Friday, August 25, 2017

The End of Summer

Today we go to the kids' school to find out who their teachers are.  Monday is the first day of school!  This summer has absolutely flown by!  I'm a little sad just because I love having unstructured time and not having to fight the kids to get up in the morning and out on time but I admit it will be nice to clean the house and have it stay clean!

Our August has been pretty full of fun activities though that need some updating!  First off, Amberg had a medieval festival on the 5th that was small but fun to roam in.

The kids tried some archery and we took no pictures!  They all want bows and arrows now and I have to admit that it would be fun to get them in some actual archery classes!

It certainly adds something to have a medieval festival take place where parts of the city (walls included) actually date from the medieval ages!  

Also you know how I love the costumes!!  And everyone dresses up.  I would not be surprised if half of the German population has a medieval costume in their closet!  Well, their wardrobe anyway.  And my favorite part is that unlike an American Renaissance fair, there are far fewer boobs!  

After lunchtime, there was an entire procession through the city of Amberg -- I think this guy is the king.

These people were throwing flower bouquets and Abby got one.  She was very excited about it.

There were knights of course.

The procession ends in front of the town hall.  The festival itself commemorates the weeding of Philipp of the Palatinate and Margarete of Landshut.  Apparently this was a big deal wedding in 1474 and it set the precedence for weddings of the age.  It also came with a political marriage and so the principal players spent some time on the balcony and there were proclamations and things read -- of course none of which we understood.  The kids go a little bored with that so we left soon after but I think that at night they had a fire show and a tournament and some other fun things.  It was a fun way to spend a Saturday.

There are several cities in the area that have medieval festivals and I'd like to do a few more next year and maybe even dress up!  It think it would be fun!  Abby would totally do it and William really likes knights, particularly the weaponry.  Megan I'm not so sure about though.

Our next event in August was Girl's Camp!!  I was thrilled to be called as our ward camp leader a few months back and we were invited as a ward to join with the Kaiserslautern military stake -- so all English.  We camped down in Garmisch at the military vacation campground and honestly it felt just like girls camp when I was a young women.  We all had a great time even though it did rain almost the entire time!  Our hike was 6 miles up this incredible gorge in the German alps that because of the rain was just pouring with water and waterfalls.  It was slick and a steep hike but we all made it through and it was gorgeous.
I bought this 35 Euro tent from Aldi for myself (because leaders don't stay with the girls) and it did great!

I love that there are religious icons everywhere.

The mountains were never fully visible because of the cloud cover so we never really had spectacular views but it was neat to be in a cloud and while we were in the gorge the fog disappeared.

I found out later that this gorge is only accessible in the summertime.  It's too dangerous in the winter and in fact, they take all of the bridges and pathways down so that you can't hike it.  There's also a gatehouse to get through that you pay a small fee at.

Sections of the hike were in walkways carved out in tunnels in the mountain and lit electrically.

There were also places where you could choose to take the inside tunnel or the outside ledge along the gorge.  We did a little bit of both and I love this picture because it's two great choice right next to each other!

The gorge waters are glacial and there were places where it had collected and was the prettiest color!  Actually, many of the rivers and streams if they're not too muddy are also this color.

The other "major" activity that we did at girls' camp was take a gondola up to the Alpspitze.  It's the 2nd highest point in Germany (the Zugspitze is the first).  Once you get up there, they have some hiking trails that loop around the mountains but it was cold and wet and cloudy and so no one really wanted to do it with me and I couldn't go alone.

Germans are avid walkers and hikers and apparently it's tradition to place crosses at the tops of mountains because you are closer to God and then avid hikers will see how many crosses they can get their pictures with.  I want to be more of a hiking family than we are.  The kids absolutely love it and I think we're getting to a point where we could do some serious stuff!  We've been to Garmisch before as a family but mainly for the castles.  It's definitely a place we want to go back to and explore more of the outdoors.

See how thick that fog is?  No view unfortunately!

That's looking down

They have grated walkways that go out over the edge so you can look down.  I don't know that I could have done it if I really could have seen how far up we were.  Looking into a cloud of nothing was pretty daunting too.

Beautiful alpine flowers

Funny story.  After taking a group picture at the cross, the girls went back to the restaurant to wait for me while I wandered a bit and took my time and then we were going back down.  There was a cute guy there who turned out to be a gondola worker.  After plenty of giggling and secret picture taking, we followed him to the gondola and rode down.  Because we were never going to see him again, the girls were fairly vocal in their admiration and he blew them a kiss.  When we got off the gondola though at the "bottom", we realized that we had ridden THE WRONG ONE and had taken the one to the ski lifts. So we had to go BACK UP and ask for which one was correct.  It was pretty embarrassing and hilarious honestly and I took the blame for the mistake!  It made for a great story and, because it's girls' camp, a great song that they willingly sang for their parents at our camp wrap-up night.

I couldn't help but take pictures of the gondola going into nothingness as well!

Chopper ended up having to go to the states for some training that EXACT week so the kids stayed with some friends.  I am SOOOOO grateful for friends!  I don't feel like my friends and support group are nearly as numerous here as they were in Texas, partly because we're kind've on the other side of the ward from the bulk of people.  But they had a great week, making s'mores in the microwave and camping in the playroom and I don't think it could have gone any better than it did.

Since I've now been called into Young Women's, I'll probably be at camp next year too.  I'm not complaining!  We have really great girls and it was a fantastic camp.

Ok last big adventure of the summer: surgery!!!  

William had hernia surgery and boy was that experience.  It was typical hospital (we stayed overnight too) but navigating language was difficult and funny at times and I'm grateful that William doesn't have allergies or medications that I have to translate the risks for!  It was a straight-forward procedure and went well but he's now supposed to be quiet and restful.  We're watching a lot of tv.  But then he climbs on the couch or runs up the stairs and I just can't keep him entirely contained.  Sometimes he does things that hurt but overall his pain tolerance must be really high because he never complains about it and it hasn't really inhibited him at all.  I just keep praying that it will heal quickly and correctly and we won't have any complications!
Getting ready for surgery -- they gave him an oral medication that made him really loopy and so by the time he was going back he couldn't really move.  When he came out and woke up we rolled, burrowed, sat up, kept scratching his bandage and asking me why he was orange.  But once he really became aware he calmed down.  We stayed overnight and he had to stay in the bed.  We had a roommate -- a German lady and her 1 year old -- but the night went fine and we were discharged the next day.  We'll follow up with our regular doctor and we have restrictions for the next 4 weeks (I'm not sure how I'm going to restrict recess though -- but I just couldn't get the surgery any earlier!) but things seem to be going well.
You can see a little bit of the orange on his skin there.  It's halfway up his belly and halfway down his thighs and he was so confused about it!  

Oh and I forgot the hike we did in our area before surgery.  We had a beautiful Sunday afternoon where we went on a local Beaver trail.  We didn't see any beaver (of course we were pretty loud) but we picked wild blackberries and found lots of mushrooms and Megan enthused over every tiny pine tree.  I love the area that we live in and I love having green and trees.  I don't think that I can move back to Texas!


Yep his pants are on backwards.  I'm just happy that he'll dress himself but I cannot imagine how that can be comfortable!

For a while the path is level and graveled and goes through some fields.  Then it takes a turn and becomes a narrow path through the forest. It was a lot of fun.

Mom look at all these mushrooms!!!!  I love mushrooms!!!  (No we didn't touch them though!)

After she found this crazy mushroom she started naming them.  This one is named Bloody which is just gross.