Sunday, October 5, 2008

Karate Kid

Guess who started karate on Friday? Oh yes, he did! He was practicing Jackie Chan style the entire week. Here is is with Master George. He likes it enough, but it unfortunately, class conflicts with swimming. We are trying to rearrange our swim time so H can continue. Hi-ya!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Apparently, the cows graze high up in the Alps in the summer, then they are brought down to lower pastures in the fall. We heard about this from a couple that we met at a party. It sounded fun, so we gave it a try. It was great! We drove down to Bavaria Friday night. Our plan was to drive about an hour and 45 minutes into Austria. We were about an hour into the ride when we rounded a corner and started up a mountain, only to hear some clanging and traffic. (Mind you, we are on a 2 lane, fairly narrow road, right on the side of the mountain with only a barrier between us and down below.) So, we round this bend, and holy cow (literally!!), we see them coming down the mountain! I had to quickly do a 11 point turn and we raced down the mountain to the nearest village, found a parking spot and parked ourselves on the side of the street. There they came...the cows...down the mountain, dressed in their finery! They had what looked like Christmas garland and flowers on their head and cowbells bigger than Henry's head, around their necks! Then we walked into town center to find a fest. Lederhosen and dirndls galore! There was dancing and food and beer. The staples of any good German fest.

The next day, we headed to the Garmisch stadium, where the 1934 Olympics were held. Despite the numerous times we have been to this area, this was the first time we saw the stadium. We even managed to see a few skiers training on the jump. Pretty cool. Here the guys and I are posing as skiers. Well, H is a snowboarder, he says.

It was a great trip, except for Owen getting sick. He was a little under the weather (I'll save you the gory details) in the morning, but turned into a wildman by mid afternoon. It was a gloriously warm, sunny weekend, and we had a wonderful time. Nothing like a vacation to soothe the soul!

Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Puffy Eyes and Disappointment

How much tears can one person shed? Yesterday Mark found out he did not get the job in NY. There weren't even any interviews. This is a crying shame, since Mark has diversified so much in the past 10 years in preparation for this job. The person we are guessing that got this job would not have even qualified for it, had it not been for Rumsfeld's big grand renovation! It would have been wonderful to be so close to family and friends again. I tell myself and hear from others, it means there is something better. How? Where? When? I can't imagine anything more perfect. So, I cried like no tomorrow yesterday. And a bit today. By tomorrow maybe all the tears will be gone. Maybe. Mark is handling this so much better than I and it's his job! I prayed long and hard for the hiring official to see the good in Mark in so many ways. To see his knowledge and ability, his dedication and personality. So, we are now going to truly enjoy our time here. We have already bounced around vacation ideas. We think we have a plan of where we will go next. I said to Mark on the way home from dinner that I am at peace with that plan. Remember I was waiting for that lightening bolt to hit me a couple of months ago? Maybe this is it. To jump start me into really enjoying life...not waiting for the next place or step. To live for the moment. I know God has a grand plan for us. We'll be ok. Just a few more tears and maybe it will be ok. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Longer Our Baby

I must admit, I cried like no tomorrow the night before Henry's first day of Kindergarten. I cried for so many reasons. I thought I got it all out before that Tuesday. That morning, I put on my super waterproof mascara and took our guy to school with me. He was so ready. I learned this summer that I can not home school (many of you know my thoughts on that subject) or be a Reading Recovery teacher. We tried as we could to learn to read, but I guess my job is to have fun with my boys. He couldn't take me seriously, I guess. And you know what....I am so happy for that! They want to just have fun with me! Now if only I can be as fun as Dad. I have some work to do. Anyway....
So I have the waterproof mascara on, Dad meets us at school, and we send him in. He is in such wonderful hands. I knew he was; we requested this particular teacher. But, I still cried. Henry, he was a champ and marched right in and had a great day. He has had a few bumps in the road, but I am amazed at what he is learning. Out of no where he sometimes sings the school song or picks up a book to tell us the parts. His favorite part of the day, playing on the playground.

20 Years Young

Or at least as old as we act!

It's been a whirlwind summer. I will start with my 20 year reunion. The best part was spending time with the Tarts and laughing like no tomorrow. No matter how much time goes by, or how far away we are, some things never change. I grew up with all of the girls in the photos. Some from as far back as elementary school. I love these girls like sisters and I am thankful to have had a wonderful week catching up with them. These pictures were at Kris's gorgeous home during our happy hour.


A few weekends ago we headed to the Black Forest of Germany. It was such a gorgeous trip. The weather was sunny and warm and it was such a relaxing and easy getaway. Here are some pictures of Mark and H captaining our rented boat on Lake Titisee (yes, the real name), O showing off his newest vocabulary word (cuckoo clock), and the type of houses and restaurants we saw in the area.

July with Slider and Barb

I would show the fantastic pictures of our version of the Griswold vacation, but our computer crashed and they were on it. Fortunately, Mark backed them up. I have to dig them out and show you the gorgeous place Mark found (out my parents window was a huge field of sunflowers!).

We went to Lake Como (we didn't see George Clooney though!), Pisa, Florence and CinqueTerre among other hot spots. The weather was perfect and the boys did really super on the long drive. It was such a scenic trip through Switzerland to get there. We ate wonderful food day after day and night after night. And lots of gelato. Mark and I just love Italy. It was great to get back into the groove and speak Italian. We had a great time and so glad we could share it with my folks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Today Kel left. I am so sad. It was a great trip. Kel is the kind of friend that can finish my sentences and we can pick up after not talking for a while. She is connected at all times to a Blackberry, I have no idea how to even text. She is Super-Mom, while I struggle to do it all even on a part time schedule. She can make any situation laughable, and I laugh. She is my best friend. We went to some sights in Germany, then headed to Paris. We decided to do a tour on a Segway. It was great...but if anyone knows Kelley...motor vehicles of any kind and she do not mix. We were traveling along the Seine and I hear 'uh oh', and look back to find my friend spinning like a top off the side walk and right into the lane of oncoming traffic! Then, in a feeble attempt to gain control of the device, she rams it right into a French woman's bike. If looks could kill! My 'Rain (Wo)Man' was hilarious. (If I heard her try to pronounce Champs Elysees once, I heard it a thousand times. Hence, Rain (Wo)Man. And she got it right on the ride to the airport today!) What great memories!! Only about 6 weeks til the Tarts are together. Watch out WNY!

OK, so the big news was Mark's offer to head up an office in England. We juggled this idea for a loooong time. I even had my principal call the school in the UK to find out about job opportunities. (50/50 chance of getting my old one back, FYI Raptors. The job wasn't where we were. If you want the geography, email me.) We decided not to. There were many factors, but we came to the conclusion that it wasn't the right choice for our family at this time. This offer really did stroke Mark's professional ego though. It's only a matter of time before the right job comes along....and he can do it. I am confident. He rocks!

So, at the end of the week, my folks fly in. How exciting. It's been too long since they last saw the boys.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kelley's Here!

My best friend in the entire world came across the world to visit us. We've had a great time together. Later I will tell you about Segway-ing all around Paris and how Newman managed to fall off hers. I will tell you about how we ate too many crepes and ate great food in an amazing restaurant. I will tell you how we slept til 10:30. I will do all that later because this is Kel's last night here. I will miss her dearly tomorrow night.

Oh, and tomorrow I will tell you that Mark turned down a great job in England. That was our big news. Should we stay or go? Now you know the answer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

School's Out for the Summer!

Come on...sing it with Alice Cooper and me!

This year I was ready. Really ready. In the past, I felt I could have taught longer...bring it on. Not this year. I am glad it's over. It hadn't been a hard year, nor one with exceptionally challenging kids. Overall, a good year. But I am so thankful for today!

Tomorrow begins the start of Tourist Season 2008. My best friend growing up is flying in. I can not wait! Today however, the boys and I must finish a top secret Father's Day project and get it ready for Sunday.

By the way, I am still waiting for lightening to hit me and I will know the answer to our big question. We have a few more days to mull it over. I will let you know what we decide soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How Will I Know?

Our family has a big decision to make. While I know this is not entirely up to us; it is in God's hands. I pray, asking Him to guide us in our decision. How do I know he is guiding me in this decision? Surely, I won't hear an answer whispered in my ear, nor will a lightning bolt hit me as a 'sign'.

Mark is the level headed thinker, I am the shoot from the hip, think with the heart. We can do this. Please pray that we come to the right decision.

And, Wendy, just for you...once I figure out how to do it, an added comments section! :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

He's Hilarious!

Here are some recent pictures of the boys...

Owen is just too funny for his own good. Today, we were rearranging some furniture only to come back into the living room to find Owen with Mr. Potato Head Mickey Mouse glasses on his face, eating noodles and watching the tele. He was totally serious. He put them on himself and kept them on. Funny thing, he was adjusting them too! Mark and I looked at each other and had to laugh.

Now, Henry is a comedian in his own right. Henry has more of the one liners though. And he has the memory of an elephant! He was watching Indiana Jones (yes, I know he's only 5, we selectively let him watch) and he's coming up with all kinds of stuff. "Oh, that's Cairo." "I thought I saw the Eiffel Tower. Was this filmed in France?" What, are you kidding me? When we moved back to the States from the UK, one of the questions an adult asked me was, "That was a long drive, huh?" Yes, I am serious. Henry has more of an understanding of geography than that adult. Let me add a disclaimer, it was in Georgia...middle Georgia. 'Nuff said.

This is the last week of school (Thank you, sweet Jesus!). Mark started a new job, and we are anxiously awaiting our first house guest of the summer. Busy, busy week.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

O's First Day of Kindergarten

Ah, the baby is growing up! Monday was his first day of Kindergarten. I went in with him and stayed for about an hour and a half. He was doing marvelously. The teacher suggested that I leave for about an hour or so to see how he would do (he did super!). He had lunch there, but no nap. Tuesday he went in solo with H. Today we tried a nap. Well, he is sleeping upstairs. Needless to say, he wasn't so interested. Perhaps with a special blanket, he will take a 'schlaft' tomorrow. Small steps. He is growing up. Pictures to come.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Spring Break 2008

3376 nautical miles
994 miles driving
91 tunnels (one way)
13 days
8 countries
3 continents
2 time zones
Whew! What a great trip! (Although at this point, we are back to the grind and are reminissing while looking forward to the next one.) We had a fabulous time cruising the Med. The highlights were Ephesus in Turkey, and the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. There were other places in between, but those were the ones we loved most.

We left out of Savona, Italy and headed toward Greece. We stopped at Athens. Funny thing, last year, I remember thinking, ah, this will be the last time in this city. We saw some sights we hadn't seen the past couple of times, and of course, stopped at our favorites. I love the Plaka, although it's tough to shop with throngs of people and kids in tow. Turkey was mah-velous! Ephesus was awe inspiring....and to think the whole thing isn't excavated. Google it. You won't regret it. I asked Mark... any chance you can get a job here? No such luck. But, crazier things have happened, right? We sailed on to Cypress, which didnt' leave much of an impression on Mark and me. Now, Egypt was quite an experience. We had to take a 3 hour bus ride to get to the pyramids. It looked as though buildings were either going up or derelict. I am not sure which. Either way, nothing seemed complete. It was a looooong drive and we saw palm trees and green. Don't get me wrong, it certainly isn't lush, but I guess I was thinking there would be this expanse of desert and the pyramids would be rising up out of the sand. Ah, no. (You would think I would know better, as Mark and I both take Niagara Falls for granted, being so close.) So, Mark spots them. And way in the distance, past the smoke, sand, smog (or combination of all 3), there they are. We pull up in a line with the other 40 buses and file out. We had such a short time to marvel at them. I thought, how lucky am I to be married to a man that can take his family on this trip? We got the guys on a camel. Henry first, and then Mark was hoisted up (unbeknownst to him!) while carrying Owen. Great pictures. If I ever figure how to post them, you can see them too. I can go on and on about this dirty, polluted, traffic crazed place. Even though it's all those adjectives, I loved it! The Egypt Starbucks mug illuded us though. (We are trying to get mugs from all the places we visit. This is actually quite a popular thing. There were a few other folks on the same mission. No one was lucky in Egypt. I think it's because they can't stop the armed guarded buses except for the itinerary. But, what do I know?) The family finished up in Rome. It is one spectacular place! I am so glad that we took the train in and saw it. We walked so much that day, and saw all of the usual sights. It was great to share them with the boys.

We are starting to think about our next Spring Break already.

Yes, I know it's almost June and this happened months ago. I really need to get back in the blogging spirit!