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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bavarian Fall, Part 3

We continued to enjoy the fall with a  cozy month of November, a lot of which we spent at home and with friends.  We did have a big trip to Turkey right in the middle of the month for Brad's and my 10 year anniversary, and that is covered in the next post.
I'll let the pictures and captions tell the story of this month….

Showing Daddy his birthday present, a mug on which Levi traced "Ugga Mugga" and then gave Daddy a birthday ugga mugga….This was days early because Levi simply couldn't wait to give it to him.
Of course, Brad was humbled just before this after Levi and I went shopping for marzipan candy as a present and Levi told him, "Daddy, I picked something for your birthday.  Daddy, you are going to grow old.  You are goring to grow seventy old."  Poor Brad was turning just 37.

Chilly fall weather can't keep Levi from requesting water balloons.
Germans love paperwork, but we often find faulty chinks in their exhaustive process.  This one made us laugh.  Ironically enough, it was a letter reminding us to extend our visas.  Apparently, they aren't quite sure who it is who is living here, but they would like their visas to at least be current.  Ha!
Reading Curious George over Thai food, Levi was shocked and worried by George and Jumpy the Squirrel's predicament of being lost.  But it all works out okay in the end.
Gracie and Cal have really stepped up their game to try and fill Luke's void.  Amazing how dogs know to do these things.  I can honestly say, they have made a huge difference in how Levi has dealt with Luke's passing.  Dog therapy, indeed.
Gracie and Levi love playing "keep away"
I'm not kidding you, they are playing red light/green light.  I'm holding up the sign and about to yell "green light!"
Levi is still working through Luke's passing though and talks about it frequently.  I overheard him in the bathroom one day saying, "Sad, sad, sad.  I'm sad about Luke.  But Daddy's at work…."  Once all in one day: "I'm a little bit nervous and worried about Luke.", "I'm worried about Luke.  I'm worried about Luke being in Heaven and being gone." and "I woke up and saw Goofy Luke.  It made me a little bit happy and a little bit sleepy."  Another day, totally out of the blue, "I miss Luke….Luke was sick.  Daddy carried him to the car 
and we couldn't go."
But, we're getting there, slowly but surely.  I'm grateful Levi has the skills to at least tell us how he's feeling.

Levi's picture of "Goofy Luke" who watches over him at night amongst his planets and stars
Enjoying books introduced to us by our dear friends from Scotland.
Couple favorite dishes from the month - a "clean out the fridge frittata" I made up one night with tons of good stuff inside and topped with figs, kale, reduced balsamic and cherry tomatoes.
An African-spiced quinoa salad.
People often ask how we like living in Germany.  I often say, the touristy stuff and travel are great, the day to day stuff is hard.  This particular day I had done a big shopping trip to replenish our very empty post-vacation pantry and fridge.  (And yes, people go to big supermarkets there, just like home.  As you can see, this one even has an escalator!)  BUT the fact that no one helps you with bagging your groceries makes checkout truly a harrowing experience with a 3 year-old.  Trying to speak German to the cashier and then the customer making comments behind you, trying to bag your groceries so nothing is crushed, paying, load said groceries, keeping the child from grabbing things, answering the child's questions about the cigarettes hanging above you and whether or not he can have "the purple fizzy juice at the bakery," impatient looks from everyone else in line, etc., etc…..Little things can definitely add up to make day to day life quite, well, tricky.  (Okay, honestly, I practically have a panic attack sometimes trying to pay.)
Out and About
A Daddy and Levi day at the amazing train museum in Nuremberg,
a couple hours away.
Discovering (well, finally being brave enough to try out) the indoor pool in Starnberg.
Brunch (we actually found a really good brunch in Germany!) 
and a rainy day outing in Regensberg 

I just love that different countries have their own name for The Smurfs.  Fantastic name here in Germany.  A keeper.
A night out!!!!!!!!!!  We put Levi to bed, had the neighbor girl come sit and make sure the house didn't burn down, and then headed with Maria and Alec to a tiny bar in Munich to see The Band Perry play.  I sported the Indy shirt Miriam sent me so that I could fully represent.  Cowboy hats and country music in Munich!  Fantastic night.
How blessed are we to have found such amazing, wonderful friends here in Germany!?  This particular night we had a big party with four families at Maria and Alec's.  Then Levi and I spent the night, waking up to throw a surprise brunch for Brad when he picked us up.
Huge hit in every way.  
Boiling homemade bagels the day before - Brad's favorite - for a birthday surprise at brunch.  
Blowing out the candle in his birthday bagel, haha.
Present opening
A trip later that month to the Deutsches Museum 
with Maddie, Lily, their Mommies and baby brothers.
And a day out at the Lego play area and lunch at Allianz Arena.
While we make sure that multiple times/week we have play dates, play group and field trips, we do a lot of school fun at home too.  It really has turned out to be a fantastic balance.  I feel like Levi has a wonderful, core group of friends of varied ages, gets lots of experience playing with/interacting with strangers during our field trips, and then tons of interest-led learning at home.  Plus, I get so many precious moments with my quick-growing little man.  I'm thrilled now with our choice to "home preschool!"

As you will see, I still can't get him interested in crafts.  I have tried just coloring in front of him, seeing if it will inspire him: Me: "Maybe I'll color some more."  Levi: "Mommy, you don't have to color.  You already did it."  Don't think my plan is working.

Train stencils - almost coloring!
Math with farm animals!
"Feeling" a glitter glue sight word 
One of his weekly books that he can read all by himself
Instrument time!  Levi loves to make a kazoo train, naturally.
Sight word bean bag toss.
Which leads to lining up the bean bags in order, of course.  
(They have Amharic numbers on them.)
Helping me assemble the spice mix for our quinoa salad.
Tasting the result
And giving the spices a hug.   My little spice-loving Ethiopian!!
Sight word (here with family names) "roads."  
Water balloon "store."
Paying for his purchases.
Reading to Mommy and Daddy in the car.  
Taking our school outside on a nice day.
We've done a big fruit-themed month - exploring the skins, seeds, cores, etc.  This was a mango day.
Comparing the seeds and skins of some of his favorite fruits.
Citrus day.  I love that my puzzle-loving boy tried to put them back together.
Apple coring and tasting with different spices.
Levi loves sounding out these action cards and then acting like his favorite construction vehicles.
The constant: Train track building.  Fun to see how it changes.
"What floats?" combined with the fine motor work of chopsticks.
Sorting.  This was too easy for him, but still a good review.  
We could maybe use it later for math practice.
Montessori 3-part cards for planets
Changing up our calendar circle time, which he naturally got bored with after a bit.  Now it is hung at his eye level, we sing songs about each part of the year, and quickly discuss the season/month/day/weather/and how we are feeling.
Pouring practice combined with our constant theme of solids/liquid/gas
We watched the ice melt to see if it would stay the same height.
These frog life-cycle matching cards go well with a Curious George book we have about the same topic.
Spontaneous letter work.  First Levi wanted to complete the puzzle squares (each square has three parts) while lining them up in order, then match the lowercase letters (from a different game) below.  Naturally, it's a letter "train" to him.  
(If you can't beat 'em……Seriously.)
Stamping the shapes of letters and numbers with a Cars stamp.
A big accomplishment this month was Levi completing the Montessori 100's board all on his own via an App.  He was very excited and became quite obsessed with it for a while during his "screen time."  He has gotten faster and faster, though it must feel like it takes him a while to get to 100 when he does it - "I'm going to do all these numbers to 100.  It takes me a long time…..I'm looking for 38.  I'm going to do them all.  I need about 30 minutes.  Then I'll do it with no numbers, then odds, then evens!"
Later, I asked him, "Do you love 100?" to which he said, "I just love it SO much.  It's my favorite number!"  And another day, "I'm going to get all the way to 100.  I need 14 minutes….I'm so fast with my numbers!  I'm going to get all the way there.  I'm so excited.  [Giggles]."

Oh, and we have officially entered the dinosaur phase.  I'm sure those pictures will start to pile up soon….

Chair Picture, Month 34
Levi Says:
  • [After I sang a song 2x in a row] Oh, Mommy, it's on repeat! [Which he pronounces as "capeat."]
  • "I'm a little bit puzzled."
  • Asked me, "Where did the water go?" after talking about Noah's Arc.
  • [In his play kitchen] Mommy, I bet you're hungry.  I'm going to make dinner.  I'm working hard to do it.  I'm going to cut all these 'beggies.'  Mommy, you're not going to play with this.  You're going to stay back and be careful.  There are hot things in here.
  • [Getting on the Autobahn one day]  Mommy, don't go too fast on this road.  Don't speed.
  • [Still scarred from terrible traffic getting to the airport one day] They're not moving!  Cars, go!  Goodness gracious.  Cars, you have to move!!  (Big sigh)  Maybe they're all going to the airport.
  • I want to get to the airport just in time.  Go over there and drive [points to an exit]!
  • Mommy, I'm not a "buoy!"  I'm a boy!
  • [Working on his "dog paddling"]  We can't swim like a dog!!!  We're people!
  • [Whenever he eats a lot] I must be growing!
  • [After getting the usual kids' candy after a restaurant meal]  I'm so happy with this!….I'm so happy!
  • [After Levi and I said a prayer at dinner, but Daddy only said the 'Amen' - but no part of the prayer - well, Daddy got called out:]  I would like Daddy to share the prayer.
  • I want Levi music, not Mommy and Daddy music.  I don't love all music.  I love my music.  [Which he may not realize happens to be made up of just about ALL kinds of music.  Oh well.]
  • [Overheard as he was going to the bathroom one early morning after his OK to Wake Clock turned on]  It's HARD to wait for the yellow clock, but you did it.  Good job, Levi.
  • [Filling up his little pitcher] I'm going to get a pinch of water.
  • [After taking Daddy to work on morning]  Here are my choices.  I'm going to make a plan.  We'll go home, watch model layouts, take a bath, then do circle time.  That's my plan.
  • [His monologue one night] I'm going to make a plan.  Here are your choices….(sigh)…Hmmmmm…You can have a show or go to bed.  Show!  I choose show!  I really want a show!!
  • [Pretends to be sick to try to get a viewing of Cars, which we don't normally watch]  I'm not feeling very well.  I think I need some Lightening McQueen."
  • [Suddenly jumping up after nap time one day and going to his snack drawer] I am getting hungry.  I might like to go get a snack for myself.  I am star-VING.
  • Still asks where the "bad traffic" was on the highway from when we went to get Brad at the airport.
  • [Frequently]  I don't love tomatoes.
  • [Listening to music from The Nutcracker]  Mommy, when I grow up I want to dance on a stage and play instruments for Christmas music.  I want to play the cello.
  • Brad: Guess what, Levi?  It's going to snow tonight!"  Levi, "What time?"
  • [Licked my face during dinner.]  Me: Levi!  We don't like Mommy in a restaurant.  Levi: I did it!
  • Great first: Spit out his drink because he was laughing so hard.
  • When I grow up I want to cook eggs and drive cars.
  • [To himself in the bathroom] I bet if you have some privacy you'll feel a lot better….[to me] I pooed!  I pooed and I feel a lot better.
  • Gracie, that's a good lookin' toy.  I like your purple toy.
  • [All the time and I have no idea why] Hey!  What's your problem with Lightening McQueen?
  • Levi: I need a little bit of lemon juice to cool off.  Me: You do?  Levi: Yes.  I'm getting a little bit hot.  I love lemon juice so much.
  • [Panting like a dog while helping Daddy feed the dogs] Brad: Do you want some dog food?  Levi: No!  I don't like dog food!  Brad: You don't?  Levi: No!  I don't eat dog food.  I eat food that's good for my body.
  • [Slipped a little bit while in the tub and said] I need to hold onto that life thing!  [Then, grabbed a toy life saver.]
  • [Informed me one day] God is sad when we don't listen.  [Amen.]
  • [After seeing his buddy, Maddie, get ice cream to help with a swollen lip after falling] I got a bump and got hurt and need some ice cream to make me feel better.
  • Levi: Mommy, you don't need to 'bacuum.'  It's enough for today [It was 7:39].  Me: Well, Mommy has to vacuum every day, I'm afraid.  Levi: I'm not afraid!
  • Me: Is Mommy always coming up with ideas?  [Without missing a beat] Levi: Yes.  A lot.
  • Levi: What does Daddy do at work?  Me: Remember?  He helps people if they have a problem at work.  Levi: And eats lots of cookies.
  • [Paired up all his cars, headlights to headlights and said] They are talking to each other about the garage.  [Which he had just broken.  Then to the cars again,] Shhhhh…It's okay.
  • We don't play no the stairs with the dogs…No, we don't…That's a big rule.  I told myself I was sorry.
  • [Suddenly, after a quiet moment in the middle of lunch] Are we in Germany?  [Poor confused kid.]
  • [Still often speaks in book-like dialogue.  While playing with his cars:] How will we all find a parking spot? the cars wondered.  How will we all park?  they said proudly….
  • [Every day, says to me] I want to build my own track, you want to build your own track, and we both want our tracks toooooooooo CONNECT!  [Laughs, then says] You always want the tracks to connect!  [Which is what I used to say to him every day.]

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