Sunday, June 29, 2008

Y2W5 - Go Deutschland!

We got caught in several torrential downpours this week. Thursday after school, we started to walk to the car (Avery, Bryn, and I) sharing an umbrella when we stopped thinking it would lighten up after a few minutes. It was raining so hard, that the rain was seeping through the seems of the umbrella and we were still getting wet. Even with the umbrella, and letting it subside a little while, when we got home we were soaked. Thank goodness Bailey had a play date or we would have been splitting the umbrella between four of us.

One first this week was Bailey and Avery went into the Bäckerei by themselves and ordered auf Deutsch, they came out with two Apfel Taschens (which is like an apple turnover), one big pretzel, and one roll. I was extremely impressed with them. The lady that works at that particular bakery does not speak English, so I know Bailey did a great job ordering and paying in German. Go Bailey!! Avery went for moral support. I am quite sure she did not say a word while she was in there. Bryn and I waited in the car.

The other International school in town ended Tuesday and the German schools got out Wednesday. Unfortunately we still have school until July 2nd. We are seriously gearing up for being out of school.

Greg taught the 5th Sunday Lesson this morning auf Deutsch. He did really well. Lots of people in our Ward were complimentary, especially the people that know how hard it is for us to try and teach a lesson in a language we still don't know very well yet.

Probably the biggest news this week is the UEFA Euro 2008 Championship Game, which we are watching on the computer right now. It is so fun because it is Germany vs. Spain. Two great teams and so cool that Germany made it to the finals. Our street will be quite loud tonight if Germany wins. Everyone will be celebrating, honking horns, flying their Deutsch flags so proud. It is quite the atmosphere. I would not be surprised if there are also some serious fireworks. We'll see if I can stay awake to watch the end.

A live update...Spain was victorious. Although we are disappointed it was not Germany because I think the town would have been crazy fun last night. We are excited for Spain because they have never won it before. It was still a great game.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Y2W4 - Summer Fete

The highlights this week consist of Sports Day which was Friday. The whole school gets divided into teams. Luckily, they make sure siblings are on the same team. This year the girls were on the blue team. They only have a half day of school, they have a series of events where they perform and the helpers keep track of the amount of points they earn in each event. Last year, it was rained out so we were very excited to see blue skies on Friday morning. I went with the camera intending to watch the events and take some pictures but when I got to school and dropped the girls off at their classes, several other moms were going downtown for coffee. They told me from vast experience, it wasn't worth trying to get pictures as Bailey and Avery would be in different parts of the playground. After a little bit of twisting my arm, I decided to go with the moms. It was so nice to just spend a morning sitting on the patio, chatting with the other moms. Bryn got to play on some playground equipment just off of the patio. The hot chocolate was great and I got to relax a bit. I think it was a wise choice. When we got back to school, Baileys class was already finished and they were outside watching the older kids do their races. I was able to get some pictures of Bailey with her teacher which was great because she left for maternity leave a few weeks ago. And, I was able to get Avery with her teachers as well. We stayed at school for about an hour and a half after they were dismissed playing on the playground. The weather was perfect. Then, we went to McDonalds for lunch. The girls were so excited for Sports Day and it really turned out great.



Saturday was the Summer Fete. It is a huge fundraiser for the school and a major undertaking by the PTA. I volunteered to work the Food Booth for an hour and Bailey and her friend Olivia wanted to do a lemonade stand and donate the profit to the school. They had planned and organized it very well. The Fete started with a dance performance by the girls who do the after school dance class, which was pretty cute. When we weren't working or dancing, the girls did the games, face painting, pony rides, etc. All-in-all, it was a great day for them. They really had a blast. We had excellent weather, which was opposite from the weather report so I think we lucked out. I was so exhausted when we got home. These are the times when I realize I'm pregnant.



We also found out this week who the girls will have next year for their teacher and who will be in their classes. Avery is very excited about her class for next year, and we are familiar with her teacher so that is great. She will be transitioning to full days next year, so it will be a big change. Bailey already knows that she will have the same people in her class. At their school, the whole class moves up together to a new teacher. I have mixed emotions about this process but we will only really be here another year and a half or so.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Y2W3 - Indiana Jones, Bunco, und Geburtstag Parties

Greg and I had a date on Monday. I know, super hard to believe but we talked to a babysitter at Church and she was free so Voila! We went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. At first we were nervous about being in the right theater because all of the previews and the beginning credits were auf Deutsch. We were very happy when the kids in the beginning scene started speaking English. It was fun to be on a date. We have not seen a movie together since we have been here. We thought it was okay. There is something about being able to go out (1), see a movie together (2), and be able to see it in English (3), that makes us less critical about the actual movie. For a brief moment, it felt as though we were back in the US. On our walk home from the Theater, there was a UEFA game on the big screen at the Biergarten across from the Theater. We stopped for a few minutes to watch the Nederlanders taking it to the Italians, who are the World Cup champions from two years ago. The Dutch fans were so much fun when we went to the World Cup in France in 1998, that we are always excited when they are doing well.

I was feeling really good about how the things on my "To Do" List were being whittled away when the Flu struck on Tuesday. Just me, no one else thank goodness. Luckily, I have some good friends who offered to bring my kids home from school on Tuesday so I didn't have to keep going back to school to pick them up.

It was a week of baking. I made Banana Bread, which I froze for the Summer Fete. My family was a bit disappointed when the house smelled like Banana Bread, but they couldn't have it. I made homemade Oreos for Bunco on Thursday night. It has been so much fun getting together for Bunco. I highly recommend it! The missionaries came for dinner on Friday so I made a Strawberry Shortcake recipe from allrecipes.com. It really turned out yummy. And, Greg received a Martha Stewart Cookie Book from his mom for Father's Day and he made Chocolate Marshmallow cookies on Saturday.

We walked to the market on Saturday morning to get these really good rolls we have come to love. Then, we decided to take the train to Bonn because there was a Pottery market going on. We saw some cool things, but didn't buy anything. We wanted to get some specialty foods from Kaufhof, which we did and a couple of Birthday Presents because both Bailey and Avery had parties they had to go to in the afternoon. Bailey's party was at an indoor play place and Avery's was at her best friend's (Ava) house. It was a busy day.

Sunday, was of course Father's Day in the States. Here it was just a normal day. I conducted Relief Society auf Deutsch but I was disappointed in myself because I used a cheat sheet. I really wanted to do it without the crutch of a piece of paper. Maybe next week? We actually didn't do anything out of the ordinary to celebrate Father's day. Poor Greg. But, I have been trying to encourage him to go to the UEFA game next Saturday, which I'm sure will more than make up for our lack of celebration.

Finally, we would like to give a shout out to Keira, our niece, turning two this week "Happy Birthday" and a "Happy Anniversary" to Kris and Linda.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Y2W2 - Frankfurt am Main

Well, this week started out normal enough but midway through the week, something monumental happened...yes, Bailey became toothless. Not completely of course, but those wobbly teeth finally wanted to be free. Within a day, she was two teeth short, and 4 Euros richer which she of course spent right away.



We are in full swing with the UEFA Euro2008. It is the Fuβball (soccer) Championship. It happens every two years opposite the World Cup. It is huge here. This year the games are being played in Austria and Switzerland. Everyone has flags on their cars and houses of which team they are supporting. We are able to get the games via the Internet, so Greg is elated! In case you want to be even more festive though, all of the Biergartens have big screen TV's outside broadcasting the games. It really is quite a fun atmosphere. We are trying to get Greg to one of the matches, we'll see if we can make it happen. We were told that many Germans don't fly flags because German Nationalism was seen as kind of scary after WWII. So, it is so much fun to see all of the German flags flying proud.

Thursday I had the pleasure of going to Book Club. We moved it up a week to accomodate some conflicts which meant I only had a few days to try and read the book. The book that had been selected at the previous months bookclub (which I missed) was "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop. My first thought was that I really didn't want to read a book about a girl escaping her polygamist plight and the more I thought about it, I decided maybe it was an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about mainstream Mormonism. I did not finish the book, but read about half by the time the book club rolled around. I was surprised to find that it was interesting and enjoyable. Some of the other ladies in the book club found it heartbreaking, but I found some parts rather humorous. For example, can you imagine taking six wives and 32 children on vacation to San Diego Zoo? I know what our family trips are like with only five people. In any case, I found it to be a better read than I was expecting.

Saturday, we had a Relief Society Temple Trip to the Frankfurt Temple. It was really nice. Greg and the girls drove and met me after the session so we could sight see Frankfurt a little bit. We walked the town a bit, and ended up going to the Städel Museum. Wow, what an impressive collection! I was amazed at the Renoir, Monet, Ver Meer, Rodin, and Degas works they had there. The girls were also extremely well behaved which always helps the experience. We walked along the Main River, got an ice cream cone, and sat in a central platz and just relaxed, taking in a bit of Frankfurt, listening to the Church Bells of the many nearby Churches, and watching several wedding parties going in and out of the Churches.



Sunday, we had the pleasure of having a rather long video conference with my mom and Greg's parents together.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Year 2 - Week 1 - Maastricht, Netherlands

This week was the usual stuff during the week. I had my eye on an extra bed from Ikea that we were going to buy but wouldn't you know it, it was out of stock everywhere in Germany. So, Saturday morning first thing, we jumped in the car and went to an Ikea in The Netherlands. It really worked out great. It is a little over an hour away. We got the bed and some other things and then spent the rest of the day in Maastricht. It is a really cool shopping area that we had been to once before with Greg's mom. We really had a great day together.

Avery and I in front of the Stadhuis (Town Hall).
Don't zoom too close on this one or my huge belly might knock you out of your chair.

Bailey eating a really yummy warm waffle.
I know everyone talks about Belgian waffles, but in my experience, they are soooo good in Holland.

We spent some time in this old Cathedral converted into a bookstore.
Ambiance and hundreds of books...Greg's dream store! They had an extensive English book section and Bailey found a couple of Roald Dahl books, her new favorite author.

On the way home, we stopped at the American War Cemetery in Margraten, which holds the graves of 8,300 fallen soldiers during WWII. It was decorated for Memorial Day with many flowered wreaths.

Sunday, we had the pleasure of being visited by Mike Gibbs. They were the family that helped us out so much before moving here. As much as we were sad to see them leave, we have been so happy in the house they left behind. It was really fun to visit and catch up with him.