Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bike Week

image by me
Bicycling is healthy and good for the environment. In Germany, it's also a standard form of transportation. How does it get that way? Not by happenstance. It's cultivated.

My kids just finished Bike Week at school (yes, they're still in school—they don't get out for the summer until the end of July). Every year, the 1st through 4th graders have Bike Week. They take their bikes to school and practice riding during class, including a challenging slalom. Kids who don't own a bike get to use bicycles and helmets provided by the school. There is also bicycle theory, including traffic rules and safety tips.

At the end of 4th graders' Bike Week, the children are granted their Bicycle Driver License. This is a big deal. By this point, they've been working toward it for four years. Having their Bicycle Driver License means they are allowed to ride to school from now on. No more using a scooter like the "little" kids.

What do you think of Bike Week?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mom is Broken

image by Esther Simpson via Flickr
Despite the heat, she's curled in her bed with the covers over her head, close to wheezing from lack of oxygen.

It's all too much. Too many fights about homework and cleaning up toys and the importance of taking showers and brushing teeth. Too many meanest-mom-in-the-world comments. Too many worries about family members' health and happiness.

And the planning! The appointments with teachers, and driving to karate and swimming and English and inline skating and the gardening club. The trying to figure out if it's possible to get from the 3rd graders' end-of-the-year party in Hoefen back to Niederndorf in time for the After School Program's sleepover because EVERY CLUB THE KIDS ARE IN HAS TO HAVE A STUPID SUMMER PARTY THIS MONTH.

Which means she has to prepare for them. Two dozen muffins yesterday. Two dozen more today plus a pasta salad. To manage the Broccoli Balls by Friday after work, it'll be necessary to buy the ingredients today and prepare the dough on Thursday night.

But it'll work. As long as she plans it.

And that's not even considering the trials and tribulations of the day job or fighting to remain positive about the unpublished manuscripts on her desk. Because if she ever gets published, there'll be even more work and how in the hell is she going to handle that?


Push back the covers.

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Mom's not really broken. It's just today, just that her batteries are dead and need a serious recharge. A little sleep, dancing to too-loud music in the kitchen, time to read and write. Then she'll be back to organizing and planning and making sure our little corner of the world runs smoothly.

Until then, thank goodness for Dad, who is not broken and is supporting the family with his charged batteries.

...I thought a lot before posting today. I don't want to come across as a downer. But I think a lot of mothers go through the same feelings in this busy world. Anyone else out there ever have days like this? What gets you recharged?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Who Do I Want To Win?

The World Cup is going on right now, and since I'm an American living in Germany, people often ask who I want to win. So here goes.

(spoiler: it's complicated)

1. USA, my native country

image via Flickr from Mike Mozart


The US is good at a lot of things. So if we don't win at soccer, no big deal. Next is...

2. Germany, my home

image via Flickr from fdcomite


3. Brazil, because my husband is half-Brazilian, and his family is great. Also, since they're the hosts, I think it would be especially moving for them.

image via Flickr from Andre Maceira


4.I work for a sporting goods company. So next in line would be any team wearing my brand.

image via Flickr from Renato Gizzi


5. Last in line would be any place I've had a nice vacation, would love to visit or makes great food.

image via Flickr from Robyn Lee
Who do you want to win?