Tag Archives: kindergarten

Happy (Just About) Summer!

25 May

Greetings, all! Fancy seeing you here- it’s been a while! Let me start by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has made the move with me over to Treats, Travels And Truths– there’s absolutely no other place I’d rather start the journey than with you guys who have been following our shenanigans for all this time right here.The new site is coming along so nicely- growth is slow, but steady, and I’m learning more every day about the ins and outs of blogging on a larger scale. Most importantly, I’m having a really good time with it and that’s really all that matters, right? Please, please, please continue to help me spread the word and get the site out there- sharing it on Facebook or Instagram, sending the link to friends in emails or just telling them about it. I SO appreciate it. And you. ❤

So I just wanted to share some pictures from our last month or so. We’ve been really busy- and in a really good way for the most part! Y’all know we’ve had some visitors- my mom came for my birthday at the beginning of April and then John’s sister, brother and his family came a few weeks ago when we all headed to Greece (phenomenal vacay, btw). Other than that, we’ve been kinda all over the place- waiting for spring to arrive and taking advantage of days when it teases us (see the snow pictures below that were taken mid-April!), getting Neve registered for Kindergarten, Fruhlingsfest (the largest spring festival in the world!), rock climbing (Neve is in LOVE), celebrating Mother’s Day…Have a look!

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She’s really taken an interest in drawing- and is pretty darn good!

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Anybody else think these are the best kinds of lunch EVER?!

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Bedtime Stories ❤

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Fruhlingsfest

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Chocolate-covered fruit on sticks…

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What better last weekend in Germany than homemade pizza from scratch?!

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Morning waves from school ❤

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Mother’s Day Breakfast at Kindi…

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Found a huge rock climbing gym less than 20 minutes from the house! Neve has really started showing an interest and is really good at it!

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What do you do when you’re out walking the pups on Sunday afternoon, but a storm is rolling in? Find the nearest biergarten and wait it out 🙂

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All doing our best impressions of the ‘Ears Up’ pose 😉

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Waiting out the storm at the biergarten, overlooking Stuttgart…

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Good Lord. He is mine. ❤

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Just finished with Kindergarten Orientation on base. Safe to say that all three of us like the school, the teachers…and the playground! September can’t get here soon enough for this kid!

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We make Countdown Chains for so many things. This one marks when Daddy gets home this Saturday (the link with the stars) and when Uncle Andy arrives (the link with the smiley faces). This is the first chain that Neve made entirely by herself 😦

I told you we’ve been pretty dang busy! Lots of fun, though, and some pretty exciting stuff (how do we have a Kindergartner?!). And I’m happy to report that the weather is *finally* cooperating for the most part- we’re at least reaching 70/75F most days! Ha! I swear summer can’t get here soon enough! Speaking of which, our next adventure begins in just 5 days! We’re headed for the Canary Islands next week to do (hopefully) a whole lotta nothing- sun, sand, waves, drinks with umbrellas…Ha! This family needs some summatime, dammit! My little bit of planning is officially done (see selfie below where I reconfirm that I’m a nerd and must write down everything!), John gets home Saturday (he’s been in the States for work since last weekend), and Uncle Andy gets here Monday (he’s needing some Canary Islands in his life, too!) Life is good, friends. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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Fall has Arrived!

18 Sep

Greetings from Stuttgart, where the weather has finally started to resemble more of what we know and love for this time of year! I kid you not, it wasn’t until just a couple days ago that we didn’t have a heat index of 90*+. In mid September?! Every time we’ve been here in the fall- including last year when we didn’t even unpack our shorts when we arrived in mid-August!- the temps are already dropping steadily, mornings and nights warrant a jacket and the leaves have tinges of yellows and oranges on their edges…I think Mother Nature felt like she owed us one this year for giving us the never ending spring (we were in fleeces for Memorial Day!), knowing that this southern family needed some decent hot weather! Ha! And she was right- I haven’t minded one bit- bring on the sweat and sunshine! Yep, this has been me ;):

And speaking of sunshine, the downside of German fall? With it comes the rain. Endless, constant dreary. Blech. Today is the perfect example- we went to bed with it raining, woke up to it raining, and it’s still raining now. Hasn’t let up NOT EVEN ONCE. Guess I’ll need to think about getting out my sun lamp 😉

Anyhoo, I guess what I’ve said before holds true- when I go weeks between blog posts, it must mean we’ve been having too much fun- and we have! So I thought this would be a good time to share some pics ❤thumb_img_1243_1024

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One of our all time favorite festivals is Pumpkin Fest. It happens every September in Ludwigsburg, a suburb of Stuttgart, and lasts for almost two months, which means that we normally hit it up at least a couple times. Some of you probably remember my posting about it last year (and also back in 2010 for those of you who have been with us from the start!), but if not, be sure to search for past posts 🙂 There are so many things that make Pumpkin Fest so neat. For starters, it sits on the most beautiful palace grounds and surrounding park. Seriously- you’ve never seen such green grass, such bright flowers and such majestic trees. Second, it’s super family friendly with an entire section of the park designed for kids. Third, you just can’t beat the pumpkin cuisine! And I’m not talking froo froo lattes either- I mean real, top notch food made using pumpkins and gourds! Jambalaya, ravioli, pumpkin fries, squash flatbreads…And yep, pumpkin beer and wine. Duh.

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You’ve also never seen so many pumpkins and gourds! This festival has the world record for the most pumpkins in one place, and it holds the contest for the World’s Largest Pumpkin. (It’s something like 650lbs. and taller than me!)

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In Rapunzel’s tower…

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Look who we ran into! And just in time for the kids’ park! They loved this boat ride through the forest.

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Last week had two pretty cool events. First, we threw an end of summer BBQ for our tribe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being here, in this situation, would be so much different- so much more challenging, not to mention just plain sadder!- without these people. Together, all of our families make up one big family of friendship, of love, of support, of comfort…Love getting to share this extended family with my folks, too. Wish I had more pictures to share from a super fun night, but we were all too busy ‘feeling American’- eating pulled pork (yep, my dad can even do killer pig in the oven! Ha!), laughing and watching football, complete with American commercials! It’s the little things ❤

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The other big milestone was that our girl started her last year of preschool! Holy cow, how is that even possible?! It feels like just yesterday we were walking into Ms. Lori’s class at Bethany UMC, Neve with a backpack bigger than she was and this mama with tears in her eyes. Oh how she’s grown in just these last few years and oh what a trailblazer she’s becoming.

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When you’re trying to read along on the Kindle, but your Poppy gets distracted…

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View from our bed. I absofrigginlutely love living in the heart of a huge city.

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What this southern girl does with leftover pulled pork…

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If everyone could say a quick prayer for my girl, Dulcie. She’s been having some pretty serious health issues this last week and we’d sure appreciate as many prayers as we can get!

And finally, this weekend marks the ‘end of Fest Season,’ which meant that we celebrated the only way possible- going to not one, but two, fests! (Still not sure how they figure the ‘end’ as they’re in the process of setting up the next one as I type, but who am I to question a good thing…Ha!) Nothing better than being outside all day long surrounded by pretty scenery, artists, crafters, games and deliciousness!

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Gerber Fest, just out of our front door…

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Y’all, this girl was a ROCKSTAR at the rock climbing wall! Seriously, John and I were so shocked and so proud. She made it all the way to the top completely unassisted AND with the wall tilted in at the top! Need to find her a gym stat!

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Perfect space for a fest, right?

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She was as fearless here as on the rock wall! All the way across the lake- going fast!- all by herself!

And there you have it- a glimpse into our last two weeks of fun, of saying goodbye to summer, of taking care of sweet Dulcie, of enjoying the life that’s filling our walls (still so nice to have my parents here for a couple more weeks), and of looking forward to all that’s still to come. Speaking of which, on Thursday, we’re headed to Munich to meet friends for Oktoberfest! And no worries, zillions of pictures to come! 😉

Hope everyone has a great week!

Changes Up Ahead!

28 Jan

I’ve been wanting to write this post for nearly two weeks now, but wanted to make sure all our ducks were in a row before I spilled the beans. And no, that’s not it. Shame on you for even going there! 😉

Neve’s changing schools! Starting Monday, she will officially be a student of the Evangelisiche Kindertagesstätte! And the best part? It’s less than two blocks from our house! We’ve played on their playground before!

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So, this is something we’ve thought about for a good while now. We considered putting her in German preschool from the day we arrived, but not knowing where we’d end up living, how long it would take on a wait list, etc., we ultimately decided that a German Immersion program through the American base could be the best of all worlds and help with smoothing the transitions.

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Rewind to the first day of school back in September. That’s her school in the background.

Now I won’t say that the fall semester was seamless, but it was good. There were alot of changes, alot of school things to get used to (of course, when you come from such an awesome program that we did!), plenty of settling into things…But along the way, Neve made some great little friends, I met some cool moms and we became friends with her awesome teacher, Ms. Rachel.

Fast forward to the holidays and Ms. Rachel tells us that her fiance has been offered a three month position- he’s an attorney- in the States and that they’ll be leaving after the Christmas break. Best part of the news? They’ll be back by May and looking forward to hanging out again! 🙂 Worst part? She won’t be back at the school. 😦 Obviously we were so bummed- Neve especially- but were confident that the school would make the transition to a new lead teacher as smooth as possible, starting with bringing in the replacement during Rachel’s last week at school. Except that didn’t happen. And then a week went by, and then another. Still no new teacher, but a whole long slew of substitutes and new faces. Less German being learned, less consistency day to day…and no gameplan from the school for rectifying the situation. No communication period, really.

Well, it just so happened that our neighbors had toured a kindergarten just after Christmas and loved it. So Neve and I checked it out, too, a few weeks back and had the same good feelings. Most German kindis keep waiting lists 1-3 years long, so we knew we’d need to get on a list if we even wanted the option at some point. Guess who called last Friday to say that we had a spot if we wanted it? YEP! The same day John and I reached our ropes’ ends with the current school situation, they called with the news! Once again, the Universe had a plan all along and worked it out in perfect timing. We knew the decision had been made for us.

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How cute is this alleyway? I’m standing on our road looking down toward the school. If I were to turn to the left, I could see our building just one block away.

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Just a closer view…

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This gives you a better idea of how close we’re talking. Same spot I was standing in for the first picture, just looking back toward the house.

How totally awesome is that? To get to walk to school every day! I, for one, am beyond pumped to forego the twice daily 30-minute drives to and from school, battling horrible traffic and crazy weather!

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Last 30 minute drive home! WOOHOO!

But more importantly, we’re really excited for the German kindergarten experience. This school is so warm and inviting. It’s not the newest, not the most modern, not the fanciest, but it’s warm and it feels good. There’s one big central room with a tree (yes, a real one!) going up the middle and it’s canopy going out over the room. Cubbies line the walls, along with snow boot racks, musical instruments and lots of kids’ artwork. In the center, under the canopy is a big circle of little chairs surrounding a big, fluffy rug and lots of books. That’s where they start their days. Branching off from this room are smaller rooms with different purposes- the ‘Home’ room with dolls, kitchen sets, tool benches and reading nooks, the Art room with drying racks and supply shelves galore, the ‘Engineering’ section with blocks, legos, pulleys, etc., the Puzzle corner, and then the kitchen where lunch is catered every day from the organic co-op. Outside, a huge playground- yep, right in the middle of the city. I could tell that Neve felt good from the moment we walked in and as soon as we left, she asked, ‘When can I start going there every day?’ *YES*

Kindergarten (literally “children’s garden”) is both a German word and a German invention. The kindergarten pre-school educational philosophy has been widely adopted around the world, so it’s somewhat ironic to discover that kindergarten in Germany is not usually part of the state-supported school system, even though about 85 % of German youngsters 3-5 years old attend voluntary community and church-supported kindergartens. School officially starts with the 1st grade at age 6. So the term is used for preschool, as well as kindergarten itself. 

Here in Germany, the purpose of kindergarten is different than it is in the US. Very little, if any, attention is given to reading, writing, math…The focus is on developing and maturing the child socially rather than academically. They feel that the children have their whole lives to read and write and sit for extended periods- that this early childhood stage can be better spent becoming the little people they’re meant to be. They encourage exploration, curiosity, trial and error, decision making, social interactions and discovery. They work to build self-confidence, independence and ‘real world’ abilities- Neve’s class will be taking the subway once each week, as well as the public bus. (Yes, that gives me a tinge of a stomach pit, but it’s OK…)  They will also be gardening, painting (their art section is fabulous!) building forts (yes, with real tools), helping to prepare some meals, and always going outside (as the Germans say, ‘there’s no bad weather, only bad attire.’)…

So yeah, overall we are super excited to watch as Neve (hopefully) grows in ways we’ve never seen before- for her to really start to spread her wings. We’re also pumped to hear her German truly take off now that she’ll be immersed in it every day, but building on a great foundation from the last 5 months. Yes, our Type A, American personalities have most definitely made it a challenging decision, but it’s one that we’re confident in having made the best one given all the variables. (That sounded so nerdy, I know. But hey, it’s us 😉 ).  We will definitely continue, just as we always have, working on things at home- writing her alphabet (she can writer her name perfectly now!), reading books, building her English vocabulary, counting…Afterall, we’ll be back in the States at some point and our girl has to be ready for that, too! Wish us luck!

I’ll leave you with a couple shots from today’s swim lessons, taken right before I watched her jump into the deep end all by herself, bounce of the bottom and swim a few feet to the side. I was beaming. ❤

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