Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Grandma

I have so many things swirling around in my head, so many thoughts and things I want to get documented on the blog, like Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, Finley’s 7 month update, Halloween costumes that I made for the kids, trick or treating with the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg…

But all of that will have to wait for a little bit until I get my bearings.

My grandma passed away on Wednesday morning.

She turned 87 just three days before, so it’s not like it should be a total surprise, but to be honest, it sort of came as a surprise.
I could write a million things about just how great she was – she gave and gave and gave some more.
She loved the Lord and she and my grandpa had a special place in their hearts for missionaries and supported many of them over the years.

She adored her family, especially her great-grandchildren.
To Hannah, she was “Gigi,” and they loved each other so much.

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Last spring, we traveled home for Shawn’s grandpa’s funeral and I had debated staying here in Luxembourg with Hannah and 9 week old Finley.
But I made the decision to go and my grandma got to meet him for the first time.

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And I know deep down in the bottom of my soul that that trip home and time spent with her was a gift.  A gift.  Of course I didn’t know it then, but that would be the last time I would see or hug her.

We called her last Sunday night to wish her a happy birthday and Hannah told her about her lost tooth, the birthday parties she’s been to and lots of other kindergarten goings on. 
We talked about Finley, the US Government shut down and all sorts of other news items.
She always knew what was going on in politics and current events. 
(And she had some pretty hilarious opinions and commentary on certain politicians.)

My grandma taught me how to sew and did alterations on dozens of dresses for me, my sister and our friends for high school dances, college formals and each time we were bridesmaids.
She took care of my grandpa all the years he was ill, right up until he died 5 years ago.
But most importantly, my grandma loved the Lord with all her heart. 

So, I’ll be traveling home yet again this week.
This time Shawn can’t go with me because of work obligations, so I’m taking both kiddos by myself.

That’s an almost-six-year-old, a seven month old, one eight hour flight, another one hour flight and a six hour time zone change. 
I’m nearly having an anxiety attack just thinking about it.
We have a layover in Philadelphia and I’ve got good friends there on standby, ready to rescue us should any delays or cancellations occur. 
(If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that nearly every single time we fly home, we have a delay, cancellation, lost luggage or some such shenanigans with the airlines.)

But I wouldn’t miss saying goodbye to my grandma for the world. 
She was truly the sweetest.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints"
Psalm 116:15

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Exciting Week for Teeth

Growing teeth is serious business, people.
Look who has two more coming in.  Both of them have actually broken through the gum since I took this picture.  And he’s still smiling.  He’s a champ. 

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On top of that, Hannah has lost her second tooth.  It happened at school on Thursday.  When I dropped her off in the morning, it was hanging by a thread.  A THREAD.  When I picked her up in the afternoon, she busted through the school gate, peeled her coat off and gave me the biggest cheesiest smile, pointing at the hole left by her missing front tooth.

She reached into her bag to show me the tooth that had been carefully wrapped in a tissue.

I’m not quite sure what happened exactly, because I never actually saw the tooth but there was a flurry of commotion and before I knew it moms and kids alike were all looking in the grass for the missing tooth.

And then it started to downpour.
So, to recap: Hannah lost a tooth.  Then she lost the lost tooth.  We searched for the lost, lost tooth.  We all got soaked.  The end.

We weren’t able to find the tooth and Hannah had become very worried about how it was going to go down with the tooth fairy and all.  So we went to her dance class and when we got home, she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy explaining the situation.

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I don’t know what I love more – fell out as one word, the backwards letter g or that she dotted the i with a heart.

The tooth fairy didn’t disappoint and when Hannah woke the next morning, she found one shiny Euro, a letter saying that the tooth had been found and taken to the tooth fairy castle (good one, Shawn) and a picture of Hannah asleep with the tooth fairy fluttering about her pillow.  Hannah took the letter and the picture to school on Friday to show her class.

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There was some confusion, because remember I mentioned that in French speaking countries, there’s a mouse that takes teeth when they fall out?  For some kids in her class, this was the first time they’d ever heard of the tooth fairy. 

“This is exactly what I thought the tooth fairy looked like,” Hannah told us.

I’m going to be really sad when she’s old enough to know the truth.  But until then, I love how excited she is.

Oh, and that letter she wrote?
I’m keeping it forever.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Autumn Apple Picking

Sunday we went to the Fête aux Pommes, apple festival in a cute little town called Steinsel.

Steinselapple
I mean, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the fall?
Although in Europe, you must call it autumn, because no one knows what you’re talking about when you call it fall.

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Anyway, the orchard sits way high on a hill and has over 25,000 apple trees in lots of varieties and you bring your own bags and fill ‘em to your heart’s content.  All while sipping on Viz, which is the Luxembourgish word for a fermented apple cider.

We went with two other families – our group included six adults, five children (all nearly six years old) and one baby.  It’s possible that we were the loudest and rowdiest apple pickers there.

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Last year at the Fête aux Pommes I was pregnant with Finley and, well, I just couldn’t with the Viz.

This year I actually drank some and I understand now what all the fuss is about.  It’s good stuff.
And after careful inspection of the Viz-making-hand-crank-machine, the process didn’t alarm me as it did last year.

“There’s definitely a filter of some sort, but it doesn’t appear to be a man’s t-shirt,” my friend told me.
Only she didn’t say man’s t-shirt, she said man’s vest, because she’s British and that’s what they call them. 
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We also didn’t see anyone pick up the sopping wet vest off of the ground, wring it out with his bare hands and return it to the Viz-making-hand-crank-machine.  
(I’m telling myself that the buckets collecting the Viz were thoroughly washed, sanitized and perhaps even cycled through an autoclave before being used to catch the juice.)

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We left with 6.1 kilos of apples.  That’s over 13 pounds. 
Not to worry; none of these beauties will go to waste.
I’ve got plans for apple sauce, apple pies and lots of apple puree for Finley.

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Europeans sure love their festivals and since we’ve lived here, we’ve come to love them as well.
Next weekend?  One of the most anticipated fêtes of all: The Vianden Nut Festival.
I’m not kidding.
It’s always a cracking good time. 
(Sorry.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cell Phone Pics and What We’ve Been Up To Lately

Oh, hey there.  I guess I’ve been neglecting the ole blog here, so I’ll do a quick catch up on what we’ve been doing lately.

This girl loves to swim. 
Since she loved the swimming lessons at school last year (which, by the way, I think it’s a brilliant idea that her school gives all kids lessons during the normal school week) I signed her up for a class at a local pool.  She went everyday for two weeks and a couple of the days, Finley and I joined her in the pool after her class was over. 

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This was one of our last days of summer before school started. 
It’s been just over two years now that I’ve been a full time stay at home mom and I LOVE it. 
I wouldn’t trade these days with my littles for anything.

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So.  We recently introduced solids to Finley.
I’d forgotten how messy it is.

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He seemed really interested in the steamed carrot sticks before I mashed them up and I’ve been reading a little bit about baby-led-weaning so I let him give it a go.  I think he liked it.  He was all let’s skip those purees and just get to the good stuff, shall we?

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On Sunday we were at a pumpkin festival and he kept eyeballing Shawn’s Letzebeurger Grillwurscht (that’s a Luxembourgish sausage sandwich) and every so often would lean in for a bite of his own.
(We didn’t really let him.)
Why do I feel like this boy is going to be eating us out of house and home as a teenager?

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Now before anyone goes getting their knickers all in a twist, I didn’t really pull a Britney Spears.
It just looks like I did.
The truth is that we were on our way home, running a bit late, and it was time for Finley to eat.  So I pulled over into a parking lot (did you know that parking lots are called car parks here?) and I fed him right there in the driver seat. 

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Every once in a while we see an antique English taxi cab and Hannah thinks it’s the funniest thing ever that the steering wheel is on the opposite side. 

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Laundry day assistant.

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I’ve been juicing for about a year and a half now…well, minus the first trimester with Finn because NAUSEA and the last days of the third trimester because EXHAUSTION. Since school’s started I’ve got a little routine: I prep/chop all the fruits and veggies and set up the juicer before I go to bed.  In the morning, I make the juice and leave the mess to clean up after I take Hannah to school.  Shawn drinks his juice in the car on the way to work, Hannah has hers in the car on the way to school and I usually finish mine while I’m feeding Finley.  I’ve been getting adventurous lately – adding beetroot, watercress and parsley.  I love knowing that my family has had their entire day of fruit and veggie servings before they leave the house.  And also?  Shawn despises tomatoes.  He has no idea that he’s been drinking the juice of two to three tomatoes each day, masked by the flavors of the other veggies.  I suppose once he reads this THE JIG WILL BE UP, SISTER. 

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This was our latest read aloud chapter book and Hannah loved it.  We started it while on the RV trip, got distracted by a few other books and then finished it up right before school started. 

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We’re now at the end of the third week of school and so far Year 1 (US equivalent of Kindergarten) has been great.  Hannah loves her school, her teacher and her class.  I have to correct a mistake I made on her first day of school post: her teacher is Scottish and not Irish as I had reported. 
I’ve guess my accent detection isn’t as keen as I thought.
Either way, she’s showing herself to be a fantastic teacher and we couldn’t be happier.

Oh, and Hannah’s already been to two birthday parties and has three more in her diary (that’s what they call calendars over here).
She also joined her school’s French Club. 
It’s a shame she isn’t more social.

And now I’m off to watch Downton Abbey because season 4 is on and it airs here before it does in the US.  Except you have to be in the UK to watch it, so Shawn put a gadget (or is it an app? I don’t know.) to trick my laptop into thinking it’s in the UK. 
We can also make it think it’s in the US.

How cheeky.