Eastern Europe- Christmas 2015: Part 4- Berlin

The train ride to Berlin was one of our longest rides, about 5 hours, the girls did a great job on the train.  Apparently train rides are better than plane rides, they can get up and walk around, they aren’t strapped down, it is so nice!

IMG_5613

We arrived in Berlin got situated and Grammy and Gramps arrived as we were checking into our house.  The girls were excited!  We caught up,. visited and then let them nap while we went grocery shopping.  That night we visited our first of many Berlin Christmas Markets.  This one was in a courtyard, and supposedly very traditional.  It was cute, but SO, SO crowded.  the girls got to shoot plastic darts at the castle invaders and won some prizes.  i was disappointed that this was the first market we showed Kelly and Gerry, but it was fun, and we knew we had several more to visit throughout the week.  Besides, we got our delicious potato pancakes with applesauce… YUM!

IMG_5614 IMG_5616 IMG_5617 IMG_5618 IMG_5619 IMG_5620 IMG_5622

The next morning we headed out to Checkpoint Charlie.  This was the spot during the Cold War that America controlled and allowed passage through the Berlin Wall.  We visited a nearby site where there was a part of the Wall left, and then a couple museums about the Cold War, the most interesting parts for me were the stories about escape attempts- people did some crazy things to get out of East Berlin.

IMG_5624 IMG_5625 IMG_5626 IMG_5627 IMG_5631 IMG_5639

Our next stop was the Berlin Wall Memorial.  This is the biggest remaining chunk of the Wall.  There also was a statue that has matching statues in Salisbury UK and Japan… I had visited the monument in England and Jeff had visited the one in Japan, kind of cool.  It was so interesting to see and learn about all the history in Berlin.

IMG_5642 IMG_5644 IMG_5645 IMG_5647 IMG_5648

That night we visited a Christmas Market within walking distance of our house.  We had our favorite dish of the Christmas Market tour there… pitas with shaved pork and onions, yogurt sauce and cabbage… holy goodness, I wish I could eat it again!  The girls got to play a few more games and we ate our hearts out until we rolled ourselves home!

IMG_5653 IMG_5654 IMG_5657 IMG_5658 IMG_5660 IMG_5661 IMG_5662 IMG_5664

Our next day took us to the Reichstag, which is the Parliament building in Berlin.  The views were great from the top!  Then we walked over to the Brandenburg Gate.  We ate at Jeff’s current travel favorite, Hard Rock Cafe and visited the Lego Store and then we headed to third Berlin Christmas Market… we had goulash, hot dogs in BBQ sauce and Jeff took the girls tubing down a big fake hill (no pictures, it was too dark).  The night before during the duck game Hattie won a pirate set and walked around all day with her pirate sword saying “Arrrrg!”  It was adorable!

IMG_5684 IMG_5685 IMG_5687 IMG_5690 IMG_5693 IMG_5695 IMG_5696 IMG_5697 IMG_5699 IMG_5700 IMG_5703 IMG_5709 IMG_5711 IMG_5713 IMG_5671 IMG_5674 IMG_5682 IMG_5721 IMG_5722 IMG_5725

Eastern Europe Christmas 2015- Part 3: Nuremberg

Our next stop was Nuremberg.  We checked into our hotel, admired their Christmas tree and then headed out to the Christmas Market.  We had delicious sausages, and this delicious pork sandwich with mustard grilled onions, and it was divine!  The girls scrounged and had whatever looked good to them, corn and chocolate covered fruit and a myriad of other food!

IMG_5579 IMG_5581 IMG_5582 IMG_5583 IMG_5584 IMG_5585 IMG_5586 IMG_5587 IMG_5588 IMG_5593 IMG_5595

The next day we headed to the Documentation Center and learned a whole lot about Hitler’s rise to power and the trials.  Nuremberg is the location of all those photos of Hitler in the stadium with the flags behind him and the troops in front.  The history was super cool, and a little disturbing.  We walked back to the hotel and got lunch at a cute German restaurant, the only place we ate where the staff didn’t speak perfect English.  Afterwards we headed to the American theater to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It was fabulous!  Opening day, no crowds, no more than 20 people in the theater, and the lady brought us our drinks and popcorn to our seats!  Hattie fell asleep first things and woke up as the credits were rolling.  The theater owner even gave us a pillow and blanket for her nap!

IMG_5596 IMG_5597 IMG_5600 IMG_5601 UQOX7870 CWYH0904

We headed back to the Christmas Market, walked through the castle and ate dinner again… this time enjoying Nuremberg sausages, which were our favorite.  We ended the night with a bunch of giant chocolate covered marshmallows!

IMG_5607 IMG_5609 IMG_5610 IMG_5612 IMG_0931

The next day we were off to Berlin!

 

Eastern Europe Christmas 2015- Part 2: Frankfurt and our First Christmas Market

We took the red-eye out of Joburg and landed in Frankfurt at 6:30 AM… we hoped to check into our hotel quickly, but it took a few hours.  After we checked in, napped and showered we were ready to visit our first Christmas Market.  It didn’t disappoint.  The atmosphere was so festive, the food was delicious and abundant and the number of fun things to see and explore were innumerable.  It was great.  We had bratwursts and steak sandwiches made on a giant grill, kinderpunsch (the obsession began) and chocolate pretzels the size of our heads.  Delicious and fun!  What a great way to start our vacation.

IMG_5555 IMG_5556 IMG_5557 IMG_5559 IMG_5560 IMG_5561 IMG_5563 IMG_5567 IMG_5571 IMG_5575 IMG_5576 IMG_5577 IMG_5578

Eastern Europe 2015- Part 1: Johannesburg

I know that the title doesn’t make sense, Joburg isn’t in Eastern Europe, but it IS where we started our trip… as always.  We got to spend a couple days in Joburg finishing our Christmas shopping and getting yourselves in the holiday spirit.  We were just so excited for our vacation and a trip with so much cool stuff to do.  While in Johannesburg we visited the Garden of Lights, it was a lovely display, and the girls loved their light up wands more than almost anything they saw!

IMG_5538 IMG_5539 IMG_5541 IMG_5543 IMG_5547 IMG_5548

Get ready for some serious blog overload, it is coming your way over the next bit… aren’t you so excited?!?!

Pre-Christmas 2015

Because we were going to be tripping around on trains, planes and automobiles (just kidding, no cars, just taxis, buses, trams and others) during our Christmas trip we decided to have all the girls open their presents from Jeff and I before we left, we just didn’t need more stuff to haul around Europe!

So the weekend before we left we had a little Christmas celebration.  We watched Home Alone (1 and 2) and had homemade hot chocolate (I will never make it another way again) and opened several presents.  The girls loved it, and it made the trip a whole lot easier for us, without having to ruin Santa and his day.

IMG_0820 IMG_0823 IMG_0824 IMG_0825 IMG_0826

This was the year of homemade gifts… the girls got at least 1 homemade gift.  Sophie got a pineapple quilt (the pineapple craze hasn’t left her life yet), Violet got a doll with a variety of clothes, and Hattie got a bunch of peg dolls (our family and her Frozen friends).  We had a lot of fun, and the girls seemed to like everything, always a plus!

IMG_0829 IMG_0840 IMG_0849 IMG_0864 IMG_0868 IMG_0872 IMG_0873 IMG_0880 IMG_0883

After all that Christmas fun there wasn’t anything left to do but pack and leave on our exciting trip!  We couldn’t wait1

Aerial, Ballet and Cute Girls

A few other pictures that needed to be shared before we leave for vacation!

I went to one of Sophie’s aerial classes to see her progress and was amazed at how strong she has gotten and what a good job she is doing.  So fun to see her learn grow and like this new skill.

IMG_2161 IMG_2164 IMG_2166 IMG_2171

Violet had her last couple days of ballet, so we had to get a couple pictures of the group, they are such cute kindergarteners!

IMG_2150 IMG_2151 IMG_2157

I had to take a few pictures in front of the Christmas tree, we had a lot of, “hold still” and “just smile for one second” before we got this… but hey, one cute pictures is fun!

IMG_0804

Santa Claus in Monte Belo!

We had cookie decorating and a Santa visit here in MB again this year.  As a special treat the ballet class performed before Santa arrived, and they did great!  It was pretty adorable, and they were so excited to be there and not scared at all.  It was a lot of fun, and all their friends got to cheer for them.  There were so many kids there this year… at least 3 times the number from other years!  It was just utterly a mad house in there!  Hattie wanted nothing to do with Santa, she sat on Jeff’s lap, far away from the action and then flipped out when she had to get near him… we like the torture and took a picture anyways!

IMG_2177 IMG_2183 IMG_2215 IMG_2179 IMG_2180 IMG_2187 IMG_2191 IMG_2193 IMG_2217 IMG_2199 IMG_2204 IMG_2205 IMG_2207 IMG_2210

Always an adventure with these girls!

IMG_2202

 

 

End of Term Parties!

The room moms were super on top of things this year and planned end of term parties for the Year 4 and Year 1 kids.  They presented the teachers with their presents and then had a TON of food for the kids, all held during snack time.  It was a lot of fun to go and see the girls play with their friends, and get some pictures of them all together… I think I am getting all nostalgic here, who knew that would happen!?!

For Sophie each parent brought food to share for all 3 classes, the amount of food was insane!  Here are some pictures of Sophie and Molly, and then Sophie with Mafalda, Alissa and Stella.  It has been nice having more girls move here, her age group has been overwhelmingly male since we arrived!

IMG_2113 IMG_2116 IMG_2120 IMG_2140 IMG_2122 IMG_2124 IMG_2125 IMG_2127 IMG_2136

Violet’s Year was mostly organized by room moms, we had a good amount of cupcakes and then a whole bunch of other treats showed up, she definitely didn’t eat her lunch that day… she ate at least 3 muffins… but better muffins than cupcakes, right?  A few of Vi with her buddies, Miranda and Hayley and one of her with Henry.

IMG_2224 IMG_2226 IMG_2229 IMG_2231 IMG_2234

Random November

A few other November things that didn’t fit into other categories!

Hattie found some old stockings in the Christmas box and decided they were pretty good socks!  She is so dang funny right now (and so TWO, if you know what I mean!).

IMG_0784 IMG_0788

There has been a lot of ballet lately… and when Hattie participates she is dang cute.  Violet is getting better all the time, her balance is getting better and maybe she will be flexible one day!

IMG_2035 IMG_2034 IMG_2033 IMG_2027 IMG_2017 IMG_2015 IMG_2099 IMG_2101 IMG_2103 IMG_2108

Hattie likes walking her baby to the bus, and playgroup and several places… and then I get to walk her baby back home afterwards!

IMG_2098

MB Thanksgiving 2015

This was my last year organizing the Thanksgiving here at MB (seriously… I don’t care what else happens, Jeff will kill me if I ever do this again!).  Luckily, I had my friend Roxanne helping me co-chair everything… as always, the event was fabulous and the tables were great!  The hostesses always do a great job decorating their tables, and no matter how different they are they are always beautiful and make the event a success!  This year I remembered to take pictures of all the tables, so I could share them.

IMG_2061 IMG_2062 IMG_2063 IMG_2065 IMG_2066 IMG_2068 IMG_2069 IMG_2071 IMG_2072 IMG_2073

This year I decorated a table with Lisset, we had too much fun.  We visited the local fabric store and bought the fabric for our tablecloth and runner and pooled together resources from our houses… jars from everywhere, lights from me, cute crates from her and a whole lot of flowers from all over the neighborhood.  I loved how it turned out!

IMG_2078 IMG_2079 IMG_2080 IMG_2081 IMG_2082 IMG_2083 IMG_2085

As always I didn’t take enough pictures once the party started, but I did get one of the kids and our table… so at least I took some!

IMG_2088 IMG_2094 IMG_2096