Friday, January 27, 2012

And the winner is....

Wow, I had a lot of submissions through 5 different media outlets! You guys are great and I'm so happy you are following! I had some trouble figuring out who submitted first because I went to bed right after I posted, and the time stamps on your replies were from different time zones. But, I got it straightened out!

So, without further ado, the winners are as follows...


My cousin, Carrie Adamosky! Her reply via Facebook at 10:55pm MY time was:

1.trigger and gauge 2.aryn 3. 11/1/08 4.4 months in and iam still new at this. 5. 4 castles
i absoulutly love following your adventure...Thank you for sharing with us..

But, because I had so many replies (y'all put me up over 200 views!) I am giving out a second and 3rd place prize...

In 2nd, with the only post on the actual blog (probably the only one who knew you could reply to a blog) is...

My BFF Trisha Eaton! Her reply via blog at 12:25am MY time was:

1). What are the names of our two dogs? Trigger and Chipper's Trusty Twelve Gauge (Gauge)
2). What is Ginny's middle name? Aryn
3). What is mine and Jeff's wedding anniversary? November 1, 2008
4). What was the title of my first post on this blog? 4 months in and I'm still new at this
5). How many castles have we visited in Germany? two castles in the Swabian Albs, Neuschwanstein Castle, castle in Heidelberg (4 total)

In 3rd, with a very competitive e-mail, is...

My grandma Brenda Martin! Her reply via e-mail at 2:49am was:

1. Trigger and Gauge
2. Virginia Aryn Hill, 09/10/2009
3. 11/01/2008
4. 4 months in and I'm still new at this
5. I know you went to 4 castles, BUT my answer to question is 3; because at Lichtenstein the castle was closed and you could only walk on grounds, so you didn't officially tour the castle there yet. :)

So there you have it folks! Carrie will receive a well stocked box of goodies, and Trisha and grandma will receive their choice of chocolates or other candies (i.e. Gummies)!!!

Thank you guys for reading! That view count keeps me writing, and I'm definitely inspired to keep at it!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This post isn't really an update, but I'm going to make you read it anyway...

Sometimes so few things happen during my week, that you don't need a recap because the interesting things get put on Facebook anyway.

Buuuut because I feel the need to fill up space you get a quicky recap anyway...

Ginny is still missing her voice, and it's still adorable because she's not sick in any other way. She still does the bouncy two year old thing, but her words disappear somewhere between her throat and lips when she gets too excited, and all I hear is high pitched air. I continue my search for a cause.

I bought a rug on our local yard sale website, and I was so excited because it was still available when I inquired about it. That doesn't happen to me much. I think the puppies may like it even better than I do.

I have been helping out a friend's mom this week. She is here to watch said friend's kids while she and her hubby are skiing (along with the rest of the command). I learned something new for my future visiting relatives. She got an ID card issued that let's her get on base without having to sign in every time. It has her picture on it and every thing. All the visiting family member needs is their passport and flight itinerary w/ tickets. Very cool thing to know.

So anyways, since this isn't a very exciting post, I've decided to jazz it up with...

A German Goodie Giveaway!!! 

That's right, the first lucky person who can correctly answer all of the following questions will receive a goodie box full of delectable German treats! The picture above is just for emphasis and example, but will look similar to the prize package. I will announce the winner on this blog Friday at 2pm EST. I will NOT post an update to Facebook to remind you, so you should probably sign up to receive this blog via e-mail at the very bottom of the page (Follow by e-mail).

P.S. This is for friends and family back home, my Germany friends can get their own candy. =D

Let the games begin!

1). What are the names of our two dogs?
2). What is Ginny's middle name?
3). What is mine and Jeff's wedding anniversary?
4). What was the title of my first post on this blog?
5). How many castles have we visited in Germany?

All answers can be found either somewhere in my blog or on my Facebook page. I was going to make it harder, but I'll just save some questions in case we need a tie breaker.

Get to it! There's chocolatey goodness at stake!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday's (Bi)Weekly Update: Of Road Trips and Other Randomness

Hohenzollern Castle

Welcome back to my readers, one and all. If I knew how to say that in Russian, I would. Apparently 40 of my page views on this blog have been from Russia.... I. Don't. Know. Why.

Such are the wonders of the world wide web.

I really am trying to get into the habit of posting things regularly. My last two posts were pretty much just a verbal time line splattered on the page. Sometimes it's either that or a drab minute by minute of the monotony that is my every day life. Some interesting stuff happened in the past few weeks so I get to do more than just a short recap of my grocery shopping.

Ginny has become a true parrot... I honestly want to try to get her to say "Ginny wanna cracker." As a kid I cracked up during "Meet the Fockers" while the little kid spent the whole movie going "Asss-hooole." It's not so funny any more, because my daughter has become that kid. Well, that's a lie. It is still funny, but I'm not allowed to let her know that. She repeats things we say, even we aren't talking to her. Sadly, we need to work on our use of "shut up." A knee jerk reaction to our dogs barking has become a constant battle.

I'm about over potty training too. My mom swears one day she'll wake up and get it, but that day hasn't happened yet. I am showing more patience than I ever thought I could, but I'm still pretty frustrated. Part of this stems from the fact that she picks up everything else soooo easily. Walking, talking, kicking, jumping... she's an early bird. So many people have said that she's so advanced compared to other kids her age, that the potty training thing is sort of embarrassing. I feel like we're not doing something right.

Wow, so somehow that turned out more of venting session than I meant it too. Sorry. Moving on...

The puppies have been giving me a run for my money as well. Last week Trigger ended up at the German vet for a stomach infection, Gauge was nearly right behind him. Both are fine now, and I was relieved to discover German veterinary care is 10 times better than people care (I'll never step foot in another German hospital) and it's five times cheaper than vet care in the states. An (same day) emergency visit to a new vet, with two shots, and two days worth of two different medications only cost me €40 (about $50-55). Not bad!

This past weekend was a four day weekend for us. I didn't figure out until Sunday that it was MLK day, I honestly thought it was either Presidents Day or another random German holiday. Despite my ignorance, we managed to have a pretty good weekend.

On Saturday we drove up to Ramstein AFB for the first time. Ramstein is home to the largest Exchange (military department store) ever! It was the equivalent of a suburban shopping mall. It has restaurants (we enjoyed lunch at the Macaroni Grill), a furniture store, pottery store, movie theater, and even a Harley Davidson dealer! To all those back home going "So what? She hasn't seen a mall before?" The answer would be no... not since June of last year! We spent the day eating and shopping and scoring some good deals on clothes for Ginny. We also picked up a rug for downstairs, that I am seriously way too happy to have.

Sunday means everything is closed here. Essentially no fun takes place. To fill the gap in our weekend, we search the web and find random things like a German Toilet Exposé. Completely funny, completely true. Welcome to the battle we face in Germany!

Monday, however, was a very fun-filled day. We tackled two castles in the Swabian Albs here in Germany. Our first stop was Hohenzollern Castle, and it was awesome! Out of the four we've seen, it's my new favorite. I could have done without the 30 minute walk straight up a mountain, but it was worth it. The entrance of the castle has you walking up a winding portico, going through tunnels and over drawbridges. It felt so marvelously mid-evil. The tour was as good as any other, but I could have walked the grounds all day.

Our next stop was to nearby Lichtenstein Castle. To our dismay, we found it closed to visitors in January, but we were able to walk around for a more than decent view. We also discovered a very cool looking ropes course that I will return to tackle. When it's warmer than 25 degrees out. Which I hope is sooner rather than later.

P.S. In case you haven't noticed, I've decided to try my hand at short stories. ^ This mess is why I don't do Twitter. I couldn't possibly contain myself to 140 characters. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year - Day 2: Of Epic Fails and Resolutions Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my longest post ever. Make sure you go back to part one and check out the updated photos. Please note the comment box at the bottom of the post, as well as this month's poll on the right.


One regional tradition we couldn't pass up was the Christmas Market in Stuttgart. Stuttgart's Weihnachtsmarkt is the second largest in all of Germany. We drove in to downtown and walked the market. There were hundreds of little wooden stalls decked out in lights and garland. They had decorations, crafts, candles, glassware, baskets, food, sweets, and a million other things. This market was so large it would be easy to visit every day of the week and not see everything. Ginny started to get a little fussy, so we had to turn around halfway through, but we did manage to come away with a beautiful painted glass ornament for our tree.

Another reason I wanted to visit the market was because I knew the Stuttgart Lions Club had a stall selling glühwein there. As I am a member of my home town's Butler Lions Club, I wanted to get a picture and make some international acquaintances.

It turned out the reason Ginny was getting fussy is that she was beginning the lovely process of teething. With her two year molars coming in, she ran a fever for 2 days and her sleep pattern has been completely disrupted. This is the kid who would lay down with her milk and be out for the night within minutes. Since the middle of December we have been facing the nightly battle of getting her to stay in bed... all night long. We hope this phase passes quickly.

Party Time!

The holidays always mean holiday parties, and we've been to more than our share these past few weeks. Here in Germany, everyone in the command is like family, because we're all each other has out here. One of the first things we attended was the command organized Kids Christmas Party, where Ginny was introduced to Santa for the first time this year. If you're wondering why there are no pictures, it's because she wouldn't get close enough to him to even have them in the same frame. Oh well, maybe next year!

We had a wonderful time at Sarah and Pat's house for their Christmas party, with a very entertaining poker game going into the early hours. We enjoyed Christmas dinner at Tracy and Erin's, but apparently skipped out too early and missed another round of "The Game of Things". New Years Eve had us at Tom and Renee's beautiful home for a very large game of Catch Phrase and an awesome neighborhood display of fireworks. Here in Germany, very large fireworks are very legal, and are sold in grocery stores. Enough said.

Our Christmas

I know it's going backwards, New Years to Christmas, but Christmas gets its own header.

We'll start with the tree. Way back when we were packing up our household goods, we decided to put our tree and decorations and in storage figuring we would be traveling during the holidays. Our travel plans this year got cancelled at the last minute, so we had a last minute rush to find a tree. We ended up with a 5 1/2 foot prelit tree, mostly because the Germany version of Christmas trees is all bottoms and no tops. It is very daintily decorated with the few ornaments I had collected in Poland and the market, as well as a box of silver mixed stuff from the hardware store.

On Christmas Eve, we knew Ginny would have a difficult time going down because of her new sleeping habits. We decided to wear her out by having a little dance party. I threw on some of old high school dance songs and we partied til bedtime! Usually she wakes us up in the morning by coming into our room, but she didn't even make it that far on Christmas morning. We found her on the couch digging into  every ones' stockings. The flurry that followed involved so much wrapping paper tearing that Ginny eventually wore out, and we had to open the rest of her presents for her. After a breakfast of candy, and a very wonderful brunch with muffins, fruit salad, bacon and eggs, things quieted down as we each began to fiddle with our new toys. All in all it was a very nice Christmas.

So there you are, all caught up on the monthly musings and happenings. I know it seemed a little long, but I wanted to fill you in as I would have if I had posting weekly. I will do my very best to remain dedicated to my resolution of following through, and that means I will try to post (at least) every week. Speaking of dedication, I wrote this post while sitting on an exercise ball. If you have ever sat on one of those for an extended period of time, you know the burn I'm feeling now! If you haven't, get one and sit on it while watching TV or reading a book and burn calories while doing practically nothing at all!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year - Day 1: Of Epic Fails and Resolutions Part 1

Those of you who were so faithfully reading my posts know that the first line of my last post promised a guaranteed weekly update. That was over a month ago. I messed up that guarantee like Tommy Boy messed up the T-Bone and the Butcher.

So Happy New Year everyone! My resolution for 2012 is to follow through. Simple yet not so simple. This applies to healthy living, parenting, social engagements...oh, and blogging. I have a very bad habit of getting off to a great start and then slowly coming to a stop, all the while hoping people don't notice. I've come to realize people do notice, at least the ones closest to me do, they just aren't surprised anymore. My resolution is to change that.

So now, bear with me as I take you through the last month of last year. It was certainly a busy and exciting month, so welcome to my longest post yet...

Garmisch: Of Castles and Christmas Parties

I believe we left off with preparations to attend Jeff's command's Christmas party in Garmisch. We were packed up and ready to go Thursday, when the dog sitter called and said she wouldn't watch our dogs! Well that put us in quite the mood (I'm sure you saw my impolite rant on Facebook) and left us desperate to find another dog sitter. In the end, however, this ended up working in our favor. Through the vet on base, we found a great, inexpensive, small kennel in the middle of several horse farms. The puppies loved it there, and I'm fairly certain they didn't want to go home. We now have a go-to place for dog sitting when we want to travel. Speaking of traveling, back to our trip...

It turned out the kennel couldn't take the boys til the next day, but Friday morning we were happily on the road. The region of Germany we live in is mostly large rolling hills and country, (VERY similar to PA) so when we hit the Austrian boarder I was awed at the site of the beautiful mountains before me. The only way in and out of Garmisch is a road that passes through one tiny corner of Austria before popping back out On the border of Germany. I couldn't stop taking pictures of the amazing mountains.

We arrived in the early afternoon and got settled in our room before going in search of lunch.
We discovered that all our friends, who had gotten there the day before, were either in the pool area or out skiing. We only had a short while before we needed to get ready for the party so we opted for the pool. Later on, looking fabulous, we dropped Ginny with the sitter in our freinds' room and went downstairs for the party.

Best command party ever! The company was wonderful, the food was great, and the dancing was a blast. At some point someone brought out Santa's throne, and a bigger than life sized Santa. He's a great dancer! Many future blackmail photos were taken that night.

The next morning, we fought off the effects from the previous night's fun and packed up to go find the Neuschwanstein Castle. I had heard about this castle all my life from my Grandma G., and knew I had to see it while I was in the area. The walk from the parking lot to the castle was supposed to take 20 minutes or longer, so we opted for the horse-drawn carriage ride. Ginny LOVED the horses! So much so that after getting off, we had to drag her the last 100 yards up the hill because she wanted to ride the horsey again.

The castle slowly came into view through the barren trees, and I was slightly disappointed to see that most of the castles exterior in the back was covered in scaffolding. We did get some nice pictures from the front of the castle, however, as well as of the surrounding area. The tour was short but interesting, especially the fact that only 1/3 of the rooms were ever finished. Ginny was more than tired at that point, so we didn't get to see Mary's bridge, but we do have plans to return.

To be continued (with pictures)...