Thursday, December 31, 2009

And a Happy New Year

We just rang in the New Year here in Germany and as we were sitting here with friends playing Apples to Apples and eating mass quantities of dip I couldn't help but think of how much has changed since Nate and I's first New Years Eve here in Europe, our first New Years Eve as a married couple.
December 31st, 2006 we were in Paris on the Champs Elysses dodging fireworks set off by drunk frenchman and then standing on one of the bridges of the Seine River and drinking champagne while we enjoyed our view of the Eiffel Tower. Tonight when the clock struck midnight we were in the front yard dodging fireworks being set off by our friends and drinking sparkling cider while we listened to the church bells ring out.
No matter where we are and what we're doing I'm glad to be starting another year with my best friend by my side...I love you honey.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One Week in Egypt

We've been home from Egypt for almost a month now and I'm just now sitting down to write about our trip. I have some legitimate reasons for why it has taken me so long but the truth is that everytime I went to sit down and do it I realized how much I had to say about it and the thought of beginning was daunting. Luckily I'm now feeling up to the task and since it hasn't officially been a month yet I figure I'm still writing in a relatively timely manner, so here it goes...

We left for Egypt on Sunday the 22nd of November. We flew from Frankfurt to Cairo on Egyptair and had a relatively uneventful flight. I was a little overexcited about the little things like all the things on the plane being in English and Arabic, but I think that was just my excitement for the trip spilling over. I took quite a few pictures of things on the plane just because I was so eager to get there. When we arrived in Cairo and were waiting to receive our visas the Reese madness began. All these Egyptian men started pulling out their cellphones and taking pictures of Reese as she wandered around the little area outside passport control. One guy even came over and asked to pick her up to take a picture with her, this was the first but would be far from the last time someone asked to take a picture with her. Once we got our visas we went to catch our next flight down to Luxor. We didn't arrive in Luxor until about midnight so we went straight to our hotel and Reese and I got ready for bed while Nate went with a bunch of other people from our group down to Pizza Hut to get some food since everyone was starving. I have to say that I generally dislike Pizza Hut, but Egyptian Pizza Hut is WAY better than American, that and I was starving so I'm sure that made a huge difference.

We only got about 3 or 4 hours of sleep that night because we had to get up early Monday morning to start our sightseeing. First we drove over to Karnak temple which was an amazing first stop for our trip. Our tour guide, Abdul, had a master's in Egyptology so he could literally answer any question and was able to tell us so much about ancient Egyptian culture. Reese was pretty much passed out the entire time we were at the temple thanks to her late night but when she did wake up she was all over the place and enjoyed just getting to walk around. She found some stray dogs at the temple and in typical Reese fashion she wanted to hug it and love it but luckily she settled for just looking at it from a distance. After Karnak temple we went and saw how Papyrus was made and saw some really cool paintings done on Papyrus. From there we went on to Luxor temple where we wandered around and saw the image of the fertility god. After that it was lunch time so we headed to our cruise ship to check in, have lunch and catch up on all the sleep we missed the night before.

On Tuesday we were still in Luxor and we got up early once again to go to the temple of Queen Hatchepsut. Queen Hatchepsut had tried to subtley suggest to the people of Egypt that she was a man so she could be pharoah so the images of her are somewhat manly but the artisans included details to show that she was in fact a woman so her plan didn't work out so well, though she had another plan later that worked in her favor. Our tour guide had warned us that nothing in Egypt is free which was so true, there would be men in robes at the different sites that would try and show you something and then want you to pay them for doing so or would ask you to take a picture with them and then you would have to pay them, luckily Nate and I had no issue saying no and just walking the other way since I didn't want to get swindled. There was one guy who was playing with Reese at the Temple of Queen Hatchepsut and I did take some pictures of them playing but then he wanted me to take a picture of him with her and I said no thinking to myself how I already had a picture of them together. After the temple we went to the Valley of the Kings where there are more than 60 tombs including that of King Tut. We were able to go inside a few of the tombs and it was amazing how much the colors on the wall had survived the time. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, though I'll admit that we did sneak one inside Ramses IX's tomb. After we left the Valley of the Kings we stopped at the Colossi of Memnon to take a picture and it was a little sad how deteriorated they were. It's really only an outline at this point but it was still very cool to see. We finally returned back to our ship to sail for the rest of the day which ended up being very entertaining. As we were approaching the locks at Esna, Nate and I were in our room getting Reese up from her nap and I looked out the window to see these little fishing boats rowing towards our ship. I was so confused and then one of the little boats hit the side of our boat, they were merchants who were trying to sell things to the people on top of the deck. They would wrap these blankets and shirts in plastic bags and chuck them up onto the deck, it was hilarious. Then when we were leaving the locks these young boys started throwing old film canisters onto our ship and begging us to put money in them and throw them back. One guy put a euro in one and threw it back and it ended up sparking a fight between these group of teenage boys. It was crazy to watch, but I'll admit it was an entertaining boat ride.

On Wednesday morning we woke up in the tiny town of Edfu and went to the temple there. Edfu is not a typical tourist city, the only thing there is the temple so on the ride over to the temple we got to see what a typical Egyptian city looked like complete with the street market and complete lack of hotel. The temple there is for Horus and had some really cool artwork on the wall. After our tour guide gave us free time to explore we let Reese wander around the outside of the temple and she had a great time exploring. That was pretty much our routine at every stop we made, we'd have her ride in the backpack while the tour guide took us around and gave us the information and then when we were given time to look around on our own, we'd let Reese down and let her stretch her legs and lead us on a walk to see what she was interested in. When we returned to the ship we had the afternoon sailing on the ship so took the opportunity to play in the pool and do a little tanning. The weather was one of the best parts of the trip, getting to sit in the 70-80 degree sun every day as opposed to the dark skies and cold temps of Germany was not a part of the trip that we took for granted. In the late afternoon we docked and went to the Kom Ombo temple which is a dual temple for the gods Sobek and Haroeris. The temple was constructed as like a mirrored image with the two parts side by side. One of the highlights was the extremely realistic depiction of a lion biting a hand, the fact that the ancient Egyptians were able to be so detailed with the technology they had was pretty amazing. We walked from the temple down to a depiction of what an Egyptian farm house would look like, it was a little cheesy but this farmer down there had some animals and it ended up being one of the highlights for Reese. She get to pet a baby goat and once again she was in love, she just wanted to to keep petting it and trying to pick it up and then she cried when it was time to leave the baby goat. That night on the ship we had a Galabeya party which is where we all dressed up in the traditional robes, ate traditional Egyptian party food, and then danced and played games. It was a lot of fun and Reese loved the dancing.

On Thursday we arrived in Aswan and rode a smaller boat down the Nile to a Nubian village. While we were on the boat these kids swam up to the side and were singing to us and basically doing anything to get us to give them money, some people had some little hard candies which they gave to the kids who were quite excited to receive them. We got off the boats a ways outside the village and got on camels to ride into the village. I was so excited for the camel ride and decided to have Reese in the backpack so that she wouldn't fall off, it was so scary when the camel went to stand up since I was afraid the weight off her on my back would throw me off balance and make me fall but our tour guide stood next to me and made sure we got up safely. The ride was fun and the rocking put Reese to sleep pretty quickly, when we got to the village we wandered around and saw the set up of how the Nubian people live and we even got to hold a baby crocodile. Then of course they were all set up to sell us stuff so we bought a pretty cool knife and then got back on the little boat to head back. From there we went in to Aswan and saw the unfinished obelisk which was an obelisk that hadn't been completely removed from the quarry. The Egyptologists believe that they started to extract it but then saw that there was a crack in it so they abandoned it. As we were leaving the quarry we had to walk through a little market place. As I stated earlier, nothing in Egypt is free, so when a little boy said that he wanted to give Reese a present we said no thank you but he kept handing her this book mark and insisted that it was a present, and low and behold he didn't want to be paid for it. This happened over and over again at this market place and she ended up leaving there with two bookmarks, two bracelets, two necklaces, and a few scarab charms. All the men there were saying that she was good luck and so they wanted to give her luck. From there we drove over to the High Dam and then went on to Philae temple which we had to take a boat to. When we finally arrived back to our boat everyone was ready for something different from the usual boat food so we had our Thanksgiving dinner at a McDonalds there in Aswan and then went down to the marketplace to wander around. In the market place once again people were all over Reese, they took pictures of her, wanted to take pictures with her and wanted to give her presents. Nate and I probably could've made a lot of money on this trip if we had charged people for taking pictures of her, but it was just flattering to have so many people commenting on how cute our little girl was.

On Friday we went to the airport in Aswan and flew back to Cairo for a day of sightseeing there. Our first stop was the hanging church which is a Christian church and one of the highlights for me. The architecture and design was so different from the churches that you see in Europe and I just enjoyed seeing something so different. We then went to the synagogue and then over to a mosque where I had to make sure I was fully covered. The mosque was a little anti-climactic since we had been prepped for there being a ton of people there since it was a Muslim holy day, but it ended up being empty between prayer calls. After the mosque we went to the Cairo museum where a highlight would be the mask and various treasures of King Tut, other than that we were all so tired that all we wanted to do was relax and not be wandering around a museum, in a nutshell it had been a very long day. Our last stop was the Khan El Khalili bazaar where we didn't spend much time since most of our tour group was ready to get to the hotel and relax.

On Saturday, our final full day in Egypt, we finally went to see the pyramids of Giza. It was as exciting as I had built it up to be in my head. At the Great Pyramid we got to ride camels for a little bit and we were allowed to climb up the pyramid, the feeling of being on the pyramid was crazy and while Reese didn't quite have the same image going in her head she loved playing on the pyramid. We then went to the second pyramid and the third pyramid before we drove over to the Sphinx. After all that excitement we drove to a restaurant in Sakkara which ended up being the best meal in my opinion. I loved all the different sauces that they had to dip the flatbread in and the meat was really good too. Then we drove over to Memphis and then on to the step pyramids where we got to enter a pyramid. It was this tiny opening and we had to bend over the whole way down and then walk squatted down until we got to the burial chamber. When we got back to our hotel they had one of those huge blow up slides for the celebration of the holiday so Reese played on it for the rest of the night taking turns having us take her to the top.

On Sunday morning we went back to Cairo airport and flew home to Frankfurt. When we arrived we were greeted with a gloomy sky and cold weather, we missed the sun god immediately.

I'm trying to think if there's anything I've forgotten, but other than hoping that I've given you the full impression of how many photos were taken of Reese by people who are not her parents, I think I've said it all. We had a great trip and we had an amazingly well behaved little girl the whole time we were there. We traveled with an amazing group of people and I don't think we could've had a better time, we did everything we wanted to and still had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the sun. (I could only add a few photos to this post but I have a ton uploaded if you click on the "Egypt" link under "Even More of Our Pictures")

Thursday, December 3, 2009


So we went to Egypt Nov 22nd-29th and I've yet to have time to sit down and blog about all the wonderful and amazing things we did while we were there. I'd like to say that that was what I sat down to do right now, but unfortunately I'm not. I did however add the link to all the pictures on the sidebar under "Even More of our Pictures." If you select slideshow on the page of the photos the captions will show up, and yes I'll get around to writing about it very soon since if I don't I'll never remember.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twilight Night

Living in Europe has finally paid off movie-wise. New Moon opened here on the 19th so the theater in Luxembourg was doing Twilight Night on the 18th. A group of 20 of us from church went down there and watched Twilight at 9:30 and then New Moon started at 12:01am. A few of us decided we were going to make up shirts to wear to add to the dork-dom and wouldn't you know it the Luxembourg station wanted to interview "the girls in the shirts" to see how we liked the movie. I'm only posting the link for your enjoyment because I actually find it insanely embarassing. Please keep in mind when you watch it that it was 3 am and we'd just sat through two movies in a dark theater while eating mass amounts of candy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Irony at its finest

It's 10am here in our lovely home in Arenrath and I'm on the phone with Nate discussing how wonderful our little girl is who's been being a funny yet sweet little girl all morning. The little girl in question is sitting in the living room playing with her doll when all the sudden she pops up, walks past me in to the kitchen and over to the bakers rack where the fortune cookies from last nights chinese dinner are sitting. She reaches up, and by the way I didn't even realize she could reach up that high, grabs a cookie and walks right past me. Usually she grabs something and then brings it to me to have me open it or help her have it in some way or another, but today she just walked back in to the living room while I stared after her. I then watched, and narrated to Nate, as she attempted to open the fortune cookie wrapper...naturally Jaeger was standing by ready to help in any way she could. Finally I ask if she wants help opening the cookie, having decided that the whole incident caught me so off guard that she deserves the cookie. She brings it over to me and I open it and read her fortune: "You know how to make the right decisons"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Night

(She loved pulling out the pumpkin guts)
(She went and grabbed a movie while Nate and I were still carving and this is how I found her when I walked by)

(We had to bribe her with suckers to get a picture of her with the headpiece on)

(She was totally in to the whole trick or treating thing)

(Enjoying the fruits of her labor)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trunk or Treat

Our ward trunk or treat was last night and since Reese and I weren't in Vienna like we were supposed to be I rushed around that day to put costumes together for Nate and I, of course Reese already had one ready to go for Halloween. Reese was being a clown so I got some stuff to make Nate and I clowns to and then grabbed some curtains to drape over the car to make it look like a circus tent and bought a bunch of balloons so Nate could hand out candy and make balloon animals, the kids had the option of a worm or a snake. Reese was naturally the super cute and sweet clown I was supposed to be the nice clown and Nate wanted to be an evil clown but somehow we both turned out looking evil, some people even said I looked more evil than Nate. We all had a lot of fun, Reese started getting the hang of trick or treating towards the end and though she refused to say anything she would lift her bucket up for people to put candy in it and then smile big. Nate enjoyed doing his creepy clown laugh as the kids walked over to his car and the fact that he never had to leave the car or actually socialize with anyone over the age of about 10 was a big bonus in his mind. We ended up winning the best decorated trunk contest so we're already plotting out what we're going to do next year so that we can retain our title.

The Mother and the Father

My Mom and Dad arrived in Germany on the 16th and we didn't even let them drop their stuff off before we were off on our travels. We picked them up at Frankfurt and then immediately drove down to Nurnberg where we went to the Nazi Documentation Center and Rally Grounds and then wandered around the old town. The next day we drove on to Dachau, which is just outside Munich, to tour the Concentration Camp and then continued down to Garmisch where we stayed at the military resort Edelweiss. Neuschwanstein Castle is less than an hour away from Garmisch so we drove over there and walked up the hill through the snow to see the castle. After we walked up, Nate, Reese and I left my parents up there to do the tour while we walked back down and enjoyed hot chocolate and cheesecake. Besides the castle we just spent our time relaxing at the pool and looking at the beautiful snow covered mountains until we got in our car for the 6 hour drive back home.
When we got back from that trip both my parents came down with the 24 hour flu that Nate and I had had a few weeks previous so we just spent a few days at home while everyone recovered and then we spent a day in Trier, also known as the spot everyone will go when they visit because not only is it the oldest city in Germany but it's also about 20 mins away. We also ventured off to Cologne so my parents could see the cathedral and take Reese to her always favorite aquarium and zoo. Finally that weekend we went off to the pumpkin patch that I had been very much looking forward to. I was a little disappointed that we didn't need to go hunting for a pumpkin in a field, instead they were all washed and ready to go but they were still piled up and you had to move them around so I guess that counts for something, plus there was a corn maze and some hay bales to play on so overall I was pleased that Reese got to at least have some kind of pumpkin patch experience.

And now for the story you'd all have been waiting for if you'd have known to be waiting for a story. On Monday morning my parents, Reese and I flew out for what was supposed to be a four day trip to London and Vienna....for Reese and I it ended up being a two day trip to London. When we arrived in London and got on the bus to go into the city Reese was happy, that is until part way through the ride when she immediately became unhappy and began screaming, screeching and attempting to through herself onto the floor of the bus. Nothing would calm her, though I eventually managed to at least quiet her by feeding her nearly every snack I had in my bag. The screaming and screeching continued throughout London. We went to the tower of London and while my parents visited the armory I let Reese exercise her legs and wander around, if I tried to hold her hand she would throw herself on the ground screaming, if I picked her up she would try to throw herself from my arms screaming, if I put her in the stroller she would arch her back and scream in an attempt to get out. Eventually I parked her in a corner facing the wall and let her take some time to herself while I sat next to her on a bench and watched people try and figure out where the screaming was coming from. It took all my energy and every game and scrap of trash in the stroller to keep her quiet on the subway, at every restaurant she would try and throw things on the ground and screech so we spent most our time wandering around outside until our food came and then quickly scarfing it down before the screaming began again. The only thing that made her happy was if I would let her run around wherever she wanted doing whatever she wanted, not exactly going to happen. The next day was looking up, she hadn't thrown any fits yet and had enjoyed playing on the steps outside Buckingham Palace, she had even sat nicely for lunch without throwing things. When we got on the bus for the ride back to the airport so we could fly on to Vienna I was armed with snacks and activities but as soon as the bus doors shut the screaming and screeching began again....and it was a long bus ride with the traffic. I was actually beginning to be concerned that there was actually something wrong with my child, I was thinking that perhaps her appendix had ruptured and her body was filling with poison or perhaps she had all of the sudden gone blind and was now so scared because she couldn't see anything and had no clue where she was, maybe she had even broken a bone, these were the things that in my mind would cause my usually happy go lucky child to behave in this way. As soon as we got off the bus, and I apologize to all the other poor people on the bus but at least they could see that I was trying to calm her down, she stopped screaming. I rushed in to the airport as my parents and I were worried and had decided to fly home instead of continue our trip since it seemed as if she was somehow hurt. When I got to the counter I found out that while I paid 5 euros total to fly to London it would cost me 220 pounds to fly home. I told my parents there was no way I was letting them pay that much money so I forced them to continue their trip while I backed up and plopped down my credit card. She was an angel the rest of the journey home. I have my theories as to why she acted like she did, I won't bore you with all of them and yes I know that part of it was just her bursting through the invisible gate of the terrible twos. Since we got home she's had a few screeching fits that have immediately been squashed, it's much easier to squash one of these fits at home than it is on a crowded bus, but overall she's been more demonic than usual but more herself than she was in London. I told my friend when we were out that I was going to get an exorcist to try and get out the demon that had inhabited my child then I looked at Reese and said "Eseer (her demon name) get out, leave my baby alone" and just like in the movies Reese started screeching and arching her back...I think I'm on to something with this whole demon inside my baby thing.

Legoland Deutschland

While Nate was still enjoying his "post deployment reintegration time off work," we decided to make the four hour drive down to Legoland. We stayed at the hotel they had there at the park which was cute because there were little lego people all over the place that Reese was the same height as. It was pretty cold down where Legoland is so Reese was a little "moody" about it but overall she seemed to have a good time. Her favorite part was going to the Atlantis exhibit which is basically an aquarium with lego people inside of it.
(If you click on the collage it should enlarge it so you can see all the pictures)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Meet Manfred

I've been meaning to make this post for awhile and figured it was better late than never for the world to meet Manfred Nink. A few weeks before Nate came home our friends Tyler and Stephanie moved in with Reese and I for their last 10 days before they moved back to the States. One night we decided we would go to Trier for sushi, this happened to be day 120 of Nate's deployment and at the time he had no news as to when he was coming home so I wasn't having the best day. When we drove over to Trier there were political posters up everywhere for the upcoming elections and we were having a lot of fun trying to decide who was our favorite. The signs all looked almost exactly the same except for the person on it and everyone seemed to have the same odd not quite smile on their face. We immediately decided against the red haired lady and as we were discounting the smirky guy because he looked shady our eyes caught sight of Manfred Nink. It was awesome as Tyler and I both saw his poster at the same time and became smitten with the fact that he was the German candidate for us. We saw a few more of his posters during our trip and as we were leaving we decided we HAD to have one. I told Tyler that if we saw another one I would pull over and just as we were leaving the city we saw one on a street sign so Tyler jumped out, grabbed Manfred, and we were off. It made me feel so young again to be participating in a sign adoption and relocation program. When we got home we made a photo story of Manfred's time with us. (Stephanie and Manfred discussing politics over breakfast) (Reese playing with Manfred) (Jakob getting in some Manfred time)

(Tyler introducing Manfred to American T.V.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nate Came Home...and a bunch of other stuff happened

Nate came home on September 28th and Reese and I are so happy to have him back with us. We were told we could pick him up at the hangar at 5:30 but their plane didn't end up landing until 5:45 and then they had to go through customs, have their bags randomly searched and then reclaim their bags before they could come meet us. Needless to say this took a really long time to accomlish for over 200 people so we didn't get to actually see him until 7:30. So since we'd been waiting in the hangar for two hours Reese, who had already started coming down with a cold that morning, had fallen asleep and when all the commotion began she was startled and didn't exactly give Daddy the best reception. Okay truth be told she screamed and cried as loud as she could and didn't want him touching her or me, but by the time we got home she had settled down and decided that he might not be so bad afterall. It took her a few days more before she fully warmed up to him and let's face it she's a hardcore Momma's girl and that's not exactly just going to go away, but things are going well between the two of them so I'm pleased.
(Reese running around in the hangar waiting for Daddy to come)
(After 132 days in Iraq, Nate is home)So far we've spent Nate's time off from work hanging around our area and being sick. Reese came down with the flu Monday and that was the first time she's ever truly vomitted so it was a little scary for me but we just spent the day laying on the couch together watching movies. Then Wednesday night I started in with the flu and by Thursday morning Nate was right there with me. Poor Reese had to spend another day watching movies while her Mommy and Daddy laid on the couches groaning, I'm trying to figure out what parents did before Disney movies. We were supposed to leave for Legoland on Thursday morning but since Nate and I were both sick we called and were able to change our reservation to Monday so we're looking forward to going there and then rushing home to get things ready for my parents arrival on Friday.

In Reese news, she's learning new words everyday and understands so much of what we say that I can't actually believe it. If you ask her what a cow says she says moooo, only it comes out sounding closer to boooooo, I personally think she's trying to tell me what a ghost cow says. She can say dog and tell you that a dog says woof and just tonight she started telling me that tigers and bears say rawr. Whenever I ask her to get a book she gets the animal book and we sit there pointing at animals and making the noises, it's pretty cute. Tonight she finally said I love you, it melted my heart and I didn't want to stop hugging her. Five minutes later I told her I loved her and she said "I love you" and then Nate told her he loved her and she turned to him and said "thank you." I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to hurt myself, she has such great comedic timing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spangdahlem's Cutest Baby

Reese was in the cutest baby contest on base today and naturally she won....let's be honest, with my kid in the competition no one else stood a chance. I almost felt sorry for the other little girls in her category, but almost only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades not in baby contests.
Now I've already received a lot of jokes at my expense for entering my child in this contest but I must say that it was nothing like that toddlers and tiaras show on TLC so cut me a little bit of slack. And I really don't care what rude comments Amber Kincher might decide to make, Reese won $75, a bunch of balloons and some books, plus it got us out of the house and doing something instead of idly sitting by waiting for Nate to finally get home.
It actually was a really fun little contest, Robyn and Max, and Eric and Jakob came to root Reese on in her quest for total baby domination. There were 4 different categories, and while Reese would've won even if there had been only one category I think it was nice for them to give some of the other kids a chance this way. They had to model one seasonal outfit and a costume of their choosing so Reese chose summer and wore her adorable 4th of July sundress that we purchased for her to wear when she picks up daddy, and then she was a lifeguard for her costume. She strutted her stuff across the stage and went right for where the photographers were, she even smiled while she did it.

(Reese getting ready to take the stage for the first time)

(Good thing no one knocked her down for the cornball look on her mom's face)

(working it for the crowd)

(walking past the competition to claim her first place price of $75, I imagine she's thinking how many cinnamon twists from taco bell that money can buy)

In other news.....Nate is still not home, he gets pushed back further everyday so while he should be home "soon", soon is a relative term and so we'll have to wait and see how soon soon actually is.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Fields of Arenrath

The fields around our house are currently filled with mutated looking sunflowers, I've never seen such a large face on a sunflower. Today Reese and I decided we'd take a walk into the fields and bring along the camera and tripod so we could have some fun.

After we explored the sunflower fields, and had gotten our fill of them, we saw a field of corn so we went over so I could show the ears of corn to Reese.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Misleading Scene

At first glance, this photo looks like a picture of two sweet children playing together. The little boy is clearly enthralled with the uno flash machine in front of him, while the little girl has looked up at her mother for a photograph. If only film, for the sake of my story we'll still refer to that little sd card as film, could capture what is truly lurking beneath the surface of this photo. The little boy truly is a sweet little boy entralled with the uno flash machine, this is my friends' kid Jakob whom I picked up from daycare today for his dad because his mom deployed today and his dad's work schedule is a little hectic for the next few weeks. Jakob came over to our house and happily played with toys and smiled and laughed and did everything one would expect a sweet little boy to do. No, the hidden story in this photo is not Jakob, it's the little demon on the right. I don't know how she manages to suck her horns back in just before I take a picture, it's as if she's mocking me, saying "no one will believe you mom, I look too sweet on film." But, those big blue eyes and blond curls are hiding a truly sinister little girl underneath. She knows that she has me against the ropes right now and she's just waiting to land her final blow. This week has just been one of those weeks, probably the first time since Nate left where I feel on the verge of breaking down, and instead of my sweet little girl smiling at me and bringing me back to a happy place she's been the one trying to break me. Last night we had an activity at the church and truth be told I was very excited to have her go down to the nursery and play with the other kids, I'd been carrying her around a bunch of stores all day and I was ready to have a few hours of adult time but of course my usually "happy to play with anyone" child must have sensed that I needed a moment to myself because she screamed and cried and they brought her back upstairs to me where I got to wander up and down the halls rocking her because I had taken a whole car full of people to the activity and couldn't just leave because she was being bad. Then when I got home and sat down to relax and talk to Nate on the computer my computer got a fake virus, which is the short version of how some popup that looked like something real that was saying I had just gotten tons of viruses but was really scam to download this fake virus protection, luckily I got everything fixed and didn't fall for buying fake virus protection but none the less it wasn't a very relaxing evening. Tonight I was looking forward to going over to a gathering for Nate's shop but Reese was acting so bad that I knew I'd just end up sitting in the corner of someone elses's house trying to get Reese to change back into the sweet little girl I know in love instead of getting to have a fun night playing cards with friends. In all honesty, Reese has been very out of sorts this week, she usually is a very happy child so I'm just hoping that whatever has her upset this week will pass so that we can make it peacefully through the homestretch til daddy comes home.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Bar Has Been Set

At the end of August, Sharon and a friend came from Maryland to visit me out here in to all you college friends who haven't come to Germany yet you better start making plans. Reese and I drove over to the train station in Luxembourg to pick them up after they had spent a few days in Paris. Reese settled right in with them and was immediately climbing into their laps, especially after Sharon gave her finger puppets which is still one of her favorite things to play with. While they were here we went to Idar Oberstein and saw the church in the rocks. Apparently the story goes, and I'm sure Bettina will find some inaccuracies in the version I was told since Idar Oberstein is her hometown, that there were two brothers who had castles on the top of the cliff, they got in a fight and the one brother pushed the other brother to his death. As penance for killing his brother he built the church on the spot where his brother died. Well we hiked up the hill to the church and it was really cool, there's an exit in the chapel where you can basically be between the church and the rock and walk between the to out to a little lookout spot. After we saw the church we hiked up the rest of the mountain to see the two castles. All that is left of one of them is some ruins, I imagine that one belonged to the brother that was killed.

[Our group, minus Chris, on the street getting ready to hike up to Felsenkirche (church in the rock)]

(Reese and I inbetween the church and the mountain)

(On our way up to Burg Bosselstein and Schloss Oberstein, the two castles)
While they were here, I also took them to Marksburg Castle, which is said to be the best preserved castle on the Rhine, and Trier because everyone that comes gets to go to Trier. Then they spent the weekend in Belgium at the formula one races and Sharon had to work on base the rest of the time before I took them to the airport on the 2nd. We were sad to see them go but luckily I have Sharon hooked on Europe now so I know I'll be able to coax her in to coming back out again soon.......I can't say the same thing for a certain other college roommate who chose to go on an alaskan cruise instead coming to play in Europe.

Sergeant Crandall to You

Back in May Nate took his test for promotion from Senior Airman to Staff Sergeant, this was his first time taking the test so while he felt prepared he was still worried. Many people have to take the test more than once because things like your time in your current rank in your time in the air force are counted in your score so the longer you've been in the lower you have to score on the test to pass the cut off. Well the test results came out a few weeks ago and Nate scored high enough to earn his promotion. We were very excited to find out that he made it his first time and are excited for him to be promoted to staff sergeant some time around the beginning of the year. So here's to Nate: Reese and I are so proud of you, we knew you'd make it and we can't wait for you to get back home to us so we can celebrate properly!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Apparently I've been riding around on my high horse thinking I'm someone special lately, I didn't realize I had been but that's the only reason I can think of for why I was taken down a peg today. It was a beautiful warm day in Germany today and we had been invited to join some other people from church at the pool in Wittlich. Reese and I were happily playing in the kiddie pool with some other people when a lady informed me that there was a bee on me. I didn't freak out I just kind of wiggled my body to get it to fly away. Unfortunately one shake was not enough because she told me it was still on me, I shook again, this time with a little more spirit and what do you know the (insert expletive here) stung me! The last time I was stung by a bee I was probably five so I don't remember the pain whatsoever but let me tell you, IT HURT! However, despite the pain that was blazing through my skin where the little jerk had stung me I had a sick sense of satisfaction in knowing that there he lay in the pool and soon he would be dead. What kind of moronic creature chooses to commit suicide by stinging me instead of just flying on his merry way back to his friends and family. It's not like I was infringing on his territory and he felt the need to teach me a lesson, though I am glad that he took his suicidal tendencies out on me instead of Reese, that would've been a nightmare for sure. Right after I got stung I was a little gun shy of the other bees, he'd dropped me down a peg and I knew my place, but now that I've thought more about it let the bees come I'll be standing tall they'll be worm food.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Busy Beavers

Reese and I have been keeping very busy since we got back to Germany, we've really gotten into our routine here at home and while we of course miss Nate it's nice not to have that feeling of sitting around and waiting for him to return. I promised myself when he left that I wouldn't sit by the phone or spend all my time worrying about when he was coming home and I've kept that promise. I have to admit that my friends here in Germany have made it a lot easier to keep busy, we're on the go constantly and when Reese and I are home we've been working on a few projects around the house that I wanted to get done before Nate gets home. I figured since I was sitting here on the couch on a Sunday night with nothing to do I'd go ahead and update everyone on what we've been doing since the Tour.

On our way home from France after the Tour we stopped in Reims and saw the cathedral there. It's built in the same fashion as Notre Dame which basically means it's an amazing cathedral, and the best part was that we must have went at the perfect time because there was hardly anyone else in there. It also happens to have a statue of St.Jean Baptiste de LaSalle who was the founder of my high school whom we prayed to daily so I gave his statue "the nod" when I walked past.

In the weeks after that we went to Heidelberg and toured the castle and wandered around the town. There was actually three women in our group, two of us had young children and the third was pregnant, and oddity of oddity we all got hit on by an odd old Turkish dude who proceeded to wander around town with us despite our informing him that we were all married. Luckily he was actually funny not really creepy stalkerish so it just makes a great story to tell.

We've been to the Daun wildlife park a few times which is so freaking awesome that you can't imagine it. This place could not exist in the states because people are to sue happy, but basically you go in a giant monkey cage and you get to just walk down this path and look at monkeys, the monkeys are literally right next to you. My friends kid actually had a monkey come up to him and swipe his little baby food right out of his hand, she hadn't thought about him having food when we went in so she totally admitted it was her fault that the monkey got so close but in the states I'm sure it would've been an ordeal. The wildlife park also has an amazing playground that Reese loved, so much cool playground equipment that I've never even seen before. There were huge trampolines and weird swinging teeter toter things, it was crazy fun, my friend Robyn and I were probably having as much fun as the kids.

Last weekend we went to Bad Munstereifel, which is just a random town near us, and wandered around inside the city walls and then we proceeded to go hiking in the woods around the town. I think the highlight of the hike was the weird fire colored slugs that we saw along the path, that and Reese constantly needing to give high fives to people which makes her leaning weight just a little awkward to carry in the backpack.

Finally, I think our last exciting trip was to Koblenz this past week. We've been to Koblenz a zillion times but usually just to go to Ikea, this time we went to the fortress that overlooks the Rhine and then we went and spent 4 hours at Ikea. The fortress was actually kind of a bust because they were restoring parts of it so all the inside stuff was closed off, but Ikea was fun so the trip wasn't a complete burn.

Now Reese and I are getting ready to have my college roommate Sharon come stay with us in a little over a week and we're trying to squeeze a trip to Prague in between when she comes and when Nate gets home. Oh and I should also mention that Reese finally started full on walking a few weeks ago. Walking is now her main method of getting around and she's very good at it. Yesterday I was on the phone with my parents and she was following me around with the other phone pressed between her ear and her shoulder just like Mommy holds the phone, what a cutie.