Thursday, June 21, 2007

The German Mall

Yesterday, I went to a German mall for the first time. Greg stayed home with the boys, so it was just Lavella and I with my friend Jillian.
(This is on top of the parking garage)

Jillian is American, so between the English conversation and the familiar surroundings, I almost felt like I was back in the States again.

There were, however, some differences. Like this produce store tucked into a corner.

Mall Fruit

There was also a fresh pasta and cheese counter. You just don't see that back home, where malls are the land of the ultra-processed with nary a fresh thing to be found.

Jillian and I couldn't help giggling about these transparent boxer-briefs in the men's section of one of the department stores.

Transparent boxer-breifs in the men's section

(I claim no responsibility for ending up there.)

We visited my favorite store, H&M, and Jillian bought Lavella some dresses that were just too cute to pass up. Of course we had to dress her in one of them right away (she's my tiny baby-doll).

I also made a few purchases. I've been wanting a hat with a bill for a while, to keep out the sun while playing outside with the boys. The trouble is, I look terrible in hats. At H&M, I finally found one that suited me.


I've also been wanting some wide, fabric headbands for a long time, and keep telling myself that I'll just sew some up. I've got fabric, I've got elastic, how hard can it be to just sit down and make them? Apparently, too hard for me.


I adore this one, and don't regret the purchase. In fact, I think that I need about 20 more.

Of course, there was a souvenir yarn purchase. What's a trip to the mall without some new sock yarn?
Souvenier yarn

I know the colors are insane (my question is, what nation does this represent?!), but I couldn't put it down once I'd picked it up, so it just had to come home with me.

There was also a huge pink hat for Lavella, but I didn't take any pictures of it, so instead I leave you with a photo of another (similar) hat in yellow that we got the other day, along with the boys at the playground, sending their trucks and cars down the slide.

Sun Hat


Monday, June 18, 2007

Only in Germany....

So I thought I'd include a few random snapshots of things you'd probably not see in the US...

Keg mounted to the back of a motorcycle....

Public cigarette dispenser (older picture of Faith)....

Driving on the autobahn (oh yeah!). This was always one of my life's goals. I found out that, although our four cylinder Jetta says it can go 140 mph, it actually governors out at 125. But, as I've experienced, it's not very safe driving much over 120 anyway. 100 is a good, average cruising speed, and any slower than 80, you're causing more of a hazard for everybody else.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Today we went to a Krauterfest (herb festival), celebrating garden life. Click on the collage for more details about our adventure.


Lavella is exactly 2 months old.

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Elijah's birthday weekend

Here's the photo set from Elijah's birthday. Click on the mural above to look through all the pics and read descriptions, if you'd like. (The children are referred to with their "public bloggable" names of Sparky, Max and Daisy, since that photo account also hosts pics for my fiber blog. If you leave a comment on any of the pictures on that site, please do not use their real names. Thanks!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another big box...

Here are the things that came in a box from Greg's side of the family (Poppy & Nana, Aunt Dawn, Grandpa D & Grandma D):
Each of the boys got a full set of "Cars" movie cars ("Light-min A-queen", according to both boys), a bunch of monster trucks, granola bars, an outfit for Lavella, etc.
Greg blew up some of the baloons included in the box, interesting shapes.

Just one more picture...
It's all about the boots.

Thank you!!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Birthday boy!

Yesterday, Elijah turned 2. I would have blogged on the day, but I decided that he'd rather have his mommy all to himself rather than hanging out on the computer. (Blogging really takes a heck of a lot of time, when it comes down to it!)

Anyway, we had a nice day with some of the boys favorite activities: stamping and coloring with my art supplies (they get to use their own any day, but mine are only for special occasions where I'm willing to directly supervise and prevent destruction of my stuff), some new videos from the library, boxed macaroni & cheese for dinner cooked by Daddy (score for me -- I didn't have to cook; score for Elijah -- he could eat his favorite food), ice cream after dinner at the Eis shop nearby, and an elastic bedtime (they finally got in bed a little after 9 instead of the usual 8. I mean, you don't turn 2 every day now, do you?)

All in all, I think that he had a pretty fun day. We didn't buy him any gifts; we haven't bought either of the boys Christmas or birthday gifts yet since extended family showers them so heavily with things, and also because when they're this young, they don't expect it.

I had promised a while ago of pictures of the boys opening a huge box from Aunt Terry and Grandma Annette. In the meantime, yet another box came for Elijah (apparently the first box was for Lavella's birth, with extras for the boys -- the second box was just for Elijah's birthday!)

Here's the first one:

They were super excited, as always. "A box! For us!! Let's open it right now!"

I made sure they'd had breakfast first, because I had a feeling there would be candy...

Sure enough, there was some, but thankfully not too much. The boys were especially thrilled about the honey wheat pretzels and the play-dough eggs. The play-dough has kept them happy on more than one occasion since. There were also two DVD's, which have been greatly enjoyed (I especially like the Veggie Tales one, "Moe and the Big Exit". Very cute!)

Behind them you can see a brand new swing for Lavella. She loves it, and has taken several naps in there already. She's not so good with the naps, so anything that helps her sleep is wonderful to have around. This particular swing is especially cool, because it's portable and I can just bring it wherever I'm going to be in the house. I can carry it with one hand, which is key when the other arm is holding a fussy baby.

Not pictured is a beautiful Ralph Lauren crochet/cotton little one piece outfit for Lavella. She's nearly big enough to wear it, and as soon as I put it on her for the first time I'll be sure to take a picture.

The second box had a huge model of Lightening McQueen from the Cars movie (a current favorite around here since Christmas). Andrew was very sad that there wasn't one for him too, but Elijah was completely delighted, and pushed the noisy buttons all day. Aunt Terry told my dad that she'd sent Elijah something that he would love, and that I might really dislike. I'm sure this was said with much evil laughing. You're right Aunt Terry, Elijah does love it.
He wouldn't turn around for the picture, because he was guarding it from Andrew, who was creeping towards him, ready for the attack. You can see him looking at a Cars movie coloring book, which was also included in the gift. I've scanned in a bunch of the pages so that the boys can share them and re-use it. (Cheap, or thrifty?)

Elijah and Lavella have also recently received generous checks from Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Bob. Thank you to both of you as well! Elijah will be buying some molded plastic dinosaurs with his money; we'll go out shopping next week, and I'll make sure he knows who supplied the funds.

Another large box arrived this week from Greg's family, which will be blogged as soon as we get some pics.

We also have some pictures of last night and today, because we've been out at the beer festival, but I'll post those later. Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Greg's Update....

I know that some of you have been concerned that, amidst the busyness of my current job, and the flurry of activity surrounding the new baby, I’ve been unable to keep up with the ever evolving music scene. Well dear friends, let me set your minds at ease and give you a quick update on Greg’s recent musical ventures.

Although somewhat difficult at first, I have, with relative ease, tapped into the local music scene, and have attended two great shows in the past couple of months.

In February I went to Trier (about 45 minutes from our town) to see Origin, Misery Index, and Necrophagist play. Unfortunately the band I was really there to see (Necrophagist) had to cancel, but such is life, I guess, in the underground music scene. The venue was a bit small, but I was able to get some pretty good pictures, and the bands were great.

In April I went to Saarbrucken (about 40 minutes away) to see the Mad Caddies. I hadn’t seen them play since 1998, when one of my college roommates and I saw them in Raleigh, NC. Anyway, I’d never been to Saarbrucken before, but it was very easy to find, and it actually turned out to be a pretty hip town. They have a lot of really nice restaurants, a college, museums, and a great live venue called The Garage, where I saw the Caddies play. The venue was quite large, and afforded plenty of room to move around a get some really great pictures. The band was amazing, as usual (one of my favorite live bands), and they even put their new record up for sale four days early since it was the kick-off of the tour.

In a few weeks I’m going to Trier again to see Leng Tch’e, who I’ve never gotten to see live before.

Also, for those who care, here are the top 15 albums on my iPod playlist.

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster – II
Phenomenal dirty, hard-southern rock. I’ve always loved this particular style, and these boys pull it off like a swift baseball bat to the face. This one definitely has to be played at full volume with all the windows down.
Over The Rhine – Live From Nowhere, Vol. II
OTR’s annual Live… series just gets better every single year. I still can’t believe these guys aren’t huge.
Leng Tch’e – Merasmus
Very well done and very heavy death-grind. Slightly less grind and a little more death than their previous efforts, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
Zikrayat – Live At Lotus
This Brooklyn-based ensemble plays a wide variety of Arabic music styles. Previously available only as Podcast excerpts, their songs are now finally available on plastic. The recording quality is quite good, despite it being live, and all of the different instruments are exhibited quite well.
Virgin Black – Requiem – Mezzo Forte
The middle album of their very ambitious, three-part Requiem… series. Beautifully performed gothic-classical, featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and guest guitarist, Mark Kelson (The Eternal).
Lovedrug – Everything Starts Where It Ends
Finally (!), the long awaited follow-up to Pretend You’re Alive, and it has definitely been worth the wait.
Mad Caddies – Keep It Going
I think this is like their sixth album or something, and it just might be their best ever. These guys are just a lot of fun. They remind me of many of my friends from growing up.
Belle And Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
Jack Black mocked these guys in High Fidelity but I really like them. This record is a bit more consistent than Dear Catastrophe Waitress and, for some reason, I like Stuart’s voice better on this one.
Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore
Definitely one of my favorite bands of all time. A sound like none other.
Seckou Keita – Afro-Mandinka Soul
Seckou is, in my opinion, the best Kora player in the world. And not only is he a master of the Kora, but also an excellent percussionist of many traditional African drums.
The Innocence Mission – We Walked In Song
Although I have been a very devoted Innocence Mission fan for many years, I still like Birds Of My Neighborhood and Befriended the best. Not that this record is bad whatsoever, I just really like some of the older ones better.
mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister
This was my record-of-the-year for 2006. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, well what’s wrong with you!!!
The Cassettes – ‘Neath The Pale Moon
I originally got into these guys because Shelby Cinca, formerly of Frodus and Decahdron fronts the band. Very unique sound, including a theremin, played by a master theremin player, who’s been playing for over 20 years. He also makes them and sells them on the band’s website for a mere $250.00!
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Baby 81
Another stylistic change on BRMC’s fourth album. Rock and roll how it should be played.
The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
This album is automatically my favorite of all Arcade Fire albums simply because they included little flipbooks with the CD. Who can resist trying little flipbooks?

Book Recommendations:

They Like Jesus But Not The Church, by Dan Kimball
Faith and I are both raving fans of this book. A lot of the discussion therein has confirmed many of the frustrations I’ve been voicing for a long time, and it’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Dan includes real interviews from many of his friends, some of whom have either left organized church groups or who aren’t a part of any church, and he gets their opinions and perspectives. Actually I find myself a lot like many of the ‘they’ who are featured in this book. Faith and I give this one our highest recommendation.

Preaching Re-Imagined
, by Doug Pagitt
A follow-up to his book Church Re-Imagined, Doug presents a very well thought out, and very well written, objective look at what the act of preaching has become in many churches. He argues that preaching has essentially become glorified speech making, or ‘speaching’, as he calls it. Doug presents the fact that this speaching act has developed, within many churchgoers, the expectancy to just sit, week-in and week-out, being ‘speached’ to, with no real depth being rooted in their lives. His solution is a term he has coined, ‘progressional dialogue’, one in which the body of believers are actively involved in the message, not just a one-person-show being presented every week. I think if more Christians put some of these ideas into practice, the church as a whole would truly become the active, missional, body that everyone seems to talk a lot about, but never really sees the full fruit of. Faith and I also give this book our highest recommendation.