Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas Part 2- Germany

I really feel blessed that we were able to celebrate Christmas with both of our families this year. That pretty much never happens, so it was wonderful. The kids had been SO excited to get back on a plane and fly to Germany to visit Ragnar's family for Christmas. I however do not love flying so I tried to get on board with their excitement. We left a couple days before school got out for Christmas and began our adventure! We have over 300 pictures, so I will just include some of my favorites of the trip.
 Cavin's teacher kindly asked if we would take their class bear "Bailey" on our adventure and although I feared losing him, it wasn't too bad!
Channing was SO excited, she loves being on a plane. The kids did great on the flight although they didn't sleep the almost 10 hours, at least they were happy! They didn't have a direct flight to his hometown so we flew into Amsterdam (or Hamsterdam) as Cavin kept calling it and drove a couple hours to his hometown of Duesseldorf. His sister Daphne had already flewn and and the kids were excited to see her and his parents.

On Friday we went to the Christmas Market. It was a lot of fun. It's my favorite thing about Germany at Christmastime. There is all sorts of things. Here is Cavin trying out the carasol.
 The other kids weren't to excited to try it out. Ella was dying to ice skate though. Ragnar's father Hellmut is great at ice skating so it is fun to watch him.
Taking a break on the side with Opa!
Cavin has unfortuntely his mothers coordination so he didn't really get the hang of it and it didn't help that he was so tired because we had just gotten there the day before.

Ella did well with Opa and Dad's help and she had a fun time!
We stopped for some fries of course..
I couldn't get a good picture of the market, but it's fun...there is stuff to do and buy all over the streets.
We had a fun time at the market and when we got back Ragnar's other sister Naomi and her family had arrived.
The kids did crafts with Oma.
And they played with Opa's train which they loved and then we went to bed! Jet lag had gotten us, but not too bad!
Saturday the kids would get up and want to go straight to the porch and play with the train, but it is cold! We played throughout the day with Naomi's little girl Juliana.
Don't you love their look! She is a cutie!

Here is Oma always entertaining the grandkids!
Then Daphne, the kind Aunt that she is tried to help Ella learn how to ride a bike!
I think if the weather would have cooperated over the next few days she might have gotten it!
Sunday we enjoyed relaxing church. Cavin wanted to bring Red Rockets ties so they could match!
After church we went Christmas caroling and that was fun. The kids did pretty well at trying to follow along the songs in German. It was a little rainy and cold.
Monday we went to the lake and played.
It is a pretty lake by Ragnar's parents home that Daphne, Naomi, Pamela, and I ran around.
 The kids enjoyed feeding the ducks!
Then we went to walk along the Rhine River and go on the Ferris Wheel
Our camera died on the Ferris wheel but we have pictures again going there on another day! Daphne and I left and went shopping after and that was fun...then that night we met the family and went to Ragnar's favorite restaurant. It was a Greek place and it was pretty good. 
Then we came home and wrapped presents. I had my secret hiding spot so no one could see what I was wrapping ;)
We sure got in a good laugh :)
Tuesday for Germany was Christmas (in America it is Christmas eve, but they celebrate the coming of Christ, we celebrate the birth of Christ). They celebrate at night.
The table was set and we went to the church first for a devotional.
Ursula and Hellmut
Ragnar's sister Naomi, Sharlon, and Juliana
And a not so great shot of us...Channing was in a mood as you can see
And Daphne
 Family dinner was a little interesting because most of the kids were getting tired..but we survived!
We read the Christmas story and then skyped with Sandra as she tried to play the piano for us...but there was slight delay ;)
Then the kids waited for the bell to ring and presents began.
The kids were excited to do Christmas again!!
On December 25, 2013 what we know as Christmas day, that is when the party started and EVERYONE was there. All Ragnar's sisters were here except his one sister Sandra in Utah.
 The kids went to the park while I ran and played while we waited for everyone to get there.
Then everyone arrived. Ursula's sister Brigette and her husband Kent who are serving a mission in Germany and Pamela, Ragnar's oldest sister and her husband Tobias and 5 kids. It was a full house!!
That's a lot of people at one table and a kids table in the back!
Sisters working hard on dinner!
There was plenty of food! After dinner the kids acted out the Chrismas nativity. Ella and Channing were angels :)
Mary (Belana) on her donkey (Fabian)
Jared was Joseph and Cavin was a wise man, Aaron a Shepherd and a whole lot of I'm not sure what else...they had fun anyway!
Our little stars!
The kids colored and played together
Then the matching began!! Women had matching pjs....
and the men matching sweaters!
The little girls, minnie jammies!

On Thursday we walked the Rhine river! It was a LONG walk, but pretty.
Belana was sweet enough to be Ella's buddy and it was a blessing because she was one of the few cousins who knew English!
I love this picture of Ella. Daphne was kind enough to curl her hair for her and she loved it.
Ragnar's Aunt Brigette and Uncle Kent
I was cold...but there is nothing new there!
Here is the ferris wheel we were walking back to...sadly it was closed because they considered it a holiday, so the kids were glad we already had been on it. It is cool though because it overlooks the Rhine river. It was a major bummer to walk that far and it be closed, but the kids got over it quickly.
Naomi's family wasn't feeling well so they didn't join, but here is everyone else!
Channing was loving this picture!
The kids just played in this and watch sticks and such race down until the men came back with the cars!
We love Dusseldorf!
On Friday we went and visited Ragnar's best friend Kris and Christine and met their adorable son Thom.
The kids played with their cousins and had a simple day.

On Saturday we took our little family and went to Koln, Germany about 30 minutes away to see a few things. First we saw the big Cathedral.
There is no way you can get it all in one shot.
Then we walked along the Rhine river again to get to the Olmpic, Sports Museum
We got to the museum finally....
It was a small museum, but neat
The kids practiced boxing..
And cycling....
and of course bobsled!
 The "German" NBA player
Ragnar loved this super old soccer ball
It was a fun family day.

Sunday was our last day in we went to church together and had one more nice dinner together.
Here is everyone!! Minus a few sad moments towards the end of the trip we had a WONDERFUL trip! The kids adjusted well, picked up German fairly well, behaved, and did great on the flights. We had so much fun playing games with the family and being together. We were so grateful to be there and for the hospitality of the Hartzheim family and being able to see all the cousins and enjoy each other's company. We felt like it was a great trip! Channing keeps asking me everyday when we are going back on a plane...yuck! The kids do love to say "Guten Appetit" everytime we have meals now, and Channing always says "uten apetit" Here's to keeping up with my German so it gets better everytime I go!