Monday, May 31, 2010

Italy day 6 and 7

It’s Sunday. Thomas is sick with a fever. We are mostly hanging out at the Villa. Juergen took Philip and Sarah for a bike ride around the wall of Lucca. I walked around with Jessica. Nicole stayed home with Thomas. We are also getting some laundry done.
Last night the hills were filled with fire flies. I don’t ever remember seeing fire flies (except at Disneyland). It was wonderful to see them flying. There must have been a million little lights. The night sky is also awesome up here on this hill. Did I write that there are 90 curves in the road to our Villa? There are! And it takes between 10 to 15 minutes to drive up here. You have to honk the horn about 10 times because the turns are often blind. I wouldn’t want to drive up here in the winter time! You can tell who the Italians are by the way they drive and how they use their horns. It helps to have a tiny car. We of course have a 8 passenger Mercedes Viano. It’s the next thing to driving a semi truck. I’m letting Juergen drive! If we die, it’s not going to be my fault! Besides, middle aged men like Juergen need to feel like they are James Bond now and then.
The city of Lucca is full of 1920-30 Art Deco Villas. Many have not been restored, but some have. I took photos of my favorite Villa today. It’s covered with sunflowers. Get a look at the iron work. Amazing! I’m totally impressed by the architectural details in this area. I am taking photos of the details in our Villa. Perhaps Juergen will give in and let me buy the old farm house in Bad Schönborn. I could make it look like a Tuscan Farm house. A little wood on the ceilings, a little terracotta on the floors, white stucco walls, iron curtain rods.
So we are having a slow day. I am aware of what a luxury it is to come to Italy and not have to rush from site to site. If we don’t see it now, perhaps we will see it next year? This is by no means our one chance. At least we don’t think of it this way. Germans get 6 weeks of vacation per year and Italy is our next door neighbor. I’m surprised it’s taken me 13 years to get to Tuscany, but I’ve been busy. I do think if we come again we need a better pool. Sarah said she wishes we were in Thailand. We just have a small splash pool . In Thailand she could swim all day. This really equals vacation to her, and Philip. I think it’s not such a great loss to the rest of us. Juergen and I are very happy to sit in the sun and read.

Day 7

We woke up and the valley was covered in clouds. You could not see anything. And it had rained pretty hard. I did 3 loads of laundry yesterday. Thank God I had Juergen bring the cloths in last night. I only thought a heavy dew would make them wet, I didn’t know it would rain. We have zero idea what has happened over the past week. We have not seen the news. Maybe that is why we feel so relaxed. Thomas still has a fever. I’m not sure we can go any place? On the other hand it’s so cold and wet at the Villa , we don’t want to hang out here. The care taker said he would bring us a space heater. It’s muddy and wet outside. I could be happy with my book but the kids would drive me crazy!

Juergen went shopping with Jessica, Philip and Sarah. He wants fresh bread every morning for breakfast. He came back with some prosciutto ham. Sarah eat half a package. I asked her to pass the ham, and I saw the price tag. 5 Euro for a small pack. It’s actually 32 Euro per kilo. Juergen was shocked! He thought he was paying 2 Euro for it. It was so much better then any ham I ever eat in Germany and now I know why!
I may try driving down the hill to post this blog myself. Juergen asked me to check the news while I’m out. Perhaps Germany is at war and we don’t know about it. I also want to go to a local garden center. I really want some tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from this area. I think I’ll also go to the food store and buy olive oil, olives, dried tomatoes and hard cheese. I’ll also buy a few bottles of the local wine. I want sweet red wine for cooking, and white wine to drink. I actually don’t drink but Juergen does. It’s nice to have some special wine to share with friends. I remember last year buying olive oil pressed by a man in Cyprus. It was the richest oil I’ve ever had. He taught us to mix it with fresh lemon juice, a little vinegar and salt and pepper. We cherished every drop of this wonderful oil. Nicole puts olive oil on everything now. She has a pretty sophisticated pallet. Perhaps she should go to cooking school. I would love to come to Italy for a few weeks and really learn to cook. I think that would be so cool! A few weeks in Tuscany, a few weeks in France. Maybe when the kids are older? I hope the sun comes out so Juergen can take the kids to the river this after noon. We will absolutely need to go on a tour tomorrow. Juergen turns 51 tomorrow. I hope it will be a good day!

I took the photo’s of Jessica in Lucca when Juergen was bike riding with the kids. I also took photo’s of her by the river. She slept well last night (finally). She and Nicole are with me to shop. The other kids will watch a movie and Juergen can get some reading in.

Day 7 part 2

Juergen took the kids to the river . I stayed behind to clean up. Jessica is taking a nap. Thomas said he feels better, so Juergen said he could go. I don’t think that’s too wise, but I’m not going to argue with him. I told Thomas he had to take a hot shower when he got back, and He has to travel tomorrow even if he is sick. When I was vacuuming up, the power went out again. I checked the circuit breaker and it looks ok. Maybe power went out in the whole area again? That happened the other day too. Someone is building a house down the hill. They probably had something to do with it? I think I’ve written it before, Italy is beautiful but technically a mess! I guess you could say it’s a right brained country, and Germany is all left brained. I’m very happy to visit this place but I don’t think I would enjoy living here. So anyway, I guess I have a few hours of quite. I think I’ll just take photos of the details I love about this house. If I could borrow the style…and add it to a technically perfect German house, well that would be pretty wonderful! We found out the women who owned this house died only 2 weeks ago. The family is still pretty upset. When you look around the Villa you can tell it was a family home. There are far too many details that make it a personal house. Photos on the wall, a collection of old toys, a collection of old records “Madame Butterfly“ by Puccini sung by Maria Callas. The owner had good taste. I can not imagine it was easy to live up here on this hill.

I think we will head to the coast tomorrow for Juergen’s birthday. I’m not sure what we will see or do but I’m sure it will be very nice! I’ll try to post one more time before we head home on Saturday. I’m not sure we will see Florence or Sienna? We seem to be drawn to the small towns and odd places that don’t get all the tourists.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 4 and 5



Italy Day 4 Pisa

Today we went to Pisa to see the leaning tower. It was impressive. There were allot of tourists trying to get that photo of holding the tower up. It’s not as easy as one may think. I tried to get that shot but people kept walking in to my shot. So many people!!! Jessica was not happy to wait, so I said forget it. But the tower is cool. You need to buy tickets on-line to go up the tower. They charge you around 20 Euros and they only let 35 people up each half hour. You can not go up the tower if you are under 8 years old. We skipped that part! I also saw very little security. I would be careful not to bring anything important with you. I’m sure the whole square is full of pick pockets. I did have 6 people ask me to take their photos for them. They handed me their very expensive cameras. I’m not sure I would ever be that trusting!
I bought Philip, Thomas and Sarah new hats. Thomas wanted a BMW hat because he is German. That’s what he said! Sarah and Philip got Ferrari hats. Jessica got a T-shirt. I guess Nicole is saving up for something real nice (she has expensive taste). I bought the cutest little espresso cup with the leaning tower. Yesterday I bought a green Vespa espresso cup. I guess I’ll buy a small collection of espresso cups? We will see. If you don’t like espresso you can always use them for egg cups. Maybe I will have an Italian breakfast for my next birthday?

We drove to the coast to take a quick look. We had to try the ice cream. I have to say it was not as good as our local ice dealer. One must try! I guess it’s good news for us if the best ice cream in the entire world is at the end of our street! Oh, before I forget, Juergen bought the most amazing white bread with a hard crust for breakfast. The jam I have didn’t do this bread justice. It was great! I think it was baked in a wood oven. You can get super bread in Germany (understatement) but this is the best white bread I’ve ever had. It would be perfect with olive oil and fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato’s. Maybe a little prosciutto ham and fresh basil. I love the food here! Simple and wonderful!
Finally Juergen found me an internet connection at the tourist information center in Lucca. It cost allot (7 Euro per hour), and it’s very slow. The kids waited 45 mins in the car while I posted my blog. But the good news is they rent bikes at this tourist center. So now when I post my blog, the family will go for a bike ride.

We are back at the villa. Sarah and Philip are swimming. Juergen is teaching Thomas computer programming (visual basics). Jess and Nicole are taking a nap. I am going to make dinner. I feel good I could post my blog. I didn’t have time to read my mail. I hope everyone is well. I’m not sure what we will do next. We are having a good time.

Italy day 5

Jessica is not sleeping well. She goes to bed at 9pm and wakes up at 4 am. At home she will go to bed at midnight and sleep until 8 or 9am. This is more the hours Juergen and I are use to. Late to bed, late to rise. So we are taking turns with her. I slept with her, and was up from 4 until 7am. Then Juergen had her for a few hours while I slept. Jessica is not adjusting very well. I tried to drag her into the pool. I have scratched up arms, and she stayed about 1 minute. So I gave her a long shower instead. I think the pool will be easier next time. Autism is the pits what can I say. But you have to try to get her to move out of her comfort zone. It’s good for her. She will eventually swim even if it’s the last day of the vacation.

Nicole has a bad cold. She is in bed. I’m doing some laundry. We are taking it easy today. I’ll do some reading. It’s the weekend and I don’t care to face the crowds at the beach or museums. I can wait until Monday for that. We have another week.

I will not post again until Mon or Tues.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 2 and 3

Italy day 2

It’s our first whole day in Tuscany. I remember a friend telling me once that if you have 5 kids there is a pretty good chance one of them will be in a bad mood. Today Thomas was that one. He just doesn’t transition well. He couldn’t turn it around. We went to Lucca but cut the whole trip short because he was such a pill. Lucca is an impressive medieval town with it’s wall in tact. We walked a bit on and next to the wall, and also drove around. I would love to visit Lucca again if I don’t have to drag around a sour 12 year old. He did manage to snap out of it. It only cost me a 2 Euro yoyo and 2 hours of star wars on the Nintendo. BTW we didn’t bring the Nintendo, it was here. We left the Wii at home too.
Juergen set up the pool for the kids. Nicole is painting (so many subjects to paint and so little time). Juergen is playing guitar. I’m taking photos. Jessica is watching videos. She also has trouble transitioning.
There are many amazing places to go and things to do near here. I’m not sure what we will do…if anything. I’m pretty content in this beautiful villa drinking in the sunshine.



Italy day 3

Sorry this is getting posted so late. We looked for an internet café, but so far no luck. Today we went to the town Pinocchio came from. They have a children’s play park but it’s over priced and mostly for small kids. We decided to avoid it. We also passed up the Baroque garden. I’ve seen a dozen similar gardens in France and Germany. I didn’t think it was worth the 110 Euro admission price for the 7 of us. Instead we walked around the town. I took a few photos. The kids spent their money on Chinese toys. Then we went to lunch and spent lots of money…but it was worth it. Jessica and I had a roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and a salad. Nicole’s soup looked and tasted amazing. The kids stuck with spaghetti and Juergen had pizza. It looks pretty cloudy but so far no rain. My knee hurts. It didn’t help me much to be walking up a very steep hill. The hot water still hasn’t been fixed. Of course there is no heat. I think I should go take a nap while I can. Philip, Thomas and Sarah are happy with their new Robots.

It’s evening now. Juergen and Nicole are playing guitars outside in the garden. You can see the valley below them. The sun will set soon. They say we will get sun tomorrow. The hot water was fixed today. I guess there is no hope for the heater. It will not mater if we get sunshine. Everyone is happy. I even have time to get some reading in. I’m reading 2 books. “Mamma made the Difference” by T.D. Jakes. It’s one of the books I bought in America this spring. It’s about life lessons T.D. Jakes mom has taught him. It’s always good for me to be reminded of the influence I have as the mother of 5 kids. They are all so different, and each one needs special care. I’m also listening to the audible book “Revelations Unveiled” by Tim LaHaye. It’s an in depth study on the book of Revelations.

Italy so far

So we have been here for a few days now. We have had a little time to settle in and feel at home. We have caught up on our sleep. We have finally opened up the travel books and considered what we can do. It boggles the mind. Man oh man!!! But we are here to rest so we will take it slow. Everyone should take a photo holding up the leaning tower of Pisa , right? Florence is a must see, and Siena too. But I’m not really into the big city tourist traps so maybe we will skip Florence and Siena? I want to go to the Sea, and also to a Spa that’s got very stinky sulfur waters. Its called Satumia spa and it’s in the South part of Tuscany. We were in a similar Spa in Israel. I recall how relaxed we were after this stinky water. Jessica was so calm and happy. I’ve got this high on my list. Nicole is studying art, so we will need to see some art. I’m happy to sample the food. Today we had a very tasty fried bread. It was served like chips before the meal. I also drank a lemon soda…like a bitter lemon +. Wow! That will wake you up! The vegetable soup with beans was incredible. I’m taking notes so I can try to cook it at home. Juergen’s birthday is June 1st. I want to buy him a steak. I understand that’s the best thing to eat in Tuscany. Oh, and the ice cream. And amazingly we have not gotten around to trying the ice cream yet. The fresh fruit is so good. We had strawberries that actually taste like strawberries should taste. I only got one berry, the kids finished them off before I could eat more. My children know what’s good. So I want to find a open market where I can buy local fruit. We are feeling relaxed. I will try to post again, but no guarantees. The fact that I can find internet in China and Thailand but not Italy really says something. I’m sure if we were in a tourist location it would be different. We are up on a hill far from everything. It’s more like a nice camping trip. No heat, cold water, and electricity that keeps going out. It’s just the price you pay for the view and the charm. It’s so worth it!

The trip

Italy day 1,

The way was long. We woke up at 4am with like 3 hours of anxious sleep. We were on the road by 5am. The kids were generally good. Still, you can imagine the string on “are we there yet” questions, and “he’s touching me” and “he’s looking at me funny” garbage that can test the credentials of any parent (especially ones who have had only 3 hours of sleep). The only thing I can complain about is the price of food at the restaurants on the road way. Either pack your own food or take the time to go into the towns along the way. I felt royally ripped off at these truck stops.
We first drove through the Swiss Alps. It was a bit hazy and it’s hard to take a good photo when the car is moving 160 km per hour. I can not really fault Juergen for not stopping. There weren’t really many places to stop. It was a 10 hour trip with out stops. So I did what I could, and you’ll have to take my word for it…breath taking! The mountains are high, the lakes are green blue, and there are cows on the hills wearing the cute little cowbells. Beautiful. But Switzerland is expensive. It is a land of rich bankers. They charge you 40 Euros to drive on their roads. Italy also has toll roads. You need to be prepared to pay!

The area of Lucca is amazingly beautiful. We drove through Lucca. It is a medieval town with a very impressive wall. We will go back and tour the city. Our villa is high on the hill outside of Lucca. It took an hour of turns and curves to find the plaItaly day 1,

The way was long. We woke up at 4am with like 3 hours of anxious sleep. We were on the road by 5am. The kids were generally good. Still, you can imagine the string on “are we there yet” questions, and “he’s touching me” and “he’s looking at me funny” garbage that can test the credentials of any parent (especially ones who have had only 3 hours of sleep). The only thing I can complain about is the price of food at the restaurants on the road way. Either pack your own food or take the time to go into the towns along the way. I felt royally ripped off at these truck stops.
We first drove through the Swiss Alps. It was a bit hazy and it’s hard to take a good photo when the car is moving 160 km per hour. I can not really fault Juergen for not stopping. There weren’t really many places to stop. It was a 10 hour trip with out stops. So I did what I could, and you’ll have to take my word for it…breath taking! The mountains are high, the lakes are green blue, and there are cows on the hills wearing the cute little cowbells. Beautiful. But Switzerland is expensive. It is a land of rich bankers. They charge you 40 Euros to drive on their roads. Italy also has toll roads. You need to be prepared to pay!

The area of Lucca is amazingly beautiful. We drove through Lucca. It is a medieval town with a very impressive wall. We will go back and tour the city. Our villa is high on the hill outside of Lucca. It took an hour of turns and curves to find the place. It was scary…SCARY! It is on a small road made for a donkey. Today it’s a curvy two way road, and the locals race up and down it with very little thought of eternity! I guess they already prepared their hearts to meet God…at least I hope so. I was praying, and so was Juergen. When we found the place we thought…Oh no! It looked pretty rough on the outside. But inside it really is beautiful. There is amazing charm and great design. I’ll be taking photos for a week. The house had not been opened up all winter. It was damp and moldy. The heater doesn’t seem to work. This morning I opened all the doors and windows to let the air in. This helps alot.
Jessica is a little stressed about being in a new place. I slept with her last night. I didn’t get much sleep. She is starting to adjust. So, I’m going to join Juergen outside. It’s sunny and I have a view. We are hanging out at the villa, and will probably tour tomorrow.

ce. It was scary…SCARY! It is on a small road made for a donkey. Today it’s a curvy two way road, and the locals race up and down it with very little thought of eternity! I guess they already prepared their hearts to meet God…at least I hope so. I was praying, and so was Juergen. When we found the place we thought…Oh no! It looked pretty rough on the outside. But inside it really is beautiful. There is amazing charm and great design. I’ll be taking photos for a week. The house had not been opened up all winter. It was damp and moldy. The heater doesn’t seem to work. This morning I opened all the doors and windows to let the air in. This helps alot.
Jessica is a little stressed about being in a new place. I slept with her last night. I didn’t get much sleep. She is starting to adjust. So, I’m going to join Juergen outside. It’s sunny and I have a view. We are hanging out at the villa, and will probably tour tomorrow.



Monday, May 24, 2010

one last post

I'll bring my computer and camera. I don't have internet at the house, so we will see how much I can post. Maybe everyday, maybe not at all. Pray for our trip. The kids are wired. I can hardly stand how obnoxious the boys get when they are wired. It's a big exciting thing. They have looked forward to this, and so have I. I'm worn out from the preparation. I hope I'll sleep. God willing we will leave at 5am. So the adventure begins again!
I'm starting to relax. The house is pretty clean, the trash is out, the cloths are packed and all I need to do is water the plants. We leave at 5am. It's a 10 hour drive. I'll probably sleep for 2 days before I go see anything. Ah!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

our villa

here is our villa in Italy



http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p519334

Home away is a great place to find a rental house.

It's going to be alright

I'm not sure why I always feel stressed before a trip. I hate long lists of stuff, and deadlines! I hate the feeling I forgot to take the lettuce out of the refrigerator and it's going to be fuzzy when we get back. All the laundry has to be washed, all the plants have to be watered, and I have to be sure all 7 of us have shoes and under ware. Italy is not the end of the world. They have stores! They even use the same worthless money we use. I should try not to stress so much! I have a list. I even have a house sitter. I should get professional help. This is not healthy. But...but...but! I need to cover my potatoes with dirt, download books for the kids to listen to, and have to drop the dog at the doggie hotel, and and and and and!
It looks like a very beautiful day outside. The birds are singing and the sky is blue. God bless you and give you rest!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Zwergohreule



There is an odd squeaking sound just outside our house. We hear this sound every night. It turns out that it's a very rare owl. There are only 10 of these birds in all of Germany. Every night we not only hear the bird, there are also bird watchers flocking to our neighborhood hoping to see the rare bird.

it is called a Zwergohreule or dwarf eared owl.

what we need

I’m thinking we have a very funny idea of what a vacation means. For example we are a technology heavy family. We will be traveling to Italy with no fewer then 3 computers, 5 mp3 players, 2 portable DVD players, and a Nintendo wii. Then Juergen and Nicole will each have a guitar. I’ll carry 2 cameras. We need the basics, gummy bears, nutella and kinder chocolate and goats milk and lactose free milk. Apart from that I think we can find all we need/ want in Italy. What do you find important must haves for a vacation? By the way, I carry a whole library of books on my lap top. Sun, good food and a book is what I really want.

It feels good to be in the zone

It's Friday and Juergen just picked up the Pizza. We eat pizza every Friday, that's Heymann family law. But there is a different feeling in the house. A whole nother vibe. The kids have had their final class, Juergen has had his last meeting. We have two whole weeks of vacation. I just dropped Nicole off at church. She goes on a youth retreat this weekend. We all go to Italy when she returns. I have to pack, clean, and plant my friend Petra's garden. I actually look forward to the garden work. It's a bucket garden. We just need to put stones on the bottom of the 10 large containers, add very good dirt and then plant vegetables. Everything is there and ready to go. The trampoline is also there. Juergen will put it together. When our works done the kids will jump and Juergen and I will drink a good cup of Petra's very good coffee (she has an extremely good machine). The sun is shining...Praise God! The only thing that could make this all better is if my best friend Cindy, or my sister Dianna had come. We asked them both to come but they said no. Imagine passing up a free trip to Tuscany? Inconceivable! Sadly it's true. Oh, I would be over the moon if one of them was coming! But maybe next time? I am totally relaxed, and so glad we are now moving into the zone....the vacation zone!

Sarah and Nicole painting flower pots for my friend

Thank you for your comments

The header is a photo of my window boxes. You probably already knew that. Some of my flowers are loving the rain...others will not bloom at all. People are just like plants. Some manage to do well in any condition, others only do well in the correct balance of soil, light, and water. And some times a plant just needs a few seasons to establish its roots. It is vulnerable for a few seasons, and then it’s strong.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My poor plants are saved!!!



The New Tomato House came today. Philip and Nicole helped me put it up. A few of the plants are not going to make it, but most of them will finally have a chance to live! These are heirloom tomatoes I started from seed. They are from France, Italy, North and South America and Russia. They were doing so good before the cold rain hit us 3 weeks ago. I have a friend that will take care of them while we are in Italy. We are suppose to get good weather tomorrow, and all weekend. Then next week rain and cold again. I'm so glad to have a tomato house. It will give these babies a fighting chance! I can taste the multi colored salsa now!!!

it looks like early March outside...when will the cold rain end?



I'm listening to the cold rain outside and wondering if I'll get any tomatoes this year. I started the plants from seed. They were doing so well...now my poor plants are dying. I know, there are much worse things happening in the world. I just wanted to begin to grow my own food. I picked a bad year to be self sustaining!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the power of connection

Today I shared a little about Nicole during our family story time. I shared where her name came from, especially her middle name Isabella. She was named after the character Bell in Beauty and the Beast because Juergen and I love this strong and intelligent women. The whole time Thomas kept asking where his name came from. So I kept telling him I will tell him on Friday night when I tell his story. So we have moved away from an uninterested Thomas to someone who is at least a little involved. Praise God for progress. Juergen and I are looking at what our church needs. Juergen is now an Elder in our church. We read a book called the connected church. I didn't think the book was very good, but the idea was very good. I read another book on ADHD called delivered from distraction. In this book the author says connection is the very most important ingredient for happiness. People that feel truly connected at work, school, in families and with friends and other groups are happy. I feel like we can try to do more in our church to help people truly feel more connected with each other. I'll be studying this idea. I feel like our family story time is a way to help our family members to feel more connected with each other. I'm trying to help increase the bond we have with each other. Vacations also help this process. We leave in a week! I am so looking forward to our trip!

worms



I finally got my compost worms in the mail today. They came in a big bucket. I made a nice home for them in a large black rubber box that has holes drilled on the bottom. I put cardboard over the holes so moister can get out but the worms will stay in the box. I added dirt, and damp news paper, lettuce, old fruit and old leaves from dead flowers. I coved the box with a wet burlap sack and a cardboard box. I need to buy another rubber box to sit this box in. That box can catch the worm tea (that's the liquid compost that's going to drain out of the bottom of the box). I think I'll place the whole thing in my basement because the temperature stays cool down there. If the box gets too hot it will kill the worms. I understand you should feed the worms at least once every two weeks. I'll make sure they are wet enough( but not too wet) and have lots of good veggies, potato peels, and old fruit to work on when we go to Italy. Worm compost is very good for plants. Let's see if I can keep these worms happy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

if



If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!


–Rudyard Kipling



Today I talked about Jessica in our family story time. I shared the meaning of her name, "gift from God". I shared how people stopped me on the street to look at her because she was the most beautiful baby. The whole time Thomas was acting up, and not paying attention. It made me really angry. I guess I wouldn't like it if he had shown disrespect towards anyone, but this was Jessica. Jess has no voice and he simply doesn't know her. This makes me deeply sad. He is 12 years old and oh so self absorbed. I talked to him afterwards and told him not to act like this. If he does this for the others I will not tell his story. He wants his story to be told. He needs to learn the golden rule. I prayed about my anger. I am trying to just ask God to transform him...to help him grow up. He has a great loss if he fails to know Jessica. She is an amazing person. He also has a deep loss if he never learns to care about anyone be self. I have hope he will learn. This exercise is very good for him. I need eyes to see what a noble and kind person he will be. I once had a word from God that Thomas would be the child most like Juergen. Juergen is an amazing person. I feel like Thomas had a conflict at school. Something was eating at him. I’m sure I would be wrong to take the whole matter at face value. There is much more to this boy, so much I do not easily understand. He doesn’t understand Jessica, and I don’t understand him. We really need to get to know each other.

We have heat

I went and bought 2 small heaters for the greenhouses. They run on oil. They say it's going to rain the rest of the week. The heaters raises the temperature 10 degrees F. I don't know if the tomatoes will start to grow now, but at least it will keep them alive until we get some sunshine! I have a large tent like tomatoes house coming in the mail. I got it on eBay. I'll cover my other tomatoes with this tent, and put one heater in there too. You can not control all the elements, you have to trust God to feed you! It would be really hard to grow all your own food. One day I hope I can do that. I want to become self sustaining. It will not happen all at once. This is a long term goal.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My garden today... we need sunshine!

This is my garden today. We haven't had any sunshine for 2 weeks. The cabbages love it, but the roses are covered with bugs and the tomatoes don't grow. I need to transplant the over grown cabbages and spray my roses again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

the forecast

I looked at the long term weather forecast for Italy. It's only 22C or 72F. I was hoping it would be warmer then that. I want sun, and lots of it. Maybe they are WRONG!!! I am cold! I want some sun!

getting to know you


I had an idea today. I feel sad because I feel like my kids do not really know us. they don't know each other, and they really don't know Jessica. I thought it might be good everyday to say one small thing about a member of our family. There are 7 of us, so today we will say something about Juergen, tomorrow me, then Jess, Nicole, Philip, Thomas and Sarah. I'll keep a family scrap book. I'll put into it simple facts about us. So today I have a photo of lederhosen. Juergen had to wear lederhosen as a child, and he hated it! That's it. I'll let Juergen say more...but keep it simple and short. Maybe we can do this for a few months and little by little the kids will know us better, and know each other better. Everyone has a day of the week. I figure it will be a good way to tell them about the first time we even thought of adopting them, waiting for them, praying for them, and more. Our boys do not ask questions. They are self absorbed. They know nothing about Jessica, who has autism. They don't seem to care. That hurts me. But they just don't seem to know how to ask questions. They don't know how I met Juergen, or what I was like as a kid. The connection isn't nearly as strong as I want it. So today we start this project. We will see how it goes.


UPDATE: Juergen shared his first story with us. The kids were so amazed to hear about their dad as a kid. The idea is good! I'm sharing about my broken arm when I was 5 years old tomorrow night. I'm also going to make a scrapbook with collage pages for each family member. I'll print photos that represent each story. This will help the kids remember each story. They will know their family history...and be more a part of us. I'm amazed at how excited they were, we all were!

I'm reading her book



The Wartime Kitchen & Garden





Saturday, May 15, 2010

garden news

I feel like a real gardener today. I was at my friend Petra's house. We put another coat of paint on the 10 large containers. We will put a final coat of paint on the pots sometime this week, or next weekend (a total of 3 coats of paint). Juergen was there to put together the trampoline. Unfortunately only one of the 4 boxes has been delivered. I'll call the company and hopefully get the other 3 boxes delivered before next weekend. We also cleared an area in her yard for the containers. We evened out the soil, added compost and covered the spot with cardboard. My hope is to add horse manure and wood ash to the area. The soil is in really bad shape. I think if we have manure, compost and wood ash it will attract worms. Worms also like to eat cardboard. The cardboard blocks weeds. I will place my containers on the top of the cardboard. Then Petra has allot of cut branches piled up in her yard. We can get a wood chipper from Petra’s dad. I'll cover the cardboard with woodchips. Next year we will repeat the process, adding manure, compost and wood ash, covered with cardboard and woodchips. We will grow our plants in containers for the next few years, then maybe in 3 years the soil will be nice enough to plant directly in. Does this make any since? Anyway, we made good progress. Hopefully I’ll have her garden planted by the end of next weekend. It’s going to look great, and if we get sunshine it will grow! We have had nothing but cold rain. Nicole told me that the rain is suppose to get warmer! now that’s encouraging! My basil plants have died, and so have my cucumbers. They couldn’t handle the cold. My tomatoes are ok, but not growing all that fast. We will not get much fruit or vegetables with this weather! The lettuce, cabbage and potatoes seem happy. We could sure do with some global warming! They say we are having the coldest, wettest May on record.

Friday, May 14, 2010

what a heart!

Not my house



I called to see the house I like in Bad Schönborn. The one with the nice winter garden. The realtor said that he just sold the house. So I guess it is not my house! I think I'm just too early with my shopping. I really have no interest in moving until Nicole and Jessica finish school next year. I had better wait until next Spring to look. If it's God's will, He will give us the right house at the right time. It may even be He want us to just stay in our house. Maybe moving was never His idea? One thing is surprisingly clear, I was not to buy the house with the winter garden. It was not my house! I do still love the farm house...but it would be so much work!



I totally love this old house! I guess I see it as it could be, Juergen sees what it is!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A big big house

We looked at another house today. It was very nice and the price was super. I think it could be perfect for now, but way too big in a few years. It wouldn't be easy to make it into 2 apartments. I think it's not for us. I still like this one house we saw with the winter garden. The price is still too high, but we didn't want to move right now anyway. It would be much better for us to wait a year. We will have our house painted, redo our bathroom. Maybe we will buy another house, or maybe we will stay. I'm open. I actually like my house, and garden more and more. We will see! It isn't easy to sell a house. The owners we met today were very nice. I hope they can find a buyer. It will not be easy because it's such a big house. Not many families need such a big place!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nicole singing get back up again

from Nicoles mexico trip in 2008


dirty teeth

Some weeks you wish you never got out of bed! Today the boy’s went to the orthodontist to check on their braces. I guess they haven’t been doing a good job brushing their teeth. I do make them brush their teeth, but I’m not actually doing it for them. So the arrogant Dr says he will know longer work with the boys. He does this while taking photos of their teeth to give the insurance company. This is going to cost us some real money! The Dr yelled enough at me and the boys, I didn’t need to add to the humiliation. Thomas was crying, it was really awful! We will try to find another Dr that can continue the treatment. We will over see the brushing better, but just how I don’t know. I really don’t like this Dr who has some how gotten it all wrong. I pay him and he works for me. I guess he thinks I should be grateful to be his client…if he had not dropped my boys, I would have been happy to fire him. But seriously, I have to find a new orthodontist, and I hope the insurance company will keep paying for the boys teeth. Are there people in this society that actually help parents raise children, or do they all treat you like you are dirt because your pre teen boys are going through an awkward time? Please pray for me, I’m having a hard week!


UP DATE: Juergen called the insurance company. They said we should just go to another Dr. They will keep paying. Juergen over saw the teeth brushing tonight. We are not being hard on the boy's. They have enough real problems. I will not shoot them down over not brushing their teeth enough. Man oh man! Philip is being bullied in school. I will not kick him for not bushing good enough! We will just work on it...and find another Dr.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Aphids

I sprayed my roses with a mix of milk, dish soap, water and garlic. First I boiled garlic in a pot of water then strained it into the sprayer...and added the milk and dish soap. I’ve had problems with Aphids,. I hope it does the trick.

aphids Pictures, Images and Photos

I love this idea

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Nicole's learning this song


I'll video tape her when she get's it! Cool song!

Happy Mother's day

I thank God for my wonderful Mom who I love so much! Happy Mother's day to my sisters, sister in laws, and nieces and many friends who are also moms. I have 5 very special kids, and here are some of their photo's. Lunch is ready ...got to run!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

has it been a year?



Last May our family took a trip to Northern Cyprus with my brother Rick. We go to Italy in 2 weeks, and Rick gets married next month. I'm packing for our trip, and I hope it's at least half as good as this trip was! Love you Rick...we will have to do something with you and Amy next year!

Friday, May 07, 2010

this is a great story

1,2,3 mine



I won the bid on a super big trampoline for Petra's yard. I'm going to have it sent right to her house. Now when I go work on her yard, my kids will come too. If I had a big yard I would have a trampoline at my house...but you do what you can do!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Better than hallelujah




we have this treasure in a jar of clay so everyone can see it’s all God , not us!

National day of prayer



You do not need to be invited to an official meeting to pray. America has canceled the National day of prayer...but they can not keep us from praying!





If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mom, I can not find a job!



tomatoes cages



I bought 25 meters of this metal fencing to use as tomatoes cages. I had looked at other options but everything else looked too costly or hard to build. I have over 40 tomatoes plants and I want to cage them. You can stake tomatoes but that's more work. So the fencing will come in the mail. It is almost one meter high. It really should make life easier.

The Ice is Breaking and You are Heating Up!

Sharon Stone:
Europe: The Ice is Breaking and You are Heating Up!

Prophecy Sharon Stone received on April 23, 2010:

Europe, you have been living under a block of ice
You have been ice bound
Confined by ice
Frozen in time

I will not let you be a spiritual ice cap—
Where there's a permanent layer of ice covering the land
Europe, you are not an ice field

And the Kingdom of God advance will not be put on ice any longer
There is a thawing going on
The ice is beginning to melt
God says, "I am the Ice Breaker"—
For a New Beginning
To break through the reserve
You have lived, where you could feel the ice
And religiosity chilled you to the bone

But you're no longer on thin ice
You're moving from your risky situation
Where the ground was frozen
Now watch the warming trend

The volcano eruption is a sign of spiritual seasonal change—
From Ice to Fire
Where natural transportation was immobile
Spiritually, NOW—there is a little movement
You're being liquefied—
That you might be responsive to Me in a greater way

But I want you hot and passionate
Fiery not Frigid

Europe, the temperature is beginning to rise
You are heating up

Dr. Sharon Stone
Christian International Europe


Sharon Stone is the founder and senior minister of Christian International Europe. She is widely recognized as an Apostolic Prophet to the nations and has traveled to over thirty nations. By the age of nineteen, Sharon was an Intern Pastor and within twelve years she had pioneered and planted two churches and was the president of a Bible college. In 1996, Sharon and her family relocated to England to pioneer Christian International Europe with the intention of developing and mobilizing prophets and apostles to unlock harvest in the nations. Sharon has three grown children and is married to Greg Black.

Setting Up a Worm Composting Bin

I'm buying worms today



I am starting a worm compost bin. I just ordered my worms on line. Here is the place I used in Germany. You need special worms for compost.

http://www.wurmhandel.de/

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Idea for tomato cages



I saw this on my sister Shelley’s links...Sharon’s blog. Totally cool idea! I'm looking for tomato cages. These are made from wood. Cool idea!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

an idea for my squash



squash takes up space in a garden. I don't have much space. I found a metal compost box on e-bay for 39 euro. I thought I could put a bed of pumpkins and squash in here and let it climb all over the sides and out and over this box. Perhaps it will work? I'll let you know. I of course need to make sure the raised bed I plant the squash in is very rich in compost so the plants get enough food.

Squash Pictures, Images and Photos