Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years

New Years Eve was a lot of fun.  We did our traditional 'Appetizers for dinner'.  Our friend Wendi stopped by with a couple of her kids, so we talked with them for a while.  And then we just hung out and played the Wii.  I was totally planning on just putting the kids to bed, but Sawyer was in a good mood and having fun with us, so we decided to let him stay up as long as he wanted.  We did a bunch of little fireworks outside.  They even sell the real rockets here...so we had fun setting those off.  Violet pretty much put herself to bed when we started the fireworks outside.  She was terrified.  That was ok with me ;).  It's funny how your perspective changes the more kids you have.  When Sawyer was 2, I was so determined to have him enjoy the fireworks.  I remember him being scared and I spent all night trying to convince him that they were fun.  With Violet, I said, that's fine, would you rather go to bed?  And then I happily took her up to her bed and tucked her in.  We were all happy with that decision ;).  So Sawyer ended up making it all the way until midnight!  It was kind of fun just hanging out with our little man.  We kept hearing from everyone that Germany goes all out when it comes to fireworks.  So we decided to try and drive up the road a bit behind our house, until we were at the top of the hill.  We were hoping to see something from all the way out here in the middle of the countryside.  Truthfully, I wasn't too hopeful.  I just about stayed behind and went to bed.  Ned was already sound asleep, and the girls were sleeping, so I decided with him there, I might as well go with the others.  We waited about 10 minutes for the clock to strike 12, and then we saw it.  A fireworks display like none other!  It was incredible.  We could see fireworks erupting from every point on the horizon.  And they lasted for a good 15-20 min.  Everywhere we looked, we could see fireworks.  I was a little worried the girls at home had woken up from the noise.  Who knows if Ned would hear them.  We later found out that Ned woke up from the noise and poked his head out of the sky lights in his room upstairs.  He said he couldn't believe it...the fireworks were everywhere!  And the girls slept through it all!  It was a really cool thing to see.  I'm excited for next year.  And from now on, I have a feeling our New Years Fireworks will never compare to Germany's show.

The 4 Adventurers...the flash was SO bright in the pitch darkness...our eyes were all watering, lol

New Years Day we celebrated with a traditional German Breakfast.  Fresh rolls from the bakery and an assortment of meats, cheeses, jams, etc.  And our fake coffee ;)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kaiserslautern Christmas Market & Lichtenberg

We managed to make it down to the Kaiserslautern Christmas Market on its last day.  Kaiserslautern is the city nearest to our village (about 30 min away) and it's where we attend church.  On our way down we stopped at Globus to show Ned & Julianne the German Superstore.  We had some dinner there and did some random shopping.  I made the mistake of letting the kids push around their own mini shopping carts.  They've always wanted to do it, but I'm never brave enough to let them when I am on my own.  So I figured this time I would have lots of help.  I was wrong.  Still a nightmare.  For me, it was a pretty chaotic shopping experience.  I think everyone else enjoyed themselves, more or less.  By the end of it, Violet had peed her pants, which was enough to completely soak her socks and shoes as well.  Since we were headed to the Christmas Market, she needed something on her feet.  We decided on a pair of mittens and didn't let her out of the stroller (to her great dismay!).  It was super ghetto.  She seriously looked homeless.  But I had given up on her that night, so I could have cared less at that point!  Besides the Violet disaster, we had a great time at the last Christmas market of the season.  The next day we went back to Lichtenberg castle (where we took our family pictures).  The kids always have a fun time running around the castle ruins there.  And there is a little playground for them too.  We are so lucky to live in a place where we can drive 20 minutes and see such beautiful sights.

Violet with her ghetto mitten socks

A little story about that bonfire up there.  We were sitting around it, and Violet was looking up at the fire embers flying around over her head, and one of them landed on her eyelid!!  It was awful!  Poor Violet was crying so hard, and it was dark so it was difficult to see what had happened.  Thank goodness she shut her eye just in time!  The next day we were able to see that she had gotten a good burn on the outside of her eyelid, right on the inside corner of her eye.  Poor girl.  And this was her 3rd time getting burned in the last week (fireplace and stove were the other culprits).  I guess she got adequately scared of fire and heat that week.  :(  We are grateful neither of the burns ended up being too severe.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


A couple of days after Christmas we decided that we hadn't seen enough Christmas Markets yet.  We were planning to go to a few others, but realized too late that many of them were closed after Christmas Day.  (We had been told they were always open until the end of the year)  Luckily, Strassbourg, France was one that was still open.  I have been to Strassbourg many times because it is a 20 min drive from my Grandma's house.  We would usually spend a day there whenever we visited her.  In fact, Nathan had been there as well, 6 years ago when we visited before we had kids.  Its a charming French city with an amazing Cathedral.  I was super excited to see their Christmas Market, and it did not disappoint!  The market was divided into sections throughout the city.  Each section celebrated traditional foods from different parts of Europe.  It was fun to have some new foods to try. And it seemed like every single store went all out decorating their exterior.  It was so much fun to see it all.  Julianne found a small German Christmas pyramid to take home.  We stayed out till past dark and the kids survived the cold with their watery eyes and runny noses.  But we all had a great time.  

The carousel made it worth it for the kids.  They rode twice and picked the 'submarine' both times.  It was so funny seeing their little faces through the submarine windows as they went around!

Thursday, December 26, 2013


We had such a wonderful little Christmas this year.  It helped to have Ned & Julianne around.  We didn't feel quite so 'far away'.  As always, the day was preceded by a few dozen trips to the store (or the BX in our case).  My family usually does Bratwurst and Sauerkraut on Christmas Eve, but with all of the Christmas Markets we had been going to, we had all had our fill of Brats.  So we opted for a traditional Larson meal of Ham and Cheesy Potatoes.  No one complained about that ;).  And, of course, chocolate cheesecake for dessert.  Yum.  We even managed to pull of the nativity without too much whining or chaos.  Nathan used the beloved Horse Mask to play his role of the donkey.  We had to heavily persuade Violet to play Mary.  And Isla was not very happy about being placed in a basket.  But we had some good laughs and even got the message across (mostly).  With the kids all tucked into bed, we didn't have too much preparation left (a true Christmas Miracle!).  Christmas morning did not disappoint.  The kids were adequately spoiled and we all had a great day in our pajamas!  We got in as much relaxation as possible so that we would be ready for another week of sight seeing!

My mom has made all of our Christmas Stockings.  I think it was a couple of weeks before Christmas when she realized that Isla didn't have one yet.  Like the wonder (crazy) woman she is ;)...she went to town sewing little Isla Bea her stocking and it arrived right before Christmas!  Another Christmas Miracle!  And we love the little 'Bee' for our Isla Bea.

I was truly amazed by Grandma's Christmas Balloon Creations.  Amazing. Santa was my favorite!

My iPhone got run over by a shopping cart before Thanksgiving.  The screen was shattered, but still functional.  For Christmas I got a screen replacement.  Here is my techy husband replacing the screen for me.  He always just figures these things out.  It amazes me.