The last couple of weeks have been a little busier than I would like for them to be, but they have been full of good fun and quality family time, nonetheless.

The first weekend of October, we attended a festival at a local farm that we’d been looking forward to all summer. Our first cold front had blown through the day before, and the weather was nice and chilly — perfect for steamy bowls of Kürbissuppe (pumpkin soup) and chestnut sausages (Kastanien Bratwurst). I wish I had some right now.


We filled our bellies with yummy fest food, and then took a “hay ride” (minus the hay; my sinuses were thrilled!) out to the pumpkin patch. The boys took their time choosing the perfect gourds for their jack-o-lanterns.


Afterwards, we took a tour of the premises, visited the horses and calves, and learned a little bit about the milking process.


The boys practiced squeezing synthetic udders, and we even got to get up-close-and-personal with the machine as it pumped white liquid from the unfazed dairy cows (it sounds weirder than it actually was, I promise).


Just outside the facility, there is a little station, almost like an ATM machine, where you can fill your own glass bottles with farm-fresh milk for a couple of euros. So cool!


The next weekend, I signed the boys up for a free Jedi Training Academy event that was held on base. They were so excited! They got to dress up in the traditional Jedi robes and learn how to wield their light sabers. But no Woodruff family event can go without a snag. We’d been told to have a seat in the audience — the employees would keep an eye on them while they waited for their turn — so we did. When it came time for their group to go on, however, Logan was nowhere to be found! Panicking, Dan and I made a mad dash around the store while an employee got security on the phone. Thankfully, he was right where Dan knew he would be — in the LEGO section of the toy department, staring up at all of the Star Wars action figures. Crisis diverted. He did miss the opportunity to go up with Jacob and our friend, Mason, but he was added to the next group at the last minute.



The following week was the boys’ harvest festival at school. I volunteered to help out with one of the stations, but, somehow, I missed the memo about Logan getting to wear his costume to school. Parenting fail! I felt so bad about it, but, thankfully, his teachers were prepared, and Logan got to be an adorable doctor for the day.



The boys finally got to wear their coveted Halloween costumes that next Friday. Halloween is not celebrated here like it is in the States, but the installation where Dan works held a fun trick-or-treating event for the kiddos. Logan-ardo, the blue Ninja Turtle, and The Flash (or is it Sheldon Cooper?) had a great time collecting candy from stations all around the building.


As for Dan and me, we go together like …


The last couple of weekends have been relatively nice and relaxed — by choice. We’ve been trying to get out of the house to go on nature hikes on the trails near our house and soak up as much sunshine as possible. We know from experience that winter will be here long before the calendar acknowledges it, and that means we have a lot of gray and gloomy days ahead of us.



In other news …

Jacob is doing very well in kindergarten. I’m impressed with his teachers and school, and it has been a joy to have him practice reading books to us in the evenings, instead of the other way around. I’ve started having lunch with him once a week, and I volunteered to help out in the classroom once a month, so I can get to know the school, as well as his friends and teachers, a little better. So far so good!

Logan’s transition from the toddler room to preschool was as seamless as possible. I truly can’t say enough good things about his teachers. It is clear how much he is loved there, and that means so much to me. They truly have been a blessing to our family this year in many ways.

As for me … I still work part-time — just 20 hours a week — and I’m loving it. It has been a great experience. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time, and I am thankful to have a wonderful supervisor/mentor and co-workers who have already become good friends. This month, I am excited to have my first cover story on new stands in the area. It’s about two of my favorite things: Thanksgiving and budgeting.


I’ve also been doing some freelance work from home, which means I haven’t had much time to write here. But you can follow along with what I’m doing for other websites by checking out the “Where I’ve Written” tab at the top of the page. I try to keep it up to date.

This morning, we woke up to snow flurries and lightly dusted hillsides and rooftops. Ready or not, winter is on its way!