Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our New German Nativity

The Christmas Markets have begun here in Deutschland & this weekend we went to our first one of the year. For two days in November, the small village of Dudeldorf has it's own little Christmas market. This particular market is known for it's beautiful handcrafted nativity scenes. There is a man there that makes the most beautiful sets by hand all year long & then sells them at the Dudeldorf Christmas Market each year. This was our 3rd time attending & we knew it was our last, so we knew we had to buy one. Trek & I absolutely fell in love with this guy. He looks like an old inn & stable & is painted so beautifully that you feel like you're really looking at the scene of Jesus' birth. And then the figurines are painted in similar colors & coated in gold paint. Together, they are just gorgeous! I'm SO glad we finally bought one! He is HUGE, but to me, there's nothing more important at Christmas time than remembering our Savior's birth; so I'm glad he can be a centerpiece in our home at Christmastime.

From the mouths of Babes

So for the last 2 nights, the kids have said some things that are worthy of blogging. . .

Last night it was Lorien's turn to say the family prayer. In her prayer she said the following sentence: "And please bless that we will all sleep good tonight & that we won't have nightmares
I started laughing in the middle of the prayer. You've got to love siblings!

And then tonight I told the girls that if they didn't be quiet & go right to bed, that I would take one of their presents from underneath the Christmas tree & give it to the orphanage in our village. Instead of getting upset about losing a present, they asked what an orphanage was & after I explained, Cadence looked at me & said "Mom, I think they need our presents more than we do!" So now I'm crying! I think I'm going to take them all shopping this week to pick out one toy to donate to the orphanage here in town. How could I not after that?

We can learn so much from our own children. I'm so grateful to be entrusted with such wonderful kids whom I love so dearly!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family Pics 2009

Last Saturday, a friend of ours took us out to Abtei Himmerod to take family pics. Nancy sent the girls the most beautiful magenta dresses ever & so we dressed them all up & Wendy took some beautiful shots. I'm posting some of my favorites, but you can see all of them on our website. . . (just click on the link below)

Can you say CHOCOLATE?

Okay, so we're a bunch of losers who didn't make a huge turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. Life has been so hectic lately that we really just wanted to get away from it all & take a little trip somewhere as a family. So instead of doing the traditional Thanksgiving thing, we took a day trip to Belgium to the Jacques Chocolate Factory in Eupen, Belgium. It is an hour & a half drive out there, but we're glad we did it. The kids had SO MUCH FUN! First we took a tour of the chocolate museum where we learned how cocoa beans become chocolate. Then we got to go inside the actual factory where they made & packaged the chocolate bars. It was fun to see all the chocolate on the conveyor belts & how the machines wrapped each bar & then put it in a box to be shipped. I felt like I was in a real Willy Wonka Factory! The kids loved it. And the smell of the place was SO sweet I thought I was going to puke. I've never smelled so much sugar in my life & it literally made me sick to my stomach.

After the factory, we visited the store where they sell you the "defective" chocolate (anything that isn't absolutely perfect) for CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! We bought over 5 pounds of chocolate. Mmmm. Talk about a SWEET day!

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. . .

It's that time again. . . time to put up the Christmas tree at the Potter house. There is just something about the feeling you get when you crank up the Christmas music & starting hanging the twinkling lights on your tree. There's really nothing like it. I love doing it as a family too. It's so special. Each of the kids have their own special ornament (their 1st Christmas' ornaments) that they hang very first on the tree. Taya knows her & puts it where she can touch it every morning. . . "Momma, Rella!" Her 1st ornament was a pink coach like Cinderella's pumpkin coach. She runs straight to it every morning & tells me it's hers. Every ornament on our tree has a story. I've been collecting ornaments since I was about 12 years old. My mom bought me a new ornament every Christmas so that when I got married & was poor & couldn't afford many Christmas decorations. . . I had a full tree. I love sitting with my kids & telling them why I have an Aladdin ornament (1994 when I went to Disneyland & formed a crush on Aladdin), or a Belle ornament (1999 a year before I moved to CA. That year at Band Camp in Disneyland, they offered me a job as Parade Belle for the following year.). I have a beautiful sand dollar ornament from San Diego from the year Trek & I got married in San Diego & an Eifel Tower ornament for the 1st year we went to Paris. I have 3 German ornaments, one that I have purchased for each year we've lived in Germany. Every year we also get an ornament with characters on it with the names of Trek & I & all our kids. Our tree is a story in itself & I love sharing that with my children. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Potter house, & we're all excited about it!

Taya got to put the angel on the top of the tree this year. She literally threw the angel at the tree & then cried to get down. Silly girl!

Taya loved the twinkle lights (& the kool-aid she had for dinner. . . she has a kool-aid mustache)

Daddy always puts on the twinkle lights just right.

Bladen was just happen to be here.

Daddy does the lights & mommy is in charge of the ornaments.

This is my German ornament for this year (2009). It was hand made in the Erzgebirge (Eastern Germany). It's beautiful!


Mimi & Baba sent the girls 30 coloring posters with princesses, princes, castles, mermaids, & fairies on them. I have never seen them so interested in coloring before. They are having so much fun with them, I think because they are so big. It takes them a while to complete each one & I love it! It keeps them busy. They are my sweet little artists. Thank you Mimi & Baba!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Village

Trek surprised me this weekend with 2 new pieces for my Christmas village. He usually buys me one new building every year, but this year he got me 2. The first is a cathedral that reminds me of all the old churches we visit out here in Europe. I love it because it will always remind me of our time here in Germany. I never want to forget it.

And then he bought me an adorable little bakery to remind me of all the yummy bakeries here in Europe. (I can't believe this is our last Christmas in Germany. . . . SO SAD!!) Both are awesome additions to my village.

My village is growing & is quite big now. I love it. I have more fun putting my village out than I do decorating the Christmas tree. (Wow, did I just admit that out loud?)

One of my favorite pieces is my fountain. It reminds me of the fountains in Rome. It has real water in it & the kids love watching the water go up & down with the green & red lights lighting it up. It looks so beautiful right in front of the cathedral.

(from left to right) I have my Planetarium & Bed & Breakfast, then my ice cream shop & my little Christmas tree that lights up, and then my Aquarium & my Dance Hall (that plays music & has silhouettes of dancing couples). . .

Then there's my new cathedral & fountain, my candle shop & bakery, & then my sea area.

The sea area was the first part that I collected. I got my boat the first Christmas we were married. On the left is Captain Jack's Nautical Antiques, the Boat House, & my beautiful lighthouse. I have 3 docks, my Christmas boat & a bunch of seals in the ocean. I love it.

Turkey Lurkey

At Creative Critters this week we made the most adorable turkeys out of apples & pipe cleaners. They were perfect for little ones because the pipe cleaners go into the apples SO easy! She could do it all herself & her turkey turned out adorable.

Then we made paper bag scarecrows. I ended up doing most of that one while she ate the glue (which is probably why she was throwing up in the van on the way home). Silly kid.

Cool Girl

I went to the BX to run some errands the other day & Taya got a hold of the sunglasses display. She wore these all around the store until it was time to check out. Then we put them back as we left. She's just a cool little girl.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bazaar Treasures

Yesterday was the fall bazaar here on base. It's our last bazaar before we leave Germany, so we had some "must buys" that we needed to get before we left.

The first "must" we had to get was the "Willkommen to our home, the Potter's" wood sign. Most people get a painting of a castle on theirs, but I really fell in love with a painting of a house in the black forest part of Germany. Where we live it is very hilly & foresty & I really wanted to remember that part of Germany when we do leave here. So I had to get this one to represent our wonderful time in the beautiful forests of Deutschland.

The 2nd treasure I couldn't leave without is a pewter set. I have always loved the pewter pitchers they sell at the bazaars, but they can be SO expensive, so I've never even considered buying one. Well they were all on sale 50% off at the bazaar & I completely fell in love with the Heidelberg Castle details in this set. I knew I had to have the pitcher. That's the one piece I wanted more than anything, but then of course Trek comes in saying "Well we can't get a pitcher & not get the cups!" I love my honey! So the set came with 6 cups & then we told ourselves that if we have 6 kids, 6 cups won't be enough. . . .so we had to get 2 more BIGGER ones for Trek & I. . . & then the kids could use the smaller ones. So basically, the looking for a pewter pitcher turned into buying a pewter pitcher with six small cups & two larger cups. What a FUN treat! I love it!


After the bazaar yesterday, we came home & the girls immediately ran upstairs. Trek & I followed them upstairs & found all three of them on top of our bed with pillows in hand.


They started hitting us left & right with our own pillows. That's when Trek & I decided to take the fight into our own hands. . .

We had SO MUCH FUN rolling around wrestling, bouncing on the bed, tickling until tears came out of our eyes, & just kissing on one another. Nothing beats these precious moments with our kids.

Cutie Pies

It's been a while since I posted pics of the kiddos. Here are some that I took last week:

I love the look on Taya's face. . . "I'm smiling mom, but I'm plotting something to make you mad in the back of my mind."

Lorien is so beautiful, but she really doesn't let me take pictures much & the pictures I do take turn out a bit awkward because she's usually trying to hide from me, but this one I thought was beautiful.

And you've got to love the chubby cheeks & happy grins.