We finally made it there together!

Guten Tag!  This time, I am sharing pictures from our trip to Germany!  We finally made it together to see Eric’s brother, Mike, and his family and I got to see where Eric lived and went to school.

It was a wonderful trip and I look forward to returning some day to see more of this beautiful area.  It was pretty, peaceful, clean, and full of DELICIOUS food!  As Dad said when I told him, it has to be a record that I liked EVERYTHING I tried.  I now know why Eric feels the need to try every German restaurant he can find!

There aren’t many pictures of our nephews.  For our weekend of touring, the older 2 were at Boy Scout camp and for our touring during the week, all three were at school.  I never could get a picture of our oldest nephew, Jonathan, but I guess that’s how it goes.

I am having trouble again with posting pictures here.  The pictures are in reverse order (and some are out of order) and I cannot figure out how to correct this.  I see online that this is a common problem, but I see no efficient solution to it, so I’m leaving it!  So… I’m going to take you on our journey BACKWARDS!!!  🙂  I hope it works.

This is the right spot for the picture.  This is the view from my seat after we landed in Frankfurt.  Good morning Germany!IMG_4815

This is the base chapel where Eric’s family went to church.  Mike and his family go there now and our sister-in-law, Kim, is the worship leader.1976882_719250764793948_476807235_n

Our nephew, Daniel.  This is how he posed.  I promise I didn’t ask him to put an Easter egg in his mouth.  😀IMG_5331

Eric, doing his most favorite pose for the camera, alongside our nephew, RyanIMG_5330

This is Mike paying for the tulips he picked at a roadside garden.  It operates on the honor system.  IMG_5328 IMG_5325 IMG_5323

Downtown Kaiserslautern.  This is “the big city” and where Eric’s high school is located.  IMG_5321

The big church in KaiserslauternIMG_5317

Kaiserslautern High School – where Eric went to schoolIMG_5307

Eric and Mike at the school sign.  This is their last chance as a new school is being built.IMG_5310

We were fortunate to connect with a high school friend of Eric’s who still lives there!  He and his wife are American, but they love it there so much they came back to raise their family.IMG_5306

Mike and Eric at the end of their “Sommer Rodelbahn,” or summer slide ride.  You sit in the cars and a cable takes you to the top of the hill.  From there it is a giant metal slide that has curves.  You can see Mike here pushing the handles forward to go faster!IMG_5302 IMG_5301 IMG_5295

We were fortunate to get to take a side trip to France with our sister-in-law.  We only got a quick glance at this cemetery, as we arrived at closing time. IMG_5281The prettiest ice cream cone I’ve ever seenIMG_5273

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (France)

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The outdoor seating you see is where we enjoyed our lunchIMG_5214

Our sister-in-law, Kim, and me in front of the CathedraleIMG_5192 IMG_5181

Turn right to drive to Paris!IMG_5160

For you beer drinkers, a hops fieldIMG_5159

French countrysideIMG_5148

The Citadel in Bitche, France (yes, the boys like to talk about this particular city)IMG_5156

Eric and me in front of Heidelberg Castle – Heidelberg, GermanyIMG_5106.jpg2

A real life treasure chest!  Note the locking mechanisms in the lid.IMG_5096

The area they would fill with water when a moat was needed, though this particular one did not hold water very well.  Wah, wah, wah….IMG_5092

The pump that runs the world’s largest wine barrelIMG_5093

Eric standing in front of the world’s largest wine barrel.  If I remember right, I think they said it took over 400 trees to make this.IMG_5104

Heidelberg, GermanyIMG_5088 IMG_5083

This is on the path to walk up to the castle, but we walked A LOT of paths during our week that looked like this.IMG_5077

Looking up at Heidelberg CastleIMG_5071

The drawbridge on another castle we touredIMG_5046

Kim and Daniel.  This is to show that we not only walked a lot of steep terrain, but we climbed a lot of narrow stairways! IMG_5036

Another castle along the Rhine RiverIMG_5022

A cigarette machine that has been fitted with a card reader.  We saw several of these and I did notice cigarette smoke everywhere we went like I haven’t in a L-O-N-G time.IMG_4993

Daniel skipping rocks into the RhineIMG_4969

Typical looking house.  Eric has an uncanny ability to find this style house everywhere we go in the states and now I know why for sure!IMG_4965

Along the RhineIMG_4961

I wonder what Eric did THIS time?!IMG_4930

Daniel and KimIMG_4924

Mike and Eric.  The boys were a little freaked out about how much they looked alike.IMG_4913

The Rhine RiverIMG_4908 IMG_4892 IMG_4906

This castle was built alongside natural stoneIMG_4884

Daniel and KimIMG_4885

Eric at his town rockIMG_4872

Fortunately, we were able to surprise the Curtis’ former neighbors!IMG_4868

This is the bell tower in Eulenbis that Eric would retreat to when he wanted to be alone… or he was HIDING FROM HIS PARENTS!!!!IMG_4865

The cave they used to play in and around.  Sadly it has caved in, so he didn’t get very far this trip.  We’re curious about that chair and other things around it.  Now, looking at the picture, it looks like it could be booby trapped!  😀IMG_4862

The tower that people associate with Eulenbis.  I’ve heard Eric explain to people familiar with Germany that he lived in the town with the tower on the top of the hill.IMG_4853

The Curtis’ old houseIMG_4852

German countrysideIMG_4845

A pretty cemetery nearby.  I learned that people actually only rent space in cemeteries.  It sounds like you get it for 25 years, but you have the option of renting it for longer periods of time.  I remarked that the stones and the general upkeep and care of all the spaces we saw were impressive.  This is all taken care of by the deceased’s family and  Mike explained that your “stay” could be shortened if it is not taken care of properly.  When your time is up, they exhume the body, cremate it, and place it in a building on the grounds.IMG_4844

This is Eric’s bus stop.  He says that the third door is painted the same as it looked when he waited on that bus!IMG_4840

Every little town has their own WWI and II memorialsIMG_4836

This is how they sign that you are leaving one town and entering anotherIMG_4832

This is Kim and Mike’s houseIMG_4828

The street leading up to Mike and Kim’s house – the street name is “Wackenberg” (I love that name).  Notice how neat and clean it is?!  Everyone is responsible for keeping the street in front of their house clean.  I saw many a resident out and sweeping the street and curb with their hand brush and dust pan.IMG_4829

A military plane coming in for a landing at Ramstein Air Force BaseIMG_4823

The memorial to the Flugtag disaster in 1988.  This was the incident when planes collided during an air show and killed 3 pilots and 67 spectators, seriously injuring 346 .  Eric and his family were nearby.IMG_4821 IMG_4816

We got to re-connect with Eric’s brother and his family, see a lot, eat a lot, and I learned a lot.  We hope to go back there again someday (not waiting another almost 20 years) and see more of Germany and the areas around it.  Any one going with us next time?

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Quick catch up!

It’s been a while since I’ve last updated so I thought I would make a summary post for a quick catch up.

Some highlights…

We celebrated our niece, Julia, turning 3 with a princess party!


Julia had a little bit of a bloody lip from it cracking.  She wouldn’t take the tissue out of her mouth for quite a while.  😀


We traveled to Santa Clara for a travel show.  The convention center holding the show is next to the new stadium for the 49ers.


We saw Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel…


And Rick Steves, an expert in travel in Europe.


Eric and Karl’s aunt and uncle, from their mother’s side, visited for a weekend and we spent most of it in the city.

This is the Cable Car Museum.  This pic shows the pulleys that operate the cables for the cars still running.


Here’s a car coming out of the garage


We also…

drove down the steepest street…


creeped slowly down the crookedest street…


and ate lunch at Boudin, where they specialize in sourdough.  Yum!


We visited the arcade museum where you can play all the games!


We spotted an outdoor gym in Golden Gate Park… oh California…


Eric and I took a small hike down to the ocean’s edge at Lands End park with Julia.


Here are the wild waves at Lands End


The Japanese Tea Garden in San Mateo.  Here, Julia and Evan, are enjoying the fish.


Cutie Julia


Evan playing with bubbles


Cutie Evan and his momma


Aunt Terry, Uncle Dennis, and the kids at Fisherman’s Wharf


Sibling love


As for us…

The doggies are doing well.  They sure love this sunny, warm weather and being able to keep the door open for instant access to the yard!  We’re still working on keeping Iden strong and healthy, but she’s still kickin’!  We are back to dog sitting so they are getting lots of playtime!

Eric’s job is still going well and he is finishing up a continuing education course in something that has to do with his job.  (No, I don’t know how else to explain it)  🙂

My license came through for physical therapy, so now I can start looking.  Who knows whether I’ll end up in a PT job as I’m not finding exciting choices currently, but at least I’m official and I’m ready when/if something comes up!

Either way, my job has to wait until April because… we are headed to Germany!  Eric’s brother and family are leaving Germany in July and this is our last chance, so here we go!  I’ll finally get to see Eric’s hometown!  I KNOW I’ll have lots of pictures when we get back to stay tuned!

Until next time!  🙂


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Taking a walk in the city

This weekend, Eric and I ventured into the city.  We ended up walking about 13 miles total between getting to and from the train and around San Francisco!  Don’t worry… we won’t make our visitors hoof it like this!

Here is AT&T Park where the Giants play

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For those of you who watch “Shipping Wars,” here is the orange statue of Willie Mays that Roy shipped after cutting it apart!IMG_4204

A sculpture named, “Sea Change.”  It is done by an artist who was critically injured in a construction accident and turned to art full-time out of necessity when he recovered.  IMG_4205

The Bay BridgeIMG_4214

Another sculpture, “Cupid’s Span,” sits in a parkIMG_4212

The sea lions at Pier 39.  I read that they started “hauling out” here in 1989 after an earthquake.  I learned that “hauling out” is what sea lions do to rest from their life in the water, where they mate, relax, hide from predators, and have social time together.
They were so cute and very loud!IMG_4241

Fisherman’s Wharf.  There are a lot of restaurants, shops, and a few street musicians here.IMG_4249 IMG_4248

The picture is blurry, but here is another reason why it is so expensive here!

“A 3.5% assessment is added to each check to help fund San Francisco mandated employment costs.”  Is this what’s going to happen if they continue to raise minimum wage?!

The Golden Gate BridgeIMG_4252

Ghirardelli Square.  We didn’t go there on this day, but we’ve been there on previous visits and this is a GREAT place for yummy ice cream and, of course, delicious chocolate.  Our visitors will probably be dragged here!IMG_4254


Some interesting art on these homesIMG_4257

The Transamerica Pyramid.  This is the tallest skyscraper in San Franscisco.IMG_4261

Chinatown.  What a mess this place was.  It was so crowded you just had to go with the flow and let the crowd carry you.  There was LOTS of laundry out on the line like this!IMG_4260

After looking at the side walk on the other side of the street, I’m realizing we walked down the WRONG side!  Where’s the sea of people we experienced?IMG_4259

So this was our day of walking.  Our feet were tired, but we saw a lot!

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Christmastime in Cali

We had our first Christmas in California.  The weather sure didn’t make it feel like it should be time for Christmas, but it looked like it otherwise!

We got out to see the community Christmas tree lighting.  Here is a shot of the main street.


Some carolers on stage and ready to light the tree!IMG_3983

The sledding hill.  They brought in “snow” for the occasion, but it looked and felt more like slushy ice.IMG_3991 IMG_3990

The Christmas tree.  I guess you do with what you’ve got to work with…  IMG_4002 IMG_3997

Even though there were still boxes around to deal with, I still got some decorations up around the house.

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Eric got into the Christmas spirit too!IMG_3976

This is a little craft I did with Julia and Evan as a gift for their momma.  It’s their handprints made into snowmen. IMG_4005 IMG_4006We also got out to the German Festival, but it was packed so tight in there we didn’t stay long.


So these are some of the highlights of our December.  Now on to Christmas in Ohio for me and 2014!

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California – Week 2

Hello from sunny California!

The weather here has been fantastic!  Sunny and warm, but not too much of either!

I don’t have much of an update, but here’s what I have in this, our second week here.  We are still searching for a rental to live in.  The market is extremely tight and the house showings we’ve attended are pretty cut throat.  I can see where there is the potential for a lot of nastiness between prospective tenants.  Eric and I, of course, refuse to behave this way and know that we will find a place, a place meant for us.

We’ve gotten to see Eric’s brother and family several times already.  Here are our niece and nephew and the banner they made with the help of their very creative and thoughtful mother.  Most of you may not know this, but they call Eric “Uncle Monkey.”  During a conversation on Skype one evening, he put his gorilla mask on while talking to Julia and, at first, she seemed amused, but this quickly went south and “Uncle Monkey” was born.


Last week, we celebrated our 16th anniversary.  I just can’t believe it!  We spent the evening looking at another house and then going out to eat at Black Angus Steakhouse, courtesy of Uncle Keith and Kristy.  Yum!


Whew!  Terrible lighting, but here we are getting ready to enjoy our celebratory cheesecake.  Yes, Eric let me pick.  🙂


The doggies are doing great.  You can tell they are a little unsure of their surroundings and are being a little “clingy,” but overall still they’re still their wonderful selves.  Here’s a picture of them trying to push the other out of the doggy bed next to me.


Iden won.  🙂

Eric is still enjoying his job and is finding fun things about what he is doing.  For example, if any of you come up with something crazy in your search results on amazon.com, he’s your guy!

I’m still waiting to hear from the California Board of PT as to whether they got my application and whether I can sit for the state board exam in January.  I’m looking forward to finding a place so I can work on getting it set up and finding a fun seasonal job close by to do until my license comes through.

I think that’s all from us.  Thank you all again for your continued love and prayers!

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Moving to California!


Here are some pics from our pack up in Seattle and road trip to California…

Here is Fritz hanging out on the couch while we were waiting for the movers to arrive.  Image

The most amusing part of the move.  Watching the fear in the eyes of 5 guys when the thought of moving Eric’s motorcycle into that trailer crossed their minds, but… they did it!



Our last experience with Seattle traffic!


Our last look at Mt. Rainier


Leaving Washington and entering Oregon


Just an interesting sign we saw along the way.  I don’t know why… 🙂


Driving through Oregon was beautiful…




Hello California!


The dogs were GREAT, but getting tired of the ride from the looks on their faces here!



The scenery in California was not as pretty and it was rather boring to drive through


Still tired of being in the back of the car (Fritz was very entertaining to us)


Our first look at the San Francisco Bay


Our temporary housing… I am posting this many pictures mainly for Mom.  Hi Mom!  🙂





Thank you all again for your prayers in our journey.  We had an extremely smooth move to get here and we are very grateful for this.  Please continue to pray that we find the house right for us to rent as this is a complicated endeavor here. 

More adventures to come!

Love and blessings to you all!

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