You are here: Home » Blog » Personal Notes » Soren


I am bursting with happiness. I’ve got words spilling out of  my fingers faster than they can type.  My oldest, my golden child, my beautiful first born, Soren is here!  He arrived safe & sound & full of energy to explore the world early Sunday morning.  It has been a whirlwind ever since.

We’ve been to 1 1/2 Faschings Umzugs (Carnival parades), we’ve shopped in countless stores (that boy is a shop-a-holic just like his Oma). We’ve gotten lost in the most beautiful, treacherous part of Austria (lesson learned: read a map.  Don’t just trust your GPS).  We’ve been skiing and snowboarding (I can still do both!).  We learned that Dane has the “Rocketride” technique of skiing down pat, and it gives us all heart attacks, he points straight down & GOES until someone yells stop.  Then he crashes.  Dane would like to ski every single day please. We had dinner at our favorite Gasthaus in Garmisch (Gasthaus Fraundorfer) and completely enjoyed the warm bier, topped with whipped cream, liquors.  Dinner and dessert were equally fabulous and oh so very German.  If you are ever in the area… I highly recommend a visit.

We had two hospital visits, one in downtown Stuttgart for Dane’s yearly check-up with his “Giant” doctor (Dane’s Giant Doctor).  While Dane is still in the high normal, his “S” curve is back in his right carotid and we are still on yearly checks.  His blood flow is good, and that’s what is really important.  Our second visit was late last night, turns out Lindsay (Soren’s girlfriend) broke something in her wrist. But not her bone.  My German isn’t good enough to know what she broke, but she is in a beautiful blue cast.  What a trooper! Barely a peep out of her (though now she has been sleeping 14+ hours).

On our last day we journeyed up to the top of the Mount Osterfeldkopf to brave the views from the Alpspix.  Despite being made of strong metal beams, imbedded in hard rock, venturing out on the platform 1,000 meters above the valley is an adrenaline rush I’d rather skip.  But I did it. For the view.  For the photo’s. For my kids, so they learn not to fear.

Still, Dane did fear it very much.  Getting him to the very end took lots of coaxing and gummy bears.  And a big promise to stay crouched down, so there was zero chance of falling overboard.  I love my kids.

Be the first to comment ... Join the conversation!

I have taken no new pictures since my peek into the mysterious world of the Narrenzunft (Narrenzunft) on Tuesday.  My world has been filled with little tasks that take ages to complete.

Most critically, our home phone doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked since the “big” upgrade on December 22.  I am most unhappy and my cable company is most unhelpful.  Today I received an email that they were “unable to reach me by phone to fix this problem”.  Um.  Really?

All three of our big boys have big going-ons in their lives right now, thank God for Skype & messenger so I can still talk to them and hold their hands and walk them through these changes.  Not that Christian will let me.  All I get is “No info” every single time I try to figure out where the Marines are sending him.  And when.  And for how long.  I even tried bribing him with boxes of German candy.  No info.  I hate deployments.

Nicholas, on the other hand, is finally making big strides to become a grown-up.  He’s a little late to blossom, but the realization has hit that he is an adult.  And it’s scary.  Luckily he’s got his brothers, his grandparents, and us to be there every step of the way.  I have fingers & toes crossed that he stays on this grown-up path (and half a Cathedral full of candles lit, it can’t hurt).

But the biggest news, my favoritest news, Soren is coming to Germany!  I get him for two whole weeks in February.  Him, and the new girlfriend Lindsay, and MY BABY SISTER!  Soren bought my beautiful baby sister a ticket to come to Germany to see me.  I’m not sure who cried more, me or Manon.  This is the best gift he could’ve given me. It’s been three years since Soren’s college graduation. Three years since I’ve seen her.  I am SO EXCITED!


Be the first to comment ... Join the conversation!

I just put the Golden Child on a plane.  My heart hurts.  I hate this part of living here.  We did have an absolutely wonderful visit, filled with gorgeous weather, lots of laughter, some yelling, sibling rivalry and amazing amounts of shopping.  Not so much me, but Soren.  He has inherited a love of shopping from his Oma and dad.

Last night he packed his suitcases (he had to borrow one of ours), and filled both with chocolate, candy, a couple shirts and a big beer stein for his tea at work.  I “knew” it would be overweight, and sure enough, at the counter this morning, it clocked in well over the allowed.  That boy flashed his grin, said he was military visiting his dad, and got the fees waived. That. Boy.

I’ve got more in my Personal Notes below…

He is 23. He has a job.  He works beyond hard. He frequently puts in extra hours, even on weekends. In fact, I think he works too hard.  He’s worked a whole year to save up exactly 1-week of vacation, something that has all my German friends dropping their jaws and going “Waaaaaas?”.  And then?  Then he takes that 1-week he worked so hard for and comes home.

Of course, home is currently Germany.  It is not that big a sacrifice on his part, it really isn’t.  Plus, we love him! And we spoil him, even if he is 23 with a job.  This year I dragged him all over Stuttgart, that panorama photo was taken at the home offices of the “chicken guy” (Göckelesmaier, turn speakers off before clicking!).  I had to go pay for the Frühlingsfest (Spring Fest) tickets.  Since the tent is only open during fest, and fest is not till April, I had to go to their home office.  Um.  I want a job there! Soren wants a job there!  What an amazing view.

We also went to Rubble Mountain, sometimes known as Birkenkopf, or Monte Scherbelino.  It is a permanent reminder of the devastation of war, and a memorial to the victims.  There is a great article in the Stars & Stripes by David Rogers that offers a little more history. It is a little sobering to think of the not-so-pleasant history of our new home, it is so at odds with our actual life here today.

Soren and I both enjoyed the beauty in the contrast between the old, the rubble, and the new of Stuttgart now.  He has my old Canon Rebel and we both spent time taking photographs.  I love when he loves what I love.  Of course, I still love to photograph my children the most.  Even if they are 10-ft taller than me.

I miss him so much already.


1 comment ... Join the conversation!

I’m the small one now

by Toiny Westberry 10 July 2013
Thumbnail image for I’m the small one now

My beautiful boy, my oldest, is 23 today. I close my eyes and I can feel him kicking inside. I can smell his delicious baby smell, or that incredible sweaty little boy smell. Like dirt and happiness. The best part is the feel of his little arm wrapped around my shoulders, his little hand on […]

0 comments Continue reading…

Quit Baking a Cake!

by Toiny Westberry 13 April 2013
Thumbnail image for Quit Baking a Cake!

Everything gets a little easier with time. Even being in a far away land without my big boys.  My life is slowly getting back to normal after Soren’s whirlwind visit, excepting the pile of snowboards in my living room.  We are getting back into our normal rhythm and that is a good thing.  Frequent phone […]

0 comments Continue reading…

Lech Zürs with Soren

by Toiny Westberry 10 April 2013
Thumbnail image for Lech Zürs with Soren

The boy is on a plane. Already. It was a beautiful, perfect, whirlwind visit.  He has become an incredible young man.  I didn’t think it was possible to love him even more, but I do.  And I miss him with all my heart.  I hate, hate, hate this part of living in Germany. I’m extremely […]

0 comments Continue reading…


by Toiny Westberry 16 March 2013
Thumbnail image for WRX STI

I have to brag a minute, sometimes moms just can’t resist.  Besides, the other part of the story makes no sense without the brag tossed in.  That’s my story & I’m sticking to it. Soren, our oldest, graduated college in May.  After 5 long, disheartening, months, he started a new job in November.  Two months […]

0 comments Continue reading…

My Superhero’s

by Toiny Westberry 8 December 2012
Thumbnail image for My  Superhero’s

I had a little bit of sentimental babble planned today.  How Christian had a dream to be a Marine from the time he was small, I even had a photo of him at five, and him now in his Marine uniform.  I also planned to spin it a little woe-is-me.  He graduated from bootcamp yesterday, […]

0 comments Continue reading…

Fly Away

by Toiny Westberry 22 August 2012
Thumbnail image for Fly Away

The absolute worst part of living in Germany is being far from family. Two of my big boys were here most of the summer, wednesday night, at 11:00 pm, Soren came bouncing into our bedroom; “A Spangdahlem flight just went UP! Quick review… our kids fly to Germany using Space Available, aka SpaceA, aka Mac […]

0 comments Continue reading…

In The Fat Suit

by Toiny Westberry 15 August 2012
Thumbnail image for In The Fat Suit

Did you make it all the way to the end?  It was quite a newsletter today.  I had a hard time picking which kid to write about today, I’ve got five at home and all five are filling me with stories.  I need more hours in a day  just to write about the fun, crazy, […]

0 comments Continue reading…