Saturday, December 27, 2008

The day after Christmas.

We woke up on the 26th of December to the sun shining brightly! It looked so gorgeous outside and Brian declared that we were getting out of the house and exploring. He opened the door to see how warm it was and let me tell you, it was NOT! Although it looked beautiful, it was -3 degrees Celsius, or 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrrrr! But nothing was going to stop our going out on this beautiful day so we all bundled up in extra layers, cuddle duds, scarves, hats and mittens and headed out. We decided to explore Ingolstadt, the second largest city in Bavaria (behind Munich) and located right along the Danube River.
Some interesting little tidbits about Ingolstadt from -
"Ingolstadt is mentioned in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is the birthplace of the monster as created by the scientist Victor Frankenstein. The Illuminati, a Bavarian secret society, was founded in Ingolstadt in the late 18th century. The headquarters of the German automobile manufacturer Audi are located in Ingolstadt, as well as the headquarters of the electronic stores MediaMarkt and Saturn. Ingolstadt station has been connected to Nuremberg by a high-speed rail link since May 2006."
Absolutely everything, well almost everything, was closed all over Bavaria which made walking around the city kind of nice. There were smatterings of people headed to the few restaurants or cafes that were open and we stumbled upon a McDonalds that was open as well. We enjoyed our exploration of Ingolstadt, we saw the schloss (castle), the town hall and the Bavarian Army Museum, none of which were open for visitors but they were neat to see none-the-less. Luke had a great time chasing the pigeons and walking along the cobblestone streets. There is a beautiful paved walkway along the Danube that I'm sure we'll go back up and venture along once the baby is here and the weather warms up.
Enjoy the pictures and the beautiful Bavarian sunshine and blue skies!

Crossing the bridge into the city

Chasing pigeons with some German girls

Old Town Hall

Huge Christmas tree - can you see Luke at the bottom?
Fest tables set up near vendor stands...there were only a couple of stands open selling beer to their regulars.  :)

Luke and Brian

Originally a fortress city, Ingolstadt is enclosed by a medieval defensive wall. The Bavarian fortress (1537–1930) nowadays holds the museum of the Bavarian army.

 A gorgeous chapel steeple that we saw in a tiny town named Zell on the way home
You see wood piles like this all over Bavaria

Another beautiful German city - see the castle ruins and the cross at the top of the mountain?
A German home

Friday, December 26, 2008

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

We had a pretty low-key Christmas here which was WONDERFUL! We slept in, surprised Luke with a train under the tree and presents galore from Santa, ate biscuits and gravy for breakfast and chicken and dumplings for dinner - what a great day!
Luke made out like a bandit with a Teddy Ruxpin, new jammies, a football, a train, Mickey Mouse cash register and Candy Land among other things! Luke is such a low maintenance child - it honestly took him all day to open his presents and get to his stocking. He was perfectly content opening one thing and checking it out. For the first 20 minutes that we were downstairs, he was on his belly watching the train circle round and round the tree. He really made it a fun Christmas because it never really ended!
We hope you all had a wonderful and very, merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The latest

Nope, no baby yet although I keep wishing!  :)  A little over 4 weeks to go and I honestly wouldn't mind if she made her appearance a little early.  Her brother was 10 days late though so I'm not holding my breath.  
I have had, however, crazy bursts of energy lately.  Call it nesting, call it what you will, but not too much of this extra energy has been put towards deep cleaning (although there has been a lot of rearranging of furniture, organizing of all rooms, dressers and closets along with some major usage of the washing machine....i digress...), instead my energy has been thrown into opening a new online shop!  I am pretty excited about this new venue - it is a little more "artsy" than Etsy so I hope that I can still have some success over there AND it is a fairly new site, created this year actually so it doesn't have the traffic that Etsy does but I love the look of it and the gallery style of my shop page and my product page.  It also has a blog feature so I can post random crafty things over there - in fact, not only did I post an introduction blurb over there but I posted some of the amazing pictures of all the ceramics that we saw in Italy.  It is an outlet where I can share some of the more "crafty" things that I do and the pictures that I take.  
I invite you to stop on by and check it out.  I hope to add more and more items to my shop and maybe even expand my crochet section (right now there are just scarves) but I am open to suggestions and would love to have additional input!  
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope that you all are doing well.  

My new shop site - and of course, my existing Etsy site -

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tumbling Videos

Luke learned a new trick while at Uncle Dave's house!

Practice makes perfect, even if your pants come down a little bit! ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Playing in the Snow and the Hexenagger Market

It snowed here this past week! Winter wonderland and I love it! It totally is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Our tree is up, decorations are out and low we have an amazing white blanket of snow everywhere. I just need to start busting out the Christmas cookies and fudge and we have it made!
Luke and I took advantage of the snow and played outside, sledding down our tiny backyard hill and making a snowman. And yesterday, all 3 of us ventured out to Hexenagger, a tiny town about 35 minutes away from us, that holds an amazing and magical medieval Christmas market.

"High above the Schambach valley there lies a knights (hunters) castle full of history which first was mentioned in historical books in 982. The Castle of Hexenagger has been part of the royal family Weidenbach since 1834. We, family Leichtfuß and our descendants run the castle along with our helpful "castle ghosts". "

They open the castle for various events through the year and during the Christmas season, "On the four Advent weekends we again open our gates, to give our guests from near and far a few unforgettable hours in a very special atmosphere, and with the help of our diligent "castle ghosts", to turn Castle Hexenagger into a Winter Wonderland!. The sweet smell of sugar-roasted almonds and mulled wine, over 30,000 lights, candles and torches, Christmas music, and the ambiance within the historical walls casts a spell over the visitors. "

We had a great time at the market, it was so beautiful, but we had dinner plans at a friends house so we didn't get to see all the vendors and see all the sites but we hope to go back next Advent weekend. Here are our pictures from our snowfall, playing outside and the Hegenagger castle market.

Brian at the Hexenagger Market

Luke munching on his pretzel, watching the Christmas pyramids spin round and round.

It's me! See those little sheds behind me? Those are some of the many vendor sites - they were beautifully decorated, heated with lamps or candles and scented with pine, cider or Christmas incenses.

A picture from one of the castle lookouts.
The view from the castle lookout

Mini ponies! Luke loved watching the ponies walk by with kids on their backs. Brian and I just thought they were goofy looking! :)

The Hexenagger castle

The walkway down the slope from the castle, decorated with lights and oil lamps, you can see the row of vendors below.