Those were the words that started a summer-long project. Papa B, the construction foreman, and his two apprentices, began to work. They have learned to saw, to pound nails, to use clamps, to measure, and many other valuable things. Thanks, Papa B!
One of the boys’ classes was going on a school outing to an old castle 30 minutes drive south of Erfurt. Papa B was going to be here, too, so we made a Man-Day. A few days before the preparations went into full swing: we bought manly snacks and packed them in our manly backpacks. The email from the organizers said that though you could drive there, some would meet at a bus stop in a nearby village and hike to the castle. Well, that sounded manly, so that’s what we were going to do.
The day arrived, beautiful and sunny. We got everything ready, filled our water bottles and got our hiking shoes on, and set out for the village. We got there, just in time. After the bus came and went on which the other hikers were supposed to come, and no one got off, we knew that we’d missed something.
Well, there was nothing to do but to start hiking.
We saw many wonderful things…
… including brilliant fields of raps
… deer stands
(… and cows, many dandelions which got decapitated, sheep/goats, hippies, but sadly dad didn’t think of taking pictures of those)
… and finally, the castle itself (where the hippies live). We got there about 40 minutes too late. I guess dad had done the manly thing and wasn’t detailed enough in his planning.
And where were the others? They either drove all the way to the castle or started from a nearer village. We ended up walking a total of 10 KM there and back! That’s pretty good. Its good we had our manly snacks along, otherwise we would’ve run out of fuel for the way back.
Its always wonderful when Gram and Papa B come visiting. On the way home from school one day, Papa B was telling the boys how if you planted an apple core, you might get an apple tree to grow. However, the apples wouldn’t be the same as the one you planted. The boys thought having their very own apple tree would be a good idea. So, when they got home, Papa B got out the spade, and they buried the apple core, watered it, and then put up a sign where we planted it. And now the waiting begins. The boys were sure, they’d see something growing by this summer. We’ll see!
I never knew bears built Legos, but recently this was true in our little town of Erfurt.
One of the amazing ministries in Erfurt that we (as a Student ministry) support is Bärenstark, a Christian initiative to impact kids who come from rough social backgrounds in the “inner city” areas of Erfurt. Besides offering big brother, big sister relationships to the kids, they also put on monthly kids programs.
That’s where the Legos come in. Bärenstark brought in a couple along with their over 200,000 Lego pieces to build a Lego city in the ministry center. Every day kids, and even local school classes, came in to build legos and to hear a little about how God loves them. The boys and I went as well, as something for for the boys to do, and for me to help the kids who came. By the end of the week we stood in amazement at the Lego city that had been built (sorry, I don’t have a picture of it all), as well as the hundreds of kids who had come through the door, many of them for the first time.
Erfurt is a beautiful city and historically very significant. Erfurt is where Martin Luther was a University students, a monk, and later a priest. At that time Erfurt was printing nearly half the books for all of Germany, and every monastic order had a chapter house in the city. If you like European history, Erfurt and the surrounding region had no small part to play in it.
This time of year is always a fantastic time to bone up on your scalpel skills… not that ours are particularly good to begin with. One of my fondest memories as a boy is getting dressed up and visiting the local US base (I didn’t live in the U.S.) and supplementing my candy stash. It was a lot of fun.
Three years ago we had just moved in to our apartment. October 31st rolled around when suddenly the door bell rang. Were we surprised to find two or three German kids all dressed up at the door, saying: “Süsses oder Saueres!” We were totally surprised (is Halloween here now, too?) and unprepared. Well, this year we were ready. Part of that prep was to carve our first ever pumpkin with the boys. Enjoy!
As September has already galloped past me into mid-September, we are heading into our 4th week of school. The boys have started at a new school this year. They are officially 1st graders!! The first few weeks of new teachers, new school, new “getting up early” time, new friends to make, new expectations, new, new, new, new… the boys have bravely treaded their way through. Now, this is a lot for a 6-year-old to absorb, so almost everyday for the first 2 weeks, we would experience major explosions. Over the littlest things, too. I knew to expect something from my boys, because they don’t always do well with change, but boy, it still brought me to my knees in prayer. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BOYS??
Once they started making friends, it was almost a change over night. Less and more infrequent blow outs. I think they are settling in. Now, I know it won’t be a cake walk from here on out, but it sure is nice knowing we are all settling in.
The boys and I went on a biking adventure… we went places we hadn’t been before… we used muscles we didn’t know we had. How fun having a couple of boys to do this with! Enjoying a European May 1st holiday! Apparently it originated in Chicago!?