Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seeing Sandi

Before returning to Austria, I had the opportunity to visit my friend and former roommate, Sandi. We had so much fun together - walking around White Rock Lake, eating tacos, long conversations, watching a good movie, celebrating Christmas, cooking together, going to the school Sandi teaches at, visiting her church.....On one of my last days there, Sandi surprised me by arranging for us to go horseback riding. What a neat surprise!

After our ride, we drove back to Sandi's home through Ft. Worth. I got to see the historic stockyards where cattle were bought and sold. Check out these steers behind us!
Thanks for a such a great visit, Sandi!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christmas in CO

I had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in the States with some of my family members this year. Thanks to the generosity of my brother, we spent a week in this home in the mountains just outside Glenwood Springs.
The views were beautiful and there was plenty of fresh snow there.
This was Anna's first Christmas and it was such a treat to spend the day with her in person. She's such a fun little girl! Everything goes in her mouth these days, so her favorite gift was a musical toothbrush from Grandma. She chews on both ends - whichever one makes it in her mouth first.
I especially enjoyed watching my mom with Anna. Here Grammie (as I affectionately call her) helps Anna look at the pictures in one of her books.
We took a day trip into Aspen to see the ski runs and the town. This is where Jon and Theresa got engaged. I really appreciated seeing a special place in their lives and all the skiers heading to and from the slopes. The buses had special racks built on the sides to hold skis!
Another part of this week that I particularly enjoyed was the opportunity to spend time with my brothers' wives. I grow to appreciate them more and more as we get to know each other better and better.

Anna Goes Swimming

video
One day during my week in CO, we went swimming at the hot springs pool. Little Anna is quite the swimmer! No one minded getting splashed by her quick strokes!

Christmas Markets 2010

December was such a busy month that I didn't have a chance to post these photos, but I want to put them up because the Christmas Markets are so classic to Vienna. We had a lot of snow before Christmas, so it was especially festive to see the market booths with snow-covered roofs and greenery.
These paper stars have light bulbs inside. The booth below sells votive candle holders with Klimt artwork on them.
Roasted chestnuts really do exist here. I've come to enjoy this Christmas treat quite a bit.
The bright colors and handmade wares make the Christmas markets unique and inviting.

4th/5th Christmas Party

Before school let our for Christmas Break, the 4th and 5th graders enjoyed a Christmas party together. We did a secret Santa gift exchange. The hot items? Erasable pens and mini playground balls. We also ate treats together and played musical chairs to Christmas songs. Many kids had never played this game before and it was hilarious to watch them trying to stay close to the chairs in case the music stopped.
Above, the elementary principal and three 5th grade boys. Below, the German teacher poses with 4th and 5th grade boys.
And here's our ELL teacher with some of the 5th grade girls. You can get a sense of the energy and excitement in our classroom from this picture.