Sunday, 29 November 2009

Guten Tag!

Well, we are back from Germany and we had a BLAST!!! It was INCREDIBLE! I apologize to all our friends and family, but it is very possible that Germany might be our next duty station! It was that awesome!

We covered A LOT of ground in three short days, so I'll break it down by day...

26 November--Day 1
On Thanksgiving Day we got up at four am and headed down to London-Standstead Airport and headed off to Germany. I had gotten maybe an hour and a half of sleep that night. I was scheduled to work until Midnight, but one of my coworkers, Jane, was awesome enough to come in at 10:00 and let me leave early to get some sleep. By the time I got into bed, I was too excited to sleep, so I slept the entire hour long plane ride.

We landed in Frankfurt-Hahn, picked up our rental car and headed to Heidelberg. We actually were driving on the right side of the So that was pretty interesting.

We drove through Idar Oberstein on the way there, but I was feeling like crap from not sleeping and from the ridiculously curvy roads, so I slept while Christopher drove us to the Heidelberg army base, where we were staying. We checked in, put our stuff down in our room and drove to downtown Heidelberg. We headed to the Castle first. Its built into the mountain and is HUGE. We walked all along the grounds and into where they kept the booze... there were some of THE biggest kegs I've ever seen in there!

After the castle, we drove to the downtown area and set out in search of the Market. Pretty much every town in Germany has a Christmas Market every year. They have all kinds of different things at the market, and TONS of food. We had Gluhvein, which is mulled wine, and bratwurts for dinner that night. I'm not a huge meat eater, but the brats were really good. Christopher LOVED them.
We got back to the hotel pretty early and were asleep before 9, absolutely exhausted.

27 November--Day 2
We woke up really early on Friday and headed to Rothenberg.

Rothenberg City is set behind castle walls. And it is like something out of a Charles Dickens story... it is unbelievably GORGEOUS. The streets are steep and cobblestone, the buildings have the steep rooftops and are just... pretty. Seriously. If you think about the quintessential european village, Rothenberg just fits that picture. Its amazing. We spent most of the day there shopping and eating yummy German fare. We sat down and had lunch in a restaurant instead of eating from the market vendors and had a GREAT lunch. Christopher had bratwurst, sauerkraut and beer and I had pork and mushrooms in gravy and spaetzle... DELICIOUS!!!

After Rothenberg, we drove to Mannheim. We got there after dark (of course, in Europe and during the winter, after dark is like 4pm), so everything was all lit up and gorgeous! The market was only okay. It was CROWDED as all get out, so we fought the crowd, grabbed some dinner and headed back to the hotel and started wrapping presents.

28 November--Day 3
We woke up late on Saturday morning, got ready, packed everything up and headed to the larger part of the base to go to the post office. First of all, I'd like to block out the morning of Day 3... finding the base was a nightmare. We were staying at an annex of the base, so getting to the main Heidelberg base was ridiculous. We spent over and hour, yes over an hour, at the Post Office on base packing up boxes and mailing them home.

After the base nightmare, we headed to Trier. We got there much later than we had originally planned, so we only spent a couple of hours there. We walked around the HUGE market first. In the Center of the Market was the biggest Pyramid ever! If you know me well, you know that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my favorite Christmas movie ever and that my grandpa and I watch it EVERY Christmas and we know all the words. Well, a couple of years ago, Mymom (not my mom, my and Grampy bought me a wooden Pyramid (the whirly gig thing that Randy Quaid touches and all the little pieces come off in the movie). So, those whirly gig things are called Pyramids and they're made in Germany, so we saw them all weekend.

We finished our shopping and headed into Trier Cathedral, which was right in the heart of the downtown area. It was vast and amazing... and quiet. Which is rare, normally when you go in and visit places like that, with all the people, its very rarely quiet. But Trier Cathedral was reverent and awe inspiring. I lit a candle for Marnie (a five year old girl who has Cancer. Her grandma goes to my home church and has asked for prayers for her), and for "Egg's" parents (my egg recipients). Then we walked up some stairs and stood in front of this A M A Z I N G altar. Behind the gates of this altar was what they think is the seamless robe of Jesus! That was incredible. You cant actually see the robe, its not like they can put fabric that's over two thousand years old on display, but you can see the container its preserved in and its just amazing. So, if that is in fact the robe of Jesus, I got to light a candle for Marnie and Egg's Parents at the foot of the robe of Jesus, which is very... cool... well, cool doesn't even cover it, but what word really does?
The altar where the robe is in...
A roman building in Trier
After Trier we headed to Frankfurt City. It was about two hours away, and was incredible. The GPS, though it got us around no problem every where else, had some issues in the heart of the city with all the tall buildings, so we got a little lost and lost some time in there, so it ended up that we only had about twenty five minutes at the market there. Which is sooo sad, because Frankfurt is INCREDIBLE. We will definitely be going back. It was a HUGE market, with anything you can imagine.

We got to the airport and realized how nice it is to have a plane that leaves at 1130 at night. We blew through security and then got to the passport checks. Yeah, apparently the guy at the airport when we landed in Germany didn't stamp my passport. So, that was fun. I had a mini freak out that they were going to keep me in Germany, but they didn't, the guy just didn't give me an outgoing stamp since I had no incoming one. Which sucks, because now I don't have any German stamps in my passport. Its okay, I made it through and we made it into England no problem. We got home, called our parents to let them know we made it there and back safely and then passed out.

We had a great time and really loved Germany! It was on our list of places to visit, but honestly, it wasn't very high on the list, so it more than exceeded our expectations. The people were amazing and ridiculously nice, the food was great, the sights and sounds, everything was incredible!

To see more pictures, go and visit our new MobileMe gallery! I just set it up and will add pictures to it regularly, so you can subscribe to it too!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Every year around this time, we all gear up for turkey and dressing (or dressing and turkey, right mom?), deviled eggs, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie, and just eating ourselves silly. Its also a time to remember why the things we're thankful for, so here's my list this year...

* sounds so cheesy, but he is honestly my best friend in the world and I am so thankful that for some reason he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

*My friends and family... without them I have no idea where I'd be. I seriously have THE best friends and family ever...I know you may disagree and think yours are the best, but they're not, mine take the cake.

*The Navy...I honestly have NO idea where we'd be if it weren't for the Navy. There are days I want to scream because the Navy is stupid, but for the most part I am so thankful for all the opportunities we've been given because Christopher decided to join the Navy.

*The Bourn Clinic... in a few short weeks (roughly 12), we'll start our first round of medication for our first round of IVF... after 3 1/2 years of trying to get pregnant, we make actually be getting pregnant soon and I feel so blessed to be in England and have the opportunity to use the facility where the first test tube baby was born at for our treatment.

*Food...this one is self explanatory.

*Books...also self explanatory

*Travel... once we touch down in Germany, and including the United States, we will have been to five countries this year! I am so thankful that we're in England and able to see the world! It is amazing and wonderful and we are having the time of our lives.

*That I wrote a 50,000 word novel for National Novel Writing month and I finished it in less than 3 weeks. Most of you know that I want to be a writer "when I grow up" and I've never finished anything...I feel soooo accomplished that I did it and I am VERY thankful I found out about November being National Novel Writing gave me the push I needed to write.

*And Christmas!!! I know we're not going to be home this year (and both of us are having to work on Christmas Day), but this will be the first Christmas that we get to come downstairs on Christmas morning to OUR Christmas tree. So, I'm really excited about that. Plus, there's always drama to deal with when we go home, so this Christmas, no drama! :)

*last but certainly not least, God. I am so thankful to Him for all He's given me and done for me. I tend to take Him for granted a lot times, but my life is so blessed and so wonderful because of Him.

I pray that everyone have a safe, happy, and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

As most of you know, I LOVE Christmas. Jared calls me a Christmas Spaz, and its pretty true. I love everything about Christmas...the lights, the sounds, the smells, the food, the gifts. I love it all. Since the Brits dont have a holiday between Halloween and Christmas, as soon as Halloween is over, they start gearing up for Christmas.

So, last week we put on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (which is THE greatest Christmas movie of all time, right Gramps?) and put out all our decorations! We are all set for Christmas! This is the first Christmas that we wont be in North Carolina, well, I mean, Christopher's missed Christmas' before, but I never have. So, this will be our first Christmas that we wake up on Christmas morning and come downstairs to our tree. I'm pretty excited about that...although, I have to work Christmas morning, which completely sucks, but I'll hopefully bring some Christmas cheer to people who are stuck in a hotel in a new country on Christmas day. After I get off work, we're planning on having a bunch of people over and having a big Christmas dinner! I'm not sure what I'm going to cook yet, since I'll be at work all day, but we'll see!

Without further ado, enjoy our Christmas decor!

My Santa Pillows

Close up of the dining room tree...everything is silver and blue to match the rug

Dining room tree (and living room tree in the background)
Looking into the living room from the dining room!
The big tree!!! This is before I finished the topper, but you get the idea. We have a TON of ornaments. This is only the second time we've put a tree up since we've been married and it was awesome to see all our ornaments. We have everything on there from Santas to Nativities, to Barbies, to shoes. Its pretty awesome and random and I love it! Mymom said the other day you could take the topper off my tree and it could easily be hers or Mom's tree, which is awesome! :)
The topper after I finished it

My Willow Tree Lane Nativity in the foyer

Even the kitchen is all decked out

I'm sure when we get back from Germany, I'll have even more decorations, so, look out for more! :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Germany, here we come!

With next week being Thanksgiving, I somehow landed four days off in a row. Christopher managed to move some days around and so, we are headed to Germany! Every year they have Christmas Markets in all the towns in Germany and they're supposed to be amazing, so we are leaving early Thanksgiving morning and flying into Frankfurt, Germany and then making our way around to a few of the markets! We cant wait!!!

Here's the link to the Christmas Markets!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday

We were at the BX the other day and just browsing around when we headed over to the computers. Now, as you all know, I got a Macbook back in May and I LOVE it! Christopher was still working on his old Toshiba Satellite and it was getting ready to crap out. The BX happened to have their MacBooks on sale!!! So, we went ahead and got Christopher a new computer for Christmas and his birthday...he loves it!

And I love this picture....fall here is so gorgeous!

What a day.

So, the entire month of November, Christopher and I only have a few days off together, so we're making the best of the ones we have off. So, yesterday we decided we were going to go shopping in Milton Keynes and get some stuff for the house. We were driving down the A1 (one of the big freeways here) and the car started shaking. Now, Christopher's British Car, a volkswagon Vento, has been getting ready to crap out on us for a few weeks now, so we just think, okay, here it comes. And then, the front tire EXPLODES off our car. Literally, explodes. And so, while we're pulling over, whats left of the tire is rolling on up ahead of us. It was pretty hilarious. So now, we're on the lookout for another car, because the Vento isn't worth what it would cost to fix it up or even put a new tire on it. I of course had the camera with me, so for your enjoyment.....

The tire....

Christopher, calling the tow truck
The truck
The tire....

A very thrilled me on the tow

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Saturday, 7 November 2009

Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's mercy he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

If you've seen the movie "V for Vendetta" (and if you haven't go rent it, its great), then you should kind of have an idea who Guy Fawkes is and all about November 5th).

The gunpowder plot of 1605 was a failed assassination attempt of King James I by a group of Provencal English catholics. They plotted to blow up the house of parliament on the States Opening on the 5th of November, 1605. The people plotting all this had infiltrated into the Kings Service, one of the men even became one of the kings bodyguards and had access to leasing out lodging adjacent to the House of Lords. Their original plan was to tunnel down and mine their way to the Lord's Chamber. The king was their main target, but other influential people were on their hit list as well.

After the plague struck London in 1604, the state opening of Parliament kept being pushed back and pushed back, but still the conspirators trudged on and kept filling up a ground floor undercroft that they'd acquired and by March of 1605, they'd filled it up with 36 barrels of gunpowder and hidden it underneath coal and firewood.

In need of money and arms, the conspirators had no choice but to induct Sir Frances Tresham into their plot and its believed that it was he who betrayed them to his brother in law who was Lord Monteagle.

On the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes, the man who was in charge of the explosives, was arrested as he was leaving the undercroft. Under the assumed name John Johnson, he was interrogated and he maintained that he worked alone and his plot was, in fact, to blow up parliament and kill King James. He was taken to the Tower of London and tortured and then finally sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Now, I didnt know until today, but wikipedia defines Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered as:

  1. Dragged on a hurdle (a wooden frame) to the place of execution. This is one possible meaning of drawn.[2]
  2. Hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead (hanged).
  3. Disembowelled and emasculated and the genitalia and entrails burned before the condemned's eyes (this is another meaning of drawn—see the reference to the Oxford English Dictionary below)[3][4]
  4. The body beheaded, then divided into four parts (quartered).

How crazy and gross is that? So yeah, Guy Fawkes decided that that really didnt sound pleasant, so he jumped off the gallows, breaking his neck and killing himself so that he wouldn't have to endure the drawing and quartering part of his sentence.

So, every year, basically the entire week of November 5th the Brits celebrate a failed assassination attempt. They have big bonfires where they burn effigies of Guy Fawkes and they have special foods they eat and they shoot off fireworks. So, all week as soon as the sun's gone down, we've heard fireworks. Tonight, our neighborhood is throwing a bonfire, so we're headed over to meet all the neighbors and take part in the festivities! It should be a good time!