Friday, January 27, 2012

Random Snapshots of our Holiday

First (and only so far) snow
Making Christmas cookies

Christmas parties with the youth groups

Christmas celebration with the CSM Europe team

Shaun (one of Anthony's closest friends here) got back from deployment

Christmas markets...this one was in Koln
Christmas eve with friends (Misty)

Our good friend Tony came for a long visit

Christmas morning

Monday, January 23, 2012

Masami's Quilt

I started working on a quilt for each of the kids when I was pregnant with them.  With Alethia's I got a fair amount done before she was born, but once she was born I found very little time to work on it for months.  I did, however, manage to get hers done in time for her first birthday. 

With Masami's, it was really just a concept by the time he was born.  I have worked on it off-and-on over the past three years.  Other projects just seemed to take precedent, so I would have to put it aside and then it would take me a long time to get back to it.  Finally, I decided that it was time to commit and finish it.  So, just after his third birthday, I completed his quilt and he seems to like it (especially since I backed it with soft minky).  As I was quilting it by hand, he would often come cuddle with me and "help" me pull the needle through the fabric. 

I'm happy with how it turned out.  I love the bright colors of the hot-air balloons and the fun swirls of the sky patterns.  But mostly I hope it speaks to my son of my love for him and my prayer for him to have lots of adventures and to experience life to the fullest in the Lord. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The 12 Days of Christmas

That's what we fondly called my mom's visit in December.  This is one of the longest stretches that we have gone without seeing family, and I have really felt it!  The reality of being so far away from loved ones has weighed heavy on me this fall.  So, it was really special to have my mom come .  And since it was during the holidays, we got to do lots of fun, festive stuff:

The Ktown Christmas Market

Swimming at the German Schwimmbad

Christmas Market at Valkenburg Caves, Netherlands
Going for walks

Alethia showing Granny her school

Seeing Santa

Alethia's dance recital (more on that later)

We also had a little early Christmas celebration so the kids could open their gifts from Granny.  I'm so glad that my kids get to know their Granny even from such a distance!  We had a great time together, and it was sad to see her go.  We are hoping for more extended family time in 2012!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

School News

Alethia with her best school buddy (Alex)
I cannot believe I'm blogging about stuff that happened in November!  However, I really do not want to skip over stuff, so here it is...

"They" are rebuilding the German kindergarten that Alethia goes to.  During this 1 to 2 year process, the children have been moved to a "makeshift" kindergarten on the campus of a primary school (grun schule) in the next village over from ours.  Unfortunately, her kindergarten was around the block from us and now it is a 10 min. drive, 5 min. walk up a hill, and two flights of stairs up.  We will be glad when the new kindergarten is done!

However, for the meantime, Alethia (and the other children) seem to like their new school.  The classroom is bigger and better equipped.  The major downsides: the bathrooms are only on the ground floor, which means the teachers have to really be proactive about getting 3-6 year olds down two flights of stairs and to the toilets in time, and there is no playground, so they are indoors more and will walk to a nearby park in the nicer weather. We have managed to work out a carpool schedule with the other American kid in her class, so that is making the transition a bit easier.

For St. Martins Day (in November), the kindergarten usually organizes a parade and celebration in our village.  This year, since they have relocated temporarily, the local church hosted.  The kids all made their lanterns at school.  We met at the church for a short service with a skit about St. Martin and traditional singing (all in German, of course).  Then, we paraded through the streets, led by the children and their lanterns, and ending at the fire station for a bon fire, brotchen, and gluhwein. It was a pretty cold night, but we had a nice time.  Anthony was on retreat with students, so my wonderful friend, Gin, joined us.  It was great to have another pair of hands (and legs) to keep track of the kids among the masses. 

Masami, Alex, & Alethia in the parade

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

I cannot believe we are already a week into 2012!!!  December flew by even quicker than usual for us.  I have lots of blogging to catch-up on to end 2011.  So, I'll be working on posting all about our holiday season to catch us up.  Until then, let me just wish you all a very blessed 2012!

Below is a video I took as we rang in the new year with friends.  The video really does not capture how awesome it to be surrounded by a panoramic fireworks show, but it gives you an idea.  We are so blessed to get to experience Germany at this time of year!