Thursday, February 28, 2013

one-star G E N E R A L

It's an exciting day {as a member of the Air Force} when a General shows up at your house unannounced.

For us, the doorbell rang between 7:30 and 8:00 last night. Along with seven or eight other high-ranking members on staff, the General in charge of Headquarters came to congratulate Jim on being promoted.
He asked if we had any leftovers, then offered to help with homework {only if it was math}. He is a very kind man who impressed us by taking the time to make the stop at our little cottage in our little village.

The list officially came out today, but he made the special visit to let our family know and celebrate a little early.

Jim thinks it has definitely been the toughest rank to make. Those who are promoted are evaluated on both a written test and a board score.

Last year, Jim scored higher than 83% of those eligible to test. I am in awe of how well he tests and how disciplined he is to study.

His board score {based on time in service, education, community service, time in grade, ratings and the endorsement of his General} was not quite enough to promote him.

He barely missed it. It was a huge disappointment.

Sometimes those disappointments make days like yesterday a little sweeter.
I'm SO proud. The boys are SO proud of their dad.

He won't get the pay raise or rank until the fall sometime. He now gets to wait his turn.
Of course, they will likely try to move him into a new job with more responsibilities.
They tend to do things like that.

For now, we are going to just enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

T H U N D E R S N O W ?

We think Kansas weather is C R A Z Y!
German weather is proving to be just as W A C K Y!

Last year, we had NO snow. Maybe a flake but not enough to have to pick up the shovel.

A couple weeks ago, we had pouring rain, pouring snow {if you can imagine what that looks like}, then thunder and lightening on top of it. C R A Z Y.

Snow usually falls softly. Light and slow. Not this snow. Pouring out of the sky at the speed of a thunderstorm, the whole sky was white with snow. In the background, you could see the flashes of lightening.
Taken Friday morning as we were digging our way out
There is actually a name for it: Thundersnow.  It is also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thunder snowstorm. It is an extremely rare kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain.

It happened not once but twice in one day. During school, we received two or three inches of snow in approximately 30 minutes. It was something I have NEVER seen before. Listening to the thunder in the background made it even more exciting.

I was teaching first grade that day, so we stopped what we were doing, turned off the lights and watched Mother Nature's show out the window.
Friday night it picked up snowing again. Waking up to maybe four or five inches of fresh snow on the ground, we received the notice that there was a two-hour delay to start school. They just push everything back two hours.

It is the next best thing to a real snow day where school is cancelled!

By the afternoon, it was raining. Within twenty four hours, there was hardly a patch of snow left on the ground.
Taken 24 hous later on Saturday morning
It is fun, but I am SO ready for Spring. Ready for my tulips to show their faces.
Anyone else with me?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

i L O V E february

It was a beautiful week.
Valentine's Day and my birthday!
Oh, I love February.

I turned 40! How exciting is that?
I feel so young!

My amazing husband brought lunch and flowers to me at work, then planned and prepared an amazing dinner.

Grilled salmon, a little steak, artichokes and bruschetta {yum}!

For dessert, he made the BEST angel food cake with fresh German strawberries.

It came out of the oven, then promptly flopped.

It still tasted wonderful- even better as they sang Happy Birthday to me! I'm not one who ever needs to be in the spotlight, but it is wonderful to feel so loved and remembered.

I am so blessed and can not imagine a more perfect life than I have. Not always easy, but perfect to me.

Justin sacrificed by skipping English {yikes} to be able to Skype me a Happy Birthday... how does a mom get mad at that?

It was also so nice to receive calls, packages and so many messages from friends and family.
SO much fun!

Along with a couple surprises, we are taking a quick weekend trip together to Stockholm, Sweden in a couple of weeks.

We can't wait to see another amazing city in Europe. It won't be warm, but promises to be spectacular.

I can hardly wait!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ötzi the Iceman

Happy February!

I almost forgot to post one of our favorite things about Bolzano from our trip in January!
The coolest thing {literally} in Bolzano is Ötzi the Iceman. We couldn’t make it this far without seeing him.

Turns out- it was super cool.
Located at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology rests the famous remains of the 5,300 year old Iceman named Ötzi. In 1991, two Dutch tourists found remains of the man while hiking through the mountains. 
Frozen in the ice, his body was kept in almost-perfect condition. Through research and testing on what was found, scientists have learned a lot not only about him but about what happened during that period of time so long ago.
I was most impressed with the control they have at the door to allow only a certain number of tourists in the museum at a time. It made for a much more enjoyable visit as we were able to see all of the exhibits without having to push through people.

There are four levels to the museum detailing every piece of clothing and item found with him. In a giant freezer at a perfectly-controlled temperature, they have his body on display.

A small window allows one person at a time to look into the freezer at the small body kept wet as they spray it with water.
No cameras are allowed. This is the photo they have on the flyer.

The items they have are amazing.

His tools.

His shoes stuffed with grass.

His bow and copper-head arrows.

His loin cloth and other clothes.

His hat made of bear skin and fur.

His body hair is gone, but he still has his eyelashes.

From images taken on a CAT scan, they meticulously made a model of what they think he looked like.

That is also on display. X-rays {displayed} also showed an arrow head under his clavicle leading to the conclusion that he was murdered.

It was all fascinating and well worth the trip.