Friday, September 14, 2012

Summer is over!

So... I'm a poor excuse for a blogger.  Summer is already over and I've hardly posted anything about it.  I'll just give a few highlights.  I guess that's just the way this blog usually goes!

At the end of July we left for a trip to Austria and Germany, for a little vacation time and a conference.  I don't have that many great pictures, since right before we left, we realized our camera was broken, and all we had to take pictures was my iPod.

First:  Heiterwang, Austria:
These first pictures are on our walk to our guest house from the train station.

 Pretty nice, huh?!  And this is the play area in the backyard of the guest house!
 Breakfast at the guesthouse!  I love breakfast.  And those big crusty rolls.

 An outdoor concert at a neighboring village.
 Next stop on our trip was Ulm, Germany.  We only had planned to be there one night, but we found out there was a problem with Elliot's visa to return to Russia.  We had sent all the documents to the Russian consulate in New York, so that the visa could be processed and mailed to us in Belgium (the last stop on our trip), before we returned to Russia.  Now the processing agency was saying we had to show up in person in New York!  Then they said maybe if we send some other documents they could get it done.  So Aaron had to fly back to St. Petersburg to get these documents (which we should have had saved on our memory stick, but somehow didn't).  Ugh!  This all meant that the 3 kids and I had to stay two more nights in the youth hostel in Ulm, while Aaron flew to St. Pete and back.  Not really what I wanted to do, but it gave us a chance to explore a bit and see these sights in Ulm.

The tallest church in the world!
 Birdie... how cute!

Next stop was our group conference in Rehe, Germany.  One of the highlights was Mimi & Poppi meeting us there and spending the first week of the conference with us!  We were so glad to be able to spend some time with them.  Here's Mimi handing out all the special surprises they brought in their suitcases.
 Lil' Razorback.
 On a hike near the conference center.

 The girls in front of the conference center

After the conference, we spent a couple of nights visiting some of Aaron's family friends in Belgium.  We stayed with the parents of a guy who was an exchange student with his family when Aaron was in high school.
 They had a beautiful yard.  They also had four chickens, and Lydia loved checking their nest box to see if there were any eggs!  Somehow we didn't get a picture of that!
 Unfortunately, Elliot's visa arrived about three hours AFTER we had to leave to catch our flight back to Russia.  So Elliot and I stayed an extra night, while Aaron and the girls flew back as planned.  Not too bad of a situation, but it got more stressful when one of my train connections to the Frankfurt airport was late, and I missed my flight!  I was able to get another flight on a different airline, and finally got back to St. Petersburg at about 1:30am.  Yeah, that was a stressful day.  I was sure glad to get home!

This was one of the happy moments though, feeding Elliot on the train:

Wanna see a few more highlights of the summer, after our trip?  We got a new camera so the pics are better quality (yay)!
A water taxi ride to Yelagin Island- one of our favorite places in St. Pete:
 Unfortunately we didn't realize we had that annoying date stamp on!


Horse/pony rides that had been promised to the girls for their birthdays:

 And dinner in the outdoor cafe at the park near our place:

An excursion to Peterhof.  That place is amazing!

The girls loved having a friend spend a few nights with us:
 First day of preschool/kindergarten (detskiy sad in Russian):

 Lydia was excited to be back with her classmates.  Birdie... well, she's still adjusting, but it's getting better.  We still have a few tears each day, but she did admit that she likes it "a LITTLE."  It is hard for her especially because she still doesn't know much Russian.
Elliot's second haircut, done by Mommy:

 And can you believe that this little guy is already 11 months old?!!  Birthday coming up in less than a month.  Wow!