Sunday, September 20, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!! I know, I'm several months early, but Jay and I celebrated our Christmas together tonight. We won't get to be together during Christmas and we wanted to get it in before our lives got even busier than they already are.

Once we got home from working all afternoon, we put up our little Christmas tree. We decorated it with our ornaments we've been collecting from the various countries. I also pulled out our stockings and filled Jay's with Christmas candy I found in the drawer from last year!

Jay opening his presents! He got an ipod to take downrange. It is full of songs and movies to keep him occupied with his little time off that he'll have.

This is our new Christmas pyramid that we bought in Rothenburg yesterday. It has a manger scene on the different levels. We lit all the candles and it was about to take off, the helicopter was going so fast! It will be a neat keepsake to have as a memory of Germany.

This is our new German smoker. We liked the old, fat guy. He was our favorite! I started him up tonight and he smoked away, in the scent of gingerbread. It made the house smell much more like Christmas!

Even though we had a great Christmas together, it just wasn't the same. We sure wish we could be together in December, but this will have to do. And what's Christmas without snow!!! Instead, we were wearing shorts and had the window open! It's all the thought that counts!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

173rd Banner Day

I just got home from a long day of seeing Jay. By saying long day, I don't mean that in a bad way! I left with three other ladies at 7:00 this morning and made our way to the guys. The day was full of athletic events for the guys. It was kind of set up like the olympics... different events and each squadron participating in it. Jay didn't play in anything, so spent the entire day with me! It was so absolutely wonderful to be with him again. We didn't do anything except sit around all day, but still being able to see him was so great! For most of the day, we sat and watched flag football. Our boys made it into the championship game, but lost that. After that, they had a tug-of-war, which we ended up getting third. To end the day, there was an awards ceremony and then the commander talked for a bit.

The weather was so weird today, but great! When the sun was out, it got really warm. When the sun went under a cloud, it got really cold. The difference was so extreme! I brought lots of layers, so I was good all day. I brought Jay's PT jacket to him so he wasn't so cold either. He had it on for half the day. Somehow, I still managed to get burned. I put SPF lotion on my face this morning and still turned red. I think my skin is messed up after my bad burns in March.

Jay comes home real soon and I can't wait! Even though I'll see him again soon, it was still hard to say good bye. I think it was harder for him because he has to go sleep in a very cold tent. He said this morning when they were up at 4:00, they could see their breaths. We are definitely into fall!!

Sorry for no pictures today. Jay has my camera and I didn't have room to bring his. It's too big to carry around. I definitely want to get a new one, but I kind of need to work a while first and build up some funds!!

I told Jay that the house won't be clean when he gets home. I haven't been home long enough to sit down, let alone clean. My suitcases are all still sitting on the floor in the spare room. I'll have to get them moved before he comes home. Unfortunately, I've been spending so much time at school that the house has been put to the side. It will have to wait until next weekend. I don't think he'll mind!! He'll just be glad to be home!

Soon, soon, very soon!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Last Day on the Farm

I've been here a week now and today is my last full day on the farm. I leave tomorrow to head back to Germany. I've had a great week and have really enjoyed it all!

Today, I really took in the farm. I miss being here, in the middle of no where, fields surrounding us. In Schweinfurt, we are surrounded by tall apartment buildings with absolutely no yard. I spent a lot of time with Drake today. We played tug-of-war and wrestled in the yard. We must have played a little too hard because I pulled two of his teeth out with the rope. It's a good thing they were baby teeth! Hope the new ones grow in soon!

While playing with Drake in the yard, I was watching Dad load two wagons on to a trailer. He is taking them to a sale tomorrow since he doesn't use them much anymore. It will leave more space in the barn. It's almost time to start harvest, so he'll be super busy soon. I wish I was around when the combine was running. It's my favorite time of the year!

Mom and I went out to the garden this afternoon. We picked green beans and tomatos. The green beans are almost done, but we did end up getting two bucket fulls. We also cut up a whole bunch of apples, fresh off the tree. Mom is going to make apple sauce and apple pies with them. I wanted to make a pie, but we have too many desserts around the house. We didn't need another one.

My brother started hauling seed corn for Pioneer today. That means harvest has begun!! Starting today and for another couple of months, he'll be very busy running his semi. Before he began today, he spent all night painting his trailer. It was black, but he wanted it white to match his tractor. Even though it took a long time, it looks really nice!

Last night, my in-laws came over for supper. I wanted to see them this week before heading back. It was an absolutely beautiful day, so mom and I decided we should eat outside on the deck. I love being outside! We had grilled steaks and baked potatoes. It was so yummy! I can't have grilled steaks in Germany, so I wanted to be sure and get them in!

I sure am going to miss the farm! When I come back at Christmas, the fields will be empty and hopefully full of snow! I want to be able to go snowmobiling!! I'm also anxious to see this lil guy when I come back. He'll be much bigger. It will be fun to play with him in the snow!

Bye Buckingham! See you again in December!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School Supplies

An added reason of wanting to come home was to find all of my school supplies and take them back with me. When we moved to Germany, I didn't ship anything over from my classroom at Sioux Central. I wasn't sure we would have enough room to store it and wasn't sure I would ever have my own classroom. Now that I do, I need all of my things. It was really hard to decorate my room because I didn't have anything to use to decorate. I printed a lot of pictures off my computer to hang on my walls instead. My desk is still empty too. It needs a taste of home!

Earlier this week, we went up to town to do a little shopping. My eyes were fixed on school things. I bought lots of new borders and posters. I also got some folders and notebooks. The most important thing that I wanted was a chalk holder. My school is so old that we don't have any whiteboards. We're still using the old chalkboards! I was getting so dirty the first two days of school from chalk dust on my hands, which ended up on my clothes. I went to the UNI book store and bought two holders. I'm very happy to have them!
All my new things!!

I also went in to the Traer house to find a lot of my things from Sioux Central. I knew I had a bunch of binders that I really wanted. I found lots of great things that I am taking back with me. I wish I could take another couple of suitcases! I would love to take even more back! I could ship some things over through the mail, but it would be just as cheap to buy them over there. I guess I'll have to make do with what I have.

Digging through boxes at the Traer house.

I worked on packing my suitcases this morning. I wasn't sure if it would all fit. At the moment, I have everything packed but my computer. I have one really big suitcase that I'm a little nervous about the weight. I'll have to bring the scale down and check it out. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to do without until I come home for Christmas. I should be good to go!

I am excited to get back to Germany and spend some more time in my room. I will be able to make the room look a little bit better, especially my own desk! I won't have much time to do it before school starts again, but I can work on it after school all week. I also will have to work on lesson plans as soon as I get back. I haven't even thought about what I'll start teaching when I get back! I have the whole plane ride to be thinking about school! But for now, I'm just going to continue enjoying my time at home!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Locks of Love

I took advantage of my free hair cutter today. Mom has always cut my hair, and I'm not so sure about letting anyone else touch it. I like my hair too much! It was getting really long though. It was great for the summer because I was able to throw it up into a pony tail real easy. But now, it's just starting to bug me. I couldn't even get it shoved into a bun. Lately, I've been braiding it because that was the easiest thing to do. But today was the day....

This morning mom cut 11 inches off! I am giving the hair to Locks of Love, so it had to be at least 10 inches. I was nevous about cutting it, not knowing if it was long enough. But, we went for it anyway. Last time I cut my hair, we cut 14 inches and I didn't like it very much. I cried when I saw it. I have never really had short hair, so it was a huge change for me. This time wasn't so bad. I still cringed, but in the end, I liked it.

I'm still getting used to it. I go to play with my long pony tail, and it's not there. Brushing it is definitely weird. My arm doesn't get much of a work out any more!

I'm anxious to see what Jay thinks about it. He knows I wanted it cut, but we were planning on Christmas, so he may be surprised. He may also have guessed it! We shall see!!

Time spent with my Best Friends

Today was dedicated to spending time with my two best friends. The three of us have been best friends for YEARS!! Amy and I went to the same school, but all three of us went to the same church growing up. We have been there through thick and thin for each other.

We went out for lunch today since I haven't seen Amy since Christmas and Ashley since our wedding. It was due time for some well needed conversations and fun! We met at Old Chicago in Cedar Falls for some food. We ordered our meal, waited, and waited..... and waited. We didn't really notice because we were having fun talking. The waitress came up to us and said she forgot to put our order in. She said she would talk to the manager and get us a discount since we had to wait. Sounded great to us! We weren't in a hurry! She also brought us a plate of three cookies to nibble on while we were waiting for our food. We finally were served and the food was great! I only got half of mine down before I was full! The end bill was almost cut in half!! The original bill was $33 and she took $14 off. We ended up paying only $19 for all three of us put together! That was pretty great! We then spent some time walking around UNI and driving around town. We also made a trip to Target on our way out.

Outside Target, playing on the big balls! An old lady was laughing at me, but that's alright! Laughter does the body good!

It was so great to get to spend time with my girls. We get a little goofy when we're together, but boy do we have fun! They mean so much to me! I can't wait until Christmas when we can spend more time together!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Jay!!

Today is Jay's 27th birthday. I really wish I could be with him on his special day, but it just didn't happen. We celebrated before he left and will probably celebrate next week again. With him in mind, I made a dessert yesterday. Today, we celebrated Jay's birthday without him.

Jay, this piece is for you!
I sent a birthday card with him when he left for the field for him to open today. Hopefully that makes his day a little brighter!

What I've Been Doing

I have done several things this week that I really wanted to do when I came home. I'll share a bit of what I've been up to.

1. I saw Denean at church today! I was so glad to be able to see her and talk to her. She has changed so much since I saw her at Christmas time last year. She needs continued prayers for strength and comfort. She was still able to make a smile on her face, which was so good to see!This is a picture mom took while she was in the hospital last week.

2. Sweet Corn!! I was so excited to come home and get all sloppy with corn juice. I've been craving it all summer long. Germans think we are strange when we ask about corn on the cob. I had lots last night for supper and more today for dinner. Yumm!!! Thanks, Becks, for the corn!! It tasted wonderful!

3. Playing outside! I really miss farm life while in Germany. We have no yard and really no place to be outside. I take lots of walks and ride my bike a lot, but it's just not the same as country life. I have loved being outside, playing with Drake and the cats. I've also enjoyed seeing all of the corn and beans changing, getting closer to harvest.

4. The best part.... being with my family. I am such a mommy and daddy's girl. I have sat in my dad's lap since I was a little tyke. I had to check to make sure I still fit! Of course!!! I've been able to spend all day with my sister at the football game and all day with mom around the house. It's been so great to be with them all!!

Tomorrow, I am getting together with my two best friends. It will be so great to see them because I missed them at Christmas. It's been since our wedding, which is way too long!! I can't wait to sit down and chat with them! We have so many great memories together!

I am looking forward to having Traer pizza tonight. German pizza just isn't the same. I can't wait for thick crust, loaded with good ol' Iowa pork sausage. Yummm!!!

One last thing for today... It's Jay's 27th birthday!! We don't get to celebrate it together, but I sure have been thinking about him. I tried to rig it up so I could talk to him, but haven't figured out a way yet. All of my friends from Schweinfurt are on vacation because of the holiday. I might just have to wait until next Sunday when I can go see him at the training grounds.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Good Try Panthers!

I had a great day in Iowa City, watching the Panthers nearly claim the state title! They put forth a great effort, but just didn't quite pull it off. I definitely received every penny of entertainment that the ticket cost me! What a nail bitter!

I went to the game with my sister, Nicole, and a teacher I worked with at Sioux Central, Jarvis. Jarvis picked us up at 8:30 this morning and down we went. We didn't do any tailgating, but that was ok with me. It looked like it was getting pretty crazy as we were walking by.

We had great seats, up high so we could see everything and not in an end zone. The sun pounded on us the entire game and it got warm, but I must admit... I do like good ol' Iowa sun! Germany weather just isn't the same. We were able to take our water bottles in, so kept ourselves hydrated.

Nicole and I went shopping on Thursday to get some tshirts for the game. We had to be sure we were showing our Panther pride (even though Nicole's not a Panther). We decked ourselves out this morning with our tshirts, beads, and hair ribbons! We definitely didn't want to be mistaken for a Hawkeye! Jarvis, on the other hand, had an Iowa shirt on. Not appreciated, but I sat beside him anyway.
With our new shirts and beads for college.

Our hair ribbons... we had two strands... a purple one and a football one.
It will be a long time before I get to watch another football game again. The closest I can get to football in Germany is soccer. It's just not the same!! I'm so glad I was able to go today, and last night to the Union varsity game (to watch Bob, who did a great job!!).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Surprise! I'm home!!!

Last night, I gave mom and dad a HUGE surprise! I've been planning for a month to come home because I've been wanting to take care of a few things. My sister, Nicole, came to the Cedar Rapids airport to pick me up. We then headed for home. I was so excited to surprise them, hoping neither of them had a heart attack! We stopped to get gas on the way home because Nicole was almost out. I said we better have enough in case we have to go to the emergency room after going home! Adam called as we were about a half hour away, wondering when we were coming. He, too, knew about the secret and was waiting for us to come home.

Once we drove in the driveway, they heard a vehicle pull in. At first, mom thought it was Adam. She came to the door and saw Nicole with Naomi (a little girl that Nicole was watching). Mom was standing up on the entry way stairs. Dad was on his way up the basement stairs. I started to walk up the door. Their faces were priceless!! We had Nicole video because Jay wanted to see their reactions. Mom's jaw dropped and Dad's comment was "WHAT'S THIS?"

See for yourself...

It felt so good to get a hug from mom and dad. I haven't been home since last Christmas. For being a mommy and daddy's girl, that's a long time!!

I have the next week's agenda all planned out. One of my main goals is to go visit my friend, Denean. She is battling cancer and hasn't been doing well. I want to go visit and see how she's doing. Today, we are heading up to town. I need to exchange Jay's pants, buy a UNI tshirt, and get some school supplies. The big event for the week is going to the UNI vs. Iowa football game (that's why I need to buy a UNI tshirt). Nicole and I are going with some friends from Sioux Central. I'm really excited because I love watching football! Mom is keeping Luke on Friday and Monday, so I'll be here to play with him. I also have to go to the Traer house to pack up all of my school things. I brought home two empty suitcases to fill up and take back. My school room still isn't very decorated, so I need to take some things back. Other than that, I'm just here to enjoy my family!

I leave next Thursday to head back. Jay will come home the following week, and we'll be together again! This will definitely help the time to go faster!!