Our First Post-Language-School Task

Now that we've made it through the crazy two months of language school (and PASSED our A1 exams!), we're on to some different types of activities.  My favorite, for many reasons that I will shortly expound upon, was a trip to IKEA!!!

Gregory and I are huge IKEA fans.  We love their prices, the ease of transporting large pieces of furniture home in our own vehicles without delivery charges, and the accomplishment of assembling these items.  But we also love the IKEA store -- the maze of fun furniture displays, the cheap and yummy food, the espresso bar, and yes, even the accomplishment of making it through the store successfully!  Yesterday, on our first IKEA visit with a child, we discovered a new delight -- watching Nathanael explore toys and furniture in the kid's section!  We were all quite entertained.  (And in case you are not aware of the IKEA kid-care, they watch your kids for free between the ages of 3 and 10!  We're counting down the months to a free date!)

But on to the purpose of this post.  After over two months, Nathanael has been outgrowing the nightly use of our hosts' pack 'n play.  (Read:  None of us have been sleeping so well these days.)  IKEA's crib prices simply cannot be beat, so we headed out on our little adventure the first day stores opened here after Christmas; the store was crazy crowded!  And I feel as if I should also make a note here about visiting an IKEA in a language you aren't completely familiar with yet:  if at all possible, try to go to one in a language you know first; I cannot imagine how confusing it would be the first time without being able to fully read and speak the language!

We found the crib I'd seen online, and Nathanael begged for us to let him get into the display.  We conceded, and our little guy proceeded to lie down in the crib and sing his sleeping song.  We were all hooked.

This morning, I am pleased to report that all three of us slept through the entire night.  What a relief!

Nathanael loved watching Dad put the crib together.

And here's his new little haven.

It's crazy that we've had our son in "temporary/loaner" beds from age 3 months until 20 months!  And we have another 4-5 more to come!  (Those "loaner" beds have been a huge, huge blessing though!)


Christmas Day Memories

Here are a few of our favorite Christmas Day photos.  We didn't manage to take very many this year.  Someone kept us busy!

Sorry this one's blurry, but he was so excited to wear his boots that he really wouldn't stand still.


Our Little Helper

Nathanael wanted to show you all how he does laundry here in Vienna.  Seriously, I did not prompt him on how to do this!  I simply asked him if he'd like to show the camera how he does laundry, and this is what he proceeded to do. :)

First, he puts the clothes into the washing machine.
Then he adds detergent here.
Then he presses this button to start the machine.
Next he puts the clothes into the dryer.
Then he closes the door like so.
And he turns this knob to select the level of drying.
Aren't you proud of our little helper?!

It's amazing how much he has grown up in these two plus months!


Thoughts on a Tuesday morning in Vienna

I'm on my daily trek into the city for class.  I should be studying now, but my iPod just switched from German dialogue to Augustana's "Boston," and all of a sudden, my romantic sentiments are engaged, and I'm inspired to write - with pencil and paper yet!  Why not blog, right?

Vienna, in the late autumn / early winter, is covered in a thick fog.  It's the curse of the Donau.  This beautiful waterway which shimmers bright and blue in the summer causes a droggy haze to cover the city in the drudgery of winter.  Every so often the sunrays find their way through the haze, and we all breathe deeply and sigh.  "Die Sonne scheint."  I made up a silly song in German on Saturday, singing it with giddiness to Nathanael as we walked to the grocery store.  It was simply about the sun shining, the weather being warmer, the day beautiful...  It reflected the light feeling of the sunny morning.

Where am I going with this?  I cannot help but view all of this from a spiritual perspective.  I actually love the fog here -- it's something different, and it causes me to have a greater appreciation for the sun when it blesses us with its rays.  Recently I have been reflecting on God's sovereignty in often only allowing us to see what we must for our current situation, sometimes one step further.  We rarely view this foggy haze as a blessing.  But when the rays of understanding suddenly break through, it is truly glorious!  We see a fraction of the beauty of our Creator, how He marvelously works all for His glory and how He is so intimately aware of our needs and concerned with our good.

As I strive to learn this new language, I am truly in awe as to how God had prepared Gregory and me to be here in Vienna in the many years prior, even though we were oblivious to His greater plan, even though we felt we were often walking through a foggy haze.  I smile as I think of how this also is only a tiny thread in the tapestry of His Kingdom's plan.