Friday, March 18

Before I forget . . .

It's been known to happen and then plague me as I try to fall asleep at night. Funny things the kids say that I want to jot down and keep, great home organizational ideas, errand that needs to be run, something obscure that I should remember to pack or plan for our next trip to simplify my life . . . so here's some recents:

When I was making cupcakes the other day, McKay who loves to help in the kitchen very matter-of-factly said, "Mom, I will help you! I know the destructions."

Morgan's most likely phrases to me lately are "Mom, I hun-ny" [hungry] with a gravelly voice or since she's been sick, "Mom, I snug-ew?" If we go somewhere or someone comes over and she feels anxious I might be leaving her, she insists, "Mommy, I snug-ew on a wap" [your lap]. And then she'll tell me to sit, especially if she's walking off to play. I gave her a hair cut a couple weeks ago, her very first ever so now it brushes her shoulders. Man is she a sweet adorable thing, losing her baby look and charming the pants off mom and dad! Ryan's especially a sucker for her when he gets home!

Easton's class is learning about public places and toured the city's water treatment facility. The selling point he told everyone about was that he was going to, and then got to drink the freshest water on the planet! "Like 1 second old!" His class is also visiting the fire department and town hall in the next two weeks. I really like how his school walks or rides public buses to great local places with such ease. When they were studying patterns all around us, the teacher took small groups of 6 down the road to an old church to look at and sketch patterns in the stained glass.

Morgan and then McKay have been sick all week with a stomach bug. The two times I braved driving to get Easton from school, they both threw up or had the runs. I chickened out the third day and called another mom out of the blue to ask if she'd bring Easton home. Car rides with bowls on kids' laps was just standard operating procedure this week and yet a certain headstrong girl has had enough of the bowl and would rather puke on herself. Fun times. But I'll be honest, after having a houseful of kids during a school break last week, it's been great to have the excuse to lounge around all day snuggling my babies and reading while they watch copious amounts of cartoons! Morgan doesn't seem to be bothered by disappearing lap space due to my growing baby bump although there are times when I want to holler!

My visiting teacher and I were chatting yesterday about all the stuff going on in Japan after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and now the nuclear crisis. I realized how little I actually know about nuclear facilities even having grown up near a famous one where my dad and both grandfather's have worked. It is truly criminal to know so little about the dominating factor of my home economy. So it's time to read up on it!

Our favorite babysitter moved back to the states last summer. She's applying for a summer internship and needed the dates for a weekend getaway we'd taken where she'd watched the kids so I could be one of her references. I tried looking at my iCalendar but I've only been using it for about the past 8 months so I had to go to the blog which is in sore need of some back-labeling to make it easier to find things. Since moving here we've traveled a lot, right? Well, I'd never sat back and listed all the trips/cities/countries we've been to and it was simply amazing to me!

We truly have been so blessed to have this opportunity over here. Ryan's sure to get us out on a few more big ones before we lay low and have this baby. The Netherlands tulip festival, Greece, Ireland, and southern France made the baby deadline.

And I'll soon take my first trip with a friend on a nerd-excursion! We're headed with a chaplain sponsored group up to Ravensbruck Concentration camp outside of Berlin where some memoirs I've read took place and then cross the border into Poland to visit Freidrich Bonhoeffer's institute at Finkenwald. If you're interested in a great documentary, take a look at "Bonhoeffer" made in 2003. He was a Protestant pastor, among the first to vocally speak out against Hitler as he rose to power and then he later became involved in the assassination plots on Hitler. He was part of a new breed of theologians in his time that truly believed the Sermon on the Mount was something we were meant to live by and not just know about. That in itself is a fascinating historical tidbit of European Christianity. Very interesting time and well-made documentary.

This trip is perfectly timed with things I've read or am reading. Last year I read and highly recommend "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. She and her family lived in the Netherlands through the Nazi occupation until being sent to concentration camps for hiding Jews. Her story is so beautiful and famous for her ability to cling to her faith and be able to forgive the depravity of her oppressors. There's also "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" - whose family goes into hiding in the Netherlands but is ultimately discovered and sent to a concentration camp. Also a good movie.

I've been listening to "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A history of Nazi Germany" by William Shirer for a couple months now. This is my cooking and cleaning the kitchen listening. Mr. Shirer was a reporter in Germany and Austria during the early days of the Nazis and through the war and aftermath. It's an interesting birds' eye view and well researched work. I'm only up the the eminent invasion of Poland and the beginning of WWII - almost half-way through the book which is 57 hours or 1200+ pages long. I so wish my brain held on to facts like it did in school days!

My current bed-time reading is the memoir, "Michaelangelo in Ravensbruck" by Countess Karolina Lanckoronska. A level-headed Polish Renaissance university professor gets swept up in the Polish resistance and prisoner welfare programs as the Soviets and Nazis divide up and invade Poland. She accounts for life under both Soviet Russian and Ukrainian communist occupation as well as Nazi occupation. She is sent by the Nazis to Ravensbruck Concentration camp. The details of her story and experiences are so interesting while I'm absorbing the history of the Nazis! I have never known anything about Poland other than it being the location of some of the most horrible Nazi extermination camps. I am gaining a great respect for the brave and proud Poles and mourn how the Nazis systematically swooped in and exterminated entire cities' "intelligensia" - the very people who led or made the cities function. No wonder Poland and much of Eastern Europe had such a hard time recovering from WWII when most of their civic leaders, engineers, universities, teachers, pastors and clergy, and others disappeared under occupation or war!