I think the last time I wrote in this blog was some time back in March. Things have been hopping since then! The kids completed their academic testing, which is always a blast. They say things like, "Can we do this every day? This is so easy!" I hope that translates well on the tests. Otherwise, their teacher may get fired. :)
In early May, I hosted my second piano recital at Burg Lichtenberg. It was fabulous, as usual, and a completely different feel from the last 'winter-wonderland' recital that we had. Everyone messed up, which is just how I like it. I played 3 songs this time, because I didn't play at the last recital and some parents heckled me for it. I just didn't want to seem to be showing off. This time, I chose songs that I love to play, even though I rarely sit and play for hours like I used to, and during one song, two of my precious little girls (7 years old) stood behind me and turned pages for me. We stayed for dinner and overfilled the back room, but there were hardly any messed-up orders and everyone raved about the food. It is one of our favorite restaurants in Germany!
Our second favorite is a restaurant called Poisiedon (sp?) up in Idar-Oberstein. The Lovells introduced us to it and when we eat there, we wear loose-fitting clothing. :) Speaking of the Lovells, they and my parents joined us on a trip to Italy from 17 May-26 May. We drove through Garmisch to get there and through Switzerland to get home. We stayed in a villa outside of Florence, saw "David," Cinque Terre, and Rome to include the Vatican and "Pieta." (I'm sure I've mentioned what a Michelangelo fan that I have become since reading "The Agony and the Ecstasy," but it's a really, really big book; so if you want the synopsis, email me and I'll give it to you in a paragraph.) Joshua was NOT a fan of the museum. He genuinely hates naked statues. I don't blame him, but I really wanted to see what is considered M's greatest work, and one of the most famous sculptures in the world. I had no idea it was 14 feet tall! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Michelangelo)
We ate so much great Italian food, wore beautiful dresses, swam in a freezing pool, laid in the grass with a really old, coughing dog that became Josh's best friend, played games, and did not have a tv at all. We did have music, though, and it was a very relaxing week. It just went by too quickly. One of these days we'll take a vacation where we don't feel like we have to see everything and do everything; where we can just sit and look at the mountains and stars and be content. I think that vacation will be our next one. If I had to recommend anything, I'd say for sure to take the bus tour in Rome. However, get on the bus that has a roof, just in case it rains, which it did while we were on the bus, which we thought was funny for the first 10 minutes, and then we were completely drenched down to our scivvies (is that a word? My computer doesn't like it.) and the kids were cold, and I was cold, and people were pointing at us, and I started singing, "Thunder bolt and lightning, very, very fright'ning" because it was lightning over our heads....get the picture? That'll be the memory of the trip, right there. Well, that and the wine bottle that I dropped in the middle of the store. Fumble-fingers! :)
My Dad just had some blood-work done to determine his genetic roots. We've always thought we were part Cherokee, and that has yet to be officially determined, but what did show up was "North African, Mediterranean, Greek, Italian," and he did blend in well. My Mom got slobbered on by baby Jack. I'll admit it. We all got slobbered on by baby Jack, but he does it with such flair, you can't help but laugh, which encourages him all the more. He's in his licking stage, and then everything is made funnier if you say 'poo' with it. "Jack, do you want to eat a snack?" "Yes, I want a POO snack!" I have to admit that we did laugh. It's what we do, though. We laugh at inappropriate things. He'll outgrow it eventually, right? There's no real need to rush things.
The girls had a blast swimming in the pool, and Josh dove and dove and dove for the dive-toys. They had tea parties with mud, and there was, apparently, a dead rat in the pool filter for a few days. That was lovely. It only rained 1 afternoon, if my memory serves correctly. Well, in Londa, which is where we stayed. It rained in Rome, for sure. lol
I studied Italian for a while to just get the hang of how it would sound in my ears. I could understand it quite easily, being so similar to Spanish, but I couldn't speak it. It was incredibly frustrating to me to not be able to communicate without resorting to hand gestures. The Germans call it "Hand und Fuss Sprechen," which means "hand and feet talk," and that's what I did a lot of. When we finally crossed the German border and Joe had a question, I spoke German so fluently and felt so great about it! It was nice to be back in familiar territory. We crossed through Switzerland on the way home, and I can honestly say that I've never seen more beautiful lakes than we saw driving through that country, and they are the kings of tunnels. We drove through a 10 mile tunnel!!! There was no holding of the breath through that one, but we did come up with 20 different 'trapped' scenarios, which made Chloe start feeling claustrophobic, so we quit. If you want to see the rest of the Italy pictures, which take forever to upload to this blog, go to our family Facebook page... ToJoCayChloJo Ingram
We listened to tons of Beatles music, and now my kids are avid Beatles fans. Maxwell's Silver Hammer is sung nearly every day, and Joshua sings it beautifully. I think he may be the real star of the family, but no one will ever know it because he's just too shy and quiet to let loose in front of anyone but me. Even Joe hasn't heard him singing at the top of his lungs, and when I hear him, it's because he doesn't know I'm standing around the corner listening. Justin Bieber has nothing on my boy, but the world may never know it... :)
We arrived home just in time to fix my Mom a t-bone steak and put them on the plane. I don't envy them that plane trip. They say that going from East to West is easier than from West to East, which I did find to be true, but easier doesn't mean easy by any means. It's still a rotten thing to experience jet-lag! We celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary by taking the kids with us to see "Thor," which I would recommend. It had one kiss, the only thing close to nudity was when he took his shirt off, and there was only 1 profanity that I was the only one to hear. My kids didn't notice it, which is unusual. They're normally the first ones to say, "Was that necessary?!?" We ate a lot of popcorn and came home to play in the yard, eat Italian ice cream from the truck, and stay up way too late. It is spring/summer here, so the sun is up until almost 10 and peeks out from the mountains (okay, hills) around 5am. I finished report cards yesterday and now I'm waiting on next year's school books to get here so I can lesson plan. It'll be an early start since we're likely moving in April 2012, so I want to be done by March 30th. We've moved with school before. It makes for heavy bags and we think we can just push through and be done, leaving us free to move freely.
Joe's job is still the same, and we've got the itch to move. This is the longest we've ever been in one place. I told my Mom when we drove up, "After 3 years, it still doesn't feel like I'm pulling up to HOME, you know?" I don't know why, but my roots haven't planted here. Don't get me wrong....Germany is gorgeous and I'm so glad we've had this opportunity. I count my blessings daily. I just think we're ready to be elsewhere. I don't miss Walmart. I think I may have said that I did miss it when we first moved here, but the simple life here has cured me, and I doubt very seriously that you'll ever see me or my children in a "People of Walmart" video. We don't "need" nearly as much as we thought we did, but we live an abundantly blessed life. God is so good, all of the time!