Feb 29, 2012

Hair

In 10 minutes I am leaving for a hair appointment with my very opinionated stylist. She gets her way...all the time. Except when it comes to threading my face off - I have finally gathered enough of a backbone to flat refuse to let her torture me with that archaic practice. But other than that, what Mimi wants to do, she does.
I can't decide what to do with my hair. If I don't come up with some solid opinion in the next 10 minutes before I leave and then the 20 or so it takes to get to the salon, I'm toast. I'll be at her mercy and I have no idea what she might come up with.
Continue this growing out thing...which I am hating, or just cut it off? I just spent the last 20 minutes looking back at some of my past hairstyles. Wow. Although most of the styles were ok, there are definitely some that I will not repeat. Super short is out, that mushroom thing is out and really long super red also out. I'm so closer now to when I started this decision making process.
Crossing my fingers and just hoping that I come out of this presentable!

Feb 28, 2012

The Most Expensive Word In the English Language

Well, at least it is the most expensive word in my house. This word will cost the person who utters it 25 cents. Fines tend to be running at a 50 cent per day average. What is this word?
"Why"
Before you bash me for stifling my children's inquisitive minds by charging them to ask "why?", hear me out.
"Why do we have to eat fish for dinner?"
Free of charge.
The answer by the way is because fish is quick and healthy.
"Why I was waiting for you to finish getting ready I read two chapters in my book".
25 Cents.

Every single time Eli utters the word "why" instead of "while" I would correct him and explain the difference between the words. Every. Single. Time.
Then one day I had enough. He is 9. He is in 4th grade. He should darn well know the difference between the very important questioning word "why" and the boring conjunction "while". So I started charging him 25 cents every time he says "why". It drives me crazy. While it hasn't stopped him from misusing the word "why" yet, there is still hope or at least I'll gather enough money to buy Guiseppi's Gelato for the entire summer.



Feb 26, 2012

Forgiveness

I think forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do. Forgiving someone of their offenses means wiping the slate clean, erasing the debt, giving pardon.
I'm super grumpy with someone right now and after weeks of pondering, rationalizing and just plain whining about the situation I finally came to a realization that there is nothing I can say or do to change the person who offended me. And there is nothing I can say or do to change the situation except offer forgiveness.
This past week the lesson for my TREK kids was forgiveness. One of the exercises was to forgive the person that God was putting on your heart to forgive. Ouch. As I went over the lesson with the kids I had a pinging in my heart. I know forgiving is the right thing to do but something is stopping me. What?
As I asked the kids "what is the one thing that stops us from forgiving others?" my eyes gazed over at the suggested answer in the leader's book. It is the ugliest thing ever. Pride. What does that have to do with forgiveness? Pride says "my hurt is the most important thing" or "what you did to me is too great to forgive". Pride stands in the way because I am simply not ready or willing to let the person off the hook who hurt me.
In the end, the hurt is mine, not the person who hurt me. The lingering agony and frustration is mine, the other has already moved on. I have no doubt that I will be hurt again by this person and likely sometime soon, but I cannot let my pride come between me and forgiveness. Jesus humbled himself to take on the likeness of man in order that my sins could be forgiven. And yet, I find myself and my problems more important than offering forgiveness to someone else.
I'd like to say that after this little lesson at AWANA on Thursday, I humbled myself, set aside my pride and forgave. But I didn't. I'm more in process of forgiving. I'll call it forgivingness - its a process. I'm willing to start it and trust that God will work on my heart and make the process a little easier.

Feb 22, 2012

Weekend Excitement

This past weekend our family joined Matt's company and went on a 4 day ski holiday. We had a ridiculous amount of fun.
We are so lucky to be stationed here with truly awesome people. We have enjoyed companies in the past, but this group is off the hook! These are the type of people that you hug "hello" and "goodbye" even if it will only be a few days before you see them again. (Just to clarify: Matt doesn't hug them every day at the beginning and end of work - but when we see each other outside of work it is a little bit of a love fest.) There are single guys, couples without kids, families with young kids, and some with older kids and we all get along great. I honestly enjoy just about everyone in the company and the idea of hanging out with them for a weekend of skiing sounded like a great plan.
I do have to admit I was very uncomfortable handing over a large sum of money to someone else to plan my weekend. Although I didn't have the type of information in advance that I wanted, and some aspects of the organization were not perfect - I doubt I could have done a better job organizing this large of a group for a ski weekend. Kudos to our "trip captain" - sorry I doubted you.
We all made our own way down to Sankt Veit, Austria and each family stayed in their own room or apartment in different pensions throughout the tiny town. Our family was lucky enough to get an apartment with two rooms, kitchenette, dining area, and balcony. We all had breakfast at our own pension, met up on the slopes for days of skiing or snowboarding and then had dinner together each night at a local restaurant. Following dinner the group convened up at The Rustica, a bar owned by the tour company, for an evening of silly fun. We had cow milking contests, karaoke, limbo, dancing, costume parties and an unbelievable amount of laughs.
On the slopes, we were treated to the best runs I have ever been on and some of the fluffiest powder and most beautiful views ever. I loved this place. As we were heading out of town on the last day I found myself preoccupied with trying to figure out a way to come back.
The best thing about this trip is that is was truly enjoyable for everyone in our family. The kids had fun at ski school, Matt and I had fun boarding and skiing with our friends, and we all had fun with friends at dinner and the after party. The boys had the best snow fight ever with a few of the young Captains in our company. Those boys had no idea what they were up against when they took on two 25 year old guys in snow war 2012! The big kids won, but I'm not sure who had more fun. They were all laughing so hard an unfriendly local threatened to call the Polizai.
We had such a great weekend on an off the slopes. The ski conditions were downright fabulous on their own, but the weekend was so spectacular because of the group of people we were with. Matt and I couldn't have had nearly as much fun if it were just the two of us. We were both so sad to leave because we know that this type of thing doesn't come along every day. We are so thankful for our Aces family here in Germany and look forward to sharing more great times in the few months we have left here.

Feb 15, 2012

Hating Germany 3

1. Garbage Disposals. We have none. I read somewhere that garbage disposals are illegal. I thought I would get used to the food scraping in the trash but I haven't. I still randomly toss food in the sink as if I can just grind it down with the disposer. But no, instead I get to reach into the sink and grab the soaking wet, slimy food item and attempt to get it in the trash without slopping it on myself or the floor. I can't wait to clear off a plate in the sink and watch the food, water and anything else that gets in the way disappear into the plumbing!

2. Water. Our water has so much calcium in it that it destroys just about everything. The showers, the sinks, water pitchers, coffee makers, tea kettles... you name it. It is so irritating to constantly have chunky, grimy residue where water has been contained.

3. AFN. Armed Forces Network. Nice idea, poor delivery. AFN is free television for those of us who live on post. Free is nice. It is also nice to have American television shows. But the picture is so horrible it is almost painful to watch. Remember rabbit ears and tin foil? Worse than that. It constantly looks like it is snowing on the TV and if it isn't "snowing" there is a good chance the show is flickering. Our reception is so bad that I usually don't even attempt to watch anything. When I do turn on the TV and manage to get a clear picture there is usually absolutely nothing on. The first year we lived here Touched by and Angel and 7th Heaven were the only two shows I ever saw. The next year seemed to be Oprah and reruns of Beverly Hills 90210 and this year the only thing I have watched is Fear Factor and Extreme Make-over Home Edition. I like that the television isn't a main player in our home but when I do sit down to watch something it would be simply wonderful if the picture were clear and it was something from this decade.

4. AFN Radio. Yesterday I was listening to AFN Heidelberg. In Heidelberg. Actually on a US Installation in Heidelberg and the station still didn't come in clear. I could understand if it were AFN Wiesbaden or AFN Stuttgart but good golly it was AFN Heidelberg and I was in Heidelberg. I would like to listen to the news without the German traffic report breaking in!

Together Again

Today my knight in shining armor arrived on his sturdy horse with the crown jewels and laid them at my feet. Or perhaps it was Matt in his camouflage ACU's pulling up in the smelly diesel with my iMac and suggesting that I "quick vacuum off the desk so I can set this thing down". Same same.
I have been without my computer for an entire week, two if you count the time I was in the States. And I have missed it dearly!
I missed this giant screen and my comfy desk chair and all my bookmarks saved in a very organized manner. I missed all the saved tidbits of info I keep in my email files and my calendar. I also was hurting for my files of Kindle books I have saved on my hard drive. Sure enough I finished book 2 in a series and couldn't dive in to book 3 because it was kidnapped with my computer.
All is well in the world now. I have my computer, I can update calendars, upload pictures, access files and blog.

Feb 10, 2012

Rochambeau and Coffee Dates

Most of my boys' disagreements can be solved by a 2 out of 3 of rochambeau. Who goes first? Who picks the movie? Who picks what is for dinner? All solved by rochambeau. With rochambeau there is an understanding that the winner wins, an the loser doesn't pout or complain about the outcome. It is simple.
Sometimes a little more complicated solution is required and we move from a level one rochambeau solution to a level two draft order. Level two is rarely required in anything but lego and playmobil selection. In this case rochambeau determines the picking order and then draft order comes into play. The person with the first pick selects one, then the second pick selects one and then the third person picks two. At this point the order is now reversed and next up to pick is person 2, then 1, then 3,2,1 until the legos or playmobil run out or the pickers get bored with the process of picking and decide to go ahead and just play. Problems solved. Each picking position has a perk. While the first person gets first choice of the whole pile, the 3rd person gets to pick two for his or her first pick.
Unfortunately, the challenges that I face us an adult are rarely easily solved by rochambeau. Instead I have coffee dates. While coffee doesn't provide a solution to the problem, it does provide comfort as I work through the solution.
Today was a bad morning. It kicked off with an unfortunate email that I read while still in bed. Lesson learned - don't read email until after the day has brought something good. Then the day continued down the drain and stuff started hitting the fan left and right. I was yelling at the boys, Matt was yelling at me for yelling at the boys, Gabe ran out of the house, Eli was running after him while yelling, and it was 16 degrees outside so the frustrations of the morning were just amplified by the fact that everyone was literally freezing their face off.
Thankfully, today was a pre-scheduled coffee date. Two friends came over, we ate breakfast and shared a few cups of coffee together. I vented, they listened and suddenly the horrible morning and the unresolvable problem brought up in that email faded away. Problems not solved but at least for the moment set aside.
Just as a quick round of rochambeau can squelch a fiery argument, a sweet cup of coffee with friends can calm an anxious soul. I'm thankful for scheduled coffee dates on days that I really need them and for friends who are willing to listen to me vent....over coffee!