Tuesday, February 28, 2012

T R A C K season is here

It was a long weekend of basketball for ALL of us!

Saturday morning, the little guys had their last game which meant our {Jim, Ty and me} last game of coaching.

Overall, it was successful and I like to think a positive experience all the way around.

Ty and I really enjoyed the coaching aspect of the season with our seven and eight-year old little players.

For Jim, it was a little painful.

He asked me to please not volunteer us for basketball again. Just around the corner, he is going to be assistant coach for Caden's t-ball team.
Our friend is head coach, so it should be fun. I'll be back on the sidelines taking pictures and video. I have no pictures of our basketball season- we were on the court the whole time. Oh, well.

Justin and the Ramstein Royals basketball team had the European Championship tournament in Wiesbaden, Germany- about an hour north of us.

Wiesbaden has an army base {where the tournament was held} and is located next to Mainz, Germany- a beautiful city.

I missed a turn on our way home one night, and we were re-routed by the GPS through downtown Mainz.

Nervous to drive in downtown cities anywhere in Europe- I wasn't thrilled to be navigating my way through this major city on a Friday night.

At a glance, it was an amazing city. We will definitely be returning to see more of Mainz.

With games on Thursday, Friday and the championship game Saturday night it was a LOT of driving- close to 150 miles each day.

Fortunately, this is a beautiful country- even in February.

I still find myself in awe of the churches, vineyards and beautiful villages nestled in the rolling hills. Jim drove Saturday, so I was able to take a couple pictures from the passenger seat.
After a tough tournament and some competitive basketball, the championship game was a let down to say the least. We were extremely disappointed in the playing and coaching.

Ramstein lost, ending up second place in Division 1. Not the way to end a season, but Justin's relieved it's over. By Sunday morning, he had already moved on. He woke up ready for track season and hit the gym to lift weights.

I think we're through the worst of winter, the bulbs are starting to pop. I'm ready to hit the road to get out and see Germany.

It's going to be a full spring and summer!
 Coleman started off watching, but got bored. He spent the second half resting between the bleachers on the floor. We were all exhausted!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

t r e a s u r e s

We endulged in delicious food, but also found some treasures along the way.

I don't consider myself very sentimental.

I'm also not a collector of very much. I don't do spoons or magnets or stamps or dolls.

That's not saying I don't like to spend money, I just usually am way too practical and am not drawn to extra things or old things- especially dishes or things I have to find a place to store them.

Until now.

I really like the look of modern and clean mixed with simple, antique pieces with tons of charm.

I especially like the crown on this jar...
I do like pens and paper- that's probably as close as I have to a collection of anything which isn't saying much.

I feel like I have enough to clean up and pick up without extra things everywhere. But, I might be changing- a little.

We found some cool stuff. I could get used to this flea-market style shopping through the dust to find the treasures. I loved it. Everything is old over here- how can I not shop for antiques?

Of course, the questions kept going through my mind... when am I going to be back here?

Will I regret not picking up a few of these things while living in Europe?

I didn't buy much, but a few fun things. I plan to find more- lots more.

At our first stop, we found these slate-ish, light blue serving bowls.

I immediately thought about my grandma- not sure what she had or why, but I love the color. And, I don't normally like anything blue.

We each picked up a couple. They're not old, or antique or even a one-of-a kind item, but I liked them. Plus, they're from France, right?

For now, it will hold pears and sit on the counter so I can look at it. Kind of simple, super cheap. Fun find.
While I don't have a collection {yet}, I'm really drawn to old glass. I love old blue Mason jars that you can see the bubbles in the glass. Here, they have the antique green thistle and apothecary jars. We found a few and I love them.

The little one was less than $2.The others around $6 each- can't pass that up? I can find that at the bottom of the washer in a week's time.

Up next, I'm on a mission to find big bottles.

I'm in love with these Pottery Barn oversized wine bottles. They're $99 - $279 online. The description online says, "Purchased from a collector who carefully selected them from restaurants throughout Central Europe, these vintage glass bottles were once used to store wine or sunflower oil."

Here, a friend found a really cool one- very similar to these for 15 Euro- just less than $20. What a deal. I'm thinking since we're in Central Europe- I definitely need to bring a few back.

Aren't they just lovely? The search is on.

Monday, February 20, 2012

shrink-wrapped S T E A K

One of the best parts of our day-long shopping outing was the authentic French lunch we enjoyed.
Fabulous little spot we were lucky enough to stumble across.

You hear it all the time to ask the locals where they recommend.

In any foreign country, there's always a language barrier. Boy are we learning this living over here!

In my {super} limited time in France, it feels way more difficult to communicate than in Germany. Of course, I understand knowing a little German helps.

Germans are often not super friendly, but I think the French are even a few steps further in the non-friendly direction.

Some say a lot of the French just refuse to speak English even if they know English perhaps feeling inadequate and refusing to risk looking or sounding stupid.

I wish I could just communicate to all of them that my French is WAY worse {pretty much non-existent} than their English. Merci is about all I know and have been able to retain.

Sometimes, I just don't think I have that language-learning-ability gene. It's tough stuff- especially French.
 Anyhow- we were lucky enough to hit a shop that the worker spoke English. He directed us to this golf-course restaurant just down the street.

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

I'm feeling a little tall here!
After getting the server to help us in translating the menu the best he could, we still weren't totally sure what we were in for. I think we each ended up being delighted with our selections.

I ordered:
A cream of mushroom soup- think super thick, super rich, super calorie-filled goodness. Of course, there was bread on the table to go with it.

I especially loved the soup bowl/spoon combo that they served it in. How cool is that to rest your spoon on top of the bowl? Might have to find some of these.

Salmon over a bed of lentils. We understood the salmon. The lentils were a pleasant surprise and were fabulous together.

For dessert, I had an apple torte or strudle or something yummy with a buttery crust.

The presentation, atmosphere and of course company was perfect for our mid-week outing.

Maybe this is why the French take at least two-hour lunch breaks every day and everything closes down. They know how to enjoy their food and their down time.

As we were checking out, two of my friends had left-over steak that they wanted to take home.

It took the server a minute to figure out they wanted a to-go box. That language-barrier thing again.

He took the remainder of their steaks, and brought them back shrink-wrapped, placed on a platter.

How crazy is that? Another first. Lots and lots of firsts over here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

M E T Z and other parts of france

It's been a really full month.
Beautiful and full.

I think I favor February of course- it's my birthday month.

Plus, I think it feels closer to spring and through the bulk of winter. Tulips are just around the corner, right?

Of course, there is lots and lots of love in this month.

Earlier this month, I was invited to go shopping with three friends to France. It is still kinda {really} cool to say, "Yes, we just buzzed over to France today to shop."

We had another France shopping day set up before realizing that it was on a Monday when everything in France is closed down. Oops. The last trip they made, I wasn't able to make it.

So, this time I was excited it worked to go! We had a delightful trip.
It's a wonderful thing to learn from friends here how to do things and do things right. I feel so blessed to be associated with so many dynamic women I'm lucky enough to call friends.

They had our day mapped out with addresses and locations along with the time between stores.

It worked to get the kids off to school, hit the road and we were home pretty close to when the kids were home.

How beautiful is this place?

And to think it's the middle of winter and still beautiful.

I took all of these photos while on the go while driving through the cities in search of our flea-market shops.

Just another day of shopping, but not really. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

he S I G N E D

It was a proud day for us. Justin finally signed his National Letter of Intent and accepted his scholarship to go to school and play football at Highland. 

Full tuition and books is pretty exciting. It's official. Whew.
His football coach set it up so Justin and his friend and teammate Jaap could sign together.
Jaap was offered a fabulous scholarship to compete on the track team at Concordia University in Nebraska.

It was pretty special for both of our families to to be there while our {shy} boys had their moment in the spotlight.

It was pretty cool to have several guys from the football team, girlfriends, coaches, the principal and other friends there to watch and congratulate the boys.

Our little Coleman missed out as he was busy on a German field trip eating schnitzel for lunch.

Caden was thrilled to be pulled out of school for his big brother's special day. He was especially shy up in front of the gathering. Imagine that- a little like his brother.
His football coach said Jaap and Justin are his first players to actually sign before going to college.

He's had several students play in college- but this is the first signing for his football players.

We're SO proud.

Life is SO exciting.

Friday, February 10, 2012

no more B R A C E S

It wasn't a snow day, but instead a two-hour delay for students and civilians working on base. Active-duty personnel still had to report on time.

Does that make any sense? Not to me.

Guess there is a lot about the military {government in general} that doesn't makes sense to me. I should just let it go...

Anyhow, the clinic was open, so Ty made his early-morning appointment with the orthodontist this week.

They're off.

He's THRILLED.... worth every dime of the thousands we spent on his braces to see him smile and SO happy!

It's been almost three years that he's had them on. Once we moved to Germany, we were able to be seen on base and no longer had to pay.

Up until that point, it wasn't cheap. In the end- so worth it. I'm just grateful we were able to do it. Now, he's excited to floss. We'll see how long that lasts... Check out these before pictures.... then the after shot- quite a transformation!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

we're F R E E Z I N G

Three weeks ago, I noticed these sweet bulbs coming up out of the ground.

Knowing it was early, I didn't think too much except Spring had to be around the corner.

We hadn't had much of a winter, just lots and lots of rain and lots and lots of grey.

Boy, were we in for a surprise! Our winter has arrived. Three weeks ago, it snowed less than an inch and has stayed on the ground with freezing temperatures every since.  Freezing! Hovering around zero, it's been horrible!

It started snowing again this afternoon- three of the boys are praying for a snow day or at the least a delayed start. Ty on the other hand is hoping the snow will stop since he's scheduled to get his braces off at 7:00 am tomorrow.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

he's going to be a S C O T T I E

Wednesday was National Signing Day for college athletes.

After receiving several really great scholarship offers from schools in Kansas and Illinois, Justin finally knows where he's going.

He's not the only one relieved by the decision- we're pretty happy as well.

After one more phone call with the coach Wednesday night, he gave his verbal committment to Highland Community College in Highland, Kansas.

He's going to be a Scottie.

While on the phone with Justin, the recruiting coach told him he just made his day. He then called over to the head coach to get on the phone.

Justin heard him say, "Hey, the kid from Germany wants to sign with us."

They were both pretty excited.

Initially, he was most impressed with two of the private four-year schools in Kansas. He liked the coaches and the strong academics. Highland wasn't high on his list for the fact that it's out in the middle of no where. Not really, it's only forty-five minutes from Kansas City.

For Justin, he really wants to play the highest level of football he can play which made it even harder for him to make his decision. As a loyal kid, he knew if he signed with any of them, he'd give them his whole four years.

They're a new coaching staff rebuilding a program. They let it be known they're going to do things right.

“Highland is committed to winning,” said Held. “We will run a first class program where student-athletes can come and have a jumping board, both academically and athletically, to find the four-year environment that fits them.”

We're even more excited two of Justin's friends from Mulvane have signed to play football there as well. It's nice to know he'll have other moms close to watch him. He should get his papers this week and is going to sign sometime at school.