Thursday, August 22, 2013

After the Jet Lag

After jet lag passed, we were able to have a little fun.  We went down to Lagoon and the kids did things I won't do anymore.  Rob will still do them, but not me.  I did go on one new ride that spun you up and around and over.

I just closed my eyes so that I wouldn't get sick and it ended up being lots of fun!
We also went to Lava- the cold one, not the hot springs one. 

Sam jumped off the high platforms so many times, I think he might have given himself a concussion.  Rob did it once and decided that it really wasn't that fun anymore.  I can't even jump off the low dives anymore, because it forces water up into my brain, even when I hold my nose.  It really is no fun getting older!
We did school shopping and celebrated Joseph's birthday- twice!
My silly boys
 Sam Serenades Joseph

 David and Uncle Karl sing for Joseph

We did sparklers in the back yard and had lots of fun talks with family.


The most important thing we did while at home, though, was having Max baptized! 

He turned 8 in May, but we didn't want to do it in June, because we felt too rushed.  We had planned in July, but that fell through when we had to fly out.  It turned out really nice, though, because this way, Max got to have family around. 

Both Grandma's and Grandpa's were there.

We kept the same program with Joseph and Emma giving prayers, Mom and Sam giving talks and Dad baptizing.

We just added Grandma Thomson and Grandma Keck on the music.  It was a beautiful day!

Going back to Germany was just as bad as going to the states, except worse.  Jet lag is always worse coming this way.  Besides, that, Germany was in the middle of their 2 week summer and it was hot on the 4th floor without air conditioning, we had boxes all over our house and only the weekend to get them undone.  We ended up breaking our rules and let everyone take a nap the first two days.  We just set our alarms and woke everyone up after 2 hours of rest.  It actually didn't prolong the jet lag that much- only by a day.  Even Joseph did better that way!  I think we will adopt that as our new strategy for dealing with jet lag.
Our bags and boxes are now unpacked.  We are getting ready for school.  We are getting involved in our callings (Rob- 2nd counselor YM, Deb 2nd counselor RS, Sam 2nd counselor Teachers quorum, and scribe in scouts).  We are starting the hype of fall and 4 in sports (cross your fingers!- like I want 4 in sports!  I do and I don't.  Lots of work, but I would hate one of them to get cut!)  It's back to the normal grind!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Going Home with Jet Lag

The jet lag going back to the United States wasn't too bad, except for Joseph.   The first night he woke up about 3 am and came into our room.  He said, "this night seems really, really long!"  I said, "that's because it is."  And he said, "but I'm not tired any more."  That is because right after this photo

he went to sleep- in the viewing room!

The viewing was nice.  Afterwards Rob's mom put on a backyard BBQ for everyone that came- the whole extended family!
The next day we had the funeral.
  Rob and all his siblings spoke and gave antidotes from their father's life.

It was great to see all the family there.

This was the very first time I met Matthew's wife Seri.  They have been married for 3 years!  That night Joseph woke up again and he came in to our room and said, "It happened again!"  Surprising- since he fell asleep on the floor of the gym after the funeral.

The next day we buried the ashes.

We actually liked it a lot better.  It was very personal.  We put the ashes in the ground ourselves 

and then put in handfuls of dirt

while we said thank you's and memories.
 Then we visited Monica's grave.

We then had a week and a half to enjoy family before we had to deal with jet lag going home.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

6 Weeks

For the first 6 weeks we stayed in a hotel on base and we knew we were almost home when we saw these:

We also saw a lot of that- rainy weather and cloudy skies.  Some areas were flooded and had to be evacuated.  I was not impressed, but after a couple weeks in a fourth floor apartment without air conditioning, I kind of like the cooler temperatures!
We finally made it to a palace-

Looking toward the palace Duke Eberhart lived in while this one was being built.
Some of the gardens that you had to pay separately to see.  We went the wrong place first and almost paid to get in the gardens instead, but it pigeon German, I figured this out and we got to the right place just in time for the palace tour.  After an hour and a half of learning about Baroque style and what was left and what wasn't, the kids were beyond done!  The gardens would have been lovely!

We also made it to Schloss Solitude

which is the closest one to us. 

This is the long straight road that only the Duke could use.  It went from one palace to the next.  Now we take it to get to church.

This one was part of our German Cultural College.  They took us downtown Stuttgart on the trains and buses and showed us the large hub in Stuttgart. 

Part of the Alte Schloss in the middle of Stuttgart
Then we went to see Schloss Solitude and the Ritter Sport factory store.

Sam turned 14. 

Wrapping paper is over-rated!  We just use the behind the back trick!
One of the things he got was climbing gear.  Sam scrambled up the climbing wall on base multiple times.

Rob belayed for everyone except himself. 

I did that.
The boys were doing pull-ups on the top of the wall.  I was glad just to jump and touch the top of the wall!
When he started back down we almost did a cartoon type, he comes screaming down while I go screaming up thing!  I was able to stop myself, though!
I made it up with a lot of encouragement and a few pulls on the rope by Rob.

Max only made it up this far!  Notice the one shoe look?

Emma also went up most of the way.
4th of July was celebrated on the 3rd because of sequestration.  They would have had to pay workers holiday pay if they celebrated on the 4th, so instead some military bases canceled their celebrations altogether, others like our, changed the day.  It's all craziness!  Our commissaries are closed 4 out of 7 days, so are the mail rooms.  The passport/visa/sofa office is only open 2 days.  The kids get the first 6 or 7 Friday's off, so that the teachers can be furloughed.  Lots of cuts!
For Independence day (3rd of July) we went to Patch and Sam worked at the scout booth selling belgium waffles and fry bread.  They had face painting (not free I learned too late),

pony rides, bouncy houses and lots of food booths.  Rob was too tired, so we didn't stay for the fireworks.  It was nice to sit with all the other LDS people near the scout booth.
Right at 6 weeks in country we got an apartment and scheduled our housing shipments to come on the same day.  They also picked up the loaner furniture and had our inspection on the same day.  It was going to be a crazy day to begin with, but then on Sunday (the day before this crazy day) we got an email saying that Rob's father had died that day.

We had installed our phone and internet already in the new apartment, so we drove there to call and start arranging things.  I was on line while Rob was talking on the phone.  I had some amazing ladies who jumped on line and started helping us out immediately.  One of them got us the numbers to start the Red Cross messages and the leave started.  She also came the next day as Rob was running around getting everything ready for us to fly and helped me with the movers.  The movers yelled at me twice, even though she was helping.  We live on the 4th floor and they didn't get the permit done in time to get an elevator, so they were really tired climbing all those stairs with all that stuff.  A few times they brought stuff up, that had to go downstairs in the basement storage.  Also, they didn't like the way I labeled the rooms.
One lady took my children and let them play in her house the whole day and one lady brought dinner over.  I had multiple offers to help ferry kids around.  I was really impressed with all the help!
Usually, I can get my whole kitchen unpacked and done by the time the packers are ready to leave.  I got almost nothing done even with all the extra help.  
We left country 2 days later.