Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Turkey Day!!

Happy Turkey Day everyone! Thanksgiving at the Powell home is always celebrated the Saturday after the actual day, because the Thursday is not a holiday in Germany. And while I'm probably still running around like a rabid chicken, trying to get dinner ready, please sit back and enjoy the little poem my ingenious hubby has composed back in July:

Murder Turkey you're the one
You make stalking lots of fun
Murder Turkeys are disemboweling you

Murder Turkey joy of joys

When you eat me you make noise
Murder Turkey you've been hunting me it's true
I find a little fellow who's teeth and claws and oh god why?
It's eating me.
Murder Turkey clever girl you'll take over the world
Murder Turkey there's a whole pack of you
Murder Turkeys are disemboweling you.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (26)

You see, Jak, I've caught up with Lizzi and everyone else!! Since FTSF is on break today due to Thanksgiving, I endulge in the Ten Things of Thankful a day early and, ince our Thanksgiving celebration is 2 days later, there will be a gem from hubby's feather for you all on Saturday.

This week, I'm especially thankful for:

1. The hubby, this incredibly funny, random, caring, and loving guy...

2. Lily not getting sick after her down-day last Sunday.

3. Violet bringing home little stenciled stars and handed each of us one. She was so proud..

4. Lily's tooth, which had been loose since August, has finally given up. Someone's getting a visit from the tooth fairy tonight!!

5. Purging, and making space by putting the summer toys away, just to find the holiday decoration. Yay  :-)

6. Coming home from work to find the girls having put away all the decorating and cook books for me. SO beyond sweet of them!!

7. Overleeping a few times and still not missing the bus.

8. Wonderfully frosted landscapes in the early morning.

9. Getting to say good-bye to a friend in person, and allowing the girls to say good-bye to their little friend.

10. A great late Thanksgiving dinner with great friends. We're really, really lucky!

Wishing you all a great weekend, and thank you so much, Lizzi, for hosting!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My History Of Thanksgiving

My love for Thanksgiving started with the hubby. We had met just a week before Thanksgiving and since he was so far away from home and had just transferred into a new unit, I offered to substitute a Thanksgiving for him. That was 2005. My student apartment didn't have an oven, so I interpreted the dinner a little generously and we had a a turkey stir fry for dinner, with an quasi-proposal for dessert  :-)

My first real Thanksgiving as a host was the following year, 2006. We had 4 friends coming over and at the age of 22 I prepared my first Turkey with trimmings. And to my surprise it turned out well. No pies yet though! Later that day, we got to watch the Thanksgiving parade where the band marched as well.

In 2007 we were invited for Thanksgiving dinner. Our hosts' family situation was.. well.. interesting that day. The most memorable quote?
Grover: That's how I like women: pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen!!
Me (7 months pregnant): Hey, I wear SOCKS!!!

2008, our first Thanksgiving as a family of 3. The first celebration post-Army, at our new home in Washington. We were invited by friends who had just been transferred to the nearby Army post, we were definitely happy to have some familiar faces around. It was a huge celebration with many people who didn't habe family around. Lily, at 9 months, ate her first full Thanksgiving dinner!

2009 we spent with the people who had become our family in Washington. Lily was 18 months old and we were pregnant with Violet. The celebration can be called "pie-heavy". Two guests couldn't make it, and we had brought more pie than we initially said; we ended up having 6 pies for 6 adults and 1 Lily, glorious!!  And we got to watch the Ultrasound video on big-screen TV  :-)

2010 brought us to Germany, and we had our first Saturday Thanksgiving. We had it planned as a Thanks-You dinner to all of the people who helped us move and supported our new start. It was great, relaxing, and the start of a new tradition.

Ever since, we've been inviting new people each year to our table to spread the tradition. My best friend is an annual staple at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but besides her, we've had a new set of people over each year. And as every year, I am really looking forward to the dinner this Saturday.

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Everyone's posting those nifty gift guides right now. Here's my tip if you think about arming up:


Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Speechless And Sad

I know it's the season to be thankful, the season to rejoice, the season to ground oneself. And don't get me wrong, I am thankful, I am looking forward to this season, and I'm fully prepared to hole myself in with the family for a few days and ground myself.

But it is really, really difficult for me to be thankful, or happy, or enjoy myself and my family when I read something like that.

Joy over at I Can Say Mama has written a post about it, and I couldn't agree more with her. What the book written by Michael and Debi Pearl suggests in terms of disciplining children is simply too sick for me to wrap my head around. And I cannot fathom how parents, who should love their children, can bring themselves to listen to these people, who claim to be Christians and obviously run a very profitable charity.

Because of the "parenting" book these people have written, at least three children have died under horrible circumstances, dying from exposure and malnutrition or massive soft tissue damage from "harmless" beatings with platic tubing, which Mr. Pearl suggests in his book to be harmless but painful while not leaving marks on the child that could alarm the authorities.

This shows that they knew it was wrong. If it had been fine, why would authorities get alarmed? And why did those parents don't throw the book in the trash as soon as they read that passage. Were they so overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a parent that they grasped any straw there was or were they plain and simple sadists? How would any parent want that their children obey because they are terrified of them? I want our girls to love me, to hug me, to run over me when I come home because they're happy I'm back, not run into their rooms and hide as soon as they hear my foot steps. But exactly that is what's going to happen. Those poor children will be traumatized for the rest of their lives. They will probably not be able to trust anyone, as from earliest childhood on they learned that they couldn't. And this makes me so incredibly sad I have no words for it.

Surely, these people have not ever opened the New Testament, as it mentions how precious a gift children are. How can these people suggest to beat babies as young as 6 months? It is impossible to discipline or train babies that age. And no child of any age should be "trained". Children aren't dogs but human beings who learn by watching and imitating their parents and other people around them. I can already see so much of myself in our daughters, it is scary sometimes. They are the best mirrors in the world to how me who I am, and beaue of them, I try my best every single day to be a better person.

What I hope for during this season that people and companies wake up, raise awareness and stop these truly evil people from distributing their work of horror to any more people. In my opinion, the Pearl should be held accountable for all those children's deaths as accomplice. There is nothing to bring those poor children back to life, but it can save the lives of many others. Visit the page I linked to above, sign the petition, share the article, and raise awareness. Let's all make this world a little bit safer for the most vulnerable, but probably also most important members of our society.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ready... Set... Bake!!

This weekend was kick-off for the holiday baking at the Powell home. The first two sorts of cookies are sitting on the counter and it smells so wonderful around here!

In the meantime, Lily was cuddling on the couch, refused to have any pictures taken, doing her best do get better again. Her temperature was back to normal again today, but she still stayed home from kindergarten just to give her an extra day to recover. She used the time to tidy up her room to a degree I have never seen before. She was so proud when we praised her for it today.  Hope her cough will get better, tomorrow's her kindergarten outing to the woods, and we're not sure yet if she should go. The temperatures are around freezing today, and we had the first little flurries of snow. Winter is coming, folks!*

*Extra credit: name the source. No cheating  ;-)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Week In Review - Ten Things of Thankful 25th Edition

Ten Things of Thankful

Happy 25th TToT-Anniversary!! The watchful reader (I count on you, Jak) will have noticed that I have jumped from number 18 (the 18th TToT I've participated in) straight to 25, because - let's be serious - 19 is not quite as memorable as a big, fat 25!!  Thank you so much to the mother of TToT, the wonderful Lizzi. This link-up has definitely helped me to focus more on all the things in my life I have reason to be thankful for. Therefore, to honor this milestone in TToT-history, 25 things to be incredibly thankful for:

1. The first of my colleages at work being back. Finally, I'm not all by myself on my block again.

2. Lily taking so good care of her little sister. Watched Lily helping Violet get dressed this week, and another morning, both of them had lots of good cuddles in my bed after I had gotten up.

3. The library at my work. So many great books and DVDs, all free without late fees.

4. The cafe at my work. Nothing beats a good chai latte in the afternoon with my colleagues.

5. Getting to organize an afternoon of fun for Violet and her friend, who's going to move soon.

6. Great advice from wonderful ladies when I didn't know better.

7. Salmon for dinner earlier this week. Hubby always know how to surprise me  ;-)

8. Getting the first proofs holiday pictures. They areso beautiful!

9. Spending a couple of hours browsing the home improvements store with the hubby while the girls played at the kiddy-land.

10. Being so in-sync with the hubby when it comes to picking out stuff for the house. It took us about 10 minutes to decide on the paint for the entire house.

11.  Baking with the girls.

12. Being nearly done with my holiday shopping. I hate frantically running through stores the week before the holidays.

13. The house. It's been a hard, frustrating journey so far, but it has taught me so much in terms of patience, letting things go, and how well hubby and I work together.

14. A job that allows us to live comfortably on one income so we can spend a lot of time with the girls.

15. Clean water, access to medical treatment, a roof over our heads, clothes, food.

16. A supportive family I can rely on.

17. Friends, whether they are in Germany, in the U.S., or anywhere else, whether we have a long history together or just met a few months ago, whether we know in person or on the www only. All of them mean the world to me!

18. Books, writing, letters, language.

19. Love, laughter, kindnes.

20. A wonderful dinner tonight. My first Carbonara was a full success.

21. Art.

22. Our daughters' smiles.

23. Living in a country where I can live openly as an Atheist.

24. Another German Thanksgiving celebration next week.

25. And last, but not least: Lizzi for coming up with this link-up and providing the platform to come together every week to reflect on all the things, big and small, to be thankful for.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Thankfuls

Finish the Sentence Friday

Friday!! How quick this week passed. Today, we have officially started the holiday baking season starting the dough for our gingerbread house. For the Finish The Sentence Friday, Janine and Kate pick up the theme of the week as the prompt:

Right now, I am thankful for...

... being able to have a job to leave at night.

... a supermarket down the street from our house to stop by to pick up last minute stuff on the way home.

... a wonderful hubby who makes dinner.

... having a nice, warm home, food on our table, a car, and enough money to afford little luxuries.

... our smart, beautiful, lovely girls, who love to bake with me.

... wonderful friends, both online and offline.

I'm definitely a lucky girl!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Love From My Peers

In the last week, I was lucky enough to receive not one but two Liebster awards, and while those two aren't my first ones, I still cannot tell you how much appreciate it. It's a great pick-me-up always, being honored by peers, especially ladies I am totally fan-girling on!!  Thank you so much, Lizzi "Miss Considerer" and Sandy from Mother of Imperfection. Thank you SO, SO much, ladies!!

As I was nominated by two ladies, I allowed myself to write one master-Liebster post, I hope you'll forgive me!!

Random things about me?? Great, I'm pretty random!

1.  I have seen more of the world than of my native Germany.
2.  I'm almost scared to like new music and seek approval from the hubby first.
3.  My mom was surprised that I was able to bake and cook.
4.  I pretty nearly failed math in highschool.
5.  I used to work as a security guard at a rock festival.
6.  I hate camping.
7.  One day, I will take the LP-player and a good part of his records off my dad's hands, but he doesn't know yet  :-)
8.  I used to bartend at an Irish pub.
9.  I'm a procratinator extraordinaire.
10. Weddings make my cry. No matter how cheesy, I can't help it..
11. I used to be the only girl at a martial arts dojo, and the guys did not have fun!

Here are Lizzi's questions:

1. What did you want to be when you were grown-up?
Ohh, many things.. Firefighter and vet were among them.. At 18 I realized what I really, really wanted to be is a translator, so I did the school, I passed the finals, and now work a corporate accounting job.. Still dreaming of one day translating a book...

2. If you could take any qualification in the world, what would it be, and why?
That's a really hard one.. I would love to have a certification as a speech therapist. Our older daughter is in speech therapy, and I see how much it changes her life. I am a passionate linguist and would love to give the gift of speech to others as well...

3. What's the most tired you've ever been?

Violet had a phase when she would wake up 5 or 6 times a night and wanted to be nursed. I had to get up at 6 in the morning for work.. I almost fell asleep during a workshop, it was horrible!

4. What was your last 'kairos moment'?
Holding our girls tonight. If I could pause time, it's the moment they throw their arms around me and rest their foreheads against my shoulder...

5. What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Nutella on whole grain artisan bread. Very adult, isn't it??    ;-)

6. What is the most perfect number?

7. The last time you got given a present, what was the occasion?

I got a votiv candle holder today from Violet. She had made it in kindergarten, SO pretty!!  No real occasion, just because it was Thursday  ;-)

8. Which book do you keep coming back to?
Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

9. What advice would you like to give the 'you' of ten years ago?
Don't worry, he's going to come along!

10. What part of 'now' would you like to remind the 'you' in ten years' time about?
The chaos, the fun, the exhaustion...

11. What was the last thing which made you catch your breath in awe?

Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt".. So beautiful, so sad, so strong..

And here's Sandy's turn:

1. Give me one word that describes you from your own point of view.

2. What is the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done?
 Calling off the job interview for my absolute dream job to go on a first date with a certain dude..

3. Who has impacted you greatly but has no idea?
 So many people.. Many bloggers sure have, my boss has, my daughters probably have impacted me the most..

4. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?
 David Tennant, Anne Boleyn, Rosa Luxemburg

5. What do you like on your pizza?
 Cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper

6. Do you have an irrational fear from your childhood?
 Don't think so.. All my irrational fears were acquired later..

7. What is the one thing you use most in your house?
 The toilet???

8. Miley. Smart cookie or doing a Britney/Lilo/Amanda?
 Won't comment on that. Can't stand that person, so I think that time will take its regular course..

9. Have you ever bought something from an infomercial or and As Seen On TV item? If so, what?
 Nope, but I love the question  ;-)

10. What are you most proud of?
 Being where I am today. In June of 2010 we arrived in Germany with 3 suitcases and about 10 boxes at my friend's house. But within 2 months we were completely back on our feet moving into our new apartment, having a great job, basically everything we hoped for.

11. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Cate Blanchet

Coming to my 11 Questions for you:

1. What is the most memorable holiday gift you've ever received?
2. What is better: giving or receiving?
3. Red wine or white wine?
4. If you could pick one period in world history, when would you love to live?
5. Pants or skirts/dresses?
6. Do you still own your favorite stuffed anima/doll from your childhood?
7. Where is your favorite place to be in your home?
8. What vacation did you enjoy most? Why?
9. You get a voucher for a vacation, where do you go?
10. Have you turned into the person you thought you would 15 years ago?
11. Which song describes you best?

And here's the rule breaker:
I won't nominate any bloggers in particular, because there are way too many great ones out there. I'm simply nominate everyone who would like to take part and is not completely put off by my questions. I'm looking forward to many, many responses!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wonderful Wordless Wednesday - Van Gogh Who?

Your guess why we have prints of both Starry Nightsand Cafe Terrace at Night at our home  ;-)

Linking up with the ladies at the Mommy Blog Hoppers

The Mommy Blog Hoppers

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Tale Of Two Songs

Hubby has introduced me to this song today!

One version is the original, the other a cover...

One is about drug use, one about aging...

One moved me to tears, the other bored me to sleep..

Guess which one is which...      (no cheating!!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Day Off

Do you know, it somehow felt different, waking up yesterday, knowing that the computer would stay off that day, a commitment I made to myself and my family. It was a fun day, a busy day, something I'm looking forward to every Sunday from now.

So what did we do yesterday?

We had our family pictures taken (to come soon!)

The girls and I went to the bunny show in town, where I was maimed by a panicky bunny.

We baked (and ate) banana bread.

We cuddled and watched TV.

I tried a new recipe (probably won't do it again..)

And after the girl had gone to bed, hubby and I had a movie date.


And last but not least: I got to bed at a reasonable time.

I hope you all had a great start into this new week!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (18)

Ten Things of Thankful

Another weekend, something to be thankful for all by itself. Time to relax, time to spend with the family, time to bake, time to sleep...

Ten more things to be thankful for this week (plus a couple extra):

1. My mom, for jumping in on really short notice when hubby and I had parallel evening engagements.

2. Having a great job where I can spontaneously decide on a Casual Wednesday, since I had a business appointment on Friday.

3. Hubby for an awesome crockpot chili.

4. Wonderful neighbors, who are more friends than just neighbors. We'll so miss them once we move!

5. Meeting fun new people at the company's cook-out.

6. Not barfing in the bus this morning. Coffee on a very empty and sensitive stomach first thing after a way too short night was not the best idea!

7. Getting to watch Violet crawl into my bed after breakfast, cuddle with her Daddy, and fall back to sleep.

8. Cuddles with Lily this morning.

9. Sleeping in this morning.

10. Family breakfast.

11. Chocolate gingerbread and hot apple punch.

12. Getting to fall asleep next to the love of my life every night, and getting to wake up next to him every morning.

 And not to forget 13: the decision not to blog on Sundays for the time being. Time with the family, preparing gifts for the holidays, doing chores around the house... I just need a day off so bad...

Thanks a lot to Lizzi for hosting!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Of A Hubby And An Ex

Finish the Sentence Friday

This week flew by, but I am so glad it's Friday. After yesterday's company event I was left with way too little sleep, and empty stomach, and a glass of wine or two too many... It was tons of fun, but the best part of the night was being picked up by my dressed-up husband after his concert.

Tonight's prompt at Finish The Sentence Friday:

When it comes to my past relationships, my husband thinks...

... well, witness a phone call with my ex J. a couple of weeks after we got engaged (about 6 weeks into our relationship):

J: Hey baby, how's it going?
Me: Oh, fine, not doing bad at all...
J: Do you want to hang out some time?      * booty call alarm*
Me: No, don't really have time, busy, you know..
J: So, what's going on?
Me: Oh well, I'm just going to get married soon...
J *loud enough for Richard to hear from across the room*:  WHAAAAT?????
Hubby:  grins

Our philosophy is that our past is just that: the past. I am lucky enough to be married to a man who is not jealous, who trusts me. He accepts my past relationships as part of myself, as I accept his. The past is the past, and if we had wanted any of the people in our past, why would we have married?

Thanks so much for hosting, Janine!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Managing Life

Yesterday over dinner, I informed hubby that I needed the car on Thursday to get to the corporate cook-out my company is organizing for a number of customers. His response: You do remember that I have to play that concert on Thursday night..

$h!t...                                                                     (Sorry!!)

Ok, what can we do? The following options presented themselves:

1. Richard doesn't play the concert.

2. I pass on the work function.

3. We manage to organize child-care for the girls and both of us having to be in two different places at the same time with one car.

Well, Richard is the only one who knows how to play the first bassoon for a sold-out concert, and me calling off on a work event last minute would have been a really, really bad move, so option 3 it must be.

As soon as we were done with dinner, I was on the phone with my mom, who lives about an hour away, to check on her work schedule. She had to work both Thursday and Friday, but promised to check with her co-workers if she could leave earlier on Thursday or start later on Friday (love you, Mom!). At the same time, I checked with my neighbor if she'd be available to watch the girls and put them to bed, should my mom not be able to make it.

That left the issue on how to get the two of us to our destinations (and back home) with only one car.  This morning, I checked with one of my colleagues, and he offered to take me to the event. Later that day, my mom called and said she'd make it, but probably later than 5:30, when Richard had to leave.

So this is the master plan for tomorrow:
I work late and go right to the event with my co-worker.
Richard drops off the girls at our neighbor at 5:30pm before heading to the concert.
My mom comes over to our house right after work, around 7:00pm to take over the girls.
Hubby picks me up at my event after his concert.

And all that in less than 24 hours.

Note to self: Coordinate better with hubby. Even though I barely ever have obligations during workday nights and hubby hardly ever has obligations during the week, it may just happen that, once in a blue moon, we both have obligations on the same night.

Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Time And Stuff

Why is it that a work week usually passes slower than a week of vacation?  Why is it that it takes forever until we FINALLY turn 18, and a blink of an eye later, we're 30? Why is it that our children age by at least a year overnight, every night?  The Doctor knows why!


Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Running With Support

The bronchitis is finally gone completely, and I'm able to start a moderate cold-season running routine again. The half-marathon next June suddenly seems actually feasable.

That is why I was very excited to be contacted by Shock Absorber, one of UK's leading brands of sports bras to review one of their bras. While I'm waiting for my exclusive sample to arrive, I'd like to share sme facts on the matter for my runner friends and all other active ladies out there.

Do you work out wearing a sports bra? Well, obviously, I'm not (yet!), and I'm in good company. A survey Shock Absorber had conducted with 1,000 active women all  across the UK (survey by One Poll, September 2013) showed that 35% of women have never worn a sports bra, even though a woman's breast is not supported by muscles but only held by skin and ligaments. And we all know that once skin and ligaments are stretched, there's no going back.

Can you believe that unsupported breasts can bounce up to 14 cm during excercise, and even A-cup breasts can move up to 4cm away from its resting point (University of Portsmouth 2005, Scurr et al).  If you want to see how that looks in action, visit the Bounce-O-Meter at the Shock Absorber website:

So while excercising without proper support is not only good for our girls but also uncomfortable or even painful, why do women not wear sports bras more frequently? Well, there is a misconception that only women with larger breasts need them. Or that they only do low-impact excercise and therefore don't really need one. Well, think again: even during yoga, which is generally fairly low-impact, we move our bodies all over the place, and definitely need proper support.

After going through all the information given on the webpage, I am even more excited to receive my bra. Please go to Shock Absorber's webpage to see for yourself that their bras are not only functional and supportive but also very pretty!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today, many countries in this world remember their veterans. Even though this day is not observed here in Germany (guess why!), I couldn't be prouder of my US Army Veteran.

The soldier who fell in love heads over heel with a little 6.5 lbs blue-eyed girl, knowing that he could never leave her side again.

The soldier who took on the most inportant job in the world: raising his children.

The soldier who was screwed over by the system but never complained.

The soldier who took the scrutiny for his decisions with a patience and calmness that moved me to tears.

Today, as always, I ca whole-heartedly say, I'm a proud Veteran's wife.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (17)

Ten Things of Thankful

Thinking of Lizzi, the wonderful host and founder of the Ten Things Of Thankful today, as she's digging herself out of a deep dark whole and somehow still manages to find things down there to be thankful for. You are a hero, Lizzi!

Here are ten things of things I am incredible thankful for today:

1. My wonderful friend Kathrin, who listens to me, no matter how ridiculous I am.

2. People at my work willing to step in and help me out as I was working for 3.

3.  A wonderful couple's breakfast Saturday morning as the kids were happily playing at the Smalland (guess where we were!)

4. Having such a grown-up girl who, fighting back her tears, told me it was ok if we didn't make it to the church in time after waiting in front of the wrong church for 20 minutes.

5. Making it literally just in time to Lily's solo; she sang so beautiful.

6. A wonderful night nerding away with great friends.

7. The house progressing even more. The final floor layer has been put down on Thursday.

8. My doctor patiently giving me new appointmens for my allergy test as the chest cold lingers.

9. Getting to celebrate my grandma's 75th birthday.

10. A hubby who can and is happily willing to cook  ;-)

Wishing everyone a wonderful new week!

10. Violet sleeping right now. She'd been driving everyone else in the family royally crazy as she refused to take the nap she needed. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Childhood Memories

Finish the Sentence Friday

Friday night, the best time of the week! Time to link up with Janine and Kate for Finish the Sentence Friday:

When I was a kid, I thought...

... that my parents were perfect. Today I know that they are people, with feelings, virtues, and vices. My parents are no gods, but humans just like me, and that is fine. I love them. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today (I wouldn't be at all without them, to be exact).

I hope that I won't be a demi-god for the girls. I want them to see my faults, and love me despite them. That way, I won't be dropping off my Olympus in their eyes one day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ways To Mess With An Atheist

Karen, you will love that!!

I was just stepping in the door last night when an up-the-wall excited Lily was almost running me over with giddiness: Mami, Mami, Mami, I'm going to SING!!! With a MICROPHONE!!!!!  --  Awesome, Lily! So, where are you singing??  --  In church, Mami, during the service!!

Wait a moment... Did I hear right? We were not going to church before the lantern parade. The plan was to meet her class after church for the parade, together with the other Atheist family in Lily's class. A minute later I was on the phone with the other mom, venting. She told me that two years ago, after we both had successfully skipped the church service, the kindergarten teacher approached her, telling her what a pity it had been that her daughter hadn't been there singing, as she had a very nice voice.

Well, obviously, this year they had decided to prevent the religion-drain, and bind at least one of the kids to the service. I swear, they were sure that we, as parents, could never take all her joy about getting to sing in front of an audience from her? And that we wouldn't. So come tomorrow, hubby's getting to sit through a 30-minute church service, getting to listen to Lily sing, while I walk with Violet to her parade meeting point.

To be honest, we are both honestly pissed off (please excuse the choice of words, but I can't say it any different). There are plenty of opportunities for Lily to sing her solo, they just had a concert for the senior citizens of the town a couple of weeks ago. The teachers know that we are Atheists, that we did not plan on attending the service, so why tying Lily to it like that? She's just a little girl passionate about singing. She'd make it to the 9th ring of hell if a microphone would be waiting for her there, believe me! So why start that power struggle about church with us? Why, I ask you??

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wonderful Wordless Wednesday - Being Unique

This universe is amazing...


Linking up with the ladies at The Mommy Blog Hoppers for this Wonderful Wordless Wednesday

The Mommy Blog Hoppers

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Challenge 2013: Book 11 - The Thirteenth Tale

I admit, I have become a little desperate finding good books in the English section at the library. And with yet another move in our future, stocking up on books seems not like the best thing to do at that point. So I stumbeld upon this book. I have to admit, the cover was definitely a reason why I picked it up and spent several mornings and late afternoons on the bus with it.

The Hard Facts:

Title: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield
432 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 9, 2007)
ISBN: 978-0743298032

Find it on Amazon

 The Story:
Margaret Lea, a young woman who has grown up in her father's antique book store among the tomes of centuries past, is contacted by the world-famous novelist, Vida Winter to write her biography. Margaret hesitantly follows the invitation to Vida's countryside home, drawn by the promise to be given the truth about her life, of which is next to nothing known to the public, and potentially learn about the thirteenth tale of her debut novel, which had been missing. Once arrived, Margaret is drawn in by the family story of Miss Winter, who reveals her birth name, Adeline March: the twins Adeline and Emmeline are born out of the incestuous relationship between the siblings Isabelle and Charlie. After Isabelle's hospitalization at a mental insitution and her untimely death, Charlie retreats to his study, barely to be seen by anyone. The twins are being raised by the aging house keeper and display peculiar behavior early on. Upon the recommendation of he village doctor, a governess is hired when the girls were teenagers, to try and mold them into functioning people by rules and structure. While Emmeline, who seems to be mentally retarded complies, Adeline, who displays feral behavior, rebels. As a last attempt to civilize the girls, the governess suggests an experiment of separating the twins to the doctor, who takes Adeline in. Both girls are devastated at their separation, but while Emmeline slowly adapts, Adeline has fallen into absolute lethargy. Eventually, the experiment fails and the twins are reunited as the governess suddenly disappears. The twins are now alone again; both the house keeper and the gardener, who have taken care of them since birth die, and Emmeline becomes pregnant by the gardener's assistant. Shortly after Emmeline gives birth to a little boy, their house, Anglefield, burns down. Adeline leaves the boy at the doorstep of a neighbor and disappears, taking care of Emmeline, who is badly burned. As the story unrevels, Vida's strength wanes. On her deathbed she confides in Margaret that there had been a secret third girl, the ghost of Anglefield house, the daughter of Charlie with a peasant girl, who was abandoned by her mother at the garden gate as a little child but found and nurtured back to health by the housekeeper and the gardener to live in the shadows unnoticed. Due to her striking similarity to Adeline, she assumes her role after their guardians' deaths to take care of the affairs. At the night of the fire, the girl without a name saves Emmeline's baby as Adeline tries to burn the boy in the fireplace out of jealousy. She manages to save Emmeline, who ran into the flames to rescue her son, just to realize that she has indeed saved Adeline with her face badly burned. Shortly after the end of the story, Vida Winter dies; Margaret decides to not publish the story but to leave it for the family of Emmeline's son, who she had met during her research. She does, however, find the long-lost thirteenth tale in a letter from Vida, which is the story of Charlie and her mother, of her childhood and how she was abandoned, written like a Cindarella story gone wrong.

My Opinion:
Well, every bookwork out there will definitely enjoy the description of the books, the bookstore, the libraries. It took me back to the hours I spent in so many libraries around the world. It reminded me of that lovely old-book store in downtown Manhattan (Kansas, that is) where Richard and I would spend whole afternoons treasure hunting. The story itself, even though it is laced with several side stories, is great to read. The backdrop is winter in England, so it would be best read during a late fall or winter storm with a hot cup of tea. However, for my taste, the author focuses too much on the "twin phenomenon", describing how Margarets dead twin (a side story) follows her constantly to look back at her from reflecting surfaces. It definitely creates a sometimes creepy mood. Overall, it was definitely an enjoyable read for a quiet winter weekend.

Monday, November 4, 2013

House Update - It's A Tardis!

I just noticed that it's been quite a while, over two months to be exact, since I've written a proper update on the house. Much has happened in the meantime, some of which I have shared on occasion. The house is built, the roof is on, windows and doors built in. The stairs are in, and currently, the heating and water pipes are being laid.

On the downsite, the town has still not provided access to power and gas for our lot, so it is questionable whether the flooring layer can be poured before winter or have to wait until spring. So move-in is still completely open, but I am happy to say that I am not stressing out any more. It'll happen when it does, sometime next year. In the meantime, we are looking forward to a last, quiet holiday season in our home here.

On another note: we have heard from several people who have seen our house that it seems to be a lot larger on the inside than what it appears on the outside. Once the blue paint is on, we will truly have our very own Tardis  ;-)

Front of the house

Look from the back

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Weekend In Review - More Things Of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful

Sunday night, the weekend is almost over, and what a fun weekend it was. The weather left to be desired, but that did not spoil our fun. In the past two days, there were so much more things to be thankful of:

- understanding smiles or some kind words instead of annoyed stares when the girls decide it's time for a tantrum in public.

-  a house warmed by the oven.

- raising bread and hot chocolate for breakfast.

- getting to sleep in until I can't possibly sleep any longer.

- watching a fairy tale movie with Lily.

- watching the girls playing all afternoon at the indoor playground.

- quality time with the hubby while the girls are having fun.

- pumpkin lasagna for dinner.

- sharing a good-night story with Lily.

- watching two exhausted girls sleeping peacefully after an exciting day.

- being surrounded by love, always.

I hope you all have a great new week!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (16)

Ten Things of Thankful

Yay for Saturday!! We were busy this morning having an appointment at 9:30am to pick out the tile for our bathrooms (dark gray floor and shiny white walls in the large bathroom, light grey for the guest bathroom) and decided to drive on to Erlangen to shop for new glasses for the girls. Relaxing now while my yeast cake is rising and contemplating all the things I've been thankful for last week:

1. Being able to take the day off to celebrate hubby's birthday with him.

2. Getting to spend a morning playing and cuddling with Violet while Lily was in kindergarten.

3. A large mail inbox capacity.

4. A new prescription for glasses for Violet. As I learned at the vision store, her astigmatism is too strong for regular standard lenses and her new set of glasses nearly cost us an arm and a leg, but she'll be able to see again properly, and that's worth more than anything else.

5. Nutella.

6. Good fall weather for Halloween. It was chilly but dry, and we were out almost and hour and a half. Can't ask for more on October 31!

7. My co-workers, who give me the "mommy bonus" of not having to stay until 5pm so I can be home in time to have dinner, dress up the girls and meet the group at 6:30.

8. A wonderful day with my parents yesterday. They came to celebrate Richard's birthday, treated us all for lunch at a really good Chinese restaurant and spent the afternoon at our place, relaxing and playing with the girls.

9. Spending hours on the couch knitting with Lily. Her first project is a scarve for her Mr. Bunny.

10. Wonderful, wonderful friends who listen to me and let me listen to them. What would I do without them?

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Thank you so, so much to Lizzi for hosting!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Survivor Girl

Have you watched Zombieland? I would put my money on it being a classic like "From Dusk till Dawn" one day! We went out to a double-date with our nerdy friends, why our friend's son watched Lily; I think it was the last adults-only date before little Violet arrived.

If you watched the movie, you'll know about Columbus' 32 rules to survive. Remember number 2:

 Well, Lily seems to be a natural survivor of any zombie apocalypse, as she knows rule number 2 and is not scared to apply it.

When I came home from work on Thursday, Lily and Violet were playing with Celine from downstairs. Violet was wielding a foam sword, running at me and attacking in best sword-fighter manier. I played along and collapsed in the driveway. Lily, checking out the situation, took the sword and "stabbed" me right in the stomach, just to make sure. She sure knows: Always Doube Tap  ;-)

Who do you think will for sure survive a zombie apocalypse?