Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friends Before You Were Born.

Never were truer words spoken for Carter and Noah.

Carter's Mom, Ellen, and I met at the pool on Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri in May of 1999. We were both pregnant with boys. Soon after that meeting our family began attending the same church as Ellen's family. The boys were born 3 months apart, Carter in July and Noah in October. Ellen and I have remained quite close through all the years and our boys have grown up together, counting each other as something more like cousins than friends. Here are Carter and Noah in June of 2000 as babies, and on March 31st, 2007; 7 years later at age 8.















Now, I would be remiss if I forgot to mention 2 other VERY important brothers that are also included in everything Noah and Carter do.... Heath (Carter's older brother) and Micah (Noah's younger brother) are just as close and have known each other most of their lives as well. Here they are playing Star Wars Lego's on our recent visit, one of their most favorite things to do together.

Heath, Carter, Noah, and Micah (w/muffin bear)

All smiles

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Of Sledding and Flat Tires

This has been the mildest winter I think I have ever seen. We never had any accumulation that lasted more than an hour and we never even had a hard freeze. Then after a week of mid-60's temperatures (where we had put away winter coats, mittens, and boots) the report came. Snow... snow was coming. Warnings were issued for March 22nd. at first it was 8", then 6", then 4"... and then finally a few showers fell in the area, but nothing stuck. It was mostly mixed with rain and so 3 sad faces sat staring out the window at the slush with their boots dug out of hiding and scarves wrapped around their necks.

Then on Friday I received a call from my friend Michele. She lives about 30 miles from me. She had been laid up all week with some bad migraines. Through the course of our conversation I learned that her town had received about a foot of snow so far, it was still falling, and more was being predicted!! She said that her 4 kids were playing in the yard, but wanted to go to a nearby hill to sled, but she (Michele) just did not feel up to getting outside. I quickly jumped at the chance! I told her I would be there as quick as we could pull on our boots. As we got further and further out it was like a different world was beginning to take shape. We left our gray and rainy village with the first flowers of spring in bloom.... we began to see little patches of white, a flake or two mixed in with the rain would fall - and then we went up a hill, around a bend and Noah said, "oh look we're in Narnia now!" That is exactly what it looked like too! Big fluffy flakes were falling, the trees were COVERED with snow and there was at least 1 foot or more on the ground.
After we arrived eight of us trudged about a half mile walk through the forest to the sledding hills. The littlest sledders, Hannah and Micah, hitched a ride on a sled for most of the way (and my back has just now recovered). We spent a good hour and a half sledding down the steep hills. Once we had blazed the trail the kids were catching some serious speed. Their expressions were mingled with excitement / fear like those of a rider on a roller coaster. I couldn't capture them as they zipped by with my poorly equipped camera, but I got a few decent shots of the kids.Sarah took Micah down as Rebekah looks on. Micah only went down the hill 2 times. He had more fun having a snow ball fight with Rebekah and eating snow!!
Rachel and Noah are about the same age and really enjoyed one anothers company as they found they could get better speed if they went down the hill together. Here they are stopped by a bank, but the camera focused!!
After we arrived back to the homestead the kids played in the yard making forts and throwing snowballs until one by one they succumbed to the cold and promise of a hot beverage. We stayed and played inside to warm up for a little while and then wanted to head home before more snow fell as well as the temperatures. About halfway home we had a little bit of a mishap (and you need not comment, Bob, I can already hear you in my head). I wanted to take a picture of a funny sign, so I pulled over to the side of the road and accidentally grazed my tire on the guard rail. hisssssssssss........I had a flat tire and 3 stranded kids.
Thanks to a nice little old Oma who stopped to tell me where I was and ADAC (aka "the yellow angels", Germany's equivalent of triple A) We were back on the road in just under an hour. Not exactly the perfect ending to our fun snow filled day, and I never did end up getting the funny picture because I was distracted by my flat tire, but we sure had an adventure!!



The little yellow angel mobile and our ADAC "Hero"!!


Friday, March 23, 2007

New House Pictures

Here are some pictures of our new house. The first photo is of the foyer area as you walk in the front door. HI LUKE AND BETH!! (Amy's kids). Directly to the right is a small 1/2 bath. The door on the right that you can see in this picture is a nice walk-in pantry. to the Left across from the pantry is the kitchen (pictured).








As you walk through the foyer you enter the great room(living/dining). The first shot is from the foyer door and the second shot is taken from the far left-hand corner of the room. If you look at the shot taken from the foyer you can see the deck. Here is a picture of what the deck looks out on.
Pretty Awesome view, huh? To the right as you walk through the foyer is the stairway leading up and down stairs.
Upstairs there is the nice FULL bath which also includes a shower (can not see from picture). The smaller room (Micah is in that photo) is where I think we will put Sarah. She originally was going to have the bigger bedroom, but now she says she wants the smaller room, "It will be like my fort!". Then you can see Sarah in the smaller bedroom. There is also a master bedroom on this floor, but I did not photograph it,














Here is a picture as you walk down stairs from the stairway in the living room. Because this family is getting ready to PCS their basement is organizing central for all things. I did not want to photograph her boxes and things, so I didn't really get a shot of these rooms, except the laundry room, because I am terribly excited about it. Okay, so here is what is downstairs.
The door that Sarah is standing in front of is a basement room suitable for storage and tools. The door that Rob is standing in front of is the laundry room (see picture). Directly past Rob at the far end of the room is a bathroom with shower. across the hall, there is a door that little Beth and her blue balloon are coming out of. That is a nice big room that has a glass door that walks out to the back yard. This will be the guest/play room. Also, there is another long skinny room that also has a glass door leading outside. It is between the bathroom and play room. This will be the stamp and/or class room.
We have to wait to see how much furniture will fit where before we finalize some of out decisions. But there is is in a nut shell. Thanks to Amy and her kids for being so willing to let us come look and take pictures.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

TEN YEARS, BABY!!

We just hit a milestone in our Air Force career. On Tuesday Rob officially marked 10 years in active duty service. He celebrated by testing for tech on Monday (ever the party animal). Because his career field is merging, his test was PFE only (for you civilians just keep nodding and smiling and pretend) which they make harder since you do not have to take any tests on your SKT's. Even though he spent weeks studying and preparing it was a hard test, and he came home looking haggard and shell-shocked. He will not find out the results until summer, he said he did his best and it's in God's hands now. Recently Rob received his German ham-radio license. He will be getting a new radio soon and is really excited to try and organize and English speaking ham-radio club over here. He has connected with a few Americans living over here that are also licensed and hopes to create more interest in the hobby.
Another major development in the lives of Murphy's..... we're moving!! I did not want to post anything on this blog until we knew for sure, but now it is certain (and eminent!!) You may be reading this saying to yourself, "I thought she had just written that their time in Germany was extended?" You're right! IT WAS! Once we found out we were being extended here we put out feelers for a different house to rent. A couple from our church that is PCS'ing offered us first "dibs" on their house and we jumped at he chance. The NEW house has many pluses that will make this move totally worth it, but as it is with any amount of change there are certain comforts that we will be giving up when we leave here. We are trading our wonderful land lords for a property manager, cable modem for DSL, and the bedrooms are a lot smaller in the new house. On the flip side of that coin though we do gain about 11 square meters and I think it is probably all bathroom!! Those of you who have been to my house all just said, "Oh that's so great, they needed that!!" We also gain a yard that is all our own even though it is a little smaller. We will not be on such a busy street.. Oh and Rob wants to make sure I add that there is a deck right off the living room that looks out onto a beautiful hill where animals often run by, there he will sit with his German beer and a gas grill. The NEW house is just that, newer. There is a lot more natural light in it, a dishwasher (which I haven't had in 10 years), storage space, a driveway, and no lime green and yellow tile (although that's kind of grown on me now)
Now that is is official, we have signed the lease and given our current land lords notice, the kids and I are going to go there on Friday to visit with Amy and her kids. I have seen the house, but only at night, and so we are anxious to see the neighborhood in the day light. Hopefully she won't mind if I take some pictures to post on here. Our move is scheduled to take place the last week in April.
Another noteworthy change is something I have decided to take on. I know, I know many of you are shaking your headss because you have said that if I take on one more thing my head may implode! But this is different, this is just for fun and just for me (and maybe for Sarah a little bit, too). I am going to be a Stampin' Up demonstrator. You've all seen the cards I hand make and know that scrapbooking is a passion of mine. Maybe I can turn it into a lucrative business or maybe I will just fill out my supply closet... who knows? Right now I am just getting all the initial paperwork and ordering done. I do not plan to really make a go of it until autumn.
Speaking of autumn! There's more exciting news there! Recently both Rob's Mom (and husband, Lee) and my parents have purchased tickets to come and visit us this autumn! We are super excited to host them. My parents will be visiting for the 3rd time and Rob's Mom is making her debut in Europe!! Tickets are very reasonable right now (if I purchase them through a German travel agency over here) and I won't give you specifics, but let's just say that 2 tickets, round trip, with only one connection cost UNDER $1,000 (US DOLLARS!!). Not to tempt you or anything, but it is Europe. COME ON OVER!!
A fun story (and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing) but when I asked Rob's Mom, Ann, what she would like to see while she was over here she replied, "Well, I would like to see at least one castle." Umm, yeah, I don't think that will be a problem!! (those of you stationed or having ever been stationed understand that)
So a busy autumn for us, but the kids are beside themselves with excitement! We want to show Ann and Lee the Bavarian Alps near Austria; and with my parents we plan to drive to the North. My Dad will visit the region where he was born and grew up for the first time since he was 10 years old. Amazing.
One thing their visits do effect though, is our school. We are going to try our best to finish up this school year (Sarah, 6th and Noah, 2nd) by the end of May, maybe early June. We will take about 4 - 6 weeks off and then start the next school year mid to late July so that we can take lots of time off when the grandparents are here. We are still going to use the Abeka curriculum, but we are switching over to a DVD program for Sarah. It is quite a bit more expensive, but we feel it will be well worth it for her. Next year Noah will be a third grader and Micah will start the Kindergarten curriculum so it just didn't seem like I would be able to divide my time fairly and equally between the 3 of them. That's not fair to Sarah, she is always sacrificing one-on-one learning time with me because her brothers need more attention. She is incredibly independent but the subject matter is getting too hard for her to try and accomplish all on her own. We think that the DVD will help us find a good balance between still being an independent home schooler, yet having professional instruction as well.
Well, that's all the time I have for today. As you can see we are still keeping busy and happy and healthy. I will try to post some pictures this weekend of the new house and some of our adventures in packing. Thanks for reading and keeping up with our family.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Change on Gossamer Wings

"There's still time to change the road you're on"

I have heard that change comes slowly - over time. Time can change things, circumstances, hearts, etc. with patience. It seemed like change crept quietly around our walls, lurking in corners; taunting us with its promises, its frustration. Now all of a sudden (and on the smallest pay period of the year, I might add) it has JUMPED out of the dark recesses of our basement and shouted, "HERE I COME! READY OR NOT, I AM HERE!!"
Rob is riding the waves, pitching and turning, going with the flow and saying, "all will be well." AND he is doing this having given up Mountain Dew for Lent. No kidding, he hasn't had a Mountain Dew since February 21st. The voice of calm in the storm that is my impatience, my worry, and my nerves. I'd suggest that giving up Mt. Dew may be why he was able to be so calm, but you all know differently. After his headaches stopped he's just the same as he ever was, without his caffeine crutch.
Anyway, watch for updates.

StatCounter