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.