...a blog for the friends and family of dan, jen, worthy, william, calvin & christian

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cedar Point

While we were in Ohio this summer, my dad was able to score us some FREE tickets to Cedar Point.  We live about an 1.5 hours away which is totally do-able. I grew up going here every summer, so it was a real treat to have our boys experience it too. Worthy remembered it well and very fondly.  William had been too young the last time we were there to have any memory of it.  Needless to say, he was thrilled.
We had the most beautiful weather and my mom watched the Baby so we were able to do (almost all) big boy stuff most of the day.
Oh how I love this view! 

Classic Cedar Point face

Kiddie Land - still a hit with my guys
waiting for the Mine Ride - one of my favorites
this was his face most of the day

Calvin enjoyed the Monster Nap ride
The perfect amusement park.  
The perfect day.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Annapolis Recap

A quick explanation... I haven't been able to blog for awhile because my computer has been packed away while we've done the nomad-thing.  I thought it wiser to take an hiatus instead of switching pictures back and forth to different computers and eventually losing some in the mix.  It's easier for me to just keep things simple. And simple means pictures in one place.  And that delay translates into "Recaps" instead of long, drawn out stories.
It was great to be in Annapolis.  It was even better to reconnect with friends.  We got to see a lot of people and I could just kick myself for not getting more pictures of that - the important stuff. But aside from that we also did some other note-worthy things. 

visiting the Harbor on a stifling hot day

berry picking in the Mission House backyard

enjoying a Free Meal for dressing like cows
A large chunk of our time was also spent driving into DC to look at potential rental places for our next chapter in life.  This was somewhat laborious.  We would drag all the kids around checking out homes - as if house shopping in-and-of itself isn't bad enough.  But I have to be honest.  It was cool having the kids along. They came up with great reasons to like or dislike places.  And we also found ourselves sidetracked periodically...
a little side trip to see some cool space stuff
chilling on a porch waiting for a Realtor...
trying out a neighborhood playground
Incidentally, this is our new playground!  The house we chose is just about 5 houses down from this great park.  But more about that in a future post :)
We had such a great time in Annapolis.  Seeing familiar faces, spending sweet time in fellowship with friends and being back at Annapolis EP - we are so thankful we have such treasured relationships in so many realms.  And we're even more delighted that we're now just 20 minutes away!

Friday, July 11, 2014

4th of July

We were thrilled to be in Annapolis for the Fourth of July.  I love going down to the Naval Academy grounds and watching the fireworks and I was excited for the boys to see it - especially since it's Christian's first Independence Day on American soil.  The evening did not disappoint!  

We were joined by our friend Miriam and we got down there a little early to avoid parking chaos. It was a perfect summer evening.  For a couple hours while we waited the boys ran around on the pristine grass - barefoot, joined in on pick-up soccer games, rough-housed and snacked.  
barefoot on the 4th
Rough-housing on the perfect grass

forgive the blur - Christian playing around with Miriam
When the fireworks began, we had great cuddles and everyone was awed.  

The next morning Christian said "Fireworks. Awesome".

Thursday, July 10, 2014

a VAN-tastic Story

I really enjoy a good story.  I don't write or imagine good ones, but I love to listen to them.  Well this is one of those stories and I will try to do it justice.  The last 6 months we had been borrowing 2 cars while we transitioned back to living in the States.  Dan's parents graciously let us use their Ford Explorer which could accommodate our family of six and another dear church member let us use their car as well.  It was such a blessing to have two cars at our disposal.  As our time in Florida was winding up and we knew the next vocational step, we knew it was time to buy a mini van for our family and return the cars.  The big problem was we had no idea where to find one that was in good shape for a decent buy, etc.

Enter Facebook.

A friend of ours from Akron that now lives in Gainsville (about 1 hour from us) posted that a friend of theirs was selling a van because they were moving back home to Germany.  The price was really low. The post attracted quite a number of hits.  Dan decided to contact the sellers and he wrote to them in German.  Bingo. They began a great correspondence.  (Later on we found out he had about 30 people interested, but the German inquiry pushed us into the forefront.) After driving up, inspecting it, etc... we had a deal.  We also really hit it off - connecting over the expat experience and World Cup mania. It was such an unexpected blessing. 
Here's our new van.
German flag included. 
Good thing Germany was our secondary favorite to win it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Next Mission

So for a while now we've been in a sort of limbo.  We knew that we were no longer going back to continue our work in Vienna, but we didn't know what was next.  Should we look at Vienna in another capacity? Germany?  Stay back in the States?  Just win the lottery and not worry about any of it?! 

After much soul-searching, praying and seeking respected council for these options, Dan's accepted a position to be part of a fantastic church in Washinton DC, Church of the Advent.  We will be moving early to mid-August into the city and starting another chapter of our lives.  We're excited.  And scared.  
And as we transition into ending this chapter of our lives I'm both thankful and sad.  Thankful that we had a chance to be part of a lovely church family in Vienna.  Thankful that my boys got to experience another culture and that diversity will be engraved on their hearts.  Sad that my son that was born in Vienna will have no memories there.  Sad that my other boys (and hubby) that worked SO hard at learning German will have little to no retention of it. Thankful that we start a new phase with a staff and church we adore and respect. Sad to say goodbyes to our friends in Florida that have embraced us as if we never left. Thankful to be on the same continent as family again.  Sad to be a continent apart from many that became family to us. 

Thankful for our past.
Hopeful for what is next.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Swimming Lessons

Our boys have been in swim lessons, but these might be my favorite swim "lessons" I've seen them have.  Love these little guys!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Christian turns 2! (1 month ago...)

Christian turned 2 (on Easter Sunday) so we had a LOT to celebrate and it was so sweet that we got to have a celebration among family.  It's been awhile since that's happened.  My sister-in-law is a talented cake baker and whipped up this perfect birthday cake for Christian - isn't it precious?!   
 He was equally thrilled with it too!
 Very, very thrilled.
We really did provide him with a fork.
 Of course the day included some presents too.  
I included this one because Calvin's expression cracks me up!
 Having family around to share the event made it all the sweeter.

Even though this post is over a month late... we didn't forget about you :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Easter & NC Visit

Long overdue...
After one night of being home from Vienna, we drove to North Carolina to visit Dan's brother's family over the Easter holiday.  It's been a LONG time since we've seen them and it was a wonderful, wonderful reunion.  The kids had a blast together and it was awesome to see them have so much fun.  A sampling from our weekend...
All of us together
I was only able to hijack a few of the kiddos for this because they were distracted doing this...
Dance Party!

Since we were quite in a whirlwind from getting back, Bunny kindly took it upon herself to get our kiddos Easter baskets, etc. What a God-send! 

The one thing we were prepared for was these Easter ears.  Every year the boys parade around in them.  They are SO old and falling apart and still very beloved.
You can see how old here!

the attempted Easter Sunday photo shot
We had an awesome morning at church worshiping together.  The church did an Easter Egg hunt with the kids and a special story time outside.  Very cute.

Afterwards we came home and had super afternoon full of backyard play and Easter Egg hunts.

Jack - Official Master of Ceremonies

we were pretty jet lagged still :)
 I'm not sure what Calvin's excuse was, but he was in a Fit.  
(sometimes I love these pics the best!)

And obviously a visit to Winston-Salem is incomplete without stopping by Krispy Kreme.

his first KK!

The kiddos (and dads!) enjoyed some serious wrestling too!
A sweet, sweet reunion! 
We are SO blessed to have family that we'd easily choose as friends!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Berlin Layover (pt 2 of 2)

The rest of the time was spent rather casually.  We did some talking and some silence too. We skipped almost every Top Ten Things To Do In Berlin - after all, we were decompressing.  Pictures of decompressing aren't all that wonderful, so I'll show you some sights we enjoyed while decompressing :)

The Berlin Wall is gone - hopefully that's not a surprise to anyone.  We did see an historical remnant that is preserved.  I gotta be honest - this was really cool to me.   
I vividly remember November 9, 1989 when the wall fell.  I was in high school and it was a big deal. I remember sitting around talking about it in most of my classes - forgoing the regularly scheduled school work. I think it's the first time I consciously watched TV news.

OK - so the wall no longer stands, but around the city there is this cobblestone line that marks where the wall stood.  

And very near here is Brandenburger Tor. I've watched enough Hitler History Channel to know the significance of this place and was excited to see it in person. 

We also went to the Reichstag. It was really decimated during the war, but has been rebuilt with an amazing modern day glass dome.  We stood in line (for a hour or two) to walk up to the top.  It was fantastic!  

Dem Deutschen Volke = To the German People

It was cold up there.  The view was incredible - especially since it was at sunset.  They also had a wonderful picture history of the building.  They were very proud of the fact that Hitler never stepped foot in it. It caught on fire in 1933 before his rise to rule.

Had a lovely relaxing time with a little bit of site seeing thrown in.  
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down :)