Friday, November 28, 2008

They're Here!

My brother and his family arrived on Tuesday morning and we've been having fun since they walked in the door. Time is flying, as it always does with company. I've really been missing my family and AR, so it's been nice seeing some familiar faces for a few days. We had a great Thanksgiving meal, complete with a turkey we bought from Popeyes! Our oven is tiny, so we had to save room for the side dishes and pies. I highly recommend the turkey, it had a great flavor and there was no stress in the kitchen.

So far, they've seen Koln, Trier, and Luxembourg and boy has it been cold! They are heading to Paris for a couple of nights in a few days, so they are making the best of their trip. There are lots of Christmas markets around, so we've been trying some yummy new foods. The kids are getting along great and everyone is in good spirits. Caroline just cracks me up.... and Nicholas cracks me up talking about Caroline. Man, I've missed them.

Here's a few pictures... Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Well, we got our first snow of the season. The kids were up and running around bright and early. They had to get outside before it all melted! Of course, today the sun comes out. It never comes out, but I guess the snow invited it along. Anyway, we've had a fun day of playing and sledding. It is supposed to snow some more tonight and tomorrow. We've gotten a couple of inches, but the roads are already cleared up. We saw them salting last night before we went to bed.

Other than that, there's not much new. Matt's going to have to go to another month long course in the US before he deploys. Ugh. As if 6 weeks of training wasn't already enough... 6 weeks here, 4 weeks there.... 6 months here, 6 months there.... Ok. Sorry, I digressed.

Derek and Shannon, bring your coats! They are coming to visit next week and we can't wait to see them.

I'm off to shop at the bizarre at the base. It happens twice a year. Vendors from all over Europe come in and set up booths of fun and interesting items. Belgium chocolates, Italian wine, Polish pottery, you get the idea... I'm sure I'll find something to spend some money on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

I usually don't post anything for this holiday. Today, however I feel I should. Happy Veteran's Day to my husband, and any other Veterans out there that read this.

The military has brought a lot of positive things to our family. I tend to focus on a lot of the negative and thought I would share some of the positives for a change. Growing up, I decided I wasn't going to marry anyone in the military OR a police officer. HA! God showed me, right? I got a double whammy... military AND law enforcement (OSI.) Ok. So, that taught me not to make decisions too soon and never say never. That was lesson #1 learned.

I could go into detail about story after story and lesson after lesson, but I won't. The military has been good to us, overall. Yes, it has its ups and downs, but overall I can't complain. We have gotten to travel and see the world, have free gym memberships, and make new friends all over the US. If it wasn't for the military, I wouldn't have my special friends that I still keep in contact with. I've learned not to count my chickens before they hatch and not to worry about things until they actually happen. Well, I'm still learning that part.

I've gotten to buy/rent a new house every few years which calls for new decorations. I've been lucky enough to stay home with my kids, and my husband has ALWAYS supported me. I've had wonderful support from my family and friends as well. I have proven to myself, that I am a fairly strong person even though if you know me, I cry at the drop of a hat. I've also been fortunate enough for my husband to be with me through all 3 births of our children. A lot of military families are not so lucky.

I'm thankful we have men and women who sacrifice their lives for our country. Matt, I don't tell you enough, but I am VERY proud to call you my husband. While I don't understand someone "wanting" to go to war, I have come to understand it takes a special person. You are one of those and I love you. Now, I'm trying to take one of those lessons learned about not worrying until it happens, but I already fear the time which is coming when you will leave us again to head off to Afghanistan in the Spring. We have gotten through so much together, and I know we will get through another deployment. It will make us stronger, right honey?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saint Martin's Day

(waiting for the parade to begin with their American neighbor friend)

I don't think I posted on this last year. If I did, I know I didn't have any pictures. After living here over a year, we are slowly figuring out what to do when. It only takes a couple of years to figure all this out, and then it's time to move! Last year, we had heard about it but didn't venture out. This year, I just happened to see my neighbors daughter carrying her lantern so I asked her when the celebration was. She told me, so we decided to go check it out.

(Herforst Church)

(before the parade, outside of the church)

(before the parade, these are some of our German neighbors who are very sweet!)

The celebration is Saint Martin's Day. I'm putting an explanation of it at the bottom of the post, if you are interested. In our village, the celebration began at 5:30pm at the church. We didn't attend the service, but stood outside and waited with several others until the service ended and the children appeared with their lanterns. It was a huge turnout. We saw every single one of our neighbors along with their families. The band played songs as we marched through the village with the children and their lanterns. The kids had fun, even though they didn't have their own lanterns this year. A couple of friends shared with Hayden so that made him happy. Next year, we will have our own lanterns! Anyway, we marched until we ended up at a huge bonfire. The band played a few more songs and there was hot chocolate and other goodies to buy. At the very end, they passed out free pretzels to all of the children. Of course, the boys LOVED that part.


(Yummy pretzels!)

It was a beautiful night of perfectly crisp weather. Happy Saint Martin's Day! Here's the details...

German people celebrate the goodness of Martin who was a Roman Knight and later became a Bishop of Tours in the 4th century. According to legend, Martin saved a beggar’s life by sharing his cloak on a freezing winter night. This incident changed his life so much that from that day forward, he dedicated himself to the poor. People celebrate St. Martin’s Day throughout Germany towns in yearly Lantern Parades. A horseback rider, dressed as St. Martin leads the parade. He is followed by a band playing St. Martin songs. The children and their parents enjoy singing these well known songs. In some towns, people continue a tradition of raffling off geese that are carried in a wagon during the parade. Along with the raffle, the parade concludes with a big bonfire, during which sugar pretzels are passed out to the children. People can buy lanterns at most German stores. Some parents help their children to make their own lanterns and some schools have a lantern making contest. It is worth taking the time to find out when the St. Martin’s parade takes place so that your children can also participate.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Hype

I have lots of pictures to post, so the easiest way to do it is through a slide show. I don't think the pictures need much explanation. We started at a school carnival, moved on to a Halloween Party and ended with a Turkey Trot (race) this morning. The kids had fun and it was COLD! Jordyn did fairly well, considering all the scary costumes. She cried some, but not too bad. I wasn't sure what to expect with her this year!

Landen drew the awesome pumpkin design and Matt carved it. I was impressed! Hayden and Landen both ran the Turkey Trot - 1.2 miles. I was so proud of Hayden for running pretty much the whole way with a smile on his face. Landen got 4th place for the 4th grade, so he received a medal. :-)

I hope your Halloween was as fun as ours...