Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Lexicon of Sebi

Here is some of the latest Sebi-speak:

bweckfwest: "I want some muffins for bweckfwest."

oping: "Can you oping this fow me?"

Peterjelly sanwich: "Cai have a Peterjelly sanwich?"

macawoni, the other favorite lunch

Legdichhin, which is his German for 'to lie down'

Dinglydumbhead: his favorite name to call people

Peter Pans: tatertots. We don't know how these wires got crossed.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Goose Eggs and a Delicate Arch

This weekend we decided to hike to Delicate Arch with the Oscarsons. Chip and Marie-Laure are far more seasoned hikers than we. They have been known to throw two kids in backpacks and take off up Y-Mount or in Yosemite, and so their kids know what hiking is about. I had to try to market it to our children as "You know that time you climbed up to the castle in Fuessen? Hiking is like that only longer and with no castle at the end. People do it for fun. Especially in Utah where there are lots of great places to hike. Understand?"

We drove down on Sunday after church and stayed in Moab, where we walked through the downtown, had Mexican food for dinner, and tried out the motel's hot tub. We watched ice skating finals on TV, and Rob attended a very entertaining evening of cowboy poetry at the Moab Art and Recreation Center.

As soon as he left, I told the kids to stop jumping on the beds. Maddie saw Sebastian launching off, and so she grabbed his feet, thereby swinging him like a pendulum into the nightstand and giving him a huge goose egg on his temple, thus proving my point that if you jump on the beds, you will get hurt. I would have panicked over the huge swollen bruise, except that I had just seen one the day before on Matilde Oscarson when she fell off the trampoline at our house. Since her parents had cancelled their cross-country skiing date and taken her to the doctor's office instead, I knew that the forehead was a great place to conk oneself on the head. I also knew all of the signs for a concussion so that I could quiz Sebastian for confusion and dizziness and watch for vomiting and problems with dilation in the eyes. So I knew he was fine.

Monday morning we had breakfast at the Pancake Haus and used the hot tub again. We bought groceries and picked out some red sandstones as souvenirs. Then we met up with the Oscarsons at the Delicate Arch trailhead, where they landed after a harrowing journey in the snow down highway 6. The hike was perfect for the kids. There are old ranch remains, petroglyphs, and several different kinds of terrain in a very short space. The kids didn't complain once about the hike (which was in stark contrast to the road trip in the minivan with the movies playing). Maddie and Matilde walked together, and Ethan and Will scouted for gun-shaped sticks and rocks to climb. Linnea and Sebastian walked a good portion of the trip as well.

It was mostly overcast and windy, but up at Delicate Arch, it was really blowing, which is why the kids' favorite spot was under this ledge. This picture shows Matilde's eye off pretty well. She still has a lot more swelling than Sebastian. And if you think that Chip did this to her (as Chip is worried that people might be thinking), he didn't. We did. Between this and Tomas's broken arm at our house last week, I think that we're a terrible childcare risk right now. We'll revisit that once we have some more sleep.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day and New Stuff, Part II

Yesterday was V-Day. I made the kids heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. Maddie had dance class and Will made Pretend Soup for their dinner. Then I set up dinner for me and Rob downstairs. This is a woebegone kitchen island covered with a tablecloth, but our new table came today. Pictures will follow someday. I just figured that we had all of this space downstairs that we weren't using, and we might as well eat down there as go out! We had a roast and salad with pears and blueberries and gorgonzola cheese, and asparagus with white balsamic vinegar and pine nuts, and because I overcooked the rosemary new potatoes, we had tatertots with it, served with Navarro gewurtztraminer grape juice. For dessert we had a Mike Christenson Hazelnut Truffle Torte, which was a great thing for me. When we were newlyweds and didn't know how to cook, the Christensons would invite us downstairs to try whatever exotic dish they had just slaved over all afternoon in their wee kitchen. This was one of those that we wolfed down.

Here's the new furniture in the basement, including (at center) the loveseat that Tomas fell off of and broke his arm from last Friday. He has a green temporary splint now, but he'll get a cast tomorrow morning. The delivery guys brought the wrong ottoman the first time around, and when I called about it, Macy's said "Oh, yeah! This is ORANGE!" and I had to tell them 'we actually wanted the orange one, but we wanted it to be oval, not square . . .' We like it.

And here is Mama and Sebi's latest GeoTrax track at the other end of the room (note the new paint job while you're at it). Fisher Price GeoTrax is going to singlehandedly keep me from getting Alzheimer's because it is such good brain exercise for me to try to make a different closed system every time. Keeps the kids busy too!

New Stuff, Part I

Since we've taken over our basement (after renting it for five years), we've rearranged a lot of furniture and bought some more. Here is my new cabinet, which we've put in the kitchen (as you can see from the pictures, we're still figuring out what we want to do with it). It's not a great quality piece, but both Rob and I liked it so much that we didn't care. It holds the dishes, which means that we can display the china and crystal instead of hiding it in a dresser where it's been for the last several years.
Here is Will's new bedding. It took a lot of negotiating with that kid to get to this point. I'd show him a picture and he'd want the twelve foot ceilings and the boat-shaped bed and the hardwood floors and the . . . on and on ad nauseum. He has some good taste -- I'll grant him that, but he is a terrible stinker to shop for. This is why usually I buy something and make it a surprise instead.

Science Fair!

Will's science project was called "How does a Tarantula Change its Clothes?" and he investigated tarantula molting. He and Rob not only used lots of great color pictures, they also dressed up two RC tarantulas in doll clothes and Will had a great day explaining his project and freaking out unsuspecting students by making the spiders wiggle.
Maddie and her friend Kenzly did their project on Winter Snow where they learned all about the formation of snowflakes and how studying them helps us (did you know that snowflake study helps meteorologists tell airline pilots where to avoid so that their planes don't ice up? and that snowflakes catalyze the change from ozone to breathable oxygen? Mama learned a lot).
Both kids got lots of ribbons and are all fired up to do it again next year when Maddie will move ahead to the actual experimenting part of Science Fair.

January in Utah

Transitions to the homeland were made easier by the backyard in general, and the trampoline and scooters in particular. Our aluminum deck cover kept things dry so the kids could roll around on the patio. Rob and I have determined that the "tin can" as we so lovingly refer to it, is going away this year, so I'm trying to justify a better looking backyard against the decreased play time in it. I'm open to suggestions if you have any! Here is Sebi on his SpongeBob scooter which he got from Jen and Eric.
And Will loved the snow. We hadn't had any in Berlin, and there has been a ton here since our return. Mama loves that Will is out shoveling the walk. That's my favorite part!

Christmas (Reprise)

Then we flew home. All three flights were uneventful, on time, with pleasant staff and no problems except us. We were pretty hammered after 27 hours, and we were grateful to have Uncle John, Grandma and Grandpa Shumway come and pick us up and take us home to our house, where they were staying and had already filled the fridge and kept the light on for us. Karen and Betsy decorated a Christmas tree for us and someone even organized all of the Christmas cards. Jeff and Saydi, Hazel and Charlie were downstairs asleep, as normal people are wont to do in the wee hours of the night.
But we all woke up the next day and had another Christmas with lots of gifts and wrapping paper for all.

Here is Grandpa in one of his most characteristic moves. He is in the kitchen and has just flung a kitchen towel over his shoulder. Whenever he's in the kitchen, he keeps one here in order to wipe his hands with a little fluttering cleaning motion after he has stuck something in his mouth. If he were doing that now, his lips would be pushed out more. I think he uses this when in the kitchen so that he doesn't spray Windex all over the food, Windex being his normal handwashing maneuver in other situations, e.g. driving the car.
Here are all five Shumway grandchildren, as presently constituted. I realize it isn't a great picture, but we have such difficulty getting them together, and then keeping them still, that I had to snap it while they bellied up to the bar. Saydi, my sister-in-law, is a phenomenal photographer, and even she has a tough time catching this crowd ( think it was done once in July 2006).
Mostly there was a lot of zoning out and being jet-lagged. Five of us got full body massages on Saturday. Mine hurt like the dickens, but it was worth it. My masseuse found knots in my thigh! She said that wasn't normal, then I realized it was where Sebastian had put his giant cranium for a few hours on the plane.

Several of us also got haircuts, which Maddie and I sorely needed. Will and Sebi won't be needing any for quite a while as they recover from their Turkish gansta buzz cuts. We took Sebastian in for professional help at the BYU barbershop when he hit mushroom cloud proportions. Gwen said "That is going to take at least another two months to grow out. I suggest using gel." in her unflappable deadpan.

Here Uncle John and Grandpa help Will and Sebi work the Cars da Moofie slot car race track that Sebi got for Christmas. It was quite a hit, and Lightning McQueen always beat Doc Hudson, as opposed to the movie.
Here Maddie helps Hazel with a puzzle, and Hazel wonders why we have open flames around so many small children. Americans have been wondering this about Germans at Christmastime for decades now.

And here is Sebastian, in the shirt from the Grandparents Shumway, and the hat that Aunt Kiecoo knitted for him. All of the kids were happy to come back to their house, which was familiar to them. The difference now is that we have the basement as well, so there are new places to explore. It took us about a month, but we're finally starting to feel normal again, and like we actually live here.

Farewell to Berlin

So you thought that we were never going to post again, and so did we. But we're up and running again in the US, so we thought we'd finish our story. After Christmas we said goodbye to Berlin as best we knew how. Mostly we ate. Here we are at our favorite Doener shop, eating our Doener Kebaps and drinking Uludag.
We took one last ride at Breischeidplatz, to empathize with the airplane pilots and [evidently] get out some aggression.
Will worshipped at the altar of technology (it's an airplane engine) at Templehof airport.
The hunger rake, or the sculpture that commemorated the Berlin Airlift. Planes landed every minute or two at Templehof airport to give the people of West Berlin food to eat while they were under siege from the Soviet Union. Good Cold War sightseeing which we did to get some photos for Rob's sister Betsy, who has her students perform plays about WWII and the aftermath.
We packed up. I told Rob he hadn't done much packing. He said "You're right. If I'd done these, they'd be packed much better than this!" But it got done, and we managed to get a lot of stuff into ten bags and five carry-ons.
Mmmmm-hmmm, how we love the Doener!