Full disclosure: these aren't just scavenger hunt photos. But this will at least be much shorter than the last post!
To start the week...Monday morning, Marie, Jacob, and Lukas left for camp with the Larnaka Inter-church youth group. Here they are at the meeting place, waiting to get on the bus:
And they just happened to all get on the bus at the same time, so I got another photo:
This is Marie's sixth year (sixth year!!!) going to camp. Five years ago, I was maybe a tiny bit teary, took lots of photos, missed her a bit, and looked forward to her return. Now...well, Jacob's there for his fourth time, and Lukas for his first, and I was pretty much "Hey, get on the bus so I can leave now!"
Jörn was out all day Monday, so lunch was my job, but with only the girls, I didn't have to do anything exciting. (Jacob very much and Lukas to a certain extent expect an actual MEAL...) I'd thawed some pitta bread for the three camp-goers to make sandwiches for their packed lunches, since I'd forgotten to make bread, and I'd even bought some lounza (ham, I guess) for them, which is a huge treat, because we generally avoid cold-cuts because of MSG and salt, AND I'd given them each a juice box, an even rarer treat. (They were left over from when Jörn was in the hospital in June--the hospital only gave him water and tea to drink, and in Nikosia they didn't even give him water, saying that the water wasn't very good and that he should buy his own!) So...we also had pitta bread and lounza and juice for lunch (and cheese and carrot sticks and whole cucumbers), AND I let the girls take theirs outside to eat:
This resulted in me hearing from Katie that I am "amazing" and "the best mother in the world", over and over again. Which, although rather exaggerated, was admittedly rather nice to hear, since I usually hear quite the opposite from her. AND there were no dishes to wash, so win-win.
Monday the girls also started packing for the sleepover they'd been counting the days to for a week or so, and I'd been counting down to for three years, we figured out. Apparently, it was when Jacob first went to camp and I commented about not knowing what to do with "only" four children at home, that Sue suggested (offered? joked? promised? spoke in a moment of temporary insanity?) that when Lukas was 12 and also went to camp, and assuming Elisabeth was weaned and we didn't have any more children, she would take the three younger girls for an overnight at her house. Elisabeth weaned on her fourth birthday two months ago, yes, she's still the youngest, and Lukas is 12 and at camp.
THE TIME HAD ARRIVED!!
Jörn worked all day Monday and all day Tuesday and had Wednesday and Thursday off. Wednesday morning at 7:00 or so the girls started asking how many minutes until they were going to Sue's house. They didn't like the answer of 240 minutes. They were much happier at 10:13 when I said 47 minutes, because that was less than an hour, so Katie set the oven timer and I had a whole 47 minutes of nobody asking me how long.
At 11:00 they piled into the car with what they'd packed (which included pillows, two dolls and clothes for the dolls, and some clothes for the girls themselves, but two of the three apparently forgot underpants...Elisabeth was the only one who remembered!) and we drove the 500 meters that we normally walk. We'd been there about two minutes when Helen said, very politely, "Can you two please leave now?" So we did. :-) However, we'd forgotten the crib/cot mattress as an extra bed, so returned a few minutes later with it, but just left it outside and then escaped. Here is Sue's account of their stay.
And WE spent the rest of the day all by ourselves, together!! (To be sure, Lukas phoned at around 7:00 just to chat, and while we were eating dinner at Souvlaki Express after that we suddenly heard "Hi, Mommy!!" and got a wave from Helen and Elisabeth, who were just returning from the playground with Richard, so I did have SOME contact with my children that day, but rather minimal. :-) )
This morning we decided to run some errands, and as we were going out the door I grabbed the camera and the scavenger hunt list and said I could possibly photograph a garden gnome at Kleima. As I read the list to Jörn, he asked what kind of horn (number 11: a horn), and I said I had no idea, it was up to me. I'd been thinking of taking a photo of Helen or Lukas blowing one of their many tubes, but since we were in the car, I pointed out that there WAS a horn right there, so I took a photo, and here you have it:
Our first stop was Estia, a stationery shop downtown, where we got a birthday present for a friend having a birthday party this afternoon, and I talked Jörn into posing for this photo for number 5, a rack of postcards:
Then we went to the copyshop near Metro, where nothing inspired me to take a photo, and then to the Politechni office. "Politechni" means "many children", and we're members there for 25 Euros a year, which gives us discounts at all sorts of places, such as several bookstores, pharmacies, and bakeries. The biggest single saving is swimming lessons: instead of 30 Euros a month for the first two children, it's 20, and for the rest of the children, 10 instead of 20, so we saved 40 Euros in May and 40 in June, when Jacob, Lukas, Katie, and Helen took swimming lessons, and 50 Euros in July, when Elisabeth also joined in. Anyway, the reason we went there was to pick up a backpack for Helen, who is school-aged now, as each of their members receive one at age six. (Helen will be six next week.) And since I sort of cheated on number 16, a sign in a language other than English, Jörn thought I should take a photo of the politechni office sign, so I did:
And then I took a photo of the sign next to the elevator, because if I understood it correctly, it's pretty funny, at least in our opinions:
And at Jörn's request, I also took a photo of the list of all the businesses in that building, which happens to include the dentist I went to last year for a root canal and the pediatrician who came to our house after Elisabeth was born:
From there we went to Kleima, a store on four levels, and I don't know what to call it. A department store, maybe? Anyway, Jörn's mission was a particular plastic garden shed, which we accomplished, and mine was to get a photo for number 2, a garden gnome. In English, there's a difference (in my opinion, anyway...) between "gnomes" and "dwarves", and I would call these "dwarves", but this is Cyprus, not Germany (too bad I didn't think about needing this photo while we were in Germany, because there are garden gnomes EVERYWHERE!!), so a nanos is just going to have to count:
There were some more on the stairs:
And as we drove past the garden center part of Kleima, I asked Jörn to stop and let me run in and see if I could find some REAL garden gnomes, but nope, just shelves and shelves of dwarves in weird green light:
And while I was there, I took a photo of some birdhouses for substitute alternative B, although Jörn thinks I should photograph the empty swallow nest above our kitchen door, which I still might do.
Then we went to Micro (a grocery store) where laundry detergent was on sale, and while there I texted Sue that our 24 hours were up, but she said that they'd voted to stay until 3:00. Okay, then! :-)
Before lunch Jörn went swimming, which he's been doing daily (Cyprus is all about connections, and we have a friend with connections to hotels that mean Jörn can swim without paying) and I sat in the shade and read a book. (I do NOT go in the sun if I can help it!)
After lunch (scrumptious salad prepared by Jörn, of course), I happened to glance at my phone and see that Sue had texted about 15 minutes earlier, just before 2:00, that Elisabeth was ready to come home. So we went and collected the girls after 27 hours without children, the longest I have ever been away from all of my children at the same time. And except for the hour I spent at the Salt Lake park this morning, all of that time was spent with Jörn. :-)