Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Discovering Yourself Over Sprinkles

I discovered something about myself today. I think that really comes with the job here in Germany... You figure out a lot more about who you are and things you like about yourself, as well as ways you need to improve. Anyway, today was one of those moments that I noticed how a good trait within me, can become negative if used the wrong way.

What could she possibly mean by that, you ask? Well, I'll tell you...

This afternoon I thought it would be a lot of fun for me to decorate Easter cookies with the boys! So, I got up this morning and after taking the boys to Kindergarten, I made some sugar cookie dough only to find we didn't really have Easter cookie cutters. Thus, I used gingerbread men, stars, and bells for our Easter cookies! Haha...

When the boys came home I put frosting into three separate bowls and added color to them (green, blue, & yellow), placed the sprinkle boxes out for use, along with the "gel icing" pens, and we all got to decoratin'! This lasted a good chunk of time, but not without incident. Nico LOVED the frosting (points on me), but while I was into decorating a cookie took the bowl of yellow frosting and ate most of it using the butter knife as his spatula. I had to remind him that we needed frosting for ALL the cookies and that he was not allowed to do that anymore. That's the side-note story...

Now, here's where I really learned something (besides watching the kids and the frosting bowls...). Finni was decorating a star and pour HALF the little container of sprinkles onto this one cookie. I wasn't upset, or angry, but was worried for some reason because in my mind I was thinking, "Oh no! He might use them up and we won't have more left... He's not doing it right. I need to help him!" So, I said, "Nein, Finni... Let me show you." I took the sprinkles and added them to my gingerbread man slowly and evenly... Then I took his hand with mine and showed him how to do it. He said, "Beautiful!" Then, he grabbed the spoon for the sprinkles and dumped more onto the cookie man, shouting, "Now he's even more beautiful!"

Haha... Less is more kid.

The point of the story is found back at the point where I had my mini "moment-of-panic" over nothing more than "too many sprinkles." My thought was really that he was "doing it wrong." However, is there really a wrong way to deck out a sugar cookie? Nein. I mean, I guess you could say ketchup on it or something is definitely wrong, but then again, not if you're a ketchup-on-your-cookie-lover. Hm... Haha!

I think that sometimes I like to be in charge a bit too much. I like things done a certain way and to be on a level I deem acceptable. I think most people feel this way to SOME extent, but it runs a bit higher or faster in me. I want to help others "do things right," but in that desire I sometimes hinder others in the opportunities to learn, grow, and try new things. Sometimes I need to just cut others loose and let them fly on their own accord. I don't believe that I do it often, but I do it sometimes. I apologize to anyone who has ever felt that I have held them back from soaring... seriously.

Needless to say, I let the boys decorate however they wanted to after that.

Finni needs to learn how to decorate a cookie, and yes I can show him how I think it might look nice. However, perhaps I'll learn something from his ideas. Why should I deny him the chance to create what a beautiful cookie is too him? Because I'm too worried about running out of sprinkles? So, we'll buy more! It's no big deal. His face, beaming and ecstatic, as he held up the final product is a big deal though. His feelings of success in that he created something beautiful... That matters. Not the frosting, sprinkles, or even the cookies themselves matter in comparison.

Plus, you know what? We still have plenty of sprinkles left to decorate with next time.

Song of the Day: Today's melodical piece of magic (haha!) is a little flashback to the 1990s in my opinion.... It's a recently released song, but it's got a little of that 90s beat and background sound. Here's The Spell by Alphabeat - whom, I love! Haha... Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I did NOT take these pics.... If there was any question about that to begin with - haha!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Once Was

"Maybe the first time that you know you really care about something is when you think about it not being there, and you know - you really know - that the emptiness is as much inside you as outside you." - The Wednesday Wars

"For it falls out, that what we have we prize not to the worth whiles we enjoy it; but being lacked and lost, why, then we rack the value, then we find the virtue that possession would not show us while it was ours. " - Much Ado About Nothing

"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got till it's gone?" - Joni Mitchell

I think that this is often the case in our lives... Once we lose something, or are separated from it, we are torn. We feel loss and pain and by the time we recognize why we feel these emotions of sadness or lack of comfort, it's oft times too late.

Is it just that we want what we don't have, or we truly don't recognize what we once had? Can it be both?

That's the challenge. If you have something you want back in your life, are you longing for it for the correct reasons? Once you figure this out, which only you can do for yourself, then you can decide what the next step should be. Do you venture to regain what you once had, or do you let it go and find yourself at peace with a new path?

I think this is an interesting topic to think about, or discuss.

I'm pretty sure some people just get comfortable and then miss the old because the new is “too new.” However, there are many people who go through their life wishing for "more" and never quite finding it. Especially those individuals who always say, "The next job will be better. The next boy/girl will be a better match for me. The next year's events will make me happier. When I'm one year older, it'll be better..." Statements like that lead to unsettled hearts and unsatisfactory lives.

The realization that you want what once was is hard... cause you simultaneously know that one can rarely get something back to how it once was.... Maybe it can be better though.

I also think that you can have this realization about wanting something that once was back in your life about a person. Yep, I'm pretty sure you can.

Song of the Day: There are some great dance songs that I would put up, but this post is too tender to not use a more affectionate song. Thus, I bring you Ray LaMontague's song, Be Here Now. For some who might be wondering where you've heard it before, it is on the 27 Dresses Soundtrack... if they had one that is. Haha! I love this artist – so chill, and SO good. Enjoy!

P.S. Next topic for thought.... We all want peace in our lives. Whether it is peace in the land from war or gang violence, or peace in our personal lives and our homes... We want peace and contentment. We want peace, but what are we willing to do to get it? Results require action.

Food for thought.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Get Your Hair DID!

Well, you asked... and you shall receive. Okay, so only a few people asked me, but you ALL are receiving. What are you receiving you ask? Well, pictures of the hottest girl you've ever seen... maybe.

Here are some grainy pictures of the new do, taken with my computer because my camera is still broken. I'm going to order a new one this week. I hate broken cameras... Boo.

It's a cut I feel like I've had a million times, but when you are explaining what you want in a language the hairdresser barely knows... Under those circumstances, I think she did a pretty good job. As for the color - it WAS orange... Now, it's red/orange and better.... Still a bit bright for me, but it works for now. In the words of Miley Cyrus & Timbaland, "I've got a brand new hair-do... with my brand new attitude!" Haha... classic.
Now I feel subsequently vain with my little photo shoot.... Vain and "really really good-looking."

Song of the Day: Yesterday a friend sent me this link to check out the mutual theme for 2010... The video is awesome! I really love that they didn't necessarily pick tons of perfect singers, but youth from all over with all types of voices. What an amazing opportunity for all those youth involved... Check out the video and then the website for resources whether you're a youth or not - it's really awesome! Here's the Mutual Theme for 2010, Be Strong and of a Good Courage - Enjoy!

Sidenote: The boy from the Philippines made me want to learn the language - SO beautiful!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Creepy Crawlies... Ew.

Today I had the wonderful idea that I should get a spring haircut. In fact, upon seeing an add in the paper that advertised cheap cut and dye jobs at a newly opening place, I decided to opt for the cut and highlighting option. So, this morning I went with Koko and the boys (as they needed haircuts as well) to Badgodesburg to do just that...

I was excited. Let me tell you... I was going to get a head massage and that warm water while leaning back when they rinse my highlights is so good - you know what I'm talking about. It was going to be relax central, and to top it off I was going to look AWESOME once I was through.

It started that way... sitting in the seat as they started the weave for my highlights. However, about twenty minutes into the job Nico finished his haircut and Finni hopped up for his. That's when the hairdresser found the crawlies.... Yep. Lice.

I've been itching all day thinking about it, even though they found NONE on me and I still did the treatment to be safe. I still had another hour in the chair, but I couldn't help but think about the little critters on Finni and PRAYING they weren't in my hair. Ew. Haha!

THEN, when my hair was finished I was a bit astounded at how orange it was, rather than the rot (red) I picked, and how short it had gotten when it dried - I warned them it shrinks a LOT. However, on a positive note - it was still a cute cut - I like it!

The color though.... I guess the lice had one positive not regarding this. The treatment I used on my hair washed just a TAD of my color out and made it not SO orange... perfect. Haha! Now I am fully happy with the results from my haircut today.

All in all, we now have a ton of laundry and such to do, but the kids are lice free now (as are the adults, though I think we were all fine before hand) and I'll have some nice clean sheets to sleep on. Brilliant.

Song of the Day: Big Yellow Taxi by Amy Grant. We listened to TONS of versions of this over the last few days and this is STILL my fave - over all the years. LOVE IT - Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stand Under My Umbrella...

So, today as I was makin' my way through the U-bahn station at PlittersdorferStr, I walked past a very picturesque umbrella. This dark blue umbrella had a few small rips and tears throughout the fabric and was chillin' upside-down in the middle of the staircase. For some reason, I longed for my camera(though it is somewhat indisposed at this point still). This umbrella in the subway station was just calling out for someone to take a picture - it was perfect. It was like the triumphant warrior, facing the rain, and had lost the battle with the wind. Then, it had fallen from its master's hand after it was no longer needed...

I don't know why, but I was captivated by the mental image and found myself staring at the image for some time before moving on. I felt a little sad leaving the umbrella behind. I longed to pick it back up...
However, I did move on... and as I made my way down the street, I made up little stories of how the umbrella came to be left upon that staircase.

Perhaps the owner was being mugged and the umbrella was used to fight off the invader. Perhaps the umbrella belonged to a little girl and she dropped it, still opened, as her mom pulled her along down the stairs so they wouldn't miss their train.

Maybe there was an older brother who was poking the younger sister with the umbrella and when the younger sibling got angry, she ripped the umbrella away, causing holes. Then, when the mother had broken up the fight, she tried to use the umbrella again. Finding that it was filled with small holes, she let it fall to the wayside. Or, maybe the owner merely left it there as a tribute.

I like that idea... though it's also the most unlikely.

It also made my think about all of the things that we use umbrellas for... I know. You're thinking, "Linze. We use umbrellas for the rain." True. However, we also use them for the sun, the snow, protection from all kinds of weather really... but there's more.

Umbrellas have become a huge part of the wedding circuit. Couples are using them to enhance their wedding photos by adding something more to their pictures.
People are using umbrellas as decoration...
Or, forms of art...
Some people are even collecting miniture umbrellas for whatever reason there may be to do so... Sidenote: I'm not sure what those reasons might be. Hm.
People are even having "Umbrella Parties." I kid you not. Yes, below is a picture of just such an event.

And also, the umbrella one has says a lot about their personality. You might think that's not the truth, but you'd be wrong. Trust me - I know these kind of things. Look at the picture below, for example... There are all these different kind of umbrellas in the crowd. Just like people, some scream, "look at me!" while others are just meant to blend in. Some of them have different colors and designs on them. While others are a solitary color. Some of the umbrellas are more fun, and some more plain... They all have numerous uses and are there to help us, but they each say something different.... like people.
It made me realize... I like my umbrella. It's seen me through Virginia, Oregon, Utah, London, and now, Germany. However, it might be time for me to think about getting one that says a bit more about me. I mean, it's a cute blue and green polka-dotted fabric, but there's more to be said now than the girly-youthful print.

Then again, maybe no one else sees this in an umbrella. Maybe no one else cares what their or any one else's umbrella looks like. Maybe no one else notices... but what's important, is that I notice.

Time the time and notice the little things, such as the beauty in an abandoned umbrella on some stairs.

Song of the Day: I bet you thought the song was going to be "Umbrella," but if that was your guess... You were sorely mistaken. Nope. There are many I want to post, but today in honor the umbrella, we'll do a song regarding their main, most common use... This is a song called Rain by Breaking Benjamin. I LOVE this song and it has been a fave of mine since my freshman year...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Swiss Chocolate, Swiss Cheese, Swiss Snowboarders... Heaven.

So, can I just say, Switzerland is BEAUTIFUL!? It has the simple, majestic feel to it that's so suave and yet down-to-earth. I can't even quite describe it.

We left on Friday afternoon from Bonn, and after a six hour drive made it to our little farm home in the Swiss Alps. I had NO idea where we were staying, and didn't even think to ask, so I was a bit surprised when we pulled up. I was also a bit surprised because I had my eyes closed most of the way up the winding roads in attempt to not get car-sick. Haha! Seriously, roads are SO windy up in here (granted that's a bit of a "duh!" as we're in the mountains) and people drive fast because they're more use to it, and the speed-limits are a lot higher. Whatever the reason, I was not having the best of stomachs, and once the headache hit I know it was time I close my eyes or we'f have to soon pull-over. Haha!

Anyway, we pulled up to the farmhouse and I found out we'd be renting part of the house from a family there. We would also be joined by another family of five (two kids (Tom & Lexi), grandma, and the parents (Dave & Hannah)) that have done this trip for four years now with the Merl's. TheI was a bit worried about being freezing in there, but I haven't had a problem with that as of yet. Otherwise, I am in love with the place. It's small, but I feel like I'm getting a real feel for Switzerland (unless you're at the resorts) and the people here. I have pictures of my room and the place - we're SO far up the mountain!

Sidenote: You'll notice in the picture to your right that every mountain has avalanche protection to the MAX up here! Along with that, each home is built INTO the mountain for added protection and is surrounded by stone barriers so to the snow slides over the homes and not INTO the homes if there is an avalanche. It's a bit crazy, but we've already seen a TINY one in the first two days here. Haha!

Saturday morning, upon waking up, I looked at the views around the house (for the first time in the light) and was in complete awe. The mountains are HUGE and COVERED in enormous trees. The air is SO clear and the sun is BRIGHT! You would think the snow would be melting faster, but the chill air keeps it around plenty. It certainly is cold, but the sun makes it drastically better. After breakfast with the fam and taking some pictures of my surroundings, we hopped into the car and headed to Davos, where they use to live. Patrick and Koko wanted to do a round of cross-country skiing, so they asked if I would stay with the boys and go sledding next to the ski resort. We lasted a few minutes before "I'm hungry" came ringing through the air. Thus, we went over to the little cafe/restaurant there and I ordered them fries and vorshti - aks: hot dogs. Haha! The hot dogs were really cool, oddly enough- they take hollowed out baguettes and pump ketchup or mustard inside, then put the brawt into the hole, and voila! You've got your own hot dog - a WAY cool, European hot dog. Haha!

While we ate we sat next to the place where many of the world competitions for snow-boarding take place at this AMAZING pipe-line. We watched TONS of snowboarders (and a few skiiers) come down the runway, carving back and forth and getting mad air. Some simply caught air and it was no biggie, but others were twisting away, doing nose grabs, 360s, etc. It was awesome! I couldn't help but think of my brother Derek the entire time... :)

After lunch, the boys refused to do ANYTHING. They both wanted to just chill in the buggie... After ten-minutes and some heavy coaxing, Finni got out and wanted to go sledding with me. We must have gone down about twenty times! I tell you, it was AWESOME! The wooden sled we had was classic, and got us going SUPER fast! Nico was content to rest in the buggie, no matter how much we asked him to come along, but Phineas and I were sledding like crazy for about an hour - we even made a video going down! Haha...

Koko and Patrick were back about two hours after they took off and we all played with the boys a bit longer before taking off to do some grocery shopping and head home. It was a good day... and my face even got some sun! Double win! Haha...

That night the other family arrived, and the little boys from downstairs came up to play. Things got a LOT louder... Haha! At one point I looked at Patrick and said, "Um... I'm cool with babysitting a bit while I'm here, but I'm not going to have all six at once and by myself, am I?" He laughed and promised that was a "NO," which made me over-the-moon relieved. Haha! However, there were some points throughout the trip that I definitely felt like I had all six, or at least five of them at once. I know it's never meant to be that way, but it happened a few times.

Sidenote: The grandma spoke Czech and German... and barely any English. Yea, it was interesting. Haha! There were a few times she thought I was telling her one of my parents was dead, she asked if she could "pick me up" cause I was "lookin' hot" once... She even apologized cause she thought I was offended that her husband was dead. Haha! It was SUCH a funny time at first, and frustrating in moments, but we really grew together through our time there with the kids and us.

Sunday we went to church in a few cities over in Koko and Patrick's old ward. Upon arriving a few people came up to say hello and one guy asked, "Are you American? Would you like a translator?" I was kind of taken aback... I was SO thankful, but very surprised. I mean, I wasn't planning on translation in Bonn, but every Sunday I get most of my meetings there in English. In Switzerland it was the same thing... Both of the meeting there were translated by this Swiss native who did his grad work at the U of U, and learned English before that in school. Most people over here learn English in school, but the they seem to learn it really well compared to how I learned Spanish or others learned French, German, Latin, etc. in High School. Anyway, they only have two meetings in this Swiss ward and then a lunch with the members. This time it was to say goodbye to a family moving away, but I guess that's the normal routine there.

Lunch, was AMAZING by the way! Haha... The members had all brought some homemade goodies that were totally unique and cultural - They KNOW how to cook there... All their breads and such were SO good! Also, they had this yellow cake, with chocolate fudgy stuff on the outside of each piece, and then it was rolled in coconut... Heaven. Haha! It was nice to visit with a few people in the ward and then head out to see a family that Patrick and Koko were close with when they lived in Davos. I spent most of my time visiting with the daughter, even though she didn't speak English... We played Backgammon and Connect Four. Haha! It was fine - I really didn't feel awkward. I was, however, FREEZING by the time we left - haha! We went to sit outside and eat tea and cake out there and at first it was brilliant. The sun was shining and it was fresh air... and then, the sun started to set a bit and the wind caught slightly... Yea, I was ready to go then. Haha!

Monday... Wow, this is like a little travel-log, but with pictures. Sorry folks if this bores you, but to quote LC, "It is what it is." Haha! Yep, I really DID just quote LC - hm. Haha!

So, back to Monday... I awoke early, 6:45am to be exact, and proceeded to get dressed. I don't know why the proper writing has the need to come forth right now, but um... I think I'm done now. I think.

After getting ready, I headed down to eat breaky and then get ready to have my first driving lesson... with a stick shift... In the snow. Haha! Yea, I forgot that everyone in Europe pretty much drives a stick... and most people in America, don't... especially girls. Hey, be a hater if you must, but it's true. Anyway, when we talked about it the night before I was a little apprehensive about learning to drive a stick in Swiss Alps. It's a cool enough story, but I was just NOT comfortable with it at all. However, I put on a brave game-face cause I knew I didn't really have an option without ruining everyone's plans and took on an "I-can-do-it" attitude. So, that morning Dave took me out to teach me. It was actually pretty easy... I mean, I have to be honest and say that two other people had given me a LITTLE experience before, but not a lot. Plus, when I was learning before I was not serious about it at all. I have never had any desire to learn, and was only doing it for fun before. Now, it was crunch time and I had about twenty minutes to learn how to drive a stick... yea. Haha!

I did alright though! I was really proud of myself and I counted it as a huge accomplishment. I have to be honest though, and say that I was NOT loving that it was snowing while I was learning, but it ended up being fine. I only stalled when I was in the wrong gear once and then once in the afternoon when I was on a really steep hill... Yea, good story there.

So, as I came up the mountain from the kids skiing lesson (we were bringing them back for lunch) I made it without stalling once and was feeling really confident. Yea, pride cometh BEFORE the fall, right? Right. I was to the top of the STEEP hill next to our farmhouse and the about to pull into the drive (an ice-covered drive I was not thrilled about, but decided I could tackle it) when the car stalled. WHAT?! I was almost scott-free and at the last possible moment I NEED the car to function, I stall?! Yea. So, I put on the E-break and unloaded all the kids (and grandma) and then after thinking for a moment decided there was only one option... I couldn't leave the car in the middle of the road, and I couldn't back the car the entire way down the hill with no promise of crashing it... and I would have to do that to get enough momentum to get the car back UP the hill. So, I chose secret option "C." I knocked on the house below our rentals door and prayed the mom would be able to help out...

Luckily, when she answered she spoke a little English and she was chill doing me a little favor with the car. In fact, she had a little private laugh when I told her it was my first day driving a stick and kinda gave a little "no-problem" swat of the hand when I asked her to take car of the issue. So, I flipped her cooking brawts while she ran out to park my car. Haha! It was really a pretty hilarious moment. I was loving it... after it was done. Haha! The entire time she was parking it I was saying, "Heavenly Father, don't let her crash the car. PLEASE, don't let her crash the car!" in my heart. Haha! All was well though, and hopefully tomorrow it's a similar story when I drive the kids again... I'm sure it will be. Haha!

Oh, The skiing lesson with the kids was really good, but it took FOREVER to get Finni to have the deisre to get up on skis... DANG that kid is stubborn. After promising hot cocoa and that we would go home after he tried going down the short slope one more time, he agreed. We got up and he started SCREAMING that he was about to pee his pants... So,what's a girl to do with a screaming child in need of a restroom when you're in Europe - cause there are NO restrooms anywhere to be found? Yea, I pulled his zipper open and let him go right there in the snow. Then, cause we were on the ski track area, I covered up the yellow snow with fresh, white snow. Finni thought THIS was hilarious, was in an instantly better mood and skiied for thirty to forty minutes more with me and the instructor. If I had known making yellow snow was all it took to make the kids happy, I would have let him pee on the track an hour previous to then. Haha!

In the afternoon, I played games with the kids, helped make them lunch, and then when the parents got home we decided to go sledding out in the front yard... Or, should I say, "front mountain?" Haha! Seriously, you walk outside and there is a MOUNTAIN there. So, we tried sledding and when we found the snow to be too-deep, we ended up having a massive snowball and tackling fight. Haha! We were all soaked and wet, but laughing so hard. We have some AWESOME pictures of us doing crazy jumps over the snow bank and dodging snowballs... It was classic. Haha! The kids were all WAY into it, and we had a BLAST! Koko and I decided to do somersaults and twist jumps down the mountain... pretty classic. Haha!

Tuesday was skiing class for the kids again, and let me tell you - all week they were getting better and better! While we were down there, Finni was having trouble being motivated, so I promised him that he could chose a Kinder Eier (egg) or shokolade bar if he went down up the tow rope a certain number of times and came down with the instructor. So, after he did we both got ourselves (and Nico/Lexi for later) a little treat. I chose this AMAZING candy bar called K├Ągi-Fret Coco... OH MY WORD! I found my favorite candy bar of all time. NO joke. Haha!

Now, after their class it was still POURING SNOW - it had been all morning - and so I made the executive decision that there was no way in HELLO and back that we were getting up the last stretch of pure mountain with me driving this stick. So, we parked in the lot below the last hill, put together the buggy and I pushed Tom and Phineas (our sleeping kids) in the buggy up the mountain while grandma encouraged Nico and Lexi to walk. Let me remind you I was pushing them up a MOUNTAIN - not a hill, a MOUNTAIN. Haha! It was SO hard pushing in the snow up the steep slopes (back and forth up the winding road), but I did it, unloaded the kids, and went in to start making lunch... I had my workout for the day, thank you. Haha!
After lunch the kids wanted to play one of the board games they found there, which was a great idea... except there were no dice. So, the first time we played I just called out random numbers as each kid moved their piece. The next time we tried I took Rummikub pieces and randomly picked one of them from the box for the number of spaces they were to move. I thought this was rather creative, to toot my own horn for a moment... haha!

When we were done with board games and the parents got home, we all trekked outside in the snow (still pouring snow) and made a GIANT snowman- the snow was the perfect consistency... which meant it was also the perfect consistency for more snowball-fighting and for the little kids to play "push the adults down the mountain!" over and over again. Haha! That game spawned from the little Swiss boys... I'm sure they have lots of practice playing with all the snow they get - haha!

Sidenotes: I spent the week speaking more German! I really feel like I'm getting better, but I'm nowhere near fluent yet. I'm learning slowly and surely. We started past tense stuff this week - I'm gettin' there! Haha...
- Also, while we were there it was usually the case that by the time I got to the shower there was NO hot water. So, waking up at 6:20am for some became a habit. It was nice to have morning time though, oddly enough I, LINZE, really did say that. Haha!
Other memorables for me:
- Good dinners and drinking milk straight from the cow
- NEIN to Spinat - I don't like it... I tried, but it's a no-go!
- New music I LOVE: Second Time Around, Art of Love, She's Not You, etc.
- As pathetic as it might sounds I was wanting to talk to my mom more while I was there... she really is my best friend.
- New books I adore and am reading: Wednesday Wars/IQ/Rules/StarGirl... I need to write more about all of these!

Wednesday was a day of some shining moments (literally) and some frustating ones.

When I woke up (6:20am for that hot shower - SO worth it!), the sun was shinning and I was ECSTATIC to be outdoors in the sun and fresh air. The mountains are FABULOUS here and it just feels good, but the constant snow of the few days prior to today was not making life easier for me. I mean, it's pretty and fun in some ways, but overall I like sun better. I have discovered over the past few months a little more about myself... Well, a lot more, but this upcoming thing in particular.

I really like vacationing and taking trips, but I do NOT like being cold. I always said I would rather be cold than hot, but I think it's a matter of me never really beeing COLD before this winter in my mind. I love being chilly, but each time I get cold I remember that I really HATE that feeling. If I had my way, I would spend more sunny moments in places like Hawaii... I dont think I'll EVER get over the trip Sarina and I took there last Thanksgiving. Maybe when I'm married and go to the tropics with my eternal boyfriend... That'll probably beat it out. Well, only if there's a convertible involved. Haha!

Summing it up - I like warm places better and vacations that involve laying in the sun, water sports, flip-flops and T-shirts. I had a great time in Switzerland, but I really like the outdoors more in the spring, summer, and fall.

Now, back to Wednesday... After breaky and getting everything geared up, I went down to the ski lessons with Lexi, Grandma and the boys, and spent the morning enjoying the sun, but just chillin' on the side of the mountain... I was really wanting to snowboard, but I didn't want to rent on a day I wasn't going to get a full day of use in... Patrick had suggested snowboarding on the same mountain as the kids, and then talking more about it we determined that it wouldn't be as successful because Finni is having tough moments when skiing. Even if they're doing well, I can't just leave him. Plus, I didn't know what was planned for the afternoon and so I didn't want to plan on snowboarding and then have them tell me we were doing something else. When we came back from the base I drove again AND parked the car in the drive, which requires backing in... a bit more difficult with a stick, but I did it! We made lunch for the kids, played for a few hours and then the parents got back around three.

Sidenote: To kill some time, I helped the kids make their very own music videos... To I'm a Minister of Rock N' Roll by Lenny Kravitz. Haha!!! Enjoy!

Now, by this time I was simply wanting some time to do SOMETHING fun for me. I mean, I love the kids, but it's exhausting caring for four kids (even with someone else's help). So, when Koko got back and said, "I think someone else's shoes will fit you. I was thinking that I could show you how tour skiing goes around here and we could go hike up the mountains around here," I thought she meant that day. Well, that afternoon they said they were going down to the lift to do some runs, and I thought that meant I would be hiking up with Koko while everyone else skied off the lift. Nope. We got there and I ended up watching a crying Finni while everyone else got a few runs in, and then we went home...

So, I didn't feel bad when I went upstairs and took ME time... I went upstairs and watched "Lois & Clark" and stayed up there until dinner time. Haha! I love that show, and it was just what I needed to relax. At dinner I had no desire to visit, but felt I needed to go be polite. So, I ate dinner (somehow ended up talking mostly about my life - no idea how that happened) and then stayed down chatting until about 11:30pm. It was actually really nice to just laugh and visit... I love those times.

Now, on to record Thursday. Haha!

Thursday was the same thing in the morning and the parents got home around 2:30pm... at which time I went straight up to my room to watch more "Loic & Clark" till we headed out to go swimming. Upon arriving there, Koko announced that she had forgotten her swimming suit, which was a bummer. Along with that, Tom was too young to get into the baths (giant spas that are like modern Roman Baths - SUCH a cool place! I wish I had gotten pics, but I was too nervous to take my camera by the pool with the boys around.), which meant that the other parents couldn't come in either. Sad day! It was still really nice and relaxing, but it just meant I had to watch the kids more. It turned out fine though... I just did my thing and had them come with me. Haha! They were chill... I did (SAD NOTE) leave my cute swim suit there though! I was upset cause I really liked that one... Oh well, I guess I can get another one here easy enough.

Anyway, Friday morning was great weather and the kids all did fabulous with skiing, but Finn had to take his skis off after EACH run for some reason and it was just time consuming. After the Friday rush of being done, the kids all got home and went a little crazy. Haha! The older kids formed a "big kids alliance," and did NOT want little 2-yr. old Tom around them for a bit. It's totally understandable, but I felt bad for him. So, I tried playing with him a bit and such, and encouraged the others to let him play until his 2 o'clock nap. Well, finally it became SO hectic and crazy that I got a bit aggravated and said, "That's it! You're done guys! Everyone back up a few steps... 2 more... 2 more... freeze." I had all four kids against the stove area in the kitchen and thought, 'I have to come up with something.'

So, what's a girl to do as four little children (slightly confused and worried) are looking up at you for instructions?

I played a twenty-minute game of Simon Says with them. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO random, but it worked. Haha! Then, I lead them via Simon Says into the living room and sat them in a circle to teach them Telephone. Finally it was time for Tom's nap and I could do some one-on-one things with the others while the other two would draw. It was perfect, but the parents didn't get home till 4pm and by then, I was DONE. I needed "ME TIME" and not in the house... Haha! I was fine watching them, but I just needed to get away a bit. So, I took a walk back into the mountains for around an hour and then met the families down in the local village (St. Antonien) for some hot cocoa, then walked back to the house from there to make pizza. It was a good way to wind down, and the next day, was mine. FINALLY! Haha...

Saturday was glorious as I finally got to venture out onto the Alps and try out some of my snowboarding skills. However, this time does not lack in stories to go with it. We went up to a place called Madrisa in Klosters, and took a beautiful gondola ride up to the top of the mountains. My word, it was SO beautiful up there! I got right to boarding on the kiddie slop, to remind myself how to do the basics since I don't do it very often. I found that I could still do basic carving and breaking, and make it down the tiny run just fine after a time or two. I spent extra time there though to improve my basic skills before I went to tackle the giant slopes - haha! Now comes the real story...

It's a sad, sad tale and some of you are going to think, "Linze, really? REALLY?" You will laugh at me and ultimately think less of me for a moment, but this too shall pass... I think. If not, well.... oh well. I still wanna tell the story for some comic relief! Haha...

So upon my desire to conquer the next mountain, I strapped on the board to my front binding and headed toward the T-Bar lift... Now, I had never gotten on a T-bar before. Ever. In Utah and Virginia they have the the lifts you sit in... They're nice and comfy on the way up, easy to get into, but I do have some trouble getting out at times... balance. You'd think after all those years of dancing and gymnastics my balance on a snowboard would be better... Anyway, back to the T-bar. Um... let's just put it out there. I fell off... twice. Then again... and again... and twice more. Yep, six times. Yep... They had to Stop the lift three times for me as I got a little way up and fell off. Yea... I tried and tried again, but finally I said, "Enough is enough... I'm holding up the lines." And, I was done. Now, I'm no quitter... no, I am merely postponing the experience until at least a year from now. It'll provide time for my bum and my ego to heal. Haha!

You can imagine this girl falling down a gillion times (at two separate points in the day, mind you) and how much you would have laughed, right? Now seriously, it's okay. I like to be the comic relief.

Sidenote: This also happened in front of a lot of good-looking snowboarders... just sayin'. Tragic. Haha! The clientele was fabulous in the Swiss Alps.

Anyway, the rest of the day was spent riding the kiddie slopes and getting better at balance and the basics... and getting my tan on. Haha! In all seriousness, my face and upper chest ARE really tan now, and I love it! I have proof of my awesome, improved snowboarding skills on Koko's camera, so I'll have to post some more pictures later... just to brag. Haha! There are also some of the best mountain shots on her camera too...

That evening we headed back to the little farmhouse and the kids went RIGHT to sleep, while the adults had fondue and chat time... It was a nice way to close everything up. Also, the grandma that I could barely carry conversation with invited my to stay with her in the Czech Republic - I wanted to visit Prague at some point while I was here, so perfect! She was so sweet and sincere too, and gave me a paper with her address and telephone on it to set it up for this summer. I'm excited! It's so great to get the opportunity to see so many places and experience different cultures. I really grew to love her over the week.

In fact on Friday she turned to me at lunch and said, "Let's try and talk. I want to know about your religion." As we chatted she went on to talk about how I am always reading my bible (and BoM) and church magazine (Ensign - I'm re-reading all the last sessions talks before this upcoming session in two weeks), and asked about it. It was hard to talk about it because we only understood of half of what the other person was saying. However, it was really motivating for me to learn better German so that I can have more missionary moments and feel more motivated to share the gospel with people here. Also, I think I might get a copy of the Book of Mormon in Czech, write my testimony in it (in German), and take it to her when I go. Especially since she initated the conversation because she wanted to know more. It's the perfect parting gift! :)

So, Saturday morning the family and I headed toward Munich - Koko had a presentation there on Sunday, so we made a short stop there before going home. I am in LOVE with that city! Patrick was saying how he applied for a job there awhile back and I was like, "Done! Let's move here - apply again!" Haha... I mean, I was only there for a few hours (and for an hour of it was in a sacrament meeting) and I was already really diggin' all the buildings and streets - the look and feel of the place. It's a really cool place so I'll be sure to go back and take pics, y'all!

Um... That's all for Switzerland I think. Now, it's on to planning the next trip - Holland in April for the Tulip Festival and to meet my cousin! I could not be more stoked!

Song of the Day: There are too many good ones to chose! Here's one from my LOOOOOONG list of current favorites: Here is Jordin Sparks and Guy Sebastain singing their new duet "Art of Love." Seriously, Jordin always has the BEST duets - I LOVE this song! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Auf Wiedershen, Alex.... Wilkomenn Switzerland!

I know that I JUST wrote a meaningless post, but none the less... Here I go again!

I am BEYOND upset with the American Idol results tonight. The ONE person that I really did NOT want to go home, the ONE person I cared about in the competition, is OUT. Alex Lambert, voice of gold and FINALLY figuring himself out... is going home. He should have stayed. Tim, Aaron, Paige, and Lacey should have been out. I leave America and this happens. Haha!

Also, Lily was SO original and talented, and Katelyn was my favorite girl... and she's heading home too! She had a GREAT voice, even if her song choices weren't the best. It makes me sad...

Really, I'll still watch the show, but... This season overall has seemed... Off. It's just not gelling, and people's passion isn't there. It's aggravating.... It's sad.

On a positive note, I did see two bright lights in people this week. Didi Benami performed really well this week, but I'm a bit over her same style each week. I do like her alright though. Then, there was Mike Lynche. DAAAAAAAAANG! Homeboy can saaaaang! Haha... Seriously, he was fantastic. He performed "A Woman's Work" (originally by Maxwell - I'll never forget the dance to this in season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance... SO beautiful!) and it was incredible. He was fantastic sounding and as a performer.

Anyway, I will miss Alex Lambert.... As I currently obsessed with the type of music he was perfomring (James Morrison, Ray LaMontagne, and John Legend) I was crushed that he is gone.... Hm.

Others to perhaps love and support now (?): Casey James (liked him at the beginning, but he hasn't done much since), Andrew Garcia (same thing as Casey, but even less wow factor since...), and Didi Benami (another early peaker, and I'm noticing how negative I think that can be as they're always trying to surpass "that moment" of before...), and of course, Michael Lynche (just really great and getting better!).

I like Crystal, but she hasn't done it for me yet.... hm.

Last thought, I actually like Lee's style, but homeboy is ALWAYS really pitchy.... Why does he get so much praise? Also, why the HECK are Aaron and Tim still there -especially Tim? Please, someone explain. It's not about votes, really it's not, so.... explain.

I can't be too mad though....
I go to Switzerland in the morning!!!

Song of the Day: In honor of Alex Lambert, here is his most recent performance of Trouble, by Ray LaMontagne. Enjoy! (I know I sure did!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'll Find My Own Bachelor, Thank You!

So, as soon as I write this post a few of my friends and readers are going to potentially discredit me all together. However, with that said, I am going to write it anyway....

This weekend I had a good chunk of downtime and determined that cleaning my room, writing letters, and relaxing were a must once my errands were done. Along with that, I also determined that with as many comments there were on facebook about it, I should watch this last season of "The Bachelor." Haha! I know, I know... Some of you are not loving that I wrote that, but if you know me then you know I unabashedly love reality television... even though it's not reality. So, I needed a fix and Idol is just not cutting it this year. Not that I'm not keeping up with that, cause I am, but I'm very underwhelmed by the talent's performance this year.

ANYWAY, back to "The Bachelor..." I watched the entire season while I was doing a few other things in the background and have concluded a list of why I would never be on that show:

1. Everything in your love life is SO public. Your life becomes a run for the tabloids and cameras are always surrounding your love life. Now, it's different in my eyes if I were doing music or film... but this is your LOVE LIFE splashed and trashed for the world to witness - it's too tender. It's hard enough singing songs I wrote, but having the world know and see who they were written for, is too much.
2. Along with the "publicness" of your love life, there's the Public Displays of Affection - PDAs. I'm not a PDA person, and kissing someone over and over again on national television would definitely be a no-go for this chica.
3. You're not alone in the man's heart. You're not the only one kissing this man or saying "I Love You" too each other... So you are seeing all these physical moments, and emotional declarations, with other girls and your man at the same time it's going down with you. I have a quote to go along with this thought, "Never makes someone a priority in your life, when you're merely an option in theirs."
4. If you are "lucky enough" to make it toward the end with your dream man you share a romantic getaway with him in some exotic location... Not too shabby, eh? However, two other women share that with him as well, and here's the kicker... The bachelor sleeps with ALL three women in their exotic location to see if they're compatible in that way. This is no joke. People can say that doesn't really happen, but I would be willing to bet it does. That's just crazy to me.... No wonder the last few women are devastated when they leave... They have slept with a man and been dumped the next day! That's wrong. Plus, there is the whole "no sex before marriage" for me, and that ain't gonna change.
5. Living with six roommates in college was hard enough... Now you want me to try living with up to 24 other women at once? Hahaha.... Yea, not gonna happen.
6. The camera adds ten pounds, and though I have lost a bit of weight already being here (yipee!), that would just put it BACK ON visually. Haha... This is not a real reason.

Now, because there need be an opposition in all things, here are the reasons I would go on this show... Haha!:

1. They get to live in a mansion and eventually go on an exotic adventure - um, yes please! Haha...
2. They get their living expenses paid for, and as the season goes on things like clothing, makeup, accessories become television show expenses too. I would LOVE that.
3. You would definitely have some hilarious and fun stories/memories to relate back to after the experiences. It's not really something you can put on a job application, but it makes for good laughs at a cocktail (or soda) party!
Sidenote: Imagine someone trying to put it on a job application... "4th place on "The Bachelor." Skills needed - awesome body, cute laugh, and the ability to make out with a camera in your face.
4. Did you SEE the last bachelor?! (If not, you may look to your left and behold his visual glory. If you have, you may look to your left and behold his visual glory.) Yea, Jake...? Mmm Mmm... I'm just sayin'! Haha... :)

The conclusion, I will NOT be going on next year's season of "The Bachelor." I know you're all shocked and disappointed, but it feels like the right decision. I mean, I'm sure they would love to have me on the show - I totally fit the mold, right? Right? Okay... maybe not.

I'm okay with that. I'll find my own lucky bachelor off-camera, thank you! :)

Sidenote: I know that I'll catch flack for this, but what was everyone hatin' on Vienna for? I really never saw anything wrong with her. She was a bit annoying at times, but not anymore so than a few of the other girls that people loved. Hm... I spent the entire season trying to figure why she was hated - I knew she "won" in the end - and I could never figure it out. I had no qualms with her at all...

Song of the Day: There are a bunch to chose from this time around, but as this article is about "finding love," there is a song that has the lyrics, "No one knows why I'm into you... And no one knows the things we've been through...," which has many felt about Vienna. So, here's a song I'm really diggin' right now by Akon called "Be With You." It's fabulous - Enjoy!

P.S. In the second verse, he says, "Wanna be the one that give you the whole enchilada..." Love that. Haha!
P.P.S. I leave for Switzerland in TWO NIGHTS AND ONE DAY!!!!!!!!!! YES!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Saying Good-bye, Afternoons in Bonn, and Bike Race Videos

Well, the blog below is really of no overwhelming significance, but I do have SOME news now. This morning I got a call from my dad after I had dropped off the boys at Kindergarten and he told me that my grandfather had passed away last night. I wasn't overwhelmingly surprised... It wasn't expected, but he's in his late 80s and my grandmother passed away years ago. Thus, it also wasn't UNexpected either. Anyway, I was going to put some pictures of us on here, but I don't have access to them, so another time.

I'll miss him calling my "songbird" each time we spoke and the way he would say "Arizona" after a big cough or sneeze, but I'm happy for him. Perhaps I should be more sad, but I really am just happy that he's with my grandma and not feeling the aches and pains of old age anymore. I was thinking about how I have no more grandparents now, then I had a laugh at myself... I have grandparents. I just have to wait awhile to see them again. As for Grandpa, he's exactly where he needs to be, and I am SO thankful that I have that knowledge...

Now, I'll paste the post that I was working on:
I was going to wait to blog until I had something overwhelmingly important to tell about or intelligent to say, but that time has still not arrived... and I want to write. Thus, here I sit at my computer screen on the beautiful Wednesday evening and blog, I shall.

Pretty much I just want to post pictures - haha! I mean, now that I have a camera I'm a picture-a-holic, and it can not be suppressed. Nor, however, do I wish it to be. First, I have to tell about my adventures on Saturday...

Due to mis-information I made a venture out to the church for a baptism... and got the date a bit messed-up. I headed back into town and figured, "While I'm already in Bonn, why not stick around and see some new things!" So, I did just that. I stuck around Bonn central after getting off at Hauptbahnhof and poked around the area... I had no destination and no plan, but wondering around was oddly satisfying and fun. As I walked the street I walked past the same cathedral that I have posted outside pictures of before. I saw people going in and though, "Oh, I guess it's free game," but for some reason just stood there debating. In my mind I was telling myself that I had plenty of time here and didn't need to stop to check it out today. However, then I thought, "Why not check it out? I mean, it's open now and I'm here... I have nothing to do and no real plan." Plus, if I were to say that I have plenty of time every time I walked by, I would never see anything here in my new home. So, I went inside!

At first, I had no idea where I was even walking into - haha! Seriously, there are no signs and they could have been having a mass or something... I would have just sat down and watched, but still. Haha! Anyway, the beautiful building is the Basilica of St. Martin's Munsterbasilika - I think about Harry Potter and Basilisk he fights in the second book each time I read that - haha... I really am a dork. Anyway, they are also known as the "Church in the City." It's literally RIGHT in the center of downtown, Bonn, so it makes complete sense.

s you walk in there is a HUGE organ (not as big as the MoTab one, but still) on your right and a long aisle to right that leads to the front of the cathedral, where mass and ceremonies would be conducted. It's got beautiful stained-glass on many of the windows, an amazing mosaic tapestry made of bright weaves that shows the face of the Savior, and there are even shrines to those who are buried beneath the cathedral. The coolest part was The Crypt, as it is known (pics above). Stairs lead you below the main choir and preacher stands to an underground prayer hall, with beautiful architecture and an amazing silver-plated bronze alter. It's quite a cool place...

They invited one to stop and pray for a moment, so I took a moment to do so. I figure, God is everywhere and hears are prayers wherever we are. It's foolish not to head to reminders to pray always. I took the opportunity.

After I was done roaming the church and taking pictures, I headed back onto the streets of Bonn to wonder around for a bit longer. I thought about going over to the Beethoven house, but I decided to save that for next weekend and make sure I knew the times it was open first. I walked down near some of the shopping centers/stores and saw... a Crepetire. Yes, instead of the New York hotdog stands or the DC Chinese vendors, they have Crepetires and Brawt vendors. I realized that my day was about to get even better as I step forth and said (in German!), "Ich mochte eine crepe mit banane und nutella, bitte." Not only did I get an AMAZING banana and Nutella crepe, I also was SO proud of myself that I ordered in German! I was a little nervous, but I had three people in front of me so I practiced in my head - about five times. Today in German class, when the teacher asked if anyone had used the ordering skills we had been working on last week, I could say, "Ja!" That felt almost as good as eating my crepe... okay, maybe even better.

Whenever I say something well in German, or even just push myself to use more of the language, I am remarkably surprised at how much I am learning, and I'm proud of myself. It is just SUCH a tough language... I could say it a million times, but no one can really understand till they're taken a crack at it. In each lesson, I have to forget all the sentence structuring I learned and taught for English, and learn new ways to use verbs and infinitives. However, the rules are simple enough if you can make that separation. If... that's the key word. Haha! I can do it, but it takes SO much concentration...

Enough about my German language skills. Haha!

I am posting a video below of this one kid from Idol - Alex Lambert. He was SO awkward last week, but I LOVED him this week... and his voice is like golden honey. I think in him I might find someone to really love this season, but we'll see... Anyway, check the video
(and look up the song too - "Everybody Knows" by John Legend - I think I like homeboy on the video's version better...):
Today I was planning to do some science experiments with Nico und Finni, but Martina was here cleaning and I really didn't want to do that while she was trying to clean the house, so I made the boys play outside after their snack. They're so dramatic - they complain when they have to go outside, but LOVE it once they're out... Dramatic - I guess that's why I love them so much! :) Haha... We went out by the garage for a good hour so that they could show me some of their spiffy bike tricks, and then Finni and I went into the backyard to build sandcastles in the sand-box.

I MUST write about their bike tricks though... Haha! They are SO funny! They would lift a leg out or ride with their legs tucked under they bums and think it was a really touch trick. They did do SOME crash stuff though, like standing on their middle bar while riding, or swinging boht legs to one side then around - those were actually mighty impressive tricks! It was just funny... I cheered and clapped, and of course rushed to their aid when they took turns falling, crying (well, only Finni), and getting back on. I was loving it... I made some video to post below... You'll enjoy them.

You may ask, do you have quotes from the day's adventures? Why yes, I do.
Finni crashed his bike and stood up laughing, saying very seriously,
"The bike just wanted to ride alone, I think." Haha! SO funny...
Nico was talking about his bike tricks and said,
"I don't even teach myself these amazing tricks! My brain just teaches me them..."

Sidenote: I have this thing with the boys where I'll say, "Hey! Hey, I have a secret!" They both get really quiet and I'll ask, "Do you know what my secret is?" They'll wisper back, "That... You love me." It's the truth - that's my "secret" I tell them each day... and it's followed by massive hugging. I think I like that secret the best out of all the other ones I've had... :) And I've known some doosies.


Song of the Day:
Oh my word! The song is awesome and by a group I like, but this is more for the video - Here is Okay Go's song, This Too Shall Pass [Kind of a song named to remind the parents that things will be hard right now with my grandfather's death, but "This Too Shall Pass"]. It's the same band that did the video of random dancing/Matrix moves and the Tredmills dance. The video is AWESOME! They do all their music videos in one camera run, so if they mess up they would ahve to start COMPLETELY over. There is NO editing. It's crazy, so take a gander as you listen, and... Enjoy!