My husband, that is. Since 7 am YESTERDAY. Pardon my screaming. The whole story would be too long to tell and I'd be working myself into helpless hysterics while writing it down - so the short version: Air France (sucks), snow (in winter! Who'd have thought!), endless delays, three cancellations. Blah. I mean, in the meantime, he could have walked here. Almost.
Here some nice pictures of the reason that my husband is now two days late:
And if you didn't know that this season, boy's underwear over your pants is all the rage, then you really are way behind the times. You can only remedy this by wearing your purse slung backpack-style over your head.
Really. What are you waiting for? It's a great look for some people I know!
I thought I should share of my new craft blog links with you. Because, you know. It might come in handy. In case I lose my bookmarks, that is.
My newest discovery is Zakka Life by crafter extra-ordinaire Jessica Okui. She posts at least one tutorial a week and my, are her creations just adorable! Also, they fall right into my line with also being sustainable and fun and cute and... I mean, how can you not love those Eco Christmas gift wraps? Or the accordion folded Russian nesting doll card? I'm very smitten.
Geninne's Art Blog is very inspirational. I don't have any of her talent but I'm good at copying... Watch this stamp carving video of hers and tell me you don't want to carve a stamp. Right. Now.
Of course, some people are so talented that they are intimidating. Not crafty but awesome is this post about treehouses. I can't possibly let my boys see this as they have been pining for a treehouse for a year now. Doug and I don't think we can really do it so we keep finding excuses.
A new favorite is Maya Made. I really need to make these adorable elf slippers for Jacob and Leah soon. Maybe for Christmas?
Last not least is Katie Did. Cute girls! Cute dresses! What's not to like?
I'm not a numbers girl. Give me words, give me language. Give me books! Medical science is good. Biology is good. Chemistry is so-so, it's been so long. Math is just not my kind of thing.
When I was 10, I went to school at the German Embassy Elementary school in Istanbul and my Dad was my math teacher. My Dad is a strong believer in "Kopfrechnen" - mental arithmetic. Kopfrechnen has been the bane of thousands and thousands of German school kids, yours truly included. I get confused. I don't trust myself, so I panic and mix up numbers and end up doing funny things. Math is hard work for me. My Dad used to do five minutes of Kopfrechnen at the beginning of every single class. It would be something like this: 5 times 7 plus 13 minus 28 times 3 minus 15 divided by... and would go on for a while. I think in the entire school year, I got the problem right once.
It's not the logic part that I don't get. I love logical problems. Just the numbers, they confuse me.
This is, however, not a problem my boys share. From an early age on, Doug quizzed them on math problems. They love it. Dinner conversation is part math quiz. Car rides always include math quizzes. In their minds, this whole muddled mess that is my math region seems to be crystal clear. I kind of envy that.
At the moment, Doug is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Usually, that means a break on the math quizzes over lunch and dinner. But not today - today, they got me cornered. First, it was astronomy. They asked me how we know that the core of the Earth is molten iron. Then we went to chemistry and which elements are highly reactive and which are not. I was beginning to swim a little. Alan quickly steered the conversation to maths.
"Mommy, what is the square of 11?"
Boy, was I ever happy that I memorized those squares all those very long years ago, because I could never figure them out in my head. "121".
"Yes. Think about it: what's 11 times 10?"
"Mommy, ask me a math problem."
"Okay, what's 25 plus 28?"
"What's 32 times 3?"
"Um, that would be.... 96! A harder one, Mommy!"
I will have to make these up in advance. To be sure I know the results, you know. And then I will work on my chemistry. I mean, I can't have those boys outsmart me in second grade already, now can I?
That photo from this morning? It was a good one, regarding the hair. Leah has very fine, very unruly hair. She has two swirls in the back, spinning towards each other. Which makes all of her hair on the top run straight towards her forehead instead of being parted to the sides. It's like her entire top hair creates her bangs. It looks very strange.
For weeks now, I've wanted to take her to the hairdresser to give her a decent hair cut. I never have the time. Never ever. (I don't even have the time to go myself.) Today, there were so many snags in her hair, she cried while I brushed her hair. Also, the hair always hangs into her eyes. She looks awfully cute with the hair held to the side with a barrette but the barrette only stays in her hair for 2.3 seconds, so that's not a permanent solution. So I decided to cut it. I've been cutting the boys' hair forever, how hard could it be?
It turned, cutting hair short and cutting some sort of style into longer hair are two very different things.
I really only wanted to cut her bangs, so I parted her hair parallel to her forehead on the top of her head, held the back part with a barrette and cut her bangs. That was great until I took the barrette out. The top hair fell over her bangs and it looked awful. AWFUL. So I carefully snipped some of the top hair too. But now the sides didn't match. Snip, snip, snip. Ever tried cutting the hair of a squirmy toddler? Well, let's just say you don't always have full control.
Because all of a sudden, she had a mullet. In German we call this a Vokuhila. The sides were too short, and now the back hair was way too long. So I had to cut the back hair too. More squirming. I layered it a bit to make the transition from that unruly swirl streak less obvious but you know, once too short, always too short. Ah!
She's not completely disfigured. And her hair will grow back, maybe even in time for Christmas. But I tell you, I'll never ever cut her hair again.
(See those swirls? See what they do to her hair? How is anybody supposed to cut that? See where I cut too short? Her brothers think she looks awesomely cute, plus she no longer has her hair in her eyes, so there's that.)
Advent calendars are very important for German kids. When I made the calendars for my kids, I agonized over the problem of Jacob being away for 10 days. Should I send his calendar with him? But the suitcases were already heavy, and I decided I would keep it and have Jacob open all the doors he missed when he came back. But, would he miss it? Would he envy his cousins? All the worry was unnecessary. It turns out, my sister-in-law Maria made up for the days he missed over here by making a calendar for the days he is there:
How awesome is that? Very awesome, I think. If you're looking for the "5", well, it's right here on Jacob's head:
He looks pretty happy with his cousin and his new headlamp. Thank you, Maria! You're the best!
Jacob is off today to visit his cousins in Limassol, Cyprus. He's flying with his Oma and he's awfully excited and happy (and a bit clueless) about what is going on. He's got his suitcase, and a backpack full of little books and toys for the trip, some snacks and a cuddly toy in case he does need some extra hugs.
He will be just fine but it was weirdly difficult to let him go, even though he's going with his most favoritest person in the world and even though I trust my Mom completely. Funny how that motherhood-thing sometimes works.
Anyway. He's almost at the airport by now, and will take off in just another two hours.
Take care of my little boy, Hajo and Maria, and have fun!
For the third year now, we've made a gingerbread house in the weeks before Christmas.
Our first one was a house that was made by the kitchen of the Marriott in Yerevan. We were invited and just had to pop up and decorate the fully assembled house.
The one last year we made with a kit from IKEA and it turned out well enough.
This year, we went one step further and baked the entire house ourselves, from homemade gingerbread dough. Although -- the traditional German dough doesn't contain ginger but does contain lots of honey and potash. It tastes very yummy.
The assembly was a bit tricky. The pieces were dense and heavy and walls kept falling over and roofs kept sliding off. But with the help of cookbooks and other supports, in the end the house kept together.
Then today, we decorated it. No pictures of the process as my fingers were covered in royal icing but here is the final result:
Alan wrote "I love" above the windows with candy hearts.
Jacob really wanted the gummy heart over the entry. David put up the M&M's and then got sidetracked by trying to dissolve various candies in water.