Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone reading this has had a wonderful Christmas and has felt blessed this holiday season. This year was non-eventful yet filled with lots of Christmas cheer. We enjoyed continuing favorite traditions as well as starting some new ones. Here are a few pictures to show you what we've been up to.

These first two pictures I had to put in because they just make me laugh. We had brought out Tristan's baby swing for our friends the Kuhls, but Tristan obviously thought it was for him.

This little guy lounged in the swing like it was his own little lazy-boy.

Here's a picture of the boy on our way out to get our Christmas tree.

This picture is for my parents. After years of selecting the perfect tree and cutting it down ourselves at Wilberts (Paul and I both grew up with this tradition) , we are on to different pastures-or for that matter tree farms. We weren't able to cut down a tree this year, but after a little searching we found beautiful little tree in our neighboring town of Hochspeyer. Here's what it looks like from the road.

Please excuse the following pictures (I'm aware of how blurry they are, I've been told a tripod helps remedy this problem-obviously we have yet to get one). Despite the bad pictures hopefully you can still see how beautiful these Christmas Markets are. This carousel is from the Metz (France) Christmas market.

Along with roasted chestnuts, crepes, beignets (french donuts-similar to Berliners), and an assortment of other local confections, the Metz market sold an astounding amount of chocolate. Take a look at this picture. That's right-what you see in mounds on the table is chocolate!

Here's the little guy on Christmas morning. I think he was oblivious as to what was going on, but had a good time. Here you can see Tristan playing with the tin of hot chocolate-this of course was more amusing than his presents.

The day after Christmas we took the train to nearby Strasbourg (France) with some friends. Despite the cold, the city was charming as usual and was decorated beautifully for the holidays. I just had to get a picture of this cake shop- as it decorated with beautiful wedding cake garland.

The streets were lined with white birch branches and beautiful evergreen wreaths.

Here's Paul and Tristan in front of their brightly lit tree. If you blow up the picture you'll notice that Tristan is barely visable under his hat, hood and stroller cocoon. Despite the bitter cold Tristan stayed toasty warm in his stroller.

The above pictures were more streets in Strasbourg, as they were decorated for the holiday season.
As the new year approaches my mind is turned toward new resolves (once again I'm rededicating myself to more work outs and less late night eating...). I'm thinking of new and exciting prospects for the future (church starting at 1pm is absolutely thrilling -Tristan may actually have a chance at being well rested), and most of all as this season comes to a close I reflect upon my blessings. Our family is truly blessed and we feel grateful for the love of family and friends to keep us warm during our first year in Germany!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Greetings from Deutchland. I have a list of things I want to do for the holiday season, but honestly I've been slacking. I need to get a move on (Christmas cookies have yet to be baked, Paul's shopping yet to be done, and many more excursions to be traveled). On the upside, Paul and I got our tree today(despite the fact that we couldn't locate our tree stand-we pushed ahead and got it). These pictures are courtesy of our good friends the Kuhls. They had just gotten a great new camera (ours isn't too hot at night), and were kind enough to help us document this years holiday fun. They were from the Heidelberg Christmas Market and Thanksgiving.

Speaking of friends... Recently when dining at a friends house, I asked if I could finish her food-this got me thinking. There are certain indicators that let you know when you're really good friends with someone. For example: You know you're good friends with someone if you go to the bathroom while on the phone with them, if you finish their scraps of food, if you clean their bathroom when it needs it. There are plenty of others, but at the moment I'm drawing a blank. Lastly, I have to share something a friend did that eased my burden and was truly awesome. Last night after our Christmas enrichment activity, there was much cleaning to be done(most of you know how time consuming this can be-putting decorations away, tables away, doing dishes, mopping floor...). Unfortunately, Paul was working and so I had Tristan for the night. I knew that it would be a nightmare taking care of Tristan (who should have been in bed), and trying to help get the church cleaned up. Thank goodness this didn't happen. A good friend of mine, was nice enough to take Tristan home and put him in bed for me (then just waited patiently for me to get home). This really was the greatest gift someone could give and I feel so blessed for friends (thanks so much Leslie).