Friday, March 13, 2009

Christmas Time In Germany

Christmas is probably my favorite time here in Germany. Everything is cold, sometimes white with snow, it gets dark really early and the Weinachtsmarkts are open. These are a special event that I truly enjoy. The last time I went to one, though, was before I was pregnant with Katja. Since then, I have been pregnant or pregnant or with a newborn or two in the hospital, you know the story.
So, this Christmas was special. I went to the Weinachtsmarkt.

Weinachtsmarkt in Hannover

Here is a picture of this big thing they build in the middle of the city. It looks like a giant Windmill. They sell Gluwein and Cocoa and food from this building. They have many of these, only smaller stands all over the city. That is the joy of the whole thing. You can shop and buy neat little crafty things. You can just stroll and eat. The whole city is lit up with Christmas lights.

Christmas Tree by the Marketkirche in Old City Hannover

Each city that has a Weinachtsmarkt has a Christmas tree. Ours is in the old part of the city next to the market church. We do not have much of an old city left after the Allied bombings. There is a great Weinachtsmarkt in a town close to us, Celle. They still have many old, old houses. I want to go there next year.

Nanny Sarah's parents came to visit us from Canada.

They stayed with us for a week. They had a great time and the girls really liked them a bunch. Baby Sarah thought that Papa Nielson was super.

She has good taste!!

They did a bunch of traveling and playing hockey.I had a great talk with Sarah' Mom, Donna, about how on Earth you can survive with five kids and how to handle things financially. I think I will post her ideas about that later. We celebrated an early Christmas celebration with them before they flew home to Canada. I did check their suitcases before they left to make sure they had not tried to take one of my babies!!!

Then I decided that the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas day we would take it easy and have no guests. It never turns out that way. Uncle Wolfgang is a bachelor and I cannot tell him not to come. He is always invited. So, as usual, I got a bit carried away and tried to cook this major Christmas dinner.We do not have frozen rolls here or Betty Crocker, so I made homemade rolls. They were the best part of the meal. I did a turkey, and homemade dressing (again, there is no Stove-Top here. No Stuffing at all in fact). Then I went online and found a recipe for Green Bean and Blue Cheese Gratin. I cooked that while watching the video online. God, my computer was my best friend. I looked up a bread recipe on it and was tabbing back and forth between the green beans and "how to tell if your turkey is done" and giving orders to Samantha. I am out of my mind. It will probably happen again next year.

Samantha and Uncle Wolfgang

Baby Sarah looking cool in the new outfit Nanny Sarah bought her.

My sister helped out with the present buying (thank you again Aunt Becky) which was a Godsend.We also got a donation from a nice lady in Midland. We payed off the medical debt with donations, a gift from my Dad and by selling off things on ebay. There was not anything left over for Christmas. So, I was so happy when I was actually able to buy them presents. It turned out wonderful.

Where did all the presents go??

I really wish Germany had a Walmart here that I could go to during Christmas and get a Christmas position at. I did that one year when I was single with Samantha. I worked a bunch and put presents on layaway and was able to make that year successful. There is just not an easy way to earn cash here.

Christmas was a success. I learned a bunch this year. I am going to buy stocking stuffers throughout the year. I am also going to try not to cook another Turkey. It is for the birds!!

Katja's Third Birthday

So, much has happened. It has been three long months since I last posted. With five children, I am amazed when I get the laundry caught up and shower. Let alone write a post on my blog!! So, I will attempt to catch everyone up on the last three months. I will start with November.

Katja Turns 3

Katja turned three years old a week after the twins celebrated their 2nd Birthday. She was in full princess mode with a crown and everything. There is no doubt that this little girl is that, all girl.
She was so proud of her crown. She told her Oma about it here on the phone in German and then Grandpa Taylor about it on Skype on the computer. She talked about it for weeks. She actually got two crowns, and a pretty white shirt that said Princess on it. Pretty pink play earrings. Man, she has it made. I still am amazed that I get to go through this whole princess stage with five girls. I am so lucky.

She got a new babydoll.

Not that we need another one but she was a bit jealous that the twins got one the week before and I wanted to avoid all fighting. But, give me a break. They still are fighting over them. Anyway, she really was proud of her baby and her crown.
Michael had a friend from work over but we kept the party small. I cannot imagine doing a big party for each child, every year. So, we are trying to do an every-other-year rule and then maybe it wont get so crazy.

Nanny Sarah's parents in Canada sent a present for Katja.
That was really nice.
See here here wearing both crowns
and holding the gift from Canada.

Nanny Sarah's parents are always sending things to the girls. I think they want Sarah to sneak one home with her in her suitcase when she leaves.

So, now she is 3 years old. I am talking to her about how big that is and how important it is to be my big girl helper. She seems to like her status. She is very stubborn though. I am also concerned because she seems to have a very anal cleaning streak. This sounds okay in theory but Katja wants to control everything and keeps everything meticulously clean. It is scary. I cannot even get the chance to cut her nails because she has bitten them down so short that there is nothing there to cut. I may have to read up on this type of child. Never seen anyone like it in my life.
She is speaking English again to me. That is so nice. Ever since Nanny Sarah arrived, things have gotten so much better as far as the verbal side of the children. Katja and I have real conversations. I am really hesitating sending her to a German preschool. I have heard from other mothers and seen it out in the public, once the child enters the German school, they stop speaking the mother language. They understand it but speak back in German. I have seen so many Turkish and Russian families here where the parents are speaking in the mothertongue and the child is answering in German. I think they should be able to speak both. I have had so many Germans tell me that I should not want my child to speak in English to me. I should give up my culture and embrace the German one. We will see about that.

Anyway, November was a success. That leads us to December. Christmas was coming and I was actually not pregnant and able to go to a Weinachtsmarkt. I will write about Christmas in my next post. I have to go and nurse baby Sarah.