Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday Fun at the Lake

I know I don't normally put pictures on here, but I also know some of my readers aren't F.B friends of mine. I don't think I could explain everything here, and give you the true mental image that the picture can.

Yesterday, was the first time in a long while, that we had the chance to hang out as a family. J had been so busy with his friends and going to soccer games there really wasn't much family time. Yesterday morning, he and I watched the Borussia Dortmund game on the computer. We do not have the extended sports package on our satellite, but J is very good at finding streams for us to watch on the computer. Dortmund tied the game up in extended time on a penalty kick. It was great, and there was a lot of yelling coming out of J's room with the two of us celebrating. I have really gotten into watching soccer and following the team. I already to J he needs to give me the sites names, so I can watch Dortmund next year when he isn't here.

It was so nice yesterday afternoon that L and I decided to take the boat out on the lake. We have a rather large lake that isn't that far from where we live. L bought the boat a little while before J arrived. L, with J's help in spots, rebuild the whole boat including the engine. To say I was impressed is an understatement. We wanted to get the boat out once or twice before we had to shut it down for the winter. Also, there are toys people buy when they own a boat, and we own skis and a kneeboard. J has been dying to try the kneeboard. He thought he would get to go last weekend, but his friends couldn't come, and there wasn't anyone to go that could be a spotter. Yesterday, T was awake, so we all could go. T ended up faceplanting while getting his life vest adjusted and hit his head off the pavement, but he okay to go boating. The water was perfect, and there were many boats on the lake. L stopped at what he thought we be a good place for J to start kneeboarding. Luckily, L bought wetsuits because the water temperature was on the cool side. The adults thought it would take J a bit to get the hang of kneeboarding. We both were wrong. J got right up and a few seconds was surfing the wake coming off the boat. It was long after that he was doing 360 spins. You can see from the picture above that he also figured out how to jump the wake getting the board up in the air. L did all in his power to throw him off the board, but J held on. The only true time he had an issue was when a large boat went by him and its wake caused a nice sized wave that J hit. That did cause him to fall off the board. Other than that, he did amazingly well. He had a huge smile on his face the whole time. I was glad that he got to do it, and even more glad that I was there to watch him do it. It was nice spending the day as our family of four. It just was another day that I am glad to say that we have an exchange student to share moments like this.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Since You Last Read

It has been a busy few weeks here. Two weekends ago, my siblings and I threw my parents a surprise 60th birthday party. I was skeptical that we would manage to keep all five of us from blowing the cover. We went up on Saturday morning because J wanted to get his haircut. I dropped L and T off at my sister's house, and J and I went to my cousin's salon. Originally, I wanted her to do J's hair, but she had two parties to go to that day, and she was running late. I told her one of her employees could do it. The girl who did J's hair didn't cut it to his liking. In fairness to her, she did do what he asked, and he could have asked her to cut shorter the parts he wanted shorter. He just felt she was incompetent, and decided he wanted his hair left alone. I explained to him that if he wanted it shorter and cut differently all he had to do was ask her to do it. She cut it how he explained he wanted it done.

It was then off to decorate the hall for the party. My parents thought they were coming to a dinner thrown by my sister's boss. They made us sweat though because they both were out of town doing things that day, and we were afraid they weren't going to get back in time. They actually got back to their house early, so it worked out. My sister got them there, and they were surprised. Everyone had a nice time.

The following Sunday L's family and a few neighbors came over to our house for a party. It was a busy morning filled with last minute cleaning, and cooking. Luckily, I was smart and decided to just make venison chili, cocktail wieners in grape jelly, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Even better the weather cooperated and we could have everyone outside instead of trying to fit 30 plus people inside. The leaves weren't quite at peak, but there was still plenty of fall colors around to add to being outside. T enjoyed playing with his cousins. L's parents spent the night, and he enjoyed playing with Ammy.

L was off for Columbus Day the following day. He and his father finished off the boat refurbishment. L took his parents out on the lake before they headed home. Glad to report the boat's motor didn't break, and the boat didn't sink.

Last Saturday, I took J shopping at the outlets. It was also a nice day, but a little windy. It was a little cold walking in and out of the stores. J only bought a sweatshirt and a t-shirt. We walked into every store though. He was just being conservative with his money. He wanted to make sure he had some left for the rest of the month. I bought T some nice things at the Gap outlet. They were having a huge sale and you just couldn't beat the price. I also bought some things for myself at Eddie Bauer which also had some nice deals. That night, J went and stayed at a friend's house. He had a good time hanging out with his friends. They were hoping to go kneeboarding, but they had senior day on Monday for the soccer team. They had to do their work for Monday and Tuesday for school. Plus, the coach called a last minute practice for them.

In between the weekends their were the usual soccer games. J goes even though he can't play. We are hoping that they win enough play off games to get them to next Thursday. If they do, J can play with the team for the rest of the playoffs. I really hope that he can play a game or even more. J also went to the homecoming game. Our football isn't really good, and they played the defending state champs. We were just proud that they kept the score reasonable. We also have been watching the MLB playoffs. For those who aren't my friends on FB, I am a diehard Phillies fan. I have been now for 30 years as of yesterday. No, I haven't kept track of the date for 30 years. It was just mentioned during the game yesterday that 30 years ago the Phils won the world series. I watched that game and became a Phillies fan on the spot.

Tomorrow is the next soccer playoff game. We all may be going to that. On Sunday, we once again may try to get J a winter jacket. It is starting to get cold here at night. We even had some flurries last night. I will let you all know if he finally picks out a jacket. Until then, I hope you all have fun.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hershey Park

Yesterday, we all went to Hershey Park. My brother's in-laws got us the tickets, and we got to see him and them as well. It turned out to be a beautiful day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. All of us are wearing the reminders of that one on our skin. Well, not T, he was the only one wearing sun block. Because it was just a special even day, the park wasn't too crowded. It was interesting on many levels. One, we have a toddler who has never been to an amusement park like that. Two, we had a teen who has been to amusement park, but not like this one.

T tried a couple of rides. He wasn't too sure about them. He got better the more he rode. He also went on a ride by himself. At first, he loved it. There was a bell he was striking. Then, the ride began to move. That took him by surprise, but he liked it. We all cheered for him and probably looked like fools. We didn't really care. Since there wasn't a line for the ride, the operator let it go on longer. I think T was beginning to think he was never getting off. He looked like he was going to cry, and then, the ride stopped.

J rode many roller coasters yesterday. He said in Germany the parks that he has gone only have one of each big ride. Meaning there is one roller coaster in the park. There isn't the variety we have here. He loved riding them. There is one that goes 0-72 in four seconds. We watched that one launch first, so J could see what it was like. Well, he was sold on riding it. L sat next to him. The thing was he only got to see the launch area, so J thought this thing just shot you straight. He was sitting there and realized that it shot you over a hill. It wasn't just straight. He turned and asked L wile they were sitting there if they would be riding over the hill and drop. L told him yes, and that it was too late to turn back. It apparently turned out to be fun because J rode it again.

After we left the park, we hit up Chocolate World. There is a ride in there that tells you about the making of chocolate. T was beyond done at that point. He actually fell asleep even with the loud singing cows. He didn't wake up until we almost were home.

I can say that I have been to Hershey and the park numerous times. This was the most fun I have ever had. Granted my brother always adds entertainment. There is no describing him. What really did it was having two kids going through the park for the first time, and just watching their faces all day. They both were taking in new things. I got to experience the park on a whole new level. That was better than the price of admission.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rain Day!

Today, J had a rain day, or you can call it a flood day. We were one of the areas on the East coast that were inundated with rain. We were caught up in two systems, and one of them was Tropical Storm Nicole remnants. That led to flooding which then led to school being cancelled for today. J started doing a rain dance last night even though we reminded him that it now adds to the end of his school year. He told us in Germany they don't make up days. Also, like college in the US if the teachers call out sick their class is cancelled. Obama may want to check out that part of his adding to the school year. Germany is one of the countries that average going a month longer than the US students, but over a course of the year they actually go less because canceling classes is very common over there J says. Plus their school day is much shorter. The sun did come out this afternoon, and we took the dogs out to play in the backyard. The two of them were ready to romp around after being cooped up. Labs really aren't really known to be true coach potatoes if they can help it. Tomorrow, we are off to our big adventure in Hershey. It should be fun.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Six Weeks Here!

It is hard to believe that I have been the mom to a teen now for six weeks. J and I went to his appointment for his hand. The good news is that he is healing well. Bad news is that he isn't quite healed enough to play sports. We couldn't take a chance on it breaking worse if he fell on it again, and then there would be no avoiding surgery. He has a recheck in four weeks that could lead to him being able to play in the playoffs. I am hoping that he can do that because he has found out that there has been a sort of take over in the soccer leagues back home. Basically, if you aren't Turkish in his region you aren't playing no matter how good you are. Playing here may actually end up being his last time playing competitive soccer. Knowing how important that is to him, I really hope that his hand heals good enough to give him that chance to play.

This past weekend, Jannis had his first mandated AFS orientation. He enjoyed himself there. He made many friends, but that is the way it is wherever he goes. There was a host parent orientation before picking up the kids on Sunday that I attended. It was very enlightening. I used the information basically for kids that may come because, quite frankly, there aren't any issues here with J. I know that may not be the case with future kids because kids and cultures vary. I saw that with my grandparents' kids. With the exception of the whole public transportation part of the program, there were things that I learned even though they didn't apply to my present kid. On the ride home, some things led to interesting conversations. We also enjoyed the uninterrupted talking we could do. It was just J and I in the car. L stayed home to watch T. It also gave J the chance to see some of the fall colors. Some areas on our drive were getting quite colorful.

Yesterday, J went to a friend's house after school. They only had a half day due to teacher conferences. He came home last night and tried to figure out how to use his graphing calculator the school let him borrow. It didn't come with a manual, and his math teacher told him to play around to try to figure it all out. Note to self, send this as an example to Obama for his education reform. L did think to Google the calculator and lo and behold we found the manual to it. J then read that as he has a math test on Wednesday and needs to know how to use it by then. Last night, we watched the Phillies clinch their NL East title. Hopefully, I will be able to land some playoff tickets. J would love to go a game, and there would not be any environment more electric than that.

This week there are a couple of soccer games J is attending. The big thing is that we are going to Hersheypark this weekend. I will post how that goes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Has Arrived!

Okay, I know you are all are impressed to get another post so soon. Now T is too young to use some of the dreaded phrases that kids use to really just irritate their parents. We have heard are we there yet from him, or what's for dinner? We have even heard those from J. He is usually content with waiting to see what food is put in front of him. He also asks how far things are before we leave, so that takes care of the other question. In this day and age of ordering online there is one that we have had to hear for over a week now. Has my Ipod come? J ordered himself the new Ipod Touch. He has been waiting patiently....yes, that is used with a big sound of sarcasm there, for it to arrive. One interesting thing to note here is the differences in prices here. I knew US prices for many things were cheaper than in Europe. We have relatives that buy out places when they come to visit. J's Ipod was $120 cheaper than it would be for him to buy it at home. What you find interesting is some of the other things that are steals here. One of things I was surprised to see J wear was Carhart. He has jeans there. Now my southern and hunting friends will probably fall over to read this. Carhart is considered luxury wear in Germany. Now most clothing is expensive in Germany. To hear though that J can buy five pair of Carhart jeans for the price that he pays for one pair here is amazing to me. He is waiting for the day that he gets to go shopping over here. He will also be purchasing another suitcase to go home, so he can take everything back with him. It is the little things for him in life. I am just hoping his father doesn't regret that credit card he gave him. Good thing he put a limit on it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Month

This past week marked one month that J has been with us. It seems though like he has been here much longer than that. To say he has fit in well is an understatement. Our days now are filled mostly with a regular routine of things. We may not be doing exciting things everday, but we are really enjoying each other's company.

L was out of town last week, so it was really nice having J around. We all had terrible colds, but it still was nice to have someone around to help out. It was also really nice to have someone around to have a conversation other than a toddler.

J is doing really well in school. He is having difficulty sometimes translating back into English what he wants to say. Overall, her is doing well. He is very school conscientious. He wants to do real well while he is here. His teachers have been wonderful to him with the help they give. I was really proud that he brought up his Trig grade. He worked and studied very hard to do that.

Yesterday, he went over to a friend's house. He got the chance to play paintball. He had a wonderful time. In Germany, you have to be 18 to play. In many parts of the country, it is even illegal. He was thrilled that he can play here.

Today we watched J's favorite team Borussia Dortmund play on his computer. They beat their rivals today. J was very happy. L was working on the boat, and said he could hear us cheering from inside. This afternoon we are watching NFL games. Right now, J is doing one of his favorite chores....mowing the lawn. We have a riding lawnmower and he thinks that is great to use. Other than that, we haven't been up to much. This coming week, J has his recheck appointment on his hand. He also has an AFS weekend orientation to attend. It should be another busy week here.