Sunday, May 29, 2011

In the Garden

Our landlady lives in the apartment above ours so we get the opportunity to get to know her. She loves the kids and has made quick friends of them.  She also loves gardening and has made the yard beautiful with her green thumb.  She is out there nearly everyday working on her gardens.  And when the kids see her they go running out to her. 

Frau landlady chatters away at them in German and Alethia chatters back in Germlish.  They beg to get watered when she waters the flowers; they dig in the dirt when she plants seeds; they follow her around the yard when she checks on her various gardens.  It is really sweet.  So nice to have a neighbor that is loving on our kids!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Counting Goldfish

 One of Masami's favorite things about our new home is that there is a fish pond complete with lily-pads, tad poles, and at least 8 great goldfish at the side of the house.  We have clearly marked-out the parameters of the yard where the kids can play (which does not include the pond).  So, Masami regularly asks me "go see the fish Mama?"  And when I say okay, he gets all excited and bounces over there.  He counts the fish and looks for tad poles.  I think we are going to have to ask our landlady if we can feed them sometimes. 

He also happens to have a view of the fish pond from his bedroom window.  So many an afternoon I find him peeking out at them.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saying Goodbye to the House

I have to be honest...It has been hard to say goodbye to our old home.  I have vivid memories of finding that apartment thanks to our friend and colleague, Dan.  It was the first place that we painted walls and really got settled.  It was the longest place that we have lived since we have been married (maybe ever for Anthony).  It was there that I found out I was pregnant and where we brought our babies home from the hospital to.  It was there that our babies learned to crawl, walk, run, talk...

Since we had two weeks to move, we had been going back and forth between houses quite a bit.  I noticed that Masami was having a bit of trouble with the transition (as was I!).  He was having a lot of trouble going to sleep at night and taking a bath at the new place.  As I was talking with some friends about it, they suggested that I take the kids over to say "goodbye" officially to help them understand it better.  And I got to thinking about how that was a really good idea (for me as much as them).

So, once we were fully moved out, we took the kids over and read them a book about moving and saying goodbye.  Then we built an Ebenezer of sorts with pine-cones that the kids had collected from the yard, remembering things we liked about our house and thanking God for our time there.  It was as reflective as a 2 and 4 year old can be, which is to say not very.  However, it was a sweet time together and I think it has helped. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Quick Trip to Luxembourg

 In the middle of our move, I got to take off for the day and do some sightseeing with Heather.  Normally I wouldn't just take off in the middle of such a busy time, but I'm really glad that I did!  I was in the middle of the frustrations and aggravations of learning the quirks of a new house and feeling stressed about how everything was going to fit and trying to be a good mom in the midst of the transition.  It was really nice to get away from all the craziness for a day, get a break, and come back more ready to jump back in.

So Anthony took the kids for the day and we took a little girls trip to Luxembourg.  I couldn't believe that it is only two hours away and yet somewhere I hadn't been in the 6 years that we've lived in Germany.

Luxembourg is called "the Gibraltar of the North" because it has been used like a fortress over the years and been rebuilt many times.  It is really a series of gorges and hills.  We got to take the walk along the top of the gorge and walked through the cathedral.  Then, we walked through some shops and got dinner before heading home. 

It was a beautiful day to be out and about.  We had a great time!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Own Tangled Princess

Alethia agreed to let my friend, Anna, take these photos of her when I told her that she could collect flowers and that we would put them in her hair just like Rapunzel in "Tangled".  She wasn't in an especially "smiley" mood, she was more pensive, but I think they turned out nice.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Playing in the Petals

A couple weeks ago, in the midst of packing-up our house, we noticed that the tree across the street was raining pink petals.  So, one evening while Anthony was at work, I took the kids across the street to play in the petals.  They had a ball!  They were scooping them up in their hands and throwing them in the air.  They were making piles of petals and "drawing" in them with sticks. 

Because they were playing so close to the road, I was on car alert.  Every time I heard a car coming I'd say, "hit the wall!" and they would both jump up and put their backs on the wall away from the road.  Masami thought that was a fun game all by itself. 

It was a nice break from packing boxes and so great to see the kids smiling and giggling.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hangin' with Heather

So our new ministry partner, Heather Lite, arrived the first day of our high school spring break retreat, on April 11th, almost 5 weeks ago.  She was a total trooper working through her 9 hours of jet lag while ministering to students 24/7 that first week in country.

A few treats that Heather brought with her from the States for us

If you are at all familiar with working with the military overseas then you know that you are not a "real person" until you get your ID card.  Without an ID card you have limited base access, you cannot shop on base, you cannot get a post office box, you cannot drive, you cannot get a bank account on base, you cannot make contracts (for housing, mobile phone, etc).  In essence, you cannot get settled and begin ministry and life until you have your ID card.

Typically when a Cadence Student Ministries (CSM) worker arrives in country we take them within 24 hours to get their ID card and start the process of getting settled.  However, due to circumstances beyond our control, Heather has not yet received her ID card.  You can imagine how frustrating that would be.

Jennessa, me, & Heather (CSM friends)

In the meantime, Heather is hanging with us.  She is at the mercy of others to do just about anything.  She stayed with us for a couple weeks, but in the midst of our move she moved to another house nearby where she will stay until she is able to get a place for herself.  Despite the fact that Heather does not sleep at our house, it feels like she's living with us.  We do most of our meals with her, she has been a huge help with every step of our move, she helps out with the kids regularly, we take her to get all her shopping and errands done, and of course, she has begun ministry alongside of Anthony.  We have truly enjoyed our time with Heather!  Although is has been tough for her not being able to get settled, it has been a great bonding experience for us.

Please pray that Heather's ID card would soon be approved and processed.  Like I said, she is not a "real person" without it, and we would love to see her settled and able to focus on students as soon as possible.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Japanese Dinner Night

Our friends and fellow Cadence teammates share a love for Yokasuka and Japan, in general, with us.  They, like Anthony, lived in Yokasuka at one time and miss the culture and food.  So, one evening we decided to go all-out and make a big Japanese dinner with a lot of our favorite dishes.  It was an awesome time of fellowship as we all took turns cooking and catching-up on each other's lives.  Alethia adores their son and was perfectly content watching him play Wii and cheering him on.  It was such a great evening!

Yummy gyoza that Anthony made

getting veggies ready for tempura

the kids enjoying their yakisoba

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We Got a Puppy!

Ok...not really!  That would just be crazy to get a puppy and then move.  Our neighbor got a puppy and our kids are loving the opportunity to play with it.  When Alethia hears Scarlet playing in the yard she asks to go down and see her.  Our neighbors have given her an open invitation to come down and play when they are out there.  It is so fun to watch her chase Scarlet and then Scarlet chase her.  She is really loving the experience, and I'm glad that she is getting it since it is unlikely that we will get a puppy anytime soon!