Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Donnerstag, 18. Dezember 2008

Now, I'm it!!

An online board of women living abroad that I participate in has been playing blog tag - and I'm it! These are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog (check!).

3. Write six random, arbitrary things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Teresa tagged me and so here are my answers:

1. I would like to own a home in Mallorca, Spain one day.

2. I am a NASCAR fan.

3. I do most of my clothes shopping on the internet. I didn't realize this was not so common until recently.

4. I don't take sugar in my coffee.

5. I have never been farther west that Ohio in the US, yet have traveled all over Europe.

6. If I could, I would travel to Tokyo and India.

I tag: Nell, Becky, Emily, Christina, and then I give up!!

Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2008

New Year's Eve Booked!

image from www.ehow.com
This year we will be in America for New Years Eve. Normally, we have so much trouble figuring out what to do at home. So, this year, since we will be traveling over New Year's, we decided to attend a party. We'll be in DC, but staying in Alexandria. So, we will be attending a James Bond theme black-tie party! I don't know if it was my first choice, but as I am outnumbered by boys this New Years, they went for Bond.
Besides the fact that the boys are super-Bond freaks, and we have a teddy bear named James Bond, I think they were attracted by the fact that the party was listed as one of the top five NYE parties in the country in Playboy. Hooray!
I'm excited for the opportunity to get all dressed up again! And I am so excited that we'll be staying in the same hotel, so no worrying about transportation and how to stay warm getting to the party! Three cheers for hotel galas!
The party features different Bond locations in different ball rooms. There is food to go with each destination theme and specialty drinks. I think this will surely be a unique way for us to ring in the New Year, and one that will stay in the memory banks for years to come!

Rothenburg Christmas Market and my ornament!

I guess I should start with my ornament first, so that it doesn't get lost in the rest of the Christmas market post. I recently took part in an international ornament exchange. Because people living all over the world took part, it was fun to imagine where your ornament would come from! I sent mine to someone living in London. Joern and I had lots of fun scouring the Stuttgart Christmas Market looking for the perfect ornament. We finally settled on a beautiful hand-painted glass cuckoo clock ornament, we agreed that it was the most typically German ornament we could find.
I received my ornament the other day. Imagine my surprise when I read the return address from Ireland! How perfectly fitting!!
Coming off of the after-ornament receiving excitement, Joern and I ventured into Bavaria to visit Joern's friend Marcus, who married on Friday. Joern suggested we leave earlier to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is Germany's Christmas town. It is a lovely, well-preserved medieval city. It is a bit different from Esslingen though, and is quite worth the visit. Entrance to the city center is through one of a few towers, that dot the original city wall.

The majority of the city center is car free. With good reason, the cobbled streets are extremely narrow, and especially during the holiday season, are packed with people.
Of course, the store windows were all decked out for Christmas, and a few beckoned us inside with a promise of warmth and some good Christmas gifts.
The bakeries all had displays of Snowballs, or Schneeballen. They are a common winter pastry from this area of Germany, and we do not really have them in Stuttgart. But they all looked delicious!
Once we stumbled into the Marktplatz, or market square, we were in Christmas heaven.

We went into Käthie Wohlfhart, THE difinitve Christmas store. Käthie Wohlfahrt is headquartered in Rothenburg, and they have a main store, a German Christmas Museum, and a Christkindlsmakrt (Christ Child Market) a Bavarian Christmas Market. The store is a veritable Christmas wonderland. Joern brought me once before in the summer, and I must admit, it is a bit easier to manage without the intense crowds. But when in Rome, or Rothenburg! I am pretty sure you cannot go to Rothenburg without going through Käthie Wohlfahrt. We did manage to make a few purchases too. Most of which I cannot post here, for fear of ruining someone's Christmas present :)

Once we left Käthie Wohlfahrt, we made our way to the actual Rothenburg Christmas market. It was so lovely, like most Christmas markets. Since it had been bitterly cold all day, and the sun started going down, I was on the search for a warm drink. What was so exciting to me was that they offered hot apple cider, something I have seen in no other Christmas market. It was a nice non-alcoholic alternative to the kid's punch that I now normally enjoy.

We didn't have too much time to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and scents of the Christmas market, as we had to get to Marcus' house for dinner. It was beautiful though, and I am so glad we had such an enjoyable afternoon!!

Of course, our evening was also enjoyable. We saw Marcus, one of Joern's closest friends, and meet his wife and baby-on-the way! I am really so excited for the new family, and wish Marcus and Andrea nothing but the best in their future!

Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2008


Tonight after work, Joern and I had a hard decision to make. Should we go to our warm, cuddly home, or brave the snow that had been falling all day and go to the Esslingen Christmas Market?
Esslingen is a wonderfully charming city. It is quite historical, with settlement dating back to around 1000 B.C. The city is full of beautiful Fachwerk or half-timbered buildings, and cobble-stoned streets. It is also the site of the annual Medieval Christmas Market. It is a really unique and so much fun.
Of course, it had snowed all day today where I work. We had at least 3 inches on the ground by the end of the school day and the snow was coming down like crazy when Joern came to pick me up. Here's the beautiful winter-wonderland we drove through to get to the Christmas Market.^

Once we got to Esslingen though, we found that the altitude change also brought with it a lack of snow. It was barely snowing there and the streets were wet. But, it didn't dampen the atmosphere that is truly unique to Esslingen and their Christmas Market.
The medieval Christmas Market is so charming. It is set up to look like a market would have during the middle ages. People wear period clothing and there are all signs around that you have left the modern world. You even pay in "taler" (coins) and not Euro, although they gladly accept Euro notes :).
We immediately went to a booth selling drinks, because there is no surviving a chilly, wet Christmas Market without something warm to drink. Of course, I got a warm kid's punch and Joern had a Met, which is a warm honey wine. YUM!

Once we had warm drinks in hand, we set out to explore the market. The sales booths at the medieval market feature lots of handmade items. You can find handmade soap, pottery, carved wood utensils, candles, just to name a few.

I also can't talk about the market without mentioning the food. They have incredible, unique food there. We decided to eat dinner at the Christmas Market tonight, which turned out to be a great decision. There was such an incredible choice with lots of food that was meant to reflect the times. They had lots of corn pancakes, similar to tortillas with different meats to go inside.
We decided on a bowl of Gaisburger Marsch, a traditional Swabian soup.
It tasted so good, and it was the perfect time for another warm-up.
After our soup, we wound our way though the many vendor booths over to the main town square. I love the center of Esslingen, but find it just incredible at Christmastime. Plus, the King Arthur's Hemp booth is located there. I know, you would never expect me at the Hemp booth. But actually, they serve delicious food prepared with Hemp seed. We got a Hemp pocket, which is similar to a pita filled with chicken in a garlic sauce, topped with lots of Hemp seed. Sounds strange, I know, but it is absolutely amazing. And, one reason I go to the Esslingen Christmas Market annually.

Once our bellies were full, we wandered towards the real-life Christmas market, which is also quite nice. The border between the past and the present is market by a giant Christmas pyramid.
On the present side Christmas Market, we found a booth with some incredible Christmas gifts. I won't post pictures, as some of my readers may be the lucky recipients of these wares. Needless to say, Joern and I thought they were really cool.
We were at the Christmas Market for a little over two hours, before I lost feeling in my fingers, and knew it was time to go.
We have at least one more Christmas Market visit planned this weekend, and I know that I will be back at Stuttgart's next week. I am so enamoured with Germany this time of year, but I'm sure no one could tell!

Sonntag, 7. Dezember 2008

Our new plans and our new blog

image from: www.ptmortgage.com
The new year will hopefully bring with it a new home for us! I think my mom would be pleased that she can help us to buy a new house even though she is not physically here with us anymore.
We started looking at homes earlier this year, but it was nothing serious. Now we know that we can own a home, and we have started looking more seriously. We've begun our offensive in earnest. We're slowly gaining information on the choices we have available to us.
To honor this new adventure in our lives, I have begun a new blog. I am sure it won't be updated all that often, because we have more adventures than simply our move. But, I would really like a place to compile all our information and to document our journey.

ISS Christmas Party

Every year, our school's PTA throws a fundraiser dinner/dance. It happens right around Christmas, and everyone gets really decked out. This year's party was a bit different because it was held in the state parliament building. We're just lucky because Stuttgart is also the capital of our state, Baden-Württemberg.

This year, most of my friends from work went as well, so it was a lot of fun. I spent most of the night hanging with my old colleagues from last year. There was great food and lots of laughs.It was also nice to be able to spend time socializing with the parents, who were not in their normal parent roles in which we see them daily. We took part in a few raffles, and actually, didn't win much. But, we did win a pretty ugly hanging candle holder from the balloon raffle. I'm not even sure if I brought it home with me :)

Hopefully, next year's will yield better prizes for Joern and myself, but otherwise, the night was purely enjoyable.

Unfortunately, right now, I am having difficulty uploading our two pictures from the evening. So until I can get them uploaded, you can see the pictures of Joern and me on my Facebook page. The fur is not mine, I borrowed it from my friend Mandy, who inherited it from her grandmother. The jewelery also belonged to Mandy!

Dienstag, 2. Dezember 2008

And one final for the day!

A very happy birthday to my Dad!!!

To the greatest dad a girl could ever have, I wish you a wonderful day and many, many more enjoyable birthdays to come!

I love you so much!!!!!!

And now on to Christmas, with a big relief!

I guess I will start with the good news! Which sorry, it requires a bit of an explanation. My teaching certification program began on the same day as my step-father's passing. I contacted the professor before leaving for the funeral, and she told me not to worry, that I only had to finish all the coursework by December 5th. I hopped on the plane with my books papers that needed to be completed, full of hope and determination. Of course, I was not prepared for those horrifically difficult two weeks of running to doctors and setting up home care for my mom. I then convinced myself that although I had fallen two weeks behind, once I returned to Germany and got life back on track, I'd complete everything. Then came the phone call from my aunt that turned my life upside-down. And, caused every thought other than for my mom to fly right out of my head. It is amazing when I think back to those days in the hospital that I was purely focused on my mother, and nothing else. Once I realized the course would be impossible to complete, we were overloaded with lawyers, banks, and clearing out the house. I was finally able to call school yesterday, and beg for mercy. The professor was kind and understanding, but said that she did not have the final decision as I had missed the withdrawl date. Fortunately, today at work was quite busy, and I had little time to obsess on my teaching program. When I got home tonight, I contacted the school. The good news? I can still withdraw, but the money I paid will be put towards the next cohort. Yes, I can start from the beginning, this time in February. That's absolutely perfect for me! I am so excited! And yet another thing to be thankful for!

Before calling the school yesterday, we went to the Stuttgart Christmas Market. We officially kicked off our Christmas Market season, which actually began last Wednesday in Stuttgart. It was so enjoyable, especially since we got there at 4, before it got busy and cold. First stop though was Starbucks.
Although Starbucks is not Christmas Market tradition, I decided it would be a close second to mulled-spiced wine, and it would be a good hand-warmer. We wandered through the rows of stalls selling everything from food and Glühwein (mulled-spiced wine,) to slippers and kitchen items.

I was actually had a mission though, I needed to find a Christmas ornament for an upcoming ornament exchange. So, we worked our way through the food stalls, and through the housewares and clothing towards the area where the Christmas ornaments are sold. Another enjoyable part of the market is to look at the roofs of each stall, as they are all uniquely decorated.

The area where I was headed lies in the Rathausplatz, or the square in front of Stuttgart City Hall. It was so neat to see that they had chosen certain windows of city hall to cover, and turned the building into a giant Advent calendar!

As we wandered through all the stalls, I really felt the Christmas magic that is truly unique to Germany.

After I found the perfect ornament, we headed back and stopped by the outdoor ice rink for a while.

It was such a fun evening! I am eagerly anticipating many more Christmas market visits before the season is over.

Our mini-Thanksgiving

Once we got back home, we spent a few days simply relaxing. I did receive a beautiful bouquet from work on Saturday. It was so reassuring to know that they were still thinking of me, and that I was not going to be fired after taking almost 5 weeks off from work.
Otherwise, on Friday and Saturday, Joern and I watched lots of DVDs and talked a lot about the past couple of weeks.
By Sunday though, we were both ready to start to get back to life. We decided that celebrating Thanksgiving would be a good idea. Instead of the major Thanksgiving/Christmas party that we've thrown for 5 years now, this Thanksgiving was simple. Just Joern and myself. We celebrated the things we were thankful for. Celebrating the holiday this way was really wonderful for the soul. Dinner included: delicious turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, and my friend Carol's corn pudding.

Besides our wonderful dinner, we also followed another Roesner family tradition. We lit the first candle of our advent wreath. Growing up, I remember my aunt always had a beautiful advent wreath, but it was never something at my house. When I moved to Germany, which is Christmas country, immediately noticed advent wreaths everywhere! I finally got Joern to break-down and buy a wreath last year. I see this will now be a lasting tradition in our home no matter where we live.

Of course, don't ask me why the candle is so askew. I fixed it after the picture.

All things considered, our day on Sunday was a perfect way to re-enter our real lives to get us through till Christmas. Of course, I am hoping that next Thanksgiving marks a return to our gigantic holiday get-together, with all the hoopla involved. But for this year, simplicity has become key.