Thursday, August 30, 2007

Why I almost wet the couch

Wednesday evenings, Andrew has class until 10:00 pm. Maybe that is a piece of information that shouldn't be public knowledge? I did my duty and waited for Andrew to come home despite my exhaustion.

I had concluded watching a news program on serial killers when suddently (gasp!) my front door burst open and I was confronted with this!

Part of my brain instantly knew that I was looking at Andrew's body - but the other part of my brain didn't recognize his face and thought an intruder had walked into my house. I immediately began hyperventilating as I pulled a blanket over my head for protection.

All I have to say is that it is a good thing that I had gone to the bathroom five minutes before this occurrence. Otherwise, I'd have one more mess to blame on Eliza.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Asking for your support

"In all reality" (as Andrew would say)... I have little to complain about. I have friends and family members who are dealing with problems on a level that I can't fathom. Their situations keep me humble and grateful for my current life circumstance.

However, allow me to be shallow (again) as I plead for your support in petitioning my husband to aggressively secure a permanent Internet connection for our family. I fully acknowledge that I sound like a total loser when I say that my social life is suffering. Five minutes "here and there" at my parents house does not suffice.

I am asking you to help me put the pressure on my honey bunny by leaving a comment or sending me an e-mail. Ha ha ha... this isn't a serious matter by any means, but I believe in the power of numbers...

Thank you for your support and consideration

Faithfully your blogging friend,

Ali Flegal

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hello there

Friday morning, I found myself in Spanish Fork (pronounced Spaaainish Fark) with Eliza and my Mom. We paid the cute Mays family a visit. My nephew Scott and I need to make up for lost time. Sitting next to the unshowered version of myself is his big sister, Brynn; who I am certain he will pass up in height and stature by his first birthday ;) She is a cute little peanut. Here we have, "two little monkeys jumping on the bed"... luckily neither one fell off and bumped their head. However, as I learned in Church today, Eliza thinks it's hilarious to willingly bonk her head repeatedly against windows. When she does this, her face sometimes gets stuck like this... Anyway, back to our morning at the Mays ranch... Eliza enjoyed playing with all of her cousin's fun toys and riding their kitties...I mean bikes! They enjoyed a few moments with side walk chalk as well. Big sister Katelyn spent some quality time in the garbage can (that is used to house stuffed animals.)Had the younger girls not needed a nap we would have played a while longer. We headed back home to meet up with Andrew. Later that evening we headed up to Bountiful to have a bbq with Andrew's school posse and their wives. Introducing: Brett Winegar and Emily Phillips - these two are not married. Well, actually they are married, just not to each other. I didn't organize these photos very well. After the bbq we toasted a few mallows. Here is the lovely Mrs. Jen Winegar... holding the Downer's baby boy. Who are the Downer's you ask? I am so kind to take photos of our friends when their mouths are full of food. Another case in point.
And finally, we have Tyler and Dave Phillips. I neglected to take a photo of Tyler's cute wife, Holly who is expecting her first baby in November. Pretty much, I wish that I could look as cute as she does when pregnant!
Saturday we ran errands, procrastinated cleaning, attended Stake Conference and went and got ice cream with our friends the Jensens. That's us in a nut shell. How was your weekends?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Return to the Mundane

Yesterday was Andrew’s first “marathon” day back at school. He signed up for an Engineering Law class that is held each Wednesday from 7:00-10:30. A day or two ago, he noticed the letters “p.m.” on his schedule and realized that his assumption that this was a morning class was wrong.

To be honest, I am optimistic that we’ll be seeing more of him than we did his junior year. We were spoiled in Germany to have him home each day at 2:45. And even more recently, we’ve nearly had complete access to Andrew. So this week, as we begin the adjustment to another semester, Eliza and I are feeling the void of his constant presence.

As I was parking my car in front of our house yesterday, Eliza looked out her window, to where Andrew usually parks the 4runner. “Dada?” she exclaimed over and over. A while later, when we were playing in our front room, she walked to the front door and pointed to it and said with anticipation, “Dada, Dada, Dada?” Knowing full well that this front door is where she greets her daddy almost every day.

The high points of our day included having access to my car. What freedom! I also enjoyed a trip to Costco with my Mom. I thought of my friend Johanna as I enthusiastically read every single product in English and wondered how she would fair if she has been shopping with me. I would have loved for her to be there with me.

I don’t know if anyone else out there suffers from the syndrome known as “C.C.T.W.L” (Consistently Choosing the Wrong Line). This happens to me when grocery shopping, at the airport, at amusement parks, etc. You watch a person that arrived the same time you did, but who chose the quicker line. To your dismay, they end up through their line 15 minutes before you are through yours. Somewhat frustrating, but I think we’re used to it in our family.

While in line at Costco yesterday, my Mom and I ended up behind two “bikers.” They had a lot of food – specifically meat. But that’s not abnormal to see when shopping at Cosco. What bothered me is that these hearty looking men didn’t help the 17 year old, skinny associate with the loading of their plentiful groceries. And then, when their grand total of 900 something dollars was given, they paid for it in cash…small bills included.

Once they were out of there, it took another 10 minutes or so (Mom, am I exaggerating?) for the cashiers to clear the register of all that cash. Do you see what I mean when I say that my day was mundane?

On an Eliza note: she has been feeding herself lately. You can’t tell, can you? Oh, and then, I had to remove myself from my self appointed position of Captain Prepared yesterday night when Eliza pooped at a primary party and I realized I didn’t have any diapers in my over loaded diaper bag with me. Sheeesh. After 15 months of life, that’s happened to me, maybe twice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Girl Talk

Mother’s talk about the need to have “time for themselves.” I agree. To maintain some level of mental sanity, it’s important that I take minor breaks away from my beloved child. Today, I broke my personal record. I had THREE different events/appointments that allowed me time off.

To keep things interesting, allow me to discuss my daily events backwards…(shocking and unorthodox, right?)

I just got back from spending the evening at Enrichment night. Believe it or not, I was one of the last to leave; not because I am a kind soul and assisted in the clean up; but rather, I was with a large group of women who spoke English. Enough said.

We were required to bring two things that we can’t live without. Anything relating to family and/or scriptures didn’t count. This made things more interesting. Because I want to strengthen and create friendships at Church, I opted to leave the blanket I’ve slept with since childhood, at home and under my pillow where it belongs.

Considering the raccoon circles under my eyes and other ghastly blemishes, I brought my concealer and hand lotion. Andrew has a reputation of hiding my lotion whenever he is bored and looking for an over reaction from the wife.

It’s true – my two choices were boring. Certainly it wasn’t as honest as the women who whipped out cans of diet coke accompanied with a lime. And I think it’s worth mentioning the Sister who proudly declared that she couldn’t live without her Depends. Being the trusting (more like gullible) individual that I am, I totally believed her and was amazed by her honesty…turns out, she was kidding.

Earlier this afternoon, Andrew and Katie took Eliza swimming. Please note the missed button on Andrew's shirt. Meanwhile I met up with a friend of mine who cut my hair. Here’s how my hair looks now. My “plan” (which is subject to change at a moment’s notice) is to grow it out, so she evened things up a bit.

Before the trip to the salon, I had lunch with three of my former college roommates and closest friends: Melissa, Karina & Becca. Laughter was shared, updates on our love lives (well – pretty much only Karina’s) were given, Harry Potter was discussed and sandwiches were devoured. I have to give a “shout out” (whatever that means) to Melissa’s sister in law, Jayne. She sent Melissa a text during lunch to ask for my blog address. She was totally unaware that I was currently with Melissa. That text made me feel like a million bucks.
It’s the simple things like laughing at Enrichment, catching up with friends and a really good hair shampoo at a salon that can really brighten a gal’s day. I am freshened up and ready to be a fun Mom tomorrow. Thanks to Andrew for giving me this time.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Emotionally Wounded

(Author's Note: This entry was written the evening of the 18th. Unfortunately, Andrew and I do not have the Internet, which can making the blogging process a wee bit of a challenge. We are working to rectify this situation!)

Here I sit, in front of the computer… fully intending on writing a blog detailing the adventure of our flight back to Utah. I believe it’s worth sharing and that the interest level would suffice.

However, my eyelids suddenly weigh 25 pounds each and my fingers continue to hit the wrong key. I am past exhaustion. The adrenaline that has propelled me forward reached a screeching halt 2 minutes ago and I don’t think I have it in me to relieve yesterday’s drama.
I will say this. We cried a lot.

Not because our flight was … hang on, I am having a hard time adding the two flight times to give you a combined total. Let’s see, Munich to Atlanta was ten hours… and then two ugly hours on the Atlanta tarmac, followed by an additional 3 hours and twenty excruciating minutes in the air. That is a total of 15.20 minutes sitting on an airplane? Yes, it was rough.

But as I already stated, that’s not why we’ve been crying. We said goodbye to our best friends. I told Andrew that I feel like I am grieving. I am not comparing our feelings to the heart break of losing a loved one, but that’s the word that best describes how I feel. Who knows, maybe I’ll think of a more appropriate word when my brain returns. I think I lost it somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps Andrew said it best. As we unpacked this morning at 3:00 am (it felt like noon to us) he said that he feels like he is missing apart of himself.

The entire Auras family drove us to the airport – the entire family. That gesture meant a lot to us. The actual “goodbye” (here come the tears) and driving down Ermlandweg for the last time was really difficult. In fact, it broke my heart. (Eliza and her entourage enter the airport. "Please, Mom! Could you ask the paparazzi to leave me alone?") Forgive me, I should focus on the positive, like the fact that Eliza was a truly amazing child during our travels (here she is enjoying her 10th round of peek a boo with the family sitting behind us!)
...and the fact that we were on the last row on the plane; which made throwing up while on the airplane super convenient. I appreciated having instant access to the restroom. However, it seems that exhaustion brings out all things emotional in Ali Mays Flegal.

We’ve had some great reunions since our arrival. Andrew’s brother, Mike, greeted us when we landed in SLC (he works for Delta). He was right there and eagerly took our passed out baby into his arms. My parents picked us up, drove our car back to our house last night after dropping us off, stocked our fridge with food and made us this sign (in addition to two others in our house)Oh! I don’t know if I mentioned that the day we flew home was our three-year wedding anniversary. Romance wasn’t our top priority considering the circumstances, so when we arrived home and found a beautiful chocolate cake shaped like a heart waiting for us, we were sincerely touched and grateful for the recognition.
Andrew’s sister Katie made it and believe you me, it was SO delicious and truly aesthetically pleasing. These acts have eased our sadness and reminded us of why we’re grateful to be home.
To our friends in Germany, it was a privilege. We miss you so much that it hurts. I am a huge baby. Goodnight from Salt Lake.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Final Tribute

Allow me to tell you, of a place
That means so much to me
Where we have lived, these past three months
With our small family
It’s a land of uncommon beauty
Where winding rivers greet
And an enchant one’s eye
As rolling green hills, continually meet

Germany, a land of our Fathers
We’ve come to know and love
Spending many days upon your land
Looking up at your skies above Your history, your cities
We’ve come to know them well
Your unique culture and each lesson
We’ll strive to share and tell Munich is lively and vibrant
Regensburg so full of charm
Koln and Bonn, where Andrew served
We walked those streets, arm in arm Historic Vienna and beautiful Salzburg
We’ll never forget your enchanting sites
From fairy tale castles to mesmerizing lakes
The famous Alps with their astonishing height Beyond these well known cities
Is a place that we’ve called home
In an area called Landshut
Our family has dwelt and grown For those of you who aren’t aware
Of the landscape of this area
We’re on an island surrounded by
The divided Isar, in the center of Bavaria Many times, we’ve walked with friends
To the place where the rivers reunite
The Isar spitze is quiet and serene
Through the trees shines in translucent light In Landshut, we’ve been the recipients of
Top-notch hospitality and care
Making new friends who taught us what
It really means to shareWe’ve laughed our way through the summer
Making memories we’ll never forget
Hoping that these bonds won’t break
Ensuring promises will be kept And like the Isar river
Our lives must separate
As our families take a different path
We have faith in each other’s fates But like the scenic Isar spitze
That I briefly described above
Our paths will reunite once more
And we’ll see again, our friends we love As we head in different directions
Please hold safe each memory
And know we’re better because of you.

And grateful for your charity


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vienna

I know that I am all about details - especially if they are unnecessary. However, due to the lack of time we have before we leave, this post will be somewhat meager. I feel bad because Vienna deserves a lot of "blog" time considering it's history and beauty.
Perhaps Eliza will give you a more detailed account in the future. After all, she read every brochure she came in contact with. Monday morning we drove four hours to our destination: the city center. We checked into our hotel which was in the heart of the city. Our hotel room was charming and felt historic. Michael had business to attend too, so we ventured out with Sandra Dengg and her two children: Jacob and Hannah.The day began with a visit to the Opera house and then a stroll through the high end shopping area. We stopped for ice cream along the way. After some more sights, we met up with everyone for a traditional Viennese dinner. I ordered Lasagna. Ha. Day two began with a visit to the Schönbrunn Palace. After three months, I finally made it inside of a castle. It was fabulous and extremely interesting to learn about the different families that lived there. I was so intrigued by one woman in particular: Sisi... that I bought a book about her and read it on the ride home.Before touring the castle, we took a horse/carriage ride through the gardens. It was breath taking. Eliza sat on Andrew's lap, next to the driver. She had a great time as she controlled the reigns. Again, we have loads of great pictures. When I am back in Utah and have nothing to photograph, maybe I can revisit this trip and do it justice. That afternoon, we found ourselves at the Rathouse. There is a film festival going on this week which meant there was a lot of amazing food to choose from in the courtyard. Following lunch, we strolled through the volks garten. The roses made us think of Grandma Flegal. They were surely abundant. We found an area of grass designated for sitting (if you have a child with you). To Eliza's delight, we found a sandbox and fawcett where she played with local toddlers. Check out that full diaper. It was full of water, wee wee and a load of sand that she continually dumped down her chest.
After two days of playing hard, Eliza and her friend Hannah were spent.