We went to get our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Around here you see these people made out of hay bales. One day, as we drove past a female one, Rob said, "Hey girl!" And this has become a family joke. Every time someone spots one they yell at it, "Hey girl," or "Hey man!" And once Jake even yelled "Hey marshmallows" at some wrapped in white plastic still sitting in the field. We all find this very funny, even though we realize it is completely silly and dorky. Actually, that might be why we find it so funny.
It is also Christmas market season here in Germany. Christmas markets are a magical place where you can eat many, many yummy things, ride rides, listen to music, drink a lot of hot wine (if that is your thing,) see the lights, shop for souvenirs, and just generally feel the magic. The kiddos like the rides and anything involving chocolate or Nutella the best.
At our local market Amelie and Jake rode in the stroller. It was pretty cold out, but we were sufficiently bundled up.
We also revisited one of our favorite medieval cities- Michelstadt. Is it half-timber homes, the easy parking, the old city walls, the ice cream shops in summer, the bakeries in winter, the CUTENESS?
I can't put my finger on exactly why, but we just love this place.
This trip, we found one more reason to love it. A little old German lady stopped us along the way and asked us if we knew about the toy museum. Ummmm, no, we did not know about this! She told us she had four children as well and then gave us directions and as it started to rain outside we found ourselves in a free museum with antique toy displays, interactive play area, one floor of local history, and an entire floor of working model trains! We love you, Michelstadt.
Spinning in the toy museum.
Then back out to the Christmas market for more bratwurst, pommes, kartoffelsuppe, crepes, mandelbrot, kinderpunsch, and so on. Yum!
Visiting the Christmas markets was one of the activities in our advent calendar this year. Another one was making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers. Some of the other fun stuff, that I didn't photograph, included: hot cocoa and Christmas books night, decorating the tree, a candlelit dinner, Christmas movie nights, making paper snowflakes, having friends over to make ornaments, and delivering treats to neighbors. Each day also had a scripture that had to do with the Savior's birth for us to read together.
I put the lights on the tree, but then let the kiddos decorate it this year. I thought I would rearrange ornaments after they went to bed, but I didn't. It was fine, they had fun, and I think all Christmas trees look pretty.
Especially when a cutie like this so lovingly hangs her ornaments. Of course, she took them off and rehung them nearly every day this month, but so it goes.
The big kids are off of school for two weeks now and we started it off by doing a very smart thing. I found this lovely 12 year old young lady (in the picture) who is willing to come to my house and play with my children (for a reasonable fee.) She came over on Monday and helped us decorate cookies. I was also able to make a double batch of cinnamon rolls, do the dishes, and take a peaceful shower without any children killing each other. She also helped clean up and we had a productive happy day. I will likely have her come back again after Chirstmas.
And finally, Miss Ami would like to remind you to love the baby Jesus. (The piece from the Nativity that she is holding to her face.) We love the ribbons and bows, the lights and the gifts... but Christmas "does not come from a store," Christmas DOES in fact, mean a whole lot more.
Merry Christmas from the Anderson family.