Tag Archives: kids

Eight Years of Adventure

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As we approach our eighth year anniversary of living in Germany, I can’t help but think of all the traveling we’ve been able to do. Because we thought we would only be here three years (ha) we did as much traveling as possible at first. Once we hit the majority of destinations on our ‘list,’ we could relax a little, and enjoy exploring new places within driving distance.

Keep in mind–a road trip that begins in central Germany can end in half a dozen different countries. Of course, the autobahn helps speed things along, but still–Europe is the perfect place for family road trips.

Occasionally I would find a great deal on airfare, and so we could jet off together as a family. But usually, we drove or took the train (which was preferred). Regardless of how we arrived, exploring Europe has been eye-opening for the entire family. It’s helped shaped our view of the world and has allowed us to fully realize just how small this planet is.

We’ve had our share of trials–motion sickness; spilled drinks; having EVERY restaurant & grocery store CLOSED when we were desperately hungry; getting lost or rather, re-directed; unusual pit-stops; freezing in winter; sweltering in summer; and lodging that ranged from Thrift Shop Chic to Business Class Posh. Yet, we never once lost a wallet or a child, and even the worst times were something we could laugh about later (sometimes, much later).

So, in honor of 8 years of Germany…here are some of my favorite snapshots from our travels.

Enjoy! And Gute Reise!

Holland

Holland

Prague

Prague

Rome

Rome

Tuscany

Tuscany

Paris

Paris

London

London

Austria

Austria

Petra Jordan

Petra, Jordan

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Germany

Germany

Thanksgiving

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We created our usual Wellman Family Feast for Thanksgiving, only I’m getting smarter and making the young people in our house contribute to the work load.

table

Actually, it’s not that hard to do since (most of) my kids love to help in the kitchen. We went through one peculiar phase a few months back where they were fighting over our lone potato peeler. Needless to say, the child-to-peeler ratio has increased since then, so that no child is left behind in the peeling department.

Independent learners.

Here are some photos from our feast! I hope your day was as happy & cozy as ours!

Noah & the pumpkin cheesecake he helped to make

Noah & the pumpkin cheesecake

Libby with 'Grandma O's' Marshmallow Salad

Libby with ‘Grandma O’s’ Marshmallow Salad

Katie & gluten-free apple pie

Katie & gluten-free apple pie

Katie with a real smile:)

Katie with a real smile:)

Charlie inspecting the table

Charlie inspecting the table

After a meal, it’s time for some fun!

The boys in their 'Jedi' Reindeer robes

The boys in their ‘Jedi’ Reindeer robes

Charlie chasing a balloon

Charlie chasing a balloon

We emerged from our cozy den after Thanksgiving to find the beginning of advent, which means plenty of Christmas markets. And with my mother coming to stay with us over the holidays, we are going to make the most of the time left in 2013.

It is promising to be a very merry holiday season here in Germany! 

Creative Workouts at Home: Session 1

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Saturday was a lovely stay-at-home-day, but I didn’t want to miss out on the Crossfit workout our coach had posted. So I thought I would do a home-made workout, incorporating my long run.

The following 1 minute video shows what I came up with.

I call it the LabbyNo!

Enjoy!

How My Kids Drive Me Crazy While Keeping Me Sane and a Rare Political Rant

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“Wow!” exclaimed my teenage son, “I’m surprised to hear you speak intelligently about politics.”

I finished pouring my morning coffee, trying to determine if that was a compliment.

I knew what he meant, but I couldn’t help but give him a hard time about his particular choice of words. It was surprising to him to hear me speak about politics at all–particularly when I brought up some specific points that were on my mind.

I usually avoid talking about politics because I hate the way it brings out the claws, fangs and venom that people normally keep to themselves. Personally, I think it’s a waste of energy to get worried or upset about things over which you have no control. Do your duty, vote, but don’t waste a good emotion like hatred on other people’s opinions. I mean, if you used that same energy to do good works, the world would be a better place.

Which brings me to the really important issue–our house. Yes, politics affects us all, and we need to be responsible, but I’m not going to spend time tweeting on election night when the kitchen smells like birthday cake and I have presents to wrap.

My darling Libby turned 9, and there’s not a politician on earth who can steal her thunder on this day. Her voice quavered this morning, as she said ‘thank you,’ merely upon the sight of her few presents and cake.

We are downsizing here, and so I was concerned that what she did receive wouldn’t be ‘enough;’ basically that it wouldn’t be up to the standards of birthdays past. But I should’ve known better. A birthday is special because of the love that goes into it, not because of the gifts.

Libby proved this today.

Libby is the self-proclaimed “Mama-whisperer,” because she has a knack for making me feel better when I’m out of whack. The kids send her in, like a diplomat or a bomb expert, when they sense (usually from the pitch in my voice) that I’m getting ready to explode.

No kid is perfect, but my kids are each pretty great in their own unique ways. They drive me crazy at times (like William challenging me to write a novel this month, which I naturally accepted), but I can’t imagine my world without them. They keep me motivated, keep me grounded, and keep me focused on the things that are really important in life, which, and I’m sorry if this offends you, does not include politics.

I am all about helping the poor, and I feel strongly that everyone should have easy access to affordable and competent medical care. I also feel that our political system in America is off. Why are there only two parties when in other countries there are many? I mean, this election yesterday was a race between two Harvard Law School grads–since when does the general public trust lawyers?

I have a lot of friends, and many of them would be on opposite sides of any given rally.

And here is what I, standing somewhere in the middle, would say to you: use your energy, your emotion, your resources to cultivate love and compassion in your own homes first, and then use it to reach out to those less fortunate.

Don’t worry about what the government does or does not do, but start with peace in your own home.

Pray for our leaders that they will make wise choices, and don’t speculate about what “might happen,” because you soon find yourself wasting the precious here and now worrying about the future.

And with all sincerity, define in your own mind what you think is “best” for America. If your definition of “best” includes a yacht while the widow next door can’t afford medical insurance, something is wrong. If your definition of “best” means you can buy more gadgets than your neighbors, then please, rethink your life. There are greater rewards than posting shallow phrases, which do not often represent your real life, via iThingies.

‘Friend’ real people, if possible, and if you live thousands of miles away (like some of us) use technology to bring you closer to people, not to alienate them.

We sponsor four children in Kenya, and their letters sometimes break my heart because of their love and sincerity. There is a teacher strike, currently, in Kenya, so these kids, whose prospects are already limited, are outright handicapped by this strike. How can I worry about what this or that candidate might do when Magdalene, who worked so hard to move from 26th to first in her class, no longer has a teacher? 

My hope was never, and I pray WILL never be in a politician.

God appoints the rulers of this world, and there is good reason for it. Trust in that.

Because if your trust is in any single person, you will be disappointed.

That is my rant–and that is as political as I get.

For now, I have a pink, sparkly cake to nibble and a birthday girl to hug.