Monday, August 31, 2009

1st Day of School

Today was our first day of school at Schweinfurt Elementary! It was an absolutely beautiful day outside! I picked up my kids outside on the playground this morning and brought them into the room. We had a few moms followings to come see the room as well. They stayed for a few minutes while we all got settled and then said their good-byes. We had a great day in the classroom. We did a few "get to know each other" games, talked about goals and guidelines, passed out books, had lunch, recess, and music class. After that, I attempted to take a writing sample from the kids, but then the fire alarm went off. This one wasn't planned, so we stood outside for 20 minutes while the fire trucks came and checked the place out. We got back in the building with enough time to pack our bags and head for home! I don't know where the time went!! I'm hoping every day goes that fast. It was great!!

I stayed at school until 9:00 tonight. I completed lesson plans for the rest of the week. It is feeling great to be sitting here and not working on school things. I've been overwhelmed with it all the past several days. I am finally getting caught up and not trailing behind. My room is as done as it's going to get. Looks just fine compared to several of the others. And now that my lesson plans are done, I'm sitting good!! Now it's time to relax, and enjoy teaching!!

A few pictures of my classroom. Megan took my first day of school picture, but I didn't get it from her. I'll try and do that tomorrow! She took it so she could send it to Jay, knowing he would want to see me!


The before shot. I wish I would have taken a picture a day sooner, as it was much worse, but I didn't have a camera. This is after it's been all cleaned up, just not decorated.

Starting to get some organization and some decorations up.

Nearly finished. This is what it looked like by Sunday night. I added a few more details to it this morning and then called it good. Elizabeth was the wonderful Edward Scissorhands that cut out all the pictures on the doors. I couldn't have done it without her!




This is a small part of the MANY boxes (probably around 100) that were stored in the closets. You wouldn'tbelieve how much we threw out!! It was crazy!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cleaning!

Today was a day for cleaning. As soon as I woke up this morning, I started in on the shower. That's my absolute least favorite thing to do because it gets so bad. The water here is so hard that the walls and floor get gross really quickly. I am always cleaning it, but haven't found the right tool yet. Soap and water definitely doesn't cut it. I tried straight bleach and that cut through it a little bit. Someone suggested to use vinegar. That was my try this morning. It did get some of it off, but I wasn't satisfied yet. My last try was Lime Away. It did the best of them all. My bathroom smells awful, but it does look much better.

As I was cleaning, I got a call from the school. They needed me to come in and fax my transcripts to the district office. The elementary principal had suggested me for the last opening at the school. The district needed all my paperwork before approving me. So, now I'm just waiting for a phone call. I doubt it will come today, it's getting too late. Hopefully tomorrow I will hear!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Noneventful Weekend

It was a pretty boring weekend around here. Not much to do and no one else around the house. I did got out to breakfast with some girlfriends on Saturday morning. We sat and talked for 2.5 hours, but after that, the rest of the day was not too exciting. By evening time, I was rather bored. I spent most of the evening watching Army Wives. It's a terrible show to watch because it portrays all of the bad parts of the army. Everyone is having affairs, people are getting in fights, stupid things like that. There are also the sad things, like the guys getting deployed, people getting injured. It was definitely not to my best interest to watch the series when I was sitting at home by myself. By the end of the night, all I wanted was a hug.

Sunday was just as slow. Not much happened the rest of the day. I ended up taking a walk at night because I needed to get out of the house again. I can't stay in here that long! I'm sure glad school is starting soon. It will certainly give me something to do. I spent the day at the school today helping to file paperwork. There are two full time positions and two long-term sub still open, so there is hope for me. I don't know what they will offer me yet. The principal asked me to submit my application online tonight and she'll let me know soon. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Then school starts for the teachers on Wednesday. With or without a job, I'll be there doing something. They can always put me to work around there!

With Jay being gone, it sure makes the house different. I'm glad to be busy during the days most of the time. Three and a half more weeks until he's home!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Long day....week

It's Friday night here and I'm definitely ready for bed. Today and the entire week has been very busy and tiring. This morning we had our last day of VBS. I was ready for the last day. The kids were getting cranky because they were tired. They aren't used to a schedule like that in the summer.

After VBS, I met with Elizabeth to plan out a schedule of the year for Club Beyond. We got a few dates figured out along with some topics that we'll be talking about. I wish I could have stayed longer and helped to figure out more things, but that will be another day. Instead, I had to go to the gym to meet a teacher from the middle school and his daughter. She is a sophomore and wants to try out for the volleyball team. He called me earlier this week to see if I would teach her the basics of the game. We spent two hours going over just that. We did passing, setting, serving, and attempted to do hitting. I did see a bit of improvement during the two hours, but I'm a little nervous if she'll make it through try outs. We shall see!

After that, it was movie night with Elizabeth. We were both tired and didn't feel like doing much. So, she came over with chicken patties and we had a relaxing evening. We watched Hairspray because Elizabeth hadn't seen it. I really love the movie, so wasn't opposed to seeing it once again. I did my best to stay awake for the whole thing. I had to get up a couple times to wake myself up, but I did make it to the end!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Empty Nest

As all the kids are starting to go back to school and the moms are noticing an empty house, I too am experience an empty nest. Jay left for the field yesterday and will be gone a month. We've had a good week spent together which was really nice. He had been working really late nights, but tried hard to get home earlier the past few days. I really appreciated that!!

This is their last training before deployment, so they have a lot on their plate. They will be getting graded for several of the missions during the month. There will be higher up guys there watching, making sure they are completely prepared for Afghanistan.

Jay had to leave a week early because he had to get things set up. Yesterday, they scoped out the place, figured out where they will be doing their missions, sleeping, eating, all the basics. The rest of the guys leave next Monday.

I went to a conference last year and one of the sessions was about relationships. The one thing that sticks to me the most from that conference is the following.... Don't get mad when your husband leaves his socks on the floor or a wet towel in a pile. Instead, be thankful that he is home... On days when my house looks like this...

I am thankful that my husband is home. I don't care how big of a mess he makes, at least I can still give him hugs and tell him how much I love him. This is what our house looked like since Saturday. Jay took an inventory of every last military piece we have in our house. He layed it all out on the dining room floor. He then packed things a little more orderly. He put all of the winter gear in a bag while I made a spreadsheet on the computer. Most of this stuff will be heading out with him on deployment. My house is going to look empty without all these green things around!

By Tuesday night when I came home, the house was spotless. He had all of his things picked up and the table table in order. He's so great!

Say a prayer for the guys as the real thing is getting close. This is the practice round for the guys and for the ladies too. We are treating it like a deployment to make sure we know what to do on our own, like bills, changing oil, taxes, etc. I'm feeling pretty confident that I can hold down the house. I do most of those things anyway. Automatic bill payment makes life a lot easier!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cav Coffee... BBQ Style

I hosted our Cav Coffee tonight for 16 wondeful ladies and two babies! We had a great turn out which I was really excited about. We had a BBQ theme and held our party outside. Earlier this week, Jay asked our landlord if we could use his little social area for our party. It's actual a car port, but they often times use it for get togethers. He has a couple big tables which he set up for me! I added my card table, set up a table to put food on, and we were set. I was really excited to use his rope lights that he has on the roof. We see them every time they have a party and they look so neat. The ladies really thought it was festive!

Our menu for tonight was pigs in a blanket, BBQ chicken, pickle wraps, fresh fruit, m&m bars, and smores bars, along with a wide variety of beverages. We had the perfect amount. I thought I had way too many pigs, but I ended up with only 5 left. The ladies kept popping them in their mouths, so must have liked them. All week, I've been worrying about these pickle wraps, because no one knew what I was talking about. I have come to the conclusion that it must be an Iowa thing. I kept asking people for recipes or telling them that they were on the menu, and no knew what they were. When I described them, I didn't get very satisfying looks. Nonetheless, I started with a plateful and ended up with none! They must have been good. I have quite a few bars left, but those are easy to hand off to people. I'll take them to VBS tomorrow and they'll be gone in a flash.

For hosting a party, our leader always presents us with a gift. She usually tries to fit it to the theme of the party. This time, she got me a towel and a hot pad with hot peppers on it, along with a bag of hot tamales.

I have been told by Judy that I can't host for a long time now. This is the third one I've hosted this year, so I have to wait awhile now. For this party, I signed up to help another lady host. A month ago when we were figuring out a theme and what to eat, I asked if we were having it at her house. Her response... "Well.... can we have it at your house instead." So, here we were tonight, but that's just fine with me! I love having people over, just wish food wasn't so expensive!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation Bible School

We are in the midst of Vacation Bible School here at Schweinfurt! Our theme this year is Crocodile Dock. We have a new animal friend each day who gives us our verse and our lesson. I am a crew leader, leading six little crocodiles closer to God. These are my kids!!

I have a wonderful assistant leader, Justin! Justin is our chaplain's son and has been very helpful! He even sings and dances to the songs! Most of the middle schools think they are too cool for that. I'm so glad to have him!

On the first day, we learned about Moses and the burning bush. Today, we learned about Pharoah and the plagues. My favorite part of VBS is the songs! I like to act silly and sing and dance! Myra, our leader, needed help on stage today with a song. We do sign language to the songs and this song had an echo, so she wanted someone to do the second part. She asked several of the ladies in the back and they weren't too keen on getting on stage. Some how my name was suggested, so up I went. It was a lot of fun though. I love doing these things with the kids!

We have three days left. It should be great, but I know by Friday I'll be tired! The kids are so full of energy, but I can handle that. I love being crazy with the kids!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Axes and Allies

Yesterday, we went over to some friends house to play the game Axes and Allies. We brought along Josh so he didn't have to sit in the hotel his last weekend in Germany. Knowing the game takes around 8 hours, we started right after church. We all brought meat and sides and had a BBQ first. We had hamburgers, brats, and ribs. All of it was great. I was so excited to eat an American brat. German brots are good and you can find them everywhere, but I was craving good ol' Johnsonville! We started our game around 1:00 in the afternoon. I was hoping to be done by supper!!

Yes, I was the only girl to play. The other ladies enjoyed chatting and watching a movie. I'm too competitive to sit out a game like this!

Well... as the game slowly moved on, taking almost an hour for one round (everyone taking one turn). Jay's attention span quickly got the best of him. He spent more time on the computer than watching the game. He would take his turn, then go do something for 45 minutes or so before it was his turn again. If he wasn't on the computer catching up on news or watching videos, he was playing with the little army guys!

Unforunately, he owned Japan and never made it off his island. I, on the other hand, owned the United States and couldn't leave the table. I was the pulling threat for the Allies!! It hit 9:00 and we were a long ways from total domination. I put a 10:00 cap on the game since we had three guys that had PT in the morning. Well.... it was 9:45 and still no end in site... so we thought. While the Allies were strategizing, the Axes had it all figured out that I was concentrating on other parts more than my countrty. Jeff said it was time to end the game and captured my capitol city (Washington D.C.). We didn't officially finish out the game to total domination, but it was a given who was going to win. So, we finally called it quits! It was a good game, but it will have to be a long time before we play again. It took way too long and my rear was sore from sitting in a wood chair!

Nonetheless, we had a great time being with friends and eating delicious food!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Celebrating Early

We are celebrating Jay's birthday early this year because he will be in the field on September 6th. I decorated the stairwell and dining room for him with streams and balloons. He also recieved his presents early. I had them wrapped and on the table, wanting to wait until today to open them. But he couldn't wait that long after seeing them. So, they were opened shortly after he got home. He got two polos and a new pair of khakis that he really needed. Unfortunately the pants are about 4 inches too long. They have to get exchanged, but will be here when he gets home at the end of September.
He got a brown polo and a dark green one.

To help us celebrate, we had friends over last night for pizza and dessert. We had homemade individual pizzas, everyone topping their own. I had a whole bunch of toppings lined up... pepperoni, sausage, ham, pineapple, muchrooms, peppers, tomatos, and cheese. They turned out really yummy!! For dessert, I made a delicious ooey-gooey cake (that's really what it is called) and topped it with strawberries! It tastes great, even without the strawberries! We played a couple rounds of Blokus after we ate. Unfortunately Jay never won for his birthday! By 10:45, we were all pooped after a long week and ready for bed! It probably wasn't the most exciting birthday for Jay, but it was nice to relax for the night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canyoning in Switzerland

This past weekend, Jay, Josh, and I took a trip to Switzerland. Josh is a cadet from South Dakota who is shadowing a lieutenant for the month. We thought we would give him another view of Europe while he is over here.

Fleece keeps you a lot warmer when wet! We learned that the last time we went canyoning!

We left Saturday morning and headed to Bern, the capitol. We spent several hours walking around the town. We saw the main government building, US Embassy, and the main street. We also saw the apartment that Albert Einstein lived in for most of his live. They had a museum, but it was closed. Other than that, there wasn't a lot to see.

Government Building

Main Street


US Embassy

That evening, we headed to the town of Interlaken. It's a small little town that is placed between two large lakes. It is also completely surrounded by mountains. This town is well known for it's outdoor adventure. That evening, there was a show happening. We couldn't get into the show, but we saw the parade of cows walk by. They all had huge bells and flowery hats on. I was amazed that the bells didn't seem to bother them. They were really loud.



video

We really wanted to do this.... but it cost $220 per person!


On Sunday morning, we went canyoning with Outdoor Interlaken. It was a beautiful day, with sunshine and clear skies. To get down into the canyon, we rappelled a couple hundred feet down a rock cliff. From there, we walked through the canyon doing several jumps into pools and sliding down rocks. The water was cold, but not bad with the sun. We also had a zipline to get us into a pool. We started up on a rock, held on to the zip line, they gave us a shove, and when we heard our guide scream, we were to let go. If we didn't let go at the right time, we would hit rocks or eventually hit the other side of the canyon wall. I was nervous about holding myself up, but it went really fast. We had to hold on for only five seconds or so before dropping. It was quite a drop down into the pool below. We all made it out alive, with no bruises or broken bones. That night we drove to Zurich to spend the night. We went straight to our hotel and fell asleep. We were pretty tired after canyoning.

On Monday morning, we drove down town to tour Zurich. We realized there wasn't much to see. So instead, we decided to head back to Germany. Switzerland was so incredibly expensive that we couldn't afford to stay there much longer. One of the nights, we went to McDonalds assuming it would be cheap. We walked in and looked at the menu.... $12 for a Big Mac meal!!! Yikes!!! Another night, we got pizzas and paid $40!!!!

Switzerland was absolutely beautiful, but not worth the prices. If you are wanting the view of the mountains, Austria is a much better choice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Volunteer Appreciation Supper

I've been spending several days preparing decorations for our 1/91 Cav Volunteer Appreciation Supper. I said I would help out and ended up planning the entire thing. I had fun planning it though, not stressful at all! I spent all day yesterday baking cakes and cupcakes. I frosted them today. The cupcakes were easy to frost. I used vanilla frosting and put red sugar sprinkles on top. I decided to tackle a cake with our unit crest on it. The SCO's wife mentioned it, but didn't think she could do it. So I said I would try. It took me all morning to get it done, but I am happy with how it turned out. I guess I learned a lot from watching mom and grandma frost so many cakes when I was younger.

Our theme for the night was "Volunteers are the heart of the Cav" so I had hearts around the side of the cake.

Judy and I were at the restaurant early to get set up. I put center pieces on each table and a heart at each setting. We also decorated the cake table. We put the big cake in the middle and the cupcakes around it in the shape of a heart. It all looked good!

We had a good turn out with 40 people there. We had a buffet style supper that was really good. Each troop commander served the wives drinks and dessert. We were able to sit and relax. Each volunteer was presented with a certificate, a tote bag, and a unit pin. Overall, it was a good night!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Legoland!!

Last Friday, I went to Legoland with Krista and her five boys (ranging from 12 years to 4 months). Legoland is a big theme park, with a lot of it make out of legos! It was so neat to see all of the huge things they made out of tiny little legos. I was able to go on several of the rides and rollercoasters with the older boys. I was hoping my stomach would keep up with them! I did pretty good and never felt sick! I can still handle being thrown all around! We had perfect weather the whole day. It wasn't too hot at all and the sun was shining! We brought a picnic lunch and sat under a big umbrella to enjoy peanut butter and jelly. We had a great time together. By the end of the day, Max (3 years old) was getting really tired. I held him the last hour or so as he rested his head. My arms had a good workout!

This is a huge soccer stadium in Munich, completely made out of legos. The details were amazing. We stood and looked at it for probably 10 minutes as we kept finding new things. They had several huge buildings from all over Germany.

Inside of the stadium
Outside of the stadium

Neuschwanstein Castle (Cinderella castle)

We went into a fabrication building. It showed how each lego is made out of tiny pieces of plastic being melted together. They then boxed them all up to sell. There were shelves upon shelves of boxes.



This was one of the machines used to make the legos. Everything is done by robotic hands.