Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Ok, so today is not really Hannah's Birthday. But it was yesterday. I was just too tired by the time the day was over to come and update how it went. I actually have lots to talk about today. So hope you can bear with me.

I'm going to start with Hannah's birthday though. Hannah had a great day! We made Brownies for her to take to school. In Kindergarten, they do a little "birthday Party" there. The birthday child gets to choose 7 kids to go into the kitchen and eat together. Two of her friends were not there. But she easily found a few more friends to join her. She invited Carla, Maja, Emma, Hanna, Janna and two more that I don't know the names of. When she came home from school, I had the house decorated with streamers and balloons. She was excited and asked who had done that. I said it was the streamer fairy. Duh, who did she think did it? And actually, she knew it was me. But it was just funny how she asked.

After Spencer came home from school and they ate lunch, Hannah and Spencer walked down to the Frishe Markt. It is a grocery store just down the street. I have never let them walk by themselves to a store yet. So this was a big thing. They each went with their wallets in their pockets and came back with candy galore. I think Spencer ended up spending around 10 Euros yesterday.

At 3pm, Hannah had 3 friends come over and play. And they each brought her a present, which was really nice of them. I just wanted it to be a special day and at the last minute invited them over to play. They played hide and seek, dress up and we also made candy necklaces. Hannah had a great time.

For her birthday, she got a music box from Gardner and myself. She saw it in a store one day and wanted it very badly. It it what is called: Prinzessin Lillifee. Which means Princess Lilly Fairy. It is a big thing here in Germany. I had never heard of it before. And she got several Lillifee items yesterday and even something from someone else today. You can see what it is here: http://www.prinzessin-lillifee.de/

Also, a big song they sing here in Germany is: Wie Schoen dass du geboren Bist. Which with my bad translation means, How nice that you were born. All three kids sing this in school when someone has a birthday. I am actually going to make a video of this past month of the kids and am going to use this song. So you can hear it first hand that way.

Hannah wanted Eggs, Hashbrowns and bacon for her birthday dinner. I of course, said OK. Not too hard of a dinner to make. And then Gardner showed up with flowers for Hannah and myself. That was nice. He said because It was Hannah's birthday and because 6 years ago, I gave birth to Hannah. It was very unexpected. They were tulips, and I love tulips. They are very pretty.

And now, something we found out that is a difference between birthdays from Germany and America. In America, it is not uncommon to hear someone wish someone else Happy Birthday a few days early. You know you won't see them so we say...Happy Birthday on Wednesday or something like that. Well, you can NOT wish someone happy Birthday early here. It is known to them as bad luck. It is better to wish them a belated birthday than early. They say they won't even open their cards early if they get them early. Just plain bad luck. In Primary, they would not sing to Hannah the day before her birthday. Just not a good thing to do. So she has to wait until the next Sunday.

On to other things....Yesterday morning at 6:45am, I received a phone call from Eva Riser, our friend who was moving back to America. They actually flew home today. Anway, she called to inform me that some of her kids had lice. Of course, my kids and her kids have been playing together. The kids stayed the night here the previous week and Sunday at Church they were together the whole time. I guess I have a wait and see approach with it. I am checking the kids but that is nothing unusual. I've been checking them regularly since our battle with Lice in January. I started them on the Tea Tree Oil and just hope that it by passes us.

BIG NEWS!!!!! Ian got up on all fours yesterday and lunged forward. I have seen him get up on all fours before but just for a second or two. Now, he can hold his position for a minute or so before he changes positions. He goes up and down, up and down. I was so excited to witness it yesterday.

Here is something to note.....Spencer fell down the stairs. Surprise, Suprise.

Sunday after church, we had a farewell party for the Riser Family who is moving back to America. It was held in the building adjacent to the church. This building is now the institute building for the Duesseldorf area. But back when Gardner and I were on our Missions here in Germany, it was the Mission Office. It was very interesting to be inside this building again. We ate lunch in what used to be our Mission President's Office. Then I got to go up to the 3rd floor and see the area that Gardner used to live in when he worked in the Office. As a girl, I would never of been able to see this back then. It was all very interesting and surreal to be there and reflect on those times again. Gardner and I got a picture of us in front of the building. They have a sign that says the church name and Institute. But it is so much smaller than the sign that was there when it was the Mission Home. You can where the other sign used to be.

Wie Schoen Dass Du Geboren Bist

Heute kann es regnen,
stuermen oder schnei'n,
denn du strahlst ja selber
wie der Sonnenschein.
Heut ist dein Geburtstag,
darum feiern wir,
alle deine Freunde, freuen sich mit dir.
Alle deine Freunde, freuen sich mit dir.

Wie schoen dass du geboren bist,
wier haetten dich sonst sehr vermisst.
wie schoen dass wir beisammen sind,
wir gratulieren dir, Geburtstagskind!

Uns're guten Wuensche
haben ihren Grund;
Bitte bleib noch lange
gluecklich und gesund.
Dich so froh zu sehen,
ist was uns gefaellt,
Traenen gibt es schon genug auf dieser Welt.
Traenen gibt es schon genug auf dieser Welt.

Wie schoen dass du geboren bist,
wier haetten dich sonst sehr vermisst.
wie schoen dass wir beisammen sind,
wir gratulieren dir, Geburtstagskind!

Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch,
das ist ganz egal,
dein Geburtstag kommt im Jahr
doch nur einmal.
Darum lass uns feiern,
dass die Schwarte kracht,
Heute wird getanzt, gesungen und gelacht.
Heute wird getanzt, gesungen und gelacht.

Wie schoen dass du geboren bist,
wier haetten dich sonst sehr vermisst.
wie schoen dass wir beisammen sind,
wir gratulieren dir, Geburtstagskind!

Friday, February 23, 2007


Today Hannah went to a friends house, someone from her Kindergarten class. her name is Lena. She was there for 2 1/2 hours and did not want to leave when I showed up to take her home. She told Lena's mom she wanted to sleep over. Lena's mom said Hannah did wonderful and talked most of the time. It is amazing to see Hannah get a little more confident in talking around certain kids.

Another thing Hannah did today I call a milestone. She ate breakfast at school. This is the first time since Hannah started school that she ate there. They provide breakfast everyday. And I pay for this breakfast, 7 Euros a month, whether she eats or not. Today, she actually ate. I was so excited. They also provide toothbrushes (well, we pay for that as well) and they brush their teeth after they eat. Well, she brushed her teeth for the first time at school today. She says she will probably eat every day now. Could she finally be coming around? I sure hope so.

One thing I did today was throw together a play date with a few friends on Monday for Hannah. Monday is Hannah's 6th birthday. A girl named Debbie asked if she could play on Monday. I told the mom that would work as we have nothing going on. Hannah reminded me it was her birthday. I realized it would be a great birthday present to have a few friends over. So far, she has 3 coming over and we will be asking for one more. I think this is something that would benefit Hannah in the adjustment process.

Shantal also played with friends today. I was so happy to see her come home with a phone number to a girl in a different class. Well, this girl named Joke (It is pronounced Yoka in German), actually called Shantal while she was eating her lunch. Shantal was telling Joke that she needed to finish eating and then do her homework before she could play. I was actually so excited that someone wanted to play with her I told her to forget the homework for now and to go and play. They went to the park and then the rain started to come down. So they ended up here playing. Oh, and it was just last night while doing Shantal's homework I wrote down our address and phone number in case she wanted to give it to someone at school and I knew she did not know it yet. I'm so glad I did. And yes, I know I need to teach it to the kids.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I have had school on my mind a lot this week. I guess it is because we had that appointment with the school doctor this last week about Hannah. And then thinking a lot about Shantal and how far behind she is in comparison to everyone else in her class.

Today, I had an appointment with a Psycologist to discuss Hannah and perhaps what her problems are. This is something Hannah has to do in order to start school at the end of July. She has to see this person. Luckily, there is an American lady there and that is who we are going to see. Hannah does not have her appointment until March 15th though. Gardner went with me and as usual, she was surprised when I mentioned that Hannah's lack of speaking is not a German related problem and in fact was something that has been going on for years. And it is not just school, but also church. I am interested to see how this whole situation unfolds.

Today as I dropped Hannah off at School, she knew I was in a hurry. She was on board with me leaving after she got her "house shoes" on. (better known as slippers, which every child is required to wear in the schools here in Germany!). Well, one of her teachers came up to me and asked me to tell Hannah she could not just sit out by the coat racks after I leave because it did not look good to the other parents as they walked into the school. Well, Hannah started SCREAMING at the top of her lungs. Not really screaming, but crying in a screaming type voice. All I could do was walk out. Well, when I picked her up from school, they asked all the kids to take home their sport bags from Gymnastics and start bringing them every week instead of leaving them at the school. So I grabbed Hannah's and she got mad and started to do the same exact thing again. Once again, I just started walking to the van. What is a mom to do?

And then Shantal.....She is in the 3rd grade. That is where she is supposed to be. That is where she would be if we were still in America. Well, she is so far behind in certain areas. The kids here in Germany learn some things so much earlier. For example, they learn cursive in the first grade here. In America, it is the third grade. Then math. A real problem area for Shantal. She had not started to learn multiplication nor division and yet, they learn that here in the 2nd grade. Spencer has already learned that since we have been here. So we are trying to decide if it would be in Shantal's best interest to either Stay where she is at and hope she can catch up some, repeat the third grade next year or simply move her back to the second grade. We are going to talk to her teacher this next week and see what she feels is best for Shantal. My thing is, if she is going to repeat the 3rd grade, I'd like her to be moved ASAP into the 2nd grade class. She can learn things there during these last few months of school that would help her next year as the 3rd grade starts. I also am wondering if she couldn't just attend a 2nd grade math class during the day and yet still stay in the 3rd grade. So many decisions and we just want what is best for her.

Spencer is thriving on school work. He has adapted so well and learned the cursive and the math. It is amazing to me to watch how well he does. It just saddens me to hear he has no friends while at school. Yesterday I asked him how his day was. He said it was good. Then I asked him if he had friends and his reply was, "Not really".

And totally off the subject of school, but Emma fell down the stairs today. I tell ya, those stairs are deadly. I am so afraid of when Ian will start to walk. I have had visions of bad falls.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


So, I survived Gardner being in Sweden for 4 days. Survived Valentine's Day. And even Survived Carnival. Carnival is a very big deal here in Germany. And I will elaborate more on Carnival at the bottom.

Due to Carnival, the kids have been out of school for a few days. Thursday, they each had a Carnival party at school. This is the only thing that happened at school on this day. They all got out of school at 11:11 am. Then they had Friday, Monday and Tuesday off for celebrations.
Friday Hannah had an appointment to see what is called the School Doctor. This is not really a doctor. This is a person who assesses each child going into the Elementary School to see if they are ready. This was Hannah's second appointment as she would not do anything the first time around. This time, Hannah did better. She did the eye exam, Ear Test, Drawing test, games. But when it came time to talk, she cried and wanted to go home. Well, they sent us upstairs to talk to a Psychologist. While there, Hannah talked up a storm. When I asked her afterwards why she talked upstairs and not downstairs, her reply was "downstairs was boring and upstairs was fun with all the toys". ARGH! Now, we have to go back again. More work for me.

Ian is moving all over the place now a days. He rolls from one side of the room to the other. Grabs on to everything in his site. Even starts to get up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth. He can not hold himself up too long on his hands and knees, but he is getting there. It is amazing how fast he is growing.

Both Emma and Ian have been sick again. They both have colds again. But this time, both of their eyes have been draining as well. I don't think it is pink eye, but you can never be too sure. It is definately gross. I have been thinking it is a cold in the eyes, but I am treating it as if it was Pink Eye, just in case.

I took the kids to Toys R Us today. What started out as a pleasant day doing something fun since the kids were out of school turned into a stressful day for me. The kids have been saving up their money. Spencer had almost 100 Euros. Shantal almost 50 Euros. Of course, Hannah only had 6 Euros. It is harder for her to save. She wants the instant gratification more than the others. So, knowing Hannah's birthday is next week, I granted her a birthday loan. Spencer bought 2 Star Wars toys. He is very excited about them. Once was a Star Fighter Ship and the other had 4 Action Figures....Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and a few others. He spent 67 Euros. Shantal bought a little pillow and a baby doll that is a new baby in a hospital bassinet. Emma loved that Shantal bought this toy. Shantal spent 30 Euros. Then Hannah bought a container of Make Up. It was 20 Euros. Shantal bought something similar at Christmas, and of course, Hannah needed her own. The problem with Toys R Us, is it is so far away and the two smaller kids were not ready for such a long day at the store.

Anyway, here is the information about Carnival here in Germany. I got the information once again from www.dw-world.de.

Wild Weeks on The Rhine
The people along the Rhine tend to go crazy over carnival. They'll let it all hang out during the time they refer to as the "fifth season".

In Mainz, Cologne and Düsseldorf, the Carnival season gets off to an early start.
People here celebrate the official opening of the season in November: on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 in the morning – the number eleven is traditionally associated with Carnival.

A wild week
The last week of Carnival -- the week prior to Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent -- is when the celebrations become the wildest.
In the Rhine region, public life comes to a complete stand-still during these days.

People are out all day and most of the night, dressed up in colorful costumes.
Foreigners who visit cities like Cologne or Düsseldorf during these festive days often find it hard to believe that there are so many grown-ups everywhere wearing ridiculous costumes, make-up, funny hats and wigs.
Are these really the same Germans who are stereotyped as being Prussian, efficient and without any trace of a sense of humor?

Women's Carnival: Weiberfastnacht
One of the highlights of Carnival in the Rhineland is "Weiberfastnacht" or Women's Carnival.

It's celebrated on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday .

On "Weiberfastnacht", women are allowed to do (almost) as they please.
Traditionally, a delegation of women - symbolically - storms the city's town hall in the morning and makes the mayor hand over control of the city to the women.

As a symbol of cutting off men's power on "Weiberfastnacht", women cut off men's ties. The men are then compensated with a little kiss on the cheek.
Every man who wears a suit and tie is open game on this day - so you'd better wear a tie you don’t really like.

Carnival parades
The Monday before Ash Wednesday is called "Rose Monday".

On this day, Cologne, Mainz, Düsseldorf and many smaller towns put on large and colorful parades. Gigantic floats are decorated to poke fun at politicians or events that happened during the past year. The highlight of the parade is always the float with the carnival prince and his court.

People on all the floats throw candy and flowers to the people watching along the way.

In between the floats, marching bands play Carnival songs, the lyrics of which everyone in these cities knows by heart and can sing along.
Hundreds of thousands of people watch the parade go by from the sidewalks and millions tune in to the live coverage on national German television.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Well, today is Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is a bit different here in Germany than in America. In America, the kids celebrate it in school. They have Valentine's Day Parties and every child brings Valentine Cards for all the other kids in the class. Well, they do not do that here in Germany. Valentine's Day is more for the adults here. A reason to go out on a date. The big thing is Chocolate and Flowers.

Well, the kids decided to take Valentine's Day Cards to school today. We spent a couple hours on Sunday and made them, since you can not buy them here. They are pretty simple. A cut out heart with the words, "Frohen Valentins Tag" on them. Then we punched 2 holes and weaved a sucker into them. The kids were VERY excited about this. They know they will not get any cards in return but wanted to do this anyway. I thought it was a fun idea to show them what we do in America.

Well, This morning, Hannah's excited was crushed when one of her teachers said she could not pass them out. Supposedly, there is no sugar allowed at the school. And we had suckers on them. Hannah cried. It took me almost 1/2 an hour to leave. I went from being sympathetic to mad, to furious and angry with Hannah to sympathetic again. Her crying while I am trying to leave drives me crazy. She wanted me to stay with her, and of course, I could not. I have Emma and Ian I have to take care of. I did tell Hannah we could take the suckers off and then give the cards without the suckers. She said no. And I also said we could pass them out in the parking lot after school if she wanted. She did not like that idea either. I felt terrible for her. She was trying to do something nice for all the kids (41 total) and then was told no. All I could do in the end was hold her while she cried.

I hope the other two kids don't have problems passing theirs out like Hannah. Spencer said he was sad for Hannah. I knew how he felt because I felt the same. It really made me want to cry for her.

I think I am more emotional right now because I am lacking sleep. Gardner is gone and for some reason, Ian is not sleeping during the night. And then Emma was up during the night as well. They both started in with colds again yesterday. So it is harder for them to breathe. They are both napping right now, and if I was a smarter mom, I would be too. But instead and I wanted to update my blog and take a shower.

As for the rest of the day, I need to go grocery shopping. And then we are just going to hang out at the house as usual. It is raining, as usual so not much more we can do. I did buy gummy hearts for the kids. They are called Haribo. A big thing here in Germany. They are the makers of gummy bears.

Yesterday was just a marathon of a day. I got up early to take a shower before the kids got up. I knew I would not get one if I did not. It was so stressful in the morning trying to get everyone to school plus getting Emma and Ian ready to be gone all morning. On Tuesday's, there is an English Relief Society in the mornings. I tend to not go due to timing. But I made a special attempt to go yesterday because there is a family (Wade and Eva Riser) who is moving back to America and we had a farewell breakfast. I'm glad I went, but Emma cried the whole time I was there. Afterwards, Spencer and Hannah had friends over to play all afternoon. It is a brother and sister who both are in Spencer's and Hannah's classes. So we had a full day.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Very Crazy Day

Well today was a very crazy day. I am beginning to wonder if this whole week will be this way.

I woke up late again, as usual. When I looked at the clock, the kids only had 15 minutes until it was time to leave for school. It was raining, but everyone made it on time. Spencer and Hannah even had time to eat breakfast. I got all three kids to school, came home got Emma and Ian something to eat, diapers changed, and myself showered. Got 3 loads of laundry done (Ok, maybe not completly done as they are not folded). Went to the Bakery (hey, I have to take advantage of all the great breads here!). And even got to Hannah's school to pick her up 15 mintues early.

We got home just in time for Spencer to get home. I asked him how his day was. And he said it was good. And then he proceeded to tell me he has 3 friends. I was so happy to hear this news, because Friday when he came home from school, he said he did not have any friends.

I got lunch made, Emma to Nap. And then Shantal came home. Just enough time to get Shantal some lunch and then we were off for a play date at a friends of Hannah and Spencer's. But the whole family was invited. The kids had fun playing outside in their tree house, petting the bunnies and running around with other people. After 1 1/2 hours, it was time for Shantal and Spencer to start Scouts. So we walked to where they meet. Hannah went back to her friends house and I left to go pick up a few items we bought from our friends who are moving back to America. (which are still in our van since it is raining so hard!) I got back just as the kids got there from Scouts. At this time, it is 7pm at night. We hurried ate some dinner, got Emma to bed. Then Hannah. Then I had to help Shantal with her homework. Thank goodness Spencer's homework was just to practice saying the months of the year.

Whew, it felt like a whirlwind day. And I know that tomorrow is going to be the same exact way....starting right when I wake up.

On to other things. Gardner left for Sweden today. He comes back late Thursday night. All the kids put in their orders of what they want Gardner to bring back. Shantal asked for Swedish Fish. Spencer wants Old El Paso Taco Seasoning. I just asked for anything he can find that we can not get here.

Shantal called a friend tonight to see if she can come over and play tomorrow. Her mom won't let her because the kids have had lice. I also would be so leary, but it has been a month already. It broke Shantal's heart.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

School Woes

Well, I still have not heard anything about the Police Investigation with Gardner's work. I must ask follow up questions with Gardner and see if he has heard anything. But I do have other news to report.

Gardner just informed me that he is starting to travel to Sweden every week for work. I believe he starts next week. He will be going for a few days each week. He mentioned maybe Tuesday night through Thursday night. I tease him about bringing us all this way and just leaving us here. I must take advantage of this and go with him sometime. Now if I can only find someone to watch the kids.

So Spencer and Shantal have had some rough days at school this week. It really makes me sad. Tuesday, Spencer came home from school like normal. I asked him how his day was. He told me he spent the last hour in school in the bathroom. I thought perhaps he felt sick. No, that was not the case.

There is a boy in Spencer's class that always gets to the classroom after recess before anyone else and holds the door closed so people can't get in. Well, Tuesday, Spencer got there before this other boy. So he decided to hold the door so others could not go in. Well, there was a boy already in the classroom who tackled Spencer, plugged his nose and covered his mouth so Spencer could not breath. While doing so, the other boys came in the room and one sat on Spencer's stomach while a few others kicked and punched him. I don't know how it all stopped, but Spencer ended up in the bathroom and would not come out until School was over. He said he did not want everyone to see his face because it was all red with white spots from crying so hard.

This is not the first incident of this nature with Spencer. He got jumped a time before from 2 boys while trying to walk home from school. That time, I immediately took Spencer back to school and talked to the Principal. At least this time, his teacher did call and talk to me about it later that afternoon, and to check on Spencer. She informed me she was calling some of the boys parents. I was so happy to hear that. I think I really like his new teacher. Spencer did go back to school on Wednesday and one of the boys apologized to him. I was happy to hear about that.

Shantal comes home crying everyday practically. Maybe not crying, but mad. I always ask her the same question. How was your day? And she almost always answers the same. Good until it was time to come home. She has this "friend" who will never walk home with Shantal. She always says she will but then doesn't. It makes Shantal sad. I wish Shantal would just find someone else to walk home with instead. But she does not want to move on, she wants to walk home with Anna.

Another thing that annoys Shantal is the teachers. She has swimming on Wednesdays. They ride a bus into town to a Swimming Pool. Well, it is cold outside, but not what we are used to in Wisconsin. The teachers always tell her she *has* to wear her hood on her coat. And she hates hoods. She has ear warmers and that is enough for her. But the teachers don't see it that way. The German way of thinking is one way and then Shantal's is another. She had the same problem in her old school here. They finally told Shantal she could not go swimming anymore unless she brought a hat.

Anyway, Tuesday when both kids came home from school, I just started crying. I felt bad for them. I don't feel that they *Fit in* so well here at times. Gardner keeps joking that it takes so many of them to actually take Spencer down. But I know it is just that, a joke. I truely feel bad for the kids and wish I could make it all better.

Spencer and Shantal are both going to be starting Scouts on Monday. They need to get more involved with activities where there are other kids their age. Besides school, they are usually at home due to all the rain we get here. I think scouts will be a great way for them to make friends. Scouts meet every Monday and it is kids from their school. Spencer was a Cub Scout in Wisconsin and Shantal was in Girl Scouts in Wisconsin. Here, they combine girls and boys in scouts. So that will be interesting to see how that goes.

Thankfully, Hannah is doing FABULOUS in school. She still is not talking unless I am there. But she participates now. Tuesday she even went into the kitchen at her school and helped cook waffles. Then she actually ate some waffles. She has NEVER eaten at her school before and they serve breakfast everyday there. I pay 7 Euros a month for her breakfast that she does not eat. Well, I was very excited to hear this news and she told me how much fun it was and how yummy they were. She even asked to stay at school for lunch next time they have waffles. For her to stay for lunch is only 1 Euro 50 cents. Although, I know when that day comes, she won't want to stay anymore.

Valentine's Day is next week. It is a big thing here for adults. But not kids. So the kids and I are going to make some Valentine's Day Cards with my scrapbook stuff for some of their friends here. It is an American thing to give Valentine Cards to their friends and kids at school. It will be fun.

Karnivale is coming up here in Germany as well. It is actually the day after Valentine's Day. So far, it has the appearances of Halloween....all the costumes. But, if I recall right, it is like Mardi Gras in America. The kids are very excited about it. All the schools and even the primary at church is having parties where you dress up. Spencer is going to be a Cowboy, Shantal a Wizard and Hannah a Zebra. I'll have to expand on this next week, for sure!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Police

So kind of a weird thing happened yesterday. Gardner was getting ready to leave work to come home. The police showed up and said they were investigating a Murder that happend in Velbert. (not too far from where we live). They were going to talk to everyone that worked in the building and told them that no one could leave.

I guess at some point they came back and told everyone that they could not hold them against their will but to be prepared to talk to them next week at some point.

Very Strange. We don't know what the connection is between the office building and the person who was killed. I'm sure Gardner will hear more next week.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

February 1st

Today was Spencer's First Day in his new class at school. It was almost like the first day of school all over again. Each child in his class brought his new teacher a flower at the beginning of class. As Spencer left for school this morning, he was not happy about the changes that were to take place. He loved the schedule he had in the previous class. Well, the first thing he said to me as he walked through the door this morning was, "I'm so glad I switched classes". He came to find out that the other class (his old class) also switched schedules. Everyone in the school did. So now he is happy again.

Something I noticed during the night last night. I was up because of Ian. He kept fussing and crying. I could not handle it anymore, so I went downstairs and made him some baby cereal. We have a cereal bottle so he eats it that way. Well, he actually held the bottle all by himself. Not just for a minute and then drop it, but the whole time he ate. That was an exciting moment. And then Spencer noticed it today as he was helping Ian with a different cereal bottle. Ian is on his way to growing up.

Two days ago, Grandpa Wheeler had a birthday. The kids called him and sang happy birthday to him. Well, afterwards, he talked to the kids. Hannah wanted to go first. I couldn't believe my ears because she never wants to talk. Well, she talked, talked, talked, talked and then talked some more. I had to tell her to let someone else have a turn. That night, Gardner's Dad called to talk to Gardner and he was quite stunned by Hannah's conversation earlier. He said Hannah talked more to him on the phone for his birthday than she did the whole time they were here visiting. Maybe, just maybe, this might be a sign of good things to come for Hannah.

Speaking of Hannah and progress, she really is making strides at school. No, not in the talking sense. But in the participation. I can not believe how much she is doing every day. She is participating, showing excitment for things and playing with friends. The teachers are finally seeing her progress and is excited. She lets me leave everyday without crying or holding on to me. And she does not chase me out the door anymore either. I can almost run in and run out. Remember, I said Almost. Lots of times, she wants to show me things she did the day before.

We've actually seen a little bit of sun these last two days. The girls have gone to the park in the late afternoon. Today it was a little cold, but still nice enough to be outside playing.

Emma, our little Emma. She is really beginning to talk. She has said words before, but now she is trying to repeat whatever we say. Tonight I was saying I had a surprise after she got her pajamas on. (I had made pudding). The whole time I was getting her changed, she kept saying "rice". Which, by the way was not actual "rice" but "surprise" in Emma language. She also sat on the toilet again yesterday. She is wanting to, so I decided that could only help our cause. Well, she fell into the toilet. It scared her. And I am not certain if it has changed or mind or not about sitting on there again.

I've decided that everytime someone falls down these stupid stairs here at our house, I was going to document it. No one will believe how much we all fall. I broke my toe a month ago. And it is still swollen. I can walk on it now. It does get numb sometimes. And other times it will hurt because I forget and do something stupid with my foot. Well, just the other day, Gardner fell down the same exact 2 stairs that I fell down. I really don't know what our problem is. It is almost funny. I said almost.

I've been making some videos this last week. The first one I made of the first snow fall here in Germany with the kids outside trying to scrap the snow off the porch. Well, since then, I have started two other videos. I am making them for Adrian and Nadine. They were our exchange students the two previous years before we moved here to Germany. I put all the pictures of their time with our family on a CD. I'm excited to finish them and mail them. My previous goal was to make them a special scrapbook. But that is not happening, so this is a great 2nd option.

March 2007