A Toast to Uncle Don

I didn’t have a grandpa nearby while growing up. I had my great-Uncle Don. My own grandparents had either already passed away or were living in another state, so when it came time for Grandparents Day at my elementary school, or ordering Friday night pizza for all of us, or listening to the Reds games over the radio while reading the paper, or doing all those things that grandpas do … that was my Uncle Don. Continue reading

Family History Update

Miss C with Otto’s camera in April 2016

I got an interesting letter in the mail a few days ago. It was from Berlin, from the official German archives agency that provides military and government documentation.

On April 17, 2016, shortly after meeting Martin’s cousins for the first time and reviewing all the photos and letters they shared, I submitted a formal request for military information about Martin’s great-uncle Otto, who fought in the Wehrmacht in World War II and never came home. He was killed in action fighting the Russians, and that’s about all the family knew.  Continue reading

Wynter is Leaving

After more than 13 months working as our family au pair, Wynter is leaving us. Long before the sun rises tomorrow morning, we’re making the trek to the airport to see her off as she returns to her family in Northern Virginia.

We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with ourselves in her absence.  Continue reading

Chores and Allowance

The girls and their chores. Photo from December 2012.

Our household has been in disarray since the move last month. Martin and I have been cleaning, repairing, painting, and unpacking while simultaneously working full time, and managing the lives and wellbeing of four children — three of whom have been on school holiday for most of the month — all as I’ve been wrapping up my undergraduate program, too.

If it weren’t for our au pair, Wynter, to help us keep afloat, I am fairly certain Martin and I would have lost our minds a long time ago. A lot of things have slipped — chores, bedtimes, and family meetings — but as it stands now, we’ve reached a point where we can begin etching out a family routine once again, and that includes nailing down routine chores for the kids.

In the past, we used a single chore chart hung up in the kitchen or laundry room, in a place where it was seen on a regular basis near our family calendar. But considering the layout of our new house, there isn’t really an appropriate communal space for a chart of chores for multiple people. Plus, with the kids being older, and taking on additional responsibilities while also going in different directions with school and extracurriculars, I wanted to come up with a new way of managing household duties without creating an enormous chart that would soon become an overlooked piece of scenery and not a part of our daily lives.

So I literally put it all in their hands. Continue reading

Holiday Decorating

We’re celebrating a lot of firsts this year. First Christmas for Junior, first Christmas in the new house, and first real tree for our family!

Martin and I got the family room painted and set up just enough to decorate. We’ve still living out of boxes and suitcases, but at least we’ll be ready for Christmas.

Whew!

Sleep Mates

Getting my heavy-sleeper son to use his inhaler when his asthma flares up is impossible, so last night, I carried him into our room to use the nebulizer after he resisted my attempts to wake up and administer his puffs.

I propped him in my spot on the bed, got the nebulizer set up, turned it on, and watched the mist appear around his nose to ease his breathing. Once that started going, I went to get a glass of water, and returned to this.

My husband and son, holding hands, resting contently while the nebulizer hummed. Completely peaceful and serene. Continue reading