Monday, April 30, 2012

TNT Soccer Team "The Bomb"

Xanthe, Christine, Katryn Brown & Xoe

New Season for Soccer!

Their team is called "TNT-The Bomb".

They are in an older league now, the 13-15 year olds and are held to a higher standard.  Practices and games kick their butts, but the girls were ready for it even last year.  They sort of felt a little too old for the younger league last year.  The girls are awesome and are switched positions a lot.  They run super fast and I have seen them run all the way down field, pass someone completely and steal the ball. I'm going to try and get some cool shots next game. 

So far, their team is tied for their first game and won their second game 1-0... the other team gave them a run for their money.  Our team didn't even score until the last 15 minutes of the game. It was 0-0 the entire game until then.

Xoe waiting to go in.  The coach at the top left with the long hair is their coach from two years ago and the coach in the black is actually from the team we played the next week.  He was "spying" on us to see our tactics.  Yes, people THAT is how serious this league is.

She actually asked to sit out for a minute cuz she had just been running all over the field.  The girls have a hard time asking to sit out cuz they just push themselves. While impressive, I tell them not to overdo it, especially this last weekend where it was 85 degrees, not something we've gotten used to over here.

Cute girl. :)

Xanthe, she was on defense at this point and she took it VERY seriously.

This kid who is goalie, and his brother Daniel are good friends with the girls.  Which made it more forgiving when he did a goal kick and the ball went straight up into Xanthe's nose and burst open the bloody floodgates.  She took it well, he felt bad and all is well now.  And no her nose hasn't become crooked like mine... yet.

Ummmm, ya, my friend Khadisha gave Spencer her phone to play with and he and her son, Jaylen (seen in the pictures below) spent a lot of time on Angry Birds.  haha.  Yes, he does watch the game and kick the ball a lot... sometimes they just gotta take an iphone break, right?

I think we might have a leftie.

Christine Arnold, Xanthe Villa and Jade Esselman, some of the girls' best friends. They love soccer so much that on Mondays and Wednesdays they all take the shuttle from school down to the field 3 hours early and practice (and take food breaks, etc.).  They all look forward to it. There's a group of about 6 of them.  And nothing I can say can talk them into NOT going.  :)  They are serious kids about this soccer thing. 

Xoe, Christine & Xanthe


Xanthe & Jazmine Reed

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just so you all know

It may look like I haven't blogged in awhile but in reality I did a ton of blogging and have no reordered all the old posts to their proper dates. I'm going to try to do a few recent posts now. :) I just don't know where to start.  :)  Lucky you, there may be some really short posts coming up soon. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Favorite Pasttime-Trainspotting

One of our favorite pasttimes is to sit at train stations and watch trains come in or leave.  The station down by our house is an open air one and has trains coming about every 15 minutes.  The main station downtown is covered but is the "end of the line" so he can't see them really pass by.  One of the girls' friends used to live in a town called Bischofsheim. When we would take her home, we would drive over a bunch of train tracks.  I noticed that there seem to be trains coming in and out all the time. I suggested to Brian one day to do that as an outing for them.  They stayed for 2 1/2 hours and Spencer still didn't want to leave.  There are trains coming in and out almost every 1 or 2 minutes, and sometimes a few at a time.  Passenger trains AND cargo trains.  So of course this is Spencer's dream come true.  And there was no charge for parking, so this has been a great go-to, and free, activity for us to do.  If you look in the picture below, there's also a covered walkway that goes over the trains so you can look at them from below, or hide in there when it's raining.

My friend Jenni Bushman's parents live here and so her sister, Kim, came to visit.  Kim has a son named Clark who loves trains just about as much as Spencer does. He's 5 and the boys hit it off straight away.  They already started calling each other "my best friend."  Spencer was pretty sad when Clark had to go back to America.

From this point of view, the kids can see what's inside the car (unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of inside a freight car, but you get the idea.)

Practicing for the rain.  I kept saying, "Tut, tut. It looks like rain." Nobody knew what I was referring to. :) I went right home and reminded Spencer of when he loved Winnie the Pooh.

Explaining to us that his favorite train car is the boxcar and the freight car.

Getting really excited for the trains coming.
Til next time Clark!  We'll miss you until then.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Go-Karts for Spring Break-Day 3

While we were driving in to Stuttgart, Xoe had caught a glimpse of a sign advertising go-karting. The entire time we were in Stuttgart, she kept asking if we could go ride the go-karts.  :) We said we would try on our last day.  Xoe & Xanthe were super good with being understanding with Spencer and all the things we did that he would be okay with. So the last day we made sure we tried finding this place. It was super drizzly and we couldn't really find it. We knew it was located near the Mercedes-Benz museum but we were just driving along freeways trying to find the sign again (and if you know German freeways, it's not just "get off at the next exit and hope on the entrance going back the other way", there's roundabouts and 'mushrooms' that take you back to the other freeway. Without a GPS we would have been lost.)

We were getting discouraged until Brian finally found it on the 4th floor of a random parking garage.  RANDOM!!!  It really was REAL race car go-karts, not the silly ones at a miniature golfland.  Only the girls could ride on them so of course Spencer was bored, but he did okay.

Waiting to find out information

Xith their undercaps

Waiting, waiting, waiting

.....more waiting ....
(ignore his outfit... he stepped in a huge puddle and got his pants soaking wet, that's all I had left.)

...and more waiting...
...getting creative to pass the time. Not quite the smartest idea.

The race course.  This was half of the whole thing but only the adults could ride the entire thing during certain times of the day when it was all opened up.

Do you see them?  I put purple arrows.



They both got 3 rides. It was pretty pricey, but these places aren't that far from our house so we can always go another time.  I think they had an awesome time!   Then we headed home.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tripsdrill Amusement Park - Spring Break

The second day we were at Kerstin's neck of the woods for Spring Break, she suggested we go to Tripsdrill, an amusement park near Stuttgart.  I was surprised because I had never heard of this amusement park before. It's only about 2 hours from our house and I would have thought that the Youth Center and Child Centers would utilize this gem during the summer.  

The park was geared, at least I felt, more towards young kids, however the girls had fun on the rides they had as well. They did have 2 roller coasters and a water ride that were pretty fast.  We didn't do the water ride as it was a little cold toward the end of our trip.  We really had a blast here: the lines weren't long and there was so much for Spencer and the girls to do.   Thank you Kerstin for introducing us.  We'll be going back soon!

This place had the funniest themed rides.  The whole theme park was decorated in the Swabian culture. From what Kerstin could describe, they would be those from the Bavarian country who have a thick accent, and who are mostly farmers.  There are lots of stereotypes of them, but the only thing I could liken it to would be what we consider "Rednecks."  It was so fun though because they had the huge Maypole (you can see above), funny pig themed rides, a whole little "Marriage Village" that had little funny "wives' tales" about how babies were born (in a well), etc. Kerstin, HELP ME WITH THIS! :) I need to update this but I don't know how to describe it. I'll change this once I hear from her. She's going on an amazing trip to the North Sea soon so I may not hear from her for awhile. Just take my word for it, it was a super good time.

This was Spencer's absolute favorite ride. We couldn't get him off of it and it was the first ride we had gone to. We hadn't even explored the rest of the park.  He made the three of us adults go on it at least 5 or 6 times and was really upset when we wanted to move on.

He even got Kerstin to go (although she was his favorite at that point).  I included this picture because later on she told me she is as scared of heights as I am, if not a little more.  This incline was making her nervous even and she had to think "If a 3-year-old can do this and not be scared, then so can I."  Kerstin, I say this in jest, I think it's cute!  Now I have a "fear of heights" friend.

The girls weren't allowed to take Spencer. I was so bummed cuz they're usually the ones that help take him on stuff when I get tired of it.  :) And they LOVE taking him on stuff.  
Soon they got bored of going on this ride, though, so they moved on to nearby rides while Spencer kept riding this one. :)

I tell you, their rides were so amazing.  This one was like the spinning teacups but you don't move them. They go along the track and start spinning at certain points.

Spencer LOVED it!

Ya, you see pigs a lot here. I was quite confused. I guess I should have asked Kerstin. I didn't want to seem like I thought it was weird, I have been just kind of wondering.  When she had sent me a list of things to do around Stuttgart, one was a Schwein museum, which is the word for pig.  I was wondering why they had things like that. You see pigs a lot as mascots or as logos on parade floats, etc.  I just learned the other day from a woman at the antique store that pigs are seen as good luck in Germany.  That's all I know.  Kerstin? :)

Cute girls waiting in line at the big roller coaster. :)

Surprisingly Spencer could go on this.  I can't remember exactly but I think he was okay at first, but he didn't want to go again.  haha.

This was the big roller coaster.  Can you see us at the bottom of the screen?  

We laughed so hard riding these bikes. At first glance, they look normal, but look at the spokes.  They're off center.  So it's really hard to ride. Once you get the hang of it all you can do is laugh or focus. Doing both at the same time makes you laugh even harder. :)

I just loved that even the same rides we have in America were not inside fairy-tale animals like we usually have, but shoes, barrels and beer steins.

This one went forward, then backward.  It kept going for a long time and made me sick after about 2 rides. The girls kept going. I was amazed. I would let you see the video, which is really funny of Spencer and the girls, but of course I don't look good in it so we have to keep that one under wraps. Just know that Spencer was doing the "baby can't breathe when someone blows in their face" and then laughing and then being squished over to me and laughing really hard.

This was like the spinning teacups, but in a barrel

One of the reasons I love Germany is how much they recycle and take care of their environment.  This was a dirty cup sorter.  It helped them recycle the cups, as well as save space in the trash.  All us catering families how much room it takes up in a trash can when single cups are thrown in.  This is genius!  What you can't see is that down at the bottom were a bunch of used cups all stacked nice and neatly. Then someone must come and opened the case and pulled them all out.  Genius! This was right next to where we sat for lunch.  Kerstin and Christof had packed up a bunch of sandwich stuff (not American style, but German style of course with amazing baguettes "brötchen" from the local bakery, sliced meats and cheeses), vegetables, treats, etc. for us to eat there. It was genius. All we did was have to buy drinks (they had those too, though) and some fries (cuz Germany fries are pretty amazing).  It was such a perfect lunch.

Getting ready for the big roller coaster again! :)

The line wasn't THAT long but we did get bored at one point. If you know my family, we have perfected the "fat face" picture.  We all took them but I WILL NEVER post mine.  I have already swiftly deleted them.  haha.  But this at least gives evidence of it.

The water ride behind us.

They also had a little goat and duck petting zoo.  We were all surprised when Spencer, a kid who hates to get his hands dirty and try new things, went straight in and started walking amongst the goats.  He didn't touch them with his bare hands, of course, but  he used these cool brushes. I wish I would have gotten a video of Xanthe trying to get food out of the little machine (like a candy machine) and the goat pretty much attacking her out of the way so he could stick his face straight into the hole and lick it all out.  Greedy goats!  haha.  Listen to their Mehhhing.  I started to imitate it by sticking my tongue straight out and making the worst face.  It works. I sounded almost like them. Brian laughingly told me not to do it anymore.  hahaha.

Xanthe feeding the fish while Brian, Xoe and Spencer went around on the boat that had the shooting water gun out the back.  Another one of spencer's rides that he did NOT want to get off of.

I love this picture even though spencer hates posing for pictures now.

This was a really funny moving sidewalk.  It was pretty difficult to maneuver and another thing we laughed at while trying to not look stupid at the same time.

That night we went back to Kerstin and Christof's place for the most amazing make-your-own pizza.  They made homemade crust and all the fixings.  I thought I took pictures but can't find them anywhere.  Hmmm.

We had such a great day and were sad we had to leave the next day.  We did hit up the Go-Kart place though.  Stay tuned for that. :)