Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!  

I thought I would list just a few of the things I love about Canada.

1. It’s where I’m from.

2. Fries and gravy.

image 3.  Mr. Bigs, Coffee Crisps, Aeros, and Old Dutch Popcorn Twists.

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image 4.  It’s Beautiful.image5.  The air smells better there.  (Okay, this may just possibly be just my own opinion, but I always have thought that as soon as we crossed the border the air tasted bigger, wilder, fresher, and better.) image 5.  It has the best national anthem.

Proud to be Canadian.image

p.s. I just asked Brett what he loves about Canada and he said “You.”  Awwww.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gurnigel

This is the last catch-up post from when I was doing the horse posts, so it was from early in the month.  One Sunday we decided to drive to a mountain called Gurnigel.  It was actually sunny when we started driving but got cloudier and cloudier as we got closer to the mountain.

DSCF5367 DSCF5368  DSCF5371 DSCF5374 When we arrived all the kids had fallen asleep except Jethro, so we got out but just walked around the little parking area a bit and took in the view.  After a while Hazel woke up too.  But it was actually pretty cold, so she and I decided to wait in the van and Brett and Jethro went up a trail to a higher point of the mountain.DSCF5376    DSCF5390

When they had gotten to the very top, it started raining.  Not just a little, but a total downpour.  Hazel and I watched their tiny figures run all the way back down the trail.  It even started hailing on them.  They thought it was pretty cool.DSCF5378

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lengthy Ramblings on a Saturday in my Wonderful Life

Disclaimer:  Dear Dad (and anyone else opposed to verbosity and an over-abundance of detail), before you begin reading, please know that this post is anything but succinct.  Nor is it particularly exciting.  You will probably need to skim.  Carry on.

(Also, tonight is actually Sunday night, but I wrote this post last night, I just couldn’t post it because Brett was watching the US get beat by Ghana.)

Today was a wonderful day.  Saturdays often are, but since it was sunny it had the added delight of feeling like the first Saturday of summer. 

Brett wanted to hike Gantrisch – the mountain we can see from our window.  So he and Jethro got up and headed out bright and early.  Talmage was up, as he usually is early in the morning, and when they went out the door without him he cried like his poor little heart was broken.  He came and got in my bed by me for a minute and cried while I kissed him, but he quickly got out and when he came back he was holding a book.  He cried until he climbed in beside me, settled his head into the crook of my arm and I held up the book to begin reading.  I love him.  He loves being read to.  He probably brings me a book to read at least 4 times a day.

After we’d read a few books (he went and got a new one after each that we finished and snuggled right back into his spot), Ethne woke up and came in.  That was unusual as she’s almost always the last one up, but Hazel had had her sleepover the night before and was catching up.

We made our way to the table after a while and Ethne convinced me to let her have cereal instead of the pancakes Brett had made.  Brett makes pancakes pretty much every Saturday morning, and while I think it’s wonderful of him to do it, I don’t much care for pancakes and would prefer to eat cereal every morning.  So we ate cereal, and Talmage as usual had his second breakfast of the day with us.

After Hazel woke up and ate, I decided we should not squander such a lovely day, so we took the stroller out and started walking.  We went past the farm and the fields.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning.  The sky was a dazzling blue, the field were green and vibrant (as they very well should be after the weeks and weeks of rain).  The sun was warm on our heads but there was a tickle of a cool breeze and it smelled deliciously of drying hay.

Pretty soon though, Hazel wanted to turn around and go home so she could watch a show (we had just discovered a neat show called Liberty’s Kids the day before), and I remonstrated her strongly about wishing to waste such a brilliant morning.  She came around to my way of thinking and didn’t say anything more about the show the rest of the walk.  :)

We crossed the train tracks and followed a road past some more farms.  At one, there were swarms of people picking strawberries in a field.  I of course instantly wished I had brought my wallet.

We kept walking until we came to a little dirt road where we ditched the stroller and followed it up.  It went through some trees, which was good because it was uphill for aways and we were getting hot.  We found raspberry bushes that we can come back and pick from later in the year, and a broken blue bird’s egg on the ground which I always think is good luck.  At the end of the road was a nice little spot with the remains of a campfire.  We rested there for a while, and we saw a deer run through the trees.

On our walk Hazel and I had interesting conversations, such as where we were going to live after we move back to the States.  I asked her where she is going to live when she grows up and she said in Utah.  I said, “But what if your husband doesn’t want to live in Utah.  What if he’s from California or some other place and wants to live there.”  And she said, “Well, we’ll just have to take a little talk about where we want to live.”

We talked about how now that she’s six there are only two more years until she gets baptized and then she continued saying, “And then the next year I’ll be 9,” and so on.  When she got to 11 she said, “And then I’ll pretty much be grown up.”

After our rest we went back down the dirt road past the strawberry field again, and Hazel was saying her mouth was dry, and I was looking at the buckets and boxes of strawberries people carried with more than a little jealousy mouthwatering.

After we had passed it, I decided to turn around and ask the sellers what time they closed.  Luckily they spoke English (you see the reason for my lack of motivation to learn German?).  She kindly advised that we come back on Monday morning because it had been picked over pretty well that day.  I thanked her, assured her I would be back bright and early on Monday, and turned to go.  We had gone a few steps when she came up and gave us a little basket with 7 or 8 strawberries in it.  It was soo nice!  Maybe she had seen the intense longing in our eyes.  :)  We each slurped down a strawberry immediately and let me tell you, they were DIVINE.  I have a memory from when I was really little of eating a small red strawberry from a neighbor’s patch and it being the sweetest, tastiest strawberry I had ever had.  All my life after that whenever I had fresh-picked or picked my own strawberries I hoped for the same taste, but was always let down.  But these strawberries were it.  They were as different from strawberries bought in the store as canned pineapple is from fresh.  They were melt-in-your-mouth soft and juicy and sweet and tasted like little bursts of sunshine dancing on sparkling blue water.  (I’m thinking I should be a food poet, aren’t you?)  Just trust me, they were good.

We got home and had some lunch and then Brett and Jethro got home.  They had made it to the top, had a good time, and the pictures on the camera were gorgeous.  DSCF5510 DSCF5519 DSCF5522 DSCF5527 DSCF5528 DSCF5541

After that Jethro and Brett were rooting around for food, so I pulled out the crackers, Gala cheese, and tomatoes I had bought at the store earlier in the week.  See, at Jethro’s Kid Restaurant they served us crackers with a cheesy spread and sliced cucumbers or tomatoes on the for our appetizer, and they were great, so I peeked at what kind of cheese it was.  Gala looks just like cream cheese and has the same consistency but has a fantastic tang to it.  So we sat and made ourselves rye crackers with cheese and tomato slices until the cheese was all gone.  It was grand.

Then Talmage had a nap and we let the kids watch a show after they cleaned the table/vacuumed, and Brett and I had a little rest after which I studied my lesson to teach the next day.

Later the kids played outside for a while (and got in a fight and whined when I had them all go back and put the cover back on the sandbox), Brett went to the grocery store for a few things and I made banana bread.  I called Brett while he was at the store and told him to get eggs and he still came home without them.  He said, “I swear something is wrong with my brain.)

When Brett got home and Talmage woke up we asked the kids if they wanted to go swimming.  Of course they all did, but I think Talmage was the most excited.  After his little swim in the neighbor’s kiddie pool the other day he knew what was going on, and after he had his swimming suit on he kept trying to pull us to the door.

Bern has a free swimming area with a few different pool right by the Aare.  It was quite crowded but the kids had a super time, and since it’s free we didn’t have to feel bad only staying for an hour or so.

DSCF5549 DSCF5554 DSCF5561 As we were walking back to the van we passed a door that said ‘Women Only’ or something like that, and Brett thought that it must be an area where women can go in and lay out naked to get a full-body tan.  He made me go look to see if he was right.  He was.  We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. 

Then we came home, had some grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in chocolate milk, and now Brett is watching the World Cup soccer game. 

I have a beautiful life, and I am so grateful for it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bräteln

These pictures are from earlier in the month when we had a Brätele with some of our friends.  That means a cook-out, but really it means sausages.  They don’t do weiner roasts here, oh no, it’s Wursts all the way.  They have these all the time.  If you go to a park or  the zoo or anything, there are always fire-pits available for a Brätele.  I think one of the most popular sausages for roasting is called the Cervalet.  This is the traditional way to do them:

image Here’s Hazel and her friend Dinah roasting:DSCF5348 And some friends and Jethro:DSCF5349 Freunde.DSCF5352 Mmmmm, sausage.DSCF5353 DSCF5354 Mmmm, sausage.DSCF5359 DSCF5360 Mmmm, sausage.DSCF5361 Mmmm, sausage.DSCF5363 Hazel climbed a tree.DSCF5365 Noe und Jethro.DSCF5366And here’s a little coloring page if you feel the need for more good times bräteln.  (Here’s a link.)image We had a fun evening, and didn’t get rained on, even though I thought for sure we would.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hazel is Six!

So, this year I didn’t do a party for Hazel. Nor did I do a cake with candles. Ummm, lame, I know but things kindof fell apart. She colored invitations for her friends at church for a horse party, so I thought that we could just have the “party” at the ward waterskiing activity which was the day before her birthday. But then it was cancelled because of rainy coldness, and so I thought I’d just make the cake for her on Sunday, which was her birthday. But then we went to a baptism after church and never got around to it afterwards (though she did get to open her presents). Then I made a cake on Tuesday (I can’t remember why I didn’t on Monday), and I was going to ice it and put candles in and sing, but I went to German class and Brett didn’t realize that that was the plan (because I hadn’t told him), and they just ate the cake. Oh well, I guess. This has really been a lame-o year for holidays. No valentines, no birthday cake or anything for Brett, now Hazel’s birthday was a flop. OH WELL. Such is life.

Luckily, Hazel’s kindergarten class knows how to celebrate a birthday! Firstly, Hazel stayed home from school in the morning until all the kids in her class met at school and walked down to our house. Then Hazel got in the special birthday wagon, and they all sang to her (listen, it’s in English and German), and pulled her all the way back to school.

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DSCF5441 Then Hazel got to light six candles and sit on a special birthday chair. One by one as she called their names, each of the students picked a little bead from a bowl and came to Hazel and put it in her little bag and told her Happy Birthday or best wishes or something. Then her teacher helped her put all the beads onto some string and make a bracelet.DSCF5445Here are some pictures of Hazel’s classroom which I think is so awesome. DSCF5448

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DSCF5454Then we shared the treats we brought with all the kids.DSCF5458Remind me next time to NOT make something so involved for kindergarteners.DSCF5456 Then we went to Sport with the class. It was so awesome! They had a bench set up like a slide that the kids could climb and slide on. DSCF5459


DSCF5460They had a ladder attached by ropes to make a swing.DSCF5465And they had a bench with mats on the sides, and the kids would walk to the middle from the ends, shake hands, and then try to push the other one off. DSCF5470

Rings to hang on.
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DSCF5474Then the kids helped put away all the benches and mats. I was impressed with how well they all worked to get everything put away. Then they played some good old freeze-tag for a while.

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DSCF5479I've never seen a gym so awesome in the States, and I’ve attended lots of different schools growing up. And correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I just don’t see anyone in the States letting kids try to push each other off the balance beam.

While we’re on the subject of classrooms, here are some pictures of Jethro’s. DSCF5483

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Here’s the view from his classroom window. Hard to beat that.DSCF5482

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