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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our First Bavarian Christmas

No denying it is hard being away from home when the holiday season starts.  SO, we did our very best to delve into the amenities here in our neck of the woods (as well as a bit beyond our "woods" too).  As you'll see in my next post, we ended up with a lovely European and American holiday season put together.

I kicked the holiday season of right!  Nothing like a spontaneous Barcelona trip with old friends, Katherine who lives in London and Nina who lives in Chicago!  Is there anything better than friends who, though you haven't seen them in years, feel like you saw them just the other day?
The view of the bay from the W bar.
My first Gaudi architecture
What a neat way to decorate for the Christmas season.
I really enjoyed Barcelona's version of the Christmas market: lots of little artisan booths with art and jewelry.
The Christopher Columbus statue.
Great find for lunch.  Tapas at the oldest restaurant in Barcelona.
Passing by the opera house.
The market
The Basilica.  Amazing nature-inspired Gaudi architecture and fascinating to see how they continue his vision even today.  Still a work in progress!
The view from the gardens over the city.
Meanwhile, back in Germany!  We should have made a point to really enjoy this snow as it turned out to be just about all we would get!  So strange after last year's feet upon feet all the way until May!
Snuggle time
Having the arena and Lego play area within all to ourselves….
Thanksgiving!  The Marriott in Munich had a quite nice buffet, so we still got our turkey fix!
Pool fun with friends!  We're becoming regulars at the indoor pool, Westbad, in a nearby Munich neighborhood, Pasing.
The pool is also where Levi apparently puts the moves on.  This day he coolly swam up to sweet Maddie and very deliberately planted two kisses right on her mouth, as all the moms died with laughter!
Dr. Levi.  He has a very gentle and calm bedside manner.  I am often told my shot WILL hurt, but to close my eyes, roll up my sleeve, and think of something happy….Then I am pronounced "healthy and strong."
Always a highlight of the week, FaceTime with Jacobi.
An excellent line of traffic.  He has quite the fascination with it ever since we've actually be stuck in traffic here in Munich.
I love this.  Now and then he lines up his cars so they are talking to each other headlight to headlight.  Won't play with dolls, but the same function….
Christmas in Munich
Germans have a very specific way of celebrating Christmas with their famous Christmas markets.  We enjoyed going to various towns and spots in Munich to see how they each celebrate.  For the most part, there is a general theme: Glühwein, booths selling traditional German trinkets and toys, some artisan booths, sausage and crepe booths, sometimes some music or a band….Mostly it is the ambience of enjoying the cold with a hot drink and wandering with friends.  Of course, we miss some of the ways that America celebrates, in particular an explosion of decorations and lights on individual houses, which is not a tradition here.  But we had plenty of time to enjoy both the German and then American tradition with our visit home.

Santa's visit in our Munich Momies play group was, well, EXTREMELY traumatic for poor Levi.  Tears, screaming, and hiding out in the girls' bathroom for about 20 minutes until we were sure it was safe.  However, "Santa" had left a present for him when we return to the room: the same car that he had chosen for many of his Indiana friends.  How did Santa know!?
Christmas Markets
Bad Tölz
Beautiful sunset, carousel, friends, terrifying Santa sightings which we survived…..
This picture Cracks.Me.Up
Residenzplatz Market
Levi's first kinderpunch….
Always a favorite, always the most crowded, but rightfully so.
Our friend, Edyta, Max, Alex and Rob joined us
Santa-sighting which we again survived in the pioneer-style market
In Starnberg's little market we found an American cooking BBQ!  Levi was obviously thrilled.
And hot chocolate after...
One of our favorite towns, Landsberg am Lech.  Great market, beautiful setting, not too big/not too small, not too crowded…..A favorite (save the tantrum Levi threw, but otherwise…..)
Angry boy.  Perhaps over the markets?  
Christmas party with our friends at Abel's house!
Levi and Mommy School
Levi's biggest obsession of the month was telling stories.  It is his greatest pleasure to give me a "story prompt" by presenting me with a lavish idea and then saying, "That's my story prompt!  Can you tell me that story, pleeeeeeeeaaaaase!?"  Most of them have to do with his Indiana friends and family coming here to Germany.  
He also continued his obsession with counting to 100.  If he starts in on counting, get comfy.  You will be there until he finishes.  

My little man has his own ideas.  He told me he would surprise me and then came downstairs with this massive rug from his room.  
Writing/reading practice with shaving cream bath fun.
A fantastic way to practice odds and evens.  Love Montessori math.
Clock fun!
Water and oil.  No matter how hard you stir, we all know what happens….
The rare worksheet
My little chef!  I love the bravery that the Montessori method gives both the parent and the child to trust them with big jobs.
Fruit salad!
Popsicles!  Works great with our constant talk of liquid/solids/gas.
And his own creation.  A heavily-spiced marscapone cake of his own creation….We'll keep working.
Levi Says:
  • [As I hung sight words we had made all over his room] Moommy, I think you are doing a great job!  Look at all these sight words everywhere!!
  • Me: "Levi, do you like your hair short or long?" Levi: [without missing a beat] I like my hair blue.
  • [Post-Pines of Rome dancing] Phew!  I need to rest….Phew, that is a lot of dancing!
  • [Talking about his buddy, Maddie, getting hurt] We were worried about sweet Maddie.
  • [First post-nap words one day as he snuggled on the couch] I love football.
  • Me: "Levi, that smelled awful." Levi: [completely matter-of-fact] I'm having toots from my butt.
  • [Observing cheerleaders during a Colts game, in confusion] Do they have things on their hands?
  • [When the dogs bark in the backyard] Dogs!  No barking!  You're better than that!
  • Cal's the best.
  • Counted all the way to 100 in the middle of dinner and then exclaimed, "Lift off!"
  • Daddy: "One more book.  Let me see your 1 finger."  Levi: [holding up one finger] "And I'm going to toot one more time."
  • He really enjoys backing up to me, trying to put his behind on my leg and then telling me, "I'm going to put my toots on you."  Ugh.
  • [After I bumped my head] Shhhhh, shhhhhh…Mommy, are you okay?
  • Lots of, "I would like to [fill in the blank with whatever it is he wants], as well."
  • [Frequently stretches as tall as he can and then with a look of disappointment says] But I'm not as tall as you…..
  • [Any time he doesn't want to do something] I'm not too sure.
  • [After I kissed his forehead] Oh, Mommy, you are giving me kisses a lot.  You are full of love and kisses.
  • [Still adjusting to Luke being gone.  One day after crying because he misses his friends and family:] Levi: "Luke is sick." Me: "No honey, Luke isn't sick anymore.  He's in Heaven." Levi: "Where's Heaven?  Is it over there?" [Points to the woods behind our house.] Me: "No, honey, Heaven is where God lives.  We can't get there until he's ready for us to come."  Levi: "When Luke is better, maybe he'll come back."
  • I miss Luke.  And if Cal and Gracie go to Heaven there will be no dogs.  We will be just us….all by ourselves.  I wish that Luke would come back.
  • [Petting the dogs first thing in the morning] Dogs, are you gracious?
  • [Whenever Mommy has to admit she doesn't know something] Maybe we should ask [fill in the blank with a grandparent] about it.  They know a lot about things.
  • Oatmeal is pronounced, "Opemeal."
  • [Getting a pinch bossy.  After I sang a song incorrectly] Oh Mommy, you're singing it wrong.
  • Brad: [while driving] "Watch out, clown!" Levi: "Where's the clown, Daddy!?"  Brad: "Oh, no, it was just someone driving crazy."  Levi: "Where's the clown driving crazy!?!?"
  • [EVERYTHING is his "favorite".  While discussing a shopping list:] Bags are my faaaaaavorite!

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