Friday, March 30, 2007

Kids Art

Well, I have some updates to make, but no time right now. So I thought I would quickly post a few pictures of some art that the kids have done and then brought home from schools.

This first one is from Hannah. As you can see, it is an Easter Basket with Grass. Inside is a bunny and a colored Egg.

This is also from Hannah, as you can see her name on the pot. Whatever is planted is already starting to sprout. I guess we will all be surprised on what actually pops out.

Both Shantal and Spencer brought one of these home today from school.

Shantal made both of these this week at school. They are really cute in person. They are to hang on a tree. A big thing here at Easter time, to decorate trees.

This is our door to our backyard. The kids used paints on it for a Family Activity. We got these paints a few years ago from Grandma Wheeler.

I also have some pictures I took of Ian this past week. Some are just too cute not to share!

Monday, March 26, 2007

One More Thing

So I forgot to mention something. The other day, I mentioned I saw Ian getting ready to jump out of his pack n play that has a bassinet in it. Well, we did take the bassinet off the pack n play that night. It really scared me that he was going to fall out. We also moved Ian's bed out of my room and into Spencer's room. He is definately growing.

Here is a picture of Ian trying to climb up the two steps between the living room and dining room. They are marble and it also scares me of him falling.

Here are two pictures of Ian eating Mashed Potatoes for the first time tonight.

Sunshine Day

So today was a very nice day outside! It does not happen that often that it is warm enough and dry enough to go outside. I took Emma to the park two times. Once before I picked up the kids from school and another this afternoon when we all went to the park together. Emma loves going to the park. Her favorite thing is the slide.

Ian is eating some foods now. This last week, I introduced him to Mashed Potatoes, fried potatoes, crackers, bananas, cheerios and bread. And of course, you can not forget the pretzels he used to get from Emma or off the floor in weeks past. He totally loves food. He smiles so big and does this mmmmm sound. People at church were laughing yesterday because I was feeding him bread and he kept doing it real loud.

I picked up Hannah from school today. And she said to me....Mom, I started going to the bathroom at school. I've gone three times now I think. OK, you might think this to be strange, but this is my girl who last year in preschool would go in her pants instead of using the bathroom at school. She would hold it as long as she could and hope she could make it home. She never went to the bathroom in Preschool or Kindergarten in Utah. So this is a huge step. Once she does something she is afraid of doing or something she does not let herself do, then she does it all the time. I don't know why she never let herself go to the bathroom at school before, I'm just glad she does now. This was a big hurdle and I told her I was proud of her.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Six Months

It is official! We have lived here in Germany for 6 months. It is crazy to think how fast time has gone, how much life has changed in that short span of time and all the trials we have endured.

It has been a lot harder moving over here than I personally thought it would. I think it has brought us as a family closer together, even though it seems like there is also more fighting than before. Not only have we had to adjust to the culture, the language, dogs, the food and everything Germany has to offer, we have also had to adjust to having 5 kids in the family, since Ian was only 3 weeks old when we flew over here. And we have had to learn how to live as a family again, since the kids and I lived apart from Gardner for four months.

The kids don't get out and play with friends on a daily basis like they did in Wisconsin. They are kind of isolated. The weather is so terrible, like one constant rain that never ends. So they are usually inside the house. And I think those things help to bring the fighting to a higher level between them. I really hope that spring and summer are about here and they can get out more. They have all started to have play dates with friends, which helps. They all now have roller blades and they all enjoy doing that. None of their bikes made it on the boat over here, along with many other things that could not fit. But we do have a park real close and so they can always go over there to get their outside needs met.

Gardner's job is great here. He really enjoys it. The atmosphere is so different than that in Wisconsin. He is happy again and that is real important. When Gardner is happy, we are all happy.

So, six months in, I am still glad we came here. I know it has been hard on me and especially the kids. But I also know there are things we each like about being here. I told the kids to think about those things they like about being here. As soon as school gets out, I will ask them for their answers and update this entry with their responses.

Everything Goes In The Mouth

How is that for a title? Everything Goes In The Mouth! Yes, we have hit that stage with Ian. I had forgotten about this stage somehow. I keep pulling things out of his mouth. He gets the biggest wads of paper in there. No matter what it is, he tries to bite it, suck on it and insert it. It is so hard to keep the floors clean. I vacuum everyday. But somehow, with so many people in this house, the floors always have something on them. I remember when Shantal and Spencer were this little, I was able to keep the floors empty and free of tiny objects. But somehow, with Ian, it is harder.

Something else I just noticed today. It is time to move his bed down. Well, actually, it is a pack n play. We have a pack n play in the living room where he usually sleeps during the day. And then his crib is up on the 3rd floor. Well, the pack n play has a bassinet feature that we have been using. Well, today, I saw Ian and I jumped real fast. He was almost out of the bed.

He has started to climb up on things. Sometimes that is real dangerous. He gets up on these laundry baskets we have and then the edge of the laundry basket always gets under his neck. We have marble floors in our house and we have 2 steps between the living room and dining room. He is always pulling himself up on these two steps. I am so afraid of him getting hurt.

As for Ian's Crib, it is up in our room. I think it is time for it to be moved out of our room and into Spencer's room. We have never had a baby sleep in our room so long before. But with the set up of this house and the different levels that the sleeping rooms are on, it was easier to keep him there while I breastfed him. I am still breastfeeding him, but he needs to be moved.....eventually. He is 6 months old, and it is time for him to hopefully start sleeping through the night.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Secret Addiction

So today, Gardner showed up home from work at 2pm. He is sick. I think he has the flu that the other kids have all experienced. Saturday he felt sick, but not like this. I went to the church tonight for a women's night out. I was gone 3 hours. I made dinner before I left and they were just getting ready to sit down and eat when I walked out the door. When I came back, dinner was still at the table, dishes still in the sink, the house a disaster and all the kids still up. Gardner said he was just trying not to die. That is how sick he feels. I think he will be spending a day at home tomorrow and then he should feel good enough to go to work again on Friday. That is if the pattern repeats itself. Meaning, if it is the same as everyone else in the family.

So, as some of you know......I have an addiction. Oh, don't some of you act so shocked! I probably have more than I'm telling. But this time, I am talking about my pretzel addiction. While I was pregnant with Emma, that is one of the only things that made the nausea go away. I gained 50 pounds with Emma. But afterwards, still had 20 to lose when I got pregnant with Ian. I swore, I would not start on pretzels again. Well, as sick as I was I almost did not have a choice. While in the hospital is when I started up on them again. (For those that did not know, I was being fed through an I.V. for a month). Anyway, since that time, I still have not given up on those pretzels. Currently, we go through a bag of pretzels each day. Luckily, those pretzels are only 40 cents. Granted they are smaller bags than in America. But still, I can not survive so well without them. point is, I have tried to cut back on my pretzel addiction. But that has not worked. I crave those pretzels and I break down and open a new pack. So, I have decided to go cold turkey and simply not eat them anymore. And that is starting tomorrow. I have already been craving them again tonight, but have no more in the house. And there are no plans on bringing them back into this house either. If they are here, I will eat them. Tomorrow will be a real hard day. But in the long run, I will be a lot happier and this will help my goal of losing the rest of the baby weight. I lost so much weight before Emma and Ian came along and it sickens me to see myself now after everything else I went through. So here is to being Pretzel Free!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Round 2

So, Ian was up during the night sick. He started throwing up around midnight and it went through out the night. It became what I call a two man operation. I would hold Ian, kind of in a crawling position, while Gardner would hold a bowl under his chin to catch most of it. The poor boy. I felt so bad for him. Listening to him made me sad. He would gag and do the dry heaving after awhile. But throught out the day, he seemed to be doing a lot better. I was worried about not breastfeeding him so often. But tonight, he seemed to be back up to normal eating routine.

This morning, I bought myself some Roller Blades. I am very excited about this. I have gained a bit of weight being pregnant with Emma and Ian. And this summer, I want to try and get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I am hoping that roller blading will help. I have never roller bladed before. I have, however, Roller skated and of course, Ice Skated. So I hope I will be able to enjoy this activity. Plus, my three older kids have blades and we can go out together. My plan is to have Gardner watch the two smaller kids while I get out. I hope his work schedule co-operates.

Here is something I just thought of while typing. The teachers at Hannah's school really LOVE Emma. They are so excited that Emma always wants to be a the school. She never wants to leave when I am ready to go after dropping off Hannah. And when picking up Hannah, she wants to stay and play as well. The kids are usually outside playing when I pick up Hannah. They lock their gates so the parents can not come into the play yard until it is the correct time. Then they come and unlock it. Well, lately, they have been unlocking the gate and letting Emma come in and participate with all the other kids. When Hannah unlocked the gate today, she told me.....Only Emma gets to come in. It was too cute. So I have been going about 15 minutes early and watching Emma play on the slide (her Favorite thing to do). She has also sat around the sandbox with the other kids and sang songs. Usually sitting on Hannah's lap. It actually has been good for Hannah as well. For example, today I showed up and Hannah was in the sandbox playing by herself. After Emma went to play, Hannah played with her. And of course, all the kids want to be around them as well. So that is a good thing. Emma's excitement when she sees Hannah for the first time when picking her up is priceless. And every day, one of the teachers asks me how old Emma is. They really can't wait until she gets to stay for good.

Something funny I saw the other day, which I do not think was there before. They have these signs on the roads. Sometimes they take me by surprise because they are so different. This one inparticular was a triangle with an exclamation mark in the middle. It stands for caution. Well, right underneath it, was a picture of a frog. They are telling us to watch out for frogs on the road. I just started laughing out loud. I could not believe it. I can't wait to see how many frogs are on the roads this spring and summer.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Flu

OK, it is a bad thing sometimes that I let too much time pass by between my entries, because my mind is not so good at remembering what happened 10 minutes ago, let a lone, a few days ago.

One thing is, yesterday, almost the whole family broke out with the flu. Started out at 4am when I heard someone throwing up. It was Shantal. Then at 6 am, Emma started in. In total, Emma threw up yesterday 4 times. Then Gardner started getting nauseated, and then Spencer started throwing up. He insists that he threw up 6 times, but he was only in the bathroom one time. Needless to say, we canceled everything we had planned for yesterday and I ran and did all the grocery shopping and just spent a day at home with homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. That and the Star Wars Marathon. Who could ask for better remedies when sick?

Also, we started making fires in our fire place for the first time yesterday. It started getting cold again here and is supposed to snow. But we have not seen that yet. Well, our heat is turned off in our house already. It gets pretty cold, especially at night. So right now, the kids are sleeping in the living room where it is a bit warmer due to the fire. I still brave the cold because there is nothing better than my own bed. I was going to say, the kids love the fires and keep asking if they can roast marshmallows. We don't have those here in Germany. They are so sad about that. They want to make smores. Yet, we don't have graham crackers either. Some how, they don't understand the concept of not having all the ingredients because they still ask.

Hannah went and saw the Psycologist on Thursday morning. Frau Haley is who she saw and she is an American. She said hannah did really good. She talked quite a bit to her. The fact that Frau Haley knows I have kissed a dolphin, Hannah's favorite Icecream is Mint Chocolate Chip and her favorite color is Pink was more than I expected. She is having Hannah come back in a month and she is going to have 3 or 4 other children there to have them interact with each other. We will see how Hannah deals with that kind of situation.

Friday was a nice peaceful day at home. After School, Shantal went over to a friends house and so did Hannah. It is so weird when the kids go play somewhere. I think 2 hours is a long time somewhere else to play. But when I drop them off, and I ask about what time I should come back, it is usually around 4 hours later. Now that is a play date! So strange. I am used to having my kids home and in the house around 5pm so we can eat and start getting ready for bed. But here, the kids all play until 6pm. I really have to alter my plans when the friends come here.

I got a new calling (assignment) at church today. I am the 2nd Counselor in the Young Women's Program. For those that don't know what that is, it is the girls from 12 - 17 years old in our church. We have lessons every Sunday and then an activity every Tuesday night. There are usually around 8 girls every week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

German Doors I decided I HATE (yes, I know it is a strong word!) German Doors. German doors are made where you can not open the door up from the outside with out a key. So when it closes it automatically is locked.

I know what you are thinking, I locked myself out. Not so.

The kids have been playing outside a lot the past two days since the weather has been OUTSTANDING! It actually feels like spring outside. They can go out without coats. Yesterday, Shantal even put shorts on.

Well, with going outside, comes a lot of the in and out game. They go out to roller blade. Then they want in to get their shoes to ride their scooters and bikes. They are outside, then they want in to go to the bathroom. They are outside, and they want to come in to get a drink. They are outside and want to come in to tattle on something one of the others did that they did not agree with. You get my point. Well, with three of them outside, they NEVER want in at the same exact moment. And today I was getting frustrated. It seemed like someone was constantly at the door. I was trying to breastfeed Ian and someone wanted something.

It really was getting to me by the time the afternoon was over and time for them to come in anyway. I want them to be able to go out and be with friends. But man, the door thing drives me batty!

On another note, I took Emma to the park this morning while the kids were at school. She just loved it. We have a park kind of across the street from our house. It is across and up just a bit. Anyway, I took Ian's carseat to the car first because I knew I needed to go get Hannah from school. Emma kept telling me, "this way" for the park. She really is talking a lot. Yes, a lot of it is Emma talk. Meaning, you might not be able to understand the words she is saying. But we as a family sure understand her. It is amazing how one can decifer what is being said sometimes. It is so fun to watch her vocabulary expand. I really wish her screaming would decress as her words increase. But so far, that does not seem to be the case.

Another thing I noticed today. I read on the internet that America had Daylight Savings last weekend. I was a little shocked, because we did not have it here in Germany. In the fall, we had it the same exact time as America. I don't know if we have it on a different occasion or not at all. Seems so weird.

Monday, March 12, 2007

First Day of School....Well, Sort Of

Well, Shantal's first day in Spencer's class went WONDERFULLY! I talked to the teacher today and she said that Spencer was real cute when Shantal came into the class. He about tackled her on the ground from hugging her. He is real happy to have her there. And the kids were real excited as well, Especially the girls in the class. Shantal's best friend from her 3rd grade class has a sister in the 2nd grade class. I think Shantal and the sister will end up being good friends as well.

Hannah was sick again this morning. She decided not to go to school. She was a bit sad about this. I was surprised by her reaction. I went ahead and took Shantal and Spencer to school, as I had to go and sign a form for Shantal to switch classes. When I came home, I asked Hannah if she wanted to go to school. Once again, I was amazed when she said Yes. So I ran her to school.

Then, this afternoon, Hannah had her "get to know you" day at the Elementary School. All the principal said was Thanks for coming. We will call your child's name and they will go with such n such teacher. Then the parents will pick up their kids at 5pm. Well, Hannah started crying. When they called her name, she screamed. She wanted me to stay. Well, I carried her into her class she was supposed to be in. Sat in a chair with her on my lap. But the teacher said this was something Hannah needed to do a lone. I agreed. Anyway, I told one of the teachers that I would stand outside for 5 minutes to see how it would go as Hannah was screaming again. The teacher came out and got me because it was hindering the other kids. So I took Hannah out and was talking to her. She wanted to go in but did not want anyone to look at her. I told her that is not something anyone can control. People look at us all the time. After half an hour, Hannah did go back in. She did not want to participate or talk. She only wanted to watch and see what they were doing. I said that was fine with me. She stayed there the rest of the time which was 45 minutes and only watched. I was just happy she went back in.

OK, so here is a funny. I have found Emma on MANY occasions trying to feed Ian food. Usually it is pretzels. The other day it was Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal. We really have to keep an eye out on that girl. I just have to say, Ian LOVES the pretzels.

Gardner left for Sweden again this morning. Lucky for me, he will be back tomorrow night. How nice that it is only for 2 days this time. He is trying not to go back next week at all.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Quick Update

Yes, I promise, this one will be quick and short. I am too tired but knew I had to sit down and do a small update.

First off, Spencer DID in fact lose his tooth already. And yes, it was as I said it would be....before he went to bed. Do I know my kids or what? He was in the middle of watching a movie and came up to me and showed me his tooth. He left his tooth on the counter and in the morning, he found a nice, shiney 1 Euro coin in exchange where his tooth once was. He did ask me in the morning where the tooth was. My answer: In a bag on that shelf. Yes, I keep all their teeth. They are all labeled with the date they came out. I'm weird.

Tonight I got a phone call from Frau Lurz (Shantal's Teacher). She said that Shantal can start tomorrow in the 2nd grade. She is going to be in the same class as Spencer, with Frau Hueserich. Shantal cried when I told her. She thought she had a couple of weeks before the switch was happening. But she delt with it in her own way. She went upstairs to be a lone. About 1/2 hour later, I went to check on her. She was in the middle of making a book for her class to tell them she was leaving their class but she would see them at recess. It was a great idea she had and totally made herself feel better. She is definately happy that she will get out of school earlier everyday.

Hannah has been sick today with a stomach ache. And then Emma and Ian both have colds again. I don't know if I have ever mentioned our Heat issues in this house. But let's just say, we have been so hot. We have heated floors and are not allowed to touch the temperature for it. The landlord hires out and has someone come in and take care of it. This man has been out 4 times in the last 2 weeks. Finally, the house is not hot anymore.....but it is cold. So the kids are cold at night and the two smaller ones can not adjust so well I suppose. We are going to live with it being cold. We have been on the hot side and it costs too much money to keep it that way. Plus, we are hoping for spring.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


So, I failed to mention that on Monday, I taught Spencer how to tie shoes. I know....he is 8 years old and should already have known how to do this. But thanks to the invention of Velcro, I have never taught my kids how to do this. But since the kids are getting bigger, it is harder to find velcro shoes.

Shantal learned while in Wisconsin. Only she did not learn it from me. She learned it from watching other kids at school tie their shoes and then tried it over and over again.

Spencer was getting very frustrated. He wanted to learn so badly. He kept saying it was hard. I told him I knew it was not easy. Then he would comment that it looked easy. Well, after about half hour of trying, he got it. Then he kept practicing. He has now worn his new shoes for 2 days. And he is the only one who has tied those shoes. Good for him!

Spencer has a tooth that is almost out as well. It is one of his top teeth. I am sure he will have it out tonight. He plays with it continually until it is out. He won't even go to sleep until he has managed to pull it out. It really grosses me out. I can't stand to see it hanging, to touch it, wiggle it, none of it. My kids think it is funny that I get the ewwws from this. They laugh everytime.

Spencer asked me today if I knew how much the tooth fairy would be giving him once the tooth comes out. I said, probably a Euro. He said, "oh, I thought it would be more". He knows who the tooth fairy is. But we talk in code since Hannah does not. He got more than a Euro last time he lost one when we lived in Duesseldorf. But I kept forgetting to pay him, so I felt the tooth fairy owed him interest.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Gardner!

Happy Birthday Gardner! We all got up this morning and before we left for school, we called Gardner in Sweden and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. The kids really enjoyed that. Then they all sent him some e-birthday cards. It was fun watching them choose which one they wanted to send. Spencer sent one where you have to put the tail on the monkey. Shantal sent one that talked about a date at home watching tv and that she would get all the fun on HIS birthday. And then Hannah sent a cute bear card that talked about smiles, presents and a great day. Very interesting how they were all different.

Did you also know that today is Chocolate Cheesecake Day? How about Dentist Day? As I was looking for just the right card for Gardner, it showed us what special days were coming up. And these are today. Tomorrow is Cereal Day.

The first Tuesday of every month, there is a local church that has a youth activity for the kids. Today they made Pizza. Shantal has been going for a few months now. You have to be 6 to go and now that Hannah is six, she was able to attend if she wanted. Well, she wanted to. But then when it was time to go, she decided to stay home. But she wanted to go with me to drop Shantal off. While doing so, I talked her into staying. When I came back for them, Hannah was having so much fun with all the girls. You could hear both my girls just talking a lot, including Hannah.

We really need to find more activities for them to be involved in. And Hannah was actually invited to go with a few girls from her Kindergarten class to their dance class tomorrow. That way she could check it out. Well, when another girls mom asked Hannah today if she was interested in this, Hannah said, "I like Dancing". It was nice. This mom also invited Hannah over to play again this week. I am so glad she is taking an interest in helping Hannah get more settled. Hannah needs that.

So last night, Shantal and Spencer had Scouts. Here in Germany, scouts are combined, girls and boys. Well, they were both kicked out and told they could not come again next week. They were not the only ones. There were six kids all together who are not allowed to come. I don't know what is going to happen to the kids and scouts. Part of me thinks it will still be good for Spencer, but I'm not so sure Shantal fits in so well there. She needs activities of her own. We just need to find them.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Emotional Wreck!

So Gardner left very early this morning to fly to Sweden. He will be back Wednesday late. I guess I should feel lucky he will be back Wednesday instead of Thursday like before. I keep telling Gardner we are a team player when it comes to his work. Anything they need from him, I think he needs to help out, for the most part. And right now, they need him in Sweden. Once again, we don't know how long this assignment will be for. I guess maybe Gardner will have more of an idea when he gets back. Our goal for Gardner is to get a promotion at work. And in order for that to happen, he needs to focus more on the company and not so much on our family like he did in Wisconsin.

This morning, I took Spencer and Shantal to school and went inside with the smaller three kids to talk to the Principal of the school about moving Shantal to the 2nd grade. At first, she was saying that Shantal has made some great friends in her class and if I did not think that Shantal could catch up. And then she proceeded to ask me how long we are planning on living in Germany. I told her perhaps 5 years. Then she mentioned then it might be a good idea because she can not move on out of Elementary school without the basic fundementals, which right now, Shantal does not know. Then she asked perhaps maybe Shantal stay where she is at, move on to the 4th grade and then repeat the 4th grade. But by the end of our meeting, she was in agreement that Shantal needed to go to the 2nd grade and not hold out. She needs to talk with Shantal's teacher though as she had not heard this information before. I mentioned that her teacher wanted her to wait until Parent Teacher Conferences (3 weeks away) before making a final decision. But I told her how important it is for her to move NOW not in 3 weeks. The Principal also asked me which class we would want her moved to since there are 3 of them. I let her know that after long talks with Gardner and a lot of prayer, we decided it would be best to put Shantal in Spencer's class. She agreed this would be a good move for Shantal.

Now to the problem, we can not just move Shantal from one class to another. There are forms, of course. We have to have a petition from Shantal's teacher explaining why she needs to be moved. Then they have to have a meeting with ALL the teachers involved. And Shantal has a good 6 teachers through out the week. I don't see any changes being made for probably a week. The Principal did say she would talk to Shantal's teacher today and get back to me. I just hope we can make this a fast change for Shantal. Shantal knows what is happening and I don't think it is good on her emotionally to just keep waiting.

So Hannah is pulling on my heart strings. I took her to school today and she did not want to stay. I tell her that is not an option and ask her which room she wants to go in. In Germany, Kindergarten is just a play time. They can choose between 5 different rooms to play in. She was not sure where she wanted to go. This is not unusual for Hannah. Well, I told her I had to go and if she could not choose I was going to leave without taking her into a specific place. I counted to 3 and then picked up Emma and Ian and walked out. She SCREAMED at the top of her lungs. I went to my car and just cried. I have not heard from the school, so I assume she stopped. The stress of taking Hannah to school everyday is really taking a toll on me. I wonder if anyone else ever feels like they don't want to be a Mom anymore? Sometimes, I do feel that way. I feel so bad when I start to get feelings like that.

Emotionally, all the kids are basically putting a strain on me. All the fighting that happens between them. All the yelling. I have kids that talk back to me, tell me I am mean. I sometimes wonder if it is ever going to stop. It seriously drives me crazy.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Today I picked up Shantal from school because it was raining. Since Spencer gets out so early on Thursdays (10:45am....NO JOKE!), I left Emma and Ian with him while I ran to get Hannah from Kindergarten and then on to get Shantal. I got there about 10 minutes early so decided to walk in and get her. I decided to take the time and ask Shantal's teacher how things were going. She said that Shantal is really struggling with the German. And with that, she is wondering if it would not be better if Shantal moved to the 2nd grade. I mentioned to her that Gardner and I have been having some of the same thoughts but were conflicted about what was really best for Shantal. Frau Lurz (Shantal's Teacher) said that parent teacher conferences are in three weeks and she would like to see how Shantal does within the next three weeks and then we can all discuss it in further detail. She has so many teachers spending one on one time with Shantal and wants to see where that goes and how well Shantal takes to it.

Well, Shantal heard this and started freaking out. She does NOT want to move to the 2nd class. This is the same girl who did not want to be in the 3rd class when we moved into our house. She has a friend in her class who she really wants to stay with. I need to explain to her that there is only one more year and then they will all move onto different schools anyway. I told Shantal that we all just want to do what is best for her. And her strong reply was, "the only good thing for me is to move back to America!"

The thing is, and I know I have said it before, school here in Germany is way ahead of school in America. Spencer has already learned the math here in Germany that Shantal still does not know. Multiplication and Division. If she moved back, she would have time to still learn those things that she does not know and has not had the chance to learn. It would give her an extra year to work on her writing skills, which cursive is a must here in Germany. And she has been fighting to actually write that way because she is not as fast as everyone else in her class. (meaning, she is not doing it even though she is supposed to.) Plus some of the letters are written differently here in Germany than in America.

Elementary School only goes until 4th grade here, so it is important for us to make the best decision for her, even if she does not agree with us. Sometimes it is so hard to be a parent. I do feel for her, but I wish she could trust us enough to know we are trying to help and protect her.

March 2007