Friday, November 6, 2009

Random Update

Here are a few pictures of things that happened in September and October.

Ian rode his "laufrad" for the first time. He did really good.

Emma is a pro with her laufrad.

I guess Ian was tired.

Hannah got retainers. She has to wear them 16 hours a day.

Shantal got braces up top. The highlight, is choosing the rubberband colors.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm Coming to America!

During the Spring/Summer, we thought we were moving back to America. It was a really fast thing that turned into nothing. But before we found out if fell through, I was working hard to get things in order for a quick move. But, at the same time, I was working hard to get things in order here, just in case it didn't work out. And I am so glad I did that.

When that happened, I told Gardner I deserved a trip back to America. I had earned it with all that just happened. I have to say, my heart was broken that we were not moving back. I was really looking forward to it. But hey, I got a trip out of the ordeal.

So in September I flew out to America. I flew to Wisconsin to meet a group of Scrapbooking Friends. We come from all over America (and me from Germany) and meet up in Wisconsin to Scrapbook, laugh, hang out and just enjoy being with each other.

But I had a secret. I bought my ticket the end of May and flew in September. And during that time, I did not tell my family I was coming. I decided it would be really fun to Surprise my mom. Time passed and I decided I needed to let Coleen, my youngest sister, in on the secret. And I did so. We planned a family dinner, which was supposed to be a surprise to everyone at that dinner, when I arrived. I was only to be in Salt Lake for three days. Three days is not very long at all.

Well, as it got closer, I decided I needed to tell my siblings who would be coming to dinner with us about the trip. I had a fear that their lives would be too busy and they wouldn't come. But if they knew I would be there, then they would show up. I was right. I made phone calls and made them promise not to tell anyone. Not even to discuss it with other siblings. I couldn't take a chance of it slipping at all.

I flew in Sunday and got in around 10pm at night. Coleen picked me up from the airport and drove me to my parents house. She and her husband are living there, so it made it practical. I got out of the car to get my suitcase and I saw my dad looking out the window. I thought I was busted. I thought he saw me. But he didn't. WHEW.

Coleen went into the house while I continued to get my stuff out of the car. I gave her a pack of my moms favorite candy bars from Germany. And she took it into my parents room. I could hear the conversation. And my mom asked what was behind Coleen's back. She shows her. And my mom asks, "Where did that come from?" And Coleen responded, "Where do you think it came from?" Then my mom asks, "Who sent that to you?" I guess Coleen has access to great chocolate from someone else besides me.

Anyway, at this point I literally ran in her room, jumped on her bed and said, "From me, of course!" I don't think I have ever seen my mom's jaw dropped for so long. She kept asking what I was doing there. It was seriously PRICELESS! I loved it. And I doubt I will be able to do something like that again. Plus, it wouldn't have the same effect the second time around.

While I was in Utah, The first night I went to dinner with the family. The second night, I went to dinner with a few friends from High School. The third night, I went to dinner with two of my companions from my Mission. Afterwards, I went to the movies with Coleen and Matt and then two of my High School Friends joined us.

After being in Utah for a few days, I went back to Wisconsin to enjoy another scrap weekend with friends from Wisconsin. These were the girls I used to scrap with when I lived there.

I ate out every single meal, every single day for almost two weeks. I was sure I had gained 10 pounds. I was very excited to get home and find out it was only 2 pounds.

I also got real sick while in America. I spent one whole week there coughing. And then came home and coughed for another week. I had Bronchitas. Too many airplanes and too much air conditioner. I forgot what an air conditioner felt like. COLD.

I loved every minute of my time in America. And I plan on doing it again in September 2010. And if I am really lucky, and prices for airline tickets are good, I will be able to go out in March 2010 with Hannah during Easter Break.

Here are a few pictures I have from my time in Utah. All my friends have pictures of me from Wisconsin. I have to try and get them to send them my way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Anniversary!

OK, so it isn't our wedding anniversary or anything terribly exciting. But Ian's birthday always sparks many memories. Ian's birthday marks how long we have been in Germany.

We moved here to Germany on September 21, 2006. This comes just three weeks after Ian was born. Ian being born just marks the craziness that happened to get us out of the country.

We had plan tickets already bought. We had to get a birth Certificate, a Social Security number and A passport picture so that we could get Ian's passport rushed back to us in order to move. This was no easy task. I remember Ian being born at 1pm and Gardner leaving that very afternoon to start the process.

Three Years in Germany. It is weird. Because when we first talked about moving here, I thought it would be for 18 months. I've lived in Germany for 18 months before. I can do that. But talking it over with Gardner one night back in Wisconsin, all of a sudden, he told me three years. OK, it just doubled.

We moved here and decided five years. It was too much of a hassle to get us moved over here. So now we are going to be here five years. After doing all the financial math, we decided we will probably be here 7 years. Notice it has already more than doubled, again.

Well, one night, Gardner mentioned we might not ever move back. And I had to think about it. And honestly, if that was to happen, it isn't the worst thing that could happen to us. But I immediately put a price on that. I told him I get to go back to America every year if we stayed indefinately.

Well, the forever got changed back to seven years. And then seven years eventually got moved to five years. And here we sit at three years in Germany. And all I can say is, I have no idea how much longer we will be here. Could be three months, could be a year, could be three years. Who knows.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ian's 3rd Birthday

So today, I am starting my catch up on the blog.

Ian had his 3rd birthday on August 31st. We had fun celebrating a day early. Very bad luck here in Germany, to celebrate early. But Spencer was going to be on a class trip the next day. And we just could not celebrate with out him.

We had the Becker's come over for dinner after Church. Uwe and Ursula are like the Kids Grandparents here in Germany. The kids love them and they love the kids. It is so nice to know we have someone even when our families are so far away.

After dinner, Ian opened his presents. Of course, Legos were the in thing again this year. But to make it even better was Bob the Builder Legos.

I made an attempt at making a cake Ian would like. Without box mixes here, I went online looking for a cake recipe. And I have to say, taste wise, the cake was very good. I had a vision of what I wanted to do with the cake. But as you know, visions always look better in your mind. On the cake, it turned out ok. But definately not what I had planned.

I crunched up Oreo Cookies to make a road. And I bought some Hot Wheels Cars to put on the cake. Ian LOVED this so much. The moment he blew out the candles (and it did take him a few tries), he snatched the cars right off of it.

He celebrated his birthday at school the next day, which was actually his birthday. We took in Chocolate Chip Muffins. He got to make himself a birthday crown, with Emma's help of course. And he wore that crown all day long. It even had some streamers in the back hanging down. He still wears that crown, more than two months later.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It Can't Be!

Oh My Gosh! I am so shocked to see that the last entry to my blog was on August 20th. How can that be?

So many things I didn't share:

*Ian's 3rd Birthday
*My Trip To America
*Surprising My Mom, as she had no idea I was coming to America until I was standing in her bedroom.
*Herbst Ferien (Fall School Break)

And I am sure there is more. So be on the look out for pictures, stories and such in the next few days. I have to get caught up before next week. As next Tuesday Shantal turns 12, Wednesday is St Martin's and Saturday next week Shantal is having a birthday party. That is only the beginning of the business that comes with this time of year for our family.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Week of School Stories

OK, so with the first new week of school and all the changes that are happening with the kids, I wanted to share some of the things the kids have shared with me as they have come home from school.

*Monday was the first day of School. And Shantal and Spencer have to ride the public bus to school as there is only an Elementary School in the city we live. They have to leave the house at 7am to catch their bus and be on time to school. Shantal's bus stop is just one stop before Spencer's. And their bus stop is on a one way street. So to go home, they have to walk to a different bus stop on a different street, one that goes the opposite direction. Well, as Shantal came home on Monday, she was tired and about collapsed in my arms. She said she did a lot of walking. And it is true, the bus stop is about a 10 - 15 minute walk from our house. But then she went on to tell me she couldn't find the bus stop to come home. Her whole class has signed up to eat at the school except her and one other person. Everyone was eating lunch before they went home, part of learning the routine at the school. So Shantal got to leave early since she wasn't signed up for that. Well, back to not finding the bus stop, she just kept walking. She saw a bus stop, but thought it wasn't the right one. Finally she got on a bus. A few stops later, all the kids from her class got on the bus. No wonder she was tired. I asked her if we needed to go and practice so she would know where to go the next day, and she said no. (She had practiced once before, but went to the bus from Spencer's School, not hers. So she was a bit disoriented). Well, Tuesday, it happened again. All the other kids got on the same bus as her after they had all eaten. But, Wednesday, she had it all figured out. She is happy to know the "shorter" way to the bus stop.

*Hannah and Spencer both got stung by bees in the first few days of school.

*I went to pick up Ian from Kindergarten early on Wednesday. He is currently going 2 1/2 hours a day. Emma gets to stay 4 hours, but chooses to come home with me when I pick up Ian. I am happy about it because then I don't have to go out a second time. Well, on Wednesday, I get there and the kids are outside, like normal. And I can a lot of the kids playing in the water in their underwear. Some are even nekid. And low and behold, there is Emma in her underwear all wet. It makes me giggle because it is never something one would see in America. But here in Germany, it is totally normal.

*Wednesday after school, Shantal came home and decided to go to the Library. The library is in Ratingen Mitte (the city center). You have to take a public bus about 15 minutes to get there and then walk another 10 minutes to the library. After I drew her a map of the city and how to get from the bus station to the library, gave her a cell phone to call if she had problems and then gave her a list of all the times the bus came back out to our house, she was off. And as I watched her leave, I realized that my daughter is growing up. She is almost 12. And I just invisioned her going off to meet friends and doing things like teenagers do. It is amazing how fast time goes. I know she will be so much happier having this freedom to go off and do things. And maybe i need to explain something else. The two older kids have bus passes for the public busses because of school and they can travel a great distance with that bus pass. So Shantal's ability to go places alone has definatley expanded and I am happy for her.

*Tuesday when I was picking up Ian from Kindergarten, I asked how he did. And the report was really good. They said there was one instance when Ian was starting to have a melt down. Ian doesn't really talk yet. So it is hard to figure out what he wants. He was playing with the trains but didn't want to anymore. And as soon as they figured out he wanted to play in the dress up corner, life was good again. It was just a matter of figuring it out. Poor Ian, wish he would just talk already.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School 2009

Monday the kids had their first day of school. And it was a big first day for most of the kids. Four of the kids started new schools. So it was an exciting day, to say the least.

Shantal started the 5th grade at the Gesamptschule Heiligenhaus. Spencer started the 5th grade at the Gymnasium in Heiligenhaus. Hannah started the 3rd grade in the same Grundschule she has been in for two years. Emma changed Kindergartens and is now in the Ulmen Strasse Kindergarten. And Ian started in the Kindergarten with Emma.

It was a big day! We had to divide and conquer because of all the changes. Spencer had a special first day at his school where they do a Mass at the church first. Then they went to his school and there was a special program for the kids in the 5th grade. Afterwards, they found out who their teacher was and who was in their class. While they were with their teacher, the parents had some information given to them about the school. School for Spencer started at 9am and was out at 12 Noon. This was a family event, and Gardner went with Spencer. Normally spencer has school from 8am until 1:20pm.

Shantal had her little opening ceremony at her school back in June. She found out who her teacher was and met all her classmates then. So school for Shantal started at 8am, but she got out at 11:45. Normally, Shantal's school is an all day school. She will go from 8am until 4pm. But they are working them into the all day program.

Hannah went to school at 8am and was finished at 10:45am. First day in the Elementary School here is always short. Hannah's normal school hours are 8am until 12:30 or 1:20, depending on the day.

Emma and Ian both went to Kindergarten. I was very scared of how Ian would do. I was thinking if he would stay just 1 hour without me, that was a fabulous start. I didn't care if he cried the whole time, I didn't want to be called in the first hour. But, Ian did not cry. I was in shock but excited about that. He said Goodbye to me and blew me a kiss. We found the trains and the cars for him to play with, as he loves these items. He let me go. And I was gone for 2 hours, not one. Emma did have to comfort him one time, 10 minutes before I came back to pick him up. Emma and Ian are going to be good together in the Kindergarten, I just know it.

Here are some pictures of their first day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kids are Funny

Ian (who is almost 3) hates his hands being dirty while eating or anything on his face. He is watching tv and has a sippy cup of water. There was a bit of water on his chin and he starts his usual grunts and pointing about water dripping on him.

I tell him to wipe it off with his hand. He says no. Then I tell him to use his shirt and wipe it off. He said no. I told him to come to me and I would take care of it. Instead, he puts his face on my marble floor and wipes.

Kids are funny.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Picture Update

Well, I have been a bad, bad blogger lately. But, luckily, I have taken some pictures this past month to share with you.

Kindergarten Grillfest

Gardner's Summer Work Party

Just cute as can be

Swimming in Lintorf

My 40th Birthday

Library Books

Hair Cuts

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Soccer Finale

So, today was a very sad day for Spencer. It was the finale for the School Soccer Tournament.

There were a total of 8 teams today. It was broken up into 2 groups. There are 4 teams in each group. They played each team in their group. That was 3 games. They won two of the games, and then tied in the last game. That put them in first place in their group. And with those games, still not one score made against Spencer.

Then it was the semi final match. It also ended in a tie. But this time, it went to a shoot out. After the 5 team mates kicked, it was still a tie breaker. So it came to sudden death. It was a nerve racking 5 minutes for this mom. But Spencer prevailed and his team came into the finals.

The finals..........for first place or second place. The game was a very good one. Lots of action, but no scoring for either team. The 2nd half of the game seemed to go longer. And then I noticed one ref signaling to the other ref that time was up. But the whistle never blew. I saw him make this same gesture three times.

Finally, someone called last minute. At that point, the other team scored. I thought Spencer's team would have one more chance to tie it up, but then they called the game. Spencer just cried. As well has his team mates.

Normally, one would be so thrilled to get 2nd place. It is a great accomplishment. the tournament started out with 15 teams.

But, they have a trophy that the winning school gets to keep for the year. Our school has won it the last two years. And if you win it three years in a row, you get to keep this trophy forever. So there was lots of pressure on these boys to win so the school could keep this trophy.

Spencer cried all day long. I felt so bad for him. There are so many what ifs. I mean, if the game had ended when it should have and it gone to a shoot out, would Spencer have been able to come up with the win for his team?

Goalie is such a stressful position for a mother. :)

Here are some shots of Spencer. Some are during the shoot out and others with the 2nd place trophy.

March 2007