Ahhhh Christmas Markets, How I Love Thee…

What I really should be doing right now is sleeping instead of blogging but I digress. It has now been a couple weeks since my parents left and mom has managed to make it through most of the photos from when they were here (you should be doing a happy dance right about now because that means there will be pictures you can skip ahead to!). For your sanity, and the sake of time typing this, because let’s face it, the minis will not take that long of a nap, I’ll break this into two separate weeks (besides, making you wait just makes the reward that much sweeter right?!?).

    December 14th

As I heard the elevator open into the apartment I practically spriwalked (sprinting + walking, kind of like that goofy Olympic sport. Whoever grew up thinking “I’m going to be an Olympic walker!” probably had one boring childhood…) to see my parents. I can’t even remember if I waited long enough for my parents to put down their luggage before I was all over them like a lost puppy, minus the licking because that would be a tad overboard, even for me. Anyway, as expected they were pretty exhausted but before Sean had to return to work (since he picked them up from the airport) he woke up Liam and gave them what they had both longed for…baby snuggles. At first Liam was a tad shy but it didn’t take long for him to quickly snuggle into mom’s shoulder while flashing his cute smiles towards dad. Minus the tearful greetings and baby snuggles, this was a rather uneventful day because, well, jetlag is a bitch.

      December 15th

Not only did the boys turn 9 months old, but it was also the day that they met Santa for the first time. Okay, well the guy who “stepped” in for Santa who also happened to be the fakest I’d ever seen (the guy even had these black slip on things to cover his street shoes instead of actually wearing boots… In my head I was saying “is this guy for real, well I not “real” but I mean real…”), and it was towards the end of his shift so he didn’t have good ol’ golly vibe if you know what I mean. We managed to get that priceless first time meeting “Santa” photo with the boys, and thanks to mom…she got the mood of the moment perfectly. I call it “Mom…who is this guy? Mom I’m not so sure about him… Really mom, this guy freaks me out. MOM!!!!”.

"Mom, are you sure this guy is Santa?"

“Mom, are you sure this guy is Santa?”

Unfortunately mom (my mom, not me mom…) came down with a nasty headache which was only cured by sleeping it off so the rest of the afternoon was spent watching dad play with babies (which totally makes my heart melt). Thankfully though, sleep was the trick and mom was up and ready to hit the town so we took a jaunt down to the Wiesbaden Christmas Market. If you ever get a chance to go to a Christmas market in Europe, do it! It’s like someone took a state fair, put it in the middle of winter, filled it with Germans, and went nutso with Christmas cheer. The little kid in me was skipping with delight; something about Christmas time just makes me so giddy. We had a blast taking in the sights and sounds it had to offer, including a rather large band playing Christmas songs in German…well excluding “Feliz Navidad”. I don’t know what it is about that song (well it is rather catchy…), but they are strangely obsessed with that song. Nothing like watching a guy in a Santa suit singing “Feliz Navidad” with a German accent, but hey, when everyone around you is drinking toxic gluhwein (hot wine cider if you were wondering. Pronounced glue-wine, and honestly it tastes like glue wine too) and singing along with him I guess that takes the creepy factor down a notch. Speaking of gluhwein, maybe the appreciation for that stuff comes with time, like coffee, but here’s my little glorious recommendation you’ll thank me for some day if you haven’t had the “pleasure” of trying it… Don’t smell it! In fact, hold your breath when it is within a 5 inch radius of your nose or mouth. I made the mistake of taking a big ol’ whiff of it and I bet you at least five hairs popped out on my chest! Just thinking of that initial taste makes my face get all tense with a “blech!” look.

    December 17th

Before mom’s reoccurring headache could set in (which we later determined was due to my dye free, perfume free, allergy friendly detergent… It’s okay, I don’t get it either) we made our way down to our town’s Christmas market in the heart of Mainz. This one was Sean’s favorite (minus Nuremberg, but I’ll get to that later), and it was rather interesting in a fun way. This one too, was all decked out with Christmas cheer but this one had an interesting lovers “twist”, including a secluded area with “romance barrels”. Yes…I wrote that right, and you read it right…barrel. What that amounted to was an area centered around a fire pit for people to snuggle up to, with an outer ring of little hut type dwellings made to look like a giant wine barrel cut in half with a little door, and included a table and two chairs. I don’t know about you, but sitting in a giant wine barrel totally says “romance” to me! It totally creates a whole new twist on the saying “drunk with love”. It was here that there were three older men hanging around outside of this so called “romance” area, which I’m not sure if they were hitting on me or the babies, but I can guarantee one of them was telling me I should give the boys some of his gluhwein. I gave them the “I have no freaking clue what you just said drunk old man” smile, and went one my way. Instead of gluhwein, Sean and I played it safe and partook in some lovely hot chocolate with Baileys. My nose and hairless chest thanked me.

Another fun thing about sharing the Christmas markets with my parents, it was just as new to us as it was to them. We were all experiencing it together for the first time. One of my favorite things to experience is local cuisine, which the Mainz Christmas market had plenty of. Everywhere we looked there were people carrying around these golden fried, lumpy, doughy looking things that kind of resembled a funnel cake, and when it comes to cake I cannot resist. Dad spotted the stand that was making these splendid smelling cakes and quickly scurried off to get some for all of us to try. He came back with was two of these friend lumpy cakes with some kind of dipping sauce squirted on top, and I was immediately in love with just the smell. One bite into this “cake” and it became instantly obvious that it was not actually cake after all (and then my sweet tooth sulked a little). It was actually a potato substance that is somewhat hard to describe…kind of hash brown like on top, but yet kind of doughy/mushy noodle like in the center. Rather shocking when you’re expecting a funnel cake tasting substance… Oh and the condiment squirted on top…? Applesauce… It was a rather weird, yet good, combination that you only needed a few bites of before your stomach says “one more bite and I may make you wish you hadn’t indulged at all”.

    December 19th

Christmas market number three, Rudesheim, was also accompanied with a bit of adventure along the way, stopping in Geisenheim for photo ops with what we would consider to be a clown car back in the States, neon yellow statue man wearing a top hat with sunglasses, and luxurious gothic cathedrals. This one was my favorite of all that we went to (although Sean says that it was a tourist trap, but I guess that trap got me) because of its’ charm. Instead it being arranged with rows of different displays this one wound through the old streets of Rudesheim. I think it may have also helped that it was slightly less crowded so I felt like I could take a moment to actually stop and look at something instead of being hurried along by pushy citizens who are overly familiar with the local Christmas markets.

It was here that I introduced my dad to one of my favorite local delicacies, jagger schnitzel! Instead of stopping at one of the stands for the typical “state fair” type of food we chose a quiet restaurant located along one of the old winding streets. I’ll let mom’s picture do the talking… Nom nom nom…

On the way home, while in the back of the van I was listening to my dad tell stories of the different cars he had while growing up and the ones that he had while he and mom were young wiper snappers (mom is totally going to hate on that…just wait…). Many of these stories I have heard a time or two before since my dad is a talented story telling man, even if he doesn’t believe so. Let’s just say Michelle and I weren’t read many stories growing up because it was the stories that dad told about his childhood that we loved the best (especially the ones involving pet squirrels, skunks, and those involving attempts at starting and putting out the largest fire with our uncle. If he hasn’t told you that one, ask him about it…it’s a good one!). As I am sitting in back I hear him tell a story I hadn’t heard before, involving a snowy night driving with my mom using the latest and greatest technology…the CB radio (if you are younger than 20 you may want to Google that one)! It was at the point that he mentioned his CB radio handle that I about peed my pants with laughter…”Easy Loving”. Oh.My.Goodness!!! Right about now dad is cursing at the screen because, bless his heart, he is an avid reader of my blog and cursed up and down when I first posted about his lovely CB handle on Facebook. I LOVE YOU DAD (and remember you love me too)! I’d write out his whole CB saying, but I’m pretty sure he’d disown me. Needless to say, these are the moments that stick with me…moments with a van full of laughter and two babies who have no clue what’s going on.

Is it just me or was that a ridiculously long post?!? Well, with that said, there is even more fun to follow. Including trips to castles and Sean’s driving on the autobahn that made my butt so tense it was about the size of a couple of grapes.

P.S. All the photos were taken by my mom, and she owns the rights to those photos. If you would like a copy of an image please contact me and I will direct you to her.

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