Monday, December 5, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It's Monday.
I'm reclining on my couch. There is a cold cup of coffee a little too near my olfactory system for my liking. Maybe I will reheat it in a minute and finish drinking it. 

For the moment, I am forcing myself to relax because starting tomorrow there is activity every single day of the week until Christmas and today is THE last day to myself.  I have four children. Know what that means for the "happiest season of all"? It means four separate Christmas programs, Christmas Market field trips, and four separate class parties. This month also brings with it obligatory office parties. It means a Christmas program at church because, "the community needs to know what Christmas is really about" and if you don't volunteer we will glare at you until next Christmas season and make you feel like scum until you redeem yourself. (This may be an exaggeration.)

'Tis the season!

I wanted to catch up on 2016 before 2017 gets here. I feel a need to document, scrapbook? log? some of the memories we've made over the last several months.
First the hubs deployed (very unexpectedly) over the summer. The kids and I made the most of it, I think. We spent our days at the pool and our late evenings on bike rides in the dark with glow sticks. We even had another small garden this year which yielded carrots, strawberries, red potatoes, and cherry tomatoes. This summer was not oppressively hot like last year. I took 2 of the kids to a summer camp up near Berlin and the 2 youngest and I stayed in a nice hotel for the week and had such a relaxing memorable time. Of course, there was always the ever looming shadow of missing someone but when life gives you lemons.... know what I mean?

When Rob returned we headed straight to Austria and holed up in a cabin for a full week! We hiked, explored waterfalls, and ate til we were fat. It was just lovely. 

 Pictures do not do this view justice. This is what we lived in for the week.

 Some creek exploring.

 We visited the creek at the end of each day. It was the perfect way to unwind.
See the half naked kids in the background? No arctic creek water phased them!
 Campfire and sunset each evening.

 Daily hike to rest the soul.

Daddy fixing blisters.
This hike was a brutal 11 miles to the place that was called Hitler's "Eagle's Nest". He allegedly entertained diplomats and such there. It was an interesting piece of history and I'm glad we made the effort to climb to the very top, where there is now a restaurant, yes, we ate.

Maginot Line in France
 After WWI The French made this massive set of fortifications to keep Germany out. Germany went around through Belgium and invaded anyway. The history here is just so astonishing to get to visit.

 We ended up with food poisoning here from a McDonalds. It was a mild case but enough to put a damper on the trip. We do hope to go back and see more of the historical side of Prague. 

This is not a real man. 

The quaint mountain town we stayed in outside of Prague.

Budapest, Hungary
 Phillip, ever curious, helping build a fire at the cabin we stayed in. It rained nearly the whole weekend but that did not deter the kids from playing outside and they jumped on the trampoline for hours.
The Basilica. I'm told the largest building in Hungary? But not sure if that is accurate. It was an awesome sight to behold. 
 At night.

A bridge on the border of Hungary and Slovenia.


The colors of fall.

Thanksgiving at home.
Here is Sophie practicing her culinary skills.

She and Phillip were in charge of appetizers. 

Robert (and Grace not pictured) had pie crust duty.

Candlelight dinner. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! 


  1. As always, love the pictures and being allowed on the trips with you guys. I had dreams of renting a place in France or Germany and doing some touring but age got in the way. We only took one- one week whirlwind tour, with 90% of it on the road.
    Believe me he kids will remember and recite their history with friends and acquaintances for the rest of their lives. Our only 'unique' tour was GITMO for abut 4 years. The boys still tell of life there. LOL

    The best to you in the coming BUSY days until Christmas. WE hope this is the best ever.
    Missed you!

  2. Oh Jen....the trip was fantastic....You are truly blessed to be able to give you children such a history lesson in the travels you take them on....I am jealous, but sooo glad that you do this so I can take an armchair trip with you...
    I am looking forward to more posts of trips and just posts that you do....
    Love and miss you,