Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hello Family and Friends!

Yes, I know I've been a complete slacker when it comes to keeping up this blog lately. Ever since coming back to Germany this fall, the time seems to get away from me. Perhaps a New Year's resolution should be for me to try to keep it updated more often. ;)

We have many things for which we are grateful. We are thrilled to have survived our first year in Germany. In fact, we are beginning to enjoy our time here much more, and we hope to be able to get out and travel more in year two. We were fortunate to enjoy a week in Granada, Spain, in November. Gerard taught at a workshop and we tagged along. We have also greatly enjoyed the German Christmas Markets this December, complete with mandeln (burnt almonds- my personal favorite), and gluhwein (warm spiced red wine- Gerard's favorite). Gerrit and Gerard even attempted ice skating at one of the markets.

Gerard has been quite busy working on the telescope in Chile. His group completed installation of PRIMA and its first on-sky results are very promising for future success in planet detection. On the home front, my own Hausfrau skills are improving. This, of course, is a relative statement as my domestic skills were non-existent when we arrived. That of course means that even minute progress is an improvement. ;)

Willem is on the verge of walking (about 5-10 steps at a time before he gets over-excited and falls). In addition to several gutteral grunts and utterances, Willem has actually added a few words to his repertoire. His first word was in fact, "Nein" (the German "NO"). Not surprising, considering Gerrit is always saying, "Nein Willem, you go away!" whenever Willem charges at one of Gerrit's toys. Willem's vocabulary also currently includes, "Mama, Dada, daw (for dog), nana (for banana), and Tschuess (pronounced "Choos"- a friendly way to say "Bye"). He adores his older brother, and does not believe that he is too small or young to accomplish anything that brother Gerrit does. Ah, Willem, this perseverance will serve you well later in life.

Gerrit's German is improving almost as quickly as mine. He often includes a few random German words in his speech. He enjoys kindergarten very much. Although he still gets frustrated communicating with other German kids, his language skills are improving all the time. Though it's been a bit of a warm winter, it did snow a bit last week. This meant we were able to take Gerrit on his first sledding adventure. Fortunately, we have a great little sledding hill right here in Neufahrn so it was just a hop, skip, and a jump for us. A few times down the lower part of the hill, and he insisted on tackling the peak, where all the "bigger kids" were sledding. Gerrit had so much fun, and I was tickled to see how much he enjoyed himself.

First Sledding!

And a view from the top!!

Since I'm a slacker, I was unable to get Christmas cards out in any decent time frame this year. Heck, I'm terrible at updating this thing, so are you at all surprised? Therefore, I'm including a link to some online Christmas cards I created. There are about seven pages so feel free to browse through the pictures.

And now, I have far too many presents left to wrap, and things to prepare for tomorrow. We are actually having a few guests over for supper. This is the first time I've ever made an entire holiday meal so I'm nervous. It is compounded by the fact that our guests are German, with German palates. Alright, I'm off to do battle with the German stove yet again. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


At December 24, 2008 at 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gluhwein rocks!

Merry Cristmas to you guys!

At January 15, 2009 at 10:26 AM , Blogger Gerb said...

I keep waiting for an update on how your Christmas went! How did the food preparation go? Happy 2009!


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