Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas! (a little late!)

We hope that each one of you had a Merry Christmas filled with peace, love and joy. While we were far away from families, it was a special and cozy Christmas for us as we reflected on Christ's birth and His many blessings this year. We didn't end up with a white Christmas, but family back home got more than enough to share. ;) We had fun chatting on Skype and "looking out their windows" at the blizzard!

It doesn't seem like Christmas should be over already, and that we are soon heading not only into a new year but a new decade as well. Where does the time go? As we head into the new year we are thankful for lessons learned and the opportunity to be refined in the months ahead.

Missing you all,
The Tureks

Friday, December 18, 2009

It finally SNOWED!

It is finally beginning to feel a little more like Christmas time with snow covering a bit of the ground now. I took some photos, but of course... my organized self can't seem to find the cord I need to upload photos. It is just a slight dusting, but snow has such a way of making everything seem so cozy.

So, after our taco dinner John and I (mostly me, John did the dishes) made some of the biggest chocolate chip cookies ever. And we HAD to do a taste test right out of the oven. You know, just to make sure they tasted okay with milk. ;) Yummm!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Owl Spotting!

Our backyard at our new house is heavily wooded, which we love in the summers due to the amount of privacy it affords along with the added benefit of watching wildlife. So, when we returned home for the funeral the view was much different, as we could see all the way through the woods to our neighbors' homes! Now I really do need to get up shades in our master bathroom. ;)

While the view is no longer as spectacular as it was when we first moved in, it is neat to watch wildlife as you can easily see the deer meandering about. So, when John's nieces came over for a bit I took the two year old to the back window to look for deer. Much to my surprise... I spotted an OWL!

At first I was half in shock and half entranced, owls are such beautiful creatures. Then I realized I had to attempt to capture this moment for John, since he was already back in Germany. Luckily, my camera was sitting out on the desk in the kitchen. I quickly scooted off to grab it, hoping the owl would still be there upon my return. And he was, seemingly watching my every move. This is the photo I got in:

Clearly this isn't a great photo, but I mistakenly took my niece out the deck to get a better view. True to form for a two year old, she made a loud noise and scared him off. Watching him fly away was pretty incredible though as he glided effortlessly through the trees with his long wingspan. Of course, I then spent the next ten minutes making "whoo whoo" owl noises and repeating "owl" until my niece mastered both.

I hope that today you take some time to find beauty in your surroundings. You never know what might surprise you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Game time!

I am currently "watching" John's away basketball game. By "watching" I mean following the live stats while trying to translate words into English so I can understand what is going on. Unfortunately, as organized as the BBL is, I don't really care for their game tracker. But, here I am "watching" it nonetheless.

One thing I dislike about just following stats is that I never feel like I get a true read on how well the team is playing. Statistics are just that, statistics. They don't show hustle or heart and usually fail to explain why a coach isn't giving certain players time on the court. (Although sometimes even being at the game also leaves me clueless in this arena!)

Oh, and I am also annoyed by the amount of "Phoenix Hagen Team Defensiv Rebound." At least four already. Come on stat keepers, give credit to someone!

That's all for now... back to "watching" the game. :) We're down by four points with three minutes left in the second quarter. Let's hope they win this one!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Woken up by Sirens.

Last night we were sleeping peacefully, until all of the sudden I heard a loud siren outside. At first I thought I was dreaming, but as the siren got louder I adjusted to where I was and quickly woke, rather shook, John up.

In that moment I realized that I didn't even know what the sirens meant here. Was it a tornado warning like back home? I ran to the window to see if anyone else was stirring as the siren reached a crescendo and then quieted again. And then, it started again. I saw a light go on in the building opposite us. Then, the sirens stopped completely.

As I went back to bed, I couldn't shut my brain off. I realized that I take for granted knowing a culture's warning systems. I need to immediately acquaint myself with a city's emergency system when I arrive, so I know what to do just in case. I did lay there and listen to make sure neighbors weren't rising from bed, but everything was seemingly silent. At the same time though, I became immediately grateful for God's protection while living over here. I can think of several close encounters... and I know that God was there protecting us and guiding us along.

There was something else preventing me from going to bed though. The sound reminded me of WWII movies, and the Anne Frank play I attended as an adolescent. It wasn't the higher pitched tornado warning from back home, but rather an octave (or two) lower. As I laid there, I couldn't help but to allow myself to think about how terrifying it would be to live through a war. I look forward to a day when there will be no war, no tears, no fears, and no pain.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow storm back home!

A snow storm back home has given school kids their third snow day! I keep watching the local news on the Slingbox, wishing I were sitting in front of my fireplace at home watching the snow blanket the woods in our backyard.

Instead, it has rained here for what seems like more than a week. One of these days the sun will shine again! If only it would get colder so the rain would turn to snow, I'd be one happy girl. I'm not saying I want to go out in the snow, or shovel the car out, but it would be nice to have a white Christmas. Then again, we live at the top of what seems to be a mountain, so I'm sure snow would make it miserable to get up and down. Maybe I should just be thankful for the rain. ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Team Mascot.

Usually when you think of a team mascot, you think of something that is cute and clever... and usually kid friendly. Don't most mascots just pretty lovable?

Well, I'm not sure our team mascot this year would meet any of the above qualifications. Some of the kids are scared of him, and I really don't blame them one bit. As for me, I worry that he will come by and poke my eye out at half time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December!

Well, December is finally here which means in my book we can officially start Christmas preparations. I am making chicken and dumplings for our Turek Christmas decorating party tonight.

This afternoon I ventured downtown to meet a friend for coffee and soaked in the ambiance of the Christmas market. I love to see stores buzzing with people, little shops decorated for the holidays, and stands with everything from toasted almonds to Gluhwein (a spiced hot red wine).

Here are some long lost photos of when my brother came to see me a couple of weeks back. Mr. Turek had to sign autographs at an open house for a local bakery, so we got to tag along and sample the goods!

A gingerbread cookie just for me!

So delicious.

Most of this groups' tunes were sung in English. Such as a slowed down, acapella version of "It's Raining Men," complete with little actions. Hilarious!

Staying warm with some hot drinks!

Standing in line to get brats... something must have been funny!