Monday, April 21, 2014

The Black Forest & Strasbourg

I am losing steam in getting these blogposts up and also, I am seriously considering making our blog private. Stay tuned. 

So, after Christmas, we headed towards the Black Forest. My mom really wanted an authentic, genuine cuckoo clock and word on the street is, the black forest is the place to go! We ended up in a little town called Triberg. It was darling. So, so much charm. I guess they also have Germany's tallest waterfalls? Or they're famous at least. We didn't go see them because they were having a Christmas spectacular that would have made us 40 euro poorer. So, we just enjoyed the charm of the town. 

And we shopped for clocks ... I think they're adorable. My mom got one, I'm still trying to decide if they're "my thing"...

{this one would have put us back about 12,000 euro!!}

We stayed at the cutest little hotel outside of the city a little bit. The owner spoke zero English. Those are the best kind of places!!

The cute owner of the place had the greatest set up of German breakfast for us. Breakfasts here usually consists of meats, cheese, some bread and jam. Definitely not your waffles, eggs, and fruit you get in America. 

I have a (weird) obsession with old Germans. I think they are absolutely adorable and there is so much history and wisdom hiding behind their eyes. I wish I could speak to them and hear their life stories. The cute owner of this hotel was no different. I really wanted a picture with her so after we checked out I asked her ... "Ein Foto mit Ihnen, bitte?" Her response made my day. She looked so surprised that I would want a picture with her...she blushed a little, gasped as she put her hands to her chest and asked, "Mit mir!?" Ahhh, she was my favorite. 

The black forest was beautiful, in a dark, magical way. I wish I could show how much darker it was than a "normal" forest. Let's just say ... I wouldn't ever want to get lost in the black forest. Night or day. 

Next, we headed to Strasbourg, France. They keep their Christmas market up until New Years! 
Strasbourg was amazing. But, then again, anywhere in France is amazing to me. I love France!

On one stretch of shops and restaurants, all the store fronts were decorated for Christmas.

Before getting some food, we wandered down to the river that passes through the town. Love me some river views!!

How can you pass up a photo-op like this!? 

We had read that this restaurant had amazing French Onion Soup, which is Brad's favorite. It was pretty delicious. And the decor inside was so charming. And ... Kason had just gotten in trouble. He was NOT happy...

After eating (and a little French shopping...I got a cute little creamer and my mom got some pretty green? blue? colored glass cups) we wandered back to the car and headed home. 

So stunning. 

A couple nights later we dropped my mom off at her hotel in Munich, for dinner we ate at the Hofbrauhaus. It's quite the crazy experience. You have to fight for a table and when you're seated, you're sitting next to people you have never met. There is a band in the middle of the huge open room, playing traditional German music. Beer mugs are covering every table and you have to shout just to talk to your neighbor. Our table-mates happened to be American, so we were able to chat a little bit. I loved the experience!

After dinner, we went and dropped my mom off. I was SO glad she could come visit. I hate living so far from family so when we do get visitors, its hard to let them leave!! 

(we have about 8 months left...who's coming!?) 
{thanks for coming to visit mom, we love you!} 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Holidays: 2013

It feels weird blogging about Thanksgiving and Christmas when the sun is shining on me and I'm wearing flip flops - they seem like they happened forever ago! But, this is happening regardless. I am gonna lump all of our festivities into one long blogposts. So, take a deep breath and dive in! 

After got back from America it was THANKSGIVING time! I didn't have much planning time so thankfully our ward was having a potluck, we hopped in on that awesomeness and spent the afternoon there. After which, we went and saw Frozen!! (We are all pretty obsessed with that movie, along with 90% of America, right?) 

Here is our one and only Turkey Day shot! 

I was excited for Christmas because this year we really knew what to except with the Christmas Markets and they were even more magical than last year! (Think - less confusion. More - "in the know") Plus, this could quite possibly of been our last Christmas in Germany so we wanted to make sure we saw as many markets as possible! 

The first two markets we went to were: Weiden & Guteneck 
Guteneck is probably one of my favorites, only because it has a Renaissance flair to it that makes it pretty fun! 



{I am so obsessed with these highland cows...adorable!!}

Sometime in December we drove down to Munich (a couple hours away) because the wonderful 'Piano Guys' were performing!!! I have seen them a couple times before but, Brad had never seen them and it was well worth the drive. They are so much fun and we had a blast. Bizarre note: performances in Europe always start around 8:00. So stinking late. Kason was a trooper. 

That Saturday we went and got our Christmas tree! We went to the same little Christmas tree farm as last year but, this year we ventured out into the forest and cut down our own tree. 

That same day Grafenwoehr was having their Christmas market that we went to. And if I remember right, our own little town Vilseck, had theirs that night as well. 

{roasted nuts have become one of my FAVORITE snacks over here. oh my goodness, my mouth is watering. they're all delicious.}

At some point in December we also had a 'Bingo Night' at Kason's school (and he won a bingo!), he also had a kazoo concert (random, right?) and our ward Christmas party. 

We also went to the Regensburg Christmas Market which ended up being my all time favorite of the year. It has so much magic and charm! The old man weaving the baskets made me so happy, I am wishing I had bought one of his baskets but, I missed out. (That guy was actually at the Thurn and Taxis market in Regensburg, it was inside the walls of a castle!) 

Kason also had a "Poetry & Pie" day at school where his class rehearsed poems and then we got to eat pie afterwards! 

On Christmas Eve my Mom flew into Munich!! We originally booked her flight to come visit so that Kason and I wouldn't have to do Christmas solo, but then Brad came home early so, it just ended up being a normal Christmas visit. While we were there, we naturally had to hit up the Christmas market there...

{they had these AMAZING window scenes with animals that were all animated...I could have stood and watched it all day. so much fun!} 

We headed home after the Market and got things ready for Christmas. Cookies, carrots, last minute wrapping ... the norm!

{Christmas PJ Tradition}

Christmas morning we had told Kason he could get up at 7:00 and wake us up but not a minute before. Come 8:00 we still hadn't heard him get up, except to go to the bathroom but then he went right back into his room. I started to wonder if he was feeling ok - it was CHRISTMAS! Well, apparently his clock had a minor freakout in the middle of the night because when we went into to go "wake him up" his clock said it was midnight. Uh ... whoops! Sorry buddy! Props on being obedient though! The plus side is, I got to capture his morning excitement...

So, when Brad deployed, I thought it would be super awesome to make him a quilt and send it to him downrange for Christmas. Well, we all know how that plan played out! It ended up getting finished AFTER he got home and not quite as cool of a surprise but, since I had nothing else planned, we just rolled with it. It was my first quilt ever and holy cow - they're expensive and time consuming! But, so fun to see the end result! Thankfully, Brad had no clue that's what he was getting!

The rest of the day was spent playing with new toys, watching movies and getting dinner ready. That afternoon we had Brother and Sister Gordon over for dinner. They are the sweetest missionary couple ever from Utah and they feel like family! I was so grateful to have them over for dinner. I just love them!!!

{we got that tiered tower at the Munich market the day before, love it!!!} 

The food was all amazing, I still dream about it sometimes ;) 

And finally, finally, finally, a horribly lighted picture of all of us. So unflattering but, it's what we've got. 

Merry Christmas 2013!