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Personal Notes

Aaaaah! I’ve lost my battery charger.  My camera is dead.  I’m in deep mourning.  Not only did I lose my battery charger, but the last time I lost my battery charger Dave bought me a new, portable battery charger for in the car.

I didn’t lost my new portable car battery charger, but I did lose the cord that powers that new portable car battery charger.  Today I stopped at the local Media Markt to buy either a new battery charger, portable car battery charger or a cord for the portable car battery charger.  They had the new cord.  Bought it.

That stupid new cord made my almost-new portable car battery charger get all hot & smokey.  And.  It did not charge my camera battery, so it’s still dead.  My battery charger isn’t the only thing all hot & smokey.  I’m feeling fairly hot & smokey myself!

And.  Tonight was the big homecoming bonfire at Cole’s school.  They lit it right at sunset, a fairly spectacular sunset, and the pictures my camera took in my imagination… well, you’ll have to imagine along with me.  They were spectacular too.  My kids were so happy surrounded by friends, a big fire lighting them up beautifully. Hot & smokey.

Tomorrow is the big homecoming game, I’ll be on the field starting at 8:30 in the morning serving fresh, hot, homemade crepes to the boys and their families.  It will be an all-day affair as they set-up the field & bleachers, followed by the JV game, and finally the Varsity game in the early afternoon. I’m tired just thinking about it.  And hot & smokey I won’t have a camera!  I may be addicted.

I wanted to find a hot & smokey picture to illustrate how incredibly frustrated I feel tonight.  But instead I’m sharing one of my favorite photo’s from our trip to Holland last month for Operation Market Garden.
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I had to give up Oktober Fest last night because there are only so many hours in a day.  Right now I am spending 25 of those hours sleeping, eating, working and being mom. I am plain, ol’ mom, guitar mom, pingpong mom, swim mom, after-school-random-sports mom, Soccer Mom and now football mom.  Football mom is… OMG. Football. Mom.  I’m starting to feel that is worse than army wife.

Most Saturdays there is a game, that means clean pads, undergear, uniform, shower bag, other gear, snacks, more snacks, American money for food on base, Euro’s for food on the road, and more.  Cole does do a lot of it on his own but it still means:

“Mom!  Where is the stuff I clean pads with?”
“Mom! How do I get grass stains out of my pants?”
“Mom!” My helmet doesn’t fit in my bag.  Where is a bigger bag?”
“Mom! We are out of protein shakes!”
“Mom! Where is my shampoo?”
“Mom! I only have €5!”
“Mom! Have you seen my black jersey?  I can only find the white jersey.  I need the black jersey!”

Then he says: “What do you mean it is a lot of work for you?”

Now it also includes cooking for 10, and serving up a hot carb-loaded meal to the boys, the night before a big game. I participated in the first team dinner last night. I made my Dutch-style bacon mac & cheese, then ferried it piping hot to the field and carried, all 50 piping hot pounds of it, across the football field to serve the team.

Us moms, and a couple of awesome dads, are lined up on one side (dwarfed by our huge little giants, but we are there in the photo, can you see me poking out, about an inch of me?), serving up overflowing plates of food.  Not just once, but twice, even three times! Football players can eat.

For two hours it was all happy, warm fuzzies, camaraderie and bonding with both the boys and the other parents.  Yes, it is a lot of work, packed into days that are already more than full, but it is also fabulous to be part of a big family.  Living so far from home, finding family anywhere, is priceless.

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Last week, for the first time in 20 years together, Dave & I went away for five whole days without any children.  It was the 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, and Dave jumped as part of the commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem.

On Saturday we woke, way too early before five in the morning, to heavy fog.  The planes were grounded and the planned jumps into Ginkel Heath were delayed.  Eventually only half the jumps were rescheduled and we found ourselves with the luxury of wandering through the events, displays and ceremonies.  The actual DZ (drop zone) was located in the middle of nowhere, Holland.  The jumps that day planned to re-act the same jumps 70 years earlier, in the exact same location. We parked our van as close as we could, then joined the crowd hiking in. Soon we were surrounded by not just walkers, but also hundreds of bike riders.

Halfway to the DZ I heard a low rumbling, steadily getting louder and deeper.  At first I looked up, expecting the planes to be rolling in despite the lingering mist, then I realized it was coming from the ground right as the first half-track (part tank, part truck) came careening around the corner aiming straight for me.

Thankfully Dave pulled me to the side, and after five minutes of watching the British retreat (they were due for different ceremonies over in Nijmegen), I remembered my camera and pulled it out to quickly snap some photo’s.  More half-tracks passed, a troop transport, medical vehicles, motorcycles and scout bikes (comically small motorcycles dropped with the parachutists), and jeeps.  Lots and lots of old, lovingly restored WWII era jeeps.

Walking through the woods of my childhood that day was surreal.  A mix of modern and an era before my time, as bikes rode past and jeeps kicked up dust, while half-tracks and troop transports had me dodging behind trees.  I could almost feel the fear, and the elation, of my forefathers as vehicle after vehicle passed by.

When we finally reached the DZ, looking surprisingly like the practice DZs back at Ft. Bragg, I was overwhelmed to see thousands of people gathered for the commemoration events (news reports put it at 40,000).  It was at least a 6 kilometer hike in, and yet it felt like half my country was there to honor the Americans, Poles, Brits, French, Italian, Belgian soldiers who fought to liberate us 70 years ago. Operation Market Garden

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Friday Night Lights

by Toiny Westberry 13 September 2014
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Last night Cole had his first game under the Friday Night Lights.  Football is not big here in Germany, soccer, oh yes, but football?  That’s a whole other story. The most important part of the story is that only “our” high schools have teams.  That means a lot of travel time for our teams as […]

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Football is a way of Life

by Toiny Westberry 10 September 2014
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Way back in the dark ages, I was a high school cheerleader.  Back then I loved football! I loved the smell of fresh grass, the energy of the crowd, hot dogs, cheering. I loved night games under the bright lights, those are almost magical. I loved football. As the years passed, and we left California […]

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DUDE! YOU EXIST!

by Toiny Westberry 30 August 2014
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We have 1-2 years left in Germany.  I can’t believe how fast our time here has gone. I can’t believe how much my kids have grown.  I really can’t believe how much of my bucket list I haven’t seen! I love travel.  I love new places, new sights, new smells, new foods!  When I realized […]

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Vacation on Texel

by Toiny Westberry 27 August 2014
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I have decided I am now 90% German.  Living here for five years, it’s just seeped into my being. I blame osmosis.  We finally went on vacation-vacation last week.  For one week.  I totally get why Germans take such long vacations (Germans have on average 34 paid vacation days).  It took me till Sunday to […]

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The Most Gold Hair

by Toiny Westberry 16 August 2014
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My packages to Christian have been taking forever to reach him.  Poor kid is going to think I don’t love him.  That is the last thing he needs.  Afghanistan is no picnic, and it’s been hard for him. Yesterday I drove all the way to Kelly, the furthest local base from me, to mail him […]

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Harry Potter

by Toiny Westberry 13 August 2014

My kids, like many kids, love to dress-up and pretend. When the big boys were little (now 22, 23 & 24), dress-up was fine by me… at home.  Out in public I insisted they wear normal clothes like jean, shorts, t-shirts.  If they were lucky t-shirts with Scooby-Doo or Superman.  If they were lucky. I […]

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Night Owls

by Toiny Westberry 1 August 2014

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned, but Cole is in American High School on base.  We pulled him out of German school when he started his freshman year.  Life is filled with enough challenges being a military brat. We wanted to give him as an easy-as-possible opportunity to complete all the right credits for college. Having […]

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