Sunday, January 29, 2012

Skiing the Alps

First, let's celebrate the fact that I'm writing this post in the SAME month we took this trip! Hooray! Off to a great start this year! *applaud* Thanks!

This is our first family adventure of the year ... a ski holiday in Kaprun, Austria. It was somewhat of a last-minute trip. On the 1st of Jan we said, "Hey! Let's take a family ski trip together!" and teamed up with our friends, the Wagner's for a family ski trip to Austria. We spent the next week researching family-friendly ski locations and hotels and settled on Hotel Rudolfshof Vitality in Kaprun. Two weeks later, we were there! The hotel is a family-run hotel that included full-board (breakfast, lunch, late-afternoon snack, and dinner) plus a free Kids Club run by a great team of girls that had experience as "au-pairs". We enjoyed great food, drinks, great company, the adult sauna (sans kiddos), snowboarding, skiing with the kiddos ... plenty of family time balanced with quiet adult time. It was perfect. Though I must say, by the time we started to relax it was time to depart ... 4 nights/3 days isn't long enough.

Our highlight of the trip was skiing with Kelty for the first time. He's 4, and as most 4-years olds are ... he's fearless! From 9:30 - 11:30 on our first two days, Kelty enjoyed ski school while Al and I brushed up on our snowboarding skills with an instructor. After our schools, we hopped back to the hotel for lunch then back to the bunny slopes for an afternoon of skiing with Kelty until 4:30. Then we'd hit the late-afternoon snack at the hotel followed by some time in the Kids Club for Kelty and sauna/spa time for the adults. After some downtime we'd hit the pool with Kelty and then rendevous with the Wagner's for dinner. By the second night, we had found our groove and let the kids eat first at dinner then drop them off at the Kids Club while the adults finished their dinner and drinks at a more leisurely pace. :)

Daddy and Kelty on the bunny slopes.

By the second day, Kelty was riding the bunny lift by himself. It was awesome to watch him ... so confident, so fearless, and so happy!

Taking a breather with Daddy ...

... and a breather with mommy.

Kelty, done with ski school. Is there anything cuter than toddlers on ski's?

Al and I were able to hit the larger slopes on Kitzeinhorn Glacier ... the view was stunning. We decided to use our snowblades versus snowboards because truthfully, I was tired of falling. :)

We hit the Ice Bar on the glacier. It's an igloo!

We took a break enjoyed a gluhwein.

The last photo of our time on the slopes ... a group shot with the Wagner's. As always, we had a fantastic time together! We were the last family on the slopes this day ... you know what was nice ... we could actually just ski right down to our hotel. Let's get one more "awesome" in this post.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Year in Review

It was a great year, a busy year ... but truth be told, I spent most of it feeling a bit overwhelmed and disorganized and trying to find some balance. At one point something had to give and unfortunately is was my blog(s). I regret this decision, as now I struggle to remember all of the wonderful things we did as a family this year ... granted, I remember the big moments ... but I failed at documenting the little moments that are just as precious and sometimes of greater impact. After this "Year in Review" I officially consider my blog current and I can start blogging for today instead of trying to capture what happened in our lives months prior. It's a tremendous weight off my shoulders! So let's get started, our life in 2011 ....


Following our Christmas in Michigan with my family, Kelty and I stayed through mid-January. Kelty loved every minute with his Papa, Nana, Aunt Ca-Ca, and his cousins ... and so did I. Kelty has since removed the photos of his cousins from our family tree and keeps them on his nightstand. I also left Kelty in the care of my sister and parents and traveled to Florida for a few days to work at Disney and keep my show approvals in Fantastmic.


After almost a month in the states, we spent February re-acclimating to Germany. Kelty also became quite the little helper.


Spring arrived! We spent a lot of time outdoors soaking in the sun we desperately missed during the winter months. Kelty gained a new level of independence at the playground ... graduating to the "big boy" equipment. We also started a new tradition of stopping to cut fresh flowers together after school. Kelty continued with his speech therapy and we started the referral process for Kelty to be seen at Center for Communication Enhancement at Children's Hospital Boston.


April marked our first big vacation of the year, Greece! We spent a day in Athens followed by several days on Crete. Al and I also enjoyed our first Weinprobe with some great friends ... it was quite the experience and one never to be forgotten. Along with some amazing wine, we dined on delicacies like Emu and duck ... there was a lot of wine involved ... which is pretty much the only reason the Emu made it passed my lips.


We traveled back the states in May to celebrate my brother-in-law's graduation from medical school where we spent one amazing week in Vermont with Al's family. Immediately following, we drove to Boston for a week-long series of appointments at the Center for Communication Enhancement at Children's Hospital Boston where Kelty received training on an augmentative communication device to assist with his Apraxia of Speech.


Al and I celebrated our birthdays. I started a new Reserve job as a staff officer. We took a day-trip to Strasbourg, France and despite a rough start we had a nice visit. We enjoyed our villages festival, to include a parade and 2-mile walk into the woods to continue the celebration. Al also took a "guys trip" and spent a weekend hiking the Swiss Alps (unfortunately the hiking photos are MIA just like the month of Jan).


Norway! ... or as Kelty calls it, "my Norway". We spent an amazing week in and around Flam ... one of our most memorable trips thus far.


We did a lot of biking in August and Kelty continued to show his independence. Our family bike rides have gone from Kelty in a bike seat, to Kelty riding a tricycle and mom/dad walking, to Kelty riding a bike with training wheels and mom/dad riding along. Our longest ride this summer was during an autofrei day where Kelty rode his bike over 4 miles. Kelty also started soccer camp ... he loved it, but spent a considerable amount of time picking flowers on the field and bringing them to me. :)


Kelty started Pre-School/Pre-K! We also welcomed fall by enjoying our annual visit to the pumpkin festival at Hitscherhoff where we dined on pumpkin bratwurst and pumpkin soup. Al started a 6-month deployment ... fortunately to another base in Germany so we are able to see him on his days off. Poor little Pogo (our 13 year-old chihuahua) was diagnosed with diabetes and our routine now includes blood monitoring and insulin injections.


Kelty started riding lessons at a nearby horse farm in late October, he loves his "yee-haw". We finally found our groove with Al coming and going, despite a difficult start and a lot of stress over Pogo's health. Somewhere between Sept and Oct Kelty became addicted to Star Wars, despite having never seen the movies or the cartoon ... I blame it on the toy store.


Gearing up for winter! We spent several evenings with our German neighbors learning to cook traditional foods like Dampfnudels with Vanilla Wine Sauce and enjoying gluhwein, in return we had them over to enjoy our traditional Thanksgiving dinner.


Kelty turned 4 and we celebrated with a Star Wars Jedi party! This also marked the age where Kelty was allowed to rock climb at the indoor climbing wall on base. We stayed in Germany for Christmas this year since Al could not take leave. It was a quiet Christmas with just the 3 of us but it was still a perfectly wonderful. We visited a few nearby Christmas markets and anxiously awaited snow ... which is still yet to come!

... and that's a wrap on 2011!
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