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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 the news she begged me for a favor.  Would I please take Fall photo’s of her kids.  Like I did last year of mine (Fall Family Picture Day).  I readily agreed because: 1) I needed a break; 2) my kids needed new photo’s too; 3) it was the last day of good weather; 4) I had my camera battery!

Sunday afternoon, a good hour before “golden hour”, we bullied our kids out of the house and into the woods.  Her kids were mad at her, my kids were mad at me, we just swapped kids and everyone was happy.  All of the kids wanted their photo’s taken.  All. Of. Them.

There was fighting amongst the five of whose turn it was. I cannot tell you how many blurry photo’s are on my camera of kids jumping around, pushing each other, making bunny ears & being over all goofy.  I can tell you it’s over a hundred. I’m not kidding.

The thing is, with the amazing light, our gorgeous woods, and cooperative kids (5!) I got beautiful photo’s of each & every one of them. More than one of each of them (except Dane, he was cooperative but wriggly, my camera hates wriggly).  I am having the hardest time picking just one to blow up & put on canvas.  My girl friend is having an even harder time, I got good shots of not only each kid but also both of them together.

I treasure the ones of Cole the most.  He rarely cooperates: “Mom! Stahp!” is much more common.  This time, he cooperated to the point of camera hogging.  They are almost all serious, he wanted dramatic and serious, and with his guitar.

The best part?  When he took out the guitar and played while the rest of the crew posed. Being serenaded in the woods is one of my top five happy moments.


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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 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

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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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One of those phone calls

by Toiny Westberry 24 July 2013
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As you open this newsletter, I’m in my VW bus driving my dad to France.  I know, I know, poor me.  But I’m dreading it all the same.  This past week has been such an incredible whirlwind, I think life always is, but this week has been extra whirlwind-y. It started with one of those phone […]

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by Toiny Westberry 19 December 2012
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On Sunday we ran out of tape.  A pretty big deal when you are stuffing all your worldly possessions into boxes.  Boxes that are going to be driven through snow, sleet & rain to a brandnew (to us) house thirty minutes away.  I really needed tape!  Luckily I also needed a break, and thankfully we […]

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by Toiny Westberry 20 November 2012
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I got some absolutely beautiful fall pictures during our long weekend in Holland, but this one below tells the best story.  Each of the kids are in a different country: Tess is in Holland (the Netherlands, NL); Cole is in Germany, and Dane is in Belgium.  We took a little bit of a tourist break […]

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About Trains & Soccer

by Toiny Westberry 13 June 2012
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I can’t believe I’m late again.  I completely blame Cole.  After three years in Germany, with trains as his main means of transportation, he really shouldn’t be getting on the wrong train.  It never crossed my mind that this would ever happen with him.  Christian, sure.  Tess, of course.  Even Soren.  But Cole? Cole rides […]

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Puntbroodjes are for Ducks

by Toiny Westberry 19 April 2012
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I have lots of beautiful photo’s of my kids.  I love them!  But I also have some awesome shots of the wildlife at Beekse Bergen over Easter Break.  My favorite, of course, are the giraffes, I still get giggly like a schoolgirl when I look at those images.  I also have a beautiful one of […]

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