Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...

www.ourzimbabwejourney.blogspot.com.

26 July 2011

Day #3 - Favorite Foods

In honor of the third day of my Golden Birthday, 28 of my favorite foods...
1. Vanilla soft serve ice cream
2. Rainbow Sherbet
3. Cottage cheese
4. Cotton candy
5. Chicken fettuccine alfredo (I used to order this at every restaurant I went to!)
6. Spaghetti
7. Lasagna
8. Cherry Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen
9. Slush Puppies
10. Pixie Stix
11. My mom's angel food birthday cake and fluffy white frosting
12. Rhubarb dessert (any kind)
13. Nutty Bars (used to be my favorite after school snack growing up)
14. Special K bars
15. Puppy Chow
16. Chow Mein
17. Sweet and Sour Chicken
18. Coconut Shrimp
19. Soft shell tacos
20. Chicken Tortilla soup (Ashley's recipe)
21. French toast
22. Cinnamon rolls
23. Corn on the cob
24. Cucumbers sliced in Vinegar
25. a nice, red, juicy steak
26. McDonalds Southwest salad
27. my mother-in-law's ramen noodle salad
28. Deda's brisket

25 July 2011

Day #2 - Golden Birthday Week

Today was Erik's only day off in the next couple weeks. So, he spent the majority of it doing paper work, paying bills, and making phone calls, but he also spent some time with the kids and I. Since we don't get many days together, I really wanted to get out and do something fun as a family. We ended up eating outside at a neat little restaurant where I had my very first pannekoeken and then we walked around the hospital campus where Erik works. It was such a fun evening! I really appreciate Erik taking up his day off to spend time with us.

In honor of the second day of my Golden Birthday, I decided to list 28 of my favorite places (in no particular order)...
1. Disney Land
2. Sydney, Australia
3. the beach on Potato Lake (where Erik and I got married)
4. My rocking chair, rocking my babies to sleep
5. Austria
6. New York City
7. Our tent (I love to camp!)
8. The deer stand (love waiting all bundled up in the freezing cold in the wee hours of the morning for a deer to come and I love the anticipation and adrenaline rush of the hunt!)
9. Oklahoma City (only because of the lots of family and friends we have there)
10. My bed
11. The Zoo (any zoo, I love going to the zoo)
12. The rink (I grew up as an ice skater. The two things I love most about the rink is the smell and the sounds - it's a skater's thing, I think.)
13. The hospital where Erik is a resident (it is AMAZING!)
14. Tanning beds (I don't tan anymore, but in college I found tanning beds to be very relaxing.)
15. Haiti
16. Duluth, MN and the north shore
17. The library (wish I could go more)
18. Outdoor restaurants (I don't care which one, I love to dine outside)
19. Oklahoma Christian University (where I went to college)
20. St. Olaf (where Erik went to college and where a lot of our early dating memories take place)
21. Flaming Pine Youth Camp
22. The Black Hills
23. Itasca State Park (where we got engaged)
24. Minnehaha Falls
25. Minneapolis (where we bought our first house)
26. Hyatt Hotels (this was my favorite hotel during our interview stays)
27. My kitchen (I feel so rewarded when I am able to put together a good meal for my family)
28. The beach (preferably a tropical beach)

Pictures of the hospital from tonight...

24 July 2011

Golden Birthday Week


Today was the first day of my Golden Birthday Week. I have no idea how your Golden Birthday is supposed to be any different than any other birthday, but ever since I can remember, I've been looking forward to my Golden Birthday. So, in honor of the first day of my Golden Birthday week, I'm going to list 28 things that make me smile (in no particular order)...

1. Getting a phone call from Erik on his way home from work (he always calls me, even when he gets off in the middle of the night!).
2. When Skogen randomly tells me he loves me (and I especially love it when he stretches out his arms and says, "I dove you dis much, Mommy.")
3. When Maida pretends to be me in her imaginary life.
4. Barkley!
5. Clean bed sheets
6. Babies
7. Dr. Pepper
8. Being a stay home mom
9. Mercedes G500's
10. Pictures from college
11. Movies I've taken of the kids over the years
12. When Erik packs my bags and takes me on surprise vacations!
13. When the kids are in bed early enough so that I can have some alone time.
14. Skiing with Erik and with our kids
15. Eating Cotton candy
16. Jack Johnson's voice
17. Flowers, especially planting and growing and nurturing flowers
18. Letting Klaasen sleep in our bed (he only sleeps with us from 6am-8am every morning)
19. Teaching our kids about life, especially Maida who excitedly takes it all in.
20. Sled Cam with my family
21. My mom's Christmas cookies (and really just any of my mom's cooking and baking!)
22. Getting away with my college friends (I've only done this once and need to do it more!)
23. Our church family (no matter where we live, we're always accepted right in)
24. New shoes
25. The beach
26. Soft serve vanilla ice cream
27. Talking with Erik about our life and our future
28. Simplicity


22 July 2011

It's Been HOT!

It has been HOT! Growing up in Minnesota, I don't remember it ever being this hot or humid and we never had air conditioning! To stay cool this summer, we have been going between the pool, the beach, indoor playgrounds, and our air conditioned apartment! We also took advantage of National Ice Cream Day and cooled off with Cold Stone.















15 July 2011

Summer Perks



One perk of not having to unpack or keep up a house this summer is being able to spend a TON
of time with the

kids. I didn't realize how often I let simple things like laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and even just doing the dishes get in the way of playing with my kids. Since it takes me about 10 minutes to clean the apartment top to bottom, we're eating off of paper plates, and meals have been pretty simple since we don't have a microwave and buy a lot of things pre-made, I have had so much time to play!

I am loving this time with the kids, especially since Maida will be in full time preschool soon. I really can't imagine her going to kindergarten next year! I have pretty much been with her every second of her life since she was born. What am I going to do without her with me 24/7? Anyway, the kids and I have been having some good, quality time together.

Another perk of not having to unpack or keep up a house this summer is having a lot more time
and ambition to get out of the house and explore our new city. Normally, the thought of getting out of the house alone with three kids is silly talk (before moving here, just getting to the grocery store and church once a week was asking a lot!). Every day we plan something different to do,
whether it's something simple like going to a new park, discovering the mall, or eating ice cream at a new DQ; or doing something a little more risky like venturing to the next city and discovering a zoo or getting into my bathing suit (believe me, that's risky!) and trying out one of the city pools. Every day is filled with a new adventure! This has been, by far, one of the best summers I have had since the kids were born.

Dear Maida, Skogen, and Klaasen:
I don't care how silly it sounds, you three are of the bestest friends I have ever had. I love you so much and can't imagine being on this journey with anyone else.

Maida, I appreciate your imagination and the way you can make believe with absolutely
nothing! You are constant entertainment for me and your brothers. Today when I told you that one of my friends had a baby yesterday, I laughed so hard when you asked me if it was one of my real friends or one of my pretend friends. :) You are so beautiful, so caring, and so very stubborn. Such a perfect combination for a princess!

Skogen, I love how adventurous you are. Whenever we go to any of the
many parks around, I
hardly see you from the moment we get there, until the moment I call you to leave. You are in constant motion! You are fearless! You are curious! I can't wait to see you in ten years from now, or in 20 years from now! You will be just like your dad - life with you will never be dull.

Klaasen, I love that you are a big boy, now, walking all over the place. However, I also love that you are still my little baby. Your snuggles and kisses make every day worth every second. This summer I have enjoyed introducing you to new things. Today we played in the rain for the first time

ever. When we first went out into the rain, you looked at me like you were upset with me, but once you saw my smile, you knew that it was all okay. You loved waving your hands in the rain, I loved watching your hair curl tighter and tighter!


I love you three so much! I am so honored to be your mommy and so thankful for our summer together.

14 July 2011

The Blessings Continue

I received a call from an unknown number this afternoon. Having a slight phoneaphobia, I debated on whether or not I should answer it. Before I could make up my mind, my finger was sliding the screen down and the call was answered.
The phone call started really awkward, with my service not being the best and cutting out half of what the girl was saying, and her maybe feeling a little nervous about calling someone she didn't know. However, two minutes into the conversation I was chatting with a stranger just like it was an old friend from college! Erin, the spouse of another resident, was calling to remind me of a physician wives Bible study starting next week. She was also calling to check up on me. Through the grapevine, word of our unfortunate housing situation and rough transition to residency has spread, especially around the christian resident community. It is so nice and such a blessing to know that people care, even complete strangers. It was also a blessing that Erin has children almost the exact same ages as mine and that she was looking for someone to hang out with at the zoo later this week. :) Through this phone call, and several other happenings in the last few days, God has proven to me that He provides.
As I was driving around today, I started thinking of several other blessings that we have received recently...

Creepy Apartment Complex...
It was midnight a few nights ago and Erik was at work late. As I walked into the kitchen to throw a diaper away, I glanced out my window through the crack in the curtains and caught a glimpse of an unfamiliar face standing on my balcony. My petrifying fear quickly turned to relief as I realized that it was just the security guard. The apartment complex hired a security guard that comes every evening around 6pm and walks the parking lot and balconies all night long. I feel so safe and so secure at night, even when Erik isn't home. What a blessing!

Anti Smart Phones...
A little over a year ago, Erik finally convinced me to enter the world of smart phones. I entered kicking and screaming. I didn't even know how to text! What was I supposed to do with a smart phone and why in the world would anyone need anything like that, anyway!? Well, as the last year has went by, I have discovered why someone really does need a smart phone! :) There is no way I would be on the internet right now, if it weren't for an app on my phone called PDA Net. It allows me to turn my phone into a modem and get free internet wherever I have phone service. How awesome is that?! I highly recommend it. It has been such a blessing! I have also been able to buzz all over our new city with my phone's GPS! I would be lost (literally!) without my phone.

Non-refundable Registration Fee...
The week I joined Erik in Rochester, I immediately started checking out preschools. In fear that they would all be full and have wait lists, I registered Maida for the first preschool I came across that had an opening. Unfortunately, this week we decided to switch preschools and we found out the registration fee I already paid was non-refundable. However, I knew I was making the right decision to switch if I could switch even knowing I would lose that money. I feel that the new preschool is such a better fit for our family and our children. There is even a program for Skogen, which he is sooooooooo thrilled about! We went to visit today and they were both so excited to see where they will start in the fall. Skogen kept asking me all day, "Mommy, you gonna dop me off at pee-cool, now?" He just can't wait! Maida is super excited too, and is going to be evaluated next week to see if she can make it into their advanced preschool program. I'm so excited for the opportunities and feel that we are blessed to have found such a great christian-based preschool program. God put just the right people in my life at just the right time to tell me about and convince me to switch!

I feel like things are starting to fall into place and it is my goal to be in a house, or at least somewhere more permanent with all of our belongings, by the time Maida and Skogen start preschool. And if we're not, I'm sure that God will provide and no matter where we are or what we're doing, we'll be happy and blessed!

12 July 2011

Our Apartment

We are so thankful for our apartment! Maida and Skogen think that we are staying at a fancy hotel!



We can't wait to move out, though, and get a place of our own. The kids are ready to be able to play outside in a backyard!

10 July 2011

GOD IS GOOD!

Allowing myself to be open, and to express my feelings on the blog about what we're going through in certain situations, has been a rewarding experience for me. I don't do it often because in the past I've had slack from others on filtering what I share, but these past couple of weeks have been one of the hardest times of my life. I felt it was necessary to open up and journal about it, not only so later I can see where we started residency and how God blessed us even in trial, but also as an encouragement for others. Ever since breaking down a few nights ago, questioning our place in life right now, I have had numerous occurrences happen that have helped me understand and take comfort in knowing that God has everything under control.

One of these occurrences happened two days ago when someone walked up and down the apartment balcony/halls, putting fliers in each door for a clothing drive. This morning I noticed that no one had taken the flier out of the door next to us, or directly under us. This is such a blessing for us because that means that I don't have to be so hard on the kids to be so quiet all of the time because no one lives there! Yay! GOD IS GOOD!

Another occurrence happened today when I went to a brunch for resident spouses. As I arrived at one of the biggest and most beautiful hospital campuses in the world, I was reminded at why this was a #1 residency choice for me. The program they have for the spouses is outrageous! I couldn't believe how many activities I could sign up for and how much thought, time, and money has gone into supporting our families through this stage in life. Unbelievable. GOD IS GOOD!

It's hard to believe we've only been here two weeks. I arrived in this new city without knowing hardly anyone and already I feel like I've been so blessed by a group of ED resident wives that get together almost every day and have all been so inviting, supportive, and encouraging. I feel like I've suddenly gained several close friends and that I've known them forever! The best part about it all, they have kids, too! Someone to have girl time with, and someone to have playdates with, and someone who knows exactly what it feels like to be married to a resident. GOD IS GOOD!

06 July 2011

Way Down Low

I'm not going to lie or try to hide it. I'm not going to pretend like everything is perfect or that this is ideal for our family. Just like always, life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes life is way up high, sometimes way down low, and sometimes it's just a little bumpy. Right now for me, life is way down low.



Many times I sit and wonder why all of this has to be happening to us. Why are we getting dealt such bad luck? Why has it worked out for nearly every other resident we know to buy a house and get settled? Why has this whole process seemed to go wrong? What is going to go right? When will we catch a break? Living in such a small space with crazy kids, no TV, no internet, and nothing to do makes you think these crazy thoughts!



We are still without a house. We are with Erik, though, and I can be thankful for that, along with running water and air conditioning! It is getting hard to remember, though, how fortunate we are when this 600 square foot apartment is too cramped for five people or when our air mattress, the only furniture in the place, gets a hole and we are having to sleep on the floor. It is hard to remember when the kids have one box of toys here and these toys got old after the first couple days or when I have to constantly discipline the kids for running and jumping in the apartment because we live on the third floor and I'm worried that we'll annoy the person living under us. I'm so ready to move out and move on.



This chapter in life is becoming a difficult one for me to live, but like all down times in life, they always come up again. I'm encouraged by my kids and how they make the best of such a bad situation. They really aren't even phased at all! What great examples for me to follow. I'm looking forward to better times.

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin