I shared a few days ago about the Christmas Markets that we enjoyed but we also did a few other really fun things.
- Tree-Up Day – Hayden had to work but he was there later on to put decorations on the tree.
- Movies by the light of the tree –
- Indoor skate park – There’s no good place for the kids to skate here on Kelley for a variety of reasons: the rain, rocks, ice treatment, and the fact that that many of the sidewalks and such are bricked, so we take them around to different skate parks. This was one of the nicest and had a really cool owner. Not the biggest park, but I liked that it had a couch area in which for me to sit comfortably while I did pre-cal work. It’s cleverly named Stuttpark.
- Christmas Dress – Christmas girl! Oh what fun it is to dress a baby girl for Christmas!
- A Christmas Carol – We didn’t take any pictures at the play but we did have a fun time! Anna got all dolled up for the Kelley Christmas Market but we hired our first non-sibling babysitter here in Germany so that we could go to this play. We enjoyed our time and Anna enjoyed showing a new friend all of her things.
- Making COOKIES! – Hollie (a fellow Chaplain’s spouse and battle buddy during our 15-month long deployment ’07-’09) introduced me to Andes Mint cookies. I fell in love immediately and have made them almost every year since. This year, Anna got to help… I made 360 cookies and distributed them throughout the season. I ordered Andes Mints on Amazon, then found out that our PX and Commissaries had a limited supply. I bought all I could at both locations and still needed to go back for more… they ran out! Next year I’ll let the commissary know ahead of time how many I need and see if they can order extra!
- Finished my Family tree wall – We have this huge section of wall to the right of our television that needed something and I found a fun family tree vinyl. It took months but I finally got all the pictures ordered and put on the wall! I love that there was just enough space to add Anna’s first family!
- Anna patting her friends at school – Anna has a fun “preschool” (hourly care) and a few days ago I walked in to see her helping her friends fall asleep. (She doesn’t stay for nap-time and they were a bit ahead of schedule that day.)
- Aimee and Cory had their second daughter!!! – While stalking all the pictures I noticed baby Hannah has the same shirt that Anna has!
- Blinging out the Truckster – We bought a used NV and one of its quirks is that it is missing the light switches for the two middle rows. That means that, while we can push the lights on manually, they won’t switch into “Door” mode. It works out beautifully that I put Christmas lights up even before I knew of this quirk… it also means that we may leave the Christmas lights up year-round so we can light the entire cabin instantly with the touch of a button on my dash board! We have made our gate guards so happy each time we go through! Never have I seen them wave and laugh! They even wave to me when I leave post!
- Zoo – Going to see elaborate Christmas lights is something of a tradition for many Americans. I grew up driving through heavily decorated neighborhoods, Matt grew up going to McAdenville (Christmastown USA), and while in Texas, we took the kids through Nature in Lights at BLORA. Germany doesn’t do lights like this so I bought tickets to the Zoo. It hit the spot and we enjoyed walking through with our friends.
- Winter Breakfast – Funny story: I’m quite confident in myself as a mom now (some sarcasm there), even in the fact that I’m more of an “Amazon.com-mom” than a “Pinterest-mom,” but every now and then I think to myself, “I should be more like so-and-so who does such-and-such.” A few weeks ago as I scrolled through Facebook I saw a very cute idea for celebrating winter. For a nanosecond I considered whipping up the breakfast as pictured and then remembered that’s just not the kind of mom I am. But the picture made me think of someone. I sent a screenshot to Amanda and her reply was, “Funny thing is I always do that!” And in her natural, hospitable way, she invited us to join with them in the fun on the first day of winter.
- Rittersport Brunch – Girl time is at a minimum here. Homeschooling three high-schoolers keeps me quite busy and so I don’t often get to go hang out with just a bunch of girls. When I got an invitation to go to brunch with a few friends from chapel I was all over it! And, in case you didn’t recognize the synonym for chocolate in bold print at the start of this paragraph, RITTERSPORT is amazing and their factory is here in Stuttgart. Invitation to a girls’ brunch at a chocolate factory?!? Why, yes, thank you!
- Caroling – Our neighborhood is full of festive people and one of the families set up the second annual Christmas Caroling Event with Hot Chocolate social afterwards. It started out a touch rainy and by the time we got to the finale “Feliz Navidad” the rain had stopped and we were all ready for hot chocolate, cookies, and gluhwein.
- Christmas Eve Brunch – And this leads me to the last event before Christmas… I had already planned to make a big breakfast dinner for my family either on Christmas or Christmas Eve. When our friends asked if we wanted to come over on Christmas Eve for a casual brunch we were all in. All except for Hayden, of course. Subway decided to remain open to serve the members of the community who didn’t get to take the Federal Holiday off but he did get to pop in for 15 minutes to say hi. Not related to brunch but to the fact that Hayden had to work all day, we decided to stay home that night and miss the Christmas Eve service. We hated not going but we really wanted to spend some time at home, around the tree, with our whole family. I really treasured every moment we got to spend as a family of seven because this season is slowly coming to a point where it will evolve. Kids will grow and move away, marry, and our Christmases will look different. I’m praying that the next two are similar to this one but just in case, I treasured this one in a special way.
December brought to us a stomach bug that rotated and interfered with some of our plans, but overall it was a great month of spending time together, with friends, and remembering the reason we celebrate on the 25th in the first place. We did not feel busy or rushed and yet the month still flew by. I wish December lasted 60 days and not just 31.