Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Swan District

We had a 4 day weekend this past weekend.  Living in Europe, you would think that would mean we would be traveling somewhere.  Nope!  The school decided that it would be a great time to have some sports.  Two weeks ago we had a bye for football.  Why the bye wasn't put on a 4 day weekend, I will never know!  Next week we play the number one team in Europe... for our Homecoming.  These are the questions that make you go "hmmmm?"  I asked the Sports director, who was the brilliant person that came up with that.  He said, "it just happened that way."  Haha- I already knew the answer and shouldn't have been so rude!  So instead of sprinting out of town on Thursday night with everyone else, we stayed around- cleaned the house, went to a BLS class, went to a party, enjoyed a lovely Oktoberfest day with friends on Friday.

Saturday we were at football all day long!
The day started at 8 am when the German team that was supposed to play our JV didn't show up, because their bus broke down.  So the team was split into two and played each other.  There were some valuable lessons learned from that.
First, the coaches are schizophrenic and I will never understand them.  Both sides wanted Sam, but the side that won him, didn't let him play for the first 30 minutes of the game.  He was one of the only guys that didn't go in for offense or defense.  In the end he did get to play and went in for both.  This seems to be par for the course for this year.  I just keep telling myself that they are saving him for next year when he is bigger.  They do keep telling him that he is just too small.  

Second, Sam said his team was actually pretty stacked with great players, but that they only ended up with 3 actual linemen.  Sam's team lost-  Proof that linemen are important.  At one point they put Sam in to stand right next to the quarterback to block all the people that kept sacking him.  They put all kinds of random people in as the extra linemen, but they kept getting hurt- because they aren't actually linemen.  So Sam actually was put in as a Tackle at one point.  Sam, the guy they keep saying is just too small to run the ball!!  Also, the center wasn't very good at hiking the ball.  This caused some of the problems.
Third, Sam definitely isn't a lineman and has no idea how to play it.  He didn't even use his hands, but just hit the guy with his shoulder pads.  The guy just shot right around Sam.
Fourth, this is definitely a growing year for the JV team for everyone, including the coaches.

After that game, all kinds of people showed up for the Varsity game and kept asking me if the JV won.  Well, yes, yes we did!  By this time, Emma has ceased being the big sister of a football player and instead became "Wonder Yearbook Editor" instead.  (They also had Cross country that weekend, but when they travel they can only take their top runners and 5 extra runners that they choose from some 50 girls.  She got to go last time, so she stayed home this time.)  She had taken my camera and taken tons of pictures.  By the time the Varsity game was done- we played Lakenheath, England and killed them.   I was so happy for them when they finally got one score!  By the first quarter, I was already cheering for them.  I always feel bad for the underdog, especially when there is no mercy rule!- so by the time it was done she had taken over 490 pictures and run my battery down to nothing.  

So when the JV suited up again and got to play their reserve players and Sam actually got to carry the ball, twice!!- I didn't get any photographical evidence to prove it!  And he did great too.  He got out of one tackle, spun and made it another 5 yards or so the first time.  I think both times he got 10-15 yards.  They only have one play where he carries the ball and they have never used it before and most likely will never use it again this season.  So those were the two carries of his Freshmen year and my battery was D E A D!
During the Varsity game the JV cheerleaders had Sam doing backflips with them.  He was still in his pads.  One cheerleader did 7 in a row, so Sam did 12!  They all begged him to try out for Winter cheerleading, telling him that he would for sure make Varsity.  I think it's a great idea, but he won't even hear of it.  I reminded him of the professional football player we knew in Virginia who had also been a cheerleader in High School.  That didn't sway him.  He has determined that he wants to do wrestling.  I don't like wrestling.  I don't like boxing either.  Both of them, I will stay away from.  I told him, if he did it, I wouldn't come to any of his matches.  He said, "rude!"  But seriously, I can't watch that!!
Sunday I ran a one woman show.  I conducted Relief Society and I gave the lesson.  I had very little time to prepare, because I just learned I would teach on Thursday- and we were kind of busy as you can see.  Luckily it was from the book and people piped up and helped out.  It all went smoother than most of my other lessons.  Guess less time to worry about it, the better I do.
Monday, we finally traveled.  We haven't seen Schwangau with the kids since we have been here, so we took them to see Hohenschwangau

and Neuschwanstein. 

We also made it up to Marienbruche even though they were all complaining by this time because of the rain.

It didn't rain the whole time and was actually pleasant when it wasn't.
It truly is a beautiful place!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Motherhood ADD

Motherhood ADD- it's real people!  And there should be a public service announcement about it.  I waste tens of dollars a year because of it- possibly hundreds, but let's not get hysterical!   Today was a typical example.  I told my husband I needed to bake cookies and clean today.  I decided to make two types of cookies.  Why?  I have no idea- blame it on the A..D..D.  So I start making one and then right in the middle start cleaning my kitchen.  Well it needed to be cleaned, but while making cookies is probably not the

Whoops, sorry, I just remembered that the boys were invited to a party and had to call and see what time. Now what was I saying...

best time.  After cleaning up the kitchen a little, I finished making the cookies to the point of chilling and then went to start on the next set, except I got distracted by what I was thinking and had to go look up whatever it was on the computer, except when I got to the computer I decided I wanted to turn some music on.  That whole sentence shows I can concentrate even when it comes to English and sentence structure.  After I turned the music on, I had no earthly idea what I was there for, so I just surfed the internet for a little while and it never came back to me, so I went back to cooking.  Again with the run on sentences!  That happened to me two more times during the course of making cookies- not run on sentences.  Computer-interruptess, brain-farc.  I also decided to have lunch somewhere in there.  That batch did not turn out well at all!  So I threw them all in a box for the kids to eat, because no one else is going to and started on the other set.  As I started those one cooking, I remembered that I was supposed to be cleaning.  Clean, look up something on the computer, oh no, cookies, computer, clean, oh no cookies!  Luckily that batch did turn out.  But here's the problem-

Whoops, cookie alarm...

the first batch was the Reese cookies- 24 beautiful reese cut up and baked into cookies are now thrown in a box for children consumption only.  That's expensive kid fodder!   And now I only have snicker doodles to bribe Football coaches with.  Do Football coaches appreciate snicker doodles?  As much as Reese cookies?  Or do I need to go buy new Reese and start again?  My kids' football coach needs some serious bribing and I want to make sure I do it right!

Oh, I could go on and on about the football coach, but that would just make the ADD worse.

I'm telling you, I don't think I am the only one out there.  We need a serious Public Service Announcement!  Avoid Distracted Cooking!  Save your money!  Avoid Distracted Cooking!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

School started... American Style

Living in Germany you notice the differences between Americans and Europeans quickly when school starts.  So here are some signs that Americans have started school.
1)  Mom's converge on the bus stop dressed in pajamas and sweats with their hair tied up in a knot on  top of their heads to wave to their kids at the bus stop.
2) Friday's become dress up days.

3) Those Saturday's you used to love walking on the paths in the woods are now crammed with cheering mothers and fathers and racers of all sorts.

4) More traffic on the roads in the afternoons as mom cart kids to soccer this and soccer that.

5) The craft store starts running low on craft supplies.  I hate projects!

Joseph's idea of a sock puppet.  I made him redo it on a paper bag and we actually added hair with yarn and a copy of one of Duke Ellington's famous songs.  

6) Field trips!  We use public transportations and they just love it when we shove 2 classes full of kids on the public buses!
 Pumpkin festival at Ludwigsburg palace

 Fairytale Garden's boat ride
The up-side down house.  The inside swings and then the outside goes around you.  It looks like you are going upside down!  Scary the first couple of swings, but then I was just ready to get out!
 The trick fountains inside of the maze.
Loved these fun use of gourds.

7) More cars on the roads at all hours of the day on Saturday.  We can travel as far as Venice, Italy or Lakenheath, England for some of our matches.  They keep coming to us instead, though, darn it.  I really want to give them a break and travel up to England!  Come on, let us be nice like that!  One of these matches was only 3 hours away by bus, but the team didn't get home until 3 am, because the German's have to get a break after so many hours.

8) The American next door is actually home.  Studiously planning their next vacation, but at least home for the moment.

I would add #9 dances, but ours still haven't happened.  We have the latest Homecoming ever!  It is the second to the last game of the season.  Seriously, do they even know what "Homecoming" means?  We have our first home football game next week.  You would think that would be Homecoming, right?  Um, nope.  Guess we don't believe in the traditional use of the word!

10) Fundraisers!  Love them!  *sarcastic voice*,  PTO, Potlucks, Parents running everywhere doing a million things!

We had the Stake Relief Society President write us and ask if they needed to have an interpreter in the class on helping your kids with school since they weren't sure how involved parents were with their kids in American schools.  If they only knew...!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

School for the Monkeys right into a vacation

After a little more summer ...

Legoland- lines were long, because the German's are on holiday as well, but we still had fun.

 New student orientation.  Sam went as a Freshman and Emma went because she was giving tours as one of the Ambassadors of the school (She got picked with 19 other students out of over 60 that applied)
 New hair cut and style for senior pictures

Temple trip with a stop at Chipotle!  Yummy, yummy!
 Rob got hit by a car on his way home from work.  He hasn't biked much since.

It was time to go back to school *sigh.*

I was ignoring the start of school this year, so I had very few things ready.  I stuffed random supplies into backpacks (I lost the list of supplies), had them buy lunch the first day and didn't take pictures until the end of the day.
  Here is Joe doing an awesome impression of "I'm actually headed to school, not already come home!"
 Yes, I send my child in filthy clothes most days- um no!
 Not really fair to Emma and Sam who had sports after school, but I forced them to anyways.

 I told Emma I would get better pictures the next day, but as I was running out the door, I yelled, "take a picture of yourself."  And they did!  Serious, Mother of the Year candidate, right here!

* Sigh* is right.  I am with the kids on that one.  Summer is fabulous with that whole sleeping in thing!  Of course, Rob hates it!  He is so glad to have us all back to getting up early, so we go to bed on time!  You know Rob and sleep.  It's his biggest issue in life.   
They only went to school for 4 days before Rob had a vacation and then we all had a vacation together.  I don't quite understand why they start that way, except maybe they are trying to slowly wean them off of vacations.  So after 4 days of school, Rob and I went downtown Stuttgart to the Wine festival, while the kids went to school.

There was some yummy food.  Rob ate a huge ox meet sandwich.  I had spatzele with mushrooms and artichokes in a mushroom gravy sauce.  It was super yummy.  We walked around and admired the different booths and then went to the Rathaus to check out the open elevator. 

Not only does it go up and down continuously and you just jump on and off, it slides to one side at the top.  The sign said everyone off at this point, but we kept wondering if we could ride it when it slid to the right or whether it collapsed a little when it slid over and that's why they wanted everyone off.  Darren (one of the friend's we went with) decided to just jump on and try it out.  He actually made it out alive, so we all tried it.  I don't know how he had the guts to do it, because it gets really dark and you have no idea what is going to happen to you when it starts sliding over.  Amusement ride for adults!
The next day we got up early and drove to Berchtesgaden.  We went up the very windy (as is winding, not blowy) path with sheer drop-offs.

 Rob kept trying to get me to take a good long look, but that is not one of my favorite things.

 We saw the Eagle's nest at the top.
 Joseph lost a tooth up there and threw it over the side of the mountain.  Now there is a piece of Joseph in Palmyra, New York and one in Berchtesgaden, Germany.  We are seeing if we can grow another Joseph.

    We also went and saw the Konigsee

 and went to the salt mines.

The salt mines was definitely one of our favorite things!  The spiel was in German, so we just admired everything and had fun sliding down the railings, riding across the lake and getting scared over and over again by the tour guide, who took a liking to scaring Emma, particularly!  I would say, from the look of his age, he was flirting with her.
Sunday we did a Sound of Music biking tour

and even though it started to rain half way through it was definitely a favorite thing.  Such a fun way to see the city.  Here are some of our favorite things:
 Salzburg, Austria- home to Mozart and the Von Trapp's
 Music hall that the Von Trapp's gave their last concert in before running away- at least in the movie
 cemetery that was used as a pattern for the one in the film- they couldn't get all the film equipment in here, so that's why they had to build a set instead.
Big huge pretzels with chocolate and hazelnut or cinnamon sugar or just salt
The oldest and best bakery, according to the tour guide.  We had to take her word for it, because they weren't open on Sunday's.  They moved all the dead who were in the market place under the bakery's water wheel, but apparently they still make great rolls.  Eww!
 Maria's wedding church
 Hohensalzburg fortress
 Back of the Von Trapp mansion or the mansion they used to say it was the back and the lake that they all fall into.  They forgot that Gretel couldn't swim and had to cut quickly and fish her out.
Singing Doe, Ray, Me with the music that the tour guide kept on the entire time and finding the answers to her challenges!  I got the one about who lived outside of the fortress walls right- the executioner!  And the kids found the match to an art piece.
 A different house was used as the front of the house- I skipped along the gate just like Maria did when she first arrived at the house.  We also touched the gate that Julie Andrews touched!

The abbey with the red roof- no pictures, sorry.
 The Dwarf garden

 Mirabell Gardens
 The Gazebo, that you can no longer go into because an 80 year old decided to recreate Liesel's scence and fell and broke her hip.  Crazy old lady!

This pear tree was pretty cool.  It was close to where we stayed in Austria in a little skiing village.
 They were having a peasants festival and all the towns had some scene with straw people.

Our last favorite thing was the chicken picture in our apartment.  It was painted by the owners "husband" he said.  Rob said, I am sure he meant "wife."  And then we all said, "are you really sure.  An artist name Cazien? Sounds like a dude to me."   Rob was flummoxed.  In the end he was right, it was a "wife." She came out when we purchased the painting.  It's now hanging on our walls.
Quick, fun trip, before school really started.  The next week seminary started also and now Emma is taking pictures of Sam sleeping in cubby holes and across benches, anywhere he can find.  I have to get those pictures from Emma.  They are kind of funny!