Monday, May 31, 2010

Hiking the Felsenmeer

Once upon a time there were two giants who lived on two hills; one on the Felsberg, the other on the Hohenstein. One day they had a quarrel and began throwing boulders at each other. The giant from Hohenstein had the advantage of many more stones to throw, and soon the giant from the Felsberg was buried in a sea of rocks. Today that spot is known as the Felsenmeer.


all the kids at the path's entrance before the climb, you can see the boulders off to the right in the distance
We had a great day spending time with some friends from our church climbing boulders at Felsenmeer. 
    We met right outside base and did a bunch of kid-swapping and car-condensing so we could make it there in 3 vehicles instead of 5 and then set off on the 95km drive.
    Once we arrived, all the kids climbed the steep trail of boulders (about 1 km) up to the top.  There is also a path along the side that isn’t exactly easier, as it is just as steep, but it has stairs and unencumbered pathways as opposed to GINORMOUS boulders.  All the kids chose the boulder path.  Krissie had to walk up the path only because it was too hard to try and navigate the huge boulders with the camera and the water bottles.  Next time everyone brings their own backpack and carries their own lunch and water bottle so Krissie can try the boulder path!
   Close to the top we stopped at a picnic area for lunch and some play time on the huge rocks up there.  We took the path down as it was drizzling a little and the rocks were too slippery for the kids to climb on.  On our way down we met a dad with his son looking for his other son; they had gotten separated while climbing the rocks.  When we got to the very bottom we met the mom still looking for her missing son.  She said that the boy had been missing about 2 hours.  After calling her husband’s cell to confirm that he hadn’t found the boy Rob climbed back up the rocks to see if he could spot the boy (he is 14) because the Dad and other son were headed back down on the path.  Rob found the boy about ½ way up just standing on the bridge and told him to go down to the bottom of the hill where is mom was looking for him and a bit worried.  Once we saw the happy reunion we did a little more kids swapping and caravanned back to where the other cars were parked.
   Our family stopped at a store on the way home for some pizzas.  At home we changed (checking for ticks) because we were all covered with mud, started some laundry, and crashed out on the couch with a movie.  The kids all went to bed about an hour earlier than usual and Krissie was asleep by 8:45 PM!  What a great day!
you can barely make out Baylor, Noah, and Simon in this picture but I wanted you to be able to gage how steep the climb was.


These pictures are great because you can really get a sense of how BIG the boulders were that the kids were climbing over.  In the picture on the right you can see Rob's baseball cap, he was hanging back with Micah who kept pretty good pace withe the older kids.  Sarah was the very last in the group because she was trying to climg and NOT get dirty.  Once she gave up trying to keep clean she made MUCH better time!



Stopped for lunch at a picnic area close to the top of the climb.  After this break in the boulders they rocks became even BIGGER and more spread out making a really fun area to run around and play after lunch before heading back down.


Rob was the only Dad able to make today's trip.  He had fun climbing on the boulders with the boys while the moms hung out talking curriculum and summer plans.
More info at http://www.felsenmeer-informationszentrum.de

Friday, May 28, 2010

We survived the first year of High School

It's hard to even write this post.... I get so emotional when I think of having a high schooler.  Last night, in fact, I was tormented by bad dreams in which the basement flooded and all Sarah's records were lost - or she couldn't find 3 of her exams forcing her to take an F in Biology.  I'm not so emotional about her getting older (although sometimes I step back and say, "Whoa, she's a young woman, not a girl!"), or about her doing poorly in school (she gets all A's and earns every one through diligence), but I am most stressed that my shortcomings will hinder her in what she wants (college, scholarships, etc.)  When I first started home schooling I only wanted to get her through middle school.  Then God totally changed Rob's and my heart (through dear friends) and we ventured into the mystery that was "High SCHOOL" (insert eerie horror theme here).  When we started planning, researching, plotting, reading, scheming...... I talked incessantly about keeping records and "this time it ACTUALLY COUNTS" - she in turn (and patiently) assured me she was willing to do the work and that everything would be fine.  So, I say "we" survived her Freshmen year, but really SHE did all the work.  Here's to you Bear (and, yes, I still get to call you that).
   Sarah is a wonderful daughter, she wears her heart on her sleeve and is kind to everyone.  If you know her you love her and her smile is infectious.  She loves life and except for mornings there's not a moment to the day when she doesn't have a positive outlook.  Oh, sure, there are some moody teen times, but nothing that a cup of coffee and an episode of her favorite TV show (of the moment) won't cure.  I asked Sarah what she wanted the world to know about her (and she had a few days to think about it seeing the posts I wrote about her brothers when they completed school) and her pearls of wisdom?  "Not everything tastes like chicken."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DONE! DONE! DONE! DONE!

NOAH IS DONE WITH FIFTH GRADE!  Noah finished his last test today with a hat-trick of A's on his end of year exams in History, Health, and Spelling.   Final grades will be averaged next week, but i already know he did really well.
    What the world needs to know about Noah.
   I am 11 years old.  I love anything to do with apples: pie, tart, candy, caramel apples, juice, cider, etc.  I like to play the piano a lot and enjoy performing in front of people.  The coolest thing that I did this year was cross over into Boy Scouts (from Cub Scouts).  I am having a great time in Boy Scouts.  My favorite color is green, which is the same color as my ipod nano.  My favorite song is "Uprising" by Muse.  I like to play with Legos, play outside with my brother, chat on the computer and send emails, play Wii, and have sleepovers.  My favorite Bible verse is the 23rd Psalm because it tells deeply God cares for us.  I like going on bike rides with my Dad and playing sports of all kinds.  The thing I spend most of my time doing is making up stories.  I probably have 10 notebooks full of stories that I've written.  I don't like having to say goodbye to friends that move away.  I don't like plain tomatoes (AT ALL) and being left out.  I don't like errands which is why I am so glad that I am starting to be able to stay home on my own and not have to go on them.  I love the  privileges that come with my age like staying home alone, sleeping in, and a later bedtime, but I am still working out the responsibility part that goes along with it.  Mom says I am getting there, but I can be pretty forgetful.  In sixth grade I am looking forward to earning new ranks in Boy Scouts and my grandparents coming to visit.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

All about Micah, the SECOND grader

Why does this child look SOOOO HAPPY!?!?!  Because today he finished all his first grade curriculum.  As of this afternoon he is a SECOND grader!!  This year Micah studied phonics, reading, grammar, arithmetic, and spelling.  He also took art, gymnastics, piano,and swimming classes.  He also completed his first year of Cub Scouts and earned his Tiger rank.  This year Micah read a lot of novels.  Some beginner novels and some more advanced.  He finished reading, with Mom (and a little help from Jim Dale) books 3 - 7 of the Harry Potter series.  On his own, he read "Little House in the Big Woods" and "The Magician's Elephant".  He learned carrying, borrowing, and beginning multiplication facts in arithmetic.  He completed several stories about puppies, lady bugs, camping, and fishing.  He also wrote reports on George Washington Carver and Abraham Lincoln.  The best thing about being 7 and in the first grade (according to Micah) is FINALLY getting to be a cub scout (after attending meetings as a little brother for 5 years, Micah was SO READY for it to be HIS TURN to earn stuff!).
  Here is a list of some of the things you need to know about Micah:
His favorites
Bible Verse "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law" Psalm 119:18
Food: Lasagna
Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Song: "Raindance" (it is a song from his piano lesson book that he can play)
things to do: camp with Daddy, play Wii with a friend, and Legos with Noah (or just about anything with Noah)
friend: Noah
color: yellow
treat: ice cream
TV show: Peep and the Big Wide World
drink: coffee w/ vanilla nut creamer
Micah doesn't like Ranch dressing and has only lost 3 teeth so far.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PAX Terminal Tour

Micah's Cub Scout den on a field trip to the PAX terminal at Ramstein AB. The boys got to process through "the line" just as if they were deploying. They weighed themselves on the scale, saw where the baggage is X-rayed, heard their Cub Scout flight called over the loudspeaker, rode on the jetway, and met a lot of really cool airmen that work there.
The boys are being weighed on the scale.... that's 900 pounds of Cub Scout right there!
First we saw where your checked baggage goes, and watched some go through the scanner
Then our flight was called over the loudspeaker and after a brief run through the USO we went to board our flight.  At security we saw how they check carry on baggage and the tech's even put some fun (FAKE) stuff (like a pistol and a knife) into bags so the boys could watch it go through the Xray machine.
After riding on the jetway our tour was over!  We didn't really get to go to Hawaii... bummer.  We had the den pose in the walkway where our plane would have been waiting.  You can see the flight line behind the boys and the jetway we rode on the right.
This was our main tour guide posing with the den and a few of the siblings who also came on the tour.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Noah is home and the busy weekend ends!


After church we came home and started to prepare a steak-on-the-grill dinner (w/ baked potatoes and grilled veggies) in honor of Noah coming home from camping with the Boy Scouts.  Even though he has only been gone since Friday afternoon it feels like a lot longer, especially to Micah.  I wanted to get some pictures of picking him up at the meeting point, or the steak dinner... but alas these are all I have to share.  The picture of the kids waiting for the steaks to finish cooking is a bit dark, sorry, but it was the only one I had of all 3 of them together again, at long, long last (according to Micah!).  I thought I would also have Sarah grab a picture of Rob and I since Friday (our anniversary) was way too busy to even think about posing for a picture together!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dance Recital

Today was the day of the HUGE end of year recital for all the local youth center dance classes.  Sarah performed in the first show, and we also stayed for the second show to watch all the other Irish dance classes perform, including Sarah's best friend, Hannah.  The recital was a great time and we took some videos, I just have to make sure it's okay with the dance teachers before posting them.  
Sarah performing with the beginner class she helps teach on Thursday afternoons.  Sarah LOVES these kids and has a great time assisting Mary.  
This is during the elite class' performance.  Mary wanted me to catch a shot of when all 4 girls were hanging in the air.  I missed the shot she wanted and got them coming down... It's a hard shot to get with my non-professional camera and those girls move FAST!  









A few more shots taken during the elite class performance.








the whole class, including the guys
class pose after the show, with Mary, their teacher.
Sarah poses with the class she helps.
Sarah loves ALL the kids she dances with, but these girls are the ones she is closest to.  Three of them are moving this summer and dance won't ever be the same. 
  




Thankfully Hannah, Sarah's closet confidant and partner in crime, isn't one of the girls moving this summer.  We are so thankful for this wonderful friendship.










Daddy and Micah came to the first show to see Sarah dance.  Noah is still away at a Boy Scout weekend camp-out.  After the show Daddy and Micah played a game of catch while waiting for the girls to get home from the second performance.  We ate a ymmy supper and watched a movie (Sarah fell asleep on the couch.... and if I, the blog poster, am being honest, so did Mom).  Micah misses Noah so much and can't wait until it is time to pick him up tomorrow!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What 16 years of marriage looks like

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary.  Sixteen years of marriage, three kids, a career in the air force, home-schooling, a dog, and teenagers equal no time to slow down and celebrate.  Sarah's dance recital is tomorrow (Saturday) so she has been having extra practices all week including one today.  Noah is leaving on a Boy Scout camp-out trip and Micah is playing in a little piano performance on base.
  I don't get any pictures of Noah on his camp-outs since he goes "alone" now.  I grabbed these pictures at the drop-off point before he left.  This is his scoutmaster, Mr. Mol.  Noah loves camping out and does fine being away from home.  These weekend "campaways" are good preparation for Mom because in July Noah will be going away for a camp that last SIX NIGHTS!!
As soon as we dropped Noah off we sped over to the community center where Micah performed in a little piano recital with a few other kids.
When Micah and I dropped Sarah off at dance we found another parent willing to drive her home when practice was over - so Micah and I headed home where we met Rob who had just gotten off work.  Rob, Micah, and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with ice cream sundaes!  It was busy day and although we didn't "go out" on a date this was ever more special because we are so grateful to have such wonderful, busy, crazy-schedule, involved kids and grateful for the Air Force job that Rob has.  Besides, what is better than a hot fudge (with caramel, too) Sundae?!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sleepover weekend

All THREE kids had sleepovers this weekend!  It is just another reminder of how GROWN up they are getting, and how OLD I am!  I guess I don't have to really worry until they are all TOO OLD for sleepovers... then I'll really be in trouble!  I've enjoyed every season this journey of motherhood has brought me...and although I've said each one is my favorite... I really think THIS one is my favorite.  I love that they're independent enough that I can go for a run in the morning and leave them here to get their morning started on their own.  I love that they have their own friends, interests, hobbies, and pastimes, that don't involve me sitting on the floor cross legged doing the same puzzle for hours, YET they still love to sit on the couch to read with me, watch a movie, or tell me stories about their day (or that they make-up).  I LOVE that they help me clean, and that while cleaning the kitchen we talk about history, books we're reading, have theological discussions, and share the same tastes in entertainment.  Holding my friends sweet babies I do miss certain things about that time in their lives, but when I look around and see my daughter also holding a friend's baby, my son getting his OWN plate of food - I can take a moment to really, truly enjoy holding my friends baby and be patient with a toddler who isn't mine.  I wasn't always, not when I had my own toddlers trying my patience.  I'm feeling sentimental and was around a lot of young mothers with little babies yesterday and it put into stark contrast the different season I now find myself in.  So while I would do it all again in the blink of an eye (having more babies, the diapers, the sleepless nights, the endless reading of all things Eric Carle), I am reminded of how much I have now and even though I now have to fight for my kids attention, instead of fighting for a break from them, I am truly blessed.  

Sarah and her best friend, Hannah, at Friday night's goodbye bbq for our friends.  Noah with his friend, Simon, also at the bbq (but they were outback exploring the woods rather than playing with little kids).  I don't have a picture of Micah since he went away for a sleepover at his friend, Justus', house.

Friday, May 14, 2010

sweet sorrow

Tonight was the goodbye bbq for our dear friends, the Schulte's.  We first started getting to know Heather 4 years ago when she began to give Sarah weekly sewing lessons.  I can remember her standing in my kitchen, holding an itty-bitty Stella, and telling me she was pregnant.  Since then we've spent a lot of time with these sweet friends, but especially this past year when Heather was pregnant with her third baby, a difficult pregnancy, a traumatic (9-week early) birth, and trying to get ready to move!  We will miss these wonderful people in our church and in our lives.  My arms already ache for those precious little ones that I've grown to love so very much.  All I can say is she better post lots of pictures on facebook!!
Micah had to stop into the BBQ very briefly (on his way to a sleepover, as he is now Mr. Social Engagement).  He stopped in, said goodbye and then was off.  I took this picture because I wanted to put it next to a picture of Micah and Stella back from when we first met them - playing on my living room floor during a sewing lesson.  Stella was just a baby in diapers and Micah barely 3.  I will keep looking, but I was pressed for time and consumed with memories, so emotional photo hunting will have to wait.
I had Sarah grab this picture before I dissolved into a puddle of tears (which happened shortly after this photo was taken when I was holding Titus and saying goodbye).  This whole family is very dear to us, but these little ones especially dear to me.    
Titus just talked and smiled for me the whole time I was holding him.  Like he was telling me goodbye.  What a sweet peanut.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

a "Wii" bit 'o friendship

It seems like overnight Micah transitioned from being just "little brother" to being this whole grown up young man!  So often he has been pulled this way and that - from one activity to the next - only participating because it involved his older brother or sister.  Now that he is finishing first grade and his first year in cub scouts his unique and individual personality are starting to shine through.  He has friends that aren't just his friends because of Mom, Sarah, or Noah, AND we set aside time for just MICAH to have time to hang out with his friends instead of it just happening because we had to go here or there.  Today Micah had one of his friends, Ben, come over after swimming lessons to hang out.  They had a great time playing Wii and eating a yummy spaghetti dinner (Micah's FAVORITE).  Friday night Micah is invited to his first sleepover (away from home) with a friend he's made from his cub scout den, what a little party animal!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cub Scout Service Project

 Micah's Cub Scout Den 1 is participating in a Pack wide service project collecting items to mail downrange. The boys collected thousands of items outside the commissary about a week ago, and today met in the garage of one of the den leaders to box it all up. They created over 70 boxes to ship to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines stationed downrange
Micah creating his box
Tiger Scouts from Micah's den
All the scouts (and den leader) in front of the HUGE stack of boxes ready to mail

Friday, May 7, 2010

Last Gymnastics Performance

The boys participate in a weekly multi-age gymnastics class specifically for home schooled kids.  On Friday they had an exhibition to show all they have learned over the last year.  They each got a certificate and a trophy at the end, too.  They have really learned a lot and come a long way with their cart-wheels, balancing, and bar-work.  It has been a great learning experience for them even though neither of them is really interested in gymnastics.  This will be their last year participating in the class, too.  Their school, scouting, music, and other activities just have to take priority.  The boys will miss this weekly outlet of running, jumping, swinging, balancing, and tumbling.

Phantom Crying


Mom took the boys to an activity, and Sarah was just getting out of bed.  Phantom was howling at the front door and then ran upstairs to tell Sarah how awful it was.  Sarah heard him coming and grabbed her camera.  This is how the poor puppy feels after mom leaves.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Air Traffic Control Tower

Today Micah's Tiger Den went on a tour of the air traffic control tower. The boys had a great time climbing the 10 flights of stairs, walking around outside on the catwalk, looking at the 365 degree view through binoculars, and even got to watch a C5 take off!



Monday, May 3, 2010

Micah's Sleepover

Micah has had sleepovers before, but only when it has included his older brother or been necessary for the convenience of a busy weekend. This time was different. Micah met a friend through cub scouts and invited him over for a sleepover. It was a very fun time and Micah felt very cool! He and Justus stayed up late playing Wii and laughing. They ate pancakes for breakfast, played outside, a little more Wii and then, all too soon, it was time to take him home.

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