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Friday, September 18, 2009

Silly girl!

So I turned around and Syd had managed to do this with her shirt!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

GERMANY - Post #5

GERMANY - Day Four...that's right were not even half way yet!

While I went shopping with the girls in Erfurt, the guys spent a 24 Hour shift at the Fire Station...doing what Firemen do best...drinking coffee, sitting around...

Just kidding...they threw in a medical training;


A little high angle rescue training...




Checked out some of the Fire Trucks...


Tried on the foreign gear...

Went out to ega park...which is a huge park in Erfurt...


Matt showed the Germans that American's can play soccer...



And after we got done shopping, we caught up with the guys for a dinner cookout hosted by B Shift at the Fire Station...


Mikey B's first German Bratwurst!


And the guys played around with the SMART CARS...


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Steffen (with hair) took me up for a ride in the Bucket Truck for a 360 degree view of the station and surrounding area!



Matt, Mikey B. & Jake


While the guys spent the night at the Fire Station...Mary Pat and I enjoyed the outdoor opera on the steps of St. Mary's Cathedral before heading back to our host families.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

16 MONTHS




Let's take a short break from Germany to update you on a little girl we all know. You may have started to think that we had completely forgotten about her...however, this little one is hard to forget. So many people asked us if we missed her while we were in Germany...of course we missed her! But to be honest, they had us on the go so much that we didn't have any time to dwell on it...which in turn was a good thing! Upon our arrival home, Matt's parents brought Syd to the airport and picked us up. I walked around to the side of the car, knocked on the window, she just stared at me through the glass...no smile, just stared. I opened the door and said an enthusiastic Hi, and she just continued to stare at me...it was only when she thought I was going to shut the door again, leaving her to sit there that she motioned me to get her out of her car seat...but the mesmerized look of "Great, now the Grandparent party is over!" was priceless! And she did just as well as we did from the sounds of it. She had quite a good time with all of her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins while we were gone that she didn't even recognize her own parents at first glance!
Just before we left for Germany Syd was going through this wonderful (sense my sarcasm here) clingy stage where she refused to allow you to leave the room without making this god-awful get back in here, no you can't do anything with out me, squeal or grunt! And upon our return, she has returned to the independent little girl that we knew so well...playing alongside her toys or ignoring your efforts to assist in anyway! Her appetite increased dramatically and she now slams down a hot-dog in no time, or is running back to the fridge for her second glass of milk or next treat before you have even blinked an eye. Syd had her second visit with Parent's As Teachers last week and is still exceeding in many areas. It seems that as soon as the PAT teacher walks out the door she is already starting to do the things that we talked about for the next session. The only area that Syd was scoring lower on was her speech and vocabulary...I was thinking to myself, well, she is only 16 months old! But within a few days of working with her to verbalize more things as she used them, she was already starting to mimic what we were saying. She went to the Deanna Rose Farmstead with Matt and starting saying 'Goat'. 'Dog' is still the number one word...which she blurts out every morning when she hears the dogs bark...or when she sees a cat. And she has Da'Da down pat now...but its okay...that lady that carried you for 9months and gave birth to you will be happy to wait a little longer! Just kidding people! She also threw out a good 'Doo-Doo' when I pointed out a huge pile of horse manure while hiking Saturday at Minor Park! Oh yes, the fun of having her repeat words finally begins. There is nothing like a little squeaky voice throwing out a tough word that puts a smile on your face...its just getting them to stop later on that is the problem! She continues to test us by standing up on everything and flashing a big grin just before she does it. She enjoys swimming at Aunt Deb's, the great outdoors, swinging at the park, or going down the slide. Sydney is quickly letting her personality shine through...and we are having so much fun with her right now! So keep checking back...we know that there will be much more to share! You know all those details that her will come back to haunt her when she hits those adolescent years! Wow...at this rate, that won't be very long.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

GERMANY - Post #4

GERMANY - Day Three...oh yeah, there is still much more to come!

We kicked off Wednesday with a Media Blitz at the Erfurt Fire Station. We sat in a room with a few reporters as they asked questions about the sister city exchange and what we hoped for our visit. Within 24 hours we were all featured in three Erfurt Newspapers!




Following the Media Blitz, the guys stuck around the Fire Station for some additional welcomes and trainings, and us ladies headed off to the city of Gotha (pronounced GOAT-A) to visit an English class of the 11 year old son of Erfurt Firefighter Schaefer.


During our visit we were asked questions about things in America, what was our favorite music, favorite thing we had seen thus far in Germany, did we know and watch the Simpson's and Family Guy...it was pretty interesting! Part of the standard curriculum in Germany for students is to learn the English language as their second language. For obvious reasons, East Germans who grew up during the GDR were forced to learn Russian, but when the wall came down and the Western influence moved across Germany, the curriculum began to change too.

Silke & Andreas Schaefer with son Tom


After visiting Tom's school we walked down into the city of Gotha for lunch and a little sight-seeing. This is a view of Gotha from the top of the hill. The large Red Building in the center is their current City Hall.


Luthern Church in Gotha.

Friedenstein Palace - This palace was built for Duke Ernst I in 1643 and took 13 years to finish.



After my visit to Gotha I came home and made Jello with Tim and he kicked my butt at Mario Cart on the Wii. I am however the Bowling and Baseball Champion of the Kazek household!


That evening we were given a guided tour of the Petersberg Fortress that sits within Erfurt.



We were given torches and led into the caverns below the fortress.







After our tour ended we were treated to a wonderful dinner in what was the former bakery of the fortress. It is now used for catered events and is quite impressive!




Sporting our new ERFURT/SHAWNEE Friendship T-Shirts. We can't speak enough about the hospitality that we received on this trip. Our host families and other acquaintances made us feel right at home.