Tuesday, March 25, 2008

**BIG NEWS**

We have very exciting news that most of you have already heard, but for those who haven't..........We Are Moving Back To The States! Steve was offered a job about 3 weeks ago that will take us to Ft. Stewart Georgia. We will live about 45 minutes from Savannah and are excited to have the ocean so close. We know it is not as tempting as Germany, but we fully expect visitors to come and take a trip to Disney World with us. :) He will be working for the government and they are moving us believe it or not, so all this crap we have acquired can come back to the states with us. We do have a lot of electronics to get rid of though. We plan on leaving here anytime in the last two weeks of May. The movers will come and pack us out a couple days before and we will clean and paint and then we get to go find a suitable house for us to live in in Georgia.
I have had a lot of thoughts about this move. First and foremost, I know it is what we should be doing. Second I am very excited to be living in the USA again where English is the preferred language, and there are so many more conveniences. But, I also feel a little sad to leave my life here. Why would I pick up and move when I love my house, my friends, my ward, my neighbors, the schools, and Steve loves his job. Plus the travel has been so much fun and the list goes on. I have had such a wonderful experience here in Germany and have really come to love this country. Now, I have been told that if I could understand what is being said around me, I would have a very different view of the German people. And I don't doubt that is true, but seeing as I can't understand everyone or be friends with anyone I choose, I have come away with a very positive feel for Germans and this land.

I had two experiences today that made me happy to be going back and a little nervous about going back all within an hour. We had playgroup at a bounce house type place today where the kids could run and be crazy. I had ordered two slushy drinks at the counter and was attempting to carry them both back to the table at the same time I was carrying Brandon who is at that horrible grabbing age. Well I did pretty good most of the way to the table, but right before I got there, Brandon tried to put his hand in to the slush and in my attempt to get the cup away from him I squished the plastic cup and the whole drink splashed all over the floor. I quickly threw the cup in the trash behind me and went back to the counter to tell them that my cup was kaputt. The three ladies there saw the mess in the middle of the food court area and made a dramatic sound and then HANDED ME a roll of paper towels. Here I am holding a 7 month old with slush spilled all over their business establishment in a place where everyone is running around in socks, and they hand me some paper towels to clean it up. I was very shocked even after living here for 4 years. Now grant it, it was my mess so I guess I should have to clean it up but how would I do that with a baby, and did they not care about their customers enough to come and clean it up so people didn't step in the sticky juice? So, I did the best I could after passing Brandon off to a friend and thought the whole time how nice it will be to go back to a country where they will come out with a mop and clean up my mess and then they will ask me if they can get me another drink. Customer Service has become a very valuable thing to me.

Shortly after this incident I am talking to my friends who are all American(one is British) and I ask Tracy how old her oldest child was when she left her home alone. Her oldest Lauren is 8 I think. She looked at me surprised and said she only left her home for maybe 15 minutes once while she ran to the train station down the road. Well, this surprised me since I leave Steven home alone (without any brothers) for about half hour or so occasionally. This got us in to an hour long conversation about how our mindset is going to have to change when we move back to the states, because that kind of stuff is so not allowed. Tracy was saying that if I left Steven home alone in the states I would have child protective services at my door so fast it isn't even funny. That scares me!! Our conversation taught me that it is probably not safe for Steven to walk to school alone, which he has done everyday this year and he is in first grade. It wouldn't be a good idea for me to let my boys go to the bathroom by themselves at McDonald's or a bounce house type place, which I do all the time here. I could get arrested if I leave Steven (who is 6 1/2) home alone for half hour, or if I leave kids in the car to run in to the gas station, which I do quite often. Can I really not send my kids outside to play with the neighbors without being there to watch them?? What a horrible way to live. I am sure it won't feel so bad once I am there, but it does make me sad that I am leaving the safety of this country for one that is much less safe.

Anyway sorry about the long story, I have just constantly been doing the...."I am so excited for this, but so sad to be leaving that" ever since I found out we were going. I am going to miss this place terribly, but I have no doubts this is what we are suppose to do. So... all of you that paid the money to come and see us this year, be glad, cause we are outta here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone
video
Steven wishing us Happy Easter in 2003. He is almost 2 at the time and has only gotten more stubborn. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Les Miserables in London

A couple years ago, Steve and I dreamed up this fabulous, romantic plan of going to see Les Miserables at the theater in London. And we made that dream come true this past weekend.
We left the three oldest boys with an awesome lady from church who is about my Mom's age, and who raised 6 kids, all of whom are out of the house. Then Steve and I (and Brandon) flew to London for the weekend.

It was so AWESOME. Definitely one of my favorite places. It reminded me a lot of New York and I loved New York. I keep telling people it seemed to have a lot of American treasures like Costco, lots of great choices of places to eat, and the "right" language. But, it was also a very European city with lots of beautiful architecture and old buildings. It was the best of both worlds, if only they could get that darned pound to weaken a little bit. :0

So, we ended up renting a car because we found a great hotel that was cheap, came with a full English breakfast, and had nice big rooms, but was a ways from public transportation. Steve had a great time figuring out the crazy UK driving, especially when we went through a round-about every couple of miles.
Each morning we drove to the nearest Tube stop which is the London underground system and rode that to wherever we wanted to go.
The best choice that any one can make when visiting London is to get a £20 ticket on the "hop on hop off" bus. It was a great way to see all the main attractions in the city because their are so many.

We actually stopped at two of them. One was the London tower with the Crown Jewels that we thought was nice, but maybe not worth the money we paid to get in. And we also went to
we loved this wax museum. It had a really fun atmosphere and we enjoyed seeing how real everyone looked. Very cool. Here are a couple of our new friends.

{This was an impostor ^}



On Saturday night we had Alicia's best friend Kamber and her husband Brian who live right in London, babysit Brandon so we could go to see Les Miserables. Poor Kamber had just gotten out of the hospital from a surgery, so we tried to get someone else to do the babysitting. But the other person couldn't do it at the last minute and Kamber and Brian came through for us. Thanks you guys, you are awesome. And luckily Brandon was SOO tired from being dragged around London for 2 days, that he feel asleep pretty early and stayed asleep until we got back.

The theater was absolutely amazing. Steve and I both love to see musicals, and Steve had recently finished listening to the unabridged version of Les Mes. So, he had some unusual insights in to the story. (P.S. Jessica, I didn't fall asleep once! Aren't you proud of me?)

Anyway, everything turned out beautifully and we are so very happy we got to go, and for all the people who made it such a wonderful vacation.

The boys at home even had a good time, even though I think my dear friend Dorothy was ready to have some time to herself when we got back.

Monday, March 17, 2008

To tide you over

I had every intention of doing a GREAT blog tonight, but I decided to talk on the phone to Alicia instead. :-) I did download some pictures from the camera though, and can not stop laughing at this one. (You gotta click on it to get the full effect.)


So this is to tide you over until I get the other blog done tomorrow. I think I was taking a picture of what a mess he is, the face was all his idea though.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Party Party

We had Nathan's birthday party on Saturday night, and it was very nice. I have to admit I really don't like doing birthday parties. We have people over for dinner at least once a week, but when it comes to throwing a party I would always love to get out of it. It must be all the expectations that I don't like, and so I don't meet very many of them. But the parties always turn out great, so I guess I should start enjoying it. :-)

We invited 3 families over and gave them dinner of "chicken on a bone", salad, brotchen, and corn. Then we had a yummy chocolate cake and then moved on to present opening.

To make it more exciting than an average dinner invite, Steve made the guest room upstairs into a fort. He used a huge tarp we have and lots of blankets. The kids thought it was pretty cool, and it kept them all the way upstairs for at least half of the night. I let Nathan take up licorice and a bag of gum to share with all the kids. My rule (that is quite flexible) is that you can't have gum until you are 5, so Nathan has made a big deal out of this and asked to pass out gum on his birthday.

Side notes,
From what I have seen Germans let the birthday kid open their presents right as the guest walks through the front door, so I wonder what they thought about us doing it kind of formally after dinner and cake.
Second, there was a primary activity Saturday morning where they painted the kids faces like animals. Did you notice that Jacob and Nathan had paint on their faces. What animals do you think they were?
Third, Steven wasn't feeling well all day and started getting a fever right when the party started. So we had a house full of people and a sick kid, and Steven had been excited for the party also, and he spent most of it laying down on my bed. Poor kid.

Now here is that video of Brandon crawling/scooting that I was wanting to take. It was taken 4 days ago and he is already much better on his knees. Now we have to find a new place for the cat
food and water huh?

video

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Purple People Eater

The latest on Brandon:

So I thought the hydrocortisone was working for the dryness on Brandon's face, but I was wrong. The day I stopped putting it on, his face became all red and splotchy again so we headed to the Dr.
{This is his face on Nathan's birthday}

The Dermatologist told me that Brandon had a type of really dry skin that is worse in babies from 6 months to 2 years. Then he told me about this "blue" (which was not so blue) stuff that he puts on babies with this dry skin and it just stays there for about 3 days. He also gave me a prescription for some normal medicine. So after they tell me that this stuff stains they take me in to a back room and smear some purple dye stuff all over Brandon's face. No bib or anything to protect his clothes or my clothes, and then they send me on my way with a very purple baby boy. That was about 3 days ago and now it has almost completely flaked off. Have you ever heard of something so crazy?? :-) I have no idea what the purpleness was suppose to do, because I attribute any healing to the cream he gave me to put on two times a day. Oh the joys of being in a foreign country. I do LOVE Germany though.
{What his sheets looked like the morning after the Dr. }

His skin really is looking better now, but who knows what it will do after I stop the medicine.


Brandon has really been making an effort to crawl lately and has got the scooting thing down quite well. I keep neglecting to get out the camera though. But I am sure you will appreciate what I did get a video of today. I came out of the bathroom and Brandon had pulled himself up on this stair and was sucking on the edge. I mean really slurpy sucking it. GROSS.

video


Jacob on the other hand got quite the brain rush the other day. I went in to check on the boys before I went to bed, which I don't always do anymore, but I am glad I did this night. I think he had been hanging here for quite a while, I am curious how long he could have stayed. :) haha

Monday, March 03, 2008

Nathan turns 5

Today was Nathan's 5th birthday, and I would say it was a success. I wrapped 2 presents for him to open first thing this morning, and he was quite thrilled with them.
{Oh the pleasures of American cereals.:) }

Later I went to the Kindergarten to celebrate with them. I took peanut butter cookies to share and everyone loved them. Most Germans have never tasted peanut butter cookies.
{They are lifting him up in his chair}This evening we had Nathan's request of burritos/tacos for dinner. We have this about once a week as Tawna can attest to, so it was quite the easy birthday dinner since we used the meat that was cooked up on Friday for burritos.

Then Nathan opened his presents.
{chalk from teachers, light up sticks from us, and a very nice MP3 player from us}

Steve and I listen to books from audible.com all the time, and we love it. Both of us listen to our MP3 players as we are falling asleep. And whenever a book ends, it advertises how nice it is for kids to listen to books being read to them. So, we decided to get Nathan an MP3 player, take some speakers from the office, and download some books that we think they would like. Then they can listen to them after we pray and sing, and fall asleep to it. I am excited to see what it does about the getting up out of bed and the talking/playing for half an hour.

Next we had FHE. We haven't had FHE in about a month because Steve worked 2 Monday nights, then we were in Austria, and last Monday we went to a friends house for a going away party, she did do a Family Home Evening though. Anyway, tonight I wanted to have an FHE on Nathan since it was his b-day. So, we sang Families Can be Together Forever, and then I told the boys how much Heavenly Father loves everyone on the earth, and how Steve and I love them all so much and we are happy they are a part of our family. Then we went upstairs were I had put all our pictures of Nathan into one folder and we watched the pics as a slideshow. It was so fun to see pictures and videos of him when he was so little. I told them a little about every picture. We all loved it.
{So, I was very shocked to see some of Nathan's baby pictures. Like the first one here. In some of the pictures, he is not very attractive at all! So much for thinking I have the cutest babies. It seems Steven and Jacob were cute from the start. Nathan and Brandon not so much. It is a good thing that I think Nathan is one of the cutest kids ever now. }
After the pictures we went down and had his birthday "cake". I built an oreo cake (just a pile of oreos) for his birthday tonight, because I am saving the cake for his birthday celebration next week. We have invited a couple of families over for dinner and birthday cake. Then Steve is going to make a fort in the spare bedroom upstairs for all the kids to play in. Nathan has been so into forts lately and always wants Steve to build him one. So, I figured that would be a fun birthday thing. I am going to put a bunch of balloons in it and try and think of some other things they could do in a fort. Any suggestions? Anyway that is going to happen next Saturday.