Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween everybody! This is just an excuse to show some photos of Ian and Leah from their Halloween adventures earlier today.

Ian was an astronaut.

Leah was a witch.

We went to the "Trunk or Treat" for all the people that live off post. Catherine had a whole basket (German shopping thingy) chock full of candy. I thought we'd have enough for every kid to have two pieces of candy. She managed to convince me that one would do, and we gave everything away in 30-45 minutes. Crazy!

The kids made out like bandits. Man I love raiding the kids' candy stash . . .

just kidding : )



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Leah's Latest Hairdo

Leah had her hair done up super girly this weekend. That's really all I had ; )

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Not too shabby here in Germany. Tschuss!


Saturday, October 23, 2010


Ian had a soccer game this morning. It was 24 F when we left the house, and it didn't warm up all that much after the games were done. It was the last game of the season - and considering the luck we've had with rain, mud, and freezing temperatures it couldn't have come any sooner.

Ian couldn't have done better today. He ran after the ball, and even got an assist on a goal. I was so proud (still am . . .) of Ian today, he had a good time. Only way it could have been better was to have had warmer weather. Oh well.

Enjoy your day everyone. Tschuss!


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Ian had a soccer game this morning, and he did GREAT!

Some of the other games have been almost painful to watch as Ian did just about everything except play soccer.

Not today though. He played the whole game, and chased the ball around. He had a great time, which is really what counts.

Enjoy your day - I'm pretty sure ours will be colder than yours. We'll be lucky to crack 50. Tschuss!


Friday, October 15, 2010


Last Monday we traveled with the local church group to Cochem, Germany. It is a wonderful little town on the Mosel River, home to some wonderful Riesling wine. As you can see, the castle sits on a nice hill, which has great views of the Mosel River valley.

We took a tour of the castle, which was pretty neat. It was rebuilt a while back, so not nearly as old as our local castles, but in much better condition.

After the tour we stopped at a little cafe for some ice cream, beer, and "federweisser" (new, partially-fermented wine).

We also toured the town of Cochem. Those old German towns are just amazing. Ian and Leah had a good time, especially at some of these older places. Like this place below, just a random tower in a vineyard near the castle. I have no idea how old this tower was, but it made a perfect "kids club". Just ask Ian!



Sunday, October 10, 2010


Surprise, surprise. Ian woke up early this morning, which means that I woke up early this morning. We played around upstairs to keep things quiet downstairs, which gave me some time to go through my photos of Ian from yesterday.

In no particular order, these were my top five picks:

Ian at the Frauenburg ruins. Local legend says the smaller tower housed Rapunzel.

I think my last post had another photo of Ian at Frauenburg ruins, so my next four are from Burg Lichtenburg - the castle that overlooks our house. The ruins are quite extensive, so none of these photos are from the same place/area within the burg.

This one (below) is just down the wall a ways from the one above.

The sunlight is a bit hot on Ian's forehead, but not a bad shot overall.

And finally, a shot where Ian isn't hamming it up for the camera.

Like I said, just some photos of Ian. Me out with the flash and camera trying to learn. Ian out with his dad, just having some fun.



Another gorgeous day in Germany

Today was just another awesome day in Germany. When the sun is shining, this place is gorgeous. Definitely not the kind of day to stay inside.

On that note, Catherine and I packed up the kids for a nice outing. We drove to Frauenberg to walk around in the woods and to go see the castle. It was a busy day in the woods, I've never seen so many people. There was a couple at the bench overlooking the castle, there was a family enjoying a picnic at the Sonnenberg overlook, and a small group of friends at the cliff overlooking the castle. Plus random hikers out and about.

We're just past peak fall colors, or at least that is what Catherine and I think. Still beautiful out, and I don't want to think how close winter is behind it.

After our walk in the woods, we made our way down into the valley to go visit Ruine Frauenberg. I must admit that I had a bit of a hidden agenda with this trip. I've been wanting to work on my flash photography for a while, and figured the stone walls would provide some interesting backgrounds. So I lugged my extra "tripod" around, and luckily found a couple of nicer spots. I only wish I had moved Ian just a bit to his left.

Leah stood in the exact same spot, but she is just shorter than Ian, so no plants "growing" out of her head. I rather like this one of Leah.

We stopped at the Italian Eis shop (ice cream) on the way home, which the kids definitely enjoyed. Ian and I dropped Catherine and Leah off at home and then made our way to the Burg Lichtenburg castle. The view from the top of the tower was amazing! We spent a good hour and a half to two hours scrambling all over the castle grounds. Ian was quite the trooper as I had him stop just about every five minutes in order to take some more photos.

I got a bunch of keepers of Ian. It's about time!!! Ian is a tough kid to photograph - he can hardly sit still, is easily distracted, and is just too busy being a little boy.

But when it finally works, eureka! This isn't my favorite of the bunch, but it is close. The others will take a bit of work, and I don't know when I'll get to them. Tomorrow is a day off for me (thank you fellow tax-payers!), and we have a trip planned to Cochem. Hopefully more photos from that will follow.

I hope all is well out there. Tschuss!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nothing Special

Another awesome day here in Germany!

I had a football game to cover again, and I spent way too much time running on to the field. I was admiring the setting sun on my drive home and thought it would be a nice evening to go out and shoot some photos. I wolfed down a couple of bowls of delicious black bean soup that Catherine had made, then packed up the kids in search of a good photo.

But we arrived just a couple of minutes too late : (

I figured I could try to salvage the opportunity and get a photo or two of the kids while we were out. Then it hit me - use the 10 second timer!! Another photo ruined . . .

Enjoy your day everybody. Tschuss!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mornings in Germany

Early morning is easily my most favorite part of the day. All is quiet, except of course Ian and Leah ;-) . I've been wanting to get out and photograph some of the countryside here, but until this morning the skies haven't cooperated.

I pass some really cool areas on my way to work in the mornings, unfortunately they didn't pan out as far as photography goes. Gorgeous to drive past, but nothing compelling through the camera viewfinder. As I was driving to my locations, I passed this view from the road (about 2-3 minutes from our house). On my way back, I stopped on the road and took this photo.

I drove back into Thallichtenberg and decided to drive up some of my running paths prior to heading home. The fog was rolling in and out of the area, and the sun was just lighting things up beautifully.

Same photo here below as with the one above it, only the fog has rolled out just a bit. Probably less than a minute separated these two photos.

That's the view from our neck of the woods here in Germany. Enjoy your day, we are here!



Friday, October 1, 2010


This past weekend we did Oktoberfest in traditional (Marc) Skinner fashion - without a plan!! So here is the story . . .

I've been wanting to see the Munich Oktoberfest for quite some time. Just a cultural thing. Dirndls, Lederhosen, Bier. What other reason do you need? As this year was the last easy or convenient year to experience Oktoberfest, we planned to take it in while I was still in Texas this summer. Now, when I say "planned", I really mean Catherine and I spoke about it and she agreed to go with the caveat that had something more concrete than "Munich Oktoberfest on Saturday". We also wanted to see the Cannstater Volksfest in Stuttgart, which we decided to do in the same weekend.

Catherine took care of the housing (hotel), I was in charge of the other stuff. Yeah right.

My idea of a "plan" was to drive to Munich and search for the Bier tents. Turns out that plugging in city center for Munich into the GPS doesn't quite get you to the Theriesenwiese platz - where the fest is held. We had to stop at a hotel (after parking on the street in downtown Munich) and ask for directions. The concierge was incredibly helpful. He steered us to the subway, told us which station to get out at, and where to find the kids if we got separated.

There were 500,000 people at the 200th Oktoberfest in Munich last Saturday. I'm guessing the majority were crammed into the Bier tents, but there were still loads of folks just wandering around. Anyways, we made our way to the festival grounds and walked around a good bit. We looked at some of the rides, but pushed that off until the next day in Stuttgart. I got to sample some of the beer, then we all picked out some Souvenirs. Now we can say we've done the biggest Oktoberfest in the world.

The photo above is of the Cannstater Volksfest in Stuttgart. It is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. I planned this one just as well as the Munich one. I basically knew it was in Stuttgart, and that was it. Thankfully the concierge at the hotel knew where to look for an address for our GPS. It got us there - but man was it a long walk to and from the car.

There was a parade coming into the park at the entrance we walked to, which was a ton of old farm wagons loaded with casks of beer, flowers, pumpkins - all sorts of things. A couple of the horse-drawn wagons went a different way through the park which must not have been too enjoyable for the horses, as they stampeded just a little bit (people were leaping out of the way for about 25 yards before the horses were brought under control). I've never seen anything like that before, and I'm glad we were behind the horses when that happened.

So now we can say we've seen the two largest Oktoberfests in the world. Yeah!! Munich was so worth it, I'm glad we went. However, Stuttgart was definitely more family-friendly and quite a bit smaller. And therefore easier to explore.

I hope everything is well with everyone out there! Cheers,