Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday Great Grandma!!

Grandma, if I was there I'd make you a cake and we would stay the night at your house and party all night!! :)

I am glad I at least made it to your party this year... which, by the way, I wouldn't have missed for the world. You should have just expected I'd be there! :)

I had the kids sing a birthday song for you. It's the best I could get them to do. They are in a silly mood because it's nearly 10:00pm. :) When Scotty started making "that face" I couldn't help myself... I started laughing and that made the kids laugh and it went from there. :)

Happy Birthday Grandma. For your gift I give you an all expenses paid ticket to Germany... might I suggest the summer when it's warm. :) My mom will come with you. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ich habe Krabben!

I bought crab legs at the grocery store... Real crab too, King Crab. Konigskrabben!

This is a HUGE deal! I haven't seen crab legs for sale anywhere in Denmark or Germany... and I've actually looked with some intent since they are one of Michaela's favorites. I've even tried the harbor docks and fish markets.

But I found them at a plain ole' grocery store today.

It wasn't until I got home and was on the phone with a friend and I was telling her my proud story of buying crab that I realized how silly it was... and the fact that it seemed like a normal event in my day now makes it all the more funny to me. :)

Sierra and I had gone to the store. We walked by the fish section and saw this massive crab looking thing sitting on ice with a sign that even I could translate, "Konigskrabben 4.80 euro, 100 grams"!! WHOOO HOOOO!!!

I still don't have a good concept of how much 100 grams is, especially when it comes to a pokey, shelled crab... so I just pointed to the crab and said "Guten Tag, Ich mochte Krabben Bitte".

Simple enough, but here is where it gets complicated. :)

See, I only wanted the legs and now the Fish Lady seemed to be asking me how much I wanted. So, still feeling confident, I said, "nur die legs" No sense in making her think I knew German, that often just confuses things, but "nur" means only... and when I said "legs" I pointed to my own leg. (I often play charades on a daily basis to communicate.)

I thought I had done good, but Fish Lady had no idea what I was talking about. I'm now trying to point to the crab's legs, but I'm fenced off a good 15 feet from the woman who is now holding the crab. I tried to get a little closer so show her, but she backs up and is now swinging the crab around and talking in German as if I've breached the Fish Security Perimeter.

We now have a crowd because, seriously, this crab is HUGE and POKEY and UGLY and it's an animal that many people probably haven't seen since I've been looking for it for years...

So. German Fish Lady swinging MY crab around, mad at ME for some reason... I'm still stuck saying, "nur legs" because it's all I know. Now I find my self balancing on one leg in order to show her my other leg. "Nur legs, Ich mochte nur legs bitte. Alles das Legs, die legs? der legs??".

I'm basically doing the hokey pokey at the fish section of the grocery store... in front of a huge crowd of Germans who are watching the Angry Fish lady refuse to sell me this enormous, spiked creature.

**Little side note to Sierra's participation in this event. She is standing behind me, with our cart, hiding her head in her hands, saying... let's go mom." :) No way am I leaving without the legs. It's now a game.

Anyways, I stop "shaking it all about" and say "Bitte, alles Legs" again... because the Fish Lady had seemed to listen to that. She says, "yes, alles" and slams the entire crab on the scale.

Fine, I'll buy the whole dumb thing... The kids will think it's fun to see anyways. 60 EUROS!??? AHHHHH! No! :) Nein Danke! Now the lady is smiling... I'm not sure if she thought it was funny or if she was just being smug that I wasn't getting the crab.

Now a Fish Man from the back hears my "AHHHHHH" and comes up to help. I've never been so appreciative of broken English before! He looks at me like I'm stupid and asks, "You eat the head?"

sigh...... "No, I just want the legs, but I thought I had to buy the whole thing. Can I just buy the legs?" ... way too fast for him. "Nur Legs", I try?

AND WHALLLA. He goes to the back rips the legs off of the animal and brings me four legs in a plastic bag! HA! Take that Fish Lady! 15 minutes and 17.00 euros later and I have four fresh crab legs!

It wasn't until I got home and Sierra was telling her "mom-is-so-embarrassing" story to Happy that I realized how much money I spent on just four crab legs. Then Happy went to the fridge to check out my prize.

He showed me the bag and said, "Are these the legs?". I said yes quite proudly, but then I suddenly realized the bag was much smaller than a bag of crab legs should be. Costco crab legs are way bigger AND much cheaper.

I then realized that at an undetermined point in the whole process of buying the crab legs, my motive changed. It wasn't about getting to EAT the crab legs. It became a challenge for me to just GET them. ...and I DID!

So I won. Today, I beat Germany. I get 38 points.

...and fresh crab legs.

...that my husband has put in the freezer. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010


Hee Hee....

I had to take a picture of my best word ever.

"VIEW" for 60 POINTS! :)

This happened to be the game where I was kicking my Dad's bum. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

St. Nicholas Day

I'm a little late with this... St. Nicholas Day is a holiday here which is on December 6th. I just downloaded the picture from my phone though... :)

The day before St. Nicholas day the kids are supposed to put their shoes outside and St. Nicholas will come by and put gifts and clementines (tiny oranges) into them. Not sure why, but it is cute.

Many of the shopping centers also participate by having kids come before the 6th and drop off one of their shoes. Then on the 6th you go back and find your shoe, which is in one of the store windows within that shopping area.

My friend did it, but I learned about it too late and I was also a little scared that I'd never see their shoe again. :) We'll do it next year though because it was cute to see all the store windows lined with little kids boots and shoes. :)

In Scotty's Kindergarten class the kids put their shoes by the window on Friday December 3rd, and then when they showed up on Monday the 6th they found their indoor shoes filled with clementines and a bag of candy.

Scotty's shoes are the brown ones. :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

It's Weihnachten!!!

YAY! Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. :) (from a few days ago...)

...and to all of our parents and family and friends... sorry we aren't closer. We miss everyone lots and promise to see you all soon!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Not Kidding...

I went to the Elbe Einekaufzentrum on December 22nd at 7:30pm.

In a normal world the biggest shopping mall in the area would be PACKED FULL OF people just a few days before Christmas. Nope, I had to take pictures because it was so strange that the place was empty. Nobody would believe me!

AND... on Christmas Eve, the 24th... stores here are closed. It's NOT a shopping day, which makes the 23rd the last shopping day.

So I was out shopping at 7:30pm on the second to last shopping day before Christmas and the place was EMPTY. :)

I wasn't complaining of course. I happily scurrying around doing all my shopping. It was just a little weird one of those movies where the whole world disappears except for one person. :)

Maybe, being the good American that I am, I count on the long shopping hours just before Christmas... and this is why I put off my shopping until then. Or maybe it's because I have four kids and barely have enough time to breathe. Of course the mall here did stay open all the way until 9:00PM JUST FOR CHRISTMAS. ouuuuuhhhhhhh...

Half of cards... sent!

I sent out half of my Christmas cards... the other half are in the back of a snow covered car in the driveway.

Sorry if yours is in the trunk. :) I tried to mail them today, but I couldn't stand in the line anymore... The line of 14 people and ONE mail person ...not the way I wanted to spend two hours of my Christmas Eve Eve. :) ...and let's face it, they are already late. :)

The first half of my cards were carried to America by a nice friend of mine. Way cheaper that way... :) So if you are wondering why your card from us was sent from the States, that's why. I had it personally escorted across the ocean. :) Thanks Shelly!

The other half of my cards will arrive to everyone sometime next year. :) Oh well though, I'm still feeling kinda proud for sending them out at all...

Can't wait until tomorrow... Christmas Eve!!! I can throw away the five HUGE advent calenders that have been in my small kitchen for 24 days. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Walk down the street....

I forgot to mention I had some friends come and visit!

Hilde and her family from Denmark came to visit and Ingrid, my Swedish friend from Denmark who now lives in London, flew in for the weekend. :)

We all hung out for the weekend and went into town to the Christmas markets. I loved seeing my friends again. I love that I have met people that I know I will keep in contact with forever. Since my husband is an engineer I feel qualified to make an assessment involving numbers... "one out of ten people you meet in the expat life you'll actually remain friends with"... that's my assessment. I can make a graph to back it up if necessary. :)

It was also to invite my "American Hamburg" friends to meet my "Danish International" friends. :)

It was a nice weekend. Thanks Hilde and Ingrid for coming to see me and stay at the Happy Hotel!

Oh. ...and on our way to the Christmas Markets we walked down the street. Here are some pictures of my friends... standing in front of the houses on our street. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010


A blizzard came through... and funny, but when I type the word blizzard I suddenly want a Chocolate Blizzard with Butterfinger from Dairy Queen. I guess that up until this point in my life the word "Blizzard" meant chocolate ice cream... now it means, shovel the driveway for an hour in below freezing temperatures.

I now pick up the kids with sleds... and it's kinda fun. :)

To get Andrea in the house I bribe her with a plate full of snow. Yes, I know it's dirty... She likes it though and gets her in the house. She would play outside in the snow all day and night if possible.

Here are the dirt throwers. They don't use salt for the roads here, here in Hamburg they throw dirt all over everything... makes for a huge dirty mess after the snow is gone, and it's not all that effective. I'm sure it's healthier for the roads and stuff... I'm not sure why dirt has been determined to be the best way to deal with the snow. ...and for the record, never once have I seen a snow plow taking snow off the road. It's getting pretty silly. Giant slushy mess...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Here is our tree.

Our tree doesn't match... and my personal opinion on the matter is that if your tree has a color scheme then you are boring.

Our tree is a free for all... and that's the way life is around here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Happy!!

Happy is another year older... but we aren't going to talk about that. :)

We made him a big breakfast this morning and then he took Scotty to the store... and we haven't seen him since. :) He should be back pretty soon, he better be back pretty soon because we have a babysitter booked for 4:00pm. Good Ole' Michaela... Happy and I will go out shopping for a little bit and then out to eat dinner at a little restaurant nearby. :) We'll come home, have cake and ice cream with the kids, and send everyone to bed... and start wrapping Christmas presents.

Boring, but at this point boring is good.

PS. All these pictures are just random... Happy likes pictures on my blog so he'll be happy to see them. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

If Scotty was German....

If Scotty was German he would start kindergarten at Goosacker Schule. :)

I got a letter in the mail saying Scotty would have a spot at the Goosacker School next August. Nice. Goosacker... Maybe that name sounds cooler to a German person. :)

Anyways, This letter gave me a date and time to show up with Scotty. No problem, I'll just have the secretary from our International School call Goosacker and tell them Scotty was already enrolled in school. Our nice secretary called... Goosacker said I still had to bring Scotty in.

I asked our secretary what would happen if I didn't comply. She said the police might become involved... OK.

I asked what the police would do. She said they might take Scott to school for me... OK.

Scotty might think that was really fun! What an experience! :) I just wasn't sure if the police would return him to me so I figured I better take him to see the Goosacker people.

So I took Scotty out of school, to take him to visit the school he's not going to. In the snow, in the middle of Andrea's nap time... super.

I thought that maybe they would just want to see that Scotty was alive and well and then we could just go home. I even had an official letter from the International School and Soctty's school records. We went in, I showed my letter. They didn't care. :) They asked if Scotty would be attending Goosacker. I said no.

Scotty still had to go off with the other German kids to "meet his new classmates". :) I had to have an hour parent interview and fill out all the forms...

It's all part of the process... :)

The process gets better...

The next week I had to go back to pick up their "report" on Scotty. Turns out I now have to take Scotty to a doctor because he doesn't speak or understand any German. Hmmp.

Well, if a five year old German kid doesn't speak or understand German then okay... send him to the doctor, but my little boy speaks English, not German... oh, but he can call me a dumb cow in German, "Du bist eine dumme kuh." Maybe I should have mentioned that...

Instead I mentioned... "When we got to this silly country I tried to put him in a German school, but everyone told me NO... so don't come to me nine months later and try to make me feel like a loser because we aren't fluent in German. Ich spreche ein sehr bisschen Deutsch!!!" ...but I was nicer, because they were actually being kinda nice about the whole thing. ...but not really. :)

We'll see how that doctor appointment goes... or maybe I'll take my chance with the German police.

Pretty snow though huh?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photo Shoot 2010

I haven't done Christmas cards in a few years, and I've had really good reasons/excuses... but this year I decided to do it.

These are NOT the winning Christmas Card Picture... I can't spoil the surprise! That would take away from the excitement of getting the card!

Thanks Shelly for coming over and pooing penguins to make us laugh. ...and Shelly, I know you took about 200 pictures, but I chose the very first one you took. :) TAK and DANKE and THANKS!

Just for you mom. We are #1.

Santa better not bring anymore laptops.

"No Paul, your car can't be in our Christmas card.

I can't believe I made those four little people!


click here ------> Santa's message to Scotty

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pine Nut Lesson

Where do pine nuts come from?


I bought this pine cone in a grocery store and translated the directions. Then I bought another one for a friend here and even mailed one to a friend in the States because I thought it was super cool!

You are supposed to wash it in warm water and then set it by a radiator where it will stay warm ...not ON the radiator because when you do that it gets too warm and the little "leaves" start popping off the bottom.

So it's been a few weeks and my little pine cone finally opened up. See the picture? When I bought it it was closed completely... but now it's open with the little "leaves" opening up and folding out. :)

When it opened I pulled a pine nut out. It was in a little pine nut shell. So CUTE! The shell opened easily because I think it had dried out... but then the pine nut inside was moldy and gross looking... oh well. I had envisioned shelling out pretty beige pine nuts, just like in the store. Nope, it was moldy and yucky... but the idea in theory was super cute and it amused me for a good three weeks. So I still liked it.

I think I'll buy another one and try it again. Maybe I got a bad cone...


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Markets

The day after Thanksgiving is supposed to be filled with non stop shopping. Not so much here since the day after our Thanksgiving was Sunday and all the stores were closed. :)

The Christmas Markets were open though, so while trying to keep with tradition, we girls went out shopping: Andrea, Sierra, Michaela, and Mommy. :) We all braved the below freezing temperatures and insane crowds. We are awesome. Someone should give us candy.

The boys stayed home. Paul had some work to catch up on in order to fund our outing and Scotty stayed behind because he needed a day of rest. :)

Downtown Hamburg doesn't have just one Christmas market... I think it has a zillion. There are little clusters of markets everywhere and some of them are bigger than others. We visited the "three" big markets... and bought a few gifts, but mostly we ate. :) Warm crepes, and these things...

Profetjes... something like that. KP made me some one day at her house in a special little Dutch pan. YUMMY, but I think from Holland.

The girls wanted a blue boot full of hot chocolate and I said no, but when we got lost and twenty minutes later circled around the same booth I gave in. We are now the proud owners of two ugly blue boots... which you can return for your deposit, but many people keep and "buy" them.



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