Sunday, December 19, 2010

The end is near!

 Well, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm so grateful this week is finally over.  Here are a few pictures of the happenings this week.  I had my very first piano/vocal recital at my home with my six students.  I haven't wanted to take more students on because of time constraints, but I love the six I have.  They are all so wonderful.  The girl in the green dress is actually a voice student of mine.  They all did a wonderful job on their pieces and I was proud of each of them.
 On Friday, Hans' unit had their company party.  I was in charge, so needless to say, I'm so relieved it's over. It was a lot of work.  We started planning at the end of October.  For a while, that was all I could think about.  Too much stress!  I guess the stress paid off though because it was a great party.  Everything went really well and we had a great attendance.  I arranged for the Col. and a few others to sing a few Christmas songs.
 Today church was canceled due to snow.  I've lived here for six years and this is the first time this has happened.  It's been snowing all day.  Hans and I decided to bundle up the kids and take them out.  We all had a wonderful time.  I felt like a little kid again.  I haven't played in the snow for quite some time.  The kids loved it!

Hans and the kids busy making a snowman.  Eva said they named it "frosty".  How original huh?  :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

 At our annual Ward Christmas party, Santa Claus came to visit.  My kids are past the stage where Santa scares them.  They are right at that fun age where Santa is amazing!  They love the whole idea of Santa and the elves at the North Pole.  
This is Eva telling Santa her LONG list of things she'd like for Christmas.  Gabe is easy...he just wants Batman.

Well, I've tried to really embrace the Christmas season this year and I have to say, I have fallen short.  I still don't like this holiday.  Of course I love the idea of Christmas (Christ's birth and celebration of his life) but I really struggle with the stress that accompanies the holiday.  People tell me they don't do tons of gifts or they really try and scale back to really "focus" on the "true" meaning of Christmas.  That's a bunch of crap!  What they mean is, they will say that and do the opposite.  There's too much pressure involved in getting people the perfect gift.  Not to mention trying to get a gift for someone that says all they want is cash. ;)  It makes you feel selfish for wanting a gift when they say not to get them one.  I guess I look at it this way:  I don't usually go out and buy myself things that I really want throughout the year, so I look at Christmas as being the time to get things that you want, not need.  I'm not talking about going overboard, but it should be okay to get a few things you want.  Does this make any sense or does it just sound like I'm selfish?

Not only is there pressure in gift giving, but this time of year is insanely busy.  I can't really focus on the meaning of Christmas when I'm too busy to hear myself think.  This should be a time of giving and service, and I'm too busy I can't really give the service that I would like to.  When does the stress end?  I haven't even had time to start shopping for the kids and hubby.  At least we mailed off all the gifts to the states in November.  If I would have waited until December, it still wouldn't be done.  Okay, that's enough ranting and raving on my part.  I just want December to be over!!!


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Just call me Jail Bird

Well, mom officially has two children who have been arrested.  Lucky me huh?  What a horrible, horrible month I've had.  Yesterday the military police (MP's) were doing random searches on cars.  They pulled me over and checked my tires, car, and license to make sure everything was in compliance.  Well, my European drivers license was expired.  I knew it was but someone told me it was still good up until a year after the expiration date.  I don't know why I was stupid enough to believe that person, but I trusted them that they knew what they were talking about since they are in the military and have some authority of sorts.  Anyway, the officer asked if I knew it was expired and I said yes, but it should still be good up until a year after the date.  It's been expired since March (ok, I know I should have just gotten it renewed, I was busy and just forgot to get it done and thought I still had time).  He then proceeded to make me wait, with my son in the car, while he called the station.
On a side note, a couple months ago I was involved in a little fender bender.  When the MP arrived at the accident, I told him my license was expired and I asked if it was still good for up to a year after the date of expiration.  He told me yes, and that I was still fine.  I didn't get in trouble at all for it.  Anyway, back to yesterday.  The MP came back to the car and asked me to step out of my vehicle.  He then proceeded to tell me I was under arrest and since I had my son with me, he wasn't going to put me in handcuffs.  He did however, say they called another cop car to come that had a car seat in the back.  We had to wait for it to show up so Gabe and I could be arrested and taken to the station.

I tried to explain to him my situation...that I really did think it was still good for a year after and that an MP a few months ago told me it was still good, he threatened me that if I didn't calm down, he was going to call child protective services and they would come get my son, then they would handcuff me and put me in the back of the car.  Mind you, I wasn't yelling at him at all, I was just simply expressing my frustration and why I thought this was wrong.  What he should have done was given me to the end of the day to get my temporary license and come into the station as soon as I got it.  Instead, the cop car showed up, the MP took all my possessions, including my purse, phone, and everything out of my pockets, then took me into the station.  At this point, I'm so fuming, he's lucky I didn't punch him in the face.

After waiting for a few hours, I had to write a report and he asked me some questions.  Then, he wouldn't let me just walk out on my own, he called my husband's company commander to come personally escort me out.  When she showed up, they counseled her to take me straight over and get my temporary license, which of course we did.  At this point, I was so extremely mortified I didn't know what to say.  I'm the unit's Family Readiness Group Leader, so this is looking really bad for me.  She had to take me to get my license, and since it took so long at the station, she then had to drive me to go pick up my daughter from German kindergarten, then take me to go get my car.  Keep in mind that my husband was getting on a plane to head to Kosovo at the exact same time I was getting arrested.  However, even if he was around, they still wouldn't have released me to his custody, they still would have called the commander.

Anyway, then this morning, I was driving up to the commissary on base, following all the road rules, and this same exact MP started following me.  He didn't turn on his lights, he just followed me clear until I stopped and got out of my car.  He then came over and said he wanted to talk to me.  I told him I wasn't breaking any laws and I didn't know why he was following me.  He said he wanted to see my new license.  This made me really irate.  It took every ounce of self control to not yell at this man.  I did say I thought this was way out of line and extremely insulting.  As if being arrested yesterday wasn't enough, you then question whether I actually did it.  You put me in possession of my husband's commander and instructed her to take me directly over to get one.  This was just enough.  I asked him where I could file a complaint.  He told me I could fill out a comment card, and I told him I had already done that yesterday, but apparently that wasn't enough.  I showed him my license and walked off.  After I was done shopping at the commissary, I came back to my car and he had given me a ticket.  The ticket was because apparently my license plates were switched.  The front one needed to be on the back and the back needed to be on the front.  I didn't even know there was a difference between the two.  Now he was harassing me.  He was just picking on me.  If he was going to give me a ticket for that, he should have done so yesterday when he was checking out my car.

I went directly to the station and asked to speak to his commander.  Of course, he wasn't in but they said they  would get me someone to speak to.  They sent out a guy who was only a few ranks above the MP, who was also an MP.  These guys stick together.  This guy had no authority.  I expressed my concerned to him and of course he completely stuck up for this guy.  Now, to this particular man's defense, the MP was following the book and I understand that.  I also understand I was in the wrong for not getting it renewed right on time.  But it just seemed a little over the top to me.  I have a valid stateside driver's license and under the circumstances of being misinformed by an MP a few months ago, he should have given me till the end of the day to get it done.  I asked this man to please check to see who the officer was that attended my accident because I was almost 100% positive it was this same exact MP and the guy said he was sure it wasn't but he would go and check for me.  When he came back, sure enough, it was the same exact MP that came to my accident who told me my license was still good up to a year after the expiration date and who didn't give me a ticket for it, as was the same guy who arrested me yesterday!!  And you know what's going to happen?...NOTHING.  MP's stick up for other MP's.  If I would have been properly informed by him at the time of my accident, this wouldn't have happened.

If I was a drinker, I would be drinking something very stiff right now.  Normally I could just shake this off, but this was just the straw that broke the camel's back for me.  This has been the most stressful month of my life.  Can I just stay in my house and never leave?


Friday, December 03, 2010

He's 30!

 Well, he made it to 30 and he looks just like he did when he was! :)  Hans loves German cakes so this is one I got from a local store.  It's a cherry and chocolate cake.  It was heaven!

 On another note, this week was an Out and About Discovery Group outing (it's a group my friend Christy and I started back at the beginning of summer).  We decided to brave the cold and head to Mainz for their annual christmas market.  It was freezing, but fun.  There was a ton of food and lots of fun shopping to be had by all.  Here's the gang that decided to come.

Just one of the vendors at the market.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our quick trip to the states

 Waiting for Dave and Tana to arrive in Baltimore.  This is the American Visionary Art museum and one of the coolest places ever.  This is the place Dave has his new, sleek photo booth set up.  They will be having it there for 11 months.  I was glad I was able to see it.  It's pretty awesome.  We were able to finally meet Tana after being married to Dave for what? 2 years right?  That's pathetic, but at least we could see her, even though she was pretty much in labor when we saw her.  She was such a good sport and I have to say...Dave is a lucky man.  She's pretty awesome.  We hope we can see them again soon.  We ended up not being able to see the new baby and I was pretty bumbed about that.  Hopefully it won't take two more years.

 Inner Harbor of Baltimore.  Very clean and lots of fun!

 On Friday we were able to visit Oma and Opa Ehrmann (Lokodi).  We had a little birthday celebration there.  Oma made this yummy cake as well as a TON of german cookies from scratch.  She's such an amazing cook.  Chelsey and Jake came along for the ride and it was nice to have them there.
 Hans and I left on Saturday morning (hence the pajamas.  Sorry chelsey, it's the only picture I got).  It was way too short a visit to her house.  We had a good time just hanging out and talking.  Sarah was such a great big cousin to Eva and Gabriel.  We left the kids with them for a few days while Hans and I drove my friend's car out to Missouri for them.  We only had a little bit of time before Hans had to go to work, otherwise we would have tried to drive up to Iowa and visit my brother Jason and his wife Michelle.  We just couldn't squeeze everything in that we wanted to.  We'll have to try it again maybe in 2012 and make sure to get to Janson's house.  Hans still hasn't met Michelle or their kids. 

 We drove as far as Dayton on Saturday and stayed the night at Adrianne's house.  We had never met their kids yet...I know, it's quite sad really.  I have to say, it was worth the wait though.  I have totally fallin head over heals for all those cute little boys.  They have such sweet personalities.  They each contribute something different and special.  I forgot to get a picture with Adrianne.  :(  We had a short, but fun visit with them as well.  We headed out eary Sunday morning to finish the drive to Missouri. 
Along the way, we couldn't help but laugh when we saw this on I-70.  Welcome back to America right?...  We arrived to Kansas City on Sunday night.  We spent Monday with Brandee and her family then flew back to Baltimore on Tuesday morning.  We had Hans' parents bring the kids from Chelsey's to Baltimore for us.  We had to catch a Space Available military flight back to Germany that night.  It was a fast and furious trip, but we're glad we did it.  I had a good time visiting with part of our family and only wish it could have been longer and that we could have seen everyone.  It made me miss them so much more.  It's nice to spend time with them as grown adults with kids of their own.  They're my friends, not just my sisters and brothers.  Thank you to everyone who helped us along the way.  Mike's mom Carol Richard came and picked us up at the airport at 1am when we arrived and let us stay at her home.  Then she drove us around to get my friend's car at the port the next day.  She was such a HUGE help to us and I really appriciate her kindess.  She truely is a sweet spirit and I would love to spend more time getting to know her.  Mike, you are a very lucky guy to have such a kind and loving mother.  My kids call her Grandma Carol.  :)  Thank you to everyone for taking time out of they days to visit us, or allow us to crash at your home with such short notice.  Thank you to Chelsey and her family for watching our two crazy kids, even when Gabe got sick and Chelsey had to take him to the urgent care for us.  That meant alot!  We love you all and hope we can do it again soon.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Too busy to think

 Well, it's been a while since I've posted.  I seem to be too busy these days.  Between the kids, soccer, piano lessons, the out and about group my friend and I started, the choir I'm in and Hans' work stuff, life is pretty crazy (not to mention girls night outs. :) ).   A few days before we headed off to the states, Christy and I headed up another ladies Out and About Discovery group.  We went to my favorite restaurant, which is a greek one downtown Wiesbaden.  We had a great turn out.  I think there were 14 of us.  I love being able to show ladies new places to discover in Germany.  I know I've said this before, but I really feel very blessed to have such an amazing group of ladies in my ward.  I have really loved getting to know each of them. 

 This is the waiter I get every time I'm there.  He always remember everyone that comes in.  He love the Americans and speaks great english.  This has been a family run business for a very long time.  He's one of the grandsons of this family.  Notice all the individual checks for each lady in the group? 
 A couple nights after my O&A group, Hans and I had a work function to go to.  This was the enormous cheese burger we got to share.  Suprisingly, it tasted pretty good too.  We were eating the leftovers for days.
 The next night, we went down to Kaiserslautern to celebrate Eva's birthday with the Terhunes.  They used to live up here, but about a month ago, Chris was reassigned an hour south of us.  We have been very sad not to have them so close.  We went swimming at a really cool german pool then went and had dinner and afterward, had cake and ice cream. 

 On the actual day of Eva's birthday (October 6th), we were heading to the states for a quick trip.  So, we had her open her birthday gifts on our bed in the morning before getting ready to go.  Gabe was really upset because he didn't have a present to open.  I guess Eva must have felt sorry for him because she eventually let him open one after crying for a bit.

Happy 4th Birthday Eva.  We love you and are very blessed to have you as part of our family. 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

We LOVE Disney Cruise Line.

We're back!  We had a wonderful time on our cruise.  I've come away really loving Disney.  It's going to be hard to cruise with anyone else after that experience.  We all had such a great time.  The weather was on our side too.  It didn't rain once!  Now I've got to get to the gym and work off the 10 extra pounds I just put on from all the amazing food on board.  Check out our pictures from the trip.  Hope you enjoy them.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our trip to Garmisch thru pictures. Enjoy.

 We hope you enjoy some of the photos we took on our long weekend in Garmisch.  The army was sponsoring a marriage retreat for 102nd Batallion this weekend and we had the opportunity of attending.  It was a great time to spend with the family.  I've been down there 8 times now and I never get tired of it.  It makes me appriciate God's amazing ablility to create such a specatular world.  This place takes your breath away with it's beauty.
 This two pictures were taken from the balcony of our hotel room.

 We rented a row boat for an hour on Lake Eibsee.  The kids loved it!

 It got a little cold at the end.

 This is the lobby of the hotel.

 Last winter, Hans and I came down by ourselves and skied here.  This is one of the lifts we took.  It looks completely different in the summer time. :)
 Just one of the beautiful gardens in the area.  The people here really take care of their land.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Cutest Kid Contest

Hey everyone.  I just entered Eva and Gabe in a cutest kid contest.  I could use all your votes.  If I win, I get a free photo session with this photographer and a free print.  What you have to do is go onto this link:!/pages/Wiesbaden-Germany/Holly-Nichole-Photography/112247258819248 and "like" it.  Then you find the picture of Eva and the picture of Gabe and just type in the word "vote" in the comments.  You can also just look on my profile on Facebook and vote for them.  Thank you all!


Sunday, August 08, 2010

A tearful goodbye

 Why do I have to be left behind?  I would much rather be the one leaving.  Being part of the military has is ups and downs.  One of the ups is you tend to make friends faster and feel more connected to the friends you have.  At least in my case.  I have made some really amazing friends here in Germany.  We all seem to cling on to eachother and support and love one another so much.  Two of my very best friends are moving and leaving me behind.  Lisa is to my left and Brandee is to my right in this picture.  Brandee is leaving tomorrow morning.  Her husband is getting out of the military and they will be settling down in Missouri.  I have become extremely close to her.  She has helped me through a great deal in the four or five years we've been friends.  She is one of those people who would do anything for you.  She is a GREAT listener.  She doesn't try and "fix" your issues, she listens and lets you just vent.  She never judges me and seems to love me unconditionally.  She and our other friend Alisha Johnson are always there for me.  We used to be a lot like the three amigos.  I waited every morning for a phone call from Alisha to tell me what we were doing for the day.  Alisha moved away last year but I still try and talk to her on the phone at least once a week.  It should be more though.  When some friends move away, you know you will eventually lose contact with them just because of distance and time.  However, there are just some people you know that just won't happen with.  Alisha, Brandee and Lisa are some of those people.  They are truely friends for life.  I thank my Heavenly Father for putting these women in my life and at such a time in my life when I really needed them most.  I know he had a hand in bringing us together.  I love them all with all my heart.  I will miss you Brandee, but I know this isn't goodbye.  This is just a "see you later". 
 I love her family too.  She's got some of the most amazing children in the whole world.  She and Logan are wonderful parents and have done a great job raising five very polite, beautiful children.  I love you kids!

Lisa's family is moving next month.  Thankfully they are only moving about an hour drive south of here.  They will be in K-town for another year, then headed back to the states.  Lisa, that drive will be made many times in the next year!  I'll be needing my Lisa fix on a regular basis.  You are the salt of the earth and the most amazing person.  You truely are an inspiration to me.  Thank you for your generous heart and warm smile.  I love you so much!  My kids are going to miss you guys so much too.  I will be bribing my kids with visits to see you if they are good. :)

Anyone who has friends like these, are truely blessed and I hope you remember not to take them for granted.  Make sure you give them a hug this week and tell them thank you for their friendship and love.  So, this isn't goodbye, this is "see you later".