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Adventures in Austria

I am bursting with happiness. I’ve got words spilling out of  my fingers faster than they can type.  My oldest, my golden child, my beautiful first born, Soren is here!  He arrived safe & sound & full of energy to explore the world early Sunday morning.  It has been a whirlwind ever since.

We’ve been to 1 1/2 Faschings Umzugs (Carnival parades), we’ve shopped in countless stores (that boy is a shop-a-holic just like his Oma). We’ve gotten lost in the most beautiful, treacherous part of Austria (lesson learned: read a map.  Don’t just trust your GPS).  We’ve been skiing and snowboarding (I can still do both!).  We learned that Dane has the “Rocketride” technique of skiing down pat, and it gives us all heart attacks, he points straight down & GOES until someone yells stop.  Then he crashes.  Dane would like to ski every single day please. We had dinner at our favorite Gasthaus in Garmisch (Gasthaus Fraundorfer) and completely enjoyed the warm bier, topped with whipped cream, liquors.  Dinner and dessert were equally fabulous and oh so very German.  If you are ever in the area… I highly recommend a visit.

We had two hospital visits, one in downtown Stuttgart for Dane’s yearly check-up with his “Giant” doctor (Dane’s Giant Doctor).  While Dane is still in the high normal, his “S” curve is back in his right carotid and we are still on yearly checks.  His blood flow is good, and that’s what is really important.  Our second visit was late last night, turns out Lindsay (Soren’s girlfriend) broke something in her wrist. But not her bone.  My German isn’t good enough to know what she broke, but she is in a beautiful blue cast.  What a trooper! Barely a peep out of her (though now she has been sleeping 14+ hours).

On our last day we journeyed up to the top of the Mount Osterfeldkopf to brave the views from the Alpspix.  Despite being made of strong metal beams, imbedded in hard rock, venturing out on the platform 1,000 meters above the valley is an adrenaline rush I’d rather skip.  But I did it. For the view.  For the photo’s. For my kids, so they learn not to fear.

Still, Dane did fear it very much.  Getting him to the very end took lots of coaxing and gummy bears.  And a big promise to stay crouched down, so there was zero chance of falling overboard.  I love my kids.

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Everything gets a little easier with time. Even being in a far away land without my big boys.  My life is slowly getting back to normal after Soren’s whirlwind visit, excepting the pile of snowboards in my living room.  We are getting back into our normal rhythm and that is a good thing.  Frequent phone calls, a little Skype, and all my happy memories help to make it easier.

I take great comfort in sifting through my hard drive full of photo’s.  I love to edit them, get them ready for photo books, and recall all the happy moments. I like to write, I love to read, and I’m working on my journaling. I have albums of photo’s from my oma, none with journaling, I don’t know who 90% of the people in the photo’s are.  It is becoming a lost generation.  I’m determined to not be a lost generation.  I hope my kids, my grandkids, my great-grandkids will have many rainy afternoons enjoying our scrapbooks & my journaling.  As many as I have enjoyed creating them.

Our long weekend to Lech Zürs, Austria, was not only stunningly beautiful, but also one of those perfect little family weekends.  We had minor squabbling, lots of laughs, tons of fun, snowball fights & made great memories. I think Soren has really missed us.  He’s long outgrown me on the slopes.  Gone are the days were he can’t keep up with me, and I wait patiently every hundred feet or so.  Now he is the one waiting for me.  I love that he waits for me, curbing his own desire to fly down the mountain at top speeds so we can do it together.  Though, let me be honest, he yelled at me more than once to: “Quit baking a cake!”

Soren was also the knight in black armor for both Dane & Tessa.  Tess, despite having boarded & skied before, started off on the wrong foot.  Probably because her mom took her up a too long lift, on a too hard slope, on a board with poorly sharpened edges.  After sliding down on her bottom half of the run, she gave up.  I can’t blame her.  Neither could Soren, he swooped her up in his arms & carried her down the mountain, riding his board.  I wish I’d had a go pro on my head to film that!
After two runs all the way down the Kriegeralpe (this is like three American-length runs in Tahoe), I was exhausted & switched to snowboots & put on my coaching hat. Tess switched to skis & joined me, Dane & Cole on the bunny run.  I spent the first hour walking Dane up the run, towing, pointing his skies down the mountain and letting go! It is terrifying to let go of your 5-year-old and watch him barrel down a mountain.  Bunny hill or not.  But he did awesome.  True, stopping = falling, but his actual skiing was awesome.  The smile on his face even awesomer.

Tess got the hang of the T-bar tow immediately, and surprisingly, Cole did as well.  Cole, the same kid who couldn’t stay up on the snowboard, could manage a tow lift without problems.  Dane, however, couldn’t do it.  His poor little body went flying every time he tried.  Luckily Soren again swooped in & saved the day.  I’m pretty sure that this wouldn’t fly in the states, but over here they’re a little bit more about personal accountability.  Soren lined up at the lift, the attendant safe & warm inside the little hut, threw Dane over his shoulder, skis & all, and grabbed the T-bar to tow them both to the top.

They spent the afternoon going up this way, then Dane skiing down, with Soren right behind him coaching him all the way.  Skiing is now Dane’s favorite thing.  Ever.


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The boy is on a plane. Already. It was a beautiful, perfect, whirlwind visit.  He has become an incredible young man.  I didn’t think it was possible to love him even more, but I do.  And I miss him with all my heart.  I hate, hate, hate this part of living in Germany.

I’m extremely grateful for the week we just had.  A week is much too short, but it is so much better than nothing.  I’m thrilled his boss gave him some time off.  We made the absolute most of our time together.  Soren has inherited my love of snowboarding, and I finally have to admit, he’s completely left me in the dust.  Three years ago we took a mother/son trip up to Lech Zürs and he ooh’d & aah’d about the stunning beauty of the Austrian Alps the whole three hour drive home.  So when he asked to go again, in his short week here, I was more than happy to grant his request.

Through we got  a fabulous 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment at Omesberg 1. If you are ever in Lech, I highly, highly recommend them. It was reasonable, extremely friendly, clean, modern with amazing bedding. Martina, the owner, was fantabulous & let us stay extra on Sunday so we could ski all day, and come back for hot showers & clean clothes.  Her service was everything & more I could want.

We had almost-ideal spring skiing conditions.  In the mornings there was heavy fog, and you’d think that would be a terrible thing, but once we rode the lift to the top of the mountain, above the fog, it was a breathtaking view.  A sea of white clouds, alps barely breaking through, under a heavenly blue sky and a warm, spring sun.  I could’ve spent my mini-vacation sitting in the snow just feasting my eyes.  Even Soren was impressed and happily posed for pictures (trust me, this is a big win for me!).


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