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Cole really needs our prayers.  His hand is not healing, in fact it’s doing the opposite (Westberry’s Only).  He originally had on a half cast that caused him nothing but pain.  He refused to go back to the ER, insisting on school, activities, etc. I finally ambushed him on Saturday and dragged him back in.

I almost cried when they took the cast off.  His hand was so misshapen, so swollen, so horrific.  The pain he must’ve felt, and here was my baby being stoic.  His cast had been put on wrong, and way too tight.  Even the ER doctor was shocked at the state of his hand.

A lovely one-armed tech, Sven, put a new half cast on absolutely beautifully.  He took his time, he made sure all Cole’s pressure points were relieved, and he made sure to have it snug but not too tight. It’s entirely possible Cole fell a little bit in love with Sven.

Yesterday was our ER Surgery appointment. Again the cast came off.  This time was equally horrific.  His hand was much better, still swollen but no longer misshapen, but his eczema had flared-up exponentially.  The vast majority of his skin was peeling and bleeding, the skin in between his fingers gone.  Again the ER surgeon was shocked at the state of his hand.  So shocked he was speechless.

Finally, there really was nothing left to do but treat the eczema (with cream, and special cotton finger coverings, and oral medications) before recasting in another half cast.  Surgery is not an option. The risk of infection to his bone with that much open wound is not acceptable.  Unfortunately the half casts are not protecting his bone enough and in the past week it’s shifted even more out of place.  We are talking millimeters, but millimeters matter in a hand bone.

For  now we go back every two days for a new cast and eczema treatment.  The good news is they can put each new cast on a little tighter to help the bone shift into place and heal.  I have fingers & toes crossed it’s enough.

I am obviously not sharing gruesome hand photo’s.  That’s a little much to bear with our morning coffee, and Cole would not be happy with me.  Instead, one of my favorite memories from my too-brief trip away from it all.  On our way to Giants Causeway we swung by the Dark Hedges.  Something everyone who has done the drive to Giants Causeway recommend.

It was everything I expected, and more.  These 300-year-old beeches are another land within a foreign land.  They are spooky, ancient, hauntingly beautiful and something I could’ve spent a day & a night photographing. I’ve had the hardest time picking out just one photo to share.  I actually love the black & white photo more, but the luscious green of the Irish countryside insisted I share it.  I love Ireland.


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I was going to wax poetic about Ireland today, and it’s still coming, you can’t stop me!  But, gosh there’s always a “but” isn’t there?  I was at the emergency room again last night.

I know, I know, I barely skimmed over Lindsay’s break in my Week I Review of Sorens visit home (Whirlwind).  But she did break her wrist (the scaphoid bone) snowboarding in Garmisch, beautiful, sunny, perfect Garmisch, while she was here.

Lindsay (Sorens girlfriend) was a Trooper!  I had no idea she’d hurt herself halfway down the mountain. And we snowboarded allllll the way down the mountain (Garmisch Hausberg, 1.3 km long).  Not only did we snowboard allllll the way down, but Lindsay wound up carrying Tess’ poles most of the way down.  Tess gave up. She hates skiing. She hates snowboarding (I think I’m disowning her).  Soren carried his sister down, while herding rocket-boy Dane.  Lindsay carried her poles, with her broken wrist, while I carried her skiis.

To top it off, Lindsay & I got lost.  Somehow we wound up off the run, on the other side of the mountain, on the other side of the small but raging brook.  Thankfully there was a fabulous, wobbly, rickety wooden plank we could use to cross the raging brook.  An elderly German man watched us cross it with great trepidation (carrying boards & skiis).  I asked him;

“Is it safe?” In my best German, of course.
“Yes.  Try it.” Says he.  “Then I can cross too.” Though I imagine he would not have crossed had the board snapped under my weight, and the raging brook carried me away.

The next day we took Lindsay to the ER, because she was stoic & fine that first day.  However. I caught on very quickly when she couldn’t brush her hair, teeth, or feed herself properly.

Last night Cole came home, with Dave, and I took one look at his hand & knew we were going right back to the same ER. He had a broken bone too.  Cole was stoic too, not a a tear was shed, but, LOL, he broke it horsing around with a buddy.  Really just talking with his hands, with his whole body, the way we all do, and his hand connected with his buddies moving knee.  The buddy is fine, not even a bruise.  Cole… well… he & Lindsay are now twinsies & I think they’ve put up a “Westberry’s Only” sign at our ER.

cole and lindsay

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Football. Is. Over. Hallelujah! My boy is sad. He absolutely loved being on a team. He loved playing every day. He loved games. He worked hard & became an amazing football player in a few short months. Look, I have proof! At his last game he always had two, even three, guys on him (that’s him, #69, in the black/white/gold). That’s what a threat he became on the football field.

At home he became gentler, a bigger helper and more of a man. All I want is for him to stop that! Stop getting bigger. Stop growing-up. Stay my sweet little boy, stay home. Don’t leave.

Every year for Christmas my mother would start off the feeding frenzy with cream cheese smothered in red & green jalapeno jellies. It was one of my favorite traditions, and one I carried over to my kids. Until Germany.

In Germany I could not find jalapeno jelly. I searched high, low, in local stores, in the commissary, in every country we drove through. No jalapeno jelly. For five years we have been jalapeno jelly-less. Until yesterday.

Last week, while quilting up a storm of Christmas presents with my beautiful friend Sarah, we discussed Thanksgiving menu’s. And I professed my deep sadness at no jalapeno jelly. Sarah thinks I’m great. She thinks I can do anything. She just looked at me quizically and said:

“Why aren’t you making your own? You make every other kind of jelly.” This is true! I do jelly! It is sooooooooo easy here in Germany. You buy a baggy of this magic stuff (I believe it’s sugar & gelatin mix, but what do I really know?), boil your fruit on the stove, toss in the magic stuff, boil 4 minutes more, ladel into jars. Jelly!

So yesterday I boiled my peppers (bell peppers & jalapeno peppers), with a little apple cider for juice, tossed in a baggy of the magic stuff and… JALAPENO JELLY PEOPLE!

I almost burst with anticipation waiting for Dave & Cole to come home and try my jalapeno jelly. Cole came in first, all puppy dog sad, it was the very first day with no football whatsoever, saw the jelly on the counter, tried it, and lit up like a Christmas tree:

“Mom! You did it! This is soooooooo awesome! Teach me! Teach me! I gotta make this for my kids!”

See? That beautiful, big, ray of sunshine has to stop growing up & stay little.

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Fall Picture Day 2014

by Toiny Westberry 22 October 2014
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I have found my camera battery (Hot & Smokey)!  Thank you for all the kind notes of understanding & suggestions for places to look.  One of you may very well have been right, but Dave found it. Not me.  I have no idea where & he’s not telling. As soon as my girl friend heard […]

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Injuries & Football

by Toiny Westberry 13 October 2014
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Football (Football Mom, Friday Night Lights, Football is a way of Life).  Football is taking up all my free time. The request for volunteers pour in on a daily basis. I had NO idea anything could be more intense than being a soccer mom.  Now I know. The awesome part, well parts, is that we […]

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Football Mom

by Toiny Westberry 4 October 2014
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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 […]

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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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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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My Kids

by Toiny Westberry 23 April 2014
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I am a photo junkie.  It is a rare occasion that I leave my camera tucked away in its padded little bag. I love reminders of my happy  moments.  I really love photographic reminders of my happy  moments.  Thankfully my kids are great sports and almost always indulge my need to snap their picture. That does […]

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