Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wrangling and Wrestling

Jay and I kept our five boys Friday night and all day Saturday. We had a good time and definitely wore everyone out!

On Friday night, we just hung out at home, playing the usual... hockey guys, swords, reading. Saturday on the other hand was quite an active day. We all got up and headed out the door at 8:30 to head to Stuttgart. It was a two hour drive, but all went well. The middle seat was sound asleep, the back seat was either reading or playing games. So Jay and I ended up having a nice talk. Once we got to Stuttgart, we went to the post to watch a little guys wrestling tournament. We had several friends wrestling and this was the last meet of the year. Here's Josiah taking his guy down. He did a great job at the meet.

Josiah's dad is Jay's boss. So while other wrestlers were on the mat, Jay got put to work!

After we saw all the wrestlers wrestle at least once, we headed out for the next adventure. Just a few miles down the road was a HUGE play place! It's a five story high building probably the length of at least a football field. Inside of it were tons of things for the kids to play on. There was a huge pirate ship, water activities, a ball pit where you could shot the balls at others, rock wall, high ropes course, lots and lots of slides, and a whole science center. It was a really neat place! For the most part, we just let the boys go! I stuck with the little two (as best as possible, more on that to come) for most of the time. I was really anxious to go down the big kids slides, but had to wait. #4 and #5 had a blast going down some of the slides. We stuck to the simplier ones, which were perfect for them.  We spent more of our time in the ball pit though. #4 loved shooting the balls and watching the older kids shoot. #5 had the most fun staying inside the pit on the ground, playing with the balls on the ground. It was so much action, it was hard to keep track of them both.

Which leads me to the most stressful part of the day! I was sitting at the bottom of a wide slide, watching the two little boys come down. I went down the slide the first couple of times with them, then just stayed at the bottom. As #4 was sliding, #5 was climbing up the steps and as #5 was sliding, #4 was climbing up the steps. I was usually watching the one sliding, which didn't work out so well! #4 came sliding down and was running back to the steps, so I went to look for #5. GONE!!! No where to be found. There is no way he could have gotten past me and he couldn't have gone on the other slide, because it was a big kid slide and was being manned by someone working there. He wouldn't have been allowed down. So where did he go, at this point in time I had no idea! I frantically searched all over the place for him! Found Jay and had him start looking too. Finally I see #3 with #5. I went over to them and #5 was soaking wet, from toe up to his shoulders. He was playing in the water activities. The water is about a foot deep, starting at waist high. It's for kids to stand up to and play with the activities inside. Well, #5 really wanted to play inside. His clothes were soaking wet! I didn't bring any other clothes, so had him in just a diaper and his sweatshirt (that thankfully I had already taken off) for awhile. I let the rest of his clothes airdry. After awhile, I put his pants back on so he could play some more. He didn't seem to mind the wetness.  Oh my, the things I need to learn before becoming a parent!!

Here are some pictures of the boys (and my big boy) having fun!

Jay on the high ropes course. 

Cutest pictures from the whole day... a three set series.... #5 being Gus (from Cinderella) trying to hold as many balls as possible and walk them to the gun. He was so determined not to drop any!

We met up with Josiah's family once the meet was over. They met us at the play place and the kids got to play together. Julia stuck with #4 for a while and Everett played with #5 in the ball pit while Jay and I went down the big kid slides. They were pretty intense! You would definitely get some air time on a couple of them.

By then, everyone was worn out and ready to go home! It was a very quiet car ride home. The two little ones were out pretty quick! As soon as they got home, to bed they went! And as soon as we got home, we also went right to bed!

It was a fun day had by all! This is a place I would definitely go to again! Too bad it was two hours away though.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Relaxing Weekend

After a really busy week, it was time for a break! But not until taking a CPR Instructor's course all day on Saturday. We drove down to Ansbach, leaving at 7:00 on Saturday morning. The class was supposed to go until 5:00, but it was a beautiful day outside, so our teacher decided to let us out at 2:00! That certainly worked for us!

We headed to Ramstein from there. It was a two hour dive, which got us there around 4:00. We went to the mall first as we couldn't check in to our hotel yet. After walking through and seeing what was there, we went in to the PX. This place is the largest in all of Germany, maybe even Europe. It's new within the last couple of years, which makes it a very busy place. We walked through, at a very leisurly pace, taking our time looking at things. A couple hours later we walked out with a couple of sacks full. We then meandered through the rest of the stores in the place, just looking, not buying. Around 8:00, we realized we were hungry.

For supper we went to Chili's! Another bonus of Ramstein Air Base. American restaurants!! We went in too close to rush time and had to wait 45 minutes. We realized it was getting late and we hadn't checked in to our hotel yet, so decided to chance it and leave during that 45 minutes. We made it back about 5 minutes late, but they still gave us the next available table. So the rest of the evening we sat and enjoyed our supper!

Enjoying supper at an American restaurant... with the waitress coming over every 5 minutes to make sure everything was ok and give us drinks! Was a little strange, but we sure did like the drink part. Jay finished his first glass in about 2 minutes. The waitress brought out another for him. Another 5 minutes later she came out with another glass for both of us. At this point I had barely touched my first glass. And then as soon as the food was brought out, she brought out two more glasses. Really?!?!?! Did we look that thirsty! Jay downed all three glasses no problem! I pushed to get through two of them. Jay had to take care of my third one. Nonetheless, it was nice not to have to hold back on the drinks, knowing that we could have as many as we wanted.
The other thing that caught us off guard. We weren't even half way through our meal and the waitress came and asked us if we wanted dessert. We said no and so she laid our bill on the table. What?!?! No chasing down of the waitress so we can pay? (Another very German thing) So, when we were finished, we left the money there and walked out! Wow, that was easy! All these things we forget after being over here for awhile... some good and some not so good!

Then we headed to the hotel and slept in Sunday morning. Well, at least until Jay's commander called and needed something signed no later than 6:00 that night. I guess that means we're headed home earlier! It really wasn't a big deal, but did make a rush a bit. Before leaving the hotel, we had to stop and take in what nature was presenting that morning. The sun was shining, the birds were signing, the grass was green, it was absolutely beautiful. There aren't many hotels in America when you can walk out onto the balcony and see nothing but nature. No big building right next door where all you can see is windows! It was so peaceful!

It was really nice to be able to stop life for a day and simply relax. We really needed a day like that. Of course as soon as we got home I had to start in on school work, but I guess that's part of life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Plum Tuckered

You know those days, weeks, or even months when you feel like this....

As soon as you walk in the door, you don't even have enough energy to take your boots off. You just want to lay down and not do anything else!

That would be us right now. We have been going so hard lately that we are just pooped! Fortunately I have spring break to look forward to. Poor Jay doesn't even get that. He gets to look forward to his four day weekends, but those are quickly filling up with trips, classes, and lots of other things.

Nonetheless, even when we feel like we're treading water without a wall to hold on, we're still blessed to have everything we have. We both have jobs that allow us to pay our bills, keep the fridge full, and the car running. We have the opportunity to travel around Europe. And we have amazing friends over here that would do anything for us. We are lucky to have a couch to fall on to when we walk in the door (even if it's provided by the Army).

The four day this coming weekend will be a bit of work and a bit of play for us. We have a CPR instructor's course in Ansbach (about an hour away) that will last all day on Saturday. But after that, we're heading to Ramstein to take the rest of the weekend to relax. No classroom to go work in, no office to go in to, just us, with hopefully no distractions! (Even though I will have to write lesson plans sometime during the weekend.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Anniversary

Three years ago we celebrated one of the best days of our lives. It was a pretty perfect day in every way!

Jay and I celebrated our first anniversary together. Ok.... so it wasn't really our first, but it was our first one in the same country! For our first anniversary, Jay was training in the field in southern Germany and I was in Poland. Last year, Jay was in Afghanistan while I was back here teaching.

We didn't treat the day much different that any other day as we both had to work. But we did go out to eat at a really great restaurant that night. We also exchanged gifts with each other.

We have decided to do the traditional anniversary gifts each year. It's been fun to think up things that go under each category. The first anniversary gift is paper. Because we weren't around each other, we stuck with cards. We'll I wouldn't even go as far as saying cards. Jay wrote me a note on the back of a piece of scratch paper before he left for the field! But it's something I'll always cherish! Last year while Jay was downrange, I sent him underwear! The gift was supposed to be something cotton, so it worked great, and it was something he needed. This year, the gift was supposed to be leather.

Jay got a new baseball glove. I need someone to play catch with this spring.

I got a new scrapbook and a wallet!

The scrapbook will be a running book. We want to do a two page spread for each year of our marriage. Jay put all the pictures in it from the past three years. Our challenge is going to be getting everything that we've done in a year all on two pages! We've been a lot of places and have done a lot of things!!

We hope this next year supplies us with just as many opportunities to travel as the past few years! Jay won't be going to the field or to any schools, so we should be able to go places. We might as well make the most of our last year here!

Next year, it's fruit or flowers! It's a good thing it's an easy one since we'll be settling into our new home at that time. Jay will just be beginning school. It will be a busy time for us.

Monday, March 7, 2011

50th Birthday Party

Last night Jay and I got all dressed up for a 50th birthday party. Our beloved friend, Joanne, wanted to celebrate her big day in a big way. She is one amazing lady and deserved a fantatic celebration! We are so glad we could join in on the fun!

It was fun to get dressed up, be with all of our friends, and dance the night away. The food was great and the music was hoppin'.

Jay and I spent most of the night on the dance floor! We had to show off when it came to the line dances! Such a good time!!

Elizabeth... thanks for the dress! It worked great! So sad you weren't around to boogy on the dance floor with us! We sure missed you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


February didn't leave much time for blogging, so you get it all in one post! I can't believe the month has come and gone already. Not too much happened for us, but enough to keep us from staying home.

President's day weekend found us on the slopes in Zell am See, Austria. This is an absolutely beautiful location set in the midst of the Alps. While Jay had fun traveling down black hills, skiing from town to town, I spent some time on the bunny hill receiving lessons. I also had some fun going to the top and skiing my way down (but not all the way, too steep). Even though I didn't see Jay for most of the day, we both had a fantastic time. The weather was pretty perfect for us. We saw sun, but not enough to give us sunburn!

View from our hotel room window. Absolutely stunning!! (A picture just doesn't do it justice. It was so much prettier than the picture shows)
 Looking across the Alps from the top of the mountain.
 Looking down on the city of Zell am See. Our hotel was right beside the lake.

Last weekend we spent all of Saturday at the Little Miss and Mister Pageant. This is an annual event that is held on post in Schweinfurt. Jay videoed the five hour long pageant from the back of the room. To say the least, he was quite tired by the end of it. I was up front as an auditor. After the judges wrote their points down, I was one to add them all up and double check the math. It was fun to see everyone all dressed up, especially the little tiny ones! So cute!!
Jay videoing

 This little cutie won her age group. She was just a doll.

 The next age group up, adorable. She was blowing kisses to the judges while she walked across the stage.

Enough of the cute girls, time for some sweaty boys! I coached a pee-wee basketball team this past winter. I drug Jay along with me to the practices and games. He ended up enjoying it. We coached the little guys, aging six to seven years. It's kind of hard to teach so many skills within a 45 minute practice once a week. We practiced on Wednesdays and played games on Fridays. Our boys did a good job of picking up what we said and using it in the games. They were just so much fun to watch and see how much they grew within the season. We finished our last game last week! We ended with a pizza party and handed the boys all trophies. Next up, track starts on Monday!

 Who needs us to coach?!!? They can do it on their own!

Our half time entertainment for the games. These girls were fun to watch. When not cheering during half time, they were our opponent! So many players moved that we didn't have enough for a full team. So it was the boy basketball players vs. the girl cheerleaders. Made for some pretty funny games!

This weekend was a bit calmer than the last two. Jay and I stayed home, getting things done we really needed to do! Five loads of laundry washed, house picked up, car cleaned out and washed, and grocery shopping. With Jay's new job, I haven't seen much of him lately. He has a lot on his plate and is doing his best to take care of it. Tonight though, we are staying home, watching a movie and playing games. I have a crock pot full of soup and dessert made. We are ready to sit back and relax!!