Christmas has come and gone. As has New Years. I only just put away the Christmas decorations last weekend, and am only now, mid-Jan, posting the Christmas photos. They’ve been sorted and tagged in Lightroom for much longer.
Good thing I didn’t make a resolution not to half ass or to finish things or to post more like last year. I did, however, finally put the cowhide rug down in our bedroom, dust and clean the windows. It’s prob the second time I’ve ever cleaned our bedroom windows…in 3.5 years. I don’t know what’s with Germans and their obsessive cleaning of windows. Would our windows look any better if I cleaned them every week like a German? Can you tell any difference at all? Nope. Not really.
Back to Christmas. Kids woke up at a semi-reasonable hour. Jacob was upset that I made them get dressed and wait until after breakfast to open presents. He sulked thru all attempts at a nice photo in front of the tree. You see what a good sport he was:
But that soon turned around. Especially when he and Nicholas opened their Nintendo DS’s.
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From Christmas 2012. Shot Dec 25, 2012
Worst snowman ever? Possibly. The day after it snowed Matt rolled the trampled down, melting snow into a dirty, leafy, lumpy snowman. With walnut eyes and nose, Christmas tree branch arms, a leaf for a mouth and bicycle helmet. So ugly. So funny.
The kids delayed destroying him long enough for me to get a picture. Then they ripped his arms out and stabbed him with them. They kicked, punched and stomped him into a mound of dirty, leafy, melty snow. Then came inside and watched “Frosty the Snowman.” Kids rule.
Note Matt kicking his head off in the picture below.
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From Snowman. Shot December 9, 2012
Been a relatively mild winter for Germany (so far). We had approximately two days of snow and now are back to lower to mid-40s temps. That’s how winter should be, right?
It snowed on a Friday; the kids were up at 6:30 the next morning to play in it. I made them wait until after 8 to go out for their scheduled snowball fight. I didn’t participate (this time) and snapped a few photos instead. Too early to get all dressed weather appropriate. And I probably enjoy throwing snowballs at them a little too much. (Try it. It’s fun. More fun if you put a rock in the middle. Just kidding!)
Jacob has also not taken off the snow boots since. The other day he wore too small, tight red fleece pants (tucked into the boots) and a camouflage hooded sweatshirt with a gray zip-up jacket over it. It was quite an outfit. But who am I to stifle his creativity…or, worse, have to pick out his clothes.
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From Snow Day. Shot December 8, 2012
Nicholas’s Christmas concert was last week. It was interesting. I went fully expecting to hear the kids belt out the standard “Frosty the Snowman,” Jingle Bells” etc. Instead they sang songs about Ramadan and Kwanzaa, and the Hanukkah song was not “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.” Weird huh? It is an international school and I do appreciate the inclusiveness. But no surprise Nicholas didn’t know the words to most of the songs. And when he saw me he, he watched where I was more than he sang.
Note how elaborate some of the costumes are. See that big Christmas tree? There’s a kid inside it. Some parents go overboard. All I did was sew some white strips on a red shirt.
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From Nicholas' Christmas concert. Shot Dec 6 2012
Better late than never, right? (Because Halloween was like 2 weeks ago.)
Halloween seems to be slowly catching on here in Germany. There was a slightly bigger (still tiny) Halloween section in Real (aka the German Wal-Mart) this year and, word is, more German trick-or-treaters. We don’t get any in our village; I don’t even buy candy. But I hear that in the towns more densely populated with Americans, there were a lot more German trick-or-treaters in the mix. They might not be in costume or know what to do, but they know they ring the bell and get candy. (BTW, Germany. This is how we invade your culture. Free candy. Watch your back; we have fun size Snickers.)
This year Nicholas’ choice of costume evolved from Batman (I was going to make him be Adam West Batman) to a vampire to the “Easter Egg Bunny” (the costume he wore two years ago). Score one for mommy for not having to make a new costume. And he was the cutest little bunny skipping and hopping along.
Jacob, who always picks something elaborate and difficult to make (he wanted to be the Lorax one year), chose Sackboy from the Little Big Planet video game. Okay. Not too bad, except yardage of burlap is as difficult to find as it is to sew. I was about to give up and try to fashion it from burlap sacks when I finally found it at the garden center. And at just 7€ for 1.6 x 6 meter piece. (Think I’ll use the leftovers to upholster a headboard.)
The biggest challenge was the head. I didn’t want it to be like the dinosaur head which he wore for approximately 5 minutes. To look right, the Sackboy head would have to be big. So I thought I’d put it on a stick. He could just hold it up…and it could be two sided! I cut it out of cardboard, stapled fabric and burlap and glued on the face. Not the best idea. I used the thick cardboard that came sandwiched between the my car tires. I didn’t account for the weight. He carried for…approximately 5 minutes. Ugh.
In hindsight, I should have made it one sided and like a shield with straps so he could wear it on his arm and hold it over his face when he wanted. (How this would mean I wouldn’t end up carrying it, I don’t know.) I also realized why we never decorate for Halloween. Always too busy crazy-last-minute making costumes.
These pictures are from the “trunk or treat” at the nearby army base. Kiddos were way too excited to stand still for pictures. I do (still) fully intent to put them back in their costumes for more pictures. Maybe this weekend.
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From Halloween 2012. Shot Oct 31, 2012
I’m usually all for hands-on learning, but…
Jacob: Mommy, is your heart purple in real life?
Me: Um, I don’t know. We could look that up.
Jacob: Or we could find someone and just cut their heart out and look at it.
Jacob: Just sayin’.
We could kill someone to find out. Putting all our options out there. Just sayin’.
Nicholas is my idiot-savant. He showed his teachers the savant part last week during a literacy assessment. Then, presumably, the idiot part during the motor-skills testing the next day.
We sat in on the literacy and skills testing. It’s fascinating to see the logic of little kid’s minds. It went like this.
Teacher: I’m going to give you a block, and you tell me what color it is. So, if I give you this block, you’d say…
Test begins. Teacher gives Nicholas a yellow block.
Teacher: What color is this?
Nicholas grabs a red block.
Nicholas: This (red block) and this (yellow block) make orange.
Teacher: What color is that one?
Nicholas: They mix together and make orange.
Teacher: That’s correct.
Nicholas: They mix together.
Teacher: But what color is this one?
Teacher: For this one, I need my timer.
Nicholas points to a bin labeled “time.”
Nicholas: There’s time over there. It says time over there.
Teacher: For this one you have to watch closely…
Nicholas bugs out his eyes and moves his head around in circular motion. He’s “watching closely.”
(It was hilarious. It took everything not to laugh disruptingly loud.)
Teacher: Can you sing the ABCs?
Nicholas: Yes, I’m very good at it.
(He is. And distinctly said each letter: l, m, n, o, p. As a kid, I don’t how long I thought “elem-en-toe-pee” was a letter.)
After each activity, Nicholas clapped and leaned over to read what the teacher was writing on the score card. (I warned her he could read.) He didn’t do everything perfectly; scary if he did. He thought his knuckles were his shoulder or shin. He thought a picture of a shoe was a computer mouse, couldn’t put one block “between” two others, etc.
Then when it was over, he tried repeatedly to put his backpack on sideways. He whined, “Eeeeh!” every time he couldn’t get his arm in the sideways-backpack strap. That’s how I imagine thee entire motor-skills test went. A lot of “Eeeeh! Eeeeh! Eeeeh!”