In other happy news, my kids are back in school!  All the supplies are bought, my wallet is empty, and routine is happily back in our house.  Cole is ecstatic to be back at an American school. He started high school this year and wanted to be sure to meet all incoming freshmen requirements for university.  He is a planner, and I was happy to accomodate him.  So far he has all A’s, except for a C in English.  Not a surprise considering he’s been learning German for the last three years.  I’m positive that with his dedication, and his teachers help, it will be a A by semesters end.
In Germany the first school day, Einschulung, is a very big, important day.  Especially for first graders, so schultüte are given on the first day of school.  Traditionally filled with candies & sweets, as well as little toys or school supplies. It is to make the first day of school a little sweet and a little less scary.
Side note, I asked my crazy red-haired neighbor what I should put in our friends schultüte. She explained it all to me “Sweets and fun little school toys, cute funny rubbers…” I burst out laughing, because, of course, rubbers have an entirely different meaning to Americans.
In our part of Germany, the first school day starts with a celebratory mass at the local church.  I’m always in awe that 1) church is a part of the regular, public, school day and 2) that all religions attend regardless of their personal believes.  It gives me hope for our future. The schultütes are given to the children after church, before their first day of school starts.  I wonder every year if all the the first graders are hopped up on sugar that whole first day?  I think I will find out next year when Dane starts first grade too.
This is also the first year I took pictures of my kids holding a sign “First Day of School 2012”.  I’ve seen this done all over facebook, and I love the idea!  I have no idea where it started but I’m super grateful to the originator.  I absolutely adore our First Day pictures: