Monday, September 28, 2009

Early Fall in Germany

We have really enjoyed the slight turn in weather here in Heidelberg. It's chilly in the mornings and quite lovely in the afternoon. I'm convinced we are especially breezy since we live (literally) along the Neckar River - but I'm not complaining one bit.

This past week I headed to Paris for the day to meet up with some online friends from one of my favorite blogs.. It was terrific to be in the company of wonderful women - each of us making our way in the world, but doing it with a sense of spirituality and purpose. I look forward to meeting with them again and getting to know them better. We gathered from Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

This week Jack turns 21! It doesn't seem possible, but that is surely the case. Stationed in Hawaii together, my dear friend Malinda had her first son just 3 days after Jack was born - the boys spent their first couple years together almost non-stop. Looking back, I can say without a doubt it was a blessing to have a great friend during such a trying time as brand-new motherhood.

John and I can't believe we've gotten this old... I've been a mother nearly half my life. But ya know, that's ok. I always wanted to be a mom and that hasn't changed. It's a privelage to carry'm, squeeze'm out, then watch'm grow... ok, maybe the squeezing out isn't so great, but you get the picture. I'd do it all over again.

Surrounding myself with great women, wonderful friends, and a terrific husband is where it's at.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Producemeister

It would seem like a slow week if I'm talking about the Producemeister, a cantalope, and the hunt for some celery. But, it feels like a normal week to me.

After 5 weeks, the producemeister came back from holiday. That means we again have fresh produce right outside our front door - it's just so convenient. Well, as long as I pay attention to the clock it's convenient - he's open Monday thru Friday 11-1 and in the evenings 4-7, except on Wednesdays when the shop is closed. Not sure when he opens or closes on Saturdays, but get there sooner rather than later.

This week he had cantalope but not celery. They are hardly interchangable when cooking, but we hadn't seen a cantalope in a while. Went up to the citymarkt to get some celery and the small market is closed until September 23rd. Don't know why, just is.

Taking hunting and gathering to a literal sense is where it's at.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beautiful September

This week we've managed to stay busy and have some very lovely experiences. While the week started off with a major federal holiday (Labor Day), it didn't impact the kids for school or anything about town. John did have the day off and it was great having him at home.

We enjoyed a dinner out, dining alfresco at a restaurant adjacent to the Marktplatz - the central plaza of old Heidelberg. Dinner was very affordable and delicious. John and I enjoyed apfel struedel with cream and vanilla ice cream. Soooo delicious. We're definately going there with my dad when he returns for a visit. Any other takers?

This week included the "Names and Faces" evening at Heidelberg International School. It was a terriffic event with parents, faculty, and staff. We had an opportunity to quickly visit with Joe's personal project teacher ... and here is Joe progressing quite well through sewing. Outstanding job!
After two months of waiting, John received his Garmin-Slipstream riding kit. He looked terrific wearing argyle as he headed out on his Saturday morning ride of a short 30 miles. He's such a hottie!
Since Joe and Flower and a friend of their's from school were providing volunteer service hours at the Boy Scout blood drive, I somehow got roped into donating blood. I haven't done that since 1986! And I'm not sure I'm in a hurry to donate again. I mean the cookies and juice are sweet, but ....

Time with my family day in and day out is completely where it's at.

Monday, September 7, 2009

All Work & No Play ...

Have I mentioned lately that we feel so stinkin' lucky to live in Heidelberg? There are mornings I wake up and just don't believe we have had such a tremendous opportunity. I also know that we'll return back to the life in the states with wide roads and fountain sodas. In the mean time I'm going to bloom where we're planted and invite you to come visit our garden.

One part of our social life that is sorely missed has been John's Saturday morning cycling group based out of Granada Cyclery in St. Peters, Missouri. It hasn't been as easy to put together or join a bike group here, yet .... so John went ahead and made his own cycling unit. They do have tons of fun on the long (long for the kids) rides on Saturday mornings - they log just over 20 miles before breakfast. After the kids make it home, we send John back out for another 30 miles or so of some good hilly fun.

As part of Joe's school curriculum this year, he's required to work on a personal project. It has all kinds of requirements, but the subject can be anything the student chooses. Joe has decided to combine algebra, geometry, design, machine work, and service to wounded soldiers as they travel from down range to Ramstein then onto the States. Joe has opted to make five 3ft by 5ft quilts. He should be able to satisfy the academic requirements as well as his Eagle Scout project - especially if he can coerce his troop into tying a few blankets.

Blankets of Hope, sponsored by Soldiers' Angels accepts donations of this specific type/size quilt as that is best to cover a wounded soldier on the medevac flight - the plane's temperature is kept very low in order to care for the burn victims and those wounded troops still in a coma. Anyway, Joe got a really good start and the progress is pretty amazing. The hard part? Keeping my hands off the project - I just want to pick it up and sew!

This last Friday night we headed back to the bowling alley for some fun times. It was good to just relax, enjoy a cheese pizza, and laugh at each other's bowling style *cough cough*. I'm hoping the weather will hold and we can maybe get a picnic dinner in for Family Home Evening and some people watching down at the river.

Relaxing time with my people is where it's at.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back Home in Heidelberg

I've been back home in Heidelberg just over a week now and I can finally say that I feel as though my body has synchronized itself with the locale. Those first few days are always a bit iffy for me - especially on the USA to Germany route.

I was never so glad to see my people at the Frankfurt Flughafen (airport)! I has missed them terribly and couldn't recall a time where I had left John and the children at home while I was away for this length of time. As a card carrying feminist I can still say - it's just different when my husband leaves for business opposed to when I leave for a conference, daughter delivery to college, etc.
So, 12 hours after landing we all attended Joe's Court of Honor with his scout troop - tons of badges as this was the post-scout camp awards.
Joe is standing furthest on the right.
And 24 hours after landing I was schmoozing it up with other parents at the a H.I.S. volunteer meeting - right after drop off for the first day of school. I was asked to be the Grade 8 CVC (class volunteer coordinator - think: home room mom).

First Day of School - August 2009
Flower - Grade 8
Joe - Grade 10
As a cherry on the top of my schedule, I started graduate school this past weekend through an outreach program administered by University of Maryland University College and certified through Bowie State University. Classes are conducted all day Saturday and Sunday every other weekend, in English, and on a post in Heidelberg (though this class is meeting just two weekends and completing the remaining work on line). I'm grateful the Counseling Psychology program was already in place and I'm crazy grateful for my amazing husband (talk about hunkalicious).

Since it is the Fall, we're starting to plan some weekend getaways as a well as the October break the kids have from school. There is much debate, research, and the development of an argument to convince each other to see one venue over another. I love teenagers and their enthusiasm. In the meantime, we are still very much in love with our post-dinner bike rides about town.

Joe, Flower, & John - Marktplatz, Heidelberg

As far as I'm concerned, being in the lives of my people is completely where it's at.