Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Christmas Happenings, Part 3

A few days before Christmas we stayed the night with some sweet friends from church.  They treated us like royalty including leaving chocolate on our pillows.  Of course, I didn't want the kids to have too much sugar so I went around and ate them all :)

We started the morning with a candlelight English breakfast by the fire ... sausage, bacon, eggs, toast, mushrooms, baked beans, oh my, so good!!  I can't say that English food has really much exciting going on, but their breakfast we could eat every day!!

After breakfast we drove into Birmingham with plans to head to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, the largest outdoor Christmas Market in the country.  It was a brisk day (or crispy as the English say :).

We stopped for a few minutes at the Hall of Memory in honor of those who died in the World Wars.  We've noticed that in the center of nearly every town, no matter how large, or how tiny, there is a memorial to those who died during the wars.  Even our tiny village has one with a few names inscribed.  The Birmingham Memorial was indoors and very moving.  

That's a lot of names!

Poppy wreaths from Remembrance Day in November.

This card was very sobering, if you click on it you can probably read the message. 


Emerson wasn't exactly impressed with the Christmas Market ... especially since it was nap time!  I didn't get very many pictures, but just imagine hundreds of wooden stalls filled with foods of every kind, handmade items from around the world, and lots and lots of people.  Unbeknownst to us, the shopping area in Birmingham has been referred to as the Bullring since the Middle Ages when the market was first held there.  In the center of it all is a large bull that you must get your picture taken in front of ... or so we were told.  Hey, when in Rome ...

Isn't he scary?  For the Christmas season he is wearing a special sweater (or jumper, as they say here).

And here we are, Emerson is asleep and I think Jackson is keeping his eye on the ginormous bull. Now that we've had our picture take here, I feel like we really experienced Birmingham ;)

Next on the agenda, our wonderful hosts took us to Krispy Kreme ... oh, my! It was the kids first experience and they enjoyed it quite thoroughly.  Hats for everyone!  They're a little subdued in these pictures because they hadn't eaten a doughnut yet!


Doesn't this picture just epitomize your feelings when you bite into a warm KK doughnut?

Yep, she liked 'em!

What?  I only get one??

On our walk back through the Market, Bard treated the kids to this crazy ride.  It's a genius idea to include steering wheels at every seat!

We got everyone settled in, buckled in, and the ride started.  Then the craziness began! As the ride sped up and the music started, the kids turned into wild hooligans.  I'm sure the doughnuts had nothing to do with it!

As the ride continued, they started standing up and hanging out the windows!  Ahhhhh!!  I was a little stressed out by the thought of one of them falling out.

I was obviously affected by the doughnuts and the craziness as well, because somehow I ended up with a picture of this unknown child.  Hmmm.

This is certainly no way to treat a friend, is it?  But it was just too funny.  She is expecting, and you know how the appetite grows :)  These German Bratwursts were so, so, yummy!

To keep up with the excitement already generated, Bard took the kids on this super fast carousel.  It was almost comical to watch how fast it went.  I was definitely not up for the adventure, especially after eating dinner.

All the horses had names, and the kids thought it was hilarious that Mathis' horse was named Kate.
Whew, I think I need to take a nap after this post!  We definitely had a great time and oddly enough ended up running into three other families from church, which with the size of the crowd there, was amazing.  I don't think we could have planned that if we had tried.  In fact, one of them was waiting to meet her husband at the appointed place (the bull, of course) and he was nowhere to be seen.

On our way back to the car, we met some firemen and Emerson jumped right up into the truck and made fast friends.  The other kids were a little hesitant, but Emerson had a hundred questions.  He asked to talk on their radio and they got one of the other firemen to talk back as if he was Father Christmas.  It was a great way to end a really fun day :)

We arrived back home a little after 7:00 in the evening and we all went straight to bed!

Speaking, of Father Christmas, there's another post on the way, and then one more and I think we can wrap up 2011.  I'm ready!


  1. Oh, my! These posts are coming so fast I can't handle them!! Andrea, are you wearing a hat? Have you turned over a new leaf or is it really that cold? It really is cute. I would have liked to see your hair when you took it off.

  2. Ha! There is definitely much thought that goes into what will be happening after I wear the hat before in decide if i wear it out. It was pretty cold and I can be so whiny about the cold so the hat does help! I wear a hat to church so i have more of them but after church I have to go into the bathrrom to try to reshape my hair into something I'm not embarrassed by :)

  3. Wow, I think I am tired after that trip. Did I meet the people you stayed with?

  4. Yes, Mathis' SS teachers, the Omerods (from Ireland), I think you knew we stayed at the farmhouse with them.