Glühwein, Bratwurst, cotton candy, crepes, roasting chestnuts – these are just a few of the wonderful smells that greet you as you enter a Weihnachtsmarkt. Booths decorated festively selling everything from leather goods to wooden toys to candles to intricate glass & wooden Christmas tree decorations to puppets line the market area and everyone wandering around seems to be in a happy mood. This is just one reason why I love Germany at Christmastime.
The day after we arrived in Germany, the whole family (except my mom) spent the late afternoon/early evening wandering around the Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt. I was so excited to finally have Loren experience everything I had told him about this wonderful Christmas tradition. The Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt is spread out between 6 city squares, and we wandered through most of them taking in all the sights and smells. It was raining pretty steadily that evening, but it was magical nonetheless.
We couldn’t stay away, so Loren, Emberly and I went back downtown to the market the next day to explore more and dine on Bratwurst and Nutella crepes. Naturally, Emberly just napped the entire time, so we’ll just have to go back when she’s older and can ride the carousel like her big cousin!
If you ever plan on going to Germany (or Europe for that matter) during the Christmas season, I highly recommend checking to see if wherever you’re going has a Weihnachtmarkt!
Christmas has long since come and gone, but here I am finally documenting the greatest holiday.
We arrived in Germany a few days before Christmas to spend the holidays with my parents and a few of my siblings.
Since Christmas Eve was on a Sunday this year, instead of the annual evening Christmas Eve service, we had a special Sunday morning service, then came home to get ready for an evening of family traditions. One of my family’s Christmas Eve traditions is a fondue dinner before opening gifts, so of course that was a highlight. After dinner and a special Scripture reading, the babies & toddler opened their gifts before we put them to bed and the rest of the family opened gifts. (Side note: growing up, we used to open gifts on Christmas Day, but eventually switched to the German way of doing things and opened them all on Christmas Eve.)
On Christmas Day we slept in a little, had a large delicious dinner that my mom prepared, took a walk, had “Kaffee & Kuchen” (coffee & cake) then played some games in the evening.
And now for the barrage of pictures (get used to it, several more posts with lots of travel pics coming).
It’s safe to say that Emberly’s first Christmas was a success, and we were so happy to be able to celebrate with my family in Germany!
This year, after the past 2 Thanksgivings down South, we had another one in Cincinnati with Loren’s family and it was such a good time. Since we packed in so many fun things this holiday weekend, this post is chock-full with pictures of all the things I want to remember.
We headed out for Cincinnati after Loren got off work on Wednesday evening and arrived in time for Emberly to hang out with her aunts, uncle and grandparents for a little bit before she went to bed. After putting her down for the night, the rest of us played a fun game before going to bed at a semi-decent hour.
Emberly had a pretty rough night (not being used to sharing a room with her parents), so Thanksgiving morning Loren let me sleep in a little bit before a leisurely breakfast with everyone. After breakfast, we visited the grandmas (E’s great-grandmas) and then came back home to relax and finish getting dinner ready before the rest of the family members showed up (there were 30 of us!). Once everyone arrived, we snapped some family pictures, stuffed ourselves with all the delicious food, sang a few Thanksgiving songs and caught up on each other’s lives. So many wonderful family members to be thankful for!
A few weeks ago, we decided to make our way down South Carolina for Labor Day weekend so Emberly could meet more of relatives (finally some on my side!).
So, this past Friday, Emberly and I packed up and picked up Loren after work around 3pm, then we headed out of town with the rest of the Midwest. Or so it seemed between the rain and crazy traffic. Emberly did great at first, got fussy during the heavy rain and traffic, then eventually fell asleep for pretty much the rest of the trip. We pulled in to my aunt’s around 2:30am, exhausted, but so glad to be there.
We spent the weekend visiting and catching up with so many relatives and a few friends, and since we took so many pictures, I’ll just let them do the talking.
This past weekend we were in Cincinnati and ventured out to the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival (Taste of Cincinnati) with our friends Caleb and Chelsea. Basically, a few streets are blocked off downtown and several of Cincinnati’s top restaurants set up booths to sell “tastes” of their best food. We walked down the whole length of the festival to scout out our options before deciding on what we wanted. Even between the 4 of us, we only tasted a fraction of the food options, but they were all delicious (not everything we ate made it on camera). There was rain in the forecast for that afternoon, but it never came and it was the perfect afternoon for wandering around stuffing our faces with delectable food.
Thanks for the fun, Cincinnati (and Caleb & Chelsea 😉 )!
This past week we’ve had the most beautiful spring weather and I’ve been soaking it in as much as possible.
We pushed date night to Thursday night and finally saw Beauty and the Beast. Guys! It was amazing!!! I loved everything about it. Just do yourself a favor and go see it.
Loren took the day off on Friday, and in between my work shifts we ran some errands together, then headed to our church’s thought-provoking Good Friday service.
Saturday we spent the majority of the day helping some friends paint their new house. Can’t wait to see it when it’s all done and they can finally move in!
Sunday was Easter! We had a wonderful morning at church fellowshipping with our church family and praising & worshiping the Lord. He is risen indeed!
After church we didn’t take any pictures while dressed up, but finished making dinner together, then had a little Easter picnic on the balcony. It was perfect! That afternoon, I decided to make a strawberry tart while Loren kept plugging away at putting together the IKEA dresser for baby girl’s nursery.
As I mentioned yesterday, we had two parties this weekend. As soon as Abby’s party was over, we headed home to finish setting up for our annual holiday party. I usually like to have a party sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but between weddings, new job training and the holidays themselves, it didn’t happen until now. Which turned out just fine and I may start doing it every January instead of December. It’s all just a plot to keep up my Christmas decorations longer. 😉
Anyway, we squeezed 4 other couples around the table for a Raclette dinner and chocolate fondue. Raclette is a Swiss meal that involves lots of melted cheese and potatoes. We used to eat Raclette regularly in Germany while I was growing up, and when my parents sent me my very own Raclette grill for Christmas, I knew we had to have it for the party.
After we were stuffed, we exchanged white elephant gifts and played a few other games before taking awkward family photos. We had such a fun and laughter-filled night, and once again, I am so grateful for the friendships we’ve established here!
Happy Thanksgiving/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!
One last holiday weekend recap so I can remember it for years to come.
Friday afternoon, we headed back to Cincinnati so Loren could help shoot a wedding. I spent the afternoon working in a cute little coffee shop before meeting up with Carrie for a late dinner downtown Cincinnati at Taste of Belgium. Their specialty is waffles and they did not disappoint.
Saturday (New Year’s Eve), Loren was helping shoot another wedding, but before we had to drop him off, he, Carrie and I headed back downtown for some exploring at the 5 floor Ohio Book Store and a little lunch at Cheapside Cafe.
That evening after running several errands, I went to a NYE swing dance lesson/party with Carrie and her roommates. It was so much fun even if I am horrible at swing dancing and we didn’t get too crazy.
Sunday after church with Loren’s family, we celebrated Dad and Steve’s beginning-of-January birthdays with lunch and birthday cake. Their combined ages equal 100, so they got to blow out their candles together.
I trust your start to 2017 has been great and hope it only gets better!