Vienna Boys' Choir and our first snow!

On Thursday, I treated myself to an extra special outing - a ticket to the Vienna Boys' Choir Christmas concert.  It was spectacular.  I had a glass of wine before the concert (Austrian Zweigelt), and I enjoyed every second of the over two hour performance.  The conductor and choir director may have been my favorite performers of the entire evening.  They are incredibly talented musicians and performers, and the conductor spoke beautifully from his heart about a handful of songs.
 After the concert, I got on the underground and went home to Oberlaa.  Upon exiting the station, I was stunned to be walking into a white winter wonderland:

 This is a VERY BIG DEAL for us because we love snow, and it is our first winter to have our very own backyard and thus our very own patch of snow to play in.  Here is the path to our stream:
 And our little white backyard.
The kids apparently played in the snow all evening while I was gone!
The next morning was exciting taking the kids to school.
And I enjoyed a walk through the forest behind their school.
This is the moon above their snow-covered schoolyard.
 The sun rising throw the snowy trees:
What a beautiful wintery gift!


Our beautiful ballerina

Eva's ballet class had a practice last week in which the parents (and grandparents) were allowed in to observe.  It was absolutely adorable, and we are so proud of our little ballerina!  She clearly loves dancing and does an excellent job following the teacher's instructions.
I loved that they had LIVE music for this practice!

Our Mish-Mash of Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas traditions are a fun mish-mash of Austrian and American traditions.

We celebrate the season of advent with a traditional wreath with five candles and hang Jesse Tree ornaments together as we talk about how each story or symbol points us to Christ.  We open Advent calendars.
We do Christmas stockings on Nicholas Day instead of Christmas morning.  (I could not believe our store was selling Nerds one day...for a pretty high price!)
And we do not miss the opportunity for at least one big Christmas market outing, this year extra special with a brief pony/horse ride!


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 Every Friday before Advent Sunday, our kids' school has what they call "Advent Sing," a time to enjoy a festive holiday atmosphere and be together as a school.  They sing a special song, and then two of the eight classes perform a few songs together.  Eva's class began this year, and it was a delight to experience the festivities together as a family!
We had our annual Saturday-after-Thanksgiving family Christmas decorating afternoon, complete with ginger cookies and spiced apple cider.  Yumm...  It was so much fun to decorate in our home this year, especially hanging a few lights outside and being able to see the neighbor's lights as well!  We are loving our little neighborhood!


Just another November

November typically brings cooler weather here in Vienna, but we still made it out to our forest a couple times at the beginning of the month to work on the kids' forest hide-outs/forts.  We LOVE living next to nature.  It is really something amazing to be on the edge of the city.  We are full of gratitude.
Here is Nathanael guarding the entrance to his fort.
Eva posing beautifully in her fort
An exciting addition to our tiny backyard:  A bird feeder!
Now if only the birds would discover it...
This month Gregory served in a special service at our church focused on worship through song.  It was a great opportunity for our church to give more time to worshiping God through music, and the team did a spectacular job leading us!
 Nathanael had an awesome opportunity to be part of a science workshop this month, and he even was able to perform some of the experiments on stage with the scientists who also have their own tv show here.  It was really entertaining.  We laughed a lot and were wowed by the presentations!
 Eva and Mom have fun regularly expressing beauty in our creativity, this time with face paint and a bracelet. :)
This was the extent of our Thanksgiving feast this year!  With two kids in school, a typical afternoon of homework, and typical work demands such as music practice and teaching prep, we weren't able to do anything very significant this time.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Spain Retreat

I had the incredible opportunity this month to lead worship for a group of ladies with our organization for a retreat/conference in Spain.  It was a stretching experience for me to lead as I did so with a guitar this time.  (I missed how comfortable I am on my keyboard!)  Still, I did it, and that is something, right?  I personally connected with God and the ladies through the music and am hopeful I was not the only one.  Still, the highlights for me were seeing dear friends, such as my dear sister Krishana below, and taking walks along the beach!
 This guy greeted us each morning at breakfast.
 One day it was crazy windy, and the waves were intense!
 One afternoon, I took a 1.5 hour walk to a nearby town, found a Tex-Mex restaurant for lunch and ate a Chimichanga, and then walked back.  The walk was stunning.
 And flying over the Alps is always amazing.