The whole school at the top of the hill, ready to go.

When we moved to Germany, we deliberately choose a small village outside of Stuttgart. We wanted the German experience. We wanted to learn German. Not just German, but German culture as well. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly experience a foreign country from the inside out.

It hasn’t always been easy. It’s still not always easy. But then again, nothing in life is. And the good far outweighs the bad. One of my favorite things is all the new traditions we’ve learned, and become a part of. One of Dane’s favorite things is the annual school sledding day.

Sledding is not something you can do on a whim, at the first sight of snow. We know. We’ve done that. And wound up with sleds that won’t slide and snow clothes covered in mud. Sledding must be done when it’s cold enough for the ground underneath to freeze. Very important when all your sledding hills are farmers fields in the summer. Sledding must be done with snow. And while it can be snowing, the middle of a big snow storm should be avoided.

So it is that with every cold spell, with every snow storm, Dane is at the window:

“You think we’ll have sledding day this week?” This year has been a tough year for sledding. Lots of snow…. followed by rain. Or a cold spell, enough to make your toes curl in your boots searching for warmth, but no snow. Lots of days that were almost right, but none that were just right. Until last Sunday. When the big snowstorm hit (The Story Behind The Pretty Pictures), the snow stayed. Even better?  The Russian front moved in, freezing our entire world.

Monday afternoon Dane burst into the house. A whirlwind. Tossing backpack, books, boots, coat, gloves. There was an explosion in my hallway. There wasn’t an inch of clear floorspace. Not. One. Inch.

“Mom! Mom! MOM!” I was standing right there. Our hallway is not that big.

“We are sledding on Wednesday! I need my sleds!” Poor guy is under the delusion that all the sleds are his sleds. Sometimes being the youngest of six creates a overabundance of stuff. Luckily he’s into sharing, and he needed extra sleds to share with some of the less lucky kids and his teacher. His wonderful, amazing teacher who is too old to have his own sled, but not yet old enough to have kids of his own and sleds of theirs to borrow.

It was good we had two days to prepare. Two days to find the perfect sleds to drag to school. Two days to find two matching pair of gloves, because mittens just won’t do anymore, and the right hat, and a back-up hat. And make sure mom had the right snack to pack for on the hill.

Wednesday morning we packed the van with his small backpack, his sleds, and a Dane that could not sit still in his seat. It was sledding day! Unfortunately it was sledding day just for Dane. Every other year, I’ve made the trek out to the hill, with my camera, and joined in on the fun. This year I had a sick kiddo at home that needed me more.

Imagine my happiness when I opened my email Thursday morning and found 100 pictures of the 2018 School Sledding day! Even a video! And a panoramic shot! This is another reason we choose a small village to live in. It takes a village to do it all.

Dane catching air with his sled!

And a little video of the first run of the day.