Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas pictures turnned out bad

Hi, We are having a really nice Christmas. Last night I took Philip, Thomas, and Nicole to the service at 4pm. Juergen stayed home with Jessica who does not like crowds of people. Our church youth group had been working on the non-traditional Christmas play for about two months. They did a super job!!! My camera does not take good pictures in low light, so none of the pictures turned out good! We got home about 6:30pm, and opened gifts. Again, bad pictures (sorry). The boys were very excited about their long awaited Lego! Nicole got some great art stuff, and science stuff, and Jessica got a new book, and DVD. I got Juergen a new computer game, and he got me a new Jane Austen movie (Persuasion). I loved it, and had to watch it 4 times!!! I can not get over the amazing costumes and sets! Beautiful! We played until 2 in the morning, and slept until 10am. This morning we had a great brunch with fresh orange juice, and eggs Benedict! Juergen has 2 weeks off, so we are taking a slow restful holiday! Here are some very bad pictures for you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2006 in a short review

Last year Juergen and Jessica went to his parents house in North Germany on Christmas day, and I took Philip Thomas and Nicole to the West Coast of the USA for 3 weeks. We visited my family in Oregon, and then went to Southern California (Disneyland and San Diego). It was Thoma's first trip to the USA. He loved it! The people there are just so friendly! I remember taking him to a McDonald's indoor playground in Corvallis, Oregon. He played for hours with the other kids. One child even gave him his happy meal toy before he left. Thomas never gets that kind of acceptance in Germany! Another highlight of our trip was riding roller coasters with my adrenaline junkie sons! We rode California screaming at the California Adventure Disney park. I was afraid it might have been too much for them...but I was wrong! If we only had more time!!!

In March we saw Sarah for the very first time. I had been praying to adopt from China. You could say I was obsessed with the idea! Poor Juergen (trying to maintain some sanity) kept saying no! I kept looking at Special needs lists. One day in March (March 3rd) after looking at hundreds of photos of waiting kids, I saw her. I was pretty sure she was the one! I asked Juergen, and he said maybe...let me pray about it! One thing that was amazing about Sarah is she was holding a rubber ball in her hands. The ball had butterflies on it. Before I had made my trip to Southern California, my best friend Cindy T. had her small group prayed for us. They are pretty prophetic. One person had a word of knowledge. She said, I see her catching butterflies. When Cindy told me this in December 2005, I knew it had something to do with our adoption. Now Sarah was in this photo with a ball covered in butterflies. Long story short, we applied to adopt Sarah (who is by the way the only child Juergen ever even considered praying about). We received pre approval to adopt her on April 28Th. Our paper chase was long and bumpy...but all the important documents finally went to China at the end of October. We now wait for China to give us travel approval. We hope to travel with our whole family in early 2007.

The world cup came to Germany, and that kept us busy for awhile. Nicole and Thomas both got their pictures shown on CNN International news. CNN also showed Nicole's picture on their world cup fan club commercial.

Philip began the first grade in the fall of 2005, but he could not seem to learn the symbols (ABC's and 123's). He could say the symbols, but could not tell you what they were by looking at them. We were not sure what we should do. After praying, I felt I should pull him out of school, and teach him at home. Normally this is not allowed in Germany. But they let me do it. I home schooled Philip, and he learned his symbols. He had to go back to first grade this fall. He is doing OK, but does have some learning problems. We really need wisdom about how to approach his education.

I took Jessica and Philip both to acupuncture from May until September. It did them both a great deal of good. We thought our insurance company was paying for this treatment. There was a misunderstanding. We received a pretty big bill for the treatment. Anyway, we are debating weather we want to continue to pay for it (maybe just for Jessica). I know allot of Christians do not approve of alliterative medicine like acupuncture. But we don't get involved in the religious practises of some of those who practice this. The needles stimulates endorphins that cause healing. It does help...and there is scientific evidence it works. It made Jessica calmer, and helped Philip to think clearly.

I think the high light of our year was our family trip to Thailand. Thomas was having some cultural identity problems. He would begin to cry if you even suggested we eat Thai food. I think talking about adopting Sarah brought up some fears in him that his days with us were numbered. Anyway, we felt it was wise to deal with these fears sooner, not later. We went to Thailand for two weeks. At first it was hard for him. The 2ND day in Bangkok we took him to his orphanage. That was bitter sweet. It shook Thomas up to be there. The Nannies don't get many visits from adopted kids. They were just thrilled to see both Philip and Thomas. Philips nanny recognized him from out a window and came running to him. Philip (adopted at 2 1/2) also recognized his nanny and gave her a big hug! It took Thomas a few days to recover from the visit. Afterwards he seemed too grow in amazing ways. He discovered Thailand is not the orphanage...and he does not need to love the orphanage to love Thailand! He finally began to be proud to be Thai! We think this is so important. He can never escape from the Thai face that will look back at him in the mirror each day! We all love Thailand! Jessica did amazingly well there! The swimming and sunshine were so good for her! Nicole began writing a children's book series while on vacation. We were all so relaxed, we forgot the days...and actually missed our return flight!

Juergen continues to help lead the Sunday night leadership team at our Church. This is our next generation service. I won't bore you with the details, but the service continues to grow. It takes a great deal of his "free time" and is a great challenge to him. I know he has a deep desire to see the service grow in depth of the knowledge of God, as well as real love and fellowship! It is a great service...but has a desire to see more!

I love writing my blogs. I write 4 blogs now. I hardly post on two, so it's mostly just my adoption blog and this family blog. I started blogging just for the writing practice. I really do want to write a book about autism...but just don't seem to find the time. Maybe when Sarah finally goes to kindergarten, I will sit down and really write. For now the blogs give me a little practice each day!

I won't bore you with all the other details of the year, guitar lessons, Lego,Chinese lessons,Computer games, Sunday school class, work, gardening, Friends, family, our crazy dog, the piles of books we have read,and piles of cloths I have washed and the sermons we have heard on God TV, and We have grown and we are all healthy (apart from the flu), we love each other, and we are very grateful for the blessings of this year!

Any way...Merry Christmas to you, and happy new year!

"May you live all the days of your life"
Jonathan Swift

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

a early gift from my girls

Jessica had it first, and then Nicole, now they have given it to me! I have the flu!!! Oh, I am so sick! Please pray for me! This is not fun!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas movies

Juergen goes to his company Christmas party tonight.The company has gotten very big, and wives, husbands, and others are not invited! That's OK with me. I never did like those things anyway! I think I'll pull out some Christmas movies. Juergen hates those kind of "Chick flicks". What should it be, "It's a wonderful life" or "Holiday Inn" I just love the line from It's a wonderful life, "To my big brother George, the richest man in town"!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I love this story


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our
Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has
peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the
true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the
overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a
tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts
given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual
shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something
special , just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our
son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at
the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-
league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings
seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp
contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and
sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to
see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of
light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury
the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And, as
each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his
tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't
acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I
wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of
potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of
them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having
coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to
a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling
headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city
church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the
note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift
from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year
and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the
tradition -- one year sending a group of mentally handicapped
youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of
elderly brothers whose home
had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the
last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring
their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad
lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents,
but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled
around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree
up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and
in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children,
unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for
their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even
further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-
eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May
we all remember Christ, who is the reason f or the season, and the
true Christmas spirit this year and always. God Bless!

To do list

There are only 13 more days before Christmas. I have been in denial about the whole season. The weather in Germany has been more like October weather. It makes me think I've got a few more months to pull myself together! Any mom will tell you Christmas is what mom makes it! Dad only shops for Mom (and that always happens on December 24Th at around 11 am). Mom shops for everyone else! She is in charge of the Christmas crafts, cookies, special dinners, class parties, gifts for teachers and bus drivers, outings to the city Christmas markets, etc... and trust me this Mom is really behind schedule. I am just now making a list, and starting to realize I've got less then two weeks to make some magic! On Christmas day Juergen will be building Lego with the boys, Nicole will be playing with her new gifts (she reads this blog, so no more details), Jessica will be watching a new DVD, and I will be curling up on the big chair in the living room(maybe with a cup of hot coffee, hot coffee hardly ever happens) listening to the joy of my big work will be done! OK,back to that LIST!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Juergen dancing to Jingle Bells as an Elf .

You need to watch this. It is Juergen dancing to Jingle Bells dressed as an Elf.

And HERE is Thomas as an elf!

And I also have Philip HERE,
I know this is getting old,but the kids want to see themselves as an elf!

Nicole elf!

Amy elf!

Jessica elf!

our dog Mickey elf.

and last but not least...Sarah elf sings Jingle Bells in Chinese!

PS.I made the kids skip school so they could learn the dance routine! What a talented family!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Where do we hide from this darkness?

Hi, I am a little shaken up today. Let me explain...
About two weeks ago a young German teenager walked into a high school and shot I believe 6 others, then shot and killed himself. This was something that happens in the USA, not here! Two days ago another young German teenager intended to do the some thing in my state.I guess he posted it on the Internet, that he would go into an unnamed high school in Baden-W├╝rttemberg,and kill people. There where police everywhere (at the schools of my children). The young man ended up killing himself in a forest. I felt really sad for his family. I am grateful he didn't manage to hurt or kill anyone else, but sad they did not manage to find him before he shot himself! Well, here is why I am shaken up, Philip came home early today (two hours early). I questioned him why. At first he said the teachers had sent them home, they had a meeting. At lunch time he told us police where all over his school. They were arresting a young teenage boy, with a black shirt.They thought he had a gun! We thought we were safe from this madness! These things only happen in America, the crazy Wild West that allows people to carry and buy guns! You can not get guns in Germany! But they have opened the boarders up to the east, and the guns are pouring in. Angry young boys feed their minds on violent video games, and plan spectacular suicides killing all sorts of Innocent children! So where do we hide from this darkness? It has come very close to home! I am not sure what we must do?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why I love my Mom

I read this today on a yahoo group, but it sounds pretty real...
Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired, and it's getting
late. I think I'll go to bed"

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's
lunches. Rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for
supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar
container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for
brewing the next morning.

She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the
washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button

She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back on the
charger and put the telephone book into the drawer.

She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk
and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and
pulled a text book out from hiding under the chair.

She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope
and wrote a quick note for the grocery store. She put both near her purse.

Mom then washed her face with 3 in 1 cleanser, put on her Night solution &
age fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and filed her nails.

Dad called out, "I thought you were going to bed."

"I'm on my way," she said.

She put some water into the dog's dish and put the cat outside, then made
sure the doors were locked and the patio light was on.

She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and
TV's, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a brief
conversation with the one up still doing homework.

In her own room, she set the alarm; laid out clothing for the next
day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her 6 most
important things to do list. She said her prayers, and visualized the
accomplishment of her goals.

About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in
particular. "I'm going to bed."

And he did...without another thought.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This was made in 1961- my birth year!

Working hard today

We are not getting any rest today. We have a very long to do list we are trying to work through before we go to China. I wish I knew when we would be able to travel to China to pick up Sarah. The not knowing is getting me down. I think all this hard work is good for me. I don't have to think...just work. Tonight I will fall into bed and sleep hard because I'm so tired. Please be praying with us to get our travel approval soon. We would love so much to travel during the kids Christmas vacation. I realize this is getting more and more unlikely...but with God all things are possible!