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Adventures in Germany

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 shortly after Cole’s birth (and my beloved 49ers), we watched less & less football as a family.  There wasn’t enough time in a day to shuffle 4, 5, 6 kids to school and all their activities and watch football.  Maybe because of that none of my kids played.  Until now.

For two years Cole has been begging me to play football.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love football! But Cole had severe asthma when we moved to Germany.  I had fear of him rolling around on grass. It has been two years since he’s truly had an attack, after talking to his doctor, and clearing him to play, I signed on the dotted line.  Cole is on the football team!

OMG! Football is not cheerleading.  Football is a way of life.  There are daily practices, diet changes, meetings, fund raisers, emails flying left and right…. aaaaaaaaaaah! I’m dizzy from the demands of being a football mom!  Cole, on the other hand, is glowing. Usually with exhaustion, but also with pride. He loves being on the team.  I have never seen him work harder at anything in his life.

Friday is his first game.  It is a night game.  I can’t wait!

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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 some much needed moleskin for his torn-apart feet.  And toothbrushes.  Apparently toothbrushes are in high demand to clean the sand out of radios & weapons.  Who knew?

I went to Kelly because our mail services have been drastically cut, and it was the only post office open. I really wanted to get Christian his much-needed supplies as soon as possible.  I must’ve said something to the mailguy, I don’t remember what, because he took a look at me, leafed through some forms, and then said;

“I got an idea.” His idea turned out to be to bypass the guys in Moron, Spain (real place!) and send Christian’s packages directly to Kandahar.  Because. Standing right next to him was a big, old, white bag tagged “Kandahar”.  Now, he made no promises as to what will happen after the mailbag got into Kandahar. It might not get on the next plane, or truck, or camel out to Christian but Kandahar is a lot closer than Spain.  I’ll take it!  That guy is my new favorite guy.

On the way back home we got caught up in a stau (traffic jam), umleitung (detour) and a massive downpour.  It made a long drive already longer.  Dane started getting a little restless, so Cole tried to amuse him. I only listened with half-an-ear, my thoughts were filled with Christian and my concentration was on the road, but it seems that Cole was having Dane polish his gold hairs.  Kids.

Later, I found Dane in the bathroom brushing his hair, a big grin on his face:

“I have the most gold hair of anyone! I bet it’s worth $100!”16AUG14

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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 kids in both the German & American school systems, living under one roof, means very little overlapping vacation time.  So when it is vacation time, we let our hair down & let schedules go.  I love vacation time!

We are all night owls.  Leave us to our own devices and we are easily up past midnight, preferably till 2 or 3 am, sleeping till noon or later.  I’d hoped we’d be magically cured moving to Europe.  That maybe our night owl-ness was really my European genes passed down to the kiddo’s and we were innately on an European schedule.

But no. As soon as jet lag was over (6+ weeks!), we lapsed right into our night owl schedule.  When needed we have grumpy mornings at least 5 days a week.  Those first hours are a bear, even with pots of coffee.  Getting the kids out of the house, especially Dane & Cole, is a fight each & every morning.

I now have almost 4 weeks of NO SCHOOL! No early mornings.  No fighting. No bears.  I’m in hog heaven!

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The Amazing, Invisible, Sheep!

by Toiny Westberry 23 July 2014
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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 […]

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My Fancy Futuristic Car

by Toiny Westberry 24 May 2014

Ever have a week, really a month, where everything goes wrong?  Yep.  That was me the last several weeks.  Thankfully it was not people-wrong, but mechanical-wrong. It started with the The Big, Red, Intimating, not-out-of-order Machine, it went out-of-order. Our hot water supply went to nil, our showers came to an end and the house […]

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Going Full American

by Toiny Westberry 17 May 2014

I know the photo is a little soft, but it is my favorite of Dane on his birthday this week.  It is just so him.  He finally, at age 7, has his first wiggly tooth and in this photo you can still see the precious baby teeth peeking out. His hair is poking out in […]

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No Shoes. No Soccer.

by Toiny Westberry 14 February 2014
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Yesterday was not poor Dane’s day.  All week long he looks forward to Tuesdays.  Soccer day.  The hours between school and soccer practice are almost unbearable, the boy has no concept of time.  Timers, clocks, stickers-on-clocks, nothing works.  He must ask me every 1-to-5 minutes; “Is it time?” “Can we go now?” “How much longer?”  […]

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My Bestest Friend

by Toiny Westberry 8 January 2014
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At the end of 3rd grade, we moved to America.  To California, to be precise.  Before that I had spend only 6 months in America, and I knew little-to-no English.  My memories of those first months are all visual. I wonder if that is what my kids remember from our first year in Germany? I did […]

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Weihnachts Circus

by Toiny Westberry 21 December 2013
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Last week, while I was still sulking over our friends PCS’ing (Permanent Change of Station) back to the states, a new friend (Tricia) called & asked if we wanted to go to the Weihnachts Circus with them.  It was sponsored by the local big box furniture store, and only €2 each.  I need a pick-me-up and the […]

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Almost

by Toiny Westberry 7 December 2013
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Today is much better.  I can breath again, and tell random strangers “I’m okay” without bursting into tears, turning me into a liar.  Our friends made it back stateside, after an extra long day of travel, safe & sound.  Even their puppy made it, United Airlines treated her with extra care & love.  It is […]

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