9.14.2016

Our first grader

We are so proud of Nathanael and this big step he has taken into first grade.
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He has done it well.  He already has a couple friends (and he even learned their names yesterday).  He has learned how to complain about homework without me having to teach him. :(  He has already shown himself to be a leader in the way he looks out for other kids in his class.  We are so proud of him.
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Deutche Welle has an awesome article about the traditions associated with starting first grade in Germanic cultures.  It really is a big deal here.

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Nathanael is attending a public, bilingual school in our district.  It's about a 15 minute walk from our home, which is awesome (except when it's pouring rain on the second day and I may have forgotten to bring our umbrellas).  He attends from 7:45 until 11:55 most days, with a couple random afternoon lessons or activities in the week.  The afternoons are mostly ours, after he completes his homework, of course.

The school building in the heart of our district in Vienna
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He has a native German-speaking home teacher, Isa, and a native English-speaking teacher that rotates in and out of first and second grade.  Six or seven hours in the week he has teaching only in English, a few hours each week the two teachers team-teach in both language, and the remaining hours are mostly in German with English interspersed here and there.  This is just like Nathanael's life, and he loves it.

The weekly lesson plan for his class of 23 students
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Here's the English version of the school supplies to collect.  This process was much more complicated than I imagined!  What a cultural learning experience!  I found the German version much easier to decipher.  It was much more specific (typical of the German language).
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Evangeline on the other hand begs us every day to let her go to school with Nathanael.  Our little three-year-old would give anything to be six right now.  It's hard to not have big brother at pre-school/Kindergarten with her anymore.  Let's be real; it's simply hard to be three.  (We have to keep telling ourselves that we will survive this three-year-old daughter stage!)

A donut date with Dad and Mom while Nathanael attended a birthday party
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8.17.2016

A Get-away to Grand Lake

For our last weekend in the States, we headed south to Grand Lake in Oklahama.  My Uncle and Aunt have a lake house there, and I've been wanting to visit them at the lake for over a decade!  We finally did it!  What special memories we made together.  We sure missed our other family members though (Carrie, Deena, and Darcy)!  It was surreal to see our old spots along the lake and introduce our kids to the fun to be had there.  The sweetest moments for me were simply the time spent with family.  I am blessed.
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Wrapping up our time in the States

Our last few summer weeks were packed full of special memories in Kansas with family.

We were so glad the kids were around to watch the farmers cut and bale the grass!
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Just before heading to Colorado, we visited my Grandma and Dad's side of the family for a day.
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The kids had fun playing with my cousin's kids!
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Uncle Bob made ice cream!
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Celebrating 11 Years

Sandwiched between our family's vacation in Winter Park and our GEM conference, we celebrated our anniversary in Colorado Springs.  GEM treated us to a night at the Antlers hotel.  The view from our hotel room balcony was stunning!  We spent the afternoon hiking the Catamount Lake trail outside of Green Mountain Falls.  Such special memories in that place...  What a blessing to celebrate our anniversary together in Colorado, just the two of us!
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Winter Park Memories 2016

Our first big activity was the alpine slide and the kids' first chair lift ride.
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Playing at the ski resort
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Exploring the area around our condo
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The rocky beach just off the trail where we spent countless hours
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And Hideaway Park
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Condo time and Cheesecake!
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