Saturday, September 26, 2009

Football, Part I

So begins this new chapter in our lives. I suspected this was our path when Eli kicked, squirmed, and back-flipped in utero. At six months when he first sat up, he threw a mean pitch. And he's excelled at every athletic endeavor since. Please forgive me as I proudly brag on the boy for the next few months. (Oh, who am I kidding? For the next whole-bunch-of-years until his children take center stage and I turn the spotlight on my no-doubt-adorable grandchildren! smile.) Seriously, though, this boy has the most competitive spirit of anyone I've ever known. He plays for fun. But put him in the game, and his passion is unleashed.

Eli is #14. And that's his friend, Alex, #76.

Did I ever tell you that he was awarded "Athlete of the Year" in 2007? {proud mama smile & nod}

Zae, who lives, breathes, and sleeps football -- studies the plays, reads the biographies of players, and has heroes like Tim Tebow -- is one of Eli's biggest fans.

The Dads.
A friendly wrestling match while waiting for Eli to change. (Don't feel bad for Zeke. If I'd been 15 seconds earlier with the camera, you'd felt for Zae!)

That was the first game, Sep. 12th, played at "home" against a German high school. Bitburg Barons won.

Then it was on to Ansbach, Germany, to go against the undefeated Cougars, on Sep. 19th.

Here's the trend: We get settled at the game and Israel scopes the area for possible girlfriends. Then, it's, "Mommy, see those girls over there? Can I go play with them?" She makes friends at every game. (That arrow is pointing to Israel.)

Fun game. Lots of cheering. Isaiah took his usual post next to me, acting as a sort of "sportscaster" so that I can understand the game better. Zeke stands on the sidelines and cheers for Eli, helps me keep an eye on Israel, and takes it all in. When I have questions later, "So who was it again that made that 30-yard run?" it's Zeke who tells me the name and jersey number. He never ceases to amaze me by the way he soaks up the information around him.

Barons lost the game. And we left still in anticipation of getting to watch Eli play in a game.

This is a picture of just one of the really cool pieces of playground equipment near the football field! Of course, we had to stop and play for a while after the game!!
Yes, even LeRoy and I went on these cool slides! (Okay, all three boys had to coax and encourage this momma who's a wee bit o'fraid a' heights. But I didn't want to lay in bed that night and wonder what I'd missed.)

As I said earlier, we stayed on the Army Base that night and the next day we pondered all our options for how we wanted to meander our way home. We decided to attend the world's largest International Wine Festival in Bad-Durkheim.

Sep. 20th ~ On to Bad-Durkheim!

Vineyards laced the landscape for as far as the eye could see!

I told the children, "No rides. How un-cultured is that?" And, yes, I said it in my snootiest voice. So we simply watched as we walked through to the other exhibits...

(See the name of this ride? This pic's for you, Rupperts! smile.)

This is the famous wine "barrel." We're not exactly sure why it's famous (except that it's a building shaped like a wine barrel??), because it was closed at the time we visited.

Yes. This is a ride that Eli and Israel are on.

Israel spied it from afar and when we walked beneath it, she looked up longingly at the flying chairs, gave a long sigh, and said ever-so-sweetly, "I wish I could go on that ride." My goodness, I thought, really, in ten years, in twenty years, what is it that my children are going to remember about the World's Largest Wine Festival? It certainly won't be how impressed they were with all the wines!
And that settled it.

These festivals always have the most delicious cuisine! (Even though we're not exactly sure what we're eating...)

Thousands of people sat together at these long, skinny tables. We sat for a long time, listening to the melodic music of foreign tongues, laughter, and letting the amiable atmosphere envelope us.

"As the local poet Karl Räder put it: 'The Wurstmarkt is the only festival where you meet old friends you've never seen before.' Come and see us. Be our guest. Become one of our 'old friends.'" This was taken from Durkheim's official festival website.

Though, I admit, we didn't have so much as a sip of wine! Still, drinking soda from a glass bottle is a novelty!

On the way out, the boys enjoyed the go-cart track. Zeke remained focused.

Zae giggled.

And Eli... competed.

And, yes, watching my children so thoroughly enjoying themselves is what I, too, will remember in ten years, twenty years. (Thank You, Lord, for a patient family who gives me extra grace!)

We enjoyed an awesome thunder and rain storm on the way home, the sunset acting as grand finale. LeRoy and I indulged in conversation...

...while the children entertained one another in the back. Israel.



An amazing beginning to this new chapter! (Thank You, Jesus!)


  1. Okay, seriously. What DID you eat? Did that really say, "Onionmeat?" or is my German getting rusty?

    I'm sooooo glad you gave in on the rides, but wish that you had tried a little wine. :-)

    So glad you have this new adventure, it looks like it's going to be full of wonderful chapters (that you can share with us!).

    Something big and cool happened over here today, BUT I CAN'T TELL YOU YET! Actually, I'm feeling amazingly, ridiculously blessed as of late. So much to tell, so little time...

  2. What a fantastic adventure! I love the way the doing of life together makes every event a moment to remember. I miss so many moments forgetting that THIS is the fodder for my memories. Thanks for sharing.

    Love you all!