Monday, February 17, 2014


Our first overnight family adventure in Europe led us to Paris, France.

The River Seine

Notre Dame
The Eiffel Tower
Uncle Matt has been working in London for a few weeks, so he trained down to explore with us.

After the Eiffel Tower, Matt, Z, & K headed back to the hotel.

 After the group split, Jenny, Chloe, Drew, and I wandered along the River Seine for miles.


The Louvre
Chloe needed to burn some energy, so she practiced her levitating skills for a bit...
...and jumped around like a wild woman!

Arriving back at the hotel a few hours later, we heard some familiar voices from 4 floors up...

Gare de Lyon (Train Station)

We pretty much rocked the subway system all weekend long.  It wasn't always pretty, but we made it...  A group of 7 with 2 strollers in a crowded train posed some challenges.

Prior to the first ride, we had a talk with the kids about what to do in the event that we got separated on the platform/train.  The gameplan was for the separated child to get off at the next station and wait.  They looked a little scared as we discussed the RARE possibility that this would happen.  

A crowded train arrives, and I get on with the Zeke, KK, and Chloe - then the doors quickly close leaving Jenny, Drew, and Matt on the separated from the get go.  The kids all looked at me with WIDE eyes as I asked "what's the plan?"  They said "we need to get off at the next station and wait."  It worked like a champ.  After that, we no longer tried the single file/conga line to enter and exit the trains.  Each adult had a kid and a stroller and we boarded through different doors.  No other family separations ensued.
Arc de Triomphe

Good times were had by all.  We are grateful for this opportunity to live in Europe!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Promotion to Major

On the last day of January, the kids and I joined Brady at his squadron for his Major promotion ceremony.  While Brady would prefer to avoid being the center of attention, I encouraged him to go through the ceremony for the sake of the kids.  I felt it would be important for the children to have an opportunity to hear about their father's accomplishments and to witness him receiving the recognition that he very much deserves.  The girls were over-the-top excited to get dressed up in the "fancy clothes" and to be a part of the ceremony.  Their job during the ceremony was to remove his old captain's rank, revealing the new major rank on the shoulders of his flight suit.

As I listened to Brady's commander share about his accomplishments in his Air Force career and as he bragged on how well Brady has done with the IPUG course so far, I couldn't help but think that Lieutenant Colonel Berkland only knows a small piece of the man that I know.  Yes, he is an incredibly hard worker.  Yes, the 480th is very fortunate to have him as a part of the squadron because he is an amazing pilot, a great leader and a phenomenal teacher.  But, there is so much more to this man.  He is such a loving father and husband.  He works so hard every day to put forth his best.  He is introspective.  He is organized.  He is a wonderful cook.  He helps keep order in our household.  He is a great listener.  He is a great friend. He is an amazing man of God and a strong spiritual leader for our family.  He prioritizes his faith and family above all else.  Zeke and Drew are so fortunate to have him as their model of what a Godly father/husband should look like.  I am so grateful that God led us down the path to find each other and I am so grateful to have him as my husband and best friend.  I am one blessed woman!

 Removing old rank

Giving the oath

I am so very proud of this man.