Saturday, August 31, 2013


Having traveled from Arizona to Germany in under 48 hours, we were all pretty tired when we finally got there.  And that's an understatement.  The kids were beyond tired.  They fluctuated somewhere between slap-happy and dead over the 5ish hours that we kept them awake when we got to Trudi's.  Nate and his sponsor took off to run a couple of errands (get a rental car, go to the commissary, get a cell phone).  I stayed back and started unpacking and tried to hold everyone together.  By the time Nate got home a few hours later, Sawyer was literally standing in the middle of the room just crying that he was tired.  Over and over again.  He didn't move.  He just stood there.  And cried.  And cried.  Our goal was to keep everyone up until 5 pm.  We made a quick dinner, and it was the easiest, earliest bedtime they have ever had :).  That night, Sawyer and Violet slept for 16 hours!  The next night, they did ok but woke up for about an hour in the middle of the night and acted like complete lunatics.  And by the third night, I think we were pretty good.  
Violet was falling asleep in the swing at Trudi's on the first day.
While I was waiting for Nathan to get back, Wendi brought us some treats from the bakery. Sawyer fell asleep in the chair while eating his pastry.
This was the room where they slept at Trudi's.  It was actually quite a large apartment.  We even had extra beds.

Most of our time at Trudi's was spent house-hunting.  Every single day.  Luckily, we had good internet while we were there and could do our research online.  But it was not fun, especially for the kids.  Lots of driving and lots of being told to calm down and be quiet while looking at houses.  Every now and then we tried to do something fun to break up the monotony.  The first week we went and explored Kaiserslautern (the nearest big city).  I went shopping at H&M while Nate walked around with the kids.  They came back with a cute little pot of flowers for me...  

Our first weekend there, Wendi told us about a Stake Activity in Bern-Kastel (a village by the river Mosel).  It was their annual Wine Festival.  Basically like a fair by the river.  Lots of food vendors and some kiddie rides.  The night ended with a fireworks show at the castle on the was a reenactment of a battle that happened there long ago.  We had a ton of fun, got to meet some people in the Stake, and I was just excited to be a part of some of the German traditions that I knew and loved.  The weather was perfect.  It was just such a refreshing, cultural thing to do and helped us to feel less overwhelmed and more excited about being here.

These two literally just played with a bunch of random kids by the water the entire time.  They had a blast!
A panoramic of the river.  We all put blankets down and just talked and ate food.  Super fun.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Journey

Our flight from Phoenix to Baltimore was on Sunday morning, August 25th.  Sawyer, Violet, and Nathan sat in a row together.  I sat behind them with Isla.  It was actually a super relaxing flight for me because Isla slept most of the time and I was wedged in the corner and couldn't get out.  I even slept!!  Don't know the last time I've done that on a plane.  But Sawyer and Violet did pretty good, according to Nathan.  They were excited about all of the toys that we had gotten them especially for the plane.  We got into Baltimore in the early afternoon, and then somehow managed to get all of our luggage (I think it was 8 bags!) and our 3 kids on a bus to the hotel. We decided to break it up into two days, which I think ended up being a really good thing.  Other than having to shuttle everything back and forth from the hotel.  But it was just nice to relax that night and get a good night's rest before heading overseas.  We even got to swim a little.

The next day we headed back to the airport and spent some time in the USO lounge before taking off.  We tried to make things as relaxed and stress-free as possible.  We weren't always successful, but we made a good effort ;).  The kids did pretty good. They were happy to watch movies, play games, and they even went to sleep (the good thing about red-eye flights).  Unfortunately by the time Nathan and I decided to sleep, they had started taking turns waking up.  So we did not get much sleep. 

Sawyer LOVES maps.  He was very interested in looking at all of the pamphlets in front of his seat.

This was my view from across the isle.  Even Isla got her own seat on this Military Charter flight, so we were livin large. :) 

We flew directly into Ramstein Air Base, where we were greeted by an old family friend that we knew when we were stationed here when I was 5.  Her husband is a DOD school counselor so they have lived in Germany for 30 years!  She brought a friend from the ward, Wendi, who had a mini van, and she has become one of our best friends here.  They took us to our Temporary Living Apartment.  It was a German run apartment, fully furnished, called Trudi's.  It was about noon, Germany time, when we finally settled in there.  We were all SUPER tired.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our last 10 days...

 We left Vegas on Thursday, August 15th and headed down to Gilbert to spend our last 10 days with everyone down there.  I felt like such a crazy woman that whole time.  Excited, emotional, stressed, nervous, sad.  We tried to fit in as much fun as we possibly could, as well as tie up all the loose ends before leaving the country.  Nate sold a car, flew back and forth from Vegas in 24 hrs to officially 'sign out', and ran all over the place trying to set things up for when we got to Germany.  I did some shopping, packed, and repacked, and packed some more.  I was so happy to get to spend time with all of my family.  Syd & Mitch were able to come out for a few days, which was such a nice bonus.  We decided that since we were actually all together, we would try and take family pictures.  Initially we were going to pay someone to take some really nice ones for us.  As the day got closer we realized that with 6 kids under 5 and David we were probably paying for an extremely stressful experience with not a lot of room for success.  So we opted to do the tripod thing.  All we really needed was one shot, right?  Well it ended up being a good thing we didn't pay anyone because the day before Kristie's baby, Caleb, was admitted to the hospital for a belly button infection and ended up being in the hospital for the rest of the time that Sydney and Mitch were there.  So poor little Caleb is missing from the picture.  Not to mention, Sawyer fell asleep on the way there and had a COMPLETE meltdown during the entire experience.  We were all sweating to death.  Mia decided to dig for some treasure.  And David was more interested in his seahorse than anything else.  But I guess there's one thing that's for sure...we will never forget this day or the circumstances surrounding this picture.  And it's real life.  I love my family so much.  I'm so glad I have this picture to look back on and that I had this time to spend with them before we left.

Another amazing perk of my parents moving to Gilbert, is that they are so close to Brooke (and now Andrea too!)!  We made sure to squeeze in some Garrett time before leaving--we sure love those Garretts! 

David got a new toy.  Good ol' Sully.
Shave Ice!  Always a favorite!
Omi & Opi had some awesome legos for Sawyer to build while we were there.  He put together this boat with Opi.  I'm pretty sure Sawyer did a large part of it on his own!  He's getting pretty good at those things.

Dinner with Mark & Brooke at Joe's Farm Grill.  Super fun night!
And dinner with the Simpsons. Oh how we love these two!

Monday, August 19, 2013

California Weekend

We've been debating what to do about the car situation in Germany for a while now.  We finally decided a few weeks ago to trade cars with my parents.  We love our Suburban but it didn't seem practical to take it to Germany.  Too big and bad gas mileage.  So a Honda Odyssey seemed to be a better solution.  The first weekend in August we drove out to San Diego to drop the van off to be shipped.  My parents and David met us out the for a little fun at Sea World.  It was a short but fun weekend and we all had a good time.  We also got to stay in a super cool hotel called the Historic Mission Inn, in Riverside.  We discovered it by chance online where they were having some awesome deals on rooms.  We stayed there both nights and had so much fun exploring it.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a weekend getaway.  Such a cute place.  Felt like we were in Europe.

I was laughing so hard at Violet.  The first few times around she was cracking up...towards the end of the ride her face completely changed.  I don't know if you can see it very well in the picture but it was hilarious.

The kids both wanted to sleep on this window bench.  We ended up moving them a couple hours later  because they were both hanging half way off.
Sawyer kept saying "Queen Isla" in the car one day.  Later I went to get her out of her carseat and found this.  Silly boy.  Poor Isla.

A little Vacay in Gilbert, AZ

Since we were still waiting for official dates for our move, I decided to take a couple weeks in the middle of July to go and stay with my parents in their new house in Gilbert.  Nathan had a bunch of oral exams to study for anyways, so he was fine with having a quiet house for a bit.  So I gathered up a lot of courage, and went on a road trip with my THREE kids all by myself.  And I'm happy to say that it went pretty well!  While we were there, we mostly just enjoyed being in a big new house and having Omi, Opi, and Uncle David around!  Of course we saw a good amount of Kristie and her family as well.  The kids had a blast, as did I.  I had a super good time helping my parents decorate their new place.  Although it's not the easiest thing to take 3 kids under 4 and David shopping, the three of us teamed up and were able to find some pretty good stuff.

The kids loved this old pinball machine in the playroom

I LOVE this picture!  Sawyer joined uncle David in my parents' huge shower.  They both thought it was hilarious!

Lots of time playing Legos....Sawyer's favorite
Mom, Dad and I had a little ritual every night after the kids went to bed.  Ruby's Chocolate Shakes and the show Castle

Isla Bea had a brand new swing to hang out in!
Discovery Park feeding the ducks
The new Gilbert Temple being built 2 miles from their house!  So exciting!
2 months old!  Mom hung a little hummingbird mobile over the table and Isla loved watching them!
Remember Polly Pockets?!  The kids loved them.  Violet kept calling them her 'Dolly Pockets'

Violet wanted to spread her own Nutella sandwich--messy!
Of course we made sure to spend some time with our awesome Garrett cousins!  They only live 1 mile from my parents' house!
The kids spent lots of time playing dress up...


Time to say goodbye.  Wasn't too bad because we knew we'd be back in a month!