Monday, September 29, 2008


I would say we scored a touchdown on Saturday with our football event. I should be able to post some pictures soon. My dad was there and snapped a few shots of the boys.

It is fun to see them learn this crazy American game - to learn a bit about what it means to score a touchdown, play as a team, throw a spiral, etc.

The Elder who will later play college ball for BYU had four BYU hats, a shirt, and two nerf footballs, some magnets, and stickers shipped over by his family. Now the problem was how to divide out the gifts or prizes evenly among the seven boys.

Elder P. and his companion Elder E. decided on a mini "training camp" for the boys. The training camp consisted of the following three competitions.

Running: Run from to the other end of the field, pick up the football, and run back.
prize: all participants got a fridge magnet

Throwing: who can throw the farthest.
prize: 4 best got a hat

Kicking: who can kick (field goal style) the farthest.
prize: ??? - a dilemma - ???

There were only three prizes left and the same four boys who won the hats in the throwing competition kicked the ball the furthest in the kicking competition.

So, Elders P. & E. decided to give the boy with the shortest kick the shirt and the two boys with the next shortest kicks the nerf footballs. It was a wise move.

I sat on the sidelines during most of the kicking competition while I tended to Hannah after her "kicking the ground instead of the ball" injury. As the boys came over to the sidelines after the competition one of the boys who threw 4th farthest in the throwing competition and kicked 3rd farthest in the kicking competition said. "If I had known that!" Implying he would have kicked much shorter if he knew the shortest kicks would get the prizes. It was funny. But at least everyone got a prize.

It was a fun day and we had perfect fall weather. Sunny, cool, the smell of fallen leaves in the air. Perfect fall weather. That was a huge blessing as it doesn't happen very often here in Düsseldorf.

We are planning an American baking evening for the girls in Spencer and Shantal's class in November. We'll probably do chocolate chip cookies. Grandpa and Grandma brought over some chocolate chips, so that should work out nicely.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bilingual Trend

Lately I've noticed a trend with our older three children - they now commonly tell us things in German if they have just experienced it in German, even though they usually have the ability to translate the information.

For instance, talking about soccer practice (Spencer), or gymnastics training (Hannah), or theater class (Shantal) explanations are almost always started in German. They tell other stories in German as well, but the trend seems to be especially strong in the things where they have no or very little experience with the subject in English.

When they start in German I have to work hard to answer back in English. Sometimes this seems to flip a switch in their minds and they continue their explanation in English, and sometimes they continue in German.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let One Rip!

"Let one rip!" is a common phrase I hear from Spencer lately. In German it sounds like this: "Papa, ich lass jetzt eins fahren!" - "Dad, I'm going to let one rip." After Spencer says this he passes gas (to use a more polite term). His action is the only thing that told me what in the world he was talking about.

Now, as a missionary serving in Germany for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this was a phrase I just never learned. As a college student with a major in German I also did not have the opportunity to learn such phrases.

But, as a dad raising children in Germany, I have now been blessed to expand my vocabulary to include such choice phrases. I can't wait for the next one.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Playin a Little Football

Well, I have to say. I have been busy these last four months - like crazy. Work is crazy. Home life is always crazy - lots of juggling. Church has kept me very busy. The occasional personal moments have been short and not long enough to write.

One positive note. I did get released from my calling as a primary teacher. I served as primary teacher to our two oldest children, but even so that was an extra burden - preparing a lesson every week and trying to motivate 8-11 year olds to be motivated to follow the Lord is a lot of work.

We've had some great days recently. By great I mean brisk, sunny, fall days, where it warms up in the afternoon. I love that type of fall weather. The last two years I missed football whenever the weather was like this. I told Tamara the other day that I like the weather even though there is no football.

Well, next weekend I hope to get a little bit of both. I hope the weather holds and is pleasant and that we'll have a big turnout for our football event. See the picture of our flier below (translation to follow):

Flag Football in our Town (for boys)
location and time are given

This time we have a player, who will play for the BYU cougars after his time in Germany.

*In flag football the defense stops the ball carrier by pulling a flag from his belt.

--Fathers should also feel free to attend. Come along and learn a little about the game. Fathers who attend, please bring something to eat. So we can spend a little bit of time after the game with the boys.

Definitely looking forward to playin' a little football.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Emma Talking Germany

While I was mowing the lawn and doing some yard work today Emma was playing with Ian. She kept switching into German. Very cute. I can hardly remember what she said. It seemed just so natural for her to switch. When she came over to speak with me she switched into English.

She seems to talk to Ian very often in German. Then when she sees me or Tamara she switches back into English.

Great Pic of the Kids

I took this picture recently of our children sans Ian. I saw it the other day on my screen saver and just had to share. Enjoy . . .

This is a flashback to our summer vacation in the Dresden area. I was watching the kids in Freiberg while Tamara attended an endowment session in the Freiberg temple (the temple built in the former East Germany while the iron curtain was still in place). While we were getting lunch I saw this small little street and cars driving into the street and just had to get a photo.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Help with a Scouting Activity

***sent to former fellow scouting leaders from Wisconsin

Hi All,

I am looking for some great advice - like I used to always get from you all when we worked together in the YM/Scouting program in Sun Prairie.

I am giving a presentation on scouting in america on Monday (yes in 5 days) to the local pack of cub scouts and a patrol of first year boy scouts here in our town. The presentations will all be on the same night. The effort is part of getting Spencer involved in the program here. I just found out last Monday that I will be do this, so time is short.

I am trying to think of an activity that goes along with learning the cub scout motto "Do your Best" and the boy scout motto "Be Prepared" or slogan "Do a Good Turn Daily". Or, anything else that might be fun for the kids.

If you have any ideas, please send them along.