14 January 2011


I was just flipping through my handy expat guide, and found this surprising entry in the shopping section:

I don't think our household will be needing his services.

11 January 2011

Trying to make my sister laugh

My sister asked for more video. Here's one of my favorites from the fall. I like to call it, "Clara sings, rolls."

Matthew leads the worship at church some, and this particular line from one song ("Hosanna in the highest") has really stuck in all of our heads, and we riff on it quite a bit. We're all awesome at the riffing! If awesomeness at riffing hinges on enthusiam rather than musicality. If otherwise, part of our family, including me, is actually quite bad at riffing.

The part where we talk about husbands stems from Clara's confusion and labeling of all of us, at various times, as her wife or husband. Also, for a while she got mad at me when I hugged Matthew. I think I was stepping on her toes a bit -- she thought of Matthew as her special man. Think again, little lady.

10 January 2011

How could I ever refuse/I feel like I win when I LOOOOSE!

Well, it's January. Setting aside the fact that some people I love were born this month, I find January difficult to enjoy. I do like the fresh start: new year, new you (new me). But otherwise, Winter, you just began, and I am anxious for you to wrap it up. Perhaps partly because there is so much faux winter before actual winter. November is wintery for at least half the month, and December 18 is still autumn? Please. Regardless, my premature spring fever must be quashed. Please comment with a detailed explanation of why January is your favorite month.

In the meantime, I will take a journey back to the summer 2010. Matthew's parents visited, and we went to the Waterloo battlefield. I forgot about this outing for a while because I didn't bring a camera, but Don was so kind as to email a bunch of pictures from our day.

The Battle of Waterloo took place in the summer of 1815, and Napoleon was finally defeated here. (If you didn't learn this in school, I know you learned it from Bjorn et al. Oh yeah you did, you dancing queen!) Here's a helpful page of info from the BBC about the Battle of Waterloo if you want to learn more.

The Butte de Lion was built where the Prince of Orange was wounded during the battle of 1815 (commissioned by his father, the King of the Netherlands).

The lion represents the Allied victory that day. He has his hand on the earth, keeping it all safe and sound. No world conflict since then, right?

Shh, don't tell the lion. He'll be so ashamed of himself.

Climbing the Butte

Jet flyover while we were up there -- intense!

View of the farmland that was the battlesite -- I can't remember the numbers, but the statistics about how many horses (let alone men) died that day were shocking. We saw an interesting video -- I don't think I knew anything about this event that ABBA hadn't taught me before this day -- and then toured around the site on a big quasi-hay wagon but with seats and a canopy. Even the kids sat still through the video, and Soren hung out with Pops through part of a second one while the girls, Grambie, and I visited the gift shop.

A cannon, and that wagon in the background I think was an ambulance.

From a distance:

Let me change tone and end this post by remembering a delightful movie (that "Waterloo" brings to mind) of which I am long overdue for a repeat viewing:


Two of its highlights: this phrase, which I still like to use, mostly to Matthew, who I don't think has ever seen the movie, and on whom thus the hilarity probably falters; and this 2:42 musical sequence that just cheered up my January day.

06 January 2011

Late for a very important date

On Christmas Day, we opened presents, ate some festive food, went to church, where the (morning) service ended with people saying, "Present time!" -- people who don't have very young children, I guess, because we were done with all that nonsense beforehand and played outside after Clara napped.

04 January 2011

Cologne Christmas Market

One cold day Grandma, Dad, the kids and I drove to Cologne to see some German Christmas markets. They have seven, I think, and we visited two. First, the one outside the cathedral,

where we ate potato pancakes, bratwursts, and strangely delicious sandwiches featuring slices of ham with crusty almost bacon-like bread chunks (I think) baked on the outside of them, and coleslaw.

It really was cold; we stopped for hot cocoa at a Starbucks (now exotic for the Jacobs fam).

Then we hit the gnome market.

There are gnomes on little swings above their heads in the photo above.

I am just not as good of a photographer as my husband, but this gnome market was just darling, with quaint little wooden booths.

I bought little painted glass mushroom Christmas ornaments that clip onto a branch: Smurfy!

Here's Lily on her horse named Ramona, who shares a name with one of our favorite literary characters.

We had very delicious crepes,

but by that point, as you can see from a powerful scowl above, some of us were ready to go home. We stopped to buy some pretzels for the ride (best pretzels I've ever eaten, and I love a soft pretzel), and then I accidentally almost drove into the gnome market (Merry Christmas, pedestrians! Look alive!), and then we headed home.

03 January 2011

Gram on the tram

We had visitors in mid-December: My father and grandmother came to visit!

Grandma Millie is eighty-eight. This was her first trip overseas! She walked to the Walgreens near her house to get her passport this summer. We are so honored that she came to see us. My grandpa passed away in February, and this is something he couldn't have done as his health was failing in the past couple years. He was also pretty cautious, so I'm not sure even in full health he would have done it. Grandma's pretty adventurous, and we're so glad she could come.

It was nice to have Dad here, too, of course, but the novelty and specialness of having a grandparent visit became a trump card. When I introduced them to people at our church's carol concert: "This is my dad . . . " ("Oh, nice to meet you!"), ". . . and this is my grandma" ("Your GRANDMOTHER! Wow! Well, good on you!", etc. etc.).

Dad used Grandma as a trump card, too, to get on a train after they missed theirs coming back from Paris. After arguing and inquiring, finally he went for the big guns: "I have my eighty-eight year old mother here." It worked; the conductor reluctantly let them on.

We took the tram into the city one day.

She had never been on a tram or metro before this trip. There were a couple near-injury moments on public transport (due to us not getting seated before it started in Brussels, and then my dad suggesting they switch seats on a Paris tour bus, right as the bus started again). It wasn't quite as bad as this:

but there was a moment I was afraid I was going to squash my grandmother like a bug as I flung into her. Ay yi yi! She was a little nervous about visiting because of this travel alert issued by the State Department in the fall (non-specific yet alarming: the best kind of warning). No one issued an alert for traveling accompanied by her son and granddaughter.