Saturday, December 31

Happy un-birthday!

....to my dreadlocks! Haha! they are 1 1/2 years old tomorrow. Little babies, just a little younger than my son. 
To celebrate, I bleached the crap out of them. Gave them a little make-over. 


They are coming along quite well, with almost no maintenance involved now (save for a good LUSH washing!).


I've always wanted them, but I didn't put much thought into them... I got so fed up with the post-baby-hairloss that I just sat down one day and started back-combing.

(brand new!!)

(8 months along.)

Then they grew. And grew. And grew. Which was awesome, but heavy and hot and cumbersome. And about halfway down my hair the dreads stopped and it was just fluffy, sticky hair. So we (my friend Megan and I) chopped them off.  Then I was sad.

(but not SO sad.)

But it was for the best, they locked right up and there's been no turning back! 

Until the last couple of weeks when I desperately needed to chop them ALL off. I don't know why. Thankfully I didn't and my hair angel found me and talked to me today and made up my mind to keep them .  

Now, they are starting to feel like me. I know we will go through phases, but this is something I really wanted to do and I'm super glad I did it. But, satisfied as I am with them, I still need change. Hence the blonde. Possibly pink and orange soon. We'll see. 

I'm thinking this is a good way to stop trying to define myself to other people, or to myself. I like punk music, hot pink hair and mohawks. I like swing music and retro clothing. I like Jimmi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and dreadlocks. I like depression-era values, fine art AND tattoos. I like hiking and skating and swimming and reading. I love reading. Especially Little House on the Prairie and the Little Prince. I don't know why I've always felt all of this could not co-exist. It can, and strangely my hair is teaching me how to allow it. 


Anyway! Happy unbirthday dreddies! You've grown on me. (get it? har har...)

Thursday, December 29

sickies.

Shaun the Sheep, noodle soup and orange juice. Again. Germany, I'll be glad to leave your winter funk behind....
(these photos were taken a little earlier in the year, these days we are all bundled up!)


Hooray Christmas!

Oh my word. I love Blogger. I wrote this and took a million hours uploading all the photos only to accidentally delete it (a second time!!)... but just now while writing it a third time I realized it was saving and so I rummaged around and found this as a draft! It's a Christmas miracle!!! Haha!! 


This Christmas was about 4,527x's better than it was last year, thankfully! Nothing bad happened last year, but nothing good either. It just. Was.  

This year we actually got out of the house and made it to the squadron party, so here's a more recent photo of Chris and I:


Gah, the difference between 24 and 30 is crazy. Haha..

We  made friends of ours come over and celebrate in Christmas morning. (But it wasn't hard to twist their arms, haha...) It makes our hearth much more cheerful!


I made all the stockings. Ours (Chris's, mine and J's) are from two years ago (here).

This year I crocheted one, and sewed three. Charla's was bright rainbow, Melissa's was Nepali inspired and Zak's was pray painted with a stormtrooper snowflake! Brenda's was really fun though, it was a black & white fabric I picked up at the craft store and colored with a set of markers I have laying around. I looooove it!

   

Is it weird to not do Santa but still do stockings? I really do love that tradition, so I doubt we will give it up!!

There are snowflakes all over the house, thanks to Zak and Erin! 






Our tree, in all it's gaudy tinseled glory:


The required Annalee elf (and Hans Solo!)..


This year I took the New England maple syrup my grandparents sent me and made maple sugar candy for the first time!! It was awesome, and just like the stuff we buy in New Hamoshire. Super life changing now that I know I can have it anywhere at any time! ;D


I also made vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls morning of. With LOTS of icing.


We really cut back on gifts this year, and Johnny got good stuff. Like stocking booty... really, this kid was so thrilled to find a banana in his stocking!


A rad robot sweater from the Lalas!


German cookies... This was his 'want' gift. He's too young to tell me what he wants, but he asks for cookies first thing when he wakes up and about 65,000 times after that throughout the day. So it was a no-brainer. They came in a cool Hansel and Gretal tin that he will love playing with when they are finished, too.


Happy kid.


With one of the Lalas, passing out gifts.


And the big one. A wooden excavator that his dad made. A-freakin-mazing! He hasn't stopped playing with it and has asked to take it to bed, in the car and in the shower with him. He adores it, like whoa.


To top the day off (after a delicious Neatloaf Night) Melissa made us REAL Gl├╝hwein, flaming rum sugar and all!


Sigh.... It was a good last Christmas in Germany (sniff...sniff...). I love being surrounded by amazing people who help us make such nice memories!

Tuesday, December 27

Blarg, not blog....

Yea, the end of the year. My camera has not been charged in weeks, my groceries are spread all over the kitchen, my dishes are taking over, the house is slowly becoming more cluttered by the second (don't even ask about my craft 'areas') scratchy throats and sniffly noses prevail.
Same story, different year.
But somehow this year is very different, somehow I'm keeping my head above water, despite some old patterns falling back into place.
I am still managing to stay up too late, even during a personal FB silence.

I just bought new dishes and silverware, enough for four people, and that's it. Tomorrow I am packing up all the rest, including most of my pots and pans, mugs, glasses, bottles, utensils, ect. They will sit out of sight (in the garage) until they are out of mind and then they will be swept away to a new life (by the cleaner, my husband). I have a hard time getting rid of stuff... we have to take the bandages off slowly around here, no ripping for me :(

I wish I had a Christmas photo for you guys, but it will have to wait until next time. It was lovely. Simple and relaxing, just how I've always hoped it would be. And it included the most amazing cinnamon rolls you could possibly imagine, bonus!


For now, here's this... a photo from Christmas 5 (maybe 6?) years ago:


Yea, we were hot stuff. No biggie. ;}

Tuesday, November 29

Soooo much love.

I love that moment in the morning, when I hear Johnny calling for me down the hall... I get up and walk down to see him peaking out of his door. As soon as I get to the door he runs over to his toys to show me what he's been up to, moving blocks or rolling around his cars. He wants me to play. All day, he wants to show me, or do things with me, and he's always finding things that make me laugh, and then doing them over and over... just like we've done with him since he was born. He's turned the tables on me, and I didn't expect it... I'm thrilled. beyond. belief. There's so many things you don't think about when you think, "I want to have a baby." I knew I was missing out on something, but I had no idea how much that something would be, or how much it would mean. I didn't know that him grabbing my finger to take me to his toys, or to show me an orange on the counter would brighten my whole day. My whole life.


I love that kid.

Wednesday, November 23

perspective plums.

I've had numerous enlightening conversations the past two days. I can't believe how much growing can be done in such a short span. Really it's got to do with paradigm shifts and perspective. Listening to people talk about how their lives have changed and shifted in drastic ways really puts things in order for me. Mostly it reaffirms the path we are on as a family. I couldn't be happier with the choices we've made so far and I look forward to many more down the line.
It will be hard work, but everything in life is perspective.as my dad has always told me. :)

I was reminded of all this by my defrosting jar full of plums that I couldn't stop taking photos of!





My dad says

Thursday, November 17

A little winter.



Fall is just about over, we had a really good frost yesterday, and the temp is hovering around snow weather. It's so pretty! 

This is a terribly incorrect photo, but for some reason I really love it... these little flowers were so covered in frost.


The way the dew freezes on them is really cool.



Of course, normal for Germany, winter is welcomed with fog, fog, fog...


We have a small heard of cows behind the house, I just love them, too. :)

Thursday, November 10

Five years of bread-making wrapped into one loaf.


So much bread. So many good loaves and so many failed. None of them perfect for what I needed- a perfect sandwich bread for my picky husband who must have store-like bread for his grilled cheese sandwiches and toast... a trait with he has apparently passed onto my son. I like my bread crunchy and European, but the boys have simple tastes. Funny how it's much easier to make a yummy European loaf than this stuff. But it's not that hard, I promise. 
Well, here it is; a serendipitous bread that fell from the skies and only took two small batches to perfect. It's not exactly like store-bought (so much better if you ask me) but it does the trick, and not just in a pinch! 

This makes two loaves, and is the vegan version. You can use eggs and butter instead of flax and margarine, but I haven't tried that, so happy experimenting ;)

4 tbsp. ground flax seed
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. margarine
1 c. almond milk
1/2 c. water
2 tbsp. raw agave or maple syrup
4 c. all purpose or bread flour
2 c. wheat flour
3 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sea salt

In a small bowl, mix the flax seed and 3/4 c. warm water with a fork, set aside.
In a sauce pan gently melt the margarine into the milk. You want it to stay slightly cool, so don't boil or cook too long. Add 1/2 c. water and agave/maple syrup.
In a mixer or food processor mix 2 c. of the flour with the liquids and the flax mixture. Blend until smooth, then slowly add in 1/2 c. flour at a time. You may need to transfer mixture to a bowl and use your hands to get all the flour kneaded in. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, using cold-pressed olive or canola oil to keep it from sticking, about 5-8 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and let rest in a covered bowl in a draft free spot until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.* Once doubled, punch dough down, cut in half and form loaves in two glass, slightly oiled bread pans. Cover and let rise another hour, or longer if needed (until it reaches the top of the pan).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the loaves for 40-45 minutes, until dark brown on top. Remove from oven and cover with a cloth dish towel for 10-15 minutes, and then remove loaves from pans to cool completely.
Store in a clean bread bag or in a paper bag. You can freeze one loaf and defrost at room temperature when you're ready to eat :)

*The longer your rise time, the less kneading you'll need to do. 

(Also, I recommend eating it slathered in jam with this, or dipped in this on a cold winter day.)


Sunday, October 30

October.

October is by far my favorite month. Chris and I were married in October and J was born this month as well. I love the season and the food and the fresh air that blows through getting ready for winter. Even in Florida heat October felt special. Since moving away from that climate I have fully fell in love with this month :)

I used the past few weeks to work on a sort of life project and it's led to some really special ideas and moments. I guess sometime I'll go into that more, but for now here are some pictures from one of our walks this week :)



This made me think of the Giving Tree:


This guys is so old. And sweet. Check out his old lips! Haha!


This is his buddy, she is a little more shy.


She reminds me of a wild horse.


As does this kid...



I managed to get a painting done for my friend's son who adores bison. It's about 26" square, acrylic on canvas.



And Halloween!! I did practice makeup on myself and Brenda:



And this is our finished product, with two other lovely ladies :)


And can't forget the adorable monkeys! Johnny's not crying, he's making monkey noises! So stinkin' cute!
He wouldn't let Charla wear her mask, so we tried to paint her face up ;}


Tomorrow night is trick-or-treating, I'm thinking we'll go. I go back and forth because 1) he is still pretty young, and 2) he can't eat 90% of what is handed out. But, I got some reverse trick-or-treating cards and would love to put them to use. Plus, we'll just happen to be on base at the right time, and he does love his monkey costume, and I'll pretty much jump at any opportunity to let him run off some energy at this point! ;D
Happy Halloween!