Ruby – 1 Year!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009 – Ruby’s First Birthday.  What a fantastic day for a first birthday, don’t you think?  I can’t believe it has been a year already – time really flies.  I still remember our experiences at the hospital in Munich….I would describe them as extreme.  Extremely bad on one end (mostly related with having a baby in a foreign country) and yet extremely good too.  Ruby is delicious.  We could all just eat her right up.  I posted a picture or two from each month – man its been fun.  Besides being born in Germany, Ruby has been to Italy, Austria, Switerland, France & of course the United States of Blessed America!  (someone is excited about coming home ).  We have put a lot of miles on the stroller – with her in it.  Jen has been heard to describe Ruby as the perfect child – she eats well, she sleeps well, she can really fill a diaper, she loves her mom (of course, don’t we all), loves to play with Myles and Lucy (they call her the destroyer), and she gets real excited when her dad walks in the door after work.  She loves to play with her toys – espcially the LaMaz ones that play music.  She loves to read books and be read to – her favorites are "That’s Not My Dragon" and That’s Not My Puppy".  She really fills all our lives with pure Joy.  Happy Birthday Ruby!  We love you.

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Top of the World

I’m on the Top of the World; lookin’ down on creation and the only explanation I can find…is the love that I’ve found ever since you been around; your love’s put me at the top of the world. (sing along everyone) Who doesn’t love the Carpenters???

We visited the highest peak in Germany – the Zugspitze. 3000 meters above sea level (can someone please convert that to feet…9 thousand something). If you can’t tell from the pictures – it was VERY COLD. But seriously, what a view. According to Jen – one of the best trips we’ve taken since living here. It was really great.  We also had a great time in the pool at the hotel.  Lucy perfected a 360 spin jumping into the pool and we found out that Ruby was definitely not in the swimming mood this trip. 

Now, back to the music…

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Roma Fantastico

Hello!!!! We love Italy.  I would seriously move there.  We went to Rome between Christmas and New Years – what a great trip.  Uncle Dal and Cousin Aimee came along.  It was a bit of tight fit with 7 passengers in a 7 passenger (small) VW Touran (, but we had a great ride.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel on the hill in Rome: the Rome Cavalieri – we had a fantastic view out the window – check out the photos.  We packed a lot in – and loved every minute.   Quick Summary: the Coliseum: Big; Our tour guide at the Vatican: Awesome; the Sistine Chapel: AMAZING & packed; St. Peter’s Basillica: Enormous!; Swimming in the pool with swimming caps on: weird; The Roman Forum: thank you for the guidebook; the fountains & steps: loved them; Aimee & Dallas – tons of fun; Myles, Lucy & Ruby: Troopers!!!; Zimt (cinnamon) ice cream at Trevi Fountain: THE BEST EVER (ask Jen, she got like 5 scoops).  Driving home in a snowstorm – piece of cake with you know who at the wheel 🙂
Also – we stopped in Florence on our way home and we all bought leather bags.  Here we come 2009: the year of the leather bag!!!  HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Frohe Weinachten

Merry Christmas Germany 2008!  We had a GREAT time!  Like last year, the only major snowfall (so far) happened while I was out of town.  Thank Goodness Dallas was here to help shovel the snow!  I’m not sure why, but our kids LOVE to shovel the snow….it has something to do with watching Tweety Bird shovel snow on an episode of Looney Toons.  We hit as many Christmas Markets as we could – it is tough given the freezing temperatures; but we bundled up as best as we could and made the rounds.  I was a lot warmer this year with my underarmour tights on (I bought them this summer in Utah for this specific purpose).  I am not ashamed to wear tights.  We went to Jen’s favorite Italian restaurant in Munich for her birthday.  Great food and a great preview of our trip to Rome for New Years (more to come on that later).  We were so happy to have Dallas with us for Christmas.  He stopped in Munich on his way home from India and stayed with us for Christmas and New Years.  Lucy looked great in her Christmas dress, but unfortunatley due to sickness, she and Jen were the only ones that made it to church that week.  We have all taken turns being sick over the past few weeks and I think we are all through with it now (just some lingering coughs).  Christmas Eve and Day were great – we had wonderful food (thanks Jen); fantastic presents to open; and thoroughly enjoyed our last Christmas in Germany. 
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Fun with Bruce & Jan

So we had a great time with my mom and dad in Munich (in their first trip outside the US since the Acapulco getaway in 1980).  "Hey Acapulco, that’s where you’ll find sunny blue waters where the sand is warm and friendly".  Wish there was a song like that for Munich – but I guess this doesn’t make sense if you don’t know that Neil Diamond song.  I don’t even know the title….is it Acapulco?  Maybe.  Anyway, back to Germany.  We had quite the whirlwind tour of Bavaria while they were here.  We drove about 1600 kilometers in 9 days and hit as many of the hotspots as we could.  Highlights:

  1. Coke Light.  Before she arrived, Mom was concerned about the availability of Diet Coke.  Apparently it tastes like regular Coke so Mom and Dad were not impressed.  In fact, Mom switched to Sprite Zero by the end of her stay.
  2. Nightly Games.  Its so much fun to have more than 2 adults here to play games.  The favorite of this trip was Category 5. 
  3. Rotenburg.  We found some great pottery and spent lots of Euros at the Kathe Wolfahrt Christmas store; had great Doners for lunch; and loved the walk along the top of the old fortress wall.
  4. Salzburg.  Always a highlight to walk in the footsteps of Julie Andrews – I love the Sound of Music – so its fun to be there and see the sights (again).  Also the Salzburg Fortress was cool too.
  5. Castles & Palaces.  Yes, there are many!  Neuschwanstein, Linderhoff, Munich City Residenz, and the Nymphenburg.  How would it have been to really live in places like that???
  6. Stake Conference.  The kids were sick, so only my Dad and I made it to stake conf.  It was all in German so my dad and I wore the headphones and listened to the talks as they were translated.  Three cheers for the translation team who had a very difficult job of listening & translating immediately.  It is an interesting experience being in the minority and not catching all that is said…especially the jokes.
  7. Italian Pizza.  Given the proximity to Italy, Munich has a lot of great Italian restaurants. We stopped for pizza one afternoon in Oberammergau and had a nice lunch in the shadows of a tall mountain.  As soon as the sun went behind the mountain it got VERY cold.  OK kids…time to go.  (we were eating outside)
  8. Heros.  We started watching Heros Season 1 while Mom & Dad were here.  (We didn’t sign up for German TV, so our TV consumption is limited to DVDs we bring home from the US).  It is a great TV show… just like all the others we used to watch (Alias, Lost, 24, etc.).  We’re hooked now, but will have to wait until we can buy more seasons (or move back to the mother land)

I could go on, but I think I won’t.  It was a great time!  We love you Mom and Dad.

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Back to School (and Germany)

Hi there – sorry for the delay in posting…its been a few weeks I know :).  So we made it back to Germany OK and the kids started school.  How exciting!!! Myles started first grade and Lucy started pre-reception.  Both are in school all day (from 9 to 4) so Jen is now freed up to do a little more creative work in her lair upstairs.  Lucy was so excited to get her first, "First Day of School" photo taken; and she immediately got on the good side of her teacher when she showed up the first day with a nice little gift created by her talented mother.  I think it was a pot of paperclip flowers….Jen is so happy that both kids have female teachers.  She didn’t make too many gifts for Mr. Nickel last year (Myles’ kindergarten teacher) and thank goodness because he is still single and I would hate to have him think Jen was flirting with him or something.  So anyway, now that we have female teachers – sky’s the limit for teacher gifts!  I am thrilled that Jen will have more excuses to use the new addition to her tool kit: The Big Shot.  If you don’t know what this is, please call her so I can save some space here.  I am also happy to report that I now have Myles trained to mow the lawn!  Its a little easier over here – with the very small backyard and the electric lawnmower (seriously, watch out for the cord!!!!) but he is now learning about saturday jobs and earning a little money too!  He makes 2 Euros when he mows the lawn.  He saved up and bought a Star Wars Lego spaceship that he is very proud about.  My Grandpa taught me to mow the lawn when I was about 7 so I am just trying to pass along the tradition.  Thanks Grandpa!  We are back in the groove with our weekend getaways to various parts of the country and look forward to reporting out next week.
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Wow – I could really load up this site with the hundreds of photos we took this summer while in the blessed land of America; however, I will spare you.  We definitely used up every second of our time between our stops in Tampa, Atlanta, Salt Lake and Seattle.  Highlights include the Allen Family trip to Lake Powell (totally fantastic), family Lagoon Day, Jen’s family reunion at Stan’s house (with the new pool), Gossners-yes, to get curd, The Dark Knight, Costco, every Mexican restaurant we could find, Target, watching TV in English, spending US Dollars (a lot), back to school shopping, birthday shopping, Christmas shopping, (you get the idea here, right), dutch oven at Tara’s, Allsop’s baby blessing, shopping with Jeanelle, baseball at Perry’s, family pictures, and loading/unloading 12 suitcased filled to the max!  Can’t wait to do it all again next year!  Now we send Myles and Lucy off to school tomorrow (what will Jen do with only one at home?) and I am planning our next European excursion -but first we’re going to relax and enjoy sleeping in our own beds for a few weeks. TTFN
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