Every year our local big-box furniture store has some Christmas fun in their parking lot.  Two years ago we went & enjoyed the heck out of a very special barn animals circus (Weihnachts Circus). This year there was ice skating. Ice skating that certain children in my house had been begging to do for weeks, ever since the first snow, and subsequent complete meltdown, and disappearance of all things snow & cold.

The night before Christmas Eve I bundled everyone into the car, anxious to pick up some food supplies before the country shut down for almost four days.  I’m not kidding!  Most stores in Germany close by noon on the 24th (a Thursday this year), and both Christmas (the 25th and a Friday), and the “second” day of Christmas (the 26th, a Saturday) were holidays. No stores open.  And we almost never have anything open on Sundays.  There is one time a month when stores are open on a Sunday from 13:00 to 18:00, but only in one or two villages. Rarely a village near me.  Germans believe very strongly in time off.  I love that believe.  I hate never having anything open.

When we first got here, I moaned & groaned over my tiny fridge (it is barely bigger than Soren’s dormroom fridge). I soon realized that the foods here do not have the preservatives American foods have. I need to go to the store every 2-3 days to keep our fresh food supply…. fresh.  Once I adapted to the more frequent, smaller, shopping trips the tiny fridge made perfect sense.  It took me a lot longer to adapt to shorter store hours, I love midnight shopping without kids, and store closings on Sundays and many holidays.

Still shopping earlier, not shopping on Sunday, is one thing. Not shopping for almost 4 days is hard! I  had to really plan my meals, knowing that fresh tomatoes would not last until Sunday for an easy spaghetti meal, and I had to shop on the busiest day of the year. With all the kids.  Thank God Hofmeister had their annual Christmas fun! Thank God it was ice skating! And I’m really, really, really thankful it was only 1 per kid!

Dane & Tess happily strapped on skates… and immediately hit the ice.  First with their skates, then the rest of their bodies.  Boom! Let the bodies hit the floor (Drowning Pool). I think they forgot how slippery ice is.  Cole took much longer to persuade, and he did not do much more than stand there & attempt to look cool.  Luckily he stood by me, and as the speakers blared popular 80’s songs (a staple in Germany), he happily yodeled away with me.  I’m not sure where he learned the words to Rock the Casbah but it can’t possibly have been me. Can it?