Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday plans

We are coming home for the holidays - Get out the menorah and santa hat!!!

We got Carter a Lego advent calendar which we are using to count down to our trip home.  Tomorrow is the first day.  We arrive in MI Dec 13th.  We have a few days there to adjust, see friends, check in at work, go to the doctor, visit family and finish xmas shopping.  Then it's off to ATL on the 18th.  From there we go to Chattanooga for some mom time.  We return back to MI on the 22nd and get ready for xmas with Nana, Grandpa, Kevin, Christina and COUSINS!!! On the 26th we drive to Cincinnati for a few days with dad and grandma Rose's 94th birthday party.  On the 29th we head back to MI for new years and leave for Germany on Jan 2.  Those 3 weeks are gonna fly by.  Hope we can see everybody.  

Oh yeah, we are gonna eat bagels too, lots of bagels.

Move update

It appears that all the drama has died down and we have a signed lease for a new place.  Our new place is great and we are renting from another Ford family.  They are going for a 2 year assignment to the UK so the timing works out perfectly for both of us.  It's in the same neighborhood as the first place we wanted.  Looking forward to exploring the new town.  

The movers come Monday - Wednesday next week (Thanksgiving week).  We fully expect things to be a bit crazy for a while until we get all settled in.  Our internet may be down for a week with the move, then again it could get transfered the day of the move...it's tough translating german mail.

Carter is all prepped to move to the new place.  Although he will probably be dissapointed that the boys who lived there are taking all their toys.  His biggest concern is that the movers won't have enough space on the truck to fit our table and chairs.

Stay tuned for more updates on the move as things progress.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Carter's Big Boy Bed



Carter finally got his big boy bed today. Carter had been sleeping in a "toddler bed" since he was 18 months old and it was really starting to look small for him. Prior to his 3rd birthday, I started look for a twin sized bed online. I quickly learned that bed sizes in Europe are close to the US, but not quite the same. I didn't want to buy a European sized bed and then return to the US and find that I there aren't any sheets the right size. So, when I learned that yet another Ford employee was moving to Germany, I decided I needed to get a bed and a matress on his sea shipment. I ordered the bed and matress online. Can't believe I actually ordered a piece of furniture online without having seen it in person first. My co-worker arrived here in Germany in early October but he didn't move into his house until this past week. It was so frustrating knowing that Carter's bed was here in Germany but we couldn't get to it.

Once we told Carter about his big boy bed, he immediately wanted to sleep in it. We had to set it up the very day we picked it up. I was actually impressed with how well it matches his other furniture (the stuff that was part of his orginal nursery...dresser, bookcase, and bed side table). Carter is in love with the car sheets. He doesn't like to sleep under the covers...I just have to fold them back every night. It actually makes Carter mad when I make the bed and put the striped pillow sham on top of the pillow with the car pillow case.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

In Bruges

While my parents were in town visiting, we took a weekend trip to Bruges, Belgium. Perhaps many of you have not heard of Bruges...or maybe some of you have seen the Academy Award-nominated movie In Bruges. If you haven't seen the movie, I strongly recommend it -- it's a dark comedy that had me in stitches at times.

So having seen the movie, we decided to take a visit because, according to the movie, Bruges is a "f---ing fairy tale." With that sort of endorsement, how could we not go?

Unfortunately, we didn't have the best weather. It was cold and rainy nearly the entire weekend. However, it is a charming historic city which is probably why it's a UNESCO World Heritage City. One of the highlights was The Chocolate Museum. Because of the weather, the museum was rather crowded. At one point when there was quite a back up in the flow through the museum, Carter said rather loudly and with such disdain, "These French people are getting in my way!" It was a struggle to hold back the laughter and later Ben and I were wondering where he learned this dislike of the French. Perhaps this is normal playground conversation here in Germany.

Another hit was the abundance of chocolate shops. After dealing with the cold and rain, we decided to take a break in a chocolate shop for some cocoa. We were escorted to a living room type space over the store and we were served the largest mugs of steamed milk I've ever seen. They the provided you the chocolate shavings/chips to stir into the milk. It was the best hot chocolate I've ever had. The cup size was rather ridiculous though. As you can see in the picture, you need to hold it with two hands.

One of the more beautiful and quieter spots in the city is the Beguinage. It is is a group of white houses around a little garden covered with large poplar trees. This is now a monastery for the Benedictine Sisters. And, yes, the trees are all growing at the same angle.

We didn't take the time to climb the steps of the famous belfry to see the view of the historical town square. But we did take a nice horse drawn carriage ride through the city...probably Carter's favorite part of the trip. He was really fond of our horse, Lady. Every horse he saw after that he had to ask us if it was Lady.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tigger Costume - The Rest of the Story

The place from where I ordered Carter's tigger costume never shipped it. I called them to find out what was the issue...especially given that I had paid through the nose for overnight shipping. Apparently they are out of stock...despite it clearly stating on the website that this costume was in stock. She nicely offered to ship me the costume in November. Ha! She clearly doesn't have a 3 year old. Obviously I demanded that my order be cancelled and my money returned.

So what do I do when they are desperate for something Halloween related? I call my friend, Alana Goldberg. Not only does Alana get stuff done, she LOVES Halloween. I called Alana and told her my dilemna...she told me that she would call me back within the hour. When she did, she had located the costume in the appropriate size and it was on hold at a Toys 'R Us near my parents' house.

Fortunately my mom was able to zip up to the store and pick it up before she and my dad had to catch the plane to come here to visit us.

Thanks to Alana and my mom for saving the day. Here's Carter looking adorable in his costume.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Friends Call Me Daddy

I was putting Carter to bed tonight and he gave me a kiss. I said, "you're such a good boy, Carter."

He said, "Actually my friends call me Daddy."

I nearly died trying to hold in the laughter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tigger Costume = Bad Mommy

Weeks ago I was talking to Carter about what he wanted to be for Halloween. It was a tough choice between Bob the Builder and Tigger...but after viewing examples online, Carter selected Tigger. I promised him I would order it for him and have Nana and Grandpa Gary bring it with them when they come to visit.

Given the "housing crisis" that we've been going through and the "potential prison time for tax evasion," I somehow forgot to order the beloved Tigger costume. I just remembered this tonight, Tuesday. My parents are flying over here on Thursday. In a frenzy I searched the web for Tigger costumes in Europe. Nothing in continental Europe or the UK. AND, in the US, Tigger is either sold out, backordered, or outrageously expensive. Feeling like a bad mommy, I sucked it up and ordered the costume and paid for overnight shipping. Ah, the power of guilt.

Fingers crossed that it arrives in time so Nana can shove it into her suitcase before hopping on the plane. Otherwise, you may see one extra Tigger costume on eBay next month.

Oh, and the tax evasion thing...I wasn't kidding. But, I'll save that for another post.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Finally a Family Photo

Somehow a decent family photo has alluded us for the past 2 years. Yesterday at the zoo (yes, our favorite Sunday hangout) we had a friend snap this photo...



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Soon to be Homeless

OK, so it's been a month with no posts. You guys are probably wondering what the heck is going on with us.

As you are well aware, we've been looking for new housing. We had found something that was in the same neighborhood as a classmate of Carter's. It was new construction, it was closer to work and to Carter's school. It was essentially perfect. Except for the landlord. As it turns out, after a month of negotiating, we were unable to come to an agreement on the terms of the lease. The landlord continued to change his requirements with each passing week. Today we finally called it quits. Ben and I gave our final offer and if the landlord didn't want it, then we were through. So, now with 8 weeks until we MUST be out of our current house, we have to start the house hunting exercise again. The issue isn't that we won't be able to find a house in the next 8 weeks, it's having the new house ready for us to move into by November 30. We may end up in temporary housing for a couple of months which is really not something we want.

On a happier note, a good childhood friend of mine came to visit us. She lived in Frankfurt for 2 years and so she came back to Germany to visit her friends their as well as us. This was our first real non-family visitor (not including a friend who stopped by for 12 hours while he was in Germany for work). It was really wonderful having a visitor (Hint, Hint!).

October brings us a weekend trip to Strasbourg, a visit from my parents, and Halloween. November brings a visit from my brother and sister-in-law as well as a potential Gale-Whiteson European Thanksgiving. And then mid-December we are heading back to the States for 3 weeks. It's always so amazing how this time of year just flies by. It's almost as from Labor Day it's warp speed to Christmas.

Of course none of you wanted to read any of this...you just wanted a picture of Carter. So here it is...chilling in his undies in his tv-watching chair.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Carter's Birthday Party and Now Paci-Free

This picture pretty much sums up Carter's birthday: he's holding up 3 fingers and stuffing his face with cake.

We celebrated Carter's birthday Saturday with 18 adults and 10 children. Fortunately the weather was perfect and so everyone was able to be outside. Every gift he received was automotive themed...except for one and it was train themed. Cars to be built from Legos, car puzzles, remote control cars. Carter was in heaven. One child, who also loves cars and is quickly approaching 5, asked us why Carter was named Carter. He thought we gave him the name because he is obsessed with cars. That's pretty funny.

One of the big events of the party was gathering up all of Carter's pacifiers and putting then in a box. We told Carter they were being boxed up to be given to Baby Drew and Baby Blake, two babies who were at the party. Little babies need pacifiers, big boys don't. He was very good about the whole thing and even collected the pacifiers from his bedroom for us. That night Carter cried for about 45 minutes, asking for a paci, but eventually fell asleep. Yesterday at nap, he asked for one and, when I reminded him that he gave them to Babies Blake and Drew, he said he wanted them back. He decided he was no longer tired but then later fell asleep when we went for a drive in the car. Sunday night he didn't cry or even ask for his pacis. It took him longer than usual to settle down and fall asleep but he did just fine. Today at school he took a nap without a pacifier like he's been doing it all along. Unbelievable.

I dreaded the day we took his pacifiers away because he was so attached to them. But it wasn't so bad. Carter is a great kid...he makes us look like better parents than we really are. What more could you ask for in a child?!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Carter is Three!

Carter turned 3 today. It's amazing how quickly these three years have gone by. Yet, at the same time, I can't imagine life without him. As you can see, Carter got a train table and train set for his birthday. He pretty much bounced from one end of the house to the other while Daddy assembled the whole thing. Juliane, our neighbor and babysitter, came over. She gave him the Lightning McQueen pillow. It was just a quiet celebration. In lieu of a birthday cake, I put candles in some homemade banana bread...and then spread Nutella all over it.
Today at school Carter got to wear a crown during circle time and he got to choose all the songs they sang. The school doesn't let us bring in cupcakes or cookies for birthdays (as they contain sugar! ah..the horror), so we brought in cheese sticks and fruit kabobs.
The big party will be this Saturday. During the celebration we'll be packing up all of Carter's pacifiers into a box and "sending" them off to little boys and girls who still need them. So far he seems OK with the idea...we'll see how it actually pans out on Saturday night when he tries to go to bed without one. I'm actually quite worried that he might give up naps if he doesn't get a paci.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The answer to a question we never thought to ask

Carter has been really into names lately, especially middle names. I am Daddy Robert Gale these days. The other day he asked about Corky's middle name. We didn't even know Corky had a middle name, so Carter told us. Evidently it's Corky Pluto Gale.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Break-in update

It's now almost 12 hours since the burglary. The bad guys broke in using a crowbar to pry the door open. The also got our ex-landlord/neighbor, Mr. Tree. He lost the same kind of stuff as we did, including his keys.

We are in full recovery mode here. All credit cards are canceled with replacements on the way. Our locks have been changed and we now have a new car. Quite a nice coincidence that we were scheduled for a new lease car today. I brought the old one in and explained that one key was stolen and the Ford garage took it with no problems. Mr. Tree had a good laugh about that - he thought it was funny that we have our keys stolen and then immediately get a new car. He asked if we could get one for him too!

We are relieved that only replaceable stuff was taken. It's interesting thinking about what they didn't take. Carla's laptop, my nice watch, our car, our neighbors BMW???? I cant figure why they would take the car keys and not the cars. Maybe they are planning to come back? It's easy to understand why people own guns.

Next step is to go to the Polizei station to give them a full list of what was stolen and pictures of the big stuff. Tomorrow we go to apply for new licenses. Ugh.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

BURGLARY!!!!


Do not be alarmed, Corky is fine. In fact, no kitties were harmed in the making of this blog post. The sad fact is that somebody, indeed, broke into our place this morning at the unkind time of 3:45 am. There were some loud noises that woke me up. Once I decided that it was not the usual Corky trouble that often comes this early in the morning, I decided to check it out. Once downstairs I found the front door open and then noticed the car keys missing. The car was still there so I did some more checking. My wallet and watch were gone. I got Carla up and we called the police. While we waited for them, I called the credit card companies and our bank. The burglars clearly did not come far into the house since Carla's laptop was still on the kitchen table. The police arrived and pointed out where the robbers had pried the door open. Then we gave them the full list of stolen stuff:

1. Car keys - we get a new car today so not a big deal
2. House & garage keys - time to move!
3. Ben's wallet - ouch
4. Carla's purse - ouch, big time, that was Italian leather
5. Change jar - around 50 Euros, those two dollar coins really accumulate
6. Carter's school bag - not much more than some dirty underwear in there
7. Ben's watch - they took the Citizen and left the Tag Heuer - idiots
8. Our camera - had all our Paris pics and several of Carter in his underwear

The police collected our bank account number and took statements. They also want a picture of my watch. Carla suggested they just look for somebody carrying an L.L. Bean bag embroidered with "Carter"

So, we are left with essentially no cash and no way to easily get money from our account. Looks like we are going to spend today getting new ID's and changing the locks. We are going back and forth between relief and anger. It's 5:30 am as I type this and we are mostly thankful that Carter slept through the entire thing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's Official


The eviction notice came today. We have until the end of November to be out. The new house search starts Monday. Our plan is to be finished much sooner though. We just want to put this behind us and get settled into our new place, wherever that may be.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Kids Say the Craziest Things...

Carter finished using the potty and Ben said, "Carter let's put your underwear back on."

Carter replied, "No, my penis is too big."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wanted: Full Time Blog Author

Job Description:
Exclusive author of Gale Family Blog. Must be able to post blog updates on a regular basis. Blogs must cover the Gale Family travels & experiences. Must fully document toddler's growth and development in order to satiate Grandparents needs. Must write in a witty and entertaining fashion.

No travel required. Flexible work schedule would be considered. Job to start immediately!

******************************************

Clearly I am very behind in our blog. I have even received some nasty-grams from some of the more dedicated blog followers asking for updates. So much to blog: Italy trip in May, the EM Fussball Championship in June, Corky's toad adventure, and our Paris trip in July. I promise I will work on this and provide you all with much reading material in the near future. As always, I will date the postings according to when they actually happened so over the next couple of weeks be sure to check for new postings dated in May and June.

In the meantime, should you know of anyone who would like to become my personal blog author, send them my way!

Ah, the life of a working mom...we outsource everything. We hire cleaning ladies to clean the house, we take our clothes to the dry cleaners, hire babysitters and nannies to look after our kids. Some even hire personal shoppers. It's only natural that I should hire someone to write my blog!

Now if only I could hire someone to lose that weight for me! : )

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One Step Closer to Eviction

Today was the day that the new owner of our house closed on the property. It's only a matter of time now before Ford receives a letter from the new owner asking us to move out. I know that many of you who are planning on visiting this fall are very concerned about our living arrangements. We honestly don't know what our plan is; however, we do expect to be moving before the end of October.

I spend a lot of time surfing the web looking for a new, suitable apartment/house. We currently have the perfect combination of size, yard, and location. I'm afraid that we'll have to sacrifice proximity to the city in order to have something with sufficient space and a decent yard.

We will certainly keep all of you posted via the blog and will have pictures up of the new place once we have identified it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Corky's Toad Adventure

Today, a new ISE (international service experience) family arrived here in Cologne. As the self-nominated welcoming committee, I invited this family over for dinner. I also felt it was in my best interest to make them feel happy here as he was brought over here to help me with my work load. A happy co-worker is a productive co-worker!!

Ben and I spent the day tidying up the house and cooking. We were expecting the family to arrive around 4:30. This would allow the children to have time to play in the yard prior to an early dinner. At 4:35, I looked up from my reading and see a toad in the house!! What the heck...how did this happen? Sure there are no screens on windows and doors here in Germany but never have we had anything just wander into the house. Aha...there's the culprit. It's Corky. He's a few feet behind the toad frothinig at the mouth and trying to spit. Apparently the toad has some sort of foul tasting secretion that is making Corky's mouth foam up. Now the toad is hopping across our floor, leaving a nice trail of slime and Corky is spitting everyway.

Oh God, please don't let the new family show up now. Please be late, please be late, please be late! New family may not like cats. May be totally repulsed by toad and slime. They may not find this funny.

Ben and I sprang into action. I threw the Corky outside. Ben caught the toad in some tupperware and tossed him over the fence into the neighbor's yard (wow, Corky was SOOOO mad!). And I managed to swiffer up the floor before the new family arrived. Phew!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Petting Zoo

We took Carter to the Petting Zoo today and it was a big hit. For 50 cents you can buy a box of animal food and feed the deer, sheep, and goats. Carter was a little intimidated by the size of the deer (and the fact that they were free roaming) so he let Daddy do all the feeding. It appeared that all of the deer but one were female. The one young male was very pushy. His rack was still covered with fuzz and really soft.


The goats were in a pen and you could feed them though the chain link. They were exceptionally pushy and would ram each other out of the way to get to the food. Carter would squeal with delight every time one licked the food from his hand. This may be a new Sunday tradition.

In other news, we are now foster parents to about 10 guppies. Friends of ours are going on vacation and we agreed to look after their fish. Hopefully we can keep Corky away from them so that we can return all 10 of them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Out on the street!?!?

It all started with a new German word - Makler. It means agent, as in real estate agent. Two weeks ago, our landlord announced that he is selling the property we live in because taxes were too high and that the makler was coming to look at our place. We hoped that somebody would buy the place as an investment and we could stay.

Then Monday night, the hope bubble burst. A prospective buyer, his family, their architect, and a representative from the bank came to view the (our) place. We had planned to be out to dinner during the inspection but due to a mix up in scheduling we arrived right as everybody was showing up. It's a terrible feeling seeing a group of people walking through our home knowing they are looking to buy it and kick us out. The buyer was a nice man moving here from France and said he wanted to move in as soon as he could. I told him we would talk about it after the purchase is complete.

Our arrangement is unique here. Ford leases the apartment from the landlord and we sublet from Ford. This arrangement is meant to shelter us from being stuck in a lease when we move home. Our lease with Ford is for 2 years. Ford leases the apt monthly from the landlord. So once the property changes ownership, we will get a letter saying that we have to leave. We then have three months from the end of the current month to find a new place and move.

Needless to say we are unhappy about this. I understand the landlord's problem with taxes (50% income tax anybody??). Of course Ford will take care of the moving costs and provide help finding a new place. A quick web search netted a number of nice places within our price range. Still, moving is such a big deal and we are quite happy where we are.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Our New Car, er, I Mean Ka

We picked up our new lease car today. It's a little green jelly bean. Because we use our second car so infrequently, we chose the least expensive option available to us -- a Ford Ka. Our particular model has tiny 13 inch wheels, no AC, and a 1.3L I4 engine that puts out a whopping 59 hp; however, it still costs 9750 Euros (which is $15,000 USD at today's exchange rates).

Carter calls the Ford Ka the "Fun Car" because it's so little it looks like a toy. I personally believe it was named the Ka because it's too small to be a Car.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Crash!


This past Saturday we took Carter to the park for a bike ride. We were all having a blast until Carter had an accident. In an attempt to slow himself as he went down a cobblestone hill, Carter lost his balance and flipped off his bike. Yes, he was wearing a helmet. He was also wearing sunglasses and I think it was the molded plastic nose piece that managed to split his head open. Ironically the glasses didn't break nor was there any sign of blood on them.

Despite all of the blood, Carter was a trooper...even while we were a little bit lost getting to the hospital. Thanks to Nana who sat in the backseat with him and applied pressure to the wound the entire time! Fortunately, Carter did not require stitches. The hospital staff simply used surgical glue and steri-strips to close the wound. I'm not sure that I could have held him down for stitches -- it was hard enough to keep him still for the glue.

The crash and the hospital trip didn't phase Carter in the least. Right after his nap, he was back on his bike...full speed ahead.

Today was the first day we were allowed to remove the steri-strips. Looks like it's healing well but he's going to have a substantial a scar.

Friday, May 02, 2008

What's The Weather

Carter has been in a performing mood...check out his latest song about the weather.

video

Clearly he gets his dance moves from his father.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Potty = Legos

Nothing says "I filled up my first potty training sticker chart" like a new Lego airplane that's as big as Carter. One might think that it's really more of a toy for Ben, but it's quite amazing to watch Carter play with his Legos. He's very gentle with them and spends a lot of time acting out scenes with them. Ages 8 and up? Let's just hope that he's potty trained before the rewards are actually "age appropriate."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

We took Carter to the zoo today and brought along his bike. He's getting really fast on his bike and balances well. Take a look for yourself.

video

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Was ist Das?

We went out to dinner tonight and sat outside a restaurant on the "main square" in the AltStadt. There were several bachelor and bachelorette parties wandering about. One bachelor party group was especially entertaining. All of the guys were dressed up in standard Bavarian Lederhosen...except for the bachelor. He was dressed in the standard Bavarian woman's attire: a dirndl. This was quite amusing...especially as he was wearing a blond wig and the dirndl was short, showing off his legs. He made for a very unattractive woman.

This was one of those moments that I was kicking myself for not having my camera with me. A photo, or even some video, of this he/she would have been very amusing.

Carter saw this man/woman and said, "Was ist Das?" (what is that?!) We weren't quite sure how to explain. The response that Ben gave, "It's a man dressed up as a woman," didn't seem to satisfy Carter.

Note to self: stay home the day of the gay pride parade. If a transvestite is hard to explain, we have no hope for the floats and costumes that day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ice Cream!

Carter loves his chocolate ice cream!
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Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt...


Snapped a couple of pictures of Carter in his "big boy underwear." It was almost a little scary how much he enjoyed posing for the camera in his underwear. We are trying to encourage the desire for potty training. Thought having him wear Lightening McQueen underwear would do the trick. After removing the diaper and putting on the underpants, we stuck by Carter's side and encouraged him to use the potty every 15 minutes or so. He refused to use his potty, stating that he didn't need to go. At one point both Ben and I left the room for a few seconds and Carter peed on Lightening. This was very upsetting for Carter. Now he doesn't want to wear the underwear for fear of wetting them. Hmm...that may have backfired.

We now have a sticker chart up next to his potty and is very interested in earning stickers for every successful trip to the potty. He knows that a certain number of stickers will earn him a new toy. Hopefully this will do the trick.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Euro Disney

Just back from Disney Land Paris. Despite the terrible weather and Ben coming down with the flu, we had a wonderful time. It was in the 40s and rainy for most of the weekend. If the weather had been warmer, we would have taken more pictures...but our poor little fingers were so cold that we didn't take the camera out much.

We saw many Disney characters and Carter had his picture taken with Goofy. Poor Carter was a little bit intimidated by the size of Goofy in "real-life." By far the best sighting was Lightening McQueen and Mater. Carter stood at close to them as the fence would allow and talked to them (and, no, they don't talk back). We eventually had to drag him away so that we could actually go on the "Radiator Springs" ride. We all loved the ride and immediately following we were able to snap this photo before they herded us away.


Two other ride favorites were the Flying Dumbo ride and Orbitron (a flying spaceship). Carter was so cute with the Orbitron ride. The first day he didn't want to go on it at all...he was too scared. On Day 2 he watched it for a long time but wasn't ready. He said "maybe tomorrow." Finally on Day 3, he was ready to go with Daddy. He loved it so much and when he was finished, he ran over to me and proudly said, "Mommy, I just rode in a space ship!!"


Ben was such a trooper. He came down with the flu and suffered with a fever for most of the weekend. Despite his body aches, he still carried Carter on his shoulders and took him on rides. Like most of Europe, you can't get Tylenol without a trip to the Apothecary to convince the pharmacist that you are in dire need. And at Disney Land, the only option is to go to the Park's First Aid station and talk to a doctor. Fortunately my boss and his family were also at Disney and had some Tylenol with them. So we learned our lesson, never leave home without a healthy stash of Tylenol in our luggage.


At the end, Carter didn't want to leave (of course!). I imagine that we'll be taking another trip to EuroDisney at some point...hopefully I'll pick a time when we'll have better weather. The rest of the pics from our trip can be found here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!




Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody. This is a special holiday here at the Gale household. Seven years and one week ago a bunch of us were at a party and we started talking about what to do on St. Patty's day the following Saturday. We all decided to meet at Connor O'Neill's in Ann Arbor. Well, as luck would have it, everybody either left town or came up with something else to do. In the end it was Carla, me, and several gallons of Guinness. One thing let to another and - somehow - going back to Carla's place to "take a nap" turned into married with a kid. I still think our friends planned it.

Today we are celebrating by going over to a friends house after work for Shepherd's pie and Guinness (pints not gallons).

Internet Service Returning

We should have home internet service (and phones) again on Tuesday, March 25. Web-cam enabled grandparents can expect web chat sessions again on Sunday, March 30.

We are heading to DisneyLand Paris this Friday for the long Easter weekend. I have told Carter that we are visiting Mickey's House. His response, "We're going to the clubhouse?" For those of you without children, there is a TV show called Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that is Carter's favorite. You should have seen the excitement in his eyes when Ben then told him that Lightening McQueen was going to be at Mickey's house, too.

Happy Easter/Spring

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stay tuned...


We are set to experience a service disruption at the Gale family - Germany chapter. After several frustrating months of dealing with slow service and marginal equipment, we are dropping Deutsche Telekom. That means no internet, local phone or VoIP phone service starting Feb 29th. We don't yet have a date for being back online. Although my new friends at NetCologne tell me it will be around a week. Keep watching this website for the latest news.

Message for the Grandparents: I know it will be tough to lose your weekly Carter Skype webcam fix. Please keep in mind that the new service offers up to 18Mb (!) of bandwidth goodness so you can view every inch of Carters road rash (see post below) in excruciating detail.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Carter has a Boo-Boo


Our poor little guy had an accident at school yesterday. He flipped over the front of his Bobby Car and landed on his face. Apparently he was quite the trooper. After they put iodine on the road rash (yes, Grandpa Gary...you would be proud), he went back outside and got on the Bobby Car again. As you can tell from the smile, he's no worse for the wear.
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Carter's Playroom


So I've finally done it. I finally got Carter's playroom in the basement all set up. The walls used to be pink and I painted them white on Saturday during Carter's nap. I scrubbed the floors clean and put down some rugs from IKEA. Finally, during Carter's nap today, I put up the Lightning McQueen wall decals a friend had sent to me back in December. After his nap, I took him downstairs to show him his new playroom. The huge smile on Carter's face made my day. He was so excited and gave me a big hug. He made sure that Daddy understood that the playroom belongs to Carter only. Carter insisted on having his afternoon snack at his table and chairs.

This evening we had friends over for dinner. Carter took "Uncle" Derrek to the basement to show off his playroom. He said to Derrek, "My Mommy made this room for me."

The finishing touches are some Mickey Mouse and Curious George posters that I'm ordering from Amazon.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Great Quote

Today, on the drive home from his school, Carter said,

"Ladies make me happy."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bike Riding Boy

Carter rode his bike all the way to the bakery in town and back home again. This is huge as he has only even ridden just down a house or two and back. He's really quite fast on his bike and is totally aware of the traffic.

For those of you who don't remember, we got Carter a bike last August (see post from August 31, 2007). This is a special 2 wheeler balance bike without pedals.

We are looking forward to a spring and summer of family bike rides!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

2008 Travel Planning Begins!

So this year we are going to take advantage of living in central Europe. In April we are taking 3 days to go to Amsterdam. We'll be spending the last two weeks of May in Italy. In July we'll be spending 5 days in Paris and then we'll have Ben's sister, Sarah, staying with us for a week. And in August or September, my mom and aunt MB are coming to visit with a possible trip to Paris.

We initially had plans to go to Munich next weekend (it's a long weekend here) but we've decided to stick it out and brave Karneval here in Cologne. We figure we need to experience it at least once...if it's totally crazy we'll know to skip town next year.

So, we still need to find time for trips to Berlin and Munich. We want to go to Switzerland, but maybe we'll wait until the fall. Ben's cousin, Daniel, is moving to Geneva in July so perhaps we will wait until he's well settled in.

Aaahhh...too bad these darn jobs keep getting in the way...imagine how much we could see if we didn't have to go to work.

Yet Another Girlfriend


This is Carter and MaKenna. Kenna is yet another one of Carter's girlfriends. She's 6 months younger than him and the daugther of another American family here in Cologne. Carter and Kenna will be traveling to Italy together this May. Some may think taking a trip together this early in their relationship is unwise, fortunately they will have their parents as chaperones. I am rather concerned as to how he will break the news to his other girlfriend, Ava. She will clearly notice his absence from school for 2 weeks. I can only hope that he breaks the news to her gently and only after nap time.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4, 5...Once I Caught a Fish Alive...

Check out this video of Carter singing (try not to laugh too hard at me leading him along)...

video

Here are the lyrics in case you couldn't follow along --


one, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive,

six, seven, eight, nine, then, then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go? Because it bit my finger so,

Which finger did it bite? This little finger on my right.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Grandma Rose's 93rd Birthday

While we were home in the States, we went to Cincinnati to celebrate Grandma Rose's 93rd Birthday. All of her descendents (save one grandson) were there: 3 children, 6 (0f 7) grandchildren, and 3 (& 1/2) great-grandchildren. Including spouses, there were 16 of us in total. I think that this was the happiest that Grandma Rose has been since moving from Florida to Cinci.

Carter had a blast with his second cousin, Sophia. She's about 7 months younger but a good match for Carter. Carter was also highly interested in his other second cousin, Silas. For some unknown reason, Carter gave Silas the nickname "Pancake." In Carter's world, that is a huge compliment as he loves pancakes. We are hoping that it sticks.

While in Cinci, we also took a trip to the zoo. We saw "white" lions, a running rhino, a growling bengal tiger, and others. For pictures from the zoo and from the rest of the weekend in Cincinnati, click here.

Happy Birthday Grandma Rose! Here's to many more.