January 30, 2009


I know I'm a little late in posting this, but our family has been bitten by the strep throat bug.
Wow.  I had forgotten how it can bring me to my knees!  

Anyways, last week we were able to enjoy some (rare) snow.  When I raised the blinds that morning I was first struck by the quiet serenity. Secondly, I was reminded of the fact that this snow was a gift from God.  As much as we try to control the world around us, there are some things that only He is in control of... like snow.  I felt like a little girl that had just been given a gift from her daddy.  An unexpected gift.

Speaking of daddys, here is my sweet dad playing with his grandson in the snow.  I'm not sure who had more fun.  Silly boys!
And this daddy rocks!  He was the hero for his kids and the cool dad of the neighborhood.  His specialty: sled rides behind the 4wheeler!

January 26, 2009


Ciao!  Welcome to Italy, our last stop on the European tour.  While this is our last official tour day, I am sure that some more of my favorite pictures will find their way to the blog.

Our time in Italy was spent in Tuscany, which included these beautiful vineyards, San Gimignano, Pisa, Siena, and Florence.  In Florence, we hung out with Michalangelo,  DaVinci and all their buds.  

This is a famous courtyard/building in Siena.  We were told that a scene from the new James Bond movie was shot here, on the top of this building.  Anyone recognize it?  I haven't seen the movie yet.

Since it was winter, most of the landscape was barren.  However, the olive trees were still flourishing.  They are everywhere!  Next time you cook with EVOO, think of these beauties.

Look at these to crazies.  Standing in the rain eating...

What better way to end our tour of Europe with a little dessert?!  This stuff comes in every flavor imaginable.  It is so beautifully displayed that I wanted to eat it all... even cantaloupe, which I don't even like.  We were so desperate to taste this delicacy, that we stood out in the cold rain and enjoyed every bite.

Ponte Vecchio
One of Italy's most famous bridges, it crosses the Arno River in Florence.  It is one of the few that didn't get destroyed in WWII.  See those little houses that are on the bridge?  Those are actually jewelry stores.  Each side of the pedestrian bridge is lined with gold, gems and diamonds in every window.  

I come from a long line of strong women, see?
She can hold up the tower with one hand!

I couldn't believe how much the tower actually leans.  It has shifted 5 meters at the top! 

Check out this market.  It is one of the largest fresh food markets in Florence.  Can you imagine shopping like this each day?  The Italians (and many Europeans in large cities) shop on a daily basis, rather than weekly like myself.  While we loved the authenticity, it made me appreciate Super Target and Super Walmart, the one-stop-wonders.
It reminded me of a farmers market (indoors).  There were tons of butchers.  The meat looked so fresh!  I caught a glimpse of some very unappetizing creatures from the sea, though.  We spent over an hour in the market.  We were able to bring home a treasure from here... porchini mushrooms!  

Thank you for joining me on this whirlwind tour.  I hope you've enjoyed it (almost) as much as I have. =)  


January 25, 2009

Sunday Rest

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1John 1:9

January 21, 2009

European Delights

Need I say more?

My manly man would have loved this outdoor German grill!  Just look at all that meat!

Truly one of the best things I ate in Germany.  This pretzel was soft and filled with real butter.

This was considered an 'oversized' car.  The three of us barely crammed all of our luggage in.  In fact, we couldn't have fit a 4th person, as their seat was filled with an oversized backpack.

Apparently we grow them big in the US.  Hehe!  My mom is only 5'3, so we got a kick out of the tiny door inside the city gate from the 1400's.

Some things never change.  Giving my brother a trim before he headed back to base.

This was our 6th try in holding the camera just right to capture the leaning tower of Pisa behind our heads.  We thought if we held our heads down, then the tower would be more visible. Uhh... not quite.

See, we are giants!  Look at my hand next to a 'decaf coffee' in Italy.  My poor mom ordered this on a cold, wet day, ready to sit and savor the cup.  Unfortunately, it is a one-shot-wonder.  However, since it had the consistency of syrup, she couldn't choke it down in 'one shot.'

This is the German word for EXIT, and it is everywhere.
It made my brother and I laugh hysterically.
(Some of us just never grow up.)

This is the German word for ENTRANCE.
More uproarious laughter ensued.

January 18, 2009

Germany 2

Prayer alert:  My precious brother had a skiing accident yesterday.  Split his head like a melon, six inch gash.  He is doing well, but the pictures he sent were too R rated (for violence) to share on the blog.  Plus it makes me gag to look at them.  It was quite a wound, as even the locals wanted to take a picture.  Ironically, he was headed down the mountain to purchase a helmet.  Lesson learned, for all of us.  Thank you for your prayers for his safety... we never know when we might need them most.
I wasn't quite done with the tour of Germany.  C'mon, give a little ... I'm narrowing it down from about 900 pictures.  These were some that I just couldn't pass up.

This was our ADORABLE little hotel in the oldest walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  It was so quaint and authentic!  See how it just nestles in the old city wall?

Starbucks: Heidelburg,Germany
Ahhh...yes.  After 6 days of touring and fun, we found something that reminded us of home.
My brother said it was the first smell that reminded him of America.  I was a little nervous when I asked if they had skim milk and she smiled and said, 'jes, ve have skin mielk'.  I was hoping that skim and skin were the same thing.  And they were.  Did you know that a german Grande Skim Chai tastes the same as the one back home?  That's quality control!
This is the beautiful city of Heidelburg.  We had so much fun touring the castle ruins and walking the streets, watching people.  We also enjoyed some yummy street food here.

And just in case you were wondering, yes, we did the Autobahn.  I have proof, see:
It was .... fast!

The german highway system has it right.  I believe the D.O.T needs to take a field trip over there and learn some things.  

January 15, 2009


Ready for some more travels?  Let's go to Salzburg, Austria today.   Isn't the photo above just so picturesque?  I took this from atop the Salzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg).  It is one of my favorite photos from the trip.

Even the snow was beautiful.

You need to know that America does not celebrate New Year's Eve the way Europeans do.
It is one rockin' (family friendly) party!  We couldn't believe the thousands of people celebrating on the riverbank.  Everyone carried an armload of fireworks.  Even the kids had craklers and cigarette lighters.  Made me more nervous than a cat on ice.  

One of my mom's favorite things in life is a fireworks display.  This was the mac daddy celebration.  It was so fun to watch her enjoy the spectacle of light.

In my last post, I referred to "The Sound of Music."  Does the picture above look familiar?  Okay, imagine that it is, say, May rather than January.  Now does it look familiar?  The scene of Maria running along the riverbank was filmed here!  Before you S.o.M. fans get too excited, we did not do the official S.o.M. tour.  It was a 4 hour trip.  That wasn't on the top 10 list for my military brother.

It truly is a beautiful city...

especially at night.

Another shot of the beautiful river.

I just had to include this last picture.  I have a time-honored endearment for little old men.  I discovered this adorable ol' chap playing life-size chess in the town square.  Isn't he precious?
He had a fancy feather on the other side of his hat.  I would have brought him home for dinner, if I could have fit him in my suitcase!

Bring your passport ... we still have some more beautiful places to visit! 
Pasta anyone?

January 13, 2009


I've been away.  A long way away.  Germany to be exact.
Among other places, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

First of all, I want to say that I just spent 2 AMAZING weeks with my mom.  Two weeks is a long time to spend with anyone, but we had a ball.  What a blessing to have such a precious mom and enjoy such a unique relationship with her.  She has done a wonderful job of nurturing me without being pushy.  And that, my friends, has resulted in being able to spend two weeks together without one single spat.  

Okay.  Now for pictures.  Well, first let me say, that I feel kinda funny posting pictures of my vacation.  Seriously.  All of those quips about watching other people's vacation slides is haunting me.  However, I have had several friends ask me to post pictures.  
So go put on a tacky Hawaiian shirt and we will be tourists together.  
Our first stop in Germany was to visit this little cabin-in-the-woods.

This is the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, built by the eccentric King Ludwig of Bavaria.  It is my understanding that Cinderella's castle at Disneyland was designed to look like this place.
I'm all about some history, so here's a little tidbit:  
The crazy king spent all of the government's money creating this little getaway place for himself.  
Lesson:  Selfishness never pays off.  He only lived in the castle for 6 weeks before his untimely death and only 1/3 of the castle was ever completed.

Bear with me.  That's all of the history lesson for today.  I promise.

No, this is not crazy King Ludwig.  This, is the reason for going to Germany in the first place.  To visit my adorable little brother.  He is checking out the view from the castle's courtyard.
Isn't that door so neat-o?
The town of Fussen is just a few minutes away from the castle.  If you ever go to Germany, I highly recommend this quaint little town.  Just look at that street.  Look and my cute mom, too.  She looks kinda cold.  Hmm... maybe because it was 12 degrees.  Good thing I love cold weather!
Here is a pic of the two world travelers.  If you look closely, right above my head, you will see that little cabin I was talking about.
Hotel Muller is the place to stay if you are ever there.  I mean, who gets to eat breakfast and gaze at the mothership castle?  
That's my cute mom and handsome brother again.  For those of you who know us, I knew you would appreciate some pics of him.  Thanks for all of your prayers while he serves our country.  
Next post we will visit Austria.  If you are snoring right now, I understand.  However, if you happen to be a fan of The Sound of Music, then I have a treat for you!


January 11, 2009

Sunday Rest

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
1 Chronicles 29:11

January 8, 2009

For my Kiddos

This is a great big hug for the sweetest, most precious kids in the world.  I love you each DEARLY and I miss you.  I can't wait to see you in two days and wrap my arms around each of you.  

I've missed my little man's snuggles, my youngest daughter's laughter, and my oldest daughter's hugs.  You are the greatest gift that daddy and I have ever received.  What a blessing you are to us in so many ways.  I LOVE being your mommy.  It is the best job in the world!

Remember to be kind to each other. 
Give daddy a special hug for me.

I'll see you in just 2 days!!!!
All my love and hugs and kisses,

January 4, 2009

Sunday Rest

Happy Birthday, Dad!
I love you!!!
My grace is sufficient for you,
My power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year from Austria!

Looking back over the year 2008, I have so much to be thankful for:

1. A healthy family
2. A happy home
3. My precious (and oh-so-talented) Manly Man
4. A trip to Disney World with my parents
5. No leg surgeries for my hubby
6. A lesson in money management
7. My growing relationship with the Creator of all
8. Enjoying my parents
9. My relationship with my in-laws
10. The blessing of my new bloggy friends as well as my dear real-life friends!

Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Savor every moment.