Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sie sind hier!

After much anticipation and excitement, my host parents, Kurt and Renate Dohmen arrived in Minnesota on July 10th. We knew it would be a short trip, so we enjoyed every minute together.
July 11th, Caleb and I went for a walk with Woody while Papa (Kurt) and Mutti (Renate) slept off their 24 hours of traveling from the previous day.

When they woke, Caleb immediately reached out for Papa. They were immediately buddies! Super heartwarming!

Breakfast time allowed Papa to "Prost" (cheers) with Caleb.

After we all had breakfast and Caleb a morning nap, we went to Sibley Park for a little sun and fun.
Don't mind me...just sitting on a pig!
Hmm..that hay looks good!

Here Piggie, Piggie, Piggie!

Ride 'em cowboy!

Come on, Papa!

Caleb, Briana, Mutti

Mutti, Briana, Caleb

We had dinner with my mom on Wednesday night. Josh was the Grill Master. Caleb got lots of Oma love that night with both of them nearby.
Caleb just threw a ball and did a good grunt with it!

Oma love x2

Thursday we went to Green Isle to visit my grandparents and get a little more German speaking in. We also visited the serene pond on the Family Farm. Such a beautiful time!
Brunch with Great Grandpa Bill

Playing with Great Aunt Kathy!
Caleb and Papa

Mutti, Caleb, and Papa

Holding hands...they were such good buddies!

Look at all those rocks! Let's play with them!


Mutti at the pond

He climbed up and slid down. It was toddler sized Fireman's pole!

We found a wonderful pass time for both Caleb and Woody. BLOWING BUBBLES! Apparently Woody thinks he can eat all the bubbles which causes Caleb to have a giggle attack!

For supper, we went to the Toyko Hibachi and Sushi Bar. It was the first or second time that everyone had done Hibachi. Caleb really enjoyed it too (despite only sleeping for 40 min in the afternoon).

The next morning Caleb and I drove the Dohmens to the airport. It was short but wonderful. Caleb surely learned some German. We spoke German about 90% of the time and I would just translate for Josh. He was such a trooper.

To fill some of you in, I was an exchange student when I was 16 years old. I lived with the Dohmen family in Witzhelden, near Cologne, for 10.5 months. It was a wonderful year! In that year I had the time of my life and learned to speak German! Since then I have been there to visit three times and they have been here now three times. I have also had my host sister visit once, a girlfriend- Tina once, and a girlfriend-Anna three times. I was blessed to make wonderful friends and see/make family while I was there. Skype and Facebook have allowed us to stay even more in touch in the last year. But I have to say we were pretty good at it before then as well. We telephoned frequently enough before that to truly maintain a close relationship. I do feel like my parents came to visit. They are not merely some German people I know. I love them and miss them all the time! We can't wait to make a trip to Germany. The fund is slowly growing. We sehen uns bald! Hab euch lieb!

Sunday Croquet

A great Monson Alms tradition is to have supper together on Sunday evenings. It's a great time to maintain and build family relationships. We can't all make it all the time, but it's great to have a yummy home cooked meal with those you love. Also makes me think of the meals in the show Parenthood-love that show.

This particular Sunday was fun before we even left. Caleb is officially walking like a champ! He is now all over the place! One of his new loves is the front living room rocking chair. In the front room I have some things of my dad's. It was July 8th that Caleb found my dad's business hat "The Market Messenger Club." Of course I didn't have my camera right then and was lucky just to get one shot.

Then on to supper and after supper we played croquet. Here's the fun Caleb had while we were playing all around him.

4th of July celebrations

It was a blazin' hot day, which changed some of our mid-day plans, but we still had a wonderful family day. We started with the West Mankato Kiddie Parade. Lots of kids decorate their wagons, bikes, and dogs for the day. Bystanders throw some candy into the parade for the kids. We start at Dotson park with a color guard and fire truck. We said the Pledge of Allegiance and then the fun began. Both sets of grandparents, Auntie Krista and friend Aria, Daddy, and Woody watched as Mommy and Caleb walked through the parade.

Josh gave all his nieces and nephews a Lil Slugger hat and now he finally has his own Lil Slugger!

Afterward we hung out for a little while at home. Then we walked around the mall for a bit. From there we went to Oma and Grandpa's house for supper with family. Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles were all there to celebrate our nation's freedom.
Bubbles in water?!

I gotta try that!

Great Grandpa's!


That feels great! I love being upside down!
I'm thirsty!