Happy Birthday To...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A young Aunt Elke

May is quite a birthday month at DC Heron Family. Celebrating birthdays today are: Darryl’s sister, Heather; her son, Jacob; and Christine’s aunt, Elke. On the 17th is Darryl’s grandpa’s birthday.

Heather and Sarah in July, 2005

Heather is 38 today, while Jacob is 11. I have written posts in honor these two birthdays at a private blog, so I hope that they will take the time to read them. I also plan to put a post in honor of my grandpa’s 91st birthday at the private site as well.

Jacob in July, 2005

Elke is celebrating her 60th birthday today! This is one of those landmark birthdays in a person’s life. Her children are throwing her an intimate party at her home later today. Ilona has put together a nice little surprise in honor of the event, I’m sure that this will be well received. Christine had planned on attending, but since one of the insurance companies plan to send someone out to look at the damage from our garden shed, she doesn’t know when they will be coming and doesn’t really feel up to going to a party.

Elke is Ilona’s middle sister. She is also mother to Leoni and Florian. I first met her on Christmas Eve in 1999. Christine and I attended a service at her Aunt Marion’s church and then there was a family gathering afterward, where I met her for the first time.

I remember Elke throwing a real nice birthday party for her boyfriend that I attended not too long after moving to Germany. Also remember having a bit of a pre-Christmas party at Elke’s current apartment not long after she moved in.

So I’d just like to say Happy Birthday to all those celebrating birthdays today and this month. May is such a nice month to have a birthday, Spring is generally underway and Summer is usually not too far off. I hope that you all have nice birthdays and that you have many happy fun filled memories from your birthday.

We Survived A Fire In Our Backyard Yesterday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The fence surrounds what used to be our garden shed

I just thought that I would get a quick post out to let everyone know that we had a fire in shed in our backyard yesterday morning but everyone is alive and physically uninjured.

It was right around 3:00 and my alarm went off and I was thinking about getting out of bed, when I heard Christine say that there was a fire in one of our trees. I looked out the window in our bedroom and was almost blinded by the brightness of the flame. Christine went downstairs to call the fire department and I rushed upstairs to wake oma and after some clarification with oma, we grabbed the girls and headed downstairs, then I got Hobbit our of our bedroom.

Christine talked with the emergency operator who said that the fire had been called in. However, the person on the other end repeated back our address but with the number inverted. She corrected the operator, who then repeated that the fire had been reported multiple times.

After what seemed like an eternity the fire department made it but our hut could not be saved! In it were bikes from the whole family (including the one that Sarah learned to drive without training wheels last week!). Our lawn mower and various other yard equipment were also inside. I don't really feel like listing the contents at the moment, but most everything is damaged beyond repair.

A good part of the fence that surrounded the shed is badly burned, but currently still standing. Because of the condition of the yard at the moment, we don’t dare let Hobbit in the backyard.

We’ve spent a good deal of yesterday making calls a lot of phone calls about what to do with all the debris, getting a hold of the right insurance people, and so on. As of this moment we’re not sure when the insurance company will send someone out to have a look, so we tried to we haven't really started to clean up any of the debris yet. At the moment it seems that Christine will be discussing the situation with someone from our agency this morning and then the insurance company will probably send someone out to have a look. I do hope that all this happens today as Christine and are tired of looking at the debris and want to move forward.

I’ll write more about this later, I just wanted to get a quick post out and let everyone know that the whole family is ok.

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Today is the 50th Wedding Anniversary (goldene Hochzeit) of Christine’s parents! Ilona and Eberhard were married on this day back in 1958. This is an exciting event and I’m always happy to hear about a couple celebrating such an event. Unfortunately, since Eberhard passed away several years ago, Ilona will be celebrating this amazing occasion without him.

I regret that I didn’t have the chance to get to know Christine’s dad and that our girls won’t have the chance to get to know their opa. He was and still is the love of Ilona’s life. Sure she has had other relationships since he passed away but she always keeps that place in her heart for her Eberhard. I don’t think that if she lives to be past one hundred, that any other man will ever hold the same place in her heart.

Ilona and Eberhard had 30 plus years of married life together before he passed away. In their lives together they raised Christine. Where it not for this, it seems unlikely that I would have had the pleasure of getting to know Ilona. She is a wonderful and supportive mother-in law. Her friendly, warm, and outgoing personality makes me think that they must have had some wonderful years together with a lot of great memories. Seeing pictures of their wedding day, I can almost imagine that day.

In a time when some many couples get divorced, it is encouraging to know of couples that can be happily married for so long. While in their generation, divorce was probably not a real consideration, I believe that provided with different circumstances, they would have done things the same. A Golden Wedding Anniversary is a very special occasion and gives us all hope that love sometimes does triumph and people can live happily ever after.

Ilona visits the cemetery and Eberhard’s grave religiously (no pun intended), on their anniversary, his birthday, and other occasions. She will be stopping by there today in fact. She makes sure that the grave is kept up, something that some of many other graves lack. It is reassuring when you think that his memory lives on in Ilona and Christine.

While I can’t really do this event justice, I’d just like to wish a Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary to Ilona and Eberhard. Christine, Anna, Sarah, and I wish you all the best! Do you know of anyone that celebrated a Golden Wedding Anniversary? Do you have any other comments, I’d love to hear them. If you like the blog, feel free to add us to your rss feed or subscribe via email.

Here are some other posts that you might like...

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Sarah Rides Her Bike And Hobbit Takes A Bath

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sarah and her bike June 2007 (with training wheels)

I had thought until yesterday that the biggest thing that I would talk about in the blog this time around was that Hobbit had his first bath, but then Sarah went and changed that yesterday when she decided to ride her bike without training wheels!

Saturday I did a lot of things with the girls’ bikes, including taking the training wheels off Sarah’s bike. I worked with Sarah for a couple of hours, holding onto her shoulders while she peddled. It got to the point that as soon as I would take my hands away that she would get excited and immediately fall over. Sarah can sometimes be a little stubborn (well, can’t we all) and she decided that she wanted to ride her bike on the trail near our house. I continued holding onto her shoulders for a good part of the trail and then when we got to a paved clearing I started to try to take my hands away at various intervals with similar results. After awhile, my back was getting sore from the bending that I had been doing and I wanted a break, I suggested going back home to take a break before we continued. She didn’t like the idea of taking a break and was very vocal about it. Christine and I talked about the situation and thought that maybe the bike was too heavy for Sarah to really learn to get her balance without the training wheels, because it was heavier than Anna’s bike (which was way bigger!). We decided that we might look for another lighter and bigger bike for her on eBay, as we had done to buy Anna’s bike.

Before going to church on Sunday, Sarah had said that she wanted to ride her bike to there. The idea of having to hold onto her shoulders the entire way there was something that I didn’t feel up to and part of the way would have been by too much traffic to worry about her riding her bike. We suggested that she could ride her Like A Bike but she of course wasn’t too keen on this idea! When she finally decided that she would do that, it was too late to ride to church, so I drove them there (over Sarah’s protest, I must admit).

Yesterday I was installing a cargo net in Christine’s car so that Hobbit can ride in the back of the car and got the girls’ bikes out so that they could play outside with them. Anna and Sarah had planned that Anna would try to help her get started with the bike. I heard Anna say something about helping her get started and explained that this was really too difficult for Anna to do and that I would be glad to work with Sarah again after finishing installing the net. I spent some time trying to figure out how to install the net and I looked up to see Sarah speeding by on her bike! I did a double take before realizing that she was riding by herself and without training wheels. In fact, she was riding as though she had been riding for months, if not years! I was so shocked, that she had managed this without Christine or I helping her. Christine later returned and I showed her Hobbit’s net, all the while wondering when Sarah would come back around on her bike and what Christine’s reaction would be. Christine walked to the nearby playground to retrieve the girls and I could hear her surprised voice shout when she noticed Sarah riding by herself. Christine immediately called Oma to give her the good news and I called Grandpa after the girls had gone to bed.

Christine took Hobbit to his weekly puppy meeting on Saturday. Hobbit spent much of the time playing with his sister. From the way that Christine talked, I think that he might have now realized that this was his sister. One of the instructors told Christine that the breeder had done a good job with the litter and Hobbit and his sister seemed ready for the puppy class and appeared to have a “here I am look at me” attitude as they tried various equipment at the facility (i.e. a see saw, tunnel, and etc.) while the other Beardie was more reluctant to try the equipment.

Later Saturday, the girls played in these plastic seashells fill with water. Anna was very keen on Hobbit joining them. She tried to bribe him with some doggy treats. He did end up putting his front paws in the pool to get the treats. I video tapped this. Before I can post the clip, I need to figure out how to get the video from our mini dvd camcorder to the computer, as my editing program doesn’t recognize the format of the video on the mini dvd.

A wet Hobbit after his first bath!

Sunday Christine and I gave Hobbit his first bath. We thought that it was encouraging that he had put his front paws in the kiddie pool the day before. He was very good in the tub. Christine gave him some liverwurst after he came out of the tub, so maybe we can train him to think that he gets liverwurst when he has a bath.

The picture of Sarah and her bike is from last Summer. I didn't have my camera out to take pictures of her and the bike without training wheels yet. In the picture of Hobbit you can see that he is still a little wet from his bath. The pictures of the girls and Hobbit was taken shortly after the girls had woken up on Sunday, so they're still in their pajamas. If you like the blog, feel free to add us to your rss feed or subscribe via email. We welcome your comments.

Here are some other posts that you might like to read...
Anna Rides Her Bike
How We Met
Our Wedding

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100 Posts at the DC Heron Family blog!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

One of those rare whole family photos (since I'm usually the one taking the pictures)

The post that I did on Monday was the 100th to be posted at the DC Heron Family blog. In December 2007 I wrote a post about One Year of Blogging. Although I have done a lot of posts at this blog that have been mostly pictures with some explanation, it is still a lot of posts and a milestone none the less.

Blogging at our family blog has given me a lot.

  • It has given me chance to learn about blogging. Writing a blog is more different than writing in a diary or journal than you might think. There is more to operating a blog than simply posting blog entries, but this is one of the things that is most noticeable and should be the center of blog. Everything else requires time, effort, and often times a lot of learning.
  • It has given me an outlet for my writing. There is something romantic about writing and something that draws me in. I have done a lot of writing in my life. From keeping journals in school and at other times in my life to writing letters to the local newspaper, to writing on the high school newspaper, to writing poems, essays, speeches, and short stories.
  • It has given me a chance to give updates on the family and talk about the various things going on. I was able to communicate news about our house as we were moving in.
  • It has given me a chance to write about being an American living in Germany. Sometimes I’m a fascinated by something that is different about German culture and society other times I feel like a fish out of water. I enjoy living in Germany and being able to see Europe (something that I have long wanted to do). Living in a foreign country gives you a whole different perspective on things and allows you to see places like you never would by just going on vacation there.
  • It has given me the chance to relive some of the things in my life and think about what them means to me. Kind of therapeutic, how often do we just fly through life without really thinking about what everything means to us. You do things because you have to or think that you need to or for a whole host of reasons, but how often to you look at what has happened and try to make sense out of it? How often do you really allow yourself that chance on a regular basis?
  • It has encouraged me to start the Systems-Overload Blog. Some of the things that I was thinking about more and more and wanted to write about didn’t really fit into the family blog any longer, so I decided to do a more professional blog and Systems-Overload if the result.
  • It encouraged me to start a private blog dedicated to the memory of my mother. I haven’t had the chance to do it yet, but one of my long term goals is to create a foundation/charity in honor of my mother, this is one of my 43Things.

Below is kind of chronology of posts and topics that I have written about at the DC Heron Famiy blog….

Moving was my first post at the DC Heron Family blog and I talked about the home that we planned to buy.

We Have the Key!!! -was my second post and I shared the excitement of having the key out our first house.

I did a whole series of posts in December 2006 where I talked about the house and showed pictures. You could also see the progress that I was making in the painting and so on.

Brenden’s 3rd Birthday- was a short little piece that I wrote in honor of one of my nephew’s birthdays.

Nikolaus Comes to Geinsheim- was a short piece written about a holiday occurring in Germany that not too many Americans are familiar with.

Anna’s Christmas Pagent 2006- was a short piece about Anna’s jazz dance group performing at a local Christmas market. I posted a video of it at YouTube and created a slide show that is also posted at YouTube.

In March 2007, I did a series of posts with a lot of pictures from the trip that we took to Ireland in 2006. There are four slide shows of our trip that I posted to our YouTube channel.

In May 2007, I wrote posts about trips that I took with my dad and Aunt Betty to Paris and Scotland. We also had our patio renovated when it was discovered that a lot of the wood was rotten and it really wasn’t safe to stand or sit on any longer.

Anna Rides Her Bike!- I write with the pride of a proud father who’s old child has now ridden a bike without training wheels. This is a proud moment in the lives of most parents that they don’t soon forget. I created a slide show in honor of the event and posted it to YouTube.

Happy Forth of July- I discuss the fish out of water theme involving celebrating a distinctly American holiday in another country and there are some nice pictures of the girls.

Also in July I did a couple of post that had pictures of the girls dressed as brides. I created a slide show of the pictures and they’re at YouTube.

In September 2007 I did a post about Lady Di’s death ten years later and the sixth anniversary of September 11th. While September 11th will always refer to that tragic day of American and world history, it was also at this time that my mother lost her battle to cancer.

In Honor of German Reunification- I discussed the 17th anniversary of reunification of East and West Germany. I talk a little bit about the history and the unique opportunity to be living in a reunited Germany. It is amazing when you look back more than 20 years how much different things were.

St. Martin’s Day- I talked about the celebration in Germany and a little bit about carnival. There are several videos at our YouTube channel from the girls’ kindergarten celebration in addition one of Anna singing one of the St. Martin’s Day songs.

Christmas 2007 Newsletter- I have done a Christmas newsletter for years, this time around I decided to post it online at our blog.

In February, March, and April I did several posts about our puppy from finding out that the puppies were born, the excitement of seeing the puppies for the first time, the anticipation of picking up our puppy, and finally brining him home. After having a dog most of my life, to living the last eight years without one, it is great to have a dog again. This is “our” first family dog, the experience is totally new to Anna and Sarah, and it is nice to be able to share this with them.

April 7th was our eighth wedding anniversary and I wrote a post about how we met and our wedding in honor of the occasion. I created a collage of various pictures from our wedding and this is included in the how we met post. I embedded a slide show that I made from the Wedding Photographer’s pictures in the our wedding post and the video is at YouTube

I think that the DC Heron Family blog will be a nice memory for the girls one day. I have enjoyed the first 100 posts and look forward to living and writing the next 100 post as well. I hope that you’ll join us. If you like the blog, feel free to add us to your rss feed or subscribe via email. We welcome your comments.

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