Monday, February 28, 2011

I am the queen of the lanes...

I thought I'd better continue my updates on all the fun we had while John was here for RnR.  One afternoon we packed up the girls and went bowling.  Both Bella and Maddie LOVE to bowl.  Me...I can take it or leave it.  John?  Well, he seems to think it's the time to exact a challenge to himself as the master of the between the legs bowling...

Its almost too much to watch, but the next three minutes of your life will be spent in the **saddest** display of between your legs granny bowling that you've ever seen...

Maddie is a pretty good little bowler.  She kept starting from way back by the seats and then would literally throw the would bounce once before it hit the lanes so John showed her some better moves...and the kid got some strikes and spares. 

Bella, on the other hand would just walk up and drop the ball so John would give it an extra push...

...and then they'd hang out and wait...

These were seriously the s.....l....o....w.....e.....s....t bowling balls ever.

Except this little bundle of bowling ball energy...

Yeah...we had a good time....and that would be YOURS TRULY who totally rocked the house with a score of 104...

I don't think they'll be banging my door down anytime soon to ask me to join their league ...but at least I knocked at least one pin down every time I tossed that ball.  (ha ha ha....that was just one more tease for Mr. Chucklehead's bowling experience.)
It was really more about family time anyway.

Friday, February 25, 2011

10 things I miss...

1.  Someone to walk Maddie to school in the morning instead of me rushing her out the door...almost always 5 minutes late...  I think being late is genetic.  I blame my father.

2.  Cooking good food for a full sized family... like this lasagna.  Which, this is the 2nd lasagna I've ever made in my life.  The first was a complete disaster.  It was about an inch thick because the sauce was too runny and I actually served the disaster to my mother and father in law.  (I'm so sorry you had to be part of my "learn to cook" experiment featuring lasagna!) 

I decided I had improved enough in my cooking skills for another try.  Used Pioneer Womans' recipe.  I nailed it.  (So proud of me!)

3.  Hair by dad...  Maybe its the constant grind of day to day...but I'd forgotten how much fun bathtub hair could be. 

 4.  Someone to paint my toenails for...

5.  Breakfast in bed!  I suppose it would be irresponsible for me to allow an 8 year old and a 2 year old to cook me breakfast without adult supervision...but when dad's around...guess what mom got! 

6.  Photos when you aren't quite ready...  (every time I look at this picture I laugh outloud.)

7.  Bella brushing daddy's mesmerizing hair...Its hard not to let your eyes wander up to his bangs when you stand there talking to him.  Mesmerizing.

8.  Romantic kisses... 

 9.  Kids trying to make daddy laugh... 

10.  Do I really need to even caption this one? 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Luffy duffy and all that stuffy...

Once per year comes the magical day of lovers everywhere.  Except in Virginia...which is magical for 365 days of the year because Virginia is for lovers.  My sister that lives there is soooo lucky.  **wink wink**

Anywho...the day I'm talking about is better known as Valentine's Day.  Its a holiday that has kind of a bad rap.  I think mostly because people who don't have someone to share it with don't particularly like the day.  I know I thought it was a farce when I was single and unattached.  And guess what.  Its STILL not my favorite holiday...but it IS a good excuse to eat chocolate.

(see...I don't even get dressed up for Valentine's day.  But I DID show some cleavage.  ha ha ha)

Or if not chocolate...why not eat greek food? 

(Which we may have decided on purely for the reason that John wanted some Ouzo.)

Yep...that is what our lovey dovey family did that night.  We piled the girls into the car and headed out to a Greek restaurant in the thriving metropolis of downtown Vilseck.  Bwahahahaha....that was a big joke.  Vilseck doesn't even have a stoplight. 

Regardless...the greek food is good and so we went to eat some...and gave the girls the loot.  Yes, loot.  Holy cow...we got a box from Maddie's Grandma on her mom's side that was stuffed full of presents and Valentine's day loot.  PLUS we got a package from my sister that had the cutest little ruffle purses for the I put together cute little loot bags for them and let them go for it...

As you can see...they were very happy with all the great things they got and then decided to do a fashion show for the restaurant.  And I say that because I think the Germans who don't really celebrate Valentine's Day were really amazed at all the STUFF those girls got for what they probably consider a fairly insignificant holiday.  Looking back...I can imagine we fulfilled all of the "overindulgent American" stereotypes that night...

And then when we got home I told John he better get in the kitchen and do the dishes.

You thought I was joking...didn't you?  Ha ha ha ha ha ha

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feed the deer...tuppence a bag....

Remember that song from Mary Poppins?  Actually, in our case its Feed the deer...un euro a box of corn. 

There is this GREAT little outdoor wildlife park with wild boars and elk and deer.  Its in the forest and has a little gravel/dirt pathway that you walk around the park in a big circle.  The day we went had just a little gleam of sunshine shining through the trees making the green on the ground sparkle...

I'm guessing to minimize the goring law suits, the wild boar and elk are kept separated from the masses.  Call me crazy, but I'm just fine with hucking food over a fence for these wild pigs.  They are HUGE.  And they are seriously...well, piggy and gross.  They ate the hardest stalest bread and before chomping on it would root it around in the mud...Yuck.  It was pretty fascinating to watch them.

I'm not sure if John is taunting this bore to "jump" for the bread or what...

The deer, on the other hand, are hanging out in the park just roaming around.  Some of them are very skittish...others are totally approachable and will eat out of your hand.

The first time you see the deer come close I was a little nervous because honestly I've never seen deer teeth and I'm not sure if they are going to nibble fingers or not....  Plus, the fact that we had a deer with a rack on his head come racing toward us was pretty cool...but both John and I kept close to make sure that nobody got their eyes poked out. 

Although...that would have made an interesting blog...hmmm....and I would be able to say the rest of my life, "Stay away from the deer or you'll get your eye poked out."  that ALMOST makes it worth it. 

They also have some chain saw carvings around the park.  My favorite were the "teeny tiny mushrooms" made out of the stumps...

It was such a beautiful and peaceful day.  Its now a family favorite now to go and feed the deer.  So, if you come to visit be prepared to get nibbled on by a large forest animal.  Does that scream TRIP TO GERMANY or what.

PS...**sigh**....isn't he handsome?

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wonderful and Terrible

Oh!  I've been so delinquent in posting for the past couple of weeks.  You can't really blame me...right?  I mean it was the only 2 weeks in the last 8 months I've had my sexpot husband back home with me...

I have soooo much catching up to do.  I figured I'd just do a big fat list right here and right now and then I decided I'm too tired and depressed to do that.  Instead I'm just going to focus on today.  Thats about all I can muster right now...

John got back here on the 6th of February and we just stuck him back on a plane for Afghanistan this morning.  I've cried out all my tears today.  Poor little Bella didn't know what to make of her mama being a big bawl baby...she just kept patting my arm and saying, "sad sad mama..." 

He walked Maddie to school this morning.  We thought it would be better for her to have a semblance of a normal day was the right choice.  She came home happy and even though she missed her dad...I think the airport would have created a lot more drama than I really wanted. (read - could handle being an emotional wreck myself.)

So R&R is over...we laughed and played and loved and giggled and tickled and sang songs and wrestled... 

Git yer mind out of the gutter.  WE means the girls and John and I...not John and I.  Although we did giggle and wrestle and tickle some.  he he he

At the same was hard for him to be a dad and not a soldier.  It was hard for him to not worry about what was happening in Afghanistan while he was here.  It was hard for him to turn off his brain and get more than 4-5 hours of sleep each night. 

There were times that having him here were wonderful.  And there were times that having him here were terrible. 

I think what I'm taking from this experience is that you can't be gone in a war zone for 8 months and come back "the same."  And on our can't have someone gone for 8 months and have them come back and just slide back into their "old role" that they used to occupy.

You can't rely on the past to sustain relationships for the future.

You have to let some things just go...and become the past...and leave it that way.

You have to continue to have dreams.

You have to learn to share who you are and who you are becoming when you are far away from your spouse and they are far away from you...maybe there is less "culture shock" that way?

It was easier to say goodbye this time because I know our time is short.  Three more months.  Three more months and he's home for good.

I love you John.  I miss you.  Be safe.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Its amazing how incredibly happy he makes me.

...and sappy.  He also makes me incredibly sappy.

You may all now stop pretend gagging yourselves.  I'm just sayin' he's hot. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Kristall...with a K

My stuffed up nose and chest congestion has mostly gone the way of the today we decided to pack up our swimsuits and hit the beach.  Thats right...a giant indoor waterpark in Nurnberg called Kristall Palm Beach.

It rocked...

John, Madmad and Bella with the giant Crystal...except they say Kristall...I don't know if that's how you say it in German or if they are just being "cool" with their spelling - like Fat vs Phat or Cool vs Kool  or Ye Ole' Tavern vs The Tavern.  ha ha ha

Maddie immediately needed to drink from the healing waters of the stone dragon water fountain...  Actually, I think she just likes to stick out her tongue. 

Wave pools, waterslides, kiddie pool, lazy river....while the rain pounded down outside we spent our time playing in the water.

Unfortunately I never got any wave pool photos...  Cameras have become items of opportunity for me these days...  So, basically what I'm saying is that it wasn't until Bella and I went to the kiddie pool while Maddie and John went down the waterslides that I thought about getting it out of the bag.  *sigh* So...I did get some cute ones of Bella girl playing in the kiddie pool.  :)

And then when John and Maddie came back we made sure to get a photo under the giant mushroom because hey....who DOESN'T want a photo with a giant mushroom.

Ha ha...I just looked at the above photo and realized you can't even see that it IS a giant mushroom. 

Regardless...I jumped in for one last family photo.

We packed our stuff up and went into the changing rooms.  **Cultural difference note** - the changing rooms were not gender-separated.  They had little individual rooms you could use to change in, but there were little old ladies and little old men running around in their underwear.  We made sure to alert Maddie to the possibility beforehand so she was prepared and we didn't have to remind her to stop staring. 

And then....the sadness hit.


Luckily it was quickly fixed with fruit snacks.  All hail the Kellogg fruit snack gods. 

Thanks Kristall with a K Palm Beach for a fun day at the beach.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Well...all that anticipation and now its finally here.

Bella ran toward him then turned around and ran to me. I picked her up and went toward John...she was pretty shy the first few minutes. Unsure of what to do with this guy and his funny hair...but she quickly warmed up to him.

I, of course had to get in my kisses too.

He slept most of that first day.  It had something to do with that up for 56 hours thing.

I call our second day the "adjustment day..."  Where we worked out expectations and planned some of his RnR time.

We also went to the PX... He's been showing off his muscles all day.

Not to be outdone by her dad...Actually...this little girl has been shadowing him in every sense of the word.  What dad does...she does.

Bella, of course...our "brilliant child."  Love her.

Maddie brought home some cooties from school the week before an unfortunately they are making the rounds...So, she was sick when he arrived...Bella caught it on day 2 and I caught it on day 3. So far he's been spared the snotty nosed chest coughing...but seriously...of all the stinky luck - we manage to not get sick for 8 full months and then on the 2 weeks that he's here we get this..

Baaaaah! I was telling some friends...I'm happy to pick up his dirty socks and hang up his towels and clean up around him.  I've just missed having him around.  Its been wonderful to hear his voice...listen to him sleeping next to the girls climb all over him begging for the tickle game.

Nothing like having daddy home.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

My little klepto...

When I was 8 years old one of my parents took me along with them to Neil's Fine Foods in the thriving metropolis of downtown Vale, Oregon.  As we wandered along getting what we needed I saw a pack of butterrum lifesavers that I dearly and desperately wanted.

So I took them.

Yup, I was a little thief at the tender age of 8. 

I wasn't a very smart thief, though.  As soon as we got home I was munching on those delicious butterrum lifesavers when one of my siblings...asked for one.  Of course I refused.  These were MY treat.  I'd been the one to go to all the trouble of sneaking them out of the store...

Well, what do kids do when their sister won't share?  "MOM!  Anna won't let me have any of her lifesavers!"

Oops.  Mom wanted to know where I got them from.  It didn't take much.  A stern look and I already knew I was toast.  I fessed up and apologized, but that wasn't enough.

My dad marched me back to Neil's fine foods with money from my piggybank.  We marched in the store and right up the big tall staircase to Neil's office.

I was terrified.

And Neil was probably pretty kind about the whole thing, but I'd built up the situation so much in my 8 year old mind that in my recollection he roughed me up some, threatened to break my barbie if I ever did it again and gave me a death glare that I'll never forget.

And I never did.  Stealing is a BIG no-no in my house.  Period. 

So what do I do with my little 8 year old klepto?  I can only "be" Neil so many times before the death glare gets old.  She knows the consequences and still does it.  Right now its treats...candy, fruit snacks, etc.  I've decided I'm going to have to put a lock on a cupboard to keep her out.

Unless someone out there has a different brilliant suggestion?

Friday, February 04, 2011

In all my spare time...

Well, since I don't have enough to do now I decided that I better add more work to my plate. 

I have started a new blog...It's kind of an activist know...the kind where people get all fired up and want to hurl you through a window?  Well, maybe not that bad, but its a father's rights blog.  It's geared toward men who are actively pursuing a place in their child(ren)'s life and are being stopped either by the family courts or by their ex-wife or both. 

Hot topic, eh? 

First, I need to say that I know a lot of single moms with custody of their children.  This is not meant to be anti-mom nor is it anti-mom having custody.  What it is supposed to do is raise awareness at how unfair the division of time is between custodial parents and non-custodial parents when the non-custodial parent is an active positive influence in the child's life.

Those are the key words there... I get all fired up when I hear about custodial mothers who use their children as pawns to force their exes to do their bidding...holding them as leverage to get what they want.  And, unfortunately, in more cases than not, the family courts uphold this manipulation. 

And, I hope it helps dads with the guilt and anxiety and sadness that comes with being a non-custodial parent.

So, if you want to take a peek you can find this new blog at

Thank you...this soapbox is now closed.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The anticipation...

All I seem to feel these days is stess.  See...I can't even spell the word.  What I meant was S.T.R.E.S.S.

My stomach is churning which has been good for my weight loss.  My temper is short and fiery and I don't even have red hair these days to blame it on.  I've turned it into a luscious dark brown.  I want to bite my nails, but I just got them manicured and they actually look really good.  I've taken 5 trips to our thrift store...I've gotten rid of so much stuff I don't even know what I tossed.  Thats probably a good thing, but I keep wondering if I should have done a little more selective tossing...

See..  S.T.R.E.S.S.

And its because John is coming home.  He's supposed to be coming this weekend. 

Imagine what its like to not see someone for 8 months (Today is our 8 months done anniversary) and then to have them walk through that customs checkpoint at our little Nurnberg airport. 

Do I throw myself at him?
Do I stand back and let the girls run for him while I film it all?
Do I film and wait for him to get to me?
What should I wear?
Hair up or down?
Lipstick or lipgloss?
Hoop earrings or pearls?
Perfume or is that too overwhelming?

I'm a nervous wreck.  Its crazy.  I've been married to the man for nearly 5 years and I'm acting like its the first time I've seen 8 months. 

Ho ho ho...hee hee hee...ha ha ha. my sad attempt at humor is even falling flat.  I have the anticipation of seeing him oozing out of me...and yet at the same time the anticipation of seeing him is causing me great amounts of anxiety too.

But I still want him to come home.  Oh please, John..hurry home.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

-7.5 °C

I went for a walk this morning with Bella in -7.5 °C...  We looked like the stay puff marshmellow men only in fun frolicky colors of green and pink.  I just had cabin fever and figured I'd rather chance frost bite than sit in the house any longer.  So into the stroller in full cold weather gear and with her best stuffy - mr. puppy - in hand I opened the front door and my eyes instantly froze open. 

Toddlers must be more resilient.  She sang ABC, My dad is in the Army, Feist's Sesame Street song about 1,2,3,4, Twinkle Twinkle little star AND I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee the entire time we walked.

We went on a good 2 mile walk BEFORE storytime which I have to be at the library to set up for at 9:30AM...and when we got to the library our favorite librarians tsked us and asked me what I was thinking going out in ...

...-7.5 °C

And for all us Americans who want to do it our own way instead of using the same system as the rest of the world  need a little extra assistance...I'll help you out with the conversion if you can't figure out farenheit to celsius off the tops of your head.

That would be 19 degrees farenheit.


And I'm just teasing ya'll.  I can't figure out the conversion either....thats what Google is for.  :D

So - I also googled Celsius thinking maybe there is a good story about what it means or where it comes from...

There isn't.  But if you are reading this right before bedtime I suggest you go to Wikipedia and search for the "father of Celsius" whose name is Anders Celsius the Swedish Astronomer and you'll be asleep before the second paragraph.

In the meantime.  I wish it would warm up.