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!

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