Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

We took our kids to the International School here in Duesseldorf. They had Trunk Or Treating for the kids. Everyone parks their cars so the trunk is facing out and the kids go from car to car to get candy. I refused to buy costumes this year and couldn't remember what we had from our move over a year ago. This time last year, Everything we owned was being held in the Netherlands waiting for the custom officials to release it. So we hadn't seen these items for 2 years. It was seriously like new items to my kids. They were very excited.

Spencer did not join us this year. Tomorrow is a holiday here in Germany and he had a friend who had a slumber party tonight. And Spencer went there instead. He knows that the girls candy is his candy too. So, he really isn't missing out on much.

Shantal ended up as Darth Vadar, Hannah as a Witch, Emma was a Pumpkin and Ian was a Green Bay Packers Player. I think he was adorable.

Oh, Emma had a fabulous time. It was so cute that she would go up to each car. Not knowing really who she should get the candy from. She tried getting into some of the cars looking for the candy. She always said thank you instead of trick or treat. And she always wanted to take her own candy. It really was priceless watching her.

I See One!

I went Grocery Shopping this morning. I went to Aldi first, as I try to get there right at 8am when they open. Today was a day that Shantal and Spencer don't go to school until 8:45 am. So they were able to stay home with Emma and Ian while I ran by myself to Aldi. So I dropped off Hannah at school (as school for her was at 8am), and then headed on over and got everything I needed from Aldi. Of course, Aldi doesn't carry everything I need. So I also had to go over to Real. But there is not enough time to do that before the kids had to go to school. So after Aldi, I went back home.

I unloaded what I had bought, packed up the other four kids and off we went. I dropped off Spencer and Shantal at school. When I drive to Real, I have to pass by Aldi. And then it happened. The words that Emma consistantly says! "I see one! Mom, there is one!" Nothing else is around. It is only the Aldi.

Emma has been doing this lately. Everytime we drive past an Aldi Grocery Store, she says that exact phrase, without fail. If I am running to Aldi, she tells me, "I want to go to Aldi, too". It is all too cute the way she says it. I know my writing about it doesn't explain how cute it is everytime she does it.

Obviously, Aldi is a big part of our lives. I go there three times a week. It is my main grocery shopping store. And why it is so fabulous to go there from the perspective of a 2 year old is strange to me. She has to sit in the back of the cart and hates it. But Ian is smaller and therefore, sits in the front. Then she sits there while I fight my way into the crowds to get all the sale items. She gets all the groceries crammed around her. Seriously, she complains everytime we are there. But for some reason, she loves Aldi.

For now, I will always smile when Emma sees an Aldi. Because when Emma talks, usually no matter what she says, I smile. She is just too cute when she talks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blessing of Bananas

I was feeding Emma and Ian a banana yesterday morning in the car and felt suddenly very grateful that we have bananas and fruits generally here in Germany and in the U.S. where I grew up.

I wasn't sure why I was so grateful.

Emma and Ian are really cute together and Emma kept making sure that I gave some to Ian. Ian kept smiling at Emma after each bite. They genuinely like each other and truly seem to care for each other those two. That was definitely part of it, just being grateful for the opportunity, with my wife, to care for two such wonderful children.

I did recall that a neighbor gave Emma a banana the other day and said that bananas contain many of the vitamins and minerals that a body needs every day and that we should eat a banana everyday. She's in her 80's and still pretty fit, so guess she speaks from experience.

I then suddenly recalled a really cool banana story from the former East Germany. The story was told to me by a colleague who was about eleven when the Berlin Wall fell. A story ripped from the pages of the world history story, or world history through the eyes of an 8 or 9 year old. Not sure if the story would ever actually make the history books, but I found it quite refreshing.

She and some other colleagues who grew up in the former East Germany (GDR) were talking about bananas one day at lunch. They then talked about the special banana shipments in the GDR. They recalled waiting in line and getting bananas. I asked how often this type of a shipment came. They recalled it being about twice a year, or at two times in the year spring and again in the autumn. They joked with each other about waiting in line with their mothers, and talked about how many bananas they would receive (generally based on family size).

One of the colleagues then related this story.

My mom had the great idea that we could get more bananas if we split up and both stood in line separately since I was old enough to stand in line by myself. So the plan was that I would stand in line and ask for bananas and then my mom would stand in line a few people back and ask for bananas as well. Twice the bananas, a brilliant idea. A brilliant idea until I turned to my mom and asked how many bananas did we need again mom? Then it wasn't such a great idea. Six months later, we could work the plan to perfection and we got twice the bananas.

I enjoyed that story so much and found it to be such an interesting perspective on "world events".

I then realized in the car with my children that I enjoy the fruits of so many people's labors and share that with my children without much forethought, without knowledge regarding how bananas get to Germany, and without much gratitude most of the time. I was a bit more grateful that morning while caring for my two youngest children and hope it continues.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mommy, we going to church again?

This was Emma's first question when we got back into the car, for the 2nd time, to go to church this morning.

On our first trip, I had noticed that the streets were a little quiet for 8:45 a.m., and that the Autobahn was just a little too empty, but I didn't think anything of it. Tamara didn't notice it either and just kept driving. But when we got to the empty church parking lot at 8:58 a.m. we realized that we had been struck by daylight savings time. We decided to head home for some breakfast.

Our friends told us last week, I probably heard someone mention it at work this week, and generally one should just know these types of things. But we didn't.

And so we got the adorable question from Emma after we packed everyone up in the van again, and were heading off to church for the 2nd time at the real 8:40 a.m. Mommy, we going to church again?

On the upside, the sit down, no stress breakfast while I read a short passage from the scriptures in between our two departures was sure nice. We are usually racing and hectic prior to church.

The other plus of the early waking (relative to the new time) was that Ian slept very soundly during the services with grandma B. Grandma B. is a fine sister in the congregation who adopts Ian each Sunday, i.e., holds Ian during the main service while we wrestle with the other four adorable, but sometimes rambunctious children. And who wouldn't get a little restless after an hour long service. Grandma B. and Grandpa B. always say they want to take Ian home after the services, because he is so cute. After an hour long break we are also glad to see him again. It is a great break for us each week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Shrek Marathon!

Yesterday I went to a store called Ratio and bought the Movie, Shrek the Third. My kids love the Shrek Movies and when they saw that Shrek the third was out on video, we just had to buy it. Normally, I don't buy movies when they are brand new. But Shrek the third was not that expensive.

For example, Meet the Robinsons has been out for I believe 2 months on video here in Germany. But it is almost 20 Euros. I got Shrek the Third for 14 Euros.

Great thing is the movie comes in both German and English. We usually watch movies in English at home. But when the kids have friends over, then they can watch something in German.

Every Friday Night, the kids look forward to Friday Family Movie Night. So they decided we would watch Shrek the Third today for our Movie Night. Well, at lunch time, the kids started asking if we could have a Shrek Marathon and watch all three movies in one sitting. I had to calculate how long they would be where they are still in bed by 9pm. And sure enough, if we started by 3pm, we would be done in time. I had to plan enough time for a small break inbetween plus dinner.

Well, I then said, we could only do it if everyone's homework is done and if all their jobs were done. And we had to start the movie no later than 3pm. And guess what, we started the movie at 2:58pm.

So here we are, in the middle of our Shrek Marathon. I personally have never watched the first two straight through. Of course, I have heard it in the background while on the computer or while I'm in the Kitchen. I plan on watching more intently today so I can say I have seen them. And I guess that means, I need to stop blogging.

We Have Heat!

At this very moment, we have reached heat status. What that means, is that I had to take off a layer of clothes because I was a little warm. The man from the heating company (the same one always shows up) was here this morning for over an hour. And when he left, he told me we were all turned on and we would be having heat within a few hours. And sure enough, I can walk around without socks on again. My floors are warm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sleeping Last Night

Last night, Gardner and I slept in the living room. It is on the main floor and as a reminder, our bedroom is up 2 flights of stairs. Gardner initially went to the basement to sleep. But I went down there to talk to him and asked him if he thought the basement was warmer than the living room. His response was no. So when he heard I was sleeping on the main floor, he also slept there. He dragged a mattress from the basement. We grabbed all the blankets from our bed and the beds in the basement. I made a nice comfy spot on the couch. I had 3 blankets on top of me. Not just three blankets, but the thick German kind. As I was laying there, I thought it would be funny to get a picture because it was an amazing amount of blankets on top of me. And I was still cold. My feet had 2 pair of socks on them and I had sweats on my legs. And from my knees down were terribly cold. It was 12:30 when we finally laid down. And I eventually fell asleep until Ian woke up at 2:30am.

When I heard him crying, I jumped up and realized I was sweating. I was so hot by this point. All the blankets came off, but one. I took off both pair of socks. And most of the night, my feet were hanging out of the blanket to get some cooler air.

I don't know what it is about sleeping that makes us warm up. Because here I am, sitting on my couch. The same couch I slept on during the night and I am freezing. I have my same sweats on. My same pair of socks, and same sweater.

I have to add that at 5:30am, Hannah and Emma joined our sleeping party in the Living Room. Hannah thought it was so comfy. I don't know why they think it is time to get up at 5:30 am. But I put a stop to it right away and we all continued to sleep until 7 am.

I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. But for tonight, I will be sleeping on the couch again so I can hopefully stay warm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Whole New Meaning To COLD

So, we have been living without a heater since Spring. And it has gotten really cold here in Germany. Currently outside, it is 4 degrees Celcius, which is 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Our house has been so cold, we all wear layers to bed. I was so cold last night, I honestly was awake shivering. (during the night it got down to -1 with the windchill to -5 which was 23 degrees Fahrenheit). Our bedroom is up on the 3rd floor. You know the saying....Heat rises? I know I have heard this my whole life. But I have to tell ya, in this case, It does not rise. For some reason, between the 2nd level and the 3rd level, the coldness practically doubles. So I will not be sleeping in my bed tonight.

Now, why don't we just turn on our heater? I know someone is thinking this. And here is the story on that. Our house is heated through the floors. And it has to be operated by a professional. It states in our contract that we are not allowed to touch the controls because "it is too complicated".

Well, the funny thing is, I was on the phone with the heating company yesterday. And the man told me he had to come out to do a yearly check on the floor heating system. I asked him if he would be turning on my heater at this time. He was amazed that we don't have it on already. He asked if we were not cold because it has been so cold outside. Of course we have. I failed to let him know we have had sick kids and the coldness is not helping at all. Ian, Emma and Hannah have all had Croup and some also Bronchitas. Spencer now has a cold as well. Anyway, he proceeded to tell me that I could turn it on. (he has done this in the past as well.) I informed him that I am not allowed to touch it as it was in my contract. Well, the earliest he can get here is Friday Morning.

So we are all continuing to freeze. I am so ready to put a fire in my fireplace. But, guess what....the wood is in my garage. And that would require me to walk to the end of the row of houses, move my van (which has an anti-freeze cover on the windshield) just to get the wood out. Oh, and I would have to move 8 bikes and a luggage carrier (that goes on top of your car), to get to the wood as well. That just is not happening tonight. It is just too cold out there for me to get this fire started.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another trip to the dentist

Courage Certificate (Mutigkeitsurkunde)

Well, we were back at the dentist on Thursday. Shantal, Spencer, and me.

Spencer was in for a quick check-up after his baby teeth were pulled a few weeks back. I needed a filling and Shantal had an appointment at the orthodontist (Keiferorthopädin) (a bus and tram ride away since I didn't want to worry about driving to and parking at the 2nd location in Düsseldorf). That was where the fun began. If you've read Tamara's dental post about how much Shantal loves all things dentist related, you can imagine what fun we were in for.

First off some information about the orthodontist. She has a gift. A gift for working with children. It is a joy just to watch her interact with children. They are so at ease with her, and I sense that she truly cares about each child she is talking with.

After two minutes with Shantal, the orthodontist turned to me and said - "am I doing something wrong?" I emphatically said "No. If anybody had a chance with Shantal, I thought it would be you." Through hand signals and head nods Shantal consented to sitting on my lap and while the orthodontist looked at her teeth. The orthodontist needed an X-ray. Luckily we had talked about x-rays at the regular dentist's office earlier.

I won't go into detail, but with a bit of help from the training orthodontist, Shantal agreed and had the x-ray. The training orthodontist said - you don't want to come again and miss yet another day with friends and playing, let's just do it now while you're here. Very practical. I do love that approach that seems to be common here in Germany.

Now the fun part. The results.

The orthodontist showed Shantal the x-ray on the wall and indicated that the two permanent eyeteeth (Eckzähne) were coming in sideways and needed more room to hopefully come in straight. This meant that the dentist should pull two baby teeth and fit Shantal for a retainer (eine Klammer).

This was all said and German and Shantal looked at me rather in shock. I couldn't tell sure if she understood, but didn't want to believe, or just didn't understand at all. She claimed not to understand.

In her defense, the explanation was relatively fast and contained many unfamiliar terms. Add to that that Shantal is the most grown up of the kids when it comes to German. She does the most thinking, i.e., translating, when it comes to German. Not that she doesn't do great, but she has the most struggles with new vocabulary. I would say this is more similar to an adult learning a 2nd language vs. a child for whom most vocabulary words are new and unusual.

At any rate, I talked to her in English but it only took three small words to help her understand what the orthodontist had just said. "You need the same things as Spencer". O.K., that was 7 words, but as soon as she heard me say the same as Spencer, she crumpled up with her head on my lap and began balling. Spencer had two teeth pulled (by grandpa) a couple weeks back.

I spoke with the orthodontist a bit while she made a certificate of achievement for Shantal going through with the x-ray. Since Shantal was still balling after the certificate was done, the orthodontist proposed another orthodontist appointment in 4 weeks. Maybe nature correct the problem. Maybe the teeth will have fallen out by then and only the retainer will be needed. Maybe Shantal will be used to the idea. Maybe a miracle will occur. The orthodontist didn't mention these possibilities, just that it will be better for Shantal to process the idea and see the orthodontist again first. I agreed and we left.

Shantal could barely walk out of the office and said her stomach hurt so bad she couldn't walk to the streetcar. Luckily the streetcar was coming and so we had to run. Then from the streetcar to the bus we had to run as well, which she also couldn't do, but it was too hard to complain and run at the same time. After we got out of the bus she was better and there were no complaints waiting for the next streetcar. I was glad I didn't have to carry her to the car, and I could blame our hurry on the streetcar and bus.

In the car on the way home and then when we spoke to mom at home Shantal was already talking about getting the teeth pulled and doing the injection in her arm thing as if it were totally normal. For a recent cavity, Shantal had general anesthetic instead of a shot.

She just struggles so mightily with new unfamiliar information. I was calm as I helped her through it today though, so that was a plus for me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back to German 101

I speak fairly good German. I passed a test in college in the U.S. that would allow me to study in Germany (ZMP). I converse in German on a regular basis with my team at work. I translate from German into English for the congregation I attend.

So, why is that when I walk into hardware store I am back at level 1, or below? I don't know the German words for things. Then I suddenly forget all of the English words related to the item I would like to discuss with the friendly store attendant. And that means I have no chance in real German (thinking and speaking), or brushed together German (i.e., translating from English into German on the fly). Some recent examples include: screws and washers (Schrauben und Scheiben), herbicides (Unkrautbekämpfungsmittel), names of certain weeds, such as clover (der Klee), or barbecuing terms (lighter fluid, charcoal [Holzkohle], etc). I get stuck at Square one.

Perhaps I simply need a bit more humility. I should accept defeat prior to the battle. I should learn to live with my language handicap, that I am not 100% fluent no matter how much German I've had and learn to do some stinkin prep work before going to the hardware store.

Friday, October 19, 2007

When it's cold it's NOT raining

Oh, what a glorious day today. It was cold, about 33° Fahrenheit (1° Celsius). This is such a beautiful thing for a kid from Missouri who loved snowy days and later love ice skating and Wisconsin's winters with his children.

The cold has always seemed to bring a freshness with it for me. Is it the freezing cold air, which is a bit hard to breath and reminds you you are alive, or is it recognizing your body's heat being generated inside your coat is also keeping alive in the cold. Maybe the memories of sledding (I lost my two front baby teeth sledding, or rather landing one winter) or skating on crisp clear ice on the neighborhood pond make me such a lover of the colder weather.

But here in Düsseldorf cold has a new meaning for me. It means it's NOT raining. The rain seems so stifling to me here in Drizzle-dorf. Perhaps it is not only the seemingly constant rain, but the lack of sun that makes Düsseldorf seem so stifling.

At any rate, it makes me wonder why Düsseldorf has chosen me twice in my life. And why I have chosen Düsseldorf now twice.
Once as a young
missionary. I put in my name and said I would go, where ever the Lord would send me. Düsseldorf was designated and I went.

The 2nd time came through work. When I looked for my first job I had a goal of working in business or software consulting with an opportunity to work overseas, specifically in Germany. The company (CGI) I found and that found me back in 1997 has long had it's Central European headquarters in Düsseldorf.

And so here I am back living and working in and around Düsseldorf, and my love affair with Düsseldorf (but not the rain) has been renewed, and I endure the rain, and rejoice at a cold or a sunny day when it comes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You . . .

Ok, so this is a German lesson as well as something I find interesting that has happened to me this past two weeks.

In German, there are several forms of the word YOU. They have the words, Sie and Du. Du is something you only say to friends or children. Otherwise, you use the word Sie instead of Du. We of course in English have one word.....YOU.

Honestly, I have the hardest time with this. I say Sie to the people I should say Du to. And Du to those that I should say Sie. I don't know why it is so hard for me. But here is something I thought was kind of interesting that has happened within the last two weeks along these lines of Du and Sie.

I am going to talk about people I go to church with. Most of the members there are German. Some are Canadian, some are American. But mainly they are German. We have lived here 14 months now. Even still with them, I have a hard time knowing who I should Sie and Du. You would think these people that you have been talking to for over a year would know you and you know them well enough to say Du.

Well, on a Saturday, I was at the Church for a meeting. There is a guy there named Christof. He is a very nice younger guy. I would assume in his late 20's. He loves Emma and Ian. We talk every Sunday and he knows English very well.

On this particular Saturday, he says to me, "What is your name? I'm Christoff, by the way." I knew who is was. I've known for over a year. He has known me as well. At first, I thought it was really odd. Did he really not know my name? How could that be so?

Now, fast forward to this past Monday. I took Hannah to a birthday party and it was for a girl that goes to church with us. I was talking to her Mom, who I talk perhaps three times a week with. All of a sudden, she says to me, "I'm Brigita, by the way". Once again, I knew this. It took me back. Then she said, "I'm giving you permission to use the word Du."

It was weird to me how all of a sudden, even though you know someone, you re-introduce yourself when you are a "du" sayer instead of a "sie" sayer. Gardner assures me this is the way it is done here.

Tamara's Long Update

Well, I guess an update from me is long over due. The last time I wrote was 1 1/2 weeks ago.

As you all know, two days after Grandma and Grandpa Wheeler left to go home, I was admitted to the Hospital. It was Sunday night when I started to have pains in my abdomin. I wasn't thinking much of it. I get sick a lot to my stomach, but I knew these pains were different than normal. Gardner wasn't here. I was a lone with Ian and Emma. I got Ian to bed and Emma and I sat on the front porch waiting for everyone else to return home. It got to the point, I could not sit there any longer. The pains were getting stronger and I was really hurting. I tried laying down again.

At last, Gardner showed up and I decided to just go to bed. I thought that perhaps by some chance I could just sleep it off and I would feel better in the morning. And if not, then I would know it was time to get checked out. Well, it got to the point that I could not even lay in bed. The pains continued to come harder and stronger. I started making noises with each one and Gardner was worried.

He called our friend who is almost finished studying to be a doctor and they both decided I should be taken in right away. At 10:30pm, our friends arrived to watch the kids and possibly stay the night.

I got in right away into the E.R. But wouldn't you know it, before we got to the hospital, the pains stopped. But, we went in anyway. They did an ultrasound. They took blood. Of course, they pushed all around on my big belly. They kept saying the the Apendix is a small but tricky organ and I should have to stay a few days to be watched. At this point, we just wanted to go home and get to bed. Finally, they told us we could go home but would have to fill out a form saying we were leaving against the doctors orders. And then I would have to be back no later than 9am to be checked again.

With that, we decided I should just stay and get some sleep. They started an I.V. They took me up to my room (number 433). I noticed the clock as I was being pushed in a wheelchair up to my room. It was 1:30am. It was also strange because I kept seeing people all laying around on the floors in the hallways with their pants pulled down. Later someone mentioned they were all probably drunk and waiting for them to become sober.

To make a long story short, Gardner always spoke with the doctor everytime he came to visit. Gardner was there with the kids 2 times each day. He says I ended up with a bladder infection, but I don't know if I really buy that theory.

Finally, I left the hospital Tuesday Night around 6pm. I don't know if they were going to let me go or not. At 4pm, I went to them and told them I was going home. I mentioned I would sign a form if they wanted but I was leaving. They told me to hang tight for another hour and the doctor would come by to see me. He did come by and he did grant my wish and allowed me to go home.

Here I was, a place were there was peace and quiet. Something I never have. And all I was wishing was to be home. I was so bored. I just wanted to have my crazy and loud life back. I missed the kids and I know they missed me. They never wanted to leave the hospital when it was time. Although, with the bigger kids, I wonder if it had more to do with them being able to watch TV than being with me. (We don't have TV here at our house).

I missed doctors appointments for the kids and the kids first day back to school after the holiday break. I guess as a Mom, I got used to these little things that take place in the day. Oh and the biggest thing I missed while I was gone.....a sale at Aldi. Man there were things on sale that Monday I missed out on. I still think about the cutter I wanted to buy and the binding machine.

Anyway, I am glad to be back and those days and times I start longing for peace and quiet, I hope to remember how much I really didn't enjoy the quiet I had and then appreciate what I got.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sleep Talking in German

So last night I hopped into bed at my usual late hour. And, also as usual, Tamara starts talking to me as though she were totally awake. In our almost 14 years of marriage I've never been quite sure if she is awake or asleep when she talks to me in the middle of the night. Either way it always sounds like she is totally awake.

So, back to last night. Like I said she started talking to me, but to my complete and utter surprise it was in German. She said something like the following: "what are you doing it's already 2 a.m." or "was machst du, es ist schon 2 Uhr. I guess she is somehow awake, because the clock actually read 2 a.m. Crazy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Scrapfreak is Back

Well, today was a milestone for Tamara. It was her first full day of scrapbooking in a long, long time. A friend from Scrapfreak came down from Hamburg (to visit family in the area). The friend snuck away from family activities for the day and she and Tamara spent the day scrapbooking. They took over the Dachgeschoß and seemed to be having a good time.

I can't really tell because scrapbooking is so complicated, and I realized again today that I am mostly confused when they talk about their activities. There are lots of tools, scraps of papers, competitions, acronyms, etc. I often just have to nod and pretend I understand what she's talking about when she tells me something. But I love the end product. Very nice photo albums with cute pictures of our kids.

I can only compare the complexity to something like replacing the head gasket on a '64 Mustang convertible and trying to tell Tamara about it. She just wouldn't get it, and that's O.K., because she would enjoy the end product - cruising down the highway in a cool looking convertible. O.K., I actually think Tamara would hate having a '64 Mustang convertible, but you get the point.

My main job is to ask - when can me and the kids come home. I did with the 4 oldest children and got lucky on Ian taking a long afternoon nap. I was happy for Tamara.

Friday, October 12, 2007

German Beer Legend

I'm not a beer drinker, and don't even drink alcohol, but this german beer legend I heard today was pretty funny.

You must first know some background. In Köln (Cologne) the beer of choice is Kölsch. In Düsseldorf the beer of choice is Alt. Cologne and Düsseldorf lie on the Rhine and are both impressive cities. Cologne has the great cathedral (Kölner Dom), 2 TV stations, an arch Bishop, and is Germany's 4th largest city with almost 1 million inhabitants. Düsseldorf has 8 bridges in one of the shortest spans in the world, the TV Tower right on the Rhine, the Altstadt, is known in the fashion world, and is the capital of North Rhine-Westfalia. Düsseldorf is about 20 km down river from Cologne.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a great rivalry. I would compare it to a Yankees vs. Red Sox, New York vs. Boston level of rivalry. In Düsseldorf I often hear people complain about those from Cologne. Everything from Düsseldorf is better than anything from Cologne because, well, it's from Cologne. This naturally carries over to the beer: Kölsch vs. Alt.

Now to the story. This is a pro-Kölsch story, but as an outsider I just enjoy watching the rivalry and have not taken sides, yet. Besides I only work in Düsseldorf. I live in Ratingen.

German Beer Legend
Kölsch vs. Alt
What's wrong with the Alt beer in Düsseldorf. Well, as the story goes, the good old boys in Cologne drink their Kölsch and then urinate into the Rhine. That Kölsch enhanced Rhine river water naturally flows down to Düsseldorf. And where do the Düsseldorf Breweries pull their water for making their Düsseldorf Alt beer. Naturally from the "leftover" Kölsch beer Rhine water.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Habits from Home and Abroad

As I was driving home tonight it was a bit foggy. Off in the distance I could see a dark car parking on the other side of the street. The car parked suddenly and turned off its lights. I immediately pulled my foot off of the gas and checked my speed limit. I had a automatic response. I thought the car was a cop car pulling over to set up a speed trap. I would categorize this as a totally American response. In Germany the speed traps are done during the day with cameras and several police officers waving down cars who were speeding.

When I got home I got settled, got a bite to eat and then went to the restroom. I went to the door, turned on the light, opened the door, and went into the restroom. This I would categorize as a totally German response. Light switches are commonly on the wall outside of a room. I can't tell you how often, since being here Germany, I have walked into a room and searched in vain in the dark for the light switch. Yes, I have even done this in our very own house. So, it was nice feeling to remember that the light switch goes first.

Thought it strange how habit plays such a vital roll in our daily lives and actions. And to see how ingrained some habits have become for me and how long it takes me to learn a new habit

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Day 2

Well, now I am on my 2nd day of working as Mr. Mom. All the joys are gone, the back pain has set in, my diet is on the fritz, and I need a vacation. I know what all the real moms out there are saying - we told you so.

In reality it was another rewarding day with the kids. There were a few logistics challenges, and timing issues at the end of the day, but all in all, it was another great day with the kids. I'm thinking we should plan a fun outing for Tamara during the week another time so she can really de-stress.

Tamara is now home this evening. The bladder infection did not worsen and she improved enough to be released. The kids were happy to see her. Ian smiled several huge smiles despite aquiring Emma's croup and bronchitis today, and Emma talked Tamara's ear off on the way home.

That was a good end to the day. Emma was the saddest of all the kids with mom gone and her being sick. She cried first thing this morning for mommy. We were late getting ready for school again, but the kids did another great job getting ready for school and making their snacks. I helped out a little bit, but not as much as mom and they didn't even complain today. I think Tamara puts a little too much on her shoulders when it comes to getting the kids ready. I think the kids could do more and take some of the stress off of her.

We then read the scriptures during breakfast. Reading scriptures is something we talk about doing, but rarely get to. This morning was one of those mornings that make it worth it. The spirit was very strong. Because we were short on time, I just read were the book happened to be open. We read about Abish in the Book of Alma a womam who acted valiantly in a pressure situation and helped save peoples lives and bring others to Christ. The kids were excited about the passage it brought me some inner peace.

Then the big kids were off to school (hair partially brushed) and I was with Emma and Ian. Man those two are hilarious together. They are seriously like an old married couple. Ian toddling around and then falling, Emma helping him up and constantly telling him what to do. This morning she was feeding him grapes, just one at a time of course, and Ian couldn't have been happier. They have a great spirit of love about them and have been a huge blessing in our lives.

Yesterday I canceled the babysitter for this morning. I decided not to go to work for a 1/2 day because Emma was still feeling sick yesterday afternoon. That was a good decision. I called into my daily 10 a.m. conference call and took care of few things using email, called my team and was done. I used Skype for the conference call it cost about .50 €. The babysitter would have cost up to 50 € (10 € an hour for the 2 kiddos) and the babies slept for 2.5 - 3 hours (much better for them than playing at someones house for three hours. That was an effective use of time and resources. I was thinking I could do this everyday. Hang out with the kids until 9:30 and then hop on a conference call.

Ian and Emma slept very well, but when Ian woke up I could tell he had the bronchitis and croup that Emma has had. I was bummed for him. As stated above, the rest of the day was fairly normal. We had a few logistics issue picking up Tamara because the big kids had an activity at church. But we got her home around 6:00 p.m. and I'll be back at work tomorrow. I guess that means our lives are back to "normal". That is good news. It is sure nice to have Tamara back.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mr. Mom

Well, today is a like a dream come true. I was always a huge fan of the movie Mr. Mom and today I got to live the out the film.

As stated in the gory details post I got home from checking Tamara into the hospital, and relieved our friends around 1:00 a.m. Monday morning (late Sunday night).

My fun Mr. Mom day started at shortly after 5:00 a.m. Emma woke up and her sister Hannah brought Emma upstairs to me. Emma is still sick and I could tell she was feeling pretty horrible. At around 5:45 a.m. she threw up. Gratefully she didn't have much in her tummy. I cleaned her up and got her settled again. I then emailed my work so that folks knew I would not be in the office, I read a bit and then started getting the kids up for school just after 7:00 a.m. It was later than I should have started, but the kids got up pretty quick once they knew mom wasn't there to help.

The big kids handled getting ready for school without mom pretty well except for one thing. They had to make their lunch on their own and were in shock and disbelief. One German cultural note, the school lunch is actually brunch or what the German grade school (Grundschule) calls breakfast - (Frühstück). The kids make small lunches all the time when I am around, but they claim that it is 100 times better when mom makes the lunch for them.

Hannah was coughing and I had a doctor's appointment for Ian (immunizations) and Emma (follow-up for her croup and bronchitis). So I kept Hannah home from school and took her with me to the doctor. She was a huge help with Emma and Ian throughout the morning. Emma's bronchial problems had disipated, Ian didn't cry too much after his immunization shot. He only had one and had recently been getting 3 and 4 shots per visit. So, I think he was like - that's all, and just stopped crying.

With Hannah, I saw a miracle. First off, she was not sick with bronchitis like emma and just had a case of croup (which is bad, but better than bronchitis and croup). Second, I'm not sure what it is about Hannah's German experience that has changed her so, but I am just filled with awe and wonder whenever I see the change manifest itself. This was Hannah's first visit to the doctors here in Germany and so they wanted to weigh her and measure her height (standard stuff). In America she would have cried and even screamed and kicked and pulled and maybe gotten on the scale with mom or me. Here in Germany she jumped right on and then let the nurse measure her height.

You might think it is her growth in age, but I believe it is more, as the change for Hannah started shortly after we arrived in Germany. In America she went two months in Kindergarden without speaking to another child, or playing on the playground. Like I said, she fought tooth and nail at doctor's offices and other places.

I'll recount todays episode as closely as I can recall and translate. The nurse introduced herself to all of the children by playfully trying to figure out which names belonged to which kid. She then said, wow those are some nice dress boots you are wearing Hannah (they are 2 days old by the way and Hannah was wearing a dress to be able to wear the new dress boots). Then she said, you've never been here before Hannah, so we want to weigh you and see how tall you are, so we know these things about you. Take off your jacket and those nice boots and jump on the scale.

At this point I was waiting for a scream, a cower, a flinch, or a something from Hannah. Instead, she took off her jacket and boots and jumped onto the scale. I stayed quiet.

The nurse called out the weight (something in kilos, which I can't recall now) and was excited about it. She then said the following about the height measurement. O.K., now you need to stand against this wall, right where the tree is. That's right, feet all the way against the wall. And make your head tall and straight. That's good. Alrighty Hannah, you are 116 centimeters tall (at least I think it was 116 centimeters).

Regarding my 1st Mr. Mom day, I was kind of keeping score in my head throughout the day. You know, how would a mom have handled the various situations I encountered throughout the day. I think I ended up at about a C+, maybe a B- (if I get extra credit for the two trips to see mom in the hospital). Not bad, for a first day, but definitely should have written down such facts. Tamara knows the weight, time of birth, length, names of various nurses in the delivery room, what I ate for lunch that day, etc., about all of our children's births. I can't remember their names from day to day. Would definitely need a notebook for day two or the next doctor's visit. Tamara also knows such facts about other events in the children's lives, so I've got room for improvement and that's not bad.

By the way, I have watched our children without Tamara before. Just never on a weekday, or only very rarely on a weekday, so this was a new and exciting experience for me. I had a lot of fun.

Well, back to Hannah. Then the doctor came in, also introduced herself to all the children, and then asked to listen to Hannah's chest. Lift up your shirt, all the way up, that's good, very nice. I again waited for Hannah to cower, squirm, jump back, cry, etc. Nothing. She just lifted up her shirt and let the doctor do listen to Hannah breath. I was very amazed.

I do think it is partially a German thing for Hannah, that has transformed her, or allowed her to transform. I think the German's handle pressure situations very well and maintain a calm and tranquility when times are tough that I did not always experience from Americans (including myself). Having a child say no I don't want to get on the scale, could cause stress, and so the German nurse was very excited for Hannah. I have sensed the stress from nurses in America when Hannah did not want to participate. The Germans seem to say, kids generally don't want to do this, so I have to make them feel at ease and valuable (they speak more directly with the child than with the parent I think), and then ask directly for what I need from the child.

Over the last year I have watched the Germans in situations in business and in conducting church meetings since being back and been amazed, time and time again, with their calmness and sense of purpose in times of nervousness and potential stress. Often this calmness and even distance from emotion is perceived negatively by Americans. But it has impressed me. It is one characteristic that I am trying to understand and model as I believe it will benefit me. You can sense that I don't fully understand it, as I have difficulty describing it.

Wow, do moms have a lot to write about. I'm only at about 10:00 a.m. and haven't written about our visit to Tamara in the hospital (with 3 kids), how Emma wanted mommy to come home and cried as we left the hospital, our trip to Aldi, the kids coming home, our 2nd visit to Tamara in the hospital (this time with all 5 kids and a toothbrush for Tamara), how Emma again wanted mommy to come home and cried as we left the hospital, and of course dinner, and bedtime.

I do have to share one thing about bedtime. That is, what Spencer told me when I asked him to put on pajamas. Spencer often wears clothes to bed. Usually the clothes he will wear the next day, so he just has to wake up, and walk out the door. But the clothes he was wearing were so soiled and dirty that I couldn't help but ask about possible options for bed and subsequently for the next school day.

Spencer responded by saying, these are my only long pants and so I have no choice but to wear them to bed, and then tomorrow to school.

I found some long pants and shirts in his winter clothes bucket upstairs. I hope they fit.

The gory details

Here are some of the gory details of Tamara's trip to the hospital. O.K., they aren't that gory, but nonetheless they are the details.

On late Sunday afternoon I headed off with the children to general conference (this was the Sunday morning session Salt Lake time, but started at 6:00 p.m. Düsseldorf time via satellite). I had to leave a little bit early to pick up a friend. Naturally as soon as I'm gone, the pain starts for Tamara. Not sure how that happens, but it seems to happen without fail.

She said she had discomfort in the middle of her stomach, with loose stools. The pain got progressively worse and moved to lower right side of her abdomen. Around this same time I arrived home from the general conference session. Tamara was not doing well. It continued as we got the kids into bed (she was still semi-functional and we tagged teamed the kids into bed. After the kids were down the pain really kicked in (9:30-10:30 p.m. time frame). At one point she was writhing in pain about every two minutes (sharp shooting pains she said).

We thought for sure it was appendix related and were naturally quite concerned, especially after recently reading An American in Germany's appendicitis blog entry. I think living overseas, away from family and not right around the corner from friends who would just pop over at 10:30 p.m. at night, or at least who you don't feel comfortable calling at 10:30 p.m. at night, makes everything a little bit more worrisome. I know I was very nervous.

We decided to call our good friends from our congregation. The kids love this young married couple and get excited when they come over. The bonus is that the husband is also finishing up his studies as a doctor and is the president of our elders quorum in the congregation. They were willing to come over and stay at the house while I took Tamara to the hospital. He also assisted in giving Tamara a priesthood blessing. That always brings a measure of comfort that you need in such moments.

By the time we got to the hospital, Tamara's pain had subsided. I don't know how that happens either, but it seems to happen without fail.

Despite the strongest symptoms having subsided, the doctor wanted to check Tamara into the hospital for observation based on the nature of the symptoms Tamara had experienced earlier that evening. He said they were classic appendicitis symptoms and that is why he wanted to keep her in the hospital. I got home, relieved our friends, and got into bed by around 1:00 a.m.

Tamara gets some well deserved time away

Well, I am on my own for a few days. Just me and the kids. Tamara has decided to get away from it all.

It would be nice if we had planned a little get away for Tamara, and she were sitting on an island in the Mediterranean, but in reality, Tamara is suffering from a bladder infection, which we and the doctor originally thought was appendicitis. The bladder infection was definitely very painful and so it is good not to have to worry about the kids for a day or two. But Tamara is so ready to come home. She said, don't they just send you home with cranberry juice and some pain relievers in the U.S.? The medical or health care system here in Germany is a bit more cautious and wanted to observe Tamara for a few days.

We went to the hospital emergency room on Sunday night and because the signs pointed to appendicitis the doctor wanted to check her in right away. The other option was to have her come back at 9 a.m. the next morning. This was after midnight on Sunday, so we decided to have her admitted.

Tamara is doing well, and I'll write some more details in a bit. With doctor's appointments for 3 kids today, two trips to the hospital to visit Tamara, homework, some work, work for me, trying to find babysitters so that I could go into work for a half day tomorrow, and caring for 5 children I haven't got all of my details written down yet.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Day 1 Without Grandma and Grandpa

Well Grandma and Grandpa are no longer here visiting with us. They left yesterday to fly back to America. It was sure nice to have them here. The kids really enjoyed them being here. Spencer enjoyed running with Grandpa every morning. Spencer was also really glad that Grandpa was here when he had an important dentist appointment and actually pulled out two of Spencer's teeth! (Grandpa Wheeler is a dentist!) And Emma enjoyed calling, "Grandpa Wheeler, Grandpa Wheeler" every 30 seconds or so. Emma also enjoyed playing board games with Grandma Wheeler. Emma was up stairs sleeping when Grandma and Grandpa left for the airport. And when she woke up from her nap, the first thing she asked , "where is Grandma Wheeler?".

Emma woke up sick yesterday morning. I thought it was croup. Croup is characterized by a loud cough that resembles the barking of a seal, difficulty breathing, and a grunting noise or wheezing during breathing. She didn't really have the cough but the breathing part was grunting and wheezing. My kids have had croup more times than I can count, and decided this is what she had.

Emma also had a fever. She was so hot, I was getting hot by her just sitting on me. She was not eating or drinking. She became someone that just laid on me. She was extremely lethargic (deficient in alertness or activity). And I started to worry. I thought, if her breathing is this bad already during the day, what will it be like tonight. As Croup is usually worse during the night. So at 4pm, I had Gardner call the doctors office. With it being a Friday, I knew everything would be closed for the weekend and then I would be doing a Hospital Visit if I got too concerned. So, off to the doctors I went with Emma.

Come to find out, Emma has Croup and Bronchitis (an inflammation of the air passages within your lungs). The doctor prescribed an inhaler for Emma with this chamber device for little kids. It is fantastic. Here is a picture of it.

She gets two pumps of the inhaler. It stays in the chamber between the inhaler and the breathing mask until she breathes it. And let me tell ya, that is not easy. She fights me and I have to hold her down. I feel so bad. But she needs it. I can't tell if it is helping at all right now. She goes back into the doctors on Monday.

Last night around 12 midnight, she woke up and she threw up. The poor girl. We gave her some Mineral Water (bubbly water that is most common to drink here in Germany). She loves the stuff and she just kept burping. I was so afraid of her throwing up again. I got out a bowl just incase she had to throw up again and everytime she burped we would put that bowl under her chin and she would push it away and say, "not yet, not yet!". I personally went to bed at 1:30am and Gardner stayed up with her longer. It seemed like she breathed a lot better when she was sitting up and not laying down.

Shantal and Gardner had a date night last night and went to a Concert. At first, Shantal kept saying she didn't want to go. I know, sometimes things sounds so boring. And I guess, this is one of those things she thought was boring. I told her she had to go. We usually know that the kids will have a great time once they actually leave. And this time was just the same as usual. When she came home, at 11 pm (really late for our Shantal), I asked her if she had fun. And of course, the answer was yes. She was so excited about it. Started talking about who she saw there, where they went, the seats at the concert. And of course, she was overly excited about being up really late.

Now, it is Saturday. I guess we are kind of taking it easy this morning. It is World Card Making Day (yes there is such a thing!). I would like to make at least one homemade card today. But we will have to see if I get the chance with Emma not feeling so well. We also will be spending some time at the Church today for some meetings. I need to be there at 3pm and then I will come home and Gardner will go at 6pm.

And then school starts back up on Monday. The kids have been off for 2 weeks for the Fall Holidays that they get every year. It will be hard to be back on a schedule again. But it will also be nice to have some quiet time in the mornings again while they three older ones are at school. Emma and Ian are so much more calm when they are gone and the two play very well together.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 4, 2007

A fine day at the Dentist

A month and a half ago, Tamara had a horrible day at the dentist with Shantal. Today I had a wonderful day.

Our son Spencer went in to have 2 baby teeth pulled. The reason for pulling the teeth was to help his permanent teeth to grow in with proper alignment. He has too many teeth for his little jaw and the teeth are already a bit out of alignment. He saw an orthodontist (Keiferorthopädin) for the lack of space on Monday and this was her recommendation. We went to the Dentist on Monday to verify that everything was OK after a boy punched Spencer's tooth out at school in early September.

Here is the story of why I am so filled with love and awe for my son today.

On Monday morning, October 1st at the orthodontist Spencer found out that the dentist would have to pull 2 baby teeth (Milchzähne). Pulling the two baby teeth now will hopefully make a bit more room for the permanent teeth (bleibende Zähne) currently growing in and help with the alignment of the teeth generally. Spencer immediately said I want to have grandpa there with me. Grandpa, a dentist, was with us at the appointment on Monday and flying back to the U.S. on Friday, October 5th. So it was a long shot at best. I called the dentist on Monday and they had an appointment on Thursday afternoon at 2:15 p.m. I took it.

Last night my dad and I gave Spencer a priesthood blessing that he would be able to endure the procedure, with no ill effects, that he would be able to heal quickly, and that the Spirit of the Lord would be with the doctor.

Spencer was a bit nervous today, but that's pretty normal. When we got to the dentist he was admirable. The dentist is very good, and his assistant also specializes in children's dentistry. They numbed the gums a bit and then gave Spencer the shot and Spencer didn't flinch. Shantal almost passed out. We waited about 10 minutes and Spencer's face (upper left cheek & lower right chin) was very numb and he talked about a bit funny. Shantal asked if she could go to the waiting room. And, just before the dentist came back in Grandpa said jokingly, if we wait much longer I'm just going to jump over there and pull the teeth myself.

The dentist came back in and started prepping Spencer for the pulling of the teeth. By this point I was nervous, but went over to Spencer to hold his hand (the assistant wasn't in the room yet). Spencer said to me, who asked you to come over and help? I asked, did you want grandpa to come over? Spencer said of course. Grandpa came over to be near Spencer. The assistant came in about this same time.

Spencer was still a bit nervous and resistant about the dentist pulling the teeth and the dentist was talking him into it a bit. Then the dentist had a brilliant idea - why not let grandpa pull the teeth! He pulled out gloves and gave them to my dad. He handing my dad the dental pliers for the bottom tooth and grandpa started pulling. The assistant held Spencer's hands/arms (just in case) and talked with him about what was happening. At this point I couldn't watch too much (I'm a bit like Shantal I guess), but before I knew it (and before Spencer knew it), the first tooth was out. The dentist handed my dad the 2nd dental pliers and he pulled out the top tooth. Spencer felt that one a bit and squirmed, but who wouldn't. And then that tooth was out as well.

Spencer was very happy after the procedure. He had done it. He took the shot, let the dentist (grandpa) pull out the tooth, and didn't even cry.

For me it was a great day - to see Spencer and my dad together with this kind and gentle dentist here in Germany. I was in awe of my son and truly filled with love for him. I also realized that Shantal cares for people so much that she can't stand to see the suffering. Tamara is a bit like that. Hates pain and seeing suffering (even her own), but when called up she endures phenomenal amounts of pain to carry, deliver, and nourish children.

It was a fine day at the dentist.

In an Attempt to Be Positive

In an attempt to remain positive and upbeat regarding our families move to Europe, I forgot that I am at times extremely sad and lonely. I forgot how much I miss my parents, brothers and sisters.

We made the choice to move to Europe and live overseas and wouldn't trade it for the world. It has been one of the choicest years of our lives thus far. We wouldn't trade it for the world. It has also been extremely challenging and difficult. I know that my children have suffered many a lonely night and that my wife has worked miracles to keep us feeling like a "normal" family over the past year. Work has been wonderful for me. But that has also meant long hours and a lot of time away from my wife and children, who needed me and who I needed.

Through it all I have attempted to remain positive and upbeat. Not to get down on "German" culture. I enjoy the culture and rich history and have focused on the positive. I did this for the children, and for our success here as a family.

But that doesn't help the loneliness one feels at times. It doesn't take away the pain of separation. It doesn't make it any easier to hug and kiss your parents goodbye as they leave, knowing you won't see them for another year. It doesn't help you watch your children thrive and prosper with grandma and grandpa visiting and worry whether they will make it after they have gone. It doesn't bring back the close association with siblings. It doesn't move the Atlantic ocean make it possible to drive to mid western United States.

What does this knowledge do for me. It leads me to believe that I need to strike a new balance between positive and human. That I have put super-human energy into remaining positive, and forgot that it is human to be frustrated, lonely, down on life, and still positive about the decision to move overseas to Germany. I need to let myself feel those feelings of loneliness and anxiety and express them to my darling spouse and family. And despite the difficulties remain positive and upbeat about our "new" lives here in Germany.

Naturally, I have no idea how to strike that balance yet, but . . . that's part of the adventure.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Day of German Reunification

Well, Tamara and I have been reunified on the Blog, Germany celebrated its Day of Reunification, and I am attempting to continue blogging.

I don't have much except to say that I am glad to see my wife back on the blogging trail. Tamara says I can still blog as well, and I will hopefully add a different perspective to our living in Germany blog. Obviously I am a father who works long hours in international business (which I am still learning to navigate), so I see things from a much different perspective. Maybe, that will be it's own blog one day, but for now it is just glad to see her back.

Below is an image of what the October 3rd, the German Day of Reunification looked like on I also searched google in English for Day of Reunification and found some decent articles on the subject. For those in Germany, or for those who use you saw the flag waving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm Back

Well, I have been missing in action for a while. I don't know exactly why, But I just haven't been too excited about writing lately. Well, maybe I do know why. But I wasn't going to share. But perhaps I will.

I got a not so nice email from someone a month ago or so. They didn't like what I have to write about I guess. And said some not so nice things about me and about my "satchel of kids". They didn't like my "hick attitude nor my hick style of writing". Honestly, I don't even know what that means. And then to follow the hick comments, I got this statement: "But then again, country music and scrap booking - what else can one expect from a fat, bored housewife."

Here is another quote from the email: "If you live in a foreign country, you could at least have the decency to respect their culture and traditions." I guess they don't like my opinions on things. :shrug:

Anyway, I have had many people asking me when I was going to blog again. Family and Friends who really care about me and my family and want to be kept up to date on our doings. Gardner has had fun blogging on here. But it is true, he blogs about different things than I do. So, I am going to try and update a bit on what is going on.

Right now, the kids are on "herbst ferien". It is Fall Holidays here. They get 2 weeks off of school. We are on our second week right now. It couldn't come at a better time after the whole ordeal with Spencer and the school.

During the school break, Gardner's parents have come out to visit us. They arrived last Thursday and are staying until Friday. The kids have had fun having Grandma and Grandpa here. Especially Emma. She runs around the house saying, "Grandmpa Wheeler, Grandpa Wheeler!" It is really cute. It is a fun stage with Emma.

When they arrived it was just like Christmas. I made a small list of some things that they brought out for us. I know I don't have everything on the list, but it is the best my memory could do at the time.

  • 18 boxes of mac n cheese
  • 300 Pokeman cards
  • 160 tampons
  • 3 Children's Tylenol
  • 160 Playtex Bottle Drop In Liners
  • one LARGE container of Peanut Butter
  • 2 Play Station 2 Games
  • 2 new Play Station Controllers
  • 15 DVD's
  • 4 bags of Candy Corn
  • 3 large boxes of lemonheads
  • 8 packs of Halloween Peeps (GROSS!)
  • 10 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (I'm having a moment of weekness!)
  • 12 packs of Microwave Popcorn
  • New Shoes for Spencer, Hannah, Gardner and Ian
  • 3 Pair of Jeans for DH
  • 4 boxes of Quacker Instant Oatmeal
  • 8 Packs of Taco Seasoning
  • 5 Light Up Bouncy Balls

Yesterday, Gardner went to the denstist and took Spencer with him to have the dentist check out Spencer's mouth where he got his tooth knocked out. Gardner got a cavity filled. His Dad is a dentist and went with them. I guess the cavity was so big and so deep that it might have gotten into the nerves already. Gardner came home in more pain than when he went in. If he wakes up today with so much pain as yesterday, he might have to get a root canal.

Spencer was sent to an Orthodontist yesterday. He only has room for 3 teeth and needs room for 6. So he went in and they are going to have to pull 2 teeth. He also has to go to speech therapy to retrain his tongue how to swallow because he pushes his tongue against his teeth as he swallows. After his teeth get pulled (which his appointment is for Thursday), then he will go back to the Orthodontist. So weird that at 8 years old, we are dealing with such big teeth problems already. I never dreamed it would start so early.

Gardner's Dad says Shantal also needs to get in for the same things. But after the last appointment I took her to, I don't want to even go there. I guess I could just put Gardner incharge of the dentist from now on.

Gardner and I are supposed to go down to Frankfurt today and we are planning on spending the night.....without kids, I might add. But with his mouth in such pain last night, I am not sure we are going still. He is still asleep right now. I have been up since 4:45am. And perhaps that is also why I am blogging today.

Anyway, I guess enough ramblings for now. I will see what I can do about blogging again in the near future. I am sure there will be things to blog about.

Thanks for stopping by!


March 2007