With the colder, rainier weather we've been having lately, I decided we should have something hot for lunch today. I've been roasting a chicken every week, and then using the bones to make a yummy chicken stock, so I was inspired to make some kind of soup. The only problem is the kids won't really eat most soups, and when I'm home alone with them, I really don't have the energy to cook a big meal that only I will enjoy. Then I remember those canned soups I used to eat as a kid, like alphabet O's or chicken and stars, and I got inspired. We ran to the store for tiny alphabet pasta, cooked it up in some chicken broth, added some bread and a glass of milk, and called it lunch! (I promise my kids eat fruits and veggies pretty much exclusively for snacks, so they can afford the occasional carb heavy lunch)
David exclaimed it tastes like "punkin pie"!
James was equally enthused, but I couldn't get him to stop eating for long enough to really capture it.
There it is: home made, from scratch yumminess. It was better than the canned variety for sure!
This morning we woke up to the rain storm that has been threatening all weekend. Luckily I had a number of ideas (thank you pinterest) in mind for just such a day. We made "cloud dough", sorted colored blocks, built block towers with increasing heights, did a "science experiment", and played soccer in the rain. Actually I didn't play soccer in the rain, but Dylan and the boys did, and they had a lot more fun doing it than I would have. Days like this make me feel much more favorable toward the approaching cold weather months.
I think my camera lense had a smudge on it all day, so these pictures are not great, but better than nothing I think!
James was very proud of his "speed sorting" skills.
Here he is showing off the perfectly sorted blocks.
All dressed up to go out in the rain. I've never seen pants particularly for playing in the rain in the US, but I think they're quite clever.
Watching the science experiment. We put colored water into two cups, and plain water in the middle and then watched paper towel strips transfer the colored water into the middle cup. The end result was equal levels of water in each cup and the water in the middle cup was green.
"cloud dough" this stuff was a lot of fun, just flour and oil, but it had a texture similar to wet sand that was great for playing with sand toys and forming into shapes, etc.
I think little kids laughing, I mean really hard, belly laughs, might be one of the cutest things ever.
We were playing doctor today, and I was the sick patient. James was the doctor and David was the nurse. (this was probably brought on by the trip we took to the dr. for James' vaccination today). Anyway, David brought me some paper and a marker and told me I could color while I waited for the doctor. I was laying down holding the paper over my head, and did a very sloppy stick figure drawing of our family.
James came over and asked what everything in the picture was. I started to describe it. "This is Daddy, but he has really big feet, and there's me I have a really long tummy, Next is David, but he has one reeeaaaly long leg." I expected David to argue, but instead he started hopping around on one leg, and laughing hysterically. "And this is you James, it sort of looks like you have a beard" James laughed so hard and so hysterically, that I couldn't help myself. Before I knew what happened we were all three sitting on the floor laughing so hard we were crying. It doesn't sound funny in the telling, but when you find the right thing that your small kid really truly thinks is absolutely hilarious, their delight is pretty hard to contain, and it's pretty hard not to join in on the moment.
And just so I never forget, here's that picture. I'm pretty sure I have better drawings saved from when I was 5!
Dylan's 31st birthday is tomorrow. We (James, David and I) decided to throw a surprise birthday party for him tonight. From the moment I told the boys we could surprise Daddy with a cake and presents, until the moment Dylan came home, the boys and I had so much fun! They helped me joyfully with all the necessary tasks. We went to 5 different stores to get everything we needed (man I miss Target!) and both boys were perfect angels, never budging from the stroller the entire time.
We're attempting to stick to a tight budget, so we didn't do anything too exciting, but we colored a happy birthday banner on computer paper, baked a cake, and blew up big balloons!
We made "American" hamburgers with french fries, and all together it was quite festive. Dylan promised that we really, actually surprised him, and it was one of the best birthday surprises he's ever had. As icing on the cake, Dylan's parents sent us a package that arrived today, much earlier than expected. Dylan got to enjoy some birthday hot tamales! It was very nearly a perfect day. James and David's faces as we hid away to jump out and surprise Daddy were absolutely priceless. I can't think of anyone I'd rather plan a birthday surprise with than my sweet little boys!!
In January, a new little boy, J joined James' kindergarten. I met his mom fairly quickly, because we were both speaking English to James' teacher. They had moved to Germany a few months earlier from Mexico. It wasn't long before all of James' stories about school involved this little boy, and the rest is history. We've gotten together to let the boys play at least once a week, for the past several months, and over the school holidays we've been seeing them almost every day. James really enjoys his new friend, and J has a brother 6 months older than David, so the whole thing is really perfect. The four of them run around together and are totally crazy!
One of the coolest things about James' friendship with J is that they are both learning German together. J is a year older than James, and was forced to start speaking German in the kindergarten from day one since the kindergarten teachers speak no Spanish. James' German has come along quite a bit slower, but I think his friendship with J has motivated him to speak more. While he's a bit inhibited with German friends his age, or German adults, he has not problem rattling of whole sentences in German to his new best friend. He's come so far!
One of the cutest things with James' German is how he handles it when he doesn't know a word. Since there are so many German words that are similar to English, when in doubt, he conjugates an English word into German. For example, last week, he saw a movie at J's house, and exclaimed excitedly, "Cars! Ich habe Cars schon gewatched!" (I have cars already watched) Except, watched is not a German word. He then paused for a minute, and corrected himself "gesehen"(seen). Needless to say, he's come a long way from a few months ago when the most you could ever get out of him was some counting and a few colors.
I'm excited to see what the next school year has in store for James, and how capable he will be at speaking German by the time we leave.
Sorry for the long absence. Dylan's grandmother started doing poorly in June, and I didn't feel like blogging about that, but I had a hard time sitting down to write anything else.
We flew back to Colorado June 21st, and late that night Dylan's Grandma passed away. It was really providential getting to see her that last time, and I think it helped both Dylan and I process her passing, and be ok with it. That last evening with her, jet-lagged and every, is a precious memory that I know both Dylan and I will treasure forever.
When we got back from the US, I had a really hard time adjusting back to Germany. I don't like to be negative on the blog, so I decided to keep it to myself. It's not that everything was terrible, I just was homesick, and lonely, and a little sad.
Bavaria has their school summer break in August, so I'm having a nice vacation from my German classes, and James is home from kindergarten. James, David and I have really been enjoying the long, lazy days together. We've been reading lots of books, playing games, meeting friends in the playground, having tea time, and visiting a near by indoor pool. James and David are such good friends, and at the end of every day, no matter how mundane, James comments on what a "fun" day we've had. It's really rewarding being home with the boys and watching them grow and change.
We've been doing a daily devotional time, and both David and James have amazed me with their ability to memorize scripture! James quickly picks up the verses we're working on and can recite them perfectly after a week. David still doesn't quite speak in complete sentences, but he still manages to make a really good effort with the verses. Last week our verse was Job 42:2, and David recites it like this:
I know yowd (I know lord)
A-you aww powafoo (that you are all powerful)
An you a-do eeereyting you want (and that you can do everything that you want)
It's hard to really properly type out how exactly a toddler speaks, but just believe me, it's really adorable!
I think you're all caught up now, I'll be making an effort to post more regularly, and more pictures. At least as long as we're on vacation ;-)