Monday, October 31, 2011

no pumpkin C A R V I N G around here

H A P P Y * * * H A L L O W E E N !
I just realized this morning we forgot to carve our pumpkins.
Think I can get away with not doing it at all?

We went trick-or-treating on base Saturday night.
Think we can get away with not doing it tonight?

I know, we're lame parents. What can we say?
They did get costumes, at least.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

what a V I C T O R Y

We're still on a high. It had to be the most intense, hard-fought game we've ever seen or the boys have EVER played. E V E R. We were on the edge of our seats the entire game. It was way too intense.
Here's the link to the Stars and Stripes article:
http://www.stripes.com/sports/ramstein-wins-special-teams-battle-game-1.159122
It was the first semi-final game for Europeans. A loss would have ended their season.
With the win, they get to play next Saturday night in the European Division I Championship game.

A night game in a real stadium with lights. How exciting for a crew of kids only used to playing on Saturday afternoons.

It felt like the score was tied the entire game- because it was.

For each touch down our boys made, Vilseck came back to score immediately after with huge runs on the kick off.

Those boys were quick and ran that ball. It was almost unbelievable to watch time after time after time.
In the end, it was tied at 21 with less than two minutes in the game. Vilseck went to punt and a player on our team blocked the punt, grabbed the ball then fumbled the ball, which was recovered by another player on our team on the Vilseck 5-yard line with about a minute to go. Talk about STRESS.

With about ten seconds to go, a field goal was kicked in to decide the game. With no time on the clock, the refs called a couple penalties.

With both teams down on a knee waiting to see what was up- the head ref wanted a team captain.

The crowd was silent- not even a baby crying.

NO one talking.
Justin ran out there and found out they were calling Vilseck on two penalties.

He declined the penalty- GAME OVER. We could all sigh a big sigh of relief. It was amazing.

It was beyond emotional for our kids- especially the seniors playing their last home game. I didn't get choked up until I saw Justin completely emotional. His ankle flared back up this week and we could tell he was playing in pain, but still playing with everything he had inside.
As soon as he finished his post-game interviews and he found us, he hugged his dad- not letting go for a long, long time. I think he could finally let the tears flow. It was a moment we'll treasure forever. So, so special.
Next week, the game will be live-streamed on AFN online- so it can be watched LIVE online from the states. I believe kick-off is at 5:00 or 6:00 Germany time, so mid-morning or noon in the states. I'll let you know the link when we get it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

completely H E A L E D

The cast is off and boy are we glad. I guess Coleman is too!

It was smelly with it on, we could only imagine how horrible it would be once cut off. We were right- it was nasty! Beyond nasty.

I'm {almost} embarrassed to post the lower photo- it was so disgusting. Brown and rotten. So gross.

No amount of hand sanitizer, wet wipes and gentle washing could get under there or keep it clean. I guess there is just no way around it.

Ugh.

The doctor asked Coleman if he had any issues with his cast. He immediately said, "Yes." He looked over at me a little puzzled, then asked Coleman what trouble he had.
He said in a most serious tone, "I couldn't itch under it, I couldn't get it wet and it smells really bad." All he could say back {as he chuckled} was, "You're right- those are issues." I'm not sure he was expecting a response from my little blondie.

The doctor showed me the new x-rays and the lines where it was fractured are no longer there. It is completely healed. The body is such an amazing thing. I'm was amazed looking at the screen.
In the x-rays from even a month ago, I could distinctly see two breaks. Six weeks and his arm is good as new. He said it would take an impact equal to or close to the one he had to break it again- it's already that strong.

But, we might want to keep him off wheels {skateboards, rollerblades} for another couple months while it continues to grow. I added monkey bars to his list.

Smells much better now and he has NO excuse for bad pennmanship.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a little too F A S T

So, dinner last night was a little stressful for Justin and I. Jim got an email at work yesterday asking if KL... was a license plate on one of our vehicles. He called me and asked. I checked the van- yep, it's us.
Someone driving the van back in August, was clocked speeding somewhere here in Germany. It was highway B270 or something like that which still means nothing to me. They could have said the street name and I still wouldn't have known where it was or if it was me even if it was ten minutes from our house.

He had an appointment this morning with the security guy to see the video/photo of who it was. Last night, all we could do was speculate.

Jim figured it wasn't him. Of course not- he doesn't speed that often. Plus, it's very likely he was at work. That left Justin or I. Hmmm. I immediately said I thought it was me. I have been known to have a lead foot- right, dad? But, Justin can drive fast, too.

For me, it's been more than ten years since my last speeding ticket. Back then, I was going over 90 in something like a 65 or 70 zone, so it was legit. In my opinion, I've slowed way down. That is until I get on the Autobahn- then all rules are off. Love it.

Justin acted a little nervous. I'm sure he was just hopeful it was me. Well, it was. Jim made his appointment this morning and said I was right there on the video- sunglasses and all. Now, we get to wait to see what price I get to pay.

I think he said it was something like 10 km over the speed limit which is a violation for like 5 or 6 miles per hour too fast. They don't mess around here. Guess, I'll slow down. Or, maybe I'll tell Justin it was him so he slows down. Nah, that would be mean. But, I could probably get away with it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

parking lot P H O T O

Here they are- Justin and little Justin. Looks a little like a paparazzi-celebrity photo to me. Kinda like I caught them in the parking lot- out in public. I just think it's sweet.
Can't get enough pictures of them together right now. Our whole world is going to be turned upside down with Justin back in the states for college next year.
I know it's been all Justin and Caden this week. I'll work on some Ty and Coleman coverage.

Monday, October 24, 2011

our C H E E R L E A D E R

One of the boys' biggest fans has always been my dad- their Grandpa Burgan. 
Since they were super little, he's said his silly stuff and joked with them to no end about just about anything.

Usually, it has to do with girls, or cheerleaders or girls or cheerleaders.

Yep, pretty much girls. They think Grandpa's pretty funny, too.

Until the last little while, neither of them have had a girl catch their eye. Now that they're both teenagers, it's even more fun for Grandpa to tease.

The other day while chatting with Grandpa on Skype, Justin was telling him how busy he's been. Too busy to get into trouble- something like that.

Grandpa came back with his little funny comment- something to the effect of, "I know what you've been busy doing- cheerleading."

Little did he know.  Justin really was cheerleading. For homecoming weekend, three weeks ago they had the powder puff game. Josie was on the field, Justin was in the cheerleader outfit.

Lucky for him, practice ran late and he was one of the last guys out on the field.

We're pretty sure he took his time getting changed and back out there. Didn't help they gave him the largest skirt they had and he still couldn't zip it. He has no problem out on the field in the spotlight for football.

This: another story... a little out of his comfort zone. Sometimes, he still shows his shy side.

Ahh... high school is so much fun! I like the shirts that the girls made. I also love this picture of them that one of the girls took.

Super cute.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

S E N I O R day

Until right before the game- I didn't know it was even senior/parent recognition day for football this weekend. It's probably a good thing. Maybe- Justin didn't tell me as a way of making it a little easier. I didn't have time to dwell on it which is good.
I still got teary as the parents were escorted by the boys. Justin gave me a couple carnations, then the biggest hug a mom could want or ask for. It's an extremely emotional time for me with a kid who's grown up in the blink of an eye. We had pictures taken together, I'll see if I can get them- none are on our camera.

We couldn't be more proud of what he's become and what a wonderful kid he is- a complete joy. They went on to win their last home game making them first {I think} in the league.
As he made a couple great plays in this game, the announcer {A Ramstein dad} announced his tackle as, Justin "the long arm of the law" Dickey. Pretty funny.

It's districts next weekend.

Here's the article published in the Stars and Stripes. Jim's brother, Josh might get a kick out of the writer's typo- naming Justin- Josh Dickey rather than Justin Dickey. Oh, I just hate journalism name errors like that. I think it's on my top-5 list of pet peeves. In college, when we'd spell a name wrong on any paper or article- it was an automatic F.

I only got one in which I misspelled my teacher's name- a big oops. Roseanne instead of Rosanne. I never did that again. She always said- if you can't spell their name correctly, the rest of your article carries no credibility.

Ramstein tops Filton to earn home playoff game

Saturday, October 22, 2011

horses & F O O T B A L L

It's pretty much a repeat of last year for Caden's birthday this week. Only difference was being half way around the world without our Kansas friends.

His birthday dinner was the same {Hawaiian Haystacks}, his cake the same {cheesecake}. He likes what he likes- no question about that.

After several failed attempts at making the Ultimate Cheesecake that we love- I've decided to never make it again. Never. It's not too often that

I totally give up on something, but this is one of them and I have no problem admitting that I can't do it.

It's a little bit of work, but mine always comes out lumpy {the last five times I tried} no matter how long I leave the stinkin' cream cheese out on the counter to get soft. I can leave it out all night, beat it for an hour and I still have lumps. Inevitably, someone makes a comment. Just doesn't work for me.

So, we now call it Daddy's Ultimate Cheesecake since he's the one who makes it.
It was a really great day- can't believe our little man is already six {6}.
For Caden's birthday- he got new football pants since his others were shredded in the knee, a new football {because you can never have too many of those, right?} a super cool jersey from his super cool Aunt and Uncle in Denver, very nice cards and money and a few other fun things.
They're so easy to please when they're little. I love this age. He is our little sweet boy, our baby. We love him so much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

bitte W H A T ?



So. I have this envelope to mail off to a German company. After asking a German friend to look it over to make sure I understood the form, I painfully filled it out- translating line by line to make sure it was right.

Done.

Now, to mail it. Easy enough, right? Nope.

I read the bitte freimachen in the corner. I know bitte is please. Frei is free and machen is to do. What the heck? I went to trusty Google translator.

The translation: please free up.

What does that have to do with postage? Postage paid or not? I couldn't figure it out. Why is such a silly thing so difficult?

In the end, I tracked our landlord down. She looked at it and told me to add a stamp. Then, I had to ask her where to buy one. This is life in a foreign country- lots of learning going on here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

S U N S H I N E farm

Germany really is beautiful- especially when the sun is out. The grey was back this week, reminding us of how it was when we first moved here- the end of November. No wonder it was so tough.

As I was driving Justin to school one {grey, rainy} morning this week he said, "This reminds me of Garni." Our hotel when we first arrived.

I was happy to comment back to him, "Isn't it nice to be in a much better place now?" Settled in school, playing sports, good friends, a comfortable house, a cool village, wonderful landlords...

We've come a long way in a year. I wouldn't want to go back. No way.

There is a lot here that reminds us of Alaska. The cold, the fireweed, the evergreens, the snow, the scenery. The cold.

As strange as it sounds, there is also a lot here that reminds us of Kansas. The sunflowers, the corn fields, cows in pastures, bales of hay, tractors.
I would never have pictured this country as a mix of the two states we're from. 

Yesterday, we went on an organized Saturday trip with Caden's kindergarten class to a German farm. We were pleasantly surprised with how much fun we had. It was great.

I think smelling the cow poop, hay and being in a barn reminded us and made us miss our Kansas home. They don't waste their tires here.

Every one is used.

Caden's teacher told us that several years ago, the German farmer started inviting American groups up to his farm and pumpkin patch.

Now that he's no longer able to do it, his grandkids have taken over.

The grandson told us that his grandfather lived in an area of Poland right after WWII and was kicked out of their country.  
After a little time in northern Germany, he moved to this area- just about twenty minutes from our house.

He started with one cow. A great example of a typical hard-working German who made a living from nothing.

We started by checking out the cow barn. There was also a horse that the kids loved to touch. Caden was totally in his element. I think he {and his Daddy} were born to farm.
 We were then taken into the calf barn with three different sections of calfs- the youngest about two months old. They were wobbily, frolicking and so sweet.

How can anyone not love those little guys? They're adorable
 
We spent quite a bit of time there before being shown the chickens and pigs.

We were then treated to a warm cup of apple cider and fresh {still warm} homemade chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin muffins. As with most of the baked goods here, they weren't too sweet- delightful!

The weather was a little chilly- typical fall weather, but the sun was bright- skies were blue. It was beautiful.

We loaded up on the wagon attached to the tractor and he drove us down the road to the pumpkin patch where the little guys could each pick out their own pumpkin.

They had a blast.

The scenery was all farmland- similar to Kansas except for the fact that it's super hilly with winding roads everywhere. It's all beautiful.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

it is F A L L in deutschland

Another busy, busy week. At this point, they seem to fly. I know I'm going to miss this some day. Things are good- just busy.

It's definitely fall in Germany. The chill is in the air, but I still manage to make it just fine in flip flops. I just hate socks. Hate them. The colors are changing making the scenery beautiful. I especially love the red ivy that grows up the old houses. I'll have to take a picture- it is the most vibrant red. I love it.

I was excited the other day as our adopted Oma from across the street, stopped by with this beautiful fall arrangement of flowers. I was on the phone and missed talking to her.

Jim caught up with her instead. She just makes me laugh- I just love her. Typical, 100% German.

The boys are headed to England this weekend for a football game. It will be Ty's second time to travel there- Justin's first trip. We have yet to make it.

We were going to make the trek up for this game, but decided to hold off not quite able to make it this time. Track goes back to England- we'll have to make that trip in the Spring. I'm sure it's much prettier then anyways. Right? I'm thinking Scotland/England/Ireland together...

I am relieved to have a couple friends {football moms} headed up, so if anything happens they're ok. I'm just a little paranoid about the possibility of any of my boys getting hurt after Coleman's broken arm. Football is rough.

It's a 15+ hour bus ride, but supposedly much, much quicker in the car. Maybe 4 or 5 hours to the ferry where you put your vehicle on, then ride across the English Channel about 2 hours or so. Once off, it's another couple hours up to the base there. They leave at 10:00 tonight, to travel all night. I'm sure that was strategically planned to hopefully have them asleep for most of the trip.

It's been almost a year that we've been in Germany. Their favorite snacks are the same {beef jerkey, protein bars, Gatorade}. However, I still think it's crazy for these road trips that they need their passports. Passports. So crazy. We've got the Euro thing down- and know to always send Euro and US money {in case the can hit a commissary on a base}.

This trip, we're sending them with Euro {for before they cross in the fairy while still in France}, US money {for the US base in England} and Pounds, since they'll obviously be in England.

Another day of life in Europe. It's the pumpkin patch for us with the little guys this weekend. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

in memory of # 6 6

I think the phrase the best is definitely overused. That was the best movie ever. Really, the best?  Or, that was the best... whatever.

That being said, today I saw the best show of sportmanship that I have ever seen in high school sports. I was brought to tears. I'm still in awe.

At the beginning of each game, each team usually runs through a poster. The cheer squad usually puts it together.
Today's football game was against the Heidelberg Lions. It was a huge game for Ramstein against the defending European champs.

As the hometown team was announced, our boys ran through their Hypnotize Heidelberg poster onto the field. As soon as their entry was made, attention was focused on the opponent.

Their poster said, In Memory of #66, recognizing our Ramstein student who died this last week. Rather than run through the poster, the boys each walked around the end of the poster to the field.

What an amazing show of sportsmanship. They've definitely earned our respect. The fact alone that they acknowledged the tragedy our boys have dealt with this week was beyond impressive.

In the end, it was Ramstein 15, Heidelberg 7. Our boys won the game. Heidelberg won our respect.

They did have the memorial this week for Brendon. The boys dressed up {ties} Wednesday for the memorial rather than Thursday- their normal dress-up day before each game. The memorial was held on the football field. The team captains, Justin included, escorted the parents and family to their seats.

They had reps from each arena of Brendon's life speak- a JROTC member, a football player/friend, his work manager. His girlfriend and parents both spoke as well.

He didn't die upon impact as we had assumed. Instead, two young German boys from their village were with him after the accident {I think his car hit a tree} and held his hand as he died.

Brendon's dad brought the boys up to the front and thanked them from the bottom of his heart. They were able to tell him Brendon's last words. He asked if his car was ok. He asked if his mom and dad were on their way. They were able to say yes and be with him as he died. I can't even imagine.

There was a calm, but also a sadness of a life lost way too early. I can't imagine. Again, I hope never to know.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

S O C C E R and F O O T B A L L

Not sure what I'd do if our boys didn't play sports. Soccer and football fill our schedule right now. We wouldn't want it any other way. We love it- they love it. We're bundled up and off to football this afternoon. It's definitely fall in Germany... crisp air, beautiful colors and numb toes for me. Brrrr...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

another H I G H L I G H T


video

Here is quick clip of another great play from Saturday's game. He was obviously upset. We thought it looked good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

like his D A D D Y

It's no secret, nothing new. Caden LOVES dressing like anyone who might happen to be around him. Usually, it's Justin.

He matches his clothes to Coleman for school- Coleman hates it. He would have made a really good twin- he loves matching.

He also LOVES his uniform- to match his daddy. Usually after school, he runs to get changed so he's ready to match when Daddy comes home.

Jim's ready to get OUT of uniform- Caden begs him to stay in.
Last week, Caden really wanted to play football {in the front yard} with his daddy in uniforms. Jim said- no way and told him to get shorts on. It was a total meltdown. Sobbing {since our Caden is so dramatic} he said, "All I want to do is be like you." It really was touching.
 
Jim compromised and said he'd wear football clothes for their pick-up game outside.

The tears stopped, Caden perked up and ran to get into Justin's clothes as quickly as he could. I should have gotten pictures- the {purple} jersey he picked out was about two sizes too small, but Jim wore it anyway.

We all laughed. Caden was happy.

What a great dad.

Monday, October 3, 2011

so H A N D S O M E

They looked so good.

Both were completely exhausted after their {afternoon} football game, cleaned up and headed to the dance. Ty's group of friends met here for pictures, then went as a group to the dance. Even being juniors, none of them are able to drive over here.
It's still a little strange to me- driving your 16-year-olds everywhere. Ty asked his friend Kelsie if she wanted to go together, but really they all went as a big group of friends. One of the dads drove them all in his Suburban which was nice.
Justin's group of friends met at our friends house for dinner together and pictures before heading to the dance. The senior girls in their group decided to all wear black dresses with different colored heels. So cute. They looked darling. They are such great kids.
Justin and Josie
Justin and Steven
Justin and James

Sunday, October 2, 2011

what a G A M E

video
I've never seen this before. The tape from having his ankle wrapped melted to his leg. Melted. He was one hot kid after playing the entire football game grabbing water just on kick-off and kick-off return.
They started off the game with a tribute to Coach Holtzen and his wife- parents of the senior who died this week. They had a moment of silence and did the coin toss with the refs and captains. Tough way to start a game.
The Royals then proceeded to not only play, but dominate the entire game. They came out with the win, 28-0 against the only other D1 school here to remain undefeated. A pretty sweet victory.
Ty got a huge amount of playing time as well- out on the field with the first string for some of the first half and all of the second half. 
I get so excited to see both boys out there together. Caden does too- he's so proud of his big brothers.
After one play, the announcer said something to the effect of, "a big sack by a BIG Justin Dickey..." Something like that. Caden's face glows.

He loves his brothers.

As soon as we returned home from the game- he was in full football gear ready for his game.

That is, of course after he took the pads out of the big boys' uniforms and started their laundry.

The following is part of the article from Stars and Stripes online.

By Mark Patton
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 1, 2011
The Falcons came into Ramstein soaring high and giving up the fewest number of points in Division I DODDS-Europe play, but they couldn’t stop the steady rushing attack of Ramstein senior Jon Grotelueschen, who pounded the Vilseck defense for 253 yards on 34 carries.

It was Vilseck that looked like it would put the first points on the board, though, when Falcons senior Tyler Lewis picked off Ramstein junior Dylan Le Page and returned it to the 9-yard line of the Royals.
“You’re giving it away,” barked Ramstein coach Carlos Amponin to his players returning to the sidelines.

The Royals defense held strong, led by a third down sack by senior Justin Dickey, setting up a blocked field goal. The sack was one of four on the day for Dickey, who also had five tackles.

The momentum carried over to the offense, which used 11 plays to march 69 yards down the field, setting up a one-yard Grotelueschen touchdown run, one of his three touchdowns on the day.
“I trusted my line, my line is what got me through today,” Grotelueschen said.

Junior Michael Johnson provided the other Royals touchdown, as his 18-yard 3rd quarter scamper pushed the Falcons into a three-touchdown hole. The touchdown was the first ever rush for Johnson, who normally lines up as a wideout on offense. "I dedicated this game to Brendon, I just kept running for him,” said Johnson, referring to Brendon Holtzen, the Ramstein senior who was killed Wednesday evening in a car crash.

Vilseck senior quarterback Daniel Arroyo, who led the Falcons with 46 rushing yards, tried to get the Falcons offense going, but some key defensive plays held Vilseck in check. Ramstein juniors Justin Pendergrass and Zachery Boswell each notched crucial interceptions.

“We thought this was going to be an easy game, so we weren’t focused,” Arroyo said. “We’re going to be all right, we just need to bounce back and collect ourselves.”

Vilseck junior Shawn Peebles led the Falcons defense with eight tackles. Amponin credited Royals defensive coordinator Rudy Oliveira, whose game plan helped contain several Falcons speedsters.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t give up the big play,” Amponin said.
Ramstein players said it’s been a tough week, both on and off the field and Saturday’s game gives them a much needed confidence boost.

“This gives our guys the courage to know they can hang with the top teams and win the league,” Dickey said.