Karin's Life in America

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How often can you meet Nikolaus!

After our return from Tahoe everything went into Christmas mode. We decorated the house and got a Christmas tree. The snow is long behind us and it is warm and rainy again. Snow would be nice if it would not mean that we miss school. We had a Nikolaus celebration at Church with Andrew dressing up as St. Nikolaus. The the actual Nikolaus (oh yes, we are believing) came to German School to attend our annual Nikolausfeier. He brought his golden book and read some of the kids names and praised them; Amelia was one of them. She heart her name called and asked me later if that meant that she was on the good or naughty list.
A week later it was time for St. Lucia. Again both girls were in the procession as attendants. Marlene can not wait until it will be her turn to be Lucia!

Thanksgiving 2010

This year the Cooper family gathered in Lake Tahoe to celebrate Thanksgiving. Usually everyone gets together there in summer, but since this did not happen this year the idea was to go for Thanksgiving. No one accounted for the 4 feet of snow that we had. Well, it was the first time in 30 years that Lake Tahoe had that much snow for Thanksgiving. We left Seattle Monday morning just before the snow started to come down here. It turns out we avoided a complete chaos! But we hit snow too on our way south. It is great to drive an Outback since every time there was a tire chain check they just waved all the outbacks through! The girls were so excited to touch the first snow this year!
We arrived in South Lake Tahoe on Tuesday afternoon after some tense driving in wind, snow blizzard and rain. The condo at the Lakeland Village was beautiful. With 4 bedrooms, a sleeping loft for the kids, and large spacious common living areas with a gas fire place there was enough room for everyone in the family. The kids loved hanging out with the cousins. We walked and played in the snow. It was a postcard winter wonderland. The nights were very cold with 5 F but the days were pleasant with 30-40 F. We built snowmen, had snowball fights and made snow angels. The icicles were of massive proportions. We had brought our snowshoes and the last day we were able to go on a nice hike in the mountains.
Thank you to all the Coopers for a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Halloween 2010

Having established that Halloween is a full season this year was particularly nice because it was spread out over a whole weekend. On Friday they were festivities in school. Like every year the Kindergarten classes had a parade through all the classrooms. Amelia was a black cat. It was interesting to see among the younger girls that there were many witches and much fewer princesses than in other years. That Friday afternoon we had our by now traditional open house. The highlight for the kids was a chocolate fountain. The whole house smelled like chocolate and it was delicious. I had focused a little more on drinks this year and put a beverage station together for the kids (there was a separate one for adults) with different colored sodas, syrups, colored ice cubes, gummy worms etc. Marlene made a beautiful layered drink. We were blessed once again with sunshine and perfect weather since 58 guests would have given the house a rather crowded feeling. The last guests were the cutest; the Bjorklund twins were dressed up as vikings which is probably the most adorable baby costume I have ever seen.
This was the first year that Marlene carved her pumpkin all by herself. Amelia wanted a rat hotel and I carved it according to her design.
On Sunday then it was finally the day. In the evening I took the girls trick-or-treating while Jay divided his attention between the door and football.

The girls' first political rally

As the girls get older it is a question how to introduce them to the political process and how to instill democratic (as in democracy not party) values in them. This has been a particularly ugly election season and they have been seeing these adds on TV. I was extremely excited when John Stewart announced the "Rally to Restore Sanity" and at the same time sad because I knew I was not going to be able to fly to D.C. to participate. When I found out there was going to be a satellite rally here in Seattle I made up my mind to bring the whole family.
The sign that made the deepest impression on me read "I am a radicalized moderate". This is how I feel. With media and politicians only catering to the fringe extremists moderate voices are not being heart. I once read a comment from a fundamentalist agitator which said something like that: What do you expect? It is hard to get excited about being moderate. But I think the point has come that moderates are getting excited about being moderate and start making a stand against the noise makers at the fringes.
For Northwesterners that meant getting up early on a Saturday morning, going downtown and standing for several hours in the rain. There were several thousand people at Westlake Park and the police had to partially close off the street to create more space. The girls did a good job standing and listening to speeches and comedians. I do not know if they learnt something but what it comes down to is that you need to stand up for what you believe. They were most entertained by Beaker. Here are some pics of the event.

San Jose

The weekend before Halloween we flew down to San Jose to celebrate Grans' 70th birthday. As the avid follower of this blog knows every time I go to the Bay Area there is an unusual rain hitting the area. It was no different this time around. We had this typical sprinkly rain that we are so familiar with here in Seattle for 3 days in San Jose. The kids were wondering why the Californians were all dresses in complete rain gear with strollers shrink wrapped when we were barely putting on sweaters. I guess rain is a matter of perception.
We had fun hanging out with family for a whole weekend and calling it Grans' birthday week. One day Pam, Sam, the girls and I went to the Rosicrucian Museum. The kids were quite interested, but Amelia lost it when she discovered the first mummy. She did not like that and wanted to leave. Outside on the Museum grounds they played the ancient game of Seth.
Happy Birthday Grans!

Corn Maze

It has been several years since went as a family to get pumpkins at a pumpkin patch. We did not exactly get pumpkins but we went to Bob's Corn maze in Snohomish county. The girls and I had never been to a corn maze so the excitement was great when we headed out one afternoon after school to pick up Jay at the office. After a quick dinner we got to the maze. Marlene was the map master and we started out walk through. I have to say with a map it was not difficult, but without it it would have been not easy. They at stations from which you could text to get your location. We had a lot of fun and we made it out just before it got dark.

Walking and Kicking

With the school year in full swing it was time for the school Walk-a-Thon. It was a beautiful sunny later summer afternoon - not too hot and not too cold, just perfect for walking. During set up I helped with the balloons and I am happy to say I only lost 3! The kids did a great job walking and Amelia tied with a boy from her class in walking the most laps in Kindergarten.
Another activity I like to participate in is the semi-annual Old Ladies Kickball tournament where the Moms from each school in the cluster compete for the honor to display the "Golden Deflated Kickball". Like always we lost all our games, but being out in the park in the sun on a beautiful Autumn day makes it worth participating!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The first Day of School

After a long wait the day is finally here: Today was the first day of school. Marlene started 4th grade and Amelia is finally in Kindergarten. We had quite a bit of rain this morning and so the kids went directly inside and did not get to blow of steam on the playground. This was the first time in 32 years it rained (hard) on the first day of school here in Seattle.
Marlene was excited to see her friends again and headed straight off to her classroom. Amelia was a little apprehensive but the orientation yesterday helped to ease everyone into this new situation. She new where to put her backpack and where to sit. So the fun has begun!