You are here: Home » Blog » Personal Notes

Personal Notes

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.

04OCT14_image

Be the first to comment ... Join the conversation!

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

1 comment ... Join the conversation!

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 they bus throughout Europe for their games.  It also means a lot of long roadtrips for the proud parents (that’s me! And Dave!).

Yesterday we drove 4 hours (it’s 2 1/2 hours, but, well, Friday afternoon on the autobahn is not at unlimited, breakneck speeds) to get up to K-town and cheer Cole and the Panthers on for their first game of the season.

It has been an unusually cold summer here, and Fall is in full swing.  The boys were warm, even hot during play, but up in the stands the cold, wet, rain chilled me down to my bones.  Shhhhh! Don’t tell Cole his mom may be getting just a little old.

Despite the cold, despite the rain, a night game is exciting!  Our boys were slow to warm up. The K-town team has, *gasp*, astroturf!  At home our boys play on real grass. Maybe that is why they were slow to start?  The first quarter left our hearts in our throats and my voice hoarse.  It was instant bond for me, Dave and the other proud parents rooting for our team.  There, in the middle of Germany, we found a little bit of small town Americana.

An away game, a 3-hours away, away game means a smaller crowd on the “guest” side.  We more than made up for the smaller audience by whooping & cheering & encouraging our team.  Soon enough those boys found their footing on the slick, fast astroturf and rallied for a resounding win.  Final score? 41 – 20.  Go Panthers!

This is Cole’s first year playing football, despite being a junior (Football is a Way of Life), but he is on the Varsity team, albeit second string.  Second string is hard for our puppy.  He had to wait till the 4th quarter to finally get on the field and play.

And he played.  He played hard. He played fast. He played strong.  Can you just see my heart bursting with pride over here?

Friday Night Lights

Be the first to comment ... Join the conversation!

Football is a way of Life

by Toiny Westberry 10 September 2014
Thumbnail image for Football is a way of Life

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 […]

0 comments Continue reading…

DUDE! YOU EXIST!

by Toiny Westberry 30 August 2014
Thumbnail image for DUDE! YOU EXIST!

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 […]

0 comments Continue reading…

Vacation on Texel

by Toiny Westberry 27 August 2014
Thumbnail image for Vacation on Texel

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 […]

1 comment Continue reading…

The Most Gold Hair

by Toiny Westberry 16 August 2014
Thumbnail image for The Most Gold Hair

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 […]

0 comments Continue reading…

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 […]

0 comments Continue reading…

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 […]

0 comments Continue reading…

The Amazing, Invisible, Sheep!

by Toiny Westberry 23 July 2014
Thumbnail image for The Amazing, Invisible, Sheep!

A couple of weeks (months?) ago I read, on the front page of our local paper, that the Schäferbier was brewed, bottled & ready for the Schäferlauf.  Now, Schäfer = sheep.  Bier is obvious & lauf = walk.  I quickly deduced that the sheep beer was ready for the sheep walk, but what was a […]

2 comments Continue reading…