Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Eve

Christmas in Germany was lovely and we enjoyed it very much. Christmas Eve is when it is all happening. I wanted to share our traditional activities with you.
It all starts with decorating the Christmas tree in the morning. You can ask my mom why we wait that long to put it up. Only she knows the answer.
We dress nice, meet up with family, and go to church. We were nice and did not make Noah wear his Sunday clothes.
When we come home it is already time to open presents!

After opening enough presents to make the kids happy, we eat dinner. Fondue, of course. We eat, and eat, and eat. While the kids play with their new toys. We sing Christmas songs and act out the nativity story.

Emily, Jochen, and Lynn as Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus

We open more presents and sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus. Then we bring the kids to bed and ... are very tired.

All Noah wanted for Christmas was a fireman suit like Eric,and that is what he got. He was sooooooooooooo excited. He hasn't taken it off since.

It was beautiful. Not very calm or quiet, but wonderful. The next morning, we sleep in.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas letter

Merry Christmas!

Since it's hard to read and we're away without our preferred computer, we can't put one with better resolution up quite yet. Sorry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inside Fun

Winter and I are not best friends.

Today when I complained about winter, Karl said: "You DON'T like winter except for the times when you DO like winter."
I said: "That's right. But most of the time I DON'T like it."
I used to love winter. It meant snow shoeing, skiing, ice climbing, and cuddling up to read a good book.
Now, with two wild boys, I dread winter. I still love the fun parts of it like sledding, building snowmen, winter walks, drinking hot chocolate. But day to day life is just hard. It get's dark too early, we need too many layers of clothing, we can't be outside all day and get our jiggles out, and I don't like being cold. We still have lots of fun but it takes a lot of planning and planning makes me tired.

Here are a few pictures of our Sunday afternoon adventure.

My aunt Iris is the best. When we gotback to the cars, she opened up her trunk and inside we found Christmas cookies and hot cider. Just what we needed.

We warmed our hands and bellies while Noah cruised around the parking lot on his bike. There was plenty of ice, snow, and mud to make it lots of fun and forget the cold.

When we are hanging out at home, this is what we do:
lots of Papa-wrestling

reading and laughing with aunt Emily

playing with homemade play dough

gymnastics with Opa Leo

looking at pictures with Oma Evi and cousin Lynn

Here I am trying to get a picture of all three of them but Noah would not budge and is showing off his special camera 'smile'.

Tomorrow I am sending all the boys sledding in the mountains. Although I love sledding and hate shopping, it would be good to have some presents under the Christmas tree. And to be honest, I need a break!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Noah and Max love carousels! Every Christmas market has at least one and it makes them very happy. I am not sure what's so exciting about going around in a circle to lame music. But I love to see my boys having fun!

This one was actually pretty. Very old school and very well maintained.

At times, Max has been a little more relaxed lately. We are all so glad Karl is here and our little family is complete. Yeah for dads.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wildpark Pforzheim

Don't get too excited about this 'wild park'. It does have wild animals (as opposed to pets) but only those that live in Europe. And those are not too wild or exotic. And most of them are still behind fences.

This lynx was our favorite.

Noah has been a lynx ever since. (When he is not a fireman or a search and rescue techinician.)

I love this park. It is totally in the woods, plenty of roaming room, lots of dirt and mud, interesting animals you can feed and sometimes pet, and fun playgrounds. The best part: it's free. We could spend days there if it was not so cold and rainy.
Gotta love German playgrounds. They (amost) don't care about safety, just about the kids' fun. Here Noah and Max are in some kind of ship that they can maneuvre from one side to the other by pulling on the chain.

Unfortunately, lots of them are not very toddler friendly. But Max manages.

There is usually a wooden horse pulling a wagon to be found somewhere. Much to Max's delight.

Who wants to come play on a bison?

This is Bobby Car country. A friend let us borrow two and Noah is having a blast going 'off-road'.

Friday, December 11, 2009

2 More Days

We can't wait for our favorite husband and Papa to arrive in Germany this Sunday. We are so excited to be reunited and spend the holidays all together.

More exciting news: Karl has competed in 3 discouraging cyclocross races so far. Each time he could not finish because of mechanical issues. So we are proud to report that last Saturday he not only finished, he took 5th place in his category.

Congrats, Karl! We are sad we missed it. Cyclocross races are our favorites to watch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oma's Birthday

After spending a few fun, hard, exciting, exhausting, mostly crazy days and nights at my sister's house, Oma's birthday had finally come and we got to go to her house for the big surprise. And she really had no idea. When she opened the door, all she saw was Max. (Noah ran away last second). She had not seen him (in real life) since he was 10 days old but recognized him right away. Then Noah showed up. It was so fun to see the shock and excitement in her face. She was really happy to see us 3 weeks earlier than expected.

Later family and friends came over and we had a great night. Here is my mom holding Max while we are singing to her. Noah loved the table fireworks.

Max doesn't look too cranky in this picture but don't let him fool you!

Hanging out in the living room

Chatting with my cousins whom I miss much

It's good to be home. Although I am not sure if I am an American German or a German American. But I know for sure that I am not German like the people around me here are German. Help!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fireman Noah

Noah's fireman Halloween costume definitely was not chance. He is a fireman every day. And those who see him lots know that I really mean every day. If he is not wearing his own costume, he is wearing Eric's, and at the very least he is wearing his helmet. We brought the helmet to Germany, of course. Actually, we brought two. Kind of by accident.

So far he helmet has not bothered me. It is actually kind of cute. But Noah has always wanted it to have a chin strap and the other day he came up with is own. I am proud of him for coming up with the idea and doing it all by himself. So is he. The only problem: the chin strap is super ugly. As you can see in the last post. But what am I to do? I believe in my children being able to express themselves.

Noah loves to make a fire with Opa (almost) every night. Yesterday they spent at least a couple of hours chopping wood. There is nothing Noah would rather do. It creates a special bond between them and Noah is looking forward to Opa coming home from work every night. I am so glad Max and Noah get to spend some quality time with their Grandparents and get to know them better. It's worth the trouble.
In case you were wondering what the only thing on Noah's Christmas list is: a fireman outfit just like Eric's. Not my first choice but we decided if that is all he wants, he should get it. I am planning on him wearing it every day until at least Easter. So be prepared for lots of similar pictures.
PS: Emily, does this answer your question?

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Noah loves to go to Kindergarten with Oma.

Well, he loves it once he's there but he has a hard time letting me go. Also, 'Kindergarten' here is like 'preschool' in the U.S. I know, doesn't make any sense. First, you steal our word and then you change the meaning of it. Go figure...

My mom is a preschool teacher and the place is amazing. The pictures only show a small part of it. But I can't go inside with Max. He would make the biggest mess and destory everything he can get his little hands on.

But outside is lots of fun and there are plenty of cool vehicles to ride around.

Waiting for Noah in the hall way. The next second Max charges through the open Lego room door, grabs as many Legos as he can, and runs away. Repeat about 5 times.

I gotta go eat some more yummy German cheese cake and Christmas cookies. It's the off season after all!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Market

This week we spent a fun morning visiting the Christmas Market close to my home town. Aunt Emily and (a sleeping) baby cousin Lynn joined us. We ate yummy Pizza. Very yummy and very much not like American Pizza. If there is such a thing. I like to believe that German Pizza is closer to the real deal since Germany is closer to Italy than the U.S. Makes sense, right?

While Max was riding a motor cycle, Noah and I practiced our ice skating skills. We had a blast and made a new friend: Penguin 7. He was awesome and allowed us to cruise over the ice feeling fast and safe.

Being used to our Mac, I am having issues with my parents' PC, but I am trying. Max is starting to be a little less cranky but is still very much attached to me. He is extremely cute as well. Yesterday he started saying "Noah" and we love it. He is picking up a few new words every day. Important ones like "Bagger" (digger), "Traktor" (tractor), and "baden" (bathing). And tons more.

Yep, it is cold here, too. But no snow, just lots of rain. And beautifully green. I have had some super fun runs in the forests around here and got to join my team for their run workout on Wednesday. 10 runner friends + warm up + speed work + 3 km test + long cool down + lotsof good conversations = 2 hours of lots and lots of running fun. I love it. My parents did not love it so much. Max was having a really hard time and Noah was trying but struggling. I am hoping I get to go again.
That's it for now.
We love you guys and miss you lots.
Especially you, Papa.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It's been a while, I realized as I started this post. Most of you know, we (Noah, Max, and I) are visiting my family in Germany. The flights were much better than anticipated but we are still trying to adjust to life over here. It is taking a while and has been more difficult than I thought but we are managing and enjoying being with family.

My dad showed me these great pictures of him as a young lad and I wanted to share them with you. Perhaps because I have only taken a total of 2 pictures since I have been here. But I am at home after all and who takes pictures while at home?

In this picture, my dad is the one sitting in the middle holding up is satchel. I asked my dad if these kids were just dressed up. But he said that this is what you wore back then, especially when hiking. I love it. I need to buy some Lederhosen while I am here. But I know Noah would never wear them. I am hoping Max might.

Guess which soccer player is my dad in this picture?
Hint: He is the handsome one.

I resolved to take more pictures in the next few days. After all, we have been doing some fun stuff. In the constant rain. With a cranky Max. He has been cranky ever since we landed.