Sunday, June 28, 2015

Part Twee


On our way to our lovely rented home in Belgium we stopped at Flander's Field museum.

It was very well done.  Our hostess was sad, however, because she had discount tickets to lots of museums and other things around the area for us to use.  Oh well.  
We also saw Brugge,
Old wall- under a hotel, now.  They let you go see it if you ask, however, and since Rick Steve's told us to ask- We did!
 Fancy Podium for the preacher depicting Adam and Eve

Brussels and Gent.
Gent was a much smaller version of Brugge, and let's face it, the highlight of touring Brussels has to be this guy- right??? The Mannekin Pis (1618).  Several stories say why the little boy peeing was where the town came to get it's drinking water from.  One, the little boy peed on a witches house and got turned to stone.  Another one, a man lost his son and said he would make a statue of what he was doing when he finally found him.  There are several others, but regardless, he's a lot smaller than you think he will be, even when forewarned by Rick!
We got lovely chocolates and we ate Belgium waffles and Belgium fries.

Beautiful, Beautiful Belgium.

I would love to live there- unfortunately they already gave that spot away for next year, so we are going back to the states.  Boo! and Yeah.  I'm of two minds about it.  Well I will try to enjoy our last year here and enjoy traveling to places like...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What do you do when you are so behind?

This year has flown by and I just can't seem to keep caught up.  Since March, I have written one blog post, but I think it is best to keep that blog post unpublished for awhile.  Instead I decided to just go slowly through and see if we can catch up to our "now" by the end of summer.  So here it is-

 Spring Break

 Part Une- Paris:

The kids and Rob really didn't want to go to Paris, but Emma decided she really needed to see it before going back to the states, so we fit it into our Spring break trip.  Our trip there started out great. We stopped at Verdun and lit a candle at the memorial there.

We also wandered around the pock marked landscape.  Think of a teenagers face who is suffering with severe acne- that is Verdun.  You look at the landscape 100 years after World War 1 and it's still so scarred and full of holes that you wonder how anyone survived!

Then we stopped at Reims and saw the Norte Dame Cathedral where all the kings of France have had their coronations.

It was amazing!  Joan of Arc brought Charles the VII here to be crowned.
After all those stops we got to Paris rather late.  We stayed in a wonderful tiny Parisian apartment in a great neighborhood.  Unfortunately it was such a hopping neighborhood it took Rob 2 hours to find a parking spot.  We were so worried about the car the entire time we were there.  Besides a little keying on the gas tank, it came away OK, however and without parking tickets!  We kept it where it was after getting it parked and metro-ed everywhere.

We saw Notre Dame (We actually liked the Reims one better.)

Although the Paris one does have an amazing rose window in blues.

We all put our feet on point zero- we were there!

I kissed Rob on the Lock Bridge

We continued our tradition and had French Fries in France!

We saw the Eiffel Tower and climbed up over 700 steps to the second platform.

Poor Max was crying most of the way, because he is so afraid of heights, but he kept going.  I took him inside the stores and museum parts to get him inside away from the wind.  That helped a lot.

We also subjected them to the Louvre.

Yep- had to be done.
And we saw her- over about 200 heads, but we still saw dear old Mona Lisa.

We also walked the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.  Along the way we ate yummy macaroons

- our favorite were the lemon, and rode this amazing slide at a car shop.

The Arc De Triomphe circle is still as crazy as ever.  You can sit there for hours being amused and amazed that there aren't more accidents.

It's something like 11 entrances and exits all converging and diverging around that remarkable monument.  These Parisians are crazy!- so Asterix would say.  We found his amusement park-

too bad it was opening up a few days after we were there.  The kids love Asterix and Obelix. We saw it as we made our way to....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What's up in our house lately?

Life has become a whirlwind.  Spring sports have started and my children decided to pick up something new.  Samuel, instead of going out for Track and definitely earning that varsity letter as a freshman, decided instead that he would try out for soccer.  Um, What??  The last time he played soccer was when he was 12 (I thought it was 9, but he insists he played when he was 12, too.)  He was the redheaded step-child  at try-outs, with hand me down cleats from a friend (Emma's feet never got that big) and Emma's socks and shin guards.  The first day he went without shin guards or soccer socks. I was amazed he made the team, as this is Europe and these guys play year round soccer, but he is extremely fast and extremely athletic.  He only made JV and he isn't a starter, but he plays a fair amount of time and actually does really well.

The first day of try-outs, they all met at the main field and then walked away together.  The track coaches saw him start to walk away and yelled at him to come back.  He was supposed to be their hurdler!   Well instead we sent one of our other family members to try out hurdles.  Emma decided to run track this year.  She wanted nothing to do with the soccer team here, despite them begging for players this year.  I think they really burned some bridges when they allowed 9 captains to choose who would be on their team last year.  Emma is not the only one who refuses to go out for the team again.  She was originally going to try shot-put, but she said that all the fatties went there and so instead she is trying to run hurdles.  She still doesn't have the timing down.  She is able to get over the 300 meter ones now, but stumbles and stutters a lot.  I told her to concentrate on 100 and 200 and try to get on a relay team, but she really wants to get those hurdles.
Besides sports (the little boys still haven't started), we had senior portraits done and are working on graduation announcements,

planning our spring break and end of year trips and getting ready for girls camp.  Yep, Emma is going for one more year and so is Mom.  I was called as the assistant camp director.  Sometimes, I  really like not being in charge!  Do what I'm told and do it well and not worry about anything else!
I am trying to finish up Emma's quilt before she graduates.  It's a queen, so it really won't work on her bed at College.  It was meant for her bed here.  The fact that I decided to try and hand sew it, is what is taking me so long.  Now that it has been half hand sewn, I can't change and use the machine!   I just have to buckle down and do it.
The other day Emma told me about all the times she has cried in public this year.  Most of them involved in public speaking.  She was fine with Model United Nations, but she can't tell about a board that she made about herself to her class.  She said, "people scare me when they are all looking at me.  I need to come with a note that says Emma shouldn't be made to speak for more than a minute in front of people."  I told her I would pin it to her blouse when she leaves for college and to make sure that her new bishop gets it.  Mostly I just try not to think about that time.
I have also been working a lot.  It seems that no one has a substitute nurse and so I am getting calls from almost every school now.  I do enjoy the school nursing.  Last time I worked for a whole week.  I brought my 5 pound weights and my pad and every 30 minutes or so I would go lift weights for a few minutes.  I couldn't do it for long or I would start to sweat.  Some days were crazier than other, however and I couldn't hardly get any weights in.  It's a lot like the ER that way.
Rob has been busy with work and being sick.
Max got glasses (he is far-sighted, like his Daddy) and has been sick as well.

Now mom is sick.  I think we are all on the mend now.
Joe, of course, never got sick.  I told him that he has the constitution of a rock- rock's never get sick either!  But he did stay home one day with me.  We watched the solar eclipse together and then I took him to get a ride to the Merit Badge University.  He earned a badge for climbing and for rifle.  He said he almost got the badge on his first try.  He was supposed to get 5 shots in one quadrant and he got 4.  He got it on his second try after readjusting the sites!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why Emma was Grumbling

So there was kind of a reason for Emma to grumble.  Not really, but kind of.  She had a ball to get to that night. 

She didn't need the whole day to get ready, as we all know.  I once got ready for a Prom in a half hour- of course I don't think I took a shower after work (gross) and I threw my hair up on top of my head and didn't wear make-up.  I never was a girly girl.  It didn't turn out to be the best Prom- go figure!
Emma was going to the JROTC ball as a representative of the Yearbook staff.  Her date was the Yearbook teacher who also brought her husband and a couple other representatives along.  She had lots of dates.
  One guy did ask her if she could be sort of his date when he found out she was going, just so he didn't have to sit with his unit- everyone that was anyone had a date, so the only people still sitting at the unit table were freshmen.  She told him that if he paid the teacher back, she would be his date.  He didn't, but he still got out of sitting with the freshmen.  She even was nice enough to take a picture with him.

Let's just say, she is a really nice girl and I hope she doesn't get taken advantage of at college!  Love her!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Basketball Max!

We all went- on my insistence (with lots of grumbling from Emma) to Max's final Basketball game.  

The poor kid has missed half of his games- 2 from sickness and one when we all went up to Ramstein to see Sam wrestle.  He did well in his last game and even scored a couple points.  Surprisingly he is one of the shorter kids on his team.  It's not because, like the rest of our children, Max is short, it's just that we had a really tall team.  

One kid was so big that he just stood under the basket and caught his balls over and over until he would make the shot.  He wasn't that great of a player, but he was way taller than anyone else!  The short guys were mixed in with the taller guys and everyone got to play exactly half a game.  The coach was wonderful.  We remained undefeated! 

Good job Thunder!

And the End of that Story is...

So at the end of that story- getting a wild card to European, not getting it, getting it, not getting it is...They didn't give Sam a Varsity letter.  The kid went to sectionals and came very close to going to Europeans, but still didn't get a varsity letter out of the deal.  They are making this whole getting a varsity letter thing really hard to do!

But he did get another coaches award.  They said he was a pleasure to coach.  He was always polite and did exactly what they would scream for him to do when they were coaching from the sidelines.  That is his second coaches award.  Good job buddy!  I'm glad they recognize him for all his hard work and heart!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Presidents Weekend

During winter season for sports, Sam has wrestled.

He turned out to be not half bad at it, claiming second place for his weight group on the team even though he has never wrestled before.  He was expected to go to the European championships, both because of who he would face at sectionals and because of his record of wins and losses.  Therefore, we planned nothing.  The week before Sectionals, he decided it was time to take on his dad and his dad, being the man that he is, decided not to go to easy on him.  Development: strained back and neck muscles, Result: he actually lost to the opponent that he had always beat before.  Now there were some extra problems in this match.  The scoring was not the best and when the coach went up to complain, the ref reviewed the scores written down and said, yes, there should have been a tie between the two and they should have gone to overtime, but he already declared the other guy the winner and he was moving on.  Also, when they replayed the match, the ref had forgotten to give Sam one point, therefore, Sam should have actually won.  Either way, he was given a good chance at a wild card, because of his record.  He came home a couple days later and said they had given him the wild card, but then decided that they had too many wild cards and cut two of them, him being one.  The next day he came home late.  He said at the beginning of the day they told him that one guy dropped out and so he was back in.  When he showed up for practice, they told him the guy was back in and Sam was out, again.  The poor kid- in, out, in, out!  It was horrible!  Needless to say, he stayed out and didn't get to go, but the team brought home the big win for the year!  European Champions!

Instead we had our sick Brother in law come down and have fun with us at Heidelberg Castle.

 They had an old Pharmacy museum in the castle as well- this is an Enema
 This is a mold for suppositories.

 Big wine barrel
 The biggest wine barrel- this is how the town paid it's taxes.

 Part of the turret fallen down.

On a beautiful walk to find the 7 old mills.
 We only had time for 2.

And to a Fasching parade.  
It got so cold we couldn't feel our toes by the end of this very long and very witch heavy parade.

They did all kinds of tricks like taking the laces out of people's shoes, taking their shoes, stealing the kids and carting them away- that happened to one of our group,  (They finally let them go about 2 or 3 blocks away (he was 7!)) and throwing lots of confetti.  Every once in a while they threw candy too.  There wasn't as much candy as I remember.  We left a little early and headed towards the car, which was along the parade, so we ended up seeing the whole thing.  We also bought some of the special Fasching  donut, the Faschingskrapfen.  It tasted like a 3 day old rectangular donut- which is very well might have been and why it was on super sale!  Overall a fun Presidents day weekend.