Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Cleaning

Something about living out of a suitcase for 3 months has made us realize what we can live without.  Coming home, we have been motivated to clean-out our house and purge ourselves of the things that we don't use.

This began with our basement.  We have two storage rooms and a garage (that is not usable for parking in) that have collected a myriad of things in the four and a half years that we have lived here.  It is one of those places where when we don't know what to do with something or we don't have time to make a run to the recycling center we are just kind of like, "just stick it in the basement."  So, in the last week or so, Anthony has loaded up his Ford Explorer and made three runs to the recycling center.  It was mostly boxes left over from Christmas and birthdays.  We have also filled numerous garbage bags full of things to drop-off at the thrift store.  And our smallest pile is of things we are going to try to sell...mostly baby stuff that is still in good condition and a few 110 appliances that I have been holding on to for no good reason considering that I can't really use them here in Germany.  So, as of Thursday, we have the basement officially organized and cleaned-out.  We are no longer even using one of the storage rooms.  I am just still going through the endless boxes of baby girl clothes that I have to evaluate what to save and what to sell.

So, next we have some organizing and purging to do in our actual apartment.  I have done a little bit of this as we unpacked from the summer, cleaning out all of our shranks (closets) of clothes we no longer wear.  It feels good to unload the excess in our lives.  And we are hoping and praying for another, slightly larger but still in our price range and village, home to move to in the near future.

We first moved into this apartment before we were even pregnant with Alethia.  It has been a great home for us and where we have brought both of our babies home from the hospital to.  It has also been a great location, close to the school Anthony works with and to his office and youth room, right next to a playground for the kids, and in a great village with lots of walking trails in the woods just down the street, not to mention just blocks away from a great coffee shop and bakery and eis cafe.  However, with two additional family members and all the accessories and toys that come with them, we have outgrown this apartment and would love something a bit bigger and with direct access to the yard for the kids to be able to play outside more.  However, we are a bit picky and are thinking that it might take awhile to find just the right place.  At least we will be ready and organized when God brings the right place along.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kann ich mit dir spielen?

A subtle shift happened in the Amor household last week.  Alethia started school and ballet and, suddenly, our conversations included Alethia's schedule.  Just like that, she has her own schedule to keep and we must now plan our own days around hers.  It is truly amazing how time flies when you are watching a little soul bloom and grow.  What was life before this little spark of passion and sass was in it?!

Alethia got to "sample" German kindergarten for a couple weeks before we left for the States, but now that we are back, she is attending regularly.  We are still deciding how much we want her to go, but we have the option of leaving her from 7 to 2 every day of the week.  That feels like a bit much for a 3 year old, when she is really just going to experience some freedom and autonomy, to enjoy the social interactions, and to learn German. 

So far, she is liking it.  We have taught her a few German phrases, like "Kann ich mit dir spielen?" which means "Can I play with you?", to help get her started.  She has about 20 kids in her class (only one other that speaks English) and two wonderful teachers, Frau Valerie and Frau Olga.  They are the Gespenst (ghost) group.  Alethia loves the giant "house" that the classroom is equipped with including a play kitchen, dress-up clothes and loft.  She also loves getting to play on the playground everyday (rain or shine). 

The Lord gave me a great gift.  The day before Alethia started at Kindergarten, we were at the park in our neighborhood.  While there, I met another mom who has a daughter in the same class as Alethia.  It was nice to talk to her about it and to introduce Alethia to another girl from her class.  I ran into that mom again today and she helped me translate the school calendar.  I feel like I am beginning to make a friend, which was not expected, and is a wonderful surprise.

Alethia also began ballet classes last week.  She goes twice a week to Miss Jenny (a very sweet German woman) with about 10 other little girls (mostly Americans).  It made my heart melt to see her all dressed-up in her leotard and tutu and dancing around.  About five minutes into it, while the class was doing their "butterfly stretch", Alethia looked over at me and, with a huge grin on her face, gave me a thumbs-up and nodded as if to say "Good job mom; I like this!"  I do not think I will ever need to worry about not knowing what she thinks about things.  She always seems to find a way of telling me with great verve.  And she loves ballet!  She has asked repeatedly to go back. 

Overnight Alethia has acquired this whole little life that is all her own.  It is strange to not be a part of everything she is doing and to know that now there are things that are just hers. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Made it home safe and sound.  Our final day of driving went well...just long.  We crashed for the night.  Did last minute shoving of things in bags, then headed for the airport.  Of course, two of our bags were overweight.  What do you expect?  Three months in the States with two little kids...we had a lot of stuff.  I was hoping that they would balance it out with our two underweight bags, but no such luck.  We ended-up buying another duffle bag and paid for the extra luggage.  WAY cheaper than paying the $150 per bag that is overweight!  Besides that, everything went smooth at the airport. 

The kids slept for a good chunk of the flight which was nice.  As we were landing in Germany, the skies were gray and dreary and Anthony and I both gave a sigh of relief and said "that's so nice!"  I know we won't be feeling that way in another month or two.  We will be missing the sun.  However, for now, after chasing the awful heat and humidity around all summer, we are grateful for the gray skies of Germany. 

Our friend, Gary, picked us up and we loaded us into his car.  It was quite a feat stuffing two car seats, three adults,  5 suitcases, a double stroller and an endless amount of carry-on bags into a four-door compact!  But we (and all of our stuff) made it home with no problems.

It was glorious walking into our home...our beds, our couch, our space.  Now we are just trying to find our days from our nights and get settled back into life here.  Already our trip feels like a dream.

Masami fell asleep right on the floor while's the jet lag!