Friday, May 29, 2009

Where Was My Camera For This!!!!

I usually carry our camera in Kelty's diaper bag but I didn't think I needed it for a trip to the commissary ... oh how I was wrong!

You know those vertical plastic stips that hold random items down the front of the shelves? ... I was in the diaper isle and hanging directly in front of the Huggies diapers was a display of Trojan condoms. Ha! I guess their hint was "if you want to avoid buying diapers ... buy these condoms!"

I had to laugh! Wish I had my camera!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Toots and Laughter

I took Kelty to the indoor pool/play area on-base yesterday ... it was a hit. Kelty loves the water; I actually think bath time is his favorite part of the day. Registration for swim lessons opens up next Fri at 6am ... the women told us to sign up as early as possible because the classes get filled-up immediately! Whoa ... looks like Al will have to sign him up first thing in the morning that day (on his way to work)! I don't have any pool pictures because I couldn't manage the camera and a tot in the pool at the same time ... maybe next time when Al is able to join us.

Yesterday evening Al was giving Kelty "raspberries" ... I just call them "belly toots". I asked Kelty if he could give daddy "belly toots" ... here is the result!

Sorry for the loud laughter ... at least I wasn't snorting!

I had a few bags of groceries that needed to go downstairs to our big fridge. While I was in the kitchen I heard the sound of someone (huh hum, Kelty) rummaging through glass bottles ... I poked my head around the corner and this is what I saw ...

Kelty had placed the plastic container on the case of soda and then took the glass bottle out of the bag and balanced it on top of the "rounded top" container! This little structure was almost as tall as he was! Needless to say the bags went on the other side of the gate immediately after I took this photo! Phew!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Keeping Up With The Neighbors

Al and I had a really nice weekend! Our neighbors, Heinz and Evi, invited Al and I over for drinks under their gazebo on Friday evening. They speak good English but always keep their translation book with them for those moments when we can't figure out what eachother is saying. Our conversation was dominated with talk of good vineyards, breweries and German -vs- American culture. Saturday late afternoon, after a good day of yardwork, they took us to the carnival down in Kaiserslautern, followed by a visit to their ballroom dance class and an ice cream treat to wrap up the evening.
Mike and Sue (Al's brother and our sister-in-law) got back to the house Sat evening from Mike's medical convention in Belgium. Our neighbors across the street were celebrating a 60th birthday and had a HUGE party. We sat out on our deck and listened to the music ... I guess we were crashing their party from a distance ... though Al and Mike wanted to actually go crash it!
Sunday we went to the zoo and back to the carnival. Kelty played his 1st carnival game and won a prize! It was the little game with the ducks in the pond and Kelty had to pick them out using a stick with a magnet and then put them in his basket ... he did really well!
We don't have too many photos because my batteries died and we didn't have any replacements ... here are a few for your enjoyment.

I finally planted flowers along the deck railing! Whoohoo! It took me two day to get 60 flowers planted! I still have the flower boxes along Kelty's railing to plant. That's a project for next weekend.

Kelty was not to fond of this little ride ... seriously, it almost made me sick!

Evi and Heinz

Notice the black smudges on Kelty's nose and forhead! He smushed his face up against the screen that covers are little fire-pit on the deck.

I was in the kitchen and I hear "clip, clop, clip clop" ... around the corner walks Kelty in my heels! He loves to put oh my heels and walk around ... ha!

This may re-appear at his wedding someday! :o)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Faces of Kelty

Kelty has been quite the handful this week! It's been a challenge to say the least, especially in the afternoons. He seems to be fascinated with the dogs lately; poor dogs! He is always trying to grab and pull; if I put the dogs behind the gates and out of Kelty's reach he decides it's target practice with his toys. Kelty has spent some time in the corner this week! You'll see in the photos what I've been up against ...



The "you have no idea what's coming next" face

The "Ha! I got my way" face

In other news ... I had my first dance class last night! They are every Mon and Wed; the instructor is a local national but offers classes on base and would like to start a company with her more experienced dancers. Last nights' class was a ballet technique class and it was GREAT! The classes are from 8:30 until 10pm in the evening which works well for our schedule ... whoohoo!

I was able to squeeeeze into my old dance clothes ... and I mean squeeeze!

We also have family and friends in town! Al's bro Mikey and his wife Sue are visiting ... right now they are on a 3-day excursion to southern Germany and will be back this evening. Our friend Adam W. is out here flying the new C-130J for a couple weeks. Our friend Adam T. was at Ramstien for a night when they were diverted on their way home from a deployment ... we tried to catch him but had missed him by a few minutes. It's a small world ... I can't believe we are half-way across the world and have/had this many friends here! It brings a little bit of "home" to us here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

House Stuff, Care Packages and Randomness

We are still plugging away unpacking boxes and finding places for all our stuff ... the house is starting to take shape but not "picture ready" yet. :o) Until I get pictures of the rest of the house I thought I'd share some of the unique things (though, common in Germany) about our house.

Windows: I love the windows and doors here! What makes them unique is that they tilt open and swing open depending on how you place the handle. The "tilt open" is a neat feature but takes you by surprise the first few times ... you think the window or door is falling on top of you! I guarantee that any visitors we have will holler the first time they try to open a window; thinking that it's actually falling on top of them.

This is one of the doors leading to the patio ... I yelled opening this one the first time!

Toilets: We are used to exterior tank toilets with a handle to flush; European toilets look like a seat sticking out of the wall and have a panel as a flusher. This is standard here but is unique to us!

Kitchens: Generally speaking, the kitchens here are pretty small ... particularly in the older German homes. We lucked out with a spacious kitchen but the appliances and sinks take a bit to get used to! Our sink is SMALL! I didn't know how the heck I could actually wash anything in it at first but I've adapted. The fridges here are very small as well and most homes don't even have freezers, though we lucked out with a freezer. It is common here to "buy fresh" daily so they don't need big fridges to accomodate a stockpile of food. The military loans "american-style" fridges to help ... we keep ours downstairs in our "laundry/stock room".

This is a standard dinner plate I put in the sink for a visual reference.

The part we find the toughest to adapt to is the lack of room for condiments. We keep the lesser used condiments in the downstairs fridge.

"I'll buzz you in": Pretty common here but something you normally only think about in up-scale homes in the U.S. We have a intercom and buzzer system to let people in the house. We have one on each floor so that no matter where we are, we can communicate with the person outside and buzz them from where we're at. Cool!

Al and I have fun playing with this.

My mom is awesome about sending "care packages". This one was for Kelty so I let him dig out the gifts ... he was pretty interested in the box and peanuts. After emptying out the box he spent a good 30 minutes sweeping up the peanuts and putting them back in the box. Here's a little video ... thanks Nana and Papa!

Here are a few photos of Kelty over the last few days ...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo and Rolladens!

Yesterday Kelty and I went to the squadron for a Cinco De Mayo fiesta and were able to meet the commander as well as few spouses. The luncheons weren't as "social" as the ones we were used to at MacDill where the kiddo's could run around in the "boom pod" and everyone could sit and chat. The 76th has an awesome kitchen for the food prep (it's used by the flight attendants to prepare meals for the DV's before the flights). Unfortunately there is no seating or social area to sit so I held Kelty in my arms while trying to eat a taco. Most people grabbed their food and went back to their offices. I was also sad to hear that there is no SQ playgroup ... hopefully I'll be able to get one started. Megan G. - I met your friend Lesa P. that you were stationed with in Japan!
On our way to the luncheon ... it was in the 50's yesterday so we were bundled up!

After we got home Kelty got into my "hair stuff" drawer and put on my headband ... it even matched his outfit! Al tried to grab the camera ... he didn't want this picture taken of Kelty.

Here is something you don't often see in our house .... burnt taco shells! I LOVE Mexican food ... Al and I have taco night once a week; we have for years! Last night we had taco's and while the meat was simmering and the shells were warming in the oven I decided to work on an email back to my Reserve unit at Homestead. Suddenly the smoke alarm was going off and the kitchen was filled with smoke .... I burnt the heck out of the taco shells!

These were white corn hardshells! Our house smells like burnt corn chips.

Time for another dose of "Life in Germany". All the homes here are equipped with "Rolladens", prounced Ro-LAW-dens. They are exterior shutters that block out all light; when up, you don't even know they are there. Most often you control the rolladens individually with buttons by each window; in our house we have a bonus ... we have a master panel that will control the rolladens on each floor simultaneously. Here's a video of the rolladens on the main floor.

Our first morning in the house I was up early with Kelty while the rest of the crew were nestled snug in their beds. I was trying to get the rolladens up on the main floor but they weren't budging, it occured to me that I was pressing the wrong button and was opening and closing the rolladens in the bedroom on the top floor. I guess that was thier wake-up call!

And that's "Rolladens"!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Autofrie Biking and Talkin' Trash

Today was the first day we felt like we actually "went out and did something"! On certain Sundays throughout the spring and summer the roads are closed to motor vehicles; they are referred to as autofrei (auto-free) days. Today we biked along the Moselle River and its vineyards. The villages along the route offer music, food, drinks and festivities. We got a late start but were able to enjoy a few hours biking, a cold beer and a braut with our friends Andy and Jo. Here are a few snapshots of our day ...

Kelty rode with Daddy today ... and had to wear mommy's helmet! Daddy forgot Kelty's helmet and after a VERY angry mommy calmed down we were able to fit my helmet for Kelty.

The Mosselle River

Stopping for a quick bite ... it started to rain and we still had to bike back to the car!

Ok, time for a dose of "German Living". They take recycling very serious in Germany. One of the most stressful things about our first couple of days in our house was how to properly dispose of our trash! Trash is separated into ... Restmull (normal trash), Geiber Sack/Yellow Bag (aluminum, plastic, metal, foam and combined material recyclables), Biotonne (food scraps, grass clipping, etc), and Paper/Cardboard. Glass is also recycled but we have to take it down to the recycling center ourselves. So ... if you live in FL you're probably used to trash pick-up twice a week ... not the case here! Normal trash and the Geiber Sacks are picked up every two weeks; the Bio is picked up every two weeks alternating with the normal trash; the Paper bin is picked up once a month! So let's put trash into photo's ....

This what we have under our kitchen sink to separate trash ... this is so we don't have to walk outside to our separate bins every time we throw something away! The red basket is where we throw all recyclables including paper and glass ... when it gets full we carry it outside and seperate it into the proper bins/bags. The white trash can is for normal trash but the little basket sets in it for our food scraps. The black bags are the equivalent of the black trash bin but the bags are rationed to us because of Kelty's diapers. We get 26 bags per year to accomodate for the extra trash we produce with soiled diapers ... otherwise we would have to pay extra.

The big blue bin is for paper/cardboard and gets picked up every two weeks. The small black bin is for our normal trash ... it holds roughly two bags worth of garbage and is picked up every other week. Unfortunately we missed our trash pick-up (it was moved up a day ... but we didn't know that!) Now it's a whole 2 weeks until it gets picked up again!

These yellow sacks hold our recyclable waste ... this is where we separate stuff from red bin from under the sink ... except paper, we take that to the blue bin. The little gray bin is where we are putting our glass for now.

I didn't take a photo of the brown, bio bin ... it's the same size as the blue bin. That one can get nasty holding two weeks worth of food scraps! I purchased mini-biodegradable bags to line the little basket that I keep under the sink ... that way I can wrap up the bio every couple of days and throw the bag into the big bio bin ... otherwise we would be dealing with stench, maggots and a foul smelling bio bin!

And that's talkin' trash!

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