Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly Update: Shears and Shoes and Sparkly Blues...

Welcome to the wonderful world of the guaranteed weekly update. I tend to talk about myself quite a bit (as I'm the one writing, and it's easier to describe my thoughts than it is Ginny's) so I try to once a week fill you in on the actual family.


I am a muse! (wait, that's about me again isn't it?) Jeffrey, influenced by my attempts at blogging, has started his own blog aimed at detailing his various athletic loves. His blog is entitled "Enduring Conflict: A Blog About Following Sports." it can be found here . I'm fairly certain he also wants to keep a written record of all his responses to the infinite number of questions I've asked (sometimes repeatedly) over the years. He tried explaining the college football BCS system to me for probably the 20th time last night. I still think it's stupid. The BCS, not Jeff's blog.


Today Ginny got her second haircut, and she was 100 times more well behaved for this one than she was for her first. She held off on even a pouty look until the trimmed bangs started tickling her nose. I gave her peanut butter crackers to munch on during my cut, and she had the lady laughing the whole time. She very systematically twisted open the crackers, licked up the peanut butter, set down the cleaned off cracker, and moved to the next one. She gets cuter by day. Well, most days. Especially when she has blue nails.

Yes, my sisters will roll over and die...I painted Ginny's fingernails bright sparkly blue. I had been testing a few red shades I had to see which best matched my new dress when Ginny asked why I was coloring my fingers. Then she asked if she could color her fingers. It just so happened that the only kid friendly color I had was a glittery blue. Bright blue. Wouldn't you know it, she actually held still! Call Guinness, I have a new time record for two-year-old patience! She even let me blow dry them, and she hates the blow dryer! She now likes to show off her "pretty fingers".

So tomorrow we will head down to Garmisch, Germany for the command Christmas party and a four day weekend of fun! We'll be staying at the Edelwiess Lodge and Resort... Check it out here . We're pumped! I spent all of today scouring the PX, the Marketplatz, and TWO malls, just looking for shoes for the party. The dogs are being watched by a dog groomer with two kids and a large yard, so we'll get a nice worry free vacation. We'll still have Internet there, so unless we're just wiped out (a possibility) we should be in touch!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankfully keeping busy...

Well here we are at Tuesday, a seemingly easy day sandwiched between two eventful weekends.

This past weekend started early for the wonderfully filling holiday of Thanksgiving. As I mentioned before, we spent it with friends. A perfectly juicy turkey dinner was followed by football and a very entertaining game of "The Game of Things". If you've never played, I highly recommend it as it's a great (adult) party game. Not adult rude, just adult intelligence and wit (or lack there of).

Friday I did go shopping, but not for bargains on TVs or Playstations. As Thanksgiving is not a German holiday, Black Friday does not exist here. They actually don't start Christmas until December... Can you imagine?! So no I wasn't braving pepper spray wielding terrorists, just workers on the train. Sarah, Erin, and I went into the heart of the Stuttgart shopping district looking for a dress for the command Christmas party. The women in my family would just all-out die for the 2 mile stretch of stores and shops lining the pedestrian only street. We searched every one of those clothing stores and ended up coming back to the second one we hit. But dress shopping was a success! Shoes are another matter...I'm still looking for a pair.

Saturday was Jeffrey's holy grail of football days, so travel was restricted. Ginny looked very cute in her #16 jersey, especially sitting in Daddy's lap while he wore his #20. I had on a Michigan hoody, but we failed to dress the dogs. Therefore we tip our hats to Jeremy and his crew, and award them for team spirit. We will be prepared next year! The important thing was that Michigan beat Ohio... For the first time since Jeff met me I might add. I was starting to worry he might divorce me on the grounds that I was a jinx. =)

Sunday was nerve recovery day after that gripping game (it didn't end til 10pm here). A lovely day was spent lounging. Yesterday was a day for errands. We had a nice surprise of 6 packages in the mail, all but one Christmas related. On that note, December 9th is considered the last "Safe" day for shipping packages and having them arrive in time for Christmas. Just putting that out there.

Today led to more shopping as I prepare for the Christmas Party in Garmisch this weekend. We leave Thursday after my physical therapy appointment. Should be a fun time! Jeff is getting ready for bed, so more on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesdays Weekly Update: Tag der Pute...

That is German for "Day Of turkey".

Our family would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. We wish we could be home with you all this year. We will be spending our turkey day with our sponsor family and one other family we are close to, so don't worry about us.

Ginny is stringing more and more words together as the days go by. "I don't want it" is a four word favorite. As she pieces together new and bigger sentences, it amazes me how well she handles proper tense and sentence structure. She seems to have commands down pat as well. When she's playing though, she gets very emphatic. Jeff says she must think she's a super hero, because everything comes out with a certain amount of flare.

Trigger may have diabetes. He has been drinking water non-stop, and then having to go outside every ten minutes. He's also put on weight since we've been here. I'm still waiting on the clinic to get their act together.

I had my first physical therapy session today. I only have about 50% range of motion and I'm still experiencing steady pain. It appears I have a long road ahead of me.

On an interesting note, our buzzer was rung this evening by a couple of Jehovas Witness (spelling?). It appears they are everywhere!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back from Boleslwaivzkiekciaiek....or whatever that place was called...

So this past weekend, I traveled to Poland with 6 other wives to shop for pottery. I didn't really want to shop for pottery, I just wanted to get out of the house for a few days. And to me, pottery meant flower pots and clay bowls. Not any more!

Getting there was a bit of an adventure. I was in a car with two of the wives, Sarah and Erin, and we had left later than the other girls because Sarah had parent teacher conferences that morning. By the time we reached Poland, 5 hours into the trip, it was dark and too foggy to see past the highway. I was OK with that until our GPS decided it didn't like the new highway and, according to it, we were flying in a field. That (non-existent) highway only had 2 exits for like 30 miles too, so I was a little nervous. However, despite my mild panic attack, we made it to the hotel in one piece.

We were just in time to catch the other girls for dinner. The hotel had a restaurant with a wonderful menu full of inexpensive dishes that were awesome... $3 for the duck! As we had the dining room to our selves, we helped ourselves to several courses each before spending the evening playing pool and darts.

The next morning we left bright and early to begin our shopping adventure. It seemed neither of our GPS's was fond of Poland, and we spent an hour on a wild goose chase looking for a store that didn't exist in that location any more. However, we finally found the first of many many many pottery shops we would end up visiting.

The first store was slightly overwhelming. It was very small, but as it had lots of sales, it was very crowded. The shelves were packed tight with thousands and thousands of pieces of pottery. I was slow to become interested in any of the pottery houplah, but I found some cute Christmas ornaments and my large blue rose serving platter. By the next store, I was gaining steam and acquiring new pieces. Pretty soon we found ourselves at lunch with our receipts on the table adding up the damage. The shopping continued until the last store had closed, and we made our way to a friend's hotel for dinner. The next morning we found an outlet store that was open on Sundays before making our way home. I found a beautiful crystal wine glass set of 6 at that store. I won't name names, but now I only have 5.

I got plenty of non-pottery gifts for Jeff and Ginny, including Poland's best vodka, and an old-fashioned sled! I can't wait to get Gauge a harness and let him pull her around. =D

All told it was a wonderful trip, not just for the pottery, but for the experience of traveling with friends without the stresses of kids and dogs. However, even though I had a good time without the family, seeing how happy Ginny was to see me when I got home lifted my heart more than the whole trip did. It's good to be home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly Update: Of kids and canines...

I have decided to do a weekly post solely focused on Ginny and the dogs. Since I started this on a wednesday and I don't usually have much going on on humpday, I might actually have a chance at remembering to do this.


Ginny has an ever expanding vocabulary. We understand what she wants 85% of the time. She likes to take us by the hand and tell us to "come on" before dragging us to her room or the kitchen or wherever else our attention is needed. When we sneeze, she says bless you. If she sneezes and we say bless you, she says thank you. She knows what dragons and castles and princesses are, thanks to Shrek. She can name almost any animal you show her, and is starting to learn animal sounds. Her favorite is Moooooo.

We are taking a passive approach to potty training. She shows sparks of interest, and likes to sit on the potty for about half a second. She hasn't yet grasped telling us if she needs to go, so we ask her. She also likes to put half a roll of toilet paper in the toilet when I'm not looking.

Eating meals continues to be an issue, especially at dinner time. She only eats the vegetable part of the meal, if she eats at all. She'll eat almost any snack you give her during the day, but won't eat at meal time even if snacks have been withheld. It's frustrating.

She has learned her name, and introduces herself to everyone. She also asks if something is hers by saying "Ginny's?". It's seriously cute.


Both dogs are doing well for the most part. They both seem to be grasping that Ginny is getting bigger, and therefor is a playmate. Gauge even tolerates games of fetch where Ginny throws the ball instead of us. Trigger is Ginny's shadow whenever she has food, but she has learned to tell them off.

Gauge has been getting sick this week, so I may try to find a vet out in town. The vet on base is moving offices and not seeing patients. Triggers hips show signs of getting worse, so we've started giving him pain pills on a more regular basis. He is still a very active and playful puppy though, and just goes on with his day. It's almost inspiring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I live in three places...

Well, unless you count grocery shopping as exciting, not much has been going on. I went to Patch (one of the 4 local bases) to grocery shop at the big commissary yesterday. I usually plan this around lunch time because that means I can eat at the newly opened Taco Bell. It's sad that I actually DO find that exciting, I'm sick of Burger King. When I go home, I'm going to eat nothing but Wendy's and I'm going to Walmart at 2am on a Sunday, just because I can.

Today my friend Sarah called me and told me she was on her way to Panzer (another base, the one Jeff works on) to go shop at the Exchange, and wanted to know if I wanted to meet her there. She does this to me quite often. I was still in my PJs but managed to pull myself and Ginny together and get there within 30 minutes. We did some Christmas shopping and had lunch before parting ways. I headed to the mailroom and was greeted with a very large package. Our trashcan had come in!

Yes, we ordered a trashcan off Amazon. Amazon is my new crack. You can't get anything you want here, so it mostly comes from Amazon. One thing I hate about the Exchange, is if you see something you want, you have to buy it right then. It won't be there next time. It doesn't matter if it's a shirt or a laundry basket (or a trashcan), it'll be gone. I have a pair of shoes on layaway for Ginny because they were awesome, but they only had size 8 and she wears 7. I figure I'll give them to her for Christmas and she can wear them by Valentines. But seriously if I didn't grab them, they'd have been gone.

Tomorrow may entail lunch with the wives. Not sure if I'm going or not, I'll be with them all weekend. Poland on Friday!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The mess in the messehalle....

So no post yesterday, mostly because nothing happened yesterday. I was feeling particularly yucky after walking around Heidelberg without a coat, and Jeff had to run into work for a while. I still haven't gotten rid of this cough.

Today we ventured out in search of the Sindelfingen Christmas Market. Properly bundled, we walked to the oh so conveniently located Sindelfingen Marketplatz. Upon our arrival we discovered that the only market taking place was the usual Saturday farmers market. Confused, I pulled out my phone to recheck the email with the information. The market was not IN the Marketplatz, but in the Messe. Oops. But what's a Messe?

Well Google maps informed me the Messe was a trade fair located near the Mercure hotel (but it failed to mention there was a Mercure hotel on both sides of the road). So we walked home, got in the car, and drove in circles til I noticed a sign that pointed to the Messehalle. this probably eluded me before because when I saw it I thought of chow hall, not trade fair.

After finding a parking spot in a close but well hidden lot (that looked like a good place to pick up nail) we finally made it to the Christmas Market. And it was disappointing. Instead of rows and rows of interesting crafts we were met with a few craft stands, surrounded by vacuum cleaners, cleaning products, and meat. Yeah. Lame.

Oh well, maybe we'll find something interesting tomorrow. Right now we're watching Penn State come back on Nebraska, and the Michigan game is on in a few. Go Blue!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Hills go to Heidelberg...

Today was my first official day as a tourist in Germany! We traveled an hour north of Stuttgart to a city called Heidelberg. Despite the fact that the forecast lied (as it often does) and the fog never fully lifted, it turned out to be a pretty good trip.

We started at the Army garrison in Heidelberg to hit up an ATM, and I have to say, I wish we were stationed there! We were only on the housing side and there were better places to eat, a huge playground, a dog groomer, and a Burger King with an actual drive through! Kudos Heidelberg.

Once we headed out again, we went looking for the castle. After some minor difficulties finding parking, we got to tour one of the coolest places I'd ever seen. This place was Huge! It was mostly ruins, built and broken down since the 13th century, but they had restored some of it to it's original glory. Aside from amazing views of the city, the history and beauty of it was a lot to take in. One of it's unique feature was the largest wine barrel in the world, which holds 55,000 gallons of wine. It has only been filled to capacity 3 times.

After the castle we drove down the hill and walked around old Heidelberg. As one of the few cities left untouched by the world wars, the architecture was classic and stunning. We walked around the oldest university in Germany, and enjoyed window shopping in the abundance of shops lining the narrow cobblestone streets. Being a college town/tourist hub, I was excited to find the first Starbucks I've seen in Europe, and immediately ordered a grande chocolate mocha. A very nice taste of home.

Pictures will be on my Facebook.

Tomorrow we're staying close to home and heading to the Christmas Market in Sindelfingen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The long weekend's eve...

Jeff has tomorrow (thurs) through Sunday off, so we will officially be doing our first touristy things! Tomorrow, we'll visit Heidelberg and it's very large, very old castle. There is a lift, but I'm going to attempt the trail up. It's supposedly very beautiful, and with the amazing fall colors here in Germany, I have high hopes.

Other things planned (in no set order) include:
Ramstein, the largest base in Germany, or at least the largest exchange and American food court. We still haven't been, but we've driven past for Dr. appointments in Landstuhl.

The Sindelfingen Christmas Market. We are fortune enough to only live a few blocks from this, and this year's theme is International Christmas. There will be booths from Ireland, Japan, etc... Good stuff.

Any other random, one-day doable adventure we can think of. There are plenty of castles to be seen!


In other parts of my day today, I watched last night's NCIS, and I have to say Bravo. I have never abandoned a show after so many years, but NCIS was truly losing me. I watched today on a whim, and I'm right back in. Cant wait for Part 2 next week.

I also managed to clean the kitchen and dining room, floors and all. This is actually a feet for me since my injury. However, due to a fall on Monday, I'm now in steady pain instead of come-and-go pain. I'm calling to set up physical therapy on Monday, we'll see what they have to say.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Of Plagues and Prozac...

I missed some sort of spouses meeting tonight at the command because I'm sick. Jeff brought back some sort of Polish death from his trip to Gdansk. He also brought back a really nice scarf, so I guess I can wrap it around my inflamed throat. I'm taking a girls only trip to Poland in two weeks, so I'm wondering how to repay him (for the scarf and the plague).

Speaking of plagues, Ginny apparently has an immune system of steel. I'm waiting for Jeff to go on another trip, because that's when she'll most likely catch something that will be the death of me. Jeff doesn't disagree.

Back to the spouses meeting though, I'm hoping my friend Sarah takes notes for me. I have no idea what this meeting was for. I think the command randomly pulls the wives in to make sure we aren't planning anything against our husbands anytime soon. Or maybe it's to hand out free Prozac. Dang, if that's the case, I should have gone myself. Sarah will probably steal my share. Stupid Polish death plague.

Don't forget to take my poll y'all ----->

4 months in and I'm still new at this

Sooo most of you know that we've been stationed in Germany. We got here July 3rd 2011. We spent one mind-numbing month in a hotel, and we now live in a house less than a mile from said hotel. During that time I've tried to keep myself busy by setting up house, playing soccer, coaching soccer, taking an intro to German course, and (just for kicks) breaking/spraining/totally jacking up my foot. Almost all of that is over, so I'm looking to start a new project. That's obviously where this blog comes in.

It's not as if I don't have enough technological methods of expressing myself. However, I can't remember the last time I sent an email to anyone for personal reasons, and Facebook only gives you like 500 characters to post a status. Texting is out too... Not only does it cost an arm and a leg, I find it nearly impossible to remember my own phone number (it's like 20 digits long!) so I don't expect you all to.

I am notorious for starting things and not finishing them, so we'll see how well I keep up with this. Hopefully it ends better than that diet blog I tried. I'm putting this on my favorites bar though, that way it stares at me any time I'm on the Internet (which is always).

Any way, I suppose I should state my intentions with this blog. This will be for sharing, and sometimes venting (or who am I kidding, most of the time venting) about our fun little adventures in Deutschland and beyond. Because I am doing the posting, it will probably be a little one sided... Unless Ginny learns to type before she turns three, in which case I'll no longer be blogging about Germany, but about my getting her on "America's Got Talent." Also, since I'm doing the typing, be prepared for random sidetracked comments similar to the sentence before this one.

This should be fun!