Friday, September 30, 2011

rough T I M E

It's been a rough couple days for my boys. It's also Homecoming week.
Wednesday evening, a Ramstein High School senior was killed in a one-car accident.

It wasn't late {6:45}, it wasn't even on the Autobahn. He played football last year. Justin had a couple classes with him last year. Ty had Psychology with him this year and just realized he sat diagonally from him. His dad is one of the football coaches.

While neither of my boys knew him very well, both are definitely shaken up- Justin especially.

Right before we moved to Mulvane, there was a tragic car accident there as well- two football players were killed. One of them, a football coach's son. It made a huge impact on the community and also the football program- which is a family in Mulvane.

The death this week has brought back thoughts of Mulvane {Sam Keys and Kyle Adams} for Justin.

For me, it's a reminder of how important every day is. This month, a cousin of mine died as well. He was so young- just a couple years older than me. He had kids, parents, sisters, a brother. He was too young. While I didn't grow up close to him and didn't know him well- my heart is so sad. Sad.

Children aren't supposed to die before their parents. I can't imagine the grief and shock these parents, or any parents who loose a child go through. I hope I never have to experience it- I can't imagine anything more difficult.

Even with the belief of life after death and belief in God- I feel that death is never easy. Never. Not when it's close, not even when it's a distant association.

The pep assembly was cancelled at school. The homecoming football game tomorrow is going to be rough. I'm sure the tears will be flowing.

For today, I'll hold my kids a little tighter. A little closer.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

K E E P a breast

I should have explained what a boobie bracelet is.

It's for breast-cancer awareness. Their friend brought them back this summer {from the states} for them.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

T W I N day

This picture is Ty, Justin and Steven. We love Steven {and his entire family for that matter}- he's one of Justin's good friends here and lives in our old village.

This week is Homecoming week, with dress-up days all week. I was on facebook this morning and saw that Justin had the following conversation with Steven about what they were going to be wearing today.

It wasn't a private conversation- out there in the open for everyone or anyone to read. When it came across my wall, I had to laugh.

For some reason, I think it's so funny. I'm still laughing reading it again. Boys- so much fun. Such planners, too.

Justin started by asking Steven what the plan was for twin day today.
Steven Groenheim Idk man. What are you thinking?
Justin Dickey Do you have any Hurley shirts?
Steven Groenheim yeah but they aren't the same
Justin Dickey how bout plain white tee and dark blue jeans and a booby bracelet
Steven Groenheim hmm do you have a black plain tee?
Justin Dickey Or camp jerseys and white shorts
Steven Groenheim the purple ones?
Steven Groenheim hmm idk man lets go with a different shirt
Justin Dickey white collar shirt?
Steven Groenheim like a polo?
Justin Dickey Yes but just plain with no stripes 
Steven Groenheim i don't think i have one. okay i got this i have two black tees with nothing on them and ill bring one for you. just wear jeans and bobbies bracelet, and black sun glasses
Justin Dickey yes! what color booby bracelet?
Steven Groenheim i have a blue one
Steven Groenheim what colors do you have
Justin Dickey White or black
Steven Groenheim okay you wear the white one ill wear the black one
Justin Dickey Okay I'll talk to you at school... twin haha
Steven Groenheim haha alright twin, night bro

Who says teenage boys are difficult? Just a small example of why the boys in my life are so much FUN. Who needs girls?

Monday, September 26, 2011

fall S O C C E R

As if football isn't busy enough- soccer season has started for the little guys. With practices one day a week and games one day a week- it's enough for our schedule!

Caden's aggressive in every way- after every single ball and in heaven. No surprise to us.
With Coleman's broken arm, we didn't think he could play. The director of the youth sports said we could wrap it and no problem he can play.

After missing his first couple of games, he's super excited to hit the field running next week. It's truly never dull around our house. Gotta love living with a bunch of boys!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

super S AT U R D A Y

Week two of football was much better. After a rough start last week {with a loss}, the boys came back to beat Kaiserslautern 50-something to twelve or so. Of course it's always nice to win, but having both boys as happy as they were made it a good day. 

Justin played the entire first half- both on offense and defense. After several tackles and working hard on defense, he got to shine on offense as well.

In the second quarter, he had a reception pass- ran for about forty {40} yards and took it in for the touchdown. It was very exciting to watch.

For the second half of the game, they decided to let the clock run. The score was already skewed, and the second string got to play.

Justin sat out and Ty took the field for the whole second half. After sitting out last week, he had a really great game.

In on a couple tackles, he had a great play that actually ended in being called for a penalty for pass interference. His coach told him he did a great job, then as Ty went back on the field he yelled to another coach, "That's why I LOVE that kid." We're not too impressed with this coach thus far, but happy that Ty got some well-deserved attention.

He was all over the place- so fun to watch.
Sweaty, stinky, exhausted and beat up when they walk off the field with smiles on their faces, it's priceless. Love it. They didn't even complain when I asked to take their picture- that's HUGE in our house especially since their mamma loves taking pictures.

Rather than stressing out, I'm trying to enjoy this precious time- the last year with all four of them at home. College next year for Justin- I can't even believe it, or think about it.
 Ty is #25 and Justin is #18 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

S A L Z B U R G austria

From the top of Hitler's Tea House, we headed to our last stop for the weekend: Salzburg, Austria.

Just down the road, it was on the way home and a must-see for Starr and I even if the guys weren't as excited.

Sure, Mozart was born there, but we were all about The Sound of Music.

We knew we needed to stop at a gas station to buy a permit to drive on the Austrian highway. We haven't seen any tolls in Germany yet.

In France, there are tolls that I think you pay as you go through- maybe similar to the states.

In Austria, you have to stop at a border gas station and buy a little sticker {for your windshield} that allows you to drive on their highways.

After passing a couple gas stations and signs, we were relieved to finally stop and bought the sticker. After making sandwiches in the car and we were good to go. 

As we drove from the south-east part of Germany to the northern part of Austria- the bordering villages had so much charm.

Rolling {super green} hills, huge amazing churches and old houses. It was a beautiful drive. I'm pretty sure the boys don't agree- they were a little tired of driving at this point.

We made it, and we {as in Starr and I} were so excited. Salzburg is spectacular. Wouldn't you know- within minutes of arriving in the city, two nuns were crossing the street.
Oh, we were now in Sound of Music territory. I wonder how many times they've been asked, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?"
Yes, I'm pretty sure they were making fun of us. We didn't care.
The whole weekend, I couldn't stop singing- especially staying at a hotel called Edelweiss with Edelweiss written all over everything. I fell asleep singing in my head and woke up stuck with the same song. Makes it really hard to get a song {that one} out of your head!

Having already visited the gorge and Hitler's Tea House that day, it was 5:00 before we even reached Salzburg. With tired boys, we definitely cut our stay short. We still had a six-hour drive home.
Trying to buy some time, we bought ice cream cones for the boys and left them in the car while we ran to see a couple landmark {specifically Sound of Music} sites. They absolutely didn't want to run around and see anything more. We were exhausted, it was a little hot out and they were spent!
While only parts of the Sound of Music were filmed in Salzburg, we were able to see a couple of the sites shown in the movie. The bridge the kids ran across. Mirabell Garden where they sang, "Doe a deer, a female deer... ray..." I can't decide which part was my favorite. I loved it all.
The gardens were beautiful, the backdrop amazing with the ruins above. The huge churches were everywhere, the cobble-stone streets and alleys, the shops, the history- all of it so, so, so, old.

Charming- there's no other way to describe it.

After returning home, we checked out the movie {again} and watched it {well, most of it} with a new perspective. We didn't realize as we took these pictures in this walkway that Maria ran down the same spot in the movie.

If we had known, we might have had to do some kind of re-inactment.

I'm sure Mac and Jim are happy are grateful we didn't. We were tired, hot and sweaty.

Trying to make things better as we returned to the van, we stopped and grabbed dinner at a little hole in the wall from kind old man who spoke no English. Who says everyone over here speaks English?

I was able to put my extremely-limited German skills to use which always makes me that much more determined to get in a German class so I can speak for real. Able to say what I needed to, our food came out as ordered- I just feel so inadequate.
Happy that we made it even for just a quick stop, I would love to spend more time Salzburg. We need to go back now for the food {and the chocolate}. I hear it is their specialty.

Friday, September 23, 2011


** click on picture to see it larger
Going on a {super strong} recommendation from friends, we scheduled a stop by Kehlsteinhaus, or Hitler's Tea House on the last day of our weekend whirlwind trip with Mac and Starr. It was supposed to offer an amazing view.

It definitely didn't disappoint. I think Jim repeated himself maybe five {or ten} times, "This is the highlight for me."

This might possibly have been Justin, Ty and Mac's favorite spot as well. Again, the pictures don't do it justice.

Also known as the Eagle's Nest, this structure was built up on a ridge at the top of Kehlstein peak {more than 6,000 feet in elevation} above Berchesgarde by the Nazis as a gift to Hitler for his 50th birthday. It was completed in 1938.

While Hitler only went there a few times, it was crazy to think that we were standing on the same ground.

To get to the top, we first drove quite a ways up a winding road. Already, we were impressed with the steep incline- little did we know! After reaching the parking lot, we bought our tickets to take the bus the rest of the way up.

They have the road closed to cars for obvious reasons. During the winter months, it's closed all together. There's no way a car could make it up there with even a dusting of snow on the road.

Of course, I had to take a picture of the Germans. No naked dad pictures from Lake Eibsee, but I got these three. I'm all about the entire cultural experience.

This was the part, I don't think any of us anticipated. It was CRAZY.
The road was only about four miles long, but just 13 feet wide with the sharpest corners I think I've ever been on and a crazy bus driver who didn't seem phased with the fact that we were so high. It was straight up. He drove fast.

At times, you couldn't even see the side of the road, just the side of the mountain. Yes, it was intense for more than one of us. Crazy intense.

Once we were dropped off by the bus, we walked through a tunnel to an elevator to complete our goal of reaching the peak. Again, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

The skies were totally clear- the view seemed to go on forever.

It was absolutely amazing. So high the mom in me kicked in and I kept feeling like I had to hold on to the little guys and tell the big guys {more than once} to be careful.

There is a restaurant up there now and some railing, but for the most part it's wide open- especially at the very top.

Mac, Starr and the big boys went out on this rock. I was way too afraid.  I loved the view, but heights are just not my thing. I definitely kept a safe distance between myself and the edge.
The views all the way around were beyond impressive. With shoes still sopping wet from his dip in Lake Eibsee {as per his mamma}, Coleman was wearing sandals on this day- not the best shoes to be wearing. He was a little unhappy.
We took so many pictures- here are just a couple. It was a day we definitely won't forget.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

partnach G O R G E

It was our last day in Garmisch. We ate our breakfast, checked out of the hotel and made the short drive over to the Partnach Gorge. Another friend said it was a yet another must-see spot.

Much to our surprise, the parking area for those hiking up the gorge happened to be the Olympic Ski Stadium. Kind of a two-for-the-price-of-one morning.
The ski jumps were amazing. Ginormous- if that's even a word.
Watching the ski jumpers in the Olympics- no doubt, they look like they're up there. Seeing the jumps from the bottom made it even more spectacular.

I can't imagine the rush they feel taking off. I can't imagine the injuries with a botched landing. They have to be fearless. 

We started to all head up the trail, then realized the little guys were a bit worn out. Jim and I stayed back with them while Mac, Starr and the big guys hiked up to the top. It really worked out great.

We took in the stadium, threw a few rocks in the creek and soaked up some sun.

Another amazing day of perfect weather.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the host of the 1936 Olympics and while this ski jump has definitely been modernized, it was cool to walk around knowing history was made right here. It was a little eerie realizing that Hitler opened these Olympic games and was likely in attendance at the events back then.
It would be super exciting to make it back for a winter ski-jump competition. Maybe we will.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

his new C A S T

After a full week in a splint, we finally have a cast on Coleman's arm. A green cast. Mulvane green as I like to call anything green.
Maybe now I can relax a little. The PA showed me the x-rays from last week- two definite fractures straight up both bones.

After putting his cast on today, they took a new set of x-rays to make sure it was set straight.

Looks good. Hopefully, it stays straight.
I was surprised that it never did bruise up. Looking at it from the outside, you would never even know it was hurt. So strange how the body works.
Now, it's six weeks waiting for it to heal. At least I don't have to be paranoid thinking that any little twist or bump could jolt it and damage it more.
When Justin broke his arm {7th grade football}, they had to go in and straighten it out before putting on his cast. I started seeing stars when the ER doctor just started explaining what it looked like. I had to sit down to avoid hitting the ground.

Luckily, Jim was there to hear what the Dr. was explaining. I missed it all- my world was spinning. I don't like to hear or see any of my kids in pain.

I think if I'm alone {at any Dr. appointment or ER visit} and have to step up to the plate, I can do it. Otherwise, I'm pretty flaky and the first to admit it.
Putting Justin under conscious sedation, he fortunately didn't have to feel or remember any of it. I was so afraid something would happen to Coleman's this week before getting it in the cast. Paranoid? Yes.

He's on his own now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

H O T tubbing & swimming

With just two nights at the hotel, we still found plenty of time to swim. Every trip we've taken {forever} I think the highlight for the boys is always the hotel pool. Justin and Ty remember trips we've taken by the pools they swam in.
I think we could go places and stay at the hotel the whole trip and no one would complain. I'm pretty sure that was Coleman and Caden's favorite thing from this trip.

The heated indoor pool and outdoor hot tub were wonderful.
As a family resort- they have the hot tub open for kids during the day, then adults only later in the evening. We loved it. It was the perfect way to relax after a long day of walking.