Thursday, May 31, 2007

Welcome Home, Hermana Flegal!!!

Today, Sister Katherine Anne Flegal returns home from serving a full time mission to Montreal, Canada. It goes without saying that we wish we could be at the airport to welcome her home. This is our sad attempt to create such a special moment! Here Katie, these are for you! As you know, Eliza arrived a little over a year ago. She is excited to get to know Katie for herself. She has heard us describe and talk about her for the past year. We watched Eliza take her first steps when we were in Utah. She loves to toddle around if we're holding her hand, but she is reluctant to give up crawling. Perhaps it's because she wants her special Aunt to be here to see her begin to really walk when she visits us in Germany.

Over the past 18 months, Katie's letters have been a source of motivation for us to improve our lives and an example of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Her humor was appreciated with each letter and e-mail. There is no doubt that she deeply touched the lives of those she came in contact with and that her experiences and memories will stay with her forever.

Katie, we love you, can't wait to talk to you tomorrow and finally see you at the end of June. Have a great time in Powell - get tan for me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Eliza's new toy (this blog is rated O.S. - for "over-share")

Disclaimer: The following blog contains the word, "tampon" - if that word makes you squirm, I encourage you to skip today's entry. However, the subject matter is entirely appropriate, I assure you. Eliza discovered a box of tampons yesterday. Her joy of this discovery amused me greatly. I provided a great distraction that was safe and gave me the chance to blow my hair dry yesterday morning.

This morning, I took her into the bathroom for her morning tubby. The moment I put her on the floor she crawled as fast as she could to a cupboard and opened it up. It seemed to me that she knew exactly what she was looking for. Inside, was a yellow bath tub toy that she had flipped over. To her delight, underneath the yellow bath tub toy was a tampon that she had secretly hidden from me while I cleaned up the 45+ tampons yesterday.

As I've mentioned before, Eliza loves playing in the bath. Twice now, after I remove her diaper, she has pee'd all over the floor. She only does this when she's standing in front of the bath tub, waiting to get in. So this morning, I waited until the tub was completely ready for her before taking off her diaper. And as soon as I did, she let out a loud squeal of excitement and tinkled all over the floor.

As I placed her in the tub today, she wouldn't let go of her tampon. She had a great time playing with it (still wrapped up, of course) in the tub and it followed her out of the tub as I dressed her for the day. She then brought it with us to breakfast and at the moment, it is upstairs in her crib with her as she sleeps.

Now, my question for you is... would it be socially unacceptable if we took a box with us to Church to keep her busy - or even better, on the airplane when we fly back to SLC in August? ... No, I didn't think it would be either.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Marching into Munich

Eliza and I took our first train ride today. Thanks to all of the traveling Andrew did as a missionary, I would say that he is a certified P.T.P (professional train passenger). Seriously, he knew what he was doing and for me, that was a very good thing. He knew that passengers with strollers needed to enter at the front of the train or in the back. He knew how to purchase tickets and was quick to find the nearest pretzel vendor at each station. The scenery was beautiful (as always) which made the ride quite enjoyable.

Our official destination was the German Museum. However, I think our detours on the way to and from the museum is what made today so incredible. Clearly, my favorite stop was to buy ice cream! The city of Munich was impressive. Because of today's German holiday, 97.5% of the shops were closed. That didn't disappoint us. Besides, let's be honest, Andrew can't afford to let me go hog wild with a credit card. As for the museum... after ten minutes of looking around and pretending to be sophisticated, Andrew and I both confessed that we were both...dare I say - BORED OUT OF OUR MINDS!!
As we observed the myriad of people that were transfixed and amazed by what they were looking at, we couldn't help but wonder what our problem was. However, something positive is we found something that we have in common!! For those of you who know us well, Andrew and I are opposites. Well, we bonded in the discovery that we don't like science museums. We stayed for an hour and a half, laughing our way through the museum.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Words cannot describe

The Beauty of the Alps... Here are a few pictures of our recent trip to Koenigsee!

Our day started at a salt mine. We put on miner clothing and took a train into the mine. The best part of the tour was riding down slides in the mine to get to a new level. Andrew held Eliza close as we zoomed down 40 meters.

All aboard! Eliza enjoys the beautiful scenery from her view on the boat.

Beautiful. Wunderbar. Genau.
We saw this waterfall from the seat of our boat. The boat ride lasted two hours round trip. We stopped to take a small hike to a different lake. It was amazing. We're going back.

Where's Waldo!?

Yes, we had a great time!

Friday, May 25, 2007

An Old Friend

Somethings never change and I'm grateful for that. Some friendships pick up where you left off even if it's been three years since you've had any real contact with that person. That is the case with my friend and fellow BYU-Nauvoo alum, Scott S. Clarke!
Scott and his roommate, Ryan have been trotting the globe (Europe more specifically) for the last month or so. I've noticed his recent activity and enjoyed looking at his pictures via facebook. I noticed that he was in my neighborhood (Munich) and so I invited him up for a visit. Last night as I sat on my porch I heard a faint but distinctly familiar laugh.

Having house guests has been great! I love having two new sets of ears to talk too. Welcome to Hotel Flegal! I rudely woke them up at ten this morning. I thought that Eliza had already done that, so when I stuck my head in their room to see how they liked their eggs, I realized that they were still out like trout. Hopefully they forgave me after a breakfast of pancakes, eggs & hash browns.

This morning I showed them the river and where it meets up with the second river. When Andrew came home from work, the five of us took a bus into the city and walked around, laughed our heads off, and ate good German food and Italian ice cream. This afternoon, they got into a water fight with two of our neighbor boys. They had a lot of fun because as Ryan stated, "We speak the universal language of KID"...

Tonight they'll be meeting up with their two friends in Italy. It's been great having them here. Looking back, it's interesting to see how life takes each of us down different roads. I am grateful to have met Scott in Nauvoo but how random is it that our paths reconnected in Landshut, Germany!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Go for a Natural High (high, HIgh, HIGH!!!)

If you want an adrenaline rush or what the Safety Kids call, "A Natural High," I recommend going shopping at a grocery store in a foreign country alone. Today, Eliza and I went to a store that is similar to Wal-mart WITHOUT Andrew or any other German speaking individual that we have befriended since our arrival.

I pioneered my way to the store pushing Eliza in her red stroller and carrying our black back pack. Our trusty - more like Andrew's - Ipod made the walk all the more pleasant. My only "set back" is that I struggle with anything mechanical and couldn't figure out how to close the umbrella stroller properly so that it could ride underneath our shopping cart. So, I parked it next to the bikes and hoped that the lady at the Garden center would keep an eye on it for me. I would have asked someone for help closing it, but that would have meant speaking in German.

For any of you that have ridden the sky coaster at Lagoon in Farmington, Utah can relate to the feeling prior to pulling the zip cord at 150 feet in the air. That is how I felt standing in line at the check out stand. Thankfully, they accepted my VISA card without a problem and made some comment in reference to Eliza... She's cute... what can I say. She hears it all the time but I don't think it's going to her head...mine a little - but not hers. Other than that, we made it back without a problem.
Waiting for me at home was a package from my parents!! It was so exciting - even though I knew what it contained, it didn't matter! It was from my mom and it was sent with love :) Mail is great and I intend to send some home to those I love if we could make finding a post office a priority.

I know you probably want to hear more about Andrew and what he's doing at BMW. I will make a concerted effort to get him on here to blog about it. In the meantime - thanks for listening or I guess reading my rambling. I hope you American's enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Inner-Rock Star!! (It's long but read it anyway)

Have you been in touch with your inner-rock star lately? Oh, come on, we all have one. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be “rock” music that unleashes the diva or rocker that’s bursting at the seams to be seen and heard. For me, musicals like Wicked or Les Miserables really make me want to sing with enthusiasm. For Andrew, he finds his groove while listening to Johnny Cash or Nickel Creek. And then there’s another love in my life (who will remain anonymous) that let’s loose to Clay Aiken and N’sync!

The challenge isn’t what to sing but WHERE to sing/perform. As a youth, I could lock myself in the bathroom and belt it out while I was getting ready for school. I remember when Beauty and the Beast was released, I had the soundtrack on a cassette tape. (Eliza will never know what a cassette tape even is) and I remember rewinding over and over the song where Belle sings, “…Here’s where she meets prince charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him ‘till chapter threeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”

And then, in high school, I was in the singing group, Highlights. That gave me the opportunity to perform in front of live audiences. Unfortunately, that’s when I realized that the “talent fairy” had skipped me the day she was handing out the ability to dance. Hmmm, while we’re on the subject of the “talent fairy” I’d like to note that she did freely bestow upon me the gift to “Never make whatever it is your trying out or running for…(cheerleader, SBO, Ensemble, Dance company – to name a few!) I guess I needed to learn the virtue of resilience.

But even those disappointments didn’t kill my inner rock star. Living in an apartment, with neighbors in close quarters, made it difficult to perform at home. So… for me, I’ve been rocking out in my car ever since. Eliza is so used to hearing me squeal and screech when trying to belt out notes I was born never to sing. She is my number one fan. Anyway. Here I am in Germany without a car.

Singing in the shower is not an option because that is usually Eliza’s nap time…Singing in our big house doesn’t work either because the echo’s from the big empty rooms frighten me. So the place that I belt out Bon Jovi, Avril, Kelly Clarkson or High School Musical is on my morning walks with Eliza. I am all set with the IPOD I gave Andrew for his birthday. And so far, I’ve only encountered one really confused, and slightly “concerned” man while I was singing and frolicking down by the river as sweet Eliza sat in her stroller, tapping her toes!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hurrah for Israel!!

I have a beautiful red (not orange) headed friend that I adore. At the moment she is living in SLC. She doesn't know this, but she used to embarrass me when we would pass by the missionaries because she would proudly exclaim (or shout), "Hurrah for Israel" with her arm raised triumphantly in the air! If anyone has seen the movie, "The Other Side of Heaven," they should know that's where she got it from... (I think!).

Since arriving in Germany, I have developed a great love and admiration for the Elder's in our area. Last week was "transfers" and one of our Elder's left Landshut and a new greenie arrived and took his place. I was surprised by the feelings of sadness that I had knowing that I wouldn't be able to formally say "Goodbye" to Elder Taylor. After all, he was one of the four guests that helped us celebrate Eliza's first birthday a little over a week ago.

This past Sunday, we attended Stake Conference. Again I was surprised that I was truly happy to see Elder Taylor at the meeting. He is from Pleasant Grove and his older brother actually served in a district with Andrew during his mission to Frankfurt. I had to laugh (he knows perfectly well that my German is terrible) when Elder Taylor approached me, because he rambled off in German thinking that I knew what he was saying. After a minute or two, I kindly reminded him that I don't speak German and if he could please tell me why he was so full of enthusiasm in English - I'd appreciate it.

Oh, and then! (*Gasp for air) Following Stake Conference, I bumped into an Elder from my home Stake in SLC - Go Canyon Rim!! Small world...

So, tonight I made dinner for the Elders: Lasagne, Broccoli, Strawberries/Grapes, Baguette & Ice Cream!! As we left the grocery store yesterday we saw them walking on the street and I exclaimed just like my friend I mentioned at the beginning, "HURRAH FOR ISRAEL" - and do you know what?? I meant every word. These missionaries are apart of God's army on this earth and I feel that whenever I am in their presence.

I am going to be making dinner for them weeklly. I can't do much here and so feeding the missionaries gives me an opportunity to give back a little after we've been blessed so much. I hope that somewhere out in Cleveland, Ohio - someone feels the same way I do when they see an Elder Mays walking down the street (Oh great, here come the tears!) It feels good.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"A Poem" By Eliza G. Flegal

Hello there, friend... have we met?
Let me tell you about myself before you forget!

My name is Eliza and I am one!
I love to play out in the sun

Trying new foods is something I like
I enjoy riding on my dada's bike

I have pretty blue eyes and long brown hair
And two big front teeth with room to spare
My face is a bit burnt so my mom feels bad
She forgot to give me sunscreen & so did dad

Right now I'm not interested in learning to walk
But baby sign language and German, I will talk

I think I'm smart, at least my mom thinks so
But she's only 23 - what does she know?

So, today on a tractor I went for a ride
With my daddy and friends, at my side I love Germany, oh yes, I do
But to my family and friends, I love & miss youLove,
Eliza Grace

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Flea Bitten

Flea markets are cool. Forgetting to bring your wallet to purchase a used bike at the flea market is not cool. We would have forgiven ourselves quicker if this was the first time that this has happened to us since being here. Earlier this week, we forgot to bring money with us to the grocery store.

True, there are things more frustrating than biking long distances with a one year old child and then turning right back around to get your wallet. It's strange that I never forget to bring a binki, a sippy cup, crackers or diapers but for some reason, I have problems remembering money.
Andrew took both of our bikes home while Eliza and I enjoyed a stroll through the Flea Market. I have been to garage sales before but this was bargain shopping on a completely different level. I think I feel an addiction coming on.

We found a kid's bike that will work better for me than the one that we've been using to carry Eliza. I feel safer being lower to the ground, I suppose.

But the real "steal" of the day were these plates. I was planning to buy one, but when he said I could have them all for 2 Euro - I said "Giddy up!" Don't ask me how I'm going to take them home but for the moment it doesn't matter. They're beautiful. Who knew that dishes could evoke such emotion?
As for Andrew, he came home with his own version of something "beautiful"...
Bubba, he had you in mind when he picked it out so act excited if he ends up giving it to you !

An Adventure at BMW

How does the saying go..."Two's company and three's a crowd" ? Our family learned yesterday that when riding one bike, that saying is definitely true.

Eliza and I were playing in the front yard when Andrew was dropped off from work by a car. I knew that I was in for a good story when I saw that he didn't have his bike and that he was still wearing his BMW uniform (*He normally wears his clothes to work, changes into his BMW outfit there and then returns home in his clothes).
It turns out that my dear husband accidentally locked his locker key inside of his locker. Whoops. As a result, he didn't have access to the key for his bike lock, his wallet and the clothes and shoes he had worn to work that morning. He had a spare key at home and since he didn't want to pay ten dollars to have his locker opened by BMW's fire squad, he asked me to accompany him out there with his spare key.

After walking the bike (Eliza was riding in the baby seat) for three minutes, Andrew ordered me onto the bike seat. I was reluctant but soon caved in out of curiosity. Eliza was wearing her helmet and he promised he'd go slow... so, Andrew rode the three of us out to BMW.

Based on my short experience here, I would say that 8 out of the 10 people you pass on the sidewalk won't smile at you if you greet them as you pass by. But yesterday, we had all of the grumpy old ladies laughing at the sight of us. It was fun and embarrassing at the same time.

As for an update on Andrew's job: his first two days at work were somewhat disappointing. He spent his time putting U-joints on O-rings by hand. It wasn't challenging him intellectually. He was told that the manual work was temporary and lucky for him, it was. Yesterday was a lot better. He assembled sixty drive lines for Rolls Royce. I think his assignments will vary as time goes on but he was very positive on Friday when he got home.

As a wife, I have the right to say how proud I am of him. He's an extremely hard worker, intelligent and a wonderful father and husband. I love you, Andrew.

First Date Jitters

Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but the “jitters” that accompany a first date don’t go away once you are married. The desire to make a good impression, to keep an interesting conversation going and to be asked out again are all feelings that I have whenever Andrew and I go out on a double date with another couple for the first time.

Tonight was the first night I left Eliza with a babysitter that wasn’t a Grandmother. Our neighbors arranged for a ward girl and her friend to come watch both of our kids. I won’t go into all the details, but the fact that I felt good leaving Eliza for the evening was a personal milestone.

We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant on top of a hill that overlooks the city of Landshut. It was great having Andrew there to help me read the menu. Things were going really well up until I turned around and noticed the large, nude male statue directly behind my head. Michael and Andrew noticed the statue the same time I did and we burst out laughing. Following dinner, we went to a castle. I enjoyed walking around. We took pictures and were simply enjoying one another's company. We laugh a lot when we are with Michael and Johanna and up until this point I would suggest that our first “date” as couples was going perfect… That is until we reached the doorstep… the dreaded doorstep scene.

Something I ate for dinner made my stomach somewhat “unsettled” and as the conversation began to lull I let out a loud (I can’t believe I’m about to type this word…) TOOT. I passed gas and Andrew failed to obey Flegal Family rule #22 which states: If Ali publicly passes gas, Andrew is to either blame the noise on a duck or fully take the blame for himself.” All he could do was laugh and say, “I can’t believe you just did that”

Since crawling into a hole was not an option, I took our leftovers inside the house. When I returned I still was giggling out of awkward embarrassment. And then, a few minutes later, I thought they were preparing to go home so I blurted out one of the 8 phrases I know which was, “Bis Morgen!” – meaning, “we’ll see you tomorrow.” They looked at me in confusion so I automatically assumed I had used the phrase out of context. Basically they weren’t on their way home but my comment quickly shooed them away. Oops, my mistake!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Singing in the rain

Today we visited Regensburg (50 minutes from where we live) with some families in our branch. Our neighbor Michael, drove our family around once again. Thanks! Well, we must be living right because this morning we traveled in STYLE. We rode in a diesel powered Chrysler mini van. It that was fully decked out in company advertisements. We felt cool. It was like we were a moving billboard. The highlight for me was the children. They shrieked with delight whenever they found a snail (or in German a "Snecke"). I hope you are familiar with the movie Dennis the Menace, because I will be refering to the following image of the character 'Margaret' as I relate one memorable exchange with a girl in our ward who reminds me of her.

This cute girl skipped on over to me with a giant snail in her hand. Without any hesitation, she gave the snail a big kiss. She then said, "Ein bissen schleimig aber vitaminsreich." Andrew burst out laughing. And when I asked him for the translation he said, "A bit slimey... but rich in vitamins!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Deadlines, Schmedlines

I'm feeling major pressure to spit out something wonderful in this evening's blog. However, it is late, my husband is a wee bit grumpy, and we're getting up early tomorrow for an activity with the ward. The plan was to go into the Alps, but rain is in the forecast so we'll see where we end up.

I feel like I have a homework assignment due within the next ten minutes and the stress is weirding me out because this blog is totally optional and supposed to be fun, right?! For the sake of our sanity in the morning and my personal patience level with my sweet baby, I will be brief (too late) in describing what we did today...

  • Rode our bikes downtown
  • Window shopped
  • Ate a pretzel and a crescent from a German Bakery (of course it was a German bakery - you are IN Germany)
  • Went grocery shopping
  • Had over our two best German friends, Michael and Johanna over for ice cream.
  • We showed them where we live on Google Earth (*insert "oooh's" and "aaahs")

That about wraps it up... oh wait, one more thing! The "open door policy" that I mentioned in a previous post applies to cats too. I was in the restroom when suddenly, a cat walked in. That caught me off guard completely. It was one of those moments where you wish someone was there to experience the randomness of it with you. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Gute Nacht!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Week of "Firsts"

Tomorrow marks our first week in Germany. I will be celebrating with a Diet Coke and with a white chocolate candy bar that has strawberry specks mixed in it. Mmmmmm. The best thing about this white chocolate bar is that the packaging doesn't include the number of calories. That pretty much makes it calorie-free in my book.

Here's a toast to a week of firsts:
  • Eliza turned one this past week!
  • Andrew started his job at BMW.
  • As for me, I started a blog.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Open Door Policy

"Liza, Liza....Vo ist Eliza?"

You can imagine my surprise when four year old Jacob (pronounced YAH-KOPE) boldly walked into my bedroom (totally uninvited) this afternoon. He was looking for his new friend, Liza. Apparently, an open front door is a world wide invitation to, "Come, on in! Use our bathroom! Have a dum dum sucker!"

Andrew informed me of the "open door policy" when we moved in but I didn't think much about it until he blamed me for the pee on a toilet seat on a toilet that I hadn't even used yet!

Jacob is one of the four year old twins that lives next door. Jacob and Simmon are the final members of the Von Trapp household ... oops, I mean the Auras family. Did I mention how much I love this family? I never thought I'd say that I can't wait to have little boys, but it's so true.

This past weekend, the twins couldn't wait to show me a dead hedge hog they had found that was covered in maggots. I learned the German word for "Yucky" that day. Their enthusiasm helped calm the gagging reflex that is brought on by the smell of rotting hedge hog.

Their older brothers are obsessed with soccer and they think nothing is funnier than watching me play goalie. My flinch reflex is "hyper-sensitive" and they score a lot of goals when I'm in that position. I've used the analogy of never-ending recess when describing a typical afternoon in our front yards. It's mass chaos but highly entertaining. It isn't long before one of the Von Trapp's whisk Eliza away to show her a pile of dirt to play in or help her find a bug to squish.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm a squib

Okay, okay... I will explain why I am a squib in a minute, but first I want to pass on a story that Andrew just shared with me. He walked in the door five minutes ago from an evening bike ride with our neighbor, Hans.

Hans works for BMW and offered to take Andrew for a bike ride to show him how to get to work in the morning and where to meet him, etc. I teasingly said to Andrew before he left, "Andrew, it's Sunday - we don't participate in 'work' activities on the Sabbath." Andrew's reply was, "Well, consider this missionary work!" And he was off!

While on the ride, Hans informed Andrew that 5,000 German students applied for internships at BMW in Landshut and only 30 were accepted. He also offered to meet Andrew at the door and introduce him to his managers, show him around, etc. All in all, he is a great guy.

On their ride home, Hans brought up that he had attended two LDS church activities and that began a positive discussion regarding Hans' feelings and good impression of the Church and it's members. Andrew came in the door beaming from this conversation and we hope that we will know how we can continue to spark his interest and invite him to various activities. So, please stay tuned.

Alright... suddenly, what I came on to blog about no longer seems important. However, let me explain why I can relate to Squibs. Five dollars goes to anyone who knows what one is before I have to define it for you. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

In the Harry Potter encyclopedia, a squib is defined as being:
– a person who had no magical powers although born into a Wizarding family; Squibs were quite rare; Argus Filch and Arabella Figg were Squibs (CS9, OP2)

German is a magical language. Let me state the obvious: I am a human that lives in Germany. My husband is fluent in this magical language and most likely our daughter will be too.

I attended Church today at this beautiful building (aka Hogwarts) and all around me were wizards and witches who were able to interact and magically communicate through German. I had to ask for help via translation and found myself feeling left out. My "wand" a.k.a. my German Lessons on CD were accidentally (TOTALLY ANDREW'S FAULT) left at home.

I empathize with Squibs worldwide. However, I still felt the Spirit at Church despite the fact I didn't understand 83.9% of what was said (*side note: did you know that 92% of all statistics are made up on the spot? It's true.).

This afternoon, we went with the Auras Family on a walk in the country side. Andrew kept saying that he felt like he was living out his Sound of Music fantasy. After all, we had seven children in our midst...frolicking in the hills....that were alive...with the sound of music.

A public declaration of love

To our Mothers and Grandmothers,

Happy Mother's Day. We love you and miss you very much. I hope you all know how special we think you are.

Sending love from Landshut,

Ali and Andrew

"Outsmarting My Parents" By Eliza G. Flegal

Dear World,

Last night I was introduced to my new bath tub. It is very big and white. My mom gave me toys to play with in the water. I also discovered that I could use my hands to splash my mom in the face.

While I was getting nice and clean for church in the morning, my dad noticed that my mom had a tic on her leg. She freaked out while my dad went to the neighbors house to get a tool to dig it out. She was sure brave as it was removed.

Bath time ended way to soon for me, so I hollered and whined and screamed for them to let me stay in the water. My daddy didn't listen to me so as he was drying me off, I decided that I had no choice but to go pee pee on him. I soaked him and myself which earned me an automatic ticket back into the bath tub! Hip, hip hooray!

Eliza Grace

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to the one that we love most

Eliza Grace Flegal turned one year old yesterday! The other night, Andrew put her down for bed and when I asked him why he was smiling he said, "I love that little girl, so much!" It is true. She has brought such joy into our life. I have a hard time understanding why watching her take a few steps makes my heart leap with great excitement. One of my small achievements as a mom is that I've taught her to sign the word "more" when she wants more food. If we're having a small taste of something sweet and she signs that she wants more, we can't resist because it's too cute. Adjusting to motherhood has been challenging, but the personal growth and the joy makes the difficult moments so worth it.

Yesterday morning, Andrew went on missionary splits. When the Elder's dropped him off they asked if they could bring by a cake to celebrate Eliza's birthday with us. They had made one that morning for an investigator who ended up leaving for Munich before they could give it to her. So, that evening, we celebrated with our neighbors and the Elders. It turns out that Andrew served his mission with one of the Elder's older brother. Small world, right?

Earlier that day, we went to a "Sommerfest" to celebrate with our neighbors Kindergarten age children. All of the kids were dressed up in authentic Bavarian clothing. They sang for us and danced. It was a lot of fun. After their performance we enjoyed bratwurst. I'm struggling with the beverages a little bit. They lack the sugar that I'm used to (in punch, soda, etc) and when I order or buy water it's like it's carbonated - similar to club soda. I should save my food shopping blunders for another blog, but let's just say I hope to improve.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cheese, Spargel & The Mystery Meat

Johanna is my next door neighbor. She is a really great mom. My second night here, she invited me to go out with "the girls" for dinner. They are a tight knit group of women. Lucky for me, only one of them was confident with her English. Johanna and I are able to communicate well.

We went to an Italian restaurant so I was able to recognize a few words on the menu: lasagne, cal zone, pizza, etc... Well, it was "SPARGEL night." Spargel is the German word for asparagus. I thought I would go out of my comfort zone (even more than I was) and order one of the specials. I THOUGHT I was ordering Parmesan chicken with spargel, but when they brought out my plate, I stared at something that I knew was not chicken.

I was committed to finishing my plate even though I didn't like how it tasted, had no clue what type of meat I was eating and was coveting everyone else's dish. Hika asked me if I liked what I had ordered. She informed me that the mystery meat was ham. I'm still skeptical that it was even that.

After dinner our waiter brought out an alcoholic beverage for each of us. Johanna quickly handed our glasses to her friend. Following two hours of intense, Bavarian dialogue (I sat quietly in my chair and tried not to fall asleep because of the jet lag) we got up and went walking into the city. I loved all that I saw and am eager to take Andrew and Eliza to show them. When I was able to take part in the conversation, I really enjoyed myself. I'm grateful that they included a frau like me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


We are here safe, sound and extremely screwed up from jet lag. I think recovering from sleep deprivation would have been an easier transition if we could magically re-program Eliza's sleeping patterns. As Eliza and I played together in the wee hours of the morning, I felt connected to the former days of having a brand new infant. IOur flight from Salt Lake to Munich was an adventure... a really long, sleepless adventure. However, I am pleased to report that Eliza did very well. Other than her mango delite diaper explosion, things went better than expected.

For parents who have plans to travel with an infant, you may find the following list of ideas helpful:
1. Be sure to bring Dum-Dum suckers. It kept her occupied for a long time. The beautiful colors that her white onsie acquired from her colorful drool deserved to be hung on our fridge. It was a piece of art work.
2. Puffy stickers are great fun for sticking on unclothed body parts: Legs, face, arms... (band aids are another good option)
3. If you can afford it, bring a portable DVD player. Eliza is into baby Einstein... another great way to pass the time.
4. Benadryl helps with their ears and makes some children drowsy. I have no clue if this helped her sleep but her Pediatrician recommended it so we gave it to her so we did before each flight.
5. Bring books and small toys that they haven't played with in a long time. Make sure it's something you know they already like.
6. I had bottles of juice (3 oz or less), baby food, banana, string cheese, animal crackers, goldfish crackers and nutrigrain bars on hand for snacks.
7. Bring an extra change of clothing for both baby and you.

Landshut is beautiful - beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Pictures and more stories are to come for family and friends that are interested in what we're doing over here. We will be here for three months. Andrew will be doing an internship with BMW for mechanical engineering. As for me, I will be talking loudly in an attempt to communicate with my wonderful neighbors. For some reason, talking loudly makes me think they understand my poor German better...