Hello again! Sorry we've taken quite a break from blogging. It was unintentional, for sure! We'll get back to the cruise (St. Petersburg has the most pictures of all our stops...so it's rather daunting to get started.) But in the interim, here's what we've been up to for the past month or so.
Visiting the annual Pottery Festival in our town
It was a HOT day but we all enjoyed looking at the neat pottery stands. Well, except for Ellie (if you can see her face.) I'm about 25 weeks pregnant in this picture.
This summer Poland and Ukraine hosted the UEFA European Football Championships and we had fun cheering for Germany's team. I have never seen so much patriotism since our arrival in Germany--they sure do love their soccer team! Unfortunately, Germany lost to Italy in the semi-finals, but considering the tournament happens only once every four years, we were happy to be here to see it.
We were so blessed to have my friend Jenn come to visit! She is the first non-family member to make the trip and it was wonderful having her here. Her family lives north of Colorado Springs and we were very worried for all of our families while the firefighters battled the blaze. Thankfully, her family didn't have to evacuate and they are safe as well.
One of the places we took Jenn was to Mainau Island, an island in the Bodensee (the largest lake in Germany). It was a HOT day but we had fun walking around and seeing the flowers, butterflies, water, Alps, and ice cream. The girls particularly loved seeing the animals in the petting zoo. Every time Ellie petted an animal she'd get this huge smile on her face.
And I was SO proud and impressed by Kate, who remembered the last time we came to visit (with Nana and Grandpa) and she didn't want to take a pony ride. Well, this time she told me she would do it! And she did. Way to go, Kate!
Ellie was excited to sit on her pony as well. A huge thanks to Jenn for helping me manage both girls on the pony rides!
Another favorite--the Hohenzollern Castle, home of the Prussian royal family. We had to take Jenn to see a castle while she was here!
Thanks for coming to visit, Jenn!! It was wonderful to see you.
We also had to say goodbye to one of our favorite people at the girls' kindergarten. Isabel, who was interning at the kindergarten for a year, is leaving to attend more school. You certainly will be missed, Isabel! But we are glad you can still babysit...at least until you go off to school. :(
We also had a fun 4th of July where the girls and I were in charge of our German/English playgroup's 4th celebration. We dressed in our red, white, and blue; we sang the Star Spangled Banner; we handed out patriotic cupcakes; we talked about America (how it is NOT England) and we gave out flags. It was such fun! However, I was too busy to actually take any pictures of the event, so you'll just have to use your imagination.
Lastly, this past weekend, the girls were playing out in the front yards with our neighbor kids. Jon came out to start some yardwork and lo and behold, all the German kids came to help him. Gardening is the national pastime here in Germany and the Germans develop a love of all things yard-related very early. Needless to say, Jon was thrilled to have all his helpers cut down on his work. One neighbor boy even came back later (lawn mower in hand!) to mow the lawn, but Jon had already done it. Next time we'll tell him first!