Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup

The children picked up something from daycare/preschool when they were there the other day (we get one day per week while a spouse is deployed) and have been passing it to each other in turn. Today Lavella was the one with the low-grade fever (they all have runny noses, and Elijah's still feeling the effects of yesterday's elevated temp.), and was whiny all day. She was so unmanageable by mid-morning that I had to put her down for an early nap. It only lasted about an hour, but it refreshed her (mostly) for the rest of the day.

When Andrew and Elijah were ready for their afternoon quiet time/nap time, Lavella was certainly not about to fall asleep again. I let her stay up and play with Andrew in the living room, and found them with this little set-up in a tent Greg pitched for them before he left (the tent migrates from the guest room to the living room with regularity):

Aunt Susie, I will share the bread recipe in an upcoming post -- I'm too tired at the moment to type much more, but for now, here's some very simple Roasted Tomato Soup we made the other day (recipe at 101 Cookbooks):

Quarter up a few vegetables and roast them in the oven for about an hour.

Throw it all in the blender until the texture suits you, then add hot broth and stir.

Eat with thickly buttered whole-wheat bread and...umm, meatloaf. If you're me. And craving ground beef.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Getting things done

The children have normalized their sleep schedules, so they're now sleeping through the night, and this morning they woke up at 7:30am.  In my life before kids, it would have felt like a travesty to wake at such an early hour, but (as long as I get to bed early enough) I've realized that much can be accomplished in a day if it's started just a bit earlier.

While they ate breakfast, I got these loaves in the oven:

Date-nut mini-loaves (Mary S.'s recipe!) and Honey Whole Wheat (my mom's recipe, of course)

I got the laundry going (we have a tiny washer and no dryer, so this is an all-day job with all of the hanging out of things and such), and then we opened up the two boxes containing our Kindergarten curriculum (Sonlight).

I really, really like it, and the boys were so excited about learning everything, so I feel hopeful for the upcoming year.  Of course things will get crazy around my due date, and I'm not sure how all of it will work with the added time-suck of a nursing baby, but for now, this feels good.

It's 2:30pm.  The children have just finished up their quiet times/naps, and are watching their afternoon video.  We're going to have BLT's for dinner (on the whole wheat from this morning and bacon re-warmed from a pancake/bacon/eggs dinner last night), so we'll go out to pick up tomatoes and play outside in a few hours.  Easy dinners = good dinners.

Here's some pics I've taken of the past week since we arrived here:

Breakfast is fun again at our "new" old table (for the first few days, the boys kept yelling "Hey!  I remember this!!!" about each re-discovered toy and piece of furniture through the house)

Eating pretzels and pretzel rolls from the nearest bakery -- the perfect snack to bring with us while driving onto post to get groceries, etc.

Getting a wagon ride with their two little girl friends by the girls' grandpa

Lavella opted out of the ride ("NO!"), choosing instead to use the neighbor's little car while everyone else was distracted

Having fun at our favorite playground on post after picking up the mail

(The yellow rainboots are actually too small this year, but they insisted on wearing them one last time)
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Safely in Germany

We're back in Germany!  We had initially planned on leaving on the 15th if there were any flights available, but nothing seemed to work out until Wednesday the 17th...and it was with great relief that we made it out on the first flight we tried for.  Every time that we fly, I am more organized, more prepared, and the children are better versed in What To Expect When Flying Space-A.  They actually surprised me this time by being complete angels on every leg of the journey.

Jillian and her brother Ryan picked us up at my parents house at 11am.  We got to McGuire Airforce Base at around 3:30.  Waited there until 10:30 PM for our flight to be called (there's a family lounge with attached playroom, so it was do-able), and lifted off just before midnight.  The children were all fast asleep before we were at cruising altitude, and slept the entirety of the flight.  We landed in Germany at around 1:30 or 2PM German time (7:30 or 8 in the morning East Coast time), shopped at the commissary for some much needed groceries, and then finally got back to our apartment.

The children always have trouble with jet-lag for the first few nights, waking up several times to shout things like "is it morning yet??!!" at 10:30PM...or 2AM, whichever.  After about three nights though, they were back on track.  On the first night at around 11pm, I woke up to a big bang and then Andrew screaming.  I ran into their room to find Andrew, who had apparently fallen from his bed on the top bunk (first time he's ever fallen out), and was frantically trying to get into the toybox.  Disoriented was a mild word for his face when I walked in.  The poor little guy was beside himself, but I hoisted him back up, prayed for him, and all three children went right back to sleep.

I've been crazy busy with the re-organizing of everything -- not only of the boxes we had mailed home and suitcases we traveled with (everyone's clothing needed to be switched out of their drawers to the next size up, small stuff boxed and brought upstairs, sorting of various things, etc.), but also I've been re-organizing our lives here.  The children now help me tidy up at the end of the day, and it's wonderful to see them delight in their own handiwork of a neat, clean room when I tuck them into bed.  It's a very peaceful feeling to have a well organized life.  Our official homeschool curriculum is arriving in the mail any day now, which we will start in earnest next week, so I've needed to get everything in place before that so we're not overwhelmed.

Here are the last few pictures I took before we left NY:

Hannah found a tiny snapping turtle by the side of the road while on a walk, and brought it home for my boys to see

(Can you imagine how hard it is to take a clear picture with a 5-year-old holding the subject?)

I cannot explain the goggles

Lavella, helping me tape up the last box to send back to Germany (or...maybe just trying to get the tape off of her fingers)

Lavella's new backpack from Grandma Claire (purchased at Payless Shoes for those who feel the need to have the same)

Lavella with Isaiah (held by Grandma Claire)

Saying goodnight to Joy on our last night there (she told them various stories and got them completely riled up as only Joy can, but it was the last night, so...)
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus Loves Me...

Lavella was singing "yes, Jesus loves me", but then got a bad attitude at the end for no discernible reason.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Walk in the woods

On the Poppy and Nana days of the week, often Pete will just come and get the children since it can be difficult for me to procure a car for the entire day.  On the days that I do go out there, I often just do my thing at the house (knit, spin, read, rest), and the kids go and do all of their favorite things outside.  A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to see all of the cool things that they do, so they took me on the full tour (as you'll see in the pictures, my little sister Rachel came with us that day too.

We took a walk on paths that Pete maintains through the woods near their house.

We checked out several of the sturdy bridges Pete has built over each spot that a stream crosses the path.

We stopped at several blackberry patches.

Andrew in a sluice pipe.

Cute little chocolate lab puppies.

Tiny kittens at the barn.

There is a big trampoline in the hay loft over the barn.  (And no, I didn't jump on it myself -- but it was fun to watch everyone else!)

And then, just for Greg/Daddy, Andrew and Elijah would like to show this picture of "the thing that shoots balls" in the hay loft:

(NOTE: most of these pictures taken by Nana/Jill)
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Apple picking

Whenever we are back in Germany, my boys fondly reminisce about apple picking.  We have eagerly awaited the start of apple season, and it's finally here!

Lavella thought that picking the apple up off of the ground was an acceptable form of harvest, so we had to monitor what made it into our (re-usable cloth) bags.

Andrew and Elijah each picked a good bunch of mostly sound apples.

As you can see, there was some tasting and putting back that happened.

Isaiah didn't pick his share of apples, and I think that Hannah's going to have to talk to him about his work ethic.

Andrew was pulling this wagon with two bags full of apples, and it looked like he was having a hard time with it.  I asked if he needed help, and with a strained voice (leaning diagonally forward to pull), he said "No, I think it might be a little too heavy for your back."

Andrew, trying to keep Lavella from picking crab-apples.

Lavella was very tired by the end of our trip, but all together it was a fairly productive day.

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