Friday, November 27, 2009

Berlin - Day Eins & Zwei

(At one of the Christmas Markets)

Yeah! I am posting from Berlin. The kids are all 3 fast asleep and Matt and I aren't getting much out of the German TV, so we are being entertained by the computer. Thankfully, he brought his laptop. It's funny to turn on the tv, see Blues Clues or reruns of sitcoms (John Belushi's last one but I can't think of the name of it) and it's all dubbed over in German voices. It just doesn't seem right... The kids don't seem to mind so much. (ok, so I didn't get this posted and I've been home for 3 days now... I tried!)

Anyway, back to Berlin! I'll have to take some pictures of the train ride on the way back because I failed to only take a couple on the way here. (I did!) It was expensive to take the train, but worth every penny in my opinion. The kids can stretch their legs and move around a little instead of being strapped in a seat belt. We didn't have to worry about where to stop for gas or where we would use the restroom. Speaking of restrooms, I did learn that it is much more difficult to use the bathroom on a train than in a plane. Just trust me. I'm glad I'm not a male! (And, we spent a gazillion euros on bathrooms in Berlin. Seriously! One trip cost us $7.50 after converting. I bet we spent $50 easy... enjoy your free restrooms, people!)

So, we got here and got to our apartment. It stated it sleeps 6, and well... it does. Two in the "living" room, 2 in the "kitchen" and 2 more in a side bedroom. It really works well for our set up of people and is much better than being crammed into a tiny hotel room. It's almost impossible to find rooms for 5 anyway. I'll get some pics of the outside tomorrow (can we say graffiti???) but I'll share a few of the inside tonight. Then we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner at Hard Rock.

A few of us are missing some toes because of these....

The shower curtain only came around about a 1/3 of the shower. Interesting... but I'm not a fan.

We went to the zoo this morning... yes, in the rain. We were snuggled up really well though and put our umbrellas and hoods to good use. Honestly, it was come and go all day and though we dodged a lot of puddles, we really lucked out overall. After the zoo, we went to the Christmas market accross the street, fed the kids McD's (b/c we spent 40 Euro feeding them lunch at the zoo for nothing more than a weiner & fries and a couple of 1/2 wraps! when you convert - it's a lot of money.... for lunch.)

The zoo was fabulous. I'm sure it is much prettier when the sun is shining and the bushes have leaves on them, but despite that it was still very nice. It's rather large, the kids LOVED it, and it was very clean. I was impressed by some of the habitats for the animals, though I thought a few of their water tanks needed some cleaning. Evidently, one of the monkeys had just had a baby and camera crews were there filming and taking pictures. Watch for us on TV -we may be famous! ha! I was most excited about seeing Knut, the famous bear. Of course, when we got to him... this is what we got to see. I was fearful of that happening.


However, we went back and to my excitement - he performed!

Want to know what is funny?? This is Knut!!!!!! (so I got a little confused with the Panda and the Polar. They both start with P, right?) ha! In my defense, the panda is quite famous too.

The elephants were hilarious. We watched them for a while. There was a little baby and we guess a sibling or other younger one who kept kicking each other... then the mom would break them up. It was really cute...

This picture is blurry, but I just had to share him. Yikes!

The kids after day 2. I think this sums it up:

More to come in a few days....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Long Overdue

I've been meaning to post this for several weeks and for some reason I continue to fail to do it. So, today I've been knocking some things out.... changing sheets on the beds, wrapping some Christmas presents and getting them ready to ship, and I thought I would check this off my list as well.

What an incredible honor it is to have a stadium dedicated to my father in law. Most of you who read this know it is old news, but for those of you that didn't know SHS high school stadium is now named the Jim Rowland Stadium. WOW! It was one thing to hear about it, but it was entirely something different when I pulled up to that stadium and his name is splashed all over the stadium.

Pops definitely deserves such a high honor. From the time I can remember, (even when I was his TA in the 10th grade) he has had nothing but respect for Southside High School and ALL the other schools in Fort Smith. He has worked hard for so many, many years at making sure those lines were painted just right on all the fields, the stadiums were clean, the grass was just perfect - blade by blade, turning water on and off at various hours of the morning and night. I could go on and on. I just had a flashback of all the girls on the Dixie Belles taunting me as we would practice on the field before a football game when I was just beginning to date Matt. Little did I know he would be my father in law one day!

As has happened many times, sometimes being stationed overseas isn't all it's cracked up to be. I once again missed an event that I would have loved for my children, Matt and I to attend. However, life just sometimes doesn't allow everything we want. I was able to run by and see it when I made a quick trip back for my grandfather's funeral and we snapped a few pictures. Pops, the next time we come back home we are going to have to snap a few more. I didn't get everything I wanted so you will have to grin and bear a few more snaps.

Pops, we are so incredibly proud of you and honored to be in your family. We love you!

Pops with all but 1 of his grandchildren

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life & Such

I'm just not in to this blogging thing right now. I guess you've figured that out if you have bothered to look at my blog. My mind is going in a million different directions right now and I just can't seem to focus on any one thing. I know Christmas is going to be here before I blink, and I just haven't gotten in that spirit yet. Normally, by now, I am almost finished shopping. But, this year... not so much. I have to shop early over here in order to get everything shipped so I'll have to get myself in gear sometime soon!

We've adjusted to daddy being back. It's odd that after being away from us for so long, the instant he walks back in the door it's as if he never left us. What was all the fuss about? The tears? The never ending feeling? It all wonderfully disappears! I have a maintenance man around the house again, a mower, a computer man, a driver, a help with the kiddos and some adult interaction in my house again. Woo hoo!!!!

The time in our lives has come once again in that we are working through where we will be moving next. Some of you already know, but as of now, the odds are that we are going to be remaining overseas. I've slowly found out that God's plans and mine are very, VERY different. Not sure if I'm being punished or what! No, I'm joking. Nothing in the military is ever set in stone until written orders are in hand, so we are just waiting until we know 100 percent. There is a lot more that will unfold on the blog after this.... so just keep that whole situation in your prayers. I could write a book about all my feelings on this, but I'll save that for another time. If you have kept up the least little bit, you know how ready I was/am to be back in the states. I'm feeling a little more at peace about it every single day....

On another note, we had fun at the annual elementary school Turkey Trot again this year! It was our 3rd year to participate in it, though this year Landen didn't get to compete since he moved to the middle school. So, it was all on Hayden. He didn't want to let his big brother out do him after he placed the last 2 years. With flying colors, Hayden pushed through - ran the entire 1.5 miles without stopping and got 2nd place for his age group!!!!!!! We were floored and very proud of him. My little cuddly boy is making a breakthrough into a big boy I'm afraid.




Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Rock Star, Storm Trooper, and Cinderella

Whew! What a few weeks it has been. I was able to go home for my grandfather's funeral (with the 3 kids, of course), Matt returned home, and we ended the week with Halloween! We are all getting readjusted and it's as if Matt never left. He's got lots of pictures I can post when I get some time. I've also got some other pictures to share, but for now.... here's Halloween.

We didn't have a costume party to go to this year, so we opted for trick or treating on base. Once again, it's mass chaos and I feel sorry for the people who live on base. They should take donations from the rest of us who live off base. Since Germans don't really trick or treat, all the Americans have to head to the base. That's a lot of people!

The picture of all the people is just to show you what it's like. You have to wait in line at each door there are so many people....