Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Summer

Well, this summer turned out to be a lot different than anticipated.  The death of my dad has shaken me up pretty bad.  I am so thankful that my entire family got to spend time with him this summer.  We spent three weeks with him in Germany.  At that time we were all still under the impression that his weakness was the side effects from the last treatment he had and not the progression of his cancer.  He spend a lot of time in the hospital while we were there, but we got to visit him a lot.

These pictures are from the day we got there.  Hannah was playing hairdresser with my dad.  They had such a special relationship.  Hannah has been sad about his passing, but she also says that "at least he is not sick anymore".  Hannah talks about him a lot and I saw her pray the other night and asked her what she was praying about.  She said she was just talking to God and asked him how Opa was doing.  While we were eating lunch the other day Hannah was talking about how it is sad for Oma that she has to eat all by herself  now,  but then she said "at least Oma gets the comfy chair in the living room now".  Its amazing to watch kids deal with a situation like this.  She fully understands and is sad, but she also always looks for the good in every situation or the good that makes her feel better.  

My dad was so proud of his grandchildren and loved to hear all of their stories.  He kept telling everybody a few Evan stories while we were there.  Evan had heard us say a couple of times that the internet wasn't working right so he said "Oh I opened up the internet and there were three motors in it and one wasn't working, so I fixed it".  He definitely doesn't get his imagination from me.
Evan came with me to the main train station in Cologne to pick up Ashley (she came for my brothers wedding) and Evan saw a train sitting at the station.  He asked where it was going and I told him that I don't know.  Then he said "Oh I just talked to the pilot and he said it was just a test ride and he doesn't have any passengers and is not going anywhere".  He has been telling quite a few funny stories lately.

My dad was sitting in the living room and saw Nora just grab a Schnitzel and starting to eat it, so he wanted me to take a picture of it.  He thought it was funny that his granddaughter is eating an entire Schnitzel with her hands.
Another one of my dads favorite stories from this summer was when Nora and Annabelle fought over a level.  It made him happy that his granddaughters were fighting over a tool.  They were both pulling on it from both sides and were both screaming.  

My plan was to go back to Germany at the end of August to spend some more time with my dad.  Sadly he passed away a lot sooner than expected.  During our stay it became a lot more apparent that my dads cancer was progressing.  It is never easy to lose a loved one even if you know it is coming.  It does not make it any easier.  My dad lived with cancer for almost six years and did not have many "restrictions".  He moved to palliative care a few days after we left and spent his last days there.  They took really good care of him.  They were still talking about being able to bring him home when his conditioned drastically worsened overnight.  I left the next day to fly to Germany to see him, but did not make it home in time to see him one last time.  I really do wish I would have had the chance to see him again and talk to him.  I don't think I have quite realized yet what happened. Since I am so far away and did not see him all of the time I find myself wondering a lot of it is all true.  I think about him a lot.  I miss my family and Germany a lot right now.  I talked to him several times a week and I really miss him answering the phone.  He always had something funny to say when answering the phone.  He was a very special man and very memorable.  Anybody that has met him remembered him.

It is still very hard for me to write about him, but hopefully soon I can write a little more.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Little Brothers Wedding

My little brother (who is not so little anymore) got married in June in Cologne, Germany.  We were so excited to be a part of this special day.  It was so fun to see so many family members come to visit for the big event.

Getting ready to go.  We do clean up nicely when we try:)
The many faces of Evan……getting him to look at the camera is a challenge , but he sure looks handsome in his little suit.
The kids with Max (my cousins son…..does that make him their first cousin 
These next pictures are very difficult for me to look at, but they also make me very happy and I am so glad to have them.  These will be some of the last pictures of my dad.  My dad passed away a little over three weeks after the wedding.  I think I will be ready to write about him soon.  

My dad with three of his grandchildren.  I know he was very proud of them and loved to share their stories.  Every time I talked to him he asked about more Evan stories (there is usually an abundance of Evan stories).  He would tell those stories to everybody and embellish them just a little bit.  
Look at these precious little girls ready for the wedding.  Hannah was ready to get her dance on…….she didn't know it was still going to be a long time before the dance floor opened up:)
Daddy and his littlest princess
Hannah selfie

We didn't take many pictures at the wedding.  We were busy having fun and making memories.  
This was right after the ceremony.
After the ceremony we had champagne, coffee and cake before entering the reception hall for dinner.  It was a little rainy out, but that did not put a damper on the celebration.  
Nora kept walking along this table where people put their used plates and she would try to eat the leftover chocolate cake from the plates:)
I had to push all the plates back so she can't reach them
Hannah was supposed to sit with us during dinner at a different table, but she didn't want to leave Opa's side, so they made room for her at the table.  These pictures are very precious to me now.  Hannah has always had a special bond with my dad.  She was their first grandchild!
My dad and his mom
The beautiful bride with Annabelle. A special mommy and daughter moment during a busy day.
Look at this beautiful and fun reception hall.  It is an old auction hall at the terminal market.  It was a very cool place.
They had a separate room (where the ceremony took place) that was converted into a children's play area.  They hired this kids event company that brought all kinds of toys and arts and crafts and three babysitters.  It was perfect and such a genius idea.  They even had a little play kitchen and a teepee tent.  Evan loved the play kitchen.  If a child got fussy they would come find the parents next door.  Lots of parents brought pack n plays and put their kids to sleep in that room, so they could enjoy the festivities.  Our kids made it until midnight and then we just left.

The first dance.  I love this picture.  They had taken dance lessons and put on a beautiful first dance.

Nora found some chocolate mousse to take on the dance floor (the pictures are a little blurry, but still so cute and show her crazy personality ).
Ashley dancing with my dad.  He looks happy and I know he was having a good time.  We are so thankful that he was able to enjoy that day and be a part of this very special time.  I know he had been looking forward to this day for a long time.  He was so happy for my brother and Vera.
I absolutely love this picture.  None of us remember the song they were dancing to (I wish I did), but you can see that he was singing along and having a good time.
Evan was quite obsessed with the sparklers.  Aunt Ashley took him outside a hundred times to light more.
And then he would go to the buffet to get another sausage
They had a fun photo booth set up.  I believe Hannah is in about 90% of all the photo booth pictures.  She was having a blast.  
Scott, Ashley, Evan and myself had somebody take a picture of us in the photo booth.  We lost the N balloon……
I got to see all of the pictures from the photographer when I was home again.  They are gorgeous and I hope that I will get to share a few of them on here. 
Vera, if you a re reading this please know that I am so happy to have you in the family.  You are a very special and wonderful and beautiful (inside and out) person.  I just wish we lived a little closer.  We couldn't be happier for the two of you.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's About Time…...

……that I update the blog.  Summer break has come and gone.  I can't believe Hannah started 2nd grade this week.  She is getting so big and independent.  I love the age she is at, but I also miss the "little girl".  Pretty soon she will be driving and going off to College.  Time please slow down just a little bit.  Evan and Nora both start twice weekly Mothers Day Out next week.  Hannah said that I will have all this time to just sit and relax.  I wish, my to do list is already a mile long (maybe on the first day I will actually crawl in bed and watch a movie…..we will see).
We started our summer break with a trip to Germany.  The entire family spent 3 weeks in Cologne.  It is always so good to visit my old stomping grounds.  After 2 weeks Scott gets antsy and is ready to return home, but the longer I am there the more comfortable I am and I am ready to stay for a while.

We enjoy being out and about and explored Cologne and its surroundings some more.  Of course we had to do our annual trip up the Dom cathedral (it is a tradition now).  Evan walked up almost the entire 533 steps and of course Nora wanted to walk too.  She did great for a long time, but she really slowed us down, so we carried her part of the way.  Hannah is a rockstar and walks it up all by herself (not that we could carry her anymore anyways).
Quick stop at the bell tower
We made it to the top
This is what a typical family picture looks like
This is as good as it gets
The obligatory selfie :)
And the selfie photo bomb
The girls
Oh that cheese face
The many faces of our kids
After climbing the cathedral we worked up an appetite for some ice cream
And then Nora decided to chase pigeons…..I remember Evan doing this last year in London
Evan was just running around and made a new friend.  He went up to her and held her hand:)
We took another field trip to Schloss Stolzenfels.  It was a bit chilly and rainy that day.  And note to self……don't take our kids on an hour long tour of a castle where they have to be quiet and can't touch anything.  Not quite there yet!
Pretty walk up to the castle
I had to draw a treasure map for Evan.  He followed it up to the castle:)
It was a beautiful view
The gardens were gorgeous

Quick pitstop for some lunch after our tour
We also took an excursion up to "Drachenfels".  I have great childhood memories of going up here.
Lots of climbing and a great view of the Rhine

Oh the silly faces
One last field trip to the gondola across the Rhine river.  I don't remember the last time I have done this.
You can only for 4 people in each gondola, so we had to take two.

The view of the cathedral never gets old to me.
Ich liebe meine Stadt :)
We played on the playground across the river.  Look at this cool slide.
Oh and we only got one picture during our annual trip to the costume store.  The Clubine's are ready for Halloween again!  We love buying costumes in Germany, there is almost a guarantee that nobody else in Northwest Arkansas will have the same costume.
We also took our annual trip to Phantasialand.  Fun was had by all.

They had all of these cool spiderman, lion or other boy face paint choices, but Evan wanted a butterfly just like his older sister.

Enjoying some rides, hula hoop jumping and balloon animal sword fights

I think we rode these frogs 10 times in a row while we waited on the bigger kids to finish a ride

We also celebrated my brothers wedding, but that will be an entire post on its own next time (hopefully soon and not in 3 months).