Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We spent time Friday celebrating friends and getting to dress-up and eat candy.  We have a small stash of Halloween costumes from previous years and hand-me-downs.  I let the kids raid the stash and pick what they wanted to wear.  Alethia chose a penguin costume that was meant for Masami, so it was about 3 inches too short in the arms and legs, but what is the point in arguing.  Masami chose an adorable monkey costume from cousin Micah and announced that he was Curious George. 

At Alethia's German class on Friday afternoon, the teacher Miss Jenny, asked each kid (in German) what costume they would be wearing for Halloween.  Then, she taught them the German words for their costume.  Many of the kids had chosen classic Halloween characters like zombies, witches, and Frankenstein's monster.  When it got to Alethia, she proudly replied that she would be a penguin.  Immediately, one boy about 10 yrs old (who is going to be Frankenstein's monster) said, with surprising tenderness, "Ahhh, she is going to be a cute penguin!"  He then asked how to say "cute penguin" in German.  Such sweet affirmation for Alethia from such a surprising source. 

After German class, the kids got dressed in their costumes and we met up with friends to join their unit's trunk-or-treat.  It was everything I want out of a Halloween experience: short, tame, to the point...candy!  We shuffled around a parking lot admiring all the fun costumes and creative trunk decor and filled-up the kids candy bags. 

Alethia, Kylie, Emily, & Masami

Afterwards, it was back to the Kouba's for pizza and fun.  The only thing missing was mulled apple cider...but I put my order in for next time. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Masami Turns 3!

I can't believe how quickly these kids are growing!  I no longer have babies in the house.  (And soon, hopefully, no diapers!) 

Last weekend we celebrated Masami's 3rd birthday.  Despite a round of flu making its way through our house, we managed a nice little celebration.  Masami had been asking to go swimming for weeks, so I had promised a swim outing to the German pool for his birthday.  Unfortunately, Anthony was laid up in bed, taking his turn with the flu, but I didn't want to cancel on Masami.  The German pool is a little indoor water park, but makes it difficult to be the only adult with two young kids.  There was no way we would be able to do the big water slide as I couldn't take them both with me at once and I wasn't going to leave one alone while I took the other.  So, I asked a friend to go with me.  Heather was glad to go with us.  Masami was so happy; he was doing a little dance around the pool.  We had a great time. 

Thanks to the commissary cake display, Masami had been asking for a Spiderman birthday cake for months.  Since I was not about to pay for a big pre-decorated sheet cake, I decided that I would just figure out a way to make it myself.  I was pretty pleased with the result:

We had a family dinner of Masami's favorite home cooked meal: Yakitori with our friends, Heather and Jennessa joining us.  (They were the only two that I dared to invite into our germy home...luckily, both were willing to brave it and came out unscathed.) 

I guess it was sort of a "Super Hero" themed birthday between the cake, the action figures, and the costumes that Masami got.  He loved it!

All of us wearing hats that Masami got for his birthday

So, it was a fun day with a very satisfied little boy.  Masami is such a light in our lives!  He is goofy and charming and clever and tender-hearted.  He loves playing with his sister, loves getting attention, and loves to cuddle.  His favorite things are dinosaurs, Little Einsteins, Super Heroes, Toy Story, and VBS songs.  I love watching him grow and learn and discover life and God.  I am so blessed to have this little boy in my life!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Our house is a very, very, very fine house...

Jess takes you on a video tour of our home in Germany. Since not everyone gets to visit, we wanted to take the visit to you. Our home has come together over the years through the generosity of many people and we love hosting and sharing it with others. Hopefully this entices you to come and visit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


For 5 years we have been living just a few miles from this lake, and I never realized how cool it was.  We headed over there one warm afternoon in August for a youth event and loved it.  

 The sand was a bit more like dirt than like sand and the kids got pretty dirty, but they loved every second of it.  Nothing a good bath couldn't fix. 

Masami, Alethia, and one of our students, Alexandra
 The water was a great way to cool off in the hot summer sun and it was nice and shallow for the kids to play in.

 This is definitely a spot we will be visiting in future summers!

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Garden Fairies


Sitting on my patio swing, basking in the fall sunshine, soaking in the company of a good friend, and delighting in the chatter and laughter of our children. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Alethia's Second Year of German Kindergarten

Alethia's first day
 Alethia started her second year of kindergarten in August.  It has been a sad start for her because several of her school friends from last year (American kids) switched to the kindergarten on base.  So she is adjusting to making new friends...mostly German kids.  She has picked up some basic German and understands instructions that her teachers give her.  However, she is such a verbal kid that it is frustrating to her to not be able to communicate at length with her classmates so she tends to give up without trying very much.  I've started taking her to a kids German class on Friday afternoons to help her learn more and gain confidence in using it.  It seems to be helping, but it will take some time before she has some good German friends.  Until then, she still has one American friend in her class that is helping her enjoy kindergarten a little more.
Her classroom
On the door of her kindergarten

Masami and I walk (ride) Alethia to school most days

And she rides her bike

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mittelalterliche Fest

Back in August while Anthony was laid-up on the couch sick, I took the kids and grabbed a couple girl friends and we headed out to check out the Medieval Fest.


Besides the muddy parking lot that I was afraid my van wouldn't make it out of, the festival was great!  There was great live bagpiper music, yummy festive food, and lots of crafts and culture to look at. 

Heather & Masami checkin' out some horns

Who doesn't like a good sword?

bread on a stick!...we just had to see what the hype was about


Alethia, Gin, & Masami at the bird tent

Medieval swing set?       

The weather was cool, but nice.  We got lunch, wandered around, listened to the music and then we headed back.  We did make it out of the parking lot with just one side of the van covered in mud.  All in all, a fantastic afternoon!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's Been Awhile

My poor neglected blog!  I have some catching-up to do.  Fall is in full swing and we have been quite busy.  Time has gotten away from me, and I have posts that are half-finished.  So, I'm committing to work on some posts in the next few days.  Until then, here's a picture to get you through without my delightful blogging to amuse you...:)