Monday, November 28, 2011

The Days are Just Packed

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with family. We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving here in Germany...but I'm getting ahead of myself! Let's back up to earlier this month....

We enjoyed Lauternenlauf (Lantern Walk) with Kate's German kindergarten. It's a fall tradition here, so it was wonderful to join in with all the other parents and kids. The kids hook a lantern that they've made up to a pole and hold them out while we sing songs. Lots of older siblings had their lanterns and some adults did too. Kate is the first kid on the left.

Now this was typical German fashion, this tradition includes getting outside. So we walked around the park that backs up to the kindergarten, stopping periodically to sing songs. It was definitely chilly but lots of fun. (Except for poor Daddy and his kidney stones...he sure was a trooper!)

And just before Jon went back to the hosptial to get his stones out, Nana came to join us! Here we are at the obligatory bakery visit.

Baking cookies to bring to Daddy in the hospital.

Visiting Daddy in the hospital the night before his surgery.

Very thoughtfully, the girls pelted him with "medicine" from the syringes the nurses gave them. I'm sure he felt loads better after this, especially after being treated on the cafeteria floor.

Nana was a tremendous help while Jon was in the hospital. Because she was with the kids, I was able to help get him checked in (a process that took most of the day) and also to stay with him before, during, and after the procedure. Praise the Lord everything went really well and he's recouperated so fast he was up and around just 24 hrs after leaving the hospital. Now he's stone and tube-free and we're all so glad! Also, he missed two business trips while he was sick, and though we'd rather he be well, it was great having him around the extra time. And thanks a MILLION to my wonderful MOPS ladies who brought us meals for a whole week! Talk about spoiled.

We spent Thanksgiving at Jon's coworker and her family's house. Gwen, Jeff, and their two kids were such fun. Of course, I don't have a single picture of the day, but rest assured there was plenty of food, pie, and seconds! Gwen and Jeff's daughter is also 4, so she and Kate ran around and played together while Ellie tagged along.

We got to do a few other fun things before Nana left, most importantly was visiting Stuttgart's Weihnachtsmarkt. (Christmas Market) The Weihnachtsmarkts sprout up all throughout Europe during the season of Advent and run through Christmas (some even later). We hope to visit several, but it was great to get to visit our first one with Nana.

Riding the train into the city.

The main entrance just off the Schlossplatz.

The booths that make up the market are just astounding. I have since learned that the vendors are responsible for decorating their own booths. And boy are they elaborate! If we had been there at night (the day was cold enough!) it would have been a veritable fairyland. If you can see, this booth boasts one of the legends of the Weihnachtsmarkts--Gluhwein. (glue-vine) Doesn't sound so good but boy it sure is! You can buy food, trinkets, candy, kitchen gadgets, toys, Christmas ornaments, etc. The possibilites are seemingly endless.

And this is a new favorite--cheese fondue with our own baguette. Ahhhhhhh.

Riding the train home after a long but fun day.

Nana, we miss you already! Thank you for the selfless giving of your time, energy and sleep to come visit. We loved our time with you!


Irishdrums said...

Thanks for sharing -- So glad to hear Jon is doing well. I'm impressed he was out and about at Kate's lantern walk despite the stones. I heard the paint from those is worse than child birth. The pics in the market are beautiful, I want to visit Germany during the Christmas season someday -- the cheese fondue looks amazing.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful time! Glad Jon is recuperating well!

Nana said...

What a great time I had with all of you. What a special time of year to see the Weihnachtsmarkt in Stuttgart and then in Darmsheim. I'm back in the states and already missing all of you. Both legs of my flights went well and I even slept through the night last night. I hope the bed project went well and I can't wait to see the posting about that. Again, thanks for everything!
You should see all of the notes Tom left around the house welcoming me home since no one was here when I got back. He is so thoughtful!

Betsy said...

Loved all these terrific pics. So nice to see the lantern walk...brrrr! Love Kate's lantern. All the pics give us a good idea of Jon's adventure...the one he hopes to forget. Thank goodness he had all his girls, including his fab mother in law, to encourage and support him! The German festival looks wonderful, right down to the cheese fondue! Love the side pics, too. Love to all...G+P

Anonymous said...

What a fun time of year to be in Germany. It was nice to see the pictures of the Christmas markets. Al saw them many years ago when he was there on business.
So glad they let the girls in the hospital to see daddy. It was obvious that due to the good care by the girls, he was able to get home so quickly!!Love you, A&J

Shari Baker said...

I imagine that it's very hard to not be in the States for Christmas, but wow, the Christmas there in Germany looks amazing. This is a once in a lifetime experience for you all! I love the community-focused activities, like the lantern walk. That is so sweet!

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