Friday, February 5, 2016

The Cows Came Home

Well after that exhausting hike to see the cows in their mountainous home, I was not about to miss the cows coming home.  We stayed in Garmisch

 and went to the celebration in Mittenwald.

 Mittenwald is a cute, Bavarian town in the middle of the alps with painted building and cobblestone everywhere.  It was a little wet and cold that day, but it was fun to see the cows running around with their bells ringing and their owners all dressed in old fashion garb. 

 The only bad part was that Joe hit his head and made it bleed so much that we had all kinds of Germans helping us try to control it.  They even got an EMT.

On our way home we stopped at Highline 179 in Reutte, Austria.  It is the longest pedestrian suspense bridge.  There was a castle on one side of the bridge and a fort on the other side.

  The hike up there was nice,
The dragon in the park at the bottom shot water out of it's nose at you.

 but the bridge scared the stuffing out of Max and I.  We held on the whole way and just kept looking forward. 

 I forgot that suspension bridges swing.  And they really swing in the middle- I got to the other side as soon as possible.  But then we had to go back again!

We Enjoy a Full Life

We like to keep our life full, so not only were we busy with Sam's full football schedule and the cheerleaders, we also had Max playing tackle football and Joseph running cross country.  This was a first for both of them.  Max ended up on a team with lots of experienced athletes and we had to make sure he knew it was OK if he didn't play that often- and he didn't.  Even when he "won" his spot during the week, something would change by the weekend.  It was very frustrating as a parent and for him.  He played on the line and did just as good as the other player he replaced when he was out there.  He played around a lot with the quarterback, who is our next door neighbor and learned so much that I was impressed by the end of the year.  Now he spouts off all kinds of football facts, constantly to us.  He is very excited that his favorite quarterback is in the Super Bowl this year- Peyton Manning.
It was the first year that CYS offered a cross country team for the junior high age.  There were some immensely talented runners in this group.  Two of the girls actually beat all the high school girls in every race they allowed us to join in.  The boys weren't far behind.  Joe ended up being middle of the pack, but that's not bad considering how little he practiced.  In the end, I think his best time was 22:30 for a 5 K.  I can't do that anymore!

This is how they all ended the race- it was supposed to help with lactic acid- or as we like to call it: Galactic Acid!

At the end of the season party the coach talked about how much Joseph could talk.  She said they would be running 5-6 miles and she would realize that he had been talking to her the entire way!  He can keep a steady stream of conversation going if he feels like it!  What a busy, busy year.  With three in traveling sports (2-3 hours away for most meets), it was good that we knew friends on all the teams, so that they could help us out with rides!  That is one of the things I am looking forward to when we get back to the states- no 3 hour drives to get to meets!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Are You Ready for Some FOOTBALL!!

Sam made the JV squad this year, again.

He was disappointed and so was I.  But, in the end it was the best thing for him.  He played the entire time.

The only time he ever came out was if he was injured, potentially injured or when they did something really odd.

He was a captain.

And he got to come up to Varsity for their away game to England and the European Championship game- That they WON!!!  Sam played all kinds of positions, but mainly a receiver, a punt returner, kick-off returner, and corner back. 

He played on the line occasionally when they needed someone and they even had a play where he played Nose guard.

  He crawled under the Centers legs on that one.  He said he always made sure to say "hi" to the Center at just the right time when he went through.  He also played Center, where he hiked the ball and then ran fast through the middle and caught the pass on the other side.  I didn't even know that was allowed!  That play always confused the other team, because of how the line lined up.

The year started out well on the JV, 

but quickly turned bad as they lost more and more games.  This was probably due to the fact that all seasoned linemen where taken up to Varsity.  We knew one of the quarterbacks well, as he is our next door neighbor. His mom said he was googling "how to play quarterback without a line."  Fortunately, we had fun watching the Varsity games afterwards, because they mostly won.  I was working with the cheerleaders at this time, so I went to most of the games with the team.

I felt bad for Samuel, but he took it in stride.
I was the locker decoration coordinator- since there was only me and one other lady on my committee, I made a lot of the stuff.  We had a problem with other teams finishing before football and coming by and stealing our candy we had put up on the lockers for the guys.  The football players were not happy!  They wanted us to get the film from the cameras and see who it was that kept doing it!   The brown footballs went in the center of a paper tissue Mum that the other lady made for Homecoming.  The yellow footballs stayed up on the lockers the entire time.  I also made them magnets with the Superman/Stuttgart symbol I came up with.
Then the team headed up to England.  They were expected to win without any problem and Sam got to go to play in the 5th quarter.  England did that because they didn't have enough players to play a JV, but had guys that didn't get out too often.  The coach said that if they were winning they would put the JV players in that he had brought up.  He only brought up a couple.  In the end, they lost and Sam didn't get to play except in the 5th quarter.  Then they came back and lost 2 more times.  It was a very depressing way to start the play-offs.
We ended up going only because another team lost to Ramstein.  That meant we had to face Ramstein- the only undefeated team and last years champions- to move up.  On Halloween day they played the semi-finals.  The JV was at home, playing Vilseck- which they won!  There was a grim outlook for Varsity.  But they held their own.  We learned that we were loosing by one point with only seconds left in the game.  And then the text came that we had won.  It was crazy!  Later they posted the video of what happened.  They did a Hook and Lateral play.  Our ball carrier barely got it off laterally as he was tackled.  The new ball carrier got it all the way past the 10 yard mark before being brought down.  The Ramstein team went nuts.  They thought they had won.  But what they didn't know is that their stupid clock that is half broken wasn't showing the correct time.  We still had a couple seconds left.  It was just enough time for us to try a field goal.  Our female soccer player hooked one right through the uprights and we won.  
They asked me to make a poster congratulating the team.  I made it a little generic on purpose because we had several teams win that weekend- some becoming European Champions and some, like us, going onto the Championship game.
That night one of Sam's friends that had been taken up to play on Varsity came to see him and tell him that coach said that practice was after school.  He sat and waited and when Sam gave no real reaction he said, "Dude, you have been brought up to Varsity!" and gave him a big hug.  
It was a crazy, exciting game.  

We never did see Sam get out in the game, but we did see him come off when they won, last minute, again by a kick from our female kicker!  And that's how we became European Champions,

The JV players that got brought up for the championship game and the JV coaches and the other Sam who came to tell our Sam that he had been brought up.  Every single one of them were put in even though the game was so tight the entire time- earning them all the right to a varsity letter.   Our Sam got in 3 times.  

how Sam earned his Varsity letter, 

and how Sam won the "Ironman" award (for the person that did everything and never came out of the game) for the JV team.  What a fantastic last year in Germany!

Bad Urach

On the Rhein there are plenty of castle ruins to explore.  It doesn't seem that there are that many down in Stuttgart, but maybe it's just because we haven't explored that much lately.  Having teenagers keeps your life fully scheduled.  We did get one day to go with the Morrow family and explore Bad Urach, however. 

Loved this hike and the castle at the top!

The waterfall wasn't so bad either! This is only the top of it.