Back to school! Our girls are just sooooo happy to be back in school and reunited with friends.
Savannah in Grade 5
Ashley in Grade 4
Sierra in Grade 1
In Germany, first graders are given a Schultute (a cone) by the parents filled with goodies and school supplies. It is a fun tradition!
It is strange to be away from home for a year! You really get settled in your new spot (you kind of need to when you have that long of a time… school, church, etc.) And then the year races by and you find yourself pulling up those roots to return to a place that is very familiar… and yet different than when you’d left.
I wouldn’t trade last year for ANYTHING. What a tremendous gift to get to spend that sweet time with our family and with old friends. Also, it was immensely valuable for our kids to experience a year of life in America, an American school, an American church, American friends. They grew and matured a lot. I see last year as a tremendous gift.
And now we are back in Germany. And we are so glad to be back! But it’s a little strange too. Here is how I put it on FB:
People often ask how it feels to be back here in Germany. So… for my friends who, like me, love to analyze such things, here are my thoughts on this: I’m SO glad we’re here. But stepping out of my life for a year and then back into it has thrown me a bit off balance. You come back to find that all your relationships, former activities, ministries, etc have changed a bit. Just small changes… but when everything has shifted, it leaves you disoriented. I’m thinking through what it means to transition WELL – and I’m finding a new rhythm here which is exciting. Lastly, I’m reminded of what a comfort it is that God never changes. Okay, those are my deep thoughts for the day.
Two days after finishing up with VBS, we were on the plane back to Germany.
And 2 days after getting back to Germany, we were in the car on our way north to our annual conference. It is a week of teaching from the Word, attending workshops, and reconnecting with m’s from all over Europe. With all that, the only good picture I managed to get is this one…. So really it looks like all we did is go to a circus – ha! =)
Our church sent a fantastic team to serve at the conference, and the children’s program workers put on a fun carnival for all the mk’s. Our girls had a great time that week reconnecting with mk’s that they see every year at Conference.
When we got back we had a college friends reunion which was such a treat. In college, these were more Chris’s friends than mine, but I’ve grown to love them and it is always fun to catch up.
On to VBS Week! We were asked months ago to do the Missions Part of VBS week at our church. I was nervous about it because I had heard it is a ton of work. (I’d also heard though that it is a ton of fun.) Both turned out to be true. I spent hours and hours preparing for it. Then Chris and I jumped in and had a great time. There were 1200+ kids and by the end of the week we had led 25 sessions – so we were tired. But it was such a privilege to be involved in this way and in the end, we were so glad that we’d been asked.
We were staying in one of our church’s m homes for the month of July. This was a home we’d never stayed in before, and we fell in love with it. It had a great backyard, and the girls spent hours back there. I’ve always wished for a backyard for our kids!
Funnily enough, a few days before we left to return to Germany, Sierra was on the swing and face-planted into a root in the ground. It knocked out both her front teeth (which were loose.) It was traumatic at the moment, but OH HOW CUTE she is with her two front teeth missing!!! I keep threatening to bang her new teeth back up when they start growing in. =)
Farewell to my family! We met halfway at a fun park with splash pad and picnicked together – it was our last hurrah. =(
Next on the schedule was a trip to Colorado where we had a week of debriefing with our agency. It was a great week of getting to know other m’s better, processing the last few years with them, and having time as a family with no presentations or expectations. (By this point in the year, we were in the home stretch and running on fumes. =)
It was supposed to be a week of renewal, and it really was for us.
The highlight was getting to go horseback riding one day. The girls thought they had died and gone to Heaven because they got to ride without a person leading their horse by a rope!!! =)
Despite Chris’s and my anxiety about carsickness and complaints of boredom, we hit the road on our longest road trip to date: up to Vancouver and back. It turned out to be one of the best things we did during our “Home Assignment.” The girls did great, and it was just a wonderful gift to reconnect with so many friends and relatives.
I’m only posting pictures from the actual drive – because I’m afraid I’ll miss posting a picture of someone otherwise. We got to visit with 23 different families, and I was pretty good with my camera but forgot to take it out a few times. =(
Some of the friends and relatives we stayed with were ones we hadn’t seen for YEARS. Like over a decade. What a gift to get to sit in their living rooms and reminisce about the past and play catch-up to the present. We’re so thankful!!
We had a great year of school! School had been the biggest question mark in my mind as we came back to America for a year. God provided above and beyond what we could have hoped. The school was small and sweet and Christ-centered. The girls had wonderful teachers.
On the first day of Summer, the school had a big party. It was fun and also a great place for the girls to be able to say goodbye to their friends. (Is there ever a great place for that?!) I have some cute pictures of goodbye hugs from the end of this day – it really was a sad thought to think that my kids will most likely never see these friends again because this school is in a different city than our “home base” city.
Sierra and her sweet Kindergarten teacher
Sierra’s closest girlfriends =)
Ashley’s wonderful Grade 3 Teacher
Savannah’s lovely Grade 4 Teacher
Two friends from school came to play, and they all spent much of their time cleaning out the jacuzzi on the back patio which we never used. Not sure why this seemed fun to them. =) These girls were sweet sisters – one in Savannah’s class and one in Ashley’s – they helped ease our girls into school at the start of the year and this was their last “hurrah” together.
Savannah had a wonderful group of 4-5th graders at church and was able to join them for many fun activities. We miss that group already.
Piano lessons for the year! I took lessons from their teacher when I was a little girl – how fun is that?! The girls learned so much, and I was very grateful for this amazing gift.
Book Club! This lovely group welcomed me in when we first arrived last year, and I enjoyed it so much. We read Newberry Award winning books. They were so organized with the list of books, criteria on which to score them, notes on the author, etc. And they were just a fun group – I laughed so hard. The group opened my eyes to children’s literature which I had never chosen to read on my own (once I became an adult.)
Some highlights from Spring…
The girls and I went to Mexico with our church to help build a loft house and paint a schoolroom. It was a great experience. Chris couldn’t go because of a trip he had. My dad and my sister’s family also went as well as a bunch of other great folks. I had really gone back and forth about going since Chris couldn’t go, but I’m so glad we did.
Lunch with my mom and sister. Getting together with them for breakfast at Panera or a lunch like this one was definitely one of the highlights of our year in the States. So thankful for them!
And thankful for our fun cousins! This was a roller-skating trip.
Sierra’s Kindergarten had a lovely Mother’s Day Tea. They recited poems and sang songs, and it was just lovely. I adore Sierra.
We were involved in a great Awana program nearby so were able to keep up with our Awana books which I was so happy about.
Color Run! The girls’ school had a color run day – such fun to watch.
Yesterday we visited Legoland when it was actually open. Places are more fun when they are open.
It was sunny and beautiful, and we had a great time. We are so thankful to my sweet friend for giving us tickets! Thank you, M!!! If I had had a phone with me, I would have sent you a picture of us actually in the park! =)
Is that one cool auntie, or what?! Never mind that she is in last place. She wins for style.
Warm enough for water play in March – this is what I love about California!
It was a great day – such fun memories with our cousins. =)
Savannah was baptized in church. It was special to have all my family there. Funnily enough, I had encouraged Ashley to be baptized too, but she was adamant that she didn’t want to. That’s fine. So after Savannah was baptized, Ashley turned to me and said “I wish I had been baptized. I thought you had to memorize the part you say – I didn’t know you could read it!!!” Ahhhhh….. =) There weren’t any upcoming baptismal services that worked in our schedule so we’ll wait until we’re back in the States again as it is special to do it with family there.
This is what Savannah wrote and read:
My name is Savannah Tweedy. When I was 5 Daddy read the story of Jesus dying on the cross and saving us from our sins. Jesus died because our sin separated us from God, and his death took the punishment for our sins. Afterward, I started crying because I felt sorry for Jesus when he was on the cross because God had turned His back on him.
Then my mom asked me if I wanted Jesus to forgive my sins and be the Lord of my life, and we prayed together. I kept crying afterward and Mommy kept reminding me that there was a happy ending when Jesus rose from the dead. And it was on Good Friday that all this happened.
I am thankful that Jesus helps me in my life. My favorite verse is Titus 3:5 : “…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” I wanted to get baptized to show other people that I am a Christian.
Our greatest prayer for our children is that they would grow up to love the Lord and walk closely with Him all their lives.