Skiing for the first time

We headed to Garmish bright and early in the morning hoping to miss some of the ski traffic, but I don’t think we left early enough :) . After getting to the ski resort we quickly got the kids suited up and off to their ski class.

We signed the girls up for two days of lessons, and for the most part, they really enjoyed it. Cailyn had a hard time on the first day, and ended pretty discouraged. The following day she was given a private instructor to help her out. The first thing he did was take her to get different skiis. She had been fitted with skiis that were a little too big for her. Once she had smaller skiis, she really got the hang of it.

Ella taking a break.
Can you tell Lauren is having a great time?
Emily with the "did you see me mom?" look.
Hannah really concentrating.
Sara liked to go for speed, so she looks a little out of control in all her pictures.
Mason demonstrating how to stop.
Cailyn's going to kill me for posting this picture, but this is how they all looked after a long day of skiing.

At the end of the day John took Lauren to the top of the hill, something that she didn’t get to do with her instructor.

Here she is going down the hill. She looked a little out of control most of the way down, but she managed to stay on her feet and stop herself at the end.

Here’s how she looked when she finished. You can see from the picture that she can’t believe she really did it.


Getting Ready to Ski with the Dzmuras

After Christmas we were lucky to have John’s sister Kim and her family come down from Frankfurt for a visit and to do some skiiing. The day before we were to go skiing we headed to the ski resort in Garmish to pick up our skiis. Garmish is a cute little town in the Alps about 45 minutes from our house.

After pikcing up our skiis (which was CRAZY… just imagine all 11 of us getting fit for boots and skiis… not to mention everyone else who was there doing the same thing) we headed into town to eat. Kim took us to a GREAT restaurant. I don’t know what I ordered, but it was DELICIOUS. I still have dreams about it.

When you think of a traditional German restaurant, this is the place you are thinking about… the one man music show, boys in Lederhosen dancing (so sad that my pictures of that didn’t turn out :( )…

and the applestreudel… Oh! to die for!

Christmas… part 2

Christmas Eve was full of baking cookies, singing Christmas songs, reading Christmas books, and watching Christmas specials on TV (you know… Rudolph and Frosty… I bought the DVDs before we came). We also went to a special Christmas program at the church… which was all in German so only one of us knew what was going on… but it set the tone for the rest of the evening. We finished it off by reading the Christmas story from the scriptures and of course opening one gift (bet you can’t guess what it was :) ).

So you remeber those 60 euro pajamas? (see Christamas… part 1) Well… Emily’s ended up being capris and short-sleeved and Cailyn’s were way too small. Guess they won’t be wearing new pjs tonight!

Even before we knew that we were going to be moving to Germany, we had decided that this Christmas was going to be much simpler than past Christmases. Each girl would receive just one gift from Santa, and none from mom and dad. Our gift to them was going to be doing something fun together as a family. So we were a little nervous about how the girls would react on Christmas morning. They really surprised us. I don’t think they were any less excited about their one present under the tree than they had been in past years with a tree surrounded by presents.

That evening we sat down to a traditional Christmas dinner, our first here in Germany. It had been a truly wonderful day.

Christmas… part 1

Two days before Christmas we were able to move into our house in Starnberg. First things first, the girls had been dying to go out and play in the snow. So they got all decked out in their snow gear and headed out into the backyard.           



Of course Dad had to get in on the action.

Watch out everyone. Here come the snowballs.


Lauren trying to fight back.
Now it's getting serious.
Payback time! Notice John is begging her not to do it.


After some time out in the snow, we had to decided which girl got which room. Never easy. Someone is always dissapointed. Then we crazily put our stuff away so we could get ready for Christmas.  I went to the grocery store armed with my German/English dictionary to try and find the things I needed for Christmas dinner. It  took me 30 minutes just to find the yeast. Next, I drove into Munich (my first time driving in Germany, scary!) to buy Christmas ornaments, lights and a tree stand.  We didn’t bring any of that stuff with us, which was pretty silly since we had plenty of room in our shipment.          

John and I went out on Christmas Eve to find some PJs for Emily and Cailyn, and to find a tree. We stopped at a cute childrens clothing store in Starnberg. When I asked where the pijamas were she pointed over to a shelf where they were organized by size (european sizes). I had no idea what size to get them. To make things worse they were all packaged up with no pictures, so I had no idea what they looked like. Then I saw the price and I just about passed out… 60 euro a pair! Ouch!  There was no way we would be able to make it to another store since they were all closing early, so we guessed on sizes and picked their pijamas based on color. One thing done. Now we just needed to get a tree.          

We stopped at a local tree stand that still had quite a few trees left. I guess its pretty normal to get your tree on Christmas Eve here.  We looked around and found a tree that we liked and John went over to the sales man to ask how much it was. Who knew that trees cost a small fortune here? Wow!! But we wanted to have a somewhat normal Christmas for the girls, so we decided to get it. John and I put all our cash together and we were short by a little. The sales man was very nice, and took less for the tree as long as we promised to visit the local pizzaria that he owned.          

When we got home, we set up the tree and then the girls opened the gifts they had gotten for each other at the Christmas market.          


Cailyn bought Sara this beautiful glass bell.
Emily bought Cailyn two hand blown glass ornament. The one she is holding and one shaped like a bird.
Here is the ornament that Lauren bought for Emily.
Sara bought a wooden snowman ornament and a nutcracker ornament for Lauren. Lauren decided that the nutcrackers name was Mr. Bedhead.
Lauren desperately wanted an apple ornament that she had seen at the Christmas market. Why? We don't know, but Sara was nice enough to get it for her.



So here are the promised pictures from the treasury. The crown jewels of Bavaria are AMAZING.

This was by far the girls favorite part of the day.

Lauren in total awe
Sara wouldn't mind one of these
"How does this look on me?"

The Wittelsbach residence in Munich

The girls and I decided to be brave and venture into downtown Munich (on our own, no John to translate for us) not long after we arrived.  While downtown, we went to the  Christkindlmarkt Market so that the girls could buy Christmas presents for each other. We also went to see the Residenz Museum and the Treasury. This is where the rulers of Bavaria lived for centuries. Of course it was badly damaged during World War II so much of it is reconstructed, but the furniture pieces and art are all originals that were put back into the residence after the war.

The girls in the Antiquarium. This hall is the oldest room of the Residenz München. 66 metres long, it is the largest and most lavish Renaissance interior north of the Alps.

This is in the grotto. The designs on the walls are created with seashells. In fact, the entire wall is covered in seashells.


Here are the girls just standing in the hallway. Some hallway!
This is just one of the many collections of tableware. There were literally rooms full of beautiful place settings. Maybe each ruler decided he needed his own set.
In the green gallery with all the beautiful works of art.
A look out one of the Residenz windows. You can see our snowy weather.

I was pleasently surprised how much the girls enjoyed touring the Residenz Museum. I thought they would be bored after an hour or so, but we were there for three hours* and they enjoyed every minute of it.

*Disclaimer: The three hours included the time we spent touring the treasury, which I will post later.

On our way

‘Twas the night before moving, when all through the hotel
Not a creature was stirring…

 Okay, there was a creature stirring. It was me, taking pictures of my beautiful sleeping girls. Girls who were about to embark on a great adventure.

Let the adventure begin!

Waiting for the plane

Some last minute "Skyping" with family

12 hours later - We made it... and so did all our luggage

The flight over went better than excepted. The girls were real troupers. Lauren was only in tears once… when the man in front of her turned around and yelled at her for kicking his seat. Everyone slept most of the way over except for me, so they were all bright eyed and bushy tailed when we got to the apartment in Munich and I was about to die. (Okay… maybe not die but you get my drift)

Making themselves at home. See, they don't look tired at all.

Home Alone

Today it has really hit me. I’m home all alone… all day… just me. I don’t think I was ready for this. In Oregon Lauren went to school for 2hr. 45 min. I was ready for that. But I was not prepared for dropping her off at 8:50 am and then picking her up again at 3:30 pm. I knew this day would come, but I didn’t know how much I’d miss hearing “Mommy, read me a story. Mommy come play with me. Mommy I’m hungry, can I have a snack?” (Just imagine all those things said in a very whiny voice. Usually they would drive me crazy. Now they would be sweet music to my ears.)