29 September 2011

My second Five-miler

This morning, I ran my second five-miler, ever.... but it was very different from the first one, because I actually enjoyed this one today. Back home, I then checked my mileage into www.dailymile.com and saw that I had just hit 222 miles for this year....

... now I think that calls for a celebration!!!

I had such a hard time on Sunday for my race - I even had to walk a few times. My left knee was swollen for two days, and I believe it only got better because I went walking with my MIL every night after we put the kids to bed. So I was a bit discouraged that I had to walk during that 5K - it's only three miles, but it's later in the day and the sun really gets to me. So running my five miles this morning were a nice surprise and I feel so good about it.

Now I am waiting patiently for my new running shoes..... they are minimalist shoes and I can't wait to try them out.

26 September 2011

A weekend of Races

It feels like I had a very long weekend.... and only because both days I had to get up wayyyyy before the crack of dawn.

Do you see the beautiful moon that greeted me leaving the house?
On Saturday morning, the alarm clock went off at 4:55 am. I had committed to volunteer at a race with my best friend Beth. She is a barefoot runner, or rather a minimalist runner. She wrote a post about it here. It was very chilly but soon we got to be sweaty because we had to help set up tents and tables and put up banners. Right before the race, we were sent out into the field to direct runners into the right direction. So I got a whole lot of a workout. Once I got home, I was so wiped out that I took a three hour nap. After that, I had a pretty bad rest of the day with a humongous headache, that felt more like a migraine. So I went to bed real early....

Just to get up next morning in the dark, again, to get to my own race. It was for a good cause, so I did not mind. I had to run a 5K and Coqui got to run his very first race, a 1K. My race started at 8 am. The day before, it had been quite chilly, so I had hoped it would happen on Sunday too. But no, it was warmer to begin with, and it got hot pretty fast. So my run was not as good as I had hoped. But I did it, I made it through the finish line.... yippy. I also had to recover pretty quickly, because I still had to run a 1K with Coqui. He did awesome. He just kept running and running and running. (Secretly, I had hoped that he would start out running and soon just want to walk.... but no!) So i had to run with him. Right at the finish line, all the kids got their medal and he just beamed with pride. (And we are proud of him.)
Yes, it was a superhero race for children, so he wanted to be a knight. (Maybe because this past week, it was castle and knight week at school.)

He got to meet his (at this time) favorite superhero, SuperWhy! He was so excited.
 We also met PrincessPea but Peanut was scared out of her pants! She wouldn't even look at her. Later at home though, she kept talking about it and wanted to see pictures.

My favorite superhero was a guy dressed as a nurse. He is a real life hero, especially for someone like me - and also because tomorrow is my four-year anniversary of being cancer-free!

When we were standing at the starting line, there was a guy next to me that I had met the day before. It was an elderly man, looking more like 70 or 80, and he ran the day before at the barefoot race. And here he was again. He recognized me and wished me luck. I asked him if he races every race in town; he smiled and said 'yes'. Good for him - you know. He is probably not the fastest but he does make it through the finish line each time - that is an accomplishment.

25 September 2011

Our Castle and Knights Week

In our home school, we have lots of workbooks to do. Some days, I like it, others I think, that it's a bit much. So I figured, we gonna make each week a little more fun. So this past week, we had castle and knights week. It was a big hit with Coqui - he loved it. And he wore the knight's costume that I made him almost every day to school this week.

I got lots of ideas from other bloggers or homeschooling moms, but I also came up with a few on my own. I printed out a floor plan of a castle with directions to name each room. He had to follow those instructions in order to learn north and south, east and west. So it was geography mixed with art. But really, especially in a homeschooling setting, I need to get away from trying to label our subjects - the beauty of it all should be that we can mix it. That we can do one full day just art, or just geography.

We also learned about the different parts of a castle in German and English, reading the book from the picture. So he learned some new vocabulary, in both languages, such as moat and breastplate and drawbridge. We also read other books about knights.
We learned what makes a knight and what he needs to wear to protect himself (armor). We tied that to bible studies learning the bible verse from Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." I did not really said 'devil' but used the term 'bad guys'. I didn't want to scare him too much.
Then we translated the parts of the armor to God's armor, like the shield is faith and the shoes are peace.

There were other worksheets, like finding the difference or opposites. It was harder to tie it to Math and numbers. But I did find this super-duper cool preschool set from this homeschooling lady Jolanthe - here is the link to the Knight Preschool Pack.  She even came up with a girls' version, in case you don't have a knight but a princess at home. It is a preschool pack, so I only printed a few things that made our day more fun, rather than educational. One of that was a picture 'color-by-number', here it is:
At the end of the week, after being very cooperative with school, even though grandma had arrived in the middle of the week, he got to see a knights movie: "The Backyardigans: The Tale of the Mighty Knights" - he had really earned it.

Today, he made a crown (all by himself) and also got started on a castle. He is getting so crafty.... I got to watch out, soon my house will be filled with arts and crafts and I don't know where to put it!

He also made other crafts with grandma, like a house for Jesus:
Next week is suppose to be our building week where we learn all about different kinds of buildings - you know from one-story houses to skyscrapers. I got a ton of books from the library that I will use (also in order to safe some paper from all this worksheet printing!).

20 September 2011

A woman's best friends are not always diamonds

I've been meaning to write a post about my new best friend for a while. This has been a long process of two people that met, that became acquainted and then friends.
She was a bit faster this morning (you can read about it here).

Though I love her words, I still want to write my own version of it. So here we go:

To have a best girlfriend is every girl's dream.
To laugh together and to cry together.
To share stories and experiences, drama and happy endings.
To get advise and input on important issues that we can't ask a man.

I wanted that for a long time.
I needed a girl to share my feelings with.
I feared rejection and abandonment most. And
I couldn't bring myself to ask because I was different, a foreigner.

We met five years ago through our husbands.
We were acquaintances that met randomly through their work. Then
We went to the same church (not because of them) and so
We became sisters of Christ, sharing the same faith.

She is so different from me, and yet, I love every bit of it.
She taught me to be polite and more considerate of people's feelings.
She corrects my bad English in such a gentle way.
She trusts me with her heart's desires and concerns.

I was lonely in a new city.
She was not sure how much she needed a close friend.
We talked one night and poured our hearts out to each other.
Since then, our friendship grew in such a way we both didn't expect it.

Dear Beth,
I thank God for you, and you for being you,
I thank you for accepting me the way I am and making me feel good about being different.
I thank you for the trust you put in me when you pour out your heart or share your dreams.
I thank you for the support that you gave me throughout the last five years.

You were there through my hardest hardships.
You were open enough to welcome me in a new state, even though you didn't know me.
You were there when I had to go through cancer and cooked dinner for my family.
You were there when I needed support while waiting for my baby to be born by another woman.

I love you.
Looking forward to a lifelong friendship with you.
Being excited to see what God will do with us individually and together as friends.
Can't wait to learn more from you and share more of me with you.
I will be there for you whenever you need me, day and night.

12 September 2011

Hurtful Memory

I couldn't write yesterday, the memory was too hurtful and watching it on TV didn't help either.... yet I had to watch it, I had to remind mself of what happened ten years ago on that dreadful 9th of September.
A fellow blogger (hi Jeff) put it this way: "It was one of those moments in history so profound that most people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news."

Where were you?

I was not in Jersey, no. I was on a trip around the States - a trip that I did not want to finish because  I needed to go back home. We had tried to find tickets for me to fly out of Las Vegas and Albuquerque - I don't remember why it didn't work, but it didn't. We finally found one for September 11th, 2001 out of New Orleans.
That morning, we were in Lafayette, Louisiana. Our tour leader made us an all American breakfast with pancakes - something that most people on my team had never eaten. For a reason totally unknown to her (and to me), our leader turned on the van's radio.... and after about three songs, there were the news that changed this country forever - a plane had hit the first tower of the World Trade Center. My first thought was that it must have been a small airplane, you know, one of those two passenger thingies....  Only later should we learn that it was a big air craft with almost a hundred people on board. Then the second plane hit the other tower.... and I knew something was up.... I started to cry and then tried to contact my friend in Jersey, wanting to make sure she was not in the city that day... Of course, I couldn't get through. It took me hundreds of tries and multiple stops with the van, at different gas stations, public phone booths, and about four hours time, until I finally got through to her. We cried.... for minutes. Just cried.

As you all know, there were no more planes flying that day (I mean besides the four that crashed!), so there was no way for me to get out of New Orleans. We got in and I just laid on the bed and cried for hours, until my fellow travelers pulled me out and dragged me to a dinner place, and a karaoke - after all, they were from Europe and Asia and Australia and probably could care less about some towers, that had alot of meaning to me...

And have you ever noticed how many airplanes are flying over our heads daily? Then: can you imagine the silence that came after this morning? It was so weird - I can't really explain it either. There were no planes for two entire days! I was stuck in New Orleans. On the morning of that second day, I made the decision to keep going with the tour not knowing when the planes would start flying again. We made it to Memphis, Tennessee and ate a late dinner. And while we were sitting outside a fast food restaurant, there was the sound we 'missed' for the past two days: the planes were back in the air. It took me three more days, until we got to Washington, DC, that I could catch a train and get back to Jersey.

And then we went into the city...
We went in from Staten Island, with the ferry into Battery Park and walked. My first impression was the smoke and the smell, the streets and cars and buildings covered with white dust. And then the trucks that carried all the debris - one after the other, and no end. We couldn't walk far, they had blocked of so many blocks away and around the World Trade Center. In the picture, you can see parts of one of the twin tower.
The next thing that really got to me, were the many pieces of paper all over lower Manhattan. These were the messges from people looking for loved ones. Just thinking about that still gives me goose bumps. There were on the fences surrounding the WTC scene, they were on every phone booth, they were on a fence around Washington Square - simply everywhere. The mood of the usually so vibrant city was muted.... muffled by silent cries of everyone in that city...

We went back for the six months anniversary of 9/11. We flunked night school, drove into Manhattan and joined the crowds to admire the light towers that had been erected where the twin towers once stood. It was amazing.

After that, we drove to the other side of the river, into Jersey City, to see the entire skyline with the light towers on. What a magnificent sight!

Ten years have past, nine anniversaries that didn't touch me like yesterday. I don't know why, but it just really got to me. We watched a documentary on PBS, called "Engineering Ground Zero". The website says the following about the documentary: "To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NOVA presents an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit."
It was very interesting, actually so interesting that Coqui was just glued to the TV without speaking for an hour! Tears just ran down my cheeks and I couldn't stop crying for two hours. So I decided to write this post.... in memory for what was lost, for the hope of a future and for life that keeps going on, no matter what.
After the documentary, we watched the special news that ran for an hour and a half, exclusively about 9/11 and the ceremonies going on all day yesterday at the three sites, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. What I liked best about the president's speeches: he prayed and cited the bible multiple times! He quoted Psalm 46: "We will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." Amen.

Here are a few more pictures for you to contemplate....
 It's kind of like a Before and After series....
 Here, I am standing inside the Financial Center, looking through the glass at the
1.) World Trade Center
2.) at the emptiness of the sky
3.) the rising new Freedom Tower
 The latest picture, taken this August, of One World Trade Center.

10 September 2011

Pretty Owl Dress with a flower

Lately, it feels like I am not doing anything else besides homeschooling and sewing.... believe me, that is not the case. There is something bigger in the picture that I don't want to reveal yet, but it has taken quite a bit of my time.

Nonetheless, I got inspired when I bought this cute owl fabric for another dress for my daughter. I did not use anyone's pattern, I came up with it all on my own. It's almost the same like the last dress.The top part came from a leftover fat quarter that I already had - and it fits perfectly with the owl colors. I remember a few mistakes I made with the other dress, especially the zipper part, so I changed a few things - and still I am not quite happy how it turned out... so there will be more dresses in the near (or far) future for her...

When browsing through other sewing blogs, I did see alot of flowers that seemed pretty easy to copy... and for this dress, it was almost a must. Jess from Craftiness is not optional posted a tutorial for flowers that I followed here. It is pretty easy, it took me maybe an hour and a half from start to finish - not too bad. It definitely adds to the dress. I will be making more of those as well...

But the best part of it all is that Peanut actually wore this dress already - so we got another home-run on wearing dresses - which makes Mami happy because I put alot of effort and time into those dresses.

Here is a picture with her wearing it before we headed to church for prayer meeting. She sat and read a book and was very unwilling to get up for me, so sorry that you don't get to see the full effect.

09 September 2011

Combined hobbies

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud...It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

This verse came in my daily verse email this morning. It's a great verse, and very true. So I thought I'd share my latest project in the sewing department...

A long time ago, I stitched this verse on a tiny 'blanket' and I always wanted to make a pillow out of it. So I finally got to work, chose the fabric that would go with the stitching, and sewed.....

I have some practice with pillows (see here), so it did not take me too long to finish the actual pillow. Also I decided against a zipper this time, but chose a pillow with an overlap in the back. Literally, it took me maybe 20 minutes to finish it - it was that easy.

Here is the finished product - it turned out pretty nicely, and will decorate our bed from now on (instead of hiding in the closet!).

Seriously, the overlap is so easy. Basically, I used half a yard of fabric, folded over and sewed the two shorter ends, and  then sewed the long ends together wrong sides together, with the overlap. That's it. Turn the pillow outside out, so the right side is on the outside - et voila.
Love is a word that we use alot, especially in America. To the German part in me, it's almost an overuse that takes away from the true meaning of the word. Love is a strong word that should not be spoken unless one means it - at least that's what I think.

On the other hand, the bible teaches us that we should love like God loves us, unconditionally, never-ending. And I agree. There is a difference between loving everybody, meaning not wishing them evil and treating them the way we want to be treated, and liking everyone - you definitely don't have to like everyone, or their actions.

I love how I have changed in the last few months, how the word love got a whole new meaning for me. It also seems to be the theme of our church, lately. What I see is love and understanding - we are not trying to 'fix' everyone. God made us humans all different - for a purpose. I believe that one of them is to learn to love one another, to respect and appreciate our differences. We can learn from each other, we can encourage each other, and we can give each other grace. The love that I show someone might make their day, or week, or change their life forever. It invites them to come and stay, which results in a feeling of belonging - and I believe deep down in all of us lays the longing for belonging. Everybody wants to be loved and eventually show love to others, and be a part of something - even as non-Christians.

07 September 2011

Not a writer's block...

... I just haven't written because I am so busy.

School started and even though we are a year ahead of things, I don't want to slack off in the first month. So I am trying to keep it at the same time every day, make it last between an hour or two, depending how much I feel we can cover at the particular day, him being in a bad mood sometimes.... I guess that is one of the negative things about being at home with your Mami: the bad mood shows more than it would (probably) at school.

Coqui is not that eager to go to a real school anymore - I guess he has seen the benefits of being home and done much earlier than the school kids, having more freedom to do things at his leisure. The least favorite is still Handwriting, but I have found that if he can have a say in what he writes than he is more inclined to do it right away - instead of pushing it 'til after lunch, when it's more like homework.
We have caught up on Maths - he recognizes numbers up to 100, and Adding and Subtracting is not such a struggle anymore. We are using more manipulative stuff to make it more visible - he has a photographic memory, so I should take advantage of it.
We are also doing Geography and Biology, some Art and Music. I am trying to cover a variety of things to keep him interested enough that he feels like school and learning is fun, not a duty.
If he gets frustrated or too antsy, I have him to jumping jacks and rolls forward and backward, kind of like PE. He likes that.

The major part is, that Peanut wants to sit right next to him. She is mostly just coloring, but I know that she is listening because she starts to sing (or just say) numbers and the ABC and the days of the week.... once in a while there is even a Spanish word coming out.... could it be that it will be easier with her because she kind of learns with him already??? Oh, how exciting!

So next to all that, we have been busy with some play dates, our co-op, making new homeschooling friends, and going to prayer meetings at our church.

One last thing, I am also sewing at night.... but that will be my next post!

03 September 2011


A while back, the Hubby got into shooting and started to really like it. In May, the youth group from our church had a silent action - to win were services provided by the youth. We had won babysitting for four hours by a lovely youth member and her mom. So far, we never got to use it because of summer vacation and such. But this Saturday, the Hubby said it would be good to have a date and go shooting. I am not very comfortable with the idea of shooting, but I never tried it, so I guess my inner curiosity won. We went shooting at a nearby shooting range... and out to lunch.

Here is my target practice - the Hubby calls me Annie Oakley now, because it doesn't look too shabby for a first time shooter... All I can say: "He's dead!"
I don't know if I ever go back - as I said the idea is still awkward to me. But for one time, it was fun... and I know now that I can protect my own house!

On top of that, the babysitting went very well - we came home to two smiling children that had a blast playing an entire morning with someone that paid undivided attention to them. I am so happy that I did not come home to tears in Peanut's eyes.... this is huge progress! Thank you, lovely babysitter.

02 September 2011

Finally a dress she likes

Recently, we went to a fabric store for some extra fabric that my friend C.Beth needed in order to make me a pocketbook just like hers....

A certain pattern must have caught my daughter's eye because she really insisted on wanting it. She was successful! Lucky Mami - the fabric was on sale, so I gave in and bought it for her. When I asked her what to do with it, she agreed to a dress.

Now if you know my daughter, she does not like to wear dresses, no skirts - but tutus. Go figure. And very unladylike when her favorite color is pink. Oh well. So far I have been successful in convincing her that the dress she is wearing is a 'really long shirt'. In any case, I put pants under dresses and skirts, so she is convinced she is wearing a shirt and pants....

Now that I bought and sewed her a dress from the pattern that she chose, she is happy to wear a dress! 

Here is my newest creation:
You won't see any detail shots of this dress... it's my first of this kind and it is NOT perfect. Because I figured it all out by myself, there are lots of mistakes. Mistakes I won't do again....
I already have a new fabric pattern that I had bought a while ago and it is waiting for me to try this kind of dress again - just better this time.

In the meantime, here is my little model - she loves it.