Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We will be getting ready to go trick-or-treating when you are all just waking up, or eating lunch depending on where you are, so I will be the first to say Happy Halloween.

We finally carved some pumpkins last night and had a grand time.

Nathan unfortunately fell asleep just before the carving, and then slept all night, which never happens. So we missed his company, but I am glad he got some good sleep.

I gave Jacob a plastic knife to play with the eyes and nose as we cut them out of the pumpkin. He chose to put a piece in his mouth, so I got a shot of that, and then one of how he thought the pumpkin tasted. :)

Steve wanted to make little holes for the teeth in his skeleton pumpkin, so being the smart man that he is, he went and got his drill which made just the right size teeth. I am glad I married a smart man. Now, let's just see if he can get the pumpkin guts cleaned off the drill bit before next Halloween.

When we finished we proudly displayed the pumpkins out on the front porch.

Mine and Steven's. Happy Pumpkin with traditional triangle eyes.

Steve's. Skeleton Pumpkin with drill bit size teeth.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday pictures

Today we had a really lazy Saturday, which is nice, but can also be quite boring. Here are some pictures I took.

I know you have seen a picture exactly like this in the not so distant past, but these two were laying on the couch again today listening to Shakira on the computer. Steve said I should take a picture of how cozy Jacob was. The part I thought was funny was that in one picture Steve is smiling and Jacob's not, and in the other picture it is the opposite.

Nathan wanted to go to the store with me today, so he went up to get dressed, but like always he got in to Steven's drawers instead of his own. I can't figure that one out since they are at the exact same level. When he came downstairs and said he was ready to go he looked so funny to me because these pants are even big on Steven. You can't see it as good in the picture as I thought you would be able to, but I thought his weird face was worth the post.

This picture was taken as I was standing in my front doorway. The cats belong to our neighbors who we love because he is Irish, and we were so happy to have someone who speaks English living next door. They have a female cat who has had at least 4 babies about every 6 months since we moved here. They have recently run out of friends to give their cats away to, so the cats all live with our neighbors. We have asked them many times why they don't get the Mamma fixed and they say cats are suppose to have babies every 6 months. I think they just don't want to go get it done. So at the moment there are at least 10 cats living in their backyard. They come to our doorstep because Steve thinks it is fun to feed them sometimes, so I have captured 8 in this photo. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Swing Dilemma

We went on a walk today to enjoy the last of the good weather. It was about 60 degrees and the sun was out. We went a differnt way than we usually go and discovered a whole new section to our subdivision. It was great. We also found 3 more parks that are within short walking distance from our house. We stopped at one for a short time, even though we couldn't stay long because parks close in Germany at 1:00pm and open back up at 3:00. We thought that was really weird at first, but I have decided it is because most parks are flush up against peoples houses or an apartment building, so it may be to give them a nap break from noise from the park.

While at the park the boys wanted to swing. As of yet I have not found a park here that has a swing set with more than 2 swings on it. Even if the park is a big park, they put up these two seat swing sets, and it really creates a problem with the 3 Hughes boys.

(and typically the one waiting for the swing is NOT smiling)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The letter B and C

The preschool/playgroup that we started at the Branch has been going wonderfully. I am really enjoying it, and the kids are as well. There have been about 10 kids there every week and we have been able to find crafts and games that work for so many. I taught on B week, and we made Balloon Boppers and danced and played with those for a while, and then for snack we had bugs in a bed which was actually bread, peanut butter and raisins. It was great.

Then Natalie Mungia taught on C week. She glued the letter C on to a paper plate and then the kids decorated the C with popcorn kernels, confetti, and cotton balls. They turned out really cute. For snack we had cheese and crackers. Don't mind the faces they are making. Nathan was just trying to be funny and Steven always has a goofy look on his face for pictures.

We also want to start saying the Pledge of Allegiance with the kids every week. We started last week, but of course most of them had never even heard it before. I am sure they will learn after a couple of weeks. They were quite fascinated though that all of th adults knew it and were saying it all together. If felt good to me to be doing the Pledge of Allegiance again.

We were going to learn about the letter D tomorrow, but a lot of people are sick this week, so we have cancelled it. Instead I am going to have a Halloween preschool at home with the boys tomorrow. I will be sure and take some pictures. I have been horrible at keeping my camera close at hand lately.


Beware all you gamers out there! Steve just taught me how to play this new game that I would put in a category with Tetris. It is like a puzzle solving game and one that doesn't take all of your concentration, so it is perfect for phone calls. It is called ZUMA and we are both obsessed with it now. I would rather be playing this dumb game than just about anything else. Our Smallville series ended and this is our latest vice. So if you are curious do a web search for it, but remember I warned you. :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Had a Bad Day"

This is one of the boys and I favorite songs. Here is the link to the video for the song. We love it!

I'm Going!!

So.....after much discussion, and changing of plans, I have bought a ticket to New York City! I know I went back and forth on this issue more times than I care to think about, but Steve and I finally figured out how to make it work. I will turn 30 on November 10th and will go to NYC for 4 days on the 16th. I am going ALL BY MYSELF belive it or not, and am going to tour the city with Jessica, who lives there. What am I going to do on a plane for 8 hours with no one to take care of! We will see a broadway show, the statue of liberty, central park, and anything else that she thinks is interesting enough to show me. Steve gets to stay home with the kids and they will have a wonderful male bonding weekend I am sure. I was very nervous before and after buying the ticket because it feels very odd to be abandoning my children and my husband to go have a "ME" weekend. I am starting to get excited though because I am sure everything will be alright. I figure, my youngest is 2 1/2 right now, and we plan on getting pregnant any day now, so if I don't go now I will either have to go when I am pregnant or have to wait another 2 years til the baby is old enough. I will report all of my outings on the blog when I get back. (Yes, I realize that is a month a way.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kurbis Festival

On Saturday we had one of our best outings in Germany yet(at least in my opinion). A lady from the Branch told me about a Kurbis(pumpkin)festival that was about an hour and a half away from us. It sounded wonderful so we headed out on Saturday to find it. Some friends of ours from the Branch came with us. It was at a palace which you don't come across as often as you do castles here in German. The palace was beautiful, and in Sept. and Oct. they decorate the gardens in the back with pumpkins. We went a little camera crazy, so I hope you don't get bored.

There were all these displays of figures made out of pumpkins and different squash. It looked sooo cool.

They also had a place where they displayed the results of a biggest pumpkin contest. Here are some of them. They are around 600 pounds. The pumpkin that won the contest came from Sweden and was over 1000 pounds.

The Hughes and McNalley kids in front of a pumpkin totem.

For lunch, Steve and I went to this little makeshift restaurant they had, while Julie hung out with the kids at the playground. They were only like 50ft apart, the restaurant and the playground, so we didn't abdandon her too bad. They were selling all sorts of cool pumpkin dishes. We ended up with some ravioli stuff in pumpkin soup, and a bowl of pumpkin soup, and pumpkin quiche. It was interesting tasting. We liked the soup and the ravioli but wouldn't crave any of it.

There was also a fairy tale park that is attached to the gardens, where there are little displays of fairy tales, with figures in them that talk. They had this cool chair where the kids sit on it, and it starts rising up a little bit, and the water around it starts to rise as well. Kind of like you are in the middle of a water fountain. It was pretty neat looking.

A picture of Jacob and I.

And that was our fantastic Saturday. I really enjoyed it and will take any of you there with me next year if you are here for Halloween. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

German sign

We were on an outing the other day that I will blog later and Steve found a cool sign that he wanted to share. He thought it was especially funny that the "poop" was still falling from the dogs behind. :) haha

Dad- Do you remember the picture you saw on the front door of McDonalds that you saw when you were here?


I feel like I have been slacking on my blog lately and I apologize. Steve and I got in to watching the season DVDs of Smallville, but we finished them a while back. Well, we just got Season 5, so we are watching those in the evening more than being on the computer these days.

Anyway. I have a nachbarin(neighbor) here whose husband is really in to baseball. Baseball is not a sport in Germany at all, but I guess he has had a lot of American friends and just enjoyed the sport. Well, he is affiliated with some youth baseball teams that are just starting, and this year they are trying to get some T-Ball started. They asked us if we wanted to have Steven join, and I was thrilled for the opportunity. He started about a month ago and is really enjoying it. He practices for 1 hour every Monday, and there are only 4 other boys on the team, so I am not real sure what they are going to do about that. His coaches are 15 year olds that play on the youth baseball team. It is funny though, because the coaches love to practice their English with Steven and they do a really good job of speaking to him. They have English classes in school from the time they are young. But this week I was laughing because one of them said "come on Steven" and I guess the others thought that was a cool phrase so the other two boys said "come on Steven" "Come on Steven" when he was already coming. Poor Steven, I think he was a little confused by the commands when he was already doing what they had asked him to do. :)

In the meantime while I was talking to my new German friends Nathan and Jacob where finding something to do to keep themselves busy. They usually just run up and down this path that is right there, and don't cause to many problems. Well this week for some reason, Nathan had found a big mound of dirt out on the field, and he recruited Jacob to roll in it with him. Literally! When they came back over to where I was sitting I was a little surprised. They were covered in dirt. Needless to say, they had a bath right when we got home, but I think they had a good time.

Before the dirt roll

After the dirt roll. I guess I only got a picture of Jacob.

Friday, October 06, 2006


My friend Dawnella taught me the cutest new lullaby which is another version of Rock-a-Bye-Baby. I have been trying to learn it so I have been singing it to Jacob almost every night. Here it is:

Rock-a-bye Baby
Original lyrics by Diane Woolley

Rock-a-bye baby in the treetop
When the wind blows,the cradle will rock.
Close to your head the wee birdies sing,
And blossoms surround you, for it is spring.

Rock-a-bye baby in the treetop
When the wind blows,the cradle will rock.
Sleep in the shade of leaves overhead,
for summer is gentle, sleep in your bed.

Rock-a-bye baby in the treetop
When the wind blows,the cradle will rock.
Bright colored leaves are tumbling down,
For Autumn is here, red, yellow and brown.

Rock-a-bye baby in the treetop
When the wind blows,the cradle will rock.
Snuggle up, baby, snowflakes drift near,
I'll bring you inside, for winter is here.

It is a fantastic version of the song. So the funny story to this is, everynight when I sing it to Jacob, he listens to the first verse and then in a sad voice says "the baby go inside?" and I say "Yes, the baby is going to go inside, just listen." So I sing the second verse and in a voice that is slightly mad now he says, "The baby go inside." and I say, "Yes sweety just listen." Then I sing the third verse and he Yells at me "The baby go inside!!" Then I sing the last verse and he is very happy and content that the baby gets to go inside. It totally cracks me up. Jacob is really a riot.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cool German Castle

We had our friends the Eliassen's over for dinner on Monday. The Mom is in the states, and the Dad just got back from "downrange", so we decided we would feed them for one of the 10 nights she will be gone. This is a cool German toy that we have acquired here. It is a neat little castle with a drawbridge and look-out towers and everything. The boys rarely play with it unfortunately, but whenever we have girls over it seems to come out of hiding.

Branch Preschool

As one of the Enrichment groups in our Branch we have started a Playgroup/Preschool, and I have been asked to be in charge of it. Today was our first day, and I taught the kids about the letter A and eating good food. It was a lot of fun to plan, and I think the kids had a great time, but I definitely need some more experience. Our group could be as much as 15 kids, and they range in age from 2-6. We are doing it at the church where we have to transport all of our stuff, and it is a pain to use the kitchen. So, it may not be as easy as it could be, but I am excited to do it, and have even decided to keep Nathan and Steven out of school on Wednesday so they can go to American Preschool(aka: English speaking). Today we had apple shakers for snack where you cut up apples and put them in a bag with cinnimon and sugar. (I got the camera out too late, so have a picture of them eating rather than "shaking". They did the shake very good though.)

And then we made Alligator puppets with brown paper bags, and sang a great Alligator song about the monkeys getting SNAPPED out of the tree.

I also decided it was time to teach Nathan how to do big puzzles the other day, so we found a cute 60 piece one in the cupboard and I just handed him piece after piece and told him exactly where to put it. Well, apparently he likes the feel of fitting those pieces together, because he constantly wants to do puzzles now. Luckily a friend of mine left me a bag full of puzzles when she moved, so we have a lot to choose from. Here are two that we did today after lunch. I love puzzles!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Herbst Fest

Last Thursday we went as a family to the Herbst Fest which means the Fall Festival. The Fests are fun to go to, but don't have too much to offer. No animals to see or Hypnotists to watch, but they are a fun family outing. We got there just in time for dinner and I was very surprised by the table we sat at. You would have thought we were in a fancy restaurant, but no, we were in the middle of the Fair Grounds. I had steak with sauteed onions and it was fantastic. The boys ate bratwurst and corn on the cob. And Steve choose CurryWurst which is cut up bratwurst with a curry sauce on it. Yum!

Steve and Steven went in to this house of mirrors which was quite funny. You had to feel your way around or you would smack right into a mirror, which I saw a couple of people do. Steve got a good picture of Steven as a midgit and Steve if he were a beanpole. :)

This is a picture of a German Sweets Shop. They are at all festivals and sell lots of delicious treats.

Expanding Minds

This is exciting news to me, so I hope you all get excited. :) Yesterday (Saturday) we went to the church for a "potato bar" branch activity and immediately following we watched the Saturday morning session of Conference which comes on at 6pm our time. Well, I was a little worried, because I didn't know how the kids were going to act for 2 hours with all of us sitting quietly in the RS room. So I brought crayons and new coloring books that I just bought for them and hoped for the best. Steven did very well, but he usually does. But Nathan......I couldn't believe it! He was so good! I guess he decided that he was going to learn to color in the lines on his pictures during Conference. So, he grabbed a green crayon and colored page after page of pictures all green, doing his best to stay in the lines. He was quiet, and happy, and improving his coloring skill all at the same time. I was thrilled! He did such a great job.

Steven's picture

2 of Nathan's GREEN pictures

Then today(Sunday) I was coloring at the table with Steven, and decided to ask him if he had 2 crayons and I gave him 2 more how many would he have. Well, he answered correctly of course, and it got us in to this whole conversation on math. I got out a dry erase board that I bought for him last week to practice his letters on, and we just had a simple little math (adding and subtracting) lesson which he was loving. He kept asking me "can we do more." It also gave him some practice writing his numbers. It made me feel so good to be teaching him the basics of such valuable knowledge, and for him to enjoy it at the same time.

Oh what a joy to watch your children learn and grow!