it the afternoon with the kiddos in tow. Oh well,live and learn I guess!


Dylan and I are both big readers. For some reason, so far our kids don't seem to just LOVE books. James will listen to books if you bring it up, but it's never really his idea, and David will not usually sit still through a whole (ridiculously short board) book. One thing they do both like to do though is "read" to themselves/play with books. Then this morning I looked over and witnessed this interaction between the boys:

James: "come here David, I'm going to read the bible to you"
David: "yeah!"
James: "ok, so, God made the sun, he took the sunny stuff and made it into the sun, see that David?"
David: "wow"
James: "And look! There's Joseph! Mumble mumble mumble, and God saved the Israelites"

At this point David got distracted and started doing something else. But seriously, how cute is that?!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Just like daddy

James is in a "Daddy" phase right now. He wants to be like daddy in every way. Instead of normal pj's he wears sweat pants and a t-shirt to bed every night because that's what Dylan wears. He wears button down shirts to school every day, and this weekend he's been insisting he and Dylan wear ties.

It's 10am Sunday morning, and James and Dylan are snuggled up on the couch together wearing ties and sweats and watching "Coal".

Friday, October 19, 2012


I haven't posted in a while. I think I keep waiting till I have something really post-worthy, and since we haven't done any cool sightseeing recently, nothing seems quite post-worthy. But, I know there are a few of you out there following just to keep up with the going on of our family, boring as they may be. So this is for you guys! (hi mom ;-))

James' kindergarten started a month ago, and we've finally settled into a real normal rhythm with things. It's really nice to have predictable weeks and know what's coming up. Also, because he's in kindergarten 5 days a week, and quite busy with that, we've been having a lot more lazy weekends, not feeling the need to get out and do something "fun" every time Saturday rolls around. It's been quite nice actually.

During the week James goes to Kindergarten every morning from 8:15ish-12:45ish (there are half hour windows where I drop him off and pick him up). On Wednesday he has milchtage (milk day, they have milk for snack time instead of the normal tea/Water) and on Friday he has spielzeugtage and kinderturnen (toy day and gymnastics). So far he really likes school and the only time when he cried during drop-off was a day when we had argued all the way to school over whether he should have ridden his new scooter or not (he wanted to, I said no). Needless to say he was crying about the scooter, and not about being left at kindergarten!

David is still going to kinderpark 3 morning a week, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 8:30-12:00. Just like his big brother, he never cries when I'm dropping him off and always seems to be having an excellent time when I pick him up! It took me a while to figure out what to do with David from 12:00-12:45 on days when he goes to school. It's such an awkward amount of time, and he gets sleepy around 12:30, but I've figured out if I pick him up with my bike, bring him home and feed him lunch, etc., it's actually a really nice half hour for us to spend together, and it takes almost no time at all with my bike to go there and back, and then there again for James.

On days when David is not in kinderpark we either spend the time at home getting chores done (David is a remarkable little helper when he doesn't have brother around to distract him!), or we go to a playgroup in Munich. David seems to equally enjoy both activities, I enjoy going to play groups to meet with other moms, but the traveling back and forth on the subway with an active toddler can get a bit exhausting, so we play it by ear.

Tuesdays I have a church bible study I go to while the kids are in school, and often on Wednesday or Friday I meet up with a friend for coffee. Thursday nights I have German class, and Dylan comes home early to watch the kids. I feel like the class is going quite well. We are a smaller group this semester, and since it's slightly more advanced, there are fewer people with no knowledge of German, so it moves a little faster. Normally we try to speak no English, which is necessary because not everyone in the class speaks English! Luckily I've gotten to the point where I can understand a decent amount, and can stumble my way through making some short sentences, so I'm not totally lost. It's interesting though, while I understand all, or nearly all the things my German teacher says, when I get out in the real world, I understand maybe 50% of what people say.   I would assume it's that way with all languages, it can either be spoken very simply and plainly like with a small child, or in a normal conversational adult way. I'm fairly certain though, that James' English is much better than my German!

Dylan is really enjoying his job lately. His been working on some different projects, and they've even had some progress with getting things to work, so that's great. He usually leaves the house between 8 and 9, and has been consistently coming home for dinner around 7. Our landlady loaned Dylan a bike, so he's been taking that to work every day and it has shortened his commute considerably. The 2.5 km which was taking him 20-30 minutes walking or 12-30 minutes riding the train (with waiting and walking), now takes just 7 minutes! Dylan has also joined a men's bible study at our church which meets at 6am Monday morning, meaning he leaves the house by 5:30. I applaud his dedication.

On the weekends we've been staying very low key. We have a small group with our church every other Sunday morning, and church every Sunday afternoon. Aside from those things we've mostly stayed in Garching, hanging out at the house, playing at playgrounds, or visiting the lovely little beer garden down the road from our house. 

Everyone always asks me whether James and David have started picking up more German. I think the answer is yes and no. It seems like James is understanding quite a bit more, but so far he does not speak German. I noticed the other day when I dropped him off while his teacher was shaking his hand she said (in German) "Oh wow James your fingers are so cold" and he responded (in English) "I know! That's because it's very windy outside and I don't have gloves." So he must understand some of what they say. His teacher told me he has started to add a few German words into his English sentences, like jacket, and shoes, etc. Words he hears a lot. Most days he'll come home and tell me some new word/phrase he's learned, but it's often not quite right. Still, he seems to be making progress. As for David, his English skills are fairly limited, so it's hard to say whether he's picking up German or not. I think he understands quite a lot, and he has come out with a few German words from time to time, but for the most part all the words he says are English, or Davidish ;-).

Over all, life is really good, and we're pretty content here. We've started to talk about a trip to visit the states, but no dates have been set yet, and it's hard to commit to something so potentially taxing and expensive. We miss everyone back home though, so we'll keep thinking about it ;-)