We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are." ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley~

Loehrmann Family Favorite Recipes

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Day In Germany

Parenting lesson learned: Teach kids about the importance of clinging to family. Let them see you emotional. Label the emotions you/they have and teach them that tears don't always come when you're sad. Notice the background around you. Be willing to touch a piggy nose and make animal sounds.

Lukas helped with the packing. I'm surprised there weren't more grapes in the suitcase. While the others rested we packed up all the chocolate, the treasures, the baking packets, the tea and the Adventskranz and got ready to go to the farm that day.

Schultenhof Dortmund
"Guten Morgen Ponies" "Hi Pferd" Lukas was in pig heaven- quite literally. Most of these pigs are as good as gone. Soon they'll be bacon and ham, but for now they're squeaky little screechers that are more than friendly towards little children who don't know better. These huge pink-snouted guys were a major hit with our little farmer. The fachwerk Houses, the cows (HUGE COWS!) that reside in a barn infested with pooping pidgeons, the sheep and ponies. Up close and personal, he was fascinated by all of it. Mama takes the kids from the KITA here sometimes in the summer to see the animals, play on the awesome playground there, and tire those kiddos out from the walk. Danke Mama dass wir gehen konnten!

What would you buy your last night in Germany? Me? Fenchelhoenig for my little sweetpea's coughing. I love German Apothekes! And who knew we'd find one with a wooden rocking horse?! I'm excited to look up a few medicinal goodies in the USA that I discovered in Germany. Cross your fingers Rite Aid, here I come!

The "good morning" wave from Mama was a welcomed end to a night of little sleep. I felt a little anxious and queasy this morning - our last in Germany. Omi fed Lukas Muesli & Frucht Zwerge so Jared and I could finish getting ready to go. Lukas loves her singing, her faces she makes at him, and repeats now things she says. Horcht mal!The bags were already packed. We prayed together then drove to the train station.

We all entered this vacation with a little intrepidation- would we have enough space for each other? how would Lukas adjust? Would he be too much? And then as we hugged and kissed and hugged again we knew all over again that, as Omi says, an eternal family doesn't just fall from heaven- we have to work on it, and that this time together was to all of our relief and joy a jillion times than any of us thought it could be. My mommy heart was SO full of happiness as Opa joined us on the train platform and Lukas ran to him and threw his little arms around Opi's neck. Lukas copies Opa whenever he says "Heeeey!" and "Und wie!" And in little quiet moments he'll sometimes whisper, "Liebe Opa". The bags were already in the train and it was time to give last goodbyes. Then sitting down with our hands pressed against the window from the inside, as if touching the hands pressed to the glass from the outside, the train slowly rolled away. Lukas looked and me and said "Mama traurig" as tears rolled down my cheeks. I officially have my heart stuck in two countries.
Now we could try to sleep during the 3 hour train ride to Frankfurt.

The train ride and the long 9 hour flight behind us, the almost 3 hour flight ahead of us. We'd just experienced a miracle, since there was originally no extra seat on the flight out of Frankfurt. Can you imagine holding a non-infant "infant" for 9 hours on your lap? Whoa. Then we got to Canada. Lukas saw tv screens in the adjacent bar showing a football and starting yelling, "YAYYYYYY! FOOTBALL!!! YAYYYY!!!" with his hands waving in the air.

Then we found out the flight was delayed an hour. It's all good. This trip would have taken months in the olden days :)

God bless Canada for playstructures in the terminals. Even at 1am German time this little energizer bunny was running around, giggling his head off, playing with his new friend Amelia who was flying with her parents to Florida.

But even Lukas became tired as the hours ticked by, and he fell fast asleep on dad once in the airplane. Good thing since there was no room in the inn for him and his car seat. Dad was just perfect.

We made it home safe and sound (obviously) at 1am on Friday morning here. With no milk, and it being Jared's birthday, we headed into town for breakfast at Denny's. This preacher approached us and said that one could tell our son loves Jesus by the look in his eye and gave us a little plastic glow-in-the-dark cross that he could play with. We just sat there in a kind of vacation aftermath bubble, not wanting the time as a family to end. From exhaustion and overboard feelings Jared and I sat there with tears in our eyes, looking at our little traveling buddy, feeling how much we just love him to pieces. He did so well and bless that waitress that morning for bringing him another fruitbowl of just grapes. Made his little day!

We're happy to be home, sad to be without our German family. Lukas is almost back into his groove, playing at the playground every day, jumping off the couch onto the cushions, playing his new instruments and reading his new books.

New adventures are right around the corner. Stay posted!

Snow & Family

Parenting lesson learned: Teaching your kids the names of their relatives pays off. Showing them photos of them and skyping with them helps them build relationships and experiences that shape who they are, and build a place in your unique family.

We ventured out into the snow for a walk with the Kinderwagen since our little man doesn't last too long out in the snow once he keeps taking off mittens and gets his little hands cold. We'll work on that later. In the mean time, into the sack with ye matey! He was all bundled up warm with little red cheeks. At the beginning of our walk, he wanted to get out and look around, so out he went and into the snow. Then all of a sudden up a little hill, he disappeared out of sight and he slipped and plopped himself right into the snow, and funny was that we ran for the child and the buggy started rolling back down the hill the other way. Good thing there were 2 parents there, right? Lukas was comfy all tucked in again and we stole away into Romberg Park. It was gorgeous - covered in that blanket of snow! We naively thought we may see some ducks. Um, the pond was frozen over! Lukas enjoyed it too, and sang to himself on the way back and Jared and I took turns huffing and puffing the stroller back up the hill towards home.

After about 25 hours of travelling to get to Germany and changing time zones enough that we are now 9 hours ahead, it was the little things that helped Lukas get back into the groove, like bathtime in Oma's tub. German tubs are deeper than Ami tubs, and the faucet is mostly on the side, which is genious for soaking in the tub- no faucet in your back! Almost every evening he swims in the tub and always called for Omili to come see him swim. We also got to teach Oma the Fishy song and I couldn't help but laugh whenever I heard her humming it! Hier Mama, damit du das Lied aufgeschrieben hast:
Kleiner Fisch, kleiner Fisch
Schwimmt im kuehlen Wasser
Kleiner Fisch, kleiner Fisch
Wurd' gegessen von...
Thun-fisch (flitzt durch kuhles Wasser)
Tintenfisch (rudert durch das Wasser)
---Jaws musik--- duhn-duhn,duhn-duhn,duhn-duhn,duhn-duhn,
Grosser Hai (schwimmt im tiefen Wasser)
Riesiger Wal (spruedelt in das Wasser)

Reminiscent of the garden in Davis, he "put in his thumb and pulled out a" --TOMATO!

With old snow already on the ground it began to snow like crazy just a few days after we got there, and it just kept coming. We braved the weather to go grocery shopping (which is for us as great as visiting some other major European attraction) and found parking lots full of misparked cars, narrow aisles to drive in and huge mounds of snow. I was so super grateful that Lukas was able to have a snowsuit and snowboots from the KITA, and Mama bought him Strumpfhose to wear under his pants. Now most little kids in Europe wear these tights in the winter, and I think it's mostly unheard of in the USA to put a boy in them, but boy is it smart of these Europeans! Lukas LOVES his Strumpfhose and called them his "Tanzhose". The best was on Sunday when I was getting ready for church. Lukas pointed to my hose and said, "Mama Tanzhose," then pointing to his own thick blue tights said smiling, "Lukas Tanzhose!" Here Dad put Lukas up on a huge mound of snow out by the car, then hefted him into the store. Always an adventure wherever we go!

On Saturday Dec 17th after Jared and I froze our toes off to get a few deals at the local flea market, we packed Lukas in the car for his nap and drove through the snow to Düsseldorf to meet Opa Uwe and Oma Sigried at the city's Aqua Zoo. We saw at least four car accidents on the way and were super happy to have gotten there safely! There was one little moment where the windshield wiper spray was a little stuck and we couldn't see out very well, but Heavenly Father watched over us and it began to work again just in time! Makes one really appreciate being able to see clearly. (Also a cool comparison with life!) We all met up in the parking lot and Lukas waved from the window to these grandparents whom he'd not yet met in person- just through Skype. Once inside, Lukas went right to the penguin tank, and WHOA it was amazing! They were RIGHT THERE!!! He was there for a GOOD while and so happy to get to see the penguins dive and splash ("Tauchen!!" "Planschen!")

I just loved the looks on Lukas' face when the fish were so 'right in his space' and HUGE! A close second to the look of utter amazement on his face when he saw his first wind turbines up close! Here the three generations of Löhrmänner go "fishing" at the AquaZoo.

Everything here was so huge and new- and need I say so alive?! From lizards to fish, to crocodiles and little monkeys- he was thoroughly captivated by it all!

This little cave for spyingg on the groundhogs was just the right size for our little adventurer! We had so much fun exploring the museum with Grandma and Grandpa and I was glad Lukas was so smiley for this picture with them :)

--Sushi & Noodle Bar--
Korean food with a toddler, uncle & grandparents. :)Lukas was so super thrilled to see "Onkel Teffen!!" again, and is still talking about the time Steffen sang to him on skype. [Today he talked about Steffen at least 7 times (1/6/2011)] He just sat in his arms and giggled! So cute! We recently found a shrimp flavored cracker in his carseat and remembered this place all over again. Lukas was a real squirmy pantz by the time we were ready to meet Steffen at a restaurant and eat after the museum. We distracted him for a little while with Spruedel water out of a bottle and then Jared took him over to the front counter kitchen area where the food was frying, boiling, and simmering. Lukas wanted so badly to go through the swinging doors into the small back kitchen where they chop veggies and wash dishes. This sweet Korean owner lady opened her bag of shrimp crackers and let Lukas stand in the doorway and watch her chop huge heads of broccoli. She thought he was completely adorable and we were sure to tip her generously :) Oh, and my child loved my curry vegetables! HA!
As for the adventure with family: At one point, I laughed as all the men broke into song. It was as if for a small moment I'd been beamed into a German Pub, or that boat a few summers ago where the drunken men were singing old German songs for this guy's all-day bachelor party. Lukas watched in amusement and got a kick out of hanging out with his relatives :)

"KERZE" (Candle!!) Once Oma lit this candle for Lukas it attended his almost every meal. He was fascinated by the dancing light ("Flamme!!), and that he could blow it out (which took some practice) and that it made smoke afterwards ("Rauch!") Once home in CA we lit a little candle for him just to make him feel at "home".

Der Gestiefelte Kater

Daniel Roark, Jared Daniel and Lukas Daniel

We went to the Christmas Market again and enjoyed the freezing cold air wafting smells of German cooked goodness through our nostrils. Reibekuchen, Mandeln, Bratwurst, Gluehwein. This time Lukas rode with mom in a spaceship. My arm was his seatbelt. Pull the stick and we go up, let go we go down. A toddler managing this causes a ride reminiscent of an earthquake. It was a blast! I love how you can see the old churches and buildings in the background! Great pictures dad!

At Mama's Kindertagesstaette (KITA) everybody has fun! Playing in the slide house, reading books, singing songs, dancing or just doing your own thing. We had a blast there, and Lukas went one day with Omi all by himself. She packed him into the car with Opili, and spent the whole morning with our little sweetpea! I packed him a butterbrot in a clicker-box for their morning snack time so that he'd also have a bread made by his mommy when the other kids opened their clicker boxes. I felt a little strange to send my toddler off to daycare for a morning, but really he was just hanging out with Omi and he had a blast. Jared and I came later, and played there with the kids. Lukas would open the windows of the little house again and again yelling, "Look-a-me Mamili" and "Hallo Leute!" While he napped there for the afternoon we enjoyed Doener with Mama. Lukas got his own taste after his nap!

At the KITA Mama takes the kids out whenever the weather permits and her co-worker has this super cool wagon for the kids. Lukas was super excited to climb up a big snowy hill and look out over the playground, to hear the crunch of the snow under his boots, and to go for a ride on the way home. He was really playful with the other kids in the cart and tried to do "knuckles" with Paul. :)

--Loving Uncles---"Onkel Teffen" and "Onkel Flowian"

Christmas Eve Morning Papa went out to get Broetchen and we ate together as a big family around the table. We played Phase 10 all afternoon (and so many afternoons!)

--Heilig Abend--
We set up this nativity scene, created by Oma Karin, and enjoyed a yummy raclette dinner together. Then, gathered in the living room with hymnbooks (and Phase 10 cards to keep Lukas busy) we sang tons of Christmas hymns. Lukas stood in happiness, waving his arms directing music now and again, or dragging the Christmas tree here and there. Really such a sweet feeling of Christmas to be with FaMiLy.

On a cold afternoon Steffen & Jared took Lukas outside to play in the snow. The built a snowman, made lots of tracks in the snow and created snow angels. Can you see all three?

Christmas Sunday- The whole family together. Hard to keep everyone (ah hem, Lukas) from wriggling. The talks were wonderful and it was neat that the middle speaker invited all the children to sit in the front row for her talk which was to them, but definitely full of enough insight to inspire each adult as well. (Reminded me of Delingsdorf) It was also so special to get to sing Christmas songs in German. Lukas had a ball going from Omili to Opili to loving uncles and back to us. He did a great job :) On another note it was such a joy to meet up with Matthias Roth, who served with us in the Frankfurt Mission. He lives in Dortmund with his wife and 3 kids, one of whom looks like a little version of himself. What happiness fills my heart when I meet someone from that time and see that they are still so stalwart and faithful in the gospel!

Lukas playing in the Primary room. Very lovingly decorated. The kids have their lesson in the net tent and have so much fun playing. During our first Sunday there, Lukas waved the plastic drumstick around singing "Hallelujah" "For the Lord..." SO funny. I was worried that he might not go to nursery because he wouldn't know anyone. In fact that morning we'd been telling him about German PV and how fun it would be, and that the other kids speak German and how he'll make some new friends. Then we got there and saw this room. He was JUST fine. And even when the primary worker brought him to the Relief Society door and he announced loudly, "A-A Mama!" and I thought he might not go back... nope. I was wrong. He was just happy dandy glad to go back in there and play. And why not? He does talk a lot, but in German mostly and here they can appreciate his chatter more because they understand what he's saying, and he LOVES that I am SURE! Man, is he adorable!

Just tired. Soooo tired. Lukas' face says it all really. I laugh out loud just looking at this picture with him.

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

A whole new world to explore: Be it foraging for Mandarine oranges, or making music with the plastic around the water bottles, or pushing the buttons on the washing machine, Lukas kept us all on our toes. I can't count how many times that kiddo asked for oranges "to hold"- needless to say I ate a few, and he had a TON of grapes.