Sunday, October 12, 2008

More photos from the Labyrinth

There was so much going on at the corn maze that I had to do another page of them for ya'll. I wanted to be sure to get a shot of what Colin called "graphic beef" and also the accordian band. At one point we noticed some of the songs sounded familiar....was that Hard Day's Night by the Beatles? Yup! heeehee. Colin couldn't resist sampling a big glass of freshly pressed apple juice. You can't bottle that kind of flavor. YUM!

(if you click on the pictures you can view them a bit bigger so you can see them!)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Happy Fall Ya'll!

What a beautiful time of year it is! All the trees are changing into their autumn outfits and pumpkins and apples are for sale all over the place, the smell of smoke is in the air, fields are being harvested and the evenings have that bit of bite that lets you know colder nights are right around the corner.

Colin and I spent Sunday afternoon exploring a corn labyrinth in nearby Ladenburg. Every year they plant this field into a huge themed maze and hide 6 or more signposts for visitors to find before they make their way to the center and climb a tower to get an overview before heading out. Before we tackled the maze we fortified ourselves with plates of "Texas Beef". Since this year's maze was on a Wild West theme they had a whole steer roasted on a spit as well as different seasonal cakes and treats. We enjoyed an accordion band while we ate our food and petted the dogs that were wandering around hoping for a scrap of meat to fall from a plate. After we finished the maze we picked out a few pumpkins to set aside to carve in a few weeks and Colin enjoyed a big mug of freshly pressed apple juice. WONDERFUL!

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

No I'm not talking about Christmas already....It's the first day of school!! I suppose Colin and all the other kids who are starting school today might disagree but I know the other moms will be singing the same song along with me. HaHa. Actually Colin was looking forward to school starting and seeing his friends again and finding out about his classes and all that. But it's not cool to act TOO excited now is it? I can't believe that he is already a sophmore. Didn't I just walk him to his kindergarten classroom a few weeks ago?? I better not blink or he will graduate before I know it!

Jeffrey has been in school a few weeks already but I don't have any back to school photos of him. He is a JUNIOR this year! One of his classes is called "employability skills". I guess he already put those skills to use because he called the other night to tell us that he got a job! For some time now he has been eligible to get a job off the Boys Town campus and he has been filling out applications all over the place. He is working at a restaurant called Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. It is a pretty upscale place that is "reminiscent of the traditional 40's style supper clubs". He has to wear a bow tie! One of his friends works there and he says that he gets great tips and it is a fun place to work. I hope he enjoys it. His first 'real' job!!! If you are near Omaha and get a chance to eat there maybe you will see him.

And for all my scrappin' friends out there....isn't that the coolest digi kit I used for Colin's sophomore layout?? It is a freebie from Laura at C.W. Picket & Company! I know lots of you have kiddos starting school about now go click on the link and check out the goodies!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rockin' Happy Birthday to Me!!

My actual Birthday is the 12th of August, but I had to wait until a week later to enjoy my 'big gift' from Bill. He got me (and Colin) tickets to see R.E.M. in concert in Stuttgart! It was a cool concert because they didn't have it in a huge arena like most concerts these days, but they set up in the front of the palace right in the downtown. They had standing tickets and also tickets for numbered seats in the 2 sets of bleachers they set up. We had front row bleacher seats! WhoohoO!

Unfortunately the weather was rainy..but we took our jackets and umbrella and did fine. Just as they were setting up for R.E.M. the sun broke through the clouds and there was this awesome rainbow right over the stage! Beautiful!!

Colin continued the "Rockin Birthday" theme because he gave me the Aerosmith version of the Guitar Hero video game! I even have my own guitar we can play together at the same time. It's really fun, but I need to practice more. I have most of the songs beat on the medium level but so far can't win the guitar battle against Joe Perry. That's OK because I KNOW I am not ready to move up the the Hard level!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm going to Disneyland!!

Well actually Colin and I just got back from Disneyland! He won a free ticket at the 4th of July celebration and we went this past weekend. I was kind of worried we might have some rainy weather since it has been soggy here in Heidelberg but the skies were blue and sunshiney all day. Whoohoo! After waiting over an hour for the bus to show up (it is the middle of the big vacation time here and traffic is MURDER on certain autobahns) we finally got on our way. The bus wasn't full at all so talll Colin was able to stretch out across the back row of seats and sleep the whole way. (The buses pick you up around midnight and drive all night so you are there when the park opens) We were in the park right at opening time, actually earlier than that so that was cool. They let you into the main street part of Disneyland a half hour before they open the rest of the park and everyone clusters up by the ropes waiting for them to drop at 10 AM. We were right up against the rope that leads to Adventureland and were so surprised at how people TRAMPLED and ran when the ropes dropped! We headed for the Indiana Jones rollar coaster since Colin said he wanted to 'start small' and save Space Mountain Mission 2 for later. Once we were on the ride I noticed the loop! So much for starting small eh? I couldnt believe that coaster was big enough to include a loop but it did, and what a blast!!! After that we headed toward Pirates of the Caribbean, exploring the caves of Adventure Island along our way. After the Pirates we went into Fantasyland and hit all the rides that go with the classic Disney hits: Peter Pan's Flight, Alice's Curious Labyrinth, Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, and the Adventures of Pinoccio. (Don't worry...we stopped for lunch in the middle of all that! Next we went through the middle of Sleeping Beauty's castle and watched a glass blower and headed to Discoveryland (Disneyland Paris's version of Tomorrowland). We rode Space Mountain Mission 2 and whoa baby is it NUTHIN like the Space Mountain I am used to! You start out the ride being SHOT out of a cannon!! They use a system similar to what they use to launch airplanes from aircraft carriers. Then inside the building you go through all sorts of stuff including a corkscrew, a loop and a cobra each seat has its own computerized sound system in synch with where your car is in the ride. VERY COOL!!! We walked through Captain Nemo's Nautilus, then rode the Star Tours similator ride, saw the Honey I Shrunk the Audience Show and saved the world from the Evil Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyears Lazer Blast. Of course we couldn't go to Disney without going on the Small World ride so we did that next, then practically ran over the Frontierland to try and ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Haunted Mansion before we had to get back to catch our bus. Alas...the ride wait for Big Thunder was 65 minutes, so we had to skip it. We did the Haunted Mansion hoping when we were finished things would have changed at the Mountain but they didn't. Ah well. Colin had fun in the Haunted Mansion. When you first go in there is a big room before the actual is dim and creepy as it should be and Colin does his best Boohoohahaha laugh in his deep voice and this girl about his age just SHRIEKED and literally RAN to the other side of the room!! Everyone was cracking up and he is still talking about it. We felt pretty good that we got to see all but one of the things on our 'list', especially since it was a very busy time to be in the park. And we even made it back to the bus on time....the other family wasn't so lucky. We had to wait and wait for them to show up. Colin and I had nicknamed them "The Lost Family" earlier in the day because they seemed kind of clueless....and well they lived up to their name! heehee!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

They say it's your birthday! is Bill's birthday. It is one of those that ends in a zero and that's as much as I'm gonna reveal! We didn't have a big party or anything cuz Bill prefers to keep things lowkey so we just gave him some gifties and went out to a movie together on the last night before he went to the States. Colin got him a season 2 DVD collection of a TV show Bill likes called "My Name is Earl". I got him some new clothes to wear to work and school, a book to read on the plane and a special shaving mirror that he has been looking for. I have my eye out for one other thing but I'll keep that under my hat til I find it! :)

If you are wondering how I made that cool digital scrapbook page up there it is from Kim B's designs blog and is a super quick page you can download free! You should check it out if you dabble in digi!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bill flew the coop today!

Yup...this morning around 9AM we left for the airport to take Bill to his flight to Baltimore where he will be going to school until October for his work. He was hoping to sleep for most of his flight so it will pass quickly. After dropping him off Colin and I headed back to Heidelberg so he could go to a Boy Scout planning meeting only to find yet again that the meeting time had been changed without us knowing about it. So we went to the commissary instead. One lady there thought we were amusing...we were in the laundry detergent aisle trying to choose and I asked Colin the difference between these two kinds and he said they were different scents...I asked him 'well which one smells better'? and he said I dont know...they are just detergent what does it matter what it smells like?! I said because that is how your clothes will smell. I told him to open them up and smell and see and he laughed and said "your so weird" (in a joking way) we both smelled the 'flavors' and I chose the one I liked best...he said 'it smells like soap'! I said well of course it does, it IS soap! The lady said we should go on the road. Colin thought SHE was weird because he didn't see what was funny. LOL

Tonight he beat me soundly at a game of RISK. He got it from his friend Nicole for his birthday and has been wanting to play it for some time. Bill won't play it because he hates all the little peices and how long it takes and all that. I don't HATE it but it sure is easier to play it on the computer so you don't have to mess with all the guys. Ah well...Colin took great delight in dominating the game board. I had to forfeit to his superiority...but I did get to hold onto a shred of dignity first...I DID maintain at least ONE continent through the game!!

Here's some more pictures from my spring break trip to Omaha. (Yes I haven't forgotten I need to do LOTS Of updating!!) The first one is of me and of Jeff's 'family teachers' that he had for most of the first 2 years he was at Boys Town. During Christmas break both her and her husband Brett were offered other jobs and it seemed that God was telling them it was time to move on through those open doors. We felt bad for the boys at the house having to say goodbye to them, they were wonderful at what they did and had seen Jeffrey come so far. I was glad when I went to visit that Natalie still works on the Boys Town campus and we were able to go out to lunch with her and finally meet face to face his 'mom away from home' and give her a hug and say thanks. She and her husband have had such a huge part in the turning around and guidance of Jeffrey that there didn't seem to be enough words. Here we are together...

The next photo is of Jeffrey in his room. It is good to see 'his space' and see how he has made it his own. I think he was proud to show it off too.

Mom and I had a few days to shop and hang out in Omaha while we waited for Jeffrey's spring break to start. We had made a list of scrapbooking stores to check out and I was surprised and excited to learn that there is an Archivers store there! I usually get to shop in a tiny little portion of our local arts and crafts shop for my scrapbook supplies...I had seen Archivers in my magazines but had never seen one in real life. I got goose bumps I was so excited! Mom and I shopped there all morning..took a break for lunch and headed back to finish up afterwards...we didn't want to miss a thing! Only another scrapbooker would understand us I'm sure. Heehee

Friday, August 01, 2008

We're back!!

We took a little mini-vacation for a few days before Bill has to leave for Washington DC Sunday. He is going to be going to a school for his work and will be there until October. I have been wanting to visit Dresden for a long time so this was our destination. We stayed near Bamberg Germany the first night after touring the city of Bamberg, then drove on towards Dresden the next day. We took a scenic route and stopped at a place called FelsenLabyrinth that is a big mountain covered in huge boulders that you can explore with paths going up and over and through and sometimes under the rocks. Near Dresden we stayed at a 400 year old blacksmith's shop that this nice couple has restored and turned into a bed/breakfast. The living part of the shop is furnished in period furnishings and is a small museum. We got to stay in some of those rooms. Very cooL! We toured Dresden the next day until we were all exhausted from the heat...summer is definately here! South of Dresden is this really neat National Park where there are all these valleys and gorges with sandstone rock formations rising up from them. We drove around there and stopped at one where they have constructed bridges and paths out amongst some of the formations and wandered around until it started to get dark. The next day it was time to go home...we drove through a few quaint walled villages about halfway home so it wouldn't seem like such a long drive.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Jeffrey is enjoying a vacation this week too. All the boys in his house and several others get to go to Lake Okoboji in Iowa for the week. This will be the third time he has been there and he is looking forward to spending all the time he can out on the lake wakeboarding. He will probably also go fishing and swimming and just hanging out having a great week. I hope he remembers to take some photos for me!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday COLIN!!!

Today is Colin's 15th birthday!! I can't believe our 'baby' is already did that happen? Seems like he was just a little guy a few days ago. Look how tiny he WAS:

And look at him now!!! Yup that is him on the left...towering over his brother AND his dad!! He is six foot one inch and probably still growing!

And isn't he the handsome feller??! (I'm not biased at all! HA!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update continued....

Here's some more of what we have been up to since I was posting regularly. The first pictures were taken during Jeffrey's Spring Break. I had a great time spending time with him both in Omaha and in Arkansas. I wanted to be sure to go to the zoo with him because there are so many new attractions there since my last visit. One of the best additions is the Scott Aquarium with it's shark tunnel and also the penguin exhibit. It was so cool to see the penguins gliding along beside us, they looked like they were flying underwater. I even got to see a giant king penguin daddy sitting on an egg!

These next pictures were taken here in Germany a few weeks ago. Bill and I discovered this automobile museum when we were on a drive one day and made plans to go back and see it soon. They had an awesome collection of interesting cars, trucks and motorcycles. We stayed until they closed, looking at all the vehicles and taking pictures.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Testing testing 1,2,3.....

Wanna play along with some fun scrapbooking challenges?? Come join us at Scrapbook Shanty for all sorts of challenges. One of them is a sketch/template challenge. I am learning my something new for the week and trying to convert the sketch we were given to a layered template to use with digi goodies. I THINK I got it! (Fingers crossed!!) I'm gonna see if I can attach it to this blog post and maybe someone can let me know if it works!!

Click Here

Friday, July 11, 2008

Calling all antique or farm stuff people!

A few weeks ago we visited the Odenwald Open Air Museum in Gottersdorf, a picturesque German village. We had a great time wandering around inside and out of the old houses, barns and outbuildings. Colin got to meet an unfriendly goose and some VERY friendly sheep. It was really interesting seeing how people lived and worked in that part of the country. Usually we can look at things and figure out what the different farm tools and implements were used for...but this time we were stumped. Does anyone have a clue what these interesting ropes with wooden toggles purpose was???

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WHOA talk about a poor neglected blog!

Someone feel free to give me the required amount of lashes with a wet noodle! To get this thing up to date is going to take either an EPIC post or a bunch of smaller ones. I think for the sake of everyone involved (any my typing fingers) I will spread it out over some time.

Lets see.....when we last saw our hero (ahem...that's me! hahaha) she was on an airplane headed for a visit to the States. Yes I did arrive safely and had a WONDERFUL time!!! One of the highlights of my trip was getting to see Jeffrey take part in a drill meet with his JROTC group. I had never seen him in his uniform and it was real cool to see him out there strutting his stuff. Doesn't he look sharp!!?!

As far as what we are up to today...we are doing the typical summer thing. Colin is hanging out with his friends as much as possible and Dungeons and Dragons seems to be the thing to do right now. About 6 of them who live in biking distance get together for most of the afternoon and have their adventures. Bill and I are sharing the Jeep now since my little beater beamer gave up the ghost last month. We donated it to the auto crafts shop and they will probably part it out. We are looking hard for a 2nd car but so far no luck. Hopefully we can find something with A/C and with a back seat big enough for 6'1" Colin to sit in and not have his knees up under his chin!

We spent the 4th of July on the base at a big celebration. They had a band and food and prize giveaways and a big flag ceremony that Colin took part in and of course the fireworks. Colin and his friends even had Bill 'arrested' by the MPs and he had to be handcuffed and spend his 4 minutes of hard time in the mock jail.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Leavin' on a Jet Plane....

Tomorrow morning bright and early we are heading to Frankfurt so I can go to the States for a whole MONTH! to visit Mom and Dad and my sister Jan and my Grandma and all my aunts and uncles and cousins and their babies....oh and I EVEN get to see Jeffrey for a whole week! Actually it was his request to have someone come and visit him between Christmas and the end of his school year that sparked the idea for this big trip. Bill said "you haven't seen your family in 'bout we send you for a whole month since any shorter wouldn't be worth it" and how could I say no to that!?

Colin and Bill are going to head over to the little airport where RyanAir leaves from and take on of their special low fares to Pisa for the long weekend. They will stay at the Army base at Camp Darby and see what they can see. I hope that Bill is feeling well enough for them to enjoy themselves. He came down with a WICKED sore throat this past week and is in a lot of pain and discomfort. It is quite swollen so it is hard to swallow and nothing seems to help. He has been to the Dr. and they said it wasn't strep...but I'm not so sure. Colin is a very attentive 'nurse' though and has been waiting on him hand and foot every time he fusses so I know he is in good hands!

If you wanna have some scrapbooking fun this weekend then hop on over to the Scrap Shanty and join in the "Hearts On Fire" crop. There are all sorts of games and challenges and chats and fun. I'll be checking in and playing from mom's house!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Wow, where did January go????

I think I must have entered a time warp or something because I woke up the other day and here it is February already! We really haven't done anything exciting or noteworthy...just living life, doing what we gotta do. Colin is in rehearsals for the Spring musical of Godspell. His part is "Herb" who he describes as a 'class clown kinda guy'. Sounds interesting! Bill took another one of those marathon class every day of the week and one complete weekend and you get another graduate level class under your belt thingies. We did go out a few times with our cameras to get some fresh air and see what photos we could take. I'll share a few......can you guess who took which one? I'll let you know in a few days. Heehee!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

God Bless Us.....Everyone!

What a wonderful holiday season we had this year. Of course the highlight and best gift for all of us this Christmas was having Jeffrey with us for Christmas!! But I'll get to that in a bit. I'll try to keep things all in order so I don't get confused! hahaha

Colin started out by performing in a one act play at his school called "A Hillbilly Christmas Carol". They put the show on a few times at school and at the elementary school and again one evening as part of the Christmas carnival. He got to be a ghost again! (remember he was a pirate ghost in Legend of Sleepy Hollow) The next play will be in the Spring and is the musical "Godspell" and I am pretty sure there are no ghosts in that one so we won't have to worry about him getting typecast.

Bill, Colin and I went downtown to the Heidelberg Christmas market one evening. The Christmas markets are one of my favorite parts of Christmas here in Germany. I love the sights, sounds and smells of the whole thing. All the booths filled with gifts and food and goodies, the people gathered drinking hot mugs of gluhwein, the lights, all the traditional Christmas decorations....I can never get enough of it.

Jeffrey arrived from Omaha on Friday morning. We let Colin take that last day off from school so he could be with us when we picked Jeffrey up from the airport. We waited and waited at the gate....saw the people from his flight come out the doors and the crowd of waiting people getting smaller and smaller and no Jeffrey. Then there was only a handful of us waiting and we all checked with each other to see that we were waiting for people from the same flight. Finally one girl came out...she had been working with the airline people because of lost luggage. We asked if there was a teenage boy back there also waiting and she said "with a skateboard?" and we knew it was Jeffrey! He finally appeared and yes indeed....his duffel bag didn't arrive along with him. We stopped at the PX on our way home and picked up some more Christmas gifts and also some jeans and a Tshirt for Jeffrey. He had some clothes here at the house also that still fit him so he was set for awhile. We started out our Christmas festivities by seeing a play of A Christmas Carol performed in the Knights Hall of Heidelberg Castle. We got there early enough that we were able to get great seats in the second row. The show was excellent and really put us all in the holiday spirit.

Saturday we spent most of the day doing more shopping, going to German stores since they are not open on Sundays. We had dinner at a great Chinese buffet, Mongolian Barbeque restaurant. They have all kinds of meats and veggies and sauces and seafoods that they cook for you...and also the regular buffet AND delicious sushi...all you can eat and we ate all we could! SO delicious. After dinner we had only been in the house a little while when the doorbell rang ..."Airport!"...Jeffrey's bag had arrived. WHEW! He was quite relieved since some of the gifts he wanted to give us were in his bag. Sunday we drove over the Kaiserslautern to shop at the 2 Air Forces bases that are there. Monday we woke up to a winter wonderland. It hadn't snowed...but the frost was SO heavy and thick that everything was covered in sort of like pine needles made of frost. BEAUTIFUL!

Since Monday was Christmas Eve we had our usual Christmas Eve junk food pigout! We had chips, dips, crackers, cheese, meat, BBQ lil smokies, cookies, and I don't remember what all. Delicious! We watched It's A Wonderful Life and also our tape filled with all our Christmas faves like Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. The boys opened their traditional Christmas Eve jammies and read the Christmas story from the Bible before heading up to bed.

Christmas day had everyone filled with excitement and joy. I think I was more excited to see the boys reactions to their Christmas gifts than I was to seeing what I would receive. Colin got the gift he wanted most of all...a game for his Playstation called Guitar Hero III. None of our PX's had had any in stock ever, and he was HOPING to get the game but not hopeful. I got lucky one day and found TWO of the game in the PX one day and snatched one up. It was the only time I ever saw them here. Jeffrey gave Colin the same game in version I and II so Colin should be jammin' for a LONG time. (me too is a REALLY fun game!) He also got a new student Bible from Grandma and Papa, some cool Tshirts, an autographed copy of the latest book from his favorite author, and another copy to read. His big gift was dad's old Panasonic FZ20 camera that he had been eyeing ever since Bill bought the next one up for himself.
Jeffrey was SO surprised to get the pinstriped suit that he has been wanting for a long time now. He also got some videos, books, movies and skateboard brand clothes. His BIG gift was our laptop computer. The wireless internet connector will stay here, but he can use it to watch movies and play games and do homework with. He was ecstatic! Most of his free time he spent loading it up with pictures of his friends and games and making it his own.
Bill's big gift was of course the new camera, but he also got some books, DVDs, clothes, candy, and even some computer games of his own. He spent most of HIS free time after that completing one of them. (He likes the mystery games that you have to interact with the characters and explore and solve puzzles to win.)

I got lots of nice clothes (which I really need), some great books, a 3D puzzle of the Eiffel Tower (I put it together the other night...very cool!), some awesome soft jammies, and a toasty polar fleece Nebraska pullover! ahhhhhhh. My big gift from Bill is going to be a helicopter flight over Heidelberg. I can't wait! I have never been up in a helicopter and I can't imagine how cool it will be to see Heidelberg from that point of view!

While we waited for our Christmas turkey to cook we all took turns playing Colin's guitar game and trying on clothes and tasting candy and stuff like that. We had been invited to come to dinner with some friends but I don't get very many chances to use my "fine china" so I was looking forward to that. We joined them for dessert and conversation at their house around 7 instead.

Our friends' daughter Rachel has been good friends with Jeffrey since she moved here several years ago and her parents bowl on my team on Tuesday nights. They were planning to go to Phantasialand (a theme park) the next day and invited Jeffrey to join them. How could we say no? He had a great day riding rollar coasters and hanging out with his friend. We hung out here playing with our new toys! :)

We were SO sad when Friday came. It didn't seem possible that our visit with Jeffrey was almost over! We went downtown Heidelberg to see the shops and have some cake and coffee in a cafe and just enjoy being together. For dinner we picked up Rachel and had dinner at this awesome German restaurant that makes some of the BEST schnitzel we have ever had. There was no room for dessert that night! After that we had to head home whether we liked it or was time for Jeffrey to pack his bag and get some rest before heading back to Nebraska Saturday morning.

Saturday we were up way before the sun to get Jeffrey to the airport in time to catch his flight. We had a bit of time to have some coffee and chat a bit before he had to say goodbye and go to his gate. I can't believe how quickly this week flew by! It was so nice to have all 4 of us together again....and everyone getting along and behaving so nicely and just a real joy. One of those things money can't buy. We all can't wait until May when hopefully Jeffrey will be able to join us again for good. If he keeps doing as well as he is doing now we don't see any reason for that not to happen.

Poor Jeff had a rough flight back though. He called us when he got home....his flight from Germany left late and he missed his connecting flight in Detroit. Then he had to go to Minneapolis and then finally to Omaha. I think there was another mixup in there somewhere else too but I forget. AND to make things worse once AGAIN his baggage did not arrive when he did. He said that he wasn't worried or anything...just went to the desk and told them what happened and let them sort it out. I'm not sure I would be that levelheaded at 16 yrs old to deal with those kinds of hassles on my own.