Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wonder

I have always loved Christmas; how could you not? It's such a beautiful time for us humans, all being nice to each other, gifting, decorating. And sugar cookies. Oh, sugar cookies. Nom. As you get older of course, well, as I got older it lost a little magic, and then I had kids. Oh man, what a difference! The only thing better than waking up early to see if Santa came is watching the ones you love most in the world light up with the same moment! And as my girl, then girls got older Christmas was more fun every year, but it changed. I read the story of Baby Jesus as Mary and Jesus now. No longer a side character who happened to be there, I thought about how she loved Jesus, how God loves us in a whole new way. I'm not sure you can even begin to understand God's love for us without kids. I'm sure some folks without kids out there will beg to differ, but for me it opened up a whole new view of the world and God's love for us. This Christmas I have a new baby boy and let me tell you, it's a whole new world again. I hold my little J and think about Mary snuggling her little J, his tiny fingers wrapped around hers. And perhaps because my labor is still fresh and was less than pleasant, I think about having that same ordeal in a stable. I was in a fabulous hospital with a team of nurses and doctors and the latest technology. And showers. And no animals. My little J was wrapped in a wonderfully soft blanket after a gentle washing and brought to me. No manger. No poky straw. And labor is messy. Was the manger a mess? Did Joseph cut the cord? He must have. With what? Who cleaned up Mary? Did women at the inn come and help? Did Mary cry out in pain? It seems like she would have had some mystical clean, painless birth. But was it? Did Jesus come out a slimy, screaming mess? And let's say Joseph was the medical team, had he been to a birth before? That was a woman's realm back then.
Did her heart ache with love for him? Was she delirious? Were the animals quiet?
And then no longer newborn Jesus, did he have blowouts? Did he cluster feed at 4am? Did he put his fingers everywhere he shouldn't as he learned to walk and toddled about? Did he ever stomp his foot and declare to Mary, "No! You're not the boss of me!" And was she eternally patient? Sure we can stretch our minds to believe being the Son of God made Jesus an "easy" child, but was Mary holy in the same way? Did Jesus get time outs?
I just read my smallest A the wonderful story Nighty Night Baby Jesus (not a lot of text, but beautiful, simple pictures and rhyming text that I love. And animal sounds that little A loves) and there's a photo of Mary holding Jesus, looking down on him with such love and I know that look. I feel it when I read that book. I feel it and  I wonder.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Softest.

I have this bassinet. With the softest sheet you've ever felt in it. And in the midst of all my whining about uncomfortable sleep, if any, and contractions and someone else eating the last cookie, my stomach shifts alien like to the side and back again and the world's greatest joy comes over me. That's my little man. He will sleep on the world's softest sheet. And he will have tiny little toes for me to kiss. And an itty bitty bum. And sleep will change from uncomfortable to invisible and it will be worth every minute as his little self snuggles up on my chest. I have been so blessed with my 2 girls; I can't believe God's letting me have another one. He has the hiccups as I write this and I wonder if he's excited to meet me too? Or maybe he feels he already has? We couldn't be closer. Will he miss my gastronomical roaring? Or will it be a worthy exchange to have kisses instead? There are 3 weeks left on the clock, but I wonder if he might want to meet me sooner? And I pray I can be everything to him that I want to be. He'll have to share me more than the girls did, but in exchange he gets 2 incredible sisters that are excited to meet him. I remember their tiny toes, back when they let me kiss them. I still get to occasionally, but have to ask permission now. Motherhood. Something so terribly wonderful. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Contentilated.

I always have a stack of things on my desk to remind me of everything I want to share with the world, a file of photos online to remind me. And I wait till that bug in me says, "now! write!" because I've found my forced writing to be particularly boring. So today it hit and I have no stack. I have no file. Strange. So I sit here and think, well, something wants to come out, what is it? <insert sip of fabulous cappuccino here.>
I just read a wonderful article about following God's path for you without apology and I thought, yeah, I need to do that! But what is God's path for me? I'm not famous, the world will not mourn when I die, I'm not discovering anything. And the next thing I read (I like to open 10 links at once on my screen, make a cup of coffee, and make my way through all my reading when there's silence in the house,) the next thing was the packing list for the hospital. And it struck me, I don't need a fancy calling. I have a calling. A wonderful calling. I'm a Mama and a Wife and a Friend and I love it. I watched an excellent video about why it's okay to be an introvert (and maybe even, dare I say, good? Dare! Dare!) yesterday and thought I don't want to be famous! I've never sought the spotlight and as I get older and start to realize, that's not sissy or shy or weird, it's just how God made me I realize my calling is clear and I'm right smack in the middle of it. I married an extrovert and I love, love, love supporting him and all his busyness. And I have one little Extro and will shortly be supporting her busyness as well (she's been asking to start a dance class for 2 months straight) and one little Intro who I totally get because if you ask her what she'd like to do, it's sit next to you and color or read in a corner. And I'm glad I know who I am, so I can support who she is; who they are. Our culture has so many "right" and "wrongs" in it where they shouldn't be, and so many gray areas where there really is a black and white that this seemingly simple, behind the scenes job is actually huge. It's life altering to at least 3 people so far, and next month 4.
I guess that's what was in there. Peace. Joy. And my favorite word: Contentilated. I am contentilated. And now, I'm off to the dungeon. I mean laundry room. To solve world peace.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Barcelona! with kids :)

We recently went to Barcelona with both girls and my preggo self (it's a factor) and had a lovely time! There were some places that really stood out to me that I want to send a shout out to, and some lessons learned :)
So, in totally random order....
First- you can get an entire apartment in Barcelona for about the same price as a hotel! We went through www.housetrip.com and found a great deal! I will say, read, read, read the reviews. Our apartment was a great price, but really not a great apartment. Though the location was incredible! We were in Barceloneta which is down on the beach and within 2 minutes of our slightly ghetto apartment, there were fabulous eateries, the beach (where you can get an entire pitcher of liquor to go to take down to the water with you- love it.), an organic store/eatery, an enormous market, a playground, fresh bakeries...I could go on! Needless to say, we didn't spend a lot of time in the apartment with it's lovely paper thin walls. Though looking back it was worth it to have a separate room for the girls and a kitchen. We are not morning people. Okay, the hubby is, but the girls and I aren't. We need a little time before we're ready for our public so if breakfast can be had in the room, so much the better! We did come across another apartment rental place when we couldn't find our apartment (nicest cabbie EVER) and the lovely lady working there helped us much more than our apartment company, it was called (the good one) Apartment Barcelona. So while I can't vouch for their lodgings, I can for their customer service which was incredible especially since we weren't their customers!
This is me showing off the brilliance of the foldout bed that actually hangs OVER the edge of the  loft. Classy.

I love 3 year olds. They can sleep through anything!

The first night we got there we were hungry and the kids were gremlinish (read: nice restaurants-out) so we ended up stopping at what we thought was donner kabobs from the sign (for my American friends- that's like a Turkish version of Greek food- think gyro) but it turned out to be Pakistani & Indian food and it was incredible! And, have to love Barcelona, we didn't realize it was 10pm and were eating till we left, and no one blinked an eye! With our kids. Crack me up. I couldn't find a website for them, but the name was Mar Brava Curry House at Almirante Cervera 31, 08003 Barcelona and if you find yourself near there- ignore the outside and go in and eat until you can't take another bite! Nom!

Pigeons abound in Barcelona and the Spanish are brilliant. Shoe them away? Nope. Sell bird food to the tourists! That might be the best 3 euro I spent on that trip! The birds are in on it and will just come right up to you and eat out of your hand. And if you can keep yourself still, will land on you. This was at Pla├ža Catalunya. 

Next shout out goes to Barcelona Rent a Bike. Did we rent bikes? Nope. But when the wheel on our stroller decided to start squeaking, really, really, embarrassingly loudly we stopped in with the hope they might just tell us where we could buy some oil spray? Better! They fixed right there on the spot, and were really nice about it! And learned a new English word: Squeaky. He thought that was hilarious. But I was so thankful to no longer be those people on the metro I grabbed his card to share them!


There is an excellent zoo in Barcelona! All the standard cool things kids like, but also a good cappuccino, excellent ice cream and the hubby's fav, beer! We had a lovely cathedral break watching the seals and tigers and what not! And lots of benches. At 6 months preggo, I was lovin' those benches. And the ice cream...

Back near our apartment we wandered about a bit looking for dinner when big A asked if we could go to a place with a playground. I politely explained that wasn't likely, but sure, if she could find one, we'd go. I mean, what are the odds, right? Dude. God heard her. And me, yum! We found this little spot literally next to a fenced playground (when you have a 3 year old, that fence bit is clutch.) and the food was delish! Best I had in Barcelona! I had a pesto, pine nut, pasta, medley something with a fabulous salad that was so good, I don't even remember what everyone else ate. Well, Lil A ate half my pasta- they are pesto fiends like their mother- but the dessert. Oh. The dessert. It was based on Tiramisu, and then they managed to fold in just a little bit of heaven to go with it. I wiped the bowl clean. Had the kids not been there, I may have licked it clean after that! The atmosphere there was wonderful too, a little bohemian chic, some tunes, funky bartenders, luckily it was also a bit loud because Lil A thought the bartender with "rooster hair" was quite funny (mohawk.)
Filferro. Fabulouso.

Playground! 
.
What's next? Ah yes, i love Kutchi! We passed this adorable looking shop while wandering and the hubby agreed to hold down the girls so I could peek in! I must explain, it's all adorable handmade kids things, with lots and lots and lots of pink. Asking the kids to just hold back on their own in there would be like asking me the same thing in a cheese shop. Just silly. I found the cutest little shoes and bib for JoeBob (the yet to be named man cub.) And the gal who ran the shop was so nice and gave the girls each a sheet of PINK stickers. Happiness is.
She even decorated her tree pink. I cannot express accurately the girls pleasure with this idea.

How cute is this? How could I not go in?? It's a good thing the hubby was there or I'd have needed more luggage home!
 This entertained me. First you have to understand, alcohol in Europe is not like America. It's not perceived like it is in America. It's everywhere, literally, but no one is shit faced. So you get beer at the zoo, and mixed drinks at children's museums- it's a totally different perspective. But I had to love this place. We're at a park that has a cafe next to it. But when I get closer I see, it's not really a cafe, I mean sure, they have some chips, but really, it's a bar. 7 types of gin and a tire swing. I mean, could it get better? Oh yes, the bartender had his tunes rocking! I was dancing and grooving till the girls were in stitches! And no, I didn't have any of the gin. Side note- if rocking out to a great song in a bathroom while your daughter powders her nose and said bathroom is in a trailer- be aware of how much you're rocking the trailer! I'm pretty sure the barkeep was laughing!

















Why do I love Barcelona? Because you sit here on this beautiful beach, pay 6 euro and get a chair for the day, and the bartenders come to you- would you like a salad? sandwich? pitcher of sangria?





However the massage ladies will also come by asking, "you want massaggee?" roughly 20x/hour. Seriously. I was tempted to put a post it note on my head saying no. Though on the bonus side the girls thought it was funny and gave us some massages!
 Longest post ever. Didn't see that one coming, guess I had some things to say! So- markets! Barcelona has incredible food markets if you can arrange yourself a kitchen! Though still worth a walk through without- I will say, those tasty fruit cups up front? They're half off farther back! Walk through, then decide. Hubby found these little pixos they call them- basically bite size snacks- on a stick- for 1 euro! Something about meat on a stick, it calls to him. You should have seen the time he got a pork chop on a stick....that's another story. It was like the girls and the pink tree...

How can you not love the castanet guy?

Gaudi. Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi... You can't not love his work, though you can't not simultaneously realize he was smoking something! Note- up a STEEP HILL. A really, really long, steep hill. There are some escalators. Not enough. Luckily this place was worth it because we were sweating (and it wasn't hot) by the time we got up there! Looking back I'd totally pay a taxi to take me up next time! Park Guell was beautiful!
Because you can't not have chocolate and churros in Barcelona! 



Best beer in Barcelona. Hands down. I'm trying to find a way to get some here!

Alright, I quite! There's Barcelona in a nut shell for you! And if you lucky, in 4 months I'll get my act together again and share some more ;)

I know, I know!

Redefining behind, I know! I was reminded that I haven't posted in a while today and it's truer than I realized! I have photos and ideas and stacks of things on my desk I want to talk about, but these days when I have 2 minutes to rub together, I just want to lay down! He's worth it :) The little man I'm cooking is demanding 98% of my energy these days (and his sisters another 75%!) So here comes a little catch up best I can! Love to all of you who actually read this ;)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Musings on Beethoven and Chicken.

Tonight I tried to make a fabulous dinner, Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans. Yum, right? Well, it would have been had I heeded any of the warnings that came to me throughout the day. Twice Big A said, "Mom, something doesn't smell right in the fridge." And twice I gave it a cursory look and put it on my To Do Later Today list. Because I just looove cleaning out the fridge. Had I put it on my Now list I would have realized it was the chicken I defrosted for tonight's dinner. On the upside I realized before the chicken went into the meal, on the downside, that was about 2 minutes before I needed it in the recipe and about an hour after I could have made it to the store to replace it. Normally, I set out all my ingredients first so I'm sure I have everything but tonight I lived life on the edge and grabbed things as I needed them. Lesson hopefully learned, though likely not. I will say my veggies were scrumptious- this recipe is still great without the chicken, alas, roasted veggies soaked in chicken juice would have been infinitely better. Here's a picture of what I was supposed to be eating:
Really, reeaaaallly wanted to eat that. Funny discovery from all this- #3 To Be was furious about the lack of meat presented in dinner so I was digging for a miracle in the freezer when to what should my wondering eyes appear? A miracle! Let me explain: I live in Germany, however my German is schlecht. That means really bad. But I thought since I had my grocery list translated before the store (I have no iPhone signal in the store, read: no translations) I could brave the meat counter. They still have live people at their meat counters here, it's a tolle idee (which translates in some places as a "peach of an idea." That tickles me.) And I did it! I bought the meat I pointed at! Even the right amount! However, that was not the meat corresponding to the sign I was looking at. So instead of chicken thighs, I had cubed turkey breasts. Oops. And those have been idling in my freezer for quite a bit. But tonight, voila! I did a quicky micro defrost and fried 'em up in a pan with some lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper and figured at least I'd eat them and Big A inhaled them! "Mom, can you make these again? Can I have some more?" She's not my resident carnivore. At all. So the chicken I would have made? It would have been great, but she would have had a few bites maybe. Tonight she got a week's worth of protein and I discovered the easiest dinner ever that she'll devour! Funny how things turn out.

So, you're probably wondering what on earth this has to do with Beethoven. I am currently bemused by dinner's outcome, however a few hours ago I'm pretty sure smoke was coming out my ears. Something was clear because my wonderful hubby offered to put the kids to bed and I could finish working out whatever it was with some chocolate in the kitchen. Smart man. (And a huge shout out to my Pop for providing the endless supply of said chocolate!) I turned on my Beethoven CD because he speaks to me.
This is the one I love, though I'm not sure there's one out there I don't?

I don't know if music has that affect on everyone? Music changes my mood, every time. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Tonight Moonlight Sonata said: I feel your storm. Rage. Get it out. Then Minuet in G said: lighten up! Dance around and laugh with life! (4 raspberry filled chocolates helped a lot with that.) Then Fur Elise said: Life is beautiful. By the time I got to Sonata in E Flat Opus 7 I was me again. A few chocolates happier and a clean kitchen. So little went as planned today, but so much went well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christmas in February?

Not exactly, but that's when the post is coming! I have the most adorable, nauseating reason for the delay, #3 is coming this summer! So most of December was spent trying not to throw up :) Better now, and ready to post again! This December, on a Good Day, we made it to a Christmas market in Bernkastel Kues and it was super cute! I will say I was disappointed by the shopping- mostly it was eats and gluhwein and as much as I love food, it wasn't sounding so hot and gluhwein is, well, wine! Next year! But the town itself was adorable so here are some photos!
This was way up on this hill, so it's hard to see, but beautiful!

Happiness is? Merry-go-rounds.




This is from Hansel & Gretel; can you see the witch?


If you don't know the story of Zwarte Piet, it's an interesting tale. Let's just say it's worse than getting coal here if you aren't "good" all year. Note the little boots coming out of the bag. In short, if you were naughty Z.P. came and took you, put you in his sack, beat you with reeds and took you back to Spain. Yeah.

This is what Really Tired looks like in front of a beautiful tree!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Love is a verb.

Tonight my eldest little bitty girl is sick (again; winter has been rough around our house) and her poor little self looked so, dejected? down? Her spirit was down, so I climbed up to the top bunk with her and we snuggled and as I rubbed her back and her hair until she fell asleep I told her about my mom doing the same when I was smallish. And how to this day I can feel her hands and smell her just closing my eyes. I told her how I felt like I could feel my mom's love coming right through her fingertips to me and she smiled with her eyes closed and did her little "mmmmm" of contentment and I almost cried. I didn't mean the story to be a question of whether or not she felt that way, I was just thinking aloud and she loves stories from when I was little. After she fell asleep, I stayed there for a bit longer rubbing her little back and remembering my dad. When I was sick at his house (my parents are divorced so I get two Get Well stories) he would have me snuggle up to him, no matter how sick I was and would tell me he was going to Love me well. He said he could make me better just by loving me all better. And miraculously not once did he catch what I had; bewildering and something I wish I had inherited. So tonight, I held my sleeping bean, so big and so small and Loved her Well.