Happy Mother’s Day

Enjoying ice cream by a fountain

It seems like Meg gets more excited about Mother’s Day each year. With the Corona pandemic, the kids have only been going to school every other day, and most activities are still cancelled, so Meg had extra time to work on gifts for Clare. She made a variety of different cards and paintings and such. I really like the pop-up style of cards she has been doing lately. They are really fun and creative.

One new idea Meg had this year was to make a room service menu. There are so many stories and movies in which kids make breakfast-in-bed for mom on Mother’s Day. The thing is, Clare doesn’t really like to eat breakfast in bed (and I agree). So instead, we just had breakfast at the table, but made it a bit special, and we let Clare decide ahead of time what she wanted. She decided on omelettes. I made the omelettes, while Meg made a fresh fruit salad.

After breakfast, we migrated upstairs to give Clare all of her presents.

Even though the weather in the week leading up to Mother’s Day was mostly wet and dreary, Mother’s Day itself turned out to be beautiful – almost too warm in fact, at about 26C (79F). We decided to take a bike ride to the park we recently discovered in Bardenberg. They have a nice table tennis table and basketball court, a large field great for picnics, and a sort of rope swing from a tree which Meg really likes. Spencer surpassed Rob at soccer and running a couple years ago already, but Rob frequently can still win at table tennis. It seems unlikely that will be the case for too much longer.

We also finally got to try out the new ice cream place – Delzepich. They have had a store in Aachen for a number of years, and are quite famous, but only recently opened a store in W√ľrselen. They make the ice cream fresh every day, and when they run out, they close. They sell out nearly every day, and there is almost always a line. The lines are a lot longer at all places right now because of Corona, and you are not allowed to eat the ice cream within 50 meters of the establishment. Basically, they don’t want crowds of people without masks on, and you have to take off your mask to eat. No problem, we found a bench by a peaceful little pond full of turtles and fish. The ice cream was quite good, although I think that I might like Peppone better, and the line is usually shorter. Clare happened to have a gift certificate from as part of her going away present from her work colleagues, so the ice cream was already paid for (and we still have some money left, so we will be forced to go back ūüôā )

Uno de Mayo

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Clare really wanted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican feast this year. We decided to do it a couple days early – on May 1st. It is a bit hard to come by Mexican ingredients here, but there is a Mexican grocery store in Aachen. It is mostly intended for restaurants, so has stuff in pretty big quantities usually, but that’s okay. They are also usually only open Monday through Friday 9-5, but fortunately Clare had some time to stop by.

Per our usual dinner party strategy, Rob focused on cleaning house and drinks, while Clare focused on the food; Meg focused on decorations and games to play. Spencer spent the night at a friend’s house, so he wasn’t around.

The menu included:

  • Tortilla chips with Vegan Queso Dip, salsa, and guacamole
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Black beans
  • Pulled chicken
  • Rice
  • Mexican cabbage salad
  • Traditional margaritas
  • Virgin mandarin orange margaritas

For breakfast Thomas and Ulli made fresh blue corn tortillas with their tortilla press, and we used them, along with a bunch of the other leftovers, to make huevos rancheros.

Happy Easter

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This was our second Easter during the global pandemic. In 2020, our trip to the United States was cancelled. In 2021, our stay at a vacation rental in the nearby Eifel national park was also cancelled. Nevertheless, we tried to make the best of our staycation. We had some tasty food like hard-boiled eggs, chocolate candies, and a lamb cake, which reminded me of a pound cake, but in the shape of a lamb.

We had hoped to do a bunch of hiking, but it turns out the weather was pretty bad most of the week too, alternating between snow, sleet, hail, rain, and graupel. Meg organized a board game marathon. We played a number of rounds of Settlers of Catan, The Game of Life, Azul, King Domino, Skyjo, Hell, Set, Uno, and Monopoly Deal. I think Meg won the tournament overall. There was one game of Hell where I won in 2 rounds. We all seem to have different games that we excel at, which is fun. At some point during the week Meg and Spencer invented Supersiedler, in which they played Settlers of Catan just the two of them, but they used all four colors, so each person played with both colors, and they played up to twenty points. Also a good variation.

  • Easter card front
  • Easter card poem
  • Easter card back

Meg also made an Easter card, which you can see above. She wrote the poem herself.

The easter bunny
 he is so funny
 he likes to hop
 and do the pop
 the kids find his eggs
 and they run with their legs
 he eats carrots
 just like parrots

Halloween 2020 (Deutsch)

Jack-o-lanterns
Jana, Meg, Samaya, Lisa, and Celia

Meg plant diese Halloweenparty schon seit einigen Monaten. Wegen Corona ist der Feier fast nicht stattgefunden; Deutschland f√ľhrt neue Kontaktbeschr√§nkungen am 2. November ein. Da Halloween erst am 31. Oktober stattfindet d√ľrfen wir legal feiern. Aber auch nicht nur im gesetzlichen Sinne sondern auch nach allt√§glicher Vernunft habe ich mit den anderen Eltern abgekl√§rt, dass ich das Risiko des Feiers nicht wesengtlich gr√∂√üer finde, als in die Schule zu gehen, weil die M√§dels alle in derselben Klasse sind, und die waren damit einverstanden.

In einem normalen Jahr w√§ren die Kinder in der Nachbarschaft mit dem Spruch “s√ľ√ü oder saueres” herumgegangen. Aber 2020 ist leider kein normales Jahr. Stattdessen hatten wir gen√ľgend S√ľ√üigkeiten und Snacks vorbereitet. Clare und Meg haben Halloween thematisiertes Essen viel recherchiert. Meg hat auch einige Aktitivi√§ten vorbereitet, inklusiv ein Schnitzeljagd in unserer Wohnung. K√ľrbissschnitzen stand auch auf dem Plan, und die M√§dels haben sich viele andere Spiele auch ausgedacht. Das Wetter war au√üergew√∂hnlich sch√∂n bei 16 grad, dass es erm√∂glichte, die K√ľrbisse auf dem Balkon zu schnitzen, und das entstehende Chaos das Esszimmer fernzuhalten.

Die letzte Aktivit√§t der Nacht war S’mores – die typisch amerikanische S√ľ√üigkeit mit einem Marschmallow zwischen Butterkekse und eine Schokoladetafel. Da wir kein Lagerfeuer in der Wohnung (oder auf dem Balkon) haben d√ľrfen, haben wir das mit Kerzen versucht, mit erm√§tigtem Erfolg.