Wednesday, August 31, 2011

B L O W your horn area

I have seen two of these signs- both along the bike trail leaving our village. They don't point to any specific space, monument or building. Just in the general direction of the trail.

I still can't figure out what it means. It's the craziest thing.

Any ideas? I probably should just ask a German.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

german I M M E R S I O N

The boys all seemed to have a great first day of school. Whew. As a mom, you always want them to walk in the door excited and smiling.

Poor little Coleman had a rough start as his brothers dropped him off way down the road leaving him with a fairly good walk to his school.

The plan was for Justin to drop him off, then Jim left work to meet him at school to get him to his classroom. Jim was there- Coleman wasn't anywhere to be found.

After looking and looking for Coleman, he finally found him- tears streaming down his cheeks, lost and scared not knowing where to go. In a school of over a thousand kids, {just K-2} it's not hard to get lost.

Hugs from dad helped and he was on his way. I worried about him all day hoping he had a quick turn-a-round.

When I let Justin know what happened- he said he didn't even think about it and did feel horrible. I know he was full of nerves in anticipation of getting his schedule {which they didn't get until yesterday morning} and starting his last year of high school.

Coleman was nervous about his first day with new things in store for him this year. He was greeted by his teacher with a "Guten Morgen."

Sunday night while looking on the class lists that were posted, we found out that Coleman got into the partial German immersion program. With such a high demand and only a few classes, I really didn't think we had a chance. I filled out the form with high hopes and now I'm really glad I did- I'm most excited.

For a good portion {at least half, I think} of the day, he'll be learning and conversing in German. Several subjects will be taught in German such as math, social studies and science. He said if they don't ask to go to the bathroom in German, they don't get to go. He then let me know he forgot how to ask, but it was a good thing he didn't have to go all day. We better work on it.

I think it's wonderful- can't wait to see how much he learns and what he comes home with. Excited and smiling as he walked off the bus, I was so happy to see he rebounded. Today, he decided to ride the bus today to and home from school- way better than getting ditched by older brothers.

Monday, August 29, 2011

three D O W N

Wow! Time sure does fly. Seems like they were just starting kindergarten. Now, a junior and senior.
While I was finishing up with Coleman this morning, Justin yelled up the stairs to me. "Bye, mom- we're gone." I don't think so.
It was only 7:15 and he couldn't drop Coleman off until 8:00 and we live five minutes from the base. Even with the traffic of back to school, he was a slightly over-anxious senior. Nervous maybe. Who knows?

Plus, he knew I needed to take pictures. As quick as I am- he's still the worst. I yelled back, "I'm taking your picture. Get out on the porch and don't complain." I've done it every single year, you would think they'd be used to it by now.

For Justin, it's his last first-day-of-school picture. A senior. I just can't believe it. If I wasn't a little irritated with him at that moment, I might have even gotten a little sad. Instead, I took pictures, gave them all a hug and sent them on their way.

Caden's teacher and assistant teacher came this morning for a home visit with him so he could meet them. I've never heard of them doing that before but I think it's a great idea- especially for a kid who's also a little anxious about starting school.

His teacher let him know she was going to talk to me for a minute and he was going to talk to the assistant for a minute.  She was sitting on the couch and asked if he'd like to come over and sit next to her.

He politely said, "No, thanks." He starts next week. It's going to be fun.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

laps for L A D Y bug

Less than a year old, we found this used trampoline with the safety net for $50. I found it online yesterday, but still felt the need to ask Alexandra if it was ok for us to have it in our new yard before purchasing it. So, I walked over to her house yesterday and asked.
Her husband {who we like just as much as her} just pulled in to the driveway after a long day at work, so I got to chat with both of them. No anxiety, no stress for which I'm so grateful.
As I asked her, her response went something like this, "Sheila... Sheila... Sheila. It is your garden. You can do WHATEVER you would like with it. No problem." She could have meant, "Sheila- quit being paranoid- it's ok, just do it." or "Quit asking me... it's ok, just relax." Whatever she's thinking- she was still so kind. She kind of laughs at me. I did managed to hold back the tears this time. I'm getting better.

So, we bought it.

The family we bought the trampoline from sold it so cheap because we had to take it apart- way worth it for us at this point and time.  This weekend, we also just found a brand-new basketball hoop on the used site that we bought for super cheap.

Jim put up on the garage to replace the old one that was broken.
Again, we asked Alexandra if it would be ok since we thought it was her brother's garage. She laughed and said, "This is my garage. NO problem- go right ahead."

I'm so happy.
Working out in our new yard today, I think we all agreed that our little Ladybug has missed having a yard perhaps more than any of the rest of us. She ran maybe thirty {30} laps around half of the yard and spent the rest of the time checking things out.

With fencing on three sides- it's wonderful to let her go! She's so dang fast and loves to run. This video posted below is probably after twenty laps- she was already slowing down.

With our old landlords {note the lack of use of their name} she barked and went crazy every single time. One day while we lived there Coleman opened the door with the grumpy Frau outside. By the time I made it to the door, she was hiding behind the garbage can to get away from Lady as Lady stood at the door barking with her hair standing up on end.
video

She's a little afraid of men {definitely WAY better than she was when we rescued her two years ago} but, has never reacted to a woman with growling and barking as much as she did every time with her. She never stopped barking- never eased up.

I think it helps my stress immensely that Alexandra likes dogs and likes her. The worry and anxiety that I have carried is GONE. Here, our little Lady has never barked once at Alexandra. Not once. She's been over a handful of times both knocking at the door and walking all around the house- inside. Lady just looks at her, wags her tail and can't get enough of her.
Is it true that dogs can tell good from evil? I know she feeds off my vibe, but perhaps she knows a little more. I'd like to think so.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

brighter O U T L O O K

Look what showed up in our village tonight- right across the street from us. I think our house {the pot of gold} is where it ends. I'm feeling that lucky and happy, truly. It feels so nice.

It was a day of deals for the Dickey household. I'm so excited, I can't stand it. Little things- nothing big. On the used-items site, Jim found this mini-freezer that we went and picked up this morning. Jim says he's convinced buying nice used things are the way to go.

I've never been too good at garage-sale shopping. I want to, I'm just not patient and have never figured out the art of garage-sale shopping. I'm not good at bargining either.

I'm definitely not against buying used things, it's just sometimes so much work to find exactly what you're looking for.

Here, it's kind of like a garage sale-except it's online and mostly military families coming and going. No sorting through the worn-out stuff to get to the good stuff. Maybe, it's a little more my style.

Especially here with so many military families moving in and our- there is a lot of nice to be found at really discount prices. It's taken a long time for me to hear this from my husband. I might need to get it in writing from a man who LOVES to shop and loves nice {new} and the best of everything.

We scored on a couple other items, I'll have to show once they're assembled and in use. For today- I'm thrilled for more freezer space- I'm thrilled. Again, it's the little things that are making me so happy right now.

Overall, I'd even be tempted to put it out there that this has been once of our best weeks since moving to Germany. Yes, yesterday I was beyond excited to get rid of these kids. Today, I'm still excited for school to start.

Next week, my little sister and her super cool hubby are coming for a visit. Maybe that's why my outlook is so bright. While I really needed them a few months ago, I'll take them now- no complaints!

I think this last month {since we moved, actually} has been a turn-a-round month for our whole family which has really made me think and focus on my attitude. I can't help but wonder if my negative, depressed, struggling attitude is what brought our whole family down in making and adjusting to this move.

In a way, I feel in a why like I'm back. Normally upbeat, this year has been beyond a struggle. The excited, take-on-the-world super happy way my head feels now is how I think I normally feel. I know we havce more struggles ahead- that's life, especially in Germay. But, for now I'll enjoy it.

It's nice to be back.

Friday, August 26, 2011

almost time for S C H O O L

This mama is ready for her kiddos to GO TO SCHOOL. I think more than ever before- it can't come soon enough! I'd stick backpacks on them today if I could kick them out the door. In an attempt to {enjoy} the last couple days of summer we've been swimming, playing, relaxing and sleeping in.

Orientations are done. Now, they just need to GO! I'm pretty sure I won't even cry dropping Caden off. I'm excited.

Today, we met Caden's teacher and saw his classroom. With 15 kindergarten classes at the Elementary School, it's nice to know there are only 17 in his class.

In filling out the sheet about him to give the teacher a intro- we were at a total loss. How in the world do you describe our little guy?

She'll find out sooner or later. We did let her know he'll probably love cleaning the room. Rest time? We'll see how that goes.

This late afternoon, we hit the pool which was cool but not too cool for Coleman and Caden. Jim finished up mowing our new backyard. We envision putting our fire pit out there, badmitton, soccer and lots of fun.

It's a great space- these are the {before} pictures. I'll have to take a new one now that it's mowed. You can't even see the back of it from here- it's a nice, big space. I still can't believe she's letting us call it ours for our time here.

This weekend: down time as a family. I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

S U M M E R is here

Ok, it really does get hot in Germany.

It actually feels like summer. I love it. This week it is in the high 80's and low 90's with beautiful sunny skies.

The only downside- these houses don't have air conditioning which makes for long, sweaty nights even with fans blowing on high. Knowing it is short lived, I can handle it.

Swimming every day this week has helped, too. The boys are in heaven. Coleman specifically.

I'm even more convinced that I was before- when we moved back to the states and get settled we need a pool. Nothing huge or fancy, but something to swim in.

The base {indoor} pool is nice. Community pools are fun as well. But, in your own backyard? I'm pretty sure nothing can beat it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

worst P A R E N T ever

How do you keep a sick kid down? Especially a kid who has to be on the go ALL day long! With most kids, when they're well enough to get around I have no problem letting them get up and go. With Caden, it's been painful {for me} trying to keep him down so he can heal and get well.

It's been one week since Caden's surgery and he's still not feeling well. Even worse, he has yet to sleep through an entire night without crying and whining- the worst kind of torture to any parent in my opinion.

Roll your eyes, cry, scream, pout, give attitude... but whine and I CAN'T stand it! Even worse is when they're whining and follow me from room to room {as I'm trying to get away from them} so I make sure I can hear that they're whining. Oh, drives me crazy.

After three super sick days right after surgery, he woke up feeling ready to go and wanted to ride his bike. Of course, it's not fair that Coleman gets to eat crunchy foods or go swimming or ride his bike. So, we let him go outside, ride his bike and swim this weekend.

He didn't do much- in and out of the pool a little. The problem- he seems worse than before. We definitely paid the price- he was up ALL night Saturday night crying that his throat hurt.

After another long night {last night} with him, I woke up this morning determined to keep him down today. We're tired. SO tired. I slipped him a little of his anti-nausea medicine in hopes of making him a little tired to ease the fight on my hands.

By mid morning he shouted at me in his most frustrated, loudest, raspy, post-surgery shout, "You are the worst parent ever making me stay on the couch. I hate you. Sleep is boring. I can't believe you're making me sleep and I'm not going to sleep."

Yep, that's been my day. I revived myself a little with three games of Uno {making sure I didn't play any Draw-4 cards or win} but, he's still quite unhappy with me.

I think his daddy who never rests and from whom he received these crazy {busy ALL the time} genes should maybe be home taking care of his little restless offspring. He's worn me out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

coleman is a F I S H

I finally broke down and cried in front of her. Real tears. Tears of joy. I don't think I got the scrunched-up ugly cry face, but tears flowed out that I couldn't stop.

A couple weeks ago, I saw Alexandra outside moving rocks. She had a wheel barrow with a flat tire. I jumped on Ty to get out and help her. Without complaint, he ran out there and helped with her yard project.

As he finished up helping, she let him know that her mom has a pool in her backyard. The boys were invited to swim whenever they would like to. What a nice invitation- I couldn't believe it.

Yesterday morning, we were headed out to shop and ran in to Alexandra's husband in the driveway. After a few minutes of chatting he said, "You know my mother-in-law has a pool. Feel free to send the boys over whenever you would like." Again, I was taken back with how warm and nice they BOTH are. We had a nice warm day yesterday and decided to take them up on it.

Jim and I first walked over there {without boys} to make sure it was ok. They were all in the backyard which made us kind of shy away thinking we'd come back another day. Instead, we walked up to the pool {she was swimming} and asked if it was ok to bring them over.

I think I asked about ten times just to make sure it was ok. She said, "Not a problem. Do not hesitate- yes, they can swim." So, we got Coleman and Caden and headed back to the pool.

Coleman had a blast and didn't come out of the pool the whole time we were over there. Conversation was so nice- she brought out lemonade and ice-cream cones for everyone {special for Caden since he wasn't feeling well}. Yummy Italian ice cream. Then, she asked me a question.

She said, "Sheila. Would you like another garden?" I think I had a confused look on my face. I wasn't sure what she was saying. I know garden is what they call their yards- but was she just going to pull one out of no where?"

She then said, "Come. Let me show you." We walked back just a little bit to a back section of her mom's yard. She asked if we would like to use the space. 

There is an area you can see was once set up for a garden. Trees and lots of space with fence around. It's a little overgrown with grass and a little bumpy but, it's a yard.
This is the point I lost it. I said something to the fact that we could have a garden next summer and work in the dirt. She said, "You can do whatever you want to. Barbeque, garden, play. Whatever." I looked at her and said in response, "You are too nice to us. You have no idea."

"Sheila, Sheila, Sheila... oh, no," she said as she put her arm around me. I probably shocked her- I'm sure she thought I was so silly looking at this weedy, grassy empty lot of land. It's true. I'm so grateful we found them this early into our time here in Germany. 

As we left the pool, she said we needed to come back today and swim more since it was supposed to be warm again. She especially liked swimming with Coleman and said to him, "Coleman- you are a fish."

What a difference one person can make on your life- for good or bad.

I feel so blessed right now that we have her.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

40 yard D A S H

It is nice to have our big boys home {understatement}. With Ty's injury, he was told he's out for a week. He came home with the doctor's note. A doctor's writing is usually hard enough to read. Try reading a German doctor's note written in German. I don't have a clue what it says. Good thing he paid attention.

He'll be on the field this next week after standing on the sidelines all week during practice. I think he was mostly working on his tan since we're finally having some beautiful summer weather with temps in the 70's and maybe even 80.
On the flip side, Justin had a great camp and came back all smiles. Not usually one to brag, he came in showing me the new shirts he was awarded. He was awarded Defensive line MVP {for the whole camp} and he won the 40-yard-dash as well for his age group.
More than anything, he's pumped for this season even switching to a new position. Can't wait to see what is to come.

Friday, August 19, 2011

st J O S E P H statue

A few weeks ago, a friend in Kansas asked if I had ever heard of planting a St.Joseph's statue in your yard. It is supposed to help sell houses. They were putting their house on the market and offered to plant one in our yard at the same time.

She sent me a link to look at as well. Having never heard of it, I read up a little to see what it was all about.

A true undergrand real estate agent kit? Sounds like something we needed. Let me tell ya, he's got his work cut out for him being buried in our yard.


Hundreds of Years of Tradition

The solemn tradition of burying St. Joseph in the earth began hundreds of years ago in Europe. During those times, an order of nuns prayed to St. Joseph (the patron saint of the family and household needs) when they needed more lands for convents. The Sisters were encouraged to bury their St. Joseph medals in the ground.
I am normally skeptical of anything like this but, more than a year on the market- we'll try anything! Jim agreed. His response was, "Heck, ya she can do it." She offered to say some prayers while they were out there as well. {thanks, Carrie, Jess & Mercedes}

Why not? I think at this point, we'd try anything and are almost wondering if we should try to rent it out. It's driving us crazy and sucking us DRY.

We did have two showings this week. Maybe a little shout-out to St. Joe is in order. When we have a showing, our realtor has a great system that we get {e-mail} feedback from the showing realtor.

In the last month we've had feedback including, " Great home- too close to the railroad tracks." Another one said, "Lacking trees." Ugh- we would have knocked thousands off and they could have had trees planted.

Feedback we received from a showing yesterday said,
"More house than what these buyers are looking for.. Showed well, and good location, outbuilding is awesome."

It's a little hard to not get discouraged with comments like that. For heaven's sake- THE SQUARE FOOTAGE IS on the listing. Did they not see it? Another ugh.

We just need the right people to come along. Any day would be nice. Prayers are greatly appreciated.

Update:
Feedback from our second showing this week was a little more hopeful. They weren't happy we didn't have the AC running. Who in their right mind is going to have the AC running during this record-setting HOT summer in Kansas when they're not living there? I think our bills {from both houses} are HIGH enough.

We have another showing today as well. Hmmm... three showings maybe for the last three months, then three this week alone. Maybe, St. Joseph is working.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

can't H O L D this kid D O W N

Seriously? I shouldn't be so shocked, but I am. Caden. Caden. Caden.

He is definitely his daddy's little boy. There is no keeping him down for a second longer than he has to. Yesterday, he was on the verge of dehydration and didn't utter a word all day.

Every sip of water, bite of Jell-o and lick of Otter pop was back up within seconds. It wasn't pretty, either.

The picture yesterday and these today were taken within 24 hours of each other. Actually, more like 18 hours of each other. What a difference a day makes.

After talking to the surgeon, she prescribed some anti-nausea medication that Jim picked up on the way home from work. Initially, even that didn't work. We were concerned. Quite concerned.

We finally got the meds in him last night and he slept most of the night. This morning, he's ready to go. I can't hold him down. The only way we could get meds in him {this entire week} was bribery and it worked. He wanted this little Air Force dress-up uniform, he got it. Until this morning, he just looked at it. Today, it's on.

You know Caden's back to feeling good when he's changing clothes again.

Of course, Coleman is thrilled to have his brother back. I told Caden to lay down. Coleman said, "Mom- he's fine. We're going to play." They took off for a quick bike ride around the block and are now playing Legos. He can't possibly keep up this pace all day? Can he?
The big boys are back. Ty's camp was disappointing, but his {pinky} finger is fine. Justin had a great camp and has that smile you can't get off his face.

Both boys were most excited for their own beds. It doesn't matter how thick the air mattress is- sleeping on a gym floor is still a gym floor.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

a little T H I R S T Y

This little flower pot makes me so happy. It always has at least one flower in bloom and they last almost a month, or so it seems.

When I brought it home and planted it in this pot, I was excited to show Jim my new little guy.

He said it looked like a dandelion. Maybe I should have got the red one. Oh, well. I'm still quite fond of it. I keep it in the kitchen window and look at it several times a day, every day.

Spending more time on the couch {this week} holding a recovering little boy than working in the kitchen- it's looking a little weary.

Nothing like needing a little drink of water. Just a splash of water and the flowers stand straight back up. This is a little how I'm feeling today. Maybe I need a drink of water, too. Sleep would probably help. When a sick little guy doesn't sleep well- no one sleeps well.

Caden's still struggling to keep any liquids down. Daddy's on his way home with some anti-nausea medicine that will hopefully do the trick.

He's still not on board with the idea that he needed his tonsils out. I can't say I blame him.

As a mom, I can handle most things- puke isn't one of them.

Big boys come home tonight. I can't wait to grab them, hug them and hear all the details I can get out of them from camp.

With Lukey down and J & T gone, it's been a little too quiet around here. I do think I prefer the noise.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

it's F R A C T U R E D in two places

It was a rough night and tough morning with Caden, but we're slowly getting pain medication in him even if Daddy has to convince him to cooperate with me over the telephone. At this point, I'll take whatever help I can get with my strong-headed little guy. Jim took Coleman on a bike ride last night which brought tears and sobbing from our little man who has a hard time sitting still.

When he woke up in the recovery room yesterday he said, "What did those guys do to me?" He said yesterday and just mumbled again, "I told you I didn't want my tonsils out." Too late now.
Ok, I think I'm ready for them to come home. They've been gone {a whole} two nights- that's long enough for this mama. I truly can't even think about Justin moving out for college next year. Can't.
Ty called back yesterday afternoon to let us know he's alright. Jim answered the phone. He said they did take him to the Krankenhaus {German hospital} and has his finger in a splint. Fortunately, it's not a buckle fracture and it doesn't need to be set.
He's still playing- just can't catch catch too well. At the end of their conversation, Jim asked if he wanted to talk to me. He said, "Nope, I'm ok." Guess talking to dad was good enough.

Their sheets are clean, rooms are tidy. Tomorrow night, they should be home {exhausted} from three-a-days at camp. Wake up and breakfast at 6:30 should be enough of a shock for them after being on a lazy summer schedule the last two months.

I can't wait to hear how they did. I miss them.
Ty's room before:
Ty's room now:
Justin's room before:
Justin's room now:

Monday, August 15, 2011

C A D E N S tonsils are O U T

They're out. We're home from Caden's surgery- his tonsils and adenoids are gone forever. What a relief. He had a little anxiety while waiting for them to take him back. Once again, we had a wonderful anesthesiologist who offered some happy juice to take off the edge.

It not only made Caden happy, Jim and I couldn't stop laughing. Within ten minutes, he couldn't even form a word. Still fighting lying down, he tried to get up several times while his eyes grew heavier by the minute.

Watching his eyes roll back and mumbling words at the same time was very entertaining.

If there's one thing Caden hates- it's anyone laughing at him. He wasn't so out of it he didn't notice our laughing and tried to form the words, "stop laughing." It came out more like "ttt laff..."
Oh, it was funny- good stuff. I don't know why they don't offer it more- why make surgery more traumatic than it already is? He now doesn't remember a thing.

He did have a tough time coming out of the anesthesia in the recovery room. When we were brought in, he was thrashing around and they were having troubles holding him down. I think the assistant was more than a little relieved to see us step in and help with him.

He ripped the monitor off his hand, so they put it on his toe. When the nurse went to give him more pain medicine, she realized his IV was out- somehow he knocked it out as well. As soon as I saw this, I felt all the blood leave my face and started seeing stars. There's something horrible about seeing your kids in pain. I don't always handle it so well.

The nurse quickly got me a chair and a soda to get some sugar in me as well. I think I panicked thinking they were going to have to put a new one in. Luckily, I recovered before passing out and we avoided a new IV stick in our little guy.

I know everyone handles anesthesia differently, but I can't help but wonder if personality plays a part as well. When we first saw Coleman in the recovery room {last month} he was resting calmly. Moaning, but calm. Caden = crazy thrashing. Coleman had a couple extra doses of pain medication. Caden went without.

After lots of throwing up, he was finally able to get up and walk to the bathroom.

We let him know as soon as he could make it there- we could go home. The nurse would push him out to the curb in the wheelchair.

Of course he immediately said, "I don't want a wheelchair. I'm going to walk." Coleman was quite content taking the free ride down in the wheelchair.

Caden took it too, just a little {or, a lot} more reluctant. These two are definitely day and night!

There's no place like home and we're planning on a calm day of rest.

Day One {not even half the day} at football camp and we already got a call from the coach. It's Ty this time. While catching a ball he has fractured his finger in two places. Not a great start to the week. I think the German hospital was closed {either their normal long lunch or another German holiday}, so they're heading back later. We should get a new update this afternoon.

If it's not one, it's another. Have I ever mentioned life with boys is never dull.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

S U R G E R Y tomorrow

Busy, busy day. Down to one kid tonight and it feels strange. I'm not sure I like it. Actually, I know I don't like it- not one bit.

Justin and Ty left this morning for football camp. I made eggs for breakfast and neither of them finished their plates. Both had a nervous tummy. For Justin, it's high expectations from a coach that has yet to see him play. He wants to do well and feels the pressure to show what he's made of. His ankle {while improved} still isn't 100 percent. Oh, I just hope he doesn't get injured more.
For Ty, it's back to football after a couple years off. Even having a solid foundation and knowledge of the game, it's showtime and the pressure is on to do well. I wish I could take the stress and pain away from both of them, but I can't. Jim dropped them off at the school this morning to catch the bus for a 4-hour bus ride to Ansbach.

Watching them stress only reminds me of earlier volleyball days and puking in just about every bathroom of every locker room in the Anchorage vicinity. I had a nervous stomache and never figured out how to overcome it. I'm just sorry I passed it on to them.

Coleman had the easiest day {by far} as we took him out to a friend's house for his first overnight sleepover. He was super excited to go- he even let us know he did not need his blankies. Wow- he's growing up.

For Caden, it's surgery tomorrow. Round two for us this month. He's getting his tonsils out- showtime is 6:15am. We should be home by early afternoon if all goes well. It's the same doctor who took Coleman's out. We expect a smooth day and are stocked up with lots of popcycles and ice cream.

Justin's the last one to still have his tonsils. He said, "I've had them 17 years with no problem- I see no reason to take them out now." He's got a point- for now, they're staying.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

its a little D O O R

We're surrounded. Luckily, it's not a bad thing. Our house is right off the street- connected to a huge garage with three different bays.

Connected to our house is the first section that they keep all their mowers and yard stuff in.

Even with our oversized single garage and huge basement, Alexandra told Jim he could keep his mower/weedwacker or even the big bikes in if we needed the room.

Directly behind our house is Alexandra's brother's house. Their driveway goes along the side of our house. On one side of his house is Alexandra's house and to the other side is their mother's house.

All three are beautiful homes with gated driveways and immaculately landscaped yards. No chicken coops around here.
We have a little terrace behind our bedroom with a big wall. So, behind that wall is the brother. In spite of beind so close to their house, it actually feels quite private. Super close to the kitchen- if I have my way, we {Jim} grill out every weekend.
Slowly, we're making our way through the boxes- settling a little more each day.

Here's a look at the little guys' bedroom. The view from their window is directly into the brothers yard. Not a bad view.
Here's a look at their room put together. A valance up, quilts on their beds. It should stay nice and clean since their toy room is hidden through this small door.

The best thing about it- the doors are so almost soundproof, when they're playing in there I can't hear a thing.

It's great.

Yes, it's a little door- I have to duck going in and yes, I've already hit my head more than once.

Today, it's more work on the office in the loft.
Eventually, we'll have an organized house.

Friday, August 12, 2011

really H A P P Y

That's a little too long to have garbage on the top of my blog- sorry. After almost a week without the Internet, we're back online and in touch with the outside world. Last week, we had a cable {not so bright} guy come to re-align our satellite for the free {Armed Forces Network} limited television that we have here.
In the process, he cut off our Internet and phone. The big boys headed out to the library to get online. Jim had it at work. I went without.

My husband {as sweet as he usually is} said he thinks I might have had the hardest time without it. At first, I got a little defensive. What's he talking about? I can live without the computer- no problem. Fact is, I think I did. Once again, he's {probably} right. To me, this feels like a journal and missing a week is missing a lot.

Today, I'm really happy. Happy for simple things.
It's Friday. I get more of my husband the next couple days which I always love. If it was during the school year, I'd be excited for more time with the boys too. But, being summer- I've kinda had enough of them this week.
I'm happy for the new sheer curtains in our kitchen. Alexandra had them made and brought them over this week. Nothing extravagant- a simple sheer but I love them. I think it makes the room feel finished.

With her coming over this week, she asked about the boys- even mentioning them by name which I couldn't believe. Again, she asked if we're happy here. She then said, "I really hope you don't have to move." I told her no way- we're staying put, we love it here. She responded, "Ooh, but is that a guarantee?"
I guess nothing in the Air Force is guaranteed. It's a nice feeling to know she wants us here. We're not just renters that are an inconvenience to them.

I'm happy for new plants. There's a yard-sale site here kind of like a Craigslist for the military here who are constantly coming and going. I love house plants and obviously couldn't bring ours from Kansas.

I've slowly added one at a time that I've found on this site. It's much cheaper than buying all new pots and plants.

This week, I got five {5} beautiful, healthy plants in their pots all for $20 from a lady. Isn't that a silly thing to be so happy about?

On a super tight budget, plants aren't high on the priority list- it was nice to find such a bargain. It might sound funny to say they were in their pots, but seriously- I bought a plant one time {here} that the lady had taken out of the pot and put in a plastic bag, ugh.

I'm so happy the big boys {at this moment} are at equipment check out for football. Yeah! That means football season is around the corner. We're super thrilled that after a couple years off, Ty decided to try out as well. We'd LOVE to see them both out on the field together. They head off to camp on Sunday.

On the subject of football, it makes me happy that Justin's coach has named him as one of the captains for this years team. It's not just the fact that he's a captain which is {I guess} kind of cool. It's the fact that in spite of never having seen him play football, he can already see the love and dedication my son has for the game.

Working and working and working for so many years- to move for his final {senior} season with a new team wasn't easy. I know I've had a lot of guilt. It's reassuring to know he's already being seen for what he's become rather than having to spend half the season proving himself.

It's nice to see him so excited and ready to get out and lead by example. I'm also happy his ankle {while still black and green with bruising down to the ends of his toes} is doing much better- he thinks he's ready to go.
Mostly, we're happy this week to be done with the Russians. Totally done with that negative chapter of our lives that I won't bring up again. We had to get a housing liason to help us get our money back.

They called and called {five times a day} and Rosa wouldn't answer her cell phone. She keeps it in her front pocket. Jim told housing that they weren't on vacation. Finally, the housing lady called on the housing phone {again, no answer} then, she called right back on her cell phone {a new non-base number} which Rosa immediately picked up. I think that's just awful- so spiteful.

They already have new renters in and will continue to rent to desperate Americans looking for a house. I don't get it. We even found out the housing office had a file on them already. They tried to charge previous renters for cracks in the walls from the house settling. Insane. How are they even allowed to continue renting? I have no idea.

They charged us a ton and didn't give us our interest on our $4300 USD deposit they were holding {required of landlords} but, we're done. Done.

I think more than anything this week, I feel a new calm that I haven't felt since leaving Kansas. It's almost like I feel like I can handle anything now. We've weathered the storm and come out ok.

I'm quite certain when our time is up, we'll be excited to get back to the US, but for now- it's ok. We can hopefully enjoy our time here as opposed to enduring our time here. Our house finally feels like a home.

I think that makes all the difference in the world.