Saturday, January 26, 2013


Well it has been a crazy month! And there is so much to update and because of that, I keep procrastinating. But that doesn't make it any better. It makes it worse. And with Christmas in 5 days, I don't want to feel more overwhelmed, so I am going to try and get some of these written now.

It all started a few weeks ago when my Mom and my sister, Coleen came to visit. We did a lot of traveling and that made me overly tired. So I am going to try to briefly (as briefly as I can) tell ya everywhere we went.

First we went to Amsterdam. We went and saw the Anne Frank House. There are a lot of stairs and they were *very* steep. Too steep and some too high for my mom. She has screws in her feet and they really bother her. And she needs knee replacements as well. So she decided to turn around and go back and Coleen and I finished off going through the house. It was amazing to see the House and to see that part of History. But what I was expecting and what I saw were two different things. The House was totally empty. Just walls and floors. And then there were pictures on the walls or videos on the walls playing to help inform you about the house and the people who lived there.

Amsterdam itself, I decided was the bike capital of the world. We kept joking about it because there were so many people on bikes riding through the streets. We have a lot of bikes here in Germany, but in Amsterdam, it was flooded with bikes.

The next day we drove out to Brugge, Belgium. Oh My! This was one of my favorite places to visit. It was so pretty. I would of loved to spend more time there and plan on going back. We took a canal boat tour. It was real cheap, I think only 6 Euros and it lasts 1/2 hour. I highly recommend it. They also have Horse Drawn Carraige tours. We wanted to do that, but in the end, we did not. My mom would never of been able to get up in the carraige due to her bad knees. And she offered to just sit and wait for us. But it started raining. So we decided to just leave. I also heard that a bus tour through the city is nice. It doesn't stop for you to get out and take pictures. But for the History of the city, the bus tour is the way to go.

Another place we went is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. Another great place. It is a walled in city. A city with a wall all the way around it. The whole entire city is cobblestone, which proved to be a problem with my mom and the screws in her feet. She took 3 steps on the cobblestones and decided it was not going to work. Luckily, there was a very nice lady who had a store and my mom sat in her store for two hours while Coleen and I tried to see what we could of the city. It has so much to offer and I definately need to go back. One thing that Rothenburg ob der Tauber is known for is something you get from a bakery. It is called a "Schneeballen" . You will have to get one if you ever stop to visit. I couldn't pin point what it reminded me of. But coleen said it reminded her of a pie crust in a ball with powder sugar on it. (she bought the powdered sugar one, and there is a variety to choose from).

We also went to Heidelberg, Germany. WOW, there is a castle there that is so amazing to see. And overlooking the city, it is incredible. Another one of those cities that I would definately recommend.

And there is Dortmund, Germany. They have the worlds tallest Christmas Tree. It was very pretty.

Kevelaer, Germany. It is a small village. There were three churches. And something that set this small village apart from the other places we went to was the Christmas Markets. Normally, the Christmas Markets are focused on selling items and then food to eat and hot drinks like Gluehwein. In Kevelaer, instead of a Christmas Market, they had a Nativity Market. They had a large nativity with live animals. I would of loved to see real people as well. And then the things that were being sold at this Market were mainly nativity sets and candles.

We went and saw the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. It is such an amazing site! I actually have seen this a few times before. But Coleen had not. We got there when it was getting dark and couldn't get any great pictures of it.

We went to Hattingen, Germany. I was able to get my Christmas Presents from Santa for the kids there. Woolworth was having an amazing sale on toys and I just happened to walk in.

Went to Venlo, Netherlands to do some shopping. We found some very amazing shops there and it is said to be a lot cheaper for shopping than in Germany because there are no taxes in the Netherlands. And I was even able to find Candy Canes in the Netherlands for Santa to hang on our tree. I was so very excited.

Also, visited the Frankfurt Temple and The Hague, Netherlands Temple.

It was so much fun to just walk up and down the streets of all these different places. It is amazing to see them. There was a lot of laughing between Coleen, my Mom and myself during the driving on all these days. It was also fun to introduce my Mom and Coleen to the different foods here. And I got a kick out of introducing them to the Autobahn the first day they arrived. My mom freaked out at my 90 miles an hour driving. But by the time she left, When I was driving 110 Miles per hour, it felt normal.

I'm going to miss My Mom doing the laundry. That was really nice to not have to worry about it. Coleen and my Mom helped out a lot with the kids. It was nice to be able to run to the school or to the store and not have to drag the two small ones with me.

Moving Back to America

This post is a little late in coming.  But I needed to write this to finally cap off and finish our big adventure in Germany.

In March of 2012, Frau Plassmann, our Landlord, came and visited us and told us that she wanted to sell the house we were living in.  After thinking about what to do, we decided to move back to America.  It was so hard to find a house the first time around with having 5 kids.  And I personally did not want to go through that again.  And even if we found a place to live, would the kids have to switch schools?  I did not want that.  And how long would we still stay?  One maybe two years?  Well, then it was not worth the financial part it would of taken to move, as that is also very expensive in Germany.

The draw back:  Not all of us were going to move to America.  Without a job, Gardner needs to stay behind.  Gardner decided it would be best if we moved to Utah.  With me being alone with the kids, I would have family support there.

The end of April, I flew out to Utah to house hunt.  Ended up not finding anything in our price range that was decent enough or big enough.  Everything that was big enough had major damage to the house.  So I looked at new homes, one that still needed to be built.  Ended up deciding to build a home with Richmond American Homes in West Jordan.  And ended up building a home right next door to my sister, Julie. 

In July, I took Shantal, Spencer and Hannah to Paris.  It is somewhere Shantal wanted to visit since we lived in Germany and we never made it there.  So the day school got out, we drove to Paris and spent 2 nights there.  We climbed the Eifel Tower, saw Notre Dame,and got rained on the whole time.  It would of been nice to see the Eifel Tower when it was dark out and it was all lit up.  But our hotel was so far away, and after long days, I was just too tired. 

Shantal and Spencer spent two weeks in Sweden for a Youth Temple Trip.  They both came home and said it was not the last trip they thought it would be.  

The kids and I moved to America on August 19th.  We flew on Air Berlin from Dusseldorf to Las Vegas.  In Las Vegas, we had a 5 hour layover.  In Las Vegas while waiting for our next flight, almost all the kids were sleeping.  And once we were on the plane, every single kid was out.  The flight attendant came by and was shocked.  But by that point, the kids had been up almost 24 hours. 

We spent the first three months living with Julie and Roger while our house was being built.  And finally on November 7th, we closed on our house and we were able to move in.

The kids are thriving at school and adjusting really great.  We skype and talk with Gardner as often as we can.  And Gardner came out at Christmas for three weeks where we had a great time together.  We surprised the two younger kids at school when Gardner arrived.  They were so surprised to see him.  Emma ran up to him, with a huge grin on her face, and jumped up on him.  Just melts my heart to watch the video.

We are hoping that Gardner will find a job soon and join us here in America.  It is just not the same having him there. 

There are things we all miss from Germany.  Our friends, chocolate, the autobahn to name a few.  But I am so excited that my kids have the opportunity to get to know their cousins and their Grandmas and Grandpas.  

Moving Truck

Dusseldorf Airport
Kopal's, DeWendt's, and Hammacher Families

Going away party with the DeWendt's and the Kopal's

Last Family Picture in Germany

On the airplane

Sleeping in Las Vegas

Our New House

March 2007