Monday, January 26, 2015

Goodbye Air Force

Jan 26: a date on our calendar for close to a year.   Could not be more proud than I am today.   Paula's been accepted to the Pediatric Dentistry Residency at University of Tennessee-Memphis.   Her acceptance exemplifies her dedication and awesome skill set as a dentist.   Wow, God is good. 

See you all this summer!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A little late...2013

Since I last updated this, 2013 proved to be an awesome year. 
Black Forest with Alicia
London with the Styskals
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Family meets Madelyn
Germany Tour with the Gross Family
Brussels' Beer Fest
Wine Fest with the Bristow's
Munich Oktoberfest


Belagio, Italy

Madelyn's 1!
Home for the Holidays
This past year reflects how amazing our time here in Europe has been with blessings of kids, careers, family and friends, and unforgettable travel experiences.    In December 2003, Paula and I boarded a train in Maastricht, Netherlands to begin our departure back to the US at the end of our study abroad program.  Since that time, our ultimate life goal was to somehow find a job that would get us back to Europe and introduce the world to our future kids.   We're here.  We're living our what?  Paula's commitment with the Air Force ends August 2015, a mere year and a half away.   We're at a roadblock as we are faced to figure out the future that God has planned for our family. 

As much as I'd like to say 2013 was perfect, it definitely had challenges for some of those around us.  We weren't put in Germany to live the good life, but to also reach out to those who were battling sickness, enduring  long military deployments, and prison sentences.  We learned so much from these families how they handled these situations and happy to have been part of their journey.

We had the opportunity to go back home to St. Louis for the Holidays.   Work brought me back to Germany and Paula to Alabama in January.    We made the decision to leave Carter and Madelyn in St. Louis for 5 weeks.    They would spend the weekdays at Grandma Stepp's and weekends at Grandma Schu Schu's.   As crazy as people thought we were, I wouldn't change our decision.  Our international kids know their cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and family friends more than just a picture on the wall.  Not to mention the amount of American greatness of Grandma's cookies, hockey games, endless amounts of ketchup, TELEVISION, and non-existent bedtimes.   For all you did for Carter and Madelyn those 5 weeks, thank you.   

On Valentine's Day weekend, the Schomaker's met Paula in Nashville, TN to drop the kids off.  They all spend the weekend in Nashville with Paula bringing the kids back to Alabama. 

Looking back at 9 weeks without my family-  I completed two 10-day training classes for work, showed my friends the great college life in Maastricht, almost broke my neck on 2 incredible ski trips in the Swiss Alps, a red wine trip to France, and drank too much Belgian beer.   All seems selfish; who chooses a break from their family?  In spite of all the fun I had, I'm now basically counting down the hours until their return to Germany this weekend.    This time alone has given me opportunity to back away from just being a dad these past few years, to ensuring I'm back on the right path with God and our marriage- both of which allow me the best dad I can possibly be.  Paula is an incredible wife.  I am in love with her now as much as was when I proposed to her in Europe 11 years ago.  'No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.'   Can't wait to have you home: 2 days, 8 hours, 49 minutes….

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

We didn't get any Hallmark cards sent out this year for Mother's Day, but we did just book our tickets home which should make the moms happy.   Grandmas will be able to meet Madelyn and see Carter the evening of May 29th. 

Paula and the kids will stay for 2 weeks and I will leave STL for Washington, DC June 3rd.  America, here we come.
London- Big Ben

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring weather is almost here.

As always, we’re moving and grooving over here since the last post.   A couple pics:

Madelyn turned 3 months
and now 4 months today

Carter's 2nd Birthday Party at the pool
Madelyn’s Dedication at church. 
Not as cool as being baptized in the Jordan River, but she’s still a member of God’s family.

We couldn’t figure out while Carter kept skipping over all the eggs.
Then we looked in his basket—he was only collecting the Yellow ones! 

a. Glad I’m back working again so he doesn’t pick up any more of my type-A traits.
b. Paula and I have never “encouraged” yellow things.  However, it’s funny his favorite color is yellow considering he was known as the Yellow Man throughout his life in Turkey.

When are we coming home?  It’s always up in the air with us, huh?  To date, both Paula and my vacation has been approved for Christmas to return to STL.  No exact dates yet, but it’s on the books that we won’t be at work for 2 weeks over the holiday season.  Nothing has changed regarding our plans to return in June.  I’ll be in Maryland for the month and Paula is planning to catch the military flight into Baltimore and take the kids to STL the 1st 2 weeks. 

With me starting a new job and Paula having little flexibility in working in a HUGE office, we’re running into roadblocks regarding travel plans in October.   Some of you are planning to visit in September/October.   Paula’s office is undergoing an “every 3 year” inspection in October.   Just happens that 2013 is the year.   As of right now, no military in her office is authorized leave during September and October.   So family, until we get the final answer from her boss, Paula can’t take off during the week.  We will have to modify Oktoberfest plans/reservations if you still want to visit.  If not, it looks like we are going to have to postpone until next year.   Just more time to save for those cuckoo clocks, right?  Sorry for the notice, but there’s not much we can do.

To say the least, life is good for us in Germany.  We are blessed to be working (without furloughs), no deployments, and have improving weather.     While we are enjoying our time, it is hard to see some of our close friends (Army) going through deployments.   These families sacrifice more than I could ever imagine.   As summer picks up and life gets busier, remember to say a few prayers for our American men and women who continue to leave their families behind and work crazy long days for months in the desert.  We need to continue to support them and their families- regardless of our political stance/views/whatever.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Family / Friends-  It's my (Curt) night for kid duty so need to keep this quick. 

Madelyn started daycare mid-February.  At the last moment, our friend helped us find a lady named Jenefiel who just received her childcare license in her home.  Her husband deployed to the desert last week so she only accepted Madelyn for right now until she can get everything situated in her home.   Madelyn had a rough start, but she is doing great and we could not be happier with the care she is receiving.  Her passport also arrived on Valentine's Day!

Carter is still in daycare until March 30.  He is number 3 on the list for a permanent spot.  If he doesn't get in by April, we are hoping he can go to Madelyn's provider.  We'll cross that bridge later.  He is a learning machine.  This month he has done awesome with colors.  He can line all his trains up into perfect rows matching the colors.  Will he be type A---of course.  He's still in love with puzzles and can complete most of the ones we have all by himself.   

Paula is still on the AM shift at work.  They are doing construction in the clinic so they have to rotate dentists on AM/PM shifts.  She goes in early and can usually get out early enough to have some time at home to walk the dogs, do house stuff, pack for the next day, etc.  She is slotted to attend a 2-week course in San Antonio, Texas in August.  To date, the funding is still available and the class is not cancelled. But, that could always change I'm sure. 

I started my job Feb 11.  I'd like to say I love it, but I'm overwhelmed and too early to have an opinion.   My supervisor is very fast-paced and trying to get me up and running as quick as possible.   I usually just stare at her like a deer in the headlights.  Regardless, I am blessed to have a job that challenges me and forces me to learn everyday.  I was informed I was the last person hired in our unit due to Government hiring freezes- so, the timing could not have been better.  I am already scheduled to attend my "basic training" in June.  Depending on furlough, budget cuts, blah blah, I'll be in California, Maryland the month of June. 

Six + months in, we are now somewhat "settled" in Germany.  We've got it down to a science on how to get our cars buried out of the snow and still get the kids out the door by 6:45.  With my new job, daycare uncertainties, and our training in June/August, we are still trying to figure out when we can come back to STL.  My training is about 1 1/2 hours from Baltimore.  It is likely Paula and the kids will take the military flight to Baltimore in June, stay with me a couple days, and then they will get a flight to STL. Still in the planning stages, but that's where we're at.  

Time to put Madelyn to bed.