Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kid's Mail Swap #2 Update

pigeon pair: Kid's Mail Swap
My daughters' mail has officially been sent out...took 30 minutes at the post office filling out all of the little customs forms because the envelopes had bubble wrap on the inside.....I had to tell myself that it will be worth it for them!! They each have 5 partners that are located in various places in Australia, UK, New Zealand, and 2 in the USA. They picked out their own postcards and of course had to choose 5 different ones for each of their partners (total of 10 cards) which was not an easy task! They decided to type their letters instead of handwriting. I justified this because they did write out their rough drafts before typing.....this is the technology age right?? They also wanted to include a miniature book that is a familiar story, but written in German (Hansel & Gretel, 3 Little Pigs, Cinderella, & Pinocchio).

They are very excited to begin receiving their mail. I'll post an update after their swap is complete with a picture of how their mail is displayed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Burg Eltz

My family and I ventured off yesterday with two other families to visit Burg Eltz. It is in the Mosel region of Germany and only a couple hour drive (very much worth it too). This castle has been in the same family for over 800 years and will be handed down to the 34th generation sometime in the future. It is surrounded on three sides by the river Eltz. The castle towers 70 meters above the river. The owners still live in a portion of the castle...can you imagine actually living in a real medieval castle??

We all crammed into 2 vehicles...3 adults and 12 kids (no husbands because they have not returned yet)! We were quite the sight as we were unloading in the parkplatz. There is about a 500 meter hike to reach the castle and is ALL on a very steep grade down the that means uphill the ENTIRE way back to the parkplatz.....a little bit of a workout to say the least!

The kids!

We were finally able to catch a glimpse of the castle about halfway down the trail. You get a birds eye view of the grounds and it is truly amazing.

We took the guided tour in English which lasted about 50 minutes. Unfortunately, We were not able to take pictures inside of the castle. The rooms included an entryway, dining room special dining room, adult bedroom, child's bedroom, and the only kitchen in the entire castle. The rooms were amazing! They still have the original paintings on the wall. In the special dining room there is a Jester carved into one of the walls which symbolized free speech for everyone. On the opposite wall, there is a rose carving which meant what is said in this room stays in this room. Each room included the original furnishings. The adult bedroom had a beautiful bed that could be enclosed with a curtain. It also was up on a pedestal about 3 steps high to keep rats out of the bed.....I guess everything served a purpose and was not just for looks!

This was taken in the courtyard while we were waiting for our tour to begin.

After the tour we visited the Treasure Vault. This area includes many more original pieces that are too valuable to keep in the general areas of the castle. There were collections of weapons, jewelry, fine china, and clothing to name a few.

We decided to walk down the many flights of stairs so the kids could play in the river Eltz. It was a warm day and looked mighty enticing. The first thing one of my daughters decided to announce was that there was a boy in his underwear....she had ran ahead of me. There was a boy about 12ish standing in his underwear. This is completely normal for Europeans and I would think they would be very used to this by now. I'm hoping he had no idea was she had said!

The water was more than was fa-ree-zing!!! Did that stop anyone from getting in????...of course not! They had a wonderful time playing and exploring the river and the surrounding woods.

Jacque and Logan spent a lot of time near the shore picking up rather large rocks and throwing them. We were laughing about how boys are just boys when we see this older man (60ish) rolling up his pant legs. What did he do....why throw rocks! This made us laugh even more because boys whether young or old can't resist the urge to throw things!!

The boys are checking out their rock throws. They would laugh and throw more to hopefully get the much anticipated big splash!

Colton and Sarah exploring the other side of the river.

Ian dipped his toes in too, but didn't last long. He didn't seem as content with the water temperature. Here he is on the shore. That green plant behind him is called Stinging Nettle. It is EVERYWHERE in Germany during the Spring and Summer. It actually feels like a bee sting if you touch it and causes welts everywhere it "stings" you. The stinging lasts for a little while. So....try to stay away from this stuff whenever possible!!! Several people were "stung" while we were there including me!

Here is Lauren holding some flowers she had picked when the kids had explored a grassy area on the other side of the river.

This slug found its way next to our stuff on the ground...glad it didn't crawl in!

We are leaving Burg Eltz after a wonderful day!

On our way home we found another castle that would be interesting to visit.

Another trip!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Now I know....

...where the bandaids disappear to!

Nap time is a time I look forward to every day. It is a time where the house is peaceful and I can spend a little time doing something I'd like to do without helpful hands. Jacque has been up for the last 2 days at 5:00...yes A.M. thanks to the early sunrises in Germany. Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a morning person so this is not starting the day off very well! One would assume that he would nap exceptionally well right?? No, he actually hasn't napped for 2 days which is VERY unusual.

Today I hear little footsteps coming down the stairs, while he was supposed to be napping, and then a little voice mumbling something from across the room. I ask him to come over and he then looks at me with the sweetest little face and the cutest explanation about what has happened to him.

Can you just see the concern in that sweet face???? He then rubs his arm where he has layered the bandaids and says, "this hurts really bad Mom."

I ask him what has happened and he says that the airplanes did it. I then start laughing because he was just sooo serious and cute...then he started laughing.

NOTE: There was nothing under the layers of bandaids except a healthy arm!

Mystery solved!

Next time I will resist the urge to laugh. This is how I found him a little while later!

Yes, that is a bandaid on his pants too!

Crochet Roll

I recently started crocheting after taking a class at the Arts & Craft Center on post. Anyway, like everything else I do, I'm already planning other projects even though I'm not even close to finishing the one I'm working on. Needless to say, I have started building my crochet hook collection for these future projects.....must be prepared!

I was very excited when I found Lisa's blog over at The Princess & the Monkey. I saw a picture of a crochet roll that she had created to hold her hooks and other supplies. I loved it and immediately emailed her asking if she would sell one to me! Obviously, she said YES:)

Here is the inside:

She did a wonderful job picking out the fabric for my roll....has all of my favorites! She also created it in record the day after I emailed her with the colors I like!!! There is a snap closure to hold it all together. This package came all the way from Sydney, Australia and was delivered very quickly...considering how long it seems to take mail coming from the US. I think the trick is to have it sent to my German address!

A view of the back.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I can stop stalking the CMR!

The reason for the stalking:

I joined a Mother's Day Swap that was hosted by Confessions of a Moody Mommy a while back. The idea was to receive the package before Mother's Day and as you can guess from my title this didn't work out as planned. For some reason mail that I send out arrives at its destination in a much more timely manner than mail that I receive....well not always, but the majority of the time.

I was waiting at the counter today for the clerk to go fetch my box off one of the many full shelves at the CMR and was very excited when I saw the box had "Office Depot" on the side! Why?....because that means I didn't order it and my Mom's packages usually come in Priority boxes so it was a good chance this was the package I've been stalking them for and it was. The clerk laughed at me when he saw how excited I was to be getting this particular box. I soon realized why the box took soooooo long to arrive as I was walking out of the CMR.
Here is the explanation:

No, that is not someone's name! These 3 little letters (SAM) mean SA-LOW in the mailing world! They stand for Space Available Mail...pretty self explanatory when it is spelled out.

Here are the nicely wrapped presents and card that I found inside of the box:

I of course I ripped open the packages and found 3 lovely gifts. I first opened a cute pair of earrings that are in the shape of starfish. I then opened a very pretty candle that has a unique shape. And finally, I opened the largest of the 3 packages to find a MUCH needed heated neck massager. And like a little kid I opened the card last. I can never prompt my kids again to open cards first because I couldn't even do it myself in all of the excitement!
Here are my wonderful presents:

The card (see above) was very cute and has actually given me some ideas to create some handmade cards as gift sets. I have a stamp that is very similar and rarely used so I think it is time to brush the dust off and add some pretty ink!

THANK YOU very much Christina! Here is her blog if you'd like to check it out....she has a great sense of humor which comes out in her blog posts! I'm glad you were my partner this year!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I received a few adorable keepsakes that my daughters made at school. One of the gifts was a book titled "My Mom and Me." Here are a few quotes that I thought were just too sweet:

"I love my Mom because she loves me more than anything on Earth."

And this one made me laugh:
"My Mom's job is to do nothing."

I was reading this book out loud for the first time with my kids while I was on the phone with my husband. We laughed and then I heard the explanation. She thinks I do nothing because I don't go to a job everyday. I was a working mom until 3 years ago so she knows that I used to have a job as a teacher. Uhmmm.....we had a little talk!

Here are some tomatoes we picked from our little terrace garden.

Here is the plant after we picked the tomatoes. I also have some Beefsteak plants, but no tomatoes yet!

The kids were VERY excited to see that we have teeny tiny strawberries growing. Here are some of them. There are many more on the other plants and lots of blooms too. Can't wait to pick them!!

I also received some much needed flowers today from my friend Andrea. She is so thoughtful and considerate. They brightened my day!

Friday, May 8, 2009


14........The number of months we are waiting for my Husband and their Daddy to return from Iraq. In some ways time has flown by because I have kept myself busy with 5 children (VERY busy I might add), had a baby, and volunteered with Girl Scouts and the local Spouses Club. So much has happened in these 14 months!

Soldiers return from deployments in stages. The time has come....soldiers are returning and being reunited with their family. This should be a happy time, but it hasn't turned out that way for me. I know I don't really have any MORE stress now than I have for the last 13 months, but it seems that every little thing is magnified right now. I should be happy for the soldiers and their families that have returned thus far, but instead it seems to make me grumpy.......I still have close to a month before mine will be home. He is one of the last returning and I so wish he wasn't!

I'm done with playing the role of a single parent to 5 children! It is not a job I want or wish upon anyone.......However, I don't think I had the worst end of the deployment. I have to remind myself that I WAS in a safe environment and not in harms way. I WAS here spending time with our children. I WAS here for all of their birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, day trips to various places in Europe, first day of school, Girl Scout events, school activities, soccer games, cheerleading, horse riding lessons, and the list goes on and on. I've seen them grow.....our newborn will be a few days shy of 7 months by the time he sees him again. I've heard all of the cute things they say and do...firsthand. These things are not replaceable and he has missed all of them. Sad.

He will be coming home soon. I am anticipating having our life back! Nothing is the same without him here as a part of this family. We miss and love him very much.

Anxiously awaiting your return....

Love you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kid's Mail Swap

I've recently signed my daughters up for a swap....never too young for a swap! You can check it out HERE. They will each be sending 5 postcards to 5 different kids around the world. I think this project is a great way for them to decide what they should write in a limited amount of space. We are sending postcards because they will have a nice picture of Germany on them and it is something they can pick out themselves at the store. Who knows...maybe they will get a pen pal out of this!

I have a large world map that is made of fabric that we will use to display the cards/letters that they receive. We'll attach them around the map with a piece of yarn connected to the appropriate place they were sent form.. I'll update after their swap is complete.

Sound interesting?? The deadline to sign up is May 11th.