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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Germay: How we kept entertained...

We were in Germany for two weeks and we had a few little kiddies to haul around and keep occupied. Not an easy task, let me tell you! Here's most of what we did on our trip.....

Thankfully, Ty brought his computer and along with it some of his games. He, of course, started playing Warcraft 3. To pleasure of the parents the boys rallied around it like it was the coolest thing since regular milk (ours wasn't all that amazing). They each took turns and Ty taught them the ropes. Here's a picture of my nephew Troy. He's like a Video Game Prodigy or something.
Ty can't believe the kids just beat his score. Lol. Either that or they broke his computer.

This is the little toaster/convectional oven we had in the apartment. This was the only way to heat things up other than the stove. There's two little lasagnas in there. It was kinda rough not having at least a microwave, but we made due.
We played lots of games while we were there. Lots and lots of games. :)
After awhile, in the apartment, things started to get a little weird.
We decided to head over to Triberg ("Treeberg"), to see the lights and the Waterfall show.
This video isn't all that great, but you can see a man holding and tossing around "fire sticks". I wish my camera would have worked better for this because it really was pretty cool.
You can see the waterfall, at one point when the light flashes on it. Oh yeah, and the guy holding the sticks with fire is standing on a bridge over the waterfall and is totally bare on top. We were bundled as well as could possibly be, but were completely freezing. I hope that fire kept him plenty warm. If you would like to see a better video of this guy's show, check out this link. Incidentally, Triberg's waterfall is the largest in all of Germany.

There were so many things we didn't see that night, since we got there kinda late. So we decided to go back for a day and see what else there was to offer.
My Dad was really excited to see the Brett Family Singers. If you watch BYU-TV then you might have seen them before. My parents actually met them when they went to church. The church there is still small and growing, so they only have one ward for a very big area. They were both very surprised to meet other Americans there. Papa Brett went on his mission to Hamburg and spoke very good German.
Mama Brett had gotten very sick and was in the hospital the day before (Sunday) this performance and didn't want to risk being outside in the cold. VERY understandable.

After their "outdoor show", we cuddled up next to the fire they had just down from the amphitheater.

Where we ran into the missionaries. Haha, this picture says so much about each personality.
After a bit of walking around, and window shopping, we went to the Brett Family's indoor show. It was interesting to see how popular they were there. Just FYI, yes Briahna has a brace and cast on her leg. I believe she actually injured it while on this trip.
If you would like to see more of what we saw, go to this link. This is actually a professional video, but it's crazy to see those things and think I could have been in the video because we were so close to those things that were going on. Here's a link to the Brett Family's site if you'd like to take a gander.

Moving right along on the excursion. My grandparents took us (i.e. showed us the way) to Switzerland, where my brother and dad almost got their fingers bit off by the birds.

On New Year's, we went crazy with fireworks.

Next we saw, probably the hugest, Advent Calendar in the world.

Which was right next to the castle, Schloss Sigmaringen.
This was the closest we got to taking pictures inside.
Okay, so I was still outside. Ty was actually "inside" the castle in his picture.

We were not aloud to take flash photography because it ruins the the paintings they have inside.

So many things to do and yet so little time....but there are definitely more pictures to show you.....

Germany: Family and Temporary Dwellings

The best part of going to Germany was that we got to see and visit with family. We got to meet my uncle's girlfriend/partner in crime/sorta wife person (it's complicated can you tell) and "their" daughters. Most of the time we spent ALL together was in the house that we were renting from and elderly couple who live there as well.

These are some pictures that my Opa took of the place we stayed when they first went to look at it:

This is only the side of the house, but really this is the side we saw the most, since we were coming and going so much.

This is the little cottage behind the house where my uncle's family stayed while they came to visit us.

View looking over from the cottage.

This is the lady that we were renting from. She and her husband live in left half of the second floor. Sweetest woman alive! When Ty and I first got there, her family was there having their Christmas dinner and they all welcomed us in and invited us to stay and drink with them. They looked at us like we were crazy when we told them we don't drink alcohol. Haha, it was good fun.

The inside of the house wasn't enormous, but quite comfortable. As you can see by the pictures below there was quite a few of us gathered together. My "Aunt" Petra looked like she swallowed a football as she said, "This is such a big family." And we're only getting started. Not quite enough seating, but plenty of people to keep us preoccupied.

This is the little kids room.
You see these small beds? Ty and I had two that we pushed together so we could sleep next to each other. Honestly, not the best sleep I've ever had. Funny story about the blankets. Some of you might know about this already, but in Europe they have this thing about blankets. While visiting a friend, she gave us a tour of their very modern and newly built home. When we came to the bedroom we notice the same pattern of separate blankets that had been creeping around everywhere we went. We told her in the states we just have one big blanket that we share. She looked at us shocked and disgusted and replied, "Oh! I'll share everything, but NOT MY BLANKET!!" Hahahahahaha. I'm not really biased towards them. It's not very condusive to cuddling.

This is my mom and her baby brother Werner (after my Opa). He is such a sweet guy and pretty funny. He's constantly thinking of others. He gave each of us (nephews, niece, and sister) 50 Euros for Christmas. I love my German family and I will miss them dearly.

These are my Omi and Opa. Aren't they such a cute couple!? Can you believe my Omi will be 85 this year? I know, I'm in shock! I love having European heritage....means I have great skin. My Omi even said so. :)

Holy lots of pictures BATMAN!!! And more to come.....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

German Christmas

If I stretch far back into my memory bank and attempt to locate the earliest Christmas memories stored in my brain, it would be when I was five and my family traveled to Germany. We were there for a month so I have quite a few memories of that particular trip. This time, was quite a bit different than the last. The weather was none co-operative for some of my family, while it seemed that others took the weather and snubbed it in the face. Some lost luggage (that after some waiting, was finally returned. Others had no trouble whatsoever with baggage issues. One of the biggest differences by far was the number of people we had in our company. A grand total of 15!

Ty and I actually flew into Stuttgart on Christmas Eve. As soon as we were out of baggage claim and met my dad and brothers, I immediately burst into tears. (Me + long distance airplane travel = a migraine = uncomfortable travel experience). On the way to the place where all of the siblings (minus the youngest, he stayed with my grandparents) were staying, we stopped off at my Omi and Opa's apartment. It was a short visit, since Ty and I were just plain exhausted. Back at the farmhouse (literally), everyone was eagerly awaiting our arrival. Okay, so it was more like the arrival of their husbands and news on if they're luggage had finally arrived. At around 1 AM, we finally settled in for our Christmas Eve nap.

The next day, we got dressed and ready and headed over to my grandparents abode once more for Christmas dinner and presents.
The place settings at the table. It was assigned seating.
After dinner we settled into the Living Room for opening gifts from Omi and Opa.
I didn't get any pictures that night of me or Ty and the others I'd rather not share. However, we did have a lot of fun. Ty and I both love the clock that my grandparent gave to us.

I still have yet to figure out where I'm going to put it in our little home, but it's so beautiful and I'm sure we'll find a place for it.

By the end of the night we were all so exhausted.
These two were so tuckered out that they didn't eve notice sleeping on the little seating next to the table.

After the festivites were over, we headed back and unloaded. We were still somewhat jet-lagged and our sleeping schedules were completely off balance. Again, we found our way to sleep much too late that evening, but a great day in the end.

How was your Christmas?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weeee're BaaaAAaack!

So, now that we've finally made it home, and are finally starting to settle into a normal schedule (took us long enough, I know), I'm back to the blogging world! There are so many pictures and so little time that I'm really not going to be able to put up half the ones I'd want to. And quite honestly, I wish I would have taken more. I'm going to have to separate this into parts. Which means (pause for dramatic affect).....I'm going to have to post something different every day....or so.

I won't go totally crazy with a new post right now, but I will leave you with this picture of some of our fellow passengers....That's right! We traveled with Santa and his Mrs. Claus! I know, you're jealous. Well, it was the day before Christmas Eve and I believe something was amiss with their reindeer, so we gave them a ride up to the North Pole. You know, since we were going that way.....seriously.

Mrs. Claus was a hoot! And there was little kids everywhere completely thrilled to see him so close. Oh, and apparently Santa is diabetic. So, next year, go the Sugar-free route, and save the rest for yourself! Haha. The really funny part was that we actually ended up traveling back to the states with this famous couple, only they were a bit more inconspicuous.

****FYI: That is his real beard!!! How cool is that?!****
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