Monday, January 30, 2012

weekend T R I P to Kansas

It was a whirlwind weekend for Jim and Justin.

As a last-minute decision, we flew Justin to Kansas to look at schools and talk to football coaches.

Jim was already in Oklahoma attending a conference, so it made sense to send Justin eating the cost of one ticket rather than two.
Friday was a teacher's work day, so he fortunately didn't even miss school. He flew out early Friday morning, and just landed back in Frankfurt this morning- Monday.
Taking the good advice of a friend, I didn't even take him to the airport or pick him up. There's a shuttle that picked him up at our house and should be dropping him off shortly- back here at home.

As soon as he landed, Jim picked him up and they headed north to spend the night at our friends/neighbor's house. Jim said it was so nice to be back around our friends. A couple of Justin's friends made it out to visit as well.

They met our renters, visited for a little bit, then slept a little before hitting the road early Saturday morning- after a nice breakfast that Steve and Tammy fixed for them.

They knew it was going to be a long weekend, but I don't think until they hit the road did they realize how tough it was going to be. Jim is guessing they put more than 1,000 miles on the car. They should have known I wasn't going to take it easy on them! We'll see if they let me plan another trip.

They fit in five schools and met with football coaches all on Saturday all across Kansas. Saturday night, they drove back down from the Kansas City area and met friends for a little more visiting. Justin was exhausted, but excited to see friends at the same time.

They went straight from Mulvane back down to Oklahoma to Jim's hotel for a little sleep. Justin flew out of Oklahoma City Sunday at noon. Jim headed straight down to Texas for another week of classes.

I know it was a good trip and a couple schools caught his attention. We'll see how he feels once he catches up on his sleep and figures out what time zone he's in. I let him know he has basketball practice tonight at 5:00. Not sure he's going to make it. {He actually said there's NO way he's going to make it.}

He's thinking it's a sleep and movie day today. We'll see. Gotta get this kid ready for college!

Here's the schedule I outlined for them:

Hutchinson Community College                           8:00-9:00

Hutch to Friends approx. 1 hr drive

Friends University                                                10:00 – 11:00

They will meet you at their office- in the Garvey PE Center.

Friends to Highland approx. 3 ½ hrs drive

Highland Community College                       2:30 – 3:30

Orientation from 11 – 4, he knows you’ll be there in the afternoon

Highland to Benedictine approx 33 min

Benedictine College                                             4:00 – 5:00

Coach Wilcox will meet you at the Football facility at the North end of the campus at 4:00. He has rearranged his schedule to meet you- please be on time!
Academics are really important to him. He’s proud of what their school has to offer academically.

Benedictine to University of Saint Mary approx. 41 minutes

University of Saint Mary                       5:30 - 6:30
Miss you guys… love you so much. Take a deep breath and enjoy what they have to tell you. Take it all in, you don’t have to make any decisions today! Call me as soon as you can. I’ll be thinking about you ALL day!!! Love you… xo

Sunday, January 29, 2012

too D A R K

Now that we've been here more than a year, I'm still trying to figure out the very best time and season for everyone to come VISIT us. Christmas markets are charming. Spring is green. Summer is filled with light.

That being noted- January is definitely NOT the time to be in Germany. I'm guessing not in Europe unless you're a skier headed for the Alps.

On our second floor, we have a window that opens up- kind of part of the roof. This is the view from the top- looking down our street at the church. Love the church bells. Don't love the grey.

We haven't had a flake of snow this winter which is fine with me. We have however had an abundance {more than enough} rain. It seems to literally rain every single day bringing dark clouds and grey skies.

It was black ice and rain one morning last week. Justin and Ty left early to work out {they leave around  5:30} before school.

In a role-reversal moment, Justin sent me the following {very sweet} text after he and Ty decided they needed to let me know about the roads.

It said:
"If your driving be careful of black ice. Road from Mackenbach to east gate there was a flipped car."

Just last week, I was driving and my auto-lights popped on. You know when it gets dark enough outside that they automatically turn on lighting up your whole dash? Yep, that happened.

It was pretty routine except for the fact that it was at 3:30 in the afternoon. That's too early for headlights- anywhere.

It's just too dark. I'm ready for Spring. I was doing ok {well, a trip to some sun helped...} until Jim let me know it was in the 70's this week in Oklahoma where he's on a business trip. Now, I'm feeling homesick.

Only a couple more days of January, right?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

back to D E U T S C H L A N D

Not bad for a quick, four-day weekend. We agreed we could have been just fine staying just one more night. Instead, we hopped back on our plane to a frigid Germany and families that we missed.
The view while flying over the snow-capped Alps was breathtaking. My friend Carrie took this picture from her window seat. Amazing.
While I don't enjoy being in the snow and cold, I can appreciate it from the comfort of a warm place. These screens are pretty cool while in flight- they show where you are, speed, temperature and time until landing.

I still can't believe we were that close to Africa.
I also enjoy looking at the monitors in the terminal showing the gates and so many different destinations. We live in a huge, huge world- no doubt.

Goodbye blue skies and warm sun... Ok, I'll {maybe} quit posting my tropical island pictures. It's back to January...

Friday, January 27, 2012

tropical B I R D S and P A L M trees

You know you're in a warm place when you see wild, tropical birds while walking down the sidewalk.

One tourist was even feeding them peanuts out of his hand- obviously something they're used to.

I'm a sucker for palm trees too. And flowers in JANUARY.

I'm definitely a warm-weather gal. Maybe, we'll get assigned to Hawaii or Guam on our way back to Kansas.

A girl can dream, right?

The palm trees-huge here. Absolutely G O R G E O U S.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

J A N D I A beaches

After all the craziness of our fun Irish night out, we decided to check out the south side of the island. We rented a car and hit the road. We were told it was a good 5 degrees {C} warmer and only an hour's drive.

We were all about venturing to a new area. It was pretty barren, but boy did we find the treasure at the end.
The area which covers the whole of the southwestern part of Fuerteventura is called Jandia. The excursion sales gal told us the beach down there was on the list of top 20 beaches in the world.

The world. And, we believed her- no questions asked! She didn't have to tell us twice!

According to allbestbeaches.com, the shoreline of Fuerteventura is 340 km. About 100 km of which are occupied by the beaches with light fine sand, the best on the Canary islands.

The sand was the cleanest, softest sand I've probably ever seen.

Not a rock, not a shell- pure, light sand with only an occasional jelly fish washed up on the shoreline.

The weather wasn't the warmest, but the scenery was phenomenal.

I had a book to read, but couldn't focus for more than a minute- I kept finding myself drawn to watch the people and the waves. It was so relaxing.

Of course, there were plenty of nudists as well. Again, this is Europe- gotta love it.

One family we passed as we were walking on the beach included a husband, wife and little guy maybe a year or two old.

The little guy was walking around, dad {or man} was walking around following him. The woman was lying in the sand.

Of course, this is all my guess. They looked like a family to me- they were together.
Now- check this out:

The wife had her top off, bikini bottom on. The man was completely naked- not even a flip flop on. Yep, he was flip-flopping around too.

The little guy: fully clothed. How funny is that? I think it should have maybe been the other way around. Little naked bootys are sometimes much cuter than big naked bootys.  

This wasn't the man, but closely resembled him.... You don't have to be a super model to be in your birthday suit around here.
 Whatever- they don't care. Nothing like total confidence in your body in this part of the world.

Turquoise water, waves crashing and a day to relax with only an occasional interruption from the oriental massage people who came around saying, "Hellomassage... "

All one word as they held up a laminated card with a diagram of a body. Guess you're supposed to point to the area you want massaged. We passed as did everyone else in our close vicinity.
 
We had a fabulous little lunch sitting outside in the sun to celebrate the birthday girl in our group.

So yummy!

Goats are a huge thing on this island and the goat cheese was fabulous!! This was fried goat cheese with honey- delicious!

Check out that presentation- just lovely.

Another perfect day without a hitch. It was back to the hotel and more food!

We couldn't stop talking about how much fun our husbands and boys {all four of us have only boys} would have here and how a return trip is definitely in order.

There really is a lot to see {and eat} over here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ride, S A L L Y, ride

The dune buggies were only the beginning of our fun. The hotel provided evening entertainment, so we decided to check out Broadway night. Sounds good enough, right? It was horrible.

I don't think we made it five minutes- maybe through the first song before escaping.
Unbelievable they were even allowed on stage. Seriously- they were that bad.

Not only were they lip-synching, they weren't even lip-synching a good deal of it and looked ridiculous! Our front-row seats didn't help. We could barely hold it together as we escaped and decided to check out the Irish Pub next door to our hotel.

Much, much better.
We had new front-row seats to watch and listen to the Paddy Wacks as they performed live at O'Connors. They were a blast and I think liked the idea that we were Americans. Or, maybe that we weren't eighty years old. Not that there's anything wrong with eighty!

Crazy as it sounds- the whole weekend, we didn't run into any other Americans and very few Germans. It was mostly the English and British enjoying the holiday. Not that I can tell the English from the British, but I'm sure there were both. You know- those from England, Ireland, Scotland and those countries up north? Nice people.

After listening to a few songs, Tricia and Bonnie shouted out a request for them to play a song. Before we knew it, the four of us were going up on stage to sing and dance with the band.
How in the world does that happen?

Funny {or not so funny} thing for Carrie and I- we didn't have a clue what song we were going to be singing... no clue. Oh well- we had nothing to lose. Plus, they were really talented musicians. Fabulous music- I loved it.

The lead guy let us know we only needed to know three words- "Ride, Sally, Ride." We made it through and stayed up there for another song and even a little conversation. Boy, was I out of my element.
As the youngest in the pub by years, I'm sure it was entertaining for the older crowd.

More fun. More laughs. I think that's what we all needed. We'll skip broadway all together next time- at least at an island hotel.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

dune B U G G I E S


Since the planning of our Canary Island trip consisted of mentioning it, emailing the travel agent and booking it- not a lot of time or thought went into it. Enough to know we wanted to go.

Proof that you don't have to overplan and overthink a trip to have it turn out fabulous.
My friend {the one who suggested the trip} did say something to the effect of, "I don't wanna see a ruin, I don't wanna do tours... I just want to put my toes in the sand."

This became our on-going joke. We did put our toes in the sand, but managed to do a whole lot more as well.

Upon landing on the island and getting settled into our rooms- we decided to check things out in the area.

We found an excursion company offering tours all over the place. Camels, see the dolphins, four-wheelers, jeeps and many, many others.

We quickly decided to try reserving a spot on the dune-buggy excurision. She had 10:00am open the next morning- DONE.
WHAT A BLAST!

With Paulo, our non-English-speaking Italian as our guide, we were on our way. Two hours of laughing, driving along the coast, and checking out more of Fuerteventura.

The black beaches and coastline were stunning. The sound of the waves crashing was calming to the point of being therapeutic. The blue of the ocean- amazing.

With two of us to a buggy, we all had a turn driving.

Paulo stopped more along the way back showing us coves and rocks while letting us look for beach glass and shells.

Seeing the rocks and small structures makes me want to research this little place and see what really went on there years and years ago.
It was gorgeous.

It was fun.

We were filthy dirty when we got back! So worth it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

birds of P A R A D I S E

How beautiful is this?
I'm pretty sure I could live the rest of my life just fine on an island. Any island- as long as it's tropical. Love. Love. Love.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

toes in the S A N D

Just over a week ago, a friend of mine said, "I need to put my toes in the sand."

We knew we had a long weekend coming up and decided to look into taking a quick "girls only" trip.

Within a day, another friend contacted her travel agent and found us a crazy-good deal we couldn't pass up.

Fortunately, I have a fabulous husband who was supportive from the onset of the idea and agreed to be both the mom and dad for the long weekend. Thanks, honey.

One week after entertaining the thought of going somewhere- the four of us were on a plane headed from to the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. A place I'd never even heard of.
Sunny skies, beautiful beaches and three fabulous friends for a whole weekend- we were all so excited and more than a little surprised we pulled it together in such a quick time.

Fuerteventura is the closest Canary Island to the African coast with only 100km separating the 'Punta de la Entallada' from Cape Juby in Morroco. We were right next to Africa.

We're pretty sure we saw it a we flew in and out of the island. As close as it is geographically to Africa, the Canary Islands are considered part of Spain.

We returned to a chilly Deutschland yesterday to the blast of a forty-degree drop in temperature.

Our trip couldn't have gone any better- not a single problem and not a single thing we would have changed.

It was beyond fantastic.

So much fun in this lovely little spot on the map. I'll work to get pictures posted this week.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

starters?

So, we're still trying to figure out this basketball thing.

The kids on our team are 7-8 with the exception of Caden who is six. He doesn't care- put him in with the high school team and he probably wouldn't notice he's the smallest. He's kind of the typical youngest-of-four-boys tough.
I had a theory going into our first game to play all kids at all positions- moving them around. Everyone gets equal playing time. Everyone gets a chance to play guard, forward.... all of it. They're still YOUNG. All about positive reinforcement... learning the game.

The other coach shows up late to the game and lets me know she's still waiting on her two starters. One is her point guard. Starters? Is the woman crazy? They're seven and eight years old. This isn't high school, or even middle school.

Not to be mean, but she does wear '80's-style running {short} shorts to her practices, I should have taken that as a clue that she's probably serious.
Well, her starters proceeded to kind of run all over our more timid team. Yes, we have some aggressive kids {Caden being one of them} and ours all worked hard, but we're not the most experienced bunch.

A couple were on the verge of crying during the game while out on the court as the other team proceeded to intercept just about every pass we attempted. Crying? Not my plan for a positive experience.

I thought this was all about learning a love of the game. Fun. Basic skills. We're definitely going to have to step it up for our next game. Painful for Jim, I'm taking it on as a challenge. A huge challenge.

Pictures courtesy of Caden. I was a little busy running up and down the court.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

B A S K E T B A L L and an A N N I V E R S A R Y

This past weekend was our first basketball game. I mean- Coleman and Caden's first basketball game. It was also our anniversary- such a happy day!
I often tease Jim that when we're old, we might have to wear coordinating jackets or matching hoodies- so we're dressed alike. Especially out in public as so many older couples do.

Is this something that they've always wanted {to dress alike}, or something that just happens when you hit the senior-citizen years? Who knows, but it always makes me giggle- I think it's so cute.

I realized with our anniversary and game on the same day- we did dress alike! How sweet. Basketball was a little rough {especially for Jim}, the rest of the day- not too bad! Life is good.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

All-DOD Team W O R L D W I D E

OK, I thought football was over. It is. But, we just found out this week, Justin was selected for another honor. Of course, we're proud. Now, to get this college thing figured out. Not so easy.
The first annual Military.com All-DOD Team, presented by Military.com and Football University, is made up of the 24 premier football players who are currently dependents of active military personnel throughout the globe.

The 24 best high school players (11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, a kicker and a punter) will be selected from all of the nominations submitted and honored at jersey presentation, held at a local school and/or military base, that celebrate their selection as a Military.com All-DOD Team member.

The coolest thing for Justin was knowing that the selection committee was made up of all NFL coaches and players {past and present}. Wes Chandler, David Diaz-Infante, Sam Wyche, Michael Husted and Thurmond Moore- none of which I recognized {which means next to nothing} but all with long, impressive resumes. One was even a Chargers player- Justin's dream job.

The first ever All-DOD Team has been chosen! Congratulations to all those selected.
#4 Daniel Harro LB
#57 Darian Billips OL
#28 Ricky Williams WR
#6 MW Flood DB
#67 Dan Schultz OL
#15 Will Collins. QB
#15 Colin Bailey RB/KR
#58 Colton Engelmeier OL
#2 Aaron Jones DL
#7 Calvin Baisden WR
#18 Justin Dickey DE/TE #6 Jonathan Hildner LB
#26 Joseph De Simone
#10 Connor Young
#70 OLPaul Federinko
#54 OL Brandon DeWitt
#13 RB Manusamoa Luuga
#7 QB/DB G Kelly
#8 CB Nick Coleman
#12 QB Patrick Dill
#36 CB Matthew Coleman
#9 RB Xavier Jones
#47 DL/TE Dakota Turner
#14 WR/RB Dominic Dingle
#40 LB Raleigh Killens

Monday, January 2, 2012

justin's B L O C K E D shot

Happy NEW year! For our family, the word of the year is HEALTHY. Last year, it was PLAY and I think we did play a little more than in previous years.
While I'd be happy to focus on play again, I think our primary focus is going to be on health. Healthy bodies, healthy mind... healthy living! I'm excited!

Here's a link to a video re-cap of Justin's game last week. There are a few highlights of him including a block that he was pretty happy about. Not too bad for a football player.

http://www.stripes.com/sports/europe