Sunday, November 23, 2008

family news blog

Spiraling out from the most geographically immediate connections perhaps:

- son #2 is enjoying the snow and the snowball fights, doing better and better in German school. New regime: he's keeping a journal in German, which seems to be the best system yet we have figured out for helping him do some serious work on his German grammar. I also made up lists of German verbs that take the auxiliary "sein" and German prepositions that take the dative, along with examples of all, and put them up on the bathroom walls. I was going to go on to other groups of prepositions, and other grammatical issues, but haven't yet. But in the meantime, the German tutor had a great idea and helped Felix write up specific sentence fragment examples using the most common iterations of each of these, in colored marker, and I think those will be even more helpful. 
Felix also has his 19-year-old German cousin babysitting 3 hours each on Monday and Friday afternoons, which gives me more time to work and gives Felix more time to talk German and be with a fun cool young man cousin, which he likes a lot! (being with his fun cool young man cousin; the talking German part just goes along with it)
• hubby: involved in all kinds of groups here at his institute, and finding lots of intellectual stimulus. Not as much time to write his book as he had imagined, and while the broken toe is healing there are dentist visits he hadn't factored in. But I think he's having a good time. 
• son #1: I couldn't tell you! Don't see him all that much! Saturday he moved out for a week, to go stay with abovementioned cousin. The two of them are having a very good time together which is wonderful. Son #1, aka Max, is working many hours (like ten per day, and last night I think much longer though I won't hear about it for a while) at his uncle's florist shop (and cousin is working there too when he's not in school or babysitting for us). They've made hundreds of handmade Christmas wreaths; next up, as I understand it, is putting up Christmas trees and displays. Before that started Max did some catering work for a new acquaintance-friend here who sells organic soup, and before that of course he was working at the Berlin zoo. He and Felix keep us in touch with the authentic Berlin accent and Berlin dialect, overlaid on their own still-somewhat-imperfect and slightly American German. We talk a lot about language and grammar in this house right now!
• mother-in-law: back in town. She's been here in Berlin as much as possible the last few weeks, to help out with baby niece while baby's father is running the wreath production and Christmas tree decoration, etcetera, operations. We get together (those of us not at the florist shop) for tea and suchlike when we can. Mother-in-law is working with her grandchildren to plan a grand get-together in Hamburg for Christmas. Sister-in-law #1, meanwhile, is trying to juggle her own parttime job and keep it in bounds while keeping her family going and her baby going. While the pre-Christmas rush at the flower shop is on, this pretty much keeps her hands full. And I had a wonderful couple of hours with the baby last week, my first chance to babysit alone. She waved good-bye to her mama and then happily hung out with me, and we danced, and read, and she built things, and drew, and put objects inside other objects - very cheerful, and finally at the end went and took a nap. What can I say? What's not to love?
- sis-in-law #2 had a very successful hip replacement operation and is finally back home; still on crutches but with both feet on the ground, and it all went well. One leg was always shorter; now they're the same but she feels like it's longer because she was so used to the way it was.

And back in the States, my parents are taking their walks in Southern California as often as they can, just participated in their community's big Pilgrim-themed annual fundraiser, and are about to have my sister for Thanksgiving. They have to watch their health but they fit in music and games, reading and socializing, as much as they can.

Sis o'mine, meanwhile, has just moved into her new house in Austin finally, after housesitting for generous friends for months which involved a very long drive to school for herself and kids. The math teaching at her high-level high school is challenging this year, first year in a new school for her but also it sounds like the whole math department is developing a new curriculum this year (sorry, sis o'mine, if I didn't describe that quite right). Her kids have thrown themselves wonderfully into scenes of school, music, and dance in Austin, but they're all working pretty hard.

OK, I was going to call this a micro-family blog but clearly it didn't stay micro. Off to write thousands of words right now!

No comments: