Monday, July 19, 2010

Playing catch-up....

Its been months since my last blog and so much has happened. For one, we moved back to WA! It was a huge decision but the best one for the time being. After weeks of hunting we found the perfect little house down the street from the boys' daycare. This continues to be what the boys and I call home.

After what seemed like an endless amount of job searching, applications, and interviews I finally landed a job that fit the daycare schedule and one in which I could make a life out of.

Since the boys had already gone to Pleasant Street Daycare, Vickie (the owner) was gracious enough to take them back even though she was approaching full capacity. The daycare is so wonderful because all of the kids have basically grown up together. The kids think they are each others' siblings and often times I overhear the boys call another boys his brother. It was a blessing indeed that we found a home so near the daycare and that she was able to accept them.

Christmas came and went. Santa Claus delivered big time by dropping off two riding tractors. Ever since our trip to Germany, Nick and Noah have been infatuated with tractors and trailers (although they call the trailers hangers - its the German word for trailers, it sort of stuck with em).

Spring sure dragged its feet in the Pacific Northwest as it continually rained and rained. Snow continued to drop at the mountain tops and we decided to head up for a little fun in the snow. The boys had a great time with their aunt Heike and cousin Vanessa as I scaled the mountain snowboarding.

As the sun started peaking its head through the clouds, we started to head outdoors. Kids will be kids and play in anything from rain, clouds, thunderstorms, to snow, but nothing compares to putting on a pair of sunglasses and feeling the warm sun on your skin.

More summertime blog updates to follow.....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Car rides, praying, and St. Martin´s day procession

It is always an adventure riding in a car with two sets of twins that are the same age! We decided to all hop in the car and make a quick trip to Czechoslovakia, which is about an hour away. I sat in the back between Jasmin and Justin. Jasmin and I decided to follow the sunset and played peek-a-boo with the sun as it hid behind trees and buildings. The boys were busy pointing out every structure they could name and only waited momentarily for confirmation of correctness from either myself or my sis-in-law. The ride went by really quick and we soon found ourselves in the middle town in Czechoslovakia (my brother nor my sis-in-law knew the name of the town). The evening darkness had already began to creep upon us and when we got there it was dark. The chill factor was remarkable as it was a bit below 32 degrees outside! We did some brief shopping in an outdoor style market and hurried back into the warmth of the car. We ended the evening with a stop at McDonald's where all was quiet as the kids ate and drove back home with 4 children stuffed from dinner and ready for bed!
Bedtime has become a routine that is done in similar fashion every evening. The boys are used to this as so am I and we rarely veer from it. However, one evening as we finished up our baths, brushing teeth, reading either a tractor or choo choo story; Noah knelt beside his bed with his back turned to Nicholas and I. I looked over puzzled and asked Noah if he was praying to God? He turned to me and said, ''Pray to God?''

So the three of us knelt down beside Nicholas' bed and said a prayer. As I spoke out loud the boys repeated after me. This now has become part of our bedtime routine.
St. Martin´s Day is November 11. Martin of Tours started out as a Roman soldier who later was baptized as an adult and then became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold. That night he dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. Martin heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clothed me." Traditionally, there is a procession of children with lanterns who roam the streets singing songs about St. Martin. This procession is lead by a horse and a rider clothed in a traditional cloak. In some areas, children sing these songs door to door in exchange for sweets. In this part of Germany, we partook in a traditional procession where streets were closed and children walked with lanterns. The twins had lanterns with a battery operated light instead of the traditional candle. The 4 of them already saw the lanterns in the car and were eager to play with them. As we arrived at the church we saw other children and their lanterns. The 3 boys held their lanterns for about 3 minutes and did not want to hold them any longer. Jasmin held hers for about 10 minutes but also gave hers up. So Marlen and I ended up holding lanterns while trying to keep track of our children during the procession. At the end of the procession a firetruck crawled ensuring that all walkers stayed with the group. Once the kids spotted the firetruck they had forgotten about the procession! Nicholas just stood on the sidewalk watching the firetruck who was waiting for him to continue walking. Marlen and I decided to veer off so the poor firefighter did not have to wait for us any further. We ducked into a side street and held our own procession...all the way back to the car!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Breaking in the new jackets while playing in the rain

After about a week of the sniffles, earaches, and fevers boys were back to normal with only the occasional 'Mommy, blow the nose' request. As the weather is taking a plunge it was time to buy some warmer jackets and winter boots. The days here have a high of about 41 degrees; however, when wearing the right attire it doesn't quite seem that cold! It has taken us a bit to get used to it because we are used to warm and sunny California weather.

Boys didn't skip a beat when it started to pour down rain. My sister-in-law has some rain gear that she let the boys borrow. However, one is pink. Noah got stuck with the pink attire since he was riding the pink/purple bike. He didn't seem to mind though. All he cares about is riding that bike ALL day long! For some reason the blue bike is not to his liking so he rides the other one instead. I presume it has something to do with the handlebar not being straight and therefore more difficult to steer. The cool thing about the bikes is that there are no pedals! Its sort of like a scooter, but has all the elements of a bike. It is a learning tool to later transition into riding a bike.

Later on in the week we went out and bought umbrellas. The boys thought they were pretty cool because there was a picture of a tractor on it, but they didn't want to carry the umbrellas because they were too busy riding bikes into puddles. We went for a walk after the rain subsided and Noah rode right into a huge puddle. Once the water reached up to his knees he stopped and started crying for help. Needless to say I was not wearing rain boots so I just coaxed him to get himself out. Now whenever we pass by that spot he says, ''Remember when it rained and I got stuck in the water?''

For now the rain has subsided, but they are forecasting a chilly winter. I can't wait to play in the snow with the boys!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bogged down with sniffles and earaches

As predicted we all have come down with the sniffles, cough, and other cold symptoms. Nicholas began with a runny nose and whenever he needed his nose wiped he would say ''Mommy, my nose is bleeding!'' I don't even ever remember him having a bloody nose so I have no idea where he got that from. A few days later he refused to sleep and began complaining that his ear was hurting. He insisted on a band aid for his ''big ouwie'' that he put on himself. I am uncertain how he managed to put the band aid on the correct way himself with very little light, but as you can see he did it! The remainder of the night proved to be tough as his ''big ouwie'' AKA earache worsened. He was up all night complaining that ''it hurts in there'' (pointing in his ear). By early dawn he got himself so worked up that he sprung a fever and vomited. The next day he barely ate and spent some ''quality'' time with Mommy (as anyone knows, Nicholas is not the snuggler out of the two, so the only time I get to snuggle with him is when he is sick).

The following night Noah decided to jump on the sick train and began complaining that his belly hurt. We had to get up about 5 times to use the bathroom because he needed to poop. However, nothing came out! So after about 4 hours of that I said no more bathroom breaks! He tossed and turned for the remainder of the night and awoke me at the break of dawn with vomit. Today, he complains that his right ear is hurting. He is no where near as ill as Nicholas so he still has the energy to play, run, and aggravate Nicholas. On this very rare occasion that both boys were not feeling too hot I managed to get a few pictures of all the kids together. Of course there was no way the 4 of them would sit still long enough to get a good picture, but the pictures can be pieced together to showcase them all. Noah and Jasmin sitting together watching TV. Justin is to the right of Noah and I was trying to get him to get in the picture too. The tough part was getting my poor sick Nicholas to cooperate for the photo shoot. He just plainly refused! So instead I tried to get a good picture of the Noah and his two cousins. After a few ''please Nicholas, please'' he made his way over to the kids but did not willingly want to be photographed. The awesome thing about Germany is that when one is sick they can go to the Apotheke, tell them whats wrong, and they will recommend a homeopathic remedy to try before seeking medical attention! I went today and told the lady that the kids were sick with earaches, fevers, and sniffles, and she went in the back and got me some medicine that is made out of natural substances such as Chamomile, Echinacea, etc. She also suggested I bathe them in this Eucalyptus oil bath remedy that helps open up their airways and helps them breathe easier. Both remedies and a bag of kids cough drops and we were on our way out the door. I immediately felt better knowing that I had something else besides Tylenol to offer the boys for their pain. We will see what the next couple of days are like and hopefully they will be on the mend. For now I will continue to enjoy my snuggle time with Nicholas and choo choo playtime with Noah.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Driving, running, brotherly love, and Oma kisses

We continue to start our days, just like in the states, outdoors with a walk. The boys are far too restless around all this farm land to sit in the stroller and just watch the scenery go by. They want to get their feet dirty per se and explore their surroundings. On this particular day we went and visited the horses that my sister-in-law had already led out to the pasture.

The boys have gotten over their fear of the
horses, however, I have not. I fear that they get too close and either get bitten, trampled, or kicked. I have been very cautious and always remind them to only go near the horses when my sister-in-law aids them.
Previously, I mentioned the kitten Nicholas
had attracted and had followed us home. Yes, the kitten is still around and now she has brought another kitten friend with her. My brother is not exactly enchanted with the idea of two kittens, however, fair is fair and if Nicholas gets a kitten then so does Noah ;-) The kittens are like dogs that follow us around when we take walks. They even sometimes jump in the stroller and ride along. I have never known any cat to wander so far away from their territory!

Up to now our days have been filled with lots of outdoor bike riding and running around.
On Thursday, October 22, we went and visited my Oma. Not only was I super excited to go and see her, but I was equally excited because I would for the first time drive a long stretch in Germany. I have driven only around the block before, but never any further. So I anticipated hitting the autobahn and taking off. I was not, however, anticipating driving through what seemed like a millions small farming towns. I had just assumed that there would be a highway of some sort to take me to grandma´s house. Ha! In the hour that it took me to drive there I never hit the autobahn. I drove through towns and villages, through forests, and plenty of farmland! Thank goodness for the GPS or I would have never found my way to civilization!

I cannot begin to write how joyful I was to embrace my Oma when we arrived. My Oma was born in 1929 and has lived through so much. She was widowed at the early age of 30 with 3 children. She has experienced Germany at its worst, through the DDR times, through the war, through Hitler, through the Berlin wall; however, she would tell you that she has always made the best of what she had and has lived a happy life! What an amazing and inspiring woman. We enjoyed lunch together as the 4 of us and then the boys took a nap in her bed. Their naptime gave me and my Oma the time to sit, drink coffee, enjoy the cake she made, talk and catch up. We laughed, shed some tears, but all the while cherished the moment of being together and enjoying one anothers company. During my adolescence I spent a great deal of time with my Oma when I flew to visit her from the states. Those visits created a bond between us that has held strong throughout the years. She is the true essence of why I want to move back to Germany.

After naptime we took the kids down to the river and they stood in awe as a German steam ship passed by. The afternoon zipped by too fast and we all were sad to leave. The boys wanted her to get in the car with us and were not happy to leave her behind. Noah made sure to give her one of his wet sweet kisses before we left. Such a sweet boy!

She had given the boys scarves that she knitted and the next day the boys refused to take them off. They kept saying, ''Oma made that for me'' (proudly pointing at their scarves around their necks).

As our day here is coming to a close, I leave you with the following:
A grandma is warm hugs and sweet memories. She remembers all of your accomplishments and forgets all of your mistakes. She is someone you can tell your secrets and worries to, and she hopes and prays that all your dreams come true. She always loves you, no matter what. She can see past temper tantrums and bad moods, and makes it clear that they don't affect how precious you are to her. She is an encouraging word and a tender touch. She is full of proud smiles. She is the one person in the world who loves you with all her heart, who remembers the child you were and cherishes the person you've become. ~Barbara Cage~

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Sunshine

We woke up this morning to glorious sunshine! The weather here has been extremely cold, 32 degrees, compared to the 75 degree weather we continued to enjoy in California. As I rolled up the shutters this morning the boy exclaimed with excitement, "Look no more dark outside!" They both were pointing to the window and were eager to get dressed and go outside.

Once outside we noticed that the little kitten that followed us home yesterday was still in the yard. It was patiently awaiting for the boys´ return. And wouldn't you know it the kitten followed us on our walk again today! I think the boys have found a new playmate.

My brother lives in a very small town called a dorf in German. There are no stores, no gas station, nothing really besides friendly people, houses, animals, and rolling hills of farming land.
The air is clean, the streets are quiet, and on such a glorious morning we decided to trek along the tractor trails and take in some of the amazing views.

The boys think the best things on our walks are the tractors and the horses we encounter. My brother has 3 horses and the boys wont stop talking about them. The first full day we were here the boys went outside and were playing around when Nicholas got a bit nosy and looked into one of the stalls. He had never encountered a real horse so up close and personal so he came back screaming and crying saying, "There´s a horsey in there!!" He was trembling with fright. Noah on the other hand let me lead him over to the stalls and we counted that there are actually 3 horses total! Later that afternoon, after Nicholas continually asked me if the horsey was gonna get him and me reassuring him that no it wouldn't, we all went outside to get to know them a bit better. My brothers wife, Marlen, assisted the boys in the right way to pet the horse and they even fed them carrots and apples. It was joyful from there on forward! Now the boys cant wait to see the horses every morning. I wonder if they would ever be brave enough to ride one?!

I am still trying to get the boys to play nicely with their cousins, who are also twins. My brother and his wife had a set of twins that were born 2 months after mine! They have a boy and girl. They are slowly warming up to one another, but it will still be a while before they are buddies.
I am determined to get a pic of the four of them!!

So, for now here is another couple pictures of the boys......

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hallo Deutschland

We finally made it after a very long time! On Wednesday, 14th October, we barely made it to the airport! We were supposed to be there 2 hours before our flight and we barely made it an hour before! After a hectic and very stressful time through the check in process and airport security we made it to the gate at last call. *phew*

Our first flight entailed us enduring a 10 hour flight. The boys did amazingly well. They knew what to expect when flying, we sat in our own row, and that decreased my anxiety greatly!

After about 4 hours they stripped off their clothes and went to sleep. The other passengers were looking over at them, wondering why they were just laying there with their underwear and a blanket, but thats just the way the like to sleep.

6 hours later we landed in Amsterdam. The boys were thinking we flew to their grandma's house, but at the same time wondering why on earth it too so long! I had to re-explain that we were flying to Germany and not Washington.

Amsterdam airport features a play area for children that are stuck waiting during their layover. The boys enjoyed stretching their legs and being able to climb around. However, we were all a bit anxious as to when we were going to reach our destination. It was at that time that I attempted to jump online with my laptop, just to discover that Nicholas had accidentallz spilled his orange juice in it. Needless to say it does not work. I am hoping that at some time it will dry out and let me get on long enough to retrieve my files and photos.

Berlin, Germany couldnt have come fast enough. It was a short 1.5 hour flight from Amsterdam to Berlin and we slept the whole way. I think at that time jet lag had set it.

It was a great pleasure to view the boys meet their twin cousins. They both stood and just stared at one another for a while. Once we got to my brothers, the kids got aquianted and off they went to play.
Its our second day here and praise the lord the boys are sleeping in their own beds! Germany might be ideal for them!!