22 December 2008
14 December 2008
28 November 2008
It's very touching to see the aging veteran's carrying the flags into the ampitheater. A military band and choir perform patriotic songs, and small American flags and pins are given to all the attendees. It was a lovely autumn day-not even very cold. It was definitely a day when we were proud to be Americans and felt grateful to all military members, past and present. God Bless the USA!
12 October 2008
Now, 10 weeks later, we are in the house, our possessions arrived mostly intact, but we are still working on the house, to help it recover from 5 years of renters, and basic neglect. There was no serious damage, just the house was filthy, carpets worn out, and all our painting and decorating had been white washed. So we rolled up our selves, dipped in the paint brush, and went to work. We are still working. It seems everything in Virginia costs twice as much as we expected. Every endeavor is another shock to the system. Our savings that was suppose to last us a while is quickly draining out as we replace flooring and make needed repairs.
But this will be home for us for a few years at least. I reach a milestone in 3 years when I can retire from the government service and immediately start drawing retirement pay. I will not have the means to stop working then, but it opens up possibilities that are not available to me now. But that is for another time...
We look ahead to new adventures here in the eastern USA. Lots of things to see and do. No family near by, but they are much closer and easier to go see from DC than from Germany. Also much easier to call. The house in Germany started to feel empty after all the kids left home for college and missions. It takes some getting use to being empty nesters.
Germany, so real and dear to us for so many years seems now just like a dream. Were we really there that long? Did we really do all those things? It is hard to re-adjust to life here in Virginia. I never really got use to it before. But will have to now. Even while we miss our past life, we know that with time memories of this place will be made, and someday we may even look back fondly on our time here.
The memories of living in Germany hang in our minds, like the pictures and souvenirs hanging on the walls in this house. I gaze around and wonder if it was all just a sweet dream that I have awakened from, or is this all a dream and I will one day awaken from it. My mind knows this is real, but my heart misses the friends and places so familiar.
Now we have a new reality to experience. A new life to build. New chapters to write in the story of our existence. Thank you all for the memories, and may our roads cross again on some distant path.
"is it living, or just existence?"
One of the highlights of the week was going through the Spokane temple with Adrianne and Russ as Adrianne took out her endowments. It was neat to be there with Grandma & Grandpa and Garrett & Tyler & Russ all together in the Temple.
After the reunion, Everyone flew back home - to Provo or Mesa to prepare for the Wedding. Tyler and I drove 12 hours to Provo one day, spent the next day getting him set up for school, and left the next day with Garrett for another 10 hour trip to Mesa.
Because of the heat in Arizona in August, Adri & Russ decided to have their reception the night before the sealing. We spent the day getting the cultural hall decked out, and enjoyed the festivities.
I dont have many digital images of the reception or wedding. You can link to Adri's Blog Blog or the Stinson Clan blog to see many images. I include a few of the set up, for completeness.
30 August 2008
Here is one of our favorite pictures of Baby Kiera, laying on the quilt Elaine made.
07 July 2008
Well, we actually had some help from our daughter Lissa and her husband Jason, but this blog is all about US, not them, so it is OUR accomplishment. (see link to Lissa & Jason's blog to see more pictures)
Unfortunately we will not get to see baby Kiera until later in the month. Such is the problem with being so far away.... I have to get there so I can teach her a first word - "Grandpa"
After all, I have been in training for three years for this new phase of life!
We decided to have one last adventure before we left Germany, and decided to visit the Scottish Highlands. It was cool and windy most of the trip, but was a fun expedition overall.
The inspiration for this trip was directly attributed to three things: the movie "Water Horse", the fact that we did not make it to Loch Ness during our previous visit to Scotland (due to the snow), and third, to the discount airline Ryan Air.
Our first stop was Doune Castle, which was taken over by the insulting Frenchman in the Monty Python "search for the holy Grail" movie. ".. your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled if Elderberry". "I blow my nose in your general direction you silly English Knnniggggits" (You have to watch the movie)
And since we found her so early in the trip, we decided to continue exploring the Highlands.
20 May 2008
Mom & Joe at the Arc de Triomphe
First stop was visiting Monet's Garden in Giverny. It was probably the loveliest garden I have ever seen. It was even better than the Keukenhof in Holland (As beautiful as that place is) Giverny is smaller, but just had more variety. Elaine on the porch of Monet's house
And drive by Notre Dam on our way out of town. We did visit inside the cathedral, but you dont get the real view from up close.
We next flew to Rome for two days
Joe meets the Romans
Then on Mom's 80th Birthday, We took a one day flight to Berlin. She wanted to see the Berlin wall, which we did. She was surprised there was so much NEW buildings. But when you consider 90% of the buildings were damaged in World War II, it is not too surprising.
Joe at Checkpoint Charlie (mock up)
Some free time around the house at Hohenecken