Saturday, December 3, 2016

And then it was December!

I guess I need to catch up with stuff since the end of the year is almost here!!  Where does the time go?  Only 3 weeks until Christmas!!  

Since I blogged almost a month ago (which is terrible!), I have a lot of random stuff that needs to be caught up.
We had our first snow!!!  As you can see, it was pretty minor.

Fortunately for us though, it happened on a day that was NOT a school day and the kids immediately put on boots and went outside to "play" in the snow.  In their pajamas.  

Perhaps officially the first snowball of the year.  I'm told that we don't get an extreme amount of snow here -- I'm glad about that because I have to drive to and from the base everyday to take William to preschool and I hate driving in snowy/icy conditions.  But everyone says that the winter is mostly rainy and dreary and cold.  Guess we'll find out!

These are just funny pictures from a Sunday morning

We've already had our first visitor!!  I know my brothers will be mad because we specifically stated that we would not be having visitors in the fall but the circumstances here were different.  My friend Laura is traveling Europe with a friend of hers.  That friend was headed out on a cruise with their family and rather than bum around by herself, she came to stay with us for a week!!  We had a fun time with her although honestly we didn't do much.  The weather was cold AND rainy.  I can usually take one or the other but not both.  Plus the kids had stuff at school too.  I felt bad because we just hung out at home a lot.

Finally on Friday we had a rain-less morning and we ran up to Amberg.  We were there for about 3 hours before the skies opened up again and we got pretty soaked getting to the car but it was a beautiful morning.

Abby lost one of her top teeth that week too!!  It made the other top tooth (also very loose) really funny looking and we've been calling her snaggle-tooth.  She's been taking it quite well!

Laura's last Saturday here I kind've said -- that's it!  Let's go!!  So we drove out to some other castle ruins and explored them in the cold and the rain.  The trip ended with a crying William and the rest of us chilly and wet.  Maybe not the best idea in the world but we got out of the house and the ruins were great -- I think we'll head back one day when the sun is shining and really get the views though.

I love fog!!  We've had some really thick fogs and a lot of just magical/eery fogs.

The crosses are in the chapel area of the ruins.  I don't know if they have services there sometimes but there were benches and stuff set up permanently.

I've been making this quilt from a paper-piecing pattern called "Land of Magic" and took it to photograph.  In the rain.  Yeah I have a screw loose.  It turned out to be a beautiful quilt though!

The views were pretty incredible -- even with the fog -- sometimes because of the fog!  But they don't translate to pictures very well.  Sometimes I think I need a much better camera.  And sometimes I think that it's ok that they're not amazing pictures because we're having an amazing experience!!

Some beautiful sunrises and sunsets lately.  So on the left you can kind've see the house that is being built across the street from us.  It has been really fascinating to watch!  It's mostly concrete -- they have prefabricated concrete walls for the basement and then the floors are also prefabricated but with a layer of concrete then poured over them.  The outside walls are cinder blocks.  Now the roof beams are up and they put a Christmas tree at the top!  My neighbor told me that the tree is placed at the top regardless of the season -- that it brings good luck to the new owners.

William had pie and parents day at school.  He has preschool every day and although we've had some ups and downs, he really likes it and I'm glad he goes because he's learning and growing in ways that he doesn't get at home.  And I get a break which I've honestly needed!!!

He really liked the pumpkin pie!

For Thanksgiving we went to the church and celebrated with other American families who weren't traveling.  I took all of my favorite dishes plus this pecan pie cake i had to try!  Chopper ordered and received a new smoker and smoked one of the turkeys.  It was a really delicious day!

Always have to have the rainbow jello!

Thanksgiving weekend was the start of advent here -- the weekends before Christmas.  One of the things that happens all over Germany in the month of December are the Christmas markets!!  We've been to 3 now -- all small ones.  Basically they started as a way for people to stock up on goods before the winter set in, now they're all about socializing and Christmas shopping.  It's a bunch of booths that sell things -- Christmas or otherwise -- and food and drink -- Gluhwein (literally glow wine).

The Sulzbach market

More sunset

Abby finally lost that 2nd top tooth!  Her bottom teeth are coming in nicely but she's got a gaping hole!

This is the Amberg market.  I love Amberg!  It's probably my favorite local larger city.  

No I'm not drinking the wine.  They have alcohol free versions called Kinderpunch.  This one was basically apple cider with something else in it.  I've decided that the Germans are a far less disposable society than Americans are.  They recycle EVERYTHING and when you go to these fests and markets, if you buy something to eat or drink you don't get disposable servingware.  You can either keep the cup or plate or return it to the booth for a small refund.  But for the Christmas markets they're printed with a picture and the name of the town and the year so they're kind've a collectable  item -- especially among the Americans in the area!  We're collecting them as well and buying ornaments.  Wooden, laser cut ornaments are a big thing and they make them with landmarks of the city and the name of course.  

It was beautiful in the city center withe the lights and then the fog rolling in.  It feels so Christmassy and fun!  It certainly is a magical time of year here but it makes me wonder how we'll get through January, February, and March!!  And how we'll survive when we move back to the states and don't have Christmas markets!!!

We woke up this morning to a beautiful frost.  I'm a little too obsessed by the weather here and all the elements we didn't really get in Texas.  I just love Germany so much!  It is an amazing place!

That's our church!  Not the one we attend of course but the church in Hahnbach.  I need to take the regular camera out and get some other pictures -- when you come over the hill on the way home and see that tower above the trees you know you're almost there.  I love that churches are designed to be beacons of guidance.  Such beautiful symbolism.

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