Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 2016 Happenings

The month of November has kind of flown past me in a whirlwind of rain, wind, turkey, and Christmas music. Alex and I haven't ventured too far away from home lately. We decided to use this month to stay local after our busy London weekend last month.

I have been letting the kids take walks outside whenever it's not drizzling. We have to take walks no matter the weather thanks to Buster, but those are usually quick treks around the block. When it's decent out, I'll let Evie out of her carrier, and the two kids usually end up getting filthy as a result of muddy roads and wet grass. Despite being a clean freak, I've had an internal talk with myself and forced my Type A self to shut up and let them get dirty. They have fun, and the fresh air is good for them. So, I suck it up and embrace the extra laundry and grimy foyer. 

We put our Christmas decorations up a few days ago. Normally, I am adamant about waiting until after Turkey Day, but it takes so much work to set everything up/take everything down with two little kids underfoot that I wanted to make sure we all had plenty of time to enjoy the decorations. Plus, I wanted to leave our weekends free to explore Christmas markets. This year, we had to put our tree (which just BARELY fit in our German house) inside the baby cage. Evie's at that perfect age where she wants to touch and explore everything, and I didn't want to deal with constant temptation.

Thanksgiving was this past Thursday. I told myself I wouldn't cook a lot, but I ended up making the usual spread.

10 lbs of turkey, stuffing, yams, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, and lemon tarts. So much food but oh so delicious! Landon only ever eats the deviled eggs and the cranberry sauce, but Evie dug into everything. She's my little food lover. 
We had a ton of leftovers, but that was fine by us. Alex and I love the "holiday sandwich" we make the following day almost as much as we enjoy the actual dinner. And we use the turkey in enchiladas after that, so that basically means I get 3 days of meals for the price of 1. I'll take it.

This was also our first big holiday away from family.
Not going to lie, it was a little sad. As I was setting up the dishes on the counter, I realized that my parent's cornbread dressing wasn't there. Yeah, I could have made it, but I did not want to go through the hassle. Still, it was weird not to have it. 
I also couldn't help but think of my inlaws who had a big get together, and it reminded me of Landon's 1st Thanksgiving, when there was about 20 people feasting in a condo. It was fantastic. 
Turkey dinner is Alex's favorite meal, and for as long as we've been together, his parents have made it for him when he's come to visit. Even when we would go to there house in July. The very first time I went to their home with Alex, they cooked him his meal. So I just associate turkey dinners with them, and so of course I was missing them that night.
The joy of being the chick who has never been away from family in 25 years...

Friday morning, I took Landon with me to go Christmas shopping. I needed to pick up a few things for Alex, and I figured I would make a mother/son day of it.

It was kind of nice, having some one on one time with just him. During our once a week eat out night, Alex typically takes Landon to go get the food, so I stay home and hang out with Evie, but I couldn't remember the last time I spent any significant amount of time with my son. It made me miss the days of when we'd run errands together, just him and I. I really need to plan to do that more often before Alex leaves. And besides, it was good for Evie to be away from me for awhile. She doesn't do it often enough, and I'm sure it's going to cause problems later on when she starts school.

Saturday, Alex and I were itching to check out a Christmas market; we had heard and read so many amazing things about them that we wanted to experience one ourselves. I didn't want to do a big one, not on top of an already busy weekend, so Alex picked Dudeldorf's market which was only happening this weekend. The village was really close to our house, and it was the perfect intro into the events. 
Upon arriving, we had to immediately get a gluhwein. A mulled wine served hot, it reminded me of a cider and grape juice crossover. Personally, I was surprised at just how sweet it was. I wasn't expecting it. It was your teeth hurt after a sip sweet. It wasn't bad, but I thought I was going to like it a lot more than I actually did. I am going to hold out judgement until I try the white version I saw for sale and until I try some more at another market. But honestly, I think my go-to in the future will be the cocoa with rum that I also saw for sale. 

We passed a market selling these hot baked apples filled with hazelnut and almonds, and it smelled amazing! Oh my goodness, it was mouth watering. Unfortunately, no one was hungry! We had had lunch not too long ago, and we were still full from the wine. There was no way we could possibly have had an apple, even splitting it between the four of us. 
But next year, Apple! I'm coming for ya with my empty stomach and my servings of carbs reserved for you!
(I have been on a workout/clean eating program for 3 weeks now, so my fun splurges are limited. I had already used up my share of "cheats" on Thanksgiving dinner and the gluhwein.)

The booths set up at the market had a massive amount of awesome Christmas decorations. I wanted to buy everything. Luckily, I resisted and only purchased a holiday mug from the Polish pottery booth. I had been thinking when I was unboxing my Christmas stuff that I did not own a single Christmas mug, and I wanted to make sure I got one this year. And, fortunately for me, I saw one I loved. I found it while Landon was riding a swinging chair that was set up for the kinders. 

That'll teach Alex not to leave me by items for sale while he waited for Landon to be finished.

And, finally, to wrap up the long weekend, on Sunday we all went and saw Disney's Moana. I had been looking forward to this film for a very long time. When Finding Dory came out, I was excited because I knew Moana would be the next big movie released. Because c'mon, a Polynesian film NOT about a dainty princess and love. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my princess flicks. Rapunzel and Ariel are my girls, but now that I have a daughter, I really appreciate a strong female lead that's driven and not dependent on a guy. Throw in the beach and I'm hooked. 
This was our first movie since we got to Germany, which was nuts. Probably the longest Alex and I have ever gone between theater visits.
Landon did really well throughout the showing, although the "monster" at the end did scare him. I didn't even think about him getting frightened, but luckily since he saw a transformation (that's all I'll say as to not spoil the movie) he wasn't scarred for the rest of the night.
Evie was really restless, even when we let her riffle through my purse, so Alex had to spend most of the time standing near the lobby doors holding her. She's at that perfect age where she can't stand to sit still, and the timing of the movie wasn't good for her. It was after naptime/before dinner, so all she wanted to do was run around and get some playtime in before bed.
I think we'll only take her again if it's a family film both Alex and I really want to see. Otherwise, I'll probably send Alex with Landon to see whatever they want.

And now...I have presents to wrap, end of the year spreadsheets to create, and more European travels to organize. I'm hoping that December will be a fun month full of more Christmas markets, hot cocoa, and festivities. 


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