It’s beginning to feel alot like…

9 Dec

…Christmas! Amiright?! I have been waiting for this day for weeks now- when I can finally say that ‘this time NEXT week…’ we’ll be on a plane over the Atlantic headed for HOME! Oh Lord, I just don’t have any words. I was telling my mom last night on the phone how my whole perspective has changed this year. Well, that’s true on so many levels, but in this instance, I was talking about the whole coming home, being home for the holidays, surrounding yourself with those who make your world complete…Being away from home- so far away and immersed in a completely different culture- really brings alot of focus to what matters most. Especially this time of year. It sure is going to feel like one big, weeks-long bear hug. All three of us are counting on it ❤

So in honor of this one week countdown, I just wanted to share some of our holiday pics so far. We’ve really been having alot of fun with the season this year- Neve is the absolute PERFECT age right now for all things Christmas and we LOVE it. And this year, she’s getting to celebrate the season in a whole new way, too- with German traditions at kindergarten, so we’re learning things right along with her!

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Christmas carols and hot tea and twinkly lights to end the day…

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John knows me so well. When he ‘brings me flowers,’ he almost always goes for the most creative, funkiest arrangement he can find. And they’re always our perfect centerpiece.

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The Advent Calendar is always one of her favorite parts of December!

Even with bare trees and temps in the 30s, we have still managed to have some amazing sunsets. Neve and I have actually started to really love our rides home from gymnastics because we get to see some of the most beautiful natural paintings. This week, we made a game out of counting as many colors as we could in this sunset ❤

If any of you have ever been to Germany this time of year, then you know how awesome they do Christmas. Seriously. I’ve never been a place that goes as all out for the season as here. It’s amazing. The stores, the streets, the famous markets…Everywhere you turn is Christmas. And on a grand scale, with all different styles. Trees, lights, music, warm drinks, fresh baked goods…Definitely our kind of place 😉

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Our shopping mall below our house…

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Modern take on visiting Santa…

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At my favorite shopping mall, Breunigerland.

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And speaking of Christmas markets, we finally made it out to one of the most well-known all around, the Medieval Esslingen Market. Can’t believe it took us this long to get to it as it’s only about 30 minutes away at most. The town itself is so cute, but the market was downright awesome. And huge. What sets this market apart from the rest is that, in addition to the regular stuff, a huge part of it is a time warp back to the middle ages. The huts are primitive, the vendors and many of the people walking the streets are dressed in animal hides or rags, the wares they’re selling are handmade in medieval style and they’re preparing delicious, simple foods over open flames and clay ovens. It was TERRIFIC.

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You can see the mean physically turning the medieval Ferris wheel! So neat.

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Looks can be deceiving. This was plain sweet bread wrapped around a stick. And it was the most delicious thing ever. Yeasty, doughy, warm, chewy…Jeez.

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This past week, we crossed off two super important items from our list- family flu shots and pictures with Santa! Woohoo!

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Thumbs up for keeping flu bugs away! 😉

In addition to finding our new favorite Christmas market ever (I’m really not kidding), the other highlight was probably our baking day. My mom and I bake homemade goodies for friends and family every single year- we have since I was in at least highschool, maybe earlier than that. It’s one of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions. Getting our list together, spending entirely too much time deciding on what we’re going to bake this year, buying all the groceries, destroying the kitchen for an entire day while listening to Christmas music and sampling as we go, packaging the fruits of our labor and hand tagging each and every one…I adore all of it. Well, this was our first year not doing it together (yep, we even got to do it last year here in Germany because they were here with us!) and I knew it would be a tough time. Long story short- once again, my husband needs a gold star. He really, really, really stepped up and made the whole day so beyond special. Like, I could get teary just typing about it! Not even just the day itself, but weeks before when we sat down to make our list and to go through recipes to decide what we’d bake. He- and Neve- both went all out and it made for the most perfect family day. Y’all, we baked for 7 hours straight- neither of us sat down the entire time, not even once. When something was in the oven, we were prepping something else…or cooling or packaging or sampling ;). For me, there’s just something about sharing homemade goodies with your nearest and dearest that really captures the spirit of the season. Oh, and for anyone curious- we did my famous Cookie Butter Iced Brownies, Shortbread Funfetti Bites and Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark ❤

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And of course, Mr. Clark Pricklepants has been having way too much fun while we’re asleep. Neve just loves hunting for him- and laughing at his antics- each and every morning ❤

And now I’ll leave you with one of my newest favorite pictures. It was taken last night after a wonderful early Christmas celebration with our tribe. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, took up their entire back room, ate, drank and were the merriest of merry. It was perfect and effortless. And this picture just captures it so perfectly. ❤

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4 Responses to “It’s beginning to feel alot like…”

  1. jsimssr December 10, 2016 at 3:55 PM #

    Looking forward to seeing all of you. Had a nice visit with your Dad yesterday .. Talked too much about our sun damage and dermatologist.

    Hello to John and Neve.

  2. Georgia December 10, 2016 at 2:33 AM #

    Great pictures & great memories. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Robin December 9, 2016 at 8:30 PM #

    Great post. Counting down the days here until your arrival – can’t come soon enough. Your mall is decorated differently this year – don’t know why I assumed it would be the same every year. Really glad Neve and John baked with you this year. I have missed our tradition here and I’m sure our friends will miss what we usually take them.

  4. Eleanor December 9, 2016 at 8:14 PM #

    Thanks for this blog and the pictures. So anxious to see you three. I know you will have the merriest of Christmas ever! Love you.

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