Friday, December 23, 2011



Here is Michaela with her yellow playdoh star that she made when she was three years old.  Little Playdoh Star is too old and brittle to go on the tree anymore, but every year we pull him out and take his picture.  :)

Maybe to a normal person our tree looks tacky, but I think it's awesome.  :)  Every branch has several ornaments on it and his lights are colorful and blinky.  It's a giant, fat tree ...and it's filled with "stuff".  :)  I think trees with "themes" or trees that match are blah and boring.  Of course, if you have a boring, themed tree that matches your curtains and couches ...and it makes you happy, then I'm happy for you and your tree.  :)

Christmas Trees turn into members of your family.  You become instantly biased and love your tree no matter how funky it looks.  :)

That said, the day after Christmas I start looking forward to the moment when I can toss my tree off the balcony and vacuum up all the pine needles! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Michaela + Math = Dubai

In February, Michaela is going to Dubai!!  

She is going to Dubai because she is smarter than all of us put together. :)  

My little 13 year old daughter will be going with two other middle school kids from the school to participate in a Hungarian Math Competition called KOMAL ...and it's insane. I can't even begin to figure out the answers ...I get half way through the questions and I'm completely lost.  

She has been studying with "her math team" once a week during lunch, and Happy helps her at home when necessary. She is thoroughly annoyed with me every time she asks me a question, because, although sometimes the question looks familiar, I am never quite sure on exactly what to do. Good thing Happy is smart.  

I have cut and pasted some of the questions that her math coach gave her to practice on. Let me know if you figure out any of the answers!!

KÖMAL Questions:  
If 73 hens lay 73 dozen eggs in 73 days and 37 hens eat 37 kg of wheat in 37 days, then how many kg of wheat are needed to produce a dozen eggs?  

If the last digits of the products 1.2, 2.3, 3.4, ..., n(n+1) are added, the result is 2010. How many products are used?  

Solve the following equations, where x and y denote positive prime numbers. a) xy(x+y)=2010, b) xy(x+y)=2009.  

The sum of six consecutive integers is multiplied by the sum of the next six integers. Prove that the product obtained in this way will always leave the same remainder when divided by 36.

First Grade Baking Day!

Scotty on Christmas Cookie Baking Day.  :)
Andrea was beyond excited to get to hang out with Scotty's class.

Scotty and one of his best friends.  They are the same age, but his friend is the son of the Heavyweight Boxing Campion of Germany... or something like that, he is as tall as me.   :)  For the record, Scotty still says his best friend is Clay, who moved back home to America.  :(  ...but I love the loyalty.

She never did make a cookie...  she just kept adding flour.  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Geburtstag pictures

 Happy's Birthday is almost over here are some more pictures.  :)

Lego from his mUmmy.  :)  ...just like every year.  Scotty loves it!  :)

One of Happy's favorite ice creams is an Ice Cream Sandwich ...but of course you can't get them here in Germany ...and you can't import them.  So we had to make our own ...AND if you are going to make your ice cream sandwich, you might as well make it a big one.  :)

Glücklich Geburtstag Glücklich

Today is Happy's birthday. It's the day I go through his Christmas presents and decide which ones I can pawn off as Birthday gifts. :)

I think next year we will have a "half birthday" for him because, like everybody else with December birthdays, he kinda gets ripped off a little. :)

The highlight of his birthday was a super bright flashlight which I'm sure will be very useful at somepoint in life... Not quite sure for what though. :)  Is it obvious that he bought the flashlight for himself ...and it was too expensive so it turned into a birthday present.  However, I'm pretty sure that his Birthday Flashlight will burn the retinas of one of our children at some point as well.  It's that bright.

So if you are wondering what to get the guy who has everything... You get him a special flashlight that can light up a room in the middle of the day. :)

Off to go hide the dangerous flashlight so the kids can't find it.

Happy Birthday Happy, we love you!!!


I decided that my first post in over three weeks should be about the fact I make my own croutons. :)

Sierra took a pretty picture of them so I figured I should share.

What this really means is that I have finally downloaded all the pictures off the camera so I can start to write more. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Real Thanksgiving. :)

Here is the real Thanksgiving blurb ...and here are some of the crazy village children. :)

There were four families who all got together for Thanksgiving this year and that made for a lot of people ...most of whom were kids. Ages: 13, 11, 7, 6, 6, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, .5 :)

My girls are the oldest and the two of them are at the point where they are stuck between the adult table and the kid table. Maybe we should make a teenager table? Look at what a loving table it would be.

Here is Pooz with Krista. They see each other every single day and they hang out all the time... so often that they act like sisters most of the time. :) I'm glad Poozie has friends... Three year olds don't often have friends, like real friends... but my little Andrea is already building her village.

Michaela also has her own little village going on... She is headed to Norway the day after Christmas for a week of skiing with her best friend's family who moved from Hamburg to Norway last year.

...and hey Grandma, check out my pie!!! It's my best one yet. I nearly forgot to put the evaporated milk in this time, which I've finally learned is called Kondensed Milk here, but at least this time I remembered the eggs!!!

AND. My pie has that little line in the middle. It's where I stabbed it with the knife to see if it was done. To me a pumpkin pie needs to have this line in the middle because I'm pretty sure every pie my mom ever made had a line in the middle from being poked with a knife. ...and so this pie ...with it's line in the middle, is how a real pie should look. A pie without this line in the middle looks weird. :) j

Monday, November 28, 2011


This was our fourth Thanksgiving away from "home".

...and this thanksgiving more than any other thanksgiving I am extremely thankful for my friends and family.

I'll leave it at that, but there is no way I could have survived the past month without my family and friends. It really does take a village ...and my village totally kicks butt. :)

...and if you don't have a village, and I mean like a loyal village, not a pretend group of "in-the-moment-followers"... but if you don't have that group of people to help you along and guard you like a German Shepard would, you are going to be eaten by some crazed rabid wolf somewhere through life...

...and rightfully so because IF you somehow manage to go through life and NOT have a loyal and trustworthy village to back you up, you probably SHOULD just be eaten because you are most likely too snakey and two-faced to have picked up a village along the way. Hmmm.... :)

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

HA! :)

How's that for English Homework? :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

ISH Wins!

Here is Sierra, #4, serving the final winning points of a volleyball game here in Hamburg. She served the last four points! First one to 25 wins! :)

She is much, much better than last year. Last year she had trouble getting it over the net very often, but she kept practicing and practicing and she is awesome this year! I love it!! I'm very proud of her... even if their tournament in Holland didn't go so well this weekend. :)

I can't wait for her to play High School Volleyball!

Halloween 2012!

Plants vs' Zombies. Papa knows exactly what Scotty is for Halloween. :)

Hippie Chick. Sehr cute.

Goth Chick. Sehr hasslich

Andrea chick. Andrea is just like Scotty was at the sweet age of three. She refused to put on a costume of any kind and when I forced the adorable pink puppy suit on her the screaming made my ears cry ...not worth it! She did wear a tutu for some of her party though and that made me happy enough.

At least she would wear her "bat hat" for the preschool play. :)

Spider cupcakes for Scotty's class. This is what they looked like before they all landed on the floor of my car. I carried a tray of spider parts up to Scotty's classroom and tried to rebuild the spiders. Whatever. The kids liked them anyways.

Here is our little pile of candy that our four children collected together. :) We got marzipan balls, lots of pennies, a wooden toy, a few chips, an orange and an apple... nothing we really cared to eat. :)

I can't wait for real trick-or-treating, but thankfully my kids don't know/remember the difference... at least the two little ones don't. As far as Scotty and Andrea were concerned this was a giant pile of candy and they were perfectly happy about it I tried to be happy about it too. :)

We tried trick-or-treating this year again and it worked out fine. Last year we went to a row of apartments which is well known for housing all the International Families; this year we tried something new and went to a neigherboorhood that we heard also did trick-or-treating... :)

True. This other neighborhood did do trick-or-treating, but it was clearly a German neighborhood. There were other groups of kids running through the streets and it felt very "halloweeny" and that made me happy, but those little kids all had a cute German song to sing when the door opened. All we had was Scotty with a flower pot on his head yelling "trick-or-treat" at them as they opened the door. Sorry, no song.

Most of the time the Germans would just stand there and wait for our song. Nearly every opened door ended in a stare down... they'd stare at us waiting for a song, we'd stare at them waiting for candy. In the end we usually got candy, but even Scotty knew it was a bit awkward. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WWII Leftovers

I will try really hard to catch up with life...

Let's go all the way back to when an old WWII bomb was discovered 600M from Andrea's preschool... October 27th.

I was on my way to pick up Andrea and a friend's daughter from school. On the way I met Policeman #1 who told me the road was closed... I thought it was weird because it was a small back road, but I just figured I'd go around. I kept driving and, about the same time that I came across Policeman #2, who also told me to turn around, my phone rang. It was the Preschool Teacher saying not to worry and that they were in the basement.


Seems that when Andrea's little preschool class was outside at the park a policeman came up to them and frantically yelled "something something something RUN AND HIDE in your basement"... Way to not invoke panic Mr. Police Officer.

Anyways, the preschool teacher, who is the person I'd most want Andrea to be with in a bomb situation, ran the kids back to the school and took them into the basement/toy room. :) I'm sure there are worse places to be stuck in during a bomb scare. :)

Neither the teacher, nor I, had any idea how serious it was, so I simply decided to go around and come in on the other side of the school. Then I met Policeman #3. I told #3 that I needed to get my kids who were hiding in the basement of their preschool. He said "No." He told me there was no way to get to my kids by using that road.

See, here's the deal. There was some digging/construction going on and they found a "not yet exploded" bomb from WWII. A British bomb, so thank you England... The immediate circle, ~500M, around the bomb was evacuated house by house and nobody was allowed to enter under any circumstances. However, around this immediate, inner circle, there was an "outer circle" that nobody was allowed to enter either, but the "outer circle" had not been evacuated as thoroughly as the "inner circle" and #3 said there was a chance I could talk my way in.

According to the policemen had been showing me, Andrea's school was in the "outer circle", just a few houses outside of the "inner circle". She could in theory be reached, but not on the road I was currently on because that particular road let straight into the inner circle. Policeman # 3 said I needed to go around the "inner circle" to the other side and come in from the back. Making sense so far??

Okay, so I start driving and it's pure chaos on the already ridiculous roads. This is when I began to get scared because other people were acting scared. I've learned that's how panic works... you see other people freak out and then you freak out and so on and so on... Strange, but it happened to me too... I didn't freak out, but I did become very, very focused on getting to my Poozie as quickly as possible.

The road turned into a video game. Do what you want and just don't hit anything or you lose your turn. Nobody was following rules, people were driving down sidewalks, honking from everywhere, bicyclists randomly riding places, the not-so-calming police plowing through traffic with their sirens and lights on... Eventually I got to the other side and met Policeman #4.

#4, who was a much older man, said, "No, you can't go this way." I explained that I had to pick up my two three year-olds who were were in the basement of their school." He told me to go back a road and try there. I stared at him and just said okay. As I was getting into my car I turned back and gave him my "mommy eyes" and said, "Please". He paused for a minute and said okay. I love you Policeman #4.

WHOO HOOO I was in. HA!

But not really, but at least it got easier because there was considerably less traffic inside the guarded "outer circle". :) But there were two more policemen I had to talk to and convince to let me through their individual barricade. Six policemen and one hour later, I made it to Andrea.

I had spent an hour trying so hard to get to little Poozie and her friend. I grabbed them both, gave them hugs, tossed them in the car, and then became rather focused on getting us all away from the dumb bomb.

We eventually made it home. My friend had picked up my other kids from school and we met at my house safe and sound, but a little traumatized from the entire event. :)

There you have it. Poozie's first WWII Bomb Experience ...mine too. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Michaela is 13!!!

Here she is in all her teenage glory. :)

I have a teenager, a real live teenager...

UGH. :) She does make me feel old, but on the other hand she makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I raised this kid for 13 years! Someone should throw ME a party. :)


Anyways, here they are... a group of teenagers. Not as scary as I once though, but that's just because my teenager picks nice teenagers to hang out with. I still believe that teenagers as a whole are pretty scary.

The girls hung out, watched movies, giggled, ate insane amounts of candy and chips, played all the games I used to play at sleep over parties, drank insane amounts of soda, bounced on the trampoline, giggled some more, and eventually went to sleep. Then they woke up and ate insane amounts of pancakes.

Teenagers are hungry, giggly people.

Here's the "cake". Michaela had a sushi party, so she got... sushi cupcakes ...which were handmade until 2am. :)


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