Sunday, December 28, 2008

Be back soon!

We are visiting Juergen's dad. I wish you all a safe and blessed New Year!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I am taking the tree down today

Erma Bombeck - Another Christmas season bites the dust
(Editor's Note: The following column is one of 195 included in ''Forever, Erma'' (Andrews and McMeel), a recently published collection of the best-loved writing from America's favorite humorist, Erma Bombeck. This column originally appeared Jan. 1, 1987.)
You say you've had enough people around to last you a lifetime?
You say if you don't get some time to yourself you may start braiding your hair and humming?
You'd like to clear everyone out of the house and be able to have some quiet time alone?
Read my lips and slowly repeat after me: ''I am going to take the Christmas tree down.'' You will only have to say it once and feet will scurry, doors will slam, car motors will turn over. In 30 seconds you'll feel like the last person on Earth.
No one loves a Christmas tree on Jan. 1. The wonderful soft branches that the family couldn't wait to get inside to smell have turned into rapiers that jab you. The wonderful blinking lights that Daddy arranged by branch and color have knotted themselves hopelessly around crumbling brownery and have to be severed with a bread knife. The stockings that hung by the chimney with care are hanging out of sofa cushions, and they smell like clam dip.
And the angel that everyone fought to put on top of the tree can only be removed with an extension ladder that is in the garage, and no one can remember how to fit it through the door.
Next to the presidency, detrimming a tree has to be the loneliest job in the world. It has fallen to women for centuries and is considered a skill only they can do, like replacing the roll on the toilet tissue spindle, painting baseboards, holding a wet washcloth for a child who is throwing up or taking out a splinter with a needle.
How to undecorate the tree is my business. There's no one around to give advice, so I do it my way. I take the end of a rope of gold tinsel and give it a jerk. The tree spins around, and I clean the whole thing off in eight seconds. I eat the candy canes as I go along. Better me than the mice. I never bother with sheets to catch all the dry needles. I just vacuum them up until the sweeper smokes. Then I empty it and start all over again. The balls near the bottom I catch in a box, and the ones near the top I shake off and sometimes catch in midair.
If this creates wear and tear on the ornaments, tough. Next time around, my husband can marry a tall girl who plays basketball.
Any gift left under the tree legally reverts to the person who untrims the tree. This includes money left on branches and magazine subscriptions.
In nearly 38 years, you'd think someone would be curious enough to ask what happened to that large tree that was in the living room last week. No one ever does. Somewhere between Arizona's first down on Michigan's 15-yard line, Christmas '86 passed into history.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Truce

Christmas Truce
On Christmas Day in 1914, German and British troops held a temporary ceasefire known as the 'Christmas Truce'. Both sides sang carols, exchanged Christmas greetings and gifts, and there are even stories of soccer matches taking place. In the above photo, German troops decorate a tree in their trench.

once a year

Once a year Juergen and the kids make me breakfast. Today is that day. They are downstairs cutting oranges for fresh juice and toasting English muffins for the eggs Benedict. Juergen and I ate this same breakfast 19 years ago on Christmas; we were married only 2 months. We have had the same breakfast every year since. It is our tradition. A few years ago I stopped making the breakfast, and now Juergen does it with the kids. I like that part of change! Thomas calls the hollandaise sauce Holiday sauce (cute). My mouth is watering….I love tradition!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas went to the dog

a few photos from last night

The pictures didn't turn out so good. My camera doesn't work well in low light. We had fun and the kids all got what they had hoped for. Juergen was kept very busy making sure everyone had batteries and that the software was instilled. I cooked dinner and cleaned up afterwards. I know it doesn't sound fun for mom and dad. But it was really nice to just listen to the kids so happy playing and laughing. I imagine one day Juergen and I will be alone at Christmas. That will be nice in its way, but I'm sure I would miss these days. As Erma Bombeck once wrote...
"There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child." Today I am very tired. I finally got Juergen's cold. I am going to crash. I hope your day is wonderful! I look forward to calling my family in America. I wish we were together.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a few thoughts about Christmas

Juergen took the kids to Church while I get the tree ready with the gifts. We open our gifts on Christmas Eve. We do not tell the kids the gifts came from Santa or the Christ child, they come from us. We give gifts because the wise men gave gifts to bless Jesus. Tonight when they get home we will all light a candle and say what we want to give Jesus this year. This will be hard for Philip, Thomas and Sarah but it's a tradition we want to start tonight. I've got time, and prayers to give him. I also want to read the whole Bible in 2009. I also want to teach my kids more about Jesus. Maybe next year this will not be so hard for them. Then they get the gifts and later we will eat.

A funny story I want to write down before I forget...
Juergen went to the store today to buy us this special hair dryer and a juicer. The hairdryer helps you fight lice. It dries out the bugs and the eggs. Sarah gave us all lice this past week. We washed everything, and used a special shampoo. We just want to be extra careful we get all the bugs. The juicer is for our fresh orange juice, this is a Christmas tradition. Anyway all the people in the store looked at Juergen like, "poor man, last minute shopping, and look what pitiful gifts he is getting". He said they all gave him the funniest looks!

God bless you this Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

for Nicole

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I shopped and now I am ready to drop! I got all (God willing) the food a family of 7 need for a week of celebration. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE STORE for awhile. I am DONE, FINISHED, RETIRED, on VACTION!!! What will we eat? Well, I have had Mexican food every Christmas Eve of my life. My Dad's family is from Mexico. I don't have tamales but we do have the stuff to make corn tortillas. We also have Sauer Braten with red cabbage and mashed potatoes on Christmas day. German's celebrate two days of Christmas. On the morning of the 26Th we will eat (God willing) eggs benedict with Hollandaise sauce, and fresh squeezed orange juice. What special things do you eat for Christmas?


I had the kids help me with the cleaning today. Philip cleaned the bathrooms, Thomas helped mop, Nicole vacuumed, and Sarah helped dust the stairs. It's amazing how good they work two days before Christmas. I've never seen such a happy cooperative work crew!!! They know Mom buys the gifts!!! I finally get some respect!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

How rich are you really?

HERE is the Global Rich list. According to this list, we are in the top 1% richest people on the planet. The truth is, you probably are in this group too. Most of the world lives on less then $5 per day. To whom much is given much is required. How do you spend your money? $8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.

$30 could buy you an ER DVD Box set OR a First Aid kit for a village in Haiti.

$73 could buy you a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.

$2400 could buy you a second generation High Definition TV OR schooling for an entire generation of school children in an Angolan village.

I don't know who is behind the global rich list, but I encourage you to think about what you have. Chances are, you have a lot. Give some of it to the poor. Buy one of our tie dyed bags, or give some to another good cause. You are rich. Your money, even $5 could help change a life.

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 10,113,171 richest person on earth!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A fundraiser for Thai orphans

I hope you will visit my new fundraiser blog and order a Tie Dye bag. 100% of the money made from the sale of these bags will go to the Christian Care Foundation for Disabled orphans in Thailand. All the important information is on THIS WEBSITE. My 5 kids will be doing tie dye over Christmas vacation. They will each dye 10 bags (all signed and numbered). If you order a bag you can request one from Jessica, Nicole, Thomas, Philip, or Sarah. The bags cost only $5.00 each + shipping. You are also welcome to donate more money because it all goes to help make life better for disabled orphans in Thailand.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

new glasses

Philip and Nicole both need eye glasses. Philips eyes have changed radically. Nicole has never had glasses before. Her right eye has gotten weak. I think she will look cool in glasses.

What Is Neurofeedback ?

He isn't ADHD

Juergen took Philip and Jessica to a specialist for a QEEG (brain map). You can find out many things about what is working and not working in the brain. Certain disorders like ADHD have a pattern that shows up on a QEEG. Philip had a surprisingly normal brain with an average IQ (104). He does not have ADHD. There is only one area of his brain not working well. This has everything to do with language processing. We do not know why this area doesn't work, just that it doesn't. Every other area of his brain is healthy. That is very good news. Now we can really focus on the why, and how to treat it. He goes to another clinic in January. This information should help us focus on an effective treatment for Philips learning problem. I am surprised he doesn't have ADHD and that he is so much smarter then he is testing. This is great news!!! Jessica did not cooperate with the full testing. We only really know we could do Neurofeedback therapy with her. They did manage to get her to do the therapy for 10 minutes. With a few sessions it probably could work. There is a therapist that does Neurofeedback therapy about 30 minutes from us. They are a normal occupational therapist and our health insurance covers this (I think). If I can find a therapist that is even closer that would be best. I’m not sure how often the kids would need to do this Neurofeedback therapy. It could be once a week, or 3 times per week. Driving 1 hour 3 times per week could be kind of hard. We will see.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

We got our tree

We got our tree. German's often don't get the tree until Dec 24Th. I like to enjoy it longer. I tried to get a few pictures of the kids by the tree. The batteries in my camera were fading so this is what I managed.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

look what I found at the 2nd hand store

It is made of hard plastic. It is old, maybe 1940's? It's missing the sheep and I think an angle from the box it came in. They always gave Mary blond hair in Europe. I have a wooden Nativity that’s made from olive wood. It was made in Bethlehem. A good friend gave it to me as a gift. I actually keep it up all year around. I like this plastic set. I was telling Sarah the story of the wise men bringing baby Jesus gifts for Christmas. We tell our kids this is why we give each other gifts on Christmas.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thai dye

Thomas,who is from Thailand made this bag in school. I'm wondering if I couldn't get some really high quality shopping bags that the kids could Thai dye and we could sell them as a fund raiser for an orphanage in Thailand we know that helps disabled kids?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

This is cool

You can buy this sort of thing for your yard. I think it would look great in my back yard. I have a very small garden but this would make it really special!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I could never be God

This after noon (for over 5 hours) I took care of a classmate of one of my sons. This kids mom is getting a divorce because her husband beats her. Last year a friend of Sarah’s moved after his mom got divorced for the same reason. Every bone in my body hurts. It's half from the stress of caring for this kid. He is a nice kid, but hyper active and probably pretty stressed from what is happening. I'm also stressed at the idea of a man hitting the women he is supposed to love and protect. I could not be a counselor. I just could not bear the emotional pain too many people carry. To be honest with you, I don't even like being around parents of disabled kids. Most of them stress me out. Too many of them lack hope. I can not carry them. My hands are already full. Part of the reason I adopt is because it turns a sad situation into a situation of hope. It's what I can manage. I could never handle the pain of so many. My heart breaks. I'm sure we will have this kid over again. I don't look forward to it, but I know I need to be open to helping them. I feel sick with sadness. I’m so weak. I need a tougher skin!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Some weekend photos

Juergen had a full weekend. On Saturday he put up Christmas lights with the kids. They are pretty simple by American standards but we are very pleased with the results. On Sunday he took a walk with Nicole in Mannheim. They went up the TV tower and also watched some knights fighting by the river. He's such a great dad!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Kids

Some good listening to get you into the season

I just bought a collection of classic Christmas stories on MP3. You can buy it on

It is over 5hours of great listening. Now I'm going to grab a cup of tea and turn on my new electric fireplace and listen to a Christmas Carol! Juergen put up the lights. The gifts are all wrapped. I'm getting ready to enjoy the season!!! No stress!

  • "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, Read by Tom Casaletto
  • "The Gift of the Magic" by O. Henry, Read by Dick Hill
  • "Is There a Santa Claus? (Yes, Virginia...)" by Frank P. Church, Read by J. Charles
  • "A Visit from Saint Nicholas ('Twas the Night Before Christmas)" by Clement C. Moore, Read by Bill Weideman
  • "A Winter Walk" by Henry David Thoreau, Read by Jean Reed-Bahle
  • "The Seven Poor Travelers" by Charles Dickens, Read by Michael Page
  • "The Fir Tree" by Hans Christian Andersen, Read by Sandra Burr
  • "Santa Claus at Simpson's Bar" by Bret Harte, Read by Robert Lawrence
  • "What Christmas Is As We Grow Older" by Charles Dickens, Read by Buck Schirner

  • PS. This would be great if you have to be in the car allot, or plan on taking a long drive. Also, you are legally able to burn 8 copies of the books you buy on If you are short on cash, you can buy one good book and make copies to give to friends.

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    The Pie

    The only "normal" thing we have for Thanksgiving was pie. We had apple and pumpkin pie. I have made maybe 5 pies in my whole life. I never was much of a cook. They actually turned out well. I also made real whip cream. It was great! We had a very nice dinner. After dinner we watched Prince Caspian on DVD.

    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Thanksgiving is not a German thing

    I always find it odd being in Germany on Thanksgiving Day. While my family is getting ready to gather together for the feast I was at the Doctors with Philip all morning. We are trying to figure out why he has learning problems, and why his hands are so weak, and why he has speech problems. I got a hand full of referrals to specialists. The first was an audiologist. I went to the audiologist to get an appointment. The next appointment is in May 2009! No kidding!!! I took the appointment, but I will look around for something sooner. My feet hurt from walking from one clinic to the next. I basically got nothing done. Now I am making our traditional Thanksgiving turkey soup. I never actually go to the expense and trouble of cooking a whole turkey. Actually, my stove is so small I don't think I could fit a turkey in it! I cook a turkey soup with potatoes and vegetables. We eat bread and salad. I'm going to try to make an apple and pumpkin pie too. Some of the Thanksgiving flavors without the calories and work. Thomas has drums tonight until 7:30pm. We won't have time to actually sit down until then. I have one American friend coming over. It's kind of sad we can not have a traditional Thanksgiving but it's just another busy school day here. Juergen works. I guess you can always just thank God...even without the stuffing and cranberry sauce! I thank God for my family. I’m grateful to God I got to see my parents and brother and sisters this year. I wish I was with them, but I send them a hug!

    Friend of the poor

    God is a friend of the poor...are you?

    This is the new Compassion Art CD. I hope I can buy this at the Delirious concert. You can buy it online at WH Smith Store in the UK. I think it will be available in the US next year?

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    We got tickets...

    Juergen got us tickets to see Delirious. They are on their goodbye tour. The concert is near Frankfurt next week. Now I just have to find a babysitter. Our faithful babysitter just got a job out of town and we need someone new.

    Look what I just won on ebay

    This is an angel for the top of a tree. It was made in N├╝rnberg in the year 1900 so it is 108 years old. Cool!!! It has survived 2 world wars. I hope it can survive us!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving

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    Everyone wants to leave and crazy me would love to go!!!!

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    Poor Girl!!!

    Stuck in Thailand

    "Thousands of anti-government protesters partially shut down Bangkok's main international airport, some armed with golf clubs and long wooden sticks. All departing flights are canceled but officials said incoming flights would be allowed to land". -CNN

    I personally would not mind being stuck in Thailand for awhile! The last time we were there we missed our flight home. We forgot the days and just missed the flight by a day. That last day was very expensive but worth it!!! I would love to escape this dark cold Germany and go get stuck in Thailand!!!

    too sad

    I saw this on a friends blog. Oh it is so sad!!!

    Zogby Poll

    of 512 Obama Voters from 11/13/08-11/15/08
    97.1% High School Graduate or higher, 55% College Graduates

    The results to 12 simple Multiple Choice Questions

    57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)

    71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)

    82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)

    88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)

    56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).

    And yet.....

    Only 13.7% failed to identify Sarah Palin as the person on which their party spent $150,000 in clothes

    Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter

    And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her "house," even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!

    Only 2.4% got at least 11 correct.

    Only .5% got all of them correct. (And we "gave" one answer that was technically not Palin, but actually Tina Fey)

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    taking some more laps

    We have made real progress with Thomas this year. He has ADHD and now controls it with drugs. The drugs are a life saver. He is a different person. The main side effect for him is that it is hard for him to sleep. We are working on getting an adjustment to his medication. Hopefully he is "out of the woods". Philip on the other hand is in a deep hole. We think he might be dyslexic. If anyone knows about this let me hear from you. We are on a list for a clinic that does diagnostic work on many levels. It may take until March to get an appointment. I continue to work with him on his reading program (fast forwards). It helps but only a little. He really still can not read. It is a painful process. I think I will try to get him a full QEEG (brain map). I would love to do hyperbaric oxygen therapy with him but insurance will not pay for it. If I can get a PET scan then I will at least know if he has a blood flow problem in his brain. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps improve blood flow to the brain. Maybe we can get the insurance company to pay for a PET? Basically it's another lap around a very big track...someday we will figure out something that will help least a little! I don't consider him a "problem child". He is a child with a problem and it's our job to figure out how to help him. He is a funny kid. He is 100% normal in some ways, and really delayed in other ways (like reading and language). He has great strength and coordination, but very weak hands. I know that there is something that can be done for him. We just have not figured it out yet! The thing I find very frustrating about Germany is most doctors do not dig for answers. You have to push them to dig. I’m not a doctor so it takes me so long just to figure out what direction we can look. It’s like they give up on him. They think, oh he was adopted. We do not know his medical history. Maybe he was drug exposed or had a bad birth. Anyway, we can not help him. But I do not buy this! There are clues to problems that can be treated. You may never know how he got into this hole, but you can sure as #*&§”``!!! help treat some of his symptoms.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008


    We had snow on the ground this morning. I can hardly believe it's already acting like winter. The winds have been very strong and cold. Juergen got me an electric fireplace for my birthday. I also got a mantle for an early Christmas gift. Isn't it beautiful? It sits in my bedroom. I am loving to lay in bed and listen to books on mp3. What a great way to de stress!!! Now I just need to get Juergen to paint my bedroom. A bedroom should be more then just a extra storage room. That is what my bedroom has looked like for years (a storage room). I’m working on it!!!

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Do not quit in the middle of the storm

    John Paul Jackson discusses strange and heavenly events on earth.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Name our car

    We sat around the breakfast table this morning trying to come up with a name for our new car. It's a big car so we want some kind of fat name. Thomas kept interrupting us talking about helicopters. He is obsessed with helicopters. It gets kind of irritating when all someone wants to talk about is helicopters or another subject like, politics! I'm so glad the election is over!!! Anyway, we thought of Monstro the whale from Pinocchio, Aunt Fannie the robot from the movie Robots, and The Arch as in Noah’s Arch. I like The Arch because our car is a big boat and it's always filled with wild animals. Have any name ideas?