Similar to Spencer’s birthday, we celebrated Meg’s birthday first at home, and then with friends. For her birthday dinner, she decided on French toast and fruit salad. To celebrate with friends, she picked a place in the Netherlands called Clip n Climb, which was the location for one of her friends’ parties last fall. This year she requested a galaxy cake. Two of her friends asked for the recipe, so it was definitely a hit. That’s another notch on Clare’s cake-making belt. Even though she claims to not be good at it, she has a track record of some pretty incredible cakes.
One of the climbing adventures was a timed one – Meg did it about 10 times in a row, getting faster each time. I think her first one was over 40 seconds, and she eventually got done to about 15 seconds!
This year we didn’t really celebrate Spencer’s birthday directly on his birthday, because his birthday was over Carnival weekend, and we instead went to Berlin for a long weekend. Instead we adjusted the schedule a bit, but kept some of the traditions. We had Spencer’s family birthday dinner of Schnitzel, Käsespätzle, Broccoli and ice cream cake with Dave and Ellen on the 18th. Then on Friday the 28th Spencer and most of his soccer team, plus his best friend from school Andre celebrated at the local laser tag place. It was legen — wait for it — dary!
After a great 3 week vacation in the USA, it was time to come back to Germany. We spent most of Sunday morning packing, then enjoyed lunch with Drew, Haewon, Grandma, and Grandpa, and then Drew drove us to the airport. We said our farewells, got on the jumbo jet, and had a mostly uneventful flight. We all got a little bit of sleep even. We sat near the end of the plane where it curves down a bit, which meant we had 2 rows of 2 seats per row instead of 3, so we had a little extra room to stretch out, which was really nice. We caught our train at the airport with 20 minutes to spare, and were back in Aachen before we knew it. We managed to stay awake the whole day, to unpack, go grocery shopping and such, and watch an episode of Modern Family before heading off to bed.
Tuesday Rob went back to work, while Clare bravely took care of the tired and cranky kids, getting them prepared for the first day of school on Wednesday. Meg started 3rd grade at a normal time, but since Spencer is starting a new school for 5th grade (Gymnasium), he started at 15:00 with a special celebration put on by the older kids. It is a tradition in Germany to get kids a Schuletüte on their first day of 1st grade. It is a big paper cone which you fill with candy and other goodies. Since both of them did their first day of 1st grade in the USA, they missed out on this, so Clare decided to get them some mini ones this year. They liked them.
Another interesting occurrence on Tuesday was that our next door neighbors moved out. The moving company built a mini-elevator / electric ladder up to the balcony to move a bunch of their stuff. Much easier than the way we did it – trudging everything up 51 stairs of the winding staircase.
Friday both Meg and Spencer received an award at school. Meg got an award for outstanding citizen, and Spencer got an award for academic excellence. We are very proud of both of them for their hard work.
Today was the first of day school for us – Meg started Kindergarten, and Spencer started second grade. Meg had a big mix of emotions. She was super excited for the most part, with a bit of shyness and nervousness mixed in. She did just fine walking into her classroom. The kids school has a tradition of doing a big flag ceremony on the first day of school about 30 minutes after the start of school. The cub scouts do the ceremony including sending off a rocket. Spencer and Rob participated in the flag ceremony. For some reason, seeing Mommy again got Meg bawling, and asking to only do half day Kindergarten. By the time they got home though, they were both happy and excited to tell us all about their days.
Yesterday we marched in the PrideFest parade as part of the contingent from Jefferson Unitarian Church, along with 5 or 6 other Unitarian Universalist congregations from the Denver/Boulder area. Each congregation wore a different color of the rainbow – we were orange. It was close to 100 degrees and very sunny, and we were near the end of the parade, meaning that we ended up waiting around for a very long time to get going, but we made it. In spite of the heat, most people were in very good spirits, and we took the opportunity to try to teach the kids to be accepting of all people no matter what color of the rainbow they represent, and as we like to say in the UU church, stand on the side of love
Meg had a great time looking at the floats and all the rainbow costumes and boys in their underwear. She was very outgoing and asked several people if she could get her picture with them. We ended up ducking out of the parade just a bit before the end. After complaining for awhile about wanting to go home, Spencer was sad we didn’t finish the parade.
Spencer and I recently made up a new game playing baseball. We start off playing catch about 3 feet apart from each other. Every time we catch the ball, we take a step back. I thought it would be fun if we did some statistics about our performance. Today Spencer and I made a graph by hand, then we put it into a spreadsheet, and did some basic statistics