Sunday, November 30, 2014


Yep folks. I did it. I wrote 50,000 words of my novel in one month. I am a hero. It was really hard, and annoying, and fun. Whoop Whoop! I'm going to put it aside for  week and then come back and do some major organization and hopefully finish a rough draft in January. Hooray for me! I am the best.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I can do hard things now (maybe because I have an easy life)

That's me at the bottom right. I look like I'm dying.

In September I ran my first ever half marathon. It was in Scotland. (Oh that's right I just flew to Scotland for the weekend and ran a half marathon. No biggie. Yawn.) I would have never thought I could do that--but I did! (Not very fast, my time was 2 hours 16 minutes.) It made me feel so awesome, not just that I had the willpower to run for that long, but also that I was able to practice every week. I certainly wasn't perfect at practicing, but I almost always got my long runs in on Saturdays. I was impressed that I could make a long term, difficult goal and keep it. I was also impressed that I did it to meet no one's expectations but my own. It was a purely Anna thing. 

Now it's November and I'm doing NaNoWriMo, which is a commitment to write 50,000 words towards a novel in a month. Uh, I'm not done yet. I have one day and 2,000 words left to write. But I know I'll finish it. FYI it is pretty hard for me to do. I have been writing about 2 hours every day. After thirty days, that's a long time to be writing. And a lot of it is pretty terrible, but some of it shows promise and I feel like my writing muscles are flexing in a way that they haven't since I graduated. This makes me proud as well.

So basically I am telling you that I am amazing because I am doing hard things that fulfill me.

But also, a little voice inside of me is kind of laughing because I am doing hard things because my life is easy right now. My children are all older than two which makes them lower maintenance; however, they are younger than six so their social lives still revolve around our family and I don't have to ferry them to multiple activities yet. We don't need money so I don't have to work. I have as few social responsibilities as I want, and I have a flexible schedule that I can shape around my wants. My life is easier than it has ever been as a mom! So I can do what I want to do.

I do think, I have matured and acquired  a lot of discipline, but if our finances changed for the worse, if another baby happened, if Chris deployed again, or if illness or any number of unforeseen obstacles fell into my life I am pretty sure I would have to drop my chosen hard things---because I would have real hard things to deal with.

But in the meantime, hooray for achieving goals! Whoop whoop! I am a hero!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rough around the edges

Chris has an overnight shift tonight so all day has been a little rough around the edges. Knowing that there will not be another adult around somehow gives me all the permission I need to abandon all routine and practical parenting practices.

Hair did not get brushed today. Not everyone got lunch. Many cookies were eaten. Bedtime occurred when Mom got grumpy.

We did a lot of awesome things today too. We made Christmas cards and painted home-made ornaments. We cleaned...a little. But the end of the day was not a real end of the day because there was no Daddy to tell the girls to stop talking and eat their vegetables, no Daddy to tell the traditional weekend story of the adventures of Pink Giraffe and Red Giraffe (You should really ask Chris about those stories.)NO Christ to sit beside me and look at expensive knives on the Ipad while I try to write 2,000 words before bedtime. And now it's almost 10:00 and I should be done with my writing and heading to bed right now, but I wasted my time and I still have 700 more words to write.

It will be nice to have him back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it's been a splendid Thanksgiving. Much better than the last one where someone peed on my head. 

No, this time we had a snuggly family day where I made Chris help put up Christmas decorations with me. Anytime he got grumbly I just casually brought up that last year I did it ALL BY MYSELF, and then he got all all quiet and helpful. Actually he was helpful all day.

I wanted to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies today, but I didn't have any chocolate chips. Chris very happily chopped up five chocolate bars so we could have chocolate chips. (Is this a normal thing to do? I started doing this on my mission a lot and have done it every so often since.) Anyway, he was excited to chop chocolate because he got to usev a knife. Actually he used two knives.One was doing a poor job and I think I heard him say he was going to sell it because it was bad at chopping chocolate.

Chris had to work tomorrow, so the girls and I are going to go to a local Christmas market and then I hope to write a ton. I am so excited for NaNoWriMo to be over. I have four days to write 8,000 more words. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bedtime Song Update

I was writing a post about Latin and Abelard and Heloise but then the computer went all crazy and I lost motivation (Don't tell me you didn't want to hear about that. I KNOW you wanted to hear about that.) So instead, here are the most-requested bedtime songs at our house lately:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Too Many Deals - a guest post by Chris

I don't know if Anna is still doing the "Too Many" title series. Honestly, I don't even know if it was intentional. We have been humming the theme song for the last weeks, so it could have been sub-conscious.

But I am doing it consciously to try and keep some kind of continuity among these posts. I told Anna that I would write her Blog post tonight if she would read to the girls. Gracie wanted some hide-and-seek flap book that I have read about three-dozen times, and I didn't want to walk all the way up the stairs to look at Maisy the Mouse look for her friends again. (I really don't mind reading to the girls every night, just some nights are rough and it is nice to have a break and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's[blueberry graham greek yogurt, or cookie dough? hoo hoo!] without sharing instead.)

That is all I really had. Somehow I thought that explaining the deal would take up more space than a paragraph. Does this count as a legitimate blog post? It is the blog post equivalent of reading a shampoo bottle blurb. It has real sentences, but no value or information. I am sorry to be the author of such disappointment. I assume if you are reading this, you wanted to hear Anna talk about some experience or thought that impressed her, and instead you just learned that I was lazy tonight and didn't want to leave the Ipad and go upstairs when Jojo finished brushing her teeth (alone because she was in time-out for "accidentally" slamming Gracie's fingers in the toothpaste/hair band/spare change/barrette/q-tip drawer. Four times.)

I hope my next post next November is more substantial.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Balloons against invasion

Last Friday I went to Nuremberg and watched Interstellar. It is the first movie I have seen in a theater in at least four years. It was pretty amazing---I think it totally deserves it's high IMDB score. Go see it; it's awesome.

On the way to the theater, there was a small sing-along/protest going on. They were giving out a bunch of stuff so I grabbed the most useful--which is why I now have three balloons proudly declaring Crimea still a part of Ukraine.

I don't know what the symbol on the back of the balloon. A two minute Google search did lot clear up what it was so I suppose I'll never know. Still, the girls are loving hitting these around. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eat-All-The-Milkas Update: Judgment Day

So a few nights ago I bought all my favorite cookie Milkas: Schokokeks, Chips Ahoy, Oreo (large panel) and Oreo (100g version. Plus, we had some Weihnachts Schokolade Marzipan left and since it was Chris's new favorite we added it to competition. Here is a more clear picture without my six year old charmer:

As I tasted each bar and discussed the benefits and drawbacks with the other four tasters (i.e. my husband and three daughters) it became clear that this "best of" competition was an oversimplification. All the bars (except for Chris's Marzipan bar) were examples of a single category: Cookie bars. It was easy to name one best cookie bar, but there were other marzipan bars that were excellent but in a different category. Sometimes, no matter its excellence, you don't want a cookie bar. So, in order to be more fair, I have broken the bars into categories and am naming the best in each category.  Please enjoy the rewards of my exciting and arduous Milka journey:


Best Cookie Bar (which tends to be a favorite in our family): Oreo 100 gram version
Best nut bar: Nuss &Nougat Creme (only in large panel)
Best yogurt bar: Johgurt Milka (100 gram)
Best Novelty Bar: Choco Jelly (large panel)
Best Marzipan:  Marzipan (100 gram)
Best bar to make you throw up in your mouth: Luflee Caramel

For the record, the other tasters proclaimed their favorites:

Sophia: Chips Ahoy and Oreo (100 Gram)
Jojo: Chips Ahoy and Oreo (100 Gram)
Chris: a triple tie between Weihnachts Scholade Marzipan, Nuss &Nougat Creme, and Schoko Keks
Gracie: Chocolate Chocolate chocolate chocolate

Good luck in your own chocolate eating endeavors.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Three hours

Three hours is how much sleep I had last night. And now it's 6:30 p.m. and because of prior obligations, I have not been able to have a nap. It is quite the struggle not to be grumpy at my children who are doing nothing out of the ordinary, And by "not be grumpy" I actually meant "not be a horrific monster." One of my least favorite feelings comes right after I lash out at one of my kids and realize a second too late that  it had nothing to do with them and all to do with myself--but they got the brunt of it anyway.

Here's to repentenance,forgiveness, and more sleep.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Too many gag gifts

There is a very deep and real part of me that loves giving gag gifts. A gag gift is something that is funny and useless, like a bobble-head doll, or a t-shirt with a funny quote that is too ugly to actually wear. I don't know why but I long to buy people gag gifts, especially at Christmastime. In fact, after I saw the Santaur the other day, I literally went over every person on my Christmas list because there had to be one person who would love that ornament.

I have learned, over the years that actually, gag gifts are rarely a good idea. The best way to gauge if a gag gift is appropriate is to consider the person and ask if they would rather have the gag gift or an real gift of equivalent value.

The Santaur costs (alarmingly) fifteen dollars. I don't think any of my family or friends would prefer the Santaur to fifteen actual dollars. If they do, I should probably stop hanging out with them.

I even considered buying it for myself and realized that I would rather have fifteen dollars than that amazing beast. I would even rather have five dollars. Or a chocolate chip cookie.

I think the only time it is appropriate to give a gag gift is when it is a) unexpected and b) involves a hilarious joke you share with the recipient. Even still, it might be wiser to go with a box of chocolates or a fruit basket.

So, no Santaur this year. Sorry if anyone is disappointed.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bragalog: Too many quilts

Right before my friend Becky got married, she told me I should start working on a baby quilt for her. I am always late finishing baby quilts and she wanted me to have plenty of time*. Well, I finally finished and mailed it to her about three months after her little girl was born. But let's not focus on my tardiness, let's focus on my awesomeness. I saw this quilt online and wanted to do something similar, or basically just like it.

Here are a gazillion pictures I took because everyone loves looking at quilt pictures. I apologize in advance if you fall into a pit of despair just thinking about how you will never live up to my amazingness. (Also ignore the binding. Bindings are hard for me.) (Also, uneven sewing lines are part of it's charm. Charm, I say!)

So you can tell better in the close up pictures that the quilt is actually pieced. For the piecing I just basically cut up all the fabric and sewed it back together again. It was a little time consuming. I did this because a) I wanted it to be a pieced quilt, but mostly because b) I thought it might be more authentic to do so to better represent the complexity of space. I admit the authenticity added by the subtle lines in the quilt is slightly compromised by several of the planets being represented with not-so-subtle polka-dots, but sometimes science has to take a backseat to cuteness. Am I right or am I right?

That's Pluto of course.

*Just thought I'd better clear up that Becky wasn't pregnant at the time she asked me. Just in case you thought she was. She's just a good planner.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Too many Parades

The girls watching the end of a mystery parade last Sunday.

We live at the end of the main street in our town. This is pretty awesome because it means that every time there is a parade, it goes right by our house. Our town has parades all the time and, since we are not well versed in all the local small holidays, they are generally surprise parades for us.

There is very little as charming as having a normal humdrum day, and then suddenly hearing a cheery tune slowly grow louder. We always rush to the windows and watch them to the very end. (Our town's pretty small so the parades don't tend to be very long.)

We used to open the windows and wave and cheer but we stopped doing that after one rather somber parade passed us and I realized hat it was not a parade at all, but actually march from the Catholic church to the cemetery. Funeral processions are kind of like parades, but you aren't supposed to cheer or throw confettin. Yeah, not our finest moment.

But we still watch every parade we can. Sometimes they sing, sometimes they chant, sometimes they ring bells and bang drums. Sometimes they wear current military uniforms, sometime ancient military uniforms, usually there are some dirndles and ledehosen involved. It's always awesome and always just under our noses. Hooray for Germany.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Too many books

Sometimes I read too many books. Like, one a day. As anyone knows who has suddenly become addicted to Harry Potter, reading too many books gives you the same feeling as when you go on a TV series binge. It's really fun, but in the back of your mind you know you should be actually doing something with your life. And when you're through your eyes kind of hurt and you feel a little sick.

I do this a lot. Too much. I actually took a breather today and thought about other people, who read in moderation and how much more meaningful their lives must be than mine. I don't read great books, or books to make me a better person. I don't even require good writing. I just like reading fiction. Science fiction, fantasy, western, mystery-- it doesn't matter (well actually, there pretty much has to be a love story). I read just for entertainment. Other people must get so much accomplished in their lives. But I'm not sure they are happier.

Anyway, my latest favorite series in the world is The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater. So so good. I downloaded the audiobook to Chris's Ipod and, to humor me, he started listening to it. Now he is hooked because it's pretty compelling. If you need a book recommendation, this is a good one. Also, if you have any, you should always feel free to give them to me, because lately a lot of my recommendations come from whatever the Goodreads algorithm decides to recommend for me and i am reading some weird stuff. Goodreads thinks I'm way more mystical than I am.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Flash from the past: Anne Geddes

(So for today's post I thought I would just repost something I wrote on our family's blog back in 2008, the month after Sophia was born. To give you some background-- Anne Geddes was pretty famous back then and we used to call Sophia "Soapy" or "Soaps." Sometimes we still do.)

After seeing Anne Geddes pictures (like the one above) for years and years, it is hardly a surprise that when I finally have a baby of my own I try to replicate her style. Here is my spin on her technique.

Lookin' good, Soaps.

I eventually ate all of this salad as well, which is something I bet Anne Geddes cannot say.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Breaking stuff in Primary

Today I shocked the heck out of the Junior Primary kids by taking a hammer to a dinner plate in the middle of Sharing time. It was so fun. It was an object lesson about repentance--I doubt most of them will remember the point of it, but it was still worth it.

I really love teaching in general, and teaching primary is my favorite calling. The gospel is really really fun to teach to kids partly because it is so massively complex but also so simple so it's easy to adjust the lesson to be age appropriate. But mostly it is fun to teach to kids because the gospel is crazy. It is so easy to shock kids, you don't even have to use object lessons, you just have to tell them the truth about what they believe and their mouths drop open.

As adults we are a little calloused to the irrationality of religion, but kids who haven't dealt much with it, are easily blown away. They can still see the similarities between fairy stories and a virgin conceiving. When we tell them that Lehi found a compass that only worked based on how faithful he was, their eyes are wide open waiting for the the dragon to come, or the princess or the next unbelievable fact. The scripture stories are as exciting as other stories to them, except rational, authoritative adults are insisting they are true AND the spirit is testifying of it too.

Another bonus of teaching kids is you can teach about the atonement and play charades at the same time (or break a dishware). And you have to move fast or you lose your audience. Most kids would rather be poking their eyes with sticks than sitting in primary so  they conciously or unconciously try to sabatoge you all the time. It's a constant balance between fun and entertainment and hard saving doctrine. So fascinating a game to play.

Mostly I like being a primary teacher in a class, but one of the benefits of only teaching sharing time is the adult camraderie you get. When a child makes an entirely inapproriate comment, it is quite satisfying to be able to look around the room, and meet eyes with the other surprised and shocked adults. IF you are a lone in the classroom with the kids when that happens, you don't have anyone there to help you secretly laugh at the child.

Anyway, I love primary. And breaking things.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Too many cooks

Whelp. It is after nine o clock. Yesterday all my writing for Nanwrimo was deleted so today I had to write over three thousand words to catch up. I am kind of sick of writing now. BUT I am at 26,000 words so that is impressive.

Also, have you seen the latest internet sensation: Too many cooks? Because I have and Chris and I keep singing the theme song over and over.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dream Job

My senior year of high school I quit the crew team to go to work at the library as a book shelver (the official title was Library Page). I don't think I realized until I wrote that last sentence how ridiculous it was for me to quite the crew team. I loved crew.. I quit because I figured it was time for me to start earning money for college. It's true my family wasn't wealthy, but I think I should've taken the hint that if my parents had no problem paying the ridiculous crew team dues, then maybe we weren't so poverty stricken I had to get a job. Or, maybe I could have done some basic math and figured out a part-time job wouldn't cover much of my college education. This now explains some of the funny looks and comments I got from my parents and school counselor when I told them about my choice.

Anyway, that's not what I want to blog about. I made this dramatic sacrifice and got a job at my local library. It was kind of the most boring job ever, but I also kind of loved it and it had amazing perks. I have been thinking about it lately, and I think now that Ipods and podcasts and  Wifi have been invented it would be the best part time job ever. When all my kids are in school  I am going to try to land this job again.

All you do, all day, is shelve books which is mindless and lonesome work---perfect for listening to audio books! And, something I loved is that, even though I couldn't read the books as I shelved them, I could look at them and decide not to shelve them and check them out instead. I read such an eclectic selection of books that year, just because I was exposed to them. I read a lot of Christopher Marlowe, theology books, random books about cancer (I was always picking up books I thought were about something else, but they were really about cancer). I read biographies, plant identification books and I checked out TONS OF BOOKS about art--not how to draw books, but books  that had collections of art in them. There was this one book  that was just a bunch of photos of Edvard Munch's art that I checked out a bunch of times.And fiction---i read so much bad fiction. The 808's is where the poetry is at and I read a ton of stuff there that I didn't understand but I liked the sound of.

I don't think I felt really happy there as a seventeen year old. It's not glamorous and there weren't boys around to talk to--in fact there was no one to talk to because you weren't aloud to talk. But now, it seems like a dream job to me. I'm not even kidding.

Also, did I mention you done get overdue fines if you work at a library. So nice.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The unpredictable return of the lisp

So today I had my meeting with one of the speech therapists at Sophia's school. She's been working with Sophia for about a month already, but this was my first time meeting with her. This nice woman showed me an evaluation of Sophia's "R" sounds. Basicallyshe had Sophia say a list of words with R+vowel blends.Then she marked down which ones Sophia distorted or completely omitted.

Out of all the R+vowel blends that exist in the English language Sophia can say... none of them. That's right. Not a one. Apparently most kids her age don't have them all yet, and it's not abnormal for them to all come later without any intervention but it is rare to have them all missing. She can say some of the consonant-R blends, but not a lot.

Then she talked to me about Sophia's lisp and said that she had been making some headway with Sophia's S's but then both of Sophia's front teeth had fallen out and they can't really do much until they grow back.

I'm not worried about Sophia's speech-I couldn't say my R's or S's growing up and years of speech therapy only contributed to how amazingly awesome I have turned out.

I now know exactly where my tongue should be and what it should be doing when I say the letter S. I can even picture it because in Speech therapy you spend a lot of time in front of a mirror looking at your tongue. I feel that generally I can "get by" with my S's. I don't have clear and crisp language but it is not superbad.

But sometimes the lisp comes back. I have wondered if it's true for other former lispers and I think it is. I'll feel my tongue get stuck in a position and no matter how hard I try to fix how I'm speaking I get stuck with the ethhes for at least a minute or so. This is more likely to happen if I am talking about lisps. In fact, just from writing this post I can feel the lisp just waiting to creep out.

Anyway about halfway through my conversation with the speech therapist I suddenly realized I was going to have a lisp recurrence. It doesn't bother me, it's just a little frustrating. And then all of the sudden the speech therapist broke out in a lisp. She definitely hadn't had one before and then all of the sudden it was there.

I waited until it receded and then (in a normal and not weird way) asked her if she had ever been to speech therapy and she had! I wanted to ask her about her lisp every coming back at weird times but...I couldn't come up with a normal or non-weird way to ask so I didn't.  But anyway it made me feel like we were kindred thpiritth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Today I took my girls out  bike riding. This has become a terrifying event, and it really speaks to my courage and awesomeness as a mother that I keep doing this. I usually take them up to post where the bike paths are less crowded. I walk as the girls bike in front of me and Grace, my two year old, rolls along beside me in her little plastic scooter-car.

Sophia is a calm. capable. and speedy biker. Jojo is a speedy biker. You see the problem.

I thought I'd achieved something great when we got them German bikes and weaned them off training wheels. German bikes are a lot lower to the ground and it only took a day or two for them learn to bike by themselves.

But Jojo...she just doesn't seem to understand caution. It seems like her first instinct when coming across something unexpected like, a pedestrian on the path, a steep hill, a large branch in the middle of the road, whatever-- is to pedal faster. And she has this fatalistic tendency of being unable to look away from anything that is in her way. If she doesn't look away from it, then her whole body points in that direction and she ends up crashing into it at full speed.

This is why today as I walked behind Gracie's little, plastic, scooter car I would occasionally hurtle down the path screaming at the top of my lungs, "DON'T LOOK AT THE MAN IN THE HAT JOJO! JUST DON"T LOOK AT HIM!" I'm sure the guy felt horrible, like I thought he was some kind of creeper. Whatever. I basically saved his life.

Also, I am pretty sure Jojo's helmet has saved her life multiple times. I have been trying to get Gracie to wear a helmet too. She doesn't go very fast but based on the number of times Jojo has collided with her I think it is in her best interest to wear a helmet too.

There are definite benefits to biking though. There's Sophia's proud and confident smile as she pulls sharply to a stop in front of me. I feel like I have to pour any confidence building experiences I can into her because man, the world is good at destroying confidence is little girls.

And then there is Jojo--- yes she bikes half-hazardly, and wildly, and incredibly unsafely but I think that's the only thing she is allowed to do in that way. She screamed with joy all the way out and all the way back to the car and I let her because a) she was usually pretty far ahead of me  which made it not so annoying and b) that kid needs to scream and be dangerous. Her eyes were so bright when we were done.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

I'm just glad that this year he's here with me instead of in Afghanistan.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Men's Fashion

Men's fashion is incredibly interesting to me. I wish women's fashion were interesting to me, that would be more helpful, but unfortunately women's fashion is mostly confusing. There seem to be infinite variations all dependent on body type, skin tone, and the way you tie your scarf. It is so frustrating to see an outfit that is, in and of itself beautiful, but look's like a disaster on a body it was not designed for.

And modesty. Oh my goodness. Looking for clothes that don't show temple garments is a bucket of cold water in the face of any woman who is trying to buy nice clothes. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying it makes shopping much less fun.

Men's fashion, on the other hand is a joy. If you buy a nice sweater in the right size, it will probably look good on most men that size. Men's fashion is logical.

Also, men's fashion is more subtle. There are less busy prints, less loud accessorizes, less "LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!" to men's fine style. This is a relief to me, though perhaps men feel a little stifled.
Stay stifled men.

So anyway, this is why I find sometimes find myself browsing or It is a little soothing to me. It makes me feel that for half the population at least, there are easy and clear ways to dress well.

You might wonder if Chris benefits from this---no, not at all. The sad truth is that Chris has always a better sense of fashion than I do and prefers to pick out his own stuff. However, if I ever have a son, he will dress well. Probably because Chris will pick out his clothes.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Sunday vs. Chris' Sunday

Anna's day:

1. Got to church a half hour late.
2.Told the primary kids I would kill them if they did not behave.
3. Spent a panicked half hour thinking I had allowed an unknown man to kidnap a primary kid. (Turns out I just don't know the men in our ward very well--especially when they wear hats. No joke, I barely ever speak to me these days other than Chris. Not on purpose, we just aren't around each other very much. It's weird.)
4. Came home and spent most of the day avoiding children and looking at all the things on the internet.
5. Had a wholesome homecooked meal because: crockpot.

Chris's day:
1. Arrived at church an hour early for morning meetings.
2. Spent the afternoon in the living room with the kids.
3. Took the kids on a nighttime nature walk after dinner.
4. Collected wood on that nature walk and built a fire with them.
5. In a few minutes he's going to read them books while I continue ignoring everyone.
5. Oh, and I forgot, he was a little late home from church because he pulled over to help some Nuns fix a broken bike.

Hopefully today was not the Final Exam to see who gets into the Celestial Kingdom.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Random Triptych

1. Since Gracie was born after we arrived to Germany and Chris became a part of 1st Squadron, we were supposed to get a silver cup for her. It just came last week, almost two and a half years later. Not bad fort the army. It's pretty sweet. The sentimental part of me thinks this will be such a fun thing for her to have as a memento, and the neurotic, survivalist part of me thinks this will be so useful if the American Government collapses and we need something to melt down and use for currency in an emergency. So, win/win I guess. 

2. Also, this morning, the girls very proudly showed me the poster they had made. They were very VERY excited about it.It was definitely influenced by the Lewis Family Tradition of making birthday banners. Unfortunately my girls tried tried for LOVE but ended up with EVOL. HOpefully this is not a tragic foreshadowing for their lives.

3. I was ransacking our toy area looking for some toys for an object lesson at church tomorrow and I found a small hidden ball of Jojo hair. We confronted her about it and she admitted to sometimes cutting her hair and hiding it. It's a little mysterious, because we can't tell where on her head it came from, but it's definitely her hair and there was quite a chunk of it.  I kind of hope she manages to take scissors to her hair in a way that results in a tragic haircut, because we haven't experienced that yet, and I feel that is a rite of mother hood.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The crock pot is changing my life.

The crock pot is changing my life.

If you remember, I recently wrote a riveting post about my crock pot. Consider this the sequel. I also bought a slow cooker cookbook and have slowly been going through and making all the recipes that look appetizing. Life is getting a lot easier. And healthier. It's a lot easier to have healthy side dishes ready when the main course is already taken care of.

Today my crock pot made me feel like a hero.  I arrived home at 6:15 after picking up Sophia from Step class and Chris was sitting in our living room with a couple who had just arrived from the US and were hungry. I was not expecting them. Thanks to my crockpot magic, at 6:30 we were all sitting around the table eating coconut chicken curry, rice, and salad. AND because I had known earlier I wouldn't have to worry about cooking, I had found the energy to make some pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough so I just popped a couple pans in the oven and we even had dessert, and a plate of cookies to send with them to the hotel. I felt like such a hero.

There is a good chance we will only eat out of a crock pot for the rest of our lives.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christmas Christmas Christmas!

I have started getting excited about Christmas gifts.  I love having kids around Christmas time (uh, I mean all the time, right?). This year Jojo has fallen in love with horses, which is convenient because she is my hardest kid to find toys for. Sophia always knows what she wants and Gracie will still play with trash, but Jojo is a mystery. She is a bit of a collector of treasures, but the treasures vary so I occasionally look into one of the boxes that is by her bed to see what she currently values.

For your information, right now Jojo treasures  sticks and toilet paper roll tubes. She has about 30 tubes by her bed at the moment. She doesn't do anything with them, just collect them. It's hard to buy gifts for a girl who is into toilet paper roll tubes.

But every day after school she begs to go see the horses so we always walk and check and ineveitably if they are not there she cries and if they are there she screams "NEIGGHHHHH!" at them until a neighbor opens a window and I say we have to go.

Sophia wants...the whole world. We went in the toystore and I asked her what she would pick if she could only have one thing. She about died with the difficulty of deciding. In fact she could not decide. But her loudes exclamations of delight occurred around the Barbies and Fillys  (Fillys are Germany's equivalent to My Little Pony).

Gracie followed Sophie around the store repeating "I want this for Christmas!" everytime she heard Sophia say it, but since I had to drag her away from playing with the toilet bowl brushes before we left, I figure she will like whatever she gets.

Hooray for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Sophia Dialect

I realized something a few days ago. Out of the five members of our family, I think I might talk the least. Gracie held the place as the least talkative member of our family until sometime this year when she learned English. No I'm pretty sure it's me.

A man I had never seen before stopped me on the way to pick up Jojo from kindergarten yesterday. He said he saw me go a pick her up from school, and he always laughs when I come back with her because her mouth never stops moving.

My girls love to talk. They talk before, during, and after they think. They talk so quickly that their words seem to bottleneck in their throatstrying to come out and then there is a short silence as they minds rush to catch up. There is so much childish talking in my life, it is ridiculous. I have even repeatedly stood there and listened to my child repeat the same phrase over and over until they can think of something different to say, just because they like talking.

I don't think my situation is particularly unique but I do think it is linguistically interesting. When Chris is gone, I am the only one who really knows the English language in our home. The rest of the inhabitanst have,at best, the vocabulary of a six year old. I like to think I am a pretty good example of what normal English sounds like. But, since I  say only one word for every twenty-five words (at least) spoken in our home I feel like I am not the dominant English teacher here.

This was driven home to me when I took Jojo in to be tested for speech therapy. I felt she wasn't saying her R's and S's correctly. They told me she actually could say her R's and S's perfectly. They showed me examples of words that had  S's and R's in the same location with similar consonant pairings and sometimes Jojo would say the S or R and sometimes she wouldn't. It wasn't that she couldn't say them, It's that she just didn't believe some words had those sounds. I can't think of the words they showed me now but it is essentially like she would say "car" and "far" and she would say "cah" and "far."

Sophia can't say S's or R's very well, and I am pretty sure that Jojo is getting most of her vocab from Sophia. Basically, all my girls speak in English in a Sophia dialect. I wonder if this is amplified because Jojo hangs out in a little German world for her whole day except for church and our family.

I was going to include some of the incorrect phrasing that has become so standard in our house Chris and I have picked it up as well, but I think this post is done for now. I am going to go read.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


When Chris deployed he left me with nine CDs, one for every month he was supposed to be gone. I don't like songs the first time I hear them, so the idea was for me to keep the monthly CD in the car and listen to that one CD for the whole month and then decide if I really did or did not like it.. It actually was a really great idea. First of all, because Chris was listening to that same music at the same time and it was sadly romantic. It was also good because it really does take me about a month tod ecide if like a band or not. During this experience I found a favorite band.

I had always liked certain songs but there was never a group that I just loved, and now I have one: Modest Mouse. So good. One Chance was my favorite song during the deployment and today my favorite is Blame it On the Tetons--which I think we can all agree is an intriguing title. I am posting links to them both below.

The past few days I have been listening to Johnny Cash in my car--my dad got me his CD so I remember my roots, he said. My grandparents song was Walk the Line. I don't really remember listening to Johnny Cash a lot but I certainly have most of the words memorized so my Dad must have played it a lot. He has a lot of good songs (I love his Christmas mix, actually-- that gravelly voice just does great things to Christmas Carols), but today my favorite is Folom Prison Blues. The little guitar solo is just so great. I listened to it about six times in a row driving home from the clinic.

Gracie has a fever today and we are almost out kid medicine, so I drove on base to pick some up. Interestingly enough, when I entered the clinic a soldier was posted there to ask all people entering some questions. He wanted to know if we'd been out of hte country int he last month and where we had been and if we had flu like symptoms. I asked him if this was about Ebola and he was like "No no no no, well yes. But mostly for all those other sicknesses out there like H1N1, the bird flu blah blah." So that was interesting. And unrelated to the rest of the post.

Also unrelatedly, I am at 6945 words for my NANOWRIPMO stuff. You should be impressed.  Here are the songs.

One Chance

Blame it on the Tetons

Folsom Prison Blues

Monday, November 3, 2014

I bought a crockpot.

Okay, already anyone can see I am already scraping the bottom of the barrel for blog post topics. Please forgive me. I still have a thousand words to write tonight and I am pretty exhausted already. But at least I am not exhausted from cooking. Because last week I bought a crockpot.

I've survived three years without one here in Germany because I didn't want to buy an appliance I couldn't take with me to the States. But last week I felt like spending money so I just bought one. I am so glad I did. Even if I only use it this month.

I don't like cooking. I don't really care a lot about what I eat (except for treats). A crockpot is changing my life for the better. We had curry tonight and it was SO EASY. I guess curry should always be easy, but doing anything after four o'clock in the winter time is very hard, I think.

Anyway, hooray for crockpots.

This is my worst Nablopomo post ever. I bored myself.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lazy Sunday

Today was the perfect lazy Sunday. After church the younger girls DID NOT fall asleep in the car but DID take proper naps afterwards which gave Chris and I a break and kept everyone from being grumpy. This alone would have made the day a success. But then I spent the rest of the day lounging on the couch reading a novel while the girls took turns cuddling with me. (FYI this particular novel is interesting to me because it's about a woman who is dating a man who she believes is a werewolf. We don't know if he really is or if he is just pulling the con of the century. I don't know yet if I am reading fantasy novel or a tale post-modern love and betrayal. Very interesting.) Oh, and we all ate so much Halloween candy. The fire room was a disaster until a couple hours ago when we had a small dance party/clean up extravaganza. Which seemed a great way to end the evening.

And Chris is now in the process of reading some very long books to the girls. Somehow, through some brilliant twist of fate, Chris became the reader-of-books. They actively request him. (Apparently I do voices weird. Humph.) It's so awesome because their book choices are getting progressively longer and more inane. I have been relegated to singing songs which is fun, faster, and I can literally do in the dark with my eyes closed.

My life is good today.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nablopomo and Nanowrimo

I have heard that writing a lot makes you want to write more. I hope this is true, because I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. Unfortunately National Blog Posting Month and National Novel Writing Month are the same month.So I am doing both Nanwrimo and Nablopomo at the same time. Please wish me luck. I have to go start writing 50,000 words now.