Sunday, January 21, 2018

Advent and Our Tree

Another out of order post...

Although I decorated for Advent when it began, we didn't have a chance to get our tree until the Sunday before Christmas.  

I may have mentioned this before, but I found Advent boxes for the rest of the children and so now all six kids have a calendar "box" that is reusable.  I just bought the candy to put inside each tiny door.  They do take up a lot of room though!

They covered Brian's new bar  and the top of his beer glass cabinet.

One of the kids won the arch on your right and it is battery operated so we can keep it when we move.  The other arch is a 220V so it will probable be given away before we leave.  I love these arches in our new kitchen windows.

I was under the impression that the landlord was replacing the window that the stockings usually hang on so I found a new place for them to hang.  Turns out I was wrong and they didn't even replace it.
Of course, we had the Advent wreath, the O Antiphons, Nativity scenes, and our crib for baby Jesus out as well.  This Advent we read Ishtar's Odyssey.  We love that series of Advent books and we found out last year there was a new one out and so I had decided to order it then so I wouldn't be caught off guard by Advent this year.

Our neighbor made us this winter decoration.  We found the perfect place to hang it.  
Finally we had a free Sunday with no snow and we went to the tree farm nearest our house.  The pickin's were slim by this time and we settled on a tree that was big enough, but not quite as full as last year.  Last year was the Griswald Family Tree.  This year we called our tree Spike.

You may have guessed why we named him Spike.  This was a rather painful tree to touch and decorate, but Spike was an excellent deterrent for little fingers that weren't supposed to be touching the tree.  If you were nice to Spike and gave him the respect he deserved than he was usually nice to you, but touch him roughly or the wrong way and he got you good.

Fully decorated and with gifts all wrapped below!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Snow Induced Sacrifice

This post seems to have gotten lost and is out of order.  The day that Nanna left, Brian had to take her to the airport.  It was a Sunday morning and so I took all the kids and went to church without him despite the flurries that started coming down and made me hesitate after getting stuck in the snow the Sunday before.  Brian was going to go to Mass during Genna's basketball game later in the day and so I felt it was our only chance to go without changing all our plans, etc.  Plus, if it did start sticking, I was thinking going later would be worse.  All this led to me going to the 9am Mass...

And then we came out of Mass to a blanket of white.  My van was covered and I scraped it off with a tiny ice scraper (all I could find in the van) as Hannah checked my messages to see if Genna still had a basketball game.  Alas, it had been cancelled, so I made the decision to go get gas which was across the street to see how the roads were on post.  I could see they were plowing the roads near me.

At the gas station I asked people how they heard the roads were off post.  They said that it had been coming down too fast and it would take the plows awhile to get around.  I had several friends at Mass offer for me to come to their house which was significantly closer than our house.  We live 45 mins away through back roads because of our detour.  However, after getting gas I messaged those friends and they had all had trouble getting home in their smaller vans.  Our friends that drive a big van like ours had gotten stuck in their village.  I made the command decision to go to the food court and hang out until the snow had topped and the plows could catch up.

This is us sitting in the food court watching the snow.  It would have been much more fun for the kids if we had some warmer clothes to play int he snow in, instead of our Mass clothes!
It was a most boring Sunday, wasting a perfectly good snow day inside, but at least we had food and toys/books that we had in the van.  We didn't risk leaving until around 3pm.

When we got home, we parked the van at the bottom of our steep part of our hill and didn't even try to get up it as it was never going to happen at this point.  There had been a few questionable hills on the way home that I barely made it to the top of, and I wasn't going to push my luck.

Brian had been hanging out because they cancelled the Mass that he was planning to go to.  The kids immediately got on their snowsuits and gloves, etc and went in the front to play while Brian shoveled the driveway and the sidewalk.

Brian ended up going to an evening German Mass.  The kids made a cave and slide with the shoveled snow and played until it was dark.  Then they came in and had hot chocolate with marshmallows.  Whew!  What a day!

Luckily, this was our last big snow until present day and we got 4 new tires the very next week with actual traction!

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Christmas Gift for the Girls

All the girls have been wanting since we found out we were moving to Germany has been to dye their hair a fashion color.  I had a bit of sticker shock after I did my blue last year and so was putting this off, but then we won't be here that much longer, so I decided to make it their Christmas present from their dad and me.  It has been a much enjoyed and long lasting gift for Christmas!  The boys have lost parts of their gifts and broken things already, but this has actually been worth it.

They got to spend half a day at the salon with my hairdresser working on them together.  I was able to drop in and run out to keep the boys busy with friends and such so they didn't all have to sit at the salon all day.  Nobody would have wanted that! 

Hannah chose purple, but it turned out a little pinkish purple.  Don't tell her that though because she is not a fan of pink.  She does love her hair though!  I was hoping to see fewer ponytails and more braids and hair down on her, but, alas, the pigtail hangs behind her. 

Genevieve chose blue streaks and she loves it.  I also got her a little bit of layers in her hair cut too.  She is happy with it too!  Her hair didn't take as well, so we actually went back at the request of my hairdresser to do another foil to get it darker the next week.  It looks a little more navy now than in this picture.  It really brings out her eyes and goes well with her new blue robe that she got from her Mimi which has become her new "uniform" when at home until the second we leave when she trades it for a coat.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Christmas Pageant

This was meant to be fun for the kids and entertaining for the adults, very low key and laid back.  Isaac, Genevieve, and Bobby all wanted to do it.  Hannah and Drew very adamantly did not want to participate so I let them sit out since they had enough kids volunteering.  Judah was unsure, so I encouraged him to do it.

He may not look like a happy camel there, but he got excited about it pretty quickly.  Genevieve was an angel.  Isaac was a Wise Man with Judah as his own personal camel.  :)  Bobby was a bird and was going to stay right with Genna.  I told her that if he wanted me in the middle to just point me out and let him come quietly to me.  

In the back before it began...

See!  He had a good time as it turned out.  he had just fallen asleep on the drive over and took a moment to wake back up.

Genevieve said that Bob got a lot of "Oohs" and "Aahs" as he walked down the aisle.

Bobby made it all the way down there and before Mary and Joseph could get to the stable, he said he wanted his costume off.  Genna helped him strip it off right in the "stage" area and then he ran his cute toddler run all the way to the back to Mama.  Luckily, everyone just thought it was cute and funny.  

A teenager narrated the whole thing and the kids just acted it out.  They all had smiles and it was a success.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Christmas Eve Mass

We rarely all go to Christmas Eve Mass together since having children.  This year I thought we'd give it a try as the "Midnight Mass" was scheduled for 10pm which seemed not quite so exhausting.  Plus, they were having an unrehearsed Nativity Pageant immediately preceding the Mass.  A couple of my children wanted to participate.  I'll let you guess and try to figure out which ones until the next post which has the details and the pictures from the pageant in it.

The Mass went pretty well considering how late it was.  Bobby did take off his shoes, but other than that he hung out with me and didn't cause too much trouble.  Everyone stayed awake the whole time until the announcements at the end (Not sure who thought that was a good way to end a Christmas Eve Mass!) when Judah fell asleep standing up and leaning on the seat cushion.

I guess this is the winner between all the group photos since everybody is trying to smile in the direction of the camera, but it's no shining achievement.  I wish group photos weren't so hard to manage these days.

Bobby Whooping!  Gig'em Aggies!  His favorite book has been Goodnight Aggieland for a while now and his favorite song has been the Aggie fight song.  He asks me to "sing Hullabaloo" all the time.  

Merry Christmas!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Saint Doll

We bought Yankie candles for the teachers at the German Kindergarten.  The boys helped me make cute tags with wrapping paper cut outs and stickers.

I finally finished Brian's other godson's Christmas gift.  His name is Michael and so you can guess who this is.

St. Michael the Archangel, I drew him as tough as you can draw one with a Precious Moments type head.  :)

I stitched the first half of the prayer and used fabric markers to decorate the rest and add his full name.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Meisenheim Christmas Market #6

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, we started the day with Mass.  Driving to church it started rainy.  It had been partly sunny when we left the house.  When we walked into church it had just changed from rain to snow.  Coming out of church the ground was covered in about a half inch of snow.  In a normal car with normal tires that's not a problem, but in my giant rear wheel drive van with questionable quality tires awaiting replacement (takes forever to get parts for this over here) it is a little nerve wracking.  We were late to Brian's Christmas party as it was and the traffic was bad because of the sudden dump of snow.  Luckily, there were no really steep inclines on the way and we made it safe and sound to the party.

After the party, the sun had melted the roads and the snow looked as if it was gone.  We went home and changed for the next Christmas market.  It was still very cold, so we dressed in lots of layers.  Hannah really didn't want to go, and Drew and Judah were also asking to stay home.  She ended up babysitting them while the rest of us took Brian's mom to the market.  It was about 30 minutes away. 

One of the first stalls was a couple of Germans who sang country music and loved Texas.  We stopped to chat with them.  His first words were, "Texas is the best place on earth."  This market was full of woodwork crafts.  We got a couple of candles made of wood and a candle holder carved out of a tree trunk.  There was various live music all along the walk through the Christmas market.  At the very last stall I found myself a nice winter hat since Genevieve has taken over my hat from last year and she looks too beautiful in it for me to take it back.

Speaking of taking my clothes, it looks like that day has finally arrived.  Hannah wore my shirt to the Christmas party.

Christmas Market Buddies

It started snowing as we were already walking to the van and the drive home was rough.  It's dumping snow that fast these days.