Clare has a yearly retreat this Monday and Tuesday where all her colleagues present what they have been doing for the past 6 months. Most of her colleagues have spent the last 2 weeks working on their presentations, but we were on vacation, which means that Clare had to work some this weekend. The good news is that there were fun things to do for me and the kids, so we could give her some alone time to work. The bad news is that she missed them 🙁
Saturday the local movie theater Metropolis (which is in the old train station in Würselen) celebrated its 30th anniversary with an open house. They had food and games, short movies, and music. One of the games was a tall pole with several hooks on it at different heights, and you had to try to throw a bike tire to land on the hooks. It was quite fun (unfortunately I accidentally hit Meg above her eyebrow one time, so she has a rug burn there now, but it will heal).
Sunday was the 3rd annual soap box derby in Würselen. We missed the one last year for some reason – I think mostly just because we were exhausted from starting school and being in a new country. One nice thing about living in a small town is that whenever we go to one of these festivals, we see people we know – from school, or soccer, or something else. The soap box derby went from about 11:00-17:00. There were a lot of different cars and racers. And of course there was the usual food like bratwurst and french fries, and beer. There was also a bouncy house and face painting. I found it interesting that most of the face painters were only about 12 years old.
After a great 3 week vacation in the USA, it was time to come back to Germany. We spent most of Sunday morning packing, then enjoyed lunch with Drew, Haewon, Grandma, and Grandpa, and then Drew drove us to the airport. We said our farewells, got on the jumbo jet, and had a mostly uneventful flight. We all got a little bit of sleep even. We sat near the end of the plane where it curves down a bit, which meant we had 2 rows of 2 seats per row instead of 3, so we had a little extra room to stretch out, which was really nice. We caught our train at the airport with 20 minutes to spare, and were back in Aachen before we knew it. We managed to stay awake the whole day, to unpack, go grocery shopping and such, and watch an episode of Modern Family before heading off to bed.
Tuesday Rob went back to work, while Clare bravely took care of the tired and cranky kids, getting them prepared for the first day of school on Wednesday. Meg started 3rd grade at a normal time, but since Spencer is starting a new school for 5th grade (Gymnasium), he started at 15:00 with a special celebration put on by the older kids. It is a tradition in Germany to get kids a Schuletüte on their first day of 1st grade. It is a big paper cone which you fill with candy and other goodies. Since both of them did their first day of 1st grade in the USA, they missed out on this, so Clare decided to get them some mini ones this year. They liked them.
Another interesting occurrence on Tuesday was that our next door neighbors moved out. The moving company built a mini-elevator / electric ladder up to the balcony to move a bunch of their stuff. Much easier than the way we did it – trudging everything up 51 stairs of the winding staircase.
For our last full day in Colorado, we had another busy day. Spencer’s old flag football team let him play in a game. The coach even had a spare pair of cleats that fit him! They lost, but played well. I ended up holding the down marker for the game, so Bret took pictures. He got some great shots.
After the game Clare met her friend Nancy for coffee and picked up some more veggies to grill. Bret made his famous home made black bean burgers. We also had lots of ribs left over from the previous barbecue, plus eggplant, corn, coleslaw, and cucumber salad.
Monday morning Sadie and Erika came over to hang out. More cards were played. Sadie had a golf lesson at 2, so Rob and Spencer went with and hit a few more balls on the driving range while she was doing her lesson (thanks grandpa for getting us set up with clubs!). While we were golfing, Erika and Meg did some cool art projects with some blow paintings.
After golf we all met for frozen custard at Bob Jo’s, a Wyandotte staple since 1947. In the evening we stopped by the end of Sadie’s marching band practice. It brought back lots of memories. After that we played another round of hell, this time with Sadie and Clare (and almost Meg) tying with 10 points.
Tuesday morning it was time to pack up, but we were still able to enjoy each other’s company for a bit longer. Clare and Rob made Pfannkuchen (german thin pancakes) for breakfast, and we played a few more rounds of Hell before saying our final goodbyes. Thanks everyone for a great visit!
On Sunday we were scheduled to visit Will and Casey at Whitmore Lake and go out on their boat. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, so we ended up going to their house in Saline instead. We still managed to have a great time, and the weather there wasn’t too bad until a storm blew in after dinner. We enjoyed their pool, some croquet, and some more corn on the cob and some tasty salmon.
Saturday we continued our lazy morning habits of coffee, bagels, conversation and cards. Then we headed off to Toledo to the Imagination Station, and met Sean there, who had just moved to Ft. Wayne to start a program for physician’s assistant. Unbeknownst to us, it was also the day for the Toledo Pride festival, which made parking a little tricky, but also provided us with some additional fun atmosphere and colorful costumes to admire (not to mention some nice architecture). Sadie had been there before, so she showed us all the coolest parts, including a bike suspended on a tight wire on the second floor, held steady by some very heavy weights. Meg and Spencer were both tired and fell asleep on the way back.
After we got back to Trenton we fired up the grill with some fresh Michigan corn and brats (and then cooked everything inside after we ran out of propane). We took the opportunity of all being together to take some group pictures.
Friday morning Grandpa, Spencer, Sadie, and Rob went to Riverview Highlands to play a bit of a golf. We warmed up with a bucket of balls on the driving range, and then played their 3-hole practice course. After golf we ate at the clubhouse. They had some huge onion rings! Meanwhile, Meg, Clare, and Grandma made some tasty treats back at home, including cream cheese mints, which turned out great.
Meg and Rob also got their haircut – Meg at Great Clips, and Rob at Dan’s where he and his dad have been going for years. Luis and Courtney came over around 4 o’clock to visit for a bit, and then Clare, Rob, Luis, and Courtney enjoyed happy hour at the World of Beer in Woodhaven.
Tuesday happened, but once again without photographic evidence. Clare and Dave took Spencer, Meg, Wolfie, and Spencer’s friend Mason to a new trampoline place nearby, for which Ellen had gotten a GroupOn. Unfortunately Rob stayed home to research new property managers, as we decided we were no longer happy with our current property manager. Meg went to stay the night at Bailey’s house, and Dave, Rob, and Spencer enjoyed watching the water boy in the evening.
On Wednesday morning we woke up and had breakfast at a normal time, except for Meg, who had stayed the night at Bailey’s house. We got packed up and Dave drove us to the airport, fully prepared with sandwiches for lunch. By the time we arrived in Michigan, it was dinner time. We picked up Shish Gardens (and McDonald’s for those who don’t like fantastic middle eastern food). Sadie and Erika joined us soon after we arrived, and we had a nice meal and exchanged a few goodies we had gotten for each other, then fell into bed.
Thursday morning we all slept in, still getting used to the new time zone a bit, and enjoyed a relaxing morning, including playing the new Monopoly card game we just got from the Feltys, which was a bit hit the whole stay. In the afternoon we met Christine, Elliot and Marcel at the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum (Plan A was Wheeler Park, but that got rained out). After the museum we went to the Arbor Brewing Company for dinner, and enjoyed having a kids table and an adult table. We topped the day off with some Kilwin’s ice cream.
On Monday we continued a fairly busy schedule. We slept in a bit in the morning. Meg went with Clare and Haewon to get their haircut. Unfortunately they ran out of time to get Meg’s hair cut, but they treated her to a nail painting instead. Then we met Phil and Betty for lunch at the Schoolhouse in Olde Town Arvada. Clare and I tried the impossible burger, which is new since we moved to Germany. We were both not that impressed (it seemed fairly dry), but we are open to the possibility that it simply was not prepared well. Afterwards we went to Scrumptious for ice cream. Their portions are so big compared to what we are now used to from Germany that we could not finish it, though it was quite tasty. They still have the pig in front of the store, and continue to repaint it frequently. We picked up some taco seasoning at our favorite spice store, Penzey’s.
After a brief time of relaxing back at the house, it was time to leave for the back to school barbecue at Van Arsdale. We all had a great time catching up with old friends and teachers (but forgot to take pictures). Spencer then had another football practice, and soon thereafter it was time for bed.
8 a.m. We woke up with a full house again – Spencer, Tao, and Meg stayed in the RV. Alisa slept with Tanner in one bedroom; Rick got the master bedroom to himself, and Dave and Ellen slept at Drew and Haewon’s house. Fortunately we had quite a few breakfast leftovers, plus some scrambled eggs.
10 a.m. The Fedibbletys headed off to church while the Adams headed to BrickFest – a lego convention in Denver. We got to say hello to many people we hadn’t seen in a long time, enjoy thoughtful words about heroes, and sing some great songs.
2:30 p.m. Bailey and Braedon were anxiously awaiting our arrival at their house. Spencer and Braedon enjoyed playing football and on the trampoline while the girls played in the pool, and then surprised the boys with water balloons.
4:00 p.m. Clare and I headed back to Dave and Ellen’s house, and the Telks were already there for a barbecue organized by Sarah and Ellen. We enjoyed ribs slow cooked by Drew, plus a number of salads and other goodies. The kids enjoyed the trampoline, the minigolf, and the hot tub, while the adults enjoyed catching up. Unfortunately we didn’t take enough photographic evidence. Shortly after the barbecue we all collapsed into bed.