The Wright Family Adventures


Adventures of Todd, Heather and Isaac

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We are coming home!

We are coming home from Germany on July 15th. Plans are to return to Rochester, NY where Heather's family is and then two days later head to Cedar Rapids, IA where I will be starting my new job and we will have closing on our new home.  You can visit the internet site of our home on realtor.com at:

Our new home!

We are so excited to soon be back in the beautiful USA! The job search ended up being great for us. Although there were uncertainties living in Germany, a former boss brought me on board the new company he was working for. We are hoping it is a great fit for our family.

Isaac had surgery today to have grommets placed in his ears to drain fluid. He had fought a sinus infection for 6 weeks and over the past year he had fluid build up in his ears. It was time and we had insurance cover it.

Our time here has been precious. We met wonderful people, had special experiences, and I got an MBA in 11 months. There is too much to post here, but we hope to hear from everyone over the coming weeks.

Isaac's Surgery

A couple months after we arrived in Germany, Isaac started getting sick all the time.  It seemed every month starting in September he had some kind of cold or bronchitis or something. 

One day Heather was brushing his teeth and noticed how large his tonsils were in the back.  We took him to a doctor and then to a specialist and sure enough, they seemed to be the cause of the problems.  In addition, during this time, he had almost all of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.  He would stop breathing at night, snored very loudly, was restless all night, got hyper in the early afternoon and misbehaved among other things.  Being the mathematician that I am, I put two and two together and got three, I mean four.

After a battle with our insurance to cover the operation, we finally got Isaac in for a tonsillectomy including removal of his enlarged adenoids.  The third and final part was to put small cuts in his eardrum to drain some water that has been trapped there. 

He went into the hospital March 2, 2008.  In Germany they keep tonsillectomy patients for 6 days following the surgery to ensure no further bleeding takes place.  Since the risk of bleeding is the most dangerous part of the surgery, we felt it was a good idea.  In the US, it is an out patient operation.

Here is Isaac just before he goes in for the operation. Notice the smile on his face since it was not there too long.

He was crammed into a small room with 2 other children.  This German hospital was not as nice as the American ones we are used to.  No carpet anywhere and it has a hollow, echoey feeling to it.  Bleh!

Here is Isaac after the surgery. 

Actually, I take that back.  That is him pretending to sleep before his surgery.  He told us after he got on his gown that we needed to leave him alone so he can sleep and be ready for the doctors. 

Here he is after surgery.  That is an ice pack around his neck.

He is recovering quickly and should be home Sunday.  In the meantime, I am watching some German cable TV.  80% of everything they show is American shows translated into German.  Have you ever seen CSI in German?

Back in January, Isaac was riding his bike down one of the neighborhood paths.  I was with him.  We got to a tunnel under the road and it sloped down.  Isaac decided to hit it full speed.  Well, needless to say he took a nose dive off his bike and really messed up his top lip and nose.  Good war wounds for learning to ride a bike.  Here is a picture.

 

OK, Here is the Latest March 3, 2008

I know it has been a very long time since our last update, but I will try to bring everyone up to speed.

I have completed three of my five modules.  Each module is 8 weeks long.  The first two were very difficult.  The stress level was high as I struggled to adjust to college and studying.  My second module was in Indiana, so not only was I dealing with some touch courses, but I was away from Heather and Isaac.  But I survived and the 3rd module was much easier for me.  My team was fantastic and the work load was much lighter.

You can see all of my classmates below.  There are 21 countries represented in this group of 46.  There are some smart peeps in here!  I am learning quite a bit from many of them.  I am near the back right side standing a little taller than the others because I am on a wall.

 

 One of our highlights this year was in visiting Berlin during the first week of January.  Although it was freezing cold, we felt it was a good time to make this trip.  We took the ICE high speed train and at one time I figure we were travelling about 180 mph, although it does not feel that fast while on board.  Below are a few pictures from our trip and some of the sites. 

Here is the Brandenburg Gate.  They are building a huge US embassy right next to it and supposedly, according to our tourguide, the US government asked Germany to move the gate to accomodate our embassy.  Crazy!

While in Berlin we visited a huge mall and stopped in at a miniature sized version of Berlin.  They had hundreds of trains, thousands of buildings and poeple, many of which were in compromising poses or activities.  They had a huge airport, also, which Isaac spent about 30 minutes watching.  All of the trains, most of the vehicles, some of the airplanes, and many of the city scenes moved.

In this scene at the airport, Air Force One is landed and there is a huge escort with SUV's for the President.  It was pretty cool.

 

 This is the holocaust memorial.  I thought it was very unique.  It is just huge blocks of stone, none of which are the same and they all tilt a little to some side.  There are hundreds of them and there is 24/7 security for the memorial.  All visitors are asked to speak quietly.  You can walk down in among all the stones and some of them are very tall.  You are surrounded by these huge monuments.  It was a fitting memorial.

Here we are at Checkpoint Charlie.  Of course, this is simply a tourist trap region of Berlin.  When I was here back in the 80's, it was the real deal and the wall was right behind this sign, about 100 feet.  Now, all those buildings behind it are buildings that were once in East Germany.  Isaac saw a street vendor selling little cars and so we got one.  Once home, we were told that his little toy car is a replica of the East German manufactured car.  These cars apparently were literally made of cardboard in some parts and it took 18 years to buy one.  Supply and demand with very little supply.

And here is the Berlin Wall.  Some sections are easily found, but most of it is well protected now and is considered a national treasure.  It is very much a national monument.  There is a part where they have set up a huge display showing how the Jews were corralled/collected and shipped off.  They tell of many of the Nazi's and how Hitler gained so much popularity with the people.  It is a fascinating display. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, our Berlin visit was wonderful.  We only saw about 1/3 of what we wanted to.  We were also told we need to visit nearby Pottsdam, which was considered the city for royalty where they built their palaces for fun.  Maybe another time.

 

So Here We Go!  February 22, 2008

I am going to update this very soon.  I have a break in school February 27th for two weeks and I will get to this and update the past 6 months.

Our arrival in Burgdorf, Germany and our first couple weeks, July 25th to August 10th

 We left Rochester, NY July 24th at 5pm.  After hauling six huge check-in bags and another 4 carry-on bags and a car seat for Isaac, we boarded our plane in Rochester and flew to JFK.  The plane transfer at JFK was actually quite easy and put my mind to rest.  This was the one plane (from JFK to Frankfurt) that I was most worried about, but things went quite smoothly.

We flew Singapore Airlines from JFK to Frankfurt on a 747.  I highly recommend Singapore Airlines to anyone.  We had great service with special amenities we were not expecting.  We got two meals on our flight, plenty of drinks, free head phones, sleeping masks, a child's bag with 2 diapers, wipes, toy and other goodies.  We got free access to the small TV screens mounted on the headrests in front of us with access to like 90 channels including TV channels and movies.  Overall, it was a very comfortable flight.

Our arrival in Frankfurt was pretty good.  We got off the plane without any real problems.  We really encountered some serious challenges once we left the gate we arrived at.  We had like 2 hours to get to our next gate, gate A1.  Good thing we had time, because it took 1:45 to there.  The Frankfurt airport is a terrible mess and extermemly confusing to find anything.  They are doing construction and nothing is clear, zippo!  We had to go through security again which took 30 minutes.  Keep in mind we are hauling 4 bags of carry-on luggage and a car seat that weighs at least 75 lbs by now!  It got heavier as we went.  Trust me!

We got to customs and the lady sitting in the booth asked us how long we planned on staying in Germany.  I should have lied, but instead told her 11 months, which is true.  Red flag!  She asked us to step to the side and she had to call her supervisor, because we needed a visa and a passport was not enough.  We stood on the side with Isaac and his carseat for 5 minutes while she spoke to someone on the phone.  After she hung up she said we could go through, but needed to get a visa before 3 months is up.  Whew!

After traversing the endless, maze-like jungle of the airport, we finally reached our gate and sat down, exhausted.  We had about 30 minutes to relax before they started boarding, but instead of walking down a skywalk, we had to go down a long flight of stairs, board a bus and get bussed about a mile away to some desolate area of the airport to walk off the bus, up a small flight of stairs onto our final leg of the journey.  To cut things short, we finally made it.  Our landlords arrived to pick us up and bring us home.  Their daughter-in-law, Quinn, is from Montana and so everyone spoke fluent English.  What a relief!

Isaac is learning to ride a bike.  The Schulze's had a bike they use for their grandkids and gave it to Isaac.  He is doing great and can even lift up his legs and coast for about 5 feet before he has to start kicking again.  He loves it and takes it on all our walks.  He can keep up with us now.  I anticipate having to buy a full-on bicycle for him for his birthday.

On August 7th, we went to the Hannover Zoo.  This is a great zoo!  We rode with Quinn in her Ford minivan.  This model is not sold in America and it is a diesel van.  We jumped on the autobahn and took off.  Before long we were cruising at 160 km/hr, roughly 100 mph.  Quinn was just rolling along like she does this daily.  Now, I wasn't holding my breath or anything, but I thought it was exciting.  The funny thing is we still had lots of cars passing us, many going way faster.  I am guessing some of them were going over 130 mph.

The zoo was great!  They have great exhibits and a great boat ride through a large portion of the zoo where you get close ups of the animals.  See our pictures below.

 The weather has been not too great.  It is either hot and muggy, think Chicago in summer with high humidity; or think Seattle with cool, misty, rainy weather.  Either way, we have to plan our activities around this, although most Germans do not let the weather change their plans.  They just grab an umbrella and keep going.  Pretty cool.

We are going on bike rides every day and walking our landlord's dog, Luna, every day too.  So, we are getting much more exercise, although I don't think I have lost any weight.  Maybe I should lay off the pastries and meats a little.

 Above you will Heather and Isaac on our first train ride into Hannover.  Isaac is wearing Heather's sunglasses.  He's a pretty smooth dude!

 Below is the train we were on.  We got off at this stop to see how to get to school from the train stop.  The bus stop is just up some stairs and to the right.  Nice and easy. 

 Check back later for more info!

 

Journey from Lehi, Utah to Waterloo, New York 

June 22nd to July 24th, 2007

We began our journey in Lehi, Utah on June 22nd as we left our old home for our first stop, Colorado Springs, Colorado where Todd's parents live.  We originally were going to leave on June 23rd, but we got the itch when I came home from work 6 hours early.

We got things packed and found out we had way too much stuff for the car!  Needless to say I could not use any of my mirrors while driving.  Our choices were to drop some off at our storage unit in Lehi or using the "Force" to drive safely.  We made a quick stop at the storage unit.

We continued on and drove all night arriving at my parent's early Saturday morning. 

We spent the next 12 days in Colorado Springs relaxing and spending time with family.  I got to spend time with Carri and Aaron and my 5 nieces and nephews and got to see Stacie briefly.  Had a BBQ at Carri's, went to a Rockies vs. Mets game in Denver, and went camping one weekend to get up in the mountains.  During the camping trip I got ill and had it coming out both ends for a day.  Great timing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Here we are at the game.  It may not look like they are having fun, but trust me, they are.  After the 5th inning we couldn't keep Isaac still.  One good thing for me is we were sitting in a Mets section.  We all got real quiet after the first couple innings as the Rockies thrashed my Mets.  Afterwards we watched a great fireworks show from the street where we were parked.  We were so close that bits and pieces of fireworks were falling down on us throughout the show.  It was a great show!

Our camping trip was to Woodland Park, not far from Colorado Springs.  We stayed close and borrowed Carri's camper for the 3 day trip.  Other than getting sick, it was a great trip.  Unfotunately, I can't find my pictures from the trip.  Wait!  I found them.

Here is the back side  of Pikes Peak.  We stayed at a nice little campground in Woodland Park, about 45 minutes from where my folks live.  We had great scenery and great weather.  And thank goodnes for clean toilets about 100 feet from our trailer.

From Colorado we left for Kansas City July 5th.  We made no special stops on our way across but really enjoyed the drive and our hotel. 

We woke up the next morning, July 6th for a fun-filled day of visiting historical sites for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We stopped first at Independence, Missouri to see the Church's visitor center and the weirdest temple of the RLDS aka Community of Christ.  We did a little tour of both.

 

 From Independence we continued our little tour north a short ways to Liberty, MO to see Liberty Jail.  Here is a complete restoration inside a protected dome of the jail where Joseph Smith and four others were wrongfully imprisoned for several months during the winter.  We really enjoyed this tour and felt a special spirit there.

From Liberty Jail we travelled north to see the wonder that is Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  Not much there but a vast field of corn.  It is a large valley though and I spent a few moments considering what the future holds for this place and for my family and what it may look like during the time Christ returns to the earth.  It was really quite impressive although there is not much there. 

We left Adam-Ondi-Ahman and headed east to Nauvoo.  We arrived in Nauvoo in the evening and checked into our hotel.  We found out, from a roadside sign, that the Nauvoo Pageant began on Friday, July 6th.  We hurriedly ate dinner and headed to 10 miles to Nauvoo to enjoy the Nauvoo Pageant.  They had dozens of various activities from the 1800's for all walks of people; games for children, dancing, painting, music from the era and many volunteers dressed up in the clothing from that era.  We enjoyed that and then walked over to the natural stage they use for the pageant and watched the pageant.  It had very good acting and music.  Quite enjoyable and on par with the Hill Cumorah Pageant in my opinion.  To the right you will see a picture I took from the field where the pageant is performed in Nauvoo.

Above you will see some dancers in the typical clothing of the day.  Isaac had a good time and we met a family from Las Vegas that has adopted 3 african-american children, in addition to having 5 of their own, to make 8 children.  They said the LDS Family Services in Detroit, MI has way more african-american babies than they can get adopted.  Heather and I will look into that when we get back from Germany.

We returned to Nauvoo on July 7th to visit the Nauvoo Temple, see some sites, and take a carriage ride around the small village.  We wanted to say we had been there and see as much as we could on our way through on our tight schedule.  I think we got to see a lot.  From Nauvoo we went to Carthage to see the Carthage Jail, where the prophet Joseph Smith was martyred with his brother, Hyrum.  Isaac really started to act up at this time and I had to leave and "discipline" him while Heather finished the tour. 

We left Carthage for Indianapolis, IN to stay with my Aunt Lyndia and Uncle George for the night.  I have seen enough corn in my life to never see it again.  Everywhere we drove, it was between two corn fields it seemed.  We finally made it to Indianapolis and had a great time with George and Lyndia.  They opened their beautiful home to us and made sure we were fed well.   We may see them next year if I decide to finish my last module for Purdue in Indianapolis.  We look forward to seeing them again soon.  See George and Lyndia below. 

From Indianapolis we left for Brookville, PA to stay the final night on the road with some friends of ours that lived in Lehi temporarily while the husband worked at Micron doing some pipefitting work.  The Snell's, Joe and Maggie, welcomed us with open arms and we had a good time with them and visiting their cute little town. 

We left Sunday morning to finish our journey in Waterloo, NY.  Had it not been for terrible road signs (yes, it was the road signs and not the driver) we would have made good time, but instead, I think we added 2 hours to our trip.  We finally made it after Isaac puked out a full bag of goldfish crackers in his lap 15 minutes from Heather's parents home.  It just kept coming and coming and coming.  Just a nasty mess of orange throwup!  We spent 15 minutes cleaning him up and the car seat and turned off our car Sunday afternoon, July 9th.

We spent 14 days in Waterloo, NY in upstate NY.  Those days were filled with sleeping in, eating, sleeping, eating, and occassionally, we actually did something.  It was nice to be lazy.  Isaac learned to drive a truck, the Grave Digger (see left).  He also went to the water parks, where he got sprayed a few times without his liking (see right).