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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

….there were more castles



Our hosts, Nick and Marlis, took us to Schloss Burg, a huge castle right outside of Wuppertal.  One way to get to the castle is to take a ski lift up and back.  The kids thought this was one of the best features of this castle. Oh, and goats below the ski lift as you go up!


We explored every nook and cranny and had Margrid do some translation from the markers, as there was no English guided tour for this castle.  The kids were fascinated by the small stature of everything.
We had a delicious lunch there and Marlis bought each kid a HUGE pretzel, which this area is famous for.  Samantha, always the trooper, ate Schnitzel and tried my fish and deemed it “very good”.  Max is having a little more trouble finding things to eat, but is in no way starving thanks again to our lovely host, Marlis, who has made him German bacon every morning and supplied him in pepperoni pizzas!

Then they showed us a wonderful park.  There were play structures built out of wood that had fallen in the area as well as swings and a cool soccer pitch for kids surrounded by a low wall so you didn't have to worry about "out of bounds" ball recovery!  
This is only a small part of the park!



Before we headed back for dinner, we stopped to watch a Boules match of the guy, Sigurd, that we are staying with.  Always the gracious host he had brought extra Boules balls and showed the kids how to play!  Max won with a score of five, in the short game played, and Samantha and Patrick tied at 2.







Today we are supposed to take a train, if the train workers strike allows, and go to the chocolate museum.  Samantha is most pleased with this "side trip" and I think she is having Willie Wonka dreams!









Monday, October 25, 2010

......here we are

Since this is the first time I have been able to log on since we arrived, I feel like I have too much ground to cover with all the things we have done already....two castles, driving on the autobon, driving along the Rhine River, and all the unbelievable sights!

The kids have been great so far.  Almost like they know they better get along, since there is no other option and no one else to play with!  Have only heard once or twice "she's/he's touching me" in the car rides between events.  Pretty amazing.......

They are fanscinated with all the sights.  They have been real troopers about eating; trying things and sometimes finding they like it! Samantha had goulash and deemed it "yummy".  Max is chowing on the good bread and is very excited about the soft pretzels everywhere.

Well, others are stirring so I will log off for now and start another day of new adventures!

More later.........

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One more day

So my last post was "30 more days" and now it is here.  Friday....... wow guess I better pack!

Everyone keeps asking me if I am excited about the trip....  I guess one of my coworkers said it best when she said I would get excited once the plane was in the air.  Then I have no choice!

Chill out it's vacation time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

....30 more days 'til Germany!

Wow.....time really does fly! 30 more days 'til we leave for Germany for two weeks!  But first we have to get through Max and Samantha's birthday, birthday parties, and packing!  My plan is to get done with the birthdays (Smantha's party is on 10/3 and Max's is on 10/9) and then concentrate on pulling things together and start packing.
KInda feel like this guy.....excited, yes and maybe a little hysterical!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

........we have an addition

So I am certifiably crazy!  We have added to the zoo that is Askham Drive.

Back Story:  Yesterday, we took the kids to the Y pool.  Max brought along his friend Charlie.  When we took Charlie home, Max and Patrick went to the door with him to drop him off.  A few minutes later, Max and Patrick come back to the car.  Patrick has his head down, kinda shaking it and tells Charlie's dad, Chuck, to "ask her 'cause it's up up to her".  I'm thinking "sleepover" or keeping Charlie an extra hour or something......Nope.

Chuck tells me his sister has found an iguana and is taking it to the SPCA tomorrow.  She had posted signs around her house and asked the neighbors, but no one has claimed the critter.  So, the kids hear this and immediately start begging for it.  Patrick tells me it's my decision.  Now this is the same man who told me I could only have the following animals:  Unicorn, Jackalope, Dragon.

So I took the lady's name and number and told everyone I would have to think about it.  I loved our last lizard, Spike, who died about 2 years ago.  It broke my heart when she died.  So, I'm thinking, "do I want to go through that again?".  Well, obviously, I am a sucker.  I called the Aunt and told her we would take it.  

After a quick clean up of part of my office, we brought out Spike's old tank, heat lamps and lights and set it up.

So today after school, we trekked out to North Raleigh and picked up the iguana.  I was surprised!  This is a juvenile iguana.  Only about a foot long.  The lady had been keeping it in a plastic box and it was very docile.

The dogs are fascinated and keep going in to stare in the tank.  Zilla just kinds cocks her head and looks at them.  Adding some heat to her environment has also really perked her up.  She hasn't eaten anything yet, but I think she is just trying to catch up on her heat.

It's official.......we are outnumbered~  The animals win!

Friday, August 27, 2010

....a fun PTA event

So the kids are back to school and the PTA has already had a family night.  And it was actually a lot of fun!  Max unfortunately had been home sick that day, so it was just Samantha and me taking place in the Adams Amazing Race.

We got to the school and were given a list of things we were supposed to find and questions to answer.  It started in the gym with a physical challenge given by the P.E. teacher.  Different tasks for different grades. Samantha had to catch a ball in a scoop 10 times before we could proceed.

That done,  we looked at the list (ignoring the instructions at the top, but more about that later!).  We saw that there was a task in the art room so we decided to go there since it was close to the gym.  She had to draw a self portrait and get the sheet initialed by the teacher and off we went.

The other questions and tasks took place in the hallway of the student's grade, so off we went.  We had answered quite a few and had to go to another teacher's room.  When we got there she looked at our sheet and issued us a "detour".  We had neglected to read that that the questions were supposed to be answered in order!  We had to rush to the second grade hall, where we we issued our punishment.  Samantha had to rub her tummy, pat her head and jump on one foot for 30 seconds!

That done, we finished our questions, got them checked off, received our prize for finishing (a weird looking bouncy ball) and proceed to the cafeteria for a spaghetti dinner!  All for free!  With homemade desserts!

Monday, August 23, 2010

...it's back to school

So Max and Samantha tracked back in today.  They were ready to start, but Samantha had some tears about leaving camp on Friday.  They will see some of the same kids in school, but there are a few who do go to other schools, so it was a little weepy for her Friday afternoon.

Max was starting to get bored with the routine of camp so school was a welcome change and he was actually heard to utter this morning "thank goodness school is back in"!  I LOVE year round school because of stuff just like this!

60 days until Germany!  The next time the kids track out (actually the day they track out), we will be on our way!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

....it's Tuesday

So yesterday was typically Monday.  I wanted to walk after work, but forgot to pack my tennis shoes.  I figured "oh well, I'll just sit and peddle a bike for awhile, don't need gym shoes for that".  After about 5 minutes of peddling, I had to quit.  Not because of my lack of footwear (I was wearing my Merrill flops), but my butt was killing me!  You would think I would have enough natural padding to be able to sit there for years without feeling the seat!  Nope, not the case......so I just called it a non-exercise day and went and picked up the kids.

Patrick was meeting a client/friend after work for drinks, so the kids and I had Ragu and noodles.  Of course there was the garlic toast - of which Samantha only eats the middle out of one piece and I only get about 1/2 piece because Max gives me the "puppy eyes" and requests half of mine after eating THREE pieces on his own.  Max has a creation he loves to make on Spaghetti nights.  He calls it a "Spaghetti sandwich" which involves taking a piece of garlic bread, loading noodles and sauce on top, then folding it "New York pizza style" and consuming it in about 3 bites!  Hey, whatever....at least he eats a good dinner!

Monday, August 16, 2010

.....it's the end of the weekend

Spent the afternoon at the Y pool with Samantha, Max and their friend Charlie.  It was nice, not grossly hot as it has been the past few days.  I got in an hour walk while Patrick watched (?) the kids.  At least he was there in case someone had to tattle (Samantha) or be scolded (Max).

One more week of Track Out for the kids and then they return to the fourth grade.  Mixed feelings....once back at school I won't have to pack the requisite "lunch and two snacks" every morning but it means back to homework which is, sad to say, getting a little challenging for me!  Well, the math anyway......

So far I have been able to figure out most of the work and Samantha's teacher has introduced us to a great math tutor, so there is always someone to turn to.  Plus Patrick actually likes math, so if it comes down to it, math can wait for Daddy to come home.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

So here's a thought.....

Dear Daughter
I thought that may be it might be fun to start blogging.  I know I like to read the blogs of friends/family and other (read strangers) people's blogs.  But maybe my life isn't as interesting as the people I read and this will be a total bust!

But the fam (Patrick, me, the kids and my mother-in-law) will be venturing to Germany in October and this might be a way to keep up with the prep before and the trip.  There might also be an expat assignment in our future, but that is a way aways.

We will just have to wait and see if this is something that remains fun because once something becomes a chore, I will drop it like it's a bad habit (too bad that doesn't apply to bad habits)!