Monday, December 31, 2007

Crossing the border

We went to visit our friends, the Mcleans, in Stuttgart. It was so fun to just hang out with them and talk. They took us to downtown Stuggart and also to Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg was incredible; I loved the narrow cobblestone streets and the amazizng cathedral. We were only a couple miles from the German border, but still it was France. I can now understand how the French got their reputation.

Kristine, Kade, Emily and Ayla. We made it to France!

A Memorial we saw in a cathedral in Strasbourg. It made me reflect on all the sacrafices our troops are making down range

Ayla can't get enough of the view

Cole and Keanna flirting on the streets of France

Ayla and Emily standing by the river

We visited the most intricate cathedral I have ever seen. Every inch of this cathedral was covered in sculptures. This photo is actually an insult to the beauty of this building.
Thanks to the Mcleans we had a blast!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Travel to Germany

My friend told me last night (Thursday night) that they had visitors coming from Portland Oregon in January. They paid about 450.00 round trip from Portland to Frankfurt they booked on Travelocity. So... it might be a lot cheaper to visit us then originally thought. We would love to have visitors. Even if you don't know us that well we have a lot of great sights within train or driving distance and free lodging! Have a Great NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Lets see if this works. here is a link to Picasa I have a ton of pictures of our trip on this site. We went to a museum that was about Medieval torture. YIKES! So be prepared.

Waiting on Christmas

This year we did a terrible job taking pictures. On Christmas morning the kids slept in, we got dressed ate our traditional eggnog french toast, cleaned up the dishes and waited by the curtain strung across the living room where Santa visited. This tradition of "getting things done before opening presents" is taken from Justin's family tradition. In his family the cows had to be fed, breakfast eaten and cleaned up before opening presents. Maybe that's why he is so patient?

We had a wonderful Christmas day with our little family and were able to talk with a lot of our family! Frehule Veinachten!

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is the way the Ayla points to her nose when we say "Pee-Yew".

Above is our happy girl: life is good!

This is Ayla asking "Where dit go?"

How was my trip?

Tuesday I piled a bunch of household items in our upstairs hallway with the intention to put them in our attic. The day came and went and the items were still piled in the hallway. Early the next morning I rushed to the restroom, but not before some commotion. I ran into our air purifier with my knee tilting it forward and then slamming it onto my toe. Gravity was also thrusting me forward with the air purifier still on my toe successfully scraping off a good portion of my skin. The trip made quite a bang and I made one loud yelp before covering my mouth not to wake up the kids. Justin came to my rescue concerned that an intruder may have been in our home. We wiped away the blood to find nothing of serious concern and we were off to bed. Justin quickly fell asleep as I cringed with my toe throbbing.
I now realize that I am a big wimp. Its now Friday and it still hurts. It is not only uncomfortable to put on shoes and socks and walk, but I am also really annoyed by the entire situation. I just can't imagine the pain of a real injury.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dancing Keanna

these are pictures of me dancing. I hope you enjoy them. Love Keanna

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I have my hands full trying to decipher 2 languages. German and Ayla. Can anyone guess what "nanny nu na na" means? Most children prefer a stuffed animal to comfort them in their sleep. Ayla seems particularly attached to her clothing. She often takes a pants or a pair of shoes to bed with her. She has become a great little sleeper, so whatever comforts her is fine with me.
Keanna has quite the imagination! Every day she is someone new and she has a new favorite. She just started dance class and loves to wear her leotard and tights and dance around. She loves being the "Bright Star" Queen and "Holly" the horse. Keanna is also working on her vocabulary she loves using "new words" in her speech. Some quotes include: "This is the most ridiculos thing I ever heard ( this is used when she disagrees with something I tell her) " "its a miracle" (referring to something quite simple like cutting out a snowflake).
Justin continues to be a great husband and Father. When he comes home its a party at the door greeting him. ALL of us are sooo happy that when he is home. Now that I live in a house and don't have a wonderful neighbor to talk to every day I get a little lonely. When Justin gets home I talk his ear off. He always does a good job at just letting me talk and talk and talk. I sure love him. I am taking guesses at what "nanny nu na na" is so give us a message and lets see how well you know Ayla talk.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, OH Christams Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree!

We had quite the adventure this year getting our Christmas tree, it took 3 days to get it decorated and even after 3 days our tree is unsightly. Our adventures start on
Monday: After work and dinner we were going to head over to the OBI ( a home depot) in Sulzbach to buy a Christmas tree. We quickly realized that the Christmas trees here were all humble trees, not many branches, not many needles. We found the best Christmas tree we could, wrapped it up and put it in our van.

As we were about to begin our car ride home we realized that we had enough gas to go about 24 kilometers. Our journey home was 17 km's so we should make it just fine. However, a problem would arise when I would want to make another trip somewhere with just enough fuel to go 7 km's. Its a little more tricky buying gas here in Germany since its sooo expensive! We have bought coupon books that can only be used at one gas station. Thank goodness for our Navigon, we mapped out all of our options and decided the best choice was to drive to post, 20 km's away, and get gas. It was late, the kids were tired and Ayla screamed the entire way to post. Thanks goodness the gas station was still open and they had chocolate available. We were successful at stuffing Ayla's screaming face with chocolate to enjoy a moment of peace. What an adventure!

Tuesday: We spent Tuesday night at OBI again, buying 220 volt lights. They are very strange and annoying to work with. Its not a traditional strand of lights. Both ends connect at the plug so its more like a circle of lights.

Wed: We are finally able to decorate our tree. It's a sad looking tree, but Keanna says "its the most beautiful tree in the world"

Justin typically takes great pride in a beautifully proportioned and decorated tree. We will have to forgo that tradition until we get back to the states.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sweet Keanna

Strike a pose!!!

Keanna is really growing up to be a sweet and caring girl. Justin and I often say to each other what a good girl she is. Example: Today we were sitting in Sacrament meeting she moves from scratching Justins back and comes and starts scratching mine. I tell Keanna "thank you, I like having my back scratched." Keanna replies "Daddy likes it too!" she continues scratching my back and then says "I like making my family happy."
We certainly have our moments, but we feel very blessed to have such good girls!

Is it one leg at a time?

For many putting pants on is a simple task, not for me. I continually work on mastering this task and today I successfully put my pants on! After doing so I found it difficult to walk. Below are some pictures of me waddling pigeon toed, but let me point out my PJ pants are on!
I did it!
Waddling over to visit "Daa"


Recovery from the fall

no one was hurt in the making of this blog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I must look stupid!!

I put a self made CD into our vans CD player, the paper came off and jammed the CD player. I had to take it into a Toyota dealership to have them fix it. They had to send the CD player someplace to get it fixed. Today I went to get it reinstalled the 200 euro price jumped to 300 euro. Grrr, I guess I will pay the money. I then thought it would be a good idea to have "one stop shop" and get the oil changed, I asked what it would cost. I was quoted "150.00 Euro" I thought we had a miscommunication so I asked again. Again I was quoted "150 euro" I said sorry it was too much. They then lowered the price to "60 euro, if I brought my own oil." I told them it was too expensive and in the states I had it done for 30.00 dollars ( I am sure they loved that comparisson). I left without my oil changed and a little offended to think that I must look that dumb!! I just made another appointment for next Tuesday for 19.95 oil change, thats the price range I was looking for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Freiberg Temple

We wanted to make a stop at the temple on our way home from visiting Dresden. We are accustomed to having the ability to visit the temple whenever we want. We thought that maybe they would have a session every hour. How inexperienced are we! We got there about 3 pm and the last session was just finishing up. Apparently, they only have 3 sessions a

day 8 am, 10 am and 1 pm. We will plan a little better next time.

Our Van!

For those of you who might be wondering, yes we bought a new van a couple months ago. We didn't intend to buy a new van. We actually had a gentlly used 2004 van that we were moments away from buying. Justin said lets sleep on it a couple days and see how we feel. The night before we were to buy the used van I had a dream that our family got into a car accident our car rolled and our girls died. I then became quite concerned about the safety of vehicles, I just could not overlook the feelings I received about the importance of a safe vehicle. We did our homework and decided on getting a car with side curtain air bags. The 2 vehicles we found that fit our "safety criteria" was our van and a volvo xc90, we thought the volvo was sweet, but in the end practicality set in. After driving on the autobahn at 85 or 90 mph and getting passed at significantly higher speeds I feel very happy about our decision to bite the bullet and pay a price for a safe vehicle. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Girls

I have some cute girls. The following is a conversation I had with my 4 year old, Keanna, in the van while driving home tonight.
Dad says: "Keanna can you please turn off your light".
Keanna: " But Daddy, I can't see!"
Dad says: "I know, but I can't see either and I am driving, so please turn off your light." Keanna: "When I get older, I'm going to turn on my light."
Dad says: "Not if I'm driving."
Keanna: "When I get older I'm going to buy a car, a nice car, a new car with nice and new tires, and I'm going to turn on the light. And when it gets old I'm going to turn it back in."
Dad realizing he can't win, rolls his eyes and asks: "But Keanna, how are you going to get money to buy the car?"
Keanna quickly replies: "I'm going to get a husband, and then I'm going to have a baby."
Dad envisions the future and nearly drives off the road untill....
Keanna asks: "Mommy and Daddy, will you tell me when I can get married and have a baby?"
Dad gives Mom a high five, and has urges to stop the van and start doing cartwheels.
Parenting may be rough, but it certainly can be entertaining. And as long as I get to decide when and who my daughters date and marry, I guess I can't complain too much.

The church at the center of this photo is called the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). This large Protestant church was completed in 1743, under King Augustus the Strong., In 1945, American and British pilots fire-bombed Dresden killing 25,000 civilians and destroying the majority of the historical center of Dresden--including this church, the Zwinger, the Hofkirche, and many others. Since Dresden was part of Communist East Germany, many historical buildings, including the Frauenkirche, were not rebuilt. Finally, in 1992, Dresdeners began rebuilding this church, which had been a memorial since WWII. Some of the stone is from the original. The opera house, Zwinger palace, and churches in the following posts are also replicas, the originals all lost due to the fire-bombing. Knowing the history of the buildings made the tour of Dresden much more meaningful and enjoyable.

Hofkirche (Cathedral)

Dresden is a stronghold of local-boy Martin Luther Protestant Reformation. When King Augustus the II died, his son wanted to be the ruler of Poland. The Pope would only allow Augustus the III to become King if he built a catholic church in Dresden. Its difficult to see but a passageway connects the church to the castle walls so the King would not have to walk with commoners. The church is to the right in this picture.
As we walked into the church we heard the most beautiful chorus of a choir. As we looked to see where the music came from Justin said he was almost dissapointed because he thought for sure he would have seen angels singing. We sat for awhile listening to the beautiful music. I was kicking myself for not paying attention in High School when my choir teacher, Mr. Bentley, quized us on style and technique. I had thought it would be good to have my brother Matt and his wife here to help sort things out for me. However, I did recogonize a familiar phrase "AgnusDei." PS sorry about the picture we couldn't use our flash.

We have been cultured by Dresden!

Dresden is full of art and culture. This "still" man might have been our favorite piece of art! He just stood there perfectly still has people walked past him and starred.

Below are pictures of the Zwinger palace. Here you can visit many museums, including the Old Master Gallery (which had Rafael's Sistine Madonna), Royal Armory, and Porcelain collection. The Royal Armory was filled with swords, jousting stick and suits of armour. King Augustus the II collected porcelain from France, Japan and China. He was "obsessed" with porcelain, owning about 24,000 pieces, not all still intact.

The Zwinger palace is part of the Wettin dynasty, this complex is a Baroque masterpiece! The Wettins ruled over Saxony for over 800 yrs up to WWI. This complex was used by royalty for large events such as weddings. I imagined myself in a beautiful dress walking around the complex, I felt so elegant! The first picture features the inside of the Zwinger which is shaped kind of like a square with a huge courtyard in the middle. The second picture is of the outside of the Zwinger which stands next to the Opera House.

Below is the Semper Opera House. 3 Opera Houses have stood on this spot. The first was destroyed by fire in 1869, the second by firebombs in 1945 (WW II). This is the 3rd Opera house.

I'm getting old!

Well Wednesday was my birthday, it was great. I got home from the gym at about 7 am and Justin had made me a yummy vegetable omelet (if you visit you have to one), Keanna hurried off to school and I had a nice relaxing day. The last time my birthday was the day before Thanksgiving Justin and I were courting and we took a trip to San Diego, where Justin asked my Dad for my hand in marriage. It's good to know that even after 6 1/2 years of marriage I still feel so blessed that I am married to Justin!

Later on I picked up Keanna from school and was greeted with a "Happy Birthday MOM!" her teachers came and wished me a happy birthday and I was given some cute colored pictures as a gift from Keanna. Later that evening we had some real German cake (I prefer American Cake) and opened some presents. It was a great birthday! Can you believe I am 27!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Does anyone else do this?

Okay this is my little confession page... Today Ayla and I went to Rewe to buy some candy to give away to people. On the way home I couldn't stop eating the chocolate. Within 45 minutes I ate 2 full size candy bars!!! They were soooo good I just kept eating and eating and soon enough they were gone!!!!! If this occurred only once or twice I would be just fine. However, this German chocolate is irresistible; I simply can't go to the store by myself to buy chocolate!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday nap

Last week after church Keanna sat down with Justin and crashed. Justin loved it! Oppurtunities to snuggle with Keanna don't come around very often, when they do you have to enjoy!

The first snow of the season

November 9th Justin and I awoke to a happy chorus of "its snowing!" We were watching our friends children and all the children were delighted with the snow. I think Keanna was the most exctied. Throughout the day she would periodically shout with glee "its snowing!"
We live on the edge of town and directly in front of us is a big field. The wind whips through that field and must drop the temp to the negative digits. Its "freon" sp? as I like to say.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Snuggle Bug

Ayla loves to snuggle with soft things. Since she was a baby she would do a face plant into a soft blanket or snuggle up to a stuffed animal. The first thing Ayla did when we got our rug is lay her cheeks onto it. She will be my child who complains about how cheap I am because I don't buy a higher thread count.
I thought she was so cute laying in this basket cuddled up to the stuffed bear. I just had to snap some pictures and do another blog. PS in the first picture on the couch you can see Ayla's expensive German shoes. ie my first shopping experience blog

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Girls Day Trip!!!

The one thing I wanted to buy once we came to Europe was some Polish Pottery. The only dinner set we have ever owned was an old one from my mother, we were down to 4 bowls. I figured we were due for a dinner set.

This morning Saturday Nov 3 I left our home at 4:30 am. About 5:00 I met up with 6 other friends piled in a van and we began our adventure to Poland. We drove about 4 hours and then began our long day of shopping.

We went to 6 different shops and sorted through about a million pieces of pottery. Its difficult to get a lot of pieces in one pattern, so instead I found some patterns that looked good together. We shopped until about 3:30. By this time I found myself struggling to see any differnce in patterns and we were all ready to go.

The ride home was a riot, we laughed and talked the entire time. Definitely we need to have more girls days out.