Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Random Thoughts and News

Hotel Foltice News
Hotel Foltice is gearing up for what could be a busy spring. We have John and Rachel Scott with their 7 month old coming to visit us tomorrow for a couple of days. We can’t wait to see them and show them around Germany. After they leave, we have five days of vacancy until Dana’s sister Robyn and her husband Dan come to visit for 7 days.

Our guests have quickly learned that coming to see us means that they must pack an extra bag of luggage for our constant ‘requests’ for additional items to bring over. They must think we are MacGyver based on our request list:
"We are going to need a box of Mac and Cheese, a 3 pack of Right Guard Deodorant, a box of Tylenol Cold and Sinus, and a Denver Nuggets jersey."
Having guests over meant that I was asked to put together an additional crib last night as Dana was running out the door for her German II class. Normally, any time Dana asks me do something remotely handy, she leaves me alone (see deck blog post for more on this.) This time, Dylan was around ‘helping’ me. Miraculously, the IKEA crib was not too bad to put together and I was happy that Dylan didn’t hear any new swear words to share with Mommy when she got home.

University News

I have great news on the University front. I am officially in the Finance PhD Program here at the University of Münster (as opposed to being on probation for the first six months.) This confirms our time here in Germany (about 4 years) and helps us make more permanent plans to stay. As of April 1, I will be working as a full time research associate, making the trip from Borken to Münster 5 days a week.

Basketball News
My ankle is feeling better these days, which means it feels like a minor sprained ankle now. I can deal with a sprained ankle…these kind of things can get loosened up and pain can go away. Up to this point, my ankle just plain hurt. Did that stop me? Kind of.

A few weeks ago, the Doctor told me that I had partially torn my inner band ligament. She said I needed to take six weeks off from basketball. I argued with her to give me less time, which I don’t think she really liked. This had to be quite an exchange as somehow, the entire dialogue at this point was in German.

Nevertheless, 5 days later, I dressed for our next game trying to play against the top team in our league. When asked before the game how I felt, I replied confidently, ‘It feels great.’ This was a bold-faced lie. To say I played poorly that game is an understatement. To say I hurt the team is also an understatement. To say I am an idiot: also an understatement.

Anyways, I am back to practicing and playing full minutes as of our last game, and it’s good to be almost healthy again.

Dylan News

As Dana mentioned before, Dylan is in a weird ‘helmet’ phase. He wears this thing all day. He wears the helmet inside and outside of the house, from the morning until he goes to bed at night. We thought this was really strange until he recently bumped his head and immediately asked us to put his helmet on. Once the helmet was securely fastened on his head, Dylan gave us this look like we were really irresponsible parents as if to say "My head would not be hurting right now if I had been wearing my helmet the whole time."

Dana also mentioned that she gets asked all of the time by various people why Dylan is wearing the helmet when she is out in the city. I have taken Dylan out wearing his helmet while riding in his stroller plenty of times and nobody asks me about it. It’s like they look at Dylan and before they ask about the helmet, they take one look at me, and it makes them stop. My theory is after looking at me, they draw the conclusion that wearing the helmet makes complete sense, even while sitting in a stroller at the grocery store. I think I’ve just figured this out. Hmmmm…

A rare moment without the helmet.
Dylan is really pleased with himself for throwing sand.

A park near our house has a really cool zipline.  Notice Dylan hanging onto his helmet to make sure it doesn't fly off.

Dylan is also in a very adorable hand-holding phase and he will hold hands with anyone.  Here he is holding hands at the playground with his little buddy, Eric.

Just a regular Saturday afternoon with the helmet on.

For extra padding, Dylan sometimes prefers to wear his winter hat underneath the helmet.  He's a "Safety First" kid.

No outfit would be complete without a Tiger costume, winter hat and helmet. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What's New in 2011

This year has been off to a pretty eventful start. It's a nice change from the end of 2010 where I was starting to get a little worried about my lack of activities and the general lack of news that we had to share.  I mean, Bryan worked two whole blog posts out of one crappy commute home from school.  Two!

So, here is a little update about all the new and exciting things going on here.
  • I have a job!  I finally realized that I really have a lot of free time on my hands to do something while Dylan takes his 3 hour naps every afternoon and while Bryan is at practice in the evenings.  There is only so much Facebook and Internet surfing that I can do.  So, with the help of UrbanInterns.com, I applied for some blogging/social media jobs and am happy to say that I am now a freelance social media maven for Sweet City Candy, a wholesale candy distributor out of New York.  I'm also doing some social media and writing for Generation Homes, a home builder back in Jacksonville, and there are a few other opportunities that I'm trying to reel in.  It feels good to have some kind of job and I don't know why I didn't try to do this sooner.  I currently work about 7-10 hours per week, but have the capacity to do about 15, so I'm hoping I land some of these other jobs.
  • I finally found a German language course that is affordable AND works with our schedules.  I go to class two nights a week while Bryan watches Dylan and even though I've only had 2 classes so far, I already feel like it's helping.  One thing that is really cool is the mixture of countries and backgrounds from all of my classmates.  There are about 10 people in the class and we represent the following countries: USA (me, duh), Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Thailand, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Spain.  So, the whole class has to be 100% in German because that is the only common denominator language that we all understand a little bit. 
  • During the first basketball game of the year, some guy fell on Bryan and he nearly broke his ankle.  It took him 3 weeks before he actually went to see a doctor about it and we're still not totally sure what's wrong - possibly a bad sprain, possibly a torn ligament.  He'll be back to playing again in the next few weeks, thank goodness. 
Here is a photo of how gross and swollen Bryan's foot was the night he got clobbered.

  • Since putting out the request on our blog a few weeks ago for people interested in a Bible study, we have been introduced to new people and have reconnected with some friends from Wulfen to start a Bible study on a more regular basis.  God is so awesome how He provided for us immediately (seriously - like within an hour or two) after we put the request out there.  What a blessing! 
There are some new things going on with Dylan, too.  For example, he's going through a phase right now where he wants to sit on our laps a lot and have us read books to him, which is really cute because it's the only way we can get him to snuggle.  He also loves Bert ("Burp" according to Dylan) and Ernie from Sesame Street and begs us all the time every day to watch it on the computer.  One day he even tried to bribe me with a hug and a kiss to get me to put it on.  Dylan is obsessed with walking Oscar and he loves holding onto the leash and walking Oscar down the street (we love it too because it wears him out).  Whenever Dylan sees another dog in the city he says "Doggy!" then makes a kissing sound "Muah!" as it walks by, which is pretty amusing. Every day it seems like he picks up more and more words, both English and some German, which is exciting. 

Here is Dylan playing with his mailbox that he got as a Christmas present from Grandma. 

He loves climbing into his big laundry basket full of balls and throwing them out one by one.

Dylan is very tall.  He is wearing 2-3 year old clothes and is only 20-months old!  He is also finally starting to get some hair. 

Dylan is bundled up and ready to take Oscar for a walk.  No matter where we are going, he insists on wearing his bike helmet even if a bike ride is not in the picture.  

He loves these mechanical cars in the market places here.  Thankfully he is satisfied just to sit in them and play and we normally don't have to pay the 50-cents to turn the machine on.

He is also in a phase where it is inevitable that he will blink in every photo that requires a flash.  We have dozens of photos just like this one.