I wonder how fondly the girls will remember being brought to a German cemetery to learn to how to ride their bikes?
I forgot how little fun a cold can be when you can't over-medicate yourself into oblivion. 




There is a great deal of preparation that children and parents need to go through before a child is ready to start grade school in Germany. Formal registration, meetings with the directors, and doctor's examinations round out the top three. At the doctor's visit, a variety of tests are done, pattern recognition, physical assessments, drawing a stick figure, etc.. Claudia fails when it comes to holding a pencil correctly. We've been told no less than three times, on three different occasions, that this needs to be corrected before she starts first grade. Demonstrating hasn't helped, but I found a clip online that offered a handy tip. I'm sharing this in case any one else is struggling with helping their child avoid a childhood of fancy plastic pencil grips. Or stern German Directors.
The trick is to fold up a piece of tissue and get them to hold it under their pinkie and ring fingers. Then, when you pass them the pencil, they'll instinctively know how to hold the pencil properly. It's pretty much magic. Try not to zero in on the grubby, sand filled fingernails and instead marvel at that line work. 
Legend goes that a Roman soldier riding through town found a poor peddler dying in the cold. Mr. Martin, being a kind and gentle soul, took his cloak off his back and drew his sword, cutting the cloak in half. He gave the bigger half to the peddler, who survived. Martin then dreamt that the peddler was Jesus, and became a saint. That's all it took, folks. 
St. Martin's Day is celebrated on November 11th, and is a HUGE deal in this Catholic neck of the woods. The children make paper lanterns and prance through town, bonfires are lit, songs are sung, and a man on a horse makes a "woah nelly!" appearance. 
The girl's kindergarten held a Lanternfest in St. Martin's honour, and were spoiled with treats and sausages and raisin buns. The buns are meant to be split and shared with another child, in keeping with the sentiment of the evening. Claudia, my dear, quickly shoved the whole thing in her mouth. There are days where we just don't fit in.