...and other misconceptions I made 07-2-22
2007 Feb 22

Archive for December, 2008

December 31st 2008
Another year is ending

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It’s amazing how time flies. Is 2008 really behind us already? Just a few more hours left? I can’t believe it.

Everyone is looking back and looking ahead, so I guess I’ll do the same… The last year was a good one for us. The girls have become so much easier to deal with, they sleep through many nights, they sometimes (but not often) even sleep past 6am. Everyone in the family is reasonably healthy, so lots of reasons to be happy and grateful. Life as a whole is good.

But once you look past the narrow circle of family things look rather scary. The economy, the world we live in… I cannot remember being more worried looking at a new year than this year. The mess we are in is deep – way deeper than most people are willing to realize. And there is no easy fix. It took about 20 years until the US fully recovered from the great depression – the last time we had a recession this deep and problems this fundamental. Yet everyone appears to expect that a year from now everything will be fine again.

So it is with very mixed emotions that I go into this new year. I am very excited to continue to see the girls grow – I need to post more about the things that they say every day… they stun us so often with their remarks. And I am very worried what will happen to the world.

But even with this in mind, I’ll give you the traditional new year’s wishes:

Prost Neujahr!


Happy New Year!

December 28th 2008
That’s more like it

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My sister’s family is finally able to do some of the things they had in mind for their visit to Portland. Apparently going shopping was high on that list (the US economy, or what’s left of it, thanks them). So they went to the outlet stores and to the mall. Hours and hours of fun (except that Ben thought it was boooring – but then, he’s seven).

Yesterday evening we had a baby sitter who effortlessly dealt with the not-so-much-babies as well. She even got praised by Ben for understanding German – where in fact she just used her “understanding toddlers” skills on Ben when he tried to tell her things in German – it’s amazing how much you can get from tone of voice, body language and some other clues. Natalie is actually a teacher at the girls’ school who will start teaching at an elementary school next year; the girls love her and Nico and Ben seemed quite happy as well when we came home.

The grown ups went to our favorite restaurant in the neighborhood, Alba Osteria. We had a wonderful meal, quiet conversation, a little wine and all in all too much great food. It was perfect. And to top things off, our girls slept till 6:30am – an hour longer than their usual wake-up time. What a treat.

The weather has gone from freezing and snow to mid-50s (12°C) and rain – lots of rain. There’s still plenty of snow around where it was piled up before, but the streets are mostly cleared. Tomorrow, H1 and I might even go running for the first time in weeks.

Now all we need to do to really get back to the original plan is to jump start the Beamer (it’s battery appears to have died in the cold) and to get new tires on it. Then H1 and her family can move around without us and enjoy their second week in Portland. H2 and S2 will go back to preschool tomorrow and play with their friends (which will give Ben and Nico a break). See – I’m full of hope!

December 26th 2008
Honey, we’re FREE!!!

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This morning Marcus and I dug out the minivan from the snow. We took another stab at truly getting the somewhat steep driveway cleared and especially ice-free. And then we took the Sienna out for a spin (pun intended). And EUREKA – it wasn’t too bad. The streets in the neighborhood are still pretty bad (but nothing the all wheel drive couldn’t handle) and as soon as you reach the main streets everything is clear. Oh, and it started to rain with temperatures slightly above freezing.

So when we came back I ran in and yelled those words to K2 upstairs. “Honey, we’re FREE!!!”. Celebrations started right away. And plans were made for an outing. Of course the Toyota is only a seven seater and there are eight of us. But it pretty quickly turned out that not all of us had cabin fever. The other three males in the house (Marcus, Nico and Ben) decided they’d rather stay in the warm and dry living room and stress-test the Wii.

The girls (all four of them) and I went shopping. And had bubble tea (H1 was… surprised…) and had a good time. It was nice to get out of the house and the immediate neighborhood. And to know that we won’t be stuck in the house anymore.

Now the remaining problem to solve is transportation for all of us. The original plan was for my sister and family to simply use the small Beamer that I usually drive. Except that “someone” forgot to get new tires (and the lines at the tire store these days are impressive – and they are out of stock on most common sizes). Oh, and even though this is not a “sporty” Beamer (it’s the smallest engine in their smallest station wagon), it still is a little low to the ground given the ruts in the snow and ice around the house…

So the current plan is to shuttle us to the restaurant tonight in two trips – K2 and I decided that no matter what it took, we were going to go out for dinner…

December 24th 2008
Merry Christmas & Frohe Weihnachten

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With all the Germans in town we are of course having a very American Christmas this year. No gifts today, waiting for Santa tonight, tracking him with NORAD and then unwrapping gifts tomorrow morning, including the things that Santa will put in their stockings – on what the Americans call “Christmas”. The boys are taking the fact that they are getting their gifts a day late in stride. I’m impressed.

Thankful girlsPreschool finally opened again (after being closed because of the snow for the last few days) and I walked them there through the snow. They were thrilled to see their friends again and to be out of the house. And brought home little Christmas tree ornaments. The teachers asked them what they were thankful for and wrote their answers on the back of the ornaments. As you can see on the right, the girls had three answers:

  • my Mom and daddy
  • my Opa and Oma
  • my toy caterpillar

I was so touched…

Merry Christmas & Frohe Weihnachten to all of you. And חנוכה שמח (Hanuka Same’ach). And our best wishes for any other holidays you may be celebrating this time of the year (I know I have many Christian and Jewish readers… if some of you follow other religions and want to share your traditional holiday wishes with us, please post a comment).

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