Tuesday, July 20, 2010


One of the outdoor events (but sort of indoor) the kids and I planned for the summer was going to a huge play place called Tobolino's.  They had something for both age groups here.  Spencer was in heaven and so were the girls (who brought Jazmine along).  It was blazing hot inside (as most of Germany doesn't have air conditioning... my American "know-it-all opinion thinks that if they had a/c, they'd get a lot more business).  You'll be able to see how hot it was from the sweat on "Sweaty Spencer" and the girls were dying of heat.  But it was fun. I don't have much commentary for these pictures (I know some of you are excited about that.... ahem, Heather S. G.... she makes fun of me for the bulk of my writing... ironic I guess that I write for a magazine) so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

As much as I would like to admit I'm fluent in German for being over here already 1 1/2 years, I can't.  I have had the desire (I even had a German book in my car), and yes have learned a few phrases, but with all my traveling back to the states, taking care of the kids, my health, and getting the magazine started, I just never did.  I also had a hard time thinking of going to class one night a week when the girls are so dang busy every night.  I then got discouraged that I only have a short time left and there was no way I was going to become fluent.  So I gave up.

But, I realized that even if I only learn a little bit, at least I can be proud of myself that I did.  So, I'm going to enroll in German 1, it's only 6 weeks and I can see where to go from there.

Over the summer, the girls and I participated in a German class the missionaries for our church were holding. It was funny to me that the girls knew more than I did.  They were taking down all these notes, repeating the German numbers and tenses perfectly and flying by me.  They had already been learning in school and really loved being there. Unfortunately, the night they were holding it kept getting overscheduled and we weren't able to finish it out.  But here are some pictures of us studying, studying!

Wow! I'm being really brave for posting this picture of me.  Keep in mind, this was during the summer (funny how tan the girls are next to me), VERY hot, and no air conditioning in the church.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Out & About at Mainz Hallenbad

So, here's where I prove to you that I was getting everyone to come with me to the swimming  pools.  On this day, my friend Lindsey and I organized the Out & About Group to go.  The Out & About Discovery Group is a church group we started to explore all the cool things in our area.  Usually we go to castles, tour little towns, or go out to dinner in a downtown German area.  But also part of the group was to show everyone things you could do with your families in the area, so they would love this place as much as she and I did.  So!  This was one of the activities.  We had such a great time and had a great turnout!

This is when we discovered the indoor pool which was A.MA.ZING!  Spencer loved it.  I need to get pictures next time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Lovin'

A Few of the Things to Combat Summer Boredness

Since we didn't go back to the states for the summer, we had to fill our time with lots of activities. Since there are a lot of things to do over here in Germany, it was a matter of juggling when we could do everything.  We made a huge posterboard of "Outside Activities," "Indoor Activities," and "Trips" and then tried plugging them into the calendar.  There were many days where we did inside activities when it was apparent we just needed a break to stay home and get our sanity back... to just vegge... always a good thing, right?

I didn't post pictures of everything, but here are a few things we did.

The girls are very artistic and love drawing, painting and creating.  You can get these color by number pictures that have the tiniest areas to paint inside. The girls have painted probably ten of these.  They can't get enough and definitely have the patience for it.  Xanthe mainly worked on this one, but Xoe helped her at one point when Xanthe was too nervous about a certain "mix" of color and shaded area (I tell you, these aren't just your basic "color-by-number.")

I can't seem to get this picture to turn. I uploaded it twice.  Sorry.  I left it though so you could see the details.


Part of their creating is obsessing about fashion and their fashion designs.  They buy books with model outlines to design things, they make their own clothes, and they play online fashion games.  This one is called Stardoll they've been playing for about two years.  I never really knew how into it they were until last Christmas when I, on a whim, gave them the full six-month membership.  That was the "present that ruined Christmas."  They didn't want to do anything else.  They create girls, wherein they earn points for creating and selling designs to other friends, which then they can buy more fashions and design their own suites.  I have been seriously impressed with their creativity.  It's fun too because they get to go shopping at a "high-end" mall with famous designers, "Stella McCartney," "DKNY," and brands I've never even heard of (but that's not saying much cuz I don't know a lot about fashion designers.)  The girls are so familiar with these designers and brands that when we've gone traveling and they've seen their labels or stores, they start telling me what kinds of clothes that person sells/markets.  I figure it's a great teaching tool for what they want to do when they grow up.  I definitely have it in my not-so-far future to find private art lessons for them.

More Painting
So, I was sick of washing a ton of cups.  It seemed I was constantly washing 25 cups every day.  So, I went through and gifted almost all to charity (any that didn't match) then bought a new set of glass cups.  I already had glass enamel paint so I had everyone paint two of their own cups.  They have to use these throughout the day. If it was dirty, they have to clean it out.  Anyway, there are a ton up in my cupboard and I didn't get Xoe painting any, but this is Xanthe's.  See? I told you they're creative.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mainz Hallenbad/Schwimmbad

Summers in Germany are interesting.  There is about one month where it is hot, like in the 90's.  Usually it takes place in August, but this year it started early... in July.  It was so horribly hot and uncomfortable, mostly because it was muggy (until I insisted on a nice air conditioning for the front room).  Even being from California, I don't like the heat, much less the sun.  Therefore, I become a hermit when the sun comes out.  I burn easily, my skin is paper thin and so I soak in the temperature very easily, and I am just plain miserable.

My respite?  The Schwimmbads. They have them in almost every city, or at least one close by.  They are like community swimming pools, but there is just something so much cooler than the ones in America. It isn't just a medium size rectangle with water in it, with a tiny baby pool.  They pull out all the stops. Water slides, blow up shapes to climb on, slides and toys of all kinds, big grassy areas to lay on, lazy pools, etc.  There are even indoor swimming pools you can go to in the middle of winter.  Don't worry. I plan on it.

So, just for you Ruth, I'm going to be posting pictures the next couple of days of some of the times we went to the schwimmbads.  She has been trying for years to get me to enjoy their weekly "beach days" or days at the pool. I usually barter with them to stay behind and watch the babies while they took Xoe and Xanthe for me.  

Also, know that at one point, Xoe and Xanthe were going every other day, if not every day with their friends, or me, or Brian... anyone that would take them.  They were addicted.  And I'll admit, so I was I.  I tried to use every excuse to take the kids.  I even organized church groups to go with me (I'll post about that too.) So, here ya go, Ruth, just for you!  Can you believe it?  

(These aren't very good pictures capturing this place. There was indoor place here that Spencer loved with a cave and tiny slide and high dives... across the grassy area was a water slide, a huge blow up whale, Olympic swimmer-size lanes for practice... maybe I captured them from another time we went.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Army 4th of July Celebration

The army base here in Wiesbaden holds a few celebrations throughout the year. One of them is a 4th of July Celebration.  They have a bounce houses, rides, bumper cars, boxing matches, a DJ, food, pony rides, and  a train track.

Can you tell by the amount of water he drank, and his red face, how hot it was?

The American and German flag.  we're standing in front of the boxing ring.

We actually had been invited beforehand to one of the girls' friend's houses by their parents for a big party they were having.  It was really fun.  A huge potluck, water games, volleyball.  The girls left (like teenagers) to go to the army celebration down the street.  We met them there, saw them for a little while and then left them with their friends. That's why I don't have any pictures of them here.