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Apple season

Well, it’s not apple season anymore. I knew that! But as you’ll notice, I’m backtracking a bit with my writing here. That’s cause I wrote this even before having my blog idea! But I think they’re worth a share. On top of it, now in winter there’s not too much out of the ordinary things that happen with me. There’s school and it’s cold outside. It’s sometimes snowing and very often minus 0 degrees which makes me feel even more like doing nothing but staying in bed or drinking hot cocoa. But you don’t want to hear about only THAT! So I kind of like reminiscing and thinking back on the good summer or autumn days I’ve had the past year. So if you don’t mind, here it goes:

We’re apple-picking this weekend to help out our friends!” Dad announced. Oh boy! I mean, Oh no!!! But it’s our sacred, special, do what we like weekend day. And for once, we get to sleep in. But apple picking starts at 7:45 in the morning. Brother gives enough complaints about it so that I don’t have to add to it. I like to let him be the loud one sometimes, that way Dad and Mom think that it’s not such a big deal for me. He sort of speaks up and complains enough for the both of us. I woke up at 8:15 and I find myself still in bed. That means the apple picking was just in my dream? Not exactly. I found a note that read “We left earlier cause we wanted to let you sleep in a bit. Give us a call when you’re ready and we’ll come pick you up. Love Dad and Mom.”

I should have slept in till 12:00. Though I’ve actually never ever done that in my life yet. Might be on my bucket list one day. Today would have been a good day to start… but too late now. After getting dressed and having breakfast we gave Mom a call. She came to pick us up and we were put to work. Rows and rows of apple trees. Hundreds, no thousands, no probably millions of apples. Only one apple-picking machine and we didn’t get to use it. So they had a tractor shake out all the apples from the trees and we had to get down on our hands and knees to pick them up from the floor, into buckets, then buckets into the tractor and the tractor into the pickup truck. I’d pick up a few apples and then I’d taste one or two. Brother would pick up a few apples and then he’d go complain to Mom that he was done.

But it didn’t help complaining; it didn’t change Mom and Dad’s minds that we were there for helping and serving because that’s what friends do. “We don’t have to help out, but we GET to help out!” Mom said. “It’s a privilege.” I remember when one of my friends helped me out with my homework, it did feel good. I helped her with her drawing and she was so happy. I guess that’s the feeling you get when you do things for others.

Oh, back to the apple picking, Mom finally said that we had to fill up as many buckets as our age and if we complained, we had to do one extra bucket for every complaint. “Sorry for you!” she told me. “You just had your birthday yesterday.” It’s true. I had to pick up one whole bucket more than I would have had to yesterday. But it was still worth it, cause I’m sure they’ll be a whole lot of extra things I’ll get to do now that I’m 11. Come to think of it, I got to ride on a tractor, for the very first time. How’s that for starting my 12th year? I don’t know how many of my friends can say that. So 11 buckets full later, plus, a ride on a tractor, then a yummy meal, a whole bucket of yummy apples that we could take home to enjoy… not too bad for a day helping out friends. I’m realizing that I always receive something in return when I do something for others. And come to think of it, I didn’t hear my brother say another complaint after that. I think he enjoyed the meal best!

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A high fright

Do you want to hear a scary story? I was going about my merry day, when all of a sudden I heard a loud meow! When I looked for her (my cat, as they are the only things on earth that meow, in case you didn’t know), she was gone! Our apartment was on the third floor and her favorite thing to do was look out the windows, down to the bottom where 10 stray cats lived. That was quite the show for her, I guess. Kind of like her TV time. But this time, she leaned just a little too far and “Crash!” she fell, wayyyyy, way down to the bottom, and landed on hard concrete.

I think worse than the fall was the fright of having 10 cats run up towards her. I ran downstairs as fast as my legs could take me, along with Dad, Mom and Brother and we opened the door, and welcomed her in. For 3 days, she lay on the floor, not eating and barely moving. We were scared. What had she done? Would she ever recover?

Mom and I took her to the vet who didn’t seem too worried, but gave her some anti-swelling medicine, in case she needed it. He checked her jaws mostly, as that’s where she would have most likely landed on, and that could hurt. We prayed for our cat, that God would heal her and take away the pain that she was in. There was no other way to communicate what was going on with her. Dad also did some research and found out that cats are known to have fallen down up to 40 story buildings even. Imagine that! Boy, but 3 was enough for Mimi. I wouldn’t have hoped for any higher than that. I learned that by the time cats land, after the 40 flight, they have time to prepare their legs and body for the landing. But Mimi here, didn’t really have much experience or preparation at all.

Best thing of all is that she’s fine and a little more cautious now, even to this day. I prefer that, than being too daring and jumping off or onto anything, anywhere. Do you have any scary pet stories? If so, I’d love to hear them.

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Not again!

I heard it again! No! Why me? I thought. Dad came to remind me about doing the lunch dishes today, AGAIN! But this time I was busy cleaning and tidying up my room. I was doing a good thing. Why did he have to come and tell me of something else I had to do? I got mad, real mad! I yelled at him and said some pretty bad words that I feel sorry for now. He didn’t mean to get me upset. He probably didn’t even realize that I was doing another “good” thing that he would have been even happy about. It’s not his fault that he came to remind me. It’s a pretty usual thing that has to be done with me anyway. Because, well, I don’t like doing certain things that I have to do.

But then, I shouldn’t have let all these words rush out of my mouth like a tsunami wave or let my temper rise to the third floor of our house. Mom came in to see what happened because she was afraid world war 3 was starting. A little exaggerated of course. But she heard the upset mess too, since she was just next door.

I’ve made up with Dad since. Well, not really officially, but definitely in my heart. Does that count too? I love him so much and he deserves the very best that I can give him. I had lots of time to think about what I said and what I did to him, because I took all afternoon to make him his Christmas gift. What else was I to think about?

Well, I ended up having to do dinner instead because I took too long to get to the kitchen and do the dishes. I would probably not have done a very good job either, still feeling a bit upset about the whole thing. I guess sometimes I just wish I wouldn’t be told what to do all the time. I do most of the time remember what needs to be done, but I just don’t feel like doing it. If I don’t feel like eating snack, I just don’t eat one. If I don’t feel thirsty, I don’t go out of my way to drink water. If I am not dirty, I don’t wash myself. (Oops, don’t tell that one to Mom. It’s just between us here, my diary and I.) Though I guess it doesn’t work with everything. If I don’t feel like doing dishes, I wish there was a button that could just make it all happen by itself, with or without me. We do have a dishwasher that makes things tons easier than last year when we didn’t have one. And all we have to do is push a button and put some dishes and soap in. But maybe I’m getting so used to it now, that anything I need to do in the kitchen is STILL a big job! Pots, pans that don’t fit in the dishwasher, counters and table to clean, sink to wipe, food put-away, etc. etc.

Hummm. I’m thinking about this one! If I want to keep eating, I guess I’ve got to be content with doing the dishes once in a while, shouldn’t I? Eating = dishes. Me eating = Me doing dishes. I’m learning to be happy about this one.

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Mimi’s birthday

You remember my cat, Mimi, right? Well, tomorrow is her birthday. She’s turning 3! Imagine that! Can’t believe we’ve already had her that long. Well, we talked over lunch what we would do for this very special day. Well, it may not be that special for her, except that we usually get her a little special meat pate that she loves, but it is really extra special for us because it’s the day we’re celebrating her into the world and if she wasn’t here how sad we would be. She’s the most beautiful cat and we love her so much and… Well, and we’ll find any occasion (or excuse) to party, heehee.

Last year Brother got her a book about “patience”. She needed that. She would meow and meow for her food an hour or 2 before it was even feeding time. I got her a book on “sharing” because well, she’s the boss, we all know that but she had to learn to share the house a little with us humans too. Now, she’s gotten a bit better at that. I guess those stories did work after all.

About couches and beds, she knows they aren’t for her, except she can go on Brother’s and my beds cause we don’t mind. And we usually fight who’s bed she will get to sleep on each night. She’s the boss and she decides that! But she’ll usually take turns which is kinda nice for us.

Anyway, back to Mimi’s birthday plan… I really have no idea of what to get her this year. A new bed basket? (though she has one) A cat scratcher? (she never used the one she had) A cat toy? (she barely even plays with them anymore.) Any ideas? Please help! Who else is crazy enough to plan a pet party? Anyone out there? Or is it just me and our crazy family? I guess we’ll soon find out.

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Me with no friends

I’m backtracking here, to a few months back. You’ll see why in just a minute. Hint: swimming! No, not something we do right now in the dead of winter. Brrr!! Just makes me cold thinking about it. Well, that day parents had been invited for an afternoon coffee. They had the option of their friends coming over to our place or us going to the friend’s place. Both my brother and I yelled “Their place!” You see, they have a swimming pool and that’s something we don’t have. It was a warm autumn day so I took my bathing suit just in case.

But my parent’s friends have no one my age. My brother was happy cause he had a friend but the only girl there is 17 and she doesn’t really bother paying much attention to me. That’s kind of what big teens do, I guess. I may not want to have to play with someone half my age either.

But that meant I’d have to either sit in in my parents’ conversations or else just sit bored and do nothing. I brought all the projects I wanted to do – a swimming suit, that is. But… they were in the middle of emptying out their pool. No luck for me today!

Parents’ conversations were kind of interesting… for a little while. I could choose to sit with my dad and hear their manly conversations, you know all those business or tech talks. Or I could sit in on the mom’s side of things…. kids and kitchen and home and all that. I settled for Mom’s talk even though it got way too boring when they talked about kids and schooling. It’s my weekend after all. Please spare me from school details for this one day! I thought.

Later we went for a walk and I got to do all sorts of fun things. We went to a forest with jumping or hopping things along the way. Then some climbing and swinging frames. Then more and more talking again. I borrowed my Mom’s phone for a bit but with no internet there wasn’t much to do. Mom doesn’t keep games on her phone, in case one of her kids has some spare time with nothing else to do. But that would never happen, right? I looked at her photos and videos 3 times each. I took a few photos of my own but I don’t know what I’m going to use them for anyway. I guess next time I should come a little better prepared when I know I’ll be surrounded by adults who just like to talk. I might need some projects to keep me busy. I should have at least brought my handy dandy notebook that I can write and doodle whatever I want on. Maybe I’ll write a book about what to do when you have no one your age to hang out with and there is really nothing at all to do. Hey, that’s even an idea to keep me busy next time this happens. I’ll keep you posted about the next time I’m surrounded by just “parents” around.

By the way, what do YOU do when you’re bored? What are some of YOUR just YOU projects?

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Highs and lows

The title gives it away I think. “Highs and Lows” or we also sometimes like to call it “Sweets and Sours”. That’s what life is made up of and I’ve heard that taking the time to actually notice them or communicate them is important because, well, just because! Or maybe because then we don’t get all down about one thing or one experience? Maybe it forces us to look for the good even in a seeming bad situation?

Anyway, thus came the great idea from Mom, to focus on our “Highs” this Christmas season and all the way till the end of the year. We have a jar in the kitchen and once a day, well mostly like at the end of the day, we fill it with a paper of our highs of the day. It can be one or two or however many we want to add in. On the last day of the year, we’ll read them out and enjoy all the good from this season. It will help us remember that Jesus is behind it all because really, he’s the only one ALL GOOD!

Well, we’ve been ending our days a lot with expressing our sweets and sours, that by now I have a hard time even thinking of any sours. Besides, Christmas is all about kindness, sharing, spending time with family and friends, getting other’s gifts, helping a poor lonely person and all that, so what could be sour about that?

Well, here are a few other “highs” I’ve added to the jar so far: Christmas market outing, Christmas decorations, all the lights, home-made cookies, enjoying the tree and fireplace, reading Christmas stories by the fire (it’s a fake one, but it’s still pretty cozy). Having a heating blanket in my bed to keep warm, enjoying Christmas music, how good it feels to help and serve others, being able to give to others who have less than me, being in a house with a bed to sleep on at night, going to a Christmas concert, enjoying a candied apple, looking forward to special gifts (I think!)…

You know what? I could drag this on for a very long time, because once I get going, it’s hard to stop. I can just go through my day and name all the things that happened in the day. Even my school is great because I get to learn something and my teachers are nice. I have friends, my school is not far from home so I can walk there, once in a while I get to go home early to do my projects… Oops! I was going to call it quits! So here goes… It’s a wonderful life! THE END!

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Vacation adventures (or not)

I’ve had 4 friends sleep over at my place this vacation. And here I thought that I didn’t do anything for vacations! But it’s kind of different, I was trying to explain to Mom. You see, I wanted to go somewhere new and far and explore new adventures, maybe visit a new city or a new country. All my friends go far for vacations. This time of year is skiing season. We only do sledding. Mom said that having friends over was kind of its own adventure. I guess that’s another way to look at it.

Well, we did do some stuff that we don’t get to do every day maybe. We made a tent in my room, we made things from dough, we had water play, we played soccer with my brother, we drew and colored, we filmed a music video or two with my doodads of messes that we didn’t have to clean. Mom was okay to clean up after us whenever we did some of the cooking for her. So I was glad for that.

Though, because we didn’t care about how much mess we made, she was not so happy. She said it took her longer to clean up after us than it was for her to cook. Well, what else did we do? Oh yes, we recorded a song and a drama, we ate good food, we did more baking and cooking, so therefore had to do a bit of the cleaning this time.

Oh well, cleaning is really not my thing. It’s probably the one thing that bothers me about home. When I go to my friend’s house, I don’t have to clean or pick up anything. But at my house, my mom’s always behind me making sure I put away my dishes, pick up my clothes, put my shoes on the shelf. I get tired of that sometimes. It even makes me angry. Can’t my mom leave me alone for once? Can’t I get a real vacation for a change? Vacations from having to do any kind of cleaning at all?

The other family night we played a question game. One question said: “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” Well, I definitely knew mine. It would be to have a magic wand that I could zap my room with and it would be clean and tidy. Or touch my dish and it would automatically put itself in the dishwasher, then the dishwasher could tell on its own when it was full and turn itself on. And my bed… it would make itself as soon as I got out of it. Now wouldn’t be that something!

But… God doesn’t zap me with a wand to make me do something. He gently invites me to do the right thing. Then it’s up to me to decide. I guess I do kind of like that free choice better.

And, what would be your one top wish?

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The candied apple

It’s just one week till Christmas and well… we haven’t done much Christmassy things yet. “We’re going to the Christmas market this evening!” Dad announced. But Mom was cold, Brother had no intention of going out anywhere and me… well, I wasn’t so sure about going to a place we’d never gone before, one hour away from home, in the cold and pitch darkness that suddenly came upon us at only 4:30pm. But… I was up for a challenge. If we never try anything, we’ll never know if we like it or not, right? I think Dad sometimes has a hard time getting the family out the door and it must be like trying to pull a tractor out of a swimming pool. (Don’t ask me where I get my imagination!) Anyway, after some reluctance, we were off. At the same time we had to pick up our Uncle from the bus station not far from where we would go, which explains going an hour away. Although the nice Christmas markets were about that far anyway.

Dad dropped Mom and I off while he found a place to park. We entered this ambiance of music, lights, drinks, snacks and every imaginable Christmas decoration you could find. And it was beautiful! A little cold, yes, so Mom and I would occasionally walk into a store to get warmed up and check out some other cool stuff like clothes and shoes and… well, I just picked out clothes and shoes stores, hee. Mom picked out one shop, with just soaps, any and all rare shapes and smells and colors of soaps.

Dad and Mom said we could pick out a snack, any snack we’d want. There were traditional Christmas German treats or sausage meals, chocolates, spiced breads, all kinds of yummy looking things. But I already knew exactly what I wanted – a candied apple, just how I remembered it from when I was younger.

Checking out each and every Christmas stall… and… I finally saw it! There it was, waiting for me, just wanting me to pick it up and devour it in great pleasure. But wait! Do I really want that? I hesitated for a moment and then for two and then three minutes passed by and I still hesitated as I felt overwhelmed with all the other delicious looking goodies. Mom suggested we take a look around and see everything there is before we make our final decision on what we’d like. I agreed with Mom on that one. You see, she has a real hard time making decisions and sometimes I do too, so I know where I get it from. Thanks Mom (or not!) Well, these steaming potatoes and mushrooms look really good. But wait, there are some nuts rolled in dark chocolate that look even tastier. Or better yet, a crepe filled with icing sugar… Ah no! What am I going to do? I can’t decide now, after seeing all those options.

Dad stops at one stall and chooses the first thing he sees. Okay, I’ll give it a try. And how would you have guessed, that right smack by those candied apples appeared this deliciously chocolate-coated banana and strawberry stick. And that’s what I chose! And it was just perfect, even better than the way I remembered that candied apple. It’s wise to wait! But it’s also wise to make a good choice, hee! Thanks Dad and Mom for that awesome Christmas outing! Just a little taste of what Christmas will really be like.

I realized too, that sometimes what we have in mind isn’t always the very best for us. Being so stuck on one thing might cause us to miss something very special, like the Christmas outing and that amazing chocolate coated dessert. Do I make you feel hungry yet?

What is YOUR favorite Christmas treat? 

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Best not make a bad “onion” decision

I’m still thinking about what Mom said the other day… about the spirit of Christmas, about gifts, about Grandma and Grandpa and my relatives… I’d like to get them something, because it will probably come out way nicer than if I made something. I don’t know if they’d even use what I make them because maybe it won’t come out so strong and sturdy or not as pretty and fancy as I want it to be. Dad has some extra cement so I’m thinking of what might look nice with cement… candlesticks or candle cups for Grandma? Plant pots or a tray with my signature carved into it? Oh, I really don’t know.

Hey but wait. I do know of one thing: Grandpa likes to eat and I like to bake. That sounds like a good combination to me. Cookies for Grandpa is one thing I have decided on so far. I like chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon or sesame seeds ones. But… wait! What would he like? I’ve got a little bit more time to do some secret research on this, and then… then I’ll be absolutely sure of what to do. And maybe while I’m making the cookies, some inspirational idea will come to me for a Grandma gift. I’ll keep my pen and notebook in my pocket just in case some idea jumps out of my mind.

Another thought… while I do the cookie research, how about some “handy items” research that could be used by Grandma. I’ve got lots to do the next time I go visit.

Come to think of it, I do have one idea for Grandpa. He loves onions. Onions is his thing. Whenever we think of Grandpa, we think onions. And when we think onions, we think Grandpa. But, don’t know if onion flavor cookies would work too well. Okay, I’d better wait patiently on this one and not hurry too much to make a decision right right now, in case I make a bad “onion” decision.

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My prep routine

I put on my beautiful dress on and all set for church. No, but wait! One more very important thing I can’t forget. My make-up case, the one that’s in a book and that I can practice on the girls’ faces in the book. But I cheated a little cause I usually practice on myself instead. Why would I want to use up the make up for those papers anyway? How sad to waste those beautiful colors when I can make myself look beautiful instead. Mom says that beauty comes from within. It’s a character thing, not just with the clothes that you wear and the make up that you put on. She says I’m just beautiful as I am. Only grown ups sometimes need a little make up to give them a little more color and shine. But does that mean that I’m more beautiful on the inside than Mom is or than older women are? I don’t get it.

Mom says it takes work to be beautiful, so I’m getting to work on this make-up practice. Maybe by the time I’m allowed to wear it every day, I will have mastered the art. It is like an artist, having to choose from this whole palette of colors, making sure no colors clash. I remember the first time I put on make up. I thought I looked beautiful but now thinking back about it, I think I looked more scary than anything. Yes, I’ve been practicing, you see. Well, mainly on my friends. Oh, my poor friends. I think when they got home, their moms must have told them to go straight to the bathroom to wash it all off.

Oh, yes, back to my getting ready for church now. After pretty clothes, make-up, the most important thing, I am told, is my inside beauty (like I said before). I’m sure I have more to learn on that one. I don’t quite grasp the whole thing yet. But I shoot up a little prayer to God, “I’ve worked hard to be beautiful on the outside, but only You can make me beautiful on the inside. Please give me lots of inside beauty for today as I meet all my friends at church. I want them to see that it’s your beauty that matters most of all. Amen.”