Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Karneval - Fasching - Mardi Gras

In the southern part of Germany (which is the predominantly Roman Catholic part of the country) Shrove Tuesday ("Faschingsdienstag") is celebrated with a Fasching parade. This period of celebration and partying had its origin in the need to use up all remaining meat and animal products such as eggs and butter before the fasting season. The celebration of Carnival ends on "Mardi Gras" (French for "Fat Tuesday"), the day before Ash Wednesday, when the rigors of Lent's 40 days of fasting and sacrifice begin. Although the symbolism and meaning have long been lost, and we are not Catholic, the kids were invited to walk in the parade in costume with the Girl Scouts. Getting to participate in the tradition was a truly unique experience. Having never been to New Orleans I can not say for sure, but I am sure this celebration was a lot more tame than that of the "big easy".
Everyone in the parade is dressed up in costumes. Some on floats, but mostly walking. All along the sides there are kids and adults alike dressed up to watch the parade. Those in the parade throw candy, beads and other assorted novelties to the eager faces on the sides of the road.
Our Girl Scout troop dressed up in a "zoo" theme for the parade. Sarah was a BEAR, Noah a TIGER, and little Micah was a MOUSE. I do not have many pictures of what was in the parade since we walked the route and all we saw was the back of the float in front of us and people, people, people on the sides waiting to have candy thrown at them. But I think I managed to capture some of the fun we had. Also, there was another little sibling in our troop, a 4-year old girl who also dressed up as a little gray mouse. How cute these two were as our little zoo mice!!
The parade route took us through the whole village of Ramstein. It was about a 2 hour and 30 minute walk from start to finish.
Before the parade started the Girl Scout leader and I talked to the troop about why this parade started and what all those word meant. Just so they had at least a little understanding of what we were doing (after all, are we not a home school troop?) While walking back to the car Noah approached me with a serious look on his face. He asked me, "Even if I am not Catholic, can I give up something for Lent?" We had talked to the kids that when people give something up it has to be something that is difficult for them to part with so that they, on however small a scale, can appreciate what sacrifice is in their own little world. So I answered Noah and said, "Sure". Noah then told me that he had been thinking about it and he would like to give up chocolate. His first question though was.... "When can I have chocolate again?"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day 2007

We had a fantastic Valentines Party at our Tuesday co-op. The kids all made home-made Valentines for their class and we got to pass them out after a pot luck lunch. Micah made cards that said "to a wheely good friend", and, "I never tire of your friendship" - then we took a toy car and ran it through some ink. Finally we finished them by attaching a chocolate car. Noah made "Love Bugs" with smarties, pipe cleaners, and foam wings. Sarah made cardstock popcorn cards with a cute greeting and microwave popcorn taped on the back.
hope you all had a great day and thanks for looking!

Once upon a time there was a worry wart.

Random musings from a worried mom
I worry a lot. I worry about everything. I try and stay calm. I try not to freak out.... but..............
Sometimes I will get up in the morning and worry about worrying too little. I dwell. I dwell a lot, too. How am I still sane? This can not be normal. Some days I am exhausted from the fretting. I wish it burned more calories. I would be skinny instead of an unhealthy weight (by the way, it worries me to be this weight, but all I seem to do is worry about it and take no action on it).
I have had days when there were actually things to be anxious about - Rob being on a convoy in Iraq for instance, or mice invading my home at an alarming rate would be another example. But in the absence of any real drama I will create things that (I think) need to be stressed about. Are my kids getting enough sun (you know they say sun deprivation is an MS trigger). Where / How can we scrimp any more out of our budget to be able to afford a piano for Noah? Is Sarah getting enough from her curriculum and WHAT oh WHAT am I to do with all this algebra?
People see this blog and leave such nice comments (which are very inspiring and well received) about what a good mom I am. I love these comments, keep your accolades a comin'!! But, it worries me to think that you may have a false impression of what lurks beneath the surface of my active and busy facade..... I worry a lot.
I pray a lot too, which I think is the only remedy for worry. Some days I pray more than I worry and those are probably my better days.
There is a lot happening in the next few months in our lives. We will see if everything we hope to accomplish really comes to pass. We've also been very sick. There are some nasty infectious viruses floating around our neck of the woods and we have been down and out more than once in the last 2 weeks. I am not giving this blog the attention I had intended to. (that worries me). So you may not see an update for a few days or a week - but I am here. Kids are here. Rob is here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

"Everybody's Working For The Weekend"

Friday! Glorious Friday! Here at last. On Fridays we still keep busy, but we stay HOME.
In the mornings Sarah starts school but then takes a break when Heather, our friend from church, comes over to sew with her. They have a great time and have already made a blouse together and will begin working on a cool vest as soon as I can find material. Heather and her daughter, Stella, come to play for about an hour and a half each Friday morning to sew with Sarah. The boys relax with the slower paced day by enjoying some game time on the computer. This Friday is date night for Mom and Dad. Brittany is here to help Sarah watch the boys and they're enjoying a pizza dinner.
Mom and Dad are all ready to go eat while the kids stay home and watch (what else?) "Star Wars" with Brittany.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

"Thursday I Don't Care About You"

Thursday morning we do our usual school, hustling and bustling through all our subjects.
Noah has piano lessons at noon. We trade off car pooling with our friends, so I do not usually take Noah to piano (I drive to the other coop on Tuesdays). However, today my friend's son was very sick so I drove to piano. It was a little more hectic than usual, but nice because now I have piano lesson pictures to show you. After piano we picked Micah up from pre-school and head to base!

On Thursday we have our Home-School PE (physical education) co-op. It is a lot of fun and the kids get to see lots of their friends. We play a lot of different sports. Right now the younger kids are doing a 6-week class in the gym learning about basketball while the older kids spend 6 weeks in the gymnastics gym learning gymnastics (that's right, for the time being my kids have gymnastics twice a week). Then they will swap out.

During PE Mom helps with the little ones, 5 and under, who are too young to try and throw a basket ball. We play lots of fun pre-school games including singing rhymes, obstacle courses, and "Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox, what time is it?" (a kind of red light / green light chasing and catching game).

After PE every Thursday we run to the commissary for our weekly shopping trip. It has become a ritual of many home school moms and the aisles are filled with friendly faces and kids to chat with.

Back at home it is time for dinner and our nightly rituals. The boys read stories and do devotions with Dad, Sarah spends some time working on her art homework while listening to a book on CD.